Music Reviews

Chagas Curado Viegas Wind Trio: Old School New School No School

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 10 2013
Artist: Chagas Curado Viegas Wind Trio
Title: Old School New School No School
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Although their sound cannot be considered as totally original, the skills of these three Portuguese musicians and authentic musical "spin doctors" on wind instruments, Joao Pedro Viegas (soprano and bass clarinets), Paulo Chagas (flutes, sopranino clarinet, oboe) and Paulo Curado (soprano and alto saxophones, flute) as well as their extended techniques, the clear mastery on their sounding tools (and their lungs and breathing apparatus indeed) and their wise sonic "portraiture" make this recording really palatable to followers of the genre. In the gurgling cauldron of broken phrasing, whimpering whiffs, rambling melodic lines and brave climbing on diatonic scale, there are many courses for imagination in the basket which nearly achieve cinematic fumigations ("For Emir", "Fake Camerata", "Nice (Bardot) or nice (Hayworth)" or the amazingly drunk "Bottleneck's Dream Song") and bizarre espousing of performative hints from ethnic musical language ("Articulated Ruidisms", "Stucked by Muffled Reed's Flattersung", "Meditation For Beginners"). On "Old School New School No School", a title which seems to be in correspondence to respective training, Wind Trio manages to whisk a remarkably high number of stylistical recipes on a sort of page-turner by means of an histrionic oomph.
Artist: Yu-chi/Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai
Title: The Original Magnetic Light Parade
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bearsuit records (@)
Rated: *****
"The Original Magnetic Light Parade" is a very nice sonic knick-knack from Scottish label Bearsuit with an heavy dosage of Japanese aesthetics. The first part of this split mini-album features the fuzzy dadaist electric folk Japanese multi-instrumentalist Yu-chi, whose sound smells of lovely rustic crispness and somewhat idyllic innocence: the opening with saddening strings on "Bustle, Conflict and Me" and the carillon of croaks, chatter, guitars and percussive splash-down, which manage to change the emotional set of the song till a sort of euphoric hebephrenia, the delicate melodic lines by plucked guitar with pitched chutes, which emphasize the reverie, and the following reprise on honky-tonk piano on "The First Star" and the amazingly childish "Toy Joy", whose amalgamation of accordions, barking dogs and clicks, reprised by the delicate final guitar phrasing, seems inspired by typical tunes coming from itinerant ice cream vendors' vans or circus tents, could let listener think about a sort of nostalgic recollection, as it seems to be partially mirrored by the self-introduction by his own words, according to which he was "brought up listening to the music of Bach, Chopin & Debussy. I bought up my first guitar in junior high. After many family illnesses I gave up my education in other to return to the farmwork I grew up with in order to support my family". On the second part of this magnetic mini-album, there are three interesting remixes of tracks by the international file sharing band/collective Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai (Japanese expression meaning "you are completely tired") by _ (Japan), Gnomefoam (England) and Bunny (Scotland), which explore different stylistical grounds: the lovely remix of Cataract by Gluid (Netherlands) tacks towards an entrancing mellow downbeat whose despondent mood and contemplative halo loom nearby the borderline of musical territories with garrisons by Radiohead, Blue Foundation or Future 3, while the remix of "Lost in the forest of blank sportswear" by Scottish producer Jim Child could resemble to some dozily hallucinated stuff by Mum wrapped in scorched tapes and encircled by buzzing insects, which precedes the final disquieting remix of "My Drive" by Rune Martinsen (Norway), whose insertion of recordings from news report and radio broadcasts, lopsided guitars and disturbing noises emphasizes the sinister and mysterious atmosphere evoked by the monotonous repetition of the sentence "nobody knows it". I'm not sure if this release is available on vinyl or cd yet, but I'm sure you can find it as a digital release on most notorious providers (Amazon, I-Tunes, Spotify and so on).

Jean-Marc Montera and Francesco Calandrino: ‘Idi Di Marzo’

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 08 2013
Artist: Jean-Marc Montera and Francesco Calandrino
Title: ‘Idi Di Marzo’
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore Records (@)
Rated: *****
According to the liner notes, Jean-Marc Montera is on Electric Guitar and FX, while Francesco Calandrino wields 'Lo-fi Stereos, Manipulated Audiocassettes, Field Recordings, Clarinet.' With this in mind, you have a pretty good idea of what you are in for. This one gets in your face right off the bat. Imagine, if you will, a typical album. Now take all of the tracks, separate them out, and throw it all into a blender. Add a healthy dose of feedback and you have 'Idi Di Marzo.' This is pretty good cut up noise and improvisation. It isn't quite as coherent as Negativland, but closer at times to Nurse With Wound's more cut up works in style or perhaps 'Redintegrate' by Hafler Trio. It isn't all completely in your face, though. In some parts, it is more of a noisy drone. If you like noisy improv, this will be up your alley. This album weighs in at around 58 minutes.

VV.AA.: Echtzeitmusik Berlin

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 08 2013
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Echtzeitmusik Berlin
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: Mikroton Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Evidently this is a companion to a book from 2011 'which reflects on a multilayered phenomenon within Berlin's musical culture, a phenomenon whose influence and meaning has effects that extend far beyond Berlin itself.' According to the label, 'the Echtzeitmusik scene has passed through an eventful history of musical and social development and matured into a wide spectrum of predominantly experimental forms of music, bordering on fields as varied as noise, electronica, trash pop, free jazz, and contemporary composed music, not to mention performance and sound art.' This is a mammoth 3CD compilation with a host of artists I had not heard of before. Let's get into it.

The first disc starts us off with some minimalist improv microsound work. In fact, you could easily think that the first five tracks are the work of the same artist. There is some overlap in some of these bands, but this is not the case for these tracks. We then get a bit more aggressive moments, as Bogan Ghost throws in some screeching noise at some points and Trigger provides some noisy material with horns thrown in for good measure. Perlonex and Pokemachine really turn the cacophony loose though with an onslaught of pretty much everything. Pokemachine has a kind of cut up feel to it. We tack back and forth between noise and minimalism until it all dissolves in a nice wash of drone at the end with The Pitch Extended.

Disc 2 is where we start to get a bit noisier but after the minute long track by MoHa!, we are back in the realm of quiet improvisation. Ignaz Schick & Sabine Vogel mixes it up by throwing down a nice slab of wavering drone. Annette Krebs gives us some field recordings of voices with sparse soundscapes. Sometimes it doesn't quite work through - the end of Serge Baghdassarians & Boris Baltschun's track sounds a lot like someone drinking the last of a milkshake through a straw.

By the time we make it to disc 3, the pattern seems well established: minimalist improv reigns supreme with some digressions from the formula. Like the other disc, the opening track is one of those digressions as The Understated Brown begin with a composition that is almost poppy before getting more and more sparse. Some are a bit too repetitive, as in the case of Static and the track by Nicholas Bussmann & Werner Dafeldecker. Lovens/Schick/Thomas kick down some relatively straightforward jazz. Fernanda Farah & Chico Mello provide a peaceful piano track with female vocals. For me the standout track on this disc is Hanno Leichtmann & Andrea Neumann's 'Leptothrix,' which is a wonderful combination of bass rumble and noisy interludes.

Compilations are, by nature, a mixed bag and this one is no exception. Overall this compilation seemed to go on a little longer than it needed to. Stylistically a lot of it was a bit too minimalist to listen to for almost four hours straight. Breaking it up would make it a bit better, but if this is meant to document a particular scene, I would have preferred some representative samples rather than a comprehensive overview. Perhaps they could have broken it up by style (e.g., free jazz on one disc, minimalist musique concrète on another, etc.). It also would have been nice to have the book as a reference point for the compilation to see how the various artists fit together. That said, it was still a pleasant listen overall. This album weighs in at around 230 minutes.

Eternal Zio: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 07 2013
Artist: Eternal Zio (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: Boring Machines/Black Sweat Records (@)
Rated: *****
Besides some musical directions, Rella the Woodcutter, Maurizio Abate (Jooklo Neokarma Trio/Sextet/Octet), Raubaus and Valla share the same living space and and artistic workshop at Ca Blase' nearby Milan, where they occasionally held shows open to other bands as well. This self-titled release under the collective name Eternal Zio, following their self released debut Vibbria, is a collection of six untitled extracts from a series of improvisations they played together last summer. All of them are partially similar to that stuff which came from late 60ies musical syncretism and stylistical fusionism, which joined together elements from jazz, folk and rock with forms from "exotic" musical tradition, particularly Indian ragas, sufi choirs, gipsy dances or sonorities from Middle East by tapping from pits of various philosophical, mystical traditions pr anything in like manner which could support the aim of mind expansion, spiritual awakening, soul enlightment and so on as well. These conceptual references are quite vague in Eternal Zio, as the most relevant aspect is the combination of a constant spiritual tension, whose flames have been kept alive by the algamating and hypnotic harmonious sound of hurdy gurdy, with a certain naivete' by simple melodic lines, plain tapping on guitars and even "dadaistic" ways of playing instruments (such as the flute on the second track, which sounds like played by a kid who is not able to control the breathe yet) and even occasional musical spurts, so that this album sounds like the hearth rug of a cozy and lively domestic realm and a kind of tribute to some forgotten household deities.

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