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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 508
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week 2
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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!
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* noted are in this week's podcast

 

 

JOHN WIESE - TEENAGE HALLUCINATION (CD by Troniks) *
THE CHERRY POINT - NIGHT OF THE BLOODY TAPES (CD by Troniks) *
KRAKEN - AMORE (2CD by Spectre)
JON BRUMIT - VENDETTA RETREAT (CD by Edgetone Records) *
ANDRE GONCALVES & KENNETH KIRSCHNER - RESONANT OBJECTS (CD by Sirr-ecords) *
NERVOUS NOISE (CD compilation by Nervous Nurse)
PAWEL GRABOWSKI - ARH (CDR by Mystery Sea) *
PAWEL GRABOWSKI/THE BEAUTIFUL SCHIZOPHONIC/JAMES ECK RIPPIE & PAULO RAPOSO - PRODUCT O06 (CD by Cronica Electronica)
THE BEAUTIFUL SCHIZOPHONIC - ROMANTIC READYMADES (CDR, private release)
RYFYLKE - MORILD/NUEMA BRISTER (LP by Roggbif)
TOFT & UTARM - KREFTSKAP (3"CDR by Nervous Nurse)
ENCOMIAST - HAVENS (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
SCISSOR SHOCK - WE'RE IN THE TRASHBAG (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
A CROWN OF AMARANTH - LOVE.LIES.BLEEDING (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
KORPERSCHWACHE - TEMPLE OF THE DEVIL KITTY (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
KORPERSCHWACHE - VOICE OF THE OUROBOROS (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
AIDAN BAKER - PERIODIC (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
BEXAR BEXAR - TROPISM (CD by Western Vinyl) *
JOHN HUDAK - SOTTO VOCE (CDR by Con-V) *
CADUCEUS - INFL 03 (MP3 by Caduceus Music) *

 

JOHN WIESE - TEENAGE HALLUCINATION (CD by Troniks)
THE CHERRY POINT - NIGHT OF THE BLOODY TAPES (CD by Troniks)
By now John Wiese can easily be called Sir John Wiese, master of noise. His noise work is big in volume, by which we mean the audible volume as-well as the size of the catalogue of works and tours, either solo or as a member of Sun 0))) and Bastard Noise. Does this guy ever sleep? But John Wiese was of course John Wiese Jr. at one point, starting out with crashing noise in his bedroom. That was in 1992 and the fifty-two tracks here span until 1999. With such an amount of tracks, you can imagine that there are all very short, somewhere between a few second and a few minutes. This makes this into a highly scattered disc, of crashing metallic sounds fed through a wall of distortion boxes (and other multi-colored guitar effects). Best is to see this CD as one track in fifty-two parts than inspect the separate tracks for their obscurity ('ah that must be the 5" split with Panicsville). It's the coming of age works by someone who is surely one of the leading noise artists in the USA. Is he now better than before? Or is the early stuff the true master at work? Irrelevant questions: Wiese did and does whatever he does he best. This is the missing diamond in his career, and worthwhile to any true fan.
Troniks CEO Phil Blankenship is also a steady force in the US noise scene, mainly as boss of Troniks, Pac Rec and his own The Cherry Point project. Also in the third millennium The Cherry Point released a couple of cassettes, which are now collected in the four tracks that span the forty minutes of this CD. Inspiration comes from blood spatter horror films. I somehow don't think that many movie directors will first think of The Cherry Point when appointing a soundtrack composers, and that's a pity. The Cherry Point play a wall of noise type soundtrack that would probably do very well in those movies, and would surely add to the mayhem. But then a 'story' would not have to be told. Chain-saws hacking on screen, chain-saws hacking away the soundtrack - an idiot going berserk need this kind of music to do a proper job. Radio-static feeding through distortion, feedback loops at random and occasional there is a crash course of cars. That sums these things up. The Cherry Point moves nicely along the lines of King Merzbow, doing a good and sturdy job, but not necessarily add something new to the genre of noise. Oh well, who cares about that then? (FdW)
Address: http://www.iheartnoise.com

KRAKEN - AMORE (2CD by Spectre)
Getting back to the real world is sometimes difficult! Those of us who have experienced watching the afternoon show at the movies knows that experience of leaving the fictional world from the movie behind and having to relate to the daily rhythm of the real world outside the theatre is not always easy. With almost two hours of deeply absorbing soundscapes, latest album by Belgian project Kraken delivers an experience of abstraction similar to the aforementioned experience at the movie theatre. The album titled "Amore" first of all operates in the spheres of dark ambient built on low frequency drones, deep rumbling horns and mixtures of concrete and artificial sounds. The music is subtle and dreamy thanks to the drones of hypnotism and the distantly echoed voices as well as a clever use of field recordings. Even with the occurrence of the great amount of samples from real life accompanying you as you float through the tunnels of eerie ambientscapes the atmosphere on the album first of all delivers a sense of isolationism. Imagine the impression of being conscious enough to sense the dialogues of the surgical team as you lay on the operating table: The voices surround you, but they sound distant and you are not part of the dialogue. First CD has been divided into five works of art meanwhile second disc only consists of two tracks: Where the first track runs approx. 70 minutes, the closing track with its short duration of 49 seconds, first of all functions as a transformation between the sonic darkness of "Amore" and the outside world. Built on beautifully processed harpsichords the track, titled "de hoorn in je hoed", lightens up the atmosphere before the listener soon once again will have to face the real world. Despite the title there is absolutely no sign of romanticism on this remarkable exploration into the dark lands of Kraken. (NMP)
Address: http://www.spectre.be

 

JON BRUMIT - VENDETTA RETREAT (CD by Edgetone Records)
Although I never heard of Jon Brumit, I am quite pleased with his CD. Apparently he found all his sounds on the San Francisco Dump - what a mighty dump that is. 'Vendetta Retreat' is announced as a motion picture soundtrack for which the film, or rather separate clips have to come our way, one day. Brumit is credited with 'sound devices' and plays around with minimal notions. It seems to me that he samples his music together from the 'garbage' (is that a guitar?) he found and layers them in a rather rough way. Sounds are set to loop, but drop in and out of the mix, in an illogical way, but one that makes sense in the end. The best things work in the piece 'Geography/Nowhere', in which this harsher minimalism comes to live and never leaps into boredom in the almost eighteen minutes that this excursion takes. A big of Glen Branca, Rhys Chatham or Band Of Susans like. Each of the three lengthy pieces are built in similar fashion (which is my main objection to this) of loose sounds being knitted together. Very vibrant music that is also a bit strange and off-beat, but captures an unnerving groove altogether. Captivating release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.edgetonerecords.com

ANDRE GONCALVES & KENNETH KIRSCHNER - RESONANT OBJECTS (CD by Sirr-ecords)
The resonant objects mentioned in the title are six objects 'suspended from the ceiling at different heights, each one made from a globe of white glass with one microphone, one speaker and one electrical lamp inside'. They were connected to a computer, triggering six different frequencies, picked up by the microphones and the objects started to resonate. These resonances were then fed into Midi and light controllers. No amplification was used and the recording here is a microphone recordings (hence the occasional cough and car passing). It's the work of Andre Goncalves and Kenneth Kirschner. The latter is known from his various works with Taylor Deupree and the first from his Ok.suitcase project and various recordings for Cronica, Grain Of Sound and Cherry Music. The result must have looked great, but we are dealing with 'just' a CD here, and that sounds great. The resonating patterns are vaguely feedback like, moving into all sorts of directions, and there doesn't seem to be a moment of not moving. The overtone like quality of the work reminded me of Alvin Lucier, more than of Kirschner's master Feldman. It's music that creates an environment within an environment - your environment. The best it seems to play this at a relatively soft volume and move through your space and you will notice that you seem to be picking up different frequencies throughout. A beautiful work, moving gently throughout time and space. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sirr-ecords.com

NERVOUS NOISE (CD compilation by Nervous Nurse)
This is almost classical in approach: Nervous Nurse started out as a small CDR label, but as there are some more funds available, they release a real CD, and like any starter in the nineties, they start with a compilation CD. Nervous Nurse is a noise label and the sixteen artists they invited are mostly Vital Weekly regulars in the worlds of CDRs and MP3s. Which is another fine thing of Nervous Nurse: we have a real CD and want to share it with those idealists of the CDR scene. So sixteen times noise = a massive headache? Of course it is to the uninitiated, but me thinks the overall quality is quite high. Good recording quality, but foremost also good performances by these bands, with surprising looks to the genre noise. There is of course feedback and distortion, but also the intelligent use of rhythm, processing of field recordings and digital manipulations. The lesser tracks are in a minority here, and at the same time there is not a particular standout. Lasse Marhaug is probably the best known featured artist, but perhaps names as Chefkirk, Zytrax, Monobrain, Fever Spoor, Andre Borgen, Xedh, Filthy Thurd and Xedh ring a few bells too. If you want to investigate more about noise and new directions, then this is the place to be. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nervousnurse.net.tc

PAWEL GRABOWSKI - ARH (CDR by Mystery Sea)
PAWEL GRABOWSKI/THE BEAUTIFUL SCHIZOPHONIC/JAMES ECK RIPPIE & PAULO RAPOSO - PRODUCT O06 (CD by Cronica Electronica)
THE BEAUTIFUL SCHIZOPHONIC - ROMANTIC READYMADES (CDR, private release)
Little by little the name of Pawel Grabowski is getting around. He hails from Poland and played double bass in Miastoniepalo from 1998 to 2000. Since then he plays electro-acoustic music, moved to Ireland, released 7"s on Laub Records and Drone Records and a couple of CDRs. Here he appears on two new releases of which one is his first real CD release, and both releases will certainly bring his career further. On Mystery Sea, Grabowski offers four deep rumbles of sub-aquatic sounds, entirely conceived in the zeroes and ones of the computer, but capturing quite nicely the label's esthetic of deep ambient music that sounds like it is recorded below the sea-level. Unlike some of the other artists on Mystery Sea, Grabowski's pieces sound actually more like songs, with vague hints towards rhythm (such as in the first of 'Arh') and in every track a bit of melody. The water hits upon a shipwreck and the picture becomes clearer: the music is the search for an old boat, set to electro-acoustic music. Quite a beauty this one.
Grabowski also appears on 'Product 06' by Cronica Electronica. Until now, two musicians were part of 'Product', together with a designer. But here we have three different musicians, apart from Grabowski, also The Beautiful Schizophonic and a track by James Eck Rippie and Paolo Raposo (the man behind Sirr-ecords). in Grabowski's 'But I'm Not' he uses field recordings, radio waves, sine waves, voices and found sounds - the usual suspects for this kind of music. The radio and sine waves are easy to recognize, the other sources are a bit more difficult, but over the course of these fifteen minutes, he creates music that is much more vibrant and lively than his Mystery Sea release, less gloomy but still atmospheric. The use of reversed sounds add to the liveliness of the music.
The Beautiful Schizophonic, aka Jorge Mantas from Portugal, has had a couple of releases before, of which the one of Mystery Sea (see Vital Weekly 493) was the most interesting. Here he presents no less than ten short pieces of ambient music, much along the lines of his work on Mystery Sea. All treated neatly inside the computer to create dense atmospheric music from all sorts of obscured sources, including death, trash, grind and black metal music, but it remains all a bit too sketchy in the end. Why not throw all these fragments together and create one long big opus of atmospheric music. 'file under: atmospheric laptopia' it says on the cover, but place it in the subsection: fragmentary.
The third part of 'Product 06' is by Paolo Raposo and James Eck Rippie. The first being the man behind Sirr.ecords and Rippie has produced a very a nice LP with Colin Andrew Sheffield (see Vital Weekly 316). Rippie is a guitarist and turntablist, and although the liner notes don't tell this, I assume this is a work of improvised music, with Raposo behind the laptop. The piece is all about playing the more atmospheric (again, and probably for that reason united with the others on this CD) tones of the guitar and the laptop, although there are more louder fragments to be spotted. It's a nice piece, certainly the one with the changing moods and scenery's throughout.
Finally there is also a CDR by The Beautiful Schizophonic under the banner of 'Romantic Readymades' - for mature listeners, in an edition of just 10 copies. Here Mantas goes into the directions of the radioplay, with cut ups of music taped from radio, collaged conversation and sounds of people having intercourse, in 'Photographers Are Watchers. I Am Voyeur. Says Karl Lagerfeld' (the titles are the best part here). All pretty vague and obscure stuff, which didn't arouse me that much, not in a musical sense and also not in an erotic sense. Rather be the voyeur than the eves-dropper I guess when it comes to that. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mysterysea.net
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org
Address: <jorgemantas@hotmail.com>

RYFYLKE - MORILD/NUEMA BRISTER (LP by Roggbif)
TOFT & UTARM - KREFTSKAP (3"CDR by Nervous Nurse)
The previous release by Ryfylke, 'Boknafjord' (see Vital Weekly 463) was hailed by me as a fine cross-over between the Merzbowian noise and the world of electro-acoustics. Now Stan Skagen and Sten Ove Toft come up with a new work, this time on LP, and me wonders if that would go well (I'm reviewing from a CDR here), considering the wide dynamics their music has. Both musicians play around with laptops, filling it with field recordings, of whatever nature and create from scratch, from zero, from silence a long storm of drones. Apparently unnoted things built up until they fly away and you'll find yourself in a hurricane of sound, but just as easily, they take matters back in control and everything is quiet again. Perhaps a CD release would have been a better idea, but maybe it works well, who knows. This is nevertheless some dam fine music. Very intelligent noise!
The same Sten Ove Toft comes up on a 3"CDR for Nervous Nurse, together with someone named Utarm. Toft has one piece, spanning almost half of this release. In one long crescendo he builds up his piece before it collapses and tiny sparks fly around. Less complex in approach as the Ryfylke stuff, and more straightforward in it's built up. The unknown Utarm has two tracks, of which the first is quite a mediocre form guitar noise and the second track is also noise, but of an even more obscure nature, and likewise quite uninteresting. (FdW)
Address: http://www.roggbif.com
Address: http://www.nervousnurse.net.tc

ENCOMIAST - HAVENS (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
SCISSOR SHOCK - WE'RE IN THE TRASHBAG (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
A CROWN OF AMARANTH - LOVE.LIES.BLEEDING (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
KORPERSCHWACHE - TEMPLE OF THE DEVIL KITTY (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
KORPERSCHWACHE - VOICE OF THE OUROBOROS (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
AIDAN BAKER - PERIODIC (CDR by Crucial Bliss)
Somewhere on the website of Vital Weekly there are the 'frequently given answers' and it says somewhere that it's better not to send your entire label's catalogue at once, but that was missed at the Crucial Blast headquarters. So I'm taking the risk of reviewing them all, but at the same time some disappointed label chef (or musician) saying that Vital Weekly receives too much stuff and that they are not able to hear everything they get. Crucial Blast have a sub-division called Crucial Bliss and they categorize themselves as 'drone/noise' label and we come across such names as Aidan Baker (who is everywhere, though Chefkirk could be here as-well) and Encomiast (of whom we reviewed work before, in Vital Weekly 271 and 465). The other names are new to me.
Let's start with Encomiast, the duo of Ross Hagen and Megan Garland (as opposed to the previous release which was made just Ross Hagen), who play a wide variety of instruments (including violin, voice, flute, guitar, gamelan and shakuhachi besides the usual field recordings), but they create quite dense clouds of ambient drones. Three long pieces here of slowly developing, but highly organic music. It's not demanding music at all, gently flowing. More Mirror than Maeror Tri, I'd say. Certainly a different release than the previous, and one that truely enjoyable from beginning to end.
The shortest release here is by Scissor Shock, who are listed as a five piece group on the cover (keyboards, drum computers, guitar, vocals etc.), but the eight short tracks, which last in total 10 minutes, were all 'produced, written, whatever' by Adam Cooley in 2005, with a computer microphone and mixed in cool edit pro. Total mayhem here of collaged together sounds of rock-noise like group playing, but also the speeding up of cassettes. Cut together in a highly fast and energetic way. A nice release, even at this length (or perhaps because of this length?), but me wonders what it is doing in a label about drones?
A Crown Of Amaranth is a new name for me and they (he?) play drone music with strong tendencies towards the darker, louder and more industrial side of music, apparently all made with the use of guitars. Quite deep music, but more often than not exploding into conveyer belt type of music and dwelling heavy on the use of sound effects. And while those sounds leak into a large rack of sound effects small rhythms start to appear. It's well produced music for sure, but it's a bit too much for me. A bit too dark, without a shed of light coming in. A pitch black picture of a post nuclear world - not a happy to be, but certainly would work well in as a soundtrack to movie with a similar theme.
Korperschwache is a trio from Texas, with RKF on guitar and effects, Doktor Omega on beats and Kid Orgasmatron on beats. On their two releases just very long tracks, usually around fifteen to twenty minutes. The differences between both releases are quite small. On both releases they play a type of heavy rock music, pitch black wall of sound of guitar sounds set against an ever banging rhythm. Earth and Sunn 0))) are never far away, but also less recent examples such as Skullflower and Rhys Chatham. A great wall of sound at work on both releases. Finish this in one go with the volume turned all the way up , and you'll be crying for a doctor. Not exactly the latest new crazy in rock music, but definitely worth checking out by fans of the aforementioned bands. Also, this is less drone based and more noise related.
Something which can't be said of Aidan Baker's release, since that's far out drone related. Apparently created from 'manipulated and damaged 4-track recordings of electric and acoustic guitars (as well as drums)', but which have been re-assembled somehow somewhere. The drums are there, well, perhaps they are there, we don't know for sure. The two long pieces are endless waves of organic bliss, slowly moving forward, backward or sometimes are at a grinding halt. Highly textured music, like we know so well from Baker, and this is one of the strongest outings thereof. (FdW)
Address: http://www.crucialblast.net

BEXAR BEXAR - TROPISM (CD by Western Vinyl)
A long long time ago, I reviewed an one-sided LP by Bexar Bexar called '07.04.99' (see Vital Weekly 245) and I believe in the mean time he has released some more records, but they were not reviewed here. The first LP, from 2000, had a nice but strange mixture of guitar playing and field recordings, and in that respect not much as changed since then. The new record has separate tracks (that is different), but his playing is still intimate, carefully and distant. Some of the tracks are without a fade in or fade out, they just seem to happen. Although there are lots of references to be made here (say Tortoise, Mogwai, Radiohead), it's all very stripped down to just this guitar and the very rudimentary ornament of an organ (or feedback like) or highly obscured field recordings. Pastoral music for rainy, autumn like days when the sun seems to have disappeared forever. Melancholic to the very core. Nice for sure, even on a cold winter day when the sun shines. (FdW)
Address: http://www.westernvinyl.com

JOHN HUDAK - SOTTO VOCE (CDR by Con-V)
Things have been quiet for John Hudak, or at least from my perspective. One of the true masters of microsound, returning with a highly conceptual work. If understood rightly, this work is for 'midi-triggered cello samples', triggered by the reading of works by Gertrude Stein and James Joyce. Music for the salon: the meeting place of the modern of almost a century ago. Someone reading poetry, someone playing the cello: the bourgeois notion of modern art. In the five pieces the solo pizzicato cello is the one and only instrument, nothing else happens. No electronics, no glitches, no processing. That makes this not really an easy release. As with good conceptual art, the result it is not really important but the story behind it, and that is the also the case here. The idea behind the piece (or pieces, depends on how you view this release) is very nice, but five pieces of similar music in total is a bit too much. A shorter release, say twenty or so minutes, would have made the same point and it would have been a lovely release altogether too. Now it's like a great dinner, but it's so much food that you can't eat it all. (FdW)
Address: http://www.con-v.org

CADUCEUS - INFL 03 (MP3 by Caduceus Music) *
The fourth release of Caduceus' series of influential music is from a non-rhythmical order. So far they were all quite rhythmic (Rehberg/Bauer, Muslimgauze and ø), but here it's the career changing 'Intoutof' by The Hafler Trio. Until that release, in 1991 or so, The Hafler Trio played mainly collage typed music, but 'Intoutof' was the first sign of a more drone related sound - 'to sit around and watch things happens' as The Hafler Trio would state. The sound of windpipes being looped, altered and changing throughout, this was a highly influential record (and still in print, so go get it). Caduceus captures the feel of the record quite well and make things even more drone related, removing the moving sound of the original and bring the sounds to an almost non-moving position. They bring in a sort of utter slow rhythm in 'Infl0402', but never really that much to the foreground. For me this is the best of the Influences series so far, since it moves away from the original and brings out new sonic qualities into the world of digital drones. (FdW)
Address: http://www.caduceusmusic.net

 

 

 

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