Music Reviews



GREIE GUT FRAKTION: Baustelle

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 26 2010
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Artist: GREIE GUT FRAKTION
Title: Baustelle
Format: CD
Label: Monika Enterprise
Born from an AGF/Gudrun Gut collaboration, the project Greie Gut Fraktion reflects exactly the mix of the music they produce respectively. Antye Greie is active as AGF the poetess and her music is a mix of electronic and poetry (what else...) and Gudrun Gut, after the Malaria! experience, her participation to early Einsturzende Neubauten and her actual experience as Monika Enterprise boss, three years ago produced her first solo album titled "I put a record on", where she was de-constructing and reassembling electronic, r'n'r and folk music. BAUSTELLE is focused on minimal electronic loops where rhythmical samples help building a solid background for tiny readings: the voice repeats phrases almost whispering them and sometimes singing them (like on "Make it work" or "Grossbrungebesitzer"). The result is in balance from industrial ("Whithe oak" could fit an Einsturzende Neubauten record) and electronic experimentation with some incursion into minimal techno. Noisy but on tiptoe...

Voice Electronic Duo: SON

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 24 2010
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Artist: Voice Electronic Duo
Title: SON
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: MonotypeRec
Rated: *****
The anatomical description of this Polish electro-acoustic project's caged both in its denomination, Voice Electronic Duo, and in this record, SON, not only because its line-up made up of the talented experimental vocalist Zofia Esden (voice and loops) and the prolific sound-artist Marcin Demyter aka Emiter (generator, electronics, voice, loops and tapes), but mainly as this record could stand as a sort of spelling-book of their own style: they pay homage in three of five tracks to some historical cornerstones of art and experimental music in particular: Intonarumori, as you could easily argue, is dedicated to the notorious sound machine built by the Futurist Italian musician Luigi Russolo, considered the very first pioneer of the so-called machine music, whose The Art of Noises, one of his masterpieces is a must-read for people involved in the composition of experimental music, includes an interesting classification of different noises, which could be used, while Le Monde Sonore Existe, a bizarre excerpt with vortical vocal experiments by Zofia and looping by Marcin, is a quotation taken from Ezra Pound's Machine Art, aimed to give a convincing theoretical dignity to the unconvential side of music and the title-track, the astonishingly 16minutes and 16 seconds-lasting Son, dedicated to the legendary John Cage, seems to be an application of the statements he did about aleatory music just after he embraced Zen philosophy. A part of these remarkable tributes, I mainly appreciated VED's music art in the other two tracks: the disquieting Herbaciarnia u pani Flory is maybe the best expression of the vocal experiments by Zofia and in same passages of the harshily recursive hypnotical 4/4 loop you could have the impression she took microphones and recorder during a painful surgical operation on the day every anaesthetist was on vacation! A really stunning track just like Mandala, where a more peaceful and entrancing sound environment let Zofia's ethereal and feather-like trilling flow higher turning them into something close to a nightingale's warbling! Realized with the financial support of Pomeranian voivodship government, this nice issue features an artwork cared by Anna Witkowska.

Laurie Anderson: Homeland

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 19 2010
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Artist: Laurie Anderson
Title: Homeland
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Nonesuch
Rated: *****
Full disclosure: I have worked with Laurie and have worked on this record as well, so I am partial to her music and it'd be hard, if not impossible, for me to say anything negative about such an amazing person and artist. I will however attempt to give you just the facts so you can make an informed decision about whether to purchase this CD or not (spoiler alert: you most definitely should!).

Laurie Anderson needs no introduction: a visionary, a pioneer, a true and complete artist whose approach to art encompasses music, story-telling, visual arts, sculptures and more. Her previous studio album "Life on a String" came out in 2001 and she's been busy touring, writing new material while on the road, releasing a book, creating videos, installations, pieces for museums and being actively involved in a number of other artistic and political events.
If you've been a fan of her work, the long wait for a new studio album is about to pay off. "Homeland" is possibly one of the most versatile, complete, personal and mature records in her discography. It is also possibly one of the most political ones. This might come as no surprise if you consider that her previous release was the 2002 double CD "Live in New York" recorded less than 10 days after 9/11 at Town Hall in New York; and that while she was writing new material for this album she's obviously been heavily affected and inspired by those events and the unfolding of the follow-up war and the "W" parade/tyranny.

On every one of her albums, Laurie Anderson takes you on complex journey through her visions and her ideas. Listeners become the privileged travelers who get to take a peak inside her beautiful mind. This album is no different, with all its great story telling, inspiring words and unmistakable truths.
With true poets and musical story tellers of our times (people like Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and others) I always feel sad for the non-english speaking people who can't really fully appreciate such great records until they find a good translation of the lyrics. But especially so with Laurie, even if you don't speak any english and you were to never look for a translation (which would be a shameful mistake on your part, especially since they do exist!), strictly musically speaking "Homeland" is so gorgeous that you'd probably still end up taking this record to your deserted island.

Its ethereal atmospheres, organic textures, synthetic pads, sub-sonic pulses, orchestral arrangements and worldly influences create a beautiful, timeless and incredibly heterogeneous record. When you look at who's played on the album, that too should come as no surprise. For the most part the core band on tour and on the record consisted of Laurie playing all electronics and violin accompanied by Eyvind Kang on viola, Peter Scherer on keyboards and Skuli Sverisson on bass; but several songs feature Rob Burger and Kieran Hebden on keys, Shahzad Ismaily on percussions and bass, Omar Hakim, Ben Wittman and Joey Baron on drums and even three mongolian throat singers and igil players. So many musicians have leant their incredible talents to the making of this record in its various and many permutations, that the resulting equation of Laurie's creative mind enhanced by all these people's musical inputs rubbing off on her and shaping these pieces really produced a genius' masterwork. And on top of all of that, other very special guests also leant their talents: Antony on vocals, John Zorn on sax, of course Lou Reed (who also produced this record together with Roma Baran) on guitar and percussions and even Lou an Laurie's dog Lolabelle on piano!

"Homeland" comes as a CD+DVD. 12 gorgeous audio tracks plus a DVD disc that includes a 41 minute long sort of "making-of" video (featuring interviews with Laurie, the producers and some of the musicians) and a 7 minute long interview with Laurie about her violin.
If you haven't gotten the point of all of the above yet, the gist of it is: go out and buy this record if it were to become the last record you buy before the music industry completely crumbles!

The Truth About Frank: Murder Sleep

 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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Jun 14 2010
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Artist: The Truth About Frank (@)
Title: Murder Sleep
Format: CD EP
Label: LYF
Distributor: Norman
After their previous sonic issues (sometimes close to lo-fi techno and electronic razor-shaped industrial'¦you could imagine something amidst Negativland, Psychic TV and acid techno era strips), the mysterious duo hailing from east boroughs of Leeds ' one of the English city's baking some interesting experimental projects -, known as The Truth About Frank, reaches his 4th 4-tracks Ep just before announcing (finally!!!) their first full-length, acting as a confirmation of their skills in forging strange sonic creatures, which could be perceived as playful and disquieting, elegant and aggressive at the same time throughout rapid passages (or I'd better call them interpenetration of )from hollow even if agonizing dreams to sinister scary nightmares. These brainy guys don't use sounds to excess, but they wisely treat them in that hallucinogenic way able to pierce listener's search of strong audible emotions, stimulating thoughts without any recurrence to Gothicism or industrialism injections. Artworks ' there's one for each track, partially reminding those provocative collages of some cyber-punk graphic designer, rich in fluorescent outlines and psychedelic mosaics- seem to play almost as a caption for tracks and the above-mentioned contrast between peaceful and disquieting elements resurface mostly in the last one, Welcome, in which The Truth About Frank loops a low-pitched voice morbidly repeating 'Welcome to My World' on a flat slow-changing half-melody. You could easily grab the implicit irony and the keenness behind a track like that! Maybe this Ep will not murder your sleep, but it surely could unsettle it! I'm curious to listen TTAF forthcoming album after listening to this taste of their enjoyable quibbles!

ARI BENJAMING MAYERS: Symphony X

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 14 2010
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Artist: ARI BENJAMING MAYERS
Title: Symphony X
Format: CD
Label: Potomak
Rated: *****
Collaborator of Philip Glass, Einsturzende Neubauten, The Residents, Morton Subotnik, The Orb, and Sun Electric among others Ari Benjamin Meyers worked also for classical institutions including the Semper Opera Dresden and the Berlin State Opera. He also is conductor and composer at the Juilliard School, Yale University, the Peabody Conservatory, and the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin as well as a founding member of the avant-hardcore band Celan (along with musicians from Unsane and Oxbow) . On SYMPHONY X, Ari, presents four movements which are linked to the minimal suites of composers of the likes of Philip Glass or Glenn Branca. Ari made something similar to the Glenn Branca guitar symphonies recordings using a symphonic orchestra made of saxophones, brass, strings, electric guitar, electric bass, drums, and electronics. Repetition and variation are the key element of the CD. We have atmosphere alternation where percussions and bass/guitar make the tension grow slowly with constant repetitions of one note and all of a sudden part of the brasses section start to play the same note alternatively, each part of the section hit a different bit of the measure producing an hypnotic effect. The four movements sometimes start from a reprise just to change tiny things, then ending into something different. Great album that you'll love if you like epic sounds and experimental/modern classical music.


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