Music Reviews



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.

Olaf Rupp/Joe Williamson/Tony Buck: Weird Weapons 2

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 21 2011
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Artist: Olaf Rupp/Joe Williamson/Tony Buck (@)
Title: Weird Weapons 2
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
I discovered this project more than five years ago on the Emanem, mainly for the great interest I have in The Necks' musical experiments as well as for any side-projects of the musicians belonging to this band and one of them, the talented Australian drummer Tony Buck is one of the three gunsmiths of this forge, assembling Weird Weapons together with Canadian bassist Joe Williamson and German guitarist Olaf Rupp. Maybe instead of a forge it should be more correct to refer to their combo as an advanced textile industry due to the way they name their long session - lasting approximately half an hour -, so highlighting their approach to their sonic products and after they referred to naugahyde, a sort of artificial leather, and spandex, a notorious sinthetic fibre also known as elastane, in the first musical document signed by this skilled subversive trio, they chose shantung and buckram. Such a choice could be considered eccentric, but it's an original way to describe their textures or better their weaving. Both of their sessions rich of rhythmical acceleration, feverish piling of tones and circular mechanical motion could infer the listener to imagine the incessant and hypnotical movement of an automatic loom or an imaginary orchestral performance played by heald shafts, flywheel, electric motor, cloth roller and other parts of a weaving machine or the entrancing dances of an hosiery mill or a knitting machine. You can imagine how funny could be to notice the similarities between some features of each session and workmanship and peculiarities of the mentioned fabrics: while Shantung reflects the irregular interlacement, the coarseness by touch, the gaudy colours and an half matt half shining weft of the fabric, derived from a sort of wild silk, Buckram sounds stiffer just like corresponding cotton-made cloth. A really weird and wired listening experience!

GIANLUCA BECUZZI : eternally now

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 08 2011
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Artist: GIANLUCA BECUZZI
Title: eternally now
Format: CD
Label: Lisca (@)
Rated: *****
The eternal return of Gianluca Becuzzi, right after a solo tape for the Silentes Tapestry collection and a new Grey History release here we go with a new full length." Eternally now" comes out on Lisca records, this young italian label now has a catalogue with a good number of interesting releases, they produce mostly electronic and experimental music and they slowly got my attention with what they've put out so far. Somehow this new solo release by Becuzzi has brought my mind back to his Kinetix days, but this man hailing from Tuscany beside developing his own personal style has evolved considerably, I think his many collaborations with Fabio Orsi have been fruitful in terms of musical evolution. Let's say Becuzzi has rediscovered his own roots, sure he's not left his electronic contemporary style back home, but you can bet these five tracks have that same feel he has on the Silentes tape even if we're speaking about two different works. While on the tape he was working on something heavier and way more tribal, here Becuzzi opts for something more dilated, he also gives the impression this music you're listening to is coming from afar. Some reverbed metallic percussions/sounds, some electronic sounds, a "distant menace" but its slowly approaching. Becuzzi's industrial background is imbuing everything in an interesting way: "lost in an industrial forest...while somebody is coming to get ya!".

Erik Carlsson: The Bird and The Giant

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 07 2011
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Artist: Erik Carlsson
Title: The Bird and The Giant
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
A provision of subdued delayed bells, sporadic metallic clanging and other percussive muted tolls blended together with a sort of abyssal breathe, arguably derived from the echo of the mentioned bells, which could infer imagination into an almost motionless percussive performer, hitting its instruments while braving the stronf friction by some dense liquid from the bottom of a pool, and quite close to the music which normally accompanies Buddhist or Shintoist rites, of the track wisely titled "Could be emotional" introduce the listener to the second solo album by the talented Swedish percussionist Erik Carlsson. Its interesting experimental appeal travels through different directions: whereas the second track "Heavy rest" shows a more concrete approach - it's funny to imagine Erik playing pinball with his sticks on wooden and metallic percussions -, on the following one "Hope, perhaps feelings" there's another immersion in that kind of sound dilations he arguably manages to record with the support of a multitrack bowing sonorities with that slightly hypnotical suppleness which is going to intrigue the listener. That ritual dimension looks likehaving been reprised in "The dead spirit" where an entrancing crystalline labyrinth of clicks, tolls and drop-like hiccups aregoing to bring the listener into an imaginary cave rich f brightful charmstones. Some sinister white noises or radio frequncies interceptions begin the fifth track "Something else somewhere", where Erik climbs the steepest experimental peaks by subdividing his "subject matter" into microtonal impulses which give the idea of some transmission of a parallel and unknown universe, a rarefaction which reaches its apex in the sixth hidden track and arguably in the heavy breath (sounding more like a snoring with occasional disquieting high frequencies) keeping it separate from the rest of the recording. Highly reccomended listening!

Ogni Videniy: Tajushie

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 04 2011
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Artist: Ogni Videniy (@)
Title: Tajushie
Format: CD
Label: Vetvei (@)
Rated: *****
Last review of the slew of releases received from the Russian Vetvei label (no particular reason it's last; it just worked out that way) is Ogni Videniy's 'Tajushie'. My first experience with Ogni Videniy was on '2137', a collaboration with Six Dead Bulgarians. Although along the same acoustic-ambient lines, this album is quite different. It consists of a single piece only seconds over a half-hour in length. The basic elements used are singing bowls, bells, wind chimes and field recordings of water- lapping, noise washes, etc. There is also some use of voice and other minor unidentified acoustic sounds.

Remember (if you're old enough) those 'Environments' series of LPs from the 1970's? There was one called 'Wood-Masted Sailboat' and there is a degree of similarity in this recording. Throughout the piece you feel like you're afloat, and the bowls/chimes/bells give the impression of a boat's bell or buoy sounding quietly in a gentle wind. Other sounds give the impression of creaking wood or (possible) shipboard nautical activities in places. Still, it has a surreal rather than the realistic quality of the Environments LP, which was an actual recording of a boat on the water. 'Tajushie' is much more open to interpretation, but there is no doubt that this is an aquatic-based ambience, and a relatively calm one at that. There is not the variety of sonics or form that was on Ogni Videniy's '2137' collaboration, but then I don't believe this was intended to explore those regions. The subtlety makes up for it though, and you'll probably find yourself discovering new sounds within the piece you didn't notice at first. It's a nice pleasant trip; perhaps the antidote to land-locked moods. Another Vetvei release packaged in a colorful abstract 6-panel artwork by Vresnit.


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