May Pills

MAHOGANY FROG – Do 5

Released in 2008 but received only a few weeks ago, this is the fifth album by a collective hailing from Winnipeg, Ontario, specializing in a peculiar brew of slightly experimental space rock and various other things, which sound rather familiar and easily digestible to these ears yet are concocted in somewhat weird fashion, which made me enjoy the trip quite a bit. The instrumentation, besides guitars, bass and drums, comprises lots of analog and, generally speaking, old-fashioned machines – Micromoog, Farfisa and so on – together with two trumpets. Picture a cross of Rush, Egg, Soft Machine circa Bundles and perhaps a morsel of Gong in medium nutty sauce and you’re less than halfway through understanding the type of music proposed by these guys. For sure they play very well: thorough instrumental expertise, the right quantity of fractured tempos, a general scent of ever-welcome progressiveness (I’m referring to the 70s, in case you didn’t get it), interesting ingenuity in the way of mixing the pieces, and a dose of ostentatiously corpulent harmonic progressions in some of the tracks that, preposterously enough, causes a bizarre kind of oily gratification. Excellent as headphone soundtrack while watching the world, or just a limited portion of your county, from a train. (Moonjune)

CRAQUE – Supple

Matt Davis is the man behind Craque, a training in classical composition and operatic performance enabling him to concoct a specimen of sharp-minded, mainly loop-based, soothingly bubbly music originating from diverse types of sonority including acoustic guitars, environmental repercussions, synthesized/sampled dissociations. The sonic designs are often pristinely straightforward, in a positive way: there aren’t excesses and/or surpluses, if not for some preventable over-fragmentation of the rhythmic pulse in a couple of instances. This lucidness is all the more remarkable as it is surrounded by a whimsical yet entrancing ambience of weirdly reverberating, high-quality electroacoustic protuberances, placing these tracks in the lands bordering with clever techno on one side and sampladelia on the other, with occasional hints (involuntary, methinks) to Muslimgauze as a plus. However, it’s the overall sense of order and precision that enriches the experience, which – in case someone’s still doubtful – is rewarding under several aspects. (Audiobulb)

BLUERMUTT – Uncertain Data Packed In Red Boxes

Young chap from Barcelona, utilizing computerized structures to concoct 34 minutes of engagingly charming sounds: a little pseudo-mercury here, a pinch of melodic minimalism there, gentle noises everywhere, and you’re done. No pretence of probing who knows what inscrutable universes, just a series of easily assimilated processes that sound as surprising results of a game rather than actual compositions. I mean, typical blips and pulses appear more or less always yet, strangely enough, they don’t get me annoyed as usual. In other occasions we would have deemed something like this as totally inadequate but a sort of candid ingenuousness is detectable in a number of parts of this work, which sweetens the soul of a callous reviewer after all. (Audiobulb)

LOUISE DAM ECKARDT JENSEN – You Look Like Your Mother, Would You Like More Sauce?

Danish alto saxophonist with a DIY attitude and a general sense of inventive dewiness that lets us appreciate the creativity and forget about eventual technical deficiencies. Published on Jessica Pavone’s imprint (“Peacock” is the English translation of the violist’s Italian family name, should anyone be dying to know), this CD comprises solo and multitracked pieces, occasionally with the addition of unevenly coarse vocal ingredients. What’s to be best appreciated is Jensen’s melodic mindset: lines that can alternatively sound extremely easy or get complicated enough – at times with a Bachian scent – without losing intelligibility. The “experimental” noisier parts are a little warts and all, but still genuinely funny (a case in point being “I Don’t Like Rottweilers”). The lone doubts materialize when reflecting on the actual consistency of the alto’s basic timbre, a tad too wheezy for my liking. One can’t have everything though, therefore what remains is sitting peacefully on your couch and enjoying the wholesomeness of this petite rebel’s musicality. (Peacock)

KIRCHENKAMPF – Dark Planet

John Gore’s Kirchenkampf alias delivers swathes of abstract sounds that might remorselessly be used in (admittedly first-class) sci-fi flicks and/or even sophisticated videogames, if always showing a distinctive personality. This time there’s a bit of diminished inscrutability in a fraction of the program, though, and occasionally the beauty of vast reverberation, the infinity of a drone and the intensity of the subsonic throbbing are not enough to counterbalance a sense of dice-throwing casualness, which make a couple of tracks sound a little less focused than usual. We’re left gazing at the unknown while waiting for something deeper, of which one only intuits the existence without an actual fulfillment. It is still an encouraging listen, unfamiliarly far away from ugly cheapness for sure. Yet I’m convinced that Gore can shift gears to a superior level. (Cohort)

TIM OLIVE – The Specialist

Is there anybody in need categorical definitions? If somebody answered “yes”, then they’d better stand well clear off Tim Olive’s The Specialist. He doesn’t wish to title his pieces to save our mind from preconceptions, uses an invented instrument made with a slab of wood with a couple of pickups on it, one or two bass strings attached (and maybe a dangling guitar string) and creates all kinds of garbled/strangled/rusted noises and sinister drones by the sheer use of a preamplifier and a few inches of metal on the magnets. You’re not going to reunite with the placid aspects of existence – that’s for sure – and also won’t be able to tap a foot following a conventional rhythm. Olive is interested in generating acrid textural shards that can be welcomed or hated, crunchy reminders of ruptured civilisations, mismanaged disloyalties and eruptions of inharmonious mushrooms in non-existent intimacy. Simplicity at the basis of imperturbability, noise as a means of socialization. Between you and your very selves. Furthermore, that one will get out psychologically improved by the experience is not guaranteed. (EM)

STORMHAT – Addicted To Disaster

Great title in which I recognize myself, especially relatively to recent years. Peter Bach Nicolaisen is a Danish artist who collected lots of easy-to-like yet fairly incisive sounds from what’s mainly perceived as working places and metropolitan contexts. However, one seems to distinguish a Tibetan bell flavour somewhere, whereas spectacular thunders and heavy rain characterize “Ramt Af Lynet” amidst a plethora of processed and natural metallic resonances. Nicolaisen assembled the materials in structures constituted by lengthy loops and, in general, cyclical recurrences. He doesn’t leave excessive room for breathing or even thinking, but at the same time helps our imagination in its attempt of getting amalgamated with the circumstantial ambience intuited in the fraction of a moment. There’s a sense of musicality emerging from the clangour, which gives the six pieces a distinct compositional quintessence, thus separating this disc from the mass of low-budget button-pushers polluting the globe with horrendously useless tapes where the potentials of implicit harmony become instead a hymn to humdrum apathy. (Diophantine)

ANNE LAPLANTINE – A Little May Time Be

This French artist has previously released records under the names Angelika Köhlermann and Anne Hamburg. The CD, published in 2008, is a collection of miniatures, mostly instrumental, with particular focus on reasonably misshapen arrangements – halfway through King Crimson-tinged arpeggios and baroque polyphony – constructed upon polyphonic superimpositions of interlocking guitars. Occasionally the structure is more song oriented, cheap drum machines and electronics additional factors together with segments of pseudo-silence. A mix of minimalist naiveté and childish delicacy that sounds very nice for its large part, sporadically a little too simplistic for my taste but palatable overall. The patina of digital dirtiness and the peculiarly skewed quality of the tunes help placing the record miles away from obviousness. The not excessive duration is a plus, the humour is there (dig those hi-speed voices and deformed electronic protuberances). I can’t see traces of self-importance, either. All of the above amounts to a sufficiently congenial listen, if one’s not waiting for marvels. For sure we’re in presence of an original way of expressing uncomplicated concepts, which sometimes is fine enough with me. (Ahornfelder)

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