Music Reviews



Muslimgauze: Alms for Iraq

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 18 2004
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Artist: Muslimgauze
Title: Alms for Iraq
Format: CD
Label: Soleilmoon (@)
Rated: *****
Composed in Manchester in December 1995, just three years before his unexpected death at the young age of 38, "Alms for Iraq" doesn't come out on Staalplaat (as frequent readers of Chain D.L.K. might expect), but for the American outlet Soleimoon recordings (closely related to the Dutch label). Bryn Jones' 161st (!!!) album features 75 minutes and 26 tracks of mostly rhythmical-oriented material impregnated of electronics in the form of vibe, but also distortions, filter sweeps and choice of sounds for its repetitive patterns. The entire nature of this record is based around the stop'n'go of these repeating grooves and on the tricky misleading lo-fi abberations of dimming the volume of 20-30 dB's for brief periods of time to make it louder immediately after; from time to time "Alms for Iraq" sounds almost like a minimal glitch-electronics record, but chances are what is being conceived as such is nothing but what you are about to hear a lot louder a minute later (this might be a good time to warn listeners about the deceiving volume of the first 5-10 seconds of the record - don't be fooled or your ears might pay the price!). When the silence breaks the beats take over, sometimes even in the form of piercing noise loops. "Alsm for Iraq" is not monotonous. Instead its dynamic properties shed light on what maybe is/was Muslimgauze's production's most challenging and ground-breaking side. Of course your (dare I say) "average" Middle-Eastern percussion still find a way to sneak into and among the tracks, but the the electro-beat meets rhtyhm-noise meets middle-eastern grooves approach of this record is definitely among my favourite ones, not to mention the outstanding 6 panel A5-sized folding full colour digipack-style packaging with quotes, sleeve notes and beautiful pictures and art work. One of the best Muslimgauze records in a while, maybe.

DIELECTRIC MINIMALIST ALL-STARS: [i!]

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 15 2004
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Artist: DIELECTRIC MINIMALIST ALL-STARS
Title: [i!]
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Dielectric Records (@)
Rated: *****
Second part of a trilogy, after the great Drone double disc (search archive), and preceding a Field recordings chapter, "[i!]" is again a brilliant collective work of the Dielectric family, which is quickly becoming one of the most interesting labels in the field of indie electronica. The 2-disc set comes in a classy design with text in silver and orange ink on vellum. The Minimalist All-Stars playing on disc 1 are Loren Chasse (Id Battery, Thuja, the Blithe Sons, Jewelled Antler collective) at piano, stones, microphones, bells, electronic devices, hand-held tape decks, emanations, breath; Drew Webster aka Die Elektrischen (also Dielectric mastermind) at prepared turntables and mixing; and Bay Are jazz/improv drummer Jason Levis, at drums, cymbals, sticks, medium mallets, wire brushes, bow and fingers. With a very well curated and effective mixing/editing job, the 7 tracks on disc 1 are a mesmerizing flow of crystalline drones, sparse but at times ominous drumming, and concrete sounds. "Forth-Reich" is a stunning beginning, with the melodic pulse of (what resembles) an organ and a swaying of feedbacks; "Cocaine lovin' Orange County kids" is all played on a persistent ticking and low-volume drones; "Bellicose asshole in charge" features quiet drumming and menacing gong-like throbs; "Cruising deep space with Hendrix' ghost and a handful of green globe blotter" is an apt title for the final psychedelic ambient-drone galore. A great disc, full of mystery, emotion and melancholia, a trademark for Chasse's works, and this is surely one of his best. Disc 2 features remixes of raw recordings by a series of producers: Chris Palmatier (of brian_and_chris), Sonic Death Monkies (featuring Sote), Carson Day, Aemae and Arastoo. The result is nice, but not as brilliant as the studio part. Palmatier offers a great electroacoustic/glitch piece, Arastoo is effective with his isolationist ambient, and in general, the style is - predictably - a mix of electroacoustics, minimal ambiences and post-industrial obsessions. The only one who in my opinion doesn't fit is Carson Day, as his rhythmic electronica is a bit jarring in this context. But anyway, a great release.

DRESSED IN WIRES: Behold My Mighty Star

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 14 2004
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Artist: DRESSED IN WIRES (@)
Title: Behold My Mighty Star
Format: CD
Label: Estrunax Records
Rated: *****
BEHOLD MY MIGHTY STAR is the first official album by Dressed In Wires, a solo project headed by Simon Earp. The ten tracks of the CD gather irony (try to think how songs titled "First gay black president" or "I can see myself cumming in your hair tonight" could sound), electronic sperimentalism and good intuitions. Particular vocal samples gives humanity to the tracks while razor blade sounds (like the ones on "Aphids in me") give rhythm, cutting in two the atmosphere just to make space to new rhythmical structures and to some sick atmosphere. Everything is packed with a DIY atmosphere and the insane imprint of the project makes you wonder what's coming next. When IDM bands seem to be too pretentious, Dressed In Wires arrives just to clean the blackboard of modern music with his impetuous way of doing. If you think that Simon's music is a joke, you're wrong as he seems to be dead serious about what he's doing. If you are into industrial, IDM and electronic sperimentalism allow me to suggest you this project, then let me know what do you think about it.

CLOCK ROCK LOCALOCKS: Let's Localocks!

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 13 2004
Artist: CLOCK ROCK LOCALOCKS
Title: Let's Localocks!
Format: CD
Label: Neus-318 (@)
Rated: *****
The Clock Rockalocks are a Japanese duo formed by Atsunobu Tadatu (aka Penyynep) at electric guitar noise and Kazuya Ishigami (aka Daruin, and Neus-318 owner) at computer noise, acoustic guitar and ZarurSystem, whatever it is. As you have probably noticed, "noise" is the deal. Track 1 is a good, mindless harsh noise track, gratuitous and mean. The others are less appealing improv guitar+noise sessions: feedbacks, false starts, silences, some parodies of riffs, casual plucking. More refined electroacoustic manipulations are present, but rare. Track 6 seems to go back to a harsh noise vigour, but as a whole this cdr was probably more fun to play than to listen to.

VV.AA.: Archiv 1.1

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 11 2004
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Archiv 1.1
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton / Asphodel (@)
Distributor: Asphodel
Rated: *****
Originally created in 1999 from the merger of electronic music labels Raster Music and Noton.Archiv für Ton und Nichtton (which is german for 'Noton Archive for Sound and Non-Sound'), Raster-Noton is a collaborative label effort by East German artists Frank Bretschneider (Byetone) & Olaf Bender (Komet), who founded Rastermusic in 1996, and Carsten Nicolai (alva.noto), founder of Noton.Archive, which also branded the idea of the cd magazine. "Archiv 1.1" was originally created for the Wire's December 2003 issue but also represents Raster-Noton's first copilation to be released in the US, licensed by Asphodel and scheduled for the end of July. It portrays the work minimal glitch electronics and experimental music artists including Signal, O, Senking, Byetone, Komet, Boghossian, Modul, Lima, Cyclo (which is Casten Nicolai's collaboration project with well known Ikeda), M.Akiyama, Pixel, Noto and W.Basinski. The album is well balanced and very interesting. It neve gets too noisy or too boring and displays a good range of creativity and sonics, even though it maintains a pretty uniform sound palette throughout the fifteen tracks.


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