Music Reviews



KORBER/WEBER/YAMAUCHI: Signal to Noise vol. 2

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 08 2007
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Artist: KORBER/WEBER/YAMAUCHI
Title: Signal to Noise vol. 2
Format: CD
Label: For 4 Ears
Rated: *****
Here's the story around this cd: in 2006, a group of renowned Switzerland-based improvisers (Jason Kahn, Tomas Korber, the ex-Voice Crack Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller and Christian Weber) toured Japan, playing in different combinations and sometimes interacting with local musicians. The starting point was the creation of the Signal Quintet by Jason Kahn in 2004, to record his graphical score "Timelines" (later released on Cut); the ensemble then continued living on its own. Out of the Japanese tour, you can now listen to the "Yamaguchi" album by the Quintet, on Cut (review soon), the "Signal to Noise vol. 3" on For 4 Ears (by Kahn/Möslang/Müller), and this very "vol. 2". If you're familiar with Korber's and Weber's production, especially in the Mersault trio with Christian Wolfarth (get their 2005 release on Quakebasket), you can start guessing what this sounds like. In the first track, Weber's contrabass thumps a slow cadence, while Korber's guitar+electronics set blends with Yamauchi's sax strains, to the point that it's actually hard to distinguish which is which. Track 2 increases the tension with a faster plucking of the strings, with a rolling effect, while the other two players erupt a flow of white noise frequencies and hisses. As in all recordings involving Korber, this is a fine piece of intense and subtly menacing improvisation, where sounds are stretched and then held just before they could finally explode.

RAJAPINTA: Bootleg Epiphanies

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 07 2007
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Artist: RAJAPINTA (@)
Title: Bootleg Epiphanies
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Limited to 123 copies on CD-r, BOOTLEG EPIPHANIES is a collection of noises and cut-ups recorded by Ibrahim Terzic and Niko Skorpio and assembled by the latter. The thirteen tracks contain recordings collected in various locations during the 2001÷2006 period and treated in different ways. Niko Skorpio decided to release them also if the tracks (not all of them frankly and fortunately) could sound unfinished or unsatisfactory. For sure some of them sound as sound experiments in the vein of the Boyd Rice/Frank Tovey collaborations, but they haven't the rhythmical construction of "Easy listening for the hard of hearing" and for this reason they could sound as "sounds on the wild". Tracks like "Ion flux" or "Streched qi" do have some kind of structure even if they are experimental tunes but most of them sounds like rolling sound pebbles which form a torrent of sound. Due the particular nature of the CD it hasn't been released under Someplace Else as usual...

LNGTCHE: Music for an Untitled Film by T. Zärkkof

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 06 2007
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Artist: LNGTCHE
Title: Music for an Untitled Film by T. Zärkkof
Format: CD
Label: Etude
Rated: *****
Clothed in an elegantly messy design by Seldon Hunt comes a 1-track, 44-minute disc by this apparently mysterious project, which is actually a solo thing of Catalan soundmaker Pau Torres. If you have a look at his Myspace page, you'll find how his influences span from Sun Ra to Abruptum, from Cecil Taylor to Hate Forest... What does this tell us of Lngtché's style? Not much really, except that it's a fringe avantgarde solo thing drenched in the most obscure solipsism, which could well get kudos from misanthropic forest segregationists (unlike Cecil Taylor, maybe). Torres uses both manipulated and raw guitar sounds, and sparse water recordings here and there, to weave a monolithic, scary headtrip. It's not something terribly loud, but I would surely call it noisy: amp feedback and buzz, string scraping, no hint of melody whatsoever, and a dysmal atmosphere all around. Torres surely opts for an extreme approach, making this a "love it or get f*cked" release, but he's also skilled enough to balance the minimal inputs in a crystaline production. All orphans of 90's isolationism should give this a try.
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Artist: Pimentola
Title: Misantropolis
Format: CD
Label: Cold Meat Industry (@)
Rated: *****
The sound of this album reminds me of art music and I like the fact that this kind of performance music (strange they don´t do performances!) are released by cold meat!!!
The bizarre cabaret/musical style vocals seem to be very inspired by Mr Doctor of Devil Doll.

The Percussions are almost on all tracks the main instrument and they sometimes seem a bit weak when they flirt with triphop/trippjazz. Sometimes they are very good!
The industrial parts are also pretty lame. It´s really a shame as the sound and some of the ideas are really great. "On Tuoni Pauloo Tinkoin Sitein III" the dark ambience is and atmosphere is intruiging and very suggestive. Reminds me of bands like Lycia.
The song "Black Globe" is a five star track. Very haunting and driven into strange corners.
"Wish Upon a Fallen Star" sounds like wild opera (but the voice is failing and not as good as for an example Sibelian).

The whole album breath 30s and 40s and retro film music and that I really enjoy. If that good have been a more obvious red thread I would have given this release probably a 4,5 or 5 but the diversity (normally really good) kill this album.
"Wann Endet die Zeit" could been so good but the drums are lame and to be honest: bad!

It hurts me giving this crazy and well played album such a low grade. Sorry!
If you are into a strange mix of goth, industrial, darkwave, neo-classical, retro, tripjazz and dark ambient all at once (yes it´s crazy) you should check this album out. Do not expect to love all tracks because some are great and some suck.

MARK HANNAFORD : The Garden Of Forking Paths

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 04 2007
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Artist: MARK HANNAFORD (@)
Title: The Garden Of Forking Paths
Format: CD
Label: Extreme (@)
Rated: *****
Here we’ve another chapter of Extreme Antripodean series and a really good one indeed but quite different from Vincs. The lowest common denominator is still jazz music, but in some ways this work sticks much more to the context, if to you that implies "it’s canonic jazz", you’re on the wrong lane. Discerning the main elements of this improvisational effort is not that difficult since you get a well proportioned blend of "free jazz" plus contemporary classic music and the alchemy is good due to the fact Hannaford keeps far from easy mannerism and works hard on defining his own style. The first aspect you notice after many listenings is that the interaction of Hannaford with the rhythmic section is really equilibrated, which is one of the most interesting quality of this cd, above all if you consider the majority of the material comes out of improvisations. The aforementioned sentence is referred to the fact nowadays working in an idiomatic way (but let’s be honest... that also happens in "non idiomatic" impros) brings forth the risk to fall in anonymity, if this problem has to do with the hypertrophy of our recent musical history or with the fact in a massified society like this it’s hard to have an identity, I sincerely don’t know. By the way, Hannaford has built accurately his own personality and has chosen carefully the other team-players, that’s why he collected an interesting number of "sketches". "The Garden Of Forking Paths" made me think the afroamerican elements/root of jazz sometimes gets dissolved in the style (culture?) of many white musicians, not that you won’t find Monk, Mingus or Coloman traces in the genes of some of these players, but everything is "colder", "more suspended", subdued in a way that characterizes many white (and usually Europeans... unlike Hannaford) musicians. If it was not for the fact it’s quite far from contemporary compositions, I’m sure people like Berio, Feldman or even Cage would have loved this musicians’ taste for dissonance, but even if the abstraction is somehow similar, the speed is different alas let me say he could be "a swinging contemporary piano player listened at 45 rpm", does it make any sense? (I think so, but just if you consider the solo tracks like "All booze"). This pianist makes you believe there’s still hope for the for the future... nay for the present of improvisation while half of the jazz world survives with one foot in the grave.


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