Music Reviews



DAVID WELLS: op.3

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 01 2006
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Artist: DAVID WELLS
Title: op.3
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: The Locus of Assemblage
Rated: *****
Scottish soundmaker David Wells has run one of most interesting cdr labels of the last few years, The Locus of Assemblage, which is now sadly over due to his relocation. Luckily, his own musical activity is going to continue, having recently released a collaborative split 3" with Paul Bradley (on Twenty Hertz, review soon), and a "Droneworks" ep before that. "op.3" has been his first self-released work, and, to be honest, it's also my favourite one. Not that the following ones were bad (quite the opposite, actually), but this darker, monolithic track is surely my cup of tea; I've been listening to it quite a lot lately, and it's always a nice 20 minutes to sink in. Wells only, or mostly, uses environmental recordings of water, and, I venture, some natural drones highlighted by reverbs and equalization: a minimal set of elements, but arranged with great skill. After its first more subdued half, the piece slowly billows to a powerful bass-heavy drone; not unlike many "ambient" untitled works by López, surely the best comparison for this work along with mnortham's darker recordings.

Ptose: ignobles limaces / Night of the Reptiles

 Posted by Tongue Muzzle   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 27 2006
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Artist: Ptose
Title: ignobles limaces / Night of the Reptiles
Format: CD
Label: Musea
Rated: *****
Not knowing French or the history of this band is going to seem a little bit like wearing blinders while reviewing this release and keep me from commenting on their lyrical content entirely but that being said... This is re-release of two PTOSE recordings from the early 80's. The first, "Ignobles Limaces" was originally published by AYAA and was PTOSE's first proper studio record. The second, "Night of the Reptiles" was originally released on cassette only in 1983. The over-all tone of both of these releases is very "Residents-esque". Not knowing a lot about PTOSE's origins, I can't be sure if they were directly influenced by The Residents or if their similar tone is merely incidental. In either case, PTOSE handles their quirky melodies and arrangements with panache'. Quirky melodies, odd arrangements, heavily modulated synthesizers, guitars, out of tune leads, insane vocal styles abound in this release. There are moments wherein the vocals are in English but I can't, for the life of me, make out a single phrase. Nevertheless... this doesn't hamper the ability to enjoy the kooky nature of the tracks. Despite half of this release having been originally released on cassette, the audio quality is fantastic. Stand out tracks: "The Bogyman", "Eat Your Fish!" and "Like a Mouse".

PAUL BRADLEY and CRIA CUERVOS: moraines

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 26 2006
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Artist: PAUL BRADLEY and CRIA CUERVOS
Title: moraines
Format: CD
Label: Twenty Hertz (@)
Rated: *****
This combined effort opens a new chapter in the discography of Paul Bradley and Eugenio Maggi a.k.a. Cria Cuervos, but you'd better look for more infos on their personal sites. The lay out is great and the "scorn-godflesh-early-Earache" microscopic view on the front cover is the perfect image for this work. The sound quality is definitely top notch, Bradlay kicked ass behind the mixing desk and Cria Cuervos with the last two release finally gets the "hi-profile" trademark required from his works. The music is surprisingly melodic and it's embodied by some minimal droned melodies, soft noises and electronic/ambiental high frequency sounds are the canvas (I'd say that's Maggi's own touch). This cd is based on a long and elaborated track, I think it could have been separated into different movements but at last crescendos and diminuendos highlight the passage to each different atmosphere. While for the first twenty nine minutes you got a sad, depressed (ambiental?) mood, with the second part of "moraines" the Stendhal syndrome takes over and the canvas (a.k.a. the soft white noise -sort of-), the initial image starts fading in the mist and it shows the testament of the early isolationist has found some heirs?. The final descent of the song reminds me of that wicked works Popol Vuh wrote expressly for Herzog's work of art "Aguirre". In my book the second half of the cd is that typical exhibit of "music where nothing is happening" that is satisfactory for every listener about to sinck, nay the whole listening is nothing but a pleasant and gradual dipping.

CORNUCOPIA: .C. Works

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 23 2006
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Artist: CORNUCOPIA
Title: .C. Works
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: The Locus of Assemblage/Zeromoon/Sonora
Rated: *****
The lengthy track ".C." was recorded by Puerto Rican duo Cornucopia (Jorge Castro and Claudio Chea) in 2001, released in a cdr edition by The Locus of Assemblage and then remastered for this rerelease & remix project, which took a while in the making. It was surely worth it, though, as ".C." is probably Cornucopia's most mature and refined work to date, and we're talking of an A-quality project. The piece reveals the duo's more ambient side, but without losing the cutting edge of their noise background. A rarefied beginning, with subdued drones, paves the way for a more aggressive development, with mechanical guitar noises and swirling synths; then there's the core (and possibly best) movement, with field recordings of dripping water and sharp looped electronics. By layering and morphing this matter, the sound mass slowly rises to a maximum of power and intensity, then suddenly collapses in the quieter final part, where the seashore and the rain sound like a welcome shelter after the previous storm. Flawlessy merging different layers and styles, Cornucopia have assembled a hypnotizing work which I'd recommend both to those into the environmental soundscapes of López, mnortham or Dauby and to the fans of power-dronemarkes like Menche or Hive Mind. The second disc features fourteen artists re-working Cornucopia's piece, and, logically since there were so many inputs in it, the results are quite varied, from harsh noise to ambient to lowercase. No track is obviously as mind-blowing as the original, but on the other hand none is less than well done; each listener will then pick his/her favourites (mine were Needle & Sony Mao, TV Pow, RGV and López, by the way). The two discs are housed in a slim DVD case with a gorgeous layout. Pick this one fast, as I guess there are few copies still around.

FEU FOLLET : toi et le son

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 22 2006
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Artist: FEU FOLLET
Title: toi et le son
Format: CD
Label: Einzeleinheit (@)
Rated: *****
Tobias Fischer (that's the man behind the moniker Feu Follet) put out a two suite cd that should be interesting for all those who love projects out on Taalem or Mystery Sea. "Toi et le son" makes me think to musician like Amon, Cria Cuervos and above all Asmus Tietchens even if Feu Follet is more melodic and...can i say "new age"? (and above all less dark than the the musician I've mentioned), but that's the picture. the front cover describes perfectly what you're gonna experience during the half an hour listening of this: sit down, relax your muscles and close your eyes. The music of Tobias Fisher is really crepuscolar but not yet dark, it evokes icy landscape beaten by the weak light of the northern sun. I imagine that many of you will be complaining about the "new age" definition, but it's mainly referred to the biological evolution of the sounds and to the fact it's a relaxing listning but don't take it too litterally. Feu Follet is a good cd that probably sticks to tight to the sound you would expect from a record like that, but after all that's the problem of many artist of the genre. I've listened to this record while working and while reding and the effect is damn relazing, everything becomes slow and you sink in it turns into an amniotic bath. Softest Nurse With Wund are behind the door.


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