Saturday, 19 January 2019

Listen! - Chelsea Hare - Is This Work?









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Watch! - Laibach - 4'33"







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Watch! - Phildel - Electric Heights







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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Review - Elizabeth Joan Kelly – Music For The DMV







Elizabeth Joan Kelly – Music For The DMV


DL

Out Now


American classical and ambient/industrial electronic artist releases her new album. 

Originally released in August 2018, Music For The DMV is slowly but surely receiving more and more recognition as time goes by.  Utilising Found Sound and MIDI, Elizabeth Joan Kelly has created something of a milestone in underground electronic music with the Brian Eno inspired title - Music For The DMV (America’s Department of Motor Vehicles).

Taking its title influence from Music For Airports, fifteen tracks see Kelly delve into the extraordinary masses of online found sounds which she treats, manipulates and regurgitates.  A simple task on the face of things but what she does here is nothing short of extraordinary and inspiring.

With Bachelors and Master’s degrees in music composition from both New Orleans’ Loyola University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Louisiana born artist certainly has a high pedigree when it comes to writing and recording.  With past music performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Vox Novus and So Percussion, Kelly now finds herself experimenting with instrumental electronic music exploring the links between technology, industrialisation and consumerism.

Album opener, Industrial Ambient Prelude welcomes the listener to a sombre dystopian atmosphere before the following track, Club Clanger combines chaos with dance and experimentation with more than a hint of the intro to Depeche Mode’s Shout as it skilfully knits everything together.

Twilight Moving Meditation is a gorgeous ambient piece with a gentle percussive loop and Bouncyland brings immense fun to the party proving that Kelly isn’t just a one-trick pony and Ghost In The Machine succeeds with the shrillest of movietronic screams added for good measure.

With final track, Call My Number comes one of the most beautiful tracks you could hope to hear.  Sometimes disturbing, sometimes enlightening, it features Elizabeth on haunting angelic vocals akin to Julee Cruise with the most restrained of instrumental backing.

With the promise of a new album for 2019, Elizabeth Joan Kelly could well be a name to look out for.  Simple but expertly assembled music with more than a few surprises along the way.












Published on Louder Than War 10/01/19 - here









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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Review - Xqui - Capitulate






Xqui - Capitulate (Wormhole World)

18 January 2019

CD / DL / Cassette


Review by Ioan.


By his own admission, Xqui emerged into a ‘no underground’ electronica scene in April 2018 with little to no coverage or listeners. However, with a persistent social media strategy and a highly prolific (and quality) output, Xqui has managed to amass over fifty released tracks, which include the EPs (Britannia, Kindness, Nocturne, Wyrmling, Heterogeneous, Dragonette, November) and various one off singles and remixes. Capitulate is the second full length release from Xqui after the critically acclaimed 2017 LP Dragon.

In the true sense of the D.I.Y. artist, Xqui uses a mobile phone to capture field recordings which are then manipulated via apps and combined with found sound clips to assemble his staggering array of tracks. This, combined with his highly productive work ethic has attracted attention from Louder than War, Fortitude Magazine, Bulletproof Socks and Neil Arthur (Blancmange).

Anyway, onto the latest full length release from Xqui and non of the experimentation and quality of past releases is lost across these new eleven tracks.

Opener, ‘Impotus’ is a collaboration between Xqui and West Walian electronic outfit Radio Europa.  It has an all encompassing sound with immediate immersion and a machine gun drumming midway through that soon drifts away. Disconcerting muffled vocals and what sounds like the heavy breathing of an entity battles with a throbbing beat. It’s discombobulating at best!


‘0208e’is a disturbing and unsettling electronica mix with the sampled voice of Ronald Reagan repeatedly quoting from the ‘High Flight’ poem by John Gillespie Magee Jr.

‘Cypriot (reverse logic #1)’ is the second collaboration seen on this release with slide guitarist Geiger von Müller. The pair use a snippet of acoustic guitar that is repeated until disperate sounds merge to produce another unsettling sound collage. The sample guitar comes and goes in the mix to produce a track that is as infectious as it’s jarring.

The Eno esque piece ‘Alienate‘ feels like it’s soundtracking a free fall through the thin blue line and borders on harsh noise as we enter the earth’s atmosphere. This is the LPs first standout track. Follow up ‘Epiphany’ has a mechanical industrial beat accompanied by choral singing and a guttural unearthly noise. It is metaphysical and primal in its execution and one can’t help wondering whether this is a celebration of clarity, or a crisis of faith. Either way, it’s deceptively catchy and yet another stand out track.

‘Bedtime’ has a monstrous, backwards running voice lurking in the background as spectral sounds and effects bring unease to what is essentially the aural accompaniment to a hideous nightmare. Bedtime?  I’d rather take my chances and stay awake. Haunting, and again, unsettling to the point of disturbing. This is Xqui fucking with our worst fears and damn well succeeding.

Follow up ‘Deathbed’ is surprisingly a lot easier on the ear with its tribal drumming and sampled vocals from Fifi Rong interspersed with the ambient and haunting sound work that Xqui does so well. And this melds perfectly into ‘Kismat’ which incorporates field music recordings (from an indian restaurant?) run backwards, combined with snatches of a telephone conversation and layers of texture and sound collage to produce one of Xqui’s more abstract pieces.

‘Tich is a full on glitchy soup from which disarray and confusion emerges. It has echoes of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, yet feels a lot more accessible, less abstract? THE standout track on the LP. Penultimate track ‘Zeiglerville’ has more disturbing sounds with disembodied recordings of children talking, alongside a demonic monolith. This has to be one of the most disturbing tracks on this LP. It makes for uneasy listening, yet it shows Xqui’s ability to move the listener emotionally and let them inhabit spaces that he has created. And however much the listener may not want to be in (some of) these places, you have to hand it to Xqui for this disconcerting talent!    


Final track ‘Valley’ is full of disorder, chaos, stabbing blasts of noise and sound collages all set to a minimalist throbbing beat reminiscent of Throbbing Gristles’ ‘Hot on the Heels of Love’. It is a conceptually fitting finale to an audacious sounding LP.

Capitulate is a set of eleven tracks that hang together by a thread and have very little commonality or theme. But this is what I love about this album, and Xqui’s output so far. There are ideas that are fully rounded and seen through to the bitter end. Yet, there are other ideas that a thrown at the listener in a barrage of soundscapes, that may or may not make sense. But life rarely does, so who cares?

Nitzsche said “one must face chaos to give birth to a star”. I think this perfectly describes Xqui’s output so far. It is prolific, perturbing, anarchic, yet never predictable. Xqui paves his own chaotic way with originality and an output that has to be envied and admired. And this latest release is not an exception. The CD version of this LP is now sold out, but it is currently available as a run of limited edition cassettes. Download or buy it today. 






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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Friday, 11 January 2019

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Listen! - Phonseca - Wait For Me







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Listen! - Tremolo Ghosts - Between Skeletons








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Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Review - Johanna Glaza - Albion EP





Johanna Glaza – Albion EP
DL / Cassette
Out Now

Lithuanian singer songwriter releases her new EP. 

Last years Wind Sculptures album was one of the high points of 2017. Johanna Glaza now returns with a brand new four track EP which endorses not only her unique creativity but an artist maturing at great pace and producing music of quite stunning quality.

Currently living both in London and on the perimeters of a forest in Lithuania, the self taught pianist will draw comparisons to the likes of Bush and Amos but in reality she brings something very different to the party. Avoiding the commercial pre-requisite often required to ‘make it’, Glaza ploughs her own furrow and allows her originality to shine through untainted.

This, is the voice of an angel if ever there was one. Johanna Glaza is the sound that you will hear as you wait patiently to pass through the Pearly Gates. She will be hovering, wings outstretched and singing the most beguiling sounds you will ever have heard.

Albion, the title track of the EP and the lead tune is a tribute to William Blake’s poem The Emanation Of The Giant Albion. It is complex yet soothing, moving effortlessly from nothingness to complicated layered excerpts which lift and impress. The stomping piano making way for her delicate tones, percussion crashing in at six minutes thirty before disappearing again just twenty seconds later. This is the work of genius, make no mistake.

Glaza then throws the EP on its head with The Future Was Not The Animal I Saw, an experimental voice and electro blip composition which disappears as surprisingly as it appeared. It raises the heartbeat (as if Johanna’s voice wasn’t enough) and adds a further string to her bow. Isabella combines flowing piano work replicating the feel of a speeding train as the track picks up pace and added frenetic percussion to an exhilarating end and Broken Ray is almost ambient in feel and sounds.

The Albion EP once more confirms a quite extraordinary talent in Johanna Glaza. Her songwriting skills are nothing short of amazing and ‘that’ voice, well, just listen for yourself.












Published on Louder Than War 21/12/18 - here.









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Review - Vanguardista Records – Winter Solstice







Vanguardista Records – Winter Solstice (Vanguardista Records)


DL

Out Now

Multi genre netlabel releases ‘an alternative Christmas album’. 

For all its bad things, the internet gave music the chance to be heard by millions previously unaware of particular artists.  Platforms like MySpace and latterly Bandcamp allow artists to release their sounds without the constraints and ultimately, overriding power of record labels.  No further proof can be seen in the emergence of independent netlabels, often without any contracts between artists, spreading music far and wide.  One such name, Vanguardista Records has been doing fine work for almost four years, the latest in a fascinating back catalogue is Winter Solstice, a twelve track taster of music that is on offer.

Of course, this form of releasing could be seen as a label to ‘make a quick buck’.  Not so in the case of Vanguardista (Spanish for ‘Avant-garde’) where all digital tracks are available on a name-your-price basis further endorsing the fact that music is there just to be shared rather than in a money making exercise.

Winter Solstice brings together artists and genres from around the world – electronic, ambient, postrock, folktronic, you name it.  No boundaries and no rules.  Album opener, Garden Of Trees by Philip Stephen Allen is nothing short of stunning, a beautiful piano led glistening of snow and ice emerging or an early morning sunrise as the world comes to life.  It’s a track of quite staggering quality and the sort of thing you’d expect to hear on a tv documentary that has been nominated for a prestigious musical prize.

Track two see the album turn in a direction of The Velvet Direction as Diane Marie Kloba gives us a proto punk  three minutes with the rawest of guitar and bass married with her simple but inviting voice oozing sensuality and feeling.  Second Winter by Wolfgang Merx is an evolving ambient/drone piece with dark excerpts over atmospheric electro swirls and Cloudwaste And The Calf go[ps1] [ps2] es down the Jean-Michel Jarre track with the retro sounding Power Cuts December 1979.

Perhaps see Sisters Of Mercy for New Apostles as their goth-metal Lonely Water chugs along gracefully and the staggeringly graceful Alcyone from John 3:16 immerses in a dark but somehow uplifting manner. 

With a trio of gorgeous tracks from Antonio de Braga, Transmission 13 and Building In Motion come field recordings and impressively co-ordinated tracks which impress and invite further listening aplenty.

Name-your-price doesn’t just mean ‘free’, it allows listeners to contribute what they think a release is worth and every penny earned will undoubtedly be ploughed back into the project to fund further.  Winter Solstice is worthy of your attention and, a few quid to ensure that the roots of music never fade.








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Published on Louder Than War 26/12/18 - here






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