Music Reviews



A SPIRALE : agaspastik

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 17 2009
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Artist: A SPIRALE (@)
Title: agaspastik
Format: CD
Label: Fratto9 / Deserted Factory (@)
Rated: *****
Naples own A Spirale are back again after few months from the release of their electro-acoustic Gariga cd and right after and the second ASp/SEC collaboration, in case you don't know the electro-acoustic phase represent just one of their many mutations, infact with the ASp/SEC project they've been flirting with the electronic matter (which I can't but recommend you to give it a try), they started as a free-jazz rock combo but the most important thing is they've been playing a lot and from the result I guess they've been practicing and working hard to twist their former shape. I remember when on their debut cd they still had this post-prog-chamber-free-jazzy-rock touch and you already could hear they wanted more and they had the potential to cross the border. Agaspastik shows the flower is blossoming, hard to say if this' the band at its personal best, time will tell; by the way what really matters is that there's a combination of factors that make this record great. The recording is finally dynamic and vivid as a band like this requires, the tracklist and the length of the cd softens a journey that otherwise could have been heavier and probably wouldn't have helped these Neapolitans to show despite the different approaches of each fragment, there's a strong stylistic continuity, this also shows the different parts have a meaning as a whole. You pass from a quasi-Caspar Brotzmann intro to a "Naked City!?...we make them appear as a bunch of pussies" follow up, but beyond the aggressive approach you'll have the chance to find spores of melody coming from avant-jazz roots, reminiscences of fractured/avant-rock guitarism, traces of harsh and soft noise-ambient, free-jazz-rock drumming where some of you may recognize a transfigured portrait of Ruins, Painkiller, Orthlem, or latest Iceburn with less violence and with no fucking prog traces in the family background. From free-jazz-noise to avant-quasi-contemporary-post-hardcore-post-industrial shit, and the fact itself this cd comes out as a joint venture of avant-free-jazz-experimental label Fratto9 and post-industrial-experimental japanese Deserted Factory is a quite explicit reference. Brain, guts, aggressivity, control and atmosphere...A Spirale are really close to the boiling point or maybe here we have the last great eruption of Vesuvio... c'mon great mountain kill us all!!.




Volcano The Bear/La STPO: The Shy Volcanic Society At The Bear And Bird Parade

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 09 2009
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Artist: Volcano The Bear/La STPO (@)
Title: The Shy Volcanic Society At The Bear And Bird Parade
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Volcano the Bear is one of those bands I had heard of but never had a chance to check out. I had not previously heard of "La Société des Timides à la Parade des Oiseaux" (La STPO). Let’s look at each track. "Our Number Of Wolves" is like the soundtrack to some demented cartoon, with music that sounds like slowed down ragtime (think 78 records played at 33.3). "The Boy With The Lips Inside" is a minimal tribal drumbeat with odd chanting and moaning. "The Open, The Closed" is the sound of a toy store gone amok until a penny whistle and drum enter on the scene a little over halfway through. I have a feeling that this would be far more interesting in a live setting, but as it exists on the disc, it just doesn’t hold my attention. It sort of reminds of some of the tracks on Zoviet France’s Loh Land. "Death Sleeps in My Ear" keeps the recorder/whistle theme going, but this time the drums are much more intense. "The First Circle is the Eye" is much more structured that the previous few tracks, with a middle eastern feel – like if the Residents collaborated with Muslimgauze for a track. The Jew’s harp and the trumpet in the track is a nice touch. Thus concludes the Volcano The Bear segment of the disc. On to La STPO. "Guayak" brings in a man chanting and sometimes yelling things (I assume in French) over some noisy improvised music. This is still odd like Volcano The Bear, but much less minimal. As for the vocals, imagine if the Tasmanian Devil sang at an open mic night for experimental music. "Les Oreilles Internationales" continues the yelling over the improvised music theme. There is a kind of scat singing here, which is at least engaging. "Invalid Islands" is a much quieter track musically, but still keeps with the singer demonstrating a considerable range of voice over drums and xylophone. This abruptly changes a little over halfway though and gives way to slow woodwind tones and moaning and screaming. "Colonies" is a bit of a departure from the other tracks in that it has a crunchy metal riff which gives way to singing and xylophone which gives way to a bass riff and clarinet with strained singing which gives way to yelling and drums which gives way to quietness. For me, this is the most interesting track on the disc because it is more complex than most of the rest and much more varied. I have to admit that this album was not really my cup of tea, and I’m certain that neither band would be offended by this assessment. After all, this album seems to be an acquired taste, which I do not have. Volcano The Bear was just a bit too minimal for my taste, although the high points for that segment would have to be "Our Number Of Wolves" and "The First Circle is the Eye." I found La STPO to be more interesting in general, and for me "Colonies," was the high point. I do get the sense that both of these bands would be interesting to see live, however, especially La STPO. You can almost see the vocalist flailing around the stage screaming. This disc weighs in at about 55 minutes and is issued in an edition of 500.

Locrian: Drenched Lands

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 09 2009
cover
Artist: Locrian (@)
Title: Drenched Lands
Format: CD
Label: Small Doses (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Locrian, but this seems to be their debut CD release. The label explains that they have been active since 2005, "finding the right blend of noise, power electronics, dark ambient, and black metal to work into their sound." OK, with track titles like "Barren Temple Obscured by Contaminated Fogs," you can see some of the black metal influence. I must admit that I am not a huge fan of black metal, but I am a huge fan of noise, dark ambient, and power electronics, so three out of four shouldn’t be bad. Overall, I would have to call this one a mixed bag. Locrian does a pretty good job of trying to build an atmosphere, but in some places it becomes a bit cheesy, for example, the screaming throughout "Barren Temple Obscured by Contaminated Fogs," which I find to be overdone in most tracks like this. However, on others, such as the 30 minute long "Greyfield Shrines," they do a great job of building tension and atmosphere without resorting to horror movie samples and the like. Moreover, this seems to be the only track that really approaches anything I would call noise, as the guitars and voice blend into drone and feedback. I would say it is way too long, but nicely done. This would be a decent start for someone into metal who was looking for a bit more slowed down guitar oriented experimental sound, although those who are looking for noise, power electronics, or dark ambient in the vein of Lustmord or anything coming out on the Cyclic Law label will be disappointed. This disc is limited to 1000 copies and weighs in at 64 minutes.

BRONZE: Bronze

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 03 2009
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Artist: BRONZE
Title: Bronze
Format: 7"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
The American band Bronze should have participated to the "Radio Resistencia" CD compilation as they took part to the HEX nights organized by Enfant Terrible but they ended having a 7" on their own, instead. The band formed by members of Vanishing (who performed at the Hex nights) and Spector Protector for this release recorded "One Night In Mexico" and "Hymn Of The Night Shepherd", two tracks which show a band with a particular sound influenced by post punk, post rock (see their use of syncopated drum rhythms) and minimal synth wave (check they synth inserts that sound like screams or like a theremin) but filtered through a sort of psychedelic approach. The alienated vocals duet with floating synth waves and almost tribal drums. The single doesn't offer easy listening sounds as the tracks seem two long acid trips shortened into four and six minutes. I would have preferred to listen to tracks with a different mood because this could make think to the occasional listener that the band has a limited vision, thing that I don't think it is true...

RAPOON : dark rivers

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 27 2009
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Artist: RAPOON
Title: dark rivers
Format: CD
Label: Lens records (@)
Rated: *****
I was really anxious to give a listen to the last Rapoon release and it hasn't absolutely betrayed my expectations. It's so good and what’s most his style is so peculiar and at the same time you've impression everything evolved naturally, I mean despite its experimental nature Rapoon is not psyched to demonstrate anything, it's like everything blossomed the way it had to blossom, "following the course of nature". For those who has never heard anything by Robin Storey I will say that the music could belong to that grey area between genres like industrial, experimental-electronic music and psychedelia, I think this’ one of the most interesting limbo ever, infact the musicians you can file in this actegory somehow are the natural heirs of the kraut avant-gardism of the seventies. It all means we’re crossing a nowhere-land inhabitated by shadows of jungian ghosts, we’re dealing with an hybrid path where we could meet Nurse With Wound, early Current 93, Asmus Tietchens, John Waterman, nd many others among which Rapoon. The music is not extreme or dark for the mere sake of heaviness, I think everything has much more to do with an inner search or with that music that pays homage to the "sacred" idea of having a trip. Most of the songs have a really explicit and weird melodic approach and evolve around the pulse of a really simple rhythm. Everything sounds ethereal, softly obsessive and stoning like music made out of repetitive loops. Sometimes I even have the impression this could have been dub gone bad, but this' not exactly dub anyhow, I can assurre the use of reverb and delay wouldn't have been the same without the the historical mark of people like Lee Perry in the production of music. This cd is highly recommended, it’s a top notch release.






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