Music Reviews



VV.AA.: 2011/2012 Media Sampler

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 10 2013
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 2011/2012 Media Sampler
Format: CD
Label: Alrealon (@)
Rated: *****
Compilations can be difficult to review because they are such a mixed bag and a label sampler can be particularly daunting. So let's just walk through the album as it goes, shall we? FluiD kicks us off with some Muslimgauze inspired chanting and electronics. Not bad. PAS keeps the beat moving along with ethereal singing that would be at home on old Projekt records material. Kind of similar thematically to the point where you would not be surprised to find that this is not a compilation. JOHN 3:16 slows our roll a bit with a interesting melodic track with a slow plodding beat that gets more and more aggressive as it proceeds. Interesting stuff ' makes me interested to hear more, which is the whole point of these compilations. Philippe Petit & Friends keeps the dark cinematic feel going but this then shifts into violin with warbling electronics. A bit more complex and challenging than the first three, but not as smooth. Good though. Now we reach the obligatory phase of the compilation where we shift gears without a clutch. Black Saturn throws down a kind of rap with a heavy beat that just doesn't quite work in the context of the compilation. I know some of Black Saturn's other work, so I was kind of surprised at this track although I have to admit that the track kind of grows on you. X:Naviet brings it back to soundscape with some shimmering drone. Glacial shifts and dissonance. FluiD is back and keeping it dark. Once again we have the cinematic vibe. I'd be interested to check out more from this act. Philippe Petit comes in with a bit more noisy work, although still with a heavy bass drone presence. Not noise by any stretch, but compared to the previous tracks a bit more of an edge with a few percussive outbursts. ARU meets FluiD gets some beat and a bass line going, but not in the Middle Eastern sort of way of the first track. It's OK, but not as good as the previous tracks. PAS/HATI gives us an interesting track with a lot of rhythm, but not like a beat. It's like turning loose a bunch of children on a lot of toy percussion instruments in a store. There is a logic to it, but it has a whimsical feel to it. This is pretty cool. ARU meets FluiD is back again with a similar track. I think I like FluiD better on their own. JOHN 3:16 brings us the gospel in the form of a track that keeps building on itself until it seems that it will collapse under its own weight. Think guitar work along the lines of some Fear Falls Burning. Zilmrah brings back the rhythm, but it kind of gets repetitive, even though the underlying improvisation is cool. So who would I want to check out after hearing this compilation? FluiD and JOHN 3:16 would be my picks. This disc weighs in at around 64 minutes.

UN NU: Recoupements

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 10 2013
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Artist: UN NU (@)
Title: Recoupements
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Rated: *****
I could find almost nothing on this duo other than that it consists of Pascal Battus on Guitar Pickups and Benjamin Duboc on Double Bass. According to his website, Battus co-invented Sound Massage, in which one sits close while he plays a set of objects, creating a mini-concert for the listener. No, it doesn't seem related to the new age practice of putting singing bowls on you at the beach, although I'm sure this may give him some ideas. For Duboc's part, his website states, 'Benjamin has a beautiful and big sound, you really feel the ground while hearing him... it's somethin'!' With this in mind, you may have a sense of what you're in for. This is pretty interesting experimental improvisation. It isn't really noise, but it is certainly noisy. The crackling and feedback work well with the double bass rumbles. At times it is amazing to think that all of this is coming from only two people, but for the most part this is pretty stripped down, making good use of quiet spaces and ambience. Duboc in particular seems skilled in getting the most out of his instrument, using it in seemingly unconventional ways (as if using just the guitar pickups were conventional in itself!). This album weighs in at 52:38.

Six Organs of Admittance / (r): Rowland S. Howard’s “Shivers”

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 10 2013
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Artist: Six Organs of Admittance / (r) (@)
Title: Rowland S. Howard’s “Shivers”
Format: 7"
Label: Tourette Records (@)
I had not heard the song that each of these acts covered, so I had to hit up YouTube for the original. Evidently Howard went on to join The Birthday Party. This was my introduction to Six Organs of Admittance and I'm still not sure what to make of it. It's almost like Laibach's vocals with a flamenco beat danced on a wood floor with some trumpet thrown in for good measure. (r) brings us a peaceful acoustic guitar and a lot of hiss, as if the needle on the turntable is messed up, but on closer examination, it seems that the record was a bit damaged from sticking to the plastic sleeve. I do, however, wonder if the labels on these records were correct, since the vocals for (r) sound a lot like the Little Annie & Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo album I reviewed in the same package and it features the trumpet not mentioned in the liner notes for Six Organs of Admittance. On red vinyl.

Little Annie & Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo: Blue Xmas EP

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 10 2013
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Artist: Little Annie & Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (@)
Title: Blue Xmas EP
Format: 7"
Label: Tourette Records (@)
I was unfamiliar with the work of Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, but I had heard Little Annie in her incarnation as Annie Anxiety with Current 93 and Coil. This is, according to the press release, part of the Tourette Records' "We Dream In Colour" series and limited to 300 copies on blue vinyl. Now on to the music. 'A Chinatown Blues' is a nice blues number that talks about 'we have an arrangement' and 'sometimes it's nice to be invisible, know what I mean?' This is a weird track, but you can almost smell the cigarette smoke and stale beer in the dive club you imagine this to take place in. This is not the kind of blues that you will hear on your local radio station. This is trashy and stripped down ' the way blues was meant to be. On to the other side. 'Blue Moon' is a cover of the popular song which is pretty faithful to the original sung by Little Annie. With 'The Ballad of Blue Obsessions,' we have Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo join in on the vocals. We have drone mixed with them singing almost in a round style. This is definitely a weird EP, but oddly compelling. Play 'A Chinatown Blues' for your favorite blues fan to show them what they've been missing.

Robin Storey and Mark Spybey: With an Ear and a Why

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 10 2013
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Artist: Robin Storey and Mark Spybey (@)
Title: With an Ear and a Why
Format: 7"
Label: Tourette Records (@)
This is another in the series of DVOA collaborations, this one with Robin Storey. Robin Storey is the man behind Rapoon and a longtime member of Zoviet France. I am a big fan of Rapoon and Zoviet France, so this should be a no brainer. We start off with 'With an Ear and a Why,' which is a bit more experimental than I expected, since Rapoon's output has tended toward ethnoambient. However, this is good drone with random elements thrown in for good measure. It does get a bit too monotonous at times though. 'With a Why and an Ear' follows a similar trajectory, with a bit of clanging and what sounds like low growling. Overall this is decent, but not as good as the other two I reviewed in this series. Granted, an off day for Storey and Spybey is better than most people's successes, but with these two I expected a bit more.


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