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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 536
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week 30
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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

 

 

GABRIEL PAIUK & JASON KAHN - BREATHINGS (CD by Cut) *
SETH NEHIL/JGRZINICH - GYRE (CD by Cut)
AARON SIEGEL - THE CABINET (CD by Longbox Recordings) *
CIVIL WAR - THE BRUTALITY OF FACT (CDR by Longbox Recordings)
BONG-RA - STEREOHYPE HEROIN HOOKER (CD by Ad Noiseam)
ENDUSER - FORM WITHOUT FUNCTION (CD by Hymen Records)
EDOARDO RICCI & THOLLEM MCDONAS - SONO CONTENTO DI STARE QUA (CD by EDGETONE)
LUKAS SIMONIS - STOTS - (CD by Z6) *
COOLHAVEN -STROMBLOQUE - (CD by Taple Biz) *
MOCTAN - SUSPECT (CD by Ant-Zen)
MICHEAL PRIME/MAX EASTLEY - HYDROPHONY FOR DAGON (CD by Absurd) *
YASUSHI YOSHIDA - SECRET FIGURE (CD by Noble Records) *
THE CONDITION OF MUZAK 2 (CD by Expanding Records)
ANTONIO DELLA MARINA - FADES (CD by I Dischi Di Angelica) *
FE-MAIL - BLIXTER TOAD (2CD by Asphodel)
FLUTWACHT - CRETA (CD by Apocalyptic Radio) *
NOUS SOMMES LES MORTS (CD by Apocalyptic Radio)
FREIBAND - LEISE (CD by Cronica Electronica) *
REIKO KUDO - HITO/KUSA (2CD by Hyotan)
DAVID LACEY & PAUL VOGEL & MARK WASTELL (CDR by Confront Performance Series)
KEITH ROWE & MARK WASTELL (CDR by Confront Performance Series) *
THE DOMESTIC FRONT - CONSTRICTOR (CDR by Tib Prod)
COMPEST - AUFESTEHUNG (3"CDR by Tib Prod)
HOH - ANDERS HANA REMIXZ (CDR by Tib Prod)
OZKA - GLACIERS (CDR by Tib Prod) *
MONO-DRONE - AUTUMN LEAVES (CDR by Tib Prod)
.AT/ON - PROSTIR (CDR by Minus N) *
MOVIN ON (CDR compilation by Minus N)

 

OBITUARY:

Geert Feytons (27-12-1967 - 22-07-2006)

 

 

GABRIEL PAIUK & JASON KAHN - BREATHINGS (CD by Cut)
SETH NEHIL/JGRZINICH - GYRE (CD by Cut)
About half the releases on Cut Records involve the work of label owner Jason Kahn and the other half are by people he simply likes. This is no different with the two latest releases. Kahn, a known improviser of percussive sounds, computer and analogue synth, teams up with Gabriel Paiuk, of whom we recently reviewed his 'Rex Extensa' (see Vital Weekly 524). Paiuk is a composer, improviser and pianist from Buenos Aires. 'Breathings' was recorded in Paiuk's house 'one afternoon', November 30, 2004. Over the course of about forty minutes, the breathings pass by. Like in- and exhaling, each sound seems a 'person' breathing. The sustained sounds from whatever source, the insect like chirping, the piano playing one note, or the sound of the inside of the piano. Indexed at various points, I think it's just one long piece. The 'one afternoon' suggest a certain laidback atmosphere during the recording, but perhaps its just an idea I have, but it seems to me that there is a tropical heat like laidback pattern in this recording. Acoustic and digital sounds float about, into the air, and fall on the ground again, with simple pace and grace. Very nice work.
For more than a decade Seth Nehil and John Grzinich work together, playing highly processed acoustic recordings of them playing together. You can imagine them sitting together in the woods, in a cave or on the top of a hill with a small array of wood, glass or metal, and producing sounds with that. The natural acoustics also play a role: the acoustic space or the wind or the rain. Recordings of such pieces are combined together in the studio and formed into lengthy pieces of drone music. 'Gyre' is their third release, following 'Stria' (see Vital Weekly 360) and 'Confluence' (see Vital Weekly 353), which were companion releases. On 'Gyre' we find three of these pieces, in which the environment sinks into the playing of the musicians, such as in 'Cast', which has the rumbling of acoustic objects, gradually fading over into the sounds of wind and rain. The drone music of Nehil and Jgrzinich may not have changed since their first two releases, but it's quite still a highly captivating journey and a strong, personal view of drone music. That makes this most worthwhile. (FdW)
Address: http://cut.fm

AARON SIEGEL - THE CABINET (CD by Longbox Recordings)
CIVIL WAR - THE BRUTALITY OF FACT (CDR by Longbox Recordings)
Releases by Longbox Recordings are usually heavily inside the world of improvised and these two aren't different. Aaron Siegel plays percussion, solo or sometimes with Anthony Braxton and is also a composer and sound artist. 'The Cabinet' is his debut solo CD and it has no less than twenty-one tracks, each lasting exactly two minutes. It's hard to listen to this, perceiving it as twenty-one different tracks. The first time I played it, I didn't notice the CD player, or read the text and thought it was one long solo of percussive sounds, played on a variety of instruments such as snare drums, cymbals and some such (the cover depicts them in pictures, rather than words). To understand the power behind each track one should play them as separate tracks, isolated from the rest, and that is of course something nobody does. So I rather opt for the possibility of listening to this as one long track and as such I must say that I am quite amazed by it's quality. Most of the times it doesn't sound all too improvised, or even percussive, but quiet and silent. But there is an intensity present in this music, that is present in all of these tracks that makes this a highly fine disc or a highly refined nature. Great work.
Labelboss Adam Sonderberg plays also percussion, in a trio called Civil War, together with Amy Cimini on viola and Katherine Young on Bassoon. 'The Brutality Of Fact' may sound, title wise that is, a bit too harsh and industrial, but the brutality of facts at work here are the fact that Civil War is an excellent trio for improvised music. They made their recordings in an abandoned grain silo, thus using the space as an extra instrument. Not that it resonates all the time, but it means also that they play less and less notes, letting the space 'breath' as it were. Towards the end, it seems as if silence as taken over the music. Quite an amazing effort this, reducing the music, adding the silence, slowing cross fading. Wow. (FdW)
Address: http://www.longboxrecordings.com

BONG-RA - STEREOHYPE HEROIN HOOKER (CD by Ad Noiseam)
Clash of the titans....? American breakcore artist Bong-Ra has invited four well established and four up-comings from the flourishing breakcore-scene to remix four new tracks from the high energetic composer. The result is a very entertaining journey into the freakiest territories of contemporary breakbeat. The four tracks of Bong-Ra is also released on a 12", but unless the purchase is intended for a playlist on a rave-club, you shouldn't cheat yourself for the eight additional remixes on this cd-version since they definitely add something new to the original four tracks. Divided into three sections the opening section presents the original versions of Bong-Ra. In the following sections the tracks are completely deconstructed, broken and assembled into new pieces of aggression. In the second section we have the remixes of the established artists (Duran Duran Duran, Drop The Lime, Parasite, Enduser) and in the third section the contributions from the new rave-talents (Cardopusher, Dr. Bastardo, Ace Of Breaks, Cake Builder). As the four tracks have been converted into totally new forms and shapes we practically have twelve different tracks making the disc more appear as a compilation rather than a remixed project. Even the four original tracks have quite different approaches to breakbeat-style, though all of them belong to the club-oriented category of the electronic scene. The two opening tracks, "Coke Sniffah" and "The rush (long time coming)", has a slightly more melodic approach to the raving expressions thanks to their heavy use of sampled vocals. Especially "The rush (long time coming)" with its sweet built-in tune sung by up-speed high-pitch female vocals. Things get darker and more abrasive with the penetration of third track "Suicide speed machine girl" and fourth track "Death to false metal". Apart from the very well constructed breakbeats, "Suicide speed machine girl" is based on a pretty cool and a very aggressive guitar-riff of pure thrash metal fitting very well into the freaking hyperspeed rhythm-texture. Where "Suicide speed machine girl" was a harsh piece of work, "Death to false metal" is the moment where hell breaks loose. A short but very effective track of wrath, opening with an evil darkside drone of subtle noise, the track soon after leads us into an orgy of furious breakbeats based on ultra-fast rhythm grindcore patterns (reminiscent of the patterns from legendary fast-drummer of Morbid Angel, Pete Sandoval). In the remix-sections, especially Ace Of breaks impresses with his utterly bizarre deconstruction of "Suicide speed machine girl" experimenting with the alluring contrast between silent and noisy expression. Also Enduser does an excellent job with his atmospheric ambient-inspired version of "Death of false metal". Listeners of breakcore shouldn't miss this magnificent piece of full throttle energy. (NMP)
Address: http://www.adnoiseam.net

ENDUSER - FORM WITHOUT FUNCTION (CD by Hymen Records)
This is great! Breakcore-specialist Enduser impressed me a lot with his mini-cd "Bollywood breaks" out on Ad Noiseam in 2005, but this latest release by the very productive American is even better! With a comprehensive discography counting a number of releases on labels like Ad Noiseam, Mirex, Sublight and Ant-Zen Recordings, the time has come for the first full-length release on German technoid label Hymen Records. With inspiration in the 90's drum'n'bass-scene Lynn Standafer (a.k.a. Enduser) brings a style first of all reminiscent of early Photek into aggressive breakbeat territories based on the present drum'n'noise and breakcore-scene of the 21st century. Thus the Middle Eastern club-style that first of all saturated "Bollywood breaks" has faded and a darker and more sinister expression has penetrated. It really does work amazing when Enduser blends darkside/techstep expressions with the hyper-fast and ultra-violent rhythm-textures on tracks like "Hidden wrath", "Final judgement" and "The plan". The additional use of deep buzzing noise drones sounding like something indescribable frightening makes the atmosphere of claustrophobia even worse. In-between these sonic nightmares Enduser has included more down-to-earth moments quite often based on processed acoustic instruments such as piano. A few tracks use elements from the Grime-scene with the addition of ragga vocals and hip hop-like breakbeats. Lynn Standafer uses the phrase "Sonic terror" as part of his web-address (www.sonicterror.net/enduser/). A suitable choice for a sonic aggressor like Enduser. Excellent stuff! (NMP)
Address: http://www.hymen-records.com

EDOARDO RICCI & THOLLEM MCDONAS - SONO CONTENTO DI STARE QUA (CD by EDGETONE)
I'm still puzzled by the latest release of McDonas ("Chasing the sun/racing the sun") reviewed for Vital Weekly 526, where McDonas wove two solorecordings into one intriguing (non) whole with a minimal of manipulations. I like this cd it because it undermines my musical expectations as a listener, but at the same time it evokes an experience of great fascination and joy. So you can imagine I,m really curious about his new one: what will he be up to this time? McDonas is in the company here of the italian reedplayer Edoardo Ricci. Ricci belongs to that extensive family of first generation european jazz musicians that started seeking their own voice in the end of 60s. He developed himself into one of the founding fathers of the italian free music scene. I don't know much about his musical whereabouts, but, as you can imagine, with some 40 years of experience it is evident that we have to deal here with an accomplished player. McDonas plays 'rickety piano', an old and out of tune piano, but in the hands of McDonas the piano turns out to be a perfectly 'prepared' tool for the musical meeting with Ricci. He is not absorbed in dealing with the limitations of the piano, but makes a fruitful use of the possibilities of this particular piano. Both gentlemen make sure that it is their intention to make the best within the given conditions and possibilities of their meeting, that took place on a cold december day in 2005 somewhere in Italy.
All improvisations on this CD proof this, as they dive with great spontaneity into their playing, although both gentlemen hardly knew each other. Throughout McDonas and Ricci are partners of an equal level. It is only in some of the faster parts, that Ricci seems not be able to keep up with McDonas. All his energy goes into keeping up the tempo of McDonas not being able to tame McDonas. But in the slower and more modest passages it becomes evident that Ricci is a very fine and expressive player, like in the first part of track 3. As is often the case with free improvised music, it has its strong and its weaker moments. And as in any other way of communicating degrees of togetherness vary during their playing. There are many very intense and sensitive moments, where an optimum musical celebration of the moment is reached. Besides their are a few moments where they are more into seeking - with unsatisfying result - then into finding each other. But in my view this is part of the charm of improvised music. So all in all this a very satisfying recording of improvised music. Free improvised music is heavily dependent on the vocabulary of the musicians involved. But with these two gentlemen this is not a problem. Also it is often said that in free improvised music their is no development. In general it sounds now the same as it sounded in the 70s. Apart from the fact that here a problematic modernist idea of development is in charge, I think this not what improvised music is about. I think it is about having the courage and love to be, to act, here and now. In that sense this album is of great 'actuality'. (DM)
Address: http://www.edgetonerecords.com/

LUKAS SIMONIS - STOTS - (CD by Z6)
COOLHAVEN -STROMBLOQUE - (CD by Taple Biz)
With his roots in industrial music and noise rock back in the 80s Simonis was a member of groups like Dull Schicksal, Trespassers W and Morzelpronk. He choose for more experimental paths in the 90s using all kind of digital effects and found objects. Nowadays he has several projects going on like AA Kismet (with Bob Drake), Vril (with Drake & Cutler), with Pierre Bastien, Coolhaven, etc. With "Stots" his first solo-album sees the light, with the help of Nina Hitz only, playing cello on two tracks. In 16 tracks, recorded in 2005-2006, Simonis moulds his fantasies in the sound-material, resulting in very very weird songs. Maybe it is not right to speak of 'Songs'. This Spike Jones of the avant garde really tries pushing things a bit further. Often he balances somewhere between song and collage. He seems to be very fond of using all kinds of found noises and sounds. In most tracks he is able to fit in these sounds into clear compact structures that almost never last more then 3 minutes. Each piece circles around a clear idea and brings forward its own atmosphere. A varied cd by an inventive musician who does not eschew adventure.
Coolhaven is a different piece a cake. This trio of Peter Fengler, Hajo Doorn and Lukas Simonis, operates since 1999. On Brombron they recently released a cd with Felix Kubin (Vital Weekly 535). For their newest one "Strombloque Phantasiën" they sought the company of Mariska Simon who sings on several tracks. Coolhaven remains within wellknown borders of the songformat, how bizarre their songs may be. Their songs are prepared by a strange cocktail of laptops, guitar and voices. Techno-like use of computer laptop. The vocals sing along melodic lines. Other parts are spoken, or something in between (sprechgesang). The use of guitar (and ukekelele) and other noises are sparse but complete their soundconcept. They don,t fear cliches, or bombastic effects like in the final track. That's what they want to play with. As a result their songs are far more accessible then the ones on Simonis' solo-album. The whole sounds like a fake opera, and breathes undeniably a Neue Deutsche Welle atmosphere. Also the opera 'Einfach' of the belgian Simpletones is an inevitable association. Nina Hagen (track 9), Falco, a.o. came also to my mind. As is the case with their collaboration with Felix Kubin, for appreciating this release, it is essential that you can share their sense of humor. They are very conscious of what they are doing, and are probably well aware of the risks . That's is part of their undertaking, and do it with verve. (DM)
Address: http://www.taple.biz/

MOCTAN - SUSPECT (CD by Ant-Zen)
Say "Minimal techno" and most of us will memorize the glory days of the early 90's Detroit scene. Thanks to a project like Moctan the days still exist where the essence of expression is "repetition". Take some militant EBM expressions of Nitzer Ebb and blend it with a few doses of ultra-minimalist Plastikman combined with the funkiness of Model 500 (aka Juan Atkins). Combine this mixture with the Power Noise-spheres that separates Ant-Zen Recordings from other labels, and you have it! Andreas Glockner (the man behind Moctan) isn't a new face in the Ant-Zen Camp. Having been active since 1994, he has been part of projects like Ars Moriendi, Morgenstern and Monokrom. Even though Moctan doesn't belong to the harshest spectre of the Power Noise-scene, there is still plenty of rumbling noises drifting in the sub-levels to keep listeners of extreme electronics well-entertained. And in a few tracks like "Duracell" and "Hightech" the rough expression hits the surface resulting in a very intense mixture of Power Noise and loop-based minimal techno similar to label-mate Asche (a.k.a. Andreas Schramm). In fact there is a lot of similarity between these two projects, though Moctan is more focused on repetitive expressions that results in an excellent trippy style making it very suitable for experimental club-scenes. A very pleasant thing about this project is the way that sounds of aggression floats in funky sound spheres. Minimal Techno meets Power Noise in a quite humorous way. Highly recommended, especially for some freaky physical performance! (NMP)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com

MICHEAL PRIME/MAX EASTLEY - HYDROPHONY FOR DAGON (CD by Absurd)
Work by Max Eastley is rarely reviewed in Vital Weekly. Not because we don't like it, but many of his works are sound installations. Micheal Prime is also not very often reviewed, but that's mainly because he doesn't release that much. Both artists use sounds from our environment, but rather than a recording of the environment, they use plants, water and such to generate sound, sometimes with a bit of electronics. The recordings on 'Hydrophony For Dagon' are already ten years old, but are certainly very worthwhile to release, also because of the special nature of the recordings. The sounds were produced under water, using a Hydroarc, tubing, fans, tapes, bubble machine, objects and motors and recorded with hydrophones. Unlike many of the releases on the Belgium Mystery Sea, which all play with the idea of sub aquatic sounds, this is of course the real thing. Slowly the two built up the almost forty minute piece, from sparsely orchestrated sounds towards a full blown symphony of aqua drones of fans and motors, with of course water sounds vaguely being part of the entire thing. Perhaps this is the sound of being in a submarine? Who knows (not me), but I certainly did think this a beautifully laid out piece. An excellent piece of drone music that sounds unlike much other drone works. Great stuff. (FdW)
Address: http://www.void.gr/absurd

YASUSHI YOSHIDA - SECRET FIGURE (CD by Noble Records)
Japanese Noble Records have a known reputation for music that melodic, dramatic, warm and sometimes firmly rooted in the world of digital music. 'Secret Figure' by Yasushi Yoshida is not different, even when the acoustic instruments, such as piano, cello, violin and guitar. They are performed by various musicians, including Yoshida himself, who added field recordings, and some minimal, beat related samples, which are bit glitchy. But he successfully knows to incorporate these to such an extent that the emphasis lies on the acoustic instruments and all extra's are merely decoration. Every song is a world of it's own, or rather a soundtrack on it's own. Each of the nine tracks could easily fit any sort of dramatic sequence of film, with desolated buildings, empty deserts or sunsets. Highly subtle and minimal music, with chamber music like qualities. A bit like Penguin Cafe Orchestra, but then updated with electronics, even to a such a small scale level. Music to be played at late evenings when the sun has long gone. (FdW)
Address: http://www.noble-label.net

THE CONDITION OF MUZAK 2 (CD by Expanding Records)
Vital Weekly regularly discusses the releases by London's Expanding Records, but they are usually only their CD releases. Expanding Records have also a solid reputation when it comes to releasing 7"s. They come in editions of 400 copies (perhaps that why we never see them), on heavy colored vinyl in a silkscreened zip-locked envelope. Every now and then, Expanding releases the best tracks of a series of nine on a compilation CD, here also including an exclusive track by Benge and remixes by Cathode, Am/Pm and Tunng. Some of the artists we have seen before on CDs, such as Benge, Vessel, Cathode and Maps+Diagrams. If you are familiar with these, then this compilation is no surprise, as Expanding Records have a pretty strong personal style in music. Laidback beats, melancholic keyboards, ambient textures. The differences between the various bands are relatively small and that strength is also the weakness of Expanding Records. None of the artists really standout from the rest, there is not one that bends procedures into a new direction, even when among this lot there isn't a single weak brother. It's a pity that the recent singing Modern Institute haven't made it to 7": they seemed to have a good and refreshing answer. (FdW)
Address: http://www.expandingrecords.com

ANTONIO DELLA MARINA - FADES (CD by I Dischi Di Angelica)
The name of Antonio Della Marina is a new one for me. He studied musical and performing arts in Bologna, focussing on american experimental music. Primarily his work deals with 'sequencies, frequencies and phase of sine waves and the essential characteristics of sound itself'. 'Fades' was already started in 2001 as an audio installation, of four 32 hertz pitches in a dark room and by putting them on random loop, the piece changed throughout. The version of 'Fades' on this CD is not a stereo mix of the installation piece, but rather a live version that was performed in 2003. The piece lasts one hour and is a beautiful sine wave like piece along the lines of 'Music On A Long Thin Wire' by Alvin Lucier. Sounds move slowly around, fading in and fading out, reappearing every now and then. Unlike Lucier, whose pieces can be menacing at times, Della Marina plays everything with a much softer touch, more gentle. The piece itself is not really recorded very loud, but it's best to play it at a moderate volume, so that it fills your environment. If you move through your own environment you will notice small changes in the pitch. Like you are playing the piece too. That is simply a great effort. Beautiful and relaxing work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fades.net

FE-MAIL - BLIXTER TOAD (2CD by Asphodel)
In perhaps the earlier days of Fe-Mail I could keep up with their releases, but these days it's perhaps a bit too much. Fe-mail are surely female: it's a duo of Maja Ratkje and Hild Sofie Tafjord from Norway. They are also a member of Spunk, but expand their sound by the limitation of members. Fe-mail are best known as noise musicians. At least that's how I remember it from the early days. 'This two disc set is best described as the taxonomic designation of feminine conviction through gadgetry and acoustic archaeology', it says somewhat cryptically. Live sampling is the instrument of Fe-mail. Taking whatever sound is available, sampling it, and then messing about with it. If there is no sound, there is always a voice. The noise of Fe-mail has grown considerably since I last heard them. It has moved away from the Merzbowian noise of before, and into a field of electro-acoustic music. Loud, dirty and improvised for sure, but it has moments in which things take back control, perhaps even a moment of rest and peace (even when I don't mean this in any sort of ambient way), before matters go out of hand again. On the second disc there are two video's made while Fe-mail is improvising their way, but heavily processed by Masako Tanaka, into a heavy cut up style, with flickering colors and forms a perfect visualization of the music. We see them at work, but at the same manipulated visuals come in. Especially in 'It Becomes Her' this works extremely well. Perhaps two discs are a bit much but it's a truly fine work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.asphodel.com

FLUTWACHT - CRETA (CD by Apocalyptic Radio)
NOUS SOMMES LES MORTS (CD by Apocalyptic Radio)
It seems that Apocalyptic Radio now finally moved over to the world of 'real' CDs, via these two releases. The first one is by Flutwacht, who have had a bunch of CDR releases on Apocalyptic Radio. They more or less were based on one idea, that was worked out through the entire release. Mainly noise, noise and rhythm, with just a little bit of 'lesser' noise. On 'Creta' they (or he or she) expand the musical territorium to quite an extent. The noise and rhythm pieces are of course still there, such as in 'Night In Chains', but there are also moments of quietness such as in 'Achtung Einsam (Creta Part 1)' and 'Wasserbogen' (Creta Part 2). All the way out in the lengthy 'Jehovas Law', which seems to be an improvisation on guitars, amplifiers and distortion pedals. Drone rock at it's best. There is a great deal of variety in these twelve tracks, which makes it a very good disc. Mainly for noise heads still, but certainly those with an open mind.
And where you would expect variation, on a compilation release, you don't get any. Which is kinda odd, I think. To many in the world of noise, there are a few classic noise compilations, such as 'Für Ilse Koch' and 'Neuengamme' and many have tried to accomplish the same thing, but it hardly ever worked. Many of the tracks on this compilation sound similar: a dark, distorted sound starts out as the backbone of a piece, then a high pierced sound, a highly distorted voice (more Ramleh than Whitehouse actually) shouting about death (obviously with such a title) and that's about it. Beinhaus and Contagious Orgasm uses rhythm, but otherwise nothing changed. Highly unoriginal music as far as I'm concerned. In case they mean anything to you: Objekt/Urian, Atrox, PPF, Moral Fraktal, Praying For Oblivion, Antracot, Propergol, Vronthor, Shadow Theater, Synomorph and Flutwacht. (FdW)
Address: http://www.apocalyptic-radio.de

FREIBAND - LEISE (CD by Cronica Electronica)
Freiband is one of the musical projects by the ever-prolific Frans de Waard. With Frans being one half of Beequeen and me being the other half, it is a bit difficult to be fully objective about this CD. However, to me, Freiband is one of the most interesting projects Frans is involved in. The reason for this is that Freiband is the musical project that comes closest to the person of Frans de Waard. He likes his music as devoid as possible of emotions, but Freiband has proven to be an exception. Often, the music has a "warmer" side and appears to be made with more depth in composing and structure and, as a bonus (perhaps as a consequence), is more accessible than say Kapotte Muziek or Goem. On this album, Frans uses sounds created in 2002 by his then 5-year old daughter Elise. These sounds (sometimes on musical instruments, sometimes not) were reworked on the laptop, giving the music that typical "laptop-sound. Most of the tracks on this album have been groomed in several live performances. Opening with Elise blabbing out "Freiband!" this CD more or less follows those live sets. At times the origins of the sounds can be detected in the music (as in Vuur 'fire' and Storm), at times this is harder to recoup (as in Knippers cutters- or Daisees). Personal favourites are 'Bij' and 'Daisees' with their slow pulses and keyboard sounds. Other pieces (like Rammel 'rattle' or De Kabale Brug 'the noise bridge') are slightly more fragmented. The title Leise ("quiet" in German) is a clever anagram of Elise,s name. The "toot toot toot toots" at the end of the CD are charming little audio signatures of Elise and were previously also used to good effect in Beequeen performances. A review of this album would not be complete without a few words on the sleeve. This one is adorned by a gorgeous line drawing of Elise with cats in her arms by Rui Vitorino Santos. It is a charming, almost naïve portrait and surprisingly well-characterized. Interestingly enough, much like the music on this CD. (FK)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org

REIKO KUDO - HITO/KUSA (2CD by Hyotan)
On and off Maher Shalal Hash Bas-member Reiko Kudo's output since 1979 has been limited: one LP and two CD's. She made the LP (Noise, under the name Tenno) with Tori Kudo who is also member of Maher Shalal Hash Bas. Now we are treated with 2 new albums on her private Hyotan label. Hito was recorded in the summer of 2005, whereas Kusa was recorded in the winter of 2005. Musically the difference between the two albums is minimal; both feature almost heartbreaking soul music I've ever heard. Not soul music like say Aretha Franklin, but REAL soul music; music that touches the soul of the listener. The playing on these albums is minimal; often just a piano hesitantly played with Kudo's beautiful, almost childlike voice. At times there is a guitar-based song with some soft bassguitar in the background. The songs are brief (with both albums clocking in at around 30 minutes each) and almost sound like they're made up on the spot. The atmosphere of the music is that of a domestic nature, with the songs resembling entries in a private dairy. There is background hiss, electric buzzing, doors creaking, rain and sounds all around (including a surprise vacuum cleaner), which do not distract but add to the simple beauty of these recordings. Kudo's enunciation is delicate and fragile, like she hesitates to sing these fragile soul songs. In all, these two brief albums come with the highest recommendation possible. They are probably not stocked at your local Virgin store, but have a go at www.forcedexposure.com (FK)

 

DAVID LACEY & PAUL VOGEL & MARK WASTELL (CDR by Confront Performance Series)
KEITH ROWE & MARK WASTELL (CDR by Confront Performance Series)
Perhaps its a matter of economics, with CD sales going down, but perhaps its just returning to the old idea of the world of cassettes: do a concert and release it right away. The Confront label has had some releases on CDs, but now they started the Confront Performance Series, releasing live recordings. Packed in a tin can, in an edition of 100 copies. A lovely idea, certainly in the world of improvised music, where concerts usually have an unique character, an one-off meeting. On the first release we find Mark Wastell, already a known improviser whose bio is like a who's who of improvised music. Here he plays ride cymbal, cd player and mixer, together with David Lacey on percussion and e-bowed monochord and Paul Vogel on computer and clarinet. The piece starts out with a high pitched tone, soft but presently clear. Slowly the other instruments come in and sounds start to develop from there. Carefully, slowly, but always with a present sound, this is quite electronically sounding, with the cymbal being the odd ball, ad-mist the percussion and computer treatments of the clarinet sounds. They built up but not entirely to a mighty crescendo: once it has reached the peak it stays there and starts developping from there, the intensity of the playing becomes richer and then works towards a fade out at the end - perhaps a bit abrupt. A fine, solid disc.
The second disc also contains music by Mark Wastell who plays here amplified textures and electronics and Keith Rowe, one of the true eminence grise of improvised music on guitar and electronics. This recording, made 31 march 2006, was their second concert together. Apparently Wastell changed his mode of playing this year, moving away from the careful textures sound into a more noise related territory. It shows on this recording. His textured sounds are no longer 'delicate' or 'careful', but delicate and loud, scratching the surface. In this piece, which lasts just under thirty minutes, it seems to me that Rowe his the man of carefulness, with his guitar humming about, slowly coming out of a bath of hiss and reduced noise, but the amplified textures are scratching about, like contact microphones hitting the carpet or wood. At times pretty mean and nasty, but it's hardly to be compared with say Merzbow: it drops to quiet parts and slowly builds up again from that. Another fine solid work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.confront.info

THE DOMESTIC FRONT - CONSTRICTOR (CDR by Tib Prod)
COMPEST - AUFESTEHUNG (3"CDR by Tib Prod)
HOH - ANDERS HANA REMIXZ (CDR by Tib Prod)
OZKA - GLACIERS (CDR by Tib Prod)
MONO-DRONE - AUTUMN LEAVES (CDR by Tib Prod)
Probably there is no such thing as summer lazyness in Norway? Five new releases made it to this sweat hut. The first is by a new name, Thom Bailey, who works as The Domestic Front. 'Constrictor' is based on his experiences as an asthmatic and if I understood well is entirely based on recordings of him breathing. That is of course something strange to realize when hearing this. The sound of illness being put to use as part of music. He feeds recordings of his breathing through a bunch of computer filters, looping them around, trying out various types of processing. It never goes into a quiet, Gunter-like mood of playing, but it stays pleasantly present (if one will allow me to use that phrase). Not every moment is great but as a whole it's certainly much enjoyable.
Martin Steinebach is a busy bee, working as Stillstand, Concientia Peccati, Monoid and Compest, each with a different musical angle. Much of his work made it to these pages. The previous Compest release was a bit of tribal, pseudo ethno affair, but this one is different: electro-acoustic sounds open up, perhaps some processed saxophone? Then darker layers of an unknown origin move in, while the saxophone sounds become nastier and nastier. It's only half way through that some rhythm starts kicking in, building slowly up, but staying also a bit in the back. It's a desolate piece of music, quite nice actually.
Anders Hana is a well known Norwegian improvisation guitarist, who has his own Moha! duo, but also plays with Ultralyd, Noxagt and much more. On this short CDR release, HOH, aka Helge Olav Oksendal, remixes some of his guitar playing. HOH (part of the collective known as Zang) adds rhythm machines and vocals to blocks of sampled guitars, removing them from the world of improvisation and making them into more structured pieces of music. The rhythm holds everything together, except perhaps in 'aHA 2' and 'Stuffing Kit-remix', which are more abstract collages of looped sounds. Quite a nice release.
Also new to me is Ozka, aka David Nizet from Belgium. He was already featured on Tib Prod's massive 'Catzenjammer' four CDR set compilation and some MP3s, but this is his first full length release. Although there is zero information for this, my best guess is that Ozka belongs to the world of musicians who record their environment, feed it through a bunch of computer processors and cook it up until a nice, warm, glitch meal is ready. Insect like at times, at other times water boiling. Each of the fourteen pieces stays firmly inside whatever was started and only change minimally. It's a bit long, and perhaps not all too new or innovative, but it was interesting enough throughout.
The final new one is from one Massimo Amato, aka Mono-Drone, from Italy. Also present on 'Catzenjammer' and various MP3 releases, but 'Autumn Leaves' is his second release, following one on his own FM Records label. Despite the name, the music has nothing to do with drones. It's rhythm electronic music, but hardly techno. Made with Korg Electribe, harmonium, synth, samples, software and field recordings, the music has rather a down beat tempo, melancholic synths (but not those along the lines of Expanding Records, see elsewhere), but it's rather simply made, a bit naive. The songs don't show too much development. It's all a bit too amateuristic for my taste. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tibprod.com

.AT/ON - PROSTIR (CDR by Minus N)
MOVIN ON (CDR compilation by Minus N)
Japanese Minus N label surprises us with an interesting compilation, as well as a release by one of the bands on that compilation. I have no idea who .at/on is, but perhaps he is from the Ukraine, since 'Prostir' means dimension in that language. Four tracks appear on the CDR, three further ones are only available at the website. The music was all made with samples, vst instruments, synthedit, fruityloops and acid: all window programs alien to this apple eater. There are some political dimensions to this release, regarding the third world and dimensions to that. The four tracks I heard are great actually. Loopy and noisy stuff, with sounds dropping in and out, voices, shortwave like sounds making small rhythms and such. Clicks & cuts moving out of the ordinary.
"Movin' On" is the title of the compilation and as far as I'm concerned this is both the program for the label Minus N, as well as a current state of mind in the field of clicks and cuts music. It has moved away from the pure techno related pieces from yesteryear, into music that has grown a lot since then. Some of these pieces are still techno influenced, such as those by Pero, Shalma and Salman or the very housy, Luomo like piece by Motor, but there is also the Pan Sonic like piece by G. Naaf, Jos Smolders off beat rhythms, the rock drumkit by Goem|fdw or the sample mishmash of Claudia Bonarelli and the dubby Lod. Besides some known names (and for instance in Smolders' case, unexpected ones) many new names are to be discovered here, plus both releases are also available for free to download. (FdW)
Address: http://minusn.com/

 

 

 

 

OBITUARY:

Geert Feytons (27-12-1967 - 22-07-2006)

It is with great sadness that Geert Feytons is no longer among us. He took his own life on saturday the 22nd of July 2006. Geert was the main member of Noise Maker's Fifes. After a speedy start in the nineties, they released a whole bunch of CDs and vinyl, but after a while they moved to doing less and less releases, but their pieces became much more elaborate. Sound, images, installation pieces: they were all melted together into a gesamtkunstwerk. Geert Feytons was the main person to do this. Besides he worked with Negative Entropy and Micheal Prime.

The first time I met Geert Feytons was perhaps ten years ago, when he came to Staalplaat with Timo van Luyck. Determined to do something with his music, he was always very talkative, always promoting his work, but in a very friendly way. Off and on we met throughout the years, but my best memory is the final night of the 2004 of Earational, when he and Timo stayed at the concert hall, together with a few of us. Drinking beer and talking about popmusic, singing along with some tunes: a night that never seemed to end, and no one seemed to care. A joyous person has left us. His friends write: "Geert was one of those few persons able to give energy when you needed, to make you smile when things went wrong, to live as if it was a piece of cake. At the same time he decided that life had given him everything, and that there was nothing more to wait for." A truly fine person is no longer among us. He will be missed.

- Frans de Waard

 

Correction: last week we reviewed a bunch of releases, which we thought were on a label called Abgurd Stillclouds, but in fact the label is just called Abgurd.

 

Podcasts:

1.

http://www.tokafi.com/recordings/radio-show
We play Experimental electronics, drones, field recordings, noise, unusual pop or rock and weird jazz. Selection is made by Tobias Fischer, http://www.einzeleinheit.com/einzeleinheitkuenstler/feufollet

 

 

 

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