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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 704
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week 45
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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

 

JASON KAHN - TIMELINES LOS ANGELES (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
NÖRZ - (ALSO KNOWN AS) ACKER VELVET (CD by Schraum) *
ELEKTRONAVN - RATIONALE MYSTIQUE/AUDELA L'INCONNU (2CD by Empty Sounds Records) *
MIRT - MOST (12" by Catsun/Monotype)
BEDOUIN ASCENT & MOVE D - INTERFERENCE (12" by Bine Music)
CORY ALLEN - HEARING IS FORGETTING THE NAME OF THE THING ONE HEARS (CDR by Quiet Design) *
VLUBA - LIVE AT ERKS (CDR by Circuit Torcat) *
BARRY CHABALA & LEE NOYES - THE SHADE & THE SQUINT (CDR by Roeba Records) *
BARRY CHABALA & DANIEL JONES - UNDERCURRENTS (CDR by Roeba Records) *
NAMKHAR - A HALLOWED GROUND WITHIN (CDR, private) *
JLIAT - POPPY NO GOOD VARIATIONS COMPUTER MANIPULATED SCORE (CDR by Jliat) *
H. STEWART - DORA ELIZABETH (CDR by Moving Furniture Records) *
BJERGA/IVERSEN - AMPLIFIED CRYSTAL RUST (CDR by Striate Cortex)
NORTHERNER - 1976 (CDR by Hibernate Recordings) *
SIMON JAMES FRENCH - ANTHEM (3"CDR by Hibernate Recordings) *
DUNCAN O CEALLAIGH - PSALMS (3"CDR by Parvo Art) *
THE INFANT CYCLE - A MYSTERIOUS DISC (3"CDR by The Ceiling) *
JULIEN BEAU - REFLET (3"CDR by Aposiopese) *
POKE 20 (artwork by Esc.Rec)
LRAD - FRAGMENT SYNTAX (MP3 by Carpal Tunnel)

 

JASON KAHN - TIMELINES LOS ANGELES (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)
More Jason Kahn then? More Jason Kahn it is and perhaps its a bit odd to see him on Creative Sources Recordings (where artists pay along for their release), as I would think Kahn could release any label in the world, and not bring his own money, certainly when its a recording that is beyond the usual Kahn work, so not solo or in duo. 'Timelines' is a composition of his, in a graphical score form, which Kahn adapted for a concert in Los Angeles, and to be performed by a group he choose: himself on percussion and analog synthesizer, Olivia Block on prepared piano, Ulrich Krieger on alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone and live electronics and Mark Trayle (of The Hub) on laptop and guitar. This quartet play the graphic score of Kahn, which means that they more or less improvise their music along the graphical lines Kahn has drawn. It starts out with more or less 'loosely' based sounds, introducing each player and then things start to play together. Around twenty-five minutes sees then a sudden change, and for about twenty minutes things grow and grow into a mighty piece of electro-acoustic drone music. The third and final part is the complete anti-thesis of this, with music that is very quiet, a sort of chill-out, come-down music. Among the many releases of Jason Kahn another great one, but also one that stands aside his usual play. Excellent. (FdW)
Address: http://www.creativesourcesrec.com

NÖRZ - (ALSO KNOWN AS) ACKER VELVET (CD by Schraum)
Two new musicians, at least for me, from Vienna, Johannes Tröndle and Andreas Trobollowitsch. The first plays cello, prepared cello and live electronics and the other tapes, electric guitar and bass, prepared melodica, inside radio and feedback. They call themselves Nörz, and they started out creating small pieces for radio stations, but since a year they also play live concerts. Earlier this year they spend one day in the Amann Studios to record their solo improvisations to be used as basic materials, but then it was decided to make combinations with these materials, by editing and recomposing and then the eight pieces on this album were created. The Schraum label deals with music of an improvised nature that is usually more regular than onkyo, but here by Nörz things are a bit more in the right balance, well, at least for me that is. The combination with electronics and acoustic instruments is right on here, and there is a lot of great tension in the small pieces (the whole thing lasts just over thirty minutes), with refined interaction among the players. Instruments are both played in a regular way but also as an object, along with interesting doodling of the electronics. Short and to the point. That's how we like these things. (FdW)
Address: http://www.schraum.de

ELEKTRONAVN - RATIONALE MYSTIQUE/AUDELA L'INCONNU (2CD by Empty Sounds Records)
So far I haven't been the greatest fan of Magnus Olsen Majmon, who works as Elektronavn. The split 7" in Vital Weekly 572 I could give the benefit of a doubt, but 'Cosmic Continuum' didn't do much for me, but as Empty Sounds Records tells us in their press release, he works 'in a very broad hybrid field'. This particular release here is actually a re-release of two earlier works, also on this label, but slightly revised and with the track from the split 7". On 'Rationale Mystique' he transforms a whole bunch of field recordings, which are highly processed. Rain sounds feeding through synthesizers, but also vinyl and or orchestral samples are used, along with, perhaps (all of this I am actually assuming) sounds from acoustic instruments. Quite a different work indeed than his 'Cosmic Continuum' and actually quite alright. Perhaps a bit raw to count as field recordings/microsound, but perhaps that's where the beauty of this releases lies.
The other CD in this package deals with a classical soprano (Trine Vestergaard), a medieval hurdy-gurdy player (Søren Hammerlund) and an impro-guitarist (Stephan Sieben), who were asked, each solo, to play/improvise in a long tunnel under some railway tracks in Copenhagen. This was all recorded by Majmon, who transferred it all to the computer and then created two works out of it. In the first one the three separate tracks follow along eachother, and then the transformations are mixed together and in the vertical version everything was mixed together. If I understood this well, that is. Both of these works are quite nice too. Maybe one has to get used to the voice of Vestergaard, which adds quite a serious classical tone to the first piece, but then, when everything is in position - electronic processing, field recordings of trains, hurdy gurdy, things start to make sense here. It turns out to be a great recording of improvised music, meeting up electronics and classical music. Never judge a band by one release only, as this double set proofs. Solid good music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.emptysoundsrec.com

MIRT - MOST (12" by Catsun/Monotype)
The 12" format at 45 rpm, its an almost forgotten item from another world. In the 80s its was of course popular for the extended mix version, but also used in the world of more experimental music. Better sound quality, a mini album and such like. One T. Mirt returns to this format with a recording from 2003. He gets credit for 'prepared field recordings from the bridge, clarinet and accordion' and has two pieces on offer. 'Most 1' on side A is a piece of music which is very soft. It seems to be some field recording (we hear birds) and some highly curious electro-acoustic sounds which fade over into a set of repeating atmospherical loops of a low resolution. There it has a Basinski like quality. 'Most 2' is the more musical piece. It has some electro-acoustic sound, scratching a surface with an object type of sound, which is then placed in a loop, along with the loop of what seems to be a piano (must be the accordion) and a whole set of obscured electronics humming in the background. Two great pieces I'd say, showing two different sides of what this Mirt person can do and that both pieces are also connected. Excellent cover also and highly limited to 250 copies. (FdW)
Address: http://www.catsun.monotyperecords.com

BEDOUIN ASCENT & MOVE D - INTERFERENCE (12" by Bine Music)
A new work by Bedouin Ascent & Move D? Well, hardly. I have no idea what these guys are up to these days, but this 'new' record harks back to the good old days. Summer 1995 to be precise when they both played sets at Berlin's Love Parade, at the Interference festival to be precise. Riding on energy (and who knows what else), they two fill the a week of jamming along using a TR808, TR909, Korg MS-20, a Pro-One, the Frontline X2 and more such wonders of analogue technology and set these machines to work. These jams are of course all recorded, on the spot and there is no overdubbing or post production afterwards. Nice, somewhat crude techno music at work here. Highly spontaneous stuff. I must admit I quite enjoyed this, simply because it reminded me of the days when listening to this kind of music - hardly dancing to it. I have no idea how dance music evolved from this to what it is now, so its hard to say how this kind of music is received now, but apparently Bine Music thinks there is life for this kind of archeological music. It would be nice to see an update by both artists and hear how now, fifteen years after the fact, a collaboration between Bedouin Ascent & Move D would sound like. This for now is just a fine teaser. (FdW)
Address: http://www.binemusic.de

CORY ALLEN - HEARING IS FORGETTING THE NAME OF THE THING ONE HEARS (CDR by Quiet Design)
Labelowner of Quiet Design is Cory Allen, and he has worked with the likes of Keith Rowe, Jandek, Sebastien Roux and his own work is also released by Con-V, Bremsstrahlung and Test Tube, among others. For his new release he is inspired the works of a post structuralist Robert Irwin, and these works 'are a post-structuralist approach which focuses on the invocation of pure aural sensation', as it is called on the press release. Five pieces, all ranging between seven and ten minutes of organ like sounds, a buzzing, ringing bell sound - no variation among these five. They are played in a sequence of notes, which is repeated throughout a track. Minimalist for sure, but I am not entirely convinced here. The first two are fine enough - not great, but that has mainly to do with the sound itself - but then as the third piece comes on, I thought, 'oh again?' - let alone what I thought of the fourth and fifth variation. Which is a pity since the somewhat slower texture of the fifth one is actually quite nice. I think a 3"CDR with say the first and the fifth part would have been enough to make the same point. (FdW)
Address: http://www.quietdesign.us

VLUBA - LIVE AT ERKS (CDR by Circuit Torcat)
Somewhere in january 2009 in the Valle del Silencio, inside a cavern of the mountains near Cordoba, Argentina, a group of musicians meet up and play music, on instruments amplified by a solar generator, using also phosphorous light. The hour captured here is just the beginning as they played until the early morning. The three piece band plays voice, shamanistic flute, smk system, perzunas, egtr, Egyptian daff, gopichand, stones, wachuma feeds and there is also credit for 'an empty room: indefinite instruments without gender'. I must admit I don't know how many of these instruments look like. The cover lists nine tracks for this, but its cut as one piece on the release. I think its a pity that we lack a visual component for this release. It would be great to see those instruments, but also to see the actual concert. The music isn't that great, rather loosely improvised, but I assume there is some performance aspect that makes this no doubt great to watch. Why not battery operated camera present on site? That would have clarified this a bit. The music now comes across like being improvised to visualize some sort of theatre play, like a viennese aktion thing, of which we can't entirely grasp its meaning. (FdW)
Address: http://www.circuittorcat.com

BARRY CHABALA & LEE NOYES - THE SHADE & THE SQUINT (CDR by Roeba Records)
BARRY CHABALA & DANIEL JONES - UNDERCURRENTS (CDR by Roeba Records)
Following the recent solo CDR release by Barry Chabala here are two new releases of him, and both are in duet with another musician. The first is with Lee Noyes, a percussion player from New Zealand, of whom I never heard. There are two pieces here, 'parts were recorded blind and layered' it says on the cover, and 'Yin (The Shade)' is unedited and '(Yang) The Squint' was 'edited by reduction'. Maybe one is a remix of the other, I thought? 'Yin (The Shade)' is a heavy improvised music piece, with lots of carefully constructed silence, and surface playing of the instruments. One of those that require your full attention, otherwise the beauty of it gets lost. Yet it never seem to have a moment of silence, as things are always buzzing and cracking on one level or another. A nice piece, but I think I preferred '(Yang) The Squint' better. Here too lots of silence and soft played interaction, but it works better. Silence is true silence here and whoever edited it (assuming Chabala actually) did a great job in finding the 'right' interaction between the various sounds, make them complement eachother. Also quite an exhausting piece of music, so perhaps this one would have been fine enough for me.
Also new for me is Daniel Jones, who plays turntable and electronics here. No doubt also the work of improvisation but things work out quite differently here. No carefully constructed interplay between silence and music here, but the turntable produces drone like sounds and crackles and the guitar sets forward to do the same thing. Or maybe vice versa - I can't tell. The outcome is something different at least than the other disc, with many menacing sounds, earth/ground hum, and static crackles. Perhaps less demanding than the other one, or at least it works on a different level. For all its dark sound, this is, I guess, the more musical release. You can play this for fun, and not pay attention all the time. Here the fifty-four minutes are well-spend and the four pieces are placed in exactly the right order. Excellent release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.barrychabala.com

NAMKHAR - A HALLOWED GROUND WITHIN (CDR, private)
We are informed that this is a not a limited release and that its available from their myspace site. Each artwork is unique. The band (?) comes from Hessen, Germany and describe themselves as an 'experimental/ambient industrial act'. No information as to what kind of sound sources they use, but I think there is a guitar, some percussion (wether or not sampled) and electronics. The guitar sometimes sound quite old fashioned, like a prog rock e-bow thing, which I must say I didn't like always. But as a drone like background it works well in the first part of this, until it starts sounding too much like a guitar. Percussion is always there and has a wind-chime quality. This piece sort of flows into this second part, but a bit more distorted, in a wall of guitar approach. In the third track, 'From Within', the percussion returns and a more subdued drone of a less well-defined nature (read: less obvious guitar based). I thought this was the best piece of the release. A bit directionless, but throughout changing enough to make this a nice subtle piece. Quite an alright release actually. Could use some shaping up, but so far so good. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/namkhar

JLIAT - POPPY NO GOOD VARIATIONS COMPUTER MANIPULATED SCORE (CDR by Jliat)
No-noise by Jliat? With all his noise releases we sometimes forget that his career started out in the world of drone music, to which he makes, albeit an odd, return here. His interest here lies in 'the eternal return of the same', which if I understand correctly is about things returning, eventually, when there is infinite time, which I believe Jliat's doubts. I didn't study philosophy very well (if at all) to understand such implications and here takes on Terry Riley's 'Poppy No Good', which was, if I remember correctly for organ and tape loop delay (which terminates!), but here the score is translated to the computer and set to random and infinite algorithms and let it run on two sets of programs, and then records the outcome to the length of a CDR - seventy-four minutes. It seems to repeat, but perhaps my brain just can't cope with all these variations? Its quite an unusual piece of music. Perhaps its a bit like the Cory Allen release reviewed elsewhere, but throughout Jliat's one piece seems more consistent and also more 'listenable', odd as it may seem. Chaotic and hypnotic combined in one work. Odd but very nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.jliat.com

H. STEWART - DORA ELIZABETH (CDR by Moving Furniture Records)
Following digital releases on labels such as Clinical Archives, Frigida Records and Test Tube, this is H. Stewart's first physical release, dedicated to her grandmother Dora Elizabeth. Her life is followed in nine pieces here, birth, life during the Great Depression, her marriage and her illness and subsequent death. I must admit this is a very personal release, and that I found it quite hard to get in to. The music doesn't seem to belong to any specific area, which of course is not a bad thing, but it makes it also a bit sketchy. There is a piece with processed piano sounds, some that sound like improvisations on a bass guitar with some sound effects, and two pieces with voices and too much delay applied to them. If you wouldn't know the story behind the pieces, then these would be just a collection of pieces, which don't impress the listener very much I think. It didn't do much for me. They are all around the three-four minutes break and mostly sketch like in approach. Not great, not bad, but in the end not entirely satisfactory. (FdW)
Address: http://www.movingfurniturerecords.com

BJERGA/IVERSEN - AMPLIFIED CRYSTAL RUST (CDR by Striate Cortex)
Following last week's release on Striate Cortex (spelled wrong last week actually) by Sindre Bjerga, there is now the second release, and another one to involve Sindre Bjerga. Here he teams up with Jan-M Iversen, and as such they have released a whole bunch of music in a relatively short period, but then things got quiet again, even though they toured a lot. They are electronic improvisers pur sang: armed with a load of electronics, pedals, tape recorders, sampler, contact microphones and a home-made one string instrument, they create dense tapestries of sound. The initial work didn't do much for me, but as time progressed things have been become actually quite good. This particular recording from earlier this year at Stavanger's Public Library is a such a fine work. A bit noise based, but never loud/heavy/distorted or such like, but working towards the louder end of drone music, with a rough edge to it. A minimalist sound in which the music slowly develops, feeding through that endless line of sound effects, turning knobs slightly and slowly thus altering the output in a very consistent manner. A particular great concert. Soon to be seen in my area, so I will surely head out. (FdW)
Address: <arborntolose@msn.com>

NORTHERNER - 1976 (CDR by Hibernate Recordings)
SIMON JAMES FRENCH - ANTHEM (3"CDR by Hibernate Recordings)
More nicely packed music by Hibernate Recordings and both by new names. Martin J. Cummings is the man behind Northerner, and as such he released a double release Home Assembly Music, which I believe I didn't hear. Hibernate describes his music as part of 'UK's blossoming electro-acoustic scene', which is just a word, I guess. If you except some INA-GRM type of music here, then this is the wrong place. Cummings is more into the depths of ambient, field recordings and microsound, while not entirely dropping into the drone scene per se. His music is sort in all of these categories. Cummings plays the guitar as his prime source but adds electronics, onto the guitar arrangements, but also a bit of rhythm here and there. Highly atmospheric music with some more 'out' there bits and pieces, just here and there, but placed with great care. That makes this release nothing 'special' however, but in its genre its no doubt a great work. Well produced, fine sounds, good tunes. That's fine enough.
Simon James French delivers his debut with 'Anthems'. His roots are with field recordings, but as far as composing goes, he is inspired by the techniques of Ligeti - clouds of sound that is. His music is very much along the lines of Cummings: ambient, perhaps a bit more drone based than the other, based on heavily processed field recordings and sometimes recognizable field recordings (rain sounds). Nicely flowing, almost synthesizer like music, but its stays away from being a cliched new age recording. Here its hard to find anything new under this sun, but then I must also say that I thought it was all pretty good. His compositions are not just linear explorations of a theme, but instead go out and have interesting movements and changes, which makes this at least in some ways different than many of his peers. A nice debut, in fact a most promising one - on both accounts here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hibernate-recs.com

DUNCAN O CEALLAIGH - PSALMS (3"CDR by Parvo Art)
The man behind the Parvo Art label is the man responsible for the music here, and he has taken his inspiration from the book of Psalms (that is, for those who do not know, a part of the bible). He doesn't use the words but, by contrast, goes into a very abstract way of doing so. I am not sure if Duncan O Cellaigh is a religious man himself, but he treats the subject with great care (as inspired by Makoto Fujimura). I can imagine he has taken sounds from religious areas, like church organs or church bells and processed these into some very luscious pieces of music. Very floating ambience, with a strong sense of tranquility about them. Like the psalms who are supposed to bring comfort to those who read them, this does exactly the same thing. Microsound? Ambient glitch? Surely all these things apply to this music, but its that highly unusual context of biblical references that makes this into quite an unique release. Refined, heavenly music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.parvoart.org

THE INFANT CYCLE - A MYSTERIOUS DISC (3"CDR by The Ceiling)
Since much of the music that is reviewed in these pages is sold through mailorder, I can see why The Infant Cycle want to release 'A Mysterious Disc'. No information whatever on the cover, but a small note says the title, and that's released by The Ceiling. A short release, of just two tracks, lasting fifteen minutes. The Infant Cycle do whatever they do best: music created with loops of crackling vinyl, spiced with electronics. The first piece is very short, and ends quite abruptly. Bummer. But the second piece is great. Minimal, almost trance inducing, psychedelic even, this is a subtle floating piece, hovering close over the surface of the earth. One of the best pieces I heard from him. You could wonder if it is such a wise thing to have it in such an obscure release. Maybe a re-issue should be thought of? (FdW)
Address: http://www.theceiling.ca

JULIEN BEAU - REFLET (3"CDR by Aposiopese)
The front cover shows us, besides the name Julien Beau, some Japanese characters and I believe, looking at the backside, this means 'Reflet', of which we find two parts here and then a piece called 'Ethopee'. Although it says on the cover 'recorded, composed and mixed by Julien Beau'. there is also extensive to to one 'Etienne Rolin and his group of improvisers from the Conservatory in Bordeaux, France', which lead me to believe that Beau uses sound material of these people. Especially in the first part of 'Reflet' there is quite a bit of traditional instruments to be spotted, along with some electronic processing. In the second and third piece this processing of sound is much more dominant, and here the instruments are pushed much more to the back. Its quite a nice release, and especially the 'Ethopee' piece is very nice, with its acoustic objects and deep bass sound. Think modern musique concrete, but less strict and less serious. Quite alright this sort of thing. Nothing spectacular, great or really new, but in its genre, quite alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aposiopese.org

POKE 20 (artwork by Esc.Rec)
To the world outside The Netherlands it may seem that anything goes here, and that there is always money for it. Cross-over here is the ideal word. Cross-over between media (art, music, internet) or between styles (let your hip hop be played by an orchestra) or age and gender (bring your hip hop to shady pines). So let me assure you that when someone thought of the idea of writing out Commodore 64 for a twelve piece orchestra, it was not too difficult to find money for it. Now the 'full circle' has been made by asking twenty people to do a remix of Monty ON the Run: from 8 bit to an orchestra and back to the dancefloor. Not that you can get it that easy, or in a quality that good: the music is stored on a website, but you can order a CD cover and blank CDR to copy the download on. 'Revolutionary artwork has to put free download album Poke 20 on the map', as the press text announces. Music/media/internet, don't let the CD decide what you get, you burn onto CDR what you like - young and hip. I am a bit wary for all of this. Sceptical, cynical even. It sounds like game to remain busy for artists - not the work you create is important, relevant or beautiful, but the buzz you create or the grant you pick up. But I got on for free (hence the review of what is basically a MP3 release), so I downloaded the whole thing and actually these remixes, although I didn't have a Commodore 64, nor did I visit the orchestra playing the tunes, but this game-boy music mixed with samples from an orchestra is actually quite entertaining. Many use the melody again and again, so after some time you get the drift, unless you wish to see this as a larger conceptual music, executed by an electronic orchestra of twenty people, interpreting the same score. Despite all my reservations, I liked the musical part and that's perhaps the only part we should care about. (FdW)
Address: http://www.escrec.com

LRAD - FRAGMENT SYNTAX (MP3 by Carpal Tunnel)
Of course do we review MP3s, but only and then only when they can be bought. Isn't the whole point of reviewing about wether or not you actually want to get out and purchase an actual release? Or am I being old-fashioned again? So this particular release can only be bought (through itunes, emusic and amazon). The label's website doesn't offer much information here, other than they call it 'dark and industrial techno assembled from textures and abstract sounds'. Yes, there is indeed a successive numbers of repetitive sounds stuck together, which some may call 'rhythm', but techno? I didn't think so. I see no sweaty mass gathered to dance to this music. The whole thing is rather 'low' in approach. Everything seems to evolve around the low to mid-end sound range, of sounds feeding through some line of plug ins or electronics. Think Goem or Pan Sonic, but without much high end. That same minimalist drive is apparent in all of these tracks, which also don't differentiate very much. There is quite a lot unfulfilled potential in this release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.carpaltunnel.cat