Music Reviews

ONNYK: Private Idioms

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 27 2002
Artist: ONNYK
Title: Private Idioms
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Two half-hour long improvised pieces by Japanese guitarist Kinno Yoshiaki a.k.a. Onnyk, dating October 1995 and February 1997 (played respectively in a gallery and in his living room), released last year by Bryan Day's Public Eyesore (with an excellent cover art, as always). An extreme cd, not in the sense of harsh or noisy (the electric sound is crystal-clear, no feedback is involved), but very rigorous and sometimes hermetic in its sound research. Clusters of jazz scales, possibly some blues, are fragmented and reassembled in fast, frenetic passages which leave you dizzy. "Abstract" would be the key word for these improvisations - there's an undisputable display of tecnique, fantasy and research, resulting in a severe and demanding release. Talking of subjective feedback, and falling into the "personal tastes" field, I'd say I've been interested but not particularly captivated by these "Private Idioms". Much like with most abstract art, I just feel the lack of something to lean on, be it a noise, a melody or an overall atmosphere. But probably, if you're even remotely interested in improvisation or avantgarde guitar playing, this will probably be your cup of tea.

VV.AA.: 15id

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 27 2002
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 15id
Format: CD
Label: Raving Records (@)
Distributor: Wide
"15id" stands for "15 Italian dishes", an appropriate name for this quality 15-track/78-minute sampler; its main characteristic is the fact that it mostly gathers groups from the Tuscanian cities of Livorno and Pisa (for non-Italian readers: the two cities are sorts of "historical enemies"), with a few "external guests" like Vonneumann, One Dimensional Man and Zero Tolerance for Silence. The standard is absolutely high throughout the whole cd, instrumental post-rock/indie noise being a sort of trait d'union of the various projects. Caboto open the cd with an incredible song which reminded me of Italian groups like Perigeo or Goblin in a modernized version... jazz-rock with a few prog hints and a peculiar cinematic dimension. Brilliant! A perfect incipit, but the following tracks are remarkable as well. To name but a few, Vonneumann, Zero Tolerance for Silence and Comfort (see review of their excellent cdr), in their own personal ways, mix free form experimentation and electric structures; Autobam and 8brr are fine examples of electronica (more structured the former, the latter reminding of Noto or Ikeda); Abarthjour Floreale have a softer melancholic approach in between My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth, while One Dimensional Man close the cd with a blast of Jesus Lizard/Shellac styled noise rock. But again, the strength of the cd is its sense of coherence and high quality within different approaches and influences. Absolutely recommended, and courageous in its choice of collaborative DIY release and distribution.

NATURALISTE: A Clamor Half Heard

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 21 2002
Title: A Clamor Half Heard
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Packed in a very nice cover, "A clamor half heard" collects five live tracks (recorded in September and October 2001) for 54' total. Naturaliste is a radical impro ensemble featuring Charles Lareau, Lonnie Methe, Christopher Fischer, Josephine and Simon Joyner, and Chris Deden. David Downing joins on track 3, and Mario Aldefer on track 4. The cd is, like, 90% feedback and 10% instruments, loops and sparse noises. Really lo-fi and muddy recording, so it really sounds like a huge wall of distortion with a few different elements struggling to be heard. A free-flowing sax can be traced in track 1, 3 and 5. Track 2 is just manipulated radio waves & signals at times combining in some kind of rhythmic pattern. Track 3 is more feedback, radio, winds and possibly some tape loops (but it could be the radio). Track 5 is the most interesting one, less aggressive and more dilated, with some delays and tranquil moments creating a slightly psychedelic mood. But the cd as a whole is a nasty piece of hisses and nerve breaking impro solipsisms. Kind of Destroy All Monsters or Dead C recording in a basement with a cheap walkman and distortion pedals borrowed from Cock ESP.

Sobria Ebrietas: De Bene Arte Moriendi

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 20 2002
Artist: Sobria Ebrietas (@)
Title: De Bene Arte Moriendi
Format: CD
Label: Third Brass Collective (@)
Members of the Third Brass Collective, Sobria Ebrietas walked the 3rd step in their discography with "De Bene Arte Moriendi", an album that processes a 360 degrees spectrum of sonics. I like that John Cult metaphors their music's apparent chaos with a David Lynch movie. He's also right when he says that it would perfectly fit as a soundtrack for one of his movies. We are dealing with a convulsionary blend of dark-ambient and industrial music and experimental-noise. Think Cold Meet Industry meets Ant Zen meets Staalplaat/Soleilmoon. These guys love to sample stuff (especially vocals and beats) and play it back slower. They are really into slowing down voices and entire metal band's riffs (an aspect of their production that, if I was them, I would further explore) complete with drums and guitars, which is returned as a slow evil sombre powerful industrial mayhem. They remind of quite a few different bands for quite a few different reasons (Nada, Neubauten, Flugschaedel, Neurosis and of course all the more or less anonymous experimental-noise artists out there, just to mention a few...). Unfortunately, if you take into account all nine songs of this record, the focus is more on their experimental/noise/dark/ambient soul rather than on the furious metal harshness that I like so much in this project. In particular the opening song really steps into industrial-metal territories a la Flugschaedel (if somebody remembers this great German band they'll know exactly what I am talking about) with Neubauten's Blixa's voice samples from one of their earlier records (I believe "Haus der Le" or "Tabula Rasa"). Funny to mention that the albums starts with the same sound it finishes with. Yeah, I think you should check this record out when you get a chance and listen to it at least once, 'cause it's very dynamic and full of surprises, but definitely an interesting one.

RONIN: Ronin e.p.

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 09 2002
Artist: RONIN
Title: Ronin e.p.
Format: CD EP
Label: Bar La Muerte (@)
Bruno Dorella has been one of the most active musicians and producers of the Italian independent circuit (but not only of that, actually) over the last few years. His label Bar La Muerte has proven to be corageously eclectic, with a series of high-standard records ranging from no-wave to electronica, from mutant pop to chamber music. Active as a musician with - among others - Ovo (no-wave/grind/improvisation), Lava (power electronics/industrial, now defunct) and Ventolin Orchestra (noise), and as a collaborator with Brusaschetto, Rollerball etc., he now presents his most personal creature Ronin. Aided by members of Alba and RUNI, and by Jacopo Andreini (Nando Meet Corrosion, E-Neem, Bz Bz Ueu, Enfance Rouge, Frigorifero Produzioni and a thousand more) on drums and sax, he has written a handful of songs which will probably surprise many listeners. Think of (lots of) Morricone, Badalamenti, Calexico, Godspeed You Black Emperor, some Aerial M… Melancholic melodies, epic and nocturnal atmospheres delivered with a gentle touch... A sort of mariachi band ("Ronin Theme") colliding with an Eastern European ensemble ("Canzone d'amore moldava"), but also an incredible solo track ("Nada") with a guitar playing which is both essential and moving. All this in just 3 tracks + outro. I'm stunned. This is close to perfection, and I wonder where the full-length cd (just recorded, with the addition of cello and upright bass) will carry them.

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