Music Reviews



BEYOND: Shadeworld

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 24 2004
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Artist: BEYOND (@)
Title: Shadeworld
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Nulll Records
Rated: *****
Debut cdr release for this new-born German dark ambient project. I'd label it "funeral doom ambient" as it sounds like the ambient equivalent of bands like Until Death Overtakes Me, plus a healthy dose of classic dark drones (Lustmord, Amon, Svartsinn...). Exactly like funeral doom, you can find it, from time to time or during the same listening session, extremely fascinating or quite boring after a while, also because of its mammoth length. But this release is mostly good, and well balanced. The low, bass-heavy drones are mixed with depressive key symphonies, very funeral doom-sounding, and these are probably the characteristic I liked less. But as the cd progresses, the pure droning atmosphere prevails, and it's nice to tune out and drift along. A new release and a couple of sampler appearances are in the works.

MOAN: Between/Associated

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 23 2004
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Artist: MOAN (@)
Title: Between/Associated
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records (@)
Rated: *****
New cdr release (ltd. to 200) by Polish artist Moan, after "Desolate" (Soulworm) and "Clear your consciousness" (AFE, see archive). Rafal Sadej is here presenting a long live track, recorded on 23/3/2002 at Cogitatur Theatre (Katowice), as an opening for an exhibition of Magdalena Sikora's, whose paintings are featured in the neat packaging, curated by Soulworm Visuals. Sadej must obviously know his machines pretty well, for this is an incredibly cohesive and flawless performance. As previously noticed in "Clear your consciousness", Moan skillfully overlays looped pulses and more ethereal synth passages, falling somewhere between dark/ritual ambient and old cosmic music - while walking a known path, Sadej's personality and abilities are strong enough to offer a tight, convincing performance.

AMIR BAGHIRI/NIMH: Entities

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 17 2004
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Artist: AMIR BAGHIRI/NIMH (@)
Title: Entities
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Superb ritual ambient gathering the talents of well-known artist Amir Baghiri and Giuseppe Verticchio/Nimh, author of some excellent works, mostly, and sadly, self-released. Not that diy is bad, quite the opposite, but Verticchio is the typical case of underestimated artist, when even "serious" labels print tons of useless plastic garbage. And this collaboration should absolutely see the light in an official edition, because it's some of the best ritual/ethnic ambient I've listened to lately - pure drifting beauty and trance-inducing drones woven with synths, didjeridoos, percussions and field recordings. If you dig Steve Roach, Visna Obmana, Robert Rich... look no further because this might well be one of the best releases of the year. Colour cover by Lance Green and top-notch sound quality.

PLASTIC VIOLENCE: Immaterial 2

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 09 2004
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Artist: PLASTIC VIOLENCE (@)
Title: Immaterial 2
Format: CD
Label: Death Paradise
Rated: *****
Brand new release from this Italian musical/political collective. Music: this is by far one of the best rhythmic glitch electronic releases I've EVER heard. Totally influenced by Noto/Raster Noton, Ikeda and Pan Sonic, but at times, I swear, better than them. Microscopic pin-like beats, fat basses, subterrean drones, structured digital debris - all with that scary, detached geometrical precision which, however, can eventually make you DANCE. Fantastic, breath-taking stuff. Politics: Death Paradise is a collective supporting DIY ethics, radical politics and veganism, read more about it in their website. Thumbs up for their stance, ok. What I find pretty funny (and this is mainly referred to reviewers) is establishing a strong link between their sound (which is absolutely NOT politically-oriented "per se") and their, say, manifestos (which are common ground in large part of the HC-punk community, for example) - but this is probably a logic reaction within the "educated electronic" circuit, where showing a political content is oh so radical and new.

AMON: Nona

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 09 2004
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Artist: AMON (@)
Title: Nona
Format: CD EP
Label: Amplexus
Rated: *****
Amon is back after a long period of discographic silence, though Andrea Marutti's own AFE Records has surely become one of the best cdr labels around. "Nona" is an ep (released by Amplexus on two different formats, a mcd and a 10" vinyl, with different lengths and mixes) which puts Amon back on the map of the best dark ambient around. First it's just menacing low-end rumbles, slowly crawling and overlapping, then you recognize higher frequencies and metallic drones - all very scary and pitch-black, just like in the previous masterpiece "The Legacy", but with a second half which is more "cosmic" and less opressive, much as in Never Known's releases. Listen to this in the dark.


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