Music Reviews



Xeno Volcano: Black Book

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 07 2004
Artist: Xeno Volcano (@)
Title: Black Book
Format: CD
Label: Hardpresse (@)
Rated: *****
Xeno Volcano, aka Zurich-based Californian David Beltran, has been living and performing minimal ambient music in Switzerland, while occasionally touring the US (twice a year). He uses mostly a minimoog, toys, samplers, a laptop and a vibraphone or other percussions, but in his third album "Die Organik" (2002), a collaboration with Swiss poet Eletka Sturmschnell, he had a guitar in the line up. "Die Organik" is a trip into pure sonic isolationism and the only contact with the outside world is the poet's spoken word performances over the music (mostly in german). Stereo spreading and panning, volume sweeps and other techniques are used to make the minimal sound come at you in a wave-ish fashion. The CD has a beautiful art work, among other things. His last album "Black Book", on the other hand, does not relay on the presence of the female voice, but instead has a less minimalistic approach and generates gorgeous atmospheres with soft and dragging beats and, in one instance, even a violin. Zurich is fabulous, so if you ever go there, try to also catch David performing (shouldn't be too hard, I read). Allegedly his performances are intense and include visuals by chemical lighting artist Denis Wier (also with Zappa) and other graphic artists. I am curious to find out this artist's more rhythmic side, which I hear, is being explored as we speak and is more the focus when he gigs in the underground industrial-dance scene.

KLANGWELT: The Age Of Numbers

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 03 2004
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Artist: KLANGWELT (@)
Title: The Age Of Numbers
Format: CD
Label: Spheric Music (@)
Distributor: Spheric Music
Rated: *****
Sidereal journeys have always been a fascinating thing to men. Man's brain inspired philosophers and a lot of common people. Numbers and numerology could be seen also like a magic discipline and maybe this is the aspect that fascinated Gerald Arend most. THE AGE OF NUMBERS contains ten intrumental suites which take their inspiration directly from '70s space rock and from '70s electronic bands such as Tangerine Dream or from musicians like Jean Michel Jarre, Kitaro or Klaus Schulze. Since the first track you've got the sensation that the room around you it's expanding and the hissing sounds are gathering taking shape and turning into the Milk Way. At a first listening I found the tracks too similar but at a second listening I liked them more. "Topologique", "Infinity + 1" and "The Beauty Of Numbers" are the tracks that convinced me most as they have a certain halo of mistery that made me found them more interesting. Try this CD if you want to loose your senses by falling into deep space...

Lopside: 37

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 19 2004
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Artist: Lopside (@)
Title: 37
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

BUY from  BUY NOW from CD BABY (CDBaby.com)
This is a guy who made treasure of the best ambeint lessons that the greatest ambient musicians ever tought us all, and implemented that knowledge in a very personal, unique and gorgeous way. Allegedly the sounds which became the basis for these pieces are noises generated by 37 messages found one day in an erratically behaving pager who Dan Hinds, the artist, refuses to use.Lopside, once a mostly guitar driven project, is now experimenting with ethereal electro-acoustic patterns where charming synthetic layers float through the sometimes thin, sometimes dense beautiful atmospheres. Elegant and rapturing electronic textures, luscious percussive parts, mysterious clinging and belly sounds, lush pads of thick electronica, random noises and wordless vocals ("To the Point of Obscurity" is a masterpiece!). Think of it as a blend of Vidna Obmana, Steve Roach, Lycia, Afex Twin, Autechre, Black Tape for a Blue Girl... This really is great music and great musicianship.Visit Dan's «ambiguously minimalistic artsy-fartsy website» for more info and some nice photography!I strongly suggest you buy this CD from Dan for only $6 (or for more money from CD Baby), that is if you can get a hold of him, now that his pager is broken...

HECTOR ZAZOU: L'absence

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 19 2004
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Artist: HECTOR ZAZOU
Title: L'absence
Format: CD
Label: Santeria (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Zazou musically born in the mid '70s as one half of the ZNR duo. He always experimented with jazz, world music, electronic creating each time something unique. The latest Zazou release, L'ABSENCE, is really various and intriguing. It gathers a lot of influences: world music, pure electronic ambient music made of drones (like on the opening "Etranges Attracteurs"), a touch of hip hop, pop, etc. Just to make some comparisons try to figure David Sylvian, Japan, Jah Wobble, Brian Eno mixed together just to make a sensual tracklist of eleven songs. Another relevant point of this album is that many people accepted to collaborate on vocals: Nicola Hitchcock, Caroline Lavelle, Lucrezia Von Berger, Asia Argento (yes! You read it right and it is who you are thinking she is) and Katrina Beckford. The atmosphere of the instrumental tracks is different respect to the ones with guests: the first ones tend to be more tense and experimental, while the others are like sensual and luscious pop songs: it's like a sort of experimental version of latest Everything But The Girl (see "Lies Will Flow"). This is an intelligent way of making refined songs without being too poppy or a rip off and if you want something unique, this is for you.

Trio Eletrico: Echo Porcours

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 14 2004
Artist: Trio Eletrico
Title: Echo Porcours
Format: CD
Label: Stereo Deluxe (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Rated: *****
Nuernberg, Germany based Trio Eletrico defies expectations with their new breed of dance-electronica, a luscious and tasty blend of cocktail lounge music, downtempo electronica, breakbeat science, raggae hints, dancefloor grooves, house vibes and latino flavors... The whole plot develops nicely and on the quite site, so it's a great and groovy chill out number, rather than a dance hit. The quality of the production and the tune writing is undisputable. It's no wonder on the other hand, considering that the trio's members include Boozoo Bajou's Peter Heider, Wildstyle's Ekki Eletrico, and Studio Wizard Peter Hoppe. "Echo Porcours" is the ideal soundtrack for your sunshine days on the beach, sipping cold cocktails while watching the surf and the bikinis... Only one question remains un-answered: why was the release date for such a summer-sounding anthem set to January 27th?


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