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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 482
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week 27
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: as an experiment for the time being, we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
http://www.vitalweekly.net
you can subscribe to the weekly broadcast using the following rss feed:
http://www.harmlog.nl/vitalfeed.asp
New broadcasts will be sent directly when uploaded. For more information on
podcasts go here: http://ipodder.sourceforge.net/

 

 

 

MONOS - GENERATORS (2CD by Die Stadt)
Ø: KANTAMOINEN (CD by Sähko Recordings)
OPAK - TWO SLEEPWALKERS ON A TIGHT-ROPE (CD by Creaked)
LODEN - VALEEN HOPE (CD by Eat This Records/Plexiphonic)
HALFSET - DRAMANALOG (CD by Elusive)
THE HAFLER TRIO/AUTECHRE - æ3o/h3æ (2CD by Die Stadt)
PHROQ - COLLAPSE (CD by Ground Fault Recordings)
ASMUS TIETCHENS - FORMEN LETZTER HAUSMUSIK (CD by Die Stadt)
SARA AYERS - A MILLION STORIES (CD by Dark Wood Recordings)
SPHERICAL DISRUPTION - NULL (CD by Audiophob)
MANDELBROT - AUF TAUCHFART (CD by Audiophob)
JASON TALBOT - A LOVE SO BRIGHT IT SHINES A HOLE THROUGH MY HEART (miniCD by C.I.P.)
VERTONEN - ORCHID COLLIDER (CD by C.I.P.)
CHRISTOPHE CARDOEN/LIONEL MARCHETTI/EMMANUEL PETIT - MERE FEU 40 TETES (CDR by Absurd)
BJERGA/IVERSEN - PLAY THE OSLO GROOVE MACHINE (CDR by Utan Titel/Absurd)
AMYGDALA (CDR by Deserted Village)
PAUL G SMYTH - THE ANAESTHETIC (CDR by Deserted Village)
JAC BELOEIL - AN ABSENT-MINDED TRACK (3" CDR by Entr'acte)
MACHINEFABRIEK - RUIS (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
MACHINEFABRIEK - BEESTENBOEL (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
VIOLET - OKRAINA EP (mp3 by Con-v)

 

 

 

MONOS - GENERATORS (2CD by Die Stadt)
Many times I write in my reviews that something is good for what it is, but that is doesn't put a new perspective on things. He or she who reads well knows that I usually doesn't this when it becomes to things that have my private interest: music of people like Andrew Chalk, Monos, Ora, Paul Bradley and Mirror and that is absolutely true. The shortest review I could write about the new Monos double CD (or triple if you count the CDR that comes with the mailorder copies of this) would be this: 'the new release by Monos lives up to its expectations and fits well along the lines of their companions Ora and Mirror but doesn't shed much new light on the future of drone music'. Because that would sum things up entirely. However I will elaborate a bit more, simply because there is more to say. Monos are Darren Tate, who is credited with water heater, radio and electronics and Colin Potter who is responsible for processing and electronics. One CD has three pieces and one has 'just' one piece. A typical Monos piece starts out with a single hum for some time, and then this hum is expanded into an ever expanding, densely woven cloud of sound. It sounds sometimes vaguely like an organ and at other times it might indeed be just the water circulating through the central heating system. A sound is added, maybe two, but not many more. All of these sounds form the backbone of the piece and can be regarded as the unplayed instruments. The processing of these sounds are the generators that set the sounds in motion, they make the melody, whoever minimal that may be. The music takes as much time as needed, up forty-eight minutes on 'The Black Sea'. Long, but it never comes across as too long. So I might not be the best person to criticize this kind of music which has my strong personal appreciation, but I'd still recommend anyone to get the full three disc set, even when the developments in this kind of music are not very big. (FdW)
Address: http://www.diestadtmusik.de

Ø: KANTAMOINEN (CD by Sähko Recordings)
It's been a while since Mika Vainio last recorded under the name Ø, nine years to be precise. Since the early days of Panasonic - now Pan Sonic - he was more active as that (in fact before Pan Sonic), but in recent years he used his own name to release solo music. Yet there is a distinct difference between Ø and Vainio under his own name. Vainio is more abstract with beats somewhere hidden and as Ø his pieces are more rhythmical, but here the divisions are blurring. Vainio uses solely analog electronic equipment, and settings on those machines can't be saved, so each track is an unique one. Some of the pieces on this new CD are inspired by his childhood, although it's far away from being a concept album. Rhythms are used sparsely here, and with the usual amount of reverb that we know so well from his previous work. There is most definetely a more ambient feel to this, and the sparse and somewhat cold sounds have been replaced by a more warm set of tones. Perhaps it's the composer getting aged? Thinking of his childhood, and setting them to a warmer set of music? Maybe, but perhaps it's also to do with expanding the type of music that Vainio, under which ever guise, is so well-known for. It's in either case a most welcome come-back of someone who never went away. (FdW)§
Address: http://www.sahkorecordings.com

OPAK - TWO SLEEPWALKERS ON A TIGHT-ROPE (CD by Creaked)
This is Creaked fourth release and it's signed by duo Arnauld Sponsar and Julien Grandjean joined under name Opak. As I got idea about this label from their previous releases their sound is fusion between rock music with experimental moments and electronic production. Blend that Opak puts together on this release is somewhere around. Electronic instruments and classic rock approach mixed into contemporary 21 century flavor. A bit lounge atmosphere, scratching, broken rhythms, melodic bass lines. are other eclectic achieves of this release. Jazzy drums are combined with samples, tapes, dictaphones into hypnotic post rock atmosphere reminding of best Chicago and thrill jockey attitude. Their solid sound structure is built up from real instruments energy supported with guitar drones, tons of samples, ambient soundscapes and periodical sudden glitches. accomplishing strong but relaxing totality. Their live acts are also featured with visual projections provided by Thanassis Fouradoulas giving complete multimedia
experience. It is probably a must see live act. (TD)
Address: http://www.creakedrecords.com

LODEN - VALEEN HOPE (CD by Eat This Records/Plexiphonic)
Eat this records and Plexiphonic labels are joining on this release for the love of beautiful music, as they said, and release the debut album of Loden. Valeen hope was produced in period of 14 months between Amsterdam and Brussels. On these twelve songs you can find warm electronic music or pop electronics that can be listened on labels like Morr Music or exactly Audiobulb, Elusive. As well as many other labels that appeared recently with this sound. On moments noisy, but on moments pleasing, moving to direction of ambient... Pop and rock reminiscence can be also found shining through the electronic sounds. There are also some guests on this release, providing guitar sounds, vocals as well as noises. Video is also here, that Ewo (Plexiphonic) visualized for the track 'Tenofour'. He also does visuals for Lodens live acts and runs the Plexiphonic website. Maybe this is just another release that offers simple pop electronics. Anyway just give a chance. Maybe you'll find something nice in it. (TD)
Address: http://www.plexiphonic.com / http://www.eatthisrecords.com

HALFSET - DRAMANALOG (CD by Elusive)
We already know Elusive through their compilation Electra that was presenting their sound intentions. Halfset is latest signing on this Irish label and this is their fifth release that reinforces the labels intention in releasing organic melodic electronica. Under Halfset are hiding Stephen Shannon, producer/engineer and Jeff Martin who has two solo releases behind him. On Dramanalog they made mixture of analog electronic sound, analog synths and warm atmospheres in combination with real instruments such as guitar, banjo, mandola, glockenspiel, melodica. as well as occasional vocals. All that supported with programmed downtempo beats. Recently Halfset started working with live drummer Cillian Mc Donnell formerly of Jubilee Allstars, a harpist/rhodes pianist Sinead Nic Gearailt and a jazz trumpet player Bill Blackmore. The result is live show built on beat driven electronica with melodic flow. This sound is already well known from labels like Audiobulb or Autres Directions In Music. and well more established ones like morr music or city centre offices, despite elusive are much more into idm-ish oriented pop electronics. Warm organic melodies, poppy intentions and soulful electronics are clichés used for producing and describing this kind of sound. Too much labels and artists are now dealing with this sound so it became a bit boring already. But anyway. Try it and you will see if you will like it. (TD)
Address: http://www.elusiverecordings.com

 

THE HAFLER TRIO/AUTECHRE - æ3o/h3æ (2CD by Die Stadt)
This is the second time around for the Hafler Trio and Autechre to work together, following their mini CDs in the first package (see Vital Weekly 404). More than before it's hard to tell who does what here, even when it comes to know who did what disc. But both discs hold surprises. Like on the previous collaboration drones play an important role (like on many of the recent Hafler Trio releases, I hasten to add), but they are presented here in the form of an audio collage, meaning sudden changes, cutting straight into a new area. There are also other sounds used in a raw, almost electro-acoustical way - even when Mister McKenzie may not like me for using this word - like the opening of a door or water sounds. Stylistically this may run back to earlier Hafler Trio releases such as 'Brain Song' or 'The Sea Org', similar changes happen here. However one disc holds a short segment of pure digital noise, almost in a Merzbow/Mego fashion, and that is perhaps the biggest surprise of all. Although it's lasts a few minutes, this might be something that will be a new feature in the work of the Trio, or even for Autechre? It's these points that make this into a more than excellent release, a landmark. (FdW)
Address: http://www.diestadtmusik.de

PHROQ - COLLAPSE (CD by Ground Fault Recordings)
Following his two recent CDR releases on Solipsism and Carbon Records (see Vital Weekly 477), here is a new CD on Ground Fault Recordings. Phroq is Francisco Meirono, who lives in Switzerland. On 'Collapse' he plays around with electronic manipulations of contact microphones and field recordings made in Spain, Japan and Switzerland. Just like on his previous releases, 'Collapse' is a very dynamic affair, ranging from quite soft to intensely loud, as loud as some of the Merzbow material. But it's this balance between the loud and soft parts that makes this into a pretty varied CD, balancing well on both. Although the CD lists nine different tracks, I strongly would recommend listening to this in one go and not as nine separate tracks. It works much better when seen as one longer work. Intense when loud, lulling to sleep when soft, and Phroq can go either way. (FdW)
Address: http://www.groundfaultrecordings.com

ASMUS TIETCHENS - FORMEN LETZTER HAUSMUSIK (CD by Die Stadt)
It's easy to see that a lot of people will have taken the first five Asmus Tietchens re-issues for granted and that now the more interesting things start to happen. Understandable since much of Tietchens recent fame is based upon those records that he made after his so-called 'Sky Phase', when he started to develop his own form of musique concrete. 'Formen Letzter Hausmusik' was originally released on United Diaries, the label run by Steve Stapleton of Nurse With Wound, in 1984. Tietchens mailed him a cassette of his more 'serious' works which made in the seventies, so pre-dating all the material on the Sky Records, and Stapleton was blown away by it, saying it was the best work he'd heard in '10 years'. On this LP explores musique concrete to a wider extent for the first time, using water sounds, violin, glass and what now be called 'field recordings'. Some of these pieces are still excellent, like 'Studie Für Glasspiel', 'Hydrophonie 1' and 'Studie Für Klavier', but the high end violin sounds in 'Kammermusik 1' and 'Kammermusik 2' is a bit too long, and drenched into sound effects and have an overall too improvised character. Even included is one of the first pieces At it's time this was no doubt a shocking LP, as very rarely someone with no classical training made such as music, but it's still the learning Tietchens, refining his skills and ways in the studio, but still after all the years, this is a very nice Tietchens LP after all those years. And it's lengthy stuff here, since the original LP lasted already sixty minutes (in excellent classical pressing), plus we get three bonus tracks. (FdW)
Address: http://www.diestadtmusik.de

SARA AYERS - A MILLION STORIES (CD by Dark Wood Recordings)
The press blurb that came with this CD read in bold letters: 'Ethereal vocalist-composer Sara Ayers releases her new CD 'A Million Stories' on Tuesday, July 19'. And usually that makes me suspicious, as something 'ethereal' is usually not my cup of coffee, at all. The cover doesn't give much information, as to the how and whys of this, but 'A Million Stories' is a single piece of almost thirty-nine minutes and is perhaps one, perhaps more stories, and it features the voice of Sara Ayers, aswell as synthesizers and field recordings. If anything, her voice could be best compared to that of Lisa Gerard of Dead Can Dance, even when her music is something entirely different. A dark ambient setting, crackles of a far away fire and Sara's voice singing sustained lines of wordless singing, like Gerard's quasi mediaeval words (and don't get me wrong, 'Aion' is one I like). This is close to the border of new age music, but the instrumentation used made the balance still on the 'good' edge, it's simply too dark to be put away as new age, and can be filed under 'dark atmospheric ambient' music. But it's close to the edge, very close. (FdW)
Address: http://www.saraayers.com

SPHERICAL DISRUPTION - NULL (CD by Audiophob)
MANDELBROT - AUF TAUCHFART (CD by Audiophob)
Here is a bunch of bands of which I never heard, all operating in a certain, somewhat darker corner of the musical spectrum. Spherical Disrupted is one Mirko Hentrich from Germany's industrial heartland, and he has released seven CDRs and seventeen tracks to compilations, but is now ready for his first real CD. A long one, with eight tracks, each with a considerable length, although 'Nichts', ('nothing' in German), really contains hardly any music. It's like Spherical Disrupted wants to show us what he is capable of. The opening piece 'Grau' ('grey') is a stutter, almost industrial affair and 'Com Verbot' a rather simple piece played on a keyboard with a likewise simple and minimal rhythm, hovering on the edge of industrial ambient. 'Kein' is a slowed down techno piece. Limping on more than one feet, this is however quite a nice release, nothing surprising in here, but alright in its darkness meeting rhythm.
Mandelbrot started also as a solo project, by P. Muench (also of Synapscape and The Rorschach Garden) and released as such some solo work, but on 'Auf Tachfahrt' ('on a diving trip') he is helped by B. Teichner (also of The Rorschach Garden). Underwater exploration is the theme of this CD and they use dark ambient electronics to achieve this. Unlike the Spherical Disruption this is a much more coherent CD of dark ambient music, played on a bunch of old synthesizers. Cascading waves going slowly in crescendo and decrescendo picture a world below the waves. Elegantly played and executed with great care, but also with, like with so many ambient music, not much new under the sun. However it's great pass-time music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.audiophob.de/

JASON TALBOT - A LOVE SO BRIGHT IT SHINES A HOLE THROUGH MY HEART (miniCD by C.I.P.)
VERTONEN - ORCHID COLLIDER (CD by C.I.P.)
Both Vertonen and Jason Talbot were recently on tour in the southern and western parts of the USA, so not by me. But I catched Jason Talbot playing turntables before, when he was as a duo with Howard Stelzer. Talbot not only plays records on turntable, but he also plays the turntable itself, with contactmicrophones, toothbrushes, balloons and metal. On this twenty minute CD, he displays his skills very well. For Talbot loves sound and not so much the medium it is created with. The turntable is a mere tool to generate sound and not a thing to make sound playing. This is much more musique concrete or electro-acoustic in approach than anything. Talbot, also a gifted improviser, has recorded his various skills on the turntable in various modes and builds an excellent collage of sound, that is noisy but elegant, with lots of small events happening.
Talbot was on tour with C.I.P. labelowner Blake Edwards, who works since 1991 as Vertonen, having released two CDs and a whole bunch of 7"s, CDRs and a split LP. This new CD is a step forward. Coming from more noisy and violent drone works, this new one is a distinct step into a new direction, that of much more subtle drone works. Before Vertonen also worked with turntables, but now I am not so sure if he still does this. Whatever the sources are that Vertonen now uses, they produce a much more subtle drone music, that works along the lines of the people that influenced him, such as Eliane Radigue and The Hafler Trio, but I'd like to add that Vertonen seems also influenced by such people as Monos, Ora and Mirror. Slowly evolving minimal and sustained drone music, played on perhaps a bunch of analogue synths being fed through a line of sound effects. Like with the Monos CD reviewed elsewhere, this kind of music is perhaps a dead end, but it is surely quite nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cipsite.net

CHRISTOPHE CARDOEN/LIONEL MARCHETTI/EMMANUEL PETIT - MERE FEU 40 TETES (CDR by Absurd)
BJERGA/IVERSEN - PLAY THE OSLO GROOVE MACHINE (CDR by Utan Titel/Absurd)
Now here is something new: music that was recorded live at the mass service held for Pierre De La Faye (1917-2003): music commissioned for a small group of people, it's like mediaeval times again. In this thirty-two minute piece of music things are not entirely silent (and I don't mean the feedback that probably accidental aroused). The crackling of small sounds of objects being rubbed and scratched, the occasional plucking of a strings and the scanning of surfaces: it's all loud and clear present in this recording. Moving slowly and in a minimal way, this is indeed music to close your eyes to, and contemplate or meditate. It reminded me of Kapotte Muziek's similar approach to silent electro-acoustic music. Very nice silent electro-acoustica.
A mistake from the printed lead to this release: since the cover were misprinted and there was a recording lying around from Sindre Bjerga and J. M. Iversen, why not release it in those misprinted covers. The recording was made late last year by Bjerga who plays electronics and amplified objects and Iversen on electronics. These two Norwegians have collaborated before but not always with great success as far as I'm concerned. However 'The Oslo Groove Machine' is a major step forward: the densely interwoven electronics that is at various times a bit noisy and uncontrolled, but throughout maintains a certain strength that is captures the listeners attention. File under lo-fi improvisation meets industrial soundscapes. Or some such. (FdW)
Address: http://www.anet.gr/absurd

 

AMYGDALA (CDR by Deserted Village)
PAUL G SMYTH - THE ANAESTHETIC (CDR by Deserted Village)
Real purists, among which I am not, want their improvisation straight forward and at that they may have a good time with Amygdala, the group with Dave Caroll (The Wormholes) on percussion, Fergus Cullen (Papercup) on guitar, Gavin Prior (Murmansk) on percussion and electronics and Paul Roe (Concorde Ensemble) on bass clarinet. The recordings captured on this CDR release are the first they made as a band, during two sessions, lasting an hour or so, and they appear here in their complete form. Welcome to the world of improvised music in it's most pure form, either presentation (straight forward live) aswell as musical content. The instruments sound pretty as they are, guitars, drums, clarinet and all, with not much alternative techniques being played and the whole thing is like a jazz band on a lot of drugs (although that seems the same to me, but perhaps I am wrong). A lot of speed and energy going on here and despite some of the conservative approach to improvised music, it's certainly quite alright, and live probably even better.
Paul G. Smyth is for me a new name, but apparently he has played with the likes of Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Charles Gayle, Barry Guy, Keiji Haino and has a couple of his piano improvisations on his own Nysha label. The recordings on 'The Anaesthetic' were made in a dark room at the Printing House in Dublin and in these seven pieces, Paul plays the piano on the keys (not the inside, the strings, the body etc), but he does this with great intensity. Somewhere in the back there is the occasional sound of a police car, which adds to the intense playing. Sometimes the music very soft and sometimes a bit louder but it never reaches a point where things are too loud. Haunting music, certainly when played late at night with a thunder storm outside, like I did. (FdW)
Address: http://www.desertedvillage.com

JAC BELOEIL - AN ABSENT-MINDED TRACK (3" CDR by Entr'acte)
You have to go to the website of Entr'acte to know more about this, since the cover is just black, no information and no separate information, just the catalogue number printed on the CDR itself. Not that the website would give any other information than the artist name and the title, and I know absolutely nothing about Jac Beloeil. I don't know what his intentions are with 'an absent-minded track', but the furious computer noise piece sounds like it was made with the composer being absent minded for the duration of the recording of this. Loud and mean noise, in an uncontrolled rhythmic manner, but that somehow fails to make a big impression. It's pretty alright for a couple of minutes, but the full twenty is a bit too much. (FdW)
Address: http://www.entracte.co.uk

MACHINEFABRIEK - RUIS (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
MACHINEFABRIEK - BEESTENBOEL (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
Rutger Zuydervelt shows us how to use the medium of CDR: 'Ruis' was recorded on june 27th and on july 4th, the promo of the released disc lands on this desk, and as usual with a nice cover. 'Ruis' was recorded live (I guess while reading the notes on the cover: a conversation between Rutger and someone who heard it) and is another leap forward. His previous concerts were noisy from second number one until the proceedings were over, but on 'Ruis' he builds things up in a carefully, starting in sheer inaudibility and then over the course of seventeen minutes things built up into a mighty crescendo. Way to go, I'd say.
'Beestenboel', which is a hard to translate Dutch word meaning something of a 'mess', is a studio affair, and has eight tracks and one remix by one Vladimir. 'Beestenboel' is an entirely different release, as it features melodic stuff such as 'WC-eend' and 'Bokkepoot', but also some more noise outings such as 'Apestaartje'. This release reminds me a bit of the other CDRs I heard from Machinefabriek before, limping on many feet and seemingly finding it hard to make a choice in which direction to go. The Vladimir remix of 'Compare & Contrast' with it's doomy vocals however is quite nice. It's like listening to a radio programm. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.tk

VIOLET - OKRAINA EP (mp3 by Con-v)
Violet is one of Jeff Surak's monikers, Zeromoon label owner and part of glitch/dubby techno project normal music. He has recorded many noise/drone/improvised releases by now on various labels and this is his last placed on con-v label. It is 24 minute piece composed from source material recorded in Russia and Ukraine on his tour last summer. These field recordings from snoring, toilet flush, coughing, train drive and other various static noises and ambiences were than edited into peaceful, drone soundscape. Whole piece is more or less equal in its intensity. Sometimes glitchy parts interrupt the peaceful atmosphere, sometimes ambience dominates and sometimes snoring creates the body of the track. Excellent work, one of his best so far when field recordings are in question. (TD)
Address: http://www.con-v.org