Music Reviews



Springintgut: Where We Need No Map

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 08 2013
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Artist: Springintgut (@)
Title: Where We Need No Map
Format: CD
Label: Pingipung (@)
Distributor: Kompakt Distribution
Rated: *****
All those who lied in wait for the new album of the whismical cellist, drummer and composer Andi Otto aka Springintgut, after his acclaimed "park and Ride" on the excellent label City Centre Offices, didn't wait in vein as Andi kept busy by wrenching and enhancing both his hybrid sound and his cello, which got turned into a "fello" in the meanwhile by means of the implementation of movement and accelerometer sensors on the bow, whose data got translted into MIDI through junXion and then manipulated. In reality the prototype of fello got exhibited on the occasion of STEIM, the indipendente Dutch Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music in Amsterdam, but Andreas gradually improved it with the support of artists from many different fields. The fascination for his brainchild as well as Andi's joy for his searing creative sparkles has been mirrored on this release, which vouches for his vivid inventiveness and gleans from the sonic and musical pond of the exotic traditions he got in touch with during his cultural expeditions. Some of the most engaging tracks of this amazing album have been recorded during his three-months lasting permancence in the German art institute Villa Kamogawa in Kyoto, Japan, where he produced the vibrant "Kamogawa Cycling" and the chirping "Western Kyoto", a couple of delicate sonic cameos which reflect a certain Japanese zest, resurfacing on other tracks such as the crisp J-pop and house-spotted tracks "Moustache Twisters" and "Moustache Or Something" or the final somehow pastoral glare "Ode To Yakushima". Splashes of Bollywood bustles spurt from the tracks he recorded in India, the peppy "Bangalore Kids", where Andi mixes a vibrant fello session with electronic house tempo and a field recording of a school boy he grabbed in Cubbon Park, Bangalore, and the brief squawking whirl of "Bangalore Crows" with vocals by Indian singer MD Pallavi. The cherry on top came from the meeting of Sasha Perera, the voice of notorious Berlin's Dub Techno band Jahcoozi, in Sri Lanka, who gave her voice for a couple of lukeworm tracks, "Bullet" and "Dizzy Heights", where Andi's Fello got entwined with amazing popping grooves. Echoes of Boards Of Canada and similar IDM acts resounds on the computational hiccups of "Teslaphasic Talking" and the oblique smudges of "Where We Need No Map", while the playfulness of Springintgut sound, whose affinity with jazz and so-called skweee is clear, protrudes on tracks like the above-mentioned "Moustache Twisters" or the jaunty "Goose Egg". This album deserves more than a listening.

Helena Espvall + Ernesto Diaz-Infante: A Hallowed Shell of Ash and Rust

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 06 2013
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Artist: Helena Espvall + Ernesto Diaz-Infante (@)
Title: A Hallowed Shell of Ash and Rust
Format: CD
Label: EROTOTOX DECODINGS (@)
Rated: *****
This album hasn't real press notes apart from the bios of the two musicians: Ernesto Diaz-Infante has created musical compositions that span a broad perspective while Helena Espvall is a multi-instrumentalist plays guitar and cello. From this perspective this album is presented as something to listen without any expectations apart from the open mind to evaluate the musical qualities of this output.
This is a requirement as this album reveals a strange structure as, even it has twelve track, it relies in three long tunes: "Breathing Structures", a quite track based upon resonances and small timbre changes that create a truly meditative mood until the cello of Helena Espvall introduces the listener to second part of the track more focused on slowly evolving melodic line; "Hollow Earth Theory" is based upon the percussions of the string instruments, guitar and cello, of the two players interleaved with the juxtaposed, using the delay, melodic lines; "Against A Realization In Weathered Iron" is instead focused on the ostinatos of the strings obtaining an effect of slowly moving, almost static, texture of undoubtable effect if sufficently mindful on the small, but continuous, timbre changes.
The remaining tracks are small examples of timbric development as "With Space In The Spirit", "Interiority", "Into Subterranean Heavens" and "A Glamour In Base Materials". "These Are" is a short tune based on resonances created by delay while "Bridges Into Nothing" and "Ringing Out Tomorrows" are based on the juxtaposition of the texture of one instrument and the form created by the other. "Where The Archivist Stands" starts with the juxtaposition of the two instrument, evolves in a drone and ends with a sort of dialogue. "Something Ancient Being Born" closes this album with highly reverbered tones evoking a spiritual calm
This album is not easy to listen to as it demands really careful attention but is a recommended pick to all fans of experimental music. Great stuff.

Mike Cooper: White Shadows In The South Seas

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 29 2013
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Artist: Mike Cooper
Title: White Shadows In The South Seas
Format: CD
Label: Room40 (@)
Rated: *****
Both the title of this intriguing album by 71-years old Mike Cooper and some semantic clues which lend a narrative structure too its fourteen tracks evoke "White Shadows in the South Seas", an old silent movie by Californean director Woodbridge String "Woody" Van Dyke Jr., focused on the vicissitudes and adventures of an alcoholic doctor Dr.Matthew Lloyd (the "Dr.Derelict of the initial track?), who got tricked by his employer to embark on a ship with a deceased crew due to the obstacle the doctor's aversion of exploitation of Polynesian natives by white people was causing to his marauding purposes. A storm will deliver Dr.Lloyd to a community of natives on an unknown isle, whose inhabitants had never seen a white man. There're undoubtedly many references to the personal experiences of Mr.Cooper, who has spent a lot of time in tours and explorations of Oceania, a fascinating continent which digged a groove on his musical and artistic production, including a sort of radiophonic documentary "Beach Crossings - Pacific Footprints", commissioned by Italian and Australian radio, which retraces history from the colonisation of the Pacific isles by Europeans to Pearl Harbour and the dropping of nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, so that you can draw an imaginary parallel between Dr.Lloyd and Mr.Cooper, who can certainly make waves about his venturous wit into musical and cultural fields (there are many remarkable highights on his resume... his very first band The Blues Committee gained support by proper blues legends such Jimmy Reed, Howlin Wolf and John Lee Hooker, he recorded many session with John Peel from 1969 to 1975, he shaked London music scene by his free music group the Recendents in the 80ies and many recordings by himself have been reissued by many labels across the globe) and kept his creative spirit pristine to reshape some memes of the so-called exotica generation and whisk "white music" ingredients and Tahitian, Balinese and Hawaiaan ones in an original way, which generates overlaps of tropical sonic and rhythmical blushes, pacific slide guitars and tricky crossbreed (many listeners could surmise that "traditional" motifs like "Po Mahina" and "Hilo Hanakahi" could evoke Bizet's Carmen!). The above-mentioned narrative consistency and the insertion of atmospheric field recordings, which could let the listeners feel the soaring of birds, the rain on lehua forest or even the scent of the blossoms of hala, could dispel that faux aura, which this kind of stuff may evoke. If Mike cannot be considered an old and wise minister of the cult of Tiki as there are not so many hedonistic, stereotyped and somehow holy elements which deeply marked exotica and lounge music production, his sonic brushstrokes can turn him into a sort of Matisse for ears.

Richard Chartier & Yann Novak: Undefined

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 27 2013
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Artist: Richard Chartier & Yann Novak (@)
Title: Undefined
Format: CD
Label: FARMACIA901 (@)
Rated: *****
The linear notes states that "Undefined is dedicated to the uncertainties of Los Angeles" so it has a curious development: Chartier sends to Novak an unfinished work with no explanation other than "add to it, subtract from it, or a combination in order to finish the piece". Then Chartier would accept or reject the result.
The track is a long journey of sound, it starts quietly with a subtle drone and some quiet noises slowly developing to remember the listener as it's more important the texture than the shape. A bright drone dominates the second part of this track and acts as the dominant color in a Rothko painting until silence begins and a quiet drone is reminiscent of the meaning of "lowercase music" and "quiet environment" and in the final part is substituted by quiet noises event if this sounds like an oxymoron (at least for western culture).
This release is not ground breaking but the stature of the artists involved is so huge that is could be voted as one star of five star related if you love the genre or not.

p.s.: From the vote you can see from which side I am: in my 2013 rewind playlist.

Hybryds: Mythical Music from the 21st Century

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 27 2013
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Artist: Hybryds
Title: Mythical Music from the 21st Century
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Apart from cover the dark ambient/post industrial polish scene, Zoharum has an almost challenging program of reissue of classic albums from the golden age of this music genre. This time is the place for the debut album from this bands. As most of the releases from this period, the linear notes are filled with magical tales so they talk about "Na He Ma" wondering that even she's "disguised as a willing victim, she is able to meet the Beast face to face".
The thirteen tracks of this release stating from the intro of "The Awakening" to "The Final Answer" are filled of everything it will be became the essential parts of this genre: hypnotic loops, ethnical beats and atmospherical drone in the search for the musical expression of the project stated in the linear notes. Something could seem outdated or simple but, in the '80s, this was the new frontier where everyone were listening to new romantics and this music was truly underground. There's also five bonus track to complete this re-issue and cover the production of the band during this period (1983-1986)
It doesn't matter the aesthetics opinion about the singles tracks, so this release has no vote as it's useless, as the historical importance is so huge that this reissue is a must hear for all fans. Essential for all fans of this genre.


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