Music Reviews



Ovod: Between The Days

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 16 2015
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Artist: Ovod
Title: Between The Days
Format: CD
Label: Ovodmusic (@)
Rated: *****
The night brings rest for most of people and inspiration as well as a wide set of things to some insomniac artists. The Russian sound artist and musician Ivan Lavrov, the man behind Ovod, collected some of the recordings he made in between the days, as the title suggest, before glazing them in the studio - Taylor Deupree provided a really good mastering - and forging this interesting album, which slightly differs from the amniotic prophylaxis of some ambient releases. The structure of each track is quite simple, as most of them lay on the combination of a carrier melody, textures - often made by overlapping of effected lenghtening of the above-mentioned melodies, which could surmise some sonic treatment by late 80ies cosmic or prog rockers - and more or less manipulated field recordings. These nocturnal emission are not always relieving even if its nebulized symphonies slowly evaporates, as you can guess by the opening "Flashback voices", inspired by those gripping headaches which can inspire the resurfacing of supposedly sorrowful memories, or other moments of the album, such as the following "Night at Port", where the synth-piano sounds like piercing icy splinters, a jarring note against the attempt of rendering "the greatful pleasure of evening loneliness" according Ivan's own words to introduce the track, or "Swamp Helicopters", where Ivan seems to have grabbed the sound of an helicopter from within the belly of a sated alligator before the final guitar dissolves it. A certain malaise resounds from "Kolomyazhsky" - a sonic description of a person, who observe the lights of an avenue from some height - and the final "When rails are not alone", whose perfect rendering of an insomniac and melancholic night within a train is so catchy that I can say it's my favorite moment of the whole album, and that malaise doesn't seem to fade away on the more relaxed moments of the album - the memories-driven "Afterglow" and "Butterfly day" as well as "The tale of time lost", a track by which Ovod tried to describe the feeling of an adult while reading a book for children! The nice cover artwork by Ekaterina Topal perfectly describes the emotional frame of Ovod's output.

Oiseaux-Tempête: Ütopiya?

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 15 2015
cover
Artist: Oiseaux-Tempête (@)
Title: Ütopiya?
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
The journey of these "storm birds" - a translation of "Oiseaux-Tempete", the evocative name of the project that was born from the collaboration of Frederic D. Oberland, Stephane Pigneul - both of them are members of Farewell Poetry and Le Reveil des Tropiques - and Ben McConnell - former drummer and percussionist of dream pop duo Beach House - begins a couple of years ago from the open wounds of Greece , emblem of the capital-driven decline of Old Continent, on the self-titled album, whose notorious mural "Praying For Us" by Greek artist Pavlos Tsakonason the cover artwork summarized the emotional framework of that release, which deeply focused on the country, where the storm is tearing the Greek people apart. The birds decided to scatter over closest parts of Mediterranean for their second journey, whose travelling companion get the brilliant bass clarinet player Gareth David - we met his name when Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek spoke about Shivers to us -, who managed to blow a jazzy breeze into the updrafts and vortices of this output. The atmosphere is maybe even gloomier than the one of their debut and its menacing black clouds keep on piling up on the listening experience, but the addition of more diversified stylistical layers on post-rockish improvisational molasses makes their journey far more powerful and visionary. The inner harmony and the somber gracefulness of the session they render could give listeners the impression of gliding over a decadent reign, where a certain sense of detachment get more and more empathetic to understand the sorrow without a proper reliance. Have a listen.

Heitor Alvelos: Faith

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 12 2015
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Artist: Heitor Alvelos (@)
Title: Faith
Format: CD
Label: Touch
Rated: *****
The first interesting aspect of this release by Portuguese media researcher as well as longtime Touch collaborator - he provided stage visuals and photograpy for Fennesz, Biosphere, Rafael Toral, Philip Jeck and BJNilsen - Heitor Alvelos, who decided to sign it by its own name instead of one of his quite known aliases (Antifluffy, Autodigest) to highlight the fact it's an autobiographical output, is the long time span - from 1972 to 2013 - during which the (more or less processed) field recordings got grabbed, so that I won't wonder if he managed to grab some noises of his cradle by his parents as well. The second one is simply related to listening perception, as the way by which he manipulated frequencies show skills as well as that kind of aural intensity that could cause molecular or biochemical reactions into listeners or matter (electronic music lovers could understand that my opinion is not an excessively kowtowing overstatement...) that could be matched to experienced sound artists such as Mika Vainio or Alva Noto. Such an aspect is maybe the most relevant to listeners, as I guess it's not easy to infer biographical details from the listening of white noises, deeply low buzzes or whatever Dr.Alvelos encapsulated in his twelve tracks, but I can surmise that sharing pages of his spiritual path or personal schedule, in spite of titles which could have some connection to religious matters ("Vicarious Solace", "Peirasmos", "The Way of Malamat" or "Exodus"), doesn't belong to author's purposes, as you can infer by his viewpoint on the relation between technology and personal freedom when asked about that during a recent interview, so that a certain indecipherability behind the listenable stuff seems to be intentionally reached. Besides my personal interpretation, have a check just for your listening pleasure.

Charlemagne Palestine: Ssingggg Sschlllingg Sshpppingg

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 12 2015
cover
Artist: Charlemagne Palestine
Title: Ssingggg Sschlllingg Sshpppingg
Format: CD
Label: Idiosyncratics (@)
Rated: *****
The fans of this astonishing shaman of minimalism - even if he prefers to label his music as "resonant" instead of "minimal" - have undoubtedly recognized some puppets from his huge collection, which are the privileged audience of his exhibitions, on the cover artwork of this exclusive 51-minutes lasting recording that Charlemagne Palestine made for Idiosyncratics. Thanks to the precious sound engineering by label associate Frederic Alstadt and the masterful mixing by Aymeric De Tapol, this onomatopoeic titled recording came to light and saying that Charlemagne will bring listeners to some ecstatic mental state by means of entrancing textures of resounding pipes, entranced sssiiinggging, organ-driven drones, martial drums, evoking choirs of children, chirping birds, distant recordings of political speeches and other phantasmagoric sonic entities is almost redundant. The way by which he lead a psychedelic storms by means of an intense chorality is going to delight listeners by fostering cerebral synaptic maturation and inviting thm into a really deep meditative or hallucinatory state of mind. I guess that the first 30 copies, signed by Charlemagne Palestine himself, got sold out, but some copies of the unsigned release as well as the digital version should be available yet. In spite of the twist ending where Chrlemagne sings together with one of his puppet could sound like meeting a group of mad Teletubbies in heaven and discovering they are the real rulers of paradise, it's purely epic stuff!

Gonçalo Almeida, John Dikeman, George Hadow: O Monstro

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 09 2015
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Artist: Gonçalo Almeida, John Dikeman, George Hadow
Title: O Monstro
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
"O Monstro" (Portuguese for "the Monster"), the musical freak by Goncalo Almeida (double bass), John Dikeman (tenor saxophone) and George Hadow (drums), is maybe the closest release to typical aesthetics of free-jazz sessions from the ones received by Creative Sources. Recorded on live stage at Zeal 100 in Amsterdam on 4th March 2014, this session is made up of four tracks, where they free a really wild energy, which got tempered by amazingly trapping juggling on instruments that express a remarkable talent by each musician. I really enjoyed the drumming on "Vrieke!" by Hadow, who seems to warp hard bop techniques into something that sounds wisely raw, the gipsy nuances of "Eastern tides" and the specular explosions and the popping crescendo on incandescent instruments you're going to listen on the initial "Pentagon" and the final title-track "O Monstro". The titles and its references as well as their apopleptic performances on instruments, which seem to give voice and shape to uncontrollable bouts of rage, seem to mirror the political debate that is flaming many (more or less) intellectual avantgarde circles in Europe.


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