number 870
week 8


Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
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help Vital Weekly to survive:

GINTAS K - SLOW (CD by Baskaru) *
SIMON WHETHAM - NEVER SO ALONE (CD by Cronica Electronica) *
DAVE PHILLIPS - A COLLECTION OF HAIR (2CD by Hearts & Crossbone) *
KARL J. PALOUCEK - K (CD by Trait Media) *
RLW - FALL SELIGER GEISTER (CD by Dirter/Black Rose Recordings) *
UTON & COURTIS - FLOKKA KUR (CD by Musik Atlach) *
EAU-DC - NR2 (LP by Empiric Records)
LUCASZ CISZAK - FL/DC (CDR by Few Quiet People)
TOTSTELLEN - LIVE @ WENDEL (BERLIN 2006) (cassette by Totes Format)
GRMMSK - DIRTY SNOW (cassette by Totes Format)
LZR - FAILED SYSTEMS (cassette by UFO Factory)
MESSIAH OF EVIL (cassette by Messiah of Evil)
HERBERT - HERBERT COMPLETE (download from Accidental Records)

GINTAS K - SLOW (CD by Baskaru)
Most days there is some mail. Some days there is a lot of mail. If in a pile of mail there is a new CD by Stephan Mathieu you can be sure that will be the first thing to spin. Full period. Here he has an album with music he composed for a play by Gustave Flaubert, translated as 'A Simple Heart', about Felicity, 'a love-deprived maid subjugated by religion and fascinated by a parrot from America' (I am quoting the press text as you can imagine), and is apparently a re-reading of an old tale, and as the label quite rightly suggest, Mathieu is the right person to do re-reading, but then of music. Since a few years he uses very ancient recorded media, such as wax cillinders and 78 rpm records to create his music, which he picks up and then treats with the use of a computer. That's what he does best, and these eight pieces proof to be no different. The first few pieces are perhaps what we know best of Mathieu in recent years: beautifully sustaining music, drone like, warm, atmospheric. You could argue this is the Mathieu we know and thus is perhaps less interesting. That is an opinion which I actually share. But it's also an opinion which says nothing about the quality of the music, and that quality is great. There are however also two pieces here, 'Devenir Sourd' and 'Felicite', which are quite different from what we know from Mathieu. In the first we hear someone singing from a wax cillinder and some morse code like sounds, while in the other we have treated guitars more upfront, whereas in the other pieces, or in general with his work, the sound sources are much more obscured. These are excellent new pieces which show, perhaps, a new route for Mathieu? It also makes this into a more varied album, another one of great quality.
Mathias Delplanque has been around in Vital Weekly a few times, under his own name, but also under various guises, such as Lena and Stensil. Here he is again under his own name with an album of recent interests: to create a sound on the spot, sample it, transform it, mix it and all of that in a live setting. To that end he uses electronics, bells, guitar, metallophone, melodica, percussions, kalimbas and various objects. Centered in the middle, I assume, is the computer to do all the real time processing. You could all too easily expect this to be bouncing all over the place, but it's actually not. All of the seven pieces here are concentrated efforts, with carefully constructed sounds, nice bending of those sounds, forming occasional drone induced pieces of music. It was all pretty much alright, but perhaps also all bit too similar for my taste. It was hard to hear a difference in these pieces, that would one piece sound distinctly different from another piece, but that doesn't seem to happen. That makes that I like this record, but not throughout; not something to play in go, but rather a few pieces at a time.
Gintas K, from Lithuania, has been around for a couple of years already and plays what we could easily identify as computer music. Once the mighty future, a man behind his laptop, but quickly audiences all around the world seemed less pleased with 'someone checking his e-mail, under the pretext of doing live music'. Is there are a future for the pure laptop artist, I wondered, while listening to Gintas K's latest release? I am not sure. Based on what I hear here I am not too convinced that there is a bright future for them. The plug ins, the digital processing of sounds (here field recordings, sine waves, guitar), the synthesis: it all sounds like something we already heard a lot before. Most of the Mille Plateaux from a decade ago will do. Some time I played all of them, and then all of the releases on the long-gone Japanese label Meme, and it struck me that a lot of that early laptop music (which doesn't equal early computer, mind you!) sounded quite dated now. The music as played by Gintas K here could have as easily fitted on any of those labels, back then. It's music that sounds actually alright, well produced, but perhaps also outdated and distant. It's not something that grabs the listener. I am not sure if it would have done so ten years ago, but certainly does not now. I think it's time to re-consider the whole notion of pure laptop music in the click 'n cut area. Until of course someone has the bright idea to launch a revival. (FdW)
Address: http://www.baskaru.com

SIMON WHETHAM - NEVER SO ALONE (CD by Cronica Electronica)
In 2010 the volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted and made air traffic impossible for some time in Europe. Simon Whetham was in Portugal and has to extend his stay. He decided to capture the sounds of the city, using a Sennheiser shotgun microphone, two Tram lavalier mics, contact microphones and hydrophones, and later on composed pieces of music that are now released by, how appropriate, a label from Portugal (though not Lisbon). The title of the CD reflects the lonely state the field recordist does his work with, but it's not to seen in a negative way. This is a long album, close to 80 minutes and that is a bit much, considering the careful nature of the music, I think. Whetham does a fine job capturing sounds from the city and melting them together into seven pieces of music. Whetham knows how to create sustaining sounds from those city sounds and waves in between, down there and on top smaller blocks of sound, crackles, someone walking a tunnel and that sort of thing in single play mode or in loop form and makes some beautiful collage of sounds. Whetham has a particular interest in the world of ambient music, rather than just pure field recordings or heavy computer processing. This makes his music very delicate and spacious even at times. It's long, but it's great. I almost track of time when I was playing this, dreaming away. Maybe of a sunny city as opposed to a grey day in February. Very delicate, very refined indeed. Maybe the best thing I heard from him so far. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org

Probably I said this before, but based on seeing a concert by Dave Phillips I once saw, I think he's one of the more interesting people when it comes to creating noise music, even when I am not blown away by the political nature of his work - veganism, animal rights and that sort of thing. But his noise is great! It is a form of in which sounds are loud, but short, in which he uses acoustic objects, such as balloons, and field recordings being amplified loudly and, oh, carefully used silence. Noise that is composed! Phillips is very active when it comes to playing live and recording and much of his works end up on the most obscure compilations, online releases and some never are released. Phillips always, or so it seems, mails out a piece, no matter how short. Difficult for the fans to keep up with it, but thanks god, there are CDs like this, the follow up to a previous release 'A Collection Of Curses'. Collecting pieces from 1995 to 2011, many released on compilations but also various unreleased 'never heard back of them'. Luckily Phillips is the man to keep a copy of these pieces and  here we have 150 minutes of his music, which can as easily serve as introduction to his work. A fine combination of musique concrete montage techniques - stereo changing, cut up, reversing, silencing etc - with a curious form of sound poetry when it comes to doing a cover of a Rudimentary Peni song, even total silence when it called for, and true all out noise. If you still never heard his work, this is best introduction there is. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hcbrecords.com

A quartet of Erica Dicker (violin), Owen Stewart-Robertson (guitar, electronics) Mike Pride (drums, percussion) and  Katherine Young (bassoon, electronics). Young musicians from different backgrounds. To give an impression: Pride is a member of From Bacteria To Boys and has worked with Boredoms. Stewart-Robertson is a member of the groups Make A Circus, Old Salt and This Sporting Life. Dicker is a founding member of the contemporary chamber music collective Till By Turning, part of Anthony Braxton’s Falling River Quartet. Young is a composer and bassoonist. She is into acoustic as well as electro-acoustic music. She studied bassoon at Oberlin College and Conservatory, worked with Anthony Braxton, Ron Kuivila, and Alvin Lucier. In 2009 she released a solo album for bassoon ‘Further Secret Origins’ on Porter Records which received good reviews. The bassoon always brings back memories of Lindsay Cooper of Henry Cow. Music I used to listen to al lot years ago. Meetings in my existence as a reviewer with the bassoon a very rare. Especially in the context of improvisation and jazz. I remember an album by Daniel Smith ‘Blue Bassoon’, interpreting jazz standards, that failed to interest me. The Pretty Monsters however deliver a very interesting debut for different reasons. Odd instrumentation, but also very original and strange compositions. This combo has potentials! Never a dull moment. In a way it is rock, but also improvised, chamber music, etc. They make their own original blend, due to the strong handwriting by Young who composed all pieces. I name to watch. Also the performance by this powerful combo is convincing, with fine interaction. Especially the playing by guitarist Owen Stewart- Robertson deserves special mentioning. Well done! (DM)
Address: http://www.publiceyesore.com

Cyril Badaut is the man behind Intemporal Analogic Sound. He's also a member of Urban Sax since 1994. There he plays saxophone, but on 'Core' he limits himself to the use of vinyl and electronics. "Through the kaleidoscope of your ear, a mere shiver can scramble your soundscape. A sharp needle scratches the vinyl reveals time engraving and revives buried memories", it says, in French, on the cover and according to Badaut his music is called sometimes called 'meta-concrete, minimalist or electro-acoustic'. The latter two for sure (but perhaps I don't know what meta-concrete means), but these ten pieces (spanning thirty-nine minutes) seem for me to hark back to the late nineties, when playing endless grooves, blank records, sandpaper et al where en vogue. Take that grooving sound, feed it through some effects (kaos-pad for instance) or some synth and you have that nice minimal piece of rhythmic music. There were other obviously, but this reminds me very much of Phillip Jeck and Institut Fuer Fein Motorik. That of course is not a bad thing, but to all of that Badaut doesn't seem to add his own voice. It continues where the others left us off or still explore certain routines. It sounds too familiar and without much touch of originality. Maybe the whole 'turntable as instrument' is by now explored well enough? (FdW)
Address: http://www.intemporalanalogicsound.com

KARL J. PALOUCEK - K (CD by Trait Media)
Here's someone of whom I never heard, but Karl J. Paloucek is co-founder of Shrilltower ('early Milwaukee Industrial unit) and has played with Eric Lunde, Fuckface, Boy Dirt Car and Impact Test. 'K' is his first release in many years. The cover lists a whole bunch of instruments: piano, sewing machines, metronome, crystal ware, bass, conduit chimes, iron shelf, aluminum sheet, brass door chimes, fans, aluminum foil and train shed recordings. Three pieces, between six and twenty-one minutes and then eight short pieces, totaling to just under two minutes. This is some pretty interesting music going on here. A distinctly acoustic sound, mainly through the extended use of the piano being played slowly, majestically, chord structures rather than sweet melodies, to which percussive chimes are added, bits of throbbing bass, some odd field recordings and the sound of objects rubbing against each other with the use of those ventilators, like sheets of tin foil. Maybe of these sounds are easily recognized here, as 'processing' is not a term that can be applied to this music. Yet there is a fine ambient atmosphere to these pieces. Slightly mechanical, highly acoustic, atmospheric and moody music that is a real surprise to hear. Perhaps not the most innovative music, but in this delicate work there is some great historical reference. Sema is one of those names that spring to mind. Paloucek shares that love of sensitive music with a fine amount of experimentation, but maintains to keep it all highly listenable, and Sema's music never found many copy-cats later on. Having said that, I must say I think this Paloucek release is the biggest surprise in some time. Who is this guy? (FdW)
Address: http://www.traitcentral.com

RLW - FALL SELIGER GEISTER (CD by Dirter/Black Rose Recordings)
Ah Contrastate. Did I ever say that I loved the group's earliest output very much, but when they allowed more room for vocals, I thought it was all a bit too 'gothic' for me - and I use that term for a lot of things which I guess I simply don't like. Then I lost track of Contrastate, although it was good to see their first LP on a CD in Vital Weekly 480. Stephen Meixner occasionally pops up in Vital Weekly every now and then. But here is an entirely new album, their first new recording in ten years and of course of the band as trio. Long term serving members Jonathan Grieve and Stephen Meixner and 'new boy' Stephen J. Pomeroy. I must admit I had no idea what to expect this time around. Good news is that the voice that put me off before is not very well present on this new album - for the majority it's all very instrumental. It's the kind of instrumental is that is close to the original sound of Contrastate, but perhaps better recorded than before, using more smooth equipment. Contrastate is still very good in creating highly atmospheric music with the use analogue synthesizers, electronics, bits of field recordings, some voices (not a lot, not a lot) and an odd use of the collage form for their pieces. A piece like 'Against The Sky' moves through a number of different places which could have been easily separate pieces by themselves. Excellent stuff all around but a downside is perhaps that once they get 'poppy' (by their own standard, I guess), in 'Operation Infinite Truth', they show their political side, which is not a bad thing per se, but isn't a sampled speech on the situation in Iraq by one George W perhaps a bit outdated with Obama in his second term already (or in his first when this was recorded). Being political is always a key point for Contrastate, although I never grasped the finesse of their politics, but here it seems a bit outdated. But besides that, I think this is great return to their best form. Moody, dark, atmospheric, vaguely experimental, a bit pop-like, what more could we want?
Oddly enough, the latest RLW CD is on Dirter but co-released by Black Rose Recordings, which happens to be the Contrastate label, but they aren't co-releasing their own release. For a moment I thought that things might have slowed down for RLW, but a quick look on discogs proved me wrong: Ralf Wehowsky is as active as always. Following that great P16.D4 set I hoped I could find time to play some of the RLW stuff again, which I collected, but sadly this has to wait. But of course then there is this new one. I am not sure if I would regard myself an expert on the work of RLW (or in fact of someone else for that matter), even when I heard a lot of his music. For starters, it's not easy to define his music. It's a lot of a lot of things. RLW gathers his sounds somewhere inside and outside the house, playing instruments like cello or trombone (at least that's what I think), children playing outside and taping sounds in the kitchen. All of that is brought into the computer and treated in some way, and then it reaches it's final composed state. So RLW's music could be called electro-acoustic, musique concrete, improvised and/or field recordings, yet it's never exclusively one of these, but rather a curious mixture of all of these. The improvised element, in case you wonder, is made up using extensive blocks of sound from instrumental passages, like said celli, trombone or thumb piano. Here it seems as if RLW recorded a whole bunch of those and then in the process of mixing decided which parts he really needed. By adding all the other sounds and the close mixing of the total amount of music, he creates some excellent dense soundscapes. Dense and moody, in fact, as the overall tone seems a bit darker than before. Excellent release indeed. Damn, I wish I had more time to go back to his older work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dirter.co.uk

Phil Klampe, the man behind Homogenized Terrestrials, is also a member of Amalgamated, and thus been recently reviewed here with their two excellent 3" CDRs. Here however he has a new album under his main name guise, and it's getting close to his 40th release. Klampe has been going since the 80s with his own brand of electronic music. His music didn't always seem finished, and more like 'let's release whatever it is we recorded'; editing wasn't his strong point, but that seems to have changed a bit here. Although the cover doesn't list any instruments, I think it's save to say that we are dealing with a mixture of many electronics and a few acoustic sound sources, although the latter seem to have been subject to heavy sampling. They form long, sustaining drones on one hand and on the other form small particles looped around, disguised as a rhythm. Sometimes these rhythms remind the listener of those pseudo ethnic tribalists, such as Rapoon, Reformed Fraction or Muslimgauze. With his equipment up to date, Klampe knows how to create a set full of atmospheric sounds, moody soundscapes and nicely woven ambient patterns. There is the obvious influence of Brian Eno in the ambient section (the human voice treatments remind me of the first Ambient LP), but Klampe also knows his way around the laptop and adds 21st century flavor to the music. It's a bit of a lot of everything, and it leads to some fine results, I think.  Actually, I should rephrase that: I think this is easily the best release I heard from the Homogenized Terrestrials so far. No wonder it comes on a CD and not a CDR. If you want to step in, this is the door to use. (FdW)
Address: http://www.intangiblecat.com

UTON & COURTIS - FLOKKA KUR (CD by Musik Atlach)
Three releases with the involvement of Anla Courtis, who is best known for his band Reynols, but since many years works solo as well as in lots of improvising capacities. The first release was handed to me by Courtis himself and is probably not very recent. It contains pieces from 1996 to 2007, some of them unreleased and some released on 7", 3"CD or compilations. I mention this release not only because I got handed a copy, but also because it serves as a fine introduction to the solo music of Anla Courtis, and perhaps you were looking such a thing, as a guide in the extensive catalogue of his works. Courtis has a fine lo-fi way of working with a multitude of sound sources, primarily guitar and electronics, but also dictaphones, half working walkmans, radio and small synths. It results in occasional noise based electronic music, but more often also in a more atmospheric drone based soundscapes. This double pack is a fine introduction.
The other is brand new, and is a collaboration with Jani Hirvonen, a Finnish artist, who works as Uton. I am not sure if this work was recorded sitting together in a studio of some kind, or perhaps included the exchange of sounds through postal service. The Japanese label who releases this puts this under 'psychedelic, drone and experimental', which is quite rightly so, I think. There are many sources of sound to be found here, such as electric guitar, analogue and digital effects, manipulation, synth (all by Uton) and guitars, homemade violin, organ, trumpet, metals, horn, tapes and processing (courtesy Courtis). Looking at this list of instruments I should think that Uton is the man to produce the drone like background and Courtis puts the icing on the cake, by using percussive sounds, more drone, metallic rumble and obscured sounds. Uton is however responsible for the end mix of the whole thing, so you never know what happened in that final stage. At times a bit noise based, these droney soundscapes, but throughout all of this quite atmospheric. Good sturdy experimental music, which perhaps offers no new insight in experimental music (and then: is it experimental then? Or just electronic?), but sounds wonderfully well.
The other record sees Courtis also collaborating, along with Aka_bondage, Ogrob, Frank de Quengo de Tonquedec. There is a lot of French text to go with this record, about some guy named Jean-Philippe Borbollono, but of whom I can't find any other information, but who is apparently the composer of the music. Maybe it's all bullshit? Apparently this album was recorded in 1994 (????), but that might not be entirely true either. The music is all improvised and all acoustic I think. We have here piano, trombone, percussion, flute, contrabass and violins, and duties are shared by all. This is, despite the deliberate vagueness of the project put forwards in those French liner notes, actually quite an interesting record. It seems to be coming out of the world of improvised music, but certainly holds something of the world of outsider music. I know it's all acoustic, since Courtis told me when he handed this over, but there are moments here when the record actually sounds electronic. On side two there is a long piece which seem to created with using bows on various instruments, and not just the violin. It creates a very dense piece of music. The flutes that end the first side are also quite loud and saw an outsider like playing. This is a great record of all the weirdness that is going on. A fine concept (perhaps, I am not sure), and some great music to go along with that. I think 'compelling' is the word I was looking for. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bajoeng.jp/
Address: http://kommanull.tumblr.com/

EAU-DC - NR2 (LP by Empiric Records)
Following the LP/CD by Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf (see Vital Weekly 851), Empiric Records now releases a LP with a big sized poster and tapping into a different kind of music. Eau-Dc are a duo of Jens Fischer and Thorsten Polomski, who play electronic music that is somewhere along the lines of ambient music meeting up with rhythm. It's not exactly either strict ambient music or dance music for that matter. Music to tap your feet along, when you sit at home, reading a book, doing the laundry or other chores around the house, rather than heading out to the disco and dance your socks off. This is what a long-gone record store once described as 'head-nod' music. You feel the rhythm in your head and nod along too. Eight pieces of shimmering beats, moody but bouncing keyboard lines, a deep bass (although the record seems quite soft overall) for that necessary element of dub music. The ambient/cosmic music of late is slowly going more and more into the direction of 'dance' music - and before you know it we have another revival of ambient house and intelligent dance music. Be warned, Eau-Dc might be at the beginning of that too. These eight pieces, while nothing particular new, are crafted with great care and some nice delicate melodies to create a fine sonic depth in your living room. (FdW)
Address: http://www.empiricrecords.com/

These lathe cut releases that end up on this desk are usually 7"s, but Peter King - best known cutter of plastic - can also do 8", 10" and 12". But in this case, also a 12", it might very well be that it was cut somewhere else, since its very flimsy. It sounds great though, but perhaps I am somewhat blinded by the music of Ultra Milkmaids. Like I said when reviewing their previous record, a lathe 7" they released themselves, we don't know much the milkies, except they are from Nantes and every now and release a record. All of it since 1996. All together a fine bunch of releases, not that many in fact, of fine quality. At least one true classic album, 'Peps', in my humble opinion, and a consistent fine quality throughout. Here we have three lengthy pieces of nicer than nice ambient music. Lots of synthesizer doodling here, in which they show a connection to the more current cosmic scene, like an extension of that previous 7". A particular strong connection we should as these pieces are simply gorgeous (although not 'classic'; that is a different area) and have a mild breezy tone, music for springtime arriving, that light organ touch we know from say Cluster. It made me think the winter should go now, and me having a bike ride outside.
Limited to 92 copies and I guess for those who like a physical release. If you don't want that, there is always the unlimited download release available. Maybe have both and play it on your walkman when biking around the country side. It will certainly calm your nerves. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com

Howl! Arts Collective is a Montreal-based collective of cultural workers, artists and activists working for social justice via artistic expression. Debut release ‘Duets for Abdelrazik’ by Stefan Christoff,  a social activist and pianist is a perfect example of this. In these duets Christoff consequently chooses for a meditative, suggestive and romantic approach. This made me think his playing is a counterpart of his political activism in a way. The album however is first of all a political statement and just one manifestation of his activism besides others. As this is meant as an act of solidarity with the fate of Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Sudanese-born Canadian who fights for justice and  clearing his name in his case as being accused of a supporter of al-Qaeda and a terrorist. For more – hopefully balanced - information please visit Wikipedia. Searching for the proper musical form for expressing this solidarity Christoff invited several musicians to records duets. In all of them Christoff plays piano, joined by Matana Roberts (sax), Rebecca Foon (cello), Radwan Moumneh (buzuq), Peter Burton (contrabass), Norman Nawrocki (violin) and Sam Shalabi (oud). Very different players and instruments. But as Christoff chooses in all pieces for the same meandering style, there is unity and continuity throughout. There is an obvious laid back jazzy touch in the playing of Christoff. He knows his limitations. But his fluid playing is inspired and expressive. The closing piece with Sam Shalabi is the one who did it for me. Great playing by Sam on the oud. (DM)
Address: http://www.howlarts.net

Second release for Caaldruun, also known as Erik Kessel and again with sparse information, although the artwork is actually a nice design. His mission statement reads "CAALDRUUN: hypnotic Ambient/Industrial compositions utilizing concrete sonic residue sourced from field recordings, oscillators and other electronic devices" and on this new release he continues to explore what he started on 'Headstone', except that this is all a bit louder, leaning more towards the world of noise than ambient. The six pieces are quite loud. It seems to be field recordings - such as children in 'Fountain Of Knives' - but perhaps also electro-magnetic fields, small synthesizers and effects such as reverb and delay are used quite a lot (perhaps occasionally in a too similar fashion). Some of these pieces tend to be a bit long, as Caaldruun uses the form in which he layers sound sources and let them run for a while, rather than using any form of collage. It's however a form of noise that I like. It's loud, but not crude. It seems that Kessel put some thought into this as opposed to the producers of pointless racket, whose aim it is to create a racket. Intelligent noise! Maybe a bit more in balance with the ambient side wouldn't hurt next time though. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tothefoxden.com

How fast can you create a release? Sometimes you do not had think about it and just let it happen and inspired by the moment there is. Frans de Waard wrote a review on the tape 'ENANTIOBIOSIS 1' which was released by Bob Heaven's tape. The tape was created to be played on a four track machine rather than a conventional cassette player and contained music by Drekka, Lather, Charnel House and Kyle Willey. The tape itself is an invitation to get started with the compositions to mix them in a four-track tape deck. A few days later went Frans de Waard with the tape to his studio Geluidswerkplaats Extrapool and worked with two different four track machines (one regular speed, one double speed), a mixer and some sound effects. The spontaneous recordings resulted in nine songs which were released in al limited edition of 23 CD-Rs and are part of the series of Orphanology Bluesanct. The untitled songs vary in mood and structure. The short numbers less than 15 seconds are surprisingly structured and within no time, the musical point has been made. Only some noise and a tone and the composition is ready. Pure sound art in a nutshell. Some songs have an abstract ambient atmosphere, others are more noise relates, such as Untitled V, which is an intense track with an ever ongoing multi-layered soundwave and with minimal changes. The last track is a potpourri of more experimental music layers. The power of "One Day I Got A Four Track Tape And Decided To Do My Own Mix" is in the threatening atmosphere of the tracks, which occasionally alternating with the ultra short tracks. The various layers within the music makes this album adventurous and pleasing to the ear. (JKH)
Address: http://orphanology.bandcamp.com/album/one-day-i-got-a-four-track-tape-and-decided-to-do-my-own-mix-orphan00w

LUCASZ CISZAK - FL/DC (CDR by Few Quiet People)
During his two trips to the United States Lukasz Ciszak was surprised on the approach to religion by the North Americans. The Polish experimental guitarist guitar mixed with field-recordings, since 2004 he is generally his music on his own label sqrt. The album FL/DC was released by the independent Polish netlabel Few Quiet People. Unlike many other netlabels they bring highly targeted music and have no large catalog of musicians and publications. The album FL/DC begins calmly plucking guitar with some talking in the background. The calm quiet atmosphere sounds good and cosey, but turned into more restless and searching sequences of tones and layers. His music goes from tranquility to turbulence and back. The mix of many evangelical pastors at several television stations and  news broadcasts about the nuclear disaster in Fukushima shouted at Ciszak the feeling that at the end of time was near. In that sense FL / DC is  a wonderful musical imagination of his voyage and discovery Ciszak has done in the United States of America. The power of music is great in the slow change of atmosphere and intensity. When the atmosphere quickly turns after a rousing sermon of a preacher the effect is less. Ciszak knows how to imagine the threat of doom and disaster when he does it in a slow way. (JKH)
Address: http://fewquietpeople.com/

It has been quiet for Joe Frawley in recent times, which I think is a pity. I am very fond of his music in which he combines spoken word, electronics and found sound to create great miniature radio plays. In more recent times (although the last time he was reviewed was in Vital Weekly 790) he had his voices spoken or sung by females, rather than lifting it from third party sources. So, it's perhaps a logical step to work with a singer on all pieces and share credits. Michelle Cross (related to Tara Cross, I wondered?) plays piano and sings, while Frawley is responsible for 'sound collage, electronic treatment and arrangement' while, one Win Ridabock plays flutes and Tracey Kroll percussion on one piece. This might all very well be recorded through postal service, as Cross is from Chicago and Frawley from Connecticut. On the info 'a listener' is quoted 'like listening to a late 70s Kate Bush/early 70s Eno collaboration' and damn that was exactly what I was thinking. Not the Bush with a band or orchestra but solo, behind her piano. In some pieces she seems to be really solo, but in others it seems as if Frawley takes the lead, with sampling her voice, splicing it up and down, adding 'treatments', adding 'reverb' and it all makes some great dreamy music with a strong experimental edge to it. Maybe a bit like Bush' album 'Aerial', but damn I haven't heard that in a while (puts it on the reminder list 'to hear again') and god, I love Bush. But god, this is great too. Even in a more rock like ballad (voice, piano, field recordings, no strings) like 'No More Dollies' in which Frawley seems to absent most of the time, it works very well. This is one of the stranger records of this week. A truly odd combination of great introspective piano-pop and soundscapes. An unlikely marriage, but it works extremely well. Let's hope this of a more continuous mode. (FdW)
Address: http://dollscometolife.bandcamp.com

Two highly limited releases on the 'Even More Secret Series' from Mik Music. Housed in a carton box with extra inserts and limited to 33 copies only. Perhaps the future in releasing is the all exclusive art item indeed. Here we have first one Pawel Pesel, of whose album it is said 'maybe this is his first album ever' - maybe not indeed. It seems to me that Pawel Pesel is a computer musician, and while I am hardly expert, he's either a man who loves Audiomulch or Ableton Live, but most of all he seems to love his loop players and drum machines in there to create something that is easily called 'proto techno'. You can hardly dance to this music, yet it sounds like some form of techno music for sure. Four long pieces here of this stuff. It is sometimes plainly simple but it can grow out into a pulsating and swirling mass of sound. All in the course of a single track, of course. It reminded me somehow, somewhere, couldn't help it, to the band once called Zebra, but more on the dance feel to it, then on the use of samples, which seem more or less absent here. But it shares with Zebra the dense feeling this music has. I thought this was all pretty good stuff. You can certainly head nod, foot tap along to all of this. It's quite loud, and could have been mastered better to get more out of this.
Even less is told, at least on the label's website, about Mangrove Mangrave, who play much shorter pieces, anywhere between a few seconds and six minutes. Here the music is a bit harder to define, and perhaps at that also the working methods of Mangrove Mangrave. This could as easily be some sort of laptop act, a solo electric guitar unit or any type of analogue electronic musician. Or even be all of that. It's all to hard to tell, and that is perhaps also a bit of the problem I have with this release. It seems to be without focus for me. What is it that Mangrove Mangrave want? The music is partly noisy, partly sort of loud ambient, but maybe at other times also a bit collage like, but nowhere it seems to grab me, the listener, to take me around and say: what wonderful music this (or how strange, how odd, how nice). More like a display of ideas, and not always worked out well. Maybe the package should given me an idea about this: cut down parts of books. That is best thing about this package: the package! (FdW)
Address: http://www.mikmusik.org/

TOTSTELLEN - LIVE @ WENDEL (BERLIN 2006) (cassette by Totes Format)
GRMMSK - DIRTY SNOW (cassette by Totes Format)
The use of computers in modern music is of course everywhere and not limited to glassed boys who would called nerds in high school. Also in more grimm surroundings of the musical spectrum we find them, and Totstellen is one of those projects which are somewhere on the border of electro-acoustic music, ultra dark ambient and noise. On 'Komaschine' they (?) use voices and sounds from the movie Institute Benjaminata, which I haven't seen, but in fifteen minutes Totstellen know how to depict a strange world with some well chosen dialogue, some piercing sounds towards the end, some finely shaped drones and in the middle a cut-up/collage. This is a great piece of some fine radiophonic quality. Almost like radioplay on German radio. It is in fact not that grim, I think and easily the best work so far by them.
On the live cassette, recorded in 2006 (so why wait all those years to release it I wondered), Totstellen uses his field recordings material from 'Tunnel Bruecke' (see Vital Weekly 614) and adds to 'a self build string instrument, played with a hand drill'. This leads to some particular grim material. Again not the most noisy stuff around, but with the rumbles inside a tunnel, the perfect soundtrack to all things claustrophobic. Recorded with what seems a hand held recorder which adds once again, furthermore to the 'direct in y'r face' quality of the music. A fine combination of computerized electronics and hand cranked noise.
Oops. With some of that weird spelling on hand written covers, I mistook Grmmsk for Graaaask in Vital Weekly 813. They are from Helsinki and play heavy slow dub music, which is even furthermore deconstructed than one would expect. The music seems, again, to have been lifted from reggae records and played through more effects, slowing it down in the process. Just what exactly is it that these guys are doing when creating their music, other than smoking another spliff? Less noisy than the previous release, quite dark and haunted. Oh and slooooooow, ma'n. Actually I like it quite a bit, but then I always had a weakness for dub music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.telenautik.de/grimm/totesformat

LZR - FAILED SYSTEMS (cassette by UFO Factory)
Three tapes from the UFO Factory, which I think is a fine name for a label. I am not sure if LZR, one Johnny, was reviewed before, but something said it was. 'Blue Monday meets Zeitwind' says the label, and that's indeed not a bad description. Short pieces here however, unlike any timewind on a blue monday, which were long pieces indeed, of a rather crude quality. Technical refinement is not something that Johnny cares about, and why should he indeed? His synth and rhythm doodles are short and to the point, perhaps even witty at times. This is not music to dance to, nor to chill out to, its somewhere in the unconformting grey area of all things electronic, but rightly so, not really industrial if you catch my drift. Quite pleasing in a sort of 'pain is pleasure' way. Music for SM?
Pain, pleasure, industrial: now these would be catch phrases for Andrew Coltrane's music. Crude is here a keyword too. With a pair of rusty scissors Coltrane damages his reel-to-reel tapes when cutting them into a loop. Then they are played on a machine covered in dust and the end result is picked up with a dictaphone. Actually, I made all of that up. Maybe 'rusty reels' is a plug in to make your music sound 'old'? I don't know. The sound sources are like-wise hard to define but perhaps contain of snippets of the radio, the radiator being played with a coin in the front room (recorded from outside the house) and I am still making this up. Actually, actually, come to think of it, I sort of like this release. It harks back to the ancient days of the mid-80s and the cassette scene with all those like wise manipulators of sonic debris from the fall out shelter.
Even more ancient daze are to be found on the tape by Infinity People. They had a double LP in 2012 called 'In Love With The Light', and there is a piece on there which lasts thirteen piece and is called 'The Serpent Tape'. This tape has the full unedited thirty minute version plus a thirty minute exclusive piece on the other side of the mountain. I wouldn't be surprised to learn they only used the beginning of 'The Serpent', with its stomping bass, pounding drums and endless guitars and not the more experimental second half of it, which I actually like more. On the other side we have more organ/synth doodles with percussive sounds. If Coltrane represents a revival of the 80s, then Infinity People is a free floating psychedelic jam of the late 60s/early 70s. Space rock galore, but surely nice enough also with all this buzzing and fuzzing - y'a kno wha I mean? (FdW)
Address: http://www.ufofactory.com

MESSIAH OF EVIL (cassette by Messiah of Evil)
Rarely I heard such maniac music. Messiah of Evil, also a psychedelic horror film from 1973, is also the musical outlet of Jail Flanagan from the United States. Nine songs fill a tape with ultra-fast synthesizer melodies, tossed beats and a screaming voice that attempts opera classics to give a new look. The tape is packaged with a cover that is a few inches too small for the cartridge case and the lyrics are unreadable. Luckily Jail Flanagan kindly mail me the lyrics to get more insight into the serpentine mind of the musician. The maniacal in music grabs me straight to the throat and makes me flip the tape over and over again. The music  is shaky, has influences from old hard-core punk, opera, experimental music and is just... complete madness. On the other hand, the texts are both dark surreal, or critical to the consumer society or is personal. Messiah of Evil is radical, or you  love it or you throw it in the dustbin. A compromise is not there. In that sense knows Jail Flanagan to create a nice tape by following his own instincts and do his own thing fearless. (JKH)
Address: <jail.flanagan@gmail.com>

HERBERT - HERBERT COMPLETE (download from Accidental Records)
There are two main reasons why this should not be reviewed in Vital Weekly. Matthew Herbert is someone whose music gets mainstream attention and should not matter us very much. But in fact we did review a previous release from him, 'Recomposed Gustav Mahler' (see Vital Weekly 730), which I called 'a poor man's marketing' idea. I also wrote: "Oh he was so hot, that night I saw him on stage, breaking bottles and oh, there is a groove out of that. I think Herbert is a boring guy with too many tales up his sleeve". So why exactly would I be bothered to write about a download only release of his releases as Herbert, not as Matthew Herbert or any of his other incarnations, spanning the years 1996-2006? Now that's fine question I think. I gave the guy who send me the link some bollocks about us not reviewing mp3 releases, even if they had to be paid and what the fuck did he want with Herbert in this rag? But then it dawned it upon I could use the opportunity to write a few things that bother me. 'That night', in 2001, at Montreal's Mutek, Herbert was on stage, getting into his routine of breaking bottles and then out of we were lead to believe this great groove was sampled. But even if it perhaps was, I was thinking 'what's the point'. What is it that he tries to proof here? Everything is music, all sounds can be used? But if that sound, whatever sound in fact, is used to create a stomping rhythm, why bother. It has nothing to do with the specific quality of that sound. It's only to imitate the sound of a drum computer, but you have those already, so why breaking a few bottles? Likewise one could argue about his other work, especially his 'Bodily Functions', which is also part of this collections. Here Herbert uses sounds from the human body (hair, skin) and manipulating them into 'microhouse', but here too we have the same problem. It sounds all so normal and again we could wonder why this information is given. I guess, but perhaps I am the cynic, this is all marketing techniques: you will surely get a few lines in the music magazines because you do something that nobody else. 'Here's music made with samples from the human body, and yet you can still dance to it. Isn't that marvelous?' I really don't see a point in all of this, but it brought Herbert around the world and this 'imaginative approach' made him director of the New Radiophonic Workshop. So let's safely assume those who know, know best. This is the true avant-garde approach. What do I know? And then what about the music here. If I disconnect it all from the 'great ideas', I must say I actually enjoyed playing this lot. Partly because, of course, I hardly get a chance to play house music all afternoon and most of this was quite entertaining. I wasn't blown away by the vocal stuff on 'Bodily Functions' and 'Scale' for instance. Otherwise I had a fine time playing this. So you see: music can be great when it is disconnected from the great world of ideas behind them. We don't need to know always. (FdW)
Address: http://accidentalrecords.com/