Saturday, January 29, 2011

Senking - List

Label: Raster-Noton
Released: 2007
Style: Abstract, Electronic

"is there beauty in the threatening? with list senking introduces 40 minutes of the darkest matter and reckons: yes.

on list he varies and experiments with a - for raster-noton - frightening diversity of sounds. he reveals the pieces as sound-collages, as quotes, which seem to refer to splatter movie and film noir. following the tremendous plot of his endtime-sujet, he persistently welds together sound spaces in order to compress them later into overwhelming drone-sounds. these as such, then go to serve a fundamental purpose, as an environment for minimalistic themes and melodies, always to be driven by the ever present slow-beat of the pieces. nonetheless the syntax, the destiny of each single piece is highly varied and has the appearance of a much more mature composition, compared to his earlier works."


1 Common Business (4:00)
2 Pathogenic Agent (4:26)
3 Come In (4:36)
4 Bohrer (5:35)
5 Great Day (4:41)
6 Gestalt (0:36)
7 Graue Musik (4:24)
8 Mist (4:47)
9 Crevasse (5:04)

Puma - Half Nelson Courtship

Label: Rune Grammofon
Released: 2010
Style: Post Rock, Free Improvisation

'”Half Nelson Courtship” is the third album and the first on Rune Grammofon from this young trio who musically started out as the younger cousins of Supersilent. The new album shows a group with a stronger identity, clearer focus, more mature and fully developed musical ideas and directions. It´s actually not so easy to compare them to anyone, but certain aspects of the 1973 period King Crimson concert improvisations wouldn´t be too far off the mark. But Puma is first and formeost a contemporary and progressive unit making their own path on the ever growing Norwegian experimental scene mixing improvistaion, jazz, electronics and free rock.
Puma is Øystein Moen (synthesizers and electronics), Stian Westerhus (guitar and electronics) and Gard Nilssen (drums). Recorded and mixed by Jørgen Træen." - Label


1 Bison Woven (4:02)
2 Half Nelson Courtship (10:09)
3 Last Waltz (6:21)
4 M.E.O.W. (4:14)
5 Gaberdine Lingerie (0:57)
6 Innamorati Osculati (6:14)
7 Knitstep (3:25)
8 East West Horizontal March (3:00)
9 Hachioji Silk Blues (4:07)

Sunroof! - Cloudz

Label: VHF Records
Released: 2003
Style: Abstract, Experimental, Psychedelic

"Bi-annual collection of pillow sound from Bower & Co. Fairly mellow and spacey, ala the "Embroidered Birdsong Nearly Meadows" disc from 2001's Bliss dbl CD. Layers of twinkling keyboard, guitar, unidentified fuzz, short wave, etc. Very much in the style of Harmonia/Cluster in spots. There's a couple of amped-up moments here, including surprise lead guitar action on "tornado rose canoe," and the excellent fuzzgrilled rock of "Primavera." "Best Sunroof Ever" - Neil Campbell" - Label


1 Machine (9:33)
2 Grasshopper (3:27)
3 Viva (5:42)
4 Zero (7:58)
5 Universal Acceleration (7:42)
6 Tornado Rose Canoe (7:39)
7 Silver Nazi Suicide (12:23)
8 Primavera (7:59)
9 Silver Zero (7:55)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Alessandro Stefana - Poste E Telegrafi

Label: Important Records
Released: 2007
Style: Experimental

"Poste E Telegrafi is the debut solo album from Italian guitarist Allesandro Stefana. Featuring an allstar cast including Mark Ribot & Leo Abrahams, Stefana creates a dreamy world of instrumental perfection and beauty.

Inspired by the work of Ennio Morricone, Ry Cooder, Simon Jeffes, Steve Reich and Brian Eno, he has created a thoroughly modern Western world within his compositions and arrangements. With constant references to traditional music and rural blues he utilizes electric and acoustic instrumentation with tremendously compelling results. Acoustic, electric, and pedal steel guitars along with banjo, kalimba, baliphones and found objects were all carefully combined with some primitive electronic instruments such as an arpeggiator, omnichord and home made vinyl loops. His sound is entirely original yet clearly rooted in traditions such as Film Music, Blues, Experimental, Ambient and Avante Garde musics.

Stefana manages his cast of collaborators very well. Most tracks on Poste E Telegrafi are duets with these musicians keeping the sound and arrangement simple and pure. Instruments breathe and pulse with life and excitement in this highly original album. To call this a “promising debut” would be to dismiss the tremendous success delivered by Poste E Telegrafi." - Label


1 Western Soda (2:50)
2 Semi Tostati Di Cielo (9:16)
3 Motel (3:02)
4 Poste E Telegrafi Blues (4:56)
5 Fiori Campionati (6:16)
6 Whales Cemetery (5:06)
7 Titoli Di Coda (2:58)

Alexander Turnquist - Faint At The Loudest Hour

Label: VHF Records
Released: 2008
Style: Folk Rock, Drone, Experimental

"Faint at the Loudest Hour is the astonishing solo debut by guitarist Alexander Turnquist, part of a young generation of guitar players who have taken their incredible virtuosity and turned it into something actually worth listening to. Like James Blackshaw, Jack Rose, Glenn Jones, etc, this could roughly be described as "raga" guitar, with its long, modal compositions and hypnotic overtone play. Unlike most of his peers, Alex employs a variety of extended techniques ala Hans Reichel, grappling the strings with both hands and using a variety of approaches and attacks on both the steel and wood. There's also a distinct lack of audible "roots" influence here, with Alex sidestepping the Fahey-isms that dominate so much current acoustic guitar music. Along with the 6 & 12 string acoustics, Alex makes subtle use of electronic textures, such as the surprising Fennesz-like dissolve that occurs midway through "amongst a swarm of hummingbirds."' - Label


1 Amongst A Swarm Of Hummingbirds (13:29)
2 In The Vein Of Bedlam (11:05)
3 Water Spots Upon My Mind (13:48)
4 White Out (5:02)
5 Mime Fight (10:43)
6 As The Sun Sets, We Think Of Days To Come (3:13)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dan Abrams - Stream

Label: Mille Plateaux
Released: 2001
Style: Experimental, Minimal

"Dan Abrams is probably better known to most of us as Shuttle 358 or more recently Fenton. This album was his first and only record under his own name and his first for the Mille Plateaux label. Although not hugely different from his work under the Shuttle 358 moniker, it certainly has enough to separate the projects like this. ‘Stream’ is darker and more sparse than Abrams other work, and lacks the deep melodic hit of works such as ‘Frame’ and followup ‘Understanding Wildlife’. However, what we lack in melodic sweetness, we gain in bottom end and this album has a bass growl to it unseen in the rest of his catalogue. Great stuff and another re-surfaced Mille Plateaux gem worth grabbing before it disappears for good." - Boomkat


1 Hello (0:11)
2 A Shell (5:44)
3 Academic (6:11)
4 Monsters (4:22)
5 The Theory (4:12)
6 Sim Sun (5:31)
7 Bendy (5:22)
8 Duck Beam (5:35)
9 Freezng (5:12)
10 Stream (4:48)
11 Grammar (4:54)
12 Mr Fish (6:19)

Rafael Toral - Violence Of Discovery And Calm Of Acceptance

Label: Touch
Released: 2001
Style: Abstract, Experimental, Drone

"More oceanic 'calm of acceptance' than 'violence of discovery', these ten Ambient meditations on treated electric guitar, gathered from the last seven years, are like a series of exquisitely poised and iridescent ragas. Hailing from Portugal, Toral's work has been compared to that of Robert Fripp in its exploration of the melodic colour of drones, loops and overtones, using only guitar and analogue equipment. Slow, broadly arcing and snaking coils of sound unfold like a gargantuan reverberating wind chime, or a labyrinth of vast organ pipes. Two or three drones will twist alongside each other, causing harmonic clouds that tremble and melt without setting up much rhythmic interference. The effect is deeply colourist. Whether it climbs its way out of the growling depths, or shimmers into appearance like a scraped gong, each track moves into the same kind of pitch range and lets the Aurora Borealis work its sonic wonders. 'Maersk Line' is more quavering , seesawing and abrasive, and this well judged introduction of movement helps to animate the second half of the album. 'Optical Flow' unexpectedly foregrounds more plucked chimes, falling upon each other like a music box. Other later tracks give a fuzzier feedback edge to the iridescent prowling of the drones, or use the puckered croak of slowly scraped guitar strings to provide stronger textures. The final track steps off into post-rock territory, with, for the first time, a downbeat strumming of plangent chords and a fuzzy background drone (provide, believe it or not, by a recording of 'silence' from a space shuttle mission, broadcast on the Web), which raises the spectre of My Bloody Valentine. Bliss with ballast. " - The Wire


1 Desirée (3:58)
2 Measurement Of Noise (6:27)
3 Quiet Mind (4:00)
4 Maersk Line (3:15)
5 Liberté (5:35)
6 Optical Flow (3:51)
7 Energy Nourish (5:15)
8 Hay Que Trabajo Me Cuesta Quererte Como Te Quiero (8:56)
9 We Are Getting Closer (3:57)
10 Mixed States Uncoded (5:00)

Guano Padano - Guano Padano

Label: Important Records
Released: 2009
Style: Jazz, Rock, Western

"This band is tight but they are comfortable enough in each other’s playing to not sound formulaic or over-rehearsed. The music flows in a way that brings to mind the rougher side of surf music, leaving The Beach Boys out in the sun while unkempt youths play their guitars in the shade. The guitar playing of Dick Dale ghosts through this album as the ragged but precise fretwork from Alessandro Stefana provides a treat for the ears. “Epiphany” puts a film noir spin on their music, sounding like Fantômas’ mutilation of Morricone’s “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion” (Stefana has worked with Mike Patton in the past).

The echoes of Morricone are more than just an influence, “El Divino” and “Bull Buster” feature the whistling talents of Alessandro Alessandroni who is responsible for those whistles in the Sergio Leone films. It is impossible not to think of these Guano Padano tracks as out-takes from the Spaghetti Western soundtracks as the group have created a very authentic sounding Morricone-tribute (“El Divino” may as well have a writing credit for Morricone beside it, so perfect does it sound). Another famous guest pops up on “A Country Concept,” namely Gary Lucas (formerly of The Magic Band and guitarist for countless other artists). Here Lucas plays a resonator guitar to add a more authentic Wild West feel to Guano Padano’s music; his bluesy ambience giving the impression that a gunfight is about to go down.

Yet another strand of influence runs through the album as Guano Padano appear to be as serious about American country music as they are about their other passions. A cover of Hank Williams’ “Rambling Man” makes an appearance later in the album, Guano Padano bringing fresh life to the song. Bobby Solo’s vocals are especially evocative; rich with years of experience, his vocals are like grit being blown against the corrugated steel roof of Stefana’s guitar. It is too bad that Solo only appears on this one song, an entire album like this would be something else.

Recently I have been getting more into surf music thanks to exposure to things like Neil Young’s early group The Squires and having a listen to an old tape copy of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. However, this renewed interest aside, Guano Padano would have struck a chord with me in any case as they are fantastic on their own. Granted their music is not exactly original but it is refreshing in its whole-hearted embrace of styles usually picked apart by modern bands in search of something new hidden in their corpses." - Brainwashed


1 Guano Padano (3:40)
2 A Country Concept (6:38)
3 El Divino (4:36)
4 Epiphany (4:40)
5 Bull Buster (3:28)
6 Ramblin Man (3:37)
7 Jack Frost (5:33)
8 Del Rey (4:21)
9 Danny Boy (5:45)
10 Tromp Valley (3:38)
11 El Divino (Alternate Version) (4:37)

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