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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 526
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week 20
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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

 

NIKO SKORPIO - ESCAPE FROM HEAVEN (CD by Some Place Else) *
PAN.AMERICAN - FOR WAITING, FOR CHASING (CD by Mosz)
CORRUGATED TUNNEL - WE ARE ELECTRONIX (CD by seedyR & Invisible Agent) *
THE PARANOID FOUNDATION - DOUBLE NEGATIVE (CD by Paranoid Foundation) *
ORIGAMI REPLIKA - KOMMERZ: MERZBOW IN THE HANDS OF ORIGAMI REPLIKA (CD by Segerhuva) *
ANDREW DEUTSCH - THE SUN (CD by and/Oar) *
KIYOSHI MIZUTANI - SCENERY OF THE BORDER - ENVIRONMENT AND FOLKLORE OF THE TANZAWA MOUNTAINS (CD by and/Oar)
DEEP END - KISS THE LIGHT GOODBYE (CD by Fratto9 Under The Sky Records)
UR - BAPTISM & BIRTHDAY (CDR, private)
TAYLOR DEUPREE - NORTHERN (CD by 12K) *
THOLLEM MCDONAS - CHASING THE SUN / RACING THE SUN (CD, private)
BALUN - SOMETHING COMES OUR WAY (CD by Brilliante)
GREGORY TAYLOR - VOICEBAND JILT (CD by Cycling 74)
MY EDUCATION - MOODY DRIPPER (CD by Thirty Ghosts Records)
TOMAS PHILLIPS & DEAN KING - A TRAVERS LE BORD (CD by Non Visual Objects)
JOHN BUTCHER/XAVIER CHARLES/AXEL DÖRNER - THE CONTEST OF PLEASURE (CD by Potlatch)
SANCHO - MYSTERY YEAR (CD by Seed Records) *
ERIC CORDIER - BREIZHISELAD (CD by Erewhon) *
M. HOLTERBACH - AARE AM MARZILIBAD (miniCD by Erewhon)
KOEFF - PERFORMANCE ARCHAEOLOGY (CD by Firework Edition Records)
HENRIK ANDERSSON (CD by Firework Edition Records) *
JOHANNES HELDEN & LASSE MARHAUG & JOACHIM NORDWALL - WHEN THE ICE IS LEAVING SCANDINAVIA IS BURNING (CD by Firework Edition Records) *
PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION - ALL GOD'S CHILDREN GOT SPACE (CDR by Elvis Coffee Records) *
THE ETERNAL PRESENT (CDR compilation by Elvis Coffee Records)
ANTONY MILTON - GUITAR HAS STRINGS (CDR by Black Petal)
MUURA - SCARLET URMINE SANDSTONE LADY (CDR by Black Petal) *
MATTIN - SONGBOOK 3 (CDR by Black Petal) *
IDEA FIRE COMPANY - RAGS TO RICHES (DVD-R by Swill Radio/Pineapple Tapes)
GRAHAM LAMBKIN - DRAINING THE VATS (Cassette by Pineapple Tapes)
AKIRA RABELAIS/STEPHAN MATHIEU - QUIEN ERA ACQUELLA QUE TE AMO (DVD-R by ConV)
AAL - OGGI HO INDOSSATO LA TUA MANCANZA (MP3 by Ctrlaltcanc) *

 

 

NIKO SKORPIO - ESCAPE FROM HEAVEN (CD by Some Place Else)
Curious as always, I wanted to hear the new Niko Skorpio record, but I thought it would have been better in the hands of Niels Mark Pedersen, our fellow Vital Weekly reviewer for the more dark and rhythmic music. But always check out yourself, and you may have guessed right: I like it. I expected some doom and gloom along the lines of Cold Meat Industry and yes, there are a couple of tracks that could have been easily made by, say, In Slaughter Natives, throughout this album there is a strong and healthy sense of experimentalism. Niko Skorpio, the man in disguise behind the Some Place Else label, has a vast catalogue of works that go back to the late nineties, but in his musical approach he harks back further, at least on this album. He states that his album can be described as 'industrial music' standing in the traditions of Throbbing Gristle, Coil or Psychic TV. But Niko Skorpio plays his version of industrial music with digital means. Just like his big examples, Skorpio doesn't play 'just' noise, there are also moments in which things are quiet and introspective, such as in the intense opening piece 'Dawn: The Gathering Of Vultures'. Some rhythm plays a role, and things start to sound militant and upright. Skorpio has made a richly varied album of various moods and styles that makes however a solid and unified impression. A great album of turning an 'old' style into something 'new' and with an own signature. (FdW)
Address: http://www.someplaceelse.net

PAN.AMERICAN - FOR WAITING, FOR CHASING (CD by Mosz)
With an unerring sense of space, in terms of texture, frequency and rhythm, Pan.American concoct wonderfully simple modes of echo, hum and melody that act as the basis for slowly unfurling tracks. Of all their records, 'For Waiting, For Chasing' capitalizes perhaps most effectively on this methodology create elegant sonic washes, with fragmented pops of effervescent noise emerging intermittently - suggesting to the listener exactly where their focus in the piece should be.
And where does this locus of attention lie? Well, for the most part this record suggests a floating focus - a reinforcement of the joy of choice when considering where to place your ears and for how long. 'Are You Ready' for instance maintains coexisting layers of traditional (perhaps almost clichéd) ambience, clicking/popping rhythms, pulsing gentle electronics and intermingling layer of distorted atmospheres - the end result is a chance to move freely and concentrate on different aspects of the record's production depending on environment and mood of the listener. This procedure and offering is repeated at length through other pieces such as 'From Here', with tracks like 'Amulls' acting as counterpoint of sorts, assuming a more monotone stasis.
Address http://www.mosz.org/

CORRUGATED TUNNEL - WE ARE ELECTRONIX (CD by seedyR & Invisible Agent)
Music from Edwin James, aka Corrugated Tunnel, has been reviewed before (Vital Weekly 449 and 453), but in the meantime he worked on his full length debut album, 'We Are Electronix'. James, from Ireland, plays, according to techno legend Abe Duque, the 'new old school' in techno music. He does that since the early 90s. Acid and techno are the main ingredients of his music, but on his debut there is also space for some more ambient house oriented passages. His previous releases were perhaps a bit too middle of the road for me, but I must say that 'We Are Electronix' is quite a nice release. It has all the right elements of a good techno piece, there are spacious synthesizers, retro elements of electro like vocoders. Perhaps it's the pleasant sunny day that makes life a bit easier and an album like this really fits the day. Sunny music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.corrugatedtunnel.com

THE PARANOID FOUNDATION - DOUBLE NEGATIVE (CD by Paranoid Foundation)
My first encounter with The Paranoid Foundation, a music/multimedia group from the UK, consisting Crispin Lee and Andrew Walker doing the music and Tetsu Okada doing the visual side of the band. Their aim is 'to explore the darker elements of the human psyche'. Their musical influences are wide apart, ranging from krautrock to punk, and industrial to dub, but on their latest CD 'Double Negative' you will have a hard time finding these influences. In the nine pieces that are to be found here you will find dramatic music with a strong love of the more forceful forms of ambient music. Ambient industrial as we used to call this some fifteen years ago, or isolationist music about ten years ago. Closed system music, playing the darker edges of music and indeed, perhaps, adding a sense of paranoia to the music. All of the tracks are quite nicely made, with layered electronica, and perhaps a bit of guitars, or perhaps tons of sound effects. For what it is, it's quite alright, but not so much in terms of adding new insights to the world of ambient industrial music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.paranoidfoundation.com/

ORIGAMI REPLIKA - KOMMERZ: MERZBOW IN THE HANDS OF ORIGAMI REPLIKA (CD by Segerhuva)
It's almost impossible to understand, but this work was recorded in 1997, but it took nine years to find a label. Origami Replika, a trio of Lasse Marhaug, Tore H Boe and Mads Staff Jensen, recorded in 1997 two works of them remixing other people's works. The first one, 'Kapotte Muziek In The Hands Of Origami Replika' was released shortly after it was finished, but for some reason 'Merzbow In The Hands Of Origami Replika' took so much more time. The cover lists all of the Merzbow works used, ranging from cassettes to vinyl and CDs and includes 'destroying nine Merzbow cassette cases'. Origami Replika uses turntables, minidiscs, microphones and sound effects to create a sonic density that is not unlike the good master himself, but also more quieter moments of noise assault, which of course is a rarer feature in the vast amount of Merzbow works. However, the majority of the pieces are way out sonic attacks, that easily survived time (remember that in 1997 such things as computers where not commonly used). This reflects the older Merzbow, analogue phase, as well as an original attack on their material, by surely like minded noise artists. A great work, not to be missed by both fans of Merzbow and Marhaug. (FdW)
Address: http://www.segerhuva.se

ANDREW DEUTSCH - THE SUN (CD by and/Oar)
KIYOSHI MIZUTANI - SCENERY OF THE BORDER - ENVIRONMENT AND FOLKLORE OF THE TANZAWA MOUNTAINS (CD by and/Oar)
In the releases of the and/Oar label field recordings are always important, but the label doesn't exclusively work with that. They have two new releases out, one of them being a pure field recording work and one with electronically processed field recordings. The latter is the responsibility of Andrew Deutsch, a composer who has been using max/msp extensively over the last decade. This new work contains of the sound of passing ocean waves through various digital processing devices. 'The most articulate of these processors was a tone generator able to isolate and respond to specific frequencies present in the ocean waves', it reads on the cover. It also that the concept behind 'The Sun' was to make 'static music or a kind of music that just shimmered in place'. It surely does that, just that. The sound is vaguely like an organ that washes ashore, just like an ocean wave would do. It is working without many dramatic developments (it has small and subtle changes, rather than developments, so I guess it's not that static), but rather a sound environment that works rather nicely when played softly and perhaps put on repeat for a day or two. There are five variations on this CD however, which might make a repeated playing somewhat more difficult: the flow will be interrupted.
The double CD by Kiyoshi Mizutani should be listened with headphone or in winter time with all windows closed. Recordings were made in the Tanzawa Mountains, where-ever that might be, or why they are special, I don't know. Probably it is some kind of holy place, since we hear some tracks of people chanting. The majority of the pieces however deal with bird sounds, water falls, rain but also a power-plant and a substation. All recorded with no sound processing whatever, meaning all the recordings are presented in the purest form. Some of the pieces mingle very nicely with your environment, certainly when on hot spring day windows are open. Is that my bird or your bird, Mizutani? A beautiful sound picture these two CDs, excellent recordings. A pity that the information side is a bit sparse, but that would be my only complaint. The pictures are great! (FdW)
Address: http://www.and-oar.org

DEEP END - KISS THE LIGHT GOODBYE (CD by Fratto9 Under The Sky Records)
UR - BAPTISM & BIRTHDAY (CDR, private)
This is the department called 'not my cup of tea music'. Deep End is an Italian band with four members playing drums, guitar, keyboards, bass, samples, glockenspiel etc plus some guest players responsible for female vocals and saxophones. I am the first to admit not being an expert, I'd say this strongly falls in the categories of post rock, with a special mention of the music that used to come out of the house of Constellation Records, but Deep End is not the next Godspeed You Black Emperor, as they lack the dramatic built up, have shorter tracks and use vocals. They like to experiment a bit, have elements from psychedelic music and a bit of industrial music, but throughout it's all neat and sweet music. Nicely produced, nothing spectacular under the old post rock sun. Just a OK record. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less either.
Along Deep End's CD, in the same parcel was a CDR by UR, a trio of Federico Esposito, Mauro Sciaccaluga and Deep End's guitarist Andrea Ferraris, and perhaps the reason for getting both releases at the same time, as UR and Deep End have nothing in common. The first two members started UR early 2005 but both played in bands such as Den LXV, Never Was, Downright and Kafka. Since november last year they also play live gigs and have opened for Eugene Chadbourne and Wolf Eyes. Especially the latter might give an idea what UR sounds like, even when I am told that 80% of the music is played live and not sampled. 'Baptism & Birthday' is the first release, although a second one, 'Triadic Memories' is also released by Afe Records. As said, pay attention to the fact that they opened for Wolf Eyes, another band that plays around with the notions of industrial music and improvisation. I am not sure what these guys do, instrument wise, but it's a pretty heavy affair of guitar, guitar effects, sampled voices and such like into this pretty mean tapestry of sound. A bit of a cosmic headtrip this version of industrial music, that harks back to the golden years of the genre, about twenty years ago. But they execute their job with care and passion. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fratto9.com
Address: <aktion65@virgilio.it>

TAYLOR DEUPREE - NORTHERN (CD by 12K)
From the outside it may seem that Taylor Deupree
is a busy bee, music-wise, but 'Northern' is his first solo release in two years. Deupree is always busy with his own 12K label (and off shoots Line and Happy), playing live concerts and working with others, so perhaps time is a bit sparse to do his own music. Recently Deupree moved from urban Brooklyn to upstate New York, and the change of atmosphere is a fact. Well, or not? Deupree's music is, at least for a longer period of time, made of tranquil and silent elements. Textural music, made with sounds from the environment but also electric piano, melodica and guitar, but then highly processed. It is what he has been doing since quite some time now, wether he was in Brooklyn or Pound Ridge, where he is now. But it seems that he takes even more time to tell his story. Only six tracks are present here, mostly lasting around nine to ten minutes. Deupree wants the listener to sit back and take it all in, but in a very slow pace. Things develop, that's for sure, but everything seems to be taking it's time, gradually everything becomes bigger and bigger, with subtle sounds added, longer sustains. It's warm music that may perhaps not fit springtime coming (the cover depicts a winter world), but it's certainly one of the best Deupree works so far. The calmest and most slow one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.12k.com

THOLLEM MCDONAS - CHASING THE SUN / RACING THE SUN (CD, private)
In 2004-2005 McDonas came out of his shadow and debuted with three impressing CDs of solo and duo recordings (on Pax Recordings and Edgetone Records). Now he returns with another proof of his eccentric talent. The first of a new series to be released in the next few months. On this new CD we find two different solo-recordings by Mcdonas, not after one other, but over one other, following a very uncommon procedure with a puzzling result. In his own words: "This album consists of live recordings of the first halves of two solo piano concerts laid side by side, woven in and out of each other. One concert from Area Sismica in Forli, Italy (dec. 2005) and the other at the Musicians Union Hall in San Francisco (march 2006). All music is in the order it was performed. i cut some space here and there but mostly am manipulating only volume levels to get this woven effect. i did not cut and paste, all editing was done on two tracks only, one track for the concert in italy, the other for the SF concert".
Of course both performances stood on their own feet, and were not waiting or needing to be supplemented this way with it's so called missing part. Also I don't know whether McDonas had in mind combining these recordings at the moment he played them. I guess he didn't. The idea occurred later I suppose. But what is the idea? Especially in the beginning of this CD I had the feeling of listening simultaneously to two different concerts, both following their own intentionality. This experience never fades but on the other hand both recordings start to 'talk' to each other very soon and many meeting points occur. With a very limited set of manipulating techniques McDonas succeeds in superimposing an intended structure. And the whole becomes more then the sum of its parts. It is not that McDonas is interested in reaching some effect, just for it own sake. The CD reflects some internal schizophrenic battle through which he maximizes and intensifies his own and one voice. A dazzling experience.
In listening intensively it is possible to identify both threads from which this tapestry is woven. But the real joy is to discover the patterns, the possibilities of relating both voices.
Sometimes both voices make a contrast, at other moments they come close. Great exuberant crescendos are followed by more intimate passages. Themes and other ideas we know from earlier recordings make a new appearance. At moments I,m reminded of the universe of Nancarrow. Also, like in track ten, he makes use of extended techniques.
Well, I find it hard to say what border McDonas is crossing here. But I can live without an answer. In fact, these and other questions that are evoked by these recordings are part of the fun. An astounding and intriguing - and not only - musical experience. (DM)
Address: http://www.thollem.com/

BALUN - SOMETHING COMES OUR WAY (CD by Brilliante)
This is a three piece out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, a new booming city of electronic music. They released two EPs themselves and 'Something Comes Our Way' is their debut full length. The label describes them as an 'electro-acoustic pop outfit', but I must admit it's a term I don't understand. Electro alright, but acoustic? In what way? Balun plays twelve sweet electro popsongs, without the urgency or aggressiveness of the real electro clash thing. It can best be described by linking the sound to labels such as Highpoint Lowlife or Expanding Records, but it doesn't have similar melancholy about it. It's rather cheerful music, with electronic bells tinkling, accordion like sounds and nicely uptempo rhythms. Quirky popmusic that unfortunately lacks vocals to make it over to the world of popmusic. But it's surely a very fine disc. Sunny music for sunny days. (FdW)
Address: http://www.brilliante.tv

GREGORY TAYLOR - VOICEBAND JILT (CD by Cycling 74)
Another label that has been quiet for some time is the Cycling 74 label, releasing works that deal with music software developed by them, usually through Max/msp. The software at work here by Gregory Taylor is Radial. In the liner notes Taylor admits that this work is of pure plagiarism. I'd rather say he's creatively remixing a fine body of work: the twenty-four 3" CDs released by Fällt under the banner of 'Invalid Object' (see Vital Weekly 291). The sounds there, twenty-four times fifteen one minute pieces, are the basis of 'Voiceband Jilt', which Taylor played live at Utrecht's Impakt festival in 2002. The original didn't stick right in mind after all these years (not as much as it did with Taylor I guess, who compares it with Eno's 'Obscure Records' series), so it's a bit hard for me to comment on the level of 'stealing' vs 'remixing', but the nine tracks sound like an aural: from the relatively quiet beginnings it sets out on a travel through tons and tons of sound processing's - or so it seems - all neatly fitting in the world of microsound and glitch before it lands in similar quiet, yet slightly more disturbed grounds about forty some minutes later. It's a fine journey throughout, but perhaps it's also the road taken by others too, traveling similar fields. As such it's not the surprise journey, but rather a trip one has taken before and one that one liked before. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cycling74.com

MY EDUCATION - MOODY DRIPPER (CD by Thirty Ghosts Records)
No doubt my fellow writer Dolf Mulder will not like me for reviewing this CD, as it includes 'Spirits Of Peace' on a variation on a theme by Popol Vuh, but perhaps he's not to keen on the remixes that are also included here. This new release falls in between a CD and EP; the latter because it has only three new pieces by My Education and the former because there are also four remixes included (of songs appearing on the previous CD 'Italian' (see Vital Weekly 470)), making this a full length release. As perhaps known, My Education is from Austin, Texas and members of Stars Of The Lid, Ultrasound and Cinders. Their instruments include drums, percussion, guitar, glockenspiel, lapsteel, viola, keyboards, bass and some vocals. In their three new tracks, My Education remains faithful to their original sound, the guitar big band with elements from post rock and krautrock. Orchestral big, with changing moods and also much attention to the 'extra' instruments, such as violin, vibraphone and slide guitar. Of this lot the 'Spirit Of Peace' piece is the best one of the lot. Moody and atmospheric, it captures the spirit of Popol Vuh quite nicely. The remixes are made by Dalek, Red Sparrows, Teith and Kinski. I am not sure what the purpose of these remixes is, as they all sound like My Education (orchestral, powerful, influences of Mogwai and Godspeed), and don't seem to take matters in a new territory. Perhaps the label tries to convince fans of the remixers' other works what great band My Education is? No techno or drum & bass or no microsound, to mention some possibilities. On the Kinski remix of 'Puppy Love' comes close to bringing the sound in another territory, with it's minimalist classical opening and chaotic drumming, but is in the end too much Godspeed alike itself. I was already convinced that My Education were a great band, and the remixes didn't need to tell me that. (FdW)
Address: http://www.thirtyghostsrecords.com

TOMAS PHILLIPS & DEAN KING - A TRAVERS LE BORD (CD by Non Visual Objects)
"The product of a definite convergence of ideas as well as my own nascent french, the title 'A Travers Le Bord' can be interpreted as both a 'crossing through' a material edge or border and a liminal move from exterior to interior, or vice versa,. in terms of, for example, flesh, or more generally, selfhood'. Pardon my french, but this first line is to be found on the cover of a new CD by Tomas Phillips and Dean King. Phillips we know from his recent collaboration with I8U (see Vital Weekly 515) and with Tobias C. van Veen (see Vital Weekly 499). Sadly we missed out on his release for Trente Oiseaux (but then we miss out on all of the releases on that label, for reasons unknown). I am not sure what that first line means. Together Phillips and King were Eto Ami, since 2000 and have released a couple of CDRs. Now they use their real names and come up with this new CD, with one track spanning almost thirty eight minutes. Computer processings still play a big role in this music, which apparently also makes use of acoustic instrumentation and field recordings. The two do a fine job, strongly rooted in the tradition of microsound and not, au contraire with the press text, slowly evolving tradition. As such this work is greatly produced, contains some dam fine microsound, but also is still very much known in what we already know of that particular area of music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nonvisualobjects.com

JOHN BUTCHER/XAVIER CHARLES/AXEL DÖRNER - THE CONTEST OF PLEASURE (CD by Potlatch)
Three players of wind instruments. In fact: three renowned players. John Butcher on tenor & soprano saxophones, Xavier Charles on clarinet and Axel Dörner on trumpet. What is important for acoustic players, is the room they play, as that can make a distinct difference. These trio were recorded in the large hall of L'Athanor cultural centre and in a studio. Especially in the big hall various microphones were used to capture the sound of the environment and the way the instrument travels. The resultant recordings were later on mixed by editing them down to this full hour, 'The Contest Of Pleasure'. As you can imagine from these big shots from the world of improvised music, this is a true pleasure to hear. Sometimes the playing is regular, with the large reverberations adding lots of space, but most of the time the playing is less conventional and the three use the instruments more to generate whatever sound, as long as it's not anything close to normal playing. Some of the pieces, or rather passages, are quite intense such as the sustaining sounds in 'Les Oignons'. The full hour is perhaps quite a sit through, but I found the music less demanding than some other works in the world of improvisation, and found this much easier to digest. (FdW)
Address: http://www.potlatch.fr

SANCHO - MYSTERY YEAR (CD by Seed Records)
Paul Hanford is the man behind Sancho, which was formerly called Brothers In Sound. It's not a solo project as now up to nine people are active in Sancho, including a visual team. Here however just the music (the advance CDR doesn't have the music video that is on the real pressing). Sancho works with old analogue equipment, outmoded hardware and acoustics. 'Mystery Year' is a nicely varied bunch of musics, sometimes pure electronica, but also with traces of krautrock, folk music and synthipop. You could easily think that it's bunch of different music that doesn't work very well together, but oddly enough it does rather well. Most of the pieces are instrumental, but the presence of vocal pieces, such as 'I'm On Your Side' works pretty well. Some of the pieces are quite sketchy, lasting less than a minute, but it keeps the album pretty much up to speed. The thirteen tracks guarantee never a dull moment in sight. Uplifiting music from a highly diverse supermarket of music. Very pleasant! (FdW)
Address: http://www.seedrecords.com

ERIC CORDIER - BREIZHISELAD (CD by Erewhon)
M. HOLTERBACH - AARE AM MARZILIBAD (miniCD by Erewhon)
By my own quick count, I think it was almost three years ago that we last reviewed something by the Belgium Erewhon label. Their small catalogue focusses on music that can be best described as a cross over between musique concrete, drones and field recordings. These two new releases are no different, but both have a strong conceptual edge.
Eric Cordier uses a 1960s 78 RPM record as the sole source for his entire CD. Not just a 78 RPM, but the first record that had the Breton language carved into it. Much of the original information is erased through time, but it provides some excellent source material for Cordier. He uses 'a sophisticated delay pedal: GSP 2101 and a sound processor TC (G Force) and handmade devices'. He plays six lengthy pieces with this limited material, but cranks out some beautiful material with it. Of course the crackling vinyl plays an important role, but throughout there is a great sense of peace and warmness in these recordings. Everything moves solemnly and slowly around, and makes a hotbed of ambient sounding material, but albeit an ambience of a highly original kind. Perhaps limited in it's concept, the execution thereof is great.
Manu Holterbach, inventor of the electronic glasses (see Vital Weekly 472), works also with spatialization devices and mutant loudspeakers, but also installations and performances. For the piece presented on this miniCD, he locked a microphone hermetically in a bottle. He threw the bottle in a Swiss river, the Aare, and made this recording. If you open a bottle of some drink with bubbles, you might be fascinated at the sounds of the bubbles escaping. The first half of this piece sounds a bit similar, but if you listen carefully you can also hear voices from aside of the river. But they are far away, and as the piece progresses, they become louder. Perhaps the bottle washed ashore? It's a pretty single-minded concept that however works out very well. It's a beauty to listen to. Somewhere between highly filtered rain sounds and opening the next beer can. (FdW)
Address: http://www.radiantslab.com/erewhon

KOEFF - PERFORMANCE ARCHAEOLOGY (CD by Firework Edition Records)
HENRIK ANDERSSON (CD by Firework Edition Records)
JOHANNES HELDEN & LASSE MARHAUG & JOACHIM NORDWALL - WHEN THE ICE IS LEAVING SCANDINAVIA IS BURNING (CD by Firework Edition Records)
Up until 2002 we regularly reviewed CDs by Firework Edition Records, usually three at a time. In 2004 we reviewed just one and then things went all quite. I don't know what happened in the meantime, but these three proof they are back. Firwork Edition Records operate on the boundaries of performance art, serious modern classical work and noise. And you might stumble upon a new name or two you never heard of. Koeff for instance? There are extensive liner notes, but who Koeff is who, I don't know, other than a female artist. Upon reading the liner notes we learn that she does performances using vacuum cleaners, washing machines and other household gear. Probably, I don't know, a comment on the traditional position of women responsible for household jobs? Koeff uses her voice along these household appliances, which is a pretty noisy affair. I can't say that I'm overtly blown away by this work.
Also Henrik Andersson is a new name for me. He was born in 1973 and works within visual art, performance and music. 'Using sound, music and language as material his interest could be said to take aim at the concept of translation'. His self-titled CD is his first solo CD and is varied bunch of works. Pieces of music, installations and 'self playing art objects'. You will hear a piece of made with a double bass, toy car and horse hair playing itself, a SMS message read by a computer voice, but also a piece for water, glass and filter sound system and a piece for modified bass and drums. The latter is a free rock piece and probably comes closest to real music, but also falls a bit apart with the rest of the CD. Normally music that is so much art that it becomes unlistenable is not well spend on me, but this utter varied bunch of music and concepts is executed quite well.
Joachim Nordwall (Skulff Defekts, Ideal Records label boss) and Lasse Marhaug (Norway's answer to Merzbow) team up with one Johannes Helden, at least on a couple of occasions between 2002 and 2005 to work on their CD, which uses field recordings as it's prime source, but which were later computer processed. With the names of Nordwall and Marhaug you could all too easily think we are dealing here with strong hard powernoise, but that is not the case. Throughout these seven pieces, there is a strong sense of control. None of the field recordings can be recognized as such, but controlled static crackling and drone related sounds form the backbone of these pieces. It could as easily be actually one piece of music, divided in seven parts, as there is a sense of continuity in all of these pieces. This work could have been released by Line as well, for it carries the same carefulness and similar acoustic esthetic. Music-wise the best of this new trio. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fireworkeditionrecords.com

PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION - ALL GOD'S CHILDREN GOT SPACE (CDR by Elvis Coffee Records)
THE ETERNAL PRESENT (CDR compilation by Elvis Coffee Records)
In Vital Weekly we first encountered the music of Psychic Space Invasion, aka Ian Holloway via two releases that were a bit different from each-other. One of them was drone music. For his new one he expands again on the subject of drone music. In a forty minute piece he plays one long drone, which starts out quite solemnly, but over the course of the next forty minute, things get expanded and more spacious through the use of sound effects, mainly the phaser or flanger. I am not sure, but it doesn't need be expensive synthesizers to make something that sounds very good. There is a strong similarity between this release and the first few Jliat releases, with a kind of similar organ like sound, but Psychic Space Invasion does just a little bit more than Jliat did in the past.
On the same label we have 'The Eternal Present', the second label compilation of bands on The Elvis Coffee Records label. Other than Psychic Space Invasion, none of the names mean much to me. Kiss My Farkin, Swn, Les 7 Mondes, Ghoul Detail, Analgeek and The Buff Monkey Ensemble for those who want to know. They all play some kind of music that is best classified as 'experimental' in whatever capacity. A bit of drones, computer generated time stretching or just a bunch of beats. Much of the material is rather lo-fi and consist more of ideas than of worked out pieces of music, but it's a nice collection. At least for those who want to seek out something really new. (FdW)
Address: http://ecr.homestead.com

ANTONY MILTON - GUITAR HAS STRINGS (CDR by Black Petal)
MUURA - SCARLET URMINE SANDSTONE LADY (CDR by Black Petal)
MATTIN - SONGBOOK 3 (CDR by Black Petal)
Music from Antony Milton has been reviewed before, under his moniker A.M. (see Vital Weekly 400). He also worked as The Nether Dawn, Clay Man In The Well and plays along with Campbell Kneale, Uton and Pumice, as well as running his own Pseudo Arcana label. For some reason he didn't touch his guitar for a year or so, and he had 'soft' fingers he set about to play seven tracks of acoustic guitar and six of electric guitar blues. All recorded by a cassette deck, so hiss is a guaranteed feature. Solemnly solo slow music, of despair, of isolation. Black music, with hardly a sign of light. Blues with the big B, especially in those electric tracks.
Muura is an one-man freak band out of the blue mountains of New South Wales. It's Matt Earle doing it, who is also in Stasis Duo, X-wave, Your Intestines, The Minerals, Antipan and XnobbgX, and owner of the cassette label Breakdance The Dawn. The four lengthy cuts here were recorded on a cassette deck, and uses the simultaneous playing of vocals, drums, guitar, and analog synthesizer. Lo-fi is not really a word that can apply here, as this beyond being lo-fi. Much hiss. Primitive playing on all accounts, but it has something captivating. The rawness of course, but also the minimalism, such as in 'Urmine Lady', waiting for something to happen, but nothing does. Just an occasional bang.
In Vital Weekly 506 we discussed the odd 'Song Book' release by Mattin, and somewhere along the lines I missed 'Song Book 2' as here Black Petal releases the third volume. Mattin plays again acoustic guitar, and gets help on seven tracks by Werner Dafeldecker on electric bass, and on six more by Noid on cello. It's Mattin doing Lou Reed, and trying to make it more worse than Reed. As much as I like a good joke, or perhaps a good concept, or perhaps even both (at the same time), I don't see much point in this. The first time around it was too long already, so why continue. "If you like it that much, I'll do it again".
But all three releases on Black Petal, Anthony Guerra's label, have excellent cover, nice paper, nice folding, very stylish. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blackpetal.com

IDEA FIRE COMPANY - RAGS TO RICHES (DVD-R by Swill Radio/Pineapple Tapes)
GRAHAM LAMBKIN - DRAINING THE VATS (Cassette by Pineapple Tapes)
Perhaps I'm not the most objective person to review anything to do with Idea Fire Company, having been close in their European presence lately. During this tour they sold the real thing: Idea Fire Company live in the USA DVD-R. The full four piece, with a videotaping of a recent show. Camera is in one position, which is a pity. Four people stand behind their instruments. At least let's hope so, because we don't get to see them, and they play the usual fine blend of drone related synthesizer music. Someone compared it to Sonic Boom, and I must say that was very well spotted. But the music of Idea Fire Company is much more roughly shaped, which adds to the fun. How would I know?
On the same label, Graham Lambkin, released on cassette. Graham Lambkin is member of The Shadow Ring and Tart (along with Idea Fire Company's Scott Foust and Karla Borecky), but this tape is my first introduction to his solo music. 'Draining The Vats' contains pieces recorded between 1998 and 2005, sometimes along, sometimes with others, such as Scott Foust, Don Raleigh or as Elklink, a duo of Lambkin on tapes and synth and Adris Hoyos on electric guitar. It's interesting to hear that some of this music is so strangely familiar, if you know his bands. Lenghty and spacious cuts of drone like material, but also with a fair use of concrete sound elements, such as water sounds and vocal/poetry stuff. It's entire ninety minutes are long indeed, but it's all quite interesting to hear. Just why this is a cassette only release, is beyond me. With the same amount of trouble, it could have been a nice CDR release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.anti-naturals.org

AKIRA RABELAIS/STEPHAN MATHIEU - QUIEN ERA ACQUELLA QUE TE AMO (DVD-R by ConV)
At first a big questionmark on my face? These two 'bigshots' on a DVD-R? Not a real DVD? But when I stopped watching, listening and experiencing this, I perhaps have a better idea. The image part (there is nothing mentioned as such anywhere, but me thinks: Akira = visual, Mathieu = music) consists of an endless stream of images: flowers, guns, art, architecture, naked girls. A bit like a flicker movie, but slow enough to picture every image and see what it is. But after a while your perception goes down at great length (in my case fatigue). The soundtrack is a dark loud and heavy drone piece. None of the details that these boys are better known for are present. It's certainly interesting to watch for a while, but the entire fifty minutes is a bit too much. The rawness of the work made me think that indeed the DVD-R is the right format for such a more raw and rough work. It's all not too well spend on me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.con-v.org

AAL - OGGI HO INDOSSATO LA TUA MANCANZA (MP3 by Ctrlaltcanc)
Early 2005 the excellent CDR S'agita Recordings stopped doing business and that was a great pity, since they presented some of the better Italian underground music. Music by people like Davide Valecchi, aka Aal, of whom S'agita released three albums (see Vital Weekly 310, 330 and 357), but it's all three to four years ago. Perhaps I thought Davide Valecchi just stopped doing music. Not so. 'Oggi Ho Indossato La Tua Mancanza' was recorded in those years, and is now available as a MP3 or you can order a CDR version of it - whatever you desire. According to Valecchi this new work is a 'deep digital rework of several sound sources (most of them coming from acoustic instruments, field recordings and manipulation of found objects'. I must say I don't have that clear of a picture of his older releases, but I do remember they were a bit roughly shaped. The new work isn't that at all. Aal walks the confident paths of sound processing with great care but also with confidence: he knows what he wants. Sometimes we hear the known crackles and static (deep end, high end) but also some nice spacy ambient music in 'Dove Sei Adesso'. Made with care and eye for detail. This is a renewed Aal, and making a giant leap forward. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ctrlaltcanc.tk or http://www.lulu.com/content/286657

 

 

 

 

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