Music Reviews



Rich West: Bedouin Hornbook

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 03 2004
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Artist: Rich West
Title: Bedouin Hornbook
Format: CD
Label: pfMENTUM (@)
Rated: *****
Written and produced by L.A.-based drummer Rich West with the aid arrangments of other performers of the city of angels, such ass Chris Heenan (reed - who, unless somebody forgot to write there was a Didgeridoo, is able to make one of his horns sound like one of those beautiful Australian instruments in an extraordinarily close way), Bruce Friedman (trumpet), Jeremy Drake (guitar) and Scot Ray (tuba), "Bedouin Hornbook" is definitely to be filed under the improvisational free-jazz no-wave experimental music shelf. I don't have any info as to how much of this was scored and how much came up at the moment, but I'd say that compared to other albums you'd find on the same shelf, this one is most definitely "organized" and the compositions follow a logical direction and evolve in a more orderly fashion, so to say. In other words its very musical, which to me is a plus, and feels like a classically trained orchestra taking off on the wings of the free spirit of jazz, art-rock, kraut-rock and occasional sparks of latino, classical music etc. These fine musicians certainly know how to play together and it actually sounds like there's many more of them playing together at once. The tuba comping and solos and the drum arrangments are especially fascinating and the arrangments of the horns and the guitar also interact very well. The entire album is quite interesting I must say, and will appeal to fans of Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Jeff Kaiser, Peter Frohmader, Jacopo Andreini and that entire scene, and will especially please those who appreciate that scene but wish for a little more composition and a little less improvisation.

Hollydrift: Waiting for the Tiller

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 02 2004
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Artist: Hollydrift (@)
Title: Waiting for the Tiller
Format: CD
Label: Parasomnic records (@)
Rated: *****
Wisconsin based analog noister Mathias Anderson creates his own brand of experimental noise with the use of tape recorders and signal receivers, and his music makes a "non-confrontational" (as he puts it, in a very politically correct way) statement that reflects the choice tools in his tool box. The choice of material and the choice of gear to elaborate such material, show the very characteristic peculiarity that his production has: a taste for the old, an attachment to some sort of roots, a fascination with what is gone. His dark retro approach is based primarily on field recordings and caputred sounds from different sources (I'd assume old films are in that list), so in other words, at least its not just yet another pointless noise-maker that hides behind the easy and broad classification of "experimental", Mathias Anderson seems to have a goal. I am not sure what this might be, but his scope finds a personality in the selection of his sound palette's colors and moods to evoke. Not easy listening and frightening on some level, but also relaxing and memory-evoking in some other very twisted way.

Din-ST: yamu d'din

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 30 2004
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Artist: Din-ST
Title: yamu d'din
Format: CD
Label: Schematic / Asphodel (@)
Rated: *****
Din-ST (also known as Dynasty, Din, Dj Maxximus, Fever, F.Stader) is ready to drop his urban-digital-core on us thanks to Asphodel (in San Francisco) and Schematic (in Miami), who teamed up to deliver "yamu d'din", a concentrate of elven tracks of experimental broken-core insanity. It's hard to describe Din-ST's style, as it draws from a tradition of digitalcore that has always been hard, by choice, to identify and categorize. What characterizes his style is the occasional addition of quasi dancehall-style MC-ing and street-style hip hop ministrations (hence I called it urban-digital-core), but most importantly the slice & dice approach to his broken beats and un-even rhythmical constructions. The whole thing flows, but his stylish hiccups don't fail to add that vein of punk-ish uncertainty to the mixture. In other words, don't expect another Atari Teenage Riot offsring just because you heard the words digital hardcore, this goes beyond the scope of hardcore and reaches into the everyday life of street and rave culture, carrying the dark shadow of society around as a gift to expression. Could be even more interesting though...

Ashtool: Electrosoundphrasesinth(ou)gh(t)s

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 30 2004
Artist: Ashtool (@)
Title: Electrosoundphrasesinth(ou)gh(t)s
Format: CD
Label: Into My Bed recordings
Rated: *****
Ashtool is musician Mirco Rizzi, a Turin, Italy based artist whose music is a cross road of experimental, industrial, dark, ambient and noise.The album also features guest collaborations by Daniele Brusaschetto (pretty much the godfather of that local scene), Oscar Mucci, Paul Beauchamp, Micaela Michetti and the saavy engineering skills of the ubiquitous Marco Milanesio.From underneath his loft bed, Mirco's been fishing around his pool of influences and ends up gently plucking the strings of all the above mentioned genres, with leftfield humble minimalistic excursions and louder sonic ministrations. His combination of electric and acoustic sounds generates tension and relaxation, at the same time. Guitar improvisations are blended in with all sort of types of noises, occasionally industrial rhythms (in classical Brusa-style), voices (mostly spoken) and other sounds, resulting in a dynamic and multifaceted album that ranges from beautiful atmospheric tracks ("Meeting a Friend", "Passegiata", or "Sexes3" and "Ridolini/th(ou)gh(t)s" and their gorgeous jazzy treated guitars) to loud attacks on eardrums ("Mu", "Nulla Mi E' Dovuto" or "Cerchireprise", with its interesting quasi orchestral samples), and everything in between (like the sweet Warp-ish sounding "Saleccia5").It is definitely one of those albums you'd have to listen to at an appropriate volume and with the right state of mind, in order to appreciate its nice and hidden subtleties.

MIHA CIGLAR: A piece for two instruments and a saxophone player

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 24 2004
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Artist: MIHA CIGLAR (@)
Title: A piece for two instruments and a saxophone player
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Young Slovenian composer, musician and sound engineer Miha Ciglar studied saxophone, musical pedagogics and sound engineering in Maribor (Slovenia, his native town too) and Graz (Austria). "A piece for two instruments and a saxophone player" (a contribution to the "Open Cube series", Cube, Institute of electronic music, Graz) is a 26' improvised piece recorded live to two tracks, and is an interesting real-time interaction between the wind instrument and digital manipulation. It begins with a kind of swarming drone, similar to Hafler Trio's use of string samples - then it breaks into a mess of digital crackles, pitch-shifting, loops and (barely recognizable for the most part) sax roars and sputterings. If you wondered how a Peter Broetzmann recording could sound in an glitch-electroacoustic mix, this could be an answer, and this work definitely could appeal to those into radical Japan improv or Nmperign. There are a lot of interesting passages, but at times the performance suffers from repetitiveness or let-down moments: "no overdubs, no mixing" is not always the best choice, especially if we're to hear an improvised session. I still feel this kind of material should be HEAVILY overdubbed. Still, an interesting experiment.


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