Saturday, September 19, 2020
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Music Reviews

Artist: Barry Adamson + Panasonic (Pan sonic)
Title: S/T (Motorlab #3)
Format: CD
Label: Kitchen Motors (@)
Distributor: Kitchen Motors
A match made in a frozen hell, Barry Adamson and the Finnish duo Panasonic (now known as Pan sonic) release another difficult release on the Kitchen Motors label, notorious for its highly experimental and non-user-friendly releases.

This odd release is built around the concept of having the Kitchen Motors crew perform a brain scan on the Icelandic electronic pioneer composer Magnùs Blöndal Jòhannsson. While drifting betwwen slumber and in-between conciousness, Kitchen Motors had Jòhannsson listen to the so-called "music" on this CD. Whether the brain scan was later added as an audio track to any piece on this CD is unknown, but an interesting idea to juggle.

The first piece is the lengthy "The Hymn Of The 7th Illusion", written and performed by Adamson and Panasonic. The choir arrangements and manipulation by Adamson is oddly disconcerning at first, especially when cut back and forth with Panasonic minimal low-end electronics. As the piece slowly proggresses (impatient people be warned!), the mix become more homogenious; the choir is manipulated to effortlessly mix into the electronic components. Very dark, somewhat scary, and strangely subversive.

The second track is a 20 second intermission simply called "". It is mainly a 15 second sniplet of analogue silence (you can hear the hum of recorded silent machine), with a deep breath at the very last few moments.

The third piece is an incredibly long, crazy, schidzophrenic and deffinatly not radio-friendly Halfler Trio remix entitled "The Illusion Of The 7th Hymn". Some will argue that the piece is not a remix per se but a re-interpretation of the first track, completelly re-recorded by The Halfler Trio. Others will sustain that the piece is but a remix, and therefore shouldn't be considered a stand-alone track per se. Others who are less concerned with such matters will be immersed in a world beyond normal electronic listening. The choir elements from the first track are greatly manipulated and re-worked, transforming the human/organic sounding element into a machine trying to imitate a human element. More whacky and unclassifyable electronic elements are thrown in, with ambient-like segways that seperate more sequence/rhythmic-oriented portions of this piece. At a later point (15 minutes or so into the song itself), fans of Panasonic will get a short but memorable glimpse of more typical Panasonic-esque movements, with added dystopian elements which will make the volume control very handy.

Although deffinatly not everyone's cup of tea, this CD is a must for fans of very difficult and nerve-wrenching electronic manipulations, without ever falling into the realm of pure harsh noise. The only drawback is the CD's short running time: 35 minutes.

Packaged in a beautiful "digipak" with photographic inserts contained within.

Artist: VROMB
Title: Épisodes
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
The long overdue and highly anticipated new full-length album by Montréal's very Vromb is finally available. Once again released by Ant-Zen Records, "Épisodes" takes the good Doctor Heurel "Glugloïde" Gaudot's scientific experiments one step further.

"Épisodes"'s theme is somewhat blurred to those not yet familiar with Vromb's natural proggression and evolution. While Hugo Girard provides all sonic and audio excursions, his mechanical and electronic renderings are also based on and using recorded voice tapes by Dr. Gaudot. Seperated into four main episodes (each including four pieces), and sandwitched between a prologue ("Le Thème") and an epilogue ("Générique"), the format prooves to be quite the sonic journey.

Once the album begins with "Le Thème", we are off into an introspective audio excursion which comes to and fro the background of audible/unaudible sound. The first episode is called "Vision Stoboscopique" and quickly puts the listener into the right frame of mind. An introductory segment by Dr. Gaudot is followed by static intermissions and rhythm-heavy experimentalism. Episode two is "Le Temps À Vitèsse Variable" and features a difficult yet precisely executed mixture between a slow-moving synthscape and frantic speeded sequencing compositions. Only Vromb can try and succeed at this! Next comes "L'objet Synchronisateur", the third episode. By this time, both the listener and Dr. Gausot are getting into deep sounds, each wave segways into another electronic movement. The fourth and final episode, "Mouvement Multiplicatif" prooves to be the most experimental of them all, with sounds multiplying themsleves (as the title of the episode suggests) to a mass of deep, dense electronic drones and rhythms.

We close off the episodes with "Générique", which basically serves as the end titles sections, if this CD was in fact a motion picture.

While a few other Vromb fans have told me they were left unsatisfied with "Épisodes", I find the CD to be enjoyable for the most part. As always, Vromb's sound is constantly evolving, so perhaps the subtle changes from release to release isn't as tantalising to certain fans as it may be to Vromb himself. As for myself, I found "Épisodes" to be as good, if not superior to some of his previous work.

Released in three formats:
a) Generic jewel plastic case/regular packaging
b) Metal sliver box, which a bonus 5" vinyl record which includes two unreleased pieces ("Cercle" and "Cylindre"). This specially-sized vinyl record will not play on automatic turn tables.
c) Deluxe full-sized triple vinyl LP in heavy-duty carboard box packaging. The four main episode segments are featured on the two 12" records, while the intro ("Le Thème") and prologue ("Générique") are seperated onto a third, 7" record.

Again, the artwork and visual graphic design was perfectly executed by Bio-Z, mixing the tones of grey, silver, and black in perfect unison.

Artist: VROMB
Format: CD
Label: Pflichtkauf
Distributor: Pflichtkauf
Hugo Girard, the main human element behind the project Vromb, has had various delays and setbacks concerning the release of his latest full-length album. As his fans became more and more impatient, Hugo decided to release a 40 minute EP (of sorts) featuring 5 new pieces, exclusive to this release.

I was personally warned by Girard himself that the tracks contained in "Interlüder" featured some of his more commercially-viable/user-friendly material to date. Heeding the warning, I carefully immersed myself in another Vromb environment, quickly figuring out why Hugo labeled his own CD as "more commercial". It appears the ever-evolving Vromb has decided to try a crack at generic and club-oriented basic rhythm patterns. Has he succeeded? It all depends on the listener's point of view.

I can't speak for other Vromb fans, but the so-called "user-friendly" aspect of this release wasn't prominent through the dense and ever-shifting waves of electronic ambiences, sequences, and generally high-tech/low-brow to actually merit a specific labelling. Granted, folks who did not like Vromb's "shift" between his first and second albums will probably not be too impressed by "Interlüder", but if you enjoy the repetitive techno "thump" with your electro-insectoïdal drones, then you'll be in Vromb paradise with this release.

Seperated in two blocks, the five pieces of this CD are at times similar to each other (in terms of basic structuration) , yet retain enough unique originality to be easily identifyable between each other. A deffinite must for all Vromb fans, and highly recommended as a starting point if you are not yet familiar with the Vromb sound. My personnal highlight is the minimal "Carnaval", which reminds this reviewer of a distant and mechanical re-interpretation of the carnavals in Rio.

Format: CD
Label: Apogee Recordings / The Ceiling (@)
Distributor: The Ceiling + Wreck Age
THis wonderful little CD packaged in a simple yet highly effective (and postage-friendly) pouch concists mainly of of older recordings, originally released on "The 731 Doorways" cassette, from The Ceiling (ex-DDT). One piece ("Sonic Recourse") was previously released on the "Xcreteria volume one" compilation tape, and another ("Basements") was released both on the "Anathemata" compilation tape and later as a re-worked version on the band's "A Grainy Shade Of Ambient" 12" EP. One piece ("Bubonic Horse") is previously unreleased.

Essentially, those who missed out on the limited print run of "The 731 Doorways" cassette can get up to speed with this CD, while those who were lucky enough to get a copy of the original tape will find that the sound quality as well as the "bonus material" on this CD is superior to that of the original cassette. Perhaps the mixing was performed slightly different, affecting thus the final sound.

CHRONIC REMORSE was Paul Verman and Jim DeJong. If I'm not mistaken, they both decided to release "studio" material after a few live performances which prooved the dynamic between the two was right. In any case, "The Short Wave Appreciation Society" offers the listener very eerie and dark oscillating sound waves, textures, and alot of noise processing and, yes, radio transmissions. A difficult listen but well rewarded with originality and energy. Much harsher when compared to the "A Grainy Shade Of Ambient" EP, yet the movement and audio texture push this release beyond the realm of pure harsh noise, yet will please fans of the later who are open-minded about their noise.

Artist: DELPHIUM (@)
Format: 7"
Label: THE CEILING (@)
Although the one-maned project known as DELPHIUM is usually categorised in the dark-wave experimental slow industrial rhythm section, the "Darkfloor EP" (released by THE CEILING) represents a new turn in the band's already varied discography.

This EP features three seperate pieces, each with its own clour and flavour, if you will. "Green Lane With Delphium" features very oddly cut-up drum-n-bass / jungle beats, with some phat and freaky synth lines and sequences to add more rhythmic dynamic to the mix. Slightly too off the edge to be anywhere club friendly. The other two pieces ("Bleep 27" and "Kill.All.Scooter.Riders.") feature more weird cut-ups and keyboard manipulation, but the techno-influenced beats are somewhat more straightfoward in their delivery. Yet, even with a rather "simple" and repetitive drum track, the songs can't be played in normal discotheques unless the DJ wishes to clear the room of all house-music lovers.

In essence, this reviewer can't really think of any other category to put this little gem into, but I have faith that people into a different, more edgy techno D&B will find this release to their liking. I certainly did!


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