Music Reviews

MATHEW ADKINS : mondes inconnus

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 23 2006
Title: mondes inconnus
Format: DVD
Label: Empreintes Digitales (@)
Rated: *****
From the day I've received it, I think I've been listening to this recordings many more times than those I planned to write this review, and it's been a great surprise. This cd comes in dvd format that means you're supposed to listen to this music via home theatre to recreate the same effect for which these compositions/installations have been projected. In the contemporary sound of Mathew Adkins there's a lot of electronics and while in many reviews they write about his electro-acoustic skill I think the listening of this collection of works reveal Adkins’ music deep electronic essence. Mondesin is cold, odd and leaves the potential listener wandering in a sort of trance, infact unlike many contemporary composers/musicians Adkins' music is beyond doubt expressive and emotionally charged but still cerebral. I think I'm gonna write something many of you will disagree with, but during the whole listening I got the sensation this music is really suitable with some Lynch and Carpenter's movies above all those where the locations become the main guiding line of the storyboard. This composer in some way follows the footsteps of Pierre Schaeffer and improves his ideas; I’ve read he received some international prizes for his composition and you from what I’ve heard he deserved it.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 21 2006
Title: Reflect
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records/Bar La Muerte
Rated: *****
The Two Dead Bodies of this surprising release belong to Milanese musicians Luca Mauri and Andrea Reali, both active in two excellent bands named I/O (experimental improv/jazz/funk, with an eponymous cd on Ebria, see archive) and Kokoro Mayikibo (indie/white funksters, who have released their debut album in the meantime). Mauri plays guitar in the former and drums in the latter, while Reali is a remarkable vocalist for both. TDB were born as an improvised session which took place in 2005; then, Mauri, also active as a solo electronic soundmaker (hey! Now that I think of it, the review of his DIY cdr as 00 was one of my very first reviews for ChainDLK, then in its printed heydays... ages ago!), mixed and cut-up the recordings on his pc with a sort of Macero-like taste for layering and a great final result, matching the warmth of a live recording and the tricks of a skillful reconstruction. "Reflect" is also the first non-electronic record in the AFE catalogue, but if you consider this has been co-released by Bruno Dorella (OvO, Ronin, etc.)'s Bar La Muerte you can start guessing what this sounds like. Its roots are indeed in the noise-rock/no-wave cauldron: the first track, later reprised and brutalised in the fourth one, starts with a basic noise-punk blast delivered with garage intensity, but right from the second piece, based on hypnotic drum loops and sludgy guitar feedbacks, the great mixing job transfigures that initial violence in a much more subtle and oblique approach. Track 3 indulges in jazzy guitar lines and sparse cymbals, and it's possibly the closest one to the sound of I/O and their forefathers Starfuckers/Sinistri. The music becomes less noisy and dense, but the two never let the tension go. The most refined and arguably best piece is the last one, where Mauri's minimal guitar plucking and Reali's mantra-like vocals are matched with electronic drones and a train-like rhythm of looped charleston kicks. The whole record is extremely enjoyable and coherent, despite mixing so many different inputs and influences, from free jazz to Liars or Eyehategod, and given the results I truly hope this won't remain a one-off project.
Nov 19 2006
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Decennium Sturm
Format: CD
Label: Sturm (@)
Distributor: COP International
Rated: *****
Another label compilation for the Latvian Sturm label, created and released to celebrate their already 10th anniversary. Unbelievable, that this Sturm collective has already worked hard that long time almost without any knowledge and attention from some western audiences. And this compilation has something special to offer – NO track titles are included here. The bands of this label all give here new and unreleased stuff to the listeners, but there’s no track name. ANOCODAINE made the start here and already this track turns after an unspectacular melodic intro into a pounding Electro instrumental piece. KNAUZERS UN ZEME offer a military marching piece with several noisy samples featuring bombing and firing airplanes and war noises and vocals pending between dark and distorted. ROSEWATER offer the best work here, a hard straight-forward moving Dark Electro pearl with harsh Powernoise-inspired rhythm patterns and rough distorted vocals – their enjoying and successful formula, but this piece I would qualify as their most straightest track so far. Almost in a same vein hits the project LIVING NIGHTMARE, which I haven’t discovered before, no matter also for the Metal-like guitar riff included here. With LS TUR, STROPS, BARODARHO and KAUNA TRAIPS the music here turns more and more into the martial and experimental noisy kind this label has so much to offer. Also MARCHWITZA give a rather chaotic piece, but I’m sure that I have heard it before on their full-length "Have A Hard Day". Also an untitled act offers a track tending more into a slower Ambient-like tune, and more in silent style this CD turns off. Check also out that video file done by CYBERPUNK to conclude this valuable compilation. Interesting concept, but very unusual, too. Worth to start some investment.

Track list

13/ CYBER PUNK (video)

Nov 17 2006
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Sturmer III
Format: CD
Label: Sturm (@)
Rated: *****
This is a Latvian Industrial compilation brought and released by the leading Industrial/Powernoise label Sturm. Numbered under Sturmmandat 11, this release features a lot of never-heard-before-of acts and names mostly provided hard pounding Dark EBM, rhythmically Powernoise, up to IDM-inspired tunes and Experimental cuts. A hand-made and folded paper package with a screw holding the disk makes sure to hold a limited item in your hands. Strictly separated into an "Upsturm" (rhythmically) and a "Downsturm" (static, experimental) this comp starts rhythmically after an intro piece with the duo of MARCHWITZA. We’ve already discovered them, presenting here one of their best works with "Big Cojones". Also ROSEWATER, maybe the best known act of Latvia, make a valuable Dark Electro/Powernoise appearance with "Unbroken". Thinks are getting more and more noisy and martial, BIOS and STROPS can offer some valuable rhythmically Powernoise tracks and can be called favorites. With the "Downsturm" section the pounding rhythm parts are mostly removed and the tracks are turning more and more into some Minimal and Ritual-inspired tunes, some pure chaotic pieces (ANTIREALITY), and also some dramatic Dark Ambient (ANOCODAINE) pieces can be discovered as well. A lot of diversity is given for sure from the Latvian scene, but it mostly turns into a chaotic, martial and very noisy kind. Not designed for some weak nerves for sure. Hard-Pounding-Industrial-Dissonance!

Track list:

1/ 2OT Kas Tur?
3/ MARCHWITZA Big Cojones
4/ ROSEWATER Unbroken
5/ CYBER PUNK Acid Rampage Running
6/ BIOS Power Z
7/ DEVNOISE Degeneration
8/ STROPS Tetan
9/ KNAUZERS Latvieti Nepadodies!
11/ BARODARHO Invalids (live)
12/ CLAUSTRUM Zobrati
13/ TRAUR ZOT Komendantstunda
14/ SYNDROME Raumasche
15/ RUDENS LAPAS Kailsals
16/ ANOCODAINE Pain (sturm cut)
17/ ANTIREALITY Harshwave

Stephan Mathieu & Janek Schaefer: Hidden Name

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 15 2006
Artist: Stephan Mathieu & Janek Schaefer
Title: Hidden Name
Format: CD
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
After meeting at the MUTEK Festival in 2002, sharing the bills on various festivals all over the world and a previous collaborative effort in 2003 along with Radbound Mens and Timeblind ("Quality Hotel" out on the Mutek label), Stephan Mathieu and Janeck Schaefer decided to spend some days together in the home of a classical composer in the English countryside and there they recorded a huge amount of material that they later reprocessed and assembled in York Music Research Center. Basically Mathieu plays all the instruments and Schaefer does all the field recordings and in most of the tracks you can recognize both artist's distinctive trademarks but sometimes the symbiosis works so well and results in a new, unorthodox glitch-psychedelia. The highlight here is the sixth track called "Quartet for Flute, Piano and Cello", where you can hear pops and crackles of a worn-out vinyl over a complex sound patchwork somehow resembling Ehlers' "Plays" series. Due to its amazing sound quality it surely sounds better through loudspeakers rather than headphones. Recommended.

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