number 1227
---------------------
week 14
---------------------

 

Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the releases reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html

Listen to the podcast on Mixcloud!


before submitting material please read this carefully: http://www.vitalweekly.net/fga.html

Submitting material means you read this and approve of this.


help Vital Weekly to survive:




and become a supporter!



Important notice: Vital Weekly relies on receiving actual promotional material through the
letterbox and in the past few weeks this seems to be getting more and more difficult due to
various borders shutting down. For our publication, this means a dilemma. Do we continue on a
weekly basis, albeit much smaller or maybe bi- or even tri-weekly in the size you may be
used from us. Currently, we have not made up our mind about this, and we will see this as
it plays out. You will see Vital Weekly arriving, but it might be with a bit of a delay.
    To all labels who mailed us something in the past 3 weeks and a review has not yet
been published we ask to send us links to places where we can download the music and
take the review from there. If you are planning to send us something, please do so. It may
turn up one day. However, feel free to direct us to a place where the music can be
downloaded. For the moment we do not plan to review download-only releases. For our
publication to survive we rely on the sales we do and donations coming in. There might be
a time in the future we offer free work, but not just yet.



BEN BERTRAND - MANES (CD by Les Albums Claus) *
JAN MARTIN SMØRDAL - CHOOSING TO SING (CD by Sofa Music) *
OWL - MILLE FEUILLE (CD by Sofa Music) *
KEN IKEDA & EDWARD LUCAS - LOST & FOUND (CD by Earshots) *
QUATOR BOZZINI – ANA SOKOLOVIC: SHORT STORIES (CD by Ambiances
Magnétiques) *
ENSEMBLE SUPERMUSIQUE – VOIR DANS VENT QUI HURLE LES ÉTOILES
  RIRE, ET RIRE (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques) *
JOANE HÉTU/CASTOR ET COMPAGNIE – SI TU LE VEUX (CD by Ambiances
  Magnétiques) *
JAN MARTIN SMØRDAL - CHOOSING TO SING (CD by Sofa Music) *
OWL - MILLE FEUILLE (CD by Sofa Music) *
JAC BERROCAL & DAVID FENECH & VINCENT EPPLAY - ICE EXPOSURE
  (CD by Klanggalerie) *
ROMAN HAUBENSTOCK-RAMATI - DECISIONS/STUDY IN FORM (2CD by
  Bolt Records) *
BOGUSŁAW SCHAEFFER - DIALOGUES (CD by Bolt Records) *
PAULINE OLIVEROS & ALAN COURTIS - TELEMATIC CONCERT (LP by Spleen
  Coffin) *
E.M.I.R.S. - SIDECHAINING (CDR, private) *
MODELBAU - THE END OF THE BEGINNING (2xCDR by Humanhood) *
MODELBAU - UNREQUITED (t-shirt/download by Barreauh) *
MODELBAU - ARCADIA (lathe-cut 5” record by Humanhood) *
MODELBAU - SYNCHRONY (CDR by Econore) *
LABAS KRABAS - KRABAS MUSIQUE DE ULTRA (CDR by Chocolate Monk) *
WITCYST & PRICK DECAY - CUSTIC WITH CONFLICTORY AND IN THE POLS (CDR by
  Chocolate Monk) *
KAREN CONSTANCE - NOTHING TO SEE, HEAR (CDR by Chocolate Monk) *
FLESHTONE AURA - INFINITY KEYSTROKE (CDR by Chocolate Monk) *



BEN BERTRAND - MANES (CD by Les Albums Claus)

Last year I had the pleasure to see two concerts by Ben Bertrand. I knew his CD 'NGC
1999' album (see Vital Weekly 1129), which I quite enjoyed. I liked his take on loop pedals
and bass clarinet and it made some fine minimal music along the lines of Jo Hassell and
Gavin Bryars. However, seeing the two concerts I was even more impressed by his music
and the techniques he used to get the results. The first concert was in the intimate
surroundings of Extrapool and the second in an old, mediaeval chapel but with some
outdoor festival sounds coming in. The first one I enjoyed best because of the intimate
atmosphere and Bertrand proved to be a master of his instrument, but also of all the
surrounding technology. The concert was a great ambient affair, reminding me, indeed,
of Hassell, but also O Yuki Conjugate and Jorge Reyes, allowing for some additional
minimal percussion loops. None such as present on his third release, I must say, but once
again, Bertrand plays some awesome music. The bass clarinet is sampled on a bunch of
devices and on top of that Bertrand plays some delicate tunes. Nowhere one has the idea
of listening to loops, as there is a beautiful organic flow in the music. Adding one more
layer in the lower regions, adding an extra melodic line and then he uses his electronics
to slowly change the colour of the pieces. Again this is a short album (and again it is also
available on LP, hence the duration), but I would think this quite a leap forward. It's minimal,
it's ambient, it's melancholic, it is not mechanic and it is a spacious affair. If the man plays
in your area, then make sure to see him play and you'll be amazed. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.lesateliersclaus.com/les-albums-claus



JAN MARTIN SMØRDAL - CHOOSING TO SING (CD by Sofa Music)
OWL - MILLE FEUILLE (CD by Sofa Music)

Norway's Sofa Music continues their excellent stream of releases with two rather surprising
new ones. The first is labelled 'classical' and the second 'electronica'; maybe they are, but
just as well, they might not. First, there is the music of Jan Martin Smørdal, who has toured
 with Jenny Hval, Hanne Hukkelberg and Jessica Sligter and now spends his time composing
works, among others for the Ensemble NeoN, which he co-founded. They perform the pieces
on 'Choosing To Sing', with the composer on a sinus tone, piano and acoustic guitar, in one
track for each of these instruments, as well as Eiving Lønning on trumpet on six of the eight
pieces. He is a father of twins and some of the chaos that (so we are told by the press text)
causes is reflected in these pieces; it goes from loud to quiet, from introspective to chaotic.
The music is a very much a display of all of that. Is it 'classical'? Maybe... maybe not. This is
one of those things that give me a hard time. The music, I would think, is not unlike that of
Zeitkratzer Ensemble, with the players using their instruments in all sorts of peculiar ways.
Bending, scraping, scratching and yes, sometimes, it also sounds a flute, clarinet or cello.
But listen to the short piece 'Responses', with the rattling of piano strings and you could
imagine a small piece of musique concrete. There is some refined minimalism in some
of these pieces, something the label is known for, such as in the fierce 'Call II' but also in
a very percussive way in 'React II'; rattling, so the cover tells me, of trumpets, flutes, clarinets
and 12-string guitar. Just as easily I would have believed this to be a bunch of tin cans. This
is a highly varied release and it is just damn fine; regardless of what you want to call the
music.
           Something slightly different is the music by the duo Owl, being Signe Emmeluth
(alto saxophone, electronics, recorders and percussion) and Karl Bjora (guitar, electronics,
percussion). Their work is more along the lines of improvisation, I should think, but the tag
says something else, ‘electronica’, and listening to the music I can see why. The six pieces,
one being twenty-one minutes and the others in a total of a similar length (it is also available
on LP), have that electronic feeling; the hiss and beep undercurrent if you will. Sometimes
it is locked away in the background, distantly hovering about but then all of a sudden it is
a strong presence in the interaction between the guitar and the saxophone. Following the
label's intention to release minimalist music (if that is, in fact, their mission; I don't know),
Owl's music have these minimal tendencies at times, but also they breakthrough with some
hectic and nervous interaction, such as in 'Let's Crackle'. The title of the album means 'many
layers', named after the French cake and is not about the practice of using many layers in
the recording process. I would think that all of this was more or less played 'live in the studio'
and there has been little to no overdubbing. The pieces that the most freely improvised is
not my cup of tea, I must admit, but once things go quiet and there is a fine, delicate balance
between instruments and electronics, I found the music to be subtle and disturbing, sometimes
at the same time. (FdW)
––– Address: http://sofamusic.no



KEN IKEDA & EDWARD LUCAS - LOST & FOUND (CD by Earshots)

If you start looking, it is everywhere; this CD was recorded at "Lock Down Studios in the
lost tower hamlet of Ratcliff". How prophetic? I don't think I heard of Edward Lucas before,
who gets credit here for trombone and feedback. Ken Ikeda has been present over the years
in these pages, usually playing with other people and has moved from his early, Oval-inspired
work to a full-grown improviser. It's there where we find the music he recorded in 2018 with
Lucas. The trombone is played in such a way we still recognize the instrument, and perhaps
that makes that this release is something more suited for our resident free-improvisation
reviewer but as I was playing this, I thought there was something quite captivating here, for
me, as someone who is not averse to the music, but also not always the biggest fan. Perhaps
it is that thing that is called 'feedback' on the cover, or the synthesizers played by Ikeda; I have
no idea what kind of synthesizers they are, but I bet these days it is a set of modular ones. The
interaction between all three components, trombone, synthesizers and feedback is great. The
recognizable trombone versus the more alien sounds of all things electrical. In these five
pieces, spanning forty-two minutes, there is a lot of tension, above and below the surface.
There is hectic, there is introspection, the interaction and there is exclusion, where these two
men aren't listening to each other. In the end, they always get back together. Some of this is
surely not for me, but then some of this I thought was highly fascinating music. (FdW)
––– Address: https://earshots.bandcamp.com/



QUATOR BOZZINI – ANA SOKOLOVIC: SHORT STORIES (CD by Ambiances
  Magnétiques)
 
Quator Bozzini is a very enterprising and  focused quartet operating since 1999. Members are:
Clemens Merkel (violin) , Alissa Cheung (violin), Stepahnie Bozini (viola) and Isabelle Bozzini
(cello). Most of their challenging projects  concern  modern experimental composers as you
may know from earlier reviews. This time they concentrate on some compositions by Ana
Sokolovic. She is a composer from Belgrade, Serbia. She studied at the University of Novi Sad, 
Belgrade and Montréal where she is settled since two decades. She has composed for
orchestra, solo piano, chamber music ensemble and theatre. The quartet choose following
compositions to perform: ‘Ghost 1”(2015), ‘Commedia dell ‘arte I-II-III’(2010-2013), ‘Ghost 2’
(2015) , ‘Blanc dominant’(1988) and ‘Troisième page après le soleil’ (2013). ‘Commedia dell’
arte’ is the central work, on this release, a composition in 10 parts, inspired on this old Italian
theatre tradition. Each one with its own characteristics. But all are  very lively and dramatic
with dominant elements that are playful and accessible. The composition is preceded and
followed by two other ultra short compositions: ‘Ghost I’ and ‘Ghost II’, the first one being very
up tempo, while the second one in contrast is a very meditative and reflective piece. ‘Blanc
Dominant’ is inspired on another art form, contemplating the abstract paintings of Guido
Molinari. Sokolovic proves to be a composer of  very intense and dynamic music with
influences of (Balkan) folk music and theatre. In the hands of Quator Bozzini her compositions
come in a very inspired and concentrated performance. (DM)
––– Address: https://actuellecd.com/



ENSEMBLE SUPERMUSIQUE – VOIR DANS VENT QUI HURLE LES ÉTOILES RIRE,
  ET RIRE (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques)
JOANE HÉTU/CASTOR ET COMPAGNIE – SI TU LE VEUX (CD by Ambiances
  Magnétiques)

The first generation of musicians from the Ambinaces Magnétiques from Montréal are
still very productive. This counts for example for Ensemble Supermusique, founded in
1999 and directed nowadays by Joane Hétu and Danielle Palardy Roger. Their projects
always are about crossing borders between improvisation and composition, using electronic
as well as acoustic instrumentations. This time the ensemble is compiled of: Isaiah
Ceccarelli (percussion), Guido Del Fabbro (violin), Jean Derome, Lori Freedman (clarinets),
Joane Hétu (alto sax, objects), Pierre-Yves Martel (violin de gamba, cither), Danielle
Palardy Roger (direction), Alexandre St-Onge (electric bass), Scott Thomson (trombone),
Guillaume Dostaler (piano), Rémy Bélanger de Beauport (violoncello), Guido del Fabbro
(violin) and Jean Derome (alto sax, flutes, objects). No electronics this time on this live
recording that was “part of the exhibition of composer Symon Henry’s graphic score ‘Voir
dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire, et rire’”. Symon Henry is a young multi-disciplinary
artist and researcher, interested in combining concert music, visual arts and poetry. For
this new work he wrote a 168-page hand-drawn graphic score. It is a work in six parts
taking almost 52 minutes, played in one continuous flow. The graphic scores a series of
very abstract and minimalistic drawings. So I guess each performance is totally different.
As interpreting graphic scores leave plenty of room for the musicians, who make their own
individual choices in interpreting the graphic score. For so far this can be called a setting of
improvised music to some extent, it is not one whereby the performers directly respond to
another. But surely they also made their choices considering the dynamic, etc of the total
sound and flow of the music. The work continues more or les as a continuous stream, built
up from often long extended movements and gestures by the performers. The music unfolds
gently and cautious, leading up to delicate and fragile constructions,  united by the direction
of Danielle Palardy Roger.
    Another long-standing collaboration is Castor et Compagnie, started by Hétu in 1992.
With this project she tries to shed new light on the ‘love song’, exploring new relations
between text and vocals on the one hand and music on the other. After a long silence she
presents now her third album of this project with music and texts by her hand. Performed
by a quintet of veteran musicians: Joane Hétu (vocals, alto sax, objects), Jean Derome
(sax, flute, keyboard,  objects, voice), Diane Labrosse (sampler, voice), Pierre-Yves Martel
(electric bass, synthesizer) and Pierre Tanguay (drums). Vocals (and texts) play a prominent
role, and are essential for understanding what is happening here. Alas my knowledge of
the French language is far too limited. Concentrating on the music then, we hear experimental
song formats, of a style and quality we are used too from Hétu and her companions. They
may be  not very surprising, but again they are full of funny twists and arrangements with
sensitive and expressive vocals and playing. It’s intimate atmosphere and drama is not
to be missed. (DM)
––– Address: https://actuellecd.com/



JAN MARTIN SMØRDAL - CHOOSING TO SING (CD by Sofa Music)
OWL - MILLE FEUILLE (CD by Sofa Music)

Norway's Sofa Music continues their excellent stream of releases with two rather surprising
new ones. The first is labelled 'classical' and the second 'electronica'; maybe they are, but
just as well, they might not. First, there is the music of Jan Martin Smørdal, who has toured
with Jenny Hval, Hanne Hukkelberg and Jessica Sligter and now spends his time composing
works, among others for the Ensemble NeoN, which he co-founded. They perform the pieces
on 'Choosing To Sing', with the composer on a sinus tone, piano and acoustic guitar, in one
track for each of these instruments, as well as Eiving Lønning on trumpet on six of the eight
pieces. He is a father of twins and some of the chaos that (so we are told by the press text)
causes is reflected in these pieces; it goes from loud to quiet, from introspective to chaotic.
The music is a very much a display of all of that. Is it 'classical'? Maybe... maybe not. This is
one of those things that give me a hard time. The music, I would think, is not unlike that of
Zeitkratzer Ensemble, with the players using their instruments in all sorts of peculiar ways.
Bending, scraping, scratching and yes, sometimes, it also sounds a flute, clarinet or cello.
But listen to the short piece 'Responses', with the rattling of piano strings and you could
imagine a small piece of musique concrete. There is some refined minimalism in some of
these pieces, something the label is known for, such as in the fierce 'Call II' but also in a very
percussive way in 'React II'; rattling, so the cover tells me, of trumpets, flutes, clarinets and
12-string guitar. Just as easily I would have believed this to be a bunch of tin cans. This is
a highly varied release and it is just damn fine; regardless of what you want to call the music.
           Something slightly different is the music by the duo Owl, being Signe Emmeluth (alto
saxophone, electronics, recorders and percussion) and Karl Bjora (guitar, electronics,
percussion). Their work is more along the lines of improvisation, I should think, but the tag
says something else, ‘electronica’, and listening to the music I can see why. The six pieces,
one being twenty-one minutes and the others in a total of a similar length (it is also available
on LP), have that electronic feeling; the hiss and beep undercurrent if you will. Sometimes
it is locked away in the background, distantly hovering about but then all of a sudden it is a
strong presence in the interaction between the guitar and the saxophone. Following the
label's intention to release minimalist music (if that is, in fact, their mission; I don't know),
Owl's music have these minimal tendencies at times, but also they breakthrough with some
hectic and nervous interaction, such as in 'Let's Crackle'. The title of the album means 'many
layers', named after the French cake and is not about the practice of using many layers in the
recording process. I would think that all of this was more or less played 'live in the studio' and
there has been little to no overdubbing. The pieces that the most freely improvised is not my
cup of tea, I must admit, but once things go quiet and there is a fine, delicate balance between
instruments and electronics, I found the music to be subtle and disturbing, sometimes at the
same time. (FdW)
––– Address: http://sofamusic.no



JAC BERROCAL & DAVID FENECH & VINCENT EPPLAY - ICE EXPOSURE (CD by
  Klanggalerie)

The name Berrocal I first read about in the early '80s, in the Dutch magazine for new music
Vinyl, in a review about a festival in Reims. I think I first heard his music as part of Nurse With
Wound with 'Rock N Roll Station'. I don't think I ever heard a solo record by him. Maybe such
is the nature of musicians who make a living with improvised music. To the long list of people,
he worked with he now adds David Fenech and Vincent Epplay. The first plays guitar (mostly)
and drums (a bit) and the latter percussion, editing, synths and so on. Jac Berrocal is on his
trusted trumpet and vocals. The sixteen songs were recorded between 2012 and 2017 and
are mostly short, with an average length of two and a half minutes. That brings an interesting
dynamic to this album; one that we might label as 'songs'? While improvisation is surely the
basis of the music, there is a fine amount other influences, one of this being the somewhat
energetic, punky approach in some of these pieces. Be it a drum machine, voices (sung or
found), repetitive synth sounds. The trumpet is the one instrument that remains the same,
sounding like recorded in a tunnel; oddly enough there are pieces in which Berrocal either
plays the trumpet or sings, so that brings some fine variation in the music. Not every track is
a sure-fire winner, but as nothing lasts for a long time, that doesn't matter, I guess; some tracks,
such as 'Car Havana Midi' are great, almost a form of aggressive pop music (it is also one
of the few tracks in which Berrocal plays the trumpet and sings). Fenech's guitar is spikey,
the drum rolls gently and straightforward and there is much else to enjoy in terms of ornamental
sounds and production. This is quite a lovely release, all around. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.klanggalerie.com/



ROMAN HAUBENSTOCK-RAMATI - DECISIONS/STUDY IN FORM (2CD by Bolt Records)
BOGUSŁAW SCHAEFFER - DIALOGUES (CD by Bolt Records)

The releases from the Polish label Bolt Records contain what could be labelled new music
(and yes, most releases we review contain new music, but you know what I mean), walking
a fine line of modern classical music, improvisation and such like. It means that we sometimes
have no idea about the content, and then, sometimes, we do. These two releases are a good
example of this fine line.
           First, we go to "I don't know' and that is the piano music of Boguslaw Schaeffer
(1929-2019), whose 'Klavier Konzert' was used in David Lynch's 'Inland Empire'. The label
writes on the website: "Schaeffer did not avoid situations in which the threat of revealing a lack
of textural ingenuity would be greater than when composing for nine instruments, including
two xylorimbas, two celestas, two harpsichords and two vibraphones. He also composed for
two pianos, for piano four-hands, and even for a clavichord. This album invites you to listen
to five such pieces presenting the composer’s strategy of attention to “texture in the service
of form and expression, ”but which are also free of “shortcuts.” The music is filled with notes,
as I understand Schaeffer to be some sort of anti-Feldman composer. It is just not the sort of
music Vital Weekly writes about. This is too modern classical for us, and way outside our field
of expertise.
           No doubt one could say the same of the other new release by Bolt Records that is
something we have little to no knowledge of. Two CDs, individually packed in digipacks but
together in a slipcase and containing works by Roman Haubenstock-Ramati. Early on in his
career, he spotted the paradox for new music and their scores; "works created according to
the method gave their authors the status of a creator in total control over their material, and
at the same time submitted them to the dictates of rigorous solutions imposed by the logic of
the procedure. Such pieces, thus, did not limit discoveries in material, but impacted the
inventiveness of the form." He came up with mobiles, moved by air, constantly changing the
way they looked. It would have been great if the booklets (which contain a suspicious amount
of repetition) would have shown us examples of these scores. "This kind of arrangement of
components allows repetition as a method of exploring different properties of such forms
because the performance of the forms supposes that different properties will become apparent
(audible) depending on the context in which they are presented." One CD has three works
performed by Reinhold Friedl and the other contains electronic pieces; I assume two as
performed or recorded by the composers, and the title piece performed three times, by Thomas
Lehn, Peter Ablinger and Mark Fell respectively.
           The three pieces by Friedl are a delight to hear. He uses the total of the piano, keys,
strings, body and plays these with his hands as well as, so at least I assume, with objects and
devices. This being by Reinhold Friedl, someone whose work I love very much and who I rank
among the best when it comes to extraordinarily playing the piano, I know I wouldn't be
disappointed. No, peek at the score necessary, and we dive into forty-two minutes of his piano
treatment. Introspective, sparse, quiet at times, certainly in 'Catch 2 - Version 2', come 'Study In
Form', the third and final piece, Friedl opens up his toolbox (and perhaps we should take that
literally) and gets it all out for a full-on attack (that is probably the wrong word here) on the piece.
Playing bells, with a bow, with perhaps some motorized device, he brings on the whole complex
of sounds, quiet ones, very loud ones and everything in between. It's abstract, it's melodic, it
has to sustain notes and a whole arrangement of percussive sounds. This is some excellent
music. But then, I didn't expect anything less from Friedl.
           The electronic CD is altogether something different. There are two pieces by
Haubenstock-Ramati from 1957, which I think are very much products of their time; reel-to-
reel manipulations of objects and sine waves and the glissandi produced by tape-
manipulations. It is good music, but by now also quite traditional, I'd say. Apparently, 'Decisions'
contains eighteen pages of abstract notation and no comments or instructions. The three
interpretations o the composition use part of it or all and it goes a bit far to repeat what is
also to be found in the booklet. Thomas Lehn opts for an interpretation in which he analyses
the images and uses frequency ranges to be played on his VCS synth. Ablinger only uses
a small part on one page, and his field recordings are from a song used by Piotr Szczesny
when he self-immolated as a protest against the Polish government. A curious short piece.
Fell uses lots of small sounds, guitar maybe, hiss, field recordings and sound wonderfully
vague and acoustic. Again, seeing a bit more of the score would have been great in this
instance. (FdW)
––– Address: http://boltrecords.pl/



PAULINE OLIVEROS & ALAN COURTIS - TELEMATIC CONCERT (LP by Spleen Coffin)

The telematic aspect of this release is the distance between Pauline Oliveros and Alan
Courtis. She was playing her accordion at the Deep Listening Institute's Dream Festival
(in October 2009) in Kingston, New York, while Courtis played via a digital connection
 from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he lives. It almost sounds like the current 'concert
from home' situation with the coronavirus running rampant. Despite the way, this set-up
worked the results are pretty interesting. Both players are a fine match when it comes to
improvised music, albeit with heavily textured drone music. As said, Oliveros on accordion
and Courtis on "unstringed guitar feedback sounds" and what I expected didn't happen.
There is a bit of improvisational hectic at the beginning on the piece, but when it settles on
fierce drone music, it is that what it is. There are four pieces or movements to be noted in
this music, with some moments of relative tranquillity before that. The first one is the most
improvised one, in which the two strike an almost percussive note, but once they settle upon
sustaining tones, they explore that with some force. I don't know how this was recorded, but
I would think there is some pick-up of the music from the space it was played in (on Oliveros'
end), which may account for some of the harsher edges in this music. It bursts with energy,
due to the waves produced, the feedback arriving from afar and when playing this is quite
the brutal soundtrack. It is deep listening music but one that transports you to some old
 fashioned noise. I understand this release is the first in a new series of "unreleased
recordings from artists' archives", and if what's coming is of equally great quality, I'd say:
bring it on. (FdW)
––– Address: https://spleencoffin.com/



E.M.I.R.S. - SIDECHAINING (CDR, private)

Hot on the heels of 'The Crystalline Burlesque' (see Vital Weekly 1222), Quinten Dierick,
also known as E.M.I.R.S., presents a sort of parallel record to that one. He recorded this as
he was working on the other one, which is highly varied; outgoing and filled with synths,
voices, vocals and field recordings. This one is quite a sober release. I would say there isn't
much by way of field recordings, or voices and much of this is very much an album of
electronics. Not sure what kind of electronics can be found in the studio occupied by E.M.I.R.S.
(in the next city to the VWHQ and yet never visited), but surely a variety of old-timers,
monophonic ones and no doubt a bunch of small, new ones, such as the Korg monotron.
These go into a bunch of electronic devices of which the compressor is used on all of
these pieces, 'as an instrument and a means for composing', Dierick wrote to me, hence
the title. Indeed the music is quite sober. Five lengthy pieces of music, totalling close to an
hour and in each of these, the development is minimal. The drones are heavy on the low
end, but on top of that, there is at times a small bit of action, such as the cling-clang in the
faraway background of 'Sidechain'. In 'Carrier-frequency', the music is broken up into smaller
particles, loops or samples if you will. 'Guitar, Tapeloop And Organetta' are filled with the guitar
being played by the e-bow and very rusty sounds on the organ and tape-loop. The other
three tracks are over ten minutes and oddly more minimal than the two below ten minutes.
They are less outgoing and more restricted to the drone end of it all. There is dystopian,
oppressive sound in these pieces, I think, but perhaps that's some pandemic paranoia
speaking. This is an entirely different album than the predecessor from a few weeks ago,
but then we live in entirely different times. (FdW)
––– Address: https://belchsingersonggrinder.bandcamp.com/



MODELBAU - THE END OF THE BEGINNING (2xCDR by Humanhood)
MODELBAU - UNREQUITED (t-shirt/download by Barreauh)
MODELBAU - ARCADIA (lathe-cut 5” record by Humanhood)
MODELBAU - SYNCHRONY (CDr by Econore)

Not even a worldwide pandemic can hold Frans de Waard back! The hardest working man
in noise business, de Waard has four new albums out under the Modelbau banner… though
that number might increase by the time this newsletter goes public. Compared to his output
under other “band” names, Modelbau has a distinct pacing, where Frans lets sonic elements
linger and develop without rushing towards new events. This is particularly successful on
“The End of the Beginning”, a double-disc set published by Humanhood Recordings, that
prolific powerhouse of a label run by the chameleonic composer Thaniel Ion Lee. “The
End…” is one of the most hauntingly lovely Modelbau albums to date. I hear cymbals,
gongs, tape hiss and quiet rustling with gaping pauses between each event. There are
even tracks of melancholic meandering, such as the wavering theremin-like voice that
leads “IV” with a bare backdrop of reflecting flutter and deep, rounded bass tones burbling
from below. Some tracks seem downright cinematic; rain and rustling ambience accentuated
by de Waard’s ethereal melodies that glide over resonant metal or radio interference as if
scanning the surface of an unknown planet. Other tracks are evocative futuristic panoramas,
desolate and menacingly featureless. Imagine standing on an alien desert, swept by alien
winds and rain and you’ll be getting close to the moods evoked by “The End of the
Beginning”. The album uses it’s format quite well, justifying its two-disc length with an
immersive experience.
    One of the formats that the Thaniel Ion Lee seems to love is the 5” lathe cut record…
Humanhood sure publishes a lot of them. Perhaps the draw is the small edition size,
making them potentially collectible for folks who find such things appealing.  As you might
imagine, a 5” lathe-cut record has a rather brief running time, which Modelbau’s “Arcadia”
exploits to present two versions of a 3-minute tune… not a pop song, but more outwardly
melodic than other, more abstract, Modelbau product. “Dreamland I”, on the first side, has
a lonely percussive (xylophone?) melody at its core, bundled up in a warm blanket of
dense organic crackle. The flip side, “Dreamland II”, has a subtle rhythm made from deep
 throb. If you buy the digital version of “Arcadia”, you get both songs plus alternate versions
of each piece. 
    The “Unrequited” is not available physically, at least not in the sense you might be
thinking of. It’s not a tape or a CDR, but a t-shirt… yep, it’s a t-shirt! You order a Modelbau
t-shirt from Barreauh with the album’s art printed on it. The art features a rectangular white
space, and your shirt has a unique Bandcamp download code on it. Use your code to get
the album. Alternately, you can just download the album from Barreauh’s Bandcamp if the
shirt is sold out, but then you won’t be able to show off how wicked underground you are
by wearing a Modelbau t-shirt at the grocery store. “Unrequited” begins with a positively
vicious blast of open-air whitenoise, which twists and churns, pulling squealing hiss and
nothing-noises out of the chasm. For a long stretch on the first track, I think I hear the
semi-regular rumbling roll of rocks in a clothes dryer (though I’m sure I’m way off in my
guess of the source sound). The pieces builds to something of a denser climax, eventually
coalescing into a smooth electric hum. That trademark Modelbau atmosphere of amplified
silence heard through a city bus window on a rainy afternoon is well-done here, but it’s
a noisier and less contemplative album than the previous two. 
    If the contemplative side of Modelbau is what you’re after, “Synchrony” is the album
you want. This is as close as Modelbau gets to ambient music, without the sharp edges
or alienating blankness of works like “Unrequited”. Sure, the trademark Modelbau
components are here… the first sound is amplified emptiness, syrupy hints of melody,
muffled voices with the language removed… but as it continues, “Synchrony” shows itself
to be more accessible than the other recent Modelbau. As I listened to this, I found myself
succumbing to the cranial massage supplied by churning low tones, lulled by the second
and fourth tracks’ cosmic fizz, charmed by the fifth and sixth tracks’ brittle synth burbling…
it’s not ambient in the same way that de Waard’s Quest project is, but there’s some audible
overlap and a similar sense of static serenity. (HS)
––– Address: http://barreuhrecords.bandcamp.com
––– Address: http://humanhoodrecordings.bandcamp.com
––– Address: http://econore.bandcamp.com



LABAS KRABAS - KRABAS MUSIQUE DE ULTRA (CDR by Chocolate Monk)
WITCYST & PRICK DECAY - CUSTIC WITH CONFLICTORY AND IN THE POLS (CDR by
  Chocolate Monk)
KAREN CONSTANCE - NOTHING TO SEE, HEAR (CDR by Chocolate Monk)
FLESHTONE AURA - INFINITY KEYSTROKE (CDR by Chocolate Monk)

I find it exciting every time Chocolate Monk drops another armload of new releases. Let’s
begin with the gibbering nonsense that is Labas Krabas, aka the duo of Greta Buitkute/Odie
ji Ghast (singer for Historically Fucked, which is an objectively excellent band name that also
succinctly describes the world right now) and Thomas Tyler. Buitkute’s glossolalia defines
this album, so if you’re already a fan of yelping, slurping, language-adjacent sound poetry
yowl, then here’s a new voice to alternately coo and shriek into your ear. The non-vocal
parts of this album seem to be made from crude tape gibberish, pause button action run
through delay effects and an ensemble of busted cables shorting out. I enjoyed the tracks
that were more balanced between the voice and non-voice elements, such as the plastic
guitar skitter of “Bringing Onions”, the backwards masking assembly of “Popping Grapes”
and the minimal woozy tape ugliness of “Bye Alligator”. Most tracks, however, give the voice
prominence with the non-voice sounds treated as accompaniment. I found myself craving a
more unified group sound, but then perhaps that wasn’t the group’s intention and so it’s my
expectations that are the issue. In any case, fans of the awkward will find plenty to get creeped
out by here.
    The singular eccentric Michael Veet/Witcyst releases more music than any human can
reasonably consume in a lifetime. It wasn’t all that long ago that a 4xCD compilation of his
lathe-cut records from the 90’s was put out by Pica Disc and End of the Alphabet. I don’t think
I’ve even listened to that entire thing yet. But if the prospect of four CDs seems daunting, how
about this: Veet posts most of his tapes and CDRs up for free online at etps-
lifespace.blogspot.com… there were 950 titles there as I type these words. And yet, despite
the overabundance of Witcyst product currently available, any self-respecting underground
weirdo also needs “Custic With Conflictory And In the Pols”, which is a previously unreleased
cross-hemispheric postal collaboration between Witcyst and Prick Decay (who were Dylan
Nyoukis and Dora Doll) from 1996, dusted off by Chocolate Monk and offered as a CDR.
Many of Veet’s solo recordings contain simply a loop or two repeating for and hour or more
with very little apparent change… but his (to my ears) best works are the trash collages that
incorporate suburban field recordings, mangled tape junk, song-ish gestures and general
hyperactive no-fi rubbish assemblies. “Custic…” is definitely of the latter variety of Witcyst
noise. Prick Decay has plenty of sonic empathy for Veet’s inscrutable missives, so the
collaboration seems a natural fit. Listening to this old/new album, we get a few acoustic
guitar ditties such as the lovely “Fake Storm Music”, which has some upfront vocal yowl
and a rewind-scramble rhythm section. Other songs are pure woozy disorientation, like the
distress call from the center of an ocean at midnight in the form of “Lordy Lord Said
Hematobin”, or fierce cassette abuse of “Mince-Scorn-Phut!”, which sounds like a child’s
piano lesson backed by Peach of Immortality’s unreleased 1988 soundtrack to a movie no
one remembers filming.
    Karen Constance’s latest has the same title and cover art as a previous album by Dylan
Nyoukis and purports to be a continuation/variation of same. I’m not sure I hear the connection
between the two albums, but I do hear patient tape loops evincing wear and grit, layered
around mud-sound disembodied voices and implacable everyday concrete clunk. A lengthy
section near journey’s end is comprised of a gloriously gunked-up cycle of accordion wheeze,
machine rattle and gusts of wind that disintegrate before your ears, eventually morphing into a
skipping children’s storybook record and ominous ringing bells, followed by scraping metal and
muttering grumble. What does it all add up to? Who the hell knows! It’s got the free-association
of a dream, as the best Chocolate Monk homemade brain-scratchers often do.
    Fleshtone Aura = Canadian strongman Andrew Zukerman, aka Charles/Charred Balls
and the Bennifer Editions label. “Infinity Keystroke” was recorded in 2014 and 2015 using a
Buchla synth (a magnificent instrument!) and tapes. It was initially released as a cassette, now
reissued as a CDR by Chocolate Monk with each of the tape’s sides presented together as a
 single track on the disc. This is one hell of an album… actually, maybe it’s short enough to
call it an EP, though it makes it’s point completely in just 20 minutes and doesn’t need anything
more. “Infinity Keystroke” is a high-velocity volley of electric crackle and sliced-up spoken/sung
interjections punctuated by pregnant silences, analog clunks and rapid-fire edits. The
spoken/sung language elements seem random at first, but they slowly coalesce into raw and
affecting emotion. This is particularly effective in the first pieces, which begin with some sort
of instructions for children and progresses into what seems to be an a capella rehearsal for
a pop ballad bothered by tone arm interruptions and circuit zap. The energy is deflated by
the album’s centerpiece, “Andrea’s Son, 3am”, starring the desperate rantings of some dick
screaming/sobbing to his girlfriend (?) on a rainy city street, angrily begging to be forgiven for
something I’m gonna guess he’s not truly sorry for… until the electronics cease and we’re left
eavesdropping on this jerk for several awkward minutes, long enough that his naked
desperation becomes almost pitiable. The synth and tape-collage elements dwindle,
bringing the piece to an elegiac close. It’s a lot to handle, sure, but all the more effective for
letting this pathetic character write his own sad, one-sided story (we never do hear the
girlfriend’s response, so I’m gonna assume she did the sensible thing and split) sans
authorial comment. The second suite of songs dispenses with the sharp jump-cuts, instead
presenting a moody machine rhythm and little girl’s charming, wordless oooohing and
aaaaahing. (HS)  
––– Address: http://chocolatemonk.co.uk










<