Music Reviews

Jib Kidder: New Works for Realistic Mixer

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 07 2016
Artist: Jib Kidder (@)
Title: New Works for Realistic Mixer
Format: 12"
Label: Care of Editions (@)
Rated: *****
'New Works for Realistic Mixer' is artist Jib Kidder's (Sean Schuster-Craig) eighteenth release since 2006 not counting compilations, mixtapes, and other mixes, in a variety of formats including cassette, digital download, vinyl, CD and CD-R. This one is available on 12" vinyl or digital download, but my review copy is a CD-R, probably because it's too expensive for very small labels to send vinyl from a European country (Germany) although Jib is from the U.S., bouncing between California and New York, but I have no idea where he is now. Haven't heard any of his other stuff previously, but just for shits and giggles I checked a couple of his tracks on YouTube. They were along the indie avant-pop lines, songs with instruments, drums, vocals. Nothing like this at all. What this is, is no-input mixer sequenced with drum machine. What does it sound like? Well, electronics with drum machine is the simple answer. Forget the song format though, this ain't pop; this is electronic experimentalism. Nothing warm and fuzzy about it either and track titles like "01 VT2005058", "09 w1118 (isoCJ1)", "08 fmn;+", and "10 KC-gain" bear that out. The electronics are generally minimal and primitive, utilizing a lot of sample & hold and planned random noises. While the label and/or artist describes this as "an uncanny dance LP..." it is much closer to IDM, which I've rarely found to be danceable. Just about anyone can generate electronic sounds from a no-input mixer by following a YouTube tutorial (and having a mixer, of course), but it takes a bit of skill and practice to make something interesting out of it, and 'New Works' indicates that Kidder has put the time into it to make it interesting. That's not to say it's all-golden. The first few tracks are cute-but-clunky downtempo rhytmic IDM pieces that sound like an 80's arcade game soundtrack. Further on down the line ("08 fmn+") things get a bit more chaotic, and even head into experimental noise territory. Jib does come yup with some groovy looped sequences, as on "07 KC-abp", that could serve as a soundtrack segment in an indie sci-fi film. There is definitely a mechanical (or is that mechanized?) aspect to the music on 'New Works' partially due to the repetition, and also due to the sounds employed. There are surprises as well- was that a baby crying, a yowling cat, or just some creative electronic sound I heard on track 9, "02 PPL-ab" ? For the experimental electronics aficionado 'New Works for Realistic Mixer' is likely to be an engaging listen, but if your tastes are entrenched in more traditional formats, the creativity here is likely to be lost on you.

A note about the label- Berlin, Germany-based Care of Editions uses a negative-money format, using their profits from selling vinyl to pay people for downloading the same music. The amount one receives in dollars is equal to the download edition number. As records sell, more downloads become available. Interesting concept.

Imaginary Forces: Visitation

 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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Aug 06 2016
Artist: Imaginary Forces (@)
Title: Visitation
Format: 12"
Label: Fang Bomb (@)
Rated: *****
Even if the genre has reached a level of saturation, there are still many impressive outputs in the highly contaminated basins of minimal techno, such as this nice one by Imaginary Forces, the brainchild of London-based Anthony J Hart, who isn't certainly a newcomer due to some notoriety he particularly gained in the underground scene of the British capital city by means of some good releases where he mainly threw drum 'n' bass, jungle or techno sonorities on the barbed wires of power electronics and noise. This record on Swedish label Fang Bomb could get tagged as minimal due to the fact he melts together not so many sounds and noises in each single track, but he did it by following many different strategies where the main glue of these elements got based on a series of subtly stunning and slowly thundering bass pulsations. They could be considered as appropriately thundering in the opening track "Preternatural," whose sound seems to render one of those epic scenes, where listeners could imagine like on the edge of a storm, fed by mysteriously destructive (imaginary) forces. Likewise roaring clangs ignite the hypnotical swirling, the dark trotting and the menacingly sneaking distorted brass of "Enlightenment", while these Imaginary Forces get closer to the abstract alien techno I heard by some artists on Sounds Never Seen, Rephlex and Plasmek on "Visitation" (the looped electrical strains over what could be to matched to the disquieting cries by an alien hymenopterans on this track are simply amazing) and to the deranged overclocking on some "old" experimental techno outputs by Electric Light, Rechenzentrum or Column One on the final (A Drift), whose crosses between convulsive ticking, ligneous and prettily numbing hits and alien frequencies perfectly fits to the lyrical content of the spoken words by Closed Circuits.

Slobodan Kajkut: Terrible Fake

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 01 2016
Artist: Slobodan Kajkut
Title: Terrible Fake
Format: 12"
Label: God Records (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes by the label, this output by Slobodan Kajkut - the brilliant man behind GOD Records - "explores rhythmic relationships between drums and piano in the context of the somewhat crippled art of trip-hop". Maybe tagging it as "trip-hop" could be deceitful, but this exploration is somehow trippy. The very first seconds could perhaps resemble the exercises on piano (played by Anton Polk) and drums (hit by Istok Klemen) of someone who never played them before with a vague (almost unexisting) sense of rhythm and melody, but the deeper you get into it, the more pleasantly unsettling us the listening experience he offered. The above-sketched element - the supposed musical illiteracy of the composer - could be the very first fake one of this release, as Slobodan studied composition with quite a renown Austrian music theorists and academic teachers such as Clemens GadenstÄtter, Gerd Kühr, and Georg Friedrich Haas. The most genuinely controversial aspect lays in the fact he artificially unmatched piano and drums, which are considered two "harmonizing" instruments in a composition (their presence could let a listener perceive even a bunch of nonsensical noises as something appropriately musical). Piano and drums got turned into two entities, whose sparse and disarticulated voices seem to mirror the lack of communication as well as their intimate isolation. By reprising the explanatory linear notes about the first of the two 20-minutes lasting part of this release: "[Terrible Fake] is mostly based on irregular beats to create kind of fragmented groove. Different characters are also emphasized through mostly chromatic movements of the piano in various registers, producing either undefined tonal system or droning wall of sound". The presence of compositional elements in the second part, titled "terrible Dub", are even more rarefied, as it "is nevertheless a "dub" version of the piece which minimizes Terrible Fake to its fundamentals regarding time and pitch, where both parameters are stretched. A slow movement based on the core of dub music itself, which are bass and drums...". The crippling sense of detachment, which oozes out of the first part, is remarkably stressed in this second half by every single rarefied percussive or tonal blip to the extent that a listener could be not so sure these resounding entities could be accurately labeled as tones or beats.
Aug 01 2016
Artist: X-NAVI:ET (@)
Title: Dead City Voice / Remix Project
Format: CD
Label: Instant Classic (@)
Rated: *****
As some of our readers maybe know, I have my misgivings about remixes album or remixes project. In this case, I should have better put them aside, even if I received it after months of its official release. Moreover the source for remixers - all prominent names of the underground scene - was so good (the astonishing album "Dead City Voices" by HATI founder Rafa Iwaski a.k.a. X-Navi:Et - maybe his real masterpiece -) that could belong to that kind of stuff that doesn't really need any further treatment. Apart from the delay, I think you should be able to find this collection of six remixes (one for each track of the original album) yet. Maybe the most predictable choices for the makeup of the original tracks were made by Peter Votava aka Pure on "Mutagenocidecadentia" - even if his way of saturating the void a drone of an almost flat frequency by noisy particles is brilliant - and Stara Rzeka (alias of Polish multi-instrumentist Kuba Ziolek and member of Alameda Trio together with Iwaski), who rerouted the obsessively pleasing "Tinnitus Auris" towards 70ies-like guitar-driven psychedelia territories (anyway a sensually fitting choice). Another interesting re-routing is the one by Yannick Franck, who inoculated "1 + 1 = !" (one of the highlights of the original album) into the claustrophobic confinement of an entrancing dark-industrial drone, which is consistent with his sonic researching, but maybe quite far from the sound of its source. The most slamming tracks of "Dead City Voices" ("Schism" and "Luna 369 Park") have been respectively handled by Z'EV, who dissolved the original track into a sort of mesmerizing aural fog, and Mirt, who turned the corrosive properties of the source into a catchy jewel of analog ambient, whose ethereal sounds gradually mutate into a sort of fainting thunder. Last but not least, the additional recipes (distorted field recordings and other encrypted - more or less sinister - resounding entities) that Rapoon put in the hallucinatory and slightly disquieting spleen of "Garden Paradox".

Psicopompo: Synchronicity (Theory of Carl Jung)

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 31 2016
Artist: Psicopompo (@)
Title: Synchronicity (Theory of Carl Jung)
Format: CD
Label: 4iB Records (@)
Rated: *****
Psicopompo is the work of German composer and musician Hermann Kopp on violin, tambourine, and electronics, and Italian noise artist Lorenzo Abattoir, who plays the Shruti Box, Timbal & electronics. According to the label, they took for their inspiration Psicopompo, the death guide that accompanies the dying to the afterworld, and synchronicity, the occurrence of two or more events that appear to be meaningfully related but not causally related. In this composition, they left the results “entirely to chance.” Kopp explains this process further: “In no more than a week we recorded several eight-minute-long improvisations – one of us recording the ‘rhythmic’ part, the other one the ‘melodic’ part, without knowing what would be the final result. The mixing was realized with hardly any effects or post-production, two tracks him, two tracks me.” Cool premise – let’s see what it sounds like. Lorenzo Abattoir opens the disc with “Blackfrock,” a track of static mingled with dissonant drone. Kopp counters with “Trovatore,” which increases the dissonance significantly. Like a bag of angry cats with a hornet’s nest thrown in. These two tracks set the stage for what will come next in the collaborative tracks. “PP1” keeps the dissonance going with the addition of sparse junk percussion, then shifts to quiet, plucked strings before getting noisy again. “PP2” shifts gears with a simple, calm, hypnotic synth line, but with sawtooth waves that still give it an edge. This would almost be peaceful if it were it not for the jagged waveforms. Then the percussion comes crashing in to remind you that you’re walking with a supernatural entity into the afterlife. There is some spoken word buried in the mix, but it is difficult to make out anything. Nicely done. “PP3” is a calmer track, with droning tones interspersed with strings and snare drum. “PP4” finishes the disc off with more strings for a nice, calm ending. Overall, this is an interesting disc that brings some of the experiment into experimental music. The music is engaging and interesting and manages to keep you guessing as to where it will go next. Just when you think that it is starting to mellow out, the noise comes back in. But this is not harsh wall noise. Instead, there is considerable restraint shown here. Well done. This album weighs in at around 67 minutes and is limited to 250 copies.

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