Music Reviews

P.A Only: s/t

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (1977)
Jun 12 2005
Artist: P.A Only (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Poizart Productions
Rated: *****
Previously with Ethnix (one of Israel's allegedly most well known ethno-pop bands), Toram Poizner, aka P.A Only, is now employing his experience as a producer/arranger/guitar/bass player to make music on his own. His first release features 11 tracks and a maturity that can only come from vast studio experience and years spent listening and making music. His outreaching, multifaceted, dynamic, sophisticated, complex and beautiful style touches all grounds without falling into the pitfalls of forced multi-style-crossover-wanna be productions. Yoram knows when and how much of each element to blend in and, by doing so, opens the door to a bunch of exciting sonic combinations and eclectic sound palettes. Seamlessly shifting his aim and drifting his focus from one element to the next, within the same song or from song to song, the album nicely flows, while en-boding a multiplicity of influences spanning from world music to pop music and from electronic/lounge music to club-friendly enterprises. In other words this album is for everybody, including but not limited to fans of Sting, Enigma, Radio Derwish, the Doors, Studio Pagol, Chemical Brothers, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Underworld, Paul Van Dyke, Muslimgauze and many others. His world of sounds expands and reaches out, so does his desire to "embark in a journey where time, space, nationality, religion, political stance or race have no meaning". Mostly an instrumental album, some songs will feature folk chants, spoken word or vocal contributions in Russian, French and Yemenite. Instrumentation includes a perfect blend of percussions, guitar, electronica, bass, drums etc. I think it is safe to say that Yoram succeeded in producing some of the finest contemporary examples of music for the "global village" I can think of. Truly inspired. Truly inspiring.

Banabila: Hilarious Expedition

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (1976)
Jun 12 2005
Artist: Banabila (@)
Title: Hilarious Expedition
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Tapu Records
Rated: *****
The problem with most soundtrack music is that its intent is only to accompany a movie--the visual component that you don't experience while listening to a CD. Unless it's a movie you've seen a million times because you love it, and hearing the soundtrack serves to enhance it in your memory, you're only getting half the art. To complicate the matter, the music on the new two-disc opus of Netherlands-based artist Michel Banabila, "Hilarious Expedition," was composed for not just one, but a variety of film and theatre productions, using a small army of instrumentalists and vocalists. Pastiches of piano and organ instrumentals, orchestral passages intercut with backward loops, alternately loungey and dramatic instrumental pieces, sped-up tape, abstract sound samplings, street scenes (recorded in Rotterdam, Cracow and Prague), and dialogue presumably from the films or plays themselves, unfortunately do not add up to a cohesive listening experience. How can they?--unless this were a Nonesuch Explorer release entitled, "Sounds of the European Filmmaking Underground." There are simply too many influences for any but the ultimate eclectics to enjoy all the way through.

This is to say, however, that Hilarious Expedition is a very worthwhile listen--there are some great tracks to cherry-pick: "Salar's Dream," on Disc 1 with its sad Gypsy violin; the freaky, computer-voiced "Speech" and "My Brain Is Electric;" and the hushed, subtle menace of "Metals" on Disc 2. Most of the music is not "hilarious" at all, but downright somber and brooding. It is all extremely well-performed and -produced, but you won't find too much that you haven't already heard from Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack and similar fine purveyors of Ambient Groove.

I would only recommend a work of this scope and magnitude (nearly two and a half hour's worth) to serious soundtrack enthusiasts or the aforementioned eclectics to begin with. Those who have enough of the acquired tastes, not to mention the patience, will be rewarded by the gems of strange beauty you will find amid this tangled slag heap. Anyone seeking a cohesive album that makes sense from start to finish will be less than thrilled. If only everybody could appreciate sleeping under a stone bridge outside of Prague in a cold morning drizzle, waking up to an old, crazy street musician making funny farting noises by blowing through the wrong end of a trumpet. I myself definitely do, but I think I'd sooner watch the films first. (With subtitles, of course.)

KOJI ASANO: Sanctuary on a reclaimed land

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (1967)
Jun 06 2005
Title: Sanctuary on a reclaimed land
Format: CD
Label: Asano production (@)
Rated: *****
First off, enjoy yourself and have a look at the discography of Koji Asano on his website...incredible...uh? It looks like the japanese composer lately has put out records on a regular basis. This restless musician can be filed as a composer, sure, but also as an electronic musician: therefore don't expect this cd to sound like an average contemporary-classic "piece", otherwise you'd be confused while hearing it's "not so ordinary". So what to say about the 36th solo release of Asano? Let's say this cd features a single "suite" (50:55 minutes long) and the title itself says a lot: "Sanctuary on a reclaimed land". Imagine the most accessible (and inspiered) piano works composed by Varese or Bryars with a bit of Satie, freeze it up, process it all with a laptop then think it all has been played into an hangar, nay, in a warehouse (since it all has been played into a warehouse of the Osaka harbor for real) and to complete the receipt consider you're listening the performance from a point not too far from the warehouse, but neither so close. For the weird my description may sound, for those who never heard the unstoppable Asano, it can help you to imagine something you may haven't heard before. I like this work, it's both cerebral but also psychedelic, it shows the great talent of Koji while demonstrating that both contemporary and electronic music can be great and experimental while not sounding necessarily frigid.

Dark Territory: LIBERA ME

 Posted by Sir Logla   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (1962)
Jun 04 2005
Artist: Dark Territory (@)
Format: CD
Label: Dark Wings (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
How wide is the dark territory? You can discover it by listening to this album. Ethereal, gothic, electronic, industrial, medieval, exotic, classical, you can find all these influences in the latest project of two Dutch musicians called Jamez and Jon. Jamez isn't a newcomer in the music business. As a seasoned musician and techno producer, he produced so many good records that you could imagine, releasing dozens of releases under a variety of aliases. Jon is the vocalist but also the writer, composer and co-producer. His talent in creating melodies and atmospheres combines perfectly with Jamez's ability in shaping musical landscapes.
Dark Territory, track after track explores with great experience the darkwave sound. In this album you can hear ghosts of Dead Can Dance, Ontario Blue and O quam Tristis, but not only that: cold electro of the likes of the Die Form, E.B.M. close to Front line Assembly, etc. If you don't count tracks 2 and 5, which I haven't found that great, this is a masterwork!!!

VV.AA.: Fairy world vol 2

 Posted by Sir Logla   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (1961)
Jun 04 2005
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Fairy world vol 2
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
There are few labels that their name means quality, you can think of Projekt in Usa, Palace of Worms in Italy and surely the French label Prikosnovénie, whic is specializing in ethereal, neo-classical and influenced music with magical or fantasy themes. The sampler-catalogue "Fairy world vol 2" presents their music and artworks through a colorful and luxury booklet/CD, a compilation featuring 17 projects on the label with the most recent productions, 11 unreleased titles, a trip that leads you into Australia, Japan, Italy, Greece, Russia, France, music,celtic influences, acoustic guitar , heavenly voice,violin, percussions,oriental meditative music.
01. PINKNRUBY . Unreleased track
02. ANASSANE. Taken from Lyra’.
03. FLEUR . Unreleased track
04. ZMIYA. Taken from ’Solmamdenlo’.
07. COLLECTION D'ARNELL ANDREA. Taken from The bower of despair’.
08. GHOST FISH. Taken from Ghost Fish’.
09. IVO SEDLACEK. Taken from Mystical violin’.
10. LOVE SESSIONS 2. Unreleased track
12. DAEMONIA NYMPHE. Unreleased track
13. IRFAN . Unreleased track
14. MOON FAR AWAY . Taken from Belovodie’.
15. JACK OR JIVE . Unreleased track
16. CAPRICE. Unreleased track
17. CAPRICE. Unreleased track
You'll love them all.

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