Monday, 16 September 2013

Thranenkind "The Elk" review

One of the main responsibilities of the music writer, it could be argued, is it inform, entertain and assist the reader in choosing pieces of work which could be to their taste in terms of both musical content and the context from which it was produced. Formed in 2007 in Munich, and essentially the work of Pesten and Nathanael,Thranenkind (which can be translated as “child of tears”) are described in their press release as “vegan and/or straight edge and share interests in the ideas of green anarchism, civilization critic and left wing politics”. So this then may be considered the musical context, whilst the album itself follows a narrative based on the story of two siblings on a journey to their father’s funeral. Whilst on this journey they encounter old friends, memories and a variety of emotional twists and turns.Some may shy away from music that is described in such terms, for the listener who is receptive to dense musical concepts intertwined with carefully considered political ideals, “The Elk” is a rewarding album to discover. To listen to purely on a musical level, with no knowledge of its background, “The Elk” is a handsome collection of songs and instrumentals pieces. One cannot help but conjure up images of a dark, ominous Bavarian landscape in its expansive use of instrumentation and dynamics. The vocals are brutal yet somehow longing and fraught.
The opening ‘Monument’ exists within a framework of distant guitar lines, isolated percussion and desperate vocals barked over each layer of sound, whilst ‘Just Another Way of Expressing Defeat’ features extensive instrumental passages that ache with anguish and melancholia in equal measure. ‘My Transparent Heart’ continues musically the overall mood of profundity and seems to implore the listener to digest and consider its themes and messages. ‘Today, the Sea (Anja’s Song)’ and ‘Deleting Those Three Words’ bring together the brutal vocals, expansive instrumental arrangements and vocal samplings into a poignant mixture of ferocity and anguish. ‘This Story of Permanence’ raises the tempo slightly and brings the instrumental arrangements closer together before the album ends with the naively appealing title track with its brief, yet touching, tale of the experience of observing an elk in the woods....

The Gabriel Construct "Interior City" review


A meta-analysis of comments and reviews posted on this solo release fromGabriel Lucas Riccio suggests that the music is more or less saturated with influences and styles. For the aficionado of avant garde or “progressive” music this is high praise indeed, but for the casual listener the layers and depth of sound here may be problematic. There are certainly elements of rock, metal, jazz and classical music here which will unquestionably tick all the boxes for most readers of ThisIsNotAScene. The sound is by no means a chaotic conglomeration of these influences however, and Riccio, in association with Travis Orbin andThomas Murphy of PeripheryDavid StivelmanSoren Larson and Sophia Uddin, has crafted a signature sound which, despite being reminiscent of the Rock In Opposition (RIO) movement, is identifiably his own.
“Arrival in a Distant Land” which opens the album, develops steadily on a background of dissonant piano before the haunting vocals add a further dimension. The juxtaposition of dissonance and harmony is unsettling initially, but as the listener become accustomed to the construction of sound, the character and elegance trickle through. The percussion is, not surprisingly, very much to the forefront on many of these pieces, and many of the rhythms are densely populated. There are some truly outstanding moments of pomp and grandeur, such as the opening of ‘Curing Somatization’ which leave the listener metaphorically breathless with intrigue. Another extensive track which pushes the ten minute mark is ‘Defense Highway’, which again, is propelled along on dissonance and layers of instrumentation that are bewildering, yet on a level which many, hopefully, will understand, deeply fulfilling....

Friday, 6 September 2013

Talisman - "I-Surrection" album review

Talisman – I-Surrection [Review]

Like any style of music that is fortunate enough to find itself out of mainstream attention, never in fashion so never out of fashion, roots rock reggae is timeless in its appeal and context. An album of new material can sound as appropriate now as it would have done in the 1970’s, 1980’s 1990’s and through into this millennium. A signature bass line, rhythms that are guaranteed to have the most cynical listener “winding up their waist” and deeply conscious lyrics of slavery, emancipation and injustice, are instantly recognised trademarks of the movement.
This latest release from Talisman is a perfect example of the timelessness of this sound, and how music can be used as a force to coerce the listener into thinking more deeply how they and others coexist together. From the opening ‘Things Ah Get Tough’ and ‘Season for Freeman’ the listener is taken on a journey into the sound of Bristol street music, the resonance of urban communities and the soundtrack that binds them together. A recent support slot for a UK tour by The Selector has surely helped audiences begin to acknowledge Talisman.
Talisman – I-Surrection
For those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to immerse ourselves in dub, many of the tunes on “I-Surrection” are followed by their dub counterpart mixed by David Hill of Rootikal Productions. These versions should in no way be merely dismissed as meaningless filler, as these stripped back versions are considered by many to be the definitive way of exposing the sound, or, to paraphrase Lee “Scratch” Perry, think of this as “x-ray music”. Dub can facilitate total immersion in the music, it can allow the listener to explore how the music was shaped and it can welcome the listener in to its most insightful depths. ‘Praise Jah’ is a sumptuous hymn that keeps the mood light but buoyant. Again, the lyrics concern themselves with hope for the future whilst cleverly evoking the spirit of roots rock reggae of the past.
‘Hey Yout’ (Melodica Version)’ is a call for the youth of today to take up the mantle, saturated in dub aesthetics, whilst ‘Help Yourself’ is characterised by a palette of dynamic organ stabs punctuating the distinct chugging rhythm. Throughout “I-Surrection” the sound is given further potency and mass with luxurious layers of brass from the Matic Horns....