Spime.Im- as far as I can tell it’s pronounced as a collision between “space” and “time”, which then rhymes with “I’m”- are a four piece of Davide Tomat, Gabriele Ottino, Stefano Maccarelli and Marco Casolati. It seems Tomat and Ottino are mostly responsible for the music, though Maccarelli’s ‘creative coding’ certainly could have come into play sonically. I’d only encountered one of Tomat’s albums before- the utterly excellent “01-06 June”- so it was a name I was happy to see again.
Zero is a compact and frantic 4-track EP which just explodes with glitchy electronic energy. After the Aphex Twin-ish deliberate false leads and sudden rhythm jumps of “Zero19”, “Zero4” is three minutes of unadulterated mania- the artistic and electronica equivalent of happy hardcore. “Zero8” is somewhat more atmospheric, letting hollow-sounding tones run slightly longer but still with plenty of noise work flitting around on top, and “Zero9” equally pulls between breathing space and the border with insanity.
Apparently the Spime.Im project is as much about immersive audio-video experiences and 3D art as it is about the sonic result. The present day lockdown surely clips their wings somewhat at the moment, but concentrating on the sounds alone, it’s a packed and very likeable 16 minutes that feels like the equivalent of giving your ears an invigorating shower, complete with abrasive scrub. Parts of it ought to be painful but overall it’s very satisfying.
Natt is one half of Dren, whose "Time & Form" was reviewed on this pages last year, and this release describes him as the industrial side of the duo. "A Better Place" is an EP mostly focused on the stream of post industrial based on loop and field sounds and has a to to black metal, as hinted in the artwork, in aim to push the boundaries of the genre.
The first track, "Tanzmusik", opens this release with a slow and heavy beat and a noisy loop which are the foundation of a track which evolves in a balance between stillness and movement as dynamics and space are used to build a musical development. "A Better Place" is instead less industrial and more oriented towards an hypnotic form based on repetition and loops vaguely reminiscent of Meddle East's sound. "An End in Itself" is a menacing track were the loops evolves with a subtle sonic development. "Can't Make New Memories" closes this release with a quiet and slow melodic line which is an effective sonic departure from the other tracks while maintaining the same structure so it maintains cohesion.
This is a release more oriented towards the construction of an atmosphere rather than on musical development, so fans of this music will appreciate this release and wait for the full length release. A really nice release.
Simon Crab is one of the artists I followed always with interest and excitement through the years since I stumbled upon the first Bourbonese Qualk LP which opened my ears in many directions at once. Stylistically never easy to pin down but with a straightforward diy attitude, running own labels, squatting in the early days, experiencing life behind the iron curtain as band, new software the whole lot is not for the narrow minded.
Since BoQu disbanded in 2002 he released one ambient / field recording album with Sunseastar and two under his own name, the latest more electronically orientated on Klanggalerie in 2018.
But singles are pretty rare in his whole history so I was curious when this limited edition 10" on a tiny independent label from Lyon was announced. All the aesthetics of early independent DIY releases are here again in 2020 - no artwork besides the label images, no cover - just a plain black inner-sleeve to fit in a blank one, sparse information and no distractions.
"Kodokushi" is actually a Japanese word for lonely deaths that occur so lonely that the people remain undiscovered for a long time. At first a strange title for a peaceful 4 Min. 11 seconds track, slow beats, dripping sounds, calm atmospheric sounds and echos. While there is no specific tenison build-up it has enough movement to keep one wondering why it's not a few minutes longer.
The close to 8 Min. remix on the b-side by Tolouse Low Trax (actually Detlef Weinrich from Kreidler) is a tribal
dub workout, missing musically the distanced clarity of the original and placing the whole track in the swamps of Babylon. Distant voices lost in the dystopian somewhere.
This is a release which gains with each listening and found me returning to quite often during the last months as it slips perfect between other releases both as a break and a bridge.
Liquid Time is a new 3-track downtempo-near-ambient EP from Eric Shans, whose album as Fermion is excitingly just around the corner, and it serves as a bit of a warm-up- or calling it a warm-down is perhaps more appropriate, as its very much the epitome of chill out. In Hole Heart some well balanced happy-sad chords loop over the gradual introduction of a slow single note bass, tinkling piano and atmospherics that gradually step away to reveal some nicely arranged low synth strings. Its deceptively simple, but beautifully done. The reverb-laden guitar of Ethereal Liquid is a little more songwriter-y, a nearly conventional ballad sound backed with piano and more string-pad chords, and it plays quite oddly next to a near-constant bubbling environmental sound. Theres a slight risk that this one will send some listeners to the toilet. Final track Broken Curve, with its delay-covered harp sounds, bleepy noises and synth-choir, feels somehow much more of a throwback piece that channels the spirit of 90s balearic, wistful and open-air yet synthetic, a classic rave comedown sort of vibe. This is the track which most obviously indicates that 3Bridge Elements is a downtempo sister label to the more club-orientated 3Bridge. Stick the right beat and bassline under this and youd have an undiscovered 1996-ish hands in the air trance track on your hands. Some interesting coarser sounds that feel slightly akin to distant radio broadcasts give a little extra texture in the second half. Its a picturesque three pack of feel-good, downtempo instrumental pieces from a prolific and reliable source.
After last year’s release “Orc”, which I praised for its finely balanced treatment of electronic emotion and raw noise, Giona Vinti is back with a longer and more expansive series of deep electronic soundscapes and rough-textured abstract scenes. This time around there’s a little bit more patterning and even some rhythms. There are also a few shades of acoustic instrumentation (including a bansuri flute and a jaw harp-variant dan-moi), but it’s a natural progression that’s predominantly electronic keeps the darkest production qualities at heart.
The expansive ambient texture of opener “Afyonkarahissar” serves as a prelude to the long, relentless drumming of “Divina Ossessione”, which has an Alvin Lucier-esque sense of gradual deterioration, with the tribal-style rhythm initially cutting through cleanly but gradually devolving through feedback, reverb and shifting EQ. Vinti then takes this to the next level by twisting and tuning the feedback even further.
The ‘dub’ in the title of “Il Giardino delle Delizie (in dub)” seems to refer to the delay effect that echoes the sparse drums sounds into the distance while a strangely squeaky, almost duck-call like and possibly improvised melody meanders over the top- very strange out of context, but in the middle of this album, valid to the point of feeling normal. It contrasts nicely against the bleepier, lighter, more fragile-sounding frame of “A Colloquio con il Veglio della Montagna”, a 17-minute excursion that sounds like a kind of broken Tangerine Dream at times, in a good way, and which again deconstructs itself towards noise over time.
This in turn leads into the screamier “La Quiete prima della Catastrofe”, the album’s most awkward moments, with uncomfortable chaos and an almost anachronistic patternless techno sub-kick.
This is a concept album that theoretically tells the fictional story of a European man around 1100AD on a journey to Persia to find Hassan-i Sabbah, leader of the Hashishin (the source of the word “assassin”), but being fully instrumental and electronic, you’d be very hard pushed to make that connection without reading the promo sheet. There’s a certain filmic, spacious road movie vibe that makes sense in association, and some of the acoustic instrumentation could be said to give a slight Persian flavour at a stretch- most notably in final piece “Ritorno ad Afyonkarahissar”- but to be honest I would say don’t worry about the story- there’s more than enough to enjoy in the music abstractly without feeling like it has to be tied to a tale.
It’s also part of a concept series on Elli Records called “In The Room”, a series of releases where the artwork is a one-sixteenth part of larger piece- so theoretically if you bought them all on Bandcamp in the right order, you could see the whole painting on your profile, though it would take dedication to get that to work accurately! It’s a fast-turnaround series, putting out releases almost as soon as they’re ready, which has limited the opportunity to review them, but there is certainly a lot of quality material in the series and it’s worth monitoring further.