Music Reviews



MIKE HANSEN: At Every Point

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 09 2007
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Artist: MIKE HANSEN
Title: At Every Point
Format: CD
Label: Etude Records
Rated: *****
This is my first crossing with Canadian improviser/turntablist/painter Mike Hansen, here offering an exciting disc of revised and processed performances, coming in a stylish black on black digipack, courtesy of the Barcelona-based label Etude Records, run by Pau Torres. "At Every Point" was played using an array of guitars, vinyls, cowbells, harmonicas and Vietnamese drums. Unlike many of his colleagues, Hansen has well spent his time cropping and layering bits and pieces of his sessions, with a great taste for (even hazardous) mixing. More often than not, the result is a joy for thirsty ears, a sort of Christian Marclay-cum-Steven Stapleton for the uncanny, surrealistic atmosphere of these audio-collages. The opening "The day before the day" sets the pace for the whole disc with its mashing of bowed strings, percussion, organ, acid guitars, droning gongs and toy-like sounds, and the creative tension never fades throughout; listen for example to the whirlwind of fragments in "Once held a lighter in the sky", or the drums/strings/vinyl loops mix in "Tidying up after". Great job all the way.

GÜNTER MÜLLER: Reframed

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 09 2007
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Artist: GÜNTER MÜLLER
Title: Reframed
Format: CD
Label: Cut
Rated: *****
Quite a surprising solo release from the prolific genius of German/Swiss soundmaker Günter Müller, if you're familiar with his trademark percussion+electronics sound. "Reframed" features five untitled tracks of treated bowed cymbals drones, and while the final result surely stands on its own, I was reminded of Mark Wastell's equally solemn "Vibra", or some of Bertoia's "Somnambient" pieces. Here, the metallic resonance of bowed metal is carefully processed and layered into pure, highly abstract, Lucier-like forms, free to merge and fill the air around you, occasionally reaching peaks of intimidating power.

SETH NEHIL/JGRZINICH: Gyre

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 09 2007
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Artist: SETH NEHIL/JGRZINICH
Title: Gyre
Format: CD
Label: Cut
Rated: *****
Born from location recordings taken in Estonia, Italy and Finland, "Gyre" is a superb electroacoustic work which marks the third joint collaboration of Nehil and Grznich (now based in the US and Estonia respectively), after the two 2002 releases, "Stria" (Erewhon) and "Confluence" (Intransitive). The 4-year span was well worth the wait, considering the quality of these three pieces. Knowing their inspiring collaborative and solo releases, and having seen a remarkable live performance by Nehil in Milan, my expectations were pretty high, and they surely weren't disappointed. "Cast" opens the album with a billowing low-end drone, reminding of López's or mnortham's absolute music; it's a fantastic piece, but somehow more predictable than the following two, "Weald" and "Glaze". The former is arguably the masterpiece of the whole disc, with sparse sounds (is it wood beating on wood, or dripping water?) creating an atmosphere of suspension and recollection; then, more layers of outdoor recordings are added, the piece gets more and more chaotic with the noises of branches and pebbles, the volume billows, then collapses in the last sequence of acoustic debris. It's an astonishing piece, with a great sense of composition, but most of all an uncommon evocative power. "Glaze" is an equally solemn soundscape, with subdued drones and unidentified metallic rattlings and thumps, with a subtle tension crawling in, as if waiting for an impending storm. Field recordings-based composition hardly gets any better than this.

HL: Takuma / Fields That Speak

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 02 2007
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Artist: HL (@)
Title: Takuma / Fields That Speak
Format: CD + DVD
Label: noground
Rated: *****
Cinematic electronica with a postrock-ish feel from Dan Hopkins aka HL, hailing from Somerset UK. This release consists in a 3" cd + a 3" dvd. The cd is called "Takuma" and blends one part of Dan Abrahms' (aka Shuttle 358) gentle structured glitch obsessions with one part of Hapna-like use of analogue sounds, nothing new under the sun but who cares when the sound-design is so good and carefully held together? The 3" dvd is even better than the audio one, the soundtrack is a beautiful long ambient piece and it shows different static shots of a landscape where the artist grew up. Heartfelt and well executed. Thumbs up for Dan. (

JENNIFER GENTLE : a new astronomy

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 28 2007
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Artist: JENNIFER GENTLE
Title: a new astronomy
Format: CD
Label: A Silent Place (@)
Rated: *****
This the same band that in the last years got the attention of the media for having signed for Sub Pop, here we have the repress of a long gone cdr released by Sub Pop in a limited edition. Cause of the name and of the sound they've been compared many times to Pink Floyd, sure they probably have been listening to the british masters a lot, but sincerely this cd is quite far from that comparison (later they’ve become more soft). There's a lot of late sixties/early seventies in this music, the basic idea it all has been recorded with a 4-tracks cassette machine helps it all to sound "vintage". This what your you ex-freak daddy/uncle would recognize and label as "psychedelia". Sometimes Jennifer Gentle really reminded of Faust when they let the raga-melody come out, or like Beach Boys into experimenting, somewhere else it could have been Love mixed with Gong or also Stones in a lo-fi salsa. Could you expect some magical "space drones" on a record like that? Of course yes, and infact you have the "space odyssey experience". The guy behind the project probably at the time was really nuts for the sixties and he's incredibly good in writing like they did at the time probably cause of a good dose of magic touch. Since probably many of you may imagine being on Sub Pop these guy's sound is easy, well there's good amount of 60/70's experimental flavour here hence don't ask yourself why A Silent Place went for the repress. They’ve become softer than this work but this probably one of they most interesting work to date.


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