Music Reviews



Marvin Ayres: Cycles - 12 Sketches For Recycling Piano Harmonics

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 03 2006
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Artist: Marvin Ayres (@)
Title: Cycles - 12 Sketches For Recycling Piano Harmonics
Format: CD
Label: Burning Shed (@)
Rated: *****
The British Ambient/Avantgarde artist Marvin Ayres has released another experimental CD and the title gives you already an idea on what he has worked this time. For this release he has placed two grand pianos in different locations with different rooms, hall and reverberation effects. One piano got immaculately tuned in a big orchestral studio, the other was out of tune in an empty room. He has done several experiments with the key sounds, speed, kind and conditions and has recorded only the harmonics of the chords. The recordings of both pianos got merged and reassembled. Marvin could so "win" several resonant overtones and subtle quartertones – a real psycho acoustic experiment which he couldn’t ever expected has happened. So the here presented sound collages are hardly to understand as real compositions, this is a real acoustic experiment after a lot of work and effort. Nobody – including Marvin – could ever expect how this experiment would have been sounded before – so here is the result of Marvin’s very own world of static noise collages. A real companion to his "Scape" CD.

CRAP : s/t

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 03 2006
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Artist: CRAP
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Megaplomb (@)
Rated: *****
Crap? No way, if there's something far from being pure crap is the music featured on this cd. Megaplomb’s profile as a label is getting clear, you just need hears to perceive the guy is mainly free/jazzy/avant/tecnique oriented or at least that's what it seems. Going back to Crap I'd better start by saying this four letters birth name hides four well know musicians haling from the jazz circuit (both from the institutional and the off one), but they all are quite popular for having played "other music" and to have hybridized jazz in many of their countless side works. Jacopo Andreini (Enfance Rouge, Arrington De Dyoniso Quartet, Bz Bz ueu, etc.), Edoardo Ricci, Helmut Cipriani and Roy Paci (Manu Chao, Aretuska, Corleone, Zu, etc.) on trumpet. This a quite old recording since this ensemble was kicking back in 1998 and in some ways it has a "retrò" aftertaste of free-jazz-rock but that's not absolutely bad indeed. I think many will compare this to Zu and sure it has some similarities with the debut release of the band that at the time (more or less) featured Roy on trumpet, but this not a carbon copy of the power trio nay it has some significant differences. The arrangements are damn clean and neat and it makes you think to something that's much more absorbed in the jazz world than in the rock one but it's something that really want to cross the boundaries of its genre. Featuring both Andreini and Paci the first idea I was pondering was that it sometimes smells like popular-funny music mixed with serious muscular playing and that’ ok with me. Free-jazz-rock, yes, but still not jazz-core therefore you're warned and there's a hell of difference so please don't blame me for this jerking on definitions. I can't say how many people into jazz will buy it or get it, but they should dig it even though its schizophrenia, c’mon Trane and Parker probably would have moved their black feet to the rhythm of these four white folks and that's enough for me to justify the listening.

HELLOTHISISALEX: Stump Act

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 03 2006
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Artist: HELLOTHISISALEX (@)
Title: Stump Act
Format: CD
Label: Aelectric
Rated: *****

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Malissa Creasey and Mark Prier are a Canadian duo who releases music with the Hellothistsalex moniker. The duo is also active with their online record label called Aelectric (it was a CDr label before deciding to go online only). Their latest release is titled THE STUMP ACT and it is a limited edition CDr (only 125 copy) containing 10 tracks of minimal electronic pop. Don’t ask me why it has been released on CD even if the label is now mainly online. It is probable that the releases of Hello This Is Alex will be also released as CDrs and the other bands releases are going directly online. Anyway... From their press sheet I read that THE STUMP ACT project born from a trip on Ontario's Yonge Street, 1,896 km from the shores of Lake Ontario to the US-Canada border at Rainy River, not far from Manitoba. Along the way, they put up twenty rectangular wooden signs depicting tree stumps, dividing the street into twenty sections. The whole experience inspired this new collection of music a brief and seamless travelogue taking you along Yonge Street at a scale of approximately 8 km per 5 seconds of music. From Popular Lane to Swedish Adventure Church, we’ll guide you through ten different sites of activity. Their electronic pop short experiments succeeds into giving to the audience the same sensation of discover and melancholy that a travel could give. Sometimes they sound like an alien combo playing with Atari and a tracker program (the first version of samples sequencer) but their music has feelings and if you love bands like The Books you could also dig Hellothistsalex.

ASHER: Directions

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 02 2006
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Artist: ASHER
Title: Directions
Format: CD
Label: Leerraum
Rated: *****
First of all, let me spend some words on the new Leerraum design: a white cardboard sleeve opening in a frame, with a printed insert showing a picture of moving ants. The number and position of the ants vary from one release to the other. This is a good show of how a minimal concept can offer a visually remarkable presentation... good job! I reviewed Asher's "Beautiful Degradation" cdr on CONV some time ago, which was roughly based on piano recordings via tape hiss and decay. This 3-track, 51' release is quite different and much more obscure, but no less hypnotic, based as it is on crackles, bass drones and slowly uncoiling high-end sine tones. If it's based on synth sounds, or on a digital treatment of field recordings, I really can't tell, but it's algid and blurred like a November mist. My only quibble is that the three tracks sound basically the same, with very minimal variations, so if you're not in the mood this could eventually sound monotonous.

PETER REHBERG: Kapotte Muziek by

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 02 2006
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Artist: PETER REHBERG
Title: Kapotte Muziek by
Format: CD EP
Label: Korm Plastics
Rated: *****
As usual in the "Kapotte Muziek by..." series, the artist uses a live performance (here, a concert/workshop given in The Netherlands in 1997) by the Dutch collective to create a new piece of his own. Rehberg (aka Pita) reworks the raw sound sources in a way that is much more similar to his recent, and brilliant, solo disc on Mosz than to his diginoise releases under his alias. The 17' 30" track starts with a low rumble, to which he adds metallic scrapings, looped noise bursts and a cyclic rolling sound... The piece eventually caves in in a more subdued set of sounds, where even string plucking seems to be recognizable. A nice microsound track, only a bit dispersive construction-wise, but maybe that was the point.


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