Music Reviews



Jan 22 2006
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Artist: JOZEF VAN WISSEM
Title: Objects in mirror are closer than they appear
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Bvhaast (@)
Distributor: Toondist
Rated: *****
The list of instruments includes lute, field recordings and electronics (lute is the dominant one), it may appear explicit but it doesn't say everything. With a cover like that, the obvious conclusion is this cd could be filed under classical/traditional music, sure, Jozef Van Wissem talks about classical studies in the booklet, but that's a reactualization of classical music and it's also full of grace. These "palindrome" pieces (which sounds the same played forwards and backwards) sometimes are really severe but every once in a while are twisted and their medieval (?) root becomes almost "contemporary-solo-performing". I imagine all of you are left wondering what the hell is this: "contemporary-solo-performing"...mmm...I'd say with that "self-made neologism" I just wanted to classify all that performers like Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, Augusto Parra, Fred Frith (just to name a few) that in some of their solo records have a learned style to which this musician is pretty close. Van Wissem's music has this strong classical accent but is also brilliantly mixed with an odd/abstract feel. Despite the obvious differences these litanies can be compared to those of Amber Asylum (except for songs of "sex and death") if it was not for the fact they have a different line up and they also sound darker. The title betrays a use of field recordings and electronics that by the way is really light, notwithstanding that "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear" is fresh and incredibly inspired. If the guys at Neurot recorings could have the chance to give a listen to this cd, I'm sure Van Wissem would appear in the guest musicians of the next Neorosis or Von Till/Kelly's solo. I suggest this record to many kind of listeners, including those with a strong goth taste, but it could be an interesting experience for many kind of music lovers. Recommended.

Morgan: ...and the moon was hungry...

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 19 2006
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Artist: Morgan (@)
Title: ...and the moon was hungry...
Format: CD
Label: Obscura records
Rated: *****

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Formerly know as Morgan Grace, the now addressed as just Morgan, is at her full length debut (after an EP), which was also produced by the Wizard of Oz (Liz Phair). Described as a "love child of of Trent Reznor and Blonde Redhead" I can definitely see where that's coming from, in fact the opening track is almost a clone of the typical NIN slow-distorted piano pieces' vibe. This CD is very various and gives her an opportunity to be all over the place and show her chops in different areas. Having been classically trained on the piano from the age of 4 with the Suzuki method (little theory, lots of ear training) and, more recently, on the cello as well (by Eels' cell player Ana Lenchantin), Morgan is definitely a hands-on woman, who played a lot in her record (besides signing of course) and who is in control and knows what she wants and how to achieve it (surely, in great part, thanks to the producers involved). Her vision of combining industrial-rock and classical music, must definitely be close to what this sounds like. Piano parts, cello arrangements, dramatic and operatic pieces, cinematic moods, ethereal feel, noisy beats, electronic textures, guitars and the whole nine yards are just some of the elements that make up for " ...and the moon was hungry...", a record that could be described as NIN meets Evanescence and Blonde Redhead. As for her vocals, she is very versatile and flexible, and as long as you like rich female voices such as the ones of Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Judith Owen, Amy Lee, Kate Bush, Kirsty Hawkshaw or even Yvonne Ducksworth, at times, then you'll definitely find your peace with Morgan.The CD also includes a live track. Morgan's keeping busy: she is now touring and recently landed a part on Harry Potter's trailer. She's also writing her first poetry book and hand-makes a line of custom merchandise (pins, dolls etc). Definitely what you call an all around complete artist.

AD OMBRA: Smaragdine

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 19 2006
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Artist: AD OMBRA (@)
Title: Smaragdine
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Rated: *****
The Ad Ombra project is a solo concept/performance composed and played by George D. Stanciulescu with the help of Maximilian Lupu for what concerns orchestration. Even if it's symphonic music, it's probably played via computer or with keyboards, I'm not such a great fan of this kind of things but that's just a personal opinion. The orchestral result of these seven movements pays indirectly (or directly...who knows) tribute to many great composers like Morricone, Bryars or Nyman, but since I don't want to be misunderstood consider I'm referring just to their soundtrack works and above remember this' symphonic. "Smaragdine" is undeniably filmic, I think it's a pity it hasn't been recorded with a real orchestra (or that's what it seems to me) 'cause the whole suite is affected by a low-quality sound. Ludwig Van Beethoven influences mixed with Tchaikovsky? For what I know I'd say: yesss...some samples coming from Bresson, Greenway and the divine Pasolini add an extra filmic feel to the music. Sad, emphatic and well structured, I think Stanciulescu should work with movie directors, but this record is a bit weak, sorry.

PINKNRUBY: Garden

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 12 2006
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Artist: PINKNRUBY (@)
Title: Garden
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****
Three years have passed from the previous Pinknruby album titled "The vast astonishment". In the meanwhile Pinknruby worked hard to record their new one, GARDEN. Since the first listening the most evident thing is the increased Brazilian influence on the duo's music (just listen to "Zanamajo" or "Jakdo"). Half of the tracks of the new album show South American influences but as usual there are also Eastern Europen influences (the opening "Broceliande", "White lady mirror" or "Kislica"). As far as I can hear the acustic solutions took an hold on the electronic arrangements and the result is even more rarefied respect what I remember of the old album. This isn't a bad thing but you've got to calm down and you have to try to give yourself to the music. Only then you'll appreciate Pinknruby. If you loved the Cocteau Twins influenced stuff, you'll find "Zeleno" with its soft echoing and the acustic arpeggios. On the CDrom section of the CD there's also a video track you can enjoy.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis: The Proposition (original soundtrack)

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 11 2006
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Artist: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Title: The Proposition (original soundtrack)
Format: CD
Label: Mute
Rated: *****

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Chain D.L.K. is proud to present to our faithful readers the latest release by Nick Cave (with Bad Seeds member and The Dirty Three front-man Warren Ellis), to be released on Mute February 21st: "The Proposition" is the original soundtrack to the movie of the same name, accepted into 2006 Sundance Film Festival; and what is so special about the movie and the soundtrack is that they were BOTH written by Nick Cave himself. Cave is, needless to say, a prolific and extraordinary writer; as in songwriter (obviously, with The Bad Seeds and The Birthday Party), book writer ("And the Ass saw the Angel") and now screenplay writer (even though "And the Ass saw the Angel" actually was initially meant to be a film script, and he had also written some dialogue for Hillcoat's previous "Ghost... of the Civil Dead"), in addition to soundtrack music writer ("Ghost... of the Civil Dead") and actor too. An all around outstanding, super-talented artist, who, when faced with the challenge to write an entire film's story and dialogue, masterfully rose to the occasion and delivered an intense, extremely well articulated and well told, interesting, engaging and beautiful story that takes place in Cave's very own lawless Australia of the 1880'es, where two out of three brothers wanted for rape and murder are caught by a local law enforcer who jails the youngest and offers the other the option (hence, the proposition...) to save him from death sentence by tracking down and killing the oldest, yet uncaught, renegade and violent-perpetuating brother.

Before we dwell into more information about the movie, I'd like to spend a few words on what most of our readers are probably most interested in ultimately: the music. We all know that when Cave and Ellis work together magical heights are seemingly effortlessly reached, but in this case they possibly went a step further together to re-define the spontaneity of raw beauty and the realism of timeless interpretation. Ellis' violin arrangements are devine and sophisticated, yet minimal and primitive, even slightly de-tuned to enhance that specific quality that remains with the music of our ancestors. Their melancholic and evocative essence majestically balances out with the minimalist choice of instruments and arrangements that the two composers wholeheartedly adopted and perfectly adapted and synced to the on-screen action and tale. Cave's muttered vocal contributions are few and far between to interact with the dialogues that he wrote for the story, a job that he has performed outstandingly, in respect to accent-specific localizations and the time-sensitive historic placement. String arrangement intensive, very acoustic, hardly ever electric or even "digital", deep, powerful, rattling, cycling, improvisational and fragmented, droning and theme-recurring, ancient and ghostly, sad and perpetual. For those who expect a Bad Seeds or a Dirty Three record, "The Proposition" will reveal itself as a surprisingly different, and in my opinion, not nearly disappointing effort at commenting the landscape and the fury within. For those who can read the beauty in the minor keys, "The Proposition" has so much to offer and so little to disappoint you with, that you won't be able to take it off your CD player.
I basically have nothing bad good words for this movie or its soundtrack.

I thought my John Wayne days were over, but this film made me re-discover the beauty of the old western movie tales. It was directed by Cave's friend John Hillcoat ("The Blonde's Date with Death" and "Frankie and Johnny", as well as music videos for Cave, INXS, Depoche Mode, Robert Plant, Placebo, Muse, Manic Street Preachers etc) who did a great job (together with the director of photography) at capturing the hot, dry and lonely land of Australia, with its yellow-ish/sepia colors, its unbearable heat, its dust and sand and its flies... His stunning vision, which bends and adapts to the raw and realistic violence and to some of the movie's crudest blood-splattered scenes, was complemented and aided by a crew of five exceptional mostly Australian producers with experience in the music industry, photography and the film industry.

The amazing (almost entirely Australian) cast includes: Guy Pearce ("The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert", "LA Confidential", "Memento", "The Hard Word", "Seven Years in Tibet", "The Time Machine", "The Count of Monte Cristo", "Two Brothers"), Ray Winstone ("Quadrophenia", "Nil By Mouth", "Face", "The War Zone", "Sexy Beast", "King Arthur", "Ripley's Game", "Cold Mountain" and several TV shows), Danny Huston ("The Constant Gardener", "Alpha Male", "Marie Antoniette", "The Aviator", "21 Grams", "Silver City", "Fade to Black"), John Hurt ("The Dwarfs", "Krapp's Last Tape", "Crime and Punishment", "The Naked Civil Servant", "Midnight Express", "The Elephant Man", "Captain Corelli's Mandolin", "Love and Death on Long Island", "Miranda", "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", "Afterplay", "Shooting Dogs"), David Wenham ("Lord of the Rings", "Van Helsing", "Moulin Rouge!", "The Brush Off"), Emily Watson ("Breaking the Waves", "Hilarie and Jackie", "Wah Wah", "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" as well as TV and theater).


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