Music Reviews



Murmer: What Are The Roots That Clutch

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 21 2012
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Artist: Murmer (@)
Title: What Are The Roots That Clutch
Format: CD
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
A certain alternance of natural sounds and silence characterizes the hallucinated and enigmatic poem The Waste Land by T.S.Eliot, which has been quoted not only through the title (whereas the talented English satirist Evelyn Waugh opted for the last line to entitle one of his best novel "A Handful Of Dust", this American sound artist chose the first line, "What are the roots that clutch..." of the same stanza ending the first section of the poem "The Burial Of The Dead"), but also by the structure of this interesting sonic collage of field recordings, divided into five parts (just like Eliot's poem), and its tesseras, which remind some moments of one of the most favorite reading of many brainiacs, so that this sensorial interpretation by Patrick McGinley aka Murmer cast upon the multitude of interpretations and essays, which had been written about that writing. For instance the shuffle of steps over brushwood, the disorienting croaks of frogs, the rusting of leaves, the crackling of burning firewood as well as the underlying buzzing tone, which could remind "that sound high in the air/Murmur of maternal lamentation" mentioned in "What The Thunder Said", the last section of the poem (the definitive proof of its good make could be the slap I gave to the right headphone when a mosquito "appeared" in the sonic space...), in the first part evoke the feeling of confusion of the first part of the poem as well as some notorious references to Dante Alighieri, one of the known source of inspiration for Eliot, likewise the sonic collage of the fifth track which remind many words of the above-mentioned fifth section before the speaking of the thunder - "There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home./It has no windows, and the door swings,/Dry bones can harm no one./Only a cock stood on the rooftree/Co co rico co co rico/In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust/Bringing rain" - and according to a bizarre alchemy, some words from the second part "A Game Of Chess" ("'What is that noise?' The wind under the door. 'What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?'") seems to refer by sheer coincidence to some biographical lines which deeply influenced the sonic research of this globetrotter, who started his collection of sounds all over the world - there are many found sounds, live room feedbacks and field recordings mainly grabbed while hiking out in wild places of Northern Normandy, Estonia and Finland - after listening to a cavernous tone broadcasting from a ventilator duct in Paris.

Harry Pussy: Lets Build A Pussy

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 20 2012
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Artist: Harry Pussy (@)
Title: Lets Build A Pussy
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
In spite of their short life on the musical stage, Miami-based band Harry Pussy was really influential and left their mark on the noise scene through an aesthatics which was totally irriverent not only to the so-called bourgeios respectability and the vapidity of pop culture, but also to the musical structures of punk song itself: most of their tracks were untitled and sometimes they got fun with other aspects of typical musical publishing "receptacles" such as they did by "Please, Don't Come Back From The Moon / Nazi USA", issued by Blackjack Records in 1994, where they splitted tracks into two halves, a half a side, instead of putting a single track on each side, while their style was focused on headlong dashes over furious, violent and explicit songs and even the interaction between the band and the audience reflected their eruptive elan, mainly propelled by shrill high notes and fast drumming by Adris Hoyos and guitar rapes by Bill Orcutt. The reissue of their "posthumous" and very rare release "Let's Build A Pussy" seems to be related to the retrospective issue of "One Plus One", a double LP issued by Orcutt's label Palilalaia including the 'Vigilance' cassette, the Planet & 2nd Esync singles. When it was released, most of reviewers tended to interpret this release based on the yell by Adris (it "clearly" appears for 2-3 seconds in the first track), which had been computer-processed, thinned and stretched out by Bill over four 15-minutes lasting tracks, which are not so different from audio tracks for those funny toys known as brain machines as the sensation of "giddiness" for your ears is going to be similar to the one you could experience after a "program" on those toys or software wehich works in a similar way like i-Doser, as a certificate of death, but I think that Harry Pussy's last act could have not only a funereal worthiness. The hint at feminine shape in the title could be linked to the association between the curvy feminine body and the sweet undulations of the sonic waves built by Orcutt, but I'd say another possible key for the interpretation of "Lets Build A Pussy" where the initial scream which seems to say "dance" or "death" preceding this mindblowing bunch of frequencies, could be related to the foreseeable direction of musical research (it was issued in 1998), seemingly close to the research of cognitive science, focused on the representation and the induction of artifical emotional states throughout sonic stimulations, the real artistic crime after previous acts of patronage and submission where music gets immolated to the needs of a demanding mass or alternatively of a meekness-demanding elite...

Axel Doerner, Urs Leimgruber, Robert Landfermann, Christian Lillinger: Dorner Leimgruber Landfermann Lillinger

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 13 2012
cover
Artist: Axel Doerner, Urs Leimgruber, Robert Landfermann, Christian Lillinger
Title: Dorner Leimgruber Landfermann Lillinger
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
On a dreary day in October 2008 in Cologne, a group of talented musicians edged everything about their day (traffic, bad weather, any acrimony or disappointing chats with ignorant and casual interlocutor about crisis, politics or whatever...you could imagine such a preface) and decided to meet in a loft in order to exorcize reality for a while and looking for freedom in music at least. Similar attempt to kill boredom could be quite common, you could argue, but it's less common that four important representatives of the improvisational and free jazz scene - Axel Doerner (trumpet, electronics), Urs Leimgruber (saxophone), Robert Landfermann (double bass) and Christian Lillinger (drums) - meet together in a place and the result of such a rendez-vous could not be but surprising. The first tracks sound like a sort of warm-up so that no instrument gets drowned by other ones, some nice performing experiments (particularly on winds) can be easily distinguished, but the ultralow bass tone, which ends the second track, "ammmmmmmmm" (the only difference between the titles is the number of "m"s following the "a"...), seems to overheat the atmosphere and even if the third track starts with a not so different cue, based on cheeping saxophone, trumpet hiccuping, close mic recording of puffs, the sound progressively becomes more and more bombastic with the "awakening" of drums, heavier panting and more nervous plucking on the bass strings before the first spluttering sparkles of the fourth track, "ammmmmmmmmmmmm", where both the bass and the trumpet sound like hinting at some jazz standard phrasing. Henceforward a gradual crescendo will overwhelm the listener through involving free jazz explosions, which show the command of different musicians with very complex rhythmical structures, whirling in infections drumming fury, which sounds like strangling winds, whose sonic grand mal could remind the desperate convulsions of someone fighting against a straightjacket!

Alexander Elgier, Victor Grinenco, Samuel Sahlieh: Veiled

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 10 2012
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Artist: Alexander Elgier, Victor Grinenco, Samuel Sahlieh
Title: Veiled
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Sinister tolls, electronic buzzes and distant spourts, sudden puffs and suppurations, piercing synthesizer shrieking, metallic hits, screaming tones of violin and hardingfele (a sort of Scandinavian fiddle), obsessive pulses and sting sonic wedges thiken the pitch dark where obscure piano fragments difficultly try to draw melodic lines over this 29-minutes lasting one track album, wisely titled "Veiled", by this unknown Argentinian trio made up of Alexander Elgier (piano), Victor Grinenco (violin, hardingfele, objects and electronics) and Samuel Sahlieh (synthesizer, electric bass guitar and tapes). It's difficult to say if such a title refers to the fact they were performing different scores which tried to reciprocally mask through mutual interaction, even if you could think about some Morton Feldman piece (for some strange reason, my listening memory focused on "For Bunita Marcus" while listening to the occasional piano sprays by Elgier) randomly mixed with some noisy stuff by John Cage after electrolysis, but the path till the final highly nervous saturation point is so catchy that any attempt of association with other stuff is going to appear an unuseful waste of time.

VV.AA.: Run Over by an Elevator

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 08 2012
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Run Over by an Elevator
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bearsuit records (@)
Rated: *****
"Run Over by an Elevator" (people who understand some youngish English slang cannot but chortle about such a choice) could be considered a digest of the lucky and brisk headhunting activity by Scottish label Bearsuit as well as an opportunity to foretaste some of its forthcoming releases by this interesting label, whose driving force seems to be a strong link with (mainly Japanese) producers who keep on spooring the traces of authentic innovators coming from Japanese scene (I could mention a plenty of musicians and non-musicians in the roster of labels such as Schole, Daisyworld Discs, Teichiku, Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo Lab, Toy's Factory, P-Vine and many others), even if there are many tracks which could recall other musical grounds (the track "Descending" by emlp, acronym for "electronic music learning projects", by Edinburgh based musician and composer Mark Rossi - one of the tracks I liked most of this collection - partially recalls Icelandic Mum asa well as "Bees In My Feet" by Haq, collaborative project between Japanese n-qia and Scottish half of Whizz Kid Harold Nono which is going to debut on Bearsuit soon, could remind some moments of Slowdive's "Catch The Breeze") and a geographical connection with Scotland and Northern England, one of the most active musical workshop who gave listeners a lot of mindblowing sonic stuff. It's really hard to rank them, as the stylistical range is quite wide and even lo-fi elements fly high ona quality level, even there are some highlights amidst this jungle of stuffed animals and hunting trophies: the above-mentioned n-qia with the hypnotic voice by Nozomi and fuzzy electro-acoustic textures by Takma, the intriguing feverishness of "Metamorphosis Pt.1" by Polish style-drifter Bartosz Dziadosz aka Pleq, the bizarre toytronics of "Mosquito Bites" by protean anti-nuclear activist Amogano aka Ememe and the amusing and childish one of "People Today Started Runrun" by Takashi Mizukoshi's Suppa Micro Pamchopp, the magnetic abstract J-pop of "Chikyu Wa Mawaru" (Japanese for "Earth is spinning") by Bunny & The Electric Horsemen, the seducing downbeat by Taub, a collaborative project by appreciated Nonine label manager Me Raabenstein and Harold Nono, the sweet melancholy-tinged rustic idyll of "Family" by Japanese vocalist, composer and pianist Hidekazu Wakabayashi and Harold Nono (him again!), and "Comp no.209" by Canadian composer and percussionist Antonio De Braga, the entrancing pastoral awakening of "First Moments" by The Frozen Vaults, forthcoming project of a big ensemble made up of cellist Dave Dhonau, pianist Yuki Murata, violinist Tomasz Mrenca and producers Bartosz Dziadosz (Pleq) and Harry Towell (Spheruleus), the frugal lo-fi lullaby of "The Kennel Club" by Edinburgh-based duo Aging Children, the balanced mixture of rain-inspired mood, soft electronics and indie approach by Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai, the cinematic intro by Welsh experimental musician Nick Auskeur, the desiccate homemade groove by Doug Seidel...I'm just realizing that I've mentioned them all even if my first intention was an attempt to isolate some highlights, a symptomatic "mistake" about how this selection could be mouthwatering. Check it!


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