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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 572
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week 16
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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

* noted are in this week's podcast

 

 

NICOLAS BERNIER & JACQUES POULIN-DENIS - ETUDE NO. 3 POUR CORDES ET POULIES (CD by Ekumen) *
FRANS DE WAARD - VIJF PROFIELEN (CD by Alluvial) *
KAPOTTE MUZIEK VS. GOEM - KGM (CD by Hushush) *
BACK TED N TED - POP ANIMAL (CD by Abandon Building Records) *
FELIX WERDER - THE TEMPEST (CD by Pogus Productions) *
TETUZI AKIYAMA & JOZEF VAN WISSEM - HYMN FOR A FALLEN ANGEL (CD by Incunabulum) *
MAURIZIO BIANCHI - DAS PLATINZEITALTER (CD by Incunabulum)
MERZBOW VS NORDVARGR - PARTIKEL II (CD by Cold Spring)
DJ HIDDEN - THE LATER AFTER (CD by Ad Noiseam)
JVOX - QED (CD by Ad Noiseam)
DRAHOMIRA SONG ORCHESTRA - THE RETURN OF THE 120 MAGICIANS (CD by Waystyx)
TEMPLEGARDEN'S - VELVET STEEL (CD by Waystyx)
DIAELECTRIC FIELD RECORDINGS ALL-STARS - RE:RECORD (CD by Dielectric Records) *
A PRIVATE SHADE OF GREEN (CDR compilation by Gruenrekorder/Privatelektro)
JAZZKAMMER & HOWARD STELZER - TOMORROW NO ONE WILL BE SAFE (CD by Pac Rec) *
LASSE MARHAUG - THE GREAT SILENCE (CD by Pac Rec)
16 BITCH PILE-UP - BURY ME DEEP (CD by Troniks)
17 PYGMIES - 13 BLACKBIRDS (2CD by Trakwerx)
DEL REY AND THE SUN KINGS - BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (CD by Trakwerx)
JACOB TV - RAINBOW/SHINING CITY/SUITES OF LUX (3x2CD and 2 DVD by Basta)
SAP(E) (CD by Rude Awakening)
ANDREW LILES - BLACK WIDOW (CD by Beta Lactam-ring)
0 OK, 0:1 - TAFELMUZIEK (CD by PARK4DTV)
OOKOI - 1024 (DVD by WIM/Workgroup Interactive Media)
GREGORY BÜTTNER - 23 ZOOMS (DVD-R/CDR by 1000Füssler) *
GRAHAM LAMBKIN & TIMOTHY SHORTELL - MOTION PAINTING (DVD-R by Überkatze Studio)
LEM - NOTRE HEROS/TREMBLEMENT DE TERRE (7" by Ole Records)
EXQUISITE RUSSIAN BRIDES/ELEKTRONAVN (split 7" by Bsbta)
MIDWICH/PWDRE SER - THE BLACKLIGHTHOUSE (CDR, private) *
N.STRAHL.N - MASCHINENREPUBLIK (CDR by Apocalyptic Radio) *
RED NEEDLED SEA - TIME.RECALL.NOW (CDR by Sqrt Label) *
BLUE SABBATH BLACK GIJI - NODE #1: WORMLAND (3"CDR by Sqrt Label)
TÜSÜRI - BI SAIAKERA (MP3 by Zeromoon) *

 

 

NICOLAS BERNIER & JACQUES POULIN-DENIS - ETUDE NO. 3 POUR CORDES ET POULIES (CD by Ekumen)
Back in Vital Weekly 559 I introduced the Ekumen label, through a bunch of highly limited CDr releases. Much surprised I am now by seeing their first real CD release, by Nicolas Bernier and jacques Poulin-Denis, who also made their mark on a compilation MP3 by the label. 'Etude No.3 Pour Cordes Et Poulies' was created for a choreography by Ginette Laurin. Although there is no such indication, I think the two are laptop boys, despite the fact that we hear acoustic instruments such as a cello. Maybe of them plays it, but in all the digital processing that goes on it's hard to believe that it's just one laptop. So me thinks its sound file playback from a computer. Not that it really matters I think, since the music is very vibrant and lively. Things are in constant flux and movement in a live improvised acousmatic manner. The processing as such sound very much like that of the composers on Empreintes Digitales but at the same time there is also a lot of improvised stuff going on. Occasionally they reach for the beat such as in 'Cor', in which everything falls into rhythmic groove of minimalist electronica. Throughout this is a very vibrant CD, with lots of ideas thrown about, but that makes perfect listening sense. We could now wonder what they dance looked like. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ekumen.com

FRANS DE WAARD - VIJF PROFIELEN (CD by Alluvial)
KAPOTTE MUZIEK VS. GOEM - KGM (CD by Hushush)
Frans de Waard is a busy man, not only publishing Vital Weekly, but above all engaged in a lot of projects such as Beequeen, Freiband, Shifts, Goem and Kapotte Muziek. Occasionally he also releases material under his own name and this signals that the work is based on field recordings. In the case of 'Vijf Profielen', the basic sounds were recorded at the 'Zware Plaatwerkerij' in Vlissingen/The Netherlands. This is a building where so called 'profiles' - elements used in shipbuilding - were made, but which is not used as such anymore, as the area where it is located, is currently undergoing substantial change. 'Vijf Profielen' was originally conceived as a part of an exhibition called 'Mijn Domein' in Vlissingen, for which artists were asked to reflect that transition.
Although there is just one long track on the CD, it is clearly divided into five distinct parts. This makes sense, since it emphasizes the unity of the whole, while making the individual parts actually function as profiles, similar to a series of different shots of the same location in a film. The music is neither cinematic in the sense of conjuring up images, though, nor is it a documentation on the site of the recording, but it rather captures the qualities of the original recordings of the rumble and clatter of large machinery in a suggestive way, transforming the original sounds into carefully abstracted drones.
The work demonstrates a fine sense for the aesthetic possibilities of sounds found at a given location. It opens with unprocessed recordings of mechanic sounds, which show that the source material is highly interesting by itself. As the piece progresses it gets more and abstract, moving through minimalist fields of opaque sound, that are mostly subdued, but gain a powerful presence at times. In the final 'profile' the sound recedes almost totally and a fine, dark drone, just above the threshold of audibility closes the CD. Considering the contrast to the opening passage, the transformation of the material throughout the piece and the origin of the basic sounds, this is a great ending - a definite last point on the one hand, but on the other hand also like an emptiness, that reverberates in your memory while the location where the sounds originated doesn't exist anymore.
When I first read "Kapotte Muziek versus Goem" I was perplexed - not so much about the use of the word "versus" despite the fact that there are the same people (Frans de Waard, Roel Meelkop and Peter Duimelinks) behind both projects, but because I couldn't really imagine how the sound of both projects would work together, neither in unison nor in confrontational mode. While Kapotte Muziek keep away from electronics altogether these days, concentrating solely on the manipulation of amplified objects to create richly textured improvisations, Goem's sound aesthetic is one of total reduction, focused on electronic pulses and minimal, yet highly effective variations. Apparently it indeed turned out to be quite a difficult task to compose this 20+-minute track, and several attempts were necessary to complete it. The piece is based on a concert Kapotte Muziek played in Stralsund/Germany in 2004, which was "edited and versed against Goem by Roel Meelkop" as it says on the cover. Instead of being just layered, the aesthetics of both projects are actually interlaced here, with the accent shifting back and forth between rhythmic loops and organic structures. Overall there is a certain grittiness to the music that of course hints towards Kapotte Muziek's use of objects and adds a great noisy character to the rhythmic elements. The composition leaves enough room for the crackling textures to unfold their fragile and detailed beauty, yet it also reaches intensely upfront rhythmic peaks. For several reasons Kapotte Muziek versus Goem might be an unlikely collaboration, but the result proves to be fully coherent - a captivating piece of music, with exactly the right length, precise and rich in details. (MSS)
Addresses: http://www.alluvialrecordings.com and http://www.hushush.com

BACK TED N TED - POP ANIMAL (CD by Abandon Building Records)
When I returned home yesterday from one of the other part-time engagements I have, I had various things to do: open the mail, check e-mail, well that sort of things. I stuck in a CD that I didn't particularly glance at, but after a while my attention got drawn to the music. What did I stick on? (I know it's no good to treat music like this, but when it comes to actual reviewing I do listen more closely!). It's an odd named Back Ted N Ted, otherwise known as Ryan Been from Phoenix, with his official debut release 'Pop Animal'. Is what Back Ted N Ted do something really spectacular and crazy, innovative and strange? Well, not really. Upon close inspection, the CD starts out with broken beat techno and melancholic piano doodling, the latter being featured throughout the CD. Somewhere half way through there is however also a guitar to be noticed, and the drum machine is set to 'rock' or 'dub' instead of 'dance'. That adds a nice pop sensibility to the music in a totally varied work, that is just very pleasant music to hear while working. Upon closer inspection not all the ideas may be brand new, but it's altogether a highly entertaining home listening/dance inspired work. Very nice sunshine music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.abandonbuilding.com

FELIX WERDER - THE TEMPEST (CD by Pogus Productions)
Sometimes, just sometimes I have the impression that Al Margolis, the man behind Pogus Productions, just invents all these composers he is releasing on his label. But then just sometimes I think there is just so much more music made than we can ever possibly think of. Felix Werder (Berlin, 1922) moved by accident to Australia during the second world war, and composed many works for regular instrumentation. A small portion of his work is devoted to electronic music, until he sold his 'VCS3' synth. Later on he composed a computer work, together with Warren Burt, who now also curated this release. It contains the forementioned computer work and three pieces from the late 60s and early 70s of his electronic work. Although I should add 'electronic plus...' as two of them are in combination with real instruments. 'Banker' adds guitar, piano and percussion and is, as opening piece, the weakest on the CD. The electronic part is not very engaging and Werder's love for jazz is heard in the instruments. The other piece for instruments is 'Oscussion' for two synthesizers and percussion, and this is far more engaging than 'Banker'. To the point and concise. The computer piece is already from 1992 and deals mainly with midi playing as many notes as possible. It's not something I can digest very well, and it mainly has to do with the tone of sound rather than the composition itself. Maybe this is all bit too much 1992 midi music for me and it may have sounded great back then, but not these days anymore. Leaving 'The Tempest', the most pure electronic piece, and indeed price winner here. Pure electronic sounds bouncing to eachother, raw and intense. This is the master piece of this otherwise of lesser interesting lot. Still not matching up with the well-known counterparts but quite alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pogus.com

TETUZI AKIYAMA & JOZEF VAN WISSEM - HYMN FOR A FALLEN ANGEL (CD by Incunabulum)
MAURIZIO BIANCHI - DAS PLATINZEITALTER (CD by Incunabulum)
There was a time when I saw Jozef van Wissem about every week, when he was selling on behalf of the Knitting Factory CDs to my little shop. Not that we bought many, or sold many, but I learned to know Jozef is as a nice chap who played this rather odd instrument, at least in the world of experimental and improvised music: the lute. He also sold me a copy or two of his lute playing where he played the score backwards and perhaps a work he did with Gary Lucas. The Knitting Factory in Amsterdam is probably long gone, as is my little shop in the same city, but Van Wissem still plays the lute, and he does so solo, but also improvising with Lucas and on this new CD with Tetuzi Akiyama, who is a true master of improvised music on the acoustic guitar (as well as a nice chap too). Sad enough I missed their concert in my home town a little while ago, but 'Hymn For A Fallen Angel' makes this up, a little bit. Van Wissem plays his baroque lute by strumming it, playing notes and a bottle neck and Akiyama plus his Martin HD-28 Guitar with a bottle neck. I am not an expert of anything let alone the sound of a Lute or Rennaissance or Mediaeval music but it seems to me that here Van Wissem plays very much along the style developed by Akiyama: silent blues. A note here and there, some strumming, much silence. In his recent duet with Greg Malcolm, Akiyama more or less matched up with Malcolm and it seemed more a 50-50 sort of collaboration, but here Akiyama's style prevails. Which is of course not a problem, since the tone of the lute matches up nicely with that of the acoustic guitar and both a strong interplay of sounds. Quiet music, thoughtful and emotional. Excellent stuff.
Perhaps even more strange is a CD that is released by Van Wissem by Maurizio Bianchi - that seemed to me world's apart. But Bianchi knew Van Wissem and the latter mailed Bianchi a bunch of recordings for lute and electronics. Bianchi was free to play around with these. That resulted into 'Das Platinzeitalter', a long work of dense, shimmering and layered tones. I must admit I have no clue what Maurizio Bianchi does here. Feeding the lute and electronica of Van Wissem through his synthesizers? Or perhaps just a lot of sound effects? I don't know, and I can't tell. What I do know is this: it's a great work. It doesn't have that loudness of previous (read: early 80s M.B.) work, but also it's safely far away from his new age doodling of his comeback period. Somewhere in between industrial and ambient is where we see 'Das Platinzeitalter'. Dark atmospheric are the keywords and as such nothing much new goes on, but the lack of innovation aside, this a high quality Maurizio Bianchi work. One of the best I heard from his vast output of recent. (FdW)
Address: <secularcd@aol.com>

MERZBOW VS NORDVARGR - PARTIKEL II (CD by Cold Spring)
If ever a music genre called "Noise Chill-Out" will emerge, this new album from the Merzbow/Nordvargr-joint venture will be a milestone of that style. When two noise giants collaborate it would be fair to expect an aural explosion of extreme noise, but this is not the case with this second collaboration between Japanese noise maestro Masami Akita (Merzbow) and Swedish Henrik Nordvargr Bjork (MZ 412). The album titled "Partikel II" is a quite unusual beast with its mixture of wriggling noises, distorted drones and a frequent use of club-like rhythm textures. In the first opening minutes the listener is confronted with harsh expressions of noise - no rhythms or else to calm the powers of aural machismo, but slowly after, the first passages of subtle rhythms interfere and the opening storm of sonic aggression fades away, letting more discreet, never the less effective noise drones wriggle and drill into the body of the listener. Two tracks, "Reakt 1" and "Reakt 2", exceed the 20 minutes run-time, giving plenty of space to create long trance inducing moments of noise meets catchy rhythms. In between these two noise giants comes the excellent work "Luxon", a work which is more directed towards territories of isolationist ambient with its almost complete exclusion of rhythm textures and with more weight put on buzzing chill-out drones. After the 28 minutes long work "Reakt 2", we begin to approach the end of the album. But do not expect a peaceful conclusion! The sinister work titled "Brockengeist elektron" opens the gates to its horror with processed samples of a VERY frightened girl screaming in panic. And thus the foundations have been laid for nine minutes in hell! Combinations of haunting ambient drones, bizarre field recordings and unpleasant voice samples makes one thing for sure: That the listener will leave "Partikel II" amazed, disturbed and very impressed. A masterwork! (NM)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk

DJ HIDDEN - THE LATER AFTER (CD by Ad Noiseam)
JVOX - QED (CD by Ad Noiseam)
Two new albums from German label Ad Noiseam. First album is an energy bomb ready to explode as soon as you hit the <PLAY>-button of your player. "The later after" is the first full-length album from Dutch breakcore-specialist Noel Wessels and his highly respected project DJ Hidden. Having been very active since year 2000, DJ Hidden has a huge list of 12" releases plus a number of remixes of works from other breakcore-specialists in his impressive discography. Thus it is quite clear that Noel Wessels has a lot to express and this very intense work certainly reveals that fact. The composer knows how to create powerful and extremely catchy breakbeat-textures. Listen to the track "As she laughed" where big beat-like rhythms accelerates into breathtaking speeds, while a weird electronic and claustrophobic loop swirls in the background, simply an amazing track that is worth the price of the CD itself. Other tracks are so well packed with atmospheres that you cannot help but falling completely into the sonic stream. That the composer knows how to create sinister atmospheres comes clear with the title track "The later after" that opens with soothing ambient of ghoulish drones and musical box sounds giving associations of horror B-movies of the early 80's. Slowly the track builds up to a catharsis of aggressive breakbeats and nerve-wrecking noise drones cutting the listener in two halves. With his starting point in breakbeat-textures, DJ Hidden comes around a lot of expressions ranging from chilling ambient to atmospheric downbeat. Everyone interested in breakcore must check this out! American composer JVOX has another approach to rhythm textures. He is more oriented to the IDM-scene with slower beat structures. First two tracks are downbeat with much weight put on acoustic instruments, opening track, "QED" being guitar-based and following track, "Sbronx", being based on piano with some cool hip hop-elements in the rhythm patterns. As third track arise things gets more complex with a cool mixture of jazz piano and cool Jazz-like rhythms sucked into the electronic sound world. With much emphasis on the jazzy style, JVOX specialize in a comprehensive use of acoustic instruments. Keeping a nice balance between catchy structures and more demanding expressions, "QED" is an album that works very well from the first listen, but it gets better and better the more you let yourself into it! (NM)
Address: http://www.adnoiseam.net

DRAHOMIRA SONG ORCHESTRA - THE RETURN OF THE 120 MAGICIANS (CD by Waystyx)
TEMPLEGARDEN'S - VELVET STEEL (CD by Waystyx)
Drahomira Song Orchestra - the title of this project says it all. This is a very strange and quite interesting band. Consisting of two members, Julien Pacaud and Jean-Christophe Sanchez, "Drahomira Song Orchestra" musically puts much weight in noise-spheres and distorted drones on this fourth release titled "The return of the 120 magicians". But it is far from being pure noise music. The album contains elements of classical chamber music with samples of piano and organs and moments of Industrial. Field recordings and French spoken voice samples as well as masses of acoustic music samples from piano to organs are some of the ingredients added into this thick soup of noise experimentalism. The French duo manage to create some very intense moments of icy noise hypnotism not far away from Canadian Vromb, especially on a track like "Dans de mort". As a sharp contrast to this icy track the track titled "To make a train (disappear)" is a warm and chilling track - a minimalist work consisting of looped piano and acoustic guitars riffs as well as gentle ambientscapes washing over. If you are ready for something different and momentarily abrasive stuff, this is an interesting album to check out. An extra plus is the beautiful artwork of the Cd-cover. The same can be said about the next release: A beautiful cardboard-cover has been wrapped around the 3"-cd "Velvet steel" by Templegarden's. If the two raw materials "velvet" and "steel" had been converted into sound expressions, it would probably have sounded like this. Taking its starting point in the world of ambient, German project, Templegarden's (consisting of members from, among others, Synapscape and Morgenstern) dives into the deep oceans of sound with this three track 3"-album. Hence the title of the album, the velvet-part of the album is represented by gentle soundscapes of echoed drones creating a nice atmosphere in the sub-levels of the album, meanwhile the "steel"-part swirls in the forefront of the music with harsh noises and field recordings of clanging steel. Opening gently with the beautiful and atmospheric track "Into the heart ov the moon" reminiscent of a mixture between Steve Roach and KLF (from the "Chill-out"-period), the album gradually floats into territories of harsher and cynic expressions dominated by buzzing noise drones and concrete sounds of steel and metal objects peaking in the closing track "Daedelus verge". Interesting album! (NM)
Address: http://www.waystyx.com

DIAELECTRIC FIELD RECORDINGS ALL-STARS - RE:RECORD (CD by Dielectric Records)
A PRIVATE SHADE OF GREEN (CDR compilation by Gruenrekorder/Privatelektro)
No less than ten artists are behind The Dielectric Field Recordings All-Stars, and all of them like to run around with microphones and recording machines. Some of these people we came across in previous issues of Vital Weekly such as Jen Boyd, Aaron Ximm, Maggi Payne, Leticia Castaneda and Cria Cuervos and the rest seems new to me (Drew Webster, Mark Griswold, Will Mitchell, Toby Paddock, Rudy Trubitt). Behind the All-Stars guise they all delivered sounds to eachother (in any combination) of whatever field recording nature (but to be noted is a quite an amount of spoken word, out on the street, air traffic control, TV shows), which are collated together, in some cases with original pieces by some of the involved composers. 'This album was conceived, compiled and composed by Die Elektrischen', whoever they are. Nineteen short tracks in total are found here and I must say that the result was enjoyable but not great. In many of the instances the sounds chosen were nice, but they seemed to me highly unrelated. A rather too easy cut 'n paste of sounds on top of eachother. Sometimes with a nice result, but at other times one could all too easily think: 'so what'? Maybe if the piece would have been a longer, with development for the sounds themselves it would have been a much greater work. My favorite now is 'Rainmaking', one of the few 'tracks by others', Aaron Ximm, total fixation for rain sounds and an airplane flying over low.
On a similar course is the compilation by Gruenrekorder which they released with Privatelektro (well, or vice versa of course). Here too we find relative short pieces, but the usual Gruenrekorder posse, but the total is much more balanced. I am not sure if which way it had to be a split release, but perhaps Privatelektro brought in some of the names I never heard of, and perhaps (guessing again) they count for some of the more electronic pieces on this compilation. We find some very nice, pure field recording pieces, such as by Yannick Dauby and Adriano Zanni, and some minimalist drone related works by people by Reverend Benn Schipper. This mixture of interests could be a total miss, but here on 'A Private Shade Of Green' it works quite well. Also included are Igor Hax, Daniel Knef, Costa Grün, Nicolas Weisser, Triphaze, Roland Etzin, c:\, Lasse-Marc Riek and others. Quite a nice compilation. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dielectricrecords.com
Address: http://www.gruenrekorder.de http://www.privatelektro.de

JAZZKAMMER & HOWARD STELZER - TOMORROW NO ONE WILL BE SAFE (CD by Pac Rec)
LASSE MARHAUG - THE GREAT SILENCE (CD by Pac Rec)
16 BITCH PILE-UP - BURY ME DEEP (CD by Troniks)
Since hiring Jliat to do the dirty work in the field of noise, I can safely play around with the noise of people I have been following for the last couple of years. Lasse Marhaug and his mate John Hegre are such persons, now incarnated as Jazkamer, but these recordings are from the time they were called Jazzkammer. In May and June 2004 they toured the USA together with another old close relative Howard Stelzer. The three pieces on this CD were originally to be released as a triple 3"CD set, but now ended up on one CD on a different label. All three pieces deal with recordings from this tour. The first is a live recording by Jazzkammer, then a solo live recording of Stelzer and then a collaborative piece of all three. Jazzkammer's piece starts out in a soft (!) improvised way, a duet for two detuned guitars perhaps, but over the course of the next fifteen minutes things erupt in quite a big manner to end in a rather tape-like ending. Stelzer is our man on ancient technology. These days also incorporating an analogue synth, but usually armed with a mixing board and a battery of walkman machines and cassettes. He plays them by button pushing - play, fast forward, reverse - and amplifying them in unusual manners, say through a small plate of steel. His solo stuff ranges from quite subtle to quite loud, usually within one set, but on this particular occasion he is quite loud, perhaps under the influence of Jazzkammer? He plays quite a raw and rough shaped version of improvised music, that lingers in between noise and improvisation, and is as always a strong voice of his own. In their trio piece things start out in a true improvisation scheme, loose sounds flying about, but sooner than on the Jazzkammer piece things work towards an eruption, wall of feedback noise, but Stelzer keeps throwing in those loose end sounds and the Norwegian boys take control again. In the end it captures that Stelzer like roughness with a Jazzkammer take on the noise side.
The silence of Marcel Duchamp is over-rated, as Beuys once said, and John Cage found out there is no silence. So if there is no silence, why not go complete opposite? That's what Lasse Marhaug may have had in mind when he recorded 'The Great Silence' one september day in 2003. Armed with guitar, amps, pedals, microphones, noise electronix, etc (that presumably is not the laptop that he was armed with for some time after that, before going guitar again), he does 'a Merzbow' here. Record a full album in one day of ear-splitting noise. Three long tracks that work like monochrome paintings - in black that is. Mean, dirty and loud and Marhaug is like the son of Masami. Crafting a fine album, which leaves no room for any surprises, which are these days hard to find in the world of noise, but 'The Great Silence' is a sturdy, hefty mark on the scene.
Not related to Jazzkammer or Stelzer but on a side division of Pac Rec comes 16 Bitch Pile-Up, which I remember from Vital Weekly 474, when I reviewed their CDR split release with Cheapmachines. Back then I thought it was pretty much similar to Merzbow, but things have changed considerably. Apparently they are now a three piece group, and gone are the days of Merzbow imitation. The cover of this release is pretty heavy, looking like a b-movie film poster, but the music is quite nice. 'Bury Me Deep' is their first full length release and it's not noise at all. Low resolution sampling of the most obscured sources, field recordings and stuff nobody has no idea about. Low end rumbling, but with a nice cinematographic side to it. Suspense music for your horror movies. Radio/spoken word cut up, a squeaking door, cars passing, it all happens in a rather free manner, compositions don't always have (or need) structure, but in these free flowing pieces everything seems to be moving back and forth and there is never a dull moment. So what did I say about noise, and no change? Maybe things are possible, 16 Bitch Pile-Up may have the answer. Great CD! (FdW)
Address: http://www.iheartnoise.com

17 PYGMIES - 13 BLACKBIRDS (2CD by Trakwerx)
It has been something of a long wait (17-odd years!), but 80's cult legends 17 Pygmies are back! Originally formed in 1984 from the ashes of Savage Republic, the output by the Pygmies has always been slightly sporadic to say the least. Since 1984 they produced a grand total of 6 albums. These days, the Pygmies center around original member Jackson Del Rey, Jeff Brenneman and Louise Bialik. This generous double disc contains folk-implosion, quasi cinematic-electronic, almost Nouvelle Vague-styled popsong with hushed-vocal delivery by Bialik. A host of guests add appropriate touches of cello and violin. This album is a gentle after-party listen, but after a while it unfortunately has too little variation. Nevertheless, the Pygmies should be able to benefit from the recent interest in alt-folk music. The bonus disc contains 13 versions of the song Lotus. However, this is not as bad as it sounds. The various interpretations by band members and assorted guests like Tupac Shakur mixer Lea Reis and Jo Gabriel are interesting enough to warrant repeated listening. In all, a fine welcome back for the Pygmies. (FK)
Address: http://www.trakwerx.com

DEL REY AND THE SUN KINGS - BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (CD by Trakwerx)
When the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers (in 1905 fact fans) they did not realize their actions would eventually lead to the Russian Revolution of 1917. Their suffering and rebellion were cinematically captured in the famous 1925 silent movie made by Sergei Eisenstein. Little did Eisenstein know that a number of soundtracks would be composed to his movie. The best known version is probably the one made by The Pet Shop Boys in 2005. And now we have a brand-new score by 17 Pygmies front man Jackson Del Rey. Ranging from the bombastic opening and drama of Drama In The Harbour (with sonar sounds) to the more restrained A Happy Day In The City this fully instrumental score is a joy to listen to. Mixing classical themes and instruments with more ambient and even industrial sounds this album, much like the events on the battleship, never has a dull moment. Watching the movie whilst playing this CD is quite an experience. Del Rey's score fits the movie perfectly. (FK)
Address: http://www.trakwerx.com

JACOB TV - RAINBOW/SHINING CITY/SUITES OF LUX (3x2CD and 2 DVD by Basta)
Jacob TV (the TV stands for Ter Veldhuis) is a name you probably won't recognize, but the Dutch "avant-pop" composer has been responsible for hundreds of scores and performances, which have been successful in both Europe and the United States. After his studies of classical and avantgarde music, TV was active in popmusic before returning to the more classical genre. These three generous sets, each one based on a theme, pay homage to his incredible body of work. A grand total of 7+ hours of music as well as close to 4 hours of DVD material has been compiled by Basta. The Rainbow set contains classical scores for orchestra (like the beautiful Tallahatchie Concerto) and Paradiso (a piece for orchestra and spoken word samples giving it a cinematical feel). The Shining set contains compositions with the boombox, a rhythm device used in combination with samples (such as a coughing baby in Jesus Is Coming!) and orchestra. Suites of Lux has chamber music for strings and piano. With such an overwhelming amount of music, touching on different genres, it is hard to tell at whom these sets are aimed. Too classical for pop lovers, too traditional for the avantgarde, they seem to create a world of their own, where, in Jacob's own words "the music is peppered with sugar". (FK)
Address: http://www.bastamusic.com

SAP(E) (CD by Rude Awakening)
Sometimes I can be amazed and look with wonder to all new musicians and labels that seem to be appearing almost on a daily basis. SAP(e) for instance, a group (since 2001) of three people from Montpellier: Guillaume Contre who plays laptop, Christophe Bevaux on prepared guitar and Aurelien Besnard on clarinet. I never heard of them as a band nor of the individual players, even when all three have an extensive career in music, inside jazz, rock, electronic and acoustic music. This is their second album and it was recorded at a place called 'Le Baloard' in their home town. Things start out in a true inaudible fashion. After a few minutes things begin to sound and from there SAP(e) takes real control. An improvisation trio that are serious in what they are doing and quite aware of what else goes on in this field of mine. The laptop of Contre plays an important role in playing the main background of the music. He builds sturdy foundations for the other two to play their more free playing. The guitar and clarinet are played in partly a free style in which the instrument is still to be recognized and sometimes the instrument as an object. As such SAP(e) has nothing new to offer, but throughout it was a CD that contained fine improvisations of three new and highly capable players. For those who love their improvisation music with modern means and modern executions SAP(e) is a welcome new addition. (FdW)
Address: http://www.rude-awakening.org

 

ANDREW LILES - BLACK WIDOW (CD by Beta Lactam-ring)
This is the fourth release in a total of 12 CDs in the Black Series by Liles, current member of Nurse With Wound and general magic man. Like the previous CDs in this series, Liles uses more and more vocals in his music, which complement his music wonderfully. On this disc famous actor/singer Ernesto Tomasini (who also appeared on Crowded Skies on the BBC television) adds narration and sings. There is even narration in Urdu (by Dr. Malik). Starting off with the thumbpiano of To Maim A Donkey we are sucked into the surrealist world of Liles, where things are never quite what they seem. Strange samples and dark sounds creep in and out and are laced with a unique sense of humur (as in A Hippo Took An Apricot). Before you know it, you're humming along to The cod-James Bond theme And God Doesn't Fuck About, before you realize it's just a little off-beat (and definitely off-set!). The best issue of the Black Series so far, this CD is highly recommended. (FK)
Address: http://www.blrrecords.com

0 OK, 0:1 - TAFELMUZIEK (CD by PARK4DTV)
OOKOI - 1024 (DVD by WIM/Workgroup Interactive Media)
HarS/Harold Schellinx' recent releases together with Rinus van Alebeek and Philippe Simon were reviewed in issue 567 of Vital Weekly. Now, 0, OK, 0:1, or OOKOI is HarS together with FPCM/Peter Mertens. Since the early 1980s they have collaborated on and off and have been involved in numerous bands and projects, such as Young Lions (with Rob Scholte, Tim Benjamin and Ronald Heiloo) and Signs & Symptoms (another duo project). While Mertens is a professional visual artist and a self taught musician, Schellinx has studied formal composition and computer-aided composition with G. M. Koenig at Utrecht Institute of Sonology as well as mathematics and its foundations with A. Troelstra at the University of Amsterdam.
Both the CD and the DVD are based on recordings of live performances, from which HarS and FPMC have chosen various bits and pieces. For the CD they have composed 11 tracks from this material, ranging from about 50 seconds to just over 8 minutes, while on the DVD there are no less than 1024 seven-second snippets to be played in random mode (there is also a minimal visual part, but the main focus is on the music, so I'll skip the images). 0 OK, 0:1 come up with the term "at once good pop music" to describe what they are doing, and although they neither have song structures nor rhythm or catchy melodies, this term is not all ironic. The music is indeed of an easy-going quality at times, with simple melodies played on cheap keyboards or quirky adaptations of popular tunes. However, the next moment it can already be somewhere else, a fierce shortwave drone or some improvisation. And not only the music is all over the place, but also the sounds themselves - acoustic and electronic, played by Schellinx and Mertens or found and sampled. There are plenty of fine ideas in this music, some of them nice, some of them odd in a highly sympathetic way. And despite all these disparate elements 0 OK, 0:1 manage to give their music an overall friendly character that is present even in the harsher moments.
Of course there have already been several releases, which deal with the possibilities of random playback, but still it makes sense to do this on a DVD now, simply because of the amount of data that can be stored on it. I didn't venture on calculating how many possible variations there are with 1024 snippets of sound, but it's is no doubt enough to create the impression of a continuous stream without beginning or end. It's a pity, however, that the individual 'tracks' don't really evolve into one stream here but often turn out to be too erratic and fragmented. Several times I found myself liking a passage pretty much and I was curious how it would go on, but of course seconds later it was gone already and something completely different was playing. As said, there are many ideas and interesting and weird sounds to be found on both releases, but the approach 0 OK, 0:1 use on the CD seems more appropriate to their sound aesthetic then the heavy fragmentation they apply to the material on the DVD. So, while the latter is a worthwhile experiment, albeit, after all, a somewhat curious item, the CD makes up for an adventurous and real pleasant release. (MSS)
Address: http://www.harsmedia.com

GREGORY BÜTTNER - 23 ZOOMS (DVD-R/CDR by 1000Füssler)
GRAHAM LAMBKIN & TIMOTHY SHORTELL - MOTION PAINTING (DVD-R by Überkatze Studio)
Perhaps you know the name Gregory Büttner from his work with Für Diesen Abend, or his label 1000Füssler or some of his solo work. Here he presents a visual work. Twenty-three visual works. Old photographs he bought on the fleamarket are zoomed in and out and Büttner adds some music to them. Each of the 'films' last between one and four minutes. The procedure is quite clear after you'd seen one (any one of the twenty three really). That is right away the biggest problem I have with this release. The musical part is quite nice and shows clearly his capacities of playing around with highly detailed, microscopic sounds in the usual microsound fashion, but the 'films' are a bit problematic. Seen one, seen all. People at home mainly. Zoom in. Zoom out. Without a story, narration, these photographs, or perhaps 'films' remain empty as they are. Nice pictures, but without much meaning. I'd rather play the CDR with nineteen short tracks and alternative mixes, close my eyes and dream up my own pictures.
Of more interest, at least the visual side of things, is the DVD-R by Graham Lambkin and Timothy Shortell. 'Motion Painting' seems to me also a conceptual work of moving paint on canvas (?) in front of the camera. The canvas is upright and the paint (and water perhaps) drips along in small but thick washes. A bit like Pollock doing drip paintings, but the paint here seems to be thicker. The music is entirely based on tape-loops of an obscured nature, although radio and organs (and guitar in the seventh piece) seems to come close. Over the course of pieces the sound grows intensity, just as more and more paint gets added. Although the music isn't rather ambient, the video is. Played without the music it is a hallucinating image of slow moving paint textures, but with music it's actually a bit more disturbing, simply because the music is a bit more crude recorded. Both visual and music are highly captivating here, even when the idea is quite clear after the first two films. One still wants to see the other ones, being variations on a theme. Simple made but as such quite it works very well. (FdW)
Address: http://www.1000fussler.com
Address: http://www.anti-naturals.org/swill

LEM - NOTRE HEROS/TREMBLEMENT DE TERRE (7" by Ole Records)
Perhaps I merely biased but here is a little support of my local underground, or more in particular the Ole Records label, who brought no/one/two hit wonders such as Harry Merry, Bertin, Zebra and in-house band The Hitmachine, the collection of collectables is followed by the first foreign signing. Lem is an one-man band from Brussels, having released a split 7", a CDR, a 12" before and operating on a bunch of analogue synthesizers. Besides that he's half of a similar project called Ming. As a considerable old man I can safely say I like retro music, music from the age of growing up, when I had just money to buy 7"s, by The Normal, Fad Gadget, Throbbing Gristle, things on Factory. And much of this release reminds me of that time, starting with the spot on lo-fi cover. The a-side is 'Tremblement de Terre' (shaking of the earth) and it's a slow song, that even more breaths out the retro synth sound. Not the 80s, but the late seventies with such rudimentary synth acts as The Future, early early Human League or Robert Rental come back to mind. 'Notre Heros' (our heroes) is a much more uptempo song with a sequenced beat and quirky electronics. Lem is, in keeping up with the good spirit of before, not the greatest singer but that too adds to the retro quality of this record. Much of what is sold as 'retro-elektro' these days is actually updated techno music, played on digital stuff. If you want something that is recent but sounds like the 'real' thing, than this is it. But hurry up, in another, final attempt to be the real thing, it's limited to 200 copies only. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ole-records.nl/

EXQUISITE RUSSIAN BRIDES/ELEKTRONAVN (split 7" by Bsbta)
Together Magnus Olsen Majmon and Marc Kellway form one half of Pink Luminous Invocation, a Danish free/drone/rock quartet, but both are also solo active. Magnus as Elektronavn and Marc as Exquisite Russian Brides. They share here a split 7". Exquisite Russian Brides is the culmination of cello, guitar, loops, bells and xylophone and his 'Golden Rain Over Fascist Europe' is a nicely layered drone affair. Recommended to play at both 45 and 33 RPM, this makes up some sort of raga like tune of various sound sources that stay close together. On the other side Elektronavn plays instruments I never heard of, such as Zurna and Bansuri flute as well as voices. Different sourcing but most curious, the outcome sounds the same. Again densely layered, with the flutes covering various layers and the voices humming and chanting, there is only minor differences to be spotted in here. It makes two similar different signs of the coin. But in terms of dark drone, semi/quasi raga music, they are both quite a nice statement. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bsbta.com

 

MIDWICH/PWDRE SER - THE BLACKLIGHTHOUSE (CDR, private)
There is a little bit confusion here: Up until some time ago I thought Midwich (sometimes stupidly misspelled as Midwhich by me) was the musical project of Robert Hayler, who used to run the Fencing Flatworm label and responsible for a whole bunch of CDR releases with drone like organ music. But here is a Midwich, same spelling, which is one Allan R Murphy and according to his myspace page 'an active force since fifteen years'. So maybe Murphy equals Hayler? Or did Hayler give away the name? The 'new' Midwich (the previous release was reviewed in Vital Weekly 422) teams up with one Pwdre Ser, a.k.a. Eric S Reitz and together they share a fascination for Hammer Horror films, British science fiction etc, and here they us the story of 'The Blacklighthouse', 'a building in an un-disclosed coastal resort on an un-disclosed continent'. Musicwise this is quite far away from the old (other?) Midwich, dwelling much more big beat rhythms and all sorts of sound processed samples and keyboards. I must admit it's not as spooky as I expected things to be, based on the press text. There is a lot of analogue sounding synthesizers (not unlike the similar use on Doctor Who) to be found here, which makes things spacey and spicey, quite a vibrant whole. Perhaps it's not really a wholly new thing that we are presented here, but throughout it's a most enjoyable release, occasionally a bit off the track, but in general a strong cosmic release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/midwich1954

N.STRAHL.N - MASCHINENREPUBLIK (CDR by Apocalyptic Radio)
Quite hot on the heels of the previous, self-released 3"CDR, N.Strahl.N, also known as Mario Lohr, returns with another, full length this time, CDR that deals with mechanical and machine like sounds. I am not sure wether he uses 'just' field recordings of machines and mechanical objects or wether he perhaps tries to imitate them with musical instruments. In either case he uses quite an amount of sound processing to his original input. Echo and reverb mainly. To use machines in music is not something new, one of my favorites is still Vivenza who delivered quite powerful stuff in this area, but that can't be said of N.Strahl.N here. The tracks are very long - the total length of this release is over seventy-four minutes - and there isn't substantial change or ideas per track to make this interesting throughout. Some of these pieces could have been easily cut down to four minutes. The long title piece is the most interesting piece, even when that is also perhaps way too long for what it is. That is a pity since N.Strahl.N can create some interesting music, but he should be a bit more critical in what he releases. (FdW)
Address: http://www.apocalyptic-radio.de

RED NEEDLED SEA - TIME.RECALL.NOW (CDR by Sqrt Label)
BLUE SABBATH BLACK GIJI - NODE #1: WORMLAND (3"CDR by Sqrt Label)
'Time.Recall.Now' is the third release by Red Needled Sea, a.k.a. Panos Alexiades, who played guitar on his first release (Vital Weekly 555) and shortwave on 'Signal Transmission' (Vital Weekly 564), and on this new one it's even more hard to guess what he does. I think he plays somesort of keyboard and sound effects. The five pieces are all relatively calm pieces of music that one can sufficient say is drone music. Not like the majority of drone recordings consisting of processed field recordings or computer manipulations, but played on what may be a cheap keyboard and some sound effects, which sound in the background. In 'I Say Goodbye' this all turns a bit more towards good ol' ambient music, but in the other pieces things are dark and atmospheric, with small portions devoted to playing the piano and sounding like creepy Budd/Eno work. It seems all rather simply made, but it's quite alright this stuff. Sometimes effective and good music can be simple. So far his best release.
I never heard of Blue Sabbath Black Fiji, which is a duo of Charles Lavenac on guitar and voice and Janin Benecke on guitar and bass guitar, who manage to play eight short tracks in twenty minutes of highly distorted improvised noise rock, less any drums of course. Rather free playing going here, feeding off through a bunch of distortion boxes most of the time, but in which the element of improvisation is kept alive. Given the fact that the tracks are rather short and to the point, with a sufficient amount of variation throughout these pieces, makes this into quite an enjoyable release, which I fear would not be better if it would be much longer. (FdW)
Address: http://sqrt-label.org

TÜSÜRI - BI SAIAKERA (MP3 by Zeromoon)
Oier Iruretagoiena is our man behind Tüsüri and he hails from 'the most industrial side of Gipuzkoa (Basque Country)', a location where I presume he makes his field recordings, which he, once at home, processes into music. The origins of the recordings can no longer be traced back to anything we could point out in nature, as everything is quite clouded beyond recognition. He does a fine job in these fifteen minutes, and surely fits the microsound posse, but on the other hand he doesn't do anything unusual or different than his peers. Since it's for free to download, I can recommend going to the Zeromoon site and check it out. It's quite nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zeromoon.com

 

 

Correction: some mistakes in the Moth Electret review of last week: the title of the release is 'Lil', the city mentioned should of course be Eureka and Sandøy