Music Reviews



NEW RISEN THRONE: Flowing Ashes

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 26 2004
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Artist: NEW RISEN THRONE (@)
Title: Flowing Ashes
Format: CD
Label: Alarming Echo Beats
Rated: *****
Though he's only recently surfaced in the dark ambient/industrial underground, Gabriele Panci has probably been busy shaping his project in the last few years, because he's now offering some sturdy, well composed music. "Flowing ashes" is his first release on Alarming Echo Beats, and it's probably my favourite among his cdrs. Three long tracks, all very cohesive and flowing, though exploring different nuances of the dark ambient style. The especially well-done "Vision of scourge" is more drone/electronic oriented, with hypnotic circular loops and huge mind-numbing drones; my fave track for sure. "Ritual over ruin" is more industrial-tinged, ridden by pitch-shifted vocal samples and cavernous throbs, a style which NRT is further exploring in other releases (as the one on God Is Myth). "Ashes", on the other hand, closes the work in a less claustrophobic way, indulging in a depressive Caul-esque melody. What I like most is that, though desolate and nocturnal, this cd has also a kind of emotional grasp on the listener. Ok, New Risen Throne is not creating anything new, this is totally classic and "patented" dark ambient - think of Lustmord's "Heresy"/"The place...", the Troum/Yen Pox collaboration, or some Caul. But it's also very very difficult to put together some dark ambient this well. I'd easily see this little gem in the catalogue of labels like Eibon or Malignant.

THE BEANS: Bassplayer

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 22 2004
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Artist: THE BEANS
Title: Bassplayer
Format: CD
Label: Intr Version (@)
Rated: *****
Moving their steps since 1995 in the field visited also by bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Broken Social Scene, the Beans recorded the four suites of their 5th album titled BASSPLAYER on the October 2000 / June 2003 period. Musically "May 6th expires (Alternate mix)", "Galuda", "Number four" and "My love is a rhynestone/infused dodecahedron" are multi layered post rock long suites where, I presume, improvision has got a good part in the process. You know, listening to this album is like taking part to a growing of a flower from its seed: you start from a gently melody and a rhythm just to end with a mature and colored "flower". You have no part in the process but you are amazed by the naturalness of it. Well, this is the impression I had listening to BASSPLAYER and during the forty something minutes of the CD you lose the sensation of time. Music slips away without apparently touching you but at the end of the album you realize that something is missing, so you put it on again and again...

Dweller at the Threshold: Full Boundary Condition

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 19 2004
Artist: Dweller at the Threshold
Title: Full Boundary Condition
Format: CD
Label: Quantum Records
Rated: *****
Dweller at the Threshold's 3-disc set, Full Condition Boundary, combines the group's first two CDs and adds as a bonus a third live disc. The music of DATT rides the borderline between traditional but trippy ethereal music and downright ambient soundscape. At times there is a Pink Floydishness to these long stretches of enveloping, dark space electronica, but this goes far deeper into space or the mind's eye than Floyd ever dreamed. Simple layers of electronic sound and notes combine to form something much more than the sum of its parts. It's strange that something as seemingly simple as this could be as gripping as it, in fact, is. Truly epic in nature, DATT has the capability to carry you far away from the earth and your body. Transcendent music acts as the spokesperson for the cosmos, as a beckoning to encounter what lies far beyond. I am frustrated at my inability to describe such powerful music/soundscapes, to convey how truly enrapturing it is. I suppose you'll have to take my word for it and buy pretty much anything by DATT.

John Duval: Hell's Canyon

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 19 2004
Artist: John Duval
Title: Hell's Canyon
Format: CD
Label: Hypnos
Rated: *****
John Duval's "Hell's Canyon" is the sound of the wind drifting through the walls of the canyon on a distant planet combined with the signals skittering back and forth between satellites. This incredible piece of dark ambient forms hypnotic soundscapes, sort of what it would sound like if space itself had the equivalent of whale song slowed down: prolonged sounds like the musings of alien landscapes, the soft siren's call of the farthest nebulae. But among the stretched, ethereal drifts of sound and near music you'll find steady electronic blip beats that sound as if they are the message of sentient life pouring through the void. This is when the CD (specifically track three, "River of Fear") comes closest to traditional music. However, "Hell's Canyon" is as gripping - more, even - than a lot of "normal" music. It speaks to the innermost mind and is enjoyed at its peak when you are still and nothing is active but ears and spirit.

Dweller at the Threshold: Ouroborus

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 19 2004
Artist: Dweller at the Threshold
Title: Ouroborus
Format: CD
Label: Hypnos/Binary
Rated: *****
Dweller at the Threshhold's newest album, "Ouroborus", is an instantly captivating CD. DATT's music is absolutely the perfect soundtrack to a journey through space. With this mesmerizing electronica, which hooks you with the most minimalist compositions, I wouldn't need suspended animation to traverse the long distances between stars, merely this music and a window through which to gaze at said stars. Self-styled composers of "spacemusic", a genre that's been around longer than many might guess, unless they're alread familiar with this style, DATT present electronica that is ethereal and ambient and dark (as space is dark, not evil), music that slowly reaches you with its sounds of deep space, the song of the planets. Sometimes the music manifests as elongated washes of ambient, at other times a more note-after-note progression. At no time does the atmosphere break. DATT is easily one of the best artists - space music or music at large - I have experienced of late. These tunes are epic and reaching and engrossing in a major way. This is the very sound of your journey through the reaches of outer space translated into music. Incredible.


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