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
DANIEL MENCHE - SCATTERED REMAINS: EARLY
RARITIES (2CD by Soleilmoon Recordings) *
CRAWLING WITH TARTS - OCHRE LAND, BLUE BLUE SKIES/GRAND SURFACE NOISE OPERA NR. 7 (CD by Pogus Productions) *
UNIVERS ZERO - LIVE (CD by Cuneiform) *
GJÖLL - WAY THROUGH ZERO (CD by Ant-Zen Recordings)
NICK PARKIN - REFRACT (CD by Soleilmoon Recordings) *
MODERN INSTITUTE - EXCELLENT SWIMMER (CD by Expanding Records) *
MILLER & FIAM - MODERN ROMANCE (CD by Expanding Records) *
NOVEL 23 - FLY THROUGH THE FEELINGS (CD by Shaped Harmonics)
CENTROZOON - ANGEL LIQUOR (CD by Divine Frequency)
KAZUMASA HASHIMOTO - GLLIA (CD by Noble Records) *
PURE - HOME IS WHERE MY HARDDISC IS VOL. 2 (CD by Feld Records) *
TERRESTRIAL TONES - DEAD DRUNK (CD by Paw Tracks) *
GINORMOUS - THE ENDLESS PROCESSION (CD by Hymen)
SIX DOORS (CD compilation by Housepig Records)
UNICORN - PLAYING WITH LIGHT (CD by Housepig Records) *
SKY BURIAL (CDR by Housepig Records)
NO-NECK BLUES BAND & EMBRYO - EMBRYONNCK (CD by Staubgold) *
HASSLE HOUND - LIMELIGHT CORDIAL (CD by Staubgold)
EKKEHARD EHLERS - A LIFE WITHOUT FEAR (CD by Staubgold)
VERFASSUNG (LP compilation by Hörbar)
LIVING ORNAMENTS - VLOKKEN (CD by Narrominded) *
MAKAZORUKI (CD by Narrominded)
AIDAN BAKER - REMIXES (CDR by Arcolepsy)
SEAN OG'S TRIHORNOPHONE - AT FIRST I THOUGHT IT WAS THE END... (CDR by Bottlenote)
ALLA ZAGAYKEVYCH - TO ESCAPE, TO BREATHE, TO KEEP SILENCE (MP3 by Nexsound)
DANIEL MENCHE - SCATTERED REMAINS: EARLY
RARITIES (2CD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
Little over a decade ago, Daniel Menche appeared on the scene and took it over by surprise. Although he played his home town Portland a lot, and even released a couple cassettes, it wasn't until Soleilmoon released his first CD 'Incineration' and immediately Menche gained recognition. Playing around with the notion of 'noise', it was soon known that Menche played a literally more physical version of that. And one of things that may happen when you are 'hot' is that everybody wants to release your music, and that certainly happened to Menche. He did a lot of contributions to compilations, limited vinyl releases and some such. All pretty hard to find stuff these days, certainly if the recent flood of material made you hungry for the old material. This double CD (at the price of one) collects those old pieces, but there is an objection to be made. The cover is a bit unclear as they are the original pieces that are re-mastered or cut down, I assume the first. It's a pity of course that it's not a complete collection, still leaving 'holes' for the true fans, but on the other hand it's great to see them back in print and in some cases not on scratchy vinyl (I'm no big fan of those, as you can imagine). Menche's work took many shapes already in those early days, from the loud, obnoxious sound material to processing field recordings. Using the studio in a much more intelligent way than many of his contemporaries, his music always a strong sense of dynamics. There is always something happening on which ever level, deep end, mid end or high end. Playing all of these pieces in row means we have a much better and complete picture of his many talents, so that this can serve not only the hungry die-hards, but also as introduction to the newcomers. One small complaint: the inside text is a bit hard to read. (FdW)
CRAWLING WITH TARTS - OCHRE LAND, BLUE BLUE
SKIES/GRAND SURFACE NOISE OPERA NR. 7 (CD by Pogus Productions)
The last time we reviewed a release by Crawling With Tarts, is close to nine years ago ('I Am Telephoning A Star', Vital Weekly 81). A year after the band ceased to exist - not because of the review of course, but Micheal Gendreau, one of the two members went to do music under his own name. Crawling With Tarts, being Gendreau and Suzanne Dycus, existed from 1983 to 1998, and were one of the first to work with the sound of vinyl. Quite unlike the current range of turntablists, who use the vinyl and turntables as an instrument itself, Crawling With Tarts made sound collages out of the material found on the records, amplifying speech and music along with the surface noise, the crackles and hiss. Sometimes they use them as loops, and sometimes the straight forward lifted spoken word on the vinyl. Those were the ingredients of a surface opera from Crawling With Tarts, and thus so on 'Grand Surface Noise Opera Nr. 7', which is funny to hear again after so many years. It's like a nostalgic trip listening to nostalgic music, since many of the used records are pretty old. In the other piece (both last over thirty minutes). The other piece can be regarded as the first Micheal Gendreau solo piece, even when there is sound input from Suzanne Dycus, or rather 'conceptual information'. Whereas the surface opera is just a nice nostalgic thing to hear, the 'Ochre Land, Blue Blue Skies' is a great piece of intense sound, motors producing them on various surfaces, vinyl hiss and the sound of small amplified electro-acoustic objects, all put together in a very fine, minimal yet intense sound collage. Maybe in retrospect the Crawling With Tarts concept was perhaps a bit too limited but it opened possibilities for the solo work of Gendreau to expand beyond it. And as such this is a fine testament. (FdW)
UNIVERS ZERO - LIVE (CD by Cuneiform)
Since Présent impresses with each time stronger live albums, I was desperately hoping for a live recording of Univers Zero. This wish is now fulfilled with their newest release for Cuneiform Records. And it is a perfect counterpart for the most recent studio albums.
The history of this legendary group goes back as far as 1977 when there first album saw the light. At the time punk rock conquered the world, a bunch of belgian musicians invented their very own musical universe that after all those years still is far from outdated. In 1983 they recorded what is often considered as their peak 'Ceux Du Dehors'. The group disbanded in 1986. About the same time R.I.O.-styled chamber-rock in general had to make place for other musical developments. In the years after Daniel Denis managed to record two solo-albums, and in 1999 Univers Zero was ready for a comeback. Of course their music can be labeled as chamber-rock or avant-rock, etc. Also diverse musical influences can be traced which is inevitable. But what I would like to stretch out is that Univers Zero speaks first of all with a very original voice. All compositions carry a clear stamp that comes from the musical vision of Denis. Besides Denis, on this new live album from the early days only Michel Berckmans (oboe, english horn, bassoon, melodica) gives acte de présence. With his characteristic bassoon he is an essential part of the Univers Zero-sound. Of the other members only Eric Plantain on bass has some history with the band. He played also on 'Implosion' and 'Rhythmi', the albums that preceded this new album. New is violist Martin Lauwers. Also Peter van den Berghe who impresses with several crafty and virtuoso solos (track two and three). But I doubt whether he is in all aspects the ideal keyboard player for UZ. Kurt Budé plays clarinets and sax. The music is colored by the background of the musicians. In the first piece bassist Plantain plays almost funky. Peter van Bergen does not hide his experience in jazz-music. Three tracks come from 'Hard Quest' (1999) which can be considered as their come album after 'Heatwave' (1986): 'Xenantaya', 'Civic Circus', 'Kermesse Atomique'. These compositions sound more convincing than they did on the 'Hard Quest' album to me, especially 'Xenantaya. From their last studio album 'Implosion' (2004) we hear 'Falling Rain Dance' and 'Méandres'. 'Elektronika Mambo Musette' comes from a solo album by Denis (1993). From the old days only two pieces are played: one track from their classic album from 1983, namely 'Bonjour Chez Vous', that is still as impressive as it sounded 20 twenty years ago. Plus 'Toujours Plus à l'est', taken from the rare Japanese ep 'Crawling Wind' (1983) . Especially these two old tracks - that I know best - make clear to me that Univers Zero has not the sharpness and dynamic range that it reached in earlier days. With this I do not mean to say this is not a good album. On the contrary. There surely is drive and power in the playing, delivering thrilling moments. Most compositions breath a sinister atmosphere. But on the other hand the music is also uplifting and positive. The pregnant compositions follow a strong inner logic. Leaning on the drums of Denis the musicians produce an accessible kind of rock albeit uncommon. Music that is still relevant after all those years, full of (funny) surprises like the bolero-motive Budé plays in track three. Special attention deserve also the pre-fabricated intros of percussive sounds-capes that Denis labored out in his home studio I think. These have there very own charm and identity.
Most recordings for this CD were made during a concert in Brussels in june 2005. I was lucky to be there on this incredible hot evening as well on some other concerts in the last few years. Also very recently on an excellent concert in La Louvière with Andy Kirk on keyboards. It had nice improvising moments between Kirk and Denis. Plus a beautiful rendition of 'Before The Heat' by Kirk, as well a unrecorded composition by Kirk. But for those who cannot visit their concerts let this new CD be a proof that Univers Zero still is a very hot band (DM)!
GJÖLL - WAY THROUGH ZERO (CD by Ant-Zen
Extreme music seems like a flowering part of the culture in the Northern parts of Scandinavia. Norway was in the forefront of the early black metal, just like Sweden was pioneering the death metal-scene from the late eighties forward. Also in the territories of harsh electronic music, Scandinavia has been well going, thanks to the Swedish Industrial legendary label Cold Meat Industry. Icelandic project Gjöll (featuring members from different Grindcorebands such as Forgardur Helvitis) demonstrates with this debut release out on Ant Zen Recordings that the island from the very North of Scandinavia also knows how to push the boundaries of the musical sound. The album titled "Way through zero" is a conceptual work that focuses on the dark sides of human nature. What we are dealing with here is the sound of one man's mental state developing from depression to aggression until, the force of self-awareness tries to defeat the man's soul of darkness. The musical expression of the album describes this mental development in a quite impressive way. "Way though zero" are divided into five parts. All parts are untitled since they more likely describe the different steps of mental development. First part opens with deep rumbling low frequency drones first of all reminiscent of Coil's explorations into harsh electronics on the album "Constant shallowness leads to evil", and the warning printed on the "Constant shallowness."-disc saying "May cause drowsiness - do not play while driving or operating machinery" could well be used on this 7-minutes opening track. Second track works more energetic with ritually mid-tempo rhythm textures and freezing sounds like the outbursts of an electronic processed didgeridoo. The feeling of something waiting to explode lies underneath the surface of this second track. And things certainly happens as third part of the album takes over. Symbolizing the shift from subdued depression to driving aggression, pure hatred comes to expression and hell breaks loose as harsh waves of evil drones penetrates. On the first two tracks the voice of a man getting more and more frustrated lied somewhere in the sonic expression. On this third track the voice changes from angry to furious as the voice are sucked into aural machinery reminiscent of Swedish Power Electronics-maestro Brighter Death Now. After this exercise in sonic extremity fourth track sneaks slowly up. Subtle, almost inaudible drones of isolation symbolizes the mental state of pensiveness. A whispering voice assists to build the feeling of tranquillity. Fifth and final track, with its 19 minutes being the longest track, returns back to the more dramatic expression with buzzing noise drones bouncing back and forth in approx. 12 minutes until atmospheric ambient sounds of suppression brilliantly describes the man's desperate attempt to break the circle of viciousness. Whether he succeeds to break loose is questionable, since the ambience nicely balances between a feeling of relief and endless depression. Judged by the sonic expression the ending of the story is open for the listener to interpret. Never the less this is an excellent thematic exploration into the dark sides of human souls. A quite unusual album in the Ant Zen-sphere, because of its sonic introspective character. Highly recommended! (NMP)
NICK PARKIN - REFRACT (CD by Soleilmoon
If I'm not mistaken this might be already the fourth CD (five if you count his album with Tom Gillieron) by Nick Parkin on Soleilmoon. Somewhere in my book, I associated the name Nick Parkin with ambient with the big A, but that chapter needs to be re-written, I guess. Parkin won a first prize in 2001 at the Bourges International Electroacoustic Competition and on 'Refract' he uses a 'variety of gongs and other metallic percussion with environmental field recordings. That may sound the best ingredients for a good ambient album, but Parkin takes the material a bit further, and makes it much more edgy and angular than y'r average ambient album. Parkin takes the techniques of modern classical electronic composing, but it's to effect on his own sound material, and starts playing around with the result. Now unlike a lot of the modern composers it's not the usual pitching up/down of the material, making sounds roll over each-other or that kind of thing that is popular amongst his contemporaries, but he makes minimal pieces of slowly evolving sound material, in which 'water' is a recurring theme. The music washes by like an endless stream of sound. At times it sounds like a friendly creek and at others like an ocean. It's throughout the entire a fine balance of ambient music and modern music, thus breaking with both traditions and making a very, delicate and intense album (FdW)
MODERN INSTITUTE - EXCELLENT SWIMMER (CD
by Expanding Records)
MILLER & FIAM - MODERN ROMANCE (CD by Expanding Records)
Alright I must admit that when I opened this, I was a little bit suspicious. Two more releases on Expanding Records. They sure have a mighty fine taste in electronic music, but so far what they do is inside a very specific corner of electronic music, making a lot of music sound very similar. First I popped in Modern Institute and was truly surprised by it. I hear a cello, piano, some synths, but hardly any breakbeat rhythm like material, or melancholy breathing throughout every plug in used. Adding to the surprise I learn that Modern Institute is Martina Bertoni on cello and Teho Teardo on everything else. Teardo we know from his 80s collaborations with Nurse With Wound, and later on with Scorn, Rothko and Lydia Lunch and not to forget his recent solo CD 'Tower/Microphone' (see Vital Weekly 485). Moving away from all of that he crafted this great CD that is more modern classical in approach, with a great sense of drama. Tracks a short, almost sketch like, which is some cases is too bad, as some pieces could have easily expanded beyond the format of three minutes (the average length here), but throughout Modern Institute knows how to put down the atmosphere very well. This is an excellent debut, refreshing a lot of what Expanding Records stands for.
So then one would imagine that the next one would be the disappointing one. But its not, even when it comes closer to the 'traditional' sound of Expanding Records. Dave Miller and Harry Hohnen form Miller & Fiam, the latter having also records on Hefty Records. Beats are reduced here too, but more present than with Modern Institute. It's quite a diverse record, of real upright bass playing, sometimes jazzy rhythms (lots of brushes there), sometimes mellow piano's, but melancholic keyboards that is so common for others in this field, is not present at all. Sometimes things move towards more steady, ongoing rhythm oriented pieces, but it never reaches the point of breakbeats or techno. Just like Modern Institute, Miller & Fiam move out of the rigid Expanding Records, giving the music an entirely different twist - certainly different than Modern Institute, but that's the great power of it. It sounds so normal, yet fresh, breaking away from any restrictions. I'd say Expanding Records made an important step with these two releases. Let's hope it forecasts more great things. (FdW)
NOVEL 23 - FLY THROUGH THE FEELINGS (CD
by Shaped Harmonics)
Novel 23 aka Roman Belousov is, by now, well known craftsman of melodic idm and electro inspired music. Even when today and from a few years ago idm music is a dead end, it's great to hear someone taking care of the melodies in the electronic music today, without too much trickery in it, just developing the melodic side in the songs, with all the sounds being ornaments added to each melody. That's the sound of Novel 23 and of this new great album, which with it's sound is much more similar with the older one 'Melodies of childhood for advanced imagination' than to the more recent one 'Architectural effects'. 'Fly through the feelings' has a more straight forward, direct and kind of plain sound, seemingly simplistic but not simple, and with a point in all 8 wonderful tunes. The production aspect is, of course, well taken care of, Novel 23 likes to use old analogue synths, which certainly add a distinctive charm to the sound. Great and very enjoyable album. (BR)
CENTROZOON - ANGEL LIQUOR (CD by Divine
It's been a long time since I reviewed Centrozoon's 'The Cult Of: Bibbiboo' (see Vital Weekly 329), and my judgment was harsh. Markus Reuter (on touch guitar and devices) and Bernhard Wöstheinrich (synths and programming) sounded to me like Robert Fripp, with an unhealthy dose of reverb, free improv and prog-rock, less the drums (bring in the drum computers). The new album, 'Angel Liquor' was recorded live to tape, save for some addition in the process of mixing (?) and mastering. It's been a long time since that release, and I must admit that nothing seem to have improved here: it's still the frippian stretched out guitar sounds, dissonant synth washes (the press text says that the 'musical dissonance and consonance (...) is closed to composers (...) like Anton Webern or Olivier Messiaen - but I rather play a Webern string quartet than Centrozoon) and badly sounding drum computers. Prog-rock never interested me one little bit, and hearing this, I know why. Again, I'm afraid it sounds boring, I pass on, once more. (FdW)
KAZUMASA HASHIMOTO - GLLIA (CD by Noble Records)
Somewhere along the line I missed out on
Kazumasa Hashimoto's record 'Epitaph', which was released in May
2004, so it's been a while since 'Yupi' (see Vital Weekly 377).
The Noble label releases albums that go by the concept of 'Music
For Daily Life' and this new album by Hashimoto is the eleventh
release. Once more Hashimoto plays music that is acoustic sounding,
but probably heavily digitally made. Or at least that wouldn't
surprise me at all. A kind of melancholic popmusic with elements
from ambient music, but also with vocals. There are still the
elements of Penguin Cafe Orchestra meeting Ekkehard Ehlers or
F.S. Blumm and like with 'Yupi' I am wondering if I like this,
and if so why. The music seems to be made of cliché's,
which shouldn't be a problem. Cliché's how to please the
audience, and as such it's no real treat, no gritty sound or some
such. It flows nicely, is warm and nice. But God knows why...
PURE - HOME IS WHERE MY HARDDISC IS VOL.
2 (CD by Feld Records)
It's been a while since Vol. 1 of this CD (see Vital Weekly 325) but like the first volume it features two live shows of Pure, this time recorded within nine days of each-other. One in Brussels and one in Winnipeg. It means that Pure uses improvisation to gather his sounds, puts in some live sampling on the spot. Sometimes he uses whatever the air has to offer and sometimes he samples some romantic classical piece. That last thing I must admit is not so my thing. I prefer things more purely (pun intended). When he takes some sounds and starts playing them around in a minimal yet consecutive way, building layer upon layer. The Brussel piece has some of the sampled choral work, which just didn't work for me, but luckily the majority of the piece is not like that and consist of clear blocks of sounds, short ones to form a rhythm and longer ones to provide a drone related background. The Winnipeg recording is more along the lines of the CD on Mego that was released shortly after that, 'Noonbug' (see Vital Weekly 346) and is much more purer piece of evolving sine waves or feedback like sounds, which slowly built up and start to interact with each-other. This is my favorite piece of the CD, but both are a good showcase of the talents this man has. (FdW)
TERRESTRIAL TONES - DEAD DRUNK (CD by Paw
Even when 'Dead Drunk' is the third album of Eric Copeland (of Black Dice) and Dave Portner (of The Animal Collective), it's the first time for me to encounter their music, recorded as Terrestrial Tones. They lived together for a while in an apartment in Paris and recorded this highly curious album. Sampling I'd say is what their main thing is, but what they throw into the blender is a highly odd mixture of whatever sounds they can lay their hands on. There is some sort of electro-acoustic sound sometimes, there is ethnic music, noise, feedback and perhaps even the sampling of pop-tunes. Sometimes they manage to keep their music at a deliberate low bit rate trying to get an even more gritty and noisy sound. Curious I'd say, since they don't seem to be much bothered about the differences between the sound input, but actually the diversity of the material is the power of this record. The method of processing is throughout quite similar and that puts in some coherency. Quite a nice, noisy and raw affair, this one, moving away from the Black Dice and Animal Collective sound, into what good, intelligent noise can be. (FdW)
GINORMOUS - THE ENDLESS PROCESSION (CD by
Known for being co-creator on various animated TV-series, american artist Bryan Konietzko shows another side if his multi-talent with the music-project Ginormous. His new album, titled "The endless procession", is the follow-up to debut album "Our ancestors' intense love affair" released on Hymen Records back in 2005. What separates Ginormous from most artists on the IDM-scene is Bryan Konietzko's passion for stringed instruments. Even though the use of the strings always is subtle it still adds a nice organic feeling in the otherwise exclusively electronic sound world. Though the album isn't musically groundbreaking, there still is something that separates the style of Ginormous from most other acts on the Industrial-related IDM-scene. The force of the project and what makes this album a pleasant meeting is Ginormous' ability to create melodic sound textures, away from the darkness that most often saturates albums from that certain scene. Apart from the frequent use of distorted rhythms and elements of noise Giniormous' musical expression almost seems optimistic and warm in expression with some nostalgia thanks to the light and rather musical atmosphere on the album. That the photos decorating the CD-cover look like some "winter into spring"-scenery only helps to strength the feeling of optimism on the overall album. For the quick ones there is a limited double disc-edition containing both Ginormous-albums! (NMP)
SIX DOORS (CD compilation by Housepig Records)
UNICORN - PLAYING WITH LIGHT (CD by Housepig Records)
SKY BURIAL (CDR by Housepig Records)
The Housepig Records label was founded in 2004 to release experimental music that changes shape all the time: noise, ambient, drone or perhaps 'just' experimental. Among the first releases we find a compilation that showcases the label approaches to what they want to release. Each of the six tracks last between nine and twelve minutes, which is nice, since it gives us a good opportunity to listen to their work much better. What is to be noted is that the 'real' noise is not really present, which is kind of odd, seeing the presence of say Bastard Noise and Guilty Connector and Tabata. They do make pieces that are 'present' but not at all in a sense of true noise. It's more of a thematic compilation, like six new interpretations about drone and ambient, and some of them in a more noise related setting. Aube sounds like Aube, which in a way is a pity after all those years. Bastard Noise sounds like a real surprise, but the best tracks are the closing piece of densely layered darker material of Oblong Box and the opening piece of Unicorn, which is almost classical in approach, with it's cello-like guitar sounds. A great compilation!
Normally my curiosity would not be fulfilled, as I would like to know what Unicorn is about after hearing such a nice track on a compilation, but luckily Housepig's first release as a label is a CD by Unicorn. We learn that it's a project of W.T. Nelson, who is a member of Bastard Noise, Sleestak and Carne A. On his 'Playing With Light' there are seven of his musical pieces, along with three short films, with his music. The music is not the same as on the compilation, which is not really a big problem, since it shows us that Unicorn plays more cards. What can be noticed that the music is more electronic, or rather less acoustic than the compilation suggests, dwelling mostly on manipulated guitar sounds. Sometimes they are soft and subtle, such as in the beautiful title piece or in 'Clay And Fire'. Things are louder and meaner in 'Rain (But Not Candy'). In all a pretty varied disc of ambient and drone related music, but certainly with a strong edge of its own.
The final release is by Sky Burial, aka Micheal Page, whom we met before as Fire In The Head, when he released his 'Be My Enemy' CD (see Vital Weekly 505). That was a dam fine great slab of noise music. For good reasons he choose another name when it comes to different music. Sky Burial is surely something different as it moves away from the true noise, in favor of a richer sound where rhythm and drones meet up. A bit raw and crude here and there, this is more along the lines of the works of bands that use guitars and drones to create their music, such as Skullflower, but throughout Sky Burial is a bit softer and less forward. That puts him aside of the others in this area, and that's very nice. Maybe some of the pieces are a bit long for what they want to communicate, but it's certainly a nice release. (FdW)
NO-NECK BLUES BAND & EMBRYO - EMBRYONNCK
(CD by Staubgold)
HASSLE HOUND - LIMELIGHT CORDIAL (CD by Staubgold)
EKKEHARD EHLERS - A LIFE WITHOUT FEAR (CD by Staubgold)
Three new releases on Staubgold, which is slowly getting one of the more important labels to release music that crosses over from experimental to popmusic, wether or not this is by electronic means. The first one is a collaborative work, the first for the No Neck Blues Band, here teaming up with Embryo, a krautrock band from Munich. The first one got reviewed before in Vital Weekly, but to refresh your mind: No Neck Blues Band was formed in New York in 1992 and consist of an ever changing line up of musicians, who are all more or less anonymous. Embryo exists since thirty years and only Christian Burchard is the constant members. More than a hundred members were at one point or another a member, but despite having released twenty or so albums, I never heard of them. Two times improvising groups that is surely too much, isn't it? It's not. It's great, but I must admit being a fan of the No Neck Blues Band for some time. Their free form playing of whatever instrument is at hand, and wave that into minimal patterns is something I like very much, even despite some of the hippie undercurrents that this music may have. I said I don't know Embryo, but to me this sounds altogether more like the No Neck Blues Band and it's simply gorgeous.
Hassle Hound is something I never heard of before, even when Mark Vernon of Vernon & Burns is part of it. He plays computer, sampler, loops and keyboards. The other members are Ela Orleans on vocals, violin, guitar, keyboards and toy instruments and Tony Swain on guitar, bass, samples, loops and keyboards. So far they had a split 12" on Textile and a 10" on Pickled Egg, so 'Limelight Cordial' is their debut CD. If Staubgold wants popmusic they could call in Hassle Hound, as they play their own weird version of popmusic. Partly based on plunderphonics, with all sorts of weird samples being thrown into the mix, there are also neat lovely tunes, exotica and surf music and what else. A true hotch potch of sounds and ideas. Most of them are well made, sometimes they miss the point at all, but that's hardly a problem. Throughout it's a very nice CD of mixed media poptunes.
And finally a new CD by Ekkehard Ehlers. Once doing minimal techno, once doing one of the best microsound glitch pop CD (with Stephan Mathieu) and once doing a great pop band (März). A man with ideas. Many ideas, but his new CD I simply fail to understand. He plays around with blues. He has Joseph Suchy on guitar and balafon, Franz Hautzinger on trumpet, Björn Gottstein on viola and Howard Katz Fireheart on vocals and mouthharp and himself on 'processing and amps'. Blues: the dark and doomy music from years ago, into the world of terror, war and climate disasters. I can see the point, but don't understand the music. It's blues for sure, even when it's merely improvised but there is a rawness intended (cheap microphones perhaps, simple amplification) that adds a certain graininess to the album, but to me just sounds like not a very well made recording. Maybe I have the blues? Or perhaps I don't like the blues. Either way, not my thing at all. (FdW)
VERFASSUNG (LP compilation by Hörbar)
Ah the classic format of compilation LP, with booklet. It looks retro, very 80s like, but it's 2006. The Hörbar in Hamburg is an organisation that puts on concerts, mainly in the B-Movie cinema. Hörbar is mainly run by musicians, who work as volunteers, doing the sound, the bar and the door. Every week they meet up and do something. Now Hörbar also acts as a label, and this compilation is the first release. Of course it features music from the people that make up the Hörbar organization. The good thing is that it holds many musicians I never heard of, such as Pizza Ni Ni, Renoise, Margitt Holzt, Guy Saldanha and Ebinger, sitting next to somewhat more known locals such as Evapori, Gregory Buettner, Sonata Rec, [Hyph-], TBC, Incite and Y-Ton-G. Of course the biggest star from Hamburg, Asmus Tietchens, is also present, with the most silent and reduced piece of the lot. What can be noticed that there is a fair amount of noise material on this record, such as TBC, Guy Saldanha and Audible Pain. Margitt Holzt and Incite represent the rhythm side of this bunch, whereas Tietchens has his own followers such as Gregory Buettner and some seem to follow their own track, such as the curious piece by Ebinger (who he?). Evapori and Sonata Rec play pieces that are a cross over between the world of Tietchens and the underworld of noise. The most curious piece is by Pizza Ni Ni, entitled 'E', it seems just the one time strumming of an E chord on the guitar. A booklet describes the pieces and has a bunch of nice quotes. Limited to 300 copies - that is the final trick from the 80s, make a few and create a rarity! (FdW)
LIVING ORNAMENTS - VLOKKEN (CD by Narrominded)
MAKAZORUKI (CD by Narrominded)
Dutch label Narrominded is slowly expanding their horizon. In the early days of the label it seemed that they would release anything that would deal with ambient, glitch, electronica or microsound, but in 2005 they expanded to releasing music that deals also with real rock, like their releases of Gone Bald and Quarles van Ufford - free math rock is what they play. These two new releases display their interests very well. From their original line of releases, there is first of all Living Ornaments, the band behind the label. Previously they released a split LP with Accelera Deck and a 3"CDR on Scarcelight, but 'Vlokken' is their first full length release. It contains of the mentioned ingredients of glitch, electronics, ambient and microsound, and perhaps one could say that this is by now a bit of a boring thing, but actually it sounds great. They also incorporate piano and guitar in their music and even occasional elements of techno music. Sometimes along the lines of the melancholy of music on Expanding Records, but Living Ornaments certainly has a much more lively and active sound at their controls. The variety is here much more present than on some of the Expanding or Highpoint Lowlife recordings, and it's an adventurous trip they are on. Some of the tracks are merely sketches, whereas others deliver really worked out ideas. It's quite a mature work.
At the other side of the musical spectrum we find Makazoruki, a four piece rock unit from The Netherlands, even when they are all four originally from Bosnia. According to Narrominded they are a 'hot' live band and the music is to be compared to Sonic Youth and The Chameleons. I wouldn't know, since I gave up a while ago on rock music, certainly when it's supposed to be 'alternative'. The tracks are considerable longer than any of my old punk records, and more complex in structure than the average punk record. Perhaps perhaps this is indeed quite nice, in fact I wouldn't dream of even doubting that, but its surely not so my thing. I can listen with interest, but it's hard for me to relate to this. However it's a good thing that Narrominded expand their musical horizon, but they see something I can't. (FdW)
AIDAN BAKER - REMIXES (CDR by Arcolepsy)
Aidan Baker is present with his music for a few years now, being mostly ambient-droney music on the albums, as is the sound on this CD with remixes. The remixers have taken sources or sounds from various tracks and done the reworks in the similar atmospheric style as the original author's music. Some of the pieces are rhythmic, as the jazzy mix by Millimetrik, or even with a dancey rhythm, as the track by Building castles out of matchsticks. Few of the remixers are more familiar names: Cordell Klier, Wilt, Fear falls burning (aka Vidna Obmana) and Troum with a rather short but very nice psychedelic ambience piece. The others, new in this musical style, are: Andrea Marutti (great kind of vast ambient piece), The Blameshifter, Naw, Gruntsplatter and Pilotram. There's a nice flowing sound on the whole release, which is maybe nothing spectacular, but well done and very enjoyable listening. (BR)
SEAN OG'S TRIHORNOPHONE - AT FIRST I THOUGHT
IT WAS THE END... (CDR by Bottlenote)
The music of Sean Og reached us before, through his album 'Very Little Is Weightless' (Vital Weekly 464) and 'The Garbled Message' (Vital Weekly 481). On his previous releases he played all the instruments himself, mainly wind instruments and percussion but his Trihornophone is a band for which he writes the tunes. It has Og on alto saxophone, Bill Blackmore on trumpet, Kelan Walsh on baritone saxophone and Dennis Cassidy on drums. Like 'The Garbled Message' this is an even more jazzy release than his first one. The tracks are short, witty and to the point and sound to me like real composed pieces, and not free jazz improvisations. Sometimes, certainly in the first few tracks the drums play a more funky rhythm, which reminded me a bit of A Certain Ratio (less the production of course) whereas the latter pieces reminded me of Willem Breuker, combined with folk music and a bit of marching music. Very nice and forwarding music, one to cheer the listener up for sure. Even when it's a bit far away outside what is normally played here, this is quite nice indeed. (FdW)
ALLA ZAGAYKEVYCH - TO ESCAPE, TO BREATHE,
TO KEEP SILENCE (MP3 by Nexsound)
The Ukrain is a fine country when it comes to women doing experimental music. Following Zavoloka, here is Alla Zagaykevych. She composed 'real' classical music for orchestras, small ensembles and some such, but in 1997 she also founded the Electronic Studio of National Musical Academy of Ukraine. The three works that are now available as a MP3 by Nexsound deal with her work in electronic music. In each of the pieces Zagaykevych plays 'recording and live computer', treating respectively somebody playing violin, voice and piano. '... is a multimedia work that aims to reveal with art means a process of human self-identification in an imaginary 'city environment'. She then raises all sort of questions about life, cities, movements etc, but it's a bit difficult to see them being connected to the three music pieces. The hectic, virtuoso violin playing in 'To Escape' is a bit too hectic for me, but the much more delicate processing. The voice in 'To Breathe' is almost gone, just waving high above the ground and the piano of 'To Keep Silence' is surely present, but gets nicely transformed in an almost Tietchens' like manner. Even if the ideas behind it are a bit beyond, those two tracks are a true delight to hear. (FdW)
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