number 739
week 28


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:



MYO - MEMORY GOSPEL (CD by Zeromoon) *
BVDUB - THE ART OF DYING ALONE (CD by Glacial Movements) *
LASSE-MARC RIEK - HARBOUR (CD by Herbal International)
MACHINEFABRIEK - DUOTOON (3"CD by Machinefabriek) *
DAS DING (LP by Minimal Wave)
SUNSLIDE - MECHANISME (CDR by Dying For Bad Music) *
SMUT & THE DIARY OF LISA FRANK/AT MY GRANDMA'S HOUSE (cassette by Friends & Relatives Records)
AETHER JAQ/MAN-OQRAM FOR A MA'AM (cassette by Friends & Relatives Records)

MYO - MEMORY GOSPEL (CD by Zeromoon)
Corey O'Brien, working as Myo, has had a couple of releases before, mostly on CDR (for instance 'Process', reviewed in Vital Weekly 562), and here he presents what I think is his first real CD. O'Brien calls himself a 'self-taught hacker, computer musician and electro-acoustic improviser'. To his end he uses 'pure date, Dave Smith Evolver, 1/4" Lezen Sheet and Soundhack plugins, which I am sure those who love all things computer based will know what it is - not me. Also he uses, as input 'prepared piano and guitar work', but that's something that is simply not easy to hear. Like before Myo operates in what I called macrosound in the previous review. Its that combination of microsound, noise, feedback, distortion, ambient and drones, all put together in what should be called I.N.: intelligent noise. Along the lines of Joe Colley, Phroq and Andy Orthmann. Things that can be loud and obnoxious, or soft and gentle, with swift changes, although that is a terrain that is not just the idea of Myo. Here the music comes in concentrated blocks of sounds, raw data flying about, in a minimalist fashion, like one-color monochrome paintings. The other difference with those mentioned is that the work of Myo is entirely computer based, all the musique concrete elements went into the computer, gets processed inside and then put out. But its some highly effective piece of noise music. Wish there was more like this. (FdW)
Address: http://zeromoon.com

In Vital Weekly 717 Magda Mayas surprised us with a great release of solo improvised music for piano. I thought her name was new to me, but she was also part of Phono Phono, a trio from Berlin, who self-titled album was reviewed in Vital Weekly 604. Here she has on offer a recording of her piano playing with alto saxophone of Christine Abdelnour Sehnaoui, whom we know from various other releases from the world of improvisation. Mayas continues her exciting approach to the piano. She plays the keys, the inside, with her fingers, with a bow, maybe with other objects and creates a very vibrant hotbed for Sehnaoui to lay down her alto saxophone with some fine sounds. I am told, on the cover of this release, that this is a work acoustic music, which is hard to believe. Both players manage to make their instruments sound like a refined combination acoustic and electronic sounds: hard to believe there are no electronic sounds here. These two ladies move between extreme points: loud music versus very silent music, delicate and raw meet up in this what seems almost like a battle. Its a breathtaking fifty-five minute ride which leaves the listener not only highly impressed with a sheer, great variety of music, but also slightly exhausted of this roller coaster ride. Wow. (FdW)
Address: http://www.olofbright.com

BVDUB - THE ART OF DYING ALONE (CD by Glacial Movements)
Brock van Wey is bvdub, and hails from San Francisco. He has had releases on Millions of Moments, Echospace, Smallfish, Styrax, and Kompakt (on the 'Pop Ambient 2010 CD). This work was written and produced in Shaoxing, China and uses a variety of instruments: piano, acoustic guitar, violin and female voices. I am not sure if Van Wey plays all of these himself, or wether he uses digital variations thereof (say Garageband, or samples from orchestral works). It seems clear that these instruments are then processed inside the computer and blended together. The label Glacial Movements is known for releasing all things ambient and drone related, and this work by bvdub is no different. If anything, that mentioning of 'Pop Ambient 2010' should draw you into the direction which this goes. There are similarities to be spotted between the work of bvdub and say Gas (Wolfgang Voigt's erstwhile moniker for ambient music, and compiler of 'Pop Ambient'). It has the same stretched out fields of orchestral like sounds, with a very vague kind of pumping 'something' (to avoid the word 'rhythm') behind it, buried, away, down under. Its music that fits exactly a warm summer evening, when the evening becomes night, dark becomes darker, and this music kindly tinkers away in the background and you sip your wine. Nothing under the sun (that slowly sinks below the horizon right now), but bvdub shows some excellent skills to walk the same path and to show us things we may have not noticed before. Nice one indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.glacialmovements.com

Various works of Chris Abrahams have been reviewed before, but as far as I could judge they were recordings with other people. According to the press sheet this is his fourth solo release, but the first to be reviewed then by Vital Weekly. Abrahams is, as a musician part of the Necks, which are described as an avant-jazz trio, but that's not shown in his solo release. Abrahams plays piano, hammond, rhodes, church organ, guitar, tambourine, bells, Yamaha DX7, Nord Waldorf Q+, prophet vs kurzweil, auto harp and field recordings. Mostly things with keys that is. Its not an album that is easy to pin down. The electronics are mostly atmospheric, but there are some interesting variations to be noted. For once, this is not an album of droney ambient music. A track like 'Twig Blown' for instance revolves around samples drum sounds, and owes much more to musique concrete than ambient music, while 'Running Out' has sudden bursts of guitar like sounds, amidst a bed of low humming electronics and piano sounds. The (too) lengthy 'Birds And Wasps' is a piece of more loudly sounds than quietness. The fairground sounds of 'Jellycrown', while the opening 'There He Reclined' reminded of the obscure A-Tent release on Cherry Red (still not on CD, damn it!). See: a curious hybrid of electronic music which offers a great deal of variation, but then also a great sense of unified approach. A very refined album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.room40.org

A strange release here, by Alexandre St-Onge. There are four versions: one is the super limited arty editions, one is less limited arty edition of the two CDs that are version one and version two. I have here just version on, the studio version. 'Entities is the spectral realization of a process of transformation, or even a mutation, of a sound material stemming from recordings of tracks originally created to be played in concert', I see on the press release. There is a whole bunch of references from say Stockhausen to Robert Wyatt, from Sten Hanson to Keiji Haino. St-Onge plays voice, bass and double bass, all of which are processed by the computer. If I write elsewhere about the new CD by Chris Abrahams that it is so great, because its so varied, here the variation works a bit against the album. Just what is it that St-Onge is trying to do here? Is this an album of musique concrete, of noise rock outings, of serious electronic music, or perhaps sound poetry? Although I think the album is not bad, growing each time a bit more and seeing the connections made between the pieces, its perhaps also maybe perhaps not entirely the kind of music I like. Maybe it has to do with the extensive processing of the voices, which sound like Haino a bit too often.
Perhaps (again) more of my interest is the album by Steve Bates. He grew with punk and reggae records but developed an interest in improvised and composed music and is one of the founders of the Send & Receive festival in Winnipeg. His interest for his album lies into incorporating Jamaican dub music techniques into electronic music. He gets his sounds from people like Christof Migone (reel to reel sounds and contact microphones), Christine Fellows (piano and keyboards), Jason Tait (drums and circuit bent electronics), Peter Burton (double bass) and Jake Moore (vocals). He could have fooled me actually. I would all too easily have thought this to be an album along the lines of Fennesz and Tim Hecker: grainy, textured computer processed guitar music and perhaps it is. But once you know what kind of players have been added you start to hear what they do, and its all together a more interesting record I think. Bates' music becomes almost a post-rocky band in 'Lefty's Theme' or an improvising unit in 'Calypso'. Altogether a pretty exciting record, not as varied as the St-Onge one, but in small details a pretty neat one. Not entirely new and hot, but a great quality in its execution. (FdW)
Address: http://www.oral.qc.ca

LASSE-MARC RIEK - HARBOUR (CD by Herbal International)
Somewhere between 1999 and 2007 Lasse-Marc Riek recorded sounds in harbors: Finland's Bjorkoby and Ostero and in Germany in Wismar and Hamburg. Presented here as seven individual pieces of sound. Unprocessed field recordings. Thirty-two minutes in total. As much as I dislike sailing, I like the sound of harbors, the smell of the sea, the wind. With today's summer rain and wind I could close my eyes and imagine to be in a harbour - at least for thirty two minutes. Riek, also the owner of the Gruenrekorder label, recorded some excellent sounds in these various harbors. Rusty metal, moved by the irregularities of the sea, seagulls, and objects moved by water (like rubber objects, tires or some such) and curiously also a steam engine. Each piece is kept short and to the point, a precise edit out of a larger reality. Almost song like in structure. If pure, unprocessed field recordings are your cup of tea, then this release by Lasse-Marc Riek is an excellent example of what it is. If you are new to the genre, this is a great way to step inside. (FdW)
Address: http://www.herbalinternational.tk

MACHINEFABRIEK - DUOTOON (3"CD by Machinefabriek)
Following a long line of self-released CDRs, mostly on 3" format, Machinefabriek now enters the stage where he starts to release pressed 3"CDRs. And given his popularity: why not? On the cover we read: 'sine waves generated and edited in SoundEdit', which is a rather ancient piece of software (running on OS 9.2). A simple piece of editing software, but with some great potential. It can generate sine waves and has some relatively easy means to process that sound. Maybe as a goodbye to that piece of software, Rutger Zuydervelt decided to use to 'simple' generated sine waves and do a nineteen minute piece of music with it. Its interesting to hear that he manages it to sound like a piece of music by Machinefabriek. Long sustaining sounds, which are always on the move. Piercing at times, high ends and low ends, but then always covered with that ambient like sound that we know Machinefabriek for. A moody piece of music that evolves slowly. A nice, gentle beast. Not his best release (which in his vast catalogue is not an easy thing to spot), but surely one of his better. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu

A limited LP of which I sadly only got a digital version of, but by exception I am accepting this. Partly because I know David Maranha for a long time, having reviewed a lot of his work, which I like a lot, and partly to tell about the great solo performance he gave a while back in Extrapool, here in Nijmegen. Sitting behind his organ he played power chords at full volume, for maybe, forty minutes. It could have easily been an hour, and wasn't easily digested by some, save me and a few others. Here he assembled a group, with himself on organ and violin, Riccardo Dillon Wanke on electric guitar, Patricia Machas on tambourine, Afonso Simoes on drums, Joao Milagre and Stefano Pilia (each on one side with the bass). I heard this one extensively yesterday, but today I started with some ancient popmusic and when that record was over, I simply thought some other popmusic would come in. Oh yes, was that Nico? Or perhaps Velvet Underground's 'Venus In Furs'? But hold on, I never had that in my playlist. Oh its Maranha and his crew. The start is very much the same, but then what ever comes next is more like Faust's early drone rock. Pounding drums, glissandi on the guitar, tambourine and bass pinning the lines down. Its a great record, especially if you were too young for the early Faust, or even going back further down the road: LaMonte Young's Theatre Of Eternal Music, Tony Conrad or even Glass's early electric violin piece. Two slabs of excellent minimal music that breathe sixties all over. (FdW)
Address: http://www.roaratorio.com

DAS DING (LP by Minimal Wave)
No matter how much you may dislike free music on blogs, there is surely positive spin-off to be noted. Danny Bosten released a bunch of cassettes on his own Tear Apart Tapes back in the 80s, played in various bands, did some more electronic music later on, which never caught on and left music to be a hobby. But due to the fact that someone put some of his early Das Ding on a blog, a label got interested in that and now there is a LP (well, out for some time, but I got it today, so why not do a review). I used to have these tapes and was always rather fond of them. Das Ding uses one or two ancient synthesizers and a rhythm machine. He plays some very strong electro music. The rhythm machine stands firm in the middle, organizing a sequencer rhythm on one synth and then the other plays a catchy hook on top. Simple as said, and catchy as hell. Eight blasts from the past. I don't recognize all the tracks from before, so I must have missed out some. Which makes this record an even bigger pleasure to hear. An excellent bouncing bomb of sweaty electro-pop. Perhaps, indeed, as such nothing for Vital Weekly, but I wanted to share my enthusiasm for this great record. (FdW)
Address: http://www.minimal-wave.org/

SUNSLIDE - MECHANISME (CDR by Dying For Bad Music)
More music by Sunslide, the project of Nigel Simpson, who brought us 'Field Piano' (see Vital Weekly 630), which was a nice release of field recordings mixed with piano music, or perhaps, dragging his piano outside and record in the field. There was a noise track present which I didn't like. On 'Mechanisme' (a very Dutch title I'd say), the instrument changed and it becomes the accordion, which is played outside in the 'field'. If I understand right, this work is one of improvisation on the accordion, mostly, but not exclusively. There are also bits on the piano, guitar and even electronics and tape-hiss. Ten tracks in total of what Sunslide calls ragas, but perhaps I just have a different idea of ragas. There is a certain lazyness about these recordings, which I appreciate. I imagine Simpson outside, on a chair, playing this instrument(s), while birds chirp away in the background, wind blows down the microphone. Accidental most likely, but left in with intention. It adds a nice detail to the music. Relying heavily on the notion of ambient music of course, which pushes the improvised music towards the background, this is a matter of playing the CDR (on repeat), don't get out of that lazy chair and read a book, drink a cold drink and pass the time in a gentle way. (FdW)
Address: http://dyingforbadmusic.com

The label Neigh Music was founded in 2002 by Horacio Pollard, whose real name is Leon T. Barnett, also guitarist in Cau_Cational Betreet. The others members are Toby Balson (drums) and Yoshi Shinagawa (guitars and effects). They improvise their music and operate in the niche of noise and rock. Apparently they only play outdoors, on such locations as on top of churches, motorway footbridge and forests. There is a DVD release from those concerts. In the summer of last year they did record 'Dredge', all improvised but it seems to me inside the four walls of a studio. A forty three minute attack on the senses. This is best enjoyed when played really loud. The vicious guitar feedback rolls about, the drums bang about, usually slow and loud. Not the kind of music I play a loud, but occasionally one I enjoy a lot. Better is the live experience I guess, the CDR for now a fine substitute.
Pollard and Shinagawa are also members of Qing Cia, along with Melvis Tibet, Kayaking, Stuart of London, Richard Harrison, Topgear, Moon Neil and Umi. From some twenty hours of improvisation this release was culled. The band consists of musicians and non-musicians, who use chairs, chains, playing cards, synths, drums and much more. All improvised but from an entirely different angle than Cau_Cational Betreet. Scraping sounds from all sorts of instruments and objects, and, given the number of players, with a multitude of layers. Its actually quite good, given the fact that the press blurb downplays this a bit (non musicians, twenty hours thrown away). If you like say Vibracathedral Orchestra or almost anything from New Zealand, then this is surely an interesting band to check out. The best track is the longest one 'The Tale Of A Hideous Neighbor And His Unusual Hands', in which the multitude of sounds bumping and scraping just works best. (FdW)
Address: http://www.neighmusic.co.uk

Ichiro Tsuji name checks a whole shed load of "industrial" rhizomes and what is now well known physical/mathematical theory which might tip into "psychedelic detunings, paranoid futurism".. dangerously close to the kind of dreadfulness (in its true sense) of Metatronic Healing .. Archangelic rays.. energy vampires.. his synth metal clanging echo reverb soundscapes. Auch nonsense - even taken to the criminal extremes of De Sade and Crowley rather than the pretty fairies - though even here there lingers a sense of pedophilia, for all their beauty and truth - esoteric and hidden gnosis, is a kind of nonsense which at every level is cheap. Libertine philosophy is anything but, it is predictably typical and biologically ridiculous, like the work of Damien Hirst or the Chapmans - who at least poke fun at such 'stuff'. Taking a tip from the determinism of Calvin who coined the term, though I'm fine about not excluding the middle, continental philosophy is a hobby of mine,  the problem here is the reverb.  Just what is this problematic is - is an aporia in its own right for in order to create a false sense of 'space' the effect creates the illusion of walls, be they of a cave, cathedral or room,  only by creating the illusion of something which inhibits, closes off, limits, space.. a space which rationally is infinite or finite and *unbounded* that the device attempts its trickery, that of a Victorian sČance?  Of course this could all be a cultural miss-reading, a delight of the Japanese in crucifying Father Christmas, but the oddness and charm of My Kitty isn't here, it's just not anti/non occidental enough. (jliat)
Address: http://www.ronfrecords.com/

A nice package here: a brown envelope with seven color photographs and a 3"CDR, in an edition of 150 copies. Micheal Rodgers we know best as a guitarist, acoustic be it, from the world of improvisation. He has worked a lot with Anthony Guerra and ran the TwoThousandAnd label. Here he did some music, but also the design. That's where this new release comes in. I didn't know that Rodgers was also a photographer, which is the reason for starting this new enterprise. Lost Lights, Rodgers' new label wants to present music and visuals on an equal level in one package, thus making it impossible to download the entire thing and for the sheer fun of limited sales, limited audiences and limited time. Great! A man with vision (pun intended). This particular release deals with birds at twilight, when they sign their calls. I envisage Rodgers on his balcony, in a London suburb playing the acoustic guitar, carefully. Picking the strings in a beautiful way, without playing any chords, but rather series of notes, never far away from his roots in improvisation, but with great care and love for darker tones. Just like the seven darkened photographs that accompany this set. A great, personal document. And with such standards, so much different than regular labels, all the more reason to explore. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lostlights.org

SMUT & THE DIARY OF LISA FRANK/AT MY GRANDMA'S HOUSE (cassette by Friends & Relatives Records)
AETHER JAQ/MAN-OQRAM FOR A MA'AM (cassette by Friends & Relatives Records)
The Friends & Relatives label 'surprised' us before with their, at times, puzzling releases, and to add to the fun, here are two more, both on cassette. The first one is a split. A split between Smut working together with the Diary Of Lisa Frank and At My Grandma's House. The problem is that both bands play a track, one by one. So place this on a cassette and you're hopelessly lost. Then its not easy to see if the six pieces are the fifteen minutes on side A or wether the talking bits on side B are also part of it (somehow I don't think so). So leaving the free noise improvisation bits on side A - which don't add up to six tracks I think - of rock based noise terror. I am not the biggest fan of that kind of stuff, but hey, why not in such a sudden and brief outburst? Quite good actually.
The other one is also a split release, by two bands I never heard of before: Aether Jaq and Man-O-Qram For A Ma'am. I gave up trying to decipher the small insert. Aether Jaq seems to be a band from the same world as the previous lot, but their rock like improvisations aren't particularly noisy, which is good, since I just a fair dose of it. More along the lines of psychedelic music, minimally banging about, sounds dropping in and out and such things a like. The most curious thing is that about half their track is at a considerable low volume level, ended with a well deserved applause. Nice indeed.
Man-O-Qram For A Ma'am on the other side (I hope!) is also from the world of improvisation, but their work is much more electronic based. There seems to  e a great deal of cheap synthesizers, organ and hand made percussion at work here, and many stomp boxes. Its music without much structure and seems to be dealing with a multitude of sounds flying about. Sometimes pretty noisy, sometimes even a bit poppy, especially when some female voice drops in somewhere along the lines. Its all pretty much ok. Nothing really special or new, but well entertaining in all its lo-fi-ness. (FdW)
Address: http://www.friendsandrelativesrecords.com