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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 840
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week 29
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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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CHRISTOPHER WILLITS & RYUICHI SAKAMOTO - ANCIENT FUTURE (CD by Ghostly) *
RADIKAL AUDIO LAB. - RAL 5005 (CD by Nur Nicht Nur) *
MURMER - WHAT ARE THE ROOTS THAT CLUTCH (CD by The Helen Scarsdale Agency) *
JEFF CAREY - INTERRUPT-DECAY (CD by Cwnil) *
THE JUNE BRIDES - BETWEEN THE MOON AND THE CLOUDS (CD by Occultation)
BOZZINI QUARTET -  A CHACUN SA MINIATURE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
BOZZINI QUARTET – MARTIN ARNOLD: ABERRARE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
JOANE HETU – FILATURE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
MECHA FIXES CLOCKS – TEORIA DELL’ELASTICITA DI GROLAMO PAPARIELLO (CD by Ambiances)
MS30 - T.I.A. (CD by Silken Tofu) *
AYMERIC DE TAPOL - STATIC ISLANDS (CD by Tsuku Boshi) *
OREN AMBARCHI & CRYS COLE & KEITH ROWE - BLACK PLUME (LP by Bocian Records)
DVA - BOTANICULA SOUNDTRACK (LP by Minority Records)
THOUGHT BROADCAST (LP by Olde English Spelling Bee)
FORGET THE TIMES - SOUL MUSIC (LP by Already Dead Tapes)
KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN - OCCLUSION (LP by Editions Mego)
FAILING LIGHTS - DAWN UNDEFEATED (LP by Dekorder)
TOMUTONTTU - HYLYT (LP by Dekorder)
PHANTOM HORSE (LP by Dekorder)
F/I /BOY DIRT CAR (split LP by After Music Recordings)
BOY DIRT CAR - BLACKHOUSE FOR SCOTT (CDR by After Music Recordings) *
FEAR KONSTRUKTOR/MARIA ASKATU (split LP by After Music Recordings)
[IMAGE AS THEME] (CDR by Resdatcom)
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - THE CREATURE THAT TASTED SOUND (CDR by Trademark Of Quantity) *
EDWARD KA-SPEL - 11.11.11.11 (CDR by Trademark Of Quantity) *
THE SILVERMAN - DREAM CELL (CDR by Trademark Of Quantity) *
MARISA ALLEN - PEACEFUL MUSIC I-VIII (CDR, private) *
TOMOMI OKUNO - PSYCHOLONICA (CDR, private) *
NGAN -  AISLAMIENTO (CDR by Time Fugitives) *
ADRIAN SHENTON & BANKS BAILEY - WRAPPED IN CLOVER (CDR by Phonospheric) *
KRYNGE - HISS & HEARSE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
BOUM & B*TONG - AUGENAUFSCHLAG (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
DISKREPANT - THROUGH THE ODIOUS FRAMEWORK (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
CATHAL RODGERS - THRITY-NINE YEARS OF DECAY (CDR by Striate Cortex) *
SINDRE BJERGA - PORTALS OF EXIT (3"CDR by Striate Cortex) *
SONTAG SHOGUN - ABSENT WARRIOR, ABANDONED BATTLEFIELD (CDR by Palaver Music) *
SZILARD - RUST PARHELION (cassette by Palaver Music) *



CHRISTOPHER WILLITS & RYUICHI SAKAMOTO - ANCIENT FUTURE (CD by Ghostly)
Its been some time, I guess, since I last heard music by Christopher Willits - maybe I don't even remember the last time. I missed out on his 2008 'Ocean Fire', which was his first collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto, who is firmly attached to playing the piano in the last decade (it seems). Now there is 'Ancient Future', which I think is a great title, and again Sakamoto send a bunch of piano pieces to Willits, who treats the pieces via computer means, along adding guitar and voice, although that I didn't hear anywhere on this album. A rather short album, thirty-two minutes only, with six pieces of great, ambient melodic music. The piano never disappears in a cloud of computer treatments, but usually stays along a more clear guitar, firm and bold. The treatments are rather smaller and ornamental, like carefully constructed dots on a big white piece of paper - its there, but not always easy to notice. While I think this is a beautiful release, there are two things I like to get off my chest: of course its not easy to note anything 'new' in here, but I guess you have sensed that already. Not a problem. The other thing is that I think this hoovers closely to the world of new age music. Its not there yet, and some of this may proof to be a bit moody, but its getting damn close. Don't fall of the mountain into the underworld of new age, boys. You won't have my vote again. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ghostly.com

RADIKAL AUDIO LAB. - RAL 5005 (CD by Nur Nicht Nur)
Right across the border from the Vital HQ we find Nur Nicht Nur, a label with a long tradition in improvised music, but occasionally branching out to electronic music, although here too improvisation is never far away. Radikal Audio Lab is a duo of Frank Niehusman and Clemens von Reusner, started in 2008 and best be described, I think, as a laptop duo with a strong interest in improvisation. They work along conceptual lines, into some kind of composition, like this: "This composition is only based upon acoustically processed material from a one-second sample of a female voice pronouncing the word ['sIksti] without any purpose" or "Piano-Punk in a quasi bolero rhythm: constantly only 3 chords (1 per instrument), 222 bars (six-eight), 333 seconds score time (tempo: 120 bpm), recording time including reverb = 345 seconds; instruments: 3 "Berlin Grand with Overtones" from Native Instruments." Interesting to see that there are only three duo pieces, and then three solo pieces by each, and remarkable: it doesn't make any difference. They pick up sounds of whatever nature and start tossing it around in a series of plug ins, real time processors (like Max/msp). Hectic, nervous without much space to breath, sounds keep rolling, but its also a very lively and vibrant, musique concrete in full swing, with lots of action going on. At times this reminds me of @C, the Portuguese duo, crossing the lines of improvised music, academic music and true computer music. This might be very good live-wise I should think. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nurnichtnur.com

MURMER - WHAT ARE THE ROOTS THAT CLUTCH (CD by The Helen Scarsdale Agency)
Patrick McGinley just carries on. Working as Murmer since 1996 he has a strong love for the world of field recordings and electronics. Since quite some time now he lives in Estonia and walks the woods to tape his sounds, takes them home and then transforms them in whatever mysterious way. Five long pieces, from mere six minutes to eighteen minutes. The two pieces that stay under ten minutes are 'unmanipulated found sounds', the other three are 'composed from found sounds, found objects and live room feedback'. Its easy to tell the difference between one and the other. The 'pure' pieces are indeed pure pieces in which we hear the obscure sounds of motors, ventilators, or otherwise objects moved by say wind, while in the other three, McGinely chooses for a slow built up of events. A simple, single sound starts up and then slowly more and more sounds are added, sine wave like sounds leap slowly in and then at one point you'll notice that the entire piece seem to have changed and you have a full on, minimal yet maximum output sound, such as for instance in the fifth (untitled) piece when the pots and pans in the kitchen start to vibrate and we have an interesting minimalist clutter piece, that is halfway between a drone piece and a Velvet Underground jam. Maybe that's where the real surprise of this release is, in that development of field recordings towards very interesting (and very good) minimalist, electronic music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.helenscarsdale.com

JEFF CAREY - INTERRUPT-DECAY (CD by Cwnil)
Its been close to two years since we reviewed 'Impulse' by Jeff Carey, formerly known as 87 Central, member of Skif++, Office-R(6) and N-Ensemble, remixer of MoHa, former vital helper of Vital Weekly on all technical matters, computer musician trained in The Hague, The Netherlands. Compared to 'Impulse' we see a continuation of the course he already set out. This is loud, incredible loud computer music, and I should leave noise to Jliat, but in the case I prefer to ponder over it myself. One reason is that its not one loud stretch of noise music, but also deals with silence/silent parts and is therefore much more the product of someone who thinks before acting, and not acting on pure instinct. The difference between a composer and a harsh noise wall brick layer - and the odd thing is that Carey does much of his music using a joystick and game controllers and plays improvised - odd world, eh? Carey uses extreme computer techniques which he once explained to me (I nodded friendly, but didn't understand a thing obviously) and whatever sound he puts in comes out distorted. What also stayed in the cut-up methods of 'Impulse'. Rapid-fire editing of sounds, never losing sight of the smallest detail, this is still energy sucking music. There is more going on here than on most noise records, Merzbow included. Twice as long as 'Impulse' this is not an easy record to digest as one pill, but when served in a smaller dose this is easily the best digital noise you'll hear this year. (FdW)
Address: http://cwnil.radiantslab.com

THE JUNE BRIDES - BETWEEN THE MOON AND THE CLOUDS (CD by Occultation)
Although I put this here with the CDs, its actually a 7" I have to review here. The first two pieces on this CD are released on that format but in case you order this 7" directly from the label, you get this CD along. Oh boy, what a great service, as it not only has the the two pieces from the 7", but a 8 further pieces which involves music from Phil Wilson, the main man behind The June Brides. Occultation have a great sense for finding old stars of the alternative guitar scene (The Distractions, The Wild Swans) and here its time for The June Brides, once touring with The Smiths, releasing an album and some 7"s, and then after that: total silence. They were an influence on bands like Manic Street Preachers. Now, I must admit in the mid-80s I didn't hear any guitar music. full stop. I don't know when I started to hear it again, so yes, I know who The Smiths are, vaguely know Manic Street Preachers, but never heard of The June Brides. Perhaps they are a bit too sweet for my taste, especially when it gets to their demo/acoustic versions of their songs, but the two main pieces are excellent breezy pop songs that could fit the time of the year, had it not been raining so much. Maybe this music is the best alternative to rain: close your curtains to avoid seeing the rain, and play this loud and think of breezy spring day with mild sunshine. Along with this we get a CD version of 'Flood Of Fortune' by The Granite Shore, in which Wilson was involved in, and this is so very much non-Vital Weekly and yet so great. Occultation still belongs to one of the few pop labels I care to hear. (FdW)
Address: http://www.occultation.co.uk

BOZZINI QUARTET -  A CHACUN SA MINIATURE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
BOZZINI QUARTET – MARTIN ARNOLD: ABERRARE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
JOANE HETU – FILATURE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
MECHA FIXES CLOCKS – TEORIA DELL’ELASTICITA DI GROLAMO PAPARIELLO (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)Bozzini Quartet is a very special quartet. They  have built up a varied and extensive repertoire. This time, with ‘A Chacun sa miniature’ the Bozzini Quartet makes a very generous gesture. On this double cd they present works from 31 young Canadian composers. Considering the amount of participating composers, almost a catalogue of what is going on in Canada. A bit too much also, because of the great number of new works. But a good opportunity to pick up what is going on in Canada. Their other new release ‘Aberrare’ failed  to fascinate me. This did not change after repeated listening, so this one was not meant for my ears. What kind of piece is it? Composer Martin Arnold is interested in continuation of music, but not along narrative lines. The music is not moving towards some goal, but it is more a process of unfolding, as the composer explains. In a way it is also dance music, what the composer concerns. But I felt it difficult to feel the same inspiration. Arnold is a Toronto-based composer and performer who had Frederic Rzewski, John Cage, Louis Andriessen, and others as his teachers. Next one. Joane Hetu is one of veterans behind the Ambiances Magnetiques scene. She appears on many of the releases on this label as well with projects she carried out herself, of course with the help of others. Here with the newest example of it: ‘Filature’ performed by Ensemble Supermusique. It took Hetu five years to complete this work.  It is an exponent of the Hetu’s projects in the field of music theatre, like ‘Musique de’hiver’ and ‘La femme territoire’. For this new release we miss the dance and  video components.  The cd documents only the music and the text.  he music is in a serving role for the texts that are declamated and sung in French.  The work deals with the experiences Hetu had in an earlier life as a weaver. But altogether  it is difficult to make a picture of what this work is about. Only in pieces like ‘Elle travaille’, that offers a far echo of the RIO-rock Hetu produced as a member of Wondeur Brass and Justine, ‘Filature’ becomes accessible for me.  So my hope is for Mecha Fixes Clocks. I can’t remember a record by M.F. Côté that disappointed me. His projects always have something interesting to offer. Like this one, the third release by his ensemble Mecha Fixes Clocks that is made up of eleven players.  Everything is composed by Cote.  His music always moves in a mysterious way between rhythm, melody and harmony on the one side, and abstract sound constructions on the other side. As a result this is music that is difficult to grasp, but above all fascinating and intriguing from start to finish. To play with space and time are clearly objects of his  composing.  Hints of melody surface and disappear in the stream of sounds. It was recorded last year, live in a studio with an extended line-up: Côté, Freedman, Lauzier, Epps, Zubot, René, Thiessen, Martel, St-Onge, Falaise, Tétreault. It is this release by underestimated talent Côté that did it for me of these four releases. (DM)
Address: http://www.actuellecd.com

MS30 - T.I.A. (CD by Silken Tofu)
AYMERIC DE TAPOL - STATIC ISLANDS (CD by Tsuku Boshi)
Of course there is no such thing as a MS30. Korg produced an MS10 and a MS20, and a MS50. But in the band MS30, we find a MS10 and a MS20 synthesizer, so together that makes MS30. Its the duo of Aymeric de Tapol and TZII. De Tapol has worked with Martiens Go Home, and works with other people in various projects. So here its five pieces for two analogue synthesizers. I am not sure if they are in sync with each other (one output going into the external audio input) or there are any other sound effects they use. For the first I simply don't know, for the second I doubt that. Its altogether not easy how this music was made. There were various moments when I thought this through some form of improvisation - after careful planning the action, setting the knobs right and such like, and then play the whole thing in real time - but maybe it is the result of layering things on the cake. I guess its a good thing that we simply can't these things by just listening - it means they are doing something quite good. Five pieces, of which three are well over twelve minutes and that seems a bit long. The ideas here seem to revolve around click patterns feeding through both synthesizers, making up a sound that is not unlike the world of industrial and techno, say were we had Goem and Pan Sonic more than a decade ago. Its a sound, I guess, which you don't hear that much anymore. Those dry beats, oscillating tones and square waves and sinus waves. A slow development in each piece, perhaps too slow. I'd be curious to know if they could keep matters a bit more concise and make it a bit more diverse. Only in 'Rosso' they employ a rhythm machine and here its definitely more Pan Sonic than Goem, but it ends a very good CD.
Aymeric de Tapol also has a solo release, which was already recorded in 2009 (and according to discogs released in 2011 - so I am dealing with something quite old, I gather, but perhaps its a slow day mid summer) and its something completely different. The hand written note along with this says 'based on field recording during European Sound delta', without further explanation, like I obviously know what it is. I don't actually, and was perhaps too lazy to look it up. The six pieces on this release all deal with field recordings indeed, but they are treated with electronics, computerized or otherwise. He creates a fine tapestry of sounds, which are never loud or obnoxious; never forcing themselves upon the listener. If the word still is used, and I think it does, then microsound is the right word. De Tapol knows how to melt his field recordings into something that is more musical, such as in 'Ekman' (in which the whole notion of field recordings seem to have disappeared), although it always stays on the minimal side of things. Certainly 'Frozen Tones' which hardly has sound or development.  Its quite a good release, well done, even when I didn't hear much I didn't hear before from like minded composers. (FdW)
Address: http://www.silkentofu.org
Address: http://tsukuboshiartist.blogspot.nl/

OREN AMBARCHI & CRYS COLE & KEITH ROWE - BLACK PLUME (LP by Bocian Records)
The unknown person in this one might Crys Cole, who plays contact microphones, objects and mixer feedback and who is also responsible for the  Winnipeg Send + Receive festival (which programs along theme's nobody knows in advance, so applying for a gig is a shot in the dark), but in 2010 she programmed herself to play with Oren Ambarchi (guitar, percussion) and Keith Rowe (tabletop guitar, electronics), along with some more concerts in Toronto and Montreal. All of these recordings were edited and mixed by Oren Ambarchi. The back cover shows the three behind a table filled with boxes, cables, mixers, guitars and other obscurities, yet what I noted is that both sides of this record is filled with static sound in which not always a lot seems to be happening. Once they have their stuff in place, so it seems, they sit back and watch the music work by itself. Lots of overtones, lots of obscured sounds, but not always with a lot of action, or tension. That is a pity. Maybe I lack the concentration for it, today? Maybe this would have been something to watch in concert? Or perhaps not everything works well on record? I am inclined to assume the latter. What may have worked well in concert may not come across on record very well. Maybe not everything should be released? (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

DVA - BOTANICULA SOUNDTRACK (LP by Minority Records)
The world of computer games is entirely lost on me, so you'll have to excuse me if I am not particularly interested in the game side of this LP. The music on this LP is soundtrack to a computer game about 'little tree creatures who set out for a journey to save the last seed from their home tree which is infested by evil parasites' (yawn). Maybe this leads also some mild repulsion about the sampled together music. I had Der Plan in mind, Felix Kubin and other German pop ditties, but these sketch like pieces didn't do much for me, I must admit. Its probably not bad for soundtrack to a computer game, but I'm afraid it doesn't stand on its own as a bunch of great compositions. I know I am not allowed to say this, but by god, I feel old. I am afraid I don't get this sort of thing at all. (FdW)
Address: http://www.minorityrecords.com

THOUGHT BROADCAST (LP by Olde English Spelling Bee)
FORGET THE TIMES - SOUL MUSIC (LP by Already Dead Tapes)
Here are two albums that seem quite obscure. First there is thought broadcast and the only thing I could find about them is that there is a 7" and two tapes, plus a forthcoming LP on Editions Mego. It seems to be the project of one Ravi Binning and he works with a rhythm machines and synthesizers and deliberately tries to sound 'old'. 'Old' as in late 70s, early 80s old. Like the stuff you bought on a cassette back then, but which seems these days pretty 'hip' - judging by all those blogs where you can download all these obscure 80s cassettes. Twelve of these kind of pieces ended up on this debut album and I thought it was all pretty 'funny', rather than 'very good'. Quite minimalist in approach, with the ongoing rhythm machine and taped voices along with gritty analogue synthesizers and hell, why not, it even has that muffled sound like it all has been recorded to a bunch of ferro cassettes. That's how we like them best. Looking forward to the next LP here!
Something different obviously, but also something on which it was hard to find suitable information was the LP by Forget The Times (which times? I wondered. The good old days of the 80s? After Thought Broadcast?). This is apparently their third LP and it contains the whole array of free music: free jazz, free rock and free improv. Three, maybe four decades of music from the free fringes of free music pass by here, all recorded in the basement. That home-spun quality is something which they obviously share with Thought Broadcast, although here the sound is less muffled, but still notably lo-fi. Actually I prefer this best when they go for the more rockist agenda, like the two lengthy pieces which are on the opening of side B. I wished both of these records were less clouded wit obscurity however. Thought Broadcast is the band to play at home, but Forget The Times seems like the thing to see in a damp basement. (FdW)
Address: http://oesbee.blogspot.nl/
Address: http://alreadydeadtapes.com/

KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN - OCCLUSION (LP by Editions Mego)
It seemed only recent that I heard 'Generators' by Keith Fullerton Whitman, but it is indeed a solid twenty issues ago. That piece was an open ended piece of digital and analogue modular synthesis which sounded differently every time it was played. 'Occlusion' is something similar: "a loose framework for a multi-channel, freely improvised piece of LIVE ELECTRONIC MUSIC, performed without the aid or consent of pre-recorded or even pre-arranged materials of any kind. A given realization will last between 10 and 30 minutes ; time is elastic. Every effort has been made to avoid divisible rhythms (although mistakes are occasionally made) ... Still, I consider it a \"kind\" of Dance Music", as Whitman says. Here we have two live versions of very recent date (February 18 and February 25, in France and The Netherlands respectively). Whitman calls it his free jazz record, compared to 'Generators'. Its all totally improvised and captured on a hard disc from 'the performer's perspective' and both sides are wild bunches of synthesizer sounds. It all has that vague notion of sixties modern classical music, but it sounds much more rough and untamed, wild at heart, especially perhaps because of the way it was recorded. Indeed there is no dance music in sight, not even far away. I must admit I preferred  'Generators' over 'Occlusion'. Its perhaps too wild for me? I am not sure. Maybe the single mindedness of the work is something that is not really my cup of tea and perhaps I like a bit of composition. Hook Whitman up in the studio and edit his improvisations down. Totally against his own concept, but who knows what it will bring. (FdW)
Address: http://editionsmego.com/

FAILING LIGHTS - DAWN UNDEFEATED (LP by Dekorder)
TOMUTONTTU - HYLYT (LP by Dekorder)
PHANTOM HORSE (LP by Dekorder)
Following the self-titled CD on Intransitive Recordings (see Vital Weekly 742), here is another new release by Mike Connelly of Hair Police and Wolf Eyes. Apparently before that CD he released an "uncountable number of cassettes and CDRs", which I think were all about noise, but that CD changed his work a bit, as well as some of his peers like Nate Young, John Olson, John Wiese and Spencer Yeh. No longer the harsh noise walls, but more thought-out, lo-fi patterns of electronics, loops, drones and such like, played with guitar (so the press text says) and electronics. I liked that CD, so I am bound to like this LP too. Harsh noise seems far away by now, even more than before, all in favor of a more experimental sound. You could wonder if this record would have been cut onto vinyl when it didn't have somewhere along the lines 'Wolf Eyes' mark, but perhaps I am being too cynical there? Maybe what is done here cuts neatly with much of the music Vital Weekly has been writing about and so many others fit that whole notion of 'good noise', 'fine sense of experimentalism', a 'bit of lo-fi electronics', 'modular synths' and such like, but perhaps every scene has heroes and everybody is too lazy too scratch beyond the surface and find out what more lies beneath? Or perhaps that is too cynical as well? I don't know. I have no heroes and merely have to listen and judge records. As such this is, I thought, beside from whoever made this, was quite a nice record. Not great, not brilliant, but a fine quality.
Jan Anderzen is still best known as Tomutonttu when it comes to playing solo music, but he's also a member of Kemialliset Ystavat and sometimes of Avarus, Tuusanuuskat and Islaja. As Tomutonttu he has a whole bunch of releases on Fonal, Ultra Eczema, Ducktails, Fat Cat and many others, but even then some things don't get released and 'Hylyt' collects some of these recordings, from several of those aborted releases but all revised, reworked. The music of Tomutonttu is not easy to be described, as its a vivid mixture of chirping lo-fi electronics, ambient patterns, bouncing rhythms, voice material, animal sounds, objects scratching the floor, synthesizers bubbling, all of these at the same time, heavily layered together, to make a very full, psychedelic sound. Cosmic at times, but not always. It's just too wacky to float away at times, and the somewhat dada-like sound collages are too odd shaped. But Anderzen's music has a great charm, witty, funny, a pleasant nightmare of sounds passing by in the night. Great.
I am not sure if I heard before of Phantom Horse before, or of the two players, Ulf Schutte and Niklas Dommaschk. Before they worked as Alien Radio (and released as such a split with Keith Fullerton Whitman on Dekorder). Together they use modular synthesizer, analogue synthesizer, electric piano, guitar, drum machine, percussion, voice, tape, percussion synthesizer. Following the record by Tomutonttu it's not difficult to see the connections as well as the differences. It shares the krautrock esthetics of say Neu and Cluster, via Cabaret Voltaire (the dada connection) to a bit of ethnic music. The same weirdness that is, but unlike Tomutonttu its less full on sound. Phantom Horse choose to be more sparse in their approach. Whereas Tomutonttu may opt for at least thirty sound sources, Phanton Horse keep the sound rather clean with a few instruments on the endless spin. For those who think Tomutonttu is too much for people with ADHD, Phantom Horse offer the spacious version of it. Or perhaps its the perfect chill out music once you are done with Tomutonttu (or the perfect warm-up music of course). Very nice, all three of them. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dekorder.de

F/I /BOY DIRT CAR (split LP by After Music Recordings)
BOY DIRT CAR - BLACKHOUSE FOR SCOTT (CDR by After Music Recordings)
FEAR KONSTRUKTOR/MARIA ASKATU (split LP by After Music Recordings)
Secretly I have been a big fan of the music of F/i. Perhaps because its so different than what I usually play around here, or maybe because I sometimes like this stomping music. The drums play a continuous rhythm, the guitars are all set to the most fuzziest, distorted sound and play an endless solo. One Grant Richter has the free role in here, getting credit for electronics and musique concrete. That addition makes the music indeed different from your average space rock. This is true psychedelic music of the highest order. I am not sure but this calls for the purchase of a copious amount of smokes and listen not just this, but the entire output of F/i right away. Its of course a pity that its Monday morning and I gave it up smoking. Oh shit. Well, alright, then this calls for an action of another kind. The energy level of this music is high, so I could do some vacuum cleaning then. The other side has Boy Dirt Car, another 'old' band, but recently resurrected and since then presenting new work. Here this quartet presents their lo-fi industrial musique concrete in its best form. Taped speeches, rumble of contact microphones and lots of hand cranked electronics - that's what I think is going on here. Composition wise there could be things done to shape this up, but why should it be? At the same there is also a strange CDR by just Boy Dirt Car. It says on the cover 'a 10 minute and 24 second recording from 1985 at Cafe Voltaire Milwakee [sic]', but besides that there is another piece on this which is not mentioned on the cover. It has former Boy Dirt Car member Eric Lunde on vocals and shows why some people think they could have been US' answer to Einsturzende Neubauten. The same violence on their instruments, the screaming, the banging of metal percussion - excellent mayhem. The other track is bit more calmed down, it seems, and shows another side of Boy Dirt Car - one that forecasts, assuming this is an older recording to - the music from more recent years. It gives the listener surely a fine impression of how mad the old days were, and perhaps, along with the recent split LP, that those days are not over. Some things never change, it seems.
On the same label - in fact run by Darren Brown of Boy Dirt Car - a highly limited split LP by Fear Konstruktor from Russia and Maria Askatu from Spain. I believe both have been reviewed before. Fear Konstruktor uses, according to the blurb, 'ultramodern devices', and have a 'retro-futuristic touch', but I heard something different. It seems to me a more analogue sound, old reel-to-reel tapes fed through dusty analogue synthesizers, and produced after a careful examination of the old Maurizio Bianchi sound. Its actually quite nice, even when not very original. Askatu's first work on this label was also a split record (see Vital Weekly 754). They are from Spain, led by Jarrod Olman and Darren Brown seems to be involved also, somewhere, somehow. The cover simply doesn't have any relevant information, so my best guess is that a whole bunch of people send in taped materials and which are mixed together in a partly randomized fashion. I hear field recordings and electronics mainly. Its all pretty obscured and its hard to say wether there is any sort of 'story' behind this. I vaguely assume there is, but its kinda unclear exactly what it is. In all its obscurity and vagueness (some would call it mysterious) it sounds pretty much alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aftermusicrecordings.com

[IMAGE AS THEME] (CDR by Resdatcom)
Probably I informed you that I don't like compilations, but just as some music is always on repeat, I will be on repeat too. I'm sorry beforehand to take this one as an example. You have an image and asked musicians to make 'an audible interpretation of the image' and then after six months you have seven contributions (plus one of your own music) and here you have '[image as theme]'. The noise bits are awefully loud - louder than the image - and I skipped those. We have a simple synth tune by Moloch, gothic cathedral styled organ playing on one synth (think Controlled Bleeding on an off day), some computer ditty of field recordings, dark ambience by Flutwacht with simple sound effects, an obscure piece of electro-acoustic by THF Drenching, distorted ambience by Bloater (who sound like a dirty CDR) and a bit of hiss by Resonan, the band behind the label. Just like the theme, it all seems rather lazy to me. From idea to execution thereof, no one seemed to be really bothered. THF Drenching being the best out of these seven. (FdW)
Address: http://www.resonan.com

THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - THE CREATURE THAT TASTED SOUND (CDR by Trademark Of Quantity)
EDWARD KA-SPEL - 11.11.11.11 (CDR by Trademark Of Quantity)
THE SILVERMAN - DREAM CELL (CDR by Trademark Of Quantity)
Always so close by, and yet, not easy to follow. To follow means you have to actually look up things from those you follow, and this is perhaps where such things go wrong with me. I do like The Legendary Pink Dots, almost home town mates, and whenever a facebook posting by mister Ka-spel I go out and seek it out, and then sometimes I forget. I have been a long time fan, perhaps not since the very ancient daze (as the title was of a re-release from their first cassettes from 1981, but shortly after that I found and loved them), and I always am keen to hear something new. The Legendary Pink Dots are one of the few bands that are always firmly underground, releasing CDRs of more experimental stuff on their own label, next to 'official' studio releases. Here's one of those more experimental ones, in which Ka-spel's voice only appears in two of the four pieces and which sound more like reciting poetry than actual singing. Something that was noted before in recent times with some of their more experimental work. The title piece is the piece that has a story, as told by Ka-spel in his characteristic voice and has a great radio play like character. That is a fine piece, but as I said elsewhere I prefer to choose music to fit the story and perhaps won't listen to it that much again. Its the other three pieces that I actually prefer even more. Here the Dots are at their most experimental, with some great scary, psychedelic electronic music. Lots of synthesizers, effects, but also guitars and just great dark mood music. It fits the rainy summer.
Ever the busy bee, mister Ka-spel, who at times seems to be churning out a release in a single day, but who always delivers work that is worth hearing, got the idea to play some old Pink Dots classics on November 11, 2011 at 11 in the morning - although recording actually lasted until the 14th of November - and some new pieces. Armistice day, probably the single most important day in the UK and everybody wearing poppies, Poppy day. Also the title of one of the best known, most loved pieces by the Dots and naturally the opener of this release. Here we have Ka-spel's both faces. The simply 'pop' like pieces, stripped down to a bit of synthesizer, rhythm machine and vocals, such as in 'Poppy day', or 'Professional', and on the other side the experimental side of Ka-spel, as shown in the nuclear blast of 'The Hiroshima Bell', or the more mellow 'Voiceover', both instrumental, but different. Its quite a curious little item, a nice one in fact, but I guess one for the die-hard collectors than for the average, occasional interested listener.
And finally it has been ages since The Silverman released 'Dream Cell'. I spend a finer part of this evening reading the two booklets I did of the first 100 issues of Vital Weekly to look for the old review of this, but either I didn't review it back then, or I looked over it (but I was amazed by the amount of reviews I wrote already and wanting to hear so much of the old stuff). Anyway, this work, released in 1995 and re-issued on a double LP in 2003 is again unavailable, so in much need of a remastered re-issue, including a bonus disc of music from the same time (I assume). To be honest: I had the original CD and totally forgot what it sounded like (such I guess is the life of a reviewer - never to play anything again, and again). I imagined something quite cosmic with a bunch of analogue synthesizers, which is the case in the opening piece, but there is much more here. Rhythm machines, samples of real instruments, and throughout actually not as cosmic as I would thought it would be. The first part of the title piece is more electro-acoustic than pure cosmos, even when it sounds rather naive as such, but still quite alright, but there is also the krautrock mechanics of 'Stream Point Entry'. The bonus disc opens with 'A Salty Tale', complete with car horns and fireworks and a machine driven rhythm, before it delves into sheer silence of field recordings from empty places. Edward Ka-spel sings on one piece (completists should take note here), in the quite orchestral sounding 'The Fragile Love'. 'Bear Necessities' sounds like an instrumental Pink Dots piece in the making, just as, perhaps, 'Forgotten Zone'. But that doesn't mean this bonus disc is made of left-overs - in stead it gives us an excellent look in the kitchen of The Silverman and thus perhaps in the kitchen of The Legendary Pink Dots. (FdW)
Address: http://www.terminalkaleidoscope.com/

MARISA ALLEN - PEACEFUL MUSIC I-VIII (CDR, private)
TOMOMI OKUNO - PSYCHOLONICA (CDR, private)
More and more I don't like releases like this. A simple printed image, un-design cover (including a typo in the title, seven in stead of eight pieces as noted on the inside and on the actual CD itself), slim line CDR box. More and more I suspect these are all one-off burned so that it seems we have a real CD release, but in reality we want a review for our download only release. I might be wrong. Marisa Allen is a member of Bremen Town Musician, whoever they are, but no doubt not from Germany, but Australia, as far as I gather the information. Recorded to four track, she uses a bunch of sound sources, including bowed saw, breathing, autoharp, singing glasses, water gong, recorder, and much, much more. These eight pieces are indeed Peaceful Music pieces, but which work somewhat differently than you would expect. The eight pieces are rather short, between two and four minutes, and everything seems to be played in real time, rather than working with loop devices or such like. The highly acoustic music works quite well. Very atmospheric and though not always peaceful, its never loud or noisy. Or perhaps its peaceful and one should try to forget to think of peaceful in terms of new age. Marisa Allen plays thoughtful tunes, using her wide variety of sound sources and it all sounds quite intimate, yet also at the same time rather free spirited and improvised. Very nice and a pity its all rather short.
A similar design approach can be found on the release by Tomomi Okuno, who graduated in 2005 from the Osaka University of Arts. She too has a simple box, simple print and a hand written CDR - am I promoting a bandcamp release again? I am not sure what to make of this release. The pieces are throughout not very long, usually around two to three minutes, with the two bonus tracks at the almost eight each, and it seems to me Okuno is using voice and some sort of computer treatments, but it all remains rather sketch-like. A bit vaguely poetic I guess, which is the kind of thing she does. Her voice, some loops there of. Hardly composed as such, I would say. Its not bad, but beyond the twenty minute mark I didn't hear much development. Like I said, I don't know what to make of this. (FdW)
Address: http://www.brementownmusician.com
Address: http://psycholonica.bandcamp.com

NGAN -  AISLAMIENTO (CDR by Time Fugitives)
There is not an awefull lot of information available for this release. It comes in one of those metallic cases and a printed insert, with a large image and track titles. Music seems to be produced by Jonathan Torrico. Twelve pieces, seventy minutes of music. That's about the extend of information. The music, let it be all about that then, is best described as something that is related to the world of noise music, but left behind its noisy undercurrent, in favor of something that deals with computer treatments. Time stretching mainly of electrical currents, voice and sources unknown. Ngan takes a bit of time to tell develop his pieces, and sometimes a bit too much time. Sometimes pieces are simply too long to keep one's full attention, more like Ngan may have thought: oh this process sounds nice, I should keep it as a track by itself, like in 'Cerra2 Faber'. When he employs more sound sources, in 'Fantke' for instance, we hear stretched out electronics and piano, it becomes much more interesting. I have mixed feelings about this release. Some of it sounded pretty much alright, but overall I wasn't too pleased. This is one of those things which take too much time, which could have used a bit more editing but also perhaps holds a promise for the future. Time will tell. (FdW)
Address: http://www.timefugitives.com

ADRIAN SHENTON & BANKS BAILEY - WRAPPED IN CLOVER (CDR by Phonospheric)
Going back to the well-remembered places from their childhood, this new collaboration between Adrian Shenton and Bank Bailey of course reminds me of Eno's 'On Land', in which he did the same, although perhaps on a more conceptual level. I am not sure how such a collaboration works, assuming that Shenton, being based in the UK and Bailey over in the USA don't share similar child memories of places, so its a bit difficult to see how things worked out here. Let's assume for a moment that the two of them taped a whole bunch of sounds at those places and then these recordings are combined into one music piece. That would seem to me the most logical explanation of how these things go. The four pieces have lots of water/wind/bird sounds, but also contains a  piano in the piece 'Dog Days', and bells of one kind or another are also present throughout this lot. Electronics seem to me absent, but of course I might be wrong. Yet, the layering of various sound events together make a somewhat fuller sound than is usual with just pure field recordings. Its impossible to say where these favorite places are located, but it all sounds like lovely places to be, not only as a child. Overall a fine, good release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.phonospheric.co.uk

KRYNGE - HISS & HEARSE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
BOUM & B*TONG - AUGENAUFSCHLAG (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
DISKREPANT - THROUGH THE ODIOUS FRAMEWORK (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
In Vital Weekly 823 I wasn't too impressed by the first release of Krynge. Actually a re-release actually of an old tape of Zan Hoffman, mixing together sounds from fellow musicians from the world of cassettes. Attentuation Circuit announced to re-issue the complete catalogue, so here's 'Hiss & Hearse', a twenty-five minute piece. I do remember the previous was of similar length. Why not put them together on one disc, and then the series would be done quicker? I fear many more will come, and I fear I will be negative all a long. This is the kind of 'old' noise that gave cassettes back then not a fine tag for quality and perhaps not all from that world deserves a re-issue these days, even when its a cassette or CDR release only.
Likewise I wasn't too pleased with the direction Swiss artist B*tong took in 'Un_B*tong' (see Vital Weekly 811), moving away from his dark ambient music into the world of musique concrete. Here he tries something out his usual ordinary, a collaboration with Swiss writer BoUm, who recites his prose, in German, and B*tong providing the soundtrack to this. He presents music that is again atmospheric as we know and like from him, but then being less heavy, less dark and a bit more sparse. From what I gather from the prose, which seems somewhat surreal and dark, the music fits quite well. My German is fine enough to follow most of the recited prose, but perhaps I'm not really all for music with pieces that are just read, even when BoUm has a nice voice (aided with some reverb). I like good music, like a good story, but perhaps in combinations I set up myself. However I think this music is something that fits B*tong better than the previous new direction. Way to go!
Per Ahlund's project Diskrepant seemed quite for a while - or perhaps we missed out on some of his releases since Vital Weekly 667, but this 3" CDR is the first of a series of three for Attenuation Circuit. He continues on the path he has been walking for some time now, the path of ambient industrial music. A great mixture of electronics from modular synthesizers (recorded at the EMS in Stockholm, so perhaps it includes the good old Bucla?), acoustic sound sources entirely obscured, but revolving around tape loops of some kind. That's it, I think. It drops by in various configurations, with an ever changing sound spectrum, but basically that's it. Its however not static music, but one that keeps changing, music that is always on the move. Too minimal in its changes to be something that is true, serious musique concrete, but perhaps that's one extra reason why I like this. (FdW)
Address: http://www.attenuationcircuit.de

CATHAL RODGERS - THRITY-NINE YEARS OF DECAY (CDR by Striate Cortex)
SINDRE BJERGA - PORTALS OF EXIT (3"CDR by Striate Cortex)
Remember Wereju (Vital Weekly 573, 658 for instance)? After a period of silence Cathal Rodgers is back, but no longer as Wereju, but under his own name, with a slightly different sound. Before his music was made with guitars to do music that sounded unlike anything with a guitar but long form drone music, here its music with guitars and sound effects that play music that goes towards the more industrial world, but with that dark ambient twang. Music that is louder than before, but its never noisy. Surely something has happened in the world of Rodgers that made this change, and I bet its something not positive. This music is all about sadness and non-acceptance thereof. Loud, angular blasts of guitar music, not by strumming it gently, but having it howl around like a wounded animal. Slightly distorted at the edges, but that's no doubt part of the idea. Not the best in its kind, not the worst, this is probably a fine therapy and good to share it.
On a smaller size we find a concert recording from Sindre Bjerga, recorded at OCCII in Amsterdam on February 23rd of this year. Bjerga, who seems to be on tour a lot, does it all, noise, improvised music, and being quiet, and here presents something in between all of that, or perhaps a combination of all of that. It opens up with what seems to a straw in a near empty glass sound, or perhaps a contact microphone being eaten by the composer and once that is digested we hear the lo-fi sound of hissy tapes, dictaphones and rumble of a more obscured nature, along with voices from beyond. A very fine piece of electro-acoustic music, not highly refined - in fact: far from it - but a rather personal touch from this great Norwegian guy. Very nice indeed. Catch this guy playing when it he is in your area (check Vital Weekly as he always puts his dates in the announcement section) (FdW)
Address: http://striatecortex.wordpress.com

SONTAG SHOGUN - ABSENT WARRIOR, ABANDONED BATTLEFIELD (CDR by Palaver Music)
SZILARD - RUST PARHELION (cassette by Palaver Music)
Two new releases on Palaver Music, the label of Jeremy Young, also known as Szilard. One is a solo release by him, the other of a trio in which he is involved, together with Jesse Perlstein and Ian Temple. All three were member of [the] slowest runner [in all the world], which I didn't hear. The five pieces here were recorded live and includes piano, feedback/sine wave like sounds, electronics and perhaps field recordings of some kind. This is quite good actually. The warmth of piano set against the colder climate of electronics and a bit of field recordings here and there, the rumble of contact microphones and such like make up five great pieces of music that flow right into each other. Too loud to be microsound, but also too soft to be noise - the thought of that! I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there is no piano involved and that all of this comes through us by laptop means, but I hardly couldn't care less. These almost twenty-six minutes of atmospheric music with a fine experimental twist is really good. One wished for some more of this, but alas none is given yet. I'd be curious to hear more of their work, as this brief introduction tastes like more.
On the solo front Jeremy Young's Szilard project has a cassette with two pieces, which sound strikingly similar. Apparently there are two loops of guitar sounds, and four loops of field recordings, mixed together, and in a very limited changing pattern, "Parhelia are phantom images of the sun, light refractions in the frozen air of the Arctic Circle." A bit like Fata Morgana I assume. The two pieces are just two different temperatures of the same thing it seems. Best is to leave this tape on repeat play, rather than listening to the (also) available download. But if you leave this on repeat play for a day or so (assuming, wrongly no doubt, that people have actually time for this) on a medium to low volume and let the music work as a sound environment. I had it on while the rain is pouring down, at least for a while and that worked rather well with this music, which in the end blurred with sounds from 'real' life. I had no idea at one point what came from where, which I guess is the best compliment one could make about music anyway. (FdW)
Address: http://www.palavermusic.com



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