Music Reviews

[HAVEN]: Plastic

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 26 2010
Artist: [HAVEN]
Title: Plastic
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Newcomer talents out of undiscovered areas of Eastern Europe providing an uncompromising IDM/Electronica sound-outfit, seem to touch the ears and hearts of the Tympanik Audio label owner Paul Nielsen and his helpers.
[HAVEN] is a one-man music project out of Poland, consisting of Marcin Jamulski, who presents with "Plastic" his first album newly signed to this label. Previously he can look back on 2 releases for the Polsih label Rage In Eden. Musically mostly driven by dark and cold synth sweep-sounds, multiple voice samples to transport the content, varied field recording efforts and abrasive percussion drops, the 16 tracks on this album create a very own sound environment, which requires a bit more than the usual attention from the listener. Relatively straight and beat-driven tunes like "Marrakech" or "Takir Al-Masir" with their easy-to-follow, catchy synth-layers can be heard side by side with some static and mysterious sounding tunes like "Tell Me About Madness" or "Broken Childhood" – this album draws a fine line between a rhythmically urging for motion and an attentive listening experience. [HAVEN] seemingly manages hard to figure out an authentic kind of its sound, but it too needs to be said, that this act hasn’t reached perfection so far. Some tracks are drowning a bit too obviously into repetitions, also some of the chosen sounds could need an update, just to keep it a bit more thrilling. It’s a respectable debut with some minor flaws, so let’s continue to have an open ear for the further efforts out of this Polish [HAVEN]...

URAL UMBO: Ural Umbo + Latent Defects

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 10 2010
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Title: Ural Umbo + Latent Defects
Format: CD
Label: Utech Records (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by Reto Mäder (Sum of R, RM74) and Steven Hess (On, Haptic) Ural Umbo release on Utech Records their self titled début album. The nine track of the CD present a wide palette of influences and sounds. The opening track "The Lights Would Stop Flickering" recalls me the first Coil vinyl release "How to destroy angels", because of its gong/cymbal sounds but soon after the duo show us their true spirit by adding French horn, guitar drones and a xylophone. "Theme of the Paranormal Feedback" is a kaleidoscope of guitar improvisation duetting with cymbals. Toward the end of the track, from the chaos, rise a feedback melody which add a particular melancholic effect. "Förlåta Jag" mix guitar drones, slow drum beats and horns making result Codeine an happy band. "Voices from the Room Below" mix drones, metallic percussions and feedback while the following "Don't Eat Carrots, My Little Ghost Horse" sounds quite rarefied with its mix of clean electric guitar spare sounds, light guitar drones and little-bells. "Stumbling Upon Blood and Mercury" is a tense tune with low guitar drones and metallic percussions. On its middle a drum starts its funeral beat and between rising high frequency guitar drones a two notes catchy melody cries like a siren. "Among the Bones" is another track that got my attention because of its jazzy approach using organ sounds as background while brushes run on a snare drum and guitar sounds clashes creating sometimes some melody. Also available as mp3/flac download is a sister mini album titled LATENT DEFECTS". It is based on the sounds of the album but it shows the minimal side of Ural Umbo: its six tracks have less sounds interactions and I can define them as monolithic. Personally I prefer the album, because it is kinda extreme but more varied.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 03 2010
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Title: Browen
Format: CD
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Active since 1995 as a live performer and producer of experimental electronic dance music, Bjørn Svin has released several albums and 12"s as well as music for films and theatre. In the late nineties he became a "techno pop-star" with the hit "Mer Strøm 2" and reached cult-status in most of Scandinavia. His new album BROWEN will be released on March by Danish Rump Recordings and it shows a different side of Bjørn as composer. The twelve tracks of the album take inspiration from the rhythmic richness of techno/i.d.m. music but add to the mix an experimental attitude. If tracks like "ROwmOR" or "mPmWree" show still traces of techno structures, others like the opening "Browen" or the following "bowbroW" are more experimental oriented thanks to an evolving flow of metallic sounds that form little melodic/rhythmic loops. Minimal tiny melodies change their sound from dissonant to melodic and clashes with other hundreds forming a constant flow of sound. Techno, dub (check the opening part of "mOmWree"), i.d.m., experimental influences blend very well giving to the listener an interesting and wide sound spectrum to explore.
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.

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