Music Reviews



Ryuichi Sakamoto / Illuha / Taylor Deupree: Perpetual

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 31 2015
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Artist: Ryuichi Sakamoto / Illuha / Taylor Deupree
Title: Perpetual
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
The sound artists, who co-signed this release on 12k, shall be sufficient to guarantee the quality of the listening experience that got embedded into this plastic disc, whose only defect is the fact that it could inspire envy in those audiophiles who didn't took part to the event where Ryuichi Sakamoto, Taylor Deupree and Illuha, the duo of Tomoyoshi Date and Corey Fuller, shared food, words, exploration and stage (their first time together) in the wet heat of Japanese summer on the occasion of a series of events for the 10-years anniversary of the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media. The specification with regard to moisture level and temperature are not minor details as when these masters begun to shape frequencies, they wisely tuned in to weather conditions s you can immediately catch from the first of the three movements this improvisation got splitted for the release: a sort of wet venner seems to wrap the thin layers and the blurred sonic elements (including some voices) that sounds like lanterns in dense fog and the presence of sonic elements is even rarest on the second and the astonishing third movement, where each isolated tone sounds like thrown into a dark pit. No wonder the lucky audience of this concert, when these masters wisely manipulated field recordings, crackling found objects, guitar tones, lulling piano and silence (!), got ecstatically breathless while listening to this performance that fortunately got recorded (in high quality DSD) for the listening pleasure of all those ones who missed this rare moment of sublime sonic art!

Giulio Aldinucci: Spazio Sacro

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 26 2015
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Artist: Giulio Aldinucci (@)
Title: Spazio Sacro
Format: CD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
The sizzling noises of the opening track "The hermit" by brilliant sound artist Giulio Aldinucci could let you think he's frantically unpacking boxes or picking the lock of a casket where he kept sonic traces of memories and sonic clues from a number of sacred places of his native land, before he discloses his "Spazio Sacro" (italian for "Sacred space"), a release where the intimate recesses of religious experience meet the architecture and the lovely landscaping of Siena (Tuscany, Italy), where the alternance of void spaces and modelled solid matter meet the empty and rich places of a soul during its spiritual quest over painful remembrance ("Ricordo"), trascendental and somehow dizzying meditations ("Sator"), stunning contemplative moments where the dialogue of mind and soul cross the blurred lines of external sonic entiies which seems to be signs of a previously unknowable truth ("Come un immenso specchio d'inverno" - meaning "Like a wide mirror in wintertime"-), ecstatic reverie ("The liquid room"), intuitive perception of universal greatness ("Mountain") and recovered piece oif mind and intimacy ("Camino" - Italian word for 'fireplace'). Many field recordings that got manipulated by Giulio have been wisely placed in this perpetual ascension towards ethereal regions of composer's feelings and memories and the summit of the sacred (both artificial and natural) places which features his personal and sensorial history.

Robert Normandeau: Dômes

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 25 2015
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Artist: Robert Normandeau (@)
Title: Dômes
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
Two years after the excellent "Palimpsestes", empreintes DIGITALes offers another interesting collection of outputs for domes of directional loudspeakers, which can render the illusion of multidimensional sounds by means of stereophonic systems, by Prof.Normandeau to more demanding followers of electroacoustic music. It includes five long impressive pieces that can reasonably be considered monumental as the composer acts as a sort of architect who erects sonic cathedrals: the opening "La Part des Anges" (2011-12) sounds like a glimpse and an exploration inside a seraphic dimension, where hiccups of electricity, hazy steams and piercing frequencies are the set for angelic choirs, even if the slow sonic evaporation as well as the title refers to so-called "angels' share", the volatile part of aging alcohol that slowly evaporates through the walls of barrels; the resounding chiming bells on the following "Kuppel" (2005-6, 12) comes from the bells he recorded in the Markplaz in Karlsruhe (Germany) and the combination of its hypnotical tolls with other two recordings - the noises of urban tramways and the ones coming from a squeaking door close to the studio where he was working at the Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe - could let you think that Robert managed to grab the breathe of that German city. The interactions of breathe, saxophone and sinister dins, that suddenly explodes in electrical storms which manage to emphasize the sense of tragedy, on the catchy "Pluies Noires" (meaning "Obscure Rains") got inspired by the theatre play "Blasted" by Sarah Kane, for which Robert composed the music ina stage direction by Brigitte Haentjens in 2008: such an ominous title refers to the pauses in the play that he rendered by means of the four seasonal stormy "explosions" (spring rain, summer rain, fall rain and winter rain) while having the tragic events that occurred in Bosnia in his own mind, so that he didn't focus on the typical idea of abstract purification related to rain, but rather to the fact that "all these rains can hardly wash the darkness of the human soul at war". The most recent piece of this collection, "Hamlet-Machine without Actors" (2014) is another composition he made for a stage by Brigitte Haentjens of the play "Hamletmachine" (1979) by Heiner Muller: the track, a shorter version of the original score which lasted one hour and fifteen minutes that got inspired by another work by Normandeau ("Hamlet-Machine with Actors", which, as you can easily guess, incorporated the voices and the sounds of the actors of the play!), succeeds in describing the main theme of the play, that is "the oppression of man by the society, the representation of taboos - including sexual ones - through the show and the end of art". The final "Baobabs" (2012-13) is mainly base on human voices: even if I'm not a fan of this kind of art, the adaptation of the acousmatic piece "Le renard et la rose" (1995), consisting of five movements (Babbling and rhythm; Nostalgia and timber; Anger and dynamic; Lassitude and space; Serenity and texture) by Prof.Normandeau deserves to be listened.

Cazzurillo: Ghosts Are Surfing Now!

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 23 2015
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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
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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.


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