number 1215
week 2


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FEN - NO ONE'S ISLAND (CD by Mikroton) *
SINK (CD by Mikroton) *
 KANGAROO_KITCHEN (2CD by Mikroton) *
GIANLUCA BECUZZI - THE BUNKER YEARS (2006-2014) (CD by Standa)  *
KK NULL & DEISON - YUGEN (CD by Standa) *
 Sources Recordings)
 Pikap Records)
OLSSON & RUBIN (LP by Barefoot Records)
BEN CAREY - ANTIMATTER (12" by Hospital Hill)
MIKE WEIS - IN LOW LIGHT (cassette by Notice Recordings)
 Aphelion Editions)
THOMAS SHRUBSOLE - TAPE MUSIC (double cassette by Parenthetical Activities)
OPERA FOR THE DEAF (DVD by Bolt Records)

FEN - NO ONE'S ISLAND (CD by Mikroton)
SINK (CD by Mikroton)

Mikroton does their releases in a whole bunch, so some for this week and a big one for next
week, or maybe the one after. We start with the work between Lars Akerlund and Eryck Abecassis.
From both of these gentlemen, I reviewed a bunch of solo works before but also works in
collaboration with others. Most notable is that both have worked with Kasper T. Toeplitz. Lars
Akerlund in a duo called Inert/e and Abecassis is part of the group Kernel, performing works by
Toeplitz. I believe the latter is a bass player and the first a composer of electronic music. The
credits on this release read as 'MIDI controllers, modular synthesizer and Ableton Live', to be
used by the two of them. There are seven pieces here, divided over sixty-two minutes. The
shortest being three minutes and the longest is thirty minutes. Although it is not mentioned, I can
imagine they went into a studio together, going through the material in a rather improvised way,
but only as a starting point to generate sound material. Once there is a whole stack of that, the
work that we call composing starts. It is hard to say to what extent they edit their material, and
also how much of this contains bits and pieces from various sessions. Maybe it is all-
straightforward, and each mixed piece is a session by itself, and in the mix, there is the
composition, the dialogue, if you will, between the sounds. Just as well, I can imagine they
move their bits all around and look for the perfect dialogue within everything that they recorded.
I am sure this is just I trying to imagine working processes between Akerlund and Abecassis and
probably not a major interest to anyone. The outcome is what counts here and being somewhat
familiar with their previous work, I am not surprised that this is some heavy type of electronic
music. Noise, however, is not the preferred genre here, as they know how to be quiet, as the
proof in 'Aruk'. That's the longest piece here and it moves from inaudible to loud and from drones
to cracks and back again. This is something to play with considerable volume so that the quiet
parts get the attention they deserve and the loud section form this pleasantly oppressive wall of
sound, ripping your speakers gentle apart (almost). This is an excellent and one that should not
only appeal to modular aficionados.
           FEN stands for Far East Network and has onboard four musicians from Singapore, Japan,
China, and South Korea. Otomo Yoshihide started this in 2008 and it was all to connect in a way
for Asian artists, with a shared "difficulty communicating due to differences in their cultures,
languages, historical backgrounds and political situation". Besides Yoshihide on guitar, we have
Ryu Hankil (Max/MSP), Yan Jun (electronics) and Yuen Chee Wai (guitar and electronics).
Whereas much of what Mikroton releases is expressly listed as 'anything but improvisation', for
this one it is clearly said it is improvised. "They pursue "performing together through improvisation"
as a method and "never talk about music" as a private code", the label says. The music here was
'produced, mixed and mastered' by Lasse Marhaug and he did a great job there. It sounds no
longer improvised but organised into some great form of noise meets rock. Important for that are
the two guitars here, strummed with great vigour, almost like a rock band. The guitars howl and
sing, but the other two players, using their electronics and laptop techniques in a similar
uncontrolled manner. I understand there is some political idea behind all of this: "Here they
explore the nuances of the current political situations worldwide which is a mesh of inner and
outer laws and decisions taken everywhere and all the time such as visa system, and the gap
between official political tension and people’s everyday life. All this affects our understanding
and expressing, making human condition complex and inefficient. Why human spend so much
time applying for a visa instead of creating art and listening to each other?" For all I know this
is not reflected in the actual music and for all I care of hardly any relevance; to me that is. I am
sure this has a meaning for the musicians and for people who find this relevant. I hear some
great music. I hear some expertly played noise music, some great guitar sounds, some excellent
electronics and it all results in forty-three minutes of some furious music. Maybe there is some
anger and pain there about the "current political situations worldwide" that were set to music.
I can see that, for sure. I also hear some great, almost noise-pop tunes in here. Great release.
           For the next release, I am not sure if Sink is the 'band' name or that if it should be listed
by the four individual players. On Bandcamp it says 'Sink by Andrea Ermke / Chris Abrahams /
Marcello Busato / Arthur Rother' but it also says "Sink was formed in Berlin in 2004", so there is
some confusion. Despite starting in 2004, this is their first CD, notwithstanding a track on the
Echtzeitmusick Berlin compilation (see Vital Weekly 835). Mikroton describes the music from
Sink (as I will continue to use) as ranging "from typically Berlin Echtzeitmusik related mixed
electroacoustic and acoustic soundscapes which can, but need not, result in a minimalistic
groove". As a quicker refresher, from Vital Weekly 796, a review about Echtzeit Music Berlin, the
book, that term stands for 'real-time music', perhaps another word for improvisation? And yes, I
realize it could also be score-based compositions being performed in real-time. Here we have
four players, Andrea Ermke (minidiscs), Chris Abrahams (Yamaha DX-7), Marcello Busato
(drums) and Arthur Rother (electric guitar); all of them from Berlin, all them with strong ties to
the improvising scene in that city. They play long pieces. Three of these are between thirteen
and fifteen minutes and one is eight and one four minutes. Within those time frames, they move
quite a bit around and they do so in a minimal way. Exploring a set of limited sounds, let them
unfold and develop for some time, and then slowly each of the players starts shifting towards
something else. The Yamaha DX-7, for instance, plays a few sounds at the start of a piece,
vague and non-descript, but slowly it expands into an organ-like drone; Busato plays the
cymbals for some time and then you realize he's also doing something else, but you notice this
only when he longer is playing the cymbals and he's playing the drums, toms and hi-hat in a
lovely minimal way, as he does in 'Little Did We Know', with the jarring organ at the end. Ermke's
mini discs are loaded with field recordings (I think) and Rother's guitar wanders about, melodic,
spacious and sometimes sounding, unlike a guitar. There is some great interaction going on
here; they take their time exploring the material, but also make sure it is always moving and
changing and throughout it is all very gentle music.
           Gentle music is perhaps not the word to use for the next one by Joke Lanz, Jason Kahn,
Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller and Christian Weber, all of them also known as Switzerland's
best when it comes to improvisation. Duties are divided thusly: Lanz on turntables, Kahn on a
modular synthesizer, radio, and mixer, Möslang on cracked everyday electronics, Müller on
iPods and electronics and Weber on bass and revolver (and yes, that sounds intriguing). The
five of them did a small tour together in September 2018 and brought them to Kaliningrad and
Moscow and these two recordings can be found on this double CD. This is some heavyweight
music, as all of these musicians are known for their love of all things loud (well, maybe Kahn
not so much). I am not sure if we are dealing here with a straight live recording, picked up in the
space the music was produced, or if each player was recorded independently and then everything
was mixed. Judging by the music, I would think either is possible or, also very likely, the music is a
mix of a recording from microphones and lines straight into the mixer. There is an excellent rough
tumble in these sounds. Lanz' vinyl skipping is a strong presence, the radio dial is always on the
move, slipping in commercial music in an equal amount to radio hiss, whereas the cracked
everyday electronics always provide a hotbed of clicks, cuts, crackles and beeps. It is more
difficult to guess what Müller and Weber add; only when the proceedings drop in volume you
hear the bass and perhaps a whim of field recordings. Dynamic the music certainly is. When it is
loud, it is quite loud, but these men know how to control the volume, let it slip back and offer
something that is almost subdued. This happens on sparse yet important moments. It prevents
this from becoming an all-around noise festival. The first night, in Kaliningrad was a bit extremer
in approach than the night in Moscow, which I found a bit more balanced. This double CD shows
the depths that these men can go in their game of playing together. (FdW)
––– Address:


All three of these gentlemen have a production much bigger than what washes up upon the
shores of Vital Weekly. KK Null and Gianluca Becuzzi have been active since the mid-1980s and
working with a lot of different projects. In the latter's case, I know him better from the project
Kinetix, which he started in 1999 than his earlier membership of Kirlian Camera or Pankow.
Since 2006 Becuzzi also uses his Christian name to release music, and, in relation with Kinetix,
I would think the one under his name is a more personal project, away from the sometimes
somewhat sterile computerized music of Kinetix. The eight pieces of 'The Bunker Years
(2006-2014)' are a compilation of tracks that he did for obscure compilations, on CDR, online
and two of these are previously unreleased. The Bunker is the name of his house and studio. I
know, I said his music is more personal here, but as I am playing this over and over again, I am
less and less sure why I think this is the case. Perhaps my doubt also lies in the fact that I have
very little idea what Becuzzi does when he is holed up in his bunker to record music. A bit of this
seems to be dedicated to the use of electronics, but I would think there is also some heavily
processed percussive sound at the basis of this all. All of the processed bits and pieces find their
way onto the computer and are used in pieces of sound collages. None of these collages is very
abrupt, as Becuzzi takes his time to move from one section to the next, with extensive crossfading.
All of this comes with a sufficient amount of reverb, delay and whatever else the world of plug-ins
has to offer. I would think that what ties these pieces together is the percussive element of this,
even it seems absent, such as in 'Requiem For J. Baudrillard (And The Post Modern Age)';
maybe the drones here were created from stroking a cymbal with a bow (something that also
happens in other pieces). It is as dark as the cover predicts it would be and it is some perfect
mid-winter music.
           Both KK Null and Deison are musicians who love to collaborate, either in person or
through the exchange of sound files. I would think this is an example of the latter, as for Null
it says recorded at 'Prima Natura Studio Japan' and Deison at '1st Floor Studio Italy'. He takes
credit for 'field recordings, sound processing' and Null for 'electronics, noise'. I can't say anything
sensible about how this worked out. Did Deison process also sound supplied by Null, or vice
versa, perhaps? Or is a question of overlaying independently created sound work and see what
dialogue can be formed? As said, I don't have the answer to this question. Both men are known,
well perhaps to some, for their more radical sonic enterprises (although Null more than Deison),
to avoid the word 'noise' (as a genre, not as an instrument). While the music here isn't necessarily
very quiet, it is also not the loudest and we see both gentlemen venture into the world of rhythm.
Not techno-based, but rather minimalist beat stuff, inspired by the work of Pan Sonic. Interesting
enough one could say the same thing about some of the more noisy outings on this release as
well. A piece such as 'Nervi Scoperti' has some repeating sounds from a piece of vinyl that got
stuck and along with that comes a bit warped electronics. Sometimes the two dwell upon a more
ambient industrial/drone soundscape, thus creating a varied dish of musical interests. It is a
release to play with some considerable volume, as I found out, as it will you give a slightly more
presence of the music and it all shines a bit more. This is a collaboration that turned out to be
great! (FdW)
––– Address:


Here we have two new releases from Canada's Joycelyn Robert and they are both quite different.
'Resident Of Unit D' comes with this description; it is "a work about memory and it's recurrent
failings In our times, life expectancy has grown so much that most of us will see close friends or
siblings lose parts of their memory and go through the challenges of making sense from segments
of meanings that constantly try to escape and seem impossible to stitch together into a cohesive
discourse. This work came from seeing it a bit to close for comfort". The cover of this CD also
reads as '(p)resident of (the) unit(e)d (states)", in which light I could conclude, perhaps wrongly,
this is political work and that Robert believes the man in the White House is delusional. As said, I
could be wrong. It is very difficult to see the relationship with the music. The cover shows us a
dismantled piano and small speakers and maybe these are the sources from which the music
was made. There is one piece of music here on this CD, thirty-nine minutes long and it is an
action piece for piano sounds. I would think they are being hit with hands, sticks, mallets, using
the strings and the body as much as hitting the keys. Then these recordings are reworked on the
computer, creating a vibrant piece of musique concrete. What it has to with memory, I don't know,
or even what it has to do with the president of the United States, but it sure sounds quite
fascinating, if not a bit long perhaps.
    The other is a double CD with two pieces. On the first CD, the piece consists of two parts, and
it was all about a walk Robert took in Berlin. One of the right side of the street and one on the left
pavement. He recorded a video of the facades and noted the GPS coordinates and altitude.
These numbers were then used as voltage sources for the Buchla synthesizer at the EMS studios
in Stockholm and he recorded a few versions with various oscillator settings. He then mixed these
into thirty-minute pieces, just as long the walks were. There is not a lot of difference between both
pieces here; both are gentle pieces of drone music. The Buchla synth is very well suited to play
such drone-like sounds and in these two pieces, Robert does a great job. Of course, it is difficult
not to think of Eliane Radigue here, but no doubt in Robert's version of drone music things seem
to evolve a bit quicker. I would think that nowhere he stays in the same place for very long and
that brings some interesting variations to light here. 'Berlin X' seems a tad lighter than 'Berlin Y',
but that's about all when it comes to differences. Great stuff anyway.
    Something entirely different is 'Berliner Zeit', still connected to the two walks, in which he
uses a recording of the seven clocks in the lounge of EMS that has the same time but don't
produce the same sound (I don't remember these clocks from my visit, albeit some time ago).
"Each second is divided into seven ticks. One is a reference click, then there is one for each value
from the GPS: x, y and altitude from the 2 walks. The x, y and altitude variations were then applied
to each corresponding click as a drifting factor for each sound. To render the progression in the
journey, I simply added one millisecond to each of the clocks". Whereas the two pieces last exactly
thirty minutes, this one is exactly sixty minutes. It is a very conceptual work here, with these shifting
click sounds that don't stay in any place at all but move back and forth all the time. Concept-wise
but perhaps also a bit the way it sounds reminded me of Alvin Lucier's 'Clocker', but with the
exception that again here with Robert things move a bit faster. Despite that faster moving, I must
admit this is not very easy to digest. Ten minutes would give you the same experience and
enjoyment; perhaps this is the sort of minimalism that I am not ready for yet. (FdW)
––– Address:

 Sources Recordings)

Sjöström is a Finnish artist with a broad background. He has studies and experience in his
pocket on contemporary composed music, improvised music and also visual arts. His music
studies brought him to the US in the 70s, followed by Austria. He toured Finland with the Derek
Bailey Company in 1985, worked intensively with Cecil Taylor since 1990, etc, etc. As a sax
player, he became an important force in the European scene of improvised music. Cellist,
composer and improviser Guilherme Rodrigues is of a younger generation. He studied classical
music in Lisbon but soon got attracted to improvised music. His career as an improviser is
extensively documented on releases mainly by Creative Sources Recordings. One of his latest
chapters in the catalogue of this label is this first collaboration with Sjöström, who plays soprano
and sopranino sax. No idea how they met, but sure it was a very good idea as this recording
proves. They inspire each other for some very gentle and elegant improvisations. Short and
pronounced improvisations that are mostly moving between one and four minutes. It is very
condensed and communicative. They have many ideas to share and built together with some
excellent and inspired dialogues. Unbelievable this is the first meeting. This not only shows they
are experienced and superb musicians but also very much attuned to each other. They
complement each other perfectly. There is no hesitating and searching behaviour here. On the
contrary, every movement is effective and to the point; very vibrant and lively improvisations.
Pure joy! (DM)
––– Address:

 Pikap Records

Thessaloniki-born Floridis is a veteran of Greece jazz scene. After finishing physics he studied
classical clarinet and became a professional musician in the 70s. In 1979 he and Sakis
Papadimitriou recorded one of the first, if not the first record of improvised music in Greece:
‘Improvising at Barakos’. Over the years he played with many musicians from the Greek and
European improv scene (Peter Kowald, Paul Lytton, Paul Lovens, Jean-Marc Montera, Mark
Charig, Milos Petrovic, etc.). But also with Bulgarian clarinettist Ivo Papazov, known for his
interpretations of gipsy and Balkan music. Floridis was also co-founder of the Black Sea
Orchestra (that included Papazov, Okay Temiz among others) concentrating on traditional
music from this area. That Floridis is very much familiar with the traditional music of the Balkan
area surfaces on several of the nine compositions on this record that have him playing the
clarinet, alto, live electronics and voice. This is most evident where lyrical folk-induced themes
pop up. In an improvisation like ‘Cyber Emotions’, he plays sax with a jazzy phrasing. But even
more this record shows his love for an experiment. Using diverse live electronics applications
he lifts his improvisations into more abstract territories. His actions are transparent and
proportionate so that one experiences the different ingredients and layers that make up this
coherent musical work. This is a work with many dimensions from a devoted and inventive
musician, released by the Thessaloniki-based To Pikap Records label. (DM)
––– Address:


There are musical projects around for a very long time that somehow don't seem to get the
recognition they deserve; like a much-applauded career overview box-set on CD or LP. I won't
list the names I am thinking of, but Brume is certainly such a project. Christian Renou has been
active for a very long time, over thirty-five years I would think, and has released a wealth of
cassettes, LPs and CDS. So there is some recognition surely. After all these years he still records
new material, still as Brume; there was a short time, from 2000 to 2008, he used his Christian
 name. Looking at his impressive discography of Discogs, I can safely say I only heard a small
portion of his work, but I always liked his approach. At one point I called it the 'no silence allowed'
approach. In the world of Brume, there always seems to be sound and not the absence of it,
which others sometimes require in their music. On some of the older releases, there was also
the 'no samplers used' message, a bit like Queen and their 'no synthesizers' stance. I always
had this vague notion that Brume was a man with a multi-track reel-to-reel recorder, a synthesizer,
a microphone and objects and he would fill up his tapes with sounds and then mix these; very
much like a painter would organize his colours and do a picture. That might, of course, be not
true and merely a romantic notion I have. There is always some psychedelic element to be found
in the music of Brume. It goes on and on, transporting the listener through a variety of coloured
fields. Sometimes these are dark tints, but sometimes there are lighter ones as well. According to
the cover, Brume worked on this record between 1993 and 2017; I assume not the full twenty-four
years. The music on this new record is no different from what we know from his earlier work; no
silence indeed. Yet there is something else that I do think is different (and I already mentioned
that I have not heard all the work he did) and that is the first side of this record contains some
mellow music. I believe to hear synthesizers, guitars and effects and Brume doing a take on
cosmic music. This is no silent, but surely in quieter place than we are used from him. It slowly
develops into a nice guitar melody; spacious and calm. That too is something I had not heard in
his music before. It's almost like hearing The Durutti Column when it was still, production-wise,
in the hands of Martin Hannett.
    The second side sees him in a more noisy territory, with disjointed voices, swirling electronics,
slowly moving, fading and cutting in and out of the mix. Here it is the usual slightly chaotic
approach of Brume, blurring the lines of composing and improvising, but still with that slightly
psychedelic objective in mind.
    Should you encounter the name for the first time, this record could serve as a pretty good
introduction. Should you be a long-time fan, then waste no time (either); there are only 100
copies of this record available and by the time he's recognized by a wider audience this will be
one of those lost gems of his catalogue. I hope that would happen, as Brume's music deserves
such recognition. (FdW)
––– Address:

OLSSON & RUBIN (LP by Barefoot Records)

In Vital Weekly 1198, Dolf Mulder discussed a solo record by Henrik Olsson, now it's time for a
record he did with Ola Rubin. This is a duet for electric guitar (Olsson) and trombone (Rubin)
and much of the time it sounds like something else. Both of them have quite a history when it
comes to playing improvised music. Olsson was part of the Penumbra Ensemble, The Hum
(Vital Weekly 1183), EHM and Hand Of Benediction, next to playing with a whole bunch of
others. Rubin was part of Swedish Fix and played with Leila Bordreuil among others. On this
new duo record, there are fourteen short (between one and four minutes) of furious
improvisations. We don't always recognize the original instruments; especially the trombone is
difficult here most of the times, such are the techniques used by Rubin. I could believe there are
some electronics used, but there is no evidence of that on the cover or the information. Each of
these pieces is almost like an explosion going, even when it is all quiet and subdued, such as in
'IIIIIIIII'. It is chaotic, nervous, noisy and it cracks open like a bunch of acoustic objects thrown
together. In "IIIIIIIIII', the tenth piece, it becomes a bit of free jazz, oddly enough for the first time
that happened. I very much enjoyed the direct approach in these recordings, like they were
almost directly in your room, sitting next to you, playing the guitar with a bunch of cutters and the
trombone gets all the treatments not according to the rule book of playing the trombone. At times
for me a bit too improvised, but when it all resembled something like electro-acoustic music (less
the electro then obviously), with four hands and a mouth used these instruments as objects,
rather than the instrument they were intended for. I enjoyed the furious music it resulted in quite
a bit. (FdW)
––– Address:

BEN CAREY - ANTIMATTER (12" by Hospital Hill)

From Sydney hails Ben Carey, who is described as a saxophonist, composer and technologist
and in 2016 he got his PhD b "interactive musical composition" and teaches that stuff in the
same city. His work was about the development of "interactive performance software:_derivations"
and is now fixated on "modular synthesis". In 2017 and 2018 he worked with "live interactions
with complex and unwieldy networks of electricity, realised on a small Eurorack modular
synthesizer system" and the three pieces on this 12" are the result of that. It spins at 45rpm, but
don't let it mistake that for a record of dance music. This is not. This is very clearly the work of
modular synthesizer work at its more experimental side. On the first side, there are two pieces, of
which 'Peaks' is a single sound that keeps evolving and transforming in what seems a slightly
random way. It's nervous and unsettling, but with quite a fine result. 'Larsen', named after Søren
Absalon Larsen, the man who discovered feedback, is a piece that owes very much to the world
of early electronics. Feedback is at the source, but with the various transformations, going up and
down the route, cutting in and out of the mix it becomes a very fine piece of collage music.
'Networks Articulated' fills up the entire second side of the record seems to combine both of these
interests into one solid piece of music. Loose sounds are sparkling about, but at the core, there is
a whole neural network buzzing and feeding and droning about, like a bunch of organs out of
control. At the full sixteen minutes it is probably too long; well, too short is also a possibility. Would
this have been an hour or so there would have been an entirely different perception of the piece
and if it was much shorter, say seven minutes, it would have left something to wonder about the
intensity, but at sixteen minutes that element seems to be a bit lost, in what seems otherwise a
very fine piece of music? (FdW)
––– Address:


More and more I believe that everything that comes from the Hungarian house of Unsigned is
made by a small group of people using different aliases. However, I am not always sure what the
differences are between all the names. I understand that behind Fixtur Externe we find Rovar17,
who is responsible for "editing, mastering & Mixing, effects, loops, noises, software instruments",
while "gong, handbell, lyrics & words, musical box, pipe, toys, xylophone" are by Zopán Nagy.
The bass on the first track is by Xpldanglke. The six pieces here are a collection of live recordings
which were "then fucking mixed!", as it says on Bandcamp. Like before for the Unsigned label,
this is a release that deals with the use of rhythm. This is not dancing music per se, but there is
quite some heavy use of rhythm here. Slow and menacing, while along there are quite a bit of
electronics sparking about. There is also, indeed, vocals but the lyrics are quite the mystery. They
can be more Dadaistic or a gothic mumble; it's hard to say. I am sure it means something to
someone. It does add to the somewhat dark nature of the music, that much is sure. It is all slow,
revolving around slow bumps of the drum machine and Nagy adding his instruments, even when
it is not always that clear; only handbells was something that stood out. Each of the pieces has a
slow development as well, with very little moving about but that works within the dark and
atmospheric mood of the pieces quite well. It is all bass-heavy and that is a guarantee for some
oppressive intense listening session. I would think this is part of the post-production of the live
recordings, yet that might not be the case. This is an uneasy yet pleasant set of pieces. (FdW)
––– Address:

MIKE WEIS - IN LOW LIGHT (cassette by Notice Recordings)

The previous occasion the name Mike Weis popped in these pages was in Vital Weekly 1203, in
a review of an LP by Blood Rhythms, which he played on. He was also a drummer in Zelienople,
from Chicago, whose music I have not heard (still; it's been referenced a few times). Since then
he plays solo music and explores 'into meditation and ritual in music performance', to which end
he uses the "tongue drum, dholak and changgo, as well as gongs, bells, singing bowls, dharma
bell, moktak and objects". All of this played live and comes to use without further editing. He
doesn't play rhythms per se, not the sort of rhythm at least that you would expect a drummer to
play. The eight pieces on this cassette are mainly slow and very atmospheric in approach. I would
like to believe that Weis sets up his drum parts in unusual locations and captures the mood of the
place in his pieces. On the insert, we read that this music was recorded outside, during the Yule
season in Indiana, in a forest surrounding, and still, it is hard to tell what is the sound of the
environment and what he played but all the crackling and hissing sounds that give this warm sort
of lo-fi quality to the music. It's like there is a bunch of hissy cassette loops in there somewhere,
and that's what it is probably not the case. I have no clue how Weis plays his instruments, but it
sounds fascinating. There is masterful minimalism at play here, or slowly moving sticks upon
surfaces, bows upon a gong, and the occasional rhythm. In the penultimate piece, there is
something of a rhythm, but in the other pieces, it is all rather rattling, humming, bowing with
occasional slow drum pattern being repeated over and over. I would think there is some great
Zen-like atmosphere in the music here, and yet it is also suitable for people are not into meditation
at all, such as myself. I was reminded of Z'EV here, in his most moody guise. Great cassette, this
one! (FdW)
––– Address:

 Aphelion Editions)

If I have to review something by musicians whose work I reviewed before there are surely some
expectations when something new arrives. In this case that wasn't easy. From Stuart Chalmers I
reviewed quite a bit of work, usually to be found in the realm of lo-fi musique concrete with
extensive use of cassette and Dictaphone work; in the case of Claus Poulsen, it is a bit more
complicated to say anything about genre or style. He operates in different musical fields, from
noise to improvisation and surely something else as well. Yet, what I am served here is quite a
surprise; a pleasant surprise at that. They call this 'fifth world' music, which is, of course, a bunch
towards Brian Eno and Jon Hassell's 'fourth world' music, which the latter described as "a unified
primitive/futuristic sound combining features of world ethnic styles with advanced electronic
techniques". With Poulsen and Chalmers one also gets a bit of trumpet playing, feeding through
delay machines and other effects and it gives the music quite the spacious character. Not like
Eno's approach but it is certainly all quite refined. Some string instruments are being plucked
(maybe a guitar, maybe something altogether more exotic), some electronics, and this entirely
spacing out for some time. I have no idea who plays what here, but I would guess Poulsen is the
trumpet player and Chalmers the man on the strings, whereas both control their usual array of
electronic pedals. All of this is a tad less defined than Eno/Hassell did and Poulsen/Chalmers
take their time to explore the improvisations; maybe a bit long at times? I enjoyed the idea very
much and was surprised by the somewhat ambient atmosphere created here and I think if these
men were stuck in a studio for a few days it could lead to bit more concise pieces that could be
on equal par with the music that inspired them. It has all the right connections but requires some
editing. (FdW)
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THOMAS SHRUBSOLE - TAPE MUSIC (double cassette by Parenthetical Activities)

Inside a cardboard box, we find two cassettes, some glossy cards and a glossy 48-page booklet,
with collages, misprinted photos and such; no text. The cassettes last altogether two and a half
hours of music. Shrubsole, who we once knew as Subloam, delivers another massive set of
music; as Sub Loam he once released 'The Portable Archive', a set of three cassettes. As the title
of the release tells us, this is 'Tape Music', and according to the notes, Shrubsole uses a whole
bunch of reel-to-reel machine manipulations and cassette Walkman’s. Improvisation wise he
taped his sources, including a soprano saxophone, electric piano, hand percussion, household
objects, scrap metal and "various analogue devices". All of this put down to tapes as well as
manipulating these tapes while playing the sounds. In much of his older work, this would result in
a sort of lo-fi drone work, but in more recent times he expanded his horizon and it has become
altogether something else. There is a fine sense of improvisation here, resulting in noisy outings
with feedback, in 'Feedback Forms', vinyl abuse in 'Primary Construct' (or perhaps spliced up
short bits of tape? I am not sure there), and tape manipulation of objects and instruments.
Sometimes the saxophone can be recognized easily and one is reminded of the 'studio-as-
instrument' approach of Nurse With Wound; the whole collage approach from the nurses is
certainly an influence here, I would think, but Shrubsole sure takes his time here, not being limited
by the medium of cassette and it’s length, which he has in abundance. Some of these pieces take
up a bit too much time and some more cutting and splicing would have been in order. Now we
have the whole process and that is maybe for die-hard fans. I am someone who is certainly a
great fan, but I wouldn't go as far as being a die-hard fan. I certainly enjoyed this, taking it in
smaller doses at a time. (FdW)
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OPERA FOR THE DEAF (DVD by Bolt Records)

Although we normally have a running order of formats, I place these two at the end. This is not a
review. This is nothing for Vital Weekly. I copy some information from the label's website and
urge them to think about why they send us these. We are not equipped for this sort of thing and
we want to let it unmentioned either.
           About 'Kuba Krzewiński - Incorporate': "Two musicians map and stroke their string
instruments, testing their sound, bodies and the boundaries of their own private spaces. Two
other musicians sit opposite one another and, in a choreography of gestures, play the sounds of
an imaginary piano and bass drum. The latter is also played by another performer who uses sign
language to sing a song about strangeness, accompanied by a solemn double bass player.
Finally, in the clean, white interior bows move across bare skin, and heads are adorned with
horse-tail, not human, hair. All this is emphasized by the rising ambient based on instrumental
samples. Kuba Krzewiński’s compositions have a strong performative aspect which makes
listening to them in just audio difficult to imagine, so publishing a DVD is no whim. They are
indeed the new, multimedia chamber music which is situated at the intersection of arts, sound
and image, gesture and touch and takes up themes which go beyond music. At the same time,
the author himself—just like earlier Jagoda Szmytka or Wojtek Blecharz—is a fervent supporter
of the fight against the incorporeality of contemporary music. The Polish scene is evidently going
through a performative turn, as proven by the record in your hands."
          About Opera For The Deaf: "The intuition about what the world of the Deaf could look like
came at the very end. After going through all of the obligatory points in these kinds of projects:
about exclusion, clash of cultures, violence and liberation. A shadow of an understanding
flickered into existence in a moment of greatest misunderstanding—when the hearing musicians,
directors, librettists and the Deaf actors, poets and dancers were unable to create an ending
together for the “Opera for the Deaf”, a piece they had been all working on. That is why the
performance, which premiered in November 2018 at the STUDIO The­atre Gal­leryin Warsaw,
has two different endings and essentially tells two different stories, although they share the
same order of scenes, images and sounds."
          There is more to read on the label's website. I repeat: this is not something we are at all
capable of reviewing. (FdW)
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