Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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Music Reviews

Artist: The Caretaker
Title: A Stairway to the Stars
Format: CD
Label: V/Vm Test (@)
Distributor: Dense
Second The Caretaker release after critically acclaimed "The Haunted Ballroom" (evoking Kubrick's ballroom scene from "The Shining"), "A Stairway to the Stars" has been in the making for over two years and is built around forgotten ballroom classics from the 30es and the 40es. Comparisons to Richard James' "Selected Ambient Works II" (whom elegedly they collaborated with) are not way off, but you rather have to think of this in terms of original recordings restored, edited, processed and re-processed. The result is an awesome timeless soundtrack of memories where a predominant reverb wash helps amplifying the sensation of distance (in time). A true beauty, a record where time becomes a ghost, nostalgia becomes evocation and past becomes present. Old crackling tunes that become so real that if you close your eyes you can probably see ghosts from a past life dancing in front and around you with light waving moves and transparent faded blue and gray colors... Like memory loosing focus and detail, this aural record brings you back a dreamy history letting you fill in the blanks, while the lush ambient wash wraps you...
The record is released on V/Vm's label V/Vm Test, and if you aren't familiar with them and their controversial, silly, funny and provoking releases you should do some ressearch and find out what they're capable of! ;-)

Artist: Robert Lloyd Anderson (@)
Title: Idolitry
Format: CD
Label: Best Boy Music (@)
Distributor: Latex Records

Dark, Ambient electronic mood music. This first release by Anderson instantly takes the listener on a journey into a realm of the dark unknown. Combining elements of Ambient, Industrial and various eclectic and experimental self contrived electronic audio structures and even utilizes some tribal elements.

If you like music like Patrick O'hearn's album Indigo then you will love Robert Anderson's work as this is the closest comparison I could possibly make to this album.

You will find some New Age elements prevalent on some pieces while others are more tribal or industrial sounding. This is definitely great mood music for whatever purpose; meditating, message, trance, sexual intercourse, etc. The sounds are so originally constructed that they create a virtual landscape for the mind to contemplate, dark though it may be. The themes may even instill fear in some more timid listeners but will sound ethereally beautiful for those who enjoy a darker shade of life.

These compositions are originally composed and intended it seems for BDSM and other similar adult play.

Artist: Dark Muse (@)
Title: Sounds from Beyond the Silver Wheel
Format: CD
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
The Dark Muse is an American female one-(wo)man-band project. Her name is Phyll Smith and she's been releasing many CD-R's through for quite a long time. The Fossil Dungeon (a new label owned by members of the band The Soil Bleeds Black) has filled the gap by releasing her first "real" CD (a beautiful folding multi-panel digipack) so everybody can taste her graceful, enchanting and ethereal music. Voice is used as the primary instrument, in addition to guitar, russian piano, bells, coils, synths, drum machine and other found sounds. The seven pieces are hardly rhythmical though, most part of "Sounds from Beyond the Silver Wheel" are a wash of long and wide hall reverbs moving in slow motion from one verse to the next (whenever there is a vocal part at all), drawing circles of relaxing and rapturing soundscapes, reaching beyond the known into a whole new world of sounds... Cold Meet Industry, Vidna Obmana, Jeff Greinke, Roedelius... Oniric trance, ethereal alchemy, sounds for haunted spaces... call it whatever you please, but it sure is quite beautiful.
PS: She also has her own line of gothic/victorian jewelry (stones, crystals, steel, glass etc).

Artist: Lecanoscope (@)
Title: Comparing Notes
Format: CD
Label: Metabolic Music
After many compilation appearances and several tapes released in the underground scene over the last decade, Californian Lecanoscope also have been hit by the new digital home-recording revolution and have finally given the entire world an opportunity to taste their beautiful, sophisticated and relaxing sound. Enchanting and bewildering, entrancing and capturing, their 5 tracks musical and meditative rapture entitled "Comparing Notes" is described by them as "ethereal ritual trance audio excursions through fields of pulsating luminescence"... now I don't need to tell you there is something more to this than just beautiful electronic-ethno-trance with tablas, distant vocal samples, transe-inducing repetitive patterns, dub grooves, layers of fluctuating synthetic pads and other stuff that might sporadically remind you of Bill Laswell, Asian Dub Foundation, Adrian Sherwood, Ustad Sultan Khan, Zakir Hussain, Psychic Warriors of Gaya, Karsh Kale, Talvin Singh, other indian music but also much more experimental, dark and electronic artists... Their metabolic music is «designed to open your third eye. " can let go"».
PS The CD came packaged in a standard jewel case contained in one of those CD-sized cardboard box used to ship CDs with their logo marked on it, which is a cool idea I thought...

Artist: Balligomingo (@)
Title: Beneath the Surface
Format: CD
Label: Windham (@)
Distributor: RCA / BMG
When you pop in a CD and you suddenly find out you are listening to its last song, you know it was a good record 'cause you got so much into it that you lost track of time and just enjoyed the listening experience... This happened to me several times with "Beneath the Surface" the debut album of Canadian producer/composer Garret Schwartz, aka Balligomingo, due for release a month from now, on June 11th 2002. Drawing upon many influences, including Front Line Assembly member Bill Leeb's project Delerium, Enigma, Enya, Massive Attack, the most electro-ethereal Madonna, Deep Forest and other eclectic artists spicing up beautiful electronica with pop, ethereal soundscapes with alternative trip-hop, Schwartz's offering includes lush layers of orchestral strings and synth-pads, acoustic world blends, fluctuating ambient soundscapes, intense bass lines and classically electronic textures... Co-producer guitar-player Vic Levak, strings arrangers and directors Graeme Coleman and Mark Ferris (and his orchestra), drummer James Kaufmann and engineer Greg Reely are just some of the many people who contributed to this record, in fact what makes the record a pop record really are the seven beautiful seductive female vocals by Delerium singer Kristy Thirsk and other upcoming talents from US and Canada (Camille Miller, Jody Quine, Jennifer Baldwin, Collen Coadic, Jennifer Hershman, Beverly Staunton). 11 tracks and one hidden bonus track (this hidden track thing is so over-done by now that it ain't hidden no more). When it hits the streets on June 11th you should give it this a listen.


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