Music Reviews



Invisible Asps: "Songs from the Pandemic"

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 02 2004
Artist: Invisible Asps (@)
Title: "Songs from the Pandemic"
Format: CD
Eclectic. Now there's a word to stick to Invisible Asps and their deliriously strange but understated "Songs from the Pandemic." A warning right off. This ain't for everyone. Now, if you have esoteric tastes and enjoy musical experimentation, then Invisible Asps may be an artist for you to consider. In a round-about way, this is subdued industrial but that comes nowhere near giving your mind a mental taste of the music herein. Heavy on the ethno elements, the music of Invisible Asp is a place where so many bits and pieces coalesce that it's surprising that the end result is so organic and seamless. The listener will find himself running the gamut from soft but dark beat and synth driven music calling to mind the early work of Trent Reznor to experimental acid jazz to crunching industrial guitars (but not really of the metal variety). A wide span of styles, wrapped around an industrial center, fuse in subtle ways to create an intelligent and challenging listen for the music fan with ... with eclectic tastes.

Hmmm...: I Only Want Love

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 01 2004
Artist: Hmmm...
Title: I Only Want Love
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: IS Productions
Let me start off with an example of what to expect (or why you should drop all expectations) when you listen to Hmmm...'s CD "I Only Want Love". The example I'll use is the song "TrainedMonkey". This little ditty starts out as almost weirdo indie political rock then drifts in a rather non sequitur way into some industrial sounds (not industrial music so much as industrial sound, mind you). From there you find yourself in some blaring brass that calls to mind the soundtrack to "The Matrix." Following that is a stretch of quiet doings that sound like experimental sound samplings. Then Hmmm..., non sequitur lovers that they are, throw at you for the song's final stretch a bit of happy, smarmy kiddies singing "La la la la la". You get the idea. If you're not watching the track number display, you're apt to think you've changed tracks more than once when you're still in the same song. Hmmm... also seems fond of pieces of unusual music enhanced with semi-spoken word ramblings over the top. And, they like .... Jesus, it's hard to get into it all, you know? It's obvious Hmmm... set out to be as experimental as possible in terms of the styles they blend together. They can be downright poppy or they can be downright weird. And it's all in the name of social commentary (and fun, weird music, of course) as the listener can detect an edge to the attitude. These guys have something to say and they're gonna say it ... strangely. This is one of those bands that will either click with you or it won't. It weaves from one style to another and sometimes the weirdness comes from hearing a relatively "normal" style in a strange context. But it can also be very dark and odd. For open-minded ears only.

SANDBOX TRIO: Urubamba

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 01 2004
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Artist: SANDBOX TRIO (@)
Title: Urubamba
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****

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After releasing improvised sound recordings (on the collaborative recordings of Martin Birke , Daniel Panasenko and Roman Leykam) Soundbox Trio found themselves dealing with a particular subject: URUBAMBA. URUBAMBA is the title of their latest release and it's also the name of an Amazonian river. They took the river as a catalyzer of their inspirations and around this theme they recorded thirteen movements which form a sort of voyage. The title of the tracks seems to paint a sort of path that starts from "Urubamba" passing through people ("Headhunters"), sensations ("El sol ardiente", "The serpent's view", "Ghost waves" and "Scent of vermillion"), places ("Black currents" and "River's end"), etc. Even if thinking about a river makes me think about luxuriant nature, multi colored animals and about the relaxing sensation of the water waves, Soundbox Trio prefer giving form to the wild and scary aspect of those places. In this way the tracks paint moments that could seem quiet at a first listening but that are tense and dark most of the time. A lot of tracks are based on drone collages where only percussive instruments (drums or metal objects) and acoustic guitars break the tension created. Should we call it tribal industrialism? Maybe, but the main point is that on this new release the trio succeeded into creating something different and hypnotizing. Something that won't make you ask yourself what kind of music you're listening to and this is good. If you want to have a hint, well, if you love David Sylvian instrumental tracks, is highly probable that you'll love this one.

ASHTOOL: ELECTROSOUNDPHASEINTH(OU)GH(T)S

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 29 2004
Artist: ASHTOOL (@)
Title: ELECTROSOUNDPHASEINTH(OU)GH(T)S
Format: CD
Label: Into My Bed
Rated: *****
Ashtool is the personal project of Mirco Rizzo who about ten years ago was active as a member of Cube as well collaborating with Blackened, Daniele Brusaschetto, All Scars Orchestra, Krankheit Der Jugend, Sikhara, Jackson Uulvas, Origami vs. Manipura, Switch Off, ( r ), Ludmila, Ripit, Atrophy, Sandblasting, Ascolie and DJ Daddy. ELECTROSOUNDPHASEINTH(OU)GH(T)S is his first effort as a solo project and here you'll find a lot of experimentations and various weird stuff. The main point here seems to be the effort into proposing something really different and various. Each of the twelve tracks has its own mood and sound. So, if "Mu" is based on rhythms and treated guitar sounds, the thing change radically with the following "Onefilter 1.0" where the ambience created by the soft picked and treated guitar form a sort of sad ambient track. "Meeting a fried" plays with dub and experimental music by dilating sounds creating in this way a personal place where you can access. By listening all the album it seems to me that the expansion of sounds and atmospheres seems the main thing that made Mirco create ELECTROSOUNDPHASEINTH(OU)GH(T)S. Even where rhythm seems to be the main element of the track, all of a sudden long guitar sounds take a hold little by little along with various ambient elements and they turn the track into a crawling web of sound. If you like concrete sounds, industrial music as well as apocalyptic atmospheres give to Ashtool a try.

S.E.T.I. & Si_COMM: Probe

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 25 2004
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Artist: S.E.T.I. & Si_COMM (@)
Title: Probe
Format: CD
Label: Vivo (@)
Rated: *****
Barry G. Nichols, as Si_COMM (mostly known for ECM 323) teamed up with Andrew Lagowski as S.E.T.I. (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence - also know for his other projects Legion, Terror Against Terror, Lustmord, Isolrubin BK), to put together "Probe", a limited eco-pack CD featuring six audio sci-fi titles. The experimental glitch-electronics contained herein, is the fruit of a collaboration of two artists that have always had an interest in outer- (or other-) worldy sonics and in the possibility of life outside our little planet. The quasi ambient formula used to generate these oniric sound bits is busier around the upper part of the whole frequency spectrum, while the lower register rumbling is only used to accentuate the disquieting atmospheres. It's interesting to note that even though the listening experience seems to be centered around melancholy and loneliness it actually represents the quantity of life-forms present in space, so in spite of the fact that it might evoke drifting cold soundscapes of desolation, it really is trying to picture the pollution of beings and how crowded it is. As their press release and CD's sleeve notes explain, this world is actually getting too small for us all and we have to start thinking with the right frame of mind to prepare for different types of possible scenarios in the future. As they are quick to point out, "man became information with the discovery of DNA" and "evolution is accelerated when technology fuses with biology", and then they go about depicting the possibility of post-humans being regolated by sound and visual pulses. I am sure Lagowski would love to live in such a society, because with his life-long career of generating sound pulses he'd probably be the master and the king ;-)


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