Music Reviews

VV.AA.: framework500

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 03 2015
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: framework500
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: framework editions
Rated: *****
This huge collection of tracks, which have different connections to field recordings, is the grandiose way by which American-born sound artist, performer and radio artist Patrick McGinley aka Murmer's imprint Framework, which recently hit the enviable 500 broadcasted transmissions marker after almost 13 years in the ether, celebrates this important goal. The history of this radiophonic imprint is intimately connected to the artistic path and the sonic researches of its founder, who keeps on collecting found sounds and found objects by mean of which he makes sounds since 1996, when he moved to Europe. After many travelling across the Old Continent, he visited Southeast Estonia in 2005, where he decided to relocate in 2009, maybe for its unexpectedly vibrant scene in the field of sonic experiments that we spoke about on the occasion fo a chat with Gintas K some years ago. Patrick actually holds workshops, presentations and performances, which focus on the exploration of site-specif sound and sound as a definition of surrounding space. His live performances feature interesting matching between found sounds, found onjects, specific spaces and moments in time, which are intended to create a sort of ritual and visceral link with an audience and its location an such a link is the key to understand the core of his works in the guise of Murmer, which tries to give emphasis to sounds, which normally pass through our ears unnoticed and unremarked, but whose perception out of their context could sound like an extraordinry or even alien experience. On the first of the three cd of this colelction, there's also an assay of Patrick's sound art, the catchy and somehow relaxing "Signal From The Dam", but field recordings are the basis of the other 29 tracks of this collection, that involved the same sound artists which got involved for the celebration of 250th release by Framwork, and the strategies of implementation of field recordings in the track as well as the emotions they manage to render in listener's mind are remarkably diversified: the range covers proper reverie, which gets sometimes closer to mystical experiences, mechanical obsessions, immersive soundscapes, environmental and psychogeographical audio documents, augmented sonic realities and so on by more or less known artists in the enlarging field recordings community of producers and listeners. The idea of mirroring the processing for the production of the sonic product by including recordings of different stages of the manufacture - the three high-quality CDrs of the compilation got boxed in an origami sleeve made from locally produced recycled stock from Rapina Paberivabrik and letterpressed on very old printing machines at studio.tartuensis in Tartu (Estornia) - is really nice. Framework500 features new works by Asmus Tietchens, Dallas Simpson, Eric Cordier, Felicity Ford, Jeph Jerman, Keith Berry, Keith de Mendonca, Loren Chasse, Maksims Sentelevs, Maria Balabas with Mihai Balabas and Nicolas Triboi, Martin Clarke, Matteo Uggeri and Luca Berge, Peter Cusack, Scott Sherk, Eamon Sprod, Emmanuel Mieville, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Jez Riley French, Jim Haynes, Joel Stern, Jonathan Coleclough, Ben Owen, Kodama, Phill Niblock, Richard Garet, Simon Whetham, Thomas Tilly, and toy.bizarre. I'm pretty sure they'll keep on sharing the resounding venisons of their sound-hunting for many years toi come or until the universe will be totally silent...

John Zorn : Pellucidar: A Dreamers Fantabula

 Posted by Vincent Puleo   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 02 2015
Artist: John Zorn
Title: Pellucidar: A Dreamers Fantabula
Format: CD + Book
Label: Tzadik
Rated: *****
Pellucider: A Dreamers Fantabula is the fifth release and the first in over four years for John Zorn's band The Dreamers. Listeners who are familiar with the band's work can count on hearing a continuation of familiar themes and structures and can also count on hearing an energy that feels distinct from the band's preceding records. While the understated virtuosity of the rhythm section (with Joey Baron on drum set, Cyro Baptista on percussion, and Trevor Dunn on bass guitar) supports the often transcendent solo playing of Jamie Saft, Kenny Wolleson, and Marc Ribot throughout the entire record, Pellucider expresses itself through a group sound that is always focused on composition. It is worth noting that Trevor Dunn plays beautiful bass guitar, rotating from track to track through a milky finger-style sound and a round, picked tone that echos Carol Kaye. Pellucider takes influence from fantasy literature and this influence radiates from the CD's physical package created by Tzadik's exclusive designer Chippy. A 36 page booklet accompanies the music, full of detailed characters of the Dreamers world hand painted by Chippy. And of course, as with all Tzadik recordings, the music's sonic quality is exceptional - recorded and mixed by Marc Urselli at East Side Sound in NYC. Pellucider is an essential component of the Dreamers discography and would serve as both an effective record to introduce listeners to John Zorn's music and distinguished improvisation.

Ensemble Progresivo: Hesitancy

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 02 2015
Artist: Ensemble Progresivo (@)
Title: Hesitancy
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Another awesome release from the stack of releases by Creative Sources comes from Ensemblo Progresivo, a project that Madrid-born composer, saxophonist and clarinetist Ricardo Tejero made by a simple idea, that is improvising within a compositional context. I can't say such an idea is totally new, but the very fact that Tajero belongs to those musicians who believe that all those more or less academic debates about the distinguishing elements between composition and improvisation, which caused a remarkable waste of breathe and ink, are not really useful. The stronger argument for such an idea is the way this ensemble implemented this coexistence which is not only peaceful, but almost idyllic as you can easily verify by listening to some of what they define "progressions" by this ensemble by means of what they call "progressions" is really amazing. according to some words that got written when the Ensemble Progresivo moved its first steps: "The concept of progression is ever-present in the work of this band. Following the principle of non-repetition and ephemeral existence that improvised music has at its core, ensemble Progresivo aims to draw upon what they like to call "Progressions", pieces where the structure is prearranged using a combination of references and musical elements worked out by Rocardo Tejero, achieving different form every time a new "Progression" is played. in this way, every time the band performs they play a different "written progression" or piece, never to be repeated again". It should be pointed out that Ricardo carefully selected the musicians of Ensemblo Progresivo, as all of them - Alison Blunt (violin), Adrian Northover (alto sax, soprano sax), Marcio Mattos (cello, electronics), Roberto Sassi (electric guitar) as well as Ricardo come from the London Improvisers Orchestra... they are not new fishes in the pool! - and such a high level of expertise is clear over the nine funny progressions: the opening " Progresion 22 - Misnuet" departs from a sort of austere minuet, which sounds like groaning for its own figure till the point it almost autonomously begins to self-deconstructed, the amazing struggling by compositional elements between Mattos's cello and Tejero's alto sax on the following "F.A.Q.", the almost psychotic overlapping of sketched (or I'd rather say hesitant) musical phrases on "Ida y Vuelta", the clarinet melody which sounds like choked in it sleep by a convulsive violin on "Moundfield" or the limping symphony of the funny "Mannock" are just some examples of their modus operandi, and you can imagine how many times formal compositions got melted down by improvisational flickering over the 19-minutes lasting central piece "Dilema"... Some words by French magician Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin came to my mind while listening to this release. He used to say that "a conjurer is not a juggler". I won't say this could be true for this great bunch of musical conjurers!

Labasheeda : Changing Lights

 Posted by mad:dog   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 31 2015
Artist: Labasheeda (@)
Title: Changing Lights
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Presto Chango Records
A female fronted post-punk trio (Saskia van der Giessen - vocals, guitar, violin, viola/ Arne Wolfswinkel - guitar, bass, keys/ Bas Snabilie - drums) hailing from a place already known for its eclectic music scene (Amsterdam), Labasheeda is nothing short of a piercing audio experience. Their latest LP, "Changing Lights" can easily confuse you with its unruly experimentation with guitar, bass, drums and unnerving vocal tones. But once you refrain yourself from hitting the stop button and become curious about how this album might eventually unfold, you're in for the kind of musical feast that is more instinctual that you would care to admit. Openly engaging with your grungier senses and not with your intellectual understanding, songs as "Spiral Song", "My Instincts", "Wasteland" or "Into the Wide" make you wonder what will come next as everything on this album seems to be keen on fueling your expectations as a listener. Juxtaposing an angry violin at the least expected moments, "Changing Lights" by Labasheeda delivers the kind of sharp and cool tonalities that are everything but the perfect match for a rigid audience meaning that you will find yourself nodding, moving your feet spasmodically in virtually no time and striving to keep up with the lyrics sometime in between. Because yes, there are also some great lyrics on this album. Apart from digital download and the band's profile on, "Changing Lights" is also available on transparent blue vinyl with cover design by Arne Wolfswinkel.

Møster!: Inner Earth

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 29 2015
Artist: Møster!
Title: Inner Earth
Format: CD
Label: Hubro (@)
Rated: *****
Even if it arrived on my desk some months after its release, this brilliant assay of musical spelunking by inventively polyhedral tenor saxophonist and rising star of the experimental Scandinavian scene Kjetil Moster (former collaborator of Datarock, The Core, Royksopp, Paal Nilssen-Love and Chick Corea) and a team of likewise brilliant cave explorers (the two Motorpsychists Kenneth Kapstad on drums and Hans Magnus "Snah" Ryan on guitar and Nikolai Eilertsen on bass) has that ageless nuance of some great suites. The main elements of "Inner Earth"'s matrix are not so difficult to recognize: most of arrays got held by hooks to progressive-jazz (particularly John Coltrane) and prog-rock, but they seems to follow a score which could ideally be considered a sort of clay impression of the sharp protrusions of caves, being the intensity of their sound influenced by the high temperatures and rising pressure of the guts of an active volcano and the crazy chorality of this fourtet becoming more and more incandescent as if they have to play red-hot instruments that got stretched to breaking point. "Descending into this crater", the first suite in four parts ("Poutanian Debate", "Central Sunrise", "Magma Movemnt" - definitively my favourite one of the four parts - and "Mount Vesuvio") sounds like a tuning stage, which shows some similaritiewith some stuff by Supersilent (this fourtet was a quintet before the exit of Supersilent member Stale Storlokke) and precedes the two masterpieces of this incendiary recording: the 14-minutes lasting "Tearatorn", where Kjetil sounds like the generator of a perpetual seismic wave that got fostered by the other members of the band, who erode stylistical fields in between avant-jazz, improvisation, prog-rock and noise-by foothills, and the shorter "Underworld Risk", where the stormy gowns of the previous track crawl over psychedelic and sometimes tribal pavements.

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