Music Reviews



SuperImpose: Edinburgh

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 31 2015
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Artist: SuperImpose (@)
Title: Edinburgh
Format: 12"
Label: Wide Ear Records (@)
Rated: *****
Named after the beautiful Scottish city of Edinburgh where they recorded it on live stage - at Reid Concert Hall on March 2013, to be precise -, SuperImpose, the bicephalous project by German trombonist Matthias Muller - I already introduced his name when writing about Foils Quartet - and jazz drummer Christian Marien - the first time I heard his hits occurred three years ago on "Nulli Secundus", another interesting release on Portuguese label Creative Sources where he performed together with Andreas Willers and Meinrad Knee -, recently submitted this impressive live recording for Swiss label Wide Ear to my aural attention. Their session was splitted into two long-lasting (approx 18 minutes each) parts, whose experimental grip turns the listening experience of their interplay into a possible games of association of ideas and images they could evoke, where they keeps on exploring the boundaries between sound and noise, lack of rhythmical structures and rhythm. They don't render an embryonic or primeval stage of sound, but it seems they explore the stages that immediately precede sound. For instance, the first ten minutes of "Part 1" could give you the idea that SuperImpose translated the biological growth of some mysterious entity, so that the disarticulated percussive joints and the noises that Muller make by dampening breath and restricting modulations within his trombone could sound like the somehow ponderous steps towards a proper phrase or sound. Check it out to tickle your imagination.

RI:SA_sys: Self-Deception

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 30 2015
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Artist: RI:SA_sys (@)
Title: Self-Deception
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
RI:SA_sys is the Industrial rock project of Sami Jokinen of Finland. Formed by Sami and Riku S. in 2006 during their Miksen.net-era, the duo produced seven releases, none of which I've ever heard. Now it's only Jokinen on 'Self-Deception', as he takes you on a tour-de-farce through his twisted psyche on this album. Beginning with the old-school industrial "the activity", Jokinen conjures groups such as SPK, Cabaret Voltaire and early Skinny Puppy. A mechanical swamp of dreary machines inhabits "manufacture" and I'm reminded a little of John Lydon's vocal histrionics in PIL. It's a mess, but a glorious one. "Upstream" is a stuttering techno-punk number with a lot of breakbeats, twisted vocals, and frenetic energy. The creepy industrial soundscape of "in practice" seems to have what sounds like the Frankenstein monster chasing a flock of geese towards the end. "pride" starts out with a beat on what could be the crappiest drumkit ever before it kicks into a vicious hardcore punk groove, contorted and distorted with filtering. It alternates back and forth with minimal electronica and the punk aspect on verse and chorus respectively, if you could call them that. The dichotomy of the capitulation and assault is oddly compelling. Toward the end there is some processed vocal rambling and manipulated dialogue samples that may only make sense to the composer. A kind of synth ambience opens "the substitute" while Sami begins the lyrics sotto voce before emotionally wailing his words in despair. The rest is a somewhat low-key, gloomy, industrial soundscape. For a minute or so, a low rumbling is the chief element of title track "self-deception" before submerged woozy synths appear with a fragmented synth melody line on top. That's about all there is to that one. "alone pt. 2" (did I miss pt. 1? I don't recall any pt. 1 on this album) is partially reminiscent of Controlled Bleeding. The last listed track on the album is "the lie" which begins with just a repeating synth line and some distant bells in the background before it launches into a messy guitar-drum-bass assault over the top. That stops and the aforementioned synth line and bells play on while Jokinen emotes vocally in varying shades of intensity building up to the chaotic climax with everything going full blast. The recording isn't stellar here but the fervor certainly is. There are two more tracks, both untitled. The first is a beatless electronic industrial soundscape. The second begins sparsely with a little piano but semi-tribal drums move in and then it builds into a stomping maxi-minimal post-rock instrumental of controlled chaos. Another piano break backed with some feedbackish ambience, then the drums return and it's back to the full-blown instrumental. Once more the piano returns, then it's all over. Hmmm...not sure what to make of all this. No doubt there's talent here, even if 'Self-Deception' is scattershot and and a bit low-fi. I sense this is somewhat intentional, and a byproduct of the tortured artist searching for meaning in a world that makes no sense. You may not share RI:SA_sys's vision completely, but the music hits enough nerves to get your attention. CD is limited to only 100 copies

General Magic & Pita: Fridge Trax Plus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 26 2015
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Artist: General Magic & Pita
Title: Fridge Trax Plus
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Someone could imagine that a synth, a drum machine or other electronic devices should have marked the dawn of most glorious labels of the scene. Some labels actually build their catalogue on the sounds some artists squeezed from specific synth or drum machines, but not so many listeners would surmise that a fridge could have been even more influential than a synth, as testified by this re-release of the very first outputs by one of the most appreciated electronic music label like Editions Mego, whose huge catalogue got started by an EP - "Fridge Trax 12" - and an album - "Live & Final Fridge" - from the electronic music eggheads of Peter Rehberg aka Pita and General Magic, the well-known duo by Andreas Pieper and Ramon Bauer, who entirely made these amazing releases (13 tracks both, but I imagine they recorded more than 13 ones and some could have been left unedited) by processing sounds they grabbed by putting a microphone inside a fridge. I'm not sure they imagined their experiment would have been so influential to the point it can be considered one of the records that fostered the inoculation of abstract sonorities within dance music structures, but all those youngster who are just approaching to the wide world of sound will be so delighted by the funny sonic freaks they made from a bunch of icy and sometimes defrosten sounds that I won't be surprised if a museum will exhibit Mego's fridges or other useful modern electric appliances alongside Mozart's score or Beethoven's comb for the devotional pleasure of future generations. That's a wise way to celebrate the first 20 years of existence of the Wien-based label.

When: The Black Death

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 25 2015
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Artist: When
Title: The Black Death
Format: 12"
Label: Ideologic Organ (@)
Rated: *****
The sonic rendering of the pestilential wind that according to some ridiculous conjectures by so-called doctors about the origin of the so-called Black Death, which almost caused the extinction of humans in the fourteenth century, was attracted by a planetary conjuction from the depths of the earth before getting pushed back on Earth with the venomous recipe that God added to it - it seems incredible, but it's true - opens this old record - it was recorded at Sound Sector in Oslo with the support by sound engineer Bernt Kanstad in summer 1992 - by which Lars Pederson translated into sounds Theodor Kittelsen's "Svartdauen", a sort of dark poem inspired by Black eath in Norway, which killed almost two thirds of the populations, including the whole medieval aristocracy - Norway had no heirs to throne in those ages! -. Both the macabre theme and the astonishing sound-collage by which he rendered it, including gnawing rats, whining horses, moaning people, grinding wood, Death's snigger and quotations from traditional Norwegian folk music and dirges, turned Pedersen's solo-project When and this release in particular into a sort of cult listening by fans of Norwegian black metal scene - not so many people know that Varg Vikernes aka Count Grishnackh (the man behind Burzum) as well as many other black metal musicians of that scene considered this When album an essential listening in the heydays of burning churches in Norway -. In between environmental sound poems by Luc Ferrari and Nurse With Wound's dadaist studio experiments - even if When's "The Black Death" reminded to me some really obscure less known stuff from Laibach such as their disquieting album "Krst Pod Triglavom - Baptism" -, this listening experience should be listened while reading Kittelsen's Svartedauen - I read it last year on the occasion of the issue of an Italian translation which followed the celebration of 100 years from the death of its inventie author and illustrator -. Check it out and beware of the rat fleas!

Charlemagne Palestine + Rhys Chatham: YOUUU + MEE = WEEE

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 25 2015
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Artist: Charlemagne Palestine + Rhys Chatham (@)
Title: YOUUU + MEE = WEEE
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
Sub Rosa recently completed a sort of trilogy of collaborative recordings by mellifluous and polyhedral musician Rhys Chatham, who after moving his first steps in music as a piano tuner for La Monte Young and harpsichord tuner for Glenn Gould, Gustav Leonhardt and Rosalyn Tureck and studying under the wise teachings by electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick and La Monte Young, became one of the most influential voice of avantgarde scene to the point he could be the real link between New York Downtown composers of the late 70ies and the so-called NoWave by developing a musical and sonic language with a plenty of connections between experimental music and rock. Following the collaborative recordings with Z'ev and Tony Conrad, this release with Charlemagne Palestine highlights the intensely ritualistic hooks that essentially feature Palestine's performance during which he surrounds himself and his piano using stuffed animals, drinks cognac and smokes a plenty of kreteks, the Indonesian clove cigarettes. During the listening of the three long-lasting tracks - one for each cd -, you'll get easily absorbed by the exceptional emotional and sometimes even mystical or ecstatic strain - while the first one is quite febrile, a sort of blissful standstill is going to tickle listener's eardrums on the one-hour lasting second recording before the heavenly and highly suggestive titillations of the third one -, that got rendered by Charlemagne Palestine by means of a Bosendofer piano, a Yamaha orgue and even his voice, while Rhys keeps on drifting towards soulful elongation on a looping trumpet and a psychedelia-driven electric guitar. An entrancing musical alchemy.


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