Music Reviews



Signs of the Silhouette: Spring Grove

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2015
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Artist: Signs of the Silhouette
Title: Spring Grove
Format: CD
Label: Bam Balam Records (@)
Rated: *****
According to press notes, Signs of the Silhouette is a project that connects sound exploration with video. This release is inspired by a documentary 'LSD: The Spring Grove Experiment', featuring several experiments of psychotherapeutic treatments of emotional issues by the supervised take of LSD. As obvious, the musical result is based on long musical lines from any musician of the band as none of their instrument has the role of simple accompaniment.
The first track of this release, they are all untitled, starts with a sort of juxtaposition within the drum and the guitar where, while tree track tries to create a drone, the drum develops the rhythmic pattern; when the bass enters, the track seems develop in a more canonic guitar track but there's constant shifts in psychedelic territories. The second track starts with an organ melody and the instruments slowly develops their path ebbing between meditative moments and aggressive ones. The first part of the third track is a dialogue between the guitar and the keyboard while the second part is based on the guitar and the third is a meditative part based on sustained notes until the final acceleration leads the way to the final part. The fourth track is an almost chaotic dialogue between guitar bass and drums flowing between rock band compactness and jazz band divagations.
At the crossroad between krautrock and psychedelia, this album is an impressive musical journey recalling the images on his cover and creating a curiosity of how could be his visual part. Truly recommended.

OZmotic / Fennesz: AirEffect

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2015
cover
Artist: OZmotic / Fennesz (@)
Title: AirEffect
Format: CD
Label: Folk Wisdom/SObject
Rated: *****
Before the first listening of this awesome collaborative project by Christian Fennesz - he doesn't really need any introduction - and OZmotic, the Turin-based electronic and instrumental duo by percussionist, composer, performer and sound designer SmZ and saxophone player and phycisist (specializing in tonal analysis and architectural and environmental acustics) Stanislao Lesnoj, whose scientific approach to sound as well as his jazz studies resound from his declension of music, I haven't read anything about its concept and my mind was broght into a sort of interstitial limbo, where a bunch of snippets from real worlds running in parallel to electronic pricks whirled around a saxophone, whose phrasing lied in between meditation and sullenness and could let you think of yourself as a sort of invisible observer into the fold and the wrinkles of mankind and occasional escapes towards sheltering metaphysical gardens, even if I can't find a position or a specific role to that kind of mocking walrus that can be heard on "Anthropocene". Such an "illusion" could be somehow fostered by the interesting strategies by which OZmotic grabbed sounds in their hometown Turin: contact and hydrophonic miks got placed in unusual places in order to grab the unperceivable vibrations or even the "perception" of thins like the riverbed of Po, the stone of a bridge or the wire of a tram. All these sounds they grabbed got inserted into their sonic bleeding, where jazzy elements got integrated to electronic textures, effected guitar-driven and electronic soundscapes, hypnotical dub movements and deranged detournament, that dramatically renders the conditions of post-modern mankind which has not find the right balance between nature and technology yet. The way they imagined and rendered the content of a black box from the so-called Anthropocene (a term which got widely used by essaysts like ecologist Stoermer and atmospheric chemist Crutzen to refer to a supposed epoch when the impact on our planet's ecosystems was widely influenced by human activities), where the disquieting collage of a grazed herd of goats (or humans?), voices from adverts, a yelling merchant and answering machines on "LiquidMrkt" or the feeling of asphyxia and confused turmoil that most moments seem to mirror ("Clone 15.26", "Run To Ruin") could be congruent with such a metaphysical journey which is other than transient. The final "Epilogo" sounds like the rising vision of that forthcoming moment when all those entities in the previous stages of the journey become parts of an hidden message of hope and atonement...

Suspicion Breeds Confidence: Tand

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2015
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Artist: Suspicion Breeds Confidence (@)
Title: Tand
Format: CD
Label: Attenuation Circuit (@)
Rated: *****
Named after one of the bizarre slogan of the likewise bizarre dictatorship in Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil - inspired by Orwell's "1984" -, Suspicion Breeds Confidence is the alias that Frankfurt-based sound artist Tobias Schmitt gave to his electronic artifacts. Its title "Tand", an obsolete German word to mean little nice but useless objects (generally referred to basic toys for children or junk jewelry), as well as the sarcastic titles of its tracks could be both deceiptful and meaningful, if you carefully listen to the flotsam and jetsam that he let float in his sonic pond: my favorite titles are "Although His Leadership Was Brutal His Death Was Deeply Mourned" that he gave to a track where he matched the session of an hypnotist to singed interferences, corrugated metallic sounds, which reminds the act of descaling a toilet tank -!- and one of those fluffy carpet-like pad-synth that your eardrum could meet in those therapy music gimcrack cd in the office of an osteopath or in a massage parlour before the whole track become more and more "claustrophobic", "The Rather Surprising Dishonesty of The Opium Mining Company", the abstract collage of ghostly whispering, soughing background noises, metallic hits that could surmise the noises from the water pipes - it makes sense if you saw the above-mentioned movie Brazil -, or "The Gentrification Of Babylon", the title he matched to one of the spookiest moment of this album, where a set of vanishing voices resurfaces from an expanding foggy sound as if they are clues of stifling or confused memories that some advertiser inoculated into subconscious world in order to generate shell-shocks. Likewise Gilliam, it will sound clear while listening to the sonic stuff that poured into "Tand" that Tobias seems to have penchant for grotesque deformation and a certain surreal hypertrophy of his sonic collages could sound more "extant" than any other unmeaningful info-particles that chaotically float around and flood our senses.

SPUNK & Joëlle Léandre: Live in Molde

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 02 2015
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Artist: SPUNK & Joëlle Léandre (@)
Title: Live in Molde
Format: CD
Label: +3dB Records
Rated: *****
Another wonderful release from the surprising Nordic improvisational scene immortalized one of those mixing that could only be sparkling, the collaborative performance of Spunk, the female quartet that the brilliant vocal performer Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje joined together by involving Kristin Andersen (trumpet, flutes), Lene Grenager (cello) and Hild Sofie Tafjord (French horn, electronics), and the iconic double bass player Joelle Leandre, that got held at Moldejazz Festival on July 20th 2011. The recording has been splitted in six moments: my favorite ones are the three collaborative parts, where the first sounds like a reciprocal exorcism within storms of sneaking tones, vocals which perpetually roll over moments of abstract joy, exstasy, paroxysm and rage, a double-bass which sounds like coiling around disjointed instrumental phrases, the second - one of the most amazing moment of the whole recording - renders a sort of musical tormented sleeping (heavy snoring included!) and an encore at the end of the recording, where they seem to produce sonic resin which frustrate any possible movement of each instrument, while Kristin uses her trumpet like a sort of whip against angry Furies. The sparkle of the two solo tracks by Joelle, which sound like a set of primers for a soul on fire, got counterbalanced by the solo performance by SPUNK, who seem to render the caring assuaging of the screaming wounds that Joellle lets ideally bleed. Joelle herself expressed her own admiration for the female super-group that get aside her art on the occasion of Moldejazz performance: "SPUNK is rare. As a group they have a unique strngth in the fact that all members move freely between roles as performers, improvisers and composers. SPUNK's music is poetic, responsible and free at the same time".

Fabrizio Modenese Palumbo: Doropea

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 27 2015
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Artist: Fabrizio Modenese Palumbo (@)
Title: Doropea
Format: Tape
Label: Old Bicycle Records (@)
Rated: *****
The shining glitter that have been melt in the transparent plastic of the cassette coul vaguely resemble those souvenirs, where an iconic monument of a place (the Mole Antonelliana in this case!) was put inside a sphere, which was typically filled with a liquid solution and some glitters in order to simulate the snow, and such a connection makes sense for this sonic dedication that Fabrizio Modenese Palumbo, former member of Larsen and Almagest! and collaborator of well-known musical acts like Xiu Xiu, Swans leader Michael Gira and Carla R.Bozulich as wel as one of the more original sonic artist of Italian underground scene, made for his hometown Turin. The somehow melancholic halo of the two fiftenn minutes lasting pieces, one for each side, got emphasized by the hissing of the tape describe the city at two different levels: a more ethereal and almost idealized one comes from the first one, where an upright piano, whose tones are sometimes lopsided or discordant, act like the above-described glitters into a floating and sometimes hypnotical droning stream, whose entrancing trascendence sprinkle on listener from buzzing tones from a synth, a processed guitar, an electric viola and an electric organ, which little by little wrap listeners into an icy and lukewarm hug at the same time, which I could match to the sunny days in late autumn, whose cold temperature got tempered by terse shining air. The second part of Doropea opens on the heavy snoring of someone, who maybe got asleep in a car just before a downpour, filtered by microphones and mechanical windscreen wipers, broke his sleep and could let you think that Palumbo's "description" descended to ground level, before his sounds keeps on spread over the listening space like an electrically excited gas and the gradual depletion of leakage currents after a somehow obsessive tonal crescendo that seems to have been evoked by the man who obsessively sounds like repeating, jabbering and leaisurely singing the word "tone", before his speaking got absorbed by the sonic magnetic field to the point it could resemble the way how more or less ghostly inhabitants of Twin Peaks' Black Lodge spoke in the famous final scene.


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