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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 598
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week 43
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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.

 

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* noted are in this week's podcastX-Original-To: vital@vitalweekly.net

 

3/4HADBEENELIMINATED - THEOLOGY (CD by Soleilmoon Recordings) *
3/4HADBEENELIMINATED - THE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE (LP by Soleilmoon Recordings)
STEINBRÜCHEL - BASIS (CD by Room40)
SEBASTIEN ROUX - REVERS OUEST (CD by Room40) *
MIKE DAILY - ALARM (2CD + novel by Stovepiper Books Media) *
DAVID WATSON - FINGERING AN IDEA (2CD by Experimental Intermedia) *
BJNILSEN/Z'EV - 22.22 (CD by Ideal Recordings) *
DEAD MACHINES - PLAYS KWAIDAN (7" by Ideal Recordings)
MANPACK VARIANT - STICKY WICKETS (CD by Digitalis Industries)
COH - STRINGS (2CD by Raster-Noton)
STEVE PETERS - OCCASIONAL MUSIC (CD by Palace Of Light)
GOGOO - LONG, LONTAIN (CD by Baskaru)
OH ASTRO - CHAMPIONS OF WONDER (CD by Illegal Art)
FEAR FALLS BURNING & BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL (CD by Conspiracy Records)
UTON - ALITAJU YLIMINA (LP by Dekorder)
KUPPUU - UNILINTTU (LP by Dekorder)
BLACK TO COMM - WIR KÖNNEN LEIDER NICHT EIN BISSCHEN MEHR ZU TUN (2LP by Dekorder)
BLACK TO COMM/AOSUKE - SPLIT (LP by Dekorder)
TOM HALL - FLOATS (CD, private) *
DARREN MCCLURE - SOFTENED EDGES (CDR by The Land Of) *
MILLISECONDE TOPOGRAPHIE - TRICYCLE (DVD by Ekumen)
TIGRICS - SYNKI (CDR by Highpoint Lowlife) *
NIHIL COMMUNICATION - WE ARE VIOLENT (CDR by Edgetone Records) *
ASTRO - COSMIC MOSQUE ON THE MAGICAL MOUNTAIN TOP (CDR by 8mm Records) *
PEE IN MY FACE WITH SURGERY - URINE CAKES (CDR by 8mm Records)
JUSTICE YELDHAM & THE DYNAMIC RIBBON DEVICE (7" by 8mm Records)
BONEMACHINE - RIGHT NOW! (CDr by Ambolthue Records)
KENJI SIRATORI - FUTURE FREEDOM (CDr by Ambolthue Records)
ACOLYTES ACTION SQUAD - WINKLE TIME (CDR by Early Winter Recordings) *
THICK WISPS (CDR, private release) *
SPRUIT - THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (3"CDR, self-released)
DELICATESSEN: A TASTE OF [WALNUT + LOCUST] (3"CDR by Walnut + Locust)
FREIBAND & COLIN TUDOR - PANTONES (3" CD-R by Moll)
FREIBAND & RADBOUD MENS - GARAGE SALES (3" CD-R by Moll)
FRANS DE WAARD - PROFIELDEEL ZES (3" CD-R by Moll)
KAPOTTE MUZIEK - # 103: TILBURG (3" CD-R by Moll)
IZARZUGAZA & KAKOFUNK & TUSURI & XEDH - BILEKIDU (MP3 by Digital Biotope) *
EDORTA IZARZUGAZA - AUTOERREGISTROA (CDR by Hamaika)
LOTY NEGARTI & AL KARPENTER - DISCURSO SOLITARIO (MP3 by Ruidemos)
THROUROOF - THE CIRCLE OF BAD ATTITUDES (MP3 by Resting Bell)
K.M. KREBS - SYMMETRIES (MP3 by Resting Bell)
STENO - SECOND-HAND FURNTITURE (MP3 by Mr.Mutt)

 

 

 

3/4HADBEENELIMINATED - THEOLOGY (CD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
3/4HADBEENELIMINATED - THE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE (LP by Soleilmoon Recordings)
Following their two excellent CDs (on Bowindo and Hapna) I was a bit disappointed when I saw 3/4HadBeenEliminated live. Quite loud, which didn't do the delicacy of the CDs right, I thought. I was quite surprised to see their latest releases on Soleilmoon Recordings, which seems an odd choice for the label. 3/4HadBeenEliminated consists of Stefano Pilia, Claudio Rocchetti, Valerio Tricoli and Tony Arrabito, and with some imagination you could say that they are a rock band. Well, an expanded rock band that crosses many lines: post rock, singer songwriter, improvisation and above all musique concrete collage techniques. Maybe the stage isn't their place but they should be safely stuck in the studio, where they can freely experiment with sound. Each member plays a wide variety of instruments, except Arrabito, who is just credited for drums. Inside the studio they find a safe place to improvise their music, but not as an end, but as a start. Recordings are separated, deconstructed and rebuilt into something. These two new releases, both lavishly packed with all sorts of nice paper, are best heard together, as mirrors of each other. The CD (limited to 450 copies) and the LP (limited to 225 copies) have however their differences, but the provide a nice view in the kitchen of 3/4HadBeenEliminated. The CD is perhaps more complex in approach. We hear lots of processed guitars, percussive sounds, organ like drones but also contact microphones scratching the surface alongside humming vocals. Not really rock by any rock standard, even when things seems to hint that way. Seemingly things move from atmosphere to atmosphere, gradually, slow, but without doubt moving.
The LP is more singleminded, evolving around rhythmic drone loops and vocals. The start is almost in Goem-like tradition, but with vocals.
From then on, things stay more easy, with less
complex moves, and more in the rhythm area, although of course you could never move your feet to this. It sounds like this is less edited and, perhaps, perhaps, captures their live sound. Both releases are different from eachother, but complement eachother quite well. Great releases. (FdW)
Address: http://www.soleilmoon.com

STEINBRÜCHEL - BASIS (CD by Room40)
SEBASTIEN ROUX - REVERS OUEST (CD by Room40)
Despite being around for many, many years and his many releases, (Ralph) Steinbrüchel's name is not as house hold as say Fennesz, Deupree or Chartier, while his work easily matches theirs. Some people will never be famous, against all odds, I must say sadly. The basis for 'Basis' is sound from other people, in this case the guitar of Lawrence English, Ben Frost and Bernd Schurer. Only in the latter' case it's something unreleased, in the other two cases it's material that has been released, but in all three cases the original comes from acoustic instruments. I must admit I found this out after playing the CD for the first time (I usually read all the information later on). I scribbled down 'very ambient' as a first reaction to the album, and perhaps the most ambient work I heard from Steinbrüchel. His music, warm, glitch like, never was loud or menacing, but it always seemed to have a rough edge. That seems to be gone on this one. In slow moving music, he works his way around the material, feeding it through some computer processing, but only to that extend that the original remains audible - or at least: it has the sense of acoustic instruments. In a way not too dissimilar to the recent material on offer by Machinefabriek, but Steinbrüchel keeps things very peaceful here. Maybe a bit too much for my taste, and I sort of miss the rougher edges of the previous music. Highly atmospheric an textural music, not 'new' in any sense but moving in a new direction, to which at least I have to get used to.
Also the name Sebastien Roux shouldn't be unknown, for he has had released on 12K, Apestaartje and Room40 before, and collaborative works as Heller an with Sogar and Greg Davis. The work here is a radiophonic work 'drawing a futuristic and mental description of the Nantes city', so (?) it includes voices, although what exactly they have to see remains a mystery to me. Not just because my French is in adequate, but also because it's not always easy to understand. I tried deciphering what is written on the cover, which sadly is a recurring problem with the releases on Room40, and it deems to me that Roux uses a variety of 'real' instruments which he mixes in with the music, alongside treated fragments of the spoken text and perhaps additional electronic sounds. I let go of the text and decided to listen to work as a piece of music. Unlike much of his previous work, Roux moves away from the microsound here and going back to the 'classical' acousmatic music, through an extensive use of collage techniques, cut and paste of sounds, moving around of instruments, voices dropping in and out. I must say I quite enjoyed this work, not because of it being something new, but for sheer fact it moves away from his previous work as well as incorporating some of the techniques applied in microsound. Even when things are unclear what they are about, it's a great work, of classical beauty even. (FdW)
Address: http://www.room40.org

MIKE DAILY - ALARM (2CD + novel by Stovepiper Books Media)
Of course I am highly flattered that because I devote some words to music every week, people also think I can review DVDs with experimental film. Well, I am not the best judge in the world for that. And novels? Well, novels is something I can't review at all. I can read novels, I can say wether I like them or not, but to place inside a tradition, or outside for that matter, or say something about metaphors used, the hidden layers or be a literary critic is hard for me, let's impossible. So the 212 page novel by Mike Daily is a bit lost on me. It's about one Mike O'Grady who is a lost in his life following the september 11, 2001 attacks. It's about getting a new job, actually two jobs, his girl friend, his boss at the coffee house, the open mike nights there, the people performing and a planned move to Portland. It's a nice read, and since I was in the USA only very recently some of the scenery from coffee houses looks familiar, bringing back nice memories. But what the book is about, exactly, is a bit unclear to me. I should read more, probably. Over to the music then. O'Grady is the name of the band (also of the main actor in the book) in which Mike Daily is the signer/vocalist/reciter. He recites texts from his 'Alarm' novel and the backdrop is highly free improvisational music, albeit of a traditional kind. Don't play this music when reading the book, as it will surely distract you (at least it for me). There is a live disc of heavy duty free music, and the vocalist telling fast his lines. This is not too well spend on me. As an 'audio book', I prefer the studio disc. The music is pushed more to the background and the text stands more to it. Various layers of voice are used and thus creates a kind of hörspiel, with an intimate close reading of the text. That's something I actually liked very much. That CD would have been just nice enough by itself. Ok, so next time, please no novels for review. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/alarmdailynovel

DAVID WATSON - FINGERING AN IDEA (2CD by Experimental Intermedia)
Whoever David Watson is doesn't become very clear. But he's from Australia and it seems that his two prime instruments, well at least covered on this release is bagpipes and guitar. Both have a single CD at their disposal here, and the result is quite different. 'Dexter' is the first disc and it has the bagpipes. It's been a while since I last heard that instrument, probably on a Nocturnal Emissions disc, but if you think of it, it's the perfect instrument to play drone music on. There are three recordings here, blending together in a natural way. There is an ensemble piece, a multi-tracked solo piece and one with recorded material going through an eight-channel MSP patch. Cut into eight pieces this is wonderful drone music, slowly moving and changing, almost in a Phill Niblock like manner (he's the man from the label, so go figure). Absolute great stuff and nothing outdated or old-fashioned, or whatever you think of bagpipes.
The other disc is 'Sinister' which has guitar music and it's not like 'Dexter' at all. Also eight pieces of electric and acoustic guitar playing, but improvised, strumming away the strings. Nice, but it lacks tension as far as I can see, and makes it a bit of pointless exercise to these ears, certainly when it's following the master work of 'Dexter'. Two totally different things going on here, which is fine of course, but it's in this case great and less great. (FdW)
Address: http://www.xirecords.org

BJNILSEN/Z'EV - 22.22 (CD by Ideal Recordings)
DEAD MACHINES - PLAYS KWAIDAN (7" by Ideal Recordings)
Three tracks, each of exactly twenty-two minutes and twenty-two seconds. This is not a work of collaboration, but two sides of the coin called drone music. Each of the players is a renowned player in this field, yet the outcome is quite different. BJNilsen, best known for his releases on Touch, presents an eerie, quiet piece solely based on treated field recordings. Where others in this week's issue fail to succeed in using field recordings into their music, BJ Nilsen succeeds wonderfully well. Highly atmospheric, without letting the transformations take over, nor keeping the field recordings too recognizable. A very fine piece. Drone music also comes from Z'EV, who these days may seem to be more into creating electronic music, but here returns to using metallic percussion alongside electronic treatments. Rumble from the below surface form the basis of the material, but slight treatments create a long sustain, at times, on the sounds, which add up to a mighty powerful piece of trance inducing drone music. A good combination of various types of drone music. However I don't understand why there is a third track of equal length, but with seventeen minutes of silence and five minutes of Z'EV like music. I thought that gimmick of silence on CDs was more than explored by now.
Perhaps related, but on a different format is the 7" by Dead Machines which is a side project of John Olsen (Wolf Eyes) and his wife Tovah (of Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice). It's my first introduction to their music. I'm not sure if the 7" format is right for such an introduction, but what I hear is quite pleasing stuff. Nothing joyful, as this is the crossroad where drone and industrial music meet up. Not much is happening in the underworld of drones and occasional sound, but what happens is surely quite menacing. There is an underpinning menace, something that is going to capture you, but you are not sure what it is. Unlike the trance of Z'EV, the beauty of BJNilsen, Dead Machines represent the dark side of drone, or rather the morbid side of drone music. As a trilogy of various types of drone music, it makes a damn fine thing. (FdW)
Address: http://www.idealrecordings.com

MANPACK VARIANT - STICKY WICKETS (CD by Digitalis Industries)
Manpack Variant- Jaime Fennelly (Peeesseye, peeinmyfacewithsurgery, Phantom Limb & Bison) and Chris Peck, original artwork (nice!) by Jason McLean. Let us reject the authorities - for example post-modernity's rejection of meta-narratives, the dissolution of the boundaries between high and low(popular) art - the rejection of logic and reason itself - Wiki 'Situationists' and 'Pataphysics' - all this lies over some epistemological horizon. Rationality is now a consumptive solipsistic movement/power, we have strata of meaning and knowledge from DNA to Excel - if we remove all justifications from these activities- if we are left with anything at all, its description - in an objective science of communication is called noise. Noise is arbitrary and carries no information - like junk code, junk DNA - its presence is manifest, simple, gratuitously free, though it might have a source, a history and motivation - placed upon it - it is like a signifier before the signified. This is essential to understanding the 'philosophy' of Noise in its first and continuing Japanese incarnations. Its intention is minimized, any development then say rhythm - crescendo- diminuendo - if found at all should be capable of any, all, or no explanation. The first (live) track of Sticky Wickets does just this. It is beautifully absurd, it shines like 'the beach beneath the streets'. Unfortunately what follows in subsequent tracks is not live- as a living in and aware of death which is the fact of life - the fact of life as the ignorance of ones birth, sexuality (why this here now particular act before psychology or psychoanalysis) and death- which is contra-factual life, are pre-meditated compositions, it is organisms/organisation of sound, an orgasm and not a cry, becomes neo-classical, a body with organs and codes- no longer noise, it fits in with the terms - electronica, experimental, avant garde (sex act) but only in the post Fukuyama-ian sense. (jliat)
Address: http://www.digitalisindustries.comickywicket.com

COH - STRINGS (2CD by Raster-Noton)
And you, Coh? Even you? The piano, as noted, the instrument of 2007, plays a small role on the latest release of Coh, a.k.a. Ivan Pavlov. It sounds, certainly in the opening piece, like he is following this trend of careful, computer treated piano music of this year, but we must realize that he recorded the used piano sounds in 2001, when he was working on his 'Seasons' project. Also, the piano is only one of the stringed instruments used here. Two piano tracks, two guitar tracks and three tracks using the saz and the oud, both Arabic string instruments. To be honest the least impressive tracks were the guitar pieces. Quite distorted and fuzzy is what they sound like. Coh was in a metal band as a teenager, but don't tell the world. The piano pieces are soft and careful and 'andante facile'. All of the pieces on disc one have classical notions like this, which is quite funny, and reminded me of hearing classical music on the radio when my father tuned in to the classical station. A mysterious language, a bit like the music of Coh sometimes is. The fine line of where computer processing stops and the real instruments begins - or vice versa - is hard to draw. It's been a while since I last his music, or may not have heard everything he has done, but it seems to me that this work is set a bit outside the rest of his work, incorporating effectively real instruments and computer sound, say more like the 'SU-U' piece on the disc two (actually a mini CD), which had a great ambient opening, before
bouncing apart in particles flying about. (FdW)
Address: http://www.raster-noton-de

STEVE PETERS - OCCASIONAL MUSIC (CD by Palace Of Light)
Despite being around for some many years inside the alternative music scene, both in the serious sort of academic way and the more alternative alternative electronic music, there hasn't been many releases by Steve Peters. Recently there was 'Three Rooms' on Sirr-ecords (see Vital Weekly 584), and that was perhaps a bit what his work was about: three long pieces of minimal pieces, partly based on field recordings, partly on real instruments. But like most composers, Peters has composed over the years also pieces for special occasions, like a film or a dance. Usually short and hard to release, although I doubt wether Peters thinks in terms of releasing when composing. Music for the occasion that is, so
'Occasional Music' fills in the hole with nine of these pieces, which are not really related, but perhaps make a nice introduction to the musical language of Peters. Music that sometimes consists of one instrument, like 'Paris, once' which is a solo piano piece, but also pieces with frame drum, suling, suling gambuh, processing, cornet and saxophone in the Gamelan like pieces of 'Courtship Rituals'. Going from Satie like piano playing to ethnic influenced music, this is hardly a big step, as things are usually mellow in approach. The minimalist aspect of Peters is carried throughout here, which ever route he chooses for his journey. So perhaps it's not the best introduction if you are unfamiliar with his music, but if ethnic influenced ambient like music has your interest, than you will surely find this of much liking. And if you are won-over fan, than you may find some pleasant surprises in here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.palaceoflights.com

GOGOO - LONG, LONTAIN (CD by Baskaru)
French label Baskaru is small but it has brought us already some nice music by ENT, Urkuma, Lawrence English and (etre), and if there is something such as line in these releases then it's probably the word glitch. Well, that and the word 'warm'. Gabriel Hernandez (1979 in Grenoble, France) works as Gogoo, and started to play the guitar but very quickly moved to the computer and with his cousin he formed Simagree. He has had a couple of CDR, MP3 and compilation appearances, but somehow I don't think I came across his name before. On his debut 'Long, Lointain', he offers ten short pieces of field recordings, found sounds and a whole bunch of instruments, like a guitar, a melodica, carillon, piano, organ and of course the never far away laptop. What he does here is actually quite nice, really pleasant to hear, but at the same time nothing much new under the sun. The processed rain falls, wind clapping the window, or whatever birds has flown, it's music that at least in the world of Vital Weekly is a common place. A bit folktronic like these days, I could add, this could be slightly rougher sketches for the likes of Tape or Stephan Mathieu. Not an entirely as refined, but still delicate, warm and glitch like enough. It's surely all quite nice, but it raises for me a question: what's next? (FdW)
Address: http://baskaru.com

OH ASTRO - CHAMPIONS OF WONDER (CD by Illegal Art)
Only vaguely I remember the name Jane Dowe and her CDs for Mille Plateaux and Illegal Art, but I totally forgot what they were about. She is now married to Hank Hofler (who actually performed as Jane Dowe, to make life a bit more confusing) and together they are Oh Astro. Like with so many of the releases on Illegal Art, this too is an effective plunder of popmusic. Is that 'Hello Fuji Boy' sampled from that dreary piece of crap by Lionel Ritchie? Applaus for the 'Getting Away' version (?), cover (?) by Electronic, or a similar approach to 'Xanadu'. Chopped up, partly recognizable, rhythmic but experimental enough, this is plunderphonics as I like them. Not some speeches from radio and TV, set some lame lounge music, but effectively reworking big poptunes into something that as good and fresh as the original, or effectively making fun of it. But that's only half the story. There is also a lovely children song in the form of 40s music, sung by their own daughter Lucy. House music is never far away for Oh Astro, making this a most danceable release, which at the same time is funny, intelligent and downright a great release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.illegalart.net

FEAR FALLS BURNING & BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL (CD by Conspiracy Records)
One of the things that Dirk Serries took from his old life as Vidna Obmana into the new carnation as Fear Falls Burning is a love of working with other people. He recently released a 5LP set where ten different artists rework his material, and no doubt from all these contacts he came to collaborate with Campbell Kneale, also known as Birchville Cat Motel from New Zealand, and no doubt an equally busy bee. It's a bit hard to tell how this was conceived, but my best guess is that this is a by-product of the previous record set. Although perhaps by-product is not the right away, as this is full work in it's own right. It seems that Kneale takes the Fear Falls Burning guitar music into his own territory, that of 'cheap-o effect pedals' and '8 bit mono field' while on the job with his own electric guitars and motorised acoustic guitars (and drums it says on the cover, where are they?) and create a monster of drone music, metallic ringing and distorted. Working in straight lines this one, building, climbing, working towards that large crescendo, and then leaving the proceedings in an equally slow pace (well, not entirely equal, but you get my drift). The original from Fear Falls Burning seems to be swamped away here, but no doubt he did his bit too add to the distorted mayhem (looking at his recent work with Nadja, this might not be a surprise). One hell of a work, moving away from the more 'usual' burnings, and certainly something to look forward to in the future, if more of these collaborations will unfold. (FdW)
Address: http://www.conspiracyrecords.com

UTON - ALITAJU YLIMINA (LP by Dekorder)
KUPPUU - UNILINTTU (LP by Dekorder)
BLACK TO COMM - WIR KÖNNEN LEIDER NICHT EIN BISSCHEN MEHR ZU TUN (2LP by Dekorder)
BLACK TO COMM/AOSUKE - SPLIT (LP by Dekorder)
All the releases on the Hamburg-based label Dekorder are wonderfully packed in full-colour covers, often with very little or no written information on it, so that the images can fully unfold their beauty. On the cover of "Alitaju Ylimina" is a drawing by Jani Hirvonen, the man behind the Uton-moniker. It's one of those very colourful, child-like, semi-figurative ornamental drawings, which can be found in similar form on releases by Lau Nau or Kemialliset Ystävät. And these names also give a first idea of Uton's sound. He hails from Finland, too and already has a lot of releases out (most of them unknown to me, though), on labels such as Jewelled Antler, Pseudo Arcana or Digitalis. His music is some sort of far-out lo-fi drone, mostly created with acoustic instruments, which are mostly obscured by effects and the over-saturated recording. One might nag about the flutes, fake tribal percussion and throat singing, which appear occasionally, but the overall quirkiness of the music ultimately makes any of these complaints seem pointless. A recent review of this LP rightly pointed out, that the primary quality of Uton's music is being slightly out of focus and indeed it is the free-form approach, the apparent lack of interest in conventional compositional structures and above all the heavily blurred lo-fi sound, which drowns everything in a haze of tape hiss, that make Uton's drones strangely attractive after all.
Kuupuu is the name chosen by Jonna Karanka from Helsinki, who is also involved in other projects such as Avarus, Maniacs Dream, Hertta Lussu Ässä, Kokkiva Poliisi and several others. After last year's "Yökehrä", "Unilintu" is her second release on Dekorder, and both compile material from (by now probably long out-of-reach) CD-Rs and tapes. Compared to Uton, her music is more introspective, made with a wide range of acoustic instruments, voice, cheap electronics and toys and continuously shifting between harsh noisy drones and fragile improv clatter, often with a song-like quality, but rarely actually turning into a consistent tune. The sound is usually a bit muffled and together with Jonna singing and whispering in her native language, with its soft intonation and all its beautiful sharp sounds and long vowels, this adds a highly intimate quality to these tracks. Despite her way of singing, her frequent use of toys, and the simple compositional structures of her pieces, I would hesitate to call Kuupuu's approach to sound and composition naïve, child- or even pixie-like, as it can be read here and there in reviews. There is, however, something raw and very direct to it that evokes an atmosphere of joyful curiosity on some tracks and introvert, monochrome intensity on others.
Although the music of label owner Marc Richter's solo project Black to Comm and Aosuke, a duo of Torben Knopp and Ulf Schütte (the latter also operates the label Tape Tektoniks), is, in a way, more refined than that of Uton and Kuupuu, they all share similar aesthetic sensibilities and a love for a warm, emotionally charged sound. The title of Black to Comm's double LP (again beautifully packed in a full-colour gatefold cover) recalls the language of poorly translated user manuals and ultimately helpless service departments and should win the prize as this year's best album title, along with Jazkamer's "Balls the Size of Texas, Liver the Size of Brazil." Recorded in 2005 and 2006 with acoustic instruments and analogue gear (organs, tape loops, feedback, voice, etc.) plus some digital editing, these tracks offer drone music of the heavier kind, not particularly noisy, but dense and massive. As they are usually build around one single sustained tone or chord, there is something monumental to them, but Black to Comm works out a fine balance between sonic intensity and elegant beauty. This is most explicit in "Happy Brown Lego Star", which all of a sudden, yet almost seamlessly, changes its tone and shifts from a thick, blurred drone to relaxed guitar and trumpet sounds (provided by Renate Nikolaus and Gregory Büttner), accompanied by soft concrete rumbling. However, this balance is a characteristic feature of all the tracks on "Wir können leider", inscribed into the manifold layering of sounds and fusing subtlety and massive sonic presence into a mesmerizing amalgamation.
Black to Comm's side of the split LP continues in this vein, with another elegant one-tone organ drone, which starts out soft and rippling and then rapidly gains momentum a few minutes into the piece. The second track stands out here, as it is created with voice and effects only and recalls similar pieces by Kuupuu, but is still less raw than the latter and adds a new and less heavy shade to Black to Comm's aesthetic. Aosuke combine the melancholic shimmer of slightly fuzzy guitars and gently pulsating delay patterns with processed vocal snippets and occasional electronic additions. Their tracks surprise with reduced, yet highly beautiful melodies woven into a fabric of warm drones and create a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere. This split LP is Aosuke's second release after last year's "Monotone Spirits" album (unfortunately unheard by me yet) and they are definitely worth keeping an eye on, as their blend of drone and melody is among the best I've come across recently, avoiding the arbitrariness of much predominantly digital drone music, while at the same time not opting for the charm of an ostentatious lo-fi sound. (MSS)
Address: http://www.dekorder.com

TOM HALL - FLOATS (CD, private)
DARREN MCCLURE - SOFTENED EDGES (CDR by The Land Of)
Only quite recently we reviewed the CD 'Fleure' by Tom Hall from Australia. That CD used sounds from the Story Bridge in Brisbane. His new CD, 'Floats' doesn't seem to have such a conceptual angle, except that 'all tracks are extracts from live recording sessions consisting of processed keyboard'. I am not sure if keyboard here is meant to be the same as piano, but somehow I don't think so. More an electronic keyboard of whatever nature. Things start out alright: glitchy ambient electronics, gliding tones, that sort of thing. Warm, delicate, all those keywords apply here. All fine, but after the fourth track, I sort of thought, it could be using something extra, something to happen, move out of the some sketch like material which remains the same throughout. Unfortunately that doesn't happen. Things remain the same until the full eight tracks are completed. That is a pity since the material itself, a few pieces are quite alright, but as a whole it didn't strike me as particular strong.
Normally I don't lump releases together, but I played the Darren McClure release straight after the one from Tom Hall, and although a bit different in approach, there are also similarities to be spotted. First of the differences, which lie mainly in the use of field recordings. Rain, thunder, voices and tunnel ambience. That is: it's good that the label informs us of such things, because otherwise we may not have noticed. That's where the similarities come in: indeed 'softened edges' around here indeed. McClure feeds all his sounds through his software and plays around with them in a similar soft, warm, glitchy, careful bath that Hall uses. Although there is more variation around here than on the Hall disc, I couldn't help noticing that much of it was similar in approach. A few bumps, some light hearted sounds of rain pissing (not pouring) down, a thunder being transformed into a neat drone. Not bad at all, but it's been done and said before, and that's a bit of pity. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tomhall.com.au
Address: http://www.thelandof.org

MILLISECONDE TOPOGRAPHIE - TRICYCLE (DVD by Ekumen)
Following the three very limited releases on CDR by Milliseconde Topographie which I reviewed in Vital Weekly 559, there is now a full length DVD release, pressed and all. Milliseconde Topographie, a duo from Montreal, work here together on both the music and the visual aspects of the project. The DVD is divided in three parts, of which the final one is just audio. Like I am stating elsewhere, I am of course highly flattered to review stuff like this, but also video art is not my speciality. I have not enough (or none at all, whichever you prefer) knowledge of the what it is, the possibilities, the techniques and the history. This all makes it hard to say something about the visual part of it. The images are processed by computer means, over layered with other images and text. Seasides, trees, and abstract images. I can only say something in relation to the music, and that is a fine combination. Milliseconde Topographie work with processed musical instruments, electronics, and above all computers. Things hiss, crack, glitch like there is no tomorrow. Warm, glitchy music that fits the images well. No, let me rephrase that: the images fit the music well. Best watched in a darkened room, with the music connected to your amplifier, unless of course you have a nice DVD set up at home. Late night visual and musical poetry, and better than the crap on TV anyway. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ekumen.com

TIGRICS - SYNKI (CDR by Highpoint Lowlife)
Things have been quiet for Highpoint Lowlife, for reasons unclear, but here they are again. I can't remember that this label ever released a CDR, but here it is. Maybe a sign of market collapsing or perhaps Tigrics is not so well-known? It's a name we heard before, as Robert Bereznyei hails from Budapest and has had releases before. Besides the format there is also another change for the label, but one we could have perhaps seen coming: the music is less uniform with a lot (not all, not all) music on this label. Tigrics uses field recordings which he feeds through his own software for the Nord Micro Modular synthesizer. The music turns out to be a nice combination of electronic, rhythmic music in combination with audible and recognizable field recordings. Some of the tracks may be a bit long for what they have to offer content wise, but a track like 'Jatzkin' bridges both ends quite nicely. Music wise this is quite far away from the usual melancholic minor keys cum break rhythms, the IDM of this label, so both artist and label deliver a nice job. (FdW)
Address: http://www.highpointlowlife.com

NIHIL COMMUNICATION - WE ARE VIOLENT (CDR by Edgetone Records)
The press blurb says that the 'instrumentation varies dependent on mood and atmosphere' for Nihil Communication, and that the band 'may be comprise of Tom Nunn's T-Rodimba, synthesizers, percussion and digital effects'. So there is your answer. Nihil Communication equals Tom Nunn. Although the title is 'We Are Violent', this has nothing in common with violence, as Nihil Communication plays ambient music, but of a darker kind. Not the big wash up music, the near new age kind of ambient, but the pleasant disturbing kind of ambient, the one with that rough edge to it. Music that in the past came from the likes of Illusion Of Safety or Lustmord, and these days find their way into the Scandinavian regions of Cold Meat Industry or in Italy's Old Europa Cafe. Nihil Communication is in that respect not something new, but the outcome of his work is actually quite good. Dark, tense and intense, atmospheric, slightly mysterious and with a nice and effective use of reverb. Nice indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.edgetonerecords.com

ASTRO - COSMIC MOSQUE ON THE MAGICAL MOUNTAIN TOP (CDR by 8mm Records)
PEE IN MY FACE WITH SURGERY - URINE CAKES (CDR by 8mm Records)
JUSTICE YELDHAM & THE DYNAMIC RIBBON DEVICE (7" by 8mm Records)
The work of Hiroshi Hasegawa, formerly of C.C.C.C. but these days working as Astro has been around quite a lot. I am pretty sure I only heard a small portion, tapping into the system every now and then. It's one of those things I can't remember when I heard the first time. It's a question I asked myself when I was listening to the new release 'Cosmic Mosque On The Magical Mountain Top' and the reason for this question lies in the fact that it seems that there hasn't been much progress in the concept of Astro. One piece, forty minutes, played on a single instrument, the EMS synthesizer (not live but layered in the studio and probably several lines of sound effects) and the music is the usual cross-over between the louder and industrial material in combination with psychedelic sounds, the cosmic connection between Conrad Schnitzler and Throbbing Gristle - if you catch my drift. It's actually a nice one, this one, top heavy drone music, with a touch of experimentalism, but as such I didn't see much difference with any of the previous releases, but then: I only heard a small portion of that.
Running in the contest for stupid band names is Pee In My Face With Surgery. I honestly tried to read the text that came with the CDR and tried to understand the press text, but I failed on both accounts, I think. It might (!) be that there is a bunch of real songs by the oddly named band and a bunch of covers by other of their work. But who does what? It beats me. Things are about vocals, voices, hummings, screamings and a whole array of lo-fi electronics (feedback, rhythm, noise, shortwave). I'd like to say that's all highly personal, different and above all great, but I fear that the message is a bit lost on me here. It's not bad actually, this lo-fi noise affair.
Behind Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device is Lucas Abela, a kind man to help you when it comes to pressing CDs, but also a performing noise artist. These tracks were recorded in Seoul, in South Korea, and show Abela at his best. Screaming, noisy, loud, dirty. It's a pity that the performance element is sadly lacking here, since it's quite something to watch. There is an element of old tape music involved in this noise. Strong as ever, and it works well on a 7". (FdW)
Address: http://www.8mmrecs.com

BONEMACHINE - RIGHT NOW! (CDr by Ambolthue Records)
KENJI SIRATORI - FUTURE FREEDOM (CDr by Ambolthue Records)
I reviewed a collaboration of Kenji Siratori sometime back (Vital Weekly 594) in which he utilized his rather fierce voice against Federico Barabino's gentle guitar work but this CDr is nothing like - has two tracks of pure noise (yes i'm happy) - the first track could be using, field recordings, as could the second with sufficient morphing from the various effects, both tracks are walls of noise - clatter and shards of sound - perhaps cracking ice and worn machinery tearing itself apart Bone Machine has a sustained rhythm throughout its industrial reverberated wash of industrial clanking, annoying like the alarm that continually sounds at the atomic plant at windscale - now renamed sellafields - well change the name and the radioactivity might go away, anyway as long as you hear the alarm everything is OK - when it stops you,re dead, this then might be a release celebrating the infamous event 50 years ago in the reactor which was being used to make Britain's A Bomb - (hooray! And God save the Queen!) 'On the morning of Friday October 11 and at its peak, 11 tonnes of uranium were ablaze.' Hummm - kept that quiet but I digress - that might have helped my coming to terms with the piece - but this all too rhythmical work with its cinema horror voice-overs is not convincing - with the Kenji piece the alarm rhythm (of life) has stopped and we are once more returning to the chaos of atomic particles from whence we accidentally came - nice! (jliat)
Address: http://www.ambolthue.com

ACOLYTES ACTION SQUAD - WINKLE TIME (CDR by Early Winter Recordings)
It might be of course a matter of concentration, but sometimes there are these releases which I don't get around and the one by Acolytes Action Squad is one of those. They have been around since 1997 and released a cassette, a piece of vinyl and a piece of CD. Now there is a new release from this duo, consisting of The Essence and Ditchus from Sheffield. Now what about the music? I hear elements of improvised music, of drone music, of electronic sound manipulation. Noise, real songs, krautrock, totally fucked up hip hop. There is so much. But there's also female singing here, and everytime I hear that I kept thinking of Nurse With Wound. And that's perhaps the best thing to compare it with. The sheer combination of styles that still work as a whole, the collated elements of various kinds of music, be it a bit cruder that the wounded nurse, makes sense however. You'd be expecting an amalgam of music but it's a curious homogeneity that is presented here. Strong stuff that made curious about their earlier recordings. (FdW)
Address: http://www.earlywinterrecordings.co.uk

THICK WISPS (CDR, private release)
Two not so American sounding names here, but they are both from Brooklyn, New York. Giancarlo Bracchi is also known as Mangoon and he 'creates decaying wastelands of sound through processed howls, guttural zombie moans, feedbacking guitar and flushing toilets, whereas Juan Matos Capote is trained as a music and visual artist, with a main interest in circuit bending. The Thick Wisps is their duo and they recorded their music on directly to tape and four track. The latter is used in the five shorter pieces, which are backed by two lengthy improvisations, presented here unedited. The music they present is indeed a summing up of circuit bending and guitar howling feedback, but not as noise based as one could expect from this description. They keep their stuff under control, or perhaps it has to do with the recording quality not being the best around. The improvisations are a bit long, certainly the opening and the closing are way too long for what the actually have on offer. Some more rigid editing could be helpful for this lot of pieces. It's all fairly o.k., but nothing that got stuck in the mind straight away. (FdW)
Address: <thickwisps@yahoo.com>

SPRUIT - THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (3"CDR, self-released)
Behind the moniker Spruit is one Marc Spruit, who went to the art academy and is a self taught sound designer and bass player. For his music he uses turntables, electronics, bass, voice and percussion and above all the computer. His self-released 3"CDR is short, only eight minutes. Intentional? Or ran out of ideas? Or perhaps he thought of the equivalent of a 7"? Those eight minutes are covered with eight tracks of quite a noise nature. Things burst, scream, explode and is basically a digital fucked up sound. Perhaps the furious aspect of the music prevents us from wanted more, since the heavy character of the music works well enough. I must say I quite enjoyed the collage like character of the music, jumping all over the place, and at eight minutes it's surely long enough. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com.spruit

DELICATESSEN: A TASTE OF [WALNUT + LOCUST] (3"CDR by Walnut + Locust)
An odd and curious little release this one. A compilation of six tracks by six different bands in the time span of twenty minutes. The perfect introduction to six bands. I think they are all from Canada, and they all dabble around in electronic music. Strong rhythms, vocals, deep synths, experimental sounds: all of these in combination with eachother or leaving out one item. Maggot Breeder concentrates just on the synths, Thee Virginal Brides play a track that is basically one long intro, while Cheerleader 69 has a short piece with strings. .cut Featuring Gibet an Pine Tree State Mind Control have the most experimental electronics of this lot, while the closing track by AntiGlück is the most 'poppy' one with a strong rhythm and female vocals. Electronic body music. A nice introduction card of a varied bunch of music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.walnutlocust.com

FREIBAND & COLIN TUDOR - PANTONES (3" CD-R by Moll)
FREIBAND & RADBOUD MENS - GARAGE SALES (3" CD-R by Moll)
FRANS DE WAARD - PROFIELDEEL ZES (3" CD-R by Moll)
KAPOTTE MUZIEK - # 103: TILBURG (3" CD-R by Moll)
Frans de Waards started Moll (a.k.a. My Own Little Label) earlier this year to release his works, mostly archival pieces, concert recordings or material that just doesn't fit in anywhere else. Now, after some four or five months, Moll catalogue numbers 8 - 11 are out. For "Pantones" Frans de Waard - under his Freiband-moniker - worked together with Colin Tudor. His name might not immediately ring a bell, but he was one of the founding members of Zion Train, and this name could sound familiar after all. Colin Tudor provided the basic sound sources here, which were processed by Freiband and then mixed by Tudor again. Rhythmic structures play a central role here and the first track even has a driving pulse that would not seem totally out of place on a Goem-release, but soon things recede on a microscopic level, get more restrained and ambient-like - abstract digital clicks and drones as one might expect them from Freiband. However, getting what you would expect is not the worst thing, and "Pantones" makes for a pleasant addition to the Moll-catalogue.
"Garage Sales" documents a concert Frans de Waard and Radboud Mens played together at "Garage Festival" in Strahlsund, Germany in 2002. While this is still not material for the dancefloor, things are more energetic here than on "Pantones". Mens and de Waard are working with frequently shifting rhythmic arrangements of crystalline digital sounds, which step into noisy areas now and then, but never go over the top. The sound is warm, and occasional dub-like elements add an unusually organic quality to the music. Again Goem might spring to mind at times, but overall the tracks are built around more complex structures and lots of tiny sounds. Would be great to hear more than 20 minutes of this duo, so let's hope there is more in the archives or future collaborations coming soon.
While "Pantones" and "Garage Sales" were recorded in 2002, "Profieldeel Zes" is very recent - a recording of Frans' concert at Sonic Circuits in Washington DC on September 9th, 2007. It is a remix of his CD "Vijf Profielen" which was issued some months ago on Alluvial and reviewed in Vital Weekly 572. Some sounds are already familiar from that latter work, such as that of an elevator going up and down, but the palette of sounds is broadened by some additional shades, while keeping the same overall subdued quality. Above all, however, this track shows the same fine sense for the balance between original sound (unprocessed recording, that is) and abstraction, which also makes "Vijf Profielen" such a strong piece. This remix does not offer a radically different view of the material, yet it is not merely more of the same either, but presents a convincing variation that can also stand on its own.
Kapotte Muziek is a trio of Roel Meelkop, Peter Duimelinks and Frans de Waard, and they play what might be described as improvised acoustic musique concrete. In September 2007 they set up their tables with all kinds of small objects out in the streets in the Dutch town Tilburg and played an all-acoustic concert (their first one ever) in the middle of the day, with bikes passing and people talking around them, all of which is documented on this CD-R. With its soft clatter and rumble Kapotte Muziek's piece always risks appearing too amorphous and getting lost in the background noises. But then again its this confrontation of deliberately produced concrete sounds and the random sounds of the surrounding that make this recording a pretty interesting document after all. Although there are some videos of the event available online, I really wonder how it might have been to actually see this on location and how the different sounds mixed and interfered in the live setting. Frans is right by calling this a curious item on his website and even if it is not the most engaging work I've heard from Kapotte Muziek going all acoustic is an intriguing enough step for them. (MSS)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/moll.html

IZARZUGAZA & KAKOFUNK & TUSURI & XEDH - BILEKIDU (MP3 by Digital Biotope)
EDORTA IZARZUGAZA - AUTOERREGISTROA (CDR by Hamaika)
LOTY NEGARTI & AL KARPENTER - DISCURSO SOLITARIO (MP3 by Ruidemos)
A bit clueless why Xedh did put in all the liner notes in Spanish, that is a waste of paper on me. This MP3 release is the result of a laptop jam between four musicians from the Basque country: Edorta Izarzugaza, Terrirri (who is part of Kakofunk), Oier Iruretagoiena (also known as Tüsüri) and Miguel A Garcia (also known as Xedh). I expected this to be quite loud, which it sometimes is, but then they also know how to take back control and let things move more freely, and even treat the path of more silent music. Throughout however things are heavy and loud, and it seems to me that the players don't always interact or even listen to what the others are doing, which is a pity. They should have at least jammed for more than the thirty minutes covered here, and carefully edited the best moments together. Even for a MP3 there could be some quality control and not just the pure documentation of an event.
Edorta Izarzugaza also has solo release on the Basque Hamaika label, which marks his debut, following a track he had on the 'Euskal Interpretatzaile Berriak' release on Antifrost (see Vital Weekly 500). For whatever unknown reason I expected this to be a noise related release, but not so. It's not that the noise thing is completely absent here, as occasionally things burst out with lots of processed feedback, but throughout this was quite an interesting release of processed field recordings, feedback which he sometimes develops into neat dark drone related microsounds. Quite a matured work, me thinks, beating some of the more well-known players in this field with something that is more of his own than others.
Hamaika labelboss Loty Negarti teams up with Al Karpenter, also known as Alvaro Brutus who plays the drums. Negarti himself plays feedback. This is the school of Mattin at work. A live improvisation with howls of feedback and the drums playing in free mode. Probably it was great fun to do, and earsplitting to the whoever watched the proceedings that evening, but it's all a bit lost on the release. Simple, loud, vicious, but somehow it also lacks the tension and attention that good music perhaps requires. (FdW)
Address: http://digitalbiotope.net
Address: http://www.gatza.org/hamaika.org
Address: http://www.ruidemos.r8.org

THROUROOF - THE CIRCLE OF BAD ATTITUDES (MP3 by Resting Bell)
K.M. KREBS - SYMMETRIES (MP3 by Resting Bell)
The releases on Resting Bell look quite nice, even considered they are MP3 only. But if you take the right paper and print the covers and the on-body artwork, it actually looks a nice release. I never heard of ThrouRoof, which apparently is an one-man project from Italy. He played a thirty-two minute piece on a broken bontempi organ, guitar feedback and field recordings, going through an analogue mixer, 'dunlop tape delay', echoplex and revox, while applying no overdubbing, no remastering and no digital process, except of course to make it to digital file. It's a bit unclear to me how to control of these inputs with only two hands, but he controls them well. Quite a massive piece of drone music, not sweet or mellow, but quite present and perhaps even loud, like a monolithic rock rolling of a mountain. Say Z'EV with lots more reverb going on his metal sound, or an even more heavily treated Organum in his early days. It seems that's not easy to keep up the tension though, and perhaps it would have been an idea to apply some editing.
The name of K.M. Krebs we came across before through his releases on Con-V but also on Treetrunk, Thinner and Nishi. The music on 'Symmetries' was inspired by a live concert from April this year, although I am not sure what that means. Are the three tracks here a rework of that? Do you use the same source material? I don't know. 'Illumination And Division' is quite a nice piece of somewhat melodic ambient music, using however a fair amount of field recordings. 'Surfacing Briefly' seems to be using the same source material (rattling wind chimes perhaps?) but worked out in a more industrial music context, whereas the closing piece (still the same source material?) is the most calm piece, most ambient, less a melodic structure as such. Nice, or perhaps even conceptual with three similar approaches/three different outcomes, but for me a bit too singleminded as such. Nice cover though. (FdW)
Address: http://www.restingbell.net

STENO - SECOND-HAND FURNTITURE (MP3 by Mr.Mutt)
Frank Metzger's claim to fame is that he is ex Oval. If my memory serves right he was present on the first Oval record 'Wohnton' and not on the subsequent releases, the much applauded classics 'Systemisch' and '94 Diskont'. He has teamed up with Rossano Polidoro and Emiliano Romanelli, who work since many years as Tu M'. 'Their work is focused on the world of CD-skipping-glitch-laptop-pop-music', it says on the cover of the promo. Fine, but why, I asked myself. To work with CD skipping is something we all did to find out how Oval did that on their great masterworks, and not many succeeded in getting close to that sound, let alone to surpass it. And that was all a decade ago. Why try your hands at this now, I wondered? The thirteen tracks here have only a slight connection with popmusic, when they skip a pop CD. What made Oval great, the elegance, the musicality of CD skipping, the rhythm, lacks sadly here. This sounds like Oval on a bad hair day. Noisy, uncontrolled, freaky and without everything that could make this into a great CD. It was recorded in 2003-2004, so I imagine they shopped it around to get it released as a CD, but in the end now share it as a MP3: a wise decision. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mr-mutt.com