Music Reviews



UNCODE DUELLO: Ex Aequo

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 02 2007
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Artist: UNCODE DUELLO (@)
Title: Ex Aequo
Format: CD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
Second chapter for the Uncode Duello saga an for those who don't know 'em this' the follow up of the dearly missed A Short Apnea. With their second coming, Uncode Duello give the impression they want to put it clear that: yes, they're ex A Short Apnea but also much more into rock and yes a solid kraut-rock background beats underneath and they're more and more into live action. This' live factor kicks much more than ever in the composition of this second album and if you're into their rock action take for granted this new episode is full of it. Great recording but read: two on two members of the band are sound engineers and everything is where it belongs above all dynamics (which is essential in the economy of their sound). Sure, you have all of those trippy krautesque/psych parts you can smoke your joints with but be it the guest drummer they invited on this episode, be it the loud recording but it sounds more focussed on explosive/aggressive tracks. I still have an hard time with some of the spoken parts a la Massimo Volume, but guitar-wise there's a good amount of that riffery rock fans can't live without. This cd is more disconnected and less aggressive than their label mates Bron Y Aur that I suggsst you if you think this record is cool. Seventies flavour is again there but they've gotten sharper than before which gives it all a post-Skin Graft feel and to me that's just a good sign. I like their debut album but I think this one is much better above all where it hits the target. If you were in their first one I think you won't be disappointed.

SAMARTZIS/ENGLISH: One Plus One

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 27 2006
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Artist: SAMARTZIS/ENGLISH
Title: One Plus One
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Room40
Rated: *****
A tight duo recording by two excellent artists from down under, namely the extraordinary turntablist Philip Samartzis (formerly involved with vinyl-manipulation forerunners GUM) and Lawrence English, author, among other things, of a wonderful disc on Crónica (see archive). I don't really know what they play, possibly turntables (duh!) and effects-Samartzis and laptop-English. The four tracks offered here are culled, I suppose, from a series of improvisations, and are wisely kept short and to the point (21 minutes total), but sometimes they're so good I wished they lasted longer. "Faster than Cold" starts with a frantic accumulation of loops, vinyl skips and pulses, soon paired by more recognizable digital bleeps and an almost regular, "techno" rhythm. "Gut Bucket Blues" is more droning and static, with a looped strumming sliding in and out of the mix, while the following "Goin' Back Home", arguably the strongest track of the ep, features a fragment of melody stuck in neverending cycles, soon submerged by a crescendo of high frequencies. "Phosphorecent Clouds" closes this nice disc (hopefully an appetizer for something more consistent) with a sort of tribal drumming and/or steady beat (think of Goem's "Disco"), but who knows if it's "just" a vinyl loop.

RICHARD CHARTIER: Current

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 27 2006
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Artist: RICHARD CHARTIER
Title: Current
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Room40
Rated: *****
A new ep from one of the masters of digital minimalism, microsounds or lowercase, you choose the tag. "Current" is a 19'50" composition released by the ever excellent Room40 in its series of finely designed quasi-3" cds, coinciding with Chartier's 2006 Australia/Japan tour. The track starts with high-end frequencies, soon smudged by white noise, then plunged deep in an ebb and flow of ghost frequencies. All at a very low volume, of course. Described like this, it could sound all too easy, but Chartier does know how to put a careful assemblage and, most of all, an engaging atmosphere in the most anemic sound matter. It's nothing that you wouldn't expect from him, but with such a quality production this is surely not a defect.

VV. AA.: Jukebox Buddha

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 27 2006
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Artist: VV. AA.
Title: Jukebox Buddha
Format: CD
Label: Staubgold
Rated: *****
You've probably read about the latest hype gadget, but here it is: the Chinese duo FM3 (its member Christiaan Virant, to be exact) found a Buddha Machine (a "battery-operated meditation device" playing a sequence of loops, with one-touch control parameters) in Beijing, decided to adapt it with their own sounds, and spread a certain number of modified versions around. Many musicians, including Brian Eno, soon went crazy for it, and here we have the first sampler of Buddha Machine-based compositions. Being after all a loop playing device, don't expect anything particularly new technically-wise: it's minimal/repetitive music like any other, the true difference laying - as always - in the quality and fantasy of each performer. Wang Fan seems to stick to an almost pure layering of drones, while Thomas Fehlmann, Robert Henke (of Monolake/Ableton fame, and composer of a recent Buddha Machine-based cd) and sunn0))) lean on ambient, Adrian Sherwood and Doug Wimbish on eerie trip-hop/dub rhythms, Es on Coil-esque cosmic music, Alog on an almost exclusively vocal composition, etc. And of course leftfield beat-based electronica is represented as well (Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Gudrun Gut, Mapstation). Blixa Bargeld stands alone in terms of weirdness with the bird tweets of "Little Yellow", but the most convincing interpretations come from the above mentioned Henke and sunn0))), together with the feedback-driven track by Minit and Sun City Girls' ghostly psychedelia. A curious and entertaining sample, though honestly with only few truly outstanding moments.
Dec 27 2006
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Artist: THE OPERATIVE (@)
Title: An adoring circle af Radical Calamity
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod Media (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
After some well recognized underground releases out on his own website www.mechanismz.com, THE OPERATIVE and Crunch Pod Media have decided to unite their forces. So here’s a first mutual released full-length release of this one-man act, which provides a mixture of Powernoise tunes, flavored with some Breakbeat, Ambient and IDM influences. At times some voice samples provide the content of the tracks (strange example: "Disembodied", "A Man, A Fuse, A Bomb"), also some sparse included vocals ("Dead Beat") are joining the scenario. Mostly straight and rhythmically arranged ("Dawns Turbulent Rise", the angry "Dead Beat"...), the tracks also leave some space for trips into some more experimental fields, just check the atonal sounds on "Fleeing Tribal Rule". The winning point for THE OPERATIVE can be named in the huge diversity which is rich offered here. It needs some attention and also a few more rotations until the listener will be able to discover the whole content. Who by the way stands behind THE OPERATIVE? Well, he keeps in secrecy and wears a mask also on gigs. Go out, buy this album and check his activities.


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