Music Reviews

DIE FABRIEK: Quatro-Erogenic-Occupy Theme's Part II

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 18 2004
Title: Quatro-Erogenic-Occupy Theme's Part II
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records (@)
Rated: *****
The second part of the cd released by Moloko + in 1999, this new work by Belgian collective Die Fabriek took two years in the making. First off, the packaging is CRAZY. AFE has always had a taste for elegant, if not elaborate, covers for its cdr releases, but this is probably the most complex and outstanding one (not considering the Teddy Bear box - but only because that is food for psychiatric research): a vinyl envelope with a toy-like cardboard top, housing a sleeve made of "alien skin" plastic (a green-brown textured material) with a stenciled DF logo, plus an inlay card, anti-alien stickers and a set of close encounters-related postcards (my fave was the "alien abduction pregnancy test" ad)... plus the cdr, of course. Whew... if it took so long to describe it, imagine what must have been like to put it together! On to the musical aspect: I'm sadly not familiar with DF's production over the years, but these veterans have covered industrial, musique concrete, kraut rock, plain weird stuff etc. Anyway, this must be one of their most accessible releases, because it's full of "proper" music... yep, and quite melodic too. Beside being the layout designer, Hue - mind of the Italian electronic projects Sparkle In Grey and Normality Edge - has participated in the recording adding beats and mixing samples provided by the DF core group. I think his hand shows in the more rhythmic tracks, like "Spacewalking" (a great opening, sort of space-shoegaze-electronica) or "The comet dance". But as a whole, the work could be only labelled as (modern) kraut-psychedelia; think of a mix of LA Düsseldorf, Ash Ra Tempel, Pink Floyd and Boards of Canada and... no, you won't get close anyway. Lots and lots of trippy guitars: strummed, flamenco-ed, delayed, looped... This is my main problem with the cd - I'm generally not a fan of 70's psychedelia, and at times I find this a bit over the top for my tastes. But it's successfully assembled, and if you dig your electronica trippy and sweet, you'll find this work a gem. It surely evokes ancient times when aliens kidnapped people for sexual experiments, but also had some kinky appeal.

WARREN BURT: Harmonic colour fields

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 18 2004
Title: Harmonic colour fields
Format: CD
Label: Pogus (@)
Rated: *****
Recorded between 1996 and 1997, "Harmonic colour fields" was played using a Roland Sound Canvas synth, which the author wittily describes as "the world's best cheap solution for fine tuning microtonality (and they're not even paying me to say this!)", and the liner notes further inform us about the nature of these deliberately "static microtonal harmonic fields". While used to even extreme forms of minimalism and computer music, I admit at first I was a bit disappointed by this cd - probably because, of all possible sounds in minimal contexts, I have a sort of distate for synths (unsurprisingly, I find the hyper-minimal "11:21:23 (A drone on mom and Felix's birthdays)", with its more subtle frequencies, the most enjoyable piece). But as the listenings succeeded, Burt's doomy, slowly unfolding drones did suck me in. Very static music indeed, reminding of historical minimalism works like La Monte Young's or Charlemagne Palestine's ("Alloy", for example) in its monolithic nature, thus requiring a concentrated mood and a certain dose of patience to be fully enjoyed. The solemn, at times dramatic power of the electronic drones makes up for the initial impression of tediousness.

Infinity Interrupt: Antartica Starts Here

 Posted by Michelle Russo   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 15 2004
Artist: Infinity Interrupt (@)
Title: Antartica Starts Here
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Infinity Interrupt is a duo consisting of Jacob Fisher and Jason Walker. This band hails from the Chicagoland area. Antarctica Starts Here is a very diverse album not like anything I've heard before. Every track on this album would be very fitting for a sci-fi soundtrack, thats for sure. Track five- Half-Life 23 stuck out the most. Haunting background vocals from Christine from Flutter- a an chicagoland ethereal band compliment this track, jacob sings, "we he send his angels or has we fallen from the sky?" while samples of over dubbed movie scores take over. This band has the most things going on in each track. Track after track is like a space ride to infinity literally. Infinity Interrupt plays on August 28th, 2004 at 836 w. Aldine, Chicago, Il ..come check out this band definately from another world. 5-stars

PAOLO VENEZIANI: The first floor / The puddle ep

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 13 2004
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Title: The first floor / The puddle ep
Format: CD
Label: TIBprod (@)
Rated: *****
Paolo Veneziani is an Italian electronic musician who has lately focused his activities on graphic design, while still releasing music now and then, as in a recent mp3 release on TIBprod. TIBprod itself re-releases Veneziani's early compositions, namely "The first floor" (1996-1997, 6-track cdr) and "The puddle ep" (1996, 4-track cdr), with a new layout. Considering that they were conceived and played quite a while ago, I think they've grown up quite well - Veneziani's ambient electronica is not my cup of tea, but it still has interesting edges that make the listening experience worthwhile. Imagine a mix of synth-driven cosmic ambient, minimal beats and some more recognizable soft melodies, and you'll get the picture.

VV.AA.: Sleep

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 05 2004
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Sleep
Format: CD
Label: Domo
The Domo label once again proves itself a master purveyor of new age and ambient music, etc., with the issue of the "Sleep" compilation, whose absorbing tunes will lure you into the mist and elevate you to a place of mist in the soul. Be it flutes, soft string instruments or whatever, backed by soft ambient melodies, you will find yourself immersed in an enchanted forest where, for a few fleeting moments, you will be freed from the metal bullets of screaming cars, the towering shadows of steel buildings, the brain wracking noise of a violent and ominous world. The soft, pleasant chill of "Sleep's" beautiful dreams is irresistable. I sometimes think this must be a hard genre to create, given its minimalist, without sounding too spartan or lacking in lush personality. Obviously, Domo has no problem finding artists who can rise to the occasion and bring you up into the clouds with them.

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