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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 417
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week 14
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ORPHX - CIRCUITBREAKING (CD by Hymen)
ENDUSER - FROM ZERO (CD by Mirex)
SUTEKH/O.LAMM - SIX RESIDUA (12" by Active Suspension)
ONETHEMA - STICKS FOR BITS EP (12" by Underscan)
MODERN ART - BLACK BOOK BLACK BOX (mp3 by Fukkgod Lets Create)
TORE HONORE BOE/REYNOLS - LECTIO
TORE HONORE BOE - KOH-I-NOOR (Both CD-R by Sounds from the pocket)
ROBERT LIPPOCK - FALLING INTO KOMEÏT (CD by Monika Enterprise)
FENNESZ - VENICE (CD by Touch)
JOSHUA TREBLE - FIVE POINTS FINCASTLE (CD by Intr_Version)
ERAST - MINIMISSING (12" by Laboratory Instinct)
ERAST - GOODAIR (12" by Laboratory Instinct)
Z_E_L_L_E - RJCTD::NW (CD by Cubic Fabric)
FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #150 (CD by Antifrost)
ELLENDE - THE ABC OF DROWNING (CDR by Mystery Sea)
THEMBI SODDELL - INTIMACY (CD by Caijd)
VEN VOISEY - BLOWN (CDR by Naninani Corporation)
CITIES IN DESOLATION - SECOND BASEMENT TRANSMISSION (3"CDR by 1000+1 Tilt)
CITIES IN DESOLATION (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt)
HALO MANASH - PAR-ANTRA1: VIR (CD by Aural Hypnox)
SIEMERS - AN INSTANT PARTY INTER PARES (3"CDR by Retinascan)
MALA - THE WALLPAPER (3"CDR by Retinascan)
MATT BORGHI - WASHOUT (CDR by Retinascan)
TV POW - POWERFUL FRIENDS AND DEVOTED LOVERS (2CD by Bottrop-boy)

 

 

ORPHX - CIRCUITBREAKING (CD by Hymen)
"Circuitbreaking" deserves a set of earphones for the listener to reach the ultimate sound experience. Many levels of sounds swirl inside the dark drones of latest album by Canadian Rich Oddie composing under the name "Orphx". In certain ways Orphx is comparable with fellow Canadian sound artist Hugo Girard aka Vromb. Both composers focus a lot on a kind of ambient musical expression where the rhythm texture still has an important impact on the overall result. One thing separating the two though is the fact that the soundscapes of Vromb are frigid as hell and without any sign of emotionalism. Orphx on the other side works in a more emotive based sound sphere where organic and everyday sounds are turned into floating soundscapes. Even melodic sounds seems to swirl somewhere in the sound space. Occasionally the album moves into harsher territories where hissing and crackling drones of noise dominate. No matter which territory we find ourselves in, the hypnotic expression is quite remarkable here. The rhythmic section sometimes hides underneath the waving ambient sound, at other times the rhythms move in the front with minimal electro and technoid beats. "Circuitbreaking" crosses many musical areas: From trippy ambient, across old school minimal techno towards Industrial and power noise. But the atmosphere of floating ambient always seems to exist somewhere in the sound space. Excellent music! (NMP) 
Address: http://www.klangstabil.com/hymen/

ENDUSER - FROM ZERO (CD by Mirex)
If you have ever thought of how new age-diva Enya would sound in a hyper speed breakcore-version then you have come to the right place. American breakbeat scientist Standafer Lynn calling himself Enduser distinguish his debut album titled "From zero" from the endless ocean of breakbeat-albums with his transference of the ethereal vocals of Enya into a hellish storm of gabba beats. Overall the weight has been put on the "in your face"-tempo of Gabba beats and the huge amount sample-cut-ups resulting in a non-linear musical madness. The consumption of vinyl-only tracks as well as Atari game sound effects,
distorted kicks and processed voice samples seems like a important bricks to build up the overwhelming energetic sound-level. Throughout the almost 80 minutes of drum'n'bass we are thrashed into an amazing number of musical expressions. What assembles the elements of music styles is the well-crafted breakbeat-texture that quite often operates in the darkside/techstep-jungle area with heavy basslines and dark atmospheres to make the album everything but friendly. If you appreciate hyperspeed jungle with a sense of humour you will love this album. But in case you are not a fan of "over-the-top"-furious breakbeats you
should stay out of here! (NMP)   
Address: http://www.c10cl12.com

SUTEKH/O.LAMM - SIX RESIDUA (12" by Active Suspension)
Both Sutekh and O.Lamm shouldn't be unknown to you. Sutekh, from San Francisco, has releases on such labels as Orthlong Musork, Source, Minus and his own Context label. His music is primarily minimal techno based, but also worked in sound collages. O.Lamm has only one label to work for, the ever so nice Active Suspension label. His music is a fine combination of laptop doodlings and poppy melodies. Here on this 12" they meet up, remixing eachother works. Each artist has one track, and each divided their piece in three sub-parts. Sutekh needs less time than O.Lamm. His side is only about eight minutes but in those minutes he knows how to capture the music of O.Lamm and re-shapes it along similar lines of O.Lamm while maintaining his own blend of minimalism.
O.Lamm stays deceivingely close to Sutekh sound of minimalism with a rhythm that drags on (a different one per part of course), while adding a whole lot of extra synthesizer sounds, especially in the second part 'A Deafness Nonpareil', and vocals by Zoe of The Konki Duet in 'That Very Moment', which is like a shoegazing piece of music. Great 12" of mutual love for eachother sounds and ideas. (FdW)
Address: http://www.activesuspension.org

ONETHEMA - STICKS FOR BITS EP (12" by Underscan)
One Simon Petre is behind Onethema. He's twenty years old and studies anthropology in London. After listening to classical music he turned over to beat oriented music and used to record music of the radio, which he used to chop up in order to make his own random compositions. Of course a small step from there to computers and internet, where he lifted free software synthesis and upload his own music. Overall I can't be too enthusiastic about his music. Inspired by Warp and Skam, his music uses broken beats and synthesized sounds, but the four compositions on this 12" are a bit too weak to be very interesting. His influences are clear, and it's no problem for me that they are obvious, but I'd require in that case that the music and compositions are really, and unfortunally that's not the case here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.underscan.de

MODERN ART - BLACK BOOK BLACK BOX (mp3 by Fukkgod Lets Create)
Crystalline and chiming seem to be buzzwords for this new work by ModernArt as he departs from the earth bound tones of his processed accordian and reaches for the cosmos. This is one kosmiche drone punctuated by bell like tones, slowly exhaling and inhaling shimmering waves of sound. Some human like steps invade the second half of this track adding to its visual suggestiveness. This work is oh so 1970s and in a charming way without sounding stale or retro. Utterly delightful, this is one of my favorite fukkgod releases in awhile, so download it now. (JS)
Address: http://www.fukkgod.org

TORE HONORE BOE/REYNOLS - LECTIO
TORE HONORE BOE - KOH-I-NOOR (Both CD-R by Sounds from the pocket)
Anybody who regards CD-Rs as an inferior medium should immediately check out these two releases. They are truely exquisitely packed in silkscreened recycled LP covers and look stunning. Also the labels are very well done. Lectio is a split disc with Reynols in what is called the Microcassettor series. The name implies exactly what the content appears to be: a recording of a live gig by Reynols on microtape and Tore's Lectio Parts I to IV, an 'opus for found dysfunctional tape deck + loose magnetic tape + microcassettors'. So yes, this is very lo-fi, no question, and of course that's exactly the charm. The Reynols concert was apparently a very good one, it starts off pretty messily, but soon evolves into a layer of feedback (?) sounds that has a strong captivating quality. Tore's tracks are almost drones, long sounds with a rough and grungy texture, unpolished and bleak. They posess a very natural inherent beauty, something that Tore is a very keen observer of.
Koh-I-Noor is Tore's 'opus for self-made laptop + dual speed + slapstring tapas'. Though I have personally witnessed Tore on his laptop (a wooden box with piezo elements, pieces of metal, wood, strings and other odd stuff attached to it), I have never seen him play slapstring tapas, so what these are must remain a mystery for the time being. These reocrdings are different from the Lectio ones, because this involves more playing. We can hear scraping and brushing on metal, drones and buzzes from tape and other unidentifiable sound sources, but all with the same lo-fi character. Again this has a strong charm, but I can hear a slight danger in this quality: it lacks a certain dynamic depth that would give way more energy to the whole. Other than that, these are two good releases. (MR)
Address: http://www.soundsfromthepocket.com

ROBERT LIPPOCK - FALLING INTO KOMEÏT (CD by Monika Enterprise)
The idea behind this CD is quite nice: when asked by Monika Enterprises to do a remix of Komeït's 'Falling Into Place', Robert Lippock (also known of To Rococco Rot) wanted to remix every track on that CD, and now, two years later he delivers the goods. Pity, well at least for me, that I haven't heard the original, so it makes comparing the original and remix rather difficult. So, I don't know Komeït, but it seems they opt for dreamy poppy music. Singer-songwriter stuff, that Lippock only on a superficial level transforms into the area of digital processing. Carefull constructed pieces of music with passionate vocals and as said only a few laptop processings. Only the final track 'Three Hours' is a bit too industrial sounding for my taste and is seperate from the rest of the CD. Maybe Lippock ran out of more ideas to process this? Otherwise this is very pleasent music, but, it must be said too, I am not sure if I would need to find out more about the original. This is fine as it is. (FdW)
Address: http://www.monika-enterprise.de

FENNESZ - VENICE (CD by Touch)
A new Fennesz studio CD is always something to look out for, he belongs to the absolute top when it comes to laptop music. So far these studio releases are quite sparse, but it must be said that each is a step forward. 'Venice' is more than just a follow up to 'Endless Summer' - his previous studio release from 2001. In the first part of the CD, Fennesz uses the grainy, bit-rot sound that he is known in a more ambient context. Slow, peaceful tracks, which hoover a nice springtime warmth. Probably he uses guitar here (many keep forgetting that Fennesz is a guitarist), but the transformation of the guitar is beyond recognition. In 'Circasian' he adds fuzz to the guitar and shows a love for shoegazing music. With the piece 'Transit', things seem to change on the CD. That piece uses a rhythm and more surprisingely the vocals of David Sylvian. The pieces after that have a more clear guitar playing and here the processings are kept to a minimum. As a whole this is a very coherent CD, of which the influence of David Sylvian seems apparent: dreamy music, ambient yet poppy in approach. Much more subtle in approach than 'Endless Summer' and a step closer to popmusic. It wouldn't be a too big surprise if the next one (2007 by my count) would seen a continuation of the final pieces of the CD and Fennesz scoring his first hitsingle. 'Venice' is the forecast of more beauty to come. (FdW)
Address: http://www.touchmusic.org.uk

JOSHUA TREBLE - FIVE POINTS FINCASTLE (CD by Intr_Version)
Although I haven't heard Joshua Treble's first album, 'Cold Filthy Techniques To Keep You Close', I have high respect for him. Together with Mitchell Akiyama he is responsible for two great albums under the monniker Desormais (see Vital Weekly 322 and 374), both of which are a fine combination of electronica and post rock. His second solo album is now released by Akiyama's Intr_Version label and finds Treble is more electronic areas than post rock ones, even when he uses a great deal of guitar(-related) sounds. These are combined with computer processings thereof aswell as treated field recordings. In many ways Treble's music is related to that of Fennesz, with the same delicate ambient touch, but Treble uses per track more music to tell his stories. Grainy, glitchy sounds that found their inspiration in Fennesz, Eno and Gas make up a fine tapestry of sound of microsonic music. It's debatable if Treble's music is really new or showing new things to the genre, but that aside, this is quite a nice, relaxing and moody CD. If the new Fennesz isn't enough (and I can imagine that), this is something else to get. (FdW)
Address: http://www.intr-version.com

ERAST - MINIMISSING (12" by Laboratory Instinct)
Laboratory Instinct is a Japanese-German collaboration, in a way. Miho and Ryo who run the label are originally from Japan but decided to be more trendy and moved to Berlin, where the label is based now. This vinyl EP is one of it's first releases and it's by Erast, that's Nika Machaidze (also known as Nikakoi), but I've never heard of him before. However, this EP leaves a great impression and it's a nice introduction to the world of Erast. There's 2 and a half minutes intro at the beginning (excellent short track), 3 longer main tracks, one in-between and one remix by Atom TM at the end. The second track Movie I'll Never Shoot reminds me (even with the title) of Squarepusher in a jazzy mood and maybe on speed or acid, just to give you a hint where this music is. One track is closer to IDM, but all of them are generally done in a clicky way, like other clickotronix artists, just to mention Geez'n'Gosh, The Rip Off Artist, Sutekh... The Atom TM remix of the track Georgianintokyo sounds a little like Senor Coconut, specially when it ends in a typical cha-cha-cha style. This is a great EP by Erast and also a great start of this new label. Check them out and watch for them in future... (BR)
Address: http://www.laboratoryinstinct.com and http://www.goslab.de

ERAST - GOODAIR (12" by Laboratory Instinct)
Another EP from Erast on Laboratory Instinct. Minimissing and Goodair 12"s will also be released together on one CD in May. Goodair is a bit longer (with a length of almost 30 minutes), there are 5 longer tracks by Erast and one remix, this time by Freeform. Erast joins electronics and samples of acoustic sounds with a great success in his very much beat-oriented music. Broken beats, breakbeats, side-effects of drum n bass and jungle in idm context. And this is done very good! Constantly developing and evolving, changing in a non-linear way. Erast gets a lot of points in my ears because his dynamic music is still very much contemplative and deep, you can just listen to it. But it's not the background type of music, or maybe it is, depends where are you listening. It's definitely not background music for reading a book or a newspapper. But it can be a perfect background in a little club where people seat and talk, because the balance of the dynamics in this music is purified, even profound. (BR)
Address: http://www.laboratoryinstinct.com

Z_E_L_L_E - RJCTD::NW (CD by Cubic Fabric)
You should know z_e_l_l_e if you know about Metaxu. If you don't know Metaxu, check Vital 406. But also, maybe you already know z_e_l_l_e from their first album Nth released by Line in 2001. As it's written on the nicely designed (by Keiichi Sugimoto of Cubic Music) cover of their new second album, z_e_l_l_e are Nicola Catalano and Maurizio Martusciello, both from Rome, Italy. With this release they continue to explore the silent edges of sound, doing that with great care for sound. Only small and short clicky and wavy sounds of various kinds appear in the silence, very minimalistic and microsounding approach again. You should turn up the volume more than usual to hear better, and not using headphones is recommended if you ask me, because open space is important for this music to fuse with the surrounding. z.e.l.l.e are good at what they're doing and I like it so far. But I wouldn't like to hear 10 more albums like this in the future, because I think there's not much space left for being inventive in the same musical outfit. Maybe z.e.l.l.e should go more in the foreground and explore even more fully present music (like Metaxu). Nicola once told me that these tracks are older, from the Nth period, but Cubic Fabric were enthusiastic about them, and that's great because this is minimalistic music of the finest kind. (BR)
Address: http://www.cubicmusic.com/fabric

FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #150 (CD by Antifrost)
If our man Lopez calls his latest work 'Untitled #150', it doesn't mean that mean that there are 150 solo CDs out there, but still there is a vast amount of solo work. It's hard to say if one needs 'Untitled #150', if one is mildly interested in Lopez. Don't get me wrong: it's a very fine Lopezian work of treated dead radio hiss and other static sounds in the usual inaudible fashion. These days I play the work of Francisco Lopez from my computer. I copy the entire CD to my harddisc and 'normalize' the whole thing (make the loudest point zero DB). I know Lopez wouldn't mind me doing so, as he feels everybody should have the oppurtunity to play his music one sees fitting well. Over the course of these thirty-six some minutes various sections are to be noted with some dramatic changes. As said this is indeed another strong work for Francisco Lopez, but at the same time I must also note that the genre is fixed for him now. It will not win him new fans, but please the die-hards all the same. Looking at my collection of Lopez works, I think I can count as one of the die-hards. (FdW)
Address: http://www.antifrost.gr

ELLENDE - THE ABC OF DROWNING (CDR by Mystery Sea)
The ever so mysterious Ellende (a Dutch guy now living in Japan) is on his way to release on possible every interesting CDR label in the world. Here he appears with probably his deepest ambient work on Mystery Sea. Three tracks, of course 'The A', 'The B' and 'The ABC' make up 'The ABC Of Drowning'. Lenghty, spacious tracks of acquatic submarine sounds. Putting on a whole bunch of old synths and likewise analogue sound effects, the sonar detects human life under sea. Sometimes it seems that there are people talking way down there. Music that immerses one totally, of course if one is open for that. Lying on the couch, in a somewhat dark room at night, with a view to the stars and the moon, makes this into a deep space work - or should that be a deep sea work? The best Ellende release I encountered so far. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mysterysea.net

THEMBI SODDELL - INTIMACY (CD by Caijd)
Another new label from down under and another new artist. Thembi Soddell graduated in 2002 from RMIT in Melbourne and after that she presented her work in concerts, gallery installation and her interest lies mostly in the narrative nature of dynamics (silence vs noise). The work on this CD, six parts in twenty-six minutes is from a four channel installation at the exhibition '360 Degrees: Women In Sound'. Apperentely all of the sounds used here are from processed field recordings, and upon hearing them, I thought: hmmm... she went to the same field as where Senor Lopez does his field recordings. Stretched out fields (pun intended) of processed hissing sounds, with the difference that Thembo Soddell builts them quicker and to a much louder volume. There is a certain surprise element in this music: things can change quite abruptly, from quite loud to quite low. This makes 'Intimacy' into a nice CD, even when the idea of dynamics aren't very new and neither is the use of field recordings. However, in general this is not a bad work at all, and actually I quite enjoyed hearing this. (FdW)
Address: http://cajid.com

VEN VOISEY - BLOWN (CDR by Naninani Corporation)
This is the second release by Ven Voisey for the French Naninani label and more than on his previous release (see Vital Weekly 371) he seems to use solely field recordings here. From processed water and fireworks - to mention the ones I could recognize - and many others which aren't easy at all to recognize - Ven Voisey (this might be his first release which is not under his V.V. monniker, but his real name) depicts carefully a soundworld of his own. Ranging from mild, lo-fi recordings to the heavy noise ending of the fourth piece (of course no titles here, unless the poem on the inside of the cover is ment as guidelines or titles... I assume guidelines), this is a fine addition to the previous release, and this continues the course set out on that release. Ven uses the form of sound collage to present his work and keeps the compositions full of tension throughout. For those who are into Roel Meelkop in a mixture with Francisco Lopez, this is for sure something to get. (FdW)
Address: <naninanicorp@free.fr>

CITIES IN DESOLATION - SECOND BASEMENT TRANSMISSION (3"CDR by 1000+1 Tilt)
CITIES IN DESOLATION (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt)
Two new releases on the 1000+1 Tilt label from Greece. We welcomed Cities In Desolation before (see Vital Weekly 371), here with recordings from 2002, although two recordings were strongely altered a year later. The band plays laptop, bass, electronics, synths and I even heard a violin somewhere (but maybe that was sampled?). The two boys improvise loosely around a given set of sounds and have a free sound, without sounding very free improvised. They stick to eachother in close harmony. Small changes, love of details and without too much care for the recording quality: there's underground for you.
A more recent recording is presented on a disc without a title, with live recordings from November last year. Here they take more time to improvise, forty-five minutes in total, which makes the whole thing slightly more ambient in approach. On this release, the whole Cities In Desolation sound is finally to be enjoyed in full force. (FdW)
Address: http://www.geocities.com/tiltrecordings

HALO MANASH - PAR-ANTRA1: VIR (CD by Aural Hypnox)
A very long time ago I saw a band called Zero Kama. They played percussion and poured blood over them. They whistled a few trumpets and probably described their music as 'magick' or 'ritualisk'. When I played this CD by Halo Manash, the good old days come back. Dark, percussive sounds, with howling guitars and likewise howling vocals. 'The soundscapes of Halo Manash are reflections from the world of ever-changing shapes/mutable shades'. I am not a very black nor bleak person, so I find it very hard to go down into the underworld of Halo Manash. I can't relate this to any of today's darker walkers, but the whole thing sounds very eighties to me. Very Zero Kama, or very Sigillum S like and very much not my cup of tea. And this is of course the first of a trilogy... oh dear. (FdW)
Address: http://www.auralhypnox.tk

SIEMERS - AN INSTANT PARTY INTER PARES (3"CDR by Retinascan)
MALA - THE WALLPAPER (3"CDR by Retinascan)
MATT BORGHI - WASHOUT (CDR by Retinascan)
As far as I understand the 3"CDR by Siemers is a taster for a 3CDR set which was released a couple of years ago. A plunderphonic collage thing that involves a lot of the artists that release on Retinascan. It's hard to judge this release at all, since it's a long collage which goes over all the place. Merely a nice too for the more adventurous DJ or the laptop musician looking for weird sounds.
In a nice handycraft cover comes the release of Mala, two students from Osnabruck in Germany. Apart from the synthy and spacey intro track, the other five piece are slow rock pieces, guitars and drums are the main ingredients aswell as (some) vocals. Here too an eighties retro sense leaks through, plus it's recorded kinda lo-fi. That helps for some. Nice stuff.
The new full length on Retinascan is by Matt Borghi from Detroit. His three track release is clearly inspired by Brian Eno's ambient series: light toned doodlings on synthesizers (either soft- or hardware ones). I am listening to this in a garden somewhere in the country side at a mild volume level. The sounds from the CD mix nicely with the bird and insects around that fill a beautifully sunny day. This is probably the kind of ambient music Eno wanted and that Borghi follows so nicely. Musicwise maybe not the biggest surprise, but a nice one for sure. (FdW)
Address: http://www.retinascan.de

TV POW - POWERFUL FRIENDS AND DEVOTED LOVERS (2CD by Bottrop-boy)
Once I was dreaming that I was asleep. Somebody woke me up in the middle of the night and asked me to describe TV Pow. I couldn't. Maybe not a nightmare, but still quite strange. The easiest way to describe TV Pow is by saying they are a trio of people playing laptops. But there is more to that: they also play improvised music on both regular instruments aswell as contactmicrophone stuff. They are all over the place, in a way. That shows by this fully packed double CD of remixes (and this is only the first half - another double CD is to follow). Music in many places bring many friends. I believe everybody here is remixing TV Pow's 'Friendship Patrol' release (see Vital Weekly 306). And there was a lot to remix, since that release had 69 tracks. Even the cover is a remix...
This double CD reads like a who's who of the laptop scene and is a feast for recognizing known names aswell as picking up a few new names, like Ancient Greeks, Drillchop 9 or Vadim Sprikut. That's about it for the young ones, as all other names have been reviewed in Vital Weekly before (at least, that's what I think). Some people leave their signature, like Motor's 4/4 beat and Ambarchi's guitar sounds, or the haste and paste of Tu M and Olivia Block's concentrated sound fields, but in most the artists take the original and transform it. Others included are Jazzkammer, M. Behrens, Stephan Mathieu, Stillupsteypa, Toshimaru Nakamura etc. If you (don't) think this is much, than wait for the one too... (FdW)
Address: http://www.bottrop-boy.com

ADDITION to Vital Weekly 416:
In the review of the CD by Kouhei Matsunaga and Niko Skorpio some unclarity has arisen with regard to the fact that it is a split CD. This has not been mentioned properly in the review, due to circumstances. Fact remains that the last five tracks on the disc are by Niko Sorpio and they fit very very well on it (probably one of the reasons this escaped my attention). For the best info please visit http://www.desertedfactory.com/NIKO_SKORPIO_KOUHEI-split_more_info.htm.

(MR