Music Reviews

Virgil Moorefield: No Business As Usual + Five Ideas About the Relation of Sight and Sound

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 24 2013
Artist: Virgil Moorefield (@)
Title: No Business As Usual + Five Ideas About the Relation of Sight and Sound
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Hinterzimmer Records (@)
Rated: *****
Behind the provocative title "No Business As Usual", there's a proper creative outburst by New York-based self-taught drummer, intermedia artist and composer Virgil Moorefield (former professor of music and media at Northwestern and the University of Michigan and former collaborator of Glenn Branca - Virgil was the solo drummer of the monumental "Hallucination City: 100 Guitars" - and legendary Gira's proto-industrial Swans), who managed to melt some performative techniques from minimal and repetitive music, an accentuated dynamical ebullience the ear of a drummer could embed and a rich stylistical crucible of free-jazz, punk, krautrock, improvisational and even classical music, which have been thrown in the heady emotional vortex of the five parts of the title-track, where the initial melodic theme often swells by means of apoplectic instrumental eruptions and choral splattering snarl-up from the six very talented musicians of his Bicontinental Pocket Orchestra, comprising Ian Ding (vibraphone, drums), Martin Lorenza (percussion), Jurg Wickihalder (baritone sax), Vicky Chow (piano), Taylor Levine (guitar), Alexsander Gabrys (contrabass) and himself. The cd also includes another impressive work for sextet, "Detroit per Se", whose calm beginning on a quiet piano could seem a little bit deceptive due to the amazing musical fibrillation and heated crescendo which come after, and an amazing 11 minutes lasting duet/duel with Ian Ding, "Siamese Kits, Joined at the Kick (A Study In Prime Numbers)", which will make many lovers of drumming moan in pleasure. The "visual" part of the release consists of a DVD with the intermedia piece "Five Ideas About The Relation of Sight and Sound", an interesting collection of five tableaux with five technology-driven ways to reach synaesthesia and supposedly euphoric listening bliss as well.

Marchoff & Droin: Source Of Vectors

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 17 2013
Artist: Marchoff & Droin
Title: Source Of Vectors
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Zoharum, part of IYHHH series, is dedicated to Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson so the linear notes from the label cite album like "Worship the Glitch" and "Time Machines". Musically speaking it wanders between electroacoustics and noise aesthetics and, to give flavor to the recipe, it features even dub/illbient so this could be described as a work of research.
The tunes titles are symbols so they will be referred as numbers. "1" opens this release with a sense of ritual clearly obtained with metallic resonance above silence while "2" is a noise track with an usual development as it feature a wide dynamics. "3" starts with drones until the drums start to color the soundscape. "4" starts with an almost noisy drone and develop in territories between dark ambient and industrial. "5" returns to quieter territories and features and almost dancey beat. "6" closes this release with a sharp drone and develops in a noisy manner.
This album is courageous in his search of new territories between ritual drones and noises. It's not an easy listening even for fans of the genre but it's something that will last for a long time in the playlist. Highly recommanded.

Chris Abrahams: Memory Night

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 13 2013
Artist: Chris Abrahams
Title: Memory Night
Format: CD
Label: Room40 (@)
Rated: *****
The circumstance that New Zealander sound artist and pianist Chris Abrahams is one third of the avant-jazz band The Necks, one of the most innovative of contemporary scene, could be considered a biographical note or a certification of consolidated experience for this occasion, as this album sounds completely different from The Necks' stuff due to the musical register he explores on "Memory Night". He already carved out the most enterprising musical experiments by his solo works on the occasion of a couple of releases - "Thrown" (2005), where he built catching soundscapes by means of an acoustic piano and a Yamaha DX7, and the surprising "Play Scar" (2010) -, but both of them were more ambient-oriented. On "Memory Night", he succeeds in catching listener's attention by means of a totally and somehow challenging sonic strategy, based on the functional transfiguration of classical piano, which got turned into a generator of noises. Piano melodies distinctively resurface, as they sound somehow worn-out, and the moment when the melodic function comes out again from an agglutination of cryptic tolls, grave stretched ultra-low keys, fazing taps, oleaginous metallic rubbing, occurs in a track Chris wisely labelled "Strange Bright Fact" before that sudden doleful melody gets stifled by a noisy melee of animal calls to boot. It precedes "Stabilized Ruin", the moment when the mongrel, which derives from the melting of piano melodies, its visceral noises and electronic tumefactions, arise at last by means of glitch tangles of noises, bleeps, hiccups, soughs, regurgiutations and a sobbing intermittent piano melody. It demands a very attentive listening in order to catch the lightest shades of this engaging hybridization.

VV.AA.: 70 Years of Sunshine

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 12 2013
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 70 Years of Sunshine
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
19th April 1943. It could say anything to most people, but the historical importance of that date for the so-called psychedelic culture has been acknowledged as a sort of proper celebration, known as "Bicycle Day". Some people who have a certain familiarity with that culture knows that the term "bike ride" stands for a LSD trip, due to the legendary bike ride by Dr.Albert Hoffmann, the Swiss scientist who was the first to synthetize and experience the powerful psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide, which he later called his problem child on his essay about that discovery. He cannot imagine the heavy cultural consequences of that discovery when he chased after Lucy in the sky of diamonds, as he regarded it as a powerful therapeutic tool more than a recreational drug, even if he later sided with LSD decriminalization due to the fact it could solve the contemporary psychological problems related to "materialism, alienation from nature through industrialisation and increasing urbanisation, lack of satisfaction in professional employment in a mechanised, lifeless working world, ennui and purposelessness in wealthy, saturated society, and lack of a religious, nurturing, and meaningful philosophical foundation of life". Whether you agree or not, the contribution of Hoffman's discovery to artistical blossoming was very strong despite any possible more or less boorish or bigoted controversy and biases and any tribute to that accidental discovery makes sense. One of the most famous dedication came from Kim Cascone's seminal Silent Records, which released a double CD compilation, "50 Years Of Sunshine", on the occasion of the first half century from Hoffman's trip, featuring contributions from Nurse With Wound, Psychich TV, Pelican Daughters, Controlled Bleeding, 68000 and Timothy Leary himself, a psychedelic ablution which has been reprised by fertile Polish label Monotype for the 70th anniversary by a series of explicit hints at its predecessor such as the double cd format (while Silent's collection names each part as a "100 Micrograms" and "250 Micrograms", a reference to the minimum and maximum dosage Hoffman tested, Monotype refers to the possible psychic directions of LSD trip by naming them "Ascent" and "Descent") and the engagement of some sound artists and musicians who already took part to the first collection such as Kim Cascone, Andrew Liles (Nurse With Wound), Andy Ratzen (member of Pelican Daughters) and the Swedish duo Carl Abrahamsson and Thomas Tibert aka Cotton Ferox, who appeared in the guise of "White Stains" on "50 Years Of Sunshine", but what has been called a 'much anticipated software update' sounds a little bit more diversified. Besides a bunch of serene immersive pools of ethereal frequencies such as the incense burners of Phil Legard's "Lifting The Veil", the frothy "Border Feather" by Chihei Hatakeyama, the astonishingly mindblowing alchemical suite "Scilla Im Scilla" by Rafael Anton Irisarri, the lissome quiet movement of "Stare Deep Into The Clouds" by Invisible Path and the synaptic ionization on "Owsley" by Ethernet, you'll enjoy the Orb-esque "Blue Sunshine" by Lord Tang, the liquid tech-dub of Makyo's "Octopi (Underwater Dub 2)", the oddball contribution by Legendary Pink Dots, who rendered a sort of tranquilizing guiding voice on their amazing "Don't Worry Dear, I'll Be Holding Your Hand" and the initial blissful lapsing of "Lost Milkyway" - one of my favorite track of the whole collection - by the inspired Acid Mothers Temple's leader Makoto Kawabata on the ascending segment of this journey. The lopsided clouded guitar lines of "Bloodbury 1988" by Andrew Liles marks the beginning of the glide path and paves the way to the flickering chimes of Rapoon's "Back On The Bus", the outlandish gardens of "Come Down" by Komora A, the hallucinated numbness on Darius Ciuta's "seR-V", the subtonal disquiet of Mike Rooke's "Sliding Spaces", the tonal dizziness of "It's Getting Near Dawn" by Lonely Crowd, the gloomy haze of Mystical Sun's "Echodyssey", the eerie swamps of Tomek Mirt's "Soul Disorder", the panicked piercing electronics of Ceremonial Dagger's "Synesthesia", the wise dub under hangover of "How About That?" by Cotton Ferox and the final resolution by Andy Ratzen on "No-One Plays Upon Your Mind". This collection is definitively something more than a simple act of devotion or a simulacrum.

Marteau Rouge: Noir

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 11 2013
Artist: Marteau Rouge (@)
Title: Noir
Format: 12"
Label: Gaffer Records (@)
Rated: *****
"Noir" is the first studio album of the bleakly imaginative trio Marteau Rouge (French for "Red Hammer"), consisting of Makoto Sato on drums, Jean-Marc Foussat on VSC 11 and vocals and the talented guitar player Jean-Francois Pauvros (former collaborator of proper miliar stones of noise scene such as Sonic Youth and Keiji Haino), after their brilliant live recording with legendary free-improvisational saxophone player Evan Parker, whose absence on this record gives this amazing ensemble the possibility to brandish their abrasively jazzy and remarkably atmospheric sound. Some titles could be somehow deceptive: for instance, you could expect that a track whose name is "Sur une balancoire" ("On a teeter-totter") would sound somehow playful and it could be in a certain sense even if it could surmise more the anguished tribulation of a duck which is cognizant of the fact that it's going to be turned into fois gras as Makoto's metallic hits are closer to the sinister noise a fanatical butcher could make by sharpening and hitting his set of knives, and the following "A la fete" could mirror the inner sounds of the inhibited day-dreaming of bloodthirsty misanthropist in the middle of a mundane party at worst, but their talent in moulding noise is undeniable and reaches its peaks on the gradual electrical saturation of the turbulent "Entre..." and the sinister wonky melodies and the heady percussive flaying of the final title-track. Menacingly astounding.

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