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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 545
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week 39
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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

 

TOM JOHNSON - RATIONAL MELODIES/BEDTIME STORIES (CD by Ants) *
TOM JOHNSON - SYMMETRIES (CD by Karnatic Lab) *
SONORES - ELEFANTEN (CD by Structures Sonores) *
OVRO - MOSAICK THE SERPENT/VIPERA AUREA (CD by Some Place Else) *
HAERETICI 7O74 - HEARD FLAYINGS (CDR by Some Place Else)
C-MON & KYPSKI - WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (CD) *
MUSIC DANCES ITSELF (CD compilation by Sonic Arts Network)
NOEXIT - ONE STEP (CD by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings) *
LIKE DEFEATED SOLDIERS OF A LONG FORGOTTEN WAR (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings) *
MATT DAVIGNON - SOFTWETFISH (CD by Edgetone Records) *
RENT ROMUS' LORDS OF OUTLAND - CULTURE OF PAIN (CDR by Edgetone Records)
CANELL & WATKINS - LUFTKLUSTER/LUFTFLUKS (LP by Oscillatone)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - DISCIPLINE (CDR by Mirran Threat)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - PSEUDO ME, PSEUDO YOU (CDR by Mirran Threat) *
DOC WÖR MIRRAN/MR EBU - WISH YOU WÖRNT HERE/MIRROR OF TRIARCHY (LP by Empty Records)
JOSEPH B. RAIMOND - ALIEN PECKER (Book)
GRANNITTIN (2CDR compilation by Esc.Rec)
MAGA - THE SPEECHLESS (CDR by Esc.Rec) *
KAZUYA ISHIGAMI - JUN YIN 1 YU WANG - PRILGRIMAGE OF SOUND 1 (CDR by Neus318) *
ZAVOLOKA & KOTRA - TO KILL THE TINY GROOVY CAT (CDREP by Nexsound) *
IZANAMI'S LABOUR PAINS/MUNDKRACH/AUDIBLE PAIN (CDR by Reduktive Musiken)
M.STABENOW - PATIENTEN SIND SCHWERVERBRECHER (CDR by Reduktive Musiken) *
AUDIOPHILE DATENVERARBEITUNG (cassette by Reduktive Musiken)

 

 

 

TOM JOHNSON - RATIONAL MELODIES/BEDTIME STORIES (CD by Ants)
TOM JOHNSON - SYMMETRIES (CD by Karnatic Lab)
For me the composer Tom Johnson is not well-known as a composer, but as an author, of the book: 'The Voice Of New Music', a collection of pieces he wrote for The Village Voice in New York from 1972 to 1982. Writings about new music, from Steve Reich to Charlemagne Palestine to LaMonte Young. It's a book I still consult if I want to know something about Minimal Music, or just re-read for fun (and it's now free to download from www.tom.johnson.org). But as said Johnson is also a composer, since 1983 living in Paris. He has written a couple of Operas, an Oratorium and pieces for ensembles and solo performers. These two releases deal with the latter. Roger Heaton on clarinet performs both 'Rational Melodies' and 'Bedtime Stories'. It's probably no surprise with Johnson's writing about minimalism, that his own music may sound alike. But there is a big difference: Johnson doesn't play on sustaining notes, working the overtones that so many old and new minimalists do, but each note is there, alone and naked without sort of process happening. In 'Rational Melodies', the clarinet plays short wonderful pieces, twenty-one in total, mostly sounding a bit desolate, but no doubt that has to do with the character of the instrument. 'Bedtime Stories' have, as the title implies, stories, which are sometimes very funny, read by Tom Johnson. The clarinet makes perhaps too much sound to sleep too, but it's very fine: short swirling melodies, often apart from the voice.
For 'Symmetries' Johnson used a music typewriter, a rare machine to type notes, which he used to make typewriter drawings, without caring too much how to perform them, but later the made a version to be played by piano four hands. Here too the pieces are very short, each depicting a specific mood, sometimes highly rhythmic and sometimes very melodic and sparse. Each of the typewriter drawings is shown in the booklet, which makes it for the listener all the more engaging to follow the interpretations. Very nice, both of these CDs, showing an unique voice in minimal music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.silenzio-distribuzione.it/ants.htm
Address: http://www.karnaticlaboratories.com

SONORES - ELEFANTEN (CD by Structures Sonores)
Swedish label Structures Sonores started in 2002 but so far released just works by label owner Viktor Sjöberg, but now, when releasing the first real CD, he releases music by Jonas Odhner, who works, oddly enough, under the name of Sonores. He worked as a scratch DJ, played guitar, hip hop and now some laid back, melodic trip hop. Electric piano, female vocals, down tempo rhythms: melancholic music that we know so very well from Portishead, even when Sonores strips the music more bare to the bone. A bit jazzy at times, atmospherical throughout, not as engaging as Portishead and too much a copy thereof, but what the hell: it's monday morning, the sky is all grey and autumn is rapidly approaching, what more could such a day want. It's nothing really new under the sun, but it's ok for what it is. (FdW)
Address: http://www.structuressonores.com

OVRO - MOSAICK THE SERPENT/VIPERA AUREA (CD by Some Place Else)
HAERETICI 7O74 - HEARD FLAYINGS (CDR by Some Place Else)
Still, it's a pity that there is no such thing as a double sided CD (unlike the DVD), because it would solve the problem we have here with Ovro: she offers six tracks belonging to one album and then some silent tracks (convenient counting to start again at 11) and then another six tracks, forming another album. Which is nice of course if you pay full attention to your CD player, if not, you have a problem. Then it will appear to be just one album. Ovro started her career as one of the few female exponents of the microsound/glitch music, but throughout the few years being active inside experimental music, she developed her personal style. Sampling plays an important role, and the main instrument to sample is her voice. This she feeds through endless amount of sound effects and comes with a rather dark, atmospheric sound that is less ambient than before, certainly on 'Vipera Aurea' where it reaches almost industrial like peaks. Fans of Coil should be definitely drawn into this.
Ovro, together with Some Place Else's main man Niko Skorpio, is also Haeretici 7074, who release 'Heard Flayings' as their second release and just like 'Haeretici, Schismatici, Excommunicati' this is recorded live in concert. This concert, from May this year, saw them incorporating visual elements. The two incorporate once again voices from the grave, I mean some satanic mass, and add a bunch of noise and rhythm to it. The voices get looped around, distorted and destroyed and the whole thing breaths a semi (or perhaps quasi) religious atmosphere. Short and to the point this recording, but somehow fails to impress me very much. (FdW)
Address: http://www.someplaceelse.net

C-MON & KYPSKI - WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (CD)
Normally I don't care that much about popmusic, not even the one that some people label quite convenently as 'alternative', which is merely an instrument to keep the kids that think they are alternative also quiet. A marketing tool. So far, I though C-mon & Kypski were just another Dutch duo hanging around in that 'alternative' scene, department dance music. I'm wrong in as far that they are a quartet, playing samples, scratches, beats, snares and keyboards. Their latest album 'Where The Wild Things Are' was recorded in Morocco, and they get help from punk rockers Voicst, the Amsterdam Klezmer band and Benjamin Herman (Dutch jazzo). C-mon & Kypski play samplemania, sampling to death everything from hip hop to big band, techno to psychedelic keyboards, the overall sound being a fine cross-over from hip hop to rock. The tracks are overall funny, and the production is excellent. I must say I rather like it, despite being the rather odd ball in the daily digest of Vital Weekly. (FdW)
Address: http://www.c-monandkypski.nl

MUSIC DANCES ITSELF (CD compilation by Sonic Arts Network)
When Junko Wada was asked by the Sonic Arts Network to curate a CD of music, she decided to compile a CD of music she would like to dance to. Nothing strange there, since dancing is her main line of work. Therefore she asked a whole bunch of musicians to create a piece of music for her, which, if I understood correctly, all got a treatment in dance by Wada already. The beautiful booklet shows pictures of this, rather treated than pure documentary. As such as DVD release would perhaps be a better place, but the audio CD is a good alternative. Not exactly music that makes the listener dancing around rather freaking out, this is more music to contemplate with, and that actually stands quite well on it's own. Much of the music is on the minimal side of things, slowly developing ideas and movements that work well on the music side and are probably great to dance too. Of the pieces that stand out is the one by Christina Kubisch for flute and tape delay, with is quite silent and serene and the rhythmic piece by one Arno P. Jiri Kraehahn, which has a both curious folk like character trapped inside the computer. Also included are pieces by Akio Suzuki, Hans Peter Kuhn, Rolf Julius, Werner Durand, Gordan Monahan and Arnold Dreyblatt. Beautiful release, both music and package wise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sonicartsnetwork.org

NOEXIT - ONE STEP (CD by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings)
LIKE DEFEATED SOLDIERS OF A LONG FORGOTTEN WAR (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings)
Behind Noexit is one Joseph Fruiscante, of whom I never heard, and on 'One Step' he plays, according to the cover 'sax and bamboo string', while on one song one Myriam Boucris sings. Those are the facts about this CD, while we are kept in the dark about other information. In thirty minutes, Fruiscante plays some powerful music, clearly recognizable on his saxophone and less clearly on his string bamboo. What the cover doesn't tell us, is the fact that studio treatments play an equally important role here, especially delay and reverb are two important features (or perhaps I am wrong, and we don't have a studio here, but is the whole thing recorded in a tunnel). Fruiscante's music is minimal, even a bit drone related, but at the same time, and perhaps strangely enough it is also forcefully present, even a bit distorted in the deeper bass end of the release. An odd combination of mood music and some more distorted elements, Fruiscante moves here with outside any regular movements or rigid paths of improvisations, ambient, drone or noise. And that is, in my book, very fine.
On the same label, different format though, is Like Defeated Soldiers Of A Long Forgotten War, an impromptu recording made by Michi, Pille and Iason in Basel in April 2005. A three session inside a studio packed with analogue synthesizers. The three hours are trimmed down to seventy-four minutes on this release. In all it's a minimal affair slowly developing synth music, arpeggio's and small, minimalist rhythms - a stripped down version of Pan Sonic, but expanded in length, as each track easily takes up ten to fifteen minutes. It works very trance and ambient like, even despite some of the harsher tones mixed in here and there. Quite some intense music that is loosely improvised but hold together in some 'sample/hold' mode of the machines. Captivating stuff that one should undergo that really careful listen. (FdW)
Address: http://www.via.org.gr/1000+1tilt

MATT DAVIGNON - SOFTWETFISH (CD by Edgetone Records)
RENT ROMUS' LORDS OF OUTLAND - CULTURE OF PAIN (CDR by Edgetone Records)
In Vital Weekly we were introduced to the music of one Matt Davignon, who quite originally used two drum computers and sound effects for the improvised nature of his improvisations. On 'SoftWetFish' he continues this line of work, and as such he does he great job. The thirteen pieces are again, most likely, generated through the use of improvisation and edited into small and delicate pieces of music. However it stays far away from the sound of real drum computers and is still nowhere close to anything even remotely techno or industrial. Davignon's music is rather musique concrete or even acousmatic music. The surprise here, compared to 'Bwoo' is a bit gone, and that is a pity. Although it is a too bold statement to make, I couldn't escape the thought of listening to 'Bwoo' again. All the ingredients of that album are to be found here again. Like I said before: his techniques are surely unorthodox, now show us the improvisations with other people.
Also improvised but on an entirely different level is Rent Romus' Lords Of Outland with 'Culture Of Pain', their first album in almost six years. I never heard of them before. It's basically a four piece band on saxophones, zitherod, voice, electronics, guitars, bass and drums, who are helped here by four other players, adding more saxophone, trumpet, piano and double bass. They explore the boundaries of jazz and improvisation and sound perhaps exactly you would think such music would sound like: noisy, chaotic, hectic, destroying whatever perception you may or may have about jazz music. Moments of rest or contemplation are hardly there, as the whole thing thunders on like giant hurricane. Lovers of the genre will no doubt love this, and those who have pre-conditioned minds about free jazz probably stopped reading this review anyway. For the die hard fans then. (FdW)
Address: http://www.edgetonerecords.com

CANELL & WATKINS - LUFTKLUSTER/LUFTFLUKS (LP by Oscillatone)
In Vital Weekly 487 we reviewed a LP called The New Heat and Obscured By Light. Two bands with twice the same people: Nina Canell and Robin Watkins. Two names for two different kinds of musics. The new LP, on the same label, now credited as Canell & Watkins, seems to be blending both their styles together. One on hand there is the acoustic guitar, singing and drones in a folk style, but tracks seems to fade into more noisy outings of that were previous known as by Obscured By Light. These sounds may seem computer treatments, but I do believe they are tapeloops. I must admit I don't like the singing as such, which is perhaps something odd for me. But what I do like about it is the odd mixture of both the folk like playing in combination with the more experimental sounds, which gives the listener the idea of bouncing back and forth between the ordinary and the unusual. Herein lies the big power of the record, the gesamtkunstwerk and not the individual elements that make the record. And at that it is quite captivating. (FdW)
Address: http://www.oscillatone.com

DOC WÖR MIRRAN - DISCIPLINE (CDR by Mirran Threat)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - PSEUDO ME, PSEUDO YOU (CDR by Mirran Threat)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN/MR EBU - WISH YOU WÖRNT HERE/MIRROR OF TRIARCHY (LP by Empty Records)
JOSEPH B. RAIMOND - ALIEN PECKER (Book)
In Vital Weekly 486 we reviewed a CDR release by German's Doc Wör Mirran, called 'Ipso Facto' and that was the 94th release, but I don't where they are now, as their discography is a pretty extensive and somewhat clouded thing. Just as their ever floating membership, although Joseph B. Raimond is the only constant factor. For the two CDRs here at hand, he is the sole musician responsible for both. Also extensive is their field of music, which can be basically anything, from rock to punk to experimental and ambient music. Although after hearing this new lot it seems to me that the sound has now, perhaps, moved towards the ambient and minimal music end of the spectrum. As I understand from the liner notes of 'Discipline', things now released may sit around for a while. Raimond is an artist of many disciplines, as part of the 'Discipline' release is a CDRom part with paintings he made for this project. The music part was recorded over the years on an analogue track machine, with each track filled with the rather static sound of an analogue synthesizer. In a highly minimal mood, these eight lines are mixed together, waving together a most beautiful pattern of sound, that doesn't sound too dissimilar from say Alvin Lucier or Paul Panhuysen. Very relaxing music to watch the painting with.
'Pseudo Me, Pseudo You' is something entirely different, but here too minimalism takes control, but in a more modern classical sense of the word. Three tracks here of which the first is a choir-like processing of voices humming, feeding through various oscillators. 'Work Is A Four Letter Word' is a short piece of synthesizers humming and making spacious curves. In 'Pop Goes The Joe' percussive sounds are drawn into the game and here is where things really get modern classical. The percussion sounds are loud bangs on drums using odd time signatures. To enhance this, samples of classical instruments are running along this, adding a dense character to the piece. Short release, perhaps a bit too short, but very well made.
Despite all the activity of studio front, live Doc Wör Mirran is a rare thing. Over the twenty or more years since they started they played under five shows in their entire existence, but one of these shows is captured here on a split LP with Mr. Ebu. The latter is also guest musician on the Doc Wör Mirran side, as well as saxophone player Adrian Gromley. His playing dominates the pieces played, but sadly it's the kind of saxophone playing I am allergic to. The music sometimes drops back in volume and one can hear that they aren't the usual live players. It's a bit too loosely played, without too much tension going on. Mr. Ebu has also been long around the cassette scene, perhaps since the mid-eighties as well. Also for his side of the record I must say I am a little bit disappointed. The music seems also to be a bit of haphazard affair of cosmic synthesizers and later on a banging, hypnotic sounding drum machine, but somehow also lacks the needed tension. Perhaps this kind of music is just too difficult to play live, or too complicated to be brought full scale? Perhaps being there would have helped...
The final release is the second poetry book by Joseph B. Raimond, called 'Alien Pecker'. I don't consider myself to be a poetry critic, and much of his poetry doesn't make much sense, if one reads it quietly, but I tried reading some out loud, and then the rhyme and prose start to make sense. It's a funny mixture of English and German and as such written out sound poetry. You can perform! (FdW)
Address: http://www.empty.de

GRANNITTIN (2CDR compilation by Esc.Rec)
MAGA - THE SPEECHLESS (CDR by Esc.Rec)
The launch of Esc Rec brought us some years ago a most odd double compilation CDR called 'J'ee-haw' (see Vital Weekly 387), based around the call 'j'ee-haw', now they return with something likewise odd. Robert Witt did a performance in which the sound of knitting was fed through a bunch of plug ins and granular synthesis and that became the basis of this double compilation, of course neatly packed in a knitted sock. Many of the remixers take one knit from the performance, and create a loop and tons of variations around that to built a piece of music that is highly techno related, with Radboud Mens as the most commercial actor on the scene. His piece is thick, fat and highly minimal and highly danceable. Phako, Xaf, slo-fi, Timvankessel, Goem all to the same. The odd balls here are those who create a non-linear piece, such as the careful deconstruction by Staplerfahrer, Robert Witt's own ambient variations and Jos Smolders outing in the field of musique concrete and Igor Krutogolov (the only non Dutch musician as far as I can judge) doing a bit of rhythm and noise. Transfolmer is the only one who adds another instrument: a quite horrible guitar solo. Also present are Marius, Gluid, Toxic Chicken, Lukas Simonis and Maga.
Maga is also present on 'Grannittin', and with 'The Speechless' he offers his third release for Esc.Rec. Originally Marc Fien, the man behind Maga, was a drummer for various bands playing all sorts of music. But solo he plays around with electronics, acid and techno to be more precise. He does a really fine job at that actually. Raw and intense the beats thunder around in a straight four to the floor fashion, with fat synths bubbling underneath. Dark, intense but sure to be a good spin at your underground party. Great stuff. (FdW)
Address: http://www.escrec.com

KAZUYA ISHIGAMI - JUN YIN 1 YU WANG - PRILGRIMAGE OF SOUND 1 (CDR by Neus318)
Kazuya Ishigami is the man behind the Neus318 label (many more releases to be reviewed soon) and much of music deals with more noise related areas of music. However on 'Jun Yin 1 Yu Wang - Pilgrimage Of Sound 1' he deals with something different. It's a series of three tracks with 'deep sounds express "desire" of plant, human and machine'. All three tracks display a great sense of silence. The sound is buried underneath the deepest drones possible, and on top (even when such notion means also barely audible) there are some loosely connected sounds. It's very hard to trace back the origin of these sounds: they might be from plants, humans or machines, but it might be as well something entirely different. The music is slightly to be traced back to the likes of Richard Chartier, Roel Meelkop or Bernard Günter, but it's also a bit more mechanical and colder than those. The warmth is mainly in the deeper drone end part of this release, whereas the other sounds have, perhaps due to the somewhat over enthusiastic use of reverb, this more mechanical feel to it. Throughout it's quite emotive music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.neus318.com

ZAVOLOKA & KOTRA - TO KILL THE TINY GROOVY CAT (CDREP by Nexsound)
This short release is a taster for a forthcoming full length release by Kotra and Zavoloka. Both are from the Ukraine and over the last couple of years they have played together a lot, both live and in the studio. For this release, Kotra returned to playing the bass, 'clanged and creaked'. Zavoloka 'has nurtured it and killed it', it says on the rather beautiful cover. Whatever nurturing and killing may be, it's hard to trace any sound back to the bass in these five pieces. Five pieces of chilling computerized glitch, with a good ear for a bass sound (that seems to be coming from anything deep end in the plug in section, rather than from a wooden box with four thick strings). Sounds crash like hard drives here, with fierce high end pitches among the deeper end music. Not danceable, hardly 'warm', but a truly noise related attack on the senses. Good for the fact that it defies any relation to microsound and clicks 'n cuts, trying really to melt down all the various influences together and be something new. Makes great expectations for the full length. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nexsound.org

IZANAMI'S LABOUR PAINS/MUNDKRACH/AUDIBLE PAIN (CDR by Reduktive Musiken)
M.STABENOW - PATIENTEN SIND SCHWERVERBRECHER (CDR by Reduktive Musiken)
AUDIOPHILE DATENVERARBEITUNG (cassette by Reduktive Musiken)
The German Reduktive Musiken (reductive music) have a nice way of packing their releases, and even release formats that are curiously odd, like a cassette. The release by Izanami's Labour Pains, Audible Pain and Mundkrach comes in a nice box. Izanami's Labour Pains is from Japan and Mundkrach is one Theo-Ohm of Ohmkill and as the name implies, the music is made with the use of the voice. Audible Pain is the 'band behind the label'. Together they traded sound samples to create this work. The first five tracks are by Izanami's Labour Pains playing around with samples from Mundkrach, although the voice is hard to be recognized. It's a harsh noise affair of distortion and more distortion on the samples. However things are not as loud as on the three Mundkrach tracks, who uses samples from Izanami's Labour Pains, to take them on a trip to feedback land. Quite Merzbow like, and sometimes as good. The final track, perhaps as a bonus, is short and by Audible Pain, using both other bands' sounds and making it distorted and noisy. Quite nice too, but perhaps a bit too short.
The man behind Audible Pain is M. Stabenow, running the label and also active under the name Pollo. Under his own name he releases a work that roughly translates as 'patients are dangerous criminals' and the overall theme is the reform in the health service in Germany, and no doubt Stabenow is no fan of that. No noise here, but electronic music made out of sine waves, chopped up to form small rhythms and some computer treatments. And then among all of this there cut ups from radio texts in German about patients and diseases. Perhaps some of the political connotations of this release will be lost on the none German speakers, but somehow Stabenow gets his point across. And fans of Asmus Tietchens should be on the look for this: he reads the text for the last piece.
It may seem weird to release an audio cassette these days, but in the concept of Audiophile Datenverarbeitung it makes sense. It's one E. Weber who made this, and he uses 'analogue measuring instruments of the domain of medical technology, electronical engineering or wireless communication'; old stuff so to say and therefore the release on cassette makes sense. He creates his tracks live with these machines to create patterns of rhythms and sound waves. His sound is not unlike a very stripped down version of Pan Sonic, but far less complex, and much more raw in approach. Both rhythmic pulses and sinewaves are kept to a bare minimum and somehow doesn't have the same urgency as Pan Sonic (or similar minimlist beatings), but it makes a good point in using ancient machines for more artistic means. Quite nice stuff. (FdW)
Address: http://www.reduktivemusiken.de

 

 

 

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