Music Reviews



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Artist: Fe (@)
Title: Sucker Mule's Dreadful Murder
Format: 12"
Label: Suitcase AudioVisual (@)
Rated: *****
Fe-male Fou is Italian artist Filomena Rubino, formerly of Rome, Italy, now relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. She began this project in 2013, and the music is dissonant atonal avant garde guitar and voice using ambient drones, lo-fi melodies, and likely lots of electronic processing. Previously she's had a string of CDr releases and cassettes, but this limited (to 300) vinyl release might be construed as Fe-male Fou's first official release. Once you get past the abrasive "nails on a chalkboard" opener "Pagan Revelry," the songs on the A-side of this album are a strange mix of improvised sing-song psychedelia with Velvet Underground drones and Alice down the rabbit hole vocals. It's a nightmare vision that penetrates deep into your psyche, far more frightening than any horror flick you may have seen recently. Fe-male Fou's guitar style is rudimentary but twisted into some gordian knot for which there is no solution. The more you listen to it, the more intriguing it becomes. I shudder to think what this might sound like on hallucinogenics.

While side the A-side is kind of a no-wave extravaganza, the B-side is far more industrial and noise-oriented. In some ways it is reminiscent of Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music,' or parts of it anyway. Rubino's looping techniques are an essential component to the compositions on this side, especially "Slaughterhouse Overdose," and the lo-fi methods of achieving Fe-male Fou's sound produces results that probably couldn't have been done any other way. Rubino's voice, where used on this side seems to blend in as an instrument, perhaps more for effect than anything else. For industrial noise, these pieces aren't quite as abrasive as you might think, and become an ambient sound sculpture that sounds cohesive and powerful in its own right. Sometimes lurching, sometimes slithering and oozing, it's like a demonic train headed for an unspeakable destination. I found that listening to it from a distance (in another room) actually seemd to enhance the audial experience rather than confronting it head on.

Because of its diversity, unusual nature, and released on limited vinyl, I do believe Fe-male Fou's 'Sucker Mule's Dreadful Murder' is destined to become a collector's item. If this intrigues you, you better hurry up and purchase a copy before they're all gone.

Stefano De Ponti: Calce

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 10 2016
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Artist: Stefano De Ponti (@)
Title: Calce
Format: CD
Label: Kohlhaas (@)
Rated: *****
The title of this project, the italian term for lime, reminds of the building material that is obtained by a relatively long process in which various materials are used. So, this releases is made by two distinct elements a book made by Nina Haab where black and white pictures, color images of stones and texts remind of a period when the extraction of limestone, the primary element for lime, was a source of income as well as related with a tough life. The same elements are used in the audio part made by Stefano De Ponti.
The material's noise that is the base of "le premier son qui vient", the first track of this release, is the background of a complex track where various samples are used to generate a tension between sounds from a time which was and the noises, so it mirrors the structure of the book in some way. While the beat in the first part of "il ronzio degli insetti" remind to the extraction's work, the final voice of the track with the words "scream" and "whisper" announce the final part of the track whose complex sinewaves introduce "K’AN / airy abysmal" whose second part is focused on the words "stay at the peak of the jam if you wanna see" ("stay at the top of the cliff, if you wanna see" is one of the topic of the book) screamed upon a soundscape of great impact resolved in a sort of jazz session. "Spoken stones" is a long track developed upon sounds of stones, a sort of slowly moving drone and sparse samples in the first part while the second is focused on a suspended atmosphere generated by the tones which was in the background in the first part. "HSÜ / haunt of waiting and nourishment" closes this release as a song, for a bunch of seconds, interrupted by stone's samples in a quiet silence until a string quartet seems to close this release only to leave space to a final stone's sound.
It's not usual to write about a release whose visual and audio part are so intertwined but with a meaning dealed with separately. The continuos correspondences between the two works create layers of meanings that have to be discovered with a committed approach of contemplation. Absolutely essential.

VV.AA.: Nebulullaby

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 10 2016
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Nebulullaby
Format: 12"
Label: nebularosa (@)
Rated: *****
The first release by Nebularosa, a new label devoted to experimental electronic music, collects a bunch of tracks reworking the format of lullaby music. The ancient art of creating music to make babies sleep is interpreted in various ways as an example of consciousness-altering music. From a musical perspective, this release oscillates between almost reasonable lullabies as "Bailalice" by d. R. e. G. S. which is a dreamy sonata for tones, "Blue Heron" by Samuel Hertz whose videogames sounds reminds at a child age, "Fading Out" by Erich Barganier inspired by tunes for glockenspiel "Two Minutes In The Canteen" by Adrian Carter which mocks a recognizable pop tunes, a typical strategy for a lullaby which has to be reassuring and "Yo Gaba Gaba" by David Jason Snow, a track which is able to cradle someone. The other side of this release is more canonical experimental tunes as "Radiguelising Babies" by Thor Magnusson and "Sea organ 2" by Claude Heiland-Allen which rely on drones; "The Stars" by Repl Electric and "Untitled_blue_red" by Victor Zappi based on strange melodies and an arcade tune as "lullaby_in.c" by 0xA. Noise tracks as "Thorium" by Robert B. Lisek and "Discontinuity" by Marta Zapparoli close this release as a call for adulthood.
A really well crafted release, the digital version has a peculiar image for every track and even notes, that let a bunch of artists express on an uneasy theme. So, even if someone run out the spot, who cares? A nice release and a good business card for the label.

Prostitutes: Ghost Detergent

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 04 2016
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Artist: Prostitutes (@)
Title: Ghost Detergent
Format: 12"
Label: Spectrum Spools
Rated: *****
The first thing that I do, I admit, when this release popped out of my box was humming the truthfully easygoing 80ies hit "We Are All Prostitutes" by The Pop Group. The humming induced me to check that song again, before mixing my nostalgic selection with the first song of this contemporary stuff (I have to say, that the matching between The Pop Group song and the opening track "Nerve and Gall" wonderfully works, DJs of this sad planet) and begin the listening journey inside the straightforward sonic journey offered by Cleveland-based producer James Donadio. The tune I just mentioned cannot be better titled as percussive rampages sound like having been well amalgamated into stinks of bile. Chiptunes (including that fake gamelan hits you could find in every Casio tone banks) got nicely mixed over amazing textures in the following tune "Chandeliers Sake" and keep on getting crumbled like sheetrock on "Government Wrecker", a track smelling like a possible hymn of improvised nerd league championship. Donadio - he is Prostitutes... I can't be considered offensive! - unveils his skills in dealing with textures on the offbeat chirps of the amazing "The Sting That Stung" before igniting the torture technoid machine on the slowly disturbing stomper "Pressure On The Haunted" - staging a bizarre interbreed between Bandulu-like trance and sadistic industrial inflections -. The other side of "Ghost Detergent" includes some of my favourite moments of the whole release: first of all the opening entrancing computational sneaking of "Skeptalepsy", but above all "Pregnant Toad" (another guessed title, that says something about the sound this guy masterfully assembled) and the following "Cheap Amplifiers", wisely described as a possible "Def Jam bonus beat with ripping, cough syrup slathered DMX snare sounds"! After the plasticised controlled detonation of a breakbeat tune of "Fake Hawaiian Suit", Prostitutes smears some residual beats over a muddy surface on the final "Served On The Floor". Excellent listening and I can keep on humming The Pop Group's tune... "Capitalism is the most barbaric of all religions/Department stores are our new cathedrals/Our cars are martyrs to the cause...".

Matt Davignon: Pink Earth

 Posted by liv3evil   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 28 2016
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Artist: Matt Davignon (@)
Title: Pink Earth
Format: CD
Label: Ribosome Music
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
With "Pink Earth", Matt Davignon continues his experiments with rhythmic-devoid, amoebic-tinged drum machine treatments. It is a curious endeavor to utilize devices intended to create patterns and mostly sounds with a very specific function for virtually everything but. Still, the end result sounds made-to-measure and fits perfectly within the confines of a concept album that, "represents the experiences of an expedition team on a strange new planet, and their impressions of the landscape, flora, and primitive fauna that they encountered."

19+ minute opener 'Arrival / Pink Earth' percolates unhurriedly, beginning with the rising/descending sound similar to that of a buzzing insect, purposeful in its virtual-sounding complexion. Gradually we digress into spiraled, mildly-distorted long tones accompanied by percussive accents, and then a near orgy of subdued blips accompanied by sped-up-/slowed-down fragments of what I'd guess are treated field recordings. The end result of the multifarious, disjointed particles is surprising: an organic-sounding, sonic thicket of sorts.

Most of the other tracks follow suite; some, such as 'Lepidoptera', are more congested than others, featuring acute, concentrated thwacks tirelessly layered to forge yet another fabricated environment. 'Departure' effectively arrests the team's expedition with sampled singing coupled with the sound of radio tuning. It's a concise, fitting end to the album's prolonged aural exploration.

At numerous moments traversing "Pink Earth," visions of a synthetic woodland at nighttime were conjured. I'd wager that's a mission accomplished.


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