Music Reviews

Dronny Darko: Abduction

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 02 2017
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Artist: Dronny Darko (@)
Title: Abduction
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release by Dronny Darko marks a change of direction as, while his previous release were rooted in a canonical dark ambient form based on drone, "Abduction" is more focused on small sounds, background noises and field recordings mimicking realistic environments. So it's something really close to lowercase music for a large part of the time.
The metallic noises, probably from a field recording, open "Abduction" and are the foundation of a track where the electronic element is used to underline the atmosphere of the track as, instead of drones, small sounds are used so "Arctic Pollen" is even close to certain lowercase music as certain part of the track are based on quiet drones based on sinewaves and background noises moving in the audial space. "Intermission 1 - Crystalline Tunnels" is a mimic representation of his title using sounds to evoke someone walking through a tunnel as "Vapor Swamps" sounds as everything was suspended in the air while "Lactose Chamber" uses metallic sounds to return to the ground. "Intermission 2 - Curtain of Patterns" is a noisy interlude to "Veils of Static" where the use of noise is effective for the change of musical direction of this release and "Electrode Salts" closes this release alternating quiet moments and aggressive ones.
The great quality of this release is the contrast between a quieter first part and a noisier second one so, when the listener could start of being bored by the quiet sound spectrum generated by the attention to the sound nuance, there's a change towards thicker masses of sound. Practically, a real surprise.

Michael Pisaro / Håkon Stene & Kristine Tjøgersen: Asleep, Street, Pipes, Tones

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 28 2017
Artist: Michael Pisaro / Håkon Stene & Kristine Tjøgersen
Title: Asleep, Street, Pipes, Tones
Format: CD + Download
Label: Hubro Music
Håkon Stene and Ensemble neoN’s Kristine Tjøgersen perform and interpret Pisaro’s minimal-leaning compositions, as nineteen very short dream-like pieces assembled into four groups as per the work’s title. At times this is little more than ambient found sound, distant windy city atmospheres and light industrial tones, processed slightly so the volume shifts unnaturally. At other times, such as in piece IV, this is pure avant garde classical performance with bass clarinets (piece IV and several others) or dark synthetic organs (piece XIII).

The press release encourages the listener to admire the piece’s waveforms, which are deliberately low at times with sporadic and abrupt peaks- “a gift from the composer to the listener”, it says, as part of one of the most pretentious PR descriptions I have ever read. The prosaic result of this is steady drones, some familiar, some unnaturally filtered and unrecognisable, some deep, some tinnitus-high, with some sharp jolts of spontaneous noise that prevents this work from going onto anyone’s sleep playlist. There’s an underlying antagonism which after a while, begins to grate.

Personally I’m very fond of both clarinet tones and ambience, so perhaps my hopes were too high, but this feels like a missed opportunity to create something beautifully simple. It’s certainly lush in sections, with the closing part XIX leaving fond memories. However the sometimes abrupt stop-start attitude plays against the strength of the performance, failing to justify the ostentatiousness of the concept’s text, and the result is something that is not sadly as magnificent as it might have been.

Adam Probert: The Battle for Tomorrow

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 26 2017
Artist: Adam Probert
Title: The Battle for Tomorrow
Format: CD + Download
Label: Sonic Entrails (@)
Rated: *****
According the accompanying one-sheet - "Adam Probert, punk poet, polemic wordsmith, dignity campaigner and experimental sound artist releases his debut album 'THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW' on Sonic Entrails Records. The album is a collaboration between Adam and Flesh Eating Foundation guru John E Smoke who produces and provides the sonic tapestries for Adam's prose. There is nothing else out there that sounds like this..." Well, that's for sure. Adam rants through eleven tracks with titles such as "The Light It Burns My Eyes," "I Am War," Take Your Fucking Medicine," Osama Obama," "Population Control," and others. Topics include war, the medical industry, social injustice, religious extremism, blind obedience, famine, surveillance and more. All the hot topics of the times. Smoke introduces electronic noises, dialogue samples and sound effects as a backdrop. There is a lot of anger expressed throughout, as perhaps there well should be, considering the termperament of today. This is a rough listen though, and I think you'd have to be rather psychotic to make it through the whole thing. I got as far as track 6, "What You Have to Hide," before I couldn't take it anymore. This is a British project and I think those punkers are a lot more open to this type of DIY weirdness than here in the States. Although I don't necessarily disagree with what Mr. Probert is espousing, I don't want to be listening to nearly an hour of it. It's one of those things that hearing it once is enough. One of the dialogue samples is about two minutes worth of a lecture about why chemotherapy doesn't work, and is just a money-maker for the medical industry. Really don't need that here as I think it takes away from what the poet is trying to express in his own words. After awhile those, even those words start to seem like noise in their didactic fervor. Smoke's experimental noise began to seem more interesting. Although there are some out there who are going to think this is the shit, I can't really recommend it. It's like an acquaintance who comes to visit and is amusing at first, but as time wears on, he gets so annoying you'd just wish he'd fucking leave.

Floating Di Morel / ULF/FDM: ULF / FDM

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 26 2017
Artist: Floating Di Morel / ULF/FDM
Title: ULF / FDM
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Play Loud! Productions
This is a mini-album of two halves reflecting a transitional phase for Sabine Blödorn and Kai Drewitz, with the first three tracks their last working with Thorsten Neu, and the latter three tracks work with Ulf Goretski. The change in sonic identity is noticeable, but ultimately it all still sounds music at which you could throw labels such as dreamwave, lo-fi, shoegaze or dark wave and some of those would stick. Strumming drone guitars, slow sparse drum patterns and meandering spontaneous vocals swim together into something very insular and quite muddy.

The first three tracks comprise two short, almost poppy three-minute numbers in “Dragil” and “Pantomime Dog”, and the longer, slightly quirky steps of “White Nights o.t.m.” which was originally recorded for a documentary about Donna Summer, but certainly doesn’t sound like any Donna Summer record I’ve ever heard.

The last three tracks are more indulgent and more spacious (all 6 minutes or more). The feminine vocals are more accessible (relatively speaking), the mood a little dreamier, a little brighter. A frustrated-sounding “Instability” is followed by the steady pulse of “Lost”, which in turn gives way to broader, slightly more sci-fi tones in “Frost”.

It’s an interesting way to mark the changing of a band line-up, and it ends up being a surprisingly coherent listen, but falls a little short on energy and invention that might have got you excited for the new or nostaglic for the old.

Torba: Laavg Drjòt

 Posted by Marc Benner (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 25 2017
Artist: Torba (@)
Title: Laavg Drjòt
Format: Tape
Label: Monorail Trespassing (@)
Rated: *****
When Monorail Trespassing releases a new album from an artist I have never heard I usually end up frantically searching the web for more information about them. Jon Borges is probably one of the top 3 label curators in my personal opinion.

A new name (for me) that appeared on his release schedule was Torba. I was very interested in the project when I saw the Musique Concrète label attached to the genre and I also discovered they have been around since at least 2009, shame on me for not finding him sooner.

This tape titled Laavg Drjòt contains samples of several experimental artists from over the last century, these artists include Philip Corner, Curtis Roads, Mercury Hall and Uroruro.

The first track Laavg starts out with some quiet field recordings which are extremely relaxing sounds, I could personally be convinced that the sounds are of a boat resting on a lake at night and also of crickets in the surrounding area. After a few minutes of that unsettling but peaceful sound we are driven into a solid blast of noise.

The second track sounds almost like a continuation of the first but it has more quiet distant spoken parts and more expertly crafted noise.

Torba is a force to be reconned with and I'm sure he will not disappoint in future releases.

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