number 888
week 26


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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70 YEARS OF SUNSHINE (2CD by Monotype Records)
HATI & Z'EV - COLLUSION (CD by Idiosyncratis) *
MACHINEFABRIEK - STROOMTOON II (CD by Herbal International) *
P.O.P. - TABRIZ (CD by Monotype Records) *
LUX HARMONIUM - SOAP AND SILK (CD/7" by Static Caravan) *
PACIFIC 231 - MICROMEGA (LP by Silent Media Projects)
MANNEQUIN HOLLOWCAUST - SLOW INFECTOR (7" by Stand-Up Tragedy/Head Destroyer Media)
LAND OF MARIGOLD (CDR by Bug Incision) *
FREIBAND - MUTATIS MOBILIS (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
THOMAS BEL - TO DYE EVERY NIGHT (CDR by Invisible Birds) *
TUNNELBLIND (CDR compilation, private)
OFFERINGS/REQUIEM - STREAM OF UNCONSCIOUS VOL. 11 (cassette by Stand-Up Tragedy Records)
FAMILY HOLE - APE EXPLORER (cassette by Auditory Field Theory)
DREKKA/ASSIMILATION (cassette by Red Frost Industries)

70 YEARS OF SUNSHINE (2CD compilation by Monotype Records)
One of my goals for this year is to play all the CDs that accumulated over the years. Like collections of a certain artist, even when you there are some that weren't that good. Nice to do when there is nothing to review. Some of the old CDs ended up on my Ipod, which means I really, really like them. You may find it odd, but several are from Silent Records and one of them is the '50 Years Of Sunshine', a double CD compilation celebrating the 50th anniversary of the invention of LSD. This year we celebrate the 70th birthday and here's another double CD to celebrate the fact. The big question is: how does it relate to the other compilation, and will it be as great as the previous? Over the past twenty years I have become a little more reserved against compilations of course, so I doubt before hand that I will put it on my Ipod, but let's see. A first look on these twenty names learns there's people I know pretty well, such as Legendary Pink Dots, Kawabta Makoto, Chihei Hatakeyama, Andrew Liles, Rapoon, Mirt, Darius Ciuta, Komora A and behind Cotton Ferox we find Thomas Tibert and Carl Abrahamsson, formerly of White Stains. The rest of the names are new to me. Like '50 Years Of Sunshine' this new one is also curated by Kim Cascone, which is nice as brings us a fine continuation of the first compilation. Here we find another fine selection of spacious, head music. Not just in the cosmic sense of the word, the arpeggio's and synths, but also the more psychedelic end of music (Makoto, and perhaps oddly enough not The Legendary Pink Dots), but also ambient music spiced with rhythm machines, like in the good ol' days of ambient house (in which Silent Records played an important role). Disc one, entitled 'Ascent', seems to be more about the ambient side of things, with or without rhythm, whereas disc two, 'Descent' is more a mixed bag of experimental music, rhythm, acoustic guitar alienation (Liles), synths and more in general more abstract music. I quite enjoyed this release, but will I decide in 15 years to put this on my Ipod? I doubt that. The first compilation is too much connected with that time it was released and maybe I just got a bit older - that perhaps is a different story. But for some mind alternation you can use both of these compilations, old and new, to expand your consciousness. (FdW)
Address: http://www.monotyperecords.com

HATI & Z'EV - COLLUSION (CD by Idiosyncratis)
By now the collaboration between the Polish duo Hati (being Rafal Iwanski and Rafal Kotacki) and US percussion player Z'EV might be called ongoing. In 2006 and 2011 they already released work together and here is a new album, recorded live in the studio in 2011 in a single day and mixed by Bartek Jaworski a year later. In many of his collaborations Z'EV brings an electronic drum set, because he has a hard time sounding his metal when it comes to playing with people using electronics. But in Hati he finds partners that match that metallic, acoustic playing that Z'EV does, as that's what they do too. This is the kind of music that sounds like being present at some obscure ritual, with the the rattling of percussion, the slow deep beat of mother bass drum and the overtones created by rubbing percussive bits against each other. What kind of ritual this is, we don't know. A call for prayer, some mysterious rite de passage? I don't know. Probably it's more one of those kind of releases that are mysterious and you a free to use it to what ever end you want. Music that is all about meditation I guess, even when it sometimes seems a bit too hectic to be fully meditative. Something for the late night service. Very nice for sure.
The other new release on Belgium's Idiosyncratis is also a work of collaborative efforts. Yannick Franck has been more active recently, but in the past already played with K11, Alan Trench (Temple Music), Ester Venrooy and here renews working with Craig Hilton, who is an electronic musician, but also a metal guitarist. His work too found its place in Vital Weekly before. On their 'Flowers For L.P.' release, which has one piece that lasts forty-two minutes they are inspired by French poet Jacques Rigaut (1898-1929), writing aphorisms and short or unfinished novels. He was someone looking for himself, literally, in mirrors and found Lord Patchogue. He shoot himself in the eye in 1929. Its hard to say what these two men actually used to produce this music, hell, its even difficult to guess. It might a duet for two guitars, two bows and a ton of sound effects, but if this was the result of a two cymbals being strummed I would also believe it, or maybe a whole bunch of old Organum records being sampled. The latter just seems very unlikely. But it shares that bowed sensibility. A swarm of drone like sounds, a whole mass of them, being played at the same time and gradually over the course of this piece growing in intensity, and slowly changing color and shape. From the searching for ground at the beginning and the high mountains towards the end of it, this is some heavy slab of ambient noir, dark, brooding and somewhat violent. Perhaps as crazy as the many who inspired it? A top heavy work on the hottest day of the week, and I was wondering: how did I survive? (FdW)
Address: http://www.idiosyncratics.net

Despite a teenage head being unavailable at the time, the back cover photo of keyboardist Sherree Lawrence holding a cow’s heart in a refrigerator is still a charming joy to behold. Welcome to the early 80s, the time you did everything yourself. And the Mice certainly did. Between 1979 and 1989 they released 10 albums on their own Mole Enbalming and Cordelia labels featuring everything from pop music via freeform improvisations to downright experimental collages. This deliciously named album, their second one, was released in 1981 and features their usual mix of bouncy pop madness, improvisations and collages and just oozes DIY brilliance. The booklet features the story of the album as told in detail by drummer Graham Summers, who reminisces about stark concrete cellars (disguised as studios), endless discussions about what good music actually was supposed to sound like, surreal humor and the grandness of the title track (an absurd mix of horror, sci-fi, gothic and doo wop balladry). Cordelia records, run by vocalist/guitarist Alan Jenkins, is working on a full run of all 10 Mice albums, all with bonus material. The Teenage Head album has 6 of these bonus tracks and, in that sense, echo’s the 1991 CD release of Teenage Head on Madagascar records (now long sold out). As a most welcome and surprise bonus, the Bandcamp only release Luton Conversion has been made available featuring 50+ minutes of additional outtakes from the Teenage Head sessions. To make everyone’s day, the download is available for any amount your chose to pay for it. (FK)
Address: http://www.cordeliarecords.co.uk

The problem with OST - original soundtrack - is that if you have seen the movie, or in this case the theatre production - it can be very hard to relate to that. This theatre piece for the blackSKYwhite group from Moscow will premiere in Glastonbury and then have a four week run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is not on my next week's list of things to do when there is no Vital Weekly. I can quote the website: "A hoochie coochie freakshow for the end of time. A dusty, road worn carny of hucksters, monsters, apocryphal curiosities and sideshow horrors." I couldn't have told you this based on the music. Here we have nineteen pieces, from just under one minute up to just over nine minutes which makes the whole thing more scattered than the usual Human Greed release. What remains in this soundtrack are the aspects of darkness, moody and sombre atmospheres. But there is also a difference to be noted, and that is the somewhat more collage-like aspect if the music. We hear a variety of instruments, harmonium, voices but also an extended use of electronics to process these sounds and create dark ambient textures. Its nice to see Begg moving away from his usual more 'piece' music into something that is a bit more scattered, fragmented, yet retaining some of the fine qualities his music has. Excellent release.
If you hurry up you may catch the bonus disc of music by Michael Begg's Black Glass Ensemble. Here we find eight tracks that were also produced but didn't fit the final production. I can understand that, and not because it's bad music but because it's so different than what we just heard. Here we find Begg in a strangely much more musical terrain. Orchestral big band music, jazzy lounge tunes, female vocals and a general roaring twenties feel in a short piece like 'Dressing Room'. Here the music - twenty-two minutes in total - form one ongoing piece with a sort of circus feel. But with something scary lurking around the corner. Almost like Jack Torrence going for a drink. Odd music, but an excellent showcase of what the musical capacities are of Michael Begg. (FdW)
Address: http://omnempathy.com/

Late 2011 Rutger Zuydervelt recorded his album 'Stroomtoon', partly as a way to test his new live set up of an old Philips analogue tone generator and effect units. 'Stroomtoon' was a series of improvisations and released about a year ago (see Vital Weekly 838). He still uses that set-up and in the slipstream of his album, he also recorded a bunch of pieces which found their way on three lathe cut 7" records for such labels as Fake Jazz, Superior Standards and Champion Version. But you know, lathe doesn't equal high quality but it does equal very limited, so these pieces are now collected on this CD, along with two more pieces from another lathe cut and a compilation track. The dedicated fan has of course all of these, but the average fan now can hear them too. These nine pieces are all considerably short, somewhere between four and five-some minutes, which works quite well for what Machinefabriek wants. He wants to explore a few sounds, while being locked inside a system of sound effects, and create a small number of variations with these manipulations. The objective is as always to create abstract, atmospheric music, which is something Machinefabriek happens to be very good at. Occasionally there is an over-use of reverb, such as in 'Toendra', which is then relies too heavily on the use of it and becomes a gimmick, but in the majority of the other pieces it works quite well. 'Stroomtoon II' is an excellent companion to the 'Stroomtoon' album, and it's fine to see this updated version compared to the lathe cut versions. If you were looking for something radically new, then you won't find it here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.herbalinternational.blogspot.com

P.O.P. - TABRIZ (CD by Monotype Records)
In this case P.O.P. stands for Psychology Of Perception, and this is a duo of Reinhold Friedl and Hannes Strobl, also known as a man who plays inside piano and a man who plays saxophone, but also here with an electric bass. If I understand the somewhat cryptic text well, this is the work of studio recording, layering and layering elements on top of each other, rather than a direct recording of improvised music. Maybe I am all wrong of course. The music, three pieces of forty minutes in total, is quite strange. It's all quite relaxed, but very abstract, and rather without movement and seemingly also without dynamics. A tick here, scraping of the strings there, some playing on the saxophone (sustaining usually), then a further (soft) bang on the piano and so on, so on. Maybe this is headphone music, I was thinking, to find a depth that might be lost on the speakers - or maybe today is a noisy day with windows open, ventilator full on and so on - but there is something quite captivating about this release. The music is without drama, just moving on and on and the listener gets sucked into this. Odd music that has connections to the world of classical music, improvised music and even electronic music; perhaps that the oddest thing about it, for something which seems to be all instrumental (i.e. without computers). (FdW)
Address: http://www.monotyperecords.com

LUX HARMONIUM - SOAP AND SILK (CD/7" by Static Caravan)
Two new releases by the mighty empire of alternative pop - and beyond - Uk's one and only Static Caravan. The first one is a CD with a bonus 7", but no doubt in the vinyl world of the caravans this is a 7" with a bonus CD. This is my second encounter with Luke Jones' project Lux Harmonium (see also Vital Weekly 800), who plays guitar and sings. Folk music with a touch of electronics here and there, and not always, not exactly your traditional campfire songs. Unlike his previous 7", the balance is here in favor of songs with vocals, and while this is quite far out what we usually hear around the HQ, this I thought was simply great music. It might be because today is the hottest day of the week, the hottest day in quite some time actually, and it's just not the right weather conditions to listen to anything even remotely complicated. In stead I rather hear something pop/folk like, thinking Lux Harmonium covered 'Venus' by Shocking Blue, but it's 'Vexated' or the lengthy psychedelic guitar interludes of 'The Nocturnal Gardener' and 'Stars'. Great refreshing release on a hot summer's day - I am sure that wasn't the intention.
The other band might not be a band, but perhaps just a concept. A concept with some fine tunes. I have no idea who is behind The Duke St. Workshop, but my best guess this is some one-off project with a bunch of musicians playing synthesizers and just for the love of it all, they recorded twenty-one sketch like, and perhaps not-so-sketch like pieces on their synths, which then became an album of musical pieces and some tunes, which come off as jingles. Music for imaginary films, radio broadcasts and video games, early ones all of them? Maybe that is the idea here: you have a bunch of shorter and longer pieces to go along with your own super-8 home sci-fi movies - lots of tin-foil splattered around? Or maybe it's just me who thinks this? Was it because I watched Doctor Who this week? There is certainly a retro element in here, a symphonic bombast that harks back to the early 70s, but then with a lo-fi 'today' twist to it. So we shouldn't take it all too seriously, I guess. That doesn't mean this is not of great quality: I think it is. This is like the naughty little brother of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Excellent! (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

PACIFIC 231 - MICROMEGA (LP by Silent Media Projects)
A true beauty to watch and hear here. A nice piece of spotted vinyl, a gatefold sleeve and a usb flash drive thingy with a thirty-five minute movie to the music. Pierre Jolivet, the man who named himself after a train (and a musical piece by Arthur Honneger), has been active since the early 80s and such I should/could know his work pretty well. I don't, actually. For whatever reasons lost in the mist of time, I have a very blurry idea about his music from those days and then, perhaps due to his moving to Ireland to work on his PhD in 'brainwave and sensorial perception applied to sound art', long periods in which we didn't hear any of his music. So in close to twenty years of Vital Weekly you might find only one review of his work, in Vital Weekly 630, a live recording from his in Russia, which was all about 'advanced feedback technology, based on the manipulation of sounds through motion sensors feeding and controlling a projected visual imagery' and there has been a track on a compilation from the same label who know release his LP/usb. Here he works with 'live de-instrumentation cut-up […] drawing inspiration from the work of Lou Reed, Brian Eno, Alvin Lucier and LaMonte Young'. Based on what I saw, Brian Eno, is the one that comes closest, both in terms of audio and video. The music is made with a 'single electric guitar, processed to fuse resonant cords with loop sequences in a stereophonic dialogue'. That makes already something that is too 'maxima', and not 'minimal' (Young) or 'conceptually minimal' (Lucier). The music has no longer anything to do with even remotely industrial music, but its a nice work of computer processed guitar music which has become some fine ambient music. The video consists of super-imposed loops of close-up imagery of guitars, making all sorts of different patterns and changes of colors, which works in a fine way, maybe even psychedelic; but perhaps the music is part of that psychedelic edge too. It bounces nicely about, as this is not the kind of drone music that would be common place in the world of ambient, but rather sounds like the opening chords of ambient dance record, but then that's looped and minimally changed throughout the entire thirty-some length of the LP and the movie. Minimally, but if you would skip parts and check shorter fragments you will note that the music has changed completely and it's a bit colder than in the opening sequences. But of course one should 'skip' records but play them in their entire form. This record is an excellent one, an overall great package, well executed and consistent in its high quality. It has probably nothing to do with his music from so many years ago, but then, I should probably check that one day, again. This record made me curious about the question: what did I miss back then? (FdW)
Address: http://www.silentmediaprojects.com

From Bloomington (which seems like a vibrant city, but perhaps it looks like that from the outside) hails Josh Olivo who records as Goodhands Team and 'Austerity Measures' is his first physical record, following a dozen online releases. You have to be quick to get one: it is a pressing of just 100 copies and it comes with a download code for the same thing plus another thirty minutes of music. Ten pieces of electronic music here which holds the crossroad of techno, ambient, IDM but also some electronic version of post rock. It is excellent stuff, I'd say. The label compares this with Kraftwerk ('Man Machine'), Matmos ('Supreme Balloon') and Kid 606 ('PS I Love You'), but there are so many more references to be made and none of them would seem really valid to me. It's just some really fine electronic pop music, combining everything that has been made ever since Moog switched on. Olivo has fine sensible style of writing his pieces, and a melodic touch is to be found in every one of these pieces. The word 'pop' should be understood in a very alternative sense of the word, not as in popular, reaching to the masses. The pop of Goodhands Team is all in the detail: the briefness of tracks, the melodies, the jumpy and bouncy rhythms that are never danceable, but are also groovy enough to tap your feet along. Most pleasant music, I'd say, thoroughly enjoyable music; on a rainy summers day it provides a bit of sunshine, even when the keyboards play a minor key or two. This is one of those things that could have been as easily on Static Caravan and should be heard by many more than just 100! (FdW)
Address: http://www.redfrostindustries.bandcamp.com

MANNEQUIN HOLLOWCAUST - SLOW INFECTOR (7" by Stand-Up Tragedy/Head Destroyer Media)
Here is a 7" which was co-produced by Bryan Lewis Saunders, whose friend Patrick Dughterty lives next door ('right next door') to this "chemical factory. The other day someone opened a bassel that was not pressurized properly and the chemicals burned everything from his face to his groin off. They are using pig skin and cadaver skin to help heal him", which seems to be the background of 'Slow Infector'. That story, the band name, the titles and the black and white cover transport me back to the glory days of industrial music. Oh, and the music does that as well. This is not a super loud recording of distortion/feedback, but a rather lo-fi machine hum, some vague (metallic, I should hope) percussion and screams inside the echo chamber. Think The Leather Nun or SPK, but even less 'musical', but including a near end, and then a start-up of the song again. It's all in mid-low range and hardly in the high end of the sound spectrum. Some of that can be found on the instrumental 'The World Is A Wasteland' on the other side. A bleak and doomy affair, but actually one I enjoyed quite a lot. Partly obviously because I like the music, but also because it sounds and looks so retro like, so early 80s. It's almost like someone did a close study and then tried emulate it himself. With fine success! (FdW)
Address: http://mannequinholowcaust.tumblr.com

LAND OF MARIGOLD (CDR by Bug Incision)
We continue our research in the under belly of Calgary's improvisation scene with this disc by Dan Meichel (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet) and Chris Dadge (drumset, percussion, trumpet, violin and sk-1), which was already recorded in 2008. Meichel passed away in 2009. Here we have a six track/thirty nine minute full on free jazz disc of heavy blowing down those tubes and playing the drums - it seems that Dadge doesn't play much else here. He needs his good two hands to be full on present here. Occasionally the playing gets softer, such as in the fourth (untitled) piece - and come to think of it, perhaps the only one without drums - which is perhaps a moment of relief in the rest of the violence, but throughout this is disc full of energy. Maybe a tad of jazz like for me.
Land Of Marigold might be a more ongoing concern, at least if you choose a 'band name', I would think. Here we have Ellwood Epps on trumpet and Joshua Zubot on violin and low octave violin. They are from Montreal and recorded this disc in 2008. The music seems to be generated, like all of these discs on this label, from free improvisation, but this one moves away from the jazz like music that we find on so many of these disc, and into something which I can perhaps only call 'classical'; maybe that has to do with the use of the violin, or perhaps it's way he plays the violin. The trumpet produces rather long form dry sounds, on it's way to use the trumpet in such a way we don't always hear it's a trumpet, whereas the violin is more violin like and stays like that. The trumpet is also the one instrument here that if things become jazz like, it's because of the way Epps plays it. This I think was the most difficult release for me. I did like it to a certain extend, but beyond that I was annoyed by it. Maybe it sounded a bit too pretentious for me?
The only solo disc this time around is by drummer Gino Robair, who made his recording by 'placing an E-bow over either a street-sweeper blade or a short length of a guitar string. The e-bow and metal were then placed on the head of a snare drum or floor tom'. No effects, just a single microphone to pick up the action. 'The blade or string was positioned in such a way that they were unstable against the power of the E-bow' and this is then responsible for the changes in music. It may come as no surprise that of the seven Bug Incision releases, this is my favorite. Maybe because it buzzes and it hisses, and it drones, but also perhaps this is the least jazzy, the least improvised, and the most 'Vital Weekly' one of the whole lot, and a fine example of where a fine concept leads to some interesting results, which is not always the case (generally speaking, not for the releases on this label necessarily). I was reminded of Jason Kahn here, but where he uses a variety of sound material, its here restricted to one source and it's been explored in a fine fashion. Don't expect some ongoing drone experience, but sustaining sounds which might as easily fall of the rails and do something else. Very much also a form of action music, yet albeit another different kind of action. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bugincision.com

FREIBAND - MUTATIS MOBILIS (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
According to the composer the two works on this intense drone-work from Dutch project Freiband, can be experienced as single layers of sound experiences if played simultaneously on multi-track audio programme. Experienced as an integrated work with all layers woven into each other, present album titled "Mutatis Mobilis" is a remarkable piece of hypnotic drone ambient. The expressions on the album is always kept on a subdued pace with the layers of buzzing drones sneaking into the listener in a provocative manner but never harsh or unpleasant. Freiband is one of the latest projects of Dutch sound artist Frans de Waard that throughout the last three decades has managed to surprise and provoke the listener with new adventurous sound experiences. Apparently the source of inspiration seems to be ongoing. Highly recommended! (NM)
Address: http://www.attenuationcircuit.de

In a previous life I nearly released a CDR by Josh Ronson's oddly named group Brekekekexkoaxkoax, but I gave up working 'over there'. I think I still may have the proposed music somewhere. Whenever I hear his music (solo or with this group), I am more than keen to hear it, although I must say there is never a lot of his music. The CDR - well, two, but we come to that later - is housed in one of those CD sized carton boxes and comes with a bunch of small, mail-art like inserts, including a nice small booklet, 'Documentation Of Nocturnal Music', which might be apocryphal stories about music; Ronsen also published his own magazine Monk Mink Punk Pink for a while. The six pieces on the CDR are 'electro-acoustic works' by Josh Ronsen, who operates solo here, it seems. Ronsen takes his inspiration as easily from Ligeti as from jazz or drone music and that is something that shows in these six pieces. Heavily constructed pieces of abstract drone sounds, taking prepared guitar, prepared piano, bass clarinet and much electronics along with a guitar here and there, or in 'The Premises of The Philosophers' a combination of the bass clarinet and electronics. In 'One Should Stop At This Measure Of Knowledge' there is also some spoken word. The music are dense clouds of sound, again, drone like, but I am sure Ronsen would like to hear Ligeti as a prime influence, especially for the three longer pieces here. The three shorter pieces are all a bit more collage like, with sounds popping in and out while others go on for the entirety of the piece. Some great, exciting music here, right the kind of music I happen to like very much. Classical, yet drone.
The second CD is a bonus disc - trend this week? - and is called 'Anti-Jazz'. Originally planned for release in 2004, but Ronsen was unhappy with the mastering, but recently changed his mind. Not officially released but some of the fifty copies (maybe all?) of 'Sudden Empire Of Tears' get a copy of this. This is a totally different side of Brekekekexkoaxkoax: total free jazz music, either played with musicians - Ronsen on guitar - in which we only seem to recognize Rick reed on synthesizer in one piece. Its fine music, especially 'Duo' (with Jason Pierce on drums), but perhaps not entirely to my liking. Maybe I am just not that much of a free jazz lover, anti-jazz or otherwise. It sheds however an entirely light on Brekekekexkoaxkoax, and Ronsen, so perhaps that's why it certainly deserves one attention. (FdW)
Address: http://ronsen.org

According to the website of Invisible Birds, "mr. nozaki has beginnings in minimal techno and experimental music, and after a slight pause from music, has returned in 2012 with some transcendental experimentations into the rarely visited places of "liminality" and "the sublime"." I am not sure, but this might be my first encounter with his music. The music here is announced as
"abstract sound projections & melodies using destruction techniques discovered with reel to reel tape-loop splicings and other analogue romanticisms", which is actually not far from the truth. Not the reel to reel thing, as that is not easy to check upon, but the romantic aspect of the music. I was thinking there is some classical music on those tapes, as a kind of residue (maybe he got the ones from dear departed father?), which he loops around and by adding sound effects makes them a bit more alienated. It reminds me of Jorge Mantis' The Beautiful Schizophonic with its looped classical music from the 19th century - the romantic era in that music. Occasionally there is a hiccup which I couldn't figure to be a glitch in the tape, the stretching of samples (so, maybe it includes computers?), or the burning to CDR? These four long and one short pieces work very fine on a grey day: stretched out fields of sounds, passing like slow clouds in the sky, with the occasional crackle being the summer rain drop. Dark but full of hope and light.
Music by Thomas Bel has found its way to here before - see Vital Weekly 663 - when I thought he hadn't found his own voice yet. Now, a few years later, I hear something new from him, a work that was originally recorded live June 21st 2011 - which is actually exactly two years ago from the day this was written - but 're-arranged and edited' in May of this year. It's one long piece, of thirty-three minutes and thirty-three seconds, and it sounds like an outdoor concert: rain is pouring down (no doubt on tape and not live), while Bel plays his guitar in a very minimal way. I never know - not being a guitarist myself - if this actually played, or one of those loop devices, but it's surely very minimal with a bunch of small changes. As the piece evolves there is the addition of some feedback like sounds, and the guitar - now indeed looped - doubles and triples. Blues music? Yes, it could be. It has that dark, laidback Americana blues feeling of desperation and solitude, even when it's brought to a mighty crescendo in which all air is sucked into the sound effects before its escape towards the end. A fine good solid piece, as dark perhaps as the Nozaki one, but with less light and more despair. In both cases: if you like Machinefabriek or William Basinski, then this is surely worth checking out. (FdW)
Address: http://invisiblebirds.org/

TUNNELBLIND (CDR compilation, private)
There isn't a single word on the package. The letter informs me thus: "I hope you don't mind me sending you a copy (why would it? - FdW) of the latest in a line of curated CDs that I have been working on. Each one takes a singular theme, and examines the manners in which students and artists haven striven to create works around that theme (www.alandunn67.co.uk/ADCD.html). Thus, new works sit alongside archival material that I secure all permissions on. The contributions made by artists are valuable, given that all these CDs are small editions and given away, made to disappear into the fabric of the city. This latest edition for example considers the use of the word 'blind' across varying music and sound art". So no information on the actual, one slides in the CDR into the computer and itunes tells us we have twenty-two pieces of music, a compilation called 'Tunnelblind', all pieces with the word 'blind' in the title. Musically a mixed bag of alternative pop music, including Melt-Banana, Bikini Bill, Winterbrief, Knight Riderz, Lust3r, Magick, To Live And Shave In LA., Algernon Doll, Swans, Jeff Young, Ad&thefilmtaxi, Nicky Hamer, Scott D'Arcy, Snow Puppy, Bethany Hermitt, Andy Tunstall & Adam Hatton, Etta James, Alan Gavin, Sean Ashton & Anat Ben-David and Ross Sinclair. Its all alright to hear, but I was thinking: isn't this blog material? "Look, I have this list of youtube links of nice music all dealing with the word 'blind'. Next week, same place, we look at songs with the 'fire', 'revolution', or whatever". Just what is the point of all of this, anything other than making people listen to nice alternative pop music, a bit of poetry and in the second half a bit more of weirder, perhaps even experimental songs? Not bad, but it's like listening to the radio. (FdW)
Address: http://www.alandunn67.co.uk/ADCD.html

Of course a DVD-R still looks like a regular shiny disc, but can hold so much more information. In the case of Binmatu it's used to store the eight pieces that make up 'Crystylys I-VIII' as a 32 bit wav, raw files and MP3 (although one is missing) and for the four first pieces a HD Video file. Binmatu, Kvitnu writes, is 'a 'priest of sound', delivering complex air pressure modulations towards ears, presenting certain degree of divine experience - connection with higher powers'. It's not y'r usual talk when you listen to music which has this deep end quality to it. These pieces are indeed something that make your ears bleed when you play this even at a considerable volume. This is not something that we call noise, but some radical sonic stuff of high pierced sine wave like sounds and deep bass rumble, all delivered in a highly minimalist fashion. Think Ryoji Ikeda, think Pan Sonic, think Goem, but all of this in the hands of Binmatu, whose interest doesn't lie in creating a sonic rich, yet fine piece of music, but in some cases creates something that is great to watch, even, such as in 'Crystylys V': opening these files up in an audio editor create a fine image, as well as some wonderfully strange music. More images are to be found in the four films, which are of abstract nature, lines forming patterns, and moving along with the music. I can image this on big screens and great sound installations with much longer pieces of music would work even better, and maybe it would help the more esoteric message getting across, but this home version works equally well. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kvitnu.com

Records Ad Nauseam is a small record label which is based in Hollywood - USA. Navigator's Spice Trance is a release of Loopool. And indeed, the release is a spiced spacy track of about 22 minutes. Loopool creates a lot of releases and it is always a surprise what Jean Paul Garnier will compose. This release has a high psychedelic mood. An ongoing tone is going up and down and takes you to the higher parts of you consciousness. At the other hand are abstract electronic sounds disturbing the droney trance melody. There is no rhythm in these sounds and go on and on. The strength of these composition is that you cannot concentrate on just one part or line of the music. There is no leading part, every part of the composition is important or non-important. This CD-3 is like an exercise in concentration. I do not know how Jean Paul Garnier can manage it, but again he creates an interesting release in his research to the combination of psychedelics, music and sounds. Highly recommended! (JKH)
Address: http://www.loopool.org

OFFERINGS/REQUIEM - STREAM OF UNCONSCIOUS VOL. 11 (cassette by Stand-Up Tragedy Records)
The final two issues in Bryan Lewis Saunders' 'stream of consciousness series', in which he hands out recordings of him dreaming aloud to musicians, to be set to music. Of these four, only the name Hopek Quirin is one I recognize, but even then I only have a faint idea about his music. But we start with volume 11, which has Offerings and Requiem. The first only says 'recorded in purpose 2010' and for the side of Requiem we see (David Graham), we is, on both accounts not a lot to go by. Musically they are wide apart. Offerings create one loop of involving a drum machine, some synth sounds and a sequence, and the Saunders dream material is pushed towards the back, most of the time. It doesn't sound like dream/sleep material, but that's perhaps because of the somewhat more industrialized soundtrack that is on offer here. It sounds like one of those throw away early Throbbing Gristle loops, and genuinely retro, but quite nice at such. It's indeed something entirely different that what Requiem is doing on the other side. Here we have something that sounds like amplified hiss from the background, very quiet and a bit drone like, in which the voice of Saunders is very nicely embedded. This is the piece I actually liked best, but perhaps its also the more predictable one?
Hopek Quirin 'played bass, guitar and knives'. He plays these in a rather improvising mood, I think, but he also plays them very sparsely. If you do hear them, they might have the shape of a small humble drone. Saunders' voice plays a more important role than the music here, so it seems, which is a pity - it could have been more in balance, I should think. It makes it all a bit too obscure for my taste. Fantom Auditory Operations are Michael Esposito and Bryan Lewis Saunders. Ah that explains. Esposito (see also elsewhere) is a master of recording speech that 'is not quite there'm voices from beyond, the so-called EVP. This is actually quite an obscure side, maybe the most obscure of the whole series, partly because it seems nothing else is going here than just Lewis his voice and maybe a bit of a sound processing, but we can't be too sure about it. Partly its perhaps because its not easy to hear what the voices are about. Quite mysterious all together, and perhaps obscure too, but this is a totally different kind of obscurity. Here we don't know any better and music is absent, so that's what it is. These twelve volumes have been a most strange journey through some odd nocturnal activity. Many highs, few lows, usually just great. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bryanlewissaunders.org

On the first of these two tapes by the Gerauschmanufaktur (noise makers) label from Germany we find a project called HHEVA, of whom I never heard. The cover is all grey and black and the titles don't seem to overflowing with a joy of life. Like at the title of the release, or the two track titles: "Her Presence Through The Fog" and "She Died Crying In My Embrace As We Drowned". The first one seems to be summing up what the music is about. Misty stuff which is not easy to discern; maybe the medium of cassette is not entirely suitable? It's definitely, however, fine mood music, even when it sounds a bit remote. An all synth and effect sort of thing, just like the piece on the other side, which is however a bit louder, certainly at the beginning, but which towards the end seems to be sinking away a bit. Dark ambient music which for once doesn't sound heavy and loud (like on some of the Malignant releases), but mysterious and gentle, even.
Also of quite a grim nature is the release with label boss Jan Warnke, who taped field recordings at the Gestapo cellar, a mine shaft and a tunnel, plus some EVPs recorded by Michael Esposito of 'Alex', a SS prison warder. Who says there should always be fun? Here we have three pieces by Warnke and one each by the others, but as with tapes, its hard to tell which piece start where exactly. I believe the dark ambient synth piece is Warnke's, and Amphetamine Logic is more complex yet also less refined and despite not being loud, also quite 'industrial' in a way. Conventionally alright for this subject matter. Voices can be heard on side B, I guess in all pieces. Warnke here too taps from the old industrial school, and Esposito too, but even more into something sinister and claustrophobic. This is most certainly not be filed under 'fun' music! Great retro trip to the 80s cassettes however! (FdW)
Address: http://geraeuschmanufaktur.de

FAMILY HOLE - APE EXPLORER (cassette by Auditory Field Theory)
There is not a lot of information on these tapes, which came in one parcel, but may have no connection to each other, except they are both available from Auditory Field Theory and both sport pink as color of cassettes. The first one says 'produced by Susan Balmar. Track at 12:37, side B is a remix of BRRD', and not much else. At its foundation we may find a crumbled tape loop covered with thirty years of dirt and too much sunlight, which is played on the dusty reel-to-reel machine and re-recorded with some sound effects. But then suddenly, just when I wasn't paying attention it has been changed into something which is perhaps more collage like, broken up and breaking down. Those cut-ups techniques are extended on the b-side in a more radical way, which makes it louder and a bit more noisier, but it sounds actually alright. Fine weirdness.
The information on the Family Hole is not entirely easy to read, the small print is too small. Here the music is all electronic, made up with some form of lo-fi sampling and a keyboard. This is some kind of pop-inspired music, but it remains actually quite sketch like. Rhythms which are sampled play an important role, but then beyond that not a lot seems to be happening. It remains just a loop with some extra sounds, but not really a composition as such. It seems generated through some lazy jam and sound rather uninspired. Not really the sort of thing I'd like and the sort of thing which give cassettes not a good name. (FdW)
Adress: http://www.auditoryfieldtheory.org/

DREKKA/ASSIMILATION (cassette by Red Frost Industries)
It's not entirely clear how the installation worked, but Drekka set up microphones and contact microphones in a closet in a bed room, and the whole action was taped through airvents. People could lie on the bed for a whole and sometimes you could hear other bands performing through this system. This is one of those cases in which seeing is believing I guess. On side A we have the performance by Drekka in a rework by Assimilation and vice versa on the other side. The music on side A is one soundscape of an highly obscured nature. It takes a while before one hears something and then for a while it's just the ambient sound of airvents. But then all of sudden something arises and we have some interesting interplay of feedback like sounds, fed through a couple of sound effects, but the odd playback provides another element of alienation. Something similar we find on the other side but even perhaps more obscure, for a longer period of time. Here too sounds are away, from a distance, even when the sound effects finally drop in. Maybe the fact that this is on cassette helps further blurring the sound and normally I would maybe say something about that ('wouldn't it be great if this was on CDR?'), but here it actually is to the benefit of the rather obscure sounds that make up the music.  Wonderfully great stuff. (FdW)
Address: http://www.redfrostindustries.bandcamp.com