Music Reviews



John Zorn: O'o

 Posted by Mike V. (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 11 2010
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Artist: John Zorn
Title: O'o
Format: CD
Label: Tzadik
Distributor: tzadik, Amazon, iTunes
Rated: *****
O'o brings us closer to Zorn's lighter side of jazz, accompanied by Marc Ribot, Jamie Saft (piano), Kenny Wollesen (vibes), Trevor Dunn (bass), Joe Baron (drums) and Cyro Battista on percussion. That personnel aside, its pure Zorn in terms of harmonies and melodic material.

Those who caught this group's other outings such as The Gift and The Dreamers will rejoice, as this is a nice compliment to the other albums. O'o has each musicians tasteful backing but supported by overall flawless musicianship, production and bird sounds. Its just solid and must be heard to be described for the effect. My choice tunes include Magdalena and Kakawahie.

Also worthy of note is the amazing graphic design by Chippy. A booklet of what must be 60 pages is included featuring hand sketched birds, each one looking like it was done by hand right in the booklet. A world class release from head to toe.

TONART ENSEMBLE & ERNESTO RODRIGUEZ : Murmurìos Creative Sources

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 11 2010
Artist: TONART ENSEMBLE & ERNESTO RODRIGUEZ
Title: Murmurìos Creative Sources
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
TonArt Ensemble is a collective of free improvising musicians founded in Hamburg in 1989 and they have collaborated with Evan Parker, Braxton, Fred Frith just to name a few. Ernesto Rodriguez, I think you know him for his many works on Creative Sources, after having being invited in Hamburg for a workshop, the collaboration with this ensemble took to this interesting result. We're speaking about a release featuring two long suites. The first moves slow but really dynamic, for example it amazed me how after some object falls on the ground the intensity suddenly flows away to slowly return on the "crime scene". Considering the ensemble features many bowed instruments as well as many horns you can imagine now and then the compositions really sounds. Approaching to the nineteenth minute horns start growing but as for the "fallen object" episode what follows is a new silent-phase. In this continual and gentle up and down alternation they never go for a real explosion. Differently from the previous chapter, the second episode starts with high pitched notes and other loud sounds, always really balanced but even if they silence after a while, the second composition is so full of this high pitched notes and even if sometimes it really go beyond the listenable limit I think this one is the most interesting of the two compositions. Low notes alternated with high notes, solo voices and coral working together in the same track and loud cyclical parts conquering the scene.

RODRIGUEZ, DAVIDSON, RODRIGUEZ, FAUSTINO : fower

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 11 2010
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Artist: RODRIGUEZ, DAVIDSON, RODRIGUEZ, FAUSTINO
Title: fower
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
This an all acoustic instruments cd based on a line up including an acoustic guitar, a cello, a viola and a double bass, being on Creative Sources and featuring both the Rodriguez guy it has "that" characteristic sound. Unsounded bowed and scratched instruments interacting softly, gently but also firmly as the concrete dogmas taught us all. Funny since even if there's no brushed drumming sometimes that's the effect you hear, above all during the first long track, that later develops into a played composition with more violent playing and soft quiet scary melodies. The second composition moves along the same lines but in a way has more interesting interactions, more instrumental dialogue and if you ask me the coral playing reaches more intensity. The last track is just five minutes long and brings in a more frontal guitar approach but at the same time reminds a lot the strong identity that's behind the other two compositions. Sometimes "fower" has some interesting solution but it's not so far from many other Creative Sources works really close to following a bit too blindly the "unwritten dogmas" of electro-acoustic improvising.

EELS ON HEELS: Letters

 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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Nov 11 2010
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Artist: EELS ON HEELS
Title: Letters
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Coming from Trani, Italy, the Eels On Heels are a band that isn't afraid to beat their instruments. Inspired by no wave, post punk and new wave, the band just released their second EP titled LETTERS. Containing three upbeat noisy tracks trained by tribal drums ("Y", "N" and "G"), the EP shows well the band's will to experiment with sound: distant dreaming vocals are overwhelmed by electronic noises, stabbing guitar riffs where tiny melodies clash on walls of sounds just to start again. At the moment I can't think about a paragon and I think that this is good. Two out of three tracks are available to check at their myspace, so if you like them you can support Eels On Heels by purchasing this self produced release.

ANBB: Alva Noto & Blixa Bargeld: Mimikry

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 10 2010
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Artist: ANBB: Alva Noto & Blixa Bargeld (@)
Title: Mimikry
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
The creative person should have no other biography than his works'¦ Even if I break the conventional rules of good manners, I decided to butt in when Carsten Nicolai aka Alva Noto, the renowned and talented equerry of Raster-Noton, and Blixa Bargeld, the expressive and deep voice inside the noisy jungle of industrial rattles by the legendary band Einsturzende Neubaten as well as guitarist for Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, were handshaking the mysterious identity of Ret Marut, signing himself under the pseudonym B.Traven (it's still disputed the real identity of this moniker, author of some novels and short stories issued in the beginning of the last century and mainly issued in German and then translated in English ' the analogy with Blixa's attitude in preserving German lyrics is immediate! -, showing a stern criticism against capitalism'¦) just to highlight not only the evidence that these composer doesn't need any introduction, but also to remark that their interesting musical and artistic paths don't really need boring biographies!

Those paths have cut each other in September 2007, when they performed together at Recombinant Media Labs Studios in San Francisco in order to take concrete form (maybe an inappropriate expression if you know some of their workouts) recently throughout a project named from their initials ANBB, anticipated by a sort of preliminary EP entitled 'Ret Marut Handshake' as well, which provocatively seems to eulogize an author without a reliable identity ycleped B.Traven (aka Ret Marut aka Hal Croves aka Otto Freige aka Bruno Marhut aka Hugo Kronthal aka Kraus Martinez aka Adolf Rudolph, etc etc'¦. The only certain piece of information about this writer is just his sex even if some researchers think that this author was a German/Polish rebel, who needed to hide his real name!) in our times, when identity has become a sort of obsession for the controllers of the NOW according to many contemporary thinkers!

Identity, or it's better saying Identitaetlichkeiten, its convulsive convolutions, its annihilation cycled with different mimesis and transmutations seem to be the conceptual framework of this interesting collaboration, based according to the melting musical personalities which signed it on the combination of improvisation and abstraction (a 'mixed' duality reflected even in the booklet containing lyrics, where words are transcribed together with sound punctuation, a bizarre notation used by Blixa during the recording process similar to the one normally used to draw electronic circuits and wave forms) and featuring many peaks of pure lyricism since the beginning: Fall looks like a wandering poem about the lost of identity, starting with a torn shriek, in different chapters and showing really catching and sudden change of setting, superbly interpreted by Blixa.

Filled with pathos, any track has a powerfully dramatic wit, where even single sounds and self-shaping noises play an active role like disclosing strokes of a brush with many expressive peaks, among which I'd like to mention the astonishing cover of One (originally written by Harry Nilsson) and I Wish I Was A Mole, an Old American folk song, already remade by Bob Dylan, treated in a really eccentric way, Once Again, a track tracing the route of a journey towards an undefined goal and an undefined sense of inadequacy (I bitterly smiled after hearing the nice trait of Italian people mood, sometimes resigning to their fate, when after his distraught complaint inserted the repetition of the Italian word 'pazienza', meaning patience'¦), the title-track Mimikry, the disquieting Berghain (maybe a track which is intimately connected to Einsturzende Neubaten's Weil Weil Weil'¦a sort of link with due respect for that astonishingly impressive and meaningful repertoire) and the final track Katze, featuring the mewing vocals and spoken word by the model Verushka, the spider-like fascinating woman pictured on the cover, famous for her appearance on Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up. I don't exaggerate if I say that this work is close to masterwork, folks!


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