Music Reviews



ZU: The way of the animal powers

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 03 2005
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Artist: ZU (@)
Title: The way of the animal powers
Format: CD
Label: Xeng (@)
Rated: *****
Probably, together with the work with Spaceway inc., this' the best Zu release so far or at least that's my personal opinion (obviously). If you've had the luck to see them live you probably know they're a real "panzer division", but it's also true that detractors say their musician skill prevented their live sets and their impros from being always interesting. Personally, while I generally appreciated Zu as a live band even if a bit too self-indulgent, I've always thought on the records they were not always equally as impressive, that's why I really didn't know what to expect from their last record. But that's talent/class, I mean, right when you think there's "nothing new under the sun", right then the real outsider comes out with something great and unexpected. What to say about "The way of the animal powers"? That's for sure one of their heaviest release, Zu left their typical neurotic convulsive approach home and started relenting, the result is to say it all unusual since it could match together many math-rock, jazz core, experimental styles with industrial freakiness. If ever Zu wanted to evolve into something different, the result is finally accomplished, infact this release in its complexity have the genius and the atmosphere you could find in many avant-jazz or experimental releases back in the eighties or during the early nineties (in this case I'm speaking in particular of David Moss, Fred Frith, Tom Cora or John Zorn). This work is incredibly odd and leaves you with the idea the three romans have explored their secrete fears to turn them into music. This time Fred Longberg Holm is "tonight's special guest", but the newest incredible weapons together with brain and patience are the samples and the vocals. The samples (I've also recognized something from the debut cd of A Short Apnea) are what they were lacking here and there, but everything they've added on this record has been put at the right place, after the cd is over the impression is it also has the right length which to me itself is a great (and above all rare) thing. The track where the drummer is singing is that "something more" that makes the final difference: "Every seagull knows" is odd, delirious and visceral at the same time, the final result could be described as if Chet Baker was singing in front of a caterpillar. This track reminded me of some old and dark No Means No nightmares but in general I think Zu are right in the middle of their maturity.

GEOFF FARINA, LUTHER GRAY, DAN LITTLETON: New salt

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 28 2005
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Artist: GEOFF FARINA, LUTHER GRAY, DAN LITTLETON
Title: New salt
Format: CD
Label: Xeng (@)
Rated: *****
Right after the spiral downward of Karate ended with them calling it quit, Geoff Farina is back and with a good record. Honestly after every new Karate record I couldn't identify them anymore with the band I loved during its early days, the impression of many was Karate were getting deeper into jazz rock and fusion but the result was not that good as one may have expected. On "New salt" together with Farina we have a couple of guys one of whom is from Ida, I know the equation just appeared in your mind: "Karate + Ida = emo" but don't take it for granted, infact this cd is influenced by many things but is far from the traditional "emo-sound". Farina's definitely fond of jazz but the specter is full of different colors this time. Minimal and classy drum incursions break in while Farina's guitar returns to be blessed by good taste, the guitars and the harmonium of Dan Littleton paint a psychedelic geometry that pays tribute to Velvet Underground. Extemporary structures probably accomplished through long jams, if Thela (one of the early projects in which Dean Robert was involved) would have ever been much more into jazz-rock probably the result would have been something like that. The echoes of jazz and traditional rock can be reconnected to Farina's style, but if you're into well done impros and you can try to go beyond any logical prejudice you could be surprised.

Satanicpornocultshop: Zap Members

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 28 2005
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Artist: Satanicpornocultshop
Title: Zap Members
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Sonore
I had no idea what to expect. With a name like satanicpornocultshop, you would think that they were going for shock value, sort of like Smell and Quim. When I put it in, I was pleasantly surprised. But most people who put this into the CD player will probably respond with "what the hell is this?!" Here’s the short answer. It’s a lot like Nurse With Wound and Negativland. If that sounds good, read on. One problem that I see with this album is that it’s almost too disjointed. In a review of a previous album, Anorexia Gas Baloon" David Cotner described them as follows: "While the pubicity touts Satanicpornocultshop as "surrealist hip-hop", it would be more correct to advertise the group as 500 channels with a beat." This album follows a similar recipe, which makes sense considering that this is a compilation of remixes. What is not cut up is reversed or stretched. There are 19 tracks on the album that wade through a variety of styles all mashed together. "Punusunic > Remix" is a track I could see becoming a hit at "Club Acid Junkies." "To Be > Feat. Electronic Café" moves us into weird lounge. Other tracks sound like circuit bent video games. And then there are the covers. The covers are a lot of fun. "Kylie Minogue > Arabic Belly Dance Music" is like a disco from hell cover. A cople of tracks rip off lyrics from Duran Duran’s "Save a Prayer" in interesting ways. The last track, "59054087 (reprise)" weighs in at 13:55, making it the longest track on the disc. However, it behaves more like several tracks put into one. It’s more mellow than the others and has a synth line playing the music from "Imagine" by John Lennon slamming into War Pigs by Sabbath and voice speaking about killing the President of the United States. There are a lot of other songs mixed in as well. This sounds a lot like smething Negativland would do. Political commentary mixed with pop culture references.The cover art is an interesting artistic collage (what else would you expect from a band like this?) Overall, this is interesting, but definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. If you like spastic cut up music that never quite descends completely into noise, this is a good place to look.

(r): Under the cables, into the wind

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 28 2005
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Artist: (r) (@)
Title: Under the cables, into the wind
Format: CD
Label: Important
Rated: *****
This' the solo project of Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (current member of Larsen), the label is Important records therefore sit down and relax. Probably many of you have already heard Larsen and you know how skeletal they may sound, on his solo project Fabrizio goes even deeper to the bone, a real "x-ray experience". I've been tempted to label it as a "minimalist work", and probably it describes perfectly how the sound of Larsen here is reduced to its lowest terms (I think Fabrizio's solo projects can give an good idea of the importance he has in the sound of his primary band). On this cd many of his influences gets diluted into an oceanic calm: Swans, Bauhaus, isolationism, industrial music decomposed and melted together into a desolating new shape. Uniformed gray painted all over from the cover to the tracks, this' decadence in slowmotion or austerity in pills, I'm sure the depressed freak inside of everyone you will appreciate it. "Shining camels and rising anacondas" and "I'm with u" are my favorite episodes, I've asked myself how much "Under the cables, into the wind" could have been different if everything would have been equally guitar oriented as these two tracks. This' an unconventional release for Important but at last the label as an incredible rooster (from Merzbow to Noam Chomsky), anyhow there's this "trance-like-trip" not so far from other titles from the same catalogue: Genesis p-Orrige, Muslimgauze, Hafler Trio, John Fahey, are good examples of what I mean. Desolated, sad, obsessive and minimal music: live it or leave it.
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Artist: FRANKLIN DELANO (@)
Title: Like a smoking gun in front of me
Format: CD
Label: Madcao/ File 13 (@)
Rated: *****
Their debut release was good, this one is way much better and is having a good resonance 'cause of the many u.s. connections it has. The italian readers of Chain dlk probably know this band has become quickly popular as "the band with the drummer of Massimo Volume", but for those who just know the last band, there's no other musical relation with Franklin Delano. The sound of this release brings near to those coming out on Perishable label and not just for the fact Rutili, Massarella and friends (Califone, Red Red Meat, Loftus, etc.) are appearing as guests here and there, but for the fact also Franklin Delano are reinterpreting american folk music to create something new. If on their debut Delano sounded really focussed on songwriting, on "Like smoking gun in front of me" the band has gone far away into an acid trip and started mixing elements from Califone, Jackie O' Motherfucker, desert rock a-la Calexico with fading drones that arise from the back of the scenario. Brian Deck was sitting behind the mixing desk giving it all an "american-sensation" as you can get from the title (the cd is coproduced with File 13 from Chicago). Differently from their previous album the band has put more emphasis on long instrumental passages cast into the framework of "folk ballads" with a good result. Everything is surprisingly good, let's say sometimes it works much better than many releases on Perishable, this cd is just a bit too long since sometimes it feels without a couple of tracks it would have been almost perfect. After their recent u.s. tour they've had some line up changes, I can assume the sound is probably changing again, but this' a good picture of their "lysergic" period: sometimes it sounds like a well done mix of Perishable's "folksters" and Kranky's "droners".


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