Music Reviews



Mr.Vast: Grievous Bodily Charm

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 10 2013
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Artist: Mr.Vast (@)
Title: Grievous Bodily Charm
Format: 12"
Label: Spezialmaterial (@)
Rated: *****
The apparent absence of complementarities between the jumble of shuffled styles of this funnily boozy record cannot really be considered a shortcoming or a bulge of kitsch pop mannerism, an inappropriate association that the hubris of some silly reviewers (there're still a lot of this kind of dummy sample around) could foster as the inebriated sarcasm, half-serious self-irony and the amused and somewhat poisoned persiflage by Mr.Vast, alter ego of Henry Sargeant, frontman of electronic band Wevie Stonder (!), cannot be but protean and nimble like a quick-change artist dealing with a time bomb. Funk, soul, country, dubstep, house, junk, hip-hop as well as a lopsided romanthicism, outburst of shoegazing rage, pastoral lyricism, theatrical makeups, likeable straightforwardness, healthy nonsense, quotidian surrealism and motley coxcombs don't dry out on Mr.Vast's palette, so that he alternatively clucks with funk and toy sounds ("In Terms of Ease and Speed"), laser surgery and hip-hop chops ("Buttercyde"), scorched spicy slapped rock ("The Rug"), occasional everyday (but not ordinary) life idylls (the funny "Bliss" about domestic bliss!), wired "exotic" atonement ("Atlantis"), stylistical adaptations which could make you chortle ("Teflon Country" or the amazing opener of B-side "Process of Illumination", which unhinges a sort of gospel by means of house and tropical cliches in order to describe the ascension of a discotheque-addicted and a possible religious ravishing on the following erotically ironic "First Class"), licentious mock-heroic vignettes such as on the sidesplitting electro-pumping "Family values" or the hilarious lanky metal "Henry the 8th" (an eloquent parody of an historical character and certain stylistical machismo!), unexpected suave summery chilling soul on flip-flops ("Elemental"), imaginary street parades of cows and romedaries ("Ecstatic Caravan"). The digital version includes a couple of remixes (an harsher one of "Buttercyde" and a funny Spanish farce, more than a remix, of "Ecstatic Caravan"), the electronic raspberry trash-disco of "Sticky" and the grief-stricken (in a manner of speaking) final "Where I'm From"! Keep you feet up in the air!

Mountains: Centralia

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 09 2013
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Artist: Mountains (@)
Title: Centralia
Format: CD
Label: Thrill Jockey (@)
Rated: *****
After listening this graceful release by Brooklyn-based duo of Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg, I dare to say that if hills have eyes, mountains have certainly ears! Named after the desolate ghost town of Centralia (Columbia County, Pennsylvania), where a large undergound fire (still unextinguished) of anthracite coal mine acted as a depopulation bomb due to air pollution and excessively hot temperature in 1962, a somewhat tragic event which tickled the imagination of many writers, musicians, directors and other creative flairs, this release could give you the impression these musicians turned into transducers of that surreal land, lying on a brazier which scared away the sacrilegious asinity of its previous usurpers (it seems that the abandoned mine was set on fire by dumping of hot ashes during landfill) nd will last for centuries to keep them at a safe distance. The static appearance of electronic mantles almost evokes the quiet grandiosity of a massif, which overlooks its surrounding realm, whereas computational sparks and the extreme cleaness of both electronic and instrumental sound seems to mirror the purificatory and slowly pervading action of that fiery furnace which managed to melt pavements and asphalt and undoes chasms, rifts and cracks on the ground. A certain sense of tragedy of some overstreched frequncies and decomposing sounds oddly coalesces with organic splendours of instrumental parts and over the album, but the first weight, under sedation of heart rending cello and strings ("Sand"), lulling or entrancing guitar arpeggios ("Identical Ship", "Circular C"), pastoral-like symphonies ("Tilt"), lukewarm psychedelic suites ("Propeller"), bubbling springs of electronic gleaming ("Liana"), could be more clearly felt in the final lovely hesitant "Living Lens". Tragically soothing.

Schloss Tegal: Oranur III

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 06 2013
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Artist: Schloss Tegal (@)
Title: Oranur III
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Many gourmet of electro-industrial dark ambient don't really need any introduction of American sound project by Robert Schneider and Mark Burch, named after a castle near Berlin which was formerly a psychiatric clinic for military people, where they got treated by means of music and art therapy. I surmise they have a reputation as many critics and reviewers consider Schloss Tegal as the founders of so-called dark ambient, whose main features were hovering since their electro-industrial debut release in 1989, a 7" single which was properly titled "Procession Of The Dead". They planned a series of reworks of some albums of their discography. This one by appreciated label Cold Spring is a digtally remastered version of their "The Third Report", a record inspired by the apocryphal scientific matter of orgonic energy, theorized by the controversial Austrian psychoanalist Wilhelm Reich, who made some researches of this supposedly existing cosmic energy during the years he spent in the United States. The concise, but exhaustive dissertion on Reich's experiments and beliefs about Deadly Orgone Radiation, Cosmic Orgone Engineering, Cloudbuster, Electro Magnetic Fields and its relation with the so-called "emotional plague", Oranur experiments, bio-weapons and other similar matters you can delve, with old pictures of Reich's cloudbusters is the conceptual framework of this album, which sounds like a sonic transducer of that theorized energy. Its magnetic flux density got emphasized by vocal samples, which seems to be taken from descriptions on tapes, noisy excoriation, abrasive insertions, toned-down obscure frequencies, piercing rumbles, which keep on putting a steady strain, which is somewhat uncommon for many dark-ambient contemporary releases, on many tracks such as "Coital Affirmation", the long-lasting initial "Oranur II "the Third and Final Report"", the disquieting "Dark Eyes", the creepy cryptic "Beyond The Wall Of Sleep", the subterranean clashing gusts of "Orop Desert Eas 1954-1955", the shivering phantasmagorical breeze of "Orena "Orop Terria"", the ethereal carnality of "The Core Men". This final report is supposedly the final warning to the sleeping beings of the Earth, according to their own (Schloss Tegal or some multidimensional being?) words!

PRSZR: Equilirium

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 05 2013
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Artist: PRSZR (@)
Title: Equilirium
Format: CD
Label: Hinterzimmer Records (@)
Rated: *****
PRSZR is the consonantal name (to be pronounced "pressure") of the collaborative project by Wien-based former dj and renowned experimental sound artist Peter Votava, better known as PURE, and Polish alchemists of percussions Rafal Iwanski, Rafal Kolacki and Dariusz Wojtas aka Hati, whose talent in building entrancing patchworks by means of ethnic instruments, found objects, idiophones, gongs, stylistically on the borderlines between improvisational electro-acoustic music and magic(k)al meditative/ritual one, already facilitated important collaborations with remarkable musicians such as Z'EV, John Zorn, Steve Buchanan, Heike Fiedler. With the exception of the third central track where a sort of flanged didjeridoo which wrap the percussive web could give you the impression of intermittent buzz moving around the sonic space, the reciprocal interplay doesn't sound too invasive so that you could easily distinguish both contributions to the building of each track. The nylon narrow vibration of an ascending plucking on a mist-shrouded clump of almost aphonic gongs and plates on the first gorgeous track and the glaring reverberation of plate tapping and rubbing which dissolves into a sort of heartbeat and sequenced flurries on the second track keep the voltage of the listening experience high as well as after the above-mentioned central flame-up, the squeaking and tickling stretches of the fourth act and the subatomic percussive particles which seem to unleash and trigger sonic fly ashes on the final track. "Equilirium" succeeds in striking demanding listeners by way of suffumigation of hypnotical, mind-tickling and somewhat cathartic atmospheres.

Ernesto Rodrigues, Katsura Yamauchi, Carlos Santos: Three Rushes

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 02 2013
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Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues, Katsura Yamauchi, Carlos Santos (@)
Title: Three Rushes
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Ernesto Rodrigues on the harp, which sound played more like an object by sudden and unexpected strokes, whose strings are just occasionally played in the conventional way, as they sound more whacked (so that they sometimes give the impression of breaking springs) than plucked, Carlos Santos' sonic creatures from computer and piezos which sometimes goe up to the surface like imaginary sea serpents with their threatening eclat and subtle crimping, Katsura Yamauchi, whose technique on saxophone hit the headlines of more demanding lovers of the so-called reductionist movement by his album Salmo Sax and integrates into the ensemble with muffled breathing, which sometimes look like puffs in the bottleneck, and temporary stews of melodic glimmers, improvised this amazing and somewhat estranging three rushes on the borders between noise and silence. Some moments could let you imagine a narcotized emotional tension which explodes by means of abrupt rashes, while they gradually interlace thin torn mantles. I found particularly catching the central and second of three tracks (they call them scenes), "Cookie's Role", for the cliff-hanger they managed to set, even if the third one, "Cookie's Departure", is quite rich of funny flaky disfigurations of respective instruments without turning the "thespian" aspect down.


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