Music Reviews

Elizabeth Anderson: L'envol

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 27 2015
Artist: Elizabeth Anderson
Title: L'envol
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
The renewed interest on electroacoustic and acousmatic sonic material, that labels like empreintes DIGITALes are fostering by means of their publishing efforts, is allowing many hungry listeners to discover quite unknown composers or musicians in this interesting field. In spite of an excellent academic track and a plenty of prizes in international competition - including ASCAP-SEAMUS (USA, 2001), Bourges (France, 1994), CIMESP (Brazil, 1995, 2001, 2003, and 2007), Città di Udine (Italy, 2004), Métamorphoses (Belgium, 2004), Musica Nova (Czech Republic, 2008), Noroit-Léonce Petitot (France, 1998), Stockholm Electronic Arts Award (Sweden, 1994), TIME (2002), and Pierre Schaeffer Competition of Electronic Music (Italy, 2007) -, American-born Brussels-based composer Elizabeth Anderson could be an unknown name for many followers of the scene. Even if listeners who are not so familiar with sound processing couldn't catch the beauty of this release, "L'Envol" (French for "the flight") collects many works by Elizabeth, whose aesthetic research often features metacultural interconnection. Two of the above-listed prizes was given to the opening "Les forges de l'invisible", an electroacoustic suite that Elizabeth made by manipulations of some sonic input that she previously created during a residency at the Centre de creation musicale Iannis Xenakis in Paris, between the multichannel electroacoustic studio of City University London and the Studio of Akousma of the Academy of Soignes in Belgium. The main source of inspiration of the two movements - the first one seems to trace different lovels of sonic decay, while the second movement could be the reverse process as the initial particles seems to get gradually amalgamated - was Blake's poetry and particularly his visionary outlook of progress: she specifically mentions the notorious poem "The Tyger", whose "fearful symmetry" has already inspired many musicians and got mirrored by the contrast between creative and distructive forces that animate guts, hearts and behavious of every sonic particles of this suite. Named after the underground fortress that Nazi forces built in northern France, "Mimoyecques" - the oldest recording of this collection - is a sort of sonic tribute to the forced laborers (more than one thousand prisoners) who died when the fortress was heavily bombed by the Allied air forces in 1944: for this genuine act of remembrance, she combined two sets of sound, being the first one mainly made from sounds that she recorded in the fortress and the second one from the overlapping of different readings in different languages from writings of Hans Christian Andersen, Danilo Dolci, Annette von Droste-Huelshoff, Alexander Pushkin, David Baltuch, Vaino Linna, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Amir Gilboa and Czeslaw Milosz, intended to mirror the multilingual origin of the died workers. The tracks in the middle - the most recent erecordings - are mainly connected to Anderson's fascination for space and ancient cultures: "Solar Winds", which was dedicated to ancient Mayan astronomers, was based on James Dungey's open magnetosphere model and interplanetary field lines that got carried by solar winds and interfere with Earth's magnetosphere, which become a sort of score to give sound to non-sounding astronomical event, while the following "...and Beyond" proposes an imaginary aural journey beyond heliosphere. The vaguely diquieting "Ether" and the two movements of "Protopia/Tesseract", inspired by Madeleine L'Engle's novel "A Wrinkle in Time", where space/time compression makes intergalactic travels possible, complete this release.

Asmus Tietchens: Fahl

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 26 2015
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Artist: Asmus Tietchens (@)
Title: Fahl
Format: CD
Label: Farmacia901 (@)
Rated: *****
In the liner notes the author, one of the key figure of experimental music, states that this release is "the result of a never ending recycling (not remixing!) of one and the same structure recorded deep in the past". So this idea of recycling takes upon a concept that "active listening (opposite to passive hearing) is the basic requirement for analytical perception'. This a statement on how create something new from the hidden shades of sound.
"FmF 4" quietly opens this release with sounds at the edge of perception so there's a call for a full concentration on the listening environment that is gradually filled until returning to silence. "L10RC" is based on a drone that is sometimes juxtaposed by samples and small noises. After this volumes, "L10RC" seems loud as it's full of evocative sounds.
Headphone listening is truly recommended for a work of brief listening time but full of sound details. Truly recommended for fans.

Autistici: Live At Electric Spring

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 26 2015
Artist: Autistici (@)
Title: Live At Electric Spring
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Audiobulb (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Autistici is a live set where his works are condensed into a single track constructed upon audio elements taken from his recording or his own body so creating a relation between diffusion and performance and a reflection about listening and perception.
The first track, "Live At Electric Spring", is the recording of a set starting with a breathing and noises and evolves with gentle synth notes until a sort of glitchy beat enters. When it stops, string samples form the structure of a small part that takes the listener to a meditative one based on drones and resonances. A loop ended by the return of the breath of the beginning of the set marks the second part of the set focused on reverberated tones studded by samples used in the first part giving unity to the set. The noises are balanced by a the quiet soundscape used as main element of the ending part closed by a juxtaposition of samples ending with a heavy drone under the starting breathing.
The second track, "Questions For Autistici", is a Q&A session acting as a commentary to the set.
Perhaps a little bit too long, this set could be an introduction to body of work of undoubtable quality and the starting point to another phase of his carrier. Recommended as a starting point.

Natsuki Tamura + Alexander Frangenheim: NAX

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 21 2015
Artist: Natsuki Tamura + Alexander Frangenheim
Title: NAX
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Every time I pick any random release from the heavy pile of releases I receive from Portuguese label Creative Sources, it's really rare that I find some banal item. This time I picked (by chance) an output by NAX, a collaborative project by double-bass player Alexander Frangenheim, whose name already appeared on some of my past reviews, and Japanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, whose name could be known by some ardent followers of jazz as a member of the eccentric vocal jazz band Gato Libre, but such a biographical note could be deceiptive in order to understand his role in this duet. If we had to speak by referring to some style of jazz, I would define their sound neither free jazz as such a label could be likewise deceiptive, nor irrational or illogicalas their tweaked approach to harmony or tonal (dis)organization is other than irrational or illogical. The name of the project as well as the cover artwork seem to refer to the mountainous region of former municipality of Nax (now a part of Mont-Noble) in the Swiss Alps, so that such an orographical reference almost implies that their seemingly undiscinated research that they spread over nine tracks - they called them "acun", which is the abbreviation of Swiss company mirrors the rough surface of Nax as if they wanted to make their style as a question of exquisitely physical realism! You could imagine the that "chaotic" equence of rocks, hanging valleys, cols, ridge, saw-toothed peaks is the main score or the guideline of the intersections of the mad alternation of pizzicato and arco by Alexander and the vocal and breathe emulsions within trumpet's pipe and valves by Natsuki. Such a matching could tease the listening experience that comes from NAX.

Moloch: Verwüstung

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 19 2015
Artist: Moloch (@)
Title: Verwüstung
Format: CD
Label: Depressive Illusions (@)
Rated: *****
Even if reviewed after "Die Isolation" it's labelled as published last year. Simply dubbed as "True Devastating Black Metal from Ukraine" it's a release void of any conceptual or elaborated presentation so it asks to be heard as a classic release but it's more elaborated than releases presented with rhetoric phrases and long statements of intentions.
"Todesstille" is an almost dark ambient introduction based on the juxtaposition of drones creating a menacing atmosphere. With the dry drum beats of "Blutmond" the album returns to the classic black metal form. "Spiritueller Selbstmord" is haunting with the use of the synth in the background the almost operatic vocal line while "Negativitat" is as aggressive as fast. The menacing atmosphere of the first track is obtained with guitar in "Nur de Tod ist wirklich" while "Die Kalte der Ewigkeit" is based on the rhythmic impact. The bass guitar of "Du bist nichts in dieser sterbenden Welt" evokes a deep sadness that is exalted by the vocals in the second part of the track. As in a circle, "Verwüstung" closes this album with the same form of "Todesstille" but with subtler means and using even silence as a composition resource, unusual in this field.
Honestly tagging Burzum in this release, it shares the same quality of this influence: the ability to floor the listener escaping all the cul de sac of this form. To listen with care.

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