Music Reviews



S. Sturgis: In A Haze

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 29 2004
Artist: S. Sturgis
Title: In A Haze
Format: CD
Label: Positron! Records (@)
Rated: *****
Another Positron! Records release. This time they present us a new artist signee named S. Sturgis who released 13 albums and a dozen of eps in his previous years. The new six instrumental electronic tracks is cross between different genres; from ambient to abstract to dub and weird. Morelikely , Sturgis is exploring electronics and samples. The tracks can draw you in and alleviate your mind. "At The End" is an ambient piece with a funky and dub feel. Somewhat I consider "Tomorrow" a very strange track. It's a mixture of tribal rhythm, weird and abstract. I'm going to have to say that "Euphondisson" is my best favorite. The atmospheric vibe it gives sets the mind at ease and the music is ambient and very more laidback without the weird and crazy things going on in the track. Don't get me wrong, "In A Haze" is a good electronic album. I find the music very relaxing and soothing, especially when you're just getting off from work within all that stress and tension that's been building up and working your nerves.

JACK OR JIVE: Absurdity

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 20 2004
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Artist: JACK OR JIVE (@)
Title: Absurdity
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****
ABSURDITY is the latest Jack Or Jive release and it is, at the same time, the band's personal tribute/comment to these troubled times. Sounding emotional and touching the album lacks of verbal communication because on the booklet you can't find the lyrics of the songs and since they are all in Japanese (as far as I can understand), I think an important part of the tracks is missing. Anyway, talking about the musical aspect, most of the ten tracks are ballads based on voice and piano with synth pads here and there and sometimes a rhythmical section ("Telepathy"). Even if Chako's voice sometimes is out of tune the fact isn't that important as I think that the duo wanted to focus their effort on the atmosphere and you can bet that ABSURDITY is full of it. Melancholy and bitterness are well expressed and listened with the right mood, ABSURDITY could be the sad soundtrack of these days.

BEYOND: Houkai

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 06 2004
cover
Artist: BEYOND (@)
Title: Houkai
Format: CD EP
Rated: *****
A sort of experimental ep for Beyond, who usually plays straight dark ambient drones (see the review of "Shadeworld" in the archive). "Blightsrider" is actually a very obscure industrial-ambient track, with bass-heavy synths, ghostly voices buried within the mix, and metallic clankings. Pretty well done, and truly oppressive - if you like Nordvargr and the likes, you'll probably dig this one. The other two tracks (one being a remix of Stijn van Cauter's "In pain", the other of Beyond's own "Torn") are less appealing to my taste, being overloaded noise versions of droning tracks - they're probably ok for what they are, but they're not atmospheric nor rabid enough to make them stand out. I definitely prefer Beyond in his dark ambient vein.

VV.AA.: Rump Comp Volume One

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 02 2004
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Rump Comp Volume One
Format: CD
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing about one year ago the first Rumpistol album, Rump recordings entered on a hiatus preparing its come back. After a year, thank to RUMP COMP VOLUME ONE, we can finally be aware of the label's rooster. The compilation contains twelve tracks by bands (eight on the vinyl version which does not include Zoffmann, Kriipis Tulo, Pellarin and Prinz Ezo) which made of electronic music their meaning of life. Most of them are newcomers while others like Manual & Syntaks and Prinz Ezo have already released stuff for other labels (the duo is active since 1992, first in the experimental post-rock band Limp and then as a duo while Prinz Ezo, a.k.a. since 1995). Since every band is coming from Denmark this compilation could represent a good way to test the state of electronic music on that land. About the compilation, I can say that the label tried (with success) to give a form to the CD by picking up tracks with a similar approach to electronic manipulation. The label put a condition to the bands: "come up with something melodic yet experimental". Each band produced tracks with a bit of that characteristic Nordic melancholic vibe but giving their personal interpretation of the initial request by focusing the structure on rhythm, melody, atmosphere or a mixture of the three. Bleeps, alternative dance, electronic experimentations and a bit of melancholy will entertain you for about one hour.

Salvatore Marascia: Interstellar Soundwaves

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 22 2004
Artist: Salvatore Marascia
Title: Interstellar Soundwaves
Format: CD
Salvatore Marascia's gentle prog-ambient on "Interstellar Soundwaves" is a fine example of space music with classical influences. Marascia has married quiet classical stylings with the subtle vastness of space music in what makes me think of Jean Michele Jarre if he pursued ambient and sometimes pseudo-experimental stylings rather than his driven synth tunes. Marascia moves the listener fromone element to another, making his transitions with kid gloves that help make the experience smooth in its transitions, to the point that a solid, whole sound isproduced. In no time I found myself lost in "Interstellar Soundwaves". This disc is truly a fine accomplishment, using synthesized sound to craft music that is trippy but has just the right amount of organic elements. Completing the flavor are some groovy jazz side trips and minimal vocal pieces that don't interfere with the escapist taste of the music.


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