Music Reviews

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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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.

ST.RIDE: Piume che cadono

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 15 2006
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Artist: ST.RIDE (@)
Title: Piume che cadono
Format: CD
Label: Lixard/Zeit Interface (@)
Rated: *****
Surprirse, surprise! Despite coming completely (at least for me) out of the blue, St.ride played one of the most comfortable trip I've experienced during the last months. Before getting the cd for a review I've happened to see them live and it was good, but "Piume che cadono" goes much beyond my expectations. This duo creates the magic using acoustic instruments, digital music and concrete sounds, it's more or less electronic music married with acoustic sounds (but not yet electro-acoustic" music) but with a sincere personal touch. St.ride's own peculiarity on this album the skill with which they stitch this analogue-digital texture on a quasi melodic framework, and in the most of these splinters "experimentalism" is subdued to a something that goes really close to what we may call a song. Sometimes they have simple rhythmical pattern that's coming and going (Domenica mattina), somewhere else they play with the softest reminiscence of a childish sound a la Matmos/Mouse on Mars, (Il periodo delle h messe) but there's a lot more to be found between the twenty particles of this recollection. The micro, post-morriconian fragments reminded me of Tortoise in an avanguardist salsa (Se perdo me), and why not, ad some early isolationist influences Mainesque atmospheres (La tromba della pace) and you have a part of the recipe. I think to make a picture of this release you should try to imagine Matmos' "A chance to cut is chance to cure" broken into some minimal and fragmented episodes on which St,ride sprayed an electronic patina and than think there's a soundtrack feeling that brings gently ashore during the sailing. If you've always been joining the ranks of those thinking many experimental musicians are too frigid in the constant strain to make it all sound "bizzarre"...if you're one of those thinking the fusion between experimental music and what can be called "melody" is the hardest path of all: that's an exhibit for your severe judgement.

::thinkstandard::: The Three Enemies

 Posted by Tongue Muzzle   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 13 2006
Artist: ::thinkstandard:: (@)
Title: The Three Enemies
Format: CD
Label: Skean Dhu (@)
Rated: *****
::thinkstandard:: is one Steve Molter. His newest release entitled "The Three Enemies" is based upon a poem by the same name written by poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894, pseudonym Ellen Alleyne). The CD spans the poems three stanzas "The Flesh", "The World" and "The Devil". It's a largely ambient release relying heavily upon unique guitar work ranging from soothing melodies to a much more caustic droning. Unlike a lot of ambient/experimental recordings this never at any point seems redundant. New tones and melodies drift in and out effortlessly while painting audio interpretations of the religious conflicts the poem itself represents. Of the three stanzas "The Flesh" and "The Devil" are my favorites. They seem to work the best as a pair as "The Devil" references "The Flesh" well, recalling previous themes and altering the context. Overall a solid, well-produced piece of brooding soundscapes that manage to cross a diverse range of emotions without becoming overboard or too "cartoony". Molter handles his sound designs well and casts them onto the platter with a delicate touch.
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Artist: KODI & PAUSA
Title: In one week and new toys to play
Format: CD
Label: Kormaplastic (@)
Rated: *****
Man, talking about freakiness, extravaganza or "music out of ordinary" the Kodi and Pausa project is a good example, nothing more and nothing less. I think the fact this cd can be good or bad is a detail, but I dare the average critic to label this cd as "the same ol' shit". Probably what I'm going to say has to do with the fact I've listened to Boredom's "Pop tatari" a couple of days ago, but I guess if ever pop music would have followed the path of these japanese kamikaze, this could have been the euro-pop answer to the demented genius of Yamatsuka Eye and friends. An improvisational cut and lot's of instruments to play may imply influences and ideas can move in this or in that direction, but it can also bring to a delirium where everything flows randomly leaving reminiscences of what lied buried in the subconscious coming out in the open with the consequent result you'll see fragments of subconscious scattered all over the place. Is Kodi and Pausa pure essence of chaos? Absolutely not, but here you've electronic music, free jazzy guitar incursions, shapeless cut ups/pastiches (Boswachter) as well as old electronic mixed with modern hi-frequencies computer sounds, this recording features also minimal keyboard experiments (that reminded me of the early and greatest Pram). What should I say about a defiant cartoon tune like "Flashy toilet"!?...this couple of musician probably has had problems during their childhood. Sometimes it's hard to judge the quality of a cd and when it's "In one week and new toys to play", the idea is that the "subject" is really beyond the boundaries of musical is a nonsense.

TROUM: Objectlessness

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 10 2006
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.

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