Music Reviews

Ernesto Rodrigues, Bertrand Gauguet, Ricardo Guerreiro: Early Reflections

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 20 2014
Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues, Bertrand Gauguet, Ricardo Guerreiro
Title: Early Reflections
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
This collaborative recording by Ernesto Rodrigues on viola and Ricardo Guerreiro on computer, with the guest appearance of Bertrand Gauguet on alto saxophone is maybe the most abstract release by this musical liason. I'm pretty sure that the most demanding listeners whose ears are trained to those free improvisational sessions which get closer to pure abstract sound art and reductionism will appreciate this long-lasting recording that this trio made in studio ("Wood") and on live stage ("Stone") by following more or less the same operational mode, where electronic sounds emphasize the lenghty tonal sequence where tones themselves seem to be like accidental events that meet Gauguet's breath and Rodrigues's rubbing and manage to excite listener's imagination. For instance the first part of "Stone" and the gradual saturation occurring between 18th and 21st minute could let you imagine about the sudden awakening in the middle of a nocturnal labyrinthine cornfield where the chirping of cicadas or the nearby flight of other nocturnal insects become frightening moments of a nightmarish rural experience. If you consider "Early Reflections" under an exquisitely technical viewpoint, the delicate manoeuvring on dynamics and sonic "consistency" as well as on surreal chromatic grasps of these two sessions is really remarkable.

Islaja: SUU

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 20 2014
Artist: Islaja
Title: SUU
Format: CD
Label: Monika Enterprise (@)
Rated: *****
All those ones who know Finnish musician Merja Kokkonen aka Islaja for her foggy ethereal folk songs won't easily recognise her new musical skin or I'd rather call it her spacesuit for leisure time as you could have the impression that she collected many space-disco debris in order to make sonic collages between bewiching concision and limp roaming, whose osseous structures together with the alternance of lukewarm simple syth-driven melodies and frigid fixity fit with Gurun Gut's label Monika Enterprise aesthaetics as well as the iridescent temperament that Islaja shows on her songs where she sometimes disguise as a protective tiger, a predatory nocturnal wild beast or a poetess who doesn't need to be understood. Both under the musical and lyrical viewpoints, her songs have a tendency to wander off in daydreams or mantain a suitable distance with human emotions or listening gatecrashers in her personal world, that she lets just half-view. Some moments could surmise some stuff by The Knife, Nico, the above-mentioned Gudrun Gut or even some glossy artifacts from the 80ies, but there are many original clues that could let you think that Islaja just hangs off her own SUU's (Finnish word for mouth) words.

Peter K Frey / Daniel Studer: Zwirn

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 19 2014
Artist: Peter K Frey / Daniel Studer (@)
Title: Zwirn
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Recorded on 13th May 2011 at MUG/Munich Undergorund as a part of the subsonicspace 2011 on the occasion of Offene Ohren, this improvised concert by talented Swiss double-bass players Peter K.Frey and Daniel Studer, whose collaboration came after they played together at Domino orchestra by Markus Eichenberger, belongs to one of those performance that more voracious listeners keep on looking for. They wisely overworked their beloved instruments by a remarkable set of performative unconventional strategies, which include rubbing, dampers, sliding, wringing, hitting and plucking of strings with no use of amplifiers, computers or digital filters in order to stretch the expressive powers of double-bass out. The seven tracks of this recording show a whirlwind of amazing transfigurations of this instrument: I particularly enjoyed the three parts of "Zwei Punkt", where some echoes of the sinewy performances by Stefano Scodanibbio could come to mind in between pleated tailspins and tonal declivities.

Soar Trio: Emergency Management Heist

 Posted by Duff Harris   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 16 2014
Artist: Soar Trio
Title: Emergency Management Heist
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Edgetone Records
Rated: *****
To begin we must ask ourselves: 'what is expressionism?'

Perhaps it is that litany of farragoes that begins with the myth of the Self - a seemingly Western byproduct of Cartesian metaphysics. In its musical embodiment, free jazz, there are individuals - but there is also the group; talking over one another there is an interesting semblance of conversation, both frenetic and dealing in abstraction.

Any analysis of a particular work of expressionism is mediated by the subject of all experience (myself) who is trying, in turn, to convey the artists' very own unique experience. This is what makes a review particularly difficult. It is not the idiom itself - as, by now, surely anyone knows quite readily what 'free jazz' as an idea signifies.

Each piece is a subdivision of 'Down River' (or maybe a variation rather). We do not know precisely what ties the work together other than the acoustic arrangement and the overall roles each musician serves.

With piano, alto saxophone, and bass alone Soar Trio progresses through moods ranging from the solemn and pensive to tersely energetic angst. This CD neither becomes fatiguing, feels trite, nor comes across as disingenuous at any point. The range of tone and coloration is my favorite aspect of the work. There is a childlike playfulness as well as a schizophrenia that lies underneath.

Juan Carlos Vasquez: Collages

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 15 2014
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Artist: Juan Carlos Vasquez (@)
Title: Collages
Format: Tape
Label: Important Records (@)
Rated: *****
This release is based upon the digital manipulation of performance, for solo instruments, of works by celebrated composers. From the linear notes, this album is conceived as 'a sonic application of British painter JMW Turner' technique to use layers of colours and textures to turn everyday landscape into powerful and expressive oneiric fantasies'. In more musical terms, the melodic lines of the original pieces are turned into a bunch of noises and drones juxtaposed with a path in mind.
The A side is opened by 'Collage 1 (After M. Mussorgsky)' where a cello piece is developed focusing on his noises and resonances. 'Collage 2 (After L.v. Beethoven)', perhaps a piano piece, is closes to glitch while 'Collage 3 (After E. Ysaye)' deals with violin sounds. 'Collage 4 "Landscape' creates drone from noises. This side is closed by 'Collage 5 "The Acrobat" (After E. Satie)' where the well known piano lines are turned into a melancholic soundscape.
The B side, this release is a cassette, is opened by 'Collage 6 (After J.S. Bach)' based upon an organ tune where the manipulation reveals the similarities with wind instruments. 'Collage 7 (After F. Chopin)' focuses on the lyrical motives of the piano lines of this composer. 'Collage 8 (After J.S. Bach)' develops in a noisy way while 'Collage 9 (After J.L. Borges)' closes this release deconstructing the voice of the reader of the text.
This release sounds unfocused in some parts and closer to his intellectual premise than in an enjoyable musical result but, when the game works, reveals the care in his construction. It's worth a listen.

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