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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 763
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week 2
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
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* noted are in this week's podcast. 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>



BERTRAND DENZLER - TENOR (CD by Potlatch) *
BILL ORCUT - A NEW WAY TO PAY OLD DEBTS (CD by Editions Mego) *
NICOLAS BERNIER - STRINGS.LINES (CD by Cronica Electronica) *
MACROMASSA - MACROMASSA PRESENTA ARMAS MOSCA (CD by La Olla Express)
FAMILHA ARTUS - DRAC (CD by FZM)
PRIMO KIM - TO BE NEAR (CD by Primo)
BEA BENJAMIN - SATHIMA SINGS ELLINGTON(CD by Primo)
JOANNE GRAUER (CD by Primo)
PATRIZIO SCASCITELLI (CD by Primo)
LAURENT PERNICE & LAURENT PERRIER - PLAY PIANO AND SOUNDS (CD by Sound On Probation)
C.H. DISTRICT - CONCLUSION (CD by Tympanik Audio)
AUTOCLAV 1.1 - ALL STANDING ROOM IN THE GOODNIGHT SALOON (CD by Tympanik Audio)
TAPAGE & MEANDER - ETCHED IN SALT (CD by Tympanik Audio)
FAMINE - NATURE'S TWIN TENDENCIES (CD by Tympanik Audio)
JAMES BREWSTER - AS A HOVERING INSECT MASS BREAKS YOUR FALL (CD by Make Mine Music) *
A TASTY SWARM OF SMALL SIGNALS (DVD by Storung)
WILLIAM PARKER & NINNI MORGIA - PRISM (2LP by Ultramarine Records)
M.B. - PLAYS THE CLOCKWORK ORANGE (LP by Hot Releases)
JEFF REHNLUND - SMOKE FROM THE MIRROR (LP by Hot Releases)
RYAN JEWELL - ESCHEW OBFUSCATION; ESPOUSE ELUCIDATION (LP by Hot Releases)
HORAFLORA/SECRET BOYFRIEND (LP by Hot Releases)
EVOL - RAVE SLIME (12" by Alku)
STEINBRUCHEL - A\B\C\D (12" by Bine Music)
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INDUSTRIAL MUSIC VOL. 2 (book & CDR compilation by Impulsy Stetoskopu)
K (CD by Zelphabet)
ELOINE - SAMPLER MACHINES (CDR by Darbolistic Rex) *
SEEDED PLAIN - SECTIONAL (CDR by Digital Vomit) *
CORE OF THE COALMAN - YOU'LL NEED A KATAPULT (CDR by KLaNGundKRaCH)
MACHINEFABRIEK - HALFSLEEP (3"CDR by Standard Form)
FRANS DE WAARD - FLOODLIGHT (3"CDR by My Own Little Label) *
FREIBAND VS. THE IDEALIST - TIME LAG (3"CDR by My Own Little Label) *
CONRAD SCHNITZLER - 10.10.84 (cassette by Mirror Tapes)
MICHAEL NORTHAM - SOLAR NIGHT (cassette by Mirror Tapes)
V-P V-F IS V-N CS 2 (cassette by Winds Measure Recordings)



BERTRAND DENZLER - TENOR (CD by Potlatch)
As well as being part of such improvisation ensembles as Hubbub, Trio Sowari and Propagations Sax Quartet, Bertrand Denzler, who plays the tenor saxophone, also records solo music. Each of the three lengthy pieces on 'Tenor' use a single note which are subsequently layered. Not by repeating them on the computer, like say Phill Niblock would do this, but by adding small variations in how he plays them. In "Filters" he uses a short repetition, while in "Signals", the intervals are longer and thus bringing in more peace to the piece. Perhaps the most interesting piece is the final one, called "Airtube", in which he explores the saxophone in its entirety, by blowing into the various parts of the instrument, and not just the mouthpiece. While the whole thing has a rather tranquil feel to it, I must say its quite demanding music. Its minimal music, but not the US variation. Denzler stays close to the improvisation music with his playing technique and its just how he plays that, well controlled, never riding a wrong course, and thoroughly exploring what he sets out to explore. I am known not to be the biggest lover of the instrument, but if there is more like this, I like to have it. (FdW)
Address: http://www.potlatch.fr

BILL ORCUT - A NEW WAY TO PAY OLD DEBTS (CD by Editions Mego)
To repeat from last week: "When starting to review, one first has to play the music, well, obviously of course. Usually that starts with the inspection of the cover, press text, website etc, so that I know what I am hearing and I'll be writing about later on. But this doesn't always happen. Sometimes I just pick random a CD from the pile and start playing it." Only to find out to my utter amazement I am listening to a CD by Editions Mego? Hold on, there,  Mego, 'hooligans of computer noise' (to paraphrase Evol)? Bill Orcutt's 'A New Way To Pay Old Debts' is hooligan indeed, but then a full torture of the four strings of an acoustic guitar (A and D were removed), and was previously released on Palilalia, which are now, as well as a 7" and four unreleased cuts, re-issued on Mego. Orcutt was, a long time ago, a member of rock trouble makers Harry Pussy. No laptops were harmed in the making of this record. Blues like, with a bit of wordless vocal thrown in for good measure, this recording is made as direct as possible: very much in your face. Think MazzaCane Connors or Fahey, but perhaps under the influence of a lot more alcohol and/or drugs, bringing fourteen totally great, heavy weighted 'tunes' of 'blues' music. This music is a true slab in the face, and shouldn't be missed in any guitar lover's collection and perhaps may serve as re-education for digital hotheads (and vice versa of course: maybe Orcutt's fans can be attracted to the world of Mego?).
Address: http://www.editionsmego.com

NICOLAS BERNIER - STRINGS.LINES (CD by Cronica Electronica)
It's only a few weeks ago that I reviewed 'Courant.Air' (see Vital Weekly 758) by Bernier, and while not bad, also perhaps not entirely satisfying either, and perhaps being made too quickly. Here on 'Strings.Lines' he moves away from the guitar, in favor of a new love (since 2007 actually) for tuning forks, of which he apparently has a large collection, which he plays in an improvised manner, then processed those recordings and in the next stage he adds the viola da gambe (played by Pierre-Yves Martel) and violin (by Chris Bartos) to that. Actually its hard to tell what these tuning forks do here, which part of the sound is the tuning forks because the two stringed instruments seem to be more present throughout these five pieces. The tuning forks present the 'lines' and the 'strings', well, that seems obviously. I must admit that 'Strings.Lines' did more than 'Courant.Air', even when it sits safely in the world of microsound: careful playing of instruments, but in a nice somewhat freely improvised manner, whereas below the decks obscured gliding tones take place and a more curious scratching the surface kind of rumbling. That all results in a fine album of what could be the cross road of electro-acoustic music, improvisation and modern classical. A strong new album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org

MACROMASSA - MACROMASSA PRESENTA ARMAS MOSCA (CD by La Olla Express)
Already in 1976 Victor Nubla and Juan Crek founded Marcomassa, who have released ten official records since then, and played with more than hundred different musicians. I am not sure, but I think I had a cassette by them in the 80s somewhere, which I no longer have, nor recall what it sounded like (it looked great though) and perhaps they were never reviewed in Vital Weekly. Some of Nubla's solo records made it to these pages. For 'Macromassa Presenta Armas Mosca', they play with no other people and go back to the instruments they used in their first years: a self-built audio generator, electrified clarinet and voices. It brings some curious music. 'En Busca De Glo, La Divinidad Pavo' sounds like early Esplendor Geometrico, but with something that sounds like a jew harp melody. Early industrial music influences are apparent in other tracks, but at the same time, Nubla and Crek, also seem to be inspired by improvised music with a rockiest undercurrent. A nicely crude record, right from the spirit of early 80s industrial music. At first I didn't like it very much, but the more I play this, the more I like it. This might have been the thing Esplendor Geometrico would have sounded if they would have stuck to the sound of 'EG1'. Macromassa managed to create an album that sounds like something from the past, but it never sounds outdated. The more I hear it, the more I like it. (FdW)
Address: http://www.laollaexpress.com

FAMILHA ARTUS - DRAC (CD by FZM)
A French band operating since 2001, fusing progressive rock, traditional regional music and electro-industrial approaches. 'Drac' is their third statement since 'Omi' (2003) and 'Orb' (2007). From what they write they seem to take inspiration from bands like King Crimson and Magma . All that may be true, this family however in no way reaches the level of these two bands. Rhythmically spoken the music is very simple and straight. The finesse of Magma is far beyond their reach. I like them best when playing and singing almost straight folk as they do that very well.
The folk-oriented singing in 'Dehens la vida de Bordeu' and 'Cantem en allegressa' is impressive and very enjoyable. But the combination with rock invokes energy on the hand, but makes the songs also a bit plumb, whereas you can feel that the folk music where they take their inspiration from, has far more dimensions. It sure has interesting aspects and moments. But all in all Familha Artus prove that the fusing and mixing of very different ingredients does not necessarily bring interesting music. Especially concerning the rhythmic base of the music it lacks originality. Alas. (DM)
Address: http://www.fzm.fr

PRIMO KIM - TO BE NEAR (CD by Primo)
BEA BENJAMIN - SATHIMA SINGS ELLINGTON(CD by Primo)
JOANNE GRAUER (CD by Primo)
PATRIZIO SCASCITELLI (CD by Primo)
The Japanese Primo-label has a nose for obscure jazz and easy-listening from the 70s. Here we have four of their releases. All of them of musicians who remained unknown if I'm not mistaken. I may however be completely wrong, as I am not an expert in this area. So let me be short on these ones. Bea Benjamin was the wife of Dollar Brand, and released an album of Ellington songs. In the company of piano, bass, drums and congas she sings 'In a Mellow Tone', 'Mood Indigo' and other Ellington compositions. Her voice is not that expressive and flexible as one hopes for this repertoire. Primo Kim surfaced somewhere in the 70s with 'To be Near'. He is a far better jazz singer, who also composed many of his songs. Italian Patrizia Scascitelli is featured with recordings from 1979 and 1980 that are released now for the first time. In a quartet of drums, tenor sax and percussion, Scascitelli plays piano. This is the most jazziest one. The album by Joanne Grauer dates from the early 70s and is of interest for those who feel attracted to the Fender piano. She is not a great singer, but her keyboard playing is charming. This album is the funky one. Also it connects to the Canterbury-scene from the same time (Caravan). Especially in the track 'Frog Child'. I have no idea who might be interested in rereleases like these, but no doubt there are circles where this music is hip. Primo did a splendid job and delivered these artefacts in nice jackets. (DM)
Address: http://www.jazz-primo.net

LAURENT PERNICE & LAURENT PERRIER - PLAY PIANO AND SOUNDS (CD by Sound On Probation)
Two Laurents here, both former members of Nox, a french industrial group, meet up here to record music together. Laurent Perrier (also known from Zonk't, Heal, and the Odd Size label, as well as his current house Sound On Probation) and Laurent Pernice, who also always worked under his own name. They both work in quite different areas of music, from musique concrete to hip hop. Here they gather up to play music that uses 'piano and sounds', not together but each has their own pieces (Pernice five and Perrier four), in a bit of confusing way. No first five by one and four by the other, or the equal numbers for one and the unequal for the other, which makes it not easy to find out who did what tracks. In both musicians we recognize a strong similarity. The piano plays the most important role, looped, sampled, joyously playing minimalist tunes. Sometimes they add a jazzy set of drum sounds to it - probably played by machines rather than by humans, and has a sort of laid back Cologne/Kompakt style to it, for the extensive use of clicky sounds and grainy textures. The nine tracks are very alike, they could have been as easily made by one and the same person. A question of blurring identities? It makes a very strong album of similar music, easy music to tap your feet along, much like Kompakt's Popambient series, but perhaps its also a pity that we don't get a bit more of their identity, to make at least a bit of difference. (FdW)
Address: http://www.soundonprobation.com

C.H. DISTRICT - CONCLUSION (CD by Tympanik Audio)
AUTOCLAV 1.1 - ALL STANDING ROOM IN THE GOODNIGHT SALOON (CD by Tympanik Audio)
TAPAGE & MEANDER - ETCHED IN SALT (CD by Tympanik Audio)
FAMINE - NATURE'S TWIN TENDENCIES (CD by Tympanik Audio)
Four new albums from Chicago-based label Tympanik Audio has seen the light of the day. According to the web site of the label, Tympanik Audio strives for quality and consistency to bring listeners the very best dark electronic music from around the world. First album comes from the project CH District. 5 years after the release of CH District's previous album 'Slides', the Polish electro project returns with a collection of works released under the title "Conclusion". Heavy bass lines and robotic creaks maneuver throughout the tracks while electro-styled overtones and moderately distorted synth pads create a perfect balance of energy, melody, and flow. The album is mainly uptempo with lots of atmospheres created by melodic synth lines. Very nice. Next album comes from US artist Tony Young calling himself
Autoclav 1.1. The style of the composer is melancholic atmospheres built by grandiose orchestral passages combined with IDM with and touch of Industrial textures. As you might guess from the project title piano is an important ingredient in the IDM-based spheres. Nice album. Fusing together a hybrid collection of collection of IDM, broken beats, ambient, industrial and alternative eclectic electronica, Autoclav1.1 as a project aims to reflect emotional atmospheres. Next album comes from the joint venture project called Tapage & Meander. Tapage is a Dutch artist who originally began as being part of a metal/hip hop-band, but since then has concentrated on the electronic expressions. His focus first of all is pointed towards idm, with energetic rhythm textures moving along atmospheric ambient-melodies. The style of this album titled "Etched in salt" draws associations towards early Gridlock but once-in-a-while with complexities reminiscent of early Autechre. Great album.
Last album also has a foot in the idm-land. The artist calling himself Famine comes from Canada, Toronto to be precise. There is also some melody hidden in the album titled "Nature's Twin Tendencies', but first of all the tempo is upfront with hyper-energetic rhythm structures of breakcore - an aural cauldron of styles ranging from melody-laced breakcore and glitchy metal riffs to beat-rich Electronica and melancholy IDM. Excellent album. Four great albums that might draw new listeners to the Tympanik Audio label. (NM)
Address: http://www.tympanikaudio.com/

JAMES BREWSTER - AS A HOVERING INSECT MASS BREAKS YOUR FALL (CD by Make Mine Music)
Surely one of the strangest CDs of late, this fourth album by James Brewster. Known previously as Mole Harness, when playing looped guitar and meditative music. Now under his own name, he also had a change of mind when it comes to the kind of music he wants to play. First of all he draws in a variety of singers, an Albanian opera singer, an Iranian puppet artist, the singers of Steel Island, Gravenhurst, You And The Atom Bomb, and Men Diamler. Voice is now an important factor in his music, which bounces off in all directions you could think of. There is a fair amount of tinkling guitars, bits of field recordings, but also techno like rhythms, breakbeats and such like. In a way a pop record, and probably in some other way, its not a pop record. Still probably too strange to be a real pop record, but the traces are there. It may seem as if Brewster doesn't know what to do, in which direction he will go further, but oddly enough, I thought this was quite a coherent record. More like a radioplay - no less thanks to the multitude of spoken word - because of the various textures it moves through and the somewhat odd lengths for these tracks - two of them well over ten minutes! One of them is lined up to be a single, to add a bit more confusion. Overall a great record: moody textures, sparkling melodies, minimalist guitars and catchy at times. (FdW)
Address: http://www.makeminemusic.co.uk

A TASTY SWARM OF SMALL SIGNALS (DVD by Storung)
This might be the future of releasing music. I think I said that before, with some of the Empreintes Digitales DVD's, containing no images but 24-bit audio. And a lot more difficult to extract and rip and share (for free). But perhaps also a bit too much for audiophiles? I am not sure. Francisco Lopez curated this project, with consists of seven artists, each delivering no less than thirteen two-minute audio compositions. Why seven, thirteen and two, you may wonder? I am not sure either, but Lopez did a nice selection. Besides himself we have here James Webb, Lawrence English, Asmus Tietchens, Louis Dufort, Alan Courtis and Zbigniew Karkwoski. Which I guess makes an interesting selection from various parts of the world of experimental music. The serious avant-garde is represented by Dufort, who does a fine job on the matter at hand, and while heavily under the influence of acousmatica, the briefness of the pieces makes it all nice. Webb and English both represent the world of field recordings and ambience. Delicate pieces here, in which a certain amount of musical-ness slip through the gaps. Lopez and Tietchens also deal with field recordings and electronics, but their work is much more abstract than English and Webb's. In Lopez' case thirteen pieces of mildly droning affairs of heavily treated rainfall or ventilation shafts (or some such, you can't be sure with Lopez), whereas Tietchens offers his highly atomized sparks of sounds and silence. Alan Courtis and Zbigniew Karkwoski are both on the more traditional noise spectrum, each at a side, firmly apart. Karkowski with some highly computerized noise patterns, at times fiercely loud and sometimes a bit less loud, but throughout firmly gritty and digital, while Courtis is much more quiet (than we are used of him?), but not allowing any silence in his work. Drone based soundscapes of a big city at night - perhaps - like indicated through the visual on display. An excellent compilation, which is of course a bit long - three hours - to be played at once, but you could select one a day and have a great week. (FdW)
Address: http://www.storung.com

WILLIAM PARKER & NINNI MORGIA - PRISM (2LP by Ultramarine Records)
William Parker needs no further introduction, I suppose. He is on the scene since the 70s, and always operated within experimental and free jazz combinations. Morgia may be a new name for you. He is an Italian-born guitarist who moved to the States in 2003. He found his way in the New York improv scene where he played with Daniel Carter, Kevin Shea, Peter Evans, Blaise Siwula, Bonnie Kane, Tim Garrigan. Currently he is a member of Quivers, Wizard Trio, La Otracina, Trauma Unit. In 1999 he recorded a CD for solo guitar on Etnagigante, named 'I am two'. No idea what Parker (upright bass, slide whistle and grille) and Morgia (guitar) brought together.
This release is interesting for getting to know guitar-genius Morgia. It is astonishing what he is doing. Often it is impossible to visualize how his sounds come into being. Sometimes he makes his guitar sound like some prehistoric electronic instrument. Unbelievable. But maybe he invests too much of this energy and creativity in producing unheard sounds only. As at the time the music remains a bit hermetic. The music never sparkles. So I did not experience their improvisations very exciting or communicative in the end. Moments of magic are rare, if you ask me. (DM)
 Address: http://www.ultramarinerecords.com

M.B. - PLAYS THE CLOCKWORK ORANGE (LP by Hot Releases)
JEFF REHNLUND - SMOKE FROM THE MIRROR (LP by Hot Releases)
RYAN JEWELL - ESCHEW OBFUSCATION; ESPOUSE ELUCIDATION (LP by Hot Releases)
HORAFLORA/SECRET BOYFRIEND (LP by Hot Releases)
When I high school I read A Clockwork Orange, in English but with a Dutch translation nearby for all the slang used by our droog Alex. I thought it was a read novel, and the film, perhaps even better. My (ex-) wife asked me to switch it off, so now she's an ex, and I still have the DVD. Part of what I like about the movie, as with other Kubrick movies, is the use of the music, obviously some Ludwig Van, Rossini, Purcel, Carlos and Elgar. No doubt Maurizio Bianchi was attracted in a similar way by the movie's soundtrack, but he then also purchased a copy of the soundtrack on vinyl in 1980 and did a 'decomposition' of it, which means playing the record as it skips on his turntable and spins it around, sometimes speeding up the sound, very much like the sex scene with its sped up music. No electronics seem to be used in this recording, just a demontage of the record. It makes one of the strangest records I ever heard from Bianchi, quite curious. Perhaps more curious than really good, but I now know which movie to watch again tonight. A truly odd record.
Jeff Rehnlund has been present in Vital Weekly a few times with various releases, including a previous LP 'Gangnam Basement' for Hot, reviewed in Vital Weekly 667. This new one doesn't state if it was recorded in some exotic place, like Korea on the previous. There are some cryptic lines - noisy liner notes perhaps, quite like the greater deal of the music. Microcassettes seem to be in play again, perhaps again crudely transformed to four tracks and mixed down using a handful of stomp boxes. I am merely guessing. Rehnlund takes the listener through a barrage of sound, loud mostly, but somewhere on the b-side (there are gaps between various pieces, indicating that we have actually have a variety of tracks on our hands, but we could have been fooled here). Like before I quite dig his lo-fi sound collages, as it doesn't rely on just a furious attack on the senses, but instead delivers a nicely balanced work. Balanced in that sense that it swings between the loud and the soft, while maintaining a non-committed approach to composition. Nice again.
The two previous works with music by Ryan Jewell that got reviewed here were both recordings with other people, with Mike Khoury (see Vital Weekly 731) and C. Spencer Yeh & Jon Lorenz (see Vital Weekly 688). Jewell plays percussion and has been improvising with tons of people, including Mike Shiflet, Vic Rawlings, Greg Kelley, Rafael Toral to name but a few. 'Eschew Obfuscation; Espouse Elucidation' is his first solo record. I believe the first side is a collage of old tapes, live recordings, new stuff, all edited and spliced together. The b-side might very well a live recording. These two sides couldn't be further apart. The a-side is a wild, vivid sound collage of all sorts of tape-manipulations. In a way this reminds me of Howard Stelzer's older work, before things got much more dense - cut ups of many tapes with all sorts of recordings, but presented in a rather noisy manner. Its not easy to recognize in this the work of a percussion player, but then that could as easily be said of the other side. Here Jewell is very quiet with just some manipulation of the skin surface of a single drum with perhaps one or two objects. I am not sure. After the slightly tiring "Eschew Obfuscation", this side is a total contemplative piece, the true chill out side. In all honesty I'd say "Eschew Obfuscation" is just alright, but "Espouse Elucidation" is a great piece of music. Worth alone getting the record for.
The final release by Hot Releases for now is a split LP by two names of which I don't think I heard before. Horaflora is Raub Roy, who went on a bicycle to tour New England, using a hand drum, trumpet mouth piece, balloon, computer sub-woofer, transducers, hand-held tape recorders and found objects. The recording here is from one of the concerts, at a radio station. Its quite a funny sort of electro-acoustic music. Not in a hilarious sense but rather a pleasant form of lo-fi electro-acoustic, banging on a few objects, rubbing a balloon and the crashing of memo-recorders. Not exactly the sort of thing that is well composed, but all in a rather joyous free spirit movement. Very nice. On the other side we have The Secret Boyfriend, whose identity is indeed a secret. Here we have something that is a bit more musical, with looped piano melodies, recorded also in a lo-fi manner, and quite simply in its execution. There is some rattling of metal to break the two piano parts and then a bit of noise and a half-hearted attempt at a guitar with vocals sort of popsong. Its sort of alright I guess, although nothing really great. Here the nice gem is the side by Hooraflora. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hot-releases.org

EVOL - RAVE SLIME (12" by Alku)
This one might not be easily found in a record store (as such things exist these days): no cover, just black vinyl with a green/purple label stuck on each side. It is announced as 'a double blow of brutalist composition and raw electronic music', and that's how we know Evol best of course. They call their music 'computer music of hooligans'. The music is inspired by a 'pre-set patch for the Roland Juno Alpha synthesizer called 'What The?' and its operated in these two pieces (spinning at the disco 45 rpm), but not in two similar ways. It uses a digital synthesizer and custom written generative software. The first (?) side has a violent kind of drone music to it, with ascending/descending gliding scales. Like long sustained, cascading waves of sound, moving in and out, this is some great music. Played loud, this is indeed quite violent digital music. The other (?) side has something that was originally developed for a 12-channel installation at the Diapason Gallery and is a very chaotic piece of music of those drone like sounds being cut-up, but somewhat beyond their sustain and somewhat layered, but never in sync, so running out of phase with each other. Again, at a loud volume this is a mighty beast. Simply put: this music can't be enjoyed when playing at a low volume. If your next party is about scaring people away, then you'd need to DJ just one record: this one. (FdW)
Address: http://personal.ilimit.es/perkele/evol/purchase.html

STEINBRUCHEL - A\B\C\D (12" by Bine Music)
Quite a surprise here. Firstly because we haven't seen much Steinbruchel on vinyl lately and secondly its on Bine Music, a label which we know for some rhythmic inspired music and that is not always the case with Steinbruchel (well, not anymore that is). Perhaps the third surprise is the fact that is a 12", so perhaps its aimed at the 'dance market' anyway? Ralph Steinbruchel's music may not move many feet but I must say that these four tunes are nicely lightweight chapters from the big book of ambient glitch. Piano like sounds, glitchy, repeating but not always sequential loops, and mild laptop processing bringing in that low end bass sound. In some way it seems to me that these four pieces are extensions of each other, one going in the next, further expanding on the theme, rather than bringing four very distinct different pieces. Breezy summer tunes on a winter's day - well, the sun is shining, and spring should be coming. Think a bit of Taylor Deupree from some years ago, when things were a bit more poppy. Steinbruchel puts the winter aside and a big smile on my face. (FdW)
Address: http://www.binemusic.de

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INDUSTRIAL MUSIC VOL. 2 (book & CDR compilation by Impulsy Stetoskopu)
K (CD by Zelphabet)
Back in Vital Weekly 721 I was very pleasantly surprised by the first volume of the Encyclopedia Of Industrial Music, and now we have the second volume, spanning 'D' to 'I' and has 'just' one CDR to go alone. A while ago someone said I was living in the past, with me liking physical objects such as records, CDs and books, and he is right: I prefer a book like this, to sit back in my chair, and flip throughout. I know I mustn't complain about age but I very much doubt wether I will ever get used to an e-reader and I would not be sitting behind my computer to browse a website that would have the same contents as this book. And yes, I am aware that books are outdated the minute they are printed. But that's the whole charm of it (oh I wrote that before on Volume 1 too). The Encyclopedia of Industrial Music is a book on an extended field of musical interest, from Brian Eno to Dachau Lustknaben to Luc Ferrari to Ryoji Ikeda. Short bits of what seems to me highly accurate information. The CDR doesn't have Ikeda, Eno or Bruce Gilbert, but instead Dachau Lustknaben, Das Synthetische Mischgewebe, Yannick Dauby, Dieter Møh, The Digitariat, Jørgen Eckloff, Emil Beaulieau, Enema Syringe, Galerie Schallschutz, Gastric Female Reflex, Gerechtigkeits Liga, Grunt, GX Jupitter-Larsen and Idea Fire Company, which if these names mean anything to you, you know its all of the place: from brutal noise of the Lustknaben, The Digitariat, Beaulieu, Enema Syringe and Grunt to the softer end of musique concrete of Das Synthetische Mischgewebe, Dauby, Eckloff, the drones from Dieter Muh, Galerie Schallschutz or the very eighties tribalistic drumming of the Liga. Closed down with the piano and boat music of Idea Fire Company, this compilation is as diverse as the book itself. On the risk of repeating myself:  Excellent. Can't hardly wait for the next volume. (and oh: many pictures of boys behind laptops or performing, but are The Grey Wolves really posing inside The Hacienda?)
And then there is of course Zelphabet, curated by G.X. Jupitter-Larsen of The Haters fame. Now up to the letter K. Intervals are getting longer, unfortunately, as this is such a fine series that I would love to see complete one day. Two noise ends and two surprises here. The noise side is represented by two Japanese artists. K2 goes out furthest into noise land with a twenty minute onslaught of cut up distortion. It could very well be that K2 takes a bunch of his own tapes, a pair of scissors and then just crudely assembles bits of tapes into a new piece. KK Null is here also a bit louder than we are used of him in recent years, but adds a rhythm or two to his noise tapestry. More digital in approach, with the rhythm being made by skipping loops of CD players, feeding off to a line of sound effects. Both of these pieces are almost twenty minutes and perhaps at such a bit long. The two surprises is first a 1998 recording by Key Ransone. Once better known as Small Cruel Party, but since 2000 more or less gone from the scene, in order to be a chef in France. But not entirely disappeared. His 'A Tangible Bridge' is performed by the Seattle Creative Orchestra - Ransone always had something with bridging electronic music with modern classical music. This piece is entirely modern classical, with slow violin build up and after a crescendo, silence, followed by singing and strange gestures. Maybe a bit like older Arvo Part? I must admit I am not that much of a connoisseur of the genre, but this piece is actually very good. The other surprise is Kluster 07, consisting of Conrad Schnitzler, Michael Thomas Roe and Masato Ooyama, who recorded this piece in September 2007. Bouncing, psychedelic electronics with a set of more or less improvised percussion on top and more improvised bits on some synthesizers. Quite a mellow piece, but perhaps also a nice update to the earliest incarnation of K/Cluster - still a steady favorite after almost forty years. (FdW)
Address: <impulsystetoskopu@yahoo.com>
Address: http://www.zelphabet.com

ELOINE - SAMPLER MACHINES (CDR by Darbolistic Rex)
SEEDED PLAIN - SECTIONAL (CDR by Digital Vomit)
It seems that Brian Day is these days more occupied with creating his own music that running his Public Eyesore and Eh? labels, seeing these two released on other people's labels. Heavily grounded in the world of improvised, with playing with tons of people (Jorge Castro, Zan Hoffman, Patrick McGinley, Josh Ronsen, Terje Paulsen, Tore Honore Boe to mention a few), he is also building his own instruments: everyday objects put together into a box - a bit like Boe's Acoustic Laptops. On 'Sampler Machines', the list of instruments reads as follows: 'commodore 64, games of chance, metal can, oscillators, steel pan, taisho-goto, tapewarp, transceivers and whiskerphone'. Musically it seems to me there is also a link to be shared with Tore Honore Boe and also Kapotte Muziek. In the first, untitled, there is a total absence of electronics for Brian Day, with scraping of objects and surfaces, metallic approach and such like. The electronics come in with the second track, but are kept to a bare minimum. The third track is a extension of the first, it seems. Definitely not easy music, and as such quite demanding to hear. Maybe not to be taken at once.
The other release is a duo one with Jay Kreimer (if I decipher the cover well), as Seeded Plain. Here they are credited with just 'homemade instruments'. This is pretty much a continuation of the solo disc by Day. Scraping and scratching metal like objects, with very, very occasionally a tiny bit of electronics, which might be a bit of feedback actually. The differences with the Eloine disc are very small, but it seems that Seeded Plain is perhaps a bit more about playing musical notions, and Eloine more into highly abstract textures. Occasionally they hit upon a short rhythm like piece, and throughout these matters are a bit more dynamic. Eloine stays more on a similar volume level, Seeded Plain bounce a bit more between loud and quiet. But played together in one go, I must confess its all a bit much. Nice stuff, should be served in a smaller dose. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bryanday.net
Address: http://www.digitalvomit.com

CORE OF THE COALMAN - YOU'LL NEED A KATAPULT (CDR by KLaNGundKRaCH)
The music of Core of the Coalman has a great real American sound, like a man singing songs with his acoustic guitar, sitting on the veranda. But that is not the only style on this album with 19 songs. Some songs are just notes with a minimalistic character or just some words of pianophases. Other songs have long repetitive elements created by electronic sound-effects. Core of the Coalman is an alter-ego of Jorge Boehringer. He played in a lot of bands and did a great amount of collaborations with other artists and musicians. He was born in Texas in 1975, moved to Oakland California and lives and works now in Prague (Czech Republic). Core of the Coalman knows how to combine traditional guitar- and songstructures with his violin and many many soundeffects. Really a great CD-R for people how like experiments with authentic musicstyles. (JKH)
Address: http://www.klangundkrach.net

MACHINEFABRIEK - HALFSLEEP (3"CDR by Standard Form)
On cold winter days, when waking up, I really don't want to leave the bed. Its nicely warm and the rest of the house still cold. The area between sleep and being awake is a state I like. I sometimes hear voices, real or otherwise, and never know wether I am still dreaming or not. The only thing that lacks the bedroom, and perhaps for such a lazy reviewer not wanting to leave the bed not a bad thing, is a CD player. If I had one I would program it that 'Halfsleep' by Machinefabriek would be on repeat for a while in order to change the sleep-state into the awake-mode. This gentle seventeen minute piece seems to be the perfect music for that time of the day - although, when writing these words, its getting later at night, and it also makes great sense. Dreamy sounds of what might a music box played through a bunch of sound effects, slowly building up a bit, but never too much, and it takes a long time to wind down, with some eroding effect. An excellent piece of music. (FdW)
Address: http://machinefabriek.nu/

FRANS DE WAARD - FLOODLIGHT (3"CDR by My Own Little Label)
FREIBAND VS. THE IDEALIST - TIME LAG (3"CDR by My Own Little Label)
Two new releases from the 3" exclusive label of Vital Weekly-founder himself, Frans De Waard. The aim of the label is to release materials from the huge production catalogue of Frans De Waard, but also his joint ventures with other sound explorists. First album is the album titled "Floodlight" released under his own name. The concept of the album was a culmination of two live concerts plus line recordings all with the common denominator of excluding laptops and instead utilizing other sources such as synthesizers and cassette manipulations. The result is a very interesting and quite harsh piece of electronic art clocking just under 20 minutes and developing as one whole. The piece opens with voice samples that slowly fades giving space for icy analogue textures not far away from Finnish minimalists in Pan Sonic. After approx. 12 minutes the work moves into ambient-like textures. Beautiful and atmospherically "Floodlight" develops from minimalist and cold sound textures to sounds of warmth and grandiosity. Simple and extremely beautiful.
From a solo art project of mr. De Waard to a
collaboration one. Under his moniker Freiband, Frans De Waard established contact with Swedish artist Joachim Nordwall alias The Idealist to make some recordings in the EMS Studios located in Stockholm. A result of this international joint venture birthed Freiband VS. The Idealist is this 17 minutes piece of minimalism. The work opens very slowly and thus easily develops from inaudibility to quite noisy textures. The work titled Time lag is built around lengthy sound drones but the drones never walk alone here. Pulses and subtle beats fades in occasionally meanwhile other moments are visited buzzing noise and other harsh sound textures. Two excellent works from Frans de Waard, revealing the fact that this man has been exploring the art of sound in almost three decades. Absolutely amazing! (NM)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/moll.html

CONRAD SCHNITZLER - 10.10.84 (cassette by Mirror Tapes)
MICHAEL NORTHAM - SOLAR NIGHT (cassette by Mirror Tapes)
No doubt I wrote this before, but I have great, utmost respect for Conrad Schnitzler. His music fits no genre, no scene and the man is, even at the respectable age he has now (73!), he continues to work on his own sound matter. Having said that, I must admit I didn't hear all of his work, nor do I believe that is necessary for my appreciation. But when possible, I like to hear it. I must assume that this particular release is made on the date it was named after (and my mother's birthday), which would be a typical Schnitzler thing to do. Record a brand new work in one day. In 1984 he was still heavily involved in 'non-keyboard electronics', which means that he would have all of his synthesizers connected and 'just' fiddle about with all the knobs, leaving the keys to rest. The result is some highly abstract electronic music, which owes more to Cologne/Stockhausen in the fifties then to cosmic music of the seventies. Yet Schnitzler's work is more free than Stockhausen c.s. and doesn't seem to obey any formal composition techniques. This free-ness is also from an improvisational side of things and is probably the reason why Schnitzler has always been so productive. Yet this work is not an easy thing, conceived on the spot, but sounds like planned out, and then taped. A particularly great work actually.
Michael Northam is perhaps also someone who just carries on, much alike Schnitzler (although half his age), and not always very present in Vital Weekly. His work deals with environmental sound, "golden foil, shakuhachi, chance objects and pitch pipe" and 'Solar Night' is the result of one week working in Lapland, Spain and Berlin, from field recordings and concert and then these results were layered together into this four part work. All of which is inspired by French metaphysical explorer RenČ Daumal. There is surely a surreal element to be found in Northam's music. It transports the listener to another state of mind through these highly minimalist rummaging of objects, wind blowing down pipes, flutes and more poetic sounds employed by Northam. Occasionally things end up in a very silent mood and the sound almost disappears, leaving, perhaps deliberately, the hiss of the tape as the sole instrument. Its this dynamic that makes this into a particular strong release. (FdW)
Address: http://mirrortapes.blogspot.com

V-P V-F IS V-N CS 2 (cassette by Winds Measure Recordings)
The first volume of 'V-P V-F is V-N' took life as a 7", with fifteen tracks and five lockgrooves (see Vital Weekly 631), and now is extended to a cassette with some fifty-five tracks - too lazy to do the exact count today. Like before all pieces are around the one-minute mark and the list of contributors read almost like a whose who is microsound, laptopmusic, electro-acoustic, field recordings: jason kahn, civyiu kkliu, richard garet, scott smallwood, alfredo costa monteiro, daniel blinkhorn, stefan thut, ben owen, toy.bizarre, gen ken montgomery, robert curgenven, manfred werder / incidental music, pierre gerard, giuseppe ielasi, ferran fages, tarab, sawako, tmm mulligan, gil sansŪn, lawrence english, gilles aubry, takefumi naoshima, asher, ben scott, barry chabala, ubeboet, dominic lash, andy graydon, alessandro bosetti, greg davis, matt marble, andrew hayleck, seth cluett, phil julian and gill arno (copied from the website, too lazy to retype from the cover, so no capitals either). It starts out with some silence. Perhaps intentional? Is that Seth Cluett's piece, or is the first actual sound his piece? This mild confusion brings that we loose track right away from the beginning, so its impossible to tell what the Ielasi track is or Sawako. Instead we have almost an hour worth of great music, that moves in all of the mentioned directions, and operates more likely as a long collage of sound and music than almost sixty well-defined compositions, and I guess that's exactly the kind of confusion that the label is after with this project. An excellent tape collage of sounds, almost like an experimental radio play. Who did what is of lesser importance. Sit back and enjoy. (FdW)
Address: http://www.windsmeasurerecordings.net




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