Music Reviews



David Chiesa & Jean Sebastien Mariage: Oort

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 30 2011
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Artist: David Chiesa & Jean Sebastien Mariage (@)
Title: Oort
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
When I heard this record without checking anything related to the release, neither title and references nor musician's biography, one of the first thing I thought the players could have developed an addiction from Ballance, a videogame issued by Atari, belonging to that kind of games causing anxiety especially if you try to play it when you're drunk or differently gone. It's quite easy to imagine it: you just control a ball you have to lead till some checking points placed along difficult pathways hanging over the clouds, possibly avoiding the ball's falling in the void, but the music which keep company with the gamer over the thirteen levels is so outstanding that it has a primary role for the success of the game even if it's quite simple. The "distant" acoustic tones, some doublebass gong-like strokes and even the sounds of some wooden ball rolling over some surface I've listened in the first track "Kirch's comet" - referrinf to the so-called Newton's comet, the first one discovered by telescope - activated such a memory, but the style reprises such an idea here and there all over the recording, whereas this French duet made up of the doublebass player David Chiesa and the guitarist Jean-Sebastien Mariage (who also plays guitar with Hubbub and Chamaeleo Vulgaris) pointed at the remote region of the Oort cloud, an hyphotesized spherical area considered by some astronomers as the cosmic area from where the comets start their route crossing so many times the area of Solar system as a source for the inspiration of their style based on acoustic improvisations. They look like following their route, able to kindle amazement and apprehension, with acoustic sparks and a way of performing fitting the matter: taps, raps and flaps on guitar or doublebass chords have been placed in intervals, which are wide enough to give the listener the possibility to hear the vibes and the dying frequencies they emit till the moment the wave oscillations gradually turning flat, what looks like a sonic transfiguration of a comet's tide, while the instuments seem to echo their halo and the fascinating comas they draw in the sky. A record which is going to be appreciated even by those listeners who like contemplative stuff, even if they don't really cope with improv music.

Aspec(t): Waspnest

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: Aspec(t) (@)
Title: Waspnest
Format: 12"
Label: Fratto9 Under The Sky Records (@)
Rated: *****
Aspec(t) are SEC_ and Mario Gabola from Naples, Italy. SEC_ plays electronics through laptop, processed tapes, and analog synthesizer. Mario plays saxophone and feedbacks through a system of resonant drums and small speakers. Their music shares the timbrical research and the execution control typical of some radical improv music (Pateras/Baxter/Brown, John Butcher, Jim Denley, Bruce Russell,..), but meets the visceral intensity and the obscure poetic of the new aktionsm and of noise music (Rudolf Eb.er, Dave Phillips, Joke Lanz) as well as the research on analog devices and concrete sound materials of the sonic poetry (Lionel Marchetti, Jerome Noetinger). The result is a fascinating and inextricable forest of sounds: frenetic structures, noise explosions, ancestral cries, an unceasing perversion of the soundscape and the time stream.

The preceding was pretty much copied from the Fratto9 Under The Sky Records website so I didn't have to explain the background of this project in my own words. (Lazy, I know, but still effective.) To some extent, the label's description is accurate, although I might disagree with the word 'fascinating' and substitute 'inexorable' for 'inextricable'. All of the 11 tracks on 'Waspnest'; are mercifully brief; the longest at 4:09 and shortest at 45 seconds. I still suppose it qualifies as a full album even though it is a total of just under 27 minutes in length as it has been released as a 12' LP with 6 tracks per side. (My copy is a CDr, but you can't get that.) Every track is an episodic excursion into sound collage and you really have to love uncomfortable noise and abrupt sonic disturbances to get into this record. There also seems to a fair amount of (wordless) vocal utterances, from grunts and gasps to burblings and ululations interlaced in the sonic current. Thinks are crackling and squeaking one moment, then squealing and squalling the next. It's not something one can even try and make sense of. As experimental avant-garde music goes, this is pretty much the fringe, and those who enjoy a walk on the wild side of this genre are bound to be impressed. Sometimes minimal and sometimes full-throttle, 'Waspnest' is bound to shock you out of musical complacency, and it could be the tonic you need. Just keep in mind, some kinds of medicine can be a bitter pill to swallow.

Retina.it: Randomicon

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: Retina.it (@)
Title: Randomicon
Format: CD
Label: Flatmate Music (@)
Rated: *****
According to the label, 'Randomicon is the result of experimental sessions using modular synths, most of them constructed by Nicolo Buono. The casual approach of the timbre selection has opened new possibilities, pushing the italian duo sound to other boundaries that had characterised until today the project of Lino Monaco and Nicola Buono. The title 'Randomicon' wants to be a tribute to the 'randomness' that has determined the origin of the universe.' You definitely get the sense of analogue minimalism here. It's full of bleeps and bloops and glitchy goodness. Perhaps the best comparisons are Rothkamm and old Autechre, which to me is a good thing. However, at times it does all begin to sound pretty similar ' I recognize that it isn't, but still. This album weighs in at around 49 minutes.

The Truth About Frank: Cannibal Work Ethic

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: The Truth About Frank (@)
Title: Cannibal Work Ethic
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I had never heard of this British duo, but I loved the name The Truth About Frank. It made me wonder who Frank was and what he did. This is an interesting mix of subdued but noisy sound collage and electronic beats. In many cases, I find that this is a symptom of a band that is still trying to find its voice. In this case, however, the different styles served to break up the album and keep it interesting. The music is an interesting mixture of disembodied voices and ambient soundscapes. Think of a mix between early Aphex Twin and Hafler Trio. Overall, this is certainly worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 38 minutes.

Rainnair and ARC: Incantation III

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: Rainnair and ARC
Title: Incantation III
Format: CD
Label: Pale Noir (@)
I had never heard of either of these artists, nor had I heard of the label until I got this in the mail. After listening to it, I'm not quite sure what to make of this disc. It isn't too bad, but it is an odd combination. Let's walk through the disc, shall we? Rainnair starts us off with some ominous spoken word and even a bit of a beat, then moves into a synth based set that seems to try to keep the dark undercurrents running. For example, Cthulhu Dreams sounds like it would be at home in a Lovecraftian movie. Moving on to ARC, 'Vinnie Sink (Fuzz as a Peach) starts us off with a simple beat and . . . vocoder? I didn't know that T-Pain was getting into the experimental scene. It didn't quite work. The remix, on the other hand, has a kind of old school 1980s Front 242 feel to it. The vocoder is present and accounted for, but seems to work a bit better in this track. Kind of made me nostalgic for the old Wax Trax stuff. The disc concludes with a slow, heavy beat and more digitally enhanced vocals. So the overall verdict? Rainnair was decent dark ambient, but I would say that labelmate StrykninY, who was also in the package from Pale Noir, would be a better bet. ARC was a mixed bag. This album is also pretty short, weighing in at around 23 minutes.


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