Music Reviews



Enya: Amarantine

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 07 2006
Artist: Enya
Title: Amarantine
Format: CD
Label: Reprise Records
Distributor: Amazon
Rated: *****
The beautiful Irish new-age ethereal songstress, Enya, is back with another extraordinary tranquility atmospheric album that is a follow-up from her 2000 release "Only If". Like all her previous releases, she will take you on a magical and mystical journey where love serenes, the birds flying and chirping , the sky is blue and the clouds moving so freely across the sky, the sun's shining so bright, the moon is full and the night is dark and cold, you can hear crickets and other insects noises close by and miles away, children laugh and play, taking a strode by the river and sea and listening to it sing, lovers embrace one another, the snow and rain falling from the sky, a moment of being sadden because of a lost love or saying a long goodbye to a dear friend who you may not see for awhile. So many times I've listened to this cd and laid in my bed listening to it and went to sleep like a child. I felt so calm and hynotized by Enya's beautiful trained vocals and harmonies. All 12 overwhelming emotional tracks are coaxed with the strength of happiness, sadness, loneliness, and lost. "Amarantine" is truly a passionate and compassionate dreamy and heart-warming album that shines and is polished majestically. Some music critics like Rolling Stone magazine criticized Enya for making the same type of music for years and a decade and not being challenged by doing something else different. Who cares what they think or say. Enya is the only recording artist who can sell 45 million records worldwide without touring. That my friends, shows you how well Enya can accomplish by winning hearts with her gifted voice what God gave her to use.Tracklistings:1. Less Than Pearl2. Amarantine3. It's In The Rain4. If I Could Be Where You Are5. The River Sings6. Long Long Journey7. Sumiregusa8. Someone Said Goodbye9. A Moment Lost10. Drifting11. Amid The Falling Snow12. Water Shows The Hidden Heart

BRIAN ENGLISH: Beyond words

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 30 2006
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Artist: BRIAN ENGLISH
Title: Beyond words
Format: CD
Label: Record Label (@)
Rated: *****
After Fluorescent Grey and Sote another cd with the Record Label trademark and it’s actually well done, thus I'm taking into consideration this label has an high profile. Mr. English’ electronic music is not weird/unconventional like the releases we've already reviewed from this label, but he probably doesn't even care, electronic for the electronic?...maybe, but he likes good melodies too and it all make the record accessible to a wide crowd of listeners. I've read Brian has a large collection of sounds he captured here and there but don't expect it to be an experimental release or else you'd be dissatisfied. "Beyond words" is based on soft rhythms far from being too fast or even worse obsessive, but the emphasis is mainly concentrated on song-structure and melody, according with these basic informations the end result is far from cold electronic music fixed on being the coolest Autechre replica of the block. This salsa has a soft Eighties savour that can recall some Mix Master Morris’ masterpieces but you hear the cd has been produced now, even if another name that I've been thinking was dear ol’ Plaid. This label has still to find its own outsider but it's again a good release.

Akiko Grace (Bill Laswell): Illume

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 25 2006
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Artist: Akiko Grace (Bill Laswell)
Title: Illume
Format: CD
Label: J room Jazz
Distributor: Columbia Japan
Rated: *****

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Among other things and other great musicians, Japan offers a long list of outstanding young female jazz and clasically-trained piano players that enjoy a pretty big following in their own country but often also come to New York to soak in and breath in that unique mixture of air made of ambitious sky-is-the-limit entrepreneurial attitude, yellow-cab gas emissions, great musicianship and awesome collaborations. A good example of that is Akiko Grace, who continues to collect praise and kudos from fans mostly in Japan but also overseas and who therefore can afford to collaborate with ground-breaking and genre-defying pioneer musicians and composers such as Bill Laswell, who takes these piano-only recording to a whole new level with his expertise and taste.
"illume"'s ten pieces are enriched by textured layers of rapturing electronics and electric bass parts that sneak into these sophisticated arrangements as if they were part of a greater scheme of things, with the same grace and unobtrusive elegance of all the other ethereal and floating soundscapes constructed around her performances.
With the exception of one track where Akiko Grace sings a whispery part, "Illume" is an instrumental record featuring gorgeous piano ballads who fly on the wings of Laswell's ubiquitous electronic approach.
A truly beautiful record.

STEFANO GIUST: Linked

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 24 2006
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Artist: STEFANO GIUST
Title: Linked
Format: CD
Label: Setola di Maiale (@)
Rated: *****
Like it or not together with Zu, Roy Paci, Stefano Giust is one of the most prolific extravagant-jazz (?)/306° musicians coming from Italy at the moment. This’ again an electronic release but a really atypical one above all for the creative procedure. All of the rhythms and loops have been played live on Yamaha keyboard and electronic pad and recorded via digital effect processor into a Yamaha recorder that means no computer has been involved neither in the performance nor in the recording. It's again a live recording but as I've wrote before, this guy is into every form of improvisation acoustic/analog/electric, and it obviously implies some tracks are more inspired than others but the whole record is good. Is also interesting how Giust's releases average length is around one hour, sometimes probably it weakens the global effect but I think it has to do with the fact he democratically votes for a "session" presented in its whole. "Changer" and "Plain" brings to mind some old electronic/analog releases on Warp, above all the most dub-influenced ones, there’re a couple of reasons, one is related to the instruments played but the other one to a common/heterogeneous background they share. I think if you're into 90ies electronic on Warp you should give it a listen.

OIL 10: Beyond

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 20 2006
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Artist: OIL 10
Title: Beyond
Format: CD
Label: Funk Welten (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing several albums during the last decade, Gilles Rossire with BEYOND releases his first full lenght for Funk Welten, the Black Rain sublabel focused on ambient and futuristic sounds. Influenced deeply by Kraftwerk, Vangelis and J. M. Jarre, Gilles takes the sound of European electronic music precursors just to re-process it into a modern blend of ambient, dance and techno, succeeding into the creation of a convincing mix. If the opening "Synchro 4 all" is a technoid dark ambient intro based on bleeps, pulsating rhythms and pads, the following one, "High adventure", is like a Kraftwerk ambient dance track. "Tele tone" is more electro and if "High adventure" was recalling the Kraftwerk for the use of vocoder, this one remember them for the use of scales made by those carachteristics synthetic tones (do you remember "Pocket calculator"?). "Grand illusion" expand even more the concept of ambient dance music, because it seems to listening to a dance version of early Biosphere. "Far & away" recall me the last Bartos album but shifted into a space scenario. "X fleet" is a little more techno / early e.b.m. but Gilles mix it with a sound that seems coming from the sci-fi movies of the '50s: something similar to a theremin but with a better control of melody. "Departure" recall J.M. Jarre way of using melody just like its following "Boarding pass" make the French way of playing electronic music revive. "Mach III" is a potential dance floor killer while the closing "My neighbor Hayao" is a beautiful electronic ballad that has a bitter taste that make you want to play the album from the start and nowadays this isn't a common thing! Great album, indeed!


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