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V/A: Music For Abandoned Cold War Places: Side-Line Reviews

V/A Music for Abandoned Cold War Places (Album – ZeroK)
Genre/Influences: Dark-Cinematographic, Dark-Ambient, Experimental.
Format: Digital, CD.
Background/Info: ZeroK is a sub-division of the Italian label Unexplained Sounds Group. This compilation is a conceptual release inspired –as indicated in the title, by abandoned Cold War places. Twelve artists have been invited to re-create the particular ambiance hanging over these places.
Artists: Grey Frequency, Joel Gilardini, HLER - Heikki Lindgren & Esa Ruoho, Phalioo, Kloob, Super8musik, SÍLENÍ, @Psiconic Asylum, vÄäristymä, Jeton Hoxha, WILT and Chronodepth.
Content: The twelve tracks are very efficient in their genre, but especially in the creation of the sphere we might all imagine hanging over such places of despair. Most of the compositions create a Cinematographic impression. It’s a ghost-like experience, sounding rather apocalyptic and minimalistic. Cold electro signals and diversified field recordings are progressively awakening the imagination of the listener.
+ + + : The theme serving as concept has clearly inspired most of the artists. It has been reinforced by some of the track titles like “Pripyat”, “Checkpoint Charlie”, “Decommissioned Architecture” and “Doomsday Clock”. I instantly got the sensation watching a documentary about the desolation of Chernobyl after the nuclear accident. Life has been taken away and replaced by an eternal silence. But this silence is constantly disturbed by natural elements like wind, water. Icy electronic signals and dark sound waves create a ghost-like effect; the sensation of visiting a ghost town, which is perfectly illustrated by the front cover of the album. My favorite cuts are the ones by vÄäristymä, Joel Gilardini and WILT. This compilation also is an opportunity to discover less familiar artists.
- - - : Some passages are a little less too Experimental to my taste, but globally speaking this compilation creates a compact result.
Conclusion: This compilation sounds as a true sonic documentary; you get the music and have to imagine the story.
Best bands: vÄäristymä, Joel Gilardini, WILT, Phalioo, Psionic Asylum.
Rate: (7½).
Label: www.facebook.com/ZeroK-103649114533137

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V/A: Music For Cold War Places: AmbientBlog Review

Released on Zero K, a sublabel of the Unexplained Sounds Group, and curated by Raffaelle ‘Sonologyst’ Pezzella, this compilation presents twelve “sound descriptions of abandoned Cold War places, as part of a wider project focused on abandoned, decommissioned, or even
vanishing places”.

The nature of these places may vary, but all of their associations are as cold, deserted, and desolate as the cover image (Soviet space shuttles in a huge abandoned hanger in Baikonur, Kazakhstan) promises. Some of the locations are widely known (Checkpoint Charlie, Pripyat, Three Mile Island), others aren’t. This is also true for the performers: only a few are vaguely familiar names to me.

But the compilation definitely delivers what it promised: 65 minutes of dark industrial sounds describing places that “will become icons of past ages, existing somewhere between history and modern myth, [which] currently occupy a Ballardian mental space where reality cannot be distinguished from ghostly parallel dimensions”.

Lackluster Data:Wave jam + interview now available

Data:Wave interviewed Lackluster / Esa Ruoho a while ago, and here is the interview:

And Data:Wave also got an exclusive mix from me, and that one is here:

Hope you enjoy these!

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HLER: LGM-1: Side-Line Reviews

Genre/Influences: Experimental, dark-ambient, cinematographic, abstract.
Format: Digital, CDR, Cassette.

Background/Info: HLER is the meeting between Finnish artists Heikki Lindgren and Esa Ruoho. The initials of their respective names inspired the name of the project. Notice by the way the album has been released on ZeroK, which is a new subdivision of the Italian label Unexplained Sounds Group. The label is ‘focused on deep and cinematic experimental ambient, along with a nod to scientific exploration and experimentation, as well as moods and feelings evoked by sci-fi imagery’.

Content: The album takes off with a real overwhelming noisy dark sound wave. There’s a strong and anguished dark mood hanging over the work, which remains constant. You can also recognize field recordings and different kinds of manipulated noises and effects injecting some little sonic details reinforcing the mysterious mood of the work. It sometimes feels like a sonic corridor without real exit. You can hear space signals, which are mainly accentuated in the last part of the work. The tracks are pretty long, revealing a slow progression.

+ + + : You rapidly get the impression of diving into an abyssal sphere leading to explore hidden secrets and lost mysteries. HLER has this power to tickle your imagination leading you into a dark and hostile inner world. It’s a dark trip throughout a fiction world featuring multiple little crispy noises and astral sound treatments. But this universe also reflects a sensation of loneliness, which is masterly accomplished at “PSR J1023+0038”.

- - - : Different passages reflect some monotony, being a bit too linear. I’m afraid that’s often what you might experience listening to this kind of music, but I think some of these passages could be a little bit more diversified.

Conclusion: HLER brings us an interesting sonic experience mixing darkness and fiction.

Best songs: “PSR J1023+0038”, “PSR J1836+5925”.
Rate: (7).

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HLER: LGM-1: AmbientBlog Review

HLER combines the initials of this duo: Heikki Lindgren and Esa Ruoho. They file their music under ‘improvised noise, clicks, hums, drone, a captured submarine humming in the hangar of a space station, “Are you sure you guys are alright and that the cables work?”‘ (that last quote is theirs, not mine).
It’s not mentioned what instruments were used for LGM-1, but according to their own bio most of the sounds originate from a second-hand Peruvian Mochika XL synthesizer which proved to be a unique source for live performances, because “it was almost impossible to recreate the exact same sound twice.

But perhaps for this album, another kind of basic material was used…we can’t be sure since details about this are not given…
LGM-1 is inspired by a strange phenomenon coming from outer space: so-called fast radio bursts, bursts of energy that shine for only a few milliseconds but release about a million times more energy than the sun. They were discovered in 2007, but until now no-one knows what they are.

“(They do not come from just anywhere in space. They are from outside our galaxy, maybe as far as billions of light years away, according to initial measurements of a phenomenon called the “dispersion effect”. Radio bursts could be a sign of strange and new physics.”

From the beginning of the album, the outer-space-drones are quite overwhelming, conveying the pure energy of the PSR’s (Pulse Sound Recordings, I guess). The massive sounds works best if played loud! It’s a sound to indulge in, since it seems to contain fragment of hidden secrets from outer space. Secrets that are impossible to grasp. Yet.

LGM-1 is released on ZeroK: a sublabel of the Unexplained Sounds Group, “focused on deep and cinematic experimental ambient, along with a nod to scientific exploration and experimentation, as well as moods and feelings evoked by sci-fi imagery.”

The physical editions (cassette or CDr) are now sold out. But the good news is that with the digital downloads you get no less than 110 minutes of stunning space drones, more than could be fitted on CDr or cassette.