Music Reviews



F. S. BLUMM & FRIENDS: Sesamsamen

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 05 2004
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Artist: F. S. BLUMM & FRIENDS
Title: Sesamsamen
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Plop
Rated: *****
I remember trading with a friend of mine Ziegler/Blumm's "Die fünfte Dengelophonie" 7" on Dhyana, and it's already 6 years ago, dammit! Meanwhile, Blumm has made himself a name as one of the best artists in the glitch-pop (or whatever you want to call it) field, with releases on Tomlab, Staubgold, Morr etc. "Sesamsamen" comes in a gorgeous childish/surrealistic layout, and is a nice work again. Interacting with several friends and guest musicians, Blumm plays modern folk instrumentals where electronics mainly serve as an arrangement for acoustic guitars, toy piano, vibraphone, harmonica, etc. It's delicate, intimistic and vaguely naif art pop, closer to, say, Robert Wyatt, Penguin Café Orchestra or Gastr del Sol than to electronic composers. Perfect for early Autumn afternoons, in its watercolour melodies and soft nostalgia.

ED LAWES: 14 Tracks / Pieces

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 29 2004
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Artist: ED LAWES
Title: 14 Tracks / Pieces
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
I think that this 14 TRACKS / PIECES by Ed Lawes is one of most particular CDs released by Planet Mu. With the lastest label's releases I was used to rhythm based music and this CD sounds really different. Anyway. Ed Lawes process of creating music seems to be as much important as the final result as for each track you can find a note where he describes the process. The tracks sound like contemporary music made now with electronic processed sounds and then with acoustic instruments only, like violin, double bass and tenor saxophone (like on "An ordered set"). The final result is a mixture of experimentations and studies which gathers jazzy improvisations, experimental music, concrete music and improvised stuff. Sometimes it sounds too arty but the fact that for each track you've got notes to follow it could change your experience about it. Ed states that he would like to write a whole website about his tracks: in this way it would be like a book of experiences that you could couple with sounds. A CD to experience...

SAMUEL JERÓNIMO: Redra Ändra Endre De Fase

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 20 2004
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Artist: SAMUEL JERÓNIMO
Title: Redra Ändra Endre De Fase
Format: CD
Label: Thisco (@)
Coming with a nice abstract red layout, and quoting the "I Ching" about the process of transformation, the work by this young Portuguese composer is a hard one to pigeonhole, and surely the most bizarre that Thisco has ever released. The three tracks are based on changing patterns and clusters of (electronic) piano notes, with some kind of synth sound taking in on track 2. I don't know much about its genesis but I think that some fractal music software was used, or at least that's what it sounds like. The opening is a light and exhilarating tinkling; if adequately tortured or drugged, I'd describe it as "Oriental-sounding" and add that a remix by Oval would be great. But as the cd progresses crescendos and more bombastic sequences take over, while "Ändra" sounds like a nightmare electronic remix. I'm quite confused about this work, and to put it bluntly I have very mixed feelings about its different nuances. I'll probably try it again every so often only to come out with more doubts. Weird.

Nox Arcana: Darklore Manor

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 17 2004
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Artist: Nox Arcana (@)
Title: Darklore Manor
Format: CD
Label: Monolith Graphics (@)
Rated: *****

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Joseph Vargo and his partner William Piotrowski for Nox Arcana bring back the sounds that made Midnight Syndicate famous. Fans of Midnight Syndicate may remember albums like 'Born of the Night' and 'Realm of Shadows', both of which feature Joseph Vargo. Nox Arcana's debut is no less enthusiastic and resurrects these dark orchestral sounds. Darklore Manor continues the legacy initially begun while Midnight Syndicate has not carried on to venture into other territory such as a Dungeons & Dragons soundtrack. Nox Arcana, on the other hand, give fans of Midnight Syndicate what they've been craving most. Enter Darklore Manor, where creatures of the night lurk in shadows and ghostly sounds echo through unhallowed halls. Haunted organs, ghostly voices, and much much more fill this release while maintaining the strong musical compositions instead of becoming overdone with sound-effects like most seasonal releases. I say seasonal because as many of you know Midnight Syndicate has become very popular in the Haunted Attraction industry at Halloween and Nox Arcana should reside along with them by the other releases Vargo helped create. Joseph Vargo is not only a talented and creative musician with a taste for dark music but also a well established artist who has created quite a stir with his own company Monolith Graphics. Monolith Graphics has been in business several years producing postcards, posters, stickers, t-shirts, journals, calendars, tarot decks, and their own Dark Realms magazine. Dark Realms has also run several issues featuring reviews of all things dark and wonderful in entertainment including books, games, movies, music, and much more. Dark Realms is THE premiere magazine for darkling entertainment. Also check out Monolith's Graphic's "Tales from the Dark Tower", an original collection of 13 sinister stories, lavishly illustrated by Joseph Vargo. Based upon characters depicted in Vargo's classic gothic paintings, each story in this unique anthology is woven together to create a new and compelling saga of vampire lore. Nox Arcana is a healthy addition to the Monolith family of releases and an exciting one this year for Halloween fans worldwide. Abandon hope all ye who enter here... Look for the follow-up called "Necronomicon", a dark symphony based upon H.P. Lovecraft's forbidden tome of unspeakable horrors.

BRIAN AND CHRIS: 3

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 17 2004
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Artist: BRIAN AND CHRIS (@)
Title: 3
Format: CD
Label: Dielectric (@)
Rated: *****
Some months ago, I reviewed Brian and Chris' "Palimpsest" 12" ep, which was quite nice. But this full length (featuring "Crossing", which was on the aforementioned vinyl, and 5 more tracks) is way more stunning, and definitely one of the best instrumental post-rock albums that I've listened to in a while. Switching a theory of instruments (the "rock" ones plus organs, pianos, Russian dulcimer, electric tanpura, pan pipes...), this impressive duo writes, to put it bluntly, memorable songs. Arrangements are complex and refinate, but melodies and rhythmic patterns always emerge as prominent features, while the electronic programmings (which were more evident in the 12", I think) are used with taste and skill. I know that the term is abused, but "cinematic" came to my mind quite often (ok, note that the project was actually born to score a friend's movie). Brian and Chris are gitfted with the one true standpoint in all good post-rock bands, that is, visionary synthesis: the result is a sort of modern easy-listening rock, and the main reference would be Tortoise circa "TNT" and "Standards" (though "3" is far more successful than the latter). Two thumbs up for this one.


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