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
your MP3 player and enjoy!
JEPH JERMAN - FLAPNDER (CD by Input Error) *
ALIENO DEBOOTES - UNCOVENTIONAL RESIDENTS (CD by Klanggalerie)*
BERNARD FALAISE – G(O) SOL(O) (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques) *
OTTO - DANSES (CD by Circum Disc) *
MASKED PICKLE - 7 (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
PIOTR PESZAT - MUSIC FOR CULTURE WARS (CD by Bolt) *
ANNA KALUZA & JAN RODER - AM FRANKFURTER TOR (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
JERRY GOOSSENS & JEROEN VEDDER - I'M SURE WE'RE GONNA MAKE IT (book by Korm Plastics) *
JH – APEIROZOAN (5CD by The Keraunograph Organisation) *
BRUNO DUPLANT - LE JOUR D'APRES (CD by Sublime Retreat) *
ROBERT HAIGH - HUMAN REMAINS (CD by Unseen Worlds) *
KAJA DRAKSLER - IN OTHERNESS ONESELF (CD by Unsounds) *
JÖRG ZEMMLER - PIANO BAR (CD, private) *
JAN BRUYNDONCKX - RAILS AND OTHER TRACKS (LP by Metaphon) *
K2 - HYBRID DUB METAL MUSIK (LP by Tribe Tapes) *
MAX JULIAN EASTMAN - EXTREME PSYCHEDELIA (three cassettes by Tribe Tapes) *
DAVID LEE MYERS - LUSTRE (CDR by Pulsewidth) *
MUTANT BEATNIKS - INVISIBLE (cassette by Personal Soundtracks) *
KEN CLINGER - KC. 09-12 (double cassette by Tribe Tapes) *
GOZ - DOMUS (cassette by Zona Watusa) *
JEPH JERMAN - FLAPNDER (CD by Input Error)
So far, I had Input Error down as a harsh noise label, but this one proves me wrong. Of course, there was a time when Jerman dabbled in harsh(er) noise when he was working as Hands To. At the turn of the century, his sound went quieter and open and relied more and more on untreated field recordings and objects. For some of his releases, I thought Jerman sat down in the sand, rubbing leaves and sticks and used some additional field recording on a small playback system. I won't speculate how the music on 'Flapnr' was recorded, but I think there is some studio technology at work here. There is complexity at work here, so I at least believe there is a culmination of various recordings. I still have that notion of Jerman sitting in the grass but now takes his recordings to the computer and combines them with different field recordings and even some good ol' tape-loops. In that respect, this is partly how Hands To back then sounded, but now not so much the sonic overload, the additional distortion of using a battery-powered Walkman. This makes the music here way more detailed than in the old days. The music sounds both old and new. Many sound sources are being used here, some highly obscured and others recognizable, such as breaking glass in 'Nothing'. I assume these sources are natural (leaves, trees) and human (glass, debris, waste, object), along with the humming of machines, shafts and the wind over barren Arizona land. Maybe at times, Jerman has no hands-on approach, and it's just the wind playing all of this. I found all of this highly fascinating music; a cruder little brother musique concrète or electro-acoustic music. Perhaps you could see this as the natural evolution of 'industrial music', now without any instruments and still noisy as hell. This is the noise that I like! (FdW)
––– Address: https://input-error.bandcamp.com/
ALIENO DEBOOTES - UNCOVENTIONAL RESIDENTS (CD by Klanggalerie)
Following a string of reissues of more obscure material by the Residents, Klanggalerie releases a tribute annex cover CD made by
Alieno de Bootes, nom de plus of Alessandro Pizzin and several other musicians (ten to be exact). 13 tracka ( hinting at the 13th Anniversary Show, the second mayor tour of the Residents ?) The chosen titles are taken from some of the more famous records of the Residents and are no faithful recreations of them bit rather an update in sound, production value and arrangements. A few tracks from the first record Meet the Residents are doubled in lenght and made into almost regular pop music in a very nice way. Throughout the release new pop referencea are infused into the tracks (Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Lenny Dee and the Rolling Stones to name a few : sometime musical quotes and sometime lyrics : Come Down Selektor in the case of Lenny Dee). If you are new to the Residents this would be a good introduction to them. The arrangements (embellishments, a different language: same text only sung in a Spanish translation) are lush and in the spirit of the original or transformed into another genre of music. The guitar solos are wonderful and inventive. The funny voices used in the various original songs are present as well. As a whole it's an excellent transformation of the spirit of the Residents. The last track is a reference to a quote by Max Baker writer of the Eelwax 3D Jesus Pop-Up Show, a theatre production about residents of a group home day room : After all we are all residents. Unconventional Residents is a great introduction to the music of the Residents and if you haven't heard anything by the Residents you will have an excellent disc of experimental pop and rock music. Fans of the Residents will not be disappointed hearing some more obscure and some more popular songs molded into a contemporary production. Well done and it will be on heavy rotation at my house. (MDS)
––– Address: https://www.klanggalerie.com/
BERNARD FALAISE – G(O) SOL(O) (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques)
Discovering the work of Fred Frith and René Lussier, Falaise chose a similar direction in developing his own voice as a guitarist. From early on, he was interested in extending the possibilities and sounds of the electric guitar. For more than 25 years, he has been a prominent force in the scene of Québec and played with groups like Papa Boa, Klaxon Gueule, Subtle Lip and many other projects and played with many other musicians from Québec. One finds his name on dozens of albums recorded in the last twenty years, from pop and Avant rock to improvised and modern composed music. He records a solo effort now and then, and ‘G(o) sol(o)’ is the fifth one in this series. In his earlier solo statements overdubbing, editing, and other post-production procedures were essential constitutive elements. Not for his new recording, where Falaise kept these at a minimum to create music played as it is heard. It is hard to believe that sometimes all is played by Falaise simultaneously, but looping and other devices easily create this impression. His experimental and exploring music is beyond recognizable styles and idioms. It is a very original, rich musical world on its own. The opening track ‘Slogan’ starts with rock-based sensibilities. It is the first of two lengthy improvisations (12 minutes), whereas the other pieces stay 4-5 minutes. The work goes through different stages and feels like a journey, encountering many different textures and patterns. ‘Olga en gondole’ has a laid back and open atmosphere. On the contrary, ‘Gogol á velo’ is a freaky and experimental improvisation built from short movements and interruptions. Galop’ starts from percussive-like sequences. The sounds change in intensity and colour. Closing track ‘L’ocelot d’oslo’ is created from looped sounds of an ambient and keyboard-like nature, with nervous high-pitched sketchy interruptions moving towards a culminating point. His abstract sonic adventures for prepared guitar are varied and intense. Lively and far from academic. (DM)
––– Address: https://ambiances-magnetiques.bandcamp.com/
OTTO - DANSES (CD by Circum Disc)
OTTO is a French duo formed around a project reimagining a bourrée, a French dance adopted at the French court of Louis XIV, the Sun King. This one is composed by Johann Sebastian Bach and is not necessarily intended to be dance music.
That same piece is on this release, together with 12 other dances, made popular at that French court. Several pieces for solo lute and solo violoncello are arranged for guitar. Those arrangements already existed for solo guitar, but Ivann Cruz (guitar) and Frédéric L'Homme (drums) used the electric guitar instead of the traditional acoustic guitar and added drums. For me, the original pieces (be it as an arrangement or the original) are airtight, by which I mean that there's no room for air. Everything is a mathematical solution that solves the riddle of harmonizing a melody. But here, the duo add a great bit of playfulness and deliver the piece's gist but transform them into more or less a modern approach or idiom, be it rock or impro. The best example is the longest piece, the chaconne from Partita number 2 BWV 1004, lasting 13 minutes and is almost post-rock in execution. The chords are there but repeated, distorted, inversed, transformed, and infused with a melancholic quality, partly because of the minor chords and the quality of the sound and playing. For me, it's the best piece on the album.
As a whole, this is a fun release, well-executed and a whole new approach to Bach. At the same time, they continue Bach's tradition: he was a great improviser on the organ. I, for one, am curious as to what this duo will do next. Maybe some caprices by Paganini? (MSD)
––– Address: https://www.circum-disc.com/
MASKED PICKLE - 7 (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
... and another RPR release with 'free music'. Only that this one is more along the lines of post-rock and industrial than contemporary music or jazz. Which is a good thing.
Olivia Scemama plays electric bass (I believe all the time), Tom Malmendier drums, and Clara Weil voice - actually uses a kind of scat singing. The whole thing spans six tracks and was recorded in Liege (Belgium) back in 2019 - as Scemama is American, I guess this was on the invitation of Malmendier - who I believe is Wallonian. Unfortunately, Weil's web page crashed when I looked it up, so no info there.
Masked Pickle seems to be a firm project of the three, though this might be the first recording available. Scemama is a metal bassist, so seeing her play in this kind of 'free music' group is certainly of interest and would pave the way for many potential music-wise. Malmendier is a versatile drummer in many different - apparently mostly experimental - projects and bands. I found little about Weil - she has recorded with Fred Frith and Malmendier and contributes 'vocals'.
I must say that I am not a fan of 'scat' singing and/or the use of voice as a 'sound source' (not to be confused with 'singing', with or without words). To me, the first three tracks on this CD seem a bit like very restrained percussion and bass (hardly audible at times) accompanying a scat singer. This did not really grab my attention. On track four, the singing comes in only in the second half (having contributed 'dripping' sounds before, not recognisable as a voice), the overall piece building far more tension than the predecessors. Track 5 and 6 lack the voice (at least in the 'scat' version) and are the more powerful of the release, where the two instruments link correctly and fill the foreground.
Imagine an element of early Material (Frith/Laswell/Beinhorn) added to this mix, and it would really fly. But, unfortunately, apart from track four, which actually generates a racket, all the other tracks remain well behind what they could have been, taking the background of all contributors. (RSW)
––– Address: https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/
PIOTR PESZAT - MUSIC FOR CULTURE WARS (CD by Bolt)
This is a bit of a difficult one. First, the information is in Polish, and though I can switch to an English version of the Bolt page, the info disappears. I like that concept (I have been toying with a similar idea for many years), but it does limit my ability to add any background to this music.
Piotr Peszat - though only having one release listed on Discogs - potentially exactly for a reason stated above .. ??? is an accomplished Polish composer, sound artist, and score producer for theatre and film. Only a hand full of his compositions has been recorded (by various ensembles), and this CD seems to be the first 'solo' release. His work appears to have a political and humorous edge (failing my Polish abilities). Judging from context, he means it. Which is good. I will, though, stand to be corrected if I misinterpreted all this.
A title such as 'F******-Gran Torso' is just great - it is a re-interpretation of a piece by Helmut Lachenmann ('Gran Torso', of course) that is commented as follows (I cannot help but offer you this original text-bite - it explains so much): "Classical contemporary music has experienced (and is experiencing) a progressive alienation in society. This diagnosis prompts the artists to take actions that go beyond the academic schema, to use pop culture and tools associated with popular music like sampling and remix. Masterpieces of the music from the second half of the 20th century - in this case, the string quartet "Gran Torso" by Helmut Lachenmann - are creatively reinterpreted. In front of the icons of 20th-century music, stands their opposition and "threat". However, maybe it is the only chance to save contemporary classical music, to make artists, academics, and audiences aware that it is time to get back to reality." Others are called 'Songs of New Music I have seen', 'The promised land of error', 'The piano was a Pole' etc. Unfortunately, this music seems to be more performed live than recorded. Something Bolt might want to catch up on.
The Music for Culture Wars could be a timely comment on Polish and European contemporary history. It is perplexing as it seems to exist in two versions. On my copy, the 'B' CD tracklist is crossed out. On the Bolt label pages, the two CDs that seem to exist are connected by 'or'. Suppose this indicates that you get either one OR the other - hey - genius. The tracks are played by an ensemble that could be new music, jazz, or rock/pop. The pieces use sound bites (I guess the 'Walesa' one is just that) but, in general layer all kinds of sound sources, from concert recordings to electronics to piano music ('Polentrance'), and create a somewhat 'industrial classical' mood that points in one of my favourite musical directions: creating new, interesting sounds that win you over by their sheer power, inventiveness, and intriguing sound and structure. Not by reading a lengthy explanation of intellectual reasonings. I am not saying Peszat's music is not intellectual, and it is fantastic. But its quality is not purely intellectual. It speaks to the heart directly. As track five puts it: 'Peszat the great Pole'. Or track six: 'Peszat_ Composer of Contemporary Music' - quote: "more internet, more bodies, more conceptualism .. still: too much play." (RSW)
––– Address: https://www.boltrecords.pl/
ANNA KALUZA & JAN RODER - AM FRANKFURTER TOR (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
It is nice to see a new generation of young(er) jazz musicians find their way into new ways of working together (more free music, it seems to me lately), working with and albeit Covid (by telephone/Zoom calls), and reducing to more 'intimate' formats and smaller ensembles.
Anna Kaluza and Jan Roder have both been releasing music since around 2004. It is baffling to see how many more releases Roder has under his belt. Unless Discogs has simply not taken note of Kaluza's work .. who knows? She studies for her Master's at UCL in London and, during that time, played in the London Improvisers Orchestra. Upon returning to Berlin, she started the Berlin Improviser Orchestra, which also includes some LIO musicians. Roder has a long list of co-musicians, including Peter Brötzmann, Gunter Hampel, von Schlippenbach and many others.
Both have played together since 2004 in various groupings, amongst others Kaluza's own Kaluza Quartet (which does not seem to have any recordings out, though still being active), but also trios with pianists or drummers. And now a duo, recorded in 2020.
A duo is dangerous to play - having only a single partner to rely on and exchange ideas with. This can be very intimate and rewarding. It can also leave you slightly at a loss when the chemistry does not work. Not wanting to say anything about chemistry when playing solo... In this case, it does not work for me. The double bass sounds too thin compared to the saxophone, and although the two manage to play with each other's ideas, tossing phrases to and fro, the two instruments do not really blend nor complement each other. Roder plucks and bows his instrument (he could bow more for my taste), and Kaluza plays along with several different techniques - but mostly obliterates the string instrument. The ten pieces are not focused enough, and several repetitions make listening slightly boring - wishing the release had half the material with double the intensity. (RSW)
––– Address: https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/
JERRY GOOSSENS & JEROEN VEDDER - I'M SURE WE'RE GONNA MAKE IT (book by Korm Plastics)
How often have YOU heard a musician say "I'm sure we're gonna make it" when it comes to the future of the band they play in? Yes, and I shamelessly admit I've also said it several times. It's the beauty of the innocence that lies within us all, and when it comes to expressing pure emotions like rage and anger, it's easy to believe in your ideas that you just know you're gonna make it. The title is a song from one of the early Dutch punk bands, Ivy Green.
In 1996 the book "Het gejuich was massaal" (literal translation: The exultancy was massive) by Jerry Goossens and Jeroen Vedder saw the light of day. It describes the rise of punk in the Netherlands from 1976 to 1982; it ends with the arrival of hardcore punk. "I'm sure we're gonna make it" is translated into English by Frans de Waard and Mark Poysden. The book has several parts: the actual book, a close to complete list of all records released in that period, a bibliography and scans of the covers of loads of fanzines, magazines, leaflets, and the works.
T he book describes the how and what and the era when things took place. It mainly focuses on where most of the action took place, being the big cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Those were the cities where you could be yourself the best and where the most influences from abroad could be found and felt.
The best thing about this book is that it describes the development of the DUTCH punk, which I can say - after reading the book - is something quite different from the global punk movement. Naturally, there were influences from the worldwide punk movement and the heroes we all had, but being Dutchies, we had to do things our way. Probably everybody in all countries will say the same, but as punk is a reactionary movement to a political system, well, yeah... So, of course, each country created its punk movement. That's what it was all about.
Being an old fart (born in '67 in the countryside), the early years completely went past me, but I did get a sniff of the last years described in this book. Of course, I still get to see The Ex when I get a chance (they've been active since 1979), and several of the releases mentioned in the discography are in my collection. But those were all from '81 or '82 when the story of this book ends. But my collection is more extensive, and I kept buying stuff. Maybe not as D.I.Y. as the ones mentioned in the book, and probably better produced than a 4-track recording in a practice space, and very definitely less politically engaged than most of the releases from that era, but it's a fact that punk still is alive; It never died, it just hibernated.
It's a good read, a trip down memory lane and an explanation of unwritten context you missed if you weren't into punk back then. (BW)
––– Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/
JH – APEIROZOAN (5CD by The Keraunograph Organisation)
Of course it is Christmas every day, chez Vital Weekly, with new music flowing like water. However, a rare thing is when a package arrives, and a box of mysteries unfolds. This is one. First of all, it's not easy to find out who made the music, but it is one JH, which, so Discogs tells me, is one James Hamilton. He is also a member of Angelicate, Annihilist, Anomalist, Automata, Column, Nebris, Preterite, and The Keraunograph Ensemble. I heard his music before (Vital Weekly 1082), but that was just one CD; now, it is five. Again, a recommendation is "play at high volume in a quiet place with no visual distraction, " which in the VW HQ is tricky. I like this commitment to music without any visual stimuli. The covers of the CDs contain mostly cryptic information. The instruments are a Hammond BV organ, Hammond HR-40 cabinet, Leslie 825, guitar and bass amplifiers, analogue filters, spring and plate reverb and string resonators. Four CDs were recorded between 2016 and 2019 in Montreal, and CD5, at The Warren, Montreal, 2003. It is also mentioned that the processing was done on a Serge system at Studioo6, EMS, Stockholm, October 2019. I assume that's where the result is created. Three CDs have one long piece, and two have two pieces; to be even more precise, three times one hour, six minutes and thirty-six seconds, four times thirty-three minutes and eighteen seconds (I admit I spotted that on Discogs!). You have figured out which order these pieces have on these discs. That is a lot of information, so what about the music?JH's music is in the world of drones, with a specialisation of the harsher variety. These drones aren't big fat bassy drones but more piercing mid to high end. I reckon these are the string resonators that provide these; I might be wrong. Just as I noticed with the first release I heard from him, there is no way I was thinking about a Hammond organ when hearing this music. JH's music is far from static, even when it doesn't always 'move' fast. You'll notice substantial changes throughout a piece (long or a bit shorter). At times the music reaches a loud peak, which reminded me of being locked inside a machine (well, not based on actual events, of course), but one can always escape the machine, and on the decaying end, when the sounds die slowly, you feel the pressure vanishing. Occasionally there is a more collage-like approach so that the music is completely gone, but within the same track, it all starts building again. To play these five CDs in one long session, without visual distraction and at a high volume, is perhaps stretching things a bit too far; even at a moderate volume, it's still quite a sit, but, all the same, a great experience. (FdW)
––– Address: https://shop.keraunograph.org/merch/jh-apeirozoan
BRUNO DUPLANT - LE JOUR D'APRES (CD by Sublime Retreat)
There is no sense in repeating myself, so just the brief version: despite having heard a lot of music by Bruno Duplant, I know very little about the man. I think the title translates as 'the day after, and it is a brief piece of music, thirty minutes. The piano plays an important role in this new piece; however sparse Duplant plays it and some highly obscured field recordings. I thought of people walking, cars passing, maybe Duplant sits in a space with open doors and windows, and he plays some sparse notes on the piano. There might also be some kind of electronics at work here. As I played the music, I thought about that 80s movie, 'The Day After, the controversial movie about what happens after a nuclear attack. I totally forgot what the controversy was about. Did I see it? I can't remember. I wasn't the type to worry that much about what happens, Que sera and such matters. Is there pending doom these days? According to popular belief, there is. I believe there is always doom overhead, Que sera, etc. I have no idea if Duplant found any inspiration in old films about nuclear explosions, but in his piece, there is an element of erosion in the music, with acoustic sounds coming to the foreground and the piano getting rapidly sparser in the mix. There is, at one point, something that sounds like church bells, crumbled and far away, more decay. I have no idea if this is what Duplant had in mind when recording the music and choosing the title; I just as well might be completely wrong, of course. In the sound world of Duplant, this is all music that we expect him to do. It is lof-fi, there is a slight melodic edge, if not always on top or even always present, and 'Le Jour D'Apres' is another damn fine release. (FdW)
––– Address: https://sublimeretreat.bandcamp.com/
ROBERT HAIGH - HUMAN REMAINS (CD by Unseen Worlds)
KAJA DRAKSLER - IN OTHERNESS ONESELF (CD by Unsounds)
JÖRG ZEMMLER - PIANO BAR (CD, private)
To lump a few releases together is perhaps not doing them justice, and I wouldn't have done so had they come over a couple of days. However, they were all in the same package, promoted by the same agency. It made me think about the piano and the different results, and it's nice to compare them, I guess. I couldn't resist starting with the known quantity in this package, Robert Haigh. A long time ago, he was the man behind Sema, did a few drum 'n bass records and re-connected with the piano in his later solo work. Haigh played the piano in Sema and other instruments; in his solo work of the last two decades (or so), the piano is the leading instrument, yet not solely. There is also electronics, but no longer as nasty as it was at times with Sema. Haigh uses mostly reverb and the sustain pedal, enhancing some of his tones and letting them drift into space. 'Human Remains' is the final part of a trilogy for Unseen Worlds, and it is "marking the end of the late-era of solo albums by Haigh, as he steps away from music production to focus on painting and other creative pursuits". I would think that would be a great loss. If one name is mentioned with piano music is unavoidably mentioned when reviewing, it is Erik Satie. And, to make perhaps a bold statement, if anyone carries that legacy in the 21st century, I'd say Robert Haigh is the man. He has a similar beautiful impressionistic touch, a few sparse notes whirling like snowflakes. Of course, when there are no electronics, the music is at its most intimate. It is, perhaps, that we know Satie didn't do that. But Haigh expands on the light touch, adding electronics and using sound effects to alter the sound, such as 'Waltz On Treated Wire', for which he may be used the inside of the piano. A great album, with one track that didn't fit in, 'Baroque Atom', with some sampled violin, scratching and sustaining away, sounded like a kitschy film soundtrack. However, I can imagine Satie would love such wackiness.
No such thing, I would say, with Kaja Draksler from Amsterdam. She speaks different languages, so she has "an impression that my identity is multifaceted" and that she uses specific musical languages for each piece. She refers to voodoo, Cecil Taylor, experimental jazz, and there are a few voice samples. The CD starts with 'Away!', quite a lyrical piece of piano music. Not exactly Satie, as Draksler uses way more notes. The sample she waves in from 'In The Clearing' by Robert Frost works quite well, like a ghost hanging over the music. That opening salvo is the most extended piece on this CD, clocking in at twelve minutes. Her other six pieces are shorter and are more part of the experimental jazz and world of improvisation. She uses a quarter-tone keyboard, which may be (I am not an expert in these matters) accounts for some of the ultra-short notes she plays at times. From what I heard of Cecil Taylor, a piece such as 'Prst, Roka, Laket', has a similar rapid wild attack. In 'Pika' she returns to her more melancholic, impressionist playing style and 'Stratonutki' is a piece of modern classical music. Draksler delivered a pretty varied album, perhaps a tower of Babel? I guess this is an album for which one has to be in the mood, a mood to digest her various approaches to the piano. It found me on the right day!
Also, the name Jörg Zemmler is new to me. He is from Bolzano, Italy, studied in Innsbruck, and lives in Vienna and Seis (Italy). Besides playing music, he is also a writer, filmmaker, performer, musician and sound engineer. On 'Piano Bar', he plays an "analogue (wall) piano", which I think is called an upright piano, and along with that, he uses "live loops and live digital sustain". Luckily he keeps the live loops and live digital sustain well under control. They act as mere ornaments to Zemmler's playing of the 88 keys. He too uses a more impressionist tone, just like Haigh, but finds different accents. I'd be less likely to compare his work to that of Satie. Maybe because Zemmler uses more notes, or perhaps his use of electronics is more 'up there', but this is a different kind of introspection. Still, this is all most enjoyable music, don't get me wrong. Maybe one, with all respect, could say that Zemmler has a slightly more naive approach to the piano and compositions. Sometimes a few notes are good enough to be sampled and become the backbone of a composition. On top, he waves a few melodies and bob's your uncle. No doubt, I was thinking about a bar when I saw the title and imagined Zemmler sitting in a corner of a bar, going about his business. Doing one piece after the next and arriving at a different kind of ignoring and pleasurable, take the Brian Eno out of the living room and place him in a bar and experiment with live piano and live electronics, still working with that notion of introspective music. Most enjoyable, even when you are not in a bar but mixing a drink at home. (FdW)
––– Address: https://unseenworlds.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://unsounds.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: http://joergzemmler.net
JAN BRUYNDONCKX - RAILS AND OTHER TRACKS (LP by Metaphon)
Timo van Luyck's Metaphon label offers a history lesson, not for the first time. They already did a double CD of 50 years of electronic music at the Ghent University (Vital Weekly 833), Baudouin Oosterlynck, and Arsene Souffriau (Vital Weekly 766). This time it is the msuic of Jan Bruyndonckx (1926-1999). He wasn't a composer but a chemist with interest in sounds. He called his works 'sound evocations'. Some of his works were part of films, but Bruyndockx also created some autonomous compositions. At home, he worked on his music, using reel to reel machines, taping sounds from TV, records, radio, and acoustic sources. The manipulations applied are all standard musique concrète techniques; looping, changing speed, backwards, etc. There are seven pieces on this record, four of which are made for film/documentary. I found all of this quite fascinating music. Especially the addition of voice material was excellent. In that respect, the soundtrack to 'Mijn Evenaaste', containing poetry by Paul de Vree, is an excellent piece. A reminder of early electronics, but rather lo-fi and some serious sparse words of poetics sprinkled around. One of the exciting features is Bruyndoncks' use of found sound, slowing down orchestral sounds and repeating rhythmical sounds. In another place and at a different time, one could label this as plunderphonics. I won't go into if this is something similar, predating, say, John Oswald, some twenty years. The rusty magnetic tapes bring out a lo-fi aspect in this music, which is a sign of the times and, perhaps, some naive approach in terms of the compositional process. His first composition uses the sound of trains (a common feature in the world of musique concrète), inspired by being a commuter. It also gave this record a great title! (FdW)
––– Address: https://metaphon.be/
K2 - HYBRID DUB METAL MUSIK (LP by Tribe Tapes)
MAX JULIAN EASTMAN - EXTREME PSYCHEDELIA (three cassettes by Tribe Tapes)
I've grouped these two releases together not because of their same label but because they share a commonality that I've discussed before, that of how noise can, not progress; I think progress is a fairly dead concept (Mark Fisher alludes to this in reasonably plain language), but more how it mutates or dies. Ignoring the dead, e.g. Troniks – PACrec (check out http://www.iheartnoise.com/), et al. - or alternatives, we have releases such as these. 'Hybrid Dub Metal Musik' by K2, a 12" vinyl of three tracks, 'Tokyo Would Be Carthago', 'Trade Friction In Medieval' and 'Love To The Extent To Biting My Hands'. 'Extreme Psychedelia' by Max Julian Eastman of Tribe Tapes three-time cassette box set sides A-F. All of which you can hear here! https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/album/hybrid-dub-metal-musik, https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/album/extreme-psychedelia. On the three K2 tracks, you will hear heavy, noisy metallic sounds. What you might not see is that these, at times, appear to be spliced with cut-up sections; you can see these in a sound editor quite clearly. So I guess it has to be a studio composition unless these are switched somehow in real-time. Again, you can hear the use of loops with the tape release, and we are told analogue noise and some samples? Notably, sides A, E & F seem of a piece – mainly whiteish noise, though F ends with a pop song sample. The Bandcamp entry states, “Studies in hypnotics via loops” though IMO's noisy nature is far from hypnotic. However, one could hear something of this in the white noise of E & F, but in the end, music, referred to as “Mind-controllable turntable muzak.” - I've absolutely no idea of what that means. We also get, “This box set is the product of years of personal sacrifice and devotion to one's craft”, so we are now no longer in the throwaway aesthetic or non-aesthetic of some earlier noise. So I will end this review with two quotes from The New Blockaders website. The first is from Paul Hegarty, the second from William Moran Hutson. "This 'failure' is what defines noise in its encounter with music, for noise must fail to be noise if it is accepted, and of course, it fails if not heard as well. All of this was never about listening, it almost says." "If Noise Music was ever noisy in a way that afforded any critically-useful theorization of noise, then it was only ever so for a brief moment. Almost immediately following the first sonic experiments of TNB, The Haters and Hijokaidan, Noise Music's noisiness, it seems, was tamed, subsumed into a predictable, codified art practice and underground music field." Do we, can we, learn again to fail – if not in silence? (jliat)
––– Address: https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/
DAVID LEE MYERS - LUSTRE (CDR by Pulsewidth)
According to the information, 'Lustre' is the fifty-third album by Arcane Device. I am sure that I heard many of those, but not all. I was right there at the start, almost, when RRRecords released a double 7", which was the follow-up to an LP on Recommended Records. At the time, I found that odd, as the controlled feedback of Arcane Device seemed to me in place in the world of industrial music or early electronic music, then a label with a background in weird rock music. Maybe it was the seriousness, very much so 'not industrial music', that made it interesting for Recommended, or perhaps the somewhat improvised way of playing his machines - I may have told this before, maybe even more than once. Over the years, Arcane Device was released on many labels and, at one point, discontinued the name Arcane Device to continue as David Lee Myers because it is a one-person operation anyway. I believe that these days, Myers expanded his feedback machines with modular electronics, but essentially the music remains very much in the world of somewhat harsher electronics. In all of his work, Myers explores the out limits of his machines, which can be very ambient, very noisy or very rhythmical. In the old days, this was a thing per release, but Myers offered a diversity of interests per release in recent years. There is a quieter corner, a louder one, a dash of rhythm, something akin to the world of modern electronics. Sometimes there is even a combination within a piece. A new release by Myers isn't a total surprise anymore. Over the years, he created a solid unique sound signature, and I wouldn't know what he should change to surprise (luckily, not my job). The nine pieces here are all lengthy explorations, between six and nine minutes, and each is a robust electronic beast. There may be no surprises, but Myers goes from strength. (FdW)
––– Address: http://pulsewidth.com
MUTANT BEATNIKS - INVISIBLE (cassette by Personal Soundtracks)
Somewhere in the back of my mind, it says that Mutant Beatniks are part of the harsh noise world, but I couldn't corroborate that due to the chaotic days I had. Behind Mutant Beatniks is Shaun Robert, who is more active using his real name these days. In the nineties, his first project was factor X. If true, then on Discogs, we find this statement of intent; "The name is derived from the idea of future music, Mutant as in transfigured and morphing developed distance sounds; Music. And the kind of music crazy modern beatniks will listen to. So Mutant Beatniks describes the music as well as the target audience." In the early days, music pieces by Mutant Beatniks were short, but on this tape, we have two side-long pieces, well over thirty minutes each. Both sides are called 'reel', '1' and '2' respectively, perhaps to tie it in with the notion of musique concrète; who knows? I would think that some of these pieces (as there are different distinctive parts of this) consist of computer manipulations, but some great software is available that emulates the reel-to-reel machines. I can imagine that Robert uses a combination of both old devices and digital technology. The information tells us that the project started with a focus on outsider pop and breakbeat on the edge of noise, but none such seems to be the case here. Sure, there may be beats, sampled percussion, but there are also more reflective moments and some poetic material spoken; odd but true: when my phone rang, a voice said, 'the phone is ringing. Quite eerie that one. Maybe I should be reading something into the name of the label and the musical content? Robert's music is very personal, especially in his more reflective, musical moments laced with his words. It all works very well as a soundtrack to a film that has not yet been made. Quite unsettling at times, but I have no idea why. That is a great thing! (FdW)
––– Address: https://personalsoundtracks.co.uk/
KEN CLINGER - KC. 09-12 (double cassette by Tribe Tapes)
While I was listening to this extended, long release by Ken Clinger, I kept thinking: did I hear his music in the 80s? Looking at his extensive discography, I recognized a few titles of compilations with music from the man, but none rang a bell. Yet I immediately connected his name to the world of 80s cassettes. Odd! Clinger has a private Bandcamp where he gives his music for free, but they come on a C60 and a C90 cassette. It took me several days to hear all of it. That is not due to my laziness, but it has to do with Clinger's music. He plays keyboards, rhythm machines and sings, though the latter not always. In typical 80s fashion, these vocals aren't the best around. Those were the days of self-expression, of anything goes and such things. While I was not blown away by his vocal performance, I enjoyed it all the same. Maybe because it is such a throwback to my more youthful days? I think that's it. So what's there to complain about? Now that I am older (and still none the wiser), I believe that the tiny explosion of two and half hours of this is a bit much. Way too much to digest all at once. So after about ten songs, I turn my attention to something else. A day later, I return to Clinger's music and continue where (I think) I left and find myself back in my old room, filled with cassettes and fanzines. And then ten songs later... well, you get my drift by now. Very personal, very poetic (I guess), very retro and mostly well digestible in a small dose. (FdW)
––– Address: https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/
GOZ - DOMUS (cassette by Zona Watusa)
Goz is Gonçalo Almeida, bass player based in Rotterdam. He is very active in the Rotterdam impro scene and in his native country Portugal. He plays in several bands: Spinifex, The Selva, Albatre and Tetterapadequ, to name a few. This release is available digitally and on a limited edition cassette. Side A is Gonçalo solo on electric bass guitar. Heavy drone and doom with reverb and distortion conjure a cosmic journey through the stars and beyond. Or an inner journey through your darkest fears. This is music that screams for images, a psychedelic liquid light show or an expressionist German silent horror movie. On Side B, Almeida is joined by Torture Corpse, plus de nom of Robert Kroos, who also did the mastering. Torture Corpse adds lightness through sparse use of background electronics, and the whole track ends on a lighter major chord, although heavily distorted.
All 40 minutes fly by as if it's only ten minutes. All tracks have a dark brightness and are well-paced and spaced in the sense that there is now a brick wall of sound but sound eruptions that wash you over with great attention to detail, almost like a meditation in the darker corners of space or your own mind. This should be played on a good sound system on a high volume or good headphones ofcourse on a not so high sound level. (MSD)
––– Address: https://zonawatusa.bandcamp.com/album/domus