Music Reviews

Bene Gesserit: Benefit

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 23 2014
Artist: Bene Gesserit (@)
Title: Benefit
Format: Tape
Label: Insane Music
Rated: *****
Member of Chopstick Sisters, Cortex, Human Dance, Human Flesh, I Scream, Japanese Genius, La Maison Du Jardinier, Ornament & Crime Arkhestra, Pseudo Code, Sic and Subject, Alain Neffe is mostly known to be a member of Bene Gesserit along with his wife Nadine Bal, who was also into Ornament & Crime Arkhestra and Chopstick Sisters. Alaine and Nadine also run the label Insane music since the early 80s and released different volumes of the "Insane Music For Insane People" compilation series (as I'm writing I have into my pile of stuff I have to review #26) and album by Pseudo Code, Cortex, Human Flesh, I Scream and Le Tombeau. Some weeks ago I received a promo of Bene Gerrit's latest release titled "Benefit". It is a tape standard j-card with an additional false "Hell Bank Note" added in front. Hand-numbered to 200 copies and hand-stamped with a red Chinese "Insane" stamp it has also orange fluo case with stickered labels. It has been released to raise some money for the group helping them to get new recording studio equipment. It contains eleven unreleased tracks of the band but I don't know when they have been recorded but this is of little concern, because Bene Gesserit music is without time as it is capable to sound experimental and catchy at the same time. We have the upbeat noisy guitar "Stinking Ãlrich", the oriental crazy atmospheres of "Deborah, Romina, Martha, Sabrina, Tatiana, Barbara", the syncopated organ/guitar arpeggio based "Happy Like An African In Belgium", the pop 60s sounding "Bon Bon", the sampled violin/filtered vocals/dub drum based "The Gnashing Gnome" and the reversed sounds/organ based "It's Friday". What amazed me most is the theatrical feeling (thanks to Nadine's vocals) and the way they are able to mix different influences sounding, at the end, just like Bene Gesserit. If you want to help them into making a new recording studio, for 12 Euros you can have a tape with great music and a CDr (just in case you don't have a tape deck anymore). From Belgium with love...

Lyke Wake: The Black Light

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 23 2014
Artist: Lyke Wake
Title: The Black Light
Format: CD
Label: Aseptic Noise
Rated: *****
Active on the second part of the 80s, Stefano Di Serio released under the Lyke Wake moniker different tapes and one split album with Ivan Iusco's Nightmare Lodge on Ivan's label Minus habens. After those releases Stefano put the project on hold for twenty years and came back on 2011 with "Mother". His sound has been always characterised by long fluctuating sounds which tended to create a meditative/dreamy effect on the listener. Always in balance from dark ambient (before the genre was named that way), cosmic music and industrial, Lyke Wake's journey into synthetic sounds lead Stefano to new worlds. On his latest CDr self released album "The Black Light", we have one hour suite where he explore his inner world using a ship made of long synth pads, light noisy waves and evolving melodic patterns. We pass from spacey atmospheres to a slow church organ arpeggio and suddenly we fall into a nightmarish intermezzo made of noises, drones and synth pads. After a short pause the atmosphere gets tense more and more. We have this path another time just to end with a chaotic mix where we have atmospheric pads and noises that went crazy. Nice one!

Yair Elazar Glotman: Northern Gulfs

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 22 2014
Artist: Yair Elazar Glotman
Title: Northern Gulfs
Format: CD
Label: Glacial Movements (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from this label is presented as 'a journey through the arctic gulfs in the north seas' and his composer is focused 'on experimental electroacoustic composition'. However, from my reviewing perspective, Yair Elazar Glotman is well into the current trend of electroacoustic music so it's something not literally 'experimental' (in fact, it's a form of music with an established form) but it's something challenging for someone that is not a fan of this genre. This is the kind of album that has to be listened with a curious ear to discover the small compositional choices used.
The noisy field recordings of 'Sunken Anchor' gently opens this release with a quiet drone slowly developing the track until a guitar arpeggio and a cello closes the track. 'Khaypudyr Bay' is a track focused on small sounds juxtaposed and carefully posed in the sound space. 'High Tide' and 'Low Tide' are, as the titles suggest, two related track focused on small and evocative field recordings samples but developed in opposite way as, when the first track is a brighter one, the second is a more meditative one. 'Kara Sea' is almost melancholic in the development of the drones used a building block. 'Home Port' closes this release with a track constructed upon a small drone used as a loop and another used to develop the track in a evocative soundscape.
Honestly speaking, this album is not a ground-breaking one but is something so carefully constructed and space oriented that is better enjoyed in a quiet environment using headphone to enjoy his textures. It's a pleasure to hear it.

Ernesto Rodrigues/Jonathan Sielaff/Vic Rawlings/Leif Sundstrom/Gust Burns/Manuel Mota: Seattle

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 21 2014
Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues/Jonathan Sielaff/Vic Rawlings/Leif Sundstrom/Gust Burns/Manuel Mota
Title: Seattle
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Portuguese label Creative Sources picked a couple of old recordings of two interesting performances held in February 2006 at Gallary 1412, a performative space in Seattle's Central District, from its huge archive. Even though six musicians have been involved, it's not a sextet, but two fourtets, whose steady elements are Ernesto Rodrigues on viola and Jonathan Sielaff on bass clarinet. The most relevant aspect of these recordings is the fact that these inventive musicians were already testing sonorities in between electroacoustic and improv music that someone would name New Music today in a period when such a kind of stylistical digressions were not so popular. This release consists of two long-lasting sessions, the first of which features electronics, while the latter is just instrumental: the glueing element of the first session is the alternation of two very low frequencies from Vic Rawlings' cello and Leif Sundstrom's electronics, which sometimes thicken and overflow their banks so that listener could easily sense the intriguing and somehow mesmerizing dynamics by which they let seep or drawn other sonic entities with a thrilling sequence of out-of-sync moments and menacingly magmatic stillness. There are no proper driving forces or glueing elements on the second session, even if the air that Sielaff blew inside his bass clarinet could sound like an ersatz of the above-mentioned low frequencies or vice-versa, but after a sort tuning prelude, the short but trenchant phrases from Manuel Mota's electric guitar and Gust Burns' piano come to light as if they were frozening wisecracks in the middle of many different conversations.

Kucharczyk: Best Fail Compilation

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 17 2014
Artist: Kucharczyk (@)
Title: Best Fail Compilation
Format: CD
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
It's not a contingency that Aleksandra Grunholz's artistic alter-ego We Will Fail is almost concurrent to this new release by whimsical Polish producer Wojtek Kucharczyk, where the word "fail" seems to have become a matter of fashion. In praise of failure, there are not only well-known historical occurances, where promises (or pipe dreams) of continual improvement and progress reveal their intrinsic inconsistency, but what really matters here is the way by which these two sound artists assimilated failure into respective arts. Whereas We Will Fail surgically operates on more mesmeric sonorities, which sounded like implemented into an interesting narrative route, Wojtek seems to disembowel techno code by a dual strategy: there are no more traces of that abstract muscularity that sometimes distinguishes the above-mentioned code, even when he explores more menacing sonorities, but it seems that he tests a different way of organizing sounds with unexpected "weighting" of each resounding elements, which often weaves frayed fabrics with twisted stitches or disharmonious spinning. Lo-fi or 8-bit sounds prevail over frigid smoothness, measured filth adulterates syncopations, which sound already altered, sonic entities, which should have been putted into the foreground, sound like belittled by rougher material and even easy-going whistling nicely mars a plasticized code by acting like a pin point that punches a supposedly inflated bodybuilder. Its stylistical "failure" could be thought as those bitter weeds that should not get uprooted, those moles that should not be removed or those black swans whose beauty lies in his blackness.

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