Music Reviews



BIAS!: bias!

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 21 2006
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Artist: BIAS!
Title: bias!
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
I think that's the last chapter of the 3" mailin' series of Wallace and features again Xabier Iriondo from Afterhours, A Short Apnea, Uncode Duello and Olivier Manchion from Permanent Fatal Error and Ulan Bator. What should you expect from such an pair? Yes, the answer is: some psychedelia with an eye looking at the past while the other is watching straight at the twilight. The most of the track are fragmented but yet melodical trippy ballads. The acoustic guitar is the main weapon, but you can bet there's a "controlled" friendly fire of other instruments from keyboards to electronics. The oniric element is strong as fuck but that's something I was expecting since at last all of the projects involving these two guys have this basic seventies-melodic-trance aura. While some songs drives you gently to a comfortable landing in the dreamland (profumo di un aria), some other compositions have a weird krautesque style that may leave you dazzled and confused (solitaire duo). If it was not for the consistent differences I'd recommend this 3" mcd to those who loved Thuston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and co. while crossing their "we're freak-heads but yet melodic" period. This work's not so far from that of Mattia Coletti just came out on the same label, above all the atmosphere idea is similar but this one's much more "deviated". Bias! Doesn't betray the expectations: stony but yet melodic.

SAVANT GARDE: Mother Brain

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 21 2006
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Artist: SAVANT GARDE (@)
Title: Mother Brain
Format: CD
Label: Dungeon-Recordings (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Again a debut release, this time for the Dungeon Recordings label. A bit surprising maybe, because this release presents a music besides the known styles of acts like LITTLE SAP DUNGEON or PCP. Lets say this are sound collages consisting of more or less experimental samples, noises and weird arrangements. It is not very straight and so far away from that EBM/Electro/Industrial related stuff which I normally get here. At times it is just pure sound anarchy, and I miss the special thing which makes this act remarkable and what could give me the hint to follow this. So this is hard to get compared somehow and it leaves my musically horizon. Also informations regarding this artist are hard to get, no real website, so please contact Dungeon Recordings for some info. I for instance will leave this review without a rating, because this wouldn’t be fair to the artist and I personally have still to learn, how to handle with this "music"...

3EEM: Essence of 3EEM

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 17 2006
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Artist: 3EEM
Title: Essence of 3EEM
Format: CD
Label: SmallVoices
Rated: *****
3EEM are an atypical instrumental trio formed by Fabrizio Bazzoni (tenor sax, with a past curriculum in various prog/noise projects), Danilo Corgnati (electric guitar and effects, currently also involved in the post-punk band Isobel) and Valerio Zucca Paul (electronics), who has released three solo records as Abstract Q (two of them being on Staalplaat/Bake). Together, they play a dark, cinematic blend of techno, dub, hard boiled jazz, psychedelia and -ahem- some "rock" as well. Rhythmic electronica is generally just not my cup of tea, but "Essence of 3EEM" has a remarkable set of tracks, manages to be extremely coherent yet not monotonous, and shows an uncommon good taste in mixing different genres and inputs. Take the skeletal dub of "Dilate me", the exotica-gone-crazy in the second half of "In the beginning it was an accordion", or the romantic drift of "Kinfu": it all works very well even after repeated listening sessions, i.e. when boredom usually starts to crawl on me. If I had to choose one standout track, I'd surely opt for the 24-minute tour de force of "24 apes", where dub beats slowly melt into mesmerizing looped guitar ambiences. The ingredients that 3EEM work on are surely well-known and widely used (and abused), but they are surely graced with the ability of skilfully arranging them. I'd recommend this record to fans of artists as different as post-"LSD" Coil, Bill Laswell, Muslimgauze, Almamegretta, Massive Attack or Morphine, and to anyone into noir-tinged atmospheric music.

NETHERWORLD: Eternal Frost

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 17 2006
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Artist: NETHERWORLD
Title: Eternal Frost
Format: CD
Label: Umbra
Rated: *****
Netherworld's "Eternal Frost" was released in 2004 by Gianluigi Gasparetti's Umbra, so it's older than "Otherworldly Abyss" and "Six Impending Clouds", the two cds I raved about a couple of months ago. This could explain why this cd is a bit less mature than the aforementioned ones, while still maintaining an excellent quality level. As I wrote in the previous reviews, Netherworld's isolationist ambient has been a perfect soundtrack for this snow-heavy winter. The ultra-slow and rarefied drones that Tedeschi generates using synths, field recordings and voice, have the same mind bending effect of staring at a never ending snowfall. And while "Before me, the Eternity" adds some faint melodies to these deserted soundscapes, titles like "Hallucinations in fog", "The glaciers beast" or "Gliding down a frosty hell" are indeed accurate to describe the respective atmospheres. Take my rate only as a comparison with the following more refined releases, as this cd easily buries many standard dark ambient releases around.

OLIVIA LOUVEL: Luna Parc Hotel

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 16 2006
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Artist: OLIVIA LOUVEL
Title: Luna Parc Hotel
Format: CD
Label: Angelika Koehlermann (@)
Distributor: Monkey, Universal, Brokensilence
Rated: *****
Olivia Louvel is a trained singer that on year 2003 decided to start her own project. Since then she worked at her first album with her laptop and the Mbox running Pro tools, an old generation Yamaha PS 20, a cupboard big enough to record her voice where she put a little soundman microphone, a mini disc, etc. She accessed for ten days to the Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode, Recoil) studio in Sussex with Paul Kendall on production and additional programming (he's a famous producer that worked mainly with Mute. He also produced four "Parallel Series" album for Mute and then other titles for 0101). The duo already collaborated in 2003 as Digital Intervention and they recorded the album "Capture" (one of the "Parallel Series" released for 0101). LUNA PARC HOTEL contains ten original tunes plus a cover of David Bowie's "The motel" (from "Outside"). Musically Olivia recalled me some ambient Björk tracks while her vocal style can remember an hybrid of French singers (like famous Chansonnier Serge Reggiani or Yves Montand) and a whispering jazz singer. The music follow the same style by creating ambient pop songs where what is missing is more important than what is shown. I'll try to explain: there are different vocal tracks that duet with the music that is formed by ambient layers, broken rhythms, light sounds. The elements are chosen randomly (apparently) but they create a rich texture that sound empty or essential but it is not. The slow rhythms help into the creation of an anxious atmosphere that make you think about an abandoned Luna Park. Charming album but it needs the right mood to be enjoyed.


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