Music Reviews



Halo Manash: Wesieni Wainajat

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 20 2014
cover
Artist: Halo Manash (@)
Title: Wesieni Wainajat
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
The small Finnish label Aural Hypnox gained a reputation among followers of the most arcane side of dark-ambient and ritual music by focusing on the outputs of the Helixes collective and after a period of partial blackout of transmissions, it comes back with a bunch of very good releases including the return (or I'd rathey the beginning of a new cycle) of Halo Manash, one of the most interesting act from that stylistical grounds. Beyond esoteric aspects of their sonic palette, which could sound vaguely fanciful pleasantries to some listeners, and logical connections to their previous Forest Music trilogy ("Language of Red Goats", "Am Kha Astrie" and "Taiwaskivi"), "Wesieni Wainajat" immediately catches listener's attention by "Kwlksta", where slow tonal transitions on a magnetic analogue organ, distant gloomy horns, thin reverberation on rubbing of metallic plates and other sonic poltergeists knead a mesmerizing afterglow, whose gradual updraft set the stage for the following "Varjoista" (Finnish for "from the shadows"), which sounds the most highest sonic pinnacle of this release: while the organ sounds like fed by current generators, whose voltage-regulated hypnotic spirals seem to be highlighted by mid-tempo suffocated tribal percussions, whose rising intensity fires the ritual atmosphere up as well as the visionary effect of the field recordings which could evoke rustling leaves, sheets of breaking ice or the echo of a bucket after having been lowered in a water well. The cracking sound of brushwood in the fire or the typical noise of residual saltpetre in wet rocks starts a sequence of impressive field recordings on the 20-minutes lasting "Tulelle", where the presence of the organ has been limited to a trance-inducing low-key hum sneaking into listener's eardrum while they render some sacral (physical or just spiritual?) magical hideout beyond the clefts they could have possibly pried by previous sonic levers.

David Berezan: Allusions Sonores

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 17 2014
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Artist: David Berezan
Title: Allusions Sonores
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
Another aural delight for the lovers of unconventional electroacoustic sonorities and field recordings from the well-known Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes bear the signature - the second for the imprint - of Uk-based fellow countryman David Berezan, who recently mastered the five acousmatic works he made from 2008 and 2011. The oldest one, "Badlands", is related to his native region, Alberta, as he grabbed some field recordings in the so-called badlands or calanques in Southern Alberta in the summer of 2007 so that the densely constructed soundscapes he built by means of intriguing amalgamation of buzzing insects, chirping cicadas and crickets, flurries, eroding rocks and even skits of traditional American Indian ritual sonoritis vaguely exudes a sense of nostalgia while rendering dinosaur fossils, indigenous people history, lovely parks and the characteristic climate of that part of the planet. If we go in a chronological order, the following track "Nijo" teleports listeners inside Japanese castles; the title refers to Nijo Castle in Kyoto, where David supposedly recorded the sounds he assembled for this track, which focuses on the squeaking sound when a visitor of the castle walks upon its wooden floors, which are commonly known as "uguisubari" (meaning "nightingale floors" due to the fact they sound like chirping!) and functions as a security system which detects intruders, which cannot but inspire a sound artist like David, who tried to go beyond those floors by nailing occasional Japanese voices, high-speed trains and other noises from contemporary Japan which bumped into his microphones. Another region of the planet Mr.Berezan visited many times and grabbed many sounds from is Bali, Indonesia, which fed "Galungan", where he carefully nestled sounds from the Galungan religious festival, the rice paddies, the rich nocturnal natural life and the gamelan in order to render both the extraordinary natural environment and the impressively rich Balinese traditional culture, and "Thumbs", where David just recorded a single plucked sound froma Balinese thumb piano before processing it while inspired by anything related to the word "thumb" that came to his mind during the compostion (all-thumbs, thumbs-up/down, under thumb, thumbing through and so on). The most recent track is maybe the most unconventional one as David entirely assembled "Buoy" from sounds of different kinds of sea buoys, whose bells, whistles and gongs as well as detecting systems (whereas buoys normally aid sea navigation or circumscribe safe area for swimmers or divers, some buoys aid scientific research of ecology, oceanography or maritime weather) could be considered as a sort of decoding of an imaginary language of the sea.

Maile Colbert: Come Kingdom Come

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 16 2014
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Artist: Maile Colbert (@)
Title: Come Kingdom Come
Format: CD
Label: Two Acrons (@)
Rated: *****
The "Ouverture" for the so-called Dies Irae (the Day of Anger, which should the biblical Last Judgement), which somehow reminded me of the very first moments of Mozart's "Requiem Mass in D Minor" (K 626) besides electronic sounds and modified field recordings, introduces listeners in an experimental opera, whose mode of expression counterbalances a conceptual framework, which is so recurring and overworked that could sound banal. The most relevant aspect of this release, named after the notorious invocation "Come, Kingdom Come", is the intersection of sonic skills by intermedia artist Maile Colbert, who is currently director of Cross the Pond, an organization based on arts and cultural exchange between US and Portugal and contributes by her own writings on Acoustic Ecology and Sound Studies at "Sounding Out", and the celestial voice of classically trained soprano Gabriela Crowe under Colbert's direction with contributions by Christophe Giraud aka Tellemake, singer Jessica Constable and RUi Costa's electronics, who dabble in a sort of sonic exegesis of "The Book of Revelations", which got turned into a sort of score as well as a source for inspiration. The transfusion of apocalyptic and millenialism-related themes into clots of Latin medieval monophonic chant, instrumental suppurations, subcortical harmonies, ancestral calls, lyrical contributions by poet Ian Colbert, psychotic reversed sounds and a number of befitting field recordings such as the ones grabbed before, during and after natural disasters, VLF recordings of sun storms while hitting Earth's magnetosphere, bird calling from endangered species, the other-worldly quiet in Chernobyl, the seismic activity of an earthquake and so on, makes the listening experience constantly fluctuate between mystical nuances and thin apprehension, exstacy and anxiety, longing and catharsis, which cannot but come to a conclusion which refers to the end of time by means of barely audible raptured chants and agonizing sounds.
Jan 13 2014
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Artist: RLW & SRMeixner
Title: Just Like a Flower When Winter Begins
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
"Wie eine Blume am Winterbeginn / Und so wie ein Feuer im eisigen Wind / Wie eine Puppe, die keiner mehr mag /Fühl ich mich an manchem Tag" (meaning "Just like a flower when winter begins / And just like a fire in an icy wind / Just like a doll that nobody wants anymore / That's how I feel on some days"), said the first strophe of the song "Ein bisschen Frieden" ("A little bit of Peace") by which Nicole Seibert, better known as Nicole, won Eurovision Song Contest 1982, rised UK single chart up and became quite famous due to a number of translated versions. This buttery and somewhat controversial (just check lyrics) song became the emblem and the title of this lampoon of pop hit songs - mainly German schlager, but there are also quotes and samples from other traditions together with some German musical atrocities which could have been exported by immigrants, such as the sample of Italian song "Mamma" by Claudio Villa in the disturbingly funny "Old Hearts Rejuvenated" - by Ralf Wehowsky aka RLW, member of the forerunning collective P16.D4, and Stephen "srmeixner" Meixner of Contrastate. Their humorous collage which turned a set of samples from a number of gutted pop hits, plunderphonics, industrial-like sonorities, electroacoustics and vocals which sound like radiophonic captions into a sort of creepy show, whose core elements are srm's meditiation on sentiment ("Old Hearts Rejuvenated"), which are somehow closer to his "permutative distorsions", and rlw's textual pieces ("Definition (Konsumation)", the disquieting swarm of "Alle (Everyone)" - it's really funny the list of names of German pop stars, where the female speaker turns into a devilish one -, the initial "Blumen fur den Prachtjungen") as well as some instrumental forays ("Gummidorf", "Spassbremse") or post-industrial unnerving activated sludges ("Wishing To Be Entartained", "The Man with the Sunglasses"). I could imagine that what you're going to listen on "Just Like A Flower When Winter Begins" if you woefully end up in a German schlager with drunken cockscomb, nazi loggers, twinkly blond milks and a lot of cholesterol while you were searching for a loo in order to sober up after a pitiless barman put an acid pill into your glass of milk.

Enough!!!: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 12 2014
cover
Artist: Enough!!!
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
Recorded at The Issue Project Room in Brooklyn on 20th December 2011, "Enough!!!" is a stunningly psychotropic live recording which grouped together three experienced sound and noise artists, who have a penchant for the intersections between juggling with electrons and frequencies: many readers of Chain DLK maybe will easily recognize the name and the imprint of Swedish noise artist Joachim "The iDEALIST" Nordwall - we recently spoke about his collaboration with his sonic majesty Mika Vainio and many entries in the reviews section came from his label iDEAL - as well as the ones of his fellow countryman Carl Michael von Hausswolff, who shares the regency of the imaginary Royal Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland, a self-proclaimed never-never land which groups geographical, mental and digital border territories together, whose community got often delighted by CM's mind-altering electronic drones, tape-conceived ghostly entities and drilling venues. The third leg of the tripod is the one of Jason Lescalleet, label head of Glistening Examples and former collaborator of Aaron Dilloway, Graham Lambkin, Jason Kahn, Joe Colley, Phil Niblock and other big names of the scene with a penchant for the exploration of natural magnetic phenomena by means of old open-reel tape recording. This trio can almost be imagined as a group of paranormal investigators of experimental scene whose research paradoxically leads to the discovery of the physical properties of sound and this 49-minutes lasting suite is an exhaustive assay of their aptitudes. From the initial warm-up where it seems that they describes the frostbite of an undefined environment by means of an over-stretched flat frequency whose tiny variations enclose mesmerizing modulations, subcortical icy flurries and breaks, which sound like chorusing a magnetic storm with haywire Geiger counters or magnetic detectors before reeling listeners in a flow of pulsations, grazed piercing sonic specks and feedbacks. The cover image, a snapshot by CM Von Hausswolff of the meaningful and somewhat disquieting sculpture "Mother Earth" by Icelandic artist Einar Jonsson could frame "Enough!!!" into a sort of planetary thinking cap. Enough said.


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