LARVAE: Ghost Dubs EP DL Crime League
It’s been five long years since we heard anything out of the Larvae camp; and this is the first release for Canadian label Crime League, after the majority of their musical output came via the now missing in action label, Ad Noiseam.
‘Ghost Dubs’ is an aptly named moniker for the five tracks on display. Apparitions of ambience float and glide through a thin veil, as oozing bass lines are the glue for slow, stilted beats and chirping electronics to gloomily trundle along a moody path.
Paying homage to much of the output covered by cult Japanese ghost movies from the 50’s and 60’s; Larvae have got their concept firmly nailed down to a tee. Background whispers, creaks and groans permeate the entirety of this EP, enveloping the listeners’ consciousness with relative ease.
This is a decent re-entry back into producing music and sets the stage for any possible future full-length. I would have appreciated just a touch more horror, given the subject matter involved; but there is little on here to grumble about overall.
KEDR LIVANSKIY: Ariadna LP/CD/MC 2MR
Moscow based Kedr Livanskiy (real name Yana Kedrina) surprised me somewhat with this release. With imagery conveying something more in a classical vein, this is actually a synth based album that utilises the very basics when it comes to 80’s pop beats and programming; and tops it off with Kedrina’s reverberated vocals, that for the most part appear to be sung in her native tongue.
‘Ariadna’ is an odd affair that captures a desolate empty backdrop to cold abandoned buildings; and it’s anyone’s guess if this is intentional or not. I will give some kudos for not being able to nail down exactly whom or what this reminds me of compositionally, even if this isn’t the most challenging of works, from a musical standpoint.
For all its simplicity, there is something about Yana’s latest output that is endearing none the less; and if anything, it’s nice to listen to something once in a while that’s not over complicating matters and just gets on with the job at hand.
ORCHARD: Serendipity LP/CD Ici d’Ailleurs/Mind Travels
A collective of artists brought together by the label, of which; Aiden Baker is the only name I recognise. This did help somewhat when listening to the album, as I immediately could latch onto some of his input as a foundation.
When ‘Serendipity’ shines, it invariably is a result of the ambient tracks on offer; and these are more up my street musically speaking. However, a lot of the project revolves around a varied stream of musical apparatus; and freeform Jazz-esque improvisation and random fannying about will always bring about a pit of inconsolable rage, with me having to endure it in any shape or form.
It would be unfair to completely pull this apart though, as there are some genuine moments of musicality on here, that stand out regardless of musical taste. As stated before, when they catch an ambient wave, they really nail it. It’s just a pity the effort it took to listen to so much I dislike, to find such small moments of personal pleasure.
ANDERS HOLST & YANN COPPIER: Onomatopeia DL Clang
The press bumpf that came with this release, states that this is a collection of aggressive soundscapes created with live synth, programming and guitars; and as such, on paper, sounded right up my street.
As a whole, this isn’t bad at all. Without being as challenging as I first suspected, a lot of ‘Onomatopeia’ is ambient driven, regardless of the instrumentation utilised; and is for the most part, a quiet affair where nothing truly kicks off, so to speak.
This 9-tracker has its fair share of experimentalism; and this, directionally speaking, is where it falls short. When Holst and Coppier concentrate their efforts on outright atmosphere and ambience, they pretty much have it nailed down; with chasms of gritty peaks and troughs that stare upwards to the glassy air driven pads that float above them.
Nowhere near as aggressive as I first imagined; but a fairly interesting affair overall. There is little on here to be unhappy with for lovers of experimental ambience across all associated genres.
SUM OF R: Orga 2xLP/CD/DL Cyclic Law / Czar of Revelations
Switzerland’s Sum of R, have produced a slow string of releases since their inception in 2008; prevailing with a schedule that focuses on quality over quantity. To the outside viewer, it would be easy to take one look at this duo and assume they fall onto Dark Ambient territory; where in fact, this is just a utilised backdrop to fill out a pot of slow moving, bleak instrumentals.
Analogue sounds are carefully juxtaposed and given space to scratch at the surface of pads and orchestral influences, plying a web of desperation as bars rise and fall in an almost drip-fed fashion. The end result draws on a sea of morose soundscapes; that are as expansive as they are oppressively engulfing.
The key to any album of this nature; is balance. Sum of R are effective in providing great moments of beauty that tread a finely drawn path, shining a light on much of blackness that prevails within ‘Orga’. The end result; is a gloriously hypnotic album that falls to the depths of vast oceans at the pace of Sunn O))), with heaps more musicality.
JUXTAPOSITION: S/T CD/MC/DL Nakama Records
Frustrating and annoyingly pointless exercises such as this are all too commonplace nowadays. This Norwegian four-piece have a variety of instrumentation at their fingertips, yet have proceeded in producing a mash-up of nonsensical gibberish.
Bass lines that are just the odd note hammered out without rhyme nor reason, clattering percussive elements falling all over the place and badly cut up female warbling vocals; and that’s just a small part of the wreckage that is this self titled debut.
It’s 2017. People have only so much disposable income to spend on music these days; and they shouldn’t be wasting it on this talentless drivel.
ALESSIO SANTINI: Kenter EP CD/DL Elli Records
Textured and distorted guitar drones, heavily manipulated over live drums are far from a new concept; indeed, you could say the market is somewhat oversaturated. Focus on the producer of such works therefore, is to provide an individualist take on the genre; of which, Santini does for the most part.
This 16-minute extended player is just about the right length for me. With enough to make an impact on the listener without outstaying its welcome, as focus shifts from ambient textures to raucous displays of outright aggression at the drop of a hat.
All elements are swift and momentary to keep the attention span flowing well enough tolerate the obscure electronics that clatter haphazardly throughout. Indeed the singularly experimental tracks are solid enough to admirably carry enough weight individually.
Decent, but not exactly ground breaking, ‘Kenter’ is a neat little 4-tracker that solidly slots into the world of guitar noise with relative ease.