Saturday, July 24, 2021
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Music Reviews

Laurent Brondel: Weld

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Artist: Laurent Brondel
Title: Weld
Format: CD
Label: Tone Casualities (@)
Distributor: Proper Sales & Dist.
Here's some really cool shit for the intelligent dancing masses... Originally (and still) a talented Holdsworth-style guitar player, Laurent Brondel will now utilize, warp, meld and weld any available instrument to achieve the aural satisfaction he's after. He says he likes it dark and long and even though the songs rarely go over six minutes, working towards that hypnotic musical recurrence seems to be doing the trick. In this album his Dj skills mixed with a couple of occasional special guests on trumpets (Cuong Vu, whose last album Brondel has produced) and guitars (Fred Consavela), and with the addition of lots of sampling, splicing, (re-)arranging, improvisation etc, give it a nice urban feel but also sort of a global Chemical Bros vibe and sometimes the beautiful trip-hop even reminds you of Massive Attack or Portishead (listen to "21st Century Lounge" and its fire organ samples). When the beat gains speed though, he really dives into the drum 'n' bass territories but seems to be feeling right at home and not just visiting... The tracks are powerful and well programmed, they flow and glow like gems in a crowded dancefloor. Alternating really well done d'n'b with more atmospheric chill-out lounge stuff, the album is complete with so much you'll have your hands full for a while... I've gone through the 13 pieces several times and could discover some new things every time. Turned out to be and exciting listening experience. Personally I really like the album and I think he's got great skills and his break drum'n'bass material is extremely valid! Not everything's about breakbeats only! The sounds are truly nice and punching. The stuff's really dope and reminded me of the times when I was mixing that other super cool live d'n'b human-machine drummer that is Jojo Mayer and his Prohibited Beatz band, who I am mentioning because the most beat-intensive songs on this record are really close to what those NY guys were improvising during their legendary shows. I can't imagine what Jojo and Laurent wouldn't put on fire if they'd team up for a gig!
By the way, look out for three more records by this artist on Statra records.


The Flying Dutchman: Pathfinder

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Artist: The Flying Dutchman (@)
Title: Pathfinder
Format: CD
Label: Tone Casualities (@)
Distributor: Proper Sales & Dist.
First time I've heard The Flying Dutchman it was through Staalplaat I think, in fact, as the name might imply, The Flying Dutchman is a project by a Dutch producer, Mr Hanyo Van Oosterom. When a producer makes an album on his own, you know it outta be good (or at least it should sound good), and I wasn't disappointed throughout the twelve trip-hop and ambient songs. In association indie rock group Spot members Ciska Ruitenber (whose voice reminded me of Jane Siberry, maybe with more vibrato) and Edwin de Herder (guitar), the collective co-wrote many of the songs on this record and performed a well worth blend of ambient and trip-hop. They've been compared to mastermind Bill Laswell as well as to Tricky, Portishead and Massive Attack and Lamb. This record sounds great, I really enjoyed listening to it and you should definitely check it out as soon as you get a chance.


RAS.AL.GHUL: Synmatic Layers

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Artist: RAS.AL.GHUL (@)
Title: Synmatic Layers
Format: CD
Label: This.Co (@)
This must be the fifth cd by the Lisbon duo, and the first one on their recently founded label Thisco. Ras.Al.Ghul are experienced veterans and you can feel that in the perfect balance of beats, programmings and samples of these 10 new tracks. New cinematic soundscapes perfectly merging ambient electronica, dub, drum'n'bass and trance/intelligent techno in mesmerizing compositions of crystalline beauty. If you can imagine Kraftwerk playing songs by African Head Charge by using modern digital equipment, you'll get close to the picture. Just listen to the opening track, with that blend of dub cadences and d'n'b counterpoints. On a sidenote, it seems that this cd is a bit lighter and more dynamic than the previous one, "Sonic Yonic". Great stuff, recommended as always.


CALAN.DRA: Where Did You Go?

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Artist: CALAN.DRA (@)
Title: Where Did You Go?
Format: CD
Label: Trisol (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Personal project of Dust Of Basement's Birgitta Behr, Calan.dra released her first album early this year. WHERE DID YOU GO? has been a pleasant surprise because it has got a good blend of upbeat rhythms, dark melodies and introspective moments. Nothing revolutionary but the elements are well balanced and this is an important thing for every good "recipe". The CD contains ten original tracks as well as three covers (Einsturzende Neubauten's "Blume", Depeche Mode's "Photographic" and Sisterhood's "Rain From Heaven"). The music kinda darkwave-oriented with heavenly femal vocals: some moments are gothic oriented (you know, the ones with dreaming vocals, acoustic sounds and sad atmospheres) while others (like "Why" or "Empty Star") are more electro oriented. I think that Birgitta gives her best on the second kind of tracks because her voice is in contrast with the distorted guitars and the synth based sounds and this creates interesting moments. Unfortunately the gothic based songs are the 70% of the CD but the whole album is quite interesting anyway.


MERZBOW / JAZZKAMMER: Live At Molde International Jazz Festival

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Artist: MERZBOW / JAZZKAMMER
Title: Live At Molde International Jazz Festival
Format: CD
Label: Smalltown Super Sound (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
"Live at Molde International Jazz Festival" is the recording of the event which took place in Molde, Norway the 19th of July 2001 and the three tracks of the lenght of more of ten minutes each are a massive amalgam of electronica and noise, with some drum inserts on the first track and some guitar excerpt on the third. Merzbow needs no introduction because it's twenty years that Masami Akita attacks audience's ears with different form of noise. Instead Jazzkammer exists since 1998 but it's two members Lasse Marhaug and John Hegre have been active in the Norwegian club / noise scene from different years. The forty minutes of this CD are of no easy listening because massive amount of disturbing noises has been used. I can't tell you if I enjoyed these recordings because usually I use headphones to review CDs. The only thing I can say at the moment is: OUCH!