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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 579
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week 22
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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!
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* noted are in this week's podcast

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SIGNAL QUINTET - YAMAGUCHI (CD by Cut)
ELLEN FULLMAN & SEAN MEEHAN (CD by Cut) *
GORDON MONAHEN - THEREMIN IN THE RAIN (CD by C3R)
FORMICATION - ICONS FOR A NEW RELIGION (CD by Lumberton Trading Company) *
HATI - 100% RECYCLED SOUND INSTALLATION (CD by Eter) *
ALOG - AMATEUR (CD by Rune Grammofon) *
PHILIP BIMSTEIN - LARKIN GIFFORD,S HARMONICA (CD by Starkland)
KTL - 2 (CD by Editions Mego) *
FEAR FALLS BURNING & NADJA (CD by Conspiracy Records) *
UNIT 21 - DISLOCATION (CD by Lagunamuch)
HEIZUNG RAUM 318 (CD by 1000 Füssler)
PISTOL DISCO - RADIATION (CD by Celebrity Lifestyle Records)
KOMPJOTR EPLETRIKA - DARRK CIRCUITS FADEAD WAVES (CD by Celebrity Lifestyle Records) *
MAEROR TRI - AMBIENT DREAMS (CD by Beta-lactam Ring Records) *
TARAB - WIND KEEPS EVEN DUST AWAY (CD by 23Five Incorporated) *
TIM CAITLIN - RADIO GHOSTS (CD by 23Five Incorporated)
SIX TWILIGHTS (CD/DVD by Own Records) *
HENRY KUNTZ - WAYANG SAXOPHONY SHADOW SAXOPHONE (CD by Humming Bird Records) *
GRAHAM LAMBKIN - SALMON RUN (CD by Kye)
UNDERGROUNDED (CD compilation Fateless Flows)
STEVE RODEN - DARK OVER LIGHT EARTH (CD by Moca) *
STEVE RODEN - ONE STONE AND ARCS AND EARS (7" by Disques Ades)
B12 - PRACTOPIA (12" by B12 Records)
B12 - SLOPE (12" by B12 Records)
WÄLDCHENGARTEN - BLACK RABBIT (CDR by 8K Mob)
UBEBOET - SPECTRA (CDR by Twenty Hertz)
EMBRACING THE GLASS/HASLAM (CDR by Cohort Records)
JOE FRAWLEY - TANGERINE (CDR, private) *
ALFREDO COSTA MONTEIRO - ALLOTROPIE (CDR by Bourbaki Records)
THE STRATO ENSEMBLE - DRAWN STRAWS (CDR by Fateless)
PRESTON - AESPATIA (CDR by Boltfish Recordings)
MONOLAB - THE GIRL WHO FOUND THE BABY BALLOON (CDR by Droning On Records)
MIXTURIZER + PHIL TARR & FRIENDS - COLLABORATION (CDr by R.O.N.F.)
MASONIC YOUTH/SLOP CAKE SPLIT (CDr by De Hondenkoekjesfabriek)
FCKN'BSTRDS/RANCID SHIT WANK SPLIT (CDr by De Hondenkoekjesfabriek)
YY - ... DA BALCONI DO FANTASMA (CDR by Rumpus Records)
VISTECLARO - COSMOSONORO 1 & 2 (2CDR by Rumpus Records)
MORAL CRAYFISH - MOUTH OF THE DOG (CDR by Rumpus Records)

 

 

SIGNAL QUINTET - YAMAGUCHI (CD by Cut)
ELLEN FULLMAN & SEAN MEEHAN (CD by Cut)
It's a bit unclear what happened in Yamaguchi in 2006, when a bunch of Swiss people landed. So far we already reviewed two CDs of improvisational work, and here it's under the banner of Signal Quintet that they perform some more music. The Quintet was founded in 2004 by Jason Kahn to get his graphic score 'Timelines' (see Vital Weekly 464), but that was still as Jason Kahn. Now in a formal way a group, it features five of the six original players (Steinbrüchel wasn't there): Thomas Korber (guitar, electronics), Norbert Möslang (cracked everyday electronics), Günter Müller (mini disc, ipod, electronics), Steinbrüchel (laptop), Christian Weber (contrabass) and Kahn on analog synthesizer and percussion. Many electronics at play here, but the acoustic side of the matter is of equal importance. They blend here together in quite a natural manner. Huge clouds of sounds stroll by, with electric charges as well as mild explosions of bass strumming and guitar sounds. Quite vivid music that never derails. Each of the players is aware of their role in the bigger picture, holding back when necessary or full on when needed. Great CD, one that fits the For4 Ears Records' 'Signal To Noise' CDs of recent.
It's been ages since I last heard music by Ellen Fullman (in fact, there may never have been a review of her work in Vital Weekly), but upon hearing this new work, it feels like common territory. Fullman plays long string instruments, up to 20 metres. Here however they are a bit shorter, 14 metres, which she plays with her fingers. The high and low pitched, long sustaining sounds form a nice floating mass of sounds. Here she plays an all improvised duet with Sean Meehan, who plays the snare drum with cymbals, and on this recording he plays it with a dowel and a friction. The three lengthy pieces here are covered with overtones, slowly humming and reverberating (all in a natural manner of course, as this is an all acoustic recording with no electronics). It's entirely unclear how Meehan gets his instrument to resonate in such a similar beautiful manner, but once floating away, I don't think I really care how. Along the lines of Paul Panhuysen's long string installations of the mid eighties, this is a true beauty. Here too one could argue nothing much changed over the years, but since it's been so long since we last heard from Fullman that we can forgive her. Great CD.
Address: http://cut.fm

GORDON MONAHEN - THEREMIN IN THE RAIN (CD by C3R)
Ideas. Ideas and concepts are the fundaments of the work of composer Gordon Monahen. In my book he's still best known for his excellent piece 'Speaker Swinging' and for collecting campy music. Other works I must admit I don't know that well, so this new CD comes as a surprise. Here on 'Theremin In The Rain', the concept is rather simple: have a bunch of sound producing sculptures and the resonant frequencies are picked up by a theremin. The computer part, the midi in the game, is set to trigger the sculptures rather than to process the outcome. This brings us a highly curious CD. On one hand there is the sound of objects playing sounds, such as water drops on steel plates, strings, motors playing strings but also the clear sound of the theremin, making it's sweeps and oscillations. These are not all heard together. In each piece a certain quality is investigated. Despite the hectic and nervous character of some of the pieces, such as 'When It Rains', the tone is overall minimal. Slow changes, despite all the hectic, are quite important. Monahen knows how to make a highly varied work of different moods and settings for his instruments. Partly musique concrete in approach (save for the fact that he doesn't use a load of different electronics), there is also an element of structured music in this work, with semi-ethnic like percussion popping up here and there. This makes this a highly fascinating work, and one could only imagine what it looks like. It would certainly make a great concert. Still a pioneer! (FdW)
Address: http://www.c3r.ca

FORMICATION - ICONS FOR A NEW RELIGION (CD by Lumberton Trading Company)
The previous releases by Formication came to us in the form of a CDR and MP3 (see Vital Weekly 537 and 560), but here Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft present their first real CD, and also the first one they don't release themselves. It sees them however in a similar territory as before. They take their influences as far back as the seventies, Ash Ra Temple and Tangerine Dream, via Throbbing Gristle towards Coil and minimal dance beat music of say Porter Ricks and the ambience of Pete Namlook. All of what you can think of as trademark sounds for these bands are present in the music of Formication. It's not music that is crafted together to make a very coherent and well structured time based sound, but it's more music for a mood. A dark, atmospheric mood, with chanting like monks, pseudo tribal rhythms and deep ambient synthesizer patterns. At times too ritualistic for my taste, but that seems to me to be the most essential part of this music. I can enjoy the more musical outings of Formication, but they head for a world that is not my world. It's nice at times, but perhaps not too well spend on me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lumbertontrading.com

HATI - 100% RECYCLED SOUND INSTALLATION (CD by Eter)
Polish metal music (in the most literary sense of the word) musicians Hati have already released a bunch of CDRs and toured quite a bit, including various concerts with z'ev. On '100% Recycled Sound Installation' they do not necessarily present one or more pieces of music, but the results of a sound installation of some kind. It's been written in the booklet, but a visual component would have been nice, rather than the somewhat badly reproduced pictures in the booklet. These metallic constructions are played by hand or by mechanical objects. Only in the long 'Barrels III' we get the idea that things are played manually. In the other pieces things sound a bit more mechanical (perhaps I am entirely wrong here). The music is less based on electronic, if any at all, and the lack of reverb to create those artificial overtones is also not really present, which makes this into quite an enjoyable CD of atmospheric metal percussion music. Not with the similar power of some of the early z'ev work, but more on a meditative level, which works quite nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hati.info

ALOG - AMATEUR (CD by Rune Grammofon)
Music by Alog have never ceased to amaze me. The duo of Espen Sommer Eide and Dag-Are Haugan have by now released a bunch of works on Melektronikk, Smalltown Supersound and En/Of, and here return with a strange CD, once again. Apparently 'it was recorded on various locations in the western and northern parts of Norway, often using instruments found or built for the sole purpose of this recording', which is something that is hard to believe. But 'these sessions were subsequently worked on in the studio to bring out the unique spirit of the 'Amateur'. In the post-production world of the studio anything is possible, I then think. To describe the music of Alog is not easy, but 'amateur' is a good description, in the most positive sense of the word. 'Childlike' and 'naive' are two others that fit the description quite well. There are hints of minimal music, microsound, folk and improvisation - and perhaps any category in between these that could be applied to the music of Alog. They play their instruments (whatever lost and found they might be) like children, not banging around but with a curious interest in seeing what a sound does. Carefully as not make too many sounds. Beautiful electronic sound scapes, with interesting electro-acoustic sounds here and there. Very nice. Once again. (FdW)
Address: http://www.runegrammofon.com

PHILIP BIMSTEIN - LARKIN GIFFORD,S HARMONICA (CD by Starkland)
Bimstein is a composer from Utah, presenting his second cd for Starkland. The first one, "Garland Hirschi's Cows", was widely acclaimed a few years ago. So what will be the lucky number for this new one. Bimstein is a composer of very accessible post-minimal 'classical' chamber music. His compositions are very melodic and uplifting. In no way Bimstein wants it to make difficult for his listeners. No problem for me, but alas the works are that simple, that most of them just take too much time. After a few minutes you know what is going on, and it starts to bore. But maybe I'm missing something. The works are played by three different small ensembles: Sierra Winds, a wind quintet; Equinox Chamber Players and the Abramyan String Quartet. Besides Bimstein makes use of sampled sounds and voices. This goes together very well in most pieces. Like in "Casino" were a wind quartet is combined with sounds that come from gamble machines. Most compositions have a strong narrative structure. On 'Casino' we hear a voice telling a story that ends up in the conclusion that gambling is very much like religion. Its this story that seems to determine the length of the work. For 'Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa' Bimstein recorded several animals living in a National Park in the neighborhood of Bimstein,s place. These natural sounds are accompanied here by the oboe-playing of Stephen Calan. In general, his music has a charming lightness over it, reminding me in some way of the music of the Residents. Especially in a piece like 'The Bushy Wushy Rag' where Bimstein cites themes and riffs from other songs, etc. The title track is based on the harmonica playing of Larkin Gifford. Recorded and deconstructed by Bimstein. He met Gifford while campaigning for mayor. You don't hear that often as the beginning of a musical collaboration! The voice of Larkin is also included in the composition, diving up memories from the past. It makes the piece like a tribute or personal portrait. Without doubt this is the most personal piece on this cd, but the least interesting for my ears. Again, Bimstein offers some very melodic compositions. But what are his musical pretentions? I find it hard to judge this obvious ironic and humourfull music. Only Bimstein, leader of the new wave band Phil 'n' the Blanks in an earlier life, can fill in these blanks... (DM)
Address: http://www.starkland.com

KTL - 2 (CD by Editions Mego)
Of course I heard of KTL, the new union of Stephen O'Malley of Sunn 0))) and Peter Rehberg, but their first CD didn't make it into Vital Weekly. On the '2' they continue their work with recordings made in a former abattoir and a 16th century manor and some of the pieces were used for the theatre piece 'Kindertotenlieder' by Gisele Vienne and Dennis Cooper. Rehberg behind his laptop and O'Malley with his guitar - both are highly skilled musicians, who certainly know how to craft an interesting piece of music. Four long pieces of four different approaches to the word 'drone' I'd say. Held back in 'Game', whereas in 'Theme' they go full on open in a wall of sound approach, through a steaming mix of psychedelic guitar sound and sizzling electronics. Highly minimal, but also very effective. In 'Abattoir' things are taken a bit further through an even more extensive brick of feedback, which is all about fuzz and distortion, but it's the weakest brother of the four. In 'Snow' things fall to the floor - metaphorically speaking - with some highly charged electrical fuzz and a deeply haunting and spooky piece is the result - perhaps the strongest sister here. It's quite a tour de force this one - again. KTL is like a match made in heaven - but did we expect otherwise?
Address: http://www.editionsmego.com

FEAR FALLS BURNING & NADJA (CD by Conspiracy Records)

So far the works of Nadja didn't blow me away. Their two CDs are alright, but perhaps not made for me. Outsider metal, heavy weight stoner rock. Here Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff team up for the second time with Dirk Serries, whose career of Vidna Obmana seems to be forgotten and it's Fear Falls Burning all around. They already produced a LP together (see Vital Weekly 537) and there is a straight line from that one to this new CD. Four tracks, all clocking at some fifteen minutes. I am not entirely sure how this record was made. I know Fear Falls Burning love for straight recordings, and Nadja uses the studio. Maybe this is the result of a postal/internet audio exchange, but for the same matter they just teamed up together. I must I enjoyed this better than Nadja on their own. The music is less muddy, yet still forceful and loud but there is space for hearing instruments as it is supposed to be. Drums play an important feature, more important it seems that in the recent Nadja release, and the opening of the third piece is even calm and relaxing - the Dirk influence I think. It's still not really my cup of tea this one, but it's best I heard so far of this lot. (FdW)
Address: http://www.conspiracyrecords.com

UNIT 21 - DISLOCATION (CD by Lagunamuch)
Lagunamuch is one of the interesting Russian labels, judging by the few releases I heard from them. Their artists don't dabble in industrial or gothic, which I guess to be a good thing. Unit 21 could, name-wise be mistaken for an industrial or gothic act, is one Stanislav Vdovin, who plays music since 2003, mainly doing techno and house remixes, and later 'non dance solo albums'. For 'November' he uses 'looped micro samples from soviet vinyl records, home microphone recording, drum pattern and processed white noise'. Although this CD is indexed with seven tracks, which are all quite different from each other, it listens as one pleasant, mildly experimental piece of music. At the first the static crackles of vinyl skipping is perhaps just a bit too easy, but as the CD progresses, and the other sound sources are added, we are uplifted in a spiral form of rotating sounds, a swirling mass of static hiss, a bit too much reverb, but also drum machine patterns that aren't exactly groovy, but which work quite relaxing and field recordings of a highly obscure nature. Quite a nice CD, not a really big surprise but nevertheless very nice. Ambient glitch, might be the best description, but less based on the digital variation. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lagunamuch.com

HEIZUNG RAUM 318 (CD by 1000 Füssler)
Perhaps the sensation of a low humming sound that is not annoying is something that many readers will recognize. I once slept next to a refrigerator, but was fascinated all night by all the sounds it produced. Room 318 is the name of a room in the building where Asmus Tietchens teaches sound at the University of Applied Science in Hamburg and 'heizung' is the German word for 'heating'. Except that it doesn't produce heat, but it makes a nice whistle. By turning the knobs of the radiator the whistle changes. Since the three persons (or took) classes with Asmus Tietchens have paid close attention to the old master, it's a small step of recording the radiator - actually, all three of them - and turn them into music, along of course with an excercise by the master himself. The original source material is at the end of the CD, and the crude whistling makes it hard to believe that it leads to the preceding seven sound pieces. It's easy too assume that all of these composers work with computers these days, and that one could also wrongly assume that their pieces would sound similar. This is not the case. Each of them approaches the source material in a different way, and this leads to quite interesting pieces of music. Asmus Tietchens delivers a piece of his trademark style processing: silent but loaded with small sounds and even a rhythm of some kind. Gregory Büttner applies the recent Tietchens methods (his 'Menge' series) into a well-crafted piece of sizzling electronics. But there is alson the more industrialized noise of Nicolai Stephan and Stefan Funk (especially in his last two versions; he has four in total), who take an entirely different route in their approach. Their music is closer to noise than to microsound, but they make a nice variation on the matter. Quite a nice compilation altogether. (FdW)
Address: http://www.1000fussler.com

PISTOL DISCO - RADIATION (CD by Celebrity Lifestyle Records)
KOMPJOTR EPLETRIKA - DARRK CIRCUITS FADEAD WAVES (CD by Celebrity Lifestyle Records)
Following their debut 'Two' (see Vital Weekly 552), here is the second CD by Pistol Disco, not called 'One' but 'Radiation'. Still a duo of Alexander Palmestal (vocals and keyboards) and Mikeal Enqvist (drums and keyboards) and they continue the sound of 'Two' here: hard heavy rhythms, with lots of space for wailing keyboards. They continue where they left of with 'Dark Star' on the previous CD. Although Pistol Disco takes their influence from synth punk, say Suicide, The Screamers or, more recent, Philip Quehenberger, but on this new CD the softer element prevails. Melody is added, even when the boxes of distortion are full open. Tracks are still a bit long, or even a bit too long here and there, but the overall notion of this new CD is: progression. Pistol Disco moved away from the straight harshness and landed into a field where things are more pop music like and there is a lot more to gain. As such I think 'Radiation' is better than 'Two' and hopefully will be guidance to more good music.
Something entirely different is Kompjotr Eplektrika, also from Sweden, who deliver their second album, following 'Redisetkompjotrallesklaarepletiktrika' on Oscillatone Recordings (see Vital Weekly 487). The man behind the band is one Mats Björk and probably some others - the text is not all too clear. We see here a stylistically continuation of the previous release: starkly minimal rhythms and synthesizer sounds that float around. It has the same rhythm patterns as Pan Sonic, Goem or Henrik Rylander, but the synthesizers used remind me of the first one, not of the other ones. The true progression starts in the fourth track (I think called 'Skulldrummantra') when Kompjotr Eplektrika starts out in full Brinkmann mode with scratched techno record. It's not like that for the rest of the album, but it breaks away from some of the more rigid sounds that are otherwise known to Kompjotr Eplektrika (and to the others mentioned). But it's this combination of rigid minimalism and more up lifting wacked techno rhythms that makes this a great follow up. (FdW)
Address: http://www.celebritylifestylerecords.com

MAEROR TRI - AMBIENT DREAMS (CD by Beta-lactam Ring Records)
If there is one band from the 80s and 90s that released their work on cassettes that is now truly famous it's no doubt Maeror Tri. I was amongst their first fans collecting from almost day one. While not playing cassettes as much as I did or should, I never got rid of the old Maeror Tri tapes. They are perhaps the only band in the world that have all of their tapes released as CDs - not CDRs. To be very honest, I don't recall 'Ambient Dreams' that well, but the fact that it had a real picture stuck onto it, sticked in my mind. All of the sounds 'originated from natural ambient sources' it says on the cover. It will remain a mystery how Maeror Tri conceived their music, even when I saw them play live a couple of times. An accordion, some junk for percussion and lots of sound effects - things were always that simple, but the proof is in the pudding, not the ingredients. Maeror Tri, certainly in 1988, didn't have access to a studio or refined recording techniques, but 'Ambient Dreams', almost twenty years later sounds still as fresh as it did. Mysterious clouds of sound pass by the listener and they create outer-worldly atmospheres. Ambient music but with a healthy doses of experimentalism - and all quite dark. We can only assume that it's this quality that appeals to some many latter day fans of Maeror Tri and its successor Troum. A great work, still after all these years. And finally the tape can go to Ebay (anyone?) (FdW)
Address: http://www.blrrecords.com

TARAB - WIND KEEPS EVEN DUST AWAY (CD by 23Five Incorporated)
TIM CAITLIN - RADIO GHOSTS (CD by 23Five Incorporated)
Releases on 23Five always look beautiful, with an extra carton cover around it, great design and great music. A collectable label. They are from Los Angeles, but have a special connection with Australia. Before they released a compilation with musicians from down under, and a retrospective 2CD of Gum, now it's time for Tim Caitlin and Tarab. Tarab is one Eamon Sprod and before he had a CD on Naturestrip called 'Surfacedrift' (see Vital Weekly 422). Now the meaning of the word Tarab is revealed: it means something like 'the ecstatic surrender one can experience when listening to music'. I can imagine the 'tarab' for Eamon when he was recording the sounds captured on 'Wind Keeps Even Dust Away', as he is one of the types to run around with a microphone to capture sounds. He is actively involved in bringing out the sounds, rather than an objective by stander capturing sound events. He rustles the leaves, bumps upon metal and such like. Rather than doing an electronic process the microphone changes the sound. Location and position of the microphone is important. Unusual places with natural reverb have his special interest. Although his work is compared to Chris Watson, BJ Nilsson, Francisco Lopez and Toshiya Tsunoda, I think it comes closest to the work of Eric La Casa. It has the same poetic, collage like quality. It's a great CD, but perhaps not the most innovative in terms of sound scaping.
Something similar we can say of Tim Caitlin's 'Radio Ghosts'. He's also from down there and the only time his name popped in Vital Weekly (388) was when we discussed his 'Slow Twitch' CD on Dr Jim's Records (which is really run by a doctor). Much water has passed under the bridge, and here is the second CD by Caitlin (that we know of). Caitlin plays his guitars by using objects to get resonating sounds out of the strings. Small motor devices such as ventilators and e-bows are placed in such a way that overtones occur. Glenn Branca used a real ensemble to create this, Remko Scha ropes and wires and Keith Rowe already the ventilator. What Caitlin does is hardly to be called 'new', and the review of his previous CD ended with the suggestion that he should find new ways to create his music and not stick around with this, so perhaps it's a pity that he did stick around this sound. He could easily produce another ten or so of these kind of works, but it would be good to see some progression. Four or so years would be enough to get something moving, I'd say. But as such this CD is quite nice. The pieces he plays are done nice and executed with style and a keen ear for subtle changes. So in that aspect there is no let down. (FdW)
Address: http://www.23five.org

SIX TWILIGHTS (CD/DVD by Own Records)
Glitch goes pop: a slowly growing tradition in this area. While Fennesz showed the path, others take it further, by adding vocals. Six Twilights is a 'music and video project' of one Aaron Gerber from the Portland band A Weather. He recorded a bunch of songs involving acoustic guitars, male and female voices, and organ sounds on a hard disc and then played around with shuffle jog dial to make glitchy music. Then he edited the bits together and made this CD, which is released on a label from Luxembourg (and this might be the very first time a label from this country occurs in Vital Weekly). Sometimes the glitch is far away, such as in 'Tonight I'm Letting You Drive', and it shows as Six Twilights as quite an accomplished song writer. Dream pop with a touch of experimentalism. It's this combination of two different worlds which makes things quite nice and quite apart from the usual suspects. The DVD holds a film that is not the soundtrack to the separate tracks, but seems to me a further collage of the sounds along with images that we can expect in that direction: landscapes, twilight, sunrise, skies, nature, people, all in further dream like sequences. The visual material is nice, even when perhaps a bit too much of cliche, but it certainly fits the music quite nice. Altogether a very nice release, almost Japanese (Noble, Plop) in sort of curious way. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ownrecords.com

HENRY KUNTZ - WAYANG SAXOPHONY SHADOW SAXOPHONE (CD by Humming Bird Records)
Let's safely assume we can't know them all. The cover of the 'Wayang Saxophony Shadow Saxophone' by one Henry Kuntz shows us a guy with a saxophone up in the air somewhere in Bali, along with a wayang puppet. It looks like a jazz CD, but it's not. Kuntz is the player of the instrument and a puppet player. I know virtually nothing about the tradition of the wayang puppets, except for what I saw on my parents home video from Indonesia. Strangely enough the music stands by itself quite well and it's not jazz at all. Kuntz might be classified as one of the onkyo posse: the player of an instrument who approaches his instrument as an object to produce any sound, not necessarily the sound that the instrument is supposed to make. I think I heard a lot of these kind of players, but never of Kuntz. His CD has two main pieces: 'Ten Names Of Peace', divided in five parts and 'Tenor Of The Times', in two parts. In the first piece he treats the saxophone as solo instrument, making a lot of false air and odd blowings, which is nice, but perhaps a bit too common by now, even when Kuntz works in a quite a hectic manner. In the other piece, the layering of the instruments - four tenors playing at the same - works much better. The different approaches working at the same time is quite nice, and certainly a technique that could be explored by others too. This is a great CD, but one that also left me quite tired behind. It's an intense listening session, this one, but quite rewarding. (FdW)
Address: <henry.kuntz@ceb.ucop.edu>

GRAHAM LAMBKIN - SALMON RUN (CD by Kye)
The name Graham Lambkin may not ring an immediate bell, because as solo artist he doesn't release that much. As a member of The Shadow Ring is a more productive, having released on Corpus Hermeticum and Swill Radio, and with the latter's label Scott Foust and Karla Borecky he also works under the name Tart. 'Salmon Run' is his first solo release in six years, following a LP in 2001. It's a high and mighty strange release. He takes classical music, opera and strings, along side with water sounds, ducks in the pond, wind chimes and other obscure field recordings and musique concrete into a highly personal setting. There is partly an electronic setting of minimal electronics and tape loops. The setting is not unlike that of Idea Fire Company. Although listed as various tracks, the best is to sit back and listen to this as one long piece. As said, highly personal, this Graham Lambkin CD is a perfect example of outsider music. This is the noise that isn't noise. Make something that is not very logical, throw in all the weird elements and make an elegant mixture of them. This is a very fine release. (FdW)
Address: <hawkmoths@yahoo.com>

UNDERGROUNDED (CD compilation Fateless Flows)
How hard it is to review a compilation is known by now. Fateless Flow is a community of electronic musicians from Los Angeles, founded in 2001 and whom release a compilation of some (?) of the people connected to their scene. The sixteen tracks are tied together through what can easily be described as 'dance music'. It moves into the world of drum 'n bass, glitch, techno - anything from straight forward to relative experimentalism. As with many of these kind of local initiatives, it's not easy to spot the true talent. How can it be if we only get one track per artist? Some of the pieces are weaker brothers, certainly when they milk out the cliche of dance music. But it's entertaining enough. If you are not in their area it makes a good play and if you are in the Los Angeles area, then be sure to pick a copy and book one of these at your next dance party. Plenty of options: Mid-Air, Gigacosm, Noncommittal, The Professionals, Gridmind, Ice Fields, Koyannaasti, ATL Stompin, Unknown, Y Illuminate, Multiple Realities, Tush, Digital Donkey, Linger, Fod and Broken Figurine. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fatelessflows.com

STEVE RODEN - DARK OVER LIGHT EARTH (CD by Moca)
STEVE RODEN - ONE STONE AND ARCS AND EARS (7" by Disques Ades)
It's been a while since I last heard something by Steve Roden. Perhaps he was too busy with his sound installations, but then much of his work was made with that intention anyway. Here he has one installation piece called 'Dark Over Light Earth' which he made for an exhibition of Mark Rothko's painting at the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. And if we think 'Rothko + music' we think of course of Morty Feldman's 'Rothko Chapel', one of the contemporary highlights of modern classical music. For his piece, Roden divided the eight paintings in various color sections and thus made a score, playing harmonium and glockenspiel. He asked his friend Jake to play the Feldman piece on a pair headphones, while attempting to play the piece on his violin. Through layering and reorganizing Roden crafts a beautiful piece of music together, with a bare minimum of electronic sounds. Slowly changing, with the violin in a leading part, this piece moves in various directions, yet at the same time it doesn't seem to move at all. It has the same contemplative beauty as Rothko's paintings, as well as Feldman's original piece. Overwhelming quietness. Great work.
A conceptual approach is also done on a 7" by Roden, where he removes all the dialogue of a LP with the soundtrack of Robert Bresson's 'Process De Jeanne D'Arc', leaving only the incidental sounds, but through rough editing the beginnings and endings (transients as they are called in radio terms) of words can be heard. The only instrument, a horn, is sampled and used as the musical source here, and which forms a backdrop in the endresult. The two pieces on this 7" are similar pieces, with minor differences. The sampled horn is deformed into a dark drone, and on top we hear the crackling of the original record. An estranging affair of obscure sounds, again in an intimate way. A simple yet effective work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.inbetweennoise.com

B12 - PRACTOPIA (12" by B12 Records)
B12 - SLOPE (12" by B12 Records)
Somewhere covered with dust I must have the B12 CD that Warp released some fifteen years ago - I don't even recall the title. But for whatever reason I never parted from it. In 1996 B12 disappeared from the music scene when some 12"s never got beyond the stage of test pressings. Eleven years they return with two brand new 12"s and announced is a 12CD box set. The first 12" is the one from 1996 when they were not happy with test pressing but now totally remastered and with a bonus track. Big time dance music, with great keyboards lines and beat that hooks any non-dancer to the floor. Stuttery beats but they work fine. Detroit viva. Five sweet tracks of a highly varied nature.
'Slope' is a very fresh new release and it seems to be taking them in a more updated sound, with glitch like rhythms, but the acid synth is never far away. 'Slope' is a very uplifting piece of music, quite cheery. 'Static Glitch' on the flip is a bit darker and 'Magnetic Fields' falls somewhere in between. It makes perfect sense this record. Like they have never been away and yet easily bridge the gap. (FdW)
Address: http://www.b12records.com

WÄLDCHENGARTEN - BLACK RABBIT (CDR by 8K Mob)
Danish duo and brothers Wäldchengarten have been regular visitors to Vital Weekly. They have recently built a new studio on a farm and 'Black Rabbit' is the first work they completed over there. It consists of three part that run into each other. Apparently the two brothers work with guitars on this release, feeding it's signal (drones, e-bow, strumming) through the usual endless pile of sound effects. The noise of yesterday is gone, and in some thirty-three minutes they an atmospheric yet bleak desolated industrial soundscape, of slowly changing moods, textures and colors - various shades of black and brown of course. The noise is suppressed, the feedback gets looped around ad infinitum. Quite a good release, despite some of the flows in playback, unless the static crackle is part of the music (and somehow I don't think). This release marks the usual high standard of dark ambient soundscapes that we know this band for. A fine dark half hour. (FdW)
Address: http://www.8kmbob.dustopper.dk

UBEBOET - SPECTRA (CDR by Twenty Hertz)
So far Miguel A. Tolosa, also known as Ubeboet have released a couple of works, mainly through MP3 labels, such as his own Con-V but also Earlabs and Zeromoon. 'Spectra' is a release that might be the first that is produced in any sort of commercial way. Ubeboet's music is not an odd-ball for the Twenty Hertz label, as the nine pieces show a deep interest in digital drones. Usually it's hard to think what went into the production of drone music, but here it's clear that the laptop is at the hard. Around it we find field recordings, FM radio, tape recorder and a lap steel guitar. Soft tinkles occur, embedded in a warm bed of digital insect chirping, moving through high and low ends of the sound spectrum. Nothing new under the microsun, but I must admit that this was quite a nice journey. Maybe it's the small melodies that are used here and there that add just that little bit of extra needed to stand out, in a very positive manner, from the usual suspects in this field. It's an absolutely fine release and hopefully the start of more beautiful things (with, to be honest, some minor changes to make this reviewer happy and see a break with the drone genre). (FdW)
Address: http://www.twentyhertz.co.uk

EMBRACING THE GLASS/HASLAM (CDR by Cohort Records)
In Cohort Records' split series we once again stumble upon two people that are new to me. Embracing The Glass and Haslam. The idea of the split series is to bring together two artists from the world of drone music and each gets about half the release, a bit like doing a split c60 cassette in the old days. Like said I never heard of either artist. Embracing The Glass is a duo of Sean Carroll and Jeff Sampson, who are together since 2001. They play guitar-controlled instruments and voice controlled instruments. They start out nice, with guitar strumming (perhaps the first time in the series?), and some sort of heavenly vocals, but over the course of their piece, which is clearly divided in several parts, the move into the darker land even a bit further, through an amorph mass of sound, through which ethnic flutes and deep synths wash their way. Here I was reminded of the work of Steve Roach and Robert Rich, but Embracing The Glass do a well job here.
Haslam is one Byron Paladin who plays synthesizers and computers and he offers three pieces of more ambient material. He starts out in a true deep synthesizer mode, but over the course of his pieces he also introduces the vague humming of radiation and some rhythmical particles of say matches in a box with a firm dosis of delay. However his main course is to play deep washes of synthesizer sounds on his synths, which might as well be digital versions. Highly unoriginal music, I'd say, but Haslam plays it with care. All Eno and Hypnos fly by in this trip, but it's a nice trip anyway.
Address: http://cohortrecords.0catch.com

JOE FRAWLEY - TANGERINE (CDR, private)
A while ago I was introduced to the work of Joe Frawley (see Vital Weekly 564) through 'Wilhelmina's Dream', an excellent work of quiet plunderphonics. 'Tangerine' sees a continuation of this type of work through three pieces. One striking thing is the use of voice and piano being more present and the orchestral samples are pushed to background. There is also a little bit of electronic sounds, but these too are kept to a minimum. I have no idea where Frawley gets his voices, or did I too hard understanding what they are talking, even whispering about. Perhaps they don't tell me a story at all? I rather think they are evoking images and atmospheres, like being not fully awake and yet not really asleep either. The piano softly tinkles away, a bit of reverb adds a haunting, spooky atmosphere. Debussy meets electronics and a cilinder wax recording with some old conversations. More Mood music of a highly original kind, as before. Someone should investigate this guy and offer him a CD contract. (FdW)
Address: http://www.joefrawleymusic.info

ALFREDO COSTA MONTEIRO - ALLOTROPIE (CDR by Bourbaki Records)
Despite my name, my French is not what it could have been if I paid more attention in school, but if I understand correctly from the short liner notes of this release, the music was made for an installation made in Barcelona, using sounds from 100 different kinds of paper and there is no use of electronics. Monteiro is one half of Cremaster, as well as many other improvisation musics. The twenty minute piece is an interesting one, especially if we are indeed to believe that it's the paper who does the talking. I am not entirely sure how these sounds are generated (microphone recording? contact microphones? tearing? rubbing? cutting?), but it's very hard to believe that this just the sound of paper. It seems like an onkyo recording of a saxophone, but in a multi-layered fashion. The collage like approach works quite well here. Part noise, totally culled from improvisations. Very nice release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bourbaki-rec.com

THE STRATO ENSEMBLE - DRAWN STRAWS (CDR by Fateless)
From Los Angeles comes this quartet, with
Giuseppe Patane on bass, Dean de Benedictis playing keyboards, Takeshi Nishimoto on electric guitar plus Andrea Jako, Giacomini on drums & glitch pads. On their cdr "Drawn Straws" they bring together some of their best session and live work. Several tracks underwent some overdubbing afterwards. They play lengthy, spacey jammings in a sort of jazzrock vein. Extensive space travelings in the classical way like it was established in the 70s. Although they take their time, this does not imply they have much to tell. No feeling of necessity here. Its lacking focus and sense for direction. No clear musical ideas that informs the music. It surely has its nice moments, but in the end .....Waiting desperately for something interesting to happen, I can only conclude that it must be rather boring up there in there in the stratosphere. (DM)
Address: http://www.thestratoensemble.com/

PRESTON - AESPATIA (CDR by Boltfish Recordings)
In Leicester in the Uk there is a city called Preston, but it's also the name used by a person unknown for his music. His first release is on Boltfish and that leads us by the hand to a specific area of music: the melodic techno oriented music, with a small and subtle touch of melancholic. Soft spoken keyboards, almost ambient like, but beats that roll over eachother, most of the time and which sound quite busy. Thirteen tracks is a bit much, since Preston doesn't always offer enough variation to make true differences between his pieces. But as one piece, this work offers a solid fifty or so minutes of nice, pleasant background music. It's a fine combination of busy beats and slow, melodic ambient synthesizers. As such quite alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.boltfish.co.uk

MONOLAB - THE GIRL WHO FOUND THE BABY BALLOON (CDR by Droning On Records)
Despite being active in music since 1992, I never heard of Martin Powell's project Monolab, or the bands he's also involved such as Mirie It Is, Satangora, Metal Moustache and Likvake. With solo cap on he calls himself Monolab, and he plays guitar, bass, theremin, piano, audio generator, old synths, radio, effects and home made instruments. The nine tracks captured here reminded me quite a bit of the old Zoviet*France: much echo on the instruments to create a quasi ethnic backdrop and sounds of basically any origin dropping in and out the mix. But whereas Zoviet*France recorded a lot, and released very little, here things are a little harder. Recorded and released all it seems, which leads to tracks that do not move beyond the point of a mere few loops and a radio badly tuned. That is a pity since the potential of free form ambient industrial music is certainly present in the work of Monolab and with some more rigor editing could bring something out that is nicer than this. (FdW)
Address: http://www.droningonrecords.com

MIXTURIZER + PHIL TARR & FRIENDS - COLLABORATION (CDr by R.O.N.F.)
Firstly the R.O.N.F. records site has a very useful database of its roster, Mixurizer is from Spain - Manuel M. Cubas and Phil Tar guitar player of the abusive stepdads - from Sydney Nova Scotia, whose message is his disgust for some states within the human condition, why I think only some states, though it's a sunny June day in the English countryside, birdsong, bees, and of course before you forget a Blackhawk helicopter on some training mission, England's green a pleasant land is used as a training ground for - I would say our armed forces - but mostly the USAF, so I'm finding it hard to find any part of the human condition worthwhile, this is probably not the screaming noise and I think very abusive language, oscillator feedback sweeps and improv noise shriek, but the total nausea of the moment, is it the history or the remains of the alcohol which makes one sympathetic with Phil's sentiment. If anything I'd swap the 40 minutes noise fest for a stinger missile anytime. (jliat)
Address www.ronfrecords.com

MASONIC YOUTH/SLOP CAKE SPLIT (CDr by De Hondenkoekjesfabriek)
FCKN'BSTRDS/RANCID SHIT WANK SPLIT (CDr by De Hondenkoekjesfabriek)
A strange note inscribed with pencil for frans accompanied these two split Cdrs, the text very runic and difficult to read, the label even more - but here goes - so de HONDENKOEKJESFABRIEK ? Masonic Youth (= honden??lys project) and Slopcake (wheelchair full of old men project USA) very much the Tibetan signing kind of thing & occultism from Masonic Youth, more techno noise twittering from Slop Cake. Well this reviewer found the password to M.Ys website - see VW532, and remember the number of the beast.though I'm not supposed to give out this information, BTW it's the police inspector in The Mousetrap. as for who killed Kennedy and Lady Diana - I'd want cash for that kind of information.
Rancid shitwank (according to Marc Van Helburg's note - an Australische Act?) start with a silly little tune, then whole thing stops and we are into track 2 - screams, noise, that shortwave radio kind of stuff, and crazy synths.. And screaming like the first exorcist film.there are 18 tracks from R.S. and 5 from the F.Bs, the latter still into noise and screams - though decidedly different, almost gentler, although that doesn't seem an appropriate word to use, some mucking about with playback speeds of voices, a popsong etc etc.. It sounds disgusting and apparently is even more so live - you know that bit in Event Horizon - well lots of bits. so I must admit to enjoying this spilt more than the other, whose sound is too cinemagraphic for me. So de Hondamotorbikething are to be thanked for entertaining this sullen Englishman, well done! (jliat)
Address http://www.xs4all.nl/~tellab/

YY - ... DA BALCONI DO FANTASMA (CDR by Rumpus Records)
VISTECLARO - COSMOSONORO 1 & 2 (2CDR by Rumpus Records)
MORAL CRAYFISH - MOUTH OF THE DOG (CDR by Rumpus Records)
Rumpus Records is a new label from Norway, who travel wide and far to find their artists. Of the first three releases, two are from Argentina and from the USA. yY is a duo from Argentina of L. Barzabal on guitar and voice andc J. de Diego on drum and voice. In January 2007 they recorded their CDR at home, on an old reel-to-reel recorder, just to get that 'most fantastically rotten sound'. This the true insanity area. Distorted and detuned guitar, shouting, distortion, illogical beating of the drums and throughout a lo-fi recording quality. It's perhaps o.k. for a few minutes, but the entire length of it, is a bit too much for me.
The same Barzabal teams up with Yagui Quintero, who plays trumpet, horns, harmonica, quena, flutes and voice. Barzabal gets credit for guitar, broken guitar, tape manipulation and objects. This a much more interesting bunch of music, although at two CDRs is a bit lengthy. The wind instruments play long tones, which create an atmospheric backdrop. The electronic parts are steady, minimal outings of drone like meanderings but which change slightly throughout a piece. The recording is much better than yY, but one CDR would have made the same perfect nice point.
The final release is by one Dan Cohoon, who works under the name of Moral Crayfish, who took the name from his sister's imaginary rock band and was also his used as his high school rock band name. His album 'Month Of The Dog' was made as part of a contest where people were recording one album in one month. Dan uses "prepared guitar, violin, screwdrivers & various household objects", but no mention of electronics, which is odd since they seem to be present in large amounts. Eight quite long pieces of improvised music, in which the feeding through boxes of reverb and delay play an important role. It seems as if Coohon rather wants to aim for a lengthy piece of sound, than for a concise, well rounded composition, which is a pity, because with some editing things would have been better (but maybe not an album...), now it drags on a bit too much. (FdW)
Address: http://www.rumpus.no

Correction: Steven Vinkenoog's e-mail address is: <stevenvinkenoog.com>