number 1229
week 16


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FEAN - II (CD by Laaps) *
ED WILLIAMS - SOLOS (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
GGRIL – PLAYS INGRID LAUBROCK (CD by Circum Disc/Tour de Bras) *
F/EAR THIS (2CD compilation by Silentes)
MATTERS - HANNAH/WESTERN (12" by Static Caravan) *
TH€€€F - TISSUES SAMPLES, 1 (CDR by Paraferal Sound) *
STAR TURBINE - THE STARS ARE ALIGNED (cassette by Skrat Records) *
LLARKS - FOREVER SONGS (cassette by Humanhood Recordings) *
MARABOUT ET LE VIDE (cassette by Econore)

FEAN - II (CD by Laaps)

The two brothers Kleefstra must have done something right in the books of new record label Laaps (the follow-up of Eilean Records). The first release on that label was by The Alvaret Ensemble, which is Jan and Romke Kleeftsra with Greg Haines, Joana Guerra, Olga Wojciechowska and Sytze Pruikema, now the second release arrives and this time they work as Fean, which is with their old buddies Mariska Baars (vocals) and Machinefabriek's Rutger Zuydervelt (electronics) along with Joachim Badenhorst (acoustic and amplified clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophone), Sylvain Chauveau (tuned percussion, radio) and Annelies Monseré (church organ, keyboard). Back in Vital Weekly 1157, I reviewed their debut CD, released by Moving Furniture Records. I am not sure if both albums were recorded at the same time; it could very well be, as there is pretty the same time working procedure. The music is improvised and highly atmospheric. There is lots of room for drone and space (this is recorded in a church), and sometimes the wind instruments played by Baadenhurst pipe up and add a musical note. Romke Kleefstra is on guitar and Jan has his Frysian poetry handy; there are lengthy excursions in which you don't hear him but then he drops a few lines, while the others continue. Everything is sparse and minimal, with a bit of percussion from Chauveau here, or Zuydervelt's, clearly the most abstract soundman here, with some equally sparse crackles and hiss. Everybody listens carefully to what the others are doing and that creates more space. Even when you have no idea what Jan Kleefstra's poetry is about (however, a translation is enclosed), and not many people speak the Frysian language, it fits the desolation that the music evokes. It is something the Kleefstra brothers have been doing for quite some time now, and come to think, it doesn't matter who they work with. The results are usually like this, with minor details changing per lineup; here, for instance, the wind instruments providing a slightly different approach. As I far as I know this is quite popular, but I wouldn't mind seeing them to a pop song one day; it doesn't have to be up-tempo or even sung. (FdW)
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Of course, you know Romain Perrot as the man behind Vomir, the harsh noise wall project and possibly his best-known musical project. But he's also a member of Trou Aux Rats, Roro Perrot, Kill and Maginot (see Vital Weekly 1205) and while none of those projects has the same harshness as Vomir, I think it is fair to say that Perrot dabbles with radical sounds all around. I best know Quentin Rollet as an irregular contributor to Nurse With Wound but was/is also a member of The Red Krayola, among many other projects within the world of improvised music. It is perhaps an odd pairing you may ask? Indeed, but like the inside of the cover shows them together in a studio with Rollet tooting a saxophone and Perrot behind various stands of electronic devices; if this is Perrot’s studio, he surely has more gear than one would anticipate on his Vomir project. Of the two, Perrot is the one who produces the most radical tones on his keyboards, electronics and even a bit of voice. There are stabs of white noise, hiss, peeps and cracks; synthesizer bubbling and bursting and never leap into something coherent, even when in 'Sans Aveu' has a repeating synth-line in the best industrial music tradition. It is mayhem all around and that's where Rollet fits in nicely. His alto and sopranino saxophones play a likewise chaotic tune and are certainly from the realm of free jazz. His saxophones aren't processed, not by Perrot, not by his hand, and they don't seem to be all present. Rollet also takes credit for synth and voice, so that may account for it. The result is a fine set of five pieces (between five and thirteen minutes) of intense music and by that, it is not said it's all a blast on the aural senses; far from it. In 'Grigorium Verum' the mood is dark, low in volume, heavy on the low-end and intense, with not a lot of wind instruments. Throughout there is no wall of feedback, no endless bursts of distortion, but sounds cutting in and out of the mix, especially in their usage of synthesizers. Noise and free-jazz meet up is not something entirely new, when we think Borbetomagus for instance, but Perrot and Rollet surely add their twist to the tale and do a great burst of energy here. (FdW)
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ED WILLIAMS - SOLOS (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)

Normally, I would think that releases by Creative Sources Recordings contain improvised music and as such the release by Ed Williams is no different. I quickly inspected it, to see if I would do the review or pass it on and I kept listening. Williams plays 'bowed classical and electric guitar on the three pieces here. I had not heard of him before. He is also a harpsichordist and composer and hails from Marseille, France. He is a member of Heard Of Bears, TANDEM and Grand 8 Ensemble. The three pieces on his solo CD were recorded live, two in Marseille in 2017 and one in New York in 2018. The latter uses the classical guitar and the two French pieces the electric guitar. What attracted me to these pieces was the minimalist, repeating phrases he played. In 'Spectrum NY', it started with a bow on the strings, quite forceful, followed by what was very gentle fingerpicking but once it derails, it is time for some more attack on the strings. In the two electric guitar pieces the sound is more metallic and in the first part also 'rockier'; it borders on the edge of distortion, with the bow placed in such a way that it creates overtones with fine, mild distortion. I was reminded of some older Jim O'rourke live recordings that I heard (and saw back in the day) and that is what, perhaps, attracted me to the music of Ed Williams. It has that delicate, fine line between something silent and introspective and something loud and dirty, within the space of a single piece, but with both ends tied to the world of minimalism, with slow but definite small changes in the music and the result is some most powerful music. This is something for those who aren't necessarily the biggest lovers of improvised music. (FdW)
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GGRIL – PLAYS INGRID LAUBROCK (CD by Circum Disc/Tour de Bras)

GGRIL stands for Grand Groupe Régional d'Improvisation Libérée, a collective of improvisers from Rimouski in Quebec, operating since 2007. For their projects, they invite composers to create new work. For this new release, they collaborated with German-American Ingrid Laubrock who worked with Anthony Braxton, Dave Douglas, Tim Berne, William Parker, Django Bates, Wet Ink Ensemble, Tom Rainey, etc. She is an important exponent of the New York scene as a composer and saxophonist. The ensemble counts twelve performers: Catherine S.Massicotte (violin), Rémy Bélanger de Beauport (cello), Alexandre Robichaud (trumpet), Gabriel Rochette-Bériau (trombone), Sébastien Corriveau (bass clarinet), Robin Servant (accordéon), Robert Bastien (electric guitar), Olivier D’Amours (electric guitar), Pascal Landry (classical guitar), Éric Normand (electric bass), Jonathan Huard (percussion) and  Luke Dawson (bass). In November 2018 they worked together, and the CD offers three of five pieces that were created these days: ‘Silent Lights’, ‘Stark Dark’ and ‘Palindromes’. In these three compositions, taking together some 30 minutes, she gives shape to very different musical ideas and strategies. Of course, these compositions give room to improvisation by the performers as well. Contrast is the keyword in this music. The opening work ‘A Silent Night’ is breathtaking and truly fascinating in its structure. The work is built from contrasting episodes making good use of the instrumentation of this ensemble. ‘Stark Dark’ is something else. It starts with an explosion of noise produced by the electric guitar, followed by undefined noises from the blowers. Then the sounds become more gentle and subtle, introducing an episode of breakable sounds built from short melodic elements by acoustic guitar and other instruments. ‘Palindromes’ unfolds in a very modest and quiet manner. Staying close to silence, it is built from short and reduced gestures, culminating at the start and near the end in a climax. A very interesting and satisfying release from this ensemble, documenting an inspired collaboration with Laubrock. (DM)
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Another interesting release by from Out of Your Head Records, a small label started by bassist Adam Hopkins. With interesting releases by Michael Attias, Dustin Carlsson, Nick Dunston and Hopkins himself in the back catalogue. ‘Deep End Shallow’ fits perfectly in this catalogue of young artists moving between jazz and Avant rock. Curt Sydnor is a young composer and plays keyboards in several New York-based bands. He debuted in 2015 with ‘Materials and their Destiny’ and ‘Deep end Shallow’ is his next step after a pause of four years. For the tunes he composed,  he absorbed many influences and experience from his many collaborations of the last few years. They are performed by Caroline Davis (saxophone), Greg Saunier (drums) and  Aaron Dugan (guitar). Same line up as on Syndor’s debut from 2015, except for Saunier who replaces Jordan Perlson. They are helped out on several of the tracks by Mikey Coltun  (bass), Ofir Ganon (additional guitar) and Jad Atoui (modular synth). Sydnor plays keyboards and vocals. All of the musicians are more or less new to me. Caroline Davis is a young talent on tenor sax, who debuted last year with her band Alula that includes Greg Saunier of Deerhoof. Bassist Coltun worked with Mdou Moctar, Les Rhinocéros and Aaron Dugan with Matisyahu, a band that blends rock, reggae and hip-hop with orthodox Jewish themes. Together they make up a very cohesive vehicle. Their fresh and attractive sound is keyboard-dominated and alludes to prog-rock esthetics. There is to be enjoyed imaginative guitar playing by Dugan and Davis excels on sax.  The music touches upon many influences. ‘Rus in urbe’ is a very jumpy piece with many (rhythmic) twists and turns. ‘Fieldgaze Variations’ is a romantic work breathing 19th century classical piano music. ‘Fall behind’ and ‘Them!’ reminded me sometimes vaguely of Zappa. Also, Miles Davis electro-funk came to my mind. ‘Deep end Shallow’ is a fantastic electric ride with a psychedelic finale. ‘Well of Stares’ has funky elements. In total, this is an album of solid compositions that are well-crafted. A very joyful and convincing album what makes me curious what Sydnor and his companions will be more capable of in the future. (DM)
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‘Stutter and Strike’ is a duo-work of Samo Kutin (modified hurdy gurdys, acoustic spring reverbs, percussion, objects) and Martin Küchen (sopranino and alto saxophone, percussion, snare drum, recordings). Kuchen is a very active Swedish sax player known of Angles 9 and many other collaborations. Samo Kutin is a younger Slovenian multi-instrumentalist preferring unconventional and self-made musical instruments and other sound-making objects. One of the instruments he likes to use is the hurdy-gurdy. He is involved in many Sploh-related projects and also a member of Sirom. For their nine improvisations, they use a diversity of instruments and objects. Combined with the extended techniques of Kuchen this is a guarantee for a wide range of timbres, sounds and colours. And it is this aspect of their work that fascinates most. Their improvisation comes close to pure soundscaping like in the drone-based ‘Planota’. Also ‘Uncaged (take 1)’ floats on a deep drone, produced by the hurdy-gurdy.  Both performers succeed in weaving friendly and poetic textures, with many subtle details. ‘Hammaröga’ is an exception and the noisiest and dynamic improvisations with undefinable sounds by Kutin and a howling sax by Kuchen. However overall, as is often the case with sound-oriented improvisation, dynamics and the energy of the interplay are a bit missed here. (DM)
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While I am not entirely certain, I don't think Ftarri has a long history in re-issuing old music, but in the case of Ami Yoshida's 'Tiger Trush', they re-issue a 2003 CD that was originally released by Improvised Music From Japan. Ftarri writes that in the early 2000s Tokyo was one of the centres for Onkyo-ha, a music style that featured "elements such as extended techniques and many faint sounds and silences"; think of the works by Taku Sugimoto, Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide, Toshimaru Nakamura and you get the jest. Yoshida was one of those musicians and she uses her high-pitched vocals to create "sounds that seemed to be squeezed out through the tight constriction of the throat". There are 99 tracks on this CD, ranging from seven seconds to seven minutes, but the vast majority being well under a minute. Although it is nowhere mentioned, I would think this is a CD that should be played in a random/shuffle order, even while it doesn't matter; this is not a work of sixty-eight minutes cut-up into 99 tracks. Every track is different. It deals with some extreme vocal sounds, high pitched and sometimes sounding as if someone is to strangle Yoshida; sometimes it sounds like kissing or sucking; I assume it was all recorded close of the microphone. There are also a couple of tracks, such as the 25th one (no individual titles here), of what seems an acoustic sound and delay. While this is pretty radical music, I also found it highly fascinating. Yoshida takes the listener on a radical listening experience with her voice and some additional sounds. There is very little silence here, not to the extent as some of her colleagues did in those days, which makes the radicalness even bigger I guess; so many different angles that she explores and so much to enjoy. Great stuff!
           The works I heard so far from Leo Dupleix (1988, Paris) were all in the realm of electronic music and improvisation, but here he presents a piece of music that works, I guess, with a score and is performed by Suidobashi Chamber Ensemble, Ura Hiroyuki and the composer. "The 7 musicians in the ensemble are "re-grouped" into 3 duos, while the snare drum part serves as the backbone for the ensemble. Each duo uses specific tuning systems, deriving from prime number partials in the harmonic series: 7th for guitar and bassoon, 5th for clarinet and viola, and 11th for flute and sine tones". The whole piece has seven parts, separated by a bit of silence. The instruments are flute, clarinet, viola, bassoon, guitar, snare drum and sine tones, and the latter handled by the composer. The piece was recorded live at Ftarri and is a beautiful, minimalist piece of music. It seems as if each section is the same but it is not, as small changes occur. In each part, there are smaller sub-parts to be noted and in each, there is a variety of sustaining notes to be heard. It sounds quite composed, even when the piece was rehearsed only a couple of hours before the concert took place. There is an interesting shift in dynamic to be noted within this piece and these players, subtly changing within each part, so it seems. It has both modern classical music feeling to it and yet also something more improvised. This is quite a beautiful release for quiet days and silent streets. (FdW)
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F/EAR THIS (2CD compilation by Silentes)

For me, K. Henry Dunham is a new name and so is the "ambient project" Our Lady of the Flowers of which is part. This here is his solo debut. The five tracks flow right into each other, and even if they have individual track titles, the pieces are culled from a thirteen-hour performance "to accompany an art show and film festival in Port Huron, Michigan". I am told the music was played at low volume, but that is not necessary to do at home. Turn it up a bit and you notice quite a bit of smaller details in the music. The music is made with "solar and ionic samples, Schumann Resonance, field recordings of sacred rites and mythic teachings, and lo-fi electronic devices". Voices play an important role in the music and they are fed through a bunch of sound effects, among which is a bunch of delay pedals. These voices are not to be understood but enhance the ambient effect of the music. It sounds like they were recorded in a massive hallway or perhaps it has to do with the way the recordings were made? I am not sure. The music has a fine flow to it, a spacious slow drift of sounds. Hissy, electronic, acoustic at times and it reminded me of wandering around an abandoned shopping mall at night where music and sounds are mixed. It's far away and close by and highly enjoyable. It made me curious about the whole thirteen-hour recording, to be honest; can we hear that somewhere? It would be interesting to see what choices have been made to create this fine selection and what didn't make it to the selection, even when I am not sure when to play a piece of such length.
           From Anacleto Vitolo, I reviewed music before, solo, in collaboration as Avsa and his K-Lust project. With Luca Buoninfante he released 'Life Forms' (see Vital Weekly 1130). This time the credits are like this; Buoninfante on objects, field recordings and laptop and Vitolo uses a laptop and effects. They have eight pieces here, recorded in July 2018. The previous release was quite a noisy beast in terms of improving and noise, but on this new one, they seem to be interested in finding another kind of balance, between the louder aspects and the more introspective moments in their music. Here, I would think a lot of interests come together and it is not easy to label the music, should you want to do that (and for a reviewer that is usually what he wants). That improvisation is at the core of it all seems logical to me. But it is improvised music that uses no conventional instruments and as such it connects more the world of musique concrete and live electronics. The acoustic object treatments play an important role in this music; scratching the surface of these objects, sliding them together and we have no idea what they are. Metal on metal, or wood on metal, plastic cups being broken, your guess is as good as mine. It works out pretty well among the many layers of hiss, static, drone and feedback and the result is a most sturdy piece of work. There is some fine interaction going here and while the music is not easy to access, there is much to be explored for repeated listening.
           And if a lot of the releases by Silentes are atmospheric affairs, the compilation 'F/ear This!' is something altogether different. It is a re-issue of a 2LP from 1986/1987, organised by Marco Pandin and a few others, including Vittore Baroni from Trax and all tracks dealt with the theme of 'fear'. This was the height of the cold war, of Chernobyl, of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Bhopal; lots of stuff to scare the living daylights out of you. The text Pandin wrote in December 2019 also talks about "fucking new wave bands and playing fucking synthesizers" and of course my opinion is slightly different. In lots of cases, the use of synthesizers was more 'punk' than playing the same three chords that Elvis also played. And listening to this collection of songs, thirty-two of them, there isn't a lot of synthesizers, I think, but also not a lot of punk. If anything, the music owes a lot to the free improvisation and rock in opposition bands from the seventies and eighties; people that could play their instruments. Only towards the end of the second disc, we find a band as Die Form with their industrial approach. There is a whole bunch of groups and musicians in action here, whose names I hadn't heard of before, or only vaguely remember, such as Look De Bouk, History Of Unheard Music, La 1919 or Scott Marshall, but such groups as Plasticost, Two Tone, Detonazione, The Blech, Politio, Embryo, Franti, Weimar Gesang, Body & The Buildings (great name, I thinks), Jane Dolman and Pete Wright, Massimo Giacon E Mimi Colucci, 2+2=5, Giorgio Cantoni, Orient Express, Gregoria R.U.S. Bardini, Doctor Nerve, Funkwagen, Davaiciass, and Rivolta are all new to me (or forgotten in the mist of time?). Some are better known or stable classics, such as Paroski-Eksta (with the Toniutti brothers), Thelema, Nurse With Wound, Possession, Nick Idkovsky & Limpe Fuchs, Don King and Annie Anxiety. When Pandin penned his words in December, talking about old fears he didn't realize that only five months later the world would be locked up in fear, his country (presuming he still is in Italy) being particular worse off. Maybe, the element of 'fear' is something that I didn't hear in many of the songs, and it was more a joyous reminder of what the 80's also where; a time of endless self-expression and do-it-yourself (with or without synthesizer, mind you) counter-culture, something we experience again, all locked up at home. (FdW)
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Switzerland based musician Cyril Bondi and D'incise work a lot together and are responsible for the Insub Meta Orchestra as well as working with other musicians. Since 2014 they work with Cristián Alvear, the Chilean guitarist and the three of them worked on together during two residencies in 2019, one is Osorno, Chile and in Geneva, Switzerland. Bondi plays percussion and D'incise plays electronic. I am not sure what the latter consists of. I tried looking for it online (to avoid being accused of laziness of course; we don't want that again) but couldn't find something satisfying. The music this trio plays is quite a minimal affair. Minimal and acoustic, despite the addition of the electronics provided by D'incise. I would think his part is the addition of field recordings, such as the voices in 'Segundo Pretexto' and 'Tercer Pretexto'; sine waves (I would think) in 'Cuarto Pretexto'. The guitar and the percussion play very minimal sounds; strumming the strings regular and without much change. The percussive bits are also very minimal, a rattle here and a strike there. All of this is captured in space with a microphone set-up in a room and everything is recorded without too many additional effects. It is almost like being 'there' with them, as they do it. At times I had the idea of some very faint folk-like music, but way out there, a very experimental form of folk music. Despite the sine waves, hiss ('Sexto Pretexto') and other obscure electronics it sounds like very peaceful music. A great release of wonderfully quiet music that isn't necessarily silent. (FdW)
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MATTERS - HANNAH/WESTERN (12" by Static Caravan)

It has been quite a while since I last saw a 12" slab of vinyl being released by Static Caravan. In recent years they did 7" vinyl, CDs, CDRs and the occasional USB drive or cassette. Now they release a 12" by Matters, a band from the UK, that consists of a guitarist, a synthesizer player and a drummer, although I have no idea which of these is played by Stuart-Lee Tovey, Brid Rose and Thomas Mark Whitfield. They have been around since 2015 and played quite a few shows in which lights and visuals play an important role. Looking at the various covers on their website, I would think there is a psychedelic edge to these, but then, so is their music. All of their releases so far are on Static Caravan, but all limited to cassette and lathe cuts. This 12"s is their first major release and contains two songs, 'Hannah' and 'Western'. The band plays music that encompasses various musical styles, techno, rock, cosmic music and al of that with the rainbow coloured skies of psychedelic music. Both pieces are long, seven to nine minutes and driven forward by the drums, as well as stabs on the bass synth and minimalist guitar playing, while anther synthesizer plays little cosmic arpeggios. It made me think of the days of post-rock, but the music of Matters is heavier, rockier than what I seem to recall from the post-rock daze of yesteryear. Both tracks start slow and low but once the get the wagon on the rails, speed and power pick up and off we go. It is powerful music, here at home, and I can imagine that a concert must be a real blast.
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Here's, perhaps, an interesting thought; how will touring be like, post-pandemic? Will we be able to get out as much we were used to doing? Or are we getting more and more online 'concerts'? What will happen with the tour release? Here's one from January 2020 when Drekka, Timber Rattle and Mykel Boyd hit the road in the USA and went to Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, St. Louis, Peoria, Chicago and Indianapolis. For me, Timber Rattke is the new name here, Mykel Boyd is someone whose music I know but not too well and from the music produced by Drekka, I am quite a passionate lover. We are served with one long piece per artist, so it gives you an idea. Drekka opens up with a piece of crumbled field recordings, out in a field, a call for prayer and some windy drones. It's massive and dark, which is something that can also be said of the piece by Timber Rattle, the longest of the three. Here too we have some sort of religious chant, at the start, which slowly develops into a deep, drone. I have no idea how this is made; a guitar perhaps, or a synthesizer? Maybe it is some homemade instrument. This too has a fine lo-fi sound quality to it, just like Drekka. Also, from Mykel Boyd I have very little idea how he produces his music, but somehow this seems to be the 'cleanest' in terms and it made me think he works (mainly?) with laptop technology. His piece, I would think, is made with loops and small transformations and whatever he uses s source material, one can no longer recognize it. It isn't as dark as the other two acts; more greyish than black, I'd say. It's not difficult to see why these three acts would go on tour, all fishing in a similar musical pond, but each with some interesting differences to the other. (FdW)
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TH€€€F - TISSUES SAMPLES, 1 (CDR by Paraferal Sound)

It seems that in Vital Weekly 1223 I made a mistake by stating that I more or less forgot about Niko Skorpio and the music he did. I realized that today when I got the third release by his TH€€€F project, which is to be pronounced as 'thief', which says something about the musical direction of this enterprise. "TH€€€F focuses on live sampling of random radio broadcasts and recorded music". I first heard his music as TH€€€F back in Vital Weekly 1095. I called it plunderphonics and perhaps that is still the best term to describe the music. I compared it to Nicolas Collins' 'Real Landscape' release from 1987, taking short samples of the radio and let them bounce around; like a quick turn on the radio dial being sampled. That is, essentially, still the process he applies here. None of the sounds is to be recognized as a coherent song but one also recognizes the musical element in it. It is not necessarily the sort of social comment that, say, Negativland is known for, but there is, of course, the overall social/political element of stealing someone else's music and create something new out of it. Like before, I am not entirely convinced by the music. It's not bad, it's not great and it also left me a bit nonplussed. To be honest, it didn't do that much for me. (FdW)
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STAR TURBINE - THE STARS ARE ALIGNED (cassette by Skrat Records)

This is an international duo, Sindre Bjerga from Norway and Claus Poulsen from Denmark, and they have been going for quite some years, coming with over twenty releases and happily enjoying taking the stage in various European countries in recent years. I didn't hear all of their releases (nor by them individually or in the countless other projects they participate) and last year I saw them play live for the first time. Bjerga's interest in playing acoustic sounds on a metal tube, old toys and ragged Walkman machines in combination with Poulsen’s bowed cymbal and a variety of electronics works well and offers plenty of room to shift around interests. The two pieces on 'The Stars Are Aligned' (twenty-some minutes each) show this diversity pretty well.
'On And On (Into The Deep Space)' is perhaps what to expect from them if ever you saw them live; carefully using and abusing objects and slowly opening delay pedals, with mild but decisive tape manipulation. This is a fine and sturdy piece of music. However it is the other side, 'The great gig in the sky', that is for me the real winner. A harmonium is dragged into the studio and played, I assume, by Bjerga, and then slowly Poulsen starts fiddling with the sound and we are lifted into the sky, as promised by the title, and it becomes an excellent piece of lo-fi cosmic proportions. Following the transformations, the piece ultimately lands on its feet with a rather unprocessed playing of the harmonium. I am not sure if this is supposed to be a Pink Floyd cover (I am not a fan there), but this is. This is a great piece, and one of the best I heard from them. (FdW)
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A label that goes by the name Anti Everything should surely invite The New Blockaders, I thought. However, here we have a split cassette with on one side the music by Somnoroase Păsărele, with their piece 'CLAR' and on the other side, we have WOMBA with 'Festering Maps of Pilvialueella' (that switching between capitals and lowercase surely means something). The latter is a new project for me. The Somnoroase Păsărele side is composed by Gili Mocanu and entirely electronic as always but this time, not rhythm nor ambient. I have no idea what he does (never have, to be honest), but much of this, I would think, deals with sampling electronic sounds, which he combines into one long composition. It is a singular piece of music that bounces around in all directions; it never stays very long in one place, but it moves around in a slightly chaotic way. There seem to be six parts to this piece (according to Bandcamp), that all flow into each other, so one can be excused for thinking it is one long, chaotic piece. It has its moments of clarity, next to some murkier bits. I needed some adjusting in expectations.
           Tikhon S. Kubov is the man behind Womba and he is from Moscow. Voices play some role here along with the use of field recordings, all carefully transformed through the use of sound effects, along with samples of found sound/music. I checked if I was dealing with more than one piece here, but there is no indication there and I would think Womba explores the same sort of chaos as Somnoroase Păsărele does on the other side, hence, I would think, the pairing of the two on one cassette. The difference is in the kind of sounds used by Womba and Somnoroase Păsărele; the latter relies heavily on the use of electronic sounds, while the first is w wider and wilder combination of all sorts of sounds, which makes it all a tad more chaotic. I preferred the more single-minded approach of Somnoroase Păsărele to the just too wild Womba, but that is just personal preference, I assume. (FdW)
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A lot of the cassettes reviewed in Vital Weekly tend to be short, thirty to forty minutes is a favourite length, it seems. This new cassette by Chicago based guitarist Will Faber is an exception, as it clocks in at some eighty minutes and still spans only six pieces; the longest between eight minutes and the longest twenty-seven. I don't think I heard of the man before, who works as a solo player and "touring since 2018 in Ben Lamar Gay’s quartet (International Anthem) across Europe and America, as well as in various projects lead by Ernest Dawkins, among others". Improvisation is his main trade. He plays "archtop electric guitar, analogue delay, ring modulator, and low pass filter" and all his pieces are recorded in real-time, single takes and no overdubs. Listening to this cassette I realize why people release shorter cassettes; this is all a bit too long. While Faber's music is improvised and throughout quiet and somewhat introspective, I found it not easy to listen to all of this in one go. Faber isn't your usual 'one strum long drone result' kind of guitarist but uses shorter sounds, feeding it through his effects and sometimes let that play around. In the end, I took both sides apart and listened to them on different days and quite enjoyed them. I still can see that editing these pieces would improve the music quite a bit, but maybe that doesn't fit the aesthetic? All in all, I would say this is a highly personal document and the cassette is the perfect medium to release such things. (FdW)
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LLARKS - FOREVER SONGS (cassette by Humanhood Recordings)

Chris Jeely's Llarks project seemed for a while very active but then went quiet again. I have no idea how these things go, but that's how they are. Here is something new and he has two fifteen-minute pieces of music and in 'Rainbow Paramour Forever' it doesn't take long before he is on that distorted guitar path of immersive overload that we know this project for, but that's only half the story. Overloading the tracks is one thing, to take back gear and start something else going, quieter but with similar impact is the power of Llarks. I think this is all with guitar and effect pedals, but for all, I know this is something that takes place for a big part in the digital world, with heavy computer treatments. In this piece, he slowly pulls back and it all goes 'quieter' and more introspective; the heaviness of the piece disappears and it ends on a gentle guitar note. In fifteen minutes Llarks displays the complete range of his music. On the other side, we find 'Tremolo Charm Forever' and this is not a showcase of various interests, but one long excursion in minimalist guitar tinkling, gentle moving around within sound effects and no doubt with some help of the tremolo effect. Within the timeframe of this piece, things keep shifting around until, at the very end, it all collapses rather quickly, like it an all too quick fade out. Maybe it lasted much longer and it had to be trimmed down? It sounded like Manuel Gottsching on steroids, which I thought was funny. However, I preferred the piece on the first side for its density and the ability to change throughout, even when there is nothing wrong with the second either other than, perhaps, some predictability. (FdW)
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MARABOUT ET LE VIDE (cassette by Econore)

This is the second release by this band, which I think might be from Brussels. It is. a quartet, with Mathieu Lilin (baritone saxophone), Gaute Granli (guitar, voice and objects), Quentin Conrate (incomplete drums) and Thomas Coquelet (CD and tape manipulation, electronics). It is my first introduction to their music. It is something that can be found in the world of improvisation but with results that can as easily (?) be said to have come from the world of musique concrete. A lot of it deals with scraping and scratching the various tools at their disposal and I think the results are pretty interesting. There is an emphasis on the use of percussive elements in both pieces here (around twelve minutes each); not necessarily cranking out a rhythm per se, but a shifting play of various players along with others, not about time signatures but sparkling about. In 'Pierre' these elements are kept light, like dust flying in the early spring sun with a drone-like sound in the back and 'Skin Contact', contact is indeed made and it becomes a fine forceful piece of all four them producing their inner-rhythm. And that's it and that's a pity. I would have loved to hear some by time and I'd be curious to see what other possibilities their interaction would lead to. So, for next time, please do us a longer release! (FdW)
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