Music Reviews

Gerstein: 32 Years Of Rain

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 09 2017
Artist: Gerstein (@)
Title: 32 Years Of Rain
Format: CD
Label: Der Klang (@)
Rated: *****
Now almost canonized in the history of italian industrial music, the project of Maurizio Pustianaz celebrates 32 years of music with a collection of tracks presented in almost chronological order and selected by the personal choice of the composer. The result is a journey that could be roughly divided in two phases: the song phase and the experimental one.
From the cartoonish atmosphere of "Poison" the first part of this release sounds centered around piano with the exception of more experimental "Phlegmaticus 3" with his use of echo and delay. With a track as "Hang The D-Evil" as final landing of a journey starting from the quiet and almost romantic piano of "Track 7" to the horror inspired "Putrefacto", Gerstein write a sort of industrial pop song closer to his musical legacy than expected and expressed with a certain irony. With "Take The Hold (1993)" starts the second part of this release centered on his new wave influences so "In The Shadow Of The Sun" sounds like a tribute even in his title and track like "Puke" and "Black Flag" reveals even some metal influence in the trend of those years. The most recent tracks, especially "Il Male" reveals a synthesis between the two forces: the pop song and the industrial piece.
Other tracks like "Cuts" or "The puke they are" were probably chosen as freak experiments as the first sounds as polished ambient pop tune while the second is a personal version of indie rock.
Quite a enjoyable collection of tracks that could be well received by newcomers if they have the patience to arrive at the end of this release and be carried towards a piece of our industrial history. It's really worth a listen.

176 [Chris Abrahams, Anthony Pateras]: Music In Eight Octaves

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 06 2017
Artist: 176 [Chris Abrahams, Anthony Pateras]
Title: Music In Eight Octaves
Format: CD + Download
Label: Immediata
Recorded back in 2005, “Music In Eight Octaves” is a single 50-minute relentless dual piano (or duel piano) hammering in which Chris Abrahams, pianist from The Necks, and the prolific Anthony Pateras have multi-tracked layers of rapid-fire piano improvisation, each layer focussed on a single octave. It’s an extremely maximalist approach, there’s no “less is more” here. Throughout the whole piece, individual octaves and pitch ranges ebb and flow but the manic pace never dips, and the overall result never drops to an energy level that could be described as anything less than frantic.

Blunt and challenging, and stark in its avantgardism, it’s a work that seems intended to explore the extreme of what soundscape it’s possible to create solely using fast-played unprocessed piano. As such it’s more intriguing for its attitude than for its content.

Anthony Pateras, Erkki Veltheim: The Slow Creep Of Convenience

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 03 2017
Artist: Anthony Pateras, Erkki Veltheim
Title: The Slow Creep Of Convenience
Format: CD + Download
Label: Immediata
A single, 50-minute drone duet between a pipe organ and an electric violin, “The Slow Creep Of Convenience” is a glacially slowly evolving series of tones that has hints of brass and of industry. Flexing in and out of dischord, it’s an unusual and generally uncomfortable environment, but if you allow it to wash over you for long enough, it becomes casually familiar.

It changes the bassline of your normal listening so that even some quite strained and complex tones become expected, but just before the 30-minute mark, there’s an abrupt shift in attitude towards a deeper and more tense ambience, after which the process has to start all over again. When the organ drops out completely a few minutes later is when you realise just how immersive this tone has been. A soft final few minutes transition you gently back into reality.

The pipe organ gives proceedings a slightly traditional feel, with a handful of discernible chord changes that skip you slightly out of your meditative state. The religious history imbued in those tones is hard to shake off even when presented in such an abstract form, so like it or not, this is a soundscape that will evoke memories of churches and solemnity.

A bold and very simple release which takes an idea towards its logical extreme, with a result that’s powerful and only initially difficult.

White: s/t

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 02 2017
Artist: White
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: ADAADAT (@)
Rated: *****
More vinyl, courtesy of the experimental UK label ADAADAT. WHITE is a neo-industrial project from Beijing, comprising Hang on the Box drummer Shenggy Shen and Carsick Cars guitarist and vocalist Zhang Shouwang. They recorded their debut self-titled album in Berlin in 2007 under the tutelage of Blixa Bargeld from Einstürzende Neubauten. Then went on to support Neubauten on their 2008 'Alles Wieder Offen' Tour, recordings of their performances were subsequently included in the AWO Tour Box. WHITE have also collaborated with the likes of FM3, Elliott Sharp, Alvin Curran and Manuel Göttsching. This re-release on Adaadat coincides with the 10 year anniversary of the recording. The album was originally released digitally in 2009 on OpenNote and on CD by Maybe Mars in China and Tenzenmen in Australia. This is the first time it has been made available on Vinyl.

As you might expect, this is quite experimental stuff, but playfully so. Shenggy Shen (Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Korg MS-20, Tape, Sampler) and Zhang Shouwang (Theremin, Guitar, Organ, Vocals, Sampler and Effects) combine forces to present a powerful and diverse album that sounds like many things, and yet nothing you've ever heard before. Elements of noise, punk, industrial, Chinese classical, modern classical, gamelan, electro-experimental, and more are all combined, deconstructed, reconstructed, reconstituted and transmuted to form something...well, very interesting, and sometimes just plain bizarre, as on the 19 second track "Beijing Beer" which could serve as a commercial for Beijing beer. There are nods to Suicide (Alan Vega, Marty Rev), Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Glenn Branca and likely dozens of other avant-garde, edge of pop artists. If WHITE was around in New York's No-Wave heyday, they would have fit right in, and perhaps even dominated the scene. Sometimes WHITE is just inscrutably looney, as on the 25-second "English School" with rapidly spoken Chinese over a silly organ melody, ending with "its the wind thing" spoken in English. ??? In the next minute it's industrial noise mayhem and esoteric experimental in "Roswitha Strunk". Although repetition is a major motif in many of the compositions on this album it becomes all the more fascinating as WHITE builds upon it. There's also no question that Blixa Bargeld had an important role in the production and direction this album takes. Worth the price for the wonderful final track "Bai" alone, with its incredible vocal acrobatics (more like spinning plates), this limited to 500 vinyl copies album is a must for anyone into modern avant-garde. Being Beijingers only enhances their mystique.

Dronny Darko: Abduction

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 02 2017
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Artist: Dronny Darko (@)
Title: Abduction
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release by Dronny Darko marks a change of direction as, while his previous release were rooted in a canonical dark ambient form based on drone, "Abduction" is more focused on small sounds, background noises and field recordings mimicking realistic environments. So it's something really close to lowercase music for a large part of the time.
The metallic noises, probably from a field recording, open "Abduction" and are the foundation of a track where the electronic element is used to underline the atmosphere of the track as, instead of drones, small sounds are used so "Arctic Pollen" is even close to certain lowercase music as certain part of the track are based on quiet drones based on sinewaves and background noises moving in the audial space. "Intermission 1 - Crystalline Tunnels" is a mimic representation of his title using sounds to evoke someone walking through a tunnel as "Vapor Swamps" sounds as everything was suspended in the air while "Lactose Chamber" uses metallic sounds to return to the ground. "Intermission 2 - Curtain of Patterns" is a noisy interlude to "Veils of Static" where the use of noise is effective for the change of musical direction of this release and "Electrode Salts" closes this release alternating quiet moments and aggressive ones.
The great quality of this release is the contrast between a quieter first part and a noisier second one so, when the listener could start of being bored by the quiet sound spectrum generated by the attention to the sound nuance, there's a change towards thicker masses of sound. Practically, a real surprise.

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