Music Reviews

Georges Forget: Le dernier présent

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 25 2015
Artist: Georges Forget
Title: Le dernier présent
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
Georges Forget could be considered a proper poet of sound and field recordings as you can easily infer since "Urban Adagio", the first long suite that opens this collection, where he inspires the poetic description of an urban environment and a city as a tired woman at the end of the day in opposition to the typical saying that some cities never sleep: "My own city is very tired when evening comes, weary of the uproar and hubbub. I can see her struggling to accompany citizens to their final occupations. Here she is, streets and boroughs blinking as she yawns and stretches out at the bottom of streets that are emptying slowly... my city falls asleep; she quitely lets erode away the forlorn destinies of the handful of souls still up to contemplate her, their shadows fading away under the pale light cast by the lampposts", according Wahed Gotref's introductory words. Premiered on April 23rd, 2010 as part of the concert "Con sordino" by Code d'acces, which commissioned it, at Relais Mont-Rotal in Montreal, the suite renders such a portrait in a very astonishing and somehow cinematic way, but it's only the first assay of the remarkable skills of representation, transfiguration and translations into sounds that got displayed on "Le dernier present": the following suite "Metal en bouche" - awarded at the 25th Concorso internazionale di musica elettroacustica e rumore Luigi Russolo-Rossana Maggia at Annecy in France and at the 3rd Destellos Electroacoustic Composition Competition in Mar De Plata, Argentina - seems to render an attempt of asphyxiation of someone by means of faggots made by impressively resounding minced metallic objects; the noise of creaky boards, forestays and shroads could surmise the physiological outputs of a living entity on "Une ile", the suite that precedes the narrative one "Orages d'acier", whose alternation of moments here violence becomes hallucinatory and suspended anxious moments of emptiness render the inspiration that Georges took from Ernst Junger's novel "Storm of Steel" (published in French as "Orages d'acier"), where the author releates his combat experience in World War I, and the more recent motion picture "The Thin Red Line" by Terrence Malick. Forget quotes the translation by Jack Collings Squire of the first stanza of "The Invitation to the Voyage" from Baudelaire's "Fleurs Du Mal" as framework of the more intimistic suite "Seul et semptembre" (2008) and an extract from Melville's "Moby Dick" - 'Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from eliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off ' then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.' - as a description of "L'appel", the acousmatic masterpiece that closes this collection.

-EMERGE-: Indulgence

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 16 2015
Artist: -EMERGE-
Title: Indulgence
Format: Tape
Label: attenuation circuit (@)
Rated: *****
This new release by -EMERGE- on Attenuation Circuit hasn't any liner notes so there's any viewpoint from the artist or the label to approach this release. Indulgence is a long electro acoustic track divided in two parts: "indulgence 1" starts with static crackles which ebb and flow like the water's sea then this small sounds are echoed and layered to obtain moving masses of sound using an high level of dynamics to use moments of almost silence interleaving the track parts; "indulgence 2" starts along the path of the first movement but it slowly evolves by accumulation until the parts raise a continuous wall of sound, a short quiet interlude introduce the listener to the final part based on a reverberated drone ending in silence.
The overall result is a work exploring the complex acoustic environment that could be created by small noises immersed in a quiet silences, so it's a difficult release which challenges the listener to have a conscious ear to follow the small variations in a continuous sound palette and this is adverse to the actual trend of distracted listening. All fans of electroacoustic music will enjoy this release.

Rydberg: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 15 2015
Artist: Rydberg
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
I've frankly never noticed that hot tap water could sound darker than cold one - maybe the sound of heater could be perceived as something sinister -, but I'll pay more attention to this obsrvation that someone wrote on the introductory words of this collaborative release by Berlin-based metamorphic sound artist and performer Nicholas Bussmann (aka Resistance, The Beige Oscillator and Nicholas Desamory, some of his aliases without quoting the plenty of collaborations he made...), who focused on the liminal areas between club music and experimentation, and Wien-based Werner Dafeldecker, whose electroacoustic-driven sound and realistic "environmentalism" crossed many different bodies of human knowledge such as architecture, physics (the name of this collaborative project seems to be a reference to Rydberg atom), photography and cinema. This release is a sort of tuning to the surltry days this couple experienced in Bussmann's recording studio in Kreuzberg during the particularly humid and hot summer of 2013 in Berlin, where weather conditions on the limit of what they can stand inevitably affected their sound, which seems to acquisce in the gloppy perspiration caused by the wet hot air, that got vividly rendered by the slow electronic patterns, the sliding friction of field recordings and the laborious attrition where electric glimmers and samples seem to plod through on the opening "Elevator" - where the field recordings of an elevator got suffocated by thich sonic steams - as well as by the sweaty dub and the amazing analog-driven meshes of the following "Gardening" and the final bath of sweat on the amazing post-techno suite "And The Science", whose sliding running of melting electronic and elements over a set of riding hi and low-hats defines the most fluid (and my favorite) moment of the release. Nice way to turn uncomfortable red-hot days into sound.

Sébastien Roux: Inevitable Music #1: Variations On Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #260

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 15 2015
Artist: Sébastien Roux
Title: Inevitable Music #1: Variations On Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #260
Format: 12"
Label: Future Audio Graphics (@)
I was unfamiliar with this French composer and the artist whose work he interprets. According to the label, this album 'employs a group of discrete digital and analog sounds (sustained/pulsed sine tone, sawtooth wave, voice, etc.) that each correspond to one of 20 shapes used in creating LeWitt's instructional wall drawing. Once assigned, these discrete sounds combine to create elegant and rigorous compositions that encourage the listener to reconsider LeWitt's notion that 'the idea becomes a machine that makes the art.'' This sounds much better in theory than in practice. If you remember those old speaker calibration records / CDs that would state '60 Mz sine wave,' and then proceed to run a 60 Mz sine wave before moving on to another waveform, you already have an idea of what you will be hearing. We open with a female voice announcing that we will be hearing sine wave tones and then we hear the tones. Next, we have sung pitch, then square tones, then a combination of sine waves and sung pitch, then sawtooth waves. From an academic perspective, I get what Roux is doing. I get how the ascending pitch and descending pitch is supposed to correspond to the line drawings, and the liner notes are instructive in how to decode this music. But from the standpoint of someone who wants to listen to music, it wasn't very engaging. Side 2 becomes a bit more interesting with the combinations, with 'Variation 7' the most complex and interesting of the tracks. Still, this album is unlikely to spend much time on my turntable. This may be interesting as part of an art installation, but it doesn't really translate well to your living room (unless you happen to be a Sol LeWitt collector). That said, if you like your music really minimal, this may be up your alley. This is mainly for those with a deep interest in conceptual art. This album is limited to 350 copies.

The Agromaniac: AM

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 15 2015
Artist: The Agromaniac (@)
Title: AM
Format: CD
Label: Ressonus (@)
The Agromaniac is a US-based experimental electronic artist who, according to the label, 'stays strictly in anonymity.' I suppose that may be why I hadn't heard of him (they do reveal the gender at least). The press sheet that came with the disc states that '80% of the sounds on this record were created using a human voice. Besides stunning industrial-techno tracks, 'AM' also offers a proper portion of atmospheric dark ambient pieces' and explains that it is 'loosely inspired by Harlan Ellison's short story 'I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.'' Sounds promising, so let's get down to the music. The disc opens with 'And When It Sang To Us, The Earth Shook,' which is pretty stripped down machine-like beats. However, this, along with the next few songs, are a bit too repetitive for my tastes. They seem more like sketches for songs, where you lay down the drum tracks and maybe a bit of synth and then plan to flesh it out later. Only you don't. Had this been the rest of the album, it would have been pretty dull; one of those moments where the idea was cool, but the execution was lacking. It's only when we get to 'Cain' that the compositions become a bit more complex and interesting. However, then we slip right back into the stripped down techno beats in 'Threads.' At times it gets a little weird; 'Growth' sounds like someone trying to create whale songs with feedback. But there are some high points to this album. 'Waste,' 'We Were Silenced,' and 'AM' are much more ambient, with lush drone that was quite pleasant. For me, this was a mixed bag. The Agromaniac is at his best when he really builds up the songs and creates an atmosphere. Of course, some people like repetition (think Plastikman and Sonar, for example), but I like a bit more variety so your mileage may vary. I will be interested to see how this project evolves, since there does seem to be some good potential here.

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