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Caterina Barbieri, "Ecstatic Computation"

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cover imageThis Italian synth visionary made quite a spectacular impression with 2017's Patterns of Consciousness and now makes her Editions Mego debut with its proper follow-up.  To some degree, Barbieri picks up exactly where she left off, as Ecstatic Computation shares its predecessor's masterfully executed conceptual conceit: using subtle shifts in obsessively repeating patterns to achieve a trancelike and hallucinatory effect.  Given both that objective and Barbieri's singular compositional rigor, Ecstatic Computation bears little resemblance at all to the work of other synth artists, but it also sounds quite different from the sprawling and sometimes overwhelming Patterns of Consciousness as well.  While it is hard to pick a favorite between the two albums, this one is definitely the more accessible, as Barbieri has distilled her vision into a much more concise and focused presentation.  This album is also quite a bit more varied and unpredictable, as Barbieri occasionally allows the machine-like precision of these pieces to careen off the rails and unleash a glorious and vivid shower of sparks.

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 May 2019 17:22

Reynols, "Minecxio Emanations 1993-2018"

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cover image Argentinian trio Reynols are perhaps one of the most baffling and unabashedly unique artists to arise from the tape/noise underground scene of the past 20 years.  Their recorded output has run the gamut of psychedelic rock, pure noise, heavily conceptual works (such as a processed field recording of chickens), and so much more.  With the bulk of their work confined to ultra limited cassettes and CDRs, this beautiful collection of six CDs and a DVD, along with extensive liner notes makes for a perfect starting point of collaborations, two unreleased albums, and a slew of unreleased and rare songs.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2019 12:15

Kyle Bobby Dunn, "From Here To Eternity"

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cover imageI am embarrassed to say that I naively thought last year's stellar split with Wayne Robert Thomas might be the dawning of a new era, as Dunn's "The Searchers" was a brilliantly distilled masterpiece of focused, sublime beauty.  While there is at least one piece on this latest release that attains a similar degree of dazzling, dreamlike perfection, Dunn's flair for grand gestures has returned with a vengeance for From Here To Eternity (an album that is every bit as characteristically infinite as it is characteristically sad).  On one level, I dearly wish Dunn would stop burying his brightest moments in overwhelming double- or triple-album avalanches of ambient drone.  On another, however, the sprawling scope of this album offers its own pleasures, as immersing myself into a three-hour reverie of billowing, soft-focus suspended animation is quite a quietly lovely and meditative way to spend an afternoon.  To Dunn's great credit, however, there are also some menacing spectres of unexpected violence and dissonance lurking within his fog of drones, revealing that the seeming tranquility is a fragile veneer that conceals simmering tensions and enigmatic depths.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2019 07:09

Luc Ferrari, "Music Promenade/Unheimlich Schön"

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cover imageOne of the many, many things that I feel vaguely and irrationally guilty about on a daily basis is my failure to take a deep plunge into the Editions Mego-curated Recollection GRM series, as there was a period in my life where I was extremely interested in classic musique concrète and was maddeningly unable to find much of it.  Consequently, this series would have been an absolute revelation for me back then.  Unfortunately, my passion for early electronic music is considerably diminished these days, as my historical curiosity has long since been sated and a lot of very important pieces have not aged particularly well.  That said, there are some pieces that have aged quite well indeed and there are always some long-forgotten gems that have eluded me.  This, the third Luc Ferrari release in the series, is one of those very pleasant surprises, resurrecting two lengthy tape pieces that range from playfully anarchic to enigmatically seductive.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 April 2019 06:18

Celer, "Xièxie"

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cover imageIt would be great if there was some simple way for casual Celer fans like myself to easily distinguish Will Long's major statements from the ceaseless flow of minor releases, but there seem to be glaring exceptions to every system that I have attempted to devise.  In the case of Xièxie, however, Long helpfully took the guesswork out of the matter, as this might be the most heavily promoted album that he has ever released.  Happily, his instincts have proven to be well-founded, as Xièxie definitely ranks among the upper tier of his overwhelming oeuvre.  I would probably stop short of calling it a start-to-finish masterpiece or my personal favorite Celer album, but I would be hard-pressed to think of anyone else churning out ambient/drone music as enveloping and sublimely lovely as Xièxie's bookends.

Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2019 07:16

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