Music Reviews

CloudWatchers: s/t

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 23 2019
Artist: CloudWatchers
Title: s/t
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Unexplained Sounds Group (@)
Rated: *****
CloudWatchers is a group formed by Andrés Alonso, Iván Cebrián, Coco Moya and Jaime Munárriz whose music is mostly based on analog synth which is played by all members. While they use also electric guitar, bass, voice and laptop, the use of the same instrument by all members is a glue which tie together musical lines improvised upon an initial small idea.
The first track, "Piece 1", starts quietly in a suspended atmosphere and slowly evolves in a crescendo where background noises and guitar line, more or less psychedelic oriented, introduces the second part of the track where the female voice introduces an oriental element as the singing style is closer to the harmonic chant rather than occidental one. "Piece 2" continues along the same path but it features a synth line and a synth line which moves the overall result towards a experimental view of ambient house. "Piece 3" lasts for almost the half of the release's length is a complex track that has four sections: a quiet and long introduction based on vocals and continuos tones, a short crescendo based on repetitions of short melodic lines, a suspended part based of slowly evolving drones and noisy resonances and final part which reprises the beginning of the track.
This is an interesting release hanging in the balance between ambient, psychedelia and experimental music. It couldn't be a perfect equilibrium in some moments but it's always enjoyable and could be well received by fans of the genre. It's really worth a listen.

Minim: Construct

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 21 2019
Artist: Minim
Title: Construct
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Kasuga Records
“Construct”, from Bucharest-based artist minim, is as the name implies, a reductivist exercise in sonic disassembly in which source noises are digitally processed so extensively that what’s left is a fluid series of clicks. At times pattering like moderately heavy rain, at other times sparse and intermittent, sometimes blatantly random and at other times sounding structured like an unknown language, it’s these clicks that carry the entirety of the work- varying just enough to maintain interest and dynamic, whilst lowering the listener’s heart rate overall.

In eight numbered parts, 31 minutes overall, there’s relatively little variety. Part 5 takes an unexpected step into a more regular rhythm, introducing an extremely low sub-bass that sounds like super-slow techno is happening in an apartment three floors below you. If you ever find yourself in a “my techno is more minimal than your techno” competition, this is a trump card. In part 6, a bass tone of the same pitch sounds more like distant industrial drilling than dance music, but it’s a subtle distinction.

It’s rare to hear a release that’s quite so bold with its stripped back approach, but there’s an elegance to it that’s hard to dispute. A release best suited to listening in a very isolated sonic environment, as it’s only there that the atmosphere here reaches its full immersive potential.

Incidentally, the primary format for this release is an SD card, which ChainDLK’s database doesn’t currently list as an option; but it is available as a download as well.

Purba: Singing Corpse

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 16 2019
Artist: Purba
Title: Singing Corpse
Format: CD
Label: Black Mara (@)
Rated: *****
This album is presented with a short tale about a men who found an old skull and asked it how he died; in the middle of the night the skull came to him in a dream and admonished him about how he didn't realized how the dead lived better than a king ad they lived without time or seasons. While now is the project of Svyatoslav Ponomarev, Purba started as a trio with Igor Yanchoglov and Alexey Tegin that will start Phurpa shortly after leaving the band. Approximately based on the same concept of the inspiration from Bon tradition and the use of Tibetan traditional instruments, instead of the philologic approach of Tegin's music, Ponomarev includes bits and pieces from musique concrete, noise and industrial, so it's far more varied and less demanding for the listener.
This release is composed by two rituals: "Ritual One" that immediately marks the distance from a strict adherence to the canon of the Bon tradition as it starts with string drone and a concrete beat, as if the drum was a stone, prior to introduce the Tibetan instruments. The ritual evolves in the alternation of noisy moments and subtler one where the exploration of isolated sounds immersed in silence or the overtone singing creates a sort of crossover between industrial and drone music while being neither of the two. "Ritual Two" starts as a more traditional track starting with a sort of gong and a wind instrument which create a meditative atmosphere; then it evolves with a section based on metallic percussion and in very silent part based on a bass percussion which introduce a long final part based on overtone singing and wind instruments which starts as a drone, evolves with evocative rhythmical structures and ends with the overtone singing.
The writing subtended to the execution of the rituals gives a remarkable variety to this release which feature a musical dynamics which is quite a rarity these days plagued with compression. It could be well received not only by fans of ritual or minimalistic music. Recommended.

Neunau: Il Ciclo Del Vuoto

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 13 2019
Artist: Neunau
Title: Il Ciclo Del Vuoto
Format: LP
Label: Boring Machines
Neunau’s “Concrete” work in 2016 and 2017 was based on sound research of a form of industrial archaeology, recording the sounds of a traditional ironworks that still involved hand working and old sledgehammers. This work was released as an album, and in turn was performed live inside a disused thermoelectric power plant, and a recording of that performance is also available already.

In effect this LP is a ‘remix album’, of sorts, because it uses those original sound recordings and reworks them, recycling them (in deference to the work’s title) into a collection of mostly fairly minimal rhythmic electronica pieces that rub against the borders of other loose genre definitions as well- sometimes experimental, sometimes techno, sometimes ambient.

Highlights include “Movimento I”, which begins as a fairly conventional sounding broken-kick-pattern electronica workout, much like the attitude-laden title track, but which unfolds into more energetic and playful (and at times quite squeaky) territory.

“Anomalia” is more drone-based, a fairly familiar-sounding sonic wash and melodic hum derived from processing and softening industrial sounds into harmonies, that serves as a form of interlude, but there are also grittier moments, including the aforementioned title track, and the impulse rhythms of “Nel Vuoto”. The especially brutal distorted subbass of “Rullo Trasportatore” feels like it’s only one breakbeat short of being the best track on the next Prodigy album, and it partners well with the slightly milder “Nastro Trasportatore” to form an intriguing little self-contained journey.

It’s a very nicely presented limited-edition LP, with hand-printed typography that makes each LP’s artwork fractionally unique. Even when detached from its thickly laden context, it definitely still works as one of the more intriguing and characterful pieces of electronica I’ve heard recently.

Ifitisn't: Colophon

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 10 2019
Artist: Ifitisn't
Title: Colophon
Format: CD + Download
Label: Focused Silence
“Colophon” is a 2-track, 20-minute mini CD work from the duo of [first name undisclosed] Robinson, playing modular electronics, double-bass, guitars and ‘sonic sundries’, and Maria Kalnars as “the acoustic part of this outfit” performing with voice, piano, keyboard, melodion, recorder, viola, percussives and found objects. With such a long list of instrumentation packed into a 20 minute work, you might think this release would sound energetic and dense.

In fact, it’s neither of those things. This is stripped-back and semi-minimal electroacoustic ambient work in which odd atmospheric environments are decorated with short stabs of sound that variously glitter, creak and decay independently in situ. The title track is built around a long, hollow, alien-sounding drone, and is surprisingly simplistic.

By contrast second track “Density” is meatier, introducing Kalnar’s voice (as heard in Juxtavoices) and instrumental work in a more obtuse, sometimes quite surreal way- the melodion work in the latter stages bordering on the tongue-in-cheek, contrasting with some squelchy acid electronic sounds in sharp stereo separation in a manner that’s quite playful.

Obtuse, in a good way, this release is worth checking out for “Density” and is an interesting calling card for a pair of artists who seem to have the potential for works that are eye-opening, and potentially quite confusing.

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