THISQUIETARMY: Democracy of Dust LP & CD/DL Midira Records

THISQUIETARMY: Democracy of Dust     LP & CD/DL     Midira Records

Looking through Eric Quach’s extensive back catalogue, I am really surprised I haven’t encountered his works before, by the sheer volume of his output in his relatively short tenure.

Blending synth, guitar and other analogue instrumentation, Montreal’s Quach recorded this in residency at Sao Paulo’s Dissenso Studio; and indeed the city itself seems to be the main impetus, thematically as a whole for this release.

Rumbling hypnotic bass lines keep pace over a staggered rhythm section whilst guitars interweave between distorted chords and high resonating drones.  ‘Democracy of Dust’ is a cohesive and well thought out release that is well constructed for the most part; where each track could be viewed as the sum of one larger track.  This is as much a blessing as it is a hindrance though, with some songs fading out and feeling a tad unfinished.  I would personally just have made each track longer and incorporated the smaller pieces into the fold.

Overall though, this is a decent interpretation of the genre, even if Eric lays far too many of his cards on the table; resulting in an album that doesn’t comfortably know where it sits in the grand scheme of things, experimentally speaking.

7.8/10

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ATONALIST FEAT. GAVIN FRIDAY: Atonalism 2xLP/CD Audiotrauma

ATONALIST FEAT. GAVIN FRIDAY: Atonalism     2xLP/CD  Audiotrauma

I normally assume Audiotrauma releases to be of an Electro-Industrial nature, so was pleasantly surprised to find this album coming out of their stable; a blend of Free Jazz, stilted electronics and broken piano, with obscure vocalisations, reminiscent in part of some of the works of scene giants, Neubauten.

The introduction of Saxophone may be enough to send some people running at the mere mention of the instrument.  Personally I have a fair few albums that incorporate the format; and Atonalist utilise this well as foundation to tormented lyrics, heavy guitars and the occasional punching of old school EBM and aspects of Metal.

Incorporating a multitude of styles and genre hopping is a dangerous game.  However; ‘Atonalism’ reeks with a confidence and gusto and as such, every element sits well alongside their not so obvious partners in crime.  The end result is an album that is enjoyable, for all its oddities and split nature; and dare I say it, it feels remarkably original and refreshing to boot.

8.5/10

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