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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 583
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week 26
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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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WARMTH - LEAVE YOUR WET BRAIN IN THE HOT SUN (CD by Digitalis Industries) *
GOEM - ROBBED (CD by Small Voices) *
SUNROOF - SPITTING GOLD ZEBRAS (CD by Bottrop-boy) *
MATTHEW BOWER & MATTIN - A NEW FORM OF BEAUTY 1975 (CD by Bottrop-boy)
TONAL Y NAGUAL - THE UNSEEN DESERTS (CD by UMB-Kollektif)
PHOLDE - FINDING INTERNAL ASYLUM (CD by C3R)
PAIN JERK & JOHN WEISE TERRAZZO (CD by Harbinger) *
AMOEBAZOID - ZUCKUNG (CD by Cycling 74) *
HAIR POLICE - THE EMPTY QUARTER (CD by Harbinger Sound)
THE BRILLLANT DULLARDS - THE DEFECTOR (CD by High Mayhem)
JAZKAMER & SMEGMA - ENDLESS COAST (CD by No Fun Productions)
CLOAMA - BLUTLEUCHTE (CD by New Old Sentinel)
FLUSHING DEVICE - EVENT HORIZON (CD by Betulla Records) *
PHILIP THOMAS - COMPROVISATION (CD by Bruce's Fingers) *
SIMON H.FELL - COMPOSITION NO.62 (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
SIMON H.FELL - KALEIDOZYKLEN (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
SFQ - THIRTEEN RECTANGLES (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
DEMONS/VERTONEN - LIVE ENEMY/GREW UP IN A DROUGHT (LP by C.I.P./SNSE)
JASON TALBOT/VERTONEN - NICE MOMENTS (7" by CIP)
NECROMONDO NECROMONDO (CD by Mechanoise Labs)
PRINCESS DRAGONMOM - PASSPORT TO INFINITY (CDr by Time Stereo) *
DAVIN BRAINARD (CDr by Time Stereo)
WADE KERGAN (CDr by Time Stereo)
METAL ROUGE - EPHEMEROPTERA 01 (CDR by Seymour Records)
LESSONS AROUND US - OPEN AIR (CDR by State Sanctioned Recordings) *
GLUID - BINNENSUIS (CDR by Esc.Rec) *
BTB - WHO WANTS TO BE HEALTHY IN THIS SICK WORLD? (CDR by Boltfish Recordings) *
TYLER POTTS - THE DELUGE (CDR by Dragon's Eye Recordings) *
CUT FEATURING GIBET - THE MEIOSE RADIO SESSIONS EP (CDR by Altsphere)
MAGGOT BREEDERS - MYIASIS (CDR by Walnut + Locust)
LIONHEAD BUNNY - THE PURPLE DEATH (3"CDR by Sicksicksick) *
APOTHECARY BLUE - WE'RE NOT HERE TO HELP (cassette by Sicksicksick)
LOVELY LITTLE GIRLS - GLAMOROUS PILES & PUFFY SADDLEBAGS (CD by Apop Recordings)
SKAREKRAU RADIO - THE ONE EYED SWINE IS QUEEN (CDR by Apop Recordings)
KOMMON 1 - ARMED CITIZEN RADIO (cassette by Menschenfeind)

 

WARMTH - LEAVE YOUR WET BRAIN IN THE HOT SUN (CD by Digitalis Industries)
You could think this is a cunning marketing plan: 'Leave Your Wet Brain In The Hot Sun' by Warmth was already released and reviewed in Vital Weekly (489), but you need to know that Warmth was called Roxanne Jean Polise back then, the label was Audiobot and the edition of was 80 copies. Now it's Warmth, a real CD and 1000 copies are available. Behind either name is one Steev Thompson and I have no idea why he did change the name of his project, but it's unlikely to be a cunning marketing plan. Back then I wrote: "I think Roxanne Jean Polise are from the USA and it's pretty hard to describe what is going on their release. It's pretty dark music that seems to me sampled together from various musical sources, mainly guitars but also some classical music. In the first piece this leads to a dense modern classical piece, but in the second (all untitled of course) it feeds through a bunch of distortion pedals, pilling up into noise. The third track starts out in an almost ambient mood, which grows and grows with the use of skipping vinyl and sound effects slowly into what could be an uncontrollable noise beast, but the backbone stays present until things explode at the end. File under: fairly intelligent noise." On the CD version there are also two bonus tracks, making up about thirty minutes of extra music. One of these pieces, 'Thank You Cloud. Fuck You Dear Fly' is quite a noisy bugger, which breaks the more gentle clouds that were the first three tracks, but the last one makes things up in similar vein as the first three, and thus tops of a great CD. A very wise decision to release this as a CD. (FdW)
Address: http://www.digitalisindustries.com

GOEM - ROBBED (CD by Small Voices)
Originally Goem used to be a trio of Frans de Waard, Roel Meelkop and Peter Duimelinks, and while they still exist as a trio, there have been several solo and duo releases by the various members under the name of Goem, the latest being a solo work by Roel Meelkop. All the source sounds for 'Robbed' were sampled from one single CD; we are told that the details should remain secret, but except for the conceptual delight and above all the fun of wondering what it could be (mainstream pop? A rock hero? 1990s Euro trash dance?), it doesn't really matter anyway, since it seems next to impossible to trace back the origin of the sounds and they can well stand on their own. Goem's trademark is the straightforward rhythmic pulse, but it's probably needless to say here that the music isn't fully suitable for the dance floor. This doesn't mean, however, that the music on 'Robbed' is devoid of groove. The tracks are based on short loops, consisting of one or two recurring elements, which go through varying combinations, and the resulting rhythmic patterns offer a taste of minimal funk that thrives greatly on the strictly repetitive character of the music. The overall sound is of remarkable digital warmth and fullness, and far away from the standard vocabulary of clicks cum sine waves. Cleverly switching between up- and down-tempo passages, Roel Meelkop achieves a nice balance between various moods. Some of the tracks evoke a relaxed, at times even dub-like feeling, while others include odd contrasting elements, which give them an insistent, driving character. Goem's music is well structured and demands repeated listening to discover the complex micro-variations within the rhythmic patterns; but what makes 'Robbed' truly likeable is that it succeeds in blending these characteristics with a swinging, thoroughly pleasant overall atmosphere. (MSS)
Address: http://www.smallvoices.it

SUNROOF - SPITTING GOLD ZEBRAS (CD by Bottrop-boy)
MATTHEW BOWER & MATTIN - A NEW FORM OF BEAUTY 1975 (CD by Bottrop-boy)
After a bit of silence Bottrop-boy started up again, changing the look of the label, in favor of highly handmade covers, which look nice, and no doubt will drive some to craziness (not to mention the limited availability of 250 copies). I have kept up only a bit with Sunroof, or in fact Matthew Bower's entire career, and it's not out of laziness, but there is only so much you can keep up with. I liked Skullflower a lot, Total was a lot less, but Sunroof was again great. The differences between the latter too are in the details, I guess. If you would have played me 'Spitting Gold Zebras' and asked me to guess which of Bowers names he was using, I would have probably guessed it would be Total. Maybe it's my lack of knowledge or the differences are in the details. The fact that Bower plays with other people on this CD makes it I guess Sunroof. I thought this particular Sunroof was a bit more noise related than some of the more previous outings by the band, with an onslaught of guitars, feeding it through the colored boxes on the ground, swirling feedback and other noise generators. The fifth track has Merzbow like proportions, topping off a loud CD that grows in intensity.
Intensity and noise are also the keywords to the collaboration that Bower did with Mattin. Bower on guitar and feedback and Mattin on computer feedback, recorded to a cassette (although that's hard to believe). Recorded in one go, a forty-eight minute onslaught - again - which is much more singular and straight forward than the more complex Sunroof. It's a bit hard to guess what the title has to do it, as an old bloke like me thinks of Virgin Prunes right away, but this single minded attack on the ears is something different. Well, perhaps this is the real new form of beauty - the beauty of ugliness, the beauty of cruelty. But it's beauty for the true lovers of the genre, whereas Sunroof could appeal to more people. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bottrop-boy.com

TONAL Y NAGUAL - THE UNSEEN DESERTS (CD by UMB-Kollektif)
Judged by the cover art on debut full-length album by Tonal Y Nagual, the musical expression from the German project would be related to ethnic music culture. Though this is not the case. The music is harsh industrial rock assisted by some angry vocals. The bombastic rhythms being part of the noisy industrial-rock combined with the manifesting vocals give associations back to bands like Nitzer Ebb and Treponem Pal. There is a nice ritual atmosphere upon the album not too far away from Einstürzende Neubauten. Towards the end of the album, the track "Ashen winds" makes a radical in expression towards a more melancholic and sorrowful guitar-based folkloric ambient added some deeply emotional vocals reminiscent of Rober Rich's side-project Amoeba. Interesting album. (NM)
Address: http://www.umbkollektif.com

PHOLDE - FINDING INTERNAL ASYLUM (CD by C3R)
First time I listened to Canadian concrete sound artist Alan Bloor was with the release of the harsh noise-compilation "Coalescence" from Alien8 Recordings. That was under the alternative project of Alan Bloor, Knurl, which represents the harsher side of the artist. Pholde shows another musical approach from Mr. Bloor. Pholde is his dark ambient project. As is the case with Knurl, the expression of Pholde has a heavy weight put on concrete sounds. Alan Bloor once said: "I find the metal instrument must contain different tensile strengths to achieve a complexity of sound. The way it is played and the objects that are used to play the instrument also play a vital role in achieving the desired sound. " It is certain that the artist knows how to process and manipulate his source materials with the result of sending the listener into a dark world featuring everything from abstract noises of musique concrete to the interesting sounds of concrete metal-based music. "Finding internal asylum" - as the title of the album reveals the six works of the album operates in spheres of an introvert character meant to dive into with all senses focused on the music. The result is extremely addictive, but do not expect any jolly tune that you can whistle while you work afterwards. (NM)
Address: http://www.c3r.ca

PAIN JERK & JOHN WEISE TERRAZZO (CD by Harbinger)
This review is dedicated to 'Dave' at Halfords (car accessory and cycle retailer) an assistant who recently spent an hour fitting a CD player into my car, (normal time 2-3 minutes) - during which time he disassembled the old radio cassette and in doing so nearly pushed a Philips screw driver through his right thigh - his left thigh and the passenger seat. The CDc.d. player was fitted twice, once we decided that a 10% angle though looking attractive was not the correct position for the player- each time Dave handling it like it was some kind of snake that he had to crush with his own hands or else stab to death with his screwdriver. Screws and brackets would fly around the car, in all the excitement he also forgot to charge for the fitting - a piece of performance art in its own right - this was the first good thing to arrive out of the "event" - and the day - the second was playing this CD. Though Dave wasn't at all impressed at the sound as I drove off, for me Terrazzo made the wait and the performance of Dave the fitter worthwhile. Do I need to list the background credentials of the collaborators John Weise- Bastard Noise, and Kohei Gomi aka Pain Jerk. Actually no - this recording is simply in a different league, its beautifully constructed noise work, changing in dynamics, bass and treble white noise and feedback, sheer brilliance of sound and construction, an absolute classic of the genre, and you should just have seen the expression on the face of some youth playing his rap music at the traffic lights on the way home - just what was that old guy in the crappy micra playing!!!!!' So the wait - Dave's performance and the cost of my new Kenwood(t.m.) player was well worth it, what a wonderful day.. (jliat)
Address: http://www.harbingersound.org

AMOEBAZOID - ZUCKUNG (CD by Cycling 74)
Behind Amoebazoid is one Keith O'Brien and I believe it's his first album. Like many of the releases on Cycling 74, this release too deals with software developed by Cycling 74, such as Max/MSP. So far the releases were more or less academic in approach, or incorporating improvisation. O'Brien however takes the software to the dancefloor, and through his self built patches, he plays rhythm covered music, with a strong love for some heavy keyboard patterns. They sound fat, organ like, even symphonic at times. The closing 'Shugaza' could be Keith Emerson playing a stack of laptops (with or without knives), which makes it doubtful wether Amoebazoid would ever really make it to the dancefloor. The music is a bit too jumpy and too playful to be a straightforward dance experience. It makes it of course nicer to play at home, but even then some of the pieces are a bit too nervous. The CD is best in those places when he pulls the speed and hectic back and comes up with a slower tune with less happening. It's an alright CD, but one that I had to approach with some care and consideration, as to not be overwhelmed but all that is happening in there. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cycling74.com

HAIR POLICE - THE EMPTY QUARTER (CD by Harbinger Sound)
A digipack CD of industrial noise from 'Mike Connelly (Wolf Eyes), Trevor Tremaine (Death Unit) and Robert Beatty (Burning Star Core)'.. is certainly not in the same territory as the other Harbinger Sound release I've just reviewed. though the first tracks are 'noisy' dull throbbings (er yes - perhaps a tip of the hat here?) and some higher pitched work latter on - the processing and use of echo, the gradual layering of textures as opposed to the totality of violence in more harsh noiseworks puts this CD in an ambivalent position, neither slower and sinister or faster and more obviously violent. until the last droney track fades away.. Like the digipack in monotone its strangely out of place and out of joint. but not in the sense of Hamlet. it appears however spectreish enough to evoke 70s and 80s experimentalisms and gothic landscapes, and if that is what it intended it does this well, but lacking in any irony, or maybe I've missed that. Ultimately then - well not ultimate but strangely nostalgic - though I'd rather not go back there.... its good at last to be that "21st centaury schizoid man". (jliat)
Address: http://www.harbingersound.org

THE BRILLLANT DULLARDS - THE DEFECTOR (CD by High Mayhem)
A new release from High Mayhem from a new band. A band that is made up of Alex Neville (acoustic guitar, banjo, electronics, voice), Chase Haynes (bass, trumpet, voice), Jeremy Bleich (electric guitar, melodica) and Milton Villarrubia (drum set, laptop). They are around in this line-up since 2006. In 25 minutes and 9 songs they "push the limits of traditional country music" with their version of "avant-country"music. So the promosheet let us know.
As I'm absolutely no authority on country music (nor a fan), it may be no wonder that I was unable to connect their music with country music. What I did hear were 9 normal songs, all passing by at the same slow pace, except for the uptempo and chaotic last track. All songs are equally drenched in the same melancholic atmosphere that is evoked by the singing of Neville and the prominent melodica played by Bleich. The Dullards play with subtlety and nuance. No big gestures or experimental, avant garde excursions. Within the traditional songformat they fill up the songs nicely with all kind of little noises, etc. That is their trademark if you ask me. (DM)
Address: http://www.highmayhem.org/

JAZKAMER & SMEGMA - ENDLESS COAST (CD by No Fun Productions)
Following last week's re-issue of two old Smegma works, here is a super new collaboration of the old men from Portland and the latest (?) craze in noise music from Norway Jazkamer, who are John Hegre and Lasse Marhaug, but here with Carlos Giffoni in their midst. Jazkamer played the westcoast in fall 2006, and stopped by the Smegma studio to record this bunch of five songs together with the extended Smegma line up. Jazkamer's moving from the real noise, via laptops to a noise metal unit, is something that doesn't show here very much. There are only faint traces of the noise and fury of Jazkamer, but it's more the playing of Smegma that prevails here. The improvised manner of them playing their instruments, blowing horns, mumbling voices, bass and drums is picked upon by Jazkamer who return the favor by making similar improvisation gestures on their instruments, most likely the guitar, bass and synthesizer. Of course, these eight people get carried away at times, and things go wild and rampant. There is a nice free jazz mood on this CD, which makes it altogether quite nice. Noise is only here for smaller bits and bops, here and there, but free loud improvisation is the main goal. Quite nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nofunproductions.com

CLOAMA - BLUTLEUCHTE (CD by New Old Sentinel)
It's been about two years when I first heard Cloama, through a self titled CD released by New Old Sentinel (see Vital Weekly 486) and here they come up with a release that was recorded in 2006 and 2007. I wrote back then that Cloama was likely to be an one man project, but the picture of two hooded men in the new booklet might show otherwise. Cloama continues their somewhat unfocussed stabs at music, through a barrage of ambient noise and noise ambient. Guitars seem to me the most important instrument, but sound effects play an important role too. New is the voice. Heavy, deep, loaded voice with reminded at times of the similar use in Contrastate, and at other times of Ramleh of Whitehouse. What the deeper and darker thoughts are behind this, is a bit hard to guess. No doubt it's about alienation in society, a deep longing for old times through new music, or some such. Lovers of Cold Meat Industry, Old Europa Cafe and Tesco know the drill of this. Occasionally even spent on me, certainly when they come close to Contrastate in music and words. (FdW)
Address: http://neuroscan.org/nos

FLUSHING DEVICE - EVENT HORIZON (CD by Betulla Records)
Guitar, softwares [sic], synthesizer and microphones are operated by Alessandro Massobrio, who works as Flushing Device and 'Event Horizon' is his first release, which he calls an EP, but with some over thirty minutes of music is also a real CD, at least in my book. The blend of field recordings, computer processed guitar and synthesizer sounds is of course these a common one, and as such Flushing Device doesn't offer much new, even when he separates his interest. 'Sensucht' is a piece that dwells entirely on synthesizer, whereas the opening piece 'Montemarino' offers a true guitar glitch wave field. The music by Flushing Device is hardly to be called a big surprise by any means, but he does a true fine job. I played it three times in a row, while doing some things around the house, and every time I thought, it was quite o.k. Nothing innovative, new or otherwise breaking the rules, but throughout a most enjoyable, not too difficult disc of warm glitchy music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.betullarecords.com

PHILIP THOMAS - COMPROVISATION (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
SIMON H.FELL - COMPOSITION NO.62 (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
SIMON H.FELL - KALEIDOZYKLEN (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
SFQ - THIRTEEN RECTANGLES (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
One of the pleasures of writing reviews is that from time to time you come across a totally unknown musical universe that really hits you. This happened to me with these four CDs of Simon H.Fell that recently dropped on the doormat. Overviewing the catalogue of the Bruce's Fingers label, it is clear that it is a high quality label of improvised and other contemporary music. Many, if not most releases have some involvement of Simon H.Fell, so I guess he runs this label. The website of the label is very informative, giving lots of background information, through interviews with Fell, etc. So what can I add? Well, I give it a try. First, with these four cds my first encounter is a very intensive one, as none of them make it easy the listener.
Only 'Comprovisation' is a recent release, the other ones go back to 2001-2005. It is a solo cd by new music pianist Philip Thomas from Sheffield. He performs works from, besides Fell, Paul Obermayer, Chris Burn, Michael Finnissy, John Cage and Mike Beck, featuring music from recent series of concerts of the same name. The works by Beck, Burn and Fell were specially written for Thomas. All the works have in common that it are compositions that play with improvisation in one way or the other. And that is were the heart of Thomas beats. Educated in the european classical music tradition, he felt more and more attracted in playing improvised music in the last few years. For Fell it is the other way around. Coming from a background of jazz and improvised music, he integrates and communicates more and more with traditions of composed music. The composition by Fell on this cd is called 'Thirteen New Inventions' and is the result of Fell's research on Bach's keyboard repertoire. Some of the parts of this work are indeed close to Bach, in the way that the influence of Bach can be recognized. In other parts however are completely different in nature and dynamic. Thomas feels very much at home in this work and gives a fine and dedicated interpretation of all the compositions on this this excellent recorded cd. Comparing 'Comprovisation' with the other three cds, it is immediately clear that 'Comprovisation' is an exception, as it is an solo album for piano, whereas the other three cds make no doubt that Fell prefers large ensembles.
As 'less is more' is a musical device often used, why not also the opposite 'More is more'. Fell is dedicated to the second principle: lengthy compositions, big ensembles, integrating many influences, etc. In all respects Fell is a guy who does not choice the easy way. One could easily accuse him of megalomanic tendencies, but Fell is in all respects in control.
'Thirteen Rectangles' is a 70-minute giant composition Fell composed for the quintet SFQ, inspired on a painting of the same name by Kandinsky. It has Alex Ward on clarinet, Gail Brand on trombone, Alex Maguire playing piano, Steve Noble on drums and Simon H.Fell on double bass. I was completely absorbed by it. It switches from very swinging parts to very modern composed new music. Leaving room for solo excursions by all musicians, so also for improvisation. I especially liked the playing of Ward. No easy listening, but very well structured and condensed music. A great work! Truly amazing how many ideas pass by and make up one work. 'Kaleidozyklen' (composition nr.57) is the name of another expanded composition by Fell, this time for double bass (Fell), clarinet (Rachel Cooks) and piano (Paul Kosciecha) and orchestra (the LSTwo Ensemble, conducted by Simon Baines and assisted by 5 assistant conductors). As in most of his work Fell is researching the borders between composed and improvised music, not only concerning the way a musical structure comes about, but also in the way of playing and interpreting the notes. From this point of view the orchestra on this cd also engages in playing in the spirit of jazz. Bringing a liveliness and emotionality that is often lacking in modern composed music. Recorded in 2000, with 'Compilation IV' we come more to the present. This work was recorded in 2005. Again a countless number of musicians are involved here. In this work Fell more explicitly refers to the work of other composers and artists like Birtwhistle, Mancini, George Russell, Stockhausen! To write such extensive works and not get lost in pointless complexity is an impressive job. As the first generation of european improvisors moved first from american styled jazz to completely improvised music. In a second phase they moved from improvised music to composed music, integrating composed music in the context of improvised music, or the other way around. This is the battlefield where Fell fights his musical adventures, making an essential contribution to European new music. Absolutely no doubt. (DM)
Address: http://www.brucefingers.com/

DEMONS/VERTONEN - LIVE ENEMY/GREW UP IN A DROUGHT (LP by C.I.P./SNSE
So synths are apparently the newest thing in the noise locker room, with even Merzbow returning to his analogues for maybe a little longer then his recent jaunt with Giffoni, and so it makes sense that Nate Young subtracts the synths from Wolf Eyes and concentrates on them solely for his Demons project, a duo with Steven Kenney. It's nice to see such a general return of appreciation for this way of working, but I'm not sure if it makes for fresh listening. "Live Enemy" is basically just two guys jamming on their synths, not caring about going anywhere particular apart from out-there. Problem is, sometimes the world is enough. Vertonen fills the other side of the black as he has done on many previous splits though I don't seem to remember it as such machine-gun warfare. The wavering blast beats are quite a nice background to the active artillery shooting off metal scraps all over it. The tank stutters to a halt halfway through, apparently out of gas, and then runs on for a couple for miles on automatic. Not bad. (RM)
Address: http://www.cipsite.net

JASON TALBOT/VERTONEN - NICE MOMENTS (7" by CIP)
Since his split with Howard Stelzer we don't hear much from Jason Talbot, the turntablist that made such a wonderful duo with Stelzer, who played cassettes. His Kissy Records seems to have disappeared, and otherwise things are silent. However here he returns for a 2007 tour with Blake Edwards, also known as Vertonen (and CEO of CIP). In 'Thanks For The Kind Words' he has a rather rough collage of turntable noise and cable hum. Feedback generated through contact microphones (needle skipping on glass, ice and sand) and radio interference make up the piece, which somehow seems not entirely finished. Vertonen is back to his drone area, but with a louder piece than some of his recent drone outings. A arpeggio rhythm of a stylus that got stuck in a groove, feeding of through a synthesizer, make a rather noise/NON/Boyd Rice piece of music, but which is much friendlier than Rice ever did. The layers slowly shift and drift and it makes a fine piece that is perhaps a bit too short. On each side you will find five lock grooves (play at 33 RPM the cover says, but any daring and aspiring DJ knows it can be at any speed), which no doubt found their way in the sets of either Talbot and Edwards on their 2007 tour, for which occasion this 7" was produced. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cipsite.net

NECROMONDO NECROMONDO (CD by Mechanoise Labs)
PRINCESS DRAGONMOM - PASSPORT TO INFINITY (CDr by Time Stereo)
DAVIN BRAINARD (CDr by Time Stereo)
WADE KERGAN (CDr by Time Stereo)
Necromondo's CD we are told is inspired by Italian horror movies of the late 70's / early 80's. Oscillating synthesizer buzzes, which is not immediately obvious, not obvious at all, it's a series of small pucussive and empty events which both matches my mood and activity precisely, I'm sitting on a train, we are moving out of a non entity of a town with the usual graffitied railway bridges and into the country, summer heat and cumulus clouds, a distant power station and power lines across cornfields, englands fen landscape, flat and empty is the backdrop to these 11 tracks, some accompanied with the sounds of water, an annoying loop on track 4, it like the landscape and my head is empty, high summer and nothing matters.
Princess Dragonmom is similar - without the water sounds - more glitchy and annoying - like the commuters on my return journey, with extreme panning across channels. Their blurb says "Princess Dragonmom aims to transform the
performance space into a surreal and wonderful playground for all ages. Current members of the group include Davin Brainard, Warn Defever, Ronald Cornelissen, Dion Fischer, Erika Hoffmann, Jeremy Kallio, Scott5, and MOG."
And they appear in Wikipedia - wow! For me the banality of this train journey is not surreal, though it is suitable for all ages - whatever that means. I always thought surrealism was about a greater truth, not some escapism, but its too hot and oppressive to argue or care, I can never see cornfields without thinking about suicide, there is a depressing element to high summer in a flat landscape. Davins's Cdr uses synth oscillators to produce low-fi pitches - noise - rumbles and squeaks, which run on for sometime slowly changing - Wade is more pitched yet still abstract, the sound textures alter more quickly. Glissandos of synths. twittering like electronic birds - and creatures - I cat believe I just wrote that. I think its an attempt at humour - these animal noises. I can't help thinking if I was in Reykjavik or Tunis all this would sound different, it might sound worse, the listener alters the music - and the listeners subjective state cant be ruled out, and even this idea I would ideally erase - we are in England awaiting the storm. (jliat)
Address: http://www.mechanoise-labs.com
Address: http://www.timestereo.com

METAL ROUGE - EPHEMEROPTERA 01 (CDR by Seymour Records)
Moving from New Zealand to Los Angeles certainly didn't make Metal Rouge very lazy, as 'Ephemeroptera 01' is already the second release in a short time span, following 'Calling Winter' (see Vital Weekly 573). Metal Rouge is Helga Fassonaki and Andrew Scott, who play mostly stringed instruments such as a guitar and the santur, a Persian instrument. Also present are a setar, mayflies and 'things', probably objects to play the instruments with. Not much is said about the space they play in, but using natural reverb is something they like. It's still a present feature on this release. The tracks are longer than before and less in number, only three. In the opening 'Nymph' they go way out into the field of noise, which is a jacket that doesn't suit them very well. In the other two pieces they walk the land that fits them better. Especially in 'Mayfly' they wander about in a free drone style, scraping their instruments in a calm and controlled manner, and this piece easily meets the best I heard from them. A small step forward this new release, with at least one great track, one which is ok and one that didn't appeal to me very much. (FdW)
Address: <seymourrecords@gmail.com>

LESSONS AROUND US - OPEN AIR (CDR by State Sanctioned Recordings)
Behind Lessons Around Us is Bristol based Tim Kirby, who started his career as En-Eye, but later joined The Sonic Catering Band and is now, on his own again Lessons Around Us. On 'Open Air' he presents us a bunch of pieces, short ones, of field recordings made in France and the Uk, as well as a piano, guitar, washing machines, cooking, violin, voice, dictaphone, answer-phone, harmonica, prepared CD, vinyl and the Daytron rhythm generator. Collage method is what Tim wants here, and it's what we get. It's an album of highly personal snapshots, pieces of the countryside, some piano playing, some even wander about into a real piece of music, but throughout all of the pieces stay a bit too much on the sketchbook front. The cover looks a postcard, and the music can also be seen like that: sending a postcard home, with not much space, one writes only a few words, and the pieces here are alike that. Just a few sounds, going loop-wise, fade in and fade out. One wished that he worked out his pieces a bit more than just this, because certainly when it comes down to combining instruments and field recordings, one senses that there is more to it than we are offered now. It gave me the impression that Kirby is not yet sure which road to follow, but perhaps he should consider to think a bit longer what he wants and how to achieve it. (FdW)
Address: http://www.stateanctioned.com

GLUID - BINNENSUIS (CDR by Esc.Rec)
In Dutch 'geluid' means sound, 'gluid' could be a shortened version thereof, and 'Binnensuis', could be short for 'Binnenshuis', home interior. To explain this proofs the difficulty about this release, well at least for those who don't speak Dutch. The Dutch texts, written by Jehudi van Dijk, deal with anxiety, phobia of all kind and neurosis. They are read by a dancer, Janneke Lenzen, who reads with a great voice, and set to music by Bram van den Oever. They all came together, after each finished their own part of it, and made a short dance of this. I could ramble that seeing is believing, but I agree with Esc.Rec here: the music stands well by itself and it's good to see this released as a CDR. The voices are not cut, but they loop through echo units and set to a warm bed of electronics. A bit like Expanding/Highpoint Lowlife, but the addition of voices make it to something wholly unique. The anxiety and neurosis really come alive in the spoken word/text of "stepping on dust (don't do it, stop), turning up the heat (or did I do that already), who are my friends, do I think, it's not scary, it is...". It's not scary music, or even scary lyrics, but it makes a truly wonderful combination. One is sucked into this fascinating world, and I really regret that so many of my non dutch speaking listeners will not be able to understand this. Almost a radio play like piece this one, I could hope for a translation one day. While dance is not my art discipline, I wish I saw this one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.escrec.com

BTB - WHO WANTS TO BE HEALTHY IN THIS SICK WORLD? (CDR by Boltfish Recordings)
Behind BTB is one Franco Colombo, who hails from the rather unusual (for Vital Weekly that is) city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. His first release is from 2001 and he has some music for Audiobulb and various for Boltfish, who now release his 'Who Wants To Be Healthy In This Sick World?'. The differences are in the details, I wrote somewhere else, which certainly goes for releases on UK's Boltfish Recordings. Certainly there is a general matrix for the kind of music Boltfish releases, broken rhythms, spacious melancholical keyboard lines, instrumental, rhythmical but not always really danceable. For some of these artists, and Boltfish has a lot of artists on their roster, there is a stronger link to ambient music, or some more present rhythms and lesser dwelling on the keyboards. BTB is among them. His rhythms are stronger than is usual with the other artists on this label, with experimental sound bending (real time time stretching) and lesser to the keyboards, however they are there, pushed a bit to the back. Of the twelve tracks, four are remixes of other Boltfish artists, which proof the liveliness of the scene. BTB doesn't do an outstanding job, something beyond the ordinary, but it's throughout pleasant uptempo electronic music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.boltfish.co.uk

TYLER POTTS - THE DELUGE (CDR by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
Recently we were first introduced to Seattle's Dragon's Eye Records, who now release the for me unknown Tyler Potts, who is originally is from Denver where he studied Electronic Media Art and Design and spent his time collecting toy keyboards, tape players, xylophones and beater guitars from thrift stores. He has some ties to making music for modern dance, but on 'The Deluge' it's more about writing small songs. Songs as in the classical sense of the word, a small piece of music, rounded, structured and shaped and then move to the next one, which is totally different, but it's whole that makes a songbook. What he exactly does, it's hard to guess. But perhaps he took his old thrift store stuff to the computer, recording them and carefully processes music out of that. Having said that, Potts' music hasn't got much to do with microsound, even when we may recognize some of the sound processing. Much of what he does stays on the musical side: we still recognize that piano, far away a guitar or washes of a synthesizer/organ. Layered are the various recordings, complete with some field recordings and reshaped plug ins. It's a nice combination making things much more popmusic like than the usual micro-posse. However not every track is equally strong, certainly when Potts stays a bit too much on the loop-side: things revolving around a handful of loops, whereas it could have used a bit more melody. But throughout it's an enjoyable release, with an interesting mixture of popmusic like songs embedded in microsound structures. (FdW)
Address: http://wwwdragonseyerecordings.com

CUT FEATURING GIBET - THE MEIOSE RADIO SESSIONS EP (CDR by Altsphere)
MAGGOT BREEDERS - MYIASIS (CDR by Walnut + Locust)
It's a bit hard to see the relation between these two, which came from the same source, Walnut + Locust, although the release by Cut is on Altsphere. Cut is Alberick on laptop and Gibet on guitar. And either of them is responsible for the vocal bits. Whatever it is that the laptop does here, it's an extension of what the guitar does. The four pieces are linked to the world of singer and songwriters, with mumbling voices, forceful strumming and a howl of drone. It's actually quite nice, even when production wise there could have been gotten more out of it. It's a bit muffled this recording, and of course one can never be sure that this is intended or not, but one senses there would have been more to it. Even when not my entire cup of whatever, it's quite alright.
Behind Maggot Breeders is one Reuel Ordonez, hailing from Filipino origin, but living in Montreal, where he plays music since 1984, mainly in doom, sludge and hardcore bands, but going more radical in Maggot Breeders, although the guitar is his primary weapon. The opening piece is quite a loud beast of guitar distortions, but that shouldn't distract you. It's a bit of an odd ball that one, since the other tracks are less harsh, and more atmospheric. Drone music with a touch of 'rituals' buried deep down somewhere. Organic, isolationist music along the lines of let's say Lull. That is the main portion of this CDR, whereas the final two tracks are also a bit out of place. One has looped voices which I didn't like very much and the final piece, being the title piece, is a feedback piece, which is a good ending to the release, even when it breaks entirely with the mood of the moment. A strange release, but especially the drone like pieces work quite well. Nothing new, but quite good! (FdW)
Address: http://www.altsphere-prod.fr.st
Address: http://www.walnutlocust.com

LIONHEAD BUNNY - THE PURPLE DEATH (3"CDR by Sicksicksick)
APOTHECARY BLUE - WE'RE NOT HERE TO HELP (cassette by Sicksicksick)
LOVELY LITTLE GIRLS - GLAMOROUS PILES & PUFFY SADDLEBAGS (CD by Apop Recordings)
SKAREKRAU RADIO - THE ONE EYED SWINE IS QUEEN (CDR by Apop Recordings)
KOMMON 1 - ARMED CITIZEN RADIO (cassette by Menschenfeind)
Following Matt Krefting's cassette last week, here is another two of them. A little craze? I hope not, as it's drag to get the player out and play them... On Sicksicksick we first find a 3"CDR by Lionhead Bunny, a duo of ex-Smog, ex-Mekons member Jessica Billey and her husband Bud Melvin, who is a banjo/gameboy musician. Together they play a bunch of things with strings, violins, banjo, guitar, mandolin but also a gameboy, pedals and percussion. Together they play some mighty strange improvised music of sorts. Scraping and plucking all the strings, no doubt at the same time, of which the banjo plays an important role, making it improvisation meets bluegrass. It's quite nice, and certainly enough to get your attention - more would have been a bad idea.
Behind Apothecary Blue is one Chad McCoy, who is also one half of Bonetar. He plays, according to his myspace site "Electrombone, Bass, Tenor, Valve Trombones, Voices, Analog and Shitty Digital Keyboards, Samples, Microphones, Feedback, Sine Waves, Radios, Various Bits of Homemade and Chinese Made Percussion, Producer", and on his cassette the result is rather noise related chaos. Not from the kind of overkill feedback distortion but through electronic collages of bubbling sine waves, distortion, and obscured sounds dropping in and out of the mix. However it doesn't lead to many great things, as the whole thing seems to be dragging on without much composition or structure.
On another US label, Apop Recordings, we find a real CD and two cassettes, on a subdivision (if I'm correct) called Menschenfeind (people's enemy). Lovely Little Girls is fronted by Gregory Jacobsen on vocals and there is furthermore bass, drums, saxophone, drums and guitar. On the Apop website, we read "scatological, goofy and gender-fucked, Lovely Little Girls somehow hit at a perfect balance between pretentious-as-hell art-faggotry and hilarious self-deprecation."
From this end they look to be the next Captain
Beefheart. Quite rock like music, which probably is weird by any conventional rock standard, but in my book sound a bit too normal, regular weirdness. Well-calculated madness that is hardly mad by any standard.
On a CDR the follow-up to 'Feel Pee EP' by Skarekrau Radio (see Vital Weekly 554) and the bandmembers still hide behind silly names and likewise silly instruments, but let's just say they are a rock band, a free rocking one that is, one of total mayhem. They don't push their sound forward here. It's what it is, at least for now. Skarekrau Radio still take their influence from early 80s postpunk, play it with a similar energy drive and still the best would be to see them play live, but somehow I don't think it will happen in Europe very easily. Nice booklet also with this one, which shows what it could look like.
Kommon 1 existed from 1987 to 2000, but I never heard of them. 'Armed Citizen Radio' was recorded in the mid 90s for a pirate radio station and has only now been released, although it's a bit unclear why. The cover doesn't reveal any information and the tape is a hissy affair of the usual wall of feedback sounds. Like going back to the early eighties when I heard loads of tapes by Nails Ov Christ and such power noise alike. But I was young, them were young and now it simply doesn't hold the same power as it once did. It seems to me a rather pointless exercise in noise, but who knows, maybe someone out there is young and thinks this is great. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sicksicksickdistro.tk
Address: http://www.apoprecords.com