Music Reviews

Maria Lucchese/Matthias Bauer: Alchimia Organica

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 28 2014
Artist: Maria Lucchese/Matthias Bauer (@)
Title: Alchimia Organica
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
After they ascertained that their artistic fields had many intersections, particularly the study of voice, their open-minded approach to different cultures and perspectives and the attempt of merging formally different branches of avant-gard arts, theatre and music, which often flow together, Berlin-based Italian visual artist and performer Maria Lucchese and contrabass player, improviser and composer Matthias Bauer blended their ele/mental sonorities in this "Alchimia Organica" (Organic alchemy). The sound of the first two tracks and the resounding distinct percussive strokes by Maria, who plays theremin, zither, didgeridoo, launeddas (a sort of woodwind triplepipe from Sardinia), oceandrum and gong as well as his voice reminded some ritual percussive experiments by Z'EV to my ear, but soon after the very first minutes both the amazing use of voice by Matthias and Maria with a funnily wide range of squeaks, murmurs, squeals, guttural yells and other bizarre naturally transformed calls (I particularly enjoyed the moments when both of them turn their voice by a sort of natural flanger!) and the thespian inserts and the crazy phrasing on contrabass by Matthias immediately immerse listeners into what they properly defined a "suspended and magic atmosphere of extemporaneous anarchy, and allucinatory excursion, a cathartic aesthetical experience", where listeners can suddenly catch a certain sense of humour and spiritual tension that often impetuously burst into lines such as on fifth and tenth tracks.

Aquavoice: Nocturne

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 26 2014
Artist: Aquavoice (@)
Title: Nocturne
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes this album is 'more dreamy, low-key and soothing ambient textures' than his predecessor 'Grey'. The musical style of this project is something between glitch and ambient as it features field recordings, noises and drones but, instead of repeating the same musical palette in all tracks, tries to change continuously the weight of the single elements.
The small noises of 'Pneumatic Sequence' opens this release evolving in a drone while 'In the Night' is focused on sparse synth notes. 'Black Silence' is a quiet soundscape and 'Fish Dreams' is a gentle evocation of a geometric movement. 'Sleep Well' features a lyric line of a violin and a female spoken word, probably a sample. 'The Secret Life of Insects' has the first part focused on insect noises and the second on layers of notes and drones. 'Lunapark' could even sound as pop track with his childish, in the evocative meaning of the word, loop. 'Endless Enigma' is an evocative track based on drones and spoken word and 'Nebulous Dawn' is a carefully constructed sounscape. 'Stargate' starts as a dark ambient track and ends in an almost dance mood with his jazz oriented charleston and sci-fi spoken samples. 'Sunday Afternoon' ends this release with a synth melody closer to certain filed of synth pop.
The key point of this album is the variety of musical solution adopted that reveals a project of great musical depth. An excellent release.

Marc Sabat: Les Duresses

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 25 2014
Artist: Marc Sabat (@)
Title: Les Duresses
Format: 12"
Label: Care Of Editions (@)
Rated: *****
I won't dwell on the technical aspects of this release by Professor Marc Sabat as in spite of its strong connection with Morton Feldman compositional techniques could inspire many theoretical subplots by many meticulous scholars and high-brows, as I'm pretty sure that Marc himself would focus on emotional aspects more than technical ones. Morton Feldman would be grateful for the fact that a brilliant connoisser of his precious contribution to contemporary music explicitly dedicated two long intonations to him after he tributed some of his notorious compositions to a number of artists he met during his life and understood the function of duration of his music, which has been erroneously connected to improvisation or minimalism over years. The opening "Intonation for MF 1" could sound like dilutions of some Hilmarsson's dirge-like seraphic symphonies, the second intonation as well as "Duas Quintas" could vaguely resemble the stretching of some idyllic compositions by Hindemith and I'm pretty sure that some football followers could even think about Tony Britten's variation of coronation anthem of Handel's Zadok The Priest (better known as the UEFA Champions League Anthem) in the first minutes of "Two Commas", but whether you are erudite or not, you could vaguely foretaste a temporary fading of time perception which seems to be the aim and the meaning of Feldman's extreme lengthening - it's no coincidence the more he got older, the more his composition lasted till reaching more than six hours non-stop performances... -. The performance on violin by Andrew McIntosh as well as Sabat's "disguised" tonal echoing play a remarkable part for such an interesting listening experience.

Ueno Masaaki: Ununseptium/ Vortices

 Posted by Paul Muhller   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 22 2014
Artist: Ueno Masaaki
Title: Ununseptium/ Vortices
Format: 12"
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
Four years after the discovery by Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian, a group of American and Russian researches and nuclear physics of the 117th element by means of the fusion of Calcium and transuranic radioactive chemical element Berkelium at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Raster-Noton discovered its 117th element for unun series, the notorious series of releases, named after the family of transuranic or superheavy elements. Its scientific connection got emphasized by Japanese sound-artist Ueno Masaaki, whose four tracks for the seventh ring of this chain are aimed to be a sort of reconstruction of natural laws and forces by means of complex polymeric grooves, clipped rhythimcal cuts, clusters of chopped metallic hits and overclocked suctions of piercing bass pulsations, which could be vaguely described as a possible groovy declension of Autechre or Emptyset stuff. It might sound repetitive only to absent-minded listeners, as more attentive listeners will easily appreciate the rich assets of sonic detailes of this zipped stuff.

Phurpa: Mantras of Bön

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 21 2014
Artist: Phurpa
Title: Mantras of Bön
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
This musical project aims to create meditative music with its roots in the ancient pre-buddhist tradition BON, so, it's something conceptually close to the rivers of minimalism more focused on topics like just intonation and micro tones. According to the linear notes 'the musicians themselves stress the spiritual nature of their activity' so it's not something to hear in the background while driving a car or in a noisy environment.
This album is composed by live performance's recordings and the first part, composed by the two tracks 'Live in St. Petersburg' and
'Live in Moscow', features vocalist Alissa Nicolai that impress the listener with the purity of her tones, and her spoken works, that resonates with low tones drones made by Alexey Tagin in the background. The second part features the vocals of Alexey Tagin and is composed by three tracks: 'Mu-Ye - Live at CTM Berlin', based on a didjeridoo and cymbals, 'Kuntunzangpo' and 'Mi Dud', based on vocals and cymbals. While the description of the track could describe a rather monotone release, the charm of this music lies in the ability, with the linear, intoned and moving drones, to focus on subtle movement of the sound so, if listened distractedly, could be even sound boring but, actively listening, a door to personal perception opens.
This kind of music couldn't be recommended to anyone as it requires a type of fully committed listener but, fans of Sunn O))) or Phill Niblock, will love this release. So this album has no rating as I would give a 5 star but it's an irksome listening for everyone not used to this music.

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