number 1251
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week 39
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FLORIAN WITTENBERG - BEYOND THE TRACERIES (CD by Wandelweiser Editions) *
ROD MODELL & MARIT WOLTERS - COCOON (CD by 13/Silentes) *
SCAPULAR - DEVOTIONAL LP (CD by Silentes) *
SPENCER GRADY & FERMATA ARK & MARK WASTELL - THUS: EXCERPTS FROM A SMALLER WORK (CD by Confront Recordings) *
BO MESON & MARTIN ARCHER – 288/BABEL (CD by Discus Music) *
JOHN BLUM & JACKSON KRALL – DUPLEXITY (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
LUKAS LAUERMANN - I N (CD by Col Legno) *
LES PARADISIERS - INDIAN SUMMER (CD by Wrotycz) *
SANDOZ LAB TECHNICIANS - NEW BOTANY (2LP by Knotwilg) *
K-GROUP - SERIES 4 (LP by Knotwilg) *
WEILAND - PERRUCHE/VAKBOND (7" by Knotwilg)
KANKER KOMMANDO - LOW-TECH 1982-88 (LP by Knotwilg) *
KANKER KOMMANDO - LIVE AT V2 FACTORY (cassette by Knotwilg)
FIT FOR QUEENS (cassette compilation by Knotwilg)
RAPHAËL PANIS - DE SECRETIS NATURAE 2 (7" by Dedali Opera)
MATTHEW EDWARDS AND THE FUTURISTS - THE FIRST SONG OF THE REVOLUTION (7"/CDR by Static Caravan) *
KOTRA & ZAVOLOKA - SILENCE (7" by Kvitnu)
MASS - A SOFTER COLLISION (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation) *
FERGUS KELLY - PLUNDERED LUMBER (CDR by Room Temperature) *
JASON KAHN - INFINITY SUITE (CDR by Editions) *
PETER C. BRUNO - BE LINEAR (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve) *
THE TUESDAY NIGHT MACHINES - LOZENGE (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve) *
BILL ORCUT - WARSZAWA (cassette by Endless Happiness)
MENTOS GULGENDO (cassette by Endless Happiness)


FLORIAN WITTENBERG - BEYOND THE TRACERIES (CD by Wandelweiser Editions)

Is it a surprise that we find a release by Florian Wittenberg on Wandelweiser Editions? I am not sure. It is a question I have been thinking about when I was playing this rather short (thirty minutes) CD with six pieces. Wittenberg's music involves quite a bit of computer processing, which I think is not necessarily what a lot of the composers connected to Wandelweiser are about. But, agreed, instruments also play a role in his work and that as such he uses them sparsely, which is right up this street, I think. On the six pieces of 'Beyond The Traceries', Wittenberg offers both sides of his work. There is, on one hand, the pure electronically processed pieces such as the title piece (created from time-stretched white noise) and 'Of Exile' (which could be an extension of the title piece; it is the only piece not mentioned on the cover as a description). In both parts of 'Noise Bowls', he uses the overtones in a very contemplative way. I could believe these are electronically treated in some way, but just as easily this is just what it is, pure overtones from playing glass bowls. And, finally, there are two pieces called 'Moving Thirds', or rather, two takes of those pieces, in which Wittenberg plays the vibraphone. These are perhaps the two pieces in which one recognizes the instrument best. Both these pieces are very quiet and contain quite a bit of 'space' between the notes, evoking very much a Zen-like state. It's exactly pieces such as these two, which makes it easy to see why Wandelweiser is the right label for this music. Perhaps this release is a bit over the place, displaying various interests from Florian Wittenberg as a composer. If you heard his name before and had no idea where to start, then 'Beyond The Traceries', I think, is an excellent place to find out more, even when it is all a bit too brief. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.wandelweiser.de



ROD MODELL & MARIT WOLTERS - COCOON (CD by 13/Silentes)
SCAPULAR - DEVOTIONAL LP (CD by Silentes)

Strictly speaking, Vital Weekly reviews music. Yet, sometimes it is unavoidable that there is something added to discuss that I have little knowledge about. Take for instance this new release by Rod Modell, which is the soundtrack to exhibitions by Viennese artist Marit Wolters. She creates sculptures, which are depicted in the 7"x7" booklet that comes with the CD. There is some text explaining her work in the proper art lingo. Oddly enough, Modell sound piece is not for a particular exhibition, but any of her presentations. The sculptings in the booklet look like ancient columns, touched by time, in decay and Modell's music is the massive equivalence of that. It seems as if he made a recording of someone shuffling through a massive space (maybe an empty exhibition space, I was thinking) and that Modell has some seriously deep bass and space sounds. It is music with no beginning, nor end, and no narrative. It suggests mostly quiet space and like the shuffling on tape, we move through space, maybe a bit different one, at home, another museum, or the street. I think Rod Modell's music is most suitable for a lot of situations, leaving the listener free to choose the perfect surroundings to hear it. That is when ambient music works best, I should think. This is seventy-three minutes of the purest form of ambient by one of the masters.
    No information at all on the release by Scapular. Just the twelve track titles, the overall title and the name of the project. Not even if it is a Silentes release, but I know it was inside the same mailer as Rod Modell and it's on their website. This is some strange release. Rhythm plays an important role. Slowed down technoid rhythms with lots of delay and reverb, a bit dub-like. Voices get similar sound effects treatment, which makes it very difficult to guess what these pieces are about. That's a pity, as I was most curious about the lyrical content of 'Covenant', 'Missal', 'Sacred', and 'Believing'. Is this, by any chance, some kind of new religious music? A chant from the church? A prayer for a party? Invitation for invocation? Overall the ambient aspect of the music prevails, and it might not be dance music; rather this is something to play loud on a pair of headphones, tapping feet along whilst smoking something illegal. Think along the lines of Chain Reaction, Echo Space, BVdub and such mellow toasters of the infinite space. Time to tune off, drop out, ma'an. (FdW)
––– Address: http://store.silentes.it/



SPENCER GRADY & FERMATA ARK & MARK WASTELL - THUS: EXCERPTS FROM A SMALLER WORK (CD by Confront Recordings)

Behind Fermata Ark we find one Harry Smith, of whom, I think, I never heard. Although Spencer Grady (5-string banjo, ebow, violin bow, brass slide) and Mark Wastell (violoncello, double bass, harmonium) get an equal mention on the cover, I would think it is all mostly Fermata Ark's doing here. Behind his name we see "composition, field recording, post-production, mixing, mastering". As far as I understood this, the music is based on improvised music recorded by Grady and Wastell, which Smith then took apart, edited, processed and then put back together again, in the composition that we now hear in the thirty-seven minutes. It is a piece of drone music, but more of the acoustic variety and with some interesting choices. No doubt that is due to the material played by the two instrumentalists, already offering a variety of tonal input. In the first ten or so minutes this is slowly building from rattling sounds (which, I later realized, might very well be field recordings) and slowly increasing drone sounds, building towards a climax at fourteen minutes and after a bit of a silly (as in 'non-dramatic') break continues to slowly built again in various parts but without any of these breaks and more or less in a slightly continuous flow. Sometimes dense and hectic, sometimes dense and slow. My favourite part of the piece is the whole part from twenty minutes onwards, to the end; a massive drone hum, with all sorts of small, obscured events taking place, bows upon strings, bending forward and backwards, in one long steady and majestic flow. I would have liked this to continue for some more time. The rest is great too, mind you, but this was the highlight. I'd be curious to hear more from Fermata Ark. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.confrontrecordings.com/



BO MESON & MARTIN ARCHER – 288/BABEL (CD by Discus Music)

Bo Meson is a poet and musician who runs his own collective Meson realizing projects of free form improvisation combined with poetry. His collaborations with Martin Archer and collaborators are of a similar vein and this also counts for their latest effort ‘288/Babel’. It is the follow-up to their debut ‘Echoic Entertainment’ released 2015. Involved on this new recording are Wolfgang Seel (voice), Peter Rophone (choral voices), Martin Archer (Bb and bass clarinets, software instruments), Graham Clark (violin), Maja Bugge (cello) and Bo Meson (voice, software instruments). They perform two compositions: ‘288’ and ‘A Horizontal Babel’. Both circle around the poetry or poetic prose by Meson. The texts are not included in printed form. I had difficulties in grabbing what they are exactly about. So I can’t comment on that and only respond to the musical embodiment of the poetry spoken by Meson. The music is functional to the vocal performance, underlining the atmosphere of these texts I suppose. The musical textures are very open and free-form, sometimes reminding me of the chamber music created by Hector Zazou , like in ‘Einstein a No No’. The prominent role of violin and cello is a pleasure. Both Clark and Bugge create tasteful and inspired patterns. Also, Archer punctuates effectively with his well-proportioned contributions. ‘A Horizontal Babel’ tends to be to more abstract. There is more space for electronic manipulations and effects like in ‘Neuronal Schism’. I could easily enjoy them without the vocals. Equally a rack like ‘Tyranny of the Masses’. (DM)
––– Address: https://discus-music.co.uk/



JOHN BLUM & JACKSON KRALL – DUPLEXITY (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

Pianist Blum is a strong force in the NYC free jazz scene already for many years, but not very known outside this scene. He studied with Borah Bergman, Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor. Known for his high energy and percussive playing. Detroit Drummer Jackson Krall also played with Cecil Taylor, and also Marco Eneidi, Steve Swell, Joe Morris, William Parker to name a few. Both perform together already for about thirty years, but nothing of their duo-work was recorded so far. This makes ‘Duplexity’ their urgent debut release after all these years. It also happens to be the centennial release of the more than interesting Relative Pitch Records, founded by the late Mike Panico and Kevin Reilly in 2011. The cd counts two lengthy improvisations: ‘Blood and Bone’(21:24) and ‘Wind and Wing’(16:30) recorded live October 10, 2018, at Michiko Studios, NYC. The obvious comparison is Cecil Taylor. Krall and Blum trade in the same kind of energy and intensity. Their improvisations develop on a constant high-energy level. Constantly pushing, the river never calms down. Deeply rooted in the jazz tradition their style is the opposite of a less is more approach. Blum plays sections in a percussive style, making big clusters that are easily followed by sections with breakable melodic motives. Very manoeuvrable, very dynamic and exuberant both are never in need of a new idea to give their dialogue a new twist or turn. Attention and concentration never diminish. In effect, their music makes an overwhelming and sparkling impression. Impressive. (DM)
––– Address: http://www.relativepitchrecords.com/



LUKAS LAUERMANN - I N (CD by Col Legno)

Sometimes where you are is as important as what you listen to. I remember a house party in 2003. We were approaching the sunrise. People were either asleep or unable to, when some bright spark put on the first Mars Volta album. It went down like a lead balloon. That isn’t to say it wasn’t a good album, it is, but it was the wrong thing at the wrong time. When I started playing cellist Lukas Lauermann’s second album ‘I N’ it was a similar time in the morning, but my situation was drastically different. Instead of being at home, I find myself on a family holiday in North Wales. I woke up early and went outside to enjoy the silence of the morning. I settled myself on a table and chairs outside with a tea and press play. ‘Trusion/Clusion’ opened with electronic pulses and soaring strings. The steam mixed with the cooling morning air created mesmeric shapes that felt in tune with the music. When the graceful cello of ‘Finite Distinct’ started the Sun had started to rise like a glowing orange orb. As I watched it rise of the Snowdonia landscapes it reminded me of the final scenes of THX 1138 and filled me with rare optimism. Not just for the new day, but everything in general. Roddy Piper once said: “Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions!”. This is true of ‘I N’. The album works best when you are unsure what is going to happen next. There are parts of the album that sound like it was recorded in the cello, rather than of it. These little motifs are spellbinding and add another layer to the album. Not only are you enjoying the sonorous music, but you are trying to decipher how, and what, it is. Lauermann’s ability to make tuning forks, synths and pianos make like a cohesive sound is testament to his fearless experimentalism and ability as a composer. ‘Fluence/Dependence’ is one of the standout moments on the album. As the drones become more pronounced the cello stands its ground. Instead of fading into the background is swells and becomes the foundations for the synths to expand, and eventually, contract. ‘I N’ is the kind of album you can lose yourself in. The title ‘I N’ creates ideas of giving in to the inevitable, investing time with something rather than taking it at the surface level and other introspective pursuits. What ‘I N’ really demonstrates is the progression in Lauermann’s sound from 2017s debut ‘How I Remember Now I Remember How’. ‘Equality Justice’ feels like a traditional piece of chamber music, with the lilt of Lou Reed’s seminal ‘Street Hassle’ to it. As it bounces along you are lost in the moment. You have time to take stock of what is around you, almost for the first time. Which brings me back tp this morning. The Sun is in the sky now. Birds are circling in the air something. The sound of the waves can be faintly heard over ‘I N’ and my tea is long gone. Maybe I can get just one more listen IN before everyone else is up… (NR)
––– Address: https://www.col-legno.com/de/home/



LES PARADISIERS - INDIAN SUMMER (CD by Wrotycz)

Music from the grey area, and I don't mean the old Mute Records imprint. Les Paradisiers is Demian, who we also know as O Paradis and Thomas Nöla. As Les Paradisiers they create music for imaginary paradises. This one is about India. This is alternative pop music, a bit dark, a bit folky, very little experiment; sometimes a bit along the lines of Muslimgauze. The voice is pretty dark and whoever is singing does a fine job. It's smooth, it's semi-exotic, well, it's pop music, albeit from a bit darkwave (without the heavy rhythms) and gothic. It is not something for these pages, so this review is just a way of saying: if you think this something for you, then explore this. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.facebook.com/wrotycz.rec/about



SANDOZ LAB TECHNICIANS - NEW BOTANY (2LP by Knotwilg)
K-GROUP - SERIES 4 (LP by Knotwilg)
WEILAND - PERRUCHE/VAKBOND (7" by Knotwilg)
KANKER KOMMANDO - LOW-TECH 1982-88 (LP by Knotwilg)
KANKER KOMMANDO - LIVE AT V2 FACTORY (cassette by Knotwilg)
FIT FOR QUEENS (cassette compilation by Knotwilg)

There was a time when I was heavily into music from New Zealand, the lo-fi drone/noise/guitar meets improvisation bands with releases from Corpus Hermeticum being the best; bands like Surface Of The Earth, Omit, A Handful Of Dust, Sandoz Lab Technicians and K Group. As I am looking at new releases from the latter two I am trying to remember when I lost that interest but I can't remember. As I am hearing this, I am realizing I should go back to that old stuff as it still sounds great. Oh, right, that was a spoiler. Knotwilg is a Belgium label I had not heard of before, run by someone who was once at the birth of the Kraak label and who apparently loves his New Zealand music as well. I started with Sandoz Lab Technicians, for the simple reason I enjoyed their old releases a lot. These days, it seems, record covers have more information, so I learn that this is a trio, Tim Cornelius, James Kirk and Nathan Thompson, and they play electric guitars, drums, piano, field recordings, laptop, electric keyboard, violin, echocello, percussion, bush sax, reed and bamboo flutes, autoharp and harmonica. It is obvious that they don't play all of this at the same time, but, so at least I assume, they play whatever they feel like. All of their pieces are recorded live, either in the studio or in a concert space. It doesn't matter that they are not always proficient on these instruments; it is rather liberating, I guess to produce whatever sound from an instrument and put it back into the context of the group. For eighty minutes of music, spread out over four sides of vinyl, the group displays their vast interests in playing improvised music in a lo-fi rock setting, but just easily branch out jazz/free jazz. When a piano is played, such as in the title track, The Necks become a point of reference.; it has that same refined treatment of piano, drums and whatever else is used, and is all wonderfully mellow. Next to that, there are some more chaotic piece, such as in 'Jesus No' (with vocals; I am not sure if I heard them before with this group) or a more rock-oriented piece as 'Power Crows'. There is a fine sense of variation, there is notable pleasure in experimentation and going from strength to strength. Excellent release!
    Less engrained on my memory is the music by K-Group, the solo project of Surface Of The Earth member Paul Toohey. Looking at Discogs, I realize that I have all of his releases, and there are not a lot of them. Five were from the last years of the last millennium, and one I reviewed in Vital Weekly 1201, so with 'Series 4' (I have no idea what is a reference too), we could say K-group is back on track. I have no idea why there was a hiatus for so long. Along the lines of his recent 7", he explores the limits of guitar drones in combination with sound effects and the result is a dark, muddy pool of dark music. As I noted before the production of the music has much improved since the early days. Back then it may have sounded like it was all captured on a hissy cassette, but these days, no doubt with some computer editing, there is clarity and depth into the equation and that works quite well. In his music, K-Group goes for a minimalist approach. Find that sweet spot of a sound, then explore it and don't divulge from it. Over these four to seven minutes, delay, reverb, equalization and so on are slowly twitched and tweaked, changing minimally the colour of a piece. It usually works out towards a more noise oriented sound, but K-Group keeps it ll well under control. This is controlled demolition noise and one that I enjoy way more than a senseless attack on the eardrums. This is sometimes that leaves the listener behind, wanting some more. Hopefully soon?
    Tim Wijnant we know, from a long time ago, as the man behind Ovil Bianca (Vital Weekly 267), but apparently also has a new project called Weiland ('Meadow'). The 7" as a teaser format here? Two pieces here, Perruche (meaning 'Budgie') and 'Vakbond' ('Union'), and I would think he uses modular electronics. On 'Perruche' that is worked in a modern electronics way (which is another way of saying 'sixties academic music inspired') and on 'Vakbond' in an interesting percussive piece that sounds like stuck in a loop, with some very minimal shifts. A teaser this is, as we have no idea of what direction it will be. Both pieces sound great and it made me curious to hear a bit more. Apart from a floppy, there are no other releases yet.
    Although both releases by Kanker Kommando are sold out, I find it worthwhile mentioning these two. One of the reasons for doing this is that I am thinking hard if I was present when Kanker Kommando played at what they called the V2 Factory. The place was simply called V2 and housed in a former factory. I am convinced I saw that weekend Etant Donnes, SBOTHI and Tasaday, who all performed at this two-day event, but I have no particular recollection of Kanker Kommando. It was 1986, so a few years and beers have passed. This was a Belgium group, originally a punk band by Hendrik Laevens and Jaak Perquy, but after 1982 a noise/industrial band Jaak Perquy and Henk Willaert, and after 1986 the first went solo. Last year he took his own life. There haven't been many releases, and I am sure I had 'H-Block', a cassette from 1985, but long gone. 'Low Tech 1982-88' collects pieces from that period is a fairly typical synth-noise project from the mid-80s. Music without technological depth, vicious synth tones, hissy drones, crude field recordings (although I am sure we had a different term for that; found sound, no doubt) and vague soundscapes. All the pieces seem unformed and that, I think, is the beauty of it all. How it worked in concert, we hear on the cassette (both LP and cassette sold out, but free download from the label is most generous), in which the duo clearly rehearsed some patterns on their synth and drum machine (?), plus the addition of voice, which reminded me of Etat Brut and Club Moral. Hearing this music didn't refresh my memory, I must admit, but if I would hear Etant Donnes from that weekend, I would probably not recognize that either (the visual memory is much better here!). There is a performative aspect to it all, which you don't see, but you can easily imagine this, hearing the industrial music here. These four pieces are much more together and formed and an interestingly different take than the home-made 'studio' recordings.
    If you need a place to start, get 'Fit For Queens', a compilation cassette, with a bunch of the artists on this label, or in the airspace of the label. You get music by Ben Bertrand, Humbros, Stefan Christensen, Bird In A Grave, K-Group, Leda, Mosquitoes, Kanker Kommando, Lemones, Vito Ricci & Lise Vachon, Pumice, The Coolies, Christophe Clébard, Saule, Weird Dust, Blood Music, Gangalai & Gourabai and Weiland. It shows the wide scope of interests of the label owner, which should surely pique your interest. (FdW)
––– Address: https://knotwilg.bandcamp.com/



RAPHAËL PANIS - DE SECRETIS NATURAE 2 (7" by Dedali Opera)

In Vital Weekly 1232, HS discussed a 7' by Raphaël Panis, “De Secretis Naturae 1” and now there is the second instalment. Panis is a member of Kinetograve, along with Alain Basso (erstwhile of Dernier Du Culte and Phaeton Dernière Danse). Again both pieces are called 'Fragment', now 'III' and 'IV' and, again, they are four minutes and thirty-three seconds long. On the Bandcamp page, we find this: "Construction of sound spaces, inspired by listening to Nature. Technically, using only devices built by the composer." A while ago, I reviewed a similar 7" by Shaun Robert (Vital Weekly 1244) and wrote about his interests in fitting musique concrète into the length of a pop song. One could say Raphaël Panis has a similar interest. Within the limited time frame of the format that is 7", he works with crackles, hiss, static charges and some oddly shaped drones on 'Fragment IV'. There is some neat space within in these two pieces and one could think there are some field recordings in use here (birds? A woodpecker? Hard to tell), especially on the second half of 'Fragment IV'. In 'Fragment III', all sorts of drones prevail, of amplified and yet empty spaces. Great stuff, too short, next time an album? (FdW)
––– Address: https://raphaelpanis.bandcamp.com/



MATTHEW EDWARDS AND THE FUTURISTS - THE FIRST SONG OF THE REVOLUTION (7"/CDR by Static Caravan)

Just when I thought we said goodbye to Static Caravan, surely one of my favourite imprints for all things electronic pop and beyond, they return (?) with this great 7" (two tracks) and CDR (4 tracks). First Matthew Edwards had a band called the Unfortunates and after the death of close collaborator Derrick Simmonds and relocating to California it is now Matthew Edwards And The Futurists. Edwards says these songs are of 'trouble' and "chronicle divorce, dissolution, isolation, disease, loss and ultimately fortitude", plus also "this is my last 'rock and roll' record". That would be a pity as these four pieces are gorgeous dramatic songs. This is indeed a rock record, with lots of guitars, Edwards' strong voice and a bit of piano, in 'Marin County' and in 'Jesus, Satan, Shiva and Me', easily the most introspective song here). Edwards has a strong command in his voice and in the title song it is almost a call to arms to start the revolution. This song sticks right in your brain. 'The Falls' leans towards a more folk song, but then heavily electrified. Two more rock-oriented pieces and two more introspective songs. Maybe not entirely Vital Weekly music, but I love it. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org



KOTRA & ZAVOLOKA - SILENCE (7" by Kvitnu)

This is catalogue number Kvitnu 0, which you could believe to mean that is the first release by a label. If you paid attention in the past years you may have seen the name Kvitnu before. They are now terminating their label and 'Silence' is their final release. Many of the releases on the label dealt with rhythm, forceful, loud rhythmic music. You could call this the alternative dance music in the tradition of Pan Sonic, who also had a release on this label. Other names were Plaster, Sturqen, v4w.enko, Wieman, Mauri, Matter, Kotra and Zavoloka. The latter two can be seen as the two activists behind the enterprise. In their closing statement, they write: "We have reached the point when Kvitnu has a very strong name and reputation, from our audience and fellow artists. Our music is known, our work quality is highly respected. And we believe that this is the best time to stop when everything still shines so bright and strong". On their closing statement, a 7", we find one lock grove of silent sound. The cover has some interesting words about the whole 'silence is nothing' thing, but while writing these words I am playing this 7" very loud (true story!) and there is no such thing as silence. Because of the locked groove thing, there is a groove of static hiss, various ticks and as I live in a particular dirty old house, dust always falling, changing the static and ticks over a long course of time. The question that remains: who will release the remixes? (FdW)
––– Address: http://kvitnu.com



MASS - A SOFTER COLLISION (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation)

Matt Atkins is an underground improvising hero. For over a decade he has been recording, and releasing, improvised pieces that not only showcase his deft of playing ability but how he can combine this with others to create something that genuinely feels captivating. In June Atkins was part of a trio with Giacamo Salis and Paolo Sanna who released the glorious ‘Dispiegarsi’ cassette released through Falt Records. That release was filled with what felt like field recordings and found objects underpinned by atmospheric percussion that gave everything a slightly sinister, but not terrifying, air. Now Atkins has collaborated with Stephen Barrett, Sebastian Sterkowicz and Adam Kinsey on three long-form improvisations titled ‘A Softer Collision’. At times there is a glacial slowness to the playing, but the title is a bit of give-away. The three performances are a musical equivalent of watching a low-speed impact in slow motion. You can anticipate what will happen but seeing it played out in front of you, in a precise manner, doesn’t detract from that final moment of impact. ‘A Softer Collision’ is at its best when all the players are just going at it. There is a wonderful section halfway through ‘_________II’ where Atkins’ percussion sounds like a drunk trying to get the change out of their pocket, the clarinet sounds like a squeaky didgeridoo, there is a very slight amount of feedback going on in the background and there is a vague feeling of malice. Lurking enough to make it noticeable but not enough to actually make you worry. It’s the feeling you get at a sporting event when a small section of fans seems to be enjoying the ‘good-natured’ ribbing a bit too much. You know nothing will come from it, but you can’t keep your eyes off them just in case. At its heard ‘A Softer Collision’ is a wonderfully wonky affair that despite its ad hoc charm has some really captivating melodies buried deep in its core. (NR)
––– Address: https://mrmrecordings.bandcamp.com/



FERGUS KELLY - PLUNDERED LUMBER (CDR by Room Temperature)

About a year ago I reviewed 'Gleaming Seams' by Fergus Kelly (see Vital Weekly 1199), an album in which he combined percussion with "treated electromagnetic recordings of ATMs, computer drives, ticket dispensers and overhead tramlines". This time he keeps it all in the realm of instruments, bass guitar and metal percussion. As noted before (Kelly has a new album almost every year in the last decade), mood plays an important role in his music, yet you could not always call this ambient music. There is always some sort of progress to be noted and on this new release, I would say it is all a bit more musical. Kelly isn't a trained bass player, but he plays it rather well. He plays little motifs (or are they calls riffs? I don't know), repeating yet changing and on top of that he plays his metal percussion along with that and the combination of both, plus the absence this time of all sorts of electronics and processed field recordings, the concentration now lies on pieces that are moody and mellow, just also very musical. It is almost a jazz record! Twelve of the thirteen pieces are rather short, somewhere between three and four minutes, each of which is a fully formed song. Sometimes the bass starts out and the percussion follows up, fills in and sometimes roles are reversed and the bass is the supporting instrument. No doubt there are has been layering of these recordings and the multi-tracking of the percussion makes it possible to add strange little sounds in there somewhere, such as the bowed metal of 'Odds Are Evened'. Throughout the music is spacious and laidback; creating an atmosphere for the listener seems an important objective for. Kelly. The final piece, 'Uncurl An Edge', is almost eighteen minutes and takes the material a bit further, spacing it all out even further, with perhaps less variation. It all has quite an intense feeling and shows another direction this music could also take. I am quite curious about what the next step will be; this is a great album! (FdW)
––– Address: https://roomtemperature.bandcamp.com/



JASON KAHN - INFINITY SUITE (CDR by Editions)

As I didn't keep a list, I lost count of what Kahn does; he's a drummer, synth player, vocalist, shortwave and now adds field recordings and writer to that list. I may have forgotten something. On 'Infinity Suite', an eighteen-minute work, he offers a collage of field recordings from the Indian city of Varanasi and in the booklet, he describes impressions from his last visit to the city but also accounts for previous visits. I didn't visit the city, not even the country, and by reading Kahn's account, I doubt if I would like this place. The heat is something that would keep me away for sure, plus the crowdedness, the presence of would-be spiritual people and such like. Kahn did a lot of recordings, from a few seconds to thirty minutes, on a variety of microphones and used fifty-one here. In an odd way the music rises and falls, every other minute or so (maybe a bit longer), cutting or fading out to the next segment. We hear the busy streets, the animals, people chanting, talking and shouting, but also quiet passages; in short all the makings of a busy city in a tropical country. As said, not my kind of city but I found the music piece (best to played on repeat, while reading the entire sixty-pages of the booklet) quite intriguing, as well as Kahn's written account, which is a mixture of fascination and abhorrence. I wish the musical side was a bit longer than it is now. (FdW)
––– Address: http://jasonkahn.net/editions



PETER C. BRUNO - BE LINEAR (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)
THE TUESDAY NIGHT MACHINES - LOZENGE (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)

I’m not going to lie. When I first started playing Peter C. Bruno’s latest album ‘Be Linear’ I wasn’t into it. ‘False Floor’ opens with some passé industrial music. I immediately thought “Oh, what have they sent me now…”, but I stuck with it and rode the first three minutes through gritted teeth with plenty of eye-rolling. This probably says more about me than I care to admit or share. Am I really this kind of music snob who doesn’t give stuff a proper chance, or do I get so bored after 30 seconds that I write something off forever? Anyway, after ‘False Floor’ I wasn’t expecting anything that more of the same. So, imagine my delight when everything changed! ‘Topographical Features’ is the first proper track on the album. There are probably multiple reasons for this. Bruno thought it would be funny to have a basic track as the opener just for the (unseen) reactions of the listeners. If he could have seen mine it probably would have been worth it. The album’s sleeve notes on Bandcamp says ‘False Floors was “designed to satisfy the customs inspector or security services officer whose meticulous scepticism drives them to examine the audio content of this seemingly neutral cassette”. But back to ‘Topographical Features’. The songs are constructed from minimal bass noise, synth blips and Bruno’s vocals. Instead of lyrics relating to an emotive or narrative school of thought Bruno lists, well, topographical features “Lake, Foothills, Peninsula, Stream, etc, etc” in a deadpan voice. At first, the combination of stark instrumentation and a seeming stream of consciousness dialogue feels random, but like random on purpose. As the album progresses this the words get more abstract. There appears to be no connection between them, other than they are a list of similar things. The reason for this organized randomness is that Bruno conceives ‘Be Linear’ to be used as a cypher to send messages to another operative. Just use the time code of certain tracks and let your cohort decipher the message. Once all this clicks into place you start to devise messages to send to loved ones, friends, well-wishers and straight-up enemies. On the surface ‘Be Linear’ is a fantastic curio, but if you dig a little deeper you realize that the album could actually be more fun than you initially realized. Bruno’s vocal deliver is little more than someone reciting random words over deep drones and synth static, but something is soothing about this. It gives you the ability to not have to worry on what is being said the focus on the mood of each track. Meet me at the Track 3 2:10 with a Track 11 1:01.
    The third Tuesday Night Machines album, ‘Lozenge’, builds on the synth drones of ‘Hawaiian Yurt Music’ and ‘Weaver’ but adds an unexpected dollop of humanity to it. Yes, the music was created using electronic music, but there is a playfulness underpinning even the darkest moments. This isn’t to say that ‘Lozenge’ is a light and airy affair, in places it is very dark and sinister, but these sections are usually followed by bright sounds and tones. Listening to ‘Lozenge’ is a bit like reading JD Ballard’s seminal ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ It doesn’t really matter where you start playing as the album works equally well if you go from a mid-point or the beginning. It also gives the same feeling of perverse unease. You aren’t quite sure what is going to happen next, and you know the tone might create a feeling of apprehension, but you have to keep listening. An example of this is two thirds through ‘Cercel Nabra’ there is a static storm. Once this subsides, we are greeted by delightful tone melodies. As their intensity grows, so does their ad-hoc time signatures, until the once gleeful melody is running off-kilter and creating glorious tones, underpinned by sharp synths. The album works the best then you just let it play, in repeat, for a few hours. At first, you listen intently then, as usually happens, life gets in the way and your attention is drawn elsewhere. After a few rotations, it starts to feel develop a symbiotic relationship to your life. However, listening to the album this way means that when the mood changes or the tracks start to do something in a different register, you start to tune yourself back in with it and then you are back listening to it with 100% of your attention. Everything fades out from your focus until life kicks back in again and ‘Lozenge’ fades back into the background noise of your life. (NR)
––– Address: https://strategictapereserve.bandcamp.com/



BILL ORCUT - WARSZAWA (cassette by Endless Happiness)
MENTOS GULGENDO (cassette by Endless Happiness)

This is my introduction to a label from Poland, Endless Happiness and it is via the music of Bill Orcutt, of whom I heard before and a new project, Mento Gulgendo. Former Harry Pussy guitarist Bill Orcutt has quite several solo releases out, but only two seem to have made to these pages, Vital Weekly 763 and 799, so quite some time ago. I enjoyed them, even when they seemed oddballs in the world of the label that released those two, Editions Mego. The recording on this cassette was made on October 6 of last year when Orcutt performed at the Avant Art Festival in Warsaw. Not sure what the organizers thought when they invited him, as I think the music as played by Orcutt is not traditional, but avant art? I don't know. Every festival needs names to attract an audience, and as a youngster once said, 'these festival names are just names, don't look too much into it' (without judging this festival of course). Orcutt's music, played on an electric guitar, can be best described as experimental blues music. He plays solo, with little to none effects, an endless stream of motifs, figures and phrases (if those are the right words), which can be heartfelt, sad, down but perhaps, at times, cheerful, light and joyous. I quite enjoy what I perceive to be the ever-changing mood of this 'sort of ' blues music, while at the same time, I think it is also a bit too far away from the music world that we normally cover.
    The other release is by a new project, Mentos Gulgendo, which is Antonina Nowacka and Mila Nowacka, "known from WIDT and cooperation with the German producer Christoph De Babalon with whom they released the album "Teyas" [Bocian, 2018]". This new project is named after a "fictional philosopher and a main propagator of the "Harmless Lunatics" theory. The theory states that our universe has been created by the representatives of the cosmic madhouse. Every representative used the finest and the most subtle electromagnetic waves to weave a field of transcendental beauty penetrating the structure of each other. The field expanded invading the solid structures of rationality and therefore transforming the traditional form of identity into a liquid, unsustainable fat." The cover doesn't mention any instruments and listening to the music, I would think keyboards of some kind/any kind is at the core of the music. On the two pieces on the first side (one is seventeen minutes and one is two minutes) they go for a more drone oriented piece, with minimal changes. These drones are light at the start and when things get moving they start to stutter and bounce, fragmented as they become. By the time there are also some more mid-end drones introduced. The short piece is a collage of various organ sounds, but too short to become fully interesting. 'Suruliandr' takes up the entire second side and lasts twenty-four minutes and is all broken-up. Here two organs play a variety of shorter tones with irregular intervals. Sometimes short, sometimes a bit longer; sometimes they seem to be random stabs but just as well they can evolve into a little melody. Slowly all of this merges into an organ-based pulse and a low bass organ. Then they introduce an oddball: the voice, which starts improvising along with the slightly stutter rhythm, not unlike the one on the other side. This was not necessary I think. It was fine as it was, and could have used another layer of organ sounds, perhaps. Otherwise, this was a fine tape. (FdW)
––– Address: https://endlesshappiness.bandcamp.com/




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Vital - The Complete Collection 1987-1995
Before Vital Weekly there was Vital, a Xeroxed fanzine covering experimental, electronic andelectro-acoustic music; interviews, reviews, in-depth discussion articles, background. All 44 issues in one hardcover book; 580 pages. More information: http://kormplastics.nl/vtcc.html



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