Music Reviews



Todd is Each New Moment: Glass Sword

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 10 2011
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Artist: Todd is Each New Moment (@)
Title: Glass Sword
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
What if, in the late 70's, early 80's Brian Eno decided to find and produce the worst minimal synth band in New York he could find. Not sure he could complete the task himself, he enlisted the aid of The Residents, and possibly one other (undisclosed) luminary English musical known for his bizarre music as a consultant. Upon hearing the finished product, the record company recoiled in horror and promptly shelved the recording burying it deep in its archives vowing it would never be released as it would ruin the reputations of all involved. Then, 30 or so years later, some lackey at the label discovered the recording and released it anonymously. Todd is Each New Moment's 'Glass Sword' could be such a recording.

Fortunately for Brian Eno, he has no such involvement whatsoever with this project. (Although he did play with, and produce the Portsmouth Sinfonia, a markedly low point in his career with classical music no-talents, but that's another story.) Unfortunately for Todd is Each New Moment, there is no Brian Eno, or Residents or anyone else to blame this misbegotten disaster on but Todd is Each New Moment. TINEM on this disc is comprised of guitarist Thomas Wilk and keyboardist Bryan Hamill, and singer Jake Davidson of Brooklyn and Athens, NY. Yes, it's minimal synth, and probably like nothing you've ever heard. It could have been a bad SNL skit, but Sprockets has nothing to fear here. The odd thing is, there are some interesting off the wall musical elements, but the vocals are just so gawd-awful that they can't be overcome. Davidson sings in this hokey overly affected pseudo-dramatic voice that just makes you want to roll your eyes and say 'what the fuck is this shit???' It's as if David Byrne had a brother who couldn't sing at all, but figuring since he had Byrne blood in him, decided to give warbling a go anyway. Perhaps with somebody who could actually sing (or enough processing on the voice to render it inscrutable) this mess could have made into something at least tolerable.

There are moments that TINEM bore a vague resemblance to elements of Eno's first solo album ('Here Come the Warm Jets'), but they were assuredly brief. Actually, there was one thing I liked- a brief minimal guitar solo in 'For Evan and Evan,' but that was such a small part of this disaster that it hardly makes up for any of the rest. Sometimes the weirdness approaches Residentsville, for weirdness only, not for talent or inventiveness. Even the Bonzo Dog Band, if they attempted to spoof the worst band in the world, could not achieve the atrociousness present on 'Glass Sword'. If you don't believe me, visit their MySpace site and check out some of the tracks.

I might be willing to give this band a listen on a future release if they dump Davidson and get a decent vocalist, but I wouldn't count on that. Funny thing is, there are some people who are going to love this stuff just because it's so bad and so out there. I suppose it could be considered Dada or Avant Garde synthpop, but for me, it was just cringe-worthy, and in my book, that's never a good thing.

DAVID FIRST : Privacy Issue (Droneworks 1996 - 2009)

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 10 2011
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Artist: DAVID FIRST
Title: Privacy Issue (Droneworks 1996 - 2009)
Format: CD
Label: XI records (@)
Rated: *****
Another release it took me a while to describe but it's Experimental Media and if you're confidential with the label you know it's heavy experimental music composed and recorded with a deep and hyper intellectual edge. This is the turn of a collection giving exposure to the drone materials of unconventional music composer/guitarist David First. If the cd opens with this monolitic, quasi organ-sounding track based on a theremin sound that last for almost thirsty six minutes, the second episode quietly re-proposes the same narcoleptic idea of the first one, a slowly growing drone takes the scene it's even difficult to believe the sound has been made with an e-bowed guitar. The first cd consistent of small sound variations from the drone-theme even if the third track introduces some more instruments like a dissonant piano kept sound mixed in the magma a violin and a clarinet, the mixing has been made in order to obtain some similar effects. During the listening of the second cd you can't but notice sonic structures are changing it's also true this series of compositions has been made after YTK, for what concerns the audio pro-profile, let's say the five compositions contained in this second cd by some means are a bit more "electronic" but the basic style remains the same. What really surprises me is how this composer has probably intentionally maintained the same magmatic sound throughout the years and that's also testified by the last cd containing the long piece titled "Pipeline Witnedss Apologies to Dennis" where beside David himself with laptop and his many midi and electronic devices are featured several trombones and a keyboard. This track in someway is the real summa of more then ten years of compositions and studies by this unordinary guitar player with a contemporary classic training and a deep interest in electronic music. Given the fact this last track is dedicated to Dennis Sandole, First's guitar/composition teacher I think you can understand why here the musicians probably reaches the his compositional climax and goes deep in his musical research. David First speaks about some references that range from Philip Glass to Alvin Lucier but it also reminded the suggestions created by Giacinto Scelsi. As Nicolas Collins writes in the line notes First's "textures have grown denser and lusher over the years".


KINETIX : final archives

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 10 2011
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Artist: KINETIX
Title: final archives
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
This release has come out almost simultaneously with the split release with Pylone we've reviewed a couple of weeks ago. Differently from the split cd, this work is a collection of old materials came out on cdr and an old net releases and despite the fact not all of the tracks have been composed during the same period of time this slab of plastic offers a homogeneous listening. If you ever had the chance to taste Beccuzzi' solo releases you know we mostly deal with cold electronic post-industrial avant-garde music..are in you in need of some references to file the music here contained? Let's say it's mostly post-cotemporary classic music with references to Thomas Koner, Richard Cartier, Pan Sonic and their related projects in general, Zoviet France, and anything following this route. Final archives offers a full range of high and low frequencies, sharp sounds, raw materials, squared low beats, concrete sounds, electronic versus music concrete, soft-crescendos and sudden peaks of noise and silence, just to show Becuzzi knowledge of electronic/installation music has matured along the way. I can grant you both the minimal compositions and the sound installation materials have that common heavy, post-industrial feel that characterizes the majority of Kinetix solo works but overall this cd is on Silentes and obviously if you know the label I doubt you won't like its sound. To emphasize this last conclusion I should add beside minimalism sometimes Becuzzi has this quasi-isolationist post-ambient feel that many fans of the genre will surely appreciate. Honestly it took me more than one listening to get how much I was into the work, but after several listening I'm convinced this collection of recordings puts together some interesting compositions, maybe one of the best work of Kinetix so far.

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
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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.


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