Music Reviews



EA SILENCE : cono di ombra e di luce

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 04 2009
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Artist: EA SILENCE (@)
Title: cono di ombra e di luce
Format: CD
Label: Amirani (@)
Rated: *****
This’ the last release of the new Amirani lot that I happen to review and for jesus sake if it took time for me to face it... why? I don’t know if you’re confident with the materials featuring musicians involved in Grim collective (EAOrchestra, EAQuartett, EaSilence), but it’s mostly contemporary music where nothing (or almost nothing) happens by chance and we’re dealing with the category of dead serious materials therefore light-hearted music fans "leave you hopes behind!". I can see you yawning from behind your computer screen while cornering this review cause of the "dead serious" label, but holy shit this’ "just" A-division, this’ not another pseudo-intellectual-contemporary bunch of wonnabies and you won’t take that many listenings to agree with me. If a curriculum still means something, this trio features Alessio Pisani (bassoon, contra-bassoon) and Mirio Cosottini (trumpet, flugelhorn, slide trumpet) coming from EAQuartett, EaSilence etc. and Luca Cartolari (live-electronics, electric bass) from Anatrofobia’s fame, the whole is equal to the sum of its parts? Not exactly but it may give an hint. While during the early tracks of the release they may give the impression they voluntarily encaged themselves into a score where the horn-section rules the scene, if you listen to the whole thing carefully I’m sure you can’t but notice electronics is there and sure bass is even more evident when it breaks into the scene. I think in many fragments of the second half of the work horns leave the unison-formula for a more dialogical modus operandi and where bass frequencies (be it bass or electronics) building up tension (ExMod2, Avvio) help reaching the climax of the emotional impact. Hard to find direct references even if you here and there you’ll find so many "quotes" from this or that composer, but beside that there’s a genuine blend where a couple of clean and tight-knit horns float imperturbably their way in a calm sea where electronics and bass are playing near the keel of the boat like dolphins usually do attracted by the foam. I will adopt again this sea metaphor since it goes really well to describe the profundity of this music which may be as frightening as the realization of the depth of the sea where the light gradually fades while going toward the bottom of the "bed". Everything is so self-controlled and so quiet in the execution that the impression of imperturbability is so vivid, add in the majority of the tracks they pass from abstraction and sofisticated musical frameworks to really dramatic segments they display no fear to leave room and silence and you know pauses sometimes can be louder than ten thousands notes, substantially this trio, differently from a lot of wallpaper music, takes time to reach the core of significance. Be it I’m not the most take it easy person in the whole world, but this series of compositions sometimes has left me with a strong sensation of loss or maybe it’s just sadness, I think beside the synergy of the player what they managed to bring forth is the impression of being trapped into a solitary journey. Every note has been played with patience, every sound takes its time and its position on the canvas like objects in a De Chirico’s painting and I be damned if "Cono di ombra e luce" (which stands for "Shadow and light cone") doesn’t give the impression of being the soundtrack of a surrealist showcase: time is melting away, geometry gets slowly distorted into a kaleidoscope everything looks as a parallel dimension. A surrealist cd? Somehow... but much more than this.


Gen Ken Montgomery : Drilling Holes in the Wall

 Posted by Mike V. (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 01 2009
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Artist: Gen Ken Montgomery
Title: Drilling Holes in the Wall
Format: CD
Label: Monochrome Vision
Rated: *****
What immediately strikes me as interesting for the concept of this album is the personal nature behind it. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it seems that references to life prior to it are becoming fewer and farther between. The title track of this disc, Drilling Holes in the Wall manages to capture a snapshot of the musical life and times that preceded the unification of East and West Germany.

Released on Russia's label Monochrome Vision label, this album is a collection of works composed between 1986 and 1991. All of the pieces seem to derive from various personal circumstances or environments in which the composer was subjected to. In the liner notes, the artist discusses how he was forbade to cross into East Germany with the instrument used on this album, a Casio MS-10. After being heavily modified into a bastardized synthesizer, the resulting sounds are of a rickety, crunchy, and crackly synth, but because of the dangling wires and modifications, make it look more like an explosive device than a musical instrument (photo included). After being denied entry to the neighboring country because of this, Gen Ken had to find alternative ways to make music on the other side of the tracks. The final work, 'Don't Bring Those Things,' is a prime example of the invention by necessity, created using borrowed instruments of friends.

Describing the sound of this disc is like trying to sum up a book in a single sentence. The sounds are all over the map, with some being textural and gritty, others being metallic and clangy. There are field recordings and the use of voice in a variety of ways. Icebreaker, track 4, was derived seemingly from recordings of an ice machine and to great results. There is also a heavy analogy synth feel considering the nature of the circuit bent electronics. But despite the 2 octave keyboard used to generate these sounds, the range of timbre could not be wider.

That being said, Gen Ken manages to provide a compelling slab of a constantly shifting electronic sound across this hour long journey. Perhaps the best way to describe the sound of this disc is to actually imagine the sound of the Berlin Wall being demolished, with all its hammering, shoveling, crumbling, toppling, and of course...drilling.

This disc serves as an excellent compendium of the work of Gen Ken Montgomery across a number of years, personal eras, and performance spaces. Recommended to fans of raw sound, analog synth music, and noise.

OGOGO : redux

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 26 2009
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Artist: OGOGO (@)
Title: redux
Format: CD
Label: III records (@)
Rated: *****
Igor Ogogo is back, we’ve been reviewing this guitarist a while ago and here we’ve another chapter of his saga but this time it’s a duet with a midi-trombone player called Rod Oakes. The outcome is quite bizarre even thought I’ve found traces of Ogogo’s peculiar style. A strange cocktail that puts together jazz, Canterbury-music, kraut, blues and late seventies-early eighties atmospheres. Usually I don’t go mad for midi instruments cause of their sound, but here the combination is overall good and fits well with those freaky, odd melodies. Both of them are twisting the sound of their instruments for the sake of weirdness, thus the trombone floats with echoes and the guitar quite often is filtered with what I suppose it’s a pitch-shifter. Weird, during the listening of this odd cd it brought to my mind memories of no-wave mixed with Eliott Sharp and Faust, just a bit more bluesy. As I’ve said there’s something quite bizarre pulsing underneath and it probably has to do with the dark-alien melodies they play. Stylistically their way of playing betrays many of their influences but if melodies still mean a thing, there’s something quite disquieting in this music. While the cover suggests something really seventies like Gong or "Who by numbers" the music brings in a misty atmosphere of a distorted reality. Hey, if music is strictly linked to the times in which it has been conceived, all of this abstraction is a clear sing of the times. We’re crossing a sort of new middle age of mind and hard times like these require a good dose of abstraction, I agree with Ogogo and Oakes.

PIMMON : Smudge Another

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 26 2009
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Artist: PIMMON
Title: Smudge Another
Format: CD
Label: +Preservation (@)
Rated: *****
I can’t even remember which one exactly was last Pimmon release I’ve heard and it’s sad since I remember the good impression I got from the very early listenings of his materials, I guess that’s another side-effect of the hyper-saturation of the market/music-scene and it has to do with the fact we’re all living too fast. Paul Gough has quite often been filed under clicks/glitch and probably this definition fits really well with the majority of his works, above all those early releases (while writing I’m thinking specifically to a couple of remixes) but if you think the definition is a bit reductive, here comes a record that proves you and I were right. This cd could be easily filed under ambient-experimental music much more than glitch-click and if on the front cover the label defines it lava-flow ambient there’s a good reason and it’s hard not to agree with them. I know referring to Lava may lead you to think this could be a dark ambient-heavy-soup a la Lustmord, Andrea Marutti, Alio Die, Tribes of Neurot or in the likes, but nothing could be more wrong, Paul Gogh managed to work on these misty-crepuscular atmospheres maintaining that soft edge he had while dealing with different styles, just take the sweet melancholic organ sound of "Hidden". I think if you’re friendly with ambient music and with dark moods in general, you’ll easily perceive the different touch of this Australian artist. Furthermore I think this delicate touch when dealing with melancholic and obscure scenarios makes the difference and puts forth the fact Pimmon has been around for a while now, I mean he has his own style. I’m also aware of the fact all of this talking about ambient music may have put too much focus on this aspect of the release while as I’ve said its experimental factor is really significant, take "Dervieux" for example in which Gough introduced some kind of simple rhythms and a soft melody that’s pulsing underneath, this’ probably one of the things you can strictly connect to some of his previous works. Considering a record has its visual side, I can’t but mention the fact the layout is beautiful, the idea is simple but holy shit, I love it! It made me think to a sort of origami thing, it looks like a small "map", I’m sure the record collectors out there will love it. "Smudge another" has a lot to do with self-control, above all during the early tracks, I think it’s really interesting the fact that I’ve found it was growing while reaching the middle of the tracklist. Interesting release and if you’re into Pimmon you won’t be disappointed.


GIANNI GREGORY FORNET : guitare solo

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 19 2009
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Artist: GIANNI GREGORY FORNET
Title: guitare solo
Format: CD
Label: Amor Fati (@)
Rated: *****
This one is a strange cd if considered in the global economy of releases on Amor Fati, infact this’ a solo guitar recording with some soft singing, but that’s not exactly jazz or something so closely related as you can guess. That’s not to be taken for bad, nay it feeds my great respect for the label which despite a clear physiognomy is not necessarily cornered into a genre. As I’ve said this’a solo guitar cd as the title itself says, it betrays some jazz, folk, traditional music, experimental music influences, in general it’s a really melodic work and the vocals make it even more listenable, here and there it reminded me of Ex when they were absorbed in their rock-balcanic era or I’d better say Kelekta Red if they were reduced to one instrument, we can also add this cd is not that far from the most traditional tracks recorded by Marc Ribot during his "book of heads" era. Some melodies somehow keep returning in a couple of episodes but don’t worry you experimentalists readers of chaindlk, you have a long impro-drone track titled "Os" where mr. Fornet works on different solutions while playing with some self-generated looped-drones. I’ve also had the itch to mention Frisell and you have his spores scattered in the style of this French guitarist, but Fornet is way more rough (not necessarily in a bad way) and Frisell is really crystalline with his guitar touch, but the post-folk-post-blue-grass-post-jazz influence is there, you can bet it. There’s no doubt this probably the most accessible relase I’ve heard on this label, not necessarily the best and sure not my favorite, but it’s one of those relases I’m sure many guitarists, plus melodic, post-rockers may dig.



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