Released in a limited print of only 50 this 3" MCD contains seventeen minutes of ambient industrial noise. Even if three tracks and a bunch of minutes aren't enough to judge a project the first time you approach to it, I've got to say that I liked Ovum a lot. It could be that the dark atmospheres and the drones he uses are interesting and disturbing at the same time, but the thing that thrilled me most is the cover version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog". I could never imagined something like this: the melody is build with humming sounds and the vocals are far away just like echoes in a windy day. Good enough to begging for more.
Over the last few years, Puertorican musician Jorge Castro has offered, as part of the Cornucopia duo, some of the most brutal and intense harsh noise in the (overcrowded?) international scene. But he has also developed a very interesting solo project of ambient guitar sounds. This cd-r (which must have been issued in early 2001) features four long and homogeneous tracks of drones and gulfs of sound which manage to be both abstract and emotional, constantly shifting (the title is indicative, but there IS change within the pieces as well) from lighter, serene atmospheres to hypnotizing echoes and darker moments. If you've had the chance of listening to Steve Roach's recent "Strems & Currents", you can find a similar style here, only even more pushed towards abstractness and impalpability. Definitely worth listening to many times. As usual, Public Eyesore design and packaging are minimal but very elegant and eye-catching, and fit well with the contents of the record. The label has also issued a more recent collection of Castro's works, I'll try to talk about that in the next future.
The music Brian Williams is releasing since "Paradise Disowned" has always been related to images in general and to soundtracks specifically and the fact that he collaborated for the realisation of forty soundtracks is proving that. ZOETROPE is an extended and revised version of the soundtrack of the same short movie. Directed by Charles Deaux, and produced by Matchgirl Pictures, and based in part on Kafka's "The Penal Colony".
Consisting of both the music and extensive sound design of the movie, melded and mutated to recapture the atmospheric nightmare of the world that is Zoetrope: a haunting examination of a man imprisoned in the inner depths of his own mind, only to discover the truth about himself and the world of oppression which has driven him to this inescapable fate. The short media file included into the CD made me remember another movie inspired by the novel "The Castle", a movie directed by Steve Soderbergh and well played by Jeremy Irons titled "Kafka". Musically, the tracks have got different moments which goes to the magmatic drones kinda ones to the mix of sounds coming from the motion picture along with treated percussions. If you loved "Paradise Disowned" or "Monstrous Soul" this one is for you!
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! ;-)