Music Reviews

SIDRA: A swampadelic blessing of downtown SF, the official bootleg

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 10 2006
Artist: SIDRA
Title: A swampadelic blessing of downtown SF, the official bootleg
Format: CD
Label: Afe (@)
Rated: *****
While rumours are that Sigillum S are going to put out some new material, P. NG5361 Bandanera (Sshe Retina Stimulants, Komplet) is out with a new project and with a new mate, guitarist Tiberio Longoni. Sidra is really different from every previous project of Bandera, but nobody will be astonished by the fact the style is not that far from other melodic projects with a post-industrial background like those in which Eraldo Bernocchi was involved. Do I mean that's Bernocchi influenced music? No way! I just signify there's a "trait d'union" that joins some melodical/musical solutions you you’ll find here with some you could find in the releases of Teardo, Phyler Coleman and Bernocchi, but at last it’s true that "nobody comes from nowhere". Be it I love this kind of style or that "file rouge" I was talking about, I'm really into this release, I'm sure there's people who can whine about the fact it's not "trendy", but it's not even "old fashioned" in the strict sense of the word, I think Sidra's debut has its own identity. Late night music, weird but yet suggestive loops on which the skeleton of the majority of the songs takes shape. Sometimes it sounds like a less melodical and instrumental version of Phyler minus the drum and bass influence, sometimes a melancholic guitar loop moves on a 4/4 hip hop rhythm. Loop based electronic music with a big human feel, "old fashioned" but in a really interesting way, listen to "Heat reversal via volume exchange" and "Windows from shattered stairs (nude)". Honestly that's one of my favourite releases of the new Afe lot.

Edward Artemiev: So Weit Die Fusse Tragen

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 09 2006
Artist: Edward Artemiev
Title: So Weit Die Fusse Tragen
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock (@)
Distributor: Cascadeur
Rated: *****
"So Weit Die Fuesse Tragen" (As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me) is the story of a german soldier who escaped from Siberian labour camps during the war on the Russian front only to cover 140000 kilometers (almost 10000 miles), mostly by foot trying to reach freedom in Persia, where eight years later he finally reunites with his family. This is the second Cascadeur Filmproduktion release (presented in 2001 and directed by Hardy Martins) and the score has been written by well known and established russian composer and electronic music expert Edward Artemiev. 38 tracks that will take you through the sonic journey that accompanies the journey of this soldier. Very cinematic, at times epic, and definitely highly evocative of bloody battles and suspensful moments. If one doesn't know the movie (which I haven't seen), except for a few more eastern european sounding pieces (such as "Bazaar" for example) this original motion picture soundtrack might as well, at times at least, bring sound to pictures such as Gibson's Braveheart or Crowe's Gladiator. This does not go to say that it is as bombastic and hollywoodian; what I mean by that is simply that Artemiev is no less than James-Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard or Danny Elfman and writes grand orchestral arrangments and music that would fit any epic war theme like a glove and is certainly up to spec with movie releases you might have seen in major theaters across the world.

OLHON: Sinkhole

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 07 2006
image not
Artist: OLHON (@)
Title: Sinkhole
Format: CD
Label: Eibon Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Olhon is a project conducted by Zairo (research, on-site recordings and treatments) and Massimo (technical assistance, treatments and mixing) and SINKHOLE is their second album after their CD released back in 2001 titled "Veiovis". Olhon isn’t properly a musical project because their main activity consist of treatment of field recordings taken into particular places. For this release the duo chose a sinkhole called Pozzo del Merro, located at few Km from Rome. Hidden by a dry part (where there’s some luxurious vegetation) and by a little lake, the sinkhole goes deeply into the ground for a total of 1016 feet. The hole is also divided into four different parts named after the various explorative immersions. The recordings have been taken at different depths of the Pozzo del Merro thanks to particular microphones and software. The original recordings then have been treated into the recording studio avoiding the incidental creation of musical structures. The final result is an obscure ambient album that will scare the hell out of you at each noise. These are the sounds of our mother earth and I can tell you that she’s mad at us!

Kraken: Amore

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 06 2006
Artist: Kraken
Title: Amore
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Spectre (@)
Rated: *****
My first exposure to Kraken was on the sadly now defunct "Eyespark’s All Night Album Replay." I liked it, but it didn’t make a huge impression on me. This album, on the other hand, was pretty impressive. Nicely packaged as well. On to the music, beginning with disc 1. "Kamer 354" has some disembodied beats that only hint at rhythm with some spoken word woven throughout. These spoken word elements will continue through the disc to tie together the tracks. Much of it is in a language that I do not understand, but it seems as if there is a conversation taking place that is interspersed through the disc, which gives the album a sense of coherence. "In De Regen Gaat Het Ook" layers some spoken word and heavy drone. Elements such as male and female screaming and voices are just within the realm of audible perception. Sounds like it would be right at home in a horror movie soundtrack. Some clanking of metal interspersed through the drone. At 16:23, this is the longest track on the disc and there is plenty of time to build up an atmosphere. Shifts gears toward the end to bring in voices speaking a language I don’t understand that continues briefly into the next track. "Verraad Van Rijovego" has a lot happening, with sweeping noises, voices, traffic noises. Atmospheric sounds and the sound of something resonant being struck tie this together. Also ends with conversation that continues briefly into the next track. "In De Diepte Is Alles Goed" has what sounds like a processed trombone is the main element of this track with some clanking metal in the background. As with the other tracks, ends with converstation continuing on. "Drie Wegen Naar De Dood" seems more like an interlude track from the others, with bubbling electronic sounds that wash over what sounds like a couple making love and laughing. "Alles Wordt Wit" layers tape hiss and looped female voices. About halfway through the hiss ends and looped voices become male with pleasant, slightly shifting drone. Fades out nicely into "De Hoorn In Je Hoofd" that layers drones, voices, and a woman singing. This is one of the standout tracks on the disc for me. The track becomes noisier toward the end with brass instruments layered and distorted. Overall, this disc has a variety of sounds and styles, but toward the end, I found it to be a bit repetitive, as if I was listening to earlier tracks reworked.

Disc 2 is mainly one long track of almost 70 minutes and a shorter track of 0.49 seconds. Song titles are not listed for this disc. I really like this disc. It is a lot more subdued, with an almost subterranean feel to it. Deep drones with elements constantly surfacing, only to become submerged again. At about 18 minutes in, there is a man describing the mechanisms of the AIDS virus. From here on, voices in various languages come to the forefront. At times, an ethereal female voice sings and at other times, a man is speaking about cellular function. Track 2 is a nice short melancholy track done with what sounds like an autoharp. Overall, disc 2 is far more smooth and flowing than disc 1. Although the spoken word segments are interesting, I almost wish that they weren’t there because it intrudes on the atmosphere, but this is minor. If you like your ambience a bit more chaotic and noisy, disc 1 is for you. If you like it smooth, disc 2 should be up your alley. I liked them both, but disc 2 is the one that will be spending more time in my CD player.

Life Toward Twilight: We Waited For a Subtle Dawn

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 06 2006
with image
Artist: Life Toward Twilight (@)
Title: We Waited For a Subtle Dawn
Format: CD
Rated: *****
The artwork on the album gives you a good idea of what the music will be like. The artwork would be at home on a Cold Meat Industry release. The photography for the release was done by Laura Frances Purdy, the recently deceased fiancée of the main person behind the project, Daniel Tuttle. Tracks flow into one another, providing a sense of coherence throughout. This is like a soundtrack for your mind. Elements of dark ambient, neoclassical, and noise flow together. Sometimes the shifts are a bit jarring though, for example, when flowing ambience abruptly shifts to staccato strings in "Time,’ she points again." Some high points on this album include: "Time,’ she says," which has nice elements of ambience and noise with a ticking clock in the middle of it all. "This Peculiar Phenomenon," which combines crushing metallic beats with strings, synth pads, and spoken word samples. "Eclipse II" combines operatic female voice with noise to create a nice sense of discordance. "A Tide, Confusion" layers drones over audible, but barely decipherable voices. "Reluctant Memories of Conquest" is good dark ambient that reminded me of Lustmord’s album "The Monstrous Soul." The best part about this album is that you can have it for free by downloading it from their website, complete with cover art. And it is well worth downloading. This is a good mixture of sound, not quite noise, but not quite ambient. Highly recommended.

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