Music Reviews

386DX: The Best of...

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (110)
May 17 2002
Artist: 386DX (@)
Title: The Best of...
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Assembled with a 40Mhz 386DX CPU with 8Mb of Ram and 40Mb of HD on a Win 3.1 system, the Creative TextAssist text-to-speech software and Voyetra MIDI FM synthesis, this "Best Of..." is really challenging times and technology with an ironic approach!!! They self-appoint themselves a cyberpunk rock band because they play these world famous tunes with this super-crappy totally-synth & MIDI-only sounds, awful sounding dirt-cheap drum sounds and vocals that have never been "sung" by anybody but just "typed"! Can you believe it? The computer would then use the text-to-speech function to "read" it and the MIDI functions to make the read text actually go with the melody. Basically what you hear is a computer singing (that's a new one!!! ;-) MIDI songs programmed by Alexei Shulgin between 1998 and 1999. If these hits don't sound any better than the cheap pre-GM MIDI disks you can buy or download from the net, the fact that a computer is actually singing them makes is so special that the guy even played them at over 40 concerts in Europe and US and as a performing street artist! If you ever wondered whether computer will take over when AI won't be just a movie anymore, then this is the proof that it will happen, cause a 386DX machine is already fucking singing tunes such as "California Dreaming", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Should I Stay or Should I Go", "House of the Rising Sun", "Rock'n'Roll", "Light My Fire", "Anarchy in the UK", "Don't Cry", "My Generation", "Purple Haze", "Imagine", "Smells like teen Spirit", "I shot the Sherrif", "Satisfaction", "Layla"!!!! This "thing" is as much awful crap as it is awesome genius! This is the beginning of the end, but yet it is sooo damn amusing!!! ;-))
PS If you have a Creative sound card you can boot your computer with this CD and use the included software to actually reconstruct this record and play more songs not included in this CD! Have fun!

Michael Banabila & Hannes Vennik & Bobby: Cards on the Table

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (109)
May 17 2002
Artist: Michael Banabila & Hannes Vennik & Bobby
Title: Cards on the Table
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Even though this CD doesn't seem to be part of the "Material Series", it is presented in the same way: the details and the graphic of a hand indicating the shuffle mode are etched on the jewel case. Between the transparent case and the inlay card there is a playing card with a picture of Amsterdam and a Mexican table cloth. Also the CD is a so-called CD AB (3" playing part on 5" transparent disc). When I mentioned the shuffle mode, I wasn't only talking about a picture, in fact this CD is called a shuffle mode CD because there are 18 minutes worth of cut-n-pase music split among 28 tracks which have to be played in shuffle mode, so that every time you listen to the CD you hear a different combination of sounds, atmospheres and beats, like a collage that changes quickly and constantly, which is the whole idea behind the project. in fact the pieces were created using no instruments and assembled on hard drives using a deck of playing cards that was to decide the various possible combinations. The sound material was brought on tape by the three people behind this, sound manipulator Michael Banabila (read reviews of his records VoizNoiz I & II on Tone Casualities elsewhere on these pages), Bobby (architect, drummer, DJ, editor) and Hannes Vennik (poet and musician).

Barry Adamson + Panasonic (Pan sonic): S/T (Motorlab #3)

 Posted by Alex "The Butterman"   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (103)
May 13 2002
Artist: Barry Adamson + Panasonic (Pan sonic)
Title: S/T (Motorlab #3)
Format: CD
Label: Kitchen Motors (@)
Distributor: Kitchen Motors
A match made in a frozen hell, Barry Adamson and the Finnish duo Panasonic (now known as Pan sonic) release another difficult release on the Kitchen Motors label, notorious for its highly experimental and non-user-friendly releases.

This odd release is built around the concept of having the Kitchen Motors crew perform a brain scan on the Icelandic electronic pioneer composer Magnùs Blöndal Jòhannsson. While drifting betwwen slumber and in-between conciousness, Kitchen Motors had Jòhannsson listen to the so-called "music" on this CD. Whether the brain scan was later added as an audio track to any piece on this CD is unknown, but an interesting idea to juggle.

The first piece is the lengthy "The Hymn Of The 7th Illusion", written and performed by Adamson and Panasonic. The choir arrangements and manipulation by Adamson is oddly disconcerning at first, especially when cut back and forth with Panasonic minimal low-end electronics. As the piece slowly proggresses (impatient people be warned!), the mix become more homogenious; the choir is manipulated to effortlessly mix into the electronic components. Very dark, somewhat scary, and strangely subversive.

The second track is a 20 second intermission simply called "". It is mainly a 15 second sniplet of analogue silence (you can hear the hum of recorded silent machine), with a deep breath at the very last few moments.

The third piece is an incredibly long, crazy, schidzophrenic and deffinatly not radio-friendly Halfler Trio remix entitled "The Illusion Of The 7th Hymn". Some will argue that the piece is not a remix per se but a re-interpretation of the first track, completelly re-recorded by The Halfler Trio. Others will sustain that the piece is but a remix, and therefore shouldn't be considered a stand-alone track per se. Others who are less concerned with such matters will be immersed in a world beyond normal electronic listening. The choir elements from the first track are greatly manipulated and re-worked, transforming the human/organic sounding element into a machine trying to imitate a human element. More whacky and unclassifyable electronic elements are thrown in, with ambient-like segways that seperate more sequence/rhythmic-oriented portions of this piece. At a later point (15 minutes or so into the song itself), fans of Panasonic will get a short but memorable glimpse of more typical Panasonic-esque movements, with added dystopian elements which will make the volume control very handy.

Although deffinatly not everyone's cup of tea, this CD is a must for fans of very difficult and nerve-wrenching electronic manipulations, without ever falling into the realm of pure harsh noise. The only drawback is the CD's short running time: 35 minutes.

Packaged in a beautiful "digipak" with photographic inserts contained within.

VROMB: …pisodes

 Posted by Alex "The Butterman"   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (102)
May 13 2002
Artist: VROMB
Title: …pisodes
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
The long overdue and highly anticipated new full-length album by Montréal's very Vromb is finally available. Once again released by Ant-Zen Records, "Épisodes" takes the good Doctor Heurel "Glugloïde" Gaudot's scientific experiments one step further.

"Épisodes"'s theme is somewhat blurred to those not yet familiar with Vromb's natural proggression and evolution. While Hugo Girard provides all sonic and audio excursions, his mechanical and electronic renderings are also based on and using recorded voice tapes by Dr. Gaudot. Seperated into four main episodes (each including four pieces), and sandwitched between a prologue ("Le Thème") and an epilogue ("Générique"), the format prooves to be quite the sonic journey.

Once the album begins with "Le Thème", we are off into an introspective audio excursion which comes to and fro the background of audible/unaudible sound. The first episode is called "Vision Stoboscopique" and quickly puts the listener into the right frame of mind. An introductory segment by Dr. Gaudot is followed by static intermissions and rhythm-heavy experimentalism. Episode two is "Le Temps À Vitèsse Variable" and features a difficult yet precisely executed mixture between a slow-moving synthscape and frantic speeded sequencing compositions. Only Vromb can try and succeed at this! Next comes "L'objet Synchronisateur", the third episode. By this time, both the listener and Dr. Gausot are getting into deep sounds, each wave segways into another electronic movement. The fourth and final episode, "Mouvement Multiplicatif" prooves to be the most experimental of them all, with sounds multiplying themsleves (as the title of the episode suggests) to a mass of deep, dense electronic drones and rhythms.

We close off the episodes with "Générique", which basically serves as the end titles sections, if this CD was in fact a motion picture.

While a few other Vromb fans have told me they were left unsatisfied with "Épisodes", I find the CD to be enjoyable for the most part. As always, Vromb's sound is constantly evolving, so perhaps the subtle changes from release to release isn't as tantalising to certain fans as it may be to Vromb himself. As for myself, I found "Épisodes" to be as good, if not superior to some of his previous work.

Released in three formats:
a) Generic jewel plastic case/regular packaging
b) Metal sliver box, which a bonus 5" vinyl record which includes two unreleased pieces ("Cercle" and "Cylindre"). This specially-sized vinyl record will not play on automatic turn tables.
c) Deluxe full-sized triple vinyl LP in heavy-duty carboard box packaging. The four main episode segments are featured on the two 12" records, while the intro ("Le Thème") and prologue ("Générique") are seperated onto a third, 7" record.

Again, the artwork and visual graphic design was perfectly executed by Bio-Z, mixing the tones of grey, silver, and black in perfect unison.


 Posted by Alex "The Butterman"   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (100)
May 13 2002
Artist: VROMB
Format: CD
Label: Pflichtkauf
Distributor: Pflichtkauf
Hugo Girard, the main human element behind the project Vromb, has had various delays and setbacks concerning the release of his latest full-length album. As his fans became more and more impatient, Hugo decided to release a 40 minute EP (of sorts) featuring 5 new pieces, exclusive to this release.

I was personally warned by Girard himself that the tracks contained in "Interlüder" featured some of his more commercially-viable/user-friendly material to date. Heeding the warning, I carefully immersed myself in another Vromb environment, quickly figuring out why Hugo labeled his own CD as "more commercial". It appears the ever-evolving Vromb has decided to try a crack at generic and club-oriented basic rhythm patterns. Has he succeeded? It all depends on the listener's point of view.

I can't speak for other Vromb fans, but the so-called "user-friendly" aspect of this release wasn't prominent through the dense and ever-shifting waves of electronic ambiences, sequences, and generally high-tech/low-brow to actually merit a specific labelling. Granted, folks who did not like Vromb's "shift" between his first and second albums will probably not be too impressed by "Interlüder", but if you enjoy the repetitive techno "thump" with your electro-insectoïdal drones, then you'll be in Vromb paradise with this release.

Seperated in two blocks, the five pieces of this CD are at times similar to each other (in terms of basic structuration) , yet retain enough unique originality to be easily identifyable between each other. A deffinite must for all Vromb fans, and highly recommended as a starting point if you are not yet familiar with the Vromb sound. My personnal highlight is the minimal "Carnaval", which reminds this reviewer of a distant and mechanical re-interpretation of the carnavals in Rio.

Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha