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TONY OXLEY & ALAN DAVIE - ELABORATION OF PARTICULARS (CD by Confront Recordings) *
DET KÄTTERSKA FÖRBUND - LIDAVERKEN DEL I: ATT I VÅDELD FÖRGÅS (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
ID M THEFT ABLE - WELL I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE EYE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL (CD by Pogus) *
ELECTRIC URANUS & X-NAVI:ET - VOICES OF THE COSMOS IV (CD by Eter Records) *
FEDERICO DURAND - HERBARIO (CD by Laaps) *
DANIEL RIEGLER - FANFARE III (CD by Records & Other Stuff) *
FRED FRITH - ROCKET SCIENCE (miniCD by Records & Other Stuff) *
ORQUESTA DEL TIEMPO PERDIDO - TRAANTJES (CD by Astral Editions) *
DABRWOSKI & BUHL & DZIUBEK - SPADA LIŚĆ, NIBY NIC (TRIBUTE TO TOSHI TSUCHITORI) (CD by Muzyka Z Mozgu) *
KEN IEKDA & RIE NAKAJIMA -SIGNAL AND SIGNALESS (CD by Ftarri) *
FREDERIC TENTELIER - ON ETABLIT UN TEMPS, ON CREUSE UN EPAIS (2CD by Ftarri) *
BUSOLINI MURAYAMA DUET (CD by Ftarri) *
RHAD - M-E-T-A-M-U-S-I-C (CD by Unexplained Sounds Group) *
WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS & BRION GYSIN - (LP by Cold Spring Records)
NOBUKA - YOU LOOKED LIKE AN ANGEL, SHE SAID/GESAMT (cassette by Barreuh Records) *
SAJJRA XHRS GALARRETA- UCHURACCAY (cassette by Blind Blind Blind) *
ROSE BOLTON - THE LOST CLOCK (cassette by Cassauna) *
SCALD HYMN - L.O.M.L. (cassette by Absurd Exposition) *
MAX JULIAN EASTMAN - PYGMALION STYLED & OUT OF VOGUE (cassette by Tribe Tapes) *
TANTRIC DEATH / EN NIHIL - DESCENT (cassette by Tribe Tapes) *
DAVE PHILLIPS - HUMANITY IS THE VIRUS (cassette by Tribe Tapes) *
TONY OXLEY & ALAN DAVIE - ELABORATION OF PARTICULARS (CD by Confront Recordings)
Music by Tony Oxley, so it seems, is either reviewed by mister Mulder or by me. I don't think there is a deciding factor there. Usually, it is me who opens the mail and I pre-audition everything and then decide where it goes unless a label has a direct line to a reviewer. When I play something until the end, it might indicate I have an idea of what I could write, even when I feel I am not the person to 'know'. Here Oxley, a percussionist and electronics musician, teams with Alan Davie on piano, percussion and ring modulator. I had not heard of Davie (1920-2014), who was also a painter. In 1970, he started to play with Oxley, who had finished his instrument by then, and they continued to do so for the next ten years. The recordings here were made in 1977 and 1978 in a studio in Rush Green, Hertford and I find this quite fascinating improvised music. There is a beautiful vibrancy to the material, an excellent interplay between drums and piano, but with so much more happening between the cracks of the music. There is, no doubt, a strong link to the world of free jazz, with some of these sudden and hectic moves, but there is enough introspection going on, quieter moments if you will and the abstract level of the electronics used. The latter adds a sort of electro-acoustic element to the music. And it is music that remains melodic at all times. Davie plays chords, notes and even small melodies lyrically, while Oxley takes it all rather free, as it comes along. There is a funny bit with a toy piano in there, which shows a bit of humour is not lost on this duo. This could have been a great LP in the seventies, and it made me wonder: why did it take so long to release this beauty? (FdW)
––– Address: https://confrontrecordings.bandcamp.com/
DET KÄTTERSKA FÖRBUND - LIDAVERKEN DEL I: ATT I VÅDELD FÖRGÅS (CD by Cold Spring Records)
Two heavyweights from Sweden darkest forests meet up for some heavy weight lifting. Behind Det Kättersja Förbund, which translates as 'The Heretical Association', we find Henrik Nordvargr Björkk, known as one of the people behind MZ.412, Puppee Fabrikk, and Folkstorm) and Thomas Ekelund (who usually writes his names in runes unavailable on this computer keyboard), best known as one half of Trepaneringsritualen, and Dead Letters Spell Out Words. They worked for five years on this album, which translates as 'song works part one', I think, plus something else that Google translate refuses to work on. Everything is set to pitch black here, the rhythms operate as jackhammers, voices crawl up from way below the surface of the earth (more likely across the Styx, or Hades, or whatever your favourite underworld reference is) and the drones are a myriad of intertwining branches of a 1000-year-old tree. This is both music for rituals to be executed in the selfsame Swedish forests as well as an ode to the crushing wheels of the industrial revolution. Or, perhaps, a celebration of the decline of industrial music via a forest ritual. You would expect all of this to be just walls of the murkiest noise found in the scene, but, as it turns out they've actually also gone for more song-like structures, such as in 'Vid Hälleberg', but maybe it is something that occultly lingers on in all of these pieces. I have no idea what all of this means; maybe there is a serious message to be understood here, or maybe they are having a good laugh? That may be the problem with this kind of music; well, for those who want to see this as a problem. I'd see it as art so whatever needs to be expressed, one should do so. No doubt these are two sweet boys who stir up some heavy tunes for the sake of heavy tunes, and boy, they sure raise some ghosts here. (LW)
––– Address: https://coldspring.co.uk/
ID M THEFT ABLE - WELL I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE EYE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL (CD by Pogus)
One of the best concerts I saw in 2017 was ID M Theft Able, performing a great set that included both musique concrete-like music, lots of acoustic objects, day-to-day products and voice, a wild ride of different approaches working out to be something awesome. Sometime later I saw a YouTube clip he made with the sound of a tuba in a river, which was one of the better drone pieces, I heard (there is a free album on his Bandcamp with a bunch of these tuba pieces). I never heard many of his releases, for reasons I don't know to be honest, but here is a new release, and what a great one it is. There are seven pieces, in total forty-four minutes, and it was recorded over five years, and it is an excellent reminder of that great concert. I have no idea how Scott Spear, the man behind the name, puts his music together, but I can imagine it is along similar lines as what I witnessed in concert, but then with the studio allowing to layer various recordings and mix these into the music we hear. Unusual sound elements make up the music, such as the obnoxious car honking in 'The Bottom Of The Well', sitting right next to an ultra-busy pattern of too many sounds running amok, which peters out to drones and field recordings. The overall approach is a balance between musique concrète, plunderphonics, and sound poetry. The latter two may overlap via found voices or Spear's voice, or in duet with Ella Cool J in 'The Curve Of The Earth', which is a simple and effective piece. Voices processed are a possibility here, such as in 'Purple Rain', along with more heavily chopped sound material. In 'Half For The Father And Half For The River', there is a multitude of voices and looped flute (?). There is much to enjoy on this release and oddly (well, maybe not), I was reminded of some of P16.D4, with a similar organizing principle when it comes to sound material, but now in combination with a bit more voice material. A wealth of music, executed with great care, and easy to see why this would have taken so long to produce. If I had such a thing: release of the week! (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.pogus.com
ELECTRIC URANUS & X-NAVI:ET - VOICES OF THE COSMOS IV (CD by Eter Records)
For a while now, Electric Uranus and X-Navi:et are working together separately on a series of releases called 'Voices Of The Cosmos'. In Vital Weekly 1166, I reviewed the previous one. Number four in the series doesn't contain new work but is a re-issue of two releases on vinyl, a 10" for Don't Sit On My vinyl (2020) and a 12" for Gusstaff Records/Eter Records (2021), plus one track from the compilation 'Akusmata' (see Vital Weekly 1186). If you don't study the cover too much, but instead opt to just listen to the music, you couldn't tell who did what piece on the release. You can call it interchangeable, but maybe that is too negative. Call it working together on a coherent approach that has this idea of 'Voices Of The Cosmos'. A big surprise would be if this was made with two acoustic guitars, but obviously, this is a synth-heavy festival. Study the cover closer and learn what kind of extraterrestrial sounds are used in here (radio telescope sounds, sonification of maser and such like), along with synthesizers, spring tubes, metal bars, sampling pad and all the apparatus that to the layman may look like the interior of a spaceship anyway. The music has this retro-futurist sound. I think I should add 'and that goes without saying'. As said, this is a synth-heavy cosmic affair, if ever there was one. The telescope is pointed towards deep space, and it picks up signals from far, far away and translates this is into a thick spacious mass of sound, droning, humming and, occasionally, with a fine dash of rhythms, samples, loops or sequences. Who does what here is not a relevant question, both do a great job, and as said, there is very little difference in quality. They created another coherent record (well, two, perhaps, collected on one CD) and it is executed with great care and style. I wouldn't have expected anything less. It is not something new or strange, but it fits a long line of similar synth wranglers with a deep space interest. (FdW)
––– Address: https://voicesofthecosmos.bandcamp.com
FEDERICO DURAND - HERBARIO (CD by Laaps)
If I am not mistaken (I am usually), this is a rare release for Fedrico Durand not to come from a Japanese label, but from the home of Laaps, from France. Much like a herbario, the Spanish name for a collection of dried plants in a book, Durand collected and preserved "simple, broken and hypnotic melodies" in the "uncertain year March 2020 to March 2021". The cover lists quite some gear (ARP Odyssey, cassette tapes, feedback looper, Sony TCM-459V, Microcosm, El Capistan, EHX 2880, RE-2021, sampler, and short-wave radio), but he keeps his sound, as always minimal. I could almost think he uses a small set of sounds over and over again, in slowly changing settings. There is a bell-like sound in all these pieces, like a piano, a glockenspiel of maybe just a piece of metal. Durand feeds these through the devices at his disposable, fracturing it, looping it, mangling it, into unsteady, shaky pieces of music. Sometimes it has the effect of being recorded on an old reel-to-reel machine, looped and coming back out with a bit of added hiss and white noise; this is certainly a presence on 'Menta' and 'Laurel'. It is the kind of music you'd expect from Federico Durand, and in that sense, it is perhaps not much news under the sun. The one thing that I thought was a bit different from some of his other releases is the more or less unified sound approach in these pieces. It almost sounds like a concept album, I thought and I quite enjoyed that approach here. I had it on repeat during my slow Sunday morning routine of coffee and reading and the back and forth meditative swinging of these fragile tones provided an excellent soundtrack. (FdW)
––– Address: https://laaps-records.com/
DANIEL RIEGLER - FANFARE III (CD by Records & Other Stuff)
FRED FRITH - ROCKET SCIENCE (miniCD by Records & Other Stuff)
In Vital Weekly 1289, I reviewed a short CD with a composition by Christian F. Schiller and performed by Studio Dan and two soloists. Now the ensemble sends me two more releases with compositions commissioned by them. They also use soloists again. In the first release, 'Fanfare III', the composer is Daniel Riegler, who is also the leader and founder (in 2005) and saxophonist Michel Doneda the soloist of duty. The piece was composed for the "opening of the JazzWerkstatt Wien's third Vienna Roomservice festival in 2012", which is quite a mouthful. In the ensemble, we find string and wind instruments along with percussion and electronics. 'Fanfare III' is a forty-minute piece of strong modern classical music. The word Jazz from the festival was a bit of distraction, even when I would think elements from jazz music can be detected in this piece, especially within some of the rhythmic structures of the music. Even when I know not too much about classical music I enjoyed these forceful, staccato bumps and dissonant notes that arrive with some considerable force, but in the abrupt approaches but also when the ensemble plays sustaining fields of tones. The electronics wave additional layers through the music, another abstraction if you will. It creates an unearthly, spooky atmosphere at times; it would be easy to use some of these as part of a horror film. This is forty minutes of scary music; play loud and be afraid! I enjoyed it a lot.
The other release with music performed by Studio Dan is by Fred Frith, formerly of Henry Cow, and music more in the field of improvised music, free jazz and composed music and he adapted some pieces of his for the ensemble. Three pieces from what I assume is a larger work, 'Rocket Science'. We only have '#1', '#5' and '#8' here, just ten minutes of music. Again, I am not the expert on anything modern classical music, but I would think the overall tone here is lighter and, perhaps, also a bit more traditional to my ears, even when, according to the information it is also dealing with a "non-European musical reference system". There is some jubilant about this music, I think, maybe more of a fanfare, especially in the first 'Rocket Science' than on the Riegler disc. Sadly this is all way too short for my taste, as I wouldn't have minded hearing some more variations of this.
––– Address: https://studiodan.at/shop/
ORQUESTA DEL TIEMPO PERDIDO - TRAANTJES (CD by Astral Editions)
There are times when you hear something so inexplicable that it stops you in your tracks. Orquesta ‘Traantjes’ by Orquesta Del Tiempo Perdido is one of those albums. At any time during ‘Traantjes’ Orquesta Del Tiempo Perdido seem to be playing three different songs at once. Take opening track ‘Feels’. There is a slow mariachi thing going on, an Oom-Pah band and some Hawaiian guitar knocking about for good measure. It shouldn’t make sense. It should sound awful, but it doesn’t. Instead, it sounds like the best party I’ve never been to.
This is everything we’ve come to expect from Dutch maverick Jeroen Kimman. On Orquesta Del Tiempo Perdido’s 2018 debut album ‘Stille’ Kimman crafted 11-songs that felt like unhinged circus music. Everything was ramped up and played straight. It was like watching a Nicolas Cage performance.
What separates the two albums is that on ‘Traantjes’ Kimman and co. have really crafted an album rammed full of brilliant melodies, but with a total disregard for convention. What’s even more remarkable is how well it works. Take ‘Dos o tres cervezas’ for example. The percussion is a skittering mess. It sounds like it’s played on an ad-hoc drum kit with empty milk bottles added for good measure. The accordion feels like it's working independently to its owner. The keyboard/synths feel ominous like they are ushering in some bad times. The guitar doesn’t really sound like a guitar and echoes Snakefinger at his best. All of this combines to create one of the most singular, and enjoyable pieces of music I’ve heard all year.
After listening to ‘Traantjes’ I’m still none the wiser to what I’ve actually heard. Was it real or part of some weird fever dream? So, I play the album again, hoping the decipher something from it that I missed the first time. In the end I’m left with the same conclusions. This can’t be real. I made it up. So off I go again. After this playthrough, I’m left with the conclusion that is it very real, but I also have no idea what’s happened. Well, that isn’t completely true. I have one idea. ‘Traantjes’ is a fascinating piece of art that I might never understand but I completely enjoy. Do yourself a favour. Play this album now. Get lost in its wonky hallways. Find solace in its complexing melodies, but most importantly try and have as much fun as Kimman and co. As they’re having a blast! (NR)
––– Address: https://aeorquesta.bandcamp.com/album/traantjes
DABRWOSKI & BUHL & DZIUBEK - SPADA LIŚĆ, NIBY NIC (TRIBUTE TO TOSHI TSUCHITORI) (CD by Muzyka Z Mozgu)
I am a big fan when film scores incorporate sections of ambient noise from the films in them. It takes the score out of the sterile environment of the studio. It adds something organic and living to the music. While listening to ‘Spada liść, niby nic’ I’m reminded of these scores. During ‘Glos’ the tinkling percussion, and running water field recordings, combine to create a feeling of unease. You could imagine this being one of those scores. The percussion builds the tension, while the bleeding of cinematic sounds heightens the tension. However, this isn’t a score. Or as far as I’m away this isn’t a score. Instead, it’s a tribute to Japanese experimental percussionist Toshi Tsuchitori.
At no time does it sounds like Piotr Dąbrowski, Jacek Buhl, Radosław Dziubek are aping Tsuchitori’s sound, but incorporating his ideas into their own playing. The results are striking. The music is anxious and broody. Throughout ‘Kropka’ it sounds like someone is using a bow on a rusty birdcage. As the electronics swell underneath these scratching motifs, you start to feel uneasy. This, of course, is a good thing. It shows that the music is affecting you. By being turned into a nervous wreck you aren’t just listening passively. Again, this of course, is a good thing.
What ‘Spada liść, niby nic’ does really well is delivering 45-minutes of avant-garde jazz that is both incredibly listenable whilst being unnerving. At times there is something quite sinister to ‘Spada liść, niby nic’ that isn’t apparent while listening. The melodies are sparse but devastating. Musically it gets under your skin and stays there. I found long after the album had finished, I was still trying to work out what it was all about. This is not an album I will be playing regularly, but when I do it will be totally consuming. Making all over sounds fade out to non-existence. Then, a quickly as its spell was cash, it was broken and all the other sounds in the world came rushing back. (NR)
––– Address: https://muzykazmozgu.bandcamp.com/
KEN IKEDA & RIE NAKAJIMA -SIGNAL AND SIGNALESS (CD by Ftarri)
FREDERIC TENTELIER - ON ETABLIT UN TEMPS, ON CREUSE UN EPAIS (2CD by Ftarri)
BUSOLINI MURAYAMA DUET (CD by Ftarri)
New releases by Ftarri usually come in parcels of three, and today that's no different. I started, for no particular reason, with the release by Ken Ikeda and Rie Nakjima. From both of these musicians I reviewed music in Vital Weekly before, and yet I couldn't paint a clear picture of what it is they do. I always thought Ikeda was one of the laptop guys and Nakajima working with acoustic objects. The two met in London when they both lived there, but ultimately both went back to Tokyo and recorded at Ftarri earlier this year. The complete concert is released on this CD, in two lengthy pieces. Ikeda plays synthesizer and Nakajima plays objects, motors and piano. The objects are dishes, wood chips and cans and motors are placed upon these to produce sound. The synthesizer is in the middle, on a table, and I would think the recording device is also in the middle. The work is, obviously (!), a work of improvisation and sometimes a bit of a miss, to be honest. It works best when Nakajima has a few objects in vibration mode and there is action around it. In both these pieces, there are some extended fragments of this going on, but once the rattling is gone, it all becomes very sparse and even more minimal (as in 'quiet'), which wasn't easy for me to keep the attention span going for too long. Maybe being present at the concert would have helped?
Recently I heard a CD by Frédéric Tentelier, where he performed works by Bruno Duplant (Vital Weekly 1281), mainly performed on the Fender Rhodes piano. This instrument is also present on this new double-disc release, along with prepared glockenspiels, organ, harmonium, melodica basso and field recordings. In the spring of 2020 he collected materials for 50 days, which found their way onto this release; "these are harmonic translations of words or sentences heard on the radio" and it "is a construction reflecting a particular period during which suspended time and introspection were favourable to him". From the description, I gathered there would be quite a bit of field recordings, but that doesn't seem to be the case (well, as far as I can judge, of course). I have no idea if Tentelier is part of the group of Wandelweiser composers, but I can imagine this music to be part of it. The music has a similar character of quietness, using real instruments, slow movements and a bit of 'other' or 'strange' sounds; the latter having the most prominent place in 'On Discount A Propos D'un Son, On Suggere Un Temps'. Maybe the difference is that Tentlier is playing all the instruments, rather than having it performed by others. Throughout the music is moody and introspective, reflecting, I don't know, solitude. In all its sparseness it is also music with many layers, sometimes a bit hidden, and it only shows after repeated listening. Long and beautiful.
The last one is a duet of viola and voice, of Cyprien Busolini and Seijiro Murayama. They first met when they performed music by Jean-Luc Guionnet and since then they have been playing together, both in private and in concert. In February 2021, they play a concert in Paris and this is what we find on this CD. This is some radical approach to the voice, or as Murayama says "Not even I really know what's going to come out", and the sounds he produces are sometimes akin to the sound of scraping a bow across the strings of a violin; which I believe it is, as at the same time I'm also hearing a violin. Murayama uses no words but sounds produced by his mouth, which, so I am sure of, will cost him quite some trouble producing. In the meantime, the violin is scraped, plucked and used percussively. The interaction is great here, very intense. The way it is recorded is very direct as if we listeners are sitting next to where the action is happening. That gives rather close proximity to the music, allowing the listener to pick up all the details that we can find in this piece. Whereas with Ikeda/Nakajima I say that being present would have been better, I am not sure if that is the same case with this duet. I can't imagine all the people present at a concert being so close to the performers. There is a great dynamic range here; very quiet and very noisy, and yet all the details are crystal clear. Intense! (FdW)
––– Address: https://ftarri.com/
RHAD - M-E-T-A-M-U-S-I-C (CD by Unexplained Sounds Group)
The acronym RhaD stands for Research For Historical Audio Documents) and is a named used by Raffaele Pezzella. We know him best as Sonologyst. I had not heard his work under this guise. From the glowing liner notes, I understand that Pezzella plunders sources left and right and stick these randomly together into new music. Voices play an important role in these collages. There are lots of old radio recordings, documentaries and such, but Pezzella also uses piano, organ, guitar sounds and these are also used randomly. I must admit, I am not sure to what level this randomness goes here. If you stick a lot of sound in a multi-track sound program (what is called a DAW, digital audio workstation), you have a lot of options to edit and mix, and the randomness can bring great results. I thought of The Beatles here, especially of course 'Revolution 9', when I heard 'Mark Marcum Time Machine', which has a similar approach to randomness but these days it is easier to create something with a lot more result. Each of the six pieces acts as a small radio play, in which voices not necessarily tell a story, but set an atmosphere, a space, a mood and sounds are woven around that. Sometimes a bit too random for my taste but when it becomes a bit more concrete, such as in 'Tesla - Sound Documentary 1' or 'mark Marcum Time Machine', I found it all pretty interesting. The random approach is a nice idea, but sometimes it becomes a bit too much, even when the randomness is controlled via extensive mixing. I very much enjoyed the conceptual idea behind this and some executions of these ideas, but not all. (FdW)
––– Address: https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com/
WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS & BRION GYSIN - (LP by Cold Spring Records)
When the Beatles founded Apple Records in 1968, they send their friend Barry Miles, of the Indica Bookstore, on the road to record poets and writers for a subsidiary label, Zapple Records, but nothing much ever materialized. I can imagine that they could have looked and sounded like this record by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Actually, I think Burroughs did some recordings in a small private studio that Ringo Starr had in London, in the sixties. That is not on this record. The main portion of the record contains Burroughs reading at the Centre Hotel, Liverpool in 1982. It takes up forty-two minutes and Gysin gets the remaining time. When I was young, the name Burroughs was omnipresent in the world of industrial music, and so I borrowed 'Junkie' from the local library and didn't get what it was about. Only later I understood the nature of cut-up, applied to words and music, but very rarely tried to read the texts by Burroughs. My bad, of course. In 1982, so I learn from the liner notes, Burroughs had a fixed set of texts that he delivered, almost like a stand-up comedian, which are at times indeed hilarious, and he has a great sense of delivery. I found this a pleasure to hear, perhaps then something I would read. I am not sure there. The Gysin pieces are mainly poems and cut-ups. Some of these are familiar pieces, such as 'Kick That Habit Man', and 'Junk Is No Good Baby' (which shows some of their interests, obviously). Although having heard some before, I still enjoy Gysin's permutation poems, in which he shifts the emphasis of words, so that the meaning changes. This is not a record to play easily in between other records; you have to sit down, do nothing else and take it all in. With the popularity of podcasts these days, I am sure fifty-plus minutes of talking on one record is an easy thing. Myself, not being the world's biggest fan of all things spoken words and singing, quite enjoyed this. I sat down and paid full attention, even pulling out the two old issues of Re/search, which provided me with old-school quality time again. (FdW)
––– Address: https://coldspring.co.uk/
NOBUKA - YOU LOOKED LIKE AN ANGEL, SHE SAID/GESAMT (cassette by Barreuh Records)
From the home town of Vital Weekly hails Michel van Collenburg, trading as Nobuka and he's had a release on Eindhoven's Barreuh Records before (Vital Weekly 1219). Here he has two EPs on one cassette, nine pieces, just over thirty minutes. 'You Looked Like An Angel, She Said', has five pieces, which Nobuka recorded just days after his mother's passing in March 2020 from Alzheimer's disease. In 'Gesamt' he has four pieces "for cello, written in isolation". Stylistically the music has overlaps as well as differences, which, I think, made it easier to put on one cassette. The five pieces dedicated to his mother are moody and ambient, as is to be expected, I'd say, but there is an experimental streak to the music that is not easily found in the four pieces of 'Gesamt'. Those pieces are drone-like, modern classical in approach, although (maybe) all sampled from a cello, rather than actually linearly played. 'Gesamt 01' is a damn fine piece, a great shimmering melodic bit over sustaining drones. It is, spoiler alert ahead, the best piece on this cassette. Music, such as this, could land him a job as a soundtrack composer. In the five pieces of 'You Looked', we first find more cello music, in 'Wake/Woken', but in the other pieces, Nobuka reaches for other sounds, piano, drums, objects and creates samples with these and has a rather free play with them, such as the almost free jazz of 'Frayed', but all of this with a moody undercurrent, as to underline the sense of loss and not finding it easy to concentrate; or simply throw it all out. Whatever it is, it works very fine and this is a wonderful release. It comes with a cover that leaves you the option to chose which EP you prefer. (FdW)
––– Address: https://barreuhrecords.bandcamp.com/
SAJJRA XHRS GALARRETA- UCHURACCAY (cassette by Blind Blind Blind)
There is quite a bit of text for both pieces on this cassette. About 'Uchuraccay', Galarreta writes that deals with the internal conflict in Peru (his home country) with caused the lives of more than 69.000 people. This piece tells the woe of the people of "Uchuraccay (a village in the Peruvian province of Huanta, located 4,000 meters above sea level) suffered the consequences of this war. They were in the middle of the confrontations between the guerrilla group Sendero Luminoso and the Peruvian state army. In 1983, the Peruvian state army induced the inhabitants to kill whoever approaches the village. Thus, on January 26 of that year, the village people were involved in the massacre of eight journalists and their guide (who were assumed to be senderistas) between other murders." Later on, more people were killed. In this piece, Christian Galarreta uses recordings made over many years, includes the sounds of cicadas, screams, wailings, broken piano, small motor, fireworks, toilet tubes and synthesizer among others. It starts with a few loud bands and soft sounds in between before unleashing in a loud modern classical way, that reminded me of Penderecki and Xenakis, before going all electronic (or so it seems) for all and then ending with the fast repeating mechanical playing of piano wires. This is a very emotional piece, full of pain and tragedy I'd say, even without knowing the background of the piece.
The other piece is 'Sirinu Wayra Tanqanakuy', which means in Quechua (Andean language) "Sirinu = a spirit of the nature, devil for Christians", "Wayra = wind", and "Tanqanakuy = pushing each other", and it contains "acoustic phenomenons generated by some landscapes: the echo of cowbells reflected by the Austrian Tirol mountains (recorded in Summer 2012) and the sound of the wind shaking cords of sailboats in The Hague", which he filtered to hear more of the hidden dynamics. There is a fast rattling sound and Galarreta searches for these hidden frequencies in the mid-range, and it has indeed a strange tonal quality to it. This is a very minimal piece of what seems looped sounds (they might not be), with filtering going on most of the time. As much as I enjoyed the piece on the other side, the less I am convinced about this piece of music. I guess it is all right, but a bit too long for what is going on. (FdW)
––– Address: https://blindblindblind.bandcamp.com/
ROSE BOLTON - THE LOST CLOCK (cassette by Cassauna)
It's been a while since I last heard a new release by Cassauna, the cassette imprint of Important Records, and today it is my introduction to the music of Canada's Rose Bolton, who works as a composer of modern classical music, and as a performer on the violin, viola and electronics. She is a member of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble ("the world's longest-running live-electronic music group", according to the information). The music she composed for the four pieces of 'The Lost Clock' is performed by her, and she uses a variety of instruments, although electronics seem to be performing the major part here. In these pieces, there is quite a bit of variation to be noted. It is not something that one could label as modern classical music, I should think. Part of this seems connected to the world of drone music, but not exclusively. The title piece has a lengthy section that contains a slow thumping bass drum pattern. Bolton has a tendency to shift forward in her pieces, not staying too long in the same field, but moving in other directions. That brings a collage-like element to the music, albeit of a slow variation; she also adds other sounds to the mix, such as what I think is the sound of clocks in 'Starless Night'. In 'The Heaven Mirror' she straps on a guitar to play some dark drones on that one and adds a few slow majestic chords on the piano. The four pieces last about thirty-eight minutes and while not always the most original voice in the world of drone and ambient music, I quite enjoyed the variety Bolton puts within the individual pieces, but also the album as a whole. (FdW)
––– Address: https://cassauna.bandcamp.com/
SCALD HYMN - L.O.M.L. (cassette by Absurd Exposition)
Erik Brown working under the name Scald Hymn has produced several pieces using metal as a sound source, some begin with metal being bowed but soon 'deteriorate' into metal rumbles and crashes, often with static – maybe caused by recording at high levels. Sometimes a brief burst of high-pitched feedback? Here the second side opens explicitly with metallic sounds, by the A-side these have lost much of their metallics and are lower-pitched rumbles. Erik has worked with others performing in a venue - Cold Spring Hollow – Springfield, and though “notorious ”, I could not get much detail, most sites relate to a distillery – not associated! It seems he has curated various shows at this venue, and apart from Scald Hymn has produced work in other genres under various other names. Though other pieces of Scald Hymn have been described as “intricately composed soundscape of scrap metal sources, stringed instruments, and blistering microphone feedback” they, and this IMO, as noise seem relatively restrained. That is not to say they can not be considered as noise. A meaningless signal. And though I have been criticized and corrected for this, “I threw all my past music career in the garbage. There was no longer any need for concepts like 'career' and 'skill'. I stopped playing music and went in search of an alternative.” as a minimal manifesto for noise, for me at least, it is a guide not to be ignored. I'm not aware of intricate composition in L.O.M.L. or what the acronym is, so maybe I'm missing something. And if so, noise has functioned to the exclusion of “palpably autobiographical work” (again used to describe other work). As the text for this piece states “Saturated murk” could be considered as noise, but not (yet again IMO) “Harsh Noise.” (jliat)
––– Address: https://absurdexposition.bandcamp.com/
MAX JULIAN EASTMAN - PYGMALION STYLED & OUT OF VOGUE (cassette by Tribe Tapes)
TANTRIC DEATH / EN NIHIL - DESCENT (cassette by Tribe Tapes)
DAVE PHILLIPS - HUMANITY IS THE VIRUS (cassette by Tribe Tapes)
I have a problem with releases such as these, which in the past has caused some confusion, to say the least. It's to do with ideas around, and know what words to use, I'll use those found relating to these in Bandcamp, "shredded molecules of other broken worlds flying every direction. An almost blackened-psychedelia turntablism movement consumes the dreamer's final slumber" ... "the act of death and the accompanying descent into the abyss..." "different realms..." "Šaman" - "one who knows", a Tungusic word which the word shamanism is thought to be derived from...", I would have said “occult” but that may to some seem a pejorative term, though in the broadest sense, “is a category of supernatural beliefs and practices which generally fall outside the scope of religion and science, encompassing such phenomena involving otherworldly agency as mysticism, spirituality, and magic.". But I suppose the problem I have is are such things (merely) subject for composition, music, or are the ideas held in these terms thought to be real? Does the artist believe that death is a “ descent into the abyss” or is this just 'poetic licence'? Likewise, is the idea that humanity is the virus similar, or is it like James Lovelock's serious ideas regarding Gaia theory? The choice is difficult because if these works are offering some alternative reality, that is real, this is different from some fiction that provides a subject. Well, this is for me, my problem, so I will try to compromise in discussing the 'narratives' found here, real or not. The underlying metanarrative is dark, all are concerned with bleakness around nihilism, explicit and I think implicit. Briefly, before addressing the 'sounds' Nihilism has long been a feature of modernity, most notably in Nietzsche, who is often wrongly supposed to be a nihilist, whereas he was the opposite. Interestingly, (at least for me!) his explanation goes like this, Christianity offered a TRUTH unlike any other, a perfect embodiment (sic). When belief in Christianity fails, unfortunately, it still leaves behind this idea of The Truth, which is an absolute transcendental, (otherworldly) truth. This for some is seen as impossible, rightly so?, and not finding any comparable alternative, Fascism, Marxism, Buddhism et al. their alternative is nothing – Nihilism. The actual world or earth, life, death, the physical, provisional is not enough. For Nietzsche it is, this earthly world is enough, death is just that, no afterlife, no abyss. And so life is a physical, imperfect struggle, in which the overman enjoys joy and suffering equally. Affirms his fate. Amour Fati. Enough! I would if anyone was serious about occultism offer this idea, though I do not endorse it, I do though find the natural world more 'real' than the super-natural. Which doesn't mean I'm not trying to be sympathetic to these works. Eastman's 3 tracks are I think are derived from cutups of found sounds, the Bandcamp blurb says 'turntablism' whether real or digital IDK. The last track, 'Out of Vouge' is one long processed, looped?, sample – 'Styled' like the opening 'Pygmalion' starts with some noisy samples but soon becomes a looped / processed fairly gentle melodic sample, (as you can hear for yourself) which I can't relate to bleakness or “ blackened-psychedelia”.
The next tape is a split, Tantric Death's, AKA Max Julian Eastman, track 'Hole in the Head' is a noisy stuttered mechanical piece with lots of echoes... and there may be some chanting, reversed? But well buried in the mechanical mix at first and some wailing which is not, which when the mechanics stop is fully revealed. En Nihil's (Adam Fritz)- False Requiem is a fairly continuous tone, and though Hole in the Head's chanting had something of the theatrical horror, very minimally, this for me did not. It's hard in portraying ideas of a bleak afterlife, or bleak existence in this life, without resorting to cliché. Echo and reverb.
Dave Phillips' opening uses violin and cello backdrop to screamed vocals. Deeply theatrical, cinematic soundtrack stuff. All too obvious to me, the vocals, reminiscent of the Orcs in the Tolkien movies. Composing this kind of thing is difficult, especially the fall into cliché of echo and reverb. It can be done, and has, the opening of Holst's 'Mars' achieves this by merely taping string instruments with the bow, until it becomes intolerable. It's a hard call if one is trying to create emotional music, especially given the musical traditions. Film scores like in Jaws for instance, well OK, but wasn't Stravinsky there first? And didn't the cliché's of late 19th C music need to segue into atonal music to achieve a less clichéd emotional music? 'SARS-COV-2 Is A Vaccine' has a background track of Smaug in his cave with looped chanting, which at first reminded me of a song on Guardians of the Galaxy which I've forgotten the title. Maybe I'm being overly flippant and negative, and maybe some will no doubt enjoy this kind of cinematic film music, which is fine maybe for some but for me far too clichéd. And I think using the SARS Covid event is at best suspect. Death is real after all, and not the Hollywood kind. The experience of death, not my own yet, but I'm certainly going in that direction, (like we all are) is one that the dead we have loved are now beyond pain and suffering and safe. Safe not in an afterlife, but a lack of life and all its threats, challenges and idiocies of modern life. The problems remain only for the living, which is why Camus said the logical response to this is a suicide, but not, he maintained, saved from this event by Art. But! - "Yes Sir, I Can Boogie" - the 'dark side' of noise has deep roots... “Noise (n.) early 13c., "loud outcry, clamour, " from Old French noise "din”, Old English dyne, cognate with Old Norse dynr ‘noise’, Old High German tuni, Sanskrit dhuni ‘roaring’” “A dhuni is (according to the Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.) a sacred site represented as a cleft in the ground. This cleft is emblematic of the yoni or female vulva and generative organ.- A dhuni, therefore, represents a site of worship dedicated to Shakti... Shakti responsible for the creation, it is also the agent of all change. Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Kundalini Shakti, a mysterious psychospiritual force. Shakti exists in a state of svātantrya, dependent on no one, being interdependent with the entire universe. Kundalini has been called an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force.” - 'rim shot!' (jliat)
––– Address: https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/
GAJANAS - CIHKKOJUVVON/HIDDEN (CD by Bafe's Factory)
PERTTULA - PAJAVASARA/FORGE HAMMER (CD by Bafe's Factory)
Here we have two examples of wrongly shipped promo's. While I would think nothing in Vital Weekly ever indicated that we are well-versed in Finnish traditional folk music, metal, rock or a mix between those, Bafe's factory send me these two CDs.
"Gájanas, in English Echo, comes from the top of Finland, Inari-Utsjoki and plays Northern Sámi ethno-progressive music. Members of the band are Hildá Länsman, Nicholas Francett, Kevin Francett and Erkki Feodoroff. Gájanas was the band of the year by the famous folk music festival Kaustinen 2017 and they won second prize at Sámi Grand Prix song contest 2016 in Norway.
Echoes of Sámi tradition encounter present moment and form a colourful combination in the music of Gájanas. One can also hear a dialog between the traditional and modern Sámi music. In addition it emphasizes the strong nature connection of the Sámi people. Different genres combine and create something new and unique."
"Toni Perttula is a true musical blacksmith. His open-minded experimentation with diverse musical styles and genres has forged a path towards creating his own unique musical approach and identity.
PERTTULA´s lyrical accordion playing is accompanied by the primal, rhythmic beating of hammers and anvils found in a blacksmith's workshop, inviting the listener into a new world where sounds are melted and manipulated by a musical blacksmith into a whole new form.
PERTTULA’s solo album Pajavasara / Forge Hammer is a uniquely handcrafted Finnish creation, containing strong folk music influences, dark soundscapes and primal rhythms. Like the process of a blacksmith, Perttula creates something timeless and extraordinary from his carefully selected source elements." As not reviewed by (FdW)
––– Address: http://bafesfactory.fi/