Music Reviews



Dronny Darko: Spira Igneus

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 27 2016
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Artist: Dronny Darko (@)
Title: Spira Igneus
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release by Dronny Darko is another statement of how a label as Cryo Chamber choose their releases with sound quality in mind. When liner notes state that "massive deep drone builds momentum as reality cracks open to reveal the darkness of the void", there's a sense of exaggeration that is suddenly erased as the disc begins and the first seconds of the first track show a real craft.
While the first part of "Scriptures" is made out of thick drone, the second one reveals subtle sounds, perhaps samples or field recordings, hidden in the mix. "Rotten Orchestra" intertwines deep basses with quiet meditative moments while "White Eyes" use even noisy moments, as an SW radio, to create a real dynamics and "Three Rulers" reveals a circular structure as it starts quietly to evolve in a deep mass of sound to return to a quiet environment. "Endless Cave" uses the soundscape to underline the sparse sounds emerging during the development of the track. "Forbidden Wisdom" is apparently static as it unfolds small nuances during his duration. "Grey Echoes" closes this release featuring long notes instead of drones over an evocative soundscape.
This is those kind of release that is completely based on carefully chosen sound manipulations that could be so imperceptible in a noisy environment as charming in proper listening environment. It could be structurally derivative in his musical writing but the sound production is so overwhelming to stand upon the best releases from this label. Recommended if using headphones.

Isothesis: Stern Und Opium

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 24 2016
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Artist: Isothesis
Title: Stern Und Opium
Format: CD
Label: Steelkraft Manufactory (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this French artist, but this makes sense when the only other release was a limited edition from almost a decade ago. According to the press sheet, “Isothesis produces deep dronescapes and sound sculptures, ever evolving noise starred pieces, halfway between improvisation and thought structures. "Stern und Opium" is a long term process, a digestion of field recordings and synthetic sources melted into rich and evolving sonic textures. Its compositional approach includes micro and macro structures, blended to create a profound organic feel. This record focuses on ambiances and evocative soundscapes, revealing unique and cinematographic atmospheres.” Fair enough; let’s get into it. “Stern” opens up the disc with the sound of plate tectonics at work. Rocks crumble and crack before all is quiet in a sea of peaceful drone. But all is not still here; rumbling bass undercurrents remind us at times of what we just went though. Next up is “Opium.” If the title is meant to evoke a kind of peaceful, hallucinatory state, it succeeds well. This is a 33 minute kaleidoscope of calm, slowly shifting, swirling done. This is really mellow, but there is a lot going on here with multiple layers coalescing into each other. Overall, this is well worth picking up, but you’ll want to get on it because it is limited to 100 copies. This album weighs in at around 42 minutes.

An Infinity Room: White On White

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 24 2016
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Artist: An Infinity Room (@)
Title: White On White
Format: Tape
Label: A Guide To Saints (@)
Rated: *****
The first thing I'd think about when speaking of white on white is...onion! I'd take this wonderful vegetable as a starting point to describe this interesting output by Australian sound artist and composer Julian Day's durational project An Infinity Room. Actually the only similarity against onions is the juxtaposition of somehow distinguishable layers and their "concentric convergence", where the homogenous layers are pure tones (despite its title, I perceived no white noises in the three tracks of "White On White"), which got gradually piled till they generate aural illusions, and the center of such a convergence is listener's ear. No real similarities with other feature of an onion, as far as the psychoacoustic experiment, aimed to render "rooms within rooms" according to Julian own words, won't infer tears of ecstatic joy during the listening experience, he provided. The delicate flow he renders over the three tracks (two of them - "Intercessions" and "Void", my favorite one - last more than 40 minutes, while the central piece - wisely named "Rhetoric" - I'd like to think he found some matching between the embellished emptiness of rhetoric and his sound art -) are aimed to explore the intimate nexus between perception and environment and are fundamentally based on psychoacoustics principles of illusions, rendered by layering of similar or identical frequencies. Tones of the three tracks, composed and recorded in Sidney, are played by identical keyboards, but Julian wisely exploits the illusion of "movement" or variation that can be reached if they got played in unison. Good speakers and an aptly sized space to play them are recommended to enhance these refined drone-like outputs (strictly on tape).

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.


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