Music Reviews



HOLLYDRIFT: This way to escape

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 11 2003
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Artist: HOLLYDRIFT
Title: This way to escape
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Hollydrift is Mathias Anderson from Middleton, WI, and "This way to escape" comes after two self-released ep's and a full-length cd. This Public Eyesore release is an intriguing cut-up of played parts (string programmings, synths, keys, etc., all quite ambient-sounding anyway), samples, found sounds, voices collages... Eerie and at times upsetting, yet maintaining an inner coherence and showing good taste and able hands in the juxtapositions and final mixdown. The PE website talks of "modern concrete music" and mentions the Hafler Trio; I'd add, on my part, Nurse With Wound and especially Coil in their Black Light District incarnation. Certainly experimental but not overtly solipsistic, with a heavy quasi-darkwave track ("Amphenol") and healthy doses of industrial ambient bruitism ("Distant safety of winter"), as if the cover roses hid glass thorns. Let's say this stands to music the way Max Ernst's surrealistic forests stand to realistic landscape paintings.

RENSEK: ep

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 11 2003
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Artist: RENSEK (@)
Title: ep
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: AFE Records (@)
Rensek is a new manifestation of Eric Kesner, better known for his excellent guitar-based dark ambient under the name of True Colour of Blood (two cd-r's on Soulworm and AFE, and an upcoming cd co-released by AFE and Eibon). The two projects actually merge on the first track of this 3" ep, "Aorist (TCOB remix)", a brilliant fusion of obscure drones and digital glitches. Yep, this is Rensek's nature: skipping discs, digital errors etc. - the sort of things happening all too often when you use an electronic device or a digital support. "Acies" and "Verum" are little more than skip noises minimally organized in rhythmic patterns (unless they're not recorded as they are, à la Disc), while "Dialectic" is a longer, shifting track with more elaborate sounds and a kind of menacing feel within its abstract, inorganic coils. Very good in its brevity, could give brilliant results in more elaborate works.

Centrozoon: The Cult of: Bibbiboo

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 24 2003
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Artist: Centrozoon (@)
Title: The Cult of: Bibbiboo
Format: CD
Label: Burning Shed (@)
Distributor: CD Street
First heard about Germany's Centrozoon in conjunction with one of their member's side project called Show of Exaggeration (cmp review on Chain D.L.K.). Centrozoon is a trio including singer Tim Bowness, painter/designer/musician Bernhard Wöstheinrich (synthesist and percussionist) and Markus Reuter (touch style guitarist). I don't know what Tim Bowness role is since I haven't heard one single word really (I do know that this CD, which is a real CD, not a CDR, was released under his own CDR label Burning Shed in the UK) but the work of the other two consists of intricate sonic textures of noises, free no-wave guitar improv and layers of synth-pads chords. As you can imagine the result is extremely unconventional and especially far away from what you might expect from traditional guitar sounds records. Discipline, research, experimenting and processing affect Reuter's guitar playing so deeply and radically that it's more like another keyboard that interacts with Wöstheinrich's generated sounds and manipulated waveforms. Ambient soundscapes performed with the ease, passion and fragility of real time experimental noise tweakers and intertwining lines of harmony and freeform fusion performed with the elegance, purity and casualty of a long forgotten jazz art that transpires from underneath the lid of vaporous electronics and artificial density. Only occasionally they resort to broken and slightly dirty beats. If you absolutely must have comparisons then I would say a mix of Torn, Fripp, Frohmader, Stockhausen, Roedelius, Hedges, Sverisson and Obmana should give you a pretty good idea.
The production process of "The Cult of: Bubbiboo" followed a pioneering and quite interesting route, involving Canadian guitar player Derek DiFilippo and group of people whose interactions and reactions were recorded in a specially created webforum. This is their third album as Centrozoon (a new album called "The Scent of Crash and Burn" has just been released too) and comes in a nice digipack with drawings and notes by King Crimson biographer Sid Smith. The beautiful blue-ish cover art work is of course by Wöstheinrich (also reflecting his composing work).

KEY_ON: My body is a body

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 22 2003
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Artist: KEY_ON (@)
Title: My body is a body
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Anaemic Waves Factory (@)
Incredibly good stuff released by AWF in the Minium series, which means 3" format and less than 50 copies around, which (in this case) is a shame - I do hope it gets reprinted sooner or later. Key_On is a multimedia collective formed by Piero Fragola (music, sound editing, computer graphics), Alice Ferrante (voice, translation) and Luana Visciglia (lyrics, photographs, voice on last track). I only know Fragola is also active as a noisician with the power-electronics project POSK (read the review of their recent split with Murder Corporation). But this ep is really brilliant and diverse. Imagine a tapestry of digital bleeps and frequencies, something between glitch electronics and ambient, and spoken female vocals reciting some hallucinated lyrics about bodies - which is also the theme of the haunting pictures in the multimedia part, with Flash animations adding a proper visual dimention to words and sounds. Believe me, it's actually much more rewarding to experience the whole thing than to sit here trying to describe it. A demanding conceptual work extremely accomplished in the final result, which shows a lot of talent and ideas. Fascinating... I truly hope the collective will release something more anytime soon.

AIDAN BAKER: I fall into you

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 22 2003
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Artist: AIDAN BAKER
Title: I fall into you
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Also active as a writer and member of the experimental collective ARC, Aidan Baker (guitars, bass, tape loops, vocals, artwork) has written a fascinating work skillfully blending words with music, transforming discourse into music and exploring the suggestive telling quality of sounds. "I fall into you / and replicate" seems to be the conceptual pivot of a work permeated by love, desire and the pains and pleasures of transformation. Aided by Naomi Okabe (vocals) and Lisa Rossiter-Thorton (string loops), Baker has orchestrated a theory of hypnotizing loops, sampled percussive patterns, manipulated string sounds and spoken passages slowly evolving in a kind of half-voiced chanting, passing from more turbulent atmospheres to a maximum of peacefullness in the last track, adequately titled "Lethe", where everything caves in and returns to silence.


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