Music Reviews

SECOND VIOLIN: Hospital Fugue of Mad Nurse + Victoria

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 22 2002
Title: Hospital Fugue of Mad Nurse + Victoria
Format: CD
Label: Zeromoon
Two cd-rs, both dated 2001, from this experimental noise trio also responsible for many other projects (like V.) and collaborations spawning from the active Zeromoon headquarters. Second Violin is Adam Bohman (voice), Zan Hoffman (tapes, sampler) and Jeff Surak (prepared violin, the neck), aided on "Victoria" by Rinus Van Alebeek (probably responsible for the spoken parts in German). Both works share certain basic characteristics, though "Hospital Fugue..." is in my opinion more coherent and better assembled. SV have a quite original sound which is a blend of chaotic industrial noise, minimalism, ambient, impro and eclectic experimentation, sided by spoken/recited tracks. Manipulated string sounds and electronic loops often manage to create minimal, but well crafted pieces like the two "Dinner music on an empty stomach" ("First course" and "Second helping") on "Hospital Fugue..." - there's an hallucinated feel of gratuitous dada craziness throughout, which could remind (as a spirit, not as a precise sound) of some Nurse With Wound record. Sometimes the improvised parts become a bit tedious, though, as in "Victoria"'s last track, really really long and exceedingly solipsistic.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 21 2002
Artist: COMFORT (@)
Title: S/T
Format: CD
Label: Self-released
An extremely mature and challenging cd-r from this Italian post-jazz-rock quartet (guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards). Comfort's instrumental tracks seem to strive between a solid, almost mathematic structure and liquid free-form detours, and the whole work benefits from this demanding and slightly cerebral quest for variation. Possible spiritual references (but bear in mind that Comfort actually sound like none of them) could be DK3, Don Caballero, Lounge Lizards, early Tortoise or Miles Davis in his electric period, and lots of soundtracks. "Cadillac" would be a perfect soundtrack for a noir movie, with its cinematic incipit, but also has impalpable atmospheric breaks, while "Lo spazio vellica" collapses its quasi-caraibic and reggae rhythms to an aggressive rock crescendo, then again to post-rock guitar dilutions. "Privilegio" is a melancholic bridge between silences and organ laments, re-building themselves in a jazzy melody; "Miriam Raving" starts with gentle impro guitar pickings but evolves into a square rhythm. "Lidia" is gloomy and obsessive, crossed by electronic shivers and lost in a paranoid solipsism. But these are mostly partial and impressionistic descriptions, since every track is more of a microcosm with often sudden - though well balanced - changes of tempos, styles and moods; it would take pages to describe the entire work with accuracy. Really one of the best Italian projects in this field, and I do hope that some label officially releases these tracks, because they're excellent.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 04 2002
Title: Act On Impulse
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
ACT ON IMPULSE is the first common release by Martin Birke (Casualty Park), Daniel Panasenko (Sandbox Trio) and Roman Leykam. Soon after putting this CD into my CD player a couple of names and album titles came into my mind: Rain Tree Crow and their album and David Sylvian / Fripp album titled "The First Day". I know that thinking about these two albums the first thing you could remind is the deep voice of David Sylvian and in this is a different case because all the tracks are instrumentals (only "Uninvited Guest" has got some vocal parts) but what made me think about those musicians is the similar approach to sound and the particular way of playing instruments. ACT ON IMPULSE is a great CD full of pathos and great atmospheres. The thirteen tracks have been composed between 1999 and 2002 without pre-rehearsals and the tracks have been recorded by improvising (I think that this is the main explanation of why the musicians chose this album's title). Influences of Sandbox Trio merge with the unusual self-willed e-guitars by Roman Leykam, partly rhythmic, partly calm, hypnotic as well as bizarre ambient landscapes and the effect is something you won’t expect because there are no weak moments or meaningless arty experimentalism. If you love these sounds give a try to this album, you won’t be disappointed.

VV.AA.: Electroacoustic Music vol. VII

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 03 2002
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electroacoustic Music vol. VII
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Electroshock (@)
Distributor: Gamma-Shop, (NL), Cue (D), (US), (US), Marquee (JP)
The seventh volume of the "ElectroAcoustic Music" sampler collection on Russian label ElectroShock records is a showcase of ambient/experimental artists from all over the world. Most of the compositions are from the past two years, but one of the two longer suites is actually dated 1969/1970 and is by Jorge Antunes, from Brazil. With its nearly 17 minutes, his four-part opera takes up more than one fifth of the entire duration of the second disc, and in the same fashion a nearly 13 minutes long three-part experimental ambient-noise symphony by French Claire Laronde opens the first disk.
Of course, in accordance with the title, next to the mostly electronic pieces of the majority of the artists there are also very interesting compositions that focus on the use, abuse and manipulation of acoustic instruments, like for example the Dutch Roderik De Man's clarinet; or the Mexican Rodrigo Sigal's beautiful long piece for multiple cellos and noises; or the American Robin Julian Heifetz blasting and chaotic track including several brasses with orchestral arrangements but industrial-noise interferences.
Other artists include the well known Vidna Obmana (Belgium), Geert Verbeke (Belgium), Lukazs Szalankiewicz (Poland), Michal Bukowski (Poland), Jose Mataloni (Argentina), OOPHOI (Italy), Arie Shapira (Israel), Mirjam Tally (Estonia) and Eternal Wanderers (Russia).
An applause is definitely deserved for giving space to those artists from South American or Eastern European countries that are rarely to be seen on compilations like this, proving that there too is experimental ferment, even if small, in remote geographical places. This effort should definitely represent a reason for pride, along with the great musical value that this double CD has and will have for documenting the history of today's electro-acoustical experimental music.
PS: By the way, since I haven't done this before when reviewing other albums from this label, it's about time for me to do it now: I am talking about presenting sincere compliments for the beautiful art work and design of all Electroshock releases, which always combine style and beauty, great photography and tasty xdigital art. Konstantin Galat ( is the man behind the elegant and polished visual art that makes every Electroshock record peculiar and pleasant to look at as well.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 23 2002
Title: Terre
Format: CD EP
Label: Prospettiva Nevskij/Eelsforfun
When I reviewed Sigurtà's latest solo work, I felt it was like a soundtrack for imaginary movies. There was a peculiar "visual" quality in the soundmaker's concrete mixes. Now it's a pleasure to review Luca's collaboration with director Manuele Cecconello ( in a very well done cd-rom (limited to 100 hand-numbered copies) featuring a video (visible through Windows Media Player or a DVD viewer) and two .wav tracks. "Terre" ("Earths" - 4'30" long, more or less) is made of two main parts; images were filmed on super8, then digitally manipulated and mixed. The first section features natural shots (fallen leaves, the muddy bottom of a river, running water, possibly fire) often filtered and made unrecognizable, pure games of light and colour or ghostly images. The soundtrack is so peculiar of Sigurtà's abilities: it's mostly cracking noises with distant whistles, and it could be anything from concrete field recordings (fire, again?) to a manipulated ethnic song - the effect, associated with the beauty of the images, could only be labelled as "ritual" for the sacred feelings it conveys. The second part presents fast-revolving shots of a naked human body - again, it's almost always a game of lights, shadows and colours (mostly violet and black) since it's often hard to recognize what we're seeing at a first glance. Sounds here are even more abstract and alien, like minimal electronic pulses. The only negative thing is that the video is so short, because it's a very rewarding experience. Cecconello writes: "TERRE is the latest stage of an esthetic route through which I try to transfer the glimmering of the unconscious and the colour of desires on film, tending to remove as many "narrative" and conventional mediations as possible from the final form". Sigurta's .wav tracks are a remix of the soundtrack (sounds have been filtered and the result is a bit louder and more full-sounding) and a piece called "Fireworks" - more minimal indecipherable sounds, first like a looped feedback (or is it a keyboard? Or radio frequencies?), then rumbling echoed noises. Well, this is one of my longest reviews and I'm talking of, like, 10 minutes of material, so let's say this is a brilliant, inspired synthesis of different - but complementary - languages and tecniques... Highly recommended!

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