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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 616
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week 9
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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

before submitting material please read this carefully: http://www.vitalweekly.net/fga.html Submitting material means you read this and approve of this.

* noted are in this week's podcast

 

STEAMBOAT SWITZERLAND - ZONE 2 (CD by Grob)
HAMAYOKO - YGUN -N9- (CD by Entr'acte) *
CARL STONE - WOO LAE OAK (CD by Unseen Worlds)
LUBOMYR MELNYK - KMH (CD by Unseen Worlds) *
ARCANE DEVICE - DEVICES 1987-2007 (2CD by Monochrome Vision) *
GEN KEN MONTGOMERY - DRILLING HOLES IN THE WALL (CD by Monochrome Vision)
PACIFIC 231 & VOX POPULI! - CTHULHU REVISITED (CD by Monochrome Vision)
NIKITA GOLYSHEV - SOLARIS (CD by Monochrome Vision)
HOLLOWING & MAOR APPELBAUM - COLLABORATING TORTURE (CD by HCB Records) *
ROBERT VAN HEUMEN - FURY (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
PRIDON - APNEA EINA (CD by Low Impedance Recordings) *
BROCHARD & GUIONNET & PERRAUD - [ON] (CD by In Situ) *
BRUNO CHEVILLON - HORS CHAMPS (CD by D'Autres Cordes) *
SAMUEL SIGHICELLI - MAREE NOIRE (CD by D'Autres Cordes)
BULLOCK & COLEMAN & GROSS & RODEN - UNTITLED, OR NOT YET (CD by 1pt8 Records) *
TIME OF ORCHIDS - NAMESAKE CAUTION (CD by Cuneiform)
EX-P - CARPACCIO ESISTENZIALE (CD by Fratto9)
EX-P - ANCORA SAIGON (CD by Fratto9)
WE DREW LIGHTNING - SWIMMING WITH ORANGE (CD by High Mayhem)
THE LATE SEVERA WIRES & SYNCHRONICITY PICTURES (DVD by High Mayhem)
MARCHING DYNAMICS - NAILSLEEPER (CD by Hymen Records)
TWINKLE - LE JOUET (CD by Ant-Zen)
RAOUL SINIER - HUGE SAMURAI RADISH (CD by Ad Noiseam)
JED SPEARE - SOUND WORKS 1982-1987 (2CD by Family Vineyard) *
R.Y.N. - ASTRAL DEATH (CD by Unrest Productions)
SONIC SYSTEMS LABORATORIES (CD by Split Records)
CHRIS ABRAHAMS & MIKE COOPER - OCEANIC FEELING LIKE (CD by Room40) *
TOMASZ BEDNARCZYK - SUMMER FEELINGS (MP3 by Room40)
TOM RECCHION - THE INCANDESCENT GRAMOPHONE (78 rpm 10 inch by Poo bah records)
REDGLAER - CRANKY (7" on Static Aktion)
ABQ=/=LAX (7" split co released by Hype Machine, Anarchymoon Recordings,
sicksicksick, Ohmni)
KILT - SNOW WHITE IN HELL (12 inch by sicksicksick, Anarchymoon
Recordings, Bastardised)
PNDC - FADING AWAY (CDR by Listen Loudest)
KAPOTTE MUZIEK - ENHANCED ROOM ACOUSTICS (CDR by Lunhare)
SANSAM DAVIES - LIVE UNCUT VOL.1 (CDR by A Question Of Re_Entry)
BIG CITY ORCHESTRA - MUSICAL BOX (CDR by Ubuibi) *
BIG CITY ORCHESTRA - VILLANELLA (CDR by Ubuibi)
CHEJU/SHOOSH (3"CDR by Awkward Silence Recordings) *
MOZ - THE BROKEN TUSK OF GANESHA (3inch CDr by Silken Tofu)
NOISEWERRRRK - PREKARIAT EP (3inch CDr by Silken Tofu)

 

 

STEAMBOAT SWITZERLAND - ZONE 2 (CD by Grob)
In the typical unsensatonatial cover art style of Grob, this label released the fifth CD from this swiss combo. You never know with what they come up with, as this is as very uncompromising undertaking. This time this trio choose for acoustic instruments with little amplification. Marion Pliakas plays acoustic guitar, Lucas Niggli a reduced drum set and Dominik Blum plays piano. 'Zone 2' contains one 45 minutes long improvisation. In a 'stream of consciousness'- like manner this music pulsates through your ears and brain. They sound far from a conventional piano-guitar-drums trio. All three instruments are equally and continuously intertwined in this tour de force. That is to say, more or less, as sometimes the guitar is on the forefront or the piano. Also there is an alternation of more introspective and exuberant parts. In the first 25 minutes of this piece they play in a very hammering and cacaphonic way. But after that the climate changes for a more abstract kind of soundscaping and the music becomes more quiet, preparing itself for a final loud outburst in the last minutes of this journey.
Although the music is not engaging in each of its 45 minutes, throughout this is a very captivating work that will grab you. (DM)
Address: http://www.churchofgrob.com/

HAMAYOKO - YGUN -N9- (CD by Entr'acte)
It's been a mere twelve week, since reviewing '4/29', the debut CD of Yôko Higashi who works as hamaYôko. It's a pretty rare, but utter delightful thing to see a record label with confidence in their artists. Next up: the remix CD? It would be an even rarer thing if 'Ygun -n9' would sound entirely different than the previous, and it doesn't. Foremost hamaYôko is a vocal artist, in all variations: from sweet to angry, to cheerful and sad. Those are set against that most curious mixture of electronics and musique concrete. One foot in the popmusic and one in the serious avant-garde - from Schaeffer to Violent Onsen Geisha (who were the inspiration on one track). I know I shouldn't repeat myself and apologizes if I do: "I am not entirely convinced about this approach, to be honest. Sometimes it puts a curious smile on my face, but as a whole it was too bizarre for me. I have no clue what she wants: create odd popmusic? Make fun to musique concrete? Is it serious art or a good laugh? Certainly one that should end up in the section marked with '?' in your local record store. But perhaps I am entirely mistaken and we deal with something radically new. Who am I to tell?" (FdW)
Address: http://www.entracte.co.uk

CARL STONE - WOO LAE OAK (CD by Unseen Worlds)
LUBOMYR MELNYK - KMH (CD by Unseen Worlds)
Without wanting to sound rude, but in my view Carl Stone was just there one day. The first solo thing reviewed in Vital Weekly was late in the day, his 'Nak Won' in Vital Weekly 367. But I knew his name, saw his releases before, but I couldn't possible put 'history' to the man. Until now. 'Woo Lae Oak' was his first record, released in 1983 by Joan Le Barbara's Wizard Records. A long record, clocking in at fifty-four minutes, so it's good to see a CD release of it, to fully enjoy the one piece quality. Simple things are not always good things, but in this case: wow. Stone produced two kind of sounds: the rubbing of string to create a tremolo effect and blowing air into a bottle - two sounds that no doubt many of us made themselves. But we didn't create tape-loops out of it, made layers, changed the speed and no filtering was applied (by Stone). Classic tape techniques, some of them now forgotten in the world of computers. Over the course of fifty-four minutes he creates a sonic delicacy - minimal to the bare bone, but with lots of subtle changes to alter the material. One never has the idea that things are boring to be heard. It's a fascinating piece of music. A bit crude in the mix, with volume dropping every now and then, but that rawness adds, for me at least, to the quality of the work.
Also on Unseen Worlds, apparently a label for re-issues a record from 1978 by one Lubomyr Melnyk from Poland. He plays 'piano music in the continuous mode', quite fast actually, which sound like more piano's than just one. The booklet reads of inspired by Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley, which perhaps is true, but I see another link, more clearly: This work is more alike Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt - I don't know how much fame he has abroad, but his piano pieces that last easily a couple of hours, is quite close to the music of Melnyk. Repeating patterns with minimal changes, but without the sustain that is put in by his American counterparts. Overtones as such don't seem to be playing a big role here and it's more about a continuous melodic play. Rhythmic in varying degrees, the piece is a subtle work, and even if only a detail from some of the works of Ten Holt, it's of an absolute beauty. Two great discoveries from the minimal music history. I wonder what Unseen Worlds come up next. (FdW)
Address: http://www.unseenworlds.net

ARCANE DEVICE - DEVICES 1987-2007 (2CD by Monochrome Vision)
GEN KEN MONTGOMERY - DRILLING HOLES IN THE WALL (CD by Monochrome Vision)
PACIFIC 231 & VOX POPULI! - CTHULHU REVISITED (CD by Monochrome Vision)
NIKITA GOLYSHEV - SOLARIS (CD by Monochrome Vision)
The covers of Monochrome Vision are always black and white. Perhaps to reflect that the label has a primary interest in 'old' music by 'old guys' (no girls yet, I believe)? They release their music in various batches, and this (plus one to come later, for obvious reasons) always comes with the introduction of a younger artist from Russia. I might be wrong, but the oldest guy here is David Lee Myers, also known in the mid eighties as Arcane Device and one of my heroes of the time. Myers created his own feedback machines long before someone thought of 'no input mixers'. Myers controlled his feedback with all sorts of sound effects, which made him sound differently than say the average industrial musician. No wonder his first release was on Recommended/ReR records, known for improvisation rather than noise. In the time span of less than eight years Arcane Device released a bunch of CDs, a LP, a double 7" pack and some cassettes (many of them these days available from http://www.pulsewidth.com). For Monochrome Vision, Myers went to his archive to pick some rare (from various compilations on Subterranean Records, Tragic Figures, SFCR and Generations Unlimited) and unreleased for his double CD. I admit straight away that it has been a while since I last played a CD by Arcane Device, but hearing this feast of recognition, prompts me to pull them all out and play them again in the next weeks, when time allows me. The strength of Arcane Device, to work with such unmusical sounds in such a musical form, hasn't lost any of his magic to me. Unlike say the current wave of no input mixers, who like to be microsound, minimal or overtly harsh, but nothing musical, I only know of one equivalent to Myers and that's Marco Ciciliani, who I once saw play a no input mixer in such a musical manner. Great stuff!
Also the Gen Ken Montgomery release deals with 'old' music, and is partly released, partly unreleased. It deals with a period of Gen's career in which he was heavily involved with Conrad Schnitzler, not say 'inspired'. The first three tracks (one and two released before, on cassette and on LP by Discos Esplendor Geometrico) are alike Schnitzler's cassette concerts: multiple cassettes with stripped down synthesizer sounds are mixed in concert together. Gen Ken used a 'modified' Casio MS-10 for this and perhaps, I am not sure, some sound effects. Schnitzler's non keyboard electronics influence is quite apparent on those, even when Gen Ken plays a much louder and more industrial version thereof. These three works are kind long, but sound very much like music of the time. The final two pieces are shorter in length and consist of yet another version of 'Icebreaker' (also released by Staalplaat as a 3"CD at one point) and is more installation like music and a live piece from 1986 made in the DDR of a cassette concert, which sound more melodic than the opening pieces and even has vocals. A fine release, not with the complete power of Arcane Device, but a pretty strong work of its day.
The least interesting from this lot is the release by Pacific 231 and Vox Populi!, a solo and a duo act from France, who recorded some work together in the 80s, partly released by German's Cthulhu Records. I hasten to add: the least interesting for me. The pseudo ritual sound that they have wasn't my favorite in those days and by today's private standard it's still not my cup of tea. Psychedelic like synth patterns, the low resolution sampling of rhythm and the wordless chanting and singing: it all sounds pretty dated and worn out.
The russian component of this lot comes from Nikita Golyshev, who has been working since 2003 as one half of CDR, in various fields of experimental music - ranging from rhythmic work to noise and drones. 'Solaris' is his debut solo CD and it's hard not to see this as a soundtrack to the Tarkovsky movie, even when there is no such reference on the cover. The music spread out over two pieces of around thirty minutes could have been alternative soundtracks to that movie. Golyshev's plays some interesting under water and under world like drone music of a great kind. Golyshev keeps things minimal but too such an extent that changes appear at the right moment - the true power of drone music, I guess. Don't be a bore, don't let changes come to quickly, everything on the right moment. This version of 'Solaris' is great and surely the name Golyshev is worth keeping an ear open for. (FdW)
Address: http://www.monochromevision.ru

HOLLOWING & MAOR APPELBAUM - COLLABORATING TORTURE (CD by HCB Records)
To be honest: I never heard of Matt Gibney, musician and labelowner of Rectrix, and so his passing away in January 2006 went unnoticed by me. Not by Maor Appelbaum from Israel, with whom he shared ideas and worked together. Appelbaum before worked with Maurizio Bianchi but in Gibney he found another lover of anything dark. In the fifty-four minutes that span this disc the two walk the darkest paths available in music. From the rattling of bells at the beginning to the more spacious paths in the middle end, things remain grim and dark. Industrial music for sure, but the industries are longer at work here. It's a bleak, empty, barely lit landscape that once had activity, but it's no longer there. Everything is gone and the nuclear fall out is heavily amplified by these two men. Rain drops become small but effective bombs, falling on rusty metal sheets that are on the floor of an empty warehouse. This is not pleasant music, but then that was never the idea, I assume. It's highly effective music at work here. Deep bass rumbling, mean high end sounds and other means are put to work here. Quite an achievement, I'd say, and surely not of the weak minded. If depression isn't there, it may such things after hearing this. Nice, I'd say, although I wouldn't want to hear this every day, but this hard to swallow pill needs to be taken, at least every now and then. (FdW)
Address: http://www.maorappelbaum.org

ROBERT VAN HEUMEN - FURY (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)
'Fury' is the first real CD by Robert van Heumen, a name that may not ring an immediate bell (perhaps, who knows), but who is an active driving force in the Dutch improvised electronic music. He's active with such bands/collectives/projects as OfficeR, Skif++, RKS, Shackle and founding member of N Collective, if not organizing events for Steim in Amsterdam. His primary instrument is the laptop running software like LiSa (live sampling) and SuperCollider, sampling everyday sounds and making them sound like anything but everyday sounds. On his debut CD he has two pieces. The four part work 'Fury (After Anger)' and 'They Would Get Angry Sometimes'. The first uses texts about 'Dust Bowl migrants living in Farm Security Administration camps in central California (1940-1941). Many Americans fled the Great Plains looking for work and a better economical and ecological environment". The texts however do not play a big part in the composition. There is a bit of guitar like sound to be spotted (self-played? taken from the original recordings), and a bit of text, but throughout the title piece is a racket of noise tumbling through the bits and bytes of the computer - but beware it's not noise in the traditional sense of the word. It's dynamic, ever changing, crackling, loud and soft, buzzing and hissing. Even without being able to understand the text, which doesn't seem to be absolutely necessary, this is a very nice piece, shifting back and forth between abstract sound and more melodic passages. The second piece uses some similar sounds but is altogether a strict abstract piece of music of an even harsher quality type of noise. Vibrant music this is, great music - moving away from the delicate structures of microsound into the land of noise based textures. More Mego than micro. Great start! (FdW)
Address: http://www.creativesources.com

PRIDON - APNEA EINA (CD by Low Impedance Recordings)
It's been a while since Petros Voudouris, also known as Pridon, released 'New Steine' on Low Impedance Recordings (see Vital Weekly 497), but it seems like nothing has changed since then. Back then I wrote about his love for things analogue, the retro futuro sound of synthesizers and drum machines, the cross between all things danceable, from techno to electro, IDM, a bit of ambience, a bit of psychedelics and the result is longer than the previous - eleven tracks instead of six - make up some pleasant listening session. Perfect sunday afternoon, post hangover music, while browsing the internet, reading yesterday's paper or looking outside watching clouds pass by. Apparently Pridon uses a lot of improvisation to generate his music, but he's capable of hiding that in tight pieces of music, and no self-indulgent overlong pieces. Still, nothing new under the dance sun, but as much as the previous done with true love of the genre. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lowimpedance.net

BROCHARD & GUIONNET & PERRAUD - [ON] (CD by In Situ)
More improvised music by Jean-Luc Guionnet, who plays here solely alto saxophone, along with Edward Perraud on drums and percussion and Eric Brochard on contrabass. We have landed more into improvised music land here than with Guionnet's album with Nakamaru which we reviewed last week. The two improvisations - neatly clocking in at twenty-some minutes each - are more regular improvisations with the instruments sounding as drums, bass and saxophone. Perhaps I should have left this with Dolf Mulder, our regular improv reviewer, but actually I started playing this, mainly because I check everything out before sending it to other reviewers, but this checking out turned out to be playing the whole thing and then again. I don't know why actually, but there was a captivating thing about the recording which I liked - even when improvised music of this kind is not my daily digest. This trio bounces back and forth in textures, moods and atmospheres which I thought was actually quite interesting to hear - or rather under go. A bath of sounds, with small ripples and big waves alike, full of tension and full of relief, admist a lot of free playing. Nice one, even if the improvisation methods are a tad of regular. (FdW)
Address: http://www.label-insitu.com

BRUNO CHEVILLON - HORS CHAMPS (CD by D'Autres Cordes)
SAMUEL SIGHICELLI - MAREE NOIRE (CD by D'Autres Cordes)
A 'doublebassist' is one Bruno Chevillon, but no doubt there is more going on his 'Hors Champs' (which translates as 'off-screen'). His music here is inspired by Heiner Muller's theatre, which I don't know, but I can form some opinion on what that would be like. Heavy is probably the word that describes it best, since whatever Chevillon is doing to his double bass, is not what his teacher told him. It's powerful, almost like old school industrial music, but played in an improvised manner. To his double bass playing, Chevillon adds a bunch of nasty electronics and heavy drum machine playing, all underpinning the action, the aggression and the necessity of playing this music. Forceful music that is what becomes of this. While generated through methods of improvisation, no doubt, this is also the work of multi-layering the various sounds and provide some great tension in these pieces. AGF provides some guest vocals, but that's the probably the only point of quietness around here. Heavy duty music, industrial rock like if you will, improvised industrial if you must, this is another heavy journey, this week (following Maor Appelbaum's CD).
On the same label, and also unknown to me is Samuel Sighicelli (1972), who studied the piano and composition, as well as being an improviser and film maker. A man of many talents. His CD translates as 'oil spill' and one composition in six parts. I moaned about the state of serious electro-acoustic music, when reviewing (or not) the releases by Empreintes Digitales, but this actually is quite exciting music. An example of how things can also be. Sighicelli uses field recordings of airports, the sea, but also piano, organ, synthesizer, the bass playing of Chevillon and objects of metal, wood etc, which he collated together in a clever play of electro acoustic sound, in which it's not about all the software he could find but rather about the overall composition he could create with these various sound sources. As such we can recognize some of the original sound used, but throughout the abstract sound works in quite a cinematic manner. Certainly not as harsh as the Chevillon work, but with a likewise great impact. (FdW)
Address: http://www.digitruc.com

BULLOCK & COLEMAN & GROSS & RODEN - UNTITLED, OR NOT YET (CD by 1pt8 Records)
It has been quiet from the side of Steve Roden, or perhaps some of his recent releases come in such small editions, that they are, unfortunately, not always easy to follow. Two of his recent releases are CDRs only, in small editions, such as 'Vester Fields', a charming work for various sounds including an accordion, a record player, voice, violin, field recordings and even plants or 'A Christmas Play Joseph Cornell', which is more like a season release (not this season) with an old christmas record, a vietnamese string instrument and more field recordings. Both works are the Roden we appreciate and know so well: delicate sound textures, slow movements, layered yet spacey. However the work we are dealing here with today, is the Roden that is also delicate, but also a side of Roden we don't know very well: that of an improviser, together with the more well-known players from the scene, such as Micheal Bullock (contrabass), James Coleman (theremin) and David Gross (alto saxophone), while Roden plays objects, electronics and voice. This is the sort of improvisation that I really like. The careful examination of the instruments, their qualities in what they have to offer as both an instrument as well as an object. The delicate but loose structure, the waving of electronic tones along with the apparently random tones of the 'real' instruments. Four people listening to what the others are doing, carefully, thoughtfully. As said, it's not a side of Roden we know very well, but it's certainly something he should be doing more. (FdW)
Address: http://www.1pt8.com

TIME OF ORCHIDS - NAMESAKE CAUTION (CD by Cuneiform)
The fifth cd from this New York band, that was started in 1999 by Chuck Stern (keyboards, vocals, guitar). Also from the beginning, Jesse Krakow on bass, synthesizer and guitar. Eric Fitzgerald (guitar, vocals) and David Bodie (drums, percussion, foam machine) joint later.
Only the name of Krakow did ring a bell. He has a cd out on Public Eyesore and played in the Beefheart-project Fast 'n' Bulbous. Time of Orchids started releasing cds in 2001. Their fourth "Sarcast While" was released in 2005 on the prestigious Tzadik label. I know none of their earlier work. Their music on their new one, is guitar-based, but also heavily drenched in loads of keyboards. But most characteristic are the many, many vocals. They produce a dramatic over the top kind off popmusic. They built complex but slow songs, moving somewhere between metal, prog and grunge. I could name many influences but what does it help? Above all it is plain american rockmusic. The music impresses not because of its personality or originality, but by the dramatic impact of the multilayered wall of sound. Not by virtuoso high-technical playing, but by the intense vocal harmonies that drift by as dark clouds throughout this whole album. (DM)
Address: http://www.cuneiformrecords.com/

EX-P - CARPACCIO ESISTENZIALE (CD by Fratto9)
EX-P - ANCORA SAIGON (CD by Fratto9)
A few weeks ago I reviewed cds from the italian Fratto9 label. Two cds from the Can-inspired bands Tanake and I/O. This time two cds from EX-P. This trio has Alessanddro Allera on bass and voice, Andrea Chiuni also on bass, clarinet and voice, plus Diego Rosso on drums.
Their first one 'Ancora Siagon' was recorded in 2004, 'Carpaccio Esistenziale' in december 2006. On both albums they have little assistance from other players in some of the tracks.
Their is a typical italian touch on their music, that reminded me of other experimental italian bands from the 70s and 80s: early Franco Battiato, Stormy Six, La1919, etc. Also it would not surprise me, if they are fans of Hugh Hopper and Canterbury music. Influences of folk music can also be traced in the melodic lines they chose. Altogether an interesting band that makes use of many different sources for their musical ideas. Evidently their music has its roots in rock, but they leave many of the rock-conventions behind for their version of avant rock-like music. They are interested in creating structure and style. Chaotic outbursts of noise and pure energy are not there thing. They are more into subtlety. Controlled and disciplined they form their pieces. The bassplayers extract nice, multicolored sounds from their instruments, without using much extended techniques. It is surprising how they create such a diverse and rich spectrum of sounds with this small line up. Happily their records are not overproduced, so the recordings breath a low-fi atmosphere. Also they know when to stop. So there is no endless repetition of the same ideas. On the other hand, because of this some of the tracks on "Carpaccio Esistenziale' deserved to be more worked out. I found both albums equally satisfying and very tasty. (DM)
Address: http://www.fratto9/

WE DREW LIGHTNING - SWIMMING WITH ORANGE (CD by High Mayhem)
THE LATE SEVERA WIRES & SYNCHRONICITY PICTURES (DVD by High Mayhem)
Two new releases from the Santa Fe-based High Mayhem-label, that is known best for her excellent yearly High Mayhem-festival. We Drew Lightning is a fresh new band that is made up of the following four musicians: Roland Ostheim (voice, guitar, electronics, piano), Michael Smith (drums, electronics, voice), Alex Neville (bass guitar, electronics, voice, banjo) and Stephen Canny (cello). Ostheim and Smith came from Derail, a band you may know from earlier High Mayhem releases. They make up the nucleus of this new band, inviting other musicians to join for their project We Drew Lightning. What is is their music about? Well, it is their ideal to 'transcend genre'. I often feel irritated when a band writes pretentious words like these, especially after hearing their music where absolutely no border is crossed. This was what I experienced with the music of We Drew Lightning. But when I lowered my expectations to more realistic proportions, I did have fun with this music. In ten songs We Drew Lightning presents their jamming psychedelic rock music. In most songs instruments and voice make up a well-balanced whole that moves ahead in a flow, evoking a trance-like atmosphere. Not a spectacular album, but a good one. Nicely produced, doing justice to the textured layers of sound. Only one warning: you have to like the vocals of Ostheim. I didn't.
The Late Severa Wires is also a quartet, presented earlier in Vital Weekly with their LP "Three minutes a second". They are now back with a dvd. We see and hear: Ultraviolet (turntables), Mike Rowland (drums), Yozo Suzuki (guitar) and Carlos Santistevan (bass). The dvd documents a 23 minute performance from 2003 and a 46 minute performance from 2006 both taken at the High Mayhem Festival. Lengthy noise improvisation and soundscaping is their business. But the dvd offers no straight registration of the live performance. The dvd offers footage from the live performance but the people from Synchronicity Pictures did a lot of treatment. Pictures of the band - often close ups - are treated and abstracted to the same abstract level as where their music operates. They are cleverly synchronized with the music, making music and images closely interconnected. Very well done! Only I hoped they did integrate a little more untreated pictures showing the band at work. (DM)
Address: http://www.highmayhemorg.com/

MARCHING DYNAMICS - NAILSLEEPER (CD by Hymen Records)
TWINKLE - LE JOUET (CD by Ant-Zen)
Despite the fact that Ant-Zen Recordings traditionally has more focus on the harsh Industrial-related expressions with Hymen Records putting more focus on less harsher and more IDM-based expressions there is some similarity between the two legendary labels run Stefan S. Alt. The two present albums from the two labels is by artists that certainly knows how to create excellent club friendly rhythm textures. "Nailsleeper" from L.A.-based project Marching Dynamics and released via Hymen Records, proves that the brain behind, S. Talada, has a sense of creating beat textures cut sharp into an almost militant pace. Thus the project name suits perfect to the style. Take for instance the club-track titled "Un fall able" with dark technoid atmospheres not far away from early Biosphere, circa "Novelty waves". Another perfect moment is the ultra-cool track "Stoic" based on old-school electro-beats reminiscent of early pioneering electro-tracks such as Hashim's "Al-Naa-Fiysh (The Soul)" and Africa Bambaataa's "Planet Rock". The album moves in a nice balance between dreamy ambient-techno, breakbeats and a few moments of Industrial interventions. No really harsh moments on this one. Harshness on the other side is found on the next album released via Ant-Zen Recordings. French project "Twinkle" has gained cult status for their live shows around Europe. Therefore the debut album titled "Le Jouet" from the duo has been long awaited. Expressionally Twinkle varies from a downbeat Industrial-style of great atmospheres to pompous melodies of floating orchestral ambient as on the excellent track "Ton style". On a track titled "Les voies infectees" the expression turns more abrasive with a number of voice samples and strange synth-lines moving above very cool downbeat yet rather complex rhythm textures. Awesome track! The combination of experimental electronics and catchy Industrial-textures works great. To awesome albums from Ant-Zen recordings and Hymen Records. (NM)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com
Address: http://www.hymen-records.com

RAOUL SINIER - HUGE SAMURAI RADISH (CD by Ad Noiseam)
Raoul Sinier (formerly known as "Ra") was a very active artist in 2007. First the album "Wxfdswxc" released on Sublight label in January, then the 12"-album titled "Ultrafood", a collaborative split album with Mad Ep that was released on Ad Noiseam in April. Then a month later came the "Ev.panic. redone"-album released on Planet Mu and finally a 3"-mini-CD titled "Two heads" released on the Disco_r.Dance label. Now Raoul Sinier is ready with his first CD-format-release on Ad Noiseam, this time under his real name. The album titled "Huge samurai radish" is considered as an appetizer for his proper full length "Brain kitchen" which will be released later in 2008 on Ad Noiseam. Never the less "Huge samurai dish" has a running time approx. 51 minutes. Consisting of 12 tracks the first seven tracks are freshly made, where the last five are remixes of earlier materials executed by other artists. The overall expression on the seven new works is quite pompous meanwhile the rhythmic textures on the album often have their roots in hip hop and this quite unusual stylish combination is what makes the album interesting. The solemn feeling of dark and doom-like melody on "Huge Samurai Radish" gives some associations back to the music of the Middle age thanks to the dramatic atmospheres on the album. The mixture of drone-like melodies and the artificial expressions of electronic sounds combined with the cool hip hop rhythms makes this album very a promising appetizer for the coming full-length. Despite the fact that the remixes differ quite remarkably from the original versions with contributions from La Caution and Cannibal Ox's Vast Aire etc, they stylishly fit well into the spheres of the main works of "Huge samurai dish". (NM)
Address: http://www.adnoiseam.net

JED SPEARE - SOUND WORKS 1982-1987 (2CD by Family Vineyard)
The old is a hype. I just read in the newspaper that Cluster played in Amsterdam last friday at the Sonic Acts festival (who never sent their information down here, but that's no doubt the arrogance of being in the centre of the universe) and of course the newspaper applaud that. Now if it would have been reunion of the first form Cluster (or Kluster as they were called then), I would have tried to overcome my big city angst and go there. But never to watch a later, now thirty year old Cluster spinning the new agey doodling which are applauded as the great thing of drone (and sell the event as a place where 'electronic music arises from experiment and research' - ouch). You need an old group to attract both a new audience, as well as an older audience, curious to re-live the old experience. What has this to do with Jed Speare? Not much, except that the old is a hype. Just like the Stone and Melnyk old works reviewed elsewhere, a lot of people look for the 'classics', the forerunners, the original of the original. Like Roberts Settels (Vital Weekly 614) being the original microsound or Dick Raaymakers groundbreaking work (last week). Actually Speare is not one of those originals, but he is not somebody who is widely known either, and yet some of his work dates back to the early 80s. I never heard of him, and sadly missed out his 'Cable Car Soundscapes' LP for Smithsonian Folkways. I don't believe he released much but that wasn't his line of work either. Speare got more and more involved in working with multi-media projects, which are not always suitable for commercial release. The five pieces on this double CD are from his early days when he was working with microphones, tape recorders, splicing tape and mixing boards. Speare was a field recorder (the first? no, you should probably read more) who recorded daily action in the streets, hospitals, the subway, church bells etc. who loops, layers, splices, edits and mixes them together into large chuncks of music. Speare likes a long work, only one piece is just under seven minutes, the others range from twenty-one to thirty five minutes. That is long indeed and it's not easy to follow the line he sets forward in his music. Sometimes I have the idea that Speare himself looses his composition; the tail end of the composition doesn't know the head. But then I was thinking it's perhaps his idea. Heavily layered sounds, colliding over each other, bumping in, but never to form a drone; it remains to have a clarity - even when we don't easily recognize the original sources of his sounds. Once you accept that, the overload is the message, then you can easily go under and be overwhelmed. Interesting to see two of the five pieces were created for Dutch events in 80s and seeing Speare still works inside music and multi-media, Sonic Acts could have invited him as an old guy too to 'experiment and research', but no doubt that would have been unhip - 'if we don't know who he is, why would our audience know'. (FdW)
Address: http://www.family-vineyard.com

R.Y.N. - ASTRAL DEATH (CD by Unrest Productions)
The information on this CD is sparse, but alright, everything is there. The band name, the title(s), the label's website, so what's more is there to know. RYN are a 'UK drone-duo' whose 'Astral Death' is the first CD. Six long tracks of 'slowly shifting massive drones', but this beast moves very slow, in my opinion. The drones here are engine like, certainly if you put your ears towards the engine. If you think an engine is annoying - stop reading. If you can be fascinated by that, then R.Y.N. is no doubt a good place to start if you want something like an engine, but in musical terms. They play guitars, I assume, and loads of effects (or perhaps loads of effects) and imitate the engine like sounds. Massive indeed, slow indeed but, as said, too slow. The variations between the first three pieces and the sixth piece is rather minimal too, so one has the idea to be listening to three times the same track. Two of these, plus the fourth and the fifth track, would make a much stronger point because it would carry some variation while proving there is variation at all possible with this kind of music (which some people would doubt). Now it's not a bad CD either, but not entirely strong either. A good solid (massively solid, as a rock) heavy drone work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.unrestprod.com

SONIC SYSTEMS LABORATORIES (CD by Split Records)
The romantic fool that I sometimes am likes 'soft' percussion instruments, such as xylophone, marimba, vibraphone and such like and of course you know I like drone music. These two can be combined, even when it's not done a lot. Behind Sonic Systems Laboratory we find two vibraphone players, Robbie Avenaim and Dale Gorfinkel, who have been playing together since 2005. Last year they recorded this disc together. Actually if you wouldn't know it was made with two vibraphones, you would have a hard time telling so. Only after some twenty minutes you hear something that sounds like vibraphone, being played fast. In the first part (or actually two parts), the vibraphone is played with powered rotating disks, creating a dense layered field of rhythm. Only towards the very end of the work, we hear, soft, the 'real' vibraphone. This work, no doubt the product of two improvising minds, sound like nothing improvised. Rather it sounds like a well planned, composed work, exactly scored and executed. I think it's a great work, refined, well executed and should appeal to basically anyone reading Vital Weekly: drone lovers, musique concrete lovers and improv heads. (FdW)
Address: http://www.splitrec.com

CHRIS ABRAHAMS & MIKE COOPER - OCEANIC FEELING LIKE (CD by Room40)
TOMASZ BEDNARCZYK - SUMMER FEELINGS (MP3 by Room40)
Already recorded three years ago, this duet between british guitarist Mike Cooper and Australian keyboard player Chris Abrahams, both of whom I never heard. Cooper adds electronics to his six strings and Abrahams plays also Yamaha DX7. Thus far the technical side of the release. The music is, of course I'd say, all improvised, but to be very honest, I didn't get an oceanic like feeling from this music. Perhaps it's because I don't view a real ocean when writing these lines, nor feel the nice breeze from the Australian beaches (if anything such like exist, I've never visited that continent), even when it's a sunny day. The textured improvisations are moody, quiet, not very outspoken and gentle, but perhaps also too much on the safe side of things, both in the approach of improvisation as well as in what they actually play. Let's put it aside until I visit a more water like environment.
Also on digital but not physical format is the release by Tomasz Bednarczyk from Wroclaw, Poland. It's a bit early in the year to contemplate about summer feelings, but perhaps Tomasz longs for the summer in the harsher Polish winter, who knows. Primarily he plays the piano (the re-invented instrument of 2007) in a kind of Budd/Eno manner, but adds a blend of field recordings and crackling sounds to the dinner table. Eight tracks, and they are all as delicate and subtle as the other. Still the sun is shining today, a few clouds, and with the heating still full on, I can easily imagine summer. Very easily. I lie on the couch, eyes almost closed, watching shades pass of my own hands. The music of Bednarczyk presents a very nice soundtrack for a day like this. But if I would be entirely honest I could as easily play 'The Pearl' or 'On Land' and still be in the same mood. (FdW)
Address: http://www.room40.org

TOM RECCHION - THE INCANDESCENT GRAMOPHONE (78 rpm 10 inch by Poo bah records)
How soon we forget. Today's most popular format for the youth to store their music (the mp3) is only one in a long series of various formats, all of them popular in their day, most of them forgotten today. The earliest available method of recording sound for later playback purposes was the wax roll. However, wax rolls were ultra fragile and could be played only a limited amount of times. It wasn't until the invention of the shellac gramophone by Thomas Edison in 1887 that a format was found that could test time. For the first time, sound could be recorded and played back without significant loss of quality. Even though it is often forgotten, every sound imaginable has been recorded (and released) on shellac. There is an enormous wealth of recorded sound out there on shellac to be discovered. Vinyl was a definite improvement on durability (as shellac tended to break easily) plus more sound could be featured on a single vinyl disk (up to 20 minutes per side). Nowadays, both formats seem to have been made obsolete by the advent of the digital age. It is interesting to note that people are willing to pay money for a virtual product that has a lower soundquality than their more tactile brothers. There's marketing for you! Anyways, this is not a rant against mp3-marketing, but one in favor of the shellac disc. The format (a 10 inch that rotates at 78 rounds per minute) is one not often found in experimental music. In 1991 we (Beequeen) released a 78 rpm flexidisc, which was fun to do as not to many people were able to play it at the correct speed. Here we have a 10 inch by Los Angeles Free Music Society artist Tom Recchion. In the past he collaborated with the Doo-Doettes, Airway, Oren Ambarchi and John Duncan. "The Incandenscent Gramophone" consists of two songs, both to be played back at 78 rpm (thus forcing the listener to find a gramophone player that facilitates 78 rpm). The two songs were constructed using clicks, cracks and scratches, samples of previous 78 rpm recordings and, slightly inconsistent with the theme, also mp3 files. The results are impressive. Side one features the song The Incandescent (glowing) Gramophone, which consists of looped fragments of 78 discs. These loops sound like the basic grooves of the disc (so without any actual music). With some additional treatment by Recchion they sound like a giant beast munching records, which gets noisier towards the end of the song. Quite nice. Even better is the second side of the disc The Song Of Mr. Phonograph, which to me sounds like an outer space spiritual deep blues song. This is basically due to the slowed down incomprehensible singing (which sounds like negro workers singing in the cotton fields). Add to this a continuous beep and you have a wonderful song. A very special project this! Nice detail is that of the 500 copies pressed, 100 will be left anonymously in public places throughout Pasadena. As such, in their archaic format, they are as mysterious and out of place as the sounds they hold. A wonderful item, well worth searching out for the player for. (FK)
Address: http://www.poobah.com

REDGLAER - CRANKY (7" on Static Aktion)
ABQ=/=LAX (7" split co released by Hype Machine, Anarchymoon Recordings,
sicksicksick, Ohmni)
KILT - SNOW WHITE IN HELL (12 inch by sicksicksick, Anarchymoon
Recordings, Bastardised)
So I thought - analogue - three apparently separate disks with exception of a guitar piece on ABQ=/=LAX were in the main neo-jazz improv noise - live I suspected- and so I was set to hope for an un-copyable analogue universe - and would have written on this - on the impossibility of a digital network with its a programmed instruction set world empty of touch and feel .. - but I always do a little research first- <QUOTE> Redglaer is Bob Bellerue's experiment in harsh textural environments. The A side starts off with clattery junk noise. The feedback fucking never gets too intense, but always smooth enough to groove too.. over the last 20 years (he)i've been involved in a wide range of live creative weirdness - homemade percussion ensembles, Balinese gamelan, dance/performance art sound scores, installation art. Education: MFA Composition - Music / Integrated Media Noise Performance and Theory, California Institute of the Arts (2003) BA Writing & Poetics, Naropa University (minor in performance art) (1995) HONORS/AWARDS Top Honors: Threat Level Charlie, Periòdic Sound Art Competition, Centre de Cultura Contemporànea de Barcelona (Spring02) CalArts Interdisciplinary Grant (Out of Me and Into You) (Fall02) Writings: A Treatise of Irrelevance - page could not be found (sic) The blog delivers nothing. ABQ=/=LAX ( 7" split tracks by Raven Chacon, Redglaer, Alchemical Burn, AGL, and Mark Beyer (who also did the cover art). 3-color screen printed foldovers. clear vinyl lim500 Kilt - Snow White In Hell Label: sicksicksick, Anarchymoon Recordings, Bastardised Catalog#: sssk-022, anok16, #17 Format: Vinyl, LP, Random Colored Country: US Released: 2007 Genre: Electronic Style: Noise Notes: Edition of 500 Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote) Rate It Submitted by: sick.sick.sick. </QUOTE> So now I'm in a strange frame of mind - I even notice there's an entry in Wikipedia for 404 error- fucking never gets too intense? (jliat)
Address: http://www.staticaction.com
Address: http://www.anarchymoon.com

PNDC - FADING AWAY (CDR by Listen Loudest)
From a more unlikely, but not entirely, corner of
the world, Belgrade in Serbia comes Predrag Nedic, who works as PNDC. In 2007 he uploaded some instrumental songs on his myspace page and through various reactions he found Thanos Vavaroutas, a.k.a. Housework, as a singer for his music. Through the use of internet they worked together on the album 'Fading Away'. The music has been described as The Cult meeting Depeche Mode - which I can't vouch for, but it's a most curious mixture of various styles - and by a street length the most un-vital release of the week. PNDC themselves describe it as 'dark pop, a bit of new wave, a bit of krautrock' and yes, that seems a most apt description of the music. Composed with the basic instruments of guitar, drum (machines), bass and synthesizers, with a little bit of computer doodling, this is a nice release. Simply because it is away from the usual flock here (even we need a break sometimes) but also because the songs are actually enjoyable. A firm retro sound in the guitar solos, this is most surely 80s music for the new millennium. Pleasant surprise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/pndc

KAPOTTE MUZIEK - ENHANCED ROOM ACOUSTICS (CDR by Lunhare)
Tracks one and three was a cassette release by Kapotte Muziek from 1996, the middle track (a bridge) was produced by processing these using software by Freiband in 2007. I've noticed a trend lately in re-releasing cassette material on its replacement - CDr with varying degrees of success. Here is a doubling of the process of processing and re-processing- the bridge provides both difficult and interesting listening being micro-sound - very low pitch as if the two outer works - which are themselves processed acoustics but noisier (especially in the second) have cancelled each other out - almost... In fact at first on speakers near inaudible on headphones a variety of interesting features appear. Like looking at water in a jar - seemingly clear and empty but once under a microscope teaming and pulsating with creatures. It is not so much a bridge then but a synthesis of the two more obvious industrial noise works which become in contrast strangely evocative of a century which we have left- a century which was obvious, more certain even about its paranoia into this strange century where understanding, listening, seeing, thinking, has now become problematic. We have lived in a century from which and into, a century, in which we all will die- what a strange thought this CDr has provoked. (jliat)
Address: http://www.lunhare.net

SANSAM DAVIES - LIVE UNCUT VOL.1 (CDR by A Question Of Re_Entry)
Hopefully I spelled the name right here and it's indeed Sansam Davies. I have never heard of him (her perhaps), but there are two live (uncut) recordings on this CDR, of which we otherwise have no other information. I may assume that Davies works with a laptop and has some very quiet audience (a rare thing these days) when he performed his music. Things are very quiet on his disc, which consist mainly of processed field recordings. Songs from the kitchen sink as it were actually, as we sometimes hear vague metallic rumbling about, which comes sometimes in the form of high feedback sounds, deep bass sounds and in between the amplified emptiness of a room. Actually I was thinking of Lopez throughout, and perhaps Davies pays homage (be it somewhat louder than Lopez) to his 'Warzawa Restaurant'. It's pretty good and solid material going on here, but also, at the same time, nothing much new under the microsound sun. (FdW)
Address: <planitis_miden@yahoo.gr>

BIG CITY ORCHESTRA - MUSICAL BOX (CDR by Ubuibi)
BIG CITY ORCHESTRA - VILLANELLA (CDR by Ubuibi)
Ah, Big City Orchestra, still going strong. They've done it all, seen it all and still kick around. It's a band that I like but not always keep up with. They created some great strange music and sometimes I don't seem to be getting into it at all. They can be oddly shaped ambient like, psychedelic, noise like, collage like: there is no such thing as a very definite Big City Orchestra sound. 'Musical Box', which shows a man sleeping in a studio (the Big City Studio?) has the usual suspects of Das, Cliff Neighbors and Ninah Pixie along with Jonathan Segal, Dark Muse and Daevid Allen of Gong fame. On 'Villanella' the line up extends with Andy Cowitt, Michael Wertz, Melissa Margolis, Insect Deli and Russ Kent. The various approaches of Big City Orchestra are shown in these two releases. 'Musical Box' is throughout, but not entirely, spacious music - ambience meet psychedelica, with a great role for Daevid Allen's guitar. There is also 'Street Fighting Man', a parody?, a cover? (music by Big City Orchestra is loaded with musical references, but I don't know them all, simply because they refer to an area that I have not much knowledge of) of a popsong and the more noisy 'Sausage', but they are the shortest tracks here and only provide a counter point to the longer spacious pieces. Quite a nice one.
'Villanella' has fourteen pieces, even when the cover only lists six titles, and this shows Big City Orchestra in a more go with the flow experimental, part noise based mood. Songs here are, obviously, shorter, and consist of sounds bouncing together. I think that some of the sound material was sent in via (e-)mail and mixed together by Das and Pixie. Not all the material makes enough sense to me and some seem to be put together in a haphazard manner. It's not bad at all, but it doesn't match up, I think, with the quality of 'Musical Box'. Still strong, after close to twenty-five years, and sometimes its great, sometimes its good, and very rarely it's not so good. C'est la vie. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ubuibi.org

CHEJU/SHOOSH (3"CDR by Awkward Silence Recordings)
There was a time that I collected every 7" on Awkward Silence. Perhaps partly because I was closer to the distribution fire than I am now, or perhaps I just lost my collecting senses over the years. So I wasn't aware that the label now also releases 3" CDRs. I don't know why, but I love this format. Someone said that a lot of people don't, because they don't fit in the computer. Well, another fine reason to love them. Cheju is one Wil Bolton, who has a lot of releases under his belt as well as working with Jon lee as bal-a-klah-va, with Mint as Biotron Shelf and with Zainetica as Anzio Green. His music here is pretty standard broken beats, warm synth and moody electronics. Music that fits well on Boltfish (on which he also released), Highpoint Lowlife and such like. Not bad, not great. Like jazz standards, I guess. Of more interest, I thought, was the music of Shoosh, a three piece group of Ed Drury (guitars), Neil Carlill (vocals and lyrics) and Craig Murphy (synth, programming). In 'Elastic Soil' they sound like an electronic version of Current 93, with a strong similarity in the vocal region. In 'Come In From The Cold' things turn even more down and moody, with sparse electronics, ending in total ambiance. Perhaps not entirely my tea either, but certainly different than the somewhat faceless Cheju. (FdW)
Address: http://www.awkwardsilencerecordings.com/

MOZ - THE BROKEN TUSK OF GANESHA (3inch CDr by Silken Tofu)
NOISEWERRRRK - PREKARIAT EP (3inch CDr by Silken Tofu)
The broken tusk.. is by no means a noise piece, evocative drones, drums, bowed cymbals and chanting which drifts across the stereo field throughout the CDr. I shouldn't have a problem with this but I do - its all to easy to be convinced of its earnestness regarding its mysticism - in returning the aesthetic it must and maybe seeks to re-introduce a morality that dies with Nietzsche and the death of God, either that or its irony or naivety hasalluded me. From one dream of a metaphysical answer to another?-
Noisewrrrrk's"noisy" offering has on its case picture of tramps -(uk) hobos (us)!! A quotation from Marx (Karl not Groucho) and an opening track which appears to have some basis in chanting - a political rally? -A track of repetitive electro-noise, and then some excellent phased noise. So "Arm the unemployed" - it advocates - but these drop-outs are just that - they have dropped out from the nonsense of our society which proclaims a metaphysical truth - somewhere - some day. The hobos are not waiting for Godot, God, The second coming, The Superman or Marxism , but wisely drinking themselves to death in the face of what they see we are- they are living out the irony of what in music or its opposite is noise - a drunken nihilism yes- evident in some of these tracks. (jliat)
Address: http://www.silkentofu.org