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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 672
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week 14
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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

 

HILDUR GUDNADOTTIR - WITHOUT SINKING (CD by Touch) * *
ANDUIN & JASPER TX - THE BENDING OF LIGHT (CD by SMTG)
MEERKAT - KAPNOS (CD by Afe/Grey Sparkle/Nigthawks Tapes/Crtl+Alt+Canc) *
PLAY TO: BN CHORA. JUGEMENT (CD compilation by L.A.F. Org/Jeringas 5cc)
JACQUES TREMBLAY - CHRONIQUES D'UNE SEDUCTION (CD by Empreintes Digitales) *
MATHEW ADKINS - [60]PROJECT (CD by Empreintes Digitales) *
CIROTTEAU & LACASSE & MASSICOTTE & NORMAND - FACE À LA DERIVE -
TAXONOMY (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
LAUZIER & MARTEL & MYHR & TÉTREAULT - DISPARITION DE L'USINE ÉPHÉMÈRE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
TAXONOMY - 10 TAXINOMICAL MOVEMENTS (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
FEAR FALLS BURNING - THE CARNIVAL OF OURSELVES (CD by Tonefloat)
FEAR FALLS BURNING - I'M ONE OF THOSE MONSTERS NUMB WITH GRACE (CD by Tonefloat) *
SND - ATAVISM (CD by Raster-noton) *
PIXEL - THE DRIVE (CD by Raster-noton)
ISRAEL M - NAREAH (CD by Aagoo Records) *
CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE & PERLONEX - IT AIN'T NECESSARILY SO (2CD by Zarek) *
SNAKE FIGURES ARKESTRA - COOKS & DEVILS (3"CDR by Zarek)
GARETH HARDWICK - AVERSIONS (CD by Low Point)
JOHN BUTCHER - RESONANT SPACES (CD by Confront) *
GRAHAM HALLIWELL & LEE PATTERSON - TERRAIN (CDR by Confront) *
MARK WASTELL - AFTER HOURS (3"CDR by Cathnor) *
TWINKLE3 - LET'S MAKE A SOLAR SYSTEM (LP by Ini.Itu)
GIUSEPPE IELASI - (ANOTHER) STUNT (12" by Schoolmap Records) *
TASOS STAMOU & ADAM_IS - MEDIATED MEDITATIONS (CDR by Kukuruku Recordings) *
TOPMODEL - 2007 (CDR by Kukuruku Recordings) *
DEAD TRAVELLER - THE GHOST (CDR by Kukuruku Recordings)
STROM NOIR - LUVYOO (CDR by Ambsine Records) *
NICK HOFFMAN - STRATAGEM (CDR by Herbal Records) *
JULIEN SKROBEK & MIGUEL PRADO - AMERICAN NIGHTMARE (CDR by Herbal Records/Why Not Ltd)
TRIPTYCH TRENCHER - HALLWAY FOR CHRONIC LIARS (3 inch CDR by Grimeology Records)
ENRICO MALATESTA - STANDARD (cassette by Presto!? Records)
LUIS ANTERO/MARCUS KUERTEN - STALL (MP3 by Bypass)

 

 

 

HILDUR GUDNADOTTIR - WITHOUT SINKING (CD by Touch)
Perhaps this name is best known for collaborating on the latest Pan Sonic CD, but she also collaborated with Angel (Ilpo Vaisanen and Dirk Dresselhaus), but also with Stillupsteypa and BJ Nilsen. 'Without Sinking' is her second solo CD, following 'Mount A' on 12 Tonar. Its foremost a solo album of cello music, even when there are some tracks with Skuli Severisson (bass, processors), Johan Johannsson (organ, processors), and Gudni Franzson (clarinet, bass clarinet). To start with the bad news: I liked the tracks best which were recorded with other people, and not the solo pieces. Having said that, its not that I dislike those, but there is a similarity in these solo pieces that work against them. It seems to me, but I might be entirely wrong there, that Gudnadottir works with those loop devices that so many solo musicians use these days. One plays a short phrase, puts it on repeat and then plays another phrase (or more of course) on top of it. Gudnadottir tried to play 'a clear sky' with 'single clouds' and as such she succeeds well, I think. But its not until 'Opaque', the sixth track that the sky finally clears. After that, in the remaining four pieces, its clear sky, with some great pieces such as 'Aether', which involves her father Gudni Franzson. This is a fine CD, but one that takes some time to get started. (FdW)
Address: http://www.touchmusic.org.uk

ANDUIN & JASPER TX - THE BENDING OF LIGHT (CD by SMTG)
Very recently I reviewed 'Singing Stones' by Dag Rosenqvist, who goes by the name of Jasper TX (see Vital Weekly 667). He worked with Machinefabriek before, this time is Jonathan Lee, also known as Anduin. I don't think I know him. This is a duo of guitars and synthesizers. Rosenqvist plays guitar, piano, contact microphones, clavia nord lead and melodica, while Lee plays field recordings, casiotone, optigan, rhodes, laptop, piano and various korg synthesizers. Six pieces of ambient bliss, grainy sound textures, rain pouring down. Great late night music, but I must say nothing really out of the ordinary. Anduin and Jasper TX probably didn't set out to change the history of music, but rather to create some nice pieces of music for the listener to relax by. Six pieces in thirty four minutes of nice music. Nothing great, just fine. What more could I say, or would you want? (FdW)
Address: http://www.smtgltd.com

MEERKAT - KAPNOS (CD by Afe/Grey Sparkle/Nigthawks Tapes/Crtl+Alt+Canc)
PLAY TO: BN CHORA. JUGEMENT (CD compilation by L.A.F. Org/Jeringas 5cc)
Following 'Nefelodhis', an album between Maurizio Bianchi and Sparkle In Grey, and 'Erimos', which was by Bianchi, Hue and Luca Bergero/Fhievel, there is now 'Kapnos', for which Bianchi supplied no music, just the concept. Meerkat (they call it a cryptic word, so I won't spoil its meaning in Dutch) is a kind of Italian underground big band. Here we find Adriano Zanni (Punck), Matteo Uggeri (Hue), Luca Sigurta, Luca Bergero (Fhievel), Davide Valecchi (Aal), Andrea Ferraris (Ics), Fabio Selvaflorita, Paolo Ippoliti (Logoplasm), Laura Lovreglio (Logoplasm) and Andrea Marutti (Amon, Never Known). If you have been paying attention in the last few years, you may recognize these names as Italy's finest in the fields of ambient, electronics, microsound, post guitar - well, anything but true noise. Its a bit unclear how the music was conceived - 'recorded all over Italy', it says on the cover - as the cover does also provide with some information but not as much to really know what went on. The music is excellent - a fine mixture of styles and interests from these guys. All the elements one would expect are there, the field recordings, drones, ambience, microscopic detailed sounds. Great stuff here.
In the same parcel there was also a compilation CD, which was a highly unclear thing - at least, if like me, you don't read Italian. There was a short press text along with this that said this is 'part of the soundtrack created for the 'BN Chora. Jugement' installation by Massimo Indellicati/Progetto Sperimentale Chora and is Sil Muir debut release. Sil Muir contribution is one long track inspired by 'The Wild Blue Yonder' by Werner Herzog'. There is no track list on the CD cover itself, but according to the information, there are two short pieces by Anna Maria Giordano and two long pieces by Gianluca Becuzzi & Luigi Turra and Sil Muir each. The Sil Muir piece is a long flow of synthesized guitar sounds, whereas Becuzzi & Turra stay on the ground armed with the guitar doodling. Its all a bit vague this compilation. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aferecords.com
Address: <eicoolsat@alice.it>

JACQUES TREMBLAY - CHRONIQUES D'UNE SEDUCTION (CD by Empreintes Digitales)
MATHEW ADKINS - [60]PROJECT (CD by Empreintes Digitales)
There is an interesting quote on the cover of 'Chroniques D'Une Seduction': 'since I cannot grasp the meaning of the words, my neighbor's conversation becomes beat, movement, pace' - that exactly happened to me last night, as I heard voices on the otherwise silent street. I vaguely heard it was about not being able to get in the house, but the finer points of the conversation were lost on me. So I understand more what Tremblay says. He's a composer and classically trained guitarist and in the three pieces here on his second solo CD show his diverse interests in instrumental music, electronic music and field recordings. Its on Empreintes Digitales, which guides the listener in a certain direction. Although I think Tremblay's disc is more interesting than some of the releases I encountered from this label in the last year, also Tremblay doesn't escape what I think is part of the overall Empreintes Digitales sound: the tumbling of sounds, the pitching up and downwards of the material - be they instrumental, vocal, field recordings or purely electronical. But Tremblay adds a certain element of anarchy to it I think, which makes this throughout more enjoyable than some of the more rigid releases. Children's voices, street sounds and in some parts of 'Empathies Entropiques' even reminding me of Nurse With Wound. Quite a nice work.
Musique concrete apparently exist for sixty years, and to celebrate that and the pioneering work of Mr. Schaeffer, Pierre, Mathew Adkins composed an eight part work called '[60]Project', which, hardly surprising lasts exactly sixty minutes. For whatever unclear reason not sixty but sixty-six composers delivered sound material for this work, which Adkins, who was awarded fifteen prizes at international music festivals (in case anyone cares, but usually these people have not a real rock 'n roll lifestyle, so their bio's are a bit small and measured by prizes), has used in this work. Each piece stands for a specific area in which musique concrete elements can be heard. 'Abstract/ambient', 'concrete/instrumental', 'concrete/experimental', 'Sea Soundscape', 'Urban soundscape', 'ambient industrumental', 'noise study' and 'extended vocal'. Strangely enough it seems to me the categorizations blur a bit here in all the granular sound synthesis applied by Adkins. He has asked the musicians to deliver a bit of sound, which he grouped together and created this work. Maybe its the nature of this kind of music or the technology used by the various artists, but throughout it sounds quite the same. The acousmatic approach that is such a well-known feature for this label, see also the previous reviewed CD by Tremblay, is well present here too. Like Tremblay its not a bad work, but somewhat less imaginative and anarchistic, it stays on the safe side of things. But for the label quite a strong release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.electrocd.com

CIROTTEAU & LACASSE & MASSICOTTE & NORMAND - FACE À LA DERIVE -
TAXONOMY (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
LAUZIER & MARTEL & MYHR & TÉTREAULT - DISPARITION DE L'USINE ÉPHÉMÈRE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
TAXONOMY - 10 TAXINOMICAL MOVEMENTS (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
With an imperturbable pace Ambiances Magnétiques continues releasing interesting releases in the field of jazz and new music. From the beginning they released jazz and improvised music on the one hand, and the rock-inspired chamber music of Lussier, Duchesne and many others on the other side. Later their scope became broader, by embracing music that concentrates on discovering the world of pure, abstract sounds. Three of their new releases are exponent of this development. Taxonomy is an italian trio of Elio Martusciello, Graziano Lella and Roberto Fega. '10 Taxonomical Movements' is their second release. Again this is an exploration in techniques and structures on a very abstract level, avoiding much intellectual blah blah. The first piece is called "Ouverture", the last one "Epilogue", suggesting an unity between the 10 pieces. Tracks in between carry titles as "Adagio", "Andante" and "Crescendo". A piece like "Crescendo - Maestoso" I like most because of the dramatic impact. "Solenne - Vivo" is a mysterious sounding piece with deep drones, completed with other sound material.
Each piece is structured differently from the others. Another difference, in "Tranquillo - con fuoco" laptops and electronics dominate, in "Larghetto - appasionato (tema)" conventional instruments are preferred. All this makes it a varied CD.
"Face à la Dérive" is a soundportrait of the Saint-Laurent-river, painted by four young musicians that are new for me: Sébastien Cirotteau, Brigitte Lacasse, Catherine S. Massicote and Eric Normand. They made field recordings along this big river, including voices of people who live close to it. These recordings play a dominant role in the two lenghty pieces on this CD. Besides we hear small musical structures played on acoustic instruments as piano, accordion, violin, bass, etc. For my ears this combination did not always work. But is is an engaging piece of work if you are interested in how to evoke an environment in a sound work.
"Disparition de l'usine éphémère" is a first collaboration between Philippe Lauzier (alto sax, clarinet), Pierre-Yves Martel (viola da gamba), Kim Myhr (acoustic guitars) and Martin Tétreault (recordplayers). Surprising it is to hear a viola da gamba in such a modern undertaking. We hear long sustained tones combined with chaotic scratchy sounds from guitars and viola da gamba. In their long extended groups improvisations they successfully combine old and new instruments. The musicians share a common approach. Speaking the same language of sound and noise they develop several fantastic musical conversations. (DM)
Address: http://www.actuellecd.com/

FEAR FALLS BURNING - THE CARNIVAL OF OURSELVES (CD by Tonefloat)
FEAR FALLS BURNING - I'M ONE OF THOSE MONSTERS NUMB WITH GRACE (CD by Tonefloat)
The true Fear Falls Burning fan - and you bet there are many - of course recognize these titles straight away. When Dirk Serries started his project Fear Falls Burning, he not just started to play some music on a guitar, but he immediately started looking for labels to release his music. Having played an extensive discography together as Vidna Obmana before that it wasn't too difficult to find some labels. 'The Carnival Of Ourselves' was released by Tonefloat and reviewed in Vital Weekly 513, and 'I'm One Of Those Monsters Numb With Grace' by Equation Records and reviewed in Vital Weekly 563, and both were limited to a handful of vinyl. The fans who came later to Fear Falls Burning may have missed on these and they are not to be released on vinyl, but why not CD? Perhaps with some extra tracks recorded at the same time? And perhaps the bonus tracks on vinyl one day? That may seem the working on a musician with a strong fan base. Back then I wrote about 'The Carnival Of Ourselves': "The music of Fear Falls Burning has connections to the world of post-rock, a particular area of post-rock, that of slowly moving sounds - no drums (although that would be an interesting thing to investigate for Fear Falls Burning). A highly ambient form of post-rock. Both sides have just one long piece. The one on side A starts out with mere tinkling, and over the course piece slightly atonal resonances are dropped in, which work their bit on the background, and once all the elements are in place things slowly built in power and crescendo. Maybe the quick fade out at the end is a pity. The piece on the other side is more on one level. All the elements are in place from the beginning and modulations take place in the various sounds, sometimes fading in a bit more of one or the other, but it's throughout a solemn piece of music. This is the better piece of the two. Slowly meandering about, like a walk in a rain covered forest on a cloudy autumn day. So far the best thing I heard from Fear Falls Burning!"
On the music of 'I'm One Of Those Monsters Numb With Grace': all pieces are live, recorded to two track. Dirk plays guitar, feeds it through effects and that's it. This is my main objection: the rigid working method is preventing any changes. A common Fear Falls Burning piece start out with some strumming, and from there beautiful (because don't get me wrong: I think it's wonderful music) clouds of overtones start to emerge, like shimmering clouds, organ like tones, and in some distance there is distortion working on the strings. There is no big bang ending like in some of his other works, and another minor difference is that this sounds a bit more noisy than some of the more ambient works from before. Minor differences can be spotted here, and it is still no doubt a great record, but it would be time for some more fundamental change."
The bonus track for the first is, in my humble opinion indeed a left-over from the session. Not too well recorded it seems, with guitar line hum, and all together a very inspiring piece. Oddly enough, but why not, the bonus piece for the other CD is a great one. Whereas I think the record has grown, despite my lukewarm response, its now better, but it also has a great bonus track, of pitch shifting tune and a slightly distorted sound, working their way up and then collapses, but then takes another seventeen minutes to die out. Almost an album in itself. Great covers, nice re-issues. Fans will be pleased.
Address: http://www.tonefloat.com

SND - ATAVISM (CD by Raster-noton)
PIXEL - THE DRIVE (CD by Raster-noton)
True revolutionary musicians stop at one point with what they are doing and do something else, perhaps not as revolutionary, but they made their point. Once the new idea has been outlived, accepted and copied, then its time to move on. SND, a duo from Sheffield, was such a revolutionary group. About a decade ago they merged techno, click 'n cuts, ambient and computer processing in an unheard way. Their works on Mille Plateaux are classic works of that era (and probably overdue a re-release). I can't remember when their last CD was released but I'm quite surprised to 'Atavism' in my mailbox. Its a not a big bang again, but then the times they are a-changed. Computers are now much more accepted in the process of music making, the SND sound hasn't been entirely copied that much and especially Mark Fell, one half of SND has produced some other revolutionary works, for Bottrop-boy and 12K. So this new one is not as revolutionary again, but you can't be always avant-garde. In some ways it even seems they returned to the earliest music roots, that of minimal techno, as the sixteen pieces here have that stamp all over it. Utter dry beats, some stereo panning, a bit of delay - that's all that is necessary, or so it seems here, but of course these boys know how to create tension throughout this album. The seventh track (all untitled) shows some traces of 'Secular Musics', Fell's solo album. Some tracks are short and bridge one track to another, like the drone like fifth and eleventh piece, but there is also the almost ordinary casual dance piece number ten. Towards the end, say the last five tracks, things become more experimental, although the rhythm never gets lost. Not a revolution, but quite a damn fine album.
Despite the fact that 'The Drive' is Pixel's third album, I have no idea who he is, and the press text doesn't tell us. And perhaps its not an album for me anyway, since its about car driving, an imaginary trip through the USA. I can't drive a car, but I hopped onto one in the USA and drove with various people, and we played music. Never of the likes of Pixel though, not even of the likes of anything from Vital Weekly, mainly for the simple reason much gets lost in a car, certainly last century's model. So I found myself listening to 'The Drive' seated in The Netherlands, southern part, by train. No chemical warfare plants, rugged landscapes, rocket takeoffs and hectic suburban night life. Its rural, flat and afternoon, and sunny. Pixel has placed his laptop on a guitar amplifier, flickering out minimal beats and grainy textures, picked up in the space with a microphone, feeding back the sound, thus hovering the edge of feedback. It makes a somewhat more rough and raw album than what would be expected from this more clean label. Certainly nice music to travel with, passing small villages, trees, fields and an occasional bigger city. How on earth one gets across the USA in forty minutes is a bit difficult to imagine, but I'm long home by then. (FdW)
Address: http://www.raster-noton-net

ISRAEL M - NAREAH (CD by Aagoo Records)
Hailing from Mexico is Israel Martinez, of whom I never heard (but then I never look into who ever the honorable judges of Prix Ars Electronica pleases with their honorary mentions). Martinez creates sound installations, site specific sonic projects, is a member of Lost Martinez, Vlow Ensemble and has received various commissions. 'Nareah' is his first full length CD, following two EPs. He works here with field recordings and synthesized and sampled instruments and arrives at some odd cross road of micro glitch music and sampled orchestral music, in forceful passages of sound like clouds. To this orchestra he has added some more computer processing and throughout it makes an odd combination but one that works quite well. Usually I am not that keen on sampled orchestral sounds, perhaps because its loaded with other information and has connotations I don't like, but Martinez creates some intense music, which is 'Mitah' reaches its peak. A curiously interesting work here on Bevin Kelley's label, who also released 'Gular Flutter' by Blevin Blectum, which they also send. A nice CD boys and girls of Aagoo, but its our policy not to review material older than six months. But the electronic music of Blectum bounces nicely about here in the vital head quarters, as we finish up this week's issue. A nice uplifting release. oops. Almost a review. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aagoo.com

CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE & PERLONEX - IT AIN'T NECESSARILY SO (2CD by Zarek)
SNAKE FIGURES ARKESTRA - COOKS & DEVILS (3"CD by Zarek)
Somewhere in Vienna there is a club called Porgy & Bess, and if microsound is the only language you speak, it is named after an opera by George Gershwin, who also wrote the classic tune 'It Ain't Necessarily So'. Its also the title of a work recorded in this club by Charlemagne Palestine and Perlonex, the trio of Ignaz Schick (tube sine wave, bows, objects, turntable), Joerg Maria Zeger (stomp boxes, guitars) and Burkhard Beins (drums, percussion, objects, zither). The four of them have been playing together since 2004, and this double CD was recorded in 2006. It may seem like an odd meeting: the old master of minimal music, strumming at the keyboard and the improvisations of the German three. In two of the three pieces Palestine starts out with drones on his electronic keyboards and strumming at the piano, but things work quite nice here. Once the full quartet is in place, when things are in balance it works out fine. All four proof to be accomplished players of improvised music, with keen ears to what the others are doing around them. The only time Perlonex seems to start, the shortest piece on the package, things go slow, but then Palestine returns to his shamanistic singing, which is something which need not be. Otherwise a very fine release.
Schick is also a member of Snake Figure Arkestra, along with Marcel Turkowsky, who creates his own devices such modified walkmen, memory box, realia objects, tapes and looper. Schick here too uses mainly 'small instruments'. A highly condensed and concentrated affair this mini CD, of some interesting somewhat loud(er) improvised music for small objects. Think Cage's own 'Cartridge Music', in the sixties version, but then with the speed of the new millennium. Objects fall, electric wires are touched, filtering and cymbals are crashed, all picked up with cheap microphones and contact microphones scratching the surface, and it makes a solid work. Not too long, but a concentrated explosion. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zangimusic.de

GARETH HARDWICK - AVERSIONS (CD by Low Point)
Hardwick is, I believe, the man behind the Low Point label, and plays his own music, even when we only heard a bit on his split release with M. Rosner (see Vital Weekly 592), which was nice but short. Still we don't get a proper chance here with 'Aversions', which I have no aversion against, but these are 'a versions', remixes by some of his friends. Steinbrüchel and Machinefabriek are people whom we know very well, and also Xela has had a record reviewed here, but there are also some people I never heard of (I think), like Library Tapes, Apalusa, Strategy and Chris Herbert. I have no idea of the two tracks which don't say anything about remix are the pieces that were remixed, or simply should be seen as interludes, as they are quite short. The remixes are all great, I must say, lengthy affairs of swirling electronics, sustaining piano sounds, with the longest being Apalusa, with a deep drone end thing, which works very, very nice, or the more micro sounding Steinbrüchel remix. My favorite however is the one by Strategy, with a nice, subtle bass underneath and some fuzzy guitar, seventies guitar effects. But as said, throughout this is a great album, very coherent music fitting together very well. (FdW)
Address: http://www.low-point.com

JOHN BUTCHER - RESONANT SPACES (CD by Confront)
GRAHAM HALLIWELL & LEE PATTERSON - TERRAIN (CDR by Confront)
MARK WASTELL - AFTER HOURS (3"CDR by Cathnor)
These three releases where delivered together, although I am not entirely sure what links them together. Two of them are on the Confront label. The first is by saxophone player John Butcher. I am known, I hope, as someone who is not particular keen on the sound of the saxophone, but there are exceptions, of course, and John Butcher is such an exception. This CD contains recordings he made in the northern parts of the Scotland, and which brought him to unlikely places, such as caves and turbine halls and water towers. Butcher plays the instruments as much as he plays the space in which he is performing. There is a variety of saxophones and in some cases even 'feedback soprano'. Butcher plays sustained notes on his instruments, sometimes loud, sometimes soft, but with a very sensible ear to both what he is doing on the instrument as well as listening to the space he is playing in. Long reverberation is in place here, and normally I don't like reverb very much, but when its all natural, its great. I particular like those pieces in which the saxophone doesn't sound like one, like in 'Wind Piece' or 'Sympathetic Magic (Stone)', and less pieces as 'Calls From A Rusty Cage', which sounds like a lot of things I don't like about the instrument. They are however in minority here, and this is simply a great, minimalist work.
Butcher's CD was recorded in 2006 but now released, and the same goes for 'Terrain' by Graham Halliwell (saxophone feedback and processing) and Lee Patterson (field recordings and amplified devices). No location is mentioned (not even a website on both releases for the label), but lets say its a live recording. And an excellent one at that. A very refined disc of long minimalist sine wave/feedback sounds, the chirping of insects and the crackling of objects and contactmicrophones. The music is throughout very soft, but if you care to put up the volume a bit more, you will find a lot of beauty buried in these sustaining sounds. Minimal but covered with great beauty.
Mark Wastell is, I believe, the man behind Confront, but his own 'After Hours' was released on Cathnor Recordings. It was recorded six months before mixing it, and then fifteen months later it was released - and on the day Wastell approved the cover, the shop he worked for, Sound 323, closed its doors. The fifteen minutes that cover 'After Hours' is hauntingly beautiful. Wastell plays gongs or cymbals, with some sort of electronic treatment - or not, that isn't quite clear - but the sounds are played majestically and nothing is to be touched until the sound has died out. Slow, moving, sustaining. An excellent work of meditative drone music. Packed in a great cover. An excellent small work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cathnor.com

TWINKLE3 - LET'S MAKE A SOLAR SYSTEM (LP by Ini.Itu)
The number 3 in the band name is written in subscript, but let's not try this at home, fearing the announcement list software goes whoop again. This trio consists of Clive Bell playing shakuhachi, David Ross on hawaiian tremoloa, panart hang, kantele, droscillator and Richard Scott on bucla lightning, analogue synthesizer, sampler and processing and together this makes, well, a very odd record. The label places this somewhere along the lines of Mouse On Mars 'Iahora Tahiti', Ornette Coleman and King Sunny Ade, which makes a curious trio too, but I guess it makes sense. Scott's apparatus never sound like 'drone' based, but rather jumpy notes and tones, whereas the two players of things acoustic add very lively music too. Its music that deals much more with rhythm than one would perhaps anticipate based on seeing this list of instruments. Mouse On Mars is never far away in this bunch, except that its not driven by real drums or real percussion. All of that comes from playing their instruments in a very active manner, whereas they never forget to play some more meditative tunes, especially when Bell's shakuhachi plays a bigger role. A strange album, yet a compelling one too. Music that is fresh! New! Exciting! Odd but great. (FdW)
Address: http://www.iniitu.net

GIUSEPPE IELASI - (ANOTHER) STUNT (12" by Schoolmap Records)
Recently, when reviewing Ielasi's 'Aix' CD (see Vital Weekly 662), I wondered when we would see the second release in the 'Stunt' trilogy, and here it is. The first release, and subsequently 'Aix' see Ielasi moving into a new direction, that of working with snippets of vinyl, which he meticulously puts together as pieces of music is a great thing. '(Another) Stunt' is the second release as said, and its a great follow up to the two previous releases. More cut 'n paste music, including some elements from the world of scratching, all put together in a highly rhythmical way, with Ielasi never letting the song structure out of sight. An endless amount of small sounds, lifted from vinyl has been put through great use There is a built up per track, breaks are thought of and everything is kept to the point. I can't imagine this filling the dance floors though, but it makes at least my head nod. Refined again. (FdW)
Address: http://www.schoolmap-records.com

TASOS STAMOU & ADAM_IS - MEDIATED MEDITATIONS (CDR by Kukuruku Recordings)
TOPMODEL - 2007 (CDR by Kukuruku Recordings)
DEAD TRAVELLER - THE GHOST (CDR by Kukuruku Recordings)
The mood card is played on the release by Adam_is and Tasos Stamoll. At their disposal for this are cello, Yzuras, vocals, zither, singing bawl, e-bow guitar and signal processing. The four tracks here were recorded live, which can be heard. The pieces are slow, evolving matters, and every piece needs its time to develop. It also means that every piece here more or less has the same compositional built up. Starting with a few sounds and then adding more and more until the end is reached. Things could have been more to the point I think.
That is the case with Topmodel, a trio of Mareia Guzman (voice, keyboards), Rinus van Alebeek (keyboards, zither, harmonica, other small instruments) and Magnus Schaefer (keyboards, zither, harmonica, flute, glockenspiel, dictaphone, other small instruments). The nine tracks were all recorded directly to tape, which can be clearly heard. This low fidelity recording is a pity. The willful lowness of the recording works a bit against the release, I think. Topmodel plays improvised music that works inside the structure of a song. They don't play long pieces, but rather short ones in a nice naive manner. There is something absolute retro about this release. It reminded me of very old Todliche Doris. Played with pleasure, that much is clear. Next time hopefully with some better recordings.
Who the Dead Traveller is, I don't know. On the cover it reads that these are 'extracts of field recordings of the custom of 'the ghost' recorded at the city of Amphissa, Greece on the 8th of March 2008 (last weekend of the Carnival)', and its exactly just that: pure field recordings, which are also not recorded very well, so it seems we miss out some of the action that is captured here. There is a lot of people out there, and there is some celebration, but what it is? Beats me. (FdW)
Address: <kukurukurecordings@gmail.com>

STROM NOIR - LUVYOO (CDR by Ambsine Records)
Outside its raining - the typical March rainfall. Grey autumn like weather. Inside its warm and on the stereo we hear have Emil Mat'ko, also known as Strom Noir. He pleasantly surprised us before with his ambient drone music. He was a member of a down-tempo/trip hop band Mind Map and has its own label Black Orchid, which releases ambient, industrial and experimental music. As Strom Noir he picks up the six stringed instruments and synthesizers along with field recordings and electronics. Some of the pieces here were previously releases, but together they make a strong bunch of tracks that fit any rainy day. Slow, elegant guitar music, with an wealth, sometimes too much, of echo and reverb, and the guitar usually at the core of the music. Synths and field recordings are more ornamental in the music, they place accents on the music. Quite a lengthy release of lengthy pieces, all around five minutes of minimal changes, and its perhaps better to enjoy this as one long flow, one piece divided into various smaller bits. Not an earth shaking new release, but otherwise a fine one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ambsine.sk

NICK HOFFMAN - STRATAGEM (CDR by Herbal Records)
JULIEN SKROBEK & MIGUEL PRADO - AMERICAN NIGHTMARE (CDR by Herbal Records/Why Not Ltd)
So far the music by Nick Hoffman has been pure electronic affairs, working with laptops and sine waves. Perhaps I mentioned however he is graduate in music, and on 'Stratagem' are three works for a small chamber orchestra, which includes, although I'm not sure if all at the same time, four piano's, percussion, trumpet, guitar, and electronics. I am sure I mentioned this before but true, modern classical music is one of those I find very hard to review. Of the three pieces here, I think 'Clearing' is great. It has modern classical feel to it, but its also acoustic with pipes being blown and there are small bits of electronics. I must say I liked that a lot, whereas the short opening piece and the title piece were also alright, but perhaps it didn't have the same impact on me.,
A duet of Julien Skrobek on synthesizer and Miguel Prado on prepared cello (first piece) and prepared piano (second piece). Both seem to me new stars on the front of improvised music, department 'soft' and 'silent'. They play their music with 'gaps' in between. A sound, maybe two or even three, and then some silence. Its a method they apply in both tracks here, and it works well, even if perhaps both could have been a bit shorter. Or perhaps just the second, which lasts twenty-five minutes, would have been fine enough, I think. Its music that demands quite a bit from the listener and requires full attention, so even at just under forty minutes, this is still on the long side. But as said, especially the second piece I really liked. (FdW)
Address: http://www.herbalinternational.tk

TRIPTYCH TRENCHER - HALLWAY FOR CHRONIC LIARS (3 inch CDR by Grimeology Records)
"People are constantly putting up an umbrella that shelters them [from chaos] and on the underside. write their conventions. But poets, artists. tear open. Then come the crowd of imitators who repair the umbrella with something vaguely resembling the vision. Other artists are needed to make . ever greater destructions.." (What is Philosophy Giles Deleuze & Felix Guattari) // 'inter-media artisan' bricolage of 'Meticulously composed sound collage and noise novella. Equal parts oscillator spit, factory floor custodial work' does this include the three minutes of silence. Perhaps noise/experimentalism was more like a cut in the flesh of culture which is now only a scar, or as in meticulous lacks the violence of a tear and becomes more like a surgical operation of protection rather than a (cathartic) attack on the self. (jliat)
Address: http://www.grimeology.com

ENRICO MALATESTA - STANDARD (cassette by Presto!? Records)
Presto Records expands to the world of cassettes, or perhaps that should be 'limits to the world of cassette'? Inside there is a code mentioned by which you can get digital access to the material, which is a great move. Enrico Malatesta is a percussion player, who has worked with Claudio Rocchetti, Eugene Chadbourne, Tristan Honsinger and loads of people I never heard of. Here he plays 'handmade china, classical bass drum', without overdubs. Twenty-six minutes of improvised drum sounds. Its hard to say how he plays his drum, perhaps with the china? Both sides open with a zero second track, which is quite funny of course, and then it starts. In all of the pieces that actually have music, things are built on resonant frequencies of the surface. Deep end rumble of 'something' over the drum skin, which make things rumble and shake. Only the final piece on side B (no titles here) is something different, maybe its the china alone talking here, but it sounds quite high in frequency range. Quite interesting this one, top heavy on all accounts. Excellent improvised music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.prestorecords.com

LUIS ANTERO/MARCUS KUERTEN - STALL (MP3 by Bypass)
'The pieces present the unadulterated sounds of agronomical livestock production places', as recorded by Luis Antero (first piece), and Marcus Kuerten (second piece), and a remix of that by Zhang JW from Beijing. He is probably behind this Chinese download label. Its been a while since I visited a farm and heard the call of animals, but the Antero piece is quite nice, with all sheep making noise. The lord is my shepherd, what are we, I kept thinking when hearing this. It has a great minimal music quality to it. Kuerten recorded cows in the stable, but its much less in your face than Antero, and makes a much more atmospheric recording than Antero. Its a nice one, but not as strong as the singing sheep. The remix is something that is best forgotten. A rhythm machine, bad samples and bad synths. (FdW)
Address: http://bp.bai-hua.org