Music Reviews



ALEXANDER RISHAUG: Possible Landscape

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 29 2004
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Artist: ALEXANDER RISHAUG
Title: Possible Landscape
Format: CD
Label: Asphodel
Rated: *****
Seven long tracks of glitchy minimalism by this Norwegian sound artist, here at his second full-length, after "Panorama" (Smalltown Supersound 2002). The work begins with a blissful and vaguely Steve Reich-sounding drone, then explores the various nuances of the style: clicks and skips, loops, more "ambient" parts... Very Oval-esque, no way to avoid the comparison, so if you're a die-hard fan of the genre you may find this very enjoyable or very predictable, or even both. Rishaug is not exploring any new ground, but after all, why should he? His intimistic electronica is probably closer in spirit to folk ballads than to avantgarde research - and in that, this is a warm and satisfying album.

SAMUEL JERÓNIMO: Redra Ändra Endre De Fase

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 20 2004
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Artist: SAMUEL JERÓNIMO
Title: Redra Ändra Endre De Fase
Format: CD
Label: Thisco (@)
Coming with a nice abstract red layout, and quoting the "I Ching" about the process of transformation, the work by this young Portuguese composer is a hard one to pigeonhole, and surely the most bizarre that Thisco has ever released. The three tracks are based on changing patterns and clusters of (electronic) piano notes, with some kind of synth sound taking in on track 2. I don't know much about its genesis but I think that some fractal music software was used, or at least that's what it sounds like. The opening is a light and exhilarating tinkling; if adequately tortured or drugged, I'd describe it as "Oriental-sounding" and add that a remix by Oval would be great. But as the cd progresses crescendos and more bombastic sequences take over, while "Ändra" sounds like a nightmare electronic remix. I'm quite confused about this work, and to put it bluntly I have very mixed feelings about its different nuances. I'll probably try it again every so often only to come out with more doubts. Weird.

METALYCÉE: Another white album

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 20 2004
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Artist: METALYCÉE
Title: Another white album
Format: CD
Label: Mosz
Rated: *****
Metalycée is a duo formed by Armin Steiner and Nik Hummer, both involved in the electroacoustic trio Thilges 3 - but this new project is another pair of shoes, being focused on "metal and its salvation using sampling in the style of hip hop". Hmmm, at least that's what the band's self description states, and I was way ready to headbang on this one, but alas, it falls short. The metal is actually limited to some power chord which is fragmented and autistically looped in "Slaughterdijk", and re-programmed in a liquid dub form in "Slaughtered, cut and filleted", the last and arguably best track of the cd. A fairly interesting, but not entirely successful deconstruction of heavy rock. "Swing low" and "Coprario" are not memorable ambient pieces, "Lost in castings" is a hot funk/electronic thing with some annoying spastic vocals, and "21h39" and "5h17" (featuring John Norman from Radian on bass, Didi Bruckmayr from Fuckhead on vocals, and one Sami on guitar) are very reminiscent of Coil circa "Horse Rotorvator". "21h39" is actually a good dark ballad, but as a whole, I find this album pretty disappointing: it lacks power and focus and it often sounds like some half-baked intellectual joke. Its redeeming quality is that it contains a lot of good, if under developed, ideas - leaving you someway wanting for more (with a more serious dose of metal, maybe).

HENRIK N. BJÖRKK: I End Forever

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 20 2004
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Artist: HENRIK N. BJÖRKK
Title: I End Forever
Format: CD
Label: Horch! (@)
Rated: *****
Henrik Nordvargr Björkk is a multifaceted modern musician and with this latest work he shows that he's good at doing different stuff respect the industrial noise style he used to explore with his main band MZ 412, since the beginning of the '80s. I END FOREVER explore the ambient/I.D.M. fields creating fourteen tracks which work well without losing the tension (thing that is really easy when you deal with tracks based on crackling sounds and multy layered rhythms). This is evident when you listen to tracks like "Patterns emerging I" (you can also find the Maximilian Jänicke's video of it into the CD extra track) where along the rhythm textures you can find a main simple melody with ambient pads that helps following the track developement. "Patterns emerging II", which follows the first one, is a variation which is focused on pulsating sounds istead of being focused on the ambient ones. Sometimes the whole album seems to be a natural following to the work started years ago by Adi Newton with his Anti Group project. In my humble opinion with a little more melody, like on "Patterns emerging I", the result would have been more "catchy" without losing the experimental touch but this is a CD you should check anyway if you love these sounds.

GRUNDIK + SLAVA: ...For Electronics And Birds

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 18 2004
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Artist: GRUNDIK + SLAVA (@)
Title: ...For Electronics And Birds
Format: CD
Label: Stateart (@)
Rated: *****
Based on cyclic and light sounds the fourth Grundik + Slava album gently explore new solutions in experimental music. "Lost fado" for example is based on percussive sounds, pads, Asian choirs and could explain really well what I mean. The title ...FOR ELECTRONICS AND BIRDS and the cover art, are both a good hint about what you will find as the tracks have got a lot of chirping samples and twittering sounds. Even if by saying this you could think this is a really light and happy release, the music feelings are wider than you could expect: the duo experiment new solutions mixing simple melodies with different kind of sounds and at the same time the experimentation isn't the main thing. The atmosphere created is light and bright but there's always something (like on "Song for dong" or on "Rain music") that make you feel the dark side of Grundik + Slava's music. You know, when light hit something, it creates always also a shadow...


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