Music Reviews



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Artist: CULTURAL AMNESIA (@)
Title: Press My Hungry Button
Format: 12"
Label: Vinyl On Demand (@)
Rated: *****
I already introduced to our readers Cultural Amnesia on my Anna Logue Records article and after about a month from that article I'm here again talking about them because there's a new reissue of their old material released by Vinyl On Demand. PRESS MY HUNGRY BUTTON is a double compilation album (their subscribers will receive also an E.P. titled "Still hungry") which after "Enormous savages" bring to the attention of the lovers of the early 80's experimental/wave sound thirty tracks (plus four on the E.P.) which are coming from the three tapes album the band did during the 1980÷1983 period ("Video Rideo", "Sinclair's Luck" and "The Uncle Of The Boot") plus unreleased tracks of the latter period which where intended for their first album "Obscenity" which have never been released. First of all a warning for those of you who want to approach this kind of releases: on this record you won't find a homogeneous track list as well polished sounds. Instead you'll be able to feel three English kids' urge of creating something new and liberating. I remember you that after the hippie movement and after the '77 movement (social and musical), 80's were the Margaret Thatcher years. Years of cultural repression which saw a certain musical grew only during their first half. Cultural Amnesia as well as early Coil, Portion Control, Nocturnal Emissions, etc. absorbed the creative rebellion of early industrial music (T.G.) and if the three bands I mentioned extended their interest on the industrial side, Cultural Amnesia mixed it with the post punk sound/attitude. Any musical instrument was usable someway, no matter if it was a guitar, a synth or a drum machine. Cultural Amnesia embraced totally this kind of spirit and on PRESS MY HUNGRY BUTTON you can find early electronic experimentalism, post punk rawness as well as two covers (a delirious lecture of "Satisfaction" and a short electro/post punk version of Human League's "Being boiled"). Few songs of the previous collection released by Anna Logue are here with a different version and maybe only "Scars for e (alternate take 1)" and "Sacrebleu (original version)" (you find them on the extra E.P.) are the same. I'd like to remember to you that Cultural Amnesia are active again. I checked their new material on their website and I liked the new sound which keep alive the old spirit but updates it with the use of new technology.

JOE GILMORE: On Quasi-Convergence and Quiet Spaces

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (4052)
Nov 25 2007
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Artist: JOE GILMORE
Title: On Quasi-Convergence and Quiet Spaces
Format: CD
Label: Cut
Rated: *****
Five improvised tracks for solo computer by English audio & visual artist Joe Gilmore (previous releases on 12k, L-ne, Entr'acte, Alku, etc.), here editing recordings from 2004 to 2006. Hard to tell how Gilmore generated his electronics, though we know that many sound sources come from DIY patches initially meant to be used in group improvisation. The result is a flow of sandpaper frequencies, buzzes and crackles, with the harsh and unpredictable grain of live improvisation but also a droning ambience that I've appreciated a lot. The shifts are integrated in a wider texture, which makes this more coherent and eventually enjoyable than most improvised electronic records. At times, Gilmore relies on almost pure sinewave modulation, like in the final piece, "U+221E", which incidentally reminded me of Palestine's "Negative Sound Study" in its severe, claustrophobic minimalism. At the other end of the spectrum, the short "1.0359 8247 9917" seems to be obtained by dragging some heavy object on a metal surface. As a whole, a great record for orphans of old Mego or L-ne microsounds, or even fans of Mattin's laptop generated noise.

NOVOTONO : wanderung

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 22 2007
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Artist: NOVOTONO (@)
Title: wanderung
Format: CD
Label: Amirani (@)
Rated: *****
While the cover is really classy and the fact many of the musicians on this label have a jazz/learned/contemporary background might bring forth the idea it’s soft-new age-jazz you can listen while having your macrobiotic meal, the music sails in much trouble waters. The fact all the music is played with clarinets, saxophones and trombone makes the listening not so comfortable above all if you consider this’ not "wallpaper jazz" and as you may suspect by yourself to avoid falling in the sad "innocuous jazz" category they needed ideas. Yes, they have ideas and they probably put it on paper while filling the blacks of the pentagram since the majority of the tracks are composed and by some means quite geometrically that makes it all interesting but on the other hand the side effect is that sometimes it’s really tortuous. As you can guess the recording is quite bright-clean like the majority of the other materials on Amirani but it gets rough just with some low registers and I say cause beside under the decisional profile it means in their compositions Novotono tried to explore every possible sound solution (according to their initial intentions, of course!). It would be easy and above all wrong to compare "wanderung" to the mighty Rova Quartet but let’s do it just to help you (and above all me) to describe further on this release. If compared to the historical releases of the Californians this one is forcedly less choral, more absorbed in abstraction but just here and there when they go for improvisational break in between written solutions. I’m tented to add Novotono sounds also sharper and colder that make me think to a lot of avant white jazzists like Time Berne (he’s not always cold I know shame on me!), Kyle Bruckmann or Scott Rosemberg just to mention some names you may know. I know "mr. know it all" is there complaining Braxton is whiter than the snow said that dear mr. "know it all" you will agree if you’re into horns dueling with contemporary music and above all into jazz trying not to be wall paper music, you’d better give a listen.



NAGAOAG: yama labam a

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 18 2007
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Artist: NAGAOAG
Title: yama labam a
Format: CD
Label: Eh?
Rated: *****
It was hard to find any info about this (title and artist name being the only writings on the cover), but with the web nothing's really secret, isn't it. Nagaoag is Public Eyesore's Bryan Day at guitar and vocals and Luke Polpnick at drums, if I got it right from previous reviews. Listening to the first track, I though this sounded like an unlikely jam between early US Maple and Fushitsusha - bizarre, rambling vocals, sometimes meowing, more often wandering cluelessly, over fractured guitar lines, almost psychedelic dilatations and restless drumming. The formula is the same throughout, but I'd also add Captain Beefheart, Oxbow and definitely Storm & Stress/Talibam! to the possible references. Very interesting, obviously and willingly unnerving but far from being gratuitous trash - in an apparently fertile period for free-form incests and "musique brut", this could even get some deserved exposure.

SHELF LIFE: Ductworks

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (4040)
Nov 18 2007
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Artist: SHELF LIFE
Title: Ductworks
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore
Rated: *****
Shelf Life are an improv quartet featuring Public Eyesore owner Bryan Day jamming with A. Boardman, J. Jaros and J. Schleidt. The cd is a lenghty (78+ minutes) collection of thirteen sessions recorded between February and July, 2006 at Platteform, Omaha. The cover doesn't list any instrument, but my guess is that they used guitars, effects, shortwaves, percussion and maybe some reeds as well. Though it's pretty physical and acoustic/unaltered, it's not that easy to tell what's going on in Shelf Life's music. There's a lot of plucking, stretching and bowing, creating a chaotic texture, which is deepened at times by some drone or feedback or even odd found music moments, like tuning a radio and suddenly unburying an old song from the statics. Despite some more intense moments, and nice start-stop dynamics (track 7, for example), the quartet seems to avoid crescendos or sudden bursts, so the whole disc starts having a humming drone quality after a while. It's a nice radical improv set for the most part, but also a tad too long/uneventful for my jaded ears.


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