JACASZEK & KWARTLUDIUM: Catalogue Des Arbres CD Touch

jacaszek

JACASZEK & KWARTLUDIUM: Catalogue Des Arbres   CD Touch

For his latest release Poland’s Michal Jacaszek has come together with quartet Kwartludium and the 441Hz choir, to produce an album based on the forms of trees. He has utilised ‘”open air” (translated as field recordings) sounds as the foundation to the production and allowed the musicians free ranges on the additional instrumentation.

‘Sigh’ starts, as one would expect. Rain drizzles down through the woodland as droning clarinets and voices rise from the soil. The effect is a gracious breathing affair and an altogether excellent opening gambit for what is to come.

Sporadic piano is treated electronically on ‘Green Hour’ and is an altogether more lucid and weird output from the calming opener; although for me is interrupted all too frequently with the field recordings to bed into the consciousness of the listener. The next few tracks continue in much the same manner until the Dark Ambient leanings of ‘From a Seashell’, which is one of the albums highlights; displays a greater range and depth that was promised from track one.

‘Catalogue Des Arbres’ is an obscure composition, from start to finish; and long the way there is a rich tapestry of sounds that carry a lot of weight once the songs bed themselves in. A lot of though has gone into the album, this much is obvious; however, the downsides appear in the skittish nature of design, which I am sure comes from the subject matter (I suppose this is the point). Altogether though, this is a decent release if not significantly ground breaking or ultimately engaging for its entirety.

7.5/10

ZEITKRATZER: Lou Reed Metal Machine Music CD Zeitkratzer Records

zeitkratzer

ZEITKRATZER: Lou Reed Metal Machine Music CD Zeitkratzer Records

It’s certainly an ambitious task for Reinhold Friedl’s to cover and interpret Lou Reed’s classic; in fact it’s downright dangerous and for that they have to be commended. Here Friedl directs his nine piece mini orchestra into re-working the album into four 16-minute-plus tracks (the same as Reed) and if the original wasn’t avant-garde enough in the first place, they certainly add to it.

I have to admit now, that I have only heard snippets of Lou’s double album that deeply split opinion when it was released way back. However from the offset it’s obvious that a lot of attention has been paid in making sure this isn’t some ridiculously tedious pretentious act; and in many respects, homage has been paid to Reed now that he is deceased.

Reinhold has cleverly utilised the tools at his disposal, isolating instrumentation so that each offering carefully mimics its counterpart to a tee. Strings have the closest overtones to the guitar, the noise fill-ins are produced by percussive elements and wind instruments create a generous amount of feedback. All in all, like the original, it is a somewhat noisy affair.

To be fair, when approaching this release, it isn’t going to be because it’s enjoyable to listen to. If this say had been an album not conceptually released and was original work from the artist, there would be a lot to slate it for; however, given the time taken to construct and orchestrate such a mammoth task I am torn on how to score this as a whole.

If you are one of those collectors who love re-productions of classic works this could be for you. I would add though that there is a DVD release of this in full and most likely (I haven’t seen it) this would be more beneficial. I have to let my head rule my heart on this one and whilst I am not going to slate it (much kudos for the effort), being an actual listener of music it’s likely I will never play this again.

7.5/10

PIERRE ALEXANDRE TREMBLE: La Marée 2xCD Empreintes Digitales

pierrealexandre

PIERRE ALEXANDRE TREMBLE: La Marée 2xCD Empreintes Digitales

Bass clarinet, soprano voice, piano and invented instrumentation are the tools utilised by Tremble on this album. With 80 minutes spread over two discs there is a lot to take in and a real tester of patience.

In all honesty, there is a heck of a lot of variation when these are pieced together electronically and there are momentary infusions of sound that I enjoyed along the way, when the feedback kicks in. As this is a purely experimental release though there are many elements where it all just seems like a lot of pissing around.

Some sections play out like the backdrop to some of the better Hammer Horror movies that I enjoyed in my youth (and still do); those slight of hand footnotes that tell you something bad is going to happen, or to make you aware that someone isn’t quite what they seem. In this light these peculiarities of the album along the way did produce a smile across my face.

If anything, ‘La Marée ‘ is barking mad without completely flying off the handle. As with any album of this nature there is going to be many a moment when you consider just exactly what the point was of making such a release, when there is so little to discuss; and a lot of questions to the label, for even signing the cheque on production. For the most part all I could do was shrug my shoulders and look confused.

6/10

PETER ABLINGER: Augmented Studies CD Maria de Alvear World Edition

peterablinger

PETER ABLINGER: Augmented Studies CD Maria de Alvear World Edition

Germany’s Peter Albinger brings experimental music by the ten-fold. I was pretty much ready to tear the CD out of the player upon realisation that the first track is over 21 minutes in length; and consists of some of some the most deranged and manipulated flute playing I have ever heard.

It begs the question as to how you exactly top this? Well, the answer is quite simple; just add more flutes. Yes for a full one hour and twenty minutes Ablinger proceeds in providing more inane bastardised wind instrument torture, which is nothing short of pointless. There is but one brief respite where everything settles into fairly decent ambient; and that’s your lot as far as anything tangible is concerned. One of the most dreadful releases I have ever heard.

3/10

IRMLER + LIEBEZEIT: Flut CD Klangbad

irmlerlebezeit

IRMLER + LIEBEZEIT: Flut CD Klangbad

Jochen Irmler and Jaki Liebezeit bring something truly imaginative and well played out here; and I wouldn’t expect anything less with Irmler (formerly of Krautrock legends Faust), providing a barrage of intense synth, blasting its way through the repetitive percussive elements brought at the hand of Liebezeit.

Opener ‘Amalgam’ is tremendously pretentious, but it needs to be. There are some furious moments among the opener where everything grinds into a raging industrial pulsating beast that had me nodding my head with a grin on my face.

The obscure Jazz of ‘Golden Skin’ left me a trifle cold, but all was forgiven come ‘Ein Perfektes Paar’ which steers its way through a distorted mass of pads, just steering clear enough of 70’s psychedelia for me to enjoy it (only just however).

There is a lot about ‘Flut’ I shouldn’t actually like. I despise bands like Tangerine Dream and the like and if truth-be-told some of this reminds me of their output. However, there is a raw gritty edge and a warmth to the album that I appreciated immensely over the course of the release. Overall, whilst there is nothing altogether ground breaking about this collaboration, there is much to enjoy over the course of 46 minutes; and after a day of sifting through some releases that required no skill whatsoever to complete, this was gratefully received.

7.8/10

XOTOX: Redux LP Pro-Noize/Dark Dimensions

xotoxredux

XOTOX: Redux LP Pro-Noize/Dark Dimensions

It’s been a year since the excellent ‘Schwanengesang’ was released from Germany’s ambassador of Industrial music for hyperactive people. ‘Redux’ is a wax only release that for the lucky few comes in a special edition, limited red vinyl as well (and looks gorgeous to boot).

What we have on offer, are nine tracks remixed by some of the scenes well known artists such as Suicide Commando, Monolith; and Kiev amongst others. ‘Slå Tillbaka is the opening gambit to this release from the aforementioned Suicide Commando, with his trademark dance-floor synth plastered all over the track; and adds a new life to the song itself.

Overall the mixes provide a great variant on what has come before with Aehm touching everything up with light breakbeats and ambient sub textures on ‘Notwehr’ with Monolith bringing the distorted intentional (and essential) monotone beats that they’re famous for, reassembling the same track. The two variants match well and are prime examples on how different an individuals take on a song can be.

Variation isn’t a surprise with this release as many a style is covered, from the obscure electronics of Sci-Fi Industries and the Darkwave pads of Mondträume. It’s this pallet of sounds that provides the main interest to this remix album; that and the fact it’s so damn collectable. More power to Andy Davids for getting this release out there on this format and I am sure every other vinyl aficionado will relish this once they get their mitts on it for their own collection.

9/10

WIELORYB: Root CD HANDS

wielorybroot

WIELORYB: Root CD HANDS

I have been left a trifle cold on two occasions previously by Wieloryb; once on the their debut ‘Namaste’ (which, whilst being solid was far too generic) and their live performance at Infest in the UK (where through no fault of their own the sound guy decimated everything into a muggy mass of garbage). However, it’s a new year and there is a new album to review so it’s time to cast aside preconceptions.

‘The Number of Fourth’ does more than its fair share of putting past events to bed. Brutal and unrelenting, it is a savage blend of slicing rhythms and reverberated chorus vocals that breathe new life into the project, lifting its head above the water line where he was just about drowning. Followed up by the sporadic stop-start nature of ‘Orion’, it’s almost as if Wieloryb has dragged himself like a phoenix out of the ashes, to rise with a new found vigour.

There are momentary lapses along the way that need to be re-addressed, where everything becomes a murky squelching blob of audible goo; but these can be forgiven with rip-roaring numbers such as the precise ‘Machine’ and the glitching razor cuts of ‘Alphabet’.

Overall, ‘Root’ is a dramatic step up for the artist and for the most part an enjoyable romp. There are still edges to be sharpened and this project would benefit for a more clinical approach; but as far as progression goes, this is a step in the right direction.

8/10