Land - "Ice Storm" / "Hov" (Pop Bus Records 1999, PopBus16, 7" 33rpm)
Beequeen - "Vault e.p." (SSS Records 1998, SSS51, 7" 33rpm)
Kaffee Matthews - "This Many Planes" (SSS Records 1998, SSS52, 7" 33rpm)
From Aural Innovations #9 (January 2000)
Land is a Pittsburgh duo that plays an aggressive, but melodic brand of ambient music. "Ice Storm" is a noisily melodic shoegazer styled tune with ghostly vocals (I don't think there are actually words). What grabbed me was the combination of ethereal guitar melodies and more aggressive guitar sounds that together create a floating, multi-textured wall of sound. "Hov" is quite different, having been assembled from excerpts of live tapes and home recordings. More ambient and less structured than "Ice Storm", "Hov" nonetheless takes Ice Storm's combination of noise and floating melody a step further as it lays ear piercing levels of sound over its atmospheric theme.
Beequeen is a Dutch duo consisting of Freek Kinkelaar and Frans de Waard on guitars, synths, and saxophones. "Fab!" is a droning piece with a repeating theme over which the sax plays a drugged melody. "Cool!" is similar but is lead by rapid percussion in place of the sax. "Gear!" is the most atmospheric of the three tracks. Something of a new age drone, the music utilizes repeating themes that begin quietly and slowly build in intensity. I'd be interested in hearing more extended works by Beequeen. A note with the disc says that the two members are also involved with Kapotte, Muziek, Goem, Shifts, and THU20.
Kaffee Matthews is a British musician who plays improvised violin along with sampled electronics. The violin isn't recognizable though the resulting sounds are chaotic but intriguing. The music has a strong industrial feel... sort of like a machine shop in space. Like Beequeen, I'd be interested in hearing lengthier pieces by Matthews and according to the promo material she already has two full length CD's available. Might be worth checking out. Overall, an interesting trio of ambient artists on two related labels.
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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz