Music Reviews



Penny Rimbaud’s Kernschmelze II: Cantata For Improvised Voice

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 22 2017
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Artist: Penny Rimbaud’s Kernschmelze II (@)
Title: Cantata For Improvised Voice
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
While his previous "Yes Sir, The Truth Of Revolution" was not entirely convincing as centered upon message instead of music, this one seems his perfect mirror. Charles Webber processed the voice of Eve Libertine as Penny Rimbaud's idea was to create soundscape using only vocal sounds on a musical structure based upon the movement and multiplication of sound masses obtained by the layering of vocal lines.
Even if it's named as a cantata it starts with an impressive and thunderous soundscape upon which the voice of Eve Libertine starts her spoken words but the most impressive moments is where the voice filtrated, manipulated and layered generates a movements from operatic vocal lines to noisy moments where phonemes are translated to sounds. During the 8 parts of this opus the voice is rarely used in his natural setting, so the discernible message is lost in a auditory environment where the listener is placed against his expectation of the form and this is perhaps the sense of the whole operation; as the Kernschmelze is a "core meltdown", this release sounds as a "voice meltdown" or the consciousness that the perception of the voice, the emotional impact of the message, is now more important that the content of the message. From this perception, the sound quality of Charles Webber's voice is juxtaposed to the emotional impact of the whole musical structure and the sense of the message is exemplified by the fact that instead of being cathartic all this sound mass simply ends in silence.
An amazing work by an artist that, even with his remarkable past, is again able to offer his views on modern times with the spirit of a newbie. Absolute respect.

Asath Reon: Buried Visions

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 22 2017
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Artist: Asath Reon
Title: Buried Visions
Format: CD
Label: Black Mara (@)
Rated: *****
Due to the scarce informations about this project, it seems that Buried Visions is the first release of this project by Michal Polgár from Slovakia. "Buried Visions" is introduces by verses about an Harvest when a black Sun rises and this apocalyptic vision is an hint that we are close to a Dark Ambient release but this is partially true. A great part of the auditory field developed by this artist is not obtained by drone but by samples, mainly voices, and ritual instruments so it takes perhaps inspiration from certain ritual music and certainly his music has those kind of atmosphere and structure.
The almost religious quietness of "Aka Manah", with the spars beats of the bells and the voices in the background, opens this release with a menacing atmosphere obtained with a carefully constructed soundscape in the background. The noises moving in the auditory field of "Dark Waters" are reasonably evocative in the droning background. "The Timeless Self" is a canonical dark ambient track based on drones whose movements in on details while "Soul Stealing" and "Lone Weaver" revolve around small noises and voices creating a sense of displacement in the listener. The voices and the drones became almost a single musical element in "Rise of the Forked-Tongued" as the firsts support the seconds while "The Damned" uses the samples instead of the voices. "Tower of Silence" closes this release with voices matching the resonances of the drone.
This is a release at the crossroad of dark ambient and religious/ritual music that, even along the path of the canonical form of both genres, is able to put the listener enchanted hearing the craft in the placement of the sound layers and the depth of details of the drones. Recommended for fans of the genre.

How To Cure Our Soul: Mare

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 15 2017
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Artist: How To Cure Our Soul (@)
Title: Mare
Format: CD
Label: Sequel
Rated: *****
This new release form the project of Marco Marzuoli and Alessandro Sergente is a single track release introduced by the Jules Verne's words about the see as "the Living Infinite". As their previous releases, also this one is based upon drones and it's focused on a meditative idea of sound.
After some seconds of silence, instead of the expected drone, the ebb and flow of the sea introduce the listener into a contemplative setting as even some bird could be heard at a distance. Approximately at 5:00 mark, a drone quietly starts an begin to try to blend to the sound of the water and at 10:00 mark a second drone stats and instead of bury the underneath element it seems to underline them until the third one takes the listen towards the full listening experience overwhelming the listener. As the underlining field recording is always audible it sounds as the juxtaposition of a place and the emotions triggered by it as if the drone would act as a voice off. As the track begins his ending the drones quietly stops and the listener is left with the sound of the sea.
If, after reading this release, the reader could think that this release is developed around nothing, he should be aware that sometimes less is more as pure contemplation could only be done while seeing the details and forget the rest. Essential.

Urs Wild: Hidden Universe

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 08 2017
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Artist: Urs Wild (@)
Title: Hidden Universe
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Eighth Tower Records (@)
Rated: *****
While most of the first releases of this label were compilation, Hidden Universe is the first release by Eighth Tower Records entirely dedicated on a single artist. The music from this musician is a variation of Dark Ambient with a clever use of noise and not centered on a drone, which is the glue of the layers instead of being the main element of the track, but on the elements on top of it with the result of a more varied sound framework.
The first track of this release, "Sea of Unnatural Presence", seems to set the framework of this release with his complex sound spectrum where layers of voices, noises and synths creates something as noisy as evocative, but the other tracks are based on a more minimal sound environment. "Signals" is instead characterized by a minimal sound framework based on a drone in the background and a looping synth line. "Ritualized" is a variation of the previous track using filtered voices instead of synth and reveals the great attention for sound construction. "Mardröm" use the spatialization of sound to obtain the impression of being immersed in the universe imagined by the author. While "Hidden Matter" is rather meditative, "Construction of the limitless" is noisy and "Portal" is minimalistic in his almost realistic depiction. With "Machine without mechanisms" there's a return the complex construction of the first track as noises, drones and even a bell tick create a sonic assault to the listener which is partially continued by "Hidden Energy" but with greater attention to the development of an evocative atmosphere. "Horizon of tranquility" closes this release with a quiet and minimal sound palette but with some evocative samples.
This a really good release with the only cons of being perhaps too long as his central part is based on a minimal framework in a contrast with the initial and final part of great complexity and sonic brilliance. Fans of experimental music will have their cup of tea.

Jason Grier: Demonstration Disc

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 07 2017
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Artist: Jason Grier
Title: Demonstration Disc
Format: CD + Download
Label: Human Ear Music
Jason Grier has been collecting and curating an open-source library of ‘loose end’ acoustic and electronic samples- found sounds, detritus and outtakes from studio recordings, mangled data interpretations and beyond- for the last four years. “Demonstration Disc” is, prosaically, an album intended to show off the breadth and possibility of this collection- which it does admirably.

Comprising ten tracks, numbered but not named, making a forty minute whole, it often feels like there’s no rhyme or reason within it. Track 1 is a beautiful, gentle, operatic soundscape with a smooth feminine vocal note and a strong sense of being composed; track 2 is dominated by chaotic noise and fireworks and feels purely generated. Track 6 walks the border between organic and electronic percussive tones, with ethnic-sounding sources degrading into glitchy electronic awkwardness, yet it’s followed by tracks 7 and 8 which (after a broken-speak-and-spell style intro) sound like natural, loose improvised avantgarde jazz.

As an album greater than the sum of its parts, it’s a mixed success. At times it flows beautifully and feels like it has a sense of purpose (the evolving sombreness of longest piece track 9 being a prime example), but at others the harsh edges and spontaneous switches are too meaninglessly rough and arbitrary. For sonic experimenters looking for a new online resource to mine, it is very successful as an advertisement (though at the time of writing I can’t actually find the resource in question), but as an avantgarde album it’s a mixed bag.


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