Music Reviews



Coen Oscar Polack: Spectral Churches

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 01 2012
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Artist: Coen Oscar Polack
Title: Spectral Churches
Format: CD
Label: Narrominded (@)
Rated: *****
This release is a downmixed registration of a multichannel performance of a piece constructed using only, as source material, the bells in the carillon of a church. This has a reason, apart from the organ, the bell is the most religiously recognizable sound and, so, this work start with the sound of the bell that is gradually buried by the trasformation made by the three players at the laptop: the composer, Herman Wilken and Roald von Dillewijn helped by Bernard Winsentius at the carillon that played the 26 minutes sequence "De Damiaatjes" that was processed for the creation of the piece. When the trasformation begin to use the natural resonances of the bells, the listener is immersed in a continuum drone juxtaposed with high pitch resonances and various small noises giving movement to all the musical structure. When the resonance begin to dominate the spectrum the bells return to be hearable and this piece start his final part ending with the sound a bell.
This piece is able to use a classic sound to reveal his underlying possibility to be used for avantgarde, resulting more interesting than most modern studio-constructed sound. A really fine release.

Henrik Munkeby Norstebo: Solo

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 31 2012
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Artist: Henrik Munkeby Norstebo (@)
Title: Solo
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
It's quite difficult (and somewhat reckless) to propose a solo record on trombone, especially as nowadays this exceptional member of the big family of wind instruments is prominently thought as part of a combo or an orchestra and not so really suitable for a solo performance, but this release by the young Norwegian improvisational trombonist Henrik Munkeby Norstebo, an up-and-coming star of the scene in my opinion, goes beyond any dictates coming from musical trends, marketing pithy sayings or even social prejudices as some listeners joke on trombone considering it a musical instrument for beggars (it seems incredible but I've heard similar oddities even by orchestral directors...). His "Solo" is not a conceptual release at all, but it's quite belittling regarding it as a mere set of exercises as you can attest by listening to the bizarre performative paths explored by this guy: if the first piece could feed that above-sketched stereotyped vision so that his phrases and those nice glissatos could evoke some kind of discharged soldier who embraced Dixieland jazz while reminding the feeling of loneliness while on frontline even if this opener together with the final track is maybe the warmest and most melodious moment of the whole recording, the second track is the first sample where tradional performative techniques of trombone are intertwined with funny and somewhat bizarre vocal experiments and incredible embouchure so that Henrik looks translating into trombone tones the gruff muttering of some angry man after he's been awaken by some irritating noise. There are many moments when Henrik intertwines vocal sketches with the vice of trombone such in the ninth track where his vocalizations looks like a mixture of puffing, mumbling and strangling and in the fourth one where he reminds some cartoons such as Pingu or The Line's choleric reactions against its drawer when meeting a broken line! And there are moments when Henrik plays with glissando, trills and vibrational effects on trombone in a skillful way. Highly enjoyable and nostalgia-tinged music, born from a somewhat dermic relation between musician and instrument.

Koji Asano: Solstice Eclipse

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 27 2012
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Artist: Koji Asano (@)
Title: Solstice Eclipse
Format: CD
Label: Solstice
Rated: *****
According to someone, the agonizing frequencies which sound like unbracing a weak compositional framing, feeble dynamics of a bundle of withering sounds emitting a sort of mournful hum, compressed as it is in a very narrow range of values, a certain grieving aura of doleful dreariness evoked by the slow variations of some sound which looks like coming from corroded organ-pipes performing during solemn obsequies taken and played through overcranking, such a time-stretched fading evaporating during the whole listening experience as well as such a title, Solstice Eclipse, having been Solstice the "trigger" of his weighty discography and the name of Koji Asano's sort of label, together with the remarkable slowing down of issues (this is just second release over 5-year span by this Japanese composer, well-known for his prolificacy) could be interpreted as an elegant way to wriggle out of music scene (rumours denied by the recent issue of "Polar Parliament"). I prefer to consider such a release as the result of influences from our days, so that behind those unrecognizable sound sources due to the abuse of time-stretching (someone could argue it could be an over-expanded guitar tone, even the general sound of Asano's 47 minutes and 48 seconds lasting drone recalls the failing sound some Chinese toy keyboards emit when battery is low!) the sonic translation of a feeble ray of light during eclipse, which in crisis times could be easily considered a metaphor of something slowing or dying or if we bravely associate it to some notorious irritating measures such as ACTA, PIPA or SOPA, it could be thought as the suited metaphor of the fading of free knowledge.

Maurizio Ravalico / Isambard Khroustaliov : The Resurfacing of an Atavistic Trait

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 24 2012
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Artist: Maurizio Ravalico / Isambard Khroustaliov
Title: The Resurfacing of an Atavistic Trait
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Not Applicable (@)
Rated: *****
The new release from Not Applicable is the second collaboration between Maurizio Ravalico and Isambard Khroustaliov; according to the linear notes the tracks "are not improvisations, but planned traverses", so this work should be seen as another experiment in the perilous walk between eai and contemporary music.
"The leisurely exploration of a karstic area;" (the tiles are shortened because they are really long) is an exploration of some of the various possibilities of metallic sound: noises, beats and resonance are used with a structure in mind: an energic first part, a more meditative second and a final part dominated by metallic beats. "The heavy breathing of a huge dormant monster, lying in ...", instead, is a long dialectic track constructed by frenetic rhythms, followed by a part of atmospheric drones whose slow development introduce the listener to the final juxtaposition, or synthesis.
This release is an example of a path of research whose objective is to escape the formal cage of the structure and the fear of emptiness of the free form; perhaps is demanding because lacks of some of the familiar traits of experimental music but has some of its flavours but it's indeed full of hidden charm.

NEUROBIT: The War Of The Worlds

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 18 2012
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Artist: NEUROBIT
Title: The War Of The Worlds
Format: Tape
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Neurobit is an improvisation project by Bas Welling. He already released stuff on Retinascan, R.O.N.F. Records and Enfant Terrible. The sound is based on minimal suites made using 8bit sounds. Sounding at times a bit experimental or ambient, Neurobit will release on February for Enfant Terrible a tape titled THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. Originally, "The War of the Worlds" was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series, Mercury Theatre on the Air, broadcasted on the October 30, 1938 and directed and narrated by Orson Welles. The effect that this broadcast had on people is history, because it caused panic on the audience. On the 6th of April 2003 Bas Welling (then called himself Dj Rioteer) recorded his version of this radio drama on a local Dutch pirate radio. Some tapes were produced and distributed but it was a sort of memory of a performance. Enfant Terrible decided it was time to make it available again, so the next month you'll be able to purchase one of the 100 copies (11 have a Space Invader art object). Musically, you'll find the original recordings of the 1938 broadcast with a sort of experimental improvised soundtrack performed by Neurobit. Analog noises, tiny melodies, bleeps and low-fi electronic effects are the sounds added and even if they aren't catchy per se, the whole project is interesting.


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