Music Reviews



FRANCISCO LÓPEZ: Untitled # 119

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 30 2004
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Artist: FRANCISCO LÓPEZ
Title: Untitled # 119
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Lapilli
Rated: *****
Yet another fine untitled piece from Francisco López, also marking the debut for the label Lapilli, created by UK artist Scott Taylor, known for his releases on Touch (in the "Spire" compilation), Conv, etc. The black 3" cd is housed in a regular cd case - a BLACK one. So it's black on black, with only a few words about the recording - typical Lópezian minimalism. The piece is in his more droning, "ambient" vein, as in # 91, the Silophone works, certain live sets etc., and features the usual silence/drone/silence construction. Thus said, what can I add? I love López, and this is surely a successfull release, with his trademark metallic vapours, gut-wrenching low-ends and machinery-like resonances. Powerful and ominous. Could be anything from tectonic movements to amplified bloodflow. One more brilliant record in López's astonishing discography.

GERRITT: ...sails the seas of displacement

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 26 2004
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Artist: GERRITT
Title: ...sails the seas of displacement
Format: 12"
Label: Dielectric Records (@)
Rated: *****
Gerritt is a US noisemaker who has shared a couple of eps with the likes of Bastard Noise and John Wiese, has intensively toured the States, and is going to release a collaborative record with Stephen O'Malley and Tim Wyskida, both from the amazing avant-doomsters Khanate. He also runs the Misanthropic Agenda label, known for releasing several Merzbow records, Lockweld, Sissy Spacek, etc. This time, though, he's hosted by the prolific and ever varying Dielectric records, in its series of 12" waxes. The four tracks of the ep are quite similar, as a whole, to Gerritt's contribution to the Dielectric Minimalist All Stars reviewed some weeks ago: noisy and with a sharp edge, with piercing glassy/metallic concretions, but still closer to electroacoustics and experimental ambiences than to harsh noise. There are aggressive climaxes (the best and most intense moments) and subdued, hyper-minimalist phases - the continuity among the tracks makes this sound like a single flowing performance. Unfortunately, not all of it has the same level. I find the more aggressive and frantic passages really intriguing (they reminded me of Watermann's "Calcutta Gas Chamber", which I've already mentioned twice in a week. Good). The quieter ones, and that's strange coming from me, are far less successful: the use of delay over the same sound, for example, becomes a bit tedious after a while, and generally, I wished there were more texture and variation. So it's kind of half and half.

TOYCHESTRA AND FRED FRITH: What leave behind

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 16 2004
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Artist: TOYCHESTRA AND FRED FRITH (@)
Title: What leave behind
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: SK Records (@)
Rated: *****
TOYCHESTRA is an all women musical ensemble based in Oakland, CA. As you can deduce from their name, they don't play any conventional instrument as each one is a fake instrument, resized one or is an object you can't recognize from the sound. Their music is similar to a run of a one leg man as everything seems to be really unstable and unreal. They play with their instruments like an unborn child and the sensation you got from their music is the same. On this 25 minutes live recording, their "music" duet with the electric guitar improvisations of Fred Frith. The guitar sound helps extremizing the effect of instability of the whole process as Frith use it like a razor blade on some moments (like on "Fellini") or he plays it producing smooth sounds ("Grover rides a happy honker"). "3 elephants and a cow" is the track that impressed me most, because from the initial sequence of sampled voices (I think they used teddy bears which are capable of recording few seconds of sounds with a metallic quality) the track turn into a disturbing march where the guitar cries along with animal sounds (cows, elephants, mices, etc). The last song "When to rewind" is a sort of lullaby sung by all the girls and it closes in a good way this particular album. Sk is still searching for a distribution for this CD so you if you can help, please contact them!

DANIEL MENCHE/KIYOSHI MIZUTANI: Garden

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 13 2004
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Artist: DANIEL MENCHE/KIYOSHI MIZUTANI
Title: Garden
Format: CD
Label: Auscultare (@)
Distributor: Ground Fault
Rated: *****
A document of zen-like peacefulness and mind-numbing beauty, "Garden" sees Mizutani treating the high-end field recordings, and Menche working on the low-end ones. The title pretty much indicates the sounds featured in the 65-minute track: crickets, birds, flies, grasshoppers... Like listening with an absolute ear to every single sound in a hot summer afternoon, this cd is about getting drunk on sound. At the beginning, Menche only adds some solemn drones and rumblings, and while his trademark "vehement beauty" is ever present, this is surely the least noisy work I've heard from him, though not less dramatic. At first, this work reminded me a lot of Francisco López's equally fascinating "Untitled # 90" on Pre-Feed, but here there is more variation, though at a slow, often imperceptible pace: around the 40-minute mark, the sonic mass seems to gradually rise in intensity and texture, in a sort of macroscopic drone - losing any documentary nature, the once recognizable sources blurr into menacing electronic swarms and loops, before vanishing altogether. "Garden" thus reveals its nature of severe inner discipline and releases all its emotional impact.

3/4 Had Been Eliminated: s/t

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 08 2004
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Artist: 3/4 Had Been Eliminated
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Bowindo
Distributor: Fringes
Rated: *****
3/4 HadBeenEliminated is a trio formed by Stefano Pilia (a solo cd on Last Visible Dog), Claudio Rocchetti (two releases on Bar La Muerte - see archive - and S'Agita) and Valerio Tricoli (a cd on Bowindo, plus collaborations and productions with Dean Roberts etc.). Not sure about who plays what, but listed sources are "guitars, harmonium, double bass, percussion, glass harmonica, resonant pipes, objects, turntables, synthesizer, tapes, electronics, field recordings", with help from Antonio Albanese (percussion and glass harmonica) and Tony Arrabito (drums). I regret not having seen 3/4... in one of their recent tour dates, because they must be pretty explosive live. This eponymous cd has its better moments when the electroacoustic scrabblings, the gigantic harmonium drones and some serene, almost bucolic guitar strumming converge: tracks like "Getsemany Fields under impossible rain", "The soul of their suits" and "Bedrock" are nothing short of moving. Strangely enough, I always get the impression that this is a quiet cd - on the contrary, 3/4...'s intimism also has its psychic black holes, like the ominous, monumental drone of "My smallest ego" and the electronic hoarfrost of "Bench/Frozen". But the trio has a somehow more humane, "folk" approach to minimalism and microsounds - there's often a feel of open spaces here. Great stuff indeed, also because it doesn't fossilize on a pre-digested set of sounds, but rather dares to fuck around and sweat on them. Along with the Dielectric Minimalist All Stars (with whom they share at least a similar approach to playing/recording), this is one of the best experimental releases that I've come across recently. A new cd is due out on S'Agita, and Logoplasm are definitely another valid "spiritual comparison" to 3/4...'s romantic electroacoustics.


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