number 834
week 23


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FERRAN FAGES - FOR PAU TORRES (CD by Organized Music From Thessaloniki) *
PASCAL BATTUS & ALFREDO COSTA MONTEIRO - FELURE (CD by Organized Music From Thessaloniki) *
WILL BOLTON - UNDER A NAME THAT HIDES HER (CD by Hibernate Recordings) *
ISNAJ DUI - ABSTRACT ON SOLITUDE (CD by Hibernate Recordings) *
PURPLE BLOOM (CD by Purple Bloom)
PHONED NIL TRIO - AR B OK ALOU (CD, 7", cassette by FTAM Productions, Blackhouse, Colbeck Labs, MaxCorp Industries, Rainbowbridge Recordings, Ursa Major) *
PETER J WOODS - FEAR (3 cassettes by FTAM Productions)
HECTIC HEAD - NO SHAME NO GAME (CDR by Shame File Music) *
IMPEDANCE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
EMERGE - DECLENSION (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
SUSTAINED DEVELOPMENT - WATER (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
ASPEC(T)/NO GOD RITUAL & RED CHANNELS (cassette by Excrete Music)
UNAN/NIKOS KYRIAZOPOULOS (cassette by A Question Of Re_entry/Organized Music From Thessaloniki)
LUCKY DRAGONS - LONG FORM (cassette by Fictitious Sighs)
TIM COSTER - OCEAN LINER (cassette by Albert's Basement)
WAVEPOOL ABORTION (cassette by DZ Tapes)
DYVNZMBR (cassette compilation by DZ Tapes)

A new name from France, Annabelle Playe, a composer of electro-acoustic music, but who is also a soprano singer and a writer. 'Matrice' is her first album. Fourteen pieces in forty-eight minutes is not exactly what one expects from an electro-acoustic composer, as its perhaps more the length of a bunch of pop songs. She is not a traditional composer anyway. Playe's work is more along the lines of noise with a much more intelligent perspective. She uses synthesizer sounds, electronics, laptop - well, I am not sure anyway, as no such things are mentioned on the cover - and has a rather harsh sound. I wouldn't be too surprised to learn that she uses a lot of the current small synthesizers available (monotron and such like) to create a angular sound. Fourteen pieces, ranging from one to six minutes of loud music, with swift and abrupt changes here and there, which only in the last piece seems to be quietening down a bit. Its also one of the few pieces in which we hear some other sound sources, such as radio and perhaps contact microphones. Despite being a soprano singer, she doesn't her voice that much in this work. Only on a few occasions, unless it has been transformed to such an extended that I can't recognize it. Quite a tour de force this one, but its noise of the kind that I enjoy quite a lot. Its loud but thoughtful and composed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dautrescordesrecords.com

FERRAN FAGES - FOR PAU TORRES (CD by Organized Music From Thessaloniki)
PASCAL BATTUS & ALFREDO COSTA MONTEIRO - FELURE (CD by Organized Music From Thessaloniki)
Quite an unusual title, 'For Pau Torres'. Not because its a dedication, but perhaps because its an unusual dedication. Pau Torres, one should know, is the man the label Etude Records, and as such has released a number of records by Ferran Fages. Fages once started out with a turntable and electronics, but in his recent works he picked up the guitar to create his experimental, improvised music, of which his last, 'Llavi Vell' (see Vital Weekly 807), was an excellent example of drone like, sustaining capacities. 'For Pau Torres' opens with a similar sound, but more atonal, more feedback like. Not loud, but mildly and pleasantly annoying. Its lasts about nine minutes and also forms the bookend, at the end of the piece, for about five minutes. In between Fages plays the electric guitar by strumming carefully notes, making effective use of the sustain. Very sparsely played with a great use of silence in between the various notes and its has a desolate feel to it. Sometimes these notes cluster together and sustains overlap and starts to be drone like, but never form a full out drone piece. A bit metallic sound, but with a fine warmth to it. Late night music for lonely souls, that's what I thought. Not the same great drone like quality of that previous release, but of a likewise beauty anyway.
Fages worked with Battus and Monteiro before, but here they present their second work together, following their 2008 release 'Ductile' (see Vital Weekly 618). In 2010 they worked Q-O2 in Brussels on new music with basically the same set-up: Pascal Battus on rotating surfaces and Alfredo Costa Monteiro on amplified paper. While 'Ductile' was at times pretty loud, this new release explores the edges of the material more in depth, while at times maintaining the same forceful level, but as before on a Merzbow kind of level. Its hard to believe but with these relatively simple means they create some great music. Densely orchestrated with sounds rotating, surfaces being scanned with microphones, the rustling of all sorts of paper make that the whole thing is a great disc of improvised music that hardly sounds improvised. More composed actually, more sculpted perhaps. Its beyond the regular world of improvisation, as its beyond regular instruments, but also hardly rooted in the world of electronics, analogue or digital. With the choice of their means they do something that hardly part of any tradition. They have a rather unique sound language of their own. Great, yet again, no easy listening music. (FdW)
Address: http://thesorg.noise-below.org

Two new releases from Pogus, a label with a good taste for modern music. Here they present two releases from two veteran composers in the field of electronic and electro-acoustic music. Belgian composer Leo Kupper worked with Henry Pousseur in the first studio of electronic music in Belgium. ‘Digital Voices’, the third release of Kupper for Pogus, came into being in Studio de Recherches in Brussels. As the title suggests, most compositions on this recording deal with the human voice. In the sixth composition the santur is the main instrument. Kupper formulated his intentions for this recording as "to encourage the internationalization of spirituality through a musical language that accepts both sung and instrumental world sonorities that can be mixed with electronic sounds derived from the voices of the singers." ‘Aviformes’ is built up from very recognizable birdsongs. I’m not sure whether this are electronically manipulated field recordings or sounds completely of electronic origin. In that case birdsongs and calls were very accurately transcribed. Soprano Zanichelli dialogues with these abstract songs. The closing piece ‘Light without Shadow’ is based on Slavic liturgical chant. It exemplifies an experience that I had throughout this cd. Namely that I feel emotionally engaged by the singing and not so much by the electronic sounds. It was new to me to experience this duality so strongly.
Creshevsky started around 1971 as a composer, but he is still very productive. His new release for Pogus with seven compositions dating from 2006 up to 2011, is convincing proof of this. It is a real ‘tour de force’ of his hyperrealism. Creshevshy wants to ‘expand musical palettes, and to turn performers into super performers by removing the constraints of human anatomy (breath and touch)’. A music that wants to remain human in any respect, but at the same time wants to transcend human limitations concerning technical capability, etc. Because why should a musical vision stop where technical performing abilities stop due to physical limitations? At the same time however Creshevshy is very alert in making the music sound very human, organic and even sensual. It is music that evidently demonstrates that it is beyond human capacities to perform, but at the same voice and instrument sound recognizable as if it could be done. Although it is his pretension to create imply this illusion. That makes no sense. But the music remains at the same time very close to human proportions and emotions. It is of great elegance and friendly gestures. ‘La Sonnambula’ is for a trio – so to speak - of piano, clarinet and vibraphone and is a fine example of this. But the compositions that concentrate on the human voice are best examples of this. ‘Lisa Bernard Redux’ with the voice of Lisa Barnard Kelly is a very intimate work. Same for ‘Tomomi Adachi Redux II’ with the voice of Tomomi Adachi and vibraphone and playback. This last piece is also a good illustration or example of the baroque-like melodies Creshevsky seems to prefer. Illustrating that he is also searching for a combination of well-known styles and patterns, with elements that are beyond everything. (DM)
Address: http://www.pogus.com

Every now and then a cd by Takumi Seino drops in. This time with a session from  a quartet that has Takumi  Seino on guitar, Masahiro Yamamoto  on alto and soprano saxophones, Nobumasa Tanaka on piano and Hiroki Chiba on acoustic bass. Carefully and concentrated, they play three extensive compositions by Seino, recorded live october 10th, 2011. Listening to this one, was a battle against prejudices. As this is a kind of jazz music that I most often put aside very quickly. But now I didn’t. The opening title ‘Room to move’ is the most jazziest of the three compositions on this new release. Slowly meandering music, but also good interplay with all senses stand by. ‘Where all is Emptiness’ is the zen-like title of the lengthiest title on this one. 26 minutes we are en route with this quartet, with again a mix of sound sculpting in a jazz ambiance. ‘Water’s  Edge’ third and last piece on this cd is a very dreamy, ambient – like journey with jazzy touches. (DM)
Address: http://www.takumiseino.com

Sometime ago I wrote a critical review on ‘Prism’, a work by William Parker and Ninni Morgia for Ultramarine. It was my first introduction to Morgia that didn’t have a good start this way. Here we have a new release of him with Marcello Magliocchi. It is their second step. ‘Sound Gates’ was their first one, again released on Ultramarine. Morgia is from Sicily, member of the Italian noise rock group White Tornado. He moved to New York, where he has a duo with Silvia Kastel and many other collaborations. Percussionist Magliocchi is veteran from the Italian improve scene. Active since early 70s you can find his name on many records (Ictus, Enja, Soul Note, Leo, etc.). ‘Season two’ is a collection of eight improvisations of rough and mutated guitar playing by Morgia and Magliocchi playing drums and all kind of objects. The two make up a good couple, producing edgy and energetic improvisations. The improvisations deserved a better recording, but it’s an enjoyable release. (DM)
Address: http://www.solaripse.altervista.org
This is the first release from American composer Alexander Sigman. It unites seven interesting works composed between 2005 and 2009.  Recorded mid-2011 at Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart) and Abbaye de Royaumont in France. Performed by Ensemble Ascolta, Ensemble SurPlus, les Percussions de Strasbourg (!), Daniel Gloger and Francoise Rivalland. Sigman did most of his studies at Stanford University (composition). Composition studies with Brian Ferneyhough, Mark Applebaum. Sigman portraits himself with engaging and appealing works. Complex musical structures, but also very transparent in a way. Works with very different instrumentations, but in most works percussion plays an important role combined with strings, and some other instruments. The music often sounds raw, unpolished and primitive in  a way, but at the same time it has depth and nuance. I like the coloring coming from the different instruments. Because the music develops slowly one can consume every bit consciously and with taste.  Don’t ask where this kind of modern composed music is to be located. I have a limited view. In ‘L’écume des jours’ I had to think of Harry Partch because of the role of percussion. But whatever Sigman’s examples and sources of inspiration are, in my perception, Sigman has a clear handwriting of his own and a story to tell. (DM)
Address: http://www.carrierrecords.com
ISNAJ DUI - ABSTRACT ON SOLITUDE (CD by Hibernate Recordings)
According to the website, 'Under A Name That Hides Her' is a LP release, of which the first 100 include a CD, hence I only got the CD. This is Will Bolton's second release on Hibernate, and he also had releases on Time Released Sound, Cathedral Transmissions, Distant Noise and Rural Colours (which is a sub-division of Hibernate, apparently). In Vital Weekly he appeared before as Cheju which was more beat oriented. Bolton nows also plays live. The thematic approach for his new album is nostalgia, and sees Bolton playing guitar, inspired by the bands he liked as a teenager: The Cure, The Smiths, The Velvet Underground and My Bloody Valentine. This doesn't mean that Bolton set out to copy his heroes. He rather takes the mellow mood of their guitar playing and offers a 'heavily treated, droned out muffled and crumbling sonic environment'. Lots of field recordings, which add a charming hiss-like quality to the album, along with the guitar and lots of looping devices (or rather, perhaps, just lots of loops) and perhaps another sense of nostalgia comes in play here: a return to the world of warm ambient music, from Brian Eno to Taylor Deupree; thirty or so years of carefully constructing warm 'tunes' using a single instrument and a bunch of field recordings. 'On Land' anyone? Having said that, I also must state that I think this is an absolutely great album, of six excellent pieces of moody guitar music. A sort of shoegazing, but then of an altogether different nature.
More mood music, obviously, since this is Hibernate Recordings, comes from Katie English, also known as Isnaj Dui. Her previous works, at least the ones I heard, date back some time (see Vital Weekly 552, 586 and 699) used flute, electrodulcimer and electronics (sampling mainly). On her new CD she uses the flute, or rather the bass flute, and wires and circuit boards. Circuit bending perhaps? Maybe, but then used in a somewhat different way. Whereas those who bend circuits usually play some kind of noise (improvised and usually not very good), Isnaj Dui samples it and plays around with it, and not in every track. She does it in 'What Lies Inside' with great care. It rumbles nicely and not loud, while on top she waves loops of flute playing. In 'Pheriphal Motion' she uses the dulcimer and the highly reverbed use of either flute or circuit boards. Akin is 'Quarter Wave' but here the flute is more recognizable and the boards are just small rhythmic particles. 'Nature Of Light' is a bit of tacky title for what is flute solo, just as 'The Last Will Become A Darker Grey', but that one is more introspective. Six pieces of highly varied material that has strong similarities, but its all worked out differently. Very nice music, great atmospherics but with a nice sense of experiment inside. (FdW)
Address: http://hibernate-recs.co.uk/

PURPLE BLOOM (CD by Purple Bloom)
Of these two Japanese releases, I am not sure why I get Purple Bloom. I am getting to repeat this, but Vital Weekly is not, never will be about pop music, in all its aspects. So why I get this shoegazing Japanese band I don't know. I never liked shoegazing music, not even in real life. A typical Japanese female voice, lots of guitars and a banging drum machine. Seven tracks, twenty-five minutes. That's all you need to know (and give you ample reasoning why I won't say more). We are not about pop music, but perhaps I mentioned that?
The perfect cure (pun intended) for this is the CD 'Earth' by Hideyuki Hashimoto, born in 1986 and inspired by Keith Jarret, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Mono Fontana when it comes to playing the piano himself. He has also played with other instruments and vocalists, but here Hashimoto is on the piano solo. Minimal piano music, with a great ambient feel to it. I'd like to mention Harold Budd in this respect too. Three of the fourteen pieces are improvised, but I couldn't say which one. Still music, quiet, which reminded me also of the current neo-classical movement, with people like Nils Frahm. A release that could have fitted nicely on Les Disques Du Crepuscule, had he been born twenty years earlier. Another fine grandson of Erik Satie. Excellent music for a quiet evening and fine wine. (FdW)
Address: http://purplebloom.net
Address: http://nlart.jp

PHONED NIL TRIO - AR B OK ALOU (CD, 7", cassette by FTAM Productions, Blackhouse, Colbeck Labs, MaxCorp Industries, Rainbowbridge Recordings, Ursa Major)
PETER J WOODS - FEAR (3 cassettes by FTAM Productions)
Quite a load, these two releases. First we have a package with a CD, a cassette and a 7" by Phoned Nil Trio, which is Peter J. Woods (industrial percussion, vocals and pedals), Neil Gravander (tapes, vocals and turntables) and Dan Schierl (modular synth). They already released a handful of cassettes, CDRs and online releases and toured a bit, but is their first major release - a coproduction between six different labels. From their instruments you could all too easily think Phoned Nil Trio is a noise trio, but that is not entirely the case. They are foremost a trio of improvised music, which happens to involve a fair amount of noise every now and then, but not exclusively. It rather happens with outbursts. In the first (long) track on the CD not a lot, and in the last rather a lot. Things crack and burst, rumble and hurt here, and according to the press information this is the 'sparse and minimal side' of Phoned Nil Trio. Its not always sparse, but minimal, I can see that. The various instruments are indeed played minimally, occasionally. The cassette part of the package focusses on more coherent music, continuous, and less interrupted by outbursts. More collage of sounds, with major roles for tape manipulation and turntables. Quite densely layered stuff here, which I thought it all its randomness worked rather well. The 7" seems to be focussing on the more harsher side of their work, through a strong cut-up of their material through louder blocks of sound. Here the synth has a major role with deep end rumbling. Its my least favorite part of the whole package, but I guess it makes sense to get the complete picture of what they do. On the downside, the design part of this however lacks some imagination. It looks too much like a noise type release and doesn't justify the release very much.
Peter J Woods of Phoned Nil Trio also works solo and has come all the way fromharsh noise/power electronics to what he calls 'darkly absurdist theatre'. His three cassette pack contains rather short cassettes, with a piece per side. Five of the six pieces are the audio portion of staged theatre works, which I guess all deal with the idea of 'fear'. The harsh noise, power electronics still play a part in this work, but its embedded in a greater work, which makes extensive use of sheer silence, with the rumbling of contact microphones. Text-wise its not easy to follow what it is about, as the voice is also 'processed' of some kind, but it has unsettling character. Indeed a drama of some kind. No easy music, not even in terms of noise. Quite intelligent noise I'd say. Woods knows how to create tension through dense textures, loud and vicious outbursts and cleverly put together electro-acoustics and what seems to be field recordings. Its a bit of a drag changing these tapes every now and then, but it makes a great package. (FdW)
Address: http://experimentalmilwaukee.com

In 2009 Nick Hoffman of the Pilgrim Talk label and an improviser/composer in his own right went on tour in Japan and Korea and met up with Ryu Hankil and Hong Chulki, both improviser in their own right, using a variety of materials, including turntables, CD players and MD recorders. This record - limited to merely 108 copies - was recorded on the first night they played together, in an abandoned factory turned in a concert/venue. The cover doesn't specify which instruments have been used, but they must be of some electric/electronic origin, I would say. Heavy type improvisation, in which feedback plays an important role, along with the amplification of objects, taken to the limit. Crude, rough noise based improvisations, hissing, objects falling and loud most, but not all of the times. Quite nice music I'd say of three highly gifted improvisers playing with unusual means. This would be something to see in concert one day - the record is nice, but a substitute for the real thing. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pilgrimtalk.com

Curiously enough both these new releases on Brian Labycz' label deal extensively with the same instrument, the bass clarinet, but I am told this is purely coincidental. The first is a duo disc, obviously, by Ed Bear on baritone saxophone and Lea Bertucci on bass clarinet. Not a live recording - perhaps, I am not sure, from the Dense Mesh house  and mixed by the two musicians. These two instruments operate in the lower regions of the sound spectrum, which gives the music a rather introspective, or perhaps even sad mood. Bear and Bertucci play their instruments rather solemnly, without much sustain, but majestically. That is quite nice, but after six of the eight pieces I had enough. A bit more variation would have been more appropriate if you care to present fifty one minutes of music I think. Not quite easy listening music this lot, even when there is a great title among the eight: 'Scelsi Girls'. Maybe that's where they got their inspiration? The composer, of course, what else?
Mythic Birds is a quartet of Keefe Jackson (bass and contrabass clarinet), Brian Labycz (modular synthesizer), Jeff Kimmel (bass clarinet) and Jason Stein (bass clarinet). In March 2011 they recorded in a studio in Chicago and the CD opens with the hectic, nervous 'Without A Common Memory', which is too hectic and nervous for me. The element of free jazz is something that I don't like very much, certainly when its rather standard and that is the case with these four players. The  modular synth plays a rather modest role here, and the three/four wind instruments blow freely their notes. Only in 'Dissimulation' he gets a more free role and plays a solo of his own and is it the best track - also the longest. Its sort of half alright and the other half just isn't my cup of tea. Too traditional in its free jazz work, too conventional as such. (FdW)
Address: http://www.peira.net

On the recently reviewed CDR by Midwich, see Vital Weekly 829, we found a track recorded in collaboration with Daniel Thomas, which apparently was liked by Striate Cortex that they invited him to do a CDR on his own. Like Midwich, Thomas is from Leeds and like Midwich his music owes a bit to the world of drone music. But a difference is that Midwich works clearly with a background of organ like sounds and for Thomas its less easy to say what he does or what his sound sources are. His drone music is then a bit different too. Occasionally a bit more pulse like, such as in the second  or the seventh tracks (all untitled), but then also, at other times a bit more oriented towards to the more heavy, noisier drone clusters such as in the eighth piece. Its not always the most refined voices in drone music Daniel Thomas uses here, although the fourth piece shows he can. Sometimes however things are quite loud and dirty and its never easy to tell what Thomas want with his music. Set forward to please people, lull them to sleep, or perhaps give them a perfect nightmare. Whatever it is, he does it quite well. In the crowded of even noisy drone makers, Thomas shows quite a promise for the future. (FdW)
Address: http://www.striatecortex.wordpress.com

Following 'Elegie', reviewed in Vital Weekly 826, Mike Fazio (who also works as Gods Of Electricity, Orcehstramaxfieldparrish and A Guide To Reason), now expands to releasing his music on other labels, across the ocean, to Ian Holloway's Quiet World label. Six pieces on this release, all recorded live 'on the beautiful morning of August 21st, 2011, somewhere in New York City', with Mike Fazio playing guitar and a whole bunch of sound effects. The reverb unit worked over-time that day, that's for sure. Six pieces of improvised guitar playing with a strong ambient character. Sometimes he plays the guitar with his e-bow and sometimes he strums a bunch of notes, but always with reverb and delay close by, and sometimes a bit too much of that. The music is quite alright, but perhaps a bit too hastily put together, too easily made with just a few guitar sounds captured in possibilities of live electronic treatment. Not bad for a live-at-home release, but perhaps there is more to this, I wondered?
Banks Bailey has had more releases on Quiet World, mostly in collaboration with Ian Holloway. Here he uses, in a thirty-six minute piece, sounds he recorded in the wilds of Arizona along with tibetan bowl, wood flutes and processing. Not entirely your typical work of field recordings with processing, although the backbone of the music is formed by that notion. The addition of the bowl and flute however give the music something cerebral, almost like a buddhist thing, or perhaps that's what we are lead to believe. Like a religious ceremony performed out in the open. Sometimes the treatments and field recordings seem to take over, like the microphone is pointing away from the ceremony, or a heavy thunder storm is passing.  But birds and sunshine return and we come to the conclusion of the ceremony with louder bells and what seems some chanting. I am not sure what to make of this. Perhaps the whole zen/buddhist/religious aspect is not too well spend on me and these kind of connotations put me off. (FdW)
Address: http://www.quietworld.co.uk

Just what is the label Shamefile music about? That's what I wondered when I heard these four releases. They all seem to have a historical component about them, most clearly with the release by Val Stephen. All of these pieces are old, recorded between 1963 and 1973. Crude electronic music, with primitive sound effects. We see a serious man on the cover, behind an organ. I wish there was some information on the cover, rather than on the website. Stephen (1919-1998) was a self-taught composer of electronic music and this release represents eleven of his pieces. After the mid seventies he produced less and less electronic works, in order to work with acupuncture. There is a strange directness in this music, partly pure electronics and partly electro-acoustic in origin, using piano, objects and voice (whistling and breathing). Not entirely the unsung master of the genre (say the new Tod Dockstader), but these crude experimental music pieces are very nice. Totally outside any convention of composing, which I always kind of like very much. Very rough stuff here.
Also 'old' is Ernie Althoff, who performed at the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, and who built his own instruments. Apparently less known as his field recordings, and 'Moggs Creek Picnic Ground' contains such a recording, made on April 21, 2004 from 7:55-9:05 am, and it comes here as a seventy track (each one minute) piece to us. A place with many birds, detailed on the cover as to which tracks has which bird. A nice release for sure, but its hard to see a point in releasing this, other then perhaps for the community of people who like their field recordings pure and clean.
The front cover of the Jack Ellitt release spells his name as Jack Ellitt, although on the back there is talk of a Jack Elliott, so let me speak freely about all these releases on Shame File Music: why are the covers so poor? Typos, no info, plain white xerox… there is room for improvement there. The information is again on the website. Abraham Elitski, later Jack Ellitt was born in 1902 and had interested in music and cinema. He wrote musical pieces, such as the piano score for the film 'Light Rhythms' and recorded proto electronic music in the 1930's for a movie called 'Journey #1', predating a lot of the European music in this field. Much of his work disappeared after his death in 2001 and the four pieces on this CDR are the only surviving pieces. Just like the Val Stephen release this is all quite primitive in approach especially 'Journey #1' and 'Interlude'. The 1987 piece is for speaker and sounds and also has a strange raw quality to it, but also a capitative narration to it, like a diary piece. All three of these pieces are delved from the history of Australian's electronic music and I'm sure there is more. Can't wait.
And last something really 'now'. A group from Adelaide called Hectic Head and which are described as 'lo-fi electronica mixed with field recordings and folk tunes and a subtle hint of bongwater'. Five pieces of acoustic guitar and field recordings, but perhaps recorded in front of an open window, and singing. "The opener "Down in Snowtown" will send a chill down the spine of anyone familiar with that infamous South Australian town", but sorry, I don't, so no chill down spines here. This is stuff I really don't get at all. No talent hidden in bad recordings. Next please. (FdW)
Address: http://shamefilemusic.com/

IMPEDANCE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
EMERGE - DECLENSION (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
SUSTAINED DEVELOPMENT - WATER (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
A label compilation introducing the artists on the label so far, as well as a bunch of new artists which will find their way onto the roster, that's what we find on 'Impedance' by Germany's Attentuation Circuit. Those new names are Niku Senpuki, Yield and Here Be Monsters, although the latter is a new name for Zan Hoffman, who appeared on the label as Krynge. The others are Deep, Doc Wor Mirran, Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf, Esa Ruoho, Elektrojudas, B*Tong, Artifical Memory Trace, Orifice, Sustained Development, Mystified and Emerge, the project of the labelboss himself. Fourteen pieces by fourteen bands in total, and atmospheric music is what is served here. From the more field recordings madness of Here Be Monsters, to the noise of Orifice, the rock of Doc Wor Mirran and the techno of Elektrojudas. In between we have a whole bunch of musicians that doodle with the notion of drone music. The funniest piece is by Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf, who poke fun at Keith Emerson with a whole bunch of monotron sounds. Nice enough introduction, I'd say.
Labelboss Emerge continues his explorations of single sound sources with 'Declension', in which uses the bass guitars used by Deep with the use of computer technology. In his previous works Emerge seemed to have developed an interest in the world of musique concrete, but here it seems to me its all about metallic, drone like music. Coming from the far deep end of sound spectrum - the bass, the bass - its also a bit removed from the original bass material and has occasionally a rock like texture - a doom metal like texture if you want. The piece seems in constant motion, moving about like a restless beast. Different than his other works, but quite nice.
Sustained Development is a new name for Attenuation Circuit, and is the name used by Gerald Fiebig. He uses field recordings, found sounds of water, raw and pure in the opening piece, 'Liquid'. But in 'Solid' and 'Aerifom' he combines various sources and treatments, such as the recordings of snow and gas. Especially in 'Aerifom' something interesting is created. Lots of sound effects and treatments make this into quite a melodic piece of music. The final piece has the sample of a bass guitar, which I guess destroys some of the coherency of using field recordings. Its also a musical piece but somehow doesn't seem to fit the rest of the pieces. Its a nice start however. (FdW)
Address: http://www.attenuationcircuit.de

ASPEC(T)/NO GOD RITUAL & RED CHANNELS (cassette by Excrete Music)
UNAN/NIKOS KYRIAZOPOULOS (cassette by A Question Of Re_entry/Organized Music From Thessaloniki)
Two split cassette releases from Greece, and while on different labels, also connected, as always in that small, vibrant Greek underground. The first tape was released on the occasion of a tour by Aspec(t) and No God Ritual. The first band is a duo from Naples, with Mario Gabola on feedback, acoustic sax, feedback system with dismantled loudspeaker and feeddrum and minitape and SEC_ on revox tape recorder, no-input feedbacks and field recordings. They already have various works, of which their CD 'Abattoir' on Nuun Records (see Vital Weekly 811) made a solid, loud impression on me. For this tour-item, Aspec(t) uses a recording they made in their basement in October and November of last year and perhaps its a pity that its a cassette. The recording sounds a bit muffled, and seems to lack the brittleness that was part of the CD release. Also the surprise element that I found so interesting on their CD is not as apparent here, but perhaps that is due to the fact that this is a cassette release. It has elements from the world of Aspec(t) and is perhaps only partly representative of what they do. As such not a bad thing as a tour item, but for a good and proper introduction of their music, I strongly recommend their CD. The other band on tour, but on the same side of the cassette, the other side is blank, we find 'Brane' by No God Rituals playing together with Red Channels. They use, according to the cover, 'modulars, computer, field recordings, feedback'. Much louder recorded, direct in y'r face, with a slab of dark computerized drone music, with a somewhat nasty undercurrent. Maybe its the kind of music that in a concert situation would work pretty well (loud, no doubt), but on tape I'm less convinced. Its not bad, but maybe too much of an improvisation around some nasty modular synth sounds, which go on a bit too long for my taste.
The other split cassette deals with the nature of bird recordings. We have here two artists I never off. Behind Unan we find Chris Chondropoulos, who is also a member of the band Xysm. His piece, 'Mimus' is apparently build from old vinyl (with bird recordings I assume), but all treated with computer techniques, of which strong equalization seems to be favorite. Sounds are looped around, and slowly evolve over the course of the piece. Quite an interesting piece of musique concrete/acousmatica. The whole notion of bird recordings seem to be nonexistent in here, which perhaps makes it all the more fascinating. Nikos Kyriazopoulos says that he ”had no other choice but to tweak some knobs” for his piece 'Skua' and with some imagination we hear bird sounds in his piece, although indeed there seems to be some fiddling and tweaking of knobs going on. He presents a bit more noise oriented piece, also a bit more improvised than Unan and while its ok, its even at eighteen minutes perhaps a bit long. After about ten minutes one grabs the idea behind this also. Nevertheless quite nice. Perhaps the start of an interesting series? (FdW)
Address: http://www.noise-below.org

LUCKY DRAGONS - LONG FORM (cassette by Fictitious Sighs)
TIM COSTER - OCEAN LINER (cassette by Albert's Basement)
Why these two releases are in the same mailer, I am not sure. Two artists, on two different labels, unless of course the underground community in New Zealand is so closely connected that everybody knows who is sending what at each point. Lucky Dragons have been around for some time, and I never seem to get a grip on what they do. On 'Long Form' (the title I got from the website rather than the tape), they operate a sort of self-contained system which feeds itself with its own information. Once set into motion it seems to go by itself. Floating, harmonic and highly spacious. Human interference seems to be small, but obviously its present, its not automated music. Maybe I am wrong altogether. The a-side is a gentle free float in space - dare we say cosmic music again? - and the b-side floats at the dark side of the moon, with minor chords and even softer in approach, but it also moves through more phases. You never know what danger is lurking there. Ninety minutes of cosmic bliss.
Tim Coster also has been around for quite some time, and his music was released on his own label CLaudia, and the last one, 'A Place In The Sun' on Fictitious Sighs (see Vital Weekly 807) - small world or what? On 'Ocean Liner' he continues to explore the stylistic approach of that release, in two pieces, which last about ten minutes each. Repeating loops of organ like sounds, maybe also very slow and soft modular synth or sine waves. Again seemingly random, but quite nice, with all those things shifting in and out phase. Here too we have a cosmic sort of feel to the music, ambient perhaps, but also a bit of modern composition - say very early Steve Reich. Highly minimal and most lovable. (FdW)
Address: http://fictitioussighs.blogspot.com/
Address: http://www.albertsbasement.net/

WAVEPOOL ABORTION (cassette by DZ Tapes)
DYVNZMBR (cassette compilation by DZ Tapes)
Sometimes I wonder why I am hearing something. Terror Bird promises something else, I would think, but it sounds like Kate Bush. Female vocals, synthesizer, drum machines and a recording which is not great. This is the second tape I hear on this label (see also Vital Weekly 814) and I really wonder why they keep on sending this sort of thing. Isn't it obvious that we don't like this sort of pop music for Vital Weekly. I rather spend my time in playing the entire works of Kate Bush again, which is much more precious for me.
Oh but then two days later I get Wavepool Abortion, an 'exciting proto-pop-punk band featuring Pyotr Reznikov (guitar/vocals) and Matvei Solovyov (guitar/vocals/drums), based in Moscow, Russia', which sounded like recorded in their parents basement; both members are 17 years old. They like the Ramones and The Beatles - great me too - but maybe it's like "The Ramones and The Beatles taking a big shit". I return to 'Rock N Roll Highschool' this afternoon, rather than spend more time in this toilet.
And if this wasn't enough, two more days later, we get a compilation, a 'community compilation' by the same label, which has such bands as Walsh, Cola, Rangers, Space Ghost, Mystic Myths, Howse, Pepepiano, Ken Seeno, Ra Calum, Gold Swingers, Valls, Teams, Osiris Glade, Giant Claw, Keep Shelly In Athens, Vacation dad, Blackbird Blackbird, Born Gold, The Arcade Junkies, Mr Leg, Ormo, Blithe Field, Galapagos, Jared Paolini, Cough Cool, Sleep In, Jeans Wildeer, Chris Rehm, Halls and Geotic. Rehm I heard before, the rest is all new for me. More attempts at pop would have been a great subtitle. Anyone can be a musician, but do they have to be one? Lots of electronics here, lots of primitive sampling - part of the esthetics of it, I assume. Let's safely this is not my community. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dztapes.com