Monthly Archives: February 2015

Rise To Infamy – Cowards

The unrelenting hardcore sludge band Cowards offer their sophomore album release ‘Rise To Infamy’. The new album sees this Parisian quintet bombarding their audience with terrifying walls of sound, offering up an incredibly challenging listening experience that could perhaps be a bit much even for the most loyal of hardcore music fans. The passionate and unrelenting energy Cowards offer on their latest release is certainly admirable in some senses, though much of ‘Rise To Infamy’ offers a brutal sound without varying it in any interesting way, resulting in an album that quickly becomes a little dull, even with its brutal intentions.

‘Rise To Infamy’ offers up brutal and aggressive layers of sludgy-metal music, certainly pleasing to fans of the genre. It’s hard to ignore the incredible energy that Cowards offer up, which drives through the entire length of the album, never once setting itself aside to allow rest. Everything is just savage and harsh from the very beginning and right up to the very end. It’s in this passionate energy we see the strengths of a band like Cowards, who certainly showcase a great understanding of driving forward energy for long passages of time.

Even though Cowards present a great energy on their latest album, much of the album’s appealing elements seem to wane incredibly quickly. Every single track seems to just sound too similar too each other, suggesting that there’s not much ingenuity or inventive talent from Cowards as a band. Whilst the aggressive elements are appealing for a time,  they soon quickly become dull and after a while everything that works becomes a weakness, making the entire album experience one that bores more than it entertains.

There’s some hints of strong elements on ‘Rise To Infamy’, but for the most part, it seems this record has fallen horribly flat. There’s simply not enough happening to make it a record worth bothering with. Cowards have a passionate drive in the presentation of their music, but their actual music is just too weak to support the kind of angle Cowards are going for. There’s definitely some credible elements to Cowards as a band, but when it comes to their album ‘Rise To Infamy’, there’s not really much worth bothering with.

Album Rating:

  • ★★☆☆☆  2/5

Selected Songs:

  • Never To Shine

Cowards’ latest album ‘Rise To Infamy’ is out now.

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One Real Big Identity Crisis – The Permanent Smilers

Norfolk alternative rock band The Permanent Smilers showcase their latest album effort ‘One Real Big Identity Crisis’. The new album sees the band combining bizarre and seemingly unfitting elements and influences all together in one big album effort, resulting in a surprisingly coherent and highly enjoyable album experience. ‘One Real Big Identity Crisis’ offers up a fun and amusing blend of alternative rock genres, with levels of humor coming through nicely in the lyrics. There’s a few twists and surprises on the road through this album, many of which come across as utterly left-field, though ultimately work very well in presenting the overall album concept.

‘One Real Big Identity Crisis’ comes across as a very amusing album experience, one that entertains, without being dominated by pure comedic formats and genres. The Permanent Smilers present a strong album experience, one featuring very enjoyable music that entertains for a variety of reasons. The Permanent Smilers present strongly structured music, most of which is easily understandable and accessible, though at other times suddenly switches and changes into unexpected yet oddly delightful sections. At times, it’s rather mad, though overall a strong album experience that presents good talents in song-writing, composing and presentation.

Whilst many elements on the album work well, there’s some sections to the album that arguably seem to wane somewhat. As the album progresses, it feels as though everything starts to lose momentum, and instead falls back into easier structures and ideas. It’s almost as though The Permanent Smilers had began to run out of ideas, and instead slapped together whatever they could conjure up in the hope that it would work as well as the rest of the album. Although some of the tracks demonstrate weaker qualities, natural creative talent results in the weaker songs still working nicely on the album, though a few come across as unmemorable.

There’s many strong elements to ‘One Real Big Identity Crisis’, which has some nice elements of experimentation, though the overall album experience is let down by a few elements which don’t really match up to the standard the rest of the album presents. When the album works, it really works, showing some real promise and some wonderfully presented ideas. There is a lot to be enjoyed on ‘One Real Big Identity Crisis’, which offers up humor without ever forcing it, which features experimentation that oddly enough seems and feels coherent, and at the end of the day, simply offers good enjoyable music.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Uh-Oh
  • Ghosts
  • Rebel
  • See Through You

The Permanent Smiler’s upcoming album ‘One Real Big Identity Crisis’ is set for release in April.

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Wild Part of the World – Oh! Pears

Corey Duncan, working under the title of Oh! Pears, offers up his latest album endavour ‘Wild Part of the World’. The new album sees Duncan combining ideas, techniques and elements drawn from a wide variety of different influences, to create a wonderful album experience. ‘Wild Part of the World’ seems to demonstrate just about the full capabilities of Duncan’s talents, showing wonderful song-writing techniques as well as brilliant performing talents. ‘Wild Part of the World’ comes forth to life through its wonderful musical elements, where effort and care consideration have all gone into the creation of a strong and enjoyable album experience.

‘Wild Part of the World’ offers up an interesting album experience, one where the music feels very much a part of the folk-genre, though hardly restricted by its capabilities. Many different ideas and techniques all come into play, making everything a worthwhile listening experience. Duncan confidently expresses his own ideas and notions with effortless ease, utilizing his own talents with a few friendly faces to express a clear vision. Each song on the album contributes to the overall album experience, with there being a wonderful flow between track to track, giving the whole album experience one with character and flair. It’s a confident album, and one with many strengths to it.

Whilst ‘Wild Part of the World’ comes across as a very strong album, it does suffer from a few repetitive qualities in some of the songs. A few tracks on the album seem to fall back somewhat, demonstrating techniques that sound too similar to other songs on the album, or simply not demonstrating as much as the album’s highlights. Towards the middle of the album, the whole experience seems to wane for a bit before picking up again at the end. It doesn’t seem to affect the overall impact of the album itself, but it does result in a few tracks being largely unmemorable, and thus their place on the album itself being somewhat questionable.

Even with a few flaws here and there, ‘Wild Part of the World’ comes across as a strong and lovely album effort. Duncan’s barritone vocal style accompanies the music wonderfully to present varying concepts and ideas bursting forth from Duncan’s mind. Things might get a little dark at times on ‘Wild Part of the World’, but there’s also many layers of warming comfort that come through in many of the songs, making this effort one that demonstrates great talent and great ideas. There’s much to enjoy from Duncan, who pushes forth a wonderful album effort that is easily accessible.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Conjurer
  • Natasha
  • Helena
  • Fill Your Lungs

Oh! Pears’ latest album ‘Wild Part of the World’ is out now. 

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Rise – Jessica93

Musician Geoffroy Laporte, working under the moniker of Jessica93, offers up his latest album ‘Rise’. The new album sees Laporte offering up a mix of genres, combining together elements of shoegaze, lo-fi and even elements of sludge, to create a vibrant mix of dark gothic music. ‘Rise’ is ultimately a dark album experience, everything washed in layers of noise and fuzz, though hardly to the point of being incoherent. Laporte presents great amounts of talent in terms of creating music, showcasing a great range of styles and techniques, all of which combine together seamlessly in the creation of a full album experience.

Laporte seems to have kicked everything up a notch since the release of ‘Who Cares’. On ‘Rise’, everything comes across as much more meticulously planned out, with care and consideration going into the writing and production of the songs. This doesn’t come with a loss of any impact of the music itself, but instead benefits the whole album experience, showing Laporte to be a musician as one whose really setting out to create something true to himself. There’s a wonderful indulgence of dark music that the album offers plentifully, which comes across as more than just a heavy noisy album. Each track flows into each other effortlessly, giving the whole album experience great character, making it one where both the songs can be enjoyed in context of the album itself, and as separate listening experiences.

If any criticism is to be found, it might perhaps be in the rather similar nature of each of the songs. Laporte demonstrates some wonderful styles and genres on ‘Rise’, though this is without much variance in terms of how the songs are presented on the album itself. Each track seems to indulge in very dark elements, giving a rather repetitive quality to a few of the tracks as it progresses through. This both affects the album, but also works in its favor, as it gives each song context in terms of the overall album experience. Laporte could perhaps do more to push his own personal boat out, though enough has arguably been done to make ‘Rise’ a strong album experience.

Most of the elements, ideas and techniques poured into ‘Rise’ work well to make the whole album an enjoyable and strong one. There’s much to enjoy here, especially to those who favor dark and noisy music. Laporte’s techniques and ideas demonstrate great talent, which are all very admirable considering the whole album has been performed solo by Laporte. ‘Rise’ is more than just a good follow-up to ‘Who Cares’, it’s also a stronger album experience that demonstrates even more promise and talent. It’s not something for everyone, but there’s definitely something here to appeal to a great many people.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Now
  • Karmic Debt
  • Surmatants
  • Inertia

Jessica93’s latest album ‘Rise’ is out now.

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Between The Days – Ovod

First posted on Echoesanddust.com

The latest album from musician and composer Ivan Lavrov, working under the moniker of Ovod, offers up an incredibly ethereal and mysterious album experience, taking great influence from the ambient genre, but not tied down to its constraints and restrictions. On ‘Between The Days’, we hear Lavrov developing ideas and themes taken from a variety of sources, using different thematic elements to bring life to the music. We can see here great talent bursting forth into incredibly cinematic music, where images and locations burst forth into the mind with incredible ease and comfort. ‘Between The Days’ comes across as rather dark for the most part, though there’s hints of comfort underneath darkened layers.

‘Between The Days’ opens up with quintessential ambient textures, using drones and field-recordings to establish the groundwork in which Lavrov builds the track up. Each track seems to offer up their own ideas and images, though there’s a coherency running throughout most of the album, connecting each track through the musical techniques used to create the tracks themselves. There’s wonderful musical textures being presented by Lavrov, which result in a very dark yet enjoyable album experience. Most of the tracks on ‘Between The Days’ build up wonderfully, showcasing some great talents from Lavrov in terms of musical composition.

Whilst many tracks on the album contribute wonderfully to the overall concept Lavrov is trying to present, it seems that a few tracks fault on a few somewhat experimental ideas. Most tracks seem to be dominated by the same style of ambient drone, accompanied by other effects and techniques. Whilst these build up nicely into an interesting album experience, it does suggest that there’s not as much variety in terms of music on ‘Between The Days’ as there could be. Other tracks even seem to introduce some nice musical motifs, only then to take them away before they’ve had enough time to establish themselves.

There’s a fair amount to enjoy on ‘Between The Days’, though it seems that Lavrov could perhaps benefit from refining his ideas a lot more. There’s some wonderful musical ideas and techniques being presented on the album, many of which result in some very interesting tracks that are certainly enjoyable. The album though could easily benefit from a little bit more care and attention at every turn and corner, which would elevate the album into one that is a fantastic piece of work. At the moment, there’s enough here to show us a good enough extent of Lavrov’s talents, and his own ideas in terms of musical composition.

 Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Flashback Voices
  • Swamp Helicopters
  • Afterglow
  • When Rails Are Not Alone

Ovod’s latest album ‘Between The Days’ is out now.

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Inattendu – Fanny Alexandre

Inattendu cover art

Experimental artist Alexandre St-Onge teams up with his partner Fanny for their collaborative effort ‘Innatendu’, released under the title of Fanny Alexandre. The new release offers up an eclectic mix of experimental notions and ideas, many of which have been explored on previously through other collaborations on previous releases by Alexandre St-Onge. ‘Inattendu’ arguably sees Fanny taking the foreground, offering up ghostly ethereal vocals, accompanied by electronic ambient notions. Those who enjoyed previous Alexandre St-Onge releases such as 2007’s ‘Mon Animal Est Possible’ will find a fair amount to enjoy on ‘Inattendu’, which seems to deploy similar concepts and ideas of experimentation.

There’s a sparse element to ‘Inattendu’, which seems to deploy the briefest of instrumental passages to accompany Fanny’s vocal style. Everything results in a ghostly sounding musical experience, one that feels much more unsettling and sinister than some of St-Onge’s previous releases, though is equally as enjoyable. Many of the elements and techniques used on the EP feel rather held back for the most part, never pouring out into loud moments but instead remaining quiet and intimate, allowing for the music to speak for itself. The sparse elements of the album might disappoint some listeners, who might expect more layers of musical techniques in the music itself, though those open to what both artists are trying to express will more than likely find ‘Inattendu’ and enjoyable listening experience.

There’s very subtle elements to ‘Inattendu’, which comes across as another ethereal and ghostly album experience. At times the album suffers from repetitive qualities between each track, though this also works in favor of the album, tie-ing together each track to present an overall thematic theme.  ‘Inattendu’ is perhaps not St-Onge’s or Fanny’s most ambitious work the two artists have attempted, though there’s still much to enjoy, especially to fans of St-Onge’s very unusual and experimental style.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Tranche
  • Inattendu
  • Terrifiance
  • Genou

Fanny Alexandre’s latest album ‘Innatendu’ is out now.

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Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor – Pan•American

Former Labradford musician Mark Nelson, working under the moniker of Pan•American, offers up a new EP release ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’. The new release continues a string of release from Geographic North, the Sketch For Winter series. Nelson’s latest release sees the musician straying away from the ambient/post-rock elements of his previous releases, in favor of techno and minimal dub formats. The new techniques expand upon Nelson’s previous releases, showing more sides to his musical talents. There’s some interesting elements to ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’, though there seems to be less warmth and comfort than on previous releases.

Nelson’s latest releases feels like a more radical step up from his previous albums, many of which explored ambient notions, with elements of gentle post-rock thrown into the mix. ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ seems to abandon much of these subtleties. There’s some enjoyable elements to the music, most of which see the musician employing the same level of patience and care as explored on his previous releases. Much of the release offers up a cold ideal, which works well for the release, giving it good context. Although it’s interesting seeing Nelson explore different areas of music, it is perhaps a shame that there’s less of the warm techniques used on previous releases, which results in ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ coming across as a more inaccessible and arguably less enjoyable release from the musician.

Even though the release doesn’t come across as Nelson’s best release under the Pan•American moniker, there is still many enjoyable elements. Those open to Nelson’s experimentation will find ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ to actually be one of the musicians most interesting releases thus far, and one that showcases more talents and more ideas that we may not have been able to see before. Those expecting another ambient driven album, similar to some of Nelson’s releases on Kranky, will find ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ to be a disappointing release, though those willing to accept new ideas and new methods will find much to enjoy on this new release.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • The Terrace
  • Pascal

Pan•American’s latest release ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ is out now and available on cassette through Geographic North.

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Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks – Claudio Cataldi

Musician and composer Claudio Cataldi offers up a new and interesting release with ‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’, a release comprising of very short tracks composed for a number of short experimental films. The new release comes on mini-CDr, and features 13 short soundscapes, featuring Cataldi indulging nicely in experimental notions and ideas. ‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’ feels much like an experimental release, though one with many accessible and enjoyable elements, mostly in how Cataldi conjures up different ideas and imagery though a number of different techniques. There’s many nice ideas being presented by Cataldi, which results in an interesting listening experience where different ideas and notions have only the briefest moments to make their intentions known.

‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’ in some ways expands on some of the ideas and notions previously explored on some of Cataldi’s previous releases. Much of Cataldi’s musical formats we’ve heard on some of his previous releases work their way into the 13 short tracks on his latest release, though the album features its own concepts, broadening the talents of the composer. Each track offers up a little idea, presented through nicely built up instrumentals. The release is perhaps not the strongest material Cataldi has released in his career, though it comes across as one of his more enjoyable. ‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’ sees the composer pushing out every ounce of talent in one form or another to build up an interesting, though incredibly short album experience. Some tracks being presented by Cataldi come across as much stronger than some of their counterparts, though each track seems to cement itself, pushing out some image that Cataldi is presenting.

Claudio Cataldi’s short experimental album at times suffers from its experimental notions, coming across as a release that is in some ways inaccessible, or simply not something each and every person can enjoy. This seems to be a release purely for fans of the musician, happy to hear the composer indulging his own wide range of styles in so many interesting ways. The release can easily be enjoyed out of context from the film counterparts, with each track showcasing musical styles and notions that are for the most part enjoyable. The album might perhaps fall into a very niche category, though there’s definitely something at heart here.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • The Last Waltz
  • Fjord
  • Viaducto pt.2
  • Bd. Theme

Claudio Cataldi’s upcoming album ‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’ is set for release on 22nd March 2015.

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Botul à La Campagne – Michel F. Côté

Experimental artist Michel F. Côté teams up with Tiari Kese for the release of ‘Botul à La Campagne’, his first album released through Squint Fucker Press. The new album sees Côté and Kese teaming up to offer a highly experimental musical experience, combining different elements of varying genres to great effect. Much of the album indulges in experimental notions, though elements of ambient, classical and jazz seem to seamlessly work their way into the tracks, offering up a very enjoyable album experience. There’s arguably a more subtle element to ‘Botul à La Campagne’, which never seems to overstep its mark at any point.

‘Botul à La Campagne’ offers up an interesting album experience, and one that leans towards the more accessible side of experimental music. Elements of different genres all come into play across the various tracks, though the album itself as a whole presents itself as a musical experience not limited by its own genres. The whole album seems to defy conventional genre classification in favour of pure creative experimental compositions. There seems to be elements of improvisation on the album, as could be expected of Côté, though at the same time there also seems to be real direction, and vision.

This latest release from Côté and Kese offers up an incredible musical experience, and one that seems to be oddly accessible for an album released through Squint Fucker Press. The album’s experimental notions do make the album a little odd in places, and thus this is perhaps a release that’s not for everyone, but those who are familiar with Côté’s work, and are open to his many different ideas and visions, expressed through his musical techniques, will most likely find ‘Botul à La Campagne’ to be one of the best releases this artist has to offer.

There’s an incredible amount being offered up on ‘Botul à La Campagne’, which takes ideas and brings out so much that the average musician wouldn’t think to do. Côté and Kese both manage to brilliantly bring forth so many different ideas and techniques, and string them all together into one coherent album package that just works. ‘Botul à La Campagne’ sees jazz music turn into dark ambient music turn into classical music without any notion or indication whatsoever. There’s some wonderful ideas being presented on the album, most of which work incredibly well and result in one of Squint Fucker Press’ most interesting album releases thus far.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★★ 5/5

Selected Songs:

  • Anasthasia sur l’herbe
  • sexe sous un arbre
  • chant de chasse à l’ancienne
  • esthétique de l’indifférence

Michel F. Côté’s latest album ‘Botul à La Campagne ‘ is available now through Squint Fucker Press.

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Le Sujet Modifiant Le Sujet – Alexandre St-Onge

Experimental artist Alexandre St-Onge offers up his latest solo release on Squint Fucker Press (a record label started by himself and Christof Migone). The new album ‘Le Sujet Modifiant Le Sujet’, which roughly translates as the subject modifying the subject, sees St-Onge indulging in pure experimental music practise, presenting forth another bizarre and challenging musical release. The release through Squint Fucker Press follows on from a string of odd experimental albums, even down to its release, which comes as a ‘download code on crumpled rolling paper with sales slip and matchbook in a brown paper bag’.

‘Le Sujet Modifiant Le Sujet’ follows on from a string of experimental releases by St-Onge, seeing the artist indulging in improvisational techniques using a variety of instruments. At times, it’s hard to make out what is being utilized on ‘Le Sujet Modifiant Le Sujet’, though each little techniques and idea seems to form together a very unusual coherency. The main dominating force of the record seems to be St-Onge’s contrbasse, which pushes most of the recording forward through odd unstructured improvisation, though through this process somehow giving the recording its structure. It’s an unusual release which seems to be a bigger dip into avante-garde performances, even for someone like St-Onge.

Alexandre St-Onge has released a wide variety of releases throughout his career, both in his solo endeavors, and through work in many different bands. ‘Le Sujet Modifiant Le Sujet’ seems to fall into St-Onge’s very experimental records, and thus might come across as rather inaccessible, even for those who are a fan of the artist. At times, the record can be a fair amount to get one’s head around. At times, there seems to be coherency, and at others, none at all. This is some of the appeal of St-Onge’s work, though the methods and ideas utilized here clearly aren’t for everyone.

‘Le Sujet Modifiant Le Sujet’ comes across as a rather typical and expected release from both St-Onge and Squint Fucker Press, though it is one that still has its own surprises and turns here and there. We expect the experimental techniques and ideas, and unusual inaccessible methods, though we don’t expect the actual sound that comes out of these records. ‘Le Sujet Modifiant Le Sujet’ is certainly unusual and quite odd for the most part, though it’s a release that can still be enjoyed within its own right, and a wonderful return to form from Squint Fucker Press after a few years of inactivity.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • 0
  • a
  • b
  • c

Alexandre St-Onge’s latest solo album ‘Le Sujet Modifiant Le Sujet’ is out now on Squint Fucker Press.

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