number 1046
week 35


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MACHINEFABRIEK — CRUMBLE (CD by Machinefabriek) *
EDWARD KA-SPEL — SPECTRESCAPES VOLUME 3 (CDR by Terminal Kaleidoscope) *
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS — FESTIVE (2CDR by Terminal Kaleidoscope) *
MARGARET UNKNOWN & MARKUS KRISPEL (CDR by Setola Di Maiale/Chmafu Nocords)
DAN O'CONNOR — IN/EX (CDR by Tone List) *
LEONARD & DAY & JERMAN — ISINGLASS (cassette by Eh? Records)
FLETCHER PRATT — DUB SESSIONS, VOLUME 3 (cassette by Crash Symbols)


Perhaps because he's a bit more into on-site installations and concerts these days, there are, so it seems,
a little bit less releases from Rutger Zuydervelt's Machinefabriek; I might be wrong and there might be a
different reason but it seems as if his hectic schedule in that department slowed down a bit. There are more
changes to be noted. These days he works more and more with other musicians, sampling their playing and
incorporating them into the overall composition. On 'Crumble' these musicians are Anne Bakker, who plays
viola and violin (she also played on last week's release by Quibus) and Edita Karkowschka who supplies
voice and lyrics. A third change, but that's been going on for some time already, is that Machinefabriek is
more and more into creating sound collages, moving between the very loud and very quiet. Also the guitar
is less prominent in his current pieces, and Machinefabriek shifts towards using electro-acoustic means.
Maybe we have to understand the title 'Crumble' as the crumbling of paper, metal sheets, tin foil or such like,
which is treated by a fair amount of sound effects, along which we hear, not all the time of course, the strings
of Bakker and the voice of Karkowschka, which creates another dimension to the music. These players add
musicality, or whatever is regarded as such of course, to the crackling world of Machinefabriek, the rumble
and crumble of those objects; it creates another world, an intimate one at that, one that quite intense at times,
almost in a (post-) rock music context. That may sound bizarre, but that's what I think it is. Machinefabriek
taps into many musical sources; musique concrete via the collage form and use of non-musical objects,
modern classical with the use of violins and voices, but it's work out as a form of post rock. Plus, then
there is the element of improvisation when it comes to recording and playing some of this, even when it
is meticulously composed using multi-track editing. This is a very well balanced composition, marking the
steady growth of Machinefabriek as a composer. (FdW)
––– Address:


Since I discovered Loriot through his magnificent solo album, reviewed in Vital Weekly 1010, his name pops
up regularly. More recently (Vital Weekly 1043) we discussed “The Asembly’ by his Systematic Distortion
Orchestra. Now we find him in a duo setting with Christoph Erb, a familiar name here already for a longer time,
especially for his releases on his own Veto Records. The Portuguese Creative Sources label, specialized in
improvised music however releases this new one,. Recordings took place at Teigi Fabrik in Kriens near Luzern.
What is offered is a beautiful and well balanced recording. One can hear and distinguish every movement by
both players, and follow their interactions. Both use a lot of (extended) techniques, totally in function of their
expressive improvisations. I have heard already many records with Erb, but on this one his playing springs
out for me. Some very poetic dialogues with a focus on sound, timbre and textures unfold here, with Erb
playing tenor and soprano sax, and Loriot viola. They create intimate spheres through their concentrated
and inspired playing. These two players are a perfect match. There is a real chemistry between these two.
They inspire one other to beautiful responses and proposals. Their interactions demonstrate a high level of
musicality. Very nice work! (DM)
––– Address: http://www.creativesourcesreccom


While I never know what the difference is when something is released by Ftarri, Meenna or Hitorri, it seems
clear it is all from the same house, the same mother ship, which I think is Ftarri. The three players on the first
disc all appeared on the 6CDR set that celebrated the fifth anniversary of Ftarri (see Vital Weekly 1000) and
on this new release we find two recordings, one from December 2015 and one from February 2016. I understood
that the guitarist Riuchi Daijo "holds the bi-monthly live performance series "Shield Reflection" at Ftarri, Tokyo"
in which he performs with the same musicians for three times in a row, and in this case it is Keitetsu Murai
(electro-acoustics) and Tetsuro Fujimaki (drums), while Daijo plays electric guitar on the first and acoustic
on the second. There are some differences between both pieces. 'Tender Stone', the first piece, with electric
guitar is scratchy and noisy, everybody is in uptight mode to playing hectic and nervous, with lots of sounds
bouncing around. It is however a piece that works quite well, certainly in terms of free jazz and improvisation,
as it is full of tension and concentration. The other piece, 'Solid Pillow', is something else. Maybe it is the
addition of the acoustic guitar and the absence of its electric counterpart, but this is a very contemplative
piece of music. The three players leave space wide open, and sounds become like snowflakes; swirling
around, but it is not necessarily 'quiet' music. Occasionally it goes quite deep and loud, but all the time it
remains open and gentle; maybe that sounds odd, but that's how I perceived this piece. If I had to choose
between both pieces and pick a favourite I'd say it is the second one; I liked the pace of that more than
the other, which seemed perhaps a bit too much rooted in more regular improvised music.
   From Ryoko Akama we reviewed a cassette in Vital Weekly 1043, and other works in the past, but it was
always without knowing too much about her work. She has worked with Bruno Duplant before and he also
plays on this new release; he plays double bass and electronics, Ko Ishikawak plays the sho, an instrument
used in gagaku, traditional Japanese court music, and Akama herself plays electronics, but it's not said
what kind of electronics these are. I am not sure if this trio actually met up to create the music, as I read in
the information, in Akama's words, "Only a few people have met actual Bruno, and I have only worked with
him via virtual exchanges", so it would perhaps seem that this is quite an odd-ball in the Ftarri catalogue,
which I would like to believe is all about playing and improvising in one room. Music wise, however, this is
not something that is that different from the usual releases. Two pieces, both of twenty-seven minutes of
stretched out tones and utter minimalism. Sounds kept on a sustaining roll, maybe from the electronics
played by Akama, or by the sho (did Akama and Ishikawa meet up? I am not sure) and the bass simply
strummed very occasionally. In these pieces sounds is wide open with lots of breathing space in between
these microtonal shifts. These are two beautiful pieces of music and nothing else. Something to play and
contemplate along, to meditate or relax. Just do nothing and let it happen, that's what this says. (FdW)
––– Address:


Mats Björk was from Sweden and is now based in Copenhagen and he's been operating the Kompjotr
Eplektrika moniker since 1996, while also being involved in 'grind/noise outfit Jjärnsläpp, post rock
pioneers Seamonster1, Dialog CET and others projects and released two albums as Kompjotr Eplektrika
in 2005 and 2007 (see Vital Weekly 487 and 579), but then went silent for quite some time. The music
seems to have made a remarkable change too. From the old Pan Sonic/Alva Noto and Goem inspired
rhythm, Björk apparently writes his own software these days, in which he mixes his own field recordings,
and 'a playfully patched delicate selection of analogue and digital synths', which then 'is sequenced,
arranged and improvised through Kompjotrs custom software', whatever that is. The eight pieces on
this record are bouncy tunes of highly digital music. There is no a field recording in here that one can
recognize as such any more. Maybe some household objects, the way Pink Floyd once intended to
realize, I mused. Well, I simply don't know. It is not music that one can dance too, or rather not easily,
but I can imagine some daring DJ using bits and pops in a set somewhere. As much as I would like
avoiding name-dropping, it's very difficult not to mention Oval as a source of inspiration here; or at least,
that's what I believe. Kompjotr Eplektrika's music is not as fluid as Oval's back in the day, but the
software used guarantees lots of bending of sawing of sounds, which are then placed on a randomized
playback, while along other sounds are used to form consecutive rhythms. The more I played this,
the more sense it made; one starts to recognize patterns, such as in the pretty linear 'Aetherve' and
then sometimes that seems a little less likely. Overall, I thought this was a pretty exciting album. (FdW)
––– Address:

(7" flexi disc by Phantom Plastics)

Following my last review of music by Dave Phillips I had some e-mail contact with him and it was
about the fact that he was afraid I painted him too much as a die-hard vegan and eco-warrior, but that
he likes me to know his work is more about overall concerns about human rights, animal rights and
environmental awareness and he will not force you to be a blind follower of his, or force you to his will.
So I stand corrected. Here he teams up with Michael Esposito, our man for all ghostly transmissions
from beyond, who shares his Electronic Voice Phenomena recordings with the finest composers for
further treatment and this time it is Dave Phillips. I understand the theme is freak shows, but unlike
others in this series there is this time around no explanatory text on the cover; in fact information is
all around quite sparse.
   You can leave such thing up to Phillips to play around with EVPs in a musical context. In his work
voices are no strangers and in this slow build-up these voices come at the end; before that Phillips
creates an intense piece of metal on metal, feedback and a very deep bass thump; it is almost
becomes like a proper song, I thought, and when those voices from beyond slip in, through the
backdoor, it has certainly a great haunted house quality. As always you can't make out what these
voices are saying, or what the meaning is and probably it is quite difficult to link this to freak shows,
but who cares? My copy skipped a bit back and forth, such is the life of flexi discs I guess, but I
was more satisfied with this. (FdW)
––– Address:

THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS — FESTIVE (2CDR by Terminal Kaleidoscope)

Here we have three releases that are all highly limited and yet half the edition isn't for sale yet; it is
for sale when the Legendary Pink Dots reach the USA in just two weeks or so and start touring (see
also our announcement section). The other half is for sale now and is to gather some funding for the
tour, and all of this with carefully constructed handmade packages. It's obviously whenever the Pink
Dots make it to these pages it is either with their older work or their handmade packages they put
out themselves and hardly ever with their main new albums, which form the backbone of their current
live show. Here we have three releases that definitely reflect some of their more experimental side.
I started this journey with music by the Silverman.
   Recently I was watching a Netflix series called 'Stranger Things', perhaps because many people
kept telling me how great the soundtrack was. When I got to the Clash I was thinking 'oh yeah,
some people regard this band as a true punk band' and I don't agree, but then the next episode had
Joy Division's 'Atmosphere' and the one after that New Order 'Elegia', and that kept me watching.
It's the incidental music that people seem to like, and link to the likes of Tangerine Dream and
Steve Moore; spacious synths, sombre arpeggio’s. It is music that fits the supernatural series
quite well. But when I was playing the new release by The Silverman yesterday and today I was
thinking that it would have been wonderful if they would ask somebody like The Silverman to do
a soundtrack for such a series. He would be able to create just the most perfect soundtrack for
such a series (or movie). There is a creepy eerie ambient sound, especially in the first and second
part of 'Assembling Witness' (that sounds a police series title, doesn't it?), with some fine string
sounds building tension, following church bells; the graveyard murder suspect episode. In the
third part there is a flute sound, some sort of singing and also slow building tension. This is an
excellent CD.
   Edward Ka-spel presents one piece that can also be separated into four parts, 13, 14, 15 and
16 of 'Spectrascapes' and even while he is the vocalist of The Legendary Pink Dots here he has
an all instrumental piece of music. It starts out with something that has very much a Christmas
feel to it, which is, in the hottest summer week in The Netherlands, an odd feeling, to say the
least. Ka-spel plays the experimental card more in his solo work these days and I quite like that.
In the old days, we he sang and played keyboards I sometimes thought of the work as 'Pink
Dots-light', but with this more experimental sound, applying synthesizers and sound processing
from digital tools, he creates disturbing images in the head, but keeps it also musical, with the
occasional bang on the piano and looped rhythm. Ka-spel spaces his music not as much as
The Silverman does, but seems to be moving quicker through ideas, sketches and thoughts,
but somehow one recognizes Edward Ka-spel in this, even when there is no singing.
   If thinking of Christmas was strange today, with all the summer heat and cool drinks near
by, then imagine playing 'Festive' this time of the year; it collect the various free releases of
Christmas and Halloween songs the Dots gave away for free in the past years and 'I Wish It
Could Be Christmas' with 30 degrees outside is indeed hallucinating. Yet this double disc
contains some great music by The Legendary Pink Dots, mostly instrumental, but as said,
not without the seasonal references, and when sung about it's also about Christmas or
Halloween. Odd of course but when it turns out to be all electronic and experimental it is very
much the 'usual' (what's that) kind of music that we know from them; beautifully drone like,
developing sometimes into a small song, the occasional loops or simply morphs into another
drone piece. When that happens one is transported to winter times and dark nights. Which
is great of course but too soon. Let's put this in a bag, and wait for another 3 months. But,
hold on, this is not supposed to be sale for some weeks anyway. Oh, that explains. (FdW)
––– Address:


It has been a while since I last heard music by Stanislav Vdovin from Russia (see Vital Weekly
579, 734 and 761) and I have no idea why we didn't hear from him in the years in between, but
the reason might be that he releases quite some music in digital format only. He released music
before with Olga Shydullina, of whom I don't know anything other than that she plays the piano,
at least on a previous collaboration with Vdovin. At least that's what she did before. I am not
sure if that is what she does here, but it could very well that Vdovin transform her piano playing.
The very black cover with black ink isn't very clear about this. In the old days Vdovin sounded
like Gas and glitch ambient, but on this new release his music is less to define within the
boundaries of single categorization. One could say that it digital processes applied here are
not unlike that of musique concrete but that the outcome is more towards the world of ambient
music, and yet it's never drone like. In the thirty-six minute that is 'Magic Theatre', the only
piece on this release, there is certain mystique ringing through these sounds. I believe to hear
bells, flutes, drones, and maybe a hint of percussion. It has that tribal/ritualistik feel to it that I
am not particularly fond off. The music wasn't bad but sounded also a bit vague and nondescript,
like it was hinting towards some sort of ritual in a dark forest, but we are not invited to know
what this is. (FdW)
––– Address:

MARGARET UNKNOWN & MARKUS KRISPEL (CDR by Setola Di Maiale/Chmafu Nocords)

Margaret Unknown is one of the monikers Max Bogner uses in his artistic life. He is a musician,
dancer and performance artist originating from Vienna. This also counts for Krispel who started
playing there with bands like Licht and Ron Bop. Later he had an improv group Vögel, and
nowadays he seems to run a heavy doom band. As a duo they name themselves)))))(((((, and
 their CDR is called {}. Both know each other from big ensembles they played in. In 2015 they
decided to start working as a duo and did several concerts. A satisfying experience, and doing
a recording turned out the next step. In collaboration between Steola di Maiale and Nocords
a first release is realized. We hear Margaret Unknown on electronics, guitar and voice, and
Markus Krispel on alto-, tenor-, baritone sax. They make their statements in six improvisations
that are very wild and rough on the one hand. But also complex, thought over and with fine
interplay. And with very lively and engaging musical results!  Krispel is a capable saxplayer
evidently rooted in the tradition of free jazz (if that is not a ‘contradictio in terminis’). Margaret
Unknown developed a very personal – sound-oriented — style of guitar playing that made
a strong impression on me. Also his use of electronics in this setting is engaging and original.
A fearless duo communicating through extreme and provocative gestures. They are very
outspoken and daring in their battles. (DM)
––– Address: ;

(CDR by Setola Di Maiale)

Peter Brötzmann debuted around 1968 as one of the forerunners of the European improvised
music scene. Not many musicians of this generation are still playing. But sax-player Brötzmann
is! This time he is in the company of the Italian experimental unit, Laboratorio Musicale Suono.
Working in the lab is: Donato Console (flute), Giuseppe Marini (trumpet), Gianni Console (alto
sax, electronics, EWI 4000S), Walter di Serio (electric bass) and Giuseppe Tria (drums, vibes).
All six tracks are named ‘Decomposition’, 1 up to 6, and have Brötzmann participating only in
two tracks. Recordings took place in Bari, September 2014. The lab experiments with radical,
noisy rock elements and free improvisation. Together with the opening track, both pieces that
have Brötzmann playing are the most jazzy and energetic pieces. The other tracks are more
open and spaced out improvisations. One of them a short pointed solo improvisation by di
Serio on electric guitar and electronics. Their decompositions are shaped very differently,
showing these musicians have ideas and want to experiment. That results didn’t always
convince me is part of the game. (DM)
––– Address:


When I wanted to started to write this review, I almost penned 'after many releases this is
the last one by Matthew Ammudsen's project Surface Hoar', but upon a quick inspection it
seems there aren't that many, although I very well believe that there is a little bit more than
what is mentioned on Discogs; I have reviewed others in Vital Weekly that are not mentioned.
In any case, the four pieces on this split with Rabbit Girls is the last music he recorded
under that banner, as he had achieved his 'original goal, which was to create music out of
non-musical sources'. The four pieces here do not unveil what these sources are, but he
transforms them into sampled dark soundscapes. By layering a lot of sounds everything
becomes a bit blurry, but that's what I like about this music. It has that late 80s ambient
industrial quality; not as noise based as the true power electronics but not as ambient as
we were thought by Brian Eno. Mainly due to the low-resolution sampling keyboards and
applying a fair amount of reverb and delay such music leads drone experiments of a more
unsettling nature. While I haven't heard all the music Surface Hoar did, I think it's sad that
mission is now terminated. I very much enjoyed this testament.
   The other five pieces are by Rabbit Girls, which is the project of NxFx from Kansas City,
who taps out of more noise-oriented field of music. He or she has more releases than
Surface Hoar to it's name, curious enough, but I don't think I  heard many. Here too I have
no idea what is used to generate these sounds; it could be field recordings, electronics
or whatever else comes handy but in the treatments that are applied to these sounds the
outcome is cruder than with Surface Hoar. Here we find distortion and feedback in
'Mohareb' of a few radios, screaming static white noise, but pieces like 'Anhedonia' and
'Undercroft' go deeper than your average noise onslaught. Those made me give this the
benefit of doubt, while not being overtly blown away by these pieces. (FdW)
––– Address:

DAN O'CONNOR — IN/EX (CDR by Tone List)

Quite a stylish, professional black & white package here on the inaugural release by
Tone List from Australia, but the music, though intense as it, is rather short in supply.
We have seventeen pieces, micro-compositions as Dan O’Connor calls them on the
trumpet, which spans only fourteen minutes. The shortest is eighteen seconds and the
longest one minute and thirteen seconds. O'Connor is also from Australia and the briefness
of his music is a kind of reaction against long works of improvisation, and each of these
pieces is supposedly having a single breath. When you realize that the result itself becomes
an intense listening experience. Sometimes one thinks that it is hardly possible to do all
of that with a single breath but I guess hearing is believing. I thought this was wonderful
music and I would not have minded quite a few more of these pieces. I enjoyed these
seventeen pieces as a single piece, rather than thinking about them as separate pieces,
even when each piece is followed with a bit of silence, separating the pieces very clearly
(and I will leave that silence in the podcast, mind you). In all the variations he offers here
his playing remains constant recognizable as a trumpet players. No extended techniques,
no instrument-as-object approach, but seventeen variations on playing the trumpet with
a single breath. Short but excellent. (FdW)
––– Address:

(CD by Eh? Records)
LEONARD & DAY & JERMAN — ISINGLASS (cassette by Eh? Records)

The first release brings us two improvisers of whom I didn't hear before. Ben Bennett
plays percussion and membranes and John Collins McCormick plays amplified drum
and laptop. They have two very long pieces of improvised music, recorded in 2015.
I think both of these pieces, thirty-three and thirty-eight minutes are way too long to
hold my attention — although I easily blame that on the heat and the short night of no
sleep because of that. But this music seemed very hard to take in. In the first piece,
'More Than Perfect' their percussion duet is very upfront and loud, but not noisy per
se; it has highly shrieking tones, direct bangs on the kit and something that was less
easy to define in terms of sound; I blame that on the use of membrane and laptop.
It very rarely stays quiet for long, even when it has that direct hit character. It bursts
and it cracks. The second piece 'Hadn't' shares a similar course in terms of directness
but has longer parts that turned out to be way quieter and becomes effectively a
different kind of piece, and I must say it is the kind of music I liked better than the
first one. That seemed in comparison all about effect, loud, cracking and bursting,
whereas in the second piece it is all about control and interaction. Or so I like to
believe I guess, but even at that I think some form of editing could have been applied.
   On cassette we find label boss Bryan Day playing invented instruments and radio
transceivers in a trio recording with Jeph Jerman (household objects) and Cheryl Leonard
on driftwood pipe organ, driftwood mobiles, kelp flute, kelpinet, wobbly rocks, Japanese
bowl, gongs, motorcycle sprockets and bow of sand. For me the lesser-known player
is Leonard but I understand that just like Jerman and Day she likes to take explore the
use of natural elements and convert them into musical instruments. In the two sidelong
pieces they explore all of this with an open mind. If one was expecting some rattle of
objects, crackle of leaves and such like, one has to think again. Much of this deals
with rubbing objects on objects forming a more drone-based sound. It's hard to imagine
how they achieved this sound, but it sounds great. That is one part of the story,
as otherwise they play also a more loosely based object sound in which the three of
them meticulously explore their instruments but also they listen to each other and the
others are doing, a call and respond to make this into some beautiful music. There is
some great tension between these three players and also between the various sounds
at hand, and sometimes one has the idea that they are on a vessel, or using motorized
sounds, but I might be entirely wrong of course. Overall I though this was a beautiful
release, and maybe, just maybe, I thought a CDR would have been better, in terms of
sound quality. (FdW)
––– Address:

(cassette, private)

Following some cassette releases two years ago, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson (Siggy
for all those who find that a bit of tongue twister) went quiet again, although I am sure
he's still working on new music with either Stilluppsteypa, the duo he has with Helgi
Thorson, and with BJ Nilsen. Here he presents an all handmade cover and cassette
of music he recorded with former Reynols member Anla Courtis, who is always
active when it comes to playing around with other people. The two of them recorded
the sounds on this tape in the period 1999-2016 and mixed by Sigmarsson in 2016,
so I assume. Courtis is quite a world traveller and no doubt has been in a room
with Sigmarsson a couple of times to records bits of improvised music. In much
of Sigmarsson's 'other' work, drones play quite a big role, and to a certain extent
it also does on this cassette. But there is more than that, I would think. There is
Courtis' work on the guitar; there is some fine reel-to-reel manipulation of voice
sounds and a tendency to use musique concrete techniques applied to field
recordings and most likely some kind of plunderphonics. All of this might be the
result of computer manipulation and/or editing, but all the same this might the work
of collating everything in the analogue domain, using an ancient four-track machine
and simple stomp boxes. There is a beautiful tension in these pieces, a brooding
atmosphere of humming alien voices, space ship interiors and rusty controls.
This is a most enjoyable item of high art. (FdW)
––– Address: <>

(cassette by Crash Symbols)
(cassette by Crash Symbols)

Surely there are some expectations when one reads that Winnipeg-born Fletcher
Pratt studied with Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Frith and Zeena Parkins and that his
cassette was recorded while working on a masters in 'electronic music and
recording media', but then we a served with a cassette of some dub music?
That perhaps I didn't expect, only if one would consider the title of this then of
course there is no surprise I guess. I didn't hear the previous two volumes of
dub sessions from Pratt. There was a period when I played a lot of dub music,
getting into that through a love for ambient house music, The Orb et al, and then
digital dub, that short-lived musical genre in the mid 90s. The music of Fletcher
Pratt is not unlike that, but has a charming naivety around it, maybe sounding
a bit more lo-fi. The rhythms sound lovingly traditional dub like, but out of a box,
rather than banged on a can. The right amount of delay and reverb are added
and then there is quite a bit of keyboards added to the music, which are not
abstract, but rather melodic. Think Cluster going dub, which isn't probably as
strange as one could think. These seven songs are lovely, mild dub music,
not as heavy on the bass as the genre probably prescribes, and perhaps
something is lost in translating it to a cassette, but it's a wonderfully great
trip on a hot warm evening.
   All of this is quite a contrast with the other release by Hillboggle, which is
apparently a side project of one Derek Gedelecia (of Headboggle) and his father,
Derek. The latter plays banjo, while his son is responsible for the electronics;
maybe a modular synthesizer of some kind or a bunch of effects. They are from
the Bay Area, but this cassette has recordings from Columbus, Ohio and at the
Voice Of The Valley Noise Rally in Millstone, West Virginia. The label says this
gives 'the impression of a crazed and tripping Tod Dockstader attempting to
negotiate with a banjo", but I beg to differ. At best this is an interesting attempt
to pair these odd ends together, banjo and slightly distorted electronics, the
start-stop of a drum machine and such like, which sometimes goes together
quite all right, but it also sounds at times like a trying search for the right
combination to work and those moments seem to be in majority here.
Essentially the product of trial and error in concert and there is nothing wrong
with that of course, but I am not sure if all of such efforts have to be released
on any kind of sound carrier, save perhaps a free download for the dedicated
fans who want to collect all the concert recordings. (FdW)
––– Address:

––– Address:


Back in Vital Weekly 909 I first heard music by Clarke Robinson, when I
reviewed his 'Suburban Echoes' cassette, and these two new releases are
a continuation of the kind of work started back then. Clarke Robinson created
a briefcase version of modular synth, which he can take on the bus to a gig.
For instance when he wants to play solo but also to play improvised music
with other musicians. The machine is made in a way that he can easily
respond to others and it produces one sound at a time, very much like
a guitar or trumpet would do. But that makes it playing it solo a bit of a
challenge and that's where these new cassettes come in. Each of them
has a side long piece, each of fifteen minutes. These pieces, he writes,
were culled from nearly eleven hours of home recordings and only minimal
editing has been applied, sometimes to make it bit shorter, but also some
parts were combined together. One of the aspects that is no longer
mentioned with these two releases, is the fact that before Robinson
played this kind of stuff in parking garages on battery powered equipment;
maybe he has moved up in the world of concert playing? As before I quite
enjoy this free form attitude to improvisation, a sort of punk ethic to playing
music and improvisation. I am not sure why he didn't release one sixty-
minute tape with all four pieces though, as they clearly come from the same
frame of mind. Robinson's music is at times quite noise based, but it's not
necessarily only about that. He knows how to shift back and forth between
the noisier bits and then go a bit quiet on the side for a while. There are these
days lots of people playing around with modular synthesizers and as such
I think that Robinson is the not the most unique performer in that field; but
then, I wouldn't know who is, actually (I hope I didn't insult any close friends).
However I do know that Robinson does some excellent stuff on his set-up,
limited as it may seem (to him); in now way I had the idea this way in any
way limited at all. (FdW)
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