Music Reviews



TROUM: Objectlessness

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 10 2006
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Artist: TROUM
Title: Objectlessness
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Rated: *****
This is the first Mystery Sea release selling out already on pre-order: I guess this speakes volumes for the underground cult that the German duo formed by Stefan Knappe (also mastermind of Drone Records) and Martin Gitschel has rightfully gained over the years. "Objectlessness" features two lengthy tracks of Troum's trademark mind-expanding guitar drones - for those familiar with their discography, they lie somewhere between the first and the second part of "Tjukurpa", i.e. their abstract, oceanic ambience and their more melodic side. What is peculiar about "(Pre)-symbolism" and "Echoes of a boundless existence" (respectively 38 and 30 minute long) is that, given their mammoth length and loose structure, they could well portray what the duo can create in an improvised session or live set. Some minor sound defects could have been erased by studio overdubs and re-working, but "Objectlessness" remains a faithful witness of Troum's evocative, mind-bending soundscapes. For those who have missed it, there could probably be some copies still floating around: try Drone or Self Abuse.

ANDREW COLEMAN : Tony Alva's hair

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 07 2006
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Artist: ANDREW COLEMAN (@)
Title: Tony Alva's hair
Format: CD
Label: Cocosolidciti (@)
Rated: *****
This autumn I've seen "Lords of Dogtown", an ok movie, nothing special in comparison to the documentary "Dogtown and the Z-boys", but definitely worth of the ticket (above all if you're into skateboard, or underground culture). Even if the average skater nowadays listens to crappy third rate punk bands or even worse to cheap gangsta rap, this work has nothing to do with the afore mentioned categories. Cocosolidciti is interested in high-quality electronic music and judging by they back catalogue and listening to this their costumers won't be disappointed. The menu is: electronic music with a 4/4 relaxed beat, sometimes it recalls some stylish Warp artist like Prefuse 72 or Savath and Savalas minus the post rock/instrumental feel, but that's just one percent of the whole mixture. With a such a cool rhythmical skeleton I was awaiting some rapping and it finally came with the third track ("Not a speculation" where Dose One is the mc!) and the song is a pure kick ass hit. Another interesting characteristic of this release is represented by its heterogeneity, one good example could be the electro-jazzy sketch of "Fingertip control". Andrew Coleman put together a smart tracklist and while listening you won't have the time to get bored by a single kind of song, just give a listen to such another great stylish exercise like the piano of "Rain and dogs" or to the acoustic guitar of "Constraints, huddles and hoops". Melody, melody and again melody, a great dose of class and if you're into hip-hoppish rhythm, electronic music, melody and post jazzy influences I think you outta add "Tony Alva's hair" to your want list.

M.B. + NIMH: Together's Symphony

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 04 2006
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Artist: M.B. + NIMH
Title: Together's Symphony
Format: 4 x CD (quadruple CD boxset)
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
This massive 4-cd box, released in a limited edition of 300 copies, features two solo albums, Maurizio Bianchi's "Niddha Emmhna" and Nimh's "Subterrean Thoughts", a collaborative one, "Secluded Truths", and a split one, entitling the whole boxset and exclusive to it (while all the other titles are also sold separately). This flow of titles marks the return of Giuseppe Verticchio/Nimh in the Amplexus/Silentes catalogue (after "The Impossible Days" and his collaboration with Nefelheim, "Whispers from the Ashes"), and witnesses a period of particular prolificacy for Bianchi, with new solo releases on Silentes, Small Voices etc. and new collaborative works with Land Use, Telepherique, etc. Let's start with the solo discs. "Niddha Emmhna" features two lengthy tracks inspired by verses of the "Leviticus", respectively defined by Bianchi himself as a "plasmatic symphony for electronic particles, erythrocyte frequencies and menarchal viola" and a "hemolytic decomposition for neurologic piano, coagulant clangs and leucocyte sonances". The cosmic synth patterns in "Niddha" are disturbed by the viola and noisy electronics, but the true surprise comes with the overwhelming "Emmhna", an abysmal descent into cacophony which could really remind of seminal past works of Bianchi's like "Armaghedon". This monstrous, unbelievably bleak composition is probably the gem of the whole work. Nimh's "Subterrean Thoughts" sees Verticchio's synth-based ambient in its more sombre vein, already explored in works like "Line of Fire" and "The Impossible Days". I wouldn't exactly call it "dark ambient", but the Roman musician surely prefers tension to relaxing atmospheres. To his usual array of instruments (synths, keyboards, ethnic samples, field recordings, etc.) he now adds recognizable guitar lines in "Subterrean Thoughts", a melody which also closes the cd in a piano reprise. I venture Nimh is going through a process of change and experimentation, as there are many different inputs in these tracks that could be explored further. "Secluded Truth", the collaborative cd, is also the one I honestly like less, possibly because it's where the cosmic ambient influences of the two are more evident, and I'm not particularly moved by that kind of music. I dig the darker tracks, like "The Sacred Outside" and "Leaving the Time", but I'm not really convinced by the rest. In "The World Beyond", for example, the synth melody is a bit jarring when matched with ethnic percussions and digital programming. As a whole, the cd has plenty of good moments, but the collaboration never seems to truly sparkle. The exclusive cd, on the contrary, is enjoyable from start to end. Bianchi offers two obscure tracks, "Land Use I" and the brooding "Land Use II", whose obsessive mechanical loops again remind of his glorious and pioneering industrial past; and Nimh's three pieces are a perfect match, with the menacing tension of "Beyond the Gates...", "Black Earth" and "...the Garden of Loneliness", the last two featuring a distorted electric guitar which brings to mind Maeror Tri and Troum. A recommended listen for fans of industrial-tinged ambiences.

AEOGA: Zenith Beyond the Helix-Locus/Triangle of Nebula-Devourers

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 28 2006
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Artist: AEOGA
Title: Zenith Beyond the Helix-Locus/Triangle of Nebula-Devourers
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Aural Hypnox, started almost out of the blue in 2004, has become one of the best - if still underrated - outlets for ritual dark ambient, with mysterious magic-inspired projects like Halo Manash, I. Corax, Zoat Aon and, of course, Aeoga. The duo's debut, "COAV", was already remarkable, but "Zenith..." easily surpasses it in terms of evocative power and sound quality, surely being one of the best, if not THE best, dark ambient record of 2005. Its 15 tracks, with a total length of 67 minutes, flow smoothly like the various movements or steps of a ritual performance; I don't know if they were conceived like that, but the cohesion of the whole cd is astonishing. Aeoga use a wide range of instruments (synths, cymbals, voices, percussions, strings, metals, etc.), which adds to the power and variety of the pieces; and on an emotional level, "Zenith..." is a chilling and mesmerizing experience. As a companion to the album, in a 150-limited box which is now sold out, Aural Hypnox also released a separate cdr, titled "Triangle of Nebula-Devourers", with three lengthy tracks. Don't think they were leftovers because of the limited run: the cdr is actually as good as "Zenith...", or even better, as in the unbelievably menacing and bleak "Menstrual Skull Consumed" and "Seize the Flaming Droplets", or the percussive vehemence of "Let the Sun Become Your Eye". Both discs are excellent in their own right (track down the box in some mailorder), and I'd definitely recommend Aeoga to anyone into Zero Kama, early Current 93, Tribes of Neurot, Maeror Tri and Herbst9, though the Finnish duo is consistently individual and different from any of these acts.

PAUL BRADLEY: Drone Works # 6

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 27 2006
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Artist: PAUL BRADLEY
Title: Drone Works # 6
Format: CD EP
Label: Twenty Hertz
Rated: *****
The Drone Works series has already reached its tenth volume with irr. app. (ext.), but the sixth one, by Bass Communion, was immediately withdrawn from sale, so here comes a much welcome replacement by label owner Bradley. The ep is pretty much in the style of the recent, and brilliant, "Liquid Sunset" cd: deep, warm organ-like drones slowly unfolding and wavering. Changes and new layers are introduced at a glacial pace, but surely contribute to the emotional climax of the piece. Not much to add - if you've read my previous releases you surely know my penchant for Bradley's work, and this is no exception.


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