number 1311
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week 47
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offer a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the releases reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html

Listen to the podcast on Mixcloud!




DID - END OF XIBALBA (CD by Zoharum) *
ANDER - ... POTRWA WIECZNIE (CD by Zoharum) *
SPHYXION - 3 (CD by Zoharum) *
BUT I'M NOT - DAEMON TRACES I-VI (CD by Silence Is Not Empty) *
-BRT- GROUP FOR MUSIC CREATION - PERSPECTIVES AND ECHOES/TAUTOLOGOS III (CD by Bruit Asso) *
PAULINA OWCZAREK & WITOLD OLESZAK - MONO NO AWARE (CD by Freeform Association) *
NOVI_SAD - ΚΕΡΑΥΝΟΣ (CD by Raster Media) *
GIGI MASIN - VENEZIA (CD by Silentes) *
ADAM ROBERTS - BELL THREADS (CD by New Focus Recordings) *
DONEDA/BLONDY/SAITOH – SPRING ROAD 16 (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
PAULA SCHOPF - ESPACIOS EN SOLEDAD (LP by Karaoke Kalk)
TAMING POWER - FRAGMENTS OF THE THEORY OF GENERAL REALITY (7" by Early Morning Records)
PSYCHWARD/KPOT (split 7" by Novichok)
HYDROGEN BOUQUET - HARMONIA (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation) *
ISOLATED COMMUNITY - THE VIEW CONTAINS THE VIEWER (CDR by Northumberland Audio Capture/Hream Recordings) *
AWK WAH - DIATOM (CDR, private) *
INÉS WIARDA - THE BENDER (cassette by Nausea.)
DART DRUG - RECOVERY TAPES VOL. 1 (cassette by Nausea.)
O C E A N I/RHIZOMATIKA - PERMACULTURA UMANA (cassette by Fango Radio Editions)
JUDITH BERKSON - LIEDERKREIS II (cassette by Notice Recordings) *
EVAN LINDORFF-ELLERY - NO WATER RECORDINGS 2011 (cassette by The Tapeworm) *
EVAN LINDORFF-ELLERY - WATER RECORDINGS FROM THE HUDSON VALLEY 2020-2021 (cassette by Grisaille) *
SHRINER/LINDORFF/LINDORFF - KENMORE/LINDORFF EXCHANGE (cassette by
(cassette by Regional Bears) *


DID - END OF XIBALBA (CD by Zoharum)
ANDER - ... POTRWA WIECZNIE (CD by Zoharum)
SPHYXION - 3 (CD by Zoharum)

This time I started with the unknown quantity here, the artist DID or Did. She appeared on two songs on Michal Jablonki's Humanity' (which I don't think I reviewed) and now has an album out herself. Xibalba is a "mythological place of fear and pain", and I understand that in concert, she uses "a vocal story" and that this somewhat "troublesome [...] the fact that the story is told in a language that does not actually exist". Words only play a role in the final piece here, 'Lightment', and I thought it was in English, vaguely understanding some words and no meaning. In all four pieces, the music relies heavily on the ambient side of things. Did use quite a bit of synthesizer (analogue or digital) and crafted massive amounts of drones. However, she keeps her music on the lighter side of things. There isn't one large smear of sound, but Did keeps the music open-ended. Some samples are floating about in 'Melting Into Bliss' (which the music perhaps does), and the electric piano sound is drifting about in the title piece. That instrument adds quite the melodic tone there. More pads-like synthesizers drift along in 'God Knows What's Next'. That leaves the last piece, which breaks the mood constructed so far. 'Lightment' is a bit of a muddy, layered vocal affair, and in itself, it is spacious enough but just a bit too different for my taste. The whole album was nice but as unsurprising as the rainy November day it is today. So, Did has the perfect soundtrack for such a dreary day, but also interchangeable with many other albums in the same musical field.
    The information on Ander says there was a previous release by this project (they/she/he), 'Smutek', released by BDTA. That one I didn't review (I think). The title means '... it will last forever', and maybe that concerns the length of this release? Seventy-one minutes and seventeen tracks is quite a stretch. These songs/pieces last from thirty seconds to over eight minutes. Zoharum recommends playing this album in a darkened room so you'd get a better idea of the overall story. I missed out on something there, I guess. The way I hear this release is that of several short and shorter stories rather than a large one. Here too, we are served a fair dose of ambient music via lots of samples (orchestral, voices, electronic) and synthesizers and sound effects. The music bounces all over the ambient spectrum here, going from sampled Gregorian chants to light, melodic stuff and then back into the depth of drones. Some of this music has a rather naive quality, hammering away on a keyboard (in Smiech Nie Cieszy, A Tylko Dlawi', which is rather sketch-like with his hammered lines). Sometimes Ander uses a voice, such as in 'Zglychle Echa', and the music becomes something else, more dark/dream pop-like, but captured with amphetamines. If someone had said that this is a compilation, I would have bought that idea as well. Ander is at his best when he keeps his pieces to a reasonable length, four to six minutes, and doesn't toy around too much with too many sounds. A fine example is the piano 'Tunel Samotnosci', where the label found room for the Talk Talk reference. Maybe some weeding would have been a better idea, dispense with the doodles and use the best worked out pieces. Throughout most enjoyable, with some weaker moments.
    The final new release is by the French brothers Frederic and Olivier Charlot. They also work as Maninkari. '3' is their release as Sphyxion. Their music is all electronic here, whereas Maninkari, which one could see as their main project, is all about rhythm and percussion. In both projects, atmospheres play an essential role. I have no idea what kind of electronics they use to create the music here. It might be all old and rusty analogue synthesizers, but for all I know (and, honestly, care), this might be stuff programmed in Ableton Live. As ever, I care about the result. Sphyxion plays mood music, and they do a pretty solid job at that. Their second CD reminded me at times of the early Biosphere, which is still a reference I'd like to make. The neat bounce of a sequencer that never fully goes into a full-on dance modus is never far away here. There is always a fine touch of melody in there somewhere, even when it is buried beneath an industrial dirge (in the opening piece; all are untitled). Throughout, there is an impressive amount of variation in these pieces, from that louder opening to an introspective '3' and ghostly nighttime drive of '4'. Occasionally, a voice pops up ('7'), adding a further dimension to the music. I found all of this very good, and I think quite a step forward from the previous album. (FdW)
––– Address: https://zoharum.bandcamp.com/



BUT I'M NOT - DAEMON TRACES I-VI (CD by Silence Is Not Empty)

It's been a long time since I heard music by Pawel Grabowski (check Vital Weekly 414, 424, 492 and 508, but following that flurry of releases, it all went quiet for him. That was "mostly due to family, and life in general". Now he has a new moniker and a new label. The new name is But I'm Not (lower case, except for 'I'), and on 'Daemon Traces I-IV' he wanted to compose that captures that unique state is known only to people suffering from the aftermath of a traumatic event". According to the cover, it is something that he is "unfortunately all too familiar with". "Each of the six compositions portrays different aspects of what a traumatized person goes through, often every day - the continuous reminiscing about the traumatic event". This is one of those things of which I think "had I not known this, would I have heard it?". I guess not, but my personal view towards music is a very 'absolute' one. Music is never about anything. Anything attached to music to make it about something is not music; they are words used, descriptions, images (a record cover), that kind of thing. Grabowski explains the nature of the trauma for none of these six pieces, which leaves something to imagine, I guess, but also a hole in our knowledge (why not go all the way). Grabowski uses "processed live instruments, field recordings and objects". It is a pity that these live instruments are not specified. I hear a piano on quite a bit on the pieces, solemnly slow bangs on the keys, Gregorian voices in the first one (which I think that Grabowski went all gothic, but, good news, he didn't), a fair bit of synthesizers and sound effects and the samples of marbles in a bowl (also in the opener). Some of the other sounds are harder to define. Throughout the music solemn, slow and very moody. A bipolar disorder, with some extreme darkness and extreme happiness, is not to be found here. Grabowski reminded me what I thought of his older releases in a private letter, but they are so far away in the past that I don't remember them. Therefore it is not easy for me to say to what extent this new one is different from his previous releases. I think this is a solid album, a severe one, and while the subject is not very well spend on me, I can see that he's serious in creating music that paints a picture of those suffering from trauma and PTSD. (FdW)
––– Address: https://silenceisnotempty.bandcamp.com/



-BRT- GROUP FOR MUSIC CREATION - PERSPECTIVES AND ECHOES/TAUTOLOGOS III (CD by Bruit Asso)

True story now! The room above where I listen daily to the difficult music that inhabits these pages is occupied for the time being (it is a sort of transitional place where nobody stays for very long), but someone who plays the clarinet, so now and then there are rehearsals. One started just after  I started to play this particular release, a work of composition and meeting improvisation and composition. They perform a four-part work by Jonas Kocher and 'Tautologos III' by Luc Ferrari. I had to stop and return another time, as I sometimes wasn't sure what I was hearing; the CD or my neighbour's exercise? I could try and drown out the sound, but that is not my idea of listening to music, nor listening with headphones. The -bRt- Group For Music Creation consists of Gaudenz Badrutt (live electronics), Estelle Beiner (violin), Jacques Demierre (piano), Stephen Menotti (trombone), Manon Pierrehumbert (harp) and Christian Wolfarth (percussion). Composer Jonas Kocher plays the accordion on the Ferrari piece. The booklet talks about the practice of graphic scores in three languages, but I wouldn't have minded seeing these scores. As I noted before, graphic scores are mere indications for directions or instructions for use. At the same time, it makes life for a reviewer, not easier. Is the score followed? Does the ensemble take too much liberty? In all fairness, I would think this kind of music is more straightforward defined as improvised music. Kocher's four pieces are all five minutes and nine seconds and are gentle explorations of the instruments and in which the electronic component plays an important role.  The music is intense, mellow, dense and open; sometimes all of that in the proximity of each other. In Ferrari's piece, there is quite some room for radio sounds, and each player repeats his part at whatever chosen time frame so that it never overlaps in the same way because the player doesn't know about the other players. It also means that there is quite a bit of room for silence, which adds to the intensity of the music. The ensemble adds a recording of Ferrari's taped version of 1969, with its voice material, adding an interesting additional layer to the music. Altogether this is some intense sparkling music, with some excellent interaction between the individual players. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.bruit-asso.org/



PAULINA OWCZAREK & WITOLD OLESZAK - MONO NO AWARE (CD by Freeform Association)

We reviewed music by Paulina Owczarek (baritone saxophone) before (Vital Weekly 1309), in which she had a duet with Peter Orins (review not by me). Here she teams up with Witold Oleszak. He plays the "softly prepared piano, objects and balloon". I had not heard of him. In the nine (untitled) pieces, they display an excellent interaction together. The instruments they play traditionally, but at times also something very abstract and non-conventional. These pieces are between one and six minutes, which means they are all up to scratch for concise works. There are free-form improvised bursts, even when this duo keeps it well under control. There are no heavy collisions, but the nervous, hectic playing is never far away here, but it is not just that. In some pieces, they are introspective and carefully. This is the part of their duet that I enjoyed most. The music is moody and intense, the listener not knowing what to expect (and yes, that is, obviously, the thing of improvisation, but 'hectic' is inherent, right?). When you have no sense of direction, the music takes you in a direction you didn't expect. That too is something we have on this CD, which moves nicely around the place. The music is intense, joyous, sad, abstract and totally recognisable. Sometimes that happens within the space of one piece. Great music, altogether. (FdW)
––– Address: https://paulinaowczarek.bandcamp.com/



NOVI_SAD - ΚΕΡΑΥΝΟΣ (CD by Raster Media)

There was a time when a new release by Raster Music was the event of the day. I don't recall when that stopped. Maybe when I thought there were enough copycats? Or maybe when they stopped mailing promotional CDs? Perhaps I was too critical of the not so ambient music of Alva Noto? I don't remember, but in the last decade, I have not heard a lot of releases from the label or the main protagonists running that ship. Also, Novi_sad may have been quiet for some time; the last time may have been a work in Vital Weekly 1134; before that 895). Behind Novi_sad, we find Thanasis Kaproulis. His inspiration for 'ΚΕΡΑΥΝΟΣ' comes from the Greek for 'thunder', of which Zeus is the god of, ruler of the world. In other cultures, it was Taranis, Perun, Thor, Ukko or Indra. Thunder is also the source of the recordings that Novi_sad made on five continents. As said, I have no idea what Raster releases these days, but I'd say that a disc made of heavily processed field recordings might not be their usual cup of coffee. Novi_sad named each of the five pieces after a continent, and, if I am honest, I didn't look at the cover again to check which continent I was hearing. There is differentiation within these pieces, but if that is due to the field recordings used? I doubt that. Whatever Novi_sad does with these sources, it no longer sounds like thunder, waterfall, or the rainforest. Or, perhaps, Novi_sad adds synthesisers to his music? I am not sure, but somehow I think he wouldn't do that. The field recordings that we hear are those he sprinkles on top of the ambient pieces. Comparing this with his previous release, I'd say that this is a more mellow one. The previous had at times quite the sonic overload, but on this one, it is all reasonably ambient, with a few sharper passages, such as the digital distortion at the end of 'America'. I enjoy both ends of his work, with a slight preference for material working with extreme ends. It also depends on the mood I'm in. I had this CD on today, on repeat, mainly because I was too lazy to get up and change it or sit down and write something about it until it was unavoidable. With extremer music, that may not have happened. Novi_sad's ambient outing is solid but also slightly predictable, not breaking new ground. Nothing wrong with that, of course. (FdW)
––– Address: https://raster-media.net/



GIGI MASIN - VENEZIA (CD by Silentes)

Back in Vital Weekly 1057, I discussed a CD and book release of photography Stefano Gentile, the man behind the Silentes label and music by Gigi Masin. He composed a single piece, 'Venezia 2016', and for reasons I am not entirely sure of, he now returns with a reworked version of that piece, along with two more pieces of music. Instead of the original thirty minutes, this new release is seventy-five minutes. The three pieces are connected through 'Venezia', 'Abandoned Venice (For Harold Budd)' and 'October in Venice'. All three pieces are ambient music, with the capital 'A'. In 'Venezia', the piano plays an important role. There are various layers woven together in a delicately embracing, with those Brian Eno-like spacious treatments of reverb and 'atmospheres'. I expected the piano to be the leading instrument for 'Abandoned Venice (For Harold Budd)' to honour Budd, the pianist. Still, maybe it is the absence of the piano here that is a reminder that the man is no longer with us. What we get is a series of heavily (and heavenly) treated voices, in slow motion, humming away against the same sort of treatments as in 'Venezia'. That can also be said of the final piece, which is at thirty-two minutes, ten minutes longer than the other two, and everything comes together. Now the voices are more recognizable and sound more like a loop; the piano sounds are less dominant and very distant, very bell-like, while a repeating synth motif is being played throughout. This piece is fine, but I think it is ten minutes too long. At one point, the possibilities are exhausted and just repeated. That is, for me, the only downside to this otherwise beautiful release of slow music. (FdW)
––– Address: http://store.silentes.it/



ADAM ROBERTS - BELL THREADS (CD by New Focus Recordings)

Adam Roberts is an American composer, born 1980, so an aspiring artist. Not much can I say about him, as the press release (as often is the case) limits itself to talking about the prizes won, fellowships, and who has performed the music. Well. Discogs does not help much, either, as it seems that several profiles have been mangled, with a jazz (double-)bassist of the same name (or is it the same person??) being also listed. But Roberts' own profile mentions nothing other than 'serious' classical music. So. He has published on Tzadik.
    The music on this release is dominated by strings, including a harp, but also includes a piano/percussion/bass piece, and an oboe quartet. The first track is a very pensive violin/viola study, where both voices meander around each other in a dissonant, but beautiful manner. The Oboe Quartet starts off with more meandering, only that this one appears less stractured, not making best use of the somewhat complementary sounds of strings and oboe. The second movement is more carefully set with a soft, even tender, dialogue of the instruments. The third, and last, movement manages to pick the best of both previous tracks and makes an interesting listening. Had he only scrapped the 1st Mvmt ... A harp solo piece follows that actually manages to sound a bit like a piano, but as such is not too interesting. Diptych returns to the violin duet, whilst the title piece is a viola solo. The latter is a bit limited in impact and maybe a bit too long, as ideas run out.
    Nevertheless, what really caught my attention was Happy/Angry Music, a trio of piano, percussion, bass. The anticipation was rewarded. We find influences from Chick Corea to Keith Jarrett and Keith Emerson that evolve into a long piece mostly dominated by the piano. Which is a bit of a pity, as the potential of the percussion contributions is not fully explored (or lost in the mix). The release shows the variety the artist profile claims, but also, that some contexts work better than others. (RSW)
––– Address: https://www.newfocusrecordings.com/



DONEDA/BLONDY/SAITOH – SPRING ROAD 16 (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
 
Tetsu Saitoh and Michel Doneda have performed together frequently since the early 90s. This recording, dating from April 16th in 2016, would be their last one, as Saitoh sadly died in 2019. Doneda is a veteran of the French Jazz and improv scene since the early 80s. He worked with Louis Sclavis and many Nato-associated musicians (van Hove, Zorn, Coxhill, Boni). Many other collaborations would follow. Saitoh is a contrabassist and composer from Japan, strongly influenced by dance and theatre. In 1994 he was invited to the International Contrabass Festival in Avignon, France, and since then, he has frequently played in Europe with Barre Philips, Michel Doneda, a.o.  Doneda and Saitoh became long time companions and delivered their first duo album in 2002 (‘Scissors’). Frederic Blondy joined a few years later, resulting in ‘Carré Bleu: In Memory Of Bernard Prouteau’ in 2007. Blondy is the youngest of the three. After completing his studies in Mathematics and physics in Bordeaux, Blondy turned to study music. He developed himself into a pianist, improviser and composer operating in improvisation and contemporary composed music. In this vibrant set recorded at Radio France,  all three make use of extended techniques. This way, they create a rich world of sounds offering a vast coloured panorama of sounds. Because of this aspect, the borders between the instruments and their players become more fluid. This strengthens the experience of witnessing a set of enormously intertwined playing. The music develops in a flow, without drastic breaks and turns. However, within a wide range of dynamics and play with timbre. On the one hand, breakable and delicate, and on the other hand, very powerful. The interplay is very communicative, intense and together. Elegantly they make their movements in abstract territories of sound improvisation. But at the same time, their improvisations are very lively and organic. This very expressive meeting where every action is to the point is a true joy for the listener. And sad to realize this session turned out to be their final one. (DM)
––– Address: https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/



PAULA SCHOPF - ESPACIOS EN SOLEDAD (LP by Karaoke Kalk)

The one-sided record is never a favourite of mine; use the space if you have it. You can do a nice etching on the blank side, but who's going to hang that on a wall? What I know of Karaoke Kalk as a label is that they release music from a more popular end of the musical spectrum. Paula Schopf comes from Chile, a country she left in the mid-70s, and since 1990, she's in Berlin, where she became a techno DJ. When she returned to Chile in 2016, she recorded sounds in Santiago, which she, at home, used to create a single piece of music on this record. This is not a techno record, far from it. This is the sort of music you'd expect from a label such as Gruenrekorder. As much as I would love to say that the place is so recognisable in these recordings, it is not. The information talks about how the place is different, but I have never been to Chile; not in the 7s, not more recent. So for me, this sort of audio montage of field recordings is a rather abstract notion. I hear people talking, messages from public transport, some interesting drumming (which would make excellent sampling material), plus sound that is less easy to define. It all sounds pretty good; Schopf has a fine ear for composing with the material. None of this stays in the same place for too long, and she paints a picture of a place buzzing with people and activities. Be it Santiago, so be it! I would not have minded if the other side of the record had more material. If the place is so busy, why not? (FdW)
––– Address: https://karaokekalk.bandcamp.com/



TAMING POWER - FRAGMENTS OF THE THEORY OF GENERAL REALITY (7" by Early Morning Records)

There was a time when the names Taming Power and Askild Haugland appeared a lot on these pieces. Haugland released a string of vinyl (LP, 10" and 7") quite a few years back on his Early Morning Records and then disappeared. It was not a name that appeared anywhere else, say on compilations of the Norwegian underground. These days it seems as if his releases are wide apart. He writes that this 7" had a long production time, but what's even more curious is that this new one is the counterpart to a 7" called 'Fragments In The Name Of God', which I reviewed in Vital Weekly 424 (about 17 years ago!). I believe we can call Haugland an early adapter of all things lo-fi, working with old tape recorders and loops. of course, one could also argue he's connected to the old world of early electronic music. Whatever! Haugland builds a world of his own with his music. Sometimes one recognises the guitar or a xylophone. Still, I found it difficult to recognise anything on the three pieces on this 7", except for some field recordings on'11-5-08 II', but in general, treated feedback sounds on these loops. Using hand manipulation to slowly alter the speed, as well as layering sounds upon sound (using the sound on sound technique, where you add a signal instead of removing one), he creates three short but excellent pieces of music, of which I enjoyed '3-2-10 VI' the most. This piece could have lasted much longer, and still, I would like it. The other side has two pieces: the field recordings piece and another one for feedback/electronics, which are also, sadly, too brief. Will this release be a restart for taming Power? I hope this is so, as this little oddity made me want some more! (FdW)
––– Address: <earlymrecords@yahoo.no>



PSYCHWARD/KPOT (split 7" by Novichok)

As far as I know, this 7" comes from a label in Armenia (or thereabouts), but I received it from Australia, so it might be very well that one of the bands is from over there, and I suspect that it is Psychward. Their piece is called 'Institutionalised', and the six minutes we spent in the nuthouse are well spent with this slab of harsh noise wall. There is a comparison to The Rita and Treriksröset, so sayeth the information, but unlike CDs with harsh noise wall, which don't cheat (the digital one to one conversion keeps it loud), there is a thing with vinyl that something alters soundwise. This is a most enjoyable onslaught for someone who likes noise but is not always blown away by HWN. Kpot, on the other side, recorded sounds inside a defunct water tank in the Tushetian highlands (that's in Georgia), which sounds nicely obscure. Somehow this unfolds into a more electronic, looped bit, and slowly the scene moves inside, into a pub with some people, slightly inebriated, I should think, talking. This is a most obscure piece of music, one that I enjoy, especially for that. The whole project has a great 80s vibe to it; xeroxed collages, handwritten cover, and that made me nostalgic! (FdW)
––– Address: https://novichoklabel.blogspot.com/



HYDROGEN BOUQUET - HARMONIA (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation)

One Michael Hart is behind Hydrogen Bouquet from Malone, NY, and that's about the extent of the information. He mentions that 'editing is a joy' and that he worked several years in heavy industry, "where the drone was deeply implanted in me". You could think that this is a work of drone music, but it is not. It is not easy to define this within the limits of one or two genres. In the ten pieces we have here, Hydrogen Bouquet leaps all over the place. It starts with a rather beautiful, dreamy title piece. It uses a bit of a synthesizer and some kalimba-like sound. As a sort of the complete opposite, the next track is a piece of improvised music; guitar, electronics, object abuse. Then a short piece that he may have sourced at the heavy industry, following an introspective drone with computerized, granulated sounds on top. 'Carny Code' has a slowed down, looped rhythm machine and ditto machine hummings. Well, etc., I would say.  It seems as if one of the goals was that each track should be the opposite of the previous. That makes it is not easy to form an opinion of the album as a whole. I thought these pieces worked quite well, and looping sources (perhaps acoustic objects and field recordings), adding electronics, along with synthesizers (but, who knows, also computer processing or turntables; the latter in the last piece). It is something that Hydrogen Bouquet does pretty well, but the diversity was a bit too much. Almost as if Hydrogen Bouquet wanted to showcase all that he is capable of, which is a lot. Choosing what works best for him and coming up with a slightly more coherent album would be a step forward in that respect. (FdW)
––– Address: https://mrmrecordings.bandcamp.com/



ISOLATED COMMUNITY - THE VIEW CONTAINS THE VIEWER (CDR by Northumberland Audio Capture/Hream Recordings)

Hurrah! That was my thought when I opened the parcel from Richard Dunn. He's one half of Isolated Community, and so far, I have been enjoying their releases a lot. 'The View Contains The Viewer' is their fifth album. Richard works with his wife Rachael Talbot Dunn on some excellent music. I know that is a spoiler, but I enjoy their music a lot. One thing is that their music is not easy to classify, and this new one is along those lines of being 'difficult'. Take, for instance, the opening piece (in fact, the title piece), which is "constructed entirely from processed field recordings of opening and closing gates". You would think this is some rusty gates scratching away, but it is not. Whatever process applied, this piece is a finely tuned excursion of musique concrčte, but now very light and open. In other pieces, they use synthesizers, field recordings, their own voices, and samples. I believe that is a more limited set of sounds than their previous releases. You could say their music touches upon ambient music, drone, and industrial music, yet a melodic aspect is never far away, which is, for me, the absolute beauty of it. There is such a lovely synthesizer part in' The Visitor', with voices from Richard and Rachael humming like aliens who just landed on planet earth. Clocking it just over two minutes, which is the downside of it. An otherworldly piece of science fiction music. I noted in their previous releases many soundtrack qualities, and this new one is not different. There are nine beautiful small soundtracks, science fiction music from the past. Moody and austere, minimal and yet constantly engaging to hear throughout. I linked their past releases to zoviet*france, but now I am inclined to compare the music to that husband and wife duo, Idea Fire Company, especially when it's just the two of them (and the expanded troupe they also have at times). upwards and onwards! (FdW)
––– Address: https://isolatedcommunity.bandcamp.com/



AWK WAH - DIATOM (CDR, private)

Here we have more music from Singapore's Awk Wah, also known as Shark Fung, member of the Amino Acid Orchestra, I\D and Engineered Beautiful Blood. In the past, I reviewed his music, such as 'Opera Box' (Vital Weekly 769), and I reviewed twice 'Moon Water' (Vital Weekly 1244 and 1271). The second version was an improved version of the first, but I wasn't pleased with the music. I don't know anything about Awk Wah, what he does or what his intentions are. The title is in a language I don't know, but apparently the title is 'Diatom'. There are two pieces on this new release, and it continues where I left 'Moon Water'. Some heavily distorted sound is ongoing, which may or may not come from a guitar being a fire while amplified. The second piece is perhaps something along the lines of a no-input mixer/feedback type of sound. There is little development in these pieces, but development there is. The music veers to the edge of industrial music, or noise, without being too harsh, as in noise walls etc. I think I enjoyed this new one more than I did 'Moon Water', but I admit that the music didn't grab me at all. Maybe it is the noisy aspect of it all? I admit I like a bit of noise from time to time, but this remains at a distance that I can't reach. There is a sort of immediacy about the music; call it outsider if you want (or improvised), which I think is the most exciting thing. (FdW)
––– Address: https://awkwah.bandcamp.com/releases



INÉS WIARDA - THE BENDER (cassette by Nausea.)
DART DRUG - RECOVERY TAPES VOL. 1 (cassette by Nausea.)

So far, I have had Nausea. (the full stop is part of the name) in my book as a label to release works by Angelo Bignamini, but I guess I didn't inspect it properly. Inés Wiarda had a release on this label before, for instance. That is, obviously, if not all of these names are pseudonyms for Bignamini. These cassettes are minimally packed and styled, so it seems, after the Falt label, but with plastic boxes. Wiarda uses "turntables, tape loops, and radio am, dod dfx94'; the latter, so I understand, is a small delay machine. I could find much information about this composer, so I assume that she's a woman. She reaches out for some more distorted sounds in her work and not always for a more careful approach. The repetitions brought on by the loops are simple and effective. As is the case with all things loop-based, and certainly when they involve the turntable, the rotating effect is never far off, which is not different. You could easily think that all of this is easily made, and perhaps it is, but I wouldn't be surprised if Wiarda has a confident 'can-do-all' approach, as in a sort of punk rock approach. Take the lo-fi and for once, don't make it all too delicate, dark and careful, but basically throw around sounds and see what happens. Having said that, the title piece is quite the moody blast and one that works quite well. Here too, she has a lighter side than you'd typically find in this kind of music, with voices of cracking records coming alive.
    The other new release is by Dart Drug, a duo of Atrx_ on tapes, guitars, bass, effects, field recordings, and LKL_ on tapes, radios, field recordings. They recorded their music on microcassette in July 2021 (why not release it on a microcassette?). Without having any expectations, I thought that the whole axis of guitar and bass doesn't have the most significant role here. There is a fair bit of that at the start of the first side, but once that is filtered out, there is a more noisy, rough soundscape left. Maybe the guitar is played in such a way that I don't recognize it as such anymore. There is quite the noise approach here throughout these thirty minutes, mixed with a tendency to keep it all free and improvised. It is less lo-fi and droney than some of the other music from Angelo Bignamini, who, so I think, is behind this. It shares a similar rough tumble of sounds rolling around, but it couldn't always keep my interest. At times it seemed to be a bit too straightforward exercises of noisily played instruments. Effectively the sort of music that is made for a limited cassette release. (FdW)
––– Address: https://nauseadevivre.bandcamp.com/



O C E A N I/RHIZOMATIKA - PERMACULTURA UMANA (cassette by Fango Radio Editions)

Since this landed on my desk some weeks ago, I thought I needed to get to it. But the Italian text on Bandcamp isn't helping to get my head around it. Plus, the amount of names of musicians is also a bit much. Is it a compilation? Is it a split? I am still not sure. This release is a joint effort by Fango Radio, Dissipatio.label, Dire Graft, Diazepam, Dischi Devastanti Sulla Faccia and Workin 'Klass Noize. As far as I understand, the musicians work together out of common goals that I dare not mention, out of being afraid to make a mistake in translation. On one side of the cassette, Simone Doria plays a big role, assisted by Camilla Pisani, Alessandro Gentili, Nicola Quiriconi, Marco Gagliardi. The other side has a few more by her, but also two songs without her involvement. Here we have Sandra Julve and IVA. Throughout, the music is electronic, created with drum machines, samplers and such, along with snippets of voice, sung and stolen. The voice(s) go for a slightly more dramatic effort, which also shines in the music. I have no idea what this drama might be, and perhaps this not knowing makes that it doesn't bother me too much. The release is long, and some songs are a bit too long, but luckily there is a bit of variation here. The music moves from the moody and introspective side towards something that is uptempo and even dance-like. The melancholic touch is something that lingers on in all these pieces. While I thought that not every song was a winner, I enjoyed this no less, even when it raises a few questions that I can't answer.(FdW)
––– Address: https://fangoradioeditions.bandcamp.com/



JUDITH BERKSON - LIEDERKREIS II (cassette by Notice Recordings)

This release reached us a bit late, the limited cassette edition is already sold out, no wonder, having been released in May 2021 ... But then. Judith Berkson works in New York and has been working on her 'Liederkreis' concept ever since 2016.  It features re-interpretations of Schubert and Schumann songs, Robert Schumann originally calling his Op. 39 'Liederkreis'. The concept is simple, using a very basic score of harmonium she adds her vocals, which are electronically treated. The effect is somewhere between Nico (harmonium) and mediaeval music (simple structures and harmonies created by the treatment). Some people seem to think of Kraftwerk - due to the treated voice - but that is a completely deviant comparison. No Kraftwerk to be seen here.
    How close Judith Berkson sticks to the originals I cannot say. The texts are in English, so could be modified. The melodies seem to follow the originals. Therefore the question is, what does the re-interpretation offer us as listeners? For one, I would say it's the completely new contextualisation, I would not have thought of Schubert/Schumann at first listen. Secondly the addition of electronics to the vocals adds an eerie atmosphere that does remind of old music more than the Romantics. Berkson also adds some tracks of her own where she contrasts simple Casio-tone sounds with her voice, using a very early RasterNoton rhythm track. I must say, this was much less effective as the music was somewhat aimless and meaninglessly dissonant.
    For you, if you do sometimes like to listen to choral music and like to have new impulses on classical music reaching over to electronics. (RSW)
––– Address: https://noticerecordings.bandcamp.com/



EVAN LINDORFF-ELLERY - NO WATER RECORDINGS 2011 (cassette by The Tapeworm)
EVAN LINDORFF-ELLERY - WATER RECORDINGS FROM THE HUDSON VALLEY 2020-2021 (cassette by Grisaille)
SHRINER/LINDORFF/LINDORFF - KENMORE/LINDORFF EXCHANGE (cassette by
(cassette by Regional Bears)

Musicians who run cassette labels know other cassette labels; that was a fact in the '80s and still goes today. Evan Lindorf-Ellory runs the Notice Recordings label, but he reaches out to other labels for his own music. These three releases are from this year, which almost doubles his solo output from his entire career. I don't think I heard any of his solo recordings. The first two releases deal with water sounds or not. On 'No Water Recordings 2011', Lindorff made recordings with a hydrophone against a bridge. So, there was water, but not on the recording. The piece on the other side uses a contact microphone, a ceramic insulator and a brick. Recorded in 2011 on a cassette and transferred this year. We find Lindorf-Ellery in a particular noisy fashion on this cassette, especially when holding the hydrophone against the bridge, which brings out some heavily distorted sounds. The result can easily be called noise music, yet not entirely harsh noise wall. As I had no idea what a ceramic insulator is, I looked it up ("Ceramic insulators are ceramic materials used to insulate electrically-conductive materials or temperature-controlled enclosures. In the context of electrical insulation, ceramic insulators are usually limited to the insulation of electrically conductive materials on an industrial or municipal scale") and was none the wiser. Here we have more lo-fi noise sound, which has a strange, improvised music feeling; someone using a saxophone in a non-traditional way.
    Lindorff-Ellery lives near the Hudson River Valley, and throughout 2020 and 2021, he made recordings of creeks, rivers and spillways, dragging along cymbals, bells and rocks. These he put in the river, perhaps along with microphones, and he plays these in an improvised way. The results are most curious and rather lovely. The idea is not entirely new. IDM Theft Able has a long album on Bandcamp of water sounds and a tuba, but those are static works. Lindorff-Ellery plays his instruments and does so in an irregular way. This music follows the flow of the water as it were, and is unpredictable, so is the rubbing of cymbals, bells and rocks here. I am not sure how Lindorff-Ellery recorded his music, but I imagine this as a combination of below and above the water, mixed at home. One of the things I like about having a bath is to put my ears below the surface and listen to how the world outside sounds so different. Lindorff-Ellery captured some of that otherwordly sound in his music. The odd mix of water sound and percussion is a great one, and the fact that he plays his percussion in a non-rhythmical way, most of the time, but as objects make the whole thing even more intriguing. Strange and very captivating music.
    The final new release is not a solo release as it contains two collaborative works from Evan Lindorff-Ellery. The first is with Joe Shriner on piano, field recording and tapes, and Lindorff-Ellery on field recordings and electronics. The other is with Gary Lindorff (his father; instruments, objects, woodstove) and Evan on instruments, woodstove, radio, and tapes. Recordings of both pieces took place in 2009, so this is an archival release. The two pieces ended up on one tape because of "the specific acoustic environments in which they were made and exhibit an ambiguous passion for the liminal space between interior and exterior, both psychologically and literally". Both pieces are around twelve minutes. 'Kenmore Exchange' is on the first side, and Shriner hammers out an F minor chord (so I hear!), and the two of them mix this with a bundle of strange field recordings made by Lindorff-Ellery while biking. These recordings are cut randomly, stuck together again, with the ever pounding of the piano going on. The other side is the 'Lindorff Exchange', recorded in a cabin in the woods of Vermont (hence the presence of the woodstove), without much light. This is another strange release of percussive treatments of acoustic objects, but with certain sparseness and distance. At one point, it seems as if the recording device is outside the cabin, but towards the end, the hiss picks up again, and string sounds are added. Quite intense music and at the same time also obscure and vague. (FdW)
––– Address: https://grisaille.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: http://www.tapeworm.org.uk/
––– Address: https://regionalbears.bandcamp.com/












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