Music Reviews



When: The Black Death

 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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Aug 25 2015
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Artist: When
Title: The Black Death
Format: 12"
Label: Ideologic Organ (@)
Rated: *****
The sonic rendering of the pestilential wind that according to some ridiculous conjectures by so-called doctors about the origin of the so-called Black Death, which almost caused the extinction of humans in the fourteenth century, was attracted by a planetary conjuction from the depths of the earth before getting pushed back on Earth with the venomous recipe that God added to it - it seems incredible, but it's true - opens this old record - it was recorded at Sound Sector in Oslo with the support by sound engineer Bernt Kanstad in summer 1992 - by which Lars Pederson translated into sounds Theodor Kittelsen's "Svartdauen", a sort of dark poem inspired by Black eath in Norway, which killed almost two thirds of the populations, including the whole medieval aristocracy - Norway had no heirs to throne in those ages! -. Both the macabre theme and the astonishing sound-collage by which he rendered it, including gnawing rats, whining horses, moaning people, grinding wood, Death's snigger and quotations from traditional Norwegian folk music and dirges, turned Pedersen's solo-project When and this release in particular into a sort of cult listening by fans of Norwegian black metal scene - not so many people know that Varg Vikernes aka Count Grishnackh (the man behind Burzum) as well as many other black metal musicians of that scene considered this When album an essential listening in the heydays of burning churches in Norway -. In between environmental sound poems by Luc Ferrari and Nurse With Wound's dadaist studio experiments - even if When's "The Black Death" reminded to me some really obscure less known stuff from Laibach such as their disquieting album "Krst Pod Triglavom - Baptism" -, this listening experience should be listened while reading Kittelsen's Svartedauen - I read it last year on the occasion of the issue of an Italian translation which followed the celebration of 100 years from the death of its inventie author and illustrator -. Check it out and beware of the rat fleas!

Charlemagne Palestine + Rhys Chatham: YOUUU + MEE = WEEE

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 25 2015
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Artist: Charlemagne Palestine + Rhys Chatham (@)
Title: YOUUU + MEE = WEEE
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
Sub Rosa recently completed a sort of trilogy of collaborative recordings by mellifluous and polyhedral musician Rhys Chatham, who after moving his first steps in music as a piano tuner for La Monte Young and harpsichord tuner for Glenn Gould, Gustav Leonhardt and Rosalyn Tureck and studying under the wise teachings by electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick and La Monte Young, became one of the most influential voice of avantgarde scene to the point he could be the real link between New York Downtown composers of the late 70ies and the so-called NoWave by developing a musical and sonic language with a plenty of connections between experimental music and rock. Following the collaborative recordings with Z'ev and Tony Conrad, this release with Charlemagne Palestine highlights the intensely ritualistic hooks that essentially feature Palestine's performance during which he surrounds himself and his piano using stuffed animals, drinks cognac and smokes a plenty of kreteks, the Indonesian clove cigarettes. During the listening of the three long-lasting tracks - one for each cd -, you'll get easily absorbed by the exceptional emotional and sometimes even mystical or ecstatic strain - while the first one is quite febrile, a sort of blissful standstill is going to tickle listener's eardrums on the one-hour lasting second recording before the heavenly and highly suggestive titillations of the third one -, that got rendered by Charlemagne Palestine by means of a Bosendofer piano, a Yamaha orgue and even his voice, while Rhys keeps on drifting towards soulful elongation on a looping trumpet and a psychedelia-driven electric guitar. An entrancing musical alchemy.

Alessandro Bosetti & Chris Abrahams: A Heart That Responds From Schooling

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 24 2015
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Artist: Alessandro Bosetti & Chris Abrahams
Title: A Heart That Responds From Schooling
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Rated: *****
This bicephalous release by Marseille-based Italian sound artist and performer Alessandro Bosetti and Australian pianist and well-known member of the appreciated The Necks Chris Abrahams succeeds in satisfying the tastes of connoisseurs of compositional aspects and more easygoing listeners, as on one hand some aesthatic severity by Chris, who perches between improvisations and more sophisticated structures, got tempered by more relaxed phrasing, on the other hand Alessandro walks a tightrope between light-hearted approach and more finical sonic chiselling. They let some lightbeams flood through ear on the opening "Eye" - not only for the track's title - by means of somberly feathery piano melodies, rippling electronic interferences and a very low recurring tone, which sounds like a suffocated mumbling, before Abrahams's piano traces convulsively hitting scales over a flashing Morse-like pulse on the following "Reservoirs", whose dual sonic inputs seem to get gradually amalgamated. Bosetti's voice makes his entrance on the lovely cover version of Steve Lucy's "Esteem", where both piano and lyrics are so vivid that you can almost catch a counenance in the interaction between the two musicians, and Bosetti's way of singing, even when slightly out of tune on the highest pitches - his untuned moments sound more like that kind of almost weeping voice anyone could have when voice trembles with emotion -, is likewise evocative on the second excellent cover of the album, "Bridges (Travessia)" by Milton Nascimento and Fernando Brant, where Chris's piano is extremely concise before getting rippled in the last part of the song. In between the two songs, you'll find another vocal medley "Observatories", but this time Bosetti's layered voice turns into a sort of ecstatic choir around the gupled piano staccato by Chris. The cinematic frenzied crescendo of "Greenhouses" is one of my favorite moments of the whole album, who got closed by a reprise of "La Nourriture", a track which got previously released on the bizarre "Renard".

Peter Brötzmann: Münster Bern

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 21 2015
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Artist: Peter Brötzmann (@)
Title: Münster Bern
Format: CD
Label: Cubus (@)
Rated: *****
You don't need to be a raving fan of free-jazz or free-improvisation to know the name of German musician Peter Brotzmann, as his name begun to dig the grooves of European scene since the end of 60ies, when he shaked many sould by means of his notorious "Machine Gun", a release he made with his octet (featuring Buschi Niebergall, Evan Parker, Fred Van Hove, Han Bennink, Paul Rutherford, Peter Kowald, Pierre Favre, Sven-Ãke Johansson and Willem Breuker) which included clear references to war in Vietnam an European political situation and made sense if you consider it was released in Berlin in 1968, and his way of paying saxophone as well as clarinet and tarogato (the Turkish pipe) has beeen so unique that many Free jazz circles use the adjective "brotzen" to describe something closer to his style. Swiss label Cubus gives the chance to listen a solo performance by Peter, which got recorded on 2th October 2013 in a unique location like Berner Munster on the occasion of zoom in, a quite known festival for improv music, and the fact he didn't interact with anything but the surrounding reverbation of that "sacred" hall and his instrument is a chance to better appreciate his way of performing, which didn't lose his evocative energy and his strong hook to reality over years, where reality could sound like a desert ground on which his sound, melting jazz phrasing, Turkish traditional music as well as piles of squeals and screeches, which suddenly pierce listener's soul throuh their spurious obliquity and unexpectedly mellow vaults, flies like a desperately lost seagull. My personal favorite moments of this recording are the raging torn schemes of "Chaos Of Human Affairs" and "Crack In The Sidewalks" as well as the astonishing final "The Very Heart Of Things".

D Bayne: Meditations on Present Time

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 19 2015
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Artist: D Bayne
Title: Meditations on Present Time
Format: CD
Label: Luminescence Records
Rated: *****
The seemingly simple piano phrasing by which Luminescence label boss, the American composer and pianist D Bayne, implements field recordings into composition, is neither a diaphragm nor a proper filtering overlap, as there's a strong matching between the resounding surroundings and its somewhat ecstatic tonal stream. It could be regarded more as if it were a clingfilm, whose transparency highlights the inner dynamics as well as the elusive balance of the surrounding living world, instead of hiding it. Named after the places or situations where field recordings got grabbed - "East Washington Street at Night", "Metra Locomotive Ravenswood Station", "Ogilvie Transportation Center", "Ogilvie Transportation Center Platforms", "Bourbon Street", "Chicago River Bridges", "One South Wacker Drive" and so on -, the twelve tracks of this album by this experienced composer, whose artistic and musical growth was undoubtedly furthered by remarkable teachings and teachers (for instance, after gaining a graduation from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in 1995, he studied with Dave Douglas, Louis Sclavis, Dylan van der Schyff and John Abercrombie at the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music in 2003 and with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Richard Toop at the Stockhausen Corses Kuerten in Germany) - a glaring indication of D bayne's strong academic exprience will be clear to attentive listeners, who will easily notice his moderate aleatorism and the accurate focus on harmony -, sound like an emotionally purging removal of emotional dust from the surfaces of a sometimes grey, unsurprising and monotonous reality to the extent that I can't rulesome beneficial effects for listeners out.


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