Music Reviews



Jojo Hiroshige, Pika, Paal Nilssen-Love, Lasse Marhaug: Osaka Fortune

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 27 2014
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Artist: Jojo Hiroshige, Pika, Paal Nilssen-Love, Lasse Marhaug
Title: Osaka Fortune
Format: 12"
Label: Premier Sang
Rated: *****
The Norwegian half of this new sonic explosive on Premier Sang has already been sprinkled from my headphones and loudspeakers: Paul Nilssen-Love collaborated with a remarkable number of free-jazz oriented and experimental collaborative projects - I remember the ones with James Plotkin and Mats Gustafsson, but I'm pretty sure that I could find something else if I check my overcrowded archive -, while I found the name and the noisy mark by Lasse Marhaug on some releases by Smalltown Supersound, one of my favorite Norwegian label. Both Paul and Lasse recently co-signed a tip-top release with Jim O'Rourke, "Love Robots", which is going to meet the taste of noisy jazz-spiced stuff lovers. On the other side of the boxing ring, we find a veteran of Japanese noise scene, Jojo Hiroshige, founder of the seminal group Hijokaidan and Alchemy Records, and the young Japanese drummer and vocalist Higashi "Pika" Mineko, whose shouts sound like yells of a child while going hog wild for a slide or an amusement ride during the hyper-energetic stuff that this quartet recorded at Osaka Chika-Ikkai on February 10th 2011 and delivered to the French label. On the first half of this session, listener have to weather the storm that drummers generated by trampling on their instruments where they perform different tasks: while one drummerviolently clobber the skins, the other one finishes drum off by subtleties which are close to jazz drumming techniques. "No Drums This Time" is the first part of the second half and as you can easily imagine, both drummers take a rest, but the scorching distorsions that Lasse and Jojo gave off are too tempting for Paul's and Pika's fuming sticks so that they keep on hitting by pushing the blazing fire ball towards savage directions, which sound less jazzy and more acid-rock steered this time. Thats's the most blistering pace that I can even see fit to a snobbish jazz club.

Pinkdraft: 2010

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 25 2014
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Artist: Pinkdraft (@)
Title: 2010
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
The sonorities, that this quartet made up of Ricardo Jacinto (cello), Nuno Torres (alto saxophone), Nuno Morao (percussion and objects) and Travassos (analog electronics) explores on this record, could maybe inspire odd images: after the breaking of the sonic eggshell on the opening track "Luminous Vacuum", the following "Wrong Obstable" could let you envisage a fatal exsanguination which got caused by a stuck zipper caught on chin or pubis, while the amazing "The Missing Train" seems to render the last ditches by an artificer, who tries to deactivate a time bomb which got bottled inside a receptacle whose cork was stuck. Likewise I'm pretty sure some listeners could imagine some ham-fisted attempt of drawing a musical box out of a suction pipe while listening to "Blended Strangers" or a surreal journey inside a twin bell alarm clock on "Heavy As A Floating Mountain", but the most interesting aspect of Pinkdraft is the theatrical way by which they wisely interposed reductionist audiomatics in betweeen improv and post-free jazz ramparts, where Travassos piercing electronic frequencies played a very important role as it seems to highlight (sometimes by slithering on the threshold of silence) the dramatic purging of this record.

PARA: Ligo

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 24 2014
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Artist: PARA (@)
Title: Ligo
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Another very interesting project from the Portuguese label Creative Sources, a well-established reference frame for lovers of so-called New Music and improvisational scene, comes from Para, a trio of young musicians made up of Greek-Austrian french horn player and performer Elena Margarita Kakaliagou, Austrian pianist Ingrid Schmoliner and upright bass player Thomas Stempokowski. After the harrowing solitary phrasing and the first intertwining by each instrument on "Heinz", which is the preface of "Ligo" (Greek for "slightly"), "Vulgo Eipa" opens the way for a really dramatic integration of a series of extended techniques and cinematic suggestions: Ingrid's convulsive tapping on very low tones keeps listeners in suspense before Elena's horn gradually shrouds listening sphere before the "barney" against Stempokowski's double bass, which could mistaken for an awakening fiend. Even if I don't really understand Greek, some words I understood let me think that Greek words by Elena on the following "ti ine?", where some resounding object could resemble the opening and the locking of a door, belong to a sort of explanation of what these musicians are performing. The lethargic "-1ð" precedes "Sandra", where the motif of the opening "Heinz" seems to get reprised, and "Canidae", my favorite track, where the instruments seems to imitate yelps, howls and barks and even the movements of a dog, while the sinister gabbling of Elena's french horn, the grim austerity of Ingid's piano chords and the writhing sounds that Thomas extracts from his double-bass on the final "Ihabkafoelagsen" could let you imagine the murder of a sleeper by means of the spring of an animated mattress. You'll find the very last death rattles of each instrument on the unexpectedly surrwal bonus track "Juvetsi me porta".

Hybryds: Music for Rituals

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 22 2014
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Artist: Hybryds
Title: Music for Rituals
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This album is a reissue of the first CD album of this project, conceived as a 'mail art music' and recorded on a 4-track cassette, featuring a bunch of collaborations with people like Vidna Obmana and Pier Luigi Andreoni. The result is an essay on post-industrial and ambient music of undoubtable charm.
From 'A Door to Perception' to 'Coda' this album is focused on loop and just intonation singing as in 'the Garden at the Sea'. 'Ritual for Quetzal Coatl' is the center of the work as it juxtaposes the loop and the beat with a sort of field recording of ethnic flavor. 'The Man with No Shadow' features samples perhaps taken from japan movie. This release features also a bonus cd with more experimental tracks like 'Saxapulations' where sax samples are layered and juxtaposed and 'Girl hunter: Dabide no hoshi: BishÃÃÃôjo-gari' where film samples are in a dialogue with classic japan instruments like koto marking a departure from the atmosphere of the other tracks.
Even if it's a really long release, almost two hours and an half with his bonus, there's no fill-in or boring interludes, it's full of ideas and surprises so it's strange that it's so underrated when there's some books about ambient music. A gem rediscovered.

Arturas Bumšteinas: Epiloghi

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 15 2014
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Artist: Arturas Bumšteinas (@)
Title: Epiloghi
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Rated: *****
Many zealous composers and academics delving into aesthetics, composition and musical history know that Renaissance and Baroque music anticipated many elements of contemporary music that the most of people is not able even to imagine down pat. That's just one reason why this interesting bridge that esteemed Lithuanian composer and sound artist Arturas Bumsteinas established between that period and the dawn of noise music and bruitisme by composing six possible epilogues for Jacopo Peri's lost opera "Dafne" and by matching the six primary passions (desire, love, hate, sadness, joy and wonder) that Descartes distingued in his notorious philosophical treatise "Passions of the Soul" with groups of noise-sound categories according to the interesting taxonomy that Italian futurist painter and composer Luigi Russolo, one of the forerunners of noise music, proposed on his manifesto "The Art of Noises" in 1913 seems to be an attempt of linking two key moments of music history by gliding through that hip-like label of so-called retro-futurism. The strategy that Arturas followed in order to render this metacultural and somehow "spiritual" connection is really amazing as he combined the sound of the progenitors of Russolo's Intonarumori, those Baroque noise-making machines, which were used in theater performances to illustrate mainly natural phenomena such as thunder, wind, rain, storm and so on, that Artusas recorded in several historical European theaters, with some instrumental parts, which come from different melodic and harmonic materials he grabbed from a selection of almost two hundred popular melodies from the 16th to the 21st century, while "Zang Tumb Tumb", the poem by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti which gives name to this amazing sound work, has only been explicitly quoted on "Epilogue 2. Hate - Noises Obtained by Beating on Wood". Besides "Epiloghi. Six Ways of Saying Zangtumbtumb", the release includes "Night on the Sailship", another remarkable assay of concrete music, where theater noise machines, stage prop and coulisse machinery have been used to render a sort of nocturnal soundtrack from an old galleon. I cannot but admire Artuars' figments of imagination.


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