number 1165
week 2


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help Vital Weekly to survive:

MERZBOW - COLLECTION 008 (CD by Menstrual Recordings) *
MURDER CORPORATION - CAUTION (CD by Menstrual Recordings) *
TRIO BLURB – W (CD by Evil Rabbit Records)
  Silence) *
JEREMY YOUNG - DIZZY, CONGESTED MUSICK (cassette by Neologist Productions) *
ANTHONY JANAS - LUCIFER, SCOOBY-DO & ME (cassette by Nihilist Recordings)
ANGELO VICENTE JR - ENTARTETE KUNST (cassette by Important Drone Records) *
  Records) *
PRESENT/ABSENT - PALINTROPOS HARMONIE (cassette by Important Drone Records) *


Here we have two active forces from the world of sound art, which in this case is the combination
of field recordings, electronics, and improvisations. Both artists tell us what they did (on the
Bandcamp site) and for Duplant that means using recordings he made in various French regions,
in 2017 and 2018 (sea, forests, rain, wind), adding organ and electronics. David Velez uses field
recordings from Bogota, France and the UK in roughly the same time frame; he adds DIY- and
hacked Theremins. I guess for me the main question is: and then what? How was this made?
There is no explanation there. I could believe, looking at the title that it's about different weather
conditions in different hemispheres these artists live in, but how it effectively works out, I am not
sure of. There is one piece, of exactly fifty minutes and its clearly in two parts, with around the
twenty-minute mark going over to the next one. Maybe one did one half and the other did the
second bit? Maybe one had control over the total but both of them contributing material? So it's
all a bit vague, and no doubt that is deliberate. If you heard previous works by these two, you
could more or less have an idea what's coming; there is a delicacy to the music but also
something that makes it all bigger. It's not just a few sounds here and there, but vast amassing
of sounds together, so the details get a lost a bit and it all becomes thicker, more expanded,
drone-like if you will. That too is a deliberate action by them, I'd say. You are not supposed to
enjoy the finer, mightier and smaller detail, but enjoy the vastness of the sound. Here we have
the cold wind on a winter's day (not in California but along the coast of France) versus the
chirping of insects and tweeting of birds in sunny Colombia. Here we have improvised Theremin
sounds bursting and cracking versus longer organ sound lurking beneath the surface and only
towards the end becoming apparent. Changes are minimal, development is slow but there is a
fine psychedelic touch to the music. This is something to stick on for some time and let go on
repeat and then with every rotation, you will be able to single out new sounds, which is a great
thing. Very refined all together indeed this confusing work of field recordings not belonging
together but closed in together anyway. (FdW)
––– Address:


It has been quite a while since reviewing 'Road Of The Sun' (Vital Weekly 956) and I have no idea
why it took so long to come up with something new. This time Eisuke Oooka, of whom I know not a
lot, other than what it says on his Bandcamp ("Works as a sound artist, videographer and
photographer, Electronic, Acoustic" and born in Mie, Japan), plays guitar, piano, synthesizer and
bass. His CD has a somewhat puzzling title; is this action that installs video soundtracks, or is
these soundtracks to videos used in installations? I am not sure. In the information Oooka, says that
this is "a museum of sound that just sharpen delicate vision and hearing, just standing and
listening", so perhaps some kind of installation indeed. His previous record was a pleasant trip with
guitars and rhythm, making it "slightly post-rock, a bit jazzy", but rhythm this time around doesn't
play much of a role. It has not entirely disappeared though. Overall the ten pieces on this album
are dwelling heavily on the ambient side, with tinkling, crystal clear piano sounds, sustaining guitar
tones and eerie synthesizer patterns, all drifting by in an easy way. Maybe because of the title I was
thinking of K. Leimer's 'Installation View', and the music of Oooka shows quite some resemblance
with that of Leimer, The music is throughout not too abstract, but rather melodic most of the time.
His piano motifs are slow, as is to be expected I guess, his guitar isn't droning on forever, and
throughout there is also a nice touch of experiment, such as the voices and metal chain rumble in
'Aramaic Bible', thus bouncing back and forth between the smooth reality and some abstract
paintings in sounds. A song like 'World Without End' is one of the few pieces with drums, and
sound like his previous work and is, I'm afraid, a bit out of place here. Otherwise, this is a most
lovely release, without many surprises. (FdW)
––– Address:

MERZBOW - COLLECTION 008 (CD by Menstrual Recordings)
MURDER CORPORATION - CAUTION (CD by Menstrual Recordings)

For a long time I tried keeping up with the release schedule of Merzbow, but when I realize I
had shrink-wrapped CDs waiting one year to be played, I know it was time to give up. One has
to be prepared to do radical changes, all the time. I never regretted it. Well, almost never that is.
In recent years I see that Merzbow started to re-issue lots of his earliest cassette-only releases
and as I was very much into Merzbow since 1983, I remember some of these, as well as hearing
his music on seemingly every compilation I came across. That didn't start me collecting again;
happy to pick up whatever occasional release comes by, like, 'Collection 008'. I believe in Italy's
Menstrual Recordings Masami Akita found a great partner to unleash many of these earliest
recordings in very limited editions. Along with 'Collection 008', also 'Collection 006' was released
and both in an edition of 200 copies, with a simple cover that captured some of the 80s Merzbow
aesthetic. Should you have picked up on Merzbow somewhere in the last twenty years, seeing
him live on the world's stages, and enjoying that, you might be in (well, perhaps) for a little surprise
here. This has very little to do with the noise he produces these days; this is a different noise. In
those early days, Merzbow was still paying homage to his earliest roots, which lie in improvised
music and tape collage/loops. For his improvisations, Akita uses a variety of instruments, mainly
guitar, violin, a synthesizer and drums. I would believe some of these parts are looped and then
he plays around with the sound of that, overlaying various bits together, adding electro-acoustic
sounds and manipulations on tape. This was recorded in 1981 so none of the fancy shiny stomp
boxes that determined his late 80-s, early 90s sound is part of this, making it perhaps all much
more down to earth. There is no distortion, no endless feedback howl, but someone who is
enjoying his instruments, playing them not in a very traditional way, but occasionally slipping into
a normal rhythm. This is a great time capsule, going back so many years and hearing the earliest
Merzbow music certainly puts a great smile on my face.
    Also, a re-issue, recorded a bit later though, in 1983, is by Produktion. This was a trio from
Australia, being Christine Glover and Paul Hurst and Tasmania, being Ross Cannon. They
moved to London in the early 80s, opening a hair dress salon where you get your wildest haircuts
while being treated to industrial music. They also abused vinyl, worked with electronics and were
part of the super heavy industrial scene that also included Whitehouse, Nurse With Wound, Club
Moral and Ramleh. Young kids on speed, hurling noise around. Read 'England's Hidden
Reverse' and regret you weren't there. Maybe you were there and regret that? Anyway, the stuff of
legends to say the least and there has been many re-issues over the years of this kind of stuff and
somehow it seemed this was ignored, even when this 1983 cassette was bootlegged in Italy in the
90s. Maybe it's because none of these names went on to more stuff I guess. Four pieces here, of
which 'Das Fere' takes up about half the length of this so in them ol' days the A-side of the cassette.
Now, this is already the sort of noise that was common at that time, quite different from the
Merzbow I just heard. Taking up some radio sounds and filtering them through the synthesizer,
adding some effects and cook up a long piece, in which they also mix the sounds of sexual
intercourse, in a sort of long psychedelic piece. Of the other three pieces is 'Comedome 1' by far
the longest (eighteen minutes) and continues that approach of lo-fi synth distortion but this time
mixed with a clearer synth sound on top of that; these two lines are mixed together to make a
spooky soundtrack, that goes on a bit too long (which of course is odd, having just a much longer
piece, that somehow captivated me more I guess). 'Comedome 2' is a live recording, by the looks
of it, of feedback generated from sounds in space, so acoustically, which might also be the case
with 'Creatinine Clearance', the final shortest piece. Less synth-based, but quite noisy altogether.
If the whole Come Org/Broken Flag/early 80s obscure from London and never heard of
Produktion before, the now is the time to check it out properly.
    Moving forward in time to the early nineties and we get to Murder Corporation, the musical
project of Moreno Daldosso. More or less started as a joke (as it says on Discogs) and using
tapes, noises, short waves and distorted voices later on adopted a sampler Akai s01 and a tone
generator (V.C.O) and I believe still active, having produced quite a catalogue so far (not of
Merzbow proportions of course). 'Caution' was released on cassette in 1995 and is now granted
a CD re-issue. I didn't hear much of his output, I think, but I do remember 'Nekro' (Vital Weekly
1005 in a review with a curious ending I now see; what was I thinking?) and like that one,
'Caution' seems to be moving back and forth between noise abuse and something that is
scarier and quieter. With a bit of true noise you feel all powerful and energetic (maybe the
reason why's a boys' hobby, I wonder; very masculine!) but when Murder Corporation tones it
all done a bit, allow for some manipulation and thought, moving along ideas set out by Maurizio
Bianchi before, then it becomes that fine horror soundtrack; aliens conquering planet earth and
slowly killing all humans, such as in the fourth piece (none of these have titles). But mixed up
with some noisier excursions I can see what Murder Corporation is aiming at confusion on all
accounts. There is certainly some inspiration from Maurizio Bianchi here, both from the noise
end as well as the scary soundtrack stuff. The big difference between MB and MC is the length
of the pieces. Whereas the old master usually plays long pieces, the successor to the throne
keep his pieces to a minimum, one to four minutes it usually is and that's it. Thus 'Caution'
moves quickly from idea to idea, from texture to anxiety and everything in between. Not to be
handled with 'Caution'; just embrace it. (FdW)
––– Address:


The meeting of Ivann Cruz and Maciej Garbowski in 2010 lead to several projects of this Polish
composer and double bassist with musicians from the scene of Lille, France. Like for example
the Garbowski-Cruz Quartet. A more recent collaboration is the one between Garbowski and
Cruz and Peter Orins. Both Frenchmen did several concerts in Poland in 2017. For their concert
at the Institute of Music Performance in Katowice, their old mate Garbowski joined them. He is
from Katowice where he studied jazz as well as classical music. And since 2007 he teaches at
the Jazz Institute on the Academy of Music in this same town. For many years he was a member
of the RGG jazz-trio. Also, he is a member of Tomasz Stańko’s New Balladyna Quartet. Both
Cruz and Orins should be well-known names, known from the many releases from the Lille-
based Circum Disc label, for instance with their trio Toc with pianist Jérémie Ternoy. ‘Lines of
Flux’ brings us back to two days in November 2017. The album consists of twelve short
improvisations. The opening one ‘Opus XIII’ comes close to melody and has a lyrical atmosphere
with Garbowski in a prominent role. The second one, ’Opus XIV’, is dominated by short attacks
by Cruzz on his electric guitar with Orins answering with very diverse patterns. All improvisations
are similar in temper and mood. Their interactions evolve in an intimate and modest way, fine
interplay by musicians who have a rich vocabulary at their disposal. It is not improvisations of the
type that culminate in boiling outbursts. But there is a lot of tension in their concentrated
dialogues.  Their communication is very intense and concentrated resulting in improvisations
 that are very together and worthwhile.  (DM)
––– Address:

TRIO BLURB – W (CD by Evil Rabbit Records)

Trio Blurb is Maggie Nicols (vocals), John Russell (guitar) and Mia Zabelka (violin, vocals); two
veterans of the English scene in a trio with Austrian artist Zabelka. Nicols set first steps at the end
of the 60s with the famous Spontaneous Music Ensemble, led by Trevor Watts and John Stevens.
Russell got involved the early 70s in the UK improvisation-scene. Both have played in
uncountable combinations and settings, up till the present day! Austrian sound artist, composer
and violinist Mia Zabelka is of a younger generation. Since the end of the 80s, she worked with
a wide variety of musicians like Pauline Oliveros, Lydia Lunch, Elliott Sharp, Phill Niblock, John
Zorn, among others. As a composer, she received recognition with her prize-winning
composition ‘For Pauline Oliveros’ in 2018. As a Trio Blurb, they started in 2010 and released
their first statement in 2013 for Extraplatte. Now some five years later they joined forces once
again. It is possible of course they did gigs together in the meantime… Both extended
improvisations were recorded live in two different locations in London in 2017 and 2018, taking
47 minutes in total. The question of the relationship between free improvisation and conventions
I could introduce in any review of improvised music. But I do it now in the case Trio Blurb
because listening to the playing style of Russell, the vocals of Nicols my first response was one
of ‘I have heard this before’. But what can one expect? Of course, an improviser develops a
style, a vocabulary, etc. and is unable to re-invent oneself for any new project. So conventions
slip in. Which is not the same as conventionalism. Although grammar, procedures, strategies
may be worked out, it is still possible to say new things, or to really communicate and to be in
contact with fellow players. From this viewpoint, one can grow and grow endlessly, and each
improvisation can be a new actualization of possibilities. From this angle, these improvisations
have a lot of enjoyable moments to offer. Improvisations, where all three are equally participating
in weaving, extended multi-edged constructions, celebrating an intense togetherness. I especially
enjoyed the vibrant violin playing by Zabelka. With ‘Sketches for Violin and Vinyl’ we are talking
of something completely different.
    Ayumi Paul is a violinist and composer based in Berlin. Classically educated she became
involved in performance and improvisation and worked with Audrey Chen, Ig Henneman, Aki
Takase, and Elliott Sharp. Achim Mohné studied photography and became a freelancing media
artist. Since the mid-90s he got more and more involved in working with record players, cassette
recorders, etc. In his collaboration with Paul, he plays turntables’. Recordings took place at Ping
Ton Studios in Cologne. Compositions are by Ayumi Paul and Achim Mohné. They are based on
‘the sounds of the locked grooves of Mohné’s collection of vinyl and improvisations for violin and
voice by Paul”. These crackling noises, sometimes have with the randomness of raindrops falling
on a roof, sometimes they are looped and repetitive. One could say crackling vinyl noises are a
very limited set of sounds. But Mohné succeeds in communicating the charm of this little universe
by creating fascinating pointillist textures. I think it is above all Paul answering the textures created
by Mohné than it is the other way around. Paul plays and sings very sensitive. Her violin playing
is very warm and delicate; an inspired play with timbre and sound. A great player! This is a very
interesting and daring meeting; engaging and fascinating most of the time, although there are a
few moments where things are too unfocused and together in my opinion. (DM)
––– Address:


Ever since I started to listen to all the stuff that lands here and rip pieces for our podcast, I pay a
bit more attention to what I reply to our jazz and improv reviewer, the honourable mister Mulder,
and so I ended up hearing a bit of Hedvig Mollestad Trio, and noticing that Rune Grammofon send
promo CDs and not, as stipulated, the 'real thing. Much of my unpleasant surprise. Why do we get
such rock music? Why do we hear about Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix or John
McLaughlin? Rock music, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Or as Mister Mulder wrote
before: "To call this music ‘avant rock’ or experimental is too much said, for they stay to close to
the paradigms of the music they are inspired by". Smells funny indeed. I am sure blues weekly will
have space for this. Let's move on to something that is up our alley. (p.s. not included in the
podcast; in case you were wondering). (FdW)
––– Address:


“Realm” is the debut studio album by the anagrammatic grouping of people I wouldn’t have
imagined working together. Miki Yui’s solo work is almost clinically minimal, composed of clean
and austere tones and very digital production, while Carl Stone’s compositions are generally
playful and warm. As Realistic Monk, the disparate duo has found a voice that’s distinct from
what either artist does alone, which is a good indicator of the project’s success. “Realm” is a
cycle of five song-like forms that begins quite sombre but edges into thornier territory rather
quickly. The first couple of tracks sound like an ethereal pop band run through a blender;
wordless vocals form skeletal melodies that are promptly mulched and spit back out. Eventually,
the veneer of wispy ambience falls away. The music doubles back onto itself, the songs
imploding and becoming more aggressively dense. By the third track, shards of gleaming
glass crack in arrhythmic panic as clipped percolating chirps and voices glurp and swallow
like frightened animals beneath cascading sheet-metal sheen. Things begin to even out by
the fourth track, leading to the relatively subdued conclusion of granular crunch. (HS)
––– Address:


Not so long ago, Vital Weekly 1122, I reviewed a CD re-issue of 'Islands Of Sleep' by Small
Cruel Party. It was originally released on LP in 1999 by the French GMBH label (of which Ferns
is more or less a successor), now Ferns release on LP what was once a cassette, released by
A State Of Flux in 1991. I am a bit surprised by this format switch, as the original cassette was
a C60 cassette, and the four pieces have been edited to make them for on a forty-minute LP. I
am not sure why Ferns didn't go for a CD release of this; maybe there is that whole 'vinyl is
better/hipper/more marketable' thing or perhaps it was the musician's desire to slim down these
pieces, maybe finding the originals a bit too long? I don't know. I used to have this cassette until
the cassette got separated from the plastic bag and went AWOL somewhere, so I hadn't heard
this in quite some time. I guess I also didn't see it in blogoland when all the old tapes showed up,
a decade or so ago (Maybe I missed it). This is once again Small Cruel Party in classic modus,
full of drones, produced by hand manipulating sounds and feeding them through an array of
sound effect; not loopers, I would think, certainly not the kind that is sold these days, but delay
pedals, reverb and chorus, and fiddling around with the equalization and bringing out a
somewhat dark and psychedelic ambient meets industrial music. It is too noisy to be ambient;
'Qui Entra Nella Barca E Passa Cantando' sounds like Key Ransone picked up some motor
sounds and feeds them through a bunch of delay pedals, quite a nervous piece, but 'Dale No. 2'
is a much too subtle piece of sparse percussive sounds picking up slowly speed with quite some
reverb and is perhaps also not the most ambient of pieces, but also not that industrial. 'Ant Door
(Dedikerad Till Leif)' on the B-side is a power drone of closely captured feedback and is best
played at a high volume. 'Eert Wins The Tree-Gazing Race' starts out acoustically and lands in
drone-based landscapes with what sounds like a bunch of monks chanting overtones. These
two re-issues, plus 'An Accident In Substance', an 3CD anthology of earlier vinyl works (see Vital
Weekly 849) and 'Three Simple Eyes Of The Insect Ancestor' (Vital Weekly 846) show a revived
interest in the works of Ransone, who stopped entirely doing music at the turn of the century.
Last I heard he was a vegetarian chef in French cuisine, and still, I would hope that one day he
comes around and start cooking some more Small Cruel Party music. With all this renewed
interest one could only hope for more re-issues, more interest and hopefully new music. Time
will tell. (FdW)
––– Address:


Recently it was pointed out that if I write that something that I may think I have not heard of before,
I am pushing them/her/him into obscurity, where that may not be my intention. I wasn't aware of
that; I am merely stating a fact. So, yes, I might have read about the brothers Samu and Ville
Kuukka, also known as The Gentleman Losers before (maybe in a magazine years ago, who
knows?), as they have had releases before on City Centre Offices, Büro, Grainy Records and
Standard Form, none of which send promos down here. In the summer of 2018, they went out
to a cabin at the lake, one of the many in Finland, and wrote the eight pieces on the somewhat
oddly titled 'Make We Here Our Camp Of Winter'. I read something about being stuck with
composing material for a previous record, so they opted for an altogether more easy approach,
using guitars, synthesizers and piano, and recorded these pieces on "both vintage analogue
equipment and modern production techniques" and the result is a beautiful album that veers
between ambient and post-rock. Ambient in its approach of electronics and synthesizers, full on
spacious of course, dreamy at times, meandering, and sometimes spooky and nocturnal, while
the guitar on top of that plays chords and small melodies. Occasionally a piano chord leaps in
and in 'Fish Roam In Winter Water' some voice, reciting a text, which for all I am concerned wasn't
necessary. There is a thumb on bass here and there, or a dash of rhythm, mainly from looped
sounds rather than actual drums (I could be wrong) and the lo-fi treatment of sounds being woven
in a great way, such as the rusty guitar sound in 'Kingdom Of The Wind'.
    Let's not repeat the same blah for Umber and the first time etc. but in my defence, this is his
second full-length album, the previous one was released five years ago. Umber is the musical
project of "multi-instrumentalist" Alex Steward from the UK. His music moves very much along
similar lines as 'The Gentleman Losers', also using quite a bit of guitar and electronics. The latter
no doubt includes a bunch of loopers, quite the common tool for the atmospherically minded
guitarist. The guitar seems to be his main instrument and electronics, but otherwise, it is not easy
to recognize much else. Surely I could think there is a synthesizer involved here, but at the same
time, I might be all wrong. It could be that the electronics have such a wide impact on the guitar
sounds that they sound like eerie atmospherically spaces around the notes plucked also from
the six strings. Here too we are on the same crossroad of ambient music and guitars, even when
Umber's playing is a bit more abstract and less melodic. He works in a different place and space,
slowly and longingly sustaining sounds, with the odd tinkle on the guitar here and a strum there.
The differences between both releases are quite minimal, and on the surface much alike. Umber
does work less with rhythms, loops and bass guitar and is a bit gentler in approach, but that is all
really minor stuff. Both of these are lovely releases and while both have nothing much new to
report in terms of musical development and perhaps that's not necessary either. Both are fine
releases for a long and cold winter's day. (FdW)
––– Address:

JEREMY YOUNG - DIZZY, CONGESTED MUSICK (cassette by Neologist Productions)

One-third of Sontag Shogun is Jeremy Young and I think he is the most active when it comes to
solo releases. His latest, 'The Poetics Of Time-Space', reviewed in Vital Weekly 1106, could have
been CD of the week, should we have such a thing. His work deals extensively with sampling all
sorts of sounds, voices, sounds and such and melting these together into collages of sound. On
this new tape, he does that too, but he takes his samples mainly from old records, slowing down,
speeding up and using hand manipulation on them. All of this he does in a somewhat
improvisational modus, without much planning and idea what to do with them, followed by a
process of editing, pasting, cutting, looping, scratching slowly becoming pieces of music. To
these edited samples he added "found tapes from eBay, EMF signal, oscillators and electrified
guitar. Plus the additional help was received from Eric Quach (guitar), Jean-Sebastian Truchy
(digital string ensemble) and Philippe Vandal (saxophone), so it all becomes, lo and behold,
musique concrete. Which I guess is very much the sort of thing I know Young for best. Usually,
I am not the sort of guy who is blown away by the use of vinyl. Yes, there have been great work
in that field (Christian Marclay blew my mind in 1985) but some of the more contemporary
turntable users, well, I guess I find it all a bit, well, not really interesting. It seems an endless
repetition of moves, which never deliver any interesting pieces of music. Some of that happens
on Young's tape as well, but at least here we have someone who isn't that much interested in
tossing around scattered scratches but use the recordings to play short pieces of music that
aims to tell a story. Dialogues are included, snippets of words and with the extra sounds, there
is more happening that y'r usual vinyl looping because it's stuck with a piece of sticky tape.
There is not a lot of rhythms but rather Young aims for something more slowed down and
tranquil; he coined the term 'slow plunderphonics' for this. That seems an appropriate title for
sure, as plunderphonics these stolen sounds surely are, plundered from sources wide and far
(only in 'X (A Dizzy, Congested Serenade)' there was a bit of familiar music, but not so familiar
as to instantly recognize it; it will come one day). More John Oswald and Tape-beatles, I would
think, than Marclay, Tetreault or Yoshihide, and that just suits me very well. (FdW)
––– Address:

ANTHONY JANAS - LUCIFER, SCOOBY-DO & ME (cassette by Nihilist Recordings)

If you would start with the title track (impossible, of course, as it is placed at the end of the
second side), then you would get a strange, almost gothic, Death In June like guitar strumming,
deep sad voice and some synth twiddling. It would set you off in a particular way, which doesn't
justify this tape. Just as does 'Traditional Introductions', the opening piece, which has a sort of robotic
voice reciting a text. In between these bookends it is where it is 'really' happening, I should think. I
have no idea who Anthony Janas is or does. Apparently, he is a touring member of Panicsville and
judging by his website someone who plays around with modular synthesizers and judging these
seven (out of nine) pieces that is what he does here and he is doing a fine job. His pieces aren't
very long, somewhere between three and five minutes and each has its own character.
'Composition For Boxwood Recorder, Tape & Electronics' for instance is an introspective piece of
music of layered recorder sounds, slowly moving into a more abstract electronics piece. In other
pieces Janas stays on the abstract side and whatever input he uses is hard to guess. Janas plays
around with a few sounds per piece and loops these around, making minor changes as they move
along. All of this I thought to be most enjoyable, but at the same time I didn't understand those two
bookend pieces too well. Maybe it was to mark a difference, add variation? For me, such diversion
was not really necessary. I enjoyed the main dish as it was and wouldn't have minded all to be
like this. (FdW)
––– Address:

ANGELO VICENTE JR - ENTARTETE KUNST (cassette by Important Drone Records)
PRESENT/ABSENT - PALINTROPOS HARMONIE (cassette by Important Drone Records)

In the past, I reviewed two cassettes by Calineczka, the musical project of Michal Stanczyk,
residing in Alicante, Spain. That was in Vital Weekly 119 and 1162. Especially the latter was a
highly minimal affair of modular electronics. On Boxing Day he wrote me a letter saying that "five
days ago I started a cassette label of my dream, dedicated to long-form sustained tone
minimalism, called Important Drone Records (a joke that is either cheesy, insolent, or both)". I
guess the joke deals with the name of the label, not the label itself. I assume there is some pun
intended to Important Records, who also deal with a bit of drone music. He wrote two penfriends
with some self-released music and asked them to supply the first content. Now, January 3rd they
are on my desk, and 9 remaining for the tape by Angelo Vicente Jr, who has the inaugural
release and residing in Porto. A previous release by him was on Game Of Life, a Greek netlabel.
On that and this new release he played with a "feedback loop of a spring reverb and a resonant
equalizer to control it". He delivers some radical music and at that, pretty long and radical music.
Forty minutes per side, spanning two pieces per side, the music is very minimal. Humming slowly,
but over the course of those nineteen minutes average per side, the changes are actually very
much present. It's interesting to play around with the volume here. If you play this at a low volume,
the changes will be less present (obviously I would think), although 'Stück Drei' quite apparent
changes take place, when the volume is up a bit more, the music will get a more physical
presence; move your head slowly and the sound will change in your head, with your ears
repositioning towards the speakers and changing your perception of the space. It is all very
Alvin Lucier like and some excellent music here.
    Much longer are the two pieces by Calineczka, almost forty-five minutes per side and these
two pieces are "another attempt at a 'physiological' boundary case of music", which I am not
sure what that means. These are created with 6 cheap oscillators, 3 filters and an old stereo
mixer. The title is inspired by Richard Dedekind's book from 1988 titled “Was sind und was
sollen die Zahlen?” ("What are numbers and what are they good for?"), “which included his
definition of an infinite set. He also proposed an axiomatic foundation for the natural numbers,
whose primitive notions were the number one and the successor function. The next year,
Giuseppe Peano, citing Dedekind, formulated an equivalent but simpler set of axioms, now the
standard ones"; thanks Wiki what would life be without you? In the two pieces '(obverse)' and
'(reverse)', maybe mirror versions of each other, there is more happening than on his previous
cassette, which probably still isn't much compared to so many other things, but Calineczka has
a wider sound as well. Somehow this tape seems to have more depth. Maybe some of the
changes within the music are also a bit more apparent. In '(reverse)', the sound opens up from
deep bass towards a more mid-range and that is the opposite of '(obverse)', which the sound
seems to disappear into a black hole. His best so far!
    So far Present/Absent has published music on Soundcloud and hence escaped our attention
so far. He is from Brighton, Massachusetts. His two Greek titles are inspired by Heraclitus of
Ephesus: “They do not comprehend how a thing agrees at variance with itself; it is an attunement
turning back on itself, like that of the bow and the lyre.” An intellectual bunch of drone meisters,
indeed. The music is performed on an analogue modular synthesizer and if the previous two
were more or less subtle in their approach to the nature of drone music, this one isn't. If anything
I would label this as power drone music. A deep synth sound is wielded for quite some time
before any changes take place. In 'παλίντροπος II', towards the end, this becomes some serious
noise business, with sounds being all crumbled up and distorted. This is of the three releases
the loudest and meanest one by all means, but it also shows the amount of variation in the world
of drones. (FdW)
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