viernes, 29 de abril de 2011
sábado, 23 de abril de 2011
With Kaboom Karavan it’s hard to know quite where to start – the Belgian collective led by Bram Bosteels have a history in theatre, film and contemporary dance, but that doesn’t really help shine a light on their music. They have collaborated with musicians all over the world including Miasmah’s very own Kreng, and released a debut album on Mexico’s Umlo imprint, but again this probably only gives a small indicator of what the collective actually sound like. There is something effortlessly surreal about the band, and surrealism is an aspect of art often attempted and very rarely perfected. Here Bosteels abuses his choice of instruments (and players) to the point where the listener would barely be able to place which instruments were being used at all, in fact at times you’d be hard pressed even to place what sort of music it was. Through a haze of pizzicato strings, clouds of sullen reverberation and clamorous percussion you get the feeling that you have been catapulted into a universe just outside of perception; somewhere cold and unforgiving where regularity is turned upside down just to toy with our strict ideas of reality. Jazz and Dadaism might be the cornerstones of ‘Barra Barra’ but these disparate influences are twisted and melted beyond recognition leaving only remnants on the finished product.
Bosteels and his band of collaborators have brought to life music steeped in surrealism which brings to mind This Heat’s classic album Deceit, but crossed with something different and yet more dark, like a musical version of cult television show The League Of Gentlemen.
The album, indeed each track within Barra Barra, weaves together many threads of sound and, occasionally, melodies, so that it is difficult for one to follow what instrument is being played most of the time. Opener Lentetooi is centred around a tune worthy of a child’s musical box, but this is offset with sinister mutterings, arranged with flute and strings in a method as to invoke a gleeful discomfort. Following piece Koboi is centred around relaxed guitar riffing in a slow and awkward rhythm. As the key refrain repeats again and again, the background is taken up by field recordings of indeterminate source, adding a texture and depth to a track which, if stripped down to just guitar, would be very minimal. Moving ahead a few tracks, the atmospheric Parka is more heavily led by captured sounds and the way in which they are employed brings to mind something of Graham Lambkin & Jason Lescalleet. It’s a beautiful piece and again highlights Kaboom Karavan’s knack for creatively bringing together many elements in a way which is anything but typical.
‘Barra Barra’ is a complex album which takes patience to navigate through; you could hear the German clanking pre-industrialism of Einsturzende Neubauten, the slow brooding doom of Bohren & Der Club of Gore and the stuttering abstraction of Black To Comm yet it still feels fresh and distinctly current. Unusually the most fitting comparison might be the work of the Brothers Quay, as the ticking, creaking, stuttering songs feel perfectly matched with these flickering, haunted images. This is what makes the album such an appropriate addition to the Miasmah canon, and one that will haunt your dreams (and nightmares) for months to come.
viernes, 22 de abril de 2011
There is no maelstrom, no swell of overwhelming sound. Antonyme’s first full-length work, The License to Interpret Dreams, is defiant in its fragility; in fact, the work is so over-wrought that it teeters on the point of collapse. It seems its purpose is to carry on a prolonged moment of respite despite the fact that it shudders under its weight and poignancy.
Each piece is a wonder, much like encountering different facets of the same being, finding something new to love about someone: an unintended twitch, a new wrinkle, freckle. To think you know something or someone so deeply and be surprised by what is still to be discovered. A guarded laugh may at times burst out into a full-fledged explosion. An undefined glance. I can also imagine knowing someone so deeply but encountering them in a store or street, without accompanying them, and seeing them exist outside of your life together, as if you’ve never met or known one another. Who is a person you care deeply about when they’re not with you? On this work, I began to look at people I’ve known and places I’ve visited in a new light, questioning everything I’ve ever known, and whether what I’ve known was conjured and an extension of myself. I listen to “Doubt” and I hear scattered words and experience an assortment of images, and I wonder whether what I see is me, or, as I understand myself to be.
A finite layer of gossamer shrouds the album from the start, as “A Fragile Acceptance” gradually seeps out of the speakers. A serene hush floats in and, intermittently, notes pick up out of the silence. A wave of strings emerges from the silence and shares a kinship with the sensation of an epiphany, of knowing everything all at once before it completely escapes you. I felt lonely in its absence, when it subsides, but became used to the emptiness so effortlessly filled in with the right note or the right shift, at the right time.
“Womb of the Great Mother” is barely there. I was directly connected to it without noticing; it was affecting what I was doing, whether I would stop and stare, entranced, while finishing some work, it began to inform my thinking and my doing. I suppose the purpose of some music is to barely exist and creep into your being. The many diluted definitions of ambient music try to express this point but what they fail to accept is that your mind moves with the music, you become aware, and it washes over you. Music should never exist at the perimeter and Antonymes’ work permeates your being from all angles. The listener plumbs the depths, occasionally rising for air on “Landscape Beyond an Open Window”; the wind cuddles around you before “Endlessly” wisps you away from the bracken, the charming foliage, and the shrubbery.
There is so much to experience and so much the music will conjure for the listener. The music on “The License to Interprete Dreams” can influence how one views the world, their inherent sensibilities, of knowing, and, finally, of returning.
Review from Fluid Radio