Thursday, 29 March 2012

Ufomammut - Oro: Opus Primum review

Ufomammut – Oro: Opus Primum

Formed in Northern Italy in 1999 and consisting of Poia on guitar and effects, Vita on drums and Urlo on bass, vocal and synthesiser, Ufomammut have shared the stage with bands as diverse as Baroness, Down, Motorpsycho and Orange Goblin. “Oro: Primus Primum” has a cinematic quality that is somehow reminiscent of the soundtrack to a film that would be an unsettling experience to watch alone.

‘Empireum’ is gently paced, and holds the attention with electronic waves of sound and consistent, almost tribal drumming. The momentum is never lost or insecure as the tension builds over the 13 minutes. The guitar appears deceptively and builds upon itself until the track itself is crushed under the weight of doomed vocal and wholesome clamour....

Read the full review at This Is Not A Scene

Monday, 26 March 2012

Philm - Harmonic review for This Is Not A Scene

Philm - Harmonic

In an age of instant widespread communication, there a few surprises. Play “Harmonic” from start to finish and describe what you hear, with no preconceptions. The music is reminiscent of that created in a diminutive recording studio, on vintage equipment using little or no trickery with no obvious pretensions. The tracks are unrefined, almost improvisational in construct, but display craftsmanship and practical skill that push them up above the more pedestrian.

“Vitriolize” begins brooding, dark and menacing before a pounding rhythm and blistering guitar alter the mood significantly. There is much despondency and dissonances here to unease the listener, yet provoke the interest of those willing to pay attention. The drums are not extravagant or overstated and are probably the result of years of experience. “Held in Light” has a gothic feel that comes leftfield so early in the album, but which features vocal that has the strength to bridge the gap between the ethereal and the aggression. “Dome” is a perfect marrying together of styles which have characterised the album so far, there are passages of controlled hostility and unearthly despondency in perfect balance....

Read the full review at This Is Not A Scene

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Peter Matuchniak - Uncover Me review for This Is Not A Scene

Peter  Matuchniak - Uncover Me

Based in Orange County, California, Peter Matuchniak’s music has been described as being influenced by the variety of sounds he was exposed to at home, jazz, rock, classical and the current radio friendly “hits”, although, one could argue, this hardly goes without saying. In the 1980’s he formed part of the so called “neo-progressive“ movement, in bands such as Janysium and Mach One.

“Uncover Me”, his latest release, is bookended by two parts of “Landscape Burning”, “Falling Ash” and “Rising Sun”. “Falling Ash” explodes into a fanfare of extravagance and occasion with searing guitar lines drifting above luxurious, soulful female vocal lines somewhat reminiscent of those found on Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”. The chord progressions are elegant and the arrangements lavish with a myriad of instrumentation. “Running Blind” has a straight forward power ballad feel which is interspersed with leftfield passages, keeping it exciting and innovative....

Full review at This Is Not A Scene

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, March 18th 2012, Joan Miro Exhibition

Yorkshire Sculpture Park Page

Live review of Earth, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds March 9th 2012

The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds hides away amongst the back to backs and corner shops of Leeds’ student area in Headingley. The venue has, over the years built up a reputation for being a sought after venue for touring bands of many varied and disparate genres of music. Tonight, set amongst the mirrors, the packed venue played host to 3 acts that perfectly complemented each other’s sound and character.

Ô Paon is essentially the work of French Canadian Genevieve Castree, who, alone, with her guitar microphone and looping devices, held the audience rapt with delicate gossamer melodies and swirling waves of passion. That air of ardour and enigma was particularly heightened as all the songs were performed in French. Compositions were built up on a wall of guitar and voice to be shattered with her elusive, fragile voice. That one woman, armed with so few devices, can achieve this kind of atmosphere in such a venue, must surely make her, and the audience enthralled and uneasy, proud to be part of it.

The atmosphere was not lost with Mount Eerie, effectively guitarist and vocalist Phil Elverum. Previously working under the moniker The Microphones, Elverum produces full frontal assaults of sound and emotion using only his voice and a variety of guitar distortions, and reminiscent of Ô Paon, held the room mesmerised with a variety of compositions that captivated and startled the audience in equal measure. More belligerent in approach, Elverum’s compositions ride on an engine of feedback, reverberation and distortion, which provided the perfect soundtrack for the expectant audience.

That Earth have recently been reviewed in a variety of magazines of differing contexts, jazz, rock and avant garde, is surely testament to the progress they have made in their career. That the audience present tonight was comprised of a variety of characters, including someone in a Gong t-shirt, further enhances that belief that the Earth sound now appeals to lovers of many genres of music. “Last night we played in a cave and got dripped on…” quipped Carlson, referring to the concert in Edinburgh....

Read the full review at This Is Not A Scene

Cholera - Prophecies of Annihilation review

Cholera - Prophecies Of Annihilation

In 2009, whilst the band themselves were 16 years of age, Ottawa based Cholera released their first EP “Enslaved Humanity”. “Prophecies of Annihilation” is their first full length release and is indicative of the maturity they posses whilst still not even in their twenties.

The album opens with the 9 minute “Road into the Fire”, a maelstrom of lightning guitar solos and riffs which are mathematical in their execution, but maintain an organic, Middle Eastern feel. This sense of humanity is augmented by the raw, grubby production throughout. There are several remarkable passages within the track “Enslaved Humanity” that flourish upon hammering riffs, interspersed with majestic keyboard passages, which leave the listener wondering where the music will be leading them next....

Read the full review at This Is Not A Scene

Friday, 16 March 2012

Hazzard's Cure - Hazzard's Cure review for This Is Not A Scene

Hazzard's Cure - S/T

Hazzard’s Cure are a San Francisco based outfit comprised of Chris Baechle on drums, Shane Bergman on bass and Chris Corona and Leo Buckley on guitar. On their Facebook page they describe their influences as Weed, Beer and Metal, which are three words that come straight to mind on first playing their self titled album “Hazzard’s Cure” from start to finish. The band has been touring the West Coast of America extensively and has supported contemporaries such as Eyehategod, Unsane and Black Cobra.

“Psilocybin” opens the album with absolutely no fuss or introduction and delivers solid, shadowy grooves with rasping vocal, there are a number of effortless tempo and mood changes throughout that are indicative of a group of musicians who have honed their art through repeated live performance. The instrumental “Meet Me at the Mountain” is a lumbering dinosaur of stretched riffs and wails that are reminiscent of the sound of a late night drunken saloon.

If the listener is looking for bouncing riffs and searing guitar soloing, then “Tossed and Dethroned” will not disappoint, whilst “Wolves Banquet” rides gallantly on a rolling riff and some ripping guitar, only to be interrupted by the locomotive force of “Prayer of the Hunted”. The longest piece on the album, the closing “Great Dishonour”, at nearly 10 minutes, is a tour de force of all the fundamentals described above.

“Hazzard’s Cure” proficiently incorporates blues, sludge, the occasional blast beat and even a tender arpeggio to achieve their unique sound. Over its 40 minute length, a number of playing and vocal styles, fresh, growling or frantic, help maintain the curiosity of the listener. The result is exhilarating and fascinating in equal measure. The vocal appears to be relatively low in the mix, which, whilst accentuating the murderous riffs and menacing bass, could be argued to detract from the lyrics and their significance, and the production may be argued to be a little sanitised for this field.

These are minor quibbles however, as the experience of listening to “Hazzard’s Cure” may be likened to a night of alcohol and weed enhanced indulgence. It is vitally important that music of this calibre is played filthy and coarse, and Hazzard’s Cure know how to pull that off with immense skill and understanding.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Boris - New Album review

The output from Boris over the past few years has been variable in strength and quantity, and this latest release, cryptically titled “New Album” is essentially a reworking of their last three releases, “Smile”, “Attention Please” and “Heavy Rocks”. The band themselves, Wata on guitar and vocals, Takeshi on bass and vocals and Atsuo on drums and vocals, are perhaps better recognized for noise or drone flavoured releases, and this will be the surprise for anyone who is familiar with their previous body of work. “New Album”, if you were unfamiliar with the previous body of work, is quite simply an astonishing collection of highly accessible tunes that would fit quite nicely into the category of “pop” music. There is certainly a scattering of digital sound effects and left of centre synthesised passages which keep this release out of the mainstream, and the occasional relentless, frenzied pounding, such as on “Lunar”, which reminds the listener that they are listening to a band with these elements as part of their legacy.

The opening piece “Flare”, with its synthesiser fanfare, and “Tu, La La”, have all the features of a soundtrack to an anime, and would not sound out of place opening an episode of “Naruto”. Powerful, punchy riffs and strong, but sweet vocals surround a searing guitar solo that is both exciting and still distinctively quirky enough to be a valid addition to Boris’s catalogue. “Spoon” is probably about as near as one may get to an old-fashioned shoe gazing piece, but again, the skill appears to be in manipulating that sound to make it authentically Boris. “Les Paul Custom ‘86” is satisfyingly leftfield in its unyielding, punching rhythm track and its numerous stylised vocals. The only track that may fit awkwardly into this release could be argued to be “Jackson Head”, as the accessibility of the instrumentation sits uneasily with the vocal style.

Allegedly, the band were inspired by the use of Vocaloid software, which turns typed lyrics and melodies into songs sung by “imaginary anime character vocalists”. Reading this and hearing “New Album” through, this may come as no surprise. As an album, heard with no context, the songs are powerful and melodious enough to stand on their own. Within the context of being an album by the band Boris, this collection also works as an experimental concept in its own right. Additional obscurity is introduced as the album itself is a Japan only release, in differing formats on two labels. Maybe Boris are being characteristically ambiguous and inscrutable, or perhaps not. That may be part of the game, and we should love the band for it.