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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 795
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week 35
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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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BALMORHEA - LIVE AT SINT-ELISABETHKERK (CD by Western Vinyl) *
SKY BURIAL - THRENODY FOR COLLAPSING SUNS (CD by Small Doses/Phage Tapes) *
ERIC LUNDE - TECHNOT (CD by Trait Media Works) *
ERIC LUNDE - MIMEFISTOFELE (CD by Trait Media Works) *
THE RITUAL INCLUSION OF CODE - BETA WAVE NEMESIS (CD by Small Doses)
FORMACATION - THE EYES OF ERODERN RIVIEMA (CD by Small Doses)
KINIT HER - GRATITUDES (CD by Small Doses)
SABI/KIYO - 71:36 (CD by Force Intel)
SKULLFLOWER - FUCKED ON A PILE OF CORPSES (CD by Cold Spring)
EMME YA - ATAVISTIC DREAMS & PHALLIC TOTEMS (CD by Cold Spring)
ANNI HOGAN - MOUNTAIN (CD+DVD by Cold Spring)
SENSE - SELECTED MOMENTS VOLUME 1 (CD by Psychonavigation Records) *
TRI0 DEROME GUILBEAULT TANGUAY - DANSE A L'ANVERS (CD by Ambinaces Magnetiques)
PIERRE LABBŐ PLUS 12 - TREMBLEMENT DE FER(CD by Ambinaces Magnetiques)
VERTICAL SQUIRRELS - HOLD TRUE(CD by Ambinaces Magnetiques)
IREM BEKTER QUINTET - PRIMERO  (CD by Malasartes)
OSTRAVSKA BANDA - ON TOUR  (2CD by Mutable Music)
ERNST KAREL - SWIIS MOUNTAIN TRANSPORT SYSTEMS (CD by Gruenrekorder) *
TOM JOHNSON - ORGELPARK COLOR CHART (CD by Mazagran) *
NURSE WITH WOUND & ARANOS - ACTS OF SENSELESS BEAUTY (2LP by Tourette Records)
NILS ROSTAD - UJAMT (LP by Tallerk Platter) *
STEPHAN MATHIEU - TO DESCRIBE GEORDE WASHINGTON BRIDGE (10" by Dekorder)
(AD)VANCE(D) - 24 (10" by Substantia Innominata)
MUST DIE SAMPLER (CDR by Must Die)
NIGEL JOSEPH - RADIOACTIVE SNUFF (CDR by Must Die)
TIM NEWMAN - GAMELAN (CDR by Reverb Worship)
KENJI SIRATORI - HENRI MICHAUX'S MUSIC (CDR by Minerva)
JAN KEES HELMS - STRINGSTRANG TWO (CDR by Ephre Imprint) *
PLEQ & LAUKI - THE GRAVITY LENS (CDR by Ephre Imprint) *
PLANETALDOL - LE PAVILLION DES MORT-VIVANTS (CDR by 3Patttes) *
THE DRIFTWOOD MANOR - THE SAME FIGURE (LEAVING) (CDR by Rusted Rail) *
NXFXTXEX - PRESS PLAY AND SHUFFLE (3" CDR by Shit Music For Shit People)
IF, BWANA - WAH YU WAN (cassette by Maneko Neko)
DAS SOMBREROS - MONSTROCITY (mp3 by Anarchy Books) *



BALMORHEA - LIVE AT SINT-ELISABETHKERK (CD by Western Vinyl)
According to Western Vinyl 'Balmorhea's studio recordings never fail to impress, their songs have always been most powerful and affecting when performed live'. Why release studio CDs then at all, I wondered. They had two so far (see Vital Weekly 611 and 715) and I was mildly impressed by this chamber rock group. I like it, but think at the same time its also a bit too esoteric for my taste. To play in a church brings a lot more ambience to the music, lots of natural reverb. The music is very much along the lines of the studio recordings: intimate music with lots of violin, celli, piano and a bit of drums (which sound indeed heavy with all this reverb). Otherwise I don't hear much change except that this is a live recording, capturing the environment in which this was played nicely. My main objection against the studio albums is well alive here too and even more: this album lasts an hour and that, I think, is a bit much indeed. To take in a few of these pieces is alright, to digest the full album at once is a bit much. Still a bit of post-rock, modern classical, Wim Mertens inspired minimalist popmusic. Maybe the best thing would be to see them play live, not hear them on CD, studio or live? (FdW)
Address: http://www.westernvinyl.com

SKY BURIAL - THRENODY FOR COLLAPSING SUNS (CD by Small Doses/Phage Tapes)
Its been quiet for a while on the front of Sky Burial, the dark ambient force that is sometimes known as the loud noise force Fire In The Head. Eight months, since his last CD on Lens Records (see Vital Weekly 760) to be precise. Three long pieces here of dark ambient music created with a bunch synthesizers, lots and lots of sound effects and a bit of sampling. More cosmic connections are made here, like on its predecessor 'Kiethan', although just once very obvious, in 'Return To The Peripheries', with a bouncing arpeggio played on the synth, and on other occasions with chilling organ sounds. Also like before Sky Burial's Michael Page likes his reverb and at times a bit too much, I should think. But throughout this is another well-made album, just like the previous lot - again. You could wonder how many albums one could create using a similar idiom, and thank god, that's not a question for me to answer. I can imagine getting fed up after a while doing similar stuff, but then for some people its perhaps more a way of life - and Sky Burial might be one of them. 'Threnody For Collapsing Suns' is a fine album of a continuous travel through sound, with sound, maybe composition wise not always tied together, but maybe this kind of music doesn't need to be in a very strictly composed matter. A cinematographic sense is what is needed for this kind of music and I think Sky Burial succeeds well here. Along with 'Kiethan' one of his better works. (FdW)
Address: http://www.small-doses.com

ERIC LUNDE - TECHNOT (CD by Trait Media Works)
ERIC LUNDE - MIMEFISTOFELE (CD by Trait Media Works)
Its good to have Eric Lunde back, and what's better: others think so too. Forthcoming works are on Heart And Crossbone, Trash Ritual, Crippled Intellect, Pscyh-kg and Cathartic. On his own Trait Media Works there are two new releases, one with some older unreleased music and one with a new work. 'Technot' is what it says it is 'techno' but also 'not - tech'. In the mid-nineties Lunde experimented with a Roland MC-303, Novation Bass station, a cheap sampler and a Roland Sh-101, producing his own kind of techno. Better it would be say: repetitive music, I think. Automated music. Its probably not what die-hard fans of Eric Lunde would expect (certainly not them labels who invited him - list above) - and I am not a die-hard fan, but I usually follow his work with more than keen interest - and its not easy music. Partly because I am not that much a fan of techno, I guess, but since its 'not tech', I could also say I am not the biggest lover of some amateurish version of techno either. It has all the elements of techno, but not really as dance music put together. To get a few loops running together is always possible, but it doesn't always lead to a fine piece of listenable music. Highly influenced by earlier Cabaret Voltaire I should think. 'Map Hazard' and 'Walk Straight West', the final two pieces, with cut-up voices, are easily the best of this lot.
On a more Lunde level, as we know him, is his 'Mimefistofele', in which 'the first act of Boito's opera 'Mefistofele' [is] subjected to tape reduplication treatment', meaning Lunde's own developed technique of analogue sound transformation. Play something in a space and record the space, play back that recording and repeat that ad infinitum. Collect all of these recordings and mix them together. Mefistofele is the devil who makes a deal with Faust for extended/unlimited knowledge, but of course (?) comes to regret that when Mefistofele comes for his soul. A work that has been subject of many works of art, Goethe's 'Faust' being the most famous one. In music with opera's by Berlioz, Busoni, Gounod, Starvinsky, but also Konrad Boehmer, Alfred Schnittke, and Henri Pousseur. In popmusic also Current 93, Radiohead, Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and the Charlie Daniels band's 'The Devil Went Down To Georgia' (a particular private favorite). Lunde's method may resemble Alvin Lucier's 'I'm Sitting In A Room', but with two important differences: he uses very low grade technique (dictaphones, small cassette players) and he places various stages of the process somewhere in the mix. The sound is all eroded. Only in one place we hear a bit of opera. Otherwise its a long smear of high pitched noise, quite noisy and industrial, but that also has quite a captivating character. This is trademark Lunde material. Not his best, since it could have had a bit more variation, but a fine work indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.traitcentral.com

THE RITUAL INCLUSION OF CODE - BETA WAVE NEMESIS (CD by Small Doses)
FORMACATION - THE EYES OF ERODERN RIVIEMA (CD by Small Doses)
KINIT HER - GRATITUDES (CD by Small Doses)
The Ritual Inclusion Of Code (TRIOC) is a collaboration between Swedish power electronics maestro Deadwood (alias Daniel Jansson) and Osman Arabi (20. sv, Seeker). Deadwood is known for his harsh expressions on albums released on among others the Cold Spring-label. Expressions that combines furious power electronics with extreme vocals of the black metal-style. On this new joint venture project Daniel Jonsson aka Deadwood has left the sonic extremity behind and instead crawling deep into the human mind with this deep ritual ambient album. The album consists of one lengthy track of 31 minutes that slowly dives in-between lo-fi piano and trippy electronic soundscapes. Wooshing drones penetrates the soundworld adding more hypnotism to the expressions that first of all reminds me of early Coil, circa the "Black light district"-period. Very intense indeed!
Next album is another joint-venture this time from Nottingham. Formication is the project of the artists, Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft. As was the case with aforementioned album from TRIOC, present album titled "The eyes of erodern riviema" moves in ritual soundspheres, but in contrast to TRIOC's "Beta wave nemesis" Formacation uses rhythmic textures to create the rituality. Chaotic but structured work, twisting a wide pallet of sounds into a dark ambient-based electronica. The atmospheres are dark and mystic. Very interesting.
Last album from the Small Doses-label reviewed here is from a project called Kinit Her. The album titled "Gratitudes" stick to the ritual ambient-like style with a threatening approach. A mixture of industrial and dark ambient uses elements of neo-folk music giving an interesting twist to the texture. Being produced by legendary James Plotkin, the sound quality on this album is guaranteed to be good. Three interesting ritual albums from the Small Doses-label. (NM)
Address: http://www.smalldoses.com

SABI/KIYO - 71:36 (CD by Force Intel)
A split album released on a new sub-label of the accomplished clicks'n'cuts-maestro label Mille Plateaux. The aim of the sub label Force Intel is to release electronic music that expressively is too far away from the experimental style of Mille Plateaux. The split album titled "71:36" (homage to Global Communication's album titled "76:14"?), includes works from two Tokyo-based artists. The first one is ambient-composer Sabi who takes the first part of the album with five tracks of orchestral ambient. Stylishly, Sabi combines piano-tunes with long-stretching soundscapes recalling the memories of Vidna Obmana's piano-based ambient-work "The river of appearance". From the gentle tunes of ambient, we hereafter move to quite different soundspheres with the next composer Kiyo - a Japanese composer that belongs to the glitchy parts of IDM with subtle rhythm textures operating underneath semi-melodic atmospheres and voice samples. Thus we experience a nice stylish variation on this first album released on Force Intel. (NM)
Address: http://www.forceintel.com

SKULLFLOWER - FUCKED ON A PILE OF CORPSES (CD by Cold Spring)
EMME YA - ATAVISTIC DREAMS & PHALLIC TOTEMS (CD by Cold Spring)
ANNI HOGAN - MOUNTAIN (CD+DVD by Cold Spring)
Considering the title of present album, no one should question the darkness hidden behind this latest album from the harsh and truly dedicated british noise specialist Skullflower. For the uninitiated, Skullflower is one of the better-known bands that originated in the early 1980s power-electronics / noise scene, and one of the few to achieve any real recognition outside their homeland. The expression of Skullflower shows similarities to compatriot fathers of power electronics in Whitehouse. There are hardly anytime to breathe in this exercise in extreme aggressions. However the compositional skills hidden underneath the noise inferno makes this album a work that seems strangely addictive, even though a title like "Tantrik ass rape" might scare a fair amount of potential listeners far away. Next album moves into others sound spheres but sticks to the atmosphere of utter
darkness.
Behind the project Emme Ya you find columbian artist Edgar Kerval. Present album titled "Atavistic dreams & phallic totems" moves in territories of ritual music and dark ambient, not too far away from early Coil or early Lustmord. The album is a tribute to the mysterious african dogon tribe and their secret oral tradition. The music on the album is deep and intense ritual ambient music. Listen in a dark room!
Last album reviewed is a very interesting collaboration between musicians Anni Hogan, Robert Strachan and Itchy Ear, film maker Bob Wass and mountaineer Cathy O'Dowd. Bob Wass has compiled the original footage of Cathy O'Dowd's mountaineering explorations at Himalaya into a very interesting documentary added the soundtrack created by Anni Hogan and Robert Strachan. The result being the dvd-part of this dual disc release is a very impressive and interesting work. Second part of the word is the isolated audio-only cd-version of the soundtrack. Listening to the soundtrack itself is intense, thanks to the cinematic
nature of the compositions. Musically the compositions are ambient music with much focus on piano compositions. Imagine Michael Nyman's ethereal pianoscapes as on the soundtrack to the movie "The Piano" (1993) combined with the dream-like ambience of Steven Soderberg's soundtracks to "Traffic" (2000) and "Sex Lies & Videotapes" (1989). A very interesting moment of the album is the dark ambient piece "Deathzone" built on downbeat rhythm textures and voice over by Cathy O'Dowd herself. Beautiful work in all aspects. (NM)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk

SENSE - SELECTED MOMENTS VOLUME 1 (CD by Psychonavigation Records)
From Australia comes Adam Raisbeck, also known as
Sense. He acquired his first synthesizer in 1992 and started playing as Soulenoid in 1995. As such he supported Monolake, Aphex Twin, Bochum Welt and Derrick May along a whole bunch of other luminaries from the techno/ambient/electro scene. As Sense his music very much along the lines of ambient, more than techno or electro. Psychonavigation says that this resembles 'the golden era of 90s ambient music', but if so, then perhaps it is closest to Pete Namlook and his Fax label than say Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works'. Rhythm is almost entirely absent in the music of Raisbeck. These stretched out synthesizer patterns do fit indeed the world of ambient music, from the seventies Eno/Schulze/Tangerine Dream era, via the 90s of Namlook to the current revival of cosmic music. A bit melodic, best exemplified in 'Muado' or '36 4s' but throughout things are much more 'abstract' than that. Spacious music of weightless nature. Chill out music as used in the chill out room - does that still exist at techno parties? Nothing new as such under the ambient sun (a common place when it comes to reviewing this kind of music), but executed with great care. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pscyhonavigation.com

TRI0 DEROME GUILBEAULT TANGUAY - DANSE A L'ANVERS (CD by Ambinaces Magnetiques)
PIERRE LABBŐ PLUS 12 - TREMBLEMENT DE FER(CD by Ambinaces Magnetiques)
VERTICAL SQUIRRELS - HOLD TRUE(CD by Ambinaces Magnetiques)
IREM BEKTER QUINTET - PRIMERO  (CD by Malasartes)
These four new releases from Ambiances Magnetiques and the Malasartes sub label introduce works  from relatively new as well as well-known musicians. The CDs of Vertical Squirrels and Irem Bekter satisfied me most.  But not only because their names are new to me. Vertical Squirrels  is a quartet consisting of Ajay Heble (piano, melodica, percussion), Daniel Fischlin (guitars, effects, percussion, flute, provencale), Lewis Melville (bass, baritone, banjo bass, percussion, radio frequencies, grand organ) and Rob Wallace (drums, percussion, vocals). They are on the road since 2008. All four gathered lots of experience in all corners. Combined in this line up this proves to be a fruitful combination.  Very diverse, and fresh music is the result. All pieces originate from collective improvisations but are very diverse, with a fine sense of humor. The cd opens with a grooving piece 'Spunk in your Funk' which is great fun. In contrast the next piece is a very open improvisation abstracting from beat, rhythm, etc.  Also the pieces that follow are free exercises of somehow rock-based improvisations. 'Danse des Araign╚es M╚caniques' opens with a fine solo by Heble on what seems a self-prepared piano. 'La Mn╚mologie/Amnesiaville is a delicious free rock jam.  Pierre Labb╚ also incorporates many influences in his new work. He tries the bigband-format for his new cd.  For this ambitious project Labb╚ composed a suite of contemporary music and avant-jazz and rock, performed by a 13-piece big band, in a way that reminds me sometimes of the belgian Flat Earth Society. Labb╚ is known for his work with Les Projectionnistes, L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus and Papa Boa, a band who sadly made only one cd. Also under his own name you can find some releases. The opening track plays with bluesy and funky motives. Further on Labb╚ touches on many other styles and idioms. Although I often enjoy a playful style of composing and arranging as Labb╚ is practicing here, this time it failed to impress me.  That brings us to another one from the trio Derome-Guilbeault-Tanguay.  Their first release contained  music composed by Derome only. The second one contained  old standards for the most part. On their new one we have a balance between standards and compositions by Derome. Besides five compositions from Derome, they interpret compositions by jazz giants as Ellington,Kirk, Dolphy, Strayhorn and Mengelberg. So it's  an exercise as we have heard earlier form this trio. Another celebration of their love for jazz.  It will surely appeal to those we are into jazz. Ah yes, it has Derome singing in one track, 'I'm Checking Ou't, good bye'.  Singing in all tracks, is what Irem Bekter is doing on her 'Primero' by the Irem Bekter Quintet.  Singer, dancer and actress Bekter was born in Istanbul and grew up in England.  She feels very attracted to Argentine folklore, especially the "zapateo" (Argentinian podorythmy) and folk dances.  Since 2003, Montr╚al is the place to be for her. With Montr╚al-based musicians she started to explore traditional Argentine folklore fruitfully combined with classical and jazzy influences. First results are reflected on this CD. Just beautiful. (DM)
Address: http://www.actuellecd.com

OSTRAVSKA BANDA - ON TOUR  (2CD by Mutable Music)
Here we are talking of an ensemble that started in 2005, in the context of the Czech biennial OstravskĚ Days festival, on the initiative of Peter Kotik. The ensemble has young musicians from Europe and United States as its members, with a special love for performing new orchestral music. From well known composers, but also works from new and unknown  composers.  'On Tour' documents performances from their 2010 European tour. Presented are the following compositions: 'Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (John Cage), 'In Four Parts (Peter Kotik), 'The Passion'( Somei Satoh), 'Monadologie IV'(Bernard Lang), 'Riti Neurali' (Luca Francesconi) , 'Serenade'(Petr Bakla), 'Dispersion'(Paulina Zalubska). Kotik is also conducting this ensemble that is joined several other reputed musicians like Thomas Buckner and Joseph Kubera.  It is not only interesting to have a young ensemble presented here, but also several young composers, that have not much out on cd I guess. Altogether this double cd is a varied and impressive document .  Percussion dominated compositions by Kotik and Lang. The meditative work 'The Passion' by Satoh.  A violin-dominated expressive and romantic work by Francesconi, etc. (DM)
Address: http://www.mutablemusic.com

ERNST KAREL - SWIIS MOUNTAIN TRANSPORT SYSTEMS (CD by Gruenrekorder)
Since a few years I no longer go on 'holiday' - for the simple reason I don't like it very much. But when I was much younger and going with my parents, Austria and Switzerland were preferred destinations. So the travel up and down the mountains in a gondola is something I am familiar with. The moment you leave the station, going up (down), the passing of one of those pillars and then the sense of floating in between those pillars, weightless without much sound, bumping into the end station. I may even have recorded some of those, but unfortunately I am never in one of those alone, so I capture people speak and sheer. So I must admit I am quite pleased with this new CD by Ernst Karel, from the USA and mostly known as an improviser on trumpet and electronics with his group EKG. Sometimes he lives in Berlin and I guess from there he made a trip in the Swiss mountains to record nine different mountain transport systems in 2008. Although with seventy-seven minutes this is all a bit long I thought, this is a fascinating release. Partly because it brings back child hood memories, but also because it sounds great. These are excellent recordings of machine likes, leaving station, floating, arriving. I guess that's where things are most interesting with field recordings, if it bears a relation with the listener, because he visited the place. So field recordings from say Lima, Peru don't mean much if you were never there, but once you were there, it makes much more sense. This CD by Karel is therefor an excellent one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.gruenrekorder.de

TOM JOHNSON - ORGELPARK COLOR CHART (CD by Mazagran)
What I do with Vital Weekly is obviously nice enough but it doesn't compare to one of my favorite books 'The Voice Of New Music', a collection of articles by Tom Johnson, written for the Village Voice throughout the seventies and lots of interesting small pieces on minimal music. After that he moved to Paris and went on to compose his own music (come to think of it: I am not entirely sure if we find in his book evidence that he is a composer - puts book on pile 'read again'). I didn't hear much of his music, maybe the last time were the two CDs, reviewed in Vital Weekly 545. This new one has connections to The Netherlands, were he presented his work 'Orgelpark Color Chart' on Marh 13th 2010. Its a work for four different organs, played by four organists. A work of minimal music, obviously, with clusters being played (if that's the right word - see, I am not like Mister Johnson, a real composer), which builds up and up into a mighty crescendo (that is the right word, I happen to know) at the end, going from the high end of the spectrum to the lower end. A great piece of introspective music. Slowly expanding and growing and growing, but the end is not loud but just nicely massive. Maybe cerebral, but not very religious. Its perhaps just the tones of an organ that give this sort of religious feel to the music. Even for a firm non-believer as I am this is great music. A fine writer, and a great composer. Now there is something to live for. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mazagran.org

NURSE WITH WOUND & ARANOS - ACTS OF SENSELESS BEAUTY (2LP by Tourette Records)
When this was first release on CD, in 1997, I am sure I heard it, while working in something that was also a record store. I remember not being blown by it, as not every Nurse With Wound was/is great (this might come as a shock). I don't recall why I thought this wasn't the best NWW. So today, fourteen years later, I am wondering why it should be re-issued on a double LP, save for the fact that one side has 'new' material. I may assume that Nurse With Wound is a household name among the readers of Vital Weekly, but perhaps Aranos may need some introduction. Aranos was born in Bohemia and plays the violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin and lots more in a variety of folk ensembles, jazz bands, gypsy bands and lives, like Steve Stapleton of NWW, in Ireland. Now that I am playing this again, after so many years, I think I remember what I didn't blow me away back then, and still fails to do. The music seems to be layered together during one or more meetings in the studio, improvising together on a multitude of instruments but of which the violin is the most important. From those many layers of playing a mix is made in which all of that comes together again, hectic playing, chaotic at times, such as in 'A Window Of Possible Organic Development'. Sometimes there are more textured pieces, which work much better, such as 'Some Magical Powers', but which appear to me also be a bit long. The best piece here is the last side, the previously unreleased title piece: it falls out of place for its more electronic approach, of mechanical loops, in which the listener has the impression of being locked inside a factory. This is the nightmare version of 'Solilique For Lilith', I thought. Also a bit long, but surely the best of this. Still a bit clueless why this had to be released as a double LP. (FdW)
Address: http://www.touretterecords.com/

NILS ROSTAD - UJAMT (LP by Tallerk Platter)
Although released as a LP, I only got a CDR (which not how things work here, I must admit, so don't follow his example), but the improvised music of Nils Rostad is nice enough to be ignored. Sixteen relatively short pieces of improvised music using a variety of instruments, such as electric and acoustic guitars, bass, voice, drums, percussion, synth, piano, fan, objects and art - if I read it well, the cover of this CDR is hard to read (I might have the name of the label wrong too). Rostad plays like a pig and that is meant to be a compliment. Fake jazz drumming, humming like a monk, improvising all freely around weird guitar/bass parts, and pressing down random keys on the keyboard, something attempting at a melody, such as in the fifth track on the a-side. Its all actually quite diverse, from quite loud bits of noise like material to more introspective moments. Everything has that direct in y'r face quality, no hiding from there. It all sounds great (no doubt to the mastering qualities of Jos Smolders).100 made, so hence no promo, but a fine quality all around. (FdW)
Address: <nilsros@c2i.net>

STEPHAN MATHIEU - TO DESCRIBE GEORDE WASHINGTON BRIDGE (10" by Dekorder)
Somewhere along the lines this was missed, and I know there are these Vital Weekly rules about stuff not being older than six months, and this might be older than that. But then, this is by Stephan Mathieu, which happens to be one of my favorite composers from the world of microsound, and how could I skip reviewing a record of his? Just as on 'The Key to the Kingdom' (reviewed in Vital Weekly 666) and 'A Static Place' (see Vital Weekly 766), this one deals with picking up sounds from old 10" records through ancient gramophones. What happens beyond that is a bit unclear (sound being picked with microphones and using spectral analysis and convolution), but no doubt some form of computer processing which stretches the material to what is perhaps now trademark Mathieu music. Very spacious music, drone like, minimal. Mathieu finds much of his inspiration in colorfield paintings (Rotkho, Newmann) and his music reflects that, I think: quite an uniform mass of sound with the slightest changes boiling on and below the surface. Yet Mathieu always knows how to add a bit of melodic shimmer to his music, which makes it move a bit out y'r standard drone music. Quite a bit. Mathieu knows how to capture a fine mood in a relative short time span, as each side last about five minutes. Very refined as usual. But I guess you didn't expect this to be objective, or let alone critical? (FdW)
Address: http://dekorder.com/

(AD)VANCE(D) - 24 (10" by Substantia Innominata)
Last week Mars Wellink from (ad)vance(d) mailed me a picture of this 10", announcing its release and it said '24 - time is ticking', to be released by the Substantia Innominata division of Drone Records. Mars Wellink a '24' fan, Jack Bauer saves the world - again? I thought that hard to believe - I will ask him next time I see him. Now, in those sparse releases so far, I learned to love (ad)vance(d), a duo of Mars Wellink and Jan Dekker, as a drone duo, but this 10" is something a bit different. The a-side, '0618', is a sound collage of environmental recordings, mainly in the city. Teeth brushing, Cars passing, keys turning, people talking (Mars and Jan?) and in the background there is the hissing of gas in the kitchen. Quite an interesting piece, for its different from what I know from them (which isn't all there is), and has a great radiophonic touch to it. The b-side is '1806', which made me think its some kind of remix, but that is not the case. Here environmental sounds are looped around and form indeed a drone like piece of music. The sighing of voices and some far away banging of metal in a large empty space and somewhere half way the teeth brushing appears again - so, its perhaps a remix after all? Quite a curious record, which I like very much, I must say. An excellent record of radiophonic qualities - somebody should invite them to do a radioplay. (FdW)
Address: http://www.substantia-innominata.de

MUST DIE SAMPLER (CDR by Must Die)
NIGEL JOSEPH - RADIOACTIVE SNUFF (CDR by Must Die)
Must Die is a British music label residing in the North West of England in the seaside near Blackpool. The label focuses on experimental, DIY and left-field music off various kinds. The aim of the label is first of all to promote the underground so all formats distributed are kept on minimal cost: Mp3's distributed for free and CDRs sold at a low price. First album reviewed here is a sampler of the different artists represented on the label. The CDR comes in a nice circulated tin disc with badges and stickers included. The expression on the album varies from noise rock across filthy dub and kitch to obscure electronic expressions. One of my favorite moments are the "Miles hadfield and must die sound system" by Pay And Display.
A minimal loop-based work with voice-over. A nice and interesting introduction to the cool style of the "Must Die"-label.
Next album comes from Noise and experimental musician Nigel Joseph from the local area of the Must Die-label around Blackpool. His album "Radioactive snuff" contains of six tracks. Some tracks belongs to the pure harsh noise scene with expressions built on adapted guitars, kid's toys and various household objects. Two of the tracks contains rhythmic textures: One is the upfront power noise track titled "Born lucky born dead too". The other one more belongs to the catchy atmospheric style. "Rooh's requiem" consists of catchy rhythms built on subtle noise and ambient soundscapes floating in the background. Overall the style of the album is minimal and repetitive textures. Very nice indeed. (NM)
Address: http://www.mustdierecords.co.uk

TIM NEWMAN - GAMELAN (CDR by Reverb Worship)
Earlier this year I was pleasantly surprised by an album by a three piece band from Bristol, Vibrafuzz. Two members got the credit for the guitar, while Tim Newman got credit for the 'rest'. Here he has a solo release, which I think is an equal surprise. Inspired by a record from His Name Is Alive (always good to mention that lovely guy!) who recorded a gamelan LP, Newman found a website which contained samples of every note of every instrument in the Gamelan set (in case you are interested: at www.marsudiraras.org) which he took to his keyboard and plays around with. I could have as easily believed that Newman plays a real gamelan, perhaps various layers of them, but alright: so its only samples. I think this is an excellent release. Ten relatively short pieces, quiet, rhythmic, introspective. Never fast, never loud. Tranquility all around. One piece is inspired by Steve Reich's 'phase shifting' technique using a single note in slightly different tempi. Mild overtones all around. Very ethnic. I know, I don't know much about, but it could have been a traditional recording from Indonesia. Maybe ini.itu should invite him to do a record? (FdW)
Address: http://www.reverbworkship.com

KENJI SIRATORI - HENRI MICHAUX'S MUSIC (CDR by Minerva)
Quite a professional looking CDR, but with not a lot of information. There are no track titles, no website address, just that Kenji Siratori recorded this from May to June 2011 and that he did the artwork. Henri Michaux was a Belgium writer of surreal stuff, who also did paintings. No evidence I think of his music, so we must assume Siratori recorded music to honor him. Twelve tracks, all lasting between five and six minutes. No doubt that there is some sort conceptual idea behind that, since the music is throughout very much the same. A sort of ongoing improvisation with electronic sound. It sounds like spliced together reel-to-reel sounds, but no doubt this was created in the digital domain. It bounces back and forth, sometimes with lots of effects (pitch shifting, delay), but mostly not. I thought it was pretty nice, but after say track 8 I was also a bit fed up by it. I knew the tricks and trade of this and the remainder seemed a bit superfluous. The whole album could have been more powerful if it was kept at say forty minutes and not sixty-four. Sometimes its difficult to stop I guess, unless this is a form of automated music making and all of it is truly necessary. (FdW)
Address: none given

JAN KEES HELMS - STRINGSTRANG TWO (CDR by Ephre Imprint)
PLEQ & LAUKI - THE GRAVITY LENS (CDR by Ephre Imprint)
The previous StringStrang release was as such, the artist name, but maybe I was wrong: this new one has the name of the composer prominent on the cover: Jan Kees Helms, also known for his work for these pages. Back in the old days he was known as Little Seed, and his own Lor Teeps, all since the late 80s. In StringStrang he uses guitar drones and field recordings, all recorded live without any overdubs. The five lengthy pieces continue from number one, being more drones/ambience and soundscapes from the world of Fear Falls Burning/Machinefabriek and all such like, all of which happen to be very productive musicians. I'm not sure if the world would need another over productive musician, but this new one leaps forward from his previous release. It also sounds produced better, the mild distortion from the previous release is gone. Five dreamy dark atmospheric pieces of music. Again the element of field recordings is a bit lost on me, but alas, such are things I guess. Now its time to find a voice of his own and go something more unique.
More atmospheric music, via one piece that lasts twenty-one minutes, comes from Bartosz Dziadosz, also known as Pleq and Mikel Lauki. I assume this was recorded through the use of mail/e-mail/file sharing and it moves through various sections, rather than being one large clouded sound. I think perhaps guitars, electronics and field recordings were harmed in this recording. Perhaps a keyboard of some kind. These two men move nicely along their material, which moves from the abstract to something more melodic. Also perhaps not the most innovative music, but alike StringStrang executed with great care for the finer sonic details. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ephreimprint.eu

PLANETALDOL - LE PAVILLION DES MORT-VIVANTS (CDR by 3Patttes)
Along with this release, Final Cut, enthused by the review I did for his 3"CDR on Taalem (see Vital Weekly 776), send me two other CDRs of download only releases. No doubt enthused, Final Cut may have forgotten to read our policy of not reviewing download only releases. I will mention them shortly: both of these are live recordings. One is a thirty plus release (on www.amp-recs.com) of a collaborative thing at Radio Panik, Brussels, with Anton Mobin, who plays a 'prepared chamber' which is full of contact microphones and Final Cut with processed field recordings, slightly unfocussed altogether, as this live doodling could have benefitted from some editing. The other one is a solo recording (www.wanderingear.com) from an event dedicated to the use of tape manipulation, for which Final Cut used dictaphones and a four track tape recorder, all filled with ambient voices and processed field recordings. This I thought was better, especially the voices adding a  nice radiophonic character to the music. So we come to the actual release, which is not by Final Cut (hence mentioning his own net only releases) by Planetaldol, since its on 3Patttes label, which he is co-curating. I hope I spelled the name right, since I always have trouble spelling metal-music handwriting. The pavillion of the living death - that's what it translates to, and I must say I preferred Final Cut's own music over this noise based death/metal/ambient/noise. People in distress shouting, field recordings, 'processing', and everything is pretty loud, in your face. I liked some parts of it, but here too, things might be a bit too long at its twenty five minutes and a bit unfocussed. Editing or composing - which ever suits you best - would be in place. Its says 'Acte III' also - and I am sure I don't all other acts to hear - but here's an idea: edit down all acts and do a nice full length one hour work. I am sure that would work best, at least for me. (FdW)
Address: http://3patttes.free.fr

THE DRIFTWOOD MANOR - THE SAME FIGURE (LEAVING) (CDR by Rusted Rail)
Folk music is, along with pop music, something that arrives here on a regular basis which is nice, since I like both, but also I don't think I am not the expert at all to say anything about it, on both of them. The main man here is Eddie Keenan, who teams up with a bunch of people from United Bible Studies and merges folk with more free-folk improvisation, so its not very traditional folk music. There are lots of acoustic guitars being strummed here, intimate voice, but also fiddle, bouzouki, accordion, banjo, oscillations, tibetan prayer bowl, trumpet and it sounds altogether pretty coherent. More traditional than avant I think, but its the right amount of mixture for me. Very normal, the perfect antidote to many a-lunacy music in Vital Weekly, but not as cliched as it could have also been, still with that raw edge of weirdness lurking in all corners - weird changes every now and then, a bit of distortion in 'Each Day Has Bettered Me None'. Music that I wouldn't want all day, but also music that I every much like every once in a while. What can I say about this? I have no idea - what do I know about folk music? (FdW)
Address: http://www.rustedrail.com

NXFXTXEX - PRESS PLAY AND SHUFFLE (3" CDR by Shit Music For Shit People)
NXFXTXEX  stands for "Not for Trendy Ears" and saw the light of day in 1998 and was influences by anarchopunks Crass. The man behind this noise project is Eli Gudnason from Danmark and released a huge amount of CD-R's at several labels. He released this CD at Shit Music For Shit People from Denmark. The CD consists 99 tracks and the meaning is to play them in shuffle position. All kinds of noise are coming up with great titles like "Horizontal line with an armchair" or "Origami duck with the orchestra." The idea of a random music is well-done. The wall of sounds will be stopped about every 10 seconds for one second and the other noise is coming up. The noise itself is raw, harsh and diverse. From heavy electronics to subtile crashes and screams or beats. I like the speed of the sounds and the short interruptions of silence. Great blasting 21 minutes which can be played for 210 minutes. Beat and repeat! (JKH)
Address: http://shitcore.dk/

IF, BWANA - WAH YU WAN (cassette by Maneko Neko)
Just two weeks ago we reviewed a new 3"CDR by If, Bwana on Bastets Kitten, a new, further expansion of the world of Vuz Records. Another addition to the family is a cassette only label by the name of Maneki Neko tapes and here too is the first release by If, Bwana. It is actually a re-issue of the only LP ever released by If, Bwana, on Generations Unlimited. In a sort of sick twist (I guess), the tape has two versions: a remastered version from 2011, and on the other 'an untouched recording of the vinyl'. I am not sure if ever heard the vinyl back then - I may have - and this is I guess from the time when Al Margolis, master-mind of the bwana, made that cross-over from home made tape manipulations towards exploring improvised music with other people. Here he gets help from people like Dan Andreana (saxophone, guitar), Frederik Lonberg-Holm (cello), Brian Charles (clarinet, didjerdu, oboe), Detta Andreana (piano) and Joan Osborne (vocals), whereas Margolis plays synthesizer, sampler, violin, french horn, piano, clarinet, tape and effects. It doesn't have yet the refinement of his latter works (starting with that fine CD in the Anckarstrom series, only a year or two later, I think), but still has that somewhat raw character of noise music, but then played with a lot of acoustic instruments - such as in the title piece (if I counted right, with a cassette this is never easy). Yet this isn't all out noise, but playful noise, stemming from the world of improvisation, acoustic and electronic, and has an unique touch to it, which one rarely find these days and perhaps also not in the days when this was released, 1990. An essential item from the If, Bwana catalogue, a turning point in his career, and finally resurrected. Maybe a CDR/CD would have been more in place for this delicate noise, but cassette will do also. (FdW)
Address: http://www.vuzrecords.de

DAS SOMBREROS - MONSTROCITY (mp3 by Anarchy Books)
The idea to con me into writing this review was great, and I won't reveal what was done (it wasn't a bribe), but they gained a review for the MP3 release. Das Sombreros is a duo of Pedro Wong and Klaus Patel. They were inspired by Stockhausen, Cage, Zoviet France and Nurse With Wound and also horror stories and science fiction. That last influence comes in handy, since they produced a soundtrack to an e-book called 'Monstrocity' by science fiction author Jeffrey Thomas. Obviously I didn't read that book, since I'm not a big lover of science fiction and don't like e-books, so its a bit hard to tell how this sound track works. I am sure one can't read the book within the thirty three minutes this album lasts, which is divided in eleven tracks. Its a varied bunch of pieces, which shows more Zoviet France and Nurse With Wound than Stockhausen or Cage. Quite electronic in approach, with loops of electronics, occasional Arcane Device like feedback, cut up of voices and rhythms. Without having a clue what the book is about, I think the album stands pretty much by itself also, as a highly varied bunch of electronic music. At times moody and atmospheric, and at others almost cheery. Not every track is equally great, such as the ethnic 'First Remark' or the overtly simple rhythm of 'Gumming A Hoof', but through this was a pretty much alright release. I am not convinced to go out and read the book straight away, but as said, by itself it makes a nice collection of experimental electronics. And the element of cosmic music is only mildly present here, as to proof not all science fiction leads to cosmics! (FdW)
Address: http://www.anarchy-books.com




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