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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 682
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week 24
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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. We finally have a feed again. 1000x times to Maximillian for his endless patience & help. Its here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.xml

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>

 

HENRIK RYLANDER - POWER MODEL X (MOTHERBOARD DRONE LIVE) (CD by Ideal Recordings) *
JASON KAHN - VANISHING POINT (CD by 23Five Incorporated) *
TARAB - TAKE OF ALL OF THE SHIPS FROM THE HARBOUR, AND SAIL THEM STRAIGHT TO HELL (CD by 23Five Incorporated) *
PTU - HARD WEEK (CD by Laton)
ANDRES LOO - SKELETONS ON ROCK (CD by Laton)
ALAN SONDHEIM & MYK FREEDMAN - JULU TWINE (CD by Porter)
PROFOUND SOUND TRIO - OPUS DE LIFE (CD by Porter)
FRANCESCO GIANNICO - FOLKANIZATION (CD by Porter)
IRR.APP.(EXT.) - KREISELWELLE (CD by The Helen Scarsdale Agency) *
CHRONIK 1 (CD compilation by Trepok Records)
MARCONI UNION - TOKYO (CD by Bine Music) *
ATHANA - L.E.D. LIGHT GALAXIES (CD by West Audio Productions) *
STRØM - SHUNT (CD by Domizil) *
THOMAS PETER - MEDIR (CD by Domizil) *
MARCUS MAEDER - DIE WUNDERMASCHINEN (DVD by Domizil)
LUNAR ABYSS DEUS ORGANUM - PUNTURY (CD by Aquarellist) *
MIGUEL A. RUIZ & BARDOSENETICUBE - EXCLUSION ZONE (CD by Aquarellist) *
SISTER LOOLOMIE & KRYPTOGEN RUNDFUNK - [W]INTERLOOP[S] (CDR by Still Sleep) *
SLEEP WHALE - LITTLE BRITE (LP by Western Vinyl) *
MUDBOY - MUSIC FOR ANY SPEED (7" by Lexi Disques)
ADRIAN SHENTON - HOUSEWORKS (CDR by Phonospehric) *
HENRY KUNTZ - WHIRLING SUN VISIONS (CDR by Humming Bird) *
CHEFKIRK - TOXIC MILK (CD-R by Retinascan) PUMA/MARHAUG - FIST FULL OF KNUCKLES (LP by Knuckleman Records)
NOISE VS. SUBVERSIVE COMPUTING (addendum) (1GB USB Stick by
COMPUTATIONALLY INFEASIBLE RECORDS)
IF, BWANA - CLARA NOSTRA (CDR by Echo Music)
FRANCESCO MEIRINO & KIKO C. ESSEIVA - CONCERT A L'OBLO (CDR by Echo Music) *
NOKALYPSE: WIRED AND MIRRORED (CDR by Echo Music) *
GARETH DAVIS & MACHINEFABRIEK - SOUNDLINES (3" CDR by Machinefabriek) *

 

New MP3 releases
Announcements

 

 

HENRIK RYLANDER - POWER MODEL X (MOTHERBOARD DRONE LIVE) (CD by Ideal Recordings)
Drone music is a term that appears a lot in these pages, but it can take many forms. It can soft, ambient, new age like. It can be based on field recordings, on computer processing thereof. But the minority of drone music is loud, electronic and very present. Such is the case with this work by Henrik Rylander. It dates from 2006 and is an installation piece that 'consists of 10 small audio mixers connected to a motherboard. Each of the small mixers have a cable from output to input. Ten channels of feedback sounds are mixed into two", is the description of this installation and makes up the first forty-one minutes of this CD. Maybe you know how one no input mixer sounds? Imagine ten of those, but the setting is all in the lower frequency range, making your environment rumble and shake. This is strictly minimal in approach and differences are perhaps there but never easy to spot. This is where audio becomes an illusion. Are changes there or am I just making these up? Its not easy to tell. But its a great piece. Maybe you wouldn't want to play the concert version right after this (lasting twenty-eight minutes), but I did, to get the full experience and noted two things: things move to a mid end frequency here, droning out on the low end, and there is changes in this piece, no doubt due to the fact that this is a live piece and not a somewhat more static installation piece. I must admit its a bit much to swallow at once, but its surely quite nice. (FdW0
Address: http://www.idealrecordings.com

JASON KAHN - VANISHING POINT (CD by 23Five Incorporated)
TARAB - TAKE OF ALL OF THE SHIPS FROM THE HARBOUR, AND SAIL THEM STRAIGHT TO HELL (CD by 23Five Incorporated)
Although we never use the classical music division between programmatic and absolute music, its good to keep it in mind. Most music in Vital Weekly is absolute, that is music without a theme, dedication but just what it is. Its music without a programm and programmatic music of course has a programm. Music by Jason Kahn is usually absolute, but 'Vanishing Point' is about the death of his daughter in 2007. She vanished at one point out of the lives of her parents, but Kahn also extents the title to the music: its about the vanishing of boundaries between electronic and acoustic sound. Kahn plays cymbals and analogue synthesizer here, and its a top Kahn solo work. The cymbals mingle in a great way with the hissy, white noise textures of the synthesizer. Slowly, peaceful, minimal that builds rather quickly, in the first one-third part of the work and then slowly over the course of the rest slowly fades out, always with small changes in white static noise, small crackles and such like, make this an absolute (forgive the pun) great work.
Eamon Sprod, also known as Tarab, has already released a CD on 23Five before 'Wind Keeps Even Dust Away' (see Vital Weekly 579) and before that on Naturestrip (see Vital Weekly 422). We now learn that his music deals with places where "mankind has scarred the surface of the earth" and from the recordings of those locations he creates a soundscape. Here it is Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay, which was once used as an immigration station, then a Nike Missile site for the army and now left to decay. There is lots of 'empty space' recorded, like a wind howl through a large empty space. Then somebody stumbles at the far over a piece of metal, and decides to scrape that along another piece of metal. The microphone is moved slowly to the outside and we hear more wind and water. All of that is used here by Tarab to create a piece that sounds like a 'live' piece but surely isn't. He has put the sounds together in a very delicate and precise way, resulting in this very fine soundscape, which seems to be a bit more drone like than before. Fine music again. (FdW)
Address: http://www.23five.org

PTU - HARD WEEK (CD by Laton)
ANDRES LOO - SKELETONS ON ROCK (CD by Laton)
I am not sure if the track titles on PTU' s Hard Week refer to the days they were recorded, but this probably the case. There is mention of one night as well, so that may explain the hard week. In any case this is not a hard disc to listen to. At a first glance (strange expression really, for music) it sounds as if we are dealing with analogue minimalist techno. A hint of the the origins of the musicians is expressively present in the first track. The solo synth without doubt sounds like a Russian folklore dance orchestra. It must be said that this is not the case in the other tracks, but there is another issue with those: for some reason I seem to have heard them all before, but not like this. It's almost as if techno has been reinvented by PTU, complete with part of its history, but in their own quirky way. And sometimes that's very funny and one other thing: most of the tracks will get some feet off the floor. This can definitely be played more than once without a problem. A note on the cover design: one of the best in times!
Skeletons on Rock (brilliant title!) by Andres Loo (the first o should come with a tilde, but i can't get it done, my fault!) bursts in with a sample based rhythmic track with radio filtered singsong. One must adjust a little right here. Clearly (drum)computer music with funny singing, badly recorded. Track two is sort of a repetition or lengthening of the first. Track three however is a straightforward cut up piece with the same sort of voice, recorded well this time. Rhythm is still there, and lots of silent breaks. Pretty weird really. After this things get even weirder: cut up sounds rhythmically sewn together, sometimes accompanied by live drums. So far I have to say I like this quite a lot because of its weirdness. The switch between noisy rhythms and eery singing parts works very well. But it must also be said that 51 minutes of this concept is a little longish, it could have been shorter or other elements should have been added. Still, quite a remarkable record and absolutely worth listening.
Address: http://www.laton.at

ALAN SONDHEIM & MYK FREEDMAN - JULU TWINE (CD by Porter)
PROFOUND SOUND TRIO - OPUS DE LIFE (CD by Porter)
FRANCESCO GIANNICO - FOLKANIZATION (CD by Porter)
Three more releases from the highly productive Porter Records. Very regularly you find reviews of their releases in Vital weekly. How do they manage to release so many records I often ask myself? This time we have a trio, a duo and a solowork in our hands. With Francesco Giannico's (aka Mark Hamn) 'Folkanization' we are in an electro-acoustic environment. Giannico is from south Italy and worked originally as a guitarist. Since about ten years however he concentrates on narrative and filmic soundsculptures. On this CD Giannico shows his skills in twelve, combining acoustic instruments, field recordings, prerecorded music, and other soundsources. He structures this material into ambient-like soundminiatures that often have melodic tendencies. Very imaginative pieces, like 'Blue Lute' are the result. Giannico knows how to produce excellent blends.
'Julu Twine' is the name of a project by Alan Sondheim and Myk Freedman. Sondheim has an unusual set of guitars to his disposal. He plays 1949 Digiorgio Classic guitar, 1910-20 parlor Guitar, 1920 Ternor Banjo, 1870 Neuner & Hornsteiner Elegie Alpine Cither, 1930 Prime Alpine Zither. Sondheim plays since the sixties but worked mainly as a writer. His companion on this CD is Myk Freedman who plays just lap steel. In thirteen improvisations we are introduced to the particular possibilities of these instruments and their players. The expression 'experimental folkmusic' covers correctly what is going on here. Improvisations with a bluesy feel or touches of country music. Of course it is interesting to hear the color and other characteristics of these old instruments. This aspect I liked most. The improvisations themselves are less satisfying. The Profound Sound Trio is Andrew Cyrille (drums), Henry Grimes (bass) and Paul Dunmall (saxophone, bagpipes). Cyrille and Grimes come from the free jazz scene around Cecil Taylor. Paul Dunmall is a younger musician from England and plays most maniacal and mean of them all. Very spirited and raw improvisations come from these three experienced improvisors. Long solos followed by intense interplay and not one dull moment. (DM)
Address: http://www.porterrecords.com/

IRR.APP.(EXT.) - KREISELWELLE (CD by The Helen Scarsdale Agency)
Its been a while but perhaps due to the liveliness of the current Nurse With Wound line up winning over stages, and M.S. Waldron being part of that line up, his own Irr.App. (Ext.) needed time to complete his Wilhelm Reich trilogy that started with 'Ozeanische Gefühle' (Vital Weekly 430) and 'Cosmic Superimposition' (Vital Weekly 585). Reich was a psychologist 'who proposed amongst many hypotheses, an interconnectivity between energy, organisms and the entire cosmos'. 'Kreiselwelle' translates as 'spiral wave', a 'structuralist form which Reich had observed throughout nature within numerous systems', so Waldron works with spiraling sounds: resonating springs, the waves of the sea, airwaves and such like. The two previous albums were high and mighty drone affairs, but this one, due to the nature of spiraling I guess is different. This album seems to be working from a perspective of loops. Environmental sounds, metallic rumble and electronics are all put in place here and Waldron creates a fine piece of environmental sound work. Its great to hear him break away from the two previous drone works and that makes it as a trilogy quite nice. If you play them all in a row, which is a great thing, I suggest to make the order like this: 'Ozeanische Gefühle', 'Kreiselwelle' and then at the end the austere dark 'Cosmic Superimposition'. Guaranteed a two hour cosmic trip. (FdW)
Address: http://www.helenscarsdale.com

CHRONIK 1 (CD compilation by Trepok Records)
Trepok Records is a new label from Switzerland who hand their business card with a compilation called 'Chronik 1', despite other releases. 'The label's aim is to open a european dialogue in the field of electronic music'. Music that one way or the other works with rhythm. Of the artists I heard of Philippe Petit and Vitor Joaquim, but not of the others, like Utom Alla, Eiko, Bit-Turner, Kiku, Aito Takeshi, Ritornell, Fibra and Giovanni Dal Monte. They operate each from their own perspective. The somewhat boring drill and bass of Kiku to the ambient glitches of Joaquim and everything in between. Real cymbals in Ritornell's ambient piece, Fibra playing a low bit version of The Prodigy. Vocal pieces by Dal Monte (not good) and Eiko (which is the prize winning pop piece here). The rest are nice techno inspired pieces. Not great, not bad. The dialogue probably comes from the fact that the musicians are from various countries and play their own version of rhythm music, but that seems a bit weak for a dialogue. (FdW)
Address: http://www.trepok.com

MARCONI UNION - TOKYO (CD by Bine Music)
"We wanted to produce an album that had a hi-tech ambience, the combination of this sound with our ongoing fascination in city life, conjured up images of the Tokyo we had seen in films, books and TV. This record isn't about creating 'authentic' Japanese music, or faithfully documenting the actual city which neither of us have visited. It is just us trying to capture a sense of our imaginary Tokyo", Marconi Union writes. That is true. If I wouldn't know this and somebody made me guess which city was depicted here, sonically, I don't think I would have come up with Tokyo. And probably its hard to see which city then. I'd rather would think of more empty, spacious and rural parts of the world. I never heard of Marconi Union, who exist since 2003 and have had various releases since then. Like with much of the music released by Bine Music, ambience and rhythm (or rhythm and ambience, if you prefer that order) plays a big role here. Warm glitchy rhythms, processed guitars tinkling away and deep atmospheric sound textures play an all important role in the seven pieces. Utterly relaxing music, taping your feet while listening to this, while you sit back and do nothing, read book or walk through the woods while Marconi Union play on your headphones. That relaxing mood is hard to find in a city like Tokyo, well, at least not in the some of the better known parts such as Akihabara, which gave name to one of the pieces. Nice music, no surprises, ambient dance music that is well produced. (FdW)
Address: http://www.binemusic.com

ATHANA - L.E.D. LIGHT GALAXIES (CD by West Audio Productions)
This is the sixth album of Athana, an ambient group from Norway, in which we find Helga Olav Oksendal, also known as HoH for his solo releases on :zang, his own label. He plays electronics and programming here, whereas his three band members play guitars, bass, tuba, voice and lots of programming. If that isn't enough there's lots of guestplayers on drums, voices, accordion, harp, saxophones, percussion etc. I have no idea what to make of this music. Its indeed partly ambient as the say in the subtitle ('Ambient Exhibition Vol. 2'), but it also dwells heavily on techno and ethnic rhythms. To that the guitar plays a very important role. In a sort of cosmic, psychedelic manner it flies over the music. And then there the extensive list of guestplayers producing extra sounds here and there, adding a touch of jazz and improvisation. This makes the music quite full with information, and not always very detailled. Sometimes the music seems a bit clouded to me, whereas it could have used more detail, especially in the high end. The music of Athana comes across as very retro, very dated. It takes elements from ambient house, trip hop, a bit of jazz, improvisation and melts it altogether. They surely had great fun creating this music, that much seems clear when hearing this, and I think it probably sounds great in concert, but at home, I had a bit of a problem with this. Nice, but it seems I miss out on a point here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.westaudio.no

STRØM - SHUNT (CD by Domizil)
THOMAS PETER - MEDIR (CD by Domizil)
MARCUS MAEDER - DIE WUNDERMASCHINEN (DVD by Domizil)
Three new releases by Swiss based Domizil and the two CDs are debuts. The first is by the duo of Gaudenz Badrutt and Christian Müller, who work as Strøm. They are armed with a bass clarinet, synthesizers and computer and it deems to me that things are recorded in an improvised way, and then edited into finished pieces. Despite the use of a bass clarinet, this work operates largely in the electronic field. Crackles, hum, hiss are employed in a collage like manner. Strøm are all over the place, but to me seem to be working best in a somewhat more quiet and subdued manner, whereas the noisier bits didn't do much for me. Having said that, I must also admit that the whole CD sounded a bit predictable to my ears. The kind of improvised electronics that is quite good, but also stay on the safe side. Only in 'Black Sheep', with its more distinct clarinet sounds and colliding electronic/sine waves seemed to break away from that. Nice but just that.
'Medir' means 'measure' in Spanish and on his debut Thomas Peter wanted to create music for imaginary spaces. Perhaps too easily I assumed this would be another one of those works with sine wave like drone material, but luckily its not. Its created entirely in the digital domain, using software synthesizers (I assume) and things buzz around indeed, but Peter uses shorter blocks and cut-ups of various clustered sounds, along with more sustained sounds. What or where these spaces are I don't know, that's a bit the weak point of the album I think, and how he envisaged that. It seems logical to me that someone would play this in one room as one entire listening session. So I had a bit of a problem imaging these spaces. Or perhaps I just saw it as an excuse to play some electronic music. Having said that I thought his compositions are much more coherent than those by Strøm. There is a greater dramatic tension to be spotted in these eleven pieces and throughout its a pretty strong musical work. Even in one real room.
Somewhat more complicated is the release by Marcus Maeder. Text in the booklet is entirely in German and so they are on the DVD. From what I understand this is based on Deleuze/Guattari's 'Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia', which I haven't read either of course (in any language) and Maeder presents his work as a radio play in Surround Sound (stereo version is also on the DVD), which is funny I think. He uses voices of Artaud, Freud, Helene Barat, Ivan Chtcheglov, Guy Debord, Eliza and music based on Kraftwerk (the title of this CD is based on the 'Man Machine'), Velvet Underground, Nick Cave and Wagner. So ok, there is a lot to this work, and I simply fail to see/hear it. The music is quite nice actually. Lots of voices, environmental sounds, broken disco beats, machine sounds, such as in 'Die Produktion Der Produktion', which is the best piece here. As a radioplay it works quite nice, even for someone with a limited knowledge of the German language. (FdW)
Address: http://www.domizil.ch

LUNAR ABYSS DEUS ORGANUM - PUNTURY (CD by Aquarellist)
MIGUEL A. RUIZ & BARDOSENETICUBE - EXCLUSION ZONE (CD by Aquarellist)
SISTER LOOLOMIE & KRYPTOGEN RUNDFUNK - [W]INTERLOOP[S] (CDR by Still Sleep)
Three times Russia at work, with connections to eachother all around showing the vibrancy of the electronic underground scene over there. Almost all of this was witnessed live in one form or another. Lunar Abyss Deus Organum is a trio of E.S. on noises, voices and sounds, M.M. on guitars, synths and tapes and Kshatriy on mastering. Their concert was nice, but it seemed to be unfocussed at times, partly due to the nature of improvising and a big love for sound effects. It made me think that perhaps not all music is suited for an outdoor performance. On CD things sound the same, but one has the opportunity to play it under different circumstances, and then this mood music works much better. The music is largely based around voice manipulations of E.S., who feeds it through a long line of sound effects and adds to that the voice 'as is', chanting, humming, whispering and such like, but never using 'words' or 'lyrics' - well, at least in my perception that is. There is of course an undercurrent in this music that makes it 'ritualistic', with its sometimes ethnical flutes and voices, but overall it stays on the good side of things, mainly due to the nice field recordings and the guitar providing some more experimental workings. This makes this into quite a nice and enjoyable release which works best late night and in the dark.
On the same label, but a concert sadly missed is a release by the duo Bardoseneticcube, who have been active for many years, who do a collaboration with long serving Spanish hero Miguel A. Ruiz. The Russians supply 'basic sounds and samples' while Ruiz add 'sounds, track arrangements and mastering'. What can be noted here, in difference with the previous work of Bardoseneticcube is the presence of rhythm, lots of rhythm actually. They form the solid backbone of the music, which otherwise involves field recordings and electronics. The rhythm part is solid, minimal but truly techno inspired. It bangs and it bangs. It reminded me of of the CD 'Electroid' by Sympathy Nervous from 1994. It has that same solid attitude. The field recordings are also sampled while the electronics are used to play around with, to add that somewhat nice krautrock and psychedelic touch to the music. Despite its minimalism there are lots of minor changes going on, that add a really nice edge to the music. Quite powerful stuff going on here, and a solid, fine work.
M.M., also known as Kryptogen Rundfunk played a great set of electronic music with at times earpiercing waves and then more subtle tones at other occasions. Here he teams up with [s], the man from Moscow whom we best know as Five Elements Music, a refined master of drone music, but who apparently works under many guises, and Sister Loolomie is one of them. I guess this is a sort of guise to work inside more noisy textures of music, even when he is credited on the cover for guitar, synth, cosmic vibrations and radiowaves, whereas M.M. plays radiowaves and computer processing. Winter music this is indeed as this is a piece (one track, thirty minutes, only) of piercing cold electronics, which towards the very end shows a bit of spring time. Having said that, it may sound negative, but its not. This is actually a great piece, in which the harsher sounds prevail at one point, but things never go over the top and the two know how to cut back their sound and start working again from a softer perspective. A great combination of harsher sounds and more ambient textures. Winter in Russia is hard and these two provide the soundtrack for a long winter evening. Even when its june and the sun is high and mighty. Great work. (FdW)
Address: <fem_s@inbox.ru>
Address: http://aquarellist.ru

SLEEP WHALE - LITTLE BRITE (LP by Western Vinyl)
From Denton, Texas hail Sleep Whale, a duo of
guitarist/cellist Joel North and violinist/sequence programmer Bruce Blay. Six tracks they have on 'Little Brite' and it lasts around twenty-six minutes and that's straight away the downside of the album. Its too short. What Sleep Whale do here is great. A fine collection of instrumental pieces in which the acoustic instruments play an all important role, but they are amplified to get that rock like drive, while all sorts of electronic and computer processings make this a highly vibrant thing. Think Fennesz on 'Endless Summer' but with the balance towards the 'real' instruments. If you remember: think The Books. It has a great summer like feeling to it, highly rhythmical in playing, dramatic and melancholic at times, and joyous at other times. Chamber music like but from a duo, digital folk or folk going digital perhaps, a bit ethnic in its use of rhythms. This is an excellent record that fits the cool pre-summer breeze and mild sun of today. A record to make you happy. It did for me. Wowie. (FdW)
Address: http://www.westernvinyl.com

MUDBOY - MUSIC FOR ANY SPEED (7" by Lexi Disques)
Currently Mudboy is touring Europe (as I didn't notice, but Lexi Disques says so) and on that occasion this 7" is released, which, despite its title, should be played at 33 rpm. Mudboy hails from Providence, Rhode Island and is from the same scene as Lightning Bolt. Mudboy has had various releases of which the one I reviewed on Digitalis Industries made a good impression on me. Drones, rhythm machines and well produced. No rhythm machines here, I think, but still excellent produced. 'Freeze' is a piece of a slowly dying drone. It is basically a long fade of drone music for guitar and sound effects. 'Thaw' (which start seems like the end of 'Freeze' actually) on the other side is also about fierce guitars and pitch shifted organ like and is almost (almost!) a pop song. A rollercoaster ride in the dark. A psychedelic nightmare if you wish. Two fine songs. I wonder how that would sound live! (FdW)
Address: http://www.lexidisques.net

ADRIAN SHENTON - HOUSEWORKS (CDR by Phonospehric)
Last year i reviewed Adrian Shenton's 'The Measuring Moments' (see Vital Weekly 635), which was released on Quiet World, now its time for his own label and the first release is by himself. 'Mostly made from sounds around my house' he wrote me, which I assume, based on hearing what's going on here, are processed on the computer. Although I think processing might not be the right word. Shenton mainly cuts loops from the various in- and outdoor recordings which he plays around with. It works best, I think, when one doesn't hear when they are loops, such as in 'Househum', which perhaps sums up best what's going on: lots of hum, motorized sounds, ventilators around the house, or 'When Swoosh Comes To Shove', with weather recordings and falling objects. Like before not every moment is great, especially in the beginning of the disc there are some lesser pieces (the most looped based pieces), but throughout I thought this was a better release than the previous one. Shenton seems to be more caring about what he wants to do, thinks more about the actual composition. That certainly is an improvement here and it would be good to see where's moving next. (FdW)
Address: http://www.phonospheric.co.uk

HENRY KUNTZ - WHIRLING SUN VISIONS (CDR by Humming Bird)
Music by saxophone player Henry Kuntz has been reviewed before and no doubt on one of the occasions I wrote about the fact that the saxophone is not really my favorite instrument. I do make exceptions for those players who use the instrument in a different way, like John Butcher for instance, and perhaps also for someone like Kuntz. Even when he plays his instrument in a different way than Butcher, more traditionally, there is more to his music than just the saxophone. On 'Whirling Sun Visions' he offers nine works for multi-track recording, playing along with his self, but also incorporates lots of ethnical percussion, like gamelan, 'Mexican hollowed-out log violin', 'Mali balafon' and his own voice. Kuntz keeps his music 'limited'. Dense in nature, but with few variations on the various sounds he produces. His music is minimal, but not through the use of loops. Real-time repetition of sounds, layered on top of eachother, with small variations in playing. Free play at work here of microtonal stuff, which works quite well. Neither free jazz or saxophones could interest me very much, but in Kuntz' hands this sounds pretty well. (FdW)
Address: http://henrykuntz.free-jazz.net

CHEFKIRK - TOXIC MILK (CD-R by Retinascan)
Roger J. Smith kindly sent this to Frans with the proviso "If you no longer want to review my releases. You can give them to the other guy. His reviews are fun but I cant make any sense out of them.." - hummm - no input mixer- it seems that Roger's sound is changing to 14 tracks of micro sound glitches, noise and feedback which seem to inhabit a virtual insect world of what I'd guess is careful crafted 'experimentalism'. I've come across things like this before- which reminds me of Paul Klee - an acquired taste perhaps- and like Klee represents something of a frozen dynamic, not fully abstract and embracing noise, or a return to delicate representational composition - a place I suspect is ultimately untenable for Chefkirk as it was for the delicate European abstraction of the 1930s before the violence of what culminated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Whatever - western culture is either destroyed or condemned by such actions including that polite abstractionism of the utopia that was the Bauhaus. (the other guy)
Address: http://www.retinascan.de/

PUMA/MARHAUG - FIST FULL OF KNUCKLES (LP by Knuckleman Records)
Puma= (Øystein Moen (synth), Gard Nilssen (drums), Stian Westerhus (guitar) + Lasse Marhaug (turntable + electronics) a collaboration which began in 2007 and included a tour of Norway and Japan has now released this vinyl. Side one is a catastrophic jam of noise mayhem which is nicely contrasted by side two's more (neo) musicality, it begins quite sparse and gathers pace with various improvised rhythms, riffs and crescendos reminiscent of proto-avant jazz, or should I say neo-avant jazz as we are after what was once the contemporary, but don't let my neo/pseudo philosophical musing on labels detract you from a delightful production. (jliat)
Address: http://www.lassemarhaug.no
Address: http://www.myspace.com/pumapumapuma

NOISE VS. SUBVERSIVE COMPUTING (addendum) (1GB USB Stick by
COMPUTATIONALLY INFEASIBLE RECORDS)
Due to incompetence on my part two items of "subversive computing" were missed though perhaps serendipitously so. The first "My kind of shithole" (by Gorrrrgar) is a bit map of images of Bucharest's legal/semi legal cable system? This appears to represent the chaos of post-modernity's communication systems. why or how i'm unsure - as it is simply a single picture of .BMP rather than the universal .JPG? The second was Stelios Douskos - "LawyerFish"- the project seeks to make one aware of the "incomprehensible, privacy policies that Internet users implicitly adhere to when using universal online services" (I think they are in fact simply to cover the site creators from litigation) - it does this by translating these into "12 tone" music using "Knuth's Soundex algorithm". I have attempted to run this program with no results other than it prints out the
input string in reverse. On examining the code it appears to use the soundex routine to map words to notes. The midi player appears to attempt to render
these - but I did notice the google.txt file hard coded in there. Anyway what we have in effect is a program which maps *any* txt (text) -not just legal - to music notes. That it uses all 12 tones might make any output appear *like* 12 tone music but examining the algorithm the mapping is very simplistic and would bias certain notes. If you didn't know, soundex was created before computer technology and is a way of indexing a word by its "sound" - the first letter and its consonants coded as a number. Though its not clear why the mapping attempts to map the "sound" of a word to a note and because the word/note mapping is fairly simple - so that for instance the word "and" will map to a given note - it follows that the uniformity of the 12 tone approach will be broken - *certain* notes will be selected more than others establishing a "key". To break this at its most simple would need the word-letter mapping to be arbitrary and therefore render the input source (text) irrelevant, otherwise it could employ (fairly complex) techniques used by the serialists - who broke these themselves for 'expressive / aesthetic' reasons. (This *is* serendipitous as its taking far more space to describe the ideas here than a brief overview in the main review). Anyway an arbitrary set of notes is *not* 12 tone music in its historic sense. For the non computer user a similar/simpler thing could be achieved by labelling piano keys with letters of the alphabet and then playing a text on them. I'll leave 'open' just what is achieved, but if as I think it is not actual 12 tone music in any conceptual sense other than pseudo random note production we can avoid an even lengthier discussion of the actual metaphysics of the historic 12 tone system. Using programs such as Akoff's (http://www.akoff.com/) composer any .wav can be translated into midi data- *any* recorded reading- not just legalize- for instance this review, which may or may not sound better than it reads - and may be 12 tone or set in a major or minor key. Or for the dead pan of legalize the text could be "read" by software such as readplease to create the source .wav which after being processed by akoff into midi data rendered as an actual score by MuseScore and played by real musicians in DJs. why? Why not! And played alongside "real" 12 tone at say the proms, would anyone notice? (jliat)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/pascalcretain

IF, BWANA - CLARA NOSTRA (CDR by Echo Music)
FRANCESCO MEIRINO & KIKO C. ESSEIVA - CONCERT A L'OBLO (CDR by Echo Music)
NOKALYPSE: WIRED AND MIRRORED (CDR by Echo Music)
The first of these three new releases on Echo Music is a re-issue, reviewed in Vital Weekly 202, and back then we wrote: "The process that underlies this work is very simple and very old. It was a combination of Steve Reich's Phase Shifting and Alvin Lucier's I'm Sitting In A Room technique. You take a recorded sound, and place it on a multi-track, on each track the same thing. If all the tracks are filled you mix it to the first track again and start filling it up again. And again. Again. Until you have, say, 106.476 times the same sound. A thick massive layered sound. In between you can slow it down (although 'delay is a cheap drug' as Steve Reich once said), to make it even more fat, more thick. That's the idea behind this new If, Bwana CD. Simple, direct and well executed. Much like Palestine's recent CD on New World, although the main difference is that Palestine is not into the cheap drug and Mr Bwana is. Me, of course, I don't care about slowing a tape down. Who cares anyway how it was made. The result is what counts. And that is a very nice one this time. Massive, slow changed, a beast turns around. Play this one before the A Produce/Griffin one mentioned elsewhere and you have a long contemplated night." That still holds up after ten long years. If, Bwana at its best.
A much more recent recording, from March this year, is by Francesco Meirino (sometimes known as Phroq) and Kiko C. Esseiva. The latter plays 'tape recorders and realtime tape manipulations', whereas the first does 'computer and contact microphones', which they call electro acoustic music, here captured in concert. One piece of forty minutes of quite 'present' electro-acoustic music, with a strong love of 'continuos' sounds. It's not easy to describe what's going on on this release. The sweeping sounds of tapes, crackles and hum of the computer and contact microphones make music that is quite dense, but also a true delight to hear. Mysterious, dark, intense, but also delicate and precise. Improvised but almost sounding composed, save a for a few moments here and there. An excellent work. Pretty intense music.
Fellow label owner of Triple Bath is Themis Pantelopolous, who works under the guise of Nokalypse and has a previous release on Echo Music, 'Axiac Infinity' (Vital Weekly 481). Here he has four pieces, two created using Audio Mulch and two with software called Wavelab. Hard to tell the difference between these pieces of software, as they seem to do essentially the same thing, or rather, it seems Pantelopolous is interested in one thing: to create drone music. And that's something he does actually good. These drones exist in entirely, of course, in the digital domain, yet they never seem to sound cold and distant. The slowly enveloping sound, gradually going up and down the scale, the heavily processed field recordings (alright, I'm guessing here), the dynamic range - quiet to forcefully loud - make this into a very refined work. As such not much new drone wise, but this drone music with industrial undercurrents is quite alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.echomusic.gr

GARETH DAVIS & MACHINEFABRIEK - SOUNDLINES (3" CDR by Machinefabriek)
The name Gareth Davis (bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet) doesn't ring any bells here, but for this small release he teams up with Rutger Zuydervelt (computer, guitar and effects), better known as Machinefabriek of course. Three pieces on this 3", of which the first is the score for 'The Sounding Lines Are Obsolete', a film by John Price. The clarinet produces some mighty fine drone like sounds and hardly sounds like a clarinet. It mingles nicely with the computer and guitar treatments pushed forward by Zuydervelt. Highly atmospheric music but very dark. I wonder what the film looks like after hearing this, but no doubt it must be quite mysterious. 'Intermission' and 'Soundlines' arrive without notice: it seems if all three pieces flow right into eachother. That might be a bit of downer as perhaps one expected something different. But taken as a whole this is a great release. Nocturnal pastoral music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu

 

 

New MP3 releases:

 

From: "XS Records [portuguese netlabel]" <leonrosado@gmail.com>

XS Records [portuguese netlabel] compilation has recently been released (its free to download and listen under CC license), and I would like to draw your attention to it here: http://xsrecordsptnetlabel.blogspot.com/