Music Reviews

HEX ON: In Slow Motion

 Posted by Mariano Equizzi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 03 2009
Artist: HEX ON (@)
Title: In Slow Motion
Format: CD
Label: monopoly records (@)
Distributor: monopoly records
Rated: *****
From Russia with a Portishead touch, ethereal but darkish music. It's a project that follows the rules of the modern electronic style but with different view. I gotta say that I was amazed by the sounds I heard in this project, smooth, noir, mystery like a sort of imaginary soundtrack for a thriller set in Moscow Metro during the night. Also, the graphic work of the project is very interesting a sort of Lewis Carrol divertissment with some gore disturbing content, but perhaps the symbols involved are Alchemic...not to mention Alan Moore worlds . Coming back to sound and electronic moods they use, we hear strange voices, glitch sounds and also break beat tunes and some noisesque electronic carpets all of them are well mixed up and hey move in the proper way to inspire something not only to move air around our ears. The soundscape they create is perfect for a strange thriller Lynch-inspired. The sound complexity of the project is focused and not accidental, there is Brain behind the music not only a mouse and "Fruity Loops". The result is largely positive and sometimes Depeche Modesque but not so much, some track recall me the acid of Talking Heads but from an electronic eastern POV. Best track for me: the 4th. In some way they follow even the AddNToX rules but HEX ON is more RUSSIAN and "aggressive/noir/spooky", better, they have a different mood but the "place" they walking into is definitely that one. A last word about the LABEL, it is a very interesting entity that is creating a dense workground, give alook to their website; I look forward to hear more from their great, secret and beautiful Land.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 01 2009
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Title: Hames
Format: CD
Label: Lazybird
Rated: *****
Rollers/Sparkers are a Dublin based collective creating rhythmic tracks out of improvised and re-edited sessions. "Hames" features 16 tracks of their bizarre loop-based collages, where every kind of source seems to be good to create a repetitive sequence, from vocals to mouth harps. Comparisons can be made with freak entities like Black Dice, (some) Boredoms and Fuck Buttons, but Rollers/Sparkers seem to lack their complexity and epic proportions - their tracks eventually reduce to sketches with few to no development, nor a real trance inducing force. As it is, "Hames" displays some flashes of creativity, but isn't exactly a memorable record.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 01 2009
Title: Armiarmak
Format: CD
Distributor: Arto Artian
Rated: *****
Basque musician Miguel A. García has chosen the risky path of skeletal, self-generated sounds: a feedback mixer, a couple of microphones capturing the performer's gestures, and a sine oscillator. Over the years, the improv recordings based on no-input gear have varied from exhilarating to utterly disposable, and after listening I can easily put García high in the first group. With recordings like this, suggestion is everything, and "Armiarmak" luckily creates some fertile emotional short-circuit with the listener. The frequencies in the opening "Suge arrosa", for example, eventually structure themselves in grating loops, reminding of string plucking, then the composition boils down to a static unrest, with sparse fog-horn wails. "Acuphenos" is melting ice and mist, rich in bubbling, muddy basses. "Eve" accumulates electrics shocks in a bruitist crescendo, leading to the glorious "side b" of the cd (yep, there's a flipside, apparently), featuring the painfully high frequencies of the title track, and the heap of audio debris, hisses and feedback of "Suge gorria". When, in the final "Itapoa (for Rafael Flores)", the sampled guitar of former Comando Bruno adds a more recognizable musical quality, it has an almost surrealistic effect, lost as it is in García's swarm of electronics.

Blipvert: stop:skronk:explode!

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 29 2008
Artist: Blipvert (@)
Title: stop:skronk:explode!
Format: CD
Label: D-Trash (@)
Rated: *****
Back in the mid 80es the word was used to describe short but super fast paced high-intensity commercials which caused some viewers' nervous systems to overload (some might remember Max Headroom), but Oakland-based Will Redmond reclaimed the term at the beginning of this century. If that is not a clear enough indication of what you are getting yourself into, the title does say it all! "stop:skronk:explode!" is a ten track disc of crazed pieces made of short interruptions, skronky sounds and quick explosions. Talk about overload, you never get a break here, the blips just keep coming at you, just like D-Trash likes it. At times it sounds like a colorful and busy video arcade going insane or about to implode, other times it sounds like a bunch of people auditioning sounds from different sample libraries at the same time and with no apparent structure... In the most structured of cases an irreverent and cut up breakbeat glues it all together. There a tiny number of exceptions to the fury, but you'll have to patiently wait until at least half way through the disc for some resemblance of peacefulness (track 5 a soothing but still somewhat restless and disquieting ambient/lounge track and track 10 is a surprisingly relaxing and entrancing beat-less atmospheric piece that stands in net contrast with everything that just happened before it - think of it as the calm after the storm). It should be obvious that, if you are looking for consistency, you ought to look somewhere else, but if you do like to be startled with sensory overload look no further!!!
Will is known for his openness to experimentation. He lived in NYC and was part of the vibrant downtown music scene for a while. Once a member of NY-based avant-rock group PAK with Ron Anderson, he has collaborated with Elliott Sharp, Time of Orchids, Mambo Matins, Samsara, Muffinhead, DJ Squid etc). Will is one of those people that most Academics would conservatively dismiss as a knucklehead with a computer and too much time on his hands. Yet he really is a progressive Academic himself (NY and SF has a bunch of those, like the great Fred Frith for example) with two Masters degrees in teaching and music compositions and with works featured in places such as Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, NYU, Brooklyn Conservatory and so on and so forth. Whether you are impressed by that or not, is up to you, just give this a listen and decide for yourself.

LOVELY LITTLE GIRLS: Glamorous Piles & Puffy Saddlebags

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 26 2008
Title: Glamorous Piles & Puffy Saddlebags
Format: CD
Label: Apop
Rated: *****
Apop seems to have become the refugium peccatorum for all the no-wave orphans or those who missed the ephemeral glory of Skin Graft. Heaven knows where all these mutants (Skarkrau Radio, Duchesses) come from, somebody must have thrown LSD in waterpipes for real. Now, this octet is SLIGHTLY more controlled than its label mates, but we're still in a highly demented territory. Six tracks in less than 20 minutes of cubist mock-rock which reminds of Beefheart here and there, but with a deranged vocalist in an exalted Jello Biafra mood. What makes Lovely Little Girls quite unique is the care for complex arrangements (layered vocals, refrains, etc.), creating quirky prog-no wave hybrids with even some Eastern influence. "Wretched Substitute" (great title!!) and "Lady Shoes Remain Attached" are impressive psychodramas of melodic detours and anguished explosions, full of theatrical uneasiness. The perfect visual counterpart is offered by vocalist Gregory Jacobsen's paintings and drawings, a tormented underworld mixing "Alice in Wonderland", Dix, Wolverton and various sexual disturbance case studies (check and

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