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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 581
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week 24
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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
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http://www.harmlog.nl/vitalfeed.asp
New broadcasts will be sent directly when uploaded

 

* noted are in this week's podcast

PLEASE READ THIS. WE WILL NOT REVIEW MATERIAL OLDER THAN SIX MONTHS, SO PLEASE DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. NOT ONLY WILL WE NOT REVIEW IT, BUT WE WILL SELL THE MATERIAL TO A SECOND MAIL ORDER OUTLET. ALSO, DON'T SEND MORE THAN 3 (THREE) RELEASES AT ONCE. WE SIMPLY CAN'T HANDLE EVERYTHING ANYMORE. SAVE YOURSELVES THE FRUSTRATION... AND US!

 

 

MARCUS SCHMICKLER/HAYDEN CHISHOLM - AMAZING DAZE (CD by Häpna)
HANS APPELQVIST - SIFANTIN OCH MÖRKRET (CD by Häpna) *
MATHIAS DELPLANQUE - LE PAVILLON TEMOIN (CD by Low Impedance Recordings) *
CLEMM - CONSIDER THE LILIES (CD by Cabin Music)
LOW IN THE SKY - WE ARE ALL COUNTING ON YOU, WILLIAM (CD by Abandon Building) *
Z'EV - FORWAARD (CD by Korm Plastics) *
ASMUS TIETCHENS & RICHARD CHARTIER - FABRICATION (CD by Die Stadt) *
MOHA! - NORWEGIANISM (CD by Rune Grammofon) *
DON'T GET ANNOYED, GET INSPIRED (CD compilation by Ambolthue)
ASMUS TIETCHENS - NOTTURNO (CD by Die Stadt)
SHELF LIFE - DUCTWORKS (CD by Public Eyesore)
TARTAR LAMB - 60 METONYMIES (CD by Ice Level Music/Public Eyesore) *
NAGAOAG - YAMA LABAM A (CDR by Public Eyesore)
D+D - PROPERTIES/RIBBONS (7" by public Eyesore)
TASOS STAMOU - INFANT (CD by Editions_zero)
DEAD TRAVELLER - OUTSIDE MY WINDOW (CDR by Editions_zero)
PANAGIOTIS SPOULOS - LOOPS FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (CDR by Editions_zero)
STEFAN FUNK/TBC (LP by Wachsender Prozess)
SPELLEWAUERYNSHERDE, INTERPRETATIONS VARIOUS & SUNDRY (CDR by Trans>parent Radiation)
LOGOPLASM - TESTA PIENA D'ORCHE (CDR by Afe Records)
CRIA CUERVOS - VOR FEUERSCHLÜNDEN (CD by Afe Records) *
MATHIAS GRASSOW & THOMAS WEISS - INSIGHTS (CDR by Databloem) *
DANNY KREUTZFELDT - NUMBERGROUND (CDR by Databloem)
MANITOU - ALL POINTS NORTH (CDR by Slo.Bor Media)
MATT BORGHI - OLAGRA (CDR by Slo.Bor Media) *
FREIBAND/VARIOUS ARTISTS - FREIBAND RMX (CD-R by Sijis)
AIDAN BAKER - CONVS W/MYSELF (CDR by Evelyn Records)
PILOTRAM - LEAVE BEFORE IT BURNS (CDR by Evelyn Records)
SHIFTS - VERTONEN 14 (CDR by Evelyn Records)
PINK EYE SORE - LITTLE DRONES (CDR by Evelyn Records)
SIGNALS - SONUR (CDR by Evelyn Records) *
LA DIVISION MENTALE L'EXTASE DES FOUS [INTROSPECTION LÉTALE] (CD by
Blood:Fire :Death)
DARSOMBRA - DELIRIMS & DEATH (3" CDr by Public Guilt)
HARM STRYKER (3" CDr by Public Guilt)
BONEMACHINE/MASKINANLEGG (3"CDR by Tosom)
KALTEEINBRUCH (3"CDR by Tosom) *
FREIBAND - SPAARZAM (3" CD-R by My Own Little Label) *
FREIBAND - ICE FIELD (3" CD-R by My Own Little Label)
FREIBAND - UNTITLED DRONE WORK (3" CD-R by My Own Little Label)

 

 

 

MARCUS SCHMICKLER/HAYDEN CHISHOLM - AMAZING DAZE (CD by Häpna)
HANS APPELQVIST - SIFANTIN OCH MÖRKRET (CD by Häpna)
By now Marcus Schmickler should be a man of high reputation - at least in my book he is. His rock work with Pluramon, improvising matters with Mimeo (as well as with various project with separate members), but also composing in his own right, such as his excellent work 'Demos' (see Vital Weekly 543) - he can do it all, with great ease. Here he works with Hayden Chisholm, who plays saxophone and who has worked with Rebecca Horn and with jazz and contemporary music. On 'Amazing Daze' he plays bagpipes and sho. The title piece is for Phil Niblock, while 'Infinity On The Shape Of A Poodle' is for Björk Gudmundsdottir. The title piece is much a like a Niblock piece: a wall of sound drone of sustaining sounds. But there is a main difference: whereas Niblock cuts out the actual breathing of the player, Schmickler leaves it in, but not every time it is necessary to blow the bagpipes, but with regular intervals. What Schmickler does, credited with computer and electronics, is mainly, I guess, in the amplification of the instruments, the recording (layering the sound sources) and mixing. 'Amazing Daze' is powerful piece of music. 'Infinity On The Shape Of A Poodle' is much lighter of tone, played on the higher end of the musical scale, and probably the piece played with the sho. It sounds more like a reflective piece of music, less like a treat like the previous piece does, where the sounds get so much knitted together that it could almost be like a church organ or even, as the piece progresses, piercing feedback like sounds. It works not as well as the first piece, but throughout this is an excellent Schmickler work.
When Hans Appelqvist released 'Naima' I was quite amazed: the combination of sounds, field recordings, 'real' music and the story made great sense. I must admit I was a bit disappointed with his concert which I saw a while after that. Not only did reproduce the CD with quite some accuracy, which for me is not necessary if I go to a concert, but also the guitar sounded very retro - it was at times if I was listening to Mike Oldfield, solo again but armed with a sampler for some weird injections. This new album (well, twelve tracks in twenty five minutes. Is that an album or a mini album) is therefor met with some reluctancy. Again, I like Hans' daring combination of musique concrete, mediaeval music and radio plays, but somewhere in the back of my head, I still see him at the concert: much pre-programmed on his computer, sweet melodies on the guitar. Perhaps it would be better to entirely (try to) forget that and enjoy the radio qualities of this music. Appelqvist certainly has great style and care and plays his material with a lot of humor. As such 'Sifantin Och Mörket' is another fine album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hapna.com

MATHIAS DELPLANQUE - LE PAVILLON TEMOIN (CD by Low Impedance Recordings)
CLEMM - CONSIDER THE LILIES (CD by Cabin Music)
In a relatively short time span we get to hear more and more music by Mathias Delplanque. His work under his own name for a sound installation and then the dub works of Lena. Here on 'Le Pavillon Temoin' he goes yet again in another direction. Using acoustic instruments (guitar, piano, cello, drums, accordion, melodica and bells) played by either himself or by one of his many friends, are taken to the playground of the computer and taken apart. Then in the next stage he combines the original recordings alongside the residual forms found on the computer. This is then mixed in the final result. As much as I like ideas like this, I somehow am not entirely convinced by this album. It starts out quite nice, and one can be amazed about the various processes applied or the small melodies popping up here and there, but in the end it works a bit against the album. There is a point easily reached in which I thought 'well, so what's next'? Is this it? Yes it is. That's the moment when I thought, it's o.k., but apparently there is nothing more than this. Having said that, I don't think this is a bad album, not at all. It's done with great care and style, but it seems all a bit limited to my ears. The pop-like tunes, the jazz-like rhythms, the peeps, the clicks and the cuts. It stayed too much like an exercise to my ears, and not a warm composition. Enjoyable in a small doses.
Along similar lines we find Clemm, yet perhaps something different. Clemm is one dutch guy called Willem Janssen, who also worked with one Frans van Gastel as Flugroove (see Vital Weekly 500), but as Clemm he is solo along with guest musicians (insert a whole bunch of names here, but I never heard of them anyway, so I can also easily skip them). Clemm likes popmusic, that of the intimate kind. The dramatic, introspective singer song writer material, guitar, piano, vocals. What links him to Delplanque is his use of weird electronic elements. According to the quotes the label sent along from the Dutch overground press this is all of course 'unique' and 'daring', but really it's all quite mildly used background material, that should the pop listener distract not very much. They form a mere back drop rather than something 'weird', or even remotely experimental. The overall tone of Clemm is romantic, dreamy, captured in the frame of a popsong. It's ok, but, and here is another link to the music of Delplanque, it's all a bit long for me. After a couple of songs I get the picture and even when I finish the entire CD to make sure I don't miss out that really great, unforgettable popsong, I don't miss out. Certainly, a few of those songs is really great, certainly if you make the right combination of uptempo and downtempo ones, but overall its too regular for Vital Weekly. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lowimpedance.net
Address: http://www.cabin-music.com

LOW IN THE SKY - WE ARE ALL COUNTING ON YOU, WILLIAM (CD by Abandon Building)
In the world of labels like Abandon Building and Expanding Records, there are hardly any real bands. Usually it's one guy adopting the name of a band and playing a CD worth of material. Low In The Sky is the exception, they are a real band, with three people (Joe Minadeo, Pat mcNulty and Corey Farrow) who have been together in one form or another for ten years, and who released their debut in 2005 on Patternbased. 'We Are All Counting On You, William' is their second album. I am not sure, judging by the material, if they play those instruments themselves, but my best guess one of them plays keyboards, one plays drums and one plays guitars. Their music goes beyond any category, I must say. It's most of the time post rock like material, but in much shorter songs, and less complex. Their songs, thirteen in total, are much shorter, almost pop song like formats. There are also traces of hip hop rhythms, intelligent techno, field recordings (a brass band in 'Community Center Shuffle'), rock like songs, but this musical diversity works absolutely to the benefit of this CD. It's sheer variety makes this into a very nice work, highly varied, lots of poppy melodies, intelligent moves and just a very well made album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.abandonbuilding.com

Z'EV - FORWAARD (CD by Korm Plastics)
While Z'EV gained a lot of attention through his percussive music in the 1980s, the focus of his interest has shifted towards the manipulation of field recordings in recent years. 'Forwaard' is based on recordings provided by Frans de Waard. Sounds of rain and running water keep recurring throughout the piece, and the static, yet internally richly structured quality of these sounds is indeed an overall characteristic of this work. Avoiding a dramatic build-up or noisy peaks, Z'EV weaves a dense organic composition from obscured field recordings and meandering metallic overtones. Everything is moving at a slow pace, but there is constant movement and over the course of some 40 minutes a richly varied tapestry of drones unfolds, evoking a calm late-night atmosphere, in which objects appear only as silhouettes and gain a delicate, soothing presence, albeit not devoid of some dark undercurrents.
Finally it should be noted that the Korm Plastics label always pays great attention to the visual aspects of their releases (just think of the wonderfully packed 'Brombron'-series or the recent Hafler Trio 7") and this CD, which comes in a slightly oversized cover, with two screenprinted photographs by Frans de Waard, continues the label's visual policy in a tasteful manner. (MSS)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl

ASMUS TIETCHENS & RICHARD CHARTIER - FABRICATION (CD by Die Stadt)
There was a time that the word 'remix' was not in vogue, but it was called 're-working' or 'recycling'. Asmus Tietchens comes from that time, so he would have probably referred to his remix of Chartier for 'Re'Post'Fabricated' (see Vital Weekly 489) as a rework. It was also the start of a further work with Richard Chartier, which is now released as 'Fabrication'. Material was sent back and forth until it was finished. The material Tietchens initially sent to Chartier is also enclosed, with the first 500 copies, on a CD called 'Pre-Fabrication'. That is nice since it's a rare occasion that we get a glimpse of the work of Tietchens in this. The eleven pieces show a minimal pattern. Just a few sounds are running in each piece, but with various inside the piece throughout the time span. Clicks, rhythms, glissando, and oscillations. The interesting thing is that the material is quite audible, which is a great contrast with the final result of 'Fabrication'. It's great to get a look in the kitchen of Tietchens. What happened en route we learn on the final result of 'Fabrication', which is just one piece that is some fifty minutes long. Here we have to turn up the volume quite a bit, to unfold it's beauty. It's hard to figure out what has happened with the original Tietchens sounds, but I'm sure it's there. The material is again slow, but also soft, and only with the volume a bit louder, things start to work. 'Fabrication' moves through certain phases - or maybe even tracks if you want - but not with a real beginning or ending. Things blend into eachother and as the CD progresses it becomes even softer. No doubt there is a lot of Chartier influences here - the softness, the one piece approach - but the trained listener will certainly recognize the Tietchens influence, certainly if you keep his 'Menge' works in mind. Though the surprise of this collaboration is that perhaps not as a big as both boys deliver a great job as expected, and it's indeed all very much along the lines of microsound, this is a fine work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.diestadtmusik.de

 

MOHA! - NORWEGIANISM (CD by Rune Grammofon)
Following their 'Raus Aus Stavanger' (see Vital Weekly 514) MoHa!, short for Anders Hana on guitar, casio and drum machine and Morton Olson on drums and super collider 3, there is now the same full blown 'Norwegianism'. They are still young of age, 24 and 25 and have an experience of ten years behind their names already. Unlike the previous release, this one is recorded in a studio and later on mixed. It doesn't however change their sound dramatically. The bang like before, even there are moments of silence, but they work in pretty much the same way as the noise. They play their instruments with a furious force, but they remain 100% in control of what they do. To make noise is easy, to make noise and still know what you do, is difficult. MoHa! plays noise and improvise on their instruments, but in their briefness - both in length of their tracks and the total length of the CD - they show a rarely seen quality. MoHa! combines the best of many worlds - improvisation, noise, computer music. Listen and learn, I'd say. These boys will be big one day. (FdW)
Address: http://www.runegrammofon.com

DON'T GET ANNOYED, GET INSPIRED (CD compilation by Ambolthue)
In the 80s when you a bit of cash and wanted to release something the first release was usually a compilation (in the 90s it would be a Merzbow CD), and Ambolthue, even they have released a bit on CDR, their first real CD follows this tradition. But unlike the 80s, when you would invite a real star to be on it (Whitehouse, Nurse With Wound, The Haters or Esplendor Geometrico) this compilation has no real stars, except maybe Lasse Marhaug. Music wise this seventeen track compilation collects people from the lively CDR scene from various musical ends. Noise is an important feature, be it of course from Mister Marhaug, but also Sun State, Maskinanlegg (who do a much better piece here than on the 3" CDR reviewed elsewhere), Andreas Meland, ENT, Torstein Wjiik, Sindre Bjerga, Ryfylke and Broetthaest/Paany. All of them play the noise card, but with various degrees of intensity and/or insanity. However there is also drone music through an excellent piece by Origami Galaktika and one by Kobi, glitch by Iversen and an interesting slab of musique concrete by Staplerfahrer. Improvisation arrives from Origami Tacet and Andre Borgen. For me the pieces that were less noise based where the more interesting ones. The best and most curious piece however was the last one, by one Isak Anderssen, with an obscure collage piece. And so this compilation serves another important goal too: it lets the listener reacquaint with people they already know, but also offers the pleasure getting new musicians a bigger platform. This one has a bit too much noise for me, but perhaps it inspired me to more myself, well, or not of course. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ambolthue.com

ASMUS TIETCHENS - NOTTURNO (CD by Die Stadt)
Back in the day Asmus Tietchens once declared that none of his LPs were to be released on CDs and that he made two exceptions, 'Zwinburgen des Hedonismus/Marches Funebres' and 'Notturno'. In the first edition of his "Monographie' we read (page 126) that he 'owed him something' - the him being the person that ran Barooni, the label who made the CD version of 'Notturno' in 1992. Whatever that something was, I forgot to ask back when Mister Barooni and I met up frequently during office hours and these days I rarely bump into Mister Barooni (he moves in different circles I guess). Following 'Formen Letzter Hausmusik' and 'Hydrophonie', 'Notturno' was the third 'serious' attempt in composing more serious electro-acoustic music, and Tietchens limits himself to using the (grand) piano. In a good tradition, say starting with Cage's prepared piano, Tietchens treats the inside and outside of the piano with objects, like an electric gastr beater, wire brush, coins and others, but unlike Cage it's for Tietchens only a starting point. The recordings are processed in the studio, in no doubt true Tietchens style. Looping the sounds around, filtering through sound effects and synthesizers, after which they finally find their form in neatly constructed pieces of music. To use loops as to the extent that Tietchens does is something that sets him aside from the regular musique concrete composers. At the time for many, yours truly included, this was the first introduction to the more academic music, while now, we hear a record that is certainly a great one but perhaps not so academic as we thought back then. 'Notturno' is one the best Tietchens works that one can encounter and the mastering is much improved over the first edition on CD. While many seem to think that Tietchens music is quite distant and cold, 'Notturno' combines playful melodies and sturdy processing of the material. Certainly one to get if you are only remotely interested in his work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.diestadtmusik.de

SHELF LIFE - DUCTWORKS (CD by Public Eyesore)
TARTAR LAMB - 60 METONYMIES (CD by Ice Level Music/Public Eyesore)
NAGAOAG - YAMA LABAM A (CDR by Public Eyesore)
D+D - PROPERTIES/RIBBONS (7" by public Eyesore)
Shelf Life is Brian Day's most important musical venture today, besides of course running Public Eyesore. Shelf Life is a quartet of musicians, besides Day, there is also A. Boardman, J. Jaros and J. Schleidt. The cover doesn't list any instruments, but I believe to hear a saxophone, one or more guitars, a short wave and some sort of percussion. They are played in a true improvised manner: hit it and see what comes out. They pluck, hit, strumm their instruments in what turns out to be an endless stream of sounds. Thirteen pieces in total, although it's hard to say when a piece ends and when a new one begins. This is my main objection against this release: the dynamic level is not very high, so everything happens on more or less the same level, which is a pity, since it makes it a bit too much in a free form mass of sound. Some more mixing could have helped. Unless of course the idea was to have a total democratic sound, and not have one to play the leading part. If that was their goal, they succeeded in that very well.
Of a totally different kind is Tartar Lamb, a duo of one Toby Driver and Mia Matsumiya. They only get together as such to perform this work, '60 Metonymies' for violin and guitar, which was written by Toby driver, although they might come together in the future to record other pieces. Although '60 Metonymies' is primarily a a duet for violin and guitar, Tim Barnes (trumpet) and Andrew Greenwald (drums) are also brought in on some pieces to add some extra sound. Also studio treatment plays an important role on this CD. It's not always a pure, clean recording of two instruments, but sound effects play some role. It works best as an extended group then, so with the trumpet on drums, like on the ninth track (no track listing come with my copy, but looking at the xeroxed photos of the cover, it no doubt looks like a great cover). Intimate, atmospheric pieces of music, that holds somewhere in between improvisation and composition. Here instruments call for a lead in the play, and makes hitherto more intense music. Quite nice.
Staying in the world of total improvisation we find Nagaog, with their release 'Yama Labam A', which are also the only two words on the cover. So it might not be a Public Eyesore release? Drums, synths, guitar and voice, in a total improvising, free mode of expression. Nervous, hectic, no strings attached to eachother, it seems like the musicians of Nagaog play for each individual player, then for the greater good. But if I'm honest, I must say that this music has something nice to it. It's intense and raw, yet at the same time, it's also quite personal. Especially the Jaap Blonk like vocalizations work quite well. Somewhere half way between free jazz and free punk. Although I must say, a bit more information would have been most welcome.
The D+D is one Dereck Higgins and Dino Felipe. They play together, but each side has the other one credited as main player. Both sides last no more than two and half minute each and it's hard to figure out what these boy play. Guitar for sure, but perhaps also some electronics? 'Properties' is a soft piece, or rather one with lots of silence and an occasional 'outburst', although it never reaches the height of noise, it stands out a bit from the vague crackling. 'Ribbons' on the flip consists more of sustaining sounds but here too things don't extent very much. Again, all in a sort of free improvisation play, but it has a mysterious character, of held back tension that makes this into a nice one.
Eloine, Bryan Day's solo project, sent me also an older release, which falls out of the six minute period, but 'Green Stump' is worth mentioning in spirit of the Shelf Life release. Here the band is reduced to one person, who plays his solo music spread out over a four track machine and mix the whole in a similar way as he does later on with Shelf Life. Day plays rhythm, flutes and guitar, with no particular emphasis on one of them. As such this is an interesting forecast in the future sound of the band. (FdW)
Address: http://www.publiceyesore.com

TASOS STAMOU - INFANT (CD by Editions_zero)
DEAD TRAVELLER - OUTSIDE MY WINDOW (CDR by Editions_zero)
PANAGIOTIS SPOULOS - LOOPS FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (CDR by Editions_zero)
All of these three new releases on Editions_zero, the name currently used by Absurd are from people from Greece. It's my first encounter with somebody named Tasos Stamou, who delivers eight pieces on his CD (as Absurd still puts these out too). Packed in a piece of hard cloth, this is a strange release. Five tracks appear to be recorded live and three are studio pieces. Stamou plays a variety of instruments, guitars, melodica and electronics and perhaps some toy instruments - titles as 'Toys Coming', 'Toy-waltz' and 'Toy-rock' certainly hint in that direction. The music can best be compared with that of Klimperei, even when Stamou plays it all a bit more dark and edgier. It's all quite sparse material, and it's all highly obscure. What he does and why he does things this way. The material is played in a playful, almost childlike manner, hence, perhaps the title. Certainly the strangest release of this week, and easily an outsider of any kind.
Whoever the Dead Traveller is, I also don't know, but a traveller travels, so much is clear. The four pieces on his CDR are field recordings - unprocessed. The title tells us no tale: outside my window I hear this sound. Which can be machine like drones in 'The Drone', the town square in 'The March' and children and birds in the park in 'The park'. Nice as straight forward recordings but it could have used some editing. 'Under The Bridge', the fourth track of this lot incorporates the far away playing of PS Stamps Back, which add an interesting musical texture to the recording and shows something of interest can be done using field recordings in a strange way.
Panagiotis Spoulos is best known for his own releases on his own Phaseweb label, here however guesting on Editons_zero. Spoulos is a man who likes a bit of noise, playing his guitar and feeding the sounds through his bunch of feedbacks, waiting for feedback to occur. The loops mentioned in the title are not really a present feature on this release. The noise element here is however kept to a minimum. It's there, one feels it lurking around the corner, this is all a bit held back and more creepy noise release, save for the last two pieces which are more noisy and break with the previous six pieces. But throughout I thought this was a most enjoyable release, perhaps even the best I heard from this guy so far. (FdW)
Address: http://www.void.gr/absurd

STEFAN FUNK/TBC (LP by Wachsender Prozess)
For many years now Wachsender Prozess is one of the more eccentric labels from Germany. Handmade covers, various types of releases, including LPs, CDRs but also cassettes and a total 'no planned strategy' behind it. One always has to wait and see. TBC is a name that returns a lot and that's hardly a surprise, it's the man that is behind the label. Many of the LPs take the form of a split LP, with TBC on one side, and somebody else on the other side. Here it's Stefan Funk, one of the Tietchens followers from Hamburg (recently present on 'Heizung Raum 318' - see Vital Weekly 579) and one half of Für Diesen Abend, who had some releases on 1000 Füssler. His side here is filled with just one long piece of deep end bass drones and apparently field recordings of a railroad - or perhaps he depicts one. Every now and then a high pitched sound comes in, like the cracking of a contact microphone under the iron wheels of a train. For whatever reason I was reminded of Jonathan Coleclough's 'Windlass' (which should be re-issued me thinks!): a similar dark cloud that covered the whole pieces with some unnerving and unsettling interruptions.
TBC is a man who loves the low end quality of sound. I don't think (I am not entirely sure here), that TBC has updated his technical things in more than fifteen years. Some low end sampler, sound effects and a mixing board - to that extent he goes. For the pieces on his side he uses the sound of stones, sampled and treated. Relatively short pieces of high minimal density going on here. They are sampled in the casio SK 1 sampler and feed through a bunch of delay pedals. Things bump and collide in a pretty neat fashion. TBC is an outsider in the insider field to me. A strange monomaniac maniac, doing whatever suits him best, and not caring about the past, the present, the future or others.
At the same there is also a new issue of Odradek, a fanzine compiled by TBC and he's probably the only one who writes for it (sounded familiar). If you are man enough to read German, then it's worthwhile to pick up a copy. Half the magazine is filled with reviews, covering similar water as Vital Weekly, and the other half has small print lengthy pieces on Wäldchengarten, Flying Luttenbachers, Brume, Jerome Noetinger, Etat Brut and a piece on noise and, in a good punk fashion, a scene report from Ecuador. This is the moment when I'm happy that I was such a good boy in school and learned by German Grammer. Like said, everything from the house of TBC is totally unplanned, unhip and never fashionable. Perhaps the only good to reason to invest this. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hoerbar-ev.de/?Mitglieder:tbc

SPELLEWAUERYNSHERDE, INTERPRETATIONS VARIOUS & SUNDRY (CDR by Trans>parent Radiation)
Bresmsstrahlung is a small label which have brought us some nice releases in the past - a small but good catalogue. They also have a sub division called Trans>parent Radiation which consists of MP3s. After a while they are removed from the website and then the material is released as a CDR. The first one is a compilation of re-composed source material taken from found reel to reel recordings of Icelandic a cappella lament songs made in the late 1960s or early 1970's. Ten composers using this material and they all seem to be from the field of microsound, but they are by no means the least in the field. Fennesz, Roden, Kit Clayton, Taylor Deupree, Takemura, Alejandra & Aeron and Stephan Mathieu - one could wonder why not release this as a real CD. The lament song part is pushed to the back in the most part. The emphasis lies more on the ancient tape hiss and crackle, although some use the faint traces of voices. Most of the time it turns out to be shimmering, humming, crackling and hissing pieces of music. The noise collage played by Nobekazu Takemura is a bit out of place here, or it's certainly a break with the rest. Some people add their own instruments such as guitars (Fennesz and Josh Russell) but they keep in spirit with the overall sombre and melancholic tone of this release. The Takemura piece is the longest and perhaps also the one that is a bit out of place here. It perhaps breaks the mood but in this case it's not so great. Otherwise this is a more than excellent compilation with all equally great sorrowful pieces of music, which could have as easily been on a real CD. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bresmsstrahlung-recordings.org

LOGOPLASM - TESTA PIENA D'ORCHE (CDR by Afe Records)
The name Logoplasm still runs in the world of Italy's underground music as one of the forgotten mysterious names, mainly because of the ill-fated S'Agita Recordings, which had a bunch of great releases and suddenly disappeared for reasons no longer clear. Logoplasm, a duo of Paolo and Laura, every once in a while dig their vaults and pick out a work and make a small edition for friends. One of these releases. 'Testa Piena D'Orche' (meaning 'Head Full Of Killer Whales') ended up in the hands of Andrea Marutti, who made 'another friendly edition' (which is what Afe Records stands for). Logoplasm works with field recordings and electronics and make highly personal music. The shimmering of voices, the careful drone on an organ or the simple plucking of a stringed instrument: this is a great mixture of instruments and field recordings. There are links to the music of Ora and Mirror, certainly towards the end when big time drones and rain covered field recordings emerge, but especially in the first half Logoplasm show a much more personal approach. Their vaults should be opened more! (FdW)
Address: http://www.aferecords.com

CRIA CUERVOS - VOR FEUERSCHLÜNDEN (CD by Afe Records)
Eugenio Maggi, also known as Cria Cuervos, may not be the best known drone meister/field recorder, but his work can easily match the better known ones. He has had a couple of releases already over the past few years on labels such as Mystery Sea, Taalem and Thisco as well as a collaborative works with Paul Bradley, Maurizio Bianchi and Sparkle In Grey, here he has a new solo work. The title apparently means something like 'before throats of fire' in German, which I didn't know, and it has two long pieces. It seems to me that field recordings play an all important part, but they are not easy to detect, except perhaps for the frog choir in the opening minutes of 'Blutgebell'. Apparently there is also somewhere the sound of cicadas, gas, frogs and water, but with Maggi everything is thrown in the mighty blender called the computer. In 'Blutgebell' the frogs leap over into slow cascading wave like sounds - perhaps the processed sound of water - and could easily pass for a somewhat simplified version of The Hafler Trio, mixing their previous interest in surround sound and the recent drone material. When the drones fade out slowly, and water runs in, it's almost like a cover of 'Brain Song'. The title piece, which opens the CD, is a similar piece, even when field recordings are harder to recognize. It might statically charged electricity or escaping gas, which at first moves on the higher end of the sound spectrum, but later on it arrives on various other levels, and things grow towards eachother. From that point onwards things grow like a howling beast until it reaches it peak and in a rather quick fashion it vanishes as mysterious as it appears. Two great tracks of drone music meeting field recordings and microsound, when not innovative, it makes surely a great listening. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aferecords.com

MATHIAS GRASSOW & THOMAS WEISS - INSIGHTS (CDR by Databloem)
DANNY KREUTZFELDT - NUMBERGROUND (CDR by Databloem)
Work by Mathias Grassow is around plenty, yet it doesn't always reach the pages. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it's released on more ambient labels that don't reach out for Vital Weekly. Interesting enough from the little that is reviewed of his work, this is the second release he did with one Thomas Weiss, following the somewhat religious inspired 'Conscience' on Nextera (see Vital Weekly 553). Wether this new release is also inspired by God, I don't know, but somehow I think it is. Right from the opening track 'In', with it's choir like chanting, it's in a heavenly mode. From then on it's in full spirit (excuse le mot): tracks run into eachother and a more rhythmically then on 'Consience'. Long sustaining sounds played on synthesizers, backed with a driving rhythm in 'Circles', following by the deep end drones of 'Whole Pulse' (without a pulse really) and going through phases of slow chimes in 'Language Of Silence' to end with chirping insect like sounds of 'Sights', although they are probably more electronically induced than true field recordings. This is another big A ambient album that is even better than 'Conscience' partly because the five pieces nicely flow into eachother, yet each with a different character. More like a seventies conceptual album, but even when the concept may not directly appeal to me, it's still makes great late night atmospheric music.
Like Grassow, Danny Kreutzfeldt is a busy man. Here too, I believe I review not all of his work, but most likely more than of Grassow. On 'Numberground' he has six tracks, of which four are quite long and two are short. Also unlike Grassow, Kreutzfeldt moves in various musical areas. He has given us noise, ambient and even techno like music, but here he returns to the noisy variations of ambient music. Unfortunately he does that through the extensive use of reverb, which is something I am not particular fond of. It's a big of a cheap drug to create 'atmosphere' just by putting the reverb to 20 miliseconds - everything will sound great as such. Adding some delay effects, and the whole thing is smeared together in this cloud of sound. Rhythmic particles fly about in this big 'hall'. The tracks are too long to hold the interest, and there is simply not enough interesting developments happening. Backed with some of the pieces being mixed in a rather noise/overdrive mode, doesn't make me very satisfied about this release. I heard him do better before. (FdW)
Address: http://www.databloem.com

MANITOU - ALL POINTS NORTH (CDR by Slo.Bor Media)
MATT BORGHI - OLAGRA (CDR by Slo.Bor Media)
On the for me unknown label Slo.Bor Media we come across a new name and an old one, with a big surprise. The label is run by Matt Borghi and Jason Sloan since 2002 and focuses on various types of media, design and conceptual art. The new name here is Manitou who is from Detroit. There is not much information on him, either in the press release or on the cover, except that the label lumps him in with Windy & Carl, Tomorrowland and Stars Of The Lid, which is all a connection that I can dig. Manitou plays spacious music, perhaps on a guitar and a long line of sound effects, or perhaps on a bunch of ancient synthesizers. The first time I played this, I divided into a book and let the music do it's ambient work: fill my environment with sound that is not provoking, but create a textured feeling, the aural wallpaper (I am sure I quoting Eno entirely wrong here). It worked well, as well beyond the time span I looked up and noticed the music was over. However when I sat down to listen more carefully to this release, I noticed that it had no less than nineteen tracks, which is a bit much. Not because of this vast amount of tracks or the length of the release, but with this kind of music some time is needed to explore it's specific character. Now some of the pieces are too short and don't go beyond the sketch like setting, which is a pity. One senses that more could be done with some of the pieces, but it doesn't happen. Other tracks are quite nice, and more worked out and it would have been a good idea to drop the more sketch like pieces and work out some of those into lengthier pieces and make an even stronger album. Still it's pretty decent ambient music.
Also ambient was/is the music by Matt Borghi, at least in the past. His 'Images' (see Vital Weekly 471) springs to mind, but also his collaboration with Aidan Baker (see Vital Weekly 481), but here he leaps over to something different. 'Olagra' (named after a nineteenth century reproduction process called oleography) began life in October 2003 when Borghi started to write and sign traditional songs. Together with Bryan Kay on drums and Phil Smith on bass, there was even a sort of band in 2004, which lived for about a year. The thirteen tracks on 'Olagra' is the culmination of Borghi solo and with the band, although there two (long) tracks of the band as such - the rest is solo. Space is again the place for Borghi, but moving away entirely from the synthesizer, rhythm and sample ambience and into the world of space rock. Meandering guitar lines, space free (free space?) drums, a bass that is the glue and occasional vocals. It's not easy to get to this music, as it seems far away from the 'original' (if such a thing ever did exist, based on a handful of releases) sound of Borghi. Some of the pieces are too long in their spacious and psychedelic wandering, such as 'Sincerely, April', but in his solo pieces, the desolate voice and acoustic guitar work quite well. Unlike Manitou, things work best here when kept to a concise point. This is where this release gets it's real power from. An outsider from the point of Vital Weekly, and most certainly someone who marks a difference in all his work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.slobormedia.com

FREIBAND/VARIOUS ARTISTS - FREIBAND RMX (CD-R by Sijis)
Freiband is of course one of Frans de Waard's several aliases. In 2004 Sijis released Freiband's re-interpretation of the label's back catalogue under the title 'sijis_rmx' which is re-released in an extended version now, not only including two versions of Frans de Waard's 'original' (whatever that means in this context), but also re-interpretations of his piece by artists from Sijis' program, namely Sluggo, Scott Taylor, J Torrance, Srmeixner (formerly from Contrastate) and Mutton Deluxe. Freiband's 15-minute track opens the disc and presents the original material in a state that is probably best described as gaseous - a shimmering, soft cloud of sounds. Starting out in a light mood, the minimal textures only stirred by almost imperceptible undulations, the piece gradually turns darker and culminates in a restrained, yet surprisingly powerful crescendo. With its exploration of stasis, repetition and changing moods this is a particularly strong Freiband work. The alternative mix, which closes the release doesn't differ too much from the original mix, so the other artist's contributions are of more interest here. They stay within the aesthetic parameters set out by Freiband, but extensively tweak and twist the values to add their own flavor. While, for example, J Torrance accentuates the shimmering atmospheric warmth of the first part of Freiband's track, Srmeixner incorporates some sampled acoustic instruments. Each of the contributions succeeds in giving its own statement on the 'original' and in total they all form an aesthetic unity. Thus, thinking about what might be criteria for a good compilation, this collection of tracks might indeed yield one possible answer. (MSS)
Address: http://www.sijis.com

 

AIDAN BAKER - CONVS W/MYSELF (CDR by Evelyn Records)
PILOTRAM - LEAVE BEFORE IT BURNS (CDR by Evelyn Records)
SHIFTS - VERTONEN 14 (CDR by Evelyn Records)
PINK EYE SORE - LITTLE DRONES (CDR by Evelyn Records)
SIGNALS - SONUR (CDR by Evelyn Records)
Things have been quiet for Evelyn Records, mainly due to website problems. But here they release their seventh series of five CDRs, some of them which were recorded a while ago, like Aidan Baker's 'Convs w/ Myself'. Recently Baker worked our musical senses with his Nadja duo and collaboration, but here it's presented in a way that I enjoy much better. Baker on the electric guitar in 'Convs w/o Myself' and an acoustic one in 'Convs w/i Myself'. Baker's procedure is relatively easy: take a four track recording device and fill each of the four tracks with a bunch of improvised sounds, either strumming, with an e-bow, plucking or scraping. Later he sees how to mix these four tracks into a whole, unified piece of music, which especially in the first piece works really well. A calm tone is pushed forward, ambient in approach, with sounds popping in and out of the mix. In the acoustic piece things are a little bit more hectic, with a wider variety of sounds and methods to play the guitar, but with making a somewhat less coherent piece of music. But both pieces have an overall calm and relaxing sound.
Pilotram is a new name for me and it's one Duane Pitre. He has two pieces, the short 'Le Lune De Divergence' and the longer 'Collapsed Architecture'. The first is a soft, not too outspoken of gliding guitar with e-bow tones, while the second piece evolves around long washes of synthesizer sounds that depict long waves washing ashore, rather than anything collapsing or architecture. It makes two beautiful pieces of ambient music, which aren't new by any standard, but it's played with great care and skill. Especially the first piece is quite nice.
Frans de Waard's Shifts project has been going on for about twelve years now, and in the past few years he's been reworking his own material, in a series of compositions called 'Vertonen'. One piece of about twenty-six minutes of heavily processed guitar music, all arriving from the digital domain. Also in the field of drone music, but perhaps a bit more from an isolationist angle, this is a dark and closed piece of music. Slightly similar to church organs or a mass of hum, this fits well alongside his other pieces from the same series and as such may not be a real surprise. Also not one of the most innovative drone pieces per se. But if you love the genre, you may dig this.
Pink Eye Sore is another new name for me. It's a duo of Nick Davidson (of Pink Eye/Dead Eye) and Ian Masters (from Pale Saints and I'm Sore). They deliver the shortest of these five releases, but with the most songs, five in total, 'Drone One', 'Drone Two' and such like. Yet the music is not entirely drone based. They are minimalist pieces for sure, but also seem to evolve around small rhythm particles, which may or may not come from the infamous casio SK 1. They feed through a couple of sound effects and that's it. But they do a nice job at these little drones. Each of the five pieces is indeed a small drone, but more sketch like thing: a few strokes with a pencil, then a worked out Mark Rothko if you get my drift. Charmingely lo-fi drone music which increases in tension throughout these five pieces.
Signals is a collaboration between Phil Julian of Cheapmachines and Chris Gowers of Karina ESP and the owner of Evelyn Records. They already had a release on Julian's Authorized Version label, see Vital Weekly 513, and here they return with another twenty minute plus a bit piece that sees them further exploring bowed guitar, remote control, tone generator, oscillators and tape. I'm not sure if they still want you to play it on headphones, but the deep end bass rumble causes a lot of pressure to the ears. One piece of drone music that is as effective as can be. Slowly evolving tones, field recordings leak through (even when not mentioned on the cover), this is sturdy piece of minimal drone music, that holds no real surprises, but it's a nice tour into a land well explored already. (FdW)
Address: http://www.evelynrecords.connectfree.co.uk

LA DIVISION MENTALE L'EXTASE DES FOUS [INTROSPECTION LÉTALE] (CD by
Blood:Fire :Death)
They are it seems a French industrial black metal band? Consisting of Cypher (electronics? And guitar?) and Mriik (harsh vocals) & Guests Mg,Yd,Bk - the album appears to be an attempt at a crossover between 'Extreme Metal' and 'Indus' sounds? - oh - industrial! It's a very tuneful rhythmic CD, it starts fairly atmospheric, though I'm not that familiar with black metal, but it was certainly in the vein of Black Sabbath - yes that long ago, power chords and guitar riffs against heavy rapid drumming, quite nice really, pity my old leather pants no longer fit. The well produced sound textures slide in and out of the heavy metal sections which at times begins to should prog-rock, - oh dear! - my one niggle was the harsh vocal, bit like an orc from The Lord of the Rings, didn't quite match the musicality of the guitar and drums, but I suspect such course screaming is de rigour on black or is it extreme metal. I didn't find it extreme - more pleasant listening, which might be taken as a criticism, there are moments when you expect to hear the sound of the large stadium audience, but I guess it's a studio album, but I couldn't help thinking you could mix one in - tongue in cheek. A bit too Smashey & Nicey perhaps - I should find it amusing? Maybe. (jliat)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/ladivisionmentale

DARSOMBRA - DELIRIMS & DEATH (3" CDr by Public Guilt)
HARM STRYKER (3" CDr by Public Guilt)
Darsombra is Brian Daniloski guitar player, who I think is probably using an ebow, an echoplex and various frippertronics, it starts out droney and is soon sounding like the intro to Black Hawk Down without the Arab chanting. Failing that it could be from Peter Gabriel's Passion CD, I'm trying to be positive but I really cant stand this kind of thing these days, tunes, echoy drones, beats and rhythms - I preferred Gabriel's Sources. Brian's now talking over a dervish loop - looping voices also. There is also a problem with loops that once you know the rhythm its like a nightmare. Why do I find this kind of thing so bad is that its like avant garde music lite, you can imagine men in carpet slippers quite - and I mean quite liking it. And there is yet 10 more minutes? Now I'd like to kill the guy who invented the tape loop. But then it ends .. It appears there were two tracks, periphery and eyes in eyes - which ends with a woman screaming becky! Becky!, maybe becky bought Brian his echoplex?
On to Harm Stryker ("is Kelly Norse and Kenneth Yates from Richmond Virginia") More deep drone, sub bass stuff to worry your woofers, this isn't looking good Houston. No. they seem to be improvising with electronics, glitches, fizzies and static. quite nice, interesting stuff, sort of like pulling the sound out of the electronics without recourse to prettying it up. They manage to layer up the sounds in a very interesting way, contrasting high pitched whistles and dull hums and throbs, with clicks contrasting to the hums and little oscillator noises and sweeps - it sounds like its improvised live which if it is- is certainly commendable. I'd call this good because its interesting, its not harsh noise, rather like electronic / noise - chamber music, quite beautifully crafted IMO... and then cheeky pair let it run on in silence a few minutes after a sudden ending - and then play a short burst of an oscillator- the little tinkers. (jliat)
Address: http://www.publicguilt.com

BONEMACHINE/MASKINANLEGG (3"CDR by Tosom)
KALTEEINBRUCH (3"CDR by Tosom)
Germany's Tosom label have invested in design and their releases have now covers printed in full color on photo-paper, which look great. Low level design is out, as it's easy to create something that looks good with relatively cheap and easy means. Tosom's music moves from noise to ambient, and with these two 3" CDR releases, they stage on the noise side. Bonemachine is from Austria and he calls his music 'militairy industrial', what's in a name, I'd say. But on his myspace site he claims there is no room for fascists or racists, so the fanatics in that area should fuck off. Good. His piece here shows a clear interest in marching rhythms. It starts slow, like a conveyer belt which just started and then pumps up in full gear and the marching rhythm becomes a little too fast for the average G.I. - however the song lacks a bit of real tension, a menacing threat. Maskinanlegg hail from Norway and have been reviewed before. Here they (he) returns with a rather simple onslaught of a rhythm stuck in digital delay pedal, a distortion pedal and a grunting voice. He can do much better, I know.
Kalteeinbruch is a new project from Germany and their 3" CDR with the same title is the debut release. I am informed that their sound reaches from "harsh noise to glitch and cut up style". I must admit that I think whatever Kalteeinbruch is in debt to noise than to anything else. The glitch elements that one could detect in here is merely the plug in overload signal. The music itself it relatively unfocussed and shows signs of a too early release. Effects are used but in naive manner, like an echo test record. It has potential, this music, but it's a longer road than expected I guess. What do they want? Why? How to acheive it? What makes a noise good, or what makes good noise? These are all questions Kalteeinbruch should consider before going further, but if looked from an embryonic start... it's a start. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tosom.de

FREIBAND - SPAARZAM (3" CD-R by My Own Little Label)
FREIBAND - ICE FIELD (3" CD-R by My Own Little Label)
FREIBAND - UNTITLED DRONE WORK (3" CD-R by My Own Little Label)
The ever-active Frans de Waard has started a new label, which goes by the name of 'Moll'. 'Moll' not only means 'minor key' in Dutch, but, standing for 'My Own Little Label', it is also a highly sympathetic tongue-in-cheek commentary on DIY-creativity. 'Moll' is releasing CD-Rs, featuring music by Frans de Waard's diverse projects and cover artwork by Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek).
The first entry in the catalogue came as a surprise to me, as it finds Freiband taking a direction which I had not encountered before in his work. As it can be learned from the label's website, this recently recorded 17-minute piece is a remix of "Dagpauwoog, the local sad song trio which stopped their activities." Incorporating sparse, looped vocals, a simple melody on the guitar and a basic drum pattern into his signature drone style, Freiband adds an unexpected, pop-fueled emotional character to his music. One might justly object that the melancholic potential of digital drone music has been explored extensively in recent years. But after all the music on 'Spaarzam' is sweet and moody, especially the second part, which embeds the original instrumentation in restrained drones.
The music on 'Ice Field' is not exactly what you would expect from Freiband either, but contrary to 'Spaarzam' it's the grittiness that comes as a surprise here. Partly recorded in 2005 for a planned release on Ideal, which never materialized, and partly recorded in May 2007, the rather short tracks span the whole range of digital austerity, from insistent pulses to exercises in crackle and hiss. They are of a sketch-like character, each one exploring a small set of sounds and variations. Not everything works equally well, but there is enough tension throughout and the first and the last track stand out in particular as strikingly focused and intense.
'Untitled Drone piece' is the only re-release in this series of Freiband CD-Rs (originally issued on 'Twenty Hertz' in 2005). The atmosphere is equally austere as that on 'Ice Field', but instead of the sketch-like approach Freiband presents one 20-minute track again, a format that seems most appropriate to his drone aesthetic. He works with flickering, high-pitched sounds here, which are accompanied by a dark drone underneath. The compositional structure might seem to be devoid of any internal development, but concentrated listening reveals rich microstructural variations, as the various layers move out of sync and new sounds subtly surface in the mix. It's nice that this material is available again now, and the lovely cover photography should of course get an extra cheer. (MSS)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/moll.html

 

Correction: Sewer Goddess (see last week) is a female... The three reviews from Beta-lactam Ring Records were written by Freek Kinkelaar and not Frans de Waard