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SIMON BALESTRAZZI & MAX EASTLEY &
ALESSANDRO OLLA & Z'EV - FLOATING SIGNAL (CD by TiConZero
TELL - TONAL/NAGUAL (CD by Rossbin) *
CHRISTIAN WOLFARTH - ACOUSTIC SOLO PERCUSSION VOL. 2 (7" by Hiddenbell Records)
TIM CAITLIN & MACHINEFABRIEK - GLISTEN (CD by Low Point) *
BERNARD DONZEL-GARGAND - STILL TO BE A STORY-TELLER (CD by Monochrome Vision) *
LE SYNDICAT - TIMESPACE LOSSES 1982-1987 (CD by Monochrome Vision) *
LOACHFILLET - ELECTRIC SOUND: SOLAR SOLUTION (CD by Resipiscent)
SERGE MODULAR USERS 2009 (CD compilation by Resipiscent)
RALPH WHITE AND THE HORAFLORA SOUNDSYSTEM (CDR by Resipiscent) *
NEXT ORDER - LIVE-REFINED (CD by Order Tone Music)
MICHEL DONEDA & ERIKM & JEROME NOETINGER - DOS D'ANES (CD by Ronda) *
OGROB - EIN GEISTESKRANKER ALS KUNSTLER (CD by Ronda) *
I/DEX - LAYERS (CD by Lagunamuch) *
BRUCE GILBERT - THIS WAY (CD by Editions Mego) *
OREN AMBRACHI - INTERMISSION 2000-2008 (CD by Touch) *
RADIAN - CHIMERIC (CD by Thrill Jockey) *
STARKE - A LETTER FROM YESTERDAY (CD by Mu-nest) *
RAUDIVE BUNKER EXPERIMENT - RBE (2LP/7" single by You Don't Have To Call It Music)
THE WILD SWANS - LIQUID MERCURY (7" by Occultation)
STANISLAV VDOVIN - DECEMBER 24 (CDR by Rat Hole)
STANISLAV VDOVIN - RAPID AND TIRED (CDR by Rat Hole) *
AMNESIA - ABSURD FICTION (CDR by Orila) *
NOKALYPSE - WHERE AVENUES MEET AT NIGHT (CDR by Ripples) *
SEVEN STARS RISING - EXPELLO SOLLICITUDO (CDR by Boxer Records) *
PHILIP JULIAN - LOW ACTIVITY COMPUTER SOLO (CDR by Free Software Series) *
LOTY NEGARTY - REQUIEM FOR THE REVOLUTION (CDR by Free Software Series) *
TETUZI AKIYAMA & ERIK CARLSSON & TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA & HENRIK OLSSON - IN SEARCH OF WILD TULIPS (CDR by Bombox Bombax) *
SKOG OCH DAL - SKOGAR, BERG OCH DALAR (CDR by Bombox Bombax) *
ERIK CARLSSON - LET'S FALL IN LOVE (CDR by Bombox Bombax) *
ETRANGER L'ETRANGER (CDR by Le Brutal Records) *
MIGUEL A. GARCIA - LIVE AT EL TANQUE GALLERY (3"CDR by Ronf Records) *
BRUNO MOREIGNE - ANEMOS VOL. 1 (3"CDR by Kaon) *
AL QAEDA - ANOTHER FAMILY VISIT (cassette by Rotifer Cassettes)
GRASSHOPPER / TWISTY CAT - SPLIT (cassette by Abandon Ship Records)
SIMON BALESTRAZZI & MAX EASTLEY &
ALESSANDRO OLLA & Z'EV - FLOATING SIGNAL (CD by TiConZero
Perhaps a little known fact: Z'EV might be best known as a player of all things metal, in an improvised way, but he also plays what is commonly known as improvised music. This disc shows us his capacities in that direction by playing a quartet with Max Eastley on arc, Simon Balestrazzi and Alessandro Olla, both on laptop and amplified objects (with guitar by Marco Cappelli on two of the nine pieces). These four recorded three different sessions between September and December 2007, but it seems not altogether. First Z'EV with Olla and Balestrazzi, then the three Italians and then Olla and Balestrazzi along with Eastley, using the two unedited previous session. The result were four hours of music, of which this CD is the edited form. In these nine pieces its no longer possible to recognize which session was used, as there all sort of overlaps between the various sessions, and it brings out some nice interaction between the various sound input done by these four (five). Z'EVs rolling metal percussion are at times the starting point, whereas the three others seem to concentrate on 'small sounds'. Yet this work is never anywhere near really soft. Long sustaining sounds (bow on autoharp, arc, strings - nice photos here in the cover!) make long form movements, along with sparse doodling on the laptop. Dense at times, open at other times. An intense affair, but also refreshing to hear. An excellent meeting of like minded spirits. (FdW)
TELL - TONAL/NAGUAL (CD by Rossbin)
CHRISTIAN WOLFARTH - ACOUSTIC SOLO PERCUSSION VOL. 2 (7" by Hiddenbell Records)
An odd meeting, or so it seems at first sight. Christian Wolfarth is of course by now a pretty known improviser of percussion who teams up Joke Lanz, whom we know best as noise musician Sudden Infant. Not a likely person to dabble with improvised music that may or may not involve any form of silence. Yet they now work together as Tell (as in Wilhelm Tell?) and recorded this work already in June 2008. Lanz plays turntables and electronics, Wolfarth percussion. I must say that this release is pretty good. Throughout its the work of improvisation, and it moves along those lines, the input of Lanz makes this also a work that moves along the borders of noise. Its hardly anywhere going over that top, but there are some brutal seconds to be spotted, and throughout this is a highly audible release, as opposed to some improvised music which is hardly 'there'. There is an interesting interplay going on here in some more rhythmic material, courtesy of the percussion and the revolving matters happening at the turntable. A very refined disc of improvised rhythm and noise. Great.
Yesterday, when this arrived a young man (21) was over here and picked the second solo 7" by Christian Wolfarth up. "What's this?", he said. I realized that no longer everybody knows what a 7" record is, which struck me as odd. So I explained a bit, compared it to CD single, to which he concluded 'ah a mini LP'. Different times it is. Hardly a mini LP, this second 7" on solo acoustic percussion. Percussion? Hard to tell on 'Side C'. A continuous droning affair. If something mechanical is placed on a drum skin and produces overtones. A great piece. The 'Side D' is percussion for sure, but altogether something weird also. Like tapping your fingers on a resonant surface. Two entirely different pieces, rounded off nicely to fit on the format. Excellent colored vinyl. (FdW)
TIM CAITLIN & MACHINEFABRIEK - GLISTEN
(CD by Low Point)
It was through the 23Five release of 'Radio Ghosts' by Tim Caitlin that Rutger Zuydervelt learned about his mechanically prepared guitars. This led to this somewhat one way collaboration: Caitlin sent some of his prepared guitar sounds to Rutger who then added some extra sounds and 'overdubs' and finished it off as a release. There are nine pieces to be found here, all of them not too long and each seems to find a place of its own. Both Caitlin and Zuydervelt have a liking for the more ambient kind of music and all things guitar, so it naturally falls in that particular kind of era. Perhaps its the extended techniques applied by Caitlin that make this into a rather varied album of textured mood music. In 'Haul' things suddenly swell above the average level of ambient and marks a distinct point of difference of the album. Throughout however elegance prevails here. Its not that distinctively new and different Machinefabriek record that some people may want, but just another fine excursion in the land of six strings - well twelve here. (FdW)
BERNARD DONZEL-GARGAND - STILL TO BE A STORY-TELLER
(CD by Monochrome Vision)
LE SYNDICAT - TIMESPACE LOSSES 1982-1987 (CD by Monochrome Vision)
Russia's Monochrome Vision knows where to find the obscure goldies. The name Bernard Donzel-Gargand for instance, whose name only rang a vague sounding bell here (associations with Lt. Caramel and the Collectif & Cie studio, but I forgot all about his Plate Lunch CD), and over the years nothing much was released. He prefers his life inside the studio, rather than on the outside with releases, I guess. He has eight pieces here of musique concrete in the best French tradition. Manipulated voices, instruments and electronics, or maybe even field recordings, gliding up and down the scale. Donzel-Gargand does that with great style, but, I think, not entirely to the golden rule book of academic musique concrete. He plays his music as he pleases. Sometimes the results are great, but then sometimes also a bit overlong. As such, some seventy-seven minutes is a bit long for this kind of demanding music - fifty would have been alright too - but Donzel-Gargand has some pretty interesting material to offer. Nice one indeed, and perhaps he's going to stay more in the centre of attention.
There was never a lack of releases on the part of Le Syndicat. They started as a noise duo in 1982, producing the maximum of noise with minimal means, such as radio and TV, manipulating the antenna's. In 1983 Le Syndicat became also the name of their label, and as such they released a whole bunch of cassettes and contributed to a whole bunch of compilations in that period. 'Timespace Losses 1982-1987' deal with that era of compilation appearances, plus one live cut from 1982. Many of those compilations I used to have, so its a reunion party here. 'The Call Of Cthulhu', 'Sexorama 3', 'Morality', 'Wolfsangel', 'L'enfer Est Intime', 'Dry Lungs' - never heard of a release called 'Kill SPK'. Although these days noise isn't part of my daily diet, I am still a sucker for noise from this 80s period. Le Syndicat played loud, raw outbursts of distortion, but early on they also incorporated crude drum machines, years before the started doing really heavy weighted techno music. An excellent compilation of compilation appearances. Long of course, this is quite an endurance test. Power electronics of some of its most intense kinds. Great power enclosed. (FdW)
LOACHFILLET - ELECTRIC SOUND: SOLAR SOLUTION
(CD by Resipiscent)
SERGE MODULAR USERS 2009 (CD compilation by Resipiscent)
RALPH WHITE AND THE HORAFLORA SOUNDSYSTEM (CDR by Resipiscent)
On both CDs the analogue synths play an all important role. On the compilation its the Serge Modular and unnamed synthesizers on the CD by Loachfillet. The latter is from Oakland, California and has worked with Pigs In The Ground, Mummers, Diatric Puds and Psicologicos Traumas, as well as various involvements with labels. The ten tracks on this release fit perfectly into the current revival of cosmic music. Yet what Loachfillet does isn't exactly what say Tangerine Dream did. This is not light your hashpipe kind of music and drift away. This is nightmare music, the horror movie soundtrack. More alike the experiments carried out by some of the more radical early composers such as Morton Subotnick or Ilhan Mimaroglu, or 'Planets Of The Apes' soundtrack. Dark, menacing music, long sustaining sound, heavy oscillations. A pleasant nightmare of course. Like a good horror movie can be pleasant too (or even a bad one). An excellent connection is made to the past tradition of this music, not necessarily taking it into a new field, but a fine continuation within that tradition.
The only time I ever saw a Serge Modular synth was studio 4 of the EMS studios in Stockholm, but it didn't work (unlike the Bucla in the same studio), so I never had the change to fiddle on one. I am actually quite surprised to see a compilation with so many artists that actually have access to one, or perhaps even own one. Much alike the release by Loachfillet, this is nightmare music, soundtrack music or just downright scary. Lovely again. None of these pieces are really noise based
(except perhaps Cebec, Lowenzahn or Grusel), but each of them breaths analogue warmth. Pieces by m/N/Ml, Jan-Hinnerk Helms, Cray, John DuVal, Benge, Kkonkkrete, Electronic Waste Product, Carlos Giffoni, Mono-Poly, Sonic Dada and David Talento. Perhaps not the most well-known names around - not all at least - but each of them knows how to get something nice out of such beasts.
On CDR we find Ralph White, who has recorded his fiddle, banjo, accordion and kalimba with Jandek, Sir Richard Bishop, Michelle Shocked and Powell St. John (of 13th Floor Elevators), together with Raub Roy, who works as Horaflora, and who plays the computer. Reipiscent calls this: 'Konono No. 1 playing Ricardo Villalobos as recorded by David Tudor', which I sort of can see, but it surely doesn't have that Konono No. 1 drive to it. Three long pieces of improvisation, none of which could impress me very much. Very much like stuff a bunch of separate sounds going on, that never seem to match very well. The processing of whatever White does is a bit crude and noisy, and never seems to find a common place, where they both play or interact together. 'A Space Between A Chimney And A Swift' is the best piece with a nice fiddle sound to it. Overall not really bad, but not enough to keep it going for the entire length. (FdW)
NEXT ORDER - LIVE-REFINED (CD by Order Tone
Behind this colorness bandname hides an interesting Japanese band, formed in 2002. With 'Live-Refined' they deliver their fourth release. The band has two guitarists, Yuji Muto and Takumi Seino. Completed by Atsutomo Shigaki on bass and Hiroshi Gori, Matsuda on drums. Takumi Seino you may know from earlier reviews in Vital Weekly: his duo album with Antoine Berthiaume; the album 'Trees' of his Blue Willow Tree and more. Yuji Muto, graduate of the GIT Musicians Institute, is the leader of this jazzfusion band. Both have an easily identifiable style and sound. Seino is a jazzguitarist with a style common to Scofield, Holdsworth a.o. Muto has a more tough electric rock-oriented sound. All four members contribute with compositions for this live recording. Most, four to be exact, come from Takumi Seino.
In the opening track 'Death Mental' the music immediately and misleadingly reaches its boiling temperature. As the title clearly suggests, this piece is inspired on death metal. Hoping for more of this up tempo and tightly played piece, I became however disappointed. For the rest of the album Next Order remain in jazzy atmospheres. We have to wait for the closing track "Angry Stone" to enter rock territories again, with real Frippian energy near the end of the piece. But after repeated listening the other tracks started to reveal their beauty. Energy is channelled here in a different way. 'Oro Campo' for example is a very satisfying piece, evoking old Canterbury days with guitarist Phil Miller. It is pleasure to listen to the subtle playing by Seino. 'Simm 55' is a fantastic composition by Matsuda, a highlight on the album. They in trade in different styles, but the necessary unifying force comes from their musical approach and teamwork. It is a good thing they choose to record their compositions live (Jazz Inn Lovely & Gaia). When this kind of music comes from the studio often all life andspontaneity is mixed out of the recordings. (DM)
MICHEL DONEDA & ERIKM & JEROME NOETINGER
- DOS D'ANES (CD by Ronda)
OGROB - EIN GEISTESKRANKER ALS KUNSTLER (CD by Ronda)
Somewhere in the crack between analogue/acoustic and electronic we find the meeting point for Michel Doneda, erikM and Jerome Noetinger. A bit of an unequal meeting perhaps, since erikM and Noetinger represent with the two of them the electronic side, with their feedback system, CD players and electronics, but don't underestimate Doneda with his saxophones. He's well capable of presenting himself. They first meet up in 2007 at Festival Jazz in Mulhouse in France but later on as a trio started to play more concerts, they wave together an excellent set of three pieces of carefully constructed sound and at times heavily deconstructing noise. Well, that's not entirely of course. No walls of feedback here, power electronics, but in some of the sustaining sounds one might recognize some sine wave like piercing electronics. Certainly if you put the volume up in the more silent parts than the louder ones, will become massive attacks. This trio walk this balance in a great way, that fine line between then the utter quietness and the loud, menacing parts. Each players controls his instruments in an excellent manner, making this most gorgeous disc of improvised music.
The other CD is by Sebastian Borgo, a.k.a. Ogrob, who was the founding member of Sun Plexus 2, a post punk trio, loads of other bands including the recently reviewed Micro_Penis and solo as Ogrob on the guitar. He has played with with people like Alan Courtis, Donald Miller, The Nihilist Spasm Band and ran a gallery called Shot Gun Gallery, until 1998. As Ogrob he plays guitar with lots of small boxes around him. Like with the madness of Micro_penis, he deals with madness here too: 'the insane as artist' is what the title of his solo CD translates. I am sure Borgo is not insane, and I wouldn't call him a show-off either, but he likes to show what he is capable of on the six strings. Fourteen tracks in total from his career, the oldest piece being from 1994 and the most recent from 2006, and various pieces have been released before. He plays his guitar in the best ambient tradition, in the best noise tradition and in the best improvised tradition. Not all in the same piece of course, but among these tracks there is this variation. That doesn't make this CD easy to digest I think. Once you get into say a nice ambient mood, the next track might be all out distortion and feedback. Its a display of his qualities, rather than well rounded musical effort. Maybe such a thing comes with the idea of anthology of works, but it doesn't make a very coherent listening. Nice most of the times, but some of noise bits are a bit tiring. (FdW)
I/DEX - LAYERS (CD by Lagunamuch)
While I was listening to the music of Vitaly Harmash, also known as I/Dex, I was doing some manual labor: cutting bits of paper for someone. It means that, while being busy I could quite get to the music. Harmash is from Novopolotsk, Belorussia, where he works since the 90s with analogue synthesizers, radio, guitars, field recordings and above all computers. In that almost hour that passed I didn't have the feeling I heard anything spectacular new. Oval like ambient music. Glitchy, but warm. Actually, I must say, I very much enjoyed this. No prize to be given for its originality, but its created with great care and an absolute love for that great warm sound. A bit poppy, largely ambient. What more is there to say? I wasn't finished with my manual labor when this was over, so I played it again, straight away. (FdW)
BRUCE GILBERT - THIS WAY (CD by Editions
OREN AMBRACHI - INTERMISSION 2000-2008 (CD by Touch)
Re-issue time here. In the first case we have Bruce Gilbert's first solo record from 1984. Right after his work with Dome (along with his solo work, my favorite Gilbert work) and before re-uniting with Wire for the first time, he recorded two pieces of music for choreographer Micheal Clark. The music was released on LP, and later on CD, but that missed out on a piece (because it was combined with 'The Shivering Man', Gilbert's second solo LP). Its been a while since I last heard this I must admit (partly due to Vital's workload I must say), but I still thinking this is a gorgeous record. The lengthy 'Do You Me/I Did', in three parts, is a moody, reflective piece that unfolds slowly. Gilbert takes his time to develop his sounds, first on the synthesizer and then on the guitar, ultimately combining the two with rhythm in the third part. Eerie, grey music that hasn't aged at all. Excellent still. Let's hope Editions Mego will re-issue all of Gilbert's solo work!
The second re-issue here is not an entire re-issued work, but a collection of hard to get pieces by Australia's Oren Ambarchi from the period 2000-2008. Pieces from compilations and limited vinyl releases, plus a previously unreleased cut. Likewise with Gilbert, I haven't heard Ambrachi's recent output, but its good to have a release like this. I don't think I have any of these releases, so it fills in a gap for me. Quite pleasing to hear the vocals on "Iron Waves", or the quiet silent introspective strumming on 'The Strouhal Number'. These pieces do not shed much new light upon the work of Ambarchi, but it has all of his trademarks in it: the sustaining guitar, the sinewave like sounds and even some more louder exercise in 'A Final Kiss On Poisoned Cheeks', with some nasty, noise frequencies. A nice 'in between' release, while waiting for something new. (FdW)
RADIAN - CHIMERIC (CD by Thrill Jockey)
No doubt I mentioned this before, but the few times I saw Radian live I was thrilled by their live sound, more perhaps than their CDs. They took a four year break between 'Juxtapositions' (including one year of not playing live) to reflect on their music and see where to go next. The result of that thinking is on 'Chimeric' and their music certainly has taken off into a new territory. Although its hard to label their previous sound as anything, the soft, somewhat jazzy sound has been replaced by a more rock like texture. It opens with a wild beast named 'Git Cut Noise', with heavy rock drums and distorted guitars. That sets the tone for this album, which doesn't mean however that it goes all the way, all the time. A piece like 'Subcolors' shows a combination of the old Radian sound, with the free play of the new Radian. Its the last piece of the CD and in between we have moved from everywhere to anywhere. Soft pieces, wild pieces, with lots of emphasis on the real instruments, drums/percussion, guitars and bass. Electronics seem to be reduced in this new album, only sparsely placed here and there. Radian has successfully re-invented their sound, taking a new road into the jungle. Freedom in playing are the new keywords, while preserving the best of their old sound. Heavy all the time, but sometimes lightweighted heavy, like the precious sound of a falling leave. Demanding and rewarding. Great album. Would be interesting to see how that works out in a concert. (FdW)
STARKE - A LETTER FROM YESTERDAY (CD by
For a moment or two (better would be: for a song or two I thought I was dealing with a new release on Someone Good, Room40's sub division for all things (Japanese) pop. But it isn't. Its a release by a label called Mu-Nest but its indeed by two Japanese musicians: Shunichiro Fujimoto (acoustic guitar, acoustic and electric piano, found sounds, programs) and Ysuhi Mori (drums, percussion, keyboards, string arrangement), plus some additional help on voice, guitar and cello. A record of slow, quiet, peaceful music. Folk music without too many vocals, entirely updated to the new millennium. One long road trip. This is, strange as it may seem, music to travel with. Put this on your car stereo and drive away, on your ipod while on the train to a far away, unknown destination. Music for a rainy day (perhaps no surprise that today is such a day). Sweet music, no aggression anywhere around. A bit of microsound, which made me think this could also have been on the current 12K roster. Nothing new as such but Starke has produced a fine album of small delight and elegant tunes. (FdW)
RAUDIVE BUNKER EXPERIMENT - RBE (2LP/7"
single by You Don't Have To Call It Music)
The past is no longer a mystery, it slowly unfolds. The first time I heard about Raudive Bunker Experiment was most likely also the last time I heard about them was when I heard a track on a great, highly limited cassette compilation release called 'Endzeit'. A great soft moody synthesizer piece. I also assumed since then (I think we're speaking 1982 here) that this band/project was from Germany. Maybe it sounded German to me. Anyway, much to my delight, I now hold this double album plus 7" in my hand. Along the lines of Vinyl On Demand, You Don't Have To Call It Music re-releases old and forgetting gems. There is a box set with additional booklets, which I didn't get, so I can't comment too much on the band's history, but apparently its the project of one Andy Wilson, who also played with Bourbonese Qualk (which I didn't know either), these days operates as Sunseastar and The Grand Erector, and who also wrote a book on Faust. So besides those two nice, soft pieces I never heard anything and therefor this package comes as a surprise. This set includes a re-issue of a LP from 1982 and assorted other pieces from other (compilation?) releases, while the 7" also uses voice, unlike the material on the two LPs. The music of Raudive Bunker Experiment floats in various directions: it can soft and not too outspoken, but also wildly rhythmic and industrial, such as in the aptly called 'Industrial Estate', or improvisations with electronics and guitars as in 'A Knot'. Although I would love to say the music hasn't aged, it has. That is not bad - this music from a certain time made on certain equipment that we would call no longer up to date. That's totally fine. But one of the things that I like about this is that not every moment is great. Very much like of those days, when all was recorded and released. In some of these pieces we hear him search for some sound or structure, but doesn't quite get there. That's lovely (and probably wouldn't be acceptable by today's experimental standards), since its very much a sign of those times. A highly varied bunch of music, from minimal synth to ambient and industrial banging. A more than excellent release of an overlooked classic. (FdW)
THE WILD SWANS - LIQUID MERCURY (7"
Back in Vital Weekly 678 we applauded the return of The Wild Swans, an erstwhile Liverpool band from the early 80s when things were all doom. They disappeared off the radar for many years but as said re-united late last year and released earlier a great 10". Now there is a likewise great 7". 'Liquid Mercury' is a great melancholic popsong, moody of course, still after all these years, whilst the b-side 'The Wickedest Man In The World' is more a story telling piece. Both pieces deal with Paul Simpson (founder, singer, songwriter) and his memories of his home town Liverpool. Definitely nothing for Vital Weekly, this melodic post-punk/psychedelic set, but for me, sucker of old stuff (at times, at times), the perfect anti-dote to all difficult music landing on this desk day by day. (FdW)
STANISLAV VDOVIN - DECEMBER 24 (CDR by Rat
STANISLAV VDOVIN - RAPID AND TIRED (CDR by Rat Hole)
The music of one Stanislav Vdovin takes you right into minimal land. Not a lot of information to go by. Mastering by Taylor Deupree. On 'December 24', four pieces 'morning', 'day', 'evening' and 'night' and there is one name that keeps popping up: Gas, Wolfgang Voigt's minimalist ambient bass pump. There is no sense in denying here, as Vdovin does very much the same sort of thing. A bass pushed up with no immediate other frequencies around it, moves around, solely on the dance floor, but there is not much to dance too. Around it are minimal washes of sounds that live on plug-ins, well nourished plug ins. An eerie, minimal music occurs. In the 'night' piece, the longest on this release (well over half the release), the bass is absent, and its a ambient glitch piece. Quite nice, but then so was Gas back then (I should play it again, a fine reminder). No surprise here, but done nicely.
Four tracks also on 'Rapid And Tired', but much shorter - only twenty-four minutes. If the other reflects winter time in Russia, then this surely is spring time. The music is easier to access, the rhythm is there, but this time in a more detailed form. Slow techno like rhythms, bass upfront, but with the other particles more in place. The ambient sound swirls around this again, but is a bit more musical than on the other release. Again not exactly the kind of music that would make your body move around all night, but as an after party this would make perfect sense. (FdW)
AMNESIA - ABSURD FICTION (CDR by Orila)
Although this is his fourth CDR release, I think its the first time I hear music by Theodore Sifandos. He is the founder member of a band called Vinyl Junkies and produces some radio and TV programs, and as Amensia his solo music. I am sure its not his own music he puts on his radio or TV programs as this is quite a different and sometimes difficult hat. Its also a mixed bag. The CDR opens with 'Absurd 1', a heavy, noisy ring of processed guitar. Exploded laptop blues. Not the greatest opening I must admit. It turns out that the other pieces are quite different, with 'Absurd 2' being something entirely subdued and calm, the real blues but then ambient. The third piece is noisy again, and the fourth is more of that nice bluesy ambient noise. Towards the end there are two pieces that involve, of which 'Absurd 6' has some nice vocal samples in it. It ends with some noise styled piece, placed right here, but not to my liking. I have no idea what to think of this. Some of it I like, some not at all. Unlikely to be played a lot, even when that sixth piece is the best of the lot. (FdW)
NOKALYPSE - WHERE AVENUES MEET AT NIGHT
(CDR by Ripples)
Themistoklis Pantelopoulos is the man behind Nokalypse and his Triple Bath label. He has released one LP and four CDRs and various works with others, and now branches out to Italy's Ripples label. The cover says 'several layers of sound were recorded in real time', but it doesn't specify which kind of sounds. I assume they are all from an electronic origin. Like the title implies, you could see this as roads meeting up. Imagine you are in a helicopter and you see all these roads - at the same time, with headlights from the cars at night, driving in various directions, opposite directions, same directions but on different roads and you may have an idea what this music sounds like. Various events in sound, going in various directions, alongside each other, some shorter, some longer. But its dark. Its dark outside where those cars are, but also dark inside, where Nokalypse plays his music. An excellent soundtrack, a homage to driving at night. I almost wished I had a drivers license. (FdW)
SEVEN STARS RISING - EXPELLO SOLLICITUDO
(CDR by Boxer Records)
Behind Seven Stars Rising is Kevan Revis, of whom we reviewed a bunch of releases in the past. This new one doesn't offer much information on the cover, nor the label's website. The kind of low cost cover that doesn't do much good to the whole notion of releasing CDRs. Since the late 80s Revis has released his own music, on cassette and CDR, and done various collaborations, with people like Anakrid. He calls it experimental, electro-acoustic and musique concrete. The seven tracks are a bit different in length. The first two are quite long, 14 and 18 minutes, but the other five are much shorter. You could wonder if it wasn't enough to release these two long ones. Or maybe just the first one. I don't mean this in a negative way, but this piece (they are all untitled) has several parts to it, and that might be as good by itself. Its not easy to say what Revis does. There might be a guitar somewhere, sound effects and some computer for editing and adding field recordings. Not every moment is great. The third piece is way too noisy and stands out in a negative way. Compositions sometimes stay too much in a testing phase, the experiment prevails over the finished composition. There is a variety in here which works rather charming, but one could also say that Revis should make his mind up as to what he wants. The two longer pieces are, oddly enough, the more interesting ones, mainly because he uses shorter time spans to tell a longer story. Like I said, just those would be fine enough. (FdW)
PHILIP JULIAN - LOW ACTIVITY COMPUTER SOLO
(CDR by Free Software Series)
LOTY NEGARTY - REQUIEM FOR THE REVOLUTION (CDR by Free Software Series)
The covers for this series are printed in silver on black cardboard. Usually the essentials are easy to read, but both of these have extensive liner notes and that's simply not an easy task, deciphering what it says. In line with the spirit of a series of computer music works, by real composers, Phil Julian uses his real name rather than his Cheapmachines name. Or perhaps Julian wants to be an overall serious composer now. Julian uses a contact microphone, telephone pick-up coil and computer and of course various bits of free software. 'Low Activity Computer Solo' consists one piece that is cut into various smaller bits that were made from various resonances made by the computer and processed into a great piece of static sound, low humming frequencies and cracks and cuts. It moves away from the old Cheapmachines type of noise, but also from the pure drones of the latter day Cheapmachines and has some highly interesting microsound/musique concrete type of music. Elegant music, great composition. Very nice.
Loty Negarti uses 'audacity, openoffice and gimp under Debian etch 1'. His liner notes are entirely in the Basque language (which meaning might be: don't bother to read this. Unless of course the main sales are in the Basque territory). He has two pieces, of which the first one is a pretty noisy one, but also from an improvised end. Feedback like sounds run amok through a bunch of plug ins, but couldn't hold my attention for the entire eight minutes. The second piece is a bit longer, and works around white static noise. Essentially we are presented with the same idea here that wasn't bad either, but also seems to be taking a lot of time to develop. Half the length - for both tracks - would have been well enough. Nice ideas, execution thereof has room for improvement. (FdW)
TETUZI AKIYAMA & ERIK CARLSSON &
TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA & HENRIK OLSSON - IN SEARCH OF WILD TULIPS
(CDR by Bombox Bombax)
SKOG OCH DAL - SKOGAR, BERG OCH DALAR (CDR by Bombox Bombax)
ERIK CARLSSON - LET'S FALL IN LOVE (CDR by Bombox Bombax)
Swedish label Bombax Bombax doesn't release a lot, usually three a year, but I am sure these three will be available before the date mentioned on the press release, December 14th 2010. These releases come in an edition of 165 copies in a nice silkscreened cover (although the small print is not always easy to read). Bombax Bombax deal with improvised music, mostly by Swedish players. The first however is by two Swedish guys, Erik Carlsson (selected percussion) and Henrik Olsson (drum, cymbal, five glasses and a bowl) along with two key players on the scene from Japan, Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board) and Tetuzi Akiyama (acoustic guitar). Their release is simply great. An excellent combination of Nakamaru's sine wave like sounds, cracks and hiss from the mixing board with the acoustic input of the other three. Each piece is a live cut. In Malmo things sounds piercing from Nakamaru's side, but Olsson's wine glasses, the bow on a cymbal and Akiyama's sparse input on the guitar make this into a true delight.
Skog Och Dal is almost like a Swedish answer to Mimeo. It features Erik Carlsson (selected percussion), Anders Dahl (electronics, pump organ, pitch pipe), Magnus Granberg (piano, saxophone, guitar, glasses), Henrik Olsson (bowls, cymbals, glasses, microphones, amplifier, walkie-talkies), Leo Svensson (cello) and Petter Wastberg (electronics, various objects, electric guitar). Effectively its a collaboration between Anders Dahl and the improvising chamber ensemble Skogen. Highly improvised here of course too, but I must say its also a bit more regular playing that is going on here. Each of the players does whatever he (no girls here!) does, and does that well, but tension seems to be lacking in this interplay. It carries on as it is, and that's it. Its not bad, don't get me wrong there, but no as exciting as the previous release.
The one constant factor in these three new releases is the presence of Erik Carlsson and on his solo release 'Let's Fall In Love!' he still gets credit for solo percussion. In his solo work he is much louder, well or so it seems, than on his other work, with other people. Things buzz, bang and crack at the beginning of this release like a good free improv noise record. But Carlsson shows his qualities as improviser. In 'Vanity Captured Me Once Again' he plays around with the total opposite of this: near silence, closely miked small percussive sound, whereas in 'We Could Die' he applies a bow to create long sustained sounds and small tinkling bell sounds. I would think that Carlsson would apply multi-track recording in his work, especially in that final piece, but who knows: this might all be just some damn fine live playing. (FdW)
ETRANGER L'ETRANGER (CDR by Le Brutal Records)
MIGUEL A. GARCIA - LIVE AT EL TANQUE GALLERY (3"CDR by Ronf Records)
About the first CD I can be short. Its a work of improvisation recorded by Etanis Comella, Miguel A. Garcia, Al Karpenter, Daniel Llaria, Cedric Anglaret and Nicolas Perret (the latter two reviewed here last week with their Hotel Gromada). Its a microphone recording, somewhere in the middle of the space, and the musicians play some notes and tones, without too much noting what the others are doing. Some talking comes through from one of the performers. But nothing much of interest seems to be happening.
Of much more interest is the 3"CDR by Miguel A. Garcia, who came down (up?) from noise and plays something more interesting these days. Although this being on RONF, known for some of its more harsher and brutal sounds, this is quite an interesting deep work. The gallery is located in an old water storage tank, with a large amount of reverb. Garcia plays some dark sounds into them, but its sparsely orchestrated. He shoots as it were these sounds into the space and waits until they died out, before reloading his sonic gun. Over the course of twenty minutes it grows a bit more intense, but throughout it stays on the sparse side. No noise was harmed in making of this work. An excellent work of one of the more promising new faces on the microsound scene. (FdW)
BRUNO MOREIGNE - ANEMOS VOL. 1 (3"CDR
Just like Toy Bizarre, Bruno Moreigne, started a series of 3"CDRs for the French label Kaon. Moreigne might not be the most active composers, having released so far two CDs on Kaon (in 1997 and in 2004), but he is an active hunter for sound. He goes out into the woods and records natural events. They are describe on the cover: lots of small villages in France. The main thing he recorded here is the wind, which will be running through all five releases. Of course we hear other sounds as well, birds, water, rain, but its the wind that matters. He presents it as one piece, but these events are rather by themselves, one by one, and not composed into one piece of music. That is nice, for this one, but I am not sure if this would be altogether interesting for the rest of the series. Maybe the approach is going to be different for the other four? I do hope so. For now its quite a nice start! (FdW)
AL QAEDA - ANOTHER FAMILY VISIT (cassette
by Rotifer Cassettes)
'Another Family Visit' is the soundtrack to a horror movie, or a David Lynch film, or something to that effect. Perhaps a family visit from Hell, if the title's anything to go by. Al Qaeda's brand of soundscape is dark, brooding, and mechanical - Part I, for example, sounds like it has been recorded in the subterranean furnace of a massive, defunct factory. I'm not sure how these three Californians construct their spellbinding opuses, but the results speak for themselves. Amid the baleful sound one becomes accustomed to a constant, sinister hum which permeates the entire cassette, and above this drone are distant, industrial clangs and vague figments of what might be disguised keyboard drones. Part II is less ominous and even a little hopeful, but Al Qaeda's penchant for dark, dissonant sound keeps this decisively in ghoulish territory. Your best bet is to save this cassette for consumption in complete darkness, as its rich eeriness is best encountered in a suitable environment - if possible, however, one might consider dusting out the Walkman and playing it while wandering through the local abandoned industrial district. (MT)
GRASSHOPPER / TWISTY CAT - SPLIT (cassette
by Abandon Ship Records)
This split is a rarity for the underground experimental scene because both bands employ traditional instruments prominently in their music. In the case of Grasshopper, the New York duo bury doleful trumpeting amid their whirring layers of feedback noise, reverberating sonic detritus, and assorted electronic tomfoolery. Their side of this split happens to be made of severely potent stuff. Terrific opener "Smokey Nights, Melting Flesh" is a momentous and hypnotic work, all wrapped up in a high-pitched electronic rush. Meanwhile, aptly-titled "When Hell Overfills, The Dead Will Walk the Earth" could be the cacophonous score to a Dario Argento climax, thoroughly horrific in its fiery harsh noise, blaring trumpet, and what might be hellishly discordant organ keys. Like the rest of Grasshopper's side, which progresses through its share of noisy peaks and gentler valleys, it deserves to be played loud and mercilessly. On quite a different front, saxophone and clarinet figure much more centrally into Twisty Cat's sound than trumpet does into Grasshopper's. The trio of Ed Bear (Talibam!), Lea Bertucci, and Greg Fox (GDFX, Teeth Mountain) merge woodwinds, drums, and electronics to produce an impressive free-jazz rattle, bounding from spectral and mournful ("Sedenion") to bouncy yet organized ("XGDFXy") and then back again ("Guns in Grilling"). The recording could be better, but as things are, this rubs off as a casual peek into a semi-organized band rehearsal; though buried in tape fuzz, one can nevertheless sense the seedlings of glory here. Unlike Grasshopper, however, Twisty Cat doesn't have a live performance to fill the last half of their side, making for a disappointing length of blank tape to finish this sucker off. While it lasts, though, this split is a damn fine adventure. (MT)