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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 680
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week 22
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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

 

Editorial news: we have decided to stop reviewing MP3 releases. Please do not send any discs with MP3 releases. Just send me an e-mail with a link and a short description, so people can download it. The amount of releases pile up every week and I can no longer devote time to MP3s. Whatever you see coming in the next few weeks are the last ones. Please do not send anymore. Also: releases that do not contain the original artwork will most likely be no longer reviewed. The real thing is necessary for a real judgment. If you wish to send us not the real thing, please contact us first. <vital@vitalweekly.net>

 

JIMMY BEHAN - THE ECHO GARDEN (CD by Audiobulb) *
DIETER MOEBIUS - KRAM (CD by Klangbad) *
BRAAZ - SO (CD by Zach Records)
BRUCE FRIEDMAN - O.P.T.I.O.N.S. (CD by PFmentum)
AUTOPSIA - KARL ROSSMANN FRAGMENTS (CD by Illuminating Technologies) *
CHRIS ABRAHAMS & CLARE COOPER - GERM STUDIES (2CD by Split Records) *
PIRX - DELETED SCENES (CD by Satelita) *
NO ANCHOR - STEAM (CD by Recycling Factory) *
THE PUDDLE PARADE - ORIGAMI (CD by Morc Records) *
GUNTER MULLER - CYM_BOWL (CD by Mikroton Recordings) *
ALAN COURTIS & JAIME GENOVART & CHRISTOF KURZMANN & PABLO RECHE - PALMAR ZAHLER (CD by Mikroton Recordings) *
MOSCOW LAPTOP CYBER ORCHESTRA - LIVE AT NCCA (MP3 by Mikroton Recordings)
.AT/ON - WHEN SATELLITE SIGNALS VIOLATE INTO NIGHT DREAMS (MP3 by Mikroton Recordings)
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE AND THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O. - LORDS OF THE UNDERGROUND: VISHNU AND THE MAGIC ELIXIR (CD by Alien8)
NQ - INSCRIPTION (CD by Audiobulb)
YVAT - GLIAE (CD by +/-G6PD Records)
3 SECONDS OF AIR - THE FLIGHT OF SONG (CD by Tonefloat) *
DIRK SERRIES - MICROPHONES VI (LP by Tonefloat)
PETER BRODERICK - MUSIC FOR FALLING FROM TREES (CD by Western Vinyl) *
SHUTA HASUNUMA - POP OOGA PLUS (2LP by Western Vinyl) *
I HEART LUNGS/DWMTG - ECSTATIC JAZZ DUOS (LP by Thor's Rubber Hammer)
BRIGHT DUPLEX - STRAWBERRY TRUST (CDR by Thor's Rubber Hammer) *
THE PISTIL COSMOS - A LONG FIGURE IN A DREAMLIKE PLACE (CDR by Thor's Rubber Hammer) *
PHONOLOID (7" by Ambolthue Records) *
BUILD A FORT SET IT ON FIRE - ACTION SONGS FOR CHILDREN (CDR by Ambolthue Records) *
TO LIVE AND SHAVE IN LA & LEZET - THE WIGMAKER IN 18TH CENTURY WILLIAMSBURG (CDR by Ambolthue Records) *
RIVER COW ORCHESTRA - RAWHIDE (CDR by River Cow Orchestra)
ASS BURGERS - FIG NOAH TIME (cassette by Serf Released)
HORRIBLE AND USELESS (cassette by Serf Released)

 

new MP3 releases & announcements

 

 

JIMMY BEHAN - THE ECHO GARDEN (CD by Audiobulb)
There is the original, the copy and then there is the copy which becomes frightenly close to the original. If you wouldn't know better then you may easily think that 'The Echo Garden' is another album by Taylor Deupree. Acoustic sounds, electronic sounds, field recordings, peaceful music, tranquil. Microambient with the big M. Things are looped, no doubt thanks to Ableton Live, and played around in a nice gentle way. Music to relax by, to zip tea by, drink red wine by, or perhaps even to sleep by. I thought it was a pretty good record, but I kept thinking 'Taylor Deupree did this'. It's a little bit more crowded here than on the average Deupree record, and that's why he could have chosen another name. But its not. Jimmy Behan is simply someone else. Nice too. (FdW)
Address: http://www.audiobulb.com

DIETER MOEBIUS - KRAM (CD by Klangbad)
The historical significance of the work of Dieter Moebius shouldn't be under estimated. Cluster, Kluster, Harmonia are just three names from the early seventies which proof that he was a visionary. But today of course it might be a different thing. I didn't keep up with his previous solo albums of the past, but now with 'Kram' ('stuff' in german) I am listening to an album which me thinks could have easily been made ten, twenty, or even thirty years ago. That could perhaps give the album something timeless, but perhaps one could argue that time has stood still for Moebius. On the cover we see him, the eminence grise of electronic music, behind some electronic gear to play his music. Music of of a constant flow, there is an always existing drive to change the pattern. And yet the pattern seems to be the same, which is quite interesting. Minimalist in approach, maximalist in execution. Although perhaps the album may not offer much new under the electronic, cosmic, krautrock sun. Driving, mechanical, flowing, essentially easy listening music while driving a car or bicycle. Nice one, without the surprise of yesteryear. (FdW)
Address: http://www.klangbad.de

BRAAZ - SO (CD by Zach Records)
Braaz brings us to Linz, Austria. Under this name Martin Flotzinger (drums), Marcus Huemer (kontrabass), Gigi Gratt (guitar, trumpet) and Werner Zangerle (saxophone) work out their musical mission. They started in 2002 playing with Ted Milton's Blurt a.o.
'So' is the first CD. It is however just one side of a coin. Simultaneously the also released an LP called 'Da' that contains 16 other new and unreleased tracks. I haven't received that one however for reviewing. So let's concentrate on the cd. What is striking first is that the 19 pieces on this cd differ extremely considered their length. There are several very short tracks. The shortest taking 22 seconds only. Then there is a very long piece, 'In 80 Takten um die Welt' taking some 16 minutes. Plus several songs of more normal length between 4 and 6 minutes. The opening track 'Ori' is one of them. A nice free art rock effort. To be followed by 'Shpärenhorst', a very different piece. Very open and atmospheric, contrary to the down-to-earth rock exercise 'Ori'. And so we fall from one surprise into another on this cd. These guys have many faces and like to make implement many contrasts in their music.
I like them best when they rock, like in the tight 'Walzenheim', a Naked City-like eruption of energy. But with so much diversity there are also pieces that I don't like. Especially the marathon-piece ' In 80 Takten um die Welt' failed to impress me. A very free improvised piece, for most of the time sparsely instrumented and just boring. The concluding piece 'Musle, gang ga schlofa' sounds like a humorous rendition of some austrian folksong. It is this diversity and use of contrast that make Braaz special. If we consider the ingredients on their own, the enthusiastic playing of this quartet is not to be missed, but their compositions are not always that original. But as they are very open , I'm curious how they develop. (DM)
Address: http://www.zach/

BRUCE FRIEDMAN - O.P.T.I.O.N.S. (CD by PFmentum)
Bruce Friedman is a trumpeter based in California and plays in many different musical contexts: pop, jazz, brass, modern composed and improvised music, theater, etc. Appearances on cd are few up till now. He has a duo cd out of improvised music with Scott Fraser and participates on several CDs by Rich West. He released earlier a solo album called 'Landscape With Figure', and that makes 'O.P.T.I.O.N.S.' his second soloproject. Not that no other musicians are involved here. On the contrary. We hear: Lynn Johnston (clarinets), Ellen Burr (flutes), Eric Sbar (euphonium), Bruce Friedman (trumpet), Michael Intriere (cello), Andrea Lieberherr (violin), Emily Beezhold (keyboard synthesizer), Jeremy Drake (electric guitar) and Rich West (drums, percussion). Together they form an electro-acoustic chamber ensemble. Friedman offers with 'Options' an example of organized improvisation, a sport we know from John Zorn, Butch Morris and J.Deane, a.o.' O.p.t.i.o.n.s.' stands for 'Optional Parameters to Improvise Organized Nascent Sounds.' Explained in the words of Friedman: 'O.P.T.I.O.N.S'. is a collection of music notation symbols, both original and traditional, that were designed and compiled with the intent of minimally guiding improvisation. The selection, order and interpretation of the symbols are left to the ensemble". This implies the improvisations that are demonstrated here are very much a work of the whole ensemble by the interpreting activity of each of the musicians. For me it is impossible however to trace what Friedman defines with these symbols, and how this influences the free improvisation in whatever way. The musicians respond to graphic symbols. That is for sure. In general I often have the feeling that organized improvisations result in academic and cerebral music lacking emotional impact. This is also what strikes me with this cd by Friedman. Does interpreting symbols bring about emotions? Maybe this thought is legitimate to some extent, on the other hand it is ridiculous to say that this music lacks any emotional content. The playing is clearly concentrated and devoted. And all the improvisations have their dramatic peak moments and are coherent throughout. This project made it to a live performances on two occasions in 2005 in Los Angeles. That same year the studio version was recorded and that is now released by Pfmentum. (DM)
Address: http://www.pfmentum.com/

AUTOPSIA - KARL ROSSMANN FRAGMENTS (CD by Illuminating Technologies)
Recently I was looking for something on the internet and by accident I found a compilation from the late 80s/early 90s of serious avant-garde electronic music, and much to my surprise it had a track by Autopsia on it. Odd, since in all those years I would have never thought of Autopsia as an electro-acoustic group. But then, perhaps they are, armed with their sampler and orchestral records. By another accident a few days I got the latest CD by Autopsia, which seems to be dedicated to the life and work of one Karl Rossmann, who was apparently a painter, composer and writer from the Czech Republic, but in these internet times I am not an easy believer when it comes to people who "destroyed as much evidence of his existence as he could find". On the Autopsia website we see him mentioned as one of the 'few truly original Czech composers of the last century'. Its a bit hard to understand all of this, in relation to the music playing in the background, the 'Karl Rossmann Fragments'. But strangely enough it comes close to the work of serious modern electro-acoustic composers from France - to complete the circle. The twenty fragments are short, almost 'pop' in length of electronically processed sounds, reverb, drone like sounds, and pitches that go up and down, but it cleverly stays away from the long form that we usually find in this part of the music world. Each fragment seems to have a life of its own, completed, finished, and, despite the word 'fragment', a finished composition. This new Autopsia work is hardly alike the work they are best known for, the sampled orchestral bits, even it at times seems to have sampled strings and percussion. Perhaps its all a bit much this release to take in at once, clocking in at over seventy minutes and with a lack of variation here and there, but half today and the other half tomorrow is quite nice to work with. (FdW)
Address: http://www.autopsia.net

CHRIS ABRAHAMS & CLARE COOPER - GERM STUDIES (2CD by Split Records)
A CD with 99 tracks is not a novelty anymore. It has been done for various purposes, like playing in shuffling mode (Freundschaft), to be re-composed by the listener (Jos Smolders) or just for the sake of it (Kapotte Muziek). I am not sure what the reason is for Chris Abrahams and Clare Cooper to do it, let alone two discs, in total 198 tracks. Abrahams plays a synth from the 80s, the Yamaha DX7, which hardly anyone uses anymore, and Cooper plays the Guzheng, a Chinese harp dating back to 1380. Improvised music. While playing this, I think their idea is to have this going on random shuffle, preferable on one of those multiple CD players. This is not an ongoing being indexed with 99 starting points. This work has been recorded from 2003 to 2008, and each of the pieces stands by itself, wether they last a handful of seconds or a few minutes. Almost two hours of this stuff is rather a lot, let there be no doubt about it, but my suggestion would be that you put this in your player and play this from beginning to end, as an endless stream of sound, ideas, sketches and worked out ideas. If you are adventurous (and have time on your hands), I'd say put this on random shuffle on a multiple CD player and let it play for a day or so. The richness of two instruments that hardly seem to fit together but with a diversity in sounds make up a great two hours of highly engaging improvised music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.splitrec.com

PIRX - DELETED SCENES (CD by Satelita)
Behind Pirx we find one Marion Wörle, also known Frau W, who handles the laptop and Maciej Sledziecki on guitar. Together they run the label Satelita, organize events and recorded their 'Deleted Scenes' at Steim in Amsterdam as Pirx. Its their debut album of improvised music, of processed guitar sounds and laptop doodling. I thought the album was alright. Not really top good, not really bad either. But it all stays a bit too distant for me. None of the material really grabs the listener and shakes him around, urging him to listen closely. It sounds like they had a fun time in the studio recording this material, and occasionally you think 'oh nice move', but it never gets very close to the listener. Surely nice enough but not fulfilling a promise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.satelite.de

NO ANCHOR - STEAM (CD by Recycling Factory)
THE PUDDLE PARADE - ORIGAMI (CD by Morc Records)
This is a strange thing. 'Produced, mixed, mastered by Lawrence English' it says on the cover, and that will probably lead the reader in some direction, but No Anchor doesn't sound like anything English did himself. Which of course is a fine thing: why should it be? I still doubt, upon various listening sessions, wether this is music for Vital Weekly. No Anchor is Alex Gillies on drums and Ian Rogers on bass and vocals and they play very heavy rock music. The fast and the furious. Dirty hard rock inspired punk rock - and mostly instrumental, even when there are bits of vocals, well, shouting of course, to be spotted here and there. Quite energetic music, and I must admit I quite enjoyed it but I doubt wether this is really the sort of the music we should review. But its surely nice enough.
Which can be said also from something that is entirely on the other side of the musical spectrum. The Puddle Parade is an one-girl band from Utrecht, although originally from Germany. She uses a whole bunch of stuff, including guitar, voice, melodica alto and soprano, music boxes, xylophon, zither and such like, all captured on a four track machine, which most of the times seems to have one channel in reverse. No noise here, but carefully constructed songs that are on the cross road of pop and folk. But her songs aren't really worked out - the experimental element I guess, which makes it suitable for these pages - which adds top its charm. Music like this you get nowadays on labels as Static Caravan. The Puddle Parade sounds a bit like a stripped down (even more!) version of Machinefabriek and with a female voice. Another one on the borders of Vital Weekly territory. (FdW)
Address: http://www.noanchorband.com
Address: http://www.morctapes.com

GUNTER MULLER - CYM_BOWL (CD by Mikroton Recordings)
ALAN COURTIS & JAIME GENOVART & CHRISTOF KURZMANN & PABLO RECHE - PALMAR ZAHLER (CD by Mikroton Recordings)
MOSCOW LAPTOP CYBER ORCHESTRA - LIVE AT NCCA (MP3 by Mikroton Recordings)
.AT/ON - WHEN SATELLITE SIGNALS VIOLATE INTO NIGHT DREAMS (MP3 by Mikroton Recordings)
Russia's Mikroton label already surprised us with a few MP3 releases, and more here, but their main interest is branching out towards real CDs of which the first two are the initial results. The label kicks off with a strong releases by Swiss minimalist Günter Müller, once banging freely percussion but since much longer I guess known as a player of all things percussive and silent. Here he has four pieces for cymbals and a singing bowl, which are heavily processed into four microtonal works. If you wouldn't know, it would be hard to trace the origin of the music back to the sound of a cymbal or a singing bowl. Its hard to think what kind of processing is applied by Müller, but you can rest assured it is quite a lot. The sound is rendered beyond recognition, and some sort of residue remains. Unlike say Thomas Köner's early gong works, Müller is not entirely interested in playing the 'soft' card, his music is always audible. Audible yet minimal. In all four pieces things evolve slowly, but steadily. Slow changes, subtle movements (and differences between the movements of playing the instruments) make this a great work. Its a pity there isn't that many Müller solo works if you hear this, but when it comes, its great.
Recorded in Buenos Aires is a group improvisation between Alan Courtis (homemade violin, contact mic, mp3, tapes & processing), Jaime Genovart (recording, synth, soft), Christof Kurzmann (lloop, clarinet, voice) and Pablo Reche (minidisc, ipod, alesis nanoverb, Korg MS10). Six pieces, no doubt recorded as one piece, but edited into six different pieces, each with a very distinctive character. Throughout the buzz, hiss and crack play an important role, such as in the microscopic opening piece 'Einklang'. It is followed by 'Uranio Agreste', which I think is by far the most interesting piece of the CD. Here things also buzz and crack, but the lead is taken by the clarinet of Kurzmann, who waves together a very nice melody, while Courtis bends his violin in the background. A great meeting of interests. In the other pieces things are perhaps less 'musical' then in this second piece, but this quartet shows an interesting variety of approaches. Soft and moody while exploring various textures, and a bit louder and grittier at other times, but each with its own specific character. Due to recording on multiple channels and extensive mixed in post production, this is an excellent work.
Who is behind the Moscow Laptop Cyber Orchestra is not clear. "The core esthetics is based on CyberJam idea of free improvised session, based on exploration of predetermined algorithms, when no other formal sonic, compositional or genre boundaries are fixed, no rules of acting are applied" it says on the website of Mikroton. Furthermore it says something about things triggering things but I thought the three pieces were pretty chaotic affairs. Highly electronically, it seems at its best someone who connects a few analogue synthesizers and then starts fiddling with the knobs. Sounds respond to eachother at its best, but most of the time it doesn't seem to that and things bounce towards eachother in a pretty random order.
The website doesn't give any information on .AT/ON. Maybe there is a connection to Pommasl, or else why do I think of Laton? In either case, eight short pieces which have nothing to do with three above, but as we heard on previous Mikroton digital releases, there is also space here for rhythm music. .AT/ON plays clicks and cuts music, with nice bouncy bass structures and glitchy melodies. Maybe it finds its inspiration in electro-acoustic music - things are hinted towards that in the opening of the pieces - which are melted together into pieces of click & cut. A bit like Alva Noto once did for Ideal Recordings. At twenty-three minutes this is quite a solid release. It has variation and enough ideas of its own to play with the other boys on the scene, Vladislav Delay being the most prominent of them. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mikroton.net

ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE AND THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O. - LORDS OF THE UNDERGROUND: VISHNU AND THE MAGIC ELIXIR (CD by Alien8)
In the first few moments of this latest album from the Japanese Temple you might think that the psychedelic legends have gone ambient. The album titled "Lord of the underground: Vishnu and The Magic Elixir" opens with a chilling organ-passage that in the first place sounds like pure ambient, but soon after an energetic guitar-riff overtakes giving room, first to raga-drones and then some strange ritualistic chants. This combination of raga and vocal chant is the main ingredient on the 14-minutes running track titled "Eleking the clay", the first of three intersections of the album. Towards the end of the track, a freaking guitar kicks in together with organ sounds resulting in a hypnotic psychedelic noise-rock reminiscent of early Pink Floyd. Second track titled "Sorcerer's stone of the magi" is a fairly short 4-minutes track based on a combination of acoustic guitar and another vocal chant added some swirling and bizarre electronic sounds. This middle piece fades out and gives way to the main piece, the title track, clocking 25 minutes. The first half of this piece is a quite relaxed psychedelic mixture of back-leaned guitar, raga-sounds and electronic sounds that makes associations towards krautrock-legends of Amon Düül. Staying in the krautrock-vocabulary, second half's thick soup of psychedelic noise-freakout based on wild guitarriffs, subtle bass-rounds, bizarre electronic soundscapes, musically points towards earliest Faust or Guru Guru. An interesting psychedelic acid-trip that combines elements of space-rock, psychedelia, krautrock and Eastern harmonies. Very interesting indeed. (NM)
Address: http://www.alien8recordings.com/

NQ - INSCRIPTION (CD by Audiobulb)
YVAT - GLIAE (CD by +/-G6PD Records)
Two new albums from two different labels, proves that the post-Autechre-era is still going strong. First album comes from the Cologne-based artist Niels Quak operating under the obvious project-name NQ. Present album is the first on UK-label Audiobulb, but a few releases from the artist has come out on labels such as Kitty Yo and Progressive Form. The album titled "Inscription" is a very satisfying work drifting somewhere between ambient, IDM and glitch-textures. The compositions are often built on noisy sub-layers of clicking microbeats meanwhile the upper layers have been occupied by atmospheric and quite beautiful soundspheres. Sometimes more conventional breakbeat-textures, adding a nice dynamism in the music, shines through. Despite the quite personal approach to the clicks'n'cuts-style, associations towards Autechre, circa the "Chiastic slide"-period, appears on the album. A very nice combination of rhythmic complexity and melodic soundscapes on this album. Next album comes in a very nice package. The album is released as a limited edition in a milky white Stiplex CD-case. On the musical side we find ourselves in similar spheres as the aforementioned album, meaning abstract IDM and clicks'n'cuts. Compared to the work of NQ the Israel-based artist Yvat, finds himself in even stranger and less listen-friendly soundspheres compared to the aforementioned NQ-project, but never the less a quite interesting sound experience. Melody is almost non-existing on the album titled "Gliae". The emphasis are put on hypercomplex rhyhtmic textures and wide ranging spectres of strange sounds bouncing in and out. Staying in the comparison to the sound of Autechre-vein, the album from Yvat has more associations pointing towards the earliest period around "Amber" and "Incunabula". Interesting album, though people searching for the more melodic and listen-friendly approach to the abstract glitch-scene should go for the NQ-release. (NM)
Address: http://www.audiobulb.com/
Address: http://www.g6pdrecords.com/

3 SECONDS OF AIR - THE FLIGHT OF SONG (CD by Tonefloat)
DIRK SERRIES - MICROPHONES VI (LP by Tonefloat)
Surely there is hardly no end to the creative outbursts by Dirk Serries, also known as Fear Falls Burning, even when these two new releases are not under that name. 3 Seconds Of Air is band he talked about with guitarist Paul van den Berg since ten years, but which came to fruition this year with bassist Martina Verhoeven. They locked themselves up in a chapel, somewhere in Belgium and recorded four lengthy cuts (a LP with a fifth piece and a remix by Steven Wilson's Bass Communion project is also released, but not received here). Much like Dirk Serries recent solo outing under his own name, this is music without the drama that some of the Fear Falls Burning projects have, but its a rather minimal ambient pattern of waving guitars, lots of resonances being exploited until the very end. Headspace music of the highest order. The bass either joins in the endless journey, or it simply add a line when necessary. The four pieces span almost the entire length of the CD, which is a lot, but then this is music to sit and listen to closely, but rather lie down and float over you. Very spacious, a bit psychedelic and quite nice, even without being something very new.
Following which 'Microphonies VI' is perhaps a bit much, even when its only one side. Recorded in The Hague, live of course, straight to tape, this is hardly any different than 3 Seconds Of Air. Hard to spot the real difference (well, no bass obviously), but 'Microphonies VI' is also a beautiful resonating piece of strummed guitar, floating through a set of sound effects, which unfolds as a beautiful carpet of sounds. Much sparse than his work as Fear Falls Burning, and without any dramatic built up known from that project, this is weightless space music. Flowing about for some twenty minutes, but it could easily be also three hours. Time is no longer of any meaning here. There is a lot of Dirk Serries music but this limited (300 copies on gold, silver and white vinyl), will no doubt please the fans some more.
Address: http://www.tonefloat.com

PETER BRODERICK - MUSIC FOR FALLING FROM TREES (CD by Western Vinyl)
SHUTA HASUNUMA - POP OOGA PLUS (2LP by Western Vinyl)
Despite his previous solo releases on Bella Union, Type and Kning Disk, I somehow missed out on the music of Peter Broderick, nor I think I heard his work with his band Efterklang. Their CD 'Under Giant Trees' was reviewed in Vital Weekly 575, but not by me. I understand that his solo music is a bit different. 'Music For Falling From Trees' was composed for a dance by Adrienne Hart. The dance is about a man in a psychiatric hospital who struggles to retain his identity. That was a bit hard to tell from the seven pieces on this twenty minute disc. The pieces are scored for piano and strings and have unmistakably a modern classical feel to it. Broderick plays all the instruments himself, and he says on the cover that he composed only a small portion and the rest was improvised based on the themes he wrote. Its great melancholiac music. Very smooth, very nice and even while sounding 'modern classical', it has a nice, elegant, slightly romantic touch to it, and never looses the idea of a somewhat experimental edge. Very nice, but way too short.
The CD version of 'Pop Ooga Plus' was already released by Japanese Headz but now Western Works presents a double LP version of it. From his two previous releases we know Shuta Hasunuma as a man of glitch music, which in the past showed influences of Stephen Mathieu or Flim, but on 'Pop Ooga Plus' he goes out much further and the word 'pop' in the title isn't for once some tongue in cheek approach, but Hasunuma actually plays popmusic here. There is bass lines, guitars, funky bass synthesizer sounds, chopped up vocals and throughout this music has a great drive, almost 'pop'. A summer record, with the high voice of Hasunuma singing fine tunes. Everything is in a constant flux of being chopped up, cut up and put back in the form of a sound collage. Glitch music in every sense of the word, but its not the gentle warmth of drones, hissing and buzzing. Its driving like popmusic, with great keyboard lines, funky as hell. A celebration of summer time. This is has hit potential. One of these tunes as part of a commercial and then the balls gets rolling. Hasunuma is the man to do that. (FdW)
Address: http://www.westernvinyl.com

I HEART LUNGS/DWMTG - ECSTATIC JAZZ DUOS (LP by Thor's Rubber Hammer)
BRIGHT DUPLEX - STRAWBERRY TRUST (CDR by Thor's Rubber Hammer)
THE PISTIL COSMOS - A LONG FIGURE IN A DREAMLIKE PLACE (CDR by Thor's Rubber Hammer)
This is the second installment of a series called Ecstatic Jazz Duos. The first one had Talibam! and Wasteland Jazz Unit, here its I Heart Lung and DWMTG. I Heart Lung is a duo of Chris Schlarb on guitar and electronics and Tom Steck on drums. "These are three symphonies for riots, swords drawn at the hall of the mountain king with the spirits of Yes and Sonny Sharrock leading the way", it says on the blurb, and perhaps that's why I don't like it very much. It all sounds very dated to me, with fuzzy guitars being the main point of complaint. Very retro, long solos stuff at work here. Not my thing. DWMTG stands for Dale W. Miller on percussion and Tony Gordon on electric bass. Here too improvisation is at work, and at that this is much more interesting. They play some totally free sounds on whatever is at their disposal to play on their instruments. DWMTG choose to play short pieces, exploring something within their limitations and then move on to the next piece, as opposed to exploring something on end. Nervous playing, small, quick movements make some delicious music. Not really 'easy' music, but quite nice altogether.
Bright Duplex is a duo of violin player Vanessa Rossetto and Matthew Armistead on drums, percussion and clarinet. Here too we find improvised music, but it seems to be recorded in a rather lo-fi manner: microphones set up in the basement which hits the sound direct in your face. Its hard to believe that everything is recorded live, but no doubt it is. Armistead is playing percussion with his feet and blows his clarinet at the same time. Rossetto plays her violin (think Tony Conrad's work in this respect) loud and clear. At times chaotic and dense and then beautifully sparse, such as in 'The Lady Is Waiting'. Lots of scraping, bowing, blowing, plucking and some nice drones lurking underneath. A fine work, which reminded me of some of the more adventurous players on this scene from New Zealand.
The Pistil Cosmos is one Vincent Caylet, who is one half of Monks Of The Balhill, but then solo here. More lo-fi and ambience here. Caylet strums his guitar, feeds it through a large amount of delay in the first (untitled) piece, together with some shouts and shrieks. Not the best start. But as the release progresses things become more interesting. Howling in delayed feedback, with some guitars and synthesizers, which is recorded a bit crudely, but make up a fat, nice sound of ambience. As said here too lo-fi is strongly at work, which is, again, a bit New Zealand like, but Caylet surely knows how to create a nice set of disturbing ambient noise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.thorsrubberhammer.com

PHONOLOID (7" by Ambolthue Records)
BUILD A FORT SET IT ON FIRE - ACTION SONGS FOR CHILDREN (CDR by Ambolthue Records)
TO LIVE AND SHAVE IN LA & LEZET - THE WIGMAKER IN 18TH CENTURY WILLIAMSBURG (CDR by Ambolthue Records)
Behind Phonoloid we find the omnipresent Lasse Marhaug and one Petter Flaten Eilertsen, who work on their 7" as Phonoloid with a massive load of vinyl noise, which are layered together on the two sides here. Two big blocks of noise, probably using no sound effects, but just the vinyl surface noise. A simple idea, but it works well. Perhaps because its given back in the form of vinyl, a 7" no less, it adds to its quality. Its not the most original project in noise, but in all its briefness it works quite well.
On CDR we get Build A Fort Set It On Fire, a quartet of Lee Hooper, James Ockelford, Mark Vernon and Just Wiggan, who play unnamed instruments, but upon hearing me thinks this is a lo-fi rock combo with a strong love for improvisation. There is a drum kit, vocals, bass, guitar, perhaps a violin here and there, and they play music that reminded me at least of something that could have fitted the no wave of the early 80s pretty well. We can't play our instruments properly, but our intentions are good. That sort of thing. It seems to me that this is a live recording, not the best around (intentions are good though), which doesn't sparkle enough, but the six cuts here are nevertheless quite nice.
'The Wigmaker In The 18th Century Williamsburg' was originally a release by To Live And Shave In LA but here gets a radical (?) remix by Lezet. I didn't hear the original, so its not easy to judge this remix. Twenty-five tracks of highly collage like music, spanning almost seventy minutes, using analogue cassettes, vinyl, electronics, drum programming, stuttering, detuned piano, bass and such like. Occasionally things explode into the world of noise, but as we know To Live And Shave In LA as one of the more interesting groups in the world of noise, with weird breaks, lots of feedback, hand manipulated tapes (thus slowing down and speeding up the sound) this is very dynamic and energetic, but at this given length perhaps also a somewhat tiring excursion. It certainly left me breathless and tired after the complete trip. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ambolthue.com

RIVER COW ORCHESTRA - RAWHIDE (CDR by River Cow Orchestra)
I played this one very often in the last few weeks. No problems in having this music filling our rooms like a perpetuum mobile. Listening to the River Cow Orchestra is enjoying the company of Brent Bowman (keyboards/sax), Greg Field (drums), C. Goff III (percussion, winds), Michael LaGrega (violin), John Lomas (guitar synthesizer), Allan McGinty (bass) and E.E. Pointer (trumpet). Only the name of Charles Goff III did ring a bell. He is a veteran of the independent music scene, running Taped Rug Productions since the 80s. The orchestra is specialized in long and open psychedelic improvisations. Making clear reference to the electric 70s work of Miles Davis. Especially in pieces like 'Chromatophore' where trumpeter Pointer does some of the solowork, the ghost of Miles Davis is very near. Most improvisations breath a relaxing and laid-back atmosphere. The music is grooving, but not in a funky, jazzy way, except for the first part of the last track 'Celebration of the Wind'. Surely this is not retromusic, reviving some pretended good old days. On the other hand, we are also not on the forefront of musical developments between these cows. But they do touch upon something. They create very open and wide structures and take time to develop things. This results in very captivating music that is never in a hurry and working very consequent to its goal. Their improvisations originate on stage or in the studio without much pretension. It's just there. They have at least one more CDR out, called ' Emerging'. But that is about all I know about their history. Kansas City, Missouri is their hometown and it is here that they do most of their live concerts. It is especially the strange and typical drumming by Greg Field that prevent these improvisation from becoming something we have heard many times before. He doesn't swing or funk or rock, but spreads out non-spectacular but binding patterns that work. (DM)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/

ASS BURGERS - FIG NOAH TIME (cassette by Serf Released)
HORRIBLE AND USELESS (cassette by Serf Released)
The cassette is revived these days, and seeing that makes someone like me, who started out with cassettes in 1980, quite happy again. Well, that is, most of the times. The two tapes I have before me also recall all those tapes that where just very hard to understand - both in a musical context as well as what is scribbled on the cover. I have to wait until day light to actually write out the band names, titles perhaps, but listening to them right now, I must say that this is probably the right medium for the music. This is what one could call free music. Voicals (?), obscure things on instruments (?), metal percussion perhaps, keyboard (?) all taped to a portable cassette machine of which the batteries are about gone. On side a of (2) that is. On the b-side suddenly a much more coherent. Still pretty lo-fi in approach, but electronic, almost song like with vocals that try to make a coherent lyric. The other tape has lots more weirdness, which reminded me of say Costes, Suckdog and Psychodrama, all without the dramatic pathos of all three. Or perhaps its just not present on these recordings and perhaps they are documents of some piss, shit and hate action. I don't know. These cassettes proof the liveliness of the medium, even when its not entirely my cup of tea. (FdW)
Address: couldn't read

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Various - May The Plague Be With You - Remixes (Plague 013)
Featuring Audela, Maarten van der Vleuten, Nathan Siter, Scanner, Sid Redlin, The Caretaker and vidnaObmana.
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