number 848
week 37


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ASMUS TIETCHENS - STUPOR MUNDI (LP by Die Stadt/Auf Abwegen) *
STEPHAN MATHIEU - CODA (FOR WK) (CD single by 12K) *
THE HORSE LOOM (LP by Low Point)
THE UNSTRUMENT (DVD-R/CDR by El Frenzy Productions)
MARTINS ROKIS - LIVE RECORDINGS 2009-2011 (CDR by Uzu Sounds) *
ASTERO (CDR by Agxivatein) *
PNDC & HOUSEWORK - NOTHING IN THE SKY (CDR by Listen Loudest! Records) *
UNDERCARRIAGE - HOMUNCULUS (CDR by Blackest Rainbow Records/Eclipse Records) *
JIM HAYNES - KAMCHATKA (CDR by Contour Editions) *
DANIEL THOMAS & MIDWICH - TWENTY THREE TAELS (3"CDR by Sheepscar Light Industrial) *
THE SKULL MASK - SAHUMERIO (3"CDR by Striate Cortex) *

The first release by Kane Ikin, one half of the duo Solo Andata, was a 7" on 12K, which I might have very well missed out upon. In his studio he uses everything he can lay his hands upon: old 78s, early drum machines, analogue synthesizers, reel to reel recorders, anything that he can 'hit, pluck or bow'. Ikin created sixteen pieces of music anywhere from two to four-some minutes, which have more or less a sketch like character. If 12K in recent times showed an interest in a more pop-like sensibility, its not very apparent on this new release. With this release 12K seems to hark back to the main days of all things microsound and glitch, but then in a much shorter time frame per piece. What is perhaps a bit different here, is the use of rhythm. Not always, or rather more not than often, in the sense of a rhythm machine, but always in the sense of loops being used. Perhaps that's what makes up the pop sensibility these days for 12K? Hard to say. This seems to me a remarkable move altogether. Some of these pieces I thought were a bit too monolithic: a few samples, a bit of hiss, some filtering on the way, and that's about it. Some of the pieces were alright, but overall this album was a bit of a let down for me. All of this seems to hastily put together and could have used more thought towards composition, whereas the execution side of things sounded alright to me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.12k.com

Very occasionally we refer to old reviews, especially when it comes to re-issues, and even more very occasionally we refer to the times when Vital Weekly existed on paper - the years 1986-1995. I spend some time this afternoon to re-read those old magazines in search of a review of 'Stupor Mundi', which I found in issue 16 (yes, I read the old lot in a random way), all along while playing the CD version of it. The review was on two separate pages and only in the end I found out it was the late Anton Viergever and not me who wrote it. Whereas I was sure I did the review; so much for memory. Anton doesn't say much about the stupidity of the world, as this is translated, but makes some interesting, I guess, observations of Tietchens' release policy, and that some albums he liked more than others. That is more than natural, I should think. One can't see 'Stupor Mundi' aside from 'Geboren Um Zu Dienen', his first album on Discos Esplendor Geometrico and where he sounded, as much as I could see, as a Esplendor Geometrico rip-off. Perhaps even more than 'Geboren Um Zu Dienen' deals with ultra short, repeating loops, feeding through a bunch of sound effects. A mechanical, machine like sound. More than its predecessor the ghost of Vivenza is present on this album - the machines have finally taken over. 'Stupor Mundi' is also, however an album that deals too much with this short phrase looping and is very much an one idea record and offers less variety than 'Geboren Um Zu Dienen', the other 'industrial' LP from the same days. That's perhaps one of the reason why 'Stupor Mundi' remains, also now when re-released, one of my least favorite Tietchens records. The one idea approach is of course something Tietchens has used a lot, but he always knows how to build a variety into the work he is executing. That is not apparent here, save a few tracks. If you love some fine industrial banging than of course this album is a must have and for all Tietchens fans it's a likewise must have, since it has four bonus tracks and you need to follow the evolution of this fine composer. (FdW)
Address: http://www.diestadtmusik.de http://www.aufabwegen.com

I had a curious problem with this one. The CD was refused by all the players inside our house. It was only possible for me to play it in my Toyota. But don’t let that be a reason for putting this amazing release aside. Del Nunzio is a composer and musician from Sao Paulo, Brazil, presenting his first solo work with five compositions for electric guitar and live electronics. He invited 5 Brazilian composers who work in the field of contemporary music, to compose a piece especially for him. And so they did. This makes ‘Vértebra’, a good opportunity getting to know this remarkable player, plus works from young composers from Brazil as well. The electric guitar is of course the ultimate rock instrument, so it is surprising and inspiring to find it here as a solo instrument in modern compositions. I know only of one other example: Tim Brady. Del Nunzio himself composes instrumental and electro-acoustic music, and plays free improvised music. Some of this electro-acoustic compositions have been released on cd. He has a special interest in researching extended instrumental techniques and the role of physical limitations in performing music. I guess, the composers who wrote for him know of this interest. In selecting the five composers diversity was a criteria. From what I understand del Nunzio send a open invitation to these composers. The cd opens with ‘Fendas’ composed by Fernanda Aoki Navarro and that showed some connection with Beefheart in a way. Most compositions are interesting because of the technical skills of del Nunzio, more than the compositions as such. Although the use of electronics in most pieces is evident, all are above all works with a recognizable role for the electric guitar. Absolutely a very interesting and enjoyable CD for those interested in the electric guitar in the context of contemporary music. (DM)
Address: http://www.ponto4digital.com

This is the third part of a review that started in 766 and then was continued in Vital Weekly 822. In the right order, again: [766] A new work of Stephan Mathieu is always a delight. If a pile of stuff arrives on one day, and there is a Stephan Mathieu among the lot, you can be sure I will play that one first. For the decade or so that I know his music (and the lovely man himself), I have been rarely, if at all, been disappointed. His work deals with projects, like using radio as a source of music, virginals and now its time to have a look at wax cillinders from the late 1920s and early 1930s, when 'historically informed performances of music from the late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque era were etched into 78rpm records. Mathieu plays these back on an ancient gramophone and picks up the music from his space and treats it with 'spectral analysis and convolution processes', whatever that means exactly. It something you can think about when you listen to these five long pieces. This could be, something I was thinking about then, be a more likely release on Line than 12K. If you are familiar with his music, then you probably know what to expect: easily the best you can have in the world of drone/ambient music. There isn't a single moment when you think this is music made with the aid of a computer. More like a bunch of analogue synthesizers, recorded to cassette (the hiss in the opening piece 'Schwarzchild Radius'!) and in the process of transfer nothing was done to remove the hiss and static energy of low grade recording means, and that's surely the intention of Mathieu when working with wax cillinders. At first it seems if the music is too gentle, a big cliche of ambient music, but as the album progresses Mathieu adds a lot of depth to it and it works on many levels. The music is gentle, not mistake can be made there, but it can not be lumped in with the new age crowd, although the opening may seem to hint at that. Its more like Eno's first ambient record - to be noticed, to fill an ambience. Excellent. [822]: I have no idea why this needs to be released on a 2LP. I am sure Mathieu and many of his fans are purists who prefer vinyl over CDs, but then why not release vinyl in the first place instead of a CD. We have a bonus track here, an extra twenty minute of great music, but the whole concept of this releasing of a double format eludes me. The fans already bought the CD, and now need to buy the 2LP for that bonus piece. It reeks of commercialism I think. With so many great music out there waiting to be released, why does Minority choose to release these things that have been already out there for a while? I am not a purist who prefers any format over another, but I don't like this kind of re-releasing a lot. [848] After I wrote the review in Vital Weekly 822 I was right away informed that the bonus piece was to be released on a mini CD. The review of the 2LP brought on a heated discussion on facebook, about the pros and cons of LPs, bonus material and such like. Now I am much more of a CD man myself, especially when it comes to delicate music, as Mathieu's, so I am glad that this bonus piece is on CD, as I'm sure many of the Mathieu fans will be who didn't get a 2LP limited to 155 copies (or couldn't afford it). And the music, you may ask? Its another fine atmospheric, warm yet digital (digital yet warm) piece of music. You can't go wrong here. But that much you knew already. (FdW)
Address: http://www.12k.com

Spinnst is a continuation of In Julia’s Mind-Scene, a Dutch (Utrecht-) based band. Folk songs are exchanged for extended instrumental minimal rock pieces. Related to the post rock genre, and evoking memories of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic - a keyboard-centered ‘rockgroup’ from the 80s - as well as other avant rock groups. The crew consists of Mark Versteegen (guitar), Gijs van der Heijden (keyboards), Martin Buser (drums), Pitrik Koerts (bass). Don’t know much about the whereabouts of these musicians. Gijs van der Heijden is the only one who studied music: music technology and composition. Can’t tell you however if he composed most the pieces here. Post rock never made a strong appeal on me. In general I need a lot of time and willingness in order to appreciate this kind of music. Same for this one. At first hearing I did not drift along with the music. But after several hearings it began talking to me. Fine structured pulsating compositions built up from extended repetitive patterns. A full-grown record also, because the musicians show a clear musical vision. It  is recorded live in a studio with minimal overdubs added. The music sounds very fresh, transparent and convincing. The producer Martin Luiten did a good job. Although they tap from interesting sources, their music is in the end more comforting then it is challenging. (DM)
Address: http://www.spinnst.com

Vomir represents the definitive HNW- An LP of 33 rpm A side,  CD and B side 45rpm of the LP. Despite other reviews this is not nihilist, sceptic or brutal or even particularly harsh – if any of these predicates could be used, and so point in some metaphysics of an essence for a listener, even if one which withdraws from itself and others including the listener, then the title would render the whole instantiation contradictory or push it into some post-modern ironic chain of signification … the other other - difference … would not be in – difference. It doesn’t take a genius to see the two possibilities here. Ignoring the dictionary definition which locksus firmly into some humanism which Vomir I would argue eschews – at its most simplistic we lack difference then we lack the possibility of signification, lack of representamen, semiotic object, qualisign, sinsign, legisign, rheme or dicisign… etc / et al. Hence – conversely and perversely the precise definition of  Noise which I continually claim as the hallmark of Vomir’s work. The only problematic therefore is of “tool-being” which might existin such HNW,  you know - the all too difficulty of a failure of some kind – where? – here? However in order to avoid such a “breaking” Vomir’s work despite itself can be a negative epistemics and totalised ontology – an exogenetic signified something along the lines of a generic matrix but of “Reals”. (jliat)
Address: http://www.peripheralrecords.co.uk

Chris Pottinger is the man behind Cotton Museum and the label Tasty Soil. He has released at least a LP under that name (see Vital Weekly 691), as well as one under his own name (see Vital Weekly 744). The difference between both names is that Cotton Museum is all about the use of modular synthesizers and when it comes to his own name is more open, and perhaps also more acoustic. Here he has eight tracks which use a Serge modular synthesizer, Pittsburgh modular analog delay and a Roland space echo RE-150; additionally there was a sequential circuits pro-one, various modified electronic instruments and an electro-harmonix memory man delay. Schematics are depicted on the cover. As a part-time knob-fiddler myself, I know the fun it is to play around with machines that have lots of knobs. That's the easy part. The more complicated part is of course to create something that sounds coherent, as in something we would call a composition, and not some amorphous mass of sounds, because someone switched a few knobs on an ancient synthesizer. Pottinger knows how to do this quite well. In the eight pieces he limits himself to a few sounds per piece, finds the parameters which he wants to use per track and then builds a composition from there.  Unlike 'Pus Pustules', the previous Cotton Museum LP I heard, this new one is not as 'nasty' as that one, but it still has rough edges here and there. It's not that his music smoothened out, but in fact has deepened more. It's more complex and works well as a record modern electronic music. It would have fitted nicely on Mego's recent stream of such works, like the Keith Fullerton Whitman records. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tastysoil.com

THE HORSE LOOM (LP by Low Point)
Two new names for me here on Low Point. Ex-Easter Island Head used to be a duo, but now its a quartet of mallet guitars, percussion and trumpet. Each side here is a distinct piece of his own, recorded at special occasions. 'Mallet Guitars Two' was recorded in 2010 for Liverpool Light Night and 'Music For Moai Hava' in front of the statue/relic from Easter Island, on display in Liverpool. For the latter piece, the work together with the P.A.t.T orchestra, 'an inclusive ensemble of no fixed size or instrumentation, bringing together players of all ages, abilities and backgrounds'. Although both sides seem to be linked through playing mallet guitars and percussion plus a bit of trumpet, the first piece is a more straight forward piece (well, actually more than one) of fine minimalism strumming and a fine bit of soaring, sparse trumpet notes. Quite minimal indeed, and surely highly atmospheric, but it's all less drone like than I anticipated. 'Music For Moai Hava' is a likewise minimal piece but due to the extended use of bells, gongs, shakers (the orchestra's input I should think), which brings the music to a wild, tribalistic dance at one point, following a slow build up. One could easily think this is the end of the piece, but its only half way through. We are served an even more minimal piece of very subtle guitar playing, barely audible. The first side is great, but maybe also common ground in the world of ambient rock, whereas the second side is truly great. Majestic full blown orchestral sitting as easily to the most quiet, detailed piece of music.
Behind The Horse Loom is Steve Malley, a singer and guitar player. He used to play in a band called Crane, 'post Husker Du take on The Byrds meets DC hardcore' - abacadabra if you ask me to spell this - and then in bands as Kodiak, Four Frame and the The Unit Ama - all of which I also never heard, but here in a firm solo mood. Playing acoustic guitar and singing songs. Eight songs in total in a fine modern folk way. Unlike miss Nielsen's CD from last week, this one sounds much more genuine folk like, but not so traditional, and doesn't need to the extended use of reverb to either hide mistakes of create needed atmosphere. Malley knows how to create atmosphere himself. Highly atmospheric in all its dry-ness. Sometimes you don't need any tricks other than the ones you can all play yourself - that must have been the idea of Malley. Perhaps this is way out of line with the usual Vital Weekly, but it's a truly amazing record. (FdW)
Address: http://www.low-point.com

Number four in a series of 7" celebrating twenty years of Dead Voices On Air, and here front man Mark Spybey teams up with my favorite composers (one of) Robert Hampson, erstwhile of Loop, then Main, then solo and now both solo and as Main again. Here we have a collaboration, not a remix, with on the first side Hampson completing the piece and on the other side Spybey completing the piece. On the side that Hampson has completed, my stylus has some problems with the sonorities on offer: too much information for a nice play back (let's hope a CD of all 7"s will be mark the end of the project!), in what seems to be a very dark tuned atmospheric tune of deep ambient sounds. But with much low end sounds, not easy to reproduce. Spybey's piece on the other side is of a lighter nature, with perhaps more computer effects to treat whatever the input was here. Here too, the pressing isn't exactly of a top quality nature, which is again a pity. I think this is a pretty fine disc, but somehow, somewhere some of it's potential is lost in pressing this into these grooves. (FdW)
Address: http://www.touretterecords.com

THE UNSTRUMENT (DVD-R/CDR by El Frenzy Productions)
Although DVD's are reviewed almost weekly, it's not always a feature film. There is animation stuff, live documents, documentaries, or the ones that just have music. You could wonder if Vital Weekly is the right place to review feature films, but, then we also did Scott Foust's "Here's To Love", which is still liked very well. Here we have a collective of people who work as Libre Albedrio, who did a feature film called 'The Unstrument'. Libre Albedrio os Lonesome Andi Haller, Bing Selfish, Sunray Jahchild and Mauro Devoto - all responsible for the play, camera's, sound etc. The film is about a guy called Jason Creep, 'an insane experimental (who) believes he has invented the ultimate instrument: The Unstrument', but of course his creation is stolen, so he goes down on a hunt, with two 'down-at-heel private dicks, an extra-terrestrial and a twelve year old boy'. They meet festival organizers, noise terrorists (who are all hooded and against the financial funding of improvised music, the Radical Action Free Form and Improvised Sound and Electronic Militia), Tyrolean circuit bender saxophonists and such like. Unlike Foust's movie, there is a lot of conversation here, sometimes quite stiff, but hilarious at times. "You make a living out of daft sounds", "I studied with professor Von Cubase", "You studied noise?", "they make noise to make their little ego a little bigger". Lots of flash backs which are totally irrelevant and slow down the story, which I guess is the essence of a b-movie. There is also in here the story of a disappeared pop group, which I am not sure what they have to do with the story, but the interrupt with their pleasant pop. The whole movie takes the piss out of the serious electronic music, their ideas, their language, the scenes they operate in, but also music festivals ("put VAT on the budget", but then the secretary has no idea what VAT is) although it doesn't refer to any real musician, festivals or such like. The film is shot in Spain, it seems, but is all in English, excellently shot, poor special effects (but that's b-movie too). I wondered however to whom this film should appeal. It does, obviously to me, as I happen to know a few musicians, festivals or art people struggling with the concept of VAT, but outside this circle not many people may understand what this is about, and inside the serious scene they don't like being taking the piss out of their own self. I very much liked this movie, not being always the serious sort of man, who can see the relative importance of any work. If you like weird music, absurd humor, b-movie then I suggest you get a copy of this.
The soundtrack is also available on CDR, but unlike a regular soundtrack (OST), this is a CDR of sound effects used in the film and a bunch of the songs by Bing Selfish and The Ideals. It's not the thing to play right away after the movie, or perhaps even as a piece of independent music by itself, but it fits the logic of the self-released film. Seeing how well the film is made, why not a real DVD release? (FdW)
Address: http://www.bingselfish.com/bingmailorder.html

My first encounter with Martins Rokis was back in Vital Weekly 837, when he did a split cassette with Ruben Patino. Now I learned the following: "Martins Rokis works with sound in different contexts/forms combining interests in so called computer music, sound art and a/v composition. His work is a blend of generative strategies and improvisation exploring digital sound synthesis, spatiality and multi modality of human perception. In 2012 he founded [duh-noh], an small-scale independent platform for digital and physical releases." Five recordings from the years 2009 to 2011, with no specific places mentioned, ranging from just over four minutes to just under ten minutes. I assume these are out takes of larger pieces? Just like that split cassette Rokis likes a louder sound, quite in your face, but perhaps its due to the fact that this is all captured with a microphone rather than a line input. Like before, all along the lines of releases on Alku, or compadre artists like Mark Fell or Florian Hecker. I quite enjoyed this. It has an interesting raw edge to it, but its never over the top noise based, and has a serious computer music edge to it. I envisage Rokis a polite gentleman behind a laptop, producing his raw and untamed sound without the blink of eye and bowing to a likewise polite audience. I might be all wrong of course. For now I like to believe I am right however. (FdW)
Address: http://www.uzusounds.com

ASTERO (CDR by Agxivatein)
In all my years of reviewing music by Alfredo Costa Monteiro, solo and otherwise, I don't think I heard the Astero before. Maybe it's new, maybe they never released anything. Astero is a duo of Monteiro on electro-acoustic devices and Juan Matos Capote on home made oscillators. The two lengthy pieces were already recorded in January 2011 and show a love for the more extreme nature of music. It's radical music that works on a wide spectrum of frequencies. Lots of high end frequencies, lots of crackles, but also deep, low end sounds. It's all played with great care but I assume also in an improvised manner. There is enough evidence to support that. Maybe a bit more editing would have been in place here, to weed out some repeating elements and perhaps cut them into shorter pieces, as now it moves all along the spectrum within each piece; unless of course that's the idea behind these pieces. The sound sources are not very much alike those normally used in the world of improvised music, which makes this quite a rare thing. It's very minimal in approach, but when tracks have changed, they sure can land in a totally new area. As said this is some radical music, going from extreme loudness to extreme deepness and is a fine aural treatment, if you are up to it of course. Not for the weak of heart.
I have no idea who Strom Varx is. The piece here was recorded live (no date mentioned) at Paris Hippolyte Studio and perhaps the titles has something to do with the nature of the sound sources? Solar spots? Cosmic explosions? Sun bursts in? Likewise I have no idea what this about, but I gather from his website that Strom Varx is a laptop musician and has so far released three albums, all this year. 'My work is voluntarily sober, avoiding useless details'. This hour long piece starts out as a piece of serious avant-garde music: computer processed percussion, but all soon explodes into noise which goes for about eight long minutes before going again into something that is more interesting. I think real time stretching might a favorite trick for Strom Varx, but maybe I'm wrong. Apart from that noisy beginning, I think the rest is pretty much alright. Quite a dark work at times, but also glitchy, broken and chopped up at another point in time, but perhaps the CDR is acting up? You never know, I guess, with such computer musicians. A lengthy amorphous mass of sound, which perhaps could need a bit of editing, in order to get some sort of organization/composition, but I sure that everybody who likes Karkowski or Ottavi might find this also of interest. (FdW)
Address: http://www.agxivatein.com

PNDC & HOUSEWORK - NOTHING IN THE SKY (CDR by Listen Loudest! Records)
Although I'm not sure, I probably reviewed most of the work carried out by PNDC from Serbia and Thanos Vavaroutas from Greece. It's a most strange duo, with PNDC responsible for all the music and Vavaroutas, as Housework, for the vocals, all generated through mail exchange. But it all sounds remarkable coherent in terms of pop music. In the past I compared it with Depeche Mode and New Order, but perhaps a bit darker. This new album with nine tracks is once again an album of great pop music, with a fine dark edge. Unlike Depeche Mode, guitars play an important role in this music, more than before it seems (although I am not entirely sure), which buzz, hiss and sustain over the loops of real drums. Electronics seem to play a somewhat smaller part here than before, making this less electropop, but then I guess the word 'pop' maybe implies something else anyone - something quirky, pleasant, youthful, all of which this is not (really). This is the kind of 'pop' I like, perhaps because it reminds me of so many things from years past, music that makes up the majority of my Ipod actually, and to which I sometimes recent discoveries. This one could be easily another addition to that ipop I have. Its another strong work from this duo. (FdW)
Address: http://pndc.bandcamp.com

Bug Incision is a small Canadian cdr-label for improvised and experimental music with a catalogue of over 50 releases. Focusing on the scene of Calgary, but also with international musicians participating. Kyle Brenders (tenor sax, clarinet) is a Toronto-based composer and multi-instrumentalist. He is a key figure in the improv scene in Toronto. Steve Lacy and Anthony Braxton are important points of reference for him. Brandon Miguel Valdivia is a drummer, composer, and percussionist. Valdivia operates in many musical fields: free-folk, punk, rock, impro, music for dance and theatre. As a duo they exist some ten years now, and this release documents for the first time their collaboration. Ten improvisations recorded live february 6th 2011 in Toronto. There is something academic in these improvisations, that keep them at a distance. When I try to tackle this feeling, I hear concentrated and communicative improvisations. With nice coloring by the percussionist, making a good team with the dry playing by Brenders. (DM)
Address: http://www.bugincision.com/

UNDERCARRIAGE - HOMUNCULUS (CDR by Blackest Rainbow Records/Eclipse Records)
Back in Vital Weekly 774 I reviewed a 3"CDR by Lisa Cameron under the name of Venison Whirled. Here she returns with Nathan Bowles (of Pelt, The Black Twig Pickers, Spiral Joy Band) as Undercarriage. I am not sure if this is an ongoing affair, as this was recorded in October 2009 and only now (although the cover says 'copyright 2011') released. Both play a variety of percussion instruments, such as bowed/scraped cymbals, gongs, bowls, snare, feedback, contact microphone and Bowles also flute. Almost all of it acoustic, straight to four track (so one can assume there is some amount of mixing afterwards) and no further processing. Three pieces, just over thirty-one minutes, of improvised music, which works extensively on the side of 'drone' and 'atmospheric' side of things, rather than on anything 'rhythmical' or 'beats'. It 'rattles' however a bit: its not that the cymbals and gongs are being strum to sustain eternally. That makes this release a bit more interesting than your usual drone record, and perhaps also not your usual improvised record. 'Sattva' comes closest to being a drone piece, and 'Rajas' is more the improvised music piece. 'Tamas' holds the balance, perhaps. Quite a nice release indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blackest-rainbow.moonfruit.com http://www.eclipse-records.com

JIM HAYNES - KAMCHATKA (CDR by Contour Editions)
To some people known as he who buys your records for Aquarias Records, to others as the one who reviews music in that Vital competition magazine, or perhaps as the husband of Helen Scarsdale (should she exist and be not, in fact, a record label) but for us of course the man who plays his own tunes, every now and then. Of course many a disgruntled musician, whose record wasn't bought, or reviewed badly, or whose demo was rejected, will easily say, "well, haynes' music also sucks/isn't original/boring etc" but I think Haynes in his own right produces some interesting drone music works. Here we have two long form of which consist of 'elements of rocks, hills, plains' and have the original form in a live soundtrack for a film by Paul Clipson, presented at artist's television access in 2008'. Haynes here is in fine form, moulding his source material into two fine pieces of rumbling field recordings - walking up that hill (instead of running I guess), strange voice loops at the beginning of 'Lilith' and sustaining drone material in 'Rocks, Hills, Plains' of a calm and relaxing nature. 'Isn't original' is perhaps something that I could agree with. But: a lot of what is on offer in the world of 'drone music that uses field recordings' isn't very original and so, who cares? The wind flapping into microphones along with a processed sound thereof is indeed not the most original in the world, but Haynes does a fine job here. Late night process music with a fine relaxing effect. It's all you should want. (FdW)
Address: http://www.contoureditions.com

For the first time in quite some time, Taalem doesn't release three new mini CDrs but two, catalogue numbers being alm 88 and alm 90 (for those who love statistics), so something went wrong with alm 89 (for those who are completists). It's twice people we hear before, although perhaps not a lot from the trio called Hokuro. Here we have Michael Northam, whom we know for his work with field recordings for many years,  Sachiyo Honda and Sabri Meddeb - the latter two from Brussels, where this piece was already recorded in 2007-2008, using accordion, objects, strings, winds, voices and electronics. These recordings were shelved by mixed in 2010 by Meddeb, into this oddly titled twenty-four minute piece. I am not sure what has been mixed with these recordings. It sounds like an improvisation on these instruments - sans the electronics, which comes across as something that was added later on. Lots of echo, to be precise, which grows over the course of the piece. It takes away the idea of improvised music, but the whole thing sounds to me a bit too easy. It was surely a great afternoon playing the music, but mixed together with the echo machine full on, it all becomes a bit too muddy for my taste.
Mars F. Wellink came from Ain Towh and Vance Orchestra and since some years is (Ad)Vance(d), which is never very active with releases, but always creates a fine piece of drone music. Here he works with one Jan Dekker and its never known what they use sound wise. For all I know there is a bunch of field recordings, voices and tons of processing on going, but then its hard to say which kind of processing. Does (Ad)Vance(d) use a lot of analogue electronics, or is it perhaps in the world of computers? Its all not easy, if not impossible to tell. 'Unseen Intelligence' consists of three distinct parts. The first has a slight light metallic ring to it, with voices taped on a dictaphone. The second part, with some ten minutes also the longest, an obscure piece of crackling sounds (radio?), voices, and some sounds of scraping metal, which grows in intensity and the short third piece builds in a log fade up to the conclusion and contains, perhaps, all sounds elements as before. Its once again an excellent piece of music of a highly atmospheric nature, which should appeal to drone-heads world-wide. (FdW)
Address: http://www.taalem.com

DANIEL THOMAS & MIDWICH - TWENTY THREE TAELS (3"CDR by Sheepscar Light Industrial)
Via Striate Cortex we also received the first two releases on Sheepscar Light Industrial, a new label run by Daniel Thomas and "he aims to produce a lost cost run of mini CDRs… these two here are the pilot editions". Sticker stuck on the plastic wallet, cheap insert, no design. Indeed, low cost run, and one could seriously wonder who would want his release in such low fashion, but besides these two there are four more, so I might be wrong. The first release is not the first time Daniel Thomas and Midwich are working together. They did so on one piece of Daniel Thomas first release on Striate Cortex (see Vital Weekly 829), but here they have a whole piece of twenty minutes together. Rob Hayler's Midwich project has been quiet for some years, but now seems back and guides the way here. Hayler's music is always, it seems, about drones of some kind, and usually of a more low end nature. Stick a few keys down on the keyboard, add a few sound effects and bob's y'r uncle. Having said, you maybe think I think that's too easy, but it's not. I always enjoyed his music and this new piece is no different. Maybe either Thomas or Hayler added a few field recordings, or anything that sounds like scratched vinyl, or some hissy tape loops, I am not entirely sure. But as said, it works fine. Perhaps not so much as a piece of ambient music per se, but for the more adventurous drone heads this may work very well.
I have no idea who Mel O'Dubhslaine is, but I gather from her website she plays clarinet, but also an array of toys and a bit of electronics. It's hard to make out what it is from the various pictures and hissy films, but this thirteen track/thirteen minute (although tracks last between thirty seconds and two minutes) release made me think she likes a bit of improvised music, a bit of modern electronics and a bit of Nurse With Wound, and she makes up her own version of the latter, via ultra short tracks that a bit of this collage like element we find in the older Wound material. Its quite nice, perhaps even more on shuffle, but also I found thirteen minutes enough to get an impression of what O'Dubhslain does. Maybe she could win me over when I see this in concert, but I think on a release it's not the most strongest of lo-fi NWW imitations I heard. (FdW)
Address: http://sheepscar.blogspot.co.uk/

THE SKULL MASK - SAHUMERIO (3"CDR by Striate Cortex)
Two new mini CDRs on the Striate Cortex label, both by people I never heard of. First we have The Skull Mask, which is Miguel Perez from Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. He hails from the metal scene, but from there on he grew into noise and improvisation. Apparently as The Skull Mask he plays acoustic guitar, which is hard to believe, as it sounds quite electric. Maybe it's a dobro, the amplified acoustic steel guitar? He has five tracks here of his improvised playing. Its a bit psychedelic, blues like, but with that wide open feel to it of a burning sun. The title is an Aztec incense for purification purposes, and perhaps the music will clean your brain as well. The third part is, with eight minutes, a bit long and it goes off the rails a bit, but in the other four tracks he's shorter and to the point and stays on track. Strong atmospheric music through a single instrument and fine amplification.
James Moore is Black Mountain Transmitter, Cloudland Ballroon and Sapir Whorf. I haven't either one of these, so its hard to say where the difference is. He uses here 'selected speculative elements originating from archival ferric oxide media'. I have no idea what that is; the only thing I can think of is the use of old ferro cassettes that have been lying outside for a couple of years, or that has been demagnetized using a TV set (does anyone still do that?). This first phase consists of seven pieces of quite simplistic, repeating noise patterns. Its perhaps where a mild version of Boyd Rice's Non project meets with a less refined version of Chop Shop, if you get my drift. Numbers four and five sound a bit like old school industrial music. It's not bad, but not great either. I must admit I liked the primitive nature of these recordings, with it's hiss in between the pieces. Probably first recorded to cassette, than transferred to CDR - to add further ferric oxide transformations. Nice. (FdW )
Address: http://striatecortex.wordpress.com

It's been indeed quite a while since I heard 'The Magnetic Headache' by Blood Stereo, the duo of Karen Constance and Dylon Nyoukis (see Vital Weekly 637), which I though was nice, being the sort of noise I like. Not too loud, varied and distinctly lo-fi. There have more releases by Blood Stereo, among others on Nykos' own Chocolate Monk. This cassette on Ultramarine Records is in fact a re-issue of four short (C14-) cassettes on that label, but put together on tape. There is still that distinct lo-fi feel to the music, the no-instrument approach, but lots of small electronic boxes and a variety of voices. The latter which seems to be more than on the CD I heard, but I'm not sure. Sometimes these voices sound a bit too much like a wordless chant of a hippy nature, which never does it for me, but most of the times I ver much dig this lo-fi rumble of highly obscured sounds of faulty cables, buzzing, hissing drones, chirping insect like sounds that have vague jungle notion and other injections brought forward by electronics and contact microphones scratching the surface. Quite a fine release of what is indeed probably 'intelligent noise'. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ultramarinerecords.com

On Edward Sol's Quasi Pop label a cassette single by Grizzly Imploded. A bit of on a odd format I'd say for this trio of two guitars and drums of a free noise rock nature. It's more the kind of band to release albums (CD, LP or cassette), than have two, say six minute pieces on a cassette. Grizzly Imploded do exactly what we expect them to do: play distorted loud noise rock music in a very free mood. Nothing else. That's no doubt what people want them to do, but as what I think more often with this kind of music: seeing this in a live context is probably of more interest to me. Nice, but not something one can't do without.
Meanwhile Edward Sol has a solo tape out on a new Ukranian label called Village Tapes (no address on the cover and google refers to similar works by mssrs John Lennon and Jim Morrison). Sol uses here tape loops, reel echo, found tapes, weird voices, radio noises, synths, electronics & oscillators and computer, and continues where he was with his recent solo CD 'Sun Storm Rampage' (see Vital Weekly 841) but then through shorter pieces, eight in total, and perhaps a bit more experimental. The b-side seems odd: the left channel gives regular music, but soft and the right channel gives us perhaps the music of Sol. I can't figure out wether this is the idea of the music or perhaps some error in copying. It sounds nice at first but in the end it wears out the idea. But throughout the music presented here by Edward Sol is very nice again, on the edge of noise mostly with distorted sounds, crude cut-ups and over the top loops which result in yet another fine release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.quasipop.org

1. incite@gmx.de

incite/ live @ Reeperbahn Festival

Grünspan, Hamburg
Sat, Sept 22nd
Doors 21:00, incite/ stage time 2:00 am


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