nonine recordings

non026. slowcream. river of flesh (digital artist album)

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non026. slowcream. river of flesh (digital artist album)

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artist: slowcream
title: river of flesh non026
format: digital artist album
release date: november 30, 2010
distributed by nonine recordings

01 spiritual training in cataclysm
02 atrocity
03 unspeakable acts
04 hunting song
05 deities and demons
06 aesthetics in history

all tracks written, produced and mixed by me raabenstein.
mastered by shapemod, berlin.

the highly recommended 2009 album ‘and’ saw slowcream spinning with classical music elements, his fourth full artist album marks a step forward from it’s predecessor, showing more electronica and dark ambient oriented works. based on field recordings and carefully splited grains of classical music elements ‘river of flesh’ is woven to a most narrative and cinematic world, temporaryly underlined by grits of minimal neo classical music or other musical styles.

‘river of flesh’ creats a complex amalgam of sampling, composition and filtered live improvisation on tape decks and record players. the process of generating and transforming aural ingredients from record libraries and own recordings into a new work, mixed with (one could say traditional) sequenzed electronic patterns forms a melodic fiction on its own. nevertheless, the river of flesh arises in your heads while slowly gliding into the full length of the six tracks.


set at the confines of modern classical, electro-acoustic, musique concrète and ambient electronica, slowcream is a strange beast. the solo project of me raabenstein, who also heads nonine recordings, slowcream first appeared in 2008 with 'live long and prosper', an album which largely relied on electronic textures. it is however with his third album, 'and', published at the end of 2009 that raabenstein finally gained the recognition he deserved. originally a commission for a modern dance project, the record, on which greg haines contributed cello on a handful of tracks, established a very textural sound, at times comparable to some of the miasmah’s catalogue.

with 'river of flesh', raabenstein refines his sonic space once again, bringing in the haunting ambiences of its predecessor and adding some intense processing. decay is often an integrant part of this record, but, unlike most of his contemporaries, raabenstein only rarely lets his music become overly dark. instead, his soundscapes, although often extremely fragmented and complex, demonstrate a surprising lightness of spirit which fuels delicate melodic motifs throughout. it is not to say however that 'river of flesh' is a straightforward record. working with multiple loops, layered into structures which can in turn appear intensely organic or mechanical, and positioning them very precisely in his compositions, raabenstein shows a sharp understanding of atmospheric settings and how he can affect his compositions by altering them even with the slightest of nudges. this is particularly the case on 'spiritual training in cataclysm' and 'atrocity' which open. on the former, raabenstein works a textured drone from what appears to be a processed bell sound, slowly bringing it to life by constantly adjusting its tone and adding shimmering electronics and scraps of melody to it. on the later, he takes a more orchestral approach, layering it with the recurring processed sound of fingers sliding on guitar strings. 'unspeakable acts' also revolves around slowly evolving patterns, but here, the build up is more linear, continuously developing from the distorted string work which open the piece. on 'hunting song' or closing piece 'aesthetics in history' however, raabentein conjures more complex progressions and goes through a number of sequences on each piece, especially on the latter, which opens with ethereal electronic textures which, remaining very dreamy in the first half of the composition, are progressively brought back to more earthy sound forms in the second half.

with 'river of flesh', me raabenstein refines his blend of dense electronic textures and modern composition to create a rather haunting soundtrack which, despite some sombre moments, never becomes overly heavy or ominous. undeniably contemporary, yet very personal, this is slowcream’s most compelling record to date. 4.1/5
the milk man, the milkfactory, uk 01/11

époque propice à tous les mal-être du monde, la saison froide recommande, parait-il, de longues séances de luminothérapie, bercées d’une intense clameur infrarouge, enveloppée dans une douce musique lounge achetée au rayon balnéo du centre yves rocher du coin. comment, qu’entends-je, on n’y trouve pas le nouveau slowcream – il paraîtrait même qu’il est en rupture de stock dans les étagères ambiances dark plongées dans la brume humide ? vérifions, voulez-vous – écoutons, c’est encore mieux, d’autant que le jeune homme, alias martin eugen (me) raabenstein, n’en guère à son coup de peinture noire initial.

un coup d’œil sur les ingrédients nous renseigne une combinaison riche, voire surchargée, de samples, compositions et de free improv’ live, joués sur des lecteurs à cassettes et des platines vinyles. vous avez dit giuseppe ielasi, petit coquin ? dans le mille, mon ami, notamment sur le second titre atrocity, réellement superbe (en dépit de son patronyme) et qui aurait fait merveilleuse figure sur le premier volet de la série stunt du maître milanais – tout comme hunting song, aux accents gassiens. sans doute la pièce la plus musicale du lot, au sens "mélodique" du terme, ce deuxième épisode contraste fortement avec ses cinq acolytes, plongés dans des ténèbres dark ambient, une seule fois inutilement surchargés (spiritual training in cataclysm), sinon agencés avec une spendide ingéniosité (unspeakable acts). et si tout cela n’est forcément pas très drôle, voire carrément lugubre, on reste abasourdi – track initiale exceptée, devant la dextérité noctambule du musicien berlinois, promeneur virtuose dans les entrelacs impitoyables et mortifères de nos insomnies oniriques.
fabrice vanoverberg, les passions de fab, belgium 02/11

tornano gli slowcream di me rabenstein e il risultato tiene fede alle aspettative ed è anche sorprendente il fatto che il boss della nonine records continui a mantenersi su questi livelli nonostante la prolificità, sia in solo che con i suoi altri progetti come ad esempio i taub o esk, per citarne solo due. come abbiamo già detto la nonine è un'etichetta berlinese dedita ad un elettronica in bilico fra musica da club nordeuropeo, ambient, neoclassica ed elettronica notturna "post" parecchie cose. se l'ambientazione notturna della maggioranza delle uscite degli slowcream rimane, mi pare che in questo nuovo episodio le musiche si facciano ancora più astratte, giocando maggiormente con gli stop and go.
i vari drone utilizzati sono funzionali alla struttura del pezzo e non il contrario, quindi, per quanto si tratti di elettronica che spesso si muove su tappeti di basse o appunti di drones, non si tratta di ambient "pura". al di là delle poche ritmiche che portano il disco distante dall'idm pur creando ambientazioni notturne, rabenstein riesce a rendere la pietanza molto digeribile, tanto che vuoi per il tipo di proposta, vuoi per la scarsa durata del lavoro, anche dopo ripetuti ascolti il disco non stanca. come può far intuire lo stesso titolo river of flesh lavora su registri cupi e spesso rasenta la colonna sonora da film noir. se non avete mai ascoltato dischi della nonine forse è giunto il momento di farlo.
andrea ferraris, sodapop, italy 01/11

strands of lost industrial landscapes, broken waves of debris, disjointed fields of audio disturbance and scraped mechanical vibrations are all transmitted to the listener’s ear with impenetrable quality.

following up from 'and', the 2009 release by slowcream on his own nonine imprint, 'river of flesh' is me raabenstein's latest offering of nebulous ambient construction, filtered streams of improvisation and layered audio manipulations. it would be difficult to avoid comparisons to other highly skilled movers of this particular sound, however, slowcream’s aesthetic is one that is carefully woven into the fabric of its own being. 'river of flesh' presents six epic pieces (all in the 5-9 minute range) that casually sputter about, each with their own particular extraction of experimental solitude. on tracks like 'unspeakable acts' and 'aesthetics in history', strands of lost industrial landscapes, broken waves of debris, disjointed fields of audio disturbance and scraped mechanical vibrations are all transmitted to the listeners ear with impenetrable quality. 'hunting song' offers more of a 'selected ambient works' (aphex twin) mood in which preciously subtle melodies collide gracefully with melted fragments of classical tones. 'deities & demons' displays emotional bass pulses of acoustic beauty cascading from one eardrum to the next while 'atrocity' unveils field recordings, organic sampling and a curious auditory rhythm that softens the albums darker dynamics.

'river of flesh' is a fitting end to 2010 and a welcomed opener for 2011 as it slowly breaks down into subconscious neo-classical pathways; touching the extreme boundaries of experimentation yet somehow keeping the listeners ear firmly at ground level. oftentimes complex and fractured, slowcream delivers an auditory puzzle with carefully threaded cinematic expression that elevates the minds ear for those who take the time to digest its sonic density.
pietro da sacco, igloo magazine, usa 12/10

interessant und eindringlich sind jene soghaften, leis-suggestiven klangflächen, die me raabenstein alias slowcream auf 'river of flesh' jüngst veröffentlichte...
harry lachner, ard nachtsession, germany 12/10

more good news from me raabenstein (aka slowcream), who had surprised yours truly with the excellent 'and' several months ago. the six tracks of 'river of flesh' are not as startling, but surely confirm this gentleman as the owner of a proper creative persona improved by the ability of constructing electronic music devoid of triteness. this is facilitated by raabenstein’s will of adding a touch of paradoxical disorder to settings that may start as boding evil yet, all of a sudden, turn into landscapes where everything is possible. for example, in “atrocity” the ominous massiveness of the opening drone is progressively altered by a sort of robotically slanted “oom-pah-pah” amidst strange disturbances and echoes, while “unspeakable acts” meshes what sounds like human components (perhaps modified speech and/or breathing) with repetitive loops generated by percussive elements, until the dramatic quality of the piece prevails at the end. the “reich-in-a-fishbowl” effect of the final “aesthetics in history” is not bad, either. and so it goes for the large part of the release, apparent normality at first and subsequent surprises later on. various interesting ideas in another captivating outing by an inquisitive musician.

massimo ricci, touching extremes, italy 11/10

mit dem vorgänger 'and' zersetzte slowcream genau den beiklang von kontemplativer gemütlichkeit, den so genannten 'neo-klassik' nur allzu gern verbreitet. das war im september 2009 - kein tag zu früh, just in dem moment, in dem eine armada von flachbrüstigen strebern und ewigen mädchen drohten, ein gesamte kultur zu übernehmen, um sie zur putzigen märchensammlung zu degradieren. ein jahr später, im winter 2010/11 ist das problem virulenter denn je - ich verweise nur auf zazie von einem anderen stern und ihr album 'regen: tropfen'. allein bandnamen, titel und interpunktion beschwören sadistische vernichtungsphantasien. doch der 30.november ist nicht nur der tag, an dem zazie zumindest hier symbolisch beerdigt wird, und mit ihr die muschelige 'märchen-neo-klassik' (man wird ja wohl noch mal träumen dürfen!). heute erscheint auch mit 'river of flesh' das neue, mittlerweile vierte slowcream-album. und das nimmt eine ganz neue spur auf...

neo-klassik präsentiert sich hier getreu des titels nur noch als geburtsfehler, als der hässliche bruder des ohnehin entstellten dark ambients, als giftige ambrosia für somnabule höhlenkinder, ohne kitsch aber mit lustigen titeln wie 'spiritual training in cataclysm', 'atrocity', 'unspeakable acts' 'hunting song' und, mein persönlicher favorit, 'deities and demons'. letzteres ist dann auch der song, der die deutlichste brücke zum vorgänger 'and' baut. stimmungs- und wesensverwandt mit dem stark narrativen 'temperature' setzt 'deities and demons' nur weniger auf streicher als auf bläser, um die unterschwellige bedrohung vorantreiben. auf eine art triggern die gezogenen klänge industrial, insbesondere throbbing gristle und coseys kornett, aber einen augenblick später dingelt auch schon die musique concrète, zischelt analoge electronica, verwabert sich der score mit fieldrecordings zu einem ungemütlichen fluss. apropos: damals haben sich einige schreiber gewundert, ob es throbbing gristle mit dem pathetischen untertitel von 'heathen earth' wirklich ernst gemeint haben können. ob ausgerechnet sie diese frage ohne ironie oder zynismus, ganz naiv stellen wollten - can the world be as sad as it seems?

natürlich kann sie das, gestern wie heute und morgen. und ist die welt seit 'heathen earth' (1980) nicht noch viel trauriger geworden? erst letzte woche ist sleazy gestorben, tante gen kondoliert nicht und der rest schweigt pikiert ... ich frage mich, ob es mir mit 'river of flesh' und den zitierten titeln sehr bald ähnlich gehen wird wie meinen kollegen mit dem untertitel von 'heathen earth'. natürlich lebt dieses album von der wuselnden ungemütlichkeit, von einem sounddesign des jenseitigem, determiniert von den katastrophen und grausamkeiten in den titeln. aber vielleicht gibt es auch bei slowcream gar kein ironisches spiel mit den scheinbar billigen stereotypen. vielleicht sind die horror-referenzen weder fiktiv noch prophetisch, und bestenfalls der dämon dient als metapher für irgendeine unaussprechliche macht - zombie-banken haben es schon in den wirtschaftsteilen der bürgerlichen presse geschafft, da sind der cash-and-carry-cthulhu oder akkumulations-azathoth auch nicht mehr weit. die zeit wird es zeigen. bis dahin dürfen geneigte zuhörer die reise auf dem 'river of flesh' nach eigenem gusto geniessen - als schaurig-schöne fahrt mit der geisterbahn oder als subtilen wie realen höllenritt. aber vorsicht: the future's so bright, you've got to wear a nachtsichtgerät! 
lars brinkmann,, germany 11/10

'river of flesh' is a record that surprises me according to the 'classical' slowcream style here is substituted by an akward suggestion of classissism. in contrary to its very forward pushing musical predecessor 'and' the album has only tiny traces of classical music, infused into a deeply avant-garde electronic construction. in simpler words - strange, stimulating and brilliant !!!
pedro figueiredo portela, o dominio dos deuses radio show, portugal 11/11

top longplayer !!!
cian ó cíobháin, an taobh tuathail, ireland  11/10

much appreciated, 'atrocity' and 'hunting song' are my favorite tracks here, will be on the show coming up this week...
kerem gokmen, dubmission radio show, usa 11/10

that's a beautiful album that bears repeated listening... totally our thing... takes one to another world....
richard e, further out recordings, uk 11/10

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