Music Reviews



Lyke Wake: The Dark After Dark

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 24 2015
cover
Artist: Lyke Wake
Title: The Dark After Dark
Format: CD
Label: Aseptic Noise
Rated: *****
I'm really late reviewing this one and in the meantime Stefano Di Serio released a couple of tapes ("Exhale" and "The Hatred Of A Thousand Years") and he's about to release a new album this year. Anyway... "The Dark After Dark" is his latest CD and contains three new tracks which, like his latest releases with Lyke Wake, are based on a more "musical" approach to sound structure, as we have the core which is based on a sound similar to an organ on the first track and a vocal pad on the second one and then, as for the best tradition of bands such as Tangerine Dream, we have improvisations with synth sounds enriching the long suites. If the opening self titled track is kinda more dramatic and a bit more melodic, thanks to an increasing noisy atmosphere, "A Dream Beyond The Universe", is more ambient based and sometimes we have hissing sounds coming and going. The short closing track "The Fall Of Corrupt (Prelude)", is an epic one and the blasts we hear at its end make me think that there's nothing left than silence...

Rapoon: What Do You Suppose? (The Alien Question) / Project Blue Book

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 21 2015
cover
Artist: Rapoon (@)
Title: What Do You Suppose? (The Alien Question) / Project Blue Book
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
Rated: *****
This new reissue from Zoharum is another classic from Rapoon dated 1999. "What Do You Suppose? (The Alien Question)" is a concept album based on the theories related to aliens and their presence on the planet made by William Cooper so the texts of the various tracks, rather to be an esthetic element, are the focus of this release and made it a really different from the previous reissues.
The loop from an old record and the spoken word of "Before I Begin" opens this release as a quiet introduction to the beat of "Waddi Haj" where the ethnic elements of his music return while "How Many of You Understand?" is based on the words and "Never Called NJ12'¦" is finally the juxtaposition of the two musical elements. "Give Us Dub" is, as the title suggests, a dub influenced bridge to the second part of this album starting with "No Really'¦" where the dialogue introduces an emerging loop.
"How Many of You Did Not Know That?" is a long cinematic track focused on a drone. The deep drone of "The Alien Question" is frightening in opposition to the "Only The Names Change"'s one. "Without Aliens'¦" is a meditative track based on a vocal loop and a drone while "I Don't Expect Anyone'¦" closes this release returning to the classic rhythmic structure of this project.
The second CD is a complete rework of the original release removing the spoken word part, with the exception of "The Truth Regarding UFO's", and focusing on the rhythmic element so tracks like "Further than Waddi Haj", based upon "Waddi Haj", "Leaving Us", based upon "I Don't Expect Anyone'¦", or "Send Dub", based upon "Give Us Dub", sound like experiments in sound nuances. The other tracks removes the cinematic elements that are peculiar of the original release and replaces them with dance oriented ones; the only exception is "Dark Gods Breathing" focusing on tone oriented chant.
While the first CD could stand among the finest releases of Robin Storey with his remarkable shift upon a narrative element usually absent in the previous releases, the bonus disc sounds more like the usual add-on of a reissue or a variation on the form already exposed in his classic masterpiece. However, this is an essential reissue.

Andreas O.Hirsch: Summe 1

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 21 2015
cover
Artist: Andreas O.Hirsch (@)
Title: Summe 1
Format: 12"
Label: makiphon (@)
Rated: *****
The imaginative representation of the sound processing on the cover artwork of this nice release by composer and inventive sound artist Andreas Oskar Hirsch, which depicts three egg beaters whose supposed interstellar juice digs the bowels of the earth and got filtered by a funnel, could match his sonic artifact for Koln-based label makiphon. Speaking of artifacts, the "exoticism" of some of the eight droney soundscapes Andreas poured into the pan of "Summe 1" comes from a really exotic instrument that he extensively plays along with electric guitars, mini fans, pitched harmonicas and delays: the electric palm leaf, an electroacoustic instrument that looks like a crossbreed between a marimba and a palm leaf, is the source of the delayed percussions for some nice moments of the release such as the second part of the opening track "In A Seldom Land", which could fit an imaginary anthem for an hidden holiday resort for Indian tripping summers, the entrancing "Konnektor", the immersive "Kemeri 5 am", where Andreas inserted the nocturnal crane calls that he recorded on a bike trip in a swamp nearby Riga while he was trying to decode bird messages by means of morse code (!), the overdelayed tidbit of "Kautschukwaage" or "Opossum Pravda", a track that he dedicated to the notorious nocturnal marsupial, where the soft hearted final tones suggests a sort of emotional attachment to that tenecious creature. The link to terrestrial wonders, botanical scenery and animality fades away on the flipside, where drones climb to numerical reveries ("Summe 1"), sidereal trips ("Maxwell Mountains") and amazing abstract physics ("Teilchenbeschleuniger"). Only 300 copies of this release circulate on the planet.

Dunkelheit: Les Solitudes Cendrées

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 21 2015
cover
Artist: Dunkelheit
Title: Les Solitudes Cendrées
Format: CD
Label: Steelkraft Manufactory (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this French act, although the label states that they have been active since 1993. Dunkelheit is the work of Alain Le Gall, and the label describes it as 'between industrial noise, concrete cut-ups and cold ambient soundscapes.' The only other clue comes from the liner notes which consists only of a quote from Camille Belguise: 'Dans le silence et la solitude, on n'entend plus que l'essentiel,' which Google translate renders "In silence and solitude, you can not hear that much" (I'm sure it's more poetic in French). I've been pretty impressed with the stuff coming out of Steelkraft Manufactory, so I was looking forward to seeing how this one played out. Let's walk though this track by track. 'Mystère Tellurique' opens up with some interesting field recordings. It's like a cinematic soundtrack without music in a post-apocalyptic city. 'Eléments Instables' gives us some good droning ambience that is peaceful but a bit unsettling after the previous track. About three minutes in, some crackling static begins to peek through giving just a hint of grittiness present in the opening track. 'Volcanisme Latent' changes gears a bit with warbling, spacey ambience combined with whatever the Voyager spacecraft is currently hearing. 'Nuages Sur Saison Sèche' removes all pretense of peacefulness found in the previous tracks by bringing out some crackling noise and wind blasts. 'Evénements Secondaires II' continues this trajectory with some French spoken word punctuated with noise blasts. 'Le Calme de la Tempête' takes this to its completion with more aggressive static noise and processed vocals. At the end it completely gives way to white noise for the last few minutes. Overall, this is interesting work, with enough variety to keep things engaging. This album weighs in at around 50 minutes and is limited to 100 copies.

Paul Baran: The Other

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 21 2015
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Artist: Paul Baran
Title: The Other
Format: CD
Label: Fang Bomb (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this Scottish artist, but the label describes this album as 'The Other is Britain, Student protests, Riots, Neo Liberalism, Fear, Nationalism, Haiti, Chess, Geopolitical sum games, Potlatch, Celebrities, Obama, The Shoah, Love, Reflexive Impotence, The Wheel, Inversion, Tarkovsky, The Zone.' Well, that's a lot to cover and not very illustrative of what we're going the hear, so let's get right into the music. 'Time' opens up with a short, sparse instrumental track that almost feels like a warm up exercise before 'Himmelstrasse' breaks everything wide open with a more complex work. There is a lot going on here, from melancholy vocals (with the refrain 'we all fall down') and chaotic instrumentation. A guitar strum here, a hit to sheet metal there, some bits of violin. It's not a typical composition, but it hangs together well. 'Dissent' begins with yelling and spastic improvisation, then shifts to drone, percussion, and distorted guitar over the refrain 'beating the battle.' 'Britonia' has a steady beat with occasional ear piercing high pitched tones with vocals that seem pulled from an answering machine. 'Celebrity' features droning and scraping improve with chunks of heavily distorted vocals. 'The Human Republic Of Haiti' brings in bass and sticks striking objects with some tentative plucking of guitar and piano. At 9 minutes in we get some grunting vocals that are unintelligible. 'Krom' is sparse drone with piano, cello, and guitar. 'Time Zone' brings in flute and beats with fat analog synth. 'Looking For Bobby' is violin and child vocals with water, pizzicato strings, and what sounds like a Jew's harp. 'Potlatch' ends up on a mellow note, which is kind of unexpected after the roiling chaos within. This is noisy, but not noise. There's enough going on here to keep things interesting while still maintaining a sense of continuity throughout. We could file this alongside such practitioners as Zoviet France and Hafler Trio.


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