Saturday, May 30, 2020

Music Reviews

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Golden Dolphin - Music for Turin vol​.​1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Delete Recordings

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This is a compilation with current music from Turin to support musicians and listeners equally. Delete Recordings first digital only release after a series of limited tapes + download due to the current crisis.

Some of this tracks like Enrico Degani's Acoustic Guitar Piece "Perfect Prison", Naturmorta's experimental ballad "Meaning Of Reality" as well as the dramatic Ondalunga Instrumental and "Ouroboros" (the snake that bites it's own tail) by Luca Purum Nihil directly reflect the general mood of these past months; loss of the everyday routines and it's safety, isolation, insecurity, unexpected changes & doubts and fear.
Ramon Moro's "Mediaval Ballad" is reminiscent of the darkest age of the plague, perhaps intended as a funeral march to accompany the lost. Paul Beauchamp's "River Of Gold" works nearly as an continuation of the same theme - dripping electronic sounds in an electronic river. Flowing somewhere - but the Gold is hard to find nowadays.
The final 3 tracks by Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, Lo Dev Alm and Selfimperfectionist with DsorDNE take a look into a brighter future yet to come with exotic soundscapes and electronic movements. "These Days" as final track with its swirling sequences and a decent tech-house groove is a perfect outlook to better days to come.

This collection is dedicated to the spirit of the city and it's lively music culture, of course mastered in Turin (at O.F.F. Studios by Marco Milanesio, like all other Delete releases). I would happily listen to a Volume 2 as I would jump in the Golden Dolphin whenever the chance comes along.

Artist: João Vairinhos
Title: Vénia
Format: Tape & Digital Download
Label: Regulator Records (@)

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João Vairinhos has a past as drummer in hardcore, doom and drone bands and projects in the portugese underground, as have both his guests who add Synthesizers.
All tracks of his solo debut EP lean towards a cinematographic monumentalism. Rhythms come and flow into epic parts of electronic walls of sounds but a certain bleakness and industrial wasteland feel can't be denied.
He uses his experience and imagination to build up tracks for maximal impact, none of them is below 8 Minutes in length without being too long.
Especially the title track “Vénia” (Bow), the only one spiced up with a few vocal samples and an astonishing clear melodic sequecence appearing is impressing.
His music is fearless, powerful and pictoral - not very far away from Scorn or Coil in some ways, which is a good thing.

Artist: Ian Mason (@)
Title: Volans-1800
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: self-released

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Atmosphere is key on Volans-1800, the second album from Switzerland’s Ian Mason. At 18 years old, Mason’s musical palette already incorporates ambient, drone and noise music and elements of avant-garde classical, all fused together with what Mason calls a “punk rock attitude”.

The electronic soundscapes are bleak, dark, brooding and otherworldly. Samples of string instruments provide minimalist melodic or chordal interest and tension, and spacey sound effects creep in and out.

Mason has a very strong grasp of harmony that would put a lot of far more experienced noise / ambient producers to shame. His use of musical intervals to create tension and resolution is admirable and lends a journey-like quality to the music that can sometimes be lacking in works from this type of genre.

Through the five tracks of varying lengths - all titled simply Volans-1800 with a Suffix denoting the track number - the droning unease continues and follows peaks and troughs. There is a sense of chaos, mystery and even the reverence of contemporary classical music within the deep tones. There are some truly magical moments. “Volans-1800, Pt Four” features a descending drone section which made me want to either throw up or grab on to something for dear life.

On occasion Mason’s relative lack of experience shows. The intention of using the string samples is ambiguous. Are these meant to be electronic / “keyboard” sounds (in which case the sounds could be made to be more robotic or lo-fi) or are they meant to sound like real acoustic instruments (in which case actual string players or a much more fine-detailed approach to programming and effects could be employed)? They don’t quite sit in either category and this can jar a little.

Album closer “Volans-1800 Pt. Five” is very different. A drumless psychedelic Stooges-esque wig-out; here we get to witness Mason’s rock influences. As the song disappears I am left not entirely satisfied with this musical journey, but equally aware that this album shows a great deal of promise, talent and creative drive.

Ian Mason says “Volans-1800 is my sound”. It certainly captures a moment, and it lays bare Mason’s determination to create idiosyncratic and challenging music. Mason’s sound will no doubt continue to twist and change. He can go in any direction he wants to. And he probably will. Watch out for him.

Volans-1800 is out now on streaming platforms including Spotify and Bandcamp.

Artist: Selfimperfectionist
Title: Life In Square Brackets
Format: Tape & Digital Download

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Giorgio Pilon from Torino is the Selfimperfectionist. As such he released and performed since 2012 some singles and a few EP’s besides his debut album with remix album. Looking at this it’s obvious he is an artist who takes his time until he is satisfied with the results and puts great care into each. These singles show his musical ways from Ambient, Downtempo IDM, minimal electro up to his 2017 work ‘Sehnsucht’ which boarders into electro house territory and its DsorDNE Remix.
His latest work finds more and more also a physical manifestation again as does ‘Life In Square Brackets’ which is also issued as limited Cassette with an exclusive bonus track.

The well defined production and mastering by Marco Milanesio / DsorDNE gives this release more edges compared to his earlier works but without harming the various mood shifts and the flow.
This modern ambient electronica works, recorded between late 2017 and May 2019, do use dreamy sounds to create a mood of neo-romanticism but not escapism, especially on the opening track “Purple Wheeze” but also in the longest pieces “Ocean Lines” and “First Check”.
In “Lost And Shattered” they are combined with a dubby minimal techno rhythm to great effect as in the surprisingly groovy sequencer driven “Lichen”.
The center piece “Balance Increase” combines both with dreamy sequencing and a solid rhythm which leads one into a rare state of dynamic melancholy but the outro “Berlin (The Wait)” finally implodes it all – shattered voices, no connection on telephone lines, unfocused sounds to display the daily confusion we all have to handle.

This album is a multi-facetted whole of self-contained creativity which is a pleasure to listen to (sound- and music-wise).

Artist: Sanderson Dear with VV.AA. (@)
Title: Dancing With Fireflies
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Stasis Recordngs (@)
Enter the three track EP remix of Dancing With Fireflies by Stasis Recordings founder and producer Sanderson Dear, off his Urban Mosaic full-length on same label. The three remix artists are Louis Haiman, Minimal States, and Off Land wherein each bring their own emotional take on the track; including deep, moody yet heavily grooving house (Haiman), angsty techno from Minimal States and spacious ambience of Off Land on a retro-stylings tip. Opening with an infectious bass groove and restrained hand percussion rhythms, “Louis Haiman’s Evening Shadows mix’s” synth tones and melodies hover and shimmer like fireflies on a dusky expanse. Overtones of melancholy permeate, the the way the sunset makes one feel sad from the loss of a sunny day, but there is also anticipation of various excitements with the approach the night to counterbalance as the tune picks up. The following “Minimal States remix” has more anxious overtones with tense, dramatic synth melodies that layer and build until they are propelled by controlled yet layered techno beats that interplay and build in intensity. As the track progresses, the beats and momentum harness the angst and throw into an infectious-dance driven excursion, ultimately providing a kind of resolution to the turmoil. By way of contrast, the dreamier “Off Land recon” rolls into the listeners’ ears like a gentle morning mist with whispering rhythms and tones that echoes fragments of nostalgic 80’s songs tantalizingly just out of memory’s reach. Murmurs of dialog periodically peep through the billowing ambience as the mind struggles to reconstruct what could be an event from the past or some distant dream. Three satisfying emotional takes are offered here and the one critique is that it would be nice to experience the original track here so the listener can compare and contrast. This listener is certainly motivated to acquire the Urban Mosaic album to hear the inspiration behind all this musical goodness. If you like your electronic music moods mixed, the Dancing With Fireflies EP will not disappoint.


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