Music Reviews



Inversion Effect: A Brief History

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 27 2008
cover
Artist: Inversion Effect
Title: A Brief History
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Artificial Music Machine (@)
Rated: *****
Here’s how the press release that came with the disc defined the album: "Using both traditional and non-traditional instrumentation, they compose introspective soundscapes and lush, moody atmospheres." Evidently, Inversion Effect is a kind of supergroup of Artificial Music Machine artists (like a Pigface of experimental groups). This comes through in the music. At times, the music ranges from cinematic soundscapes ("Cavesong (Planetarium Version)" and "A Wife’s Hope," for example) to slightly noisy ("A Static Transmission," "Textural Interlude") to incidental music designed to heighten tension with clanking metal and sparse, shifting tones ("Puppets Part 1," Faces in the Hall"). The only track that didn’t quite work was "In the Shadow of the Vampire." The synthesized strings sounded cheesy and the piano theme became too repetitive. Even so, this is, overall, an interesting album. According to the website, "In 2005, the band composed an original score for the classic silent film Nosferatu, and performed it live at several theatrical screenings." I can see this band being able to pull this off and do well. If you like dark ambient that seems to tell a story without the need for words, this is one to check out. This disc weighs in at 57 minutes.

Numbers on the Mast: S/T

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 27 2008
cover
Artist: Numbers on the Mast
Title: S/T
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Artificial Music Machine (@)
Here’s how the press release that came with the disc describes it: "Utilizing an arsenal of sine waves and static, low frequency oscillators, pulsating tones, organic rhythms, subsonic reverberations, disembodied voices and heavily processed field recordings, Numbers on the Mast evoke otherworldly atmospheres and create a truly revelatory listening experience." That’s a lot to live up to; I don’t think that I would call it revelatory. The press release states, "Occult, mystical, and mathematical concepts found recurring expression in the group's work, along with subliminal suggestion and sound frequencies with trance-inducing qualities." Mystical is one of those descriptors that is often thrown around and I must admit that I did not really get that feeling. The music can best be described as noisy experimental. The tracks are all untitled. At times, the music becomes a bit too repetititive. For example, track one opens with a high pitched tone that sounds like something off of Star Trek which goes on for 6 minutes, wearing out its welcome pretty quickly. However, the track eventually settles into pleasant drone interspersed with buzzing, static, and warbling synth. Track 2 also falls into the trap of repetitiveness, with a shaker sound that seems to go on for far too long. The underlying elements are interesting, but it’s a bit to thin and sparse to really keep me engaged. It does eventually get more complex and interesting at about 10 minutes in, but by the time it got to that point it had already lost me. Track 3 is a bit more interesting, with circuit bent analog bleeps, bits of static, and fragments of distorted voice over a layer of shifting synth drone. Track 4 is also good, with pulsing synth washes that crescendo and decrescendo. In this track, they have escaped the trap of repetition to gain continuity. At 5.51, this is the shortest track on the album, which also may contribute to its strength. Most of the tracks try to cram too many ideas into a track, making it seem disjointed. Track 5 is a bit more chaotic, with deep resonating thuds of percussion, water noises, and what sounds like heavily processed wind recordings. Like the track before it, it has achieved continuity without becoming boring, even at over 14 minutes. Track 6 is also short, bringing in the closest thing to a beat in these tracks. Although interesting, it is not as strong as the preceding two tracks. Overall, this is a mixed bag. About a half hour of the disc is uninspiring but the second half is interesting. This disc weighs in at 74 minutes.

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS : Red Arc / Blue Veil

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 26 2008