S S S S: Just Dead Stars for Dead Eyes LP Hallow Ground

S S S S: Just Dead Stars for Dead Eyes       LP    Hallow Ground

Two lengthy tracks make up this album of ambient noise from Swiss producer Samuel Savenburg; produced over a two week long artists residency at Lucerne’s ‘Sudpol’ in the summer of 2015.

‘Pt1’ draws on an engaging array of harmonic, emotive synth and pad structures that rise from a bed of harsh electronics.  Mid-way through the blisters soar upward; leaving the listener floating amongst clouds of spatial drifts, that is occasionally interrupted by the storm below.

‘Pt2’ is an altogether noisier affair, more akin to some of the output from PE artists.  This does have its moments of tension amongst the oppressive rumbles; with some genuine cinematic interruptions, that are more than welcome once things become a trifle overwhelming (due to the length of the track).

Overall, this is a decent affair that should appeal mainly to fans of genuine Industrial music, Dark Ambient and Power Electronics; showcasing a competent feel for all these genres, with flair.

8/10

MENSIMONIS: Clone Fever CD Opa Loka Records

MENSIMONIS: Clone Fever     CD   Opa Loka Records

Eclectic is probably too small a word for this duo and their purely improvised album of guitar and electronics.

Radboud Mens and Lukas Simonis, bring a history with them that scales countless workshops, playing to many a secondary school student for what appears to be years.  The difficulties for me usually arise on what improvisation brings, or usually doesn’t (as is more often the case) to the table.

Overall, there is no doubt as to the skills both operatives possess as well as the many strings to their proverbial bows.  It does take a while for things to get going; and when they do, there is a certain degree of enjoyment that can be attained once things go full guitar-ambient.

‘Clone Fever’ is ultimately a mixed bag.  On one hand (as mentioned above), there was a lot to appreciate. But there is far too many interruptions at play, where the duo appear to just be messing around getting a feel for things; and therefor not entirely creating music, with one too many tune-ups for my liking.  This isn’t bad, but it could have been so much more.

7.5/10

AGNES HVIZDALEK: Index CD Nakama Records

AGNES HVIZDALEK: Index     CD  Nakama Records

Hailing from Vienna’s experimental music scene, I am sure there is little that Hvizdalek is doing to actually promote their efforts with this release.

Clocking in at 47 minutes, ‘Index’ is one long track of Agnes’ voice stretched, staggered and torn apart voice.  Literally.

It is infuriating, because there are moments here where you can imagine her working with a producer of actual music and coming up trumps with some of the ideas she has utilised.  On her own though, it is just a pointless waste of my time, her time, the manufacturing plants machinery; and indeed, the planets resources.

Self-indulgent nonsense.

3/10

SATOSHI TAKEISHI: Premonition DL Clang

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.

4/10

EZEKIAL HONIG: A Passage of Concrete LP Anticipate Recordings

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.

9.5/10

P.O.P.: Ikebana CD FMR

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.

6/10

OLIVIA LOUVEL: Data Regina CD Cat Werk Imprint

olivialouvel

OLIVIA LOUVEL: Data Regina         CD       Cat Werk Imprint

As a concept, this latest piece of work from French born, British composer Olivia Louvel, is an interesting one.  Basing ‘Data Regina’ on the exploration of the reign of two Queens ruling at the same time, upon the same isle (Mary Queen of Scots & Elizabeth I); Louvel has provided 17 compositions, through a series of different narratives and sounds.

Above all else, the vocals on this album are sublime; and ooze across the tracks with a dripping seduction.  Musically, a variety of instrumentation has been utilised alongside electronic programming; and many a base is covered as orchestral sensibilities dance across gritty noise and ambience.

To simply say this album is haunting would do it a disservice.  Olivia’s voice has carefully been layered into a series of ghostly chants along the way, as various key elements of her vocal lines have been dropped in as instrumentation and notes; the best example of this being ‘Good Queen Bess’.

Many a genre is crossed, from downtempo IDM, through to straightforward electro; and the odd nod to pure industrial, scoured with pop.  To top this all off, visitors to her website will encounter a showcase of 3D animations from Antoine Kendall to coincide with this release.

Overall, ‘Data Regina’ feels remarkably original, highly polished; and well thought out.  The music itself has a little of something for everyone and I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to dip their toes into something with an aura of pure class.

9.5/10