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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 586
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week 29
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html
you can subscribe to the weekly broadcast using the following rss feed:
http://www.harmlog.nl/vitalfeed.asp
New broadcasts will be sent directly when uploaded.

 

* noted are in this week's podcast

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!

 

FOVEA HEX - ALLURE (CDEP by Die Stadt) *
KEN IKEDA - MIST ON THE WINDOW (CD by Spekk)
OPITOPE - HAU (CD by Spekk) *
ERIC COPELAND - HERMAPRODITE (CD by Paw-Tracks) *
MICHEAL PRIME - BORNEO (2CD by Mycophile Records) *
ANDY MOOR - MARKER (CD by Unsounds) *
THANOS CHRYSAKIS - KLAGE (CD by Aural Terrains) *
BLOODYSNOWMAN - S/T (CD by Daly City)
V-A NORMOTON GOLD (CD by Normoton)
FILEWILE - NASSAU MASSAGE (CD by Mouthwatering Records)
KIRDEC - KILLED BY A COCONUT (CD by Syrphe Records)
ELEKORE - VOLUNTARY HUMAN EXTINCTION (CD by Syrphe Records)
ONE MAN NATION - RAINED AND IT RAINED. BULLETS IT RAINED (CD by Syrphe Records)
BIOMASS - MARKET (CD/DVD by Quetempo)
SPHERICAL DISRUPTED - BARRIERE (CD by Audiophob)
MACHINEFABRIEK - KRUIMELDIEF (2CD by Machinefabriek)
SOCCER COMMITTEE & MACHINEFABRIEK - CLAY (3"CDR by Machinefabriek) *
1/3 OCTAVE BAND - ICARUS (CD by Humbug)
JOHN HEGRE & LASSE MARHAUG - THE BORING LEADING THE BORED (CDR by Humbug) *
MOHA! - ROCK/OFF! (7" by Humbug)
STARLESS & BIBLE BLACK - UP WITH THE ORCADIAN TIDE (7" by Static Caravan)
THE OWL SERVICE - CINE (THE DIRECTOR'S CUT) (3'CDR by Static Caravan) *
JEREMY BIBLE - I AM VERY UNCOMFORTABLE MOST OF THE TIME (CDR by Experimedia) *
ISNAJ DUI - PATTERNS IN ROCKS (CDR by FBox Records) *
LUKASZ CISZAK - LANDMARKS (CDR by Sqrt Label) *
IRONING - POCKET ALMANAC (CDR by Hymns) *
IRONING - A DAY AT THE BEACH (CDR by Hymns)
JIJIMUGE - 777 (3"CDR by Hymns)
OPHIBRE - SPICE (CDR)
OPHIBRE/BRIAN GAINGER (Cassette)
BLACKPEPPER - DISABLED ALGEBRA (3"CDR by Dirtydemos)

 

 

FOVEA HEX - ALLURE (CDEP by Die Stadt)
'Allure' is the third part of the Fovea Hex trilogy, following 'Bloom' (see Vital Weekly 501) and 'Huge' (see Vital Weekly 529). Fovea Hex is centered around Clodagh Simonds, who receives help by the best from the left: Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree), Robert Fripp and on previous releases also the brothers Eno and Andrew McKenzie. Again three tracks, like before, two of which are sung by Simonds, who also plays glass, harmonium, piano, beds of shimmer and bodhran treatments. Absolutely gorgeous music, again. Folk like singing, heavenly sung, with an instrumental backing that is largely ambient related, but in 'Long Distance' has a firm percussive backing too, adding a kind of menacing backdrop. Beautiful stuff, once again. Also part of this is, at least with the first few hundred copies, is another Hafler Trio remix, this time called 'The Answer', which is an hour long rework of whatever is done on the CDEP. I think, at least. In this exactly sixty minute piece, sounds are looped around, stretched out and fed through whatever The Hafler Trio are using and create a drone like piece that is however a big deceptive: it's not the full hour of of monotone drone, but a work that evolves, builds up and cracks down and starts again in order to move into a new direction, getting at times louder than is usual in the recent trio work. A fine if somewhat unsettling work. All three Fovea Hex releases fit nicely in a box that makes this a true box of beauty. (FdW)
Address: http://www.diestadtmusik.de

KEN IKEDA - MIST ON THE WINDOW (CD by Spekk)
OPITOPE - HAU (CD by Spekk)
It's been indeed quite a while, since last hearing from Ken Ikeda, who released two albums on Touch, 'Tzuki' (see Vital Weekly 256) and 'Merge' (see Vital Weekly 387). He now lives in New York, where he is concerned himself with sound art and visual installations. If I understand correctly his new CD 'Mist On The Window' is made with an instrument he built himself using rubber bands and synthesizers. Those thick rubber bands that is used to wrap around the mail. It's good to know this, since my initial guess was that this had to do with quite similar concrete sounds and software. I was right about the similarity of the sounds, but it has to be understood in terms of a concept album. How the synthesizers respond or react to the rubber bands I don't know, but it seems to me that those are triggered by them in a sort of call and response game. Ikeda plays nine relatively short pieces, each displaying its own character and throughout it's very nice pieces of music, well rounded. Sketch like, microsound, minimal - tag words for the releases on Spekk that also apply to the work of Ikeda. Great come back.
I never heard of Opitope, which is a duo of Date Tomoyoshi and Chihei Katakeyama, which was formed in 2002. Chihei has a solo CD on Kranky, which of course I didn't hear. Instruments used are electronics, electric guitar, piano, bass, vibraphone and electronics. The album is about traveling from north to south, but also about mirroring. I am not sure if I entirely grasp their idea about the mirrors they used, but it seems that particular sounds return, so the piano from track 1 (opening piece obviously) returns in track 9 (closing piece). Opitope play a much more 'musical' set of songs, other then Ken Ikeda, who rather stays on the sound scape side of things, whereas Opitope is more into playing songs hidden as sound scapes (or vice versa). Warm ambient glitch is to be found here, with reversed guitars, tinkling bells, a bit of field recordings and minimalist cracking. Quite nice actually, perhaps a bit watery (like the colors used on the cover) and it could have perhaps used a bit (even if only a teeny bit) more power. But Opitope perform their music with great care and skill and make a relaxed sunday morning listening. (FdW)
Address: http://www.spekk.net

ERIC COPELAND - HERMAPRODITE (CD by Paw-Tracks)
Sadly enough music by the likes of Black Dice never reaches this desk (or anything from Fat Cat, which makes us very sad after all our initial support), since what was heard was enjoyed to quite an extent. Eric Copeland is a member of Black Dice, but also from Terrestrial Tones and luckily enough we get promo's from Paw Tracks and so the debut solo album by Copeland landed here. I must say I quite enjoyed this rather free form music. Not free form in terms of free jazz or improvised playing, but throwing everything into a sampler and see what comes out. Ethnic percussion, popmusic, radio snippets, more vocals, field recordings: this blender has all. Copeland stews this up in a hot mix of sounds. Rhythm plays an important role, but it's not a steady beat or some such. He rather lets the sounds say 'loop' and in the mix of them he creates a dialogue between them. So it's not really 'careful' placing of elements, but rather let all go and see what happens. That gives the album an almost psychedelic atmosphere, but in an electronic context. Loads of sound effects are used but all in the right manner - making everything richer and bouncier. There is something certainly vibrant about all of these recordings. Good head space music, that should work well on the alternative dance floor too. (FdW)
Address: http://www.paw-tracks.com

MICHEAL PRIME - BORNEO (2CD by Mycophile Records)
This is of course the time of the year that lots of people ask me where I will spent my holidays and I must report that going on holidays is something I never liked particularly, save for one reason: to hear sounds that you normally don't hear around the house. I am pretty sure other people do like holidays for better reasons, but who knows about Micheal Prime? He's a man who likes plants and the sounds they make, with stuff he made himself to make the sounds audible. In February 2005 he travelled to Borneo, the north part called Sabah, to record bioelectrical signals from flora and fauna. On the way he taped some more sound, not being restricted to just the birds and the bees. On this double pack one gets the whole sound picture, as it's neither a plain documentation of recordings of plants, nor an overcomposed work: it's a combination of both. There are the pure field recordings, but also compositions using these sounds and installation pieces using live processing of the sounds. On the double CD side they are not back to back but mixed, which makes a great listening session. Insect sounds, the activity of people working on the market, plants, they all found their way to this release. In a great cross over between musique concrete and field recordings, Prime took me on a fascinating journey. One which I didn't need leaving the house for. And if that isn't enough, there is also a sub-edition of 95 copies which holds an extra 3" CDR with bat recordings and a small bag of Tongkat Ali powder. Everything is housed in a metal box. Excellent stuff all around. (FdW)
Address: <myco@myco.demon.co.uk

ANDY MOOR - MARKER (CD by Unsounds)
A solo CD by someone who likes improvising, an activity usually done with others, it's a bit like masturbation, perhaps? Or, to be on the more positive side of things, perhaps a showcase to send around to fellow improvisers? Andy Moor is in the pages of Vital Weekly known as an improviser with the likes of Kaffe Matthews, but in the real world he is of course the guitarist of The Ex, my all time favorite dutch punkers. Favorite just for the fact that they don't stay inside that little closet called punk, but get out and do so many other things, playing with musicians from Africa and from the world of improvisers. Moor might very well be responsible for the latter move of The Ex, so a solo CD by him is perhaps more than welcome. He plays electric guitar with objects and hardly any effects. Over the past five years he off and on recorded his pieces, and this collection shows a wide variation of moods and textures. Some in punk fashion, but mostly in a melodic style, uptempo, downtempo, melancholic and distorted. Fifteen tracks, spanning over fifty-four minutes, that might sound a bit much, but Moor effectively holds your attention, when moving through all these pieces. Mostly solo guitar, but also overdubbed and layered, there is a lot to discover here. Not masturbation but a great card. Less is Moor. (FdW)
Address: http://www.unsounds.com

THANOS CHRYSAKIS - KLAGE (CD by Aural Terrains)
The first two releases by Thanos Chrysakis came to us in the form of MP3 releases (see Vital Weekly 506), but now he is confident enough to release a real CD on his own Aural Terrains label. Chrysakis lives in London where he composes his music, plays the vibraphone and builds installations. His 'Inscape 5' piece won a prize in Bourges and 'Nekyomanteion' received an honorary mention in Lisbon - welcome to the world of serious music. On 'Klage' the vibraphone plays an all important role, but it's also half the story. Chrysakis feeds the signal of the vibraphone through various pieces of software, and crafts both signals together in a highly interesting form of microsound and ambient glitch. The warm sounds of the vibraphone, which the instrument has by nature, is kept alive in this work where the computer software produces likewise warm sounds. Beautiful colliding material, sometimes played in a free, almost improvised manner, and at other times in a more straight forward manner. Of course the fusion of a real instrument with software is something that has been explored a lot, even in the context of microsound, and on many occasion as nice as Chrysakis does here. As such Chrysakis fits a certain scene, but he does a great job here. Fluid music, flowing merely nice the stream. Soft, warm and as such perfect for a nice afternoon with lots of sunshine. (FdW)
Address: http://www.auralterrains.com

BLOODYSNOWMAN - S/T (CD by Daly City)
On his self-titled album, Bloodysnowman merges few appropriate and suitable musical styles for a record of this kind (that tends to be more intended for the dance floors than for home listening), but somehow in the music all of those styles are coming from a bit distant background and in most of the tracks there's not a specific style or genre that defines the music. The general atmosphere through the whole album is a kind of glitch inspired (or infected) drill'n'bass sound, which is never harsh at all (not as Venetian Snares or similar artists). Besides the drilled out glitchy feeling characteristic about the whole album, there's also a little bit of idm sensibility in it, which is somehow too desolate to be clearly noticed. What's for sure is that there are rhythms and rhythmic patterns (even sounding a bit tribal) in the tracks, aiming to catch the listener's or the dancer's attention and often the beats in the rhythms are influenced by industrial music (sounding maybe too repetitive in 'This year so far'). With the other sounds in the background (that are, as mentioned before, inspired by drill, idm and mostly glitch aesthetics and sometimes are a bit blurry) it seems that this music is for a smaller group of people in an alternative club and with a more specific and limited appeal. Anyhow, even though Bloodysnowman's music on this album is not the current hype in club oriented music, it offers an alternative to what might develop to be the next hype, since it seems that many combinations of styles are modern in the current contemporary production of (not only) dance music, because there are no strict boundaries between what's considered to be dance music with a tribal sense and music for listening and both of them continually interfere and influence each other. One of the most rhythmically balanced tracks on this album is 'Hell yeah i want an ambulance', with a guest trumpet player (there's another guest player on drums on the first track 'Drinking in the bushes'), so maybe that combination of acoustic instruments with the electronics might give Bloodysnowman a new direction for the other next releases. (BR)
Address: http://www.dalycityrecords.com

V-A NORMOTON GOLD (CD by Normoton)
Of all the artists that are featured on the 'Normoton gold' compilation, I'm vaguely familiar only with Phon.o, while the others are new to me and are a very pleasant surprises, with their rhythmic and often dance floor oriented music, but of the kind that is also excellent and amusing for home listening. The nuances in the more dance-techno oriented tracks are very subtle and delicate. As is expected on a release of this kind, there's a little bit of minimal(-techno) (by Strassmann and Landesvatter) and deephouse (by Andreas Heiszenberger) and it sounds refreshing and unconventional in their tracks (besides the obviously fading out hype of the more classic minimal techno sound). Then, shifting through the different corners of the techno spectrum, an interesting moment is noted in the track by Electroserge, which has a specific electro-songwriting sense, with vocals, singing and nice beats, making me curious about the forthcoming album by Electroserge that's planned to be released. The electro-techno sensibility with singing and vocals, although in a more conventional style, is characteristic also about Traffic Jam (from Poland), whose track is a part of a 12" that will be released by Normoton. On the more calmer side of the spectrum, there's Smutny, with a nice piece that sounds like improvised ambient music (it's the last track on the cd), then there's the most unexpectedly strange track by Mcl in this collection (sounding a bit like undefined industrial-ambient) and then there's Uphill Racer, who brings in some piano acoustics in the electronic sound and whose album is also expected. Altogether 'Normoton gold' is a good and varied collection of tracks by artists that are enjoyable for listening and are keeping the listener's close attention to what's going on on the cd and what's going to happen in the next track, through the whole release. (BR)
Address: http://www.normoton.de

FILEWILE - NASSAU MASSAGE (CD by Mouthwatering Records)
The album 'Nassau Massage' by Filewile, a laptop duo of Daniel Jakob and Andreas Ryser, with it's dub infused sound offers a very delightful enjoyment and is a real refreshment, among the other releases that are connected to the (post)idm or other rhythmic electronic music scenes and styles. 'Nassau Massage' is not that much inspired or influenced by idm, although there are elements of that sensibility in it, but still, the music of Filewile on this album is close to many of the general styles that are characteristic, typical and common in the electronic music. In Filewile's music there's house, then there's breakbeat, rap and hip-hop and a general electronic sensibility. That general electronic sense in this case is not idm, as it is, for example, in the music of Proem, Esem, Kettel, Boards Of Canada or other acts whose music is build on a main so called idm ground. The main electronic ground for Filewile is the dub sound, on which they attach the other before mentioned styles, without any prejudices and with a great sense for joining all the styles altogether. So is this a dub record? No, it isn't. Even when Filewile are great at making house or breakbeat to sound very tasty like dub music! What's important is that Filewile are doing great at mixing many suitable and appropriate styles in their music and the styles are excellently corresponding between each other and fitting into each other. So the basic grounds for Filewile are dub and reggae, but they make them sound fresh, modern and fun, like not so many of the modern electronic producers, who stick into only one style or genre. Maybe the mixture of all the previously mentioned styles, which is present in Filewile's music, makes it sound very refreshing, but it is not only about the idea of mixing different genres, it's how someone's doing it and Filewile are doing this with great care, mixing many various carefully chosen and well fitting styles in their great music. With it's sensibility, this music is closer to Machinedrum (who, as Filewile, uses the idm style only as an ornament in his music that is mostly based on the instrumental hip-hop sound) than to the other more directly idm oriented artists, that were mentioned before. (BR)
Address: http://www.filewile.com

 

KIRDEC - KILLED BY A COCONUT (CD by Syrphe Records)
ELEKORE - VOLUNTARY HUMAN EXTINCTION (CD by Syrphe Records)
ONE MAN NATION - RAINED AND IT RAINED. BULLETS IT RAINED (CD by Syrphe Records)
At first you might laugh at the rather funny title "Killed by a coconut", but as you dig into this latest album by C-drik Fermont as Kirdec ( a.k.a. Axiome, Moonsanto etc.), you realize that the meaning of this album and its subject is very serious indeed. With Mr. Fermont being a militant vegan, this whole album focus on the human race's killing and mistreatments of animals. And the music used to express this point of view is harsh and very convincing. Taking its starting point in a mixture of breakcore and power noise, the listener will very soon realize that Kirdec is deadly serious when he fights for the animal's rights. Opening with the evil track "Qinlui" built on frightening drones of noise and dark ambience, swirling along distorted rhythm-textures and processed human voices, Kirdec takes you on a shocking voyage of sonic warfare. With titles such as "Holocaust in your plate" and "In memory to all animals dying for a fake argument", the latter being a beautiful yet utterly disturbing track of drone ambience, this album will certainly convince any questioners that killing animals on "fake arguments" is NOT the right thing to do. Excellent music and respectful thoughts by Kirdec on this album!
C-drik Fermont is also part of the next project reviewed here. Based on a joint venture between Mr. Fermont and two others, Marcos Destructos (a.k.a. One Man Nation) and Mindfuckingboy, the project called Elekore turns the memories back to the old days of punk music even though compositionally developed in electronic sound spheres. Most remarkable thing in the music is the dirty vocals of Marcos Destructos and the rock'n'roll-based punk-like guitar-style of Mindfuckingboy with very fast rhythm-textures sometimes approaching the the grindcore-level in brutalism. Thanks to the fast breakbeats and the manifesting vocals Elekore turns the mind back to Alec Empire's Atari Teenage Riot, though the final track "Communication epilogue" separates in its instrumental style and harsher noise-territories of distorted power noise drones. Last album reviewed here comes from "One Man Nation" being the solo-project of Marcos Destructos. As was the case with the aforementioned Syrphe-release by Elekore, this debut-album by One Man Nation beautifully titled "Rained and it rained. Bullets it rained", the expression is dominated by acoustic expressions. Where Elekore had its basis in punk music, One Man Nation's take its starting point in melancholic post-rock first of all built on acoustic guitar passages but with an experimental electronic edge. The aggression of the two other reviewed Syrphe-albums is non-existing on this last album that more concentrates on musical atmospheres. Last track on the album, the title track " Rained And It Rained, Bullets It Rained", separates from the previous tracks on the album with the inclusion of vocals and with a touch of funky trip hop/drum'n'bass reminiscent of early UK-projects such as Endemic Void and Jacob's Optical Stairway. Especially the closing moments of the album are extremely beautiful with some excellent use of electric piano putting an end to this quite emotional album. Three successful albums released on Syrphe Records. Especially the solo-albums of Kirdec and One Man Nation are excellent sound experiences and thus highly recommended! (NM)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/syrphe

BIOMASS - MARKET (CD/DVD by Quetempo)
The dub sensibility, that was mentioned before in the reviews of Tokyo Mask and Filewile, is also quite a lot present and pointed out in the music of Biomass, on the new album 'Market' and also on the previous album 'Miledrops'. It's not a surprise that in a lot of the more alternative or mainstream electronic music there's a noticeable amount of diverse dub sounds and sensibilities, since for some time there is a kind of dub(-ambient) revival in the contemporary production of electronic music (hence the releases on Scape Records, by the artists Kit Clayton, Deadbeat and others from the label Thinner, etc.). The dub of Biomass is in the minimalistic rhythmic patterns and basses, that are cleverly shifting from the background to the surface, being very well present in the music. Biomass also fuses those dub patterns with a correct amount of carefully chosen slices of glitchy electronica, some sound frequencies, even a kind of techno inspired beats and rhythms in some tracks and some ambient atmospheres. Plus there are more ingredients in this music. While on the previous album 'Miledrops' the theme that was elaborated in the electronic music on that album was jazz (a mood that's present in the music on 'Miledrops' and also through the samples that Biomass is using there, that are taken from a record by Miles Davis), on 'Market' the elaborated theme is the blues mood, that is very cleverly settled in a very wide and appropriate contexts, within the electronic music in all 12 tracks on the album, keeping it interesting through the whole release. The most obvious use of blues on this record is when Biomass, applying the same approach as on the previous album, (as it's written on the cover of 'Market') uses samples and vocals from a blues recording, that are singing about the themes very much characteristic about the blues music. Furthermore, through the very well thought out music on the album Biomass places those lyrics, themes and issues in a very clever contexts, with an aim to rise questions about the contemporary society of consumption, questions about the freedom in the society (some of the lyrics in the track 'Dangerous blues' are: "You keep on talking about the dangerous blues. If I had me a pistol, I'd be dangerous too.") and rising other social and political issues and ideas that are of interest for Biomass. There's also a dvd part of the project, where through diverse and various images and scenes (of war or supermarket scenes, with hands taking as much products as they can) some of the tracks and the music from the album are presented and accompanied with a kind of loosely collected and combined images or video arts (that are made of images taken from television). But the main part of the whole release is the music, which is excellently done. Maybe it seems a bit simple when the repetitive sound patterns are longer, but that's done with a point and Biomass is doing that when wanting to point out some of the ideas that are present in the music. 'Market' is a great and excellent audio and video cd and dvd release that would be very interesting seeing how it would sound and look performed live. (BR)
Address: http://www.quetempo.gr

SPHERICAL DISRUPTED - BARRIERE (CD by Audiophob)
About two years ago we reviewed 'Null' by Spherical Disrupted (see Vital Weekly 482) and even when there has been no recent stuff, there is a new piece that gets the full ten track remix treatment. A lot of the remixers are new to me, like Heimstatt Yipotash, Zero Degree, Facies Deformis, Nerthus but then we also have Mimetic, Telepherique and Mandelbrot. I put this CD on and sat back to enjoy it. One of the striking things was that all of the remixers seemed to be working according some template: lots of heavy rhythms, distorted sounds and gritty synthesizers. I must be too unfamiliar with this kind of uptempo and aggressive IDM pattern, but there is a strong homogeneity throughout these pieces. It's not that they all sound too similar, it's just that they use similar built up and sounds, and each creates his own variation thereof. Sometimes a bit more industrial, then a bit more techno, things rock hard here, in a cold, clinical and mechanical manner. Although not entirely my kind of music, I must say it's sounded quite alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.audiophob.de

MACHINEFABRIEK - KRUIMELDIEF (2CD by Machinefabriek)
SOCCER COMMITTEE & MACHINEFABRIEK - CLAY (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
Thirteen weeks have been passed since reviewing 'Stofstuk', a business card CDR by Machinefabriek and as noted back then, it was the original piece for a remix project. If you think Machinefabriek is fast, then so are his remixers. It's done, pro-pro-pressed 2CD set, with a further ten remixes to be found on the website only. Bloody hell indeed, what a speed. The handy vacuum cleaner (which is what 'Kruimeldief' means) hoovers all the remixes together and is a today's who's who in interesting music, but Rutger Zuydervelt has also a bunch of friends that at least are new to me. So we find Pita, Alva Noto, Gert-Jan Prins, Steinbruchel, Mitchell Akiyama and Kim Cascone nicely along Julien Neto, Jeroen Vandesande, Strangelet, The No and Svarte Grainer. The original piece by Machinefabriek is also included here, with its subtle crackling and carefully building drones. Many took that as a reference to construct even more careful crackling and more subdued drones. That is nice, but nicer are those who did a little more to break away from that, I think. Greg Haines adds a bunch of stringed sounds to the world, Xela some curious field recordings/voices, Mitchell Akiyama, Henrik Rylander (great track), Gert-Jan Prins and Freiband exploring the noise side of it, which is great since it breaks the repeated sounds that some seem to love and re-use a bit too much. One Julien Neto has a great piece of ringing sounds, like a bunch of doorbells, and it's the best track of it all. Minimal, but not really drone like. Over 150 minutes of music, just on these two CDs. Leaves me to check out the website one day.
At the same Rutger Zuydervelt also releases his work with Mariska Baars, also known as Soccer Committe. Rutger did a remix of Baars before, and have been working together off and on since then. 'Clay' uses the voice of Baars (whom I saw play live in June, and who sounded like a female Oren Ambarchi, but with like wise sparse vocals) and the electronics of Zuydervelt, into a seventeen minute piece of drone music. The voice of Baars is merely chanting or humming and picked up through the microphone and effects of Zuydervelt and crafted into a great drone like music piece that works towards a heavy crescendo in the middle, and then dies out into total nothingness that lasts for quite a long time, and which is quite unlike Zuydervelt. Great piece. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu/kruimeldief

1/3 OCTAVE BAND - ICARUS (CD by Humbug)
JOHN HEGRE & HOWARD STELZER - THE BORING LEADING THE BORED (CDR by Humbug)
MOHA! - ROCK/OFF! (7" by Humbug)
Things have been quiet for Humbug for some time, perhaps a moment of contemplation was needed after so many interesting CD and CDR releases. Here they return, yet again with a real CD by 1/3 Octave Band from New Zealand. I am not sure why they get all the real CDs and others the CDRs, but perhaps there is logical somewhere. Bands from New Zealand have usually a great love for drones (it might be an interesting scientific study to know why) and the 1/3 Octave Band is no different. Not different from the other bands and not different from their previous release 'Sub Limina' (see Vital Weekly 515). They play five play lengthy pieces of drone rock on a bunch of guitars and tons of effects. The music starts ringing in your ears, creating wonderful overtones and carry the listener away. I was playing this on a particular rainy day and the somber, dark and highly atmospheric music worked quite well. Nothing new under any drone sun, but quite powerful as it is.
John (pronounced Jun) Hegre, the perhaps lesser known half of Jazkamer/Jazzkammer, and Howard Stelzer are good buddies. They toured quite a bit in the USA with Lasse Marhaug, and, I might add, as per usual, they team up on various nights to play improvised music together. Hegre and Stelzer played together in the winter of 2005 at The Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain and together at Stelzer's home studio. 'Evening' and 'The Heckler' are the pieces called here. Hegre gets credit for 'electronics etc' and Stelzer for 'cassette tapes etc'. In 'Evening' (I assume the live piece), things rather quickly explode into the world of noise. It's alright, but it stays a bit too much on the safe side as far as I'm concerned. As such 'The Heckler' is more interest. The noise element is of course present here too, but on a totally different level. Stelzer is in full form here with carefull playing of his tapes, with the head tapes scanning the tapes, lots of hiss like sounds and an occasional burst into the world of noise. This piece has a better structure, with outbursts of noise coming in, but sounding creepy and mean.
More noise comes from MoHa!, one of my favorite noise duo's from Norway, Anders Hana on guitar and Morton J. Olson on drums. For their 7" they invited guestplayers. Pal Jackman on one side and John Hegre on the other. I never heard of Jackman, but he is a singer. On 'Mekke Tid' he sings a nice rock lyric about making time, whereas our boys play an entirely free rock song, but in which one can easily recognize rock structures, being chopped to pieces on end. If Live Earth ever needed an exciting rock band, why not MoHa! But I doubt wether they would invite MoHa! at all, and certainly they wouldn't want them with Hegre. Again MoHa! plays in total free spirit, but Hegre layers some finely knit noise over it. The rock band tag is alive here, but even wilder and stranger than on the other side. Great pieces, all three of them. (FdW)
Address: <tchartan@gmail.com>

STARLESS & BIBLE BLACK - UP WITH THE ORCADIAN TIDE (7" by Static Caravan)
THE OWL SERVICE - CINE (THE DIRECTOR'S CUT) (3'CDR by Static Caravan)
UK biggest small label is how Static Caravan advertises themselves these days, and rightly so. Their have close to 140 releases in eight years, and the 7" is probably their beloved format. And rightly so. All the time they come up with names I never heard of such as Starless And Bible Black, who released on their own Timbreland label as well as Locust Music. They play music which I really like, but which is too far out of my usual references. I read the press text and see 'Appalachian Folk' being mentioned, something about prog rock and ballads. Well, the two pieces are nice and foremost sweet pieces of music, with a strong melancholic touch. Popmusic, I mumbled, and decided not to care not knowing, but liking it all the more.
Static Caravan also produces some excellent CDRs, nicely printed on body artwork and great covers. I have no idea who The Owl Service is, but it must be that Steven Collins mentioned on the cover who recorded and mixed this home. If you are head down in music all day, like me, then there is not much room for film, so my knowledge on that front is virtually non-existent. The four pieces on this 3"CDR are, if understood correctly, covers of music from films, such as Psychomania, Girl On A Motorcycle, Die Screaming Marianne and The Wicker Man. So my reference to these four songs is null and void. The music is rather retro sounding, a bit cheesy film music, with loads of sustained guitars, crazy rhythms, organs and vocal snippets (from the films?). (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

JEREMY BIBLE - I AM VERY UNCOMFORTABLE MOST OF THE TIME (CDR by Experimedia)
Because I never heard of Jeremy Bible, I checked his website and noted that he already made a couple of releases, mostly available through downloads. They are characterized by words as minimal electro, dark electro/neo disco, dark ambient/film score, electronica/downtempo. The first CDR release is called 'abstract electronica seamless', whatever that is. Bible uses a lot of rhythms that show an eclectic taste for hip hop, broken beats and industrial influences. To that he adds a nice blend of synthesized sound scapes that show an interest for creepy textures. Ambience is not forgotten such as in the rhythm less 'Strand', but they are a minority here. The tracks are mostly alright, heavy and uplifting, but perhaps also a bit long, me thinks. Bible takes his time to tell his story, but he doesn't always that many words to tell it. Effects are the ornament, but overused. Throughout however a strong release, which is housed in a nice box with professional print work (let that be an example to others). (FdW)
Address: http://www.experimedia.net

ISNAJ DUI - PATTERNS IN ROCKS (CDR by FBox Records)
The name of Isnaj Dui popped up in Vital Weekly 552 when it was mentioned she contributed flute to the release by Superimpozer. 'Patterns In Rocks' is her second release. Her being Isnaj Dui, also known as Katie English. She plays flute (concert and bass), home made instruments such as the electrodulcimer and electronics. The electronics at work here aren't any forms of soft or hardware, but rather those sampling gadgets that allows the player to form small loops on the spot of whatever they are playing so they can play along or against it. However she also cares about the background noise and hum as part of the overall composition. The eight pieces on this release do not always sound as flute pieces but some, like '440' and 'Plagioclase Feldspar' sound more like very ambient pieces with glitch elements. The meandering tones of the flute make this actually throughout quite a nice album of ambient music; highly melancholic in approach, but it stays safely away from any new age connection, which makes this all the more enjoyable. The experimental touch is always there, and it's throughout a most enjoyable, late night listening experience. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fboxrecords.co.uk

LUKASZ CISZAK - LANDMARKS (CDR by Sqrt Label)
Polish musician Lukasz Ciszak has so far a bunch of releases on his own Sqrt Label, and somehow he doesn't get beyond - it seems. But throughout his career so far there is a line going up: quality. It's hard to say what Ciszak plays instrument wise, but my best guess is that he uses guitar and piano as acoustic sources on this new and electronics or perhaps even a computer to process these sounds. They work together on parallel lines. 'Transitions In Patterns' works towards a major humming drone space, where 'Rough Circle' opens with a few sparse piano tones, whereas in 'Landmarks' things work out in some bent guitar playing that is a bit weakly recorded. But in each of these three pieces things evolve/revolve towards/around drone music. It's however the combination of the real instruments versus the electronics/software that makes this stand outside the usual drone posse, where one gets a large bunch of drones and the original source material has totally disappeared. This is quite an enjoyable release of material that shifts back and forth between drones and improvised music and which is quite a positive leap forward for Ciszak. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sqrt-label.org

IRONING - POCKET ALMANAC (CDR by Hymns)
IRONING - A DAY AT THE BEACH (CDR by Hymns)
JIJIMUGE - 777 (3"CDR by Hymns)
On his own Hymns label, Ironing releases his own music, thus far a bit lumped into the world of noise - a bit too much for my taste, but these two new releases are certainly showing progress. 'Pocket Almanac' was recorded live, when Ironing opened for Nautical Almanac. He uses mainly micro cassettes as well as regular cassettes, vinyl and a mixing board. The result is, I think, quite typical US plunder noise, of broken sounds, broken cables and music of all sorts sipping through like a detuned radio. Yet there is something quite nice about it. It's not the noise that explodes in your face, but in a semi-distorted fashion hurdles on, but not on end.
Even more interesting, me thinks, is 'A Day At The Beach'. Three long pieces of more field recordings like material. The second (untitled) track uses a concept of ten similar endless cassettes being played 'more or less in sync', which of course doesn't work, but it adds a whole new meaning to Reich's Phase Shifting technique. Quite a lo-fi recording here too at work, but the grainy textured recording fits the scheme quite nice. The third (again untitled) track also uses endless cassettes, but with different recordings and recorded to a computer. Not that it really matters, since the quality is still not top. But throughout it works.
No information whatsoever is to be found on the 3"CDR that says Jijmuge and '777' (I assume that's the title). Besides the non information, the music is also pretty vague. It's hard to tell what is going, but the three pieces are pretty low humming birds of drone origins. Perhaps feeding some delay pedal. Not really loud at all, but rather highly dark and atmospheric ambient music of industrial whereabouts. Nice one. (FdW)
Address www.myspace.com/hymnslabel

OPHIBRE - SPICE (CDR)
OPHIBRE/BRIAN GAINGER (Cassette)
Perhaps you sometimes read the lines below that are part of every week's Vital, and see that I put aside things that are deemed 'vague' or 'obscure'. Well, perhaps these releases are vague and obscure. One Benjamin Rossignol is behind Ophibre and he released a CDR with his own work, packed with a small bag of spices and a split cassette with Brain Gainger and Ophibre, packed with two bags, one of with pine needles and one with sand (and on his website you can see that all things come with nice little bags with something). Thus far the statistics, but that's because there is no more information. The CDR is a pretty lo-fi affair of stuttery tones feeding through a bunch of delay machines. Maybe the distortion from shortwave. Throughout the course of this piece things mutate and change a little, but mainly things work towards noise, with sounds getting louder and more distorted. It's sort of alright, but not really great. Perhaps there would have been more into this? It's left me a bit unsatisfied.
The cassette is a split one between Ophibre and Brian Gainger, of whom I didn't hear before. The Ophibre side continues what we heard on the CDR already in quite similar fashion, noise related lo-fi sound. Gainger has a side long drone piece of a long sustaining sounds. Perhaps various tapeloops running out of sync with eachother, or a layered recording of a dish washer. It's quite nice, but here too the sound recording is not really great. Or perhaps by intent? We don't know. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ophibre.com

BLACKPEPPER - DISABLED ALGEBRA (3"CDR by Dirtydemos)
I left the new noise releases from Dirtydemos with Jliat to review and the 'spirograph drawing making set' that comes as part of the release by Blackpepper is immediately confiscated by the younger generation ('nice dad, and the music is o.k. too' when asked to write a review). I have no idea who or what Blackpepper is, but the music is quite nice. Lots of old fashioned sounding synthesizers (but no doubt coming out of a software packet) and broken beats, making in total three tracks that could easily be on Highpoint Lowlife or Expanding, save for the fact that it seems to me that Blackpepper has more pepper in the bottom, as things sound a lot spicier than is usual with lots of others operating in similar territory. Three tracks, with a total playing time of nearly seventeen minutes, is a bit too short. Here I could have taken another three of such pieces, but I am told it's going to be on the next two volumes in this series. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dirtydemos.co.uk