Music Reviews

Natasha Barrett: Peat+Polymer

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 29 2015
Artist: Natasha Barrett (@)
Title: Peat+Polymer
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: +3dB
Rated: *****
Even if spacial relations between sounds as well as the relation between organic and synthetic sonic spheres are the main cornerstones of the stylistical research of multi-awarded British-Norwegian sound-artist Natasha Barrett, this huge collection of her works shows different aspects of her amazing sound art, which often deployed sipport and ideas by scientists and experimental sound designer that Natasha managed to involve. The "artificial" side of her sound got mainly poured into "Polymer", the part of the release where Natasha establishes or, I'd rather say, sculpts relations between sounds by means of really interesting and somehow weird themes. The initial acousmatic piece is a sort to ode to umbrella, where her voice seems to look for a shelter from heavy rain, and opens "Hidden Values", a tryptich dedicated to supposedly minor inventions - completed by a track dedicated to optical tubes and a really funny one to key and lock, where she stages a sort of fight between female voice and percussive elements that should mirror the fight to keep power or ownership hidden by means of this invention or the separation between people (in and out) on opposite sides of the lock -, that she explores by letting drama and metaphor collide. She applied a similar triple partition to "Kernel Expansion", where she exposes the kernel of sounds that are connected to her own memories (from outddors, from inside and from imagination, realities and dreams), and "Reality and Secrets no.2", where she tried to match everyday sounds as compositional parameters and patterns to shape and control two sonic materials (children sledging downhill and some performances by cellist Tanja Orning) by means of the "score" she derived from a set of analysis tools. The second cd is more "earthbound", but not less imaginative than the first one as the way by which she assembled (really realistic) sounds that she grabbed in three locations for different purposes is really brilliant: the first track is the Route No.1 of Oslo Sound Space Transport System, a 3d-sound mapping of the beautiful Norwegian capital, whose sonic architecture becomes surprisingly surreal. The seven short sets of "Sound Exposure in Peru" slightly differs from typical audio postcards as Natasha tried to focus on the way how nature and culture reflect contrasts in space and place, while "A Soundwalk through Shangai", a time-compressed sonic collage of recordings she grabbed in Shangai's backstreets on her way to Expo 2010, is closer to the idea of traditional audio postcards. She inserted a couple of untitled tracks at the end of each part: she unsuccessfully tried to find a title for the first one (maybe some listeners could suggest a possible title after listening), while the second untitled track has a subtitle at least, 'Flight of the Bee', as well as a localization - a sandy island off the south east coast of Norway - as the other tracks of the second part.

Mai Mai Mai: Πέτρα (Petra)

 Posted by mad:dog   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 29 2015
Artist: Mai Mai Mai (@)
Title: Πέτρα (Petra)
Format: 3 x 12" vinyl
Label: Corpoc (@)
Featuring 3 boiled down pieces, 'Petra' by Mai Mai Mai feels as if you were hearing a sound transmission that is about to break down and actually feeling relieved once the final frequencies collapse. But this will soon turn out to be just an illusion as its sonics creep only to become stronger and the first track, 'Bassae', stands as proof of this fragmented soundscape mapped by a genuine sense of closeness. It's the kind of closeness that makes you feel insubstantial once you are projected against such throbbing sound explorations as you may end up feeling that you have no other choice but to listen. Listen to it and be totally enthralled by these 3 sonic exercises playing with intrusiveness and acuteness that seem bound to tickle your most claustrophobic traits but without (necessarily) making you laugh. Backed by stirring vocals and ingrained drones, these tracks sound more as inner field recordings. Maybe in stark contrast to its abrasive content, 'Petra' is gracefully delivered on 300 white vinyl copies with artwork by Andreco and photos by Ilaria Doimo.
For more from this artist, you can check his bandcamp profile:

Inner8: Kunshi

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 25 2015
Artist: Inner8
Title: Kunshi
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Farmacia901 (@)
Rated: *****
This is the first solo EP from this artist and it's presents as derived from the author's "interest to the 'eight consciousness' developed in the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism" as "Kunshi ['¦] is the eighth consciousness which has the function to store all the memories". The result stands in the tradition of minimal electronic music typical of this label.
This long track starts quietly with the reverberated beat that is usually bound to orient's sounds, then a soundscape made out of field recordings or the resonances of this beat slowly emerges from the background until something ebbs between a drone and a noise so trying to overcome the musical spectrum. When the clock starts the second half of the track, a new drone start his dialogue with the beat and this time is able to prepare the road to the soundscape that is the main element to the last part of this track and, colored by barely audible noises, ends the track in a pure silence.
While in the tradition of this genre, this project reveals a craft in sound construction that could reserve some real surprises in the next releases. Not only for fans.

Claudio Parodi: Prima del Terzo

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 24 2015
Artist: Claudio Parodi (@)
Title: Prima del Terzo
Format: CD
Label: Unfathomless (@)
Rated: *****
The source of this release by experienced sound artist and musician Claudio Parodi is the international leisure harbour of his hometown Chiavari, nearby Genoa, which should be a particularlyh windy place as you can guess durig the listening of this release. The expectancy of listeners who approach to sounds that could be heard in a windy harbour got fully met as seagulls, noise of distant engines, waves, distant traffic, chatting people, birds and similar resounding entities could be found. You can assume that such a premise could fit the usual "nothing wrong, but nothing special" label for a release based on field recordings, but besides the location and the strange transitional effects, where you can sometimes think that Claudio simulates temporary deafness in listener by sudden channelling on the right or the left speaker, the criteria for assemblage and recordings and their connection with the intimate perception of the composer/grabber are quite unusual: named after the words of a Hebraic quote from Genesis before the third verse (that's why he titled the album "Prima del terzo", Italian for "before the third"), that he read on Erri De Luca's poem "Prologo al Buio" which can be translated as "and the wind of God breaths on the faces of the waters", each title of each recording includes instructions about the date and the length of the field recordings you're going to listen. With the supoort of Prof.Maria Rosa Montiani, he derived the value of each word according to qabbalah and such a value became the length of each field recording, which got recorded on the -Nth hour of the -Nth day (where N is the derived value) of each month from Cheshvan, the second month of Hebrew calendar, that departs on October 20th on Gregorian calendar. Each field recording was later re-shaped in studio on the basid of the Ashkenaze ductus of the letters of the words by means of panning from left to right, reverb to no-reverb, top to bottom. The final result of this accurate release deserves a listening. It comes out on (200) hand-numbered copies by Unfathomless, the Belgian sister-label of Mistery Sea.

DK5600: Distanza Katrias 5600

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 24 2015
Artist: DK5600
Title: Distanza Katrias 5600
Format: CD
Label: Bugs Crawling Out Of People
Rated: *****
DK5600 is an electronic, ambient, experimental duo coming from Italy and formed by Ro So-matix (already active with ARS A.V.I.) and CircumLiver (a.k.a. Paolo Bono, active as Circum Liver and Triplomaltose). They just released for Bugs Crawling Out Of People their first album "Distanza Katrias 5600". Based on the concept that they recorded a sort of diary from planet Katrias which is 5600 light years far from earth, the album is divided into twelve tracks, plus five that are only available into the digital edition, that made me feel like I synched a transmission from outer space where the speech was disturbed by sidereal noises and cosmic frequencies. The recitative filtered and treated Rosanna's vocals, which aren't always intelligible, are mixed with ambient noises and drones created by Paolo. Only on track seven, "Rete Di Terra", we have a background melody which is giving to it a dramatic touch but most of the rest is sounding really glacial and isolationist. Only the vocals reading lyrics like it was a broken robot looking for help are the only "human" touch to the whole album. From track nine, "Essere Estensibile Dinamico", ten, "Tensione Di Contatto" and on we have an sort of traditional electronic approach to sounds with long synth sweeps and pads (on the first one) and nice dramatic touch with noise blasts on the latter one. I have to admit that the first half of the album was quite hard to listen to, because it was really cold and minimal but the other tracks are succeeding into giving a good atmosphere and a more structured approach to sound which helped me enjoying it.
Give it a try, here

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