============
VITAL WEEKLY
============
number 426
------------
week 24
------------

 

JAAP BLONK - OFF SHORE (CD by Kontrans)
JUNIOR BOYS - LAST EXIT (CD by Kin)
MICHAEL WERTMÜLLER - DIE ZEIT, EINE GEBRAUSCHANWEISUNG, EINTLEIBUNG (PART 1, PART, 3) (CD by Grob)
S.E.T.I. & SI_COMM - PROBE (CD by Vivo Records)
FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #119 (3"CD by Lapilli)
JASON KAHN & JON MUELLER - PAPERCUTS (miniCD by Crouton Records)
JON MUELLER & BHOB RAINEY & JIM SCHOENECKER (CD by Crouton Records)
AUGSBURGER TAFELCONCERT - FUSION IN THE SLAUGHTERHAUS (miniCD by Nneon)
BLACK DICE - CREATURE COMFORTS (CD by Fat Cat)
LULLATONE - LITTLE SONGS ABOUT RAINDROPS (CD by Plop)
MARTIN SIEWERT - NO NEED TO BE LONESOME (CD by Mosz)
FIRES WERE SHOT - SOLACE (CD by Asphodel)
INTERNAL FUSION - ATONA TON TONA (CDR by Kokeshidisk)
AIDAN BAKER - THE TASTE OF SUMMER ON YOUR SKIN (3"CDR by Taalem)
EDWARD RUCHALSKI - REFINED LOCALITIES PART ONE (3"CDR by Taalem)
NO XIVIC - I DO BLAME YOU (3"CDR by Taalem)
ELLENDE - BITTER LEMONS (3"CDR by Taalem)
GULTSKRA ARTIKLER - GOLOVA (3"CDR by Saag)
PHOBODE - SOGUR (3"CDR by Saag)
CHEFKIRK/IVERSEN (CDR by XV Parowek)
CORDELL KLIER - SENTENCE DIAGRAMS (CDR by Acid Fake)
KENNETH KIRSCHNER - JANUARY 2, 1999, ET AL (MP3 by Conv Net Lab)

 

 

JAAP BLONK - OFF SHORE (CD by Kontrans)
Overviewing the cd-releases of the last few months Blonk is in a very productive phase of his career. The releases show that vocalist and composer Blonk works in many different settings. First of all there is his solowork of soundpoetry. A very special surprise in this context is his most recent cd on Basta Records where Blonk gives his interpretation of Schwitters 'Ursonate' (reviewed in Vital 423). Now available at last.
Besides he works in the context of improvisation with many different musicians. Recently he worked with scandinavian improvisors. With Maja Ratke he released 'Majaap', with Ingar Zach and Ivar Grydeland another cd both on his own Kontrans-label.
Also I would like to mention his trio with Claus van Bebber (turntables) en Hübsch (tuba). Their live performance at Extrapool (Nijmegen, Holland) last year still echoes in my mind.
Blonk also has two ensembles of his own. Splinks plays his work for a big ensemble. Braaxtaal is a group in trio-format. His work with this group show that Blonk is increasingly involved in electronics.
This is also the case with 'Off the Shore'. If I'm not mistaken the music on this double-cd served in a music-video project namend Iles Flotantes, allthough the liner notes make no reference to it. So I may be wrong, but anyway the music stands very much on its own feet.
Blonk (electronics, voice) is accompanied here by Bart van der Putten (clarinet, alto sax, harmonica) and Paul Pallesen (electric guitar). Together they play 8 new compositions of Blonk. I'm not familiar with all of Blonk's work, but I have the idea that 'Off Shore' shows Blonk from a new angle. To characterize the music in one word I would say its 'modern composed music'. The music is at times bluesy, or jazzy or near to rock, but it never is blues, jazz, rock or what you have more. Instead we hear some cleverly composed new music of a reflective nature. The music progresses slowly and because of this it did not immediately appeal to me. But it started to grow after repeated listenings. Clarinet and sax, guitar and banjo play sobre lines - sometimes played unisono - in a context of dark unprolific electronic soundscapes. Stripped down arrangments, controlled and disciplined playing make the music very open and at times a little dull. The vocal contributions are not prominent. His voice is just one of the instruments. I already mentioned that Blonk is more into electronics these days. Somewhere in the middle of the piece 'Zikse' we have a nice example of it, where electronics and voice intertwine beautifully.
All in all this trio gives a very convincing performance of the compositions, with great playing of all three musicians. I would not be wondered if this is an important release for Blonk.
For more information please visist his own site. Give it a try, if only to download the very funny screensaver. (DM)
Address: http://www.toondist.nl/

JUNIOR BOYS - LAST EXIT (CD by Kin)
Maybe you've seen Junior Boys on this year's Mutek? They're Canadian trio with 3 releases till now, all on Kin Records. The previous 2 were EPs and now here's their first full-length. Some of the tracks from the EPs are included here and that's good, because some of them, like Under The Sun and High Come Down are amazing tracks, and I don't own their first EP so it's good to find Birthday and Last Exit here too. Junior Boys' music is minimalistic and electro influenced, not as Fischerspooner, more like Pole's production, very stripped down. It's very filtered music, what's left is the essence of melodies, beats, pop, vocals, electro. That's present in different ways in the tracks, mostly very laid-back and easy-going, sometimes more up-beat, but even their most danceable tracks are still kinda slow, extremely relaxed, which sounds really great. The music is very pure and clean in it's dirty shadowy ways. You can dance to it like dancing on Spiritualized lazy tracks. Last Exit is a great release with a very nice selection and careful combination of the finest minimal synth-pop. I gotta hear that Fennesz remix sometime. (BR)
Address: http://www.electrokin.com

MICHAEL WERTMÜLLER - DIE ZEIT, EINE GEBRAUSCHANWEISUNG, EINTLEIBUNG (PART 1, PART, 3) (CD by Grob)
In a completely black box comes this solo work of Michael Wertmüller. Serious and pretentious stuff.Wertmüller was the drummer of the swiss experimental hardcore group Alboth with whom he recorded many cds. Also he made some improv recordings with Peter Brötzmann and Stephan Wittwer. With "Die Zeit" the swiss composer Wertmüller presents himself for the first time as a composer to the audience. Two of his compositions are featured on this cd. The first one, "Die Zeit, eine Gebrauchsanweisung" is played by the Kammermusikensemble Neue Musik Berlin, with Mark Trayle (computer) and Stephan Wittwer (guitar). The piece is recorded live at the Donaueschingen Tage für Neue Musik on october 20th 2001. The piece opens with heavy distorted guitarnoise that betrays Wertmüllers hardcore background. Because of the use of electric guitar and computertechnology it is evident that this is a recent work, but the structure of this composition reminded me a lot of modern composed music that came out of my radio in the 70s and 80s. The well-known dissonants, everything that makes up serious European composed music is here. So it's not that original in my ears. But this does not imply Wertmüller isn't doing a good job here. On the contrary. He makes good use of the possibilities of the ensemble, the diversity of instruments and sounds. It must be a hell of a job to write all these arrangments. And it must be said that the work radiates lots of raw energy and power. Of the second work "Entleibung' part 1 and 3" made it to this cd. The work is played by the European String Quintet, with Alex Buess supplying live electronics in part 3. Again it's a live registration. And again it's a work which is everything except flat. In part 1 we hear In part 3 the playing if the string quintet is treated heavily through the live electronic manipulations of Buess. Wertmüller delivers an cd that is very convincing in several aspects. I think he is a promising composer. We'll see (DM)
Address: http://www.churchofgrob.com/

S.E.T.I. & SI_COMM - PROBE (CD by Vivo Records)
Let's assume S.E.T.I. needs no introduction; you may wonder who Si_Comm is. Behind this name we find Barry G. Nichols, maybe an unfamiliar name for you, but in the last twenty years he wrote for a lot of magazines, such as Music From The Empty Quarter, EST, Immerse, Noisegate, Resonance and Sound Projector, and you may know what this is all about: a musical territory which covers a wide experimental range, and not commonly found in the one UK magazine missing from the above list. Nichols is also, with Linden Hale, ECM:23, who mainly present sound installations. Si_Comm is Nichols solo. Together with S.E.T.I.'s Andrew Lagowski he shares an interest in sounds from space, or maybe sounds sounding like they come from outer space. You can imagine these boys late at night with an antenna out of their window captured electro-magnetic activities from outer space and meanwhile, inside, the computer works over time to calculate all this data until the musical components are revealed: loops of soundwaves, frequencies forming a melody. I don't know wether this still counts as ambient music, I don't think so. The music is more alien (how appropiate) than to be relaxing; it's transmissions from an outside world, transmissions from life out there. Life that is not the question, but rather the question when it will manifest itself in a different way than it does now. But the way it does now, is not a problem. In fact, it's fine. It leaves a nice CD as a footprint. (FdW)
Address: http://www.vivo.pl

FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #119 (3"CD by Lapilli)
When I was playing this seventeen minute work by Francisco Lopez, I was thinking: Lopez takes you to places where you have never been. At least, I have never been to Havanaa, Cuba. So maybe Lopez fools me and is this any sort of city, because the characteristics of a city is never captured by Lopez in the 'dry'. But knowing Lopez, I'm dead sure that this is Havanna, as he would never lie to us. After the usual minute or two of silence, the piece starts slowly, and little by little things evolve louder and louder. A big machine like hum takes over, with a strange stereo sense, which work well when played on headphones (which is something I would never recommend, but in this case it is). Sounds coming in from the left and right, and meanwhile in the centre there is this large machine hum. The city looked upon from an entirely differnent angle: far away, in the blurr, is the city and in the foreground there is this machine in close-up, so that we can't see what this machine is. There are small, but yet clear dramatic changes in the pieces to be noted. Switches in tones and textures which happen on a superficial level, so it seems. This is a fine Lopez work, like so many others. Many will find beauty in here, just as I did, and some will be disapointed for they would recognize the Lopez trick again. Packed in a total black jewel case with no print - another Lopezian mark. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lapilli.org

JASON KAHN & JON MUELLER - PAPERCUTS (miniCD by Crouton Records)
JON MUELLER & BHOB RAINEY & JIM SCHOENECKER (CD by Crouton Records)
Just after a while, when I played this CD for the second or third time, I realized that both Jason Kahn and Jon Mueller are both percussion players. And that's something that came as a shock, since nothing on this release sounds like percussive work at all. That has to do of course with the sound input: the two boys create all the sounds using paper, handcrafted and commercial paper. The sound of paper becomes apparent only in the final part of the piece. The folding and crackling - no tearing up, it seems to me - are processed only slightly, using electronic means, which add a superficial, almost film like (paperthin like, might be the more appropiate word here) texture over the original paper sounds. From the earth ground hum to the weightless texture by which this work ends, this deals with the various aspects of various pieces of paper. It's a particular strong and conceptual work (even when the use of paper is not a new feature in making music) that has the right length, a good compositional structure and a beauftiful cover. A well-thought out work.
On more conventional grounds of improvisation is the work by Mueller, Bhob Rhainey (on saxophone) and Jim Schoenecker on synthesizer. Although conventional might not be the right word - you never know with improvisation. Recorded one hot summer night in August 2003, these three man deliver a very intense set of improvised music. There is a deep tension hanging over these recordings, like waiting for a thunder to set in after a long hot day. Schoenecker's synth sounds like Rhainey's saxophone and vice versa. Meanwhile Mueller either gentle uses his sticks on a wide variety of small objects or aggressively hits his way around - there seems to be no middle, in every respect. Sometimes things are very soft and quiet, but that's a mere illusion. Instead there is a lot of intense communication going on between these three guys. I imagine this to be hard for those who don't love improvised music, but if ever you wanted to get a nice one, this can be the place to start. (FdW)
Address: http://www.croutonmusic.com

AUGSBURGER TAFELCONCERT - FUSION IN THE SLAUGHTERHAUS (miniCD by Nneon)
The Germans always seem to love weird band names, and Augsburger Tafelconcert is no different. The tableconcert from Augsburg is Jurgen Hall, aka Gunter Adler, whom you may otherwise know as Groenland Orchester on laptop, Sebastian Reier on 'volcano-guitar' (they are on tour these days, so I will have see it before I believe it) and BaronesseA, who sings at live concerts. No less than twelve tracks are presented in a mere eightteen minutes, which keeps things up speed, even when the sixth piece (I couldn't decipher the odd font there) is about six minutes long. This music is a true hotchpotch of electronic sounds, processed guitars, crackles, musique concrete going pop - and vice versa. Not every track is great, but throughout it's a nice, short and sweet CD. And of course curious to hear what it will sound live, later this week. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nneon.com

BLACK DICE - CREATURE COMFORTS (CD by Fat Cat)
A while ago I was pleasentely surprised by a miniCD of New York rockoutfit Black Dice, the band who sound like anything but a rockoutfit. 'Miles Of Smiles' was the taster of this new full length album 'Creature Comforts', even when this full length is only a third longer than the miniCD. If there is anything rock about Black Dice, then it must that they play psychedelic music. Somewhere down the drain this music might be originating from a rock line up, but it's been very effectively taken apart in the studio. Bits and pieces are played around with studio techniques, making loops of guitar, adding delay to the drums (which seem actually not to be present at all, most of the time) thus waving together a psychedelic tapestry of sounds. Apperentely this band plays live too, but seems to be hard to imagine. Despite the fact that this a nice CD, I must say that the surprise is a little bit less than 'Miles Of Smiles', the material seems to be moving into a more introspective vein, and the blow of 'Miles Of Smiles', the inherent aggression is not there any more. But it makes you wonder where these boys are moving next. Still: so far, so good. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fatcat.co.uk

LULLATONE - LITTLE SONGS ABOUT RAINDROPS (CD by Plop)
Behind Lullatone is one Shawn James Seymour who lives in Nagoya, Japan and who released some works on Audio Dregs Recordings and Childisc Recordings. I don't know these recordings, but I understand these were made with sine waves, but here he moves into playing keyboards, children's piano's and gets help from people playing guitar, ukelele and viola. Ten compositions in all that in every respect reflect the title. Words like 'small', 'little', 'gentle' or 'intimate' are well in place here. The keyboards sounds like tinkling raindrops, throughout the entire ten pieces on this CD. Musically these pieces are more Reich than Satie, but also reminds me of the work of Pascal Comelade. Gentle sweet songs indeed, but I must also admit that after six or so tracks, the gentle sweet tinkling went on my nerves a little bit. You wish something else would happen on this CD that acts maybe as counterpart, perhaps a children's drone music on a plastic saxophone, but no such thing. So that even at this otherwise nicely length CD (forty-one minutes), things are a bit overdone. But in a dose of five tracks per time, this is indeed a very nice CD. (FdW)
Address: http://www.inpartmaint.com/plop

MARTIN SIEWERT - NO NEED TO BE LONESOME (CD by Mosz)
Under his name you may not easily recognize the name Martin Siewert, but if you hear that he is part of Efzeg, Trapist and has played improvisational music with Taku Sugimoto, Tony Buck but also Pure, then you realize he is a busy bee. Yet 'No Need To Be Lonesome' is his first solo record and if you look at his background it is a most surprising one too. The inspiration for this album, it seems to me, comes from the world of popmusic. Using a lot of rhythm machines, guitars, bass, synthesizer and analogue and digital electronics he creates five lengthy pieces of popmusic like pieces. Pounding drums, fuzzy guitars and synthesizers playing all sort of bubbles: the ingredients of krautrock are all there, and in 'Valentine', even updated to the new millenium. But also because these tracks are lengthy, it's not really popmusic at all. There are poppy elements lifted out of their poppy contexts and placed in a new, much broader context of music that defies description. Maybe some more decisions had to be made and making some of the tracks a little bit shorter, but throughout this is a really nice surprise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mosz.org

FIRES WERE SHOT - SOLACE (CD by Asphodel)
Post-rock. Is that a term that people sstill use these days? I don't know, but in the case of Fires Were Shot, a guitar duo from Austin, Texas it can be said that it's indeed post-rock. These two boys play guitars, fed it through sound effects. Sometimes the pluck the strings, sometimes they use an ebow and sometimes they strum the guitars. It's at times a bit droney, a bit ambient and sometimes a bit more open. The music, and that's good, doesn't sound too produced, it's more like raw takes of recording sessions. Some of the tracks are pretty short, almost like a sketch. So far so good, but where do they differ from say Stars Of The Lid, Windy and Carl or some such recording artist from Kranky. That's hard to say. The tracks by Fires Were Shot are shorter, less produced, more naive but down the bottomline it's similar music to that was more hip some years ago, then it is now, I guess. Nice music still, and no doubt will remind me to play some more of this music but also a bit late. (FdW)
Address: http://www.asphodel.net
INTERNAL FUSION - ATONA TON TONA (CDR by Kokeshidisk)
AIDAN BAKER - THE TASTE OF SUMMER ON YOUR SKIN (3"CDR by Taalem)
EDWARD RUCHALSKI - REFINED LOCALITIES PART ONE (3"CDR by Taalem)
NO XIVIC - I DO BLAME YOU (3"CDR by Taalem)
ELLENDE - BITTER LEMONS (3"CDR by Taalem)
Taalem is part of Harmonie, a label from France that releases a lot less than the mother label, but now it's time for a second side-label: Kokeshidisk. It's devoted to releasing 'lost' works on CDR. It will include such luminaries as Sechres Mound, Y.ann (of Ultra Milkmaids) and Chöd. But the first one is for Internal Fusion. Despite being active for fifteen years not much Internal Fusion was released: two tapes (on Desaccord Majeur), one CD (on Staalplaat) and a 3"CDR on Taalem. The works collected on this release were originally intended for a CD release which never happened and apart from two tracks that were part of the 3"CDR on Taalem, now the complete work comes on CDR. I am not sure why there isn't that Internal Fusion releases, but may I suggest that the areas covered by Internal Fusion is a very restricted one: ethnic rhythms, samples of chanting, flutes and all drenched in a bath of electronica (delay, reverb). It could be well explored, if not Muslimgauze and Rapoon had covered the same territory with so many releases. It makes the voice of Internal Fusion not a very original one. His music is somewhat more smooth and silk produced than his UK counterparts, but this makes it also a little bit more distant.
Taalem's series of 3"CDR continues, of course with ever-present Aidan Baker. He presents three solo tracks of his ambient guitar playing. Multi-layered it seems, Baker puts various layers of ambient guitar playing on top of eachother and presents some haunting soundscape. Which can also be said of Edward Ruchalski. He had a couple of releases on Humbug. Apperentely he is using field recordings and samples of of string and percussion motor instruments Edward built himself. This release is a bit less of ambient work for the usual Taalem release, and a bit more about industrial music. Machine-like sounds, coupled with modulations of various machines humming in sync, makes this a raw and crude work, but nevertheless it's powerful and intense work throughout, with enough variations in its modulations.
No Xivic is the name Henkka Kyllönen uses. You may recall his first 7" on Drone Records from last year. On this CDR release is a lot less ambient and droney, but finds himself in a harsh territory of rather lo-fi loops being played along reel-to-reels with dirty heads. Dust made audible. Crude raw ambient industrial. It may appeal to some people, but I must admit it didn't do much for me.
Just like Aidan Baker, Ellende is also everywhere. A collective of people sending sound material to a Dutch in Japan and he mixes it all together. Hence the various areas of music in which Ellende moves about. The title piece is a rumble of percussive like field recordings, with droney, machine hum in the background. 'Our Disagreements' is surprisingely a much more noiser piece than most of the recent stuff by Ellende but towards the end a voice is used and things become a tad more ambient. New roads ahead for Ellende here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.taalem.free.fr

GULTSKRA ARTIKLER - GOLOVA (3"CDR by Saag)
PHOBODE - SOGUR (3"CDR by Saag)
Gultskra Artikler, guess I'll never remember this name. It's the same guy who has made some music as Stud. I've heard some of that music released by Kikapu and it was more melodic and rhythmic than this, short miniatures in an idm vs isan way. The music is quite different now, no explicit melodies, but rather scratched atmospheres, treated field recordings, cut-ups..., but the sensibility is similar. The attention to the details and small things is now well settled within the tracks and music itself, not only in the length or the form. One track is remixed by some Kiyoshi Ono, it's done in almost the same way as the other music. A bit more edgy, but gentle nevertheless, like some Osso Bucco music.
The similar atmosphere goes through the other EP by Phobode. Atmosphere, the key word here. Sometimes with a very distant rhythm or blurred beats, other times only space-sounds. It's interesting when it gets more intense, like it's cleverly done in the 3rd track Myosote. There's one remix here too, done by Proswell, the most known name, mainly from Merck Records. In the Proswell remix the rhythm and the melody show up most clearly in the foreground, and I think I like it better, 'cause the music gets a better structure. Proswell is well known for his sophisticated atmospheric-idm sound. (BR)
Address: http://www.saagrecords.com

CHEFKIRK/IVERSEN (CDR by XV Parowek)
More Chefkirk, aka Roger Smith, launched onto the world. Here on a split with Iversen, who also seems to be as active as ever. Chefkirk offers twelve tracks of his sample based noise, which sometimes works out quite nice, such as in '(R+M)/2 METHOD', but occassionally leaps into a clone of Merzbow, without surpassing the master himself. But here Chefkirk keeps his tracks short and that is altogether not a bad thing. The more quiet and or more rhythm ones make the release worthwhile.
Iversen's 'Caligula Symphony D' is a twenty-one minute work that like the Chefkirk piece works on a variety of levels, such as quietness, noise and rhythm, but here packed as one track, which makes it harder to digest and in his built up and structure of the piece, the odd note is struck, which made me think that Iversen is jamming around with some sounds, rather than working along a pre-conceived plan. Which is a pity because there is some potentional in this music. (FdW)
Address: http://xvp.terra.pl

CORDELL KLIER - SENTENCE DIAGRAMS (CDR by Acid Fake)
Here's something I've been listening repeatedly lately. Cordell Klier is maybe known to you, he releases music since the 80's and has lots of releases which I haven't heard... I'm most familiar with his 2 albums on Ad Noiseam and now also with this new release. The music is sometimes rhythmic but other times atmospheric, always very much introspective. It starts with a longer 15-min piece which sets a quieter and calmer atmosphere but later in the other tracks it gets more dynamic and a little upbeat. Sometimes, when there are loose and distant background atmospheres, it sounds like a vague memory of the ambient side of industrial music, which is something I like here. Cordell Klier's music can be compared with Aidan Baker's music, not with the style but with the general sense and the impression they leave, a need to create good music. Also both are somehow connected with the past and contemporary music tradition, which is nice to hear. What I miss on this release sometimes is more dynamic confrontation between the sounds - that's best done in the 2nd track, but not so much in the 1st, and in the others is somewhere in between. But nevertheless, the balance works alright and it's a very nice release that I want to hear over and over again. (BR)
Address: http://www.acidfake.tk and http://www.doctsect.com

KENNETH KIRSCHNER - JANUARY 2, 1999, ET AL (MP3 by Conv Net Lab)
The title of this MP3 by Kenneth Kirschner may remind you of his album on 12K with a similar title (see Vital Weekly 371), but this is something else. Kirschner's main instrument is the piano and in that sense he is influenced by Morton Feldman. But I am not sure if Kirschner plays his works all the way through, or if he manipulates them in his computer. In 'November 11, 2003' it seems to me that he plays the piece from beginning to end without the interference of computertreatments. In the opening piece 'January 2, 1999' this seems to be case, but the treatments are on a very superficial level. The track in between those is definetely a computer processed track with time stretched tones and notes, which seems an odd ball amidst those two lenghty piano pieces, but it does make sense. Kirschner plays in all three pieces around with the notion of ambient music. In the middle piece of course in the most traditional, electronic way, but also in his piano pieces he comes very close to someone like Harold Budd, rather than Morty. Pastoral notes, sparsely distributed over time, diffused into space. And also with a mild tendency to the new agey aspects of music, at least in the two piano pieces. (FdW)
Address: http://www.con-v.org