Music Reviews



The Truth About Frank: Cannibal Work Ethic

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: The Truth About Frank (@)
Title: Cannibal Work Ethic
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I had never heard of this British duo, but I loved the name The Truth About Frank. It made me wonder who Frank was and what he did. This is an interesting mix of subdued but noisy sound collage and electronic beats. In many cases, I find that this is a symptom of a band that is still trying to find its voice. In this case, however, the different styles served to break up the album and keep it interesting. The music is an interesting mixture of disembodied voices and ambient soundscapes. Think of a mix between early Aphex Twin and Hafler Trio. Overall, this is certainly worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 38 minutes.

Rainnair and ARC: Incantation III

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: Rainnair and ARC
Title: Incantation III
Format: CD
Label: Pale Noir (@)
I had never heard of either of these artists, nor had I heard of the label until I got this in the mail. After listening to it, I'm not quite sure what to make of this disc. It isn't too bad, but it is an odd combination. Let's walk through the disc, shall we? Rainnair starts us off with some ominous spoken word and even a bit of a beat, then moves into a synth based set that seems to try to keep the dark undercurrents running. For example, Cthulhu Dreams sounds like it would be at home in a Lovecraftian movie. Moving on to ARC, 'Vinnie Sink (Fuzz as a Peach) starts us off with a simple beat and . . . vocoder? I didn't know that T-Pain was getting into the experimental scene. It didn't quite work. The remix, on the other hand, has a kind of old school 1980s Front 242 feel to it. The vocoder is present and accounted for, but seems to work a bit better in this track. Kind of made me nostalgic for the old Wax Trax stuff. The disc concludes with a slow, heavy beat and more digitally enhanced vocals. So the overall verdict? Rainnair was decent dark ambient, but I would say that labelmate StrykninY, who was also in the package from Pale Noir, would be a better bet. ARC was a mixed bag. This album is also pretty short, weighing in at around 23 minutes.

Modern Stalking and ANDRAS: Incantation IV

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: Modern Stalking and ANDRAS (@)
Title: Incantation IV
Format: CD
Label: Pale Noir (@)
Rated: *****
As with the other Pale Noir released I am reviewing in this batch, I had never heard of either of these artists, nor had I heard of the label until I got this in the mail. Like the other discs this is pretty lo-fi stuff, but this is much better than the Incantation III disc. Part of this is due to the congruence of the styles on the disc. Modern Stalking is some interesting soundscape stuff, with a fair amount of spoken word interjected into it. Sometimes the use of samples can be a debilitating crutch, but in this case it works pretty well. There is a wide variety of sounds and feelings here, with noise blending into a circus organ under the big top. Some of it becomes a bit too sparse and at times repetitive, but it's a good introduction. ANDRAS throws down some interesting synth-based tracks that kind of remind me of 1980's goth / new wave stuff. The label describes the band thus: 'If 80'²s era John Carpenter scored the soundtrack to the break-up between two tired junkies it might sound as synthesizer bleak as ANDRAS.' There are few vocals here, with the focus on the music. Overall, I am looking forward to seeing what happens with ANDRAS. Evidently the non-promo version includes a special spell wax sealed collection card. The first 15 orders will also receive a complimentary 11 x 17 poster of the cover art (but mine is 20 out of 50, so you may be out of luck on that front. This album weighs in at around 36 minutes.

Rant : Land

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: Rant (@)
Title: Land
Format: CD
Label: Schraum (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this duo, but this is their third album. Here's how the label describes the album: 'Merle Bennett on drums and Torsten Papenheim on guitar, explore the various possibilities of the duo: concrete statements and abstract sounds, exploding and imploding while never losing the thread. This play creates the perfect balance between precision and looseness, groove and sound, describing their musical world in form and colour.' Imagine if you took the multitrack recording of a typical song, and then broke it into its component tracks. Now slow it down and play them one at a time. This is kind of the feel that I got in listening to Rant. This is pretty stripped down improvisation, but there is a logic to it. I was particularly impressed with the complexity of the drummer here. But for the most part, I found this to be just a bit too sparse and slow moving. The complexity could certainly be there, but the guitar parts dominate with a simplicity that didn't seem to work (e.g., Luen). There are some bright spots, such as 'Orlando,' which is reminiscent of some shoegazer pop. This album weighs in at around 33 minutes.

noisepoetnobody & Vance Galloway : Uranium 238

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: noisepoetnobody & Vance Galloway
Title: Uranium 238
Format: CD
Label: Lens Records (@)
Rated: *****
I have become quite enamored with Lens Records. Whenever I wind up with something from them in my mailbox, I know that it will at least be interesting. This is a difficult album to describe and the press release was not much help either. On his website, noisepoetnobody lists as influences such bands as Psychic TV, The Legendary Pink Dots, Scorn, Hafler Trio, Download, Dead Voices on Air, Muslimgauze and Coil, and in this case you can actually tell. Perhaps the best way to describe this album is subdued experimental. Take a mix of drones, toys, and bits of noise, shake it up, and apply liberally. I found this to be wonderful background music while I was grading papers. If you want your experimental music to be peaceful instead of noisy, this is the release for you. Quite enjoyable. This album weighs in at around 50 minutes.


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