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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 885
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week 23
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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!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html


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HOWARD STELZER & FRANS DE WAARD - PINK PEARL (CD by Bocian Records) *
MARCHOFF & DROIN - SOURCE OF VECTORS (CD by Zoharum)
JAMES JOHNSON & APERUS - ECOTONE (CD by Geophonic Records) *
DANIEL BLINKHORN - TERRA SUBFONICA (CD by Gruenrekorder) *
LASSE-MARC RIEK - HELGOLAND (CD by Gruenrekorder) *
VENTA PROTESIX - LOLICON NOISE STAR (CD by Lips Infection)
IAN HAGWOOD - WOLVEN (2CD by Hibernate Recordings)
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA - THE BULL HEAD EMPEROR (CD by Rural Colours) *
MANINKARI - PHANTASMES (LP by Three:four Records)
J.S. ROZENDAAL - AT MY FEET IN THE GROUND...(LP by STUDIOREV)
FUNERAL DANCE PARTY/XAZZAZ (split LP by Molotov)
F.D.P. R.I.P. (LP compilation by Fucking Amateurs/Molotov)
COLUMN ONE - ANTIPHONA (10" by Substantia Innominata)
NAPALMED / WORMHEAD / PAREGORIK / ATARAXY (split 7” by Puzzle Records, Meziprostor, Rauha Turva, Vomit Bucket Productions, Underground Pollution Records, and NHDIYSt Records)
VERTONEN - UNSETTLEMENT (CDR by CIP) *
DEAD EDITS - LASSO THROAT (CDR by CIP) *
ASHLEY REAKS - POWER FAILURE (CDR, private)
EMIL BEAULIEAU - ONE MAN PENIS/ONE MAN BUTTOCKS (CDR by Menstrual Recordings) *
TETSUO FURUDATE - THE HOLLOW MEN ON THE BEACH (CDR by Menstrual Recordings) *
DEDALI & DISRUPTOR - LA FIN DU MONDE - XXX (CDR/DVDR by Menstrual Recordings) *
AGNES - SELF-TITLED (3"CDR by Field Studies)
LAST SONGS - 20_05_2013_13_32_42 (micro SD card by Jliat) *
PLEASURE BROS. – SELF-TITLED (cassette by Mazurka Editions)
MUURA - SELF-TITLED (cassette by Mazurka Editions)
VEJGAARD AMBIENT / ANDREW PERRY/DEAD WOOD (split cassette by A Beard of Snails)
ON THE WRONG PLANET - III (cassette by A Beard of Snails)
BAD ALGORITHM - TONGUES (cassette by Worthless Recordings)


HOWARD STELZER & FRANS DE WAARD - PINK PEARL (CD by Bocian Records)
OK, every reader of Vital Weekly certainly knows the guys who made this CD. They're only two of the most well known label bosses of experimental music alive. The combined output of their labels covers all the important music made in the last thirty-odd years. Having said that, most of you will obviously also know them for their musical output, either solo, or in collaboration with many others. Stelzer and de Waard have worked together before with excellent results. This CD is no exception: it contains four tracks of very different lengths and different approaches. Track one is a ten minute drony soundscape with many layers and surprising digital manipulations and could have gone on for much longer. The second track clocks in just above three minutes and damn, it is way too short! Excellent sounds, careful building up of an atmospheric tension and then it just stops. A disappointment in a certain sense, but a very good track nevertheless. The third track hits off right away with a colored layering of different electronic and acoustic sounds, slowly evolving into the same, but then different (I am not sure this makes sense, but I mean it). Things quiet down around half the track in a (dare I say?) pleasant way before it ends quite quietly after about seventeen minutes. Simply beautiful. The last track is the longest with a duration of more than twenty four minutes. This one seems to show a more ambient approach than the others, building up less towards changes and focusing more on slow movements from one scene to another. This is one of the richest albums I have heard in a long time. It's filled to the brim with sounds, atmospheres and textures, but in no way overdone. It is produced very well, with a deep and crisp sound quality. Oh, and a note about the liner notes written by Mr. Stelzer: they're hilarious, him stating he doesn't want to explain how they made this album and then explaining it, right away, in a way that only he could. One word for all of this? Brilliant. (RM)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

MARCHOFF & DROIN - SOURCE OF VECTORS (CD by Zoharum)
Here's a collaboration of Polish electronic and experimental minds. In one corner we have Marchoff (who is a member of Different State) responsible for 'Mercilessanalogues' and in the other corner we have Droin, of whom I don't think I hear before, working the 'Megasamplesound'. This album was already recorded 'a few years ago' and is dedicated to Peter Christopherson of the late Coil. It's not difficult to see why this is. The whole album is a platter of top heavy electronic sounds, like discharges in faulty electrical lines and hugh oil barrels flapping in the wind, reverberating in an old factory. The death factory no doubt. These pieces are sometimes spiced with a banging rhythm, which is rather based on trip hop/illbient/dub than on the sledgehammer at the construction site. That is odd, but it works quite, such as in the third piece (which are depicted with the use of electrical symbols). Its' very New York and very mid nineties. It's followed by a piece that is entirely made of loud electronic bursts on analogue synths, chirping and deep, loud and mean. Very 80s industrial music but then better produced than whatever came on cassette back then. Thus the album limps a bit on those two things: the trippy rhythm in a few pieces, the heavy machinery noise in the others, and sometimes working together. It's an odd combination for sure, and while both seem to be 'old', it's the combination of these odd ends that saves for me this release. Just one or just the other would not have made it. Odd and nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zoharum.com

JAMES JOHNSON & APERUS - ECOTONE (CD by Geophonic Records)
A nice arty package here with separate art cards and moody photography. I don't think I heard of either musician. Behind Aperus we find Brian McWilliams, and some years ago he started corresponding with James Johnson about music, photography and recording and later on started to work in the same place, rather than doing something by file exchange. Together they play keyboards, piano, percussion, drum loops, guitar, samples and field recordings. Of the two, so I am informed, Johnson is the one who plays the piano most and is responsible for the melodic touch of this album. I am not sure if that makes me entirely very happy. The piano plays a louder part in the music, which can easily described as 'very ambient', than some of the other sounds. That is a pity, as I would be interested in knowing what happens there rather than hearing this very slick and smooth piano again and again. I understand the need for melody in ambient music, but somehow this piano and some of those lush synthesizer chords add a new age like texture to the album, which is something I am not particular fond of. I prefer pieces like 'Ancestral Voices', with its part-primitive sampled percussion and humming voices, short but at least moving away far away from the new age inspired other pieces. This album is easily inspired by Brian Eno and Harold Budd, and can match up with their collaborative releases, but I wasn't blown away by that either. I'd like my ambient to be served with a bit more bite to it, a rough edge here and there, a bit weirdness and not smoothly smeared out. I doubt wether you fly-high new age will stock though: there are traces here of that weirdness which makes it to estranged for the seeker of any new age, but they are not easy to come by. (FdW)
Address: http://www.geophonicrecords.com

DANIEL BLINKHORN - TERRA SUBFONICA (CD by Gruenrekorder)
LASSE-MARC RIEK - HELGOLAND (CD by Gruenrekorder)
Releases by Gruenrekorder start to look better and better, but also contain a lot of information on the music it contains, although not always on the composer. I have no idea who Daniel Blinkhorn is, but according to the booklet his interest lies in 'radiophonic art, environmental sound and electro-acoustic music' and on his release we find nineteen short(ish) pieces of that. Blinkhorn defines 'sub sound' as 'a radiophonic suite reflecting and meditating on aspects of that which is below us'. Each of the pieces is described in the booklet, like 'Sub Chron II' in which he uses the sound of clocks, and what it means. That's nice, but perhaps not always necessary. One could leave something to the imagination, plus, I think, some of these pieces are a bit too short - maybe, too pop, if you care to follow me - to be described so in depth. Sound processing through the use of the computer seems to be his main thing and, although I'm not sure, it's seems to be processing of a similar kind. That adds, overall, a similar approach to this music, which makes it an unified thing, but also too similar at times. There are various time stretches used here, which is perhaps something one already knows and occasionally there is a bit of guitar or a bit of DJing/beats - to make it… erm… hip? I must say I am not entirely convinced by this release. It's not bad at all, but it's a ll a bit too normal, too conventional, it doesn't step out of the ordinary.
Labelboss Riek has a special love for the small German island Helgoland and spend years taping sound from the island. A selection out of these thirty five hours of music can be found on the disc with the same name. Riek is a pure field recordist. He doesn't treat his recordings in anyway, but rather selects bits. To some perhaps no special skill, 'anyone can do that: tape a bit if sound and that's it', but it's the way these selected bits are presented. Which sounds, which order. All the elements of life on an island pass us by: the water/sea shore, the birds, the seals and the sand. Even human interaction, as in the last piece a plane takes off. Riek uses some excellent microphones to tape this beautiful environment. It makes you want to go on holiday straight away. That's what this kind of music does anyway, even when I am more a lover of forest sides than seasides. These sixteen pieces are edited in a great musical way. Softer pieces of sea sounds, louder pieces with bird calls, they are all connected and make up a truly varied disc of music. Even when the modern day composer apparently only registers and selects, it's still an excellent achievement to come up with such a fine disc. (FdW)
Address: http://www.gruenrekorder.de/

VENTA PROTESIX - LOLICON NOISE STAR (CD by Lips Infection)
Venta Protesix's lone noise-producer, 'Italo Belladonna,' sent me an email soon after I received his two discs in the mail: “do you like noise for depraved people? (^___^)” It's typical correspondence from this Japan-obsessed Italian, whose main fixation is 'lolicon' - a genre of erotic anime that focuses on young ladies. His 'Lolicon Noise Star' CD, designed by RANO, is decked in barely-censored manga imagery – the sort of thing I was somewhat concerned about receiving in the mail for fear of ending up on a government watch list. With that said, though I have no interest in erotic manga, I can appreciate great design – and this bit of raunchy bubblegum-art is pulled off sublimely. The noise itself speaks to Venta Protesix's hyper-exuberance, featuring a skittering cast of noise fragments. The expertly grating tidbits are graced with titles like “Sexting and lolis occupy the great part of my day” and “Dreaming about lolis on antidepressants with wet pantsu.” As VP makes clear, the noise aims to irritate and disturb. Let's examine the evidence: Track 8 (its title is entirely in Japanese) is a gruesomely frizzy medley of high frequency tones, sputtering digital noise, and disconcerting young-girl speech. “Why don't you fuck Setsuna-chan? MIX by CDR” subjects noise and breathy chatter to a hellacious cataclysm of breakbeats. Track eleven (also in Japanese) is just the audio from a hentai video. A good chunk of the rest of the CD subsists on skillfully unlistenable noise. All this chaos encapsulates VP's frantic and, sure, depraved headspace, the uneasy machinations of a genuine hikikomori… though, in the bedlam, it's hard to quite grip the degree of seriousness with which he takes his 'lolicon' theme. But that's where 'Lolicon Noise Star' establishes its true thrust (if you can excuse the choice of words) – finding that sweet spot in the disarming borderlands between having a chuckle and basting in mortification. Tape edition out on Japan's 16 Shots Per Second Records. (MT)
Address: http://www.discogs.com/label/Lips%20Infection

IAN HAGWOOD - WOLVEN (2CD by Hibernate Recordings)
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA - THE BULL HEAD EMPEROR (CD by Rural Colours)
In 2009 there was an Ian Hagwood release called 'Wolfskin', 'a series of sketches inspired by childhood dreams and nightmares' Now there is 'Wolven', 'the modern interpretation [were] based on these original sketches'. The original album didn't make it to these pages. For this new interpretations he receives help from Dag Rosenqvist, Spheruleus, Pillowdiver, yoto and Hakobune, while the entire second CD is an interpretation by Brock van Wey, otherwise known as bvdub. That is more than two hours of ambient music, in which the drone is never far away, but on the other hand it's not exclusively evolving around drones. Occasionally a 'real' instruments pops out of the mighty drone, like a guitar, cello or a violin, which rises, shines and dies. The nightmare aspect is also something which is not forgotten here. Some of these pieces have a nasty undercurrent, which doesn't make this music entirely smooth and easy. It's what makes this album a great one. The soft crackles, the instruments, the effects, the synthesizers and computer treatments: they all are used wonderfully to create a fine album. Bvdub takes, I assume, all the albums and throws them in a blender to come up with three long pieces, ranging from twenty-two to thirty-two minutes. If there are any acoustic instruments on this pieces it's hard to tell. There are surely some voices on here, whispering, half singing, but the main thing here is (digital) sound processing to create heavily stretched out fields of sound. In 'All These Memories Are Blue Type' there is even some vocal lines to be spotted, repeated over and over, but like a nice long shoegazing piece - even when the music is a bit different of course. These three pieces are very nice, very ambient, highly spacious and utterly relaxing. Sometimes it's very easy to see the connection with the 'other' album, but sometimes you wonder what the hell is the connection at all. Two sides, same coin, etc. Excellent package, great music.
On the Rural Colours subdivision of Hibernate we find another album by Japans finer ambient guitar players Chihei Hatakeyama, even when you can hardly hear a guitar in any traditional sense. The bull head emperor is also known as the Gozu-Tenno, the fearsome protector deity found in Japanese esoteric Buddhism, usually associated with epidemic diseases. Warning: this is not an album of thunderous, storming noise, but two long and one short piece of deep ambient music. Guitars are bend around to stretch out and form long sustaining sounds, almost sounding like a big clusters on a bunch of organs. Maybe church organs, I was thinking, as in 'Vendetta', the short in  between piece, seems to made out of the air of organ pipes, usually found in churches. In the two lengthy pieces the music seems to be a virtual stand still and hardly changes at all. But listen closely, and you will notice small changes. It's a nice work for sure, but it's also a work in which no new side of Hatakeyama is revealed. It's what it is and what we already know from him. It's also not a further exploration of what we already know from him either. It's fine solid album, like we should expect from him, and that's it. Some consider that to be great, because they like to know what to expect, but I like a bit of change every now and then. (FdW)
Address: http://hibernate-recs.co.uk/

MANINKARI - PHANTASMES (LP by Three:four Records)
The brothers Charlot return here (see also Vital Weekly 843 and 815) with thirty-nine minutes of music which they recorded for a '50 minute experimental movie written and directed by Thomas Pantalacci' and which is described as as 'a sensory experience between dream and reality, fantasy and eroticism, awakening and sleep…'. Usually Maninkari use a lot of percussion, but it seems that in their more recent musical outings they also use other instruments, such as viola, cimbalom, keyboards and samples. And yes, lots of effects. They easily reach for that bit of reverb, to add that extra layer of 'space' and 'mystic' to the music. Thank god, however, not always, and they use it wise and sparsely. Of course I haven't seen the movie, but I can imagine, based on the soundtrack, what it will look like. Dark and moody, but not always as 'loaded' as you would expect. Maninkari also leave room for quieter moments, sparser moments if you will. Sometimes a simple drone is all that we are left with, or even some crackles - it might be the vinyl. But then sometimes the music start to expand, growing, bigger and takes on dramatic courses. For instance on the b-side, somewhere half way through. When that happens, it usually involves percussion, loud and clear - manually and not mechanically played. The dramatic changes in the music made me surely curious about the film. There is a lot of tension in this piece of black vinyl. Excellent mood enhancher. (FdW)
Address: http://www.three-four.net

J.S. ROZENDAAL - AT MY FEET IN THE GROUND...(LP by STUDIOREV)
A newbie in our music scene for me, this Jeroen Rozendaal. His website informs us that he's working in many fields: film, music, poetry, theatre and much more. This self released LP on clear vinyl presents two tracks, both clocking in at almost 25 minutes. Now that alone is already an achievement, especially considering the depth in sound! But that is not all. Rozendaal presents a composition in two parts on this disc. They are clearly linked together and could well form one piece. The structure of the music is very well composed, opposing gentle and soft sounds with sudden and harsh breaks. Also the sound sources vary from unedited field recordings to digitally manipulated voice sequences. Acoustic instruments are juxtaposed with electronic sounds. A short review will not do enough credit to this carefully composed and produced LP, but a much longer one will become way too long...so I will leave it at this: a beautiful record, worth every groove. (RM)
Address: http://jeroenrozendaal.nl http://www.studiorev.nl

FUNERAL DANCE PARTY/XAZZAZ (split LP by Molotov)
F.D.P. R.I.P. (LP compilation by Fucking Amateurs/Molotov)
Two rather curious and obscurious records here. This has something to do with the Funeral Dance Party, the band that existed in 1978 and which had the two Rupenus brothers in it. It has nothing to do with the band which we are dealing with here, although that's not entirely true either. It has. These days every body does tributes to The New Blockaders and here's a tribute (two actually) to the original band. I am not sure if I ever heard the original Funeral Dance Party; maybe I did. Maybe I just can't remember. The first record is a re-issue of a record that came out in 2012, in an edition of 50, 'most wound up being smashed over the back of a metal chair during the first Benway rehearsal, so Xazzaz has re-issued it now on his own imprint Molotov'. Xazzaz has two pieces here of some of today's modern standard noise of feedback bouncing between metal walls. Funeral Dance Party sounds more like the old noise thing, with some fine acoustic sound and loops of amplifier feedback. Of the two bands/four pieces, I liked the Funeral Dance Party pieces best. Simple yet effective electro-acoustic noise, whereas Xaxxaz is merely simply I would think. Both of them put down to tape in a rather lo-fi manner, which I guess adds for me to the fun of both. Enclosed for your fun (or maybe just my fun?) is a CDR of an additional thirty-one minutes of music by Xazzazz, which sound very solid for the entire duration, but not as much in the field of harsh noise walls.
The other tribute is really a tribute (although perhaps the word 'real' should be used with caution here) with five bands, The Javel Groupe, Morgan's Adventures In Twizel, Wrest, The Black Mallets and Adzie. Noise here too, and maybe there is a small revival going on in Nortumberland of people playing noise with lo-fi means, a sort of third (fourth etc) industrial revolution, or perhaps it was never far away and we should see this as an industrial evolution. The Black Mallets was especially interesting for their use of sound collage wasn't new, but marked a difference. For one because of the collage elements, vinyl and dictaphone abuse, but also the noise being recorded much better than the others here, meaning it's much louder. The euro-house fragments dropping in make it really 'now'. The Javel Groupe does something less noisy and more in the realm of something dark and perhaps ambient, but it's hard to tell: it's too short. Also too short is the Adzie piece of swirling tape noise - very much 'then'. The bonus CDR here is a five minute preacher speech collage cut up with a bit of enhanced noise. Nice, but it eludes me a bit. Great records! Total obscurity indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.xazzaz.com
Address: <thinkpinkfairies@aol.com>

COLUMN ONE - ANTIPHONA (10" by Substantia Innominata)
Following Illusion Of Safety's 'Sweet Dreams', Germany's Substantia Innominata (daughter of Drone), returns with another fine work of some the older garde of experimentalists, Column One from Berlin. They have been around for quite some time, and for them the presentation is equally important as the music, and there is always some sort of link with dada, even when it's quite well hidden, like on the b-side 'Antiphona' 10". Or the a-side, depends which one you play first. I started out with 'Introitum' in which a salad bowl is played. It's recorded with three microphones in three different rooms. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Peter Hollinger, who played the bowl, was walking around, as to catch the overtones in various ways. The location was a masonry, so there is quite some natural reverb. He plays it graciously and it makes up a wonderful simple but lovely piece of 'drone' like music. The title piece can be found on the other side of the record and shows the dada side of Column One. All of the members seem to donates 'sources' as well as Antoine Chessex playing saxophone and Robert Schalinski on zither, voice, gongs, saw, acoustic instruments and field recordings. The editing was done by by Jurgen Eckloff. This is a fine piece of instrumental passages by the duo of Schalinski and Chessex and taped media excerpts by the others. Set next to each other, rather being superimposed on each other. Its hard to say what this piece means, if anything at all. I'm sure it does however. It's perhaps not a piece one easily expects from this label, better known for music such as captured on the other side, but it's a daring out-of-the box movement of said label, and therefore needs our applause. And Column One? They just always surprise us. (FdW)
Address: http://www.substantia-innominata.de

NAPALMED / WORMHEAD / PAREGORIK / ATARAXY (split 7” by Puzzle Records, Meziprostor, Rauha Turva, Vomit Bucket Productions, Underground Pollution Records, and NHDIYSt Records)
Four bands and seven labels are implicated in this mega seven inch, which is a testament to the power of teamwork. We get brief works by four of the more prolific members of the European harsh noise scene – honestly, the combined discography of these dudes would fill a four-volume set. Think of this as something of a 'state of the union' address by several bigwigs in Euro-noise. Czech Republic's very own Napalmed, perhaps the most familiar name here, provides an excerpt from “Tri Dcera Tops,” which tears a hole in your chest wall with its hysterical froth of sputtering noise acrobatics. Wormhead (who runs the gnarly Puzzle label) crafts “Delusions of Persecution” to be as cantankerous and resentful as sonically possible, letting toasty planks of abrasives spar until the whole thing becomes immersed in crud. Paregorik's exquisitely-titled “Pseudo-Intellectual Trauma” aims straight for the harsh-noise jugular, retching out a serrated caterwaul of low-end mash pierced by an unforgiving, hateful squeal. Last, Ataraxy (who runs Vomit Bucket) goes introspective for “In My Four Walls...,” which I can only assume is a tribute to the Beach Boys' “In My Room.” Except here the fine harmonies and immaculate melody are sanded down to a persistent glaze of noise: the lone true HNW (no progression, no change) on this piece of vinyl. (MT)
Address: http://puzzlerecords.blogspot.com

VERTONEN - UNSETTLEMENT (CDR by CIP)
DEAD EDITS - LASSO THROAT (CDR by CIP)
Its the economy I guess which sees more and more CDR releases on this excellent label, who did some great LP and CD in the past. And/or it's a fine medium to clean up the vaults, like Blake Edwards is doing with his 'Unsettlement' release. It was originally intended for release in 2010 but for whatever undisclosed reason did not happen. Vertonen can be many things, noise, drone, musique concrete, and we (obviously?) have a penchant for the latter two, and we are not disappointed here. Edward returns to 'dead (or dying) consumer playback media (microcassette, shortwave, cassette, turntable)', and presents six pieces with that. These pieces have the best elements of music by Vertonen: calm, spacious, deep, drone like and made with what seems to be the simplest of means. Just some hiss, some rotating record on a turntable, some effects (mainly delay and reverb) and extensive equalization, to bring out the lowest bass rumble out - never the high end frequencies. Each of these six pieces is slow developer: it starts out slowly, builds up gradually and then dies out slowly again. Each like a requiem for a medium rendered obsolete, although perhaps not that every medium is explored in one piece only. Slow decaying hum music. Excellent release, rated by me as one of his best.
Vertonen's Blake Edwards is also a member of Dead Edits, a duo with the ever so active Eric Lunde. Their latest release comes in a booklet sized thing of collages, which is an exquisite corpse of various influences, such as Lunde's research into early 20th century parlor games and children's games and Blake reading Finnegans Wake. Music about the game called language, and the booklet isn't clarifying things, but rather more obscuring them. The music here is another side of Edwards and perhaps something along similar lines of the usual Lunde plate. The erosion of sound-principles of the latter is used by both - but given Edward's interest in decaying old techniques that's hardly strange. Some of the elements here could be called 'drone' like, but it's never as refined as in his solo work. Lunde and to a lesser extent Edwards love the noise element, dictaphone abuse, re-recording speech in weird circumstances and present that as a collage of long and small sounds. The small sounds here are usually small bits of spoken word by Lunde in between the pieces, thus bringing the total of pieces to twenty-one in forty-six minutes. These bits wave the whole thing together, rather than making this a set of longer and shorter pieces. The makes this, perhaps strangely, a more coherent release, despite the somewhat fragmented range of 'songs' and 'spoken word' pieces. Maybe it's more like an exquisite corpse now, one thing following another, thus making a whole string of loosely connected pieces of music, especially when Dead Edits also use voice material in their longer pieces. The music has grown from the previous (see Vital Weekly 852) fine but long release, into a great and spot-on release. An important step forward. (FdW)
Address: http://cipsite.net

ASHLEY REAKS - POWER FAILURE (CDR, private)
What the heck is this, I thought when I heard the first piece of this. Demented rap music? Ashley Reaks is a 'collage artist, musician and extremely dedicated non-jogger' or 'born wrong, collage artist, punk rocker, reluctant public schoolboy, promising ex-cricketer, adult child, sucker for punishment, dole-wallah, therapy survivor, reality-avoider, disturbed child, church boat boy, PTSD, nearly a crap pop star once'. But me no like rap music, demented or otherwise. I kept listening and got more and more confused. It's not that I don't like this music, but it all sounds a bit too far away from any point of reference. The element of rap returns, but it's more than just that. This is all quite like real pop music sampled together from various bits and bobs and sounds actually not too  bad. Besides that I don't know much to say about it. I quite enjoyed the minimalist and instrumental 'No Wonder Camels Spit', and the somewhat uplifting spirit of 'Bulldog Grace', disliked the tablas of 'Karma Bonfire', etc. But as said, this is all beyond any point of reference I can make. Check this out yourself, if somewhat alternative pop music is your piece of cake. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ashleyreaks.com

EMIL BEAULIEAU - ONE MAN PENIS/ONE MAN BUTTOCKS (CDR by Menstrual Recordings)
TETSUO FURUDATE - THE HOLLOW MEN ON THE BEACH (CDR by Menstrual Recordings)
DEDALI & DISRUPTOR - LA FIN DU MONDE - XXX (CDR/DVDR by Menstrual Recordings)
It's quite a surprise to see the Emil Beaulieau release. Partly because it's lifted out of a bigger thing, a 5LP boxset released in 1989, and partly because it's been a while since I last heard music by good ol' Emil. The name is from a mayor in some US city - in the late 80s, probably not anymore in 2013 - but it's also the name adopted by Ron Lessard - the proprietor of RRRecords for his solo noise music. In 1989 his record store and label existed five years and he celebrated that by releasing a 5LP set of various works he was involved in, like Due Process, RRRadio and an album with Merzbow. For his Emil Beaulieau record in this package he writes on the sleeve: 'warning - there is no music on this CD - Just noise', just like he did on LP, except not using the word 'CD'. But you can wonder if it's noise, certainly not really by some of today's Harsh Noise Walls. These two recordings - classic LP length of forty minutes - are from private performances which sees Emil Beaulieau play around with record player/turntable abuse. Not in say the Philip Jeck sense of the word - careful isn't the word I'm thinking off. Maybe it helps that I saw Emil Beaulieau play his concerts a few times and it's great. This is the kind of noise I like. Pure destruction of turntables and vinyl, and due process also a style or two and contact microphones. Not a lot of pure long feedback sounds, but an excellent barrage of concrete noise with a capital 'N'. It's been ages since I played the vinyl, and perhaps a 5CDR set of the complete box set would have been nice(r?), but this is nice young adult memory come alive again. Let's hope for more Emil Beaulieau re-issues! The world needs the greatest living noise artist.
Noise is also the trade mark of Tetsuo Furudate, who is someone I never could figure out. Sometimes I think he's one of the serious composer guys and sometimes I think he's one of noise boys. You never really know, but one thing is sure: his work is dark to utter-dark, with no shade of light in between. This new work, inspired by TS Eliot's poem 'The Hollow Men' is no different. It starts out with a good ten minutes of water dripping, but then a few sudden bangs will surely wake you up and before you know it, you are in a total land of noise, longing for perhaps a moment of more relaxing. That won't happen until after the thirty minute break when things settle down in an unsettling way. It's hard to tell what Furudate uses - maybe just guitar and electronics and a bit of field recordings - but in this quieter part, lasting maybe some twelve minutes, we hear some of the orchestral traces in his work, and which is something I always would like to investigate a bit more. This part, while dark, is quite moving. From minute forty-four until pretty much the end things are quite loud again, but darker, lower in tone, like a thunderous storm passing in the middle of the night. Most definitely not music for weak of hearth. It is good? I don't know. It's certainly something that inspires you to think.
The final new release by Menstrual Recordings (who also do a lot of Maurizio Bianchi releases, but for some reason we don't get that, regrettably) is by two Italian projects, Dedali and Disruptor. They have been working before, and apparently this is some sort of trilogy, of which this is the final release. I believe Disruptor is the video artist behind this, and Dedali the musical director. The DVD is one long track, but more or less the same length as the CDR. The video part is of the kind nuclear holocaust/porn/world war two/flicker movies/ and surely there is a highly political message in there, but let's stick to what Disruptor says himself in the booklet: "As in every art field all has been said and done. There is a lacking of originality" - even when its about music, it applies to his video as well. The music I must wasn't perhaps original per se, but at least it was something I quite enjoyed. The bleak industrial sound-scapes reminded me of the older Maurizio Bianchi, say during 'The Plain Truth'. Hollow, remotely sounding, with not too much emphasis on the actual composition, but more playing around with sound and effects, like a blindfold mix or something like that. Echo and reverb units are never too far away, and are used quite effectively. I am not a video artist but I could envisage totally different images to go with this, but perhaps I am more an abstract guy? The music was alright, but perhaps very 80s and very underground; the video was also very 80s and very underground, but whereas I liked the music, I had a hard time (not 'one') with the provided images to that very music. (FdW)
Address: http://menstrualrecordings.org/

AGNES - SELF-TITLED (3"CDR by Field Studies)
Can't tell you much about Agnes, whose only release is this thirteen-minute mini-CDR with a cover that only feeds the intrigue: a grainy, black-and-white image of something unknowable and indescribable, the sort of willful abstract that would appear in a short film by menacing cult director Shinya Tsukamoto. The sound fits the visuals, subjugating the obscured textures of leaky audio cables to alien metronome rhythms. On the first track, it's a horrifically primitive 2/2 drum-maching stomp, oppressive in its unwavering simplicity, whereas the second track plunders its pulse from the corrupted-audio brickwork of Markus Popp and Carsten Nicolai. Along the way, Agnes hints at a trashy horror-film sound, pebbles of feedback and just-out-of-reach ambient tones evoking the seedy heat of illicit third-party broadcasts, perhaps vaguely indebted to both Videodrome's greasy gruesomeness and The Conet Project's transmitted discomfort. Expertly unnerving. (MT)
Address: http://fieldstudiesimprint.blogspot.com

LAST SONGS - 20_05_2013_13_32_42 (micro SD card by Jliat)
This is, with its two grams, most likely the lightest physical release I ever received. A 1gb micro sd card stuck to do a photo, with no information. The 'readme.txt' tells me we are dealing with a release by Last Songs, and it's entitled (cut n paste here): "20_05_2013_13_32_42" and that this is "One of a series of Soundcloud releases this year - JLIAT (info@Jliat.com)". Much to my surprise Jliat leaves behind here his love for the loudest noise possible, and returns to something that first introduced me to his music, drones. Before played on analogue keyboards if I remember well, with not a lot (if any at all) changes in the music. Here he takes a conceptual approach: "Last songs: Computer generated songs using algorithmic laying of samples upwards of 120120 possible combinations * 30 seconds. These were based on the original drone – For Stanley.." and "Origination was a midi score made from Terry Riley’s Poppy Nogood and the phantom band. The midi data was used to produce short renditions on various synthesizers, Roland / Yamaha. These in turn recorded as samples to computer where subsequently a custom sample player, looper, processor, rendered various recordings over 8 tracks. For Stanley- One of Four last songs # 1. Stanley Sellers 1933-2013 my cousin and Architect. JLIAT " There is one, one hour sound file on this SD Card, but also a link to the soundcloud with the other 3 pieces. And as you surely know you can play one of those files on soundcloud at the same time and thus have your mix going, which is surely something Jliat wants. The whole drone business here sounds a bit mechanical to my ears, unlike Jliat's earlier work, which was standing still, but had some kind of warmth. Maybe this is the kind of music which should be played ad infinitum and be removed from such things as warmth? Maybe this is the ultimate sound of wall paper? As always, Jliat knows how to raise more questions than to give answers. Excellent food for musical thought. (FdW)
Address: https://soundcloud.com/jliatdrone

PLEASURE BROS. – SELF-TITLED (cassette by Mazurka Editions)
MUURA - SELF-TITLED (cassette by Mazurka Editions)
In Aussie avant figure Cooper Bowman's Scan Mecca column for Crawlspace Magazine, he describes listening to this Pleasure Bros. tape as an earthquake waged on outside. It isn't difficult to imagine how surreal the experience might have been – this cassette, the solo rumblings of Teen Ax madman Tony McKee, is tectonic in spirit and timbre. Over two sides, a hollow-end is dotted with twirling kernels of static, the sort of sphincter-tickling mash that compels you to ask: “Hey, is there an earthquake going on outside?” Like basically all of Mazurka's exploits, there's a unity of vision here – a monochrome sort of sound that seems to be made entirely out of shadows. It's audio that's in utter concordance with the label's stunning visual aesthetic, which involves mysterious black-and-white collage/found-art printed on translucent J-card paper. Because I can't not make the snide pun, it's a pleasure to behold.
Meanwhile, manic hometaper and Breakdance the Dawn executive Matt Earle brings a thirty-minuter from his Muura outfit, and like everything else I've heard from him, it seems to play by its own set of rules. Sure, this is entirely improvised so the schema is, by definition, ambiguous, but with Earle's work I always get the sense he's got some top-down sense of what sounds should go where. It's just that his vision is so hopelessly idiosyncratic that you're left wondering what the fuck he's getting at. On the Muura tape, two different sorts of sound are strutted out and put on display; side A's “Storms Still Settle in Hearts of Cold” lavishes in negative space, scattering a meek patchwork of fidgety guitar gobs and muted percussive clatter above an enveloping abyss of silence. It's this interaction between spare parts and the pervasive void that makes the composition so compelling. Meanwhile, “Rock It and Push It” (a cover of something, I'm told) smears a stratum of arid synths over a coldwave drum machine so plodding that it seems to resent its very existence. It's like pop for people who hate pop, music, and the world in general. (MT)
Address: http://mazurkaeditions.blogspot.com

VEJGAARD AMBIENT / ANDREW PERRY/DEAD WOOD (split cassette by A Beard of Snails)
ON THE WRONG PLANET - III (cassette by A Beard of Snails)
To start we've got a split: one side is dedicated to Vejgaard Ambient's rumblings, while the flip wields a sexy tag-team effort between improvisers Andrew Perry and Dead Wood (a.k.a. Adam Baker). The Vejgaard Ambient side, ethereally dubbed “The Dream House Diaries Vol. 1,” is more structured than its counterpart: right off the bat, the misty Dane rings up a lovely sprig of ambient techno, indebted in no small part to Boards of Canada. It lets a plodding drum-machine rhythm frame a curious synth melody that sounds as if it were pulled direct from the 'Twoism' EP. “Apple Blossom” and “Leak” are sumptuous ambient morsels, dotted with field recordings and synthesizers so juicy they dribble down your chin and stain your shirt an indelible blue. But all trails lead toward the sultry “Stick Around,” a blissful bit of Balearic micro-house: on it, a lurching bassline propels a nebulous strata of synthetic melody-matter, the timbre falling somewhere between a theremin and a digital facsimile of a strings section. 100% Silk needs to get on this!
By contrast, the Andrew Perry / Dead Wood showdown is more abstract, yet ultimately more tempered. Perry and Baker string along found sounds, keyboard tones, guitar twitches, muffled speech, and I've-got-no-idea-what-else for six distinct tracks. The restraint that guards their improv from full balls-to-walls freakout is the key ingredient here, be it the subtly mussed ambience of “Kay Kay Way” or the nodular guitar strokes of “This One's for the Lovers.” There is enough textural variety – tones, groans, and clacking bones – to keep the listener guessing, which is more than can be said of 98% of the flecks of spittle emanating from the drone/experimental/odd-ball dept. these days.
Elsewhere, Henrik Bagner, of ambient/drone project Small Things on Saturdays, makes 'III' his third tape under his On The Wrong Planet outlet. Though he uses noise as a main sound tool, Bagner turns out an album that is primarily ambient in nature, with rifts of randomly-firing sound waves put to lush use. Some tracks employ harsher timbres while others wade placidly, but it is the more variegated textures that are most exquisitely evocative: the murky, 4AM-radio gadgetry of “Semi-Haunted Cosmic X (Reprise Mix),” the lustrous tinniness of “The Manbird,” and the amorphous second half of side A. I get the sense there is a progression of sorts here, although I can't quite put my finger on what the story is that's being told. It's a delicate balance between seeming to say something, but evading fine articulation. (MT)
Address: http://www.abeardofsnails.com

BAD ALGORITHM - TONGUES (cassette by Worthless Recordings)
Bad Algorithm summed up this seventy minute (???) tape on his Facebook page: “HNW + pissed vocal feedback = pure harshness.” I'm not sure what else I can add. Apart from a brief, tetchy opener in “Browning,” this tape is indeed a thick, unwavering billow of noise. Both sides hit on similar frequencies, but they are distinct: side A's boulder is rendered in fine focus, whereas side B is generally glazed with a fuzzy film of tape-blur, made a little less blistering by the obfuscation. The vocal feedback is basically indistinguishable from the grumble-rubble of pedal feedback, the two conspiring towards the greater goal of creating a generally muggy racket. Interestingly, it is the more ambient side B that pulled me in the furthest, particularly “Grint” which seems to swell with tension as it drags on. It's tough to read too much into a tape's worth of harsh noise walls – I don't think Bad Algorithm has much in the way of an ulterior motive beyond shoveling all his gear into a giant furnace of loudness… certainly this pairs appropriately with its gory, black-and-white cover. (MT)
Address: http://worthlessrecordings.blogspot.com




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