Music Reviews



Karoline Leblanc and Paulo J Ferreira Lopes: Hypnagogic Cartography I

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 25 2015
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Artist: Karoline Leblanc and Paulo J Ferreira Lopes
Title: Hypnagogic Cartography I
Format: CD
Label: Atrito-Afeito (@)
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed Paulo J Ferreira Lopes's 'Feeze' and enjoyed it, so I was interested to see how he would operate with another artist. With this album, Karoline Leblanc plays Alesis Micron and Dave Smith Morpho x4 synth, along with piano for good measure, while Paulo J Ferreira Lopes mixes and edits. 'Overture' starts things off with some noisy, staticy drone that reveals multiple layers when listening to it through headphones. Next up we have 'Dichotomic Syntony,' which keeps the drone going until it kicks in to some pounding piano straight out of an old black and white suspense film. 'American Frontier' shifts gears slightly with a more cut-up feel before sliding into bass drone punctuated by analog beeps and noise. Finally we get to 'Reminiscence - Rätsel Rock - Windward Vagary ' Ubiquity,' which, at almost 27 minutes, has plenty of time to fit into four parts and shifts back and forth between stripped down analog waves over whistling electronics, noisy alarm bells and distortion, and spacey ambient. Overall these are well constructed compositions, but they're a bit too abstract for my taste. For lack of a better term, they require a lot of attention to the microscopic elements of the tracks. As such, I found the drone elements to be a bit dull at times. I recognize that there is a lot going on there if I listened for it, but it just wasn't interesting enough for me to go looking for it. On the other hand, the noisy elements were engaging and enjoyable. This album weighs in at 44 minutes and is limited to 100 copies.

Trio Vopá: Chartreuse

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 25 2015
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Artist: Trio Vopá (@)
Title: Chartreuse
Format: CD
Label: Nurnichtnur (@)
Rated: *****
Trio Vopá consists of Roland Spieth on trumpet, Cornelius Veit on Guitar, and Axel Haller on bass. Not that you would be able to tell with these compositions. When I put this on, I settled in for some experimental jazz, but the opening track, 'Whirr,' was a beautiful drone piece that was rather soothing. Of course this was only a pretense to put you on edge as 'Din' kicked in with a spastic, jittery track that will set the other pole for this disc. In the middle of these extremes is 'Seep,' a minimal track that you have to turn way up just to hear. Over the course of this album, Trio Vopá lurches their way between these extremes, scratching and clawing at their instruments until the original source is unrecognizable ('Filtrate') only to return to pleasant drone ('Glint') again. This is not noise music, but it is certainly noisy in many parts. Overall, this was well constructed improvisation and quite enjoyable. This album weighs in at around 42 minutes.

Foils Quartet: The Jersey Lily

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 20 2015
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Artist: Foils Quartet
Title: The Jersey Lily
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
This avalanche in the canyon of free jazz comes from a musical liaison between Germany and UK, the favourable meeting between the excellent wind Berlin-based duo by Frank Paul Schubert, whose empathy with his soprano saxophone and the other elements of the band has a dynamite shape on this record, and Matthias Muller on trombone, and John Edwards (bass) and Mark Sanders (a real octopus on drums!), two brilliant improvisers from the vibrant English scene. This fourtet gave rise to two impressive sessions of so instinctively head-banging and constantly spinning free-jazz that you might wonder what kind of power pill they swallowed to blast their musical energy: the two impressive sessions on "The Jersey lily" - "Eddie's Flower" and "Amaryllis Belladonna"...two clear references together with the title of this release to Lille Langtry, the most beatiful European woman according to Oscar Wilde's words...an opinion which could be reasonably agreed by King Edward VII, maybe the most important and "earnest" (!) of her many suitors - sometimes sound like a proper battle between the two duets (Bass Vs Drums and Trombone Vs Soprano Saxophone!), which scrambled their instruments by means of an overwhelming roller coaster of sounds, techniques and musical scuffles for more than 75 incendiary minutes that got recorded live on April 2nd 2013 at The Lily Langtry Room, Lamp Tavern, Birmingham, UK by Christopher Trent.

Susanna Gartmayer: AOUIE - Solos for Bass Clarinet

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 19 2015
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Artist: Susanna Gartmayer (@)
Title: AOUIE - Solos for Bass Clarinet
Format: 10"
Label: God Records/Chmafu Nocords (@)
Rated: *****
The very first seconds of this release by bass clarinet player Susanna Gartmayer could surmise the incendiary tonal whirls by Colin Stetson and seem to follow that compositional path, but the astonishingly adventurous route that the brilliant Austrian musician explore pushes his instrument beyond the above-mentioned matching. The remarkable variagated range of transitions results from different places where it was performed and recorded (a museum, a theatre bar, a church, an electronic music club, a shop and so on), different playing positions of the performer, different playing direction, different audiences as well as different formations of mouth cavity - each track has been titled by corresponding vowels -, so that rooms together with bass clarinet and every side noise such as the breath, the tapping of the keys and the clanging of the instrument can be considered as reagents of the composition. The opening swirling of "AE" sounds like withdrawing into itself before the final eruption, the faint tonal filaments of "U" and "UE" move towards unforeseen directions, the buzz which opens the final "A" gets more and more incandescent, the austerely solemn mumble of bass clarinet of the central "E" (recorded in St.Ruprechts Church, Vienna) occasionally as well as the sly sneaking of "I" show tonal abrasions before their final dissipation, while the more vibrant movements of "O" is the icing on the cake of this multidimensional journey into bass clarinet sound.

Fabio Battistetti: Into the Wood

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 18 2015
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Artist: Fabio Battistetti (@)
Title: Into the Wood
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
A wood-driven record is maybe something that could bring an echologist or an enthusiastic fan of Thoreau's "Walden" to secrete resin for pleasure, but this environ/mentalist output by Italian sound artist Fabio Battistetti aka Eniac, coming out from a series of live performances (Lugano, Mondovi', Turin, Embrun and Chamois) that he made together with Andrea "ics" Ferraris and Andrea "Lotzio" Carlotto inside a wooden cube designed by Catherine Chanoux, which got amplified by microphones and then digitally adapted, is primarily an amazing listening experience. The above-described cube is the framework where Battistetti manipulates a series of plywood boards, branches and tree bark after fixing them to the wall of his wooden nest by means of elastics and shelves. The electric strands of "Buttonwood", the opening track, sounds like a tuning stage as if the artist is transplanting a device in the eardrums of the listener to grab sounds from his wooden objects, while the first tree that borrows sounds to Battistetti is "Castanea Sativa" (scientific denomination of the sweet chestnut). After the popping "Duramen", which sounds like the rendering of the intense activity of a squadron of anry woodboring beetles, the author sounds like extracting the most "spiritual" side of his sonic outputs on the following tracks: "Larix Decidua" sounds like an ode to European larch and its notorious resistence to very low temperatures due to the the falling of all leaves, a process which seems to have been rendered by the sounds of the following "Leaves Fall", a kind of slo-mo dub, that perfectly bonds with the hollow logs that could come to listener's mind while listening the spacey "On a Branch". The chippings and the echoed chimes of "Taxodloceae" and "Waldeinsamkeit" (a German word which can be translated as the feeling of being alone in the woods!) leaves listened on a high note.


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