Saturday, September 19, 2020
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Music Reviews

Title: C.D. + Lens Cleaner
Format: 12"
Label: THE CEILING (@)
This odd vinyl record LP comes courtesy of THE CEILING records, one of Canada's buisiest and more interesting independant electronic-oriented labels. The LENS CLEANER TRIO is Jose Marchi on guitars, Marcelo Aguirre on drums and voices, and finally C.D. who provided the synthesis and montage for this release.

"C.D. + Lens Cleaner" is a very different and hard to categorise release, even for a label as diverse as THE CEILING. As far as this reviewer's ears can make out, live improvised sessions were first recorded, then heavily processed and mixed in the studio, creating thus a very experimental and electronic-sounding record, even if the main instrumentation consists of drums and guitar. Perhaps the best and generally safest way to describe this record is a very heavily 70s space-rock influenced record which also plunges head first in today's modern noise and illbient textures.

There are portions of this release which are stronger than others, but if the weak spots are indeed making themselves present, they usually don't last for very long. My personnaly favorite moment is somewhere towards the middle-end of the second side, where a very dense yet relaxing atmopheric wall is created and manipulated.

Printed on black vinyl and with a total playing time of about 35-40 minutes, this release is sure to please folks looking for something different and unclasifyable.

Title: KLAB (phonorecord)
Format: 12"
Distributor: THE CEILING
Those who have followed the evolution of the defunct Canadian label DOOMSDAY TRANSMISSIONS will most probably already be familiar with both THE INFANT CYCLE and DRONAEMENT. Even after DDT became THE CEILING records, one could just as easily accept older catalogue items to familiarise themselves with the sound.

"KLAB (phonorecord)" is a split release for both projects, as well as each project's respective label. Don't think there is any kind of studio intervention here preventing the bands from releasing their true sonic art. In fact, "KLAB (phonorecord)" is quite a treat to folks who may or may not be fans of either labels/projects.

The first side of this vinyl LP features the main sounds of DRONAEMENT (Marcus Murkes), with some added material by TIC (Jim DeJong). The two long tracks on this side ("ER-9 Noise Transmission.wav" and "33 1/3 rpm Acoustic Transmission.wav") flow easily and indiscernably into one another, creating thus a 20 minute audio soundscape of soft-like and textured digital ambience, with some semblance of rhythms poking in here and there for good measure. Perfect late night sleep when there's not too many other noises happening in the vicinity.

Side two is credited to THE INFANT CYCLE, yet the line-up also prominently features DRONAEMENT contributing as much sound sources as TIC. "I-Meant-A-Drone.pop" features more hazy smoke-filled audio soundscaping, but a cut-up funk beat gets the foreground. This repetitive and somewhat hypnotic rhythm is apparently crafted from "manually altered vinyl", which brings to mind what these "D.J."s in club and hip-hop music are supposed to do... except there is nothing DJ or hip-hop about this piece, and the final result is another late-night jam listening experience, but with a bit more beat to keep thing moving.

If you have access to a vinyl/record player and can play it without having too many interuptions, this release is a winner, with top-notch production and great sound quality. Printed on clear vinyl.

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Beyond the Sound
Format: CD
Label: Oltre il Suono (@)
This sampler, subtitled "new ambient-electronic music from Italy", is the physical compendium to the excellent website Oltre il Suono, gathering several Italian underground projects and artists working in the fields of ambient (from dark to ethnic/ritual), experimental electronics and electroacoustic/concrete music. While the site has been constantly expanding, the cd-r, compiled by the trio Biasthon, features a selection of 11 artists, of whom I only knew Amon/Andrea Marutti. I guess that all tracks are exclusive/unreleased. Now, talking about the sounds, I really think it's hard to find such a well-assembled sampler. Music ranges from oppressive dark ambient (Amon, Maath, Nefelheim... ) to field recording manipulations and electroacoustic (Car, Logoplasm), from cosmic music (Regivar) to mesmerizing ethnic atmospheres (Ku), but these "tags" are often oversimplifications, since most artists seem to actually cross boundaries and opt for oblique approaches – see for example Anofele (who also collaborate with Car), Alessandro Fogar and Nimh (alias Giuseppe Verticchio, main responsible for Oltre il Suono, here offering a mix of live sounds from the streets of Teheran and abrasive analogue synth patterns). Throughout the whole compilations, emphasis is focused on pure sound experimentation, with almost no melody at all, except for a really brief hint at the end of Regivar's "Visioni" and the more "humane" approach of Ku – so expect gloomy atmospheres and often alien, disquieting sounds. A must if you're even remotely interested in deep listenings and aural experimentation, and a healthy portrait of Italian underground... Check this out and visit the site, where you can find lots of info about the artists, with sound clips provided. I hope a second volume of the cd will be compiled soon.

Artist: Muslimgauze (@)
Title: untitled
Format: CD
Label: Muslimlim (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
And here we go again with Muslimgauze. Almost 150 releases in 20 years (this would be no.127). After a series of sold-out limited edition releases (such as the four LP box set called "Tandori Dog", a nine CD box called "Box of Silk and Dogs", the "Iranian Female Olympic Table Tennis Team Theme" CD packed on a table tennis paddle etc) for which there is a subscription plan with discounts available from Staalplaat, this untitled CD (Muslimlim 028) with a red-filtered picture of people around a fire on the cover, presents ten songs with repetitive low-freq dub/d'n'b electronic bass lines, minimal original percussions, some other more electro-percussive patterns, enchanting middle-eastern female vocal lines, occasional instruments that sound like an indian sitar or a flute and this pretty much constant distortion in the background. The entire album has this low-fi thing going. I don't know if that is a choice (you never know what people do or intend to achieve with their records when you deal with experimental music) or if it is just how these records were found/mentained/archived after his death. Besides the permanent thin statics in the background (like if you were listening to a poor quality radio station or to streaming highly compressed mp3 or real audio files...) there are distant things you almost can't hear and especially in the first song there are these extremely annoying interferences (the sound gets very loud all of a sudden for just a second and then goes back into a volume that you thought was normal level, but that is probably a lot attenuated if you consider these peeks that come and go as your normal 0dB level). Also the sounds sometimes peeks and distorts or goes to the left side of your stereo speakers for a bunch of seconds... It's very weird, but considering that the bass line pretty much seems constant it would make sense if they told me that it's been overdubbed or that those spikes are intentional... Anyway, this is it. I guess you can consider this to be the normal Muslimgauze playing with distortion as if it was another musical mean to experiment with, pushing minimal percussion patterns to the edge of saturation, using subtle disturbances as a tool to stress people's listening experience and pushing the limits one step further, or maybe I should say 5dBs up! It's hard to relate to Muslimgauze's discography in terms of "evolution" since we (or at least I) don't really know whether this record is old or new, if you know what I mean... But my last thought definitely goes to the Middle-East, where blood-baths in the name of a dead christian god, western civilization, financial power and world domination are taking place every day for the past decades and nobody cares. Nobody knows what Muslimgauze would have to say about it... And please let's not forget that that was the very thing his music was inspired by and was all about... Let's not think for a moment that Muslimgauze is just music In fact it's so much more than that, so much that lately, with all what is happening, he would probably be inspired for the rest of his life, if he only was still alive... Let's hope the madness stops and ALL people learn what respect is, how to use it and act with a little more intelligence to put an end to this useless and bloody conflict.

Artist: Jorome Noetinger & Lionel Marchetti
Title: Mort Aux Vaches
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
1966-class Joerome Noetinger (member of Cellule d'Intervention Metamkine, Mimeo and founder of Metamkine label and mailorder) and one year younger Lionel Marchetti (musique concrete composer and improviser for a number of different labels, including Noetinger's Metamkine) have been working together since 1993 as a duo or with other musicians. This CD (for the Mort Aux Vaches series) is what they call «absolute permanent anything», or improvisation with electro-acoustical sources and devices made of pieces and trifles without an external PA. This whole record is totally improvised and is living around low thin cutting ultra high pitched sounds, sporadic weird and wild noises and other almost inaudible things... The spectrum (rather amplitude-wise than frequency-wise) of this record is wide but its majority is low in volume so you tend to pump up the volume until you get scared by some piercing loud screaming larsen... Even though it seems to be overall fairly compressed, ifyou don't have good ears don't even bother with this 'cause there is stuff around 15kHz that you probably won't even hear if you've been listening to loud rock'n'roll during your younger age... ;-)


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