Music Reviews



ADERN X : polaroid

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 31 2011
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Artist: ADERN X (@)
Title: polaroid
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Xevor (@)
Rated: *****
This double tracks downloadable cdr puts together a couple of live sets by this italian electronic musician. Ok, by writing "electronic" you may think I'm talking about some Warp, idm, dub-step musician, while Adern X has much to share with experimental music plaid with electronic devices. The recording is good and this' not exactly one of those releases were you immediately perceive it has been assembled during a live performance, to that add there's an overabundance of samples with a clear and easily distinguishable sound. The first of the two episodes has this "ordinary life reworked" feel due to the announcements at the airport or train station, but he slowly twist and reshape them mixing the result with some different elements. We're talking about long tracks since the first one is around twenty six minutes long and the other is about sixteen minutes. The suites are not exactly homogenous for their whole length, since you have really different atmospheres and the impression is he's introducing new episodes during the set which in terms of listeneability is a great thing. Despite the experimental feel Adern X manages to use some of those crippled samples that help the work to avoid the uneasy music definition. The second track more or less follows the same screenplay which gives a clear snapshot of the musical style of this guy, at the same time if compared to the opening episode, it deals much more with abstraction and presents a more uniform sort of landscape. Still rough but an interesting work.


Grand Pianoramax: Smooth Danger

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 25 2011
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Artist: Grand Pianoramax (@)
Title: Smooth Danger
Format: CD
Label: Obliq Sound (@)
Rated: *****
Grand Pianoramax is a Swiss duo of talented musicians (award-winning jazz piano player Leo Tardin and drummer Dominik Burkhalter) more often than not joined by an american MC for their live performances (Black Cracker most of the times, who rhymes on two of the tracks of the album; and sometimes Mike Ladd, who appears on one track).
If you are wondering what a drummer, a pianist and an MC could possibly do together and why it would fit the pages of Chain D.L.K., keep wondering because it sure is hard to describe, but somehow fits our readership more than you might think.
Tardin plays piano, rhodes, K-station, harmonium and philichorda while he accompanies himself with funky bass lines and effortlessly switches between all these instruments and their treated alter egos. All the while Burkhalter lays down a number of smoothly flowing broken beats rich with syncopation, fills and the occasional uneven counts. Stylistically you will hear Tardin's jazzy influence and he'll make your head bop along with his funky playing, but sometimes he will make you feel like you are in the middle of an arcade video game galactic battle; Burkhalter keeps you rocking out steadily with laser sharp precision and a kind of live drum'n'bass aesthetic even when the figures are far from your average dance floor 4-4 and even though there really isn't any d'n'b per say on this record. The two MCs flow on top of everything making what is already an exciting and original musical offering even more out there and at the same time even more approchable.
The album was recorded between Switzerland and India (and features Karsh Kale on tablas on two tracks) and mixed in Germany in an old radio station control room with some funky old-school gear. The sound of the album is great and the attention to detail shows.
I highly recommend checking out this album (out now in Europe and dropping in the US in May) and catching the trio live (some US dates are announced for the spring).

CEX: Tiny Creature

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 22 2011
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Artist: CEX
Title: Tiny Creature
Format: CD
Label: Tigerbeat 6
Rated: *****
It's hard for me to say if I like this album or not. First of all it's a really long one, it contains nine tracks (one of which is 20 minutes of length) which play around i.d.m. rhythms, dubstep and artsy non musical melodic mixes. TINY CREATURE, the newest album by Cex, is a constant flux of destabilizing rhythms and melodies which sometimes sounds cold and sometimes alien. If Venetian Snares is able to create furious tracks that take you elsewhere, Cex, instead, freeze you by unplugging your senses... but they does it gently. I don't mean to say that this is a lousy release but for sure it needs time to be understood and sometimes you arrive to the point where you are about to stop the CD player, just to decide to wait a little while. The tracks that to me sound more structured are the hip-hop influenced "Megamuse", "12 exalt" and "Trumpetflower", a mid tempo based on rhythm breaks, epic synth leads and synth shots but who knows at the fourth spin what I could find... I could end loving it. If you are willing to give a try to an album that is in balance from cosmic digital music, experimental, i.d.m. and breakbeat, TINY CREATURE is the one for you.

Mushy: Faded Heart

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 22 2011
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Artist: Mushy
Title: Faded Heart
Format: 12"
Label: Mannequin (@)
Distributor: Mannequin Mailorder
Rated: *****
'Faded Heart' is Mushy's mature debut album after many years in the Italian underground and the result is no less than astonishing. The imaginative spaces created by the Rome based artist steers from her previous experimental/industrial roots, towards nocturnal synth-driven blues about lost loves and intimate struggles. This album is made of songs, ten glowing lo-fi dirges and lullabies. The singing is very peculiar, always layered with effects. Sometimes whispered and sometimes bursting with primeval moans. Mushy states the 80s dark wave as one of her main inspirations and the influence of Liz Fraser's pre-Heaven Or Las Vegas ways of singing can be spotted. Sound-wise we find analogue gear merged with strange found instruments (a four stringed guitar bought at a flea-market can be heard in many lo-fi parts of the album) and objects. The journey starts with 'Child Of Light Will Burn', one of the best tracks in the moan-wave micro-genre in my opinion, think about a ghoulish version of Grouper's fluttering compositions. The b-side's boiling cauldron of sound sorcery contains some of the best moments of the album, 'I Will Not See It' and the title track are bounded togheter by a dark droning glide and again the title track is her most heartfelt piece and the one that will be instantly recognized by the listeners. 'No More' is a wavey affair, a collaboration with Mannequin record's Alessandro/Newclear Waves. Be quick because the record is selling extremely fast and it's the album of the week at Rough Trade. Out on white vinyl edition of 300 and on cd with four (amazing) remixes by Soft Metals, Newclear Waves, Crossover and Heinrich Dressel.

Ilitch: La Maïeutique de la Quantique

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 21 2011
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Artist: Ilitch (@)
Title: La Maïeutique de la Quantique
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not previously heard of Ilitch, but with Beta-lactam Ring Records putting it out, I knew that it would be interesting. When putting the disc on, we are met with what sounds like the world's slowest buildup for a rock band, like a warm up session with plenty of feedback. It's sparse, but still engaging, sort of how legendary drummer Buddy Rich could play only the snare drum while keeping it interesting. We eventually move to 'La Maieutique de la Quantique,' which is the closest thing you'll find to a traditional musical structure on this album. But that is not to say that you'll hear it on your local 'today's hit rock station.' No, this is still on Beta-lactam Ring Records, so you know that "normal" is not a normal part of their vocabulary (thankfully). The closest comparison I can come up with is a slowed down version of label-mates Seven That Spells. When we reach the mammoth 'La Quantique de la Maieutique,' which weighs in at 14.55, we are met with varied and interesting soundscapes but we lose what little remained of traditional song structure. 'La Cantique de la Quantique' ends the disc on an almost peaceful note, if hiss and analogue squalls can be considered peaceful (and it can). The overall trajectory of the album is one of structure moving into a kind of disintegration of structure. Overall, it's a fun ride. This is limited to 500 copies and weighs in at around 43 minutes.


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