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.
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weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
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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
BJNILSEN - THE INVISIBLE CITY (CD by Touch)
LOBISOMEM - BRIGHTEST SOLIDS (CD by Tall Corn Music) *
FRED BIGOT - MONO/STEREO (CD by Holy Mountain) *
ERIC LACASA - ZONE SENSIBLE 2/DUNDEE 2 (CD by Room40) *
THE GHOST OF 29 MEGACYCLES - LOVE VIA PAPER PLANES (CD by Sound & Fury Records) *
TEN - JOURNEYS (CDR by Owls) *
VIRIDIAN SUN - INFINITE IN ALL DIRECTIONS (CD by Hypnos Recordings) *
SEREN FFORDD - STELLAR NURSERIES (CDR by Hypnos Recordings) *
STEVE BRAND - CHILDREN OF ALCYONE (CDR by Hypnos Recordings) *
THE D. - D.A.F. (LP, private)
212CODE - MEMORY STICK (DVD-R by Modisti) *
ROBOT FARTS: 2009 NORCAL NOISEFEST COMPILATION DOCUMENT (CDR by Norcal Noisefest)
RAY OFF - DOUTISAHIMASHITE (CDR by Black Petal) *
MULLER & CONLAZO & EARZUMBA - HERMANOS REYNAFE (CDR by Dialsinfin) *
FRED LORCA - COSAS QUE SUCEDEN (CDR by Dialsinfin)
ANDREAS BRANDAL/IAN HOLLOWAY (cassette by Agharta Tapes) *
BIG CITYY ORKESTRA - YMIR (cassette by Agharta Tapes) *
New MP3 releases
1. From: olivier rodriguez <email@example.com>
BJNILSEN - THE INVISIBLE CITY (CD by Touch)
By now BJ Nilsen (or rather BJNilsen) is a mainstay on the Touch label. He is not a man of many words, or big concepts. I am not sure what the title 'The Invisible City' refers to, but it does have a detailed list of all of his sound sources per piece. Its an interesting read of 'amplified chair dragged across floor, window shutters, steel whistle coffeepot, dead trees leaning against each other, train, footsteps in snow, crows, rain' but also acoustic guitar feedback, tapeloops of found sounds, pitch regulated viola, B&K Sine Random Generator Type 1204, virtual Hammond Organ and such like. The titles of his pieces do not give away much either: 'Gravity Station', 'Phase And Amplitude', 'Scientia', 'Virtual Resistance', 'Meter Reading', 'Into Its Coloured Rays', 'Gradient' and the title piece. If necessary at all, one could consider Nilsen to be part of the crowded scene of people who create atmospheric, drone based music through all sorts of means, but at the end of the chain there is always the computer: all pieces list 'various DSP' at the end. That renders some of the sounds, if not all, beyond recognition. As said this music is highly atmospheric and finds its origin in drone music. This is a fine disc, don't get me wrong. There is some excellent music on here, that is at times more daring then the usual 'field recordings and drone music', with some nasty frequencies here and there, and some sudden changes. That is what sets BJNilsen apart from many of his peers. But somehow I also had the impression that 'heard it already' is also part of this. It seems to me that BJNilsen created some fine work which is already in his line of work, rather than making the next move. That perhaps is the only downside to this release. If you are not familiar with his work, then this is good release to get to know his work, and perhaps if you can never get enough, then this will proof no disappointment either. An absolute great disc. (FdW)
LOBISOMEM - BRIGHTEST SOLIDS (CD by Tall
Brad Loving is the man behind Lobisomem, who now lives in Chicago, where he records his music and is a DJ. The music on 'Brightest Clouds' started as compositions on a laptop, but in the studio they were transferred to analog tape, and mastered straight to vinyl lacquer (why, I asked myself, since he made a CD out of it). Six tracks here which makes it into something that is perhaps a CDEP, of electronic music with a strong, firm basis in rhythm oriented music. It was quite alright, but I must admit I didn't hear much new going on here. This music seems to me for fans of labels as Boltfish, Expanding Records and such like. Beat oriented but not always 'just' aiming for the dance floor. Music that you can also as well enjoy at home, while doing the dishes, vacuum cleaning or just reading the newspaper. Armchair techno. Quite pleasing, but not much of surprise. The digital-analog transition of this sort of went past by me, judging by the music itself. (FdW)
FRED BIGOT - MONO/STEREO (CD by Holy Mountain)
Sometimes it seems as if people disappear. You just forget about them. I would have probably never thought about Fred Bigot or his Electronicat project if this CD would have appeared. Not that he is no longer active, but maybe he moved onto a different radar screen. You have no visual on him anymore. I do remember liking his music as Electronicat. Poppy, electronic, strong rhythms, vocals. Rockabilly electronic. I am not sure, but perhaps I never heard his work under his own name. In 1999 he released a 12", which can now be found on this CD along with various unreleased cuts from the last ten years. Its very much music from that late 90s, early 00s era. Deep bass rhythm of drum machines being filtered through analogue synthesizers, minimalist and repetitive, on top heavy, sine wave like sounds that pierce right into your brain. Music that reminded me of the early works of Alva Noto and Frank Bretschneider, some of Mego earliest releases, Ryoji Ikeda, Goem and above all Pan Sonic. Using a Roland TR 808 and a Waldorf and Sherman filter, Rat distortion and Lexicon Jamman, this is some heavy weight minimal head nod music (in stead of taping feet) music. I am not sure if this aims at the dance floor, but my suggestion would be to put this on your MP3 player (discman would be better, but who uses that these days?) and play this at ear-splitting volume. Or at home at full volume, until all your furniture starts moving. Though nothing new, this might be the start of a revival of this kind of music. Would be about time! (FdW)
ERIC LACASA - ZONE SENSIBLE 2/DUNDEE 2 (CD
Two new works by Eric LaCasa, the active composer of musique concrete. By now he has a long list of releases under his belt, and on this CD he presents two new works. 'Dundee 2' is in three parts, while 'Zone Sensible 2' is one work. That one was commissioned by Les Instants Chavires (France) for a festival and uses solely the sounds of bees, recorded in a beehive. It starts out with the sound of bees, but soon starts to move about in some electronic after life. Or so it seems. Until now I always thought, but perhaps wrongly, that LaCasa only works with pure sound, always recorded in the fields (agricultural and urban), and never used that much sound processing, but perhaps I was wrong. Here its a much more electronic work that depicts the chaos of the beehive very well. Buzzing with life, sounds crawl about and its hard to figure out what is going on - except of course if you are a bee yourself. A work full of life.
'Dundee' was commissioned by Arika for 'Kill Your Timid Notion in 2007 and uses sounds of that Scottish city, which was played back on a six channel system, devised along with Ken Jacobs, an American film maker. Here we have the 'empty' spaces that resonates, sometimes interrupted by voices ('what are you doing in the parking, recording spaces'?, or station announcements) or by events we can longer trace back to its origin. Here it seems to me LaCasa uses no electronic processing, but the pure sound phenomena as captured on tape. A powerful work, even if you don't know the city of Dundee (at least I don't). What sets LaCasa aside from his colleagues in the same field, is that he composes with the material, rather than presenting them (for instance works like this on the German Gruenrekorder label), and that makes them all the more engaging to hear. I am not sure why 'Dundee 2' has been cut into three separate pieces, but like 'Zone Sensible 2', these are excellent pieces. LaCasa is one of the true masters of working with field recordings. (FdW)
THE GHOST OF 29 MEGACYCLES - LOVE VIA PAPER
PLANES (CD by Sound & Fury Records)
TEN - JOURNEYS (CDR by Owls)
So far I counted two and half releases by The Ghost Of 29 Megacycles, a three piece from a land downunder. Karen De San Miguel, Matthew Aitken and Gregory Taw. The latter started the band, but now is a real band. They are a guitar band primarily. A shoegazing guitar band, with a strong influence of Windy & Carl and Stars Of The Lid. Long sustaining sounds are produced the guitars - maybe with the addition of other instruments, but I can not be sure of that. Spacious music, played with the use of looping devices, lots of chorus and reverb - perhaps the latter is over-used here. The guitars no longer tinkle away, like they did on their previous two releases, but sustain on end, with every now and then some wordless singing added to it, the Windy & Carl influence I'd say. 'Dusted', a short piece towards the end uses organ like sounds and no guitars. The final track, the also short 'True Love Will Find You In The End' is the only one in which the singing has words and seems to be breaking away from the first four tracks. Ambient music for space heads (wether or not inhaling substances).
In the same parcel there is also a CDR release by Ten, although on a different label. Ten is Dom Dean, who plays keyboards, samples and glockenspiel and gets help through a string quartet. Although I don't think that the string quartet appear in all of the nine tracks. This too is quite ambient, but working in an entirely different territory than The Ghost Of 29 Megacycles. Whereas they are quite closed, Ten has a much more open sound. Very laidback electronics, that don't play drone tunes, but arpeggio's of keyboards, with the occasional twinkle from the glockenspiel, or a nice touch from the strings. More Klaus Schulze than Brian Eno if you get my drift, but without the teutonic pathos. Easy listening music, a pleasant background music for the late evening. (FdW)
VIRIDIAN SUN - INFINITE IN ALL DIRECTIONS
(CD by Hypnos Recordings)
SEREN FFORDD - STELLAR NURSERIES (CDR by Hypnos Recordings)
STEVE BRAND - CHILDREN OF ALCYONE (CDR by Hypnos Recordings)
Although Hypnos may not seem to appear as prolific as they used to be, its always good to see their releases. M. Griffin, responsible for the label, doesn't set out to innovate the world of music, but has carved out a niche of his own, which he likes to explore, either through his own music or that of others. Together with David Tollefson he plays music as Viridian Sun. They both take credit for playing guitars, bass, percussion, looping, procession and Griffin also for voice. Not that I detected many voice on here, but no doubt one could say that for guitar, save for some obvious point here and there. Everything they play is transformed into lengthy washes of ambient sound. Like the title suggests about the universe, it can also be said of the music. It expands in all directions, moving slowly, elegantly forward - or backward, or downward, side ways, up, down - and perhaps all of it in the same time. Time? Another relative thing - although I am not educated to say such things that deal with nature, or in any philosophical ways. Seven tracks, clearly apart, perhaps that's the extent of these things that make them time based. According to the cover, this was all recorded live in the studio, which made me think that these boys should be on the road and play all night concerts, endlessly improvising and exploring the depths of the synthesized ambient music. Warm music in cold days.
I never heard of Seren Ffordd, who has one hour long piece of music on his 'Stellar Nurseries'. The cover has some words regarding space, stars and how they have influenced this release: 'once born the planets spiral round and round creating new notes chords and harmonies' - it seems a bit too easy for me as points of reference. This work was recorded in 2004 and first released by Umbra. The music was recorded with a Korg 016 and a Yamaha PSA 262 keyboard, in case there are gear freaks amongst the readers. The space music by Ffordd is not unlike that of Viridian Sun, I think, but its a darker and seems to me more drone based, certainly in the first half hour. Then slowly it moves in a slightly lighter tone, with a more clearly played chord sequence on the keyboard. From these three the one that is the least ambient and the most 'dark drone', the isolationist one.
Things have been long quiet for Steve Brand, since his 'The Quiver Of Dreams' (see Vital Weekly 414 - and whatever happened to XZF?). Before that he had released under the guise of Augur with releases on XZF, Alluvial and A Pyrrhic Victory. As noted in that previous review, it seems that when working under his own name Brand works more in the field of drone music, rather the zoviet france inspired electro-acoustics of Augur. The sounds here are sustained longer, and seem to be played on looping devices, which get bell sounds or other acoustic objects as their basic signal. Maybe that's the difference with his older work. He still uses the electro-acoustic side of things, but the results are more long form and sounds simply better. This release seems to me the missing link between the gentle spacious ambient of Viridian Sun and the drones of Seren Ffordd. Brand's music is partly based on the ideas of massive drones, but work out a bit more gently than Ffordd's heavy drones. The perfect order to play a trio like this would be to start with Fford, then Brand and have a great chill out with Viridian Sun. In all three there is nothing much new under the sun (stars even) in the field of drone music, but that aside, this is some great music. (FdW)
THE D. - D.A.F. (LP, private)
D.A.F. in this case doesn't stand for Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, but for Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade. The marquis wrote his texts on toilet paper and deals also with an interview Charles Manson did about how black gangs were exchanging messages in jail. Confusing? It goes on. On this LP, under the banner The D. (being French visual artist Nathalie Bles) various people have sound input: Alexander de Large, Manson F, Horacio Pollard, Sgure, Hypo and Ocsidised. Not separated into various tracks, but presented as two side long compositions of noise, cut ups, voices and vocals, some field recordings, acoustic instrument abuse. Not in the strict sense a compilation, but maybe all the artists threw in their sounds - probably literally - and then further abused by The D. I think. I don't know. Probably what the germans would call a gesamtkunstwerk, of which the meaning somehow eludes me. I though the record was not bad, but not great either. A pretty standard sort of noise based record, but luckily beyond the 40 minutes of endless feedback and distortion, which made it nice enough. (FdW)
212CODE - MEMORY STICK (DVD-R by Modisti)
The future of releasing music might be like this release. Five pieces of music which you can play in a quadraphonic version, as well as a stereo, plus an interlaced version - whatever that might be. Presented on a DVD - only until when we get superfast internet and you buy downloads of this. 212Code is a duo of Merran Laninestra (voice and electronics) and Pedro Lopez (electronics). The latter is the man behind the label and also founding member of improvisation groups as Zyklus, Fases, Modisti and Scorecrackers. Merran comes from Australia but lives in Madrid since 1999. She works with max/msp, piano and voice and works in various fields of music, such as contemporary classic, jazz and improvisation. Five pieces here, all of improvisations dealing with electronics. Computerized electronics that is. Lots of crackling sounds, hissing, spliced into small particles and occasionally the voice of Laninestra, with some wordless singing in a contemporary classical style. Maybe at the basis there are some field recordings, at least that's what I suspect, which go through all sorts of computer treatments. Its all quite alright I guess, but nothing really earth shaking. Somewhere on a cross road of contemporary electronic music and field recordings, but there doesn't seem to be enough uniqueness in these recordings that truly sets it aside from say any good release on Empreintes Digitales, which I guess is not a bad reference either. (FdW)
ROBOT FARTS: 2009 NORCAL NOISEFEST COMPILATION
DOCUMENT (CDR by Norcal Noisefest)
Despite the fact that the Norcal Noisefest is being organized since 1995, and thus the oldest festival of this kind in the USA, I never heard of it. The 2009 edition had no less than fifty artists, of which twenty-seven are collected on this compilation. Many of the pieces are out takes of longer pieces and noise it is. Much feedback, screaming and distortion stumped through floor boards, but occasionally things get softer, experimental and sometimes even improvised. Its obvious that I like those bits more than the pure harsh noise onslaughts. However they are placed with care all around this lengthy compilation, so we don't have to listen to the all around noise thing for too long. I must admit I quite enjoyed this compilation, even some of the noise bits, that there is no particular track that stood out. Its however a compilation that will introduce you to many new names. Included are Instagon, Sissters, Nux Vomica, Gohger/AuralAntithesis, 15 Degrees Below Zero, UEM, Medicine Cabinet, Mucky The Ducky, +Dog+, Chopstick, Smite!, Moe! Staiano, Noisepalm, Liver Cancer, Dental Work, Kill Kill Kill, Superzapper Recharge, Hypnotic Injection, Cerebral Roil, Father Of The Flood, Phog Masheen, Sabreteeth, Actuary, Shrew Florist, Kawaiietly Please, The Transhumans and Jolthrower. (FdW)
RAY OFF - DOUTISAHIMASHITE (CDR by Black
This very much doesn't sound like your kind of music, my friend said who overheard me playing this. Well, I said, what does it sound like then? Like jingly-jangle sixties psychedelic improvisation he said. Your territory? I asked him. Not really he said. Ray Off is a New Zealand group of Jim Currin (guitar), Afke Riemersma (drums), Toki Wilson (recorder, voice), Motoko Kikkawa (metallophone) and Tim Cornelius (drums, autoharp). The latter also played with Sandoz Lab Technicians, one of my favorite groups of New Zealand. Its an all improvisation band and they indeed ask, no: demand, something from the listener. There is no easy way of getting around this. It is either being fully immersed by it or complete hatred. This is as captivating as annoying, if you know what I mean. I have no idea, based on this hour of music, what to think of it, but it seems to me that these recordings are unedited and presented here in their full naked being. If you decide to surrender to them, what I did, its all highly captivating stuff. Things go on and on, with slowly strummed sounds, disoriented percussion, wordless humming voices and plink plonks on the violin. Indeed, my friend was right, this is sixties total free from improvisation (think the Velvets and LaMonte Young, but less drone based), but he was wrong in another way: I quite like it, even when its not my kind of music per se. (FdW)
MULLER & CONLAZO & EARZUMBA - HERMANOS
REYNAFE (CDR by Dialsinfin)
FRED LORCA - COSAS QUE SUCEDEN (CDR by Dialsinfin)
Christian Dergarabedian is the man who calls himself Earzumba since 1995. That's when he left Reynols, of which he was a founding member. On 'Hermanos Reynafe' he reunites with Conlazo, another original member of Reynols. Earzumba was in Argentina for a few months and by initiative of one Tomas Muller (who plays guitar, percussion and effects), there were numerous sessions with Conlazo (guitars, drums, percussion, voice) and Earzumba (keyboards, bass synth, sampler, percussion, voice) plus guestdrummer Pluma on two pieces. On a few occasions here they play some heavy free improvisation rock music, such as in the opening 'El Mulato', but their main play seems to be to recreate krautrock, with its trance like riffs on the guitar, spacious keyboards and drums that keep on banging on end. A slow built up, to get everything in place and then it starts rolling, and rolling, and rolling. A bit like the Acid Mothers Temple. Not bad at all, and I quite enjoy this, but this will never be my favorite music to play all and every day. Every now and then I do like space rock.
"If you listen to this album maybe you will think it doesn't fit to Vital. Fred Lorca its quite different to Earzumba but they have in common some irrevant spirit, humour and sampladelia collage thing". Fred apparently means cold in catalan and lorca is hot in buenos aires slang. Earzumba wanted to create some cheesy vocal based music, with various cheesy, cheap dance rhythms and vocals about... well, I don't know. Earzumba proudly does something different, I very much agree, but he's right: this is nothing for Vital Weekly. (FdW)
ANDREAS BRANDAL/IAN HOLLOWAY (cassette by
BIG CITYY ORKESTRA - YMIR (cassette by Agharta Tapes)
Agharta Tapes is a cassette label from Lithuania, but on these two releases there is nothing from musicians from over there. This is more like a label from the 1980s: the international hometapers releasing their music all over the world on cassette. The first tape is a split tape between Andreas Brandal from Norway on one side and Ian Holloway on the other. I must admit I am not Brandal's biggest fan. His music seems to be based around loops a bit too much and a bit too obvious, with some sparse electronics to go along with that. You can hear he has put some time in his music to create it, think it over and reconsider, but in the end its not very engaging to hear. On the other side we have Ian Holloway, previously Psychic Space Invasion, but since a couple of years under his own name active. His music didn't change that much, in this name shifting process. Drones is what it is. I think he has some cheap organ, some effects and some field recordings. I must say that there are some differences between this and some of his self-released works. 'The Prescient Machine' is a bit more louder, angular than his previous works, and has bits of feedback coming in. It seems to be the result of some process while recording. It slowly decays over the course of the piece. It shows a somewhat more experimental version of Holloway and its actually quite nice.
The other tape - in an edition of 70, instead of 60 - is by Big City Orchestra, and apparently its their 79th tape. Thirty years and still going strong. Upon listening to this cassette, it seems to me that Big City Orchestra use the medium of cassette to play out their more spacious, experimental, improvised work. They have their own radio program, and this tape sounds like a jam session on the airwaves. A bit unfocussed, sounds going on a bit too long, spoken words, number stations and such like. But its nevertheless also a nice work I think, floating freely in space, with a bit of rhythm here and there, synthesized sounds floating about and in general just pleasant to hear, without asking a lot of the listener. Quite nice indeed. (FdW)
New MP3 releases
1. From: Nadim <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Title: Underwater Retreats EP
Remixes by: Christoph de Babalon, MusSck and nikea bustla
Release date: 15.1.2009 (digital only)
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