Music Reviews



Ur and Craig Hilton: I Will Be the Light

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 15 2009
cover
Artist: Ur and Craig Hilton (@)
Title: I Will Be the Light
Format: CD
Label: Afe Records (@)
Rated: *****
I think that Afe Records is becoming the new Amplexus, with the odd size, aesthetically pleasing packaging. I have reviewed two other albums from Ur and they specialize in noisy atmospheres, but I had not heard of Craig Hilton. Evidently, he has collaborated with the likes of Maurizio Bianchi and MSBR, and this shows through from the opening moments of the album. Where Ur is more restrained in their noisiness, "The Path Beneath" unloads from the very beginning, only then dropping the volume to draw the listener in. The music crackles like fire and noise bursts into the quiet, foreboding atmosphere like someone operating a grinding wheel in a cavernous factory building. Eventually, the noise builds to a deafening crescendo, only to end in spastic bursts of noise. The silence after these assaults makes you quite aware of what you have just listened to. "Essential Salt" follows a similar trajectory, with noise that the gives way to atmosphere. This track incorporates long periods of silence, but after the opening track, the listener is waiting to be assaulted by noise. However, we are met with a soothing wash of heavy drones with a bit of noise beneath the surface, rather than a outright blast of noise. Nicely done. The title of "I Will Be the Light" is taken from Timothy Leary’s description of wanting to have his remains shot into space and burn up in the atmosphere in a flash of light. This track slowly transitions from ambient noise to a more consuming wall of noise in such a way that you wonder when you began listening to a noise track and just as gradually transitions back to dark ambient soundscapes. This album uses moments of silence and quiet to draw in the listener and provide a sense of motion in the composition. Despite Ur’s self description that they are all about free improvisation, this album feels like a meticulously crafted composition. This album is limited to 100 copies and weighs in at about 57 minutes.

Ur: Four Calls for Locusts

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 15 2009
cover
Artist: Ur (@)
Title: Four Calls for Locusts
Format: CD
Label: Mask of the Slave Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here’s another album from the Italian duo of Federico Esposito and Mauro Sciaccaluga. From the opening track, the listener knows that he or she is not in for a peaceful dark ambient listening experience. "Silent Fever Sets the Journey" reminds me of Lustmord’s Heresy, with slow drones and noise that simmers low in the mix, building gradually until the noise eventually overpowers the drone. Next up, we have "Trespassing the Fields of Corn," which is an odd mix of high pitched test tones and improv jazz. Imagine a noisier version of Clock DVA’s "White Souls in Black Suits." "Force-Fed" has a nice cinematic feel that would be at home in a dystopian science fiction film. This one is a bit more subdued than the previous tracks, with a saxophone that sounds like it is playing in the distance as industrial machinery hums away. Like the previous tracks, this one builds in intensity, as the noise comes to the foreground. "Twilight Behind the Eyelids" brings back Theremin from the second track and industrial noises. I guess if I had to describe this, I would go with a description of cinematic noise. This is not Merzbow, but it is certainly not Raison d’être either. It’s noisy, but not in an oppressive way. Overall, this is nice experimental music that throws in a lot of different elements. The closest comparison I can give is Deutsch Nepal. If you like noisy experimental, this is one that is certainly worth checking out. The disc is limited to 60 copies with minimal packaging and weighs in at about 41 minutes.

Beehatch: Brood

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 14 2009