Narrow-Minded Metalhead Reviews Experimental Music

Bloque del Sur, BVBEL, Kaschade, Samuel Bone, Fross – Small free download artists – Quick reviews

Bloque del Sur – Periferia

a0021724405_10Groovy easily accessible electro with samples and obscure voice clips. What would industrial be without voice clips! Periferia has both lighter and darker beats and melodies.

The artist describes Periferia as a fresh approach to EBM/industrial, taking elements from 1982-88 golden era and adding tropical bass influences. I’ll be the first to admit that the “golden era of industrial” and “tropical bass” are completely foreign to me. The band hails from Argentina which may explain the tropical but also why my girlfriend without knowing anything of the artist commented about the “weird latino music”! I honestly didn’t even hear the latino influence on Periferia!

Megaperiferia first appeared as a monotonous track but upon checking the video it started to actually benefit from the monotone atmosphere that welcomes new elements sparingly but interestingly. The starting Diagrama is refreshingly more polymorphous with all kinds of textures appearing in the first few minutes.

The subtle background melodies help a lot and affect spontaneous headnodding. Intercommunicador is refreshingly more exotic. I liked Bloque del Sur’s down-to-earth approach upon submitting the release and thus decided to share these few words.

In total an enjoyable small release which I’ve been listening the most of the 5 releases in this post.

Bandcamp:
https://pakapirecords.bandcamp.com/album/bloque-del-sur-periferia
Video of Megaperiferia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kZEyxEfsKI


BVBEL – PRDX2

Cover (1)Beats, the eternal problem. There’s great rap lyricists with lacking backgrounds, then there’s great backgrounds with lacking lyrics. Where does BVBEL come in then? He produces pretty damn stellar backgrounds, but unfortunately without any lyrics at all. Even though it sounds good there’s definitely the vocals missing.

For the most part the beats are pretty memorable. I see no reason why they wouldn’t be good enough for a rap release. The production values aren’t huge but there’s a nice glitchy atmosphere that makes up for the lack of booming. Some clever hooks like the 2nd track 不要 (English translation: Do Not). Most beats that I hear I end up liking a lot less than BVBEL’s. I could love this release with the right lyrical substance.

Free download: https://archive.org/details/siro792Bvbel-Prdx
BVBEL seems to be very productive as his bandcamp is filled with releases:
https://bvbeltrill.bandcamp.com/
On quick listen tracks like DV-useless show a lot of melodic potential: https://bvbeltrill.bandcamp.com/track/dv-useless


Kaschade – Performance

kaschade-entity-beHei, I heard you came looking for semi-improvised avant-garde saxophone electronic ambient noise, right? Grab Performance immediately! The rest of us, we might just want to take a peek now and then behind a safe distance. Listening 53 minutes in one go without finding other means of entertainment at the same time proved to be quite a task. Even with skipping the 8+ minute harsh noise closer, Golden Balls. But man, is the cover art beautiful!

I’ve had my chaotic noise phase but usually I dig structure. In semi improvised music there tends to be less of structure. But there’s plenty of sound to keep interest up in Kaschade’s Performance: cascades of whizzes, booms, knocks, scratches and most of all ambients. Usually there’s quite a steady beat or a coming and going melodic pattern or certain sound, so it’s not like there’s no structure. There’s definitely an underlying structural sense, but it’s in there deep. Also the organic saxophone adds plenty of value. It’s an interesting ride from psychological spacehorror to psychedelic intergalactic procession.

The spacey feel is ever so present; it feels there’s a vast blackness but it’s not overbearing. The tension is psychological, no sudden senseless loud sounds.

The description at the weblabel Entity’s site is very fitting: “Indeed Performance might well be the soundtrack to an imaginary film, perhaps in the style of film noir or a collection of surreal scenes, as experimental soundeffects produce a constant string of plottwists while spiraling through a wide range of lasting impressions.” If Alejandro Jodorowsky had ever finished his Dune film adaptation, the music could have been something similar to Kaschade’s Performance!

Bandcamp: https://kaschade.bandcamp.com/album/performance-2016
Direct zip download link: https://archive.org/compress/ntt084/formats=VBR%20MP3,JPEG,ARCHIVE%20BITTORRENT,METADATA
Entity Weblabel: http://www.entity.be/entity/


Samuel Bone – Fluctuous

A-SmallCoverFluctuous
marked as obsolete except in archaic usage.
a.
Watery (obs.).

b. Full of, or resembling waves, lit. and fig.

Urban dictionary:
Fluctuous
used to describe a nice ass.

Experimental electronic with solid rhythmic background. Beeps and twerks (not the butt-kind) keep appearing. Quite enjoyable really, some tracks are surprisingly quiet in the mix. Especially Hrathlemore really needs some volume finetuning by the listener to be enjoyable. Like water Fluctuous keeps spilling out of my hands listen after listen.

The release does bring watery substances in mind, first track Drool Cam starts with water burbling sounds.  The next track Chonie has the best melody with a keyboard sound that sounds to be coming from just below the water surface. Uhl is nicely relaxing when Kringle Kan Surplus is really a distorted affair nearing noise. Hrathlemore is quiet, so is the title track, Fluctuous but it is also less noisy, more rhythmic and nicely minimal electro. Quite pleasant really.

Free download: https://archive.org/details/siro793SamuelBone-Fluctous


Fross – Sombrio

a0453013625_10Fross, from Costa Rica brought some melodic dark ambient with misty woods and mountains to my e-mail box. In the start of his 2016 record Sombrio, there’s something that reminds me of Agalloch. Ilusión Distante also has a hint of low bitrate and minimal ambient in it’s gentle chords. Desolacion is still melancholy but as the album progresses further the last few tracks are quite oppressive.

In total Sombrio lacks depth though. There are some great somber passages like (Desvanecerse) En la Oscuridad. I can hear twinkling and gentle noises in the back that aren’t there but in my head they’d fit there so perfectly.

The use of organic instruments like violin and guitar is most welcome but it does not have much dramatic impact.

The first listen was surprisingly tense as I was waiting for the organic instruments to take the lead and on Petricor I was finally rewarded. The echoing guitar and background blooming sounds great but keeps minimal.

The tension keeps the listen interesting and mood surprisingly fluid. Dark ambient in its oppressive forms is not really my thing but luckily Sombrio is split into airy elements that work well as a gentle background.

Girlfriend’s comment on El Abismo: Submarines and death.

I picked Fross to review by random but also because I liked his approach, not demanding a review but asking if I happened to have the time!

Owls – The Night Stays

mi0003157707Owls’ 2011 album, The Night Stays starts with a bang. The first two tracks Hide and Seek and The Night Stays unite bass-rich downtempo with intense atmosphere and acoustic guitar & keys lusciously but most of the rest album easily sinks into just rather pleasing somber soundwave. If the Night Stays seems redundant or hard to grasp after the surprise of such captivating dark beats wears out, you need to give it some time.

It took about a year’s pause for the album to grow from tasty bits to a rather fantastic entity. Yet it is undeniable that the tastiest bits are served in the start. Title track’s luscious distortion and bright xylophone, bass backdrop and gloomy yet blackly humorous Tony Wakeford lyrics explore such depths of brain activity you’d be surprised.

Tony Wakeford’s vocals which always divide opinions fit the pace so well you come to hope Sol Invictus had more electronics. The lyrics are strangely more exposed than in Sol Invictus and as strong as one can expect from a Wakeford record. Occasional very neofolkish guitarwork commemorates the dark toned compositions. I have been told the genres in question can be classified as trip hop or downtempo.

Owls is indeed not just Tony Wakeford, but a threesome, the electronicswork of Eraldo Bernocchi and Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari cannot be underestimated. Both also have a gazillion other projects including Somma, Obake, O.R.k (Pat Mastelotto :O). and collaborations for example with Mick Harris (of Napalm Death), Ephel Duath and Eivind Aarset (a man with another gazillion projects).

284136_236698689684187_7689329_n

Owls live @ Wave-Gotik-Treffen, Leipzig, 2011.

Perhaps the reason for the slow reception of The Night Stays is the difficult track order. It kicks right in but it takes until the 8th track We Took This Land to find a really tight footing again. A fragile guitar driven track that portrays great nihilistic lyrics about American oppression and breaks loose to a distorted and powerful chorus:
o, we took this land with bribes and murder,
and we will keep it too
don’t pretend to be so shocked,
it’s what the right (or white?) men do [i may have misheard some of this part]

In the middle part perhaps the brightest glimmer is the the glorious end to the repetitive Come Back, even though I have no idea what they are singing about. Strange Kind of Beauty is as titled, a touching slow burner which creates magical twinkling atmosphere in minimalistic ambientish/neofolkish background.

With Tony Wakeford’s solo album Not All Of Me Will Die, The Night Stays fits to A-category only shallowly under the best bits of Sol Invictus.

8½/10

Salomè Lego Playset – So Much Was Lost In The Process Of Becoming

PrintWhen you pick a free download post-rock album from an owner of a weblabel who also released it, more the surprise it is to feel enthralled almost immediately. But when the second guitar melody of L’animale morente meanders in one can’t help but feel encompassed. If this is not enough, blissful saxophone comes in to complement this lulling tune.

Salomè Lego Playset’s So Much Was Lost In The Process Of Becoming is a dark themed lull headed by frontman Nicola Boari. It meanders in terrains that fit right into my Finnish melancholy conception. It visits experimental grounds as well, but mostly through field recording sounding ambient that adds to the atmosphere.

The quality of tracks does go down after the brilliant starting trinity L’animale morente, Heimarmene and Humanity and Paper Balloons. The next few still have some serious merit but are in professional terms a tad boring. The Fountain and Il Deserto e le Fortezze are dark as opposed to starting three are melancholic. After slow and solid start The Gorge yonders welcome variation as heaviness but is the saxophone a bit off-key?

The last track Dolce Mattatoio is hard to grasp with its 20 minute length and lots of field recording and noise elements. But it doesn’t bother the big picture as its the last track. I have a great affection to last tracks that end with 10 minutes of meaningless humming leading into a hidden track! Dolce Mattatoio cannot be called meaningless humming though, it is a vastly experimental track with a lot of noise and field recording stapled together with familiar instruments from previous tunes. All in all, quite a staggering piece and very much unlike the rest of album.

So Much Was Lost In The Process Of Becoming is a professional sounding indie record with satisfyingly crunchy and organic sounds. The vocals are very delicate but they work in bands favour.

The experience was deepened further by this heartbreaking official statement that Salomè Lego Playset released a few months ago:
“2011. 5 years have passes and they couldn’t feel heavier. Salomè dismantled and so has a part of me gone forever. I honestly can’t say what I’ve done in the past 5 years since. Nothing. This lies as testimony of what I once was and what I once believed in. How long will this go on for. How long do I have left. Should anyone notice, listen, that’s somebody else he will find.”

The statement describes some of the creation pains well and I can only say that Spettro records has seemed to publish quite a lot of albums in the past years. Most of us do not even release one great album in our lifetimes  ;).

8/10

Free download:
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Salom_Lego_Playset/So_Much_Was_Lost_In_The_Process_Of_Becoming/
or
https://salomelegoplayset.bandcamp.com/album/so-much-was-lost-in-the-process-of-becoming
Salome Lego playset info & discography:
http://www.spettrorec.com/index.php?/artists/salome-lego-playset/

Narrow-minded Metalhead reviews experimental music, why?

Being an avid underground rock/metal listener and huge fan in finding new music and genres I stumbled to TRASHFUCK Records, RedSK and their noise in 2009. A lot of their releases at best make me bored, scared and entertained at the same time. This impressed me to try out more of the weblabel scene and introduced me to Sirona Records’ Arnaud. I decided to start reviewing electronic music records after I realized I’m really not sure what is going on in half of Sironas’ releases.

I’m trying to give my humble opinions on some new music, whose genres, I may or may not have any familiarity, but sure thing is they are far from my normal music grounds. I have a feeling, if by chance I happen to stumble to albums with genre titles like “rave” “deathcore” or “techno”, I might have a hard time saying a single positive thing, but nevermind that. You can always bypass it by the fact that I’m just narrow-minded metalhead reviewing experimental music.

When I stared this review serie in 2011 I did not have many electronic artists which I was a fan of. Since that, the number has increased considerably.

Yerzmyey – FREAKuencies & Interphase // NMMREM XXXI

Yerzmyey has been composing his chiptune / micromusic / lo-fi electronica since 1989. Both releases in question have been composed with a ZX Spectrum clone. Not with an emulator, but with an actual retro computer.

The original ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit home computer released in 1982. ZX Spectrum was especially popular in Eastern Europe, mostly because of unofficial clones that were produced en masse in the former eastern block.

I first came across Yerzmyey from Grooveshark recommendations and randomly took two EP’s, FREAKuencies and Interphase for listen. It proved to be a great decision.

Especially FREAKuencies is nothing short of damn awesome. It is composed with a Timex Computer 2048 – the American/Portuguese ZX48K clone that came out in 1984.

The sounds may be nostalgic for the 80s generation, but the songs are as fresh as ever. With bit-pop being on raise Yerzmyey is bound to keep finding new fans. His tracks and melodies are simply excellently composed. A lot of hooks and a lot of variation and playful but complicated melodies. Yerzmyey masters the use of distortion which adds so much variety and poise to his catalogue.

FREAKuencies (2008) contains 3/5 killer tracks. Yerzmix 4: melodic ear candy. Fuck off: I really hope the name comes from the chord progression that seems to vocalize “Fuck off fuck off fuck off fuck off”. Escape From the Spaceship: the “magnum opus”, a long track with a hint of retro sci-fi action and melodies strong enough to only get better during the 6.43 track length. Weird is also a good one, albeit a bit too long, Picturesque however is under the high par the other tracks set. Not bad though.

The top 3 tracks are top notch even compared to any uncompressed Higher-Fi 16 speaker Dolby Surround / 320 000 000 Gbit/s FLAC standard. The retro sound chip sounds as amazing as ever. I can see myself listening them for years to come

Interphase (2009) is plainly more uneven but there are great tracks and ideas. Oxygene (a short Jean-Michel Jarre cover) being the shining example. Parts of almost every track, especially 16Kb, Juh and 5th channel, shine through. But in total the long tracks don’t seem to have strong enough founding idea for this amount of variation. Interphase also contains two tracks which I’m not fond of, It’s only a joke (not funny) and 16 Kb tune 2 (too long, too slow). Compared to FREAKuencies Interphase may be disappointing, but it is still a good release, better than many metal albums I decide to give a listen to.

Yerzmyey’s tunes don’t even need a game in the background to function! A sign of a great composer. There are a lot of free download EPs and albums on weblabels (I can also recommend his 2013 release, Brutal and Aggressive). Finding great music has never been easier.

FreaKuencies 9/10

Interphase 7/10

http://www.8bitpeoples.com/products/520268-yerzmyey-freakuencies

http://archive.org/details/dwd-006

Spacebirds – Machine Day // NMMREM XXX

Machine Day is a 3 track ep by Spacebirds, self described as “A Sci-Fi Synth / Spacesound / SynthPop / Techno project from Russia. Producer by EugeneKha.” I must admit, at least half of the reason why I picked this EP for listen was the retro soviet cover art.

Machine Day starts with a promising piano intro, which is soon topped with a clumsy fade in. However, the good soundscapes that follow impress. The beatwork is simple, but there are a lot of solid, complex melody-work and spacey hums and wooshes. The sound that comes through is some sort of psychedelic electro (trance?). Compared to Iranon (another similar Sirona artist that I reviewed a week [AHEM! COUGH!] ago), Spacebirds are more dancefloor and extroverted. However my opinion is based merely on this EP.

The second track Mars Attacks is the best cut, a wicked psychedelic flow. It is not that often that I notice nodding my head automatically on a beat of electronic music. Machine Day does it at times and Mars Attacks almost constantly. There must be something special going on here. The sound definitely manages to avoid the worst Fruity Loopery.

There had to be a letdown. The third and final track Moonman has a vibe of being a mash-up track that lacks a functioning suit, silly melodies on top of a jarring thump-thump. Not my piece of pizza. The song brings images of a Moonman doing random stuff while floating around in zero gravity; it could work as a music of an animation or as childrens music but as a near 9 minute song, it doesn’t hold its ground.

The trance-like beats of first two tracks do make yours truly, truly an avid hater of trance beats, at best, fall in a state of trance. Same cannot be said on most dancefloor music.

7-/10

Free download: http://archive.org/details/siro476Spacebirds-MachineDay

The blog of the artist: http://spacebirds-sounds.blogspot.com (more music and spacey stuff :))

Iranon – Painting The Sound // NMMREM XXIX

Iranon, a one man project of Luc Messina is a promising psychedelic electronic outlet with spacerock influences. The main man not only does the music but also the stunning artworks. Just look it, it’s beautiful.

So far Iranon has released 1 album, Painting The Sound in 2011 (+ individual tracks on compilations). The album starts with its title track, ambience and a very Ozric Tentacles like bass riff. Cannot start a record with much more promise than this.

It is followed by some amazing Vangelis-vibe ambience and pretty piano melody and soon classy guitar leads. The guitar sound has a bit of a demo-feel but the structure and melodies are near top-class. In the end-track the guitar turns into some classy bass groove. Very nicely constructed.

After the first cut, it is painstakingly clear why the album got its title from Painting The Sound. While rest of the tracks fail to utterly disappoint, they just cannot reach to the standard set by Painting The Sound. Hell, I really thought i’d have a masterwork on my hands. For example, while I’m still mood peaking from the awesomeness of first track, Arctic Oasis is classy and Civilized Insects sympathetic but they’re more based on repetition than growth. It may have its fans but I feel the main themes fail to stay interesting enough.

It is also about the dynamics and setting a standard. When an album fills your ears with an enlightening 9/10 track, the next 6/10-7/10 tracks fail to satiate.

By the end of the record the spacerock vibes are fewer and the main element is painted electronic soundscapes and atmospheres. Tracks take a notable time to start and require patience and right mindset. Sound balancing also has more problems in the end album, sometimes tracks have quiet ambience that suddenly elevates into loudness. Thus the last three tracks require more volume or headphones to really open up. Especially the last track, Polar Tribes. The quiet ambients become that much more entertaining.

Painting the Sound is a pretty good effort but the album fails to live to the expectations set by the great first track. But boy, is the first track promising. If psychedelic electronic or spacerock are your things, I’ll definitely suggest you to give it a spin. Iranon should have more than just 1 great track per album to offer in the future.

7-/10


Free download: https://archive.org/details/Iranon-PaintingTheSound (5051 downloads)

You can also check the artwork by the artist from here (he makes killer album covers): http://oniroscope.deviantart.com/gallery/

Plus Iranon also has another great track “The End of Eternity” on this compilation: Sincerity Is The Key

Next week a very comparable album Machine Day by Spacebirds!