Music Reviews

Cazzurillo: Ghosts Are Surfing Now!

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 23 2015
Artist: Cazzurillo
Title: Ghosts Are Surfing Now!
Format: CD
Label: La Solita Minestra (@)
Rated: *****
First off, I have to say that I love the album cover. It evokes the old school vinyl of the 1960s, while keeping it weird with ghosts on surfboards. This self described 'accidentally odd sounds composer and 'one girl band'' from Italy writes on her Facebook profile that 'Cazzurillo would like to resuscitate Syd Barrett and run away with him to the North Pole.' This should give us some indication of what we are in for. This disc consists of only one song that is essentially a really weird rendition of 'Surfing Safari,' as reflected through a lot of funhouse mirrors and strong hallucinogens. I see this in the same spirit of Current 93's appropriation of 'California Dreaming' in their track 'Great Black Time II.' My wife stated that it reminded her of some of the Beatles' more experimental works (e.g., 'Revolution Number 9'), although Cazzurillo seems to have a much better sense of humor. I'm looking forward to hearing more from her. This album weighs in at around 18 minutes.

mic&rob: Archi Cons

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 22 2015
Artist: mic&rob
Title: Archi Cons
Format: CD
Label: Amok Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
I couldn't find much on this duo from France. The label describes them thus: 'mic&rob is live experimental electro-dub-jazz techno music by Nicolas Boutines and Pascal Gully.' Yes. That clears things up. So let's dive right in. 'Allegro' kicks it off with glitchy music reminiscent of 8-bit video games and toy voice box synthesis over warbling, heavy bass drone. It's fun, but at over 18 minutes it seems to go on a bit too long. Next up, we have 'Adagio,' which reminds me of Negativland's sample-heavy music, only without the humor or political commentary. We have snippets of Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,' but performed through a slowly disintegrating midi file, which is then joined by samples of the horns from Masterpiece Theater, and eventually a children's choir joins in the ruckus. "Menuet" gives us some of the 'electro-dub-jazz techno' as we even have something of a beat here, although it is not really much you could dance to. Heavily processed voices mix with the occasional clear sample (e.g., 'the bass drum'). Finally, we have 'Rondo,' with clattering noises and percussion throughout, which seems to slow down over the course of the song. There's a lot going on here, but I found it to be less engaging than the rest of the album. Thankfully, this was the shortest track on the album. Overall, this was a pleasant listen. This album weighs in at around 55 minutes.

Simon Balestrazzi: Ultrasonic Bathing Apparatus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 18 2015
Artist: Simon Balestrazzi
Title: Ultrasonic Bathing Apparatus
Format: CD
Label: sincope (@)
Rated: *****
Since the opening "First Immersion", this new release by Simon Balestrazzi sounds like the sonic report from a sort of altered state of consciousness which makes the brain experience reality as a close web of interferences, resonances, brainstem feedbacks and electromagnetic fields, an augmented perception that listeners catch as if it's inside a Faraday cage; the title of the release, which follows the last amazing act as Dream Weapon Ritual - another artistic alter-ego of former T.A.C. pulsating brain -, could let you surmise it could just be a sort of representation of technology-driven human perceptual prophylaxis by quoting ultrasonic cleansing, an electrochemical process that got extensively applied in jewellery, optics, dental and surgical cleaning and electronic musical instruments as well. The buzzing low frequency that saturates most of the release is quite similar to the noise that devices for ultrasonic cleaning usually makes, but besides undefined metallic objects, Simon seems to soak organic field recordings and foggy vocal radio broadcasts as well as a pile of instrumental parts from prepared toy psaltery, tsimblaty, tabletop guitar, horizontal steel cello, bulbul tarang, a prepared piano and even a broken metronome that appears on the meaningfully titled track "In My Own Transfigured Time" into his ultrasonic pool. The alternation of ablutions (three immersion before the last one) and three risingly hypnotical interplays ("Oscillation", "Osmosis" and the above-mentioned "In My Own Transfigured Time") seems to suggest he wisely follows a sort of gradual purification till the thirteen rarefied minutes of "Last Immersion" where the residual sonic impurities and memories keep on resounding in between cavitation bubbles.

Expo 70: Corridors to Infinity

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 12 2015
Artist: Expo 70
Title: Corridors to Infinity
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
As I described 'Frozen Living Elements' as 'a departure to the usual dark ambient' that is the focus of this label, I didn't expect a reissue of an obscure tape from this band with a bonus disc with a long track in three movements. However, there's an issue in this choice that is clearly visible: this band is able to reenact a mythology in modern music, the period between '60 and '70, i.e., the possibility to overcome the limitation of pop music form that, with a more aggressive sound, had already infected rock music creating the phenomenon of an apparent crossing of genre. The real issue of karutrock vs. prog was the lineage from contemporary music instead of classic, that is the base of pop in his melodic frame.
'Meetings of the Lunar Eclipse', the first side of this release, starts quietly and slowly adds some noises and feedback as a preparation for a central part based on psychedelic tones that are resolved by quiet drones closed by the same guitar line that opens this side. The other side, 'Black Pyramids Under the Martian Sun', start with a bright moog drone and evolves in a dialectic between the guitar notes and the electronic effects creating a cinematic soundscape. The bonus disc is a track in three parts: the first one, 'Star Coloured Clouds I', is a long meditation for guitar and moog when the guitar expose some notes and reverbs while the moog, with the drone, set the background. 'Star Coloured Clouds II' tries to flip over this form while 'Star Coloured Clouds III' resolve this form in a long track made out from sustained tones from both instruments.
For any fans of psychedelia or krautrock, this is a record of sure bliss and joy. The others will appreciate the search for a expressive sound and musical development, so it's a record for almost everyone. Really nice.

Furchick: Suck

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 11 2015
Artist: Furchick (@)
Title: Suck
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Fag Ash Records (@)
Rated: *****
Furchick is DIY noise-art maker Claire Pannell, from Perth in Western Australia. I believe 'Suck' is her debut outing on the London, UK based Fag Ash Records label. It's available as a free digital download at the label's site. 'Suck' is an interesting trip over its 11 experimental tracks, with some coming off as more fascinating than others. The opener, "Binary compression," employs Claire's vocals, whistles, and looper drum sounds with varying degrees of echo. Too much "testing, one two, three, four..." but it's the whistling that makes it kind of eerie. "Heavy breathing down the throat of love" is just the sounds coming out of Furchick's throat in a number of different ways. Avant-garde beat-boxing for the insane without much attention to the beat; kind of arrythmic. "Eat those bickies" culls its non vocal sounds from a singing squeeze-me bunny rabbit toy. So far, this is the most
intriguing track on the album, and you'd never guess in a million years where these sounds came from if I didn't tell you first.

"It rained today" has Claire singing and speaking with electronically processed vocals over wind turbines. Poetic in a very weird way. Lots of bizarre, electronically processed looping in " Requiem for a seedy sleep in," and I couldn't begin to fathom what the sources might be, let alone describe it. Woozy maybe, with a dash of creepiness. I checked out the original for "Medicate me - An interpretation of Peter
Bibby's "Medicine," a song with just acoustic guitar and vocal, and I have to say Furchick's "interpretation" is much more compelling and haunting (with those heavenly, wordless background vocals) than the original, Furchick reciting, rather than singing the vocals as Bibby did. The next track, "Countdown ÐдбÑоÑаваÑе," was originally recorded for Tatjana Seserko's projection of a screen-based performance document: Self-Painting Action: Countdown ' material action inclusive of the body as a projection surface of painterly execution. It sounds like an installation piece; a vocal countdown from 99 to 1 over various vocal utterings and sounds and very light background noise play in the background. As the numbers get lower, the noise gets more intense, reaching a crescendo and then leveling off.

"Bad hair day" (Live at The Bakery) is the noisiest piece so far with grating mechanical looping that includes cutting Grace Gammage's hair, scissors, Euler's disk, slinky, foam cup, vibrator and vocals. It calms towards the end, but by then your brain has already been sliced open. In a collaborative performance with Richard Benjamin Keys (Furchick & The Accursed Share), "Live at The Auricle" performed at the Audacious Festival in Christchuch, 2014, is the longest track on the album at a little over 18 minutes. It begins with Furchick's sing-songy echoed vocals, then after a while an industrial drone creeps in with what sounds like some abstract toy instrument playing broken melodies. This is eventually whipped into a frenzied echo feedback loop and sustained noise, morphing over time with Furchick's voice occasionally emerging like a shipwreck victim in a stormy sea of sound. The echo feedback changes course a couple times, nearly thumping out a sort of machine-like rhythm. Noise enthusiasts may find it engaging but for me it was somewhat of an endurance test.

"Coming down in Coral Bay waves" was sourced with recordings of waves from Coral Bay in Western Australia, and from rain from Furchick's neighbor's downpipe (drainpipe). Wet and staticy sort of sum this one up. Finally we have The Taxidermist Remix by Furchick of New Zealand artist LoMax's (Rob Haakman) "Stuff it up". Lomax's music is sort of avant-garde drum 'n' bass, often downtempo with electronic and other sampled elements. I couldn't find the original of this one, so it's impossible to compare, but it does have more rhythm than any other track on this album. No less weird though. Repetitive machine-like drumkit pattern with electronics and echo manipulation.

So there you have it, a listening experience without actually listening. I'd say at least half of 'Suck' was quite engaging, and the other half... well, when you title your album 'Suck', I guess you have to expect some blowback. If I were you though, I'd go to Fag Ash
Records' Bandcamp site and check it out for free and form your own opinion. They also have a lot of other artists for you to discover as well. It's FREE! You can't beat that.

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