number 846
week 35


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help Vital Weekly to survive:

EVENTLESS PLOT - RECON (CD by Aural Terrains) *
GOEM - AUDIO.NL (CD by Korm Plastics) *
4 IN 1 VOUME 3 (CD by EE Tapes)
JOHN ORSI - IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (CD by It's Twilight Time) *
WILL SAMSON - BALANCE (CD by Karaoke Kalk) *
CAROLINE PARK - OCTAVLUV (CDR by Visceral Media) *

EVENTLESS PLOT - RECON (CD by Aural Terrains)
A new work, the third I counted, by a Greek trio called Eventless Plot. They had a full length release on Granny Records before (see Vital Weekly 685) and a split with Good Luck Mr Gorky (see Vital Weekly 618). These days they are partly based on Thessaloniki and The Hague and their new release is on Aural Terrains, and the trio (no names, but instruments include piano, prepared piano, e bow piano and psalterion, objects, max/msp, field recordings, percussion and clarinet) sees two guest players, Stefanos Lazaristis (bass saxophone) and Angelica Vasquez (harp, prepared harp). The six pieces are the result of various improvisations being recorded, processed, edited, slimed down. Eventless Plot is a group (inc guest players) that move along the lines of free jazz - especially in the use of wind instruments here - but also in the world of glitchy sounds, ambient, drone like material, electro-acoustic material, and yet somehow it seems that improvised music prevails here. With the previous release, 'Ikon', I thought it was all along the lines of releases on 12K, but here I'm less convinced that its along the lines of that label. Eventless Plot sound too much along the lines of improvised music on this new release. I think I preferred 'Ikon' better, maybe a bit more coherent, or perhaps the whole 'free' character of the music doesn't go down too well today.
There is some confusion in my head. I read on the website of Home Normal: "Last but certainly not least, the Pan Am Scan lads (Masayoshi Fujita, Simon Harris, Derek Shirley, Jan Thoben, Kassian Troyer), have conjured up something wonderful for their new record out at the beginning of August with ‘Tesseract’." So is Tesseract the name of the band? And on earth is Pan Am Scan? I see they did a split with The Boats? Why aren't they called Pan Am Scan here? The eight tracks here, spanning just under thirty minutes and might be recorded live at Ausland, a great place in Berlin. The instrumental duties are divided with vibraphone (Fujita), electronics (Harris), double bass (Shirley), drums and electronics (Thoben) and guitar and electronics (Troyer). Like Eventless Plot a work of improvisation, and no doubt 'free' as well, but perhaps due to the absence of wind instruments this is something more of my liking - less rooted in jazz I guess. Highly atmospheric music at work here, lots of suggested space. The music is quiet and spacious, but not on the endless sustain pedal, the push of the drone button. Moody headspace music I think, but it works very well, especially later at night if its dark outside. Particularly spooky at that. (FdW)
Address: http://www.auralterrains.com
Address: http://homenormal.tumblr.com/

GOEM - AUDIO.NL (CD by Korm Plastics)
On the last day before the gateway to year 2000, I went to a dark and small apartment in Mariensstrasse in Berlin to interview a band who had just given a full crowd quite some experience by transmitting obscure sound and subtle pulsating noises into the almost completely darkened room. The project was the Dutch trio called Goem. Behind the sonic equipments of Goem you found legendary Frans de Waard and two fellow compatriots and sound explorers Peter Duimelinks and Roel Meelkop. After a few years of silence,  it is now the time to (re)experience the strangeness of Goem with this album  titled “Audio. NL” released on the Korm Plastics-label and effectively a collection of tracks from 12's from their own Audio.NL from a decade back. Goem is the side project of the same trio, who had collaborated in the concrete sound/noise-project Kapotte Muziek. Where Kapotte Muziek was more extrovert and upfront harsh expressions, the magic behind Goem is the subtle expressions sneaking into the ears of the listeners – like a swarm of digital pulses penetrating you and scrubbing your skin on the inside. The album opens with the uptempo track "Motormix", reminiscent of early Panasonic. After this opener the album moves into an almost beatless universe of subtle soundscapes of glitches and noises. What an excellent trip back to one of Holland’s finest moments of sound art. (NM)
Address: http://wwww.kormplastics.nl

Present album is a re-issue of an extremely limited LP-version released on the Brave Mysteries-label from an artist called Burial Hex. Behind the project you find the composer Clayton James Ruby from England. Ruby has experimented with digital, analog, and physical media his entire life. He began the project Burial Hex in 2007 and since then a great number of albums has seen the light of the day. As Burial Hex, Ckayton James Ruby focus on expressions of what has been called horror ambient, consisting of dark electronics and post-industrial apocalyptic soundscapes. Samples of human cries and screams fills the atmosphere creating this dark meanwhile beautiful atmosphere built on piano and atmospheric ambient-spheres. What makes the album quite interesting is the sudden occurrence of ritual upbeat textures in the lengthy title track. Opening slowly with monstrous calls and distant ancient instruments on the background of slow heavy beats the tracks steadily move into dark spheres of ritual techno running 15 minutes with only slight variations. Very intense. As a bonus on this otherwise excellent release you also get four tracks from split LPs with the two projects Zola Jesus and Kinit Her. Awesome re-issue! (NM)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk

4 IN 1 VOUME 3 (CD by EE Tapes)
Back in the old days I used to keep a list of all the cassettes I bought, and unfortunately that list is long gone, but I am pretty sure one my early purchases was '4 In 1 Volume 1', a cassette with Pseudo Code, Human Flesh, Mecanique Vegetale and Etat Brut. Four classic bands from the world of industrial/electronic music from Belgium, each with some fifteen minutes of music and still a regular ipod favorite. The second volume had the form of a LP and had music by Subject, The Legendary Pink Dots, Glamour For Evening and Bene Gesserit. Somehow that LP never had a legendary status with me, but I am not sure why. I should dig it out and play it again. What can be noted about both volumes is that Insane Music's Alain Neffe had quite a part in it, with two of his bands present. Now, almost thirty later, there is a third volume which is all about various Neffe bands. It opens with three  excellent pieces by Pseudo Code, all from around 1981 and with the classic sound of hammering rhythm machine, synths and Xavier S's soaring vocals. Bene Gesserit has four pieces all from 2010 and 2011, all with the voice of Nadine Bal at its centre and here taking the form of experimental poetry, rather than its more poppy sound from yesteryear. The somewhat odd thing here are five pieces recorded by Neffe contributing music to the vocals of Messy, a relatively obscure musician from Axel, The Netherlands (but active since many years), and these pieces are from ten years ago. The interesting thing is that Messy's vocals sound not unlike those of Nadine Bal, or other vocalists used by Neffe in Human Flesh, and also the music is not too different, so if you listen superficially it may seem a lot of pieces by Bene Gesserit, even when Messy Goes Insane is a bit less sound poetry like and more darker atmospherics. Say a fine few pieces to the twenty minute piece that ends this CD, 'an electronic opera' by Human Flesh, and in fine opera tradition in Italian (which is perhaps the only tradition from the world of opera obeyed here). It has spoken voices, soprano's along with synthesizers and electronics. I am clueless as to what this is about, but it sounds melancholic, atmospheric and perhaps even a bit spooky at times. An excellent piece in the best Human Flesh tradition, but of more recent years: quality has been maintained throughout. Excellent music all around here! (FdW)
Address: http://www.eetapes.be

Sometimes I know that 'things' will arrive on this desk, since people announce it. So I am particularly happy to announce the return of Small Cruel Party, but that glorious moment is a bit stolen now. Let me explain. When Harbinger Sound send me the 8 CD set of Ramleh, they also announced the imminent release of a 3 CD set by Small Cruel Party, with a bunch of 7"s and compilation tracks from the period 1992-2002, which excited me. Many of those 7"s records I no doubt have, and perhaps even reviewed in the old days of Vital-as-paper magazine, and in one of those issues I conducted a sort of interview with Key Ransone, the man behind Small Cruel Party. But that 3CD set is now somewhat delayed, and the hurrah momentum is now for Kaon, who re-release a tape from 1992 on CD. I am looking at the images on discogs, but I am not sure if I ever heard or owned this tape. The music of Small Cruel Party is not easy to describe. Its a very minimal sound, with an electro-acoustic basis at the core of it, but then its been treated with simple sound effects, such as delay and reverb. By using his hands to manipulate his sounds he creates dense fields of sound. Long pieces also. This CD/cassette has two twenty minute pieces of music. 'Crowd Of Small Things' sounds like metal on metal being rubbed slowly back and forth, with some irregularities of the surface being amplified. 'Tank Ecstasy Between Floors' sound exactly like that. A big hollow sort of tank thing in which some sort of action takes place. Water sounds, large amounts of natural reverb of objects falling on metal floors with additional delay. Mysterious music, drone like but then not in a synthetic way, but rather natural and hardly blurred - perhaps strangely enough. This is different kind of drone music than what we usually hear, these days at least. This is great release and the first sign of many more Small Cruel Party to come - to be continued. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kaon.org

In Vital Weekly 830 I reviewed what seemed to be the first CD by a trio of female composers/improvisers Syntjuntan. They built their own 'sewn synth' but also make jewelry out of electronic components. I wasn't blown away by their release. Now there is a second CD, which might very well be on their own label, the newly founded Schhh… label. Here we have four pieces. Three are compositions by each member performed by themselves sometimes and certainly with a lot of others also, and one piece by Syntjuntan themselves. These pieces are somewhere between fourteen and twenty minutes and by the look of the photographs on the cover, this is a serious affair. A serious avant-garde affair, big stage, nice lightning and no immediate threat to anyone. The first piece is a rather modest affair, but in 'Head Resistance' four male guitar players battle with four women on hat-synthesizers, and makes up a rather noisy affair, but which carries on a bit too long for my taste. The third piece is again a somewhat softer piece of improvised music, with roles equally divided for 'real' instruments and electronics. The Syntjuntan piece is what we expected it to be like: a furious onslaught of improvised electronic matter, abruptly changing shape and color. Its music that fits along the lines of say Merzbow but perhaps lacks a bit of his strength? I am not sure. Throughout I thought this CD was alright, but again something I think should be seen in a live concert. (FdW)
Address: http://www.schhh.se

Since some time I’m very keen on this label. They released several very interesting albums so far. These three new releases are new prove of the creativity in this scene in the north of Italy. ‘Platform One’ is more then excellent. Long time ago since I heart a duo album that is so musically rich and convincing. Both Guida (saxophones) and Testa (double bass) are fantastic musicians, who offer lots of ideas in the eleven compositions that made it to this cd. The compositions vary and are delicious by the ‘sounds’  they create in each work. This is partly due to the sparse and effective use of equipment and technical devices they use but are not listed on the cd. Like in the piece ‘liquid’ where some very distant echo is added to the sax, that makes a whole lot of difference. This is just one aspect that  makes this an exceptional album of very expressive musicians. It left me flabbergasted at several moments. Certainly names to watch! Stefano Ferrian returns with an album that is far more close to jazz then his earlier work, if I’m not mistaken. Ferrian’s Nutimbre is his quintet of piano, drums, trumpet, double bass, with Ferrian himself on tenor and soprano sax.  The seven pieces Ferrian composed for this album are well executed. Evidently  this jazz is drenched in the jazz tradition, but I’m  not a specialist. So it is difficult for me to identify what are their influences are. But definitely Monk is one of the inspirations. Most pieces are well-defined jazz pieces, with room for improvisation but never turning into radical free improvisation. At moments it is not really jazz, but more close to chamber music. Nor does Ferrian deal in deconstruction maneuvers. It is more from within the known that he and his quintet try to shed some new light on jazz. They do this with tight and enjoyable pieces. Nido Workshop is also a quintet, with Vito Emanuele Galante (trumpet) and Luca Pissavini (double bass) who were also present on the album of Ferrian. Both musicians by the way play a prominent role. They depart from the jazz as it was played in the 50s and 60s (Ornette Coleman, a.o.). Also there are influenced by contemporary composed music and the European tradition of improvised music. They produce intelligent and inspired music with unexpected twists and accents. (DM)
Address: http://www.denrecords.eu

Is this the first release by John Orsi under his own name? Damn search mode which finds Fabio all the time… John Orsi is the man behind Knitting By Twilight by whom I have reviewed a whole bunch of releases now, over the years. I saw them grow from a factory/4AD/Crepuscule kind of band in to a more improvised rock outfit with more experimental edges. Now Orsi takes the next step and uses his own name - temporarily perhaps? I don't know - and offers a relatively short album of just twenty-three minutes and with six tracks in total and of which the last is about half the length of this release. Here the axis shift again, and now towards the use of percussion instruments, along with a bit of organs, 'found' sounds and field recordings. A certain element of world music is present, but also noise in 'Companion Wheel', with its rattling of cages. Minimalist in approach, things move rather slowly over the course of each piece, but they do move. Orsi has finally removed himself from the world of pop and offers something that is perhaps more alike film music soundtrack - but then of more ancient nature, like a black and white picture of flickering images, rather than a block buster from Hollywood. The whole thing is both abstract on one hand and along lines of true musicality on the other. To be found at the cross roads of soundtrack, modern classical, improvised music and still with a bit of pop. More Crepuscule than 4AD if you catch my drift. (FdW)
Address: http://www.itstwilightmusic.com

WILL SAMSON - BALANCE (CD by Karaoke Kalk)
Singer-songwriters and me: I am never sure this will be an easy marriage. There must be something in the genetical structure of me that doesn't match up with singer-songwriters and certainly not of the kind of Will Samson. It's not my first encounter with his music, as I already reviewed his 'Hello Friends, Goodbye Friends' in Vital Weekly. Back then I wrote: "one Will Samson, born in England, raised in Australia, and now in Berlin, after traveling through the Himalayas. No doubt he has a beard, as this all sounds quite hippy like to me. An acoustic guitar, some bells, and the 'desolate' singing and whispering voice of Samson. Sometimes there is a bit of piano and a bit of electronics. Eight lengthy sparse pieces of sad desolate music by no doubt the saddest boy of the class. I am pretty sure lots of people will like this, however I am not one of them." I can say very much the same about his latest release. He is still the saddest boy in the class and uses 'vintage equipment' which add an aura of authenticity to the music, and oh, shit, recording sessions were used to 'drink more tea'. I guess that did it. There must be something in the genetical structure of me, the eternal coffee drinker that has a hard time understanding tea drinkers. Like before, I am pretty sure lots of people will like this, however I am not one of them, and I don't think I ever will. (FdW)
Address: http://www.karaokekalk.de

In a handwritten note along these two LPs, mister Ini.Itu expects that the LP by Mutamassik is 'an awkward thing' for Vital Weekly. I had never heard of Mutamassik, the brainchild of Giulia Loli, who 'merges Egyptian percussion with hardcore breaks. The result, sometimes dubbed Sa'aidi hardcore & Baladi breakbeats is a mutant, syncopated form of instrumental hip-hop'. She is from Italy and has worked with David Byrne, Ikue Mori, Kaffe Matthews and others - one could do worse, I think. I guess this is the first record on Ini.Itu that doesn't deal with Indonesia, but then at least with something else from what is wrongly called 'world music'. This release is hardly an awkward thing for me, as it sounds pretty interesting. Lots of beat material - nothing wrong there - which sometimes works along the moves of hip hop - nothing wrong there either, but perhaps not always a personal favorite - with some crude samples thrown in for good measure and slices of field recordings and something that may or may be vocal like. This is surely an odd release. I must admit that the hardcore breaks promised via the press release made me think of something else, but its not a wild breakcore/hardcore break by any means. Actually its much more sophisticated than I expected. A strange mixture of ethnical beats and 'modern' electronics. A reference to the work of Muslimgauze is easily made, but Mutamassik has more extended passages of experimental soundscapes mixed in these songs and in between the songs. Although perhaps not entirely my cup of tea, I thought this was all quite good, a great surprise!
On Steve Roden's LP the 'world music' is entirely gone, but ini.itu is not a label to hand out open invitations, like 'give me some music and I'll release'. By no field recordings from far away countries or music from such countries, Roden was send a box of objects to produce sound with, and shown on the printed insert (which is a first for ini.itu, along with the LP by Mutamassik to have such inserts). We see a toy keyboard, coins, old airplane headphones, paper, wooden objects, some metal objects, a CDR. Just like his work with Machinefabriek this is not the result of file exchange but exchange of objects and in the hands of Roden turned into great music. By listening to this music, six tracks in total, its not always easy to recognize those objects. Roden creates a sound with it, records it and then loops it around, masses these loops and builds a fine piece of music with it. Usually quite linear in approach: Roden starts a sound, adds one more, adds another one etc, and all of this he does in a rather smooth and gentle way. And then at one point he takes away things, usually all of them at once via a fade out and then a new piece starts. Its, as said, all quite loop heavy, and Roden doesn't use the long form of playing sounds by hand. Perhaps one could say that the downside is that he does whatever he does, but the good news is that he does this with great care and style. This album doesn't shed any new light on the work of Roden, and fulfills whatever you have been expecting from him. Not his best, not at his most original but surely another fine addition to his vast catalogue. (FdW)
Address: http://www.iniitu.net

When I got the mail yesterday I was lucky: one parcel containing just this book and I was done with writing reviews for that day and nothing else arrived, I flipped through the book, mumbled 'ah interesting' and then grabbed all of the CDs I have - which is actually all of them, save Omit/Dust (anyone care to sell me a copy?) - of Corpus Hermeticum, as this seemed to be the perfect soundtrack when reading such a book. Its basically what the title promises: its about experimental sound from those two islands down under, with, according to Wikipedia a population of 4.430.400, but, oh boy, what a lively musical scene. Maybe it was co-editor Richard Francis who once explained it to me (maybe it was Greg Malcolm come to think of it): such small and remote area will very unlikely see any touring bands from say the USA or Europe, so 'we all have to be in bands ourselves', and probably that's why everyone has their own label to release music on. This book tells all, through chapters on cities (Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland, Wellington), on musicians (Chris Knox, Alastair Galbraith, Vitamin S, Matt Middleton), on festival, gallery spaces and radio, labels (CLaudia, Metonymic, krkrkr) musicians about their own work and even a nice piece on Peter King, that man with his record/lathe cutting cottage industry. All of these through relatively short pieces that are easy to read. Not everything in a great style - some of this is merely summing up names of people playing with x, before moving to y and then shortly with z - but most of the times pleasant enough. Its about crude lo-fi drone music, free improvisation, laptop music: anything that one could call experimental, which is a great thing. No separation between genres as one can see within many other countries. You play laptop, therefor you are not improvising - that kind of thing. There is one downside, I thought, and that's the role of Bruce Russell himself. He's the editor of this book, but no doubt has played an all important role in the development of experimental music in New Zealand. Through his work with The Dead C, A Handful Of Dust and important labels as Corpus Hermeticum and Xpressway, and as an initiator of concert spaces, helping hand with equipment and all such like. Its mentioned in various pieces in this book, but I fear its a bit downplayed. Maybe a next book should be all about his work? That would be a great addition to this otherwise complete book. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cmr.net.nz

This might very well be my first introduction to the music of Caroline Park, a composer from Los Angeles, but these days based in Providence, Rhode Island. She is primarily an electronic composer, playing solo concerts on her laptop, but also with BUMPR, a quartet of laptop musicians and multi-instrumentalists, also enclosing Peter Bussigel, Stephan Moore and Timothy Rovinelli. This work, 'Octavluv' is a forty-four some minute work which one should play at a medium to low volume, and is what Park calls 'peripheral music', not unlike Satie's idea of 'furniture music'. Nice plinkity plink tones of what could be a digital synth and which drifts nicely along, apparently without too much structure. I think, but I am not sure, Park played this and then the computer calculate the right timing for, giving it a very precise and accurate timing. Only on two occasions the sounds 'hangs' and it seems if we move into something else, but that is not happen. I am not sure if this intentional, or accidental, but it surely makes a nice change, even for the brief moments they last. This is indeed a work to play at a low volume and 'do other things', like tidying up or the dishes - the two things I did while having this music on. This is no doubt what Satie had in mind, and Brian Eno also with his original concept of ambient music. So perhaps Park doesn't do much new, it's surely an excellent work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.visceralmediarecords.com

Alright, I will admit that I didn't play these releases in this order. The solo release by David Birchall I played after the trio disc, but I like them in the order I review them (spoiler alert). Birchall is a guitarist who plays in a whole bunch of groups such as Stuckometer,  Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra, Our Beautiful Ridiculous Plan and Kalbakken, none of which I heard, and obviously a whole bunch of improvisers. On his solo CD Birchall plays acoustic guitar with objects on the strings. The objects are also shown, as drawings, in the enclosed booklet. All of this was recorded straight to tape, although I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a variety of microphones have been used here. Sometimes it sounds close by and sometimes far away. I think he uses spoons, pieces of wood, round objects, saucers maybe, that dance around and do all sort of weird things. All along Birchall plays the strings and does that in a nervous hectic way, certainly in 'Play As Parable' and the tracks that follow after that - roughly the second half of the release. Quite a blast, but a very nice one. Totally crazy, wild playing.
Birchall also has a trio with Olie Brice (double bass) and Phillip Marks (percussion) and together they recorded last year in the same studio as Birchall recorded his solo release, and its twice as long as the solo release but unfortunately not twice as good. This is total free improvised music with a bit of jazz influence, especially in the way Brice plays his bass. Maybe I should have left this with Dolf Mulder? I am not sure. Its not that I dislike this release, but maybe listening to all sixty-two minutes in a row is a bit much. Surely this trio are accomplished players but perhaps its all a bit much and as someone recently suggested, you don't have to listen to CDs in its entirety at once, you can always take it in smaller portions. I like to play them in one go, and perhaps that's my mistake all together? This extended this of improvised music is perhaps a good one to try out the smaller portion option. (FdW)
Address: http://www.davidmbirchall.wordpress.com

Here we have a live collaboration between Emerge, one of Attenuation Circuit's recurring musicians, working together with 'electro' producer elektrojudas. The music was composed for an exhibition by Frank Mardaus, called 'Vetraulich - nur fur den Dienstgebrauch', and "consisting of archival photographs documenting virtually the whole life of the artist in a kind of bureaucratic 'Recherche du temps perdu'" as the information sheet tells us. Mardaus' voice is used here too, counting, and set against the beat material of elektrojudas and Emerge's more ambient backdrop. The whole thing was recorded live, perhaps at the opening, and is not the soundtrack which runs with the entire exhibition. That's something we can hear, since the music is rather chaotic and bouncing around, all in a more or less improvised mood. Sometimes Emerge knows how to bend the beat material and make things a bit more abstract, but throughout its the more straight forward beats of elektrojudas that prevail here. But its never going to be a really out there dance music record, nor is this supposed to be, I guess. I thought the results were alright, but not great. It sort of eludes me why this had to be released however. In that sense I am not convinced by the results.  (FdW)
Address: http://www.attenuationcircuit.de

Another fine addition to the expanding series of treated water recordings, here's one by Swiss D'Incise and one of the first, perhaps the first, to have liner notes about the various things he considered when this piece of music. Although I have heard various releases by D'Incise, I don't have yet a very clear picture of what he does. If I understand well this new work is is all about computer treatments of the river sounds provided by Cedric Peyronnet, our label boss who builds this series. D'Incise does a great job here, with nice crackling sounds, fine drones and such like and builds these into a very slow moving collage piece of sound. It moves slowly from one section into the next. Its hard to say something about it that is not nice. I really enjoyed the tranquil nature of this music. I do realize however, at the same time, that this is not the most original thing in the world. The way D'Incise works with granular synthesis is very well known and hardly surprising. But I decided, perhaps just for today, not to care about that. Today I think this is a wonderful work! The best D'Incise I heard so far. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kaon.org