Music Reviews



Ø: Konstellaatio

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 29 2014
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Artist: Ø (@)
Title: Konstellaatio
Format: CD
Label: Sähkö Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
After his name has been associated to emanations of noisy particles whose penetrating property could be able to shake any configuration of inorganic matter by means of a set of remarkable releases, Finnish sound artist and composer Mika Vainio revives his "slashed o" named project which skyrockets his sonorities towards childish reverie of cosmic peregrinations. Whereas last outputs by Mika seems to be drifted towards saturation and breaking points, "Konstellaatio" orbit around empty spaces and its sparse wavelets on pure electronic frequencies sound like gears of propulsive engines. The first half of this album condenses bubbles of very low frequencies whose sequenced explosions let emanates clipped beats, gusts of cosmic streams, whistling dark stars, ongoing dim coruscations, electronic air blows and sonic coils: in spite of the undeniable charm of tracks like the opening "Otava", the weirdest "Kesayon haltijat" (Finnish for "Holders of a Midsummer Night"), the eerily shakes of "Syvyydessa kimallus" (supposedly meaning "at a depth of sparkle") and the subatomic resounding specks of "Neutronit", some connoisseurs could perceive their similarity with other previously explored sonorities on epic sonic poems by Autechre or Andrew Lagowski's S.E.T.I.. "Elaman puu" (Finnish expression for "the Tree Of Life"), a track which reminded a sonic emotion I experienced while listening a guy playing the organ inside Temppeliaukio Kirkko, the notorious Church of the Rock in Helsinki, ushers in the most interesting part of this album, where Mika's sound rarefies by degrees as if he replays some pieces of his vast sound-bank while coming closer to perfect vacuum. Proper masterpieces which follow this "strategy" are "Talvipaiva, vanha motelli" - the track that he tributed to Harold Budd - and "SyvaÌnteessaÌ pukinjalkaisen", where a menacing entity seems to be awaken from the initial silent cavities that got evoked by the first part of the track. This journey ends with "Takaisin", a wonderful reversion where the most emotional side of the above-mentioned childish reverie got rendered by placental bass tones, music-box-like shimmers and an entrancing microdub ticking.

The Truth About Frank: The Carrion EP

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 29 2014
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Artist: The Truth About Frank (@)
Title: The Carrion EP
Format: CD
Label: LYF Recordings
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed 'Cannibal Work Ethic' by The Truth About Frank, so I thought that I had some idea of what I was in for. Still, this is a pretty weird album by most standards. The 22 minute opening salvo, 'About Frank,' is a barrage of cut ups and samples of dialogue that sound like someone took Negativland's complete discography and threw it in a blender. It changes direction like an ADD person with a TV remote control and 1000 channels. The sound of a man gasping for air is interspersed with blasts of jarring music and samples describing our own private hells. About 15 minutes in it becomes a bit more consistent, with moronic laughter cut in with a slow, methodical beat, but even this sense of consistency is an illusion. So what do we know about Frank? If this song is an indicator, he's not all there. 'Organism Dying In Transit' takes us into less spastic territory, but keeps the weird feel going, with 'SmoKing' easing us out with a short number that keeps the same trajectory. Overall, if you like cut ups, you'll probably enjoy this. If not, you won't. I get the feeling that this is a love it or hate it kind of disc. I enjoyed it, so I fall into the former camp. If you like Negativland's work and Nurse with Wound's 'To the Quiet Men From a Tiny Girl,' this might be up your alley. This album weighs in at around 33 minutes.

ujif_notfound: aneuch

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 28 2014
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Artist: ujif_notfound (@)
Title: aneuch
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Electroton (@)
Rated: *****
ujif_notfound is the work of Ukrainian artist Gregoriy Potopalski. According to the press sheet, Potopalski is 'a media artist engaged in the construction of algorithmic interpretation systems by means of programming languages.' His website clarifies this somethat by stating that 'performances are based on the generation of audio and visual streams in real time. By controlling the prewritten programs (patches ) Ujif_notfound, with each new startup creates an unique audio -visual space, which exists only during the performance , and repeat which is exactly impossible.' The concept is interesting, so let's go to the music. First off, this is mastered really low ' I had to crank it to hear it. Like labelmate Cernlab, this is glitchy stuff, but where Cernlab found a steady rhythm, this is a bit more random. There is some internal consistency of course, but if you're looking for something with a beat on 2 and 4, you'll be disappointed. The best comparison I could come up with is 'Worship the Glitch' from ELpH vs. Coil, which actually shares some commonalty with the production process. Overall this is interesting digital experimental music. It comes nicely packaged in a simple translucent case and weighs in at around 21 minutes. Limited to 100 copies.

Abstractive Noise: Of the Adder’s Bite

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 28 2014
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Artist: Abstractive Noise (@)
Title: Of the Adder’s Bite
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this artist, but I recognized the label that he ran, Impulsive Art. This is the work of Greek artist Panagiotis Pagonis, and the name of the project is a bit deceiving. I opened the case and saw liner notes from one of my favorite passages of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, describing Zarathustra's interaction with the adder who bit him. As such, I settled in for a nice round of noise. But that is not what you get here. This is a concept album of sorts; according to the press sheet, 'the main 'character' who is a male in his normal form is trapped in a gigantic machine-world that is revealed as a woman (or a woman in the form of a machine). . . . The first chapter is the awakening and the realization of the machine's existence. The second chapter is the struggle for escape and the last is the understanding that there is no way of doing so.' OK. So there is no real way I would have gotten this out of the music, but it is enjoyable listening in its own right. We open with some dark neoclassical with strings and a slow moving rhythm. Some of the standout pieces include 'Machine (phase 1),' which brings in rhythms made with chains on floors, a violin in staccato, and the soundtrack to all of those nights that you stayed up too late watching the scary movie on TV after you should have gone to bed. Remember those times? This is what you were hearing. 'Trap' is a nice aggressive number, like the soundtrack to a chase scene in your dreams. Cello and bass lay down a punchy staccato line that provides a good counterpoint to the languid violins. 'Of the Adder's Bite (1st Movement)' is a piano and strings piece reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Overall, this is nice cinematic music. If you like the 'Optical Music' series by In The Nursery, this would be one to pick up. This album weighs in at around 47 minutes.

Rion: ホタル

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 26 2014
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Artist: Rion
Title: ホタル
Format: CD
Label: Hibernate (@)
Rated: *****
UK ambient label Hibernate keeps on emitting sonic refulgence by means of this beautiful collaborative project by Home Normal label boss Ian Hawgood and Sapporo-based producer Ryo Nakata. They immediately wrap listener up into a very warm ambient drone, which has been built on a couple of stretched frequencies, coiling slow pitches, spellbinding modulations and resounding needles of the title-track (Japanese word for "fireflies"), which prepares the ground for the following trance-inducing "Let Me Sing You A Song Of Kindness", where sea-gulls got melted into binaural radiations, which unrelentingly migrate from opposite sides of the surface of sound sphere before getting conjoined on its centre. Some Japanese vocals and the noise of a typewriting machine are the starting point of the following track "hope", whose relaxing wavelets gently sluices listener's mind into a soothing basin. After the possible ambient translation of Chinese New Year's Eve where samples of fireworks got mixed with frequencies that sound like rendering the dazing feeling that the flashy colours of fireworks stimulates on a festive observer, you'd rather imagine that Rion are frying ether without volatilizing the positive feelings that this release is going to ingrain on your thirsty ear.


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