Music Reviews



Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke: Behold

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8907)
Sep 07 2015
cover
Artist: Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke
Title: Behold
Format: 12"
Label: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
Even if the new collaborative release by Oren Ambarchi and Jim O'Rourke, who partially reprised some ideas that they developed on their previous collaborative album "Indeed", got splitted in two parts, one on each side, I would suggest to listen to "Behold" as a continuum. The resounding elements, which appears on the first half as if they emit signals from inside a dense and really impenetrable fog or from a long distance, become more and more distinguishable: the constant tapping on hi-hats by Ambarchi doesn't disentagle the flowing leakage of (sometimes screeching) sonic entities and isolated but unrecognisable field recording that fluctuates in disarray within the tarnishing cloud where even single bass-like thuds by Jim are somehow relevant on the first part, but it turns himself into a sort of enzyme of the reversed process of enlightenment on the second half, whose closeness to some old-fashioned Krautrock progressions and contemporary minimalism doesn't eclipse the amazing way these muscians find a certain complementarity. You could imagine the whole release as the rendering of some cognitive process, where the initial confusion, caused by the seemingly disorganized movement of blurred elements, turns into proper ecstacy when the observer manages to understand or even foreseem the inner rules of their perpetual flowing. A listening to behold.

John Chantler: Still Light, Outside

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8896)
Sep 01 2015
cover
Artist: John Chantler (@)
Title: Still Light, Outside
Format: CD
Label: Inventing Zero
Rated: *****
The main sonic input of the fourth album by British sound artist John Chantler, the pipe organ at London's St John at Hackney church, which got processed at Stockholm's Elektronmusikstudion EMS, got almost immediately saturated to the point that some listeners could imagine a pious organist had some mystical experiences while playing on it and decided to turn his session into a piece of psychedelic space-rock suite: its holy halo on the opening title-track "Still Light, Outside" got highlighted by almost dissonant reverberations and distortions, heavy tonal overlapping and circular tremolo which could give the impression that John tuned the organ to the light effects that stained-glass windows of some churches project into the building during certain hours of day. The first of the three parts of "The Long Shadow of Decline" pierce listeners by means of a very low frequencies which got simultaneously played alongside likewise high ones and electronic subterranean pulses and noises, which could let you imagine they come from the maintenance of submarine; these three inputs sound like having been reshuffled in the following second and third part, but John manages to dip them into different luminous intensity by replacing them into almost hypnotical overstretched organ tone (part two) or amniotic fluids inside which even electronic fragments, noisy disturbances and flaky scrapes sound somehow densely and harmoniously compacted.

SuperImpose: Edinburgh

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8893)
Aug 31 2015
cover
Artist: SuperImpose (@)
Title: Edinburgh
Format: 12"
Label: Wide Ear Records (@)
Rated: *****
Named after the beautiful Scottish city of Edinburgh where they recorded it on live stage - at Reid Concert Hall on March 2013, to be precise -, SuperImpose, the bicephalous project by German trombonist Matthias Muller - I already introduced his name when writing about Foils Quartet - and jazz drummer Christian Marien - the first time I heard his hits occurred three years ago on "Nulli Secundus", another interesting release on Portuguese label Creative Sources where he performed together with Andreas Willers and Meinrad Knee -, recently submitted this impressive live recording for Swiss label Wide Ear to my aural attention. Their session was splitted into two long-lasting (approx 18 minutes each) parts, whose experimental grip turns the listening experience of their interplay into a possible games of association of ideas and images they could evoke, where they keeps on exploring the boundaries between sound and noise, lack of rhythmical structures and rhythm. They don't render an embryonic or primeval stage of sound, but it seems they explore the stages that immediately precede sound. For instance, the first ten minutes of "Part 1" could give you the idea that SuperImpose translated the biological growth of some mysterious entity, so that the disarticulated percussive joints and the noises that Muller make by dampening breath and restricting modulations within his trombone could sound like the somehow ponderous steps towards a proper phrase or sound. Check it out to tickle your imagination.

RI:SA_sys: Self-Deception

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8892)
Aug 30 2015
cover
Artist: RI:SA_sys (@)
Title: Self-Deception
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
RI:SA_sys is the Industrial rock project of Sami Jokinen of Finland. Formed by Sami and Riku S. in 2006 during their Miksen.net-era, the duo produced seven releases, none of which I've ever heard. Now it's only Jokinen on 'Self-Deception', as he takes you on a tour-de-farce through his twisted psyche on this album. Beginning with the old-school industrial "the activity", Jokinen conjures groups such as SPK, Cabaret Voltaire and early Skinny Puppy. A mechanical swamp of dreary machines inhabits "manufacture" and I'm reminded a little of John Lydon's vocal histrionics in PIL. It's a mess, but a glorious one. "Upstream" is a stuttering techno-punk number with a lot of breakbeats, twisted vocals, and frenetic energy. The creepy industrial soundscape of "in practice" seems to have what sounds like the Frankenstein monster chasing a flock of geese towards the end. "pride" starts out with a beat on what could be the crappiest drumkit ever before it kicks into a vicious hardcore punk groove, contorted and distorted with filtering. It alternates back and forth with minimal electronica and the punk aspect on verse and chorus respectively, if you could call them that. The dichotomy of the capitulation and assault is oddly compelling. Toward the end there is some processed vocal rambling and manipulated dialogue samples that may only make sense to the composer. A kind of synth ambience opens "the substitute" while Sami begins the lyrics sotto voce before emotionally wailing his words in despair. The rest is a somewhat low-key, gloomy, industrial soundscape. For a minute or so, a low rumbling is the chief element of title track "self-deception" before submerged woozy synths appear with a fragmented synth melody line on top. That's about all there is to that one. "alone pt. 2" (did I miss pt. 1? I don't recall any pt. 1 on this album) is partially reminiscent of Controlled Bleeding. The last listed track on the album is "the lie" which begins with just a repeating synth line and some distant bells in the background before it launches into a messy guitar-drum-bass assault over the top. That stops and the aforementioned synth line and bells play on while Jokinen emotes vocally in varying shades of intensity building up to the chaotic climax with everything going full blast. The recording isn't stellar here but the fervor certainly is. There are two more tracks, both untitled. The first is a beatless electronic industrial soundscape. The second begins sparsely with a little piano but semi-tribal drums move in and then it builds into a stomping maxi-minimal post-rock instrumental of controlled chaos. Another piano break backed with some feedbackish ambience, then the drums return and it's back to the full-blown instrumental. Once more the piano returns, then it's all over. Hmmm...not sure what to make of all this. No doubt there's talent here, even if 'Self-Deception' is scattershot and and a bit low-fi. I sense this is somewhat intentional, and a byproduct of the tortured artist searching for meaning in a world that makes no sense. You may not share RI:SA_sys's vision completely, but the music hits enough nerves to get your attention. CD is limited to only 100 copies

General Magic & Pita: Fridge Trax Plus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8883)
Aug 26 2015
cover
Artist: General Magic & Pita
Title: Fridge Trax Plus
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Someone could imagine that a synth, a drum machine or other electronic devices should have marked the dawn of most glorious labels of the scene. Some labels actually build their catalogue on the sounds some artists squeezed from specific synth or drum machines, but not so many listeners would surmise that a fridge could have been even more influential than a synth, as testified by this re-release of the very first outputs by one of the most appreciated electronic music label like Editions Mego, whose huge catalogue got started by an EP - "Fridge Trax 12" - and an album - "Live & Final Fridge" - from the electronic music eggheads of Peter Rehberg aka Pita and General Magic, the well-known duo by Andreas Pieper and Ramon Bauer, who entirely made these amazing releases (13 tracks both, but I imagine they recorded more than 13 ones and some could have been left unedited) by processing sounds they grabbed by putting a microphone inside a fridge. I'm not sure they imagined their experiment would have been so influential to the point it can be considered one of the records that fostered the inoculation of abstract sonorities within dance music structures, but all those youngster who are just approaching to the wide world of sound will be so delighted by the funny sonic freaks they made from a bunch of icy and sometimes defrosten sounds that I won't be surprised if a museum will exhibit Mego's fridges or other useful modern electric appliances alongside Mozart's score or Beethoven's comb for the devotional pleasure of future generations. That's a wise way to celebrate the first 20 years of existence of the Wien-based label.


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha