Music Reviews

FRANCISCO LÓPEZ: Untitled (2004)

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 09 2006
Title: Untitled (2004)
Format: CD
Label: MoSo
Rated: *****
Along with many lengthy one-track untitled pieces, Spanish absolute soundscape master Francisco López sometimes releases titled-by-year works collecting shorter pieces and collaborations; in the last few months, MoSo has published this, and Anoema the (2005) one. Both feature López at his best, so I'll try to save as many raving remarks as possible. "Untitled (2004)" features nine tracks, most of them based on raw field recordings or sound material offered by the likes of Z'ev, Dimitris Kariofillis (Ilios), Nicolas Rousseau,etc., and none of them is less than very good. The masterpiece is probably the 20-minute "Untitled # 163 (for Pierre Schaeffer)", a powerful and unsettling acousmatic composition with (possibly) train sounds and mechanical rhythms, somehow similar to his recent cd on Unsounds; but also the menacing accumulation of hisses and reverberating drones of # 165 and the sense of unbearable pressure conveyed by # 159 (using field recordings from Singapore airport) could easily be ranked among López's best. The oddest piece is the last one, which uses as a raw sound matter the post-hc/math metal music of Swiss band Knut (the track was also released on their recent cd "Alter", featuring more interpretations by Tietchens, Ambarchi, Broadrick, Harris, etc.). It's not the first time that Francisco uses metal-related sounds (think of his double-kicks-based release on Alien8), but it's the first time, I think, that he keeps sounds so recognizable. I find the moments of chaos quite captivating, while I can't say the same for the repeated mid-tempo chug. But after all, while I easily headbang on insect and water sounds, I've never been a huge fan of Knut's geometric mosh-core. Having said that, it could be an interesting path to follow for López - and the cd as a whole is obviously brilliant.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 09 2006
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Format: CD
Label: Ex Ovo
Rated: *****
Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf's main man Mirko Uhlig here debuts both as a solo artist and as a label owner with the Ex Ovo project, which is now planning an interesting drone-related compilation. I'm not sure if AMP will continue or not (probably yes). "VIVMMI", released in a limited edition of 65 copies with hand-painted cardboard sleeves, is a nice piece featuring 5 movements or sub-sections. As expected from Uhlig, it is a crystaline drone-based piece, but it is consistently more peaceful and subdued than AMP's often epic, or intimidating, material. Lots of natural field recordings, like tweeting birds or a creaking door, have been merged into the mix, or used to mark the passage from one movement to the other, while the drones are kept at a low volume, sounding like echoes of ancient melodies. Odd found sounds and quiet guitar strummings pop up here and there, but always floating in a sort of autumnal haze. Let's say that if AMP were close to Mirror, Uhilg's solo experiments have often reminded me of Darrent Tate's intimistic and vaguely psychedelic solo works. Good job.
Title: History In Flames
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
This is a new DCD release set out and produced by the German underground mail order service SkullLine. It provides a mutual team work by both German projects musically based into dark and minimal Ritual Electronica, which takes here some influences out of different music styles. BLEIBURG is leaded by Stefan R. who’s very active not only with his various music projects, under the "Dark Transmission" website he publishes also a small online zine. MANMACHINE is A. Schwarz, an experienced musician since 23 years based in various styles. So you don’t have to wonder also to hear some classic Electro tunes ("Deep Down In My Heart" – provided with a "classic" inspired vocal performance) besides further styles like Powernoise ("99 Percent Noise", "About The Nights" or the very chaotic "Hekate Song"), slowly Ambient tunes and - oh wonder – an acoustic Neo-Folk tune ("Fall Apart", a cover version originally done by DEATH IN JUNE) only arranged with a guitar! Some vocals are included as well, but mostly they rather act here like a dramatic news reporter rambling down some lines. This can’t be called a real singing. In all you got a DCD set focusing on dark, minimal programmings and sounds, where it at times wouldn’t be wrong to fill in some more maturity. To lengthen this stuff on two CD’s is also a bit too much, a limitation and concentration of the best tracks placed on one full-length would do better. Designed for genre fans only. Of course, also this item is a special limited and numbered release of about 45 pieces, packed in a carton box with a pin and a t-shirt.

WOMBA: Evidence Of Letta

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 07 2006
Artist: WOMBA
Title: Evidence Of Letta
Format: CD
Label: R.A.I.G. (@)
Rated: *****
Have you ever had difficulties of falling asleep? There’s a moment when you are almost there where you start to lose consciousness and the sounds are dilated and they tend to become like a distant echo. Womba’s EVIDENCE OF LETTA gave me the same sensation. Now let’s do a step back. Who’s Womba? Well, it is a personal project of Tikhon "Hee Haw" Kubov, a man know into the independent new alternative Russian music scene. Produced by Russian Association of Independent Genres, EVEDENCE OF LETTA is a particular CD presented in a cardboard folder with booklet. It contains 24 tracks of minimal cut ups where radio/tv/record samples are merged with treated voices, noises, etc. The sensation I had by listening to these tracks was also like listening sounds through a fly ears: everything seemed so overwhelming and confused and I didn’t know where to rest. Is it a coincidence if there’s a smashed fly on the cover?


 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 05 2006
Title: Giorni rubati
Format: CD
Label: Bip Hop (@)
Rated: *****
Dear readers, did I ever told you I'm completely fond of Pier Paolo Pasolini? (who cares!)...well I'm saying that just for the fact that this’ one of the best tribute to the lover/fighter/movie-maker/poet from Casarsa (together with an old work composed by Andrea Centazzo) The odd pair consisting of well known cellist Erik Friedlander and Teho Teardo (Modern Institute, Here, Matera, Meathead, etc..) plays a mix of chamber-classical music mixed with a soft electronics processing. A while ago we've reviewed Teardo's effort with Modern Institute on Expanding and it was again cello based if my mind doesn't fail me (I think he’s obsessed with bowed music), but this time the context is different. While the only possible "trait d'union" that ties the knot between the two cds could be the soundtrack/filmic mood, "Giorni rubati" is much more contemporary classic, experimental contemporary oriented. It's funny, but while listening to the sad and beautiful litanies created by Friedlander's cello it was like listening to some old David Darling, Kronos quartet performances processed with a light and classy use of electronic music. The most of the songs have that perfect length that makes you feel like everything comes in and out right when it has to. The music is sometimes severe, sometimes gentle, somewhere else aggressive and onirical and that’s what really symbolizing Pasolini's personality. Here and there they've the guest appearance of Scott Macloud from Girls vs Boys that enriches what I consider a little jewel. 44 minutes of intense music that hits you right there where "something is beating". If you think classical music hybridized with electronics can create an incredible atmosphere this record is highly recommended.

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