Music Reviews



NEW RISEN THRONE: Chants for the cold and dying sun

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 07 2004
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Artist: NEW RISEN THRONE (@)
Title: Chants for the cold and dying sun
Format: CD
Label: God Is Myth (@)
Rated: *****
Very recent cdr from Stielh on God Is Myth, which mainly releases underground black metal. The packaging looks nice, with b/w digipack, pro-replicated cd and printed insert: good job. And after a few listens I guess a black metal-oriented label is quite appropriate for these "Chants". Jeez, this is so bleak and cold - NRT has lost the more emotional aspect he had in "Flowing ashes" (see archive) to embrace total darkness. Desolate dark ambient with a Nordic industrial feel (Nordvargr, Megaptera), based on chilling electronic wails, obsessive percussive loops ("Seeds"), pitch-altered vocal samples (the twin tracks "Prophet II" and "Rex verminorum")... NRT handles all the tools of the trade really well, and this is one more strong release under his belt. I just think it's a bit more repetitive and less memorable than the excellent "Flowing ashes", but on the other hand, its utter obscurity is fascinating.

PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION: Book of dreams

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 01 2004
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Artist: PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION (@)
Title: Book of dreams
Format: CD
Label: Elvis Coffee (@)
Rated: *****
Fourth official cdr release on Elvis Coffee by UK soundmaker Ian Holloway. The name of his project pretty much describes it all - PSI stands for trippy, yet dark electronica, somewhere between old minimalism/computer music and post-industrial. The press sheet mentions Elph-era Coil, which might give you a clue. Though mostly based on synths and effects, the sound is pretty varied, also incorporating desolate piano lines ("Hiraeth"), vocal samples, percussions ("an essence of true sleep", a bit à la Zoviet France) - but PSI's main direction seems to be a grey isolationist ambient ("nothing exists", "yellow duck") with cosmic excursions ("echoes of memory", "the theatre of the warm"). Promising material, but a bit too repetitive in some parts (some delay abuses, for example) and, for me, not that engaging on a gut level.

SOBRIA EBRIETAS: Ouroboros

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 01 2004
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Artist: SOBRIA EBRIETAS (@)
Title: Ouroboros
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Fourth solo work for Bertand Barbier, who's also member of Belgian Third Brass Collective, "Ouroboros" collects several tracks exploring different shades of the (dark) ambient genre. Pretty much everything, from atmospheric piano/keyboards-driven tracks, to industrial distortions, to ethnic/acoustic loops (tracks 7 and 8, a bit in the Zoviet France/Rapoon vein). As a whole, this could be a decent effort but has many defects and weak moments. The former being, for example, the abrupt changes from one section/loop to the other (where you can distinctly hear the gap between the sounds), some clicks, and too drastic fadings at the end. The latter being many tracks with just one looped sound which is not that interesting per se, thus not justifying its minimal use. The industrial tracks, on their side, offer little more than distorted wooshes. This is the typical case of a potentially promising project ruined by an under-produced and redundant release.

NEW RISEN THRONE: Flowing Ashes

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 26 2004
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Artist: NEW RISEN THRONE (@)
Title: Flowing Ashes
Format: CD
Label: Alarming Echo Beats
Rated: *****
Though he's only recently surfaced in the dark ambient/industrial underground, Gabriele Panci has probably been busy shaping his project in the last few years, because he's now offering some sturdy, well composed music. "Flowing ashes" is his first release on Alarming Echo Beats, and it's probably my favourite among his cdrs. Three long tracks, all very cohesive and flowing, though exploring different nuances of the dark ambient style. The especially well-done "Vision of scourge" is more drone/electronic oriented, with hypnotic circular loops and huge mind-numbing drones; my fave track for sure. "Ritual over ruin" is more industrial-tinged, ridden by pitch-shifted vocal samples and cavernous throbs, a style which NRT is further exploring in other releases (as the one on God Is Myth). "Ashes", on the other hand, closes the work in a less claustrophobic way, indulging in a depressive Caul-esque melody. What I like most is that, though desolate and nocturnal, this cd has also a kind of emotional grasp on the listener. Ok, New Risen Throne is not creating anything new, this is totally classic and "patented" dark ambient - think of Lustmord's "Heresy"/"The place...", the Troum/Yen Pox collaboration, or some Caul. But it's also very very difficult to put together some dark ambient this well. I'd easily see this little gem in the catalogue of labels like Eibon or Malignant.

THE BEANS: Bassplayer

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 22 2004
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Artist: THE BEANS
Title: Bassplayer
Format: CD
Label: Intr Version (@)
Rated: *****
Moving their steps since 1995 in the field visited also by bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Broken Social Scene, the Beans recorded the four suites of their 5th album titled BASSPLAYER on the October 2000 / June 2003 period. Musically "May 6th expires (Alternate mix)", "Galuda", "Number four" and "My love is a rhynestone/infused dodecahedron" are multi layered post rock long suites where, I presume, improvision has got a good part in the process. You know, listening to this album is like taking part to a growing of a flower from its seed: you start from a gently melody and a rhythm just to end with a mature and colored "flower". You have no part in the process but you are amazed by the naturalness of it. Well, this is the impression I had listening to BASSPLAYER and during the forty something minutes of the CD you lose the sensation of time. Music slips away without apparently touching you but at the end of the album you realize that something is missing, so you put it on again and again...


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