number 1088
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week 26
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ORPHAX - WARSCHAUER STRASSE (CD by Opa Loka Records) *
ZBEEN - TONAL WHIPLASH (CD by 13/Silentes) *
HAARVÖL - BOMBINATE (CD by Moving Furniture Records) *
NYTT LAND - FIMBULVINTER (CD by Cold Spring)
LA BREICHE - LE MAL DES ARDENTS (CD by Cold Spring)
AMANDA PALMER AND EDWARD KA-SPEL – I CAN SPIN A RAINBOW (2LP/CD by 8ft)
DANS LES ARBRES – PHOSPHORESCENCE (CD by Hubro Music)
ARCHER/MWAMBA/BENNETT/FAIRCLOUGH -SUNSHINE! QUARTET (CD by Discus Music)
ARCHER/CLARK/GRE/HUNTER – FELICITY’S ULTIMATUM (CD by Discus Music)
FLORIAN WITTENBURG — DON'T PUSH THE PIANO AROUND (CD by MurNichtNur) *
YUMIKO TANAKA - MUSIC PERFORMANCE (DVD by Ftarri)
KAZUYA MATSUMOTO - OCHIRU CHIRU MICHIRU (CD by Spekk) *
DANE ROUSAY - ANATOMIZE (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
MASSIMO MAGEE & JAMES L. MALONE - THE LIMITS OF THE POSSIBLE (CDR by Kendra Steiner
  Editions) *
ONIN - ERRERY (CDR by Verz Imprint) *
TROY SCHAFER - UNTITLED NO. 5 (cassette by Tree Tapes)
CHRISTINE WEBSTER - DIARY #1 (USB, private) *


ORPHAX - WARSCHAUER STRASSE (CD by Opa Loka Records)

Odd to believe but Sietse van Erve visited Berlin for the very first in February 2016 and as Orphax
he composed two pieces that reflect that first visit, dedicated to places that mean a lot to him but
which are not necessarily well known. I would think Orphax would have played concerts in Berlin
before, but alas. Me personally I love Berlin, mainly because in many parts it feels like being in a
smaller city and not in this big city. It has an excellent vibrancy and with lots of places to go there
is always something to do. Much of the city is, as Orphax notes, still quite rough and harsh, like it
is still in a process of building up (well, maybe it is).
    How many drone albums can you make, you could ask Orphax. Well, a lot it seems. Recently
there was '2:20' (see Vital Weekly 1078), which wasn't reviewed by me, but one I did hear and I
very much enjoyed the gentle minimalism of that one. The two lengthy pieces on 'Warschauer
Strasse' are something different altogether, and yet also part and parcel from the world of drone
music. Here the drones are harsher, louder, a bit more digital (certainly on 'Schönhauser Allee')
with some heavily treated field recordings being the source (although I might be wrong of course);
maybe it's one of those 'hinterhofen' that you see a lot in Berlin, filtering the sound of the city like
a big tunnel filters sound. In 'Mehringdamm' there is a drone or two which sound like a machine
buzzing about, and maybe reflect the always present building sites you'll find all over the city. While
none of this is 'noise', it seems to me this is louder than your usual Orphax release and I would say
it's best to play this also with some extra volume. Most of the other works by Orphax are best
enjoyed at a more medium volume, allowing the music to meander about in your own space, but
with this one I'd say it works best if volume is up a notch more and you sit back and let yourself
be fully immersed by this. How many drone releases can you make, you ask? Orphax tells us: quite
a bit, and if you are a creative mind, which Orphax surely is, then you know that he knows how to
create many variations to the theme of drone music. Maybe at times these variations are minimal
ones, just like the music, but they are pretty much significant ones, and that's shown on this
album. It's great to see Orphax doing one that a bit more 'up there; a contemplation of a different
kind. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.opa-loka-records.com/



ZBEEN - TONAL WHIPLASH (CD by 13/Silentes)

The name Zbeen popped up a couple of times in Vital Weekly, but usually to say that someone is
a member. Releases with Zbeen's own music are a bit older by now; see Vital Weekly 818, 857 and
873. I have no idea why it took Ennio Mazzon (computer) and Gianluca Favaron (objects,
microphones, tapes, synth, analogue and digital effects) some years to do a new one, but here it
is, 'Tonal Whiplash' is their fourth release, recorded in November last year in Treviso and Berlin. I
enjoyed their three previous releases and I am enjoying this one, even when at thirty-three minutes
it is also a bit short, I think. Like I noted with their last release, much of what Zbeen does reminds
me of 'early laptop' music, back from the early years of this century, when it was called clicks 'n
cuts by some, or microsound by others (and hardly 'microwave'; that was just us at VWHQ).
Zbeen's music is surely along the lines of clicks 'n cuts, even when not doing much in terms of
strict rhythm. But the element of collage, using the whole dynamic spectrum, is something that
interests them a lot. Creating collage like piece has their strong interest, by layering many blocks
of sound together, cutting them in and out of the mix. Distorted hum, crackles, glissandi, field
recordings well hidden in many transformations, coming to you very loud, or very soft, or in
between, piercing high and menacing low, this is perhaps something that requires your full
attention and not something you stick on for some fun. You might be missing out on something
here, I would think, simply because there is so much going on. Zbeen's music is all about objects
abuse, field recordings and how these are transformed and stuck together s a collage of sound. In
short: this is musique concrete from the 21st century, and served up in small portions, which are
concise and to the point. Excellent release. (FdW)
––– Address: http://store.silentes.it



HAARVÖL - BOMBINATE (CD by Moving Furniture Records)

This is the second release by Portuguese Haarvöl for Moving Furniture Records, working towards a
trilogy; it's the band's third release. The two previous ones were reviewed in Vital Weekly 960 and
982, and I enjoyed both. Haarvöl is a trio of Fernando Jose Pereira and Joao Faria, responsible for
the music, and Rui Manuel Vieira for the images (and as such I have yet to find out what he does
in Haarvöl; maybe a DVD release is an option?). The band describes their music as living "from the
subtleties hidden in a powerful but sophisticated mass of sound", which one could interpret as
drone music in which just a bit more is happening and that is perhaps something I hear. Like before
it is not easy to say what the origin of the sound is; it can be analogue or digital means, there is a
possibility that this is all to do with instruments, but all the same we might be dealing here with
the use of field recordings, computer processing and what have you. Not that such things should
matter I would think, as we have to look at the result and these are wonderful again. Here we have
six lengthy pieces of heavy drone music, but all of this being 'drone plus'. Like before it is not easy
to say whether this is the result of improvisation or composing (and perhaps like the technical
question one that is not really relevant to know), but it sounds all quite low and bass-like, but
there is surely in every piece something that spices things up a bit. Some voices here and there in
'Senesencia' or a click rhythm in 'Peur (Presque Silence)', field recordings in 'Angst (After Future,
The Past)' of water running and slowed down and some, higher pitched drones dropping in and out
of the mix. In 'Paura (A Tonio G.)' I believe to hear a guitar, perhaps the only one here, otherwise it
is all very much in the world of electronics (analogue and/or digital; I would think both). This is a
dark and moody piece of music, but one that I enjoyed a lot. Their sound is getting better and it
made me very curious for their next release; how will they end this trilogy? (FdW)
––– Address: https://movingfurniturerecords.bandcamp.com/



NYTT LAND - FIMBULVINTER (CD by Cold Spring)
LA BREICHE - LE MAL DES ARDENTS (CD by Cold Spring)

This is the first release of Nytt Land on Cold Spring and it is also the first time I hear of the band.
Apparently they've been around since 2015 and in their country of origin, Russia, they are quite
the happening thing. Both the name of the band and the album title already suggest that their
main subject of interest is Nordic folklore and tradition, which is perhaps a bit of a stretch for a
bunch of people from some Siberian village that is actually closer to Japan than it is to Iceland, but,
all joking aside, they seem to do it with sincere dedication and devotion. For starters, their vocalist
definitely has her kulning techniques - traditional cattle calls - down of which we get al little taster
on the opening track. There are hand-crafted traditional instruments, like wood percussion, jaw
harp and flutes, plus some bolder choices like bagpipes, throat singing and trembita, a massive
alpine horn. Moreover, their lyrics come from the Poetic Edda and yes, they sing the Old Norse text,
which sounds quite convincing. There is supposed to be a thematic division between the first part,
which is about the creation of the world and the second part that deals with death. I couldn't
clearly decipher how the death of Baldr (Dauði Balder[s]) is part of the creation, as it clearly sets
the Ragnarök and death of all things into motion. Also songs about the Great Winter seem to be
scattered across the album. Perhaps not very important, but since the lyrics are printed in the
sleeve I guess the Nytt Landers do wish to grant us some insight into the narrative. The album
has an high-end, atmospheric production, much like the Godlesstate release that I wrote about a
couple of weeks ago and I have to agree that the production value of the whole thing makes them
sound like Wardruna - a comparison their bandcamp already suggests. But also Hedningarna (and
probably tons of bands that I don't know about) are a group that Nytt Land could tour with,
although I don't believe the former focus that much on the Edda or Nordic rituals as such. Of
course it is not a new sound -  I mean that is what traditional and folk music is all about to begin
with I guess - so if you expect music influenced by ancient traditions and stories - from a book
that is a good read in its own right, I may add - performed by skilful musicians, then that certainly
is what you're going to get with Nytt Land. It's not a thing I'd listen to a lot myself, as I feel that
the atmosphere alone doesn’t really do it for me and enjoying it to its full extent would require me
to pop open the old Edda translation to put thing into context in a rather academic kind of way
and that just is a bit too much work really. All in all a good listen and I might just go and see them
if they're ever in the area.
    La Breiche is a project by Patrick Lafforgue and Yan Arexis, better known as Stille Volk and
also as black metal band Sus Scrofa. This particular album is based around an interpretation of
medieval superstition and how we regard that nowadays. This makes for a vast thematic contrast
space between myth and so-called ‘common sense’, modernity and the distant past, light and
dark, that is reflected not only in the lyrical content, but in the choices regarding instrumentation
and compositional themes and structure as well. We hear hurdy gurdy, percussion and polyphonic
voices clash coalesce with gong swells and intensive noise ambiences; shreds of folk lamentation
with swirls of multi-layered music concrète and mantric vocal phrases. The mood of the different
tracks is understandably all over the shop; some tracks, like La Nef Des Fous have something
almost 'cabaret noir' about them, even bordering on the grotesque, much like early Virgin Prunes,
only to suddenly transform into a solemn folk dirge a few minutes in and die out with howling calls
in the distance. Or for instance Enfers, which is a rich acoustic noise piece that has a nervous prog
arpeggio and hissing voices emanating from the deep - which in a way reminded me of the
orchestral pieces of Austrian fairytale freaks Elli Riehl - only to end suddenly in what can only be
described as a percussion loop made by beating stones together. La Breiche clearly avoids the
pitfall of sounding pretentious by focussing too much on lyrical content from the period in
question, nor do they attempt to recreate authentic medieval music. They rather paint a
contemporary sonic landscape with both modern and archaic colours - in which they differ quite
a lot from aforementioned Nytt Land. All in all this is an adventurous album for those who are
looking some something different that doesn't necessarily get to the point very quickly - or makes
any obvious sense for that matter. One minute you're trapped in a cold and damp castle dungeon
with unplaceable noises swooshing all around, the next you're serenaded by two minstrels with a
hurdy-gurdy. I actually gave the album a couple of spins before and during the writing of this
review as it is hard to take it all in on the first run. I can only conclude that it's a slightly tough,
but worthwhile listen with a lot of unexpected twists and turns, that I will definitely pop into the CD
player soon again. (PJN)
––– Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk



AMANDA PALMER AND EDWARD KA-SPEL – I CAN SPIN A RAINBOW (2LP/CD by 8ft)

Loyal Vital Weekly readers will be familiar with the name of Edward Ka-Spel, vocalist, lyricist and
keyboard player of The Legendary Pink Dots. However, Amanda Palmer might be a new name, so
some introduction is in order. New York-born vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Amanda Palmer
started her career as ‘The 8 Foot Bride’, a living sculpture and worked in vaudeville and fringe
theatre before teaming up with drummer Brian Viglione as The Dresden Dolls in 2000. Playing
‘Brechtian punk cabaret’ The Dresden Dolls became a highly successful act in the US alternative
music scene. In the late 00s The Dresden Dolls split up and Amanda started performing and
recording under her own name. She became one of the first ‘alternative’ artists to rely on crowd
funding, seeing as she has a considerable and loyal fan base. Amanda Palmer is a presence and a
force to be reckoned with, an independent and fierce career woman weaving an intriguing, ‘dark
cabaret’-like web around everything she does, becoming a spokeswoman for gothic girls worldwide
in the process. Amanda Palmer qualifies as an alternative Lady Gaga if you like. She is also a major
Legendary Pink Dots fan. A quick Internet quest reveals the praise which Amanda has been
endowing on her teenage hero Edward Ka-Spel in various interviews, blogs and publications. In
that sense, their collaboration on 'I Can Spin A Rainbow' is not an unlikely one – in fact it feels like
a logical conclusion to shared interests and loves. When 'I Can Spin A Rainbow' was released,
Amanda wrote in her blog (link http://blog.amandapalmer.net/nobody-knew-goth/) about fearing
no one will ‘get the album’ because people don’t realize she is ‘not just a pop song writer, but also
a lover of weird, experimental music’. She also stated she can now make the most experimental
music ever, because she is no longer financially dependent to produce sellable product, as people
actually pay her via crowd funding to do whatever she likes. Even though she is probably right on
both counts, 'I Can Spin A Rainbow' cannot by any means be described as an experimental album.
In fact, 'I Can Spin A Rainbow' is a very much song-based, storytelling-album, carefully structured
around verses, choruses and bridges. The instrumentation, based around Amanda’s piano,
Edward’s keyboards and, somewhat surprisingly non-credited on the front cover, Patrick Wright’s
violin, also doesn’t really qualify as experimental. Patrick was the violinist for the Legendary Pink
Dots in the 80s, vital to the then sound and success of the band. The moment the news about
the backing campaign for 'I Can Spin A Rainwbow' went online, the air filled with anticipation, with
the campaign attracting over 8000 backers!
    Thanks to them we now can listen to 'I Can Spin A Rainbow', released both as a single CD and
a double LP featuring two bonus tracks in a, and I have to be honest, somewhat uninspiring cover.
Most of the songs feature Edward’s and/or Amanda’s hushed vocals over low to mid tempo’d bare
piano chords, violin melodies and the occasional electronics. Amanda’s and Edward’s singing voices
are actually more similar than you’d perhaps think – at times it feels like one’s breathing seamlessly
morphs into the other’s voice. By making the song structures sparse, Edward and Amanda
intentionally put emphasis on the stories they have to tell. This makes, as said, 'I Can Spin A
Rainbow' more of a storytelling album, which works perfectly most of the time, but at times has
a curiously distant feeling – like the joke you’re not into or the story you weren’t supposed to
overhear. Having said that, there is much to enjoy on this album. Songs like 'Liquidation
Day' (probably my favourite), 'Subway' (the most ‘experimental’ song on the album), 'The Sun
Still Shines' (featuring Amanda’s trademark ukulele) and 'Rainbow’s End' are simply gorgeous
songs where their collaboration really adds to the beauty of the music. None of the songs are
credited to a writer, suggesting 'I Can Spin A Rainbow' was written as a collaboration as well.
However, 'Prithee' originates from Edward’s 'Tanith And The Lion Tree' solo album and 'The Shock
of Contact' (here inexplicably 'The Shock Of Kontakt') is a Dots’ song from 'The Island Of Jewels'
album. Both stay pretty close to the original versions, making you wonder why they were included
on the CD version rather than the two more interesting LP bonus tracks. After repeated listening,
I have to admit I find it hard to get my head around' I Can Spin A Rainbow'. This album wants to be
so perfect, wants to be so beautiful, but is an almost too perfect monster, too beautiful in many
ways, creating a certain degree of self-centredness and distance. I’m convinced Amanda Palmer
and Edward Ka-Spel created, and rightfully so, the album they envisioned and wanted. I’m also
convinced many of their fans will adore this. And I’m convinced I will be listening to it many more
times trying to unravel its mysteries. (FK)



DANS LES ARBRES – PHOSPHORESCENCE (CD by Hubro Music)

The name for this quartet – translated ‘In the trees’ - might be an idea from Xavier Charles
(clarinet, harmonica), the only French member of this quartet, that includes three Norvegian
players: Ivar Grydeland (– guitar, banjo w/ preparations, sruti box), Christian Wallumrød (prepared
piano, harmonium) and Ingar Zach (bass drum, percussion). This project started as a duo of of
Ivar Grydeland and Ingar Zach and became a quartet in 2004. They released two albums for the
prestigious ECM-label, and intensively toured around the globe. Of course all four have other
projects going on as well. Wallumrød has his Christian Wallumrød Ensemble. Both Ingar and Ivar
participate in Huntsville. The collaborations of Xavier Charles are too many to mention. What is
Dans les Arbres about? ‘Phosphorescence’ is my first meeting with this group. Listening to their
album it becomes clear they built their pieces with a focus on sound and colour, timbre and detail.
They abstract from rhythm and melody. Sometimes I felt inclined to call a piece or passage
strongly narrative. But what do I mean by ‘narrative’? It is when the music progresses in a way
‘as if’ it is telling a story. Also it ‘sounds’ as if it is composed music, instead of improvised, as
it is non-dramatic in a way. But probably it is the other way around. Anyway I sense a strong
communication and coherence in this gentle music that is built from small gestures and short
sequences. To others it may appear as a hazardous sequence of sounds, but if you go into it an
amazing world unfolds. (DM)
––– Address:  http://hubromusic.com/



ARCHER/MWAMBA/BENNETT/FAIRCLOUGH -SUNSHINE! QUARTET (CD by Discus Music)
ARCHER/CLARK/GRE/HUNTER – FELICITY’S ULTIMATUM (CD by Discus Music)

Here we have two new releases by ensembles from the productive Sheffield-based Discus-
collective. This time we are talking of two quartets, that both have Discus Music-boss Martin
Archer as a member. And both are first releases in a new series of small groups drawn from
members of the Discus Music family. The concept is for the group to meet, write, rehearse and
record in one single session”. Both albums were recorded by David Watts in October 2016 at
Chairworks, Castleford, and have a nice painting by Gonzalo Fuentes on the front cover. First the
The Sunshine! Quartet, which is Corey Mwamba (vibraphone), Seth Bennett (double bass), Peter
Fairclough (drums) and Archer playing alto and soprano saxophones. Each of the players wrote a
composition for this 4-track release. Virtuoso and jazzy playing by all four of them, that is okay. I
especially enjoyed the spirited solos by Archer. But the compositions stay too much within
conventional well-known borders, and are not very original or surprising. Also I missed a clear
focus and sense of urgency.
    So let us turn to ‘Felicity’s Ultimatum’, that has Graham Clark on violin, Stephen Grew on
piano, Johnny Hunter playing drums and Archer on alto, sopranino and baritone saxophones.
This CD consists of 10 pieces, most of them composed by Archer; two by Hunter and one by
violinist Clark. The opening composition by Archer starts in a very stereotype manner, and
becomes more interesting when they start to improvise and violinist Clark takes part. Also the
other compositions by Archer were a bit too stereotype for my tastes concerning the composed
elements, but they make a fruitful contrast with the free improvised sections that are very
spirited and enthusiastic, full of interesting details and gestures. Both compositions by Hunter I
liked more, because of their rhythmic complexity and again Clark’s ironic violin playing in ‘Bessie’s
Green’. The longest track on the album is a collective improvisation, ‘Masayo’s Experiment’ and
has them on their hottest. Chapeau for both ad hoc ensembles, realizing that everything came
into being in such a short time. (DM)
––– Address: http://discus-music.co.uk/



FLORIAN WITTENBURG — DON'T PUSH THE PIANO AROUND (CD by MurNichtNur)
YUMIKO TANAKA - MUSIC PERFORMANCE (DVD by Ftarri)

Last week I wrote about a CD by Jeff Ozdemir and how much I don't know about the world of
pop music, and this week I could say something similar about the new CD by Florian Wittenburg.
He's from the very same sunny city as this rag, and yet I never see him around. Maybe he is
moving in different musical circles? Which, judging by the musical content of his latest release,
he surely is. This is his sixth release and like the previous, 'Eagle Prayer' (see Vital Weekly 1040)
the piano plays an all-important role. More and more Wittenburg moves away from working with
computer manipulated acoustic sounds towards writing down notes and have them played.
These days he is a student of local piano player Sebastiaan Oosthout, who liked the compositions
of Wittenburg to such an extent that he wanted to perform these himself and on this seventy-
minute CD we find thirteen of these piano compositions. In one of them Wittenburg ads
electronics and in another Oosthout is whistling. There is a booklet of information but it seems
all a bit too technical for me. And so that's about all that I know about this album. But what
about the music you ask? The music is very good, but in terms of say the development of
classical piano music since the time of say WA Mozart to, well, Wittenburg and where the latter
stands in that tradition, I have no idea. More Satie than Mozart I would think, with mostly
contemplative tunes, quiet and introspective with much space between the notes. Excellent
music for a quiet day.
    And although I don't like lumping things together, I can safely add this to Florian Wittenburg,
and not because this is more classical music, but this is also something that my knowledge is very
much lacking. At first I thought: a great idea from Ftarri to release a DVD so we can see someone
performing improvised music, which is the kind of music Ftarri is known for, and sure enough the
bonus material is all about that. Here we see Yumiko Tanaka play the futozao shamisen (string
instrument) along with people like Keiji Haino, Seiichi Yamamoto, Kazuhisa Uchihashi and solo, in
five interesting interactions and ranging from very abstract to a more conventional approach and
solo also using an electric taishogoto, which all sounded quite varied. The main portion of the
disc however is a theatre performance of live music, pre-recorded music, choreographed dance,
costumes, props and what else. All of this very much in the rich Japanese tradition, but it is
something I absolutely have no knowledge of whatsoever. I watch this and hear some interesting
musical bits, noise at times, but also some sounds, which surely have a relation to the content,
but if there is a story at all (not that such a thing should be necessary, of course), it sort of
eluded me. I surely watch this with some fascination, and surely interest, but who am I to judge
this? I simply think this is too much outside our comfort zone. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.nurnichtnur.com



KAZUYA MATSUMOTO - OCHIRU CHIRU MICHIRU (CD by Spekk)

Now with the summer in full swing, doors and windows are open 24/7, to get a bit of air inside
and while the VW HQ does not have a garden, but just a balcony, I could install some chimes,
providing I would not think this to be very distracting while reviewing new music. I would certainly
think of them as interfering with my intake of new music, and yet maybe it would make something
as the new CD by Kazuya Matsumoto a bit different. The title means 'drop scatter full' in Japanese
and percussionist Matsumoto went to a limestone cave and placed some glockenspiel beneath the
dripping of the water. Otherwise he has no interference with the music; it's what he calls a 'nature
orchestra'. It is his second CD, following 'Mizu No Katachi' (see Vital Weekly 1014), which I enjoyed
but it seemed also that Matsumoto is mainly interested in the quieter end of the sound spectrum.
That is something that is also happening on this new release, which is not a bad thing of course,
but it makes all of this perhaps also a bit too similar to the previous one. Of course we can set up
sound devices in hollow spaces and have water leaking on them, and repeat that ad infinitum. As I
was reading a book in the meantime, I enjoyed what I at first thought to be the work of a
percussion player under a leaky roof, and when I realize it wasn't, I still had a great time with this
ambient soundtrack. In fact, so I was thinking, why limit to exactly one hour? Why go for a five-
hour version and release it as a sound file on a DVD, or eight hours on a SD card? Go wild and do
something out of the ordinary! (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.spekk.net



DANE ROUSAY - ANATOMIZE (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
MASSIMO MAGEE & JAMES L. MALONE - THE LIMITS OF THE POSSIBLE (CDR by Kendra
  Steiner Editions)
ONIN - ERRERY (CDR by Verz Imprint)

Two discs of improvised music, and in the first case it is a solo outing for Dane Rousay, of whom
I never heard before. He has only one tape out so far and now this eight track release of improvised
percussion music, with the voice help of Svetlana Zwetkof on two pieces and an iPhone on another,
bleeping some alarm tunes. I must admit I didn't like that very much, but the other pieces sounded
very good. In his approach of the percussion kit he likes certainly a minimal approach and he also
likes that we can recognize the drum kit as such. I am not sure if he uses different elements, or
objects to be played on the kit, maybe he does (in 'Tissue' for instance), and Rousay manages to
make it all sound like it is layered, from time to time, and perhaps it is not; it is hard to say whether
this is all 'live' or not. The addition of vocals to two pieces is nice, but not more than that. I would
have been equally happy without them. Like always I am not too sure why a solo disc of improvised
music is released, but as always I see them as a calling card and as such I would say that Dane
Rousay is a most promising player and if you are anywhere near him, set up a duet or whatever
and let's play!
    A duo is the second release with James L. Malone on electric guitar and Massimo Magee on
'alto and sopranino saxophones (electro-acoustic and otherwise)'; the latter I heard before from
his releases on the same label and I don't think I heard of Malone before. They have here two
lengthy pieces of some heavy weight improvised music. While some of Magee's solo work is pretty
noise based and this too isn't the quietest of releases, the whole thing is quite balanced. Magee
provides some very radical playing here, with his saxophones wailing off into the world of feedback
and sine wave like sounds, while the guitar is mostly working it's distorted ways, but Malone likes
an occasional strum from time to time, so that we don't forget this is a guitar. This isn't easy
music, especially when the volume goes up and many high-pitched saxophones penetrate your
ears, along with the guitar in an all distortion modus, and perhaps this is all quite demanding. If
you want sit back and relax then this is probably not the one you should be reaching for. Having
said that, I think this contains some wonderful music.
    And believe it or not, the very next day I got a CDR by Onin, which turns out to be one Joe
Wright on saxophone and dynamic feedback and James L Malone on guitar. That surely is an
interesting coincidence, I'd say. Maybe Malone loves to work with saxophone players? Or perhaps
that's just another coincidence? In either case this disc too is very much along similar lines as
the one he did with Magee, even when, choosing a band name here, this might be something that
will be an on going matter for some time to come. Here too the saxophone is not always
recognizable as such, much again to my delight and whatever dynamic feedback is, it surely is
found in the high end of the sound spectrum. The guitar is also in a distortion modus, but more
so than on the other one, Malone plays it very freely, with objects on the strings and the whole
thing seems even more abstract than the other one. None of this, and that goes for the other
one as well, is easy listening music; this is something that needs your undivided attention, as
otherwise I can imagine this will irritate you; once you open up to some of its nastiness you'll
realize that this is all powerful improvisation music of a more heavy weight nature. (FdW)
––– Address: https://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com/
––– Address: https://verzimprint.wordpress.com/



TROY SCHAFER - UNTITLED NO. 5 (cassette by Tree Tapes)

To be honest, sometimes I don't understand people. Why is there, for instance, no proper
information with this release? All it says on the bandcamp site (and printed on a piece of paper
that came along with this cassette): "Bret Hartl performed auxiliary synth on segments of track
1", "released on 20 cassettes with mirrored B side via Tree Tapes" and as for tags "experimental
electronic musique concrete neoclassical noise sound soundscape tape collage Madison", so
that's the extent of the information for this. On Discogs I see that Schafer is also a member of
"Compass Hour, Devotion, Kinit Her, Oh! The Infamy, Rain Drinkers, Second Family Band, Spiral
Joy Band, The World On Higher Downs, Wormsblood, Wreathes", and I reviewed some of his
music before, but still have very little idea about what he does. I reviewed some of his work
before (see Vital Weekly 916 and 946) and I know he creates collages of sound, which is what
he does on these tracks as well. The first track (both are untitled, as if that was a surprise) is a
bit of crude collage of found sound and stabs on what could be a synth of some kind. There is
a level of distortion in this piece, which makes this all quite noisy, even when the volume drops.
I would think that this is the result of some randomized tape play. Of more interest was the
second track in which there is just a piano and very mild treatments, which had a very modern
classical feel going on and with some of that processing I was thinking of some old Nurse With
Wound, albeit with no singing here. Do a bit more of this, and little less of that; and try to be a
bit more informative next time! (FdW)
––– Address: https://troyallenschafer.bandcamp.com/



CHRISTINE WEBSTER - DIARY #1 (USB, private)

I do like USB releases, for various reasons, and this one too. Except that the presentation, two
A4 print out pieces of paper with absolutely no design (which is called 'booklet' on the sticker
stuck on the plastic bag), is not really the way to do it. Webster writes on her bandcamp "The
content of Diary #1 is a selection of 12 patches/compositions carefully sorted among hours of
recordings produced during 2015. They came out from the everyday exercising, following my
mood on the creative path. All the tracks are one takes, composed and performed in real time
on my modular synth mixed with the Doepfer A 138, and recorded on Protools. No additional
DAW mixing or editing. High resolution audio files 48/24." There are twelve of these on this USB
thingy, plus one long live recording at Qwartz #10 (2015) and 'Chutes, a x32 sound collection
playable on Live or Max, created for the digitaliiis.com 3+2 Phonique playground'. I can be brief
about the latter: I have no idea how to work those. Which leaves me with the music as is. Each of
the pieces is described in terms of modules used and true gear freaks can lust over those. A friend
of mine said a while ago: "I see so many sharing short video clips of their modular synthesizer set-
ups, which look impressive, yet very few go beyond a 'bleep bleep' sound", which is actually a
concern I share. Christine Webster, about whom I know not a lot does a bit more than that, has
very much her own style when it comes to using modular electronics and twelve pieces actually
sound quite alright. There is a bit drone like music, a bit modern electronics and a bit like techno,
but without much 4/4 rhythms banging around, and perhaps also a bit of cosmic music influence.
None of these pieces sound like 'bleep bleep' on an expensive module. On the live recording
everything is spaced out a bit more of course and Webster takes more time to develop her
sounds, and in the process she looses a bit of the playfulness of the shorter pieces. That is a
pity, as it becomes a more regular piece of drone music, with a bit of broken up sounds towards
the end. Not bad this one, but not so special. I think I prefer the shorter approach, in which she
makes a few decisions and takes it from there to execute a more rounded experiment. (FdW)
––– Address: https://christinewebster.bandcamp.com/album/diary-1


 



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