Music Reviews



Alon Nechushtan: Dark Forces

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 11 2012
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Artist: Alon Nechushtan
Title: Dark Forces
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
The first time I've tasted the talent of this proteiform NY-based Israeli pianist and composer - and in this capacity he could boast of some compositions written for important "academic" ensembles such as Bob Brookmeyer's New England Conservatory Jazz Composers Big Band, Fred Harris' MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble and the BMI Orchestra - on a release marked by Zorn's Tzadik Records as a founder of a klemer jazz quintet called Talat. His talent as a "musical scenographer" was not so evident, but it was clearer that he gave a remarkable proof of rethinking the syncretism, which already belongs to that particular kind of music, born from a fusion of different musical traditions (mainly Polish, Russian, Romani and Moldovan), known by Ashkenazic Jews during their wanderings over Eastern Europe, which, so it seems, had an important role for the development of some American jazz branches, when that tradition was transplanted in the USA by some Yiddish-speaking immigrants. Mine should not be just considered a scholarly remark, as you will easily notice that some rhythmic and melodic structures of that tradition - particularly in the "scores" for Mark Dresser's double bass, Nate Wooley's trumpet and Okkyung Lee's cello - sound like one of the most audible filler mixed with other elements in this black pudding sliced in ten parts, being the other elements some tricks taken from experimental electronics, improvisational, ambient, ritual and concrete music and even tribalism - the moments where this element sounds clearer such as in the fourth or sixth track are my favorite ones of the whole recording -. Someone could argue that such an ensemble could outshine individual skills, but I'm pretty sure that each of 11 musicians with their rich sonic stores, including two electric guitars, one double bass, one trombone, one alto saxophone, a baritone one, one cello, one tuba, one bass clarinet, one bass flute, one trumpet, involved in this obscure work will be satisfied of the highly visionary opalescence their choral performance aimed to highline a property of music, more than a concept, managed to reach thanks to Alon Nechushtan direction as the listeners will easily acknowledge.

New Risen Throne: Loneliness Of Hidden Structures

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 02 2012
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Artist: New Risen Throne (@)
Title: Loneliness Of Hidden Structures
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
This album from Italy's New Risen Throne try to speak of rebirth. According to the press notes "within the caves and ruins left by the destruction, there begins to form the first foundations and structures of a reconstruction that is in turn in constant evolution." The result is an album that begins with a dark and oppressive mood and slowly change into a brighter mood, at least from a dark ambient perspective :).
"Lungs into declining structures" opens this release with an invocation hidden in the mix to create the atmosphere of some crowd hopelessly confined in structure, prison or even worse. "Echoes from the loss" is an intricate juxtaposition of filtered noises. "Loneliness" is a long atmospherical track based on a relatively high frequence drone an samples of swords and film voices. The titletrack of this album deals with a soundtrack line of synth posed above, probably, field recordings a loose martial beat. "Lands filles with silence and grief" is the longest track of this album and relies on a texture drone beneath filtered gregorian chants. "A vision from the hidden" is an evocative deep soundscape while "Breath of growing structures" close this album trying to lighten the dark mood depicted in this musical journey.
This album feature also two remix: "New Risen Throne (II)" is done by northunt and try to give some resonance and space to the oppressive soundscape while "New Risen Throne (III)", made by Nordvargr, add the notorious evil touch of MZ412's mastermind to the recipe. This two remix has the unusual quality to be a reconstruction that reveals hidden possibilities of the original.
This album is, perhaps, one of the best release of this year and reveal a focused production and clear writing. Recommanded.

Steve Beresford/Stephen Flinn/Dave Tucker: Ink Room

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 02 2012
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Artist: Steve Beresford/Stephen Flinn/Dave Tucker (@)
Title: Ink Room
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Listeners who follow the improvisational music scene could have already heard the names of the three talented signers of this release, including the most meaningful moments of a recording session, held in 28th November 2010 in London, mixed and mastered by Wayne Peet without overdubbing. Arguably the most notorious one of this performing trio is Steve Beresdorf, one of the most active musician not only related to this particular stylistical field, even if I remembered him for having been member of the funny combo The Melody Four together with Lol Coxhill and Tony Coe, which released some bizarre stuff on Jean Rochard's Chabada, for his collaborative work with David Toop, named General Strike, and the grotesque madness of Double Indemnity, a collaration with the cellist Triston Honsinger...you will easily find some other stuff by this many-sided musician, who's engaged in electronics on this occasion. In spite of their interesting experiences, Stephen Flinn and Dave Tucker are less known, even if the former is a very creative drummer and percussionist whose highlihgts on his CV is a collaborative experimental/industrial project called The Cutmen with the legendary Z'EV and the latter was member of the great Mark Smith's The Fall in the early 80ies, a seminal band from Manchester who brought what is known as indipendent pop into the fields of a rock who sounded genuinely clumsy, blunt and maybe unaesthetic, but it made sense so that I reccomend to check it if you missed it. In Ink Room, these grown lads scatter their tones on the score. A certain scantiness of phrasing, which is clear since the initial "At Night", as well as the gradual attainment of togetherness - quite normal for collective improvisations - don't entail a lack of expressiveness and even when the sound looks like "squeaking", this comb manages to give a kinematical appeal by evoking a sort of decadent hyperuranium, either they play little gigs (such as in "Mud Club" or "A Torn Couple") by constant decays of musical patterns (an approach which is clearer in the final collage titled "Fragments") or they seems to do their utmost into meaty progressions ("Investigations"). Repeated listenings are going to make you grab more nice preciosities than a first absent-minded one can do.

RPM Orchestra: Livewire Acts

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 29 2011
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Artist: RPM Orchestra (@)
Title: Livewire Acts
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
A spectral buzz from an old electric generator, a march sounding as sketched on a broken snare introducing an easy-to-hum American patriotic tune, which looks like performed by a plastered bugler echoed by a collapsing ex-serviceman with a passion for country whose decadent performing looks like nebulized by the hypnotical whistle of a rudimental DIY theremin built with an amplifier and a simple radio antenna, is the shining sonic medal this fuzzy dada-futurist orchestra, born as a personal project of Pete Petrisko in 2008, forged to award the listener, whose hunger for new psychedelic listening experience led to their release, in the initial track "Decoration". In the salad bowl, Petrisko and his occasional collaborators carefully put slices of proto-industrial weaponry such as long lasting delayed percussions, electric hums, cacophonic filters, human chatters and field recordings, with interesting treatments of old American folk airs and sonic slices of old engines, mechanical stridors, cow bells, rusty machines' screeching, puffs of vapour locomotives and even bird chirp (its presence looks like being inevitable in some contemporary stuff!), so that each track looks like a report from some time travel in an undefined period between American Revolutionary Wars and Great Depression, a black-and-white set of archaic images coloured by RPM Orchestra's sonic palettes in a so visionary way that some of their recordings seems to have grabbed by some acidolous revealing rave by David Lynch, full of interesting and somewhat dismal musical memorabilia (my favorite is the live recorded on 16th January of some year between 2009 and 2011 - it's not specified on my notes -, titled Persistence of Vision), which became part of some live performances, whose connection with contemporary grey days could be closer than what it appears. The release is available for free on archive.org at the following link: http://www.archive.org/details/LivewireActs Have a listen!

Boris Hauf - Steven Hess - Keefe Jackson - Juun: Proxemics

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 27 2011
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Artist: Boris Hauf - Steven Hess - Keefe Jackson - Juun (@)
Title: Proxemics
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
When you'll listen to this release signed by these four talented improv musicians, who met each other as they worked together at the annual music festival Chicago Sound Map where they discovered they had some common interests in harmony, texture and rhythm explorations related to the musical possibilities enabled by collective improvisation which led them to Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago in April 2010 where they recorded this sonic stuff as part of the concert belonging to the Outer Ear series, you could easily enhance the listening experience they recorded through a possible research of similarities between their performance and the interesting matters related to the mentioned discipline, proxemics; they even quoted the diagram by proxemics'most eminent scholar (and founder), the American anthropologist Edward T.Hall to name their sets. According to this diagram, based on some concentric circles known as "reaction bubbles" whose radius represents the spacial distance between two people, social distance is correlated with physical one so that he distinguished intimate distance (for closer interactions), personal distance (friendly or familiar interactions), social distance (being between already acquainted people) and public distance (for public speaking between almost unknown people), whose measure should be strictly related to cultures, which state when an interaction could be too intrusive or stand-offish. The beings whose interactions seems to be studied are tenor and sopranosax played by Boris Hauf (recorded on right channel) and contrabassclarinet and tenorsax played by Keefe Jackson (recorded on left channel), whereas Juun's piano, Hauf's sinetonees and harmonium and Steven Hess' fuzzy experiments on drums and electronics look like acting as spectators writing notes on a sketch book or alternatively as choreographers of the dances, moved by the elastic forces getting stronger and stronger. In the first track, named Public, the longest one, the above-mentioned interacing sonic elements sound tracing completely different melodic paths, climb on discordant scales and sometimes look like dozing till the moment (after 22 minutes) when a sort of electronic foggy quiver looks like dropping the curtain on gaps whose voids had been filled by estranging or sinister emotional sets. In the second track, Social - the shortest one -, the magnet reducing distances seems to be breath and the frenzy percussive tinkling - mainly made up of high frequencies hits and feverish piano pulses -, whereas the final track, Personal (featuring some great drum rolling by Steven Hess!), sounds warmer than the previous ones since the very first seconds, thanks to the long-lasting hypnotical sound of an harmonium, but the general feeling of this bizarre but pretty recording will suggest the listener those two interacting elements aren't going to encounter even if they get chorally closer and closer.


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