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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 601
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week 46
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html
you can subscribe to the weekly broadcast using the following rss feed:
http://www.harmlog.nl/vitalfeed.asp
New broadcasts will be sent directly when uploaded.

 

* noted are in this week's podcast

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


GOH LEE KWANG - GOOD VIBRATIONS (CD by Herbal Records) *
CHOI JOONYONG & HONG CHULKI - HUM & RATTLE (CD by Balloon & Needle) *
HONG CHULKI - WITHOUT CARTRIDGE, WITH CARTRIDGE (2x3"CDR by Balloon & Needle)
HILD SOFIE TAFJORD - KAMA (CD by Pica Disk) *
RAPOON - ALIEN GLYPH MORPHOLOGY (CD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
HINSIDAN - GOD IS IN THE DETAILS (CD by Phisteria)
HINSIDAN - BLEACH DYE YR HEART (CDR by Gears Of Sand)
HINSIDAN - SHAPESHIFTER BLUES (CDR by Verato Project)
SPEAKING IN TONGUES - SPEAKING IN TONGUES (CD by Phisteria)
EVA|3 : THE GREAT DIVIDE (CD by Fich Art)
SYNAPSCAPE : NOW (CD by Ant-Zen)
MARC BEHRENS - ARCHITECTURAL COMMENTARIES 4 & 5 (CD by Entr'acte) *
PERIFERICO: SOUNDS FROM BEYOND THE BUBBLE (CD by Sonic Arts Network)
FRANK ROTHKAMM - LAX (CD by Flux Records) *
YAIR ETZIONY - FLAWED (CD by Spekk) *
MINORU SATO (M/S, SASW) & ASUNA - TEXTURE IN GLASS TUBES AND REED ORGAN (CD by Spekk)
MANNING/NOVAK - PAIRINGS (CD by Dragon's Eye Recordings) *
KLIMEK - DEDICATIONS (CD by Anticipate) *
TABLE FOR SIX: ALL QUIET? #2 (CD by EE Tapes)
ERSTLAUB - ON BECOMING AN ISLAND (CDR by Highpoint Lowlife) *
AARDE - A WHOLE DAY (CDR by Dirty Demos) *
THE DOORS OF DORSET IS THE DOORWAY TO NORWAY (CDR compilation by Dirty Demos)
SINNATAGGEN - LILLE HUS (3"CDR by Dirty Demos)
PAUL BRADLEY - SEARCHING FOR THE WAY (3"CDR by The Locus Of) *
PABLO RECHE - PAREDES (3"CDR by The Locus Of)
THE BIG STIFF BOX SET (4CD by Salvo)

 

 

GOH LEE KWANG - GOOD VIBRATIONS (CD by Herbal Records)
CHOI JOONYONG & HONG CHULKI - HUM & RATTLE (CD by Balloon & Needle)
HONG CHULKI - WITHOUT CARTRIDGE, WITH CARTRIDGE (2x3"CDR by Balloon & Needle)
For a moment, in the early parts of the first piece I thought Goh Lee Kwang had extended beyond his usual turntable and mixer feedback by adding skipping CDs, but it turned out the copy I have is a bit scratched. Too bad as that could have been a nice addition. When I studied the cover more closely, it seems that there is no turntable either, and Goh Lee Kwang just uses a stereo DJ mixer. According to his website, the material was recorded at six studio sessions (in Stuttgart, Rotterdam, Krems, Kuala Lumpur, London, Amsterdam) plus two concerts (Paris, Stuttgart), but the cover just says 'all tracks recorded in Steim, studio 1, Amsterdam. So what is right? Does it matter? Not really. Goh Lee Kwang uses lots and lots static cracks, feedback like sounds, in a collage like manner. It sounds like a turntable, I thought, but then every time I had to think 'oh, it isn't a turntable'. It was pretty decent stuff, but way too long to hold my interest. The five pieces last for about seventy minutes, and it wouldn't be a problem, but the variation isn't that much, so one could all too easily think it's the same track. Only the fifth piece is considerable louder than the rest, but if that is the 'variation' than I pass. Half of this would have been equally fine, me think, and it would still be a pretty decent release.
Probably it isn't but it seems from this point in space only a small step to Korea where we find the Balloon & Needle label run by Choi Joongyong. Together with Hong Chulki he produced the 'Hum & Rattle' CD. Much alike the CD by Goh Lee Kwang this deals with CD players and turntable: the sound of the recorded media, or perhaps the media itself. Or perhaps this is without concept anyway and they just like to work with this. With six long tracks, I must admit I thought this was a pretty long CD. Things hum and crack indeed, skipping CDs, and crackling of turntables, some feedback thrown in. Partly noise based, but these boys don't take it to the extreme side. More improvised noise and microsound. It's quite nice, but seventy minutes is way too much to take in all at once.
Spread out over two 3" CDRs is a solo release by Hong Chulki, the man behind the turntable on the previous release. Two different approaches here: one playing either with or without cartridge. The one where he plays 'with cartridge' has amplified surface and feedback, is the other one completely acoustic noise. That last word puts the needle on the record (pun intended), since if one didn't know this before hearing both releases, it would be hard to see the difference between both CDRs, as things are pretty noisy here. Lots of buzzes, cracks, ticks, hiss and scratches, this is a slightly more extreme release than the previous one, but quite nice. No doubt one could play both at the same time and create a kind of private remix and take matters a bit further. Nice stuff and the packaging for both is actually great. Sober, but with great care. (FdW)
Address: http://www.geocities.com.herbalrecords
Address: http://www.balloonneedle.com

HILD SOFIE TAFJORD - KAMA (CD by Pica Disk)
You could wonder if an active improviser as Hild Sofie Tafjord needs a solo record? She is a member of Spunk, Fe-Mail, Agrare, Trinacria as well as an improviser with Wolf Eyes, Matmos, Birchville Cat Motel, Ikue Mori, Fred Frith and many more. I wonder: when does she have the time to record anything solo? At night, it seems, from the summer of 2006 to the winter of 2007, in her studio in Oslo, we find her with a French horn. It says so on the cover, as it's not easy to believe. There are traces of a French horn in the opening bits of this work, but sooner than later things explode into quite a noise blast of distortion, grunting tones. It might be a French horn. It might. However don't expect this to be a work that is a full on blast throughout towards the very end of the disk. It's much more than that. Tafjord knows how to pull back the brutality and you can find here producing raw, loud, but sparse tones, somewhere around the fifteen minute mark, before building up again. Fifteen minutes and through another cascade of noise, the work finds itself in a rather heavy rhythmic mood - deep pulsating, almost like early industrial music. 'Kama' is a noisy beast, but it's more than just being a noisy beast. Tafjord uses the right amount of computerized doodling in combination with shifting textures to deliver a great release. Great noise this is. (FdW)
Address: http://www.picadisk.com

RAPOON - ALIEN GLYPH MORPHOLOGY (CD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
I bought my very first Soleilmoon-release in the legendary L.A.-record store Aron's Records back in 1997. It was the amazing "Digilogue"-album by British Industrial-frontiers Zoviet France. It was a set of dark minimalist textures based on multiple layers of loops and cut-up techniques - very fascinating indeed! That Zoviet France had much focus on looped sound processing as musical expression isn't strange since co-founder of Zoviet France, Robin Storey was highly influenced by a godfather of sound exploration, Karl-Heinz Stockhausen. Also in Rapoon, the solo project of Robin Storey, the art of loop-techniques shines clearly through. Rapoon beautifully balances between complex sound techniques and ethereal soundscapes. This latest effort is the third and final chapter of the trilogy titled "Alien Glyph Morphology". The first chapter was a DVD, while the following was a 10" vinyl double album. The artwork of this third chapter is a pure beauty with its handmade tiger-patterned print folder. On the sonic side, the album sings its very own melody of beauty despite its experimental and once in a while quite demanding nature. The grounding layers of looped sounds create an excellent feeling of hypnosis while the upfront layers of moody soundscapes in combination with concrete sounds of acoustic instruments keep a melodic pace on the album sometimes not too far away from ambient composer Steve Roach. Thus 25 years after his debut with Zoviet France, Robin Storey demonstrates that he still knows how to keep the right balance between art and melody. (NM)
Address: http://www.soleilmoon.com/

HINSIDAN - GOD IS IN THE DETAILS (CD by Phisteria)
HINSIDAN - BLEACH DYE YR HEART (CDR by Gears Of Sand)
HINSIDAN - SHAPESHIFTER BLUES (CDR by Verato Project)
SPEAKING IN TONGUES - SPEAKING IN TONGUES (CD by Phisteria)
The electronic scene of Denmark seems to flourish these years. New labels and sound artists emerge and quite a few reach the limelight of the international sound art scene. Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard (Touch Records) is one of the latest examples of artists who have gained great attention for his works thanks to some excellent releases on among others British label Touch. Danish label Phisteria is another place to be, if you're looking for electronic sound explorations of the more cross-bordering kind. According to the owner of label, Phisteria conceptually focuses on music with depth and subtle awareness of the soul. In other words the majority of the releases of the label has their starting point in deep and immersive territories of sonic expression, with Danish power electronics/ambient noise project Wäldchengarten being one of the better known names that focus on the drones based style. Compatriot project HINSIDAN also belongs to the drone-based style. And they certainly do it well. "Hinsidan" is the Swedish word for "beyond" and the name fits perfectly well into the sonic spheres of the project. Having released three albums within 2007, we are dealing with a quite active project.
Despite the common denominator of circulating in dreamlike atmospheres, there is a difference between the three releases. First album titled "God is in the details" (Phisteria label) is the most rhythmic of the three. Hypnotic dub-like rhythms create a nice texture in the otherwise ambient-oriented sound world. The sound spheres ranges from pure electronic escapism to more down-to-earth expressions with the addition of acoustic percussion and guitars. Distant voices create a feeling of being left on your own far away from other human activity. Excellent album! Second album reviewed here is titled "Bleach dye yr heart" (released by the "Gears Of Sand"-label). This album belongs to the harsher and darker areas of floating expression. The title of the opening track "Slaughter of the innocence, Slaughter of the innocent" confirms the fact that we are dealing with sonic darkness on this one. The aforementioned opening track is a sinister piece built on short-looped ultra-deep buzzing drones. The almost frightening sound spheres remains intact halfway through the album with the fifth track being a turning point. As the title suggest "Traders of optimism" contains a feeling of warmth thanks to the grandiose almost angelic ambience turning the memories back to the British legendary project Global Communication. Despite the extreme minimalism of the album, there is a great variety on this very intense album with expressions reminiscent of everything from early Brian Eno to Coil. Third album reviewed here is titled "Shapeshifter blues" (released by German label Verato Project) and it is the warmest and most melodic album of the three. As was the case with "Bleach dye yr heart" the strength of the album is the intense minimalism making space for some dreamy and casually psychedelic ambient works turning the memories back to the ritual psychedelic ambience of early Coil. Again the utilized sounds of guitar gives a very nice organic feeling on the album. Thus we have three quite varied approaches to ambient expression from Hinsidan who certainly proves their ability to reach higher levels of the contemporary electronic scene. Completely different worlds of e-music are being explored in the Russian project Speaking In Tongues. Behind the project, we have two young Russians Alexi Ovtchinikov and Anton Zaichenko, both based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This debut album released on Phisteria reveals that the label is oriented in other styles than the pure drone-based. Speaking in Tongues is best described as abstract IDM/electronica sounding like a mixture of the playful charm of Warp-legends Black Dog and the haunting soundscapes of Boards Of Canada. There are some great interventions of breakbeats textures not far away from breakcore projects like Venetian Snares and early Photek. The album is like a pure machine soul, reminiscent of some forgotten Japanese animation soundtrack or a rusting Commodore 64 just about to give up the ghost. Thus, yet another interesting project confirming the fact, that Phisteria is label to keep a close eye on, if you're looking for electronic music of the deeper and experimental kind. (NM)
Address: http://www.phisteria.com
Address: http://www.gearsofsand.net
Address: http://www.suggestion-records.de/verato_project

EVA|3 : THE GREAT DIVIDE (CD by Fich Art)
SYNAPSCAPE : NOW (CD by Ant-Zen)
Debut album by EVA|3 shows a nicely varied approach to the rhythmic Industrial scene. The brain behind the project is French composer Paul Lavigne, who on a few track are assisted by female vocalist Riotmiloo. Dominating on the album is rhythm textures of blasting beats meanwhile subdued noise-loops create a nice hypnotic atmosphere around the album. The album also contains some more ambient-based moments where rhythms are suppressed. Overall there is a similarity to the scene around the Ant-Zen-label, which is not a great surprise since the label Fich Art has been founded by legendary artists from the Ant Zen camp. Especially Morgenstern and Synapscape hit my mind as I listen to "The great divide". The album also contains remixed tracks of EVA|3 by Philipp Münch of Synapscape and Andreas Schramm of Asche. People interested in the classic rhythmic Industrial or Power Noise as executed by a number of Ant-Zen artists should definitely check this out. Talking about Power Noise and Ant-Zen Recordings one of the true legends behind this scene, German project Synapscape, is now ready with their sixth full length. The energetic level remains the same twelve years after the brains behind the project, Philipp Münch and Tim Kniep began their sonic explorations on the self-titled debut album "Synapscape". Opening with the electro-inspired atmospheric track "Low secret dreams", the album sends the listener into the world as we know it from Synapscape: Rhythm textures ranging from complex to straight upfront beat blasts accompanied by distorted vocals of extreme aggression. The strength of the project is the ability to create a structure in the noisy chaos thanks to some very catchy polyrhythmic beats creating a nice sonic architecture in the otherwise chaotic noise territories of atonal synth layers. Yet another fine release by the maestros of Power Noise. (NM)
Address: http://www.fich-art.com
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com

 

MARC BEHRENS - ARCHITECTURAL COMMENTARIES 4 & 5 (CD by Entr'acte)
In recent times I didn't keep up with the output of Marc Behrens, for whatever uninteresting reasons I guess. It perhaps didn't arrive here. But last month I bumped into him and saw him play a four channel piece based on field recordings he made in Norway. I thought it was really good, also because of the spatial character of the piece. Spaces and architecture has a strong interest from Behrens, and many of his releases refer to that. 'An Architectural Commentary is a form of 'reviewing' architecture in which functional, symbolic and aesthetic aspects of a building or a bigger architectural structure are analysed'. For a series of compositions with this name, Behrens goes back to his library of field recordings, like interiors of buildings, ventilation or gas fired heating, in subway trains of stations and construction sites (I am merely quoting the cover, just in case you thought how I knew all of this). Often the name Behrens is used to point the reader into a direction, a reference. Like fellow composers such as Roel Meelkop, Behrens belong, at least to me, to the absolute top of the genre that can loosely be defined as 'microsound'. Taking field recordings and processing the sound in the computer and built a musical piece from that. It's not easy to define what makes this great, while others are struggling to get something done that is not even close to this. Partly this lies in the structure of the pieces Behrens plays: they are well structured, have tension, sudden changes and movements. The ingredients to make a composition interesting as opposed to running a few sounds through max/msp or PD. Certainly not easy music, as much of it hoovers at a low volume, but if you put the volume up, then all the smaller details will be revealed, and beauty unfolds. Perhaps one could say that Behrens not always renews what he is doing, but as said, I haven't heard all of his recent works, so for me it's fine re-introduction. (FdW)
Address: http://www.entracte.co.uk

PERIFERICO: SOUNDS FROM BEYOND THE BUBBLE (CD by Sonic Arts Network)
Issues by the Sonic Arts Network are always compiled by a guest curator who invites people to send in music along a thematic approach. Angolan composer Victor Gama thinks that 'the west' dominates the world and that 'third world' (not his word) composers are in 'threatening zones of silence' (which are his words). So the fourteen pieces collected here hail from countries as Lebanon, Iran, Colombia, Brazil, Egypt, Palestine, Angola, Brazil, Cuba, Peru and Ukraine. However all of these don't dabble in 'world music' or 'ethnic folk music', but play an experimental card. The results however is, like the countries, all of the places. Kamran Rasteger from Iran and Hassan Khan (Egypt) explores Middle Eastern rhythms with electronic means, whereas Ricardo Gallo from Colombia and Sote (Iran) takes field recordings which he processes. There is improvisational sounds by Mazen Kerbaj (already known in this part of the world), modern composed music by Sujeito A Guincho, rap music by Boikutt, field recordings by Ana Romano (Columbia) and even noise by Kotra and Christian Galarreta. Gama himself stays close to traditional music (in both pieces he has here), but presents it in a more documentary form, and Giba Conceicao plays music on traditional instruments. It's quite a nice compilation this one, maybe a bit too mixed in musical styles, but it surely presents a nice overview of what happens on Planet Earth. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sonicartsnetwork.org

FRANK ROTHKAMM - LAX (CD by Flux Records)
LAX stands for Los Angeles Airport. When you check in your luggage it gets a sticker 'LAX' for that airport, or 'JFK' for New York. I read Rothkamm's liner notes, which seem to be dealing with conspiracy, millennium bug and all that. Rothkamm is a man of concepts, and a man to change his music. The three previous releases 'FB01' and 'FB02 - Astronaut Of Inner Space' and 'FB 03 (E Pluribus Unum)' dealt with electronic music in the best 'Forbidden Planet' style, which succeeded best on the second release. Here on this CD release he goes out to using computers, from Mac to Atari and from Music V to Csound - to mention two types of hard- and software used. It's funny to see the similarities with the two previous releases, as it seems almost that Frank Rothkamm wanted to translate his science fiction music from analogue to digital, with glissandi played on various types of software an such like. However it moves away from the poppy like character of the second release, and is more in serious avant-garde area. At times it sounded like Arcane Device, with feedback like tones, and such like. A bit more noisy than the previous releases also, but it never ventures into the world of 'real' noise. It is fine release since it breaks, if only technically, with the past and hopefully a road to be explored more in the future, maybe to find another masterpiece like 'FB 02' on it's way. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fluxrecords.com

 

YAIR ETZIONY - FLAWED (CD by Spekk)
MINORU SATO (M/S, SASW) & ASUNA - TEXTURE IN GLASS TUBES AND REED ORGAN (CD by Spekk)
These two new releases on Spekk are wide apart, music wise. One at least is wide apart from the usual pack of Spekk, and that is the release by Yair Etziony. He hails from Israel, and sometimes works as Faction, Basic Unit and Vermont, but here presents his music under his own name. So far the releases on Spekk dealt with glitchy, warm microsound/ambient/drone music, but Etziony is the first to use beat material. Minimal techno it is. Originally his intention was to make separate albums: one with beats, one with textures, but luckily he made the combinations for us. Culled from mistakes and flaws, like a broken monitor, he creates his music. Now, I am not a person who see shuffling the dance floor, so I can easily admit that it's not easy for me to judge whether one can dance to, well basically any type of music. But I'm pretty sure it's hard to dance to this one. The music by Etziony is slow, too slow to dance too. You may nod your head, tap your feet - but not fully swing your body. Not a big problem me thinks, because the album is surely well designed for long train rides. You tap your feet, watch the scenery pass by, read two words in a book, and dream on. Warm, glitchy music again, and one that so happens to have a few rhythms. Nice enough to carry around, while doing 'other' things.
More like the 'real' Spekk experience is the release by Minoru Sato (m/s, SASW) and Asuna. I am not sure why Sato wants that behind his name, but maybe it's for the old fans to recognize that? As m/s he had a couple of releases, mainly on his WrK label (as well as V2 and Selektion), which he ran with Toshiya Tsunoda. His previous releases were based on 'researching sounds based on physical phenomenon' and not always constitute music as we know it (even we, I may add). Asuna is one Naoyuki Arashi, who apparently had releases on Lucky Kitchen, Apestaartje and and/OAR, but I believe his name doesn't ring a bell here. For their collaborative release they use 'self created glass tubes and reed organ'. Pictures can be seen on the cover, but they are small. So what these tubes do and how it relates or plays with the organ is hard to say. I believe both pieces, each around thirty minutes, are studio based compositions of various recordings which are overlayed. Two long, beautiful harmonic pieces of drone music. Kinda like Paul Panhuysen's CD for Plinkity Plonk a few years back, which had a similar effective notion of drone music. Fans for long sustaining music composers as Alvin Lucier, Charlemagne Palestine, Paul Panhuysen and such like should pay notice. This is right up their alley and can meet the best. (FdW)
Address: http://www.spekk.net

MANNING/NOVAK - PAIRINGS (CD by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
The Dragon's Eye Recordings, owned by Yann Novak, is slowly getting a weekly household name here. Hailing from Seattle, many of the releases have some sort of involvement of the labelboss himself. Here for instance he teams up with one Marc Manning, who usually works as Heavy Lids, which I never heard but is supposed to be 'humid ambiance and electronic power drones along the lines of Black Dice, Nurse With Wound and Sunn O)))', whatever that should sound like. Nothing so here, as Manning picks up the electric guitar, acoustic guitar and voice which he lets run through the laptop of Novak - the usual work these days it seems of combining a 'real' instrument with the computer. As such the six tracks captured here are also nothing new under the microsound sun, but the ambient and drone textures are quite nice. Sometimes a bit too obvious in time stretching, but when the 'real' instruments comes in, things balance quite nicely and makes this a fine work in the otherwise overcrowded scenery of drone, ambient and microsound. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dragonseyerecordings.com

KLIMEK - DEDICATIONS (CD by Anticipate)
It's been a while since we last heard from Sebastian Meissner, erstwhile known as Random_Inc, Bizz Circuits, Autokontrast and recording for labels as Mille Plateaux, Kompakt and Sub Rosa, but here he returns with an album of pieces dedicated to people for specific purposes under the banner of Klimek. These people can be well-known, like Micheal Gira, Marvin Gaye or Steven Spielberg, but also his grandmother Zofia Klimek and a Russian ship worker Vladimir Ivanovich. Each of the eight tracks have a pair of dedication. Meissner's previous work may be associated with lots and lots of all things computer, and to some extent that's the case here too, but the main sources are guitar, piano, string and percussion instruments. They play highly moody music, and through all things processed can still be recognized. In some songs better than in others, obviously, but the whole album has quite an unified character. Warm music, made with love for the persons involved, no one could say that there is a harsh sound in ear-sight to annoy the dedicated nor the outsider, us the listener. Some cineamatographic in approach, this is mood music for late hours. Especially the final piece, dedicated to Steven Spielberg and Azza El-Hassan, has sweet strings underpinning a slightly menacing tone. Well done. Lit a candle and enjoy. (FdW)
Address: http://www.anticipaterecordings.com

TABLE FOR SIX: ALL QUIET? #2 (CD by EE Tapes)
About a year ago we reviewed 'Table For Six: All Quiet?' (see Vital Weekly 554), a neatly put together compilation by Belgium's EE Tapes, who already produced some great compilations called 'The Walls Are Whispering'. Now there is a volume two of 'Table For Six' and we come across some old, known names (at least to us), and some new ones. Objekt 4, Andrea Marutti, Laurent Perrier and Brian Lavelle are perhaps not household names, but they all have in one way or the other interesting releases to their name. Lutnahimat had one release on Entr'acte and June11 seems to be a new name. Each of the six artists get fifteen minutes to showcase their talent, and they all hoover about to some extent in some 'quiet' music. However don't confuse this with music below the threshold of hearing or some such. It's more about dark ambient than microsound if you get my drift. The CD opens with Objekt4 who plays a nice piece of sampled percussive sounds and some collated sounds. The dark synth by Marutti is perhaps the bleakest example of 'm all, but it's fine one. Laurent Perrier doesn't forget his other work in the world of techno music, but incorporating rhythmic clicks in his piece, that however doesn't convince throughout. Lutnahimat has two pieces and seem to continue his interest in ambient glitch, but especially the short 'Disagreeable Ingress' is quite nice at that. Also June11 has two tracks, which seem to be more from the post rock background (I might be as easily mistaken here), with a sort of organ and guitar in a fuzzy bath. Lavelle closes the proceedings. It's been a while since I last heard his music, but 'Crucible Of Sky' is actually a nice piece of slowly evolving field recordings and piano sounds: melancholic autumn music which works quite nice indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.eetapes.be/

ERSTLAUB - ON BECOMING AN ISLAND (CDR by Highpoint Lowlife)
Following the recent CDR release by Tigrics, Highpoint Lowlife now releases another CDR, and again outside their usual musical format. Behind the Ertslaub moniker, there is one Dave Fyans, who sometimes works as Daigoro. Armed with a Nord G2 synthesizer with 'no additional processing or multitracking', he plays a single forty three minute track. No rhythms, no 'intelligent dance music', but rather a dark, atmospheric piece of music. Sometimes like an airplane coming over real low, sometimes just softly bouncing like the dark clouds on an autumn day. Totally unlike what this label normally do, and perhaps in terms of 'drone' or 'dark ambient' not entirely new either, by it's a very fine, nicely produced set of darker than life music. Nocturnal music. Horror music at times. Cave music. (FdW)
Address: http://highpointlowlife.com

AARDE - A WHOLE DAY (CDR by Dirty Demos)
THE DOORS OF DORSET IS THE DOORWAY TO NORWAY (CDR compilation by Dirty Demos)
SINNATAGGEN - LILLE HUS (3"CDR by Dirty Demos)
Last year we first heard of Lois Laplace when we reviewed is 'Inland' CDR for Dirty Demos (see Vital Weekly 553), now he returns as one half of Aarde (the Dutch word for 'earth', but if they know?). The other half is Guillaume Gargaud. Among them they a 'Kyma system', guitar and computer. Welcome to the world of glitch music. In the near by past I would and perhaps could have said something about things being underground and a bit less underground, explain something about why something is released on a handful on Dirty Demos and some get to 12K or Line, but playing Aarde makes life a little bit more difficult. Simply because they are on Dirty Demos and one could wonder why not 12K. That's why. What Aarde does is something that is not very new or different, nor too gritty and low in recording quality. What they do, is nicely recorded, produced with depth, a good view of what makes this music interesting instead of boring ('hey, we're minimalists') and simply could have been easily released as a 'real' CD on some of the more prestigious labels. Nothing new, but all is good here. Tracks have the right length, there is variation, there is tension and it's beautiful.
The next release is some sort of Norwegian/UK exchange project. Three tracks from around Stavanger by Anders Gjerde, Sten Ove Toft and Sindre Bjerga versus Dead Wood, Jason Kerley and No Context. The music shows a great sense of unity among the six players here. Lots of microsound processing of field recording, a bit like Aarde, but whereas the French succeed in making things really warm, the six here at work are a bit more harsher, grittier and angular. That's why there are only forty made, I guess. It's not a great compilation me thinks, but it passes the test.
Lastly a 3" CDR by a new name, one Hamish of Rasmus Clausen who goes solo by the name of Sinnatagen. He too loves his glitches, but operates from a different angle. No field recordings or abstract electronics at the basis of his music, but popmusic. I am not sure wether he plays his own instruments, but there are fragments of guitar tinkling, drums, hums, voices and electronics. The four pieces take their inspiration from popmusic, most notably playful, joyous music. A funny little item this one, and I wonder why not as a 7" on Static Caravan (so you can place it in some corner). It's nice enough for that format. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/dirtydemos

PAUL BRADLEY - SEARCHING FOR THE WAY (3"CDR by The Locus Of)
PABLO RECHE - PAREDES (3"CDR by The Locus Of)
Titles might be deceiving, so I am merely guessing with 'Searching For The Way' by Paul Bradley, but might he be searching for the way to different kinds of music, or perhaps a renewal of the drone idiom? If we listen to the track of the same name, we might very well think so. The work is a louder, more present than much of his previous work, and it seems to me, more based on digital synthesizers, unlike his previous work which was more based on highly processed field recordings. Quite a cosmic piece, this 'Searching For The Way', in some ways a break with his own past, but in some other ways, the long duration of ambient music, it perfectly stands in the tradition of German cosmic music (less arpeggios of course) and makes a highly atmospheric track of a more present and pressing nature. Quite nice.
With some thirty-one millions hits in Google it's a bit hard to find the meaning of 'Paredes', but I think it means walls. Whereas Bradley uses field recordings in a processed environment to make highly atmospheric music, Reche does the same thing, but then opposite. He creates quite loud music. Both 'Pared 1' and 'Pared 2' have wind like sound that bounce against walls and make a deep but loud rumbling sound. Forceful works of nothing really pleasant of nicely droney. Don't get me wrong however, I think this is quite nice too, as in all it's loudness there is much going on the different dynamic levels of the works. Not really a break either from the world of processed field recordings, but like wise a fine small disc. (FdW)
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editorial bla: ok, so the last review of this week, I am tricked into. I got bribed with a badge of Stiff Records, and then a week later this review. Of course the music is far, far, far out of our usual league and should certainly not be seen as an invitation to send in more rock/punk music, but given the age of the reviewer and the editor, this is merely an appreciation of sounds of our youths.
THE BIG STIFF BOX SET (4CD by Salvo)
The first single I ever bought was Tarzan's Nuts by Madness. On Stiff records of course. Since Tarzan's Nuts was an obscure Dutch-only single, you won't find it on these discs. However, what you will find are 98 single tracks by Stiff artists (excuse the pun) documenting the history of this very independent, highly eclectic and utterly British label. Funded with 400 borrowed pounds in 1978 by Dave Robinson, Stiff has been responsible for some of the best, most quirky, strangest, catching and rocking singles ever. The four discs are presented in a fold-out stiff (what else?) box set with a book documenting the history of the label, photos, interviews and biographies on every artist featured on the set, as well as a full track listing with release details. Despite the somewhat odd way the discs are held in the box, it looks and feels like a sturdy, built-to-last set. The 98 tracks are chronologically ordered (from their first single by Nick Lowe in 1979 to The Enemy in 2007), which is a major benefit as it clearly shows the development of Stiff records as a label. Starting out as a "mod-pub-rock" label with releases by Roogalator (who remembers them?), Ian Dury and even The Pink Fairies, Stiff soon evolved to an eclectic and highly original brew of styles. There's punk with the world's ever punk single New Rose by The Damned (still a classic) and the amazing One Chord Wonders by The Adverts (still a personal fave), via pop by the likes of Tenpole Tudor (am I really the only one who thinks their debut LP is something of a classic?), ska from Madness (whose hits kept the label afloat for a while), the pop-avant-garde of Devo (Be Stiff - not a homage to the label actually!) to downright trash like The Plasmatics (Butcher Baby). There's female punk with Lene Lovich (I Think We're Alone Now) and the pure pop of The Go Go's to the amazing Tracy Ullman (possibly my favourite from this set They Don't Know) and Kirsty MacColl (who's hit New England has turned into something of a pop classic). There's Stiff's typical English working class humour - an excerpt of the LP The Wit And Wisdom Of Ronald Reagan (for those who don't know the LP I won't spoil the fun) and the odd discovery for the keen listener (Any Trouble with the classic, though slightly Joe Jackson-inspired, Girls Are Always Right). And, to be utterly fair, there's also the occasional dross. Ernie Graham's Romeo And The Lonely Girl and Nigel Dixon's Thunderbird still sound crap today. In all, The Big Stiff Box Set brings back a lot of memories of (mostly) fun times. But Stiff was more than great music. Stiff had a keen eye for promotion introducing now legendary slogans such as "If it ain't Stiff, it ain't worth a fuck" or "The worlds most flexible label". They produced great buttons and were the (re) inventors of the package-deal tour (the Stiff tour and the Son of Stiff Tour). They did great packaging and even greater coloured vinyl releases. It's all here (except of course for the coloured vinyl), and at the ridiculously low price of 20 Pound, there simply is no reason not to own this set. This is how box sets should be. Great form - great contents - great value. What more could you want? (FK)