Music Reviews

Jan 19 2010
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Miwak Twelve
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Hymen records (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
If a label reaches the target to survive 12 years as an active outlet for intelligent Electronica music, then this has to celebrated. The whole Chain D.L.K. team congrats the Hymen Records label to its 12th birthday and is proud to get invited. According to this happening and to celebrate this event with the listeners, Hymen has released the right gift. "Miwak Twelve" is the name of this double-CD compilation, which features mostly new and unreleased tracks of the projects out of the label roster, as well as of some contributions by guests of the famous partner-label Ant-Zen and from several other resources, which are standing in one or another relation to the label. See the full tracklist below and chose your favorite, as this compilation offers quality only. I therefore pick up only a few contributors, which left the most impression. Already the opener of CD1, created by the German project THE EMPATH, impresses with some spacey synth pads and tasteful IDM-related percussion inserts. SOMATIC RESPONSE out of Wales are a real institution for Hymen and active since the beginning of the label. They offer with "Takayama (Another Rainy Day)" energetic Electro bass lines and a hard-hitting rhythm work. Female mistress TONIKOM offers interesting bass lines integrated in a break-beat firework. BLACK LUNG is a project by the well-known Australian sound-wizard David Thrussel (SNOG), who offers here a striking and straight-forward moving noisy tune. HPC out of Norway offers the right balance between harsh Noise percussion elements and a well-thought form of Industrial ambience. ACCESS TO ARASAKA, well, we’ve reached one of my personal favorites during the last months offers an older tune originally released on the netlabel Illphabetik, about with the same intense sci-fi feeling well presented on the marvelous full-length album "Oppidan", out on Tympanik and Spectraliquid. Not to forget DRYFT, the sole effort by the former GRIDLOCK-member Mike Cadoo – somehow his synth layer programming offers a lot of similarities to his unfortunately too early gone cult project.
Quite a lot of well-done works for CD1, but CD2 shouldn’t stand in the shadow. COMBUSTION is a Brazilian project and convinces with an interesting sound-design, plus some decent female vocal contributions by Caro Roth. SNOG a.k.a. David Thrussel gets the expected additional free slot and performs his inimitable "The End Of The World". The Canadian sound-designer of BLACKFILM manages still a lot, to hide himself from the audience, but since his scary Ambient music with its dramatic orchestral inserts are sort of a lecture of "How-to-produce-opulent-arranged-film-scores", I see myself quite fascinated by the audio result – who cares, who’s standing behind this project? The AB OVO-musician Jérôme Chassagnard shakes with "Time Traveller" another superb tune easily out of his wrist, which fascinates with a famous synth-play. And Mika Goedrijk hasn’t to be missed, since his last EP on Ant-Zen was a marvelous output – "Sore Eyes" stands rather more for his darker and lesser aggressive side of his straight-oriented tunes. Also MARCHING DYNAMICS a.k.a. Shane Talada drops an "Almighty Bomb", until the classic Hands-recording act ORPHX lead us into their monotonous, quite KLINIK-like sounding analog-produced Electronic Ambience music. DEAD HOLLYWOOD STARS need to be mentioned too, since the legendary Mr. John Sellekaers (Metarc Studios) stands behind this project – you’ll get it, he of course has also done the mastering of this DCD compilation.
And if some of you out there still have doubts, that 12 years in this shark-driven music business aren’t reason enough to celebrate this with a compilation – well, try yourself to survive with a related project a single year! And be assured, that the Hymen/Ant-Zen clan will find enough good reasons to return with a similar impressive compilation to their 15th year of existence. Let’s move on!
tracklist cd1:
the_empath: at the heart of it all
slam52: frosd
somatic responses: takayama (another rainy day)
millipede: concevoir (gaztheque remix by aphorism)
defrag: the old growth
tonikom: the source
nebulo: sunurb
deru: between you and me
black lung: the hostmen of tyne
lowfish: wreckage
hpc: phoenix
access to arasaka: xt10.20zp9
architect: awake
dryft: vector step (elimination)
hecq: sleep through the day

tracklist cd 2:
combustion: building the house of vanity (feat. caro roth)
ginormous: arrive with eyes ablaze
snog: the end of the world (intimate mix)
crunch: karot (vent remix)
mad ep vs. bryce beverlin II: breakstuff
keef baker: sacrifice
blackfilm: se5
karsten pflum: capstone switch
abs6: premiers traitements
wisp: the bard (postlude)
jerome chassagnard: timeless travelers
mika goedrijk: sore eyes
marching dynamics: almighty bomb
orphx: intercession (edit)
bit shifter: easy prey
dead hollywood stars: back in town
end: jailbait rock
twenty knives: royal vomitorium

John Zorn: Music for Children

 Posted by Mike V. (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 11 2010
Artist: John Zorn
Title: Music for Children
Format: CD
Label: Tzadik
Rated: *****
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Zorn's re-release of Music for Children can now be heard in full, remastered and re-visualized fidelity. Heralded as one of the most 'eclectic' Zorn cds to date (any dedicated Zorn fan can vouch for this statement), it features the multi-instrumentalist playing saxes, wind machines, bass drums, and even feedback systems. Also featured is the guitar feedback master himself, Lou Reed, amidst an onslaught of other top notch performances by all stars of the Tzadik catalog including Erik Friedlander, Greg Cohen, Cyro Baptista, Anthony Coleman, Prelapse, David Abel, Julie Steinberg, William Winant and Marc Ribot.

There's no shortage of mileage traveled in the course of this disc. The trajectory of aesthetics runs the gamut of surf, grindcore, freejazz, music box lullabies, and everything in between -an all around textural stomping ground with no borders, but one rounded out by the well thought out bookends of celeste, voice and hand clapping. It's dense. You simply must hear it to understand it. Even then you are likely to need a few listens to fully grasp what's going on here, and that's what makes this one worthy of owning.

Cycles du Nord, now a classic in Zorn's catalog, is my favorite work on this album. This is an up to date version with new engineering as well as new performances. Second fav being Dreamer of Dreams, a surf guitar-like tune featuring cello solos and, as in any great Zorn tune, an abundance of ambience that could slice a Tarantino flick into two wholes.

In addition to the music, another particularly beautiful aspect of this rerelease is the artwork presentation. The work of multiple artists is fused together to bring to spotlight the visual aesthetics of doll-making by Katan Amano, photography by Yoshida Ryoichi and Macioce, plus illustrations by Henry Darger and the audio production of numerous top notch engineers.
Highly recommended for budding Zorn fans and seasoned vets alike, and well worth repeated listens.

SEARCH : today is tomorrow

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 07 2010
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Artist: SEARCH (@)
Title: today is tomorrow
Format: CD
Label: Search music
Rated: *****
Jazz and not exactly experimental jazz as many of our readers may expect, but believe it or not, it sounds much more catchy than many experimental jazz, pseudo-intellectual releases I've been reviewing lately. This' a basic jazz quartet with drum, bass, sax/clarinet, trumpet/wooden flute and it sounds exactly as band like that should sound: do I mean predictable? No fucking way, I simply mean that these four musicians know where they come from and where they wonna go and in their path they demonstrate they're able to play in a really sensual/interior mood exactly the way jazz should sound like. Cool jazz with a classy club feel, Coltrane, Davis, Don Cherry and a lot of white-jazz but quite far from the free-thing, infact despite the classic room left for solos, for impros they've a structure a melody and a spine as written songs require and RJ Avallone and Matthew Maley know how to write modern jazz songs without being boring as hell. Despite the fact somehow this cd betrays the a genuine passion for this language and not pure reactionary-revivalistic impulse to play the music of your super-heroes during the teenage days.

Kim Cascone: Anti-Musical Celestial Forces

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 04 2010
Artist: Kim Cascone (@)
Title: Anti-Musical Celestial Forces
Format: CD
Label: St�rung (@)
Rated: *****
The words by one of the pioneer of digital arts Hollis Frampton introducing this intriguing release enriching the ex-PGR member as well as the founder of the forerunning Silent Records and renowned sound sculptor Kim Cascone �s repertoire of field recording based CDs (among which we advise to have a listen/look to the visionary Astrum Argentum on Anechoic Media according to which the theorem of the inspirational and influential flim-maker Stan Brakhage could state that "for any finite series of shots (�film') whatsoever there exist in real time a rational narrative, such that every term in the series, together with its position, duration, partition and reference shall be perfectly and entirely accounted for" sounds quite eloquent in order to let you understand this particular form of "sound" art, especially if supplied by the author of technically innovative shorts such as the "surgical-optical" Pittsburg Trilogy or the Faustfilm series. As suggested by the Blake-like visionary alternated to a "concrete" approach spoken words interwoven with the first ambience recordings (cracklings, box-spring noises, steps, creaking doors, the mechanical background of a car engine and obviously the rain agglomerated on a base made up of ultra-low frequencies), Kim should therefore light a cigarette, sit in a dark room and listen "to the distant folds of static, a soundtrack to the shadow play of rain-streaked window panes" and the sonic journey begins after the cheeky and suggestive narration introducing to what could be considered a maquillage of modern antiques of radio art!

We didn't casually mention Astrum Argentum as it is maybe the record sharing a lot of similarities with Anti-Musical Celestial Forces in spite of its visionary and evokative power: both of them are a collection of field recordings (or it's better to say a montage of field recordings, both of them have been gathered while touring in Europe, both of them shares a certain sense of disorientation and a sort of attempt of turning sounds into a sort of compass or preferably as hidden traces of a place in order to give word to the not-listenable and the unpredictable as well, then joined together in a sort of personal patchwork by the author/listener conciliating the imaginative production of the "user" of this record '“ a sort of blind movie whose film-maker is the listener as well -, just like in a Brakhage's movie.

Having inherited a significant experience in the music-scoring (having worked as music assistant with David Lynch for his series Wild At Heart and Twin Peaks), Kim Cascone perfectly knows how to give the cur for this kind of mental makes just using some fragments, sometimes grabbed throughout a radio receiver developed by Nasa, interferences then issued by Störung, the esteemed multidisciplinary platform superbly run by Alex Gamze aka Asferico, that are going to insufflate listeners' minds by a kaleidoscope of goads, static radio noises and obscure bugging. Highly recommended!


 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 04 2010
Title: canaries on the pole #2
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
A Belgium based ensemble here, a four piece which explores the different and endless (or ended?) solutions of improvising. Interesting work, infact they combine different registers, different forms of interaction and above all different dynamics thus you pass from the opening animated track to some soft compositions, you have nervous playing like in "für lotte" and contemporary quasi soundtrack theme like "Once upon". It looks like they gave a lot of importance to interaction instead of putting the accent on soloism, I think when play silently they reach the climax above all when working on those mysterious melodies. That’s a good point, sometimes it all reminded me a bit of Lounge Lizard just put in an improvisational contest, some piece they’ve been using for soundtracks are definitely not that far from this quartet. There’s a slight free jazz feel but nothing that strong to justify a classification as jazz improviser, it’s a sort of background colour I’ve perceived here and there. Another background colour is the contemporary classic music mood you have to take for granted above all when they’re playing these long silent track which as I’ve said I think it’s one of their best peculiarities.

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