Music Reviews


 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 21 2011
Title: Vid Vägs Ände
Format: CD
Rated: *****
An odd pair we should know quite well, infact on this very webzine you can read an inteview to Moljebka Pulse and at the same time we've been reviewing the majority of Cria Cuervos releases so far. Given the fact we're dealing with two top notch musicians, I had great expectations for what concerned this collaboration and I'm glad I've been disappointed by the final result infact in someway it puts together the best of the two works. As some of you could have guessed this work mixes two characteristic shared both by the italian and by the swedish musician and so here you have drones and soft non melodic and quasi-concrete sounds. The global work give the impression to sound as an oniric trip in which this organ like drones playing sad melodies lull the ship through the waves of memory. The two long tracks (about 24 minutes each) won't escape that post dark ambient edge both the artist have kept in their music. If the opening suite has that melancholic ambient feel the closing closing half reinforce the idea this quite sad feeling works as 'a trait d'union' between the two artists. If compared to their last releases I've listened this cd is softer and mellowed down to reach a more listenable level, infact even if despite heavy works they kept a certain amount of melody for what regards the music, this cdr could be accessible for a different range of listeners.

Cultus Sabbati: Descent into the Maelstrom

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 20 2011
Artist: Cultus Sabbati (@)
Title: Descent into the Maelstrom
Format: CD
Label: Buh Records (@)
Rated: *****
The title of this album came from a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. In the tale, a man recounts how he survived a shipwreck and a whirlpool. According from the linear notes this album is conceived as "a reflection in the aftermath of devastation". The style of this band a doom drone with sharp noises giving the desired atmosphere.
"Adrift at Sea" opens this release with a calm soundscape and a quiet guitar coloured by sparse noises. "Tempest's Edge" is an intro constructed by harsh noises and doomy resonances behing filtered vocals. "Mouth of the Beast" is based on the same structure but with more emphasis to the noises and the vocals, ending with "Walls of the Abyss" an more ambient track rhythmically coloured by sparse noise and the quite black metal vocals. "Beneath the Waves" is a noisy interlude to "Descent into the Maelstrom" with a quite intro similar to the first seconds of the opening track, o noisy black central part and a calm, with a little sorrow, end.
An uneasy listening but this record has the courage to escape the simple search for noise with a wide musical plan, almost an unique track than a record as the musical elements are well developed during all the phases. Could be quite a surprise for fans of black metal and experimentalist.

Dream Weapon Ritual: Another View

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 19 2011
Artist: Dream Weapon Ritual (@)
Title: Another View
Format: CD EP
Label: Magick With Tears (@)
Rated: *****
Endearing guitar phrasing, enticing raga-like textures, alien wails which gradually turn into elements of a syllabication of a sort of atavic forgotten languages, maenad's cries, graceful whispers and chirping birds - the spur which seems to have started this back-propagating reverie/con/fusion with nature in a sort of sensorial celebration - progressively erect a sort of choral drone, whose imposing appearance contrast with the feeling of tottering balance, evoked by fractured melodic structures. The first track of this new act signed by the bicephalous project Dream Weapon Ritual, whereas the creative souls of Simon Balestrazzi and Monica Serra (both of them are members of the notorious band T.A.C.) meet up, entitled Unending Green Waves, introduces the listener to this sort of metaphysical journey, which continues with Big Hungry Birds, a sort of hallucinated dirge, where the connection to the temporal dimension has been given by a clocking sound, looping on a thunderous bass pulse, whose ending, featuring a field recording grabbed from inside a forest inhabited by other chirping birds, is the possible goal the listener will subliminally reach. Maybe the only naevus of this Ep is the usual short length of an Ep itself, but I think it's sometimes praiseworthy the skill of activating so many imaginative and emotional fields without pompous and excessively long recordings. It's like the skill of summarizing a speech in musical terms. So let's keep on feeding the hungry birds!

M’Lumbo: Celestial Ghetto

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 18 2011
Artist: M’Lumbo (@)
Title: Celestial Ghetto
Format: CD
Label: Pursuance Records (@)
Distributor: Pursuance Records
Rated: *****
M'Lumbo is an off-the-wall, over the edge jazz ensemble founded in the mid 80s by Robert 'Mbotto' Ray and 'Zombie Ron Boggs as an escape from commercial music. (They once did a stint in rock band managed by Mick Jagger's manager that included Helmet's Page Hamilton.) After reading their extensive '3 sheet' I learned that their music has been played on over 300 public, college and progressive radio stations worldwide; they've done commercials, films, and work for MTV; they've been compared to Miles Davis, Sun Ra, and the Orb, and gotten praised by big names such as Matt Groening, Brian Eno, DJ Spooky, Neil Young, Tom Waits, yadda, yadda, yadda'¦

Well, okay, that's all fine and dandy, but to the uniniated, what do these guys sound like? Well, for starters, there are 9 musicians including featured player Jane Ira Bloom on this album. There's a hefty woodwind section and trumpet, keyboards, guitar, drums and percussion. The bass seems to be handled by keyboardist Robert Ray (known here as Robert Jordan Ray Flateau). As for the music, take John Zorn, Mothers of Invention, Parliament Funkadelic, and just about any 50's -60's post-bop modal jazz ensemble (I suppose Miles Davis will do), add some concession to hip hop (any dj in the genre that can make beats and toss in samples will do) put it in a blender and you've got M'Lumbo.

'Celestial Ghetto' is my first experience with M'Lumbo, and I wish I had been exposed to them previously to get some sense of what to expect. (I spent a little time previewing some tracks from their earlier albums as a basis of comparison after listening to this one, but more on that later.) From the get-go on opening track 'Grand Funk Railroad' there is a sense of contrived chaos in a funky, spacey urban jazz environment. Vocal and dialogue snippets abound (a growling voice announcing "Grand Funk Railroad' amongst numerous other weird samples) with riffing horns, saxes, organ, etc. over a hip hoppy beat supplemented with Afro-Cubano percussion. There's a central riff, but the entirety comes across as jammy. I have to admit the playing is excellent all the way around, but compositionally, it's lost in the sauce.

The chaos is reined in on 'Terrible Days of the Phonograph' where muted trumpet provided by Cecil Young and soprano sax by Jane Ira Bloom melodically riff over piano and drums. This starts out like something you might hear by McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter or some similar jazz ensemble but the sampled vocal snippets are omnipresent once again. 'Terrible days happen to everyone.' Yeah, I got the message brother. By the time you get to 'Sleeping with the Bees' you're steeped in this stuff; a sticky stew of jazzy psychedelia with plenty of disparate sampled vocal/dialogue snippets. I suppose M'Lumbo doesn't know my pet peeve is this technique, more used and abused by EBM bands than any other of late, although a signature of the Orb and their ilk.

The thing is, there are some nice themes developed, like on 'Miss X,' and I don't mind an occasional vocal/dialogue snippet, as long as they're used sparingly. I even like M'Lumbo's semi-free form style of meandering through some of their compositions. The last vocal sample I ever wanted to hear though is Obama on 'Yes We Can'. Oh brother!

In melding M'Lumbo's bizarro jazziphonics with an urban contemporary vibe, the band may have inadvertently turned off some of their previous fans who may not have been expecting them to go down this road. Then again, a whole new audience might open up to them, but it's unlikely to be Chain D. L. K. readers. I much prefer some of their earlier work such as 'Sacrifice to the Neon Gods' (where they paid homage to TV show themes ala Bonzo Dog Band), or the spaced-out 'Spinning Tourists in a City of Ghosts,' or even their more esoteric 'The Angel Wars'. Don't get me wrong, there are some nice moments on 'Celestial Ghetto' but it's kind of like trying to pick the lima beans and cauliflower out of the mixed vegetables at Thanksgiving dinner. (Maybe you like lima beans and cauliflower, but I don't.) The playing is impressive but I really only like a littkle more than half of what is going on. All the music on 'Celestial Ghetto is by M'Lumbo with the exception of 'Crepuscule with Nellie' by Thelonius Monk, where they almost play it straight.

If you're at least interested in the band but never heard them before, I'd recommend one of the other albums I mentioned above to start with. They've even got some tracks off this one and a couple of others on their MySpace site you can check out free. Their albums (most of them anyway) seem to be available at most of your mainstream outlets such as iTunes, Amazon ,etc. I'd be interested in hearing their next disc, especially if they chill on the spoken samples a bit and get out of the ghetto.

STATIC: Freedom Of Noise

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 13 2011
Artist: STATIC
Title: Freedom Of Noise
Format: CD
Label: Karaoke Kalk
Rated: *****
Hanno Leichtmann is a Berlin musician who's active with different projects such as Center Of Excellence, Dawn, Denseland, Groupshow, Forest Jackson, etc. FREEDOM OF NOISE is the newest Static album and for this one the personnel was: Hanno Leichtmann (drums and electronics), Axel Dorner (trumpet), Tobias Delius (saxophone) and Clare Cooper (harp) with guest appearances by Christof Kurzmann, Ronald Lippok, Stefan Schneider, Valerie Trebeljahr, Martin Siewert and Justine Electra. Released by Karaoke Kalk, the album contains ten movements which presents a varied mixture of electronica, experimental music with ambient intuitions. Since from the opening "Introduction" the listener is projected into the Static sonic world which is made of minimal loops enriched by orchestral arrangements and ends with harp, sax and guitar improvisations. With "Stubby Fingers", we have vocal and piano loops coupled by cool sax melodies and light metallic rhythmical patterns. It sounds like Tuxedomoon on acid. The main track is a mixture noisy synth analog obsessive track with folk blows arrangements and happy melodic vocals (something similar goes for "The Boy Who Run Into The Sun" but this one is more based on drums and blows). The whole album is in balance from jazz influences, ambient sounds and experimental approaches but with a nice use of melody which allows the listener to really enjoy all the tracks.

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