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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 521
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week 15
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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!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html
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/
* noted are in this week's podcast

PHILL NIBLOCK - TOUCH THREE (3CD by Touch) *
AFFLUX - BORDEAUX TNT (CD by Alluvial Recordings) *
TAKAGI MASAKATSU - JOURNAL FOR PEOPLE (CD/DVD by Carpark) *
BARBARA MORGENSTERN - THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER (CD by Monika Enterprise) *
SINNER DC - MOUNT AGE (CD by Ai Records)
SIX SILK PURSES: THE POEMS OF FORTNER ANDERSON (CD by Wiredonwords) *
BIRGIT ULHER - SCATTER (CD by Creative Sources)
CLAUS VAN BEBBER & MICHAEL VORFELD - KREISEL (CD by Creative Sources)
GE-SUK YEO - DALBUKKI (CD by ART.CappuccinoNet.com)
WITTWULF Y MALIK & GE-SUK YEO - WHITE ROOM (CD by ART.CappuccinoNet.com)
RAPOON - ALIEN GLYPH MORPHOLOGY (DVD by Caciocavallo)
LUSTMORD/CHARLIE DEAUX - ZOETROPE (DVD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
PEARLS BEFORE SWINE (DVD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
ANCIENT MONSTERS - ANCIENT MONSTERS (CDR by Sijis Records) *
BREKEKEKEXKOAXKOAX - "WE USED TO BE SUCH GOOD FRIENDS" (CDR by Hushroom Recordings) *
HUM - INNER NAVIGATION (CDR by Mystery Sea) *
CROPCIRCLE - RADIOGRAPHY (CDR by Creative Fields Records) *
CROPCIRCLE - SOUNDTRACK FOR FESTIVAL BARA (CDR by Creative Field Records)
COMPEST - KRYPTOZOOLOGIE (CDR by Einzeleinheit)
BRIAN UZNA - COMBAT SHOCK (CDR by Einzeleinheit) *
STERN/GUERRA - OUTDOOR BOWERS (CDR by Pseudo Arcana) *
FRANCIS/GUERRA/MATTIN/STERN (7" by CMR)
AKAI/IGARASHI/SINCLAIR/STERN - GYANISM (3"CDR by Half Theory)
GREGORY BÜTTNER - EVERY (3"CDR by 1000Füssler) *
MARK MCLAREN - MORE THAN EVERYTHING (MP3 by Con-V) *
KARA FEELY/TRAVIS JUST - L-SHAPED NOT MORE THAN 7-FEET HIGH (KARA LISTENING) (MP3)
KARA FEELY/TRAVIS JUST - L-SHAPED NOT MORE THAN 7-FEET HIGH (TRAVIS LISTENING) (MP3)
TRAVIS JUST - NO TITLE: PIANO AND PIANO (MP3)
TRAVIS JUST - NO TITLE: PIANO AND PIANO AND PIANO (MP3)

 

PHILL NIBLOCK - TOUCH THREE (3CD by Touch)
Perhaps I said it before, but I am never too tired to repeat myself: I love minimal music. The classical minimal music. Ever since I was fifteen and first got hold of a 3LP set by Steve Reich, 'Drumming'. Around the same time I heard bits of Phill Niblock's music and was attracted to his even more minimal approach. 'Four Full Flutes', where he creates pieces of music played on flutes, by chopping out the breathing, and creates a vast, sustaining sound, was a highly influential work for me. Ever since I am a keen follower of his work, and this new 3CD set is just an overwhelming release. The idea is very simple, for each of the pieces on this CD. Recorded a few tones of one instrument, remove the breathing, leaving the decay and then change the pitch on some of the sounds. Then Niblock starts to layer these tracks, usually somewhere between 24 and 32 tracks. No other electronic processing was done to these recordings. Among the instruments used here we find cello, acoustic guitar with e-bow, recorders, alto/soprano/baritone saxophones, trumpet and viola. A typical Niblock piece lasts between 20 and 22 minutes. All clear, neat and simple? Then why release three CDs, nine tracks in total? They probably all sound the same anyway? Well, of course it less simple and of course it sounds different. The CD open with 'Sethwork' (check out Phill's website for the correct order of the tracks on CD one!), which is almost classical Phill Niblock: sustained tones, with hardly a pause and apparently played on 'acoustic, unamplified guitars with e-bow'. A continuos deep hissing (for the lack of a better word) sound. This is how Niblock sounded when I first heard his music, almost twenty-five years ago. Compared that with 'Harm', also on the first CD, which is a work for cello (which is one of Niblock's beloved instruments). Now here the sounds are highly sustained too, but in stead of one mighty block of sound, it almost sounds orchestral, with the sounds coming in and out of the mix. Two totally different approaches to the same technique. With a slight adjustment, leaving some space at the beginning and end of each sound, Niblock adds on 'Parker's Altered Mood, aka, Owed To Bird', the sound of inhaling breath (in order to play the alto saxophone), which add yet another dimension to this music. Maybe playing all three CDs in this set is a bit much, but I did it, and I must say time disappeared as this overwhelming unfolded little by little. Simply the best Niblock statement thus far, the most complete one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.touchmusic.org.uk

AFFLUX - BORDEAUX TNT (CD by Alluvial Recordings)
Your ear is an excellent microphone. Imagine to be in a crowded place, close your eyes and listen. You will pay attention to detailed sounds around you, simply because your mind allows you to ignore the surrounding sounds, those you don't want to hear. Afflux does something like that, except that they use real microphones and contact microphones in a location. TNT cultural centre in Bordeaux is apparently a big building with a bar/restaurant, offices, concert space and a top floor. Afflux attached many contact microphones to all of these places and they were connected to a 32 channel mixer and the resultant mix was played over eight speakers in the concert half. The whole concert lasted six hours. Afflux is the collaboration of Eric Cordier, Jean-Luc Guionnet and Eric La Casa, all three composers in their own right. From the six hours of recordings, Eric La Casa edited this fifty one minute CD, with just one piece. We hear sounds that we recognize, like people talking, the elevator, maybe the coffee machine, but they all appear to be far away, or embedded in a strange environment - maybe like we would hear this when we would inside such a big environment ourselves, but now the ears don't select: the selection has been made for us, by La Casa. Our ears are now focussed on this CD, and not the rain outside, or own coffee machine. This makes this into quite a strange listening affair, since we recognize the daily sounds that we would always recognize but also all these other sounds. It makes this however not an uneasy affair, but rather a fascinating one: what are these sounds, and where are they going to? It's a highly captivating soundscape that is captured here. Not so much with a 'story' or a 'composition', but ambient music in the true meaning of the word: music made of the ambience. Gorgeous music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.alluvial.com

TAKAGI MASAKATSU - JOURNAL FOR PEOPLE (CD/DVD by Carpark)
The multi-media man. That is what Takagi Masakatsu is. He is a classically trained pianist, a multimedia documentarian and an art-gallery exhibiting jet-setter. For 'Journal For People' he travelled the world and recorded people's everyday lives and back home this is transformed into music and video, but with the addition of piano sounds, raw and processed. It's not difficult to guess that this falls inside the world glitchy ambient music. Tinkling, sometimes stutter piano sounds, a bit of birds, a small girl singing and the unclear sounds of whatever was recorded in the field - which is harder to guess since it's highly transformed. It's music that walks common paths for sure, but it's also really nice to hear. It's sweet with no sudden outburst, it's recognizable, i.e. there is not just abstract sound processing and it's delicate. Well produced, a true treat for tired ears. And tired eyes, probably, since it comes with a DVD that holds nine films to nine (out of thirteen) pieces of music on the CD. It works in pretty much the same way: Masakatsu films events of daily life and processes them, by color filtering and looping. Clouds, a luna park, water, people (roller-) skating, children jumping or sometimes simply too difficult to recognize. It's unclear wether the action we see is also what we hear, but it's of less importance. I watched bits without listening to the sound and than it may seem a bit too much of a flicker movie, but with sound things are much calmer and maintains the sweetness of music and movie much better. Quite relaxing. (FdW)
Address: http://www.carparkrecords.com

BARBARA MORGENSTERN - THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER (CD by Monika Enterprise)
It's been three years since Barbara Morgenstern's last CD 'Nichts Muss', and our lady of electro-pop didn't spend this doing nothing. She worked with Robert Lippock and Stefan Schneider, but also did a world tour, hence the title 'The Grass Is Always Greener', meaning things seem always better somewhere else, and not at the place where one is. Some of the songs deal with life on the road, or impressions of cities and situations in other countries, but sometimes it's not related at all with anything doing with life on the road, like songs about growing old. Morgenstern sings with her usual warm voice and likewise warm synthesizer music. Morgenstern uses uptempo drum patterns, which is sometimes getting dam fine close to real pop-music, although it's a bit hard to see the top ten hit among this lot. However I wouldn't be surprised it a top ten hit lies in reach for Morgenstern in the near future. I like good pop-music, mainly older stuff, but in the case of Barbara Morgenstern: she the good exception that the pop-music I like is still made today and it sounds great. (FdW)
Address: http://www.m-enterprise.de

SINNER DC - MOUNT AGE (CD by Ai Records)
More pop-music, perhaps it's my lucky. The pop-music of Sinner DC is of a different kind than the elsewhere mentioned release by Barbara Morgenstern, even when there are similarities. Vocals for instance, but unlike Morgenstern, they are not lyrics in the traditional way, but the vocals merely supports the music. Since it's on Ai Records, one may assume that it's a release full of dance related music and in some cases this is very much so, like in the minimal piece 'On & On'. They are for me the least interesting pieces. Where the minimalist dance rhythms meet up with the whispering vocals, usually fed through a vocoder, than we talking new territory. Sounding a bit like some of the pieces of Radiohead's 'Kid A' album (especially in 'On The Ocean', the singer sounds very much Thom Yorke like), this is more electronic however than guitar based. Sinner DC, a three piece group from Geneva, play drums, bass, toy organ, guitar and voice & vocoder, but manage to sound more electronic than rock oriented. Less dance oriented than some of the other releases on Ai Records, so perhaps some of the die-hard fans will be 'shocked' but I thought it was a real pleasure to hear. (FdW)
Address: http://www.airecords.com

SIX SILK PURSES: THE POEMS OF FORTNER ANDERSON (CD by Wiredonwords)
On this compilation we find music to the poems of one Fortner Anderson. Who he is, or what his poetry is really about, we don't know, will not know, since the selections from his work are just a few here. They are selected by six different Canadian composers, who were free to create a new recording from the original. We recognize the names of Alexandre St-Onge, Christof Migone and Sam Shalabi and see new ones: Chantal Dumas, Alexander MacSween and Michel F. Côté. Each of them treats the material in his own way, which can range from microscopic detailed slicing up of the material via multi-layered speech to almost minimal techno, but five of them seem to find it important that the original poem is still in there somewhere (only in St-Onge's piece it's gone). That is nice, since it makes this CD more coherent. His voice reminded me a bit of Gregory Whitehead, although the music is much different. Throughout it's been a pretty good job done on these poems, and there is a fair size of variety in here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fortneranderson.com

BIRGIT ULHER - SCATTER (CD by Creative Sources)
CLAUS VAN BEBBER & MICHAEL VORFELD - KREISEL (CD by Creative Sources)
Both cds were recorded in 2005 at the Nurnichtnur Studios at Kleve, Germany by Nurnichtnur label owner Beserker (Dieter Schlensog). Together with van Bebber, Vorfeld and a few others Schlensog was member of 'Heinrich Mucken' an obscure group from the 80s. Nowadays Vorfeld lives in Berlin working as a photographer, percussionist and artist. Van Bebber also found his way in the arts, and as a musician he specialized himself in playing with turntables.
On 'Kreisel' both gentlemen create with percussion, stringed instruments and turntables some nice and intense moments. A successful and well-balanced collaboration I must say. The sounds they draw from their instruments go very well together. Van Bebber stays close to the sound-material on the records. He makes use of several turntables simultaneously applying a limited set of techniques, like speed and loops, and that's about it if I,m not mistaken.
The quotes he takes from the records are short enough not to quote complete musical fragments from the records, but long enough to make maximum use of the naturalness and colorfulness of the sounds and music on the record. His approach is less abstract then the one of people like Tetréault and Yoshihide. Vorfeld is very flexible and to the point in reacting to the patterns that come from Bebbers machinery. Most records in this field are flat and shapeless in my view, but 'Kreisel' surely is an exception. This is a cd of very vivid and fresh sound-paintings, that I without doubt want to call music in the fullest sense of the word.
Birgit Ulher derives her inspiration from abstract painting and fluxus-art. She is educated in graphics and developed herself as an improvisor an trumpet. As such she was on stage with musicians like Tim Hodgkinson, Rhodri Davies, Söres Zsolt, Michael Zerang and Martin Blume, a.o. Several of her collaborations and solo-works found their way to the c.d. in the last few years mainly on Creative Sources and Nurnichtnur. 'Scatter' is her newest solo-work for trumpet. Her music is best described as a kind of sound-poetry of a very demanding kind. In ten pieces she exercises her very vulnerable style. When listening to her c.d. I asked myself "How do you have to prepare yourself for a journey like this?" It was not without despair I asked this myself. Alas, 'Scatter' didn't talk to me. (DM)
Address: http://www.creativesources.com/

 

GE-SUK YEO - DALBUKKI (CD by ART.CappuccinoNet.com)
WITTWULF Y MALIK & GE-SUK YEO - WHITE ROOM (CD by ART.CappuccinoNet.com)
The oddly named ART.CappuccinoNet.com label was founded in 2001 by Ge-Suk Yeo. They produce sound art, contemporary music and electro-acoustic sounds. 'Its purpose is to feature some of the excellent music overlooked by today's music scene'. Yeo herself is a soprano (as in vocalist), composer and visual artist. She moved from Korea to Germany, because she liked Europe a lot. She appears on both CDs. 'Dalbukki' is a solo CD by her, and it's a contraction of the Korean words Dal (moon), Geobuk (terrapin) and Tokki (rabbit). There are in total six pieces on this CD, which are described as electro-acoustic sound projects, using the voice of Ge-suk Yeo which are electronically manipulated. They are minimally moving forward, a bit rhythmical and all that, but I must admit I found it very hard to get into this, especially in the first three which are connected in some way. Things move with no reason or purpose, the dynamics are quite low, everything moves on the same level. A pretty difficult CD to get into.
In more regular improvisation areas is her CD with Wittwulf Y Malik, a cello player and composer from Hamburg. 'White Room' was recorded in a gallery at an artist opening. Sometimes they play beautiful pieces of music together, with a lot of tension between the players, but at other times there is no tension at all, and the improvisations are just too regular cello playing and voice excercise. It's ok throughout and much more enjoyable that the 'Dalbukki' CD, but perhaps both are too regular and mainstream art related for me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.art.cappuccinonet.com

RAPOON - ALIEN GLYPH MORPHOLOGY (DVD by Caciocavallo)
LUSTMORD/CHARLIE DEAUX - ZOETROPE (DVD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
PEARLS BEFORE SWINE (DVD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
With the arrival of MP3 as a serious treat to the traditional record labels, many have tried to find an alternative, and many of the record labels have thought: if you can't beat them, join them. However to avoid your material being downloaded too easily, you could make elaborate packaging (not that the kids care about that), or perhaps release DVDs. Soleilmoon (or their sister Caciocavallo) sometimes opts for both. Recently they released no less than three DVDs, of which one is definitely outside the lines of Vital Weekly, but we'll mention it anyway. The most abstract one, or perhaps the most Vital Weekly one, is of course the DVD by Rapoon. It's I believe his first one, and I must say a beauty. His music doesn't seem to hold many surprises for me these days as in what he does there is not much difference: loops, delay, ethnic percussion. Perhaps the same can be said for his much of his visual work, but if you stumbled upon something that is pretty much a good style of your own, why change it? But it's nice to see these images move as on this CD. Rapoon's visual style is that watercolors in a sort of cavemen style, mystic, ritual, but it's never dark or obscure. On this DVD you'll find six films made with these images moving about, layered and with changing light perspectives. It's a highly ambient film of slowly changing music and images. Very nice indeed.
A little less abstract is the film by Charlie Deaux with the music of Lustmord. 'Zoetrope' deals with Franz Kafka story 'In The Penal Colony'. A man is in prison, for no reason and he is tortured by an unnamed bureaucrat. However do not expect a blood spatter movie. It's all shot in black and white. We see the man in his cell, the torturer and many ancient looking apparatus, like cog-wheels and such. There is much animation, which adds to the depraving character and the strong sense of torture. Certainly it's not a pleasant movie to watch (even when it lasts only twenty minutes), but it's made with great care for detail and looks absolutely beautiful, in all it's cruelty. Lustmord's soundtrack fits very well: dark haunting, but with a great sense for the images. Not pleasant, but captivating.
Captivating might also be the right word for 'Pearls Before Swine', a feature film by Richard Wolstencroft and featuring Boyd Rice doing the main lead, but maybe captivating for the wrong reason (but hey since when is this the Vital Film Weekly?). 'I have so much hate to share with you'. The film is about violence. Boyd as hit man, Boyd doing SM, Boyd speaking about nazi-germany, Boyd doing coke and some more killing. There are guest roles for David Thrussell, Douglas P and the beautiful Lisa Hutchinson. The DVD case reads 'Pearls Before Swine provides a valuable social, political and intellectual signpost toward a new non-racist yet still hierarchical political revolution of the Right, something director Richard Wolstencroft has called elsewhere 'Transcendental Fascism'. Yeah right me think. Boyd somehow isn't winning an academy award and the film is merely laughable at times how bad it is. The dialogues are sometimes hilarious. A Clockwork Orange (also recently watched again) had a much bigger impact. Transcendental Fascism? If civilization is merely some varnish, i'd suggest to make it thicker, not thinner and forget the pseudo intellectual babble of 'I love violence, i love doing it, i love watching it' and the glorification of the reich. (FdW)
Address: http://www.soleilmoon.com

ANCIENT MONSTERS - ANCIENT MONSTERS (CDR by Sijis Records)
Together with this CDR I received a story about the making of the Ancient Monster release. Story, rather than the usual press blurb. It's about a guitar player named K (perhaps the grand-grandson of K from Kafka's 'The Trial'?) in a recording studio, who picks up the phone and hears wonderful slow music. I assume he just heard Ancient Monsters. According to the cover Ancient Monsters are Murray Henderson (farfisa organ, moog synthesizer and programming) and David Sergeant (acoustic and electric guitars, sampling, studio effects). No K there. Back to what really counts: the music and that is indeed slow, and wonderful, oh yes and beautiful. Slowly flowing and gliding sounds up and down whatever musical scale, played on a bunch of processed guitars, feeding of through a whole bunch of sound effects. A bit like Fears Falls Burning or some others in the world of post-rock, like Windy & Carl, but just as nice as the big examples. Quite beautiful waking up music, or perhaps just music to be played at the final hour of the day, but then preferable in the dark, and simply fade to sleep. Quite a majestical release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sijis.com

BREKEKEKEXKOAXKOAX - "WE USED TO BE SUCH GOOD FRIENDS" (CDR by Hushroom Recordings)
Apart from a few appearances on compilations, this is my first full length encounter with the ever so oddly named Brekekekexkoaxkoax, the project with Josh Ronsen in the middle. You may recognize his name from his own Monk Mink Pink Punk magazine, or of ND Magazine (whatever happened there?) or his contributions to the Abrasion Ensemble, Frequency Curtain, the Gates Ensemble or the Austin New Music Co-op. This new release is a pretty long one, which according to Josh falls into three categories: two pieces are free improvisation quartets of Ronsen on electric guitar and clarinet and others on oboe, flute, snare drum, banjo, violin etc., one is an electro-acoustic sound collage and one is a 'piece of conceptual sound organization'. The first of the two improvisation pieces, I must admit didn't do much for me. The players move around too careful around each other, and there seems not to be much dialogue or interaction. In the other quartet piece however there is a lot of good tension between the players. The two other pieces are solo pieces and they are the best of the release. Especially 'For I.D. II', for bowed bass guitar, is an intense, minimal piece of music, that moves slowly around like a giant beast. But as said, all four pieces are a bit long and that makes this not the most easy thing to listen to. I think we could have done well enough without the first piece. That would have made a more consistent and easier to listen to release - despite the more difficult pieces. (FdW)
Address: <joshronsen@yahoo.com>

HUM - INNER NAVIGATION (CDR by Mystery Sea)
Perhaps I came across Chistov Dmitry before, as he worked under a lot of different names, such as Sphogha, Nigredo, Mikosterion, Small Town Zombie and of course Hum, subject here today, but perhaps I just don't remember - can you forgive me? Many of his works are released by the man himself. For 'Inner Navigation' he points his microphone under water and releases it on Mystery Sea. But sadly it's not the best microphone in town. The ambient music that Hum produces is a bit rawly shaped, it's the ambience of rusty elements collapsing below sea level and the recordings thereof aren't always the best in town. Sometimes things are just a bit too rough made and the delicacy that is found on so many of the Mystery Sea releases is not always found here. It sometimes distorts a little bit, which is a pity, since the deep atmospheric music of Hum deserves a better recording and mastering. When that is done, things will be be more pleasant to hear. That is also the case with some of the pieces here, but as said not always. The ideas of Hum are quite nice, but the execution lacks a little bit. It's throughout alright, but not brilliant. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mysterysea.net

CROPCIRCLE - RADIOGRAPHY (CDR by Creative Fields Records)
CROPCIRCLE - SOUNDTRACK FOR FESTIVAL BARA (CDR by Creative Field Records)
Behind Cropcircle is one Francesco Testa, who started as Cropcircle in 1999. He has released a couple of CDRs, mainly by himself on his own Creative Fields label. He is also a member of the industrial/folk/noise band Obsessed By Teeth and a duo called Endtransmission. For his solo music, Cropcircle uses a Korg keyboard, a computer, guitars, effects and metal and plastic objects. The music on 'Radiography', his latest release, can best be described as a cross-over of industrial music, a bit of noise and some ambient influences. At times pretty wild stuff, with sound effects running amok, in a hot bed of crashing synths and metal plates. But at other times things are more down to earth and contemplative, which is all the more nicer. One thing that bothered me a bit is that some of the pieces end rather abruptly, and that the overall structure of pieces was a bit too rough. Here lies something to think about.
Somewhat cryptic it reads on the cover of 'Soundtrack For Festival Bara': 'music used for the first Cropcircle's performance during the festival Bara on 5th November, 2005'. Is the actual live recording, or perhaps just the backing tape over which Cropcircle played more stuff live? Upon hearing this, I think it's the backing tape, rather than the live recording. It's one piece, but clearly divided in various sections, again using the harsher elements and the softer parts. Things have a somewhat better flow, and are throughout a little bit more minimal. Short but quite nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.creativefields.net

COMPEST - KRYPTOZOOLOGIE (CDR by Einzeleinheit)
BRIAN UZNA - COMBAT SHOCK (CDR by Einzeleinheit)
These two new releases on Germany's Einzeleinheit both deal with rhythm, but both in a slightly different way. Behind Compest we find Martin Steinebach, who is also out man behind Stillstand, Monoid and Conscientia Peccati (although I never heard that one), and each had it's own sound characteristics. In Compest however he throws them all together, the ambience of Stillstand and the rhythms of Monoid and whatever from Conscientia Peccati and the result is pseudo ethnic/tribal percussive music, heavy loaded ambient synths and dark samples. It's has the influences of Rapoon, Muslimgauze, Internal Fusion or Desaccord Majeur, to mention a few which pop to mind right away. Sometimes Compest knows how turn it around to give it's own twist, but sometimes he is a too much of copycat. It surely appeals to the more daring lovers of Ant-Zen related music, or the dark ambient crowd that likes something rocking and banging, even when it's just occasionally.
Apparently Brian Uzna worked three years on his debut 'Combat Shock', combining his influences from classical music to glitch and everything in between (sounds like 500 years of music history). Originally he had two different album concepts, one experimental and one 'catchy' one. I am not sure why in the end it's one album, combining both, but surely there is a good reason for it. 'Combat Shock' is indeed a pretty varied album, leaning towards various sides of rhythm oriented music, and I must say I rather like the more experimental/ambient side of things, than the sometimes too straight forward techno inspired music of some of the other tracks. It's however a nice mixture of these styles, guaranting the listener not to get bored. Some people make think it's a bit too varied and that Uzna should make up his mind in which style to continue, but I don't think that necessary. It's nice enough as it is. (FdW)
Address: http://www.einzeleinheit.com

STERN/GUERRA - OUTDOOR BOWERS (CDR by Pseudo Arcana)
FRANCIS/GUERRA/MATTIN/STERN (7" by CMR)
AKAI/IGARASHI/SINCLAIR/STERN - GYANISM (3"CDR by Half Theory)
From the ever so delicate world of Joel Stern
three new releases, all of which deal with his love for playing with other people. First of all there is Anthony Guerra. No instruments are listed on the cover, but I safely assume they play guitars and electronics here, perhaps acoustic guitars. The four pieces are an excellent display of their many talents. Each track sounds different than the other ones, but each has its distinct quality. From the bowing sounds of the title piece to the field recordings of 'Avierys' - with bird calls and the sound of a camera. Electronics play a fairly modest role here, more serving than acting out. The 'Avierys' track aswell as the title suggest that they sat outside while recording this. A highly controlled atmosphere.
Something similar can be said of the 7". Recorded two years ago in Auckland, it has Richard Francis on computer, electronics, field recordings, Anthony Guerra on electric guitar, electronics, Mattin on computer feedback and Joel Stern on electronics and field recordings. Don't let Mattin scare you off in this lot: one side sounds like a thunder storm recorded from a big distance which fades gradually into a drone and the other side is at the higher end of the spectrum, but with lots of subtle crackles. It's good to see Mattin not doing so many noise things these days and become the more all-round computer musician. These four like to play things soft and controlled and its great.
On the 3"CDR, Joel Stern teams up with three people I never heard of: Yusuke Akai, Daiji Igarashi and Scott Sinclair. I have no idea what they play, the cover doesn't tell us, but upon hearing I'd say electronics, saxophone (?) and voice. The recording was made in december last year and is clearly the odd ball from the trio. Nothing soft or delicate, this is noise with the big N. With vocals screaming and electronics out of control, this is more Whitehouse than onkyo. 'That's right mate', we hear somewhere in there, and that is the final clue as to what this. But it's much more freely improvised than the usual Whitehouse and that makes it all the more nicer. And Stern proofs he's got more on his plate than just careful, delicate crackles. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pseudoarcana.com
Address: http://www.cmr.co.nz
Address: http://www.halftheory.com

GREGORY BÜTTNER - EVERY (3"CDR by 1000Füssler)
The word 'every' in the title, and thus of the three pieces on this 3"CDR, relate to the Depeche Mode 'Everything Counts', one my favorite Depeche Mode pieces. Gregory Büttner hails from Hamburg where he is an active member on the local experimental music scene, as-well as running his 1000Füssler label and being one half of Für Diesen Abend. His previous solo release was reviewed in Vital Weekly 459. For this new release he uses just one source: a girl named Peggy singing the Depeche Mode piece. Play the first two pieces on this release without knowing this, and you couldn't tell. In the short final piece things become clear. That last one is a nice short piece of pure voice processing, whilst the original is there to be recognized, but none so in the first two pieces. Here a voice seems far away. Sounds flow nicely along in a simple, forward, but majestical way. The voice is probably fed through a whole bunch of plug ins, but the end result is what counts. In terms of micro-sound this is pretty neat affair, even when as such nothing much new seems to taken place in that area. A fine, solid work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tausend-fuessler.de

MARK MCLAREN - MORE THAN EVERYTHING (MP3 by Con-V)
Perhaps the name Mark McLaren doesn't say much, but he's the cofounder of the MP3/CDR label Sijis Records and released, as Mutton Deluxe, on his own label (not reviewed in Vital Weekly). After talking and discussing ideas with various people, including Francisco Lopez, Yannick Dauby and Chris Watson, he explores in this new work the relationship between songs and found sound. The starting point was a list of 'top ten' records from last year by one Jerilyn Jordan. 'Various processes were used to remove and obscure instrumental and vocal traces. These residues were then combined with concrete music, hertzian textures and sounds which can only be remembered but never recorded' it reads some cryptically on the website. 'Environmental sounds recorded in Portugal and Estonia'. A bit clueless here what the top ten list has to do with it, or where it comes in, but the piece is certainly a nice mixture of many layered field recordings and obscured processes of, well perhaps, music. Over the course of the piece, things move field recordings very gradually into the world of pure electronic sound processing. It's a nice piece of soundscaping meeting microsound and luckily not one of 'barely there' music, but quite direct in y'r face. Nice stuff. (FdW)
Address: http://www.con-v.org

KARA FEELY/TRAVIS JUST - L-SHAPED NOT MORE THAN 7-FEET HIGH (KARA LISTENING) (MP3)
KARA FEELY/TRAVIS JUST - L-SHAPED NOT MORE THAN 7-FEET HIGH (TRAVIS LISTENING) (MP3)
TRAVIS JUST - NO TITLE: PIANO AND PIANO (MP3)
TRAVIS JUST - NO TITLE: PIANO AND PIANO AND PIANO (MP3)
Not just a few MP3s to download here, but massive works, four in total, which can be grouped in two pairs, but all four are of a highly conceptual nature. The first two are by Karla Feely and Travis Just and is the sound of an installation. They interviewed a bunch of people who remember rooms from the past and talk about it. The five interviews are mixed in two different ways, once by Feely and once by Just. Some of the stuff is in German and others are in English and they each last fifty minutes. Surely an interesting work to hear once, but twice with a slight variation? I have my doubts about this work. The two other works by Travis Just are much more interesting. Here he plays the 25th Goldberg Variation by Bach over the course of eighty minutes along with Glenn Gould's version from 1981, in a 2 and half minute per cycle, with no repeats. It's a highly contemplative work, slow and peaceful, and excellent to do the accounts with (just as I did). However I can finish my three month tax accounting in eighty minutes, so I don't see the necessity to have the same thing performed again, but this time by two piano players. OK, that was a bit too much again. But one of one pair is great, whilst one of the other is just interesting to hear for once and two are just a bit too much. (FdW)
Address: http://www.objectcollection.us

 

 

 

 

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