Music Reviews



drøne: Mappa Mundi

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (10125)
Oct 14 2017
cover
Artist: drøne
Title: Mappa Mundi
Format: CD + Download
Label: self-released
The name “Drøne” could hardly be more appropriate, albeit with the added o stroke. This is a thirty-five minute arrangement of mechanical drone noises, electric hums, distant industrial rhythms and work-related electronic found sounds. A mixture of well-used sounds- playgrounds, railways, offices- meshes with less recognisable

Officially the 35 minutes is mapped out into five named sub-sections, but in practice it slowly evolves as different layers arrive, overlap and decay with few sudden shifts, so it’s hard to discuss highlights or weaknesses with any specificity. By halfway through, dark-sounding voices have been added and the mood has shifted a step or two in a sinister direction. A tone like a distant alarm frightened and disorientated my co-worker who didn’t realise it was (technically) music. Shortly afterward this opens up into a slightly brighter section centred around rolling stock and tannoy announcements. This in turn leads to a more discordant arrangement of high-pitched screeches that’s properly uncomfortable. The modem sounds that follow sound almost reassuring by comparison. We wrap nicely with a relatively simple blanket hum.

It’s a slightly muddy production overall, rumbling and bubbling in a way that’s deliberately indistinct and alienating, but the net result is a strangely captivating soundscape that draws you in, willing you to listen more carefully to see if you can hear anything familiar in it. For my personal taste I think it’s just a touch too wilfully hard-edged, with too many tinnitus notes and too much noise, but nevertheless it’s still a strong work.

Atariame: Fear is the World

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (10124)
Oct 14 2017
cover
Artist: Atariame (@)
Title: Fear is the World
Format: Tape
Label: Constellation Tatsu (@)
Rated: *****
The St.Petersbourg-based singer and producer Atariame is one of the "brightest" stars in Constellation Tatsu spring/summer bunch. I decided to use quotation marks as you won't maybe label her as a serene artist, but I won't see is a sort of black hole, as her light is not that dark. If we have to use one of the typical ways to file stars, she could be matched to a white dwarf more as she emits some shining rays of light, but some technical improvements of the music surrounding her crystalline voice could let her shine more. Anyway, the dried elements that orbit around her voice is something that could evoke an almost empty space around both the sound of her voice and the intuitions and the emotional depths she enlightens. Her style could sometimes resemble some known voices floating in the oceans of dream pop, sad core, bedroom music and darkwave such as Chelsea Wolfe or Lotte Kostner (particularly when musical dress is close to folkish sonorities - in songs like "Sweet Taste of Being Accepted" or "Travel Burnout") or some stuff on the notorious label Kranky, but electronics (even if sometimes rough) often set different settings for her vocal emissions/emulsions. I particularly enjoyed the ghosts of 80ies dark wave evoked in "Fluffy Paws", the grey drones of "Always the Youngest" or the intimate magnetism of tracks like "Lying Awake" and "The Pretty Takes It All", but the whole album sounds consistent with the nature of the emotional set that Atariame explores. Once upon a time, Atariame should have been labelled as a 'next big thing'.

Fluorescent Heights: Strange Lagoon found At Nightfall

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (10122)
Oct 14 2017
cover
Artist: Fluorescent Heights (@)
Title: Strange Lagoon found At Nightfall
Format: Tape
Label: Constellation Tatsu (@)
Rated: *****
The remarkably listenable hissing of tape and the noises of someone handling a tape recorder mark the opening of this release belonging to the summer bunch of Constellation Tatsu. Each side lasts almost fifteen minutes and the sound explored by Fluorescent Heights is a so perfect suite for tropical "summer-sized" reverie that you won't imagine it comes from Sweden (even if Swedish are maybe the more "Mediterranean" people of Scandinavia), as you would be induced to guess it could actually come from an imaginary elvish settlement in Tahiti. The lo-fi exotic ambient that features this release could be described as something in between some entries of the so-called organic ambient of the first 90ies (I could mention projects like Entrancing Iris or Heavenly Music Corporation) and vaguely melancholic contemporary branches of minimal ambient, as it features variations of not so many sonic inputs: an overstretched quiet pad and some "bubbling" sounds that highlight and integrate the entrancing melodic loop in "Strange Lagoon Found At Nightfall" and a sort of relaxing aquatic hits grasped into an almost static tone on "Papaya 2" on the other side.

Ārash Āzādi: Geosonic Journeys

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (10119)
Oct 14 2017
cover
Artist: Ārash Āzādi
Title: Geosonic Journeys
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Establishment
Iranian-born rash zdi brings his Persian setar training into play as a subtle, not-too-obvious twist on the more accessible side of electronica drone soundscaping and feedback layering. Synthetic metallic washes flow smoothly throughout over electronic bubbles and clicks. Soft industrial-ish found sounds occasionally arrange themselves into gentle rhythms. The Middle Eastern instrumentation is barely discernible at times as it’s so well moulded into the sound layout. If this is ‘geosonic’ then this geology is the fluid movement of lavas and molten materials, not the stable sound of rocks.

The opening two tracks “Entering The Realm Of Journey” and “Peyote And The Magnetic Beings” are relatively flat and structureless compared to what follows. The metallic tension is most prominent in “Circling Exhibitions In A Blackhole”, a slightly nails-down-a-blackboard element providing some genuine discomfort in the first half before the salve of a cinematic string melody makes the second half more palatable.

By contrast, “Water, Stones, Salvation” is a smooth lullaby melody with gentle bubbling, while “Back Home With Winds And Batteries” has a low soporific pulse to it under drawn-out calming chords. “Ascending From Underwater To Outer Space” has more than a hint of Tangerine Dream about it, in a good way, but a little busier and glitchier, making it slightly anachronistic in the middle of the album.

At six tracks and under forty minutes it’s a tightly realised and rich album that is, surprisingly, a little lacking in unique sonic character, but with a warm texture that’s still certainly worth hearing.

VV.AA.: The Owls Are Not What They Seem: David Lynch Tribute Remixes

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (10115)
Oct 08 2017
cover
Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: The Owls Are Not What They Seem: David Lynch Tribute Remixes
Format: CD + Download
Label: Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
You might recall Zhelezobeton's 'Now It's Dark' the David Lynch Tribute album by 11 Russian ambient/industrial/electronic artists last year. 'The Owls Are Not What They Seem' is a remix of that album, and it's a double album, so maybe Zhelezobeton figured that would make it twice as good. Participants here include: Arcuation, Regular, Uhushuhu, Notum, Wunderblock, Neznamo, Sal Solaris, Mortart, Bionoid, Light Collapse,
Reutoff, Mira Drevo, Riddika, Svetlo111, Alex Schultz, Lokodepo, Majdanek Waltz, Relic Radiation, Zima23, Lunar Abyss, Kshatriy, and Anthesteria, featuring Peter Theremin, on what else but a theremin! Well, he is the great-grandson of Lev Sergeyevich Termen (aka Léon Theremin) so that obviously makes sense. The latter contributes two new tracks - "Green Is Its Color" and "Silencio" in addition to the 23 remixes for a whopping total of 25 tracks. If the first David Lynch tribute album explored the darkest, most sinister side of Lynch's oeuvre, then this one is even farther afield. I don't see it as much of a Lynch tribute as a remix album, and well, those that have followed my
reviews know how I feel about remixes in general. But that sort of applies more to dark dancefloor goth-industrial than it does to this kind of stuff. If you start with abstraction, exponential abstraction isn't going to make much of a difference. Hence, you won't find me saying for example that Arcuation absolutely massacred Skripp's
"Lynch Law," or the Relic Radiation Remix of Wunderblock's "U-Turn to Lost Highway" is a sublime take on the original. (None of that is true by the way.) In fact, I'm not going back and listening to any of those tracks on 'Now It's Dark' to compare because it's too much work and likely won't sound much like the original, so what difference would it really make?

Overall, 'The Owls Are Not What They Seem' seems to have more rhythm to it than 'Now It's Dark' incorporating a more techno-industrial atmosphere where the first one was predominantly dark/ambient/industrial ambient. That's not to say those aspects have been replaced; they've just been remixed with some rhythm in many cases. Some (purists)
who really liked 'Now It's Dark' are likely to be turned off by this, but there may be plenty of others who are really going to enjoy it. I'm kind of on the fence about it as some tracks really work well in remix mode while others others... not so much. Say for example, Alex Schultz's remix of Relic Radiation's "Arrakis Cinnamon" turns it into a hypnotic techno-tribal dark space ambient delight. The very next track that follows, Lokodepo's remix of Povarovo's "Prelost" is just a techno headache screamin' for some heavy-duty pain relievers to me. As with any compilation, and especially one this large, there are tracks you're going to really like, and ones that will leave you cold, even for Lynch fans. One thing though that I think of as a missed opportunity was for one of these remixers to try a quasi-Angelo Badalamenti take on at least one of these tracks. Badalamenti's noir jazz and somber orchestral work was a vital component of the vast majority of Lynch's filmography. Maybe it's out of their comfort zone, but I don't think it would have been unappreciated here. Be that as it may, Lynch fans are still going to eat this up as they do with nearly everything with his name attached to it.
The first one sold out, and this one, limited to 300 copies, likely will too. For the latecomers there's always the digital album, but you won't get the cool owl-oriented artwork by Barrett Biggers.


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha