number 1358
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week 42
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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!




CAT HOPE - DECIBEL (CD Ezz-thetics) *
RICHARD SCOTT - DELIROUS CARTOGRAPHIES (CD by Arbitrary) *
NEŽA NAGLIČ / PRIMOŽ BONČINA - INNER WEATHER (CD by Edition Friforma) *
GOLEM MECANIQUE - ABLE/KANE (CD by Cloudchamber Recordings) *
KEDA - FLOW (CD by Parantheses Records) *
SONIC ALLIANCES - VIRUS (CD by Viande Records) *
EVENTLES PLOT - MEMORY LOSS (CD by Moving Furniture Records/Contemporary Series) *
WASP HONEY (CD by Discus Music) *
JED BISHOP & MATTHIAS MÜLLER & MATTHIAS MUCHE – FROM A TO B (CD by Jazzwerkstatt)
SUGAR VENDIL - MAY WE KNOW OUR OWN STRENGTH (CD by Gold Bolus) *
SUZUERI & FUMI ENDO - TOY-PIANO SOKUBAIKAI (CD by Zappak) *
SUN YIZHOU & ZHU WENBO - RESPONSES (CD by Zappak) *
FINAL – I AM THE DIRT UNDER YOUR FINGERNAILS (CD by Fourth Dimension Records) *
ROBERT RICH & LUCA FORMENTI - FOR SUNDAYS WHEN IT RAINS (CD by Soundscape Productions)
SMALL CRUEL PARTY - È VAGO FIOR DEL TEMPO (LP by Ferns Recordings) *
SPIRITUAL EXIT - THEMES OF RUMINATION (LP by Spiritual Exit Records)
CONTRASTATE - 35 PROJECT (10" by Black Rose Recordings) *
NITON - MAAS (flexi disc by Pulver Und Asche) *
THING (CDR compilation by Attenuation Circuit)
SICK DAYS - THE CALM BEFORE (cassette by Vacancy Records) *
POOL PERVERT - YOUNG SLEEP WHISPERS  (cassette by Vacancy Records) *
THE ARCHIVES ASSISTANT - JASMINE TAPES WARSHIP (cassette by Vacancy Records) *
GREY PARK - THINK SPACE, ACT LOCAL (VOLUME ONE) (cassette by Haemoccult Recordings)
TIM STORY - RUST SMUDGES (cassette by Dais Records)


CAT HOPE - DECIBEL (CD Ezz-thetics)

When Cat Hope approached me, asking if I wanted to review her new CD, I must admit I had no idea who she was. After 1357 issues and some twenty to thirty reviews a week, I sometimes just don't know if I heard a person's music or not. Somehow, somewhere I thought Hope was a noise artist and reading (now) the description on Discogs, I realize she might have been, but her latest CD is something different. Ezz-thetics is a sub-division of Swiss Hat Hut Records, and they release music that is not part of my musical heritage. Serious, modern, new music, jazz music and such like, and the five pieces by Hope are part of that particular musical world. More and more, we are served with new music of this kind, and more and more I feel hopeless in reviewing music that I don't know much about. These pieces are all for an ensemble, and they play many notes. At times clustered together, such as the piano and Disklavier piece 'Chunk' (well, not all ensemble pieces, I guess), and maybe the noise aspect is in the overload of sounds. I enjoyed 'Majority Of One', for four instruments and room feedback, simply because this piece connected to my beloved world of drone music. Even though this sounded acoustic, I enjoyed the intensity of it all. 'Juanita Nielsen' is, like 'Chunk' one of those heavily layered pieces of music, and maybe has that noise quality. I wondered how a piece like this goes down with a seated audience in a regular concert house. 'Wanderlust' provides a much need place of rest, with one or two instruments and some field recordings. As with many of Hope's pieces, this too is a conceptual piece in which the performers use recordings of them walking to the venue. Behind the final piece, 'Shadow Of Mill', is a more political idea of the cello being an imported instrument into Australia (where Hope lives), so it's detuned and deconstructed. The result is also quiet yet full of other dimensions which aren't musical. It is quite a diverse release, not always easy listening, but most enjoyable for sure, even for a man with very limited knowledge of this side of the musical spectrum. (FdW)
––– Address: https://ezz-thetics.bandcamp.com/



RICHARD SCOTT - DELIROUS CARTOGRAPHIES (CD by Arbitrary)

I am looking at a red digipack, a shiny, twelve-centimetre disc with four pieces of music, six cards on heavy stock, and a lengthy risograph printed essay. At the same time, I am reading the press text, which is about a 12" and three pieces of music, albeit with the same title and from the same artist. I could look it up, but sometimes you have to give up (there is undoubtedly a 12" somewhere). Richard Scott worked with many musicians (Axel Dörner, Thomas Lehn, Audrey Chen, Bark!). He was a member of Twinkle³, Ampanman, Grutronic, Heads Off No Strangers, Parak.eets, Red List Ensemble, and Richard Scott's Lightning Ensemble. The instrument list he uses on this solo recording reads like a lust list for modular freaks; Hordijk (who passed away recently) Modularm Serge Modular, EMS Synthi A, Hordijk Blippoo Box and much more. According to the information, he uses a lot of field recordings here and spoken word. His work fits the history of musique concrète, the whole, what is now seventy years of it. Of course, technology has refined over the years, and much of this can be done easily (more quickly) at home and maybe with more (or different) clarity. No more old tape machines to use, but computers. Better speakers and better microphones; I understand that some of the music is recorded in such a way. My objection against many modular players is the haphazard approach many have; few know how to do a proper job. Richard Scott is undoubtedly a man who knows how to construct a piece instead of filtering a few sounds and declaring a composition. I have no idea if Scott records this music as the result of endless editing and composing or if it is more of a one-take thing. If the latter, much respect towards the excellent results and the first, well, the same. The spoken word bits in the opening and closing tracks (essential variations on the same music theme) are a bit too much, too much documentary style, and less of a narrative. I immensely enjoyed the more abstract storytelling of electronics and field recordings. Here Scott spaces out his sounds, using a wide dynamic range and works with recognizable sounds next to what seems or could be electronic transformations or imitations thereof. Quite a beauty this one, topped off with those prints, making this a wonderfully arty piece. (FdW)
––– Address: https://arbitrary.bandcamp.com/



NEŽA NAGLIČ / PRIMOŽ BONČINA - INNER WEATHER (CD by Edition Friforma)
GOLEM MECANIQUE - ABLE/KANE (CD by Cloudchamber Recordings)

There is a link between these two releases, and that is Primož Bončina. He is the musician on the first CD, and he's the label boss on the second. I had not heard of Neža Naglič, who plays prepared piano and objects. Bončina plays electric guitar, HP200CD oscillator and electronics. The eight pieces on 'Inner Weather' were recorded in Naglič's living room between 28/12/2019 and 8/3/2020. The music has quite a direct feeling as if this is a concert recording. I guess the sound is picked up from the living room, adding to the vibrancy of the recording. There is a bit of reverb, creating a bigger space to let these sounds sparkle around. The music stems from the world of improvisation, but it also touches upon a few other things. Naglič's piano is at times quite melodic, almost like she's a member of The Necks, but at other times she has lengthy passages in which she uses a lot of objects on the strings, resonating through the reverb. Bončina does something similar with his guitar. Plucking a string here and there, but just as easily goes into a dark modus, full of atmosphere. And that's the keyword in these pieces, atmosphere. Perhaps it's the, at times, cavernous use of reverb, but also the execution of these pieces. Sounds linger on for a while, in a long sustain, with sound not absent, but also not all too present; this duo creates some resonating space between the notes. Suppose improvised music is not necessarily your thing, but you'd wish some of your atmospheric drones were a bit livelier, perhaps more daring. In that case, this is something you should certainly investigate. The music on offer on this release is a bit of many things (electro-acoustic, improvisation, atmosphere and even a bit of noise, in 'Alien Technologies pt2') and finds crossroads that not a lot of people have found before. Not the easiest music to digest, but an excellent trip all around.
    Behind Golem Mecanique we find Karen Jebane. I had not heard of her work before. There have been releases on Nowki, Frone Sweet Drone, Standard In-Fi and Ideologic Organ. I understand her previous work was about antique myths and literature; now it's time for the first fight between brothers. It is described "as two acts of a march into a never-ending valley". Golem Mecaniue doesn't specify any instruments, but there are plenty of drones (string instruments, piano?), electronics, and a bit of voice; whispers most of the time. There are more of those in 'Abel' than in 'Kane'. The first is a piece in which a lot more than the second, even when it is still on the minimal side of things. The drones mix with the rising of stringed sounds, whispers moving around above and below, whereas in 'Kane' everything stays more within the world of drones. Only the rotation of loops is noted. Here I think guitars play the most crucial part of the piece; voices wave in in the second half. Just like the release by Primož Bončina and Neža Naglič, there is a rather 'live' feeling here. Golem Mecanique changed the settings of her delay pedals, for instance. I had a preference for 'Kane'. Maybe because I am more of a sucker for drones? Or perhaps there is more drama in 'Abel' (who killed who, anyway? Where's me bible?) that I found less appealing? I enjoyed both pieces a lot. There is, again, another connection between both releases, and that is the somewhat spontaneous feeling this music has for me, overstepping the usual drone releases. (FdW)
––– Address: http://inexhaustible-editions.com/edition-friforma/
––– Address: https://cloud-chamber.bandcamp.com/



KEDA - FLOW (CD by Parantheses Records)

Here we have a rather short CD, twenty-six minutes in total, by Keda. This is a duo of E'Joung-Ju, who plays the geomungo and the omnipresent (again!) Mathias Delplanque on electronics. We could only guess what these electronics consist of, but the geomungo is a traditional Korean plucked zither with both bridges and frets (thanks to the omnipresent Wiki). I would think E'Joung-Ju also uses a bow to play this instrument. Compagnie Linga, a Swiss-based contemporary dance group, commissioned the four music pieces. 'Flow' is about "animal’s group movements, such as shoals of fish, flocks of birds or swarms of insects". There are some images in the booklet. The music, as I understand it, is played live by Keda. I'd say it's obvious to look for a certain flow in the music. That is present in various ways, I think. First, the bowing and plucking of the geomungo, in which E'Joung-Ju creates a flow, either with longer sustains or short-bended plucks of the strings, and Delplanque adds his electronics. He creates atmospheres and textures, mostly in the first three pieces. In the second part, it all derails a bit; here, the music loses itself in improvisation and too much reverb, whereas the first part worked well. Delplanque is doing a misty texture, and there is sparse plucking. In the third part, the plucking becomes more bass-like and jazzier; Delplanque is also very sparsely present here. He takes control in the fourth piece with an upfront exotic rhythm, and E'Joung-Ju follows suit with a lovely melodic touch. I was reminded of Muslimgauze here but in a very fourth-world (is that expression still allowed?) mood which is not the worst reference. I would have minded some more pieces, especially the fourth part. I was getting into all of this, and then it was all over. (FdW)
––– Address: https://parenthesesrecords.bandcamp.com/



SONIC ALLIANCES - VIRUS (CD by Viande Records)

Always curious to learn something, I looked up the word "anthropo-alchasiv group", but all that turned up was the mention of this release by Sonic Alliances. I understand this is a meeting of various generations of improvisation musicians. I only recognized the name of Mario Gabola (feedback and acoustic sax). Is he from the older or the younger generation? The other members are Peppe Vietri (percussions, reeds, electronics), Maurizio Chiantone (double bass, voice) and Davide Russo (accordion, dismantled accordion, ukulele). The eight music pieces on this CD resulted from editing three hours of improvisation in September 2021. The music is improvised, of course, and this quartet works with a rather traditional approach to playing their instruments. Even feedback and dismantled accordion remain something that one recognizes here. I found this is a sturdy exercise in improvisation, with all of these musicians giving and taking whatever was necessary. There is chaos, and there is room for contemplation. Action leads to reaction, that old thing, and that thing does a good job here. I am less charmed by the voice of Chiantone, which is mumbling, reciting, talking and maintaining too regular to be interesting in the world of improvisation. If you can't get enough of the more traditionally improvised music and looking at the amount we receive from this area of music, there must be interest, and this release should be checked out. (FdW)
––– Address: https://vianderecords.bandcamp.com/



EVENTLES PLOT - MEMORY LOSS (CD by Moving Furniture Records/Contemporary Series)

When I reviewed music by the Greek trio Eventless Plot before, I don't think the words 'modern music' crossed my mind (well, maybe I'm wrong. I didn't look for evidence). So, I am surprised to see their latest release on Moving Furniture Records' division of Contemporary Music. In the press package are a couple of snaps of the trio (Vasilis Liolios, Aris Giatas and Yiannis Tsirikoglou), and we see laptops, and a Korg MS20, which seem to be the primary instruments. Still, there is also a grand piano and a clarinet. This new work, in two parts, is about Alzheimer's Disease and how music helps restore memories or create new ones.  Indeed, the music sounds very contemporary; had I not known better, this could have been a small ensemble. I don't know to what extent Eventless Plot plays live or layers and mix their sounds, but it works well here. The clarinet plays a significant role in the first part and the piano in the second. Phrases are repeated, but I would think in small, slightly changing patterns. The electronics are in the background, playing a kind of hazy atmosphere but very remote. Almost non-present. Maybe they are used to colour the sound of acoustic instruments? I certainly had that idea in the first piece. It is not easy to say what everybody is doing in this piece, but it sounds wonderful together. In the second piece, the electronics are more of a stand-alone sound, moving in and out of the mix and giving the piece (also) an electro-acoustic dimension. The music is prolonged and very gentle, dealing with sustains and silence between and beneath the notes played. It is also about what is left out, I guess. Towards the end, in the second half, of the second part, there is a more drone-like approach, and there is no more extended silence. At thirty-three minutes a relatively too short of a release. I could have easily enjoyed versions that are twice that length. (FdW)
––– Address: https://movingfurniturerecords.bandcamp.com/



WASP HONEY (CD by Discus Music)
 
Wasp Honey is a collaboration of Martin Archer (sopranino and alto saxophones, flute), John Jasnoch (bass guitar), Sarah Farmer (violin, electronics) and Lee Boyd Allison (drums, percussion). Their spontaneous collaboration came about from their involvement with the Birmingham Improvisors Orchestra, a large ensemble of improvisers from the Birmingham area. Archer and Jasnoch started working together in the early 80s with the jazz-punk band Bass Tone Trap. Over the years, several collaborations followed, with their duo-recording ‘Provenance’ (2021) as their most recent one. Lee Boyd Allison has experience in different contexts of alternative music and worked with saxophonist Alan Wilkinson, and guitarist John Russell, a.o. Sarah Farmer is a mixed media artist and musician working mainly with sound. Violin is her primary instrument, and as a musician, she works in folk, contemporary and improvised music contexts. The album starts very quietly with long, extended sounds and drones. Gradually the interaction becomes more dynamic before Archer takes the floor and works out a  melodic theme. Bass and violin join in with short accentuations. And also sparse drum. They develop the improvisation very slowly, keeping it a quiet investigation into sound. Remarkably they choose this one as the opening track. ‘Two Way Traffic’, composed by Archer, starts with equal participation of all four, sax and violin, communicating in an answer-and-response way. The interplay climaxes in an up-tempo jazzy improvisation. Farmer, by the way, has a pleasant tone and sound on her violin. Jasnoch has a typical style and sound, echoing his jazz-punk attitude from the earlier days. All four are distinguished performers. For this reason, it is nice to have ‘WSMay10 as an intermezzo between the improvisations. It is a graphic score by Walt Shaw, returning four times in solo performances by each of the four musicians. An album of subtle and intense music combines improvisation, jazz and contemporary composed music. (DM)
––– Address: https://discus-music.co.uk/
 


JED BISHOP & MATTHIAS MÜLLER & MATTHIAS MUCHE – FROM A TO B (CD by Jazzwerkstatt)

The second recording of this exceptional trombone trio. Their first CD, released by the Polish label Not Two Records, dates from 2017 and was titled ‘Konzert für Hannes’, dedicated to Johannes Bauer, who was meant to be the fourth member. But illness prevented it, and he passed away on the day of the recording somewhere in 2016. A tragic situation. Muche and Müller had already experience as a duo and invited Bishop and Bauer for a quartet recording. Nevertheless, they continued working as a trio and did an extended European tour in 2019 named Bonecrusher. In 2021 Bonecrusher became the name for a project led by Muche with the involvement of 10 trombonists. His latest release, ‘From A to B’, brings us back to 2019 to a recording made in Antwerp. The trombone is most often met in combination with other instruments. Not so often, however, as a solo instrument or in a setting of more trombones. For this reason, only this trio is a  remarkable one. “A celebration of the sound and possibilities of the instrument”, trumpeter Nate Wooley writes in the enclosed liner notes. And that’s what it is. ‘B1” opens with shifting rhythmic patterns. All three play patterns change slightly, making up a whole intertwined whole. It is followed by a more open section where the three use different extended techniques to create a subtle and varied soundscape. Melodic elements arise and resolve into passages concentrating on a drone or pure sound. ‘B2’ is a lyrical improvisation in a sense. It has a warm sound and a very communicative interplay. ‘A1’ starts from short gestures and movements that grow in intensity and dynamics. In all five improvisations, the performers create engaging improvisations full of nuance and detail. Exploring possibilities, they develop their improvisations with a clear focus. A very vibrating and lively meeting. (DM)
––– Address: http://www.jazzwerkstatt.eu



SUGAR VENDIL - MAY WE KNOW OUR OWN STRENGTH (CD by Gold Bolus)

Sugar Vendil started the Nouveau Classical Project (NCP) in 2008 as a way to compose and perform classical repertoire culminating in commissions for the orchestra and a CD in 2018. In between, there was a piano duet composed by Philipp Glass that she played with Trevor Gureckis, with whom she has a duo (Vanity Project) that ended up on the soundtrack of Stoker. This release has three tracks. And what tracks! Cinematic in scope, I only read her website after listening to the release a couple of times, and the first track is the soundtrack to a film. It’s gorgeous music accompanying a film based around the Atlanta spa shootings in 2021 with members of an American Asian background having been murdered and the subsequent collective healing. I haven’t seen the film, but a small part of the installation by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, the basis for the film, can be seen on the cover of the release. Vendil’s voice is in several layers, voicing grief (a whispered no could be heard, whispered by several voices), halfway through there’s an ostinato played on the violin, accompanied by a synth bass. Subdued and with fresh auditive colours, a landscape is painted with exquisite results ending in a dominant chord, an open ending with no release. The second composition is performed by the NCP and composed in the same year as she wanted to disband the orchestra, plus she had to put her cat to sleep. At one time Au revoir (French for 'goodbye' can be heard several times). Again, an engaging piece with a bit of minimalism in the form of repeated figures in piano and later voice. The piece has several sections flowing gently into each other, each with a different atmosphere. The last composition is the most electronic, with her voice being the source for longer dronelike layers topped with whispers and short outbursts. It’s a neat contrast to the previous two compositions. I enjoyed this release very much. Check this one out! (MDS)
––– Address: https://sugarvendil.bandcamp.com/



SUZUERI & FUMI ENDO - TOY-PIANO SOKUBAIKAI (CD by Zappak)
SUN YIZHOU & ZHU WENBO - RESPONSES (CD by Zappak)

Zappak is a new record label run by Leo Okagawa from Tokyo. The first two releases do contain not very easy music. The first is a forty-seven-minute duet by suzueri (no capitals required, toy pianos, upright piano) and Fumi Endo (upright piano, melodica). They recorded this work on the first day of Spring this year at Ftarri in Tokyo. The music they play could easily fit as release on Ftarri, the record label. I am not sure if I have heard of either musician before. suzueri combines piano and objects, along with self-made instruments, including "edible circuit makers, BreadBoard Baking", which makes me very curious. Endo plays mainly jazz and improvised music, but since September 2020, she also plays at Ftarri, leading to a different kind of improvisation. 'sokubaikai' means 'an exhibition and sale, a spot sale', so we are told. In this piece, "suzueri attached keystroke devices on an upright piano and some toy pianos on the stage" and "the device attached to an upright piano produced strong, evenly spaced keystrokes, and Endo's playing with a few notes with sustain created a depth to the space. The tranquility in between was filled with the faint sounds of motors, keystrokes, and errors generated by multiple devices attached to toy pianos". It remains a bit of a mystery for me. Maybe I simply lack the imagination to visualize this. In the far away background is a hiss-like sound, which I assume is the device, and with intervals, we hear a single note being played on the piano and the toy piano. I have no idea if this is a mechanical process or not. I could think that some of the human action is the small chords played on the piano and toy piano, which have an even bigger interval. The mistakes left in are a good choice. Something falls, misplaced items or whatever, form an oddity in this otherwise quite conceptual piece of music. Towards the end, there is more action and more notes by Endo, and it becomes more musical and less conceptual. But that is all in the last ten minutes of the piece.
    The other new release is by two musicians from China, one of whom are also new to me. Sun Yizhou plays a no-input preamp, and Zhu Wenbo plays the clarinet (E, L), toy piano (C, M), cassette player (C, H), transducers (D, H), microphone (D), snare drum (D, H), guitar (H). he letters refer to the tracks. Six in total, each about seven minutes. Yizhou uses mostly electronic devices, and Wenbo is all about instruments, composition, and improvisation. He has some music on various compilations by Ftarri. Their music was recorded in Wenbo's living room, but they weren't playing together. In turn, each recorded a solo session as a response to the previous. Yizhou selected and stuck them together as duo pieces, and Wenbo did the final mix. That is quite a different way of working. You can wonder what the difference is between playing improvised music together or one after another, certainly when the results are as alien as they are on this CD. At times it seems as if none of this really works, with sounds baring not much of a relation. But there is also a mysterious component to this music. Hissing, plinking, plonking, I marvelled at the strangeness of all of this. At times, it has nothing to do with improvisation, but it seems to be all about the concept. In that respect, the concept of playing these pieces not together but in a call-and-response way proves to be very effective. I see this working as a method by other people and different instruments. (FdW)
––– Address: https://zappak.bandcamp.com/



FINAL – I AM THE DIRT UNDER YOUR FINGERNAILS (CD by Fourth Dimension Records)

In the back of my mind, I thought of Final as something from the 90s. Of course, the history starts in 1983 when Final was a duo of Broarick and Andy Swan. Over the years, other people were also a member, but since 1993 it has been Broadrick's solo project. There have been various periods of not many releases, but since 2006 the flow has been steady. Looking at the Discogs page, I am sure I only heard a tiny portion of Final's output. The latest offering is a CD for Fourth Dimension Records, which has nine pieces of music in which Broadrick displays his love for the noisy end of the ambient guitar music. It's not your usual noise, and it is not your usual ambient music. Broadrick surely likes his music to be dense and compressed, like a sealed room from which no sound escapes and no sound enters. This is certainly the case in 'IAYDUYF 1', whereas in other tracks, Broadrick lets his guitar drones roll a bit clearer, but it is never too obvious. Whatever Broadrick uses in terms of sound effects, I don't know, but it sure sounds great. Isolationism was a hip term for this kind of industrial meets ambient music; Final appears on the compilation CD with the same name from 1994 - and it is a term that is also very appropriate for the current release by Final. Not just as a genre definition but also because of the actual content of the music on this disc.  It's not music one plays when around other people, I think, but rather isolated, alone and preferable in the dark. That should bring out some of your darker demons, weirdest urges and whatever else should lay dormant. Hold on, perhaps it should not do that, and this music keeps all of that away. The doctor isn't out on this, I guess. Great release, exactly the kind of thing I like on a grey autumn day. (FdW)
––– Address: https://fourthdimensionrecords.bigcartel.com/



ROBERT RICH & LUCA FORMENTI - FOR SUNDAYS WHEN IT RAINS (CD by Soundscape Productions)

It is possible that Robert Rich needs no introduction; for forty years, he has released enveloping passages of music that can best be described as soundscapes. (I'm a bit conflicted about the term, but this is a bit of a particular case: Rich's record label and studio are both named Soundscape Productions.) I have always been partial to Rich's seminal 2001 album, Somnium, a seven-hour work meant to accompany a full sleep and modelled after his legendary all-night sleep concerts where attendees were encouraged to bring their own sleeping bags and pillows. Yet Rich's discography is so much more than this, ranging from tranquil mattresscapes (don't you dare call them new age) to the catacomb-crawling creepery known as dark ambient. On this record, Rich brings synthesizers, piano, and flute to the table; he is joined by Luca Formenti, a guitarist whose sound tends towards Rich's peaceful side. Formenti's philosophy is essentially that music is precognitive. In a short essay that references quantum physics, he explains that sound "belongs to the pure world of abstraction, as do thought and feeling." With this in mind, it is difficult to say anything intellectual about For Sundays When It Rains. It is a skilfully constructed record, recorded together by the duo in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, then subject to months of post-hoc refinement. Its deeply soothing sound could certainly accompany a rainy Sunday. As I write this, it is Sunday but not rainy, but I'm using my imagination. So did they, it turns out: the press release states that the duo "pare[d] down our musical language to its simple essence to allow a listener to enter between the cracks, to participate in the subjective theatre of an ancient alliance between sound and imagination." This seems like an apt description: For Sundays seems pared down -- in a very good way -- and Rich and Formenti seem uniquely synchronized throughout. (MT)
––– Address: https://robertrich.bandcamp.com/



SMALL CRUEL PARTY - È VAGO FIOR DEL TEMPO (LP by Ferns Recordings)

As reported on more than one occasion, Small Cruel Party are back, and there have been quite a few reissues of older work. 'È Vago Fior Del Tempo' is a re-issue from a more recent LP release. This LP was first released in 2021 by Penultimate Press, who, sadly, don't always muster us with promos. Is that a quick re-issue? Perhaps, yes (as of today, of the original, there are a few on Discogs for reasonable prices), but I never try to think about this sort of thing. There is a release in need of a review. I assume this is all new music from mister Ransome, the man behind Small Cruel Party. His interests are within the minimalist approach of transforming non-musical objects into pieces of music. These objects are unknown to us - it's been about thirty years since Small Cruel Party was seen and heard playing a concert. Some sound effects alter the sound, delay, reverb and such, but nothing too big or dramatic. A small setup, I guess, and the results are far from small. Here, Small Cruel Party has two longer pieces, which is something that works best for him, I think. It gives him room to play and develop his pieces on the spot, exploring his full potential. In 'You're trembling, you're trembling, O my birchbark, O my canoe', the transformations leapt into the world of feedback, which made me think it's all more into that particular field. There are also two shorter pieces, of which one carries the curious title 'VI, xiv, 5-7 De re Publica (Cicero) Steve Roden in observationæ testimonium', which are both more electronic in approach. Minimalism is very much present here too, but in terms of development, things evolve more quicker here. This is an excellent album, but I have been a fan for many years, so that should hardly be a surprise. Let's hope for a return to the stage as well, as I would love to experience the sound of Small Cruel Party in concert again. (FdW)
––– Address: https://fernsrecordings.bandcamp.com/



SPIRITUAL EXIT - THEMES OF RUMINATION (LP by Spiritual Exit Records)

Acre, the sound project of Portland, Oregon's Aaron Davis, bubbled out of the electronic drone vortex of the late 2000s, arousing eardrums with long tracts of synthy hum. Way back in 2009, I fawned over his CD for the Isounderscore label, Isolationist (Vital Weekly 708); this turned out to be just one in a steady string of releases which culminated in a short tape in 2016 for the legendary noise label Monorail Trespassing. But then the trail went dead. No more Acre.
    Until last year when, unbeknownst to me until just recently, Davis re-emerged with a new project called Spiritual Exit. The Themes of Rumination EP is thus far the only formal release he's issued and is available on CD, digital platforms, and as a 45 RPM LP. Whereas previous Acre releases were often monolithic blocks of static sound, his 2006 LP was named Monolith, here he has devised four six-minute vignettes that could be pieces of a film score. The bulk of this hinges on pretty progressions of synthesizer chords, though "In Black" buries the comely tunefulness under a growing layer of staticky distortion. All in all, it's a thoroughly recommendable next chapter for Davis. (MT)
––– Address: https://spiritualexit.bandcamp.com/



CONTRASTATE - 35 PROJECT (10" by Black Rose Recordings)

For a minute I thought Contrastate were celebrating thirty-five years of existence with this 10", but it seems a bit too premature. I am not sure what '35 Project' stands for, and with the four pieces all being untitled, I have no idea. In the first there is a voice about war, which, in the current climate, seems spot on, but its lyrical content is not entirely clear. I think it's a song protesting wars in general. The voice is robotic and the music droning and threatening. A pretty strong on, and very much a Contrastate song. This trio have developped a sound of their own over the years, in which drones play a role, but also voice, singing, talking, dramatic and forceful, but not always. That's, for someone like me who is not too fond of vocals, a great thing. Contrastate applies a more collage-like approach in their music. Not too rapid cuts but layering various elements and find a dialogue there. Electronics, drones, the rattling of percussion, studio techniques, a bit of voice. All of that delivers some dramatic music as that is the strng power of this group. It's dark and dramatic, music for the big stage. It's that odd pairing (well, perhaps) that makes that Contrastate's music is different from many other groups. It is never on the all too abstract. It all culminates in 'Untitled IV', with a strong rhythm, and a song slowly falling apart, returning, it seems to the lyrics of the first. Only the fact that they use the word untitled as song titles, is a sign of abstraction, I think. These four songs are all very much four minutes, pkus a few seconds, s I am sure there is a hiden meaning there as well. The only thing that slightly bothered me was the fact that this is a 10", sixteen minutes of music. I wished it was a full album, and more twice this length. (FdW)
––– Address: blackroserecordings@yahoo.co.uk



NITON - MAAS (flexi disc by Pulver Und Asche)

How to sell a download only release? Sell an object, or, in this case, a flexi disc. The grooves are cit into the plastic cover and inside is a piece of cardboard, circular, with grooves, but not necessarily producing music. It looks great. The previous work by Niton were not reviewed by me in Vital Weekly 908 and 984. This group has its base in Italy and Switzerland and I understand these pieces (in the download) are some sort of "re-imagined and remixed in #D' version; I am not sure how that worked in the stereo field, but I have not heard the LP they released with the same name on Shameless Records, nor do I ever use headphones too much when on the job of penning reviews.. Niton is a trio of Luca Xelius Martegani (analogue synthesizers), El Toxyque (amplified objects) and Zeno Gabaglio (electric cello). Their music borders on the fringes of electro-acoustic improvisation, electronic music, soundscaping, mixed with a bit modular electronics and rhythm. This results in quite a diverse bunch of pieces. Quiet and reflective music sits opposite to more industrialized rhythms and synthesizer improvisations ('Baylanis'), and that delivers a highly varied record. It stays away from all too obvious improvisation, so I suspect there is quite an extensive process of editing done on a set of recordings. I understand they worked for five years on this record, so maybe that's were it all 'disappeared'. 'Maas' on the flexi-disc belongs to their more rhythmical pieces , with scractches and hisses and it works very well with the slightly wobbly format, so it seems the right choice for the format. It is perhaps also in terms of music their more song-like piece from their current work. (FdW)
––– Address: https://pulverundasche.bandcamp.com/



THING (CDR compilation by Attenuation Circuit)

As 'Thing' is a series without numbers, I decided not to bother even thinking about how many different ones there are but dive right in. Four artists, four pieces, that's the idea. Well, as we will see, five artists. I only heard of one of them. Kelados opens the proceedings here with a fine, dark and atmospheric piece of music. Drones galore made with sounds and instruments unknown, and, although never all too radically offering something we haven't heard before, I thought this was a nice and thoughtful shimmering piece of music. The second piece is by two artists, Federico Balducci and fourththousandblackbirds. A mysterious piece of bleeps on one side, and some equally mysterious drones from processed field recordings. It starts as an interesting piece of music, but I must admit that I found fourteen minutes a bit too much in the end. There wasn't enough variety within the minimalist approach. Luca Sciarratta is the only musician I have heard of before. He has two releases on Attenuation Circuit (see Vital Weekly 1333). He's a guitarist, playing prepared guitar and electronics. His 'An Alluring Tendency' is quite a dark piece of music of muffled and muted tones that somehow lacks tension. Quanio5's 'Moral's Morals' is an electronic piece with minimal synth. A bit ambient, but with all the modules bubbling not precisely the sort of music to put in an altered state. It's not bad, not great, either. Introductions all around, but with a learning curve ahead. Only Kelados was the one that I made a mental note ('must hear more) of. (FdW)
––– Address: https://emerge.bandcamp.com/



SICK DAYS - THE CALM BEFORE (cassette by Vacancy Records)
POOL PERVERT - YOUNG SLEEP WHISPERS  (cassette by Vacancy Records)
THE ARCHIVES ASSISTANT - JASMINE TAPES WARSHIP (cassette by Vacancy Records)

Regarding recycling, Vacancy Records and Hyster Tapes are my favourite labels. These are three new ones from the first, and I started with Sick Days. This is the music project by the label boss, Jeffrey Sinibaldi. I believe it was his music project that first made me aware of this label. It is music I enjoy very much. This new cassette contains two forty-five-minute music pieces, described as "slow-burn field recordings. Experiments + live installation". That's a short and very apt description of the music. There is water/white noise and objects rattling off and on in the background. It sees little to no change, and it is still a fascinating listening experience. Of course, this is not the kind of music to sit down to and pay attention to. On the contrary! The first time I heard this, I was still a bit sleepy from a long weekend outdoors, and I couldn't keep up any attention. But I enjoyed the environmental quality of the music, perhaps still inspired from being out of the house for a longer time than I am used to. So, sitting back, half dozing off, and listening worked well, and also, a day later, more awake, the music still held up. Now  I notice more the subtle changes in the music. It remains to have that fine, mysterious quality that only seems to work on this longitude level. An excellent exercise in minimalism.
    Along similar long lines, we find another new release by the esteemed Egbert van der Vliet and his Pool pervert project, which seems (!) to be an ongoing project for this man who changes his mind a lot. Going from strength to strength in his work, Pool pervert reworks found sounds from the world wide web, which he throws into the flames of free software. Looping, stretching, reversing, lots of filtering, and layering, all of the processes possible, are applied by Pool pervert. By now, many works later, there is some excellent refinement to be noticed. In these two pieces, each just under thirty minutes, Pool pervert uses minimal changes but with firm moves. Slowly building a long piece that changes at just the right moment and doesn't step into boredom. At least, in my opinion. If one is not used to this music, then perhaps it comes across as very slow, but this music, like Sick days, is best enjoyed as something that one chooses to love and ignore; simultaneously. Depending on your volume settings, this will be beautiful background noise or room-filling drones, with the odd smaller loops of bell sounds gracing the second side. Music for all purposes.
    You could think that this label is all about lo-fi drone/noise meisters, but a large portion of their catalogue is about all sorts of music. Improvisation, for instance, but also some of the weirder electronica projects. Jordan Cook's The Archives Assistant is such a project. He offers a long tape, eighty minutes, with some long tracks and a few a bit shorter. Cook works at a radio station, and from what I understand, all music comes from online sources. At least, that's what I understood last time (Vital Weekly 1319). Like Pool pervert's sources, The Archives Assistant actively seeks out more musical sources. Rhythm machines, guitars, electronics, and through cut n paste and sampling techniques. This doesn't result in pop tunes; far from it. The Archives Assistant music is quite soundscape-like, just like Sick days and Pool pervert but far less abstract. The music is very spacious, drifting along with delay pedals, and certainly, in three pieces that last twenty minutes, I thought of chill-out music, early KLF. Everything is rather in freestyle, drifting and spacing. It was not the right time for such a thing, but I felt like lying down, doing nothing and having a beer and listening to this in a quiet surroundings, with some lights slowly changing. Not that I own such a light show, but you get my drift. The KLF meets Zoviet*France, a match made in heaven. (FdW)
––– Address: https://vacancyniagara.bandcamp.com/



GREY PARK - THINK SPACE, ACT LOCAL (VOLUME ONE) (cassette by Haemoccult Recordings)

I thought this was G*Park, and then I realized I sometimes need a break from work (also, I had this confusion before). Grey Park is a music project from Finland. They/he/she had the first release in 2001 on a mini disc. Later, there were releases on labels such as Herkät Kelat, Artfuck Productions, Foxglove, Hyster Tapes, 267 Lattajjaa, and Vacancy Recordings. I believe that Grey Park is the primary operator behind Hyster Tapes. I heard two of his previous tapes (Vital Weekly 1264 and 1300), and I enjoyed what I heard. This new cassette contains his earliest recordings, from 1999 to 2004. I could place the works I heard from grey Park in the bigger picture of lo-fi drone musicians, but in these older recordings, Grey Park owes to the musical history from before that. Especially industrial music in the best Throbbing Gristle sense, but without any vocals. Some rhythm machines, some throbbing noise, loops of crude electronics and contact microphone abuse. Sometimes the music leans forward, and there is a bout of distortion. Oddly enough, somewhere on the second side (and with tapes, you never know which title it is), there is a rock drum and guitar piece, which is stylistically out of place. But think of this as Psychic TV with their various musical interests, and it might work. Unfortunately, I missed out on a lot of Grey Park's earliest work, so I can't say much about the musical development from these old pieces to the ones that started the career, but I found these pieces most enjoyable. It's all dusty and rusty here, but in terms of good ol' noisy electronics and conveyer belt rhythms recorded on a Dictaphone, I think it's time I dive into Grey Park's history. (FdW)
––– Address: <muhmur.radio@gmail.com>



TIM STORY - RUST SMUDGES (cassette by Dais Records)

Tim Story is a composer who taught himself to create ambient music using synthesizers in the 1970s, inspired by the European electronic music of the time. Since his debut 1982 album, In Another Country, he has carved out a space in the drone/new-age-adjacent scene: releases on Windham Hill and Hearts of Space, collaborations with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, and even some work scoring TV programs and films. Rust Smudges is a little bit like a self-remix album. It uses, as its source material, Story's 1987 album Wheat and Rust and subjects it to a process he calls "smudging," which he has refined over three previous volumes (to be precise, Smudges I and Smudges Three exist, but I can't find reference to the second instalment.) The idea of "smudging" is to take one of his previous recordings, pinpoint one moment of it, then build a full composition out of that instant of sound-- a process of "freez[ing] those moments into stately progressions of harmony and timbre," as Story tells it. I suppose it's a little like using the eyedropper tool in Adobe Photoshop, which samples the colour of one specific pixel in an image file so that you can use that hue exclusively. In the case of Rust Smudges, Story reduces the lovely, variegated sounds of his previous album into two rich 23-minute drones -- moments ossified into colossal blocks of sound. I don't want to leave you with the impression that each track is a single synthesizer chord drawn out to infinity, though: each composition on Rust Smudges progresses ever so gradually, filling space while suspending time. (MT)
––– Address: https://www.daisrecords.com/









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