Music Reviews

Deadburger Factory: la fisica della nuvole

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 10 2014
Artist: Deadburger Factory (@)
Title: la fisica della nuvole
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: Snowdonia/Goodfellas (@)
Rated: *****
First I should say that I probably shouldn't have been the one to review this, not because I can't grok the music (most of it anyway) but because Italian is a language I have no proficiency in, and to fully appreciate this, it's likely essential. (I know we have some paisanos here at Chain D.L.K.; Marc, Mario, Vito.) Be that as it may, Deadburger Factory is actually Italian avant-rock band Deadburger, with some help from their friends on this triple-disc deluxe box set, hence the 'factory' added to the name, as a musical experimental laboratory of sorts. When I say deluxe, I definitely mean deluxe- a neat gray-lavender box with artwork by cartoonist Paul Bacilieri (also different works by him on the individual CDs), a 64 page booklet with lyrics (in Italian of course), color photos of the band, more Bacilieri artwork, and other odd and interesting stuff, plus a foldout mini-poster of Bacilieri's cartoon art from the three individual CDs assembled for continuity. This must have cost a fistful of Euros to put together, and having no idea what it retails for, nor how big a following the band has in Italy, I don't know if they'll ever recoup their investment, but for some, it's sure to become one of those 'must haves'. Even the one-sheet accompanying this is in Italian, so I had to go elsewhere (several elsewheres) searching for information to be able to convey to you, the potential listener.

The title ' 'la fisica della nuvole' translated means 'The Physics of Clouds'. Each of the three CDs also has its own title CD1- 'Puro Nylon 100%' (sort of self-explanatory); CD2- 'Microonde/Vibroplettri' (Microwave/Vibrating Plectrums); CD3- 'la fisica della nuvole' (The Phyics of Clouds'), all representing different aspects of this work. CD1 is easily the most diverse of the three. It combines elements of rock, classical, jazz, electronic, spoken word (most in Italian), avant-garde, downtempo trip hop, and probably a few I missed. Not all at the same time mind you, but sometimes. Comprised of 8 tracks composed by Vittorio Nistri, Allessandro Casini and Tony Vivona, there is a wide variety of moods, and sonics explored here, so it almost seems cinematic. One minute you're listening to a nifty distorted guitar riff (joined by violin, ala King Crimson) with heavy acoustic rock drums, the next, some gentle electronics and a string sextet, interrupted by some dissonant processed electronics. Some of the tracks on this CD are their own variations on Erik Satie's 'Socrates'. Although I found it a bit uneven, there were enough highlights to warrant multiple replays.

CD2- 'Microonde/Vibroplettri' is something completely different. The most experimental CD of the three, it is split between Vittorio Nisti's sonic microwave experiments (using a microwave oven as the primary sound source) and Alessandro Casini's vibrating plectrum experiments (using vibrating sex toys to motivate his guitar). Each of them has four tracks on this CD. First track, 'My Life Inside the Microwave' begins with some high frequency drones and not long turns into a squalling assault of noise. 'Strategy of the Rat' is an intriguing rhythmic piece; a bit of hypnotic electronica with a low voiced melody and an arrhythmic scraping sound. Noise surfaces as element as well, along with an occasional dinging bell. This is way cool! How all this was generated from a microwave, is beyond me, but the creativity here is simply astounding. 'Magnetron' is a short electronic piece employing reverse-attack technique (backwards samples) with other rapid little electronic rhythms, seeming transitional. 'Micronauta' is strange psychedelic ambience, just too hard to describe; quite multifaceted and intriguing. It ends with the dinging of a bell, quite possibly signifying the rat it the microwave'¦is done. 'The Dentist of Tangier' is an odd Middle Eastern flavored piece with a quirky rhythm and eccentric guitar. 'Heart of Rana' is a weird noise-rock piece that shows you just how bizarre things can get when sex toys are applied to the guitar. With dildo-neck slide guitar, this style of delta blues would have Elmore James turning over in his grave. Beefheart might dig it though. 'Dr. Quartermass, I Presume' features an undercurrent of quirky electronic rhythm with abstract noisy electric guitar on top. Concluding with 'Plowing the Fields of Glass', a repetitive guitar melody forms the pedal off which other guitar sounds (sustained low notes, tremolo, squealing sustained lead) play. It comes off as the least experimental and least rewarding track on this CD.

CD3- 'The Physics of Clouds' is yet again something completely different. This is where Deadburger comes together as a band, with a more cohesive sound, if such a thing is possible for them. At this time the band lineup should be introduced ' Simone Tilli ' trumpet, lead vocals (Simone is a guy by the way, think of him as Simon); Alessandro Casini ' guitar (acoustic guitar on this disc, although I swear some of it sounds electric); Carlo Sciannameo ' fretless bass; Giula Nuti- viola; Irene Orrigo ' flute, vocals; Pino Gulli ' drums; Massimo Giannini ' percussion, vocals; Vittorio Nistri ' keyboards, loops. There are a couple of other musicians involved, but let's not get carried away in the credits. This is supposed to be the 'organic' CD and for the most part it is, but electronics do creep into the sound processing, and electric bass and keyboards (unless you're strictly playing acoustic piano, which Nistri isn't) are electronic. Be that as it may, this CD has more of a band sound with continuity throughout. The opening track begins with spoken word (in Italian, of course) and melancholy strings with a little flute, clarinet and bass, followed by guitar and viola carrying the melody. It's a bit reminiscent of In The Nursery. A little rattling percussion then the band launches into a semi-psychedelic modal trip that reminds me of Gong, sans Daevid Allen's Flying Teapots and Pothead Pixies, perhaps with a touch of Jade Warrior.
Most all of the lyrics to the songs are actually sung (rather than spoken as on the first CD), once again in Italian, getting a bit closer to mainstream. 'Amber' is an exotic superb piece that could have gone for twice its length and I'd have been very happy. Jazzy, trippy, exotic, a wonderful blending of so many cool elements. The band rocks out on the next number ' 'Bruciando il Piccolo Padre' (By the Burning Little Father ?) with some very frenetic vocals by Tilli, and bodacious drumming by Pino Gulli. 'Cose Che Rompono' is a bouncy number and the closest thing to a traditional song so far. After the mostly placid 'Wormhole', the band heads off into Legendary Pink Dots territory with 'Il Mare E' Scomparso'. The downtempo 'Deposito 423' features some very rich musical interplay between all the musicians, and very memorable vocal line. I don't know exactly why, but this track made me think of Zappa. The finale, 'C'E' Ancora Vita Su Marte' ('There is Still Life on Mars') gives some of the lead vocal over to Giulia Sarno and it's nice to hear an upfront female voice for a change. The final few lines ' 'There is Still Life on Mars' are the only lyrics sung in English. Maybe if there had been more, I would had have liked it better, but overall, this CD was very enjoyable.

In conclusion, this is music for the adventurous, those seeking something beyond the boundaries of the conventional, and genres be damned. This boxed set is a very mixed bag; there were parts I didn't much care for, parts I absolutely loved, and also some that I merely though was okay. Europeans will probably dig this more than Americans in general, partly because of the language thing, and partly because Americans tend to get confused, disoriented, and disaffected when presented with so much diversity. But- if you think you really have eclectic tastes, you should give Deadburger Factory a shot. Your biggest challenge may be actually acquiring it.

Micromelancolié: It doesn't belong here

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 06 2014
Artist: Micromelancolié (@)
Title: It doesn't belong here
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This album according to his linear note 'is a trial at merging two worlds together: traditional praise, wedding and funeral songs with contemporary avant-garde music' but really is based on the juxtaposition of field recordings with ambient music. However the result is less predictable than it could seem as the tracks are structured with a path in mind rather than being an void exploration in search of something musically interesting.
The drones and the field recordings, colored by glitches and noises, of 'Wedding Songs and Funeral Laments' open this release as an introduction to 'It Doesn't Belong Here' focused on the performance of Mia Zabelka using extended techniques to obtain various resonances matching with the underlying soundscape orchestrated by Robert SkrzyÅski. 'Greeting and Farewell Songs (in Three Parts)' is a quiet and mediative introduction to 'Greeting and Farewell Songs (in Four Parts)' the longest, quite an half of the duration of the album, track of this release constructed as a musical journey where the drones are the canvas where the field recordings paint the expected mood.
This album tries to search new grounds reasoning on structures rather than searching some weird new sound. It's not something enjoyable for everyone but it's worth a listen for the fans of experimental music. Really nice.

Nuno Rebelo: Removed From The Flow Of Time

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 05 2014
Artist: Nuno Rebelo
Title: Removed From The Flow Of Time
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
The recurrance of literary quotation which intersects personal spleens and a certain wit wantonness in the title tracks let me think "Removed From The Flow Of Time", the title of this collection of guitar solo improvisations that the fanciful Portuguese musician Nuno Rebelo recorded between 1992 and 2012 could be an erudite quotation as well. For instance that expression was used by Heidegger to describe boredom and such an interpretation could let you argue the source of Rebelo's amazing experiments and disguises on guitar is boredom. The mere fact that they can potentially satisfy demanding eardrums and musical minds just let me say something about such an inquiry...Why should I care? Was it boredom? So much the better! Clusters of bubbling notes ("There's a Unicorn In The Garden Eating Roses"...a reference to James Thurber's comic tale?), subcortical nylon guitar pinches ("Mes Greus"), raw bluesy gurgles ("Floating (Liquid Gravity)", "Exorcising The Beloved Demons", "Another Devil") and ballads ("Como Agua De Separados Frutas"), weird rashes ("Two Feet Going Nowhere", "International Stomach" or the two parts of "A Pair Of Ragged Claws"...another erudite quotation from T.S.Eliot's "Prufrock") and many mutations of guitar, which is often so unrecognizable that you can think that Nuno turned it into an off-key vibraphone, a bachi-hitten shamisen which got played by a drunk player or a computational sequence from a demagnetized hard disk. This release includes more than 75 minutes of extravagant genetic engineering on guitar sound, which can be considered as brain-teasers for all those guitar players who like to explore the hidden potentialities of this instrument.

Gianluca Becuzzi: (B)haunted

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 04 2014
Artist: Gianluca Becuzzi
Title: (B)haunted
Format: CD
Label: Silentes (@)
Rated: *****
Gianluca Becuzzi has a long story as musician. He passed most of his time being the singer with Limbo (1984-2001) and recording an LP as Saint Luka (project born in 1988 and ended in 1992). In the mid 90s he did an album with his samples based project Metaform and at the end of those years until 2010 he recorded as Kinetix exploring experimental sounds and releasing different stuff for Nova Ars Digitandi, Small Voices, Sine3pm, Silentes, etc. At the moment he has four different project that are still going on: the one with his own name and the one with Fabio Orsi (both from 2006), Noise Trade Company (from 2008 and with releases out for N-Label, EK Product, Space Race Records and Sigsaly Transmissions and Grey History (from 2010 he did two CDrs for Radical Matters). Released by Silentes (for its Minimal Editions sub label), "(B)Haunted" isn't really the new album by Gianluca Becuzzi but it is a collection of tracks that are coming from two tapes: "B" (released on 2011 for Silentes) and "Haunted" (released in tape and CDr on 2011 for Cerebro Morto). The eight tracks sounds to me like a mix of Vivenza meet early Einsturzende Neubauten at a Current 93 concert. The core of the sounds are clanging metal noises and Gianluca add to them digital noises, drones, samples choruses, hissing sounds, bells and squeaking sounds. Most of the tracks are ten minutes noisy suites where the listener is tested and threatened. While on track like "B002" and "B003" noise is too much for me, on tracks like "B004" and "H004", where the alternance of tension and sounds explosion is more calibrated, the listener can enjoy at best the effect created.

Andrew Lewis: Au-delà

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 04 2014
Artist: Andrew Lewis (@)
Title: Au-delà
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
"Au-dela'" (French expression for "beyond") is a collection of six amazing acousmatic compositions that got created between 1990 and 2012 by North Wales-based composer Andrew Lewis, one of the original members of BEAST (in spite of the hallucinatory and somehow mesmeric nuances of some stuff by Andrew, it's not a satanist group, but it's the acronym for Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre), professor and director of the Electroacoustic Music Studios at the University of Wales Bangor, where he also directs Electroacoustic WALES, a group of composers (mainly former students) which tries to "promote and encourage the creation and dissemination of electroacoustic music within Wales and beyond. Lovers of the genre, but also newbies, are going to explain the amount of prizes and awards that Andrew gained after listening to this collection by putting his outlandish integration between a rich paraphernalia of acousmatics and a set of interesting concepts forward and such a sonic "strategy" since the initial track "Lexicon" which renders dyslexia by let rappeling the words of a poem by Tom, a 12 years old bot, into a pit of meaningful noises where Tom himelf seems to appear like a ghost in the cloud of voices which repeat lines of the poem ("Word is my prolem", "Words are like lifes/lies" - or maybe flies as some buzzing flies which resound after 8 minutes could let you surmise -, "a page is like a map I try to find my way around" and so on...). You'll get astonished by the bunch of harmonics that Andrew Lewis manages to extract from the sound of breaking glasses on "Dark Glass" as well as by his odd way of reinventing Wales' sonic culture on "Can" (Welsh for "song"). The oldest compositions of this collection are quite surprising as well: he translated the mountainous landscape around Bangor University studios into a mysterious sonic adventure on "Ascent", he turns many sonic entities into ephemeral being on "Time and Fire", which sounds like a treatise about transience, while the funnily disquieting "Scherzo" could let you revive childhood by a mesmerizing and swirling whirlwind of sonic clues.

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