Music Reviews



The Brave: Sacred Spirit (Jazzy Chill Out vol.8 & Bluesy Chill Out vol.9)

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 03 2003
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Artist: The Brave (@)
Title: Sacred Spirit (Jazzy Chill Out vol.8 & Bluesy Chill Out vol.9)
Format: CD
Label: Higher Octave (@)
Ok, The Brave is now officially my new favourite artist (at least until I find some other super-exciting thing that I will be listening to as much as I am listening to the two volumes of his Grammy-nominated "Sacred Spirit" series that we've received for reviewing). I have to admit I was not very familiar with the moniker The Brave, but some of you (especially out in Europe) might have heard of B-Tribe, the other moniker with which this German electronic music genius has been releasing music since 1994, when his mixture of extensively studied flamenco guitars and electronic grooves entitled "Fiesta Fatal!" spawned a #1 dance hit.Volume 8, the "Jazzy Chill Out" features piano improvisations by Dutch Eric Jan Harmsen, who also, like The Brave, is based out in the techno-capital of the Mediterranean sea, the island of Ibiza (Spain). On the latest volume of the series, the ninth "Bluesy Chill Out", it's Eric's band-mate Northern Ireland native Ibiza resident guitar/flute/harmonica player Dave "BK" Jeffs' turn to aid The Brave in the creation of a truly amazing suite of groovy blends of modern lounge electronica and non-electronic music styles, such as Jazz and Blues in this case.In the two albums you will hear samples, vocal parts, melody lines and what not by artists including Tampa Red, Lightning Hopkins, Anita O'Day, Ella Fitzgerald, John Lee Hooker, Bjiork and the mixture of styles includes electronica, lounge chill out, ambient, blues, jazz, hip hop etc. Top-notch production and sound are of course part of the deal.I loved them both, but if I had to pick between the two, I'd probably go for the jazzy one, even though all I am really left wondering is how frigging good the other seven pieces of the series must sound...

Cathari: s/t

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 02 2003
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Artist: Cathari
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Isochromatic (@)
Recently an opening act for Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Cathari have been playing together since 1997 and are finally getting some deserved exposure, at least in the local scene of Omaha, in Nebraska. With the aid of Brian Eno's "Oblique Strategies" card deck, founding member Jon Kawa, his buddies Michael Glennon and Wesley Groves and British female vocalist Morgan Solomon have been writing music whose association with Projekt is no coincidence. In fact the first band I thought of when I heard the instrumental compositions of Cathari was Lycia, even though the two bands bare a lot of differences and of course the female vocal will make anyone think of better matches for comparision, like for example 4AD's the Cranes. The songs flow gently maintaining a harmonious balance between atmospheric and ethereal lush electronica and slightly harder sounds and more experimental approaches.

YOSHIHIRO HANNO: ES:

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 31 2003
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Artist: YOSHIHIRO HANNO
Title: ES:
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa
Distributor: Audioglobe
Born in 1968 in Osaka, Japan,Yoshihiro Hanno started to study music early in his youth at junior high school. Since then he kept his interest alive by being involved with music, poetry, etc. Later he started to play with different bands collaborating also with Mick Karn (ex bass player in Japan), Ryuichi Sakamoto and others. He did various soundtracks and in 2000 he started his own label: Cirque. ES is his latest work and contains five different tracks. The first one, "Platform Variatioin II For Radical Fashion", is really interesting and probably has been used as a sountrack as its strings partiture is really impressive and you can't tell it's a fourteen minutes long track, as the way it grows makes you lose the time sensation. The second one, "Meno", make you switch from a relaxed situation to a weird sensation: the ten minutes track is based on digital clicks and tones which form a sort of sonic blob which crawls slowly. "Cis", instead, is based on loop variations and someway it makes me remember of old Philip Glass compositions with its various instruments which changes slightly kind of sounds and harmonics. "Eshoal" is a piano suite composition with noisy inserts which slowly floats adding time to time new samples. The last one, "Trash", is an example of sound decomposition, where distorted bleeps and casual noises find their way through guitar chords 'til chaos takes a hold and the structure, apparently in a random way, ends after eight minutes with sirens, digital explosions and distorted hip hop rhythms.

BEYOND SENSORY EXPERIENCE: Urmula

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 23 2003
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Artist: BEYOND SENSORY EXPERIENCE (@)
Title: Urmula
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe (@)


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URMULA is the second part of the Beyond Sensory Experience's trilogy begun early this year with "Tortuna". The eight new tracks, recorded by Drakhon and K. Meitzer during November 2002 / February 2003, are really dark and intense and the whole CD is even more intriguing respect their first album. Continuing their inner research, the duo explored new sound solutions merging obscure drones with treated vocals and a mysterious flute (like on "Arbogast") or creating noisy suites (like on "28.9.11.9" and "Celestial Disharmonies"). Even if the whole album is really dark and intimistic, the tracks are able to keep high the attention level of the listener by introducing little by little new sounds and different atmospheres. Loose your senses and embrace URMULA...

DRONAEMENT: yr

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 23 2003
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Artist: DRONAEMENT (@)
Title: yr
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records/Blade Records (@)
Immediately acclaimed as one of AFE's best releases, and one of last year's most remarkable drone works, Dronaement's "yr" is a joy to the ear and to the eye. Coming folded in a chinese paper sheet with handmade drawing, plus a "regular" cardboard cover with suggestive artwork, and including a multimedia part with info, pictures and a video, it really pushes the cdr format to a professional level far more exciting than most "regular" releases. And the sonic part is just excellent. Droning ambient relying on delayed string instruments, synths and organs, plus field recordings (a beach, the rain...) and a cello (played by Markus Altmann) in "Ea nostalgia". Nothing that hasn't been played a hundred times over the years, but Markus Obst has managed to create a miracle of magic, nostalgia and restlessness which I could only compare to Eno's "On land" masterpiece. Dreamy but also turbulent and ever-shifting, these six tracks really deserve continued, and deep, listenings. Dronaement has also realesed an lp and a 7" record on Drone Records, and a new cd will be released soon by AFE - rejoice.


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