number 1344
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week 28
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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!






NICHOLAS MALONEY - PASSAGE (CD by Unfathomless) *
AUTAAR & 404 - IN DE KIEM GESMOORD (CD, private) *
DYLAN WARD - TOURMALINE (CD by Neuma) *
UNEVEN SAME - SAXOPHONE QUARTETS BY THOMAS K.J. MEJER (CD by Wide Ear Music) *
STRING ORCHESTRA OF BROOKLYN - ENFOLDING (CD by New Focus Recordings) *
KOLLAPS - UNTIL THE DAY I DIE (CD by Cold Spring) *
SOUNDS OF ABSENCE (CD compilation by Gruenrekorder)
TALWEG - DES TOURMENTS SI GRANDS (2LP by Up Against The Wall, Motherfuckers)
TALWEG - MONSTER REBELLION (CDR by Les Disuqwes En Rotin Réunis) *
DE FABRIEK - OPERATION GERBOISE BLEUE (CDR, cassette by Unifab Tapes) *
SHE IS NOT ALONE - NOTHING IS (CDR by Heavy Cloud Sounds) *
XEDH & IMBERNON - (EI) EI AALTO (CDR by Trepanation Recordings) *
GROSSO GADGETTO VS NLC - STORY OF AN ORDINARY DAY (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
NLC VS GROSSO GADGETTO - SNAKE MOULT (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
STRAND UNIT - AN ASPECT OF PRESENCE (cassette by Moonside Tapes) *
BACKGROUND CHARACTER - FPR THREE (cassette by Moonside Tapes) *
OGROB - ERRANCE CRYPTOPHONIE : SOCRET (cassette by Vice de Forme) *
POOL PERVERT - HYPNOSIS (cassette, private) *
POOL PERVERT - SYNTHETIC VISION (cassette, private) *
POOL PERVERT - THE WORKOUT (cassette, private) *
MUSIC FOR A FEW PEOPLE VOLUME 1 (cassette by Music For A Few People)



NICHOLAS MALONEY - PASSAGE (CD by Unfathomless)

I reviewed some works from Jackson, Mississippi-based composer Nicholas Maloney (Vital Weekly 1216 and 1294), but he has many more releases under his belt. He recorded sound material at the Port of Cork (in Ireland, I presume), along with the Marina Commercial Park and the Marina Market Warehouse. Maloney visited the place a few times in different parts of the year. That was in the information, as it was not something I heard in the music. Quite unusual for releases on this label, we have here nine pieces of music. The length ranges from two to ten minutes. From his previous releases, I learned that he is a keen manipulator of field recordings, and I assume (but unsure of) that is what he does here. The unmistakable harbour sounds aren't that present in these pieces, which I think is a good thing. Just precisely to what extent Maloney processes his sounds, I don't know. Some of this sounds pretty original, but some a lot less. 'Follow', for instance, is a repeating sound that is very 'synth-like' and true beauty. In 'Volt', we hear water (perhaps) and birds (indeed), but with some excellent density to thicken the sound. In 'Flinders', we might have a looped sound too, but maybe it is an actual life event? I have no idea. Many of these pieces are densely orchestrated, but Maloney knows how to create some subtle variation in the music, and whatever it is that he does, it sounds like a fine combination of electronics and field recordings. (FdW)
––– Address: https://unfathomless.bandcamp.com/



AUTAAR & 404 - IN DE KIEM GESMOORD (CD, private)

"Nipped in the butt" is the literal translation of this Dutch title CD. A big stamp on the backside of the artwork mentions "Certified Drone" so me being me was happy as a kid; I love the drone! But my happiness was also nipped in the butt because this drone reference concerns the guitar/metal kinda drone, and not the very much overlooked "true" drone as I so much admire. It's like the definition 'Drone' has been kidnapped, just like 'Ambient' was kidnapped by low bpm techno/dance. Sorry for hijacking this review, guys, but I just had to get it off my chest.
    The CD has six tracks and after a few listens isn't too bad at all. The total playing time is around 35 minutes, so the feeling of a whole CD is a bit on the short side. "Heroes Anti Heroes" is the track that comes closest to what true drone music is all about, "M.S.I." already has several characteristics of the other drone kind and the final four tracks fall in the 'other' category.
    I've seen my fair share of drone/doom/sludge-related performances, and I will admit that Autaar & 404 would fit a line-up without a doubt. It has a nice slow paste, a thick atmosphere like just before a thunderstorm, and weird sounds scattered around where you want to know what's happening. Yet, still... Maybe it also is because of the titles of the tracks because it's almost dadaistic to read "Hank told me to buy crypto" and "Waiting for my extra spicey Tosti (Croque Monsieur)", and then I'm too baffled to think what a track is about or what the artist wants to say.
    The author is Mark Lindhout (I believe from the Netherlands though his Bandcamp mentions Germany), and 404 is Joost van Ophem (Arnhem, Netherlands), which is Willeke's fault. On August 26th of this year, "In de kiem gesmoord" will be officially released according to the pamphlet sent with the CD. So no, you can't listen to it yet; you simply have to wait. Maybe have another tosti in the meantime. (BW)
––– Address: https://autaar.bandcamp.com/



DYLAN WARD - TOURMALINE (CD by Neuma)
UNEVEN SAME - SAXOPHONE QUARTETS BY THOMAS K.J. MEJER (CD by Wide Ear Music)

I received these two releases at about the same time, and coincidentally they both feature saxophone music. So I thought I should join them in one review.
Dylan Ward is a young saxophone player with a distinctive experimental approach. He plays five compositions by (also) young composers, of which several are probably not or hardly known to listeners. Though most pieces are for solo saxophone, the extensive use of electronics adds several layers to the music that considerably broadens the spectrum of sounds. However, to my ears, it is not always clear whether the 'electronics' a way of processing the saxophone sound or whether sounds have been pre-recorded or pre-assembled.
    Alexandra Gardner's piece 'Tourmaline' adds clicking and pitched sounds to complement the live saxophone playing. As these are not recognisable as echos or loops, they create a multi-layer sound in which the saxophone, then interestingly, is not at all the primary solo instrument anymore. Viet Cuong's 'Naica', in contrast, relies heavily on echos and the craftmanship of Ward to play with the (relatively short) echos and the harmonising that is sometimes used to pitch the saxophone sound. Seth Andrew Davis' 'Angelus Novus' is hardly recognisable as a saxophone piece. The composer himself adds electronics and laptop processing to create a largely electronic atmosphere that sounds distinctly 'industrial', if you like, a furious Zoviet France. Kenneth Florence's 'Seven steps' is again something totally different. The composers play guitar, piano and electronics, to which Ward plays the saxophone in a more restrained, accompanying tone, the guitar moving between Fred Frith-like parts and extensive fuzz, whilst the piano manages to create a somewhat jazz feel. A bit like two or three pieces playing in parallel. Emma O@halloran's 'Sum of its parts' uses loops and (I believe) synths to back the ethereal saxophone playing that takes on several layers, including a deep bass drone you could take for a modernised version of Magma or Art Zoyd. A masterly and wildly diverse review of what interesting music you can make with a single saxophone.
    Uneven Same is a quartet of female saxophone players. In 'Saxophone Quartets by Thomas Mejer', they play five compositions by the maestro, supported by himself adding the contrabass saxophone. The effect is completely different to 'Tourmaline' as this is a typical chamber music recording, with no electronic gimmickry to be seen. The compositions span over 30 years, the eldest from 1990, and the youngest from 2021.
    In the four 'movements' of 'Sulpizianische Bilderwelt,' we find a relatively slow-moving interweaving of the five saxophone lines - with movement II creating more of a drone-like atmosphere. The Sulpicians are a 17th-century French clergy sect - unsure what their image world looks like and what it adds to this composition. 'Dark snow falls on bagpipers' is a really nice title and offers us an even more restrained piece that adds percussive sounds of saxophone valves (?) to the sound spectrum. This takes a bit of a humoristic turn mid-piece, as it performs a little tap dance before the saxophones cut in again. 'Endless pleasures - endless pressures' starts off with breathing sounds but then adds the valves again whilst also adding new percussion sounds, some sort of plucked (?!) objects. Nevertheless, the mood always remains restrained and pensive. Through the four parts of 'Resonating Voids' we find all the previous elements thrown in again, from percussion to breathing sounds and long 'drone' passages. You can especially enjoy the ship-horn sound of the contra basso saxophone here! The final piece, 'Now they won't stop coming' merges the long, vibrating sounds with small bursts of unison playing that could characterise recordings of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, a bit of a not unpleasant surprise after the sound experimentation of the previous tracks. Something totally different from the 'Tourmaline' CD, at a somewhat opposite part of the musical spectrum, but nevertheless just as rewarding a listen. (RSW)
––– Address: https://neumarecords.org/
––– Address: https://wideearrecords.bandcamp.com/



STRING ORCHESTRA OF BROOKLYN - ENFOLDING (CD by New Focus Recordings)

The String Orchestra was founded in 2007 by conductor Eli Spindel to offer a budget possibility for people to listen to contemporary classical music while bringing together performers, composers, ensembles and organisations to work on 'adventurous' events. This CD is only their second full release I have found, besides contributions to other people's releases, and sports two compositions by Scott Wollschleger and Anne Lanzilotti.
    Wollschleger's piece 'Outside only sound' was recorded in a Brooklyn park. It is a peculiar mixture of field recording noises and backdrops (which is actually the venue itself) gradually blending with the instruments played live. Imagine an orchestra testing its instruments in the wide open, setting individual sound imprints in a vast plane of background noise and disturbance. The effect is intriguingly 'ambient' and 'drone'-like and over 14+ minutes drifts towards a percussion climax that again unravels into the surrounding noise, including (very timely) a police car or ambulance ... Fascinating music.
    Lanzilotti is herself a violist, but here contributes a composition of 8 sections 'With Eyes The Color of time'. She starts with a piece (The bronze doors) that - though a full orchestra is present - only uses flute and strings to create a three-minute flurry of two (nearly) continuous sounds circling each other. A somewhat Rapoon-like setting - though with other means. A distinct use of harmony is sensed that will accompany the listener through the other parts of the composition. This blends into part two (Open triangles) as the full string section joins and adds layers across the spectrum. The use of bass offers a 'full' sound base upon which the pointillistic phrases of the other strings form a melodic and, at the same time, slightly threatening and dissonant soundscape. Again blending into part three (Nahele), we find the music retreating. A distant breathing sound, akin to Wollschleger's work and more ambient than classical. Part four starts as an orchestral piece before it turns a corner and relapses into percussive sounds, then being embedded into deep, droney, dreamy string sounds. The percussion, though, prevails and builds up a final climax. With this, we have the components Lanzilotti uses on this release all displayed. Parts five and six toy with these, using more 'modern' than 'contemporary' techniques. Part seven is a 7+-minute ambient hiss that adds the string orchestra only towards the final moments and morphs into part 8, a string piece that reminds me of Robert Haigh, Sunday Shogun, and Kronos Quartet in its use of melody, sparse playing and moody atmosphere. Beautiful. (RSW)
––– Address: https://www.newfocusrecordings.com/



KOLLAPS - UNTIL THE DAY I DIE (CD by Cold Spring)

Sometimes I go to a concert with minimal expectations. Once I decided to go to an unknown name, I didn't bother to investigate further; I just saw and be surprised. A few years ago, I decided to go to Kollaps, which I thought would be an Einsturende Neubauten-inspired thing, seeing they took the title of their first LP as a band name. I learned that they were from Australia and they used metal, synthesisers, maybe a bass and a singer. Oh, and a stack of amplifiers. I was pleasantly surprised that night. It was much louder than I anticipated (for no good reason). The group clearly found inspiration in SPK and Neubauten, but with a manic singer, screaming, shouting, pointing the microphone towards the amplifiers, generating feedback. There was great control among the various players, and I think they played songs and some mind-numbing barrage of noise. Back home, I shamefully admit, I didn't follow up on this concert, checking their work online. So, 'Until The Day I Die' is my first encounter with this group with studio recordings. I still enjoy what I hear and find some interesting musical nuances here. It is not a festival of feedback. Not that I expected this to be. There are quite a few of that, obviously, sitting next to banging on objects, screaming, but also a satire (I should think) of neo-folk in the title track. Complete with guitar and sad vocals, but drenched in reverb, leaning towards feedback. Some orchestral samples, mangled field recordings, and the military bang on the drums. Top-heavy music and filled with furious aggression. Not the dulcet tones of summer, but the sounds of a society collapsing in misery. I love it. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.coldspring.co.uk



MAHAKARUNA QUARTET - LIFE PRACTICE (CD by Setola Di Maiale)

Recorded on September 6th 2020, at Jazzmatec 2020 in Udine, Italy, this set is the complete concert by the Mahakaruna Quartet, split into six tracks. All tracks, save the last one, have something to do with the five senses (See, Listen, Sniff, Savor and Touch). The quartet consists of Stefano Giust on drums, also the founder of the label that released the disc, Giorgio Pacorig on Fender Rhodes and various electronics to alter the sound of the Rhodes, Cene Resnik on tenor sax and Gabriele Cancelli.
    The music presented here is very enjoyable with something for everyone: nice melodies, controlled cacophony, brooding atmospheres, spacious soundscapes, all presented with a drive and intent, willfulness if you will, to bring the expressive music across to the audience. Their previous effort was also a live recording: Inventum, released in 2017. The Rhodes has multiple functions in the sound spectrum: as there is no bass, the lower keys of the electric piano function as an instant electric bass, sometimes with the use of the electronics sounding like a heavily distorted guitar. In 'Savor', there's a phenomenal fuguelike section near the end. Quite infectious. The last track is quite the opposite: a brooding atmosphere with glockenspiel-like sounds from the Rhodes and long notes in the two wind instruments. A perfect closer for this highly enjoyable disc. Especially suited for people who like to dive into the world of free improvisation, to get a taste of what's possible when nothing is written down, but the melody is still key, whatever key is used. (MDS)
––– Address: https://www.setoladimaiale.net/



SOUNDS OF ABSENCE (CD compilation by Gruenrekorder)

Here we have a compilation that deals with the Covid lockdown. What is our response? What is the sound of absence? I am unsure if absence is the correct word here because, in a lockdown, one is still in one place, restricted but present nonetheless. Spaces were abandoned, concert spaces, the cinema, theatre, restaurants etc., and in some cases much silence on the streets. This compilation sees seventeen pieces of music by a musician about the lockdown. Music created from the sound of empty spaces to sound-the-house field recordings, a solitary walk outside, but also the sound of Theodor Adorno mixed with the atmosphere around his grave. But also the frozen river of Neris in Vilnius. Not sure if it froze because of the absence of ships, though. The result is quite a different bunch of pieces of music. It's not always clear what this has to do with absence, but we have to take Gruenrekorder's word for it (or rather, the curator of this project, Peter Kiefer). This is a fine compilation of field recordings, electronics, and voice material and, as such, sums up what Gruenrekorder is about. We have music by Patrick Hartono, Emmanuelle Waeckerle, Nicola L. hein, Danbi Jeung, Viola Yip, Haco, Lasse-Marc Riek, Cecilia Arditto, Juan Bermudez, Raphael Kariuki, Dominykas Digimas, Joshua Weitzel & Jim Igor Igor Kallenberg & Michael Zwenzner, Wingel Mendoza, KMRU, Roland Etzin, Stefan G. Fricke and Alvin Curran. The latter is surely a surprise here, but for me, this compilation also meant a lot of new names. A booklet with individual background information about these musicians and their specific pieces would have been most helpful. (FdW)
––– Address: https://gruenrekorder.de/



TALWEG - DES TOURMENTS SI GRANDS (2LP by Up Against The Wall, Motherfuckers)
TALWEG - MONSTER REBELLION (CDR by Les Disuqwes En Rotin Réunis)

The French Talweg consists of Joëlle Vinciarelli ("voice and stuffs") and Eric Lombaert ("drums and stuffs"). They are also part of a group called La Morte Young, and Vinciarelli is also with the Opalia brothers (from My Cat Is An Alien) as part of Eternal Beyond. The only previous work I heard from them was a short CD with a Lenka Lente publication. I enjoyed that release, but this new one gives me much more to explore from them. The 2LP set is a festival of variety. Each side has one long track, showing their inspirations from free jazz, black metal and New Zealand drone music. 'Quand J'y Songe, Mon Coeur S'allonge' on the first side is a highly introspective piece of music, with eerie vocals and, once they are looped, a children's flute (I believe it is that) comes into the mix, while Lombaert mainly plays his cymbals and has a bell-like sound. 'Comme Une Éponge, Que L'on Plonge' starts as an entirely different kind of piece, complete with free improvisation and chaos. Now the drums are fully used, cymbals and skins, while the voice is angel-like, somewhere on a different planet. With 'Dans Un Gouffre, Plein De Soufre', we return to the reflective music with bell sounds, a trumpet, and electronics. Here too, the element of improvisation is not far away but with more control (or so it seems). This piece has excellent development throughout and has quite a ritual-like sound. It should be no surprise then that 'Où L'on Souffre, Des Tourments Si Grands Que...' is a different blast again. Talweg now sounds like black metal but with a highly personal touch; strong drums, the voice more reciting than singing and electronics in a drone mode. Four sides, four quite distinctly different pieces of music and very enjoyable.
    Then on CDR is the soundtrack Talweg created for the Britsih artist Monster Chetwynd in 2019. He had an exhibition called 'Monster Rebellion' in Villa Arson in Nice. I had not heard of Chetwynd before, nor the monster art. Talweg created the music in the art space, which has an odd stereo separation. I am sure this is intentional, but nevertheless, it is pretty unusual. I am not sure if this is a live recording with some editing or the result of various sessions in the space combined into one fifty-minute long piece of music. Here the multiple interests of the group are combined into one long musical composition. The absolute chaos is not as present here, but I enjoyed that quite a bit. The live recording, captured with microphones, is sometimes hard to hear. Maybe it was all a bit much from Talweg this week, but as a cross-over between free improvisation, odd drones and black metal (which is not something I heard that much in all the music I have heard so far), I think Talweg certainly has quite a unique sound. (FdW)
––– Address: https://talweg.bandcamp.com/



DE FABRIEK - OPERATION GERBOISE BLEUE (CDR, cassette by Unifab Tapes)

In the nineties, Francis Fukuyama spoke about the end of history, now communism had 'lost' the cold war. Neo-liberalism forever and no more war. Some twenty years ago, De Fabriek was working on a project about war, but it seemed less relevant (not sure if this was after 9/11!), but the project was shelved and re-booted this year. War is now going on in our backyard (but never was out of any backyard, of course). Housed in a small military bag, we find a CDR, a cassette, two tablets of Potassium iodide pill, a booklet and other paraphernalia. Easily one, next to Barreuh's recent release, one of the better packages in recent times, along with Staalplaat's recent LP and CD (see last week). The cassette contains a mix of the material from 2000/2001, by core member Richard van Dellen, along with Barry Rikkering (also known as The Lost Attic, who died years ago), B. ter Hofte and Saphi, while the CDR contains recent music by Van Dellen, Peter 'Pet' Ehrmann and Martijn Hohmann (the latter responsible for the package). The cassette is a typical De Fabriek on cassette affair. Whereas their CDs and LPs contain music that has more development and more editing, some of their cassettes contain their rougher and experimental work. This cassette is one large jam festival of electronics running galore. A couple of synthesizers connected and directly communicating with sound effects run amok. Music for a head/space trip for sure.
    On the CD, the war theme is more dominantly present, I'd say. Sounds of war machinery are used here, sounding like guns and cannons, set against military rhythms, saw tooth sounds and sine waves. Here the music is on an equal spacious long-form drift, but, and maybe this is progress after so many years, these drifts are concise and to the point. It all moves around a bit more than before. Some of the 2000/2001 sound material seems to return, now in some transformation mode, with additional new sounds, and more electronics, leading to new configurations and other directions. Sometimes reminding me of Pan Sonic, especially when it all becomes minimal but rhythmic synthesizer sounds, and it all sounds pretty grim. Grim but terrific, I'd say. (FdW)
––– Address: https://universaalkunst.bandcamp.com/



SHE IS NOT ALONE - NOTHING IS (CDR by Heavy Cloud Sounds)

The debut by She Is Not Alone (named after a Sonic Youth song) is a short album. Eleven tracks in twenty-three minutes. That means these pieces are brief affairs, the shortest fifty seconds and the longest four minutes. They are inspired by Sonic Youth, Stephen Malkmus, Phil Elverum, Swell Maps, Philip Jeck, Rothko and others. I can indeed hear the inspiration for some of these, but not for all. I listened to this release several times in the last few days, and the reasons are two-fold. Because of the briefness of the music, I have some difficulty getting my head around this one. Also, the music is a bit all over the place. The guitar plays an important role, strummed and droning but working its way through digital effects, resulting in the occasional glitch. A bit of voice is in the background in 'Nothing Was'. The music is sometimes quiet and reflective but also has a fair bit of distortion, the repeating industrial loops in 'Nothing Could'. I immensely enjoyed it, but as with more recent releases, why the briefness? I can understand when it comes to film soundtracks, but no such thing, in this case, I'd think, and in many of these pieces, I could see the potential to grow beyond the mere minute or two these pieces last. Stretching the attention and tension span, add variations that make up a 'composition', not a 'sketch'. According to the label, this release is "interested in construction from the practice of deconstruction", but I'd say the deconstruction went too far, and interesting bits are presented as finished pieces, but in reality are still bolts and nuts to construct something bigger. (FdW)
––– Address: https://heavycloud.bandcamp.com/



XEDH & IMBERNON - (EI) EI AALTO (CDR by Trepanation Recordings)

Two weeks ago, I referred to an old review (Vital Weekly 803) in which I first heard music by Imbernon (also the musician in question two weeks ago) on a CD with Xedh. Maybe that prompted Trepanation Recordings to send me this release from late last year? The music was already recorded in 2010 in Bilbao. I believe I first heard music from Garcia in 2004 (maybe Vital Weekly 445 was the first time?), and in the earlier days of his career, he certainly was a composer of brutal force. Here he plays "electronics and guitar manipulations in real-time", whereas Jon Imbernon plays the guitar. Six pieces here, and they are in a full-on noise modus here. The guitar is barely recognized, but just about. The two men deliver a battle of the most powerful, but it is not a fight with an obvious winner. It is also not essential to think like that. I am just saying that both are trying to be loud in their own way. The string torture from Imbernon versus the electronica mangling of Xedh. The music is very much from the world of improvisation and goes in all directions, with distortion and feedback as the constant factors. Not unlike Merzbow, but unlike the god of noise, these pieces are kept to a minimum. Each of these pieces is around five minutes, and at six of these, I would say that is enough as well. Obviously, that might just be me and my easily filled appetite for true noise these days, but a thirty-minute ear cleanse is most welcome. (FdW)
––– Address: https://trepanationrecordings.bandcamp.com/



GROSSO GADGETTO VS NLC - STORY OF AN ORDINARY DAY (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
NLC VS GROSSO GADGETTO - SNAKE MOULT (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)

Christian Gonzalez is from Lyon, France, and works as Grosso Gadgetto. I don't think I had heard his music before. These two albums make up for that omission, even when it is 'only' a collaboration with Julien Ash's NLC. That acronym stands for Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites, which has been around for many years. In recent times, NLC seems to be more active than before. I would think, judging, by the credits and such, that whose name appears first had the final say in the mix of the music. Vital Weekly has increasingly become the go-to source for all things improvisation, modern classical and (free-) jazz, which is, strictly personally speaking, not a direction that I think it should have. Albums like these two mark the important difference concerning that kind of music; the historical Vital, if you will. For no particular reason, I started with 'Snake Moult', but I first played both of them to see what the differences are. One album is about forty-five minutes, the other thirty-eight. Upon completing to hear both discs, it is safe to say there are significant differences. Grosso Gadgetto loves his sounds to be more ambient, whereas NLC has a penchant for rhythm. Both discs have a few guest players, violins, voices, guitar, and vibraphone, and it seems to me that Grosso Gadgetto uses these to somewhat greater effect. I guess that has to do with the nature of his music. I am told he has a background in film music, and his six pieces could easily be used in such a context. Moody and atmospheric, but also very musical. Lots of small melodic stuff going on, surrounded by some bows across strings. The voice in 'Smile Of The Shaman' reminded me of Kate Bush, which is a good thing in my book. Music with a story to tell or images to be drawn.
    NLC gets more out of rhythm machines and sequences whatever melodic input from Grosso Gadgetto into six pieces of light electronic bliss. Trippy music, with neatly bouncing rhythms for a jolly good mood, even when the undercurrent is a bit darker at times. Or perhaps I am used to too much doom and gloom that easily mistake this for jolly ol' fun? I wouldn't know if this is the sort of music aimed at the dance floor; somehow, I don't think so. This music, full of rhythm, life and drama, is one for modern living rooms. Neatly structured, nothing rough at the edges, well-produced with all the notes in the right place. Plus, also substantial, with the right amount of variation, from the introspective to the jubilant end. (FdW)
––– Address: https://emerge.bandcamp.com/



STRAND UNIT - AN ASPECT OF PRESENCE (cassette by Moonside Tapes)
BACKGROUND CHARACTER - FPR THREE (cassette by Moonside Tapes)

Moonside Tapes has already reviewed a few releases on these pages, and I never seem to know many of the musicians they work with. These two new releases are not different. I have no idea who is/are behind Strand Unit and Background Character. Not much information on either project and Bandcamp mentions other Bandcamp links, which I think is a nice gesture of solidarity. Both tapes are very atmospheric. Strand Unit comes with a description that reads, "fourth-world electronics, radioactive rust water, hostile beings viewed through a microscope". It is almost like a synopsis for a Twilight Zone episode. You could expect some lo-fi drone and hiss with that description, but it is something different; think along the lines of lo-fi meeting folktronica. There are rhythms from a highly introspective side, looped synthesizers and attempts of melodies, but those too are kept small. This comes with an experimental edge; let's say that's the rusty water in the equation. Sometimes this is firmly pushed to the background, but at other times, the experimental electronics make up much of the music. That means there is quite some variation here, meandering slowly between something slightly more melodic and somewhat weird. Something recognizable and familiar but also twisted and changed. It's nothing too surreal, but enjoyable mood music with a civil tone; perfect for an episode of Twilight Zone when they first started in the late 50s. It's a cookbook!
    So, also nothing about Background Character, only that the music was recorded in February of this year in Hamilton, Ontario. There are no track titles. Maybe it's because I just heard Strand Unit and switched cassettes, but one could think I am still listening to Strand Unit but now take considerable more time to play one piece of music. It becomes even more mellow and spaced out but uses the same sort of down tempo, easy-going keyboard sounds of folktronica. Rhythms are hazier and spacier here, more looped bell sounds (in 'II'), with a hazy melody, slowly meandering about. in 'III', which takes up the entire seventeen minutes of the B-side, there seems to be some fine reel-to-reel manipulation. Sounds are slowed down, and the reels are controlled by hand, making them shaky and unstable. Sending the sounds through some line of delay machines makes it cloudier and denser. Towards the end, the music returns to earth, and we hear the village church bells sounding from afar again. Lovely home-spun lo-fi ambient. Both of these releases and excellent to wake up with. (FdW)
––– Address: https://moonsidetapes.bandcamp.com/



OGROB - ERRANCE CRYPTOPHONIE : SOCRET (cassette by Vice de Forme)

Here's a true story. Some years ago, I had the opportunity to borrow a bat detector, so I cycled a long way out to a forest where I knew they were, at night, of course. I crawled around with this machine and a recording device, but I had no manual or phone to look for it online. I must have done something wrong, as it sounded nowhere like the bats you can find online (for instance, at https://freesound.org). Sebastien Borgo, who works as Ogrob, better understands technology. Borgo is active in various groups, some of which are sometimes in these pages, Foi Pour Pusillanime, French Doctors, Ich Bin, L'Autopsie A Révélé Que La Mort Était Due A L'Autopsie, Micro_Penis, Ravin, and Sun Plexus. He has nocturnal recordings he made between 2011 and 2018, using ultrasound equipment on this new cassette. Locations he found in the hamlet of Secret, in the municipality of Montenars, Frioul in northern Italy. Eight pieces in total and not just bat sounds, I think. According to the information, the music includes "rustling vegetation, insects, Chiroptera, unidentified organisms, communication systems, industrial equipment architecture subject to the wind". Since the information also speaks of minimal editing and processing, one could think that the list of sounds mentioned details almost every track, but I didn't look for which is what is here. I immensely enjoyed this set of field recordings, primarily because of its rough approach. There is fine brutality within the sounds that reminded me of Joe Banks' Disinformation project, recording long waves and solar flares. You may not hear these sounds without special recording equipment, but they are now made audible. And most certainly also very enjoyable. There is much room to guess what these sounds are, buzzing and cracking away. Noise music from the purest of field recordings but then without the senseless distortion. For all I was concerned, this could have been much longer! (FdW)
––– Address: https://vicedeforme.bandcamp.com/



POOL PERVERT - HYPNOSIS (cassette, private)
POOL PERVERT - SYNTHETIC VISION (cassette, private)
POOL PERVERT - THE WORKOUT (cassette, private)
MUSIC FOR A FEW PEOPLE VOLUME 1 (cassette by Music For A Few People)

Egbert van der Vliet's Pool Pervert picks up again, full speed ahead. Besides these three new cassettes, there is a bunch more on his Bandcamp page; as far as I can see, all pay what you want (the download, not the cassettes, obviously). I heard quite a bit of his music, and these three new ones span close to four hours of music. I settled in my most comfortable chair with a mug of hot tea and a book and started to play this music. In a typical, but not all, Pool pervert track, there is during ten, eleven minutes, a few sounds, more electronic in his recent work, and still using some heavily processed field recordings, which aren't ones he recorded in exotic locations. Still, he sources from free websites with such things (see also the Ogrob review). He alters these sounds with free software and has minimal development. As such, Pool pervert (which is the spelling Van der Vliet uses) paints some beautiful pictures with sound. Painting with paint is Van der Vliet's daytime work, which he never shows on the covers of his audio work (sadly), so painting is his veins. Is there much difference in these tapes, you may wonder? Hardly. I leave it up to you to have an opinion about that. I honestly don't have an opinion. Yes, the man produces a lot of work, which I happen to like most of it. Sometimes a piece is just a bit too long, but that too is part of what Pool pervert is, so I believe. Holed up in my comfy chair with tea and reading material on an otherwise lazy Sunday afternoon, I don't care about 'development', a bit too long', or whether or not an artist should change his tunes for each new release.
    At the same time, Van der Vliet relaunches his compilation series 'Music For A Few People' on a dedicated Bandcamp page. In Vital Weekly 1187, HS wrote about the first one, which review I reprint in full:
    "I must applaud the Non-Interrupt label for having such a realistic idea of its audience. The diverse  tracks that comprise “Music For a Few People” work as a strange non-statement of the label’s  varied interests. They swing from industrial noise to hushed ambience to instrumental improv to acoustic folk music, and the label trusts listeners to keep up... and, I suppose, to not interrupt. If you think you could be one of the few people, then here’s what you get with this cassette: two long tracks by FâLX çèrêbRi (aka the long-running project of Graf Haufen aka Karsten Rodemann), consisting of paranoid electronic convulsions. The music is dark and brooding, each section moving through shorter distinct passages which imply an oblique narrative of some kind. Ah, but if you think this is a noise tape, don’t get too comfortable because the Dutch group Lärmschutz is up next with a languorous improvisation for guitar, electronics and… trombone? Oh yeah. The presence of a honking horn is tough to take, no question. I’m not usually a fan of “improv” as an idiom, but perhaps you are. For me, it was a jarring presence that took me out of the other instruments’ evocative textures. Aside from FâLX çèrêbRi, the only other artist to appear in a double shot is Modelbau (aka Frans de Waard aka QST/Freiband/Shifts/etc etc), whose patient electro-acoustic creep is something I could immerse myself in for days (as I often have). His pieces here are very much in line with the most recent Modelbau albums, a bleak emptiness lightly dotted with distant implacable rumbling. Just when you think this is an “experimental music” tape, Non-Interrupt throws another curveball: Antoinette Giesen concludes the first side with an airy instrumental folk/pop number for unadorned acoustic guitar. I haven’t been able to learn anything about Giesen or fathom why her short song sits here amid more extended abstraction.
Again, see the title to be reminded that no explanation is forthcoming (or, probably, necessary). The grand finale is “Assembly”, by the Dutchgroup Kyntronik, which sounds an awful lot as if someone left a tape recorder next to a factory assembly line. This is bangingindustrial clank in the classic vein of Vivenza or De Fabriek… until the closing passage of someone’s alarm clock going off. Mechanized pulsing and clacking are some of my favourite sounds, and alarm clocks among my most despised, so I appreciated the perversity of anyone who would commit such a thing to tape. Indeed, it’s a fitting conclusion to a compilation that does not attempt to please more than a few people. (HS)"
    But that was the sixty-minute version. On this ninety-minute version, there is an additional Pool pervert track, which is also on 'The Workout', and 'Not Defined', a Pool pervert track that uses sounds by Modelbau. Both pieces are found in the well-defined Pool pervert style and a lovely thirty extra minutes of music to an otherwise excellent compilation. (FdW)
––– Address: https://poolpervert.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://musicforafewpeople.bandcamp.com/releases












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