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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 522
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week 16
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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

 

BURKHARD STANGL & TAKU UNAMI - I WAS (CD by Hibari Music) *
ERIC LA CASA - SECOUSSES PANORAMIQUES (miniCD by Hibari Music) *
NOW (CD by Wonders/Double A) *
POSTHUMAN - THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC (CD by Seed Records)
GEOFF MULLEN - THRTYSUXTRLLNMNFSTNS (CD by Entschuldigen) *
MITTEN [STATE] TRANSMISSIONS (4CD set by Top Quality Rock N Roll)
THE W-VIBE - HI BOUNCER (7" by Top Quality Rock N Roll)
KORA ET LE MECHANIX - EXCURSIN (CD by Nextera) *
DAVE FOX - DEDICATION SUITE (CD by Umbrella Recordings)
NUMINOUS OPOSSUM - FIND THE BURROW AND BURY YOUR HEAD - (CD by Umbrella Recordings)
CARRIE SHULL & TRARA FLANDREAU & REUBEN RADDING - THE BRANCH WILL NOT BREAK (CD by Umbrella Recordings)
JIMMY GRAPHERY & JASON BIVINS & IAN DAVIS - IMPERMANENCE (CD by Umbrella Recordings)
GHOST OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE - WITH FIERCEST DEMOLITION (CDEP by Thirty Ghosts Records)
DJ/RUPTURE - MISS NEMSIS/OPTIONS (7" by Ek-ke)
A GIFT FOR (*|*) (2CDR by Grey Sparkle)
LUKASZ CISZAK - AUXIN (CDR by Sqrt Label) *
SLOWTION - TRUDGE (CDR by Sqrt Label) *
ADAPTORIES - KATAS (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings) *
AND THE WIND THAT WILL COME TO BLOW THE DUST AWAY (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings) *
B'TONG - POLAR:IS (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings) *
YURIA (CD compilation by Seedee)
PS STAMPS BACK - LIVE IN ATHENS 05 (MP3 by Desetxea)
CADUCEUS - INFLUENCE VOLUME SIX (MP3 by Caduceus Music) *

 

BURKHARD STANGL & TAKU UNAMI - I WAS (CD by Hibari Music)
ERIC LA CASA - SECOUSSES PANORAMIQUES (miniCD by Hibari Music)
What a contra-guitar is, I wouldn't know, but Austria's Burkhard Stangl plays one, along with normal guitars. Taku Unami plays guitars and objects. For reasons that are surely of no interest, I played this CD on a pair of headphones, which is something I normally don't do, after playing it first on my regular stereo. There is a computerized sound throughout some of these pieces that is far away in the mix, if you would play this CD not very loud, you wouldn't even notice it. On top there is the careful guitar playing of Stangl, and occasionally there is a object that bumps into another object somewhere in the space. Sometimes guitar playing and object bumping meet up, but sometimes they move in their own course, with caring too much about the other. Sometimes it's all really quiet, in true onkyo style, but in the fourth piece 'I Was....', which is a live recording (and if you didn't know you wouldn't tell the difference from the three studio pieces), things explode suddenly at one piece, which scared the shit out of money, since the volume was of course all the way, to hear all the fine delicate differences. Of course it's all improvised music and sometimes not easy to follow, but there is a great sense of concentration throughout and if the listener is prepared to do the same, then it will surely be rewarding.
Elevator music is of course nobody likes to hear when they speak about one's music. It's the type of music that one get in the elevator, or the supermarket. Muzak. Yuk. But in the case of the new Eric La Casa mini CD it's truly elevator music, music made out of the sound of elevators. Going up, going down, the computer voice, alarm, the bells and the ropes attached to the elevators. All of the sounds that are so familiar for elevators pass by, yet not very often humans. Divided into sixteen tracks, La Casa made his recordings mostly in Paris, but there is also a sound from Melbourne and Antwerp. However it's better to hear this as one work and not sixteen small ones. It's sound scaping in it's most pure form: without any electronic treatments, La Casa tells us a story and builds from all the familiar sounds a fascinating journey, even when the journey goes only up and down. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hibarimusic.com

NOW (CD by Wonders/Double A)
This release is a bit of a puzzle. First I thought the band name was Wonders, since that was printed big on the backside, but when I checked www.wonders.com I couldn't find anything about the band, but I also learned it's not the name of the label either. Wonders produces shoes and I honestly couldn't say wether these shoes are nice or hip - being nothing of fashion man myself. So the band is named Now, and it's a three piece: Fredrik Suter, Per Moller and Kim Walltin, although what they played is not told. The CD opens with a great up-tempo rock song that has a great drive and energy. It's a highly promising start, but then it turns out that the rest of is pretty much the same thing, but then with less energy, speed and play-fullness. Tracks here are also longer than the first one, which doesn't help much either. 'Frutti Di Mare' is a slow song, with the obligatory trumpet, but it turns out to be quite a boring. The other tracks are more so so, not bad, not great. It's a bit like eating something you really like but then really too much: the start is OK, but you can never make it to the end. (FdW)
Address: http://www.wonders.com http://www.a-double-a.com

POSTHUMAN - THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC (CD by Seed Records)
Two cousins make up Posthuman. Rich and Josh are originally from Scotland and their first release was on Manchester's Skam, but they moved to London, started their own Seed Records and organized parties at the Aldwych Disused Tube Station. Although being on Skam, and whilst having Plaid, Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert of Goldfrapp playing at their tube station, the music of Posthuman is however not as techno related as your would expect. Apparently their wrote their songs on guitars and keyboards, in the old-fashioned way, one could say, and then spend time to 'deconstruct' them. That may seem also a bit too heavy for what it eventually sounds like, but somewhere half way through Radiohead and Skam, you might find the crossroad that says Posthuman. Guitars seem to be playing indeed a bigger role in this release than in some other electronic label release, but there is always the rhythm component that is sometimes a bit techno like, but for the same matter it could a much slower, hip hop like one as in 'The Process Of Filing Reports'. Posthuman's music is hardly danceable, but also a bit dark. Not just melancholic, it's just a bit darker than that. A bit Coil like at times. All of this makes the album a lot more interesting than the average breakbeat/IDM record. The sense of experimentalism, still within the frame of a pop-song (of sorts), makes this throughout a most enjoyable album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.seedrecords.co.uk

GEOFF MULLEN - THRTYSUXTRLLNMNFSTNS (CD by Entschuldigen)
This is for me a new known name and a new label, but the label is run by Keith Fullerton Whitman, so perhaps that is already a guarantee for quality. There is no history available for Geoff Mullen, or at least not one we know. Mullen plays guitar, banjo, electronics and amplification. It's not easy to put this into a little corner of its own: there is bits of drone rock in the first piece, which is slow monolithic beast, but in the second one (tracks have no titles of course) things are quirky played on the guitar, but with some nasty sounds underneath. A bit folky but with enough weirdness thrown in. The rest of the pieces keep on balancing between these parameters: the drone related noise and the finger picking guitar and banjo pieces. It's quite alright material, even when not a big surprise. The influences of mr. Whitman himself, or that of Jim O'Rourke (area 'Happy Days') are never far away. A good, solid work, without many new steps taken, but one that is nevertheless quite alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.entschuldigen.com

MITTEN [STATE] TRANSMISSIONS (4CD set by Top Quality Rock N Roll)
THE W-VIBE - HI BOUNCER (7" by Top Quality Rock N Roll)
This could be a nightmare quiz: the 1000 dollar question is, mention five industrial noise, electronic, space rock etc bands from Michigan? I think I would go blank. I could mention Windy & Carl, Wolf Eyes, The Hearing Trumpett, Will Soderberg, PBK, Hive Mind, Matt Borghi or even, apparently, Allan Bryant. But I don't think I ever realized that they were from Michigan. Luckily this omission is corrected by the release of the four CD set 'Mitten [State] Transmissions', a four hour and forty-four minute compilation set, with all of these names but also many many more. What can I say besides that the word 'overkill' is stamped all over this? The mixture of noise, experimental and electronic is nice and that the component space rock is perhaps an odd addition, but at the same time it sort of breaks the work up a bit, which is nice, since not every noise (etc.) track here is the best you can get. In the vast amount of tracks that are on offer, that is hardly a problem, as you can always skip to the next lot. I must say that the space rock pieces on this compilation were the better ones for me, simply because of the overkill of noise pieces. One keeps looking for the quieter pieces I expect, or perhaps it's just my age. There is a good amount of music to explore here. And apparently there is also a DVD-R with almost three hours worth of live footage by some of these bands, but I haven't seen that...
The W-Vibe are two guys: Joseph Hornacek (Prophet 600, Roland R-70, TR-808, Vermona, Yamaha AW4416, Sequential Circuits Vocorder, vocals, Producer) and Dan Augustine (Prophet 600, Casio CZ-101, Casio SK-1, Casio SA-7 & SA-9, Apple laptop, electronic toys, song-writing, SP-12, Analog Delay, vocals). Their influences are mainly pop related and from that mainly 80s oriented. 'Hi Bouncer' is a quirky popsong played on electronics that sounds like Kraftwerk using too many drugs and so is the final one on the b-side. In between is a totally fucked up sort of punk song, or perhaps a punk song of sorts, that is in high speed mode (most likely electronically tampered). Strange one. Quite a nice 7", high energy electronic mayhem - or some such.
The label offers also a DVD-R of the record reverser: a device which you can mount on your record player and play records backwards. Might be handy when looking for more 'Paul Is Dead' clues. (FdW)
http://www.topqualityrockandroll.com

KORA ET LE MECHANIX - EXCURSIN (CD by Nextera)
Although we came across the name Kora Et Le Mechanix on the compilation 'Out Of Place Artefacts' (see Vital Weekly 472), the music didn't make a lasting impression. Here they arrive again, this time with their debut album. Kora Et Le Mechanix are a duo of Michel Koran, who previously played in Richter Band and Zapomenuty orchestr Zeme snivcu and Filip Homola who worked with Die Archa and Znameni kruhu - none of which mean much to me actually. The list of instruments shows analog moduling synthesizer, laptop, vocoder, sampler, loops and electronics. Two of the tracks were recorded 'live at Biosphere concert', I assume when Kora Et Le Mechanix played the support act. This may also provide a clue as to what Kora Et Le Mechanix may sound like: ambient music but with a great sense of experimentalism. Things are mysterious, deep, atmospheric, but also there are far away nasty sounds to be detected that never take on a lead or a main role, but that firmly keeps this out of the hands of the new age monster. In terms of daring ambient music, Biosphere is most certainly an influence to account for, as-well as perhaps The Hafler Trio from a few years back. Ambient music is a dead end, that much is clear, but every now and then, new people occur on the scene and they seem to be doing a nice thing after all.
Address: http://www.nextera.cz

DAVE FOX - DEDICATION SUITE (CD by Umbrella Recordings)
NUMINOUS OPOSSUM - FIND THE BURROW AND BURY YOUR HEAD - (CD by Umbrella Recordings)
CARRIE SHULL & TRARA FLANDREAU & REUBEN RADDING - THE BRANCH WILL NOT BREAK (CD by Umbrella Recordings)
JIMMY GRAPHERY & JASON BIVINS & IAN DAVIS - IMPERMANENCE (CD by Umbrella Recordings)
New in the Vital Weekly chronicles is the Umbrella Recordings label. Four releases of them dropped in recently in our briefcase, none of them of recent date. If these four releases are representative it is a label specialized in jazz and improvised music. North Carolina drummer Ian Davis seems to be founder of this label. In 2001 Davis recorded with sax and flute player Andrew Voight ( of ROVA-fame) and bass-player Morgan Guberman (also vocals).
Many musical experiences come together in this trio that shows great interplay. It has intriguing player Voigt most of the time taking the lead, but also there is beautiful group improvisation to be enjoyed. Very expressive improvisations full of subtle, seemingly messy sounding improvisations. Guberman attracts attention with his typical style on bass. All in all a captivating and absorbing work. Creating very diverse atmospheres.
In 2004 we find Ian Davis in another trio with Jimmy Graphery on tenor and alt saxes and flute, and Jason Bivins on guitar. Far less interesting in my experience. Very silent and cautious improvisations. It shows the importance of the personal element, and of course the mastership and experience of the musicians.
Also a trio but of a very different kind we hear on 'The Branch Will Not Break' with Carrie Shull (oboe and english horn), Tara Flandreau (viola) and Reuben Radding (double bass). All three of them played with numerous other improvisors like Eugene Chadbourne, Zorn, etc. The instrumentation as it is on this one we do not not often meet in improvised music. Because of this instrumentation and their style of improvisation it reminded me at times of early Third Ear Band. Especially where they play long notes. The trio presents a nice blend of improvisation and new modern classical composed music. All three of them are very inventive players who feel very well in their collective undertaking. They make good use of texture and timbre, space, color and dynamic. At moments their improvisation is so together that it sounds as composed music. Music that has to sound this way. At other moments the music is whirling in the air without a clear sense of direction. Their music has a poetic and romantic feel that makes it more close to classical than to jazz music. The CD is very good recorded, one can hear every detail.
'Dedication Suite' is a work for piano by Greensburo composer and player Dave Fox. It is obvious that Fox knows music history. Many influences are pouring out in the lines he lays down. If this is the case it is always the question whether the player is in control of his luggage and capable of developing this own vocabulary. Well, Fox knows what he is doing.
He arranged his improvisations in a suite. In his playing he makes use of extended techniques. He plays no prepared piano, but at times you would swear this is the case. Playing in a free jazz style is changed for a contemplative classical style. His touch caused some problems for my ears, as it continuously displays a certain vigor and harshness. Again an excellent sounding disc that satisfies only partially. (DM)
Address: http://www.umbrellarecordings.com

GHOST OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE - WITH FIERCEST DEMOLITION (CDEP by Thirty Ghosts Records)
In our of course stupid policy to pay attention to everything we get (except demo's), we sometimes receive music of people who are no doubt clueless as to what Vital Weekly writes about, as long as they can see their name in print. Ghost Of The Russian Empire is such a band. They are from Texas and exist since 2004 with a core of four members. On this, their debut CDEP, they play six tracks, which are clearly inspired by Radiohead, in particular the albums before 'Kid A', and that exactly the Radiohead I don't care about that much. Solid rock songs, with an OK enough production (much reverb on the guitars, me thinks), but nothing that could even remotely interest me, since what it's about is too far out of Vital Weekly's taste, or let alone my personal outside-vital taste. (FdW)
Address: http://www.thirtyghostsrecords.com

DJ/RUPTURE - MISS NEMSIS/OPTIONS (7" by Ek-ke)
Somewhere along the lines I missed out on DJ/rupture's story, you'll have to excuse me. 'Miss Nemesis' sound like a rhythm lifted off one of the Muslimgauze records, but with the addition of more bass, and some extra sounds played on organs, or perhaps plug ins on the computers. It's an OK track, nothing spectacular. 'Options' started with a bass line and some taped interview from some composer - if I read the xeroxed and reduced cover very well, it is perhaps Gregory Whitehead, before it fades over into a more collated piece of music, which is nice but a bit chaotic. And after these two fairly alright tracks, I still haven't clue what DJ/rupture is about, really. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ek-ke.com/

A GIFT FOR (*|*) (2CDR by Grey Sparkle)
Recently we discussed the extended tribute project by The New Blockaders, and here is another one, which is unmistakably smaller, but it's also definetly not a remix project. Italian musicians from the underground scene pay tribute to the journalist Mario Biserni, who is not so well-known (I'm told, even by Italian standards) but who has an absolute believe in the underground scene. It's a project of love that can be purchased from no less than nine labels and is also online to be found as a MP3 project. Spread over two CDRs this is not just the collection of who's who in the Italian scene, but it's also an introduction to many new names. It's good to see say MB here, or 3/4HadBeenEliminated (with an odd piece of dub music), or my private hero Giuseppe Ielasi, but there is also Talk Show Host, Madame Prosa, Mugen or Paggo Uno. Throughout the experiment is important for all of these musicians, and each of them adds their own trademark. Many of them operate in the world microsound, dealing with cracks, hiss, and beeps, but rock and improvisation play a likewise big role. Thus this is a pretty bunch of musics that never bored me, although I must admit none of the tracks made a really big impression either. It was 'just' good solid experimental music from many different angles. Brought to you also by Aal, Andrea Belfi, Cria Cuervos, I/O, Kar, Punck, Sparkle Grey, Logoplasm and many more. A young person's guide to who's who in Italy. (FdW)
Address: http://www.greysparkle.com

LUKASZ CISZAK - AUXIN (CDR by Sqrt Label)
SLOWTION - TRUDGE (CDR by Sqrt Label)
It's been a while since we first got hold of music by Lukasz Ciszak (see Vital Weekly 478). His first solo release was 'Phloem' which didn't leave a devastating impression here. I am not sure if 'Auxin' is also entirely made with guitars, but I do know that I liked this much better than 'Phloem'. Elements of noise and improvisation are still present, but Ciszak presents in the form of collages which are certainly most interesting to hear. There is good sense of dynamics here, sometimes quite soft, and at other times piercingly loud, but Ciszak keeps an ear open for the balance of his pieces. How this was made, we don't know, other than perhaps computer manipulations of guitar sounds, but it's surely a fine work of rougher (much much rougher) microsound guitar work. Quite nice and a major leap forward.
Also on the Sqrt Label is a release by Slowtion, which according to their website came 'out of the ashes of early nineties sheffield noise terrorist outfit 'spleen' skimming the under-belly of sonic exploration specialists 'dual'' So I am not sure, but I think (a) members of Dual is part of this new band, which plays slow guitar music, sometimes (not present in every track) with some rhythm-machine. I assume Slowtion wants to play the mood card in music, through the various possibilities the guitar has to offer: strumming it through a wall of feedback, just a wall of feedback or plucking the snares. Occasionally it sounds a bit like Earth, but never captures the same power. The music is alright, I think. Not overtly brilliant, not really bad. A six out of ten rating, I guess, if we would do such a thing. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sqrt-label.org

ADAPTORIES - KATAS (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings)
AND THE WIND THAT WILL COME TO BLOW THE DUST AWAY (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings)
B'TONG - POLAR:IS (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings)
YURIA (CD compilation by Seedee)
PS STAMPS BACK - LIVE IN ATHENS 05 (MP3 by Desetxea)
'Katas' is the second release by Adaptories, or at least my second encounter with them, following 'Music Playground Revisted' (see Vital Weekly 463). I believe they are somewhat of a big band line up, including the use of five laptops, two guitars, one contact microphone, two trumpets, one drum set, one Korg MS-20 and effects. In a way, Adaptories sound very retro, a cross-over between the industrial music of Throbbing Gristle, meeting A Certain Ratio (trumpets!) or Eric Random (guitars and rhythms), or Cabaret Voltaire (some radio cut ups). Add to that the recording quality which is not really great, and this sounds like a survived bootleg from the 80s rehearsal space. Sounds perhaps I didn't like it that much, but I thought it was quite nice: spacious, psychedelic and a bit industrial.
I never heard of And The Wind That Will Come To Blow The Dust Away, which is a trio of one Thomas playing didj, strings, effects, Iason (owner of the label) playing guitar, strings, effects and mark playing sax, flute and strings. "Apparently all three paid homage to a delay unit" it says on the cover. It concerns here a live recording that was made in Leipzig, Germany, which was later cut and pasted, while parts of it were audiomulched and mixed again. Highly atmospherical in approach indeed, with a strong love for the echo, which smears everything together. Sounds howl about, fading in and out, creating a spacious affair. Not as retro sounding as Adaptories, but then perhaps not very modern either, but it's throughout a fine release.
Many of the 1000+1 Tilt Recording releases deal with people from Greece, but B'Tong is from Germany, being Chris Sigdell of Nid. His first release was on Verato Project (see Vital Weekly 486). 'Polar:is' is a release that is just one step further from a sound installation B'Tong did, together with Camilla Schuler and Brigitte Gierlich. It consisted of 'a white room with three looped record-players in rotating psychedelic light, plus a separate underwater installation where two live-performance in icy atmosphere where held'. In what way the release is related I don't know, but it mention natural sound and samples. Maybe because this release lasts a bit longer, we get a more coherent picture of the music of B'Tong. Moving away from the microsound laptop doodling, he enters the spheres of isolationist drone music. Deep dark rumbling bass sounds, with gentle, glacier like moving textures on top. It reminded me of what was called isolationist ten or so years ago, but more in particular Thomas Köner's earliest works. A bit dated perhaps, but quite nice for those who love their drones to be darker than dark.
Not a CDR but a pressed up CD is a compilation which has live tracks recorded at Vinyl Microstore in Athens, Greece. They have many hard to find records and Yuri is their dog. Literally. Athens, dogs and me are not the best combination in the world, but for some people dogs are good friend. Every year, the Vinyl Microstore has an in-store festival with the finest musicians from the local scene, and some of which appear regular in these pages, such as PS Stamps Back, Mecha/Orga and drog_A_tek, but also Free Piece Of Tape, Chroniq, Stavros Gasparatos, Bombie Baumann, Minimaximum Improvisation, Trypanosoma, Vyzantium Lambada. One would expect this to be a bunch of laptop musicians, sitting in this small store (but is it a small one? I wouldn't know), but throughout the music holds much more improvisation, especially by those new names of whom we never heard before. Chroniq is a bit of the odd ball here, with a piece of ambient techno, well of sorts. Quite a nice compilation, nicely varied, like a good meal.
Not on the 1000+1 Tilt label is the release by labelman PS Stamps Back. On November 3rd 2005 he played at the aforementioned Vinyl Microstore with his usual array of "laptop, effect pedals, toy generator and various amplified-through-contact-mics surfaces of vinyl". This MP3 is the entire recording of what is on the compilation just an excerpt. Using such fine software as audiomulch PS Stamps Back creates a densely layered field of high energy noise, but with a fair enough dose of rhythm and sense of experimentalism. Louder than his latest releases, this one fits the esthetic of Mattin (who released this on his MP3 label) quite well. A furious, driving force is behind this music, making this a particular heavy affair. Heavy but nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.geocities.com/tiltrecordings
Address: http://www.mattin.org

CADUCEUS - INFLUENCE VOLUME SIX (MP3 by Caduceus Music)
The sixth volume by Caduceus is indeed a classic one, certainly if you take a look at Caduceus own work. Here they remix three pieces of Porter Ricks' groundbreaking 'Biokinetics' CD on Chain Reaction, a CD that shaped a scene on a label that was a scene in itself. The minimalist yet warm dance music that was often imitated, yet never surpassed. Caduceus does a nice job in taking the basic rhythms out of the Porter Ricks original and add a blend of their own sound effects to that, but it remains a bit too cold and distant like and seems to lack the warmth and depth of Porter Ricks. They are nice tracks, like so many tried, but not entirely succeeded in doing. (FdW)
Address: http://www.caduceusmusic.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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