Music Reviews



ASHIS MAHAPATRA: orange of

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 29 2006
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Artist: ASHIS MAHAPATRA
Title: orange of
Format: CD
Label: True-False (@)
Rated: *****
This' a double debut: both for the label and for the musician, this' a drony experience hence if "lysergic emanations" is what you're still looking for, well go on reading, please. The genealogic tree of drone-music could be divided in different categories and "Orange of" could be filed under the "melodic" one... like Kranky? yesss...the good feature is the same, above all if you have in mind the most electronic oriented releases of their catalogue but it’s more melodic and lass psychedelic, I’d say softer than many artists on Kranky. Who knows, probably this record is an electronic oriented one more than a "dronic" one but I think by what I’ve said you got more or less what kind of listening it is. I don't know that much about Ashis Mahapatra but he's been able to amaze me from the very first listening, his music is cerebral but not depressive at all and has a touch of "joyous eternity" which fits really well with summer's stillness. Too bad the layout is ok but as good as the cd, cause this berlinese? indian? american?...no I’ve not gone completely out of mind, this release has been composed and recorded between Brooklyn, Berlin and New Delhi. You think this particular in itself is irrelevant? No way, this music is borne out of a mind trip and really helps to trip away.

Ariel Kalma: Osmose

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 28 2006
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Artist: Ariel Kalma
Title: Osmose
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Distributor: Massive Music
Rated: *****
Hailing from the realm of Tangerine Dream is this pleasant collection of original synth music paired with nature sounds, from French ambient pioneer Ariel Kalma. In 1977, the year of its original release, the recording was sophisticated enough in both concept and execution not to be at all your typical space-trip. The music on each track is blended with rain forest sounds from Borneo brought back to Paris by composer/recordist Richard Tinti and layered in tastefully, if not artfully. On certain of the tracks different instruments are featured, such as soprano saxophone (track number one, "Saxo Planetariel"); harmonium (number three, "Planet-Air"); flute (played modally through "Forest' Ballad"); and guitar and organ (the also-remarkably-titled "Orguitar Soir"). Kalma himself claims to have employed a "circular breathing" technique whilst recording his wind instruments, a physiological twin to the classic technique of tape-looping, which is also featured in spades. The overall effect is eerily terrestrial and space-age at the same time. This can take you back to a blissful, pre-digital era just before the 1980s -- when the Yamaha DX7 took over all synthesized sound, and the terms "New Age" and "Rain Forest" came to mean phony crystal magic and overblown, insincere environmental causes. (And by the way, don't let that soprano sax scare you away -- this is a safe distance from Kenny G territory, so indulge yourself without worry.)

(etre): A post fordist parade in the strike of events

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 26 2006
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Artist: (etre) (@)
Title: A post fordist parade in the strike of events
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
Hey, there're two remarkable points concerning Baskaru catalogue so far: one is the fact at the moment the label seems to be a kind of italian colony, but second and most important, the high quality of their releases is surprising. I was amazed by Ent but with Urkuma and (etre) I'm unquestionably convinced the label is one of the most interesting european electronic oriented one. Coming down to (etre), the "freeglitch" word in the net address and the beginning of the cd could be a good suggestion "glitch" is one of this musician’s favourite weapons, but he's been able to work differently from the average pointless glitchy release. In "A post fordist..." glitches are nothing but a platform from where to leave to get somewhere/nowhere, cyclical structures quite often get violently stopped or are subjected to a gradual transformation, the juxtaposition of glitches and psychedelic (?) influences helps to digest what otherwise could result obsessive. Yes, as you can guess the most of the tracks have a definite rhythmical cut, but (etre) added melody (he's italian for God’ sake!!). Great production, good taste and some intense tracks (Considering the hypnosis of the stone, When you cry for the first time on this heart) after some private and net release that's a confirmation for those who believe it in his qualities.

MASSA ÚLTIMA: The Void Reflex

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 26 2006
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Artist: MASSA ÚLTIMA (@)
Title: The Void Reflex
Format: CD
Label: Self-released
Rated: *****
Reviewing music on a regular (ahem! Not that regular lately) basis is great because you basically get to hear many records you would never cross with otherwise. Sometimes they're crap, sometimes they're pleasant surprises. Massa Última (aka Portuguese Rui Almeida)'s self-released cdr surely belongs to the latter category. Almeida, joined by Luís Couto on the title track, uses a lot of field recordings, mostly taken in Ireland and the Aran Islands, along with instrumental sources like guitars, keyboards, mbira, drum loops etc. For a debut, his style is already remarkable, though a little rough at times, or just a bit dispersive. But there are little gems like the droning title track (with bowed strings which could definitely appeal to those into guitar-based ambiences, à la Aidan Baker) or the equally captivating "Change Resistance" (a composition for radio waves, massage chair, broken drumpad and keyboard), which are very convincing in their fresh, handicraft approach. At times the used of looped concrete sources, as in the opening "Quiet Stratagem", reminded me of Murmer, though on the whole Massa Última relies more on electronics and instruments - "Opposite Reverse", for instance, is structured on a backward melody, though I must say this is the track I liked the least, as I found it a bit predictable. But as I wrote above, this is definitely a promising and at times original debut - let's see how Almeida evolves.

ANDREW LILES: In MyFather's House are Many Mansions

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 26 2006
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Artist: ANDREW LILES
Title: In MyFather's House are Many Mansions
Format: CD
Label: Fourth Dimension
Rated: *****
Anyone into drones should be familiar with Liles' increasingly recognized production by now, as both his solo works and the collaborations with the likes of Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus), Nurse With Wound, Darren Tate, The Hafler Trio, Wander, etc. are remarkable. While rightly issued under his own name (also given the coherence of the whole set), this cd features "Andrew Liles as played by" an all star cast, probably gathering the best of the current drone/ambient circuit: Paul Bradley, Colin Potter, Aaron Moore (of VolcanoThe Bear), Jonathan Coleclough, Ruse, Band of Pain, Bass Communion, Aranos, Darren Tate, Irr. App. (Ext.), The Hafler Trio, Unsong, vidna Obmana, Nurse With Wound and Freiband. Given the quality of the starting material, and the visionaries and loonies involved, how could this disappoint? As expected, no track is less than well done, and everyone can easily pick his favourites (mine were Bradley, Bass Communion, Irr. App. (Ext.) and Nurse With Wound). Most of all, it's a collection which faithfully portrays Liles' sound art, both in its expanded drones and in its surrealistic collages. And by the way, the inner layout, with everything from Willy Wonka to S/M drawings passing through AC/DC, surely speaks more than a hundred reviews.


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