Saturday, May 30, 2020

Music Reviews

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Golden Dolphin - Music for Turin vol​.​1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Delete Recordings

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This is a compilation with current music from Turin to support musicians and listeners equally. Delete Recordings first digital only release after a series of limited tapes + download due to the current crisis.

Some of this tracks like Enrico Degani's Acoustic Guitar Piece "Perfect Prison", Naturmorta's experimental ballad "Meaning Of Reality" as well as the dramatic Ondalunga Instrumental and "Ouroboros" (the snake that bites it's own tail) by Luca Purum Nihil directly reflect the general mood of these past months; loss of the everyday routines and it's safety, isolation, insecurity, unexpected changes & doubts and fear.
Ramon Moro's "Mediaval Ballad" is reminiscent of the darkest age of the plague, perhaps intended as a funeral march to accompany the lost. Paul Beauchamp's "River Of Gold" works nearly as an continuation of the same theme - dripping electronic sounds in an electronic river. Flowing somewhere - but the Gold is hard to find nowadays.
The final 3 tracks by Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, Lo Dev Alm and Selfimperfectionist with DsorDNE take a look into a brighter future yet to come with exotic soundscapes and electronic movements. "These Days" as final track with its swirling sequences and a decent tech-house groove is a perfect outlook to better days to come.

This collection is dedicated to the spirit of the city and it's lively music culture, of course mastered in Turin (at O.F.F. Studios by Marco Milanesio, like all other Delete releases). I would happily listen to a Volume 2 as I would jump in the Golden Dolphin whenever the chance comes along.

Artist: Tresque
Title: Ereignisse (part.2)
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: -OUS
A few months ago I praised the first installment of Geneva-based Tresque’s “Ereignisse” for offering up a small pack of techno that “sounds both simple and fresh at the same time”, taking relatively conventional sound sources and rhythms but assembling them with enough character to make them stand out from the crowd.

Part 2, happily, continues in much the same vein, offering up three more techno instrumentals that are in some senses quite flat, and mid-techno-set DJ friendly, but with their own voice.

The groove loop on “Hanyatias” reminds me of some classic Josh Wink assemblies, where the actual layout of each bar seems almost silly but if you repeated it often enough, and tweak it just at the right times, it becomes infectious and danceable. The squeaky up-down bass and offbeat clap that rolls into the next kick ought not to work, but it does.

“Souke” adopts a 12/8 rhythm that feels more industrial, and gives me another throwback comparison, this time to T. Raumschmiere, but without as much aggression, while final track “Rauheit” is brighter, almost poppy-sounding, but still purposeful and nicely straight-laced.

Again it’s deceptively simple stuff, but it’s pitched perfectly to make it really compelling.

Artist: João Vairinhos
Title: Vénia
Format: Tape & Digital Download
Label: Regulator Records (@)

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João Vairinhos has a past as drummer in hardcore, doom and drone bands and projects in the portugese underground, as have both his guests who add Synthesizers.
All tracks of his solo debut EP lean towards a cinematographic monumentalism. Rhythms come and flow into epic parts of electronic walls of sounds but a certain bleakness and industrial wasteland feel can't be denied.
He uses his experience and imagination to build up tracks for maximal impact, none of them is below 8 Minutes in length without being too long.
Especially the title track “Vénia” (Bow), the only one spiced up with a few vocal samples and an astonishing clear melodic sequecence appearing is impressing.
His music is fearless, powerful and pictoral - not very far away from Scorn or Coil in some ways, which is a good thing.

Artist: Jace Mek ft. Clarity
Title: Elevate
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Country Club Disco
Elevate is a squelchy bit of EDM with a lovely bounce and swagger. The original version, which has a somewhat radio-ready structure (but not radio-friendly lyrics), has a lovely balance between the rubbery bass and breathy spoken-word mantra (“I can’t think straight, think I’m ‘bout to elevate”) over a confident 126bpm groove, and covers a lot of ground across post-dubsteppy grooves and a surprisingly long melodic breakdown at the two minute mark.

Both the remixes take a more traditional DJ-friendly structured approach, with simpler straighter house rhythms. Curtiba keeps things super-steady, with a walking bassline and trustworthy clap groove (but DJ’s beware the promo has twenty seconds of silence at the end!). Lister UK also keeps things on well-trodden house ground, making nice use of the rolling chords, and throwing in a couple of extra synth lines, including a completely out-of-nowhere shortlived and one-off riff at 2:48 that constitutes the release’s only real surprise.

Steady, middle-ground house music with a slightly forced mantra, it’s workmanlike EDM and house that doesn’t feel particularly inspired but which will definitely keep things moving.

Artist: ED1999
Title: Original Sin
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Porpax
Original Sin is a 4-track techno EP with a gritty and direct industrial feel. Over staccato pulsing synth basslines and simple driving kicks and snares roll a relatively sparse collection of upper elements.

“Pandemonium” has the classic gravelly industrial shout-sung vocal on it, but washed in so much delay and looping that it becomes indistinct, more of a tone than a message. “Straight Outta Hell”’s repeated sinister chants of ‘we are ancient’ are initially clearer, over a faster and more aggressive beat, before opening up into a throat-smashing thrash metal-esque vocal.

“Evil Disorder” is a highlight for me as it feels like a throwback- in a good way- to the energetic trance-techno crossovers of the ‘90s, letting synth and acid high notes off the leash on a slow and sparse journey in the higher register whilst the drums pound hard underneath. It’s a technique that’s repeated in a more low-end-heavy way in final track “The Furnace”.

It’s formula stuff in one way, but it’s nicely executed and produced, and in the aspects where it seems retro, it manages to pull it off.


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