Music Reviews



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.

Sparkle in Grey: A Quiet Place

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 14 2008
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Artist: Sparkle in Grey (@)
Title: A Quiet Place
Format: CD
Label: Disasters By Choice (@)
Rated: *****
Matteo "Hue" Uggeri is a man of many talents. I first heard some tracks from his In A Voice project that sounded like it would be right at home on the Hyperium "Heavenly Voices" compilations or on Projekt records. Sparkle in Grey takes a different approach and I had to listen to this disc several times before figuring out just what to say about it. According to the label, "The six tracks on this debut album have started off as improvisations on an electronic base, and have later developed throughout live shows in Italy and abroad in squats, clubs, diners, music festivals in the woods and in a kindergarden." The improvisational aspect is certainly present and accounted for (and I would love to see them perform at a kindergarten show). I tend to think of projects in terms of who they remind me of and the only comparison that I could come up with was Nature and Organisation’s "A Dozen Summers Against the World." I made my wife listen to it, who finds Nature and Organisation the only palatable offering from any of the World Serpent catalogue and she also thought that that A Quiet Place was quite nice. All of that to say that this album may be improvisational but it is still very accessible. The various tracks incorporate samples of spoken word, guitar, violin, and field recordings to create interesting soundscapes that at times fade into the background and surface in ways that are not too invasive. Let’s look at some of the more interesting tracks more closely. I especially like the narrative at the beginning of "Limpronta" that notes, "My theory is that if you don’t bring it with you (into the studio) you’ll definitely need it." This track is a bit more free form with some noisy elements thrown in as punctuation until it gains more structure with guitar and violin creating an almost mournful melody. "Goose Game" begins as a study in repetition but then settles into a nice groove with electric guitar dominating. This one kind of grew on me after a few listens. "Teacher Song" would be right at home as an interlude on one of Current 93’s neo-folk albums like "Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre." Overall, you get the sense that this would be a great band to see perform live. The cartoonish drawings (done by Hue) on the cover and liner notes demonstrate that this is not an in-your-face kind of experimental album. Overall, the feeling is quite calm and restrained. If you’re looking for improvisation that seems almost peaceful, this is very well done. This disc weighs in at 46 minutes.

Gianni Mimmo, Xabier Iriondo: Your Very Eyes

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 14 2008
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Artist: Gianni Mimmo, Xabier Iriondo (@)
Title: Your Very Eyes
Format: CD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
Presented as a a journey with an overt sacred/religious approach "Your very eyes", as you can guess, here and there won’t betray your "transcendental music" expectations and will creepy inside your agnostic little hearts, but on the other side I also think "religious" would be misleading definition cause the global work in my opinion goes really well with "documentaristic". I think the strong personality of Gianni Mimmo has had an heavy weight in the sound characterization of the duo, that’s why even if they’re considerably far one from the other I believe there’s a continuum between the Kursk sonorization this saxophonist did with Contini and this work with experimentalist Iriondo, at last it would be a logical step considering Iriondo at the time of the sonorization had been directly involved in the work as a sound engineer. You don’t have to consider it as the extension of a solo work, it just shows a light and well pondered intervention of the Italo-basque guitarist here mainly involved with singular chord instrument and as sound engineer, his incursions most of the times are non intrusive, but somewhere else he’s able to pierce the audio space firmly. Thought they’ve been recording in an old church and the sound is really influenced by the audio refraction caused by that particular kind of stone with which the church has been built, don’t think of it has that horrible "hangar like" feel, the sound ambience is clearly defined and you can distinguish easily everything without drowning in reverb. In some episodes the atmosphere gets really intense, somewhere else the musicians "resigned" to something really melodic and I’m sure it will have a great appeal for a "jazz/classic" crowd of listeners since without falling into cheap solutions it brings some traditional music in the backpack and it’s damn easily digestible, which is never to be taken for granted from a recording like that. Sorry for being boring but more than filmic I’d put the emphasis on "documentaristic music", you know it’s different for in documentaries most of the times the soundtrack has more of a continuum and is more central for the story plot, it reminded me so much of those old documentaries based on road trips on the life in some deserted, ancient areas, "music for discovery channel" or in the likes? Maybe and that’s ok for me.


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