ROUGGE: Cordes DL Rougge Production
Sometimes the best things come in small packages and this is non more evident than on this latest EP from Rougge.
Split into six ‘Fragments’, the opening intro of ‘Fragment 12’ is treated much in the same way as an ensemble’s warm up, to the first song proper, ‘Fragment 53’; providing a beautifully evocative structure, comprising of piano, strings and vocals reminiscent of Antony & the Johnsons. ‘Fragment 45’, follows much in the same vein, albeit at a slower pace; and the rest of the EP follows suit with gusto.
‘Cordes’ is effective in keeping everything concise and compact, with a stunning attention to detail and genuine musicianship. It borders on the criminal that this guy is just releasing this on download and not through some major classical label.
With a precise focus on pace and key, Rougge dances between the sombre and sublime, with an outstanding polished production and grace.
JAIME IRLES: A Region of Eternal Night DL Self-Released
One half of underground Spanish electronic wizards ‘Known Rebel’; Jaime Irles has taken the leap here into producing his own solo work to great effect, capitalising on his strengths and snatching lightly at many an influence with the odd smattering of originality.
Electronically speaking, there are nods to the lighter shades of dance music, treated with skipping, woven vocalisations; the most prominent of which being ‘Getaway’, which smacks ever so slightly, of Blanck Mass.
The beats are well rounded; the pads are warm and carry a necessary bounce. Pacing on the album clever intersects between the frenetic and the ability to slow things down when it is needed most.
As expected, the production values provide clarity and weight, where light reverberations are allowed to wash over the listener as the beats shudder welcomingly. A sense of modernisation that flirts with the 80’s, providing a sense of nostalgia that we all experience when summer nights are long and we have space to reflect.
Overall, this is a welcome release that shines with the abandon of what is expected from an electronic musician nowadays; and will no doubt surprise many, especially in the later stages of listening.
SATOSHI TAKEISHI: Premonition DL Clang
Japanese-born Takeishi has over 30 years experience in producing experimental music, which holds a candle to many a genre. Utilising analogue and electronic instrumentation, the results have been somewhat varied and I wish the same could be said with this latest album; as there is little that shines throughout.
‘Prologue’ and ‘The Visitor’ provide a web of pulsating, yet pointless drones; and it isn’t until the simplistic keys of ‘Abandoned Shadow’ that we get anything resembling something of worth, that can be defined as actual music.
‘Glimpse of Silence’ is a patch of electronic nonsense as is the rest of the album. Hums, bleeps and throwaway random self-indulgence that bears little worth, with even less to say about it.
EZEKIAL HONIG: A Passage of Concrete LP Anticipate Recordings
The title of this latest piece of work did mislead me somewhat. I have never encountered the works of Ezekial Honig before; and becoming somewhat jaded by many a release of late, expected a mass of pointless noise and untreated field recordings, envisaged from the title of the album, alone.
Ezekial does utilise the sounds of crowded streets and natural hums from encountered environments; but his field recordings are just the foundation for gentle heartbeat thuds and emotive electronics.
Space and contemplation are his main strengths here. Notes are stripped down to a bare singular minimum for clarity; and it is all too easy to become wrapped up in the hypnotic waves of wire-like ambience he has created.
Subtle and unobtrusive, ‘A Passage of Concrete’ is a journey into solitude and introspection; where the listener finds themselves walking through many of life’s passages, locked in their own personal bubble of harmonic downtempo contemplation.
P.O.P.: Ikebana CD FMR
The promise of Violoncello, Electric Bass, French Horns, Piano and vocals with electronics, should excite many a music enthusiast. Indeed, it did myself when reading the press blurb that accompanied this album. However, ‘Ikebana’, the second full-length release from P.O.P. (or Psychology of Perception) left me somewhat dumbfounded.
For the most part, the eight songs recorded here, sound like warm ups to the actual event. Random stabs of musicianship, that lack direction or motivation permeate an album that occasionally drifts into noise and ambience; but lacking any gumption, or indeed structure of any kind.
Individually, the sources themselves have sparks of something that beg for a conductor to take the bull by the horns and give direction. However, there is this overwhelming presence of a room full of musicians sat pumping out whatever they want in childish abandon, whilst someone else just destroys their output electronically.
The real shame in all of this, is that the individuals concerned, are most likely accomplished in their weapons of choice; and it all feels like a terrible waste.
DISPLACER: Spirit Guide DL Crime League
A retro sounding bass synth pattern opens up this latest EP from Toronto’s Displacer. Somewhat reminiscent of some of John Carpenter’s works, mixed with a touch of the opening theme to ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Ectenic Force’ slides gracefully into ‘Killer’; which is co-produced with Chase Dobson.
Arpeggiated electronics permeate the entirety of this five-tracker and are solidly layered in Michael Morton’s trademark beds of synths and warm, beat-driven programming genius. The title track (co-written with Snowbeasts) offers a ghostly, drifting apparition of choral effects and slabs of ethereal sensibility; that’s sits well placed between ‘Manifestations’ and the 80’s soundtrack web of intrigue, that is ‘Visions’.
Prolific as ever, Morton is a busy man that never stops giving his listeners ear candy, with strings of downloadable EP’s alongside his full hard copy releases. I would have loved to see this on vinyl, or at least, compact disc; but I am more than grateful to get to hear these tracks on a relatively frequent basis if those options are not available. If anything, they keep his project ever relevant.
ADAM PROBERT: The Battle for Tomorrow CD/MC Sonic Entrails
A real peculiarity here, with a spoken word release alongside sound, reminding me somewhat of the works of It-Clings; minus the forced humour, it is an overall more serious affair.
The ‘music’ side of ‘The Battle for Tomorrow’ is simplified more often than not to drones and other sounds, such as air raid sirens and grinds and whirs that are encountered on many a PE structured album. If anything, as on ‘I am War’; this portrays a riotous anarchism to the ambience of the album as a whole, working to great effect.
As a whole though, you have to treat this release differently to any conventional album. Relying on poetry as its driving force requires a listener that is completely embedded into ethos of making a piece of work such as this; and I can only entertain this sort of field in small bursts. In all honesty I found 11 tracks somewhat overbearing, desperately clinging on at least for some traditional screaming vocals, leaning more to the side of Power Electronics; where I feel this would have worked better.
Kudos has to be given to Probert for at least sticking to his guns with the daring it takes to produce an album such as this; and even swelling with overt pretentiousness, I am fairly sure there is a market for his work.