Art Rockin' Magazine

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Lara – Lara (2017) review

This self titled debut by singer and multi instrumentalist (flute, guitar, & percussion) from Antwerp, Belgium is a gorgeous display of Lara’s talent. Accompanied by Nicolas Dechene(musical arrangments, guitars, bass, baritone & glockenspeil), Tristan Driessens (oud), Erno le Menthole, Lucas Lovinfosse & Amiro Moerenhout (backing vocals) and Etienne Plummer (drums, percussion, the music spreads like gentle seeds over a genre of various world music, covering eastern, jazz, classical, folk, pop and unique fusions. Two of the songs are based on poems. ‘Prayer For Land’ (track 2) is from Thich Nhot Hanh and ‘Survive’ (track 9) is from William Blake.

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Band of Rain – The Dust of Stars (2017) Review

Six years after his last release (‘Sun In VIII’ – 2011) British composer and musician Chris Gill put together a team of bandmates, artists, and technical helpers for the finest recording yet by Band Of Rain. While some might call it progressive rock, I’d add a very liberal dose of world fusion to the description of this ‘Dust of Stars’ platter. While it does have a couple of slight nods to the heavier moments of Porcupine Tree, it adds many textures that may remind listeners of the floating tunes of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and even a touch of Alan Parsons Project. But that’s just a taste of it. The last cut made me think of an exotic post rock band with Vangelis on keyboards.

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Afasia Yuri – Flow.w.w.w (2017) Review

Imagine a multi media artist who can produce a wide variety of atmospheres and styles in the electronic world. One who has compositions ranging from early Tangerine Dream, Gilli Smyth, ancient tribal, ritualistic meditation, and dance.  Not only the audio but Afasia Yuri, a Japanese woman, also performs spectacular visual video as well as physical arm and hand ballet. She uses a large variety of software and devices to adapt to whatever sound she feels at the moment.  In fact what I found more surprising than her numerous skills, was that she loves to improvise. So you may get a modified version of something in the moment of the gig.

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Isgaard – Whiteout (2016) Review

A very ethereal , rich,  powerful and moving release with just the perfect amount of melancholy, by this talented German female vocalist. While some of her early work had a style of Euro tech and dance, on this 2016 recording she sounds like a more gentle Kate Bush or Annie Haslam. The territory the music stands in could be described as the progressive folk rock of bands like Clannad, Capercailie, and Iona, in their more lush ballad and aires. Music to lose yourself in, and lyrics to be intrigued by.

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Rouge Gorge Rouge – Hypersomnia (2016) Review

This is the second release by this French art pop band from Bordeaux (formed in 2012) and it is a beauty. Miles ahead of their debut (‘Froast’ – 2013) which was more straight ahead cold wave, much like it could have come from 1980’s Factory Records label, ‘Hypersomnia’ adds plenty more textures, electronics, rich vocals, and a travelling set of songs that surprise and keep you guessing what is next

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Oteme – L’agguato L’abbandono Il Mutamento (2015) review

A second utterly monumental release by Oteme (Osservatorio delle Terre Emerse, which translates in English to ‘Observatory of Emerged Land’) which is led and composed by multi instrumentalist, conductor, inventor of instruments, and arranger Stefano Giannotti. While his debut Oteme recording ‘Il Giardino Disincantato’ was excellent, however more sparse, nothing about it could have prepared me for his next stupendous release ‘L’agguato L’abbandono Il Mutamento’ (The Ambush, The Abandonment, The Change).

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Luis Perez Ixoneztli – The Mountains of Madness (2017) – review

 An intimate expansive confluence of old school electronics (inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen) and deep visionary otherworldly Pre-Columbian music. In his own country he is more famous for being a member of the Mexican folk band Huayucaltia. He has released several solos from 1981 to present, working mainly in the fusion of early Mexican music and electronics. He began the foundations of this recording with a monophonic analog Moog. A microtonal platform was used to create much of the sonic groundwork. Along with this were an array of ancient instruments made from organic material such as  bone, clay, plants, stone, wood and other natural substances.

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House of Rabbits – Songs of Charivari (2016) review

Formerly a ‘avant-art-metal project’ called FEASTofFETUS, this Los Angeles band changed names and directions with this debut ‘Songs of Charivari’. With what the group calls ‘Vaudcore’ (a blend of hardcore and Vauderville), they actually produce a much more expanded array of styles. Of interest is, this was recorded and mixed by Jason Schimmel (Secret Chiefs 3, John Zorn, Estradasphere) who also guests on sitar and mandolin, plus it was mastered by John Golden (Primus, Melvins, Chris Isaak). House of Rabbits consists of Jess Gabriell Cron – vocals, Mike Caffell – drums, Ian Malcolm – keyboards,  Andy Kovari – guitars, and  Eloy Palacios on bass.

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Carolina Holzapfel Banda – Selfie (2016) review

An absolute knockout release from Chilean avant-jazz fusion exotic vocalist, keyboardist, composer, and performer Carolina Holzapfel. Her bandmates are Raul Diaz (drums, percussion), and Pablo Contreras (bass). The music actually stretches more boundaries than the avant-jazz label would suggest. For one, there is a big theatrical element, along with various dramatic stylings, classical, folk, rock, and humor visit as well.

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Lela Frite – Lela Frite (2016) review

A pastoral, oftentimes exotic, and very formative solo by composer/vocalist Melanie Gerber, under the name Lela Frite. Guests include Benjamin Costantini (guitar), Thierry Reichmuth (guitar), Thomas Fogel (keyboards), Encelade (bass, guitar) Sophie Jabot (vocals on track 3) and Valentin Metz (from the French avant jazz band Camembert on drums). It will interest fans of Camembert that Melanie sings on track 4 of their newest recording ‘Negative Toes’.

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