Music Reviews

Stefano De Ponti | Eleonora Pellegrini: Physis

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 12 2017
Artist: Stefano De Ponti | Eleonora Pellegrini (@)
Title: Physis
Format: CD
Label: manyfeetunderconcrete (@)
Rated: *****
With his now considerable output, Stefano De Ponti is perhaps one of the most interesting composers around. Physis, more than his proper new release, is the completion of a project with Eleonora Pellegrini born in 2011. The basic idea of this work is a body and sound performance about the evolution of Nature in an historical line from the beginning to the future.
The first part of this release, "I", quietly starts with "Non dèi invocar" a drone broken by the voice of Eleonora Pellegrini whose intensity increases as time goes by and is underlined by the soundscape in the background until a crash introduces the second part of the track, "Physis", based on stone's noises, or so they sound, upon a quiet resonating background. As the concrète source of the sound emerges, with "The Fishing Ape" the listener is closer to a part based on sharp high tones, "Seirn", paving the way for a song, "Canto", closing this part in which the voice seems at a distance and the noisy background gradually overwhelms everything.
The second part of this release, "II", is based on two movements and it's a more static part: "Grey Desert", a quiet and meditative positioning of sounds generating the sense of being into a primitive but cinematic environment and "Oracle" where the concrète element returns and the voice of Eleonora Pellegrini closes this release without the accompaniment of any sound.
While the first part of this release takes his character by the interaction and the mutual support of voice, words and sound and it one of the finest moments of the year, the second one sounds more like a questionable coda or a sound mimic of the cover than a fully developed piece; it's like it needs a visual counterpart to be effective. As a whole it's probably something than every fans of experimental music should hear.

Svarte Greiner: Apart

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 09 2017
Artist: Svarte Greiner
Title: Apart
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Miasmah
It’s rare to find an audio work that is so precisely mirrored by its artwork as Svarte Greiner’s 20-minute collection of cello improvisations “Apart”. It’s curt, scratchy, deceptively simple, and it feels rushed (Greiner describes the difficult recording conditions in the press release). It has a limited palette and is difficult to interpret.

Between rumbling low pieces like “Second”, the strangely bluesy “Floor” and the more open “Barren”, the shorter pieces feel like single performance ideas explored to their short natural conclusion. In the middle of the mini-album there’s “Passage”, the longest and most evolving piece carefully tracing envelopes of pushing sound and letting silence breath between, before evolving into a more constant expression of sharp scratchy pain that will make classical cello purists wince.

It’s a brief and odd collection of improvised ideas with a decidedly sharp and angsty edge.

Michael Bonaventure: Works 2008 - 2017

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
New Music / Downtown / Avantgarde Jazz / New Classical / World
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Nov 01 2017
Artist: Michael Bonaventure
Title: Works 2008 - 2017
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Unexplained Sounds Group (@)
Rated: *****
Quite an obscure figure in today's music scene, Michael Bonaventure is introduced by the words by Raffaele Pezzella, the curator of the label, which express all the reverence for his works. This is a collection of works perhaps intended as an introduction or an anthology that portrays a composer trying to create avant-garde from the organ, the liturgy's instrument i.e., one of the most traditional still used.
The starting point of "Interlude VI" is based on a dual structure: the first is a classical one based on a melody while the other is a loop and the two parts are repeated in a sequence until a second melody based on drone is used instead of the first to introduce a variation and the reprise of the initial sequence is used to end the track. "Celestial Objects" is instead based on pulsating sounds and vocal processing to reenact the sense of old sci-fi movies based on space and other civilizations while "Sanctuary" start from the same sounds but exploring the high frequency resonances to obtain a spectral crescendo. "Doxology" develops drones from vocal lines using a layer of organ to obtain a link with the tradition and "Interlude" uses almost the same structure with the organ. "Dead Electronics" marks a partial departure with this quiet sound fields using some noises to obtain a vague sense of apprehension. "Carillon II" uses piano chords to create a link to tradition and a certain musical movement while in the background long tones create a static canvas as The vocal manipulations of "Encounters" are used to obtain a movement while the organ marks the rhythmic structure with simple lines played in loop. While the first part of "Terrestrial Ode" is static, the second part is marked by ticking of a clock that underline the sonic manipulation of short samples. "Carillon I" is a variation of "Carillon II" with a smaller role of the piano and a more elaborate electronic part. The large masses of drones generated by the organ of "Darenth II" is doubled by quiet parts where the listener has to catch sounds rather than be overwhelmed.
Not exactly that kind of music that fill in a trend, this album requires a listener which hasn't done a choosing of a battlefield between modernity and tradition as it's tied to both sides; someone would call it a barricade while another an equilibrium. It's worth a listen with care.

Penny Rimbaud’s Kernschmelze II: Cantata For Improvised Voice

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 22 2017
Artist: Penny Rimbaud’s Kernschmelze II (@)
Title: Cantata For Improvised Voice
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
While his previous "Yes Sir, The Truth Of Revolution" was not entirely convincing as centered upon message instead of music, this one seems his perfect mirror. Charles Webber processed the voice of Eve Libertine as Penny Rimbaud's idea was to create soundscape using only vocal sounds on a musical structure based upon the movement and multiplication of sound masses obtained by the layering of vocal lines.
Even if it's named as a cantata it starts with an impressive and thunderous soundscape upon which the voice of Eve Libertine starts her spoken words but the most impressive moments is where the voice filtrated, manipulated and layered generates a movements from operatic vocal lines to noisy moments where phonemes are translated to sounds. During the 8 parts of this opus the voice is rarely used in his natural setting, so the discernible message is lost in a auditory environment where the listener is placed against his expectation of the form and this is perhaps the sense of the whole operation; as the Kernschmelze is a "core meltdown", this release sounds as a "voice meltdown" or the consciousness that the perception of the voice, the emotional impact of the message, is now more important that the content of the message. From this perception, the sound quality of Charles Webber's voice is juxtaposed to the emotional impact of the whole musical structure and the sense of the message is exemplified by the fact that instead of being cathartic all this sound mass simply ends in silence.
An amazing work by an artist that, even with his remarkable past, is again able to offer his views on modern times with the spirit of a newbie. Absolute respect.

Asath Reon: Buried Visions

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 22 2017
Artist: Asath Reon
Title: Buried Visions
Format: CD
Label: Black Mara (@)
Rated: *****
Due to the scarce informations about this project, it seems that Buried Visions is the first release of this project by Michal Polgár from Slovakia. "Buried Visions" is introduces by verses about an Harvest when a black Sun rises and this apocalyptic vision is an hint that we are close to a Dark Ambient release but this is partially true. A great part of the auditory field developed by this artist is not obtained by drone but by samples, mainly voices, and ritual instruments so it takes perhaps inspiration from certain ritual music and certainly his music has those kind of atmosphere and structure.
The almost religious quietness of "Aka Manah", with the spars beats of the bells and the voices in the background, opens this release with a menacing atmosphere obtained with a carefully constructed soundscape in the background. The noises moving in the auditory field of "Dark Waters" are reasonably evocative in the droning background. "The Timeless Self" is a canonical dark ambient track based on drones whose movements in on details while "Soul Stealing" and "Lone Weaver" revolve around small noises and voices creating a sense of displacement in the listener. The voices and the drones became almost a single musical element in "Rise of the Forked-Tongued" as the firsts support the seconds while "The Damned" uses the samples instead of the voices. "Tower of Silence" closes this release with voices matching the resonances of the drone.
This is a release at the crossroad of dark ambient and religious/ritual music that, even along the path of the canonical form of both genres, is able to put the listener enchanted hearing the craft in the placement of the sound layers and the depth of details of the drones. Recommended for fans of the genre.

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