number 1210
week 49


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ADRIAN KNIGHT - FLY BY NIGHT (2CD by Thanatosis Produktion) *
  GHOSTS (CD by Nakama Records) *
MP HOPKINS - G.R/S.S (LP by Aussenraum Records) *
TRIKORDER 23 - MUCH TIME NO HORSE (LP by Cosmic Winnetou) *
ON CORROSION (10 cassette boxset by Helen Scarsdale)


Contemplating the band name and album title, you would be excused for thinking this album was
created by a bunch of acid heads in the sixties. And, in a sense, you are right as most collaborators
to this ‘avant-garde supergroup’ have their roots in that decade where it was cool to smoke dope,
play the table in the nude and mumble incoherently about Timothy Leary. But this album is not a
product of the sixties, it is in fact very much a contemporary ‘head-album’. Recorded in October
2018 by dAS, Ninah Pixie, Frans de Waard, Edward Ka-Spel and Phil Knight, ‘Revolutions in the
head’ is a ‘chance meeting’, if you like of kindred musicians. dAS, also known for his work with the
mighty Big City Orchestra, utilizes contact microphones, which are fed into the computer. Ninah
Pixie, also member of Big City Orchestra, plays flutes and organ, Frans de Waard, omnipresent,
plays an array of portable cassette players fed into the computer, Edward Ka-Spel contributes
vocal loops and soft-synths and Phil Knight plays radio and analogue synthesizers. The recording
sessions lasted for several days and were mixed by De Waard. So where does all this technical
information lead to you might wonder. ‘Revolutions in the head’ is a 40+ minute transcendental
head trip breathing a calm, blurred atmosphere of circular, hence the ‘revolutions’ in the title, synth
waves, frequencies and radio sounds. That ‘revolutionary’ circular sound aspect is more or less the
central theme here, embellished with, at times Nurse With Wound-like sounds, reversed tones,
modified analogue squeeks and bleeps, static and a quieter bit with sequenced chords (my
favourite part of the album). Even though the album is divided into tracks, I prefer to review the
music as one large piece, as to me it works best that way. De Waard has done a remarkable job
creating this album out of the original sessions, even if I noted losing some of my attention-span
after about two-thirds of the album. However, to have these four, perhaps unlikely, bedfellows in
one room and on one album certainly works, creating a very listenable and pleasant sound
sculpture. At the same time, I cannot help but wonder what the result would have been if each
participant had gotten more out of his/her comfort zone and played, for instance, the other
person’s role: for instance, had Ninah done the tape work and Frans the flute. Maybe that would
have led to more of a revolution, more unease and more challenge in their collaborative journey.
But as it stands, ‘Revolutions in the head’ is a great and enjoyable documentation of a ‘chance
meeting’ between five people who have earned their credits in music. The 300 copies of this
album will no doubt find eager takers among Big City Orchestra, Legendary Pink Dots and De
Waard-fanatics. (FK)
––– Address:

ADRIAN KNIGHT - FLY BY NIGHT (2CD by Thanatosis Produktion)

With two double CDs this quite the introduction to two musicians I never heard of, as well as
introducing me to a new label from Sweden. I started with the release by Adrian Knight, who,
despite his English sounding name) was born in Uppsala (Sweden) and who is a member if
Blue Jazz TV, Private Elevators and Synthetic Love Dream; his compositions are performed by a
whole bunch of ensembles and his recordings can be found on such as Galtta Media, Cantaloupe,
Irritable Hedgehog, Perfect Wave, Slashsound, Innova and Pink Pamphlet, the latter an enterprise
of his. In 2014 he released 'Fly By Night' as a digital-only release on that imprint, but now it is in
physical shape on Alex Zethson's Thanatosis Produktion. While Knight is mostly a pianist he plays
the guitar here, also with "voice, Rhodes, percussion, tape and digital treatments". One track
includes the saxophone by David Lackner. The first disc has four compositions, which made me
think that none of the instruments mentioned played a role here. The music was very much a work
of ambient proportions and quite dark. And yet, to simply classify this as dark ambient is perhaps
not the right justification. It is dark but also mellow music; sounds flow, as in what the word flowing
properly means; the glide very slowly like slow clouds on a winter's day. I have no idea how Knight
operates and if this music is the result of some long process of putting various long sequences
together, or if this is the result of spontaneous, impromptu playing, with some touching up later on.
As I said, I have no idea if what way he uses his instruments and technology to achieve this sound,
but all the instruments seem to have been perpetually slowed down, with the odd exception here
and there, when a guitar tinkles away. It is some ninety minutes of very good ambient music, and
also not really surprising ambient music (but I don't expect that anymore, I guess). The cover is
grey, the day is grey and Knight has the right soundtrack for us.
           Alex Zethson is the man behind the label and his work with others is mostly to be found in
the realm of jazz and improvised music. Feminist theorist and theoretical physicist Karen Bard
influence his solo work and "this record materializes a music-making to highlight how seemingly
separated ideas, materials, bodies, concepts and objects, are entangled in each other. This
entanglement means that music-making practices - like playing, thinking and listening - always
are political and ethical events, where everyone and everything involves, both affects and are
affected". I am not sure if agree on that; perhaps I should know more about it. I do know I like to
be alone, but perhaps that too is political and ethical in some way. In his solo piece 'Pole Of
Inaccessibility', Zethson plays the piano and a Korg MS20 mini plus some other electronics and
the piece spans the two discs and is close to one hundred minutes. Within iTunes (an ancient
program for the playback of music), the label for this music is 'jazz', which is fine, even when I may
not agree. For me, this has very little to do with jazz music. Zethson's music is rather about playing
massive clusters of sounds on the piano, with quite a bit of sustain and control and the sounds
emitted are like massive clouds passing on a cold November day. His playing is not very fast and,
being not a piano player myself, I have no idea how he achieves his sound. I am not sure, but I
would think this is the result of live playing, so perhaps the placement of microphones concerning
the piano and the amplification of the Korg, plays some role here. Likewise, it is not easy to say
what/if the Korg is doing to affect the sound of the piano if any at all. The end of the second part
seems to loop the piano in a synthetic environment and sounds wonderfully electronic. In an
earlier part of this section, the sounds drop to an almost inaudible level and the synth produces
sparse drones. By comparison, the first part is one long and one big cloud of close piano notes
being played. Not hammered in the way Charlemagne Palestine does; the somewhat closed
sound of the piano is a bit muffled. A strange piece of music, that much is sure. I was reminded
of some of Chris Abrahams of The Necks; elegant and intense. This is quite a long stretch and
most certainly a beautiful release. (FdW)
––– Address: <>


Lukas Simonis from Rotterdam has been recording music for a long, long time and has been in
many projects and bands. Some of these were around for a longer time, such as Coolhaven, Dull
Schicksal or Trespassers W, but even more projects with a limited period. His most recent entry in
the weekly was the excellent LP with Jim Xentos as Perfect Vaccum. Here he has a new trio, which
also involves one Jacco Weener, who is called a "theologist/performer" and Bruno Ferro Xavier Da
Silva. They are "Intrigued by the language and music of Christian sects in the USA that seem to be
winning grounds in Europe as well, Cantos Deus here offers their answer using a different form of
aesthetics…". Da Silva plays bass, Simonis on guitar and Weener on vocals, along with the use of
a rhythm machine and electronics. There is no such as 'reli no-wave', I guess, but no doubt that's
how they see this and why not? I don't see this leading to invitations to anti-abortion rallies or a
congress for the rescue of Western Christian civilization (flat earth society, Opus Dei, all along the
Watchtower; take your pick), but maybe there is a streak of seriousness to this? It would mean I
have to listen to and dissect the lyrics, which is not my 'thing' and I usually get it wrong anyway.
The music is excellent, however. There is a fine poppy sensibility to this music, but then from a
very leftfield way of the musical spectrum. This sounds like an encyclopaedia of forty years of
weird pop music; call it no wave, post-punk, weirdo, ultra, outsider or whatever, but it is just jolly
fun. Sometimes a tad too weird, but there are very accessible tunes as well, such as 'Hellfire'. It
has that making of something very direct, without too much tarting up, yet it is also not a very sub-
standard rehearsal room recording. In that sense, it is also a reminder of the early 80s, when
technology changed, perhaps become smaller but leading to still quite well-defined results. I
played this three times on a Sunday, the day of the lord of course, and found it a most enjoyable
experience. Weird, friendly, chaotic, poppy, reminding of all those weird music of many years ago,
and everything and everybody that was inspired by that over the years - online I saw comparisons
to PIL, Pere Ubu and The Residents; why not? - but let's not forget Simonis' history in that respect.
It is another continuation to deliberately misinform and create chaos; out of chaos the Lord
created etc. (FdW)
––– Address:


The history of this trio started in 2015 when Roger Turner toured Japan and met guitarist Otomo
Yoshihide and pianist Satoh Masahiko. They recorded a live session – ‘Live at Hall Egg Farm’ -
that was released by Doubtmusic. One year later another live session was recorded at Shinjuku
Pit Inn, Tokyo and that one now has been released by Relative Pitch Records, titled ‘Sea’.
Yoshihide (electric guitar, whistle) and Turner (drum set, percussion) need no introduction. Maybe
one is less familiar with the name of pianist Satoh Masahiko, although he is performing for
decades. Born in 1941 his career started in the early sixties as a jazz pianist, followed by
composing and arranging the activity. He worked with many different musicians all over the
planet over the years up until the very present as this release shows. The cd entails two
improvisations: ‘The Saw’ (7:43) and ‘On the Rock’ (31:04). The first one is very charming. In the
centre are the motives played by Satoh that has mirror influences of traditional Japanese music.
Yoshihide responds with high-pitched sounds from is guitar, and Turner interacts with drive and
constantly changing patterns and movements. All three speak their language and have their very
own style. But the combination works of these three open-minded and experienced musicians
work very well. With mutual respect for one other, they develop some strongly intertwined
conversations. These are very imaginative improvisations by a wonderful unit. (DM)
––– Address:


French improvisers Doneda and Le Quan Ninh work together since the 80s. Doneda is a self-
taught saxophonist who entered the scene in 1980 with his Hic et Nunc trio. The Chantenay-
Villedieu festival became an important meeting point for him with other European improvisers
and much collaboration followed. Classically trained percussionist Le Quan Ninh built up a long
career as a performer of contemporary music as well as improvised music. From what I know they
released only one duo album so far: ‘Aplomb’ for the Vandóeuvre label in 2015. ‘Thirty Ways to
Avoid Talking‘ their next one, contains five improvisations recorded at Instants Chavires, in
Montreuil-sous-Bois, France, on June 6th, 2017. We hear Doneda playing soprano sax, using
varied techniques, producing various timbres, colours and intensities. Because of rich vocabulary
one almost forget at moments that he is playing the saxophone. Le Quan Ninh plays a surrounded
bass drum (a large floor drum), scratching etc. the surface of the drum by using diverse objects and
techniques to create very different sounds and textures. Together they are engaged in some very
subtle and delicate interactions using varied dynamics. Their music is fragile but very sincere at
the same time. The concluding sixth improvisation was recorded at Shushinkan Hall, in Kobe,
Japan, on July 14th, 2017 and has them joined by Noh theatre drummer and vocalist Shunichiro
Hisada. Inevitably he adds a Japanese flavour to the improvisation that works very well,
concluding a recording of some very communicative and worthwhile improvisations. (DM)
––– Address:

 GHOSTS (CD by Nakama Records)

This is an explosive trio of two well-known musicians and one lesser-known. Nilssen-Love
(drums) and Svendsen (bass) need no introduction here as their names are regularly connected
with releases reviewed here. Yong Yandsen (saxophone) however is a new name for me. He is
an improviser from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and co-founder of the EMACM (Experimental
Musicians & Artists Co-operative Malaysia). He started in punk and death metal bands. But he
turned to jazz and improvisation after discovering the music of John Coltrane. In 2003 he formed
experimental unit Klangmutationen with a line up of drummer, guitar and two saxophonists.
‘Hungry Ghosts’ offers one 40-minute improvisation that was recorded live at Livefact in Kuala
Lumpur in October 2018, during a tour that led them also to Taiwan, Japan and Singapore. From
very loud and extravert clashes they move to very modest and subtle sections, spanning a wide
range of dynamics. Yandsen’s high-energy style is inspired by free jazz. Restless and tireless,
they spin together an intense exchange of ideas. (DM)
––– Address:


Los Angeles-based guitarist Joshua Gerowitz debuted in 2017 with ‘Solano Canyon’ on PfMentum.
With more or less the same musicians he now presents his second step: Casey Butler (sax),
Carmina Escobar (voice), Sharon Chohi Kim (voice), Louis Lopez (trumpet), Joe Santa Maria (sax),
Kathryn Shuman (voice), Micaela Tobin (voice), David Tranchina (bass), Colin Woodford (drums),
and with Gerowitz himself on guitar. Compared with his first release he now makes more use of
vocals. The cd opens with abstract vocal exercises that seem to ascend from some dark
underworld. At one moment the guitar drops in with a melodic theme. Then the vocalists join in
with their classically trained voices, creating atmospheres and a kind of chamber music that
reminded me of work by Hector Zazou. The wind instruments add short accents and gradually
take over. With the compositions that follow Gerowitz continues to lead us into an unusual and
interesting musical world. He offers a strange kind of fusion that is hard to pin down. Inspired on
jazz and improvisation. But there is more to it. Opera vocals are combined with noisy and free
explosions for example. Melodic themes are contrasted with what sounds as abstract
improvisation. I guess most tracks start from composed elements but were shaped by free
improvisation. One might expect the guitar by Gerowitz to be prominent, but that is not the
case. It is group work; an eccentric and original work of multidimensional and captivating
music. (DM)
––– Address:


When the Polish label Antenna Non Grata started I thought it would be a label about radio waves
turned into music; the first few releases indicated that way. But when they released a CD by a trio
called Cukier, they broadened their horizons and expanded into the world of improvised music.
Here they continue with that direction via two new releases. First, there is a meeting of Poland
and Portugal in the guise of Vasco Trilla on drums and Pawel Dosckocz on electric guitar. I don't
think I heard of them before. The latter has a background in drones and electro-acoustics but since
then is entirely dedicated to free improvisation, which is something that Trilla is into for all his life.
They first played together in 2017 and six months later recorded the music on this album, and
since then they have been playing together more concerts. Their music is one of great interaction
and energy; it is free improvised music that deals a great deal with sounds, and they happen to be
played on drums and guitar. There are lots of bowing of strings and cymbals, perhaps revealing a
bit of Dosckocz' past interest in drones and electronics as they play quite the sustaining variation
of music. Either by repeating sounds and phrases (or rather repeating the same techniques to
maltreat strings and kit) over and over, entering a ringing singing sound. Only the second piece
seems to be more about rhythm, but again not the traditional sense of the word, but especially the
guitar sounds like a violently maltreated rock guitar and the Trilla's drumming like a fast
jackhammer. All of that makes it for me an excellent work of improvised music.
           And now a true story. A friend of mine pointed me towards a free download of a series of
Dutch books from the fifties about three boys having all sorts of adventures. Highly political
incorrect of course by today's standard but that's what makes it funny, I guess. In a 1959 book, the
three have an adventure with the Dutch Swing College Band, a Dixieland troupe from those days.
These books aimed at 15 years old boys and it's curious to think they would be into the Dutch
Swing College Band in 1959 and not Elvis, Cliff or Chuck. I am telling you this because when I
was reading this, I played the release by Piotr Melech (clarinet and bass clarinet) and Wojtek
Kurek (drums). They play free jazz and it was quite the hallucinating experience of listening to this
while reading this book about a trombone filled diamonds; it is a book with great speed in
unfolding this crazy adventure and filled with all sorts of standards. Meanwhile, I am playing free
jazz, normally not a kind of music that I am necessarily a big fan of. But as it turns out on this day,
with the odd, old book about boys chasing a trombone for a Dixieland band, this music worked
quite well for me. The hectic drums and clarinets in duelling modus, nervous, alien, conversing
and perhaps not at the same time, inter/re/action; these boys do not need any saving; they are
doing just fine! It didn't win me over as a fan of the whole genre, but I wasn't averse to it before
either, so there you go! (FdW)
––– Address:

MP HOPKINS - G.R/S.S (LP by Aussenraum Records)

Only two weeks ago I reviewed a record by Gaudenz Badrutt on Aussenraum Records and I wrote:
"After some time in which we didn't hear from the Swiss label Aussenraum Records, they send me
a new record. Checking their website it turns out they were never away, but I missed out on a few
over the recent years. I don't why, but I would love to have heard records by Jim Haynes, Diatribes
or MP Hopkins". This they not rectify by sending me these two records. Perhaps these are a bit
older than your usual VW entry, but what the heck? Jim Haynes might, to some, be best known as
the man who runs the Helen Scarsdale Agency record label (see also elsewhere), or a writer for
The Wire (not sure actually if he still does that; I don't read it that often), but by now he also has a
number of fine releases. A personal highlight for me was 'Flammable Materials From Foreign
Lands' (Vital Weekly 1056) because he moved away from the earlier drone music and he was
now onto a more updated noise version of musique concrete and while the drone is not forgotten,
it plays a different role in his music now. His covers shed very little light on what he puts into his
music. In the information, I read that he uses "shortwave radio, electric disruptions and varispeed
motors along with a smattering of synthesized sound that has recently blossomed from a long-term
residency at the recombinant media labs". As such he doesn't do something wholly unique and
unheard of, but it fits the tradition (even when that is a big word) of people like Joe Colley, John
Duncan, Chop Shop or Francisco Meirino, or perhaps, an older example, Joe Banks'
Disinformation (who also used lots of long-wave recordings, which is something that Haynes
might be no stranger to either). It means that his music is 'dirty', using all the wrong connections
to dish out frequencies one normally avoids. The beauty of decay, as it were (fitting the post-
industrial world we live in, no doubt?). Much of this is presented as an ongoing stream of sounds,
to avoid the word drone, occasionally quite loud and brutal, but it is never for the sake of noise.
As such, there is much to be enjoyed for the mild noise-head such as I am then in an average full-
on noise one. This is not his best, but certainly up there with the rest of his great output; one to
play loud!
           From MP Hopkins I reviewed some releases before (Vital Weekly 916, 1040, 1121 and
1152) and I still am not sure what he does. There is some text along with the album, so that gives
me something to ponder on. This record has two distinctly different sides. The first side sees him
working with field recordings from "various art galleries, museums and other institutional
buildings", while the other side was recorded using various synthesizers found at the Melbourne
Electronic Sound Studio. The first side has three different parts and Hopkins calls this "an audio
diary from the perspective of the listener/viewer", the unintended dialogue between sounds inside
these spaces, sculptures, installations, lectures and performances and whatever arrives from the
outside world. In his words "sometimes engaging, occasionally confusing and often tedious". It is
at least not as pretentious as it could have also been. I have no idea how he records his fields,
Dictaphones, Walkman, telephone, high-end digital recorder and what kind of equipment is used
to further alter the recordings. On this side, I had the impression it was all rather 'lo-fi', with some
slowed down cassette manipulation of voices. In all honesty, it could be the recording of whatever
indoor space with some activity, doors opening and closing, but it sounded good enough to hold
my attention and play it again straight away. The synthesizers on the other side are an ARP 2600,
Arp Odyessy, EMS Synthi A and EMS vocoder 2000. Hopkins is not proficient at these machines
and fiddles around with the knobs and did a whole bunch of recordings with them, which he
subsequently collaged into a sixteen-some-minute piece. I assume here he uses a computer to
do all the editing, even when very occasionally I had the impression some sounds were taped on
a Dictaphone. The procedure of taping many sounds in a short amount of time on such equipment
for later use is something many people who can't afford to have the real thing at home, and this
leads to usually interesting results. Hopkins is no exception here. Perhaps because of the limitation
of sounds one recorded and the endless amount of time one can take to shift it around makes that
pieces like this sound quite good, if not always surprising. The usual elements of drones, sines,
waves and oscillations in slow pace is part of the DNA of such pieces, and that's fine. Hopkins has
a fine, slow, minimal and solid piece along those lines and that's great. (FdW)
––– Address:

TRIKORDER 23 - MUCH TIME NO HORSE (LP by Cosmic Winnetou)

These days there seems a rapid succession of releases by mister Schlienz, having new releases
discussed in Vital Weekly 1208 and 1203 (as well as before of course), and here's another new
release from him. I thought the album was named after a bit of software created in Max/MSP, but
that one (too) is based on what Wiki explains as "named after Jules Antoine Lissajous, a Lissajous
curve also known as Lissajous figure or Bowditch curve, is the graph of a system of parametric
equations (something that could not easily be copied - FdW) which describe complex harmonic
motion. This family of curves was investigated by Nathaniel Bowditch in 1815, and later in more
detail by Jules Antoine Lissajous in 1857". Again VW is the place to pick up your pub quiz skills, I
guess. Schlienz uses "synthesizer, tape machines and field recordings" here and the main topic of
this review could be if one hears these curves? Even when looking at the various animations on
Wiki while playing this music, I could not say if I see it. That must be my non-mathematical brain
disfunctioning again. Nevermind. What I hear is something that could very well be these curves in
slow motion, moving back and forth with some harmonic details. Schlienz is an ambient musician,
in case you did not know this, and working with modular set-up he's among the best in his field.
While the releases I reviewed in Vital Weekly 1208 saw him back in a more ambient, less new
age-infested, place, the music here is again more along the harmonic and melodic lines of the
previous album, 'Know Your New Age' (Vital Weekly 1203), but again it is not the same easy ride
as the term would perhaps imply. Schlienz' use of field recordings and voice material make it a bit
different, slightly uneasy perhaps to make it a full-on dream meditation new age thing and that is, I
guess, what I like about his music. It is very smooth, sometimes perhaps too smooth, but just that
tiny edge of strangeness keeps you up and listening, instead of meditating, sleeping or whatever.
This is another very fine record by Schlienz, the unstoppable ambient master.
           Something entirely different is the record by Trikorder23, a group with "club members" Niko
Lazarakopoulos, Christoph Szeteli, Joachim Henn, Klemens Rack, Michael Herm, and Roland
Wendling. The only club member whose name I recognized is Joachim Henn, who is a member
of Frood Of The Loop (Vital Weekly 1199) and his solo project Perrache (Vital Weekly 1203). That
last one was quite the synth/kraut affair and the first more improvised, sometimes rock-like but also
ambient. Trikorder23 is something we may find in between these various interests of Henn, even
when I am sure that is not some deliberate thing. The music of these five holds a similar middle-
ground between improvisation, sometimes a bit jazz-like, sometimes a bit rock-like, perhaps the
post-rock variation in 'Son (Live In Rio)'. As for instruments, I would think there is guitar, bass,
drums and electronics (the cover does not specify who plays what here) and that might be it. The
music ranges from strong pieces, 'Son (Live In Rio)' has a great krauty flow to it and 'Taxi', which
is great film noir tune, but also to bits in which they seem to be searching for direction, resulting in
a bit of spielerei. It is not easy to know what it is this band wants. Are they after a good tune, or
perhaps after some interaction between musicians, with the risk it doesn't always end well? Their
good, steady tunes proof for me something is interesting going in this lot, but I am less convinced
by their improvisational approach. Somehow it does not yet stick. Luckily the pieces I enjoyed
outweighed the ones that I thought weren't as great. (FdW)
––– Address:


There is hardly any information to be found about Gunther Valentine. He sometimes works as
Gvnt Valentine and sometimes as Gxny Valetine, and there have been releases by No Rent
Records, All Gone, All Hell, Third Sex, Primitive Language and Anathema Archive. I only heard
the latter release (Vital Weekly 1145). The cover here specifies sound devices as "computer, field
recordings, Midi synths". The noise element I seemed to have picked up from the previous release,
is now gone; or perhaps a lot toned down. There are seven pieces here on what I understand is a
CDR to sell for a tour he just did (or is still doing) and in these pieces, there is a highly minimal
development going on within the music, yet without it ever going to drone levels. It might be the
contrary, and there are lots of gremlins in the machine, resulting in 'busy' sound patterns, of small
sounds crawling about it. It is also a very dynamic release with quite a bit of deep end bass
rumble, set against some high-end frequencies. With some of the use of contact microphones,
as in 'Lift', a track that, oddly enough, is omitted from the Bandcamp version, there is a more
microsound approach to be detected, but in the other pieces the electronics play the leading role.
The music is a fine crossover between microsound, clicks 'n cuts, (without much rhythm, however),
a dash of noise and a splash of ambient. You could argue there is not much news under the sun
here, and true that might be, this I thought was a very good release regardless. It is all executed
with great and style and makes up some very fine music. (FdW)
––– Address:

ON CORROSION (10 cassette boxset by Helen Scarsdale)
One might reasonably feel overwhelmed by “On Corrosion”, a ten-cassette boxset compilation and
something of a statement of purpose from Jim Haynes’ Helen Scarsdale label. After all, this isn’t a
mere compilation… it’s a well-curated anthology of ten separate full-length albums, each by a
different artist, presented together as a set. Anyone of these tapes might demand your full attention
and plenty of time to digest… but ten albums is a lot to take in! I cannot pretend to have a complete
grasp on every moment here, but I think that’s the point: “On Corrosion” isn’t a quick listen. It’s a
monument that’s meant to be lived with for a while, for listeners to sink into and explore, to latch on
to a tape or two at a time and get to the others eventually. According to Haynes, the directive given
to all participants was to make music about corrosion, entropy, disintegration... which is also the
starting point for his visual art. Over these 6+ hours of music, artists interpreted Haynes’ directive in
different ways, some literal and some more abstract. Most of the artists seemed to understand
corrosion as “melancholy” in some fashion… but not all. I’m not sure if that was an accident of the
concept or a result of the natural inclinations of the participants.
    The artist whose “On Corrosion” tape I was most excited to check out was the duo Relay For
Death, whose previous 2xCD album for Helen Scarsdale, “Natural Incapacity”, is one of the most
astonishing pieces of music I’ve ever heard. Tough to live up to, for sure. Their contribution to this
set, “Mutual Consuming”, is more musical than “Natural Incapacity” (anything would be!), and
more conventionally enjoyable. The first side-long piece is, essentially, a metal droning resonance
launching peels of overtones out into some deep cavern like a punk Ellen Fullman or Robert
Rutman. It’s an easy side to get into, and I certainly did. Ah, but side 2… that’s where Relay brings
out the knives. The molasses pacing remains, as does the deep-cave-dive acoustic atmosphere,
but now the sound is animalistic and menacing.
    The first tape in the box is “Lċgliv” by Neutral, a Swedish “rock” (?) duo whose solo acts
(Sewer Election, Leda, etc) don’t prepare you for what they’re doing here. The sound is somewhere
between the deflated sludge of Armpit, the emaciated anti-pop of People Skills, or flashes of doom
metal with all the muscle removed. Lyrics are muttered from beneath a mountain of hiss or else
sampled from tapes of overheard conversation. The songs don’t start or end so much as they
amorphously drift in and out. It’s a gloomy and atmospheric way to kick off the set, but I found
myself sucked into Neutral’s negative-energy whirlpool. 
    Kleistwahr’s “Winter” is up next, and it’s yet another high point in Gary Mundy’s long catalogue
full of high points. “Winter” begins with strikingly lovely, even pastoral electronic meditation, tinkling
guitars flitting about like a music box or butterflies on a Spring day. After 6 minutes or so, Mundy
spikes the calm with shards of feedback filigree.
    The third tape is by Richard Chartier, under his pinkcourtesyphone alias. You probably know
the aggressively austere, stubbornly clinical digital music that Richard does under his given name. 
But he also has a good sense of humour, an aspect he makes room for on pinkcourtesyphone
albums. This one, which is hilariously titled “Shouting at Nuance” (really, that's such a good title!),
is comprised of two side-long pieces. Each one is a gauzy half-remembered dream, a lush, damp
drone that smears low-frequency gloop on the back of your brain and creepily watches you itch
from across the room. The sounds might be relatively friendly, but an undercurrent of aloof unease
makes this music thornier than one might expect.
    Spanish/Swiss artist Francisco Meirino’s tape, “A Collection of Damaged Reel Loops”, is the
most overt embrace of this boxset’s corrosion theme. This is the album that seems almost like a
document of a process. It’s messy in the best sense and sounds pretty much like the title implies.
Damaged loops judder from one speaker to another, lurching in and out of view under a patina of
amp buzz and dirt, occasionally letting a source sound (a voice? a melodic fragment?) slip into the
frame and mercilessly yanking it back out. The clicks of hands on the physical objects (a sound I’m
always particularly fond of) are present, altering play speed, clunking on buttons and changing
out a sound in (what seems to be) real-time. Meirino seems to base these two 14-minute sections
on a single loop that appears in different forms over and over. Whether you find this meditative (in
a William Basinski sort of way) or irritating is up to you.
    The other on-the-nose interpretation of the set’s title is the tape by Fossil Aerosol Mining
Project. This group has been recording since 1983, but only self-released a couple of cassettes
before an explosion of activity starting in 2008, which hasn’t let up. Since Helen Scarsdale has
been their biggest champion, it’s only fitting that their “Hydration Disequilibrium” album is included
as part of this set, and it’s a great one. Six pieces built from skipping records and worn, slowed-
down tape coalescing into a hypnotic, deeply mesmerizing suite. Echoes of commercial music
(marches? jingles?) rise to the surface, then stretch and blur into compellingly unsteady tones…
the effect is similar to Zoviet France’s “Shouting at the Ground” period, seeming to evoke popular
music with all the meaning smeared into the dirt like a several-generations-removed photocopy
that someone spilt coffee onto, or a tape that’s been dubbed over and over until just a faint
reminder of outline remains. I fell asleep several times while listening to this one. Enjoyable as
    The music by Swiss artist G*Park/Marc Zeier has been some of my favourite stuff since I was
a kid and first heard his “Yack Park” album in the early 90s. Since then, Zeier has been decidedly
non-prolific. From the sound of it, I assume that it's rather labour-intensive to create. G*Park music
is comprised of non-linear clumps of mystery wrapped in horrifying silences with no clear pattern
or signal about what might happen next. The other 9 tapes on “On Corrosion” have a vague
narrative quality, but not G*Park’s “Nosode”. This is a defiantly alien and deliberately disorienting
shock of abstraction. For as many times as I’ve listened to this, I still can’t quite anticipate where
it’s going or what to expect. Luckily, since Zeier releases music so infrequently, I’ll have plenty of
time to attempt to wrap my brain around “Nosode” before another album emerges.
    The fireworks conclusion of the box set is “Torn Asunder: The Half Girl”, an album of fierce
screaming noise and industrial ugliness by Ester Karkkainen/Himulkalt, This final blast is far more
aggressive and violent than anything else in the set. Hints of power electronics show themselves
as plodding beats anchor Karkkainen’s screeching feedback and downer static throb. Himulkalt is
out for blood… her voice is distorted and menacing, fractured and uncomfortable and intensely
powerful. Other tapes in the box seem carefully controlled and measured; in contrast, Himulkalt is
an explosion of raw energy.
    Naturally, on a box set that’s ten albums long, not every component will appeal to everybody.
For me, I couldn’t get into the tape by She Spread Sorrow, aka Alice Kundalini. Kundalini speaks/
whispers portentous lyrics over sparse industrial blips and anaemic drum box tap… and, eh, it’s
just not for me. Maybe if you’re a fan of Master/Slave Relationship or Etant Donnes, you’ll dig this
more than I did. Alice Kemp’s album was also a challenge for me to get through, and I can honestly
say that I only enjoyed some of it. “9 Dreams of Erotic Mourning” begins with some church-organ-
ish dirge followed by onanistic moans and skin slapping that… eh, also not for me. Call me a
prude, I don’t care. If the sound of solo sex through a delay effect is your thing, you’ve hit the
jackpot here. Other songs are fragile affairs with hovering electronics, running water and minimal
acoustic percussion. Kemp’s voice is a shattering whine on “Corpse Garden Practices”, splitting in
two as she hits a painful-sounding high note and holds it for probably longer than a doctor would
    By the way, have a look at Haynes’ stuff online to see how it's connected to the concept
behind this set: he uses corroded, rusted, weathered materials… or, better yet, check some of it
out in person if you ever get the opportunity. If you’re one of the lucky ones to be able to grab a
physical version of this handmade wooden box, you’ll also have some of Haynes’ art to admire.
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