Music Reviews



Anaphylaxis: Noise for Lovers

 Posted by Shaun Phelps (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 01 2005
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Artist: Anaphylaxis (@)
Title: Noise for Lovers
Format: CD
Label: Parasomnic (@)
Rated: *****
Anaphylaxis is the atmospheric noise/noisecore project of Jason Coffman (programming) and Teresa Santoski (vocals). Apparently this couple has had a slew of releases, though this is the first I’ve heard of them. I’ve got to say, though, they’ve definitely made an impression. From the moment this album started playing I loved it. Anaphylaxis' Noise for Lovers is exactly what it says it is... At least at first.

Distorted radio frequencies serve as the introduction to this gem of a release, contrasted by the nostalgic orchestration that perseveres for almost three minutes before being replaced by a seductively creepy, all-too short sample of a beautiful female voice. The entire album follows this suitor a suit like it. Nothing stays for long, the atmospheres, environments and beats flow in and out, corroding from one to another with ghostly voices and sounds manipulating and being equally manipulated. Everything about this release sounds like it is foreshadowing a terrible, ghastly event; beautiful in the most foreboding of ways.

I’m not sure what more I can say about Anaphylaxis’ Noise for Lovers. This release is absolutely worth the time, money, and effort of online purchasing. Noise for Lovers is beautiful, noisy, nostalgic, and altogether creepy. This album will not be easily forgotten.

TATE AND LILES: Without Season

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 25 2005
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Artist: TATE AND LILES
Title: Without Season
Format: CD
Label: Twenty Hertz
Rated: *****
Two teddy bears on the cover and a surreal statue of a fox-headed boy on a wheelchair on the back: what else could you expect from the collaboration of these two drone masters? Judging from the liner notes, Darren Tate has handed his sounds to Andrew Liles who has then structured and mixed the five untitled tracks. Some acoustic guitar plucking and a few accordion improvisations (by guest musician Kathleen Vance) are recognizable here and there (track 2 and 5), but most of the work is the perfect mix of sustained drones and natural field recordings you'd expect - which necessarily reminds of Monos' tradition, especially the finest moments of "Sunny day...". Brighter and almost bucolic moments alternate with powerful, awe-inspiring atmospheres - but all is graced by that sense of mystery and magic which is common ground between the two artists.

PAWEL GRABOWSKI: Cirr's Songs

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 24 2005
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Artist: PAWEL GRABOWSKI
Title: Cirr's Songs
Format: 7"
Label: Drone Records
Rated: *****
Grabowski is a young Polish soundmaker now relocated in Dublin, with a couple of releases under his belt, on Laub and his own Silence Is Not Empty label. Grabowski may be young but he surely doesn't lack talent and a refined style. Both "songs" are based on subdued, far-away drones and concrete elements (dripping water, a creaking door...), and the artist knows well how to weave captivating and emotionally engaging soundscapes with those minimal elements only. Grabowski's approach to minimal music reminds of great artists like Mirror, Coleclough or Monos - my favourite ep of the new Drone batch. This 7" comes in a black cover with a photo and, oddly enough, on black vinyl.

SMOOTH QUALITY EXCREMENT: Wahid

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 24 2005
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Artist: SMOOTH QUALITY EXCREMENT
Title: Wahid
Format: 7"
Label: Drone Records
Rated: *****
US artist J. Greco has possibly chosen one of the worst band name ever, but thanks God his music is on a different level. Greco, who has collaborated with Ure Thrall, Alan Trench and Kris Force, has already released three full-length albums as SQE, which unfortunately I don't know. "Wahid", on side A, is a powerful blend of oriental percussions and drones coming from processed and un-processed instruments (flute, guitars) - imagine a more layered and refined version of Muslimgauze and you'll get a picture. "Epitaph 3", on the flipside, is more droning and less physical, a vast and quite sombre soundscape of reversed sounds and altered voices. Some of Troum's epic compositions come to mind here as well. SQE will certainly appeal all fans of ethno-influenced ambient projects like Ure Thrall, Asia Nova, Rapoon, and the likes. I admit this is not exactly my cup of tea in the ambient field, but the quality of this project is undeniable. Beautiful layout and b/w marble vinyl.

TZESNE: Huffduff

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 24 2005
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Artist: TZESNE
Title: Huffduff
Format: 7"
Label: Drone Records
Rated: *****
Quite a mysteryous project coming from Spain - I only know the person behind Tzesne is probably Basque, since he took part in a recent Euskal-only sampler on Antifrost, curated by Mattin, and that he's previously released two cdrs. "Huffduff" features two tracks ("Enviar ayuda ahora" and "La voz flamante") based on shortwave radio signals as the only source. The press-release talks of "a droney and eerie imaginary soundtrack to the communication between Submarines inthe Second World War", which is an appropriate description indeed. The work reminded me of Chaos as Shelter's "Dead air broadcast" cd - radio-based industrial ambient, which I think works best in the more abstract atmospheres of the B-side. A pleasant release, but not exactly an outastanding one in shortwave-based compositions. Hand-assembled and silk-screened covers made using photocopies, glue, paint, etc., which must look quite good.


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