Music Reviews



Blue Sausage Infant: Manitou

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 02 2012
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Artist: Blue Sausage Infant (@)
Title: Manitou
Format: CD
Label: Alrealon (@)
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed Blue Sausage Infant's 'Negative Space' album, so I was interested to see how this one would turn out. With guest artists wielding 'turntable bacon shortwave,' 'fire extinguisher,' and 'beer glass,' we should be in for an interesting ride. Here's how the label describes this: 'Following the long-form kosmische excursions of 2011's 'Negative Space', Blue Sausage Infant's new CD recalls the ruthless energy and shorter attention span of BSI's cassettes from the 1980s. 'Manitou' is a wild ride: a patchwork of huge analog drones, mutant caffeinated space-punk, musique concrete, krautrock-style jams, distorted industrial stomp, and deep electronic mind candy. This collection includes a new remake of the classic BSI track 'The Moss Takes Over' which first appeared in the 1990 cassette 'Infinite Sky.' Guest musicians include members of Insect Factory, Pilesar, Violet, Tag Cloud, and Timmy Sells His Soul. The result is an hour-long celebration of reckless improvisation and joyful nightmares.' I have to admit that I was not sold at the beginning. To me, 'Afflicted by the Wind Disease' and 'Hosebag' were a bit dull. However, it does get better from here. One of my favorites here is 'The Moss Takes Over,' which sounds like a cross between 80's buttrock and a videogame soundtrack from the same era (think boss phase). 'Aphid's Lament' is a nice slab of slow moving distortion and feedback. 'Catoctin' is almost mellow. 'Abdominal Frost' is an interesting cinematic soundscape. For me this is more of a mixed bag, although some of this may be by design. As he goes from style to style, there are sure to be hits and misses. For the most part, the hits outweigh the misses though. I would definitely see him live though, as it seems like it would be a good show. This album weighs in at around 57 minutes.

Alberto Boccardi: s/t

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 02 2012
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Artist: Alberto Boccardi (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: fratto9 under the sky records (@)
Rated: *****
Alberto Boccardi is an Italian electronic musician and aerospace engineer. This is his first solo release after some collaborations. Here's what the label had to say: 'Soundscapes that alternate unstable vibrations of the earth's surface to static animal references. Acoustic instruments, electronics, voice and field recordings, in the first work by Alberto Boccardi, tell emotional phases grown from the memories but living in the present. The use of sound is purely functional to instinct, and to the desire to define the boundaries of otherwise ephemeral images.' Now on to the music. It makes sense that he has done work for dance and video installation, as this music seems designed to fade into the background. In some ways it is a bit too minimal, moving at a sometimes glacial pace. However, 'Desolate Red Fingers' features minimal atmosphere with female vocals that remind me of Sara Lundén. 'Clocking the Time' finally releases some sense of emotion with squalling saxaphone and grinding feedback, if only for a moment. Overall this wasn't too bad, but it doesn't really stand out. I would place this among those that I refer to as good CDs to give to those who are beginning to dabble in experimental music. Limited to 300 copies. This album weighs in at around 27 minutes.

The Home of Easy Credit: s/t

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 02 2012
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Artist: The Home of Easy Credit (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Northern Spy (@)
Rated: *****
First of all, I have to say that the cover art on this album is awesome. I love that it hails back to the space age bachelor pad music of the 60s while then hitting you over the head with their music. This may be The Home of Easy Credit, but it most certainly is not the home of easy listening. It's hard to believe that this is all created by a duo, but everything is the work of husband and wife team Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen (alto saxophone, flute, vocals, and electronics) Tom Blancarte (upright bass) with no overdubs. The label describes the album thus: 'Queens-based The Home of Easy Credit challenges the boundaries of free-improvised music, jazz, folk, and pop music with an iconoclastic approach that defies all those who seek to classify music by genre. . . . Taking their name from a department store sign in a dilapidated section of downtown Houston, Texas which they photographed while on tour there, the duo seeks to hold up a mirror to contemporary musical tastes to create a dark, beautiful and thrilling sound world that reflects upon the decline of contemporary civilization.' You can see this in their song titles (I'm particularly fond of 'Only 827 Miles to Wall Drug ' with FREE ICE WATER!'). All I have to say is that this is incredibly good. The album wanders its way through improvisation and seeming randomness while remaining somehow together. For example, 'Arches of Gold' keeps building on itself until it seems that the weight of the aggregated sound will collapse on itself, as it coalesces into a nice droney mess. 'The Feast of the Meal Replacement Bars' and 'Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation' feature interesting chanting and processed voices that work well within the compositions. Other tracks, such as 'The Dream of the Pursuit of Happiness' are more subdued. What makes it particularly effective is the way it careens between freak out Sun Ra and Seven That Spells craziness and peaceful jazz improv. Quite enjoyable and highly recommended. This album weighs in at around 64 minutes.

VNDL: Gahrena: Paysages électriques

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 25 2012
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Artist: VNDL (@)
Title: Gahrena: Paysages électriques
Format: CD
Label: Hymen Records (@)
Rated: *****
VNDL is Philippe Vandal, from Montreal, Canada. Philippe started producing electronic music in October 2009. Influenced by Access to Arasaka, Amon Tobin, Richard Devine, Gridlock, Apparent Symmetry, Mormo, HECQ, just to name a few. Prior to 'Gahrena: Paysages électriques' he's had a couple of other release ('Something for Someone', 'Tryptyque [123]') but is still a relative newcomer on the electronic music scene. VNDL's modus operandi is IDM/glitch electronica for the most part, and glitchy it surely is, yet tonally rich.
Entering VNDL's world on the opening track, 'afternoon.afternoon,' it sounds as if you've stumbled into a warped workshop of broken guitar parts overrun by termites. The next track, 'crunx' employs processed string (presumably guitar) scraping, plunks, harmonics, rattling, tinks, plinks, dropped bass tones, soft kicks, electronically processed sounds, etc., and eventually some beatz, assembled in semi-random fashion. It's an auditory hodge-podge collage of elements that come across like some warped arcade game. Title track 'gahrena' begins with an electronic insectoid buzzing, then morphs into manipulated, echoed tremolo guitar and crunchy bits of noise. 'bragg' enlists the aid of Nebulo (another Hymen Records glitch artist) with atmos drone, some semblance of a rhythm track and squiggly electronics. 'nikohn' had too much guitar noodling for me although some might find it atmospheric. Later, the Offthensky Remix of the track expands the atmosphere, and I liked it better than the original. 'novar' has a cut 'n' paste glitch rhythm with gauzy processed guitar. 'gaze' is obviously VNDL's concession to shoegaze music with shifting, gauzy, hazy walls of processed guitar. 'recycle theory' is kind of dark and mysterious until the cut-up beat takes over, although 'recycle theory'(part 2) is smoother audial paste. 'night at slaeg' features Polish glitch/IDM electronic music producer Pleq (Bartosz Dziadosz) in a rather smooth bit of aural ambience where even the glitchy elements sound buttery. After spending about an hour in VNDL's world, you might leave feeling a bit exhausted. He throws a lot at you, but it's intriguing enough to want to come back for more. 'Gahrena: Paysages électriques' is heady, abstract experimental stuff, and by no means minimal. If you're looking for a challenging listening experience, this would be it.

Simon Balestrazzi: La Montana Sagrada

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 24 2012
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Artist: Simon Balestrazzi (@)
Title: La Montana Sagrada
Format: CD
Label: SantoS Productions (@)
Rated: *****
The crowning achievement of an astonishingly fertile year for the Italian sound-artist and former member of historical band T.A.C. Simon Balestrazzi comes as a dearly dedication to the most known mind behind Panic Movement, the Chilean-French film-maker, author and spiritual guru Alejandro Jodorowsky and particularly to his masterpiece The Holy Mountain, a surrealist "mystery play" about western esoteric background, which cannot be but perceived as a mystical and religious taunt by cultural guardians of the temples of official religions and ideologies. Without going into detail of "The Holy Mountain", who succeeded in shaking flattest cultural grounds, thanks to its good workmanship, which can be explained by the remarkable financial efforts it attracted (it seems it was financed by John Lennon who provided Jodo with one million dollars, even the final result wasn't widely distributed due to some disagreements with Allen Klein) as well, I think it's relevant the intellectual curiosity about the fact this release was initially close to find favor with Jodorowsky itself. According to Balestrazzi's words, his friend Alex Papa, owner of a small alternative bookshop in Bologna, had the possibility to meet Jodorowski with the purpose of submitting the attempt of rescoring The Holy Mountain by T.A.C. (under his own supervision) to him. Such an arduous collaboration, whose boldness is almost obvious if you consider it should compete with ritual music, composed by Jodorowski himself, and contributuons by Roland Frangipane and Don Cherry, was sinking into oblivion, due to some impediments, when Simon decided to take the project out of his drawer in order to get it into print through the small Italian label SantoS Productions. Thank goodness! Simon manages to evoke and stick to the mind-blowing visionary atmospheres of that movie as well as by some sonic hints to the original OST by an hallucinotary crescendo from the obscure starting track, "Opening Ritual" (you can try listeneing to it while watching that notorious sequence, which features his director playing the character of The Alchemist), to the final punching drones and the disquieting sonic setting of "Leopards Milk" by going through the oppressing sound on "Axon", the foreboding one on "Its Perfume Is My Blood", the occult alchemic soup of "In The Rainbow Room".


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