Music Reviews

PAS : Pure Energy Output Session

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 09 2010
Artist: PAS (@)
Title: Pure Energy Output Session
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Hailing from Brooklyn, Post Abortion Stress are one of those bands not-so-easy-to-be-described cause despite their many references to music from the pas, they're not exactly old fashioned and at the same time they are reinterpreting influences quite personally and that's good. I've read sometimes they've been described as a "dark ambient" combo, but honestly I find they're thousand times more freaky then the average band playing this style of music, by some means they reminded me a lot Nurse With Wound and also Faust, but also Popol Vuh and Gong updated to the current millennium. Being from Brooklyn I happened to think even if considerably different they reminded me a lot of when I first listened to Aa from New York, they are equally as freaky even if more odd, with less vocal and above all without the drum, but the sound aesthetic is not so different. Synths, a massive use of echoes, loops and delays, sometimes the mixing of different sound-layers creates that trip through the canyon effect from the seventies, just think to Michelangelo Antonioni and you get the picture. As I've said I would speak more about new psychedelia rather than dark music, above all if you consider some of the melodies are not exactly obscure or heavy digestible (8, 11,15). I've seen they've collaborated and they keep collaborating with Philippe Petit and played at the Faust festival which itself says a lot to know more about their activities. Not all of the tracks are completely focused, but after all it's an interesting listening.


 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 09 2010
Title: scuff mud
Format: CD
Label: Journal of Experimental Fiction
Rated: *****
Ever heard jazz poetry? well, the genre took it's leave from reading performances from back in the days and quite often it mixed live free-jazz vanguards and poets/writers/performers of different nature. Shelf Life is not exactly a jazzist since his releases are on Eh? records (a division of Public Eyesore) but the global result is quite similar to some of those weirdest reading from the seventies be it for the american accent of mr. Gerdes, be it for the weird stories he tells or for the strange electro-acoustic music full of live sounds here played but that's the impression. The interaction of music and words is quite often well balanced equals the reader is not doing is rap without interruptions and killing your attention with his protagonist manias. I'm sure many of you remember the beatniks and their many collaboration with musicians, the music creating the scenario here's more electro-acoustic and probably more dynamic than many of those performances but if you keep that in mind more or less you may have a global idea of the "music". Some episodes like "New president" are more catchy than the other tracks but the global result is nothing but ok and keeps a live affect that makes the whole sound matter more vivid. "Hey kids do you wonna hear a story?.." Gerdes and Shelf Life can tell you a lot's of interesting stories.

Kirchenkampf: Lowland

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 06 2010
Artist: Kirchenkampf (@)
Title: Lowland
Format: CD
Label: Cohort Records (@)
Rated: *****
Long time Chain D.L.K. contributor John Gore has quietly kept busy releasing his own music and that of others through his outlet Cohort Records. Even though he's been supporting the scene by releasing artist's music on Cohort and reviewing artist's music on Chain D.L.K., he was so shy or modest that he didn't even send us any of his releases until I asked him to. So here I am, finally, listening to our friend Gore's latest album. His main project, Kirchenkampf, is focused on a combination of radio waves and synth/sound effects. I'm not very familiar with his earlier releases, but I've read that they used to be a bit more extreme. "Lowland" is a very quiet, relaxed and subtle concentration of sounds. It's experimental dark ambient music that weaves in and out of the more noisy and more musical permutations of that combination of genres. There are seven tracks totaling 55 minutes of delicate soundscapes with the right amount of roughness around their edges to keep the listener from getting too comfortable.
The CDR release comes in a beautiful hand-folded, hand-painted, hand-stamped gatefold enclosures in vellum sleeves with a tree printed on it.

NEUROBOT: Petla Bohumina

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 02 2010
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Title: Petla Bohumina
Format: CD
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
I loved this Monotype release from the very first listening and before writing this review I've listened to this record many times. We're talking about laptop music and this trio infact features Jacek Staniszewski on computer and synth, Artus Kozdrowski on computer and adat recorder and Dominik Kowalczyk on laptop. Given the fact this music has been recorded between 2001 and 2005, this trio gains more and more respect for the high quality of the tracks. You can bet this' one hundred percent laptop music therefore expect: digital bleeps, loops, samples, unnatural white noise, weird sounds and that kind of sound aesthetic you usually have with such projects. At the same time this trio reaches an incredible intensity above all when mixing soft harsh digital noises with loops of blues singers or with simple melodies, litanies have been always kept under the surface but you don't have to strain so much to here them. Despite some melodic solution this release is basically serious music oriented and most of the episodes express a deep and thoughtful intensity and "What do we need to know?" is the perfect example of that kind of austerity. Differently from what I've just wrote may suggest this project's compositions are not so heavy but not absolutely to be confounded with quasi-ambient/IDM/abstract light music. Neurobot played that style of music that walks on the tight rope between academic abstract computer and post-industrial/installation music. Different layers of sound, serial loops, some sad melodies fighting with astral synth to conquer the scene, digital bleeps facing soft harsh drones and everything has been dragged around patiently but not so much to sound heavy. After ten years this music still sounds quite interesting and if you consider the tracks may result odd but also well assembled, you may get why I this work is definitely worth of a listen since it's definitely interesting.

Zeitkratzer: [old school] Alvin Lucier

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 01 2010
Artist: Zeitkratzer (@)
Title: [old school] Alvin Lucier
Format: CD
Label: Zeitkratzer Records (@)
Distributor: Forced Exposure
Rated: *****
The first two releases of the series [old school], dedicated to the musical studies of some milestones of contemporary experimentation and composition, have been tributed to John Cage and James Tenney and have been considerably acclaimed by the growing public feeding their curiosity about the basic principles of avant-garde music and this third one, tributed to Alvin Lucier, known for being one of the founder of Sonic Arts Union in 1966 as well as for introducing new paradigms to the so-called concrete music througout out-of-ordinary scores and somewhat bizarre and "scientific" explorations of the acoustic properties of objects, organisms (one of his most interesting "score", Music For Solo Performer, was obtained by the recording of the constantly changing brain activity of the performer, whose alpha waves were amplified throughout a machine able to record the electrical activity of his brain, while another famous "composition", Clocker, was entirely obtained from the recording by a galvanic skin sensor!) and envinronment (maybe Lucier's most relevant and inspiring experiment related to envinronment is I Am Sitting In A Room, an intriguing experiment based on the cycled recording of performer's voice for a plenty of times in different environments whose noises were gradually amplified since the point they becomes the main voice of the performance, an experiment whose principles had some influences on the birth of experimental videomaking as well...).

Even if from one side some classical puritans still mutter when they've been asked to voice their opinion about these composers and from the other some pop addicts' stomachs can't take this kind of musical food lacking of the consumeristic "value" (or dis-value) of accessibility to the general public, Zeitkratzer is going to bring the listeners in the wonderful world of Mr Lucier, after the zeutkrazters met this creative sound physician in Dijon, France, and decided to perform some pieces of his rich and intriguing repertory at The Philarmonie in Luxembourg, the ideal place for such a performance, including two compositions, the opening Fideliotrio - a somewhat confusing piece for viola, cello and piano, where a single piano tone is played in two different dynamics while the parts for viola and cello plays a sort of glissando going in opposite directions, so that the resulting antagonistic tension induces some confusion in the listener, whose ears presumably are going to lose directions of sound, disquiting in the intertwining of mutual interferences....very funny! - and Violynn - the piece I enjoyed more based on a similar game of Fideliotrio, whereas the violin player perform between two speakers by which he could listen his own recording without perceiving his own intonation, but only the recorded-on-tape one, so that he experiences a sort of diembodiment! Really interesting experiment! -, Opera With Objects - a sort of exercise Alvin Lucier uses for didactic purposes in which his students at Wesleyan College, where Alvin teaches electronic music (even if he refuses such a definition for his sound researches...), tap on different objects that they find, exploring the timbre resonance of those objects, where the interpreter seems to be totally depersonalised in order to act as a sort of entranced medium for the playset arranged by objects during a kind of exploration of their intimate properties...-, Silver Streetcar For The Orchestra - featuring interesting experiments on amplified triangles! - and Music For Piano With Magnetic Strings - a piece where the piano plays by itself after it's "prepared" with EBows, small electromagnets previously used for electric guitars, placed on its strings so that what results is a somewhat-hypnotic series of stranded sound layers varying in density and texture as well, showing another feature of this outstanding composer, whose scores look more like to user's guidelines! -.

After enjoying these perfomances by Zeitkrazter's musicians, I'm sure you will not consider them just as a scientifc study on sound phenomenology, but as music as well!

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