Music Reviews



SLEPCY: We Are The Newest Battle Models

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 03 2006
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Artist: SLEPCY
Title: We Are The Newest Battle Models
Format: CD
Label: Cock Rock Disco (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by the Polish duo Piotr Kurek and Marcin Stefanski, Slepcy have been working on electronic music that had his proper sound. They released few stuff for DJ Scud’s Ambush records, Kool.Pop, and Suburban Trash Industries. Their new WE ARE THE NEWEST BATTLE MODEL mix in a clever and frenetic way low-fi electronic sources along with strange vocals coming from unknown sources. Their tracks span from hardcore electronics to junk electronic operas. The cut and paste style of dealing with rhythm is paired with a dramatic and cinematic sense. If you check "Laurence" the repetitive bass line along with the eerie main melody make me feel that something is going on. It's like they are representing someone’s life and I must say that there’s nothing funny going on. Fortunately the casual rhythm structure is present only in few tracks and most of them are built like weird soundtracks where electronica meet drama. I really appreciated the theatrical feelings I felt while listening to their music and it was something new for me. I hope that they will keep this quality of surprising the audience with violent crazy rhythms combined with particular orchestrations (and if you want a perfect example of this check the main track).

Ariel Kalma: Osmose

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 28 2006
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Artist: Ariel Kalma
Title: Osmose
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Distributor: Massive Music
Rated: *****
Hailing from the realm of Tangerine Dream is this pleasant collection of original synth music paired with nature sounds, from French ambient pioneer Ariel Kalma. In 1977, the year of its original release, the recording was sophisticated enough in both concept and execution not to be at all your typical space-trip. The music on each track is blended with rain forest sounds from Borneo brought back to Paris by composer/recordist Richard Tinti and layered in tastefully, if not artfully. On certain of the tracks different instruments are featured, such as soprano saxophone (track number one, "Saxo Planetariel"); harmonium (number three, "Planet-Air"); flute (played modally through "Forest' Ballad"); and guitar and organ (the also-remarkably-titled "Orguitar Soir"). Kalma himself claims to have employed a "circular breathing" technique whilst recording his wind instruments, a physiological twin to the classic technique of tape-looping, which is also featured in spades. The overall effect is eerily terrestrial and space-age at the same time. This can take you back to a blissful, pre-digital era just before the 1980s -- when the Yamaha DX7 took over all synthesized sound, and the terms "New Age" and "Rain Forest" came to mean phony crystal magic and overblown, insincere environmental causes. (And by the way, don't let that soprano sax scare you away -- this is a safe distance from Kenny G territory, so indulge yourself without worry.)

WADE MATTHEWS/INGAR ZACH: Mřrke-lis

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 26 2006
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Artist: WADE MATTHEWS/INGAR ZACH
Title: Mřrke-lis
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources
Rated: *****
With six tracks titled by the dichotomy between light and darkness in six different languages, "Mørke-lis" is indeed an album of contrasts and unexpected superimpositions. I can only guess at how it was recorded, since Matthews is listed as "electronic synthesis" and Zach at "percussion": maybe the former filtered the latter via max/msp or something similar, as the music comes out sharp and scabrous, with an almost mineral quality. Whichever tecnique they may have used, this is a strong duo performance of algid electronic fibres shattered by frantic gestures, reaching their chaotic peak in the sixth and last track "Ténèbres Lumière"; and Zach's splendid photographs are the perfect visuals for such a volcanic performance.

BRET CHRISTOPHER: Division: Blossom

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 26 2006
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Artist: BRET CHRISTOPHER
Title: Division: Blossom
Format: CD
Label: MoSo
Rated: *****
My fist exposure to this US artist I knew nothing about, and it's surely a pleasant one. As the geometric layout clearly suggests, Christopher works in the glitch-microsounds field, by organizing with laboratory-like precision a series of algid, impalpable elements such as pin-like beats, chilly drones and slowly moving frequencies. While mostly opting for a subdued and restrained style, he also knows how to add some punch, with the liofilized rhythms of the third track or the skilfull crescendo of slow pulses, electric cracklings and colliding frequencies in the following one, my favourite in the whole lot. People into labels like 12k or L-ne are heartily invited to check this out.

FRANCISCO LÓPEZ: Untitled # 164

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 26 2006
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Artist: FRANCISCO LÓPEZ
Title: Untitled # 164
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds
Rated: *****
This nth untitled release by López originates in a series of environmental recordings taken in Brussels by the author himself and various contributors within the project "Brussels Sonic Matter". As usual with Lopez's works, this raw sound material was then altered beyond recognition and mixed with his portable studio. Despite the specific recording site, this splendid work (a single 73-minute track) is often similar to other abstract "ambient" records of his, such as the silophone ones, and is also not that far from what I heard in his Milan live performance. Beginning with low end thumps, which then disappear and re-surface after some 35 minutes, it features all the strongest characteristics of his more droning releases, with these heavy metallic clouds of reverberating sounds, together with more recognizable sources (dripping water, mechanical loops resembling skipping vinyls, etc.), which make this both a mesmerizing and a structurally complex release. This is surely López at his best: few soundmakers are able to take environmental sounds and create a world of their own with them like he does.


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