Music Reviews



Helm: Impossible Symmetry

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 10 2012
cover
Artist: Helm (@)
Title: Impossible Symmetry
Format: 12"
Label: PAN (@)
Distributor: Boomkat
Rated: *****
One half of presumably ended project Birds Of Delay, Luke Younger, comes back with his solo project Helm on the appreciated PAN label, who hosted on its catalogue the personal project of the other half, Steven Warwick aka Heatsick as well. Helm's talent in noiseshaping merges with references to rich and psychotropic British post-industrial and ritual scene, which often resurfaces during the listening of this record since the first track, "Miniatures", where some listeners could perceive echoes of Coil together with sketches of a sort of psychogeographic documentary of East London, when noises of trains running on steel rails can be distinguished in the sonic obscure stagnant pond evoked by the track, which sometimes looks like a frightening collage of sounds grabbed by a microphone placed on connecting rods of a train or on switch locks of rail tracks (there's also a peep which could come from an accidentaly squelched mouse...). Whereas the following track stands by what title says - "Liskojen yo" is a vernacular Finnish way, meaning "reptile night", to name heavy hangover after massive consumption of alcohol - by a rich and suitable collage of sounds which could be associated to post-alcoholic giddiness, "Arcane Matters" is redolent of daydreaming nearby seashore as the combination of noises and sea rumble let the listener imagine an amount of noises coming ashore and piling up with slime, dead jellyfishes and rubbish till the disturbing final part where a sinister and violent hit on a gong fill the sonic space on a background which looks like grabbed from a kindergarten and "Stained Glass Electric" sounds recorded with microphones put inside flasks during the preparation of explosive acids. This visionary recording ends with disquieting rumbling and strongly piercing whispers of "Above All And Beyond", a mysterious way to sign off this adventorous listening experience.

Sagittarius: The Kingdom Come

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 08 2012
cover
Artist: Sagittarius (@)
Title: The Kingdom Come
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Another intellectually stimulating release from Cold Spring has been signed by one of the most active memebers of the open cultural association "Die Neue Runde"- a group of artists, musicians and poets whose fellowship stands on the research of a new form of "spiritual art", whose starting point seems to be the refusal of the most opprobious products of the crossbreed between modern secularism and popular culture -, German 4-piece ensemble, founded by Cornelius Waldner, Sagittarius, whose third album "The Kingdom Come" focuses on the "intellectual milieu" around German poet Stefan George, who was erroneously considered a miliar stone and a sort of national poet till the subjugation of his poems to propagandist aims by Nazi regime (for instance, "wer je die flamme umschritt/bleibe der flamme trabant!", the opening lines of his "Der Stern des Bundes" became a sort of mantra for the Hitler Youth ) - even if his poetry emphasized heroism, power, self-sacrifice, sublimation of eternity, rejection of middle-class values and Ancient Greek culture's glory and his poetizing was based on a form, which was rich of obscure symbolic references and arcane, but rigorous and neat at the same time, he rejected awards and public offices by Nazis and decided to settle in Switzerland in order to assert his extraneousness to German National Socialist government's distorsions of his poetry -. The title itself refers to this eminent poet's project: Stefan George considered himself a sort of prophet of a kingdom that would be led by cultural elites and founded an intellectual circle of acolytes who considered him a sort of messiah, called George-Kreis, which attracted important people such as Rainer-Maria Rilke, Ernst Kantorowicz, Karl Wolfskehl, Klaus Mann and Claus von Stauffenberg - who was supposed to plot the murder of Hitler indeed! -. Musical wrap for recitation of a carefully selected bunch of poems - I particularly appreciated the duet between Fraulein Konig and Her Twiggs for Yeats' "The Song Of Wandering Aengus" as well as the melting recitations of Ernst Morwitz's "Grabgedicht III" and Karoline von Gunderrode's "Ist Alles Stumm Und Leer", Uuno Kailas' "Uni Ja kuolema", Goethe's "Der Konig In Thule" and George's "Das Wort" - is quite similar to the style they got into shape on "Songs From The irony Tower", an entrancing crossbreed between neofolk, classical and medioeval music with simple but well-built melodies. many listeners could find them quite monotonous, but it would be a stock feedback, as it could come from that consumeristic concept of entertainment they probably disgorge whereas the only real obstacle for a complete appreciation of their work could stand on the troublesome understanding of German language.

Adern X: Ink spots called words

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 08 2012
cover
Artist: Adern X (@)
Title: Ink spots called words
Format: CD
Label: XeVoR
Rated: *****
If you are a loyal CHAIN D.L.K. reader, you should know that most of the people who collaborate with us are also musicians and Adern X is one of them who'll have one of his releases out soon. "Ink spots called words" is a collection of tracks released between 2007 and 2012 that were used on the net or used in festivals. Available from the17nth of July on CD-r on a limited run of 50 copies and also on digital, the release contains ten tracks that are based on multi layered sound sources which are looped, manipulated or generated. Adern X is good at creating electronic sounds that change shape and atmosphere and this is a must if you want to catch people's attention. His tracks pass from the effected field recordings (the station of "Drowned Travel") to the electronic distorted manipulation of classical music (like on the opening "8.VII") passing through concrete music intuitions. I must admit that it's a lot of time that I'm not into experimental music, but I enjoyed this album as Adern X is able to create atmospheres that are in balance from the everyday life and a sort of alienated reality and he does it using a rich palette of sounds.

Azurazia: Lowering the Mediterranean, Irrigating the Sahara

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 05 2012
cover
Artist: Azurazia
Title: Lowering the Mediterranean, Irrigating the Sahara
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Grautag (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat
Rated: *****
Coming from an interesting experiment by Grautag label manager Nicolas Moulin, a French artist and photographer, who actually lives in Berlin where he's trying to develop the idea of a "self-generating" label together with other artistic projects as well as overturn some conventional schemes of music production, Azurazia is a very interesting project, based on a sort of back-propagation process: "Lowering the Mediterranean, Irrigating the Sahara" - the title supposedly has been inspired by Atlantropa, the idea of German architect Herman Sorgel, whom Nazis banned, about the building of a dam on Straits of Gibraltar in order to produce hydro-electric power from the different sea level of the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic Ocean to irrigate dry areas and avoid further desertification of many surrounding lands - should be the soundtrack for a movie, which has not been made yet, a curious way to break the usual progression based on the issue of a book, feeding the plot for a movie, followed by the issue of its OST. Each of four long track has been partitioned in various episodes, whose title recalls the typical partition of a play script or the paragraphs of a book, so that listeners' imagination could be driven in the funny process of self-building of a possible plot, whose setting should be the place where the involved sound artists, Vincent Epplay, Pharoah Chromium, and Arnaud Maguet, grabbed most of the samples and field recordings to feed their sound banks, Morocco. Even if music includes many hooks and references to Moroccan traditional music, ritual dances and field recordings, it's quite different from projects which enclosed those sonorities such as Raksha Mancham, Amira Saqati, Master Musicians of Joujouka or other artists of Barraka El Farnatshi's roster due to its cinematic structure and the continuous contamination of drones, ambient and electronic sounds, which act as an adhesive of different sonic sketches, which pass through listeners's mind in a riveting way, just like the scenes of the supposedly forthcoming movie.

Cyprien Busolini, Frantz Loriot: VIOLAtwoVIOLA

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 03 2012
cover
Artist: Cyprien Busolini, Frantz Loriot (@)
Title: VIOLAtwoVIOLA
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Although it cannot be missing inside an orchestra or a chamber music ensemble due to the recognisable timbre and the primary role in filling middle tones of harmonies, whose peculiarity was known amidst legendary musical geniuses, viola has never reached the notoriety of other members of its family such as cello or violin. One of the possible explanation could be its dimension as it's smaller than a cello, but bigger than a violin, so that lutists must customize it after taking musician's measurements. Therefore even compositions for this instrument, particularly for soloist, are quite limited, but I'm wondering how this duo of skilled violists, made up of Frantz Loriot and Cyprien Busolini, managed to go beyond "limits" of their instruments by extracting uncommon sounds during their funny interplay. The nervous and slow scrubbing on the overstressed strings and strident noises they make with their bows after a dozing opening, which sounds quite similar to a snoring, could recall to mind a fierce dispute between shouting people, before storms gradually die down, just like their instruments have been completely exhausted by heated quarrel. The second track is even more funny and bizarre: in the first part it seems they are on the point of destroying their instruments by turning pegs or sawing strings till the moment they almost give voice to their poor violas, which look like a dog in the act of baying and yapping while forcedly dragged on leashes. The third and final track starts with a noise which could let imagine someone while striking a match, but before and during their interplay blazes up (...and it's so confusing their way of treating viola that you could think they're playing an electric guitar or a distorted shuriken!), they fiddle with (or maybe I'd better say they put on endurance teest) their violas.


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