Music Reviews

Dead Voices On Air: From Afar All Spark and Glee

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 14 2011
Artist: Dead Voices On Air (@)
Title: From Afar All Spark and Glee
Format: CD
Label: Lens Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had reviewed some of Mark Spybey's recent output with Beehatch for Chain DLK, but I had not listened to Dead Voices On Air for years now. Like any band, some artists come to the forefront at a given time and others recede. So when I got this disc in the mail, I took the opportunity to go back to some of their older works as a comparison. With that in mind, I like where DVOA is going. Where Hafted Maul is a more raw, experimental disc, this is, in contrast, unbelievably polished. In fact, where the older work was certainly at home on Invisible Records, sharing the space with such acts as Lab Report and Pounder, this album would actually be quite at home on Hypnos. There is a peaceful vibe running throughout with lush synth tracks and beautiful female vocals on the title track. According to the press release, this was complements of 'American-Serbian singer Ivana Salipur on the title track, a homage to the Serbian poet Desanka Maksimovic (1898-1993).' The swirling atmospheres are hypnotic and we still see a bit of the experimental vibe for which we know DVOA. Overall, this is an excellent addition to an already expansive catalogue. This disc weighs in at about 63 minutes.

Organum: Valentin

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 14 2011
Artist: Organum
Title: Valentin
Format: 7"
Label: Equation Records (@)
Organum is the project of one David Jackman, who, according to his website has been releasing material for over 30 years. The first thing you notice with this album is that the packaging is fairly minimal, although there is a sheet of grey cardstock that has the word UNBEKANNTE emblazoned on it. I don't speak German, but Google tells me that it translates to stranger, unknown, or unknown quantity. Also, the album is HEAVY. You could hit someone with it. But you wouldn't want to because it's limited to 233 copies and you may not get another chance to get it. On to the music. According to the press release that came with the album, 'David Jackman (the force behind the project) wishes the audio to speak for itself so we will not attempt to describe the contents of this release.' Well, I'm a reviewer, and they sent it to me, so I will attempt to do so. Imagine a William Gibson novel in which he tells three stories at once in sequence. You can see them slowly moving toward each other until at the end it all makes sense. This record is kind of like that. Piano chords, crashing noise that sounds like a metal sculpture falling down, and a small chorus singing the same repetitive strain until it comes together with ambient hiss and incidental noises peppered throughout. The main issue I have is that side A and side B sound pretty much the same to me. Maybe the differences are too subtle for me to catch, but I didn't notice much difference. It's nice, but not quite worth the $11 for a few minutes of music.

Theologian: The Further I Get From Your Star, The Less Light I Feel On My Face

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 14 2011
Artist: Theologian (@)
Title: The Further I Get From Your Star, The Less Light I Feel On My Face
Format: CD
Label: Crucial Blast (@)
Rated: *****
When I opened up the package and saw this in here, I remarked to my wife that this would be a rather unhappy album. I have several of Leech's albums as Navicon Torture Technologies, but I must admit that his later albums, such as Church of the Dead Girls was a bit too dark and dismal for my tastes. I was correct in my original assessment ' this is not exactly feel good music. However, this is absolutely amazing. The epic 24 minute track 'In Times of Need, We All Go Against Our Natures' is worth the price of admission alone. The usual distorted vocals are present of course, but used sparingly and mainly for effect and atmosphere. I can understand now why Leech felt a need to move on from NTT and christen the project with a new name. This is much more subdued than most of the NTT work I have, but the claustrophobic atmospheres certainly hearken back to that project. In general, this is much less noisy as well (Although 'Bearing Bitter Fruit' brings in some heavy, pulsing machine noise and the untitled seventh track is also a bit noisy, although certainly not Masonna). According to the label, 'Theologian combines several different disciplines of industrial into a signature sound, a doom-laden hybrid of death industrial and power electronics and black ambience that's spliced with a constant melodic presence; the music is harsh, often hellish, but accentuated by an icy, desolate beauty that gives The Further I Get From Your Star, The Less Light I Feel On My Face it's unique, abyssal vibe.' If this sounds good to you, this is definitely one worth picking up. Overall, I would call this an evolution from NTT and look forward to hearing more.

DETONAZIONE: Sorvegliare E Punire

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 14 2011
Title: Sorvegliare E Punire
Format: CD
Label: Sometimes Records (@)
Rated: *****
This year starts with a blast if you are interested into reissues because Detonazione are long gone but never forgotten and this is true for me for sure because I loved their first releases: I still remember when I received the packet with their first three releases I ordered directly from them. Mixing post punk (they were more anarchic than punk), new wave, no-wave and jazz, Detonazione self released two 7"s ("Sorvegliare e punire" and "L'arido utile", both released in 1983) and a MLP ("Riflessi conseguenti" released in 1985 after their tour with Annie Anxiety), before releasing in 1986 for IRA (label which when started had on their roster bands like Litfiba, Diaframma, Moda and Underground Life) another MLP titled "Ultimi pezzi". After that, they disbanded and in 1989 they self released a posthumous album titled "Ultimi pezzi", containing studio and live tracks. Now, thanks to Sometimes Records you can finally have on CD their first three releases along with two compilation tracks ("La grigia miseria / I programmi agli inferi" is from the 1984 LP compilation Rockgarage Compilation Vol 4 and "Zingari In Viaggio" from The Other Side Of Futurism tape compilation released with the fanzine Tribal Cabaret #5). Since the opening track "I don't wanna be (a frustrated one)", you'll release that you never heard something similar (the neurotic rhythmic section is coupled by Bruno Romani's crazy vocals/sax). The atmosphere in balance from a nervous breakdown and a mystic vision is the core of the six tracks of the first two 7"s which with Italian and English lyrics, exploded in Udine contaminating the whole Italian country. "Riflessi conseguenti" is a bit different from the previous ones: it opens with the self titled track which starts sounding like a jazz version of Virgin Prunes just to turn into jazzy version of Japan with beautiful sax solos, fretless bass inserts and percussive drums. Really catchy and evocative... "Tempo" is a atmospheric mid tempo and "Spazio", along with "Assenza di ideali", are two upbeat synth percussive tunes with sax solos and slapped bass. Anyway, my descriptions is just to give you an idea of what Detonazione were capable of but you can check everything by yourselves purchasing a copy directly from the label or if you are a little lazy, from the nearest alternative music store.

Puin+Hoop + Herman Wilken + Coen Oscar Polack: De Objectieve Lach

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 12 2011
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Artist: Puin+Hoop + Herman Wilken + Coen Oscar Polack (@)
Title: De Objectieve Lach
Format: CD
Label: Narrominded (@)
Rated: *****
This album is and long edit (the set lasted 105 minutes and this album is 60 minutes track) of a performance made by Puin+Hoop, a trio of electroacoustic improvisers with the help of Herman Wilken and Coen Oscal Polack. The performance happended in an art gallery in Haarlem, the Netherlands and edited in this shorter form. The result is a record of a slowly evolving but interesting music.
This edit is musically divided in five parts. The set begin quietly with layers of quiet soundscape. The second part is a crescendo of field-recording like soundscape with a lot of echo. The third part is composed of loud drone and noises that create a wall of sound vaguely reminiscent of the work of composers like Phil Niblock because all the musical movement is done by the resonance; the sax of Coen Oscar Pollack introduce to the field of the fourth part: meditative layers of noise which are the base for the sax improvisation. The end is a slow movements of noise and drones decaying into silence.
For those who want to make some clearer idea, photos of the performance is available from It's worth a listen to those involved, or interested, in some form of EAI. A good pick.

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