Music Reviews

D Bayne: Meditations on Present Time

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 19 2015
Artist: D Bayne
Title: Meditations on Present Time
Format: CD
Label: Luminescence Records
Rated: *****
The seemingly simple piano phrasing by which Luminescence label boss, the American composer and pianist D Bayne, implements field recordings into composition, is neither a diaphragm nor a proper filtering overlap, as there's a strong matching between the resounding surroundings and its somewhat ecstatic tonal stream. It could be regarded more as if it were a clingfilm, whose transparency highlights the inner dynamics as well as the elusive balance of the surrounding living world, instead of hiding it. Named after the places or situations where field recordings got grabbed - "East Washington Street at Night", "Metra Locomotive Ravenswood Station", "Ogilvie Transportation Center", "Ogilvie Transportation Center Platforms", "Bourbon Street", "Chicago River Bridges", "One South Wacker Drive" and so on -, the twelve tracks of this album by this experienced composer, whose artistic and musical growth was undoubtedly furthered by remarkable teachings and teachers (for instance, after gaining a graduation from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in 1995, he studied with Dave Douglas, Louis Sclavis, Dylan van der Schyff and John Abercrombie at the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music in 2003 and with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Richard Toop at the Stockhausen Corses Kuerten in Germany) - a glaring indication of D bayne's strong academic exprience will be clear to attentive listeners, who will easily notice his moderate aleatorism and the accurate focus on harmony -, sound like an emotionally purging removal of emotional dust from the surfaces of a sometimes grey, unsurprising and monotonous reality to the extent that I can't rulesome beneficial effects for listeners out.

Baron Oufo: Dar al-Hikma

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 18 2015
Artist: Baron Oufo
Title: Dar al-Hikma
Format: CD
Label: Quadrilab
Rated: *****
The buzzing sound of a sort of engine, which got combined by low frequency tones from a somehow menacing synth-brass, of the opening track "Depth of the Prophecy" - some pitched sounds could let some attentive listeners surmise such a title could be a reference to well-known Korg monophonic synthesizer more than to mysticism or religion - are the substratum of the first of four really immersive and atmospheric drones, whose inspirational transcendent forces got enforced by Dar al-Hikma, the place where Jerome Alban (member of Metronome Charisma and Year of No Light) and Eddie Ladoire - the Frenchmen behind Baron Oufo moniker - conceived this album, named after this fascinating place in Egyptian capital city Cairo, the ancient university of the Fatimid Caliphate, whose huge library was considered as a sort of proper wonder. A distinct metallic clangourous noise marks the ignition of the above-sketched drone, as it it mirrored the breaking of an ancient lock that seals some mysterious ancient knowledge, which sounds like being celebrated by the thick obscure aural mist, which got injected by Baron Oufo over the listening experience they managed to create. The fade out at the end of the above-mentioned opening track could let you think the typical clips of some sci-fi movies, where a ginormous shiny space cruiser or some unknown planet cause temporary eclipses, while the following "Dhikr", named after an ancient mystical rite of traditional Islamic Sufism, better evokes the halo of the whole release by means of the insertion of some trance-inducing percussions and the chirping birds, which precedes "Is a God to live in a dog?", the darkest transition of the release, which land on the over-stretched slighly lighter tones of the 20-minutes lasting "Blessing and Worship to the Prophet of the Lovely Star".

Erik Honoré: Heliographs

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 15 2015
Artist: Erik Honoré
Title: Heliographs
Format: CD
Label: Hubro (@)
Rated: *****
Listeners can sense the great aesthetic sensitivity of Erik Honore', another "man behind the curtains" of contemporary Norwegian music scene, who signed his self-signed release for the excellent label Hubro, since the opening "Navigators", where the distinctively chirping uvula by Sidsel Enderson and the narcotic electronic mists by Erik's long-lasting friend and collaborator Jan Bang give the power to the rudder together with the instrumental entities by Erik, which sound like light-signalling devices for skippers who lost direction after a seastorm. In spite of the clear similarities to the sound of Jon Hassell (particularly the daydreaming evanescent sonorities of stuff like "Last Night The Moon Came"), Harold Budd and David Sylvian, who has been explicitly thanked in the sleeve notes, Erik's "Heliographs" sounds more like a soundtrack for a somewhat adventorous journey within his musical universe, which partially shies away from the route that the above-mentioned Norwegian scene is ascending by a really interesting revamping of folk elements by means of jazz, which often results into enjoyable electroacoustic probing. The intermezzo "Halfway House", which sound like musical sketches of old movies, enhanced by field recordings grabbed midway upon the journey, precedes "Sanctuary", one of the most blissful moment of the album, where the sonic glimmering by Erik and the lovely voice by Sidsel got enhanced by the entrance of delicate percussions by Ingar Zach, and "Pioneer Trail", the most groovy moment of "Heliographs", where a gentle muffled technoid movement sounds like propelling the train of listener's thoughts or reverie over samples by Nils Petter Molvaer and a wisely programmed rhythm by Jan Bang. The break on "Red Cafe'", where Erik lets listener glimpse pure and somehow lazy delight in between the heart-rending violin by Jeffrey Bruinema, and "Last Chance Gas & Water", which sounds like the boring tasks before a journey, where the tedium for the arrangements is not so ginding as it sounds tempered by a mild excitement which permeates the track, as well as the temporary disruption on "Strife" and the reprise of "Sanctuary" on "Sanctuary Revisited". the last request to God before departure, are the final preparations before the lovely nocturnal of "Departed", where the hand by Elvind Aarset is more clearly recognisable. Many other musicians (mainly from PUNKT ensemble) decorated this output by Erik, but they didn't eclipse his sonic hallmark.

Burning Pyre: Erotics of Aesthetics

 Posted by mad:dog   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 10 2015
Artist: Burning Pyre (@)
Title: Erotics of Aesthetics
Format: Tape
Label: Vanity Pill Tapes (@)
Featuring 5 pieces combining to create a harsh yet enthralling entirety, "Erotics of Aesthetics" by Burning Pyre (C. M. Owen) is definitely haunting, both in its use of atonality and essential tones. Its first track, "Mea Culpa" is kinda of a buzzer in terms of what you are about to listen to. In fact, this very first track might be your last chance to avoid getting wrapped in sounds to the point where you might feel as if you were slowly but painlessly drowning under computerized streams. As for the rest of the tracks ("Long Light", "Erotics of Aesthetics", "Hope Dutifully Resides in the Darkest of Times" and "The Evening Redness in the East"), they all seem to be forged from the same impenetrable tones, tones that also come with a growing warmth on the verge of reaching incandescence. Take "The Evening Redness in the East" for example, with its outlandish noises that could easily become the sound stripe for any richly saturated piece of cinema attempting to engage your every sense. Even if the commentary on this EP, provided by the musician himself ("is fundamentally about denying interpretation" and "it should be digested as a purely emotional experience, with each individual piece designed to elicit a specific emotional response.") may seem to narrow down the potential audience, the effect is likely to be quite the opposite as the audience, any audience, will ultimately be compelled to revel in the intricacy of these minimal and heavy tracks without applying logic too much. "Erotics of Aesthetics" comes on a 30 minute cassette housed inside clear case with card printed covers by Reece Thomas Green. Limited to 20 copies released by Vanity Pill Tapes, a small cassette label based in Kent, UK. The album is also available to listen to on the artist's profile on

Tiziano Milani: Materia (storie da ciò che rimane)

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 09 2015
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Artist: Tiziano Milani
Title: Materia (storie da ciò che rimane)
Format: CD
Label: Setola di Maiale
Rated: *****
The impressive writing by Luca Rota describes this album as created by someone who returns home and let his musical past resonate with the present. This release sounds as closing point of almost 10 years of releases as well as a development based on the idea of a sonic architecture that is open to external sounds rather than overwhelming them. The recording level and the sonic spectrum are usually quiet and low so the metaphor of "Tiziano doesn't close the door at our back but rather he spread out the window" is perhaps closer to reality than one can imagine.
This musical journey starts quietly with "Appartamento 119/I ' in evolution" whose first part is based on a floating drone mottled by cello's samples and sparse noises while the second one is based on a succession of sounds and silences. The noisy beats of "Rifugio ' questo è il presente" create an hypnotic atmosphere until a cello line marks the start of the second part focused on string samples upon a quiet static noise resolved by notes of a glockenspiel, or it sounds as such, setting the path for the final soundscape. Conversely, "Materia ' solo con la natura", starts loudly with samples located in a given channel whose underlined texture gradually emerges in a static second part developed in a part focused in flute notes and a silence leaving space for the closing drone. The quiet, but rhythmical, initial samples of "A proposito dell'oggettività dello spazio ' pensare genera pensiero" are dialectically opposed to the longer and sustained samples of the second half of a track closed by a sort of carillon samples from an old movie.
In this release what is played cannot be separated from how it sounds as this release seems focused on the property of an ambience to shape his musical type and disclose his hidden resonances. Honestly, it could be difficult to follow all the details which are the base of this release but it's worth the effort particularly with headphones. Truly recommended.

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