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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 599
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week 44
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html
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http://www.harmlog.nl/vitalfeed.asp
New broadcasts will be sent directly when uploaded.

 

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!

* noted are in this week's podcast

 

 

CHRISTOPHER MCFALL - FOUR FEELS FOR FIRE (CD by Entr'acte) *
FORMICATION - AGNOSIA (CD by Harmful Records) *
TOMAS PHILLIPS - DRINK_DEEP (CD by Non Visual Objects)
SCHURER &STEINBRUCHEL - <FALTE> (CD by Non Visual Objects)
IGNAZ SCHICK & DAWID SZCZESNY - THE VIEW UNDERNEATH (CD by Non Visual Objects) *
SIKHARA - BARDOS STYLE (CD by URCK Records) *
POST-ASIATIC: LOST WAR DREAM MUSIC (2CD by URCK Records)
ZFP QUARTET - ULRICHSBERG MÜNCHEN MUSIK (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
THE GEORDIE APPROACH - WHY EYE (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
LIMPE FUCHS - VOGEL MUSIK (CD by Robot Records)
JAMIE DROUIN & LANCE OLSEN - SNOWFIELD + REMIX (2CD by Dragons Eye Recordings) *
BINARY OPPOSITIONS (CD compilation by Static Caravan)
DOMENICO SCIAJNO & LAWRENCE ENGLISH - MEROLA SHOULDERS (CD by Phono-Statique Records)
TIM HECKER - NORBERG, SWEDEN (miniCD by Room40)
MARK CLIFFORD/ZAVOLOKA - SPLIT01 (CDEP by Polyfusia) *
THINGUMA JIG SAW - AWAKE IN WHITE CHAPEL (CD by Deserted Village) *
TOYMONGER - THE NIGHTVISION (LP by Deserted Village)
KARL BÖSMANN - ESKALATION (LP by You Don't Have To Call It Music)
MARTIJN HOHMANN & MARC HEIJMANS - TRENDEL (12" by UniversaalKunst)
SRMEIXNER/BAND OF PAIN (7" by Black Rose Recordings)
LEO FABRIEK & MACHINEFABRIEK - FABRIEKFABRIEK (CDR by Machinefabriek) *
THE HIDDEN - SAME (CD by Triple Bath Recordings)
XV PAROWEK - WOKE UP IN A MAILBOX (CDR by Neus-318) *
DIS.PLAYCE - DAS ENDE VON AMERIKA (CDR by Naiv Super) *
AA1 - LIVE AT ELECTROLINE (CDR by Dars Records)
CIRCUMJECTA - ULCHI HOP (CDR by Dars Records) *
TERRITORY OF ABSENCE (CDR by Dars Records)
FRANZ FJÖDOR & BRAM STADHOUDERS - THE RATTLESNAKE WHISTLES (CDR by Vatican Analog) *
FRANZ FJÖDOR - CORPERAL PUNISHMENT (3"CDR, self-released)
4DALADIEZ/SINDRE BJERGA (CDR Gold Soundz)
STROM NOIR - THE STROM EP (3"CDR by Black Orchid Productions) *
BRUTUM FULMEN - 1000 SUNS (cassette by Throne Heap)
IZARZUGAZA & XEDH & BAZTERRAK - INTERSECCIONES I-V (MP3 by Ruidemos)

 

CHRISTOPHER MCFALL - FOUR FEELS FOR FIRE (CD by Entr'acte)
Although Christopher McFall started out ten years ago to play the piano and computer, he moved to field recordings and tape manipulations about six years ago. He now lives in 'blighted industrial warehouse districts of Kansas City' and it's there were he gets his inspiration from. Not just the warehouses but also the 'heat, grit and turbulence' that is also part of that area of the USA. The field recordings are put to analogue tape, which was then removed from it's housing, treated (but how it doesn't say) and then altered and layered using a computer. I must say that I think this is a most intriguing process, which is my imagination sounds pretty cool. I see McFall burying tapes in backyard and dig them up six months and playing some eroded tape. It might not be that way, but the sounds covered on these five tracks sound pretty eroded. Among the people he acknowledges we see, besides Jos Smolders and God, Asher Thal-Nir, and that doesn't strike me at all. There are strong similarities between the music of McFall and Asher, that very scraped off, eroding, residual sound, but there is also a difference: in McFalls music there is a lot more happening. Asher is more the man of a concept, explored to its core, but McFall is the man for a story. Each of the pieces (named 'East', 'West' etc and 'Epilogue') is a story by itself, quiet, louder, intimate. McFall doesn't necessarily offer something wholly new on the subject of microsound, but 'Four Feels For Fire' is a fine release, easily along the masters of the genre (Meelkop, Behrens, Chartier to name a few). (FdW)
Address: http://www.entracte.co.uk

FORMICATION - AGNOSIA (CD by Harmful Records)
Following a string of releases on CDR and MP3, Formication made their move into 'real' CDs with 'Icons For A New Religion' (see Vital Weekly 579), and now return with 'Agnosia' for Harmful Records, which is their own label. Still a duo of Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft, and still taking their influences from the last forty years of alternative music (from Conrad Schnitzler to Pete Namlook, from Throbbing Gristle to Porter Ricks). Highly atmospheric music, playing the mood card rather than the well structured composed card. Playing around with musical instruments, mainly samplers and synthesizers me thinks, this moves away from the previous release, which was a bit too 'magickal' and 'ritualistik' for my taste. This new one seems to be more open, has more air in it. Especially the final track (couldn't figure out the track titles) build around a pulsating rhythm is quite nice, highly psychedelic, but also having their marks inside ambient through dreamy synthesizers and a slightly distorted voice. A bit like Zoviet*France, this entire release, except that this is a bit short, clocking at some thirty-two minutes. Nice move this one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.darkwinter.com

TOMAS PHILLIPS - DRINK_DEEP (CD by Non Visual Objects)
SCHURER &STEINBRUCHEL - <FALTE> (CD by Non Visual Objects)
IGNAZ SCHICK & DAWID SZCZESNY - THE VIEW UNDERNEATH (CD by Non Visual Objects)
Of these three new releases, only the Tomas Phillips one is a solo release. I read the liner notes carefully, but I fail to understand what this release is about. Rites Of Spring was a hardcore punk band from Washington DC and 'it provided a soundtrack to a generation of veteran punks for whom introspection and renewal were increasingly necessary tools in the ongoing (re) construction of personal and political defiance'. This release bridges that with 'microsound' and all the source material comes from the aforementioned hardcore band. Now of course, this doesn't sound at all like hardcore punk. Of the two long pieces, the title piece is the best, I think. Very silent music, with piano (again!) chords, crackles, drones and such like to provide a spooky soundtrack, building slowly towards a large crescendo. 'In Silence_Words Away' is much louder in approach, and also more sketchy, a bit like a mighty collage like piece of music, but which doesn't seem to manage to hold my attention as much as the first piece. It seems like the processing is much simpler and more straight forward and is just of lesser quality. But on the whole this marks a great progression for Phillips, out of the noise collages and into the world of microsound, in his own very nice way.
The first collaboration is by Bernd Schurer and Ralph Steinbruchel and is based on the 'exquisite corpse' technique developed by the surrealists. You have a piece of paper, write something on it, fold it so you can see the last line and the next writer takes it from there, fold it so you can see his last line etc. You can do this with words, but also sounds and images. This process was used by both to create an eight channel sound installation, which of course can't be reproduced on a CD, so they cheated a bit with their own process. Not that we should grief over that, since what is now on this CD is actually great (can't compare it of course to the installation, but alas). Gliding tones, popping in and out, piano like sounds, full use of the stereo field (for once I use headphones... maybe that's something I should do more?), making this a very vibrant release and at times a classical CD of near academic music. If one to compare this, I'd say the recent Marcus Schmickler release on Editions Mego comes close, but this is a great release by itself. The best Steinbrüchel I encountered in some time; well, perhaps because it's a bit different than his usual output.
In the last new release on Non Visual Objects matters go out to the world of improvised music. I don't believe I have the pleasure of knowing Dawid Szczesny from Poland, but he comes from the hip hop/electronica world, but Ignaz Schick we know as live manipulator of all media - vinyl, CDs, minidiscs and such like. They met in 2005 and since then worked together, both on stage and in the studio. Dawid plays laptop, Schick turntable, objects and sine waves, and together they play a highly vibrant piece of music, eight pieces actually. Things buzz, crack, glitch about, but all with a great elegance. In one way this all sound very microsound, with high end static, crackles, but the element of improvised music is never far away. A fine line that also incorporates some real instruments - or so it seems - like guitars and a piano, adding at times a melodic texture. These three releases on Non Visual Objects all stem from the same source - microsound - but the outcome is very different, which is great. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nonvisualobjects.com

SIKHARA - BARDOS STYLE (CD by URCK Records)
POST-ASIATIC: LOST WAR DREAM MUSIC (2CD by URCK Records)
For their latest two releases URCK Records decided to release them on CD, rather than on the CDR format, perhaps with the idea that these are bigger names. Scott Nydegger, also known as Sikhara, has played in 26 countries and lives in France, on a self-imposed exile, where plays with Yann Geoffriaud as George Bitch Jr (you wonder why the self-exile?). 'Bardos State' is the second release by Sikhara, and it deals with percussion. Loads of percussion. It's something that one has to learn to appreciate, and it's something that I haven't learned so far. I tried hard enough, did a fair amount of Muslimgauze (I can easily claim as a non-fan I still heard them all, at least once) and in it's day I thought Crash Worship was good, but that's perhaps because I didn't know they were a percussion band. And that perhaps points the finger to the problem: with percussion music, even when Sikhara adds a lot of effects and chanting of various kinds, it's lack melody in favor to banging rhythm. Sikhara, partly ethnic, partly industrial inspired, offers some interesting pieces of tribal warning shots, but in the end the variation isn't just too much to be fully, entirely satisfying.
A lot of artists on URCK take their musical inspiration from Asia, especially the rhythm and raga like drone stuff. But not just the URCK people, one could say there is a large group of musicians, and 'Post-Asiatic: Lost War Dream Music' tries to compile these musicians, who all (the majority at least), life on the west coast of the USA, save for perhaps Z'EV and the deceased Muslimgauze. This already defines the range of this compilation. Some names are known here through previous releases, such as, besides the two aforementioned luminaries, Bill Horist and Hop Frog's Drum Jester Devotional, but there is also a bunch of names, the vast majority actually, are people I never heard of. As to be expected there a lot of sitars, tablas, gamelan, oud, saz and more exotic instrumentation, but also guitars, metal percussion, field recordings (licensed from 'Indian Soundscapes' by Soleilmoon as well as some from Burma). Chants, dervish, techno, pure percussion: it's all there. A highly varied compilation with 150 minutes of music. I am not sure, but this could very well be a complete picture of a scene. If such a scene exists of course, but this lot makes a nice scene. (FdW)
Address: http://www.urckrecords.com

ZFP QUARTET - ULRICHSBERG MÜNCHEN MUSIK (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
Simon Fell is a busy bee, involved in a huge number of projects, to many to mention. Also he runs the Bruce's Fingers label, documenting many of these initiatives he is involved in, the Zfp Quartet being one of them. With Carlos Zingaro (violin, electronics), Marcio Mattos (cello, electronics), and Mark Saunders (drums, percussion), Simon H.Fell (double bass) completes this international quartet. Zingaro is a pioneer and veteran of the Portuguese improvised musicscene. Marcio Mattos from Brazil lives in England since the 70s, and plays mainly with english improvisors like Eddie Prevost, and many others. Mark Sanders is a new name for me, although he played with a whole legion of jazz, rock and improvising musicians. In this combination as the ZFP Quartet they released their first one - 'Music for Strings, Percussion and Electronics' (Bruce's Fingers) - with a recording from a performance in Portugal in 2002. Now they return again with a CD of live recordings. The cd and the tracks are simply named after the cities where the live recordings were made. When lengthy abstract improvisations leave you no escape, then something really is happening. This is what happened to me when listening to the first improvisation that takes about 34 minutes. What a superb music! Group improvisation of a very high standard. The musicians know how to develop an improvisation and remain focused all through this journey. As in the other pieces they excel in some very concentrated improvisations of a very warm and deeply human nature. Their atmospheric music is very delicate and well-balanced. A full-grown work of four very communicative improvisors. A very rewarding and joyful experience! (DM)
Address: http://www.brucefingers.com

THE GEORDIE APPROACH - WHY EYE (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
A recently formed trio of three young Leeds-based musicians, although two of them come from Norway: Petter Frost Fadnes (sax, electronics), Ståle Birkeland (drums, percussion). Guitarist Chris Sharkey (also electronics) completes this trio. All three of them take part in the 'Leeds Improvised Music Association', an important pool of musicians within the british improv scene of the moment. After intensive and successful touring the UK and Norway as The Geordie Approach, they now present their first cd on the french Bruce's Fingers label of Simon H.Fell.
From the beginning they take you on a wild ride,
a constant stream of high energy improvisations on the same level of intensity. Other tracks like 'Gascoigne' or 'Shearer', with great guitarwork by Sharkey, come close to a kind of free rock. 'MacDonald' shows them from their most introvert side. Upon an abstract sound environment Fadness plays his almost melodic lines. And so they take different approaches in building up their improvisations. And yes, they do this in a very fresh manner. What the seven pieces on this cd have in common is that they all deal with heavy and noisy improvisations. The improvisations are loosely structured, which made me think from time to time 'okay guys what do you want' what are you heading at'. But this is compensated by their great sound. Drums and (distorted) guitar go very well together with the untransparant and rough electronic sounds that dominate their outlook. 'Robson', the final track offers some demented 'funky' stuff and impressed me most. (DM)
Address: http://www.brucefingers.com/

LIMPE FUCHS - VOGEL MUSIK (CD by Robot Records)
A name who needs no further introduction. You probably know that she performs since the end of the 60s together with Paul Fuchs as Anima (Sound). But more important, Limpe Fuchs is still as a performing artist. Several months ago I reviewed another cd of her: 'Pianobody 2002', a solo-work, being the first release on the obscure Seven Legged Spiders-label. 'Vogel Music' is a cd with duets with Christoph Reiserer and one trio piece with Reiserer and Julia Schoelzel on piano. We hear Limpe Fuchs playing lithophon (serpentinit), ballaststring, tubedrums, kettledrum, violin and voice. Reiserer plays clarinet, soprano and baritone sax.
All though I'm not sure, I guess the seven pieces on this cd are composed and did not came into being out of improvisation. The pieces are named after birds, so they may have inspired Fuchs for her compositions. The strength of Limpe Fuchs lies not in her technical skills. She is not a great instrumentalist. But with the strange (self-built) percussive instruments, she creates a very own world of Partch-like sounds. Also the compositions are not extremely complicated or whatever. On the contrary they are of a charming simplicity that works. Fuchs is an artist with a vision who knows how to materialize her ideas effectively with limited means. This makes that his music works on a different level. Recordings date from 2002 and 2004 during live performances on several locations in the south of Germany. (DM)
Address: http://www.robotrecords.com/

JAMIE DROUIN & LANCE OLSEN - SNOWFIELD + REMIX (2CD by Dragons Eye Recordings)
Before we came across the name Jamie Drouin when he collaborated with Yann Novak on 'Auditorium' (see Vital Weekly 577), but here its a work with one Lance Olsen. The first disc is a re-issue of a limited CDR release from 2003 when this was conceived as a four channel installation. 'The seven tracks were derived from the interaction with a field of snow in British Columbia measuring the same dimensions as the empty host gallery in the United Kingdom where the compositions were back'. So field recordings of snow were used? Or perhaps snow flakes upon contact microphones? A bit like the work conceived by John Hudak and Stephan Mathieu in that area, 'Pieces Of Winter' (see Vital Weekly 443). Maybe they use ice, freezing or melting? Crackling sound of things falling down, but in some way I don't think they use much sound processing. It's more like ears to the ground and amplify what is coming. That makes this quite nice, I think.
I am not sure why this deserved a remix CD, but anywhere there is one. That one seems a bit odd, with two remixes by Jamie Drouin, one by Lance Olsen, one by Yann Novak and, the longest in fact, by Tomas Jirku, who seems then to be the only outsider. Here electronics play an important role, as the snowflakes are heavily treated in all five remixes into either very droney sounds, like in 'Snow:Storm' by Yann Novak or both remixes by Drouin whereas in the Olsen and Jirku remixes rhythm plays an important role. Not in the form of big beats but in termites eating their way through the grain. It's all quite alright I guess, but nothing spectacular. The first disc however was more than enough. (FdW)
Address: http://www.infrequency.org

BINARY OPPOSITIONS (CD compilation by Static Caravan)
Somewhere in Brescia, Italy, there is a gallery curated by Matt Price, dealing with the contrasts of analogue and digital, hand made versus machine, myth and rationalism. As part of the exhibition there is also a CD compilation by Static Caravan, which does more or less the same as the exhibition. Of course it features names that not always mean a lot in my universe, but in the parallel universe of Static Caravan they do. Betty & The Id? Micronormous? KateGoes? Mike In Mono? No less than twenty-one tracks, which breath the air of alternative popmusic, alternative folk, alternative electronics. I put this CD on and started to sink in my chair and watched the outside rain in autumn. I hardly glanced at the cover, which means I probably didn't hear any outstanding good track, or outstanding bad for that matter, just absolutely fine music. Maybe interchangeable at times, but with enough variation to keep things interesting throughout the entire CD. The sweetness naivety of KateGoes is followed by the vocoder piece of Mike In Mono - to give an example. Perhaps a big jump, but in this they attract each other. Lovely compilation. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

DOMENICO SCIAJNO & LAWRENCE ENGLISH - MEROLA SHOULDERS (CD by Phono-Statique Records)
TIM HECKER - NORBERG, SWEDEN (miniCD by Room40)
This new work by Lawrence English is not published by his own Room40 label, but one from around his corner in Brisbane, Phono-Statique Records. In October 2005 he found himself in an apartment in Palermo with Domenico Sciajno, whom we know from his solo work, or in collaboration with RLW and Kim Cascone. What exactly the reference is to Merola Shoulders, an Italian singer, who performed around the corner when this was recorded I don't know. One has to be careful, but it seems that this laptop duel is more Sciajno than English, as it's more powerful, noise even than much of English work. Maybe Sciajno has had more to say in the final edit of the material - it's not easy to see who did what here, although there are certainly quiet moments to be spotted, such as in the prize winning 'A Frank Discussion About Ruins'. It seems, again to me that is, that this culled from many hours of improvisation, both using computers with all sorts of sound files and software running, but that in the end final editing (and perhaps adding a bit of sound effects?) things are cut down meticulously. Maybe parts were over-layed, but the most interesting parts are to be found here. It's easy to detect the more experienced at work, I think. Whereas a newcomer would release a CDR of all the material, uncut, unpolished, here we have two accomplished musicians with a more than critical look at the material, and who present a particular strong album.
On English' own Room40 label there is a mini CD by Tim Hecker, in the tradition of previous down under mini CDs (Richard Chartier, Taylor Deupree), which were all made for a tour over there. Hecker has already a long string of albums to his name, for labels as Mille Plateaux, Kranky, Room40 and Staalplaat and toured the world. In Norberg, Sweden, he played a concert amidst mineshafts and cluttered buildings, and something of that area may reflect in the music. The twenty minutes captured here are of a highly grainy texture, like an endless amount of low resolution samples that built, no rather fight, for attention. Each of them seems to be struggling against the others, and things are in full crescendo mood, but nowhere that this piece get of the rails. At the controls is Hecker, who has all his sounds like a puppet master on a string. A good, rock solid piece. (FdW)
Address: http://www.phonostatiquerecords.com
Address: http://www.room40.org

MARK CLIFFORD/ZAVOLOKA - SPLIT01 (CDEP by Polyfusia)
Perhaps the name Mark Clifford rings no immediate bells, but he was a founding member of Seefeel, who made quite an impact in the world of popmusic meeting post-rock. Later on he also worked as Disjecta, started his own label Polyfusia and sometimes works under his own name. I am not sure what exactly divides his work using the various names, but under his own belt he likes the guitar and he likes his computer. There are two tracks by him on this CDEP, as well as two by Zavoloka, whom we know from here various releases on Nexsound. Clifford's pieces are heavily e-bowed and heavily layered affairs on the guitar and the computer. As such the instrument is still to be recognized, but through various plug ins, a nice additional layer is added. Still leaving the guitar to be recognized, but also, oddly enough to be firmly rooted in computer treatments. The other two tracks are by Kateryna Zavoloka, who is from the Ukraine and who says to be inspired by traditional Ukranian music, which is something I can't verify, simply due to my lack of knowledge on that. Her two pieces are more based around rhythm, broken up but still head nodding. Alongside she adds a whole bunch of flute like sounds, like morning birds that give the music a rather cheerful basis. Despite the autumn time, it's more like springtime music. Very nice. A bit short, sadly. (FdW)
Address: http://www.polyfusiarecords.com

THINGUMA JIG SAW - AWAKE IN WHITE CHAPEL (CD by Deserted Village)
TOYMONGER - THE NIGHTVISION (LP by Deserted Village)
Not much information on either of these releases, which is a pity. Thinguma Jig Saw is definitely the odd ball of the week. Lots of banjo and harmonium, along female (a lot) and male (a bit less) vocals, and perhaps a bit of other instruments such as wind instruments (saxophone, flute), bells and perhaps even electronics. Thirteen tracks of hardly neo-folk, as this sounds a lot more folk like than all the folktronica people. I am a very unlikely person to review, nor, I think anyone from the Vital personnel. I can easily admit that the whole thing grows on me after a couple of listens, but then thirteen tracks is also a bit too much for my taste.
The LP is by Toymonger, who according to the insert are Gavin Prior and Andrew Fogarty. This is much like it. For us, I mean. This duo plays drone music according to the laws of power. It starts out soft but slowly the effective powers that be creep in, like coming through the back door. At one point they even sound like a train here, when the forces of evil have risen to true power. Four lengthy cuts of controlled mayhem, distortion, but never forgetting to capture the very essence of drone music - to keep the head inside space. Quite charming free flow drone music of a much louder kind. Think Sunn O))) or such like monsters, and Toymonger is half way your house. (FdW)
Address: http://www.desertedvillage.com

KARL BÖSMANN - ESKALATION (LP by You Don't Have To Call It Music)
Like John Cage said, and I believe Staalplaat after him, there is now even a label dedicated to his words: You don't have to call it music, if the terms shocks you. Works always fine if the uninitiated walk into your room and want to know what the hell you are playing today. For those who know, you as the subscriber to Vital Weekly, you know this is music. Karl Bösmann has had a couple of CDR releases before, mainly on his own, or with Verato and Tosom, but here he comes with a nicely packed LP: black cover with silver foil print ('wow', says the little girl around who loves shiny things, 'a bit like Philips Silver Series I muttered). Certainly something that sets the standard a little bit different. Bösmann's music on his last release was quite noisy and not very interesting, but luckily for this LP he goes back to the music of his first two CDR releases. Bösmann plays minimal music, recorded with 'original' instruments - 'no samples used', it says on the cover. What these original instruments are, I must admit, is not easy to hear. My best guess is guitars and sound effects. Things evolve in a rather slow manner, but that is part of the Bösmann esthetic. Building many layers of sound, which only marginally differ from the others, and then building things up in a dramatic way, scary, like a menace. Especially in the title piece, which covers the main part of the second side of this record, this works very well. The pressing is not the best around, which is a pity, since it doesn't serve the music very well. But throughout it's a very nice record, excellently telling us what Bösmann does very well. Great one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.youdonthavetocallitmusic.de

MARTIJN HOHMANN & MARC HEIJMANS - TRENDEL (12" by UniversaalKunst)
The name Martijn Hohmann was more known to me as an organizer in his home town Breda (The Netherlands) than as a musician. As UniversaalKunst he is active inside music, drawing, graphic arts and installation. Here however under his own name with one Marc Heijmans, who is a graphic designer and illustrator. Together they produced a single sided record (on the other side there is silkscreened) in a boxed set edition of 75 copies and a regular edition of 100 copies. Perhaps Heijmans is responsible for the graphic part and Hohmann for the music? The instruments used are recordings played on a turntable, but the records are treated with a mezzotint rocker, a rubbermat, pieces of cardboard, water, a rubberband tied to the needle, and also used is a voice recording by their deceased friend Arthur van Keppel (to whom this is dedicated). Creating music with records is of course not something new (think Christian Marclay, Institut Fuer Fein Motorik, Tetrault and many more), but there is something quite nice about these recordings: dark, brooding, menacing, with some music leaking through, hand-spinning and more such like. More noise based than music based, but the matter is under control, which is a rare thing. Nice product, with, to top things of, a nice silkscreened cover and inner sleeve. (FdW)
Address: http://www.universaal.nl

SRMEIXNER/BAND OF PAIN (7" by Black Rose Recordings)
This little beast I played at least ten times before even starting to think about the review. Was it that great? Well, no, not because of that, but rather the format of a 7" with 'difficult' music is hard to capture. Both SRMeixner and Band Of Pain are known for a long time inside the world of experimental music. On side A we fin Meixner, former member of Contrastate, with a piece that involves sea washes and processed bird/insect/frog sounds, along with sparse music (piano? guitar?), heavily layered. Quite an intimate piece of music.
Steve Pittis, also known as Band Of Pain, on the other side, has a likewise intimate piece of music. Sparse, drone like sounds and tape/vinyl-manipulation interjecting the music. Quite a musique concrete like piece, one that we haven't seen him doing before. More peaceful than before. For both of these pieces goes, that they are too short to give a solid opinion about, and both cry for more. Great, but way too short. (FdW)
Address: <srmeixner@yahoo.co.uk>

LEO FABRIEK & MACHINEFABRIEK - FABRIEKFABRIEK (CDR by Machinefabriek)
As far as I understand Leo Fabriek (might not be his real name) is one of the members of The JulieMittens, which are the Dutch answer to Krautrock, or so I am lead to believe based on what I could find on the internet. This Leo Fabriek plays here piano on a recording he made on September 16th with Rutger Zuydervelt, also known to mankind as Machinefabriek. Two times fabriek, but this is far away from factory sounds. The piano, the hot instrument of 2007, is here in duet, rather than the source of all things processed (and unlike so many others we encountered this year). Leo Fabriek plays slow chords, while Zuydervelt adds guitar, banjo, effects and povtronic (whatever that may be). Unlike a lot of his previous self-produced releases, this is a long release, almost forty minutes. Divided into six lengthy pieces things move here with great care and pace, while in the background, Zuydervelt erects walls of sound, through his extensive use of effects. Sometimes going to the foreground, sometimes staying in the back, such as in 'Polderlicht' (highlight of this release), this is another strong release of someone who seems to have found his way: Machinefabriek's output is vast, but since about a year or so, he has been, more or less in one position of carefully treated strings and sound effects, exploring the possibilities thereof, and this new release is no different. Another fine work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/fabriekfabriek

THE HIDDEN - SAME (CD by Triple Bath Recordings)
For a cdr with a limited edition of 96 copies, The Hidden is an appropriate name for a musical combo. The Hidden hides in Michigan, where all four improvisors of this quartet have their roots. Mike Johnston (bass, shenhai, wood flutes) and Mike Gilmore (vibes, marimba, saz, cheng, percussion) are partners since the mid-70s when they formed the collective Northwoods Improvisers and played with people like Pete Kowald, Günter Sommer, a.o. But from the information I gained, I conclude they play mainly with local musicians. One of them is Kirk Lucas (cello) who is also part of the Hidden-quartet. Mike Khoury (violin) is the youngest and maybe known for his cd 'Insignia' for Public Eyesore, with Jason Shearer and Ben Hall. The quartet specializes in open and slowly progressing improvisations that comes close to the atmosphere of modern chambermusic. The improvisations continue most of the time as an alternation of waving movements. No spectacular outbursts of energy here. They make some use of exotic instruments, that gives the music an eastern touch like in 'Hidden 10'. Although the musicianship is considerable, the improvisations of this quartet failed to attract my attention. Also after repeated listening the unsensational improvisations didn't talk to me. The CDR ends with a swinging piece 'Hidden 13', but also in this track the improvisation stays far beneath the temperature of bowling. (DM)
Address: http://www.triplebath.gr

XV PAROWEK - WOKE UP IN A MAILBOX (CDR by Neus-318)
Although I am pretty sure I didn't keep up with the entire catalogue of XV Parowek, I heard pretty much of it, and so far, I think, they were all released by the man from Poland himself. But spreading his wings, he now has a release on Japanese Neus-318, which on various tracks uses sounds from Dominik Kowalczyk, a.k.a. Wolfram and Hubert Napiorski, a.k.a. Thaw. Over the years XV Parowek has developed himself from the pure noise into something that is more solidly based in the history of musique concrete. The eight pieces here are relatively short and to the point, still using electro-acoustic sounds as their starting point, which are treated through sampling, looping or perhaps even analogue techniques of tape manipulation. Curious enough XV Parowek still sounds as the natural succesor of Brume, with a similar 'no silence allowed' approach, the collating of sounds, at times fierce noise based, but with enough progression to make something he can call his own. (FdW)
Address: http://www.neus318.com

DIS.PLAYCE - DAS ENDE VON AMERIKA (CDR by Naiv Super)
This new release by Dis.Playce is the follow up to 'R', reviewed in Vital Weekly, which was not a CDR but a real CD. Now they turn to a CDR. Don't get the title wrong, they say, as it's not about the current state of that country, but inspire by 'Amerika' an incomplete novel by Franz Kafka, which displayed the country not of hope, but of the same problems of the old world, which in it's time was quite a radical idea. Dis.Playce is a duo of Maximilian Marcoll and Hannes Seidl from Essen, who made their own software called Cooper. They set out a certain structure over which they improvise their material. Yet it seems that use a guitar too, or a sampled version thereof, along side percussion and orchestral bits. Since 'R' it doesn't seem that their material progressed a lot: it balances the line between microsound and noise, although it also seems that the noise prevails here. It's quite an intense piece, these twenty-four minutes, with rougher edges than usual in this field, but perhaps is also a bit too long to hold ones attention throughout. Some more rigid editing would have been in place, I think. Still pretty much alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.naivsuper.de

AA1 - LIVE AT ELECTROLINE (CDR by Dars Records)
CIRCUMJECTA - ULCHI HOP (CDR by Dars Records)
TERRITORY OF ABSENCE (CDR by Dars Records)
All three of these releases are by Russian musicians, all of which I never heard of. Behind aa1 is Vasily Kuznetsov from the Ural, who does performances and builds his own software in Pure Data. The release here is from 2005, when he played at the Electroline festival. I am not sure why this needed to be released at this point in time. aa1 feeds all sort of recordings into his computer which he then treats inside his software environment. This leads to a pretty chaotic release, at times even pretty noisy, but it's a bit hard to say what he really wants. Does he really just want to play a bunch of electro-acoustic sounds and field recordings or is there any sort of compositional structure going on here? It seems not. So why release this? Why not make some interesting studio composition and just do better?
Behind Circumjecta is one Andrey Zots who studied at the Finance Academy, but he left the banking world to pursue some action in music, so he works for radio and TV. His own music is as Circumjecta and Bip Soup, which is more about techno and improvisation. With Circumjecta he finds himself in the world of tribal ethno music, with tablas, congas and the whole exotic lot - from a little black box called the drum computer and lots of sound effects. There are strong points of reference to the world of Muslimgauze, early Rapoon, Jorge Reyes and all the followers spawn from that in the past. Circumjecta however plays things with a dash more of digitalia, making this technically a more strong release. The bass sounds are deeper. This album works best when things are kept minimal with some industrialized sounds, such as in 'Latex Jungle', but throughout it doesn't have much of his own, I think.
The release by Territory Of Absence is the most gothic looking release - and I use the word gothic for everything I don't understand that looks dark. Some sort of witch on the cover, leaves, handwritten text, and a female voice, which doesn't too heavenly, as it was once called. Who ever is singing hasn't got the best voice in the world, but it fits the semi-industrial landscapes that is depicted through the music. Quite heavy compared to the opera-like singing. Quite dark and most likely quite hot in Germany, a country that I associate this kind of music with (Wumpscut anyone?). Some of the tracks sounded like they were similar to others. Oh well. Three releases, all with the particular problems, but Dars Records at least does great covers. (FdW)
Address: http://www.darsrecords.com

FRANZ FJÖDOR & BRAM STADHOUDERS - THE RATTLESNAKE WHISTLES (CDR by Vatican Analog)
FRANZ FJÖDOR - CORPERAL PUNISHMENT (3"CDR, self-released)
4DALADIEZ/SINDRE BJERGA (CDR Gold Soundz)
It's not possible, I think, to tell from these three releases that Wouter Jaspers, also known as Franz Fjödor is also a poet, as these deal with his being as a sound artist. Hailing from Tilburg, he belongs to the inner circle (inner sanctum?) of Vatican Analog, a loosely connected collective of musicians like Staplerfahrer and Vincent Koreman. This small handful of releases look highly obscure, with their almost handmade packaging, certainly the two he released on Vatican Analog. Together with one Bram Stadhouders he made 'The Rattlesnake Whistles', in which one plays guitar, and the other probably some computer manipulation, or perhaps it's a duet for two guitars? And oh there is wee-wee bit of voices in there, but that might be the two talking to eachother while recording this? I am not sure, but it could very well be, since the whole thing has a pretty low affair quality, but both pieces (around twenty minutes each) have drone like qualities that make at least certain parts quite nice. But things tend to derail here, and that is a bit of the downside of it all. A picture quickly taking rather than a well-studied painting.
The release 'Corperal Punishment' doesn't even mention a name or a title, it's that we know because Jaspers told me so. This 3"CDR has only two tracks, a short introduction piece of gliding tones, followed by a five minute drone piece, which I thought was very nice. A pulsating voice based piece, without a text (it seems), in a sort of zoviet*france like manner. But where they might take two hours, Jaspers takes five minutes, and that is way too short.
Jaspers is also a member of 4Daladiez, a group with Vincent Koreman, Steffan de Turck and Bas Verbeek. They open up on a split disc with the illustrious Sindre Bjerga (of Bjerga/Iversen fame), who released this on Gold Soundz. 4Daladiez play a twenty some minute piece of drone like music with lots of percussion. Things howl about in feedback, low end rumble with a pulsating edge and throughout the low quality recording helps in further obscuring this piece. Bjerga's piece was apparently already released before on Audiobot, but I may have missed that one. It's from 'his computer phase' (his own words) and it's quite a 'composed' piece, which is something we may not expect from someone of whom we mostly know improvised works. Also drone related, but with a much clearer sound, of shifting drone materials alongside what seems like insects eating the drones away, until some more harsher form of drones arise from the swamp. Maybe a bit long for what it is, but quite alright this. Highly limited so hurry! (FdW)
Address: http://www.wouterjasper.nl
Address: http://www.bek.no/~tibprod/goldsoundz.htm

STROM NOIR - THE STROM EP (3"CDR by Black Orchid Productions)
Emil Mat'ko is the man behind Strom Noir and also behind the Black Orchid Productions from Slovakia, which has still a healthy view on the world of cassettes. The cover says just 'sounds and recordings', by which we are to understand guitar (slowed down), drones from field recordings and sound effects. In the four pieces he plays some nice slow music of an highly ambient and thus highly elegant nature. Not the louder segment of drone music, but almost sketch like pieces of music, slow and peaceful. Perhaps the tracks are a bit too short, and some further development could have been made, I think. I am not sure how long Mat'ko is doing music, but he surely does a nice thing here and a longer production could very well be made, I think. Nothing new as such under the ambient sun, but certainly a welcome new name on the horizon. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blackorchid.host.sk

BRUTUM FULMEN - 1000 SUNS (cassette by Throne Heap)
For all I know Brutum Fulmen were history. I didn't hear from them in quite some time, which was a great pity as from the few sparse releases I heard from them, I had them down in my little book as one of the interesting noise bands. Good to see them around, even when it's a cassette. They use a whole bunch of sound sources, including voices, feedback, 'readings of eye witness accounts of atomic tests' and something that is called the 'corrugaphone', among lots of other things, but as interesting is the list of tape processes used here, such as stretching, wrinkling, writing on tape, breaking cassette shell, biting, rubbing, scraping, abusing deck while recording and then I haven't even summed up half of it. Although the cover 'seem' (!) to list various titles for the pieces, I am not sure if we are dealing here with one, two or more pieces, but what is captured here is great. That is: if perfection isn't your middle name, or, if you are as old as I am, and still cherish old cassettes and what ever imperfections that had. Brutum Fulmen use their lo-fi techniques to a great end, and still belong to the best that noise has to offer. Not for their sheer volume (by which noise sometimes is wrongly associated), but by using all sort of unconventional techniques and sounds to create something. Wish I had this on CDR, so I could more easily play though. (FdW)
Address: http://www.throneheap.com

IZARZUGAZA & XEDH & BAZTERRAK - INTERSECCIONES I-V (MP3 by Ruidemos)
More from Izarzugaza and Miguel A Garcia (also known as Xedh), see also last week, but here together with one Enrike Hurtado, also known as Bazterrak. He plays laptop with self-made software, Xedh plays mixer, objects, electric sounds and laptop, and Izarzugaza plays processed feedback, pedals and metallic drones. I assume this all generated through live playing, but one can't be sure. As opposed to many of the works coming from the Basque country, following their main agitator Mattin, this is however not about noise. Or at least not to the extend that some of their other music has. Only in 'Interseccion IV', things are quite loud, but throughout the other four pieces they play some drone related microscopic sound exploration of cracks, clicks, heavy bass drones and metallic rumbling. Quite nice at that, especially when they take back the volume and let things develop in a more natural manner. Certainly a road to explore more I think. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ruidemos.r8.org