BIOSPHERE / DEATHPROD: Stator LP/CD Touch

biosphere-deathprod-stator-touch

BIOSPHERE / DEATHPROD: Stator LP/CD Touch

Norwegian duo Biosphere and Deathprod have been releasing solo works for some time now; approaching the electronic music scene from a slight difference in angle of attack. Whereas the former is noted for his ambient and Techno leanings, the latter concentrates on homemade electronics.

As a joint effort to create this album, I expected collaboration on all tracks; but in this case we have three from Geir Jenssen’s Biosphere and four from Helge Sten’s Deathprod. Thematically drawing a concept from an electrical engineering perspective of rotary machines and generators, or the fixed blades of an axial flow compressor, may not be the most conventional of subject matters; but musically speaking, everything relates cohesively.

Subtle harmonics are the key to what makes this album work so well. Background key changes by Biosphere, offset well against mechanical grinds and subtle distortions, providing an engaging rising ambient picture, of great depth and resonance.

In contrast, Deathprod’s analogue interpretations add a variation to the proceedings that create balance. Less mechanical than his cohort, he provides a summery tone to the overall feel of the release that offers light to Biosphere’s autumnal slants; with the occasional winter frost and spring bounce, to nail down a whole season of sounds.

Overall, ‘Stator’ is an engaging album that requires a fair amount of patience to appreciate the attention to detail on offer. For those that take the plunge, the results are ever more rewarding with a stark lesson in Dark Ambient/off-key electronic bliss.

9/10

ALVA NOTO: Xerrox Vol. 3. 2xLP/CD Raster Notion

alvanoto

ALVA NOTO: Xerrox Vol. 3.   2xLP/CD Raster Notion

Having not herd the previous volumes that accompany this album, did hinder me somewhat when approaching this work. However, any album should stand out on its own merits and it has been a long five-year gap between ‘Vol. 2’ and this one.

Inspired by childhood memories of films from the 1970’s including Tarkovsky’s adaptation of ‘Solaris’, there is a personal presence to this release that sometimes can be hard for others without similar experiences to latch onto. Musically then, is where this album is going to have to (and always should) do its talking.

Seamlessly flowing into track two, ‘Atmosphere’ glides into the sonic wall of drifting operatic pads that is ‘Helm Transphaser’. With a heavy leaning on Sci-Fi this plays out well, giving rise to a well of emotions and bass rich underlay that grabs the attention and takes the listener on an immersive journey.

‘2ndevol’ in contrast places subtle harmonics amongst a garden of glistening ambient textures that play into the hands of much of the Japanese market, that I have encountered within this genre; and folds into the utterly beautiful ‘Radieuse’ that captures some of the best moments of Fennesz, with wonderful rich tones and folding glorious atmospherics.

From the majesty of ‘Isola’, to the sombre ‘Mesosphere’ and the faded piano of ‘Spiegel; ‘Xerrox Vol. 3’ is a massive display of talent and spatial awareness of sound, that immediately had me hunting down its counterparts; An immense and impressive album from start to finish.

9.5/10

DASHA RUSH: Sleepstep CD Raster Notion

dasharush

DASHA RUSH: Sleepstep CD Raster Notion

Subtitled ‘Sonar Poems For my Sleepless Friends’, it’s not going to take a genius to work out the pace of Rush’s latest release and the concept with which she has chosen.

Cultivating a dream like atmosphere is where Dasha excels. The obscure background of swirling electronics on ‘Dance with Edgar Poe’ provide a bed for off kilter piano and her evocative vocals; whilst ‘Whispers and Albert’ drifts with a cold ambient breath.

Low-key electronica is the staple of ‘Sleepstep’; and whilst not being anything of technical brilliance, allows for Rush to speak with a subtlety and suave sultriness that overrides the need for anything on the high end of geekdom in the production stakes. When she avoids anything with rhythm, her ambient leanings provide something much more concise and engaging.

For me, where Dasha falls short is in the general construction of the songs on offer. Being of moderate length for the most part, there is something that feels ultimately unfinished with them; and most tracks stop abruptly as opposed to evolving into their true potential. The same can be said for song placement.

Overall, I can see the potential with what has been attempted and more emphasis should have been directed in the vocal area, where Rush provides an oily presence to her words, that seductively ooze attention.

7.5/10

FRANK BRETSCHNEIDER: Sinn + Form CD Raster Notion

frankbetsch

FRANK BRETSCHNEIDER: Sinn + Form CD Raster Notion

After the last release I heard from Bretschneider, ‘Super Trigger’, I expected great things from this latest album. There was previously a heavy leaning to the works of Funckarma that I appreciated greatly and a greater pressure to follow this up with something of equal competency.

‘Pattern Recognition’ as an opener, doesn’t tick any boxes for me, with a mash up of electronic nonsense that irritates as opposed to engaging the listener; as does ‘Crisis?, What Crisis?’. Given that these two tracks total a mass of 15 minutes, it’s a lot to endure.

Tragically, as I endured my way through the tracks (skipping most of them half way) it’s evident that Bretschneider has found a route up his own back side and produced a nonsensical album of electronic drivel, with a sea of pointless bleeps and perpetually annoying guff. There are artists out there that deserve the platform that Frank has robbed them of; and had this been submitted to myself for a prospective release, I wouldn’t have even taken the time to get back in touch.

3/10

GOMILLA PARK: Ununoctium 12” EP Raster Notion

gomillapark

GOMILLA PARK: Ununoctium 12” EP Raster Notion

In the age of heresy that is digital downloads, it’s brilliant to see a label knocking out 12” EP’s and also physical releases of great quality (for the most part). I will hold my hand up high and express now that I haven’t heard of Gomilla Park before, but will be hunting down previous works with immediate effect.

Opening up this brief but effective extended player, is the rip-roaring ‘Leibniz’ with it’s punishing overdriven bass line; with a pounding monotone rhythm section that punches holes in the air for a slicing ambient pad to tear a visceral scar upon the listener.

Up next is the unsettling ‘Ramon Llull’, with the odd flutter of demonic mutterings threatening to rage through a soundtrack of ominous electronic simplicity that lends to the sparse ambient leanings of closer, ‘Calculus’ well.

The beauty of this release is that it shows Gomilla Park’s varying degrees of musicianship to great effect. Capitalising on a knowledge of old school Industrial and modern electronica is surely a gateway to better things; and I hope that my excursion into all things by this duo matches up to what this EP has presented.

9/10

RYUICHI SAKAMOTO/ILLUHA/TAYLOR DUPREE: Perpetual CD 12k

sakamotodupree

RYUICHI SAKAMOTO/ILLUHA/TAYLOR DUPREE: Perpetual CD 12k

Sakamoto, Illuha and Dupree join forces on this collaboration; and this latest release is the performance they gave together one wet summer in Japan, including a joint installation marking their 10-year anniversary as artists and performers.

Separated into three ‘Movements’, ‘Perpetual’ captures the individual strains and textures that each of this trio bring to the table. Never before have these three artists worked together; and the ease at which everything folds into place, shows they were tailor made for each other.

Pump organs, piano, guitar and synth; flow as a blissful wave of ambient dreamscapes and textured air. Clouds of analogue and digital frequencies drift together and diffuse the silence, which is a prominent factor in giving each instrument it’s own platform to shine.

As a whole, ‘Perpetual’ demands attention and a vast degree of patience. Given the time however, there is much to become enveloped and engrossed in, as glitch-ridden droplets of sound cling to the skin of your ears and drench the listener’s soul from within.

8.5/10

ALEXANDER RISHAUG: MA.Org Pa.Git LP Crónica

alexanderrishaug

ALEXANDER RISHAUG: MA.Org Pa.Git LP Crónica

This expansive 2 track LP was recorded live in the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Rotterdam January 2012 and has just seen light of day now. As the fifth solo release from Rishaug, he concentrates his efforts on the mechanics of a dusty old church organ, an old tube amp and electric guitar.

Utilising the natural harmonics and acoustics of the building, bodes well for a project such as this. The creaks and groans of the old church play as much a part as the instrumentation, in building an atmosphere that derives its influence from Dark Ambient and shuddering Drone.

Side B differs from its opening counterpart. Where Side A concentrates its efforts on natural acoustics, ‘Pa.Git’ relies on the tube amps shudders and grinds as the guitar resonates through the mix.

The music itself is heavily processed without doubt; although recomposed and restructured in the studio at a later date, the natural ambience and feel that Rishaug obviously tried to achieve is not lost on the listener.

Overall, this is an solid release that benefits from both sides of the vinyl representing two sides of a coin that approach Alexander’s audience from two differing perspectives; although just whether I will play it again after one listen, is an altogether different question.

7.5/10