Music Reviews



Andreas O.Hirsch: Summe 1

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8775)
Jun 21 2015
cover
Artist: Andreas O.Hirsch (@)
Title: Summe 1
Format: 12"
Label: makiphon (@)
Rated: *****
The imaginative representation of the sound processing on the cover artwork of this nice release by composer and inventive sound artist Andreas Oskar Hirsch, which depicts three egg beaters whose supposed interstellar juice digs the bowels of the earth and got filtered by a funnel, could match his sonic artifact for Koln-based label makiphon. Speaking of artifacts, the "exoticism" of some of the eight droney soundscapes Andreas poured into the pan of "Summe 1" comes from a really exotic instrument that he extensively plays along with electric guitars, mini fans, pitched harmonicas and delays: the electric palm leaf, an electroacoustic instrument that looks like a crossbreed between a marimba and a palm leaf, is the source of the delayed percussions for some nice moments of the release such as the second part of the opening track "In A Seldom Land", which could fit an imaginary anthem for an hidden holiday resort for Indian tripping summers, the entrancing "Konnektor", the immersive "Kemeri 5 am", where Andreas inserted the nocturnal crane calls that he recorded on a bike trip in a swamp nearby Riga while he was trying to decode bird messages by means of morse code (!), the overdelayed tidbit of "Kautschukwaage" or "Opossum Pravda", a track that he dedicated to the notorious nocturnal marsupial, where the soft hearted final tones suggests a sort of emotional attachment to that tenecious creature. The link to terrestrial wonders, botanical scenery and animality fades away on the flipside, where drones climb to numerical reveries ("Summe 1"), sidereal trips ("Maxwell Mountains") and amazing abstract physics ("Teilchenbeschleuniger"). Only 300 copies of this release circulate on the planet.

Dunkelheit: Les Solitudes Cendrées

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8774)
Jun 21 2015
cover
Artist: Dunkelheit
Title: Les Solitudes Cendrées
Format: CD
Label: Steelkraft Manufactory (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this French act, although the label states that they have been active since 1993. Dunkelheit is the work of Alain Le Gall, and the label describes it as 'between industrial noise, concrete cut-ups and cold ambient soundscapes.' The only other clue comes from the liner notes which consists only of a quote from Camille Belguise: 'Dans le silence et la solitude, on n'entend plus que l'essentiel,' which Google translate renders "In silence and solitude, you can not hear that much" (I'm sure it's more poetic in French). I've been pretty impressed with the stuff coming out of Steelkraft Manufactory, so I was looking forward to seeing how this one played out. Let's walk though this track by track. 'Mystère Tellurique' opens up with some interesting field recordings. It's like a cinematic soundtrack without music in a post-apocalyptic city. 'Eléments Instables' gives us some good droning ambience that is peaceful but a bit unsettling after the previous track. About three minutes in, some crackling static begins to peek through giving just a hint of grittiness present in the opening track. 'Volcanisme Latent' changes gears a bit with warbling, spacey ambience combined with whatever the Voyager spacecraft is currently hearing. 'Nuages Sur Saison Sèche' removes all pretense of peacefulness found in the previous tracks by bringing out some crackling noise and wind blasts. 'Evénements Secondaires II' continues this trajectory with some French spoken word punctuated with noise blasts. 'Le Calme de la Tempête' takes this to its completion with more aggressive static noise and processed vocals. At the end it completely gives way to white noise for the last few minutes. Overall, this is interesting work, with enough variety to keep things engaging. This album weighs in at around 50 minutes and is limited to 100 copies.

Paul Baran: The Other

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8771)
Jun 21 2015
problems
with image
availability
Artist: Paul Baran
Title: The Other
Format: CD
Label: Fang Bomb (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this Scottish artist, but the label describes this album as 'The Other is Britain, Student protests, Riots, Neo Liberalism, Fear, Nationalism, Haiti, Chess, Geopolitical sum games, Potlatch, Celebrities, Obama, The Shoah, Love, Reflexive Impotence, The Wheel, Inversion, Tarkovsky, The Zone.' Well, that's a lot to cover and not very illustrative of what we're going the hear, so let's get right into the music. 'Time' opens up with a short, sparse instrumental track that almost feels like a warm up exercise before 'Himmelstrasse' breaks everything wide open with a more complex work. There is a lot going on here, from melancholy vocals (with the refrain 'we all fall down') and chaotic instrumentation. A guitar strum here, a hit to sheet metal there, some bits of violin. It's not a typical composition, but it hangs together well. 'Dissent' begins with yelling and spastic improvisation, then shifts to drone, percussion, and distorted guitar over the refrain 'beating the battle.' 'Britonia' has a steady beat with occasional ear piercing high pitched tones with vocals that seem pulled from an answering machine. 'Celebrity' features droning and scraping improve with chunks of heavily distorted vocals. 'The Human Republic Of Haiti' brings in bass and sticks striking objects with some tentative plucking of guitar and piano. At 9 minutes in we get some grunting vocals that are unintelligible. 'Krom' is sparse drone with piano, cello, and guitar. 'Time Zone' brings in flute and beats with fat analog synth. 'Looking For Bobby' is violin and child vocals with water, pizzicato strings, and what sounds like a Jew's harp. 'Potlatch' ends up on a mellow note, which is kind of unexpected after the roiling chaos within. This is noisy, but not noise. There's enough going on here to keep things interesting while still maintaining a sense of continuity throughout. We could file this alongside such practitioners as Zoviet France and Hafler Trio.

Theme: No Emotions Catered For

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8770)
Jun 21 2015
cover
Artist: Theme
Title: No Emotions Catered For
Format: 12"
Label: Idioblast (@)
Rated: *****
Theme is the work of Stuart Carter and Richard Johnson and the label describes them as an 'experimental/psychedelic/improvisational/drone/atmospheric/filmic/noise/ambient/art-house sum of the individual parts residing in Krakow & Leicester.' Yes, that should cover it. But for once, it actually does. If I had to describe this album in one word, it would be dissonance, and not just because there is a fair amount of dissonance in the music. There is also an interesting juxtaposition in style. For example, 'Dream Your Dreams' starts off with a kind of neo-folk vibe with guitar and male and female spoken word with the occasional chime that reminded me of Current 93 and the like, but then it shifts gears, with a pounding beat, water samples, and droning synth. 'Another Context Revealed' takes a similar approach with the acoustic guitar and soothing male vocals. But, like the other tracks, this one takes a turn for the ominous, as dreamlike female voices whisper under pulsing synth and what sounds like pounding timbales. Sumetimes the dissonance is in the lyrics, as in the beginning of 'Following Those Codes' where a voice sweetly sings 'I swim in your sickness.' And then there is the good old clanking dissonance that we all love, like in 'Enough Is Never' where weird spoken word layers over clanking glass, metal, analog synth washes. 'A Past Forever Sick' takes a similar approach with a weird glitchy track where the voices are broken and reconstructed like Frankenstein's monster while the gritty, dissonant music hovers ominously overhead. 'Logic Is (Not) The Answer' likewise brings the repetitive looped voices and grinding synth, but it gets to be somewhat grating (although still stays interesting) and goes a bit longer than it needed to. But overall this was very enjoyable and interesting stuff. This album weighs in at around 47 minutes and is limited to 250 copies. Well worth getting one of them.

Street Priest: More Nasty

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (8766)
Jun 18 2015
cover
Artist: Street Priest (@)
Title: More Nasty
Format: Tape
Label: Humbler Records (@)
Rated: *****
This was at the bottom of my reviewing pile, and stayed there throughout the many releases I slogged through, mainly because I thought it was a rap/hip-hop project due to the name - Street Priest - 'More Nasty'. Think about it...makes sense, doesn't it? Well, if I had bothered to read the one-sheet, or was familiar with Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decodinging Society, I would have known better. But, when it comes to the outre regions of avant-garde free jazz, I guess I'm kind of un-hip. Then again, there was a time back in the 70's when I reviewed a performance by Leroy Jenkins, and Mr. Jenkins was impressed enough with the review to send me a thank you note, and that doesn't happen all that often.

Although this release is about a year old, it is still timely enough, considering the recent death of Ornette Coleman, one of the most recognizable names in the free jazz movement. But this band and their work admittedly owes more to Ronald Shannon Jackson than Coleman, although Jackson appeared on a couple of mid-70's Coleman releases. Then again, Jackson collaborated with so many musicians in modern jazz and free jazz that it would be easier to say who he didn't play with than who he did. The band's name - Street Priest, and release title - 'More Nasty' can be directly attributed to Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decodinging Society, being the name of two of their earlier albums from 1981, 'Street priest', and 'Nasty', respectively. There though, the similarity ends, as RSJ and his collaborators exhibited some sort of musicality on most everything they did. Here, there is practically no concession to that.

The group, from Oakland, California, consists of Kristian Aspelin - guitar; Matt Chandler - Bass; Jacob Felix Heule - drums. Chandler also plays with noise/grind/metal/power electronic outfit Burmese, and Jacob Felix Heule is in Ettrick, a free jazz/black metal duo with Jay Korber. Asperlin has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Damon Smith, Kyle Bruckmann, Joe Morris, Scott Looney, Weasel Walter, Jerome Bryerton, Paul Hartsaw, Marco Eneidi, Ralph Carney, Henry Kaiser, Moe! Staiano, and Phillip Greenlief. Out of the three, Asperlin is the likely candidate for being most out there on the fringe, and on 'More Nasty' it certainly shows. The release consists of four tracks - "Turk", "Taylor", Sixth", and "Market", all named after streets in San Francisco. Things start off slightly discretely on "Turk", with plinks, plunks, ticks, taps, creaks, swishes, etc., as the musicians feel their way into each others' territory. It isn't long though before it begins to get frenetic. Asperlin coaxes his guitar into sounding like squabbling hens while the Chandler and Heule's rhythm (or more accurately, arrythm) section supports, contorts and cavorts with a battery and barrage of bass and percussive noise. Kristian is all over his axe in ways Les Paul never dreamed of, and you could easily imagine the sound of a dozen other animals emanating from it than mere chickens. He's well versed in the use of feedback too, and incorporates it liberally. "Taylor" begins with Heule's erratic drum taps, hits, and cymbal zizzes, while Asperlin imitates insects on guitar, and I think Chandler contributes some bass electronic hum. Then ear-piercing feedback is let loose, strings scrape, and metallic plunks, more feedback, noise barrage, and...whatever. By this time the feedback has really put me off this, although Heule does some snazzy drum soloing towards the end.

"Sixth" is almost ambient noise in a way. String scraping that sounds like a motorboat, snoring, creaking door, sprinkled with bass and guitar harmonics. The touch here is much lighter than it has been previously all the way around, and so far, the most tolerable track. "Market jars you back into what these guys are really all about though- improvisational noise. Beginning with a clatter and cacophony from all players by their instruments, this piece rolls along with all the subtlety of road paving equipment. Perhaps a road paver is a good deal more controlled though as the chaos of everyone doing their own thing at once throws everything into abject confusion. There is a point where Asperlin actually begins riffing with notes on his guitar instead of just making noise creating some intense lead work while Chandler's bass rumbles some support from below, but Heule is still all over his drumkit. Things do calm down a bit following that, in the seething undercurrent of the tumult. Truth be told, there are some interesting sounds that emerge just before the conclusion of the piece, but I still wonder, what is the point? Perhaps I'm missing something here, but I don't think so. I just must be one of those people who needs a root of form and content (at least as a jumping-off point) based in something even marginally familiar in order to appreciate the extrapolation. Ronald Shannon Jackson knew that and had it down to a tee. Not so here. The inaccessibility of 'More Nasty' is bound to put off those looking for something more than just improvised noise, and as long as Street Priest continues in this direction, their audience will be very, very, very small.


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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