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LEE PATTERSON & SAMO KUTIN - THE UNIVERSAL VEIL THAT HANGS TOGETHER LIKE A SKIN (CD by Edition FriForma) *
TARAB - HOLES (CD by Sonic Rubbish) *
KAZUYA ISHIGAMI - MIND LIBERATION (CD by Dada Drumming) *
TIBETAN RED & THE OVAL LANGUAGE & DAS SYNTHETISCHE MISCHGEWEBE - THE HEAD OF THE HYDRA (CD by Attenuation Circuit) *
DELPHIUM - OCTOBER (CD by Moloko Plus) *
MINIATURES 2020 (2CD by ReR Megacorp)
SZPETY (CD by Antenna Non Grata) *
AKKAJEE – LASTENKERÄÄJÄ (CD, private) *
SMOLNIK & SCHLIENZ (LP by Cosmic Winnetou) *
COLEMAN GOEPFERT - DERIVATIVES (double 10" by Wide Ear Records) *
WEREWOLF JERUSALEM / BRUISING PATTERN / NECROTIK FISSURE / TROU- UNTITLED (CDR by Magnesia Nova) *
THE SOFT CAPTURE - REALITY DIVER (CDR by Drone Works International) *
DELUDIUM SKIES - DESTINATION DESOLATION (CDR by Xtelyon Records) *
GNAARF - GRAY LINES & VLACK SIGNS (CDR by Xtelyon Records) *
SWEENEY - MISERY PEAKS (CDR by Sound In Silence) *
THE GREEN KINGDOM - SOLARIA (CDR by Sound In Silence) *
O.R.D.U.C. - FOUR WARNINGS (cassette by Motok) *
FILTRO - OPIFICI (CDR by Hemisphare Nokukyo) *
ANGELO BIGNAMINI - FEU DE JOIE (cassette by Ambient Noise Sesssion) *
DEPLETION - PROJECTIONS (cassette by Dark Passage Records) *
VYRYV - LYUTAK CALDO (cassette by Dark Passage Records) *
N. - REGRET SESSION 2021 (cassette by Dark Passage Records) *
ÆRA - A WINTER'S TALE (cassette by Faith Strange) *
A GUIDE FOR REASON - WINSTON SMITH (cassette by Faith Strange) *
VLK - NUN DARME STU TURMIENTO (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve) *
ORCA, ATTACK! - C.M.S.O. (LEARNING BY LISTENING VOL. 1) (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve) *
LEV KOWALCZWK - THE YOUNGWOMAN CROSSES HERSELF AS AN AMBULANCE GOES RUSHING PAST (cassette by Important Drone Records) *
SU SOUS TOULOUSE EN ROUGE - CAVEAT AUDIENS (cassette by Important Drone Records) *
BOBAN RISTEVSKI & CALINECZKA - BREATHE (cassette by Important Drone Records) *
PÚDER & PORMEISTER TRIÓ/TRISTE ENSEMBLE/NOISESCULPTOR - UNSIGNED 3-WAY SPLIT SERIES VOLUME I (cassette by Unsigned)
UNSIGNED EXPERIMENTAL NOISE COMP #6 (cassette by Unsigned)
MICHAEL IDEHALL - WAR MAGIC (digital, self-released via Patreon) *
MICHAEL IDEHALL - RECAPITULATION (digital, self-released) *
LEE PATTERSON & SAMO KUTIN - THE UNIVERSAL VEIL THAT HANGS TOGETHER LIKE A SKIN (CD by Edition FriForma)
Edition Friforma is a sub-division of Inexhaustible Editions and I would assume with a name like that, friforma, freeform, this is all about improvised music. On this particular release, we find recordings made in Ljublana on 1 and 2 April 2019 by Lee Patterson (amplified devices, chemical and mechanical synthesis) and Samo Kutin (hurdy-gurdies, objects, acoustic resonators). It has been a long time since I heard anything from Lee Patterson (Vital Weekly 762, his trio with Rhodri Davies and David Toop) and from Kutin we reviewed some of his improvisational music in recent times. With their somewhat unusual instruments, they recorded six pieces of music, with some likewise unusual results. In terms of improvised music, this is something that operates at the intersection of drone music and electro-acoustic music, and not so much with some hectic, nervous scraping and scratching. It starts with the beautiful overtone piece of 'The Rising Path', static and majestic, ringing and singing. In 'Stirring The Pot Of Fire', bowing techniques are used and this is something less drone-based, but with all the minimal electro-acoustic sounds they use, it certainly has quite a mysterious character; it sounds as if one in a kitchen and various pots are brewing. That is something that returns in 'The Universal Veil', even more, improvised or in 'Glass Bridge', which goes in an opposite direction, that of electro-acoustic music and musique concrète. I quite enjoy this sort of 'swing' in approaches by this duo. They don't want to go one direction and explore all of that, but rather feel more comfortable in exploring many roads to the instruments they use. I would say that this gives them a lot of option for further exploration and in each of these pieces there an element of surprise, and it is a true delight to hear what they come up with. (FdW)
––– Address: https://inexhaustibleeditions.bandcamp.com/
TARAB - HOLES (CD by Sonic Rubbish)
As usual, Tarab gives us just enough information about his music to make us think we have an idea of what we’re hearing… until we hear it. His new album has much in common with this previous work: masterfully-recorded, impossibly patient music that sometimes sounds like a series of Foley effects without the movie. Eamon Sprod is the composer behind the Tarab moniker. I suppose one could think of his music as being based on recordings of acoustic events… but maybe it’s not? It’s a lot of mystery… and lots of holes. Here is what the artist gives us to go on: “All sounds borrowed from various rooms, the things that happened in them, and those that come in from outside. Collected and re-arranged 2020. Some recordings initially made for the Amplify 2020 series, others not.” Got that? Some outside sounds, captured from inside rooms… some sounds from inside rooms… so things that happened in rooms. Ah, so that must mean… um, anything? Yeah, anything. That’s no information at all. Thanks for nothin’, Sprod. We’re left to confront that actual sounds and their arrangement in chronological space.
Trying to peg the “things that happened” to generate these sounds is foolish. Tarab is skilled at capturing rich, detailed sonic events and parsing them down to just their most essential elements. But the title, “Holes”, does a lot of work in setting up the piece. On this album, sounds are separated into discrete clusters. Quick jabs of metal rattling, open-air, doors closing and machine grind are distilled to a seconds-long (or shorter!) rush, separated by pregnant silences. We can hear jumbles of metal bashing, or the seemingly random percussion of an auto repair shop, fiercely jumbled television announcers… sharing a thin border with closely-recorded footfalls, gale-force wind, an empty foyer. Sprod plays with volume mercilessly and often; a sound-event might be REAL LOUD AND UPFRONT as if it’s boxing you about the ears, then rapidly cut to the same sound but quiet and distant, then cut again to a sideways view of the same sound, all in a moment with silence on either end… one gesture describing decisive motion. I’m reminded of Fergus Kelly’s work crossed with Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock’s violent focus… the ears of a documentary filmmaker on the body of a martial arts expert. The title seems to refer to the open space that gapes around each event… and sometimes, around each individual sound. This music breathes like a living animal. (HS)
––– Address: https://sonicrubbish.bandcamp.com
KAZUYA ISHIGAMI - MIND LIBERATION (CD by Dada Drumming)
Already around since 1992, Kazuya Ishigami first worked as Billy? and then, solo, I believe as Daruin and starting his Neus-318 label, releasing music from like-minded composers around the world. The information here says, and this is new for me, that he is influenced by "Buddhist concepts and teachings. Sometimes noisy and sometimes tranquil, just as the mind in transition. An intricate and sometimes delicate sound composition in two parts for your journey on the Path of Enlightenment". Both pieces are, save for one second, the same length. It could have been one piece, for all I know, or 99 (the maximum amount for a CD), and the first part of Mind Liberation looks at 'anger sadness, apathy', while the second has a focus on 'vanity, pride, all emotions'. I easily admit not to know too much about Buddhism and how that relates to the world of sound, or how that could be best translated to a composition. The two pieces leave me clueless, I must admit. From what I know of the methods and technology used by Ishigami, he's using a lot of field recordings and electronics and all of this goes into the computer for further treatment and final composition. I dare not speak out as to what kind of software Ishigami uses, nor do I find that a particularly interesting question. In his work, chaos is not a guiding principle; no hastily processing, or CPU's working overtime. It is rather various blocks of sound, ideas, and/or sketches that flow rather effortlessly into each other, and all of this, seemingly, without an overall compositional idea for a piece. This is why I said, this could be one piece, or 99, or any number in between. Ishigami is the classic laptop artist, I'd say (and maybe so, much to my surprise). None of this is overly noisy or very quiet, everything stays within reasonable boundaries, and unlike some of the peers (or by now predecessors; probably moved on to the world of modular electronics), Ishigami doesn't stay too long in one place, but gently moves from idea to idea in a good pace; not too fast, not too slow. Buddhist style, I assume? Nice one. (FdW)
––– Address: https://dadadrumming.bandcamp.com/
TIBETAN RED & THE OVAL LANGUAGE & DAS SYNTHETISCHE MISCHGEWEBE - THE HEAD OF THE HYDRA (CD by Attenuation Circuit)
This is a three-way collaboration between old friends. Klaus Peter-John, the man behind The Oval Language and Guido Hübner, Das Synthestische Mischgewebe, have an ongoing collaboration for many years; I think I saw them in concert in the late 90s. There was also a double CD by them for Monochrome Vision; not sure if that was reviewed here. Hübner and Salvador Francesch, also known as Tibetan Red, met years ago and recently again, and then decided t work on a collaboration. The great thing is that the cover doesn't give any clues as to who did the final mix; if at all one was responsible for that. The voices we hear, both processed and unprocessed, are courtesy of John, as he's known for that in his work. Whatever else is going is not as easy to trace to individual contributions. Some of the more drone-based, processed field recordings, I would think are by Tibetan Red, which, again so I assume, means that the more collage-like approach to the sound material is by Hübner. The final sixteen or so minutes would be exemplary of this collaboration; the voice of Peter processed Francesch style and slowly getting chopped up, Hübner area of expertise. All of this with the usual disclaimer: I might be all wrong. Another approach could have been that there are various sections here and that each worked on a section, which was later, stuck together into this one-hour long piece of music. The section that starts around ten minutes would be a perfect Hübner concept: cutting in and out sounds, processed voices, and drones/feedback to provide a backbone. All three composers here share a love for the methods of musique concrète; cutting and pasting with sound to tell a story and that is what they do best here. Regardless of who did what, they go for the result and that is something that is a top product. They work their way through all the material at a careful pace, not fast, not slow. There is very little that overstays its welcome or feels rushed. There is some great flair used in creating this music and altogether a great collaboration, free of ego! (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.attenuationcircuit.de
DELPHIUM - OCTOBER (CD by Moloko Plus)
The cover says 'Delphium + October', so I assumed this was a collaboration between Jonathan Forde, a.k.a. Delphium and somebody called October, but upon studying Delphium's Bandcamp, I learned that 'October' is the title. Since making a return to the music scene with 'A Beautiful Day To Die' (Vital Weekly 1247) and another quickly on the heels of that, 'Acroyear Vs Microman', an EP. Now there is a full-length album, with seventeen tracks, including three of the four pieces from his last EP. These pieces cover the wide musical territory of Delphium, and as such seventy minutes is hardly a problem. Rhythm plays an important role in the music of Delphium, loud, forceful, straightforward and without too many breaks. Samples that are taken from other people records, feeding through an array of sound effects. These rhythms come from drum 'n bass records, breakbeat, techno and such, and now just drive forward in a strict minimalist way. Sometimes Delphium adds a few lines of electronics to the equation, such as the 303/909 sounds on 'Gelgoog'. That is one side of the sound of Delphium. The other side is without rhythm and consists of deep ambient passages, eerie soundtracks and these are almost opposites to the rhythm pieces. You could be fooled and think two bands are playing. These two approaches, and, yes, there are some overlaps with eerie ambient with a dash of rhythm or bass line and rhythm pieces with spooky synthesizer ornaments, make that this is a highly varied release, shooting in all directions. You could wonder if some of this is maybe suffering from all this variation, but I found that most enjoyable this time, especially because of the crossover pieces, in which both ends tried to meet halfway. Some rhythm pieces are just a bit too long, like 'Tekt', which sound like a record stuck in a groove, with an additional bass line, but no more than that. That is a risk one takes from using straight forward rhythm sections from other people's records; it never leaves much room for additional messing around. With the Internet loaded with drum sample packages, it is these days very easy to create another rhythm, just yourself, but perhaps for Delphium this sort of plunderphonics is part of the concept. Maybe that is something that Delphium could explore in the future and keep the excellent synthesizer, ambient, isolationist or whatever you call it side and let the project grow further. Throughout this CD is already a major progression. (FdW)
––– Address: http://molokoplusrecords.de/
MINIATURES 2020 (2CD by ReR Megacorp)
On the day this arrived I was doing my daily walk outside, and on my listening device of choice comes on Morgan Fischer, 'The Sleeper Awakes', from one of those Cherry Red compilations. A lengthy song, full of those massive, orchestral rock changes, so typical of the seventies (and writing this on the day I heard Jim Steinman, the man behind Meat Loaf, died! Must be no coincidence); I love that song. The career of Fischer spans five decades and saw him, as a keyboard player, of a band that once graced their covers with 'no synthesizers on this record', and who was also a member of the Third Ear Band and Mott The Hoople; in 2005 he worked with Hans-Joachim Roedelius. Now, there's a man worth a book! In 1980, he compiled a record with 51 one-minute pieces, 'Miniatures - a sequence of fifty-one tiny masterpieces', which may or may not be one of the first with so many short pieces (The Residents' 'Commercial Album' was released around the same time). The brief was 'show us what you do', and if you know the entire music world, it is hardly a surprise that to find Robert Fripp, XTC, The Damned, Michael Nyman etc. side by side, on a dazzling variety of musical pieces. The idea of a short-pieces only compilation was oft-repeated ('Mail Music', 'Sound Cosmodel', 'To Post A Tape', to name a few) and in 2000 the single LP was updated to a CD, with sixty tracks and now, again twenty years later, a double CD, with 124 pieces (some have two pieces), divided into six sections (divided by short 'needle lift for side one' etc. pieces; so effectively 129 pieces). Fischer is no longer the one organizing the show, just supplying a text about the original version, and now it is coordinated by Barry Lamb and Alan Davies, partly because of the whole Covid pandemics and connecting to people in lockdown at home, and they too do know a wide variety of musicians; The Residents, Fred Frith, Stewart Lee, Billy Bragg, David Thomas, John Otway, R Stevie Moore, Peter Blegvad, Eyeless In Gaza, The Bevis Frond, Gary Clail, Adrian Sherwood, Henry Kaiser, Atilla the Stockbroker, Terry Riley, Half Japanese, Matmos, Apartment House, Tom Robinson, Bob Drake, Alternative TV, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Two Headed Emperor, Bringers Of Change, Boo Hewerdine, Shiva Feshareki, Neil Luck, Chris Cutler (I copied this bit from the information; easier than retyping this) and there is a bunch of people I never heard, but also band members from famous bands, such as Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers, or Stuart Moxham of Young Marble Giants. There is a 62-page booklet, detailing information about everyone, plus maybe a bit of personal note. You could try and manage to keep up with the information while listening to the music, which is not an easy thing to do. I tried, but then I played this double CD throughout a couple of days (preceded, I should note, with playing the 1980 and 2000 versions), so going a bit nuts overhearing so many short pieces. With such an amount of short pieces, it should be no surprise that the amount of variations on offer is massive. From miniature opera songs (Jasun Martz now playing), poetry pieces, musique concrète (Barry Lamb just before this), or singer-songwriter doing weirdo jazz (Steve Johnson, following Martz); I can't type that quick to keep up with all of this, as one-minute flies by. Think of this as tuning into an alternative radio station, and you're just presented with an endless amount of one-minute jingle pieces, which never bores; the tempo is just so high here, and it goes on and on, which I absolutely find a positive thing. Lots of this stuff is not something that you would find a lot in Vital Weekly (now playing: Robert Le Plar), but as a sidetrack from whatever I am digesting wholesale because this is mixed with some weirder, this makes a lot of sense. Just like the two previous 'Miniatures', this is a whirlwind of music. Sign me up for 2040! (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.rermegacorp.com
SZPETY (CD by Antenna Non Grata)
The Poland-based label Antenna Non Grata is an odd label. The first few releases dealt with the radio as a sound source, but later on, this was mixed with a love for improvised music. This new one is definitely from the latter interest; as far as I can see there are no radios on this release. Szpety is a duo with two vocalists, Antonina Nowacka and Gosia Zagajewska and Wojtek Kurek playing drums, electronics and also responsible for the mix. The music is "described as oniric and minimalistic, referring to the avant-garde theatre & psychoacoustic audial phenomenons." The acoustics of a place they perform in is important. The first CD was recorded in the basement of a church in Warsaw, and this new release was recorded at the CKiS Gallery Wieża Ciśnień in Konin, about which the group said that the "great advantage of this space is the reverberation straight from the spacious temple despite the small area that allows for an intimate working atmosphere." Over two days they recorded music on the CD. Six pieces in total, thirty-five minutes long. It is indeed on the minimal side, and maybe it does evoke a dreamlike state, which is always difficult to say when you are wide-awake. Microphones capture the music, which means there is some distance between the players and the listener. This isn't closely captured but from some distance, and that means that something got lost in translation. I can imagine this sounds entirely different when one is present when the music is performed, but I fear now that some details got lost, especially with the drums and electronics. A lack of depth, if you will, which perhaps is an odd remark when writing at the same time of something of which space is an important factor. It is hard to say what these electronics are; only in the last piece, 'Bzard', they arrive at the foreground. Maybe Kurek moved through space while recording the music and arrived at the microphone, signalling the end of the recording? Also, I think a theatrical aspect is quite important here, which is also lost on a Compact Disc. The improvisations are not bad at all, which is the sad thing when I think it could have sounded so much better, bringing out the intensity of the vocalists more to the foreground. I realize that the dream state quality of the music might get lost. This is a release that left me with mixed feelings. (FdW)
––– Address: https://antennanongrata.bandcamp.com/
AKKAJEE – LASTENKERÄÄJÄ (CD, private)
When I first started to listen to ‘Lastenkerääjä’ I didn’t know what to expect. The cover depicts two characters. One dressed in white, with a face covering, the other in black. Are they fighting or is one being blessed? If so, who is blessing who? It’s confounding. The two figures are frames in the centre of the images with a border of flowers, vines, branches, and mushrooms all drawn in a slightly psychedelic, slightly creepy way. It reminds me of a book I was given as a child about Danish gnome. There was a grotesqueness to the images that you didn’t normally find in children’s books, but there was also something comforting about too. All of this comes across in the artwork by Tekla Vály, Tereza Holubová & Linda Kokkonen / Valreza Collective.
Then we come to the music.
In a way, it evokes the same feeling as art. At its core, the album is based around vocals, viola and handmade instruments. Imagine a European folk version of Tom Waits at his most ramshackle and you are on the right lines. But this doesn’t do the music justice. In all fairness how can words ever really sum up the feeling you get by hearing a piece of music that totally dominates you? You can’t, but we try. So, try I will.
Akkajee consists of Iida Savolainen on viola, vocals and stompbox along with Meriheini Luoto on nyckelharpa and vocals. The nyckelharpa looks like a kind of violin that you wear like a guitar and bow, but it uses keys to create the notes and sounds. I’ve probably got this totally wrong, but as I’ve seen one in the flesh, let alone ever heard one played before I’m trying my best. Ultimately it’s hard to know what is viola and what is nyckelharpa on the album. And that makes ‘Lastenkerääjä’ even more transfixing. The music has a psych vibe going on, but people expecting the 13th’ Floor Elevators will be disappointed. This is a much more intricate, and subtle, affair. Around the halfway mark on ’Yönitkettäjä’ Akkajee really let rip. The melodies are densely packed and interwoven around some of the best vocals I’ve heard in a long time. Then the electronics kick in and what sounds like a choir of the damned. It’s so disorienting it makes your head spin, but there is so much pleasure in feeling giddy like this that you just go with it, rather than trying to regain your composure. Lyrically the songs are sung in Finnish, I language I have no understanding of, but I think understand what the songs are about. The title track, ‘Lastenkerääjä’, feels like a story of love, loss, and redemption. With some monsters and magic threw in for good measure.
At its heart, ‘Lastenkerääjä’ is a delightful album absolutely rammed with killers’ riffs and motifs. It’s an album that gets better with each listen, but also more confusing. This is an album to play while sitting on your own looking out of a window into the dead of night. It’s an album that makes you think the shadows are getting closer to you. It’s an album to treasure because ones like this don’t come along very often! (NR)
––– Address: https://akkajee.bandcamp.com/
SMOLNIK & SCHLIENZ (LP by Cosmic Winnetou)
Here we have a transparent piece of vinyl with splattered colour and label boss Günther Schlienz behind his usual apparatus, synthesizer, tape machine, field recording and found sound, and he teams up with Teresa Smolnik, who recites her texts. On various accounts, this is quite a surprise. I am quite a fan when it comes to the music of Schlienz, even when it edges towards the world of new age. The surprise lies in the fact that Schlienz is doing something out of his usual ordinary. This is not some spacious ambient music from modular synthesizers but music with melodies, rhythms, almost, dare I say it, pop music style. Of course, this is not really pop music, but a massively alternative version of pop music. Spoken words, vocals, poetry and lyrics and me, it remains an uneasy marriage. And I did pay attention in school, so I understand a bit of German, which is the language of most pieces here. The mix Schlienz made of music and spoken word is on a more or less equal level here, which I enjoyed quite a bit. The voice, lowered a bit, becomes another instrument, and as such, it is of less importance if you can't understand what she says. There are loops of humming and angelic singing as well, so that obscures the voice a bit further. Around that Schlienz waves patterns of synthesizer sounds, a bit of percussion, piano, and field recordings, loosely, gentle and ambient, yes, but in a more pop fashion, if you get my drift. Oddly enough I was reminded of the first Kluster album, with its improvised music and religious texts recited in German and of one of the obscurer groups of Insane Music, Cortex, which was synthesizer and poetry in French, which I definitely didn't understand, but in which the voice was an instrument on a similar level as here with Schlienz and Smolnik. I must admit I enjoyed this, but that I prefer Schlienz’ other work more. (FdW)
––– Address: https://cosmicwinnetou.bandcamp.com/
COLEMAN GOEPFERT - DERIVATIVES (10" by Wide Ear Records)
There is something wonderfully horrible about ‘Derivatives’. It feels like Coleman Goepfert constructed it to be as abrasive and unpleasant as possible. OK, maybe not unpleasant, but grinding and confounding. Very little of it gels together. It’s all just a hodgepodge of sounds and styles. However, underneath all the surface noise there is something truly fun going on.
It feels like the whole point of the first track ‘Boa’ isn’t so much to tell a story, or a series of emotions, but to create an atmosphere. It lays down the ground rules of the album. This will be loud, fast and grating. There won’t be much in the way of melodies, but there will be plenty of dynamic movement. Throughout it’s hard to know where to focus your attention. As soon as you are drawn to something it either vanishes under layers of audio detritus or mutates into something else. This of course makes it a captivating listen, with repeat listens being more and more rewarding. ‘Amp’ is a much more subdued experience but there is still plenty going on. First of all, you notice how it sounds like everything is underwater. The feeling of rushing bubbles and tentacled things grabbing at you from the dark depths really gives the track an unexpected dangerous feel.
What ‘Derivatives’ really excels at is taking us to the edge of our comfort zone but never actually going beyond. It feels like a musical version of a roller coaster that goes really fast to the drop, then just stays there for ages. There is no ground below you. Just a massive drop that you will never actually take. By doing this you are confronted with your fear for long, giving you an even greater rush, without the risk of messing up hair and vomiting. Then it slowly retreats back to the safety of the entrance/exit area. (NR)
––– Address: https://www.wideearrecords.ch/
WEREWOLF JERUSALEM / BRUISING PATTERN / NECROTIK FISSURE / TROU- UNTITLED (CDR by Magnesia Nova)
'Aterrados' by Werewolf Jerusalem (12:30) is Spanish for 'Terrified' - a 2017 Argentine horror film written and directed by Demián Rugna – hence I guess the short vocal at the beginning and the water sounds and the end, “ strange voices coming from the plughole” which I assume are clips from the film. In between is one fairly uniform static of noise which sounds like slowed down white noise, and in speeding this up I did produce something like 'normal' white noise, though not the purely random noise, so I guess the source was neither algorithmic nor a simple electronic device. As I've said so many times that noise in itself cannot communicate or represent... so what of the horror film scenario. And many in the 'noise scene' have it seems interests in horror, violence and the occult. Maybe it's just that, merely an interest and nothing more, but if a more understandable desire for some spiritualism, even if dark, rather than the truly deadly reality of materialist nihilism. And maybe in that case marshalling harsh noise to this is understandable. Otherwise, we are faced with the idea that the 'theme' isn't important, and thus distracts from the reality of materialist nihilism, which is THE REAL, and expressed in HN and HNW. However, noise qua noise might be considered as negative minimalism (Vomir) an alternative that shines light (sic) on Noise's relationship to the occult (from PIE root "to cover, conceal, save") is that it is opposed to both meaning, music and sense. "[N]ot apprehended by the mind, beyond the range of understanding" noise could be that meaningless is not a passive activity but contra "Apollo ... the god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, music, poetry- [noise is] Dionysus … the god associated with chaos, the god of wine and ecstasy… frenzy or madness.." (http://www.jliat.com/txts/pop%20goes%20reason.pdf). Even Heidegger after his 'turn' includes the Gods – plural, in his fourfold and the idea of aletheia – an unconcealment that remains always never fully unconcealed... Track 2, whose title seems to be some glyph 'U', by Necrotik Fissure (13:19) is another piece of wall noise, tighter and denser, and maybe some variations due to looping? But such are these kinds of soundscapes within the minimalism created by the combination of frequencies the listeners mind can play tricks, looks for patterns in the noise. The piece ends is some abrupt change/tone. (Ending, especially with relation to HNW and Vomir is how Paul Hegarty *begins* his recent book, Annihilating Noise... which actually has little to do with noise or annihilation!) 'Corruption Of The Mind' by Bruising Pattern (12:04) is yet another wall like work, more disjointed and lower in bandwidth which gives stuttering, and in Goldwave the positive values of the audio have been clipped, but not the lower. You can see here (11531,11531,11533,11531,11531) the positive samples form a plateau, which on examination occurs to a lesser extent in track 2, which might account for the 'imagined' loops? 'The Delicate Sound Of Fear When She Breathes' by Trou (10:24) is yet another wall though denser, like all the other tracks recorded at fairly low levels for HNW, @ -12db which is odd, “Setting your dB level from -10dB to -12dB will prevent sound from reaching that 0dB (in most of the cases) and becoming distorted.” As you can see in the samples above the highest values are all around 11,000 – the maximum in PCM is 32767, so that's a third of what it takes to get 0db (Vomir tracks are typically 0db!) And again on TDSOFWSB we see both flattened negative and positive PCM values (3080, 3087, 3085, 3116, 3083...). So maybe someone mastering was unaware of HNW tending to break the rules re DB and comforting listening without distortion and so limited / cut the originals to -12db producing such plateaus? Stranger going back to the first track 'Aterrados' there is no clipping, but the waveform in PCM is either negative or positive, never as in a conventional recording cutting across zero? It's (sadly for me!) intriguing. Certainly, you couldn't get such effects I would have thought just from the original recording, certainly in 4 different scenarios. Of course, going back to the original idea of noise being meaningless, maybe in this numeric aporia there is something “beyond the range of understanding". (jliat)
––– Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SOFT CAPTURE - REALITY DIVER (CDR by Drone Works International)
As the cover says, 'Reality River' is the first release by The Soft Capture, a duo of Claus Poulsen and Andreas Wetterberg. I had not heard of the latter, but the first I do know pretty well from his various solo releases and collaborations/groups he's part of it. In The Soft Capture, Poulsen plays the zither and Wetterberg the electronics, which I found an odd thing, knowing Poulsen as someone who loves the electronic side of music quite a bit. The zither is where the sounds start and then feeds through the electronics, and I assume part of what we hear also includes some unprocessed zither. The level of processing is something they have kept to a minimum anyway, so it seems, as it is surely more along the lines of colouring the tones with a bit of delay, reverb and some other boxes. That gives the music quite a gentle tonal approach, almost ambient music if you will. Think Eno with Budd or Laraaij but now with a zither and some minimal electronics. This is music you can play all day and easily ignore. That is the classic Brian Eno definition of ambient, to pleasure and equally, ignore it. If you zoom into the music, listen carefully to each of the individual pieces; you would notice there is not always a lot of different things happening and some of these pieces being quite similar in approach. All of which, by the classic definition, of ambient doesn't matter. However, my feelings are a bit more ambivalent here. As a listening experience, it all worked quite fine for me, but perhaps on the next level, the individual pieces there is something to improve. (FdW)
––– Address: https://droneworksinternational.bandcamp.com/
DELUDIUM SKIES - DESTINATION DESOLATION (CDR by Xtelyon Records)
GNAARF - GRAY LINES & VLACK SIGNS (CDR by Xtelyon Records)
There is, most days, at a point in the afternoon, when I have to decide what to do next. Go for that last review or call it a day? And if another review, which one? Providing I have already pre-auditioned everything, I more or less have a vague idea of what I am in for. To end the day with something different is a most suitable thing, cleansing perhaps. To go for the music by Deludium Skies to end a day is a good choice, as it turns out. I heard their music before (Vital Weekly 1137 and 1236) and now I realize this is the solo project of Karl Pelzmann, who plays the guitars, bass, violin, programming and percussion. Lara Jones plays baritone and soprano saxophone on two pieces, and Michael Sarian trumpet and effects on a third piece, so eight are by Pelzmann. As I noted before, the music of Deludium Skies is heavy noise rock. Pelzmann programs his drum machines in slow, pounding moves and on top he plays out his stoner rock licks in full force. I compared it with Skullflower, but I also said I am not up to scratch with this kind of music, so I easily might be wrong here. There is an element of improvisation in this music, especially (of course?) in three pieces with guest players, but also on the other pieces. An instrument playing an odd part in the mass of it all. Which is, I should think, also something that attracts me, I guess. Especially in the least noisy, free folk/improvisation approach of 'Fata Morgana', which might be a slight change of direction? I am not sure, but certainly, something to explore further.
Pelzmann is, with the same instruments (violin traded in for 'keys'), responsible for the music he releases as Gnaarf. The same two guest players are again present, but Jones on three pieces, and Sarian on two. Of Gnaarf I reviewed a previous album (Vital Weekly 1265). This is another day to write these lines (nothing in Vital Weekly is written in any linear way) and not at the end of the day. The music played by Gnaarf is quite different from Deludium Skies. This is more improvised for a start, but also much jazzier than his other project. Again, this happens more with the use of wind instruments than without. When they play along it has that smokey nightclub atmosphere that makes me want to reach out for my pipe and a glass of brandy (a bit early in the day for both), but also without, as in 'Out Of Mind, Into The Night', there is some fine laidback keyboard playing. When the guitar becomes a dominant feature, the element of distortion slips in ('Bloomed To Wither'), which sort of breaks with the film noir atmosphere. In all of these pieces, the tempo is rather slow and the overall sound approach is atmospheric. There is again that strange approach in sound that makes all of this not very standard, which alien element makes this for me all the more enjoyable. In some ways, this reminded me of the great LP by A Tent from 1981, but in some ways not at all. You could do worse than that! (FdW)
––– Address: https://xtelyonrec.wordpress.com/
SWEENEY - MISERY PEAKS (CDR by Sound In Silence)
THE GREEN KINGDOM - SOLARIA (CDR by Sound In Silence)
In Vital Weekly 1194, I reviewed 'Human, Insignificant' by Jason Sweeney, who also uses aliases such as Panoptique Electrical, Other People's Children and Simpatico, but perhaps as Sweeney delivers his most personal music. You can look that review up, but to spill the beans, I wasn't blown away by it. There were lots of voices, and Jason sings with all the emotions out in the open. This is still the case on 'Misery Peaks' and Sweeney adds strings, piano, samples, some beats and electronics. There is some great production value to be noted here, let there be no mistake about it. This all sounds as detailed as it is delicate. There are some big-time emotions at play here. The label compares this to Scott Walker, David Sylvian, Anohni and "the quieter moments of Depeche Mode", and that is all true, as far as I can judge such things. In a world full of justice, Jason Sweeney should be a big star with what he does. And, I guess you know what's coming here, yet this is not something for me. I don't like the big drama, and I am never particularly interested in lyrics, and yes, my bad indeed. For a lot of people out there, 'strange music', whatever one could or would define as such is something very abstract, but once there is a voice, it all makes sense. If you are one of them, head over the Bandcamp of this label and check this out.
It is quite rare that Sound In Silence sends me something that I actually know, let alone twice, but in the case of The Green Kingdom, I already reviewed four previous works (Vital Weekly 633, 921, 1059 and 1147). Michael Cotton, from Michigan, USA, heads this musical project. Cotton is a man with a guitar and electronics and creates some fine ambient music. Unlike ÆRA, reviewed elsewhere, the music of The Green Kingdom is not dark and that is a surprising rarity in the world of ambient where darkness seems to prevail, and you wonder: why? Why is there so little in terms of the lightness of ambient music? It is a question for which I have no answer either; maybe it is just an observation on my behalf. The guitar is looped around, there are some fine light drones projected around this, and a breezy springtime feeling oozes from the music. In 'Sol 1' he uses a drum machine and the tinkling guitars remind me of The Durutti Column's first album, but in the hands of Cotton, the result is less spikey and forceful (maybe how Durutti Column would have sounded when not produced by Martin Hannett?). This is music for a firm walk, drifting into the woods on a fine spring day and have these beautiful sceneries as a soundtrack; not too loud, of course, so you can also hear birds chirping. Nothing new under the sun of The Green Kingdom, just another damn fine new release. (FdW)
––– Address: https://soundinsilencerecords.bandcamp.com/
O.R.D.U.C. - FOUR WARNINGS (cassette by Motok)
Quiet for some time and then, in a short period, two cassettes. Nico Selen's musical project O.R.D.U.C. released a cassette single some weeks ago (see Vital Weekly 1276) with different mixes from a previous LP, now it is time for a teaser for a soon-to-be-released new album, 'Shifting Times'. This contains music from recent years and the cassette has, apparently, shorter versions than we will hear on the LP. The group is now a four-piece lineup, with Selen on synthesizers, percussion, electronics, Martin Selen (son? brother? grandson? otherwise (un-) related?) on drums, Peer Saer (guitar) and Burkhard Jaeger (noise synthesizer). I would think they don't play on all of these pieces, as 'Solstitium Brumalis' seems an entirely synthesizer-based song. These four pieces are all instrumental and have that hard to define but undeniable O.R.D.U.C. sound. It has the warmth of analogue machines, direct but not raw, sweet but not sugary. There is an oddly melancholic touch to all of these pieces, a bit sad perhaps. These are shifting times, and maybe O.R.D.U.C. wanted to reflect some of that in this music? The title track seems to have all four musicians playing in a slower, majestically march, maybe a funeral march? There is a cosmic tone to all of these pieces, a massive influence for O.R.D.U.C. but the spaceship is a bit rusty and decay and allows for a more contemplative approach in the cosmos. This teaser certainly made me curious about the LP. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.motok.org
FILTRO - OPIFICI (CDR by Hemisphare Nokukyo)
ANGELO BIGNAMINI - FEU DE JOIE (cassette by Ambient Noise Sesssion)
As far as I can see, this is the fourth release by Filtro that I review (Vital Weekly 1079, 1117 and 1212; the latter one seems to me thinking I had not heard their music before. I don't always properly research). This is a duo of Angelo Bignamini (tapes, dc motors, solenoids, objects and contact microphones) and Luca de Biasi (modular synthesizers and field recordings). They have two untitled pieces on this CDR on Philip Sulidea's Hemisphare Nokukyo label (and a surprise it was to see the label switching to CDR releases). This is a duo with improvised music with rather unusual means. I think there has been quite nice progress with their music over these releases, and there is an interesting maturing of the music. Before it was perhaps all a bit too crude and noisy, but on this new release, there is a balance between the harsher side of the improvisations and a more delicate approach to treating their sound. The cover says 'recorded and mixed', which made me think that this is the result of various sessions mixed into two different pieces, and while some chaos is still part of it, there seems to be more organization, oddly enough as that may seem when it comes to improvised music. There are some hard cuts in the material, which is another indication of the various sessions approach and using the best bits. This is a most promising release for the future.
Bignamini in solo mode has another homage to the original fathers of musique concrète, hence the French title I should think. He applies their methods but not with similar technology. Bigmanini uses "tape recorders and some electric interferences produced by various loudspeakers and cheap microphones", and that adds a nice lo-fi feeling to the music. There are quite some voices in these two pieces of music, along with field recordings and electronics; the latter, so I should think, is partly due to the malfunctions of the machines, slipping and sliding, looping and reversing. There is also the treatments of a prepared violin, according to the information, which I spotted, I think, at the start of the first side. In his approach to musique concrète, Bignamini uses a fairly naive way of working with sounds, which is something I actually enjoyed. If there are rules to composing this kind of music, and I know a few people who think there is, then I would think that the accidental cut and paste of various bits and pieces is something that works just well. Sometimes there is a passage cross-fading into the next section, but hard cuts do the same trick. Bigmanini's homage shoots all over the place, from feedback processing to chopping up bits of classical music, and voice material, all with that direct approach of picking up from loudspeakers with what I didn't see as cheap microphones. Great stuff! (FdW)
––– Address: https://hemispharenokukyo.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://ambientnoisesession.bandcamp.com/
DEPLETION - PROJECTIONS (cassette by Dark Passage Records)
VYRYV - LYUTAK CALDO (cassette by Dark Passage Records)
N. - REGRET SESSION 2021 (cassette by Dark Passage Records)
Dark Passage Records is a new label and the inaugural release is by the founding father Martyn Reid, who works as Depletion. His work was previously reviewed (not by me) in Vital Weekly 1248, a cassette he did for Invisible City Records. This one he calls 'analog synth ruminations' and it contains six pieces, in total thirty minutes. For his previous, the word 'industrial' was used, and that is exactly the kind of word I would use to describe these pieces. Bleak industrial landscapes to be precise. Cold, clinical music and that is not a negative qualification. I was thinking of M.B. in his earlier, noisier synth phase, but Depletion keeps his tracks shorter and more to the point. Each of these pieces is created from a minimal repeating set of sounds and, while I use the term industrial, they are not really harsh noise. It is more power electronics, certainly a piece called 'Unmarked Graves', than harsh noise, and as such something that is another reminder of the 80s, with these titles and black and white artwork (which is actually a feature on three releases here) isn't enough remembrance. This is the kind of retro that I love.
The second release is by Lee Stokoe, who, this time, works as Vyryv, but whom we know better as Culver. Dark Passage calls this 'analog synth horror'. It is funny to see the word analog used in both of these releases, and how different it is worked out by Depletion and Vyryv. Whereas the first is cold and distant, the second is a lot warmer and even melodic at times. Vyryv works with repeating chords on his analogue synthesizers, by playing the keyboard; I bet Delpetion's synthesizer is of a more modular variety. The music has at times a slow bounce of the sequencer and is throughout naively played, but that is something I enjoyed quite a bit. It taps into the world of cosmic music, but this time not by someone surrounded by a lot of synthesizers but just one or two and more representing the underground version of that. I thought it was lovely stuff and, again, in some way I heard a connection to the 80s cassette scene, very early Die Form or Krylon Hertz, and that is something that I also would classify as retro and of the variety I love.
I mistakenly thought that N. was the musical project of Hellmut Neidhardt, but that is N without a period and with a period it is Davide Tozzoli, who works as such since 1995. On Discogs, this is mentioned: "His name means what you prefer (Nothing, Nihilism, No, Noia...)", which I found actually very funny. Tozzoli also has a label, Slaughter Productions. Oddly enough, the word analog doesn't appear in the description here, but it could have easily been in here. N. has ten untitled pieces of some very dark music. Maybe it was Dark Passage's description of "pitch-black death electronics" guiding me in thinking about this, and hence I was expecting something very noise based, but this turned not to be the case. The pitch might refer to the fact the music is pitched down towards the heavier, darker frequencies of the sound spectrum. The overall impression I have of the music is that of depression, disease and, indeed, death. There is no hope here, just darker tonal poems of decay (with all those 'd' words, N. could also be called 'D.', so I thought). This is, on an average sunny day in April, not exactly the music that captures a private mood, but, on the other hand, one could see it as a musical reflection of the world's current state, and then it all makes perfect sense. (FdW)
––– Address: https://darkpassagerecords.bandcamp.com/
ÆRA - A WINTER'S TALE (cassette by Faith Strange)
A GUIDE FOR REASON - WINSTON SMITH (cassette by Faith Strange)
Recently I reviewed works by Doc Wör Mirran, Richard Youngs and Derek Piotr, all people who different things under one name, here is Mike Fazio, who does a lot of music with various aliases. It is not always easy to find the differences in these aliases, to be honest, but, then, I may not have heard all the work he did. Fazio's primary instrument is the guitar, and he adds lots and lots of electronics to the game to let the six strings spark and fly. Previously he called this part of his work orchestramaxfieldparrish presents ÆRA, but these days simply go by ÆRA, which you, no doubt, pronounce as 'area'. There are four lengthy cuts on this cassette, spanning close to seventy minutes of music and in all four pieces, time goes by very slowly, and the guitar is nowhere to be recognized. It is melted, deformed, reshaped and remodelled so that it rings and sings like a synthesizer or two. Deep and majestic tones are played, one by one, until the full force of sound is there, moving back and forth, with the least kind of change, but that is just a trick; the music does change rather substantially, below and above, while the middle ground drone needs a longer and slower curve. The darkness may not fit a sunny day in April, and we have to keep in mind that the music was recorded from December 16 to 19, 2020 and is in "celebration of The Great Conjuction and Winter Solstice of 2020", and the dark tones of ÆRA for that season pretty well. All four pieces have this gentle, dark ring of cosmic to it, lengthy, sustaining and spacious with in the piece 'Children With Their Faces Skyward, Spinning in Circles, with Arms Outstretched' the only track with shorter sounds to imitate the sound of snowflakes, set against a wall of reverberating drones, drifting like clouds in the sky. This is some wonderfully quiet music, the perfect soundtrack for early morning.
Following that with A Guide For Reason makes perfect sense, as this is Mike Fazio's project in the realm of experimental music. I was wondering who Winston Smith is, but seeing this on the Bandcamp page, "May all of your Orwellian dreams come true (if they haven’t already)", I realized that was the protagonist from '1984'. Maybe this is Fazio's comment on the current state of world affairs? "The world of meaning and of causes becomes gradually the world in which he finds happiness", is the title of the piece that spans the entire second side, and maybe a statement about people who find 'truth' online? As I am playing this, I wonder if what I just wrote is true, the thing about guitars? It is difficult to hear guitars in the music of ÆRA, but stretching out guitar sounds in that manner, is a common thing. The way it is done on 'Winston Smith' is even more abstract, and it could be synthesizers, sequencers, samplers and/or rhythm machines at work here. What is left is the atmospheric quality of the music, but collage-style, noisier at times, even a bit industrial at times, and abstract. It is also more dynamic, going through various volume motions here, from relatively quiet to pleasantly 'loud'. I was thinking that I would not be surprised if some of this material is generated from field recordings, along with whatever else is played by Fazio. Maybe it is all too easy to say this is a dystopian soundtrack, but I can imagine some passages of this, could be transferred one on one to a film soundtrack. As pleasant as it is frightening. That's how we love our dystopian fantasies. (FdW)
––– Address: https://faithstrange.bandcamp.com/
VLK - NUN DARME STU TURMIENTO (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)
ORCA, ATTACK! - C.M.S.O. (LEARNING BY LISTENING VOL. 1) (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)
The two latest releases by Germany's Strategic Tape Reserve are quite strange. Both come with quite some background, but of the variety where you have no idea if it is true or not. VLK hails from Hoboken, where worked as a busboy "at a small, now-defunct Italian restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey popular with yuppies on dates, neighbourhood old-timers and the occasional local politician." There was a 5CD disc changer with music on rotating and that is the inspiration of the music here, which is sampled together from many sources, songs, field recordings, rhythms and synthesizers, and the label calls this a mixtape. I always wondered what that word means in the current context; a set of songs cobbled together, so it is thirty-five minutes long. This is all part of the world of plunderphonics, taking bits of music, the spoken word left and right and cooking them up into something new. This time the plunderphonics is mainly used to a musical end, and not as a comment to socio- and political situations; it is not along the lines of Negativland or Tape-beatles, but rather to Sucking Chest Wound or DJ T-1-11, my personal favourite when it comes to a man armed with a sampler doing new music. VLK's music results in less danceable efforts and opts for a bit of fun from chaos to approach, even when it's more a smile than laughter. I have not much idea of how all of this works in terms of that background story, but I find all of this pleasantly derailing.
From New Orleans comes the duo of "academics/musicians Elizabeth Joan Kelly and David Rodriguez", and C.M.S.O. stands for "Course Management System Optimization", and this is a beginners guide of which the goal is "to approach the topic in a structured format, delivering the information in both engagingly processed spoken text and celestial sung vocals, all over a rich field of timbrally shifting electronic modern classical compositions specifically designed to effectively facilitate comprehensive attainment of the subject matter." I could quote the rest of it, as it made little sense to me, and I have no idea what this about (answers on a postcard?). The music is mostly a computer treated voice/vocoder style, and along with some electronics playing some weird tune. The six pieces last altogether less than 19 minutes, which is perhaps the best thing for such a little curiosity. Great for confusion and confused to know what to say. (FdW)
––– Address: https://strategictapereserve.bandcamp.com
LEV KOWALCZWK - THE YOUNGWOMAN CROSSES HERSELF AS AN AMBULANCE GOES RUSHING PAST (cassette by Important Drone Records)
SU SOUS TOULOUSE EN ROUGE - CAVEAT AUDIENS (cassette by Important Drone Records)
BOBAN RISTEVSKI & CALINECZKA - BREATHE (cassette by Important Drone Records)
It was quiet for a while from this imprint for some of the more radical approaches to drone music; long pieces and radical tones. The first new one is a cassette by Lev Kowalczwk, who is from Ireland and who has no other releases available. According to the label, this is "ANS-y 'cricket sounds'", by which I think it sounds like the ANS synthesizer but this is a different sort of synthesizer. The cricket-like sounds are along the lines of some mid-to high range frequencies that Kowalczwk uses. Both sides are pretty similar, and yet also different. The A-side is the gentler side of his music, with almost a sort of self-generative feeling. Once the machines are in motion, it all plays by itself, rocking slowly back and forth. The other side has a similar cicada-like sound, but is harsher, almost like a semishigure, the outburst of crickets chirping, but now extended to thirty or so minutes. The first time I played this, it was at the end of a long day of hearing a lot of music and I fell asleep halfway through the first side, and woke up when the music was over at the end of side B. I am not sure if that was the effect of me being tired, or perhaps it was the music, but also wide awake I found both of these sides pleasantly relaxing, the first more than the second but ultimately great music.
Important Drone said to have a look at YouTube video of Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge, a duo from Florida. I did and then I heard the tape. The same duo? I could be fooled. The tones captured by this duo are very radical, almost inaudible, but if you crank up the volume, things start shaking. I should ask the idiot across the street that treats us daily with his boom-car techno to play this at full force, so I can watch his car come apart. This is the first piece on side A, twenty-two minutes long, which goes by the 'Live Laugh Love'. The second piece, 'Red Tide' is more mid-level and very static, with no motion at all, which is the same for 'Side B', which I think is the title for the piece that fills up Side B. Pretty odd to name your pieces as such? Here too we are treated with a piece in near stasis and something that is best enjoyed at a very low volume, and let that fill up your living room. This is, even for me, the most extreme side of drone music, and taking things a bit too far. Or, perhaps, I am not 'there' yet!
Radical is also the start of former Vital Weekly scribe Boban Ristevki, who teams up with the label boss Calineczka. For the first ten or so minutes there is a very deep bass rumble, which goes largely unnoticed when played at a modest volume (my favourite setting), but slowly other sounds crawl into the mix and the radical bass is filtered, so it all becomes more audible. It is hard to say what exactly those sounds are, but my best guess is some sort of slowed down field recording. The piece on the other side is more on the same dynamic level throughout and consists of a vibrating or rotating sound, like a heating system being filtered through a modular set-up and here too there is that field recording that goes along with this. It adds a fine irregularity to the music, which is, come to think of it, something unusual for this label. The first bit of the first side was a bit too radical for tape replication but after that, it was all most pleasant, and after the radicalness of Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge, this was a wealth to hear! (FdW)
––– Address: https://importantdronerecords.bandcamp.com/
PÚDER & PORMEISTER TRIÓ/TRISTE ENSEMBLE/NOISESCULPTOR - UNSIGNED 3-WAY SPLIT SERIES VOLUME I (cassette by Unsigned)
UNSIGNED EXPERIMENTAL NOISE COMP #6 (cassette by Unsigned)
Two compilations here from the Hungarian Unsigned label. The first is a three-way compilation; the second has the classic 'many artists' approach. The three-way is divided not equally, as Púder & Pormeister Trió fill up the entire first side and Triste Ensemble and Noisesculptor, divide the second side. The music from these three bands is quite far apart, so I am not sure what the target audience is. In the Trio, we find Balzs Pandi on drums (best known for his records with Merzbow), Tamas Kopasz on guitar, Rudolf Szilagyi on electronics in a heavy set of improvised music. Taped at the front of the stage, so it is loud and heavy and one twenty-eight minute all-out noise/rock improvisation. Following which the music of Triste Ensemble is quite a wealth of electronic easiness. A sequencer tapes a synthesizer forward and slowly more synth and drum patterns are added, there is some derailing, which adds to the live feeling of this.. erm .. live recording. Noiseculptor is the only name I recognized, and they continue their ongoing work with the use of lo-fi samples and samplers, sound effects, cooking up heavily layered masses of sounds, all in the fine style of the ambient industrial masters of yesteryear. I love it.
The other is a compilation from 2019, so a bit late for promotion I would think, but let's not get it to waste then. The musicians on this compilation explore the world of noise, each in their own way. From the more conservative harsh noise approaches to freely improvised electronics and saxophones, and a more acousmatic approach (by Heathertoes; this is an international compilation). Or something that is heavy on the rhythm side with Buben. There is a lot of variation on this compilation and there is a lot to explore for the more adventurous minded seeking out new names in the world of noise music. Explore the music of GubbiAnn, The Rope meets Noise Ensemble, Cicanoise, Granular Cats with Blaise Siwula, The Flayed Choirmaster, Heathertoes, GoosliNoise, Buben, Dark Matter Clear Pattern, G.T. Arpe, WAAS, Evamuss, and Royal Hungarian Noisemakers & Fixateur Externe. The Bandcamp version has information about all of these people, which makes a good read while listening. (FdW)
––– Address: https://havizaj.bandcamp.com/
MICHAEL IDEHALL - WAR MAGIC (digital, self-released via Patreon)
MICHAEL IDEHALL - RECAPITULATION (digital, self-released)
These days the world is flooded with digital releases, but as an Idehall fan these two albums stood out in such a way that, despite our 'no digital' policy, I just had to write something about them. The world of music is also teeming with Michaels. Yeah no, think about it for a second: The first one that comes to mind is of course the King of Pop and then straight after that the king of Swans. Then dangling somewhere halfway down, hopelessly clinging to the frail shredded rags of this inane introduction there's the REM lad and on the ground, with the B's you'll find Bolton and Bublé. Now Swedish occultist Michael Idehall is a king in his own right. The first thing I heard of him was the compilation album "Deep Code / Sol" - two releases that were initially released by recently revived label Beläten and subsequently reissued on one CD by German industrial behemoth Ant-Zen, that oddly enough stopped their presses a short while ago. If for some enigmatic reason you missed both the original release, the reissue and every other thing Idehall (which I'd say is kind of difficult given how prolific the bloke is) it will, for now, suffice to say that he makes industrial influenced experimental electronics or 'seance-tronic' that goes from quite catchy (though never cheap or cheesy) to cyclopean, esoteric and dense.
For me, it was easily one of the highlights of the recent Ant-Zen acquisitions, though he probably would have been more at home on World Serpent, if that were still around. For those who enjoy the esoteric shimmer of Coil, Zero Kama, C93, irr.app. (ext.) etc. Idehall is very much the thing to be into in these times, for while his work does not sound like that of the aforementioned bands, there is something about it; a tangible line of gossamer leading back to visionaries like Austin Osman Spare - though clearly, this is not the only occult connection you'll find in Idehall's work. That combined with the otherworldly qualities of his music and spoken word parts that border on the matraic, and we have something solid that is hard to ignore.
Hidden behind a relentless paywall is a place where apparently it gets even more interesting if recent release War Magic is anything to go on. It's a 14 track Patreon-exclusive album that was quietly unleashed in February this year. With a running time of more than 70 minutes, 'War Magic' shows the vast range of atmospheres that Idehall can conjure up. On 'Invocation of War', 'ECCE HOMO' and 'All The World is a Gateway' gargantuan rhythmic mechanisms and coercive guttural synths are amplified by Idehall's commanding voice, like an army general addressing his troops. Many of the other tracks however are more introspective; seemingly considering the rotten state of the world on philosophical grounds. VE VE NO and Analogue Spells Against the Ruling Class gives us the hypnotic Idehall - tracks that I feel are almost impossible to skip because of their mesmerizing repetition. The album is an incredible trip well worth the time. If the sparse hints of political commitment don't scare you off, then this definitely one to check out; you'll find a link to Idehall's Patreon below.
The album Recapitulation is a compilation album that consists of tracks from several of Idehall's self-released EPs of the last couple of years: MARAX (2019), Blood Poison (2020), Crowned Fool (2020) and Svartkonster Pt. II (2020). Again these tracks show Idehall in his capable diversity and while many tracks sport his compelling seismic beats, there's a pleasant flow from true bangers like 'Truth be told', 'XMI RE20', Star of Moloch' and pieces that seem to have a somewhat more pondering bearing - 'The Bull King' and 'ABRA HAD ABRA' - without losing the overall in-your-face quality. The only exception is the downright mysterious 'Fungus Angels', also the longest track on the album, which could've easily lasted twice as long without losing the glamour of its persistent alien locomotion. It's interesting to see an album visit areas that border on angst pop, industrial and harsh noise, only to vigorously steer away again. Idehall manages to defy straightforward classification, while at the same time he skilfully stays true to his own carefully crafted signature sound. If you haven't had a chance at checking out Idehall's recent output, this is definitely a good and concise place to start (LW)
––– Address: https://www.patreon.com/idehall