Music Reviews

The purpose of this page is to provide added exposure to musicians I respect. The bar is set high. To pass Landschaft quality control, the music must be of a quality that meets or surpasses the standard that would secure them a commercial recording release, and/or that I feel an itch to do a Landschaft mix of. I do not review everything they produce - see the band's own websites for complete chronologies - what I review is what I encounter, when I encounter it.

Selectone

website: Selectone at Ressonus.net

website: Selectone at Virb

Metadata: Selectone is David Rambousek hailing from the Czech Republic. His Virb and WWW sites establish the atmosphere, promising cracked beats and found frequencies; stark and un-reconciled as the Kafka of his homeland. Selectone's music emerges clawing it's way out of the firma of central Europe in the driving sleet of the post-Soviet pollution-scape. It presents the listener with a highly accomplished tapestry of found sound, glitch beats, unsettling loops.

Review of album: Unearthed

A dark Holger Czukay of an album. All of the sonic ingredients are there: scratchy vinyl, old records found in an attic, chewed up martial-music excerpts, white noise, field recordings. Stitched together into a challenging rhetorical question. Packaged in a marvellously crafted cardboard envelope, with a folded inner drawer that encloses the disc. Matt surface in military grey-green with a lino-cut black symbol stamp; a mark on a chemical cannister; a trope, that suggests a warning. Unearthed - what have we unearthed? The album requires at least 5 listens for all of the bits to fall into place; this is a work of depth that ultimately rewards with impressions like the burn-shadow of an atomic bomb victim on some Nagasaki hard-standing.

Track 1: Laura

A delicate fretwork of melody, haunting, interplays with a hinted rhythm. Evocative, plaintive. Made more so surrounded by the angular, strident other pieces on the album.

Track 2: Mess Age

Violin and piano stalk each other in the departure lounge of an Eastern European train terminus; a sonic representation of a painting by Yves Tanguy with Tetsuo, the body hammer playing accompaniment, one fingered, on a proto-synthesiser from the 1950s.

Track 3: Load Imprint

A laugh, like a wasp caught under a glass. A chopped up grammar: a Czukay of found martial music (a collective noun for found sounds?), an Um-pah of brass (an onamatopoeic descriptor of a brass band?) Fades to Rela-tu-sm ...

Track 4: Rela-tu-sm

... a mash-up trip across radio frequencies. Skittering, they join a hint at melody like a dying insect drifting on a current of nothingness. A fleeting reflection in a shock-worker's welding goggles; a time-slip of nostalgia-horror to the era of flags and statues.

Track 5: Geo

A gentle melody pulls the listener closer before a huge high adrenaline distorted drum kit drives in at 100kph through the acid storm. A view of the autobahn through windscreen wipers of rusted steel. Brief, a punctuation mark. Punkt. Full stop.

Track 6: Defense

Dead fish float belly up on a scum of oil and battery acid in a Tarkovskian factory ruin. The caught-in-a-loop piano record crackles along without end as the machines hum. Who is in the room, where is the sun. Ambiguous found sounds on this track tease impressions from the listener, building on contexts and etching it's message on each pass of the listener's ear.

Track 7: Two Rivers

A loping distorted beat, flint struck upon flint prepares the way for a simple piano dirge. Hopeless, pessimistic and caught in a loop of despair. Nihilistic, grim and accomplished in it's simple cracked message. A distorted guitar joins, suggestive of Caberet Voltaire's early years genius. Joining the Sheffield of 1980's industrial decay to post-Soviet wastelands. A trip to the chemicals lagoon with no escape.

Track 8: Cesky sen

A found Czech voice recording underpins a caught-in-a-loop guitar; a record jump trap. A trope for enclosure and captivity, perhaps a metaphor harking to Soviet era freedom discipline?

Track 9: Treatment

As in psychiatric. Snippets of found narrative over a heartbeat percussion building terror, a crescendo of tone clusters. Deeply unsettling, a seat in the gas chair, the clamps go on, no escape. The scientists go to work with their probes.