Music Reviews

Zeitkratzer: Column One - Entropium

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 23 2015
Artist: Zeitkratzer (@)
Title: Column One - Entropium
Format: 12"
Label: Karlrecords (@)
Rated: *****
Reinhold Friedl-led electroacoustic ensemble Zeitkratzer keeps on venturing in the revamping and reinterpretation of miliar stones of noise and industrial culture; after the amazing remake of Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music" and the likewise fascinating remake of some stuff by William Bennet's Whitehouse, Zeitkratzer retrace the sound of the Berlin-based post-industrial collective Column One, the brainchild of Rene Lamp and Robert Schalinski, whose challenging sound, which often deranged sonic contemporary cliches to feed thought-provoking pills by means of really interesting dadaist collages (think about outputs like "Classic Chill Out Rhythms 2" and "Doubt" on Moloko+,"Cannibalism" and "Dream Time" on 90% Wasser or the more experimental/esotheric injections such as "Unrealizer", one of their masterpieces in my opinion, on Marco Koch's imprint Stateart), should not be considered as a merely fanciful deviant. I'd rather say that many sonic outputs by Column One are more like somehow benevolent viruses that try to contaminate the already sick cells of contemporary western culture, where the final outcome (health or death) is uncertain... The title of this revamping by Zeitkratzer seems to link the nihilistic idea of entropy, the medical condition in which eyelids fold inward known as entropion and "Introitum" (a Latin word which also refers to an entrance fee or a gain for companies), the title of a suite that Column One recorded at DIe SIBIRIScHe Zelle in Berlin in 2004 (released by Drone Records in 2013) by assembling the sound of Schalinski's saw together with the obsessive tapping on a "salad bowl" by drummer and percussionist Peter Hollinger, which could be matched to the typical electroacoustic improvisations by Zeitkratzer, whose path already intersected in the past as Schalinski already gave many chamber-noise compositions inputs to the ensemble. The most interesting aspect of this transplantation into an electroacoutic dimension is the fact that Friedl and partners-in-art wisely transected a wider sonic register by tuning different inputs in one-single session: the decadent and extremely cacophonous sonic debris of "Sol", that followed the scary brief introduction "Panthera", flows into "Vide Navareseke", the sinister and painful flaying of Column One's "Berta Navarseke 1919", while the twelve minutes of the fourth part "Haendhilse" manages to twirl tape-music nuances, chamber music and claustrophobic industrial churning, which could let you imagine a group of dangerous felonious psychopaths grouped together for an ensemble after killing some sadistic nurses of a crumbling mental hospital. Animal longings and shrill noises from found objects got melted in the final dissonances of "Lade".

Sharawaji: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 20 2015
Artist: Sharawaji
Title: s/t
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Clang (@)
Rated: *****
The somehow enigmatic word "sharawadgi" was firstly introduced by well-known English statesman and essayist Sir William Temple; even if he thought it was Chinese, he used this Japanese word in order to debate about an aesthetical concept, which didn't really belong to European culture in those days. According to Temple's own words in his famous essay "Upon The Gardens of Epicurus", Chineses' "greatest Reach of Imagination, is employed in contriving Figures, where the Beauty shall be great, and strik the Eye, but without any order or disposition of parts, that shall be commonly or easily observ'd. And though we have hardly any Notion of this sort of Beauty, yet they have a particular Word to express it; and where they find it hit their Eye at first sight, they say the Sharawadgi is fine or is admirable, or any such expression of Esteem". Later the word became almost fashioned - it was widely used to describe Japanese paintings or even kimonoes - and nowadays it's the word that Ney York-based musicians Satoshu Takeishi - quite known drummer, percussionist and arranger in the improvisational NY scene - and Hans Tammen, who have been played together in a number of formations for a decade, have chosen for this amazing electroacoustic project. Their sound could sound exotic for the followers of the releases by clang, but it makes sense in the explorative aesthaetical path the label is following since its very first release by including seven amazing improvisations that the duo recorded in New York in 2012 by wrapping a bunch of fine and sometimes hiccuping percussive phrases into likewise amazingly bizarre weird entities, which got synthesized by a software for sound processing by Tammen, ranging from lenghtwise miniatures such as "Shaman" or "Athetize" and the longlasting exploration "Sateen", which reaches the intensity of a proper sonic rite.

Kenneth Kirschner: Compressions & Rarefactions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 18 2015
Artist: Kenneth Kirschner (@)
Title: Compressions & Rarefactions
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
The reading of some reviews or meditations, where more or less famous music writers describe the experiencing of Kenneth Kirschner's music as if they were in the guise of Burroughs writing a page of literature under the effect of some hallucinogenic substance, as well as the way by which graphic artist Kysa Johnson, who cared the artwork of this release and matches Kenneth's extreme dilutions of sound in time to subatomic decay patterns, are an interesting explanation of the mission and the vision of this Ney York-based sound artist. You could read them on the booklet of this release, which managed to include of a couple of shorter recordings (shorter if compared to the average length of Kenneth's psychotropic epopees into sound) in a cd and added a code that could be redeemed to download three other recordings (lasting 5 hours in total...), but I'd like to extract some parts of them in order to give you an idea of what you could expect or you could skip, if you are a lover of concision in music. For instance, Marc Waidenbaum (, after an extremely detailed description of the (both emotional and spacial)set and the setting as a preface, reasonably claify that Kirschner "embraces a sense of periodicity that challenges the listener's comprehension" before turning back on his meditative path and stating that "if time is Kirschner's most self-evident compositional tool, then memory is his most active one. As we find our way - that is, find a way - through the immersive, percepting-consuming, periphery-spanning territory of his work, as time passes, as life passes, our sole guide is the work itself". While Simon Cummings ( sees "paradoxes everywhere" in Kirschner's output and run through some of them on his interesting track-by-track commentary, I find the conclusion by Mike Lazarev ( particularly guessed to set the emotional fences where Kirschener's sonic particles or electrons draw their seemingly chaotic circles and microtonal twists: "while listening to the music of Kenneth Kirschner, one can become lost in time, ceasing to be in its prison of binding. As the shackles of time fall away through the sounds, I am brought back into this very moment, where the vois is the present, and the silence is noise". What could I say more to these fine words? I might say my very first impression, as I maybe felt the some fascination that a baby could experience inside a big and hidden lab of clock repairer, where variation of single geears or teps gradually mutate the "scansion" and the perception of time. Check it out!

Roman Leykam: Realm of the Shades

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 14 2015
Artist: Roman Leykam
Title: Realm of the Shades
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****
Long-lasting collaborator of Frank Meyer Arts both on solo-releases and collaborative ones, experimental guitar player Roman Leykam recently signed this new output, where the shades of the title don't really refer to places where there is no light, but it should be meant as a synonum of hues. It's better clarify that if you are not a lover of effected guitars or synth-mnipulated guitars, you could find the listening experience that Roman provides dreadfully boring, as the excessively abstract and old-fashioned sonic mantle by which he wrapped and blurred his brilliantly effected guitars - a trained ear will easily recognize that he's quite good in manoeuvring effects - could even severely test the resistence to the synthesis of sleep-inducing agents of listeners, who can understand what he wisely does. My attention was kept high by some interesting insertions of e-bow guitars as well as by some meaningful ideas such as the humongous growl he lets rise in "The Aftermath" or the club-induced claustrophobic feelings that got rendered in "Bleak Place", but I can't really stop yawning when the above-mentioned mantles made some interesting guitar-driven experiments sound like demo songs of cheap electronic keyboard.

Konstruktivists: Destiny Drive

 Posted by mad:dog   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 13 2015
Artist: Konstruktivists (@)
Title: Destiny Drive
Format: 3 x 12" vinyl
Label: Bleak (@)
Written and recorded between 2013 and 2014 and deemed to be the first album to be released on vinyl since their 1985's "Glennascaul", Konstruktivists' (Glenn M Wallis - Samples, Vocals, Words and Mahk Rumbae - Synths, FX, Arrangements) latest musical endeavor, "Destiny Drive", is nothing short of a sonic immersion in darkness. Thick with conceptual electronics and heavy on lyrics that do not allow your attention to roam free between the tracks, the A side ("Is This You", "Lone Groover", "Persona Non Grata") is both structured and relentless. It manages to keep a fine yet rather delicate balance between rhythmic seriousness and peculiar bits that are industrial to their very core. Each of these three tracks features its own arsenal of loose but purposeful sounds that may resist categorization, all mixed with Glenn's slow-paced and laconic vocals bulldozing the air. In fact, it becomes quite easy to end up picturing yourself while listening to this A side performed live and accompanied by video works that are just as subjugating as the tracks themselves. And then there comes the B side with "In Orange", "Static Automatic", "Psykho Politics" and "All That You Are", all four of them grinding on your eardrums as they play. It's a quivering and galvanizing B side that may not make for an easy listen, wrapped as it is with feverish, haunted vocals and angsty strings and beats. But nevertheless, these four tracks seem to unfurl at their own singular pace with no hints of what is to come. They converge toward a more integrating whole only to fade away in the end, leaving behind a trail of sounds reminiscent of a machine that occasionally leaps into inertia and malfunctions. Released on Bleak, a Vienna-based label focusing mainly on releasing experimental electronic music, "Destiny Drive" comes on red vinyl limited to 300 copies. Also available as a digital download on the band's Bandcamp site.

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