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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 703
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week 44
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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

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* 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

 

 

VIV - SEA SHELLS LISTENING (CD by Pebble) *
AARKTICA - IN SEA (CD by Silber Records) *
VLOR - SIX-WINGED (CD by Silber Records) *
ANDUIN - ABANDONED IN SLEEP (CD by Smtg Limited) *
BLACK TO COMM - ALPHABET 1968 (CD by Type Records) *
ANGUS CARLYLE - SOME MEMORIES OF BAMBOO (CD by Gruenrekorder) *
MARILYN LERNER & MATT BRUBECK & NICK FRASER - UGLY BEAUTIES (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
MANKIND - ICE MACHINE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
CHARITY CHAN - SOMEWHERE THE SEA AND SALT (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
NORMAND GUILBEAULT ENSEMBLE - HOMMAGE A MINGUS (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
IF, BWANA - 31 (CD by GD Stereo) *
IMMINENT - CASK STRENGTH (CD by Ant-Zen)
GENEVIÈVE PASQUIER - LE CABARET MOI (CD by Ant Zen recordings)
LUMINANCE RATIO - LIKE LITTLE GARRISONS BESIEGED (CD by Boring Machines) *

FRANK ROTHKAMM - GHOST OF NEW YORK (CD by Flux Records) *
GILLES AUBRY - S6T8R (CD by Winds Measure Recordings) *
MIA CLARKE & ANDY MOORE - GUITARGUMENT (CD by Hellosquare Recordings) *
CANDLESNUFFER - MIMOSA (CD by Hellosquare Recordings) *
GREG MALCOLM - SOME OTHER TIME (CD/DVD by Kning Disk) *
TSUKIMONO - HEART ATTACK MONEY (CD by Kalligrammofon) *
TSUKIMONO - GOTTA SING GOTTA DANCE (7" by Kalligrammofon)
SOLO SENZA TESTA - SKULL OF SADE II (7" by Kalligrammofon)
DEAD LETTERS SPELL OUT DEAD WORDS - SALLY HILL EP (cassette by Kalligrammofon)
MAURIZIO BIANCHI - ARMAGHEDON (LP by Hot Releases)
RUSSIAN TSARLAG - OPEN CASKET (LP by Hot Releases)
STEFANO PILIA - LAST DAYS VOL. II (7' by Presto!?)
ERIK URSICH - 3048 (CDR by f901) *
MATT SHOEMAKER - WAYWARD SET (CDR by Human Faculties) *
MARINOS KOUTSOMICHALIS - PERIPATETIC (CDR by Agxivatein)
MARINOS KOUTSOMICHALIS - TREVOR JONES STUDIO SESSIONS VOL 1(CDR by Agxivatein) *
SKARABEE - TLON (CDR by FBox Records) *
SINDRE BJERGA - ELECTRICAL CENTRIFUGE (CDR by Straite Cortex) *
DAEVE - CRUSHED FRAME, BLANK PHOTOGRAPH (CDR, private)
MARK BRADLEY - SHIMMER (3" CDR by Dust Wind Tales)
TOY BIZARRE - KDI DCTB 216 [DATA #4] (3"CDR by Ingeos) *

 

+ announcements

 

 

VIV - SEA SHELLS LISTENING (CD by Pebble)
In Vital Weekly 592 I reviewed a self-released 3"CDR by a band from Brighton called Vole. Now they are renamed Viv (spelled as viv) and I learned that the members of Viv played in such bands as Willkommen Collective, Hamilton Yarns, The Mary Hampton Band, Collectres and the Tacet Ensemble. Here the music is a bit more extended which gives a much clearer idea of what they do. Well... clearer... that is to say... not really. Viv is one of the stranger bands I heard recently. I hear a trumpet, marimba, drums, cello and/or various other stringed instruments or percussive ones. The music is one of the stranger mixtures of jazz, improvised music, a bit of folk, modern minimal music but also hardcore free jazz or even a bit of (acoustic) noise. Electronics seem to be gone here (if they were present at all on the previous release). Cinematic music at large, and every track has its own mood and style, and each of them catches the listener by a small surprise. It makes this quite a mixed bag of music, that somehow however makes quite a lot of sense. Nice mood music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.radioviv.com

AARKTICA - IN SEA (CD by Silber Records)
VLOR - SIX-WINGED (CD by Silber Records)
Although 'In Sea' is the sixth album by Jon DeRosa, I believe its the first time I hear this name. In 1999 he became deaf at the right ear and started to re-think what he was doing. He took classes by LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela to learn how to hear without using your ears and started the Aarktica project. The title 'In Sea' is of course a nod to Terry Riley's 'In C' and is mostly an album of drones. The guitar takes the lead here, wether its played with an e-bow, with a cello bow, plucked or chords: everything feeds to delay and reverb machines to create that much needed endless sustain on the sounds in order to apply for that drone tag. On a few occasions DeRosa sings, which is nice, since it breaks the album a bit. Necessary I'd say to break up the album a bit, since after a while, a repeat action leaps in, and one could think: yeah, well, I heard this bit already in a slightly different form. Either De Rosa should think about doing longer tracks or a bit more variation, or simply make a shorter album.
Back in Vital Weekly 530 we discussed Vlor's 'A Fire Is Meant For Burning'. It was the relaunch of Vlor as vehicle for 'music by post'. Guitarist Brian John Mitchell sends out his playing for other to complete. An even bigger line-up this time around, including Jon DeRosa (of Aarktica), Mike vanPortfleet of Lycia, Nathan Amundsun (Rivulets), Jessica Bailiff, Paolo Messere (6 P.M.), Annelies Monsere, Martin Newman (Plumerai and Goddakk), Mae Starr (Rollerball, Moodring), Jim DeJong (The Infant Cycle), Micheal Walton (Mvvm), Brian McKenzie (Electric Bird Noise, Something About Vampire And Sluts), Micheal Wood (also of Something About Vampire And Sluts and The Wet Teens) and Magen McAvenney. This must not be understood as a remix album, but Mitchell laying down the groundwork for a piece, and his guests add their own vocals, cello, melodica, piano, or strings (or whatever else), to complete the songs. Sixteen pieces in some forty-five minutes may mean a nice average length of three minutes (pop! length), but some of these pieces are mere sketches of post rock/noise/improvisation, which is a pity. But then a piece like 'She Goes Out With Boys' sounds like a real song. One could wish there would have been more pieces like this here and leave the schematics behind. Maybe that should be instructions for the next Vlor release. Still, altogether this is a pretty nice release again. (FdW)
Address: http://www.silbermedia.com

ANDUIN - ABANDONED IN SLEEP (CD by Smtg Limited)
About a year ago I was first introduced to the music of Jonathan Lee, also known as Anduin (see Vital Weekly 638). He's a member of Souvenir's Young America, and on a solo mission he plays dark ambient music, with the help... I don't know. Guitars me think and a lot of sound effects. This album is the result of touring for a year, recording in various studio situations, live excerpts and collaborations. We find here also Xela, Stefan Nemeth (Radian, Lokai), Dag Rosenqvist (Jasper TX), Noah Saval (Souvenir's Young America), Erik Skodvin (Svarte Greiner, Deaf Center), Gareth Davis, Stephen Vitiello and Slow News Day. Many of my objections to the previous record, also counts here. The music is surely alright, but also a bit faceless. Many peers do the same sort of thing (like said, Voice Of Eye, Illusion Of Safety, Yen Pox, Kirchenkampf or Troum), and while Anduin plays shorter pieces that is also the weakness of the album: some of these pieces sound like the start of something great coming, but rather stick to what they are. Brief moments of some sound material, which could be start-up of track or that needs some seriously composing. Altogether I didn't think this was a bad album, but it has certainly some interesting music on it, some great dark textures, but also a potential that isn't fulfilled here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.smtgltd.com

BLACK TO COMM - ALPHABET 1968 (CD by Type Records)
The new album of Black To Comm (Marc Richter of the Dekorder label's own musical outing) is something of a step forward. In his previous work, which I am sure I didn't hear all, the drone in long form prevailed, but here he plays ten tracks in some forty five minutes. At his disposal are a home made gamelan, small instruments and loops gathered from a collection of ancient vinyl and 78 rpm records. An odd collection of shorter songs ('for want of a better word' Richter says), which drifts in all kinds of directions, world music, drones, techno and modern classical, that perhaps on paper doesn't seem to make much sense, but the album is oddly enough quite coherent. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the pieces are all quite densely layered. No track here seems to consist of just a few sounds and loops, they seem massively stacked together. When things become more noise based, such as in 'Void' its less exciting, but the scratchy orchestral loops of 'Hotel Friend' or the kick drum of 'Forst' along with glissandi of strings (reminding me of Gas actually) are very good. A great album, not a daring move from the old Black To Comm actually, but a further expansion on the music he already did. A road to explore further, I should think. (FdW)
Address: http://www.typerecords.com

ANGUS CARLYLE - SOME MEMORIES OF BAMBOO (CD by Gruenrekorder)
Germany's Gruenrekorder label sometimes has money to burn - well sometimes. Maybe the artist chips in some money too? I never heard of Angus Carlyle, but apparently he visited the Kami-Katsura, a small suburban district of Kyoto, Japan and recorded there this work, in thirteen scenes. Each of them comes with a description of the specific site, which is nice to read, but of course doesn't compare with seeing the real thing. Its not an area I visited, I think, when I was in Kyoto. Like so many of the Gruenrekorder releases, this one too deals with pure, unprocessed field recordings. Very tranquil, this particular neighborhood, I assume, as most of these pieces consist of very few sounds. Bird twitter, a car passing, few human interaction, water sounds and that's it. Surely nice to hear, but I wonder: by whom? I think, I prefer that people compose with sounds like this, rather than present them as they are. Surely nice enough though. Made me wanting to go back to Japan. (FdW)
Address: http://www.gruenrekorder.de

MARILYN LERNER & MATT BRUBECK & NICK FRASER - UGLY BEAUTIES (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
MANKIND - ICE MACHINE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
CHARITY CHAN - SOMEWHERE THE SEA AND SALT (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
NORMAND GUILBEAULT ENSEMBLE - HOMMAGE A MINGUS (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
A very mixed bag from Ambiances Magnetiquers this time. A solo, a duo, a trio and an ensemble work will pass by in this review. First the soloalbum "Somewhere sea and salt" by pianist and improvisor Charity Chan. Chan studied and plays classical and modern repetertoire, but she focuses mainly on improvised music today. The piano is her tool. She uses all kinds of objects to trigger unheard sounds, timbres and resonances from the piano. With this wide palette of possibilities she carefully choses the sounds, etc. she can use. Not just to demonstrate a bunch of extended techniques, but in function of a minute and detailed research into all the subtleties between the different sounds that can be generated from the piano. This, sometimes in a way that it is hard to imagine that the sounds come from the piano. As a result Chan creates a diversity of moods and textures, sonic landscapes that one loves to explore.
Mankind is the name of a duo that started in 2006 comprised of Alexis O'Hara and D. Kimm. They combine sound poetry, noise improvisations and ambient plus performance into something of their own. Ice Machine, is the first result from their work.
On stage the two multitalented, interdisciplinary performers use costumes, video projections, etc. to complete their multimedia art. It has been a long time ago since I found a manifest by the artists inside a record. But here we have one: "we are fresh and naïve, curious and open to all discipline, media, philosophy or technique. That said, we have an opinion on everything and will speak it regardless of whether it is asked of us." And so on. Although there french poems are not comprehensible for me, there is enough to be enjoyed here. They create intriguing soundscapes in an lo-fi and trashy manner. Very noisy ones like in the instrumental "My favorite Agression", with drones like in "Post-Colonial". "Charming" is almost a poppy song and "The anti rules" a chanson.
We continue with the trio of Marilyn Lerner (piano), Nick Fraser (drums) and Matt Brubeck (cello). Fraser moved from Ottawa to Toronto in 1996 and developped himself into a very busy and active musician who has played with a long list of musicians. Brubeck is a performer specialized in improvisation on the cello. So most of his work is within field of jazz and improvisation. However he played also for many years with Waits, plus Dixie Chicks and Sheryl Crow. Lerner is a reputed pianist and improvisor of worldwide fame, working in the worlds of jazz, improvisation, klezmer and 20th century classical music. Besides she composes for film, theatre, radio and television. They recorded their first one in may 2008 in a Toronto studio. It is made up of collective improvisations plus compositions by all three musicians. "Ugly Beauties" makes you forget the differences and boundaries between jazz, contemporary classical music and improvisation. These are are very virtuous musicians who demonstrate their talent in a very coherent way with engaging interplay. The pieces focus on different musical aspects. This way the trio shows many faces. The opening track "Windsor" is one of the most odd grooving pieces I have ever heard. "Oubliette" comes from another planet, and is a very lyric jazz improvisation. "Harold Lloyd" plays with rhythm and switches from modern classical to jazz and backwards. Other pieces are very free improvisations, leaving jazz idiom, etc behind. So their explorations go in many directions, implying that there is a lot to discover on this one.
To conclude the Normand Guilbeault Ensemble. With an earlier CD in mind of this ensemble, "Mingus Erectus", their new one is again dedicated to the work of jazzgigant Charlie Mingus. In a line up of six musicians plus guest a singer (alt and baritone saxes, flute, voice, clarinet, bass clarinet, trumpet, fluglehorn, piano, drums, doublebass) they interpret six compositions by Mingus. It is a very demanding and heavy kind of jazz. It not so easily opens itself up for the listener. The music is very intense. But there is also room for humor and charm. The piano solo in "Prayer for Passive Resistance" is hard to resist. It is difficult for me to judge how this combo actualizes the music of Mingus, but for sure not in a conservative retro way. (DM)
Address: http://www.actuellecd.com

IF, BWANA - 31 (CD by GD Stereo)
Al Margolis still hangs on to his If, Bwana name, which I think is kinda curious, since in recent years his output has become much more closely related to the world of modern classical music. A piece like 'Rushin' Lisa' is such a piece. A Nord Modular played by Tom Hamilton, the flute of Jacqueline Martelle and the voice of Lisa Barnard, make a very serious modern classic piece, with notes bouncing up and down the scale, but in a very gentle manner. That is the most serious piece, say the current version of If, Bwana, on this disc, together with 'Ex-ex-ex-eye', which is another piece for flute and voice. The three other pieces here, all longer, are more like the old If, Bwana. 'Soiled' for instance is a piece for 'multi-tracked and processed bowed guitar', a densely woven drone piece of many guitar sounds that end quite abruptly. 'Fitz 2/3' is also drone like, but more dark, threatening and orchestral. The heavy version of drones. A synthesis of both ends is in the middle of the CD with 'Treinta, Juan', which has drones as a backdrop and more improvised flute playing in the foreground. I must admit I like the old version better than the newer If, Bwana material, which I find too serious. I think if Al Margolis decides to continue as a serious composer, he should drop the If, Bwana name and continue under his own name and get serious commissions. It may not be for me, I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.gdstereo.com

IMMINENT - CASK STRENGTH (CD by Ant-Zen)
Long time, no see for Belgium powernoise-project Imminent. But hell, does he return on this one! Imminent is one of the true legends of the European powernoise-scene, a genre characterized by the hyperactive blend of up-tempo industrial-techno and abrasive noise-textures. Originally formed as Imminent Starvation, Oliver Moreau became one of the important acts in the early days of important German label Ant-Zen Recordings with his mindblowing debut "Human dislocation" (Ant-Zen, 1997). After his second full-length as Imminent Starvation, Oliver Moreau destroyed his mixing equipment and gave away the pieces as part of a limited edition of the "Nord"-album. After that he changed his
name to the new moniker: Imminent. Despite the name change and the many years of silence, Oliver Moreau still knows how to create sonic earth quakes of furious breakbeat-textures and noisy dronescapes. Despite the fast development of harsh electronic music over the last decade, Mr. Moreau makes it very clear on the album titled "Cask strength" that he has managed to follow the progression of the scene, resulting in one of his strongest releases to date. Nail your speakers to the floor and get ready for 64 minutes of majestic technoid aggression. This album will rock your house! (NM)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com

GENEVIÈVE PASQUIER - LE CABARET MOI (CD by Ant Zen recordings)
Third album out on German label Ant-Zen from French composer Genevieve Pasquier and the first album from her since 2006. Previous album titled "Virgin pulses" was a quite harsh beast; new album titled "La cabaret moi" continues with the excellent expressional span from technoid avantpop to brutal industrial-based moments. The dark sphere sets in on a few songs, and the more you listen, the more this dark layer comes in focus. Especially early US-Industrial legends such Suicide and Chrome comes to mind in a few tracks on the album thanks to the minimalist nature. The strength of Genevieve Pasquier is her powerful voice that, sometimes being sung other times spoken, works as an excellent contrast to the icy and momentarily harsh expression of the album. Excellent! (NM)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com

LUMINANCE RATIO - LIKE LITTLE GARRISONS BESIEGED (CD by Boring Machines)
There are three musicians behind Luminance Ratio, two of them you may know. Eugenio Maggi is better known as Cria Cuervos and his collaboration with Paul Bradley and Maurizio Bianchi, Andrea Ferraris of Sil Muir, Airchamber 3, Ur, Ulna and John Russel, who team with Gianmaria Aprile of Ultraviolet Makes Me Sick and the Fratto9 Under The Sky label. They are armed with array of sound devices, such as guitars, cymbals, field recordings, brushes, contact microphones, drones, turntables and objects. Yet this album isn't a pure work of drone music, per se. Its rather a delicate combination of drone music, field recordings, microsound but with a healthy doses of improvisation too. It seems to me, but I admit I might be wrong that these are extensive improvisations, recorded to multiple tracks which were mixed later on. Its Aprile who gets the credit for mixing here and he did a great job. He leaves the improvised music in tact, but brings structure to the table, giving the drones a place to breathe. Great textured music, a delicate mixture of guitar music with an open strumming, fingerpicking and slide playing, with gorgeous drones and field recordings. It makes the whole thing quite loose and open, like fresh breeze coming in. Excellent release, that ends with Paul Bradley doing a fine remix using all the separate elements. (FdW)
Address: http://www.boringmachines.it

FRANK ROTHKAMM - GHOST OF NEW YORK (CDR by Flux Records)
Hot on the heels of last week's 'Alt' release, Frank Rothkamm now presents the first installment of the 3CD + 1DVD 'Tetralogy'. In this first work the city of New York plays a central role, or actually the many people who lived, translated to music. No ambient music here like last week, but works from the analogue synthesizer, that depict quite well the hectic of the city, the crawling of so many people on such as small space. Sounds bouncing in all directions, but also very occasionally take back control and we see the contours of mighty sky scrapers, but also of much smaller buildings. Like always Rothkamm knows how to surprise me with his music. This particular release wasn't the best I heard from him I must admit, it sounded a bit too easy, too much like 'Music From Forbidden Planet' type of synthesizer play, but it has some nice moments. But in his catalogue of music, this is surely another odd-ball. Odd-ball admitst other oddities.
This release lasts exactly 33 minutes and 33 seconds, in an edition of 333 copies, and released on 10/10/09 - the next one on 11/11/09 etc. - Numbers are great. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fluxrecords.com

GILLES AUBRY - S6T8R (CD by Winds Measure Recordings)
Steve Reich is 'Different Trains' connects his own childhood experience of train traveling with the deportation of the jews in nazi Germany at roughly the same time. The links of nazis and trains is also made by Gilles Aubry on his new CD 's6t8r', in which he recorded the empty rooms of Stralau 68, a former venue in Berlin. To amplify the sounds he had to put the levels of recording all the way, thus also capturing the trains outside. The press release reads about the various cultural meanings of train travel, but I merely see that in this work as an extra layer of sound. Aubry records 'empty' spaces and then treats the resulting sound into a massive block of sound. Quite minimal and drone like in the first part, but the second part, which starts out as an expansion of the first, develops into an almost musical piece, with sounds bouncing in and out, almost like a factory starting up, machines being switched on. A great menacing piece of music. In the third and final part it seems as water sounds play a part, but no doubt here the trains play an important role. Quite a great CD of drone music that stems from the world of field recordings and surely one of the best works I heard from Aubry so far. (FdW)
Address: http://www.windsmeasurerecordings.net

MIA CLARKE & ANDY MOORE - GUITARGUMENT (CD by Hellosquare Recordings)
CANDLESNUFFER - MIMOSA (CD by Hellosquare Recordings)
Two sides of the improvised music coin. First there is Andy Moor, of The Ex fame who teams up with Mia Clarke, or Electrelane of whom I never heard. In April 2008 they played the Zaal 100 Cafe and that's about the extend of information we have. Two pieces, one that;s about twenty minutes and one that is about thirty. So far the facts. Both play guitar in a pretty ordinary fashion. No objects on strings, no carefully constructed silence, onkyo styled improvisation, but a duet of two guitars being played in a rock fashion. When things leave the rockist path, the strings are tortured to make strange abstract figures of sound. Otherwise its' strumming on end, in quite a minimal fashion, like Branca reduced to two guitars. No wall of sound approach either, but a strong interplay. Maybe the ride is a bit long altogether, and could have been say fifteen minutes shorter, but throughout its a pretty strong album.
Behind Candlesnuffer is David Brown from Bucketrider and from the trio Pateras, Baxter & Brown, and this new album can be seen as a companion to 'Wakool', released by Room40 (reviewed in Vital Weekly 587). He too plays the guitar, but this one is prepared. He also plays the prepared bandoura, fretless tenor banjo and prepared ukelele. Again we get that nice clean sound, as on 'Wakool', and Brown hits, plucks, bends the strings, something placing an emphasis on a sound by using the footpedal to get a somewhat longer sustain. Wild as before, but without that somewhat hidden country & western styled playing as heard on 'Wakool'. Listening to these twelve pieces its hard to perceive them as twelve different tracks, its more like one track, which is an excellent showcase for his talent on two instruments per track. Like it says on the cover: a record where Candlesnuffer accompanies Candlesnuffer. Overlaying one improvisation with another one, creating a not too densely layered sound. I can see a whole future in this: the next record should have three tracks being overlaid, and the fourth one, etc. No doubt that will lead to some great music. I can't wait. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hellosquarerecordings.com

GREG MALCOLM - SOME OTHER TIME (CD/DVD by Kning Disk)
Normally I'd say this is a bit much. Why have a CD and a DVD, even when both have different pieces? Why not a double CD, or a double DVD? I can see however the point of releasing a Greg Malcolm DVD. I have been telling before but his concert at Extrapool years ago, is still on one of the best I ever saw there (along with Arm and Taxi Val Mentek in case you are wondering). I think I must have raved about that before. Malcolm plays three guitars at the same time. One in his hands, two on the floor. Those two are prepared with objects he can play with his feet, to add a percussive element to his music or to use an e-bow. For me Greg Malcolm is the genius when it comes to finger picking music and preparing his guitar. If you have never heard his music or seen him play, then I suggest to start with the DVD. Malcolm sits in a room, surrounded by his guitars and toys and shows what he can do. However its not a display of technique. What matters to him is the music and the pieces he is playing. Melancholic, careful, introvert and introspective. He sits and plays his guitar, with his fingers, with an e-bow, with a ruler, a cello bow, little motorized objects and more. Blues like, americana, but also improvised and experimental. Maybe its a bit much to have the DVD and CD in one go, but let's say on a sunday afternoon you watch the DVD to see what it is all about and then in the evening, while having a good glass of wine, you listen to the CD. You are now able to close your eyes and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the music, all the time knowing how it was created. Great release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kningdisk.com

TSUKIMONO - HEART ATTACK MONEY (CD by Kalligrammofon)
TSUKIMONO - GOTTA SING GOTTA DANCE (7" by Kalligrammofon)
SOLO SENZA TESTA - SKULL OF SADE II (7" by Kalligrammofon)
DEAD LETTERS SPELL OUT DEAD WORDS - SALLY HILL EP (cassette by Kalligrammofon)
One can doubt wether I reviewed all releases by Johan Gustavsson, also known as Tsukimono, but usually I was taken by his music. I associate his music with dark ambient with a strong influence of noise music, but here he takes me by surprise. Eight tracks on this relatively short album, but what a variety of music. There are really mean noisy bits, but also piano pieces and even pop like pieces. The one stand out piece, among an already lot, is 'Gloomy Sunday', with guitar playing and a vocal taken from an old 78 rpm (I think). What a lovely piece. But the rest is pretty refined too. This is melancholic music in optima forma. Think Oren Ambarchi, spiced with a bit of noise and a bit of piano. So far his best album, as far as I can see.
More Tsukimono on a 7". 'Gotta Sing' on the a-side is a heavy beast of improvised guitar music, multi-layered to create an intense sonic overload.
Solo Senza Testa is Jonas Rosen, who was in another life called Asterik* and Female Anchor Of Sade, both of which I don't seem to remember well (if at all), but under his new banner he explores dub music. Both of these pieces are inspired by Marquis De Sade. 'Skull Of Sade II' has a nice bass line, melodica and sounds indeed like pretty decent dub song, with drums covered in echo. In good dub tradition on the other side there is a version, which takes the material even more apart, like a total deconstruction of dub. Great 7" in the best dub tradition, which will probably never reach Jamaica.
On a C20 cassette comes a re-issue of 'Sally Hill EP', which was originally released in 2005 (as a 3"CDR by Kning Disk) by Thomas Ekelund, who works as Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words. One could say that Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words is a microsound/ambient glitch project, which take, like so many others, notions and connotations from the world of popmusic, in this case sixties girl groups, which if it wasn't written on the press release, I would have never figured out. Minimalist drones built from whatever original pop song, glitchy and refined. Nothing special under the microsun, but in the hands of Ekelund this is well taken care of. Nice one indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kalligrammofon.com

MAURIZIO BIANCHI - ARMAGHEDON (LP by Hot Releases)
RUSSIAN TSARLAG - OPEN CASKET (LP by Hot Releases)
When you reach for super fame, then your work will never be forgotten. Maurizio Bianchi released 'Armaghedon' by himself in 1984, and then was re-released on CD in 2000 as part of the second MB boxset released by Alga Marghen. Now a new life begins - maybe that's the whole point of an armaghedon I was thinking, with re-issue on LP by Hot. Maybe its a bootleg? Maybe its relevant. This is the Maurizio Bianchi I like! Far away from the industrial noise from his earlier years, he moves here into... post nuclear landscape music. Below there is the some kind of wicked ambient music, and on top, yet still pushed to the end another synth pushing sounds through a delay unit. And perhaps voice material as well. Music that is utterly minimal, but that is so highly captivating. Along with 'The Plain Truth' one of the early masterworks. Chilling music with the impact of nuclear fall-out.
The other LP is by Russian Tsarlag, of whom I don't think I ever heard. The label says is from the " prolific Providence showman/illustrator/film-maker Carlos Gonzalez". Its dedicated to Lux Interior and Forrest J. Ackerman and contains some wicked wacky popmusic. All recorded through lo-fi means. A bit distorted rhythms, strange synth tunes and a voice from beyond the grave. It is recommend " To be listened on headphones at night", which I didn't do, well at night but without headphones. I can imagine this being creepy when played to the wrong heads with the wrong substances. If something, I'd say this is popmusic, but perhaps as we don't hear it too often. Maybe there is more out there like this, but then I don't know these. If its anything similar to this wacky stuff, this outsider view of popmusic, then I'd surely like to hear it. This album made me very curious. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/hotreleases

STEFANO PILIA - LAST DAYS VOL. II (7' by Presto!?)
On other occasions I may have complained about the fact that the 7" format is not always the best medium for music, but on this particular instance its very much the right thing. Pilia is a member of 3/4Hadbeeneliminated, and has worked with Phill Niblock, Andrea Belfi, Giuseppe Ielasi, David Grubbs and many, many more. Following an one-sided LP for 8mm Records, which I didn't hear, there is now the second part of 'Last Days', with a third part to follow. Two excellent pieces for solo guitar, 'Midnight' and 'Endnight'. Solemnly, in despair. Soft slides, perhaps only interrupted by some crackles of the vinyl. Excellent late night mood music at work here. Two rounded off pieces that work excellent by themselves. If only I heard the previous part and surely can't wait for the next part. (FdW)
Address: http://www.prestorecords.com

ERIK URSICH - 3048 (CDR by f901)
The name Erik Urisch didn't mean anything at all and the cover isn't exactly informative too. I think the label is called f901, but there is no contact address or website mentioned. That's a pity, since the music is actually quite good. The cover lists his instruments: EMS synthi AKS, Moog sonic Six, Steiner-Parker Synthacon, Roland RE-501 and Ibanez digital delay. With these ancient machines he created an interesting work, one piece only, of electronic music. Drone like at the hearth, but with a sort of bleeping rhythm on top, that adds a sort of minimal music idea to the music. A cosmic trip to the earth's core. Maybe recorded in one go, as it sounds like its a system set to work. Once started it will go to certain parameters and bounce back to the start again, and then follow a similar but not the same trail again. Spacious music! (FdW)

MATT SHOEMAKER - WAYWARD SET (CDR by Human Faculties)
"P.s. I love you guys and know you get endless music sent your way, but can you spell my name correctly on this one. Thanks". On at least three ocassions we spelled Matt Shoemaker's as Schoemaker, which means we also spelled it right a few times. No, it has nothing to do with 'endless' music being sent this way, but its a plain stupid mistake and seeing how often spell my name the German way and not the Dutch way, I know how painful it can be. 'Wayward Set' is a piece which was performed live on July 18th 2009 at the good shepherd center-chapel performance space in Seattle. I am not sure if we should believe there is any religious undercurrents in this music, but throughout this is a great work. Shoemaker uses feedback drones, modular synth and 'massed sheets of bioacoustic phenomena' (whatever those might be). He creates another fine trademark Shoemaker pieces of densely layered electronics, drones and some field recordings. The music is a bit more roughly shaped here, perhaps due to the fact that it is microphone recordings instead of line recording, but I must say it fits the music of Shoemaker pretty well, that rough edge on the drone thing. Excellent stuff. He should get over here and play some concerts. (FdW)
Address: http://www.humanfaculties.com

MARINOS KOUTSOMICHALIS - PERIPATETIC (CDR by Agxivatein)
MARINOS KOUTSOMICHALIS - TREVOR JONES STUDIO SESSIONS VOL 1(CDR by Agxivatein)
Earlier this year I wrote I never heard of Marinos Koutsomichalis, but I heard two of his works. 'Chro(m)a' (Vital Weekly 663), which wasn't bad, but not something I liked throughout and 'Anasiseipsychos' (see Vital Weekly 677), which I thought was a great release of excellent drones. I believe he now started his own CDR label and he released two CDRs to start with. 'Peripatetic' means traveling from place to place, and stay there for short periods and is also a reference to Aristotle's practice of walking to and fro while teaching. Koutsomichalis sees the city as a sound installation and thus he records the sounds of cities (Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, York, London, Vienna, Brussels, Gent, Antwerp, Liverpool, Leeds and inside means of transport between these places), which he then puts together in one long piece of music, no indexes, so we don't know which city we are in. I must say its not a bad work, but its not a great one either. Pretty decent stuff of field recordings, ambient sounds from ventilations systems and street sounds. Like stuff on Gruenrekorder - unchanged field phonography. Nice but no cigar.
The other release was recorded in the control room of the Trevor Jones Studio in York, UK and it says in capitals on the cover 'This album has nothing to do with the original Trevor Jones studio sessions'. For this record he uses supercollidor and a Lexicon TC 6000 system and 'the focus was on how sound alters the aesthetic and physical qualities of the site and how it challenges its functionality. It was an attempt to establish a sonorous architecture within the room'. This is an electronic work which isn't as good as 'Anasiseipsychos', but certainly comes close. Great powerful drone music at work her - caution is needed. Its music that seems to working from a system. Once set in motion it moves back and forth between certain parameters, making small changes, seemingly on its own. Powerful in all its roughness but also in all it's silence, this is great mood music. Not drones that wash away like ambient music sometimes does, but forces itself upon the listener and pierce in your head. Great! (FdW)
Address: http://www.agxivatein.com

SKARABEE - TLON (CDR by FBox Records)
The man behind Skarabee is Stuart Chalmers, of whom I never heard, which is hardly a surprise: 'Tlön' is his first album. He uses here a karimba, electronics, contact microphone, bows and household objects. Although not mentioned on the cover, I assume from listening that these sounds are recorded through methods of improvisation onto the computer and then processed and edited. Microsound is a very apt description of what he does. At times we recognize the original instruments, but usually its covered with the extensive sound manipulations of the computer. I must admit I thought this album was pretty much alright, but nothing out of the ordinary, save perhaps for some of the improvised doodling and occasional outburst of sound. That makes this slightly different than what usually goes in the micro world and makes this altogether curious about what will come next. Maybe a bit more structure, a little less obvious click and hiss treatment and who knows? A small promise for the future. (FdW)

Address: http://www.fboxrecords.co.uk

SINDRE BJERGA - ELECTRICAL CENTRIFUGE (CDR by Straite Cortex)
Two concerts her by Sindre Bjerga, one of Norway's more active musicians when it comes to playing live concerts. These two concerts were captured only weeks ago, on October 6 and 7 in the UK. The cover kinda cryptic when it says 'electrodiesel played plasma power density guitar on second half of track two. Both tracks includes gas cloud sounds made by Terje Paulsen'. I assume the latter accounts for the drone like background noise on both tracks. The first plasma guitar thing is responsible for the sonic explosion towards the end of that track. Bjerga himself plays, I assume electronics and perhaps an array of small sounds, feeding through the aforementioned set of electronics. Maybe there is a guitar too. These two pieces aren't exactly the work of improvisation, I think, but rather somewhat planned out and executed. There is some similarity in these two pieces that towards such a plan. Densely woven sounds of a rather lo-fi improvised nature, with bluntly thrown objects into the scene. All of these fine trade marks of Sindre Bjerga, and as such this is just another fine release to his otherwise extensive discography. Not the best work, but just fine enough. (FdW)
Address: <arborntolose@msn.com>

DAEVE - CRUSHED FRAME, BLANK PHOTOGRAPH (CDR, private)
Dear Daeve, the presentation of 2 A4 sheets, ring bound, but without any (f)actual information looks nice but doesn't say much. I assume you didn't really investigate Vital Weekly very much, as you would have learned that we don't review singer song writers. Your guitar playing and rhythm machine reminded me a bit of Vini Reilly/Durutti Column, but your songs seemed quite the same throughout. I don't like the singing. Nothing personal. I don't like singing that much at all, and for Vital Weekly I like experimental music, electronic, improvised, noise, ambient - you name it, but not derivates of popmusic, which is what I call your music. I do understand this is a disappointing review, but had you investigated Vital Weekly, you could have known. Yours truly (FdW)
Address: http://www.daeve.nl

MARK BRADLEY - SHIMMER (3" CDR by Dust Wind Tales)
'Shimmer': the title is an apt one for Mark Bradley's three-inch opus. At times, these gradual, ambient compositions seem to glisten like Emeralds under the sun. However, what's glaringly obvious is that this time-limited format is ill-suited for a drone release with five tracks on it; call me a purist, but I find that these sorts of slow-moving, ambient compositions are at their best when they are allotted a healthy duration in which to unravel. With that said, 'Shimmer' proves Bradley to be a talented sound artist. The disc's "Ascension" trilogy is a hypnotic work of electronic drone; its strongest moment is the brilliant first part, which emulates the beauty of 'The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid', though Bradley employs a less melodic M.O. Haunting "Gone" could be the EP's most emotionally salient moment; in under three minutes, it chills the listener via droning organ keys, offering nothing more than vague feelings of sadness and finality. "Dawn," meanwhile, sounds like the sort of menacing interlude that might pop up on a Warp Records release; diverging from the formula established by the rest of 'Shimmer', it's a backmasked version of what could be a reverb-heavy Cabaret Voltaire track. As is the case with all of these compositions, whose formless symmetry renders them remarkably pliable, it can be enjoyed both forwards or in reverse. (MT)
Address: http://dustwindtales.wordpress.com

TOY BIZARRE - KDI DCTB 216 [DATA #4] (3"CDR by Ingeos)
The cover of this fourth installment shows us some text in a barely readable font, but the story is clear: Toy Bizarre uses sound material recorded in one square meter in Australia and creates twelve sound pieces out of that. This is the fourth one. It made me think. This piece, like its three predecessors, is a fine piece, there should be no doubt about that. A musique concrete collage of various sounds - no doubt written on the cover, but hard to read - which makes a piece that is at times loud, at other times soft, but essentially there is also not much difference between the four pieces so far. What does this mean for the next eight pieces. That is, I think, a bit of a problem, when choosing such an elaborate work in twelve parts. Will there be a change, a sudden, unexpected move from the past? A heavy drone piece, an all soft piece? To keep this series interesting and be a bit more different, change is necessary, I think. So far, so good however, and this fourth one is a pretty strong collage of processed and unprocessed environmental sounds. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ingeos.org