Music Reviews



STEVE ROACH/VIDNA OBMANA: Inner Zone

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 25 2002
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Artist: STEVE ROACH/VIDNA OBMANA
Title: Inner Zone
Format: CD
Label: Projekt
Distributor: Audioglobe
Second collaborative work between Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana, after the double cd "Well of Souls" (Projekt 1995). I'm really not that familiar with their production, so I honestly can't comment on possible differences or evolutions/involutions in their sound. Anyway, I guess a conoisseur will be able to recognize their style: ritual ambient merging impalpable drones (the first part of "Isolation"), melodic suggestions and percussive parts with a distinct ethnic feel ("Strands", the second part of "Isolation"). The result is great for meditation if taken with the right mood; personally speaking, I find this extremely well done, but lacking some kind of emotional characteristic to really catch my attention from start to end. So the result sounds a bit cold to my ears.

Heimir Bjorgulfsson & Jonas Ohlsson : Brombron 04: Unspoken World Tour

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 24 2002
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Artist: Heimir Bjorgulfsson & Jonas Ohlsson
Title: Brombron 04: Unspoken World Tour
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat, Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Staalplaat & Extrapool's Brombron joint venture has Stilluppsteypa-member Heimir Bjorgulfsson and Jonas Ohlsson signing the fourth chapter. The project consists in locking up two musicians in Nijmegen's Extrapool recording studio to see what they come up with and then release it in a jewel-case-size carton-only package that sets new standards in recycling. "Brombron 04: Unspoken World Tour" is a very eclectic assembling of 23 tracks that range from experimental glitch music to edgy electronic music. Definitely more tending to the throbbing, pulsing and pounding, as opposed to the weird, unconventional and noisy, but keeping a very well balanced and still uncompromised approach. The two educated Nordic Amsterdam residents put together a really pleasing collection of tunes distancing from their individual productions (I guess it's true that with union comes strength) and offering you a taste of what they conceive a combustion of modern hi-tech digital electronics and vintage analog sonics to be.

Paolo Di Cioccio: Logos

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 24 2002
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Artist: Paolo Di Cioccio
Title: Logos
Format: CD
Label: Musica Maxima Magnetica (@)
I haven't heard from Paolo Di Cioccio since his great album "Images" (at least a couple of years ago, I'd say) but now theis contemporary Italian composer and master of Theremin ceremonies (you might know him from his work with Theatrum Chemicum) is back with a new work of love (which by the way comes as a really beautiful white digipack with blurred images in primary colors that perfectly match the disc's contents)."Logos" (the highest form of knowledge in Greek philosophy) is an awesome concentration of cosmic electronics, classical elegance, esoteric atmospheres. The interaction of Theremin with his other primary instrument of choice, the oboe, present us with estranged sonic images of timeless beauty. Graced by soft rhythm textures of 309 and warped by synthetic patterns of moog, mellotronium and other vintage and non-vintage gear, Paolo Di Cioccio's music is a gateway to eternity and a voyage through time and space, closing the gap between ancient and modern and bridging Vangelis, Vidna Obmana, Artemiy Artemiev, Stockhausen and others in a unique time-bending and intimate research along a starry milky way leading to unknown places. You can hear his experience in scoring visual material reflect on his songwriting and the extreme visionary appeal that a record like this has only further enhances the evoking of images. In one song Di Ciccio even pushes the boundaries of his unique ambient/classical/cosmic electronic music stepping into a new dimension of Mego-ish minimalistic experimental techno made of up-tempo pounding beats, vanishing samples sparkling the tense atmosphere and traces of oboe floating around in the air with a nonchalance that stands opposite to the post-modern picture that the rhythmical repetition is drawing out. But that's just a brief parenthesis... By the time you get to the closing track, it'll be set back to tranquillity.

S. Gears: Dip

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 23 2002
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Artist: S. Gears (@)
Title: Dip
Format: CD
Label: Musica Maxima Magnetica (@)
The elusive Manchester-based Steve Gears has been around for a while as B-Dum B-Dum Sound and 7% Solution (perhaps you may have heard about him from collaborations with the In The Nursery brothers' Les Jumeaux side-project and Wire's Colin Newman) and "Dip" is probably the sum of all these experiences and the exteriorising of all the sensations he gathered. A deeply emotional album that has the loaded tenseness of 80's post, the otherworldly floatation of dub, the artsy atmospherics of some mainstream-outsiders, the architecture of a electronics, the liberty of experimentalism and the mysteriousness of dark. The beautiful and entrancing peace of "Dip" is shared and contended by a lush feeling of loneliness and a tasty aesthetic of romanticism. In no specific order a list of influences may include David Byrne, Daniel Lanois, David Bowie, Gary Neuman, Brian Eno, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Mick Harris, Deadbeat, Minimal Compact, Wire and many (and I mean MANY) others but, then again, it is all vague and mystified, restrained and evened out. Smoothing the edges and straightening the surface to allow for the softest ride along the waves of stringed arpeggios, the intimacy of a small orchestration, the coagulation of ethereal loops, the laid back and shy beats and the visionary vocals (his very own warm and lyrical interpretations occasionally caressed by female background), who are really the focus of this modernized-retro'-beauty compositional effort.

REGIVAR: Colonna sonora per un film immaginario

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 20 2002
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Artist: REGIVAR (@)
Title: Colonna sonora per un film immaginario
Format: CD
Label: S'Agita Recordings (@)
"Colonna sonora per un film immaginario" ("Soundtrack for an imaginary movie") is Raffaella Graziosi's debut as Regivar. With a background in photography, Raffaella has been one of the main promoters of the brilliant Oltre il Suono webpage and forum (http://web.tiscali.it/oltreilsuono/); now her 1999 recordings see the light on Logoplasm's S'Agita Recordings, with the usual care for visual presentation (this time it's a minimal layout on cream marbled carboard) and a limited edition on 150 copies. "Colonna sonora..." is a fascinating work mainly based on synth waves and loops, with a kind of free-flowing stream of different fragments and atmospheres; at times concrete sounds (a rewound tape, drops of water...) crawl in, contributing to the feel of mystery... I like to think of this cd as a kind of intimistic sci-fi soundscape: the sense of wonder, subtle bewilderment or trascendental peace is all there, but moving within an inner universe... Sharing some "poetic" similarities with her label-mate AAL, especially in his more "cosmic" side, and I'll repeat myself for the 100th time by quoting Tarkovskij as an ideal counterpart for these dream-like sounds...


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