The collaborative talents of Javi Canovas and David Paredes.
If you think of an album along the lines of an even more intense version of ‘In This Moment in this Place’ accompanied by the most wonderfully understated electric guitar courtesy of David Paredes you will not be too far off the mark.
- Nightwatchers [16:58]
- Underground Voice [20:37]
- Architeuthis [20:02]
- The Twenty Six Gills Man [19:58]
‘Nightwatchers’ starts with electronic effects of what sounds like some sort of alien craft taking off. A warning siren cries out. Little guitar licks quiten things down and sooth the nerves. Two excellent sequences break through, one heavy while the other high register and percussive. They mutate wonderfully gaining more oomph all the time while subtle melodies float over the top. Things build to incredible proportions. Exciting stuff!
‘Underground Voice’ uses very quiet little percussive and windy effects to set a suitably subterranean scene. The gentlest of guitar touches add a little caressing light to proceedings. This is excellent soothing and relaxing stuff. Of course a sequence does make an entrance but to start of with it doesn’t intrude on the blissed out atmos too much, just providing a little crystalline structure. Things become more intense and complex with the arrival of another sequence then before we know it there is a surge containing more notes a second than I could possibly count. It’s like a wave of incredible power or an earthquake. Whooshing electronic pads (or it could even be processed guitar) heighten the intensity still further. Crikey!
Dark brooding tones and arcing electricity effects give ‘Architeuths’ a rather sinister sounding beginning. A bright sequence completely changes the mood and we are soon bounding forward on a surge of positive energy. Ticking high hat and contrasting bass line impart added oomph. Things are cranked up even further with the arrival of another sequence. Processed guitar gives added bite. For a short time the guitar sound becomes more conventional, growling wonderfully in the middle of the mix as once again the energy levels increase to incredible proportions. Things then moderate a little, the intensity of it all ebbing and flowing as we go.
Little guitar touches over subtle chimes get ‘The Twenty Six Gls Man’ underway. A lovely melodic loop is formed. This is gorgeous stuff, ideal of relaxing to on a lazy sunny afternoon. The storm clouds start to gather though and before you know it one sequence after another is brought in, fizzing energy flying from the edge of the pulsations. Guitar shimmers act like solar flares. All then subsides, as an eight note bass sequence becomes the main focus. This retreats into the mix as yet more sequences fill the energy gap, weaving little melodies of their own as they carve their own devastating paths. As with previous tracks the sheer power levels reached at the peaks of the surging pulsations just have to be heard to be appreciated.
Javi and David have created an awesome album here- a real monster in fact!
For this album Spanish synthesist Javi Canovas teamed up with guitar player David Paredes with a result that blends Javi's typical style and some unique experimental touches.
"Nightwatchers" begins exactly with one of those experimental sections. Heavy analog effects are all we hear for a while. It's not exactly the kind of stuff we have used to hear from Canovas, it's more along the lines of Noise / DIY electronic culture, pretty heavy and raw. Frippoid guitar lines are heard, flowing amidst the strange soundscape. A more bluesy tone is then introduced, utilizing mostly the Arabic scale. A sequence slowly materializes, bringing a sense of purpose to the proceedings. From this point on, the music takes on a more familiar Javi Canovas, stance, with driving sequencers (and I'm talking about multiple pulsations here), sporadic pads and various other slight melodic embellishments. This is an excellent track that ends with a haunting soundscape.
"Underground Voice" is introduced with some spooky effects that sound like... well, underground voices. More electronic effects follow, with the whole sounding like some out take from a Dark Ambient session of sorts. Nice stuff for those lonely evenings... if you are not afraid of gloomy things, that is. The guitar really adds a new dimension to the soundscape. Dramatic strings and pads appear towards the 10-minute mark, with subtle, electric piano flashes. This is some moody stuff that is all but interrupted by the rolling melodic sequence. More sequences are added and, man, what a track it becomes! Driving, purposeful, melodic, sensual, cosmic... a real winner! The interesting part is that the track has a lead line that sounds like Mellotron strings but at the same time reminds on processed guitar or even Hammond organ.
"Architeuthis" brings in the noisy textures once again. Waves of static disrupt a shadowy background at uneven points, creating a really disturbing, Giger-esque landscape of sound. Metallic clangs populate the sonic void, with strange effects and voices processed beyond recognition. Has Javi been listening to a lot of Frohmader mixed with Lustmord, or perhaps Atrax Morgue and "Forbidden Planet" soundtrack lately? Theremin-like wails cry like banshees over moorland, before splashes of melodic sequencing can be heard. A full-fledged sequence finally develops, sucking you in a whirlpool of melancholic, minor-key pulsations. I am amazed at how well actually the cold, shadowy and bleak world of biomechanoids and necronomicons melds with the cosmic and somewhat scientifically romantic grandeur of the Berlin School. Not many people have tried to mix the two in one track but Javi does it here and succeeds, big time!
A completely different fish (no pun intended) is the closing track, "The Twenty Six Gills Man". Right from the beginning we are treated to a jazzy, melancholic and aquatic soundscape, where electric piano clusters and subtle guitar dominate. Towards the 6-minute mark, a sequence becomes a dominant element. The track is rather loose and sparse in comparison with the preceding compositions but you do need something to chill out to after the intense stuff that went on up to this point. On the other hand, the sequences on this track are some of the best I've heard from Javi. Also of note are great contributions from David Paredes on distorted, echoing guitar. Surprisingly, the track ends with distant samples of Russian speech (a news report about the recent accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydro power station).
With "Unforgiven Machine" Javi Canovas really tries new things & experiments a lot and I like that. I'd go as far as to say this is his most interesting and artistically accomplished project to date. Good, good, good.
2010. Artemi Pugachov / Encyclopedia of Electronic Music
23fish is the artistic union of Javi Canovas and guitarist David Parades and Unforgiven Machine is the result of their first musical reflections. A rather particular album which uses a strong variety of sonorities, as much heteroclites as psychedelics, on good sequential surges. Both cosmic and progressive EM, Unforgiven Machine presents 4 long tracks to similar structures where ambient intros and finales, tinted strong atmospheric incandescence, are intersected with good undulating sequences to subdivided chords which hang to good rhythmic structures.
Nightwatchers intro reflects the very ‘‘psychedelicosmic’’ ambiance that reigns around Unforgiven Machine. Variegated sonorities are twisted in vibrating serpentines, freeing thousand droning distortions, before ending into a Sea of Tranquility feeds of tender solos from a plaintive guitar. Solos which float in a beautiful cosmic quietude tinted of weak chime tinkling which, little by little, shape a Halloween style nursery rhyme which scintillates of its limpid keys. From this childish daydream emerges a sequence which waltzes awkwardly before metamorphosing itself in a heavy sequence undulating idly to subdivide itself again, before penetrating an electronic sphere where the guitar multiplies limpid solos under a slow rhythm always supported by a sequence to ascending movement. A rhythm which gradually vanishes in the lapse of memory. In oblivion filled of fine reverberating waves, as like Nightwatchers are always present. This musical staging is present on Unforgiven Machine 3other tracks which, on the other hand, have their proper characteristics.
So Underground Voices presents a dark introduction of an underground world from where frees strange hooting. Dark breaths and murmurs which merge to chords of a solitary and discreet guitar thus a synth to tearing strias. From an atmospheric strangeness Underground Voices borrows a liven rhythmic passage of a superb sequence to hybrid and subdivided keys which hop in a beautiful synchronized anarchy, molding an intense tempo sprinkled of felted percussions and cymbals.
After a slow morphic intro, Architeuthis embraces the rhythmic life with a superb sequence to frantic chords. A nervous sequence which weaves another sequential structure below the breaths of a synth with angelic trumpets, whereas the rhythm slowly takes shape in order to plunge in an intense sequential bubble whose heavy chords are bitten by a guitar with vaporous solos. A very good track that brings us back in the 70’s, whereas Tangerine Dream was his best!
A synth to rippling layers envelope a keyboard and a guitar with hesitant arpeggios open The Twenty Six Gills Man. Once again the intro is morphic, though a little less deadening, and furrows a slow musical procession before leading on a solid sequence whose keys hop nervously on a hybrid structure where layers of synth and guitars howl as specters on a movement which gradually intensifies its heaviness intensity. Like the preceding titles, the rhythms of The Twenty Six Gills Man revolve in complexes ‘‘psychedelicosmic’’ atmospheres before dying out in a cosmic nothingness where only Spanish voices pierce it silence.
A mixture of heavy atmospheres and rhythms quite as heavy, here are what 23fish offers us on their 1st opus. Even if more complex than the average, Unforgiven Machine is a solid album of EM strongly tinted of a strong cosmic rock approach filled of hybrid structures. An album with striking sequential passages which will please fans of good old sequences à la Tangerine Dream’s Chris Franke era.
2010. Sylvain Lupari / Guts Of Darkness