Music Reviews

Simon Balestrazzi: Asymmetric Warfare

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 27 2016
Artist: Simon Balestrazzi
Title: Asymmetric Warfare
Format: CD
Label: Azoth
Rated: *****
Some months ago, the inventive Italian producer Simon Balestrazzi (most of our readers should know he was the mind behind the electronic curtains of T.A.C. and more recently in the likewise exciting projects Candor Chasma and Dream Weapon Ritual) decided to pour his visionary and genuinely cinematic approach to electronic composition into a personal label, Azoth, and the first ring of this hopefully long chain of releases was this astonishing release that displays his strong focus on cultural, political and social themes. This output is a sonic rendering of the somehow thoughts and worries of the whole worldwide community, which are gradually turning into a sort of perpetual state of mind for many people and are deeply marking this somehow unencryptable phase of human history. The title is also the conceptual framework of Simon's release: "Asymmetric Warfare" - defined in the inlay as that "warfare in which opposing groups or nations have unequal military resources, and the weaker opponent uses unconventional weapons and tactics, as terrorism, to exploit the vulnerabilities of the enemy" - is an interesting interbreeding, where what gradually became a sort of existential dimension, fed by media and the obscure threatening shadow of Daesh/Isis, whose origin are so obscure that attentive people and analysts have more than one doubt regarding the typically rendered iconography of the people behind it, intersected the unconventional sonic weapons in Simon's lab. The intersection of a series of audio recordings related to Middle East conflicts he grabbed from the web and the sounds and sometimes disturbing noises he created an impressive set of effects, mics, synths and objects (including EHX ring modulator, crystal earpieces, a Doepfer analog synthesizer, piezo pickups, contact mics, tapes, a vintage magnetophone microphone, mallets, bows, small electric motors and so on) built a set of abstract and concrete at the same time narrations, where disturbed broadcasting, noisy rogue agents, cryptic noises and subtly disquieting sonic collages. All these significant elements that seem to have been squeezed by the above-sketched elements of our age seem to flow into a dark pool of drones and magmatic fluid that could be considered as the indelible ink by which an obscure essayist is writing contemporary humanity's history.

Uncertain: The Fox\'s Blood Moon (for Ian Johnstone)

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 24 2016
Artist: Uncertain
Title: The Fox\'s Blood Moon (for Ian Johnstone)
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Wraith Productions (@)
Rated: *****
It's almost impossible to write a review about this release without talking about the personal issues involved. This release by Uncertain is a way of dealing with the loss of Ian Johnstone, mostly known as the late partner of Jhonn Balance, and is composed using sounds of deer and fox's and old tape loops. The result is a sort of mise en scene of reminders and sentiments which left no place for the austere notes of a requiem.
The initial words opening the tracks describes how a loved one is remembered for the precious moments lived and introduce a first part of the track based on samples and loops whose emotional impact is overwhelming as there's a juxtaposition of sounds whose phasing generates a sense of melancholy as the voices seems distant and almost inaudible as incomplete reminders or something too precious to be shown. The second part of this release simply add other loops to the main soundscapes underlining the sense of loss as distant drum shots sounds as something is falling until all loops begin to be eliminated from the aural field to end the piece in a quietness where the sound of the fox's can be heard and the final drum beat closes this release.
An almost canonical musical form is the perfect canvas for a painting of emotions which is heartbreaking. To be heard at least once in a lifetime.

free_quenz: Garten

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 23 2016
Artist: free_quenz
Title: Garten
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Klanggold (@)
Rated: *****
If you just focus on the supposed result on body and mind of music, you could label this older entry in Andreas Ubersetz'z imprint Klanggold, the last one I listened of a package sent by Andreas himself, could be quickly labeled as relaxing. A careful listener will notice how many interesting details this collaborative project by label owner and Gregor Quade barely camouflaged behind their seemingly placid sonic streams: most of the tracks seems to have been roughly live-recorded by external mics instead of typical recorders, as if they virtually tried to render the experience of improvisational sessions genuinely without regarding of possible sonic deburring as well as sneezes, coughs, cracking objects, sonic overpressures, outdoor pouring rain and other (supposedly unexpected) interferences. They gave preference to the imperfection of immediacy and unpredictability to the icy perfection of artificially clean recording techniques, and such a choice turned the smooth piano tones and the peaceful frequencies by Gregor, that got gently modified by Andreas, who also cared field recordings, strangely enchanting. Join them in their sonic garden!

Godlesstate: Godlesstate

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 20 2016
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Artist: Godlesstate
Title: Godlesstate
Format: CD
Label: Hagshadow
Rated: *****
I think that if I name to you Patrick Leagas, there's no need to explain his history... you know... Death In June, Sixth Comm, Mother Destruction, etc. Well, as far as we know, Patrick decided to close the Sixth Comm chapter with the "One Mans Hel" album (here reviewed time ago, so make a search on the reviews section) and now he's focusing on the new project called Godlesstate. With this one, he just released a self named CD on Hagshadow containing eleven new tracks.. Influenced by his interest in archeology and social/spiritual history of mankind, Patrick created something deeply connected to nature. Frequently he takes his bike and travels through England just to stop into places that he feels connected to and, there, he passes some time to take inspiration. Because of this process, I see him like a shaman which is creating his own way to talk to gods and tracks like "Cedar Forest" or the following "Enkidu's Wildness" are the proof that he's good into that, because they have an hypnotic effect on me. Most of the track are based on many percussive sounds with layers of electronic effects, blow instruments and chants. "Ice Voyage", instead, is a track on its own, because it's based on orchestral sounds, natural sounds, spoken word and it's really taking you somewhere else. If I should picture it, it's like looking to the ocean from a cliff. Also "Doggerland", is another track where orchestrations are mixed with synth frequencies and it's really breathtaking with its ten minutes of length where a apparent calm is taking you to a journey through time. You know, after listening to "Godlesstate" for the third time, I'm finding myself writing sparse sentences because I'm really into the sounds and into the atmospheres created and this is what music should provoke: a total absorption.

Aria Rostami & Daniel Blomquist: Wandering Eye

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 17 2016
Artist: Aria Rostami & Daniel Blomquist (@)
Title: Wandering Eye
Format: CD
Label: Glacial Movements (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Glacial Movement is the result of the collaboration between Aria Rostami and Daniel Blomquist whose working process lasted over a year and a half. The various sound materials which were created using sources as samples, filed recordings, piano and synthesizer were sometimes played live and sometimes constructed sending files back and forth. The result is something between ambient and certain modern classical, as sometimes they try to develop proper melodies rather than rely on the impact of a predictable structure for crafted sounds, and takes song titles by a paper which highlights the best places to observe space with sharpness and clarity.
The first track, "Dome A 80.37° S 77.53° E 4083m", juxtaposes a gentle melodic synth line and crackles from, perhaps, field recordings so the result balances the quietness of the sound with the movement of the noises. The first part of "Dome C 75.06° S 123.23° E 3233m" relies on old recordings of piano to generate a sense of displacement on the first part while in the second part relies on rarefied drones. "Dome F 77.19° S 39.42° E 3810m" tries some distorted sounds, probably guitar sounds, prior to return to quiet and clear soundscapes. "Ridge B ~76° S ~94.75° E ~3750m" starts with subtle windy sounds upon sparse note and seems to develop in a noisy track until they decide to act with subtractions instead of additions. "Dome B 79.0° S 93.6° E 3809m" is a gentle ambient watercolor until a background noise emerges to end the track in a dissolving silence. The first part of "Ridge A 81.5° S 73.5° E 4053m" is based on detuned samples whose small noises generate a sense of distance interrupted by the emergence of field recordings.
Quite impressive in the aspect of sound craft, it's able to give the impression to recreate the place where it was composed. Pure cinema for the ears.

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