Music Reviews

Philippe Lamy & MonoLogue: Blu Deux

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 12 2017
Artist: Philippe Lamy & MonoLogue
Title: Blu Deux
Format: Tape
Label: Phinery (@)
Rated: *****
"Blu Deux" is a collaboration between Philippe Lamy and MonoLogue when they try to find "a deeper and more emotional stability to their dizzying and often cacophonous work" as it's presented in the liner notes. This release is a based upon a form of glitch which uses this aesthetic as a way to explore short sounds as elements for a larger sound form immersed in a quiet sound background rather than underline the rhythmic element.
The first track of this release "Les merveilleuses aventures de il suono misterioso (Hours d’oeuvre)" is a fragmented series of samples which break the quiet sonic landscape of a glitch beat upon a quiet drone. While this first track explores the sound as something unexpected in a familiar context, "Tout est blu" use a structure based in three part: the first uses a beat in the same way the samples were used in the first track, the second part explores small sounds in a quiet environment and the final part juxtaposes noisy drones. While the first part of "Les yeux de mezzanotte" develops small sound grains into larger forms, the second part tries to create a similar forms using large sound grains. "Des oreilles pour voir, degli occhi per sentire" is the quietest track of this release where all sounds are searching the listener's attention rather than impose themselves using volume while "Prime parole, dernière pensée" reverts the form using a large volume to blur the sound detail at least in the first part and, after a short silence, it develops into an humble dialectic between samples and drones. "Il tuo mormorio colora le temps (Dessert)" closes this release with drones at the threshold of silence and a quiet crescendo until the end of the track.
Honestly, it's not an easy listening as for large part of this release the listener has to concentrate or let other sounds enter the sonic environment to deal with the silence which is the glue which ties together the sound elements but it shows how, when a genre pass the stage of being a novelty, develops a discourse from a list of words. It's really worth a listen.

Kshatriy: Samantabhadra

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 12 2017
Artist: Kshatriy
Title: Samantabhadra
Format: CD
Label: attenuation circuit (@)
Rated: *****
The title of this new release by Kshatriy means "Noble in Everything He Does" and is the name for an enlightenment associated with practice and meditation. As it's rarely depicted alone he's seen as a symbol of the freedom form any duality i.e., dialectic, concepts.
The first part of this release, "Samantabhadra", starts as a something between a drone and a loop as the resonances of the drone periodically emerge as in a loop and develops quietly letting all sounds unfold without any contrast but using this predictability as a mean to let the listener concentrate on sound, so even when it starts a sort of noisy deviation from this path after a while it's stopped to let the track end in an almost perfect circle with the start. The second part, "Samantabhadri", uses a small metallic beat as the centre of the track as all sounds revolves around this beat so a sense of time passing became the focus of the track until this beat stops and this release ends in silence.
Someone could say that there's anything new on this release but the idea of composition is not about creating something new but to say something using a known form and this is the key to access this release. Samantabhadra is a deep reflection about mind and time using music and it's something that all fans of drone and meditative music will truly enjoy.

Harold Nono: Ideeit

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 11 2017
Artist: Harold Nono (@)
Title: Ideeit
Format: CD
Label: Bearsuit (@)
Rated: *****
Following a plenty of amazing collaborations - I warmly recommend to check the ones with Berlin-based elegant producer Me Raabenstein as Taub and the one with Japanese duo N-quia for the collaborative project Haq -, Edinburgh-based producer Harold Nono (real name David Hillary) comes back by a solo release on his own imprint, the excellent Bearsuit Records. If you've never heard something by this subliminal kid (a quotation), you should say sorry to your brain, as Harold Nono's style manages to combine samples, cinematic suggestions, witty references, neo-classical music, ambient and electronica in a very psychedelic way. The opening "Tahiik" immediately takes listening by a magnetizing carousel where a chattering by an adult and a kid got poured into a sweeping cinematic orchestration (close to the likes of the previously mentioned Me Raabenstein, but they could also surmise something by Murcof, Jan Jelinek or Venetian Snares). Such a perfect attacco prepares the ground for a swirling set of aural pearls, oscillating between the frenzy sentimentalism or the vague nostalgic nuances of tracks like "Dedy", "The King Tree" or "Running Down A Pipe", the lopsided surrealism of tunes like "Otosan" or "Dead Man's Fall", the hinky day-dreaming evoked by pieces like "I'm Disguised As An idiot" or the deeply emotional "Life Under The Lafayette", a track where Harold Nono seems to bare and give voice to the contrast between a majestic and naive elegance and some poisoning feeling of decadence. The final track "Watashi Wa Ie Ni Kaeritai" (Japanese for "I want to go home"!) is just seemingly sad: be patient, and after some minutes of silence, the ghost track will blossom and is going to uplift your soul by a delicate piano melody! Not to be left unlistened!

Roman Leykam: Impressions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 11 2017
Artist: Roman Leykam
Title: Impressions
Format: CD + Book
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****
As most of you maybe know, Roman Leykam is maybe one of the most incontinent artists belonging to the roster of Frank Mark Arts. He recently enriched the catalogue under this imprint by a series of more or less interesting outputs and the choice of focusing more carefully on the visual framework by the label has undoubtedly a plus for the comprehension of Leykam, particularly if you don't really care about aural details and real sonic pearls, which doesn'ìt lack in the musical explorations of this veteran of experimental ambient music. I could recommend having a check of "The Detection Of Slowness," the collaborative release with Frank Mark himself including an amazing video DVD, which could be a real guide to appreciating the listening more, for instance. "Impressions" follows this editorial strategy as well, as the label attached an internal booklet of beautiful snapshots (portraying natural landscapes or magnified details of plants, flowers, stones, ponds, lakes and so on) to its elegant digipak. You would quickly notice that Leykam's minimal textures of effected guitar, synth guitars and the amazing sounds he squeezed from his equipment (often looking like some other instruments such as a kind of hybrid between a brass and a cello in "Vision", the flute-like whispers in "The Leisure" or "Essence", a sort of alien dulcimer in "Weathered", the metallophone-like hits in "Abandoned" or the bizarre slapped glittering on tracks like "Pleasant Anticipation" or "Point of No Return") are somehow consonant with the pictures of the booklet. If you're searching for some new music for meditations, "Impressions" may be a guessed choice.

Mensimonis: Clone Fever

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 08 2017
Artist: Mensimonis
Title: Clone Fever
Format: CD + Download
Label: Opa Loka Records
The story of how Radboud Mens and Lukas Simonis came to work together as Mensimonis is remarkably prosaic. Both independent audio experimenters in their own right, they both helped run recording and improvisation workshops in secondary schools, whereupon they found themselves on stage performing together in front of a bunch of teenagers who, they say, preferred playing “a stupid game on their iPhones” to listening. It’s a refreshingly unpretentious beginning.

But unfortunately, the story behind it is arguably more remarkable than the sound itself. Simonis runs spontaneous guitar notes and short patterns which are sustained through feedback until the result is a thick soup of guitar drone that carefully tip-toes towards howl-round but stays under control. The more electronically-minded Mens meanwhile is generating deep drone tones that sit underneath, much of it slightly buried in the mix and supplementing the overall tone.

While long tracks are never a problem, the succinctly-titled 22-minute-long opener “The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists” doesn’t quite warrant its own duration. There’s not enough progression, nor is there enough detail in the sound, to sustain interest for that long. Second track “Few believe me when I tell them that the rulers of this planet are of reptilian bloodlines” is less patterned, a more consistent wall of electronic drone and hum with occasional hints of metallic industry.

“Give the clone a soul, god is watching over your shoulder” is a little bit more twinkly, with the bass tones lolling around in space vacated by stripping back the guitar feedback, and the gentle balance is certainly more palatable- the strongest track of the bunch. Final track “All rumors being investigated” brings plain and persistent rhythmic guitar twanging back to the fore in a slightly more ingratiating fashion, but shifts towards the familiar feedback drone in the second half more successfully.

This is one of those extended drone releases with such a steady hum that when it finishes, your ear begins to feel alienated, as though it has normalised this music as its new base level. While it isn’t spectacularly innovative or eventful on the surface, it’s a coherent and simple package of long drones that will take your thoughts into a different place.

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