Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offer a weekly webcast,
freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to
Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some
of the releases reviewed. It will remain on the site for a
limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file
your MP3 player and enjoy!
ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE - BATS IN THE LAVENDER SKY (CD by Ramble Records) *
BURIAL HEX - IN HIDING (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
JFK - AVALANCHE ZONE (CD by Fourth Dimension Records) *
DANIELE CIULLINI - COSMETICS FOR MANNEQUINS (CD by Luce Sia) *
SSHE RETINA STIMULANTS - MURKED CLUTTER+GRANDIOSE PUNK (CD by Luce Sia) *
ODRZ - ODRZ80 (CD by Luce Sia) *
DRONAL - WHILST WE FALL (CD by Supple 9) *
SCOTT FIELDS ENSEMBLE - SAND (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
BRAD HENKEL - CROON (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
W.A.T. - WORLD ACCORDING TO (LP by Stroom) *
SUNIK KIM - POTENTIAL (LP by Otoroku)
OLIVIA BLOCK AND ADAM SONDERBERG - STANDING ANIMALS (10" lathe cut + DVDR by Ballast) *
VERTONEN - LOST IN THE VERMILION SEA (CDR by Ballast) *
THE LONELY BELL/VERYAN - NIGHT FLIGHT (CDR by Shady Ridge) *
THE AUROCH - HIPERBOLIC / METABOLIC (CDR, private) *
THOM ELLIOTT - PERFUME (cassette by Tribe Tapes) *
TANTRIC DEATH - TWIN SPLITTING; IN UTERO (cassette by Tribe Tapes) *
AYAMI SUZUKI & LEO OKAGAWA - WHILE IT'S WARM (cassette by Breton Cassette) *
STRANGE DEVICERS - ORCHID TERRACE PREFACE (cassette by Steep Gloss) *
ANTOINE PANACHÉ - YESOD (digital by Barreuh Records) *
ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE - BATS IN THE LAVENDER SKY (CD by Ramble Records)
Three weeks ago, I reviewed a CD by guitarist Ernesto Diaz-Infante with percussionist Lisa Cameron; this time, it's a Diaz-Infante solo record (also available on vinyl). The only thing mentioned is the recording dates (between January 29 and March 25, 2022) at the now illustrious Next Door to the Jefferson Airplane Studios and that there is an electric guitar. Not mentioned, but very much present, at least that is my opinion, is the use of guitar effects, of which I think there are plenty. Over the years, I heard quite a bit of his music, reviewing some (or our esteemed DM, now on absent leave), and much of his work is part of the world of improvised music, and at the same time, there is something else at work. I am thinking of something between minimal music and psychedelic music. If one calls a piece 'Ode To Terry', with its shifting patterns, it can hardly be seen as anything else than an ode to Terry Riley. Sticking his guitar sounds into a multitude of effects, phasers, flangers, echo, chorus and what have you, there is at times an organ-like effect going on, which makes the minimal music lean towards drone-like sounds, which I call the psychedelic side of Diaz-Infante's music. I am, somehow, distracted by that Jefferson Airplane reference, but with drums and bass being absent, this is quite a different sort of psychedelic. Most of the time, he leans towards something reflective, a calmer tone if you will, but in 'No Mas' and 'Those Who Espaced, the distortion pedal shines on, but in a similar minimalist fashion. In almost every piece, Diaz-Infante uses a few elements, which he keeps repeating, but with nine pieces in forty minutes, nothing is too long or stretched out. He holds a satisfactory pace and an elegant variation. I have a slight preference for his quieter approach. None of this was all too improv-minded and all the more minimal, so I enjoyed this a lot. (FdW)
––– Address: https://ramblerecords.bandcamp.com/
BURIAL HEX - IN HIDING (CD by Cold Spring Records)
Clay Ruby, also known as Burial Hex, found a home for his releases on Cold Spring Records. He's been around for some twenty years, and I only reviewed a few releases; the last time was in Vital Weekly 1327. 'In Hiding' compiles many tracks Burial Hex shipped off to compilations by such imprints as Brave Mysteries, Aurora Borealis, Clan Destine, Small Doses, and Buh, none of which, I think, made it to these pages—obscure releases most of the time or even digital only. Not a plain re-issue, as Ruby remixed each track, and as I said, I didn't hear any of this before, so I don't know. In fact, had I not known they were from compilations covering several years, I would, perhaps, have thought this was another new album. I don't have much reference because I don't know that many earlier Burial Hex releases. It sounded as if this was a new record. Cold Spring Records describes this as "horror electronics/post-industrial music, " which is spot on. The music is loud and with much strength, but the one thing Burial Hex is not about is playing mindless noise and pure distortion. Au contraire, the music uses many instruments, piano, drums, and strings, and while recorded in such a way that it borders on distortion, the instruments can be recognized. On top of that is Ruby's voice, dark, grunting, and the horror ingredient in this already haunting music. Just as easily as Burial Hex exerts control in his music, he lets it all explode into a cascade of noise, such as towards the end of 'Backwards Curse'. From what I know of the referred bands b Cold Spring, "if you like Coil, SPK, Psychic TV, Trepaneringsritualen, then you'll like Burial Hex'; I very much can see that, along with the best horror soundtracks (of which I never know or remember the names of the composers). Towards the end the coherency is a bit lost, with 'Pacing The Hollow' a bit of guitar strumming piece and 'Feral Blood Vision' a synth based light weight but otherwise it is ominous and theatrical, Burial Hex is a dirty, hairy, massive beast that will eat you alive. Shiver and enjoy. (FdW)
––– Address: https://coldspring.bandcamp.com/
JFK - AVALANCHE ZONE (CD by Fourth Dimension Records)
Like Satĝri last week, JFK has been around for ages, like Satĝri starting in the 1980s. Anthony DiFranco also uses such names as AX, Ethnic Acid, and Velvet Snakeskin Orchestra, and these days, he's a member of Ramleh (when they are in the noise mode). The last time he appeared on these pages (Vital Weekly 1179), I didn't write that, and the one time before (Vital Weekly 887), I don't remember. Slightly to my surprise, then, JFK works with rhythm machines more than I remember. Hard, pulsating rhythms, mainly from the bass pulse (never anything remotely above that) without the dance groove. Feeding through a synthesizer, trigging machines, feeding these triggered signals back into the mix, this complex stomping music. Maybe it aimed at a dance floor somewhere, but not one I frequent (having said that, I frequent none anymore). These dark pulses, coupled with heavy noise, machine synthesizers and washes of white noise (no vocals), have a marching quality and would fit whatever Ant Zen did many years ago. However, JFK isn't all that noisy or industrial; he never drives his music off a cliff for the sake of it. DiFranco prefers to have some degree of control and sonic depth, which is good. 'Avalanche Zone' was previously released by L.I.E.S. records, and the CD comes with a bonus track by JFK and two of the album's tracks remixed by Kevin Klaska of Transitional, Urwelt and Novatron and an occasional live member of Ramleh. He adds a bit more groove and a dash of noise. These are interesting variations on a theme but don't take the material in a wholly different field. (FdW)
––– Address: https://fourthdimensionrecords.bigcartel.com/
DANIELE CIULLINI - COSMETICS FOR MANNEQUINS (CD by Luce Sia)
SSHE RETINA STIMULANTS - MURKED CLUTTER+GRANDIOSE PUNK (CD by Luce Sia)
ODRZ - ODRZ80 (CD by Luce Sia)
From former Trax (famous Italian label) member Danielle Ciullini, I reviewed a previous release, 'Great Events Are Coming' in Vital Weekly 1254, and now he returns with another album, a short one; eight pieces in thirty-one minutes. As before, the credits are for "manipulated field recordings, toy instruments, noises from radio, turntable, tape deck, automatic voices", and the result is a wackadoodle mash-up of styles, ideas, concepts and sounds. Try and imagine what it would sound like if you had a bit of noise, some plunderphonics, some click n-cut, cut-up, some drones, lots of voices (not sung, no sound poetry), computer technology and all of that went into a blender, and twisted at high speed. If that makes any sense, then you may have an idea. None of this takes control, so it's never too noisy, plunderphonics, or such a thing (not wanting to repeat the whole list). Keeping his pieces short, between three and five minutes, and adding quite some variation within each of these pieces, using a massive pile of sounds, means there is some great speed on this album. Yet, Ciullini knows how to keep fine pacing in his music. It never becomes an amorphous mass of sound, as he cleverly adds breaks and changes in his songs, such as in the best of the lot, 'Mass Loneliness', which has the markings of a pop song, for the lack of a better word. Overall a great album and one that could have been longer, say, the length of an old-fashioned LP. Maybe next time!
"The name of Sshe Retina Stimulants has been around since 1994, and I am sure I heard some of his releases, but I could never pin it down to what it is. Sshe Retina Stimulants is the solo project of Paolo Bandera (or rather P.NG5361.B as he is called on the cover) of Sigillum S." Not recent words, as I wrote that in Vital Weekly 513. I found another review in Vital Weekly 814 without evidence that I reviewed Sshe Retina Stimulants in recent years. Sshe Retina Stimulants is one of those names that have been around for a long time but mostly moved out of my circles. I believe I would have called it an old-school noise project, and maybe it was at the same point, but on the curiously named 'Murked Clutter + Grandiose Funk', there isn't much noise; or, rather, no noise in the traditional sense of the word. The music is wildly abstract, highly experimental, and partly noisy, but also with stabs at melodies, odd plunderphonics, and orchestral samples, and it's blended into the strangest collages of sound. A bit like Ciullini but a bit noisier, a bit more abstract and less relying on outside samples, so it seems. A most enjoyable album, foremost because it is so hard to classify. Industrial music is certainly a contender to label this music for its high-end noise brew and stylistic ravaging over the electronic place. Brutal but a different kind of brutality. The noise here is a means to make music, not the goal, which is a significant difference. That's the noise I like.
I admit I had not thought about ODRZ in a long time. As with so many things in the world of music, people change, move on or lose interest, and, as always, it's not my job to speculate about the reasons. I reviewed three of their releases long ago (Vital Weekly 422 and 488). I don't know what happened next, but a quick glance on Discogs tells me I continued releasing music. There is also a slightly obscure description of what ODRZ is about, of which I only quote the last line, "Each project is identified by the name of the group followed by a progressive number". Today it is number 80. Of the three releases from Luce Sia, this is thirty minutes, the shortest and noisiest, in the traditional means. From my earlier reviews, I understood that ODRZ is more of an ambient industrial group with a bit of rhythm, but that is no longer the case here. Also, the three releases I heard were exactly sixty minutes long, which is no longer valid. Lots of crashing electronics and metal sheets banged upon. Feedback and distortion galore, and all of this is relatively traditional. This is the first two pieces comprising twenty-five minutes of the album. In 'ODRZ80_03', which starts with Italian spoken word before coming to a crashing halt. Great if you are into noise, and great if you want the occasional noise shot; I am in the latter category. (FdW)
––– Address: https://lucesia.bandcamp.com/
DRONAL - WHILST WE FALL (CD by Supple 9)
Alex Leonard works under various aliases, such as Ebauche (Vital Weekly 1180), Exan (Vital Weekly 1318) and Dronal. From the latter, I reviewed 'Internal Motion in Vital Weekly 1197. There is a thematic approach to the music here: the climate crisis and humanity's inadequate reaction to it. It is a no-brainer that Dronal uses field recordings. Dronal doesn't inform us what and where these field recordings are made, but I don't think in places where the climate crisis is most acute. The crisis is worldwide, so let's say the sounds are worldwide. These field recordings are processed and mixed with the originals with massive washes of synthesizer sounds. Of these, Dronal informs us that the music is all improvised and uses the best takes. It should be no surprise that, given the name Dronal, the music is also very drone-like. Unlike the previous album, which sounded like one long piece, the nine pieces here are very much individual. Sounds of water, rain and obscured urban landscapes mingled with massive synthesizer paths, a firm dash of reverb, adding more atmosphere (as if any more is needed!), and the result is a mostly warm drifting sound, occasionally with a cold storm field recording (in 'Amongst The Standing Waves'). It is, perhaps, less orchestral than the previous album and more synthesizer-based. A solid album and, as such, not the biggest surprise. Dronal's music is expertly made, yet it isn't easy to be distinctly different from whatever else happens in this field. (FdW)
––– Address: https://supple9.com/
SCOTT FIELDS ENSEMBLE - SAND (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
Wow. Another great release on Relative Pitch Records. No need to read on. Get this one, or at least give this a listen on Bandcamp. Scott Fields is a guitarist, composer and writer, born in Chicago and, since 2003, a “Wahl-Kölner”, meaning that he lives in Cologne by choice. Check his website, https://www.scottfields.com/, for more info on him and previous releases. Sand is a modular piece, meaning the conductor, Scott himself, on this release, arranges (either beforehand or during the performance) and combines the different modules. Some pieces have improvised solos (as part of a module or wholly improvised) and layers of interchanging chordal movements, sometimes dronelike, almost a didgeridoo (a low brass instrument, trombone ?). Yes, it’s dissonant sometimes, and with 23 musicians (twenty instrumentalists ranging from a double string quartet, two double basses, woodwinds, brass instruments, three ! electric guitars and three singers, altos in this case), it can sound entirely orchestral with striking melodies, that stand out because of the way they are integrated at that moment with on-going other modules, chosen by the conductor, providing texture and moods but sometimes independently. That’s the whole point of working with modules. You can mix and match. At other points in time, it’s just two players. The texts are modular and chosen from, I think, his short story collection, 'A Montage of Short Stories'. It’s almost 80 minutes of music, which makes it quite the ride. Never a dull moment, not once. Attentive listening is required because there’s a lot of detail to be heard. Groovy interactions, contrapuntal sometimes, it’s all there. A condensation of the avant-garde in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries combined with free improvisation. I would like to play this kind of music with the symphonic wind band I’m part of. Check this release; you won’t be disappointed. (MDS)
––– Address: https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/
BRAD HENKEL - CROON (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
'Croon' is a short and sweet release on Neither/Nor records, based in New York. Brad Henkel is a trumpet player from the United States and is currently based in Berlin. He makes the trumpet sound not like a trumpet but as a source of sound. 'Croon', the title track, features a jazzy melody, hence the name. 'Clamor' also has tones, but others, 'Bay', for example, sound as if the sound is made electronically, save for the audible breath-taking. Henkel has the technical skills to make all these pieces sound so easy. Chant is a low murmur and throat singing coupled with high trumpet overtones. An exquisite piece to listen to. I won’t spoil anything further here. Just listen and be surprised. (MDS)
––– Address: https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/
W.A.T. - WORLD ACCORDING TO (LP by Stroom)
Lost in time: I don't know what came first concerning W.A.T., a live recording I recorded on cassette or their mini LP 'Defreeze'. I think the latter, as why would I record an unknown band on a cassette? W.A.T. were a trio from the Dutch city of Eindhoven, Ad van Meurs, Ankie Keultjes, and Frank van den Nieuwenhof and their fresh (which was a word used a lot to describe this band) sound blew me away. The ingredients were a drum machine, a Pro One synthesizer, a bass, a guitar and female vocals. Unlike much other music in 1983, this didn't result in doom music or overtly silly and happy music. The music had a great groove, supported by the bass and the drum machine, while Ankie's voice wasn't too forceful, yet she had the right voice for this music. Not post-punk, not gothic, not new wave and not all too much pop music, and yet, I found 'Defreeze' so catchy; I thought that every song was a hit; it should be a hit. I purchased this record in 1983 and must have played it many times. Great rolling rhythms, a slide guitar at times, an upfront bass sound, and the plink plonk of a synth; I knew every song and every word. I never thought to check if the band did any other records, or maybe I was already too deep in the world of cassettes by then that I didn't care. Still, I found their other two LPs, 'We' and 'Thin Blue Notes' in 2008 or thereabouts, which I enjoyed but I don't sing along with, which is something I still do with songs like 'Ivanhoe', 'Defreeze' and 'Art Lovers'. I once toyed with the idea of starting a re-issue label, and on the agenda was undoubtedly a double CD with the complete works of W.A.T. (I won't divulge what else was on the list, but still a few things that haven't materialized). It's great to see their music re-released, even when, for me, it's odd to have some of the 'Defreeze' songs in a different order, but Stroom made a great selection from the three albums, and for me, a reminder of younger days, an almost foreign land, happier days perhaps. W.A.T. existed briefly, with Van Meurs continuing as The Watchman until he died in 2017, a blues group. A brief moment, but for me, that first mini-LP flickers like a bright star forever. Now it's your turn to discover this. A great catch, Stroom! (FdW)
––– Address: https://stroomtv.bandcamp.com/
SUNIK KIM - POTENTIAL (LP by Otoroku)
Oh wow, this is something. Kim is a filmmaker and composer of S.Korean background working in Los Angeles. They had a previous vinyl release on First Terrace Records in 2019 and a cassette with Notice Recordings last year.
Apparently, they used computer and MIDI technology on this record to produce some sort of cut-up that somehow reminds of a computer game soundtrack or maybe a Pachinko parlour, though we are told it is not quite as wild as the 'Zero Chime' record of 2019. Age brings wisdom and peace, it seems. My first associations were Rimarimba, who, if I remember correctly, produced a sort of cut-up music in the mid-1980ies, or other bands from the times working with computer-generated, random music. And the first sound impression: Weather Report cut up and re-assembled.
But that was only due to the MIDI interface using the sounds available, one of them being the brass settings. There are two tracks here, each spanning one side of the vinyl, so around 20-something minutes. The overall appearance is that of a cut-up, but there is more to it, as the music does actually evolve from full-throttle sonic mayhem to using different sound sources at other times. This results in a bit of a 'piano' piece early on side A and again towards the end. But in effect, everything is chopped up into mini-bits that might or might not join into something you would call a musical score. Due to the progressing use of different sounds, it is not the full Patchinko mayhem, though it still feels like that at times. There is a sort of multi-layered structure that gives the music an orchestral feel. At the same time, you come to think of free jazz explosions at times, though there is a certain lack of coherence, as there are very few passages where you would recognise a 'melody' or at least a compositional line. Everything seems chaotic and falls into place randomly. A bit like the verbatim 'everything everywhere all at once', though with some variations as to treble and structure.
The second side takes the same approach but apparently with a different sampling and programming angle. Though the same hectic samples cut into each other, the music sounds more distant, less in-the-face and a bit more relaxed. For some reason, it sounds more like a musical piece, giving the impression of a little more coherence (I would, though, be hard-pressed to explain this impression - maybe more consistency in using single sources?). It is a much shorter piece at around 10 minutes and sounds like the first side played through a thick layer of mist.
All in all, something for the fidgety and nervous; if the homoeopathy rule of same-heals-same applies, this will calm you down. Anyone else, be ready for a rough ride - it will not be as random as you might think, but harsh by all means. Think of Weather Report played backwards in 3-second chunks, mixed with free jazz and some randomised computer music. The hype sheet claims something about revolutionary hope in a post-capitalist society, ideas floating freely, creating many identities and futures, burning brightly. Fireworks, certainly. (RSW)
––– Address: https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/
OLIVIA BLOCK AND ADAM SONDERBERG - STANDING ANIMALS (10" lathe cut + DVDR by Ballast)
VERTONEN - LOST IN THE VERMILION SEA (CDR by Ballast)
Two highly limited releases on Chicago's Ballast label. The first one is an edition of twenty-five copies and contains a single side 10inc lathe cut record and a DVDR; the latter includes a film of which has the same music on record and has, more or less the same length, with the video being in stereo and the record mono. Olivia Block and Adam Sonderberg "recorded, photographed and arranged' the package, which comes with a quote from Thomas Mann's 'The Magic Mountain'. A curious work of animal sounds plus maybe something else, but I couldn't figure out what this other thing was. Not a drone... maybe some additional hiss captured in this wildlife park (none mentioned on the cover). The images consist of waving grass/corn and still images of animals, all in a horizontal and vertical split screen. The meaning of this eludes me, and that's assuming there is a meaning. Though very quiet, the record sounds great, and the images I found a bit so-so, but maybe I am not much of a reviewer for all things visual. A strange one, but captivating enough, even with the sad omission of a second side, as I would have loved to hear more of these animal sounds.
Label boss Blake Edwards returns as Vertonen, expanding his vast catalogue with another (spoiler) beauty. In an edition of twenty-nine copies, he has two long pieces that "utilizes field recordings (raw and processed) of storms and water in conjunction with sine waves and shortwave recordings (raw and processed)", not something I would have gathered from playing this music. His shortwave recordings sound different than when I flick on a radio. I assume the processing includes, as before, a combination of analogue and digital means. Analogue through input on a synthesizer and digitally, any sort of technique you can imagine (max/MSP, pure data or such like). Not just the radio rendered beyond recognition, but storms and water are not recognized, only at the beginning, as if to set a chain of events in slow motion. In both these pieces, the result is a massive wall of drone sound that slowly shifts along. In 'Incident 1', the drones move slowly from mid to high range (with recognizable water recordings) and then dive more profoundly, but not as deep as in 'Incident 2', as this piece ends with a stark, menacing drone. 'Incident 2' kicks off with a less recognizable event and is straight to the bottom of the drone and stays there with some exciting, highly minimal variations; when the piece ends, it has a substantially different shape than when it starts, and none of the changes is rushed. That is a particularly excellent quality about the music of Vertonen and, over many years, something that he became very good at. This work is another excellent display of what Vertonen is all about, and every time I ask, 'Why in such a small quantity,' this is the kind of music more people should hear. (FdW)
––– Address: http://ballastnvp.blogspot.com
THE LONELY BELL/VERYAN - NIGHT FLIGHT (CDR by Shady Ridge)
Following the release of 'Ghost Town Burning' (Vital Weekly 1384), The Lonely Bell returns with a split album with Veryan. The Lonely Bell is from up north in Scotland, a place that I, for no particular reason, associate with rain, storm and darkness, but, no doubt, August also has beautiful sunshine over there. Maybe the music of The Lonely Bell gives me such misconceptions. The album starts with Veryan, who is also from Scotland, but in a different area. I had not heard of Veryan before. Musically he/she taps into the same field as The Lonely Bell; ominous, dark soundscapes. I'd say further proof of a dark place, well, or just music created at the darkest hour of the day and enjoyed at such times. But there are differences too. Veryan uses a bit of rhythm among the depts of their drones and, on top, waves a slightly and slowly melodic keyboard touch. This musical touch might be due to the use of orchestral samples, stretched out a bit yet still recognizable as such. The Lonely Bell uses the same template of darkness, but the execution is more abstract. Here, I believe, based on the two earlier releases, I think there is a lot more processing of field recordings going on. I don't know how The Lonely Bell works, be it fully analogue, digital or a mix of both; the result is a beautiful piece of wind turned white noise (or vice versa), as if a microphone is up against the storm, rampant on the isles above Scotland, and maybe we see 'The End Of The Sky', as the title of this goes. Developments occur on a more minimal level than with Veryan, making the music somewhat more immersive. Two different sides of the dark atmospheric coin, and great to hear the similarities and the differences that the genre offers. (FdW)
––– Address: https://thelonelybell.bandcamp.com/
THE AUROCH - HIPERBOLIC / METABOLIC (CDR, private)
Here we have a limited CDR by The Auroch, a musical project from Adria Bofarull, who says his album is a "new collection of chamber music compositions that aim to explore altered states of listening. The pieces are meant to be experienced as places to rest and contemplate, with a focus on the sensory experience of the listener. Pieces to hear with the closed eyes and the opened mind. The title of the collection wants to suggest a connection between perception and the physical body and an intimate link between the two. A sensual connexion. It contains samplers of people at work, strange choirs, old symphonies, kids singing, broken machines and incidents of the street life. Totally free of any kind of AI stuff". I don't get all of that, but I do like the last bit; like Queen's 'No synthesizers" of ages ago, records in the future should say "no AI". Listening to these seven pieces, it is unclear what The Auroch does, but my best guess would be that it is a mixture of acoustic sounds, instruments (violin, guitar or other string instruments) and lots of sampling. And with sampling, I am thinking of old-school sampling, sticking sounds on a keyboard, and playing around with them. The result is a mash-up of weirdly uncontrolled musical madness with a level of controlled sampling, bringing order to chaos. The one thing this is closest to is the world of electro-acoustic music, but with the level of wackiness thrown in. And please understand that the word 'wild' is not the same as chaos; it's a wild ride of highly varied sounds combined, which gains new context through editing and mixing. Think musique concrète in the hands of someone who isn't too concerned with the exact rules of composition. A bit poppy, lots of weirdness, a bit of seriousness (tricky to avoid that) and lovely stuff all around. Thirty minutes of refined bliss. (FdW)
––– Address: https://adriabofarull.blogspot.com/
THOM ELLIOTT - PERFUME (cassette by Tribe Tapes)
Hmm, I'm puzzled here. Tribe Tapes does another re-release, and that's not a bad thing. They recently re-released a few Slaughter Tapes, and in my book, that's a good thing. I mean, those are collectors' items simply for being released by Marco C. But here we have a third re-release from a cassette by Thom Elliott, and this being an experimental release with a 1900s electroshock system as a sound source might be an interesting subject, but 2x 30 minutes of looking at what this machine can do is i.m.h.o. stretching it. But let's listen in depth; maybe I'm wrong.
Side A is called "Maceration" and has the machine-turned-synth in all its facets. A lot is going on, and it's not until the last 5 to 10 minutes that the various waves and settings of the machine are put into a musical perspective. Furthermore, it seems as if the post-treatment of the sound is quite limited here. A bit of reverb, some sturdy compression (of course, these are electronics directly fed into audio equipment) and not too much more. Side B was given the title "Enfleurage" and has added delays in its treatment. Because of that, it sounds much more likeable and open than "Maceration". The movement of the waves is slower and more thought of; The sounds are given more space to breathe and form an actual composition; It all comes out better. There are moments that I found myself back watching Planet Terror because of the purity of sounds Louis and Bebe Barron worked with. Having one machine at your disposal limits you and makes you humble. And it's precisely what you hear in the minimal approach on side B and what side A maybe lacks. So yeah, I'm happy to have heard it, and from the 60 minutes, I enjoyed 40. Which isn't a bad score after all ;-) (BW)
––– Address: https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/
TANTRIC DEATH - TWIN SPLITTING; IN UTERO (cassette by Tribe Tapes)
A short but powerful release we have here. It's only 20 minutes long, but it's loud, and obnoxious, yet still soothing. Tantric Death is one of the projects of Max Eastman, who is the guy who runs Tribe Tapes. And with him, I recognise a couple of other names from earlier reviews, Slacking and Hand & Knee. Three of the tracks mention 'featuring', and whether these were collaborations, mail collabs, sound exchanges, or full studio activities ... In other words, how are those artists featured in those tracks?
As said, it's a short release. Twenty minutes with three tracks per side, and as most tracks are harsh noise, there is little to say about it. Although ... "For Humility's Sake" with Slacking is quite a vocal-driven track, even when I can't tell you words. A massive backdrop with a lead part mixed in a perspective of where vocals would be. "Bygone To Me" featuring Hand & Knee is more of an HNW approach, but it slowly degrades into its parts and basics, leaving you with impressive aftermath. Side A closes with 46 seconds of epileptic cuts. Side B has two short tracks, one bit longer. "Love & Hate In The American South" could be based on a Leadbelly sample looped and ripped to shreds, and "Triple Black All Penetration" I've listened to, and I can't tell you anything other than it's loud. The final track, "Heat Sink", has Sterile Garden in there, and this is what US Harsh Noise is about Relentless, loud, in-your-face aggression.
Maybe I expected something different when I read the title. Twin splitting in utero is mostly done with microscopic precision, so ... Shouldn't this release be a microtonal sound art? Favourite track: "Bygone to me". (BW)
––– Address: https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/
AYAMI SUZUKI & LEO OKAGAWA - WHILE IT'S WARM (cassette by Breton Cassette)
Following last week's solo cassette by Ayami Suzuki, she returns with another duo cassette with Leo Okagawa. The second time they worked together (see also Vital Weekly 1280). The first contained two concert recordings; now, it is a studio work using electronics, guitar, field recordings and Suzuki's voice. Both composers are archivists concerning everyday sound. Anything they hear can be the subject of recording, and many of these sounds are very mundane, around-the-house sort of sounds. Captured on a portable cassette recorder, these sounds instantly have a somewhat lo-fi touch. In the opening, 'The Path, Part Two', there is the sound of fire, plus some more obscured ones, put together in a collage form, with only Suzuki's voice at the very end of the piece. The collage form is something they apply in all six pieces here, adding the guitar and electronics very sparsely. The same goes for the voice. They spread out their sounds, giving them space and clarity. Within a piece, the mood can easily change into something else; abruptly, with a click, it's over, and something else starts. That happens within a few pieces, creating this overall collage effect that makes it one big picture. Somewhere in there is 'A Quiet Somng', a short vocal song by Suzuki, that is a song in itself because it's part of the bigger picture; you could think it is one element of that collage. The music has a very intimate feeling, like we're guests in their homes, and they perform a bit of guitar ('Thousands Of Nights'), light a fire for us, shuffle about on a wooden floor and whisper a few words. Quite poetic, even with some of the occasional electric disturbance occurring, it all stays on the introspective side. Beautiful stuff. (FdW)
––– Address: https://bretoncassette.bandcamp.com/
STRANGE DEVICERS - ORCHID TERRACE PREFACE (cassette by Steep Gloss)
Last week I reviewed a release by the Slate Pipe Banjo Draggers, a new musical venture by Andy Rowe. This week he returns with a collaborative release with the omnipresent Matt Atkins. I believe the two set out beforehand what they wanted to do (and whatnot) and that tapes would play an important role. Rowe gets credit for "Walkmans, micro and mini-cassettes", and Atkins uses "Tape recorders, looping pedals and contact mics". The whole thing was recorded last winter "in Stoke Newington using an Allen and Heath Zed 24 mixer and Ableton Live". Eleven pieces result from this collaboration, and there seems to be a lot of found sound captured on their tapes. Obscured sound, people talking, the residue of music, that kind of thing. HS, who very occasionally sends in reviews, wrote online that this is recommended for fans of "Brent Lewis, Blood Stereo, Cody Brant, Hair Stylistics, Evil Moisture, Territorial Gobbing", all of which, as far as I know, these bands, is something I can see. Still, I think Strange Devices have, in general, a mellower approach to their sound. Not going for the all-tape decay and noise sprawling; Strange Devices love the details in the sound. At times pretty disorganised and chaotic, but there are also quieter moments, and it's precisely this balance that I like here. I don't k know much about Row's work, having only heard that one release last week, but I listened to a lot of music by Atkins, and I think this shows a slightly other side of his work, which is most interesting. (FdW)
––– Address: https://steepgloss.bandcamp.com/
ANTOINE PANACHÉ - YESOD (digital by Barreuh Records)
It's not often that I first see and hear the music instead of only hearing it. Still, the sparsely visited social media algorithms directed me towards a new video clip by Antoine Panaché, 'Yesod'. At the same time, it was also available in a very limited cassette, hand-crafted ceramic sculpture and a QR code to the uncensored video, screen printed artwork and a moonstone. Only nine copies of this were available, so don't look for a spare copy. Antoine Panaché is the nom de plume of Lilia Scheerder, working with ancient electronics, conjuring a world from years before. I vaguely knew that 'Yesod' is something Hebrew, but [wiki] understand it better (well, I hope), "Yesod (Hebrew: יְסוֹד Yəsōḏ, Tiberian: Yăsōḏ, "foundation") is a sephirah or node in the kabbalistic Tree of Life, a system of Jewish philosophy. Yesod, located near the base of the Tree, is the sephirah below Hod and Netzach and above Malkuth (the kingdom). It is seen as a vehicle allowing movement from one thing or condition to another (the power of connection). Yesod, Kabbalah, and the Tree of Life are Jewish concepts adopted by various philosophical systems, including Christianity, New Age Eastern-based mysticism, and Western esoteric practices." In this five-minute, Antoine Panaché uses rough synth tones, field recordings of a raven, tawny owl and nightjar, Scheerder's metallic string constructions, and a Dutch text about the moon, evoking a dream-like but dark world. The video is ritualistic, with Antoine Panaché lost in the woods, surrounded by three... creatures? Characters? Priests of some kind? What happens? An initiation? A gothic tale, perhaps, but what a fantastic clip and great track. To be featured on a future album.
But yes, we don't review digital stuff, so I also take the opportunity to mention that 'Living Room', a silent movie by Lilia Scheerder, is now available on DVD. I already reviewed Peter Johan N˙land's soundtrack in Vital Weekly 1324 (along with Bagdaddy and N, who did a remix). That release only contained the music, not the movie itself becomes available. But I had a private screening and wrote, "'Living Room' is a short, twenty-minute film by Lilia Scheerder, and everything in this package deals with the film. As I had a private screening, I know that the movie is a silent one, showing a living room, and in two sections, we see two persons locked up in this room (voluntarily? I am not sure), and how they deal with loneliness and slowly driving them to madness. The film has no dialogue, just music, and is shot in black and white, just like the old days of silent movies. Some additional graphics add a wonderfully weird effect to the whole thing. I don't know much about the film, but I very much enjoyed this." As a bonus, an interview with Scheerder about the movie (in Dutch). A short film, but a great one. (FdW)
––– Address: https://barreuhrecords.bandcamp.com/