Music Reviews



ALfa.P.: I think our Television is getting Bigger

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 30 2002
Artist: ALfa.P. (@)
Title: I think our Television is getting Bigger
Format: CD
Label: Capp-Glaufx (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Anthony.P, aka ALfa.P., is one of the leading electronic composers in Greece and as a matter of fact he is mainly known for his work as Stereo Nova. As I am not very familiar with his main project either, I cannot tell how the ALfa.P. is different, but my first approach with his music is prized by a positive impression. His electro-ambient music packs a lot of melody and beats into a unique blend of spacey and trippy atmospheric sounds grounded on minimal electronic rhythmical structures. Vocal samples of radio communications with the Shuttle, thin synthetic layers and lovely slim sounds color the playful palette of down to earth beat patterns that remind of Aphex's "Selected Ambient Works" and other innovative English music of the same kind. Ethereal, cosmic, relaxing, beautiful and soft. Sit down and chill out with this greatly enjoyable plate of delicate sounds and calm ambience... This was a truly pleasurable discovery: highly modern sounds from a country with one of the most ancient cultures in humanity.

Artemiy Artemiev & Karda Estra: Equilibrium

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 30 2002
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Artist: Artemiy Artemiev & Karda Estra
Title: Equilibrium
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock (@)
Distributor: Gamma-Shop, Groove.nl (NL), Cue (D), Eurock.com (US), DWMmusic.com (US), Marquee (JP)
At the time of writing this is the latest of Artemiy's and Electroshock's releases. The prolific Russian has teamed up one more time to bring us the gift of collaborative sound experiments. The signature of English trio Karda Estra reads as ghostly woodwind arrangements, loops and quite gloomy sonic environments. I can't hardly localize Artemiev's style really, proof that his experiences and his eclectic background allows him to get deeply involved in the vibe becoming one with what is being done; not that we needed proof of his abilities, but it helps to understand what "Equilibrium" sounds like, because the only thing here you can really trace back to Artemiev, I think, is the Siberian coldness. I never had the pleasure to listen to a Karda Estra work, so I don't know if they usually are that murky, but the instrumentation they use definitely allows for some really interesting combination of influences: electric guitar, bass, keyboards, acoustic percussions, vocals, woodwind, oboe, cor anglais (english horn), breathing loops and other loops. Clearly the band has contributed a lot of this to these spatial overtones to "Equilibrium": epic background layers made of vaporous loops and looooooong mono-tone low-key sound-floors dotted by hidden percussive beats of a peaceful and slow pace; cymbal washes, soft bass lines; delicate, dressy and heavily effected guitar parts (think chorus, delays, reverb) that duel with recurring synthetic lines making for a progressive break; and last but not least floating wind/wood/breath instrument solos and formless vocal material that aids the ethereal cloudiness sweetly. Sometimes it almost sounds like older Pink Floyd suites, and the slowly drifting flow of psychedelia and new-age trippiness contributes to a frame that knows no time and not barriers. Another band I thought of was NYC's Zoar, but I am sure you can come up with a lot more bands to reference this sound to. Richly mysterious and beautifully powerful as in some of the best hypnotizing electro-acoustic ambient around.

Stanislav Kreitchi: Voices and Movement

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 30 2002
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Artist: Stanislav Kreitchi
Title: Voices and Movement
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock (@)
Distributor: Gamma-Shop, Groove.nl (NL), Cue (D), Eurock.com (US), DWMmusic.com (US), Marquee (JP)
Stainislav Kreitchi's electroacoustic musique concrete proposal comes as a concept album about the excitement of our imagination and how voices (sounds) and movement (rhythms) complement each other in every auditory perception. The entire full length CD with its 7 tracks is played on the legendary ANS synthesizer (whom Electroshock has dedicated vol. IV of their "Electroacoustic Music" compilation series), keyboards and ovaloid. To enhance the perception of nature surrounding you, found sounds, human voices, field recordings and themes from Star Trek and other movies are pasted in digitally. The interesting part is that the opening track "Rhapsody in Rorschach" (where the Rorschach test focuses on visual stimuli to instinctively create pictures in our imagination) is the mother composition that branches out into four fantasies: "Winter" (with its cold bells, long pads, eastern women's chants, glacial sounds); "Spring" (with its watery samples, heavily treated singing birds, more female choirs and more, as in nature waking up and coming back to life); "Summer" (with its intense field recordings, where the field are actual fields, with buzzing insects, lots of birds, wind, reverberated ritual chants and traditional breath instruments, occasional pounding indus beats etc); and finally "Autumn" (with its many bells, windy sounds, low frequency notes, deep male choruses and so on). The other two tracks, "Ruins in the Waste" and the self-titled track, show a tiny bit more musicality, with orchestral breath instruments sounding like french horns, but the abstract structure of these compositions is way beyond and far away from what you would normally consider musical anyway. Strangely, not much of a general rhythmical structure is allowed either, even though the rhythm is supposed to be half of the theme behind the record. In the last track, in particular, water, adult voices, babies crying and steps on a ground covered in stones recall the graphical theme of the booklet and the cover, where on a shore big coloured stones laying on the sand and getting wet with the waves, visually represent what is supposed to equally excite our imagination. Also car sounds, public sounds, more steps (strongly separated in an unreal stereo image), cinematic orchestral music pieces and hiss at different frequencies (who knows if coming off of the recordings or actually part of the experiment) color the atmosphere and contribute to the picture.

Steve Roach & Jeffrey Fayman : Trance Spirits

 Posted by KlingKlangBedlam   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 15 2002
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Artist: Steve Roach & Jeffrey Fayman
Title: Trance Spirits
Format: CD
Label: Projekt Records
Distributor: Projekt Records
In some odd way, think of Juno Reactor's "Shango" without the techno dancehall beats,and more emphasis on the trance elements and organic drumming, conjuring images of jungles and gliding across shadowy night cliffs. Or dancing with the Indians in some ancient nocturnal rite now forgotten in these times of technology and strip malls. While not totally revolutionary as the promos might say, as it is goa-trance and not a new genre, it is quite a feast for those into organic drumming. The beats are danceable but for some reason I don't feel like dancing to them so much as I do absorbing them into my mind. And the atmospheres to boot definitely give it that cryptic atmosphere aforementioned above. I'm not quite sure but I wouldn't be surprised if they did a Sepultura and got real tribal drummer(s) in here, which may be the case with our friend Momodou Kah,who provides the driving rhythms therein. And also the ubiquitous Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame is on here, providing his always interesting guitar lines. The guy seems alot more active in his older days than in King Crimson's prime, ever notice? I never heard all too much of their work, but I think it's on my list now...The title track is one of my favorites on here with it's sparse ambient sounds, and "Taking Flight" as well. "Offspring" also has a nice little way of linking together sounds into a nice little symphony, as Roach is known to do. I love the noise effect when it rises up! So I reccomend this for fans more into organic music,goa and African percusion, and ambient styles. It may not be so much for the dancefloor as it is for the mind, but hey give it a shot, I'm sure alot could dance to this given the right mood. I'll try to sometime, and look goofy with my little rave dancing to it. You watch some basement DJ is garaunteed to make a club remix of this stuff! Rating: 9. Also recommended is Juno Reactor's "Shango" and anything of their's for that matter!

TRUE COLOUR OF BLOOD: The Significance of Secrecy

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 15 2002
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Artist: TRUE COLOUR OF BLOOD (@)
Title: The Significance of Secrecy
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records
Eric Kesner has been playing guitar for over a decade, but debuted with his solo project True Colour of Blood only last year, with this release on Andrea Marutti (of Amon/Never Known fame)'s cdr label AFE, and "Awakened. To Never Sleep Again" on Soulworm Editions. TCOB delivers some excellent ambient music which is generated almost only by guitars and effects. There's only some limited drum programming (on "Forlorn") and tape manipulations, and that's it. But Kesner's sound palette is incredibly rich and sometimes one wonders how these tracks could be played with such (apparently) limited tools. Some tracks, like the opening "Demergo Abyssus", are dark and obsessive, with menacing drones and suffocating atmospheres, while others (notably "Zophos" and "Twilight State Dream") have a more melancholic cosmic feel - not that far from some of Never Known's works, to stay in the AFE family... Layout is excellent, with stones and fossils photos printed on high quality cardboard - well done and professional looking. My only quibble is with the mix. While being excellent for a 4-track recording, I think it has too many basses and that some higher frequencies got lost in the way. A clearer mix would have made this perfect, but anyway, this is a very recommended release.


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