Fire Inc. (Staalplaat network) put out japanese Akira Yamamichi's second record this year. Besides working with Roji Ikeda between 1990 and 1993, this 63-class jap engineer and film editor (graduated at the Institute of Sound Techniques) is also known for his work as Montage, a breakbeat/jazz outfit whose influence you can probably detect on "Semilogie" as well. In fact it all makes sense when you listen to these eight tracks. Even though they are based on experimental sounds, hi-pitched digital noises and percussive elements, there is a inside "force" trying to escape the rules of pure experimentalism to, maybe, move into different realms (if you look at it this way, then the last reverberated piano-only piece would almost seem like the chant of liberation and freedom, even considering it is digitally and intentionally audibly cut and edited to make it keep a certain unconventional breeze)... But I hardly thing that Akira is trying to escape his own barriers, in fact I believe he doesn't have barriers, and he proves it with an open-minded record playing with up-beat pulsing rhythmical patterns and minimal electronics relying on mainly mid, but also high and very high frequencies... The heart of "Semilogie" is really the "beat"... The essence it all comes down to, varying from turntable-like popping-noises to brushed snare (and hi hat) loops, from drum machine patterns to sticking percussion sounds. I enjoyed this record a lot.
Danish Kim Hansen (formerly with Institue of the Criminally Insane and Grind) has put out a new full length CD entitled "#1" under the moniker of his current one-man-band Antenna. Released by Korm Plastics (Staalplaat network), this beautiful CD presents you with eight groovy trip-hop electronica compositions with female vocals. The label keeps using the word techno, but I believe that would likely and highly mislead almost anybody... Minimal melancholic electronic music with occasional experimental sounds that turns into state-of-the-art trip-hop or maybe even trip-pop when the rhythmical grooves step in and the lead is taken by the female vocalist: that's what it is! Her voice is gorgeously lush, mysteriously sexy, harmonically whispered. She can very easily remind of Jane Siberry (probably closest comparison - remember her astonishing breathtaking closing performance on "the Crow" soundtrack), Bjork, Portishead, Massive Attack, Kirlian Camera (just on the "Something Not to Do" track) and the like (when she gets all hot and seductive I would even dare to mention Marylin Monroe!). After the opening jazzy "Here to Go" (of which an extended CD EP exists too - cmp review on these pages) the rest of the "#1" tracks take a dip into more experimental territories, but every now and then going back to the warm and laid back trippy ballads that are just absolutely brilliant and amazing... Very convincing stuff!!! I would DEFINITELY go out and get myself a copy if I were you!
PS: If you would like to see the fastest-loading and most minimal and simple website out there check out Antenna's website!
As much as I enjoy experimental music, after a full immersion afternoon of listening and reviewing weird sounds a CD like this is almost like breathing in fresh air ;-). Extremely smooth and beautiful jazzy sounds create a lush laid back washed ambience where brushes on drums, hi-pitched whispered female singing (by Marie-Louise Munch), lazy distant easy hammond chords and lonely, dreamy, floating and ethereal atmospheres catch your attention and convince you all the way through. What a pleasant and pleasing listening experience! The "Here to Go" extended AB/2 CD EP (which means a 31 minutes long CD with a transparent outer part) is basically sort of a maxi single of the award winning song "Here to Go" (from their other full lenght CD "#1" - read review elsewhere on these pages). After the opening radio edit of the single, the other 5 versions of the song are remixes by techno producers Full Swing (former Stol drummer) with Stephan Matheiu, Zammutto, prolific Chris Jeely aka Acclera Deck, Matematics (also known as Lee NOrris, Norken, Tone Language, Small Medium and Nacht Plank) and Geiom (collaborator of Skam, City Center Offices, Hem and Small Medium). These remixes are not techno though, most of them are sort of trip-hop... They keep the slow laid back motion and make it more exciting by stepping into the fields of electronica, pop, ambient and, like I said, trip-hop (I can't seem to stop thinking about Portishead...). The design is green and immediately reminds of their blue main release "#1". Ladies and gentleman this is a GREAT CD that I strongly recommend to anybody feeling the whole uk-style jazzy/trip-hop/electronic vibe... Get in the groove... extend your Antenna!
This extended CD EP by Sam Auinger and Rupert Huber are probably the pioneers of "art radio". They started their individual journeys in the late eighties and have now extended their exploration to the internet (where instead of worrying about the bad sound quality the focus on what sounds are best to use with real audio technology). Their attitude and their knowledge makes every concert unique in the fact that it lets people have a glimpse of what could be done. This "Live" CD (almost 25 minutes, three tracks) was recorded in Berlin and Linz. The first song constructed around a loop of speech parts that gets so disturbing and obsessive that you might be tempted to skip to the next track, where calmer sounds, light sound waves, distant noises create a ghost-city-like ambience; the third track is built on a windy tone with hi pitch cricket-like sounds... The art work is very peculiar as well: a digipack cd with a screenshot of a Netscape browser opening a page of their website. Inside the CD there are 18 different (mainly austrian, some german) URLs related to "art radio", or like they say in german-speaking countries "kunst radio".
This review is part of a bunch of reviews of older material that we haven't had time to review before but which is still available at the label's mailorder. We apologize for the inconvenience.
The ninth release in the "Material Series" (please read the review of Heimir Bjorgulfsson's record "Machina Natura" in this section to understand what this series is all about and how it is presented to you) is Austrian Pure's "Low". Pure is into video experimentation and even released a self-programmed audio software last year.
His stuff is droning experimental music in the best tradition of Staalplaat. He also released vinyl and 3" Cd and CDs on different labels and has been performing live since 1991.
Even though this is part of the "Material Series", it comes as a full lenght CD. The four very long tracks, whose names all start with the word "Low", have looped low frequency tones, drones and hums as their common denominator and have little and slow changes throughout the recording. What is interesting is that in the fourth Low-piece there are hints of orchestral sounds layered over a sweeping analogue sound.
If you are curios about what material has been used for this release you'll be pleased to know that it's two nice sheets of nice and fine copper gauze. What a great idea!