Music Reviews

Adam Probert: The Battle for Tomorrow

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 26 2017
Artist: Adam Probert
Title: The Battle for Tomorrow
Format: CD + Download
Label: Sonic Entrails (@)
Rated: *****
According the accompanying one-sheet - "Adam Probert, punk poet, polemic wordsmith, dignity campaigner and experimental sound artist releases his debut album 'THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW' on Sonic Entrails Records. The album is a collaboration between Adam and Flesh Eating Foundation guru John E Smoke who produces and provides the sonic tapestries for Adam's prose. There is nothing else out there that sounds like this..." Well, that's for sure. Adam rants through eleven tracks with titles such as "The Light It Burns My Eyes," "I Am War," Take Your Fucking Medicine," Osama Obama," "Population Control," and others. Topics include war, the medical industry, social injustice, religious extremism, blind obedience, famine, surveillance and more. All the hot topics of the times. Smoke introduces electronic noises, dialogue samples and sound effects as a backdrop. There is a lot of anger expressed throughout, as perhaps there well should be, considering the termperament of today. This is a rough listen though, and I think you'd have to be rather psychotic to make it through the whole thing. I got as far as track 6, "What You Have to Hide," before I couldn't take it anymore. This is a British project and I think those punkers are a lot more open to this type of DIY weirdness than here in the States. Although I don't necessarily disagree with what Mr. Probert is espousing, I don't want to be listening to nearly an hour of it. It's one of those things that hearing it once is enough. One of the dialogue samples is about two minutes worth of a lecture about why chemotherapy doesn't work, and is just a money-maker for the medical industry. Really don't need that here as I think it takes away from what the poet is trying to express in his own words. After awhile those, even those words start to seem like noise in their didactic fervor. Smoke's experimental noise began to seem more interesting. Although there are some out there who are going to think this is the shit, I can't really recommend it. It's like an acquaintance who comes to visit and is amusing at first, but as time wears on, he gets so annoying you'd just wish he'd fucking leave.

Floating Di Morel / ULF/FDM: ULF / FDM

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 26 2017
Artist: Floating Di Morel / ULF/FDM
Title: ULF / FDM
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Play Loud! Productions
This is a mini-album of two halves reflecting a transitional phase for Sabine Blödorn and Kai Drewitz, with the first three tracks their last working with Thorsten Neu, and the latter three tracks work with Ulf Goretski. The change in sonic identity is noticeable, but ultimately it all still sounds music at which you could throw labels such as dreamwave, lo-fi, shoegaze or dark wave and some of those would stick. Strumming drone guitars, slow sparse drum patterns and meandering spontaneous vocals swim together into something very insular and quite muddy.

The first three tracks comprise two short, almost poppy three-minute numbers in “Dragil” and “Pantomime Dog”, and the longer, slightly quirky steps of “White Nights o.t.m.” which was originally recorded for a documentary about Donna Summer, but certainly doesn’t sound like any Donna Summer record I’ve ever heard.

The last three tracks are more indulgent and more spacious (all 6 minutes or more). The feminine vocals are more accessible (relatively speaking), the mood a little dreamier, a little brighter. A frustrated-sounding “Instability” is followed by the steady pulse of “Lost”, which in turn gives way to broader, slightly more sci-fi tones in “Frost”.

It’s an interesting way to mark the changing of a band line-up, and it ends up being a surprisingly coherent listen, but falls a little short on energy and invention that might have got you excited for the new or nostaglic for the old.

Torba: Laavg Drjòt

 Posted by Marc Benner (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 25 2017
Artist: Torba (@)
Title: Laavg Drjòt
Format: Tape
Label: Monorail Trespassing (@)
Rated: *****
When Monorail Trespassing releases a new album from an artist I have never heard I usually end up frantically searching the web for more information about them. Jon Borges is probably one of the top 3 label curators in my personal opinion.

A new name (for me) that appeared on his release schedule was Torba. I was very interested in the project when I saw the Musique Concrète label attached to the genre and I also discovered they have been around since at least 2009, shame on me for not finding him sooner.

This tape titled Laavg Drjòt contains samples of several experimental artists from over the last century, these artists include Philip Corner, Curtis Roads, Mercury Hall and Uroruro.

The first track Laavg starts out with some quiet field recordings which are extremely relaxing sounds, I could personally be convinced that the sounds are of a boat resting on a lake at night and also of crickets in the surrounding area. After a few minutes of that unsettling but peaceful sound we are driven into a solid blast of noise.

The second track sounds almost like a continuation of the first but it has more quiet distant spoken parts and more expertly crafted noise.

Torba is a force to be reconned with and I'm sure he will not disappoint in future releases.

Strom Noir: Maľované Kvety & Xeroxové Motýle

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 25 2017
Artist: Strom Noir
Title: Maľované Kvety & Xeroxové Motýle
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
Rated: *****
"Maované Kvety & Xeroxové Motýle" collects two unpublished works originally recorded with the intention of releasing them on cassettes. The first one, "against a dwarf", was completed in 2016 and is essentially a drone release while the second one, "painted flowers and xeroxed butterflies", is more oriented towards quiet noise territories as it's from 2011.
The first part is opened by "Widely Opened Window", a track based based on slowly moving drones juxtaposed in such a way that resonates each other and create a suspended atmosphere. "Rozkyv Duše" is based on a similar structure but the drones are substituted by noisy tones. "Saturday Is Gone" develops highly reverberated lines of guitars, or so they sound. "Against a Dwarf" proceeds by accumulation of drones until there's quiet and wide mass of sound that seems firm but it's constantly moving. "Echo v Tebe" closes the first part of this release with a static drone.
The second part is opened by "Tlkot Dreva & Bzukot Kovu" where the guitar tries to emerge from a background of small noises until it covers the sound spectrum becoming a drone. "Painted Flowers & Xeroxed Butterflies" seems to continue in the same path but it remains in a dialectic with the background evolving without a resolution. "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" is an ambient track divided in a quiet first part and a noisier one. The almost unfiltered guitar of "Ttoollosk" is the base for the most evocative track as the overall sound search an impossible hook with a distant past using the reverb to obtain a sound vaguely similar of an old record's one. "Pure II" closes this release with a juxtaposition of guitar notes and a sort of noisy field recording.
This is a really good release for fans of the project as it doesn't sound at all as a collection of outtakes, as it's usual for this kind of operations, and the first part could be well received by fans of drone music and the second part by fans of experimental music. It's worth a listen.

VV.AA.: Harsh Noise London #1: Parliament

 Posted by Levi Jacob Bailey (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 24 2017
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Harsh Noise London #1: Parliament
Format: Tape
Label: Harsh Noise London
I wasn't expecting much from these brutally worked-over recycled cassettes, but the first couple tracks, a live set from Animal Machine, effectively grabbed my attention after a couple minutes. AM radio static-like landscapes, crunchy transitions, walls of deep-belly noise, and hooting high-frequency tendrils poking out of the mess once in a while.

PCRV, opens with a thick, all-lows pulse bomb that switches between sub-flub and feedback squalls, spacey delay creep outs, and surprising flashes of violence that get more intense as the track progresses. I found myself wishing for more clarity in the mix, since the performance was so exciting and seemed a bit coated in filter muck, but damage is damage, and I'm just happy there was so much to listen to.

Gen 26 moves slower than the first two artists, but dizzying stereo field alternations either from effected panning or clashing signals almost made me hold my head in pain/sickness. It's a deceptively simple presentation of a complex assault, but I'm not sure I'll be listening again anytime soon. Seasickness or vertigo-inducing malevolence. Making someone a bit ill with a harsh noise recording is usually regarded with respect, so kudos! Bleah. Like any slow-moving, monolithic piece like this, I eventually was lulled into a head-bobbing trance, but I'm still not interested in taking this ride again.

When the final track from Nryy started, I said, "Wow, this sounds Japanese!" Had to check to confirm, but, yeah, it's totally Japanese. That's not to say it sounded formulaic or stock, I just think Japanoise is always going to have a distinct flavor. The tip-off for me was the "WAAAH WOW WOW WAAAAH" Masonna-esque vocal delivery. A discernible pattern of push-pull tension/release develops as the piece progresses, sucking in with thick walls and lashing back out with squelching highs. Surprisingly, I still feel like the Animal Machine and PCRV tracks moved a bit more, but this is a solid track.

Overall a very tasty compilation. I'd love to hear the full-fidelity recordings of some of these fantastic performances outside of the recycled-cassette muddiness, but I suppose that would be defeating some of the purpose. I'm looking very forward to hearing the other Harsh Noise London offerings.

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