Music Reviews



Ewe: Fractured and Remixed

 Posted by Shaun Phelps (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 22 2008
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Artist: Ewe
Title: Fractured and Remixed
Format: CD
Label: Smell the Stench (@)
This curious release by Ewe is the first of two Fractured and Remixed albums by Zarach Baah Tharagh (ZBT). This is Ewe’s fifth release through Smell the Stench Records. Most of the thirteen tracks on this album are within one and three minutes of length. Each track is typically composed of eccentric keyboards and ghostly ambience.

Ewe’s Fractured and Remixed album maintains a consistent sound of droning, dreary ambience complimented by keyboard sounds, sometimes introverted and pretty, sometimes random and unconventional. The image I get from this album is of a haunted piano room captured at different hours of night: never a room someone would feel comfortable alone in, but some hours are more welcoming than others.

There is a good balance between music and non-music here, and the more eccentric keys throughout this album add a sense of levity. Because of the rhythmic nature of Ewe’s Fractured and Remixed album, I find my mind at ease while listening to unearthly and haunted music. I think ZBT has committed more to the tracks on this Fractured and Remixed release, but I suspect that is because these piano pieces need to be heard in full form. All in all, ZBT’s Fracture and Remix of Ewe’s Demo V is a pleasantly unexpected change of pace.

Za Frűmi: Barrow Wights

 Posted by Ivan Racheck (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 20 2008
cover
Artist: Za Frűmi (@)
Title: Barrow Wights
Format: CD
Label: Tom Bombadil’s Collectors (@)
Rated: *****
Barrow Wights offers listeners a chance to experience the epic first four years of the world of Za Frûmi.

In a visually immersive, specifically designed BOOK (25 pages, A6) the beautiful CD lay like a treasure in the end of it. For you who read other reviews by me you already know I love Za Frûmi as a band and as artists. They are among the best in the genre of dark ambient and fantasy music. I don´t need to repeat that in this review and bore you with endless praise.

This stunning Za Frûmi sampler is released by new Portugal based label (very promising!) Tom Bombadill´s Collectors and is limited to 1000 numbered copies. The disc covers songs from the debut album "Za Shum Ushatar Uglakh" (not my old favorite song but what the hell!) and the second album called "Tach - chapter 2" from the "Za Frûmi saga". Also songs from "Legends act 1", "Legends act 2 - Vampires" and two interesting unreleased songs made during the first four years in the bands 8 year history.

The world of the supernatural has been well represented by Za Frûmi´s wildly imaginative work. To incorporate it with the work of Tolkien and use parts of the Za Frûmi stories to dive into the Barrow Wights is just pure genius.

When you step back and appreciate "Barrow Wights" as a whole, you recognize that Za Frûmi and Tom Bombadill´s Collectors have provided everything that you could ever want in a sampler.

It has a magical element of fantasy in its instrumentation; it has loyal and memorable themes for every aspect of the story, and it builds up to one hell of a tumultuously satisfying climax. In its vast complexity of layers, themes, orchestration and as a collector’s item this album is a magical jewel. A must for the fans and people who want to get to own tracks that are now sold out.

I am a proud owner of the album!
It´s a great gift too. But... I am keeping my copy myself.

MARTIN BAUMGARTNER: Shoot's Huft

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 15 2008
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Artist: MARTIN BAUMGARTNER
Title: Shoot's Huft
Format: CD
Label: For4Ears
Rated: *****
This first solo cd by Martin Baumgartner (nnnj) is not really something I would have expected on For4Ears, despite Müller's evident taste for unconventional and demanding sounds. Composed and recorded over a 2-year period, "Shoot's Huft" features three tracks with a similar structure: they start with clattering electroacoustics, at times accompanied by some kind of tuning bleeps (track 1), then boom, they burst into fierce diginoise that would've fitted the Mego catalogue some years ago. The distortion gets at times more structured in square-waves sequences or loops, gives way to ethereal ambient passages, then returns to sweep everything away. There's a loose structure that I guess derives from improvised sessions, but I could be wrong - anyway, the erratic flow is both positive and negative throughout, as it prevents the tracks from being too predictable (straight-on noise can be so boring) but also detracts a bit from aggressive power and cohesiveness.

MIYA MASAOKA: While I was walking

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 15 2008
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Artist: MIYA MASAOKA
Title: While I was walking
Format: CD
Label: Solitary B (@)
Rated: *****
Four works written by Miya Masaoka and performed by three choirs and nine soloists, it all vividly reminds me of an old work composed ages ago by Ennio Morricone, it was a work for chorus based on a poetry written by Pier Paolo Pasolini and titled "Sciopero" (On strike), I’m quite sure he also reused some excerpts of it in a part of a soundtrack of who knows which movie by Dario Argento. The texture is really different, in someway in the modus componendi of Masaoka reminds really well (even if her name and her favourite instruments are Japanese) she’s culturally grown in the U.S. and as far as I concern I wish nobody will blame me if I say some parts of this piece are really "american". It doesn’t necessarily imply she’s a minimalist, or she’s been influenced by this or that contemporary composer but you can bet beside being filed under contemporary classic music she’s using those long notes, those quasi-frozen dissonance games that are quite a trademark for many american composers. This one has been recorded in a reverbed church or some similar place and if you add she’s been probably influenced by her Japanese origin, it gives all some gentle but also dramatic "siren singing" atmosphere (I’m sure Ulysses will fall in the trap this time!). The four parts of this work are quite varied thought giving an homogeneous shape to "While I was walking", she’s been really able to alternate circular parts and long segments. Despite its contemporary classic essence the whole composition is really really filmic and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it as a soundtrack for this or that tragedy. We’re all in debt with Greeks for our sense of drama, and this composition is nothing but one of the many proof of it.

NORBERT MÍSLANG: header_change

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 15 2008
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Artist: NORBERT MÍSLANG
Title: header_change
Format: CD
Label: Cut
Rated: *****
After developing his own brand of "cracked everyday electronics" with the now disbanded Voice Crack duo and a remarkable series of collective improvisations, Norbert Möslang has been investigating uncommon sound sources in his solo career. His previous full-length on Cut, "Capture", used amplified fluorescent lights, obtaining an alien and austere form of electronics. The same blueprint can be found in this "header_change", which is based on video-stills converted into audio files and then digitally processed. Starting with heavy, grey electronic textures, the album is often hostile and grim in a cerebral way, reminding the vehemence of early Palestine's electronic works (tracks 1 & 3) or even the more recent collaborations of Maurizio Bianchi and Sandro Kaiser/Frequency In Cycles Per Second or Siegmar Fricke (track 7). The peak, or better the bottom, is probably reached in track 5, an aural bathysphere of intimidating pressure.


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