Music Reviews



CRIA CUERVOS: des tempes qui se vitrifient ou se marbrent

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 12 2005
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Artist: CRIA CUERVOS (@)
Title: des tempes qui se vitrifient ou se marbrent
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Taalem (@)
Rated: *****
Lately I was talking with a friend about 3" discs and about the fact that's probably the most appropriate format for some genres. Be it the 3" dimension or the incredibly improved sound quality of the release, but Cria Cuervos has become a top notch "isolationist". Here you have a soft mechanical drones in slow motion that keep increasing for almost ten minutes. The sound grows slowly like a cancer, the atmosphere is cold as steel, and is as lysergic as an acid pill. This short "cold trip" stops its slow march all of a sudden and the listener is left with no ground to walk upon, after this violent interruption the suite starts again with a low echo from nowhere. With the second "movimento" an odd drumming awakes like a mammoth back from the ice age. After having reviewed several releases composed by this italian musician I have the impression he keep on spending the most of his days into a freezer cause if you ask me: "cold" would be the adjective I'd use to label his music. Cria Cuervos not unlike Lustmord has a soundtrack mood that could go really well with images, that's why is hard to deny this 3" was probably meant to be a one way ticket for visionary people. The comment is: "Severe music for heavy falls".

THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHAPE vs DANIEL HOPKINS: Close to the edge

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 09 2005
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Artist: THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHAPE vs DANIEL HOPKINS
Title: Close to the edge
Format: DVD
Label: noground
Rated: *****
As announced right from its start, noground offers here its first video release, a 3" dvd-r with an 11-minute video track by label-runner Dan Hopkins and music from the UK duo The Delelopment of Shape, aka Steve Little (guitar) and Elvis Beetham-Wallace (drums). The artists have had an ongoing collaboration for live sets, and eventually decided to try and make it available as a "studio" release. Visuals and sound merge in a very effective and fascinating way indeed: the duo's desertic slow-motion instrumentals (somewhere between Dirty Three and post-Slintian rock) are an effective sountrack for Hopkins' stills of flashing lights, blurred landscapes and urban spleen - watching the outside world from a car window. Both intimistic and mysteryous, this short is quite an engaging experience.

HOTELGAESTE: Flowers you can eat

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 09 2005
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Artist: HOTELGAESTE
Title: Flowers you can eat
Format: CD
Label: Schraum
Rated: *****
A while ago, I reviewed Michael Thieke's "Leuchten" on Creative Sources. Here the Berlin/Rome-based musician (playing clarinet, alto saxophone and zither) teams up with two Canadian performers now living in Berlin too, Dave Bennett (guitar) and Derek Shirley (bass). Thieke's solo cd was full of good ideas and developments, but definitely on the harsh and solipsistic side of things (not a bad things in itself, mind it); this trio, on the contrary, presents a kind of more humane and warm improvisation, which makes this one of the most enjoyable works in the field of free-form music that I've listened to lately. The trio's interaction is quite typically based on the juxtaposition of microscopic, pebble-like fragments and restrained gestures ("Kein stern", "Moto"), but also on a fuller, more droning mass of sound, thanks to the use of e-bows and sustained wind playing. This gives birth to remarkable pieces like "Wintermusik", "Shiny" or the tour-de-force of "Sleepy lady", easily the most captivating track of the cd, where a jangling guitar, a discreet bass and what sounds like (but is probably not) looped electronics, create a wonderful suspended soundscape. In its cohesiveness and variety of inputs, this is a cd to be listened to many times.

THE NEW BLOCKADERS/GOSPLAN TRIO: Sound Sketch for Raging Flames

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 31 2005
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Artist: THE NEW BLOCKADERS/GOSPLAN TRIO
Title: Sound Sketch for Raging Flames
Format: CD
Label: Klanggalerie
Rated: *****
Free jazz and electronic noise have a lot in common, but oddly enough I don't think there have been that many attempts to really mix the two (I'm obviously not talking of borderline improv-electroacoustics à la Creative Sources). Here the notorious English nihilists R. and P. D. Rupenus team up with a Russian trio formed by Alexei Borisov (voice, guitar, electronics; also known for his solo recordings and collaborations), Sergey Letov (saxophones, bass-clarinet, flute, whistles) and the late Ivan Sokolovsky (electronics), and the result sounds like a more electric Free Music Productions record fed through some circuit bent mechanism. When Borisov talks over the chaotic mess, it's like tuning your FM radio to an unknown Russian channel, statics and disturbances included. My guess is that the Blockaders added their sputtering noise over the trio's improvised sessions, but I might well be wrong. The two tracks are incendiary indeed, and my only quibble is that the collaboration is based on the same tecnique throughout (electronic debris over jazz), without much room to experiment different mixes or ways of interaction; but what's there is surely worth a few listens. Limited to 350, so hurry up before this sells out.

LOKAI: 7 Million

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 31 2005
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Artist: LOKAI
Title: 7 Million
Format: CD
Label: Mosz
Rated: *****
Lokai is an Austrian duo formed by Florian Kmet (guitars) and Stefan Németh (electronics and additional guitars), the former being a classical trained guitarist with several collaborations in his curriculum, the latter better known for being a member of Radian (by the way, what an amazing band... one of the most thrilling live sets I've ever seen). "7 Million" is a quite varied work, which doesn't necessarily add anything new to experimental guitar+electronics-based composition (it'd be honestly hard to do that, anyway), but turns out to be a successful work of synthesis. From the dreamy plucking and loops of "Histoire ds" to the intimidating distortion of "Mikrostekon", "Taora atoll" and "Chuuk" to the droning release of the almost Ambarchi-an ending "Hellen", the album skillfully alternates suspension and aggression, in a troubled intimism which is well portrayed by the layout pictures: the sea is close at hand, but the sun is not always shining.


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