Music Reviews

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.

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
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
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".

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