Monday, January 18, 2021
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Music Reviews

TOM OPDAHL: Black Smoker

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Title: Black Smoker
Format: CD
Label: Biophon (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Second release for Geir Jenssen's label, BLACK SMOKER is a very good ambient record. Remembering me the first Biosphere's records the sound of Opdahl is dark, pulsing , hypnotizing, deep and intense. The fourteen tracks melt one into the other in a perfect way (there's no fade in and fade out) and they seems one the direct consequence of the one before. Discovered by Geri Jenssen himself (he listened a demo tape Tom sent him and immediately he decided to produce his first work), Tom Opdahl released a perfect record which balance rhythmic tracks with spacey ones. Mellow sounds, echoes and synthesizer's pads duel with light bleeps and intriguing atmospheres giving to the tracks a touch of mistery which make me like this CD each time more. Try to get your hands on this record because you won't be disappointed: you bet!


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Title: Blutgeld
Format: CD
Label: Noitekk (@)
First full-length cd by this German trio, after a self-released mcd and a few compilation appearances on Black Rain and Nightingale samplers. Cyborg Attack cross electro with low-pitched, quasi black/death metal vocals. My main problem with this kind of crossover is that, besides being not that attractive per se, it seems very, very hard to do it well without being kitsch (while there are examples of good taste and sobriety both in electro and metal, of course). And, moreover, I think this cd gets really repetitive after a couple of tracks, which is not a good sign. Ok, electro is almost always like that, tun-tun-tun etc., but maybe coupling monotonous gruffy vocals is not the best way to make it more varied. Sorry, this was really not my thing.

RASAL.A'SAD: Space.Scape

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Title: Space.Scape
Format: CD
Label: This.Co (@)
I'm really not sure if Rasal.a'sad are a Ras.Al.Ghul side-project, or if someone else is involved, but besides being issued by their label This.Co, I think this cd does have some link with the typical Ras.Al.Ghul sound. Strangely enough, because along the years RAG have mainly worked with rhythms, skillfully blending kraut-electronica, dub, d'n'b and IDM, while this pleasant cd has no beats at all. What it does have is a true feeling of "cosmic music", in this case stripped of any rhythm and expanded in 4 long tracks reaching 50' of length. "Space.Scape" is a beautiful voyage through gulfs of time-erasing sound movements. Only synthetic layers are used, with slow changes and progressions; no external melody or element comes to break the surface. A really accomplished cd of abstract ambient, in the vein of some '70's cosmic courier or even late Coil.

LYS: Roi-lune

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Artist: LYS
Title: Roi-lune
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie/Lytch (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Lys is Prikosnovenie's producer Frédéric's creature, here issuing its first full-length work (after the Nang-Faa project) on the subdivision Lytch, devoted to electronic, trip-hop, ambient and ethnica. Fred takes care of voice, samples, percussions, composition and engineering, with a tribe of guest musicians including Von Magnet's Phil Von, GOR's Francesco Bianchini and Christian Wolz. I must say I was a bit skeptical when I read the "ethnic-trip-hop" definition on the press-sheet, but the cd is definitely a nice surprise. While it actually has an electronic component, the ethnic characteristic (Northern African and Arabian music mainly, I'd say) is prevalent, and it's played with evident passion and good taste. Think of the non-medieval Dead Can Dance, Lisa Gerrard, or Von Magnet – it's remarkable how the acoustic played parts perfectly merge with the programmed ones, and the latter don't sound like an alien element. A good record.

SCENTED MEAT: Music for visual art

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Artist: SCENTED MEAT (@)
Title: Music for visual art
Format: CD
Label: Mah, Boh, Oib? (@)
Scented Meat is Giuseppe Leali, already reviewed as Il Salotto di Nonna Speranza (see archive), bass-player and experimental music agitator with his diy label and distribution Mah, Boh, Oibò?. As the title suggests, these three tracks (coming from 100% improvised guitar and bass solo sessions) are a complement to visual installations by the sculptor Massimo Giuliano and Leali himself. "Altered interference 1" is mainly feedbacks and amps noises with a kind of environmental reverb/delay giving a sense of spatiality; I think it's the best track of the work. "Altered interference 2" is pure feedback hisses in their rawer form. "Not at all" is a bass improvisation, sort of quieter stuff similar to the Nonna Speranza cd. The cd is "voluntarily annoying", and besides that I'd be curious of seeing what kind of visual art it was meant to accompany. Approach only if you like extreme improvised sadomasochism.