ANDREAS DAVIDS: Grey 3”CDr Inner Demons Records

ANDREAS DAVIDS: Grey     3”CDr      Inner Demons Records

Taking a sidestep from your main project can be a daunting task; and here Andreas Davids of the mighty Xotox fame has experimented with something devoid of beats.

This neat little two-tracker is one song, split into two halves.  Part I starts off with a pulsating saw-like grind that treads PE territory.  Underneath the slicing electronics comes a wave of Dark Ambient inspired pads; that glide seamlessly into Part II.

Here, one monotone pulse guides the listener amongst a machine droned backdrop; and the end result is a surprisingly pleasant hypnotic journey.

Overall, this will be a welcome change of tack for Xotox fans and indeed listeners within the DA scene.  I am more than intrigued as to what Davids could conjure up, should he be given the opportunity to produce a full-length of this ilk.

8/10

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ORPHAX: Warschauer Straße CD Opa Loka Records

ORPHAX: Warschauer Straße       CD      Opa Loka Records

As a concept, Sietse Van Erve has here, centralised his album personally, around his first ever trip to Berlin.  Many an artist base their releases on life experiences; and it can be difficult sometimes for the listener to place themselves at the heart of what the producer is trying to convey.  It’s usually best to approach an album such as this purely from a musical perspective.

As a whole, this latest Orphax release is represented throughout, with a wash of drones and machine hums.  As pleasant a listen as this is, this does lack a certain spark; and covering 46 and a half minutes over just two tracks, begs and wants for something more than what has been ultimately delivered.

7/10

JEFFREY RODEN: Threads of a Prayer Volume 2 CD Solaire

JEFFREY RODEN: Threads of a Prayer Volume 2     CD    Solaire

I have not been witness to the first in this series, so it is a little difficult to compare and contrast; and indeed be party to the entirety of what Roden is trying to express here.  However, I can appreciate genuine musicianship; and as a whole, this as an album is very easy to listen to.

Pulling on solitude, Roden approaches his musicality from a quieter end of the spectrum.  Timpani, organ, piano and a quartet provide a necessary space for contemplation.  Peacefully plodding on, ‘TOAPV2’ places each not carefully and lets them linger in the air, providing the listener time to digest each reverberation, before moving onto the next.

If I have any concern, it is that this latest piece of work never truly gets going.  I love some of the piano arrangements, but they’re so few and far between that I felt disengaged by the time they filtered through the mix. Although admittedly, when they do appear, they’re beautifully sparse and endearing.  Altogether, this is a near silent release, which requires a great deal of patience.

7.5/10

FURVUS: Aes Grave CD Dark Vinyl

FURVUS: Aes Grave     CD  Dark Vinyl

It’s taken 18 years for Italy’s Furvus to produce a new album; so there is an added pressure for Luigi Maria Mennella to have created something exceptional.

Heavily influenced by bands such as Death In June, Rosa Crux and Elend, as well as other bands of that ilk, it doesn’t take much imagination as to some of the sounds that emanate from ‘Aes Grave’.  Although, Mennella does bring his own sense of originality, with the structure of the album played out as reading from scripture, to partner some arcane performance.

As expected, there is a sense of melodrama.  Although, for me, it is a little overblown, which in turn makes it a trifle cringe worthy in part.  Credit has to be given for a mighty production though, where the echo chamber reverberations work well with Luigi’s strong Italian lyrics, sung with gusto.

I prefer however, the quieter moments on this album, where undercurrents of Dark Ambient are allowed to skulk and stalk the listener to great effect.  It is a pity though, that these are just small sound bites in an album that is over concerned with medieval pomposity.

7.5/10

ZEITKRATZER / SVETLANA SPAJIC / DRAGANA TOMIC / OBRAD MILIC: Serbian War Songs LP/CD Karlrecords/Zeitkratzer Productions

ZEITKRATZER / SVETLANA SPAJIC / DRAGANA TOMIC / OBRAD MILIC: Serbian War Songs    LP/CD  Karlrecords/Zeitkratzer Productions

The long enduring ensemble Zeitkratzer, pump out release after release either as their own collective, or with (as here) other artists that linger around the same musical causes they inhibit.

As the title suggests, this is an album of ‘Serbian War Songs’; which incidentally are from World War One.  None of which are easy on the ear.

Zeitkratzer let the songs play out vocally (I assume from their collaborators), whilst they provide a barrage of noise and bombastic orchestral instrumentation.  In short, the end result is a ludicrously insane mass of warbling and the aural equivalent of insanity.

Underneath all of this, I am sure there is a homage to fallen comrades and whatnot, which is easy to derive from the album, even if I don’t speak Serbian.  I am sure it is well meaning; but I would have preferred the musical element on its own, as it is all a trifle too much to bear.

Kudos has to be given for this venture, even if it all becomes unlistenable.  The production is second to none (as with all Zeitkratzer material), but it’s all a little too much to swallow as a whole album, no matter how well it has been orchestrated.

7/10

ZEITKRATZER: Perform songs from Kraftwerk and Kraftwerk 2 LP/CD Karlrecords/Zeitkratzer Productions

ZEITKRATZER: Perform songs from Kraftwerk and Kraftwerk 2      LP/CD    Karlrecords/Zeitkratzer Productions

Yes, it’s the ensemble Zeitkratzer once again playing homage to another well-respected artist.  This time, it’s those electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk.

Without an electronic instrument in sight, Zeitkratzer cover classics, such as ‘Ruckzuck’, Klingklang’ and ‘Strom’ as well as others; with clarinet, trombone, double bass and a whole host of other orchestral instrumentation.  It’s truly barking mad, but it’s also a wonder to behold, making complete sense to revisit some of Kraftwerk’s classics, via a different medium.

Sometimes, Reinhold Friedl’s Zeitkratzer over perform.  In the past they have fallen short occasionally with their interpretations of others’ work.  However, with this latest output, they have remained respectful to the original tracks and indeed, with an artist of such high calibre; anything less would have been a disaster.

If you are a fan of Kraftwerk, I urge you to hunt this one out.  Devoid of any synthesizer as this is; it’s still a playful and enjoyable interpretation that is worthy of your time.  If anything, it made me smile.

8/10

MIGUEL ANGEL TOLOSA: Ephimeral CD Sofa Music

MIGUEL ANGEL TOLOSA: Ephimeral       CD   Sofa Music

Tonal Dark Ambient is the order of the day, on this third full-length affair from Madrid’s Miguel Angel Tolosa.

Rich undercurrents of grit scuttle over a sea of low-end pads; that reach out to the heavens in a subtle desperation.  With the odd flash of field recordings to pad out an atmosphere, Tolosa has left space for his gentle drone work to provide light where there is shade; and when they do appear, they provide a welcome respite from the murky depths from which this album was born.

As a whole, this is by no means a game changer in the DA community.  However, with this album, Miguel can safely sit on the fringe of the genre; providing value to that scene, whilst crossing over to other ambient territories as a stable bridge.

As calm as it is unnerving, ‘Ephimeral’ is a solid piece of work that is as necessary and as urgent as that produced by many of his peers.

8/10