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

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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

PREVIEW: INFEST 25th-27th August 2017, University of Bradford UK

PREVIEW: INFEST 25th-27th August 2017, University of Bradford UK

I don’t normally do previews, but given the longitude of the event and my attendance of the festival being at 100%, I feel it’s due that I give a little bit of love; in the hope that some people who have never been to the event, maybe give it a shot this year.

In 1998 a bunch of students pulled resources to put together a festival for alternative music in the north of England.  Here we are 19 years later, going from strength to strength, with many years of hard work and backing from Terminal Productions.

Infest has always served to bring a wide selection of bands from many a genre within the alternative scene; with a worthy selection of headliners supported by up and coming acts and those with a solid proven fanbase. Indeed, Infest has a proven track record of bring acts to the UK spotlight; and indeed many of these artists have gone on to better things because of it.

This year, there are a couple of big hitters, surrounded by a web of relatively smaller acts and some moderately larger ones, providing enough intrigue as to some groups many of us will not have encountered before.

THE HEADLINERS.

First up, the band that has caused a lot of buzz about the event this year.  REVOLTING COCKS are one of my all time favourites; and this type of act is long overdue to appear in the UK, let alone Infest.  For me, RC ended as a project after their brilliant ‘Linger Ficken’ Good’ album.  With three solid studio albums and one live affair, this was all that was needed to cement the act at the pinnacle of Industrial music history. Unfortunately, Al Jourgensen chose to carry on as ‘Revco’, with a bunch of albums I generally ignored.  So for me, the line up that will tread the boards in Bradford this year will be the real deal; and a proposed set of ‘Big Sexy land’ and other hits has me chomping at the bit.

DIE KRUPPS are another bunch of legends that are a worthy headliner of any festival; and command a great deal of respect.  Nowadays, most of the music they produce has teetered off into Metal territory; and whilst I like the genre, I do hope they pull out some old Industrial classics.  Either way; miss these guys at your peril, as I am sure they will more than rise to the occasion.

ROTORSAND have been around for quite a while now; and whilst they’re not really my cup of tea, I fully appreciate their ability to get an audience moving (after witnessing them live a couple of times before).  Either way, they fit the Friday night headlining slot well.

CHIEF SUPPORT.

This next section of the line up provides information on artists that have been around for a while now, have a large fanbase; and whilst being well known outside of the UK, are slowly making in-roads here.  Longevity provides them with a healthy late playing slot on the bill.

ACCESSORY have been exciting European audiences for a while now with their blend of emphatic synths and energetic dance-floor oriented rhythms; and we expect no less on this occasion.

NOYCE™ are one of those acts that have quite possibly gone under the radar in the UK.  I remember encountering them many years ago; and their blend of German synth-pop reminds me somewhat of countrymen Melotron, in many a respect.

END.USER hailing from the USA, is one of the other acts on the bill that has got me genuinely excited, with his blend of intricate breaks, Drum N’ Bass; and hyper Industrial technicality.  With a healthy discography to boot, there should be plenty in his arsenal to absolutely slay the Bradford gathering this year.  I will be at the front.

IVARDENSPHERE are likely to be up here because of a line up pulled from other well-known acts within the scene. Known to be crowd-pleasing and having a genuinely solid following in the UK; makes them well placed to keep the crowds happy late on a Sunday night when everyone is starting to flag.

OTHER SUPPORT.

Amongst this section we have a couple of acts that have caught my attention; and a few others, which provide a suitable warm up at early doors.  RIOTMILOO produced an excellent album recently for the Ant-Zen label; and her infectious stage presence should have pulled her just a bit further up the bill.  Opening up on Saturday is a shame, as I fear some people will miss what promises to be an excellent visceral display of conscientious musical protest; and I implore you to get out of bed and not miss this.

Jason Novak and Sean Payne should be no strangers to the Infest crowd; and their project VAMPYRE ANVIL should appeal to those who appreciate the works of Cyanotic, Acucrack and Acumen Nation.  I thoroughly expect this to be a loud and engaging affair.

Amongst the other support, we have other acts I simply know nothing about; such as Wulfband, Empathy Test, Chemical Sweet Kid, Juggernauts, Sidewalks & Skeletons, They Called him Zone and Among the Echoes.  The beauty of this is, that I might find a hidden gem amongst them, as may you too.

In all fairness, I admittedly am a jaded fan of the scene in general nowadays (and it takes a lot to please me); but Infest is one of those events that isn’t just about the bands.  If you have never been before I highly recommend you visit this long standing festival that has stood the test of time.  With cheap accommodation, a genuinely friendly atmosphere and well-priced drinks and food, I guarantee you will come away with a smile on your face.  I have been every year without fail; and believe me, that in itself it is no mean feat.

For more information visit: http://infestuk.com

JIM DENLEY: Cut Air CD Sofa Music

JIM DENLEY: Cut Air     CD   Sofa Music

Taking a globalist approach as the concept to his latest album, Australia’s Denley; has taken on board a variety of acoustic instrumentation to produce here, an organic sounding release that crosses ethnicity.

Bamboo from Papa New Guinea, vibrating guitars and field recordings; play alongside his trademark flute, producing a tribal-like affair that is lightly brushed with the percussive elements.  It’s not entirely my cup of tea, but I can visualise what he has tried to achieve on this lengthy two-tracker.

As a blend of tones and sounds this does achieve a great deal, with the title track being drone based; as opposed to its counterpart being a tad messy with its experimentalism.  These two halves providing a duality for a couple of listening bases, that is interesting in one element for one or the other.

Overall, this has obviously taken a bit of work to accomplish; and the effort displayed has to be applauded in its own right, even if it won’t set the world alight.

7/10

PHILIPPE LAUZIER: A Pond in my Living Room CD Sofa Music

PHILIPPE LAUZIER: A Pond in my Living Room   CD   Sofa Music

Lauzier’s second full-length album is a sequential exploration into drones obscure noises, created with a variety of instrumentation, such as horns and bells and whatnot.

Reading in the blurb that he has provided sound installations is of no surprise whatsoever.  The haphazard and nonsensical nature of the release fits in well with the ethos of art taking precedence over music; unfortunately though, it’s a format I don’t appreciate.

For the most part, this album feels jumbled and unorganised, with out-of-key notes flying in from all angles haphazardly; like a series of never ending tuning forks, which slowly over the course of this release, drives you utterly bonkers.

I am sure there is a limited market for this piece of work; but for me, as an avid lover of Drone as a genre, I was surprised to find nothing I could sink my teeth into.

6/10

SVARTE GREINER: Moss Garden LP/CD Miasmah Recordings

SVARTE GREINER: Moss Garden   LP/CD   Miasmah Recordings

Three years on from his last album ‘Black Tie’, Erik K Skodvin returns from where he left off with two lengthy slabs of Dark Ambient in the form of ‘Moss Garden’.

Pulsating undercurrents of bass ascend slowly as the foundations to high range drones, air breathing pads and spatial bombardment.  A metamorphosis of sound evolves throughout this engaging release; that requires (as is the norm with this genre) the listeners’ undivided attention.

Whilst not being the most accomplished example of work in this territory, Svarte Greiner possesses the ability to shift through the mandatory basics, to great effect.  A sense of weightlessness is the dizzy counterpart, to much of the rich oppression that the low-end resonating hums churn out relentlessly; and all in all this ticks all the boxes for any self-respecting DE fanatic, even if just missing a few next level sparks of inspiration.

8/10