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Review: Rolemusic – Straw Fields [enrmp262]

Free netlabel music may not have penetrated the orchestral hall, or been streamed in luxury hotels. But one purpose it has achieved– it has supplied a lot of fun music for people with open minds. For me, chiptune is a bit of an anomaly– why go back to primitive electronics, when it comes time to create songs? The resolution is lower– everything sounds gritty, and well, ’80’s– so– why?

In Rolemusic’s “Straw Field”, I believe I have found an answer to this question– sheerly for fun. There is something very entertaining about these pieces. They are not without complexity, but have absolutely no pretension.

It all reminds me of watching a friend’s young son huddled over a portable Mario game last year. My imagined question, “Why”, is met with the equally, if not more appealing response, “Why NOT”?

Are you a fan of chiptunes? Not sure what they are? Either way, definitely check this release out, it is a sheer pleasure.

Straw Fields at Archive.org

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Categories: Reviews, Uncategorized

Review: Adamned Age – Fragile

One outstanding feature about Adamned Age is that her brand of IDM/jazz/ambience has inspired both people I agree with and people I don’t. What I mean to say is, there is something transcendent about Hanne Adam’s musical project. And of all the many acts I have heard online, she is perhaps the most worthy of some kind of professional recognition.

“Fragile”, released on the excellent Camomille Netlabel, takes some familiar sounds and extends them nicely. Synth bells, glitchey sounds, washes, and other elements are familiar to fans of Adamned Age. But in this release, the composition sends the sounds into a spacier realm, where tension is manifested and released, and where swirls of sound relate magically to one another in ways that are pleasing to the ear. I often found myself, while listening, thinking, “Did THAT work? Yes, it DID!”.

Where some artists have resorted to cheap tricks or machismo, Hanne Adam contrinues to sketch her portrait in the world of music with painstaking detail. She is a worthy artist, and one who unites critics, until all or nearly all agree that she has achieved something noteworthy with her work. Listen or download now:

Fragile on Camomille Music.

Categories: Reviews

Review: Yair López – epep popo

Sometimes when music is just annoying enough, it no longer annoys me but entertains, and this is the case with Yair Lopez’ “epop popo”, from the Amplified Music Pollution netlabel. In lieu of a beat, there is a kind of repetition, but it is manual– presumably it is Mr. Lopez tweaking a setting on a toy or other gadget using circuit-bending techniques. This creates very nice glitch material– especially with tracks like “Altamar”, which is my favorite. In “Altamar”, all varieties of static and electrical sounds are represented, thanks to Mr. Lopez’ expert circuit-noodling. Machines can be musical– perhaps that is no surprise to some, but in cases for me it was like watching the YouTube video of the elephant that could paint itself.

Releases like these can serve many purposes– for me “epop popo” is both fun to listen to and generative in terms of the kinds of sounds possible. This release would make an excellent source for remixers. I also think that some of the sounds could be explored in a design setting, such as sound effects for a film. Abstract noises like these are so versatile! If any of these thoughts intrigue, I would urge you to have a listen to Yair Lopez’ fine circuit bending release,

Categories: Reviews

Review: Rivers of Ashes – Breaching the Fabric [wh149]

I am somewhat active at the forum for a major ambient label, and a big discussion there is about how the ambient scene is being destroyed by certain types of music. The old timers at the board are especially upset by all of the free releases of a drone-ey nature coming out. I guess the fear is that that type of music will replace old school ambient cds, sentimentally for sale at the record shop.

I myself am not sentimental in this way, and I choose to embrace free music. I also really enjoy good drones. I suppose it’s people like myself— and Rivers of Ashes– who will be writing the epitaph for the ambient scene of the ’00’s.

However, I believe we will enjoy doing it. This release, “Breaching the Fabric”, is absolutely stunning, full of lush sounds and dark chords. The compositions are not dauntingly complex, but they are certainly active enough, with plenty of acoustic touches added. The effect of listening is similar to, say, a Roach-ian “Immersion” piece, but, I have to say, better, with quiet changes continuing to evolve. Never is the listener trapped in this sensation of being fed simply a loop.

Bravo to Rivers of Ashes– I anxiously await hearing more of their quality dark ambient / drone material.

Listen here: http://www.archive.org/details/wh149

Categories: Reviews

Review- dUASsEMIcOLCHEIASiNVERTIDAS – I [enrmp257]

This release by dUASsEMIcOLCHEIASiNVERTIDAS is pretty tight. It’s jazz. That’s unusual for Enough Netlabel, but I assure you, it is not a bad thing.

One thing I like about free netlabel music is its ability to infiltrate my musical world. More and more I am listening to free netreleases, in the evening after work, in the morning while brushing my teeth, and at all times of day.

I did not expect for netmusic to also infiltrate the bar where I go on occasion to have a beer, but now it has.

What I mean is that this music, the release “I”, is as full and jazzy as any tunes I might hear at my local beer hall, with the nice exceptions that these are new (to me) and free. I see no reason why local bars should not play this release on Friday nights– it has everything you want, from subtle saxophones to twinkling vibes.

Next will I hear a free netrelease in the airport? Never say never.

Listen here: “I” at Archive.org.

Categories: Reviews

Review- Petcord Volume 1 – The Audio Fringe [pc1110-01]

“Petcord Volume 1 – The Audio Fringe” is the netlabel Petcord’s first compilation, released after several years of development. Petcord specializes in “electroacoustic, dark ambient, drone and otherwise experimental feedback, clicks and crackling loops that fail to comply to stereotypes”. The music of this compilation reflects Petcord’s choice in genres nicely.

Because different artists are represented, styles vary a bit, as do tonalities. Djozr’s “Saturation” sounds smoother and dronier than Keiner’s more electroacoustic “Nagasaki”, for example. Ryan Gregory Tallman’s “In Threes” is composed of deep, fluid chanting sounds, while Paolino Canzoneri’s “Stahlwerk In Aufruhr” is devilishly experimental and full of textures and whispers. In spite of this variation, there is, overall, a sense of coherence, in that all tracks are dark in aesthetic and are not silly or poppy. The compilation’s artists present a mood that is deep and consistent.

I found myself realizing things about my own listening habits– I had often wanted to assemble a longform mix of dark ambient and industrial sounds to create a sort of “endless apocalyptic city-scape”, yet in many ways, a compilation such as “The Audio Fringe” would do the job nicely, saving me the trouble of hunting down good songs. A nice mix of music like this one I could listen to for hours.

I honestly can’t choose a favorite track– they all work well. I hope this is an indication of where things are headed for Petcord, that is an exciting idea.

Petcord Volume 1- The Audio Fringe.

Categories: Reviews

Review- Shane Morris and Dan Minoza – The Ritual Space

I am usually not especially into live performances, with a few exceptions, but, ironically, my reviewing has pulled me into that direction, recently with my review of a piece by Mystahr, and now by the latest on Earth Mantra by Shane Morris and Dan Minoza.

Most reviewers would probably point out that it is indeed impressive how smooth and beautiful the music is on this release, especially given that these two performers had never played a note together until this recording. And I would agree. I would go a bit further and point out that, as a recording, it is excellent.

Processed acoustic sounds mesh with bursts of electronic sounds. Melodies form and develop, drifiting past, much like in Obmana and Roach’s famous jam, “Spirit Dome”. And quite nice is the ability of the two artists to support one another– there is absolutely no sense of hostility or competition here, just a feeling of organic wholeness, in which one artist’s inspirations are quickly reinforced by the other’s.

So, don’t listen to “Ritual Space” as an apology for live ambient jams– listen because it is an excellent recording and worth your time: The Ritual Space at Archive.org.

Categories: Reviews