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of the releases reviewed. It will remain on the site for a
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JACQUES DEMIERRE - THE HILLS SHOUT (CD by Wide Ear Records) *
CYESS AFXZS - NO BULL ONE LEFT BEHIND (CD by Krim Kram) *
BRUME - A TREATISE OF ETHNOGRAPHY (CD by Ferns Recordings) *
RADIO NOISE COLLECTIVE - EXPANDED STEREO (CD by Fibrr Records) *
THE DEAD MAURIACS - LE PARC, RAPPORT D'OBSERVATIONS (CD by Sublime Retreat) *
ELIANE RADIGUE - DEDALUS/AKAMA (CD by Montagne Noire) *
DARJA KAZIMIRA & ZURA MAKHARADZE - SONGS FROM AN OBSCURE MATRIARCHAL TRIBE (CD by Unexplained Sounds Group) *
RICK POTTS - DON'T THINK (2CD by Krim Kram) *
KJELL BJØRGEENGEN & CHRIS COGBURN - FEAR OF THE OBJECT (4CD by Sofa Music) *
THE REMOTE VIEWERS - THIS STRANGE PLACE (CD, private) *
CASIOTONE COMPILATION TEN (3"CD compialtion by Aotoao)
NICHOLAS BUSSMAN & WERNER DAFELDECKER - MONTE CARLO FALLACY (LP by Ni Vu No Connu) *
CHERYL E. LEONARD & WOBBLY - MULTIPLE PARK (LP by Gilgongo Records)
RUTH ANDERSON & ANNEA LOCKWOOD - TÊTE-À-TÊTE (LP & 10" by Ergot Records) *
COLIN ANDREW SHEFFIELD - IMAGES (LP by Elevator Bath) *
ERIC LUNDE - THE OCCULATIOMORBIT (two lathe cut records by Kanshiketsu!) *
MARIA CHAVEZ & DEVIN KENNY - S/T (Art Package by Ballast) *
HEAVY CLOUD - ZENNOR (CDR by Heavy Cloud) *
GARRETT CAMERON - NEWQUATORSHIP (CDR, private) *
PLOU PLIM - MASTER 22 (cassette by Empty 6 Pack) *
JACQUES DEMIERRE - THE HILLS SHOUT (CD by Wide Ear Records)
Music from the French piano player Jacques Demierre has been reviewed in Vital Weekly (1212 and 1134, for instance). His latest work, 'The Hills Shout', is a single piece of music, almost forty minutes long. As before, Demierre plays both the keyboard and the inside of the piano. There, however, no preparations. He recorded the music in concert on January 31st, 2020, in Munich, but he worked on the music some further during the lockdown. He writes, "No new sound is added, but all the sound material that was once produced is being reconsidered through the immediate and present experience of my listening imagination". I am unsure if this is a work of improvisation or composition; it could be both. He plays the strings like a harp, con furioso, which is, at times, how he hits the keyboard. Only in a few instances, the piano gets a gentler treatment; the ghost of Satie is present, but only a few times. Throughout these forty minutes, this piece veers back and forth between massive clusters of sounds (hammered, on the strings and so on), and I particularly enjoyed the electro-acoustic feeling of this piece. You hear the piano, solo, and acoustic, and yet it seems as if there are these treatments; you could attribute these to the extended techniques he uses, but without any preparations, which makes it all the more interesting. I have no idea what the edits are that Demierre made, but there is an excellent foliage-like feeling to the music here. Each segment is short and to the point, one surprise after another. Excellent work! (FdW)
––– Address: https://wideearrecords.bandcamp.com/
CYESS AFXZS - NO BULL ONE LEFT BEHIND (CD by Krim Kram)
I write this review in the early days of a new weekly, but I am guessing this might be my noise-fill for the week. I had not yet heard (I think!) of Cyess Afxzs. Behind this name, of which I don't know the meaning, we find the Belfast-born Stuart McCune, currently residing in Switzerland. I missed his previous releases for Rural Isolation Project, Satatuhatta, Abhorrent A.D., and White Centipede Noise (most of these names are also new to me). There is a connection to abstract art from people like Max Ernst, Antoni Tàpies, Alfred Kubin, and Daniel Richter (again, no expert here). That isn't a prevalent thing; the labels mention Merzbow, P16.D4, Achim Wollscheid, and Rudolf Eb.er, although they are musically somewhat different. In the opening and closing pieces, Cyess Afxzs might approach the harshness of Merzbow, but it still sounds a bit different. Loud and distorted music, chaotic at times; that is the modus operandi from Cyess Afxzs. My notes said no instruments were recognized, but at the end of the last piece, 'Scared Money Never Wins', I believe to hear a saxophone. Otherwise, it's all feedback, distortion, a bang of a piece of metal, and whatever else one finds that can be put in overdrive. Yet, it isn't all about pure distortion and feedback kill. The title piece shows some dynamics and a more extensive sound palette. 'Democracy' opens with a mighty delicate dark drone before an explosion kicks in. This adds an exciting amount of variation to the music, moving beyond the standard and obligatory noise release, and that's, no doubt, also one of the reasons I enjoy this a lot. Clocking in at under forty minutes, this is the right length for a concentrated blast. (FdW)
––– Address: https://krimkram.bandcamp.com/
BRUME - A TREATISE OF ETHNOGRAPHY (CD by Ferns Recordings)
Small Cruel Party, Daniel Menche, Francisco Lopez, the Toniutti brothers, Christoph Heemann, toy.bizarre, BJ Nilsen ... Just a few names of artists that have releases out on Fern Recordings. A sign that this label is absolutely amazing, and well, being amazing means that at some point, you simply have to do a release by Christian Renou, either under his name or under the Brume flag. I admit I am a fanboy/groupie/admirer. When I order new music at a mailorder that carries "our music", there are a few artists with a detailed discography for which I check if there is something available I don't have in my collection yet. These artists are Aube and Christian Renou. I have yet to find sounds from either that did not intrigue me.
So when asked if I would like to review Brume's "A Treatise Of Ethnography", I had to think twice (really!) because 'what could I possibly write' with this background in mind, without losing my perspective as an objective reviewer. Two things: This scene is relatively small, and the longer you are part of it, the more people you get to know. And being part of it for 30 years... And secondly, reviewing MUST be done objectively because if not, you are not a reviewer but a promotor. And that is one thing I am not. So ...
Discogs: "Christian Renou has been making electro-acoustic music since 1978. His first cassette was released in 1985. From 1985 to 2000, and again from 2009, he recorded under the name Brume." Forty-five years of making music and still triggering people into thinking about art. That is admirable; admit it. However, this CD, which has a total playing time of over an hour, divided into 16 tracks between roughly 1 and 8 minutes, brings you places where a confrontation with the inside of your mind must occur. Because, after all, it IS a treatise. The origin of the used sound sources and Christian's work on the manipulation direct you into a framework of matching and understanding their heritage and background and, with that: Their meaning.
Tracks like "Railway To Heaven" with what seem to be field recordings from under a train viaduct and the choice of the wind instrument in combination with the title ("Drunk Pygmy With A Microphone") are directing (maybe even pushing) the listener into a state of mind. For "An Amphibian (Live Sound 1988)" and "No, It's Not A Plane", the sound source is harder to pinpoint, but both tracks are strong examples of how sounds can direct a listener into a particular mood. Fabulous material by a fantastic artist. As always. (BW)
––– Address: https://fernsrecordings.bandcamp.com/
RADIO NOISE COLLECTIVE - EXPANDED STEREO (CD by Fibrr Records)
The French Fibrr Records don't release much, but when they do, it scares the shit out of your speakers. So if you like noise to listen to and experiments to think about on a Meta-level, you must check them out at some point. Before Me is the latest release by Radio Noise Collective, which is the moniker of Julien Ottavi, who is one of the members of the Apo33 sound activist collective. This release with the title "Expanded Stereo" focuses on the radio as an instrument, and he does an excellent job at it.
Two tracks with a total playing time of an hour can be found here, and both have their very own implementation of what is done with the source material. "Accelerum Megahertz" has moments where actual broadcasts form the basics of the track; A collection of fragments of tunes and words, in different styles and languages, in combination with the radio noise we all appreciate (editors note: If you don't like radio noise you probably already stopped reading, if not, remember the moment the first time you listened to a detuned radio to listen what was in between the stations? I think I was about 12 and played with an antique tube radio, and it was hypnotizing to hear those flows ...). The promo sheet describes it as 'the rich sound of this transmitter, capable of speaking all languages, playing all types of music, and which therefore represents an inexhaustible source of sounds and information'. How beautiful.
The second track, "Circuit Krusher", focuses less on the incomprehensibility of sounds from a human perspective but focuses strongly on the noise in between. Because more harsh frequencies are found in these sub-station bands, the track is a bit noisier, and it guided the performer into a more erratic composition; More sudden breaks, faster knob twisting, and maybe more editing afterwards. Please remember that this is a guess: It is not mentioned if it's a one-take / no overdubs or if this results from manipulating loads of field recordings into two coherent compositions. So: IF this is a manipulation of recordings with the radio as a sound source: Brilliant, but ... If it's a one-take: It's a fucking miracle. (BW)
––– Address: https://fibrrrecords.bandcamp.com/
THE DEAD MAURIACS - LE PARC, RAPPORT D'OBSERVATIONS (CD by Sublime Retreat)
For several years now, The Dead Mauriacs have been releasing their music. I only heard a handful of their releases, as various are digital only, and some are in a small edition. I seldom use the word 'surrealist' when reviewing music, but I think it applies to this group. Or rather, one man's project, as behind The Dead Mauriacs, we find Olivier Prieur. Sometimes others are involved, but not on 'Le Parc, rapport d'observations', which means 'The Park, Observation Report'. Surrealism is not just in the music but also in words and images, an essential and recurring thing for The Dead Mauriacs. A text about a park, an observation report indeed, and in the music, we hear some field recordings from a park in Brussels, but also street sounds, cafés, also from sounds recorded on location, a chair, a table, and a shutter. Combined with electronics and instruments (perhaps in sampled form), the music takes shape on the computer. Editing is the most important for The Dead Mauriacs. The tools of musique concrète, resulting in three lengthy collage pieces. Each piece is divided into individual sections, twelve in total. I don't know why these tracks aren't separated on the disc, but I am sure there's a good reason for it. Combining text, images, and music is perhaps an objective of The Dead Mauriacs, but one can also enjoy the elements individually. I heard the disc a few times but read the text once (not being much of a literary reviewer). The combination of all musical elements into a great narrative works very well. I am reminded, at times, of Nurse With Wound, mainly when The Dead Mauriacs apply a more rigorous montage technique. But throughout, I think, The Dead Mauriacs have a more electronic approach to their music. Buzzing electricity, sparking about, and it all feels like a radio drama. The narrative may sometimes be a bit obscure, but, sure, park observations, why not. The music also allows the listener to dream up an entirely different story. Thanks to the multi-coloured sound variations, there is much to enjoy on this disc. Every time I played this disc, I discovered something new. (FdW)
––– Address: https://sublimeretreat.bandcamp.com/
ELIANE RADIGUE - DEDALUS/AKAMA (CD by Montagne Noire)
This new release by Eliane Radigue doesn't contain pieces called 'Dedalus' and 'Akama'. These are the performers. Dedalus is an ensemble from Toulouse and a "champion of free instrumentation scores experimental contemporary music", and they perform Radigue's 'Occam - Hepta 1'. Ryoko Akama plays solo, using the EMS synthesizer and a sinewave generator, 'Occam XX'. It is interesting to hear how these quite different approaches lead to results that aren't similar but quite comparable; the result is on the ball, and the ball is drone music. Unlike many of Radigue's pieces, which are electronically generated in the studio, the Occam series is a series of pieces to be played live and mostly on acoustic instruments. Dedalus are a seven-piece on the night of 13 October 2021, with a guitar, alto saxophone, trombone, saxophone, trumpet, violin and cello. Their acoustic approach to drone music works very well; there is some great depth in their music, with the strings providing the longer sustain (I guess) and the wind instruments taking turns, but they keep the sounds very much together. Hence, it isn't easy to hear who is doing what here. By comparison, Akama's piece is quieter and less lively, perhaps, more like a Radigue studio composition. But since it is in this composition series, this is a live recording from 2020. But regarding drone music, it is not difficult to see the connection between the two. The minimalist variety, offered by Akama, and the expanded version of Dedalus. One versus seven, although 'versus' may suggest competition, where there is none. I certainly have no preference. I like Akama's building of tradition (or, at least, that's how I see it) and Dedalus playing a different kind of drone, all acoustic and working the space of the place. A great release and one that pleases the many fans of Radigue. (FdW)
––– Address: https://montagnenoire.bandcamp.com/
DARJA KAZIMIRA & ZURA MAKHARADZE - SONGS FROM AN OBSCURE MATRIARCHAL TRIBE (CD by Unexplained Sounds Group)
I am unsure why the title on the spine is in English and on the back in another language, which I don't know. Let me use a long quote from the cover: "Utsnobi Matriarkaluri Tomis Simgherebi" is an improvisational cycle recorded by musicians Darja Kazimira and Zura Makharadze during the filming of the experimental, analogue film "Rue de la Lune" by the Irish director Juana Robles, dedicated to the comprehension of one matriarchal generation, embraced by the tendency to painful transformation and self-absorption, striving throughout the performance to get out of these boundaries, heal and to reborn." To that end, the two musicians use "voices, dissected tuba, suona, zurna, bass rebeck, double bass ģiga, rebab, chuniri, gongs, bass drum, dissected tom, daf, bones, xylophone, metal and wood percussion, wood sticks, noisy homemade things and a lot of random surfaces". I had not heard of Darja Kazimira & Zura Makharadze before. I have not seen the film, so perhaps that's a bummer. I am unsure if seeing the movie would make me think differently about the music. It's an extended-release, eighty minutes, and not something I easily enjoy, but at the same time, I was fascinated enough to hear it all. The music here is all improvised, heavy on percussive elements and chanting, which gives the music mainly a ritualistic aspect. It is as if we are privy to a ritual in a forest. I don't know much about the world of rituals, and maybe that's some of the amazement I have. Since the mass suicide in Jonestown, which happened when I was about 13, I have been fascinated by the occult, secret societies and sects. That is not to say this is something that is also on this disc, but for me, it sounds like that. No doubt that the title helps here. I imagine this 'obscure matriarchal tribe' who have this as their soundtrack. There is some very intense action going on, blasting away and even getting all noise like in 'Improvisation on bass Rebec and double bass ģīga' - and that's without having a clue what a Rebec and double bass ģīga is. The enjoyment has to do with fascination, which is something other than pure entertainment. I believe this has little to do with entertainment but rather with something else. What exactly, I don't know; another moment of fascination, I guess. (FdW)
––– Address: https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com/
RICK POTTS - DON'T THINK (2CD by Krim Kram)
Maybe you have heard the name of Rick Potts before; I know I did. It's one of those names I connect to the Los Angeles Free Music Society, the active collective in the early 70s. In all sorts of configurations, this group of musicians released music. Sometimes a cassette, sometimes an LP, many of which RRRecords collected later on in box form. Pott was a member of Le Forte Four, but also a plethora of other groups, Airway, Creatures' Lives, Dinosaurs With Horns, Gothic Hut, Human Hands, Monique Experience, Paul Is Dead, Solid Eye, Steaming Coils, The Fine Arts Dumpsters, The Los Angeles Free Music Society Marching Band, The Pablums, The Patients, The Rick Potts Band, and The Square Haircuts; I am copying from Discogs here. Many of these groups I had never heard of. I listened to the LAFMS box set when it came out in the mid-90s (my introduction to the music) and enjoyed the mixture of free improvisation, tape manipulation, noise, free jazz and even artier post-punk. But in the end, I guess I have to state I don't know anything about the music of Rick Potts. 'Don't Think' is a most welcome release with 37 tracks, close to 2,5 hours of rare and mainly unreleased songs from his entire career. You could argue that the variety of musical styles is too much to enjoy in terms of a regular release, but I very much enjoy this. If anything, the music has tremendous freedom; anything goes and an "I can do anything I want" attitude. A bit of looped vinyl here, some wacky disco music, some more free-rockist music (especially the earlier days), it all plays out like a great alternative radio station. The liner notes are slightly chaotic or, perhaps, a bit incomplete, and I have no idea if these are in more or less chronological order. I think they are, but this side could have used more work. From total abstraction within the context of a song to, well, a good song. Plunderphonics is next to rocky weirdness; it is a lot of music and a lot of ground covered here, but it is delightful. If ever you were thinking, who is Rick Potts, and what did he do (not a question I asked myself, but presented with this release, sure, why not?), then this is a great place to start. (FdW)
––– Address: https://krimkram.bandcamp.com/
KJELL BJØRGEENGEN & CHRIS COGBURN - FEAR OF THE OBJECT (4CD by Sofa Music)
This release has been on my desk for some time, and I kept delaying it because of its size. Four CDs are quite something. These CDs span three years of making, and Kjell Bjørgeengen and Chris Cogburn are the principal artists, but on each disc, they work with other musicians. Each disc is recorded in a different city. Cogburn is a percussion and electronics player, and Bjørgeengen is a video artist. "The initial concept informing the project is to examine the differences between the resonant frequencies and wild harmonics of physical objects and the exactness of sine tones and just-intonation. An additional layer of video is produced live using audio signals as raw video voltages, thereby transforming sound into video in ways far beyond the classic parameters of volume or frequency. The resultant video is again turned into sound through a reading of the debris emitted by the video signal." That may all well be, but there is very little see from his work.
Why not a DVD release? The listener at home only has the music part, which is, effectively, Cogburn and guests. On three discs, there is only one guest; Ingaz Zach (vibrating snare drum, percussion), Juan Garcia (double bass) and Aimée Theriot (cello). Garcia is also on the disc 'Oslo' with Judith Hamann (cello). The music, so I understand, is the result of recording everything that went on while being in a place, rehearsals and concerts. I am listening and thinking about what I miss here, the video signal and how it works along (?) with the music. In all four discs, resonating tones are fundamental. On the disc with Zach, this is the most extreme, and most of the time (and, at seventy-five minutes, it is a lot of time), it seems as if I hear some kind of modular electronics. On the disc with Garcia, the double bass sound is most recognizable, but one could quickly think about modular electronics. On this disc with both Garcia and Hamann, I had the idea of two players interacting, or, rather, two instruments in combination with electronics, more so than on the other three discs. Even when I know there is interaction on those discs, the playing seems so tight that it seems as if it is only one player. Minimalism is a strong feature in all of these pieces, through all players and in all cities. They take their time exploring sounds and ideas, and overall there is, at times, quite a noisy approach. Minimalism is for Sofa Records, not a strange thing, but usually not this loud. At close to five hours of music, this is a lot to digest to hear, and perhaps best to take in small amounts at a time.
This release comes in a big sturdy carton box with text, a video image, and carton sleeves for each CD and is a work of art in itself - there is no fear for an object here! (FdW)
––– Address: http://sofamusic.bandcamp.com
THE REMOTE VIEWERS - THIS STRANGE PLACE (CD, private)
Here we have the twentieth release by this UK outfit, which started as a trio in 1997. The original trio consisted of the siblings David, Louise Petts, and Adrian Northover. In 2007 they released a massive box of six CDs. Since that time, John Edwards joined the group on double bass. On This Strange Place, we have Edwards on double bass, Adrian Northover on soprano and alto saxophone, Sue Lynch on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Caroline Kraabel on alto saxophone and David Petts on tenor saxophone. In addition to that, the credits state Adrian Northover is on orchestration duty. Apart from the double bass and the woodwinds, there are drums, percussion, mallets and piano (or cymbalom in Warpaint), processed strings and many effects in the sound design. It all makes for a marvellous listening experience. The Threat opens with fluttering rushing sounds, strings/mallet tremolos, and an incessantly plucked bass note on the beat of every measure, creating suspense not unlike the soundtrack of a postmodern Guy Ritchie spy movie but with many twists and turns. Excellent opening. What follows is a track with a laid-back groove, equally suspenseful but with a more spacious feel. However, it’s not all smooth and cinematic; there are minimalistic, repetitive, trance-inducing sections, combining nineties dance music with free jazz sensibilities and head-bopping rhythms. In forty minutes, David Petts’s compositions, in combination with the orchestration/mixing and mastering by Adrian Northover, this release makes for a very enjoyable and exciting ride. (MDS)
––– Address: https://www.theremoteviewers.com/
CASIOTONE COMPILATION TEN (3"CD compialtion by Aotoao)
Japanese musician Asuna loves the Casio, in whatever form they come. He loves it so much that he invites musicians to send him a one-minute piece of music made with a machine from Casio, along with whatever else the musicians want to use. Following the 9th instalment, in which one musician was invited to record tracks from all his musical projects (see Vital Weekly 1307), Asuna is now back with nineteen new artists and, as always, the last spot is reserved for Asuna, this time recording with Shibata. Twenty short pieces of music, all about one minute, is never easy to review. I was looking at various Casio machines online (as with each track, the type of machine used is mentioned), and then I missed out on five pieces. Damn. As always, the music bounces everywhere; well, no heavy metal. Bertin and Les Trucs deliver pure pop pleasure, as only he can do. Tadashi Yonago & Kayu Nakada & Rieko Seizo offer noise and field recordings (or are these field recordings noises from Casio? I couldn't tell). There are familiar names besides Bertin, such as Richard Youngs, Neil Campbell, and Jez Riley French, but most are new to me. Some of these pieces are a bit too simple, drone-wise, for instance, by Dump, but I enjoy the pieces that are rounded off like a good song, but perhaps I am too much of a sucker for good electro-pop songs, of which there are some fine examples. Besides those already mentioned, Pete Um, Family Basik, Sobs and Vapor On Curry, some of the more experimental pieces, are great too. Some of these songs deserve more space, longer, so hopefully, some of these musicians will offer a completer (for the lack of a better word) sometime in the future. (FdW)
––– Address: https://sites.google.com/view/aotoao21/
NICHOLAS BUSSMAN & WERNER DAFELDECKER - MONTE CARLO FALLACY (LP by Ni Vu No Connu)
The name of Werner Dafeldecker popped up on these pages a lot, albeit many years ago. I am unsure why that is, and I won't speculate. Nicholas Bussmann made a few appearances, but I have no idea who he is. He plays the cello and Dafeldecker the double bass. I understand from the information that they have been a duo for a long time and that the two pieces on this record were recorded in March 2020, just before the world shut down. I can read something into that, listening to the music. For instance, some of the quiet music here, in which there is a room with two instruments and two microphones picking up the faintest sounds, is a sound from an empty world. But, and I am guessing, did they know this when they recorded the music? Or where they are doing whatever they were, which is "more of kind of study into sonority, allowing the instrument to be, listening with caution to every scrape and tap". Either way, we have results here, a record that is on the short side (twenty-four minutes in total). One word springs to mind, and that is carefulness. These two musicians go about meticulously playing their instruments. Leaving out becomes equally important as to what is left in. And what is left out is still something we can hear. We hear the sounds of the instruments, not played, but gently re-positioned, touched, stroked, or the two men shuffling their feet, breathing. All in one take, or, perhaps, one-last variation before the lockdown, and apparently with minimal editing. If vinyl is the suitable medium for such carefully created sound constructions, I don't know. Maybe there is a certain charm of crackling vinyl there, but also something I can do without. (FdW)
––– Address: https://ni-vu-ni-connu.net/
CHERYL E. LEONARD & WOBBLY - MULTIPLE PARK (LP by Gilgongo Records)
Following her recent release with music and sounds recorded at the Antarctic, Cheryl E. Leonard now stays closer to home on a record with Wobbly. That is the name chosen by Jon Leidecker, who works as such since 1987, solo and working with People Like Us, and Matmos; since 2011 he's a member of Negativland. He contributes "synthesized animal voices driven by machine listening", whereas Leonard plays "electroacoustic instruments made out of natural materials such as bones, driftwood, shells, seaweed, feathers and stones". Recordings were made indoor (at the 'Over The Edge' programm on KPFA) and outdoor, in various parks in California. Four long pieces are the result, and it's an interesting bunch of compositions. First of all, the music is very 'natural'. The rustling of leaves, branches mixes very well with the sound of water, morphing into electronic tones; or, vice versa, of course. The organic feel is present in all these pieces and those synthesized animals sound great, almost like real animals. This electronic aspect gives the music a musique concrète feeling, and while there is certainly a collage-like style approach here, it all flows organically, and not through some abrupt cut and paste technique. I know Wobbly likes his radio, and if anything, I saw the music here as examples of a radio program about animals, ficitional, real or vanished. The narrative, Atenborough-style, is the only thing missing from this documentary, but I believe that only makes it better. The music sometimes, oddly, sounds like real music, strange familiar to heavily processed saxophones. Multi-layered, so every time you play this record, there is something new to hear. Like the musicians are explorers of the landscape, urban and wild life, acoustic and electric, the listener can find new roads into the music. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.gilgongorecords.com/
RUTH ANDERSON & ANNEA LOCKWOOD - TÊTE-À-TÊTE (LP & 10" by Ergot Records)
I admit I have known Annea Lockwood for a long time but have heard only a fraction of her music. She was in a romantic and creative partnership with Ruth Anderson, of whom I had not heard before. She was a composer, conductor and flautist, with only a few releases. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2019. This record contains two pieces from Anderson, while the 10" is single-sided and has Lockwood's 'For Ruth'. I am unsure about how many electronic pieces Anderson has, as the LP has 'Resolutions' on side A, which, apparently, is her last electronic piece from 1984. This piece is fantastic! It starts like a simple, high-pitched organ drone but slowly goes down in pitch until it reaches an earth-shaking sub-bass. The work is minimal but never stays in one place for long. I heard much drone-based music, but this piece blew me away. On the other side, we have 'Conversations'. In 1973, Anderson and Lockwood spoke on the phone a lot while apart. Anderson recorded these conversations, and in 1974, she presented Lockwood with a piece made from these recordings, a private work indeed. I admit I feel somewhat uncomfortable hearing this. Lots of giggling and some music ("from old popular songs") made me feel a bit voyeur. But at the same time, the cut-up of the voices is also on a slightly more abstract side, so its meaning is never exactly clever and makes an altogether fascinating piece of music.
On the 10", we find Lockwood's 'For Ruth', a ten-minute piece of music, in which Lockwood made recordings in Hancock, NH, where Anderson lived in the 70s. A quiet place, by the sound of it, with birds, church bells, and some of the 1973 phone calls woven into that. But now, as shimmering ghosts, a reminder of older days, happier days, which makes 'For Ruth' a beautiful and sad piece of music. Her choice of words from the phone calls is way more 'precise' about being together in New York, which they did. Some of that haunted quality comes from the very mild electronic sounds Lockwood added here. In terms of electronic music, field recordings, and narrative, this is undoubtedly one of the best pieces I have ever heard. Like 'Resolutions' is a class of drone music of its own. What a package! (FdW)
––– Address: https://ergotrecords.bandcamp.com/
COLIN ANDREW SHEFFIELD - IMAGES (LP by Elevator Bath)
Vinyl plays an essential role in the music of Colin Andrew Sheffield. I have known this for a long time but wouldn't consider him a turntablist. I'd rather see his work, which I heard since it first was released in the mid-90s, as collage-like, plunderphonics and sampling, and to a large extent, it uses sounds lifted from vinyl. On 'Images', he uses samples from jazz records. Jazz. I know various friends of similar age, who all listen to jazz these days, so I wonder what's wrong with me, as I still don't see the attraction. Reading this bit of information made me fear the worst (also because he writes that his interest is as a composer and "obsessive" listener), but what Sheffield does with these snippets of jazz vinyl stays, luckily, far away from the world of jazz music. Sheffield isolates fragments of piano, drums, and trumpets and takes these apart, loops them, treats them and with a few sounds, he creates a new piece of music—the instruments we recognize from time to time, and sometimes not at all. The results are far removed from the world of jazz, free jazz or improvisation, and one could easily say they are part of the world of ambient music, soundscaping and such. But the ambience of Sheffield isn't all smooth and easy, and never was, and in his work, there is room for all things a bit grittier and dirtier. Not exactly noise, not at all even, but heavier and darker than a free flow of water dripping. Adding sound effects to the instruments gives the music a somewhat haunting quality; think The Caretaker (early work), but more abstract and stranger. And, to this listener, also more appealing. It is abstract music, yet there is enough realism to hold on to; the rattling of cymbals, the stretching of wind instruments, and the lonely trumpet sound all add musical touches to this work. Sheffield writes he still uses "early sampling hardware, " which may account for some of the musique concrète inspired music here. An excellent record that is never what you think (or want?) it to be; not jazz, not ambient, but a bit of everything combined and cut together into some haunting narrative. (FdW)
––– Address: https://elevatorbath.bandcamp.com/
ERIC LUNDE - THE OCCULATIOMORBIT (two lathe cut records by Kanshiketsu!)
In front of me is a silkscreened plastic box containing a cardboard box. Inside I find a 5" inch lathe cut record, a lathe cut postcard record (one side only), a handmade pin, hand-stamped inserts (in black, red and blue) on what seems to be recycled paper and a booklet containing an alphabet I can't read. Welcome to the world of Eric Lunde. Except that isn't said anywhere. Connected to this package is a book (some 240 pages), 'The Occulatimorbit', which Lunde sent me as a PDF and which is more confusing. Heading to the Bandcamp mentioned below, hoping to be enlighted, it turns out there is more music for this title than could fit on the lathes. I asked mister Lunde, and there is not much by way of explanation other than "the entire project is first an exercise in deliberate nonsense (I ain't no author, I just fuck with words) and now an asemic project. none of it really is supposed to make much sense" but ending with "enjoy it for what it isn't might be my advice", which are wise words. I often receive material I don't understand the meaning of but take for it and enjoy for what it is (or isn't, perhaps). The music (I secretly admit using Bandcamp here, as my turntable had some problems with these small-sized lathe-cut records) is precisely what we would expect from Lunde (if there is such a thing as the expectation with him, of course). "The English language is taken apart and reassembled into "new" words then made to speak of which the audio is then degenerated into fundamental units. another long ride down the optical tunnel", which in Lunde's world is recording words, then playing them back, picking that up, and repeat that process quite a few things. Language rendered beyond meaning if, of course, there was ever any meaning. The book eludes me, but I enjoy the audio part. It reminded me of Lunde's earliest work, but rougher than ever before. Think of Alvin Lucier's voice erosion of 'I'm Sitting In A Room', but now compressed to a few stages; maybe because Lunde uses the cheapest recording means, so decay becomes apparent very early on. Here's where noise music and sound poetry meet, cruder than Henri Chopin. I find this sounds like excellent music. It is all very consistent in execution and beauty to hear. It is the sort of crude sound poetry that I like and coupled with the handmade package, which makes it, perhaps, a hermetically closed thing (I thought of the Voynich manuscript), but that's the beauty in mystery. (FdW)
––– Address: https://kanshiketsu.bandcamp.com/
MARIA CHAVEZ & DEVIN KENNY (Art Package by Ballast)
Another package from 'the little label that could' from Chicago, the Ballast label from Blake Edwards, aka Vertonen. A small label with limited editions that keeps on releasing stuff to make you think. I have written the words 'Art Package' instead of the format presented in the top line as I believe it is a complete Art Package and not a combination of a 7" lathe cut, several flex discs and a CDR. The reason why will become apparent to you if you continue reading.
Maria Chavez is a well-known name in the experimental scene and the world of turntablism and has been featured in Vital once before. Devin Kenny is someone whose name I hear for the first time. Still, he is 'an interdisciplinary artist, musician, writer, and curator who takes an experimental, multidisciplinary approach to analyzing the contemporary Black experience.' Together they worked on this release for which they made two flexis with original sounds, which they perforated with a little device, leaving them all mutilated and inducing random jumping points for playing back. Then they had a few sessions creating the weirdest warped mangled recordings, and with those recordings, they made the goal of this project: a 7" lathe cut.
Being unfamiliar with everything, turntablist is new territory for me. I must say, when it comes to the music, it is not something I would have bought myself when I would have heard the 7" lathe. But (!!!). Remember what I wrote about this release? It is not about the 7" lathe, that's just a part of the complete package. The package contains the lathe, two unharmed flexi discs, two significantly harmed flexi discs, and a CDR containing untreated recordings of the sessions Maria and Devin did together. So instead of a release, you get a documented journey through sound by two people who have a message and who - through the means of art - decided to share this journey with you. And Blake provided their platform for which they - and we - should be grateful. (BW)
––– Address: http://ballastnvp.blogspot.com/
HEAVY CLOUD - ZENNOR (CDR by Heavy Cloud)
The band and label names are the same, but the label also releases music from other musicians. This label knows how to present a release; this new one has an excellent printed book with information and texts and separate cards on photo paper. I reviewed some of their (?) music before (Vital Weekly 1352 and 1372), and it's always mildly and nicely confusing. This release has been on my desk for at least two weeks now, yet it mentions a performance of the Zennor Sound Group on April 15, 2023, in the St. Senora Church. Talk about one hell of a quick release! How this Sound Group relates to Heavy Cloud, I don't know. The booklet says that spoken word was important in the performance; conversations, spoken word, poetry and a bit of music. We may (or not!) find some examples of this performance on this CDR, and maybe these are deconstructed further. Heavy Cloud uses "voices, texts, environmental field recordings, domestic bric-a-brac, cassette player, turntable, records, virtual DJ software, and soft synths. All of this is used to create a collage-heavy style of intimate music. The fourteen tracks play out like recordings made in the living room over several days. People talk, yet we don't understand the dialogue, attempts at music, somebody playing a record at the wrong speed, some sound effects are being tested and so on. Then all the recordings were cut up randomly, bits of tape flung in the air and stuck together in no particular order. Chaos? Far from it, only in that we don't recognize any of it, nor does it make any sense, not in a conventional narrative way. I think of this as a kind of domestic plunderphonics. What does it mean? I have no idea. How does it sound? Quite compelling! (FdW)
––– Address: https://heavycloud.bandcamp.com/
GARRETT CAMERON - NEWQUATORSHIP (CDR, private)
The third release from percussionist Garrett Cameron I hear (VItal Weekly 1286 and 1313), is another beauty that is too short. On 'Newquatorship', there are two lengthy pieces, in total, thirty-one minutes of music. Cameron's instrument is the vibraphone, but he might also play other instruments. In both pieces, I believed in hearing a guitar. Unless, of course, we're dealing with slightly processed vibraphone sounds or some kind of extended techniques that he uses. The vibraphone is an instrument that works very well to play atmospheric music, which Cameron does very well. The tones blur easily, and that makes up for some interesting sounds. Delicate music, I know, I wrote that before, and the previous album was all short musical pieces and pleasant enough, but I think it works better in these two longer pieces. Cameron wrote to me that he improvises his music, which I believe, but at the same time, I also think that these pieces result from mixing various improvisations. By sticking a few of these improvisations on each other, Cameron creates a dialogue, mainly because h extracts quite different sounds from the vibraphone. It all sounds more composed than improvised. Maybe he uses loops too? I honestly couldn't say, but I enjoy the music a lot. Especially the second, 'Lunar', which clocks in at eighteen minutes, has an excellent slow build-up, adding slowly layer upon layer, ending in a much lighter (as higher in the scale) mood. As I said, thirty-one minutes, which wasn't enough for me. I could easily enjoy another delicate piece. (FdW)
––– Address: https://garrettcameron.bandcamp.com/
PLOU PLIM - MASTER 22 (cassette by Empty 6 Pack)
In many musical styles, chaos is a rule. Be it free jazz, noise, industrial music or, in this case, digital madness. Plou Plim is a duo from London, two designers, "Ramón Rodríguez Celma - Bass and vocals of the Spanish 80's noise pioneers, Skabiosa (member since 1986). And Fernando Gando - Bass player of punk rockers Onda de Choque, besides half of Dakota Matthews Band and founder of Fag Volume Patrol" - maybe some of the chaos started already. They had releases on Percurred Mag, Indecent Noise Recordings, and Content Methabolics. I had no idea I heard music with bass here, but maybe I am not. I was thinking of two men and two samplers and their love to cut everything short, ultra-short and shoot everything together all at once. With digital technology, it is possible to use the thinnest fragments and play with them. I always think that the ear/mind makes up for the stuff we don't hear; fill in the blanks. So, in the end, it sounds like beats, melodies, hell, even music. What does it sound like, you may ask? I honestly couldn't say, but that's because I am not that knowledgeable in the world of fucked sampling music. From the information, I understood that the background of Plou Plim is in breakcore, but during the lockdown also, other genres were discovered, such as Mashcore, Shitcore, and Flashcore. The musical world is infinitely more significant than I realize. This music is not dance music, even when I believe they chop up dance beats. Chaos, sure, but I always like to think their organization to madness. I learned that very few things are the result of pure chaos. Planning is everything, and I believe Plou Plim know what they are doing. Side A contains eight pieces by Plou Plim, and the B-side is " a slight edit of a split release between LOLIPOOP (PLOM) and 8eminis head-honcho PILL-AGE. This happened in 2016 on the Nyapster label", but ultimately I don't see much difference with the other side. The cassette lasted forty minutes which drained my energy quite a bit but in a positive way. This is music that I don't get to hear a lot, is still whacked out enough for Vital Weekly, and one week is suffieciently enough for me. (FdW)
––– Address: https://empty6pack.bandcamp.com/