Music Reviews



Viv Corringham / Stephen Flinn / Miguel Frasconi: Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
New Music / Downtown / Avantgarde Jazz / New Classical / World
 Edit (10188)
Nov 28 2017
cover
Artist: Viv Corringham / Stephen Flinn / Miguel Frasconi (@)
Title: Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
The amazing vocals of British (but currently living in US) singer, performer and composer (as well as certified teacher of Deep Listening and - very important detail - former student of Pauline Oliveros -) Viv Conningham, ranging from a sort of possessed yodelling, almost hysterical flicks and other great stunts in the thrilling set of ritual-like percussions Stephan Flinn and the hits on glass objects by Miguel Frasconi (including the funny echoing/imitation of a sort of door bell in the first seconds of the track) opens this good outputs, whose title quotes the pleasure gardens (known as Vauxhall gardens, as such a fashion was started in the well-known area on the Southern bank of Thames river in London) where the rising bourgeoisie had fun (but also something else) in the more or less public areas of park of major cities in the eighteenth century (mainly in UK, Belgium, and France). In the beginning, they just offered a dancefloor, a space for small orchestras, but they gradually evolved into the core of less visible aspects of social life, and they gradually offered amenities such shops for frivolous items, private rooms, and masonic temples. I guess these three skilled performers were running these ideas in mind while staging the impressive settings they rendered. Viv's vocals are really impressive, as she turned her voice into a key element of the scenography, sometimes by means of complete sentences - the hiccuping "don't tell anyone" turning into a strangled clucking in the second untitled track is an amazing example - or by imitation of natural elements - can you perceive the wind she seems to imitate on the third thrilling track? -, but she doesn't really need them to render vivid emotions and the way she matched her voice to the highly reverberated percussive sounds by Frasconi and the sometimes sinister entities by Flinn.

Redukt: OTHO

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (10186)
Nov 28 2017
cover
Artist: Redukt (@)
Title: OTHO
Format: CD
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
Each track of this EP - the catchy debut release of Redukt, the project by Moscow-based electronic noise craftsmen Alexander Vasiliev and Nikolai Turchinski - got titled as a permutation of the main title and such a choice could make sense, as some aural elements are like constants that get thatched in different set-ups to change their "chemical" properties. The way by which they handled the noisy slices and the electric sparks that ignite each loops and the simple mechanics of the five tracks could let you think they didn't rely on computer-aided manipulation, with the only exception of a small clutch of percussive elements (such as the ground-shaking hitting low frequencies and the metallic clicks of "HTOO" or the async stitches digital crackle on the electrical stretching of "OTOH"). The paradoxically sordid collisions of these cushioned noisy entities are anything but thunderous, as they, on the contrary, evoke arctic wastelands and suburban desolation, which contaminated language, thoughts, and lives. A soundtrack of imaginary dystopian or borderline scenarios or something tragically close to our (more or less camouflaged) reality?

Lasse-Marc Riek: One Hour As Trees In Finland

 Posted by Tyran Grillo (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (10185)
Nov 27 2017
cover
Artist: Lasse-Marc Riek
Title: One Hour As Trees In Finland
Format: CD
Label: and/OAR
Rated: *****
At the end of his career, filmmaker D. W. Griffith famously quipped, “What the modern movie lacks is beauty—the beauty of moving wind in the trees.” Whether we agree with Griffith’s lament with regard to cinema, one could hardly say the same of aural media. An obvious and tactile case in point is Lasse-Marc Riek’s One Hour As Trees In Finland, wherein we are led to commune with nature’s enduring messengers without fear of intrusion. As its title indicates, the purpose of this album is not to present its subjects as novelties for escapist listening, but portals of becoming.

A literal description does little justice, if only because these windblown trees recorded in Alajarvi, Finland have both individual and collective personalities, meaning that any attempt at defining them would be an exercise in psychoanalytical failure. We need therefore only recognize that the album is divided into two nominal sections, “Crown” and “Trunk,” of five subdivisions each. Between them is a balance of high and low, outer and inner spaces, by which the ear itself is rendered leaf-like, itself windblown.

Wind is notoriously difficult to record. Without proper screening or absorption, it peaks input meters and distorts microphone sensors. Here, however, it is distant and expansive. Indeed, Riek’s technologically mediated presence feels devoid of any Hawthorne effect. For this hour, we are listeners among listeners. Hence, wind’s proverbial mystery: it is invisible yet made audible by its interaction with living matter. The beauties of this recording, then, thrive not in the wind itself but in what it activates.

Most remarkable about Riek’s engagement are its horizontal depths. We experience the rippling of leaf and limb against leaf and limb as currents spread in multiple directions from our ephemeral vantage point. The realm of the crown is populated by birds and other expected details flitting in and out of earshot. But there is also a feeling of height made all the more surreal for its quotidian atmosphere. Within the trees, one encounters a different narrative, as every ache of wood creaks through you. It’s the same sensation as when you hear your own tendons during a stretch. In this case, however, every nuance embodies an earthly history of flexion and elemental resilience.

If Alan Lamb’s classic telephone wire recordings are a modern wind music, then this is its traditional counterpart. The more one listens, the more these sounds become a part of something grander. There is not only the immediacy of the forest but also the mystery of seedlings yet to sprout, the detritus from which future forests will rise. It is, above all, the evocation of a place where only thoughts may lay themselves in beds of foliage. Its continuities remind us that such forces exist of their own volition, exhaled not by lung but divine suggestion, and that our knowing of them is one arc of a ceaseless journey.

Hallucinocide and Novasak: Split

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (10183)
Nov 26 2017
cover
Artist: Hallucinocide and Novasak (@)
Title: Split
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
Hallucinocide was new to me, but I had actually heard Novasak on a compilation that I was also on over a decade ago, so he has been kicking around for quite some time. Inner Demons is a known quantity by now (or it should be if it isn’t yet), so we know the formula: a 3” disc with good music. So let’s get right into the music. Hallucinocide kicks off this split with a screeching squeal of feedback to open up “Dissociative Entity (Live at Beerland).” But this is not the wall of noise I expected from this burst. This is more along the lines of pounding power electronics and yelled vocals. However, this has a lot more variety than a lot of PE stuff, but still has a lo-fi rawness to it that I enjoyed. Feedback and pulsing percussion, lots of screaming, and a ton of distortion. In other words, it was a good time. Novasak is up next with “Maximum Liability,” which starts off with a lot of fat analogue action. This is like listening to a 1980s video game soundboard that suddenly gained sentience and is now trying to communicate with the outside world. The only problem is that no one knows what it is trying to say, so it gets more and more frustrated and increasingly agitated. It has so much to say and no one understands it. If you like it circuit bent and burned to the ground, this is one to pick up. This album weighs in at around 19 minutes.

Thea Farhadian: Tectonic Shifts

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (10181)
Nov 26 2017
cover
Artist: Thea Farhadian (@)
Title: Tectonic Shifts
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Thea Farhadian is credited with “violin & electronics,” so you go into it having at least some idea of what you are in for. I was unfamiliar with this artist, but she is based in the San Francisco bay area and Berlin. She is classically trained, with an M.F.A. in Electronic Music. So now that we know the background, let’s get into the music and see what we have here. Overall, this is interesting improvised stings. A bit chaotic, but still holds together well. At times (e.g., “Time Shift), she is playing the instruments in unconventional ways that sounds lightly processed. There is a lot of processing at other times. For example, “Splinter” and “Particle Party” sound like a recording that has been spliced up on tape and then fed through a dirty cassette player that ate the tape. Reminds me a bit of Bob Ostertag’s “Attention Span,” which is a good thing. “Vertical” sounds like she is rubbing the instrument and abusing the stings. Others go outside of the chaotic feel; “Silverplate,” for example, is a peaceful droning track with just a hint of dissonance. If you want experimental strings, this is one to pick up. This album weighs in at around 37 minutes.


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha