Music Reviews



Brandkommando: New Fucking Radical Orthodox

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 23 2009
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Artist: Brandkommando (@)
Title: New Fucking Radical Orthodox
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
If you live in a flat and if you like to have a peaceful neighborhood, well, then don’t switch on this music! BRANDKOMMANDO is a Polish Industrial/Noise/Power Electronics act, which can look back on a rich discography. "New Fucking Radical Orthodox" is already the 15th release for Karol, who is the brainchild behind this act. It is musically one of the roughest and most disturbing releases I’ve heard so far. Walls of abrasive noise manipulations, effected, processed and overdriven in different frequencies with a high amount of improvisations. Add to this Karol’s not lesser manipulated screaming voice performance, and you’ll an album especially designed for the fans full of anger and hate. Radical may in its message, but surely radical of its music content, these 7 tracks are a pure sonic assault to breakdown your nerves. The skewered pig-head on a fork couldn’t been chosen any better, Powernoise in its roughest kind. Extremely limited as usual, try hard to get it directly via SkullLine.

Forms Of Things Unknown: Black Trenchcoats & Swastikas N Shit

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 23 2009
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Artist: Forms Of Things Unknown (@)
Title: Black Trenchcoats & Swastikas N Shit
Format: CD
Label: Pimalia Records (@)
Distributor: Aquarius Records
Rated: *****
"BLACK TRENCHCOATS & SWASTIKAS N SHIT" (subtitled "DEMOS OUTTAKES & RARITIES 2003 – 2006) is the latest offering from Ferrara Brain Pan’s FORMS OF THINGS UNKNOWN project. Well, you can’t say the title and CD cover isn’t controversial; takes the Residents concept of Third Reich & Roll’ to a whole new level. If you need to know why Ferrara might feel compelled to do something like this, go to FOTU’s MySpace page and read "A True Written Statement by Ferrara Brain Pan" and you’ll be given some idea. (Bitchslapped by Bill Clinton? And that was just the fun part... )

BLACK TRENCHCOATS is nearly a full hour’s worth of FOTU material, most of it in the experimental vein. Opening track "Vallatar" is highlighted by a melodic mournful wailing woodwind solo. Nice tone-setter. "Interrupted By Interior Design" comes in two parts/tracks, the first underscored with a low frequency drone and a hissing sound while other tones (electronic and acoustic) are briefly introduced with some sort of breathing loop. The soundbyte at the end poses the question- "What maniac put this doll in my bed?" and then part two begins with a latin conga-driven rhythm groove with weird vocal soundbyte samples, some moaning drone and short feedback. Crazy baby!

"The Fifth Path" is a harmonium dirge that would make Nico smile, if she were still alive. (Not an easy thing to do; Nico wasn’t known for her happy face’.) The next track, "Quadrilateral" is the longest on the CD, clocking in at 15 seconds over 14 minutes. Up to this point, things are going pretty well. All that is about to change... Once again we begin with a low frequency drone, this time modulated with an LFO. A bit into the track two higher frequency tones enter- a steady ringing and a regularly intermittent blip. This is followed by a rapid white noise brushing’ sound which in turn modulates the ringing for a while. While it may be a cool minimalist synth exercise in LFO treatment, I found it tedious to listen to. FOTU returns to the bass clarinet on "Elegy", another woodwind solo. Moody and well done. "Blue Light" has all the dark ambience and oppressive heat of standing next to a huge furnace in some subterranean factory while machines and clank and bizarre voices squawk, chatter and laugh away in the darkness. "Save Em Dry Til The Cows Come Home" just may be the weirdest track on BLACK TRENCHCOATS. Over a repeating bass line is a woodwind arrangement while a variety of disparate sampled vocal and other bizarre soundbytes drift in and out. "Cobblestones" is a Renaissance style piece arranged for recorder ensemble and bowed psaltery. Nice little ditty. Think Aeon’ period Dead Can Dance. An alternate mix of "Mesozoica" is the next track, shorter in length than the one on CROSS PURPOSES’ and lacking the prominent woodwind work. More of a subdued dark ambient version. I don’t know why, but I was reminded of Steve Roach here. Still, it has merit. The last track, "Burial Of The First Toy" is FOTU’s version of the title them from Jodorowsky’s cult film, "El Topo". I’ve seen "El Topo" a couple of times, but it’s been awhile. I honestly can’t say I remember the main theme, but the track is a nice recorder solo.

Overall, "BLACK TRENCHCOATS & SWASTIKAS N SHIT" is pretty good, especially considering low lo-fi FOTU’s recording process was, and if it wasn’t for the 14 plus minutes of "Quadrilateral", I would have rated it higher. If you’re new to FORMS OF THINGS UNKNOWN, I’d start with the CROSS PURPOSES’ CD. If you like that, I think you’ll probably enjoy this one too. I wouldn’t take the swastikas n shit’ too seriously; even though there IS a picture of old Adolph on the inside of the trifold digipack. It really has nothing to do with the music. I doubt Ferrara’s a Nazi sympathizer. It’s undoubtedly just his warped sense of humor.

Edward Ka-Spel: Dream Logik Part Two

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 10 2009
cover
Artist: Edward Ka-Spel (@)
Title: Dream Logik Part Two
Format: CD
Label: Beta-Lactam Ring Records (@)
Distributor: Beta-Lactam Ring Records
Rated: *****
Considering the cultish following (albeit a sizable one) that the Legendary Pink Dots have, a solo release by their guiding light Edward Ka-Spel is bound to plumb ever deeper regions of terra igcognita and few who are Dots-ignorant are unlikely to even stumble across this CD by accident. That being said, it doesn’t take an LPD fan to appreciate DREAM LOGIK PART TWO, but it might help.

The first obvious sign that this is no average CD is its packaging; encased in a folding five-paneled double-side glossy container with bizarre art by Jesse Peper, this Ka-Spel release is an immediate attention grabber. I’m sure that in years to come, this CD will become a collector’s item just for the packaging. (The initial release of 400 numbered copies containing an additions CD, BURNING CHURCH, with the first 100 being signed already is. I never seem to be lucky enough to get one of those.)

It is said that DREAM LOGIK PART TWO continues along the lines of DREAM LOGIK PART ONE, but I was never fortunate enough to hear that recording. I can say that Ka-Spel’s psychedelic journey on this outing is like having Syd Barrett, (Daevid Allen’s) Gong, Boards of Canada and Autechre rolled into one oblique bundle. Ka-Spel dispenses pieces of cosmic intuition via both song and spoken word, in both introspective insight and playful tomfoolery all held together with the fabric of minimal electronics and acoustic instrument elements that set more of a tone, mood and ambience rather than act as backing tracks for vocals. Dots fans will feel right at home with Edward’s quirky lyrics, as on "The Modest Ambitions of Cedric the Centipede" – "... in talking licks I’m a millionaire, it’s five years since I brushed my hair, still haven’t got a stitch to wear... " Granted, this is the goofiest little number on the CD, but surely you get the gist. For the listener, DREAM LOGIK PART TWO is not unlike being a dosed-out Alice in a Psychedelic Wonderland; always curiouser and curiouser, envisioned through the kaleidoscopic perceptional lens of the plasticity of reality, and the relative subjectivity of meaning. I think Ka-Spel put a lot of work into this one, and is likely to be one of his more highly regarded solo efforts. I admit that on first listening, I was not attuned to its frequency. DREAM LOGIK PART TWO is a challenging experience that implores a subjective rather than objective audial experience. Perhaps an altered state of mind is the best way to appreciate this surreal recording. How you achieve that is strictly up to you. There is no doubt however, that it is a marvelous achievement, far superior to the last LPD album (PLUTONIUM BLONDE), and for a release on an obscure label like Beta-Lactam Ring, DREAM LOGIK PART TWO seems to be available in a good number of commercial outlets like Amazon, Looney Tunes, J&R, etc. I’d advise picking up a copy before they’re all gone.

WEST STATE: SIDEWAYS

 Posted by Mariano Equizzi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 03 2009
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Artist: WEST STATE (@)
Title: SIDEWAYS
Format: CD
Label: Shadowplay (@)
Distributor: SHADOW PLAY
Rated: *****
Another dark flower from RUSSIA, this coming to my desk thanks to SHADOWPLAY and I think that's a good gothic label, full of very interesting artists, another demonstration of the vitality odf the Russian world. West State project is smooth and full of strange fashion not easy to find out in projects that are very well focused in terms of art and ideas involved into. The synths here are showing a form of thought similar to some tracks of Future Sound of London but the arena in which West State move is very different and their result has the Smoothness of FSOL but not the unique energy of the London Group. West Side are walking towards a different state of Synth/Mind and electronics and I like it so much, in some ways they are in the path of 80ies electronic music produced in Europe and specially in French. I appreciate so much the graphic package of the audio cd, another time it's the proof of a project that has legs to move ahead. It's great music to write about the secret sides of our daily world.

DVAR: ZII

 Posted by Mariano Equizzi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 03 2009
cover
Artist: DVAR (@)
Title: ZII
Format: CD
Label: art music group (@)
Distributor: art music group
Rated: *****
It's PURE GENIUS, provocative, punk, extreme but in the same time "easy to listen", electronic but 8bit-computer-like, futuristic (the use of the voice), DVAR has no limit to amaze the audience. They use icon and symbols of a strange POP Death Dark entity and they play with a full set of an obscure art of Irony. The result is something never heard before a mix between POP PUNK GLOWESQUE Japanese style and something not so far from the B52's; but in this case we can call DVAR the BEAR's (I am referring to the B52 version of Russian Military Aviation). DVAR uses also Folk Music vibes and a very simple drum machine...there is no limit to their provocation, they quotes us all the silly world of computer games, Super Mario Bros-Like, all the folk dimension based on slight melodies and punk-pop voices. It's difficult not to think about a movie where Tim Burton meets George Romero. Irony and a strange form of Electro Punk is their Keys to reach our brain and starting a sort of de-programmation of our western rock addicted minds...the aims, their aims is clear to create a Russian Music Revolution in our mental regions. Only Russia could generate something like that, thank you Great Mother Russia.


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