Music Reviews



Terminal Sound System: Last Night I Dreamed of Armageddon

 Posted by Tongue Muzzle   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 23 2006
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Artist: Terminal Sound System (@)
Title: Last Night I Dreamed of Armageddon
Format: CD
Label: Hive Records (@)
Rated: *****
"Last Night I Dreamed of Armageddon" is an interesting and minimalistic release from Terminal Sound System. While it is sometimes heavy on the glitchy/chaos end of things, this release mainly focuses on the space between the shockwaves and the silent melodies and rhythmic pings that dance throughout that space. Sounding rather morose and desperate, the music seems to be recalling happier times of a better world that has long since past. The music is for the most part constantly engaging but like with a lot of soundtrack/soundscape releases you'll need to be in the mood for it. Song titles like "before the snow comes ash" and (study of ) decay of elements" go a long way to project some imagery into the songs. All in all it's a strong release that could easily handle more than a few rotations. For those concerned with presentation, the packaging is also minimal but no where near as appealing as the music. I personally feel it doesn't do the release justice and unfortunately the casual listener might pass this CD up as it frankly LOOKS boring. In the end this doesn't affect the fantastic nature of the music contained within but it'd be nice to see more effort put into the artwork. The website follows a similar approach but it is slightly more effective despite it's relatively low content level. Recommended tracks: "when we are robots there will be peace" and "the structure of tasks".

TERESA 11: Smoky Heaven

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 23 2006
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Artist: TERESA 11 (@)
Title: Smoky Heaven
Format: CD
Label: Eibon Records (@)
Rated: *****
Teresa 11 is a Japanese band formed in 2003 which recently signed for Eibon Records. Their first full lenght release is titled SMOKY HEAVEN and it features ten tracks. The people involved into this project are also active with Cross vred, Roco + Rie, Lambdoll, Freeman and LSD Engineering. The peculiarity of Teresa 11 is the use of harp along with progressive improvisations and dub solutions. Creativity is a main point into the composition of the tracks and it isn't a surprise to find also European melodies (like on "Tell me" where the bass, the accordion and the passionate vocals give birth to a strange Spanish version of Portishead), Asian atmospheres ("Into the indian rhythm - impro"), western movies soundtracks mixed with dub and electronics ("The end of smoky days"), jazz (like on the closing "Don't explain" where the harp and the voice create a passionate song), etc. It is always a surprise when you are going to listen an album released by a Japanese band because they blend all the influences in a particular way but this time it has been a pleasantly surprise because Teresa 11 sound particular like the early Portishead but they do it following their peculiar idea of sound, made of "chansons" influenced by dub, ambient, progressive music and improvisation.

Alif Tree: French Cuisine

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 19 2006
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Artist: Alif Tree
Title: French Cuisine
Format: CD
Label: Compost (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Rated: *****
Altough he might sound just like another talented west coast downtempo-spinning Dj, Alif Tree is more than that: if were reading his resume you'd learn that he also qualifies as a a french cook, musician (guitar player, keyboard player, percussion player), singer, producer, sound-engineer, soundtrack/tv scores writer, dance ballets music writer, remixer, and radio host (in his bi-monthly radio show "Le Meilleur Des Mondes" the theme consists of combining the soundtrack of a movie with other musical selections, offering the listener "another way of seeing with ears"."French Cuisine" is a fine dining experience with a little bit of all of the above, where track names are followed by a references to food and a lot of samples and collaborations with singers and musicians will make you enjoy yourself, kick back and attempt to recognize who's who (you'll hear Shirley Horn, Anna Karina, Nina Simone, David Linx, Ana Carril of Mano Negra, Maurice el Medioni, Lili Boniche, Khaled). The CD also contains homages to Franz Shubert and Steve Reich.The beauty is to be found in balance. Balance is key. Altough a record of this sort calls for many technological angles and approaches, Tree underpins all the "digitaltreeness" with a deep understanding and sense for live performance and art, and constatly flirts and gambles with juggling urban vibes, classical-arranged parts, jazz-inspired grooves, world-reminiscent moods and multi-language lyrics. His website is supposed to offer recipes and menus combined with musical selections that will make for a unique dining experience: enjoy and bon appetit.

Stefano Panunzi: Timelines

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 19 2006
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Artist: Stefano Panunzi (@)
Title: Timelines
Format: CD
Label: RED (@)
Distributor: S{d (Silenzio distribuzione)
Rated: *****

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Italian keyboard player, composer and producer Stefano Panunzi is not one who does things half way: disregarding all the constraints and restraints that a place like Italy puts on musicians' ability to play good music, he put together a great debut record (tracked between Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan and mixed/mastered in Italy) that looks, feels and sounds a lot more mature than what most debut records usually do.The eleven tracks of "Timelines" deliver a thick load of progressive influences blended in with electronica, downtempo, rock and jazz that fans of David Sylvian, Japan, Jansen, Barbieri & Karn, King Crimson, Mark Isham, Porcupine Tree, No Man, Marco Polo, Indigo Falls etc will surely appreciate. What sets this album apart is the fact that for almost every band I just mentioned there is a special guest appearance of one of thier members: Mick Karn (Japan, Rain Three Crow) kicks in the high gear on several songs of the album with his round, funky and remarkeably fusion extraordinary bass playing; Gavin Harrison's (Dizrhytmia, Porcupine Tree, Mick Karn) elegant drumming spices things up and locks in with Karn's performance; Haco (Happines Proof, Hoahio, Kam-pas-nel-la, Mescaline Go-Go, After Dinner, Guigou Chenevier) adds a sweet and soft female touch with her sensual Bjork-ish vocals; Peter Chilvers (No Man, A Marble Calm, Bowness/Chilvers, Henry Fool, Darkroom, Alias Grace) adds his string textures to a dreamy and ethereal track; Mike Applebaum (Randy Brecker, Stan Getz, Gil Evans, Leonard Bernstein, Ennio Morricone, Ivano Fossati) delivers a reverberated, moody, relaxed, rapturing, genuinely british-sounding flugelhorn performance; Sandra O'Neill (Alias Grace, A Marble Calm, Bernard Hoskin) and her vocal qualities take the opening track to the poppiest place the record goes to; Markus Reuter (Centrozoon, Europa String Choir, Pat Mastellotto), who readers of Chain D.L.K. are quite familiar with because of his amazing work with Centrozoon reviewed on these pages, plays his warr guitar (a touch-style instrument that very few play or know how to play). In addition to all the international guests, Panunzi recruited some of the finest locals, such as: Nicola Alesini (Glen Velez, Hans Joachim Roedelius, David Sylvian, Roger Eno, David Thorn, Harold Budd, Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri), who delivers a deep clarinet (and answering sax) performance that really reaches new heights when coupled with Stefano's intense and nostalgic keyboard playing; Daniele Iacono (Jovanotti, Tiromancino, Ron, Paola Turci, Niccolò Fabi, Aladnah, Daniele Groff) plays drums on a few tracks; and Giacomo Anselmi (Antonello Salis, Dario Deidda, Nuova Tribù Zulù) enriches the opening track with some good old acoustic guitar strumming and electric riffs as well. The list goes on and on: Fabio Fraschini, Nicola Lori (bass); Angelo Strizzi, Giampaolo Rao, Diego Mancini (drums), Giancarlo Erra, Nicola Lori (guitars); Rima (spoken voice); Laura Pierazzuoli (cello).It's very rare to find so much talent in one record, but Stefano Panunzi decidedly and pretty much single-handednly (no pun intended!) delivered a great-sounding, refined, sophisticated and very engaging album, the quality of which is truly amazing and impressive, and will hopefully instantly place Stefano Panunzi in the high-fly zone.

RANT: seumsund / sundseum

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 19 2006
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Artist: RANT
Title: seumsund / sundseum
Format: CD
Label: Schraum (@)
Rated: *****
Judging from the website I've thought that probably Schraum is mainly focused on post(?)-jazzist coming from Berlin and if that's true, Rant fits in the mold. A guitar and a drumkit taking over on the most of the tracks and sure, the acoustic "shape" of the sound design is respected has it requires. It's great since I imagine most of the people reading "jazz" thinks of a cascade of notes, scales played at 300 bpm, but no way! Rant are located somewhere else. This duo works patiently on simple melodies but also on abstract atmospheres (Nur hier nicht is a good example of it). Slowed down and relaxed, if this music was a bit slower I could also dare to say it brings to mind the style of Loren Mazzacane Connors, but as I've said that's not "american music". Melodic, jazzy and abstract, right? I've heard somebody calls it "cool" and why not?! Let's say it can be cool but with a soft indie-rock attitude...hey!?!...Indie-rock? Jazz? Abstract? Ok, I'll try to describe the cocktail by saying Mazzacane Connors has joined the ranks of Bedhead, they all went jazzy and went for a solitary lane that every once in a while gets crossed by Jeff Muller before June of '44 became more fusion. Winter melancholia for winter snapshots.


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