Music Reviews



Milliseconde Topographie: Tricycle

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 27 2008
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Artist: Milliseconde Topographie (@)
Title: Tricycle
Format: DVD
Label: Ekumen (@)
Rated: *****
Milliseconde Topographie is a Canadian duo formed by Nicolas Bernier and Delphine Measroch, two artists who have made it a point to go beyond merely sonic creations and have wholeheartedly embraced an audio-video artform of their own, in which multiple layers of footage of outdoors scenes, dripping water, orchid petals, sea and beaches, bits and pieces of phrases in different lettering and other more artsy and surreal clips are synched (or not) with minimalistic and glitchy electronica under or over imposed on field recordings and the occasional acoustic instrument (it wouldn't be a record from a french-speaking country if there was no accordion, would it? ;-)).
The DVD contains four videomusic pieces totaling over 30 minutes as well as almost 20 minutes of "musiques fossiles" (fossil music) made with ancient instruments (organ, dulcimer and harpsichord), which are offered in mp3 format as well.
The duo is on to something very unique and special. I personally like some parts of this DVD very much (the photography and the vivid colors of "This is Portrait" and the audio/video sync of "Orchid" are beautiful and of the highest caliber) and some film festivals have taken due noticed and issued a awards.
The duo is currently working on underwater musical installations, musical urban posters and soundwalks.
Definitely cutting edge and original!

Josh Russell: Sink

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 26 2008
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Artist: Josh Russell (@)
Title: Sink
Format: CD
Label: Quiet Design (@)
Rated: *****
Austin-based Quiet Design delivered a brand new release in early 2008: the new album by lowercase sound pioneer (and fellow Austinite) Josh Russell (his fourth release to date).
Russell's approach to sound mirrors his academic background in microscopy research. He zooms into the components, spirals down to the primary element-level substratus and turns the focus dial to reveal what goes unnoticed. Then he builds around that, making it the primary core of a new composition. In doing so he creates a broad universe of low pressure synthetic veils that hover and flutter over pulsating organic patterns in the same way that thick shades of oil colors would be layered over background textures on a Thomas Crown affair-like canvas, revealing new shapes underneath the ones you are currently paying attention to. It comes as no surprise to me that Russell is also a painter (which I found out from his website after I wrote this review). In a way, "Sink" is a very visual record, a very visionary record, a sonic translation of multi-pattern and multi-layer micro-cosmos of slowly modulating sines and throbbing bubbles of light. You might think of it as a dilated and liquified glitch electronica record in which the glitches have been replaced by stretched snapshots of the universe the glitch came from.

VV.AA.: Post-Asiatic: Lost War Dream Music

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 26 2008
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Post-Asiatic: Lost War Dream Music
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: URCKarm Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
After my recent trip to Asia, my interest in oriental music has definitely greatly increased and then this release fell into my lap... Serendipity or coincidence, I eagerly went through this double bill, listening to all the nuances and influences I could trace back to my trip or recognize the origin of... There is definitely a lot going on but sadly the recording quality didn't seem to have always been determining factor in the choice of material. The release is dubbed as a CD of eastern-influenced experimental music, which it is, but I was a little concerned with its authenticity when I realized that pretty much all of the artists seem to be Americans (that's not to say americans can't be influenced, but I think I would have preferred to hear asians playing experimental music with some of their traditional roots in it instead of the opposite). However, once I got past my little self-inflicted disappointment I read up on what this CD presented and it seems that Noah Mickens actually knows his stuff and really cares ("from love our desire springs") so I intently listened to everything.
My favorite tracks are the two openers by Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra and Soriah (great Nahuatl chants") as well as Baba Larriji, Sikhara, Bill Horist, Refrigerator Mothers, F-Space but the CDs are full of interesting moments and interesting instrumentation (Tibetan singing bowls, Indonesian Gamelan, Chinese dulcimers, Indian sitar, Thai throat singing and all sort of tribal drums). The sonic palette and geographic reach are pretty broad and include all of Asia (the usual suspects plus Southeast Asia, India etc) as well as the Middle East. The tracks by the artists are interspersed by field recordings from Burma and India.
2 CDs, 25 artists, 156 minutes of music by Amps for Christ, Muslimgauze, Z'ev + Ramona Ponzini, Larry Trasher, Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra, Hop Frog's Drum Jster Devotional, Volcanosis, Pyramids on Mars, Auto Da Fe, Sikhara, Nequaquam Vacuum, Aditi Tahiti, Bill Horist, C.O.T.A., F-Space, Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan, Neung Phak, Regrigerator Morthers, Charles Powne, The Hop-Frog Kollectiv, Jerry Lloyd, Kamilsky, Metal Roughe, Moe! Staiano, Sardonik Grin, Catastrophic Mermaids on Parade & Soriah.
Definitely recommended to anyone with musical yellow fever...

Creature: Distant Horizons

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 25 2008
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Artist: Creature (@)
Title: Distant Horizons
Format: CD
Label: Haunted House Records (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
A new release for the Haunted House-recording artist CREATURE hailing out of Derby, UK. CREATURE is Stephen Haunts and he continues with this new full-length his path performing a special sort of Dark Ambient/Down-Tempo Electronica. His musically outfit still relies on some dark lead synth sounds complimented with rhythm patterns between ear-catching and commercial-oriented up to experimental and abstract-minded. "Distant Horizons" is like most of its predecessor "Mechanical" a completely instrumental arranged album, but it surprises a bit, that Stephen for this album seemed to have spent some efforts in the creation of the tracks list. After a dark, cold melodic intro tune ("Indigo"), the track "Carbon" rules the scenario and offers easy-minded but powerful and I tend to say catchy synth textures. But the more this album continues, the more it turns into some darker and more ominous sounding spheres. Since all tracks work well and do the best to offer a matured listening experience, I like to point out the slow and dark-melodic track "Helter Skelter" and the DIVE-like "Flutter" as being favorites. Stephen himself extracts a lot of his sounds out of very experimental-minded kind of work. Circuit bending is to be named and this requires some knowledge of a electrician. Would be surely interesting to know more details on this, since this music is a descent trip under a pair of headphones, but also "easy" enough to work in the background while concentrating on different things. Good stuff.

KAMMERFLIMMER KOLLEKTIEF/STRINGS OF CONSCIOUSNESS : s/t

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 20 2008
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Artist: KAMMERFLIMMER KOLLEKTIEF/STRINGS OF CONSCIOUSNESS (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 10"
Label: Karlrecords (@)
Rated: *****
This spilt ties the knot between String of Consciousness I’ve just interviewed for Chaindlk (so watch out since you’re gonna read it sooner or later) and Kammerflimmer Kollektief I didn’t know anything about. This slab of vinyl has been a real surprise: I’ve been listening to the songs repeatedly and the first obvious conclusion I’ve come to is that this 10" joins a beautiful pair. I’m not just speaking about the top notch quality of both of the bands, what I’ve written is mostly referred to the fact if you listen carefully to the five tracks here included they all make sense on the same release even thought the bands are not that similar style-wise. Cinematic music takes over on both of the sides and I’m also tented to say that the matter is filmic but also nocturnal, it’s mainly instrumental material with a really elegant approach for what concerns arrangements and taste. Kammerflimmer Kollektief officially enter in the ranks of interesting bands, later I’ve found they’ve some material out on Staubgold which perhaps doesn’t mean that much, but you’ll agree with me it could be a good hint to suspect they’ve the quality trademark. An interesting bled of influences for they play with a subtle krautesque (... Can anyone?) aftertaste you can sense in both of the songs. Believe it or not the first track made me think to post-krau-tronic bands as we could have classified mighty Salaryman hybridized with the vocals of Meredith Monk, the second song instead reveals an all german taste for sadness, it could have been part of the soundtrack for one of those tv-dramas or even the main theme for Wender’s "Alice in den Städten" (if Can had not arrived first when we all were young and cute). On the other side of the 10" you have String of Consciousness with no famous guest and no vocals...does it cheapens the result? No, therefore turn down your skepticism since this’ the proof you needed if you were just trying to get if they "had it or not". S.O.C are probably one of the most jazzy bands hailing from the post-rock, post-modern, post-whatever scene, this probably what would happen if you put some ECM (let’s say Jan Garbarek), some New Wet Kojak, a good but discrete dose of electronic sounds and a spruce of Morricone in the same shaker. You think it’s an odd mixture?! Come on, think about it carefully and you will be with me thinking the combination was somehow quite logical.



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