number 724
week 12


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!
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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


ZEITKRATZER - [OLD SCHOOL] JOHN CAGE (CD by Zeitkratzer Records)
LUNAR MIASMA - CRYSTAL COVERED (CD by Basses Frequencies) *
AIDAN BAKER - BLUE FIGURES (CD by Basses Frequencies) *
NADJA - UNDER THE JAGUAR SUN (2xCD/2xLP by Beta-lactam Ring Records)
WILT - SHE WALKS THE NIGHT (7"/cassette by Husk Records)
KOGUMAZA - SEVENS/MARA (7" by Low Point)
PHILIP SULIDAE - AN HIGH LAND (CDR by Dontcaresulidae) *
NO & ICS - M-TYPE ALPHA (CDR by Ripples Recordings) *
NOS - LIVE (CDR by Rat Multimedia Productions)
PLATFORM - FOUR ELEMENTS (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation)
PAUL MAY & PLATFORM - FLOCK SCISSORS (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation) *
XIPHIIDAE - SEWN WITHIN A CIRCLE (two cassettes by Housecraft)
REUBEN SON - GLOWING DEPARTURE (cassette by Private Chronology)
KARL BRODERUS - RADIX (cassette, private)



ZEITKRATZER - [OLD SCHOOL] JOHN CAGE (CD by Zeitkratzer Records)
So far we learned that Zeitkratzer played new scores by current artists, such as Alva Noto, Francisco Lopez and John Duncan (to name just three) or interpretations of works by Lou Reed and Throbbing Gristle (to name another two). Perhaps its merely a logical next step that they start playing modern classical music from the 'old' school. Coming up are works by Alvin Lucier and Morton Feldman, but the new series '[Old School]' start off with John Cage and James Tenney. From Cage they performed three pieces, all composed in the last years of Cage's life, a highly productive era. It would have been nice to see them play say 'Cartridge Music' or 'Variations', but here they go for the pieces 'Four', 'Five' and 'Hymnkus'. The first and the third last thirty minutes and 'Five' only five minutes. All of these pieces are rather 'open' for interpretation. It would be a bit far out to explain the way they work, with time frames and how to play them, but its exactly the sort of material that Zeitkratzer is happy with. The ensemble's instruments (bass clarinet, clarinet, melodica, piano, trumpet, percussion, violin, violincello and double bass), played by those who have a background in improvised music, are well cut to play music that leaves much room for the players to choose their own sound material within given time frames. In 'Hymkus' they stay close to the ensemble feeling with repeating notes on the wind instruments, but in 'Four' they go all out. Wildly scraping of instruments, improvised playing of wind instruments and all of that making a great piece. The short 'Five' is along similar lines, but perhaps a bit more structured - as per Cage's instructions.
I'm less familiar with the ideas and music of James Tenney, so its a bit hard to say anything about it that is connected to historical knowledge. I learned from the booklet that Tenney created 'swell pieces': music for long sustaining sounds, played on traditional instruments (same list as above), which have an almost electronic feel to it. It works in the region of overtones. Its great music. Sounds swell, rise from below and beyond and make a dome like sound. Think Alvin Lucier or Phill Niblock and you get my drift. But whereas they seem to be operating from a more studio based environment this is all live, which makes it even more remarkable, since it sounds like many voices at once, more than what the list of instruments suggest. In 'Koan: Having Never Written A Note For Percussion' the tam-tam is played, making a low rumble, that swells up like a giant roar. Indeed a swell piece. Whereas the Cage CD is a fine release but perhaps something we already heard before, this is Tenney release is mind blowing. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zeitkratzer.de

Over the years I always have many respect for the work of Conrad Schnitzler, even when I heard only a very small percentage of it. He is never part of any movement or style, and go very much his own way. I do believe I have his release which he did in the late 80s with Gen Ken Montgomery. It was a time when both were interested in 'non-keyboard electronics', which is playing the synthesizer by twiddling the knobs and not about playing a nice melody. That was Schnitzler's big thing until the mid nineties. Then he moved, also, towards playing the piano through some computer technique and he wrote some complicated pieces, which were impossible to be performed by ten fingers. Gen Ken moved out of electronic music and has an interest in field recordings these days. One day he was playing a CD with piano works of Schnitzler with his windows open and the sound of construction workers outside mixed nicely with the piano music. Very much a John Cage move towards listening to music and sound. The results of that are to be heard on this CD. No electronics, but Schnitzler's piano, which isn't as complex here, but stretched out, sparse on notes most of the times, with all sorts of construction workers sounds mingling together. It works really well indeed. A strange collage of sound, that somehow works very well. If I may suggest something: don't put this on headphones/ipod or such like, but play this on your CD player, open your window and make your new, Cage like version, merging it with sounds from your own environment. Excellent work for both of them. Great black and white package with separate cards. (and then I also take this opportunity to raise a question: Plate Lunch, a label which no longer exist since the label owner died years ago, organized a Schnitzler remix project which had to be a triple CD set. Does anyone know what happened to these remixes - who has them?) (FdW)
Address: http://www.gdstereo.com

I must admit I never heard of Ethan Rose or Laura Gibson. The latter is a singer, who also plays guitar and is best described as a folk singer. Rose has been recording music for films, installations and uses old and new technology. For their collaborative record they started with the recording of Gibson's voice, lyrics as well as wordless vocalizations, in a basement, in a forest and in a field. Rose added later on instruments and edited these voice recordings. Last week I lamented about two releases that had voices, but these folky songs are actually quite nice. There is a certain rawness about the vocals that move beyond the ordinary of a folk song. A slight distortion at times. The instruments used here are piano, strings and bells. Intimate music obviously, which has a great gentle side to it. Ambient music you say? Well, perhaps. Think Fovea Hex but then in a somewhat more cruder form. A great CD. What more can I say?
Of an entirely different nature is the album by @C, the duo of Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais - the latter also being the boss of Cronica Electronica. I haven't heard much from them in a while, but apparently they already have a dozen releases, on CD, CDR and digital format. The easy way of putting it: a laptop duo, but @C is 'about contrasts, unheard juxtapositions staged so that they make perfect sense as part of a continuum that is better described as a hallucination or a mystical voyage than mere cinema for the ear', which is another way of putting it. Its not entirely clear wether they made recordings from empty spaces, or wether they set out to record music for empty spaces, but the recordings were made while en route (Aalst, Glasgow, Lisboa, Nagoya, Paris, Porto, Sao Miguel and Stirling), so we have lots of field recordings from those places and spaces, not all of which are necessarily empty - it seems. While en route they received various people from Nuno Aroso, Miguel Bernat, Raymond MacDonald and Jonathan Uliel. I don't know these people but judging by the music, they no doubt added some improvised playing. To me it seems that @C keep on doing what they do best, which is to play music that sounds improvised but then largely generated through electronic means, every now and then with a player on real instruments. Percussion is most likely thing here it seems. Very vibrant music, bouncing off in all directions, like vivid and rapid change of styles with some odd moments of rest (in '76.5 - Listening To K.J.', a sort piano piece). Microsound gone macrosound? @C have something unique at their hand. It seems that their music didn't change much over the past ten years, but they have carved their sound approach a bit deeper. (FdW)
Address: http://www.baskaru.com

In a very nice cardboard sleeve we find a CD (by Gilles Aubry) and a large poster with a text in French by Stephane Montavon. I am sure lots of people speak or read French, but there are more who don't. So it eludes me why this is part of it. No doubt there is a relation to the two pieces on the CD, which were recorded during a six week stay in the CD. Aubry taped the busy city from within rooms with 'resonant properties': a bathroom, a market hall, a basilica, a courtyard, a refrigerator and a parking house. You hear the city, but its always a bit remote, a bit far away, a bit blurred. Its not a strict fifty minute recording here, but Aubry has made a collage out of these recordings, superimposing them (which means he layered a few), in order to further blurr the effect. The humming of machines, walking and talking of people, cars passing far and above. Like a beautiful day - like today actually - when the window is open and sounds from outside leap into your environment. I have not been to Cairo, but I can vividly imagine it would sound like this. I am not sure if two is more than one here: both pieces seem to have a similar approach, which makes perhaps the second one a bit superfluous. Not always more equals better, and in the limitation one can show beauty too. But through a pretty good release, musicwise. I can judge about the text, but a translation would be welcome, I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.gruenrekorder.de

AIDAN BAKER - BLUE FIGURES (CD by Basses Frequencies)
Behind Lunar Miasma we find one Panos Alexiadis (of Heavensore and Insult Recordings), whom we already heard on a collaborative 3"CDR with Ondo (see Vital Weekly 715), but here a full solo work. He plays, according to the cover, analog synths, guitars and effects. Five lengthy pieces which display a true love for the seventies cosmic music. No sweet arpeggio's on these keyboards, but sine waves and sabre tooth tones, free floating in a weightless space. A bit raw but also quite moody. Sometimes chilling cold such as in 'Circle Mountain', but also all cosy and warm such as in the title piece, which is lengthy sustaining chords and oscillating sounds. Almost ambient house music, but that beat never arrives, and that's fine. A perfect album to either go to bed with, or wake up music to stay a new day a fresh. Nothing new under the sun, but played with great care and style, further deepening the ideas of cosmic music. Emeralds fans should pay notice.
There was a time when we reviewed almost on a weekly basis music by Aidan Baker (or perhaps my memory is blurred in that respect). Now that he seems to be more well-known his releases are not as many anymore, or they do not reach me that much. Its been a while. The music on 'Blue Figures' is all recorded live, in Berlin and Prague and has Baker on guitar and voice. A mini disc streams some bird sounds and throughout there is a mood-heavy ambient atmosphere. Baker plays his guitar, feeds it through his sound effects, which predominantly is a loop station so that sounds start repeating and floating about, all along while Baker keeps adding more and more delicate small tones, but he knows how to keep things 'small' and 'intimate'. Of course all improvised, Baker shows us to be a true master of his trade. Carefully he constructs his music, stone by stone, brick by brick and when it reached the climax he just as carefully deconstructs the music again. Excellent drone music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bassesfrequences.org

Who exactly this Voice Electronic Duo is I don't know. I believe they are from Poland. They perform five works here, all of which use poems. One each by Luiggi Russolo, Zosia Esden, Ezra Pound and John Cage, leaving one piece to be instrumental. The term poetry must be regarded with some mild caution. Its not a careful recitation of a poem, but using it more like loud sound poetry. The text is as such hard to recognize, if at all. Its more like wordless humming, singing and shouting. The music is quite a vivid affair most of the times, with wild driving sequenced sounds, or carefully placed bell like bubble sounds, such as in the title piece (apparently a Cage poem, where the voice starts to sound like a Laurie Anderson howl). Its hard to make up my mind about it. No doubt this is all quite serious, but it moves away from the serious composed music into something that is more based in the world of improvisation and noise - without ever getting real noise, although things tend to be loud. Its not bad, but perhaps also a bit too singular in approach towards the music and the way the poems are approached. For now I give it the benefit of doubt and it would be good to see what else they can come up with in the future. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/voiceelectronic

NADJA - UNDER THE JAGUAR SUN (2xCD/2xLP by Beta-lactam Ring Records)
It seems that the stream of releases of Nadja will never stop. Nadja is a duo of Aidan Baker and his partner Leah Buckareff from Toronto. The duo makes music since 2005 in an ambient, experimental, doom-metal, drone and shoegaze sphere. They released a lot of albums at different labels, as band or in cooperation with other bands or musicians like Fear Falls Burning, Black Boned Angel, Atavist and A Storm of Light. Every album has his own atmosphere and concept with it is own surprise. "Under the Jaguar Sun" is a special release. CD 1 called "Tezcatlipoca (Darkness)" has the typical hypnotic Nadja-sound with compositions which slowly develop and based on bass-guitar and guitarsounds. The five tracks flow into each other as a slow and quiet sea with melodic bass-melodies to rough waves with grungy singing of Aidan Baker or the whispering voice of Leah Buckareff. The other CD "Quetzalcoatl (Wind)" is more acoustic based and played with a great variety of instruments, like piano, cello, violin, sitar and harmonium. Sometimes it reminds to old psychedelic albums from the seventies/eighties. The experiment of this release is that the listener can make his own Nadja mix. You play the two albums simultaneously and create a new composition and it is worth doing it. This development in Nadja's musical career is a climax in the musical experiments, where metal, doom, drone and psychedelica meet each other. It is a challenge for the duo to examine how they can explore the interaction with the listeners of their music. This is the first step... what will be the next? (JKH)

The name of this small label refers to a concrete artifact, an axe that appeared about 1.4 million years ago and was used by early humans. Why Hans Tammen, a german guitarist who lives in New York since 2000, choose it as the name for his label I don't know. With the music on this label we are in a totally different area of human activity, far away from simple artifacts that have a function in our daily routines. Here we are dealing with highly experimental music that is beyond the dimension of function and artifacts. "Black Box" carries two improvised duets recorded live in a location of the same name in Munster, 2007. Players are Axel Dörner on trumpet and Erhard Hirt on guitar connected with electronics. Dörner is a specialist in extended techniques and creates of wide range of sounds and textures coming from his trumpet. The guitar playing by Hirt is very relative in a way, as he uses lots of electronics. Sometimes a bit over the top if you ask me, and not serving any goal. The music becomes so abstract and radical that it becomes difficult to feel emotionally engaged in this music. "Chatter Blip" by Dafna Naphtali and Chuck Bettis does not suffer from this lack. Again it is a CD by a duo producing highly experimental improvised music. Naphtali plays electronics, voice and sound processing. Bettis, electronics and voice. However with this one I have another problem: the absence of focus is felt even stronger here then on "Black Box". It is too much of everything: electronics, improvisation, vocal art, etc, etc. Very free form and going nowhere. "Breach" is the unexpected exception on this cd for me. This is a real communicative and structured piece of work. I guess this project still has to grow. The different backgrounds, skills, etc. have to merge into a more distinct voice. Now it is an eclectic collage, that didn't make any impression on me. So both releases do not convince me in the end, although they have their interesting parts. So I turn all my hope on the last one. German pianist Peter Geisselbrecht performs two works dating from the 20th century. First "Concord Sonata" by Charles Ives. My first encounter with this famous piece. It portrays american writers of the 19th century movement Transcendenalism: Emerson, Hawthorne, The Alcotts and Thoreau. Especially the second part, "Hawthorne", struck me, as it was like if I was listening to improvisor Thollem McDonas. A great work, played with verve by Geisselbrecht. Mompou was a spanish composer, and from what I hear the spanish equivalent to Eric Satie. His work "Musica Callada 1", composed in a less is more style, is built up from 13 short pieces of reflective piano music that bring you melancholy moods. Like "Concord Sonota" this work is inspired on literature. On the poem "La Musica Callada" la Soledad Sonora (Silent Music, Resonant Sollitude) by the mystic Juan de la Cruz to be more precise. So taking inspiration from transcendental and mystic writers is what both compositions have in common. Nice to have both works on one CD in very enjoyable interpretations by Geisselbrecht. (DM)
Address: http://www.handaxe.org

Oh Sweden. Country of too much money (might just be my perception, I guess) for all things 'art'. The organization Svensk Musik 'exist to disseminate information on Swedish music and to make it more readily available". Which means producing a book in the 90s and now two DVDs. And just if you thought you'd knew about everybody from the serious music scene (through the activities of Fylkingen and Firework Edition), seven out of eight names here are all new to me. They present audio visual installation pieces, which I believe to be on DVD a mere substitute for the real thing. It just doesn't have that same feeling. We see the lifting and moving of a curtain for instance (Liv Strand). Her 'Pipeline' is a much more fascinating experience of moving through hospital pipes. Mathias Josefson (whom we know as Moljebka Pvlse) has piece based on daily sounds and strange moving images - probably sunlight through curtains. A nice drone piece. Andreas Gavell Mohlin creates a sonic graffiti pen and we see him, with a hood, moving through public space writing text on walls, trains and doors. We don't see the text, since it just produces sound. A nice idea but even at seven and half minute a bit long. Anna Lindner's piece is a version of 'Guitar Drag', but then a sewing machine is towed with a Volvo. Probably some feminist statement which eludes me.
The other DVD starts with Johannes Helden (who has released on Trente Oiseaux and Ideal Recordings), who has an interest in writing too. An interesting, rather sad piece, and sadly also a bit short. Refined microsound. Nadine Byrne has been one half of Ectoplasm Sisters and she has two short pieces which are also quite poetic, with ghostly voices. The piece by Mattias Petersson and Frederik Olofsson is called 'Ström' (electricity) is mainly a oscilloscope piece, with high and low end tones which reach somewhere in the middle towards the end. Christine Odlund shows us her score. We see the time-line moving and it looks great. A refined piece of drone music. While some of this looks very nice (Odlund, Josefson) I wonder if you would look it a lot. From a music perspective however this is a nice overview of some great artists from Sweden. Promotion succeeded!
Address: http://www.mic.se

Computer games are not my game. Never had any interest, never will. Machinarium is a game developed by Amanita Design for which Tomas Dvorak (related to Antonin Dvorak, I wonder?) created the soundtrack. The pieces on this record are to work as a standalone, which I think they do. I have no clue what this game is about. Dvorak, who works as Floex and of whom I never heard, likes the blending of ambient music, electro-acoustic music and classical music, joining instruments and electronics. If we forget the whole notion of the computer game then this is a pretty enjoyable record of music that perhaps owes less to classical music that the blurb suggests, and also from the world of ambient music, but more from the background of intelligent dance music, with washy ambient structures here and there, melancholic melodies and odd musique concrete like samples. Sometimes we hear instruments being sampled (guitars, a harp), but it seems to be quite remotely present here. As said, its all enjoyable but also something that one tends to forget when its over. Music to use to set a tone or a nice mood, but it seems also nothing more than that. Which is of course nothing bad. Perhaps its music for games: you don't pay that close attention to the sound? (FdW)
Address: http://www.minorityrecords.com

WILT - SHE WALKS THE NIGHT (7"/cassette by Husk Records)
Its not easy to read, but it says Wilt on the cover of the 7", and, even smaller and even more difficult to read, on the bonus cassette. Wilt is one James P. Keeler, who has had a couple of releases on Ad Noiseam before and he presents here new pieces on a 7", as well as a bonus cassette. The title piece (I assume to be played on 33rpm) is a very dark ambient piece, with ultra slow guitars and even more slowed chords on a piano. A pity its rather short - but then this kind of music never deserves a 7", I guess. On the flip two pieces of noise drones. A scream and howl, with guitars that drag on in the most filthy manner. I guess its OK, but rather not my cup of tea. The cassette has another version of that 7" a-side (now I know it has to be 33rpm), which is a bit longer and still suitable pleasant dark ambient. The two pieces on the other side sound like experiments, which may be nice, but sound a bit too muffled and drown away in the hiss of the cassette. A bonus for the die-hards indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.huskrecords.blogspot.com

KOGUMAZA - SEVENS/MARA (7" by Low Point)
This band was formed early last year and I believe this is their first record, along with one released by Lancashire & Somerset. Its basically a rock trio - drums, bass, guitar - which play garage like rock music. Low Point compares it to 'the infinite repetition of Moondog and the spiritual throb of Lungfish' - but I never heard neither. The music is indeed very much based in repetition, with a pounding rhythm in 'Sevens', and guitar twang, but nothing much more seems to be happening beyond that. 'Mara' has the guitar more upfront, tinkling away, with the bass heavily on the lower end. Drums are mixed to the background. Especially the drums don't seem to be recorded very well, like in a garage, which may very well fit the esthetic of the band, but it could have sounded much better. (FdW)
Address: http://www.low-point.com

PHILIP SULIDAE - AN HIGH LAND (CDR by Dontcaresulidae)
More music by Philip Sulidae, of whom we reviewed two 3"CDRs before (see Vital Weekly 692) and a release on Ripples (see Vital Weekly 709). This new one he calls a work of 'burnt and weathered audio relics', recorded using field recordings, organ and sampler. The release on Ripples show him moving towards the land of drones, which is also what is at work here. But the six pieces here all seem a bit more rougher edged. I have no idea what burnt and weathered relics are, although I can imagine. Maybe he buried some tape in his backyard and let nature to the processing? Maybe I am guessing too much. The drones on this release are not those which lull the listener into a deep sleep, but rather have some great tension underpinning the whole. There seems to be some sort of loops going on, odd sounds (which I first thought to be coming from outside actually, always good to be fooled) which aren't easy to be traced back to any origin. Some sturdy processing was applied, which makes this whole thing quite mysterious. Not entirely a new approach, but done with great care. (FdW)
Address: http://www.philipsulidae.com

NO & ICS - M-TYPE ALPHA (CDR by Ripples Recordings)
A collaborative effort between Ics, being Andrea Ferraris, who has collaborated with almost anybody from the Italian underground scene and No, the duo of Fabio Perletta and Matteo Meloni. Ferraris gets credit for field recordings, Perletta does electronics, concrete recordings and signals treatment and Meloni, electronics, prepared zither and guitar. Their piece lasts twenty-four minutes and has quite an improvised feel to it, even when its all dark, drone like and ambient based. Low rumble forms the background, quite mysterious. On top there are highly obscured elements - say the zither and guitar - which are fed through a large amount of sound effects. That may or may not count for the idea I have of this sounding improvised, but the whole piece sound a bit unfocused to me. A bit thrown together rather than carefully planned. I am not sure who they aim at. No entirely improvised in any way, nor really microsound, or musique concrete. It sort of is between all of that, without being able to make their mind up. Something to think about a next time when they play together. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ripplesrecordings.webs.com

Its been a while since 'Particle', a release by Jim Sande on his own Labile Music (see Vital Weekly 519). I have no idea why this is not on Labile Music, or rather on no label at all... The music doesn't seem to have made any progress and continues where the previous has left off. A variety of 'real' instruments, such as piano, bass, clarinet, oboe, vibraphone and such like make up a sweet form of minimal music. Quite slickly produced again, but throughout it sounded like a small progress from 'Particle'. The real kitschy elements seem to have disappeared. Melancholic music, moody, atmospheric, joyful - the whole range of emotions pass by the listener. If anything, and I'm not sure if that is what Sande wants, this music is perfect to act as a soundtrack. To short films, but just as easily I can see Sande compose a larger work for film. Undemanding, yet not bad. A pleasant backdrop, while doing your homework. For those who love Andrew Poppy playing short moody and at times jazzy pieces. (FdW)
Address: http://www.jimsande.org

So far I heard four different releases by Marinos Koutsomichalis. The first 'Chroma' (see Vital Weekly 663) didn't do much for me, too static in its straight recording of machines, but 'Anasiseipsychos' was a great release (see Vital Weekly 677) with sine waves and treatments, a highly minimal yet exciting release. Then 'Peripatetic' was a more like work of various field recordings which I thought was alright but not great. But the other one, released at the same time, 'Trevor Jones Studio Sessions Vol. 1' was again a very nice work with drones (the latter two reviewed in Vital Weekly 703). So quite a mixed bunch of releases so far, but its with some anticipation that I play this new work. 'Malfunction' deals with 'unwanted' noises, machines behaving not as they should be and other forms of hum and static from machines. He does that through a variety of shorter pieces, seven in total, which seems to be a new thing, following the lengthy previous releases. Here Koutsomichalis works in a more 'industrial' music context, with heavy static sounds, hum and suppressed feedback. A bit noisy perhaps, but surely not unpleasant stuff. Koutsomichalis knows how to pull back and a very quiet piece (the fifth one) too. Throughout a release that was pretty alright, again highly conceptual like so many Koutsomichalis releases, but not his best. That would still be the 'Anasiseipsychos' release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.agxivatein.com

The two musicians on this release have never met. Harold Nono lives in Edinburgh, Scotland and Hidekazu Wakabayashi in Osaka, Japan. They create their music through the exchange of sounds through the internet. Nothing new, as that seems to be common practice these days in the world of Vital Weekly. Nono has his background in the world of guitars and punk, whereas Wakabayashi is from a jazz/classical background. I'd say Wakabayashi wins: there is not much punk to be found here, but an awful of classically inspired music pop tunes. Piano play the dominant instrument here but there are also guitars, bits of voices, rhythm, glockenspiel, string instruments - no doubt some of those come from the sampled source of say a program like garageband, but its an absolutely fine quality that runs through these songs. I am reminded of the Sack/Blumm collaborations, but perhaps a little less naive. Eleven excellent songs, moody, melancholic and sometimes cheerful, an excellent springtime sunday afternoon release. A mild breeze. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/bearsuitrecords

R.O.N.F. Records thinks that this release is more suited for me than Jliat, since its dark ambient rather than their usual noise onslaught. I seem to have reviewed the music of Duran Vazquez on two previous occasions. Once was a split CD with Sumugan Sivanesan (see Vital Weekly 402) and a MP3 release in Vital Weekly 656. None of them are easily reminded here however. On the first release he used field recordings and on the second computerized no-input mixer to a larger extent. This seems also to be the case on this new one, along with perhaps synthesizer and the odd taped speech and a bit of field recording (from inside a car?). Dark it is, ambient at times, but its at other times also quite unsettling, almost noise like. This is certainly not music to lull the listener into deep sleep, but rather transport him to the post apocalyptic scenery of a recently exploded nuclear bomb. Since it defies categorization (ambient, industrial, drone, field recording), but merges together the best of all of those worlds, this is actually quite a nice release. As said quite unsettling, nerve shaking rumble from the inner core of the earth, music by and no doubt for the last human on earth. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ronfrecords.com

NOS - LIVE (CDR by Rat Multimedia Productions)
Behind NOS we find Claudio Ferrari (electronics), Ricky Canessa (bass, keyboards and master editing) and Marco Cacciamani (devices & implements). The cover shows them at work behind their equipment. This is a live recording from May 2009 in Genoa, Italy. Its hard, this music. Hard to say what it is, or wether I like this. Its perhaps something that is outside my musical knowledge? They use drum machines, but on top they improvise in a rather dull way on their keyboards, guitar and bass. A bit funky, a bit jazzy, maybe even some psychedelic music, but not for a single moment I was grabbed by it. It all sounded quite tedious and boring. There are better ways of doing nothing, without getting bored, than listening to this. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/itnos

We reviewed their first one, "Three Wise Men in a Straight Jacket" earlier. Now this Swiss trio strikes back with a second release. Free improvising is their language and they speak it fluently. One hour of very concentrated improvisations, recorded live on two different locations in Switzerland. Again very captivating and wild excursions by a fantastic unit of John Menoud (saxes), Frederic Berney (bass) and Filippo Provenzale (drums). Information on the instrumentation is not complete. In the first track there is obviously someone playing the piano. Menoud I suppose, as the sax is absent. The drumming by Filippo Provenzale is of an enormous power. Just listen to "Zero Below". "F(x)=2f(x) + sin(x)" starts as quiet duet between sax and bass. Gradually they come lose and the drummer joins. The piece mainly circles around intense sax playing by Menoud. "Breasted Wonda Kitty" is constructed around short patterns that come again from Menoud. At several moments we hear two saxes. Played by Menoud at the same time, or with the help of a not mentioned guestplayer??? For "Willard", the closing track, they concentrate on small gestures without losing intensity. All three have considerable musical possibilities, and they succeed in creating some very emotional and inspired improvisations. Chapeau gentlemen and grussie mit ein, and (DM).
Address: http://www.myspace.com/machineguntrio

Its not difficult to see why Rutger Zuydervelt is an excellent partner to work with. Besides being just a likeable person that is, he is also someone to work quick and deliver fine results. Following a long string of musicians he worked with, he also has interest in film. On various occasions he did work at the Rotterdam Film festival. Here he presents a new work which he made with Sabine Bürger. Its going to be part of a larger project, which will also include Steve Roden. 'Instuif' last about twenty minutes, but is best played on repeat for a long time, just as was intended by the creators, on a large screen. Not just because its so good, but because its so minimal. The image seems like water flowing from various directions, superimposed on eachother. Maybe sparks from a fire turned green on the screen. Snowflakes (and just as I thought winter was over) perhaps. The music sounds very stationary too. Two or three loops derived from the guitar. That's it. Its not something to watch very carefully, but more something to create an environment with. Perhaps the smaller screen of your TV, with sound hooked up to your home installation, is maybe a surrogate version of the real thing, but darken your room and you'll have a great moody setting. Excellent work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu

PLATFORM - FOUR ELEMENTS (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation)
PAUL MAY & PLATFORM - FLOCK SCISSORS (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation)
Matt Atkins, also known as Platform, continues with his CDR releases, as always around twenty minutes of music. The 'Four Elements' are not earth, water, fire and air, but elements from the table of. Two long tracks and two short tracks. All four are about rhythm, but very minimal, slow ones. Almost like industrial music, but without the connotation of hammering, machine like, or, on the other hand, not being very 'dance' oriented either (think Pan Sonic). The backdrop of these pieces are quite ambient, which add a strange atmosphere to it. Almost spooky in approach. Excellent stuff, moving away from his Autechre inspired previous releases.
With free improv drummer Paul May he has released before 'Broken Hulk Display' (see Vital Weekly 661). Again its the case of May delivering recordings of his drumming to Atkins, who then processed the whole thing. Whereas on the previous I had the impression he was creating loops with the material, it seems here that Atkins just treats the material as a whole, adding all sorts of effects to the various parts - say reverb on the cymbals, delay on the tom etc. In 'Secret Martyrs' however he does something new. Atkins switches on some synthesizers, May drums the 4/4 beats and its almost getting close to techno music. In its dubby effects with echo and reverb, its all a bit too odd to be true dance music, but its certainly also something quite weird for the world of improvised music. Quite a good follow up this one. Varied, funny and serious. (FdW)
Address: http://www.minimalresourcemanipulation.co.uk

If you pack your releases as vaguely as IFAR does, then its probably no wonder that they haven't read our guidelines either and quite 'happily' send us two releases from 2008. No website is mentioned, no information on the cover. Just the band names, the title and the tracks. I mean: if you want to persist on being underground, you can never complain about any lack of recognition to what you do, I'd say. All three releases are Mutant Beatniks. 'Animal Farm' has twenty-two tracks and last seventy-seven minutes - enough to fill a day with, but its the first out of three. It starts out with a whole bunch of rather short tracks, which sound more like sketches of sample-mania. Voices, electronics, orchestral sounds, bits of noise, stretching the sound. Some attempts are quite alright, but throughout there are lots of weaker brothers in this lot. It seems to me that they couldn't make up their mind what to release, and hence released it all. Cut out half the tracks and it would be better release.
Eight minutes shorter, with fifteen tracks, also from 2008 is 'Fountain'. Tracks are a bit longer here, and are less sketchy. It seems that Mutant Beatniks spend some more time on actually making a composition rather than have a few sounds running amok. Again sampler based, but less media based (i.e. no lifting of sounds from TV, radio or vinyl), but perhaps (carefully used wording here) played by themselves. Some of the sound effects are a bit silly, like gliding up and down a tonal scale or profound pitching of a sound. Throughout a much better release, with perhaps some redundant pieces too (or rather: its all a bit much again), but its getting better.
So we move on to 2009 with 'Blazen'. The statistics read: ten tracks, forty two minutes. That's more like it, I should hope. Some editing, a more selective mind. That sort of thing. Its the best release out of three. It combines the ideas of both albums, the sample mania, the collage sounds, sound effects, but here they are cleverly combined into pretty strong pieces. The weaker spots are kept to a minimum, and each of the ten tracks is worth hearing. Plunderphonics meet musique concrete in a pretty rough landscape of sound. Sometimes rhythmic, sometimes funny and sometimes just good. This would have been a fine start, I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/edgeofthecosmos

The label 1000füssler from Hamburg produces high quality releases of electronical and electro-acoustic music. For this release Birgit Ulhur and Gregory Büttner did a collaboration project. The sounds are recorded at the flat of Birgit Ulher. Birgit Ulhur plays trumpet, mostly in free-improvisation and experimental music. Gregory Büttner makes soundart and electroacoustic music and runs the label 1000füssler. Both live and work in Hamburg-Germany.
"Gregory Büttner plays sounds from a computer through various small speakers, which Birgit Ulher uses as mutes for her trumpet. This way the trumpet sounds and the electroacoustic sounds are modulated by the acoustic resonance chamber of the trumpet. The trumpet is simultaneously a transmitter and a receiver."
The combination of the acoustic sound of the trumpet, air and blowing with the electronic sounds of the computer works well. The first track "Tehr" has a warm character because of the sound of breathing. "Eri" starts slowly and quiet, but has more high tones which makes the listening to the music difficult. Sometimes it is paining my head. The third track "Rix" starts noisy, is more experimental by variation and using different sounds of the trumpet and computer. "Techricks" is not an easy album to listen. At a small volume it is more ambient and some details are a small layer in the music. When you play it loud, all soundsources are more obvious and a lot of is to discover in this release. Nice experimental work! (JKH)
Address: http://www.1000fussler.com

XIPHIIDAE - SEWN WITHIN A CIRCLE (two cassettes by Housecraft)
A kind of swordfish is what Xiphiidae is, and its also the name of Jeffre Astin's solo project. Discogs learns us that there is occasional help from people like Kane Pour, Joshua Tippery, Kyle Conklin, Evan Galbicka, Jason Nicolaus, and Gabriel Ortiz. There have a whole bunch of cassette releases, and 'Sewn Within A Circle' is one of the more recent ones. Beside the band name, the title and 'Housecraft No. 100', there is no other information on the box. And just why should there be? Its the music that counts. There is of course no such thing as 'cassette music' (just as there is no music for vinyl, CD or MP3), but if you'd ask me to describe the kind of music people release on cassettes these days, music that of Xiphiidae would be a close thing. Improvised, yet electronic. Ambient, yet psychedelic. Rough but never real noisy. I think Xiphiidae uses a guitar and a few sound effects, and hopefully an ancient four track recorder to tape this on (a computer would spoil things, makes it too clean), for those rough edits and minor flaws. But the sheer love which is set forward in these lo-fi drones make up for that in quite a big way. Very nice indeed. You almost wished this was a CD. (FdW)
Address: http://housecraftarea.blogspot.com/

REUBEN SON - GLOWING DEPARTURE (cassette by Private Chronology)
Three lengthy tracks, all recorded live, are to be found on the cassette by Reuben Son from the USA. On all tracks he plays with guitars, both 6 and 12 string ones, acoustic and electric, cassette tape, e-bow, singing bowl. How many hands does this guy have? I assume there is some scheme to play all of this through some mechanical means, as two of the three tracks sound pretty experimental, to an extent where we don't recognize any guitars at all. Some sort of transformed sound, when the tape doesn't go along the heads properly. Only in the third track we recognize the 6-string acoustic guitar. Its all pretty experimental, with no real head or tail. The perfect music for a limited cassette release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.privatechronology.com

KARL BRODERUS - RADIX (cassette, private)
No real information on the tape. Just a transparent sticker saying 'Karl Broderus' 'Radix' '2009' and an e-mail address. The music is all noise based. Lots of distortion sounds, with sounds bouncing in and out - what kind they are I have no idea, but the cut up approach reminded me Merzbow's 'Scum' 2LP, but, perhaps due to the fact that this is a tape, the recording quality here is a little bit less. I guess its alright, but nothing really great. (FdW)
Address: <karlbroderus@gmail.com>