Music Reviews



Koyl: Fingerprints

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 23 2016
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Artist: Koyl
Title: Fingerprints
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Silber Records (@)
Koyl’s contribution to Silber’s long-running “5 in 5” series, mini-EPs (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) with five one-minute long songs making a five-minute-long whole, has a loose “five fingers” theme to it, with tracks named after your trigger finger or flipping the bird with your middle finger. I’ll be honest, I don’t hear how this translates to the miniature pieces themselves, but it’s a quaint idea for sure.

Predominantly this is meandering guitar improvisation over some dark and distant drones and rhythmic beds, and it’s expertly done. Even within the space of five minutes, there’s plenty of variety.

“Versus” is a strong intro that could easily have warranted several more minutes on its own, that flows continuously into the slide guitar and faintly Wild West tone of “Pulling The Trigger”. “Flipping The Bird”, with its faintly church-like ambience and relatively cheery loose melody wandering over a warm sustained chord, segues into the inversion of “La Corde Au Cou” as the chord bed turns dark and sinister, before dropping away to allow “Yubitsume” to run as a slightly sweet arpeggio loop that rounds things off nicely.

Other releases in the “5 in 5” series can sometimes feel like sampler items, 1-minute extracts from longer pieces, whereas this release almost completely escapes that problem and manages to create a work which stands up as a strong 5-minute mini-adventure that definitely makes me want to check out further Koyl releases.

Bardoseneticcube / Shinkiro: Inner and Outer Space

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 22 2016
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Artist: Bardoseneticcube / Shinkiro (@)
Title: Inner and Outer Space
Format: CD
Label: Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
I have had several opportunities to review Bardoseneticcube’s work, but this is the first I have heard of Shinkiro. According to his website, Shinkiro is a “Japanese dark ambient project by Manabu Hiramoto, started in 2003 to express the inner landscapes of humanity. The music can be described as ‘soundtrack to imaginary film with dark ambience.’ Recently, his musical exploration has expanded not only into the meditative and deep but also into his personal terrain of Shinto and Buddhism.” Bardoseneticcube is a dark ambient/industrial project from St. Petersburg. Now with Bardoseneticcube, you never really know what you’re going to get, so let’s see how these two artists work together. “Fluctuations” opens with the kind of spacey dark ambient that I have come to expect from Zhelezobeton. “Evolution” keeps this feel going with the moving of tectonic plates and warbling synth. Reminds me of older Lustmord and Rapoon. “Inflation” is where we begin to see the synthesis of these acts. Like the previous tracks, it begins peacefully, with slowly shifting synth notes that hold for several measures at a time. But this is all an illusion, as it becomes progressively harsher as the track evolves. This is what you hear right before you cross the event horizon. After another interlude of spacey ambient in “Afterglow,” we move to the conclusion in “Dark Ages.” Heavily processed, sped up robot voices, a woman holding out one note, and bits of timpani all help to bring the spacy drone down to earth. This is the chaotic element of Bardoseneticcube that I enjoy. Overall, this is quite enjoyable and makes me interested to hear more from Shinkiro. This album weighs in at around 52 minutes and is limited to 333 copies.

Hattifnatter: Barometrizm

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 22 2016
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Artist: Hattifnatter (@)
Title: Barometrizm
Format: CD
Label: Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
Hattifnatter is a collaboration between Evgeniy Savenko (Lunar Abyss, etc.) and M.M. (Kryptogen Rundfunk, and the person behind Zhelezobeton). This is their first release and the label describes the album this way: “Through the clouds of omnifarious rustles, hisses and crackles one can see the landscape built by analogue pulsations and multiplied echoed acoustic percussion clatter. Swarming in the bush of field recordings and random sound combinations are the little voices of the unknown creatures. The air of atonal guitar drones is soaked in melodic tunes, feedbacks and colourful multi-layered effects.” For once, the label’s description is pretty spot on. “Barometrat” opens the album with field recordings of walking, paper, water, and other sounds over synth drone to create an interesting atmosphere. “Ieram” opens with unintelligible (to me, at least) male vocals and noisy elements with constantly building bass. “Echolotus” brings in didgeridoo drones playing on a windswept plain as a guitar plays. “Lutump” keeps the droney atmosphere but adds heavily processed, unintelligible vocals. “Floksary” brings back the field recordings into the drone, with wind chimes, water, and fragments of a beat that open the track. “Renasyr” has a hypnotic feel with long blasts of sound within the drone. This is the kind of album that fades into the background as you are listening, providing a kind of soundtrack for your day. If your life was epic enough to be a movie, of course. This album weighs in at around 49 minutes.

Kurai Keshiki: Mozaiku

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 22 2016
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Artist: Kurai Keshiki
Title: Mozaiku
Format: CD
Label: Psychotic Release (@)
Rated: *****
I could not find much about this project, but Kurai Keshiki began in 2013 as a side-project to Black Mountains Chronicles, dealing with a type of industrial-ambient more focused on field recordings and experimental sounds. However, they have been busy with three other releases since 2013. As for the music itself, listening to this album is like listening to the audio track of a film. Incidental music blends with field recordings of children talking and singing, and the sound of heavy footsteps stalking you in a dark alleyway. Cicada-like electronics flow in and out of the composition. Overall, this is good music if you want sound but do not really want songs. All of the tracks blend into one another to the point that it really wouldn’t make a lot of sense to listen to one individually. Kurai Keshiki was clearly not looking to craft a dancefloor hit. This would make a good background track for reading and was pleasant listening overall. Worth checking out for fans of field recording-based atmospheres. This album weighs in at around 55 minutes.

Lost Fairy Realm: s/t

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 22 2016
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Artist: Lost Fairy Realm
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Psychotic Release (@)
Rated: *****
Like Kurai Keshiki, this is another side project of Black Mountains Chronicles, and it “deals with ambient atmospheres and titles about the world of fairies.” According to the discogs entry (pretty much all of the info I could find on the project), this was going to be part of a new Black Mountains Chronicles album, but “the soundscapes of the full length were very far away from the B.M.C. tracks, so a new name has been thought. For L.F.R. sounds are more liquid and romantic, quiet reigns without noise attacks ... Also, some tracks are not as dark as usually you can expect from the creator.” So let’s get into it. This album is at times calm, and even peaceful (“Magical Wood” and “The Silent Lake”), only to suddenly startle you back to attention with loud crashes and grinding drone, as in the case of “Awakening?” In fact, my son asked if I was listening to Halloween music. This certainly could make a good backing to a haunted house display. Overall this is pleasant drone music. My favorite track on the disc, though, was the final one, “Priscilla And Her Little Puppets.” This track featured heavily processed children’s voices saying ”help me” and some crying. Then we hear an odd conversation with a girl asking “do you want to marry me?” and the boy replying “yes!” only to have her reply “but I don’t want you to; I’m not an adult!” This album weighs in at around 65 minutes.


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