Music Reviews

Yann Novak: Snowfall

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 16 2014
Artist: Yann Novak (@)
Title: Snowfall
Format: CD
Label: Dragon's Eye Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Despite its own peculiarities, environmental music got often introduced as an homiletic variation of ambient or even new age by some reviewers, who hastily label it without examining it in depth, but I still think it's a very rich soil for a number of creative flair as it's proven by this interesting release from Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist Yann Novak, who extrapolated one hour lsting recording into one track he entitled "Snowfall" from a 6-hours lasting audio-visual performance which renders, as you can easily guess, a snowstorm and has been premiered at Human Resources in Los Angeles. The almost imperceptible murmur which opens and closes this suite evolves from silence to sound by gradual variations and fade where the growing intensity of field recordings, white noises and audio frequencies pushes listener into an immersive listening experience, as if Yann carefully rendered the accumulation of snow after a number of flurries and the emotional repercussion of a snow-clad natural landscape and its apparent stillness. Yann's delicate manoeuvring on sound particles is going to bring listener from the perception of the meteorological phenomenon to the overwhelming awareness of isolation which turns into pure aural bliss. This haven of rest and the fascinating sonic path to such a landing place got heavily influenced by the idyllic setting where Yann collected photographs and field recordings for "Snowfall" in Febrauary 2010, the Jentel Artist Residency, a cozy beautiful place just outside the small village of Banner in Wyoming, not so far from Sheridan, whose spectacular views, somewhat healthy isolation and contemplative context played their role as a source for inspiration.

Daniele Brusaschetto: Rapida e Indolore

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 15 2014
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Artist: Daniele Brusaschetto (@)
Title: Rapida e Indolore
Format: CD
Label: Bosco Rec
Rated: *****
I've lost count on how many records italian artist Daniele Brusaschetto has released since he started making music in the 90es. He's one of the few who keeps at it to this day, plays live shows and continues to releases physical products, such as his latest 8 track CD "Rapida e Indolore" (italian for "quick and painless"). The CD comes with a real insect glued onto the front cover and, thankfully for the insects, he made them in a hand-numbered limited edition of 99 (although he has not confirmed this, I'm pretty sure he picked dead insects and didn't just kill them for the cover... or maybe the title of the album describes their death... who knows...).
Daniele's style keeps on evolving and becoming more structured, in some ways, and orchestrated, in other ways. Most of the songs have lyrics (in italian) which are printed inside the CD and, as you might imagine, are pretty hermetic and metaphor-heavy.
"Rapida e Indolore" possibly has louder noise blasts than most of his previous CDs, maybe marking a return to his more industrial origins and past. This album definitely has a lot less guitar than his previous ones so the texture is more rarified and minimal. Some of the tracks of this CD take a more soundscape-y approach, and samples of strings or even bells are to be found here and there, but in general you should expect heavily distorted beats juxtaposed to softly-spoken and quietly sung vocal melodies.

Emmanuel Mieville: Concret-Sens

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 12 2014
Artist: Emmanuel Mieville (@)
Title: Concret-Sens
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
Named after a combination of French words - the word sens (meaning direction) and the French adjective concrescence that the living legend Francois Bayle, who also coined the term "acousmatic" and inventor of "Acousmonium", used to describe the concrete substance of sounds and its intrinsic impermanence and ruggedness -, this interesting release by Emmanuel Mieville keeps faith with its title as it sounds like an asymptotic approach to the core of musique concrete, as conceptualized by Pierre Schaeffer. While he focused on aural perception of specific environments and sonic "anamnesis" of different urban and wildlife locations on "Four Wanderings in Tropical Lands" that I introduced on this zine a couple of years ago, Emmanuel seems to develop the three sound structures of "Concret-Sens" by coalescing field recordings, other found sounds/objects, pre-recorded stuff and radio snippets without lessening listener's chance to phase them in possible narrative buildups: the lack of uttermost objectification of sound material is particularly clear on the central structure, "Locus Sonus", as the combination of field recordings with tapes and radio documentaries seem to evoke personal historical elements and educational memories of the composer, whose first learning steps as apprentice at Groupe de Recherches Musicales in the field of musique concrete got based on creative radio programs and live concerts and the boundaries between objectivity of sound objects and listener's subjective translation seems to be also quite veiled on the initial "Cillages", whose almost orchestral concoctions of recordings of neon lights and hums from electrical outlets manages to feed listener's imagination as the development of the track could let you think about the testing of an unknown Tesla deep fryer. The final piece "Solis Ortus" is an admirable assay of manipulation of field recordings by means of granular synthesis, whose resulting particles crams the sonic sphere by degrees.

Felix Kubin mit Mitch & Mitch: Bakterien & Batterien

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 11 2014
Artist: Felix Kubin mit Mitch & Mitch (@)
Title: Bakterien & Batterien
Format: CD
Label: Lado ABC/Gagarin Records (@)
Rated: *****
One of the most cinematic chameleon of German electronic scene Felix Kubin came back with this impressive avant-pop collaborative experiment, which got defrosted from recording studios in Warsaw and Hamburg, together with Polish big band Mitch'n'Mitch and German legendary producer Tobias "Cpt.Kirk" Levin - producer of Kreidler, Edge, Tocotronic to name a few - on electric command modules. This combo disemboweled sound libraries in order to amass very funny clots of electric synth-pop, perfectly timing brass flakes, carefully selected exotic and traditional instruments and electronic easy-listening secretions which dredged many different sonic depths, whose bananas shimmering shake could vaguely remind those kind of creative flair that Kubin's fellow countryman Uwe Schmidt or some Japanese contemporary musicians like Haruomi Hosono, Sketch Show or Nobukatsu Takemura squeezed out on some of their records. The self-confessed list of sources of inspiration is even wider and definitively more bizarre than the ones you can imagine and includes bastions of sonic and "conventional" science as well as equipment for sonic and scientific research and notorious "scientists" such as Philips Research Labs, BBC radiophonic workshop, Musique Concrete, EKG machines, X-Rays, Raymond Scott, Czech and Polish film music, Hoerspiel, Sequencer Music, Underwater Dishes, Earthquakes, Explosions, Electric Chairs, Medical Disasters, Jerzy Wo_niak, Stockhausen and even Pluto Solidarnosc! All of them could be imagined as gregarious stage whispers of this redolent pastiche, which is going to let listener's imagination gurgle.

Coen Oscar Polack & Herman Wilken: Fathomless

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 09 2014
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Artist: Coen Oscar Polack & Herman Wilken
Title: Fathomless
Format: 12"
Label: Narrominded (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from this artists is inspired by two existent places: the Barents Sea, in the Arctic Ocean, and the Sundarbans, a place in India known for his colored fauna. So I suppose that they aim to evoke the sensations offered by this particular landscapes and I must say that they realize it.
The album has one track on every side: 'Barents Sea', the A side, starts quietly with small noises and a glacial drone slowly portraits a glacial landscape and, decaying, is substituted by the juxtaposition of a bright drone and some sparse crackles until a new and louder glacial drone erases all and the tune ends gently.
'Sundarbans', the B side, starts with a sort of field recordings of leafs moved by the wind and a bright drone slowly changing until birds's recording introduces the listener into an oasis of colors and peace that lasts until a buzz starts a quieter part that lasts until a bright drone starts and, with a quieter interlude, drives the listener to the end of the track slowly changing.
This two long tracks are an uneasy listening but charming as they reveal a form conceived for the portrait of landscape in an evocative way. Recommended.

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