number 507
week 1


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* noted are in this week's podcast


DION WORKMAN & MATTIN - S3 (CD by Formed.Records) *
AH-CAMA-SOTZ - GHOST IN THE SHADOW (CD by Spectre Records) *
HYPNOSKULL - (G.O.D.) - ONCE AGAIN (CD by Spectre Records)
RICHARD CHARTIER - TRACING (CD by Non Visual Objects) *
TERRITORIUM (CD compilation by Non Visual Objects)
BRIAN LEBER - TILL (CD by Alluvial Recordings) *
HIGH MAYHEM FESTIVAL 2003 (CD + CDRom by High Mayhem Studios)
HIGH MAYHEM FESTIVAL 2004 (2CD + CDRom by High Mayhem Studios)
EVAPORI - NA KATARYNCE (3" CDR by 1000 Füssler) *
SONIC NORTH - VERKSTED #4 (Office For Contemporary Art Norway)


DION WORKMAN & MATTIN - S3 (CD by Formed.Records)
Both Dion Workman and Mattin belong to the most radical music composers the world has to offer. Mattin for his loud, computerized noise and Workman for his radical sine wave/feedback compositions that are usually quite ear-piercing. This is not the first time that they work together. They released a mini-CD 'Via Vespucci' on Antifrost before (see Vital Weekly 451). You can't blame me, but I had my volume way down, expecting some nuclear noise blast to come from my speakers. I sank back in my chair awaiting what was to come. Waited. Ah the inaudible intro of some time, maybe minutes, before things were to take off. Waited some more. Maybe it is a good idea to crank up the volume just a little bit? It is. It is indeed. The volume goes all the way up on the remote control and even some adjustment on the amplifier. All this fiddling with volume knobs distracted from the music, but was there any music on this CD. Did in the past forty minutes I hear anything? In the second time around, having cranked up the volume all the way up, things become clearer. Workman and Mattin enter the world of Francisco Lopez, using silence to great length but when music arises then it's usually along their own sound palettes - gritty noise, but played softly and feedback, but played softly. There are moments, or rather blocks when this all comes alive and well, before it sinks back into low end hum and then into a sea of silence. Maybe the use of silence of something that is a bit too Lopezian, but Workman and Mattin have done a real fine job in creating something that is equally disturbing as much of their previous work (Mattin's singing and acoustic guitar playing from last week springs to mind), in very much similar extreme areas, but using a 180 degrees opposite working method. It's music you can easily ignore when not paying attention, and if that is your usual listening habit, I'd say don't touch this release. If you are willing to spare it lots of time, then put it on repeat and a reasonable volume for half a day or so. (FdW)
Address: http://www.formedrecords.com

"Drug addiction, alcoholism, sadism, beastiality, mutilation, murder, vampirism, necrophilia, cannibalism, not to mention a gamut of sexual goodies. Shall I go on?"
Starting out with this not-too-friendly quote from John Hough's excellent occult horror movie "The Legend of Hell House" (1973), the feeling of darkness is immediately settled on this latest album by Belgian composer Herman Klapholz (a.k.a. Ah Cama-Sotz) titled "Ghost in the shadow". Recorded live during the "Seats 'n Beats" session at CC Luchtbal Antwerp in 2003, "Ghost in the shadow" is a great compilation of the darkest ambient soundscapes by Ah Cama-Sotz. A 50-minute journey into the world of gloomy darkness. As was the case with his previous album, the joint-venture album with Canadian artist Iszoloscope titled "Camanecroszcope : echoes ov who lieth dead but ever dreameth", this latest Ah-Cama-Sotz album fully concentrates on ambient expression. Despite the frequent use of noise the expression remains subtle with more focus on deep ambient and less on the death-industrial-side of Ah-Cama-Sotz. The musical style on the album sounds like a blend between the "out of space"-industrial ambient of Lustmord's classic "The place where the black stars hang", the sinister dark ambient of Inade's "Aldebaran" and the early expression of the German post-krautrock/ambient-style of Edgar Froese and Robert Schroeder. The balance between cinematic darkness and musical atmospheres created by the floating orchestral soundscapes is quite remarkable. Already established in the early 90's Ah-Cama-Sotz has throughout his more than one decade of existence had the capability of continually finding new directions in his explorations into the dark lands of demonic hell and angelic beauty. "Ghost in the shadow" is the latest document on this capability but I certainly hope it won't be the last! (NMP)
Address: http://www.spectre.be

HYPNOSKULL - (G.O.D.) - ONCE AGAIN (CD by Spectre Records)
Originally established back in 1992, Belgium sound artist Patrick Stevens a.k.a. Hypnoskull has become a legend within the Industrial/EBM-scene. Especially his debut release "Rhythmusmaschine 1-2" out on German label Ant-Zen Recordings in 1998 made him climb from underground to the central part of the German Industrial scene. Having released five albums on Ant Zen Recordings, this sixth album of Hypnoskull titled "G.O.D. - once again" (G.O.D. being the shortage of "God Of Death") is out on Belgium label Spectre Records. The musical style remains the same: A hard clash between several contemporary dance styles and the hard side of underground industrial electronics. Despite the compositional well-crafted work of Hypnoskull, I still have some ambivalent feelings when listening to the album. The musical texture is quite interesting. Not groundbreaking or original, but well composed. The strength of the album is definitely the heavy pounding beat texture on the album. The weakness though is the pretty unintelligent phrases of war cries and manifestations that saturate the album like: "I told you, I am already prepared to dieif you're gonna do it, just don't die in vain". Unquestionably the samples help building up the feeling of warfare that is the conceptual approach on the album. And even with my disliking of these samples, I still find enough quality on the overall album for a joyful listen. So if you can live with (or perhaps even appreciate!) the massive use of War Hero-samples, this is a pleasant album of hard pounding Industrial. (NMP)
Address: http://www.spectre.be

TERRITORIUM (CD compilation by Non Visual Objects)
Of course it's just not the Merzbows of this world who seem to be producing endless streams of works. Richard Chartier, king of ambient glitch (a throne he shares with a few others, though), is perhaps the most active musicians in ambient glitch. Originally he send 'Tracing' as a basic piece to William Basinski, as a starting point for a collaboration. But Basinski told 'him there was not anything I could add that would not take away from the beauty that was already there'. I can't agree, nobody can really, since it wasn't made. But we can agree with Basinski though about the beauty being there. For 'Tracing' is a gorgeous, forty some minute work of the best ambient glitch around. Whatever Chartier put into it (field recordings? feedback? the cat a sleep?) we don't know, but we don't care much either. The work has a beautiful flowing character, a large breathing hum, a hum that is very much alive, slowing filling the space you are in while listening (including, if you do that, with headphone, the space in your mind) to this with a warm blanket of sound. On the surface things may seem static, but underneath things crawl, insect like, alive and moving around. Music that is very distinctly 'ambient' and 'drone' related, but something that was entirely made with computers. Something that has been done before too, but who cares that this isn't the most original work? It's simply a work of great beauty. One of Chartier's best.
On the same label we are offered a four person compilation called 'Territorium', 'that explores the relationship of field recordings and digital processing'. Two musicians I heard of before, Dale Lloyd and Jos Smolders, and two are new to me, Ubeboet and Richard Garet. I must admit that the more I play this CD, the less I like it. All four use indeed field recordings and digital processing, all are delicate and careful, but it also sounds quite predictable. The high end careful fading peeps, insect like sounds and all that sort of thing are present, but fail to make a big impression. It is surely nice stuff, and perhaps a major blow if you never heard that kind of music, but the trained ear would have a difficult time finding something of true amazement. It's not that it is bad, but it sounds a bit tired. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nonvisualobjects.com

BRIAN LEBER - TILL (CD by Alluvial Recordings)
'Till' is the debut release of one Brian Leber, from Chicago, USA. Or better his first widely available work. The three pieces here were all released in small editions here and there between 2001 and 2004. Although his background is inside more serious composing, his work includes the more common (at least in Vital Weekly grounds) field recordings, electro-acoustics and drones. Apparently Leber writes scores before he performs them, leaving out the improvised side of his music. This works in various directions, each represented on this CD. In 'Isobar', the opening piece, things start out at a relatively soft volume, working their way up scale in a mighty crescendo before everything goes into decrescendo, which takes about the same amount of time. Sounds sources seem to include short wave radio, field recordings of a heavy storm and debris flying around. In 'Tracing Stones', a stone plays a role, but also the gentle playing of a cello. Here there is also a strong sense of density, but it works on a totally different level. The music is more and spacious, yet still dense. A bit Olivia Block like, or certain periods of Organum. The last piece is 'Mountains And Rivers', which apparently has the 'sound of manipulated objects and double bass'. The opening sounds reminded me tablets dissolving in water. Vaguely in the background there is the humming of a bass, and light crackle of an unknown origin. This piece, like the previous, has also two parts in it, because it breaks down and seems to be moving on to something else. I am not too sure why this is, but in 'Mountains And Rivers' it doesn't work to well. Both parts are quite loosely organized, but fail to leave a lasting impression. That's a pity, since the other two are very nice, but maybe two-third isn't a bad score either. (FdW)
Address: http://www.alluvialrecordings.com

HIGH MAYHEM FESTIVAL 2003 (CD + CDRom by High Mayhem Studios)
HIGH MAYHEM FESTIVAL 2004 (2CD + CDRom by High Mayhem Studios)
In terms of music, High Mayhem Studios do everything: a studio, record label, multimedia production, all around the year concerts and a three day festival. All down in Santa Fe, New Mexico. So I never heard of that, many of the names on these CDs and CDrom didn't mean much either, which is no big deal. You will excuse me that I didn't hear everything in-depth here, since especially the CDRom part of each package is packed with hours and hours of MP3s. Simply too much to digest easily in a week or two, but even when it's just 'eleven' hours of the twenty hours worth of music, it's still a great idea to make the music available like this. On the regular CDs you get the snippets to tease your interest, while you can explore the artist further on the MP3 section. Now what about the music, you may ask? The big emphasis is on improvised music by all sorts of trios, quartets, quintets, but there is a fair share of more experimental music too, even bits of techno and turntables thrown in here and there and the occasional poet performance. None of the names mean anything to me (unless Freebass is the same Freebass that is reviewed in Vital Weekly 326), but maybe Zimbabwe Nkenya Duo, Precision Poetry Drill Team, Audible Whispering 1/2 Quartet, Ether, David Stout, Ray Charles Ives, The Late Severa Wars or Hypothetical Entity (just picking some of the more funny names really), mean something to someone out there. There is not just a few things to discover here, it's a whole parallel universe to be discovered inside. (FdW)
Address: http://www.highmayhem.org/


It's been quiet around Micheal Prime, or perhaps things move out of our sight, and this new release is really new either. On Resonance FM, Ben Green had a program called 'One Hour As', for which he asked composers and musicians to record a special work, which he transmitted. A lot of these works were conceptual in approach, spanning an hour of noise, sheer silence, or, in Prime's case 'bioelectricalm recordings of a single specimen of Peyote cactus'. Now Prime releases this work on his own Mycophile label in a small edition of 150 copies (and I must add, I wish some more musicians who participated in 'One Hour As', would release their work, even when it's only a small edition. Ben Green released a double CDR compilation with excerpts, and that made me more than curious). Since many of the works are based on single ideas, you can expect them to be minimal but Prime's work isn't really that minimal per se. His 'reading' on the peyote and the subsequent feeding of the signal to all sorts of processing equipment (synthesizers and electronics, rather than computers, I think). It makes the music highly electronic, but also highly vibrant and also highly organic. It seems as if every new sound comes from the old one, and starts to grow, before it mutates into a new sound. The sound of growth made audible. It's being inside a green house and one doesn't hear the heating system, but growth the plants growing. Simple as that. It's a piece of environmental music in every sense of the word: environmental for the use of the material to generate the sound, but also music that creates it's own environment in your own living room. A more than good decision to see this released. And I'm told that the "packaging includes some pieces of Andean Peyote, which are intended as a meditation object. They could be held in the hand while listening to the cd". (FdW)
Address: <mikep@myco.demon.co.uk>

For the last twenty or so years I do come, very occasionally, across the name of Micheal Chocholak. In the old days part of the cassette network that I was also part off, but somehow I don't think I ever heard any of his work very well. Maybe here and there on the odd compilation, but never something that made a lasting impression. I also know that he recorded some work with Conrad Schnitzler, and upon hearing 'Hollow Bodies', which is so to speak my first introduction to his work, I can see why ChocHolak worked with him. Chocholak has seven pieces of music on this CDR, varying in length between seven and half minute up to fifteen and half minute. The music of Chocholak belongs to the same 'non-keyboard' cosmic music as Schnitzler. By fiddling around with all the knobs a synthesizer has, linking various machines together, adding sound effects, a dark and alien world is created. The world of dark space, late at night empty industrial spaces, dark alley, b-movie, film noir. Sometimes all these can be found inside one track, but sometimes the music is somewhat more sparsely orchestrated, especially when he uses electro-acoustic sources which are feeding through his bunch of synthesizers, such as in 'Sine Language'. However minimal is not a term that applies to this kind of music. Everything is loaded with sound, from top to bottom, constantly shifting back and forwards, up and downwards. Like said, cosmic music from the seventies sounded much alike, but Chocholak is pretty dark and not light hearted. Though music-wise not a big surprise, this is however a very enjoyable release and are most welcome, belated introduction. (FdW)
Address: http://www.geocities.com/echomusicrecordings

With most likely the idea of repeating myself, Raymond Dijkstra is a strange man. But that might very well be the opening line of every review I write of him. For the second release in a row he sticks to his own name, but maybe it has to do with the fact that I think that both releases are related to each-other. The previous LP 'Affen-Theater' was packed in hardcover box and so is this new CDR, which seems to me also music-wise a continuation of 'Affen-Theater'. Seven tracks (now that is something odd for him), which are relatively short (odd!), but contain the similar sound elements as before: scratching the surface, most likely glass with metal objects, a harmonium, and some sound effects, mainly echo. Everything stays on a similar sound level through the piece. By itself these are probably highly annoying, but when played/placed all together they start making sense. Small patterns are formed, giving a sort of a hallucinating feel to the music. This is the kind of drone music that certainly adds something new to the notion of drone. Not endless patterns of treated guitars, synths or field recordings, but electro-acoustic music played very tightly. The previous 'Affen-Theater' was announced here (see Vital Weekly 479) as the strongest release by Dijkstra so far and in that respect 'Der Triumph' (I must admit I keep wondering about his love of German titles) doesn't surpass that one, but extends it's beauty to this release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.le-souffleur.nl

EVAPORI - NA KATARYNCE (3" CDR by 1000 Füssler)
According to my diary I attended the concert that Evapori gave in 2004 at Extra-pool, but I don't have any recollection of that evening. Probably a fine but normal evening? Evapori is one Oliver Peters, who has been making music since the early nineties, release a couple of CDRs and tapes (on his own Anti Information Conspiracy label) and now 'Na Katarynce' on 1000 Füssler, a label from Hamburg, just like Evapori. On this 3" CD we find one piece that was entirely constructed from a 7" of an old Polish waltz, found on the flea-market. After scratching and cutting the record, the material was digitally edited and everything that was related to it's origin is now gone. Which is great, not because we hate the Polish waltz, but because Evapori does a more than great job in slicing the material up and comes up with a highly micro-sounding work, of deep rumble, riding along the lines of inaudible, with occasional noise outbursts etc. Mainly along the likes of Roel Meekop, Bernard Gunter or some such, although Eavpori, certainly towards the end of the piece which is a little bit more cruder and noiser than his counterparts. Perhaps not the most original voice in whatever peopnoisierle call micro-sound, but Evapori does quite a nice job in producing likewise nice and delicate music from a single source. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tausend-fuessler.de http://www.vamh.de

A bit clueless here as to why the new Machinefabriek release is called 'Manchester', other than a few thank you' to Boomkat and Baked Goods. If, after the couple of recent releases by Machinefabriek, you would expect him to continue the noise road that he has taken on his recent 3" releases, then you are wrong. In some ways he returns to his earlier works, such as 'Xylophonique'. Back then, in Vital Weekly 446, the music was compared to that of Sack & Blumm, and here he sort of continues that, playing organ (harmonium perhaps?), with an occasional touch on a guitar, some obscured field recordings of people talking (in 'Barkat', now where would those recordings be made?) and the piano. Quite an introspective release this one. Also the nine tracks here do make sense altogether, which is compared with the early releases of Machinefabriek a big step forward. Whereas they were scattered around a bit, these nine pieces seem to belong together and make a coherent whole. Perhaps this is the most coherent and most musical Machinefabriek release thus far. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.tk



SONIC NORTH - VERKSTED #4 (Office For Contemporary Art Norway)

Vital Weekly in it's early days had attention for magazines, but in the recent years, for reasons unclear even to ourselves, that has vanished. However a glimpse here on two recent magazines. The most traditional one is Gonzo Circus, of which we picked a the most recent issue. Gonzo Circus hails from Belgium and in issue 72 we find articles (albeit in Dutch) on Tarentel, Ekkehard Ehlers, Leafcutter John & Polar Bear, but also on the left-wing movement in The Netherlands, Camille Paglia and Paul McCarthy and lots of reviews, labelspots and even a full page review on Kapotte Muziek. Like always there is a free CD, 'Mind The Gap', which has music taking from already released CDs, but nevertheless maybe a good introduction. Unfortunately some of the bands on CD are not in the magazine, and that is always a pity. It would have been nice to see a long article on Alain Neffe alongside Bene Gesserit on the CD - now on the latter happens.
Verksted (workshop) is a Norwegian series of publications which has now come to their 4th issue, this time on the experimental music scene in Norway. It contains 3 essays and 3 interviews, and although coming from an institute called Office For Contemporary Art Norway and edited by heady curators such as Ute Meta Bauer amongst others, it still makes for an easy read, not falling in the theoretical trap of over-intellectualising as I expected it would be. The 3 interviews (with Lasse Marhaug, Fe-Mail and Rune Kristoffersen from the Rune Grammofon label) are accounts of their daily practices and their opinions on their positions within the small musical communities they occupy. The texts are written by Anne Hilde Neset (it has the subtitle a survey of Norway's noise,, but ends up being almost a historical account of noise music in general), Sindre Andersen (a slightly obvious but still interesting text on the shifting on meaning in experimental music) and Are Mokkelbost (an easy listing of musicians and what their stage performances are like). Its good to see experimental & noise music getting such recognition within a system that is normally more involved in the visual arts. As Anne Hilde Neset also says in the beginning of her text, the discourse around sound art remains largely the province of the specialist. This publication (especially if it would be published on a more regular basis instead of only once) could help open it up for other interested people as well. Now it stays a nice introduction on the subject.
Address: http://www.gonzocircus.com
Address: http://www.oca.no


Improv live concert produced by Alla Zagaykevych at Kurbas Centre, Kyiv, Ukraine on April 2005. A meeting of two masters of sound with a zen like quality. Kiritchenko and Kotra are two of the leading exponents of experimental music in their native Ukraine. Kiritchenko's work hovers from ambient clicks & cuts to personal minimal improv soundscapes, while Kotra operates in more hostile sonic terrain. Using a combination of acoustic percussion, prepared recordings and electronics the set travels through three separate movements. Repeating percussive motifs are driven forward by sine waves of increasing intensity. The end result is a sonic tea ceremony: noble, measured gestures produce refined focused results. But I wish a few wrenches fell into the performance to knock it off balance. Noise can be smart, but it should never be afraid to surprise the listener. (JS)




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