Music Reviews



Jan 02 2006
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Artist: Autoclav1.1 (@)
Title: You are My All and More
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod Media (@)
Rated: *****
Autoclav1.1 is the project of Tony Young, a well known promoter and musician in the noise underground. You are My All and More is his first full-length album following two stand-alone EPs. The premise of You are My All and More is to map the process of dealing with the loss of a loved one. A subject brought to Young’s attention last year while coping with the loss of his cat, Frank. Listening through this album is like a window into his mind as his emotions fluxuate from sadness, confusion, nostalgia, anger, hope, and disillusionment.

Young had promised from his first EP that there would be evolution and growth. While some of the same qualities exist in his music there is a level of artistry and understanding that his humble suggestions put to shame. Tracks like "This is the Hollow Point" and "White Cover" are nothing short of amazing. The same skitterish break-beats can be found throughout the album, but Young’s experimentation with ambience and texturing has turned into an all-out mastery, flirting with melodies, twisting and turning them enough to keep your brain on edge even on the most sentimental of tracks.

I will admit, I am biased toward Tony Young’s music, but I am certain that even if I’d never heard of his name or work before I’d still be as caught in it. This is a wonderful album; Inspiring, Distrubing, and painfully honest all at once. Autoclav1.1’s You are My All and More is perfect in my mind. My heart goes out for his loss, and my gratitude goes out for this album.

Mohan: As Is Where Is

 Posted by Shaun Phelps (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 30 2005
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Artist: Mohan (@)
Title: As Is Where Is
Format: CD
Label: Devlian Records (@)
Rated: *****
Mohan is the newest offering from Seattle-based Dave Nugent. Nugent’s bio claims he is an award winning producer, composer, and film-scorer. While I am not familiar with his past work, I am apt to believe the claim. This is the composition of a professional, and this music is nothing short of art.

As Is Where Is is a graceful mixture of ambient textures drifting among skitterish IDM beats, organic tribal sounds, and the beautifully layered female vocals gracing at least five tracks. Nugent’s work here brings to mind anything from Delerium, Future Sound of London, and... Well... Pretty much anything. Mohan seems to touch on every end of the electronic spectrum, encasing it all in an easy-listening shell.

Mohan’s As Is Where Is is a brilliantly crafted album; Calming and chill till the last moment. This is a great accent to any laid-back afternoon. My recommendation goes out to anyone who enjoys trance, ambient, or electronic jazz music.
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Artist: SRMEIXNER (@)
Title: The dictatorship of the viewer
Format: CD
Label: Fin de siecle (@)
Rated: *****
Srmeixner is that Stephen Meixner of Contrastate, what we have here is a solo project, but obviously the fan of the band should give it a try. "The dictator of the viewer" has been meant like a big 55 minutes long suite, though Meixner had also the brilliant idea of dividing the whole book in 18 "chapters" that can be put in a different order up to the "viewer's taste". The title is coming from the 2003 Venice Biennale and embodies a reflection on the conflict between the viewer and the artist, it indirectly recalls J. L. Borgès ideas concerning the writer/reader relation. Yes, the record has some reminiscences of Contrastate but at the same time it moves forward, the release is more dark-ambient oriented, sometimes is hard to hear the passage from a "trail" to another, but that's not a bad thing if you consider this cd has been projected as a suite. I've said dark-ambient but the "post-wave/dark" keyboards at the same time makes me think to some "sci-fi"/"horror" soundtracks, that sound is somehow post seventies but even if it could sound a strange cocktail, the result is definitely good. It's a pity this release doesn't come along with images 'cause it would have been a great match, and there's a sort of idea that links the most of the episodes. How to say that..."the misty canals of Venice".

NETHERWORLD: Otherwordly Abyss

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 28 2005
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Artist: NETHERWORLD
Title: Otherwordly Abyss
Format: CD
Label: Umbra
Rated: *****
Recorded last summer, "Otherwordly Abyss" is another excellent work by this Roman soundmaker. The formula and the style remain the same: dark isolationist soundscapes created with synths, loops, gong, voice and field recordings. The cdr, released by Oophoi's label Umbra in an edition of 99, features five tracks, each one titled with a letter of the word "abyss". What I've just written regarding "Six Impending Clouds" can be applied here: Netherworld manages to put the listener in a state of stupor, slowing down the heartbeat and the flow of thoughts. The second track, built on a looped metallic percussion, then dissolving in ghostly pitch-shifted voices and distant resonances, is particularly impressive, but no track is less than good - which is not that common in prolific artists. This is probably my favourite work of his to date, and surely one of my 2005 favourite; my only complaint is for the frankly anonymous cover, but the music is surely recommended to dark drones aficionados.

NETHERWORLD: Six Impending Clouds

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 28 2005
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Artist: NETHERWORLD
Title: Six Impending Clouds
Format: CD
Label: Gears of Sand
Rated: *****
I guess it's an appropriate day to write about Alessandro Tedeschi's project: it was snowing heavily when I received his discs, and it's snowing now as well... "Six Impending Clouds", on Ben Fleury Steiner's Gears of Sand, is Netherworld's most recent release, following some excellent releases on Umbra Records which I'll partly review later. The minimal and well designed layout, by Slo Bor Media, matches well the six untitled tracks of the album. Tedeschi uses synths, voice, field recordings and gong to weave abysmal soundscapes which reminded me of Lull (circa "Cold Summer") or early Koener - dark and abysmal but with a sort of intimate and trance-inducing atmosphere that many dark ambient projects lack. "Isolationism" may be an out of date term, but it perfectly fits this music. Track 2 tries some melody, and in the fourth one the gong adds an extra feel of menace, but in general the pieces just match the "impending clouds" definition, being based on misty, slowly evolving drones.


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