Music Reviews



NICK GREY AND THE RANDOM ORCHESTRA: Regal Daylight

 Posted by Ferruccio Milanesi   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 24 2004
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Artist: NICK GREY AND THE RANDOM ORCHESTRA (@)
Title: Regal Daylight
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Sensitive Records (@)
Rated: *****

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NICK GREY AND THE RANDOM ORCHESTRA is a total surprise for me. Every listening adds something to a vision of higher Art, where everything has its role in creating a refined but passionate fusion of poetry and music. Different influences and a conflicting use of classic instruments and electric guitars and drums show a complete personal capacity of making new what is ancient and at the same time to make ancient what is new. Consider a sweet and sad piano (a really sad piano, giving you the sense that everything’s lost), a soft electronic drum, a distorted guitar wringing your heart, and a deep voice whispering or singing with an emotional strength that reminds me of AND ALSO THE TREES’ singer Simon Huw Jones. Add a trumpet and a clarinet giving particular and unexpected influences, a violin and congas and you’ll get this fusion of neoclassic music, avant-garde, electronic beats, Debussy, Current 93 (considering their wonderful "Soft Black Star") and Dead Can Dance (in particular for some parts involving ethnic drums).
"The Zealot", just to mention one of the songs, is simply beautiful, a sort of a lullaby in a dusty empty room. "Look Like Moses" alternates a trip hop soft atmosphere, with a nostalgic kletzmer fleeling clarinet, a sort of Yiddish vocal melody (I don’t know why but I feel strongly so... ), the powerful voice of the tenor Vasile Moldoveanu, a trumpet giving the sense of a world fading away. "November Fadeline" is a must for people loving ASHRAM, UNTO ASHES. "Hiding in Seaweed" shows the fascinating voice of Jasmine Pinkerton on a congas rhythm, a medieval lament in a Moroccan harem. "Parachute drops" with a Hammond, glockenspiel notes falling like drops, gives the feeling of a wait, of something growing that will happen.
I think this is not an easy listening album, not Californian beach party. It’s full of cultural and poetic suggestions, every time shows a different side you’ve not noticed. But it’s not an esoteric piece of art: you’ll love it more and more because it’s full of sweet, heart-touching melodies, it will entrap you and you’ll listen three times without stopping.

IVERSEN/GUIGNOL DANGEREUX: Reconstructing Mechanical Bacteria

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 22 2004
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Artist: IVERSEN/GUIGNOL DANGEREUX
Title: Reconstructing Mechanical Bacteria
Format: CD
Label: TibProd (@)
Rated: *****
A split-remix project in which Iversen (Norway) and Guignol Dangereux (Italy) remix each other's sounds. Guignol Dangereux actually sound a lot like Iversen's releases, with a flow of broken electronics - not really noise, not really ambient, it sounds like sound samples granulated through some software. Possibly in a live improvisation? Which implies that there are interesting sounds but also equally boring parts. Not bad, but definitely lacking coherence (even in chaos). I don't know to what extent Iversen uses or changes GD's sounds, as I haven't heard this Italian project before - though I think they play rhythmic electronica. Which is actually the deal here: mostly analogue sounds, beats and loops, "Dangereux Elements" being the most successful track - the others are a bit dull, which is a crime for rhythmic stuff. Again, not repulsive, but not exciting either. You can also download 4 more tracks from the TibProd site.

Muslimgauze: Alms for Iraq

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 18 2004
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Artist: Muslimgauze
Title: Alms for Iraq
Format: CD
Label: Soleilmoon (@)
Rated: *****
Composed in Manchester in December 1995, just three years before his unexpected death at the young age of 38, "Alms for Iraq" doesn't come out on Staalplaat (as frequent readers of Chain D.L.K. might expect), but for the American outlet Soleimoon recordings (closely related to the Dutch label). Bryn Jones' 161st (!!!) album features 75 minutes and 26 tracks of mostly rhythmical-oriented material impregnated of electronics in the form of vibe, but also distortions, filter sweeps and choice of sounds for its repetitive patterns. The entire nature of this record is based around the stop'n'go of these repeating grooves and on the tricky misleading lo-fi abberations of dimming the volume of 20-30 dB's for brief periods of time to make it louder immediately after; from time to time "Alms for Iraq" sounds almost like a minimal glitch-electronics record, but chances are what is being conceived as such is nothing but what you are about to hear a lot louder a minute later (this might be a good time to warn listeners about the deceiving volume of the first 5-10 seconds of the record - don't be fooled or your ears might pay the price!). When the silence breaks the beats take over, sometimes even in the form of piercing noise loops. "Alsm for Iraq" is not monotonous. Instead its dynamic properties shed light on what maybe is/was Muslimgauze's production's most challenging and ground-breaking side. Of course your (dare I say) "average" Middle-Eastern percussion still find a way to sneak into and among the tracks, but the the electro-beat meets rhtyhm-noise meets middle-eastern grooves approach of this record is definitely among my favourite ones, not to mention the outstanding 6 panel A5-sized folding full colour digipack-style packaging with quotes, sleeve notes and beautiful pictures and art work. One of the best Muslimgauze records in a while, maybe.

DIELECTRIC MINIMALIST ALL-STARS: [i!]

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 15 2004
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Artist: DIELECTRIC MINIMALIST ALL-STARS
Title: [i!]
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Dielectric Records (@)
Rated: *****
Second part of a trilogy, after the great Drone double disc (search archive), and preceding a Field recordings chapter, "[i!]" is again a brilliant collective work of the Dielectric family, which is quickly becoming one of the most interesting labels in the field of indie electronica. The 2-disc set comes in a classy design with text in silver and orange ink on vellum. The Minimalist All-Stars playing on disc 1 are Loren Chasse (Id Battery, Thuja, the Blithe Sons, Jewelled Antler collective) at piano, stones, microphones, bells, electronic devices, hand-held tape decks, emanations, breath; Drew Webster aka Die Elektrischen (also Dielectric mastermind) at prepared turntables and mixing; and Bay Are jazz/improv drummer Jason Levis, at drums, cymbals, sticks, medium mallets, wire brushes, bow and fingers. With a very well curated and effective mixing/editing job, the 7 tracks on disc 1 are a mesmerizing flow of crystalline drones, sparse but at times ominous drumming, and concrete sounds. "Forth-Reich" is a stunning beginning, with the melodic pulse of (what resembles) an organ and a swaying of feedbacks; "Cocaine lovin' Orange County kids" is all played on a persistent ticking and low-volume drones; "Bellicose asshole in charge" features quiet drumming and menacing gong-like throbs; "Cruising deep space with Hendrix' ghost and a handful of green globe blotter" is an apt title for the final psychedelic ambient-drone galore. A great disc, full of mystery, emotion and melancholia, a trademark for Chasse's works, and this is surely one of his best. Disc 2 features remixes of raw recordings by a series of producers: Chris Palmatier (of brian_and_chris), Sonic Death Monkies (featuring Sote), Carson Day, Aemae and Arastoo. The result is nice, but not as brilliant as the studio part. Palmatier offers a great electroacoustic/glitch piece, Arastoo is effective with his isolationist ambient, and in general, the style is - predictably - a mix of electroacoustics, minimal ambiences and post-industrial obsessions. The only one who in my opinion doesn't fit is Carson Day, as his rhythmic electronica is a bit jarring in this context. But anyway, a great release.

DRESSED IN WIRES: Behold My Mighty Star

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 14 2004
cover
Artist: DRESSED IN WIRES (@)
Title: Behold My Mighty Star
Format: CD
Label: Estrunax Records
Rated: *****
BEHOLD MY MIGHTY STAR is the first official album by Dressed In Wires, a solo project headed by Simon Earp. The ten tracks of the CD gather irony (try to think how songs titled "First gay black president" or "I can see myself cumming in your hair tonight" could sound), electronic sperimentalism and good intuitions. Particular vocal samples gives humanity to the tracks while razor blade sounds (like the ones on "Aphids in me") give rhythm, cutting in two the atmosphere just to make space to new rhythmical structures and to some sick atmosphere. Everything is packed with a DIY atmosphere and the insane imprint of the project makes you wonder what's coming next. When IDM bands seem to be too pretentious, Dressed In Wires arrives just to clean the blackboard of modern music with his impetuous way of doing. If you think that Simon's music is a joke, you're wrong as he seems to be dead serious about what he's doing. If you are into industrial, IDM and electronic sperimentalism allow me to suggest you this project, then let me know what do you think about it.


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