Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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Music Reviews

Infrastructure: Ancient Thrones

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Artist: Infrastructure (@)
Title: Ancient Thrones
Format: CD
Finally another cute girl in the male-dominated industrial scene! It's about time! After a demo and a CD called "The Wasteland", the Massachussets-based one-(wo)man-band Infrastructure is back with this well-packaged 6 tracks CDR EP (limited to 300 copies, so hurry up!) for sale at her cool flash website for just five bucks + cheap shipping. Stacia Tucker's seducing slightly-distorted but calmly sung (instead of screamed, like usually; thank you!) vocals, positively match with the well-programmed mixture of electronic and industrial music she (or somebody else in the same band, I am not sure about that) performs. Strong industrial beats that remind of Autechre in an odd and distant way (when the "grace" notes emulate that particular experimental techno approach), elaborated and sometimes quite sophisticated electronic textures (sometimes recalling Delerium/FLA/Haujobb) with zapping sounds, punching synth-lines, blobbing bass-lines and some other classical old-fashioned "germaniac" ebm sounds... I dig her work 'cause she tries very hard not to necessarily fall back into the obvious footsteps of what so many have already done, re-done and over-done... Her fresh approach to the electro-industrial formula is truly inspiring and gives her lots of credibility in my book!


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Artist: Toini
Title: Electronic Biscuits
Format: CD
Label: Mital-U (@)
Swiss female electronic artist Raffaela F. (previously with rock-wave band Micro Kids), aka Toini, is back with a remix cd following her full length album "Amble". "Electronic Busicuits" contains 6 remixes by skillful producer/remixer/Dj Marco Repetto. I don't remember whether he's swiss or italian (I might have met him once) but he is the guy behind the Axodya and Inzec labels, who also performs with Terra Cava Soundsystem and formerly with punk (and beyond) bands Glueams, Grauzone (check this out, it means "gray area"!), Eigernordwand, Suonatori. He's got records out on acid/techno/house/trance labels from all over the world, including Generator (US), Rephlex, T&B Vinyl (UK), Spacefrogs, Trigger, Superstition, Deli-Rium, Essex (Germany), Kromode and Minus Habens' sub-label Disturbance (Italy), El Buho (Switzerland) and of course his own two Swiss labels. He is also part of the Paris-based international TNC network (www.tnc.net), a new-media event label dedicated to digital culture & lifestyle who was also behind the worldwide internet/tv y2k Hacking Millennium Party... Anyway, after spinning at loooots of raves (I remember his name on many of bills from the time I lived in Switzerland), playing with bands, releasing and producing music, this talented musician had to do the remix thing and he sure did good. "Electronic Biscuits" is experimental electronic mixed with minimal techno and hi-pass filtered vocals in the style of Kirlian Camera's recent techno journeys (but less apocalyptic and claustrophobic) and with influences that range from the Detroit style and stuff like Jeff Mills to the more experimental, freaky, weird and wired things out there... Vocal loops and far-away hi-freq vocal parts, drum machine sounds and driving kicks, vocoder sounds, synthetic pads etc, it's all there, all you need is the lights and a heavy-duty amp! ;-) Unfortunately I don't have "Amble" here with me and I can't remember how it sounded, but I think this is totally different stuff, proof that a good remixer is able to give songs a whole new life by turning them into autonomous compositions, which is what I think should be the goal of every remix (not like some other producers who think they can just sync a 4/4 tekkno kick sample and the remix is well and done!).
PS For those of you who're into dadaism/situationism, I found out with great surprise and pleasure that Mital-U has some interesting information on their site about that.


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Artist: Muslimgauze (@)
Title: Hamas Cinema Gaza Strip
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Look who's back... From the never-ending stream of old Muslimgauze recordings (these are from 1998) a new CD has been put together. Quite minimal percussion tracks with kick and snare in addition to traditional percussions, arab/indian-sounding string instruments, up-front voices in arabic language, some man speaking in english about freedom fighters, other every-day-life speaking, women singing and laughing and some nice delay plays with the beat that give it sort of a dub vibe at times. But don't worry his usual overdriven slightly distorted percussive sounds with sitar-like instruments in the back are still to be found on this one too. Occasionally the songs get a little more obscure and mysterious, with an electronic drive to it, like a low frequency bass line, whispered vocals, electronic sounds or stuff like that... That makes it more interesting an appealing!
It's also interesting to know that in a time like this, when the world seems to collectively and indistinctly hate the muslims, Sony DADC (the pressing plant who manufactures pretty much all the CDs you ever owned) refused to print the art work of "Hamas Cinema Gaza Strip" because of the image and text on it and because they didn't want to be related to political propaganda (as if if they don't publish other political propaganda CDs already!!!). I don't find anything offensive in the artwork and there is no text except for titles and credits, go figure what these big-ass corporations are afraid of...


Artist: Charlemagne Palestine
Title: Music for Big Ears
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
If lately you thought you were hearing bells beyond the plain figure of speech, and it wasn't a Sunday, and you didn't happen to be walking next to a farm with Swiss cows, maybe you were just passing by some experimental music shop playing Charlemagne Palestine's record "Music for Big Ears". He's been hitting them bells since he was 15 (originally at the church tower next to NYC's MOMA - Museum of Modern Art) and now he's been commissioned a carillion music project for a church in Berlin... As much as I am an atheist I would go to church for this one (and I would damn well make sure to pack my earplugs, 'cause my ears ain't as big as the teddy bears' ears on the front cover of this weird CD). If you thought the sounds of bells would always be calm and lovely, try this out... Four fists and four legs (him and Berlin's carilloner Jeffrey Bossinb) physically BANGING on the big wooden organ-looking keyboard to trigger the hammers in the bells and using clang oscillators. And if you thought that I shouldn't have capitalized the word banging, listen to track no. 3 where you can hear the noise/sound that the two happy men make with the clavier that one hears when playing. It must be a mind-altering, devastating, exhausting experience to do that for an hour!!! In search of new sonics... Sonority versus energy... go tell that the Berliner community!!! They must have thought there was a war going on... I wonder how many run away scared ;-)... Don't get me wrong, it ain't noise and it ain't bad either, but it is LOUD and pretty much constant, and even increasing... No time for pauses, no rest for silence... I had to play this low cause I couldn't deal with the idea of even imagining to be anywhere near that big instrument or even that tower!
The record has been preformed on the Daimler-Benz Carillon, cut in Berlin on a digital 8 track machine with 8 mics and mixed with Radboud Mens in Amsterdam.


Artist: Oren Ambarchi (@)
Title: Mort Aux Vaches: Song of Separation [Parts 1-6]
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Here goes one more round of Mort Aux Vaches! Single notes, deep drones, sporadic tones gradually and extremely slowly building up to somewhat more elaborated harmonies of apparently randomly played notes in the range of a 6 (or even 8) octave keyboard... These notes assume new meaning every time a new key is hit and thus every time a new harmonic combination is achieved. They interact with each other relatively to their position, depth, velocity, loudness, frequency etc... All this punctuated by silences that get shorter as the music goes on. Always the same keyboard sound, at least until the last track where a harsh static noise that was slowly escalating, takes full control over everything else and turns the never-ending droning dreamy ambient suite into a long manipulation of awful noise slowly sweeping through a filter range and going through phasing, eventually becoming something like a loud feedback and then a softer one with a mid and and a hi frequency component. Only at the very very end, the sound dissolves in a casual ambience, quickly taking new forms but being absorbed by silence. This record is about the sympathy and the resonance between notes, about how notes can co-operate toward a harmony, fight for a dissonance, clash for a disturbance or just play in unison. The record is meant to be played continuously (in fact the track IDs are there only to aid retrieval).
Previous recordings include "Suspension" (Touch, UK) and "Trieste" (Idea, US).



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