Various Artists

Electroshock Presents Electroacoustic Music, Vol. 9

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Better than the previous volume, number nine in Electroshock's compilation series pairs works from the academic fringe with pieces from the experimental electronica and ambient scenes. Contributors hail from the U.S., Italy, Russian, Great Britain, Mexico, and the Netherlands, and all pieces are fairly recent (some earlier installments have included unearthed gems from the past). The CD begins with a recent piece by electronic pioneer Gottfried Michael Koenig, a welcome surprise and a strong (if somewhat anonymous) opus. Carl Stone and Mark Cooley provide highlights, the former with a delicate piece of ambient digital noise, the latter with a moody manipulation of a folk guitar theme. Vivian Adelberg Rudow's piece is a setting of a monologue by its namesake, Juan Balnco, Cuban lawyer-cum-composer. Balnco's accent is at times difficult to follow and his story is a bit naïve, but Rudow's electroacoustic accompaniment makes it a vivid and repeat-worthy listening experience. Simon Wickham-Smith adds a touch of harder-edged electronics with a tricky four-part suite reminiscent of Alexei Borisov's music. The pompous, almost progressive rock atmosphere of Eternal Wanderers' "Sufferer's Dreams" is a questionable inclusion -- its merits are few and its pertinence in this context nil. The disc concludes with a dark and captivating 22-minute piece by Victor Cerullo, an excellent addition to his Electroshock CD Visions released in 2003 and a potent representative of the label's continuing interest in the darker side of new age.

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