Music Reviews



JASON KAHN: Fields

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 10 2007
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Artist: JASON KAHN
Title: Fields
Format: CD
Label: Cut
Rated: *****
Recorded using "analogue synthesizer, percussion, short wave radio, and location recordings", "Fields" is another impressive addition to Kahn's discography, and can be loosely associated to his more electronics-based works like "Miramar". Don't expect any background ambient, though: while featuring the subtlety expected from the artist, the seven tracks, clocking in at 39 minutes, are also harsh and uncompromising. Each one shows great care in assembling different sound layers from the - often unrecognizable - sources, and the end result is so thick that it gives the impression of some mysteriously amplified machinery boiling over. While using raw material which by now is commonplace in electroacoustic music, Kahn manages to obtain something which is totally his, and this unique quality is the same you'll find in his improvised collaborations. As usual, the percussive element, reminding of Kahn's background as a drummer, is often present, disguised as a glassy rattling (track 1), a tinkling metronome (track 3), or the pulses of track 5; but you'll have to find it buried in layers of distorted frequencies and grey drones, which dominate the compositions giving them a sense of troubled stasis. The most impressive results probably come with the last two pieces, with bird chirps floating above low-end currents (track 6), and a magnetic storm of high-pitched cricket buzz. Possibly one of Kahn's noisiest endeavours, "Fields" is a though one to digest in a row, but that's true with most experiences that mark you in any way.

The Club of Rome: Full Fathom Five

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 09 2007
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Artist: The Club of Rome (@)
Title: Full Fathom Five
Format: CD EP
Rated: *****
Amazing 6-track cdr-ep by Atlanta's Club Of Rome, a band whose music could be described as a lo-fi mayhem halfaway between Nervous Gender's hysterical synth punk and the more fucked up side of Black Dice. "Sunday Gospel" is the first one on the ep and reveals all their twisted sense of humour, it is a real gospel recited with a distorted and emphatic voice. "Let's Go USA" is a depraved rock'n'roll rant washed in meth and alcohol, and resembles early Chrome (!!) with floating tapestries made by cheaply distorted electronics. My favourite here is "The Ballad of Phil Spector" that seems a perfect 00s update to Suicide's lesson. That being said, you just have to look at the pictures on their myspace (http://www.myspace.com/theclubofrome) to know that COR are the perfect people to hang out with. And hey! They share the name with one of the many alter-egos of Asmus Tietchens'... but I doubt they bother.

KORBER/WEBER/YAMAUCHI: Signal to Noise vol. 2

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 08 2007
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Artist: KORBER/WEBER/YAMAUCHI
Title: Signal to Noise vol. 2
Format: CD
Label: For 4 Ears
Rated: *****
Here's the story around this cd: in 2006, a group of renowned Switzerland-based improvisers (Jason Kahn, Tomas Korber, the ex-Voice Crack Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller and Christian Weber) toured Japan, playing in different combinations and sometimes interacting with local musicians. The starting point was the creation of the Signal Quintet by Jason Kahn in 2004, to record his graphical score "Timelines" (later released on Cut); the ensemble then continued living on its own. Out of the Japanese tour, you can now listen to the "Yamaguchi" album by the Quintet, on Cut (review soon), the "Signal to Noise vol. 3" on For 4 Ears (by Kahn/Möslang/Müller), and this very "vol. 2". If you're familiar with Korber's and Weber's production, especially in the Mersault trio with Christian Wolfarth (get their 2005 release on Quakebasket), you can start guessing what this sounds like. In the first track, Weber's contrabass thumps a slow cadence, while Korber's guitar+electronics set blends with Yamauchi's sax strains, to the point that it's actually hard to distinguish which is which. Track 2 increases the tension with a faster plucking of the strings, with a rolling effect, while the other two players erupt a flow of white noise frequencies and hisses. As in all recordings involving Korber, this is a fine piece of intense and subtly menacing improvisation, where sounds are stretched and then held just before they could finally explode.

RAJAPINTA: Bootleg Epiphanies

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 07 2007
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Artist: RAJAPINTA (@)
Title: Bootleg Epiphanies
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Limited to 123 copies on CD-r, BOOTLEG EPIPHANIES is a collection of noises and cut-ups recorded by Ibrahim Terzic and Niko Skorpio and assembled by the latter. The thirteen tracks contain recordings collected in various locations during the 2001÷2006 period and treated in different ways. Niko Skorpio decided to release them also if the tracks (not all of them frankly and fortunately) could sound unfinished or unsatisfactory. For sure some of them sound as sound experiments in the vein of the Boyd Rice/Frank Tovey collaborations, but they haven't the rhythmical construction of "Easy listening for the hard of hearing" and for this reason they could sound as "sounds on the wild". Tracks like "Ion flux" or "Streched qi" do have some kind of structure even if they are experimental tunes but most of them sounds like rolling sound pebbles which form a torrent of sound. Due the particular nature of the CD it hasn't been released under Someplace Else as usual...

LNGTCHE: Music for an Untitled Film by T. Zärkkof

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 06 2007
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Artist: LNGTCHE
Title: Music for an Untitled Film by T. Zärkkof
Format: CD
Label: Etude
Rated: *****
Clothed in an elegantly messy design by Seldon Hunt comes a 1-track, 44-minute disc by this apparently mysterious project, which is actually a solo thing of Catalan soundmaker Pau Torres. If you have a look at his Myspace page, you'll find how his influences span from Sun Ra to Abruptum, from Cecil Taylor to Hate Forest... What does this tell us of Lngtché's style? Not much really, except that it's a fringe avantgarde solo thing drenched in the most obscure solipsism, which could well get kudos from misanthropic forest segregationists (unlike Cecil Taylor, maybe). Torres uses both manipulated and raw guitar sounds, and sparse water recordings here and there, to weave a monolithic, scary headtrip. It's not something terribly loud, but I would surely call it noisy: amp feedback and buzz, string scraping, no hint of melody whatsoever, and a dysmal atmosphere all around. Torres surely opts for an extreme approach, making this a "love it or get f*cked" release, but he's also skilled enough to balance the minimal inputs in a crystaline production. All orphans of 90's isolationism should give this a try.


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