Music Reviews

Günter Schlienz: Autumn

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 04 2016
Artist: Günter Schlienz (@)
Title: Autumn
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
Rated: *****
The sense of this release is expressed by the quote David Pearce in the cover of this release: i see the leaves fall, in times of change; i see the trees fall, but i remain in the light of time, with the dawn. Günter Schlienz, who plays synthesizers and uses tape machines to construct his music, is that kind of artist whose music is rooted in the tradition and could be described as modern classical if he had used acoustic instruments as his music is evidently written playing an instrument with a melody in mind.
The sparse notes of "Oktober" open this release introducing a track which slowly unfolds exposing his layers one by one until they interact creating something at the crossroad between a drone and a soundscape as it has the apparent stasis of the first and the richness of details of the second until the sound of the wind introduces the second movement of this track based on sustained notes and cymbals. The sustained notes are the fundamental element also of "September" whose melody develops really slowly generating a sense of meditation and decadence until it fades under small noises at the edge of audibility that closes the track. The resonances of "November" are used to break the silence at the core of the first part of the track closed by the emergence of the notes of the second part that, like a sort of theremin, exposes a melody over a quiet drone in the background slowly ending in silence.
This is a release that could be enjoyed in a quiet mood and it's almost elusive in his evanescence. As an example of descriptive music, it captures the essence of fall and decay of the season which is dedicated. A really nice release able to change the mood of the listener.

The Green Kingdom: Harbor

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 04 2016
Artist: The Green Kingdom
Title: Harbor
Format: CD
Label: Dronarivm (@)
Rated: *****
As stated by Michael Cottone, the man behind this project, the title is a direct homage to the Cocteau Twins' "Echoes in a Shallow Bay" and this release is, in fact, overtly derivative of the sound of this band and not at a purely superficial, or formal, level but it seizes the essence of that music even without obviously the voice of Elisabeth Fraser.
The dreamy guitar of "Inlet" introduces the listener to the title track where the lulling rhythm and that sound of the guitar creates the impression of a vast and quiet calm. "Haze Layers" is instead a track based on synths closer to certain derives of ambient music while, in same framework, the return of the guitar in "Faun (enchantedforestmix)" generates a mix which reveals a musical personality and "Jade Star" is even more effective due to his catchy melody. The incredibly reverberated guitar of "Thermals" surrounds the listener while "Morrowloops" escapes a certain sense of stasis with his use of rhythm in the background. Without the guitar effects, "Evergreen Sunset" shows the sense of melody of the author and "Endless Blue Drift" closes this release with a long meditation for guitar ending in a silence which reawakens the listener.
As an homage, it's something that could not be rated in terms of novelty but in terms of personality. It could have been a sort of cover album but it's a personal vision of a sound that has marked a period of music with a sense of nostalgia but he accompanies it in the present day leaving a question of how it could sound with that voice. Recommended for fans of Cocteau Twins but it's worth a listen for all fans of shoegaze.

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project: Revisionist History

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 03 2016
Artist: Fossil Aerosol Mining Project (@)
Title: Revisionist History
Format: CD
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Society (@)
Rated: *****
Even if it was often paused and reprised, the Fossil Aerosol Mining Project was born 30 years ago, when a group of sound artists started something in between post-mortem scavenging, feverish looting of literally found sounds, tapes, and reel in the rubble and ruins of abandoned drive-in theaters and burnt out warehouses and Frankenstein-like resuscitation of aural memories on relics like fragments of 35mm film and open-reel 1/4" tape. The main relevant change of its modus operandi was the switch from analog to digital processing over the years, but the general allure of this proper historical revision, to paraphrase the title of this new output, remains unchanged. Opened by a track titled "Respooling the Relic", where a voice spells sometimes incomprehensible words that seem to repeat "this love is everything" or "everything is love" under the effect of a deforming helium booth effect, typical of old tapes, and closed by an equally process-focused tune titled "Deleting the Relic", where a clearer voice begins the mysteriously wooshed ones - reprising the above-mentioned ones - by saying "...and the hope me to see", this release includes really stunning moments of "revisionism". Such a revision sounds like the removal of residual grains of sand (the soft melody that sounds taken from a 70ies TV series at the beginning of the track could be a part of this remaining debris) that is going to lead listener to a cleaner entrancing frequency in "Filtered by Limestone", an hypnotical gradual descent in a surreal hallucination in "Naphtol Impermanence" (an extended suite that resembles Barbieri's "Voyage 34" to me, for some mysterious reasons), the overlapping and fading of parings and scrap of photographic memories in "Vestigal Sideband", a process that could vaguely described as the robotization of melancholy in the astonishing "iBlue", abstract agglomeration of mnemonical dust in tracks like "Mistranslated Practices" and "Principles of Shallow Water" or keys to open channels of communication between listeners and some hidden ("Squatters at the Launch Facility") or invisible ("iSky and Little Eyes") parallel dimensions.

Cloaca: Almsgiver

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 30 2016
Artist: Cloaca
Title: Almsgiver
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Silber Records (@)
Silber Records’ long-running “5 in 5” series- 5 tracks from an artist, running time only 5 minutes in total- has thrown up some interesting and innovative works that have suited the restrictive format well. Some sounds, however, simply don’t function at their best in such a constricted time, and unfortunately “Almsgiver” is an example of this.

“Almsgiver” is a collection of five unique and distinctive drones, all with an acoustic origin, treated, drowned and super-manipulated by effects and ambience. It’s simple stuff, resonant, raw and powerful, with a pure tone that’s less gritty and lo-fi than the artwork might suggest. But it really needed time to breathe.

When fourth track “Forsworn” segues into “Euthyphro” (the only ‘joined up’ tracks), it’s a hint towards how mesmerising these sounds would be if you could get ten minutes of each one and really start to mentally wallow in it. When “Euthyphro” then abruptly cuts at exactly 1:00, you’re left wanting more, but not necessarily in a good way.

“5 in 5” has had some great moments, but this is one case where they should have foregone the novel 5-minute format in favour of a longer, more immersive release.

Daniel Ruane: Incandescent EP

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 28 2016
Artist: Daniel Ruane
Title: Incandescent EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: The Silent Howl
“Incandescent” is a half hour of ambience that blends comforting tones with crisper digital elements in a way that’s like cold water and hot water being poured together and wafting in fluid dynamic patterns around one another until equilibrium is eventually reached.

The title track has a watery ambience that does feel just a touch cliché but which is still nothing short of pretty, and which slightly misrepresents the EP as a whole, as it lacks the sinister edge and extremely minimal techno elements that the other three tracks bring.

Second track “Codon” has more urgency, a relentless repeating synth note underpinning an electronic atmosphere that has very strong elements of Tangerine Dream, and definitely in a good way.

Third track “Amino” plays almost like a hybrid of the first two, with the same drumless analogue synth rhythms but washed with rich found sounds.

Closing track “Exo” has the same ingredients but with an additional tension and lo-fi, square-wave edge that could soundtrack the sinister approach of zombies. There’s a whiff of John Carpenter about it. If the first two tracks have lulled you into sleep, this is the track that will score your anxiety dream.

This is an impressive pack of tracks from Mancunian Daniel Ruane, and on the strength of this EP, it’s definitely keeping an eye out for more of his work.

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