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Old 05-04-2009, 06:51 AM   #81 (permalink)
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Only 2 downloads for the last comp... Little disappointing but I have enough faith in MB
On this, 6 downloads now. My faith is repaid
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:16 AM   #82 (permalink)
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Électronique Noire - Eivind Aarset (1998)


GENRES – Electronic, Experimental, Nujazz

Dark Moisture - 7:50
Entrance / U-Bahn - 8:33
Lost And Found - 7:32
Superstrings - 8:26
Électronique Noire - 3:53
Wake-Up Call - 6:36
Namib - 3:00
Spooky Danish Waltz - 7:06
Porcupine Night Walk - 6:40

Yet another name you may be familiar with based on my random MB musings, Aarset is another top notch Norwegian jazzist, who’s most famous work came with Nils Petter Molvær. Electronique Noire was his first solo project, and to this day is still his best in my opinion, though ‘Light Extracts’ is a great album in itself. Released a year after Khmer, Noire isn’t really jazz in the classical sense of the word. If anything it would be quite close to nujazz, but it really is just electronic music with a basis on electric guitar. Some may have downloaded the March Compilation, on which I submitted Entrance/U-Bahn. Either way, this album is another testament to the European modern jazz community.

The album kicks off with ‘Dark Moisture’, beginning with an almost trip hop base before fleshing itself out a bit. As the name of the track suggests, it is a bit dark, with haunting, elongated guitar sounds and light scratching before Nils entering the scene with his bustling trumpet, and from there it is a little more upbeat. The guitar effects are a treat, and the relatively simple aspects come together extremely nicely. Nothing really stands out, but it is great in its entirety. The track is book ended with the sounds that were heard at the start, however now Nils plays over them a bit as well in a good touch. It gives the feeling that the song isn’t really at its end, but its influence is everlasting.

‘Entrance/U-Bahn’ is a live recording transferred onto the studio album, but at no point would you suggest it’s of worse or even different quality. It is one of the best live electronic/jazz mixtures I have ever heard live. The tracks beginning is made up primarily of electronics based around some light drumming, as well as the trumpet and guitar work still present. After around 2 and a half minutes, the bass and electronics become muffled, before the volume is turned up a notch. With the drumming becoming more apparent, as well as Nils offering his voice in a distorted hybrid moment of brilliance, before Aarset pulls out some groaning guitar riffs. From here on, the guitar is the centrepiece, as it should be. The track is definitely a stand out on the album, and totally blows me away at times.

‘Lost And Found’ starts out a bit gloomy, with slow and draining guitar lines extending out. The repetitive and deep drumming keeps the listener waiting in anticipation, wondering what Aarset will do. The result is quite surprising, as he introduces an almost oriental nature to the album, with high pitched and shortish twangs. I don’t know if it’s only me that thinks of Asian based classical music and instrumentation, but the song feels like it has more depth when I look at it that way. The electronic base keeps it firmly cemented to the ground. It retains that cold and poignant tone throughout, but it always looks like there are better things upon the horizon waiting for us, and it is probably my favourite from the album.

‘Superstrings’ has a more intense electronic nature, probably because it added the talents of Bugge Wesseltoft especially for this song. It is definitely more buoyant that anything else so far on the album, with Nils once again offering himself on trumpet, at a pace much slower than the actual electronics. It still carries that ambient feeling that is elsewhere on the album, but at the same time, this is disturbed by its cacophonic nature. ‘Électronique Noire’ is a dramatic change simply for its length. Clocking in at less than 4 minutes, it is almost more than half the length of any of the preceding tracks. It is a quiet, morose track that doesn’t get too forceful, instead rumbling along at its own pace. Everything sounds as if it were some distance away, rather than directly in your face, which is a pleasant characteristic.

‘Wake-Up Call’ opens with random levels of synth that eventually freak out, and introduce a cool drum and bass sound to the album. The guitar effects used early on just make some great screeching and squealing sounds before Aarset hits out on a rocking guitar solo. In fact, the effects throughout offer up another few quality levels of interest. The whole song overall is a bit too ‘rock’ for me, but at least it changes things up from the pre-existing formula. It still more than adequately shows off the skill of the performers. However, in the end I just found it boring for the most part, with the most interest being gained in the DnB sections. ‘Namib’ is the shortest track on the album, reaching only 3 minutes in length. Another track heavy on the ambient side, the sounds are crisper than in the title track, and although it never gets a chance to really take off like some tracks do, it is another good track. It carries an ethereal nature, rather than a dark or depressing one.

‘Spooky Danish Waltz’ is otherworldly in its temperament. Full of stifled drumming, with layers slowly added, the start is eventually phased out as if a vinyl record is slowing down with the needle still down. This opens up the more melancholic but still powerful drumming and guitar work. It is a good song with some great guitar work, but nothing special compared to other songs on the album for the first half. When the volume is pumped up in the second half it becomes a new beast entirely. It is almost neoclassical guitar work, the modern equivalent to the waltz, with just the right level of spookiness to be interesting. It is a grand second half, and it is probably one of the most extreme cases personally where the first half held little interest only for it to explode.

The final track, ‘Porcupine Night Walk’ sends the album off on a good note, with a slow beat that actually sounds like a send off. The listener is isolated, on a barren highway, with only their thoughts, and yet content at the same time. Although it isn’t terribly deep or groundbreaking in the scheme of the album, it doesn’t need to be.

Nils Petter was one of the better discoveries in my music life purely because it opened doors to a lot of European modern jazz, when previously I was disconnected from the whole scene. Eivind delivers a quality album for his debut, and was able to continue such form with his future endeavours. However, they just don’t match up to his original solo effort that displayed his skills at production as well as ingenuity as a guitarist, offspring of the Hendrix style. There isn’t much more to say about the album.

TOTAL SCORE

8.4/10

– Dark Moisture
– Entrance/U-Bahn
– Porcupine Night Walk

Will save ‘Lost And Found’ for the compilation…

Last edited by Zarko; 05-06-2009 at 01:52 AM.
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:11 AM   #83 (permalink)
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Pig Inside The Gentleman – Contemporary Noise Quintet (2006)


GENRES - Jazz

Million Faces - 8:04
Army of the Sun - 5:49
A Coin Perfectly Spinning - 4:21
Goodbye Monster - 6:14
Walking Sun - 5:40
Even Cats Dream About Flying - 5:00
Evil Melody - 7:32
Invisible Train - 5:20
P.I.G. - 5:42
Sophie - 7:03

Yet another European jazz discovery, this time is the Contemporary Noise Quintet from Poland. It isn’t really noise jazz, as the title suggests, and I struggle to tag anything other than jazz to it. Perhaps jazz-rock would be the way to go, but purely because of the intensity with which the group performs. This has been one of the more exciting discoveries in recent times in regards to a more ‘pure’ jazz. The album itself is full of both normal jazz and almost film-inspired music. Although it might not be apparent to everyone, it has its film noir moments, and I even started identifying songs with particular aspects of a film. It has its free jazz moments, but if anything I would put it in the avant-garde section, as it is still structured to an extent, however, in the end it’s just jazz. Best experienced LOUD.

A deep bass line drives ‘Million Faces’ into fruition, and it is simply stunning from the get go. Some hard piano jazz controls the piece, with a solid contribution by some superb drumming. The initial tone is almost of a tranquil nature, despite its power, with the slow and groaning brass section keeping the other aspects in check. However, it all quickly gets out of control, as the same brass section blows its lid, leading into a fantastic little free jazz jam in the middle of the track. It keeps its joyful attitude throughout, and once the jam finishes, another peaceful period reigns to send off the song.

‘Army of the Sun’ offers up a slightly different experience, and has a more raw aggression to it that grows and grows until it eventually explodes. It comes to sound like a mischievous anger that seems threatening but is far from actually being so. The layering of sounds is absolutely superb, bustling with energy as the saxophones and trumpets layer upon each other in an orgy of noise. The track really comes into itself after 3 minutes, where two opposing’ brass instruments attempt to outdo each other, before they all seemingly become tired of one another and come down from the previous high.

‘A Coin Perfectly Spinning’ introduces a bit more jazz guitar, evocative of Sonny Sharrock’s ‘Guitar’ and ‘Ask The Ages’ before the brass section kicks into gear. The track suggests feelings of melancholy, as the lower pitch instrumentation sing a sad song infused with the perfect amount of passion. The saxophone section is amazing here, exuding power and authority. The final minute is a small piano focussed section that builds up the sad and morose attitude offered up earlier.

‘Goodbye Monster’ puts forward a film noir-esque song of solitude. Personally, it creates the image of the anti-hero, covered in a long overcoat and hat in the middle of a footpath being forced out of town as rain plummets down. The main piano beat is great, and keeps the track firmly planted to the earth in misery, despite how much the brass section may want to take off. The second half is redolent of a chase scene as the hero escapes his enemies. ‘Walking Sun’ is another morsel of the same jazz produced earlier, yet is more unhurried in its nature. It becomes a case of controlled malevolence as it trundles on at its own maniacal pace, with the piano tunes sounding particularly hammered, rather than elegantly performed. It is a nice break from the intense speed and sounds earlier in the track, without being boring.

‘Even Cats Dream About Flying’ is my favourite track on the album which offers up some more film-based music, as the music has already decided the fate of the anti-hero, and the only choice is to fight or die. Every action seems to be pointless as the track builds up to the final showdown. The base beat from the piano and bass is dark and infectious, and the harsher screeching electronic overlays are a treat. The sax solo at 3 minutes is probably the best solo on the album in my opinion.

‘Evil Melody’ introduces a heavier Brazilian flavour to a seedy bar atmosphere. The jazz guitar is more prevalent, and in the second half is actually used as a focal point, which was an interesting change up. The track is full of zeal and passion, but it perhaps isn’t used to its fullest extent following up the previous track. This is one case where it does feel like the flow matters, and the change is a little too drastic for me, but it is still a nice track overall. ‘Invisible Train’ is another slow piano based track, where the melody is in groove mode. The piano and drumming in particular offers a sick line to build upon, and the sax/trumpet/bass use it to its fullest extent. It is a very cool, laidback tune that in the right mood can be perfect.

‘P.I.G.’ is a high octane track full of sublime performances all around. In its pace and hostility it almost becomes a rock tune made up of jazz components. The piano work is once again amazing; both in its blistering velocity as well as the variety of sounds it can pull from itself before it calms down into a moment of gloom. Crying trumpets enter the track and the transition is amazing in its ability to evoke fiery power one second then sadness the next, as it becomes a serenade for lost friends and family. It is another standout track. The album sends off with ‘SOPHIE’, a more traditional piano jazz track to start with that becomes heavier handed with time. Yet another gloomy track, there is an interesting introduction to a string ensemble on the final track. The second half is also particularly interesting, and as a whole, it holds up well against its predecessors to makes sure the album ends with a bang.

It was difficult to write about this album purely because it’s hard to explain what makes individual tracks so great. Really, the best thing to do is to listen to the album. This is my favourite contemporary jazz albums, because it is both interesting and content with what it is. It offers up emotions on a platter, power, anger, violence, sadness and hopelessness all in a package. Sometimes it can feel like some tracks are going on for a long time when in reality they are only half way through due to how much they pack in. However, ears are better than words at describing such music.

TOTAL SCORE

9.0/10

– Army Of The Sun
– Goodbye Monster
– Even Cats Dream About Flying
– P.I.G.

Last edited by Zarko; 06-21-2009 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:01 AM   #84 (permalink)
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New Dark Age – Yen Pox (2000)


GENRES – Dark Ambient

Nightrise - 9:38
Hell's Gate - 11:34
Scorched Earth - 9:34
Blood From The Heavens - 11:52
Silence And Desolation - 13:08
Sunfall - 9:22

Requested by Obombration. I would have liked to think that I listened to my fair share of dark ambient music. When Obombration requested I review this album, I didn’t know what to expect really, knowing he is into his metal. After one listen, I have decided this is my first true dark ambient album I have actually listened to .

Now, I am not being a slack arse here or anything, but I seriously do not know what the hell to write for this album. It is everything you would expect from a dark ambient album. Full of electronic drones that don’t necessarily lead to a high point as one would expect with a post rock sort of affair; instead there is a never ending melancholic tone. It comes from the earth itself, as if a beast of unimaginable evil resides beneath the crust. It is to the point where I feel I am ripping off Obombration, so rather than attempt a full review, I will use these recommendations to highlight some small aspects of the album and avoid giving it a full review.

I can easily understand its appeal to a certain audience however. It contains a haunting nature, as one would expect from the genre, however it has done it a lot better than from other dark ambient groups I have listened to since finding this album.

I think the real problem is, this would be a perfect album in the right situation. Unfortunately I am very rarely in that situation. It would be good sleeping music, however I cannot sleep with music on in the background, and it simply gets my brain working too much unless I am absolutely pissed or tired as hell. It’s not the type of album I wanted to turn off because it isn’t boring by any stretch of the imagination, but in the same vein I felt it wouldn’t get really special on a personal level.

It is worth a check out for fans of the genre. Unless you think this sort of music will be appealing to you, then I wouldn’t recommend it as it truly is an acquired taste. In the end it isn’t the type of album that you can characterise in words. It is an experience, where you have no idea where the album would lead you, and is unique to every person who tries.

Some may find the imagery disturbing in this youtube video…
– Hell’s Gate (Extract)

Apologies to Obombration for the lacklustre comments, I shouldn’t have promised more .
Well i think you did fine here.Dark Ambient is hard to review - as you say some of it can only be described by describing other things that conjure up a mental image,such as earth,space,beast,evil,wind,the depths of the ocean,sorrow,torment.It is true also that quality DA (even the same album/track) will evoke different emotions in different people.Like mid-paced,melodic funeral doom (Skepticism,Ahab,Shape Of Despair etc),DA is actually uplifting and relaxing to me.

Thanks for the effort bro
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:36 AM   #85 (permalink)
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Pig Inside The Gentleman – Contemporary Noise Quintet (2006)
Contemporary Polish jazz eh. Sounds another great album that. I don't know if you've heard of them before, but there's this Belgian group called Solis Lacus who I think released one great album in '75. They're a bit more reined-in than these guys, but judging by this pick you might dig them (links available on request ).

Another great review there mate
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:39 AM   #86 (permalink)
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I'd be really interested in hearing Contemporary Noise Quintet Zarko, sounds like it might be up my street in my recent jazz conquests.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:56 AM   #87 (permalink)
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Contemporary Polish jazz eh. Sounds another great album that. I don't know if you've heard of them before, but there's this Belgian group called Solis Lacus who I think released one great album in '75. They're a bit more reined-in than these guys, but judging by this pick you might dig them (links available on request ).

Another great review there mate
Thanks mate, always interested in similar jazz.

I was hoping to get some replies for this album, purely because I love it so much. If I was being completely honest I probably would have given it a 9+ but considering it was a new discovery, I felt I may have been getting ahead of myself and will review the review in a few weeks to see how much I still like the album.
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:06 AM   #88 (permalink)
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Sunday’s Slave

I feel like **** most weekends, which is why I never do weekend reviews. However, that doesn’t mean I still don’t feel like sharing, so I decided to do a random Youtube hunt for weekends. I have always felt the Tender Prey song ‘Sunday’s Slave’ was apt after an evening of drinking or for NFL games. Either way, it contained a weekend day so I adopted it for this (Yes, I know it isn't Sunday yet). I might open up with a Nick Cave song weekly just as some continuity.

Chances are the videos I bring up won’t be for albums that I review or intend to review; just random videos that I feel like sharing (And in all likelihood are from my favourite bands that everyone knows about).

Long Time Man (Live ’86) by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds


Originally written by 60’s Singer Song Writer Tim Rose, The Seeds variation offers up some much better moments. Laden with emotion, this live version was recorded with the Seeds consisting of Cave, Harvey and Blixa only. The group recorded a studio cover of the song for the album ‘Your Funeral… My Trial’, along with other classics such as the title track and ‘Stranger Than Kindness’. Cave’s vocal performance is closer to the ‘The Birthday Party’ days, lacking the cleaner sound he adopted in future years. The sounds quality isn’t amazing, and for some reason there is an extra 4 minutes on the video of silence, but it is worth a listen. I probably prefer it to the studio version released.

Demain Berlin by Guerre Froide


Some post punk/coldwave from 1981 French band, Guerre Froide. Apparently it was a dancefloor hit along with another one of their songs from their 12” self titled or untitled EP (Two versions were released). It’s interesting, I don’t really love it, but it’s nicely constructed, and the vocals are ‘perfectly’ nonchalant and removed for the coldwave genre. A nice bass line throughout.

The ChurchSometime Anywhere

Lost My Touch



Loveblind



Back to back tracks from The Church’s 1994 release ‘Sometime Anywhere’. The album was my second favourite behind its preceding album, but is still full of great tracks.

Ending Theme by Nobuo Uematsu


This comes off one of 2-3 albums that actually got me into music. The soundtrack to the PS2 game Final Fantasy X, whilst containing all you would expect from a video game soundtrack, was amazing for me at it’s release, and brings back so many great memories. Uematsu was great, and does get acknowledged around here occasionally (namely Molecules for the FF7 soundtrack) but unfortunately he has left the company that made the games. In itself, it is fairly simple, and nothing overly special on its own, but I remember it for more than just the music. It was the ending theme to a great game.

The Carnival Is Over by Dead Can Dance


The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove
(Live ’05) by Dead Can Dance


Two of my favourite DCD songs from their entire category, both from the amazing ‘Into The Labyrinth’. Lovegrove is a more recent live take that maintains the original gothic feeling, and shows that Perry has as much going for him as he did in the 80’s and 90’s. Carnival is in its classic form with an awesome directorial job. Both are definitely worth a listen if you are thinking of extending your DCD collection.

4 Ton Mantis by Amon Tobin


Chances are you have heard this. However, if you haven’t here is a morsel off Tobin’s 2000 release, ‘Supermodified’. It isn’t his best album, but it does have some treats on it.

Summer 78 by Yann Tiersen


Top quality song from Goodbye Lenin! from another favourite contemporary classical artist. When Tiersen performs live he adopts a more electrical sound, and comes off post rockish which annoys me because I prefer his folky classical stuff to the electrical stuff he produces. But, you can't really complain when he makes so much quality music. Just wish he would stop recycling half of it for his next soundtrack.

I started with some of my favourite artists and will probably branch out from there. I will also chuck any other random music things in here that don't deserve their own posts.

Enjoy!!!

Last edited by Zarko; 07-26-2009 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:56 AM   #89 (permalink)
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Really really really enjoying the CNQ album, in fact i'm liking it a lot more than the Miles Davis and John Coltrane i've been easing myself into, probably due to it's noisy moments ranking just as high as it's dark yet tranquil moments. I'm going to be playing the hell out of this for the next week i'm sure.
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:02 AM   #90 (permalink)
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Really really really enjoying the CNQ album, in fact i'm liking it a lot more than the Miles Davis and John Coltrane i've been easing myself into, probably due to it's noisy moments ranking just as high as it's dark yet tranquil moments. I'm going to be playing the hell out of this for the next week i'm sure.
It's odd in that way, nowadays most of the classic jazz bores me save Charles Mingus. Even albums that I haven't heard too much. It doesn't mean they are bad, and there sure as hell was a heck of a lot more good jazz being produced back then, but there is little that excites me about the old days.

That's probably a good thing too... I hate being stuck in decades past
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