Music Reviews

Gultskra Artikler: Abtu Anet

 Posted by J Simpson (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 14 2012
Artist: Gultskra Artikler
Title: Abtu Anet
Format: 12"
Label: Miasmah (@)
Distributor: Morr Music Distribution
Rated: *****
Gultskra Artikler is the electro-acoustic endeavor of Alexey Devjatin, currently residing in Moscow. Abtu Anet is his third release for the exquisite Miasmah Recordings, and it compiles two previously available EPs, Abtu and Anet, and gives them the loving devotion they deserve.

Listening to Abtu Anet is like visiting a phantom Ukrainian village, of an indeterminate era, and then diving into the hidden desires and R.E.M. sleep of its inhabitants. Starting off on a tuneful note with 'Berezka', a ringing folk melody on an acoustic guitar with a pagan undercurrent of distant horns and temple bells, the record quickly takes a turn for the fucked up with 'In The Middle of the Sixteenth Century,' a musique concrete piece of parlor piano and toppling percussion that sounds like rattling air ducts, that will make you feel like yr plasma has been replaced with Knox Gelatin.

The song/noise/song/noise template is adhered to, giving the sensation of drifting in and out of a reverie, but even the 'songs' are skewed: tape warped, embellished with static, zithers and bells, before settling into 'Pirat', probably the prettiest piece of the whole bunch - a dark walnut baby grand rings out a dusty Ravel dirge, with sonar bleeps from the very deep, providing a soothing bass rumble dissonance. There is no bedrock, here, nothing solid to build upon. This village flickers like static.

The noise takes over from this point forward, probably where the Anet EP takes over; at times it is nearly incomprehensible! Detuned harmonicas ebb and flow, vinyl ghosts whisper in archaic dialects (i wish i knew what they were saying), frequencies and fuzz percussion vie for attention, in yr ear ducts. It takes a special brand of cosmonaut to withstand such lunacy, but those that persevere will be rewarding with sensual, surreal images.

Much post-criticism will probably be heaped upon this record, seeking a coherent thread to help navigate Abtu Anet's convoluted labyrinth, but i feel like Alexey Devjatin's struggling with the same question the avant-garde has been wrestling with for 100 years: how best to combine recordings, machine noises, acoustic instruments, composition and improvisation into a tenable, viable whole. Looking for mastery, finding mystery. Alexey Devjatin proves himself to have a deft hand and ear, composerly instincts, but i feel like if he had a clearer notion of what he was driving at, to begin with, at least an outline if not a script, his records might be more coherent and palatable to a wider populace. Still, i listened to Abtu Anet at least a dozen times while putting these words together, and had unique revelations and experiences each time. This record is a must for noise fiends and experimental hounds, a perfect late-night brain burner! But if you are looking for familiar footholds like 'melody', 'lyrics', 'structure,' if you like yr music to go POP! then you better look elsewhere. Abtu Anet will give you bad dreams.

Anthony Pateras: Errors of the Human Body OST

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 13 2012
Artist: Anthony Pateras (@)
Title: Errors of the Human Body OST
Format: CD
Label: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
In spite of the fact that music for movies is an element of utmost importance, now more than ever, the silver screen doesn't normally become a launching ramp for soundtrack composers even if it gets into a blockbuster, but on this occasion Australian director and screenwriter Eron Sheean rendered honours to the excellent work by his collaborator Anthony Pateras (maybe some reader knows him as a member of Candlesnuffer) for scoring of "Errors of the Human Body", an interesting psychological drama/thriller, set in Dresden, co-produced by Instinctive Film and High5films, whose plot mainly takes place amidst pipettes, centrifuges, burettes, microscopes of a medical laboratory where Dr.Geoffrey Burton (played by Michael Eklund) relocates in a research institute in Dresden (the scenery is the one given by the notorious Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics) in order to concur to the most important project led by its teamwork - a human regeneration gene -, which could solve its personal tragedy. Anthony manages to evoke such a scenery from the emotional viewpoint: besides crazy piano tuning, suspensive plonks and electronic morphing on sounds generated with the help of a specimen of the legendary ARP2600, there are many moments which are supposedly thought in order to emphasize the most dramatic moment of Burton's tragedy running in parallel with the typically equivocal fret and the anxious desire for a "miracolous" discovery belonging to the stereotyped behaviour for a scientist such as "Automatic 4", "Burton's Lullaby" or "River Elbe" (my favorite track of the whole album for the incredible state of suspense it can evoke together with "Infectious", whose grave movement renders the scrupolous activity of a researcher in an aseptic genetics lab) as well as really amazing stuff such as the viral groove of "XIJ" - the only danceable track -, more clinical and disquieting tracks such as "Burton's Syndrome", "Cellular Cloud 2" or delayed pulses of "Milk & Mice".

Larsen: Uncool cruel mouth

 Posted by Borys Catelani   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 11 2012
Artist: Larsen
Title: Uncool cruel mouth
Format: 10"
Label: Zos Kia Sounds (@)
Rated: *****
Larsen is one of those bands Italy can be proud of. I discovered them in 1999 with their split 7" Ep with Mr. Bread on Bar La Muerte (Bruno Dorella's of Ovo/Ronin fame label), and since then they have managed to work with artists like Michael Gira, Jarboe, Nurse With Wound, David Tibet and more. A nice curriculum but not only mere name-dropping because Larsen have substance. This new work goes along 2011 "Cool cruel mouth", a kind of Extended Play, and still features the addition of Baby Dee on piano and Annie Anxiety on vocals. One long track divided in two, a long rarefied journey, a sort of atmospheric soundtrack starting with some drones and reaching the best moments on Annie's vocals, I'd dare a comparison with the mildest Swans, but luckily Larsen have an identity of their own. Since I'm reviewing just the mp3's, I'm wondering how 25 minutes of music will sound on a picture 10" though, a pretty long run for that format to keep the sound good. Anyway, to be released May 2012.

Candor Chasma: Rings

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 07 2012
Artist: Candor Chasma (@)
Title: Rings
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe (@)
Rated: *****
A piercing sound close to a synthetic brass effected by some playful boxes belonging to the rich sonic equipment (arguably derived from wise modulations on VCO and LFO knobs knotting frequencies of some glorious sound machines such as Korg Ms 10, EMS VCS3 or the younger Doepfer Dark Energy), occasionally punctured by sharp squeals and loud electrical discharges, while a disturbed voice seems to describe such a sonic storm, in the initial track "Inside The Ether At 06.00 A.M." acts as a sort of tuning for the listeners in order to give them the possibility to intercept the transmissions these skilled sound forgers launched towards Planet Earth. Well, Simon Balestrazzi (aka T.A.C. and Dream Weapon Ritual) and Corrado Altieri (better known for his project Monosonik) supposedly never made extra-vehicular activity outside of a spacecraft, but the denomination they have chosen for their collaborative project, Candor Chasma - one of the most visible valley of Valles Marineris on RedPlanet, where an incredibly big canyon has been observed by Mars Observer -, evokes such a cosmic imaginary and highlights the alien kernel of such a potentially alienating (but wholly immersive) listening experience, so that the following track "The Third Void" could let revive those scenes of sci-fi movies where there's some undefined emergency in a spaceship caused by the mysterious interference of some entity, a flight of associative fancy, whose propulsive force has been boosted by sonic stimulation such as sort of alarm bells, jammed messages to some crew, gradual sonic saturations and its sudden blackout. Electric storms of "Chemical Analysis Of Ectoplasm" and dive-bombings of pulses and deafeaning explosions of "Hallucination Doors" precede the final suite "Apophenia", whose overechoed silent space, where Simon and Corrado inoculate some bizarre sonic freaks (I particularly enjoyed a sort of blade fluttering in a dense air and sudden high-pitched gusts), perfectly describes the phenomenon the title refers to, a distortion of reality based on connections of meaningless data, which someone uses to explain by speaking about the notorious perception of a face from a shot of the surface of Mars. Ultimately "Rings" uncovers possible psychedelic direction of the so-called post-industrial researches.

Maciek Szymczuk & Slowtion: Ways

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (6910)
Mar 05 2012
Artist: Maciek Szymczuk & Slowtion (@)
Title: Ways
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
Filing what this bicephalous project by Polish electronic composer Maciek Szymczuk and British musician Julian Coope aka Slowtion submit to listeners' attention is not so easy. In spite of the fact that their sonic streams where Maciek's wife Joanna sometimes drains some enchanting ethereal vocalizations - in many moments they have almost a "didactic" role...a sort of seducing guide through the stages of this "trip" - have been framed with possibly interesting references to an imaginary spiritual research aimed to represent the constant unravelling by most of human beings between clues, proofs and complexities in order to reach a contact with the so-called Absolute, the musical complexity due to its richness of supposedly unintentional cross-reference marks appears head and shoulders above any possible conceptual framework to me: even though it seems "Ways" partially represents the wide stylistical lawns and wolds Maciek Szymczuk normally fertilizes during his personal musical explorations and could be considered somehow "minimalist" as most of tracks are not obstructed with a plenty of sounds, you're going to listen many interesting crossbreeds of elements taken from diverse musical branches. In tracks such as "Northern Wind", "The Hills", "Step By Step" or "Windy North" there're interesting examples of bizarre hybridization between the so-called "click'n'cut" electronic style with movements and intuitions taken from post-rock, trip hop or dark ambient so that moments when past listenings resurface from some depth of musical memory are not so infrequent. For instance I had sometimes the impression of listening to the dried version of some post-rock bands or the sabbatic transposition of some post-punk voices (and in a moment I felt like listening a record by The Soft Moon broadcasted filtered by some esoteric sound machine borrowed from Sleep Chamber's studio!). The possibility to understand and appreciate the narrative concatenations of this record so that the final track, titled "Go Through The Green Gate", will sound not just like a good piece of dub-like ritual ambient but more as the final moment of a process (or supposedly as the very initial moment of a new one...), mostly depends on listener's sensitivity, both from an aesthetic viewpoint and from a spiritual one.

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