Music Reviews

KURSK : the truth in the head

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 03 2007
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Artist: KURSK (@)
Title: the truth in the head
Format: DVD
Label: Amirani (@)
Rated: *****
Wow, I think I deserve some respect here since before writing the final review of this dvd I've been watching it at least three or four times which in my book means I've given it lot's off attention!. The fact is the work and the concept behind it is to say it all: majestic, I dunno if you remember the whole tragedy of the russian sailors left choking in the dept of the sea but I've seen a couple of documentaries on it and I remember quite well the whole disaster. The other reason why it took me so much to digest the dvd is that not only the project is ambitious, but the final result is equally complex, infact the dvd featues some extras where Mimmo explanes how they’ve approached this work. To prevent you from thinking this’ gonna bore you to death, I’ve to say according to my personal taste that's one of the most interesting releases on Amirani. While most of the original sources for the visual part are well assembled I'm not completely convinced about all the effects used in the process of elaboration of the images, but that doesn't mean it won’t leave you dry. Though the primary "voices" involved in the realization of this soundtrack are soprano sax and trombone, the electronic insertions are really well calibrated and help dying neutrally every act of what sometimes has the feature of a theatrical play (a drama indeed). There’s something beautifully old fashioned in the music played for the score and surprise, surprise: differently from what one may expect it’s not sad or dark, but that’s also what I find it’s really personal of this work. With the exception of the electronic parts of the record, which usually are non intrusive and discrete, our "horn" duo ranges from abstract melodies to barely classical movements eluding the jazz background of Contini and Mimmo. Funny cause what initially could be a dangerous choice reveals to be the most unconventional decision and at the end of the dvd I’ve happened to think that they’ve given much more power to the images and to the story plot. The music has its autonomous life even when separated by its soundtrack essence and that’s good, by the way the majority of the "movements" are subsequential thus it’s quite different from those soundtrack where you have a recurring theme or songs that can be isolated from the whole musical context. Good work and above all music wise an enchanting release.


 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 02 2007
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Title: Tacet
Format: CD
Label: Extreme (@)
Rated: *****
After Australians, Americans and Japanese, Italians are doing their best to increase their ethnic weight between the ranks of Extreme records and Luca Formentini follows Claudio Parodi, by the way even if both those country fellows can be ideally filed under "drone" music, the nature and the final result of the two works are quite far one from each other". Formentini has an candid old school ambient/visionary approach that I’m sure many of you (me included) will appreciate. While remembering you "old school" doesn’t imply always: "surpassed", Formentini’s refined effort will kill those who loved the most inspired Eno, David Torn (minus some of his old fashioned fusion reminiscences), the most sober Laswell and many beautiful documentary soundtracks you may have (or have not) heard once in your life. I’m tented to say this could be a sophisticated atmospherical release with a ECM, Axiom cut (no, it’s nit dub). Don’t worry, I know for many of you ECM (and Axiom) has become just a synonym for "chic music for pretentious bourgeois intellectual wonnabes", but I’ve to admit myself they still put out interesting records every now and then. For what it’s worth Luca has some celebrities featured on this cd: Markus Stokhausen (son of such a father but great musician himself!), Sylvian’s own Steve Jensen that surely have enriched what already was an intense release just to name the most famous. By some means I wish I’ve been able to express this guitar driven songs are in some way close to "classic ambient" but scout’s honour: if that’s the so called classicism is more than welcome! The fact is Formentini has simply exploited a pre-existing "language" but he manages to be both lyrically evocative and touchy thar makes the difference. "Tacet" is warm and has the undoubtful quality to make you feel relaxed both when the mood of the track is sad and when we have something close to the softest/diluted evolution of Miles Davis (Nordic jazz anybody?). While many of his contemporaries fall while looking for the coolest sound, Formentini is more absorbed in the search for interiority and you can hear it. I know I may sound dumb for writing this but after many listening I couldn’t but think how Wenders’ "Until the end of the world" wouldn’t have been such a bore with a soundtrack like that. Nothing can better describe "Tacet" but relaxing.

Zelienople: His/Hers

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 28 2007
Artist: Zelienople (@)
Title: His/Hers
Format: CD
Label: Type Records (@)
Rated: *****
Zelienople are a trio hailing from Chicago, formed by Matt Christensen, Mike Weis and Brian Harding. This is their first release on the eclectic Type label and comes after some awesome releases on Last Visible Dog, Digitalis Industries, Time-Lag and Root Strata. The album fires into action with the most canonical track on the album called "Family Beast", a sludgy and tormented composition. "Moss Man" shows beautifully filtered vocals and overwhelming feedbacks that somehow reminded me of Flying Saucer Attack. A cascading build-up of melted acoustic sources is the core of "Forced March", harsh avant-folk soaked in LSD. And after the freakout of the 4th track things go back to normal with the last track called "Sweet Ali". A 45-minute album that evolves on each track, "His/Hers" can seriously grow on you if you let it. Essential blues-tinged psychedelic folk with a skilled use of feedback - a perfect record for the winter to come.

MARY AND THE BOY: Mary And The Boy

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 27 2007
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Title: Mary And The Boy
Format: CD
Label: Low Impedance Recordings (@)
Distributor: Msen Music
Rated: *****
Formed in 2004 as Mougra Band, Mary And The Boy during these years produced music for dance shows and theater. Coming from Greece the band is formed by two musicians and a dancer. Their first self titled album has a high dramatic and theatrical component and (not only because they're coming from Greece) the female vocals sometimes remember me of Diamanda Galas. The tracks are based on electronics and guitars but the main part is represented by the vocals (both female and male). In this way we have musical experimentations with a melodic structure which is functional to the theatrical aspect of the project. Lyrics deals with sex, death, humiliation and failure and they aren't descriptive of a particular situation, instead they are like flashes. "Black terror" for example opens with: "Oh black terror. Black whore of silence. That man nailed me down. He took his knife and ripped my heart". Musically the album opens with a duet with chants and piano just to explode with the second track, "Death", where a distorted guitar and a bass line create the right background for a crying woman. The band is good at the creation of these particular dramatic atmospheres and they deserve your attention.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: WHW
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
Germany’s special mail order service and underground Powernoise-label SkullLine releases only a few month after "Document A" another compilation. This time they like to celebrate their 1st anniversary of the SkullLine label and for this event they’ve invited besides the complete own roster several acts musically based in the wide field between EBM, Powernoise, Minimal, Ambient, Martial Industrial and Neo-Folk. Of course and thanks to the rich amount of acts joining this compilation, this release comes out as a double-CD packaged in a huge DVD case. Also – as usual – it is limited to 200 hand-numbered copies, from which 64 exemplars will be released as a box-set including a T-shirt.
Giving CD1 a first spin, it is already conspicuous how diverse the musically playing field of this compilation will turn. SkullLine’s very own act TT provides an intro-track which comes unusual dark, while KALIBER 9 storming merciless in your brain with a hefty Powernoise tune, a remix of their track "Neurotoxin". Neo-Folk-inspired works musically supported by acoustic guitars you’ll get with the appearances of BERKANA ("Sehnsucht Nach Dem Frühling" – lyrics originally written by August H. Hoffmann, a well-known traditionally German text) or ROSE ROVINE E AMANTI. Rather sedating comes the Dark-Ambient tune of EINHEIT 731, while BLEIBURG surprises once again with an outlook to a coming new album, "Der Meldereiter" comes out as a straight rhythmic-oriented track featuring some amusing German voice samples. In between we have STANDGERICHT, another project new signed to SkullLine, offering Minimal textures with a slight noisy ingredient. Something new also from SHIFT 69, the track "Arbeit" features retro-EBM structures and sampled and vocoderized vocals – WELLE:ERDBALL can be named to be a quell of inspiration. The term "Noise" in a rhythmically form returns with the appearances of both ZYANKALI and TRITON 83, and with LIFE’S DECAY one of the international better known artists joins this comp. MANMACHINE, last but not least, ends this compilation with a rather dark Ambient-tune, also from this act a new release out on SkullLine is in the works.
CD2 got opened by MARK LANE offering a moody Dark Electro/Ambient-driven track entitled "Atomium". Other striking appearances have to be named with LADY MORPHIA ("Widerstand" – something between Goth and Neo-Folk, well-done male vocals and a orchestral-like musically building.), NEJET NOK ("Singen, Lachen, Töten", minimal retro-EBM structures with pitched vocals and German lyrics which cause a smile...) and SCHALLGEWALT ("Electrocabinette", a minimal but speedy rhythmic piece remixed by BLEIBURG). Also a positive point is the fact that especially the second CD of this set doesn’t forget to include some more or lesser known acts like MELEK-THA, HYBRIDS, CONTAGIOUS ORGASM or KENJI SIRATORI, all providing stuff in their representative styles.
Although the second CD out of this set may features the better-known names, the favorites can be mostly heard on CD1, at least to my personal preferences. SkullLine-chief Harald Jarosch has once again concentrated to collect a very diverse and wide-ranging music compilation, on which no appearance sounds like any other on here. Some surprises drifting in unexpected musically regions seems to become more and more a trademark of his work for the SkullLine label as well, so let’s listen and see what the coming months will bring until we’ve to celebrate the 2nd year anniversary.


CD 1 :
01. TT – WHW (intro)
02. Kaliber 9 – Neurotoxin (RMX)
03. Berkana – Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling (Lyric of August H. Hoffmann)
04. Einheit 731 (S.T.A.B ELECTRONICS INC.) – Last Glint
05. Rose Rovine E Amanti – Noi Ritorneremo
06. Von Thronstahl – Returne your Revolt into Style (Boss / Lagerfeld Mix)
07. Standgericht – Total Discipline (V2)
08. Bleiburg – Der Meldereiter (RMX)
09. Shift69 – Arbeit
10. Heiliges Licht – Untitled (only for WHW)
11. Zyankali – Zyklon
12. Triton 83 – Insolent Ungodliness
13. Life’s Decay - Regimental
14. MDMA – Vengeance
15. Bonemachine – Rhythmus der Einsamkeit
16. Manmachine – We Love in Still

CD 2 :
01. Mark Lane – Atomium
02. Genocide Lolita – Haganah Whores
03. Lady Morphia – Widerstand (symphonic version)
04. Melek-tha – Complaint de la Terre Brulee
05. Nejet Nok – Singen, Lachen, Töten
06. Hybryds – Resistance
07. Von Liebenfels – Sailing Homeward
08. Zhark – Eisenzeit (C-64) Dedicated to Josef Maria Klumb/Von Thronstahl
09. Kenji Siratori – Rebirth
10. Exemtum – Tribute to Club Moral
11. Camisole – Recycle the Dead
12. Contagious Orgasm – The Fall
13. Iron Youth feat. The 120 Days – White Comfort (Re-2007)
14. Lonsai Maikov – Coup de Grace (demo)
15. Schallgewalt - Electrocabinette (RMX by Bleiburg)

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