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SYLVAIN CHAUVEAU: S (Type Recordings)

Max Schaefer on Oct 25th 2007 10:13 pm

Sylvain Chauveau: S

Type Recordings 2007
o5 Tracks. 21mins.40secs

With his past few releases, be it under his own name or the On moniker, Sylvain Chauveau has been moving away from his gorgeously sparse and poetic piano works, towards brooding electroacoustic compositions. His first recording on the Type label attempts a fusion of these two realms, resulting in something that is heterogeneous stylistically, yet clearly reserved in its musical forms. Each track enjoys a short but seething lifespan, consisting of discrete audio chunks that are fragile, tentative, and irresolute. Continue Reading »

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SEABEAR: The Ghost That Carried Us Away (Morr Music)

Max Schaefer on Oct 21st 2007 10:48 pm

Seabear: The Ghost Carried Us Away

The Ghost That Carried Us Away
Morr Music 2007
12 Tracks. 44mins22secs

The debut full-length from Icelandic group Seabear consists of understated vignettes that center upon simple three-or-four-note acoustic guitar lines, which unfold and circle in the shifting light of successive sound washes. The harmonica and violin of Gudbjorg Hlin Gudmndsdottir provides the buoyant melodies with a firmer foundation with which to wrestle and coalesce; so too does the idyllic atmosphere of lightly brushed drums, flugelhorn, and slide-guitar, all of which, at some point or other, manage to consolidate a certain degree of independence in their category, tumbling to the fore, and thus ensuring a more elastic and varied development. Continue Reading »

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SWOD: Sekunden (City Centre Offices)

Max Schaefer on Oct 15th 2007 11:10 pm

Swod: Sekunden

City Centre Offices 2007
09 Tracks. 41mins04secs

While Swod deviate little from the blueprint laid down on their first full-length effort, their ability to trim their music back to the essentials so as to arrive at a simple, eloquent statement remains firmly entrenched and effective. Similar to an artist who purposefully rejects any vibrant colors so to focus on shades of grey, Oliver Doerell and Stephan Wohrmann achieve an appropriate evening austerity on Sekunden. The piano, as the primary focus, is quietly ominous and melancholic, shaded lightly by electronics which add melodic elaboration on themes, scratchy stridulations, dry rattling, and, on ocassion, abstracted twittering.

Individual works are finely compact and move swiftly in unison. Ja and Exit in particular, manage to achieve a close proximity through shared textures, complementary phrasing, and consensual dynamics. Continue Reading »

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CRISTIAN VOGEL – Double Deux / Delicado: Music For The Creations Of Gilles Jobion (Station 55)

Max Schaefer on Oct 2nd 2007 06:53 pm

Cristian Vogel: Double Deux / Delicado: Music For The Creations Of Gilles Jobion

Double Deux / Delicado: Music For The Creations Of Gilles Jobion
Station 55 Records
08 Tracks. 58mins56secs / 01 Track. 33mins14secs

With this two disc set, Cristian Vogel takes his countenance for the rave dancefloor and siphons it off to that of interpretative dance. Surprising or not, this spells a sort of pyrrhic victory for Vogel, who seemed quite at home in crafting esoteric techno concoctions. Evidently, both works on display here were created in parallel with the choreography, and thus form a certain symbiosis between himself, the choreographer and, of course, the dancers themselves.

As a single thirty-minute composition, the fruits of Delicado take the form of crisp digital beats that sound like sandpaper anxiously rubbing itself to sleep. Around this foundation, pieces of static hum and other such clicks and scratches frenetically pucker, pop and fizz, working to further establish a fine sensation of pulse and energy. This opens up a fairly luminous setting, which unfolds across a series of open-ended textures, which are threaded with rolling half-melodies that often sound like tiny metal butterflies. Once erected, however, impressive as the process may have been, it nevertheless becomes apparent that, as a piece of aural architecture, it is one which cannot be wholly appreciated for what it simply is materially, but in what it actually does, that is to say, in what function it serves – namely, as an environment for and against which the dancers are meant to interact.

With Double Deux, on the other hand, Vogel manages to convey an excited monologue about concentric circles and caustic hisses spinning more and more out of control. Though similar in approach, the shorter tracks work better for him. With shorter stretches of time, his music actually does more, as he takes a slightly abrasive mechanical rhythm, pairs it with haunting synthesized and slowly moving sounds, and allows it to spin more or less maniacally around its tonic, continually injecting or stripping away elements which the piece struggles with in fascinating ways to deal with and incorporate. Also having been broken into subsections, these pieces reveal more distinctive weights and colors and, on a whole, stand up better on their own.


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TERRE THAEMLITZ – You? Again? (Mule Electronic)

Max Schaefer on Sep 23rd 2007 11:57 pm

You? Again?

You? Again?
Mule Electronic 2007
10 Tracks. 70mins39secs

Writer, DJ and owner of the Comatonse Recordings music label, Terre Thaemlitz has established something of a reputation for restless social activity and focussed artistic intent. Japan-resident Thaemlitz dabbles promiscuously with electroacoustic computer music, deep house and composed works for solo piano, yet despite all of this endless sliding, not to mention the voluminous pseudynms under which he operates, his distance from the respective styles and concentration on seducing the signs themselves animates and organizes much of his data peddling. Continue Reading »

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AKIRA KOSEMURA: It’s On Everything (Someone Good)

Max Schaefer on Aug 30th 2007 12:43 pm

Akira Kosemura: It’s On Everything

It’s On Everything
Someone Good 2007
12Tracks. 53mins49secs

Yet another testament to the fact that each event receives its signification retroactively, the debut full-length effort from musician and Schole label manager Akira Kosemura ruminates with poetic reverie on the tender emotions and cheerful obsequious humor of summer’s past. Music of the hushed type, the compositions are fuzzy at the edges, yet abound in detail and incidents that are newly burnished.

The title-track, for one, is a slow build up of steady minimalist piano strokes, dabbed carefully with children’s voices and traces of paranormal emissions while the atmospheric sonics, emitting a laconic light, continue in their legato course. Continue Reading »

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VLADISLAV DELAY – Multila (Huume Recordings)

Max Schaefer on Aug 17th 2007 01:03 pm

Vladislav Delay: Multila

Huume Recordings 2007
07 Tracks. 71mins87secs

For over ten some odd years now, Vladislav Delay has been exploiting a simple collection of elements – dub, techno, ambient – and the different sets one can form out of them. In so doing, paradoxes and inconsistencies set in – on no seldom occasion, they were coddled, understood, and integrated, but at yet others, they remained an antagonistic challenge, representing a crisis and critique that sustained, on Sasu Ripatti’s part, an endless sliding from one motif to another. Continue Reading »

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ULTRALYD – Conditions For A Piece Of Music (Rune Grammofon)

Max Schaefer on Aug 1st 2007 09:56 pm

Conditions For A Piece Of Music

Conditions For A Piece Of Music
Rune Grammofon 2007
12 Tracks. 54mins20secs

The third full-length effort from Norway’s Ultralyd rings true as an allergic reaction to the present-day obligation to see, to the impossibility of not seeing. To the extent that the quartet compresses their frenetic energy – displayed with some extravagance on previous efforts – producing tightly wound compositions that exploit extremes of pitch and dynamics, they cling to a certain disheveled denial of words, and a conscientious objection to the transparent object. Album opener Saprochord seeks to demobilize itself, the players nailing themselves down to sharp-honed, muted tone and harmonic contour and a bubbling rhythm section. Continue Reading »

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AARON MARTIN & MACHINEFABRIEK: Cello Recycling/Cello Drowning (Type Recordings)

Max Schaefer on Jul 30th 2007 01:31 pm

Aaron Martin & Machinefabriek: Cello Recycling/Cello Drowning

Cello Recycling/Cello Drowning
Type Recordings 2007
02 Tracks. 21mins. 54secs

Cello Recycling incarcerates the listener in Netherland’s Rutger Zuydervelt and American multi-instrumentalist Aaron Martin’s penchant for staccato, pointillist constructions, layered together into quaking masses that positively purr with energy. The opening twelve minute composition unfolds like a rolling cloud of harmonics shot through with querulous whines and whimpers. In an almost obsessive manner, it constantly grates against itself, picking at its own scabs, trying to break free of its moorings, to lose its depth of field, and float in a space free of resistance. Continue Reading »

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Max Schaefer on Jul 30th 2007 12:56 pm


Need More Sources
Moteer 2007
10 Tracks. 54mins29secs

Chris Stewart strokes sounds from piano, guitar and a string quartet, and sows them into ambitiously lengthy pieces and dense multitracked constructions. Lyrical passages of violin batter at a sepulchral fog like a moth at a bulb, acting as the driving force behind most compositions. This core is dressed in simple yet largely effective abstract color patterns, making for bruised instrumentals marked by moments of atmospheric aural illusion.

Album opener, Morning takes place within a crystalline, combustible horizon, against which scenes of fidgety strings and one-note piano lines stand out, occasionally resulting in syncretic peaks, but more often than not simply waiting for the interaction to reach its natural endpoint before weaving in new elements. Continue Reading »

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HANS APPELQVIST: Sinfantin Och Morkret (Häpna)

Max Schaefer on Jul 24th 2007 01:26 pm

Sinfantin Och Morkret

Sinfantin Och Morkret
Häpna 2007
12 Tracks. 25mins00secs

Sweden’s Hans Appelqvist shows concern for that deep and incommensurable element of animal nature that cannot be made to work. A vertiginous warmth spreads slowly across most tracks. On Tank Att Himlens Alla Stjarnor, breathy, diffident vocals drift alongside a patient frenzy of field recordings, riven by the sparkling interplay of acoustic guitar and piano. In its wistful chord changes and modest yet sophisticated arrangement, the piece conveys a desire to get at continuity without crossing any barriers. Were it otherwise, and the need for an overwhelming wrench of violence was not left wanting, the rush of joy would be all the more stronger. Things being what they are, most pieces settle for the prosaic; for lusciously crisp, spacey harmonics, roving melodic guitar lines and percolating analogue beats. Continue Reading »

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