Music Reviews



inquiet: INQ BEYONG

 Posted by Mike (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 06 2008
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Artist: inquiet
Title: INQ BEYONG
Format: CD
Label: Brother Sister Records (@)
Rated: *****
inquiet hails from Melbourne, Australia. I had no previous knowledge of inquiet prior to receiving the album from the band themselves. In fact, I'm not even sure if it's a band or just one person. inquiet creates layered, patchwork soundscapes. You can hear the influence of the land down under in the music from time to time, with bits and pieces of native drumming popping in and out. But overall it's virtually impossible to characterize the songs on Inq Beyong. The album is relatively mellow, but the ever shifting sonics keep the listener's attention at each moment. There are bits of electronic, choral, pop, orchestral, jazz, and a host of other styles happening on Inq Beyong. You won't find traditional song structures here, but there are some chances to sing along. That's right, you can actually sing along with some of these songs, which is unusual for experimental music of this kind. The vocals are highly processed but are very accessible. inquiet makes good use of dynamics, panning, and reverb to achieve a sense of space and depth. I don't know what the recording process was or what kind of gear was used, but Inq Beyong sounds great. It's detailed, warm, and present. There's nothing harsh or over-compressed about it. Inq Beyong is a well executed production. It's an album that lies outside of the confines of modern popular music, and that's a good thing.

BRANDON LABELLE: Dirty Ear

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 06 2008
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Artist: BRANDON LABELLE
Title: Dirty Ear
Format: CD
Label: Errant bodies (@)
Rated: *****
I’m sure most of the audio-art, field recording, experimental nerds among us know both Brandon LaBelle and his cult label Errant Bodies, and hell takes me if the "cult label" status is not more than deserved: from the few Errant Bodies’ materials I’ve been listening and/or reading nothing was artsy fartsy or less than attractive. This label is there to bring the sound philosophy to the next level and you can bet they’re doing it cause of genuine interest but I suggest you to visit their website to make an idea. As the description reported by the label states: "micro-composition designed as counter-sonorities to specific locations or settings" and it says so much about the work than many other descriptions. The aforesaid process is so obtained by doing some electronic stormings that you were far from expecting right when they happen, they appear in the scene creeping like some thin sounds that move underneath at the bottom of the field-recordings and in many other way. I think some episodes will surprise the listener more than others, but with such a recording that’s both quite subjective feeling plus it would be a bit inappropriate to speak about single tracks when everything is conceived as a full-continuous audio journey. LaBelle is a wellknown name for many following this kind of "music" and if you never heard any of his works you’d better remember he’s not exactly one of those freaky "field-recording" artists leaving a never-changing field-work going on forever for the sake of boredom. These sketches are full of "tricks", of nervous constructions that put an end to this or that corridor all of a sudden, making you feel like you’re constantly changing room inside of an unknown hotel. Sometimes the rooms are filled with elements, sometimes are barely empty, sometimes these rooms are flooded by an intense light like in the fifth track where LaBelle counterpoints the other sounds with a melody like those you could sing under the shower (if you ask me this the most intense fragment of the cd, I love it). As you’ve probably imagined this work deserves a careful listening with a good pair of headphones since the stereophonic games and the superimposition of different layers bring your mind and brain right where LaBelle wants you to go. In place of a collection of pictures, LaBelle wanted to show the world a series of personal "cut and paste collages" which I’m sure Dadaists would have loved for the simple fact between cerebrality and technical skill he hasn’t forgotten irony back home. Can we define it scrapbook of real life reworked and turned into a "living composition"?.

MYRA DAVIES: The Girl Suite EP

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 05 2008
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Artist: MYRA DAVIES
Title: The Girl Suite EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Moabit Musik (@)
Rated: *****
Available at all the main digital stores, THE GIRL SUITE EP is the collaboration of the spoken word artist Myra Davies and Gudrun Gut. The four tracks deals with girls and women culture themes. "My friend Sherry" talks about a story that bring us back to the 60's when abort was illegal and so many girls died during the parturition while "Valkirie" takes the figure of the female warrior as a rebel icon with a music background made using samples of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyrie". The use of spoken word/sung parts is well supported by the music produced by Gudrun Gut: sampled percussions and pop melodies on the opening "My friend Sherry" are followed by a cool electronic track (on "Love - demo") and by semi industrial dance parts ("Drill"). Check this release and you'll realize that genuine inspired music still exists.

SUDDEN INFANT: Psychotic Einzelkind

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 04 2008
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Artist: SUDDEN INFANT (@)
Title: Psychotic Einzelkind
Format: CD
Label: Blossoming Noise (@)
Active since 1989 Joke Lanz with Sudden Infant delivers his latest album which according to the Blossoming Noise label is his most musical one. Helped out by Bill Kouligas nad Christian Weber, Joke recorded eleven tracks in balance from experimental noise, free jazz, power electronic and industrial. The first thing that popped out immediately on the first tracks "Somniphobia", "Deep cuts" or "Tandoori chicken scooter III" is the violence that the three guys are able to deliver into four/five minutes tracks. Vocals are often distorted and produce an indefinable rant, percussive parts see metallic objects been raped as well as conventional rock instruments are used and abused. There's also space for a sort of alternative rock songs (a la Jesus Lizard) with "Beautiful tide" but most of the times melody don't last that long. The album has also three mixes of "Slomono" (Z'ev remix), "Tandoori chicken scooter III" (Lasse marhaug remix) and "Somniphobia" (Thurston Moore remix) which reflect the personality of the remixer but don't catch the anarchic sound of the original.

Glinkowski Slaton Sparacino: Trio slicnaton

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 03 2008
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Artist: Glinkowski Slaton Sparacino
Title: Trio slicnaton
Format: CD
Label: New Music Solutions (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
A while back, I reviewed the first CD from this artist collective, Mahlon Hoard "Slicnaton", which I described as "Ornette Coleman meets John Cage and Brian Eno in a dark alley". Apparently they liked my take on the first CD enough to send the second one for review. After repeated listenings, I’m glad they did. While the first CD, sounded like a collection of loose, disparate (albeit interesting) improvs, "Trio slicnaton" is a much more cohesive effort. It is also quite a bit darker.

The electo-acoustic ensemble for this outing consists of Mietek Glinkowski (Violin & Vitar), Nicholas Slaton (Electronics & Basses), and Julian Sparacino (Flute, Bass Clarinet & Piano). They also get a little help from Jon-Marc Ryan Dale (Drum Set) and Andrew Munger (Percussion). The tracks were culled largely from live improvisations in early 2008, both in performance venues and recording studio. Owing to the unity of the core ensemble, it becomes clear that there is a certain synergy between the members that elevates the results of the improvisation to a realm beyond just interesting sonic experiments.

From the onset of the first track, "All in Time", an ominous atmosphere sets the tone for what’s to come with a low windy drone as the backdrop for slow bass clarinet motifs and some deeper echoey industrial elements. Think Lustmord backing Mick Karn and Massimo Munari. It’s a great way to start an album.

The next couple of tracks, "Still Still" and "Storch" are closer to classical avant-garde with good spatial relation between the sonics and the silence. Low drones of various types are used to good effect while violin and bass clarinet play dirge-like melodies. In "Storch" it sounds like some type of rapidly picked stringed instrument can occasionally be heard under the dense cloud of low rumbling noise adding to the tension. Storm clouds clear on "From Scratch" and pentatonic flute arpeggios flirt with a slippery, slithery violin giving the piece an oriental zen-like quality. Brief but welcome.

"Blown out" owes more to free jazz improvisation but put in a Stockhausen setting. What I really like about Trio Slicnaton over avant-gardists like say, John Zorn is that the improvisation doesn’t get in the way of the ambience, it’s never "in your face". Yes, there are certainly weird tonalities aplenty, and it isn’t all smooth sailing, but there is nothing untoward that clashes with the feel of the mood they’re creating. And this is mostly a pretty dark mood. The cinematic nature of these sound sculptures would easily lend itself as an excellent soundtrack to an edgy experimental film. At times mysterious, at others, oppressive, the instrumentalists combine to form a pastiche of diabolic import, yet place necessary rays of light to keep it from being one long continuous nightmare. "Nightlife" is such a piece, with flutes and emulation of nature sounds that lend an aura of calm and tranquility. My only regret is that the CD isn’t longer; at a little under 39 minutes it seems too brief a listening experience, and probably should be labeled an EP rather than a full CD. Still, 38+ minutes of great music outweighs 75 minutes of just good music anytime. I’d rather be left wanting more, than just wanting something different.

This is a STRONG BUY recommendation of you like avant-garde/dark ambient. There is a big difference between the kind of experimental noise some "artists" inflict on listeners, and well-crafted compositions that take the best elements of their influences and synthesize them into something truly brilliant. Trio Slicnaton is such a remarkable recording. You can find it at CD Baby.


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