Music Reviews



Kayaka: Sonic Kitchen

 Posted by liv3evil   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 09 2016
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Artist: Kayaka
Title: Sonic Kitchen
Format: CD
Label: ADAADAT (@)
Rated: *****
If you might fancy the sound of a piano coupled with that of frying eggs, Kayaka's "Sonic Kitchen" may be the not-so-subtle mockery of cultivated musicianship you've been looking for! Not to insinuate that it's in any way contrived or orchestrated to lampoon the pretentiousness that surrounds experimental music, or that it is overtly gimmicky. Though it does have a neoteric snobbery about it, the short (29 minutes) album is playful, joyful, and is seemingly unfettered. Sonic surrealism, indeed!

Many tracks on the album feature solo piano, and I am left to ponder if they are all samples (which is what I suspect), or composed and/or performed by Kayaka herself? Numerous compositions marry solo piano ('Hungarian Rhapsodist' & 'Tropic of Cancer’) or a small ensemble ('Pickled Tango') with various 'living-life-noise' sounds, such as the aforementioned culinary exploits, as well as echoed footsteps, apparent rapid page-turning, and voiceover morsels.

I was left pondering where the numerous voiceover and thematic samples may stem from, though in this case decoding all of the ingredients in any one recipe is likely to miss the point. Better to quietly masticate and savor what you can of this smörgåsbord.

Lovver: X

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 06 2016
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Artist: Lovver
Title: X
Format: Tape
Label: Klanggold (@)
Rated: *****
Another interesting sonic appetizer I received from Andreas 'Sonovo' Usenbetz's imprint Klanggold seemed to have not a real signature, as the only pieces of information provided by the label about Lovver are related to its "line-up": the band should consist of a post-rock guitarist and an avantgarde sound-mangler and noise-maker, but in spite of the lack of more details about their identities, these introductory words make sense as it could suggest the kind of sound you'll meet while listening to this tape (or files, if you'll choice the digital version). If you carefully check the website of the project, you'll finally find their names out, as behind Lovver's curtains there were the guitarist Chris Corrado together with Sonovo himself (the noise-maker), but that initial mysterious halo would have been likewise fascinating. It seems that Klanggold followed more or less the same choice of other releases, as this one includes just two tracks as well. Both of them are 10 minutes lasting and explores slightly different nuances of the same stylistic grounds. The first track "Cloud Logic" got somehow explained by his title as it's an enjoyable intersection between board of Canada-like ethereal ambient sonorities, whose waves got slightly rippled by crispy noises, lovely elongated pad synths and a gently modified electronic groove that resembles some sonic scripts of German electronic chill-out music of the first 00's. Clouds grow thicker in "Sermon" on the other side, whose opening minutes are a little bit more crepuscular before Lovver's helmsmen manage to create a gap in the electronic granular net by inoculating soothing rhythmical patterns, guitar effected strokes and guitar-driven vapid melodies. Check it out!

Sonovo: a line has two sides

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 05 2016
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Artist: Sonovo (@)
Title: a line has two sides
Format: Tape
Label: Klanggold (@)
Rated: *****
Coming back after seven years of silence by means of a couple of tracks on a strictly limited (just 30 copies for his imprint Klanggold) yellow tape, lasting approximately six minutes each, could be compared to the announce of the discovery of lifeforms on Pluto after an astrophysicist interpreted the noise of his fart as a radio signal from that far planet. Anyway Sonovo, moniker of the smart sound artist and performer Andreas Usenbetz, came back by two impressive studies in minimal electronic music where he mainly squeezed a Microkorg and looped some samples as well as a field recording that Mark Baker grabbed at Peace Park in Hiroshima on the title-track "a line has two sides" on Side A. Both the popping micropattern on this track and, even more, the more regular one on the other half of the tape, titled "Serious Colors" - in spite of its opening, that could sound like the looped noise of a gastroesophageal reflux or the one that could come from the squeezing of something slimy! -, features a minimal approach and a certain sense of balanced elegance that could vaguely resemble the stuff coming from German label ~scape by Stefan 'Pole' Betke (not working since 2010, in spite of the high quality of its outputs) such as Pole, Jan Jelinek, Kit Clayton or System. We could forgive Andreas 'Sonovo' Usenbetz, just if he's going to release more lengthy stuff as soon as possible after this delicious tidbit. The way you'll figure, forewarned is forearmed!

Atrium Carceri: Archives I-II

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 29 2016
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Artist: Atrium Carceri
Title: Archives I-II
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Atrium Carceri is based on the reworking of tapes and tracks from the past of this artist. Instead of doing the typical collection of outtakes or obscure track Simon Heath decided to create long tracks from this recordings, a sort of megamix borrowing a term from another genre and the result could be a sort of introduction to his work.
"Archives I" is focused on the cinematic side of this project as it shows all the small noises that evoke imaginary scene spaced out by fragment based on drones creating a menacing atmosphere. The first part of "Archives II" is based on melodic lines of great emotive impact flowing into a second part based on drones whose subtle nuances are better enjoyed using headphones.
Instead of being a mere recycling of outtakes, this album sounds almost like the development of the hints that this project is moving towards a complex musical structure based on melody from a complex audial spectrum based on drones. From this perspective the realistic foley sounds are not a trick to conquer the listener's attention but a mean to build a musical meaning creating a narrative with sounds. Practically, cinema for the ear.

Roman Leykam: Ethereal

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 29 2016
cover
Artist: Roman Leykam
Title: Ethereal
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****
According to the introductory words of this new output by Roman Leykam, "Ethereal" is an attempt 'to convey peace, serenity and the deceleration from the daily routine. The music offers the listener the opportunity to enter into silent communication with himself.'. Such an aim could implement the description of many second-hand new-age oriented release that you could even find in a supermarket till some years ago, but what listener are going to meet in Roman's music is something a little bit less commercial and easy listening. I won't say he walks on entirely unexplored musical pathways, as the most immediate stylistic link is to all those composers, who crossed that liminal zone in-between classical ambient music and the so-called kosmische musik. Besides any spiritual enhancement you can reach by its listening, the patterns that Roman explores on "Ethereal" are mainly driven by impressive outputs from guitars and synth-guitars, gliding over sonic waters that have often been too shallow for experienced musicians. I could mention the less convincing productions by solo-projects of former Tangerine Dream guitar player Edgar Froese, but Leykam tries to diversify it by occasional contamination with a more bluesy nuance. The primary defect of similar explorations is paradoxically related to the sometimes single-minded pursuit of a sonic clarity without any element of impurity, which could result in a dull listening experience for all those listeners who don't understand the technical tricks by which he managed to reach that sharpness. A gap which could induce some listeners to look for other strategies to escape from the above-mentioned daily routine.


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