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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 366
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week 14
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DAVID GRUBBS & MATS GUSTAFSSON - OFF ROAD (CD by Blue Chopsticks)
INFERA SINFONIA (CDR compilation by Alienation)
KARL JENSAC/HELMUT SCHAEFFER - TRANFORMED VIEW (CDR by Alienation)
INTERNATIONAL COMPILATION CDR4 (CDR by Alienation)
THE HAFLER TRIO - A SMALL CHILD DREAMS OF VOIDING THE PLAGUE (CDEP by
Important Records)
BEEQUEEN - GUND (CD by Beequeen)
OREN AMBARCHI & JOHAN BERTHLING - MY DAYS ARE DARKER THAN YOUR NIGHTS
(CD by Häpna)
ANDERS ILAR - EVERDOM (CD by Shitkatapult)
DANIEL MAGG - FACETS (CD by Compost)
ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE (CD by PAX)
ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE & ST.CHAOS & BOHOL - THE LONG AWAIT BETWEEN
COLLAPSED LUNGS (CD by PAX)
AU - RECYCLING (CD by Locust Music)
GINTAS K - //// (CDR by Retinascan Records)
MARKUNOUCHO BENTO - HIMETTE (CDR by Retinascan Records)
HENRY JACOBS - RADIOPROGRAMME NO. 1: HENRY JACOBS' MUSIC AND FOLKORE
(CD by Locust Music)
AIDAN BAKER - LETTERS (CDR on ARCOLEPSY RECORDS)
AXEL DORNER & FRED LONBERG-HOLM - OBJECT 1 (CD by Locust Music)
EKG - OBJECT 2 (CD by Locust Music)
MERZBOW - FROG (2CD by Misanthropic Agenda)
LUKE EARGOGGLE - AUDIO WARRIORS (CD by Bunker)

 

 

 

 

 

DAVID GRUBBS & MATS GUSTAFSSON - OFF ROAD (CD by Blue Chopsticks)
I was very pleased to see the arrival of this CD, since the first
collaboration between David Grubbs and Mats Gustafsson 'Apertura'.
That CD lasted about an hour and was quite static in approach,
harmonium and reeds were used to depict beautiful droning music.
Quite a difference from this new release. Six tracks, just little
over thirty two minutes, which apperentely reflects the tour they did
together in Scandinavia. The lenghty opening piece 'Rendezvous Up
North' is a free jazz improv playing mostly built around the
saxophones of Gustafsson. Quite a contrast with short 'Pumpkin Creek'
with nicely mild guitar play and maracas (guest appearance by Henry
Moore Selder of Rock Out, who also plays turntables on 'Three If By
Train' and 'Skiing + Shooting'). The variety of instruments played
here, ranging from synthesizer to laptop and electric guitar to
contact microphones, make this into a well varied joint venture, but
I wonder: may too well varied? Grubbs and Gustafsson don't seem to
want to focuss on one particular thing, but rather want to be all
over the place. Maybe that is a good thing, it's crossing various
genres of improvised music and may let the listener left in pleasent
confusion. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bluechopsticks.org

INFERA SINFONIA (CDR compilation by Alienation)
KARL JENSAC/HELMUT SCHAEFFER - TRANFORMED VIEW (CDR by Alienation)
INTERNATIONAL COMPILATION CDR4 (CDR by Alienation)
More from Alienation - see also last week. Infera Sinfonia is a
Japanese noise maker compilation including Pain Jerk, Government
Alpha, Sewage, Incapacitants, Owstone and Alienlovers In Amagasaki.
Furious, hellish noise, loaded with feedback and distortion. Surely
one for the die hard lovers of the genre, but you can count me out.
The split CDR release by Karl Jensac and Helmut Schaeffer brings us
to Austria, as they both hail from there. I have never heard music by
Jensac. His piece 'Lost In Space' starts out with a low end hum but
as the lenghty piece progresses, it gets more violent and noisy. An
ok but not great piece. The same can be said of Helmut Schaeffer's
piece. He collaborated before with Zbigniew Karkowski and his music
is similar to Karkowski's and Jensac. Drony music, but of a more
violent nature. Scraping sounds, like metal plates against rusty
wheels. In the end a bit more interesting then Jensac, but again not
the greatest music on earth.
The other compilation is an ongoing series of international artists.
It's a wide variety of artists here, which all share an interest in
noise music. Some of them operate on the harsh end of the spectrum,
like Pheromonster Disk or Thirdorgan, and they are the lesser
interesting ones on this disc. Of more interest are the works that
display a serious interest in working with sound and structures, like
Evol, Powerbooks For Peace, PXP, Team Doyobi or Masayuki Akamatsu.
Luckily these tracks prevail here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ops.dti.ne.jp/~thirdorg/

THE HAFLER TRIO - A SMALL CHILD DREAMS OF VOIDING THE PLAGUE (CDEP by
Important Records)
At 11 minutes this new disc by H30 is just a teeny blip on their map,
but marks a departure from their headier releases as of late. Not to
say that concept isn't king, it is, but this is a nice sampling, a
prologue to greatness. Andrew McKenzie, et al are about to embark on
a tour of the United States of America during a time of great
anguish, though it makes sense for this mostly downstream swimmer and
reclusive character. When it comes to playing live, I cannot help
avoiding the biographical interpretations when comparing the title to
the artist's own health, and his playing to stay alive. The
recording, however, is an encoded message, albeit SOS or other form
of insulated language. Rubbery mechanics and tiny pitches draw you
into the void. The repetition of it all and the muffled voices make
this appear like a subversive television commercial. A bright
soundbite hook that is at once gleaming, then distended, brings "A
Small Child Dreams" towards completion. This limited edition cd
comes in a beautifully stark handprinted fold out cover by Neil Burke
that recalls mail art and cassette culture. Get it while you can,
only 100 exist! (TJN)
Address: http://www.importantrecords.com

BEEQUEEN - GUND (CD by Beequeen)
This CD contains some rather old tracks, dating back to 1998, but
apparently they weren't released in due time, so Beequeen have taken
matters into their own hands. As one would expect from Beequeen (at
least in thet period), all of the music is drone based. Tapestries of
sound slowly evolve and unravel their inner beauty. And there is
certainly beauty in these tracks: atmosphericly speaking, things seem
to be a bit on the down side, but that only adds to the peacefulness
that this record radiates. Without getting dull, this music makes one
wander off mentally, only to come to when it stops. And that is a
truely captivating experience. Special mention should be made of the
last two tracks: the first is a Beequeen edit of material by MSBR,
the last one vice versa. Oddly enough, no noise, but very slowly
stretched sounds with a bite. Also MSBR keeps things pretty quiet,
which makes an excellent ending to this very good record. (MR)
Address: http://www.beequeen.nl or http://www.kormplastics.nl

OREN AMBARCHI & JOHAN BERTHLING - MY DAYS ARE DARKER THAN YOUR NIGHTS
(CD by Häpna)
I guess these two musicians don't need long introductions: Ambarchi
is well known for his work with guitars and Berthling is one of the
members of Tape and, as far as I know, also involved with Häpna. This
collaboration was done in Stockholm in 2002 and has been edited for
this release. The one track has a duration of half an hour.
Berthling plays harmonium and Ambarchi guitar and the work has a very
straight layout: it's a drone piece, starting with harmonium. The
tones are kept all the time, sometimes adding or subtracting a single
note. One can hear the frequency of the pump underneath. Some time
later the guitar is added, but it is extremely difficult to pinpoint
the moment. Th sounds merge so strongly together that they become
one, slowly changing in the course of the piece. Were it not for the
frequency range (high mids), one would probably dream away gently.
But the sound is just too piercing for that. And it's up to the
listener to decide whether this is good or not......(MR)
Address: http://www.hapna.com

ANDERS ILAR - EVERDOM (CD by Shitkatapult)
I hear bells at the edge of the earth. 'Rare Islands' takes you
there to venture through an almost holographic space. Over the
course of the Hour-long Everdom, this is how a listener may read into
the music of Sweden's Anders Ilar. Slow bobbling beatless
mechanizations, winding and icy cool. On 'Make Believe' Ilar travels
into private space wielding the syncopated drone of sequencers and
bare bones percussion. Prolonged streaming of ornate, yet subdued
tones have a delicate presence. The ghostly 'Illusion of a
Summerbreeze' uses clever sample-like trickling noises atop continued
reverberation. Part Aphex Twin, part Hilliard Ensemble with a touch
of something out of the land of perhaps Paul Schutze. This darker
ride is spotted with diminutive moments of ambient flare. Each minute
flows into the next here.
Chilled to sweet perfection. (TJN)
Address: http://www.shitkatapult.com/

DANIEL MAGG - FACETS (CD by Compost)
Formerly of southern Germany's Wordless People, this is Daniel Magg's
debut release. This collection of eleven tracks includes sweeping
techno-loungescapes by Minus 8, Gentlerain and former fellow
collaborator Wolfgang Rüter among others. On 'Set for Seizure' Magg
takes Gentlerain into the realm of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea
with a current bent on warm fuzzy funk. 'Red Earth' raises the
stakes of the floor beneath us to a level where we dance, and trance.
But Facets is a well plotted, somewhat methodical spin.
Programming/editing inconsistencies aside when attempting to follow
Facets as a flowing continuum as it's title infers multiple
interpretations, or components. 'The Last Samba' is every bit the
magical latin movement, in the hands of Magg it is a blended
contortion with vibrating harmony. Again Gentlerain abridge a form
of rubbery funkorama courted by a lyric-free, cooing female vocal.
Rüter's 'Sweep' touches on the footsteps of like-minded Giorgio
Moroder, the godfather of disco. This is the standout track
revisiting the roots of early 90s Detroit. An electro-a-go-go charged
pumped rave fest, remade for for the MP3 generation. A great
exploratory adventure for a first go around, Magg proves he has what
it takes to warp and chill out his peers with a determined,
understated logic of wires, tables and other things that go zztsst in
the night. (TJN)
Address: http://www.compost-records.com

ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE (CD by PAX)
ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE & ST.CHAOS & BOHOL - THE LONG AWAIT BETWEEN
COLLAPSED LUNGS (CD by PAX)
Diaz-Infante adds two more releases to his corpus that gets infinite
proportions. His output is spread out on numerous labels like
Bottomfeeder, Evolving Ear, InstrumenTales, oTo,
pfMENTUM, Public Eyesore, Staalplaat, Seagull, Sweet Stuff Media, and
Zzaj. These two new releases are on his own Pax Recordings.
The solo one is the special one here. With accordion, acoustic
guitar, Chinese hand exercise balls, didgeridoo, drums, electric bass
guitar, field recordings, goatnails, mbira, piano, radio, singing
bowls, turntalbe, violin, vocals and zither rod, Diaz-Infante creates
his own intimate and peacefull little universe.
Murmuring day-dreamer Diaz sings his simple songs like somebody who
in a lost moment sings and plays for himself, thinking nobody is the
neighbourhood. Very relaxed music, not disturbed by the hectic world.
Because Diaz-Infante uses many different instruments and objects we
enjoy a varied sonic panorama. We hear environmental sounds, loops,
instruments out of tune, etc.
The result is a very personal music. Maybe that's why the cd has no
title. Ernesto Diaz-Infate says it all. It's some of the most
beautiful I've heard from Diaz-Infante.
For "The long Await between collapsed Lungs" Diaz-Infante
collaborated with two Texas underground psychedelic-drone musicians,
namely Pablo St.Chaos (acoustic guitar) and Bohol (electric guitar).
Diaz-Infante plays also guitars here.
I gave this one a good listening, but it failed to catch my
attention. 7 drone pieces that have nothing special to offer in my
perception. Almost ambient-like impro journeys. But I wish they added
more pepper and salt in this soup of sounds (DM).
Address: http://www.paxrecordings.com

AU - RECYCLING (CD by Locust Music)
To work with environmental sounds, is something that has been done
for a long time, but the series just started by Locust Music sound
promising. On each release you will have a piece of unaltered sound
recording from a city and recycling, remix or whatever you wish to
call it from the same people who did the recording. Haven't heard the
first one (by Keith Fullerton Whitman), but the one by AU sounds
special. And maybe not just because it contains recordings of a city
I lived in, The Hague in The Netherlands, and a city that I was glad
to leave. If one hears these recordings, then it seems like an
ordinary city (and maybe it is): cars passing, people talking and a
brass band playing. AU made the recordings on their bicycle while
going round and of course end up in the pub. A day in the life. On
the 'recycling' version (gettit? cycling and recycling?), they sort
of play the whole piece again, but add a firm dose of loose guitar
playing and analogue washes of synths, in a sort of attempt to make
the whole thing a bit more cosmic and ambient. It's strange to hear
both piece straight after each other, because it seems not much else
was added, but if one plays the original recordings again, one hears
the differences. The 'recycling' piece is thickly layered with
effects, mostly echo and is a nice subdued piece of music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.locustmusic.com

GINTAS K - //// (CDR by Retinascan Records)
MARKUNOUCHO BENTO - HIMETTE (CDR by Retinascan Records)
Only a few weeks ago, I reviewed a CDR by Gintas K from Lithuania.
This is a new release, this time on a German label. Like on his
previous release, Gintas explores the minimalist beat material, in
the best Pan Sonic fashion. Mostly quite lengthy, just like on the
previous one. A piece like 'Dc Pagal gk' lasts around twenty four
minutes and shifts back and forth with sounds and plug ins. Like I
said about the previous release, I think it would better if Gintas K
would limit himself a bit more and would be more critical as to what
a piece of music should do, rather then keep it running on end. His
work works better in shorter pieces, even when most of the pieces are
still over eight minutes long. 'Alcohol Free' with its Ikeda/Nicolai
influences is the best piece around.
Also from a more unlikely country is Markunouchi Bento, a duo from
Romania, consisting of Felix Petrescu and Valentin Toma, who claim to
use folkoristic idioms, which might be true (I am not the connaisseur
of traditional music from Romania), but as far as I can judge this is
only partly true for some intro's and melodies in some tracks, such
as 'Hotdogs Bless Me'. Markunouchi Bento's music is mostly about
'intelligent dance music', with rhythms that could be lifted from the
entire Warp catalogue, but with indeed strange, maybe folky melodies.
As the CD progresses the material is getting stronger and stronger
and more and more something that they can call very much their own.
(FdW)
Address: http://www.retinascan.de

HENRY JACOBS - RADIOPROGRAMME NO. 1: HENRY JACOBS' MUSIC AND FOLKORE
(CD by Locust Music)
This is a re-issue of a most unique LP, released in 1955 by Folkways
Recordings, featuring a radioprogramm by Henry Jacobs, or rather
highlights from his 'Music and Folklore' show. In this programm
Jacobs would interview musical authorities on music, jazz or chinese
music but it was all fake. Take for instance the 'Interview With
Jocko', which is an authority of Chinese music, but the interviewer
talks more then Jocko, who is hardly understandable in some fake
anglo-chinese dabble. Nice and funny stuff that is nice to hear (and
I must admit nice to do if you have a radioprogramm) and pre-dating a
lot of the free radio stuff that would appear decades later. Funny
pieces to hear once, but for a second time around? The more
interesting parts on this CD are the musical pieces Jacobs did, like
the opening 'Audio Collage', a collection of spoken word and sound or
'Loop 2 - Channel Rhythms', which was made with two tape recorders,
primitive percussion and voice. Jazzy sounds and primitive
percussion. Best piece is 'Sonata For Loudspeaker', a tape-collage of
rhythmic sounds and very short loops. Minimalist in approach, almost
thirt advance of contemporary dance minimal
Address: http://www.locustmusic.com

AIDAN BAKER - LETTERS (CDR on ARCOLEPSY RECORDS)
Aidan Baker is a writer/musician from Toronto. This is one of his
first releases, that literally slipped through the cracks, being
packaged in a thin paper cover that is folded like an envelope (hence
the title), easy to get lost in a pile of cds. The two track titles
sound like something from Michael Gira: "the letters of your name are
still a scar on my ears" and "I flay my skin upon which to write
these letters to you." Luckily the music doesn't not contain any of
the cliched excesses that such titles would suggest. What we have
here are somber tones, muffled lofi recordings of guitar drones and
loops, cymbol scrapes, guitar hum and feedback. Voices make their
appearance midway on both tracks, whispering secretive texts. The
illegibility of the voices adds to the pleasantness of the recording,
making them a part of the overall sound. I think if they were
prominent in the mix that would destroy the somber and cerebral feel
of the music. Long and hypnotic tracks (both over 20 minutes) lull
you in
a positive way, not to sleep, but crawls under your skin. (JS)
Address: http://www.listen.to/aidan

AXEL DORNER & FRED LONBERG-HOLM - OBJECT 1 (CD by Locust Music)
EKG - OBJECT 2 (CD by Locust Music)
The Object Series is a new series launced by Locust Music of
'creative electronic, jazz and electro-acoustic music in which we've
asked players to explore the synaesthetic qualities of sound and the
other senses as they attempt to produce ties between sound and
static, non-musical objects'. The first in the series meets this
right up: two top improvisers, trumpeter Axel Dorner and cello player
Fred Lonberg-Holm recorded five duets of their unusual playing. They
scrape, scratch and blow their way through the sound material in a
rather hectic and nervous playing. There is a lot of tension going on
between the two, small interactive playing, brittle and sharp.
Classic improvisation music.
EGK are from Chicago and is also a duo. Ernst Karel on trumpet and
analogue synthesizer and Kyle Bruckman on english horn, Chinese
suona, raita and analogue electronics. Here the improvised music
takes a different course. EGK have a strong interest in the more
droning aspects of improvised music. Their sound takes long courses,
which are intercepted by trumpet playing, aswell crackles of contact
microphoned objects. Most of the time it stays subdued, but there are
occassional outbursts of noise. It takes it's influences from
anything to Bernard Gunther to Merzbow or Voice Crack to Roel
Meelkop. Less traditionally improvised then the other one, but in
intensity certainly no less product. (FdW)
Address: http://www.locustmusic.com

MERZBOW - FROG (2CD by Misanthropic Agenda)
The all out assault on Frog starts with 'Suzussebachi No Rinbu' like
a squeaky wheel then blasts on through to the other side. This new
set includes a full-length bonus disc of additional remix material
and video. At once the listener is awakened to this white noise
barrage meets dramatic waterfall. With the immediate impact to ward
off the weak-eared, Houston-based Misanthropic Agenda unleash Masami
Akita's latest electro-acoustic assault on the barren scraps of
environmental elements left on his earth. Prepared static and sonic
boom draw from a multitude of found sounds and inference. On
'Hikigaeru Ga Kuru' he brings the temperature down for a few minutes
before developing a haunted vortex of raw textured noise. You can
hear the sound spinning. The bloated indirect intention of 'Kaeru No
Shima' slowly captures the edge of the wind and scratches until the
blur of it barest elements remain. Rewind the tape, sharpen your
tools, this virtual landscape is altered to taste. Melding
flawlessly into the final 'Catch22' Akita san acknowledges the other
side of the coin, the challenge of communicating in the universal
tongue of noise and all its implications. Like a warped screenplay
with croaking, surreal giants and organic creatures, this is what
sci-fi was meant to be.
Disc 2 offers an aerial view of mother Earth in development. 'Black
Frog' is the alter-side of this prolific artist's vision. 100% static
drone + 100% white noise = 200% genius. Playing with knobs and wires,
this sounds like an improvised experiment taking place in the beta
testing lab of a manufacturing plant. The moments in repose only
stunt the beatless continuum for a brief interlude of calculation.
Once he's got his motor started, this baby hits the ground running.
Though this is more of a work-in-progress. It is more sensitive on
'Track777' sifting heavy metal through divine filters and other
detonators. Inside you find a tonal test, a sound scale played and
then reversed and played back under the repetitious corruption of the
ongoing soundscape. 'Frog Variation No. 2' secures the audio portion
of our experience. Micronoise blends with a bobbling conveyer belt
while a hissing menace snarls out of control unexpectedly. Just when
you thought it was safe to listen via headphones Merzbow will kick
your ass again and again. This is for active listeners who can stand
it. (TJN) Address: http://www.misanthropicagenda.com

LUKE EARGOGGLE - AUDIO WARRIORS (CD by Bunker)
Audio Warriors has the immediacy of acid house vs. Psychic TV. This
is a fun U-turn where electro left off a few years back, baked with
some real juicy surprises. Dutch label Bunker Records revels in the
coy funk of it all while Eargoggle randomizes from track to track
with musing titles like "Worship Services" and "Stiff White Funk",
the former being a cross between premature 80s electronica (before it
was a word) and Pac Man. Robotic vocoders and pulsating perky beats
to laze around in or your could dance if you want to (but take your
friends with you). "Millimeter Try" reminds me of cheesey porno music
separated from its source with a techno-pop bent. "In Your Pyramid"
closes the deal on this underground experiment of the senses. The
track reminds me of an afternoon in the wind-up toy section of FAO
Schwartz. Audio Warriors does not pull punches, this is a pure party
hard at the expense of the past disc - taking trashy disco reverb and
obvious electronic noise and concocting a fetishistic voice for the
post-Kraftwerk generation. If I were to compare this to a food, it
would be white chocolate, an acquired taste that is addictive once
you indulge. (TJN)
Address: http://www.bunker-records.com