Music Reviews



Nate Wooley/C.Spencer Yeh/Audrey Chen/Todd Carter: NCAT

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 19 2013
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Artist: Nate Wooley/C.Spencer Yeh/Audrey Chen/Todd Carter (@)
Title: NCAT
Format: 12"
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
That rusty air conditioner on the cover artwork sounds like almost incessantly fills the yellowed room with foul air, where you can just imagine the actions or the psychodramas which got evoked by this quartet which comprises Nate Wooley (trumpet), C.Spencer Yeh (violin), Audrey Chen (cello) and Todd Carter (mixing), whose initials gave name to the project NCAT. The initial slowly melodic corrosions, the gradual screwing of screeching strings, the noisy nodules, before the first possessed groans which precedes some torn female shouts, could let you think about the warning sign of a conniption or the vivid anamnesis of a traumatic episode, the beastly cries and the terror stricken shouts of the following track on a toneless sound which is as sharp as the evoked pain or maybe a bacchanal with furious Erinyeses and angry pining Bassarids, the rising mystical tension on twisting sonic burrs which becomes more and more visceral on the third untitled track, the incindental urban background of a confused awakening, bizarre howling, the "rheumatic" estrangement, the temporary and illusory reprieve, the animal-like panting, the sudden throaty squeaks, the cacophonous metallic rubbing, the electronic interferences and all the somewhat bizarre sonic wheezes and soundclips you'll meet while listening this amazing release are highly cinematic even if you could have the impression that the evoked setting (a locked oubliette in the torture room of crazy witches? the dark passages of an insane asylum where patient cannibalized psychiatrists and nurses? a cathouse whose keepers like inflicting excruciating pains to piggy customers before killing them?) are not so reassuring.

Netherworld: Alchemy Of Ice

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 18 2013
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Artist: Netherworld
Title: Alchemy Of Ice
Format: CD
Label: Glacial Movements (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Netherworld, the musical project of Alessandro Tedeschi, is apparently without linear notes as it seems clear how the inspiration is the artic landscape, whose coordinates are cited in one of the song's titles. The overall music construction is based upon the juxtaposition of synth lines, piano samples and small noises.
The distant bells of "Alchemy of Snow" open this release along with small noises until the soundscape begins to develop. "Polo nord dell'inaccessibilità " is a cold sonic landscape slowly eroded by small noises until a peaceful drone marks the end of the track. "Icepulse" is divided in two parts: the first constructed by sparse and reverbered notes of piano and intertwined by a noisy construction. "White silence" is an ethereal track constructed upon layers of synth. "85°50'S 65°47'E" starts in quiet but almost menacing way and end in a solar manner. "Hymns to a melancholic sunset" closes this release with quiet drones and the return of the looping lines of synth heard in the first track marking the end of the journey as a return to the starting point but changed in a subtle but profound way.
The musical landscape evoked, as tied to the artic one, is bright, charming but, with the use of the field recordings, menacing. To fully appreciate the sound palette headphone listening is recommended. A really nice release.

The Enchanted Wood: Monster Parade

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 17 2013
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Artist: The Enchanted Wood (@)
Title: Monster Parade
Format: CD
Label: Steelwork Maschine (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this act, but I was familiar with several of the releases from Steelwork Maschine. This one seemed a bit out of place from the cover alone ' kind of a playful gothic vibe, rather than the noisy experimental I expected from the label. The label describes this album as 'nine delightful songs of monstrosity, unspeakable sins and unutterable melancholy.' After giving it a listen, I still really don't know what to make of this. The male vocals are a heavy baritone mixed with a cheesy organ or stripped down guitars, which gives it a kind of Tim Burton feel. You're stuck in the sideshow waiting to see the two headed cow and bearded lady, but you wander off into another corridor and find yourself being led toward something a bit more sinister than you anticipated. This is a weird combo of apocalyptic folk, minstrel music, and troubadours of times long past. If you like it strange, this is one to check out. It is definitely fun and whimsical. This album weighs in at around 38 minutes.

Nu Creative Methods: Superstitions

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 17 2013
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Artist: Nu Creative Methods (@)
Title: Superstitions
Format: CD
Label: Music à la Coque (@)
In S. Alexander Reed's excellent book 'Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music,' he describes the early days of industrial and experimental music in which artists reveled in the different musicality of their instruments, which were often homemade. If you want to hear what some of the more underground renditions of this music may have sounded like, this would be one to pick up. Nu Creative Methods is the work of Pierre Bastien & Bernard Pruvost and the press release states that they 'played with a bunch of exotic and self-made instruments.' This album was originally released in 1984 on cassette by ADN Tapes. At times the music sounds like kids playing with a broken, out of tune guitar. Also, it begins to sound the same in instrumentation, if not in rhythm. As a historical document this is interesting, but I found myself thinking that we have come a long way in improvisational music and homemade instruments. This point was driven home by 'Alpinic Railway,' a bonus track not available on the original release. This was a fun track that sounded almost like a demented hoedown. There is something to be said for the rawness of these recordings, but I would say that this is mainly one for the historians and those who want to prove that weird music didn't start with the current generation. This album weighs in at around 33 minutes.

Swedish Mobilia: Knife, Fork and Spoon

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 17 2013
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Artist: Swedish Mobilia (@)
Title: Knife, Fork and Spoon
Format: CD
Label: Leo Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here's how the label describes it: 'Andrea Bolzoni on guitar, Daniele Frati on drums, Dario Miranda on bass. Astonishing sounds from the basement. Swedish Mobilia: 'Knife, fork and spoon are twangling in the kitchen. Silence is knocking on the door. Swedish Mobilia's music is totally improvised 'cause Music is about listening.'' This started off promising with jazz the way I like it ' frantic and loosely held together. This is heavy improvisation and it is done well. Rather than one person playing as the star, this is a lot of everything happening at once. The drummer is there not to hold the group together as backing rhythm, but interesting in its own right. But then it takes a turn for the mellow. With tracks such as 'Pop-Up Toaster' slowing it down considerably. Others are also a bit more straightforward, such as 'Preparation: 12 Sec.' Granted, none of this will be appearing on your local smooth jazz station any time soon, but I would have liked it to keep up the sense of intensity. As such, for me it was kind of a mixed bag. Good improvisation, but a bit too chill for my tastes. This album weighs in at around 41 minutes.


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