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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 760
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week 51
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html

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* noted are in this week's podcast. Feed at: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.xml


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>


MARCUS SCHMICKLER  - PALACE OF MARVELS (CD by Editions Mego) *
MARK FELL - UL8 (CD by Editions Mego) *
SKY BURIAL - KIEHTAN (CD by Lens Records) *
ALEX NOWITZ - HOMO LUDENS (CD by Nowitz Records) *
OLEKRANON - {BILAL} (CD by Inam Records) *
CORY ALLEN - PEARLS (CD by Quiet Design) *
JASON KAHN - DOTOLIM (CD by Balloon & Needle) *
BEAM UP - TERRA SONICA (CD by Beaming Productions) *
SOHRAB -  A HIDDEN PLACE (LP by Touch)
PSEUDO CODE - SLAUGHTER IN A TINY PLACE (2LP by Quartermass/Sub Rosa)
NONOTES - H20 (2CDR by Motok)
TABLE - SIRENS (CDR by Output Noise) *
PUIN + HOOP & HERMAN WILKEN & COEN OSCAR POLACK - DE OBJECTIEVE LACH (CD by Narrominded) *
GX JUPITTER-LARSEN & FRIENDS - SOLIDARITY (CD by Banned Productions)
AMK - 29 PALMS (CDR by Banned Productions) *
AMK - REBUS (cassette by Banned Productions)
DAMIEN ROMERO - FADE TO USELESS (cassette by Banned Productions)
NILS QUAK - THIS ONCE SILVER SKY (CDR by Ripples Recordings) *
ZEBRA - J05 50J (3"CDR by My Own Little Label) *
EZDANITOFF - WE BRING LIGHT (3"CDR by My Own Little Label) *
MIKE KRAMER - WHISPERING WALL III (business card CDR, private) *
NATHAN MCLAUGHLIN - ECHOLOCATION (cassette by Gift Tapes)





MARCUS SCHMICKLER  - PALACE OF MARVELS (CD by Editions Mego)
MARK FELL - UL8 (CD by Editions Mego)
In Vital Weekly 596 we reviewed a DVD release by Marcus Schmickler, 'Altars Of Science', a work for multi-channel set up, but also one that could be heard in a stereo setting. The work, Schmickler's first electronic since 1998's 'Sator Rotas', drew inspiration from the sixties electronic music, and this new one 'Palace Of Marvels' is a continuation of that. This is contemporary computer music, and more in particular deals with the Shepard tone, as "discovered by Roger Shepard, which creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually rises or descends in pitch yet ultimately seems to get no higher or lower" and used by James Tenney for the first time. Kind alike an arpeggio, "short sequences of tones creating an akin effect", as Mego describes them. There are more philosophical connections here, to Ernst Gombrich and Jacques Attali's "Noise: The Political Economy of Music", in which Schmickler found the title for his CD, from the work of Leibniz actually. Not that all of this is easily found on the cover of this CD, in fact nothing actually. What we hear is what we get I'd say. The twelve pieces, spanning close to an hour, use the arpeggio's quite extensively. Multi-layered, rhythmical and at times abstract. Sometimes they are very closely knitted and forming drones. Sometimes a piece is halted abruptly and completely changes the tone, or, within a piece a new piece seems to be started. All of this using computer technology, making this quite a 'loud' record, at times devoid of any warmth. Think some of the music by Mark Fell, but less empty and not entirely just revolving around click material. Schmickler's music is quite full of sound, multi-layered as said, with different sound events happening at the same time. Its an excellent CD, although perhaps a bit long at times for such demanding music. Best taken perhaps in smaller portions at a time, which will gradually lead to digesting the whole release in one go.
Only a few weeks ago we reviewed 'Multistability', a new work by Mark Fell, and here is 'UL8', another new work from him. The one half of SND seems very active these days. I wasn't entirely convinced about 'Multistability'. 'UL8' takes its name from the Celestion UL8 speaker, which Mark Fell's older brother got and which apparently made electronic music sound good. I am not sure why Fell uses this now as the title of his CD. There are twenty tracks here, divided into four parts. Part one has five tracks, part two and three seven each, and the final piece is a part by itself. Part one and two seem to me culminations of installation and video work, some of which was released before, such as on a cassette for Alku, and presented over the years in installation pieces. These parts are also described on the cover, but its perhaps not easy if you didn't study computer music, sound synthesis and such like. I must say that this CD sounded more interesting than 'Multistability', simply because its more varied than that. Fell harks back to his older work of himself, using rhythmic sets of sounds, but also sustaining blocks of sound, i.e. drone like material, but Fell, in his usual style cuts up things extensively, a firm deconstruction of sound, in which the 'Acids In The Style Of Rian Treanor' sounds like a heavy non-dance cut up of acid music. Perhaps the most surprising track is the last one, 'Death Of Loved One', in which the heavy type of cut up is embedded in what seems to be a swirling mass of synthesized sounds - almost like music, perhaps? Quite a strong CD altogether. (FdW)
Address: http://www.editionsmego.com

SKY BURIAL - KIEHTAN (CD by Lens Records)
Over the years I have reviewed quite a bit of music by Micheal Page. Mainly from his major recording project Fire In The Head, but also from Sky Burial. As Fire In The Head he dabbles in noise, but as Sky Burial it is all ambient and drone. 'Kiehtan' is his 40th release since 2004, so perhaps I missed a few then. Its one piece that spans just forty minutes and as a bonus we get a 'sonic reconstruction' from Mark Spybey (Dead Voices On Air fame). The name comes from the Wampanoag tribe, the original inhabitants of Cape Cod where Michael lives and is something of 'creator spirit'. Page works in the old way of using four track cassettes to maintain a somewhat raw sound quality. Not easy to hear, unless James Plotkin changed something in the mastering process, since it all sounds pretty good, and hardly 'raw'. In fact I think this is the most musical release by Sky Burial to date. I have no idea which sound sources are used by Page, but it seems to me a fair bunch of analogue synths and electronics, perhaps topped off with a couple of field recordings, although I am not too sure about that. If anything it seems to me that Page connects here to the now so popular cosmic music. Synths swirl en masse in the weightless space, rising up, dying out like stars at night. With a fair amount of reverb Sky Burial creates necessary space. Throughout the tone of this is dark and atmospherical. An excellent ride for a winter's day, sitting inside where its nice and cosy. A highly refined disc and by far the best I heard from Micheal Page, both as Sky Burial and Fire In The Head. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lensrecords.com

ALEX NOWITZ - HOMO LUDENS (CD by Nowitz Records)
A new label, Nowitz (which you could translate as 'no joke'), whose purpose it is to release music by Alex Nowitz, a composer who works with live electronics, improvised music and improvisation. Something which I don't understand is that if you have your own label taking care of your music, why the first CD, in which we get acquainted with his music, is only thirty minutes? The ten tracks are from three different pieces: two are electro-acoustic works and music for 'a singer with live recordings and 10-speaker playback'. I guess that sums up what Nowitz is about then? More or less, as when you listen to the CD it seems that 'genres' blurr within his work. In his electro-acoustic work he uses voices in an operatic way and in his live electronics he allows classical elements and musique concrete. Despite the title, the playing human, I must say it all sounds pretty serious. Perhaps a bit too serious for my taste. Not that I want a joke in here, but perhaps something to counter the seriousness a bit more. Perhaps at such, the thirty minutes is well enough to get introduced to his work. Perhaps its just not my cup of tea that much. I tried a few times, but seem to fail. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nowitz.de

OLEKRANON - {BILAL} (CD by Inam Records)
'{Bilal}' is the successor of 'Identi' (see Vital Weekly 701), by Olekranon, also known as Ryan Huber (also known as Sujo when it comes to deep noise drone music). At his disposal we find guitars - lots of them - rhythm machine and sound effects. Ten tracks are literally thrown on tape with the energy of say a heavy type rock band. A wall of sound approach that we know from his previous work, but somehow it seems to me it lacks the variety of 'Identi'. Surely there are moments here when things get 'softer', if that is an appropriate word at all in this context, but somehow  I have the feeling that Huber is beyond that and that feels more comfortable working within the louder context. In his usual fashion a song starts with a rhythm, followed by electronics and the icing on the cake are the multi-layered guitar drones. I think I prefer a somewhat more multi-dimensional take on such proceedings, but no doubt true noise-heads are out there to disagree. Ok, so I guess this is a great solid piece of work. (FdW)
Address: <inamrecs@yahoo.com>

CORY ALLEN - PEARLS (CD by Quiet Design)
"So what do you think of this?", my guest asked who came in when I was playing the new release by Cory Allen. Actually not much right now, I answered. It appears to quiet and not too outspoken. I am never good at giving random opinions, so when my guest left, I decided to play it again, immediately, since what I heard sounded pretty interesting. No indication as to sound sources is given here. The previous album, 'Hearing Is Forgetting The Name Of The Thing One Hears' (see Vital Weekly 704) didn't do much for me. Too noisy it deemed to me, so I was a bit wary to play this. Much to my surprise I must admit that 'Pearls' is the total opposite of 'Hearing'. Allen calls this 'dreamy and transcendent world of modern ambient music'. How very true that is. Whatever it is that Allen uses - me thinks a Max/msp patch with field recordings, listening to these sustained sounds and crackling, fire like sounds - he plays it very well. Quiet indeed, letting sounds die out beyond their sustain, while overlaying with other events, so that everything bumps and collides in seemingly random ways. The four tracks seem to be linked together through the sounds used - the fire crackle as I wrote it down - and the somewhat identical methods of processing. It makes a wonderful work of indeed modern ambient music. Perhaps all in the digital domain but with some great warmth to it, much needed on a cold winter's day. (FdW)
Address: http://www.quietdesign.us

JASON KAHN - DOTOLIM (CD by Balloon & Needle)
More and more it seems that Jason Kahn is approaching the status of a real composer, doing graphical scores and such like. He was in South Korea and created a score to be performed by six people, including Kahn himself. He plays his usual analog synthesizer and short wave radio. The other five players are Ryu Jankil (speaker and piezo vibration), Park Seungjun (amp with spring reverb), Jin Sangtae (hard disk drives), Choi Joonyong (opened CD players) and Hong Chulki (turntables). Together they perform Kahn's score, which consists of symbols but which make much sense as a composition. Its not easy to isolate various sound sources here, as many seem in some way related. There is a lot of high scraping sound and what those are? Hard disk drives, opened CD players, spring reverb? But I guess these close sounding sources enhance the idea of one work, and not that of some improvised work, although on the other hand each of the players are more free in how to perform their part of the score. Throughout there is a massive sense of those similar scraping sounds, sometimes with deep end bass rumble (Kahn's synthesizer perhaps) and other sounds that drop in and out of the mix. The graphical score here serves as a guideline for use, and doesn't call for a strict interpretation and each player can add whatever he wants and with whatever force or subtleness or by creating small variations in approach. Seventy minutes is a long ride, but surely a rewarding journey. Quite noisy but good solid and never over the top. (FdW)
Address: http://www.balloonnneedle.com

BEAM UP - TERRA SONICA (CD by Beaming Productions)
Back in Vital Weekly 731 we had DJ Delay, also known as Brian May (what's in a name?), who is now also known as Beam Up. As DJ Delay we found him at work with Balkan Beats, as Beam Up inside the world of dub music. Now actually I do like dub music when it comes to it. Not something to review a lot, nor necessarily being a connoisseur in that respect, but a good decade (or a little more) ago I liked the works of Zion Train, Twilight Circus and the Incoming! label. Digi-dub as it was called, as opposed to Jamaican dub which I guess is all analogue (perhaps that should be 'was all analogue'?). I am pretty sure Beam Up is also all about digital techniques. More curiously, a bit of information that wasn't revealed last time, but May was a member of High Pass Filter, in Australia, before moving to Berlin, which we reviewed all the way back in Vital Weekly 175. His solo music is less based around the guitar it seems, but otherwise is the ultimate feel good music. Rain, cold, grey skies, all of such things plague, no haunt me, these days, and I am playing Beam Up, the ultimate sun, feel good music. I am hardly an expert when it comes to dub music, but more a curious listener when it comes this kind of music. Beam Up bounces all over the place with his music, dancehall (in 'Nahfader', which also seems Muslimgauze inspired), dubstep and real reggae tunes. Although as such not much along the usual lines of Vital Weekly, this might be the one that cheered me up most this week! (FdW)
Address: http://www.beamingproductions.com/label

SOHRAB -  A HIDDEN PLACE (LP by Touch)
All the way from Tehran, Iran, hails Sohrab (1984). His name comes from an old poem, and means 'rouge water', but also can mean 'blood'. He played in a punk band for two years, but they then split up. Sohrab uses "Reason 3, his midi controller (R)evolution UC-16 and a sampler, recorded live through Ambrosia recording software. He also integrates field recordings and spoken word into his soundscapes", so we are told. Currently he is in Berlin and might be transported back to Tehran. An interesting story, and probably its the exoticness that will attract many to this record. A country not known for its experimental music. Repression! Isolation! But what about the music? Ah yes, the music. In a nutshell: its fine, its good but its not spectacular. Of course we don't know how much Sohrab knows about experimental music, and if/how he was influenced by others. It would be great to know that it was all done in perfect isolation, arriving at these results. But somehow I don't believe that is the case. In an article online you can read about a visit to New Zealand where he saw a concert by Rosy Parlane and that made him send something to Touch. So no splendid isolation, me thinks. So, the music as it is then. Its pretty good actually, although Sohrab didn't make up his mind yet what he wants to do. The record moves a bit all over the place, but throughout seems to dwell largely on the use of samples, so there is a sense of repetition throughout these six pieces. The field recordings might be from his 'home', but also lifted from a Tarkovsky film. Various types of common places from the world of microsound, ambient and field recordings are visited and its all nicely done. Now, the skeptical me would then say: if this was made by someone from say Hamburg, Germany, would be meet the same label's interest? I doubt that. A label needs a good story too. Quite rightly! (FdW)
Address: http://www.touchmusic.org.uk/

PSEUDO CODE - SLAUGHTER IN A TINY PLACE (2LP by Quartermass/Sub Rosa)
For this year's christmas season I bought myself a double LP, this one to be precise. No promo's were forthcoming - at least, not that I know of, but since I once toyed with the idea of releasing a box set of the complete works of Pseudo Code, I just knew I had to get this. That box set won't happen. The 'Europa' LP was already released by EE Tapes, many thanks for that, and who wants to buy a CD anyway? Keep that in mind for the future. I am not really surprised that Sub Rosa would want to release this. After they already released an album with Pseudo Code music (among other things) in the past. But what's more, one of the directors of the company was once part of this great Belgium band. Guy Marc Hinant plays guitar, pianet, casio and metallophone. Xavier Ess was the singer, but also played Indian flute and Alain Neffe (otherwise known for his work on the Insane Music label, Bene Gesserit, Human Flesh, Cortex and many others) played all sorts of synthesizers, rhythm machines and saxophone. This double LP contains three pieces that were previously released, but shorter or in a different version, so we could easily say that this all previously unreleased material. And why is that, I wondered? These four sides are filled with some classic Pseudo Code music. Lengthy pieces of almost psychedelic music. From the liner notes we learn that much of their music was created by jamming together, usually around the steady beat of the drum machine, swirling synths and lo-fi guitar. On top the 'wounded deer' (as I read in those days) voice of Xavier Ess, which has a great vulnerability. As someone said, a bit like Nico. Think perhaps early Cabaret Voltaire, but Pseudo Code's music is more unique I guess. These twelve songs are simply great, and god knows why it took almost thirty years to hear them. And perhaps the biggest question: is there more? Please? (FdW)
Address: http://www.subrosa.net

NONOTES - H20 (2CDR by Motok)
Following last week's release by ORDUC, here is another new release by Nico Selen. The man, hailing from the small village of Losser (The Netherlands), plays music under a plethora of names, each with its own identity. As Nonotes he plays, how surprising, no notes, but in stead dabbles with atmospherics, knob twiddling and synthesizers. Its, besides Nico, who plays guitar, synthesizers and effects, Martin Selen (his son, I believe) who plays synthesizer and the project exists since 2001. They refer to the music as industrial soundscapes, but don't let this scare you away, in case you are a true noise fan. If I get the story right, Selen compiled first a version but then decided to do the 'main version', but then decided that it would a pity if the first version got lost. So in a highly limited version both are now released, with an overlap in tracks, but with different running order. He asks the listener, I guess me included, to comment on both versions and the order of the pieces. That is no easy task I think, certainly not for a poor reviewer watching piles of music come in every day. Everything Nonotes do is in real time, but I believe for this album, they used the possibilities of the studio more than before. I must admit that the differences between both albums is quite small, but I believe that in the original edition the material is a bit more sparse, more minimal and at times a bit more industrial. Perhaps less worked out also, but it certainly has a fine charm to it. On the 'commercial', second, version, things are more gentle and a bit more worked out. But as said, these differences are marginal. I couldn't possibly suggest a different track order or to leave track off. But I'd like to make a different suggestion: why not release a complete collection of all 'H20' pieces on one CDR and let all listener's decide a playing (and skipping if necessary) order? (FdW)
Address: http://www.motok.org

TABLE - SIRENS (CDR by Output Noise)
It was only after I put this release into my computer that I learned that the band was called Table and the album's title is 'Sirens'. The label's website doesn't add much other information. The first five were recorded at The Bread And Water theatre in Rochester and the last three from the Spark Contemporary Art Space in Syracuse, on which occasion there was 8mm projections by Alexey Vs. So nothing as such about the band who played the music, who they are and what they play. The image on the website shows us however two people and a laptop, so I am free to assume that this is a band with an interest in improvising as well as all things electronic. That's also what it sounds like. Although not every moment here seems to be working that well, the overall quality of the music is pretty good. Throughout it seems that Table is interested in playing a somewhat more reflective type of music. It builds up slowly, with moody textures, but always with a nice bite, like nervous synths crawling like insects underneath and from behind. It moves all over the place and in the film pieces it even goes out into a crumpled rhythm piece. Highly minimal, but ornamented with buzzing sounds. It almost creates krautrock like structures. Despite some flaws in execution here and there and the longitude of the total, a pretty good release. (FdW)
Address: http://outputnoise.com

PUIN + HOOP & HERMAN WILKEN & COEN OSCAR POLACK - DE OBJECTIEVE LACH (CD by Narrominded)
Hot on the heels of their 'Door' release (see Vital Weekly 756), Dutch trio Puin + Hoop present another CD, which they recorded with stable mates Herman Wilken and Coen Oscar Polack. The music was recorded at the opening of an exhibition 'The Object Lag', on February 26 2010, and which runs for a year. Puin + Hoop play 'electronic sound makers, guitars, Korg Ms20 and electric piano,', Polack plays laptop, saxophone and effects and Wilken laptop, iPhone and effects. The whole thing, and I must assume this comes unedited (although the press text says it is, and the whole thing lasted 105 minutes) for the main part, lasts sixty-one minutes, is build around a 'structured improvisation'. Things evolve slowly here, like in an endless stream of sound, in which things appear and disappear, solve and dissolve like chemicals. Highly improvised and taking a lot of time to develop. Perhaps a bit too much I thought. I think with some more rigorous editing, say to about forty minutes, the message would have been the same but perhaps more stronger. At the moment the proceedings seem simply to take up too much time to develop and change. Not as strong as 'Door', but then this is undoubtedly more a work of improvisation. (FdW)
Address: http://www.narrominded.com

GX JUPITTER-LARSEN & FRIENDS - SOLIDARITY (CD by Banned Productions)
AMK - 29 PALMS (CDR by Banned Productions)
AMK - REBUS (cassette by Banned Productions)
DAMIEN ROMERO - FADE TO USELESS (cassette by Banned Productions)
Still going strong, banned Productions, but not always that present in Vital Weekly, unfortunately. Its good to see that GX Jupitter-Larsen, of The Haters fame, still has a solid home on this label. It quite eludes me why GX has a sudden (?) interest in communism, releasing a tape with versions of 'The International' (not received) and this CD with takes on communist fight songs. Wasn't communism dead and buried - i.e. the end of history? Various pieces here are GX with other people, some are solo by others, a whole international gang, if you pardon the expression. I must say I never believed in communism (or much of anything else actually, in case you're wondering), but a good marching song: any day. The music ranges from noise to noise, with all sorts of variations thrown in for good varied measure. Screamy vocals, feedback, tape-manipulations and curious obscure field recordings. Conspirators are Screwtape, Rafael Flores, Dave Philips, Half An Abortion, Origami Southamerika, Ben Presto, Rabbit, Club Moral (with a curious post punk song - a stand out/apart) and Salakapakka Sound System. Excellent is not the right word, I assume, but I thought this all as confusing as it was funny.
Labelboss AMK is present with two releases. '29 Palms' has three pieces, divided over forty tracks on the CDR, so if you play this at random you get a montage like style of playing, which is what AMK sometimes does, like in 'Babylon Basura', a montage of live AMK performances over the years. In his performances AMK uses a variety of flexi discs which he cuts and glues together and which he, perhaps not, plays using electronics. This is the loudest cut (actually fourteen) on this release, and sounds like Christian Marclay on speed. Nice but perhaps better when seen in concert. The title track was recorded at the Hungry Bunny Ranch, California. Something is going on there, but I couldn't find the information that easily. The pure field recording however is quite nice. Just stale wind over barren land. The first eleven pieces were recorded in collaboration with Destroy Date, which is a more controlled montage of rotating flexi's. Here it doesn't lead us to noise, but a very interesting, highly constructed set of sounds. Two-third excellent, one-third pretty good. A fine score.
On cassette we find 'Rebus', four pieces for record players, records, montage flexi disc, electrical interference, tape hiss and field recordings. It might be the nature of the medium, but here we find AMK in a rather 'raw' mood. Pretty wild stuff, but never over the top when it comes to noise. A rather short tape, twenty minutes or so, and its a bit hard to say what they are. Edits from concerts? Special pieces of some kind? It all runs a bit too fast to say anything decent. Nice, I think. Yes, nice indeed.
Damien Romero I remember as the man behind the rock band Slug, but also with some great noise drone music at his hand. However without being an expert on all of his music. The cover of his twenty minute tape reads 'field & studio, virtual & found, salvaged & repurposed 2002-2010', whatever that may mean. I could guess, but I usually guess wrong (I guess), but it sounds to me like erasing field recordings, feeding it through various methods of sound processing (analog? digital?) with some highly obscured rumble as the remains. The b-side has some sort of crowd recording and of the two pieces is the somewhat lesser one. The a-side is pretty strong however in its lo-fi deep bass rumble bumble drone. (FdW)
Address: http://bannedproduction.com

NILS QUAK - THIS ONCE SILVER SKY (CDR by Ripples Recordings)
From Cologne hails Nils Quak, sometimes working
as NQ with releases on Distance Recordings, Progressive Form, Kitty Yo and Audiobulb, but here under his own (?) name. I must admit I never heard of him. Although the cover suggests more titles, its really one, thirty minute piece of music. According to the information supplied there are loops of found sound, synthesized sine waves and granular processing, but also old flexi disc recordings, guitar and pianoloops. Not that I could decipher all of these, I must admit. But it sounds quite good. A slow, somewhat dramatic build up takes place, which at one point gets blown away suddenly, in favor of some other drone like sound - like two different pieces being mixed together. Its however a fine work all around. Nothing new under this particular drone sun, but lovers of the genre, say William Basinski or Asher, should pay attention. Nils Quak has a great ear for small details and this work displays some fine beauty. (FdW)
Address: http://ripplesrecordigs.webs.com

ZEBRA - J05 50J (3"CDR by My Own Little Label)
EZDANITOFF - WE BRING LIGHT (3"CDR by My Own Little Label)
Frans de Waard and his own little label impress again with new dedicated 3"-releases. Two excellent albums on the private label of one of Netherlands most dedicated and talented sound artists. First album comes from Zebra. I only rarely find projects that manage to keep me attracted to its certain style release after release, again and again (probably the back side of daily listening to loads of new music, having never time to taste before the next food is served). It probably sounds a bit over the top, however Dutch duo Zebra consisting of Frans de Waard and Roel Meelkop is one of the few projects, that actually makes me eager to listen to what new materials they come up with again again. As far as I know present release is the first Zebra-release on the "My Own Little Label" - being the hometown of the numerous projects of aforementioned Frans de Waard. Zebra-style is characterized by the alluring combination of cutting edge sound art with retrospective elements that both counts sounds of analogue synthesizers such as Korg, Moog and Rolands as well as samples of early disco electronics and other funky expressions to name just a few. Present release carrying the odd title "j05 50j" was made on the background of the 50th anniversary of another dedicated Dutch sound artist Jos Smolders. Thus Zebra assembles three of its earlier works with samples of Jos Smolders works. The result is a 19 minutes running singles piece that develops into new forms as time goes by. Excellent dedication to the sound art colleague and friend Jos Smolders.
Next album is a newer project of Mr. Waard named after the character of Herge's Tintin, Ezdanitoff. Compared to aforementioned Zebra-release, present album titled "We Bring Light" from Ezdanitoff is more introvert and spacious in expression. The project is a joint venture between Frans De Waard and Wouter Jaspers, that originally came to life after some concerts and then developed to another fine accomplishment of Frans de Waard. Present album is a slightly more melancholic and melodic approach to experimentation compared to the usual abstract masterworks from Frans De Waard. Dominating part of the 20 minutes running album is the organ-like sounds created by analogue synthesizers that waves through a fair part of the 3"-albums four intersections. The expression reminds me of the melodic ambience of early ambient pioneers of the German krautrock-scene. Ezdanitoff will be touring early 2011. Keep an eye on the schedule and go see them whenever you get the chance. Sound art at its finest! (NM)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/moll.html

MIKE KRAMER - WHISPERING WALL III (business card CDR, private)
In the somewhat unlikely city of Heerlen a John Cage event was held for which an open call was made for artists to present some work. They were published on a blog, but it was unclear how it would end. The number one on the blog's top five didn't perform, as it was the webmaster's choice and not the judge's. Odd. But Mike Kramer, who does the (H)Ear events in the same city, was invited to create an installation called 'Whispering Wall III'. I have no idea how that looked, but on this business card we have the five pieces that were created for it. I have no idea what went into creating these sounds. Very small sounds, or amplifications of silences perhaps, crackles, hiss and such unwanted sounds. Not exactly the performance of 'Cartridge Music', but no doubt inspired by it. Even in all its briefness, it seems that Kramer composed with these sounds, rather than presenting them, which seems a bit against the ideas of Cage. Best played in shuffle and repeat mode for a while to fully engage in these sparse sound events. (FdW)
Address: <mikekramer@home.nl>

NATHAN MCLAUGHLIN - ECHOLOCATION (cassette by Gift Tapes)
An odd website by this artist. Some links towards live shows, some of his releases and directions where to get it, but curiously enough also various PDF files of manuals for things like the Korg SQ10, Teac 3440 and Ramsa WR-8112 Mixer. A show off of equipment used, or something else? I am sure something else. 'Echolocation' deals with the Teac and what else? I am not sure here. Maybe a synth? The result is what counts and arrives at some pretty interesting, highly minimal drone music. His music is slightly obscured by tape effects (or perhaps its the lower quality of the medium chosen to release this, or perhaps it already started to 'fall apart' the moment it was captured on tape), but it reminded me of the work of Basinski or Asher. Low resolution music I call this. Yet McLaughlin's music is not 'far away', i.e. covered with too much hiss or such like, but remains pretty 'present'. It makes some great wonderful music, and also somewhat different from the others in a similar field. A new name to look for! (FdW)
Address: http://www.gifttapes.com/



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