number 769
week 8


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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JASON KAHN - BEAUTIFUL GHOST WAVE (CD by Herbal International) *
HANNA HARTMAN - H^2 (CD by Komplott) *
SIMON WHETHAM - SLOPT (CD by Siridisc) *
CONURE - STRINGS, LOCATIONS (CD by Edgetone Records)
DANIEL STEFFEY - CHLOROS (CD by Edgetone Records)
ENRICO CONIGLIO - SALICORNIE (CD by Psychonavigation Records) *
COLUMBUS DUO - SALT (LP by Dead Sailor Muzic)
UNDERWATER - NOISES (CDR by Ephre Imprint)
AWK WAH - OPERA BOX (CDR by Sprayplastic)
.RORO & PQ - !ACTION STEREO! (CDR by Toztizok) *
SPARTAK - VERSION ROOM (cassette by HellosQuarerecordings)
MAURIZIO BIANCHI - TECHNOLOGY X (cassette by Mirror Tapes)

JASON KAHN - BEAUTIFUL GHOST WAVE (CD by Herbal International)
Now here's a change. Over the years we have learned to appreciate the music of Jason Kahn as something that is minimal, slowly moving music composed using percussion and analogue synthesizer. Drone like, introspective, derived from slowly unfolding improvisations - alone or in combination with others. This is not the case on 'Beautiful Ghost Wave'. Still at his disposal is the analog synthesizer but also a mixing board, contact microphones, short wave radio and electromagnetic coils. Kahn goes noise here. This thirty seven some minute work is divided into various movements (as one track), separated with acoustic rumbling - Kahn recorded this work through a microphone in front of his speakers and from the room directly behind - I assume the latter is when he uses only those. Feedback like, noise based sounds, static hiss and such like rule this work, which has a much more dramatic play than much of his previous work, if not all of his previous work. Kahn fans will be alarmed I guess. Its not the kind of blast of noise that say someone like Merzbow would do - maybe that would have been the work if it was directly taped from the mixing board - but it has a distinct different quality that makes it quite good and also different from the other trouble makers. I guess it has to do with the amount of variations Kahn employs in this work and the somewhat curious way of recording it, bringing in a certain amount of acoustic noise. An excellent work and a brave move for Kahn. Hopefully to be followed by more such work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.herbalinternational.tk

Following the 3Ofmillions from last weeks there is now 3 Seconds Of Air, but besides the '3' all points of reference are off. 'We Are Dust Under The Dying Sun' is the second CD by a trio with Serries, the unstoppable, and guitar player Paul van den Berg and bassist Martina Verhoeven. Recorded without overdubs and no editing, they present three long pieces of music that is hardly different from the one Serries produces currently Microphonics moniker, more than say Fear Falls Burning. Effectively and probably the most easy thing to say would that 3 Seconds Of Air is an extended version of Microphonics. The latter is solo guitar and the first two solo guitars and a minimal bass. All with a bit effects, to create those rich, singing overtones. Three pieces in total here, and while I certainly liked what was on offer, I must admit I also had the feeling I was listening to three pieces of music that sounded pretty similar. That slow bass, those ringing sounds and occasional strums, the ebow used: I mean how many variations on a single theme could you do? Especially 'When Desolation Strikes The Eye' and 'In The Dark Ocean Of Agony And Afflication' are very similar - 'With Storm To Battle, When Heaven Revels', now the closing piece, would have been better on the second spot I guess. Having said, I must at the same admit I had this CD on repeat three times, totally immersed by its room filling qualities and spacious sound: the perfect backdrop to a quiet evening, reading a good book. So, perhaps that's all that is required. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tonefloat.com

If I would have to make a Frankie-says styled t-shirt for Andrew Liles, it would probably read "Danger - (re)Productive!". Now responsible for dozens and dozens of releases, Liles is certainly one of the most productive men in music. It says (re)Productive, because somehow a Liles album can be recognized from miles away. The sounds are new, but sound like you've heard them before on previous albums. The (re)Productive is also hinting at Liles' interest for the sexual deviant. There is little of that theme on this album though, which is another chapter in his monster-book. This doesn't exactly makes life easier for his fans. You probably need a British Telecom CEO's income to be able to keep track of all things Liles. For those less fortunate, however, this new album, his umpteenth in the "Monster"-series (that also includes t-shirts and badges - clearly lessons have been learned from Frankie goes to Hollywood merchandise man -), is well worth the purchase. Not that there is much news or a specific development on this one, if you've heard the previous albums by Liles, you know what to expect; sinister voices in various languanges telling sinister fragmented stories, children's toys, looping, sampling, strange not-quite-in-synch rhythms, ambient bits and general mayhem. But, it is all so well done, so carefully produced it's hard to fault the man. Muldjewangk, Morgawr and Other Monsters has nine tracks indexed, allowing Liles some fun making up titles, but the album sounds like one big aural adventure, best consumed and enjoyed in one straight listen. So, nothing new, nothing shocking, but a well-crafted, good-quality CD. (FK)
Address: http://www.touretterecords.com

In 2001 Johannes Helden released his debut CD on Trente Oiseaux, called 'Sketch Book', which was never reviewed in Vital Weekly (like so many titles on Trente Oiseaux actually). Helden is also a writer and art film maker. 'Title Sequence' is his second album. Its not mentioned what his sound sources are or his instruments, so we have to guess here. Which is not an easy task. Heavily processed field recordings? Perhaps. Grainy loops of instrumental passages lifted from records? Might also be possible. And most likely, a combination of the two? I should think so. The ambient music from Helden is pretty much based on loops of those unidentifiable sounds/instruments, embedded in a warm of bed of drone like sounds. Ideal makes references to Talk Talk (mainly because the album is mastered by Denis Blackham, who also mastered some Talk Talk's music) and William Basinski, but I must admit I fail to see the connection of both. Its not as pop-like as Talk Talk sometimes didn't want to be, and its more upfront than much of Basinski's music. A piece like 'And They Multiply' reminded me more of something like Gas, perhaps a little less static. Its a nice CD, but not a masterpiece. It does borrow a bit too much from the Gas songbook I think to be very original. Some of these pieces, or parts of it, could easily go onto 'Popambient'. The music has cinematic quality to it, but in films where the image carries the story and the music is moved to the background. It surely makes a fine background home listening thing, but not necessarily moves beyond that. Nice enough. (FdW)
Address: http://www.idealrecordings.com

HANNA HARTMAN - H^2 (CD by Komplott)
'H^2' is, curiously perhaps, the third CD release by Hanna Hartman for Swedish Complete label, following 'Longitude/Cratere' (see Vital Weekly 498) and 'Ailanthus' (see Vital Weekly 575). Her instrument is the microphone, used to tape sounds in various locations, which are then put together into a sound collage. Hartman, apparently, doesn't use any sort of processing, but takes the world of sounds as they are and by using the microphone close by/far away, the treatments of sound come by themselves, as it were. There might be quite a gap in between this and the previous release, but Hartman worked hard in those years, won prizes, traveled and worked for commissioned pieces. Maybe we should see these five new pieces as a compilation of those pieces. What's perhaps different from her previous releases is that she incorporates also recordings she made of people playing instruments, such as percussion, violin, trumpet, voice and amplified objects. This she mixes with the everyday sounds of water, insects but also those that are very hard to name. There is a funny collision of an opera voice and car racing. It all works very well. Hartman knows how to splice (digitally no doubt) sounds together and put them together is exciting pieces of musique concrete. Dramatic pieces of musique concrete, which sudden changes and moves, such as a car alarm setting off new events in 'Shanghai Fireflies'. This new CD is again a distinct work of great quality. Hartman's work in the field of musique concrete and field recordings is simply one of the best. (FdW)
Address: http://www.komplott.com

Siridisc moves into releasing 'real' CDs now, no doubt thanks to pressing plants willing to press 100-200 real ones for you, which I think is a good thing. Simon Whetham is the first to make it here onto a 'real' CD and it is based on recordings he made in Edinburgh in 2008 from the small alleyways and steep sloping streets. In 2010 he was invited to play in Edinburgh again and decided to the sound material he made two years before and subsequently reworked those sounds into a new piece of music, 'Slopt'. Actually four pieces of music. I am not sure what Whetham does to the sound material, in which way it is treated - if at all. Well, actually I think it is processed, as I find it very hard to believe we find such long form sustaining sounds as in 'Precipitous' on any street, even in Edinburgh. Just exactly how it works I don't know, but it does work well, especially in that piece. Whereas in 'Acclivity' we have the street sounds as they are, in 'Precipitous' and in 'Declivity' they form a large drone-scape of multiple layered tones of unknown origin (maybe a mass of layered, pitched down church bells, I wondered) and of a dark, somewhat unsettling nature. In 'Level' it seems as if Whetham entered a church and captured the organist rehearsing, stapling his clusters into a musical piece, but perhaps its this musical edge that makes this piece also a bit out of place with the rest. I was never in Edinburgh, but from what I know of this city, it may seem that Whetham has captured the spirit of the city quite well. Not always entirely  'new', but throughout quite an excellent disc. (FdW)
Address: http://www.siridisc.co.uk

CONURE - STRINGS, LOCATIONS (CD by Edgetone Records)
DANIEL STEFFEY - CHLOROS (CD by Edgetone Records)
Edgetone Records released two CDs in the noisy part of the soundworld. Conure is a project of Mark Wilson who lives in San Francisco. In May 2000 he started this project after a period of being a music consumer.  He released a lot of CDRs at different labels. "Strings, Locations" is the third CD at Edge Tone Records. In the beginning he used more Electronics and software to create noise. For now he uses guitars, field-recordings, pedals, mic'ed sounds and objects and keyboard. The CD has four compositions which are recorded and mixed from February to August 2010. The CD is full of noise, but in an slow way. Not as a smash in the face, but as a constant tone and as a pressure to make an ambiance of filthy sounds. The music is intense and ends with some repeating dark tones in a drony way.  The first track is my favorite, cause of the mix of recognizable field-recordings and added electronic sounds. The artwork is great, with beautiful pictures of the city. Especially the inner-sleeve is great, by sixties-alike black and white photography of nightlife. Great release of the noise-maker from the States. Daniel Steffey lives also in San Francisco and is composer and percussionist. "Chloros" is the second album of Steffey was written in 2009-2010 and explores the audio qualities of radio and sine waves and how they interact with each other and with other mechanisms as feedback, digital manipulation and analogue distortion. This exploration is not new, but I am always very interested how musicians deals with radio-waves, because this medium is worldwide and free to use for anyone. The Radio Pieces Movements 1-7 are seven short compositions with radio-waves and in this short moments Daniel Steffey he really make statements about his exploration. Collapse is pleasant outsider of the electronic pieces. It starts with a recording of a violin-composition and nasty electronics were added. Great track. Chloros is a track of almost 20 minutes and it's really old-school noise and feed-back. I think it is too long, the strongest compositions are the short ones. Edgetone Records released two interesting CD?s of musicians who are devoted to create harsh sounds in an experimental way. (JKH)
Address: http://www.edgetonerecords.com

ENRICO CONIGLIO - SALICORNIE (CD by Psychonavigation Records)
Over christmas I was zapping away at the idiot box called TV, and I fell into a live concert of Andre Rieu, The Netherlands best selling music export product, who conducted Maurice Ravel's 'Bolero', rendering it just below five minutes. What a shame. It was almost as bad as Eric Random half-hearted attempt on his 'Earthbound Ghost Need'. The 'Bolero' also pops up in the title track of this new CD  by Enrico Coniglio, who is a 'guitarist, environmental sound recordist and sound artist' and his album is dedicated to the city of Venice. It uses sounds from the carnival of that city, as well as music by Coniglio, who also plays synthesizers, bells, breathes, radio, toy glockenspiel, mini gong, glasses, farfisa mircorgan, clavietta, harmonica psalterium and 'a plenty of other little stuff', and gets help of trumpeter Arve Henriksen, pianist Gigi Masin, cellist Patrik Monticelli and field recordings by Nigel Samways. Its been forty or so years since I visited Venice (as a little boy of five years old), so I don't recall any of that, and all I know from Venice is what I read or heard about it. Coniglio, recently getting more and more active, is a man of ambient music, with a strong sense of both ends of the musical spectrum: on one hand the pop end, and on the other the classical end, especially when he uses his guestplayers. Over the weekend I was reading a book on Brian Eno, meanwhile playing some of his records and this morning I thought I was still listening to Eno, when in fact I had moved on to Enrico Coniglio. A similar interest in using real instruments playing melodic tunes, the addition of field recordings of sea sounds, from the Laguna of Venice obviously, and sometimes more abstract electronic soundscapes and sounds from an acoustic source. It's all quite pleasant music, and Coniglio keeps his music concise and to the point. I am not sure where Ravel's 'Bolero' fits into an album about Venice, but its nice to hear it in this new context. As you may have guessed, the music is not alarmingly new in the world of ambient music, but Coniglio does a great job. Relaxing, easy music, but with enough bite to be noticed - not as disposable as Eno would have thought ambient to be… (FdW)
Address: http://www.psychonavigation.com

A trio of improvisers here: Peter Evans (trumpet), Sam Pluta (laptop) and Jim Altieri (violin). They have been playing together for some time, in various combinations, and under various guises, such as Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, Glissando Bin Laden, Pearl And The Beard, Tatters and Rags and so on. 'Sum And Difference' is their second album, following the not-reviewed 'Drone Level Orange'. Its an interesting racket of music. It seems that Sam Pluta's laptop plays the major role in these six pieces of music. He sets the tone for a piece and Evans and Altieri follow duly. Their instruments are used to play sounds that come close to that of what Pluta does with his laptop: grainy oscillations, almost in a noise scene. Nervous and hectic playing is the result for all three players. Perhaps Pluta picks up the sounds produced by Evans and Altieri in order to feed them back into the mix, and have the players respond in turn to their own processed playing. Certainly not 'easy' music as this left me quite tired - but then I played it three times in a row; that may not have helped I guess. But there was certainly something fascinating things going on that helped to put this on repeat. Improvised music, a meeting of a laptop and two instruments, don't always come this loud and full of aggression. Excellent! (FdW)
Address: http://www.carrierrecords.com

One of those things I don't like very much when it comes to reviewing, is compilations. Certainly not that of the kind 'Archipel Electronique', which is perhaps a mere fine overview what France as a country and D'Autres Cordes in particular have to offer in terms of all things electronic, electro-acoustic and improvisation in those fields from the 'younger' generation. Not because the music is bad, actually far from it, but what can you do? Nine pieces here, of what Berangere Maximin is perhaps the most improvising one (and also the least interesting one), Jerome Montagne the most noise based one (and concisely to the point at that), hot on the heels of Kasper T. Toeplitz' granular waves. In a more gentle field we find Sebastien Roux' microtonal glitching guitars, the swift montage of plundered sounds of erikM. The others (Christophe Ruetsch, Franck Vigroux, Annabelle Playe and Samuel Sighicelli) operate all in a more less similar territory, which is a fine combination of all of this: part improvised, part noise based, using electro-acoustic sources, as well as electro-magnetic sparks to spice up the material. Conclusion: great CD. If none of these names mean much to you, then its a perfect place to investigate of what D'Autres Cordes as label does. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dautrescordesrecords.com

COLUMBUS DUO - SALT (LP by Dead Sailor Muzic)
The thread that runs through these three new releases on Monotype Records is French. A French band, a duo half French and a CD with spoken word, in French. To start with the duo: Frenchman Philippe Petit, formerly owner of Bip Hop Records but these days more active as a musician himself teams up more and more with others and here has caught Lydia Lunch, poet and musician with a respected career. I once saw her live, with just spoken word, in a packed local student club, and some of her early work I do like, though not every recent work. I started with the DVD from this package, mainly to get an idea of what it looks like in concert. Lots of projections in the background (Kern films at times?), miss Lunch in good form singing, talking, moaning, crooning along which Philippe Petit plays his music. Its hard to say what he does, as he is quite in the dark. He uses his hands (turntable?), has a laptop. The sound is loud (maybe due to the fact that this is a microphone recording) and dark loop based, but it works well along Lunch' voice. Its nice to watch, but for someone like me, perhaps once. The CD contains eight pieces, which sound much better, as this is studio stuff. Sound and voice go very well together here and is much more clearly produced. Its not as noise based as the live recording at times is, but it has a great depth. Here he encounter the turntable madness of Petit, the psychedelic electronics and biting, sarcastic voice of Lunch in full effect. Almost like popmusic at times, but then at others more largely, extensive soundscapes in which Lunch' voice meanders about. A work that can be easily labelled as very successful throughout.
The spoken word is by Georges Bataille, and the music is by Olga Magieres (French too, perhaps) who improvises at the piano and 'other sounds' by Tetsuo Furudate. It is read by Christophe Charles. Four pieces here on what is a curious CD. The core piece is the title piece, running twenty-three minutes. Curious in that way that the piano and the 'other sounds' don't go together, but one after other one, it seems, save for a cross fade here and there. Magieres improvises over a set of compositions by Chopin, Bach, Warren and Gershwin. A strange CD. Furudate sometimes presents us with 'noise', though not necessarily very loud, but nevertheless non-musical injections into a musical world, or perhaps its the other way round. Hard to tell, just as what this whole package is about. Its surely nice enough and reminded me of Sub Rosa's classical releases. One that calls more for questions than it gives answers, I suppose. A rather curious work indeed.
On LP we have Hot Club, an improvising ensemble of Alexandre Bellenger (turntables), Jac Berrocal (trumpet, voice), Francois Fuchs (bass) and Dan Warburton (violin). The recordings were made in Bagnolet in March 2008. An almost French affair this one. It says 'Burning original music by' and then the four names, which I gather relates to the records spun by Bellenger, which seem like old 78s. On top the band improvises in quite a wild vivid free manner. Side A at one point leaps into a Berrocal talking, while the b-side (one piece only) seems to be more about free jazz inspired moments: nervous, hectic, especially when it comes to the three instruments. It perhaps relates to the album by .RORO and PQ reviewed elsewhere, sharing a similar type of musical madness, but then Hot Club is all along more acoustic. Quite a nerve racking experience, and the opening of the b-side reminded me of Nurse With Wound (perhaps thanks to the Berrocal presence?).
And the last is a LP not released by Monotype Records, but it carries it in their catalogue, by a duo called Columbus Duo: Tomasz Swoboda on guitar, vocals and lyrics and Ireneusz Swoboda on electronics, loops and tapes. I don't know what to make this. The a-side has four tracks which may be labelled as an attempt to play experimental music, with occasional noisy bits, and occasional singing, the b-side is more 'experimental', through forms of improvisations on their instruments. I didn't get this very much. It all seems to me too easily put together without much thought, recorded without much clarity and without much interest for the listener. That's about what I could make of it. (FdW)
Address: http://www.monotyperecords.com
Address: http://deadsailor.net

Clay Walton and John Wilkins formed Fires Were Short already in 1998, but its with this release that I heard from them for the first time. According to the information they have acoustic guitars and a few pedals, and take their inspiration from both Stars Of The Lid and Terry Riley, so if we take that all into account, its quite safe to say that Fires were Shot is an ambient duo from then post-rock angle. Eleven tracks are to be found on this release and what strikes most, I guess, is the fact that the guitars play an important role, but also the fact that the music is a bit more experimental then I would have expected. The reverb isn't set to 'endless sustain', and while not completely vanished either, the material is also not always just moody, or just drone based. Pieces tend to be rather short, exploring a few guitar sounds and a few modulations on the effects. This makes the whole thing neither Stars Of The Lid, nor Terry Riley, but what does it make is a wholly different question. One that I can't answer to be honest. I thought the music was alright, but not worked out enough. Fires Were Shot doesn't seem to have their mind what they want. Maybe they should attempt at writing longer pieces, exploring their themes a bit better and stay away from a more sketch like approach, which makes 'Awakened By A Lonely Feud'  the bit weak album that it is now. (FdW)
Address: http://www.quietdesign.us

UNDERWATER - NOISES (CDR by Ephre Imprint)
I swim two times a week in a swimming pool and I am always surprised by the sound of the water, my breathing and the bubbles. Sounds under water have a strange effect, it is stronger, disformed and smooth. I was happily surprised when I had to review this compilation CDR, because of my fascination of water. Attilio Novellino and Enrico Coniglio invited 15 Italian artists to submit a track inspired somehow by the notion of water. Most of these musicians are working in the drone and ambient scene and use electroacoustics, microsounds and droned sounds to create their compositions. The compilers are Paolo Veneziani, Cop Killin' Beat, LLA04, Ennio Mazzon, Enrico Coniglio, Un Vortice Di Bssa Pressione, Christian di Vito, Leastupperbound, Allesio Ballerini, Francesco Giannico, Obsil, Ornitology, elisa Luu, Gigi Masin and Pierpaolo Leo. The sphere of the CDR is calm and relaxing. Some artists use synthesizers or guitar and add the sound of rain or water  to their floating tones. Others use more the sound of water or interpretations of this theme. The music is available as limited CD-R or as free download via Lost Children Net Label. Of course, the theme water is used many many times in musical history, but this well curated compilation is a nice addition to this history and how Italian composers deal with these theme. (JKH)
Address: http://www.ephreimprint.eu

This is nothing for Vital Weekly. If you after interesting new experimental music, then you go can fast forward to perhaps the next review. From Charlottesville, Virginia is Moonshine Hooligans, a band with two brothers Matthew and Stuart Watson on drums, vocals and guitar, along with guests playing hammond organ, mellotron, moog, celeste, piano, cello, fiddle, harmonica, banjo and mandolin. They call it a mix of indie rock, psychedelic folk, shoegaze, acoustic mountain music and dub. Now especially the latter is particular interesting. It adds a certain weirdness to the music, especially in the closing 'Moonshine Dub'. We have been on a crazy trip getting there, of indeed folk music, country & western, close harmony singing, psychedelic music and all such like on what I think is a very entertaining, short (under thirty minutes) album. Very melodic, very poppy (very unlike Vital), but I surely like it. It made this day a great one. I started it with this morning, it gave me a big smile and now, at the closing of said day, its still a fine album. As said: nothing for Vital Weekly, but so odd, that I kept playing it. (FdW)
Address: http://www.moonshinehooligans.com

Anki Toner is the man behind Hazard Records and File Under Toner. In 2008 he released the album "This is The End, Beautiful Friend". He released the album as a limited edition of 60 CDR's and uploaded it to the Internet Archive. The album was made by recorded run-out grooves of 36 records and these recordings are manipulated by analogue and digital effects, like delay, echo and reverb. After two years the compositions were banned from the Internet Archive. For now Anki Toner uploaded it again at http://www.archive.org/details/hr061b.  ?And now, the end is here? is the sequel to the above mentioned album. He made three copies of the CD and added some extra delays, reverbs and some filtering. He has two shows, one solo and the second one with Anton Ignorant (no, no family of Steve Ignorant of Crass) from Barcelona. I like how these guys are playing with the turntables and effects. The light crushing, cracking, hissing and repeating sounds make me calm and relaxed. The is no emotion in the music, just these everlasting sounds without any pretension. Off course these music is not without pretension, cause it is about copyright, artistic reinterpretation, sounds and lot?s more? Great CDR!
Javier PiŅango is born in Madrid and has been working in the experimental music scene is his birth-town for more than twenty years. He is co-director of the artistic exchange project EXPerimentaclub festival.  He was playing with Anki Toner in Antitoner Metamars. They stopped the band and started to play solo. He played in many bands and projects like Destroy Mercedes, Cerdos, Druhb and Klang! And now it is time for the First solo CDR. The music is created by Electronics, played in a fine way. The CDR consists of four composition and are recorded in October 2010. Elements of the compositions come back as another substance in other compositions. Open cracking sounds are overwhelmed by noise layers. A repeat fine tone-structure is the beginning of a complex barrier which will be slightly opened by the recurrent structure. Again a nice product of experimental electronic artists from Spain. (JKH)
Address: http://www.experimentaclub.com

AWK WAH - OPERA BOX (CDR by Sprayplastic)
Ujikaji means experiment in Malay (Bahasa Melayu). Ujikaji Records is an independent music label and mailorder which is interested in experimental music like  power electronics, lowercase, free jazz, freak folk, modern composition, glitch electronics, psych rock and/or avant pop. The label is based in Singapore and release music from Southeast Asia. This label sells also the CDR "Opera Box" of Awk Wah, a.k.a. Shark Fung. Shark Fung is drummer/percussionist of Amino Acid Orchestra, I\D and Engineered Beautiful Blood. Packed in a DVD box with serious dark lay-out, minimal but effective. Allthough I do not understand the title on the sleeve, cause there is written AWQB "sp5595" instead of Awk Wah "Opera Box", but maybe it is a cryptic description of this title. Musically.... it is really a pity that the mix between guitar and percussion is out of balance. The drums are not clear and strong enough, what makes the recordings flat. But anyway... The guitar goes it's own way as a freaky crazy stringmachine and the drums are not really special. Sometimes it reminds me to rehearsel recordings in the practice room. there are some good moments, but for me they sound like experiments to listen back and to decide how can we improve this beats, guitarlicks and noise. At last the last song "Opera Box" is balanced, dark bass-tones, minimal percussion, some bells and other sounds create a meditative mood. (JKH)
Address: http://ujikajirecords.wordpress.com/

.RORO & PQ - !ACTION STEREO! (CDR by Toztizok)
A split stereo release is not something new. My first experience with such was the 7" by John Duncan and Chris & Cosey. In one channel you have one and in the other channel the other. By applying your stereo imagine you can create your own mixes. Here we have a duo of a drummer (left channel) called .RORO, who played in various punk bands and worked with Zea (Arnold de Boer, now also singer in The Ex) and PQ is Peter Quistgaard, also known Puh Quh and a player of all things electronic. Together they are also a member of the improvising group Dagora. Their joint release was recorded in the rehearsal space, using headphones, so that the electronics wouldn't be captured using the microphones to record the drums. Quite a furious work of free jazz noise. The drums of .RORO sound like drums and are played as drums, while PQ on the other side delivers one of the more furious blends of analogue synthesizers. Very few occasions when they allow some silence in here. I was reminded of the Merzbow live in Russia LP from 1987 (I believe): a similar fury of free jazz. Perhaps a link can also be made to MoHa!, but then with the guitar being replaced by synthesizers. An excellent ride. Something to witness in concert also, but that takes away the idea of 'mixing it yourself'. (FdW)
Address: http://www.toztizok.com

Back in Vital Weekly 670 I reviewed 'Aural Spaces' by Ian Middleton, formerly known as Remora. I wrote: "Middleton is a man with a bunch of synthesizers and sound effects. That's all. He doesn't play any melodic tune on his synthesizers, but rather finds the right combination of sustaining sounds and creates small, delicate pieces out of it. The drone world of a decade ago, perhaps a bit updated to this new millennium. They make perfect sense. Ten of these pieces, in the right length and in the right order. There are hints towards the old Idea Fire Company here too, but Middleton's music is much gentle and delicate here. Entirely electronic. A true beauty." In a lengthy letter Middleton just send me, along with a copy of 'Aural Spaces/Versions', says that the 2004 pieces on 'Aural Spaces' was done on four track and the rest was digital. There you go. He also says that the five pieces on 'Aural Spaces/Versions' are from the LP, but all a bit longer and in one case a different mix. I disagree with nothing that I said in the previous review of the LP that doesn't apply to these five pieces, well perhaps not about the order or length, because clearly Middleton wants me to think otherwise. These are five, excellent pieces of knob turning drone like synthesizer music. Delicate pieces of music, still. I only wonder why this had to be released, however nice it is. It doesn't necessarily add much to the previous LP. Which again doesn't say anything about the quality of the music: that is great stuff. Great cover also, printed by Andrew Chalk. Limited edition of 100 copies.
Address: <primitone@hotmail.com>

'There are 64 hexagrams in the I-Ching […] There are 8 different trigrams. Each pair of bands is to pick a hexagram and do a piece/pieces of music based on one of the trigrams as it relates to the hexagram as a whole. The title of the hexagram is the title of the release'. That is the outline of the 'The I-Ching Series', of which this is the first one. A split release with music by Belgium's Picturesque and UK's Temple Music, each with about thirty minutes of music. Filip Gheysen, also known as Picturesque delivers five pieces, Temple Music one. Its been a while since we last heard of Gheysen and his guitar-drone excursions. Its what he does here, along with samples, electronics and toys, and creating an effective mass of layered, sustaining sounds, that is quite heavy and thick. It goes right into your brain. Its no longer a lo-fi affair, as Gheysen now uses more crystal clear sound that is loud and present, but also all encapsulating and beautiful. A fine return!
Temple Music have one track. A band around Alan Trench (ex World Serpent) and Steve Robinson (ex The Beloved) with multiple guests joining in. They too use a sort of drone based sound, but are clearly more improvised and more loosely organized. There is the bowes on zithers, wordless (?) singing/humming and more bows on the guitar and washes of synthesizers moving in and out of the mix. Reminding me a bit of the free-flow spacious music of Voice Of Eye, but less electronic, and more centered around acoustic instruments. Maybe a bit too free and too long for my taste. (FdW)
Address: <dagbert58@gmail.com>

SPARTAK - VERSION ROOM (cassette by HellosQuarerecordings)
In 2008 Spartak released their debut "Tales from the Colony Room" at HellosQuarerecordings. Spartak is a duo from Australia featuring Shoeb Ahmad and Evan Dorrian. The seven track album is a great mix between free melted-jazz, experimental music, The duo invited seven some of their favorite musicians to rework and abstract their first CD. Each song has his own interpretation don by Pillowdiver, Cleptoclectics, Tomasz Bednarczyk, Freiband, Lawrence English, Lim Klumpes and Jasper TX. Pillowdriver makes a beautiful guitar-composition of the track " 5:44" with a looped parts in an drony way. Cleptoclectics creates a free-jazz track of "Sunstrokes" and completely different than the original. Tomasz Bednarczyk picks just one part out of "The Blootletting" and looped that many times, but the atmosphere of the song continues. Freiband transformed "Flanders 1914" to an ambient track with micro-acoustic elements. And I can continue this story, but I had to say it is worthwhile to buy or download as well the original music as the interpretated music, because it is very interesting to listen to both and to compare them. Great tape! (JKH)
Address: http://hellosquarerecordings.com/

MAURIZIO BIANCHI - TECHNOLOGY X (cassette by Mirror Tapes)
The musical vault of Maurizio Bianchi seem endless, with Mirror Tapes unearthing another unreleased album from 1981. You could wonder how much there is, but probably a few/lots. Bianchi is an early master of industrial music, and probably one of the first outside the UK/USA to do a violent, synthesizer based sound, especially here on 'Technology X'. A typical Bianchi record this is, with a few (probably just two) synthesizers set to oscillating tones, and feeding through a probably delay units, set to a short decay to generate a metallic sound on side A and on side B it seems that the sound is even muffled a bit more. Bianchi's music works best, I think, in its longitude of the piece. Each of these two pieces last twenty-three minutes - no doubt like many of his pieces, Bianchi thought of this in terms of LP releases - over which the music only slowly expands and changes: quite a psychedelic tour de force going on here. 'Technology X' is a crude electronic tape, essential for all MB fans. (FdW)
Address: http://mirrortapes.blogspot.com/

Since we have Jliat on board to this the great walls of noise, I am happy to leave all of Chefkirk's work to his hands, but this one is different. Last year Roger Smith, the Chefkirk, toured Europe and played also in Tilburg, where he met up with Steffan de Turck, also known as Staplerfahrer. They played a joint concert at Perron 58. Now to some extend this is a noisy piece of music (split in two), but because of the type of recording (microphone from a walkman), the sound remains a bit a far, which enhances the pleasure of hearing this. But its also because both men don't restrict to playing just harsh noise for forty minutes. Instead they offer a more collage like approach, which even leaves gaps for moments of silence, certainly on side A of this tape. On the b-side things get a bit louder and more together, with the silent bits being phased out. But throughout its actually a nice work involving no input mixer, sampler, credit card reader, contact microphones and four track. Now these are roads Chefkirk should explore more, me thinks. (FdW)
Address: http://www.2amtapes.com