Music Reviews



CO.CASPAR.OSP : Labcopilation #2

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 03 2006
cover
Artist: CO.CASPAR.OSP (@)
Title: Labcopilation #2
Format: CD
Label: Paranoise Records (@)
Rated: *****
German label Paranoise Records presents a compilation of studio work in the industrial noise vein of spoken poetry set to sound BY German performance artist COCASPAR.OSP from 1998 to 2003. It’s a limited edition of 500 that includes a poster. Other labels have released most of the tracks but this is a good way to get a sampling OF COC.OSP’s (or CoCaspar, as I will refer to him for the duration of the review) work without having to hunt them all down individually. There are 9 tracks in all lasting a little over an hour. Beginning with a big BANG (not unlike a shaken vintage reverb chamber), "Thus Long Lights Light" is a miasmatic mix of strange birds and noise puffs and pops that gives way to a mélange of ambient voices, the kind you might find in a restaurant. One voice, reading a rather morbid bit of prose(?) emerges and takes the track to conclusion. I should mention that CoCaspar utilizes a rather electronically primitive assortment of paraphernalia consisting of tubes, wires, amplifiers, creaking chairs, etc. to generate his sonic atmosphere. This is actually a good thing, as it takes his expression far a field from the usual sampled fare that tends to dominate the dark ambient and noise genres. Some of the spoken word poetry/prose uses electronic voice processing and some does not. Those segments that did use the processing tended to have the voice a little too up-front giving the voice a separateness that I found to be a little too contrived. I felt that the readings worked best when the voice was unadorned and mixed in with the sound sculptures Cocaspar was creating. But hey, that’s just my opinion. I’m sure some listeners might disagree.For the most part, CoCaspar creates some deliciously malevolent atmospheres that rival vintage Coil in sonic turpitude. This can be heady intellectual stuff in a Nietchzean sort of way. The integration of spoken word with the sonics gives this "compilation" a cohesiveness that is often lacking on a regular release by many artists I’ve heard of late. A lot of people seem to have trouble pinning CoCaspar’s sound down; it’s quite unlike so many artists working in the darkambient/indstrial/noise genres. For lack of a better description, I can only say that CoCaspar creates his own reality via an "unreal" set of implements. It is quite nice that an artist like this can thrive (he’s got a LOT of releases out there, both audio and video) in a musical climate that has moved away from the electronic experimentation of the 80’s and 90’s. But then again, he’s a European artist and I’m sure they’re a lot more open-minded over there about fringe music. Fans of Coil’s more esoteric and less commercial ventures may appreciate this more than most.

Ahasverus: Evocation

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 28 2006
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Artist: Ahasverus (@)
Title: Evocation
Format: CD
Label: Ahasverus Records
Rated: *****
Ahasverus is the musical project of Swedish archaeologist/linguist Henrik Summanen. In the stunning booklet of his second work "Evocation", we find images of pagan (Mesopotamian?) gods. As for the music, there is a meticolous and ever-evolving mixture of dense "old school" dark ambient background mixed with distant chimes, bells and more environmental sources. The intricate network of sounds added to each dronework gives a less static feel to the compositions. An intrepid work that would definitely suck you into mystical depths, a must-hear for fans of Moljebka Pvlse and other non-conventional dark ambient artists.

VITOR JOAQUIM : Flow

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 21 2006
cover
Artist: VITOR JOAQUIM
Title: Flow
Format: CD
Label: Cr˛nica (@)
Rated: *****
Portuguese multimedia artist Vitor Joaquim has traced a singular path over the last 25 years starting with improvised music in 1982 and then composing for dance, theater, cinema, video, installations and multimedia. "Flow" is his latest work on the Crónica label. The main concept here is the confrontation between voice and computer and in almost all the tracks we can find heavily processed breathings and whispers among the swarming layers of processed instruments or even a sensual female voice(Filipa Hora's) as in the second track. Ranging from dissonant glitch to languid and dreamlike sounds with bursts of high-speed grainy loops - "Flow" is a complex work, only sometimes indulging in melodic moments. A fresh update to Markus Popp's lesson and surely a perfect listening for the autumn and winter to come.

GABRIEL PAIUK/JASON KAHN: Breathings

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 09 2006
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Artist: GABRIEL PAIUK/JASON KAHN
Title: Breathings
Format: CD
Label: Cut
Rated: *****
Cut founder and renowned laptop/percussion improviser Jason Kahn here teams up with Buenos Aires-based composer and pianist Gabriel Paiuk for one of the best improv records I've listened to in a long time. It's almost hard to believe this was recorded in a single afternoon in Paiuk's house in November, 2004, given the intensity and the balance of its sounds. Kahn mostly works with high-end digital crackles, minimal feedback effects and subtle electronic drones, while Paiuk improvises at the piano, alternating between sparse notes and - my guess - chord plucking, scrapings and other instrument-played-as-an-object tecniques. What amazes is the perfect interaction between the two, and the stark beauty of these nine untitled fragments. Skillfully dosing pauses and constrained eruptions, but never really reaching full-on noise, Kahn and Paiuk create a work of apparent stasis where the underlying tension is at times almost unbearable, sensing it will never explode. "Breathings" has often reminded me of Rowe's and Tilbury's masterpiece "Duos for Doris" (especially its first minutes), which is also not that unsound given that Paiuk has played with the former. Improvised music at its best: both harsh and extremely refined, with an enviable taste for the choice and dosing of its sound events.

Sidra: A Swampadelic Blessing of Downtown SF - The Official Bootleg

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 09 2006
cover
Artist: Sidra
Title: A Swampadelic Blessing of Downtown SF - The Official Bootleg
Format: CD
Label: Afe Records (@)
Rated: *****
Paolo Bandera (of the post-industrial cult acts Sigillum S. and Sshe Retina Stimulants) and Tiberio Longoni (former member of seminal punk and psychedelic bands like Jumpers, 198X and Peter Sellers and The Hollywood Party) joined their efforts for the Sidra project. Sidra's music goes far beyond the codified notions of rock, jazz, blues and even electronica and the stodgy clichès of post-rock. It sounds like a more structured and jazzy version of the so called post-post rock played by artists on the Intr_version label. As they claim with grisly humour on the cover, this record may not be for all ... but for the open-minded be sure that those ten sonic-ectoplasms will take you for some serious trips!


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