Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Epitaph for John

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 20 2005
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Epitaph for John
Format: CD
Label: Korm Plastics
Rated: *****
John Watermann (1935-2002) was an influential, if underestimated (mainly due to limited distribution of his discography, except a couple of more famous discs), experimental composer, and also a writer, painter and sculptor. Diagnosed with incurable myeloma in 2000, he got in touch with Frans de Waard (Freiband, Beequeen, Korm Plastics, etc.) and they started working on a field recording based piece, which was never finished. When Watermann passed away in 2002, de Waard thought of this special tribute, featuring artists Watermann had collaborated with (Ralf Wehowsky, Asmus Tietchens and Merzbow) re-reading his final piece "Toowong Cemetary", here aptly left as the last track. De Waard, present as Freiband, uses as a source for his piece both Watermann's recording and all the other contributions. The result is a heartfelt and artistically successful farewell (no track is less than good), and also a quite varied one, though the original field recordings act as a sort of fil rouge throughout, from Tietchens' electroacoustic experiments to Merzbow's noise bath to Freiband's microsounds. Wehowsky, incorporating sounds from "Toowong Cemetary" in a composition with sitar and "handorgel-manipulation", is probably offering the most challenging and layered piece, but the quality is consistent throughout. Besides its commemorative intent, "Epitaph for John" is an excellent and much recommended cd. More tribute pieces, based on the same sources, are available here: www.microsound.org/watermann; and don't forget that Cold Spring is about to reprint Watermann's masterpiece "Calcutta Gas Chamber".

TISHA MUKARJI: D is for Din

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 20 2005
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Artist: TISHA MUKARJI
Title: D is for Din
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources
Rated: *****
Recorded at Copenhagen Royal Art Academy last April, "D is for Din" is a solo piano improvisation, but don't expect anything even remotely close to typical piano notes. Judging from the sounds he utters, Mukarji plays a square piano frame directly on the chords, with his fingers and, my guess, a variety of objects like e-bows, brushes etc. Depending on your preferences in terms of concrete sounds, there could obviously be exhilarating passages and less interesting ones, but the continuous scraping and screeching of the chords is vigorous and detailed enough to keep you captivated throughout. One of the best releases in the new Creative Sources overflow.

TIRRIDDILIU: Conglomerato auto-deviante di strumenti e suonatori

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 13 2005
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Artist: TIRRIDDILIU (@)
Title: Conglomerato auto-deviante di strumenti e suonatori
Format: CD
Label: Nexound
Rated: *****
Technology has always changed the way of living of human being, at the same time during the 20th century human expansion on the planet has been completed setting the next frontier somewhere else, but where? In the outer space or just in the synapses of our brain?. Sorry but there's a simple reason for this initial silly tripping, this record could be the last of many proofs that laptops in some way have pierced our skull leaving the gray matter out in the open space. The sight probably was not so tasty, but together with the scattered brain cells the eruption gave us a good amount of work for a whole generation of post-freudian/post-jungian psychiatrists. "Conglomerato auto-deviante di strumenti e suonatori" is on Andrey Kiritchenko's Nexound label that itself is already a quality trademark. This talented guy from the south of Italy surprised me for two basic reasons: the first has to do with the fact he's even more glacial than a scandinavian, the second one is related to the incredible maturity he shows in the 14 episodes of this cd. Here we've some electro-acustic music and I'm sure that some sounds have been processed through a pc but what really matters is the good taste Tirriddiliu put in each short piece. This picciotto probably has been influenced by a lot of concrete-contemporary music but it gets evident after every track. A really good work full of ghostly music; I've heard the forthcoming release of this sicilian and I think that's even better. Trinacria is alive and kicking...I swear.

MR. SCHMUCK'S FARM: Good sound

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 12 2005
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Artist: MR. SCHMUCK'S FARM
Title: Good sound
Format: CD
Label: Oral (@)
Rated: *****
Right the other week I was watching a documentary on Canada and I've caught myself thinking what a paradise it should be for modern/contemporary music: Oral is from up there and their catalogue is already brilliant. Mr. Shmuck's Farm are coming from Berlin and you should write their name on the top of your want list in the section: "weirdness, drones and atmosphere". The three tracks (the shortest of which is fifteen minutes long!) of "Good sound" fuse a real passion for drones to an all german taste for contemporary music/art. There's a track in particular ("don't give up, what is death?) that reminded me of an old band repressed on Sonig: Hajsh. Hildur's cello is damn odd and played in a really dissonant manner but the result is nothing but excellent. This duo works really patiently on the natural evolution of every track, controlled feedbacks dueling with reverb echoes and soft noises, they also give many peak variation to each suite above all in "my favorite caucus airchamber". Lately I'm always glad to hear there's a wise use of reverb in a recording (sometime this effects kills a lot of frequencies) and this cd is the vivid proof of a mature work. That played by Mr. Schmuck's Farm is odd and drony music, but still music where something is happening differently from bands like Stars of the Lid that work a lot with stillness. I wish if I say that's interesting and psychedelic it makes sense.

GOMMA WORKSHOP: Cantina tapes

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 09 2005
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Artist: GOMMA WORKSHOP (@)
Title: Cantina tapes
Format: CD
Label: Snowdonia
Rated: *****
Listening to this cd the first aspect I couldn't but notice was that Vittorio De Marin and his Gomma Workshop had a lot to offer. From the very first track you get a pop approach that ends in a fake traditional chinese song (Yoshimi?...), but the second track clears immediately up your mind from every doubt this' just a "particular pop release"...a crazy release maybe. A good way to describe the result could be to devide it in melodic strange pop tunes (Pijama'o' Rama, soLOFOne, caLOMOre), orchestral works (KGphono, Clawnsclan, Woodhood) and "I've had an hard time trying to file it under something" tracks (almost the majority of the songs). Probably this weirdo accomplished the unusual result of combining an inveterate love for soundtracks an damn good writing skill, the listening of many different kind of music and it's hard to say what else. Morricone, electronics, Nyman, Califone, Calexico, ethnic music (mainly asiatic style, the same passion the brought together many contemporary composers) are squeezed together in this incredible grey area of visionary compositions. I can't say I'm into everything but tip of hat to Gomma Workshop for the damn good job.


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