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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 728
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week 17
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html

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* noted are in this week's podcast. We finally have a feed again. 1000x times to Maximillian for his endless patience & help. Its here:

http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.xml

 

MEKANIK KOMMANDO - IT WOULD BE QUIET IN THE WOODS IF ONLY A FEW BIRD SING (CD by Tonefloat) *
MEKANIK KOMMANDO - BLUE BANANAS (10" by Tonefloat)
MATT SHOEMAKER - TROPICAL AMNESIA ONE (CD by Ferns) *
GINORMOUS - THE SOUND OF LOVE IMPERMANENT (CD by Ant-Zen)
LOWNESS - UNDERTOW (CD by Ant-Zen)
ASCHE - THE EASTER ISLAND PHENOMENON (CD by Ant-Zen)
ERDEM HELVACIOGLU & PER BOYSEN - SUB CITY 2006 (CD, private) *
LITTLE HOWLIN'WOLF - COOL TRUTH (CD by Heresee/Hanson)
EMERALDS (CD by Hanson) *
KLANGWART - SOMMER (CD by Staubgold) *
100 JAHRE EINSAMKEIT: MARKUS DETMER PLAYS STAUBGOLD (CD by Staubgold)
MATT DAVIGNON - LIVING THINGS (CD by Edgetone Records) *
DIATRIBES & BARRY GUY: MULTITUDE (CD by Cave 12)
NO MORE SHAPES - CREESUS CRISIS (CD by Drip Audio)
INHABITANTS - A VACANT LOT (CD by Drip Audio)
TOMMY BABIN'S BENZENE - YOUR BODY IS YOUR PRISON (CD by Drip Audio)
DOM MINASI STRING QUARTET - DISSONANCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER (CD by Konnex)
SOUTHERN EXCURSION QUARTET - TRADING POST (CD by Artists Recording Collective)
SORGEN-RUST-STEVENS TRIO - A SCENT IN MOTION (CD by Konnex)
DANIEL SMITH - BLUE BASSOON (CD by Summit Records)
JOHN VANORE & ABSTRACT TRUTH - CURIOSITY (CD by Acoustical Concepts)
DAVE SHARP'S SECRET SEVEN - 7 (CD by Vortex Jazz)
CHRIS GREENE QUARTET - MERGE (CD by Single Malt Recordings)
LOCRAIN - TERRITORIES (LP by At War With False Noise, Basses Frequences, Bloodlust)
NOMA/REJECTAMENTA (CD by At War With False Noise)
L'IDIOT DU VILLAGE - HAIKUS (CDR by Steelkraft Manufactory)
DUNKELHEIT - TEMPS MODERNES (CDR by Steelkraft Manufactory)
WESTWIND - ELIMINATE! EXTERMINATE! ERADICATE! (CDR by Steelkraft Manufactory)
HIKIKOMORI - A STORY OF MONSTROSITY (CDR by Steelkraft Manufactory)
JEPH JERMAN - ROADWORK (CDR by Lunhare) *
GOH LEE KWANG - SIGHT (CDR by Lunhare) *
ORIFICE - DARLING MAUNDER (CDR by Herbal Records)
GOH LEE KWANG - HALF (CDR by Herbal Records)
JULIEN SKROBEK - 0.10 (CDR by Herbal Records)
FRANCISCO MEIRINO - ANTHEMS FOR UNSUCCESSFUL WINNERS (CDR by Echomusic) *
TANNER MENARD - THE OCEANS OF YOUR AURA (CDR by Slow Flow Records) *
THE ANCIENT LOWLY - TOPOGRAPHY (CDR by Crabouiller Record Company) *
MACHINEFABRIEK - MUSIC FOR STUDIES (CDR by Machinefabriek) *
LA GRIETA - DECISION (CDR by Black Petal) *
MATTHEW HORSLEY & MASSIMO MAGEE & DAVI WALLIS - ONE SMALL STEP (CDR by Appel Music) *
APPEL MUSIC - TAMPON RAMIER (CDR by Appel Music) *
CIOGOELACH - CO? WOMB OF THE GRAVE (Cassette by Waterpower)

 

MEKANIK KOMMANDO - IT WOULD BE QUIET IN THE WOODS IF ONLY A FEW BIRD SING (CD by Tonefloat)
MEKANIK KOMMANDO - BLUE BANANAS (10" by Tonefloat)
In 1981 I used to read Muziekkrant Oor, a highly conservative Dutch music magazine - still is, I guess - but there was nothing else for a 15 year old to read, even if you liked 'new music'. New music, in my case, was Joy Division, Factory Records, Wire - the sort of stuff that they also wrote about, but not big time. For my punk appetite I also read fanzines. I knew there was a world out there, which wasn't exactly punk, but also not overground. The fanzines mentioned it, but it was hard to get hold off. On February 11 1981 Muziekkrant Oor ran a six page article called the 'Ultra guide to Modern Music'. Ultra was the Dutch equivalent of No New York, and ran from bands like Tox Modell to Suspect, from Soviet Sex to Divorce. Ultra was also a weekly night organized at Octopus in Amsterdam and documented on a great compilation cassette. The article mentioned the immanent appearance of a new magazine, Vinyl, which was due that same month. I rushed out to the local record store - which I did anyway on a various day-to-day basis - and they sold it. Along with the first issue came a free flexi disc, one sided (just this first issue) of a band I never heard off, Mekanik Kommando. Lo and behold, a band from my home city Nijmegen. Life would never be the same. Ultra was the music I was looking for. The music of Mekanik Kommando was odd. A rhythm machine, two bass guitars, synth and vocals. A rich sound. A band to be noted, and I wasn't the only one. Mekanik Kommando signed to an independent label, Torso Records, and recorded their first LP at home for the amount of 30 euros (by todays exchange rate). It wasn't the first modern electronic LP in the Netherlands - that honor goes out to 'Drastic Measures' by Minny Pops, but that was a much more radical record, an experience and an experiment in madness. Mekanik Kommando were, despite their odd line up, not experimental. Mekanik Kommando played popmusic. Electronic popmusic, but not like, say Human League. Not really catchy hooks, but never the less great tunes. Songs that were easy to remember and which had that doom of the day presence, but were also joyful. Joyful in a sad way. 'It Would Be Quiet In The Woods' is a classic album. Full stop. Now I know one should be careful with the word 'classic' - the true character of the classic often lies just within the listener. Its hard to recognize the classic in an album that is thirty years old (take a look a classic rock album - the TV series - and you know what I mean). But in this case, it truly is. Mekanik Kommando plays popmusic. The rhythm machine is grainy, one bass plays as a bass, one as a guitar and the synthesizer provide little melodies. Peter van Vliet's voice is at times doomy, but can be, in a strange twist, also be sweet. Listen to 'Ice Field' and you know what I mean. His lyrics are small stories. Listen to the title piece and you know what I mean - a political song (Mekanik Kommando had a background in the local squat scene). The music is still as fresh and original as it was thirty years ago. An exciting re-issue. There are few records out there which needed a re-issue, I think, and this was probably number one on my list. Their best record I think, even when their later records are great too - they even recorded for EMI (and let's hope all of their records make it to CD one day). What's interesting is that when preparing for this release, an old tape popped up, recorded late 1979 with songs from their very embryonic stage and which are released on a limited 10" as 'Blue Bananas'. Here we hear some of the songs that later appeared on the first LP in a totally different version. 'Dress Grey' doesn't sound at all what it sounds like on the later LP version. The voice is fed through effects/vocoder more than on the future recordings, but all the future signs are already in place. The rhythm machine firmly in the middle, bass, synth and (vocoded) voices around them. Short tracks, merely sketches at times, but no less the most promising thing. I am jumping for joy, ecstatic. More than the first LP by Minny Pops on CD, or the Rondos on CD (privately the best re-issue of last year), this is truly the one. There is a circle of music lovers out there for whom 'Dutch cold wave' from 1980-1985 is the best thing. The first Mekanik Kommando LP is the holy grail.
p.s. whatever happened to the intro of 'Japanese Eyes' on the CD, I don't know, but its different from the LP version. How did that come about?
Address: http://www.tonefloat.com

MATT SHOEMAKER - TROPICAL AMNESIA ONE (CD by Ferns)
More field recordings here, this time around taken from the Amazonas, Brazil, to precise the Mamori Lake. Shoemaker went around and inside the lake. He tapes the sounds there and treats the whole thing into one piece of music that lasts forty-six minutes. I have never been to the Amazonian rainforest, nor it is perfectly clear what Shoemaker did to the recordings. That aside, this is a great work. If I was to imagine how the Amazonian rainforest would sound like, I think it would sound like this. A fairly thick mass of sound of busy buzzing insect sounds, birds and wind like sounds. Shoemaker opts for a dramatic approach in this work: things start out relatively quiet and moody, but over the course of those sixty some minutes grows with some violent intention. Shoemaker uses strong equalization, adding low end sounds to the piece, that makes the earth tremble among the heavy weight of this piece. Yet he never looses the clarity of the sounds, birds and insects are always to be recognized here. An excellent piece along the lines of the best of Francisco Lopez in this field, especially 'La Selva' (which I think deserves a re-issue). Shoemaker delivers here a great work, perhaps his best so far. (FdW)
Address: <fernsrec@numericable.fr>

GINORMOUS - THE SOUND OF LOVE IMPERMANENT (CD by Ant-Zen)
LOWNESS - UNDERTOW (CD by Ant-Zen)
ASCHE - THE EASTER ISLAND PHENOMENON (CD by Ant-Zen)
Since 2006, american composer Bryan Konietzko alias Ginormous has released two albums on German label Hymen Records. Having had the pleasure to listen to the previous of them titled "The endless procession" it was exciting to see what has happened on this new album released almost four years after. "The endless procession" was an excellent IDM-based electronica of great melody and ambience. Present album "The sound of love impermanent" stays in atmospheric sound spheres of ambient beauty, but with a different approach. The IDM-style has faded down and the use of guitar has become a dominant part. The music has a great melancholic feel with elements of postrock and shoegaze. The compositions has been loosely based on a dance performance and quite a few parts contain vocals by Rohner Segnitz (male vocalist of US-band Division Day). Considered the fact that the album is released on the industrial-focused brother-label of Hymen Records, Ant-Zen Recording, this is a quite unusual album where any sign of industrial or electronic harshness is non-existent. An utterly beautiful album that deserves much attention from anyone interested in music. Next album from the Ant-Zen camp is also a very interesting gem. Again we are dealing with something that more likely belongs to electronic melody than to industrial aggression. The interesting thing is that the brain behind the Lowness-project is the alias behind one of Ant-Zen's aces of the industrial/power noise-scene, Converter. After a long silence, US-composer Scott Sturgis has risen and takes the listener into a more guitar-based sound world, that draws attentions to krautrock-legends such as NEU! and Amon Düül II. And generally the music is both trippy and hypnotic thanks to its psychedelic approach. Where the two aforementioned albums were fairly untraditional Ant-Zen-releases last album reviewed here, perfectly represents the core of label. German artist Andreas Schramm has impressed with his earlier efforts of over-the-top sound explosions. Released a decade after the successful power noise-trip "Distorted Disco", present album titled "The easter island phenomenon" stays true to the style of Andreas Schramm alias Asche. Never the less this is an excellent trip to hell with blasting beats hitting you like a machine gun and demonic growls from the man himself. Biggest difference from the excellent "Distorted disco"-album is the dark ambient-sound spheres that saturates quite a few moments of "The easter island phenomenon". So many great pieces on this one, though one of my favorite moments comes with the absolutely stunning "Something evil", that combines excellent industrial rhythm textures and horrifying samples into black mastery. (NM)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com/

ERDEM HELVACIOGLU & PER BOYSEN - SUB CITY 2006 (CD, private)
In 2064 I'll be 99 and there will be about 3300 Vital Weeklies. Unless of course there has been some horror like apocalyptic scene as depicted by Erdem Helvacioglu and Per Boysen on their new album 'Sub City 2064'. The soundtrack of an imaginary film. The two plays guitars, electronics, flute, saxophone and such like. The music is not exactly what would be required from a science fiction soundtrack, I think. Its is mood music for sure, but not that an apocalyptic nature. It sounds a bit improvised, certainly in the parts which quite extensively wind instruments such as in 'Wedding At Coral Plateaux', but most of the time every inch of guitar playing is filled with the extensive use of electronics, which add ambient textures the music. Although both players, each a giant in his field, are great, and the music is quite alright, its perhaps also something that doesn't stick entirely to my mind. It stays perhaps a bit too much on a superficial level. It would be great to see the movie, I think. Obviously there is none, but what would be the film about I fantasized. Not a question I can answer. Surely not heavily apocalyptic. The website provides some clues, but its all a bit too 'easy' I think. Make the movie! (FdW)
Address: http://erdemhelvaciogluandperboysen.bandcamp.com

LITTLE HOWLIN'WOLF - COOL TRUTH (CD by Heresee/Hanson)
EMERALDS (CD by Hanson)
As said in my review of Mekanik Kommando, the more you have with an old release, the more you'll like the re-issue. So, I never heard of Little Howlin'wolf, also known as James Pobiega, who released 'Cool Truth' in 1985. Even when I was into self-released material then, but perhaps not into those containing blues and free form jazz. The LP is now re-issued on a CD (and sounds like mastered from the vinyl) and I'm sure its a timeless classic. But not in my book. Lots of avant-garde playing - all by Pobiega, going wild over the multi-track recorder - making hardly any sense, but hey, if you want really free improvisation, free jazz, with some blues like vocals, then this is surely your cup of tea. I like coffee.
Due to volcanic activities all of the week's mail arrive on the same day, it seems, but I realize that when looking at the pictures in the booklet that comes along with the Emeralds new CD. It looks like what I saw on TV this week from Iceland. Emeralds are a trio that play the Korg MS-10, Roland RS-101, Sequencer, Roland JX-8P, micromoog, gibson les paul, while all three members get credit for vocals (where???). Emeralds are something of 'stars' I believe, selling a loads of CDs, which I think is actually quite funny, since what they do is so outdated. Cosmic music along the lines of early seventies Tangerine Dream. 'Geode' is such a piece: a driving, sequenced synthesizer sound over which other synths bleep and bloop. In another time, say twenty years ago, it would be hard to sell this to any recordlabel, but now the noise kids left noise and welcomed this cosmic music, its all hip again. You may think that I am an old cynic, but that's far from the truth. I love this. I loved the old cosmic sound, even when born a bit late of the first time around, and have put my finger on the arpeggio button myself once or twice, so I know the kind of music quite well, and I think Emeralds are great at what they are doing. More than before they move to the work of the old masters and can easily meet with the best. I have no idea if they are to make hundreds of releases, like one K. Schulze, but for now its all fine. Light a joint and a candle and drift away. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hansonrecords.net

KLANGWART - SOMMER (CD by Staubgold)
100 JAHRE EINSAMKEIT: MARKUS DETMER PLAYS STAUBGOLD (CD by Staubgold)
These two releases mark the end of the 'old' Staubgold. By reaching catalogue number 100, always a landmark for small label I guess, its decided that in the future we have Staubgold Digital for CDs and downloads and Staubgold Analog for vinyl. I am not sure how they would treat a release like 'Sommer' by Klangwart, which is available as a LP, CD and download, but the future will tell us. Both of these releases are by Markus Detmer, the owner of Staubgold. Once in a role as a musician and one as the compiler/DJ of service. As a musician he works since 18 years with Timo Reuber as Klangwart, and the two have built a small but nice catalogue of works in the field of electronic music. These days they conceive a piece, play it live and then record a 'live' version. Over the years there have been a number of collaborations, remixes and compilation tracks, which are now collected on 'Sommer'. A pity that my copy doesn't provide the necessary background details (nor does the press release). The release dates are in the summer (promotion starts always early, but @ Vital Weekly we're always quick, if no volcano interrupts the flow) and the summer feel is what they want in these release. Now the sun is actually shining around here - what am I doing inside - but these songs are probably indeed heard on headphones while taking a sunny stroll or lying on the beach. Klangwart play psychedelic music. They play their own brand of krautrock, which shows influences of Neu!. The rhythmachine tick away time, and on top they wave together a fine blend of electronic sounds and looped voices. Driving music too. Open the windows of your car, drive around and play a piece like 'Wellenbad' really loud, and you get that same great summer feel. In the evening you lie on your back - sweaty and 'Amobenruh' closes the day with a nice sorrowful tune. But that's ok. Tomorrow is another sunny day.
Detmer is also responsible for a 'DJ mix' CD of his own label's catalogue (following a release along those lines by Peter Grummich and Alec Empire). He chooses no less than twenty-one tracks from his 100 releases, which he mixes together. Since I'm no DJ its not easy to say something about it. Its a great label sampler, that's for sure. We get the whole picture of the label, from post rock to jazz to folktronic to electronic rhythms, krautrock and drones. There is always a strange poppiness to the material. Its a great reminder for old Staubgold releases like Thilges, Oren Ambarchi, Hassle Hound or Faust. Odd ball? Well, that must be the forecast to The Flying Lizards, which has catalogue number Staubgold Analog 3, so no doubt to come in the future. That shows a daring move as its from the reggea/dub phase of the band (and as Lizard fan makes me very curious!), but then Staubgold has already proven to be a great label with some daring moves already. Onwards to another great 100 releases, analog or digital. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staubgold.com

MATT DAVIGNON - LIVING THINGS (CD by Edgetone Records)
This is the third release by Matt Davignon, following 'Bwoo' (see Vital Weekly 475 and 'Softwetfish' (see Vital Weekly 545). He used to work with field recordings, turntable, prepared instruments and household objects, but since 2004 he solely works with a drum machine, which he processes in various ways. The bad news first: there is not much difference with the two previous releases. His drum machine is never to be recognized as such, but his electronic processing is quite nice. What I wrote of 'Softwetfish' applies here too. Its all a bit like 'Bwoo' and that perhaps is a pity. However, the good news is that is that Davignon delivers once again a great musical CD. His work is best described as mildly experimental, with some nice ambient texture to it. Not too forceful this is music that owes to some extent to the work of Asmus Tietchens. Microscopic textures, which resemble the crawling of lots of insects. The surprise is gone, that is a sure thing, but its certainly a disc of high quality. With such a low production scheme this is certainly nothing to worry about. A slight change of modus operandi would be nice, to see what other possibilities there are. (FdW)
Address: http://www.edgetonerecords.com

DIATRIBES & BARRY GUY: MULTITUDE (CD by Cave 12)
Diatribes is a duo from Geneva and consists of d'Incise on laptop/objects and Cyril Bondi on drums. D'Incise is very active with improvised music, free-jazz and electro-acoustic music. He is also running the netlabel Insubordinations. Diatribes started in 2004 and collaborated with a huge amount of guest musicians. The last combination is with the double bass player Barry Guy. Barry Guy is one of the world's leading bass soloists and improvisers, played in a lot of ensembles and is also as a composer of new music.
Multitude starts as a highspeed train. The first three compositions are full of maniac compositions. The drums and bass freely play restless around and the electronic sounds fits well to these acoustic improvisations. The race ended during the fourth composition and the slow played bass combines the moving drums and laptop regurgitations. "Ne plus avoir peur des montres" goes wild again with high tones in combination with the very low and slow tones of the bass and ended in a complex improvisation. The last two tracks explore the different moods and speeds. After a free dynamic intercourse the album ends with a peacefull alternation of fleeding tones. These moments of rest are very welcome. This album is well-played, dynamic, complex and a feast for the lover of improvised music. Highly recommended. (JKH)
Address: http://label.cave12.org

NO MORE SHAPES - CREESUS CRISIS (CD by Drip Audio)
INHABITANTS - A VACANT LOT (CD by Drip Audio)
TOMMY BABIN'S BENZENE - YOUR BODY IS YOUR PRISON (CD by Drip Audio)
Three new releases from the Canadian Drip Audio label. 'Creesus Crisis' is the first recording from the Calgary-based trio No More Shapes, formed in 2007 and featuring Jay Crocker (guitar, electronics), JC. Jones (trombone) and Eric Hamelin (drums, percussion). Inspiration comes from rock as well as jazz. Sometimes it is very straight, at other moments rather complex. Although the ingredients that make up their music are easy to identify, still they manage to create their own thing. The performing is very tight, and this is what convinced me most. With all the energy of the three players bundled, the players move very decisive towards their target. Inhabitants, a quartet from Vancouver is ready for their third release on Drip Audio since their start in 2004. Skye Brooks (drums), JP Carter (Trumpet), Pete Schmitt (bass) and Davi Sikula (guitar). They play post-rock oriented instrumental rock with fusion and noise elements. The CD opens in a melancholy mood with 'Far Away in Old Words'. The next tune 'Threes' triggers some allergic reactions in my ears. A pathetic tune that suggests more then it can offer. They create dramatic soundscapes and noises over essentially very simple and straight rock patterns. Okay, from time to time a surprising twist occurs like in 'Over it begins'. Also nice deformed playing by trumpeter Carter with great distorted sounds. Very well done. But this is not enough for making this an interesting album in my view. Their dreamy and moody paintings lack body and deserve more compositional originality.
Drummer Skye Brooks is also member of Tommy Babin's Benzene, again a quartet but now we are more in a jazz vein, together with Chad Makela (baritone sax), Chad Mac Quarie (guitar) and leader Tommy Babin (bass). 'Your Body is Your Prison' is a suite in nine parts composed by Babin. Although composed, I suppose much room is left for improvisation. The music is a mixture of rock and jazz, but far from fusion of jazzrock. They develop nice intertwining lines, reaching from time to time explosive climaxes. The playing by Makela started to irritate me after a while. There is something I miss in his playing. In a way it is very limited. He does not go for it. The guitar playing by Chad Mac Quarie is on the other end of the spectrum. A fantastic player, who definitely steals the show on this record. How complex the music may be, it is far from intellectual, but very direct and emotional. (DM)
Address: http://www.dripaudio.com

DOM MINASI STRING QUARTET - DISSONANCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER (CD by Konnex)
SOUTHERN EXCURSION QUARTET - TRADING POST (CD by Artists Recording Collective)
SORGEN-RUST-STEVENS TRIO - A SCENT IN MOTION (CD by Konnex)
DANIEL SMITH - BLUE BASSOON (CD by Summit Records)
JOHN VANORE & ABSTRACT TRUTH - CURIOSITY (CD by Acoustical Concepts)
DAVE SHARP'S SECRET SEVEN - 7 (CD by Vortex Jazz)
CHRIS GREENE QUARTET - MERGE (CD by Single Malt Recordings)
No idea why we received this bunch of straight jazz recordings. A brief look in any Vital Weekly shows that this is not exactly what we cover. Maybe it is a sign of how desperate jazz distributors are, as sales are very low nowadays. So for this occasion only we arrange a special jazz corner for you. But I will be short on them. Chris Greene Quartet centers around the sax work of Chris Greene. Because of the drums by Tyrone Blair it remains a bit stiff throughout. Nothing surprising happened here. Jazz as we know it! No original playing that impressed me. Dave Sharp's secret seven sounds more together. Cuban and other tropical influences influence their jazz music. Good time party music. Much percussion, and nice melodic riffs. New Orleans is not far away. They move freely and with joy within their idiom. John Vanore and his crew impressed me most. Original compositions by Vanore himself, great big band sound. Superb playing. Vanore is a fantastic trumpet player. They really push buttons. That is for sure. But in the end also this one walks along well-known paths. So if you are looking for steps outside of the known, this one, like all others will not satisfy you. Daniel Smith is a man with a mission. He tries to establish the bassoon as a solo jazz instrument. He tries to convince us with a repertoire of classic jazz and blues tunes by Coltrane, Parker, Mingus, King, Johnson, a.o. Is it because I'm not used to the bassoon in this role, or is it for other reasons that I was left with mixed feelings. It is a bit too stiff in this context, and lacks elasticity to, although Smith plays it with souplesse.
The Southern Excursion Quartet is a quartet from Memphis of Don Aliquo (sax), Tom Giampietro (drums), Michael Jefry Stevens (piano) and Jonathan Wires (bass). They play an intelligent and very communicative, yet conventional and laid back kind of jazz.
Stevens plays also piano on 'A Scent in Motion' with Harvey Sorgen (drums) and Steve Rust (bass). More power and dynamics here. Plus more room for free improvisation. Dom Minasi started his professional career in 1961. Recorded for Blue Note in 70s. He remained an outsider however with a limited catalogue. But still in business! With 'Dissonance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder' he presents his string quartet of Ken Filiano (double bass), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Tomas Ulrich (cello) and Minasi himself on acoustic guitar. Inspired playing comes from all of them. The music moves between jazz and 'classical' composed music. Interesting new things happen here on this typical and unconventional record. I'll keep this one in mind. (DM)
Address: http://www.konnex/
Address: http://www.artistsrecordingcollective.info/
Address: http://www.davesharp.com/
Address: http://www.chrisgreenejazz.com/
Address: http://www.johnvanore.net/
Address: http://www.summitrecords.com/

LOCRAIN - TERRITORIES (LP by At War With False Noise, Basses Frequences, Bloodlust)
NOMA/REJECTAMENTA (CD by At War With False Noise)
Locrain is a band from Chicago and the members Andre Foisy and Terence Hannum played already a few years together in this project. Territories is their new release of this duo. For this CD they also invited Mark Solotroff (Bloodyminded, Anatomy of Habit) on vocals and synthesizers, Blake Judd (Nachtmystium) on guitar, Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) on saxophone and vocals, and Andrew Scherer (Velnias) on drums. The LP starts with a high feed-back tones, it is bad mixed and for me so irritating that I hardly could listen what is going on at the background. That is a pity, cause the second composition is slow, drony and meditative with saxophone tones and low synthesizersounds. The CD has different musical atmospheres and styles; a mix of noise, power electronics, drone and black metal, but especially the black metal orientated parts are not my piece of cake. The metal parts are predictable, not dark enough and I miss the repetition and massive wall of sound. The slow and more experimental compositions ask for that. I prefer the collaborations with one or two guest musician. You can hear the tension of making interesting music and to find out each other qualities, but with more the music develops to mainstream metalriffs and a screaming singer.
The split CD of the Glasgow based projects Noma and Rejectamenta has everything what misses at the other album . Three long tracks fill the CD. John Cromar has released his music on various albums on CDR, but this is his first solo CD. The first track "Friede in den Gedanken" develops very slow with sounds of organs, keyboards and synthesizer. Nice ambient orientated piece. "Amusia" starts noisy with a great variety of soundsources like distorted guitar, synths and more. The piece is rhythmical in an experimental way and based on sounds. It is nervous, abstract, pure and spontaneous. Great music. The colleague Adam Cresser AKA Rejectamenta ends the CD with a 30 minutes long track called "SSilence." No silence at all, but a great bunch of slowly changing sounds, very drony and spherical. It starts with processed voice sounds and it is like a soundtrack of a thriller. The atmosphere is oppressive and aggressive. Sometimes it reminds me to Nadja, but Rejectamenta develops faster. The composition is nevertheless too long, because in the end Adam Cresser does take less time to built up his drones and melodies and it becomes more maniacal. (JKH)
Address: http://www.atwarwithfalsenoise.com

L'IDIOT DU VILLAGE - HAIKUS (CDR by Steelkraft Manufactory)
DUNKELHEIT - TEMPS MODERNES (CDR by Steelkraft Manufactory)
WESTWIND - ELIMINATE! EXTERMINATE! ERADICATE! (CDR by Steelkraft Manufactory)
HIKIKOMORI - A STORY OF MONSTROSITY (CDR by Steelkraft Manufactory)
Steelkraft Manufactory is the offspring of the French label Steelwork Maschine that focuses on industrial, noise, power electronics and ambient. The parent label has earlier released albums of acts such as Neon Rain and Deuterror. Four new albums have just been released on sublabel Steelkraft Manufactory. First album comes from French artist L'Idiot Du Village. The album titled "Haikus" is a re-issue of the concept recording "Haikus" that focuses on found sounds and noises from computer equipment. With starting point taken in noise expressions, the album uses field recordings of motherboards declaiming noisy alexandrines, CPUs rumbling and crackling. The result is a quite strange beast that lies in the borderlands between drone ambient and noise music. Compared to many other noise albums there seems to be a more careful focus on the utilization of sound sources giving a more sophisticated approach the noise style.
Next album comes from the Brittany-based sound artist Dunkelheit. The debut album titled "Temps modernes" utilizes concrete sound manipulation into modern forms of musique concrete. On the expressional side, the album combines icy ambient of the darkest kinds with concrete noise and metallic Industrial. Acoustic instruments (mis)treated are used as sound sources, among others the intense cut-up noise track "Témoignages du chaos" (English: "Expressions of chaos"). Next album from the label is the most rock-based release of the four albums reviewed here. Stylish Westwind's album "Eliminate! eterminate! eradicate!" separates from the more abstract spheres of the two latter, especially with the postrock-like track "Eradicate". An excellent track that in its repetitive nature of rhythm and melodic pace contains a nice hypnotic atmosphere. The album is an appetizer to the full-length double disc album "Ravage" just released on parent label "Steelwork Maschine". Present 5 track-cd-ep "Eliminate! eterminate! eradicate!" moves in spheres of psychedelia, ritual industrial and martial. Spoken word is an important part of the sound picture here.
The last album reviewed here is the darkest ambient piece of them all. The artist of French origin calls himself Hikikomori and moves in spheres of dark drones and orchestral ambience. Despite the sinister and black atmospheres of the album titled "A story of monstrosity" there are something very beautiful upon the album. Slowly moving drones creates a grandiose atmosphere of hidden melody. The album is meant to be a fictional soundtrack to Tod Browning's legendary movie "Freaks". All four issues are released in a limitation of 100 copies and neatly boxed in white-colour digipacks with tasteful artwork in front. (NM)
Address: http://www.steelwork-maschine.com

JEPH JERMAN - ROADWORK (CDR by Lunhare)
GOH LEE KWANG - SIGHT (CDR by Lunhare)
The work of Jeph Jerman, in another lifetime known as Hands To, is always received with great pleasure, and that for about twenty-five years now. His course ran from ambient/industrial/noise to electro-acoustic and these days incorporates much silence. Field recordings play a role in as far as it concerns the location which he chooses to record his acoustic sounds (stones, leaves, branches). The work 'Roadwork' is however entirely about field recordings, made over the last twenty-five years, all over America. The cover shows a contact microphone attached to a bridge and that perhaps sums up what this release it about. The field recordings are used to create a single forty-five minute piece of work in which we can indeed detect 'street sounds' (and railways). A bit muffled perhaps, but it has a great dense and obscure quality to it. Things rumble nice in a dirty way, in a sort of unique way. Jerman doesn't look for the 'clean' sound of found sound events, but more for the dirty ones. That is what puts him aside of his many peers in the same field. An excellent release of dust covered roads.
Goh Lee Kwang is not as long as Jerman active in the musical field but he has quite a number of releases already. Over the years they are getting more and more interesting. 'Sight' is a long work, sixty-four minutes, and the cover doesn't reveal anything about how it was recorded. Before Goh Lee Kwang used no input mixers, but perhaps this is no longer the case. The noise from before has been left, which I guess is a good thing. The cover of this release looks like a Rothko painting and the music fits perfectly to it. A highly minimal approach to sound, with lots of attention for silence. A bumping sound, like a record needle falling and some far away, high pitched sounds, silence. Towards the end the sound is getting a bit more dense. A contemplative piece of music for sure, but somehow also a bit on the long side of things. It could have been a truly great release if it would have been around forty minutes, instead of over fifty. But surely a fine work anyway. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lunhare.net

ORIFICE - DARLING MAUNDER (CDR by Herbal Records)
GOH LEE KWANG - HALF(CDR by Herbal Records)
JULIEN SKROBEK - 0.10 (CDR by Herbal Records)
Daring Maunder is a real time analogue synth improv by Burkhard Jaeger recorded in Hannover Germany in July 2009 - lofi rumbles and drones, higher
pitched noises.. which are very much and very obviously analogue products..
Half - is two tracks of "micro noise" the first lofi-noise but anything but noisy - the second a gently wandering distorted wave form - a minimally pleasant exercise.
0.10 is a reference to Malevitch - Skrobek's interest is in the opposition between popular / folk and high art, and uses such things as acoustic guitar, balloons, electric heater, radio, digital metronome & 220 hz sine wave. It very much resembles the supermatist blocks and shapes with its distinctive abstractions and structures, the early and not the latter which like most of modernism ends in some religio/mystical blankness, a theo-ontology unlike the nihilist ontology of noise itself. Never the less this work deserves attention, an abstract yet aesthetic composition in its own right. Though one could take issue with the idea of a differentiation between high and low/folk art in the post-modern, which we are either located in or have past. The barriers between the two in fact were well under dissolution in the Victorian era where the new bourgeois classes wanted art they could understand, through to the pedaling of impressionism to the Americans and the reciprocity of sending Jazz back across the Atlantic to infiltrate the avant garde. There are problems generated by what Skrobek explores, of elitism and fascism , but its a process which has been explored and intellectualised until nothing is left but dried an bleached
bones, perhaps we should make a music with these? (jliat)
Address: http://www.welcometothemepark.tk

FRANCISCO MEIRINO - ANTHEMS FOR UNSUCCESSFUL WINNERS (CDR by Echomusic)
Up until last year Francisco Meirino used the name Phroq as an alias, but like so many he left that behind and now works under his own name. Its interesting to see that similarity with Joe Colley (formerly known as Crawl Unit) and Andy Orthmann (Panicsville). There is also another parallel to be drawn between these three. They all have a background in good solid noise, but when working under the own name, their all seems to have opened up the noise approach in favor of musique concrete. By incorporating electro-acoustic sounds and field recordings, along with heavily processed versions thereof, they create their own approach to noise, and one that is actually all the more interesting. Meirino here has the same approach as on 'Connections, Opportunities For Mistakes' (which I don't got reviewed here): the beauty of failure. Gear breaking down, the death of a PA system, electro-static noise and such like. These events are not presented 'as such', but the sounds are used in various combinations, in a strong musical collage. Sometimes dense, sometimes stretched out, but then also at other times abrupt endings (the failure ending in a full stop), swift changes in the material. The cover says we should hear these six pieces as one track (although individually titled), which then probably even makes more sense. A pretty strong work, I'd say. If more noise was like this and not the storm of distortion, then I'd be more than happy. Even when this release opens with 'Winning Is Overrated', I'd say this is a winner. (FdW)
Address: http://www.echomusic.gr

TANNER MENARD - THE OCEANS OF YOUR AURA (CDR by Slow Flow Records)
SFle is a sub-division of Slow Flow Records where they release CDRs and here is one by one Tanner Menard. I never heard of him. He uses a piece of software here called Pianoteq, 'a physical modeling software that here replicates two pianos each 10 meters in length, each having a unique tuning system tuned one hertz from the other with A being 444 and 445 respectively'. Menard plays these with 'loops of midi data'. I believe the work - six tracks in total - was made with some improvisation. The piano sounds are fed through reverb and echo to create that necessary atmospheric sound. As such I don't think its bad music, but what could be said in twenty minutes is now stretched out to sixty minutes. Waving, endless sustaining piano sounds, like an overdone Brian Eno treatment on a Harold Budd recording. Maybe I am listening too much with the mind, and not with the hearth? Maybe I should lie down and let it all flow, softly? As said, parts of it are pretty alright, but the whole plate is a bit too much. (FdW)
Address: http://slowflowrec.web.fc2.com/

THE ANCIENT LOWLY - TOPOGRAPHY (CDR by Crabouiller Record Company)
Behind The Ancient Lowly is one Don Mennerich. In his discography we find a 7" with Greg Davis and a piece for a Neo Ouija compilation and Grounded Sound. That may indicate, perhaps, his interest. He uses here an acoustic guitar, soprano saxophone, organ, computer and moracca but the main beast here is a modular synthesizer, "Blacet Research, Synthesizers.com, Encore Electronics, Metalbox modules" - it says on the cover. The overall emphasis in the music lies within the modular synthesizer sounds. The other instruments seem to play a much smaller role. The moracca open up 'Pellet' for instance, but soon enough the synth bubbles drop in. Yet this track, with its distinct acoustic guitar and organ, is the most accessible piece on this five track disc (which lasts under twenty minutes) - a nice, gentle piece of music, reminding me of Greg Davis. The other four tracks are more abstract and angular in approach, with thick masses of synthesizer sounds running rampant - in a gentle way. An excellent release, drifting in various directions, ambient like, a bit noise like, psychedelic, yet always coming round again. Nice indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.crabouiller.com

MACHINEFABRIEK - MUSIC FOR STUDIES (CDR by Machinefabriek)
'Studies Of A Figure In A Space' is a performance by Bram Vreeswijk and performed by Alfredo Fernandez. The music, three studies and an interlude, is composed by Machinefabriek's Rutger Zuydervelt. Of course we are lacking the performance on this release, we just have the music. It seems, but I admit that's merely guessing, that this performance is one of slow moves. In 'Study 2', there is also the use of cymbals, played by Rob van den Nieuwenhuizen, although its hard to hear them. The music in all four pieces is the by now classic approach of Machinefabriek. Long sustaining tones of guitar notes, played sparsely, but once captured inside a line of electronics, they live on a bit more and die out slowly. the first study is light of tone, while the second is more dark, grainy and a bit distorted, and it takes a long while to die out like a campfire. The third study is also a bit more noise based, with a distortion pedal pushed to the floor, but in a controlled environment. The interlude is a very quiet, almost non existing piece. Quite a powerful release, if perhaps not to far away from what we already know. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu

LA GRIETA - DECISION (CDR by Black Petal)
The ever so odd La Grieta, a duo of Mattin and Inigo Eguillor, return with a five piece CDR. A duo of drum and guitar and electronics, bits of vocal. Here Black Petal draws lines between them and Dead C, ESG, Swans, Pink Reason and Merzbow. Its not all that I hear in here, but surely Dead C and Swans, I think I can life with those lines. The slow 'Obsesion' with rolling percussion and a far away voice is Swans like, though not as heavy. This guitar/drum noise duo record in a garage and in the studio. It would be interesting to hook them up in a real studio one day and get a great production/mix from the various instruments, and move away from the somewhat 'muddy', lo-fi music it is now. Which is not to say anything bad about this release. It has a great raw power that somehow is also part of this kind of music. Three of the five tracks may be a bit long, but it has a strange psychedelic sense to it. Their use of electronics is what sets them apart from the average rock noise group, strangely cutting into the sounds, usually the vocals, which add an odd, alien feeling to the music. Excellent slow dirty mayhem. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blackpetal.com

MATTHEW HORSLEY & MASSIMO MAGEE & DAVI WALLIS - ONE SMALL STEP (CDR by Appel Music)
APPEL MUSIC - TAMPON RAMIER (CDR by Appel Music)
The Appel Music label deals with music of improvised nature. They have releases with people I sometimes I never heard off, like Matthew Horsley (percussion, uillean pipes, low whistle, conch shell, metronome, etc.), Massimo Magee (tenor saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, amplifier w/ headphones and preparations, tape recorder w/ blank tape, field recordings, harmonica, wooden flute) an David Wallis (diatonic harmonica). Although the cover doesn't tell us, this is no doubt a live recording - it very much sounds like that. It's some pretty weird improvisation. Wallis' harmonica wails about, and usually disrupts the somewhat quiet improvisations of the others. Some of the instruments are not easy to detect in this (field recordings? amplifier? tape recorder?). The wind instruments usually play longer sustained tones and the percussion rattles a bit. Its not bad, but the whole thing is a bit too long (fifty one minutes), with not enough variation in the way the music is improvised. Maybe a somewhat more detailed recording could have saved this. I am not sure however.
As Appel Music there is also a collective of five musicians playing improvised music: Gaudenz Badrutt (computer), Alexandre Bellenger (turntables), Joean Borde (double bass), Julien Skrobek (balloons, whistles, computer) and Dan Warburton (violin). They played at Atelier Tampon-Ramier on December 13th last year two sets, in total fifty three music. The recording quality is alike of the previous one - just a microphone in the air to capture the proceedings, but the music is much nicer. There is more variety - even with less instruments and more people - although this too boils down to hardcore improvisation. There are odd bits of pre-recorded orchestral music which don't seem to fit in, but it works somehow. Sometimes there is a lot of concentration with carefully placed silence, and noisy outbursts. Although I liked these two sets much better, I think some form of editing would have made the whole release a bit stronger. I guess that is perhaps against the holy book of improvisation, but then recording might also be a curse then? (FdW)
Address: http://www.appelmusic.org

CIOGOELACH - CO? WOMB OF THE GRAVE (Cassette by Waterpower)
The packaging of this cassette was two badly Xeroxed sheets of B&W pictures of what I think are naked and semi naked female cadavers who have met violent ends, being for various reasons a little low I expected from this a cathartic and violent scoundscape fitting of these images, what I got was lo-fi rumble, noise and ambience, bit like a water fall, with faint industrial field sounds, evidence of some looping, but nothing totalising and violent. The gentility of the ambient loops are just annoying, and I forget but rectify, the title above is what I could make of unreadable text, it's a very disappointing piece, the tape is saturated to the extent that it is a lo-fi mud, which it might meant to be? Just as is the title? As such it succeeds, which probably means its very good, bit like the beauty of a
tidal river with its mud patterns, debris and shopping trolleys.... (jliat)
No address given

 

 

 

 


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