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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 878
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week 16
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
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MACHINEFABRIEK & MINUS PILOTS - SIGNALS (CD by Dronarivm) *
AQUARIUS (compilation CD by Dronarivm)
CLINTON GREEN & ANDREW MCINTOSH – KASOUNDI (CD by Shame File Records)
MIKE COOPER - WHITE SHADOWS IN THE SOUTH SEAS (CD by Room40) *
CHRIS ABRAHAMS - MEMORY NIGHT (CD by Room40) *
FRANCESCO GREGORETTI & OLIVIER DI PLACIDO - MAUVAISE HALEINE (CD by Viande Records) *
THIS IS ELECTRONIC MINIMAL SYNTHESIZER (compilation CD by Motok)
BITTER FICTIONS (LP by Shaking Box Music) *
[BOLT] – ( 02 ) (12” by Aentitainment Records)
[BOLT] – Petrels – split (10” by Aentitainment Records)
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - TAOS HUM (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope) *
THE SILVERMAN - FINISTERRE (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope) *
EDWARD KA-SPEL - FIRE ISLAND (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope) *
DEISON & GALAN - CAYENDO (CDR by Loud!) *
SMALL HOURS - RHAPSODY IN WALL (CDR by Ikebukuro Dada)
WILHELM BRAS - WORDLESS SONGS BY THE ELECTRIC FIRE (CDR by Mik Musik) *
STYLIANOS TZIRITAS - NOUS SERIES VOL. 8 (3"CDR by More Mars) *
REMNANTS - SURFACE TENSION (cassette by Mazurka Editions)
COOPER BOWMAN / ENAK (split cassette by Mazurka Editions)
MSLMSSILEMSL - SELF-TITLED (cassette by Mazurka Editions)
DEPRIVATION / THE STREETCLEANER (split cassette by Diazepam Records)
RAVEN - EXTINCTION (cassette by Diazepam Records)
A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER - CHICKEN HEART (3" CDR by Diazepam Records)
SVARTVIT – AUTO-DA-FE (cassette by Svartvit)
RAWMEAN - SEA MISTER (cassette, private) *



MACHINEFABRIEK & MINUS PILOTS - SIGNALS (CD by Dronarivm)
AQUARIUS (compilation CD by Dronarivm)
From the mysterious Minus Pilots I reviewed a CD before (see Vital Weekly 826), which had something to do with analogue gear and bass guitars. I made references to Oren Ambarchi and Machinefabriek and it perhaps not a surprise that Minus Pilots end working with Rutger Zuydervelt, the worker from the Machinefabriek. Bass guitars are at the core of this work too, along with Zuydervelt's sampled clarinet, strings and voice. This is surely a work of many a loop pedal and nothing is done to hide that. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily so, but despite the fact that this sounds pretty relaxing and nice, it also comes across as an easy work to create. Strum a few sounds, loop/sample them, add some sounds, a crackle, a lengthier drone from the clarinet, more strumming etc. Now here's a thought: if it wasn't Machinefabriek would be wanting to hear this, or would the audience be considerable smaller? I guess the latter. I don't know about Minus Pilots, but Machinefabriek can do much, much better. This seems a like quickie in between.
And the other new release is a compilation - never my favorite thing to review. This one is dedicated to Polish fashion designers Konrad Parol and Nenukko, both of which I never heard (but I guess you didn't think I was very much into fashion anyway). Each track lasts exactly five minutes and it's all of a highly ambient and drone like nature. I am not sure if that is just a conceptual streak, or perhaps related to the fashion designers, but it all sounds rather nice, even when it seems that a lot of these pieces sound quite similar. A few tones, a note, on endless sustain, a bit of effects and that's it. Dronarivm managed to get a few great names such as Jules Marsen and Loscil, but also (obviously) Machinefabriek, Simon Whetham, Hakobune, Pleq & Mathieu Ruhlmann, Yann Novak, Favio Orsi and some names which were new for me, such as The Green Kingdom, Melodium and Pillowdriver. Throughout an enjoyable compilation, though rather similar in approach. Also easy, but perhaps a little bit of a different kind of easy. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dronarivm.com

CLINTON GREEN & ANDREW MCINTOSH – KASOUNDI (CD by Shame File Records)
Clinton Green is active since the 1990s and released and worked under the moniker of Undecisive God. He released a lot of recordings and performed at lot around Australia. He runs also the label Shame File Music. He played guitar for a long time, but for now is mainly interested in the use of turntable. The label starts with punk and and noise music and released for example a spoken word tape of Henri Rollins.
At 24 September and 20 October 2011 he recorded together with Andrew Mcintoch the album Kasoundi. With objects and machines, like a record player, tape deck, rocks, bowls, percussion instruments, kitchen utensils, aluminum foil and broken records the duo recorded five tracks. The experiments with all these materials and machines result in a abstract compositions. The first recordings are like field-recordings of moving objects and playing around with the acoustic materials and improvisations with broken records. The fourth track is like a ongoing noisy drone and is a nice interruption of the abstract pieces of music. The last track is for me the most adventurous, it is a nice combination of playing with all these objects and some use of percussion instruments. A nice conceptual album for people who want to be surprised by the combination of musique concrete and experimental music. (JKH)
Address: http://shamefilemusic.com

MIKE COOPER - WHITE SHADOWS IN THE SOUTH SEAS (CD by Room40)
CHRIS ABRAHAMS - MEMORY NIGHT (CD by Room40)
Just turned 70, Mike Cooper is probably one of the older stars of this week. Did I ever of him? I am not sure, I don't think so. He's been part if the beat cult film 'That Kind Of Girl', played with John Lee Hooker, Howlin Wolf and Jimmy Reed, launched folk and blues clubs in London, recorded many sessions for John Peel from 1969-1975, was a member of The Recedents, since 1994 spent time touring and exploring Oceania, recording field recordings to be reworked into pieces and still plays guitar. His latest CD, but the first one I am to hear from him, is 'White Shadows In The South Seas' is surely one hell of a strange CD. Although, I must admit, I expect anything to return in terms of music. A while ago a friend of mine played some uberhip new form of dance music - can't recall what this particular incarnation was called - which had a lot of exotica mixed into it. So, I recalled the mid-nineties revival of exotica, and here, on this Mike Cooper release, it seems to be making yet another return, somewhat disguised as experimental music. Updated with modern technology it seems, computer processing perhaps, but with Hawaiian slide guitars and uplifting rhythms on a set of tropical percussion pieces. Of course I could pretend to know Martin Denny since reading 'The Industrial Culture Handbook', and in fact I do know the name, but not the music. My proper introduction was KBZ 200's CDs of versions of 'Taboo', 'Quiet Village' and 'Caravan', in the mid nineties. I always liked Exotica, but perhaps more on a superficial level: yes, it's out there, it's nice and fine, but will I active look for it? Perhaps not. That's what I thought here too. The chirping insects, the nice slides guitar sounds, the rolling percussion of shakers and maracas' and what have you in the cocktail lounge, it's all here and combined with some more adventurous takes on sound production. For me that's the part that makes this more interesting. As such I may not care that much for exotica, as explained, but Cooper does here something that extends it beyond the ordinary - always a good thing in my book - of the genre he's operating in. A piece like 'Lung Collapse' is nothing like exotica, with it's reversed guitar sounds and psychedelic effects but somehow fits quite well on this odd-ball release. Certainly the oddest release of the week. I thought this was a great one at least, just for the combination of the exotic and the weird.
Today is one of those early spring days and the doors of the balcony finally open. Birds, children playing, cars, they all enter my life again, post-winter, and I need to adjust my listening again. Certainly in 'Leafer', the opening piece of Chris Abrahams new release 'Memory Night', I am getting quite confused with the outside and the inside. Low sounds start out, with a rasping kind of sound - children outside rolling karts on the street? - but it's all in the music of Abrahams it seems. Abrahams here uses a wide range of instruments, such as piano, guitar, samples, percussion, waldorf q plus, yamaha dx 7, moog voyager, vermona mono lancet, kurzweil k2600, hammond organ and nord stage. Strange and mysterious music here, and although cut into four pieces with four different titles, you could as easily see them as four parts of the same piece. They seem to be flowing into each other, or move half way through a piece into something else. There is the seemingly out of place piano of 'Strange Bright Fact' which cuts into something altogether more noisy in the same piece. Electronic and acoustic instruments play an interesting game together, sometimes along each other and sometimes against each other, sometimes together and sometimes alone. It's music which has an excellent radio-play like quality to it, even when it's narrative is more obscured, or perhaps, better, not entirely unfolded. An excellent CD this one, full of tension, full of surprises, big and small (jazzy piano chopped up in 'Stabilize Ruined' anyone?) of something that is beyond modern classical music, improvisation, jazzy and sound art - all of that and a bit more and that bit more is what makes this a great CD. Excellent! (FdW)
Address: http://www.room40.org

FRANCESCO GREGORETTI & OLIVIER DI PLACIDO - MAUVAISE HALEINE (CD by Viande Records)
Another duo with drums and guitar. That was, I must admit, my thought when I started playing this. I was of course thinking of my local heroes Donne & Desiree, and once the CD was done playing I was still thinking about that fine local duo. Here we have their Italian counterparts Francesco Gregoretti on drums and Olivier di Placido on guitar. Both are self-taught and the first played in One Starving Day and in 2009 started Grizzly Imploded, sometimes called Strongly Imploded, or Oddly Imploded. Di Placido has played with Arnaud Riviere, Tony Buck, Anthea Caddy and in a band named Many Others, which is a funny name of course. They met up in June 2012 for a tour and swiftly arranged a date to record in a studio. They play their top heavy improvised music with the speed and aggression of a punk band - most of the times. Sometimes they hold back but even then, in some of that apparent 'silent' and 'careful' playing you feel the tension in the way the hit, strum, bang the sparse objects, but they are at their best when it's full on, very loud. Music like this, I have noted this before, is best enjoyed in concert, I think. Being there and see the action unfold before your very eyes. Experience the volume, the tension of it all. CD is a perhaps a poor excuse, I know, but it sounds pretty great all around here. Not unlike my local heroes in fact, maybe in a somewhat earlier incarnation for them, but their Italian peers are equally great. (FdW)
Address: http://www.viande.it

THIS IS ELECTRONIC MINIMAL SYNTHESIZER (compilation CD by Motok)
Elsewhere I whine about compilations, well, not about compilations themselves but the fact that I don't like reviewing them that much, and I should extend that to this one too, even when I am strictly speaking about good friends here. I have known Nico Selen for about close to 30 years now, and always enjoyed his wacky take at pop music. Nico is also a man who loves compilations and was responsible for a string of LPs where people paid along - you give me x amount of money and you get y amount of music on the LP - which was a good way of getting your music out on a professional format. In more recent years Selen released CDRs, lathe cuts, besides the occasional 'real' LP or 7". Here he ventures to a 'real' CD, no doubt thanks to the micro pressing possibilities of these days. It's a small world and CD pressing plants have to exist also. So, only 200 copies have been made of 'This Is Electronic Minimal Synthesizer', which is of course not correct english (but given the lingo I use, who am I to complain), but it spells out EMS, one of those early vintage synth thingys which of course no one has. I am not sure if this compilation is one of those pay along things, but I doubt that. It sells for a ridiculous low amount of money, and is the label's best introduction compilation so far. The nice thing is that some many bands/projects have multiple tracks, like the housy beats of Electric Bongo, the synth pop of O.R.D.U.C. and the minimalism of E.M.M. and NoNotes - the latter three all Selen projects, who has the majority of the pieces here anyway. All but one of these pieces have been released on sometimes impossible to find CDR releases or appear in whatever new mix there is now, like De Fabriek, Kompleta and Jan Paul Westgeest. Like a good compilation should do, introducing good music by relatively new names, this one certainly is great. Completists, like me, will find it more difficult to go through it all. It's certainly an expansion of the Motok empire, and now it's time to expand with more CDs with new music by these artists. MaSe's piece is the only new one on this compilation and is the next one that is really new and up for release. Can't wait. (FdW)
Address: http://www.motok.org

BITTER FICTIONS (LP by Shaking Box Music)
Back in Vital Weekly 820 I reviewed two cassettes by Devin Friesen's project Bitter Fictions. One tape was more conventional guitar playing, drums and singing, whereas on the other he used max/msp patches to use as an extra filter for the guitar sounds. Now he's up to his fifth release and for the first time he ventures out to the LP format. Friesen calls this a LP of 'solo guitar w/pedals… loopers, feedbackers, distortion and tapes', which I guess says it all. All of that you can find in the eight tracks on this LP, and three bonus pieces in the download. It bounces in all directness, from the noise of 'Memory Patterns/Dream Tomb' to the spacious looped piece of 'Circulate'. It's more on the spacious, looped pieces than on the noisy pieces. Ambience is a keyword here, sometimes very settling and sometimes very unsettling. In each of these pieces you will find a melodic component, which makes this overall more an album of musical structures than strict ambient/drone, but all from the post rock end of things. Of course there is also something that I'm less positive about and that's the whole looper end of the music. Very much what I also think about the Machinefabriek/Minus Pilots CD reviewed elsewhere, there is a certain easiness about this whole way of playing music. Of course you need to be able to strum a few notes on the guitar (which rules me out as a potential player of this kind of music), but if you can, then recording such music seems to me very easy. Perhaps here, as well as elsewhere, I miss a certain amount of depth in this music. It's like 'one instrument, one sound' approach and always recognizable as one of those looper devices. Do the next step and expand on the possibilities of the device. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bitterfictions.bandcamp.com

[BOLT] – ( 02 ) (12” by Aentitainment Records)
[BOLT] – Petrels – split (10” by Aentitainment Records)
How minimalist can a record-cover be? A cardboard sleeve contained a piece of colored wood and an inlay with al leave which is wrapped in plastic. A beautiful combination of nature and the curtailment of the same nature.
[BOLT] consists of  Dieter Krasen and Andreas Brinke from Bochum - Germany and make minimalist music with as main ingredients, two basses. Heavy bass-riffs repeat and repeat themselves, in the background are field-recordings, a recording of a piano or a heavy string synthesizer. The riffs seem sometimes run away from a metal band, but the explosion of noise does not come and the threat is ever more and more. The second track of the album ( 02 ) is beautiful in the sense that there are just three strokes on the strings and then the resonance of the strings takes over, leading to an intense motile noise. [BOLT] released two albums on the German label Aentainment Records. The label doesn’t commit to a genre, but ensures quality releases on vinyl. The man behind the label organizes also concerts and festivals in Bochum and surroundings. The second release is a split with Petrels, which makes electronic music of an entirely different caliber, much lighter in tone, floating and light beats. The number of [BOLT] contrast begins melancholic supplemented with an electronic tone and keeps getting heavier and heavier. The song ends with a penetrating electronic noise, containing a heavy bass. The show keeps getting stronger and stronger, but does not heaviness of the music as the bass predominate, but give an open end of the piece.
That's the beauty of [BOLT], the music comes over you like a heavy blanket, but indicates the end an opening to continue to breathe and get ready for the next heavy burden. (JKH)
Address: http://www.aentitainment.com/

THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - TAOS HUM (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope)
THE SILVERMAN - FINISTERRE (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope)
EDWARD KA-SPEL - FIRE ISLAND (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope)
The Legendary Pink Dots proof to be a very consistent band, working on all formats, for a diverse bunch of labels, but are as prolific as can be, so there is always a stream of releases on their on label (and simultaneously on bandcamp, hence we refer to there). It's, I guess, more what the market wants - download - but in their own hearts it's rather CDs and LPs, and there is for true fans a lot of them. None of these come with a lot of extra information that is useful, such as recording dates I mean, but they are all fairly recent - which is, from the past few weeks. On 'Taos Hum', the dots, and that should be the extended group of Edward Ka-spel, The Silverman and Erik Drost, continue were we last heard them, 'Chemical Playschool 15', and fortunately in a more experimental mood, which is what I dig best about them. Recently I played all of their CDs - believe it or not - that I have from them, digging the earliest work best, but with an odd exception for some of the recent 'under the radar' releases too. Maybe if the dots turn off some of that motorik, sequencer driven sound a bit more, and let the synths slow and low meandering about, the voice of Ka-spel more reciting poetry than actually singing. 'The Piper' may seem a bit like the 'above the radar' stuff, but the simplicity of rhythm as well as the krautrock length of twelve minutes make this quite a nice piece too, on a fine six track album. Lengthy pieces of music, which have a lot of time to develop, or simply take time to do a bit of weirdness - again 'The Piper' seems to have all of this. Here I'm reminded of those early works, with it's collage like elements dropping in and out the mix. It's obviously recorded better and less crude in it's montage techniques, but it carries forth those similar ideas in music which I started to love them for, almost thirty years ago. Excellent stuff, once again!
Not wanting to do an overkill on Ka-spel's voice, I moved to the disc by The Silverman first. It's not possible to say that a combination of his solo CD and Ka-spel's solo work equals The Legendary Pink Dots. Ka-spel plays of course a part in constructing the electronics of their work, and The Silverman has, when working under that alias, his own private interests. Drone music, and atmospherics is what's on the menu here. Not through pressing down a few keys on a synthesizer, feed that through effects and see what happens, but rather by using a more musical approach. In 'Fitzroy Cromarty' there seems to be some sort of processed voice over a backdrop of various synthesizer parts, some long form and some shorter, bubbling like water. A poetic gesture is made here. In 'Oscar's Last Day', we have something that resembles a bagpipe, along with some heavily treated percussion and a hurdy gurdy drone - but probably all of this synthetic. 'Spring' does evolve very slow - like in real life I guess - but once it's there is bursts out - like in real life too - with percussion and spoken word samples. This is also the loudest piece on an overall softer release. Three longer piece of some excellent mood music.
And we move back to earth to Edward Ka-spel's last solo outing, 'Fire Island'. I know some people who keep telling me that some of his solo work is to be regarded as stripped down Pink Dots music, and superficially it may seem to be the case. Usually less melodic lines on the keyboard, a bit of rhythm, no guitars, no other instruments, and Edward's voice. To continue the line about poetry to music, I think we must see his solo work like that. It's poetry set to music, and this bit is a bit of different music. Indeed more sparsely orchestrated - and not as experimental as some of his other work, such as 'Trapped In Amber' or 'Devascapes', which were more purely instrumental affairs. Here vocals are also not always presence, and a piece like 'Entrance And Illumination' could very well a Silverman piece: ambient, introvert and quiet. But that goes also for a piece like 'A Sad Society', but then with vocals. 'A Step Too Far' is then perhaps more 'conventional' Ka-spel music, just like 'Mr. Negative'. It shows us the fine quality of Ka-spel in music and lyrics, but it's the more introvert pieces of 'Entrance And Illumination' and 'Surfing The Volcano' that shows us a Ka-spel that does what he does best, and searches for small, yet new directions. Very refined music, once again, on all three, and shows best how these things work as work in progress, with everyone bringing something to the table and with three such diverse releases. (FdW)
Address: http://legendarypinkdots1.bandcamp.com/

DEISON & GALAN - CAYENDO (CDR by Loud!)
Last summer Italy's Deison met up with Sara Galan, a cello player from Valencia and it was decided to work on some material together, which I believe was recorded through the use of the internet.  She plays the cello drones, while Deison treats that material and plays around with it along with field recordings and electronics. Eight pieces, with a particular orchestral opening in 'Instabile', but throughout these eight pieces, Deison mainly constructs loops out of the playing, rather than using longer bits of the cello playing. I played this release quite a lot over the past few days, not because I liked it that much - well, I did, but mainly because I couldn't get my head around what I actually thought. That orchestral opening with soft ticking rhythm sound sounds great indeed - all the time - but I don't seem to be getting my head around the other pieces that much. They have a nice looped quality indeed, augmented by some nice field recordings and even nicer electronics, which at one point I thought were coming from outside rather than on the music, but among the various times I was playing this, I once fell asleep (which I don't think is a bad thing per se) and on other occasions it doesn't seem to be doing much for me, and I think 'so what'? But then I realized that this must a fine album: one that knows how to provoke more than one reaction from the same release. That is indeed a good thing, I think. One to keep on playing for a while, I think. (FdW)
Address: http://www.deison.net

SMALL HOURS - RHAPSODY IN WALL (CDR by Ikebukuro Dada)
“Inspired by Gershwin's classical piece 'Rhapsody In Blue'. Features samples from Gershwin and a diverse range of walls.” Why? And just how could RIB inspire HNW? I’ve no idea. The wall anyway begins as a Geiger counter type click, which at first is very much in the background of the Gershwin, so at times the so called wall is drowned out, at about 5 minutes the Gershwin fades out, to re-appear this time quieter but quite listenable, some minutes latter it again disappears and the Geiger counter slowly evolves into something resembling a wall, if still very staccato, then through to a full HNW roar- still no Gershwin…. and finally a gentle long fade! and the Gershwin slowly re-appears – as if to say you cant kill a good tune even with HNW.  Metaphysically this prompts the idea of an idea of “order” underlying and overlaying and finally overcoming any chaos which might be found in the universe- so maybe its an advert for creationism or the Jehovah’s Witnesses?  That is a problem – the mixing order with disorder always will evoke ideas, and ideas of a duality which noise does not have. Though this work is miles from any idea of dialectics.. What is this then – a work of the most conservative and reactionary of ideas – as when Lassie licked Elizabeth Taylor… The packaging is a DVD case with a picture of the Ocean – you wont be surprised to note – in blue, with blue text. There is little in the way of explanation, but the idea that somehow noise can be put to use is not new, all systems of communication use this idea. The Beatles did something not similar – but perhaps similar with “I want you (She’s So Heavy)” Only there the concept meant something and the noise didn’t fade – as in other pop songs – but overwhelmed everything and then shockingly cut -but that was a very long time ago – before your mother was born. (jliat)
Address: http://ikebukuro-dada.blogspot.co.uk/

WILHELM BRAS - WORDLESS SONGS BY THE ELECTRIC FIRE (CDR by Mik Musik)
The carton boxes of Mik Musik look nice, but are also a bit big for what they contain. Here, besides the CDR, a bag with some photographic snapshots. Pawel Kulczynski is the man behind Wilhelm Bras. Before that he was known as Tropajn and he is described as a 'musician, visual artist, designer, constructor, engineer, thinker, free soul'. He constructed his own analogue synthesizers used to create the music on this, his first album as Wilhelm Bras. The six pieces here, ranging from almost four to ten minutes show an interesting love for the more rudimentary forms of techno, without being in any form or shape fit to serve a dance floor. A bit industrial, but albeit never as dark. Bras keeps his stuff rather 'light', considering the crudeness in the way he plays his music. Very minimal, his music seems to be merely bouncing up and down, a bit back and forth, but without too many changes. There is a certain fatigue leaping in here when it turns out the synths play the same sound over and over again, throughout these six pieces. Time to bend that LFO, VCR and what have you, I thought. Ultimately I think this was great work out music - supposing you do work out - whereas you could play this on repeat and stretch that muscle, work that body. Purely sitting back and playing this just as it is, is a bit much, I think. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mikmusik.org

STYLIANOS TZIRITAS - NOUS SERIES VOL. 8 (3"CDR by More Mars)
There is a lot of text on the cover, but unfortunately it's all in Greek. On a small note along with this releases, I read that Tziritas is a Greek performer, mostly playing the clarinet. He was a member of Trypanosoma (see also Vital Weekly 485) and something in Greek who had a release on Phase! Records. This new mini CDR is about love. I am just repeating what I am told. Oh, the word 'A(r)mour' is on here somewhere. That was a give away too. I am not sure, but I don't think this music was entirely created with a clarinet, besides the voice. I am not sure what these texts are about - Greek again - but there is also bits of organ like sounds, among various more distorted sounds of an unknown origin, except for drums in the fifth piece. I am not sure what to make of all of this. The texts don't mean much to me, and the use of those distorted sounds make the music rather devoid of love. Maybe I'm just missing a point here, entirely? (FdW)
Address: http://www.moremars.org

REMNANTS - SURFACE TENSION (cassette by Mazurka Editions)
COOPER BOWMAN / ENAK (split cassette by Mazurka Editions)
MSLMSSILEMSL - SELF-TITLED (cassette by Mazurka Editions)
Each tape on Mazurka Editions comes with a translucent, black-and-white J-card that builds up a sense of mystery in anticipation of the sounds. Label boss Jarrod Skene's visual aesthetic is equal parts Eraserhead and The Trial, using shadowy, disorienting images to prime the listener.
Remnants' Ryan Marino, the Brooklynite who runs Imminent Frequencies, stencils abstract sound images using made and found sounds. 'Surface Tension' collects several experiments with tape loops, tapping source material from electric guitar and the radio. In what is most likely a dubbing error on my particular copy, side A plays exclusively out of the left channel. My makeshift solution was switching to mono, although I wonder what's been lost in translation.
Marino's tracks find their base in repetition, but their design is nuanced and compelling. For example, opener “Surface Tension #6” employs a speckled bite of prepared guitar that is looped at varying volumes and degrees of filtration. The sound never blisters into noise, but conveys an almost asphyxiating level of tension throughout. Marino works closely with negative space; his sounds are more like the inverse of the silence than structures of their own, most notably on the garbled stereo-wire hum of "Breathing Lessons." The dubbing issue is resolved for the B side, which continues to stitch engrossing mini-epics out of cycled static, although they fill the sound plane closer to capacity here. Over the continuous "Surface Tension #1-5" sequence, Marino's loops slowly bleed into one another, continually forging novel permutations of monochrome sound -- it's a crystallization of the vision the tape spends its duration developing.
Mazurka Editions' split between Cooper Bowman (Reunion Sacred Ibis) and Enak (né Kane Ewin) gives each artist just seven and a half minutes to work with, which from my experience can be a positive thing. Bowman's "Spare-Circle Praxis" weaves found tapes and analog synthesizers together to chilling effect, resulting in a very eighties-hometaper spin on the musique concrete playbook. It may just be the bizarre machinations of my mind, but his track reminded me one of the tapes recovered from the Jonestown massacre. As the story goes, when Jim Jones' house was raided, there were boxes of cassettes documenting his various speeches and gatherings, including the infamous final sermon. But one tape was something of an anomaly: a patchwork of news broadcasts describing the tragedy soon after the army had landed. Nobody could figure out who had recorded the tape, since Jones was understood to have taken his own life before the troops arrived. Somehow, Bowman's haphazard collage evokes that discomforting sense, its otherwise banal samples scraped clean of context and left to bob, disembodied, on a bed of weirdness. ENAK's "If You Feel Alright You Really Should Notify Your Face" goes one better, approximating the 4AM-cemetery free jazz of Extended Organ's seminal Xoxo artifact. Cassette treachery and improvised burble stock up the shelves of this orgiastic recording, which spends its seven-and-a-half minutes proficiently dismantling your comfort level. Nice.
Bad-ass Mazurka head Jarrod Skene also included a copy of his label's first release, a self-titled C12 by the wonderfully pronounceable MSLMISSILEMSL. Befitting an act whose name morphs its letters with each new release, the affair was limited to a shady fifteen copies, so you can enjoy this with particular joy knowing that your friends couldn't get a copy if they wanted to. It is the most discordant of the three Mazurka tapes I sampled, blaring forth with a block of crooning half-in-stereo-jacks and fretful electric guitar noise/drone. This certainly lacks the subtle variegation of Mazurka's two latest tapes, yet conveys a sense of agency foreign to most flaccid noise outbursts. With a mere twelve minutes to shape its ruckus, MSLMISSILEMSL is allowed an appropriate amount of space to thumb around - and I do mean thumb around, as heard on the rhythm-devoid, delightfully infantile noodlings of "Deiiieff"'s second half. (MT)
Address: http://mazurkaeditions.blogspot.com

DEPRIVATION / THE STREETCLEANER (split cassette by Diazepam Records)
RAVEN - EXTINCTION (cassette by Diazepam Records)
A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER - CHICKEN HEART (3" CDR by Diazepam Records)
Diazepam is the generic name for Valium, but it also serves as a compelling label name. In juxtaposition with the drug's primary physiological effects, Diazepam the label issues noisy tapes that frustrate all attempts to drift into dreamland. But the label and the pill do share one thing in common: a tendency towards disinhibition.
Poring over Diazepam's latest batch, my eyes were drawn immediately to the split between Deprivation and The Streetcleaner. This was largely because of its striking cover: an old-timey photo of a man whose head is covered in bandages, holding his charred monster hand up to his face. Though their name implies the denial of release, Deprivation perpetrates a pretty eventful plank of harsh noise here. The standard set of bells and whistles is present in abundance: the smarting snarl of bass, the shrill darts of metallic squeal, the blustering shrubbery of mid-range thrush... As we wade through the three parts of “A Dead Place in the Sun,” there is a sense of progression. Instead of endlessly circling the drain, Deprivation's side of the tape actually seems to tell a story, if a disturbing one. The Streetcleaner, by contrast, uses intimidating, filter-abraded vocals deep in his mix to add a sense of immediate threat to his racket. Littered throughout each track are waves of industrial-calibre noise. His most mortifying moment is left for last, when the vocals are contorted into full demon form - like a beckoning voice from beneath the floorboards curlicuing its way into your dreams and inviting you into its net... Here the noise itself becomes the sideshow, the patchwork of grit beneath the hearty refrain of “it's time for me to destroy you” merely contributing a gravelly texture to the real ordeal.
Raven is Serbian noise upstart Djordje Miladinović's recently-established but hopelessly productive sound outlet. 'Extinction' is another lovable mound of noise, this time sliced into three discrete tracks. The title track opens the cassette, and it sets the stage: its timbre is cold but not particularly vicious, establishing a haunting backdrop without reverting to the standard ply of ear-shred. “Bombstrike” maintains the tone, with shifting slabs of polar noise/drone sharing the foreground. It sounds almost like stepping into a room full of microfiche machines, each one shuddering at a different frequency. “We All Bleed Red,” which eats up side B, starts with a reticent handful of analog crumbs before cautiously shoveling on platefuls of sound. This pattern is maintained until the last stanza, when the listener is whisked into a catacombs of ambient drone. Curiously, this project is the thirty-seventh iteration of the 'Raven' band name that Discogs has on file, though his breakneck horde of releases out-pedals the majority of the dance-music one-offs who share his moniker. If all of his tapes and CDRs manage the nuance and restraint of 'Extinction,' then the noise scene has a fine new voice in its midst.
Last up: a brief mini-CDR from impeccably named American harshster A Night to Dismember. This is the meanest of the three releases, bringing an armament of noise toys into a reverberant room for a nice game of cleaver plus ears equals pain. ANtD has a way with sharp stabs of noise, catching the listener off-guard with his intermittent manner of assault. Of course, if you catch someone off-guard enough times they come to expect it, which is when this miserable gent decides to crank the knobs to full-volume and watch the walls cave in. Behind the bedlam is some nifty digital needlework, achieving a level of calculation (and variety) that the average one-shot blast of garble wouldn't otherwise manage. Whether that's a good thing or a cop-out is up to the purists to determine. (MT)
Address: http://dzpm.blogspot.it/

SVARTVIT – AUTO-DA-FE (cassette by Svartvit)
Auto-da-Fe is the re-release of the Dutch harsh noise project Svartvit of Kevin Jansen. The 16-minute tape contains two tracks with a high intensity of sound. The room fills with comprehensive sound layers, where small changes in sound intensity and more space for the tapping noise or other frequencies, which provide another physical reaction to the sound. The strength of the tape is in the short duration of the two compositions, which still provide aural slap in the face and somewhere far in the background you will hear a repeating scream. The cover of the re-release is a page of the English title of the first book "Die Blendung” of the German writer Elias Canetti. The book was written in 1935, was banned by the Nazis. This cover speaks to me more than the original. The original consists of images of the Inquisition and images of impending doom, in the tradition of black-metal or occult noise. The new cover has more the DIY concept and is more creative in structure and design. The project Svartvit in 2008 and is now an outlet for all the anger, frustration and many questions that today's society calls. The music is inspired by many sources, such as DIY punk, anarchism, socio-political themes, but also bands like The Rita, Vomir and Sword Heaven. Live performances by Svartvit are an experience in itself. Through effects and homemade instruments of stone and metal is such a wall of sound that made almost meditative works. The destruction of the stone and the physical forces during the game, making the performance an experience of well structured harsh noise, which is not subtle sounds and movements led to a powerful built-destructive sound barrier. Anyhow… Auto-Da-Fé is beautiful tape for lovers of harsh noise, highly recommended! (JKH)
Address: http://svartvit.bandcamp.com/

RAWMEAN - SEA MISTER (cassette, private)
There isn't a lot of information forthcoming on Rawmean. The bandcamp page has tags which may provide some clue: 'experimental rc-50 duckyousucker experimental pop live looping physics engine ramin rahni rawmean tupperware drums San Francisco' and a connection can be to an earlier album, from April 2011. Duckyousucker is a name I recognize, from an equally hard to understand release when it comes to 'information' - see Vital Weekly 869 - which I quite enjoyed too. Maybe Rawmean is a member of this band? Maybe not. 'Live looping' is also something I understand, as it seems that in these five pieces that is what he does. Rawmean gets some sound running and loops that and keeps playing that, feeding it to other sound effects - more delay mostly - and loops that on the spot as well. A simply but effective way of creating music I think, and although Steve Reich would no doubt not agree, music like this is part and parcel of that heritage. 'Stubborn Bubble' is build from a bump in the technology chain, 'On Dancetron' is a spacious dance piece of kalimba's running amok and 'Tupper' gets stuck in the end groove of a piece of vinyl, just like the waltz of 'Waltz Dizzy'. Quite raw in a sense that it all seems recorded in one go, on the spot, without much altering or editing. That makes this quite nice. Before I knew I had this thirty minute tape spinning four times - partly because I wasn't paying too much attention but also because it sounded so nice, I think. (FdW)
Address: http://rawmean.bandcamp.com/


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