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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 547
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week 41
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: 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

 

 

THOMAS NOLA ET SON ORCHESTRE - SO LONG, LALE ANDERSEN (CD by Disques De Lapin)
JOHN BUTCHER & CHRISTOF KURZMANN - THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING BETWEEN HERTZ AND MEGAHERTZ (CD by Potlatch) *
MAY 6, 2001 (CD by And/Oar)
UN CADDIE RENVERSE DANS L'HERBE - THE REVERSED SUPERMARKET TROLLEY FLIES TOWARDS THE RAINBOW (CD by Lalia Records) *
THE HITMACHINE - IN THE DUTCH MOUNTAINS/NEGATIVLAND (CD by Ole Records) *
MICHEL CHION - TU (CD by Brocoli) *
NOAH LEWIS' MAHLON TRAITS - NOAH LEWIS' MAHLON TRAITS PLAY (CD by Nowgomix)
COLLEEN ET LES BOITES A MUSIQUE (CD by Leaf)
AVIA GARDNER - MILL FARM (CD by Intr_Version) *
JANEK SCHAEFER - IN THE LAST (CD by Room40)
RICHARD CHARTIER - CURRENT (miniCD by Room40)
MAJU - MAJU 4 (CD by Extreme) *
MR GEOFFREY & JD FRANZKE - GET A ROOM (CD by Extreme)
HERVE BOGHOSSIAN/JOHN TILBURY/MARK WASTELL - ARCHI.TEXTURE VOL.1 (CD by Cathnor Recordings)
WILL GUTHRIE - BODY AND LIMBS STILL LOOK TO LIGHT (CD by Cathnor Recordings) *
DOF - SUN, STRENGTH, AND SHIELD (CD by Abandon Building Records) *
ASSEMBLAGE SESSIONS 2 (CD compilation by Abandon Building Records)
SPIRES THAT IN THE SUNSET RISE - THIS IS FIRE (CD by Secret Eye)
LARKIN GRIMM - THE LAST TREE (CD by Secret Eye)
ZONK'T - PURR (CD by Sound On Probation) *
LAURENT PERRIER - DOWNFALL/DISPERSE (2CD by Sound On Probation)
PYLÔNE - BLACK GRAINS (CD by Sound On Probation)
MILLION WAYS TO SPEND YOIUR TIME (CD by Quasipop)
EDWARD S - UNTITLED GOD (CDR by Quasipop)
GHEDALLA TAZARTES - 5 RIMBAUD/1 VERLAINE (3"CD by Jardinau Fou)
BRENDAN WALLS - OUTPOSTS (LP by Dom Bartwuchs)
KASPER VAN HOEK - MINERVA (LP by KVH)
JACKWACKER - THINGS FROM INSIDE THE BODY (LP by Blackvelvetfuckererecordings)
TONGUE-TIED & STAID - HALCYON DAZE (7" by Blackvelvetfuckererecordings)
COSILI - THE ADVENTURES OF COSY COSILI (12" by Creaked Records)
TORSTEIN WJIIK - TOADS (CDR by Dim Records) *
CHRONO.FIXION - 2006 (CDR, self released) *
KAZUYA ISHIGAMI/DARUIN - PAST MEDLEY VOLS 1-5 (CDR by Neus-318) *
CHEFKIRK - GIANT SQUID (CDR by 804noise)
KOTRA/VIOLET - SACHERTORTE (CDR by Nexsound)
MUFFIN SEEKS SUNSHIP - CRASHING CIRCLES IN THE MIDNIGHT HORN (CDR by CLaudia)
METAL ROUGE (3"CDR by CLaudia)
TIM COSTER - ROWBOAT/BLACKBERRY (3"CDR by CLaudia) *
MACHINEFABRIEK - ALLENGSKENS (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
F.S. BLUMM - DRAWINGS (book by Ahornfelder)

 

THOMAS NOLA ET SON ORCHESTRE - SO LONG, LALE ANDERSEN (CD by Disques De Lapin)
A couple of month's ago Vital Weekly had a review of the soundtrack to the movie "The doctor" (Vital Weekly 531). American artist Thomas Nola was the creator of both the movie and the movie soundtrack. The soundtrack was an utterly bizarre and interesting work with assistance from among others ex-member of Death In June, Douglas Pearce. Latest album by Thomas Nola is yet another magical mystery tour into the brain of this versatile artist. The cover artwork in itself is quite impressive with an old dusty painting of some golden age-like tea party. The darkness of "The doctor" has faded and the listener has instead been invited to a strange party of psychedelic cabaret tunes and experimental rock. Compared to the "Doctor" the music on "So long, Lale Andersen" first of all operates in the acoustic sound territories with some electronic treatment involved once in a while. With a chamber orchestration consisting of musical instruments like ukulele, cello and trumpet the expression is quite remarkable and very unusual. Imagine Nick Cave singing at a spooky vaudeville tea party with a neo-psychedelic chamber orchestra accompanying and you might have a clue of what to expect. But as you thought you'd be able to pigeonhole the sound Thomas Nola Et Son Orchestre the music suddenly changes face into a more avantgarde rock-expression featuring atmospheric dark synth-lines not far away from Joy Division. Other tracks turn into the world of electronic experimentation with repetitive textures based on electronic loops of anything from nightmarish cello-lines to female choir. Excellent! (NMP)
Address: http://www.eskimofilms.com

JOHN BUTCHER & CHRISTOF KURZMANN - THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING BETWEEN HERTZ AND MEGAHERTZ (CD by Potlatch)
There is probably a big misunderstanding between hertz and megahertz, but it's also the title of the surprising collaboration between two powers of improvisation music. Christof Kurzmann plays 'lloopp and pick up' and John Butcher plays tenor and soprano saxophones, feedback tenor on #4. Butcher's saxophones are difficult to recognize as such as he adopts the technique of approaching his instrument as an object rather than as saxophone. We hear him breath, hiss and make other mouth sounds through the instrument. To this Kurzmann adds a fine blend of electronic sounds, from sine wave like textures (of whatever hertz or megahertz), crackles, hiss and even something that is a consecutive amount of looped particles. I have no idea what it is or looks like that Kurzmann uses, but the end result is a very intense mixture of some of the more alienated saxophone playing I came across in combination with to the point electronics, building small yet intense textures of improvised music. Great gestures and exciting music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.potlatch.fr

MAY 6, 2001 (CD by And/Oar)
The Financial district of Lower Manhattan... perhaps this won't immediately ring a bell or two, but it's the area of New York where the World Trade Center was. At night this used to be a quiet neighborhood, with big skycrapers and office buildings. Several months before september 11th 2001, Kenneth Kirschner walked out one sunday night to make a field recording of the area, as part of a series to record various New York neighborhoods. This recording was sent to various composers to ask their interpretation of the sound material, using solely these field recordings. We find here luminaries as Taylor Deupree, Ralph Steinbrüchel, Tomas Korber and Aarom Ximm along with a piece that Kirschner did himself. As you can imagine this is an album you can listen with mixed feelings: either ignore whatever happened at the World Trade Center and view this a series of highly processed and highly 'silent' music (with Tomas Korber being its champion here) or one could see this as solemn requiem to those events. I prefer to choose the latter. The emptiness that was there when Kirschner made his recordings versus the real emptiness that is now there, and that comes alive through the music. Each of the five musicians seems to be aware of this, keeping in mind the tragedy through softly humming and buzzing of sounds that slowly evolve and revolve. Not a release to make you happy, but quite an essential and highly human release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.and-oar.org

UN CADDIE RENVERSE DANS L'HERBE - THE REVERSED SUPERMARKET TROLLEY FLIES TOWARDS THE RAINBOW (CD by Lalia Records)
Some people hate children, but frankly I never understand why. To hate children is to deny that you were young yourself once. I like children a lot. The kid that is object of music here, Maria-Amaryllis will be three next month. When she turned two, November 12th 2005, Un Caddie Renverse Dans L'Herbe embarked for a trip to Greece where this wonderful young girl lives (and believe me, I met her) and in the house of her grandparents played this concert that is now captured on CD in a gorgeous packaging. No doubt the title is suggested by Maria-Amaryllis in a great moment of imaginative thought that only very young children seem to have. Un Caddie uses for this his good ol' laptop, but feeds it with live generated sounds from toys and some vocals parts by Maria-Amaryllis. Processed xylophone sounds, bells, people talking, children voices: everything is in there in a gentle and intimate way. Whereas some microsound/laptop music is quiet and intimate too, it only appeals to adults. I played this CD for a very young man of sixteen months and he was flat on his belly watching the speakers before starting to play along on his toys. Funny, witty electronical music. (FdW)
Address: <laliarecords@yahoo.com>

THE HITMACHINE - IN THE DUTCH MOUNTAINS/NEGATIVLAND (CD by Ole Records)
Our local heroes The Hitmachine is a free floating affair. They can be a rock band, they can be a DJ, or work in a multitude of guises, playing different tunes to fit the occasion. Two of them, still being The Hitmachine, made a CD as part of an exhibition called 'De Integratie Suite/Non Traditionele Harmonieen' (the integration suite/non traditional harmonics) in a dutch place called Hoorn. 'In The Dutch Mountains' is of course the famous (?) song by The Nits, named after a German visiting ancient Japan, in a time when only the dutch were allowed on Desima and when asked from which part his funny Dutch accent (of course he spoke German) was from, he answered 'the dutch mountains'. Speaking of integration... The Hitmachine's contribution consists of this CD, being a total plunderphonic work. They have an extensive collection of non-western music, which is used here. Music from all corners of the world are mixed together - the non-traditional harmonics, I guess - together with outsider music from the western world. Sun Ra is in there somewhere, but by and large I didn't recognize anything at all. Such is the luck of crate diggers, finding weird music for just 10 cents. It's a highly pleasant trip round the world (in less than eighty minutes), even if one, like me, is not a total addict to non-western music. Every track, there are nine in total, has it's own distinct feeling, making this into a highly varied album. However, my doubts made elsewhere in this issue about the DJ as creator, may certainly be accounted here too. (FdW)
Address: <herrkock@gmail.com>

MICHEL CHION - TU (CD by Brocoli)
Music by Michel Chion never reached Vital Weekly that much, which is a pity, but perhaps not that much was available. If you can lay your hand on his 'Requiem', then do so. This religious work (Chion is a religious man) combines the classic death mass with electronic music that even makes this non-believer shiver. Chion also wrote many books, albeit in French, made short films and composes music. 'Tu' was already composed in 1977, but was reworked in 1996. Now in the Mozart year 2006 (born 260 years ago) it is released. Mozart? 'Tu' uses texts from Mozart's opera 'The Magic Flute' and texts from Robert Desnos. Texts are spoken by fifteen interpreters, but it's hard to say what the piece is about, let alone what it is: an opera, musique concrete, poetry? Chion refers to it as a 'concrete melodrama'. I am not sure if the text that Chion uses follows the two acts that the Mozart opera has, or wether the original story is the same, or that we are dealing with a more free adaption. The music is absolutely great: electronic, cold, abstract and concrete. Abrupt changes, piano chords, sounds falling but always intense. This is not the acousmatic music that comes so often from the likes of Chion, but there is only one Michel Chion. Voices speak, murmer, roar or a declaimed. Even without noting what the texts are all about it is a very intense listening piece of music that can easily meet his 'Requiem'. Great work, and packed in an absolutely great cover (though a bit hard to read!). (FdW)
Address: http://www.brocoli.org

NOAH LEWIS' MAHLON TRAITS - NOAH LEWIS' MAHLON TRAITS PLAY (CD by Nowgomix)
Cleverly named after a 20s jug band player, Noah Lewis' Mahlon Traits is a Japanese 6-piece orchestra. As you would expect with a name like this, it is not an average orchestra. This ensemble specializes in playing obscure covers featuring a dominant singing saw in their line-up. Add to this Hawaiian guitar, violin and the strange, almost too slow tempo of the songs, which gives the music a mellow outer worldly character, and you have a unique concept. On this, their third CD, we get re-workings ranging from the perhaps obvious Pensive Miss (Count Basie) and Harlem Nocturne (Mel Tormé) to the perhaps not-so-obvious Twilight in Turkey (Raymond Scott) and Ohm Sweet Ohm (Kraftwerk). At times it's hard to recognize the original songs, as they are played in MLMT's unique style, making the album strangely coherent, almost like the songs are in fact not covers at all. Play is a lovely, serene record and features some great music for after-parties! (FK)
Address: http://www.nowgomix.com/

COLLEEN ET LES BOITES A MUSIQUE (CD by Leaf)
After two highly interesting albums, Colleen (Cécile Schott) was commissioned in 2006 by a French radio station to record music for a special broadcast exploring the possibilities of wind-up musical boxes. Marketed as a CD EP, yet taking in 14 tracks in nearly 40 minutes, this is not her new album, which should be out early 2007, but a side-project (hence the slightly amended name). On this lengthy EP the boxes (everything from 40s birthday cards to large Victorian boxes) whirl and spin, occasionally looped and treated, creating their slightly melancholic, sparse out-of-time sound. As the instrumentation is logically limited (music boxes only), the sound and feel of the album is consequently limited. Tracks like Sad Panther or Calypso In A Box, with treated music box sounds, are more interesting, but as a whole the Boites A Musique is a tiresome listen and it fails to impress as much as Colleen's previous albums did. Full stars for the concept, but not so for the results. Our fingers are crossed for Colleen's new proper studio album. (FK)
Address: http://www.posteverything.com/leaf/

AVIA GARDNER - MILL FARM (CD by Intr_Version)
About a year ago, Intr_Version released 'More Than Tongue Can Tell', the debut album of Avia Gardner (see Vital Weekly 498), not one person, but a duo of Mitchell Akiyama, Canada's busy bee, and Jenna Robertson. The follow up was recorded in the country side of Massachusetts, locked in a room with just instruments: guitar, harmonium, autoharp, 'instruments borrowed from a baby brother' and of course some computer mystery. Not much extra guest players this time, this is Avia Gardner in it's most pure form. Despite whatever computer mystery they use, it's foremost a folk album. The intimate singing of Jenna is still Bert Hart meeting Tujiko Noriko, but the instruments are at times sparse, with guitars tinkling and birds singing. Yet it's not all just laid-back tunes, such as the more uptempo rhythm boxes of 'My Please' proof. Through the atmosphere of the record is one of being outside, on the land, in summer shine. Lazy, laidback, an occasional spur of activity and a holiday feeling. Those who love neo-folk, or folktronic should definetely check this out as it's simply gorgeous music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.intr-version.com

JANEK SCHAEFER - IN THE LAST (CD by Room40)
RICHARD CHARTIER - CURRENT (miniCD by Room40)
Probably it was noted before, but let's do it again: Janek Schaefer is a busy bee. Ever since he surfaced with his tri-phonic turntable, he expanded his work into the world of sound art, installations and more conceptual approaches to playing around with vinyl, CDs and such like. His latest album, 'In The Last Hour' is to his own saying, his favorite album, and was made after years of 'developing his approach to installation concerts'. I am not sure what an installation concert is, but in this case it was an entirely dark room, and sound coming from all around. Schaefer uses to that end a mini chord organ, grand piano, bell, music box, clarinet, vinyl manipulations, town hall organ, as well as field recordings of his own making. The work is not improvised but strictly composed. And it's a great recording! Starting out in a very dark and deep, drone like manner, this quickly evolves into a fine work of blending the organ and clarinet (at first, the opening sequence) to a rich tapestry of sounds moving in and out, the careful crackling of old vinyl, people walking about, and a serene melody in the closing piece. Rich textured sound, a form of drone music in which something more happens than in some of the other works around in that area, and yes, one could say, this is indeed his best work.
Another busy bee is Richard Chartier. I am clueless as to how much music he released over the years, and in how many exhibitions he was involved, but 'countless' is the right word, I guess. Currently (pun intended) he is moving through australasia, playing concerts in Japan and Australia, and to this end he produced 'Current', a twenty minute work that is sold on tour (and perhaps also on mailorder). You have to crank up the volume quite a bit, as otherwise you won't hear much. The idea is that the music is linked to travel by airplane, aircurrents over oceanic currents. It's a highly atmospheric piece of music that Chartier offers here, with shimmering tones that slowly evolve into a monotonous rhythm. The dense, swamp like sound below is warm but the rhythm part is cold and clinical. Two world colliding together, but in a beautiful way. Highly microsound of course this work, but from somebody like Chartier that is hardly a surprise: he is one of the masters of the genre, and 'Current' is no different. Although it might be the time to reset the boundaries a bit. (FdW)
Address: http://www.room40.org

MAJU - MAJU 4 (CD by Extreme)
MR GEOFFREY & JD FRANZKE - GET A ROOM (CD by Extreme)
Australia's Extreme label has been around for close to twenty years, yet they their catalogue isn't as big as you would expect (but of course they did produce the Merzbox). From the releases that I heard on Extreme, it's not always extreme music, in that sense that it's total noise or such like (again with the exception of Merzbow I imagine). Rather Extreme focusses on more ambient paths of music, in a wide direction. Behind Maju (pronounced 'may-you' and is japanese for cocoon) is one Hosomu Sakana, who 'left the stardom of Elephant Kashimashi', whoever they might be and one Masaki Narita. Their main instruments is the keyboard, although on this new CD 'Maju 4' (the other three are also on Extreme, but unheard by me), this might very well be something with black and white keys, but also the keyboard of the computer. There are strong connections to the music of Fennesz and Oval, especially when they play a more ambient like tune. Scratches of computer, gentle processings of sound, deep bass like sounds and such like make up the sounds covered on this CD. It's ambient of a more experimental nature, not to free float in a new age manner, but Maju certainly creates beautiful, textured atmospheric music. Perhaps of a kind that has been heard before and perhaps a bit too often, but the production is more than excellent.
In Extreme's limited series a CD by two DJs, taking the listener on a trip. A musical trip through music of the last hundred years. It opens with ballroom music from the thirties, lifted from a crackly piece of vinyl, but it turns out to be a trip through science fiction music, ballroom, street sounds of the far east, tango, piano music: more a night club with dimmed lights than four to floor boom boom techno music. It's surely nicely made, with a great variety of sounds and textures, but it made me wonder: anyone with an extensive record collection could perhaps such a work on the computer and I wonder where the creativity of the musicians come in. Maybe I am just an old, conservative know-better, but sometimes the whole DJ as creator eludes me, when this is a nicely put together bunch of different kinds of music and sound. (FdW)
Address: http://www.xtr.com

HERVE BOGHOSSIAN/JOHN TILBURY/MARK WASTELL - ARCHI.TEXTURE VOL.1 (CD by Cathnor Recordings)
WILL GUTHRIE - BODY AND LIMBS STILL LOOK TO LIGHT (CD by Cathnor Recordings)
How to set yourself apart as a label, a very good lesson: make a package that nobody has, and make it look good. Cathnor, a new UK label, does that. Their first two releases come in what looks like oversized digipacks, and will surely be a pest to both your collection and the shop displays. But they stick out of the majority and that is a great thing.
The first release is the first of a trilogy to come, by Herve Boghossian, who plays computer (on the cover in the beautiful french word 'ordinateur'). He asked John Tilbury of AMM piano fame and Mark Wastell on cello to play a composition he made (each solo) and which he would use in his computer processing to 'focus on the textural qualities'. In the first piece it is piano and computer, then cello and computer and in the final piece both together and computer. In the first piece it is clearly the piano, playing clustered and sustaining piano sounds, and the computer treatment seems far away. It may or may not add environmental/reverb like sounds, but it's done in a more or less secret way. In the Wastell piece this is different. The cello is heard, but arrives through a web of sustained sine wave sound/feedback like sound. It moves almost without any flaw into the third piece. I might be entirely wrong, but it seems that this piece is just a mix of the previous two pieces, including whatever was processed on the computer, but it's a quite nice, almost sinister atmosphere that hoovers around in this piece. Although I am not sure what is to follow in the next two parts of this trilogy, I have a keen ear to explore that. Meanwhile listeners are urged to create their own composition.
The second release is a real solo one, by Australian born, resident in France, percussion player Will Guthrie. When not on the road he is playing around in the studio of APO33 to refine his sound and make recordings. Thus I am not entirely sure whether the three pieces on this CD are improvisations that were directly recorded to tape, or whether they are collages of endless hours of improvisations, edited together. I think the latter is more likely. Percussive sounds of all nature find their place in here: from the more traditional drum kit to whatever objects are available. What makes this particularly interesting is the use of electronics. Although they don't play a big role, the play however an essential role. If one listens carefully, one hears things cracking and hissing. No doubt this is also originated from the use of drums or drumming on electrical wires, but they add a great texture to the music. Guthrie is mostly a player with other people, but on this solo CD he shows the best of his solo work and as such it's a great card he hands to the audience. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cathnor.com

DOF - SUN, STRENGTH, AND SHIELD (CD by Abandon Building Records)
ASSEMBLAGE SESSIONS 2 (CD compilation by Abandon Building Records)
A long while back, one Brian Hulick, also known as DoF arrived with a CD called 'If More Than Twenty People Laugh, It Wasn't Funny', following a meteorite crash landed in his back garden. Music wise DoF followed paths set out by so many artists on the Highpoint Lowlife label making a pleasant album. On 'Sun, Strength And Shield' is his second album for Abandon Building Records and sees a contuination of the previous one I heard, but with minor changes. Here it seems that piano and guitar prevail, and that the piece that include IDM or even hip hop rhythms are a minority. DoF moves towards folktronic with acoustic guitars tinkling nicely away. In these piece computer processing is present but it stays in the background or only starts half way through a piece. Again, highly pleasant post-summer music, like a soft breeze, zipping a glass of cold white wine. Maybe at twelve tracks again a bit much, but nice enough.
On the same label is the second volume of a compilation series called 'Assemblage Sessions', which is 'to create a platform where styles of music that are not normally associated with each other get a chance to shake hands and cross-pollinate'. Twenty-one tracks and I just heard one of them before: Gutevolk. Abandon Building Records however managed to find a great deal of fine artists and their mission statement certainly lives up to its expectations, even when by and large these artists play a form of electronic music, and occasionally we hear a cello and guitar (like Caural And Transmission or Micheal Johnson). The differences between the artists are in minor things. There is hip hop inspired rhythms, techno, melancholy and sound collages. Among the names you can find Dooey Decibel, Siesta, Conrad Newholmes, KiloWatts, Bacanal Intruder, Otem Rellik, Populous, Color Cassette, Adventure Time, Nimble, Crillix, J.D. Wenceslas, Unami, Stuntman 5, Canon Blue, Sheveks Masada and Phylum Sinter. Despite the variety in offered musics, this is remarkable coherent compilation and certainly some gemms to discover for would-be A&R men. (FdW)
Address: http://www.abandonbuilding.com

SPIRES THAT IN THE SUNSET RISE - THIS IS FIRE (CD by Secret Eye)
LARKIN GRIMM - THE LAST TREE (CD by Secret Eye)
Both these releases deal with music, that is firmly rooted in folk traditions but is open for elements from noise and improvisation. Spires That in the Sunset Rise, an all-female quartet from Chicago, come up with heart-warming plucked and bowed strings of all sorts, eccentric, upfront singing and intense percussion. Unlike many other groups who are playing a free version of folk music, Spires That in the Sunset Rise don't go for the floating free-form thing, but rather opt for structured songs most of the time. They take these traditional structures as a loose framework and fill them up with a shimmering cosmos of all-acoustic rattle and hum and vocal excursions. The playing is controlled and precise and the music itself is as melancholic as it is full of oddly cheerful energy. At times medieval and tribal influences can be found, but they never get too obvious and are nicely woven into the whole of the music. The songs on "This is Fire" will certainly prove to be a good addition to this fall's mixtapes (well, probably people are rather doing podcasts these days) and when the wailing harmonium, slightly dissonant guitar and elegiac singing of the final song "Desert Mind" set in I cannot help thinking of Nico once again.
Compared to Spires That in the Sunset Rise, Larkin Grimm's music is more along the lines of conventional folk music, with voice and guitar as the main ingredients, completed by various string instruments, percussion and some more obscure sound sources. Again there are traditional song structures to be found, but there is also ample room for vocal and instrumental improvisations. Grimm sings songs of love and lust and loneliness, evoking images of mysterious encounters in the woods and fields and the beauty of bright sunshine in the morning. As you can probably guess by now this is music of a highly expressive character, heavily charged with emotions. Actually, as often with this kind of music, the lyrics and the overall conception dwell a lot on obvious romantic notions, but after all I cannot really take offense at that here. With the songs nicely shifting back and forth between structured parts and free-form passages and the joyful hum-along melodies here and there this is a beautiful example of open-minded contemporary folk music. (MSS)
Address: http://www.secreteye.org

ZONK'T - PURR (CD by Sound On Probation)
LAURENT PERRIER - DOWNFALL/DISPERSE (2CD by Sound On Probation)
PYLÔNE - BLACK GRAINS (CD by Sound On Probation)
The French label Sound On Probation may sound like a new name, but a previous release (the label's first) was already reviewed in Vital Weekly 217, but the label is also a sort of continuation of the Odd Size label (and shop and mailorder) that ceased to exist a couple of years ago. Label owner Laurent Perrier was also a musician and the new label focusses on his own work as well as some people he knows very well, like Pylone. Perrier offers two releases here, one under his own name and one as Zonk't. Previously a duo with one Bernard Ducayron on bass, now, reaching the third CD, a solo project. The previous release that I heard was 'Falling Down Fearless Of Bruises' should have appealed fans of DJ Spooky, but this new album will no doubt find it's way to the fans of Pan Sonic, old Ryoji Ikeda, Frank Bretschneider or Goem, or more recently Theme. The pieces were all created for choreography and have a strict linear structure. Pieces usually open with a bass kick sound, and then on top various synthesizer tones hiss, peep and boom along, exactly in sync with the bass. It comes here and there quite close to the music of Frank Bretschneider, even when it doesn't always have that groove. Traces of ambient and techno are also to be found in here. Pure clicks 'n cuts music, performed with perfection, but my only objection is that it might have arrived years to late to fully benefit from whatever the scene generated in interest back then. That's a pity, since this would have been a great album then. Now it's too, but a bit too late.
Under his own name, Laurent Perrier releases a double CD called 'Downfall/Disperse', which is of entirely different nature. Both CDs have one piece only and both last around fifty some minutes. 'Downfall' starts out with single pitched drone in an almost Alvin Lucier like vein. Slowly and minimally changing, the main change seems to becoming somewhere half way through. From there on things expand in various directions, whilst the sound remains thickly layered. 'Disperse' is more of a rhythmic enterprise: a continuous rhythm is set forward and sounds swirl around it, a bit like a flies buzzing around your head, or a steam train passing various forms of landscapes. Apparently this is the same loop, transposed to various tracks in various mutations. I must admit that the 'Downfall' side was more my cup of tea, and that 'Disperse' sounded a bit too simple in approach for me.
Who or what is behind Pylône, we don't know. The CD itself doesn't shed much light on it. I think it's a man and his computer. Heavily influenced by microsound, but willing to find his own way in that genre. Inside his computer he transforms whatever sounds he has taped. In 'Transmission', with it's twenty-five minutes the core piece of this album, I believe these sounds are taken from long wave recordings (perhaps McGreevy's Aurora Borealis work), which are transposed a couple of times and making a movement like transmission in time. In 'Equation Part.1' something similar is done, but in a much shorter time frame and the source seems to be the chirping of insects (bear in mind that I'm only guessing here). Although in terms of techniques Pylône uses those of the microsound artists like Chartier or Meelkop, there is a big difference: Pylône is much louder and much more present in this work. If silence plays a role it's only to move to a next block of sound, that, when it has arrived, is clearly there. Of course Pylône doesn't play noise, but it's simply louder. Yet in his approach towards composing the material Pylône has the same carefulness as those mentioned, or other in the same field. That makes this album into a most enjoyable one, one that has it's own voice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.soundonprobation.com

MILLION WAYS TO SPEND YOIUR TIME (CD by Quasipop)
EDWARD S - UNTITLED GOD (CDR by Quasipop)
There are fifty ways to leave your lover, and million ways to spend your time, but the seventeen artists on this compilation like to spend their time playing music; quasi pop no doubt. The label's name is probably programmatic for the invitation they handed out to the artists: play us your version of quasi pop, using your techniques and your own style. The artists are from all over the world from Russia to the USA, from France to Poland, even when some are from the label's home country, Ukraine. It has been a greatly varied CD of well tuned, experimental pop tunes, from Peel Off The Bass inspired Radiohead to the noisy outing of Lasse Marhaug or the improvised matters of TV Pow or just plain guitars with Origami Epileptika. Pricewinner is however O.Lamm. Haven't heard anything from him in a while, but his piece is an uptempo techno inspired wickedness tracks. Also included are Black To Comm, Continental Fruit, Monofilament, 8Rolek, Jorgen Knudsen, The Complainer, Andreas Brandal, Alexey Petrov, Batcheeba, Charsky and Biblioteka Prospero, who close off with the weakest link.
On the same label, but as a CDR (limited to 23 copies, mind you) is one Edward S. about whom I know nothing. His piece consists of computer, tapes, turntable and live improvised electronics, which are densely layered on this twenty-three minute piece. Densely loaded with sounds, this starts out in some experimental way, a bit drone related, but not always that intense. Things get more intense however in the second half of the piece, when he is opting for some real noise. Here too I must admit, I am bit lost. Both ends of the musical spectrum he is exploring here, is from things I heard before and better, and sadly this didn't leave a too great impression on me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.quasipop.org

GHEDALLA TAZARTES - 5 RIMBAUD/1 VERLAINE (3"CD by Jardinau Fou)
It has been a long time ago that our former star writer The Square Root Of Sub was very excited by a french rock musician named Ghedalla Tazartes, an one man rock band (see Vital Weekly 106 and 112). Then apparently Tazartes disappeared again, and now re-surfaces with this lovely three 3"CD, with six pieces of music, five to poems of Arthur Rimbaud and one of Paul Verlaine. I must admit right at the start that I never read them and only vaguely know what they are about. The bohemian character of both poets are set to music in a great way by Tazartes. Accompanying himself on a keyboard or a guitar (with drum computers), he sings the poems with a great sense of drama and desolation. Even when the french language is somewhat of mystery for people like myself (again: my mistake, I know), one feels the pain in the poems, such as in 'Le Coeur Vole'. It sounds fine, even when I don't seem to share the enthusiasm felt by the square root, so many moons (moans?) ago. Definetly a true odd-ball in what is usually passing through the doors of Vital Weekly, and most definetly great music from a great outsider. (FdW)
Address: http://www.jardinaufou.com

BRENDAN WALLS - OUTPOSTS (LP by Dom Bartwuchs)
For reasons I am not fully aware of, Christoph Heemann revived his Dom Bartwuchs label to release this LP by Brendan Walls, not to release it on Three Poplars or Streamline. Walls is perhaps one of the lesser known drone musicians, from Australia. His CD 'Cassiafistula' was released on Idea Records (see Vital Weekly 333) and after that things became quiet. I remember that CD vaguely and I believe I wasn't too impressed. How different with this LP, which I like a lot. It's drone music as it should be (with no changes in the format): a large cloud of sound, spread out over two sides of the record. It's hard to tell what Walls is using here: perhaps pure field recordings fed through a bunch of sound effects? Or maybe there is also some instrument to be detected here and there? That I found pretty hard to believe. It's more like a street recording at night that one can hear and see in a drunken haze, blurry, but non-static moving around you. Absolutely great drone music, absolutely nothing new under the sun, but absolutely for those who like their Monos, Ora or Mirror. (FdW)
Address: http://www.diestadtmusik.de

KASPER VAN HOEK - MINERVA (LP by KVH)
In the past we reviewed some of Kasper van Hoek self-released CDR releases (Vital Weekly 478 and 488), when he was still in art-school. The art-academy Minerva to be precise, where Van Hoek studied painting and sound. Now he graduated and his final work is the release of this LP, a classic, limited edition of 300 copies of which the first 100 have hand-made covers, the test for making collectors items in years to come. This LP contains nine compositions made during his art-academy years (and probably found their way to his older CDR releases). Van Hoek uses old cassette players, turntables, speakers, microphones, mixers and in the studio the computer, using field recordings as their source, but also feedback generated sound. With these sources and appliances he creates short loops, that however do not always work in a rhythmical way. In his music Van Hoek crosses the lines between the non rhythmic Pan Sonic, and combines it with nice, but not all too harsh noise and leap frogs into the world of drone. His use of loops prevents this to be much in the world of musique concrete, but there too lies some of his interest. His recording techniques are still somewhat crude and could use some refinement, throughout this is a most enjoyable album of experimental music. The first step has been made, now playing live and getting around is to be the next. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kaspervanhoek.net

JACKWACKER - THINGS FROM INSIDE THE BODY (LP by Blackvelvetfuckererecordings)
TONGUE-TIED & STAID - HALCYON DAZE (7" by Blackvelvetfuckererecordings)
The band Jackwacker exists since thirteen years, first in Bloomington than in Madison, where they became members of the lively no wave scene. These days it's a two piece of Elijah Prichett on a guitar with three guitar strings and three bass strings; he also sings. Rob Stockwell plays the drums. I have no idea about their other releases, but apparently this LP contains recordings made from 1993 to 1995 and perhaps the band no longer exists. The music is a loud, vicious and above uncontrolled beast. No wave in optima forma. Aggressive to the bone, much punk like but played in a very free way. MX 80 meets Harry Pussy, plus more vicious I guess. What is a pity that the recordings are all made live and with some extra production and/or better recording this could have been more intense. Such, I guess, is the decision of being lo-fi.
Tongue-tied & Staid is a six piece band, with instruments including double bass, many guitars, saxophones, drums and vocals. They too play a very free sound, but strangely enough without the same aggression as Jackwacker does. The music is slow, even blues like, with everybody playing their own version of blues, seemingly without paying much attention to the rest and with a drummer holding the troops together. When played after the LP it is somewhat disappointing, but by itself it is a fine 7" of no wave classics. (FdW)
Address: <blackvelvet79@hotmail.com>

COSILI - THE ADVENTURES OF COSY COSILI (12" by Creaked Records)
Computer games are not my thing - too old I guess. Next year there will be a new game on market: Snail In Peril. What is about I don't know, but the music is already available on this 12". Cosili is one Philip Schmassmann from Zürich, who had a couple of 12"s before on labels as Stattmusik and Motoguzzi. Cosy Cosili is a snail living in a small village and having various adventurous inside various musical genres, well, or some such. Cosili sets out to play around with minimal techno but in a more humorous context, with strange voices, such as in 'Hello Hihat' or the vocoder ones in Gabba Snail, when Cosili visits gabbaland (although the music is not really gabba like, it has only faint traces of such). Cosili visits gabbaland, minimaland, fluffyfluffyland, my house and technocity to give an impression of what it is all about. For some reason I don't think this will be a record that will hit the dance floors very easily: the tracks are a bit short, sometimes a bit too disoriented (such as 'Snail In Detroit) and the more crazy sounds here and there, but for a home playing, with or without a computer game, it's quite entertaining. (FdW)
Address: http://www.creakedrecords.com

TORSTEIN WJIIK - TOADS (CDR by Dim Records)
Dim Records is a new label from The Netherlands, run by Stefan de Turck, also known as Staplefahrer. The second release is by one norwegian Torstein Wjiik and 'Toads' is released in an edition of thirty-three copies. The overall quality leaves room for improvement, both cover and music. Wjiik uses various instruments, such as guitar, vocals, harmonica, bongos but every ends up on the computer for some final treatment. It's clear that Wjiik loves the noise card. Whatever he does, things always seem to end in a bit of noise, with feedback humming around. Usually a piece starts with controlled banging on a guitar for a while, but then over the course of a piece things go louder and louder, with the oddly named 'Bee Queen' as an exception. The title track is a pure field recording piece. I must say I am not entirely convinced by Wjiik music. Sometimes it is just too randomly improvised, and playing around for the noise card, but never reaches the real harshness of say Merzbow. Style-wise Wjiik may fit better in the New Zealand scene, but also there he wouldn't be crowned king. As a start it's quite alright, nevertheless. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dimrecords.tk

CHRONO.FIXION - 2006 (CDR, self released)
The advise for the '2006' release by Chrono.fixion is to listen to this in 'the dark using headphones', but sadly such is not always possible here in the Vital headquarters. Matthieu Ducheine, for it is him who creates as Chrono.fixion started playing music in 2000, and has so far released five CDRs on his own label, with a considerable gap between this and the previous one, due to hard disc crashing. It seems to me that his main interest lies in creating darker textured music, based on slowed down hip hop rhythms, loaded with samples of speeches and babies crying, a dubby bass, psychedelic guitars and a warm bed of ambient synthesizers. (DJ) Spooky music of a more freighting kind. Despite this darker side, I must I thought this was pleasant music to hear (even without headphones and in the broad daylight) and it is excellently produced with great care for detail. All sorts of rhythm-based music genres are passing by here, but Chrono.fixion mixes them into something that is surely his own thing. Trip hop meets dark industrial (Cold Meat Industry) meets drone meets ambient. Very nice. Someone should be promoting this in a bigger way. (FdW)
Address: http://www.chronofixion.free.fr

KAZUYA ISHIGAMI/DARUIN - PAST MEDLEY VOLS 1-5 (CDR by Neus-318)
A collection of 5 CDRs of tracks from previous works by Kazuya Ishigami (A.K.A. DARUIN). Kazuya Ishigami has studied electronic music at The Osaka University of Arts under the tutorage of Satoshi Shimura and Kazuo Uehara. On his label (NEUS-318) he releases his own work together with other material of graduates from the Osaka Music Engineering Degree course. Briefly within the space of a limited review we have fairly conventional disks containing tracks of electronic and processed field recordings and though I don't think they break new ground they are delicate constructions carefully and intelligently worked. They are not emotional outbursts of an uncontrolled and perhaps naïve psyche but a rhythmically biased abstract synthesis of sound and texture. They make for refined listening for anyone used to the more visceral noise works from Japan - who might find them overtly academic works. Perhaps we have at Osaka a contemporary Bauhaus for sound art, and anyone who appreciates the abstractions which the Bauhaus produced should relate well to this work. One of the problems with many in the west who work with sound art (for want of a better title) is the lack of provision for its study. If Past Medley represents the consequences of the serious academic study within a department focused on that, and not some fringe activity bolted onto a fine art course, then Ishigami together with The Osaka University of Arts should be praised and used as a model for curriculum designers if not in the west in general then certainly in the UK. (Jliat)
Address http://www.neus318.com

CHEFKIRK - GIANT SQUID (CDR by 804noise)
Release number so many from Roger H. Smith, also known as Chefkirk and since a short while also as one half of Insects With Tits. This new one is the first one in which I detect a thematic approach. It says on the cover: 'stop killing, change your diet go VEGAN', so perhaps not just in sound but also in love of animals Chefkirk follows the example of Merzbow. Musicwise Chefkirk continues the small steps taken from noise and rhythm towards a more complete sound, in which there is also room for more silent/ambient sounds. The pieces here are a bit longer and it seems that Chefkirk starts to think about structure of his pieces and thus is tracks are better worked out - even when the info let us think we are dealing here with a live generated work (or perhaps Chefkirk is just better live?). Nice one, but in his vast body of work not the outstanding brilliant one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.804noise.org

KOTRA/VIOLET - SACHERTORTE (CDR by Nexsound)
This new live report contains one by Kotra and two live jam sessions of Kotra and Violet, recorded in Vienna (hence the title, the cake produced by the famous Hotel Sacher in Vienna). Kotra is one of the better known acts from the Ukraine and Violet is of course Jeff Surak, who has been producing experimental music since about twenty years (as 1348 and part of New Carrolton). Kotra's solo piece is one of controlled noise. Oscillators humming loudly in a highly minimal way, making all sorts of curves. A bit too noisy for my taste. The same goes for the first piece by Kotra and Violet. Here too the noise is the main feature, which sadly lacks the tension. Tension is made audible in the third piece, which is much quieter and whatever sort of computer processing they use, there is a good balance between softer moments and the louder parts. Altogether it's ok, but not that brilliant. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nexsound.org

MUFFIN SEEKS SUNSHIP - CRASHING CIRCLES IN THE MIDNIGHT HORN (CDR by CLaudia)
METAL ROUGE (3"CDR by CLaudia)
TIM COSTER - ROWBOAT/BLACKBERRY (3"CDR by CLaudia)
The New Zealand based label CLaudia always surprises me with their releases. They always seem to bring new talent from their country and surprise the listener with their music. Muffin Seeks Sunship is a four piece band with Eve Gordon, Sam Hamilton, Mark Sadgrove and Andrew Scott - some of them we encountered on previous releases. This quartet went into 'concrete echoey spaces in the environment' armed with bowed strings and some percussion. It could as well be a cave for all I know. The environment in which they make their all acoustic recordings is pretty important and adds a natural reverb to the music. The six pieces are recorded on two different occasions, with five of them on one night in late 2005. The music is built largely from careful stroking whatever strings available and letting the acoustics do their bit. The music is not very outspoken, more held-back and controlled, like a private gathering of people not wanting to disturb anybody. Not anybody? Play the last piece and find out.
Behind Metal Rouge are one Helga Fassonaki on persian santur and Andrew Scott on guitar - both names are new to me. In the beginning of 2005 they started rehearsing in Auckland, but they have moved their activities to Los Angeles these days. It starts out, just like Muffin Seeks Sunship, very quietly and peaceful in the first two tracks, but later on this turns out to be just one side of the coin, because in the third track things explode and got really noisy. Very much the work of improvisation and 'outsider' creators, where I must say I like the more introspective moments better.
The final new release is by Tim Coster, the man behind the CLaudia label, but also a solo artist as well as a member of Plains. 'Rowboat/Blackberry' was already released as a lathe cut 7" on CMR last year, but luckily it's re-issued on a 3"CDR. How much I love lathe cut records, they aren't always easy to play. Perhaps I am all wrong but I wouldn't be too surprised to learn that the source material for 'Rowboat' was indeed recorded at such a vehicle. The water splattering against the sides recorded through the use of crackling contact microphones, set to a backdrop of humming tones. 'Blackberry' may then again not use blackberries, but how would I know? Here too humming tones, sine wave like, but also something that could reflect a melody played on a guitar. Careful tunes, both of them, and very microsound, but pretty strong stuff. And for audio freaks: good to see them in the digital domain. (FdW)
Address: http://www.halftheory.com/claudia/

MACHINEFABRIEK - ALLENGSKENS (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
In the endless but successful guerilla tactics of Machinefabriek, comes 3" CDR number so many, a live recording made in Amsterdam on September 8th 2006. Rutger Zuydervelt took with him that night his electric guitar, e-bow, a file, an iron rod, a loop pedal, loads of effects and a mixing desk. Taking in account his last three releases, it may seem now that he settles for drone related ambient music. 'Allengskens' (which is Flemish for 'soon') is one piece of drone music, highly psychedelic with endless sustaining sounds, opening further and further those sustains, until it dies out
The music here is less refined that on 'Zucht' or 'Slaap' (see Vital Weekly 535), but we have to take in account that this is a live recording. A great live recording, far away from his older live recordings, in which he showed a firm interest in noise music. Machinefabriek is the fastest rising star on the firmament of Dutch experimental music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.tk

F.S. BLUMM - DRAWINGS (book by Ahornfelder)
Germany's Ahornfelder label doesn't just want to release audio releases, but also books and 'Drawings' by F.S. Blumm is the first one I encounter. It has the size of a 7" but contains no music. F.S. Blumm, a.k.a Frank Schültge, has had numerous releases, alone or with Harald 'Sack' Ziegler. I didn't know he was also making drawings, and I must admit I am hardly a commentator on visual art. The drawings are a minimal, pencil made, on simple pieces of paper. Some of them use a bit of paint. It's perhaps a bit of pity that this is a book, since some of them would be nice to stick in a frame and hang on your wall. Blumm's drawings fit his music very well - or vice versa. Perhaps a bit for diehard fans only. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ahornfelder.de

 

 

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