Music Reviews



RASAL.ASAD: Asuna

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 10 2004
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Artist: RASAL.ASAD
Title: Asuna
Format: CD
Label: Thisco (@)
Rated: *****
Second release for the solo project run by Fernando Cerqueira, one half of long-running electro-dubbers Ras Al Ghul and mind behind the Thisco label/project. Possibly less "cosmic" than the debut "Space.Scape", but still pretty fitting in the ambient macro-category, "Asuna" is an album of soothing synth waves and slowly unbending rhythmic patterns - something between Steve Roach, late Labradford and a bit of Boards of Canada at their most abstract. Oddly enough, this serene, almost "new age" feel couples at times with samples of a political nature, and some titles of the cd seem to follow Thisco's more and more openly confrontational stance about modern culture and communication - from the "Fight corporhate music" tag on the back cover to tiles like "Coolture", "Simulacra" (with a sort of sermon sample) and "Vidiots". This is sort of puzzling, but it's also cool to see people putting back a bit of content and flesh in an often sterile and technocentric environment.

BEYOND SENSORY EXPERIENCE: Ratan

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 10 2004
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Artist: BEYOND SENSORY EXPERIENCE (@)
Title: Ratan
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Rarefied sounds and creepy ambient textures make of RATAN an experience to live. On the latest Beyond Sensory Experience's album silence and dilated sounds are the main elements. The first two tracks "The Last Operation" and "Observing The Invisible" form a long hypnotic suite creating a disturbing effect stopped only by the relaxed sounds of the first half part of "Inside Erasmus Head". Atmosphere turns tough again with "Future Directions", "Anthem For A New Tomorrow" and "Numbers Rule The Universe" but also on the following "Time - Travelers Dilemma", "Ratan" and "The State Of The World" things don't get any better because tension takes a hold and sounds are even more dilated. Trumpets of hell seem to call your name while "The State Of The World"'s percussion state that everything is over. Each track has got a visual counterpart inside the booklet. The b/w shots give an idea of desolation and they stop the time, expanding the universe where Beyond Sensory Experience is the only sound left. Does the world is calling it quit?

Luis Junior: Neibum

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 07 2004
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Artist: Luis Junior (@)
Title: Neibum
Format: CD
Label: Abysoma (@)
Distributor: Ibiza Music & Clothes
Rated: *****
Ladies and gentleman, this is top notch first rate downtempo electronica you're looking at (and make sure that "looking at" turns into "listening to" just about as soon as you can say "peekaboo boca hui!"). Abysoma is a new label from Madrid, Spain, established by renowned Dj, radio host and producer Luis Vaquero, aka Luis Junior or B-Flow, a spectacular artist from Spain, whose second album (after "Atalsina", under his real name) offers you an amazing and gorgeous exploration of crossroads between lounge, chill out, electronica, ambient, downtempo, minimal, IDM and trip-hop. The album is great and intense, beautiful and visionary and possibly one of the most non-American American-sounding downtempo recordings I have heard in a while. The 13 tracks sport different singers and different languages (Czech, French, English, Italian, Spanish) and the art work and photography are nice too (Swiss photographer; in line with the true essence of this international collaboration). Basically an all around winner that you should make yours immediately, because it is one of the best records that came my way recently... If you don't believe me visit their website for audio samples!

Von Magnet: ElectroFlamenco

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 07 2004
Artist: Von Magnet (@)
Title: ElectroFlamenco
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Phil Von Magnet has always been a bright, out-reaching, barrier-braking, convention defying musician, and now he is taking all of that to a whole new level with something that is truly unique! In fact, with the exception of German The Brave's 1994 "Fiesta Fatal!" hit, I can not think of any other artist that has managed to successfully and tastefully mix the warm and dramatic world of flamenco guitars and cajon percussions with the digital electronics that Von Magnet is maybe best known for. He did it, and this is but a taste of what his forthcoming album "De L'aimant" will be like. This CDS starts out with a Mimetic mix of the title track, which runs through you like a driven percussive minimal-electronic techno parade where Les Tambours Du Bronx stomp on one truck, Paco De Lucia strums on one next truck and the Young Gods go for their floating electronics on the following one. "How to Breathe" introduces an unexpected theatrical vocal performance in english. "Ma Peine" takes the cajon's beautiful percussive textures, samples them, distorts them and filters them with sweeps, pitching etc, and in doing so creates the perfect sonic and aural support for Sabine Van Den Oever's flamenco guitar and the other ethereal vocal layers. The fourth and last track is a remix by Holeg Spies of "MorirMe" in which the male vocals are back (this time in Spanish) and the electronic soundscapes become more sophisticated and widely embracing.I think it's pretty darn obvious that I really like Phil's latest work, but I must also admit that I was hoping for an even deeper integration and a bigger use of flamenco elements.But now he got me thinking to "De L'aimant" I can't wait to hear the final product.

Xeno Volcano: Black Book

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 07 2004
Artist: Xeno Volcano (@)
Title: Black Book
Format: CD
Label: Hardpresse (@)
Rated: *****
Xeno Volcano, aka Zurich-based Californian David Beltran, has been living and performing minimal ambient music in Switzerland, while occasionally touring the US (twice a year). He uses mostly a minimoog, toys, samplers, a laptop and a vibraphone or other percussions, but in his third album "Die Organik" (2002), a collaboration with Swiss poet Eletka Sturmschnell, he had a guitar in the line up. "Die Organik" is a trip into pure sonic isolationism and the only contact with the outside world is the poet's spoken word performances over the music (mostly in german). Stereo spreading and panning, volume sweeps and other techniques are used to make the minimal sound come at you in a wave-ish fashion. The CD has a beautiful art work, among other things. His last album "Black Book", on the other hand, does not relay on the presence of the female voice, but instead has a less minimalistic approach and generates gorgeous atmospheres with soft and dragging beats and, in one instance, even a violin. Zurich is fabulous, so if you ever go there, try to also catch David performing (shouldn't be too hard, I read). Allegedly his performances are intense and include visuals by chemical lighting artist Denis Wier (also with Zappa) and other graphic artists. I am curious to find out this artist's more rhythmic side, which I hear, is being explored as we speak and is more the focus when he gigs in the underground industrial-dance scene.


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