Music Reviews



SHIFTS: Vertonen

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 10 2004
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Artist: SHIFTS
Title: Vertonen
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: The Locus of Assemblage (@)
Rated: *****
One more chapter in Shifts' "Vertonen" series, which I think is an ongoing project. Veteran Dutch artist Frans de Waard really needs no introduction, considering his activities as a performer (Kapotte Muziek, Goem, Bee-queen...), label-owner (Staalplaat, and now Brom-Brom and Plinkity-Plonk) and writer/networker (Vital Weekly). The abstract blue/grey painting on the cover, by de Waard himself, is an apt visual counterpart to this 19' piece of subdued minimalism, a quietly changing, apparently static drone. I think he's using processed guitar sounds, and I'd actually compare this to almighty Main. A kind of post-industrial ambient which nowadays is not all the rage (has it ever been so?), so it's all the more enjoyable to listen to it.

PAUL BRADLEY: Immure

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 10 2004
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Artist: PAUL BRADLEY
Title: Immure
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: The Locus of Assemblage (@)
Rated: *****
I don't know much about UK artist Paul Bradley, except that he has recently released a full length on Twenty Hertz ("All that was"), a collaboration with fellow droner Colin Potter (of Nurse With Wound fame), and is going to share a split/collaborative cd with David Wells, again on The Locus of Assemblage. All of which I wish I had listened to, because this 3" cd, on the successful mini-assemblage series, is brilliant... Bradley plays sombre isolationist ambient, which perfectly fits with the title and graveyard cover picture: certainly dark, but solemn rather than bleak. Track 1 opens with jangling bell sounds, giving way to a low-frequency drone; an apt introduction to 12'30'' track 2, definitely the core piece of the ep, with shifting frequencies, cavernous basses and subdued environmental recordings adding to the menacing atmosphere. Track 3 is a shorter piece, closing the work with fading drones - leaving you craving for more, which is honestly not that frequent with records like these. An inspired, well-constructed work, mandatory if you like artists like Lull, Thomas Koener and the whole '90's isolationist niche.

Taxi: The Accessory

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 05 2004
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Artist: Taxi
Title: The Accessory
Format: CD
Label: Infracom! (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Rated: *****
Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it: my number one record of the week! Now I'll likely stop listening to any other records, let them pile up, while I enjoy this multiple times a day, multiple days a week or driving my car in the sun(set), 'cause that's just how beautiful it is. Two years after their debut "Blue Zero One" on the german label INFRAcom!, the British trio composed by Paul Cullen, Simon Lovejoy and Joel Laundy, are back for another portion of lush, silky, smooth, loungy, jazz, trippy electronica. "The Accessory" blends rhythm&blues with electro, jazz with trip hop, nu-jazz with acid-jazz, classical with ambient, techno with downbeat: sweet deep&digital, uppright and cello bass lines, with mushy keys and rhodes comping, layers of ethereal textures (strings, pads), groovy percussive carpets (triangle, bongos, congas, shakers, cabasa, drums), jazzy guitar parts, orchestral arrangements, breath instruments (flute, trumpet), distant world music influences (indian sitar) and of course the delicious and warm voice that sings all the way through the record. If all of this doesn't help just think of them of very personal (and UK-sounding)combination of Massive Attack, Rebro, Echo, Groove Armada, The Future Sound of London, Portishead, Delerium, Antenne, Lamb, Autechre, The Flying Dutchman, Sasha, Chance's End, Kaskade, Luis Junior, Marquess Wyatt, Joe Clausell, Coppe', Device, The Brave, Saafi Brothers, Laurent Brondell influences. Need I really say more? Hit single potential is to be found everywhere in the record, but the opening track should do it all alone! Albums of this kind come around only every once in a while, and when they do you better jump on them and enjoy while the magic lasts (although I must say the band's desire to create tunes that will stand the test of time is probably fullfilled by the beauty of these timeless compositions). The CD comes as a black-surface CD and its art work makes it look exactly like a vinyl (I have seen others do this, but Taxi's is definitely the closest to vinyl-looking I ever got). The CD also comes with a Mac/PC-compatible rom track that has lyrics, pictures and a link to an exclusive mp3 bonus track. We should all have enough for a week of joy, right? So now let me shut up mates and let's enjoy and chill out...

YNEY: Antarctina

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 04 2004
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Artist: YNEY
Title: Antarctina
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock (@)
Rated: *****
Yney is a project formed by three different and particular musicians: Jury Orlov, Igor Shaposhnikov and Andrew Kireev. ANTARCTINA is their first release as Yney but each of them have got several other releases and you can visit the band page on the label's website to get more informations. Anyway, this release convinced me immediately as the eight tracks have got an experimental approach being accessible at the same time. Someway they had on me the effect that Kraftwerk's "Radioactivity" or Scorn's "White irisis blind" had. The tracks are capable of catching audience's attention in no time with their driving rhythms and they could be used also in alternative clubs even if their are more experimental than club friendly. Ever wanted to listen to a different dub ambient album? Well, with ANTARCTINA you've got the opportunity to listen to a good album that break the classic dub rules mixing them with early electronica.

no Xicic: Uneksija

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 01 2004
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Artist: no Xicic (@)
Title: Uneksija
Format: CD
Label: Onyxia (@)
Distributor: Onyxia Mailorder
Rated: *****
After a CD-R, an EP, a 7" EP on Drone records and a 3" CD-R spanning from 1999 to 2004, Finnish artist and pharmacist (that is some combination, can you imagine what he would have done in the seventies?) Henkka Kylloenen, a.k.a. no Xivic, takes the big leap to the full lenght CD format with "Uneksija", featuring eight tracks of creepy and unearthy dark-ambient music. Even though it starts out with an only somewhat disquieting uncanny piano improvisation over voices and drones, it soon steps into a much scarier place, where eerie layers of sounds create hollow, wide, cold and aphotic atmospheres made of slowly breathing atramentous noises that sound as if they were alive and sore creatures waiting to enter your gloomy nightmares and soar around the most ill-lighted parts of your mind. Your state of mind will be affected by these tunes, enhancing its nebulous and tenebrous sides for over seventy minutes, so be ready for it.PS Check out the cool paintings of the art work of this CD by Samuli Kontio as well as the nice and impressive industrial-inspired website of his record label Onyxia.


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