Music Reviews



Fires Were Shot: Awakened by a Lonely Feud

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 17 2011
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Artist: Fires Were Shot
Title: Awakened by a Lonely Feud
Format: CD
Label: Quiet Design (@)
Rated: *****
Austin-based duo Clay Walton and John Wilkins have been making music together as Fires Were Shot since 1998 and, if as it is said, they use little more than their acoustic guitars and some pedals, the heterogeneousness of their sonic palette truly is impressive. The duo quietly and unceremoniously strums along creating relaxing and almost trance-inducing soundscapes loosely structured around loops of themselves and smeared with thick layers of lush reverbs, sometimes long delays, and other eerie unidentified ambiance or background noise. Engulfing, ethereal and definitely a bit noir, their sound is simple yet powerful and mysterious. "Awakened by a Lonely Feud" collects eleven pieces, which are like small vignettes, openings or windows into a state of mind that can be yours or might have been theirs when they played this music. At times their approach reminds me a bit of a stripped down and more minimalistic version of Lycia, but they also could be compared to Brian Eno's quietest records (think "Apollo") or some of Steve Reich's or Terry Riley's more loopey and droney chapters.
"Awakened by a Lonely Feud" comes 7 years after "Solace" was released on Asphodel rec and is available as a CD, a 150-gram double vinyl LP and an mp3 download from their new (also) Austin based label Quiet Design's website.

Ich Niente: Incerchio

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 16 2011
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Artist: Ich Niente (@)
Title: Incerchio
Format: CD
Label: Bosco rec (@)
Rated: *****
Ich Niente ("Ich" is german for "I" and "Niente" is italian for "Nothing") is a collaboration of Mirco Rizzi and Daniele Brusaschetto and "Incerchio" is their second album together (after 2004's "Ri_Tagli").
The two long time guitar players improvise for over half hour and go straight to tape (first take) using effects and other pedals as well as different playing technique (bowing, picking, plucking...). As you might expect from an improvised record there is a lot of noodeling and the two players interact but often go off on their own tangents more than you might wish for. Some pieces are a bit more structured and others are purely vamps or individual rubatos.
The record opens on a dark note and although it takes on different shapes and colors throughout its duration, both guitars seem to want to retain a certain lo-finess to their sound and yet do manage to become a bit more solar form time to time. One of the musicians even sits down at a seemingly un-miced drum set at one point on the last song.
They definitely draw from a vast array of musical influences from noise-rock to jazz. Reverb is their allie and freeform is their playground. Some tracks are as short as 26 seconds and the opener is more than 10 minutes long. For clarity and spatial results the two guitars are mostly panned almost hard left and hard right but you can't always tell who's who.
The record really comes off as a live recording, which it is in a sense, but it's almost missing the applause of the crowd.

Daniele Brusaschetto: Fragranze Silenzio

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 16 2011
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Artist: Daniele Brusaschetto (@)
Title: Fragranze Silenzio
Format: CD
Label: Bosco rec / Bar La Muerte
Rated: *****
I've been following Daniele Brusaschetto's music and moves since longer than I can remember. He was one of the pioneers of the '90es scene of weirder and more interesting electronic music in Italy and almost twenty years later he's still at it. I've lost count of how many records he's done. As you'd expect his style has evolved and changed and today is maybe darker and more introspective than ever. If you judged his latest direction from the title-track of this CD you'd think that he's now into Sunn O)))/Boris/Sleep but, except for that one long, epic and somber closing doom movement, the album "Fragranze Silenzio" (Silence Frangrances) has much less distortion and rather portrays and artist that can effortlessly move from slow and sinister tracks (like the opener "La Bambina Intermittente") to more uptempo electronica that sound like an odd mixture between Bjork, Clock DVA and Young Gods (as in "Il Sole Domani"), passing through minimalistic industrial rhythmic episodes (such as "Ali di Mosca"). Courageous choices like phase-reversing percussion tracks so that you can listen to a song with or without a beat ("Clouds") speaks for his daring approach.
Throughout, a sense of loss and reflection permeates this album, augmented by disturbed and treated pianos, glitchy beats and electronica, treated guitars.
The common denominator is more often than not his vocal style and his cryptic lyricism. Wide and deep doubled vocals, sometimes willfully distant, almost always dipped in long reverbs and treated to sound removed but still within the context of the music.
Lyrics are mostly all in Italian and if you want to really dive into Daniele's world they are printed on the inside of the digipack. He's certainly an artist that has a lot to say but leaves plenty to imagination.

Evans / Pluta / Altieri: Sum and Difference

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 16 2011
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Artist: Evans / Pluta / Altieri
Title: Sum and Difference
Format: CD
Label: Carrier records (@)
Rated: *****
This NY improvisational trio is comprised of trumpet player Peter Evans (Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, Peter Evans Quintet), laptop artist Sam Pluta (Glissando Bin Laden, Peter Evans Quintet, Wet Ink Ensemble) and violinist Jim Altieri (Glissando Bin Laden, Tatters and Rags, Pearl and the Beard).
I've had the pleasure to work with Evans several times and in several contexts, so when
I saw his name on this CD I was very curious to hear what else he was up to and, as the liner notes suggest, these tracks remind us that besides his great technical chops he also has an inate ability to adapt to any sonic situation, even when the musical "entity" he is improvising with is a laptop that spits out glitches, pop, drones, tones and all sorts of other sounds that Pluta creates with his custom built software, controllers, ring modulators and fm oscillators. Altieri adds to the organicity of the textures and although you won't often hear an untreated violin bowing sound, you will hear his skills and versatility in his own micro-tonal approach and contribution.
The focus of this release is on the interactivity between the players, as it should be! All three musicians showcase their ability to counteract each other and offer a vast array of sounds and sonorities, that span in mood, pace and intensity.

Alexander Frangenheim: The Knife Again

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 16 2011
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Artist: Alexander Frangenheim (@)
Title: The Knife Again
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
This German free-jazz improvisator lavishly manages to crossbreed the forms of art he studied (...and arguably keeps on digging): born in Wuppertal, Alexander Frangenheim privately widened his knowledge of classical doublebass with Reinald Schwarz, soloist of Stuttgart Philarmonics, while studying sculpture at the academy, and he gradually extended his performing technique due to his passion for emperimental music, an hibridization which gave him the possibility to expand his activity over an incredible number of projects, works and performances. In this release, issued by the appreciated Creative Sources, Frangenheim's aesthetics looks like clambering up on scales leaving traces of scratches, lacerations, breaches, gashes and cuts as well as of sort off doodles on stave almost acting as stiches on a bleeding body after having been ripped to shreds. Seventeen smal solo sketches recorded in August 2006 in Berlin and mastered by Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson which are not derivative at all, but including many little jems of tonal twisting and the listener is easily going to appreciate a lot moments such as Counter Furioso, Surface, Chant, Knife, Memory or the sinister swirling pulsations of the final Birds For Z whereas the instrument sounds like putting on facial expressions or alternatively fighting with its tormenting player. You could imagine this record as a sort of wrestling or better a fight to death between the soul of the instrument opposed to the sould of the musician. Bizarre supplies!


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