number 1101
week 41


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MACHINEFABRIEK - BECOMING (CD by Machinefabriek) *
NAD SPIRO - SIRIUS SIGNALS (CD by Farpoint Recordings) *
JUXTAPOSITION (CD by Nakama Records) *
  Wave Of Jazz) *
DAVID MARANHA - CAI BEM (LP by Tanuki Records)
SUBSTITUTION PRODUCT (CDR by Visceral Circuitry) *
FEBRA - FURT PRIETENESC (cassette by Amek Collective)
PSYCHOTROPES (cassette compilation by Continuum Records)
STEFFEN ROTH - KALBE/MILDE (cassette by Anaott) *
  (Double cassette on Silken Tofu / Idiosyncratics)
BOKOM/GORDOA & ZAPPAROLI (split cassette by Spina! rec)
INVISIBLE RALF - AARBLOM (download by Melusine Records) *


There are two versions of ‘Becoming’, one is the CD version, which is the ‘official’ version and one is the
premiere live version, which lasts about seven minutes longer. This is music for the dance performance
by Ivan Perez. The score, so the cover tells me ‘is partly improvised, a real time dialogue between the
dancers and the music that’s different in each performance. The version on this CD is edited from
recordings made during the final rehearsals’, all in the Netherlands, but the premiere was in Italy and
of course not something I saw. So the music comes as it is, without seeing any movements or dancers,
and I can merely judge as a piece of music by itself. It contains some of the more well-known
Machinefabriek sound textures, for instance in the opening and closing minutes, the sound of sustaining
ambient guitar sounds that is, but it contains also a few surprises. Or perhaps the use of dynamics is
something we see him do more and more these days and maybe less of a surprise? The other thing is
the repeating keyboard-like sounds, little arpeggios’ sparking somewhere in the middle of this,
sounding very cosmic, which reminded me of the soundtrack Rutger Zuydervelt, the man-machine, did
for a computer game ‘Astroneer’ (see Vital Weekly 1062), and which is something quite new to his
work. From the gentle sounds it all works up towards the heavy block of electro-acoustic noise, like the
ones I heard on ‘Concrete Scores’ (see Vital Weekly 1094); Machinefabriek uses more and more a wider
spectrum of sounds, which gives his music a great variety to use. If you play the live version right after
this, you’ll notice the elements that are recurring but also which parts are freely to be filled in.
Throughout the live recording is a bit less balanced and seems noisier throughout, having more power,
I guess. But if I must be honest I preferred the more balanced version that is on the CD; it is the
difference in dynamics and the variety of sounds that did the trick for me. (FdW)
––– Address:


Soundmapping and soundscaping by soundwalking deluxe is what artist duo Astrid & Ephraim Wegner
present with their aural project between CD, print and installation for the city of Göppingen, Germany.
Their sound is most surely presented as music(al), as the hour long duration of the respective parts of
recorded sound walks acts as a frame, not in the least part time-wise. Therewith the artists (re-)affirm
the time based nature which is inherent in music and sets it apart from sound art which has markedly
lesser concerns with time, if any at all.
    Musical soundscaping in soundwalks has been brought to famous levels through the works of for
example Hildegard Westerkamp and R. Murray Schafer and of course we have the environmental
pieces by BJ Nilsen (urban), Chris Watson and Jana Winderen (natural, wildlife) and Jacob Kirkegaard
(post-human, infrasonic, natural phenomena).
    The Wegners work in the urban landscape of the city center of Göppingen. The pair uses the flâneur
motif to work through town and be perceptive of the interweaving narratives of actual acute events and
memories. Past and present brought together with a keen ear towards what's to happen in the next
split second. Like Westerkamp's practice, the Wegners planned their routes through trial and error
with attention to the timing of the walks. Only then they followed the plotted route and recorded it.
This – of course – brings about another level of past and present and hoped for actuality. As in: the
flâneur aspect is pretty much so acute it cannot be reproduced in the same way repeatedly. The world
around the flâneur changes, even with her or him going through that (aural) world. Plotting a route in
a chaotic never static ever-changing sonic center of town means one can only hope to keep so much
untouched and remnant in time and place. And the whole flâneur seems to be halted in a way; how can
you be a flâneur with planning?
    But, and there we have the Wegner's idea of their work... This is music. This is not mapping and
recording for posterity or for art's sake in the guise of sound art. This is music. So they thought to need
not only time frame, but also reflection, experimentation, trial and error, composition and notation.
And therewith also: planned and mapped out motifs such as car noises or bird chatter and song. Where
John Cage is thought to have been sitting in an opened window in his apartment, smiling brightly whilst
hearing the urban noises from the New York streets below as a “symphony”... the Wegners force their
symphony upon the aural landscape and wrest it from the actual soundscape in Göppingen. In doing
so, one might say, the pair activates the city center into acting like an orchestra; their piece a work for
three voices (= soundwalks).
    Now that the Wegners have tried to write music upon and from the city soundscape, the planning
can be seen as rehearsal. The installation in which simultaneous playback of the three 'voices'
produces the whole symphonic work is only part of the piece. Throughout the city miniatures are
presented as snap shots to heighten aural awareness by pin pointing sonic event in actual eventualities
and contingency between their recorded material and the soundscape present at hand for the listening
visitor to that location. The walk therewith turns into a movement between noise and virtuosity,
serendipity and concentrated action. Hearing the city is activated towards and at best: into listening.
    Plus: the recordings were made at different times of day. In the installation these are places in
simultaneous playback. This naturally chances their anchoring in time, apart from the obvious
displacement of the sounds. And outside of the white cube Kunsthalle the location of the miniatures
may remain fixed to the original place of recording, but time wise the displacement is most very likely
complete. While the recordings themselves are carefully planned and composed and presented
unaltered as-is, this rupture in time (and place) makes for a jarring disconnect between sound and
juxtapositions, connection, network. Concrete aural landscaping therefore is turned into quite an
abstract sonic act. An act too which strives to enable the listener to engage actively by acting out the
piece not only in the city center, but also in the installation as the walk through the three channel
presentation is open for one's own movement; yet another layer of contingency built into the
composition – this work as a music of changes, music of chances thus, indeterminate.
    A further and very important aspect of the work lies in the presentation of the recordings out of
Göppingen; away from the streets, apart from the installation. On the cd we have a mix down of the
installation and original source recordings. It seems a bit scatter shot, hard to follow, not at all through
composed and dramatic like with Watson or Nilsen. Playback upon playback you pick up on different
aspects. Moving between the speakers sounds seem to follow your gait as if your stepping through a
soundscape cut from one part of the world, jettisoned into another. Only fragmentary. Also and above
all in time. And immediately hearing the recordings actives listening. This listening therewith being
also the compositional tool for the end-user. This recording then, together with the stunning
presentation of the piece with graphic representations and photographs, can be seen and even more
so: heard as an acoustic map for an ever-changing aural world. In Göppingen as much as anyplace.
ield study material as much as thought and ear provoking music. (SSK)
––– Address:

NAD SPIRO - SIRIUS SIGNALS (CD by Farpoint Recordings)

Rosa Arruti works since 2000, as Nad Spiro and every now and then there is something to be reviewed
by her, but it is so far not a big catalogue (see for previous reviews Vital Weekly 247, 351, 577, 833 and
991). Radio signals, processed as well as pure, seem to have a strong interest on her. Her latest CD by
Irish Farpoint Recordings is a sort of catalogue of her residency at the old Royal Cork Yacht Club/Sirius
Art Centre in Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland. Overlooking the harbour, sitting in her room, she creates music
that tells the story of the place, the harbour, the weather conditions (as read by meteorologist Gerald
Flemming), the history of the place, through an excellent web of electronics, effects, a bit of processed
guitar and even a 1913 recording of Nellie Melva singing a song by Debussy. Of course the music is
somewhat abstract, but not entirely. Sometimes a bass sound pops up, a few tones on a synth and it
sounds almost, well just almost, like the start of a song, which makes this a most curious mix between
sound art and electronic song material; sometimes it reminded me of the start of a Pan Sonic piece. It’s
not that once something is started it stays like that during the piece, but Nad Spiro allows breaks to
happen, and works with something of a built-up, in a more traditional sense of the word. The voice
material, mostly spoken word, but also whispered and sung, calls for a more radio phonic piece and it
works as such really well. You could see this as six separate pieces or as one thirty-five minute work
that happens to be in six parts. Seeing how all of this is connected with words, images and sources, I
would think it is that ‘one piece approach’ that I think it is. It is not that you have a clear picture of this
place she worked in, far from it, but it is more a poetic interpretation of this place and as such this is
wonderful release, packed in an oversized cardboard sleeve. I’d think this is probably Nad Spiro’s
most refined work to date. (FdW)
––– Address:

JUXTAPOSITION (CD by Nakama Records)

The word Juxtaposition, is a noun, meaning: “1) an act or instance of placing close together or side by
side, especially for comparison or contrast. 2) The state of being close together or side by side.” It is
also a group of four improvisers from Norway with Agnes Hvizdalek (voice), Magnus Skavhaug Nergaard
(electric bass, electronics, field recordings), Utku Tavil (snare drum, no-input mixer) and Natali
Abrahamsen Garner (voice, electronics). The idea was to have bunch of extremely different players
getting together and that in “the mixing process a crucial role would deliver a concrete body of
equalitarian sonic input”. I was very much in doubt whether this should be something to be reviewed
by our jazz/improv expert Dolf Mulder or not. I think, but I am not sure, he would surely have some
trouble with some of the volume of their playing. That is the best that I found quite appealing. The
improvisations are mostly with acoustic instruments but amplified to quite an extent, going straight
into noise land; well, and that might be less appealing to mister Mulder. But he might enjoy some of
the voice improvisations that are also part of this, especially in the quieter moments of this. I wasn’t
blown away by that I must admit. The wordless ranting and rambling sounds to me... I don’t know...
easy? Childlike? Naive? In the title piece it was not bad but with ‘Pakistansk Mango’ I had a hard time.
So there is a bit of the dilemma I had with this release, which I decided to tie into the review and do it
myself. Don’t get me wrong: for the most part I enjoyed this release very much; the sheer aggression
and volume of it all was a thrilling experience. Some of the vocalizations could have been left behind
in my humble opinion. (FdW)
––– Address:


Mark van Hoen and Mike Harding are back. And now on the silver disc. Mappa Mundi follows two LP
releases on Pomperipossa. The duo – once again – takes the listener on a journey; rustling, bustling
and hurtling through a world of modular synth, field recordings and shortwave radio fragments.
    Mappa Mundi excavates lines and traces, marks made upon the world – the drawn map of aural
energies and destinations, seas and clouds of myriads of sounds from exploration in sheer wonder.
This sonic act is as much descriptive as it is affirmative, in: by the very fact of it’s recording, this
mapping of the aural landscape comes into being in the first (but most definitely not the last) place.
    Van Hoen and Harding therewith inform by pointing out details and idiosyncrasies and, at the
same time, codify and enhance, deepen and structure the experience of soundscaping as map making.
One could follow their cues and traces, lines and trajectories to plot travels through sound. That is to
say: drøne opens the aural appreciation of the world surrounding us all towards a vista upon noise
beyond chaos, beyond dichotomies, beyond simplicities by celebrating inherent chaos, embracing
wholeheartedly experimental trial and error and juxtaposing of sign, signifier and signified and
changing respective relations.
    Although we're presented with 'a map', there is no static 'as is'. The temporal status of the drawn
line as a status for the time being is signed off on by the per se time based nature of music as art. The
perception of time as a major factor in the mental and physical appreciation of aural environments is
underlined and emboldened by drøne, time and time again, layer upon layer, fragment following
fragment. Mappa Mundi affirms as much of aural knowledge as it points to what's not known; the
here-be-monsters part – the convergence and divergence therewith of and between the known and
the uncertain, while the clock ticks on and on or does it? (SSK)
––– Address:


As I wasn’t sure what VSM as an acronym stands for, I looked it up and wiki tells me: “The viable system
model (VSM) is a model of the organisational structure of any autonomous system capable of producing
itself. A viable system is any system organised in such a way as to meet the demands of surviving in the
changing environment. One of the prime features of systems that survive is that they are adaptable.
The VSM expresses a model for a viable system, which is an abstracted cybernetic (regulation theory)
description that is applicable to any organisation that is a viable system and capable of autonomy”.
Which made me think whether the music from Keith Berry on a CD also called ‘Viable Systems’ should
be seen as something that can create itself, i.e. without too much involvement of the composer. Berry is
the driving force behind the label, which will mainly focus on releasing his own work. So far we know
Berry mainly from his heavily processed field recording based works but in his two recent releases (see
Vital Weekly 1073 and 1094) there was a shift to be noted towards the use of synthesizers, creating
ambient works that were a bit lighter in tone than his previous work and that is something that he is
now using full force. In each of the thirteen pieces on this release there is a lovely slow arpeggio sound
to be noted; repeated tinkles or chords or a combination of both. Each piece seems like a system by
itself, perhaps I am distracted by the label’s name, and it is now always clear how much of this sees
Berry playing it himself or if the machines are on some automatic pilot. Not that it really matters of
course; as always I am interested in the result, and that result is great. Maybe seventy-four minutes is
a bit long for all of this, as he got his point across pretty much after eight pieces, but I am sure this is
not about getting points across, but to play some highly atmospheric music for quite an amount of time
and transport the listener to an altered state of consciousness (always a bit difficult when you try to
concentrate on writing a review), and as such it also isn’t that important that the compositional model
of some of these pieces is very alike, and also the way sounds are used. It all has to do with the overall
piece, all thirteen pieces together and as such I think Berry delivered a great release. (FdW)
––– Address:

  Wave Of Jazz) *

This week I had this strange vision of ‘free jazz and improvisation is where the money is’, after sending
our compadre senor Mulder a whole bundle of music from ActuelleCD, WideEar, Innova and one from
New Wave Of Jazz. Maybe up to 10 or 11 CDs (so allow some patience before reading about them; and
yes, no doubt musicians of this kind of music will disagree with my remark about money), but not after
checking the content myself, as surely in the case of New Wave Of Jazz, I see the involvement of Dirk
Serries, someone whose work I heard over thirty years ago for the first time, and while I wouldn’t call
myself a fan I followed his work with interest. First as Vidna Obmana, going from a bit of noise to
ambient with lots of synthesizers, then as Fears Falls Burning, lots of ambient with a guitar,
Microphonies, ditto, and I already picked up the rumour he’s now (also) into very freely improvised
music, and this is actually the first time I get to hear too. Well, not entirely the first, as the group effort
he’s also send is way more Dolf’s thing and I heard that too, and I thought this would be along similar
lines, but I kept listening here and decided to share my (re) view of it. Serries plays here acoustic guitar
and Martina Verhoeven plays piano. She is Dirk’s wife and best known for her photography on the cover
of many of Serries’ releases, but also on Discogs listed as a bass-player; and piano apparently; for both
Serries on acoustic guitar and Verhoeven on the piano it is the first time. On April 9th, 2017, they
recorded the five parts of ‘Innocent As Virgin Wood’ together, and I understand the title as homage to
the wood of both instruments. They don’t sound, i.e. are virgin, if you don’t play them and are thus
innocent, but of course they are no longer innocent.
    I do review a bit of improvised music, perhaps not often of the kind of blearing saxophones and wild
banging on piano’s, but more of the kind that is presented by Serries and Verhoeven here. This is very
quiet and thoughtful music, almost impressionistic, with sparse tones hanging freely in the air. Quiet,
however, doesn’t equal silence here; there is always something to hear, but Verhoeven and Serries have
an excellent control over their instruments (no doubt there have been some playing before the actual
recording started to get some feeling for the instruments) to make it held back, controlled and full of
tension and interaction between both players. It never becomes hectic or chaotic, but throughout it
remains this level of minimalism, even in those sparse moments things go up a bit in volume, or a few
more notes are played. This is all very intimate music and exactly the kind of free improvised music I
enjoy very much.
    Along these lines of quiet and minimal improvisation is the LP by Magnus Granberg, who was a
long time ago a member of Sheriff (see Vital Weekly 299) and whose name later popped up in other
configurations of an improvised nature. Here he has piece of music of which he is the composer and
also playing the prepared piano part. The three other players are Cyril Bondi (percussions, harmonicas),
D’incise (electronics, objects, harmonicas; together with Bondi they form the duo Diatribes) and Anna
Lindal (violin). “« Nattens skogar » is a piece of evoluting materials, fragments, of melodies, of multiple
pulses, of tones and soft noises, in a seemingly perfect balance, with this inimitable melancholic touch
and sense of endless time we often find in Granberg’s work”, it says as information and the rather free
form playing of objects (short tones), harmonicas (long tones) and these crossing over to each other.
This is, I’d say, one piece that stretches out over the two sides of the record. There is no story as such,
so you can start with ‘2’ and continue with ‘1’ if you want something else for a change. “It borrows its
title, “Nattens skogar”, from the Swedish translation of Djuna Barnes’s novel ”Nightwood” and it is quite
obviously a pun, referring to the use of nocturnal musics as a source material for the piece”. Some of the
tones this quartet sends out reminded me of wind chimes. The sound is totally acoustic but you could
be fooled at times, I guess. There is a total refinement in this, leaping from sounds one perfectly
recognizes as, say, a piano or violin, to the more abstract approaches of the harmonicas and objects;
whatever these objects may be. This quartet may work along the lines of a score prepared by Granberg,
but I expect this not be anything else than a few worded instructions or a single sheet of paper with a
few lines, arrows and dots; not to sound negative but to indicate how these things sometimes work.
The fine-line between what is composed exactly and why is it perhaps different from improvisation is
of course highly debatable, and it doesn’t really matter as far as I am concerned. Both Verhoeven/
Serries and Magnus Granberg offer food for thought in that respect, but maybe not try to think too
much about it and simply enjoy the result. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:

DAVID MARANHA - CAI BEM (LP by Tanuki Records)

For the first time Tanuki Records from Brussels release a full length LP and for this they have one or
two new pieces by David Maranha; it depends if you think of a record as two sides of one piece split in
two. With this one it is no doubt the latter. He’s best known as an organ player with some exciting loud
minimal music, but I first heard him with the more delicate Portuguese group Osso Exotico. For this
new album Maranha takes note of Gavin Bryars who said it is good to refresh what you are doing and
go back to the beginning, and switch roles. So the organ player Maranha plays drums here, Margarida
Garcia organ (normally bass), Manuel Mota on bass (guitar) and Miguel Abras on ‘multi-track magnetic
cassette tape deck, voice and shruti box’ (I have no idea what his usual instrument is). I gather they
convened together and tape was switched on and they started playing, on in a single day (but perhaps
not in a single session). Maranha later spend a few days in mixing this material. There is throughout a
sort of drone thing going on, maybe on the large stabs of the organ, whereas the other instruments,
bass and drums foremost, are in a free improvised music, going about, whereas the role of Abras is f
reer than that; he provides some of the weirdo sounds (high pitched, slowed down voices) that float as
in free space through these two sides. The drums sound a bit far away and I am not sure if that is an
intentional decision from Maranha or not. The mood is quite dark and obscured; like rolling thunder
sounded in the distance at night. It is also a bit noisy I guess with that piercing tone lingering on
somewhere, and it made me wonder if noise is the original background of Maranha. If so, I didn’t know.
This is not really music to aim and please, I think, but something of a well-orchestrated nightmare.
Like musicians, music lovers should also be willing to refresh and rethink and embrace something
new. This is good place to do that if you want to hear Maranha doing something out of the ordinary
and yet fitting perfectly. (FdW)
––– Address:


Available also on LP and CDR this is a new work by Andrea Gastaldello, also known as Mingle, who had
a previous release on Kvitnu in 2015 (see Vital Weekly 993) and who works with Deison (see Vital
Weekly 1079, but also on other occasion). Since 1995 he is active with the production of electronic
music, first doing just electro/dance music, but as Mingle he is more interested in something more
minimal and abstract, but it keep revolving around beats, which is probably right up Kvitnu’s alley. I
usually mention Pan Sonic when reviewing music on Kvitnu, but for this new release by Mingle that is
perhaps not really possible. Before perhaps it was, but the eight pieces on this new release are not as
fierce and stark rhythmically oriented as before and emphasizes now more on the moods and textures,
all of course within the rhythmic structures of the machines. These beats are not really stomping a 4/4/
time measure and so the music is not very much aimed towards the dance floor, I think. The moody
synthesizer washes have quite a dramatic impact and the beats are a bit more complex. This music
sounds more like it has been aimed at film soundtracks or documentaries I think. The title track sounds
like insects are eating the insides of an animal and the mid tempo rhythm is perfect to tell a story about
the habitat of these animals. While Kvitnu talks about ‘static minimalism, aggressive landscapes’, I see
more in what they also call ‘an introspective and melancholic journey; refined harmonies and disturbing
rhythms’; the latter maybe in ‘Dusty’, but I believe not much in the other pieces. I thought all of this was
quite a remarkable leap forward; the music became more complex, spacious and it worked very well as
a whole. This should open new doors for Mingle. (FdW)
––– Address:


Good times happen fast. A motto one might be inclined to but on a little tile. As one does. With
inspirational quotes. Mostly it's just bogus. Hot air – much ado about nothing one couldn't have
figured out oneself or just plain nonsense. However, sometimes, something does ring true. ‘Merkteken’
was recorded less than a week ago. And thanks to the brilliance of the present age, the work has been
released already. How's that for a speedy delivery?
Speed is not of the essence normally associated with Frans de Waard's Freiband project. We're thinking
more of slightly glitchy warm ambiences dipping a toe in the pond of glistening yet granular electronics.
Pop music as in: music built from popping sounds. And maybe, one day, popular too, who can tell? So,
mostly it's all quiet on the Freiband front. No rush. Slow dives into sheer weaves of layer upon layer of
shimmering light noises.
The late Gerard Reve, one of the huge literary forces from The Netherlands, had one of his most famous
protagonists exclaim: “It did not go by unnoticed”. Alas, that was a life motto worthy of some lengthy
contemplation. Not the big works, the monumental statement, the major shift and dramatic revolutions
then. But, on quite the other hand... the not unnoticed. The mark made. The sign surviving. Somehow
Freiband's music at large merges quite neatly with this statement. Not out of a sense of undeserving,
but because it eases itself out of the doldrums of everyday existence, just making the notable difference.
Making that difference, in the first place. By being the alternative, presenting it and pressing upon this
a wholly personal stamp. Like a Merkteken. A stamp, sign, mark.
Following one long half hour track of quiet hums en scraping metal like noise in slow motion like a
gentle caress, Merkteken jacks things up a bit. The following track reaches for the upper regions of
spiked noise spectra; like a crashing thunderstorm from afar closing in, but leaving only the electrical
hyper charged currents to be heard. In the following ever shortening miniatures of compositions high
frequency sinus drone is placed in juxtaposition with fieldrecording-like sounds of subterranean
rumbles (or waves crashing on a beach). And we the further we get into the album, the farther from
home we seem to drift. Clouds part and brings light – flights of fancy lift us into the air on a journey
over pastures filled with jagged edges and rugged relief. And Freiband manages to infuse the whole
of the work with momentum and forward driving impulse. Never rushed, mind you, the movement
propels breathable air into noisy ambiences, which – in another man's hands – could easily have
been transformed into electro-acoustic assaults or oppressive dark ambient reverb doom.
Merkteken was made out of two long field recordings. Frans – Freiband – De Waard constructed his
work using this input by manipulating and transforming large chunks of the source materials, not
focusing on details. These 'action composing' treatments were then mixed down and following not too
many further twists, turns and alterations the stereo mix was finished within two days. And it's exactly
this fast slight of hand, this touch of the instance of inspiration and performance in and of itself which
connects Freiband's method to the mark making we perhaps know from the visual arts, like in the
work of not only Jackson Pollock, but also Franz Kline or Pierre Soulages and Hans Hartung. This
kinetic energy with the eye on the prize of the large scope, the whole, the toto puts the small fragments,
the parts and elements, the pars into surprising constellations and unexpected clashes. Still, when all
is said and done the speed of this (hyper) action is cut out of the equation and we end up with a sfumato
ambient work for noise and drone which oozes depth of musical freedom through calm, cool and
collected control. (SSK)
––– Address:


It’s been only a few month since I reviewed ‘Shelter’ by Bert Vanden Berghe’s project Brunk, which was
after a long time of silence; three of his previous releases have been reviewed in Vital Weekly 877, 880
and 883, even when they were all three under different guises, one of which was Brunk. Seeing that
now releases another CDR as Brunk might imply that name is to stay for a while. As on the previous he
plays guitar, field recordings and sound effects and works towards an ambient, drone based soundscape.
Some of it sounded like Americana styled guitar picking which is also part of the five pieces of ‘It Will
Happen Anyway’. But more than on the previous release the guitar is the main instrument; it doesn’t
disappear in hiss and crackles as on the previous one. Also the mild noise influences are gone, which is
a pity, as what stays is the delay pedal that is a strong presence in each of these pieces. As much as I
enjoyed ‘Shelter’, I can’t feel the same enthusiasm for this new release. The delay pedal seems to be
stuck in one setting, the playing is a bit so-so (improvised surely, but it seems also that a little more
passion could have been injected), and other effects, such in ‘The Asterias Move’ are a bit of a cliché.
The variation that I found so attractive on ’Shelter’ is gone here. I liked the two shortest pieces best,
and wished there were more of these concise exercises and not the longer, somewhat unformed pieces.
Perhaps this is just not for me, I guess. (FdW)
––– Address:

SUBSTITUTION PRODUCT (CDR by Visceral Circuitry)

Releases by French Visceral Circuitry do not excel in great artwork. The slim line CDR jewel case is by
far the ugliest way to pack your release, more so with a cheap Xerox. Unless we should regarded this
as ‘punk rock’, which makes this brilliant? Substitution Product uses ‘common everyday life items and
tools’, using ‘basic 4-track software’, and mixed with Adobe Audition. “No effects were used, except
volume, equalizing, delete, silence. A part of the beats or sounds were resynchronized, in the more
‘complex’ moments mostly (sorry, I am not a machine). The loops weren’t artificially generated, the
repetitive parts were mechanically played by human”, it says on the cover, and the sounds were
recorded in an old grange, kitchen, garage and bathroom. Seven songs/pieces can be found on this
release, the shortest one and half minute, the longest three minutes and thirty-six seconds. These
pieces are quite rhythmic and Substitution Product overdubs his own playing of objects in what can
be seen as a sort of acoustic Test Dept or Neubauten, or even something more tribal-like, third world
music. It has a very fine naive quality all of this and after sixteen minutes one perfectly gets the gist of
this. (FdW)
––– Address:

FEBRA - FURT PRIETENESC (cassette by Amek Collective)

From Bucharest, Romania hails the duo of Febra (“featuring members of Environments”) and it’s the
first non-Bulgarian label on the Sofia, Bulgaria based label Amek. The two players here combine a real
drum kit with electronics and it’s all about the interaction between the two. It is all about music with a
rhythm, but there is not one particular genre that these boys find of interest. The long tape, maybe an
hour or so, sees them as easily bouncing around jazz, techno, noise, trip-hop or even a bit with very
slow rhythms that one could call drone, and you can easily mix up these words and make your own
hybrid forms of dance music, drone jazz or noise techno (well, that might actually not work on this
cassette). I think this is a lovely, even when I would love to see these boys in action. Their tunes are
smooth and minimal but melodic interests are not absent. Maybe at a point one could do with a bit
of a voice sample of a tweak of synth, just doing something out of the ordinary, to break the flow a bit.
Lovely stuff and perhaps quite surprising to see this released by Amek, whom we mostly know for
their more atmospheric approaches to the music they release. (FdW)
––– Address:

PSYCHOTROPES (cassette compilation by Continuum Records)

Ah! Compilation cassette! There was a time I loved them, as they taught me about many great bands
(Legendary Pink Dots, Pseudo Code, Merzbow) but in this day and age they are not really necessary, I
would think. Well, perhaps they are, as how else would one find bands and projects like Doa San Dosa,
Jeritan, Karnivulgar, Remon Red, Sarana, Sodadosa, Sooncrazy, To Die and Wahn? Just to mention nine
bands from Pscyhotropes, and they are all from Indonesia, a country not so well known for its noise
scene, but not entirely unknown either (but do check out Vital Weekly 1087!) and who are half the
bands on this compilation. The other half are all from New York and some names I recognized such
as Anthony Saunders, Bob Bellerue, Bloater, Hades Mining Co, Jahliliyya Fields, Jazzfakers, MV Carbon,
Swollen Organs and Theologian. These days there are enough ways to make your music public, and
maybe the medium of the compilation (in whatever format really) is no longer necessary. The music
on this compilation is quite noisy and loud, feedback, distortion, power electronics and pretty much
soon on the first side I lost count of what I was listening to, even the mood turn dark and somewhat
quieter, or called for a more rock noise approach, and I can’t say if that was ‘Hallucinations’ by
Jazzfakers or ‘Sengkrarut Luka’ by To Die. These days Bandcamp is of very helpful by identifying
pieces, but I couldn’t find one for this compilation. If the old-fashioned compilation cassette is still
your guide for exploring new names, then you surely have a great time with this. (FdW)
––– Address:

STEFFEN ROTH - KALBE/MILDE (cassette by Anaott)

Here we have the first release by German drummer Steffen Roth and his name I didn’t come across
before. The idea here is to ‘try to create something that is exclusively rooted in your inner self’ and
there are two sides to this, very much as there are two sides to this cassette. Both sides are quite
different. Let’s start on side two, entitled ‘Le Presente’, for a change. It opens up with some hectic
drumming and radio snippets of female voices reciting poetry. This hectic improvisation sets the
tones for this side, as everything here seems to be in all of the segments on this side. Roth uses the
entire kit, cymbals, hi-hats, toms and bass, but also use something is more apparent on the other side
of the tape and that is minimalism. But on the first side, called ‘Monodance’, the focus lies on the use
of various toms and Roth plays these in a minimal way. Stuck into a rhythm he slowly changes intensity
and thus the colour of a piece. It makes the four segments on this side (both last around twenty-three
minutes) quite coherent and also very good. The minimalist expansion of the rhythm, adding the bass
drum in the last, works very trance like and one wishes each of these segments would go for some
more, but played live by Roth because it’s the human control that makes the difference in this
piece. (FdW)
––– Address:

  (Double cassette on Silken Tofu / Idiosyncratics)

Just below the surface in a forest of unknown location in the Belgian countryside a staircase winds
down into a bunker-like structure. The swampy surroundings are swiftly forgotten upon entering.
Muddy track and shoe marks lead the way through dimly lit corridors, whilst the eye strain to focus
for lack of clear vision. Inside this yellow man-made grotto silver strobe light pulsates against the
steady glow of street light lanterns kidnapped from their roadside positions. Emerging from a massive
PA system that seems to project its sounds from every corner of the cavernous large hall industrial
noises of disease and unrest rip through the stale air. Bodies tense in jerky movements; chaos and
opposition flow in constant flux into and out of order and harmony. Next to a stack of speakers a
couple is engaged in intercourse. It looks like another person is trying to hold up the sky: Atlas-style.
A member of the shoegaze club stares intently downward, as if a spiral staircase to a further
netherworld is about to open – sinking in the midst of the concrete floor...
    Images like these are propagated throughout these two cassettes that make up National Crime
History: a quartet of four artists from Belgium, brought together and released by a joint effort between
the Silken Tofu and Idiosyncratics labels. Judging from Yannick Franck's distorted image on the cover,
one'd be forgiven for assuming the brace position for fear of massive impact from harsh noise wall or
power electronic mayhem. The 'New Belgian Industrial' movement however, turns out to be quite
    Building and crossing bridges between Belgian's very own style of EBM/industrial and other
contemporary electronic styles, washes of ambient and drone synths are cleverly distributed below
crisp industrial machine beats and otherworldly percussive rhythms. Pulses flow from the analog
realm and cozy ambient fuzziness is distorted beyond recognition pushing bouncy techno vibes right
into JG Ballard-territory of post-industrial mantras for today's throbbing vagrants.
    Here we have rhythmic industrial with a nervy uneasy touch taking cues from 80s, 90s and 00s
like a pumped up work out between mindfuck drone and wave-techno courtesy of Onrust. More minds
blown present themselves helplessly when Icon Template rolls across the tarpit dance-floor of the
dark side. Raw hypnotic vibes draw jagged edges like a raging strobe coming at you full force: blinding,
    Orphan Swords (featuring Yannick Franck) takes on industrial soundscaping head first and bobs
and weaves like a ripped prize fighter, all muscles tensed, all attention focused in and out of attack
with jabbing wild action and well placed massive strikes to the mid section. Ripit closes of the
proceedings with his radical electronics. Here micro-processed beats and pulses battle it out with
noisy symphonic (sic!) bombast in an unholy matrimony of psychedelics and all-out primitive synth
abuse – as if guided by the motto: gnaw their modulars.
    Just like their labels these four acts project the image of not respecting any musical borders or
conventions. Together the quartet makes for quite a coherent set of post-industrial technoid beat-
heavy and intensely textured noise music. For my personal taste it's all just maybe a bit tame and
safe still; remaining at a distance a tad too much, not delivering the sucker punch so to speak. Or: not
really tried and tested in the sleaze and dirt of gritty greys and gravel. Yet!, that is.
    Then again: these four acts will surely blow minds and melt faces across the world in a live setting.
Festival after festival thinks noise or industrial or contemporary electronic music boils down to the
jawn inducing tone deaf boring wannabe garbage from acts like Ben Frost, Justin Broadrick or
Pharmakon... Now, that's just a clear cut case of sheer laziness and not picking the torch light and
going into the woods to find the hidden gems not only shining brightly for they are truly carrying
their torches, but also lurking just below their very noses, feet and ears. Luckily these two Brussels
based labels did exactly that and all the more credit to them for presenting the world with this fine
blast of fresh faced industrial youth and forward moving electronics. (SSK)
––– Address: http://www.silkentofu.org

BOKOM/GORDOA & ZAPPAROLI (split cassette by Spina! rec)

Two duos can be found on this split cassette and I think I have not heard of either of these before (as
always: I think). Konstantin Samolovov and Boris Shershenkov make up Bokom and they had a few
concerts in St. Petersburg, and at one of them they recorded “Limpopo”, the twenty-five minute piece
that is now on the first side of this cassette. I read that ‘while Boris operates the sound sources located
on his desk and at different parts of the museum via radio communication equipment, Konstantin
moves in space playing on various instruments’, which was captured by various microphones, by label
boss Ilia Belorukov, which may be a bit lost in the stereo mix (even on the download), but the museum
space was the third participant in this. The music works very much with a ‘quiet-loud’ dynamic,
meaning some of the sounds are close by (loud) and some far away (quiet), but also these might be
reversed, so that some close-by sounds are quiet and vice versa. I am not sure what ‘reductronic
equipment’ is, as played by Sherkenskov, but Samolov plays snare drums, objects and voice recorder,
which I thought was pretty much quite audible in this. It is throughout an excellent piece of music,
shifting back and forth between the axes of loud and quiet, with a very refined improvised character.
    The duo Emilio Gordoa (vibraphone, electronics) and Marta Zapparoli (tapes & electronics)
recorded their music in Berlin and apparently “this album is the result of recording sounds in a high
state of famine”, which is a curious remark, I guess. Their music is certainly more upfront throughout,
and also a bit noisier than the other side. The vibraphone is not an easily recognized instrument in the
chaos of cracks, bumps, hiss, and static and scratched sounds. Towards the end the density of the music
is left and the playing is opener, leaving sustaining feedback and sine wave sounds to do their work.
Very nice also, but maybe less surprising than Bokom. In an edition of just twenty-five copies, I would
think the famine stays for a while. (FdW)
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INVISIBLE RALF - AARBLOM (download by Melusine Records)

All right, so you know I don’t review digital stuff and if I do it’s a one-off every so much time and it’s
because there is a small personal touch to be given to this. And that personal touch hits home almost
literally, as Ralf Gerritse or his lovely girlfriend act as occasional mailmen for one of the many
companies that deliver parcels to the VW HQ. True story. The first time I saw Gerritse do this, I thought
‘hang on, isn’t that the guy from De Geconcentreerde Consumentenbond, who I once reviewed (Vital
Weekly 877), and of whom I saw a concert at the local music space Derde Wal (sadly no longer around)’.
When I went for some fries with friends I bumped into them again and we talked about delivering
mail and doing music. So if you can pull that off, I’d be happy to write a few words about your download.
    Invisible Ralf has four pieces, spanning some twenty minutes, and they all run straight into each
other. In the old days Gerritse was more into the noisy aspect of music, using dramatic violins drenched
in echo, but in more recent times he has shifted towards ambient music and that’s what these four
pieces is about; well, or more along the lingo of the young Psybient, the psychedelic encounters of
ambient music. Deep washes of sound, played on a bunch of synthesizers (maybe digital ones), a fine
bit of mellow rhythm and a guitar to go along. This is very pleasant music, very harmless, which I guess
is very much the idea of this. Think a bit of third world inspired throat singing and drumming, a bit of
hippy guitars and a bit of techno-ambient synthesizers and you get close to the sound of Invisible Ralf.
If after a day of hard work you need to relax, than this music I expect will go down pretty well. (FdW)
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