Music Reviews



Xavier Charles: 12 Clarinets in a Fridge

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 09 2014
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Artist: Xavier Charles (@)
Title: 12 Clarinets in a Fridge
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Rated: *****
French electroacoustic musician and clarinet player Xavier Charles probes his skills and his living and practising space on this interesting release where he decided to complement the sound of his beloved instrument with voices of home appliances: even he freezed melody, the 12 clarinet lines that he defrosted from his resounding fridge sound like hypnotical vibrations from ice crystals on the opening title-track "12 Clarinets in a Fridge", the 10 lines that he loaded on the amazing "10 Clarinets in the Washing Machine" follows a 6-minutes lasting washing cycle that remives any harmonic stains from the score, while the surviving 6 clarinet lines echoes the heating of the sinusoid electric resistence and the agitation of water molecules inside a boiler on "6 Clarinets in a Boiler". All the above-mentioned aplliances are so integrated in each track that it seems that Xavier just tuned clarinet in with their sonic display. Likewise the clarinet sound like a tuning fork on the two long tracks that he placed in between his domestic experiments where grafts single tone of clarinets, which often fan out over harmonious sonic lumps, entrancing vibratoes and puffs into a miscellany of field recordings and external interferences ("Heterogene") or circular or gurgling mesmeric eddies ("Materiel"). Even if you got fascinated by Charles' experiments, don't try to melt your clarinet in the microwave oven!

Chris Heenan, Ernesto Rodrigues, Alexander Frangenheim, Ofer Bymel: Berlin

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 07 2014
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Artist: Chris Heenan, Ernesto Rodrigues, Alexander Frangenheim, Ofer Bymel
Title: Berlin
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
The four blurred vertical lines on the cover artwork, which look like scuff marks on an asphalt-like homogeneous surface or possibly waveforms which crosses a silent space, could be a good graphical condensation of the umpteenth finding in the basket of recorded improvisations that Creative Sources decided to release and entitle by means of the names of the locations where they got recorded. Each line could be matched to the involved musicians: Ernesto Rodrigues, whose fanciful oestrus on viola should be known by my followers, talented double-bass player Alexander Frangenheim, that I already introduced here ad there, Israelian drummer Ofer Bymel on percussions and Berlin-based American saxophonist and clarinetist Chris Heenan on alto saxophone and contrabass clarinet. Besides the usual striking parade of odd techniques and dynamics, the first two parts of this suite let prefigure that no particular variations on a musical "organization", where all elements sound like strangled into a web of feeble interactions where no one can really stand out, could occur over the release and both the third and the fourth parts are in keeping with the previous expectations, but waters begin to get rippled in the final part of Part 4 and Fragenheim and Rodrigues begin to hit and scratch auditory nerves and strings on Part 5, before that sleeping wildness, which sounds like anesthetized in the previous parts of the record, explodes on the sixth final part of this session, which got recorded on 25th April 2010 at Studioboerne45, Berlin-Weissensee.

Tarab: I'm Lost

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 07 2014
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Artist: Tarab (@)
Title: I'm Lost
Format: CD
Label: 23five (@)
Rated: *****
Some people are interested in shredding the veil of Maya, while other ones could be ideally more interested in breaking the windscreen or the rear-view mirror of their own car as a deforming lens or misleadign diaphragm between sentient individual and surrounding reality and the skilled Australian sound artist Eamon Sprod aka Tarab, who builds visionary mosaics of field recordings and focused on the perceptional prophylaxis of mass transit on his previous release "Strata", seems to follow this spiritual and artistic path. Noises (mainly those ones which come from technological devices, artificial objects, traffic, social environments) got placed in Tarab's puzzling patchworks as disturbances which heavily influence the perception of reality, whose "natural" elements are just like insignificant entities, as it's clear since the first of five tracks of "I'm Lost", which could vaguely resemble some neurotic sequences of sketches of movie makers like David Lynch or Darren Aronofsky. The second track features claustrophobic entities over an almost silent blown stream, which precedes the oppressive grid pattern of radio frequencies, confusing sonic objects, squeaking sheaves and disquieting trembles of the third track and the very high frequencies and the electric stridencies of the fourth one. The final track, the longest one, got filled with outlines of social sketches which seem to get exterminated by an electric buzz getting out of a broken pressure relief device. Besides any implied interpretation of the title, Tarab seems to pinpoint his grabbed disturbances and heterotopic non-places as possible sources of (spiritual, geographical or sensorial) bafflement.

Philipp Quehenberger: Content

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 04 2014
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Artist: Philipp Quehenberger
Title: Content
Format: 12"
Label: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
I'm pretty sure that some spiteful reviewers, who often label a record after listening 10/15 seconds of the first 2-3 tracks of an album, or hoity-toity listeners puckishly will be quick to say this record by Austrian producer Philipp Quehenberger is just a wink at techno or electro followers by Editions Mego as the content of "Content" - seven years after his first appearance on Rehberg's label four years after his amazing release "Hazard" on Laton, that I already introduced on this zine - is richer in inputs. The first tracks sound like already digested sonic cuds, but there are some nice moments such as the opening "Deadline", where loop and frequencies are like reagents of a reciprocal erosion, the course track-laying sonorities of "Fucked" and "Uff Uff", which vaguely resemble some stuff by T.Raumschmiere, or "In Sight", which gets closer to more slaphappy offbeat electro (imagine a more abstract declension of Dat Politics stuff), while it seems that the friction coefficient increases on the last tracks so that the lunatic spasms of "Startled", the neural knurls of "Extended", whose basslines could be similar to what you would associate to the belch of a fat toad, and the final cruise of "For Real" are my favorite moments of the release. After listening to "Content", you will think that stubborn stains could sometimes look spick-and-span!

Jacaszek & Kwartludium: Catalogue Des Arbres

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 02 2014
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Artist: Jacaszek & Kwartludium (@)
Title: Catalogue Des Arbres
Format: CD
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
The integration of instrumental and ambient music with field recordings and sound of nature has almost become a cliche so that the discriminating factor is the aesthaetic quality of such an integration and the aesthaetics that Polish electroacoustic musician Michal Jacascek and the ensemble Kwartludium (Dagna Sadkowska on violin, clarinet player Michal Gorczynski, Pawel Nowicki on percussions and pianist Piotr Nowicki) convey on this "Catalogue des Arbres" (French for "Catalogue of Trees") is undoubtedly sterling from this point of view. The choice of a French title is not a matter of mannerism, but it's just a quotation of "Catalogue d'oiseaux" ("Bird catalogue") by French composer Olivier Messiaen, the forerunning oeuvre of the so-called biomusic where he incorporated the delicate chirps and tweets by thirteen different birds into likewise delicate compositions. By reversing the order that many poets and writers followed by using musical metaphors to render their enchantment for nature, Jacascek and Kwartludium turn into interpreter of the hidden sound of trees, whose presence is not limited to a bunch of field recordings but they seem to mark the sound of this project since the opening "Sigh (Les Peupliers)", where the musicians manage to render the serene magnificence of poplars whose elevation got evoked by 441 Hz Chamber Choir sylvan-like voices. A certain anxiety creeps into the record on the disquieting lullaby of the following "Green Hour", which evokes the so-called natural deficit disorder or Louv's hypothesis about some behavioral problems caused by the disconnection between humans (mainly children) and nature, and on "A book of lake (Roseliere)", where percussions seem to render the flowing of reed beds and clarinet could resemble the sound of some buzzing small inhabitants of wetlands where reed wildly grows. Fittingly, wind instruments had a prominent function in "Garden (Les Sureaux)", where they quote elderberry, whose branches are traditionally used for a number of flutes and wind instruments in Eastern Europe; moreover the track sounds like rendering the venomous beauty of sambucus, whose parts mainly includes cyanide. A similar contrasting suggestion comes from the listening of "From a seashell", where the enchanting sonic elements sounds like the clash between the beauty of those resounding forms and the circumstance that those exoskeletons are like abandoned houses or cemeteries. A feeling of vague dismay and digginess trickles from the following tracks "Circling (Le Pre)" and "Anthem (La Foret)", which precede the astonishing finale of "Kingdom (Les Chenes, Les Bouleaux)" here 441 Hz Chamber Choir emphasizes the quivering atmosphere of the soundscape again.


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