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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 733
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week 22
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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!
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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:

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EMERALDS - DOES IT LOOK I'M HERE (CD by Editions Mego) *
RM74 - REFLEX (CD by Utech Records) *
PSEUDO CODE - EUROPA (CD by EE Tapes) *
COLIN POTTER & MICHEAL BEGG - FRAGILE PITCHES (2CD by Omnempathy/ICR) *
YEN POX - BLOOD MUSIC (2CD by Malignant Records) *
MICHAEL T. BULLOCK & ANDREW LAFKAS - CEREMONIES TO BREATHE UPON (CD by Winds Measure Recordings) *
PHILIPPE PETIT - A SCENT OF GARMAMBROSIA (CD by Aagoo Records) *
A CLOAKROOM ASSEMBLY - TERRITORY + POPULATION (CD by Endgame Records) *
EMBER - AURORA ARONA (CD by Creative Sources/Ahornfelder)
TABATA - MANKIND SPREE (CD by Fourth Dimension) *
SPECTRAL SURGERY - PASAJE DES ESTADO INTERMEDIO (CD and DVD by Mantricum Records)
PEOPLE LIKE US & WOBBLY - MUSIC FOR THE FIRE (CD by Illegal Art) *
THISQUIETARMY - AFTERMATH (CD by Basses Frequences) *
FREE CLASSICAL GUITARS (CD by FF HHH)
USE OTHER DOOR - ELECTRICTY (CDR by FF HHH) *
JESUS IS MY SON - JE SUIS DIEU (CDR by FF HHH)
CM VON HAUSWOLFF & JAN HAFSTROM & J.P. FABRA - GRAF SPEE (LP by Presto!?)
VERTONEN/16 BITCH PILE UP (LP by What We Do Is Secret)
VERTONEN - BLOODSHIFT (cassette by Banned Production)
OH RUIN - THE PILLOW WHERE YOUR HEAD DOES LAY/RINGSEND (7" by Static Caravan)
CHEMINS - CDR #4 (CDR, private) *
PAWN - ABOVE THE WINTER OAKS (CDR by The Land Of) *
JLIAT - 7PIANOS ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (CDR by Jliat) *
LUKASZ CISZAK - REDUKT (CDR by SQRT)
IAN HOLLOWAY & DARREN TATE - THE EARTH IN PLAY (CDR by Quiet World/Fungal) *
CARLOS VILLENA AND ARNAU SALA - SPLIT (3"CDRby Mantricum Records)
VIRFUL OBIRSA - FEARFUL OBLATION (two cassettes by Incubator)


EMERALDS - DOES IT LOOK I'M HERE (CD by Editions Mego)
Hot on the heels of their recent self-titled release on Hanson Records (see Vital Weekly 728), here is yet another new release by Emeralds. According to Mego they move forward, leaving behind their strict analogue approach and now they are using also digital synthesizers, guitar synthesizers and such like. This has indeed an effect on the music. The twelve pieces here are shorter than on their previous releases, but it seems also to me that they lost a bit of their original power. The music played here sounds a lot sweeter than before. In fact a lot sweeter than we would expect on a label like Mego in general. There is a general poppy feel to this album, which I guess is always good, but not something you would perhaps expect from Emeralds. The arpeggio's roll about, melodies are played on top. Still one could say that Emeralds are the Tangerine Dream of this century, but as opposed to their earlier work which sounded like early Tangerine Dream, they here sound like a later date TD and that's something that I am perhaps not entirely used to already. Overall I liked the older, rougher version better than this new version of Emeralds. Its good to see them moving on, and this album certainly has some fine moments. I'll give it the benefit of doubt for now, and curiously anticipates with whatever they come up next. Keep the instruments, but bring back the rawness of before. (FdW)
Address: http://www.editionsmego.com

RM74 - REFLEX (CD by Utech Records)
Reto Mader is a busy man. He works as and with Ural Umbo, Sum Of R, Pendulum Nisum and here solo as RM74. He has already a couple of albums as such, of which 'Fireproof In 8 Parts' (see Vital Weekly 568) was the last. I noted then that RM74 is someone was always seems to be changing his style, almost per CD. I love that. In recent times it seems that Reto Mader has developed an interest in drone like music, for instance his album as Ural Umbo or his production with Rhys Chatham. The drones that he is interested in are however not of a very mellow kind. With the use of electronics, organ, synthesizer, guitars and also computer RM74 creates a kind of drone music that owes to a lot of things, but not always necessarily drone music. Think psychedelica, think noise, think lo-fi New Zealand. Mader uses perhaps cheap microphones and down sampling (at a lower bit rate than the usual 16 or 24), to get this 'dirty' sound. Those puts into repeating blocks of sound with minimalist coloring of the frequencies: hence we might say this is drone music. Its an excellent CD, full of power and glory, with tracks being not too long, but forming a coherent whole. Again RM74 manages to sound different than before, so there is a surprise, and what's more important: he delivers another great work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.utechrecords.com

PSEUDO CODE - EUROPA (CD by EE Tapes)
A weeks ago I was in heaven about the CD re-issue of Mekanik Kommando's first LP, now its time to raise the same flag (but with less words probably) for the one and only LP ever by Pseudo Code. This trio from Belgium consisted of Alain Neffe, head of Insane Music, and as such also the man from Human Flesh, Bene Gesserit, I Scream, Cortex and Subject on synthesizers, strings organ, rhythm box, soprano saxophone. Also in the band is Xavier S on vocals and Guy Marc Hinant on electric guitar and pianet. He's now the man behind Sub Rosa. I always thought Pseudo Code was the most interesting band of the Insane Music label. Their cassettes were always great: the rhythm box in the middle, the instruments in free mode around it, and on top Xavier's voice which sounded like wounded deer (as someone once described it). Alienation music, but somehow always also accessible. Certainly not 'easy' music but filled paranoia and strangeness. Yet I always thought that 'Europa' was also a record of some lighter approach, and still think it is. What delights me even further is that their two 7"s are also enclosed on this re-issue, and what saddens me is that one piece has a new mix and one was omitted. Somehow there is always such a thing with re-issues. I once dabbled with the idea of approaching Alain Neffe to do a boxset of the complete work of Pseudo Code, but always was thinking: who would want to have 7 or so CDs by them, other than myself? A complete boxset is now no longer an option, but its great to see their most accessible work on CD. Its time to dig out the old cassettes and play those again. A pity that so much of their work is scattered over compilation tapes, maybe its time to transfer them all onto a fresh new tape. Following Mekanik Kommando the second best re-issue of this year. Oh wonderful life! (FdW)
Address: http://www.eetapes.be

COLIN POTTER & MICHEAL BEGG - FRAGILE PITCHES (2CD by Omnempathy/ICR)
Two members from Fovea Hex, but also from Nurse With Wound and Monos (Potter) and Human Greed (Begg) were commissioned to perform a work by Unique Events in Edinburgh in December 2009 in the St Giles Cathedral. Both sets of the night are captured on these two discs, whereas on the third disc, a limited CDR (120 copies) there is material that was featured between both and recorded earlier. If you know Potter's work with Monos, Fovea Hex or solo, then you know what to look for in this collaboration: dark atmospheric music. They use laptops, effects and guitars and create lengthy sets of eerie, flowing music. Slow, minimalist changes of glacier like moving masses. Well over three hours of this kind of music is obviously a long sit through, but this is of course the kind of music that needs its time to develop. Potter and Begg keep the idea of playing in cathedral in mind, by using a bit more of that kind of church organ like sounds. A great work indeed. The bonus disc is the one that seems to have the most silent music of the three, which would be either a good start or good contemplative ending. One could argue, like so many of the current drone works around, that this isn't much news, but as always Potter is one of the masters of the genre, and this release is easily one of his best. (FdW)
Address: http://www.omnempathy.com http://www.icrdistribution.com

YEN POX - BLOOD MUSIC (2CD by Malignant Records)
After some hot days earlier in the week, the weather has cooled down, and the sky is grey. How is that of any relevance, you may wonder, for a reviewer? I'm happy to have received the Yen Pox not earlier than now, since the type of music they play is certainly not something one wants to hear on a nice spring, summer filled day. The total and utter darkness of their ambience may not fit the grey spring day, but the early darkness of a winter afternoon I guess, but then today will do just as fine. Yen Pox have been around for a long time, and somehow I don't think they ever changed what they are doing. Its hardly any relevant I guess. Yen Pox stumbled upon a specific type of sound, a musical approach and they feel more than happy to fill their entire career with doing what they like best. This double CD harks back to a CD called 'Blood Music' from 1995 and a previously unreleased track and on the second a cassette from 1993, a 7" from 1996 and a lost compilation track from 1997. The ultimate beautiful nightmare music. Highly atmospheric, highly drone like but also always on the move. This is not some static drone piece, but because its filled with tons of sound effects, which make the sounds bounce around. Obviously there is an immense space created through the use of reverb, which is never a personal favorite, but for this kind of music its understandable that its necessary. If Lustmord is anywhere your discman, or Troum, then Yen Pox should never be far away. The beautiful cruel world of blood music indeed. No doubt the best way to spend a grey, rainy night. Excellent. (FdW)
Address: http//www.malignantrecords.com

MICHAEL T. BULLOCK & ANDREW LAFKAS - CEREMONIES TO BREATHE UPON (CD by Winds Measure Recordings)
Two contrabass players here, Andrew Lafkas, of whom I not really heard I think and Michael T. Bullock, of whom I did hear before, and know as someone who likes his improvised playing to be minimal - to say the least. I think Bullock at times also uses electronics, but I am not if he uses any of that here. Its not mentioned on the cover, nor the fact that this is perhaps a live concert. I do however think this is a live recording, however one with no audience, but a direct-to-track recording of two man playing their contrabass, without any overdub or without any electronic interference. For forty-three minutes and twenty-four seconds they move elegantly through their material. Slow gestures, minimal changes, all colored in light grey tones. Moody improvised music. They play their instruments 'the way it should be' and not a resonant boards of woods which produce any sound. They use bows to play the strings (how odd that may sound perhaps these days), but occasionally also seem to pluck it or play it with objects. A very 'silent' piece, slow moving, minimal gestures. It seems recorded in a hall of some kind, so natural reverb becomes part of the proceedings. A great CD of improvised music by two excellent players. (FdW)
Address: http://www.windsmeasurerecordings.net

PHILIPPE PETIT - A SCENT OF GARMAMBROSIA (CD by Aagoo Records)
In recent times Philippe Petit, the owner of Bip Hop Records, becomes more and more active as a musician. Recently we reviewed his collaborative work with K11 (see Vital Weekly 729) and here is a 'solo' CD by him. His main interest seems to be in working with other people. Here, per track, he works with Andy Diagram (trumpet), Helena Espvall (cello), Alexander Bruck (viola), Tom Heasley (tuba), Richard Harrison (cuica & cymbals) and such like. Petit himself takes credit for processed acoustics, field recordings, synths, piano, electronics, turntable, percussion and found sounds. Garambrosia is from Twin Peaks and with that David Lynch meant 'pain and suffering is consumed'. The musical result in the hands of Petit is indeed quite cinematic. That's where his recent interests lies these days (he also did 'Henry: The Iron Man'). The music is strange hybrid of improvised music, where some of the players have their background, meeting up with modern classical music, which meet up half way through, with the finer addition of processed acoustic sound. Petit likes to work with a full on sound spectrum; emptiness seems to be a strange word for him. The crackles of the turntable sometimes are a bit loud and many, but throughout this intense music works wonderfully well. It's hard to say which movie it would suit best, but perhaps its the music that that is the movie itself. A dark one of course, a film noir with long slow shots. That would fit this much layered music best. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aagoo.com

A CLOAKROOM ASSEMBLY - TERRITORY + POPULATION (CD by Endgame Records)
Micheal Tee is behind A Cloakroom Assembly and he is called 'a pioneering Australian sound artist. He started the M-Squared label in 1979 and also the band Scattered Order as well as Ya Ya Choral in 1983. As A Cloakroom Assembly he plays highly melodic music. The press release says 'ambient/soundscape/experimental', but that latter word may not apply a great deal. Tee uses digital world percussion, mellow synths and piano to create a fine woven tapestry of music. If anything, I'd say its that same fourth world ambient music as played by Jon Hassell and which we found in the early years of the Extreme catalogue, think Mo Boma or, above all, Paul Schutze's early work, but then perhaps in a somewhat more digital age, especially in the lengthy piece 'Circa 1958'. Like said, this is hardly experimental, as this probably was never experimental in the first place. That is also hardly relevant. New or innovative are also words that hardly apply here. That is all hardly relevant either. What Tee does here is playing some very nice, pleasant atmospheric, at times moody music. Music to dream away by, to work by, to sleep by (perhaps), in short: ambient music. An excellent production. (FdW)
Address: http://www.endgame.com.au

EMBER - AURORA ARONA (CD by Creative Sources/Ahornfelder)
Ember is quartet of Urs Leimgruber (saxes), Christian Lillinger (drums, percussion), Oliver Schwerdt (piano) and Alexander Schubert (electronics, violin). Leimgruber is a veteran improvisor from Switzerland. The other three musicians all come from Germany and represent a younger generation. "Aurora Arona" is their second album. Their debut "Oullh d'baham" saw the light in 2006 on Euphorium. Every now and then the four musicians meet to play and record.
On "Aurora Arona" we find them in a three-hour session before a concert during the Ahornfelder Festival in Leipzig in 2008. Recordings were edited by Alexander Schubert, resulting in an album that is a mixture of live and studio-work. The guiding idea behind this procedure was to "produce an album that would not fall into the often seen structures of improvised concerts with the long bows of searching for material but rather to have distinct and clearly separated pieces with precisely structured parts." This kind of information often puzzles me. Can I detect what is live and improvised, and what are manipulations afterwards. At the end I often skip this question as irrelevant, and consider the music on the CD simply for what it is, in whatever way it came into being. The music on "Aurora Arona" has aspects of free improvised music, noisy soundcollages and electro-acoustic treatments. The atmosphere of free improvised music is the most dominant, guaranteeing the lively and communicative nature of this music. It really boils from time to time, like in the cacaphonic parts of the opening track "Aruna Aurora" and "Begen bginn filt". The closing piece "Etherlorbien" moves towards the other side of the spectrum, and is a lenghty meditative soundimprovisation. An engaging but no sensational work. (DM)
Address: http://www.ahornfelder.de/

TABATA - MANKIND SPREE (CD by Fourth Dimension)
Its been a while since I last reviewed a solo CD by Tabata Mitsuru, 'Last Exit To Brainsville' in Vital Weekly 595. Tabata is best known as the guitarist of Zeni Geva, but also Acid Mothers Temple. He plays also solo music, on his guitar and his effects, and likes his music to be psychedelic. Nothing wrong with that, I should think, but just like 'Last Exit To Brainsville', this couldn't interest me a single second. An endless guitar solo, with some guestplayers on synthesizers. Sometimes an endless repetition on loops. All very much like the previous 'Last Exit To Brainsville', and I quote myself from that review: "I have no idea what Tabata is after with this one, but it certainly didn't please me one bit. Tedious, boring, pointless." (FdW)
Address: http://www.fourth-dimension.net

SPECTRAL SURGERY - PASAJE DES ESTADO INTERMEDIO (CD and DVD by Mantricum Records)
I have never heart of this band from Spain, but it is a nice surprise. Goli Mendez and Paula Martinez are the members of this band, which started in 2008. The goal of the band is to explore the limits of sounds and images. The CD starts with Tibetan alike chanting and the synthesizer completes the quiet atmosphere. Sometimes bells are coming up and sliding away. A calm melody takes the listener with in a meditative mood. The second track "Mantra" is based on drones, long lasting tones and develops slowly in a more dark meditative atmosphere. The last track starts noisy and has a more treathning atmosphere. It is divided in different parts what makes the composition variable.
The DVD has the same soundtrack as the last track of the CD. The short movie made by Victor Canora starts with the following of electric wires on the street. The music fits really nice to the images. Sometimes the it seems that some sounds has the equal sound as the wires. It is a pity that the video -artist used videofilters which do not make the storyline stronger. But the use of different speeds makes the video more interesting. Although a great debut... highly recommended. (JKH)
Address: http://www.mantricum.com/

PEOPLE LIKE US & WOBBLY - MUSIC FOR THE FIRE (CD by Illegal Art)
Plunderphonics at work. Before playing this CD, I studied the cover, and I was thinking that over the last twenty years nothing much seems to have changed in the world of plunderphonics. Take old pictures from magazines of cosy families, some retro letter type and make it look like something old. That probably says a lot of the music. Plunderphonics is usually some sort of comment, social, political packed with old music, and spoken word records. I must admit I don't hear that many plunderphonics any more, not by People Like Us for sure, but also not by Wobbly (of whom I never heard much to begin with), but this album sounds exactly what I expected it would sound like. Old, cliched music, filled with spoken word, 'depicting the lifespan of a relationship'. If you never heard anything like plunderphonics before, then you'll be amazed about all the spliced together music and words, but if you are familiar with the many releases of People Like Us and Wobbly (or likeminded artists such as Negativland, Tape-beatles, Ergo Phizmiz (of whom I recently saw an excellent opera, which brought plunderphonics to a new level) and such like), you will not hear much new things going on. Who would play such a thing a lot of times, I wondered. There is only as much amazement as one can have. The slow mood of the music, lifted from love songs, makes the tempo of the album very slow. Not a particular strong one this collaboration. I heard much better from both. (FdW)
Address: http://www.illegal-art.net

THISQUIETARMY - AFTERMATH (CD by Basses Frequences)
Quite some time ago I reviewed 'Unconquered', one of the three previous releases by Eric Quach, also known as Thisquietarmy (see Vital Weekly 628). His fourth album is 'Aftermath', and released by Basses Frequences. Quach is not unlike his fellow country man Nadja (or perhaps like Aidan Baker), he plays guitar and lots of sound effects. To result is not too dissimilar to Nadja or Baker: highly atmospheric drone music, with a nice touch of melody here and there. In general the idea is to raise a wall of sound (as in built from many layers, not the noise type of sound) through loops created on the guitar and through the effects, and then, when everything is in place, he adds a guitar melody on top. Its a simple yet effective method to create such music, and Thisquietarmy does that well, I must say. Great moody music. But like with so many others, armed with guitars, loop stations and such like, there is also not much new under the sun. That should merely be noted. Not as a complaint, but as a statement. If you are looking for something new, this might not be the place where it happens, so you know. If you are looking for more music along the lines of Troum, Nadja or Fear Falls Burning: Thisquietarmy is as good as them. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bassesfrequences.org

FREE CLASSICAL GUITARS (CD by FF HHH)
USE OTHER DOOR - ELECTRICTY (CDR by FF HHH)
JESUS IS MY SON - JE SUIS DIEU (CDR by FF HHH)
Maybe you know the feeling: you put on a CD, you like the music, and it turns out to be a compilation. You glance the cover and you think to recognize a few names (Nicolas Desmarchelier, Olaf Rupp) and the rest seems all new (Chris Iemulo, Gregory Duby, Jean DL, Mikaele Pellegrino, Pascal Marzan, Roger Smith and Sebastien Biset). They all received an invitation from FF HHH, a label from Belgium, which read: 'you can do what you want but you must do it on a nylon string guitar'. These eight people do that, they pick up the nylon string guitar and play that, improvise on it, let it sing, let it ring, howl and whisper. Only once I looked at my CD player to see who was doing what: Jean DL's 'Sans Titre' used electric amplification (Judas, I smiled), whereas all the others, eleven tracks in total, used the nylon guitar in an acoustic way. It has some great playing on it, but not for a single moment, other than the aforementioned incident, I had the idea to look of was doing what here. That says nothing about the actual music, but perhaps a little about the interchangeable nature of improvised music and how to approach that instrument. Its however a nice enough compilation. Some refined beauty.
More improvised by Use Other Door, but of an entirely different nature. It opens with 'Dementia', a piece for shortwave radio's and cracked everyday electronics, but then 'Restart Bydlo-Rakety' seems like a mellow ambient piece. But that's only deceiving, as things move on up and up into a more noise oriented territory. Its not easy to say what they use here, no information on the cover, but this experimental outfit, might use acoustic objects, radios, synthesizers and lots of effects. Its altogether not bad. Its not the kind of noise that goes over the top, but it all stays on the friendly side of things, without, on the other hand becoming too mellow. Not entirely my cup of tea, but done with some consideration.
The last new release translates as 'I Am God', which of course must be if 'Jesus Is My Son'. He is influenced by Olivier Messiaen, one of the few modern composers to be catholic and Jesus Is My Son tries to 'make a Church organ album with a single guitar without any artifact'. Eight pieces (why not the divine 7, or the holy trinity? I wondered) here of solo electric guitar, played in an improvised manner. This has very little to do with the sound of a church organ me thinks, and all with some highly boring doodling on the guitar and overdrive. Not a single minute that could really interest me here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ffhhh.be

CM VON HAUSWOLFF & JAN HAFSTROM & J.P. FABRA - GRAF SPEE (LP by Presto!?)
Maximilian von Spee was a German admiral in the first world war. He had fine fleet but met his death near the Falklands on december 8 1914 in a battle against the english. In short the facts behind Graf Spee. I have no idea what Carl Micheal von Hauswolff, Jan Hafstrom and J.P. Fabre (the latter two are names I never heard of) find so interesting about this man, but they created a work around it. One side is an audio visual installation on permanent display in Sweden, while the other side was on display for a shorter period of time. Its Hauswolff who is responsible for the music, and both sides are build around a majestic (pun intended) drone. Sine wave like sounds slowly oscillating against eachother, with some sort of loop that returns with what seems to be irregular intervals, especially on the b-side of the record. On the surface it may seem that both sides are similar, or perhaps too similar, but they are not. Side B - part two that is - is the more sparse one of the two and side one is the more rigidly organized side. The slow moving music probably fits great with an installation piece, but also works well as a piece of music by itself. Its the kind of music we like so much of Hauswolff, but doesn't show too much often, regrettable. (FdW)
Address: http://www.prestorecords.com

VERTONEN/16 BITCH PILE UP (LP by What We Do Is Secret)
VERTONEN - BLOODSHIFT (cassette by Banned Production)
Ready for more Vertonen? Blake Edwards already warned us that this year will be a busy one, release-wise. The split LP has been waiting for almost three years to see the light of day, and perhaps that's why the Vertonen side sounds a bit dated. In the 'old' days Vertonen was less a drone based outfit, but more electronic and with the use of old vinyl, feeding through effects and synthesizers. It shows the more roughly shaped side of Vertonen, which I guess is nice to hear again after all this time and all the current more drone music. Some of that is already present in this side but not as refined. The side is actually quite nice, except perhaps for the last section which was to straight forward in its rhythmic approach. 16 Bitch Pile Up is on the other side. This band no longer exists and I expected some noise. I think I expected that before too, but was surprised it wasn't. Their side was recorded at some festival in San Francisco in 2007 and shows some interesting electronic and experimental side. Its unclear what they do here, but it works well. There is the obligatory noise bit in there, of course, but throughout they left us with the impression that they could do a lot of interesting music.
Vertonen on cassette - again! - for the by now legendary Banned Production label. It seems to me as Vertonen took the invitation of the label to present AMK, a turntablist himself - two pieces of vinyl work himself. 'Cat Dancing Disease' on the a-side is mayhem. Lots of layers of vinyl loops spiraling into chaos. Not his finest hour, or ten minutes for that matter. The b-side, 'Chelation Therapy (for AJR)' is more more interesting as it takes the vinyl into a new territory, the drone world, which is now common ground for Vertonen. An excellent piece that made me entirely forget the previous ten minutes! More of that please. (FdW)
Address: <summonjohn@gmail.com>
Address: http://bannedproduction.com

OH RUIN - THE PILLOW WHERE YOUR HEAD DOES LAY/RINGSEND (7" by Static Caravan)
At the beginning of 'Th Pillow Where Your Head Does Lay', I almost started to hum America's 'A Horse With No Name', as I think it has similarities (although I haven't heard 'A Horse' in a while), but once Eoin O'Ruinaigh, as Oh Ruin is called, has the song on the road, its a different song indeed. More dark, more folky perhaps indeed, but it has a great drive through the use of drums and a catchy melody. A song of passion no doubt. 'Ringsend' on the b-side is less catchy, since it moves from place to place. Eoin on his acoustic guitar in the middle, singing his song, but then with drums and piano disrupting the mellow scene. A great song indeed, but not a utterly catchy as the flip. Totally unVital like, but no doubt that a-side is the best song (!) of the week. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

CHEMINS - CDR #4 (CDR, private)
The fourth disc by Finlands' Chemins (see also Vital Weekly 707, 716 and 725), with again one track, now few minutes longer. They still haven't changed: they operate within the context of rock music, improvisation and electronics (field recordings most likely). They now gave their piece a title, for the first time, 'The Myth Of Physicists', but that's the only notable change. They move along various passages within a piece, with processed field electronics and guitars and some sparsely used percussion. This new piece seems to be a bit more working a like cut-up, without the natural flowing of one piece into the next. This piece has four main sections, which are mostly mellow in approach. Only the first and third section are a bit more harsh. Chemins fine tune their approach a bit further with this release and this might be their best to date. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cheminsgroup.blogspot.com

PAWN - ABOVE THE WINTER OAKS (CDR by The Land Of)
One Hideki Umezawa is behind Pawn, and he has had releases before on Dynamphone and Symbolic Interaction. He was born in 1986 and walks every day to school (student? teacher?) and while doing so he listens to his environment, which is close to the Inogashira Park. There is no particular reason to dedicate this winter time he says, its a season he likes. As Pawn he creates music that can indeed best be heard when walking outside - although I think spring or summer would be a nicer season to walk outside. Play this music on your headphones and you'll have wonderful quiet walk. Eerie, silent ambient music with slow moves. Processed piano perhaps, some sort of digital synthesis of sound, sparsely lite sound effects. This is absolutely great music indeed. However I must at the same time also say that there is nothing in this release that we haven't heard before. Its microsound slash ambient as we know and heard all before. Now is that bad? Of course it isn't. One should do whatever thou want of course and not care about that big shift in music and above all play that kind of music which one likes and try to do it as well as possible. Pawn does succeed in that very well. (FdW)
Address: http://thelandof.org

JLIAT - 7PIANOS ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (CDR by Jliat)
From the ever expanding universe of Jliat: more
questions than answers. Why pianos? Why seven pianos? Why seven pianos from digital origins? Why Lennon/McCartney's 'Across The Universe'? What's with all the changes in the tune? I was very tired from a long travel when I played this, mainly looking at the various items that arrived for Vital Weekly and thinking what I should be playing while reading an old newspaper. It was nice actually. There are seven solo tracks of seven different pieces of software playing 'Across The Universe' and then they are combined so, track eight has piano 1 and 2, the track nine piano 1, 2 and 3 etc. No doubt there is some odd conceptual idea behind all of this, which I fail to understand (fatigue on my part no doubt), but as some pleasant sort of background muzak to tired travelers not a bad thing. Until things are too much, such as in the last track. No noise harmed in this Jliat release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.jliat.com

LUKASZ CISZAK - REDUKT (CDR by SQRT)
A new work by Lukasz Ciszak, a Polish composer, guitarist, experimentalist, and head of the Sqrt label. This is an independent CDR/net label established in 2004, focussing mainly on electro-acoustics, experimental electronics and improvisation. No surprise the label published already earlier output of Ciszak. It don‚t know any of it I have to admit. But what "Redukt" makes clear is that the artist has already some experience in creating fascinating, slowly moving massive soundsculptures. Contrary to this, the pieces carry very short (reduced?) and formal titles as "FRRA/HAM", "ALS", "LHR" and "TPE". Titles devoid of many meaning.
Environmental sounds and spoken word are combined with instrumental playing (guitar, sax) and intermingled with sounds and noises of unclear origin. Thick, multilayered soundscapes are the result. "ALS" has a convincing structure, and reminded me of old work by Fripp and Eno. In "LHR" I hear echoes of Kluster. On the shoulders of these veterans Ciszak constructs his own intriguing world. Yes, Ciszak knows how to built and construct his works. Sometimes however, I ask myself where these massive sound-continents are drifting to. But most of the time I‚m captured by the hypnotizing beauty of his dark soundworks of fine and richly textured tapestries. (DM)
Address: http://sqrt-label.org

IAN HOLLOWAY & DARREN TATE - THE EARTH IN PLAY (CDR by Quiet World/Fungal)
Following his solo 'poppy' sample madness of 'Handle This Wino Like He Was Angel' (see Vital Weekly 721) Ian Holloway returns here to his familiar background that of drone music, along with Darren Tate, who is of course known as the man behind Ora. He plays 'squeeze box', guitar and percussion) here, while Holloway takes responsibility for piano, wooden flute and sea recordings. Its divided in two parts, of which the second is the longer piece. The first is an intro like piece for some flowing synthesizer like sounds, and then it goes into the second piece, the main thing. Its hard to recognize many of the instruments used in this tracks, squeeze box? percussion? A guitar, yes, sea sounds, yes, piano too. Its perhaps too easy to say that this is just a beautiful piece of music, but it is. A great slow flow of sounds, a quiet sea on a calm day type of music. Nothing more, nothing less than just that. Nothing new under the burning drone sun, but in these capable hands a great piece of music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.quietworld.co.uk

CARLOS VILLENA AND ARNAU SALA - SPLIT (3"CDRby Mantricum Records)
In a short time I received another split of the man Carlos Villena behind Mantricum Records label from Spain. This split has two complete atmospheres what makes the 3"CDR an interesting release. Again the artwork is well-done. Packed in a small dvd-box with melancholic drawings of Arnau Sala. Besides his work as musician, he is an artist and graphic designer. His composition of about 10 minutes is noisy with crackling sounds, harsh pulsations. After a while there is more quietness and subtlety in the composition what makes the composition great to listen to. I would be interesting if he continues to explore the fine sounds of his noisy world and built it up like this. The track of Carlos Villena has about the same length and is more quiet and drony. The long sounds develop more and fluid into each other and become more and more noisy and go slowly back to more dark and melancholic tones. Villena takes time to create new atmospheres in this great track. For this release is a nice development in the music of Carlos Villena and a big step forward. (JKH)
Address: http://www.mantricum.com

VIRFUL OBIRSA - FEARFUL OBLATION (two cassettes by Incubator)
Back in the late 80s, early 90s one of the more striking small labels was Petri Supply. Though blessed with a very small catalogue, they had some of best hand made covers around. It was connected through a mailorder out of Seattle, called Incubator. In these days the label is born again, mainly as a cassette label, under the Incubator banner, but still with some great, hand made packaging. This particular release is out of the old days and recorded by one Allen Russell. One tape is quite experimental with just synthesizer sounds. Using the external input to feed sounds into the synthesizer, they are transformed once inside. Very rhythmic material, although this is hardly a work of dance music as we know it. In some ways a very crude version of early Pan Sonic, but without a drive or distinct groove. I must admit this is not the greatest thing around, but it certainly has a charm about it. The second tape from this set moves into a different direction. Here we have mostly dark synthesizer patterns, crudely recorded. An one synthesizer approach me thinks. Russell adds spoken word from TV (?) to it, and does a bit of vocal of himself. This is no doubt all supposed to be spooky and haunting, but its not really like that at all. It all sounds quite nice though, as a whole it seems to me, this second tape is worked out more than the other. Both tapes sound highly '80s' and that's an absolute positive qualification. Very nice. And of course with a great hand made packaging in combination with silk screen. (FdW)
Address: <logjam@upwardaccess.com>



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