============
VITAL WEEKLY
============
number 752
---------------------
week 42
---------------------

 

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

before submitting material please read this carefully: http://www.vitalweekly.net/fga.html Submitting material means you read this and approve of this.


* noted are in this week's podcast. Feed is broken for the time being



Editorial news: we have decided to stop reviewing MP3 releases. Please do not send any discs with MP3 releases. Just send me an e-mail with a link and a short description, so people can download it. The amount of releases pile up every week and I can no longer devote time to MP3s. Whatever you see coming in the next few weeks are the last ones. Please do not send anymore. Also: releases that do not contain the original artwork will most likely be no longer reviewed. The real thing is necessary for a real judgment. If you wish to send us not the real thing, please contact us first. <vital@vitalweekly.net>

MEKANIK KOMMANDO - SHADOW OF A ROSE (CD by Cat Sun) *
BRASIL AND THE GALLOWBROTHERS BAND - IN THE RAIN, IN THE NOISE (CD by Cat Sun) *
JEAN-CLAUDE ELOY - SHANTI (2CD by Hors Territories)
JEAN-CLAUDE ELOY - GAKU-NO-MICHI (4CD by Hors Territoires) *
FRANK PAHL & KLIMPEREI - MUSIQUE FOR BATH (CD by Jardin Au Fou) *
ALESSANDRO MONTI - THE VENETIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD (CD by Diplodisc)
INCH-TIME - THE FLOATING WORLD REMIXES (CD by Mystery Plays Records)
MOIRA STEWART - SWEETNESS, YES PLEASE (CD by Distraction Records)
FREE PIECE OF TAPE (CD by Granny Records) *
LES FRAGMENTS DE LA NUIT - DEMAIN, C'ETAIT HIER (CD by Equilibirium Music) *
ALOONALUNA (CD/CDR by Concertina Records)
JAZKAMER - FAILED STATE OF MIND (CD by Pica Disc)  *
NEUROBOT - PETLA BOHUMINA (CD by Monotype Records) *
Z'EV & JASON KAHN - INTERVALS (CD by Monotype Records) *
MICHAEL VORFELD - FLUGANGST (CD by Monotype Records) *
FALSE MIRROR - DERELICT WORLD (CD by Malignant Records) *
WOLFSKIN FEAT. LAST INDUSTRIAL ESTATE - STONEGATES OF SILENCE (CD by Malignant Records) *
ONE MAN NATION - SUSPENDED IN A VORTEX IN THE MIDDLE OF A BOWL FROM TIBET (LP by Moozak)
OUR LOVE WILL DESTROY THE WORLD - I HATE EVEN NUMBERS (LP by Dekorder)
GIUSEPPE IELASI - (THIRD) STUNT (LP by Dekorder)
CARL CALM - DAYGLO PORT (LP by Dekorder)
SCULPTURE - ROTARY SIGNAL EMITTER (LP by Dekorder)
AARON ZARZUTZKI & NICK HOFFMAN - PSYCHOPHAGI (LP by Pilgrim Talk)
GX JUPITTER-LARSEN - EXPANDED SLAM (10" by Hronir)
SIMON WHETHAM & PAUL KHIMASIA MORGAN - THE GREY AREA (CDR by Con-V) *
THE DEAD MAURIACS - A WALK IN THE WOODS PART 1 AND 2 (CDR/3"CDR by NPH) *
THE DARK SKY SINGERS - LIKE NO ENGLISH (CDR by Static Caravan) *
BANKS BAILEY - UPWELLING (CDR by Mystery Sea) *
DEAD GIRL'S PARTY - THE THINGS I'VE LOST (cassette by Entr'acte)



MEKANIK KOMMANDO - SHADOW OF A ROSE (CD by Cat Sun)
BRASIL AND THE GALLOWBROTHERS BAND - IN THE RAIN, IN THE NOISE (CD by Cat Sun)
Say you never heard of Mekanik Kommando, but you've read Vital Weekly 728, and you bought that great, great re-issue of their first LP. And then you browse the website and see another CD by them, 'Shadow Of A Rose'. I can imagine that if you aren't that much acquainted with the development of this Dutch band, it would be quite a shock. 'It Would Be Quiet' is a landmark in 'modern' music, with its rhythm machines, two basses and synthesizers (and lots of effects), with 'modern' subjects, political even, whereas on 'Shadow Of A Rose' we hear lots of guitar, melodies, mellotron, mandolin, violin, acoustic guitars and songs about 'snow', 'dragon', or 'Where The Wolf Sleeps'. What happened? Effectively 'Shadow Of A Rose' from 1985 is the last record by Mekanik Kommando (after that the released 'The Castle Of Fair Welcome', but half way selling that they changed the band name to The Use Of Ashes, which still exist), and the first LP they released on their own Rosebud Records, after they were kicked off by EMI. In a time span of a mere four years, Mekanik Kommando had grown from home-grown (on their first LP), via another 12" on Torso, to a record contract with EMI and learned a lot of about the technical side of recording in those expensive EMI surroundings (and re-creating it in the studio they built themselves, De Tempel, which was at times also used by De Fabriek, to add a little trivia) and this added a great depth to their music. No more ping-pong recordings on cassette, but state of the art of technology made it possible to add lots more layers to the music, and perhaps the band grew tired from being labelled 'modern'. Mekanik Kommando started to look back, to seventies music, psychedelica. This is what is already forecasted on 'Shadow Of A Rose'. The drum machine - a much more elaborate brand than on 'It Would Quiet' - is still present, and so are the synthesizers, and also the bass parts sounds quite 80s - think: Japan - but Peter van Vliet's voice, now without effects, already has that mild 'hippy' tone (excuse le mot) to it, and the introduction of 'hippy' instruments, like mandolin and mellotron, surely add to that slight psychedelic feel. Back then I was slightly shocked when this came out, and it took me years to appreciate The Use Of Ashes, but in 2010, I think 'Shadow Of A Rose' is a great album and I am quite surprised to see it released on CD, so soon after the first re-issue. I can only hope for a speedy re-issue of the rest of their back catalogue. I can't wait.
On the same label (which I believe is a sub-division of Polish Monotype Records), there is something mildly related. Brasil And The Gallowbrothers is a trio of T.E.R., Rafat Michalowski and Tomek Mirt and as such they have been playing together since 2000. Although these recordings are from 2010, at two different live concerts, there are small similarities with the music of Mekanik Kommando in their final days. There are traces of new wave, post rock and psychedelic, atmospheric music. It starts out with field recordings and synths, but quite soon move to what seems to be an odd ensemble. Among the instruments used we find a Yamaha CS5, voice, duduk, flute, wavedrum, harmonica, guitar, mbira and samplers. Despite all these exotic instruments, the music is in a way quite retro, 80s in some way. The wind instruments are free in spirit, but its all held together with the use of rhythm machines. The voice is slightly monotone, but it adds to the somewhat dark atmospherics. Its melodic, almost in a pop sense, and that's what connects this a bit to Mekanik Kommando. I must say that Mekanik Kommando sounds better, with more worked out pieces, which are shorter and to the point, but Brasil And The Gallowbrothers play some excellent music too. Spacious, poppy and somewhat mysterious. (FdW)
Address: http://www.catsun.monotyperecords.com

JEAN-CLAUDE ELOY - SHANTI (2CD by Hors Territories)
JEAN-CLAUDE ELOY - GAKU-NO-MICHI (4CD by Hors Territoires)
Was I recently 'complaining' about 3CD sets with music of people I never heard of, I wasn't perhaps thinking of Jean-Claude Eloy. First time around the mailman decided to keep the CDs, but the second time delivered them duly. I hope he likes them as much as I do. I may have heard the name Eloy before, but not his music, or where to place him, these two sets, six discs in total will set the record straight (pun intended). Eloy was born in 1938 and studied with Darius Milhaud. I believe he composes all sorts of work, but his main line of business is electronic music. I review them in order of composition. 'Shanti', which means 'peace', was composed after 'Kamakala' for three orchestra ensembles, five choir ensembles with three conductors, so it was perhaps 'necessary' to compose an electro-acoustic work at the WDR studios in Cologne, Germany. A work of meditation, or so Eloy tells us. Now this is not a work of pure and solitary drone music, as one would perhaps expect from 'meditative music'. They are here, that's for sure, but there is also an interview with Aurobindo and Mao, as well as a small piece called 'Soldats', with soldiers speaking and 'Vagues Lentes, Boucles De Feux', which takes their singing into an electronic landscape. This is of course an album about 'Peace', but rather then just produce a drone or two, Eloy brings in a political element, the soldiers. However the majority are those various drones, played on those ancient machines (great pictures in the booklet here), the mystical oscillators, wave generators and such like - which defy any laptop, I'd say. Excellent music, although not always exactly as meditative as promised, but that, I thought, was hardly a problem. Unsettling meditation, which is better than just go with the flow.
The second disc contains the entire piece is 'Gaku-No-Michi' - the tao of music or the way of music, and is like a fresco, 'a vast poem of sounds and noises, whose main purpose seems to have been the liberation of sound imagination, forever materialized Eloy's withdrawal from the structures and models that had carried him until then'. It was recorded in Tokyo in 1977-1978 and uses, I think, more field recordings than 'Shanti', which had a more pure electronic approach - well, mainly!, although there are large chunks in this almost four hour piece that are also electronic. Off and on I seem to be hearing sounds from Japan, like in the opening pieces 'Pachinko' and 'Tokyo', and voices here and there, bird sounds and street noise. This is a massive sound, immersive all around, which is best enjoyed when played loud. Not because the music is loud, but there are various passages, which are loud and they sound great when the volume is all up, and the softer parts bring out hidden sonorous qualities. I am not qualified to say whether this goes beyond the idea of strict composing - somehow it seems so: an endless stream of sounds and textures, rich in a poetic way, placed along side eachother, sometimes going on for quite a bit (the drone aspect I'd say), which might be against the golden rule book of composing, but who cares? This 4CD can only be compared with, I think, with the re-issue of Roland Kayn's 'Tektra', also a 4CD set and also by somebody whom we almost forgotten about - and probably we did again? Let's hope we don't do that with Eloy and that more of such great music will be released. Devoting an entire day to one composer may seem luxury, but who am I to 'complain'?
Address: http://www.hors-territoires.com http://www.metamkine.com

FRANK PAHL & KLIMPEREI - MUSIQUE FOR BATH (CD by Jardin Au Fou)
The last time I wrote about Klimperei, back in Vital 576, I said 'through then almost twelve years of Vital Weekly the name Klimperei pops up with a high irregularity', and that remains true: very irregular. I have no idea what else Christophe Petchanatz has been doing in between, but here is a new release by Klimperei, recorded with one Frank Pahl. Music for bath, which reminds me of the old days, in my parents house, I'd be taking a bath and put two long cassettes in my machine, on auto-reverse, so I would have enough music for a long bath - I agree: a MP3 player is easier. The music didn't seem to have changed much for Klimperei: a simple naive, child like playing of 'automatic doorbells, autocam organs, autozithers and autopercussion', even when the music is hardly automated. Twenty-one tracks in forty seven minutes, which means things are very sketch like, notions if you will. Still with the power of a sunday painting: easy, child like but if you look/listen more closely, you say its pretty damn good. But as with the previous release, after a while, it also worked a bit on my nerves. I got the idea, now work it out, make some variations in those pieces, extend or expand them. I think I prefer those Klimperei on that irregular basis, and then to be either worked out a bit more or a bit shorter. Even a sunday painter will learn something? (FdW)
Address: http://www.jardinaufou.com

ALESSANDRO MONTI - THE VENETIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD (CD by Diplodisc)
Remember Kevin Hewick? Singer-songwriter from the early days of Factory Records and Cherry Red. There has to be an old single of him here somewhere upstairs... I don't know much of his whereabouts of the last few years, but as this CD proves, his voice is still in good shape and just beautiful. Here he works with Alessandro Monti, an Italian musician and composer with his base in Venice. He worked on several records and international projects as a producer and musician, including The Wind Collector with Gigi Masin and Master Cylinder by Caveman Shoestore.
His first album "Unfolk" (2006) combined folk-oriented song structures put in the context of electronic and acoustical environments. "The Venezian Book of the Dead" shows more sides of the talents of Monti. The title of this album refers to a period of industrial disasters that took place in the vinyl factories of Venice in the 70s and 80s when many workers died of cancer. Also the texts - written by Hewick - on this album refer to this catastrophe. The emotional performance of Hewick gives a perfect voice to this tragedy. Like in "Bedroom Discotheque" that has Hewick in a duet with himself. This ambitious project took three years to complete, and it is in all respects a very remarkable album. The album contains 16 tracks. 10 of them are songs, 6 are instrumental ambient-like pieces. All compositions are by Monti, sometimes assisted by others. Monti is also the main performer, playing bass, guitars, (electric) mandolin. All tracks have a sparse instrumentation, with the addition of drums in several tracks, or cello, electronics, etc., all played by others. But at the same time a rich and full spectrum is reached, due to the nice arrangements and excellent recording. The instrumentals are very delicate and tastefully profiled. For example the opening piece "Cicatrice del tempo" has Monti on mandolins, and Gigi Masin is responsible for processing, producing a fine multilayered sound scape with a melodic line by the mandolin on top of it. Bass is another favorite instrument of Monti as is evidenced by a piece as "Someone is always screwing someone" where his melodic playing recalls Peter Hook‚s bass playing. The input of acoustical and electronic means is well-balanced with a clear aesthetic view in mind.
"Natura Distorta" is the exception on this album as it carries not the voice of Hewick but that of Romina Salvadori, an Italian singer of some fame in Italy. Her impressive voice has some mysterious eastern European character. Different atmospheres and musical worlds come together on this 'concept' album. New wave combined with elements from folk, protest songs and carefully designed sound scapes. And all this does not spring retro motivated feelings, evoking supposedly good old days. No, this is a very honest statement that perfectly fits in our times. I play this one over and over. Some of the melodies I cannot get out of my mind. With each listening I discover new details. This one is not to be missed, and I hope this pearl will be noticed by many. The album is mastered by Jon Astley (Led Zeppelin, The Who, etc.). The cd comes in a gatefold cover with a 32 page booklet with English and Italian lyrics. (DM)
Address: http://www.unfolkam.it/

INCH-TIME - THE FLOATING WORLD REMIXES (CD by Mystery Plays Records)
MOIRA STEWART - SWEETNESS, YES PLEASE (CD by Distraction Records)
Only two weeks ago we discussed the first full length album by Inch-time, also known as Stefan Panczak and hot on those heels follow this remix album of 'The Floating World'. Like I said before, a remix should bring your artist to a new audience. So have Inch-time played by rock bands, or have rock bands remixed by dance artists. That doesn't happen here, unless of course you want to catch the smaller details in dance music as major differences. Inch-time foremost looked for friends from his own scene to deliver remixes, Benge, Isan, Sybarite, Icarus, Spartak, Lord Jim, Tuung, Lake Lustre: that crowd. Maybe its a great idea to surf along with some of your perhaps more known friends, hoping there is someone, say Benge fan, out there, wanting to catch the remix and in the process also the original. I must say I have serious doubts about such marketing technique, but who am I to tell? That said, the album is quite nice. Still along the lines of Static Caravan and Expanding Records, crossing the more intellectual ends of dance music (which probably isn't really dance music then, I mused somewhat rhetorical). Rolling drum machines, melancholy on the keyboards - digitally of course, a bit folk like on the guitar samples and such like. Actually all pretty enjoyable with not particular stand out, and no weak brother in it.
All the way back in Vital Weekly 612 I was exceptionally pleased by a trio called Moira Stewart, who sounded like New Order to me, and that was quite pleasant, if not great! It eludes me a bit why there should be a remix almost three years later, unless its to warm interest again for them, in heavily anticipation of their forthcoming second LP (early 2011). Their remixes, fifteen in total plus an 'intermission' piece, are also found amongst their peers, among which recognize only a few, like Tempelhof, D_RRadio, Dot Tape Dot and Cathode, but also many new names, for me at least, like Keith Canisius, Tranisent, Ok Ikumi Phasmid, Orange Crush, Mood4, Spintronic, Dave Curle, The Matinee Orchestra. Here too we find many small stylistic differences from the world of dance music, with bits of house, dub, krautrock, space pop, ambience and synth doodling, all spiced with more or less fair amounts of rhythm. The nice thing is that the vocals of Moira Stewart is kept alive in many of these pieces, which makes this altogether a pretty vibrant, poppy album, a fine one, but it doesn't match the original and in that respect is much like my beloved New Order: how great they were, I may have never cared that much for all the remixes. And then this lot is probably a lot better! (FdW)
Address: http://www.mysteryplaysrecords.com
Address: http://www.distractionrecord s.com

FREE PIECE OF TAPE (CD by Granny Records)
A duo from Athens, Greece, this Free Piece Of Tape, who use "self-made musical devices along with analogue instruments, contact mics, and various samples". The label also reports that the album was recorded of different periods of time, but we are assured this is a coherent album. I beg to differ. The album, eight pieces in total, is quite a varied bunch of music(s). Improvisation runs through these pieces, although they have been edited down - the composition aspect I suppose - but sometimes work out into noise, a bit of Pan Sonic rhythm, percussive bits, ambient like sounds, even post rock (in 'Dubud') and all of that, and at times surely nice enough, but also at other times, like in 'Battery' a bit over long and without too much tension. They surely have some fine ideas, but first need to make up their mind what it is that they want and then develop that and mould these into a coherent album. This album is not yet quite 'it'. (FdW)
Address: http://www.grannyrecords.org

LES FRAGMENTS DE LA NUIT - DEMAIN, C'ETAIT HIER (CD by Equilibirium Music)
The name Les Fragments De La Nuit was stored in the back of my mind, but couldn't quite place it, but as soon as it started, piano, violin, I remember it was something classical. I went back to the Vital archive and found a review of their previous release, 'Musique De Crepuscule' (Vital Weekly 634), which ended with "A pleasant sunday afternoon disc", and most curious: when I write these words its a cold, October Sunday morning. Ombeline Chardes, Cendrine Mazzucco, Aurore Moutome Miath, Ian-Ellfin Rosiu and Michel Villar are the five members of Les Fragments De La Nuit, and they play violins and piano (Villar). The cover of this (promo) shows them and they look like serious young people and I read they played at Gothik Treffen and Summer Darkness, two gothic festivals, which is all perhaps I rather not know, simply because I don't like gothic, and I rather have this personal image of them with suits and ties and being a very 'normal' quintet. Having said that, the music still lingers on and I must say I still very much enjoy it. Its still all very modern classical (Mertens, Reich, Part), and still has the length of pop songs and that's a bit too short. The odd piece out is 'Allegra Aeternae', which also adds percussion,  choir and horn (sampled perhaps?). Its still a pity that some of these pieces are too brief and perhaps could be work into longer pieces, but throughout its still great on whatever day of the week. (FdW)
Address: http://www.equilibriummusic.com

ALOONALUNA (CD/CDR by Concertina Records)
A bit odd, I think, to release 500 copies of a real CD and add 500 CDRs: why not press those up as real CDs too? 'The members of Aloonaluna ultimately want to sound exactly like Pink Dloyd but alas they are stuck with female vocalists', they write. Probably, I may add, they are also too folk based. Aloonaluna are from Florida and are about a lot of things, involving a lot of instruments: harp, guitar, banjo, field recordings, percussion, organ, toy synth and distorted bass. With these at their disposal they create music that is probably best be qualified as outsider: part drone, part ambient, part krautrock, part popmusic (especially when those folky female voices drop by). All of this in a very free form, say No Neck Blues Band like, but never chaotic or too long. Aloonaluna keeps their pieces within reasonably time frames - say that's their pop influence. The music is a great combination of many things, popmusic going hand in hand with mild experimental, folk music meeting krautrock. Ultimately perhaps not music that we write a lot about - outsider all around here too, I'd say - but just because its so different from say 95% of what we write about, and that makes it great, I guess. (FdW)
Address: <concertinarecs@gmail.com>

JAZKAMER - FAILED STATE OF MIND (CD by Pica Disc)
It escaped my attention, but 'Failed State Of MInd' is the 25th studio album by Jazkamer, quite an achievement. This year they release an album every month, and this is their October release. Jazkamer is one of the most original voices in noise music, me thinks, and this album, with nine tracks, each lasting three minutes and twenty seconds, is more like an ongoing track, cut into nine smaller pieces. This is a rather mellow release for Jazkamer. Strange, mildly distorted drones from guitars, obscured electronics, recordings from the room next door (bursting out, at one point, in what sounds like rock music), chirping insect sounds. Sometimes forcefully loud, although rarely, and sometimes deceivingly soft. All woven together into a single, great composition of thirty minutes. Now that's what I call intelligent noise! (FdW)
Address: http://www.picadisk.com

NEUROBOT - PETLA BOHUMINA (CD by Monotype Records)
Z'EV & JASON KAHN - INTERVALS (CD by Monotype Records)
MICHAEL VORFELD - FLUGANGST (CD by Monotype Records)
Back in Vital Weekly 289, and that is almost ten years ago, we reviewed a double CDR release coming out of the then small Polish underground with two bands, Molr Drammaz and Neurobot. After that we didn't hear much from them, although they released some more CDRs, played about 20 concerts in their existence 91998-2003) and for whatever reason Polish label Monotype Records now releases a recording from 2001. Neurobot, we now learn, was a trio of Facial Index (a.k.a. Jacek Staniszweski - home computer, korg polysix), Dr, Kudlatz (Arthur Kozdrowski - laptop, tascam 4-track) and Wolfram (Dominik Kowalczyk - laptop), with some help of Dj Zmarszczeki (Maciek Sienkiewicz). The Bohumin Loop is what the title translates too, and apparently is their only sort of studio work, created one night in January 2001. Whereas for their 2001 live release, I heard influences of Pan Sonic, Goem, and Stillusteypa, here the rhythm approach is less evident. Its there, but like in much of the early work of Stillupsteypa more hidden, then obvious. This is quite a typical work of those days: glitches form small rhythm, and blocks of sound make up drones, there are bits of film conversation glued into this. Partly organized through improvisation, later edited and re-composed, this is as much also a work of modern musique concrete. Not the greatest work in that field, but altogether a pretty decent recording, and its good to see it released.
Two percussion players with a strong reputation meet up in Switzerland, home base of one of them, but both are from the USA. Jason Kahn and Z'EV should be household names for anyone who read these pages regularly. Two concerts captured in May 2009. Two absolute minimal concerts of very sparsely placed percussion bits, rumbling gently, but deep in what seems to be the background. Kahn's analogue synthesizer provides more deep space with long sustaining sounds, working right into your brain. It stays remote and gentle. You'd expect every moment for things to break out of this, an explosion to happen, but it doesn't. I don't know how much of this was pre-planned, but it sounds like Kahn and Z'EV made previous arrangements to keep things this controlled. Half way through the second concert, Z'EV goes back to the way he played in the early 80s, but still very controlled. An excellent release of two great concerts.
Solo percussion on the final CD by Michael Vorfeld, who recorded this right across the border from the Vital Weekly HQ, although Vorfeld lives in Berlin. He plays both percussion and stringed instruments, and he does that in a great, playful way. Each of the seven pieces seem to be multi-layered excursions into the land of improvisation. By layering his pieces he adds a great depth to his music, from carefully placed objects on the skin of the drums, odd objects while playing and metallic drone like sounds from his stringed objects. I once saw him in concert and while playing this CD I re-live that concert and while contemplating what to write, I also think this might also be played in real-time. I am not sure now. Vorfeld confuses the reviewer with his great playing, carefully placed acoustics, the quiet versus the loud and throughout delivers an excellent solo work. Very nice and refined indeed, top recording too. (FdW)
Address: http://monotyperecords.com/en/index.html

FALSE MIRROR - DERELICT WORLD (CD by Malignant Records)
WOLFSKIN FEAT. LAST INDUSTRIAL ESTATE - STONEGATES OF SILENCE (CD by Malignant Records)
Two new releases on the label that brings us usually some darker than dark music, and in that respect these new releases are prime examples. False Mirror's 'Derelict World' is his third full length album, but I think the first one I hear. False Mirror is one Tobias Hornberger, who uses synthesizers, flutes, bells, gongs, field recordings, foley recordings and software & algorithms. The field recordings come from diverse places, such as a monastery in Ulm or the Arabian Sea. This is ambient written in capitals. Long, endless sustaining sounds, with some field recordings sometimes audible and present, as well as the occasional rising of a gong sound, the flute or a bell. Its dark ambient of course, but not as dark as it could have been. On a color scale, one could say, that this is at times dark fading into grey, and not as pitch black as some of the other Malignant Records releases. For those who like Mathias Grassow, certainly a must have.
'Hidden Fortress' was the first release by Wolfskin, back in 1995 on cassette. There have been four CDs later on and now he calls it a day with his fifth release. On one of his earlier CDs he got help from Anders Peterson, whom we know as Object 4, but who now works as Last Industrial Estate (a fact I wasn't aware of), and for his final release (as Wolfskin, I presume), they work together again. Here too we find ambient music, but albeit of a slightly different nature. It evolves less around those endless sustaining sounds, and more along semi-industrial sounds of metallic rumble, sonic debris and such like. More Isolationist music than pure ambient, this is more experimental in its approach than False Mirror. More nightmare then dreamlike, more late night empty industrial estates than cosmic, and more nuclear than nature, if you get my drift. Best is to play the well orchestrated nightmares of Wolfksin and Last Industrial Estate and follow that up with False Mirror - dim the lights a bit more as the night falls, and its blissed out textures comes to full life. (FdW)
Address: http://www.malignantrecords.com

ONE MAN NATION - SUSPENDED IN A VORTEX IN THE MIDDLE OF A BOWL FROM TIBET (LP by Moozak)
Marc Chia is behind One Man Nation, born in 1982 in Singapore, studying in The Netherlands and he investigates 'social and psychological situations related to tradition and its progression the future through the eyes of history, and spirituality in technology through the medium of sound and performance'. For this record he was influenced by Erik Satie's 'Gnossiennes', but don't expect a record of moody piano playing. I do think that playing the piano is what is going on here, but its taken apart on the computer, deconstructed and then re-assembled. Two pieces which belong to eachother, continuing where the other ends (but you still have to get up and flip the record over). I am not sure if its just the piano, or that Chia also allows other instruments. I think he does. There is percussion and wind instrument like sounds to be spotted. These are put together in the form of a sound collage - the computer part of this record - which is quite strong, with lots of intense sounds, great cut-ups and at other times it dwells a bit too long on sound effects, such on the a-side. Then it all drops a bit. I was reminded of Dave Phillips work in this record and the result was pretty good, so I'd be curious to hear other work from him. (FdW)
Address: http://www.moozak.com

OUR LOVE WILL DESTROY THE WORLD - I HATE EVEN NUMBERS (LP by Dekorder)
GIUSEPPE IELASI - (THIRD) STUNT (LP by Dekorder)
CARL CALM - DAYGLO PORT (LP by Dekorder)
SCULPTURE - ROTARY SIGNAL EMITTER (LP by Dekorder)
A quartet of new releases on Dekorder display the label's nicer senses of finding interesting new names as well as keeping the old. The old is represented by Campbell Kneale, previously working as Birchville Cat Motel, now trading as Our Love Will Destroy The World. The music also saw some changes, which are even more apparent on this third album under the new guise. Kneale dances the vitus dance here. The five pieces are all evolving around revolving sounds. Hectic, nervous, jumpy, this hardly classifies as 'dance' music. There is a bit of drum computer in here, but not a 4/4 one and there is a total chaos in all these jumpy sounds which are looped together. Occasionally we hear some guitar noise underneath all of this bumping stuff, a vague reminder perhaps of the more droney and noisy days of Kneale. I thought this was a pretty nice record, a decisive step forward (or side-ward is perhaps a better word), and do something new and do that well. This album reminded me of the album Richard Youngs put out on Dekorder: that same wicked sense of rhythm.
The first two 'stunts' by Giuseppe Ielasi were released by his own Schoolmap Records, but the third and final arrives on Dekorder. Like I said when number two arrived, the amazement of Ielasi doing this kind of music is not there any more, perhaps now even more evidently clear with the various releases that he did afterwards, but his own take on turntablism is still great. Ielasi has his own method of using short pieces of sampled scratching, looping and playing of vinyl, much alike that of the hip hop musicians, but less working towards a 'good groove', but more alike plunderphonics. Short blocks of repeating sounds, but, and since I am playing this right after Our Love Will Destroy The World, less chaotic and more open than Kneale does on his record. Ielasi allows space between his sounds, and doesn't lock 'm up like Kneale does. One isn't better than the other: its two different approaches. The 'shock' of Ielasi doing this is gone now, and what remains is a very fine third and final part in this trilogy. It begs for a re-issue on CD.
Carl Calm is not the real name of someone but its Eric Lanham of Caboladies, a band of whom I never heard, but who are 'one of the spearheading groups of a new age/synth revival scene in the USA along with Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never […] have been equally influenced by the likes of Fancois Bayle, Gil Melle and Bernard Parmegiani'. The solo music of Lanham is not far away from that of Caboladies, me thinks, upon hearing this work, which was recorded and mixed in two days. This would easily fall into the category of 'new age/synth' music, although it isn't as extensively layered as some of that of his peers Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never (whom I didn't hear). The spacious music is rather 'open', like in a field with waving corn. Quite intimate, although 'Adolescent Wavelength 2' sort of takes the relaxed mood apart with a noise based texture. That piece is a bit of a pity, compared with the others, which form a more tight unit. Fans of his band, and of the other two mentioned will be pleased with yet another name on their cosmic sky. Carl Calm does a very job at that too.
Behind Sculpture we find one Dan Hayhurst and Reuben Sutherland. The latter is the man for the visual aspects, using 'home-made zoetropic discs, intricate concentric rings of illustrated frames, projecting fragments of looping images at 33, 45 and 78 rpm - pre-Edisonian imaging technology combined with a digital camera'. Hayhurst is responsible for the music, using found tapes, lo-fi electronics, computer programming and analogue noise. "Imagine Felix Kubin playing dubstep" says Dekorder about this picture disc (play that at any speed and you might have an idea how their concerts look like - great!) and that might be true. It connects the Ielasi record with Our Love: mildly chaotic, highly plundered together from many other sources, but more strictly organized in the end. It has beeps and bleeps from the serious avant-garde, sampled sitars and sounds like tumble weed, all connected together in some form or another. That said, its not that this music would necessarily work well on the dance floor at all, but more adventurous DJs would know what to do with this curious record: spin two copies at any speed and make dozens of new connections. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dekorder.com

AARON ZARZUTZKI & NICK HOFFMAN - PSYCHOPHAGI (LP by Pilgrim Talk)
Hoffman's music made it already a lot to the pages of Vital Weekly, and now runs Pilgrim Talk and Ghost & Son as his two labels, originally starting life as the Scissor Death label. Here he works with one Aaron Zarzutkzki, 'who is an improviser of sorts', and this record is their second one, after the first got lost. Zarzutkzki plays a 'disassembled turntable which is used as a kind of spinning wheel to vibrate various objects', whereas Hoffman uses sheet metal and drum machines. Three pieces here, all called 'Grotesque', which I don't completely understand, as these improvisations are quite modest. Modest in volume and modest in the gestures they make. Scratching the surface might be a negative thing to say, but in these pieces they do scratch the surface. Mostly quiet and not very outspoken, save for an Organum like bit on the second side. Largely, it seems, this is an album acoustic sounds. The recordings made not be top notch, but I couldn't work out if that was deliberate play actually. I must admit I quite enjoyed this at times empty piece work. A slow mover, this album, taking its time to get somewhere. Highly improvised but also very experimental, connecting both ends quite nicely. One of the nicest things out of the Hoffman home so far - and not the first great thing he did. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pilgrimtalk.com

GX JUPITTER-LARSEN - EXPANDED SLAM (10" by Hronir)
Hronir is a small German label, who released two things in the late nineties and five new items only this year. This 10" is the latest release and is a noise record from G.X. Jupitter-Larsen. I have no idea why its released under his own name, and not by The Haters. Maybe it has to do with profiling as a composer? Maybe a wholly different reason. Two side long pieces here, 'Expanded Slam' and 'Extended Slam', which may or may not be extensions of eachother. Two sides of loud noise. The scraping of an object onto a surface perhaps, but then within a full distortion package. Loud, vicious noise music. Probably, if you have been paying attention, you would imagine that this is the kind of noise I don't like, and you are probably right. But over the last twenty-five years I learned to appreciate The Haters quite a lot, and I think the sheer minimal noise of The Haters is great. It is loud and distorted, but also totally captivating. It also fits perfectly into whatever else Jupitter-Larsen does, in his performances and internet work, so unlike youngs boys fiddling with two distortion boxes in their bedroom, this is all encapsulating. Not just a record, but a statement. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hronir.de

SIMON WHETHAM & PAUL KHIMASIA MORGAN - THE GREY AREA (CDR by Con-V)
Before Con-V already released a MP3 by Simon Whetham (who is these days a lot in these pages) in collaboration with one Paul Khimasia Morgan. That was a live recording, which they liked very much, so they decided to return to the Grey Area Gallery when Whetham was back in Brighton. I am not sure what Paul brought to the table, but Whetham uses field recordings, radio transmissions and electro magnetic signals. The music is all quite softly recorded, so I had to put the volume quite a bit. I am not sure if its really necessary to do such thing this soft. But once you put the level up a bit, then you'll find some interesting improvised bits and pieces of indeed a grey area where improvised electronics, microsound buzz and humm and processed (?) field recordings meet up. I am not sure about the work in its entire length I must admit. It surely has some excellent moments where these various interests bump together in a nice and intense manner, but on other occasions these interests doesn't seem to be matching up and there is a clear search for the right spot. Something that could have perhaps been saved from some more hefty editing, taking those not so strong bits out and keep tension apparent throughout. That would still leave, I think, some thirty minutes of great music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.con-v.org

THE DEAD MAURIACS - A WALK IN THE WOODS PART 1 AND 2 (CDR/3"CDR by NPH)
The third release already by French band The Dead Mauriacs, the loose membership group around Olivier Prieur (computer and small amplified objects), here with  Dominique Guilliomet on voice, Vincent Dommeyne (guitar, computer). Ok, I admit I spilled coffee over the letter that came with this and was then unreadable, but what I can retrieve is that it deals with cybernetic art (as by Nicolas Schaffer) as well as a walk in the woods (the band now has a website, but sadly this info is lacking). I am not entirely sure why this has taken the form of a CDR (24:45) and a 3"CDR (16:45), but perhaps there is a clever, conceptual reason for it. So far the two previous releases showed either a love of Fennesz/Mathieu and the other for a more noise based direction, on this album, they try to combine both ends. While not entirely noise (or perhaps better, 'while not noisy at all'), they use rusty sounds of metal in the background, recorded from a distance and some neat improvisation skills. The 3"CDR has a more electronic feel to it and is based around the vocal samples of Guilliomet. Throughout these pieces sounded quite theatrical, full of pathos and (superficial) tension. This particular side of The Dead Mauriacs didn't do much for me, but the music on the CDR however did. Quite refined, gentle improvisation for acoustics and digitalia. (FdW)
Address: http://www.thedeadmauriacs.com

THE DARK SKY SINGERS - LIKE NO ENGLISH (CDR by Static Caravan)
No information came along with The Dark Sky Singers release, which is a curious release of seven songs in just over fourteen minutes. Following an intro piece of something that could pass as field recordings, we are treated with six songs of folk like songs, with a male voice. Sweet intimate music with an occasional dark cloud hanging over it. Pleasant guitar moved towards the background, with a nice accordion thrown in here and there, a violin sawing away - mildly, mildly - in a very gentle release. Is this some big band? Or just one man that happens to play a lot of instruments? Ultimately this music is quite far away from Vital Weekly, but its soft character, the unlikeness of these folky tunes make a great break from all things drone, microsound and such like. A small treasure. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

BANKS BAILEY - UPWELLING (CDR by Mystery Sea)
Before this the releases by Banks Bailey come to us via Quiet World, Ian Holloway's label. Bailey did a solo release there, as well as collaborations with Holloway and Darren Tate. Odd, since Bailey doesn't hail from the UK, but from Tucson, Arizona and of course his work is filled with field recordings, aquatic no doubt, since he moves here to Mystery Sea. 'Upwelling' is one piece of music, almost forty-five minutes long and is a slow builder. It starts out with watery sounds, and then slowly moves into drone land, via those same watery sounds being processed. Pitched down, I presume, stretched out, and slowly returning to the same sounds unprocessed. Or something along those lines. In any case, Bailey shows himself as someone who has mastered the techniques of drone music quite well, but probably needs to find his own voice in that music. For this one it all sounds vaguely too similar to his UK friends, the extended family including Colin Potter, Ora, Monos and his Quiet World friends. That said, this album is, while perhaps not highly original, quite good. Bailey executes his drone music with great care for detail. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mysterysea.net

DEAD GIRL'S PARTY - THE THINGS I'VE LOST (cassette by Entr'acte)
A new duo of Matt Krefting, best known as Son Of Earth, Matt Krefting Band, Idea Fire Company who plays here voice, keyboard, electronics and tapes and Scott Foust (voice, guitar, tapes and radio), best known as the best one color dressed musician, also founding father of Idea Fire Company, XX Committee, The Tobacconists and whole load of more monikers. Dead Girl's Party however is not another extension of drone loaded music known from the other bands, but perhaps a more rockiest outfit that Foust sadly does too little (The Braces was the last one I remember). A lo-fidelity recording of songs! The easiest connection to be made is that of No Wave. Not strict popsongs, but songs that embrace the song structure as well as experiments in sound. Vocals play an all important role, both men singing at the same time, as well as guitar and lush keyboard ornaments, such as in the spacious 'Spin The Wheel'. Now this is something I thoroughly like, and not just because I know Foust pretty well. It combines the best of great post punk rock music, with a healthy dosis of experimental sounds. Damn. Why is this on cassette and not on vinyl? Where does injustice stop and Foust gets the recognition he deserves? Such an unfair world. So, aspiring labels of good music, take notice and listen to this great cassette and make your offers to Dead Girl's Party. (FdW)
Address: http://www.entracte.co.uk








<<<