Music Reviews

Roman Leykam: Realm of the Shades

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 14 2015
Artist: Roman Leykam
Title: Realm of the Shades
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****
Long-lasting collaborator of Frank Meyer Arts both on solo-releases and collaborative ones, experimental guitar player Roman Leykam recently signed this new output, where the shades of the title don't really refer to places where there is no light, but it should be meant as a synonum of hues. It's better clarify that if you are not a lover of effected guitars or synth-mnipulated guitars, you could find the listening experience that Roman provides dreadfully boring, as the excessively abstract and old-fashioned sonic mantle by which he wrapped and blurred his brilliantly effected guitars - a trained ear will easily recognize that he's quite good in manoeuvring effects - could even severely test the resistence to the synthesis of sleep-inducing agents of listeners, who can understand what he wisely does. My attention was kept high by some interesting insertions of e-bow guitars as well as by some meaningful ideas such as the humongous growl he lets rise in "The Aftermath" or the club-induced claustrophobic feelings that got rendered in "Bleak Place", but I can't really stop yawning when the above-mentioned mantles made some interesting guitar-driven experiments sound like demo songs of cheap electronic keyboard.

Konstruktivists: Destiny Drive

 Posted by mad:dog   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 13 2015
Artist: Konstruktivists (@)
Title: Destiny Drive
Format: 3 x 12" vinyl
Label: Bleak (@)
Written and recorded between 2013 and 2014 and deemed to be the first album to be released on vinyl since their 1985's "Glennascaul", Konstruktivists' (Glenn M Wallis - Samples, Vocals, Words and Mahk Rumbae - Synths, FX, Arrangements) latest musical endeavor, "Destiny Drive", is nothing short of a sonic immersion in darkness. Thick with conceptual electronics and heavy on lyrics that do not allow your attention to roam free between the tracks, the A side ("Is This You", "Lone Groover", "Persona Non Grata") is both structured and relentless. It manages to keep a fine yet rather delicate balance between rhythmic seriousness and peculiar bits that are industrial to their very core. Each of these three tracks features its own arsenal of loose but purposeful sounds that may resist categorization, all mixed with Glenn's slow-paced and laconic vocals bulldozing the air. In fact, it becomes quite easy to end up picturing yourself while listening to this A side performed live and accompanied by video works that are just as subjugating as the tracks themselves. And then there comes the B side with "In Orange", "Static Automatic", "Psykho Politics" and "All That You Are", all four of them grinding on your eardrums as they play. It's a quivering and galvanizing B side that may not make for an easy listen, wrapped as it is with feverish, haunted vocals and angsty strings and beats. But nevertheless, these four tracks seem to unfurl at their own singular pace with no hints of what is to come. They converge toward a more integrating whole only to fade away in the end, leaving behind a trail of sounds reminiscent of a machine that occasionally leaps into inertia and malfunctions. Released on Bleak, a Vienna-based label focusing mainly on releasing experimental electronic music, "Destiny Drive" comes on red vinyl limited to 300 copies. Also available as a digital download on the band's Bandcamp site.

Am.Eise: Untitled

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 11 2015
Artist: Am.Eise
Title: Untitled
Format: CD
Label: attenuation circuit (@)
Rated: *****
It's hard to find any information from this project whose release on Attenuation Circuit is something which could be described as an abstract radio drama. As based on filed recordings, instead on relying on the cinematic effect with the development of a narrative, An.Eise extracts resonances and noises blurring the perception of recognizable sounds.
The track starts with a sort of radio recordings of a voice introducing the listener into a meditative track constructed upon a quiet ground noise acting as a canvas where metallic samples, or percussions, emerge. The development of the track is driven by the ground noise that quietly develops in a soundscape when there's the introduction of some samples until the return of the metallic sounds closes the first part of the track. The second part is based on filed recordings, most notably a child's voice, vaguely resembling a kindergarten memory. The third part is focused on samples from the first two part played until they collapse in a sort of noisy drone from whose the metallic noises emerge introducing the quiet last minutes based on a quiet drone dissolving the noises on the voices of some adults at the bus stop or so it sounds.
Close to a form of radio drama and adventurous in the sound construction, it's a demanding listening from a project able to extract small bits of inquietude from a large picture of quietness. Truly recommended.

Steve Roden: Flower & Water

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2015
Artist: Steve Roden (@)
Title: Flower & Water
Format: CD
Label: Dragon's Eye Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with this Los Angeles musician, but with this album I am reminded of Aube's 'Pages From the Book' in which the only sound source was a Bible. Steve Roden took a similar approach with this album: 'Flower & Water began with an offer to work with the first Dragon's Eye release ' a flexi-disc with a recording of George Winston playing a blues piano composition called 'Medley: Bread Baker's Stomp' ' as source material. Since I am not a true remixer, I decided to modify the track via physical manipulation. Most of the material began with cutting up some of the flexi's and taping back together in 'wrong' ways. I then played (or tried to play) the broken records that had been taped back together ' also putting objects onto the surface of the record while being played with a cheap record player that had a small built-in speaker.' The result is a series of looped compositions with shorter pieces (most less than a minute) interspersed throughout that highlight more experimental approaches with broken stabs of music ' here is where he must have stapled together the flexis into frankenflexis. The result is fascinating and some of the results are stunning. 'Words In The Shape Of A Tree,' for example, is a hauntingly beautiful series of looped piano snippets. 'Feeling, Smelling, Tasting' begins with looped piano and ends with heavily processed grinding sound, as if it was slowly being played backward with a bad needle. 'Straightforwardness' begins with reversed music and then moves into a mournful piano loop over pulsing swells of bass. If you're looking for experimental music that will not scare your friends and make them ask 'why the hell do you listen to this kind of stuff?' this is an excellent place to start. Don't get me wrong 'I listen to stuff that sounds like sheet metal in a blender, but sometimes I like it mellow too. This is an example of how experimental can still be beautiful, even in conventional ways. Well done. This album weighs in at around 36 minutes and is limited to 500 copies.

Delmore fx: Innumerevole

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2015
Artist: Delmore fx
Title: Innumerevole
Format: Tape
Label: Das Andere Selbst (@)
Rated: *****
'It was pretty difficult to find anything about this artist, but Discogs reports that 'Delmore Fx is the solo Project of Elia Buletti, the man behind the Berlin based label Das Andere Selbst. 'Altogether, let`s call it just bedroom tribalism.'' Whatever that means.... So putting on the tape is like listening to a toy factory gone amok. Sound synthesis chips have taken on a life of their own, music boxes speed up and slow down on their own accord, and there is a sense that everything is reflected through a funhouse mirror and the carousel keeps going round and round and round and you eventually start to get a bit dizzy. But by then it is far too late to get off the ride because everything has begun to move too fast to safely get off. The tapes that accompany the ride have begun to get eaten by the dirty tape heads in the machine and everything is off kilter. It is glitchy and full of loops and crazy in a whimsical way. Who says that experimental music has to be serious? This album weighs in at around 40 minutes.

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