number 887
week 25


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SHELLING (CD by White Paddy Mountain) *
TANK OF DANZIG - NOT TRENDY (CD by Music A La Coque) *
DEEPERNET - ONE (CD by Spotted Perccary) *
PIZMO - BLST (CD by Fibbr Records) *
JFK - LA BAS 1987-1992 (CD by Fourth Dimension) *
M.B. - GUIDIZIO FINALE (CD by Menstrual Recordings)
MAURIZIO BIANCHI - TELMEGIDDO (CD & CDR by Menstrual Recordings) *
JOCHEN ARBEIT & MICHAEL ESPOSITO - ALL THE FUCKING VOICES (flexi 7" by Phantom Plastics/Firework Editions)
VA AA LR - IT JUST AIN'T FLOPPING (CDR by Consumer Waste) *
NICK HENNIES - FLOURISH (CDR by Consumer Waste) *

SHELLING (CD by White Paddy Mountain)
Judging by the catalogue numbers these are the inaugural releases from White Paddy Mountain, a new label founded by Chihei Hatakeyama, which in these difficult times for CD labels is a bold and daring move, I should think, but me like CDs more than vinyl or download, I am happy, I don't complain (not always that is). The first release on the label is a duo of Aya (guitar, vocals, synth) and Shota (guitar, synth) who call themselves Shelling - you know, the act of gathering shells on the beach. They call their music 'sherbet pop', but the label cleverly also notes that this is 'hanging between ambient and shoegazer', which is nothing but true. None of the pieces are under four minutes and have Aya dreamy voice on top of everything - well, rather immersed inside the music that is. Tinkling guitar, with a heavy full belly of sound effects,  a slow thumb beat here and there, a rocky backdrop on other occasions, this is alternative pop music for sure. I am not sure for whom exactly, but I do feel I am not really the target audience here. I can here it's made with great care for songs and the production there of, and that it may need a bit more variation, especially in the way the vocals are used, but I am not sure if I would easily play this again.
In the other two releases we find Chihei Hatakeyama at work, first in his duo with Tomoyoshi Date called Opitope. For their third album they invited a bunch of friends to send in sounds, or perhaps some even through physical presence, and have those incorporated in the music. So we have people like Christophe Charles, Tamaru, Christopher Willits, Taylor Deupree, Tetsuro Yasunaga, Toshimaru Nakamura, Carl Stone, Hans Reichel, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Asuna and Yusuke Date. That seems to me a whole bunch of people from the world of laptop music, so it's hardly a surprise that these six songs - works, pieces - have an extended use of computerized acoustic sound frame. Lots of carefully processed sounds - piano, glockenspiel - and layered and layered until nice vibrating, masses of sound are formed. It's ambient, perhaps, but it doesn't sound drone like per se. There is an element of constant change in these pieces, with ringing and buzzing sounds. This is one of those rare things where I am transported back to fourteen years ago, when laptops weren't around that much and everybody seemed to work with the same max/msp patches to create these granular synthesis sounds, which are here in large quantities. Nothing wrong with that. This could have been a record on the Mille Plateaux label, a decade ago. The piece with Hans Reichel is the odd here, in which we recognize some clear guitar playing in an otherwise curious amount of sound processing. Very vibrant, very nice.
For his solo release, Chihei Hatakeyama found inspiration with Fudaraku-tokai, a form of 'ascetic practice of sacrifice performed in medieval Japan', in which monks would go to sea alone without oars and rudders, hoping to arrive at 'the southern paradise of the Bodhisattva of Compassion'. Fir this album he uses a single sound file from an old piece of vinyl, bought at very little money in a bargain store, and thus he uses the a single thing too, like a monk. This piece is transformed over and over again, in three parts that make up the title piece and the also thirty minute spanning of 'In Dreams' (Roy Orbison? - I don't think so), which is essentially a variation of the other pieces. Humming voice material is created with this sound file in 'In Dreams', but maybe it's a stretched out version of 'Alone By The Sea', which sound much guitar based. This is all very ambient in nature, with slow movements over big spacious, glacial like moving watery waves. Not a close up, but like a bird, high in the sky, seeing only a vast amount of water, without too many details. Although not so much something new from Hatakayema, this I thought was an excellent work. (FdW)
Address: http://whitepaddymountain.tumblr.com

Of course you'd expect of your favorite weekly to know everything, but sadly, we don't know all. I'd love to rave about the fact that it's great to finally have this great band Tank Of Danzig on CD, because it's one of those overlooked bands from the 80s, but to be honest: I knew the name, heard maybe a track on a compilation LP, saw them on a blog for obscure old music, which I used to browse (before realizing I have so many things to play at home, I don't need to download music) but that's it. So thanks to Musique A La Coque (who also brought us Nu Creative Methods - another band which I never heard properly in it's day) i can now fill up this serious lack of knowledge. Maybe I was by 1982, when the original 'Not Trendy' was released, out of the more rockist agenda, and into the world of electronics, cassettes and the New German Wave washed away, or perhaps as a 17-year I didn't have enough money to but everything I liked. Tank Of Danzig are a hybrid band, combining the sheer aggression of punk, the doom funk of it's day (A Certain Ratio, James Chance), no jazz and nu groove (it wasn't called like that in those days) to play some hyper active dance music, dominated by the blearing of a saxophone and the aggressive sing-shout of Schengel. It's not music that easily is called 'polished', but an excellent drive to it. 'So Hungry, So Angry', that great song by Medium Medium is something that comes close to the sound of Tank Of Danzig. Disco not disco. It's hard sitting down and listening as this is definitely the kind of music that makes people move. Great bass lines, funky drumming, disco guitars (but much, much more raw) and the saxophone and voice in a free mode. I believe back then they used the term 'big city funk' and 'crisis funk' - especially the latter term seems very appropriate these days. Unfortunately the crisis of our times isn't used to create similar great music as they did in 1982. Tank Of Danzig: great discovery! (FdW)
Address: http://www.musicalacoque.it

Three new releases from the Italian DEN-label run by Stefano Ferrian. Ferrian, musician himself, is present on the album of Rara Avis which is the name of the collaboration between him and Ken Vandermark, surrounded by some new emerging talents from Italian soil: Luca Pissavini (double bass), Simone Quatrana (piano) and SEC (revox, instant sound treatment). This double cd is an impressive release. Impressive for its integration of sounds and electronics into the context of free improvised music. It is a very communicative and inventive work. They show improvised music from many different sides. From the cacophonic and loud excursions where everybody is soloing at the same time. From to time the music reaches an intensity that won’t let you escape. There is fine interplay between Ferrian and Vandermark, for example in ‘Genetic Drift’, that also has intriguing breaks provided by SEC.  All participating musicians are engaged into serious battles that really matter.  This is really music is it should be. A very successful meeting indeed. Everything was recorded in june 2012 in a studio in Rome. If you need to be convinced (again) of the relevance of free improvised music, listen to this one. ‘Estuaries’ is the work of an international line up. Steve Swell from the NY-downtown scene (trombone), Andrew Raffo Dewar, an Argentinian  composer and improviser on sax and Garrison Fewell on guitar. Dewar studied with people like Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton and Milo Fine. He lives and works in the US. Fewell is from Boston and on the scene already for about 30 years. Teaching at the Berklee College of Music and performing a lot around the globe. He played with people like John Tchicai and Cecil McBee. We meet them here in a project of very free and abstract improvised music. They create very abstract and fragile improvisations that demand full attention. With their sober style they create imaginative sound paintings of meditative kind. ‘Nuhk’ is a collaboration of Dalila Kayros and Antonio Zitarelli of Mombu and Neo. Kayros is a Sardinian singer and improviser, and this work circles around her vocal escapades. For instance she sings in a Sardinian dialect. Besides voices she plays electronics and keyboards here. Zitarelli helps out on drums in one the tracks and played a role in the arrangements. Anyway it is the voice of Kayros where it is all about. Her singing reminds of Diamanda Galas and Susan Deijhim, also because the voice operates amidst of electronics, field recordings and other sounds. The compositions as such didn’t impress me. Her expressive and powerful voice however is remarkable, culminating in over the top singing with opera-like voice in the closing track ‘Arxia’. (DM)
Address: http://www.denrecords.eu

Very Dutch sounding name, but we are dealing here with a trio from Leipzig, Germany. This is the crew: Isabel Fischer (bass), Lars Oertel (drums) and Thomas Bär (saxophone). They debuted some time ago with a self-released EP ‘Telemark’, so ‘Aquanaut’ (2010) is there second step. They represent a relatively new voice in the German jazz scene. The operate in the same field as many Scandinavian groups nowadays do: jazz and rock inspired jamming.
This trio succeeds in creating the full, bombastic electric sound that is often part of this kind of music. The echoing sax by Thomas Bar is a very irritating part of it after a while. I missed interesting moves and twists, so in all the power and energy they demonstrate, they cannot hide their lack of ideas and limitations. (DM)
Address: http://www.karlrecords.net
Charming debut release from trio Bly de Blyant. Members are Øyvind Skarbø (drums), Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (Marc Ribot, John Zorn) and Hilmar Jensson, a guitarist from Iceland (Jom Black, Trevor Dunn). The three met and played on other occasions. Bly de Blyant is their first project. In all their experiments they stay close to the rock paradigm. All pieces are shaped between 15 seconds and 6 minutes. They jump from one idea to another, from one genre to another style. ‘Controversy’ is a battle with funk, changing off beat improvisations with pure soulful funk. Also ‘Wang Dang Doole’ is a fine swinging intermezzo. ‘Mordechai’ is an example of the strange constructions they built for their songs. It starts as a very complex rhythm-dominated piece, but halfway it turns into a gentle and cascading atmosphere. What is the logic here? Well, unusual it is. In general one can say that they act in a way like groups and projects of John Zorn and Mr.Bungle, etc. Using well-known formats and styles, that are rebuilt according to very different rules. Resulting in bizarre miniatures that make you wonder. Moster is a group of saxophonist Kjetil Møster with Ståle Storløkken (fender Rhodes, moog, electronics) of Supersilent fame, Nikolai Eilertsen (electric bass, electronics) also known of Elephant 9 and Big Bang, plus Kenneth Kapstad (drums) of Motorpsycho. They develop four lengthy trips of instrumental psychedelica for this release. Rock-inspired jamming rooted in Miles Davis, 70s prog- and jazz rock and the likes. Very capable players who really go for it in their collective improvisations. Absolutely very hot and aggressive music. The electronic textures and sound scapes are very tasty, effective and up to date. Very convincing in their togetherness and drive. Some patterns and compositional elements however remind me a bit too much of the past. (DM)
Address: http://www.hubromusic.com

DEEPERNET - ONE (CD by Spotted Perccary)
From the ever so active Thomas Park, also known as Mystified, this time a real CD - CDRs, cassettes and downloads are more his territory, which is rare, but the odd (?) thing is that did a CD with Shane Morris before - see Vital Weekly 830. He's not someone of whom I know a lot, other than he he is an electronic musician. The list of instruments seems to be shorter than before: acoustic percussion, synthesizer and 'other acoustic sounds' (Shane Morris) and trombone, woodwinds, acoustic percussion and composition (Mystified), which seems an odd list considering the music one gets to hear, which sounds like a mostly electronic affair. All of what was once acoustic is firmly played through digital synthesizers and makes up some heavenly ambient music. But unlike the good ol' drone music, which is usually a straight line, the electronics follow the patterns created by the acoustic playing, so it bounces back and forth, slow, minimal yet majestically. There is a nice emphasis on the use of percussion instruments which do not bang out a pseudo tribal rhythm, but tick away in a monotonous fashion and sound like the rain against the window - especially in 'Weathering Storm And Tide'. It's all very moody music, like the soundtrack to Game Of Thrones (but I guess I say that because I just watched an episode, but it could be any such fantasy thing on screen), with violence lurking around the next corner, and we are waiting for something to happen - maybe I was lead by a title like 'To The Icey Peaks'. Good, solid, dark atmospheric music with a gentle touch of acoustics. If not spectacular, then surely well produced. Nothing new, all is great.
Of a somewhat related yet different nature is the music of Andrew Miles, whose 'One' is (obviously) his debut album as Deepernet. He is from Portland, Oregon, and started out with four track tape recordings and sound effects, but these days is no doubt in digital technology. His influences are from Goa, downtempo, EDM and psybient - which are apparently opposite ends but who I am to disagree. The eight tracks on this album are usually around the eight minute break and the ground work is a strong foundation of synth like music. In that respect he connects to the cosmic music which is to some still a trending topic, but Miles adds a lot of rhythm to these pieces and on some occasions flight control voices via means of sampling. I'd like to add a musical genre to list here and that is ambient house, as what Miles does here comes pretty close to the music that was so popular in the mid 90s, and especially it comes close to the ones I heard on Silent Records, and their off-shoot labels which were dealing with the more techno end of ambient music. This album is a time-machine bringing me back those days, and boy, I like that. Lengthy spacious synth/sequencer/rhythm driven music. I was doing lots of other things when playing this, going back and forth in social media, reading a bit in today's newspaper, and vacuum cleaning, along which I had this album on repeat for a while. Did I hear something in here that I haven't heard before? Not really, but did I hear much of that recently? Not really either, and that makes this into one hell of a fine record. (FdW)
Address: http://www.spottedpeccary.com

Perhaps you’ve never seen a dust cart, garbage truck- emptying its contents on a landfill site, its contents a pathetic, vile, sad, destructive amalgam of detritus… old worn out, rotting food, rags. Here is the brilliant audio equivalent of cutups and mixes, sliced sped up glitches, musical instruments, random notes, sound samples and electronica, no beats, no loops just techno garbage. As an example of collage sound, chop up noise this is an excellent example, so I would recommend anyone who is at all interested in this kind of sound art to give it a listen. At which point for once I will follow Wittgestein’s advice and shut up. (jliat)
Address: http://www.kenjisiratori.com

Usually when I start playing something I have some idea, some expectation, of what I am going to hear, especially when its people I heard music of before, like with Maja SK Ratkje and Ikue Mori. Maybe here my expectation was that something along the lines of improvisation (obviously!), but without a hint of instruments, save maybe for some voice material, or percussion. Which is perhaps what we get here, but most of the time it's perhaps not exactly what it is. In the final, long, piece 'Rivers Of Belfast', it sounds like what I expected, and is, I think, the piece I least liked. Maybe because of these expectations, or something that you'd knew they would do. In the seven preceding pieces however, things are however much more obscured. Mori, who apparently plays laptop, taking Ratkje's voice and alters that in a finely woven mass of sound and sounds, think and thin - at the same time. It's here that we have some interesting voice meets electronics material with lots of tension in it. Sometimes it seems that the voice has disappeared altogether and and what we hear is pure, serious electronic music, such as in 'Daughters Of The Desert', with some nice processed percussion music to go along. It's a piece like this which really made me like this CD, whereas the more traditionally improvised pieces here didn't do as much for me. I am not sure, but I would surely give this the benefit of the doubt. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

PIZMO - BLST (CD by Fibbr Records)
"We create experiences and ambiances with audio architecture. We are an anonymous collective of artists and musicians experimenting w/ audio & radio. We reactualize a drifting theory thru post-radio, sound-systems and computers. We explore portable, mobile, temporary & immersive audio spaces and campings. We favour loading forms, immaterial works and time-based objects." Welcome to the laptop trio Pizmo, Christophe Havard, Jerome Joy and Julien Ottavi. The cover of their 'BLST' CD contains many more statements like that, but also the fact that this piece, lasting some fifty-three minutes, is recorded at a festival in Bergen, Norway in November last year. If you are familiar with the actions of Apo33, who is behind the Fibbr label but much more (mainly concerts, but also interactive things via the internet), then it should hardly be a surprise that there is a certain noise element to this music. It's not y'r usual off-the-harsh-noise-wall type of noise, but still it's pretty loud, and highly improvised. I am never too sure why this concert had to be released, and not some other, but maybe this is indeed their best current recording. Their laptops contain lots of electronic sounds, but occasionally we hear a bit of field recordings too. It's all quite enjoyable indeed, and this trio does a fine job at producing some sonically rich music. The question remains however: what's special about this recording? That's something I haven't figured out. (FdW)
Address: http://www.apo33.org

JFK - LA BAS 1987-1992 (CD by Fourth Dimension)
Actually I do remember JfK, not the president but the musical project of Anthony DiFranco, but perhaps not too well. It seems like he got in, when I got more or less out. I browsed the excellent (more than!) article on the Broken Flag label from As Loud As Possible for some additional information, and then I remembered I was in contact with DiFranco when he was calling himself Ethnic Acid, which was a more of an industrial/power electronics kind of act, whereas JfK was also the more 'musical' end. I do remember from 'those' days that I was less interested  in JfK, which was more guitar based than electronics, something which I thought was also the 'problem' with the direction Ramleh was heading in those days. It was perhaps a time I didn't like guitar noise that much. These days I am probably more than happy to dive into anything. Five of the pieces here were recorded in 1987/1988, the other five from 1989 and 1992, the last two previously released on a 7", and the others heard for the first time here. JfK is DiFRanco's noise rock project and these ten pieces proof that, loud and clear. He sampled a drum machine which is always in a heavy rock mode setting, banging loud and clear, monotonous, without many breaks or changes. On top he let's guitar howl and distort, occasionally slipping into feedback. As these years progress the material seems to get more and more intense, and perhaps less 'musical'. Compare opening piece 'Big Fat Sun' to closing 'Sexodus (7" version)' and you know what I mean. From a bunch of heavy rock riffs and feedback to a wall of similar riffs, the wall of sound. There are vocals of some sort in the early pieces, entirely gone in the later work. The earlier work also tends to be a bit overlong and could use some trimming, such as 'Will To Love'. I think I am more the lover for the later material, which should/could appeal to anyone who loves Skullflower - I do, I do - and second phase guitar based Ramleh. Some excellent guitar noise going on here, truly powerful music. I like! (FdW)
Address: http://www.fourth-dimension.net

M.B. - GUIDIZIO FINALE (CD by Menstrual Recordings)
MAURIZIO BIANCHI - TELMEGIDDO (CD & CDR by Menstrual Recordings)
Maybe I was heard when I noted that Menstrual Recordings releases a lot of Maurizio Bianchi, which wasn't reaching us? Maybe this was already in the mail. Either way, I'd say, it's great to have them. Someone (not me) should be writing a book on Maurizio Bianchi's music - I'm sure a biography might not be that interesting - a book on all the releases he did, various phases in his career and such like. These two releases focus on M.B. final phase of his first active musical period, the industrial music era, 1979-1983. In these years Bianchi was active with releasing his own music on cassette and LP, but also a networker, sending out his music to labels around the world, with the purpose to have it released, either as a track on a compilation, but note how many are called 'excerpt', meaning Bianchi send something much longer (maybe with the idea of having his own cassette or LP out). Thirty-two minutes of music on this 'compilation of compilations' hail from one, albeit very lengthy, compilation 'Hate Is Our Belief'. It could have easily been a LP. Three pieces here are previously unreleased, and four are from compilations I own ("White Power", "Hate Is Our Belief" and "Sinn & Form"), so there is a little recognition going on. Bianchi's music is strange, certainly in those early days. Hardly composed, de-composed as Bianchi would say, it's an endless stream of synthesizer sounds feeding through a bunch of analogue echo devices. It goes on and one, and it's not recorded with a lot of bright clarity. Yet, I still, after thirty years, am always captivated by this early, first, period of Bianchi. In 'HSITEF' and 'OYPTCEM', two of the previously unreleased pieces, there is even a sparse rhythm machine at work, ticking time away and do not sound like M.B. at all, which is quite nice. It makes you wonder what would-have-been if M.B. did continue back then, which roads would have been explored. A great selection of some rare M.B. pieces and hopefully with more to come.
On the other release we have a CD by Maurizio Bianchi and a CDR by M.B., and that's why a book is such a great idea. Why is that? 'Telmegiddo' (CD) is 'the last cassette tape decomposition' and was previously released as 'Extreme Man 2'. The two pieces on 'Bacterihabitat' (CDR) are from May 1982 and previously released as 'Extreme Man 1' - both of the releases actually released without permission. Its hard to say what the differences would be between both works, but they (all four pieces, over the two CDs) mark indeed the end of that first phase of Bianchi. Having started out with heavy tape-loops, skipping records, and loud synth music, towards the end of this phase, with 'The Plain Truth' LP on Broken Flag as it's prime example, the music became more and more bleak. The echo machine full on open, with synthesizer waves flowing slow but steady into that echo machine, the music is endless, minimal in movements and quite austere. Doomsday music, the sound of the apocalypse, or perhaps what comes right before that (or right after?). The two pieces that form 'Telmegiddo' seem to have a more synth-like sound, and more variation. Sounds are pushed more into the echo machines, especially in 'Megiddo', and have a vaguely sort of machine like drive to them. 'Bacterihabitat' appears at a virtual stand-still: nothing happens here. Maybe I did at one point call 'The Plain Truth' to be an ambient album, and perhaps I should be called this release ambient… however, I am reluctant to do so. Maybe it's because I tend to think of ambient music as something more easy going, more generally appropriate to your environment, to fill up space sonically, and that's perhaps not the idea I have with these bleak sonic pictures of coldness and alienation. But I really do like these releases - both of them - as it makes a sucker like me for anything Bianchi more essential listening. (FdW)
Address: http://menstrualrecordings.org/

Alessandro Bosetti has been invited to create a piece of music by Regional Fond for Contemporary Art FRAC France-comte. The Italian composer composed eight pieces. Of course we will hear the spoken word pieces with or without music. Mostly his music is very complex and multi-layered, but this album has more intimate moments, like some classic guitar improvisations in combination with electronics in Des Reponses or the combination of voice, text, clarinet and guitar in La Nourriture. Some pieces are like round-flying birds and flies searching for food, a place to hide of on the run for danger. The music is played by Bosetti himself, Laurent Bruttin on clarinet and Seth Josel on classic guitar. Bosetti was inspired by a video he saw at the ethnological museum quay Branly in Paris. The video showed an african woman divining the future by throwing a handful of objects on a table and reading their configuration in a relentless sequence of questions and answers to herself. Bosetti was fascinated and in cooperation with designer Annette Stahmer they selected objects, defined interpretation codes and recorded divination sessions with some invited people. They have been instructed how to interpretate the objects and question themselves about matters like love, health, family, travels and other subjects they wish to get an advice on. Fragments of the recordings were the material for the pieces of voice, guitar, clarinet and oscillator. This concept of making music results into a beautiful album of modern chamber music with elements of minimal music, spoken word and modern classic. (JKH)
Address: http://www.lespressesdureel.com

Following a string of releases on CDR, cassette and download, some of which we reviewed in Vital Weekly (see for instance Vital Weekly 717, 732, 777 and 862), Danish duo Small Things On Sundays, now venture out to their first full length vinyl release. Henrik Bagner and Claus Poulsen use turntables, guitars, casio-keyboard, viola and laptops. They tell us that some of the pieces here were recorded in one take, and others took hours and hours to do on the computer. Cleverly they don't tell us which. It's not easy to say, and probably not very interesting to think about it. Easiest is to state that Small Things On Sundays play 'dark ambient' music. I was, recently, listening to some older Zoviet*France releases, even before I knew this LP was coming and it's nice to see the Zoviet*France template on an album like this. The careful use of real instruments, the abundance of sound effects, the creative use of tape-loops, the spacious nature of this music. As Small Things On Sundays note in the letter with this record, this is perhaps the lightest and most accessible of the trilogy '4AM' (717), 'More' (732) and now this one. I totally agree. The sharper edges of the music might be gone indeed, but I think that works well. The newly placed refined sounds make up for that rough edge but it also moves the work forward, onto the next level. The brightness of the music shines through here, like an early morning sun with a soft breeze on a nice spring day. The music is opening up and we see the potential of Small Things On Sundays much clearer now. This is a road they should explore more and more. Not trying to replicate the music, but to see what else lies in this brighter light. It's surely something they should do! (FdW)
Address: http://skrec.wordpress.com

JOCHEN ARBEIT & MICHAEL ESPOSITO - ALL THE FUCKING VOICES (flexi 7" by Phantom Plastics/Firework Editions)
The most commonly used English word is 'Fuck', so the cover tells us. In common language but also in Electronic Voice Phenomena, a territory which is the speciality of Michael Esposito. He collects voices from the dead, and this should know. The cover lists some more interesting details about this word, and it's probably also in the voice material used on the record. I had no idea who Jochen Arbeit is, but he was a member of Geniale Dilettanten in 1980 and in 1983 he joined Die Haut. Later on he is also a member of Einsturzende Neubauten. In 2009 he played his first solo concert. He's now also working with electronic sounds, such as we hear on this flexi disc. A thumping rhythm, with some synth like sounds, proto-techno is probably the word we use for such occasions, and somewhere in that minimalist, dub-like piece of music we hear the EVP floating around like particles, just as that lonely synth line which moves around there. The EVP are looped and that may work against the piece - it becomes a tad too repetitive for my taste - but maybe it fits the overall minimalist approach of the music. How the fuck should I know? (FdW)
Address: http://www.fireworkeditionrecords.com

One of the more exciting trios of improvisers, in this reviewers very humble opinion, is that of Vasco Alves, Adam Asnan and Louie Rice, better known as VA AA LR. It took a while before I was really into their music, but more and more I see what they are doing (or believe to see so) and more and more I like their work. In August last year they recorded these eight new pieces and further explore their excursion into the world of live electronic music. To that end they have a whole range of material at their disposal: the unstable nature of broken contact microphones attached to anything that resonates, radio waves and microwaves, static crackles and hiss, to the humming of radiators and broken loud speakers. This is all played with great care and style, like exploring the quality of specific sounds, in relation to other specific sounds. Last time around, in Vital Weekly 873, I compared them to Dutch trio BMB con, who were all about the conceptual end of live electro-acoustic music, here I am more thinking along the lines of Kapotte Muziek: it's more about the quality of small, amplified sounds - yes, you may drag John Cage's 'Cartridge Music' in here as well - to interact with each other and make up some highly dynamic electro-acoustic music - all created on the spot. But it's not like these sounds are played in a random way: sometimes they actually do make up something that we would/could a 'song', such as the looped qualities of the (untitled) opening piece. Quite dark actually, and not as noise based as you sometimes expect things to be. Music of some fine concentration. I'd be interested in seeing these guys in concert.
Percussionist Nick Hennis is already 'hot' for a while, at least in this office, with his strong, minimalist percussion music. Here he plays vibraphone, or perhaps two of them, as it's subtitled "for vibraphone duo". I assume he plays along with himself, or maybe he's got four hands these days? Not that you can actually note this easily, as in this minimalist piece, things sound sometimes like it's been played with just one hand. The whole piece is divided into various sections - although it comes as one on the actual CD. I haven't got a clue how he does it, but on one hand there is quick rhythmic material (and how he does that is not a mystery of course), but there is also ringing singing overtone material in this music, which he may achieve through rubbing the sticks on the surface of the vibraphone, or perhaps by playing his vibraphone with a violin bow. In his piece he moves between these two - the hitting and the bowing - sometimes alone, and sometimes together with each other. Think Steve Reich, but less the melody. Keeping rhythm in a straight, fixed line, while adding these beautiful overtones, gradually staying with just overtones and then moving back to the more rhythmic sound, but then in a higher range on the instrument. A most delightful and beautiful work of utterly fine minimal music of the highest concentration. (FdW)
Address: http://consumerwaste.org.uk/

When this arrived, I looked in disbelief at the outside of the small parcel: did it really say '7 CDRs'? Yes, it did. Now, we are fully aware that postal rates are sky-high everywhere, probably in an attempt to stop anything physical being shipped by human interaction, but come on, 7? What kind of review do you expect with such an overload? I assume I am not free to select whatever I like and dismiss the rest. Or I could spread them out over the course of a few weeks, but then you rate the level of our organization a bit too high, I should think. All of these discs contain improvised music, which is music made on the spot, and which you could always release, hence perhaps this little over production. First a trio of Charity Chan on piano and objects, Damon Smith on bass and Weasel Walter on drum set. It was already recorded in 2007, and it's bit unclear why it took six years to release. It says on the cover, 'mixed and mastered by Caribou Sonore', but what exactly was there to mix in this otherwise fine recording? It seems that a pair of microphones picked up the sound pretty much in great direct mode, and we get forty-seven/six tracks of some very lively material. It's like they play in your living room. The total free improv is great here, very much all over the place with lots sounds jumping up and down. All three instruments are clearly to be recognized as such, and perhaps that's the only conventional thing about it. Lots of raw energy in this recording - great start, right now.
The next one is Santana's 'Abraxas' - that's what Itunes says I'm playing in these thirty-seven minutes and twenty seconds. Wrong. This is Jack Wright (alto & soprano saxophone), Ellwood Epps (trumpet), Scott Munro (upright bass, trombone, electronics) and Chris Dadge (drumset, percussion), also known as The Unrepeatable Quartet. This is a straight recording, no indexes, one track, no bullshit made on November 15, 2012 in Calgary. Heavy on the wind instruments which is not always what I like, but here I thought it worked quite well. There is a great amount of tension in this piece, which ranges from the quite loud - no distortion of course - to extended pieces of material in which they go a much softer course, bouncing easily back into the louder world when it's called for. This is some excellent music, just the previous, this has a great amount of energy to it.
Then a duo on piano (Simeon Abbott) and drums (Mike Gennaro) and of course this too is some free music, but if we need to add a word, then we should add the word 'jazz' to it. Think such fine houses as FMP, Incus and Emanem releases, think Han Bennink, Carla Bley and such like. Here too we have a pretty direct recording, which is nice, recorded over three different concerts in May and August 2012, and while this is quite nice to hear for a while, I must say that this is also a bit too jazz like for my taste. Nervous, hectic, there is a lot in here indeed, but it's too much.
The final one I am doing this week is a duo calling them selves Bent Spoon Duo: Chris dadge (trumpet, violin sk-1, sk-5, amplified percussion and dreadneck) and Scott Munro (viola, sk-1, electronics, vocals, zither and Dr. Sample), who played in April 2012 in Calgary with Allison Cameron (banjo, kalimba, contact mic, fuzz factory, Korg mini ribbon synth) as a warm up and then a set with her - I assume documented without (track 1) and with (track 2) her here on this disc. This is probably the first Bug Incision here which actually uses a bit of electricity in the production of sound. Its hard to say if the music improves from that. Both pieces seem a bit blurry to me. Like a wall of sound being erected from all of these loose end bits of sound, feeding through lo-fi effects, or maybe sampled on those sk-1 and sk-5 thingys but somehow it fails to impress me very much. It's only when the three of them pull back a bit, and actually start listening to each other and get some interaction going, that I think things are more interesting, but these moments don't seem to be very long, unfortunately. Maybe I am getting tired? Who knows, but of these four this looked like the one that was most appalling to me, and disappointed the most. (FdW)
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This is 20 minutes of seemingly unrelated sound and riffs. It begins with the sound of someone bashing metal, with slow introduced Buddhist chanting and a helicopter / motor sound, then some electronic or guitar feedback chirrups, this slowly fades and an acoustic stringed instrument playing
simple riffs takes over, and another motor sound, like a compressor, which continue through to the sudden end at 20 minutes. This may or may not have something to do with Filthy Turd, it came with a cassette which was an over recording of  an old Evita release, rendered unplayable by it being painted green with a paint which flaked off everywhere. The passivity of this review lies in the wishes of certain uber critics’ “just describe the sounds..” As if language, music and plywood were all much the same, to this Harman’s objects might be supportive but they are vey mistaken. Even plywood withdraws from us and itself into larval ‘being’, though I disagree, a piece of plywood is no more plywood than a horse a horse. (jliat)
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