Music Reviews



ISA WISS, MARC UNTERNAHRER : sopstock

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2010
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Artist: ISA WISS, MARC UNTERNAHRER
Title: sopstock
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Be it the fact the use of the voice is not absolutely secondary or the fact this duo hails from Swiss I couldn't but avoid thinking to Stimmhorn for those who know this incredible swiss musician. Honestly, despite some small and barely forgettable similarities despite the unconventional use of the vocals and the fact the both are coming from the land of the cheese with holes the don't have nothing to share. Isa Wiss quite often uses her voices giving you the idea your experiencing to some strangulated Meredith Monk meets chocking David Moss working in a electro-acoustic context. Unternahrer saxophone instead sometimes obviously deals with half pronounced segmented notes and works for mouth and saliva, but at the same time ventures ??? in ?? playing some real phrases. Tracks like "Cyn" and "Drisp" show what I think is the real potential of the duo when going for a post-jazz dialogue, as I've said I think the most interesting episodes are those where the dynamic duo don't recede into some sort of autistic electro-acoustic solipsism but where they put together what looks like a track, "Gringlion" could be a good example. A dry, simple and good recording help developing a good sound profile thanks to which you can taste the real essence of this pair.

MIKE MAJKOWSKI : ink on paper

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2010
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Artist: MIKE MAJKOWSKI
Title: ink on paper
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Don't ask me why but during the last years I've made and experience in solo double bass works, this probably the third or fourth release performed with this great instrument I review from the last September. Mike Majkowsky like the other double bass players I've been reviewing so far has the technical skill to caress his instrument right to find its G-spot and following this metaphor now and then they reach the aural orgasm they're looking for. Five different track for many different lengths and techniques, from the finger picked up and down of "pizzicato" to the bowed breaths of "foam and straw", from the stuttering of "ink and paper" to the quasi-contemporary classic structure of "current". Despite the many colors and tones thrown in the oven by Majkowski I have the impression there's a predominance of high pitched notes and for non-continuative playing, with the last thing I don't mean the tracks are full of stops and goes, I simply wonna say most of the times he opts for fragmented notes played like he's using a sort of morse code even when doing slow rides like in "current". Definitely an interesting release.

Archon Orchestra: Pong

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 03 2010
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Artist: Archon Orchestra
Title: Pong
Format: CD
Label: Shadowplay/ Muzyka Voln/ Monopoly (@)
Rated: *****
The song are constructed using a minimalistic structure: one line is a repetitive motif, the other is a meditative tune for organ. The result is an album beneath religious and videogames aims. The reference for the classic game is relevant for the comprehension of this album.
"Orpheus" is a sort of manifest for this record: a lovely loop for synth and a calm structure for organ, thinking of Terry Riley. "Golconda" is more reminiscent of the renaissance paintings of the cover, a baroque theme for synth. "A stone among stone" is a classic minimalistic tune. "Counterpoint", for converse, looks at the sounds of the pong game because is a repetitive (or dull) theme for synth. "Adagio" is a wonderful theme for piano developed with a clear process in mind and is the best track of the album, worth of a listen. "Canto" is the specular for the synth and "Fantasie" a curious mix of videogames soundtrack and classic music for harp. The last track "Pong" is the titletrack and the most disappointing track an extremely long track that take a videogame motif repeatedly for minutes, boring.
The life of man is short yet purposeless. Full of delusive hopes, yet true sorrows.
This words are written on the rear cover, and are probably humorous in regards of videogames and take another confusion for an album that stay between a good record and a prank. While is repetitive is sometimes disappointing, but when it develops his tunes this album is worth a listen for all minimalistic fans.

incite/: iconicity

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 27 2010
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Artist: incite/ (@)
Title: iconicity
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: electroton (@)
Distributor: electroton
Rated: *****
The second of the four 3' mini-cds from Electroton is by Hamburg-Germany based duo Kera Nagel & Andre Aspelmeier. Once again, this is an audiovisual oriented project, and the music seems like a partial component to their abstract monochromatic imagery. The music to a great degree is glitch experimental, but 'iconicity' has a certain rhythmic flow to it that evens out the randomness and actually makes for a quite pleasant listening experience.

While much of the music in this field tends to sound sterile, somehow incite/'s compositions seem organic, with a variety of components that work together to form a body in motion in each piece. There is also a good amount of variety from track to track in the sound palette, even though the bass tones are somewhat similar. It is also interesting that the rhythms that drive each piece aren't confined to any one particular element; as disparate and incongruous as they may be, they work together like a well-oiled machine. Even the noise disruptions are timed to enhance the polyrhythmic aspects.

One particular piece that really stood out was 'Turnpike' with its funky interplay of glitchy blips, twisted noise patches, tapping sounds, synth farts and funk sub-bass groove. For me, this is experimental glitch at its best ' taking a bunch of diverse sonic elements and turning it into something that is not only quite audially appealing but engaging and thought provoking. I should mention that the final track, 'Sparks' is good deal darker than the other tracks due to the use of more elongated sub-bass and lower tones. It should also be noted that 'iconicity' is bone dry minimalism. I don't know about any of their other work, but incite/ definitely has a winner with 'iconicity' and I'm sure it will stand up to repeated plays.

v4w.enko: snd

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 27 2010
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Artist: v4w.enko (@)
Title: snd
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: electroton (@)
Distributor: electroton
Rated: *****
The first of four reviews of recent 3' mini-cds (in mini-dvd plastic transparent cases) from the same label ' Electroton (Nuremberg, Germany) by different artists pulled at random for the dissecting table. Let me say that I HATE the 3'mini-cd format. It's a pain in the ass to position in the CD tray, and almost impossible not to mar with fingerprints, accidentally drop and scratch, etc. That being said, let's go to the project background and then the music.

V4w.enko is a sound and visual project by Kiev, Russia based Evgen Vaschenko. It began in 2007 as live electronics, sounds and video stream realized in real time by manipulating self-programmed algorithms with simple forms and correlated with one another by simple rules. Compositionally, this is sort of a math thing (at least to me) and seems to be more in tune with musical architecture than aesthetic design. Be that as it may, there is obviously a method to the composition at work that may appeal to minimal structuralists and fans of Glitch while confounding the average listener. If you're still clueless, this is experimental, and likely to work better with visual stimulus that may have been intended to accompany it.

The titles of seven rather brief tracks on this mini-cdr are based on anagrams of the EP title ' snd, with the exception of track #4 ' 'and'. In terms of sound timbre and tone, there is a similarity running through all the tracks, with a limited palette of light bellish and high tones of varying sustain and decay times, buzzy blips, noise spurts, percussive snippets, sustained drone tones with or without some modulation and synth clusters that sound like mini car horns. Some of the electronic effects used sound like the CD is defective (that dull, rapidly repeating, skipping click), but I assume that's the music and not a bad CD.

The first two tracks ' 'Snd' and 'Sdn' are very much alike, the former being a little lighter than the latter which lower tone random percussion and more sustained synth clusters. (My impression was a traffic-jam in Toytown; your will likely be something completely different) Third track 'Nsd' adds random noise spurts and that CD skipping sound to the mix with a near-subliminal drone undercurrent. I found the bellish sequences interesting but couldn't get past that CD skipping sound. Next track 'And' has a more eerie and dreamy ambience with a complex gentle modulated sustained ambient tone and bell tones and buzzes sustained longer with interjections of light noise, almost like breathing. For me, this was the most fascinating track on the album.

'Nds' has a regularly repeating same pitch bell tone like a sustained glockenspiel while with low muted tones and muted noise in the background. 'Dsn' just had too much of that sustained synth cluster for my taste, and final track seemed to be about the most random, yet perfectly placed collection of sounds in the entire work. This one is sure to please minimal electronic glitch fans.

Overall, you really have to be a fan of this type of music to fully appreciate it, and I'm only 50% on board with that. I'd strongly recommend you go preview this at the artist's website, and if you like what you hear, you'll probably enjoy the rest of it too. For me, it was a mixed experience; moderately interesting at times, but not enough to get really excited about.


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