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JUHANI SILVOLA - THE SLOW SMOKELESS BURNING OF DECAY (CD by Eghth Nerve Audio) *
SIMON BALESTRAZZI & PAOLO SANNA - DISRUPTED SONGS (CD by Dissipatio) *
ANDREW LILES - BLOOD THEME (CD by Ultra Mail Prod)
THE DEATH AND BEAUTY FOUNDATION - A REANIMATED CORPSE: 1982 - 1985 (CD by Ultra Mail Prod)
WOLFGANG MITTERER - TEMP TRACKS (CD by Col Legno) *
ROS BANDT – MEDUSA DREAMING (CD by Neuma Records) *
BARTC - INSUBSTANTIAL AS GHOSTS (CD by ICR Distribution) *
LOADBANG - PLAYS WELL WITH (CD by New Focus Recordings) *
SHE SPREAD SORROW - HUNTRESS (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
ANTONIN DOPPAGNE, PIERRE BERTHET, PIERRE GERARD - ARCHIVES OF PERFORMA (LP, private) *
BOY DIRT CAR - UNTITLED (CDR or tape by After Music Recordings) *
BOY DIRT CAR - CURVE 184.108.40.2061 [LO RES] (CDR by After Music Recordings) *
SHAUN ROBERT - RADIO THE ART OF (CDR by Radio Art) *
SHAUN ROBERT - BLACK SWING (CDR by Oxidation) *
HOMOGENIZED TERRESTRIALS - FLON (CDR by Terrestrial Records) *
THE SAND RAYS - (FOR SEPTEMBER 2021) (CDR by The Ceiling) *
THE PALE MOON - ILMARË (cassette by Tribe Tapes) *
ARNOLD MATHES - STRANGER FROM THE DEPTHS (cassette by Tribe Tapes) *
JUHANI SILVOLA - THE SLOW SMOKELESS BURNING OF DECAY (CD by Eghth Nerve Audio)
Here we have an excellent example of something that keeps bothering me, not knowing what to write about it. Juhani Silvola is a Finnish/Norwegian composer who studied electroacoustic composition in Norway with Natasha Barrett. His fourth album to date, and he got the title from a Robert Frost poem. His previous releases that made it to these pages were albums that he recorded with Sarah Jane Summers and Timo Silvola (see Vital Weekly 1076) and a solo album (VItal Weekly 1177), both not reviewed by me. Initially, he played the three pieces presented on this release over multiple speakers a set-up, but now (obviously) reduced to stereo. In all these pieces, I would think that he uses field recordings, sitting next to recordings of instruments, whether or not played by the composer. The music, best described as electroacoustic music, in the best tradition of French musique concrète, but he adds something that gives it a personal touch.
Did I detect a hint of folk music in here, especially in the title piece? Or was that vast empty natural feeling? The sight of 1000 Finnish lakes and birds flying over them? Silvola's music is quite imaginative, going all over the musical spectrum, loud and harsh, reflective and meditative, from fragile crushed acoustic to massive glissandi. Evocative music, one might call this, and maybe that's what is nagging here. No matter how much I enjoy this, I am also a bit lost for words, to be honest. There is a level of abstractness about the music that makes that it is also very personal. Whatever one takes out of this is okay. Reflect on the pieces like a long story or "I like the way he works with sound". Anything goes, and that is a good thing. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.juhanisilvola.com/eighth-nerve-audio
SIMON BALESTRAZZI & PAOLO SANNA - DISRUPTED SONGS (CD by Dissipatio)
We reviewed quite some work from Simon Balestrazzi (formerly of T.A.C. and still of Daimon), but this might be the first work from Paolo Sanna. Balestrazzi plays sound objects and electronics (always lovingly vague, that) and Sanna, plays the percussion, crotales, gong, and sound objects. Nothing else is mentioned, except that the six songs are untitled. Oh, and that these are 'Disrupted Songs', but in which way are they disrupted? I don't know. Also, no clue on Bandcamp for this, except that they have a lot of experience and recorded the music in real-time. They also played in various other combinations. In thirty-three minutes, they explore their musical territory, and despite the presence of percussion instruments, this music is not about rhythm. All these instruments are used as acoustic objects to generate sound, and with these sounds they generate, they construct pieces of music. The effects might very well be just a few stompboxes, judging by the use of delay pedals. One could see this as electroacoustic music, just as much as improvised music. They play their instruments with quite some force, not as in a brutal one, but rather going for a strong presence of their sound. Sometimes the sounds tend to leap into feedback, or rather touching the verge of that. I was thinking of Z'EV's exploration of metal sounds, of Organum for the same reason (and his use of feedback in the early days of his career), as well as more obscured forms of ritualistic music. While I think these men are inside a studio space to record this, I can imagine them playing some of this at an ancient burial site, evoking ghosts and such. Some sounds made me think of fire, and also, there are some heavily obscured voices. When I find that this is a recording of a live concert, it all makes sense; up to that point, I have this fantasy to have been part of some crazy pagan festival music event. (FdW)
––– Address: https://simonbalestrazzi-paolosanna.bandcamp.com/
ANDREW LILES - BLOOD THEME (CD by Ultra Mail Prod)
If you are accustomed to Nurse With Wound releases and you listen to something by Andrew Liles, there is definitely an element of recognition. Many of the darker (synth) sounds somewhere in the NWW mix, apart from the Musique Concrete elements that are Steven Stapleton's regime, stem from his contributions, apparently. Nevertheless, Andrew Liles is not only a firm part of NWW, but has a vast catalogue of releases. Discogs lists 170 of them, 55 'appearances' (contributing, but not as a main artist), and 333 credits to his name. Chapeau! He has been curating a 'Body of Work' with several recurring themes (you could also call a 'series' each) about 'monsters', 'time', or the 'monochromatic' titles. Besides working with Stapleton, he has also contributed to releases by Faust, Current 93, Bass Communion, Band of Pain - you get the drift. On 'Blood Theme' the title (again) refers to the medical sciences (as on many other releases, such as the 'Monstrous Medical Mishaps (Horrendous Hospitals And Disastrous Dentistry)' LP or the 'First Aid' 7" box; a pre-occupation with morbid imaging, I would say, that partly draws on Japanese monstrosity artwork, but also goth and metal imaging. This release offers a somewhat more 'heavy' experience with a long track of close-to nu-metal/ industrial techno. You can tell, that Liles is an afficionado of Clint Ruin. Nevertheless, the opening track 'Stainless Steel' brings a noisescape that - as the track evolves - turns into a synthscape, adding more and more rythm elements. 'Transubstantiation' is a synth track (Moog?), followed by synth-soundscape 'Plasma'. Then come three longer tracks, including the riffing of 'MODY 6', overlaying a (real?) drum track with electric guitar and synths. Two long tracks follow that offer more and less ambient sounds and synth explorations. As a release I found 'Blood Theme' varied and worthwhile, although I did think that some of the tracks (not all) could have been shorter - they had spent their ideas somewhere down the middle and became a bit repetitive. A 'MLP' format (instead of full-length album) might have been a better choice, with the three last tracks shortened. (RSW)
––– Address: email@example.com
THE DEATH AND BEAUTY FOUNDATION - A REANIMATED CORPSE: 1982 - 1985 (CD by Ultra Mail Prod)
After the awesome box of recollections and remasterings UMP released for Val Denham earlier this year, Val is back with a retrospective of her early group, TD&BF. Just for the track record: Val Denham is a visual artist and musician who was linked to Psychic TV for a while, and has been active in the field of experimental music, but mainly more melodic, art pop/rock, garage, lo-fi, even folky outings, ever since. This is a re-release of a CDr compilation from 2010 of live tracks and demos (the release does not give much information) that reach back to the first years of existence of this group - which actually did not live much longer than that. The pictures on the release show two eighties electro hair-styled youths with Val, bald head and goth makeup. Not the worst indication of what is to come. But far from being just another dig-it-up-and-make-a-few-bucks-before-we-retire issue, this is actually fun to listen to. The live tracks are partly covers and are delivered with venom, suiting any punk band. We find Revolution No.9 and Venus in Furs, for example, not released anywhere else (they also covered Tomorrow never knows by the Beatles on another release). Other tracks are pure experimental, but most have a sense of melody - and as Peter Christophersen and Gen P-Orridge are credited for some spoken contributions, you can't help but feeling this is a rock version of Throbbing Gristle. Andy McKenzie was a member of TD&BF for a short while in 1982 and this was actually his first band! Given that there are practically no 'official' releases by the band during their period of existence - apart from one MC released only 1986 - this is a valuable addition to a very meagre back catalogue. We got two retrospective collections on Somnimage and Vinyl on Demand in 2008 and 2014, but it's a bit of a pity that these are corss-sections and I would be leaning much more towards grouping similar releases together, maybe as they were created (showing the developments), or by recordings (studio, demo, and live) etc., so they would make up 'proper' albums. But then, as a consolation, the CD comes with a red TB&DF T-Shirt (size L). So there .... (RSW)
––– Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
WOLFGANG MITTERER - TEMP TRACKS (CD by Col Legno)
Just as Juhani Silvola (see elsewhere), this too is a 'difficult' release. Maybe even more difficult. Whereas Silvola is in the end part of the musique concrète family, the music of Wolfgang Mitrrerer remains puzzling. He is a composer of operas, concertos, film scores, and theatre music. Here he offers 'temp tracks' (no capitals needed), "which is music that serves as the preliminary soundtrack to film sequences until the 'proper' music arrives". I have no idea what that means. Is this something that we should understand as 'functional music'? What kind of films did he have in mind? Or, perhaps, just an odd movie? The music is spread over thirty-seven tracks, fifty-six minutes, and it is quite a hotchpotch of sounds, music, fragments. It is orchestral at times, electronic, and in a most curious cross-over between the two, Sampled orchestral sounds meeting pure electronics. Sometimes a choir pipes up. Some of this sounds great, and some don't. I wished them good ones lasted longer, and the ones I didn't like, well, for all I know, omitting would have been ideal. I wonder about the whole CD and its audience. Who is the target audience? And I don't mean an audience of film composers looking for some preliminary soundtrack for films. I assume this is also for a wider audience? I mean, what is the use in sending it to a publication such as ours?). I keep scratching my head over this. I don't know. (FdW)
––– Address: http://col-legno.com
ROS BANDT – MEDUSA DREAMING (CD by Neuma Records)
Ros Bandt is an acclaimed environmental sound artist, composer, performer, sound sculptor, sound recordist, designer, and improvising musician based in Melbourne, Australia. Since 1977 she develops interactive sound installations, sound sculptures, etc. Work of her has been released on many different labels over the years. Besides she participated as a performer in ensembles of early music, baroque music, improvised music, etc. ‘Medusa Dreaming’ is her latest work. Call it an electroacoustic ‘Water Symphony’. The project was recorded live in the Byzantine underground water palace, the Yerebatan Sarnici in Istanbul that was built in the 6th century (!). This giant water tank was chosen for its special resonance and sound qualities. Besides Bandt likes to choose for locations with a rich (religious) history. The project is a tribute to how old cultures invested in water care. An issue that is very topical in these times of climate change. Including Bandt four performers are involved: Erdem Helvacıoğlu (electric guitarviol, live processing), Natalia Mann (harp, samoan language), İzzet Kızıl (bendir, erbane, clay pot, goat’s claw & seed shakers, shells, wooden spoons, cymbals, body percussion, voice, Kurdish language) and Ros Bandt (brass slide whistle, tarhu, renaissance flutes, tenor recorders, recorded original glass and clay sculptures, Aeolian wind harps, mediaeval psalteries, granulated slide whistles, water recordings, international multi-lingual word submixes, live hydrophone feed of carp in the waters below the audience during the performance). A very specific set of instruments, pre-recorded sounds and procedures. In 11 tracks Bandt investigates the different qualities of this specific space. For each track a different set of instruments is used combined with pre-recorded sounds. With every track she wants to shed light on another aspect of the acoustic qualities of this space. Ambient music with room for improvisation. This makes it sometimes a bit related to Jon Hassell. Very spatialized ambient structures with the tension of improvisation. Opening track ‘The tears of Yerebatan Palace’ unfolds like a sequence of dripping sounds by short gestures leading up to a tense atmosphere with waves of sound. A few tracks like ‘Frozen Locks, Athena Curse’ feature spoken word. In this case different voices speaking in different languages the words ‘turned into stone’. ‘Ode to Emperor Justinianus’ is dark and sinister track with electric guitarviol – a sort of bowed guitar – in a leading role. ‘Water through Glass’ has sounds of water with harp, sparse percussion and tarhu. A very poetic and gentle sound work. ‘Medusa Dreaming’ is solo for harp, playing an intimate melody with percussion and electric guitarviol in a serving role. In all this recording is a very coherent whole of breakable and delicate sound environments. The melodic themes that occur in many of the tracks, played by old instruments like harp and flute often breath an oriental atmosphere. A beautiful work! (DM)
––– Address: https://neumarecords.org/
BARTC - INSUBSTANTIAL AS GHOSTS (CD by ICR Distribution)
Jason Barton is the man who use three chemical elements to make up his artist name; Boron (B), AArgon (Ar) and Technetium (Tc), as well as a nod to Hungarian composer Bela Bartok. His own name is also in there. Very clever! This is debut album, following work as as Less Than One which I didn't hear. His influences run as wide as Vangelis, Neubauten, Coil, Skinny Puppy, Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry and Cluster. In Junary 2021 he released a short piece of music every night as part of some challenge, and these were expanded into the fourteen pieces of music on this CD. Bartc uses many electronics and heavily treated field recordings. Of the latter I can say we no longer recognize any of the toiginal sound, as these transformations are pretty extensive. In each of these pieces here he uses extensive layering of sounds, dark, omnious, moody, atmospheric. Bartc ticks all the right boxes hen it comes to doing powerful, dark ambient music. This is a release by ICR Distribution, since many years the home of Colin Potter and it is not difficult to see similarities between Bartc's work and Potter's music. The use of synthesizers, samples, and sound effects paint a multi-coloured picture, psychedelic almost. This is not music to lull you to sleep. Play this loud and the soundtrack of nightmares will unfold. The music is immediately present, his drones are razor sharp (but never noisy for the sake of noise), owing just a bit to the world of industrial music, and his an fifty-five minute in the undercurrent of the mind. Excellent release! (FdW)
––– Address: https://icrdistribution.com/
LOADBANG - PLAYS WELL WITH (CD by New Focus Recordings)
This is Loadbang's third release on NFR. They are a Quartet of baritone, trumpet, trombone, and clarinet. No, there is no omission in this list, it's just 'baritone' - as in 'baritone vocals'. Now, seeing this is more than a bit unusual, so is their music. I can think of few examples, where spoken word or classical singing are mixed with instrumentals. A dissonant John Adams comes to mind, or a more melodic Jean-Louis Costes. So we get the whole bandwidth of vocal contributions, from declamation (of Costes-like texts), to classical singing to scat-like phrases, to just using your voice for something. This is a highly interesting feature of the music, although the texts somewhat get in the way of enjoying the music - you do notice they are from New York and gory stories seem to suit them well. What is more unusual - and highly effective - is the use of a string ensemble as 'backing orchestra'. Instead of the new music 'dropping of a sound here and there', with an unnerving interest in 'micro sounds', here comes the New Symphonic, bundling up Loadbang's brass with a glorious string backing. Although flowing in and out (for one, to allow the speaker to be heard, but secondly to build and re-build tension), there is a distinct orchestral note to this music that I very much like and miss with many of the contemporary composers. Pieces composed by Taylor Brook, Reiko Füting, Paula Matthusen, Heather Stebbins, Scott Wollschleger, and Eve Beglarian are offered here. Stebbins' piece is closest to the 'sound dripping' (pun intended), the Brook and Matthausen pieces start and conclude the CD with the orchestral feel, whereas the other tracks cover the mid-ground, with Füting being the one that brings memories of Jaap Blonk, the vocals (and instruments) used to explore the hiss of breath, and Wollschleger combining this with scat and narration. If you do not find narration a distraction to music listening, this will certainly deliver an expansion of conventional listening to you. (RSW)
––– Address: https://www.newfocusrecordings.com/
SHE SPREAD SORROW - HUNTRESS (CD by Cold Spring Records)
When I was a kid, I saw Silence of the Lambs. I can’t remember if it was on TV or we borrowed the video from the shop, but I do remember seeing it. I knew going into it that it was going to freak me out. I probably got off on understanding this, and that feeling kept me watching even when every part of my body was screaming at me to leave the room. When it eventually finished, I was in a state. I didn’t want to leave that room, but at the same time, I never wanted to go in there again. Eventually, I resolved that nothing terrible would happen to me, so I went outside and tried to forget about it. This was harder than I expected. There was something about the film that buried itself in me. After listening to ‘Huntress’, I have similar feelings.
Like the film ‘Huntress’ is a dive into a darker world. Alice Kundalini crafts desolate soundscapes through synths, pedals and her vocals. The album is about a girl named Blue who is obsessed with a girl. Through dark ambient backing tracks, Blue tells stories of love, psychosis, loss and, well, pretty much everything else in between. At times the story is confusing, but the emotional content is there. You feel Blue’s happiness and pain. The standout track is ‘Dragonflies’. Opening with synth melodies, it offers an almost playful respite to the previous three tracks. In the way, Wendy Carlos does in ‘A Clockwork Orange’. The music is full of melodies that offer a respite to the darkness. Then Kundalini starts the story again. Her vocals are hushed but full of malice and longing. This juxtaposed with the slightly poppy music makes for a truly chilling experience.
Overall, ‘Huntress’ works well. The dark and dank music immediately tells you what Kundalini’s mood is. At times the vocals are overkill as the music just nails it. Saying that Kundalini’s vocals deliver does ramp things up. This album is not the kind of thing play later at night when everyone is asleep. It isn’t the album to play looking out of darkened windows onto a shaded garden. It is not the kind of album to play just before you go to bed. But you will. In these settings, your senses are heightened. The music takes on a slightly more menacing tone, and your enjoyment is increased. (NR)
––– Address: https://coldspring.co.uk/
ANTONIN DOPPAGNE, PIERRE BERTHET, PIERRE GERARD - ARCHIVES OF PERFORMA (LP, private)
You could wonder if one should present delicate music such as the one presented here on an LP. I understand the reason, but with the dynamics of the music, it doesn't always translate too well unless you count the crackles as an additional layer of sound. Of the three players, I only recognized the name of Pierre Gerard, the guitar player who had a couple of releases on these pages, with the music of an extreme quietness (luckily on CD; Vital Weekly 1279 and 1243). The others are Pierre Berthet on "Sound Do-It-Yourself diverse" and Antonin Doppagne on "modular". The five pieces were "recorded in a place of contemporary art (les drapiers liège, Belgium) on June 15, 2019", as it says somewhat verbose on the cover. They make a point of informing us that the recordings were made both inside and outside the place where they performed. Berthet moves around with his objects into the courtyard (an ambulance passes at one point in the distance). Doppagne is in a corner but next to the open door, and Gerard sits at various places. Other than the passing of the ambulance or somebody screaming, there is not much other evidence for the fact of those wide-open doors. However, one thing that is quite clear is the architectural qualities of the place. There is quite some space without sounding like a massive dome or cathedral. Throughout, as said, the music is a delicate affair here. Doppagne plays with sine wave-like sounds and white noise while Gerard strums his guitar strings, holding them firmly down, thus creating short attacks. Berthet's contribution isn't as easy to dissect from the music. I could say, whatever else one hears is his contribution. In each piece, this trio moves along various lines, from loud to quiet, from broken tones to continuous ones. 'DBG~~~~5' is such a piece that combines all of that. There is quite a drone piece, feedback, which cues into silence and then starts building again, the same but different. The guitar is the one instrument that plays the oddball in this. The interaction between the players is excellent, and the music, at times, quite intense. This music is not to 'just play and pay occasional attention to'; listen closer and hear more. (FdW)
––– Address: https://pierregerard.bandcamp.com
BOY DIRT CAR - UNTITLED (CDR or tape by After Music Recordings)
BOY DIRT CAR - CURVE 220.127.116.111 [LO RES] (CDR by After Music Recordings)
From their inception 40 years ago until today, Boy Dirt Car evolved from a very good noisy industrial band with several solid albums under their belt into something else entirely. I liked their 80s records just fine, but I prefer the newer/current material, in part because it’s so hard to describe… and when an artist makes music that’s hard to describe, I take that as a sign that they’re onto something particularly worthwhile. The revolving-door collective, initially from Wisconsin but now a Minneapolis-based around Darren and Julie Brown celebrates their 40th anniversary with two new albums that show off two different aspects of 21st century Boy Dirt Car. I recommend listening to these back to back. But hang on a moment… 40th anniversary!? Consider that for a moment! Boy Dirt Car’s longevity is quite an achievement in itself. It’s a bonus that not only is the group as productive as ever, but they’re currently making their strongest music.
I’ll start with the self-titled (or is it untitled? I’m unsure) album… released on multiple formats (tape, CD or digital); this seems to be a statement of purpose-designed to reach a wider audience. And it should! Original members Darren Brown & Richard Franecki are joined by Julie Brown, Josh Mead (of Neglected Receptors) and a few other collaborators. The songs all run together as a single track (or, if you prefer, multiple tracks split onto two sides of a cassette), “Boy Dirt Car” is menacing and loose. The music glorps through some thrillingly messy dub production flourishes (echo-smeared drums, cavernous delay on everything), melted ambience like some bootleg 90s shoegaze band or downer industrial gloom, but all trashed, and shitty-sounding, fried noise jams like Fossils playing the ends of Jesus & Mary Chain songs and loads of amorphous metal-bashing with tapes clunked on and off. Brown’s voice is at times a spoken slogan declaration, other times his singing is crushed beneath effects and feedback. It’s so strange, so perversely gelatinous and raw. There are moments when the free-noise congeals into a “song”, and it comes as a shock… like the western guitar wandering backed by tape loops (of Manson?), stage-whispers, hiss and amp buzz… or the concluding chant that tumbles out from a cement mixer filled with shattered glass. Gimme this stuff all day long!
“CURVE 18.104.22.1681 [Low Res]” is a suitable complement to the untitled (or self-titled?) album. Whereas the first missive is a boiled stew of relatively musical noise, “CURVE” is entirely abstract. This solid hour of instrumental slow-churn percussion resonance was created only by the core duo of Darren & Julie Brown using manipulated chimes and gongs combined with gunk-encrusted location recordings. The busted-gamelan ambience retains a steady slow pace for the duration, elements cycling in speed-and-direction-altered loops and nasty tape-saturation. It’s a different side of the band, but “CURVE” and the untitled (or self-titled?) album make for an exciting double feature. The narcotic trash clatter of “CURVE” is a nice complement to the song-adjacent ugh of “Boy Dirt Car”, but the same altered brains audibly make them. (HS)
––– Address: https://boydirtcar.bandcamp.com
SHAUN ROBERT - RADIO THE ART OF (CDR by Radio Art)
SHAUN ROBERT - BLACK SWING (CDR by Oxidation)
Here we have two older releases from UK's Shaun Robert. The first was released digitally in 2015, and the second was a release (on cassette, I assume) from 1995. The voice is the main instrument on 'Radio The Art Of', which is, more or less, a radio play. Or, instead, a bunch of radio plays, I am not sure here. The release opens with 'Intro - The Listening Moment', explaining the proceedings that are about to happen. Robert presents this in an 'artful' manner, slowing down his voice and adding sound effects, but it effectively sets the tone (pun intended) for the rest of the release. I am not sure if there is a narrative here, even when most of the 'texts' are about radio art (hence, it could also be one radio play). Robert's love for working with tape rather than computer technology is something that shines on this release. Looping his voice, cutting up, slowing down, speeding up is central in his music. The cover also lists trumpet, electric guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, Casio SK-1, Korg Symphonic Piano 805, object and field recordings, radio manipulation, birds, and scissors. From the last one, I don't know if he uses those to cut tape or as a sound source. However, the voice is the loudest instrument when used, which makes this for the pure music lover, such as I am, a bit more challenging to enjoy. I kept thinking, what is the narrative? Do I miss out on something if I concentrate on the music? As a work of musique concrète, this is fabulous work. It ticks all the right boxes in the classic sense of that word.
The other work is not the same thing but older. The cover informs us that this is a "continuous improvisation. Robert uses a layering technic with two tape decks, play & record, an echo unit with multisource switching, a black swing lamp, a record player drive, belt metal wind instrument and voice, and source tapes from the directions project". Bandcamp adds that "no computers used in the making of the music". This resulting music is a much more primitive form of musique concrète. Over the years, Roberts perfected his technical skills, and here we see it in its infancy. The music is an ongoing thing for forty-six minutes, and the swing lamp gets a good bashing during this time, none too rhythmical, I should add. We find other acoustic sounds and a delay setting that keeps it short and to the point. It is fascinating to hear what the possibilities are within the, so I assume, limited set-up from Robert and the continuous changes taking place during the piece. Yet I must admit, it was perhaps a bit too primitive for my taste, and I enjoyed the story behind it more than the total of the music. After a while, I thought, "okay, well, I know what it is", but I realized that when I heard it all the way through. An enjoyable re-issue, but more from a historical point of view. (FdW)
––– Address: https://shaunrobert.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://oxidation.bandcamp.com/
HOMOGENIZED TERRESTRIALS - FLON (CDR by Terrestrial Records)
Here is something I didn't realize, not until Phillip Klampe pointed it out. Homogenized Terrestrials exist for thirty-five years. Not all planned events to celebrate this anniversary have happened, but maybe in the future. Among the plans were a few vinyl re-issues and an unspecified collaboration that started eighteen years ago. 'Flon' was previously a download-only release for Attenuation Circuit (and still available over there) and is now available on CD. I can't comment if that is a wise decision. Little do I know about market forces these days. "Your travels have landed you on flon", it is said on Bandcamp, and I assume that 'Flon' can be understood as a planet, and this is either the music of aliens or future music. Either way, staying on 'Flon' did me a lot of good. 'Flon' is a planet of wildlife and sophistication, rusty machines left behind from earlier expeditions, and mysterious alien rituals. Homogenized Terrestrials, a one-person operation from Klamme, stays true to the original industrial music ideas; stick with your band name and not go for a more avant-garde approach of using your Christian name. Klamme also stays true to his musical roots. Using synthesizers, samplers and metallic objects, along with a wide range of sound effects, he crafts a refined trip of cosmic music with a dark edge. Homogenized Terrestrials abandoned the rhythm aspect of the older music in favour of deep ambient music, organic and chilling. Not at the same time, but alternating within the music. Homogenized Terrestrials cleverly combine all the best from industrial music, ambient (and its cross-over ambient industrial), musique concrète and electroacoustic improvisation. The latter is mainly due to Klamme's use of acoustic objects; as heard before, he sets them off within his array of sound effects. The excursion to this planet lasts fifty minutes, and that's not enough, but we will return to this planet soon. (FdW)
––– Address: https://homogenizedterrestrials.bandcamp.com/
THE SAND RAYS - (FOR SEPTEMBER 2021) (CDR by The Ceiling)
When I woke up this morning, I looked at various releases waiting to be heard, and this one by The Sand Rays attracted my attention. It was the cover text that made me want to start the day with the music. "The sole sound source is a short accidental recording of a humidifier with a laptop's microphone. This release is remixed works in progress from upcoming eight-hour video for overnight use." The perfect piece of ambient music to start the day off, I thought. I wasn't wrong, but it is also not entirely what I hoped it would be. I expected a low humming, continuous affair. It was a bit like William Basinski would do (it was that time of the year to play a work from him this week). I understand that this work is a sort of remix of the proposed eight-hour work (intended for use with a video), which explains some of the more abrupt changes within the music. That sort of 'destroyed' the ambient feeling at times, but then, by and large, the whole piece still has very much that ambient quality. Somewhere around the seventeen-minute break, there is an abrupt change, when the music grows to quite a crescendo and then continuing with the same sort of sound, yet altered. When that fades out, the piece stays within the same slow-changing electronic field until the end. There is at first a slight ambient industrial feeling, the ventilation system of a big building. Still, over half an hour, the music deepens and becomes vague and watery, sounding very isolationist. I immensely enjoyed this piece of music, even when it wasn't quite what I expected, and yet it was right up my alley. I can't wait for the full version. (FdW)
––– Address: http://thesandrays.bandcamp.com
THE PALE MOON - ILMARË (cassette by Tribe Tapes)
To quote my friend Barrie “The new Pale Moon album is a bit of all right”. But, of course, Barrie never said this. He’s not into this kind of music. His loss as ‘Ilmarë’ is the kind of album that gives you faith in the system. It’s filled with the type of disjointed melodies and drones that make a specific type of person smile. That person is me, and I think it might be you too.
Effectively the album is just two 15+ minute slabs of noise and disorientation. The first side, ‘Mulieris Spiritus’, is mainly based on audio disarray. At times it feels like Max Julian Eastman and Kelly Koistinen are pulling against each other to create the most atonal soundscapes they can. It's glorious. You never know what’s going to happen next. They come together from time to time, but mostly it just feels like two people doing their own thing together. This last sentence seems to sum up the majority of my nights out with my friends from school before I realised what I was looking for. But I digress. So, imagine my shock and delight when during the opening salvo of ‘Umbra Ex Varda’ when Eastman started mixing in melodic music. It was jarring and took me a while to get back into the groove of the album. When I was getting into this new style, Koistinen started playing some outlandish tasishogoto, or I think that’s what it was, which echoed a slightly melodious ‘Mulieris Spiritus’.
At its heart, ‘Ilmarë’ is an album that will delight fans of doom jazz as much as lovers of avant-garde/experimental. Koistinen’s saxophone work is second to none. Huge, dank blasts are played throughout. They make you question the life choices that led you to this moment. I’d imagine living a Pale Moonset is devastating too. The album comes into its own when you allow it to fade out of your concentration zone slowly, and then ‘BAM’ you get pulled in by a tone or motif, and it’s all-consuming again. Since listening to this album a few times, I’ve tried to get people who aren’t into this music to listen to it. I’ve had limited success. I don’t hold it against them, but it's slightly annoying that they don’t have the patience to make it through such a captivating album. Hopefully, this will be the first in a line of Pale Moon releases as Eastman and Koistinen have hit on to something that works incredibly well whilst not sounding like thing else. (NR)
––– Address: https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/
ARNOLD MATHES - STRANGER FROM THE DEPTHS (cassette by Tribe Tapes)
Here, we have quite an interesting and surprising re-issue, the for me unknown Arnold Mathes. Today I learned that he has ten releases, mostly from 1983 to 1988 but also, curiously, a self-released CDR from 2021. Audiofile Tapes released one of his cassettes, the others were all private affairs. 'Stranger From The Depths' was a cassette from 1985 and I have no idea where it stands in the grander scheme of things. Mathes plays electronic music, a bunch of synthesizers, a rhythm machine and a voice. Listening to this music made sad. No, actually, all of this re-issue stuff made me sad. I wanted to be 22 again, stuyding history at the university, and spending endless amounts of time on making cassette covers, writing letters and exchanging weird tapes with people around the world. A far cry from the file exchange and checking Facebook; and, no, them olden days weren't better. Mathes' music is partly based on synthesizer pop and partly on the experimental side of the spectrum. Yet both, it isn't. As so many from those days, Mathes toyed with the idea of pop music, knowing very well, he didn't have the right voice for it, nor the catchy melodies. His experiments don't click with then current industrial music ideas. But I must also say, I don't care that much. I like the experimental edge to these songs as much as I enjoy the attempts at experiment. This music is, at times, over the top, naive and fresh. There is an abundance of things not to do, over use of delay and reverb for instance, but, again, that adds to the charm of the music for me. This is the 80s as I remember them best; a new name to discover. No longer every day, but thankfully there is Tribe Tapes to do the legwork of discovery for us. Third round of applause from me. (FdW)
––– Address: https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/
Vital - The Complete Collection 1987-1995
Before Vital Weekly there was Vital, a Xeroxed fanzine covering experimental, electronic andelectro-acoustic music; interviews, reviews, in-depth discussion articles, background. All 44 issues in one hardcover book; 580 pages. More information: http://kormplastics.nl/vtcc.html
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All written by Frans de Waard (FdW), Dolf Mulder (DM) <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Jliat (Jliat), Freek Kinkelaar (FK), Peter Johan Nijland (PJN), Sven Schlijper-Karssenberg (SSK), Howard Stelzer (HS), Lukas den Warme (LW), Nick Roseblade (NR), Robert Steinberger (RSW), and others on a less regular basis. This is a copyright free publication, except where indicated, in which case permission has to be obtained from the respective author before reprinting any, or all of the desired text. The author has to be credited, and Vital Weekly has to be acknowledged at all times if any texts are used from it.
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