Music Reviews

Spirit of the Matter: Zuble Land

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 03 2011
Artist: Spirit of the Matter
Title: Zuble Land
Format: CD
Label: Musea (@)
Rated: *****
Here's bit of retro for you; a psychedelic rock outfit from France called Spirit of the Matter. Maybe if they weren't so odd, they wouldn't be reviewed here on Chain D.L.K., but odd they are, and hence the review. Formed in 2007 by Ian Marek ((guitar, violin, theremin), El Jibi (keyboards, electronics), and Remi (drums), these guys do improvisational instrumentals in the old-school psychedelic mode. Think of Krautrock in the vein of Can, Cluster, Guru Guru, Neu! etc., and you'll get a pretty good picture of what we have here.

The cover of the CD looks like an early Gong album in its flying saucer alien goofiness, but you won't find any twee Daevid Allenism on this album, except for the song titles. Being entirely instrumental (except for the occasional mostly French dialogue vocal samples), there are no vocals to get in the way and color the music into something that might be off-putting. That the music is improvised and the tracks don't drone on like some boring jam is remarkable. There is actually quite a bit of inventiveness and interplay between the musicians. True, there was some overdubbing involved, but that just goes with the terrain of making a decent studio album.

While Marek is no Jean-Luc Ponty, but his violin work is competent enough for the material here. There is plenty of wah-wah guitar too, if you crave that sort of thing. Only a few tracks have much more than a skeletal song structure and some are very 'out-there.' Opening track, 'Space Cheap Trip' begins with burbling electronics and has a theme led with psych slide guitar and violin, enhanced by a bit of theremin. Obviously Remi subscribes to the Lieberzeit school of drumming and it shows, although Jaki has nothing to worry about. Although the first track sounded a bit generic, the rest seem to show more spunk and oddity, and most of the improvisation is remarkably interesting and engaging, even when it wanders into abstract reions as it often does. Track #10, 'Ublaie Stoned' has a pretty cool sci-fi sounding theme and seems to be the least improvisational song on the album.

Some people who dote on this old school style Kraut-psyche are really going to love this album, and it's eclectic and multifaceted enough to stand up to repeated plays. I'd like to see what would happen if they added some actual structured songs with vocals to their repertoire. I think the right kind of female vocalist might really work well in their sonic environment, but that's only my opinion. Worth a listen if you're craving Krautrock-style psychedleia.

VV.AA.: Ekhnaton

 Posted by Fabrizio Della Porta   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 02 2011
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Ekhnaton
Format: CD
Label: Silentes (@)
Rated: *****
This compilation, originally released in 1984 on vinyl by Multiple Configuration, in collaboration with the ADN label, has finally reissued in a completely remastered version on CD. EKHNATON collects tracks recorded by the most important and remarkable bands that were active in the experimental Italian scene during early 80's. "Simple Italian Research Vol. 1" was (and still is) the subtitle of an album which includes two tracks from each of the following bands: Maze 1066, Tasaday (whose "Implosione tra le pieghe dell'anima" has recently been reissued by Silentes), Evitaxal - which was a Roberto Marinelli's alias, active also as Laxative Souls - and the more well known TAC (TOMOGRAFIA ASSIALE COMPUTERIZZATA), band that are still active nowadays.
The first two tracks, by Maze 1066, blend sparse guitar parts, "musique concrete" sounds and strange electronics/synth sounds, with a jazzy touch. The sound is obsessive, mysterious and surrealistic, comparable to Biota and the first Mnemonist.
Tasaday was an experimental / noise/tribal/postrock/industrial music band, located in Brianza, Italy. Active since 1982 and formed by the blend of two bands named Die Form & Orgasmo Negato (changed in Die Form & Nulla Iperreale in 1983), the band chose the definitive name Tasaday in 1984. Their sound is mysterious and obsessive in the tradition of early industrial music. Evitaxal was an Laxative Souls's side project, active during the 1984/85 period. The sound is inspired by minimal/trance electronics and by the drones from the La Monte Young school. Marinelli mainly worked with raw electronics, distorted vocals, concrete sounds, self assembled electronic circuits and sample sources.
Tomografia Assiale Computerizzata, frequently credited as T.A.C., is a post-industrial, experimental and electronica group, originally known for making a crossover between experimental music and avant rock, using treated tape loops, custom built synthesizers and metal sheet percussion but also guitar, bass and drums. '¨The whole cd is an unmissable view on the first intuitions and experimental methodologies that shaped their times, leaving a permanent mark - in Italy and abroad - on the following generations.


 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 21 2010
Title: Flugangst
Format: CD
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
Monotype has put out some interesting releases so far and this definitely fits in the category, infact Vorfeld gave us a interesting proof of how one can put together an unconventional drumming/percussionism and sound installation style, in case you've never seen or heard anything by this german musicians he has many releases out on label such as Creative Sources, Trente Oiseaux, Rossbin, Esquilo and similar labels. Is that an hint to identify this work? More or less infact it would extremely reductive to paint this release as the ordinary electro-acoustic cd, it's a solo recording and it's a great thing since it proofs that sometimes to reduce the players and the instruments is not a bad thing but a good option. That could suggest minimalism is the thing, but it's not, not exactly's sound art that goes really close to concrete music and if you remember the Metamkine serie of 3" mcd you know "the rules of the game" and probably the fact he's collaborated with Bernard Gunter may help to make it all clearer. The kind of instrument may introduce an easy parallel with Eddie Prevost but is no truer than an easy comparison to Bailey for every acoustic guitar improviser, so take it with a grain of salt. Vorfeld plays skins and stringed instruments with a different style if compared to Prevost and goes much closer to music concrete, electronic, post-industrial music than to any average electro-acoustic work. Why? the answer is there in the performative/ambient structure of every track, every suite is evolving around sound, a particular sound and it is developed to full blossoming. Flugangst is not far from some other releases like that, but compositional-structure and experience of this talented percussionist make the difference. If you add the recording give a vivid picture of the live session you know why I enjoyed so much this solo work. Sound plus space and the ambient of a room still makes the difference between a good solo work and a boring one. Somehow it also reminded me Enrico Malatesta a young talented drummer/perfomer from the north-east of Italy. Thumbs up!.

KINETIX + PYLONE : sonology

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 21 2010
Title: sonology
Format: CD
Label: Soun on Probation (@)
Rated: *****
It's passed quite a while from the last release featuring Gianluca Becuzzi's release I've heard and now he's back with two brand new album. This collaboration ties the knot wonderfully with wintertime and that's has to do with the cold sharp sounds used by the duo and to the dark aura of most of the compositions. We are in front of a long long record since it features one hour and twelve minutes of music, but I think it has a lot to do with the "path of resistance" intrinsic nature of a release like that. While the first of the two twenty minutes long tracks is based on a monolithic drone occasionally pierced by acute frequencies and field recording, its twin track is not exactly different in nature, but the spoken word parts and the fact is more based on voice samples and less oriented on droned movements in some ways introduce some consistent differences even if the deep introspective feel of the opening suite is here maintained. While the opening piece of this work may suggest a drone based release most of the tracks deal with a sort of "cut up and reassemble" process, everything is done with a good craftsmanship so they usually avoid that "all of a sudden effect" (if no intentionally). The nature of the tracks and their shape has brought to my mind names like Zoviet France, Richard Chartier, Hafler Trio and some other post industrial sound artists. An abstract work with some interesting intuitions.

IRON MOLAR : e poi piove

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 15 2010
Artist: IRON MOLAR (@)
Title: e poi piove
Format: CD
Label: Solitude Beast
Rated: *****
2 + 2 still equals 4?'¦sure, above all when a recording and a band is the sum of its parts and after having hear their latest solo works I dare you to deny that Massimo aka Iron Molar are not the algebraic sum of Iron doing most of the ambient/droning sounds and Jacopo aka Evil Purpose doing the most noise, crackling things. Freak brothers gone bad are back and holy shit the whole works moves like a bad acid trip, differently from some of their previous works Iron Molar are concentrating more on shorter tracks and it helps a lot since they stop right before getting boring, but not before pushing you there close to the limit of hypnosis. Differently from the past they're more and more oriented toward a freaky psychedelic sound and in someway left dark ambient behind their back and they're definitely gaining personality. If you listen to their last releases they put emphasis to the bastard noise, weird/odd noise influence which in their case means loops are more cyclical and floating ashore but at the same time avoiding easy drones which nowadays has become a sort of standard in many genres. Rhythm and sound definition have become central in their own evolution and probably recording and mixing with Bob at Alampo's helped developing every single idea and aspect. Everything has become clearer, more clean but not aseptic yet therefore this cd has nothing to do with those digital noise's clean but in a really warm way!. Even when working with drones they did it in a really smart way and the closing suites are good example of it all, they're not so predictable but at the same time several different stops and go make the listening quite interesting. Dark music for dark people? Odd music for heavy freaks?...and why not dark references?...infact the title itself is probably referred to one of the most depressive songs from 90's roman hardcore heroes Concrete. Punk's not dead...but has become trippy.

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