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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 361
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week 9
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SOGAR - APIKAL.BLEND (CD by 12K)
RICHARD CHARTIER - TWO LOCATIONS (CD by Line)
KOZO INADA - E[] (CD by Digital Narcis)
LAURA MAES & KRISTOF LAUWERS - KITCH 'N GLITCH (CD by Cling Film)
RSUNDIN - SEISMO (Mini CD-R by and/OAR)
TWIN - THEATER/THEATRE (Mini CD-R by Aesova)
JLIAT - WAR PART 1 (CDR)
POWERBOOKS FOR PEACE (3"CDR by Alku)
MNEM - FOR DELTA RELICS (CD by Kaos Kontrol)
HERMIT - MOSKVA (3" CDR by Gameboy Records)
BOOKS ON TAPE - WINNING RECORD (3" CDR by Piehead Recordings)
JACOB LUDVIGSEN - METAL CHINCHILLA (3"CDR by Afe Records)
GARSO ZONA (CDR Compilation by Audio Z)
GINTAS K - O)O(O (CDR by Black Orchid Productions)
MANUAL MOTA - LEOPARDO (CD by Rossbin)
CHROMATIC IDIOT/IL MESTRUO DELLA PUTTANE (split CDR by Tabula Rasa)
OLDINE - BILBOQUET (CD by Le Cri De La Harpe)
ASMUS TIETCHENS - NACHTSTUCKE/ADVENTURES IN SOUND (2CD by Die Stadt)

 

 

 

SOGAR - APIKAL.BLEND (CD by 12K)
RICHARD CHARTIER - TWO LOCATIONS (CD by Line)
Sogar's third album, after his previous works on List and his debut
on 12K and I must admit his least one, mainly because I don't see
that much progress. Sogar, aka Jurgen Heckel, born in Germany but now
living Paris, produces software based music, which moves nicely along
in small rhythmical patterns and high pitched melodies. Each of these
nine songs is worth hearing, but they are also interchangeable.
Sometimes a bit more noisy or harsher (at least in the general realms
of this kind of music anyway), but it ticks nicely away. And in that
sense, Sogar made already two nice albums of likewise material, so
why add a third one? Why not explore the boundaries of this sound, or
move in other directions, add more rhythm, or maybe skip rhythm
entirely? Now it sounds more like a bunch of Max/Msp plug ins,
processing the same sound file. I may sound negative on this, but be
assured: it's a nice album, at least if you don't hear that much of
this kind of music.
Our beloved minimalist composer Richard Chartier unlashes his seventh
solo CD, which has two lengthy pieces of sound, composed for two
sound installations. The piece called 'Location' opens very soft but
over the course of 24 minutes it gradually becomes thicker and
thicker. From the high end beginning to the more bassy parts in the
middle to end with high ends again. The sound source might be quite
limited here, Chartier builts a fine piece with it. Ambient and
minimal, but also of am extreme nature - inaudible at times, very
dymanic at others.
The second piece 'Component' was 'based in part n the 6-channel sound
installation '3 components' and is even more extreme. Playing a
Chartier CD at a considerable volume can be a necessary thing but in
this case ear damaging too. The bass is very present! As the piece
progresses, it gets sparser and sparser, until it seems to have
disappeared. Of course a little of my comment for Sogar, also goes
for Chartier: a lot of this here is what he has been doing for a
while now, so maybe it's time for a change too...? (FdW)
Address: www.12k.com

 

KOZO INADA - E[] (CD by Digital Narcis)
This new CD by Kozo Inada presents five tracks and has a total
duration of just over sixty minutes. Compared with earlier work by
Inada, this CD is remarkably acoustic: it seems to make use of a lot
of field recordings. The question is if that is actually true. Most
of the sounds used appear to be acoustic but could also have been
generated electronically. Or vice versa: they could be acoustic and
edited in such a way that they sound electronic. This ambiguity is
very strong and reinforces a sensation of alienation: is what we hear
"real" or is it "unreal"? These questions are not up front; they are
nagging somewhere in the background and at some points it is very
clear what one hears. But at the same time, there is always some
"subliminal" theme present. I believe it is precisely this quality
that makes Inada's work stand out. And all this is apart from his
abilities as a composer: his work has a very strong tension, keeps
the listener captivated from the beginning to the end and holds
surprises from time to time. Besides this, he also knows how to
create immense spaces in sound and play with the listener's
expectations. Yes, this one is highly recommended. (MR)
Adress: www.digitalnarcis.com

LAURA MAES & KRISTOF LAUWERS - KITCH 'N GLITCH (CD by Cling Film)
A first release on her own label by Laura Maes, who runs Cling Film
together with Kevin van Volcem (aside from all the organisational
work they do in their surroundings). As the title of this disc
already suggests, all the raw material was recorded in a kitchen
(Laura's) and later manipulated in the studio. With a total duration
of just over 37 minutes, this is a dense work, that requires close
attention from the listener. There is a lot happening here and more
often than not, it is pretty subtle. One of the most interesting
phenomena for me is the way Maes and Lauwers move with their sound
from sheer electronic to acoustic and back again. From raw material
to its manipulation or vice versa. The seven tracks are well placed
and spaced, so one can listen to the whole CD as one work without a
problem (this has defenitely got my preference). All tracks have
strong compositions and very good timing and, most importantly: it's
very juicy (and I mean this in the most positive sense!). Another one
that is highly recommended. (MR)
Adress: www.clingfilm.org

RSUNDIN - SEISMO (Mini CD-R by and/OAR)
Sundin's sound explorations are getting more subtle with every
release. This disc contains one track of twenty one and a half
minutes, most of which is at very low volume and could slide by
without being noticed. But of course, once attention is focused, a
world appears, a world of microscopic events that defies description.
Hence the release. This is sheer listening material. Sit down, take
your time and just listen and enjoy. That's really all there is to
it; and that's basically all I can say, except maybe that the effort
will certainly be rewarding! (MR).
Adress: www.and-oar.org

TWIN - THEATER/THEATRE (Mini CD-R by Aesova)
Twin is Howard Stelzer (tapes), Jason Talbot (turntable) and Brendan
Murray (samplers), all hailing from Boston, USA. This disc contains
two tracks, both a little over ten minutes. It may be known that
Stezer and Talbot are touring quite extensively as a duo, both
playing their own instruments (tapes and turntable). In this duo
format they play short 'songs' with a generous amount of silence as
part of the musical material. In Twin, this part seems to be taken
over by Murray and his samplers, which gives the whole a totally
different character. The atmosphere is more ambient and there is more
bass in the total sound. But it still has that raw and unpolished
energy that I like so much. And they really play very well together!
(MR)
Adress: www.aesova.org

JLIAT - WAR PART 1 (CDR)
POWERBOOKS FOR PEACE (3"CDR by Alku)
War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Jliat, our conceptual
friend from England, just released a CDR called 'continuing noise:
War part 1'. Although he doesn't say this very loud and clear, I
assume Jliat is against war in general, but most likely this is an
anti Iraq war statement. On this part 1, Jliat offers four field
recordings of a previous war, that in Afghanistan. The sound of B52s
@ Kunduz, US Aircraft over Kandar Airport, US special forces Southern
Afghanistan and a fire fight north of Kabul. I am not really a
trained soldier, so I can't say whether these are unprocessed or
not, but it seems to me that they are presented as they are. Cold and
clinical - nothing fancy. Just like war is: cold and clinical and
certainly nothing fancy. More a political statement than an artistic,
but I'm sure Jliat would state it's not the time to make artistic
ones.
More anti-war statements come from Powerbooks for Peace, an all
laptop improvising trio consisting of Alex Peverett, Jim Brouwer and
Joe Gilmore, who have been playing together since 2001, and the first
concert was in the same weekend America began bombing Iraq and 'we
pondered the role of experimental computer music in relation to World
events'. However, the claim to understand a bit of the irony
themselves, in this difficult world where computer musics have merely
just 'aesthetic' grounds, and seldom political ones. You never know
how these things work: if it was called 'laptops for war', would you
be able to tell from just the music? My irony I guess. There are two
lenghty pieces of laptop cracklings and shifts hasty back and forth
through a whole bunch of sound processings. Obviously very
Mego/Pita/Farmers Manual inspired this one but with enough
counterpoints of its own. Not necessarily great, but nice enough.
(FdW)
Address: www.jliat.demon.co.uk
Address: http://personal.ilimit.es/principio

MNEM - FOR DELTA RELICS (CD by Kaos Kontrol)
From the very fine print on this CD I learned that this CD uses
'reel-to-reel tapes rotated recycled looped and manipulated
ANALOGICALLY by Mnem', who is probably from Turku, Finland (since it
was recorded there). However Mnem is, I don't know; a duo I am told.
Also I don't know in what was on the reel-to-reel tapes; sounds they
recorded themselves or found sound? Maybe it's not really important
to know. In these seven lenghty pieces we find a highly unfocussed
and undefined music. Mood music for the darker hours and the darker
minds. The treated sounds (slowed down in the various speeds reels
offer) and looped fragments: they hint to what was called in 80s
ambient industrial. Certain works by MB, or works by Maeror Tri and
Illusion Of Safety spring to my mind. But to entirely slag this off
as a nostalgic copycat, doesn't it to it entirely justice. I liked
playing it. There is a fair dose of variation in these pieces Mnem
offer, a constant shift to new worlds and territories. Some of Mnem
ancestors were certainly more static. Also the fine balance between
the ambient side and the industrial side is well kept in here. This
CD offers maybe no new insights, but it is well executed. (FdW)
Address: www.kaos-kontrol.org

HERMIT - MOSKVA (3" CDR by Gameboy Records)
Playing in Moscow - that sounds of course great. Hermit, being E.
Boros and M. Frecheville did. They play voices, acoustics and junk.
Hermit operates in the realms of noise. Shouting and feedback open up
this CD, but half way through, the sounds drops and there is the
crackling of contactmicrophones and a harmonica. After that there is
the scraping of guitars or violins. All of these unlikely noise
things add a rather charming feel to it (although Hermit wouldn't
like the term 'charming', I guess). At least it's not just a silly
blast of feedback and orgasmic screaming and that's always a good
thing. Noise with at least something of its own. That's how I like
them best. (FdW)
Address: <mshiflet@hotmail.com>

BOOKS ON TAPE - WINNING RECORD (3" CDR by Piehead Recordings)
Well, with a name like Books On Tape, I always think of 'Girls On
Film', that famous Duran Duran piece (and famous videoclip). I can't
get that out of my mind. It's a one-man project, by Todd Matthew
Drootin from New York. He was in a band Subverse with Matt Dennebaum,
which was about punk, electronica and hip hop. When living apart, the
band fell apart and Todd started Books On Tape. Although Todd works
with electronica, the four tracks on this mini CD breath the
atmospheres of fucked up punk rock. Throwing guitar licks to a
sequencer certainly adds to the energy and Books On Tape has nothing
to do with either tapes (analog) or books. It's most certainly worked
out on a laptop/computer (three of the four tracks were made in
Montreal and Toronto on a visit there), but it certainly has that
fresh atmosphere of punk rock. Digital new wave; it almost sounds
like a Suction Record - and that's a big compliment. (FdW)
Address: www.pieheadrecords.com

JACOB LUDVIGSEN - METAL CHINCHILLA (3"CDR by Afe Records)
Now here is a name you might have seen around, probably on such MP3
sites as Datanom and TechNOH, but this is his first release which one
can actually buy. It's a limited to 50 copies release, but with a
real printed cover, which looks pretty nice. A Chinchilla is a dog, I
believe - I looked at the cover, as I don't like dogs, I never know
which are which. Although this release claims to have twelve tracks,
there is only one on the CD. Some of the sounds were taken from the
parents of Chincilla on the cover; not that one is able to tell,
since everything is heavily processed on this CD via 'the intelligent
use' of DSP algorithms (sic). It's highly fragmented and cut-up,
occasionally throwing itself into some sort of rhythm, but most of
the times it's the well-known computer crash in hell. The fact that I
didn't hear that much new, doesn't necessarily mean I think this is a
boring release. In fact it's quite entertaining, but nothing new
under the sun. (FdW)
Address: www.aferecords.com

GARSO ZONA (CDR Compilation by Audio Z)
GINTAS K - O)O(O (CDR by Black Orchid Productions)
Two releases from Lithuania. The compilation is a documentation, at
least that's what I gathered from the linernotes, from a festival
devoted to local experimental music. The names on this disc may mean
nothing to you, but I am told they are among the more experimental
names in Lithuania. It seems that over there microsound is the holy
gospel - at least for some of these artists, like Gintas K, Darius
Ciuta. Raimundas Eimontas and Antanas Jasenka. Their works hoover on
the edge of silence and are carefully constructed laptop pieces.
There is, however, more happening and there boundaries blurr over
into industrial music, with the ambient industrial noise outing of
Skardas in their piece 'Resilence' or Cabaret Voltaire inspired in
'Data Pix'. Atrac have a more updated rhythm sound, read a click 'n
cut style, but unfortunally is a little bit too fragmented. Tautvydas
Bajarkevicius is the curator of the project and his two short pieces
go into the realms of digital noise - which some, under which is the
composer - refer to as microwave. High pitched sound and pulsating
rhythms - all generated on the computer. This is indeed a nice
overview of developments in a country remotely away, and maybe
following hip fashions from abroad, but certainly the microsounders
on this one are quite nice.
From Gintas K a CDR was released in Slovakia - hey, why not? - and
'O)O(O' is his first solo release. Gintas is actively involved in the
Lithuanian music scene since 1994 in various bands, under which is
the industrial band Modus. Other then his piece on 'Garso Zona' I
have not heard anything else by Gintas (or his group work), but this
goes into different areas. The opening piece 'Not Quite But Right' is
some twenty seven minutes, built around a pulse in the best Pan Sonic
tradition, but with an elegant sine-wave drone hum in the background.
The track changes into more low end bass before the rhythm is turned
up again. It sounds like a live recording. Maybe it would have been
an idea to cut this track into various parts. The other tracks on
this lenghty release are much shorter (except for the twenty two
minute 'Long One' - a good title is always easy to find), and those
proof to be more coherent by themselves. Here too, the strong Pan
Sonic influence is apparent, with it's pulsating pieces and hum
drones in the back. As said, I prefer the shorter pieces over the
longer ones (plus it would make it altogether in a more coherent
release), but it's a promising debut. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blackorchid.host.sk/
Address: www.smic.lt/garsozona

MANUAL MOTA - LEOPARDO (CD by Rossbin)
Manual Mota is a relatively unknown Portugese guitarist, who only has
a couple of solo CDs out in the last years. In the earlier years of
his career he explored the acoustic prepared guitar, but now shifted
towards the electric one. Maybe this is the first CD I hear by him
that is entirely electric. It's a CD of solo electric guitar and Mota
claims it to be 'a jazz record. ***** phrases cut and interrupted by
silences that have some 'breath-like' tempo'. Luckily I have not much
knowledge of jazz (and indeed of any musical language), so I am quiet
free to this product - not that it's new to me. Free improvising
guitar music is my thing - give me a guitar and I try to be Derek
Bailey. And probably Mota thinks likewise. His nine miniatures are
carefully played on the guitar by the ten fingers he got and dropped
directly to tape - I don't think much 'editing' took place. But if I
try to be Derek Bailey, there is always something that goes wrong,
the guitar makes an odd sound because my fingers aren't in the right
position and nothing ever coherent comes out of it that can be
listened for more then 10 seconds. To play at such length as Mota
does, is simply not possible for me. To hear what Mota at such
lengths, is not an easy task, but one that requires effort. Probably
less effort then trying to play it myself, but it's demanding music.
Music that demands your full intention. No aural wallpaper, no
bullshit, just a man and his guitar. (FdW)
Address: www.rossbin.com

CHROMATIC IDIOT/IL MESTRUO DELLA PUTTANE (split CDR by Tabula Rasa)
A split CDR with noise, from the Spanish comrades at Tabula Rasa.
Chromatic Idiot is a band from Poland with one Rafal and one Bartek.
They use pedals, mixers and microphones and their three tracks were
recorded live and no overdubs were made. What a pity. The material
could have benefitted from extra post-production. Now it seems, at
least to me, the so-manyth lame imitation of noise that I really
couldn't stand playing this to the end.
Il Mestruo Delle Puttane are Macro666 and M'Oskatres and they are
from Italy. They use metals, microphones, guitars and effects but
arrive at no different result then Chromatic Idiot - it could have
been one band as far as I am concerned. Their sound is somewhat
louder and oh yes, also live. There is good Merzbow, Ramleh or
Whitehouse around, plus a couple more, so why waste your time?
Masturbation should be done solitairy. (FdW)
Address: <tabularasabar@hotmail.com>

OLDINE - BILBOQUET (CD by Le Cri De La Harpe)
Two guys playing 'guitar, laptop, keyboards'; they call themselves
Oldine and their names are
Thomas Robyn and Sebastien Roux. In 1999 they released a CDEP, in
2001 a full-length debut (both as unheard by me) and now their second
album, packed in a truely ugly cover. The seven tracks on this CD all
come without a title. With this line up of guitars, laptop and
keyboards, one would probably except a sort of Fennesz influenced
thing (guitar feeding through laptop, cracking the entire sound), but
that's not the case. The laptop brings some short sample in the form
of an ongoing rhythm, but it's the guitars and keyboards who do the
job here. The play melancholical music the most of the time, and at
times have more inspiration from the comic seventies then laptop in
year zero. Keyboards are set to drone mode, or with arppeggio and the
guitars softly tinkle their way through the pointilist music. There
are links with a band like Labradford, but Oldine's influences go, as
said deeper - a cross section of thirty years of alternative
psychedelic music: cosmic, ambient industrial and sound processing.
Nice stuff here indeed. (FdW)
Address: www.lecridelaharpe.com

ASMUS TIETCHENS - NACHTSTUCKE/ADVENTURES IN SOUND (2CD by Die Stadt)
"Asmus Tietchens started playing music in 1965, but released his
first LP in 1980" - a well-known intro to articles about Asmus. So
what did he do those fifteen years? He worked on pieces that were
released later on, starting with 'Formen Letzter Hausmusik', his
first record after his four LP's for Sky Records and his debut LP
'Nachtstucke'. Those five LPs were the sort of sound that was
appealling to Asmus rond 1980. Until that he made concrete,
electro-acoustic pieces that were shelved until later on. With
intervals of three to four months, Die Stadt will release no less
then 18 CDs, which includes almost all of his LPs that weren't
released on CD before. A remarkable step for someone who said in his
monography that none of his previous LPs were to come out on CD, even
when the lots were unavailable since umteenth times. But it's always
good to chance one's mind - and never too late. To celebrate the
start of this series, opening of course with his debut LP from 1980,
Die Stadt made into a double CD. The first CD are various works by
Asmus Tietchens and his friends Okko Bekker (whom later would own the
Audiplex studios, in which Asmus recorded many of his works) and the
for me unknown Hans Dieter Wohlmann. These recordings mark the first
attempts by Asmus to work with organised sound, including the very
first piece he ever recorded 'A Quarter To Ten', from 1965. I am not
going to fool you: these are not masterpieces. The boys work with
tape-recorders to record their own playing, but they also plunder
other people's work, such as the piano crash from 'A Day In The Life'
by The Beatles in 'Beginning With Beatles' Ending' or pieces from
Pink Floyd. It's a naive hotchpotch of sound, mostly not very well
recorded, at least from technical point of view. It more fills a gap
in our knowledge: what did Asmus do those fifteen years? This is
partly an answer, as the other answers will be given in the
subsequent series. But in 1980 he arrived with Nachtstuecke, his
first LP which he released on EGG in France, due to a linkage with
Tangerine Dream's Peter Baumann. This album was supposed to come out
in 1978, but the label doubted it would sell very well. The album was
recorded between 1975 and 1978, but it's somewhat cosmic sound
sounded it a bit outdated by 1979 when punk, industrial and new wave
were booming. Composed with just two synthesizers, the Moog Sonic Six
and the Minimoog, this is a sparse album of electronic melodies
played carefully. Mood music really, sometimes sad songs and only
occassionally a bit more uplifting. Of particular interest are the
last two bonus tracks, which forcast the musique concrete of later
works. Breathing sounds are the basic rhythm material and the synths
are pushed to the back. Even when this material was outdated then
(according to Tietchens' own liner notes), 'Nachtstucke' is still one
of the better early Tietchens works.
There is however one point of criticism: why are the liner notes only
in German? For me kein problem, but I am sure there are enough people
out there who simply fail to understand this. I hope someone can do a
translation and put it at the Tietchens website (www.tietchens.de).
Otherwise a great start, that will fill in many more ways a gap.
Address: www.diestadtmusik.de