Music Reviews

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project: Revisionist History

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 03 2016
Artist: Fossil Aerosol Mining Project (@)
Title: Revisionist History
Format: CD
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Society (@)
Rated: *****
Even if it was often paused and reprised, the Fossil Aerosol Mining Project was born 30 years ago, when a group of sound artists started something in between post-mortem scavenging, feverish looting of literally found sounds, tapes, and reel in the rubble and ruins of abandoned drive-in theaters and burnt out warehouses and Frankenstein-like resuscitation of aural memories on relics like fragments of 35mm film and open-reel 1/4" tape. The main relevant change of its modus operandi was the switch from analog to digital processing over the years, but the general allure of this proper historical revision, to paraphrase the title of this new output, remains unchanged. Opened by a track titled "Respooling the Relic", where a voice spells sometimes incomprehensible words that seem to repeat "this love is everything" or "everything is love" under the effect of a deforming helium booth effect, typical of old tapes, and closed by an equally process-focused tune titled "Deleting the Relic", where a clearer voice begins the mysteriously wooshed ones - reprising the above-mentioned ones - by saying "...and the hope me to see", this release includes really stunning moments of "revisionism". Such a revision sounds like the removal of residual grains of sand (the soft melody that sounds taken from a 70ies TV series at the beginning of the track could be a part of this remaining debris) that is going to lead listener to a cleaner entrancing frequency in "Filtered by Limestone", an hypnotical gradual descent in a surreal hallucination in "Naphtol Impermanence" (an extended suite that resembles Barbieri's "Voyage 34" to me, for some mysterious reasons), the overlapping and fading of parings and scrap of photographic memories in "Vestigal Sideband", a process that could vaguely described as the robotization of melancholy in the astonishing "iBlue", abstract agglomeration of mnemonical dust in tracks like "Mistranslated Practices" and "Principles of Shallow Water" or keys to open channels of communication between listeners and some hidden ("Squatters at the Launch Facility") or invisible ("iSky and Little Eyes") parallel dimensions.

Phurpa: Rituals of Bön I

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 27 2016
Artist: Phurpa
Title: Rituals of Bön I
Format: 12"
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
After their remarkable "Chöd" reviewed a couple of months ago, this russian project returns with the first part of their exploration of the rituals of Bön (a pre-buddhist tradition of the far east) continuing their rescue of a spiritual sense of music. For this means, they use traditional instruments and a music form unbased on the western concept of development and writings. This is music organized in prevalently static moments where timbre is moving instead of pitch.
When the traditional chant, which opens "Yan-Drub", begins there's a sense of spiritual rest, as it sounds as a continuation of the musical path of the previous releases. The quiet percussions in the background act as an introduction of the second part of the track based on aerophones with a lower volume so they barely embrace silence instead of the listener, as the first part did with the remarkable volume of the voice which returns in the final part of the track. "Long Life" starts in the same manner of the first side but the second part is based on chordophones, or so they sound, and percussion so they create an evocative sense of spiritual movement. An extremely silent part based on aerophones and small metallic resonances of the percussions has a sense of focus that is broken by the entrance of the didgeridoo accompanying the listener towards the end of the track asking a full concentration to appreciate the small movements of his sound.
This is music so "pure" at a linguistic level that requires complete cohesion with his listeners and could be inaccessible to people with listening habits rooted in the western concept of "expectation" as Phutpa requires "contemplation". So this release is unrated, as it's too extreme for the typical listener, but all fans of minimal music, with a proper attitude, will play this music until the vinyl is consumed.

Azalia Snail: Dream Dazzler

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 25 2016
Artist: Azalia Snail
Title: Dream Dazzler
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Silber Records (@)
As an installment in Silber’s “5 in 5” series, “Dream Dazzler” breaks the mould somewhat, with an audacious stretch to a total of six minutes across the five tracks. Call the librarians! This abuse of the format must not go unreported…

Azalia Snail’s attitude to making this music is as flagrantly disrespectful as Azalia’s attitude to the 5-minute rule. Five almost randomly structured collections of synthesizer experiments and slaps, sample loops and effects that’s irreverently lo-fi and difficult. Opener “78” is the most atmospheric, with discordant bottle-note sustains and sinister, distant mechanical noises. “Exit” has a strong Art Of Noise flavour, except that this is what Art Of Noise would’ve sounded like if JJ Jeczalik had been extremely drunk and wanted to get himself fired. “Deep” is the sound of an artificially intelligent church organ that’s panicking because it’s being invaded by bees. “Return” is an adventure in stereo and the use of stop-start effects as instruments, jumping inexplicably into early Prodigy-esque sine wave rave horns before getting bored and stopping. “Dance Baby”, with a synth line that feels like it’s been borrowed from a lightweight bit of synthpop, surrounded by threatening noises and then roundly beaten up, ends up being one of the most playful pieces.

This is an out-there little release that revels in its own lack of convention, lo-fi credentials, even down to the frankly daft and quite under-selling artwork. It’s practically incoherent but nevertheless it’s still actually rather fun.

Kyron: Entheogenic Cowboy

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 24 2016
Artist: Kyron
Title: Entheogenic Cowboy
Format: CD
Label: Black Note Music (@)
Rated: *****
Kyron is the work of San Francisco based Salvadorian artist Juan Carlos Mendizabal, who is also one of the driving forces behind Radio Free Clear Light. I have enjoyed RFCL’s albums I have enjoyed, so I was interested to see what Kyron had to offer. The press pages calls this “The hero's quest drenched in sun, blood, and gold dust. Naked, orgiastic, nomadic.” The longer description explains, “Entheogenic Cowboy is an ambient electronic journey through the beautiful and perilous terrain of the mythological wild west. This is a landscape that never quite was and never quite will be, a dream of the west played out in film and literature and the collective subconscious of generations. Sometimes flowering and climbing sweetly, sometimes biting, electric guitar mingles with ethereal loops and a driving aesthetic to create a chimera of musical arrangements spanning the genres of ambient dub, glitch, IDM, and minimalism.” The music is certainly varied, but not always engaging. As the album opens, I was surprised to get a kind of mellow world music vibe, but this seems to work. Then in “Dragon’s Breath” we have what can best be described as elevator music or the music that they play when putting you on hold. It isn't as bad as it could be, but it is pretty bland. “Beauty With Sharp Teeth” would be right a home as the background music in a new-age hippy shop. Other times work better, like “From the Ashes,” with its space-age bachelor pad retro-future sound and “Entheogenic Cowboy,” which has an almost surf guitar telecaster sound to it. Perhaps Kyron suffers from standing in the shadow of RFCL, but I found this to be a mixed bag and kind of bland. This album weighs in at around 55 minutes.

Lärmheim: Cents Soleils

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 24 2016
Artist: Lärmheim (@)
Title: Cents Soleils
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
LÄrmheim is the work of Swiss artist Henri de Saussure. However, I could find little description of this album on his website. As for the artist, all we really know is that he is a classically trained musician (MA Contemporary Arts Practice, Hochschule der Künste Bern) and a drummer. As such, we are left to our own devices and the music must stand on its own. The album opens with “One Second Before The Most Blinding Light of All,” which is a serious glitch-o-rama. If you were to take any other song, then cut it up and assemble at random you would have something along these lines. “Deadeye” features long, quiet passages interspersed with crunchy noise and incredibly fast beats in the vein of Venetian Snares. This then shifts to a low-key synth composition with noise acting as the beat. “Trommelgraben” keeps the tension between quiet and noise with crackling electronic noise interspersed with sparse ambience. This gives way to a plodding, overdriven bass drum beat over staticy electronics. “Werkstatt Cysp” has more of an 8-bit sound and sounds like someone shooting a lot in an old video game. Pew! Pew! Pew! “Streichgraben” brings back the spastic beats before “Streichgraben” kicks in, sounding like a distorted recording of an engine repair shop before yielding to slow, heavy beats and sawtooth waves. “Alctrines” is grinding dissonance and silence, but “Video Game Soundtrack” almost resembles a traditional song, with some structure, synth, and percussion. “Werkstatt Fulx” likewise offers sawtooth wave a-plenty before “Rumori Danza” brings it all together: glitch + drone + synth + percussion. Oddly enough, after a long period of silence there is a short melancholy piano number hidden at the end. If you like it glitchy and noisy (but not noise), this is one to check out. This album weighs in at around 68 minutes.

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