number 849
week 38


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SAM PLUTA - MACHINE LANGUAGE (CD by Carrier Records) *
ZEITKRATZER - NEUE VOLKSMUSIK (CD by Zeitkratzer Productions) *
SPHARE SECHS - TIEFSCHLAF (CD by Malignant Records) *
DANTHRAX (CD by Trigger Recordings) *
FAUSTO BALBO - LOGIN (CD by Afe Records) *
IN CAMERA - RUMOURS (LP by Dom Bartwuchs)
IRRATUM (LP, private)
SANTASEDE - CONOSCI/DUE (10" by Le Souffleur)
BLIND TAPE QUARTETS 4 (cassette by Blind Quartet Tapes)
BLIND TAPE QUARTETS 14 (cassette by Blind Quartet Tapes)
BLIND TAPE QUARTETS 17 (cassette by Blind Quartet Tapes)
DRAB MAJESTY – UNARIAN DANCES (cassette by Drab Majesty)
LOOPOOL - INFINITY I & II (loop-tape by Welcome to the 21st)

As promised in Vital Weekly 846, I happened to know this was coming out, although not entirely sure of its contents. Small Cruel Party was active in the very late 80s and early 90s and gained some popularity, very much what happened to Machinefabriek these days: small labels seemed to very much interested in releasing their own Small Cruel Party product. So in a relatively short period a whole bunch of 7" records were releases and the name appeared on many compilations - another sign of that time more than the current scene, I'd say. Then, I am not sure when this was, the name Small Cruel Party had disappeared from the scene: Key Ransone became a vegetarian chef in France which he still is. But apparently there has been recent renewed interest and following the CD version of 'Three Simple Eyes Of The Insect Ancestor', there is now this lovely package of three CDs compiling a whole bunch of 7" releases and compilation tracks. Not complete, as far as I can see, neither in the 7" department, and in the compilation department, and not touched are any of the 10" releases Small Cruel Party did. Hopefully those will come some other time (soon?). Of course just over three hours of Small Cruel Party music is quite a lot, but I played it all in one go, without pausing. Its in this longitude that this music makes even more sense. Lots of scraping of objects, carefully used delay pedals, a bit of reverb, and the low humming of drones. Usually longer tracks of careful development, slowly amassing sound, adding subtle, minimal electronics. Unlike many others, the 7" singles of  Small Cruel Party are well rounded miniatures, and don't sound like a cut-out from a longer piece. There is a lot of substance, music wise, here and perhaps a bit less on the information side, but a great archeological find! (FdW)
Address: http://www.asloudaspossible.org

Following his involvement with 'Erewhon Calling', a book on the New Zealand underground music scene (see Vital Weekly 846), Richard Francis embarked on a small tour in Europe, to record and play music live, among other things to celebrate his release with Mattin, which we no doubt will review soon also, but also to point out he has a new solo CD. I was able to observe his small but very flexible set-up at a very close range. A modular synth is fed into a laptop, where it is processed on the spot through a whole bunch of plug ins, free software and such like, and field recordings are waiting to further transform the material. Richard told me that more and more he breaks away from layering the cake, i.e. putting pieces together through a time consuming method of placing them in a multi-track program, and rather sketches out a few ideas for a 'song' (his words), of which he records various takes and then selects the best one to release. That may seem also a bit time consuming, I should think, but apparently he usually does four or five takes, or else abandons the whole idea. A relatively easy set-up, but it works wonderfully well. In these hands it gets melted into a fine, delicate mass of sound. Not necessarily, however, of a very quiet kind. The static and hiss that opens 'Rivet' is surely more noisy than you would expect. Richard Francis plays minimal music, in which a few sounds meander about, a tick, a crackle, maybe one or two drones. This music has an interesting vibrancy - not exactly composed, but perhaps also not entirely improvised anymore, but falling somewhere between the cracks of improvisation/composition. It's music with a delicate tension, music which has indeed a certain amount of 'warmth', as the title says, but perhaps that refers to the summer period January-February 2012 when this was recorded. It's perhaps a bit short, with twenty-six minutes, as I surely would have loved some more of this, but nevertheless, it's a great CD. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cmr.net.nz

This Whitehead is not to be confused with the other, Gregory (of whom we haven't heard much lately, sound wise that is) and I don't think I heard music from Chris Whitehead before. He did his bunch of field recordings in a place called Ravenscar, in North Yorkshire but he also uses materials which he retrieved from the site. I looked the place up on google maps and it looks like a quiet small place near the coast. But maybe that was something I could have told you from listening to this forty-three minute work. It starts out with sea waves, it has the cracking of leaves, rusty agricultural devices (which occasionally buzz), all melted in a fine long piece that has somewhere between the twenty and thirty break (indicated on the cover as 'Tunnel') some hollow sounds, the tunnel probably, and some close range fire like sounds. It has a nice drone like texture to it. Towards the end the live farm stock plays a small role too, as well as a bit of street sounds. This is not the work of pure sound documentation which we sometimes see in the area of music, but Chris Whitehead has perhaps (!) processed a bit of the sounds, and if not, then he surely did a more than fine job in putting all of these recordings into an excellent audio picture of that area. (FdW)
Address: http://www.unfathomless.net

Excellent! That's what I thought when I opened this box. A real CD for Hinterlandt. Following a string of CDRs, his recent stuff was all bandcamp, and sadly ignored here, but the music of Jochen Gutsch deserves a real CD. If you have been taking notice, you'd know I am very much a fan of Gutsch' music, even when it's probably way out of line what is normally reviewed. No field recordings here, no careful crackles, no laptop processing, but no noise either. Hinterlandt is an one-man band, playing guitar, drum machines, electronics, and here for the first time (I think) an important role for the trumpet. His press blurb reads like an encyclopedia of pop music references, from Zorn to Neu to Squarepusher tp Stockhausen, King Crimson, Lee Perry, Fennesz and Brian Eno. That sounds weird to you? Maybe it is, but Gutsch does it all. You slide in the ambience of 'Stadt Land Fluss' (betraying his former German homeland which he traded for Australia), there is crazy math rock guitars in 'You Are Welcome', although Fripp would jealous of the same guitars in the long  'Stadt Land Fluss' and a triumphant trumpet in 'Trick Or Treat', complete with a techno inspired rhythm. It's all great music, again and again. There is one downside. 'Stadt Land Fluss' is an epic, eighteen minute piece, which is perhaps a bit too long, and perhaps a bit too symphonic in places. Why not break it up and give us a bunch of shorter pieces? Also, if Hinterlandt wants to be real, all out pop - which perhaps is not what he wants - then vocals of any kind would be much needed. That's the only missing link to the world of pop in this otherwise great album. Like a summer breeze on the first cold autumn day. Let's hope there will lots more CDs. (FdW)
Address: http://www.laughingoutlaw.com.au

In Vital Weekly 810 I reviewed a split LP between Merzbow and Cris X and I wrote that the latter had a previous career as a drummer in post-punk bands. Cristiano, for it is he, asked me to inform my readers that he does improvisations and collaborations with the likes of 'MB, Hamayoko/Yoko Higashi, Ken Ueno, Keiko Higuchi, Sachiko, Michiko Hirayama, Gene Coleman, Eugene Chadbourne, Ben Watson, Phil Minton, Torturing nurse, Aspetc, Aspirale, etc'. As announced then here is his collaborative work with KK Null, and I assume this collaboration took place through mail. Null gets credit for electronics, birds, field recordings and piano and Cris for electronics, frogs, field recordings, samples and noises. Perhaps it's a bit of a short release, with five pieces that last about thirty-one minutes, but it's all quite an intense work. It's not thirty-ones of over the top noise, but the harsh noise elements are backed with more quieter passages of music that is not as loud, but are far from ambient either. The field recordings are quite loud also, but that's no doubt also because some electronic treatments are used, or played along. There is fine sense of tension in these five pieces, like a dark, evil force that is lurking around the corner, with occasionally gets out through rapid editing of sounds, such as at the end of the third, untitled piece. There is a lot happening on this CD, with great care and loud force, so perhaps thirty one minutes is just about the right length. It left me without breath at least. Excellent work of intelligent noise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.crisx.net

It's been a while since I last heard something new from Ekkehard Ehlers, but just last week I was playing his 'Heroin' release with Stephan Mathieu again, and enjoying it still very much after all these years. But I lost kinda track of what Ehlers does in more recent years, say after his band März and perhaps the last work I heard was 'A Life Without Fear' (Vital Weekly 518) and a CD with Paul Wirkus (Vital Weekly 670). Both releases didn't blow me away, although not bad either. This new one is quite odd. It's not very long, twenty six minutes, one piece, with a distinct break at the thirteen minute mark so it can be easily cut onto vinyl. I assume Ehlers has the role of conductor here, who invited a bunch of musicians to play his composition. These musicians are Eva Reiter (viola di gamba, sub contrabass recorder), Werner Dafeldecker (double bass), Kai Fagaschinski (clarinet), Bjorn Gottstein (viola), Paul Wirkus (percussion) and Todosch (voice). I assume Ehlers' composition is a rather loose set of rules, as the work carries throughout elements of improvisation. So perhaps there is just instructions and the players go along. I am sure the pretentious text that is used to sell this CD is also on Staubgold's website, but I am lost there. Too many references to film editing, and about 'retained perception of emotion in the listener' and such like. The music sounds to me somewhat sad, and mournful and makes, especially in the first half small steps. It starts, it plays, it stops, but never for very long. It's, I think, quite an interesting work. Very much along the lines of modern classical music with elements of improvised music. I thought it was alright but not my most favorite work of this week. Maybe I'm just not in the right mood for it? (FdW)
Address: http://www.staubgold.com

Oguz Buyukberber is 'a great clarinet virtuoso, a rare musician who has build his unique language by mixing the traditions of European classical music, American Jazz and Turkish traditional music', and here is music is being remixed in 'a 10 seconds reverberation room (no additional reverbs or effects were added in the mix)' by 'avant-garde composer Emanuele de Raymondi', who works in various disciplines of music. He has also worked with Kathleen Supove, Jennifer Choi and Daniele Camarda. A whole new world opens up for me. I never heard of any of these names, nor of the label. In the first piece Raymondi sounds like Oval, which made me fear the worst, but the album takes on a more traditional play with lengthy chunks of clarinet sounds, being occasionally mildly processed and used in a more dry manner. Sometimes this works out on a more jazz route (in 'BV_02'), techno like rhythms (in 'BV_03') or ambient (in 'BV_05'). The music is more or less a showcase of all the possibilities Raymondi has in processing sounds on his laptop. Seemingly he can do it all. That's is of course nice, but it makes the end result also a bit scattered, all over the place. It's hard to put it down somewhere and say, 'this is it, this is what this is about', other than perhaps 'fine computer treatments of clarinet playing'. Ten tracks, it's all done well, but it's also something that didn't stick with me for a long period. Maybe it's too dry and academic in that respect. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zerokilledmusic.com

It's perhaps a bit crude (or odd) to start a review with saying the first piece, which happens to be the title piece also, is the one I really did like. It's a percussion piece along with the Wet Ink Ensemble, of which composer Sam Pluta is the technical director. It's modern classical music of the kind I really don't like. I almost ejected the CD and put it on the lot of Dolf Mulder, but after quick checking out the other pieces I must say, it's perhaps more along what I like. A string quartet performs 'Lyra', which has high pitched sounds of bows on strings with not a lot of pressure, before gliding into a fine woven minimal piece of music. Excellent. Wet Ink Ensemble also performs 'Standing Waves' which comes across, for me, the untrained listener, as another piece of modern classical music, but the sheer combination of silence and loud blocks of noise, including Pluta's own electronics made a nice piece, and perhaps at ten minutes also the right length. 'Matrices' sounded like a noise piece - perhaps, in fact, is a noise piece - for electric fans, woodblocks, flexatone, balloon, paper, snare drum control and electronics, but it sounded great. Sustaining sounds, feedback, clustered organ like bits, but all weirdly cut together, making an excellent acoustic noise piece. The amplified and distorted cello plays '7:6', which is an all out noise piece of screaming intentions. Think Whitehouse/Sutcliffe Jugend (old days) but without the lyrics. An excellent CD, just without the title piece for me, then. (FdW)
Address: http://www.carrierrecords.com

Design-wise these releases look a bit like the label Vetvei: printed  cardboard with many, spacious colors, CD in a plastic wallet. Moonsun is a label run by Dmitry Shilov and Sergei Ilchuk and 'oriented to releasing and distributing creative forms of archaic pre-musical sound works including drone, ritual, organic ambient, field recordings and archaic forms of folk'. I never heard of these artists, but Neznamo are Shilov and Pavel Kuzmin, while Siyanie is Ilchuk solo. Autumn last year they played in Moscow and now these recordings are released. No instruments are listed, but I should think it's a whole bunch of electronics, percussion and vocals. If I had to pick from their list what it is they are doing here, I'd say drone, organic ambient come close along with something that we can vaguely recognize as ritual. The mumbling of voices makes you feel stumbling right into some sort shamanistic ritual, with the crackling of field, and crickets out there in the dark field. The moon lights the scene, and the high priests rattle their bells and monks hum quietly. It's all a bit of cliche, I guess, a sort of template is used to play this music ('right, what do we need: bells, microphones, reverb, delay, a CDR with field recordings and small percussion') and it unfolds in the way we would expect this to do. They do however a nice job in creating this, not quite elevating me to higher spheres, but it's all alright.
There is also a solo release by Sergey Ilchuk, formerly a member of Vresnit, but now solo as Siyanie. Alright, so 'Shining Of Unity' is a bit of tacky, new age like title for a release, and the cover is bright, multi-colored, almost psychedelic like, but the music is actually not bad at all. I feared the worst here, and it's actually close the world of new age, but just strangely enough to be different also. This is 'just' plain, good old ambient music, cut in four lengthy pieces of sustaining synthesizers, mild bubbles, no rhythm, looped voices (think the first 'Ambient' record by Eno!) and sustaining guitars, lots of sound effects, such as in the closing piece 'The Heart of Space'. Music of slow developments, no rapid fire sound editing, no noise and weightless as space is probably. Imagine you being an astronaut (kosmonaut no doubt for these Russians) and this is the music to hear up there, moving between two space crafts. The music comes very close to the old Silent Records catalogue, in particular 'From Here To Tranquility' compilations, John C. Lilly (less the dolphins) and The Heavenly Music Corporation (well, perhaps also the music piece the band was named after). This is the one I played this morning when I got up as waking up music. Mild sunshine already, and this being the perfect soundtrack to get a day started. But perhaps also to end a day. Something to try later on today. (FdW)
Address: http://moonsun.info

ZEITKRATZER - NEUE VOLKSMUSIK (CD by Zeitkratzer Productions)
Do I like folk music? And I don't mean acoustic guitar/singer songwriter stuff. But the stuff people have been playing at fairs and on the sunday afternoon in the park, which has changed over the years and is always changing? Not really, although I did a recording at some 'platz musik' event in Austria many moons ago. I certainly don't have any knowledge about it, not from the Dutch perspective nor from abroad. Here we have the Zeitkratzer ensemble playing traditional folk songs in their way from the southern part of Germany and Austria. It's an interesting thing to see them break away from playing say Carsten Nicolai or Lou Reed or Cage, but is it good? Yes, perhaps it's good, but it's certainly not a CD for me. This very much reminded me of Willem Breuker; I know, much more 'jazz', but with his big band playing Dutch folk songs. It's probably all a genuine interest, I know, I know, but it all sounds a bit too much like crossing over to a bigger audience. "See, we do difficult stuff, but here's a song you may understand", or perhaps it's part of a larger German heritage, which we all know, is still casted with dark shadows - not by me. I love Germany, Germans and am not particularly blown away by this release. I wonder what the other die-hard fans would make of this. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zeitkratzer.de

SPHARE SECHS - TIEFSCHLAF (CD by Malignant Records)
On the subject of sleeping while listening to music I probably wrote before. For someone who has trouble finding sleep after a whole day of listening to music while being awake, I am someone who has little interest in playing music while sleeping. Of course if other people think that's a great idea - go ahead. I wonder why there are so few concerts for the totally drunk, utterly stoned or otherwise intoxicated? That could bring wonderful results too. All joking or skepticism aside here we have a record which was recorded during a sleep concert by Christian Stritzel and Martin Sturtzer. The latter one also records as Phelios, and 'few names in the dark ambient field carry more weight', it says on the blurb, so imagine how I feel, since I never heard the name before. Shit happens I guess. The music carved into this silver disc is indeed classic dark ambient music of the finer kind. Deep space is touched upon here. Maybe because I didn't recognize the name Sturtzer, I was thinking, I don't know that much about deep ambient anyway? That of course is possible, and that might be the reason that while think this is a great release, it also doesn't differ that much from the usual dark ambient music we are dealing with. I wish I could answer another question: how does it feel to be asleep when hearing this music? Now, as you might have guessed this is not a question I can answer. Simply because I didn't try this, and if I did, how would I know it's results? See my point about this whole sleep business? But while being awake for the entire duration of this release, I can vouch for the beauty contained therein. That's well covered. Excellent. (FdW)
Address: http://www.malignantrecords.com

A new  work from veterans Victor Nubla and Juan Crek.  I first met them through their release for Esplendor Geometrico in the 80s, when music like this was called ‘industrial’ music.  I did not became a follower of their work, as it is not really my thing. This also counts for this new release. But meeting them again after so many years,  first of all my respect for following one’s own experimental path for so long and consequent. This new  release counts five works of stripped down minimal electronics. Dominant is also the human  voice, not singing but reciting.  Added with limited portions of noise. It becomes interesting when a last ingredient starts interfering: an over the top distorted clarinet, that completes the sound spectrum, like in the closing piece ‘Galápago’, with a sparse melodic line. (DM)
Address: http://www.hronir.org

DANTHRAX (CD by Trigger Recordings)
Behind Danthrax - which has a great cover bytheway - we find Korean Choi Joonyong with his 'CD player with prepared CD'. Maybe an Anthrax CD is prepared? There is no way of telling if that's the case, since whatever happens inside the CD player with that prepared CD (just one? I wondered) renders the original beyond recognition. One of the pieces is called 'I Am The Discman', which reminded me of the old Portuguese group Discmen, which released two albums of manipulated CD works back in 1999. And back then we already had the idea they were ripping of Oval's 'Systemisch' . What Joonyoung does here is very much along those lines. Extreme skipping of CDs, being looped around, perhaps sampled or treated, but for all I know - no info was included - this might not be the case. This is very much a 'single idea' release, which is of course no problem, but you can wonder if thirteen pieces, forty-nine minutes, make more sense than six in twenty minutes? That's something I doubt. Joonyong does a very consistent job with this release and part of it - actually any part you could take - is really good. But as a whole it's perhaps too long for a single minded release and one could perhaps leap into boredom. (FdW)
Address: http://themanual.co.kr

FAUSTO BALBO - LOGIN (CD by Afe Records)
In Vital Weekly 751 we reviewed a collaborative work between Andrea Marutti and Fausto Balbo, of whom I never heard, but who started in 1988 Jesus Went To Jerusalem, later Der Tod, but went to experimental with electronic music later on. Much of his music is inspired by books and films, such as this new release, which is inspired by Hesse's "Steppenwolf". He uses a modular virtual synth in a free limited version and tries to 'recreate soundscapes from several eras: the pioneers of electronic music with the multiple shades, 1970s Kosmische Musik, up to the 'clicks' and crackles' typical of our digital times'. I don't know about this CD. There is indeed bits that sound like cosmic music, noise bits, click bits, sometimes all combined together in a single piece. I am not convinced at all by the quality of this CD. Maybe it's too noisy, or too digital and yet very clean or maybe it's because it sounds all very improvised but not in a great way. Maybe there is a whole edge to this which I don't get? (FdW)
Address: http://www.aferecords.com

IN CAMERA - RUMOURS (LP by Dom Bartwuchs)
According to Timo van Luijk, one half of In Camera, their band name was chosen for various reasons, none of which related to the Joy Division clone on 4AD in the early 80s. The fact that their two new LPs, released at the same time on their own labels (Dom Bartwusch from Christoph Heemann and La Scie Doree from Van Luijk), carry names of seventies classic rock albums is just a mere unsuspected play of words and we should not look for a deeper meaning. 'Rumours' happen to be my favorite seventies rock LP, and I don't think I ever heard the original Frampton record. Of course the music on these four sides (five pieces in total) have nothing to do with classic rock, or in fact any rock, indie, alternative, hard, free or otherwise. There is however a difference in approach on both LPs, its not fives sides of the same drone medal. I think that each mixed his own LP release, judging by the way they sound. The 'Rumours' LP has a 2006 recording from Dutch VPRO radio (which were previously released as a limited CDR) while the other one is new material and a previously unreleased VPRO recording. 'Rumours' is very much classic In Camera music - quiet, slow moving, working out a few drones and let it happen within the music itself. There is perhaps more below the surface than above. On the more recent record it seems there is much more happening, but perhaps its all more to the foreground. Here we discover for instance also the use of piano on the b-side. All of this music is however quiet and slow in development, yet also full of tension. Out of these two I don't have a particular favorite: they are both different, each their own distinct quality and both of them equally great. If Mirror was up your alley, then In Camera should be too. Slightly different music perhaps but excellent anyway.
When he has his solo hat on, Timo van Luijk calls himself Af Ursin and his favorite format of release is the LP too. His covers are beautiful, just like the In Camera releases actually, but do not contain an awful lot of information, just like the In Camera releases actually. Af Ursin's music is less based on electronics, but more along the lines of acoustic instruments. Van Luijk uses a relatively small palette of sounds and works with them. I believe not in an analogue manner, but through the use of the computer. The a-side has the side long piece 'Sylphide', which seems to be build from a trombone or trumpet sound. A simple tune, repeated over and over again, with some pauses in between. Say the way Brian Eno did his early ambient pieces of loops of varying length, but then even more stripped down, reduced, minimal and perhaps also more classical. 'Taciturne', the first piece on the b-side is with flute sounds, but also with some highly obscured field recordings of objects moving in the far distant. 'Elegie' is then another piece for another instrument. It seems an organ of some kind, like a children's organ, or a harmonium, but perhaps pitched up a bit. I am not sure, but here to we have the same layered aspects as we had on the other side and yet at the same time this layering doesn't mean it's crowded. It has that same wonderful tranquil character as the other two pieces, or, in fact the two In Camera records. I play all of this music when I got up this autumn morning, mainly playing music and watching clouds pass outside, making darkness and sunlight change all the time, in a similar slow motion. This is just perfect. I should take a day off, play all Af Ursin records, In Camera's other two records and all of the Mirror releases. Sadly that can't be. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lasciedoree.be/

A duet captured on April 9th 2011 in Brooklyn of analogue modular synthesizer and electronics (Piotrowicz) and violin and electronics (Yeh). I am not entirely sure why this is called 'Ambient', but perhaps there is some joke among musicians about this when they played it. 'Ha, let's play our ambient piece now'? I am not sure, but this doesn't seem to qualify as ambient music, I would say. The nervous hectic playing of both violin and the densely orchestrated but randomly organized modular synth bleeps doesn't put the listener in any sort of calm mood or the feeling of being relaxed. It's however also not the sort of music that is very noise-like. Improvised for sure, dense, with all of the sounds close together, but never loud, distorted or over the top. Depending of course how loud this was played, I guess, but on record it makes great sense. This is an one-sided record, which is always a pity. Weren't there any extra pieces, or remixes of the original material? Somehow it always seems such a shame to do one-sided LPs, I think. But the side that has music also seems a bit longer. Mmm. What we have, however, is very nice. (FDW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

IRRATUM (LP, private)
This record has been out for some months, but only now landed here. Irratum is a duo of of Richard Warfield Smith, best known for involvement in post rock bands such as Sons Of The Sun and Rome, and Peter F.A.N. Redgrave, who played with Smelling Salt Amusements, and a founding member of Mother Country Death Rattle (I mean: what's a band name anyway?). There is no list of instruments anyway to be found on this highly limited record (130 copies!), so we have to make some assumptions here. It seems to me that we are dealing here with a mixture of acoustic instruments - perhaps upright bass - and electronics of some kind. These are played closely together, so that a dense tapestry of sound is the result. Maybe oscillators humming away, while the cello/upright bass plays along? I am not sure, but that's best I can make of this. It's in a curious way quite noisy, but suppressed, far away and remote. But there is a lot of information pressed in these grooves, a lot of hidden tension, that only occasionally seems to burst out. Busy with buzzing, humming and bursting with a strange power. Very minimal, but never too static and never really easy drone music. Vibrating. That's the word one needs here. Vibrating sounds of collisions in acoustic and electric current. Excellent record. (FdW)
Address: <irratum@gmail.com>

SANTASEDE - CONOSCI/DUE (10" by Le Souffleur)
It's been awhile since I last heard something from Raymond Dijkstra, but that doesn't mean he's been quiet all the time. As a true artist, his records are sometimes art objects in very small editions and then don't end up in the review columns. Here Dijkstra has something new to offer, a new band of himself on acoustic sounds - the area where we know him best - and one Tiff Lion ('from Tying Tiffany fame') on synthesizer, voice and acoustic instruments (only side two). Apparently Tying Tiffany is an electro post punk sort of thing, but she didn't bring that to the table here. It seems that Tiff Lion and Raymond Dijkstra have opposite ideas, but that's not something that shows here. But if I had to say it, I think it's Dijkstra who puts down the ideas for the music. It carries that improvised character that much of his music has. Or perhaps improvised is not the right word, but more random like strumming of piano strings, plastic objects and the hard to understand reciting of words by Tiff Lion from an old alchemistic book. It's more the surrealistic approach to music creating, the automating process of creating music. Such notions as compositions or improvisations do not apply to this music: this is much more randomly put together and the outcome is dictated by a strange internal logic. According to that same logic, there is also a strange way of recording; some of this appears far away in the mix. The synthesizer was something  I didn't hear very well on this record, I must say. Raymond Dijkstra has added once again a most powerful, strange record to his extended discography. Especially 'Due' sounded great, with those plastic bottles, deep drone hum, and far away sounds. If like In Camera, and love to go to more daring music, here's a possible route for you. (FdW)
Address: http://le-souffleur.nl/

In Vital Weekly 810 (and shortly after that in 812) I was first introduced to the music of Tom Fazzini, whom was a member of A Small Good Thing, an off-shoot of O Yuki Conjugate, with some wonderful odd music. One of those things that surprise me, out of the blue, and that has a distinct sound of it's own, not belonging, easily, to any genre. Here it continues, with two new odd pieces of acoustic guitar and singing. Folk like, but then surely odd-shaped. Fazzini uses a lot of reverb on both his acoustic guitar and singing, as well as uses (apparently, according to the insert), fx, bass, wurlitzer electric piano, electric guitar and dinner bell. The whole use of reverb add a spacious element to the music, but also it can be traced back to the steel guitar sound of A Small Good Thing. Highly emotional music - although I have no clue what it is about, I must admit - and again very short. May I again ask for a CD release of more songs, including the two 7"s that are out now, and we could enjoy them better? The pressing of this record is not really of a top quality. Not as a big surprise as the previous release, but none the less two excellent tracks. (FdW)
Address: <tomjfazzini@gmail.com>

Although subtitled as a collaboration with Siobhan McDonald, it's mostly the music of Slawek Kwi, the man behind Artificial Memory Trace for an installations by McDonald, who is primarily a visual artist and painter. That piece is the twenty minute title piece of this release, but there is also a bunch of bonus material. The core is about an earthquake in Iceland, but also water running in between tectonic plates, church bells, and wind. The bonus seems to be the lava debris recorded. It perhaps misses the much needed visual information? I am not sure. As per usual, Slawek Kwi tells us quite a bit about his release on the course, in his usual technical manner, but it's still not clear to me (probably my mistake). The music itself seems a bit more raw than we are used from him. The whole piece 'Tektonika Blues' is more or less a collection of independent sounds, and is perhaps a collection of samples, just as the piece called 'Samples' (duh!). The piece which is the main music piece here, the twenty minute title piece starts with a loud bang and has various shifting deep bass sounds for quite a while. It's an intense piece I think, but very much like what we know from Artificial Memory Trace. Overall, I am not sure about this. Maybe the context is less clear than usual? Maybe there is something about this which I may not understand, or perhaps I miss out on something? The whole thing has an extremeness which we seldom hear from Slawek Kwi and seems less playful than many of his other releases. Maybe he's exploring new directions? (FdW)
Address: http://www.reductivemusic.com

New music by guitarist Jim Sande, following 'Particle' (see Vital Weekly 519) and 'Harvest Bell Ride' (see Vital Weekly 724), and a return to his own (?) label Labile Music. The cover gives Sande credit for acoustic guitar, and I am sure that's what we have here, but perhaps also a bit more? Maybe there are a few looping devices at work here? Well, perhaps not. I wouldn't know, as I never managed to play guitar in any way. It seems however, compared with his previous works, that 'the other' instruments are no longer used here, no more piano, bass, clarinet, oboe or vibraphone. The production is still a bit slick, but it's just one instrument. Nine pieces, almost thirty minutes of music, and the mood is still joyful, melancholic, moody, and happy: the whole spectrum of moods are captured in these fine tunes. It still has that cinematic quality, but perhaps it's a bit more upfront, too demanding to work as a film score, but aspiring film directors should take this name down if they want a nice bit for their next film. Undemanding once again, but that's of course no big deal. (FdW)
Address: http://www.jimsande.org

BLIND TAPE QUARTETS 4 (cassette by Blind Quartet Tapes)
BLIND TAPE QUARTETS 14 (cassette by Blind Quartet Tapes)
BLIND TAPE QUARTETS 17 (cassette by Blind Quartet Tapes)
Besides last week's announcement from Blind Quartet tapes, I hadn't heard from the label for some time. The idea is simple: they set up their four track machine in a space and everyone is invited to fill up one track out of the four without hearing what the others did. Later on these tapes are mixed and released. I am not entirely sure why the numbering is a bit weird, but so it is. We come across here names you hardly see anywhere else, such as Legoluft, Monomal, Pinki Jigoku, Tintin Patrone, Burnow, Rosi Rehformen, Tomaz Grom, Irena Tomazin, Miso DeLiberat, Svetlana Spaljic, Micun Ristic and Milos Zec. All three were recorded in different locations. I can imagine inviting this initiative to your art event is something that interests many. But I wonder if all the results are interesting enough to be released? I must say I have serious about this. Of course John Cage - popular to quote these days - said that anything goes, but these tapes, all played on one side only, have a high level of randomness, even when the mixing process could guarantee some form of organization into this music. The best out of these three I thought was the 'Tape 4', with its odd organ like sound, distorted radio and weird electro-acoustic sounds. You see: it may work with random organization, but just not always. (FdW)
Address: http://discogs.com/label.blind+tapes

DRAB MAJESTY – UNARIAN DANCES (cassette by Drab Majesty)
This time machine made me 30 years younger in an instant. It transported me straight back the 80s, to the English new wave of those days. It caused the deepest nostalgia to this period, I felt in years.  But we deal here with an release recorded this year in Los Angeles by Deb Demure. A sublime little gem of four songs. For sure Deb DeMure is inspired by the music of the period I’m pointing at. It is a perfect nostalgic experience, but not only. At the same time Deb Demure managed to write some original and catchy songs, that is definitely constituting the quality of this work. Also the performance and recording contribute to this. The tape contains four excellent dreamy pop songs, making the question where and when they originated, irrelevant. Everything you hear is written, played and recorded by Deb DeMure. With additional vocals by Emma Ruth Rundle in ‘In A Hotel Somewhere’ and ‘Wrecking Ball’. Emma – like Deb Demure - plays/played with bands like Sparowes and Nocturnes. Bands that deal in folk oriented dreamy pop. For this first (?) solo effort, Deb DeMure used analog tape and processing, showing  how devoted he is in creating the sound he had in mind, in recreating the sound of the 80s. ‘Unarian Dances’ is an excellent example of a release where everything felt on its place. (DM)
Address: http://www.facebook.com/drabmajesty

LOOPOOL - INFINITY I & II (loop-tape by Welcome to the 21st)
Loopool aka Jean-Paul Garnier is well-known of it's experiments with music, sounds and sound waves. Lot's of his experiments has been released by several (net) labels all over the world since 1998. For now he release two loop tapes and the 15 seconds of sounds will repeat endless till you push the stop button of your tape deck or the electricity will stop. Repetition in music has been done for centuries. Lot's of musicians use this technique to bring their audience to escape from reality or to open yourself for a spirit or a god. Whatever the reason may be for Loopool I do not care. Infinity I is a abstract piece of sounds and the transition is rough. In the beginning it disturbs me, but after a while the transition became a part of the composition and is a part of the rhythm of the tape. The other tape is more subtile and has two silent moments, so the transition is not clear to hear. The droney atmosphere gives a psychedelic mood. Anyhow… mostly I played the tapes 30 - 45 minutes and it was a great pleasure to have a repetition of sounds which will last forever. (JKH)
Address: http://www.loopool.org