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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 891
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week 30
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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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PLEASE NOTE: NO VITAL WEEKLY IN WEEK 33! Announcements for that week should be on time!





LOST IN THE WOODS - THE MEADOWLAND SUITE (CD by Hulterstad Sound)
ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE - TIDAL (CD by Auf Abwegen)
JOHN BUTCHER & TONY BUCK & MAGDA MAYAS & BURKHARD STANGL – PLUME (CD by Unsounds)
VIRGIL MOOREFIELD –  NO BUSINESS AS USUAL (CD  & DVD  By Hinterzimmer Records)
ERIK FRIEDLANDER//SCOTT SOLTER - NO COMPASS: SOLTER RESETS FRIEDLANDER (REMIXES OF BROKEN ARM TRIO (CD by Skipstone)
MERCY GIANTS - STEEL DUNGEONS MIGHTY FOES (CD by Tonefloat)
DAVID WENNGREN & JONATHAN NASTESJO - BELOW (CD by Soundscaping)
STOCK11_003 (CD compilation by ZKM)
FILIP GHEYSEN - TABLETOP GUITAR (CD/DVD/book by Silken Tofu)
"         "[sic] TIM GOLDIE/DANIEL BEBAN - SLAKES (3CD by Entr'acte)
BEDAWANG, EXCLMATION POINT AND STIRNER (CDR by Skum Rex)
BURNTABLE – SELF-TITLED (cassette by Nekorekords)
CREATION THROUGH DESTRUCTION / BLACK LEATHER JESUS (split CDR by Terror)
THE CATS' ORCHESTRA - WIDOW FISH RUMOURS (cassette by A Beard of Snails Records)

LOST IN THE WOODS - THE MEADOWLAND SUITE (CD by Hulterstad Sound)
Somewhere vaguely I was thinking I heard the name Lars Tangmark before, but maybe I am (dazed and) confused, again. Under his own name he plays 'abstract electronics', plays guitar in King Of Asgard ('viking metallers') and run the Hulterstad Sound record label. Here however he in the guise of one half of Lost In The Woods, of which Johan Levin is the other half. He's known for Desiderii Marginis - that much I knew. They first played in a dark wave band The Wounded Meadow, and since 2010 as Lost In The Woods. It's of course tempting to think there is a connection between their old band and this new work - take a look at the title - but how would we know? I never heard music by The Wounded Meadow, so its only speculation. So what do we have here? A fifty minute piece of drone music that relies heavily on processed field recordings. A tribute to fields and meadows, and far, far away there is the sound of the city. The far away sounds from traffic perhaps. It might also just be the sounds of wind through the woods. There is a heavy drum at twenty six, like a solemn bang on a log. The only musical references is towards the very of the release when there is a small bit played on the guitar. But throughout I thought it was all quite musical anyway. Lost In The Woods take you a musical trip to the woods, fields and meadows, an ambient trip. Great recording, great production and ultimately an excellent release. is it a release that is any different from any other release in this particular musical niche? Probably not. That might be the downside: there is nothing new under the horizon of anything 'dark', 'atmospheric', 'ambient', 'based on field recordings'. I don't care, not today. This is a fine release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hulterstadsound.com

ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE - TIDAL (CD by Auf Abwegen)
Summer is slow and sometimes quite hot, certainly here in the VW-HQ. So my ventilator blows cool air in the house, which is nice, unless you are playing something like Artificial Memory Trace. The first time it was in the player, it went totally away in the soft machine breeze. But this morning the weather is a bit cooler, and I can sit down and listen to this under better circumstances. Slavek Kwi, also know as Artificial Memory Trace (and one of the few composers who still maintain their moniker, whereas others may have gone to their christian name by now) is a man who loves to work with field recordings of a rather delicate nature. The four lengthy pieces here all deal with recordings made in the tidal zone, 'the fluid line between land and sea, a site of perpetual motion and metamorphoses' and uses recordings from New Foundland and Ireland, from on land and under water. . Two pieces are stereo adaptions of multi-channel installation pieces. The cover lists specific places and things to note, like 'from pier at night (including one call of seal)'. More than before Kwi uses larger section which he puts one another, rather than overlaying them, or processing these sounds. It gives the music even more space than it did before. Maybe a holiday like feel even. This summer we don't spend time on the airplane to Newfoundland, but we stay at home and listen to Newfoundland. The two parts of that Newfoundland piece deal with sea sounds in the first part and the activities of humans in the second as well as nature events, such as a crumbling iceberg. In the piece called 'Western Island' we find at one point mechanical sounds along with high frequency bird calls, which add a weird and electronic texture to the overall composition. These four pieces are excellently, well crafted sonic trips along the sea-shore. Almost like a real holiday, but you don't have to leave the house. Almost my kind of thing, except that I actually planned a holiday. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aufabwegen.com

JOHN BUTCHER & TONY BUCK & MAGDA MAYAS & BURKHARD STANGL – PLUME (CD by Unsounds)
Four improvisers of different backgrounds participate on this ‘Plume’-project, released on Kyriakides´ Unsounds label. Butcher is the oldest of this crew if I´m not mistaken. A crucial UK improviser since the 80s. He played with Derek Bailey, AMM, Rhodri Davies, and many others. Drummer and percussionist Tony Buck is best known for his work with The Necks, specialized in slow-building improvisations. But he was involved as well in numerous other improvised and new music initiatives. Pianist Magda Mayas is new to me. She played with people like Peter Evans, Annette Krebs, Phill Niblock and Christine Abdelnour. Austrian Burkhard Stangl (Polwechsel) playing guitar and electronic devices manly, is crossing borders between improvised and contemporary music already for many years and participating on more than 50 CDs. ´Plume´ consists of two meetings between Buck and Butcher, each meeting with a different third player. ´Fiamme´, recorded at the LMC Festival in 2007 has Stangl as guest. This improvisation starts and ends very quiet with fragile textures close to silence. In the second half we hear some nice eruptions. It is hear that this improvisation is most close to jazz. Especially in the multi faceted playing by Butcher. The 40-minute ´Vellum´ from 2011 has the participation of Mayas. Butcher and Mayas have in common that they prefer the use of extended techniques. Because of this it is sometimes difficult to distinguish who is doing what. They take time to develop their dialogue that counts many imaginative moments. Again  we have to deal here with pure sound improvisation. In a word, we are offered some intense and concentrated excursions from these veterans. (DM)
Address: http://www.unsounds.com

VIRGIL MOOREFIELD –  NO BUSINESS AS USUAL (CD  & DVD  By Hinterzimmer Records)
A remarkable release from the Swiss Hinterzimmer label. Moorefield is an American composer and intermedia artist. If you were into Glenn Branca, Swans and Elliott Sharp, his name may sound familiar, as he played with them  with back in 80s and 90s as a drummer. Nowadays he is focused on live acoustic performance, electronic processing of acoustic signals and live visual music.  He has several albums out on Tzadik, Cuneiform, etc.  His compositional work is influenced by his identity as a drummer and percussionist, is what I read. We shall see if this is also the case with this new  work. The cd ´No Business As Usual´,  presents a post-minimal work performed by his Bicontinental  Pocket Orchestra: Vicky Chow (piano), Ian Ding (vibraphone, drums), Aleksander Gabrys (contrabass), Taylor Levine (guitar), Martin Lorenz (percussion), Jürg Wickihalder (baritone sax) and Virgil Moorefield on drums. The title track is a five-movement work.  Echoes of  Branca and the likes are obvious, especially in the parts where massive walls of sound come to us. The compositions have the energy and drive of rock music. Very rhythm-based. This is the main ingredient Moorefield plays with in his polyrhythmic compositions.  ´Detroit per Se´, also for sextet, starts with a meditative piano changing into a polyrhythmic interaction between all players. ´Siamese Kits, Joined at the Kick (A Study In Prime Numbers)´ is a duet of the composer  and Ian Ding, both on drums. This piece I liked most, as it is seems to me most close to the essence of what Moorefield is doing. The dvd carries the 30-minute, audiovisual piece ´Five Ideas About the relation of Sight and Sound´ (2008). A concert-length performance work using advanced technology. It has been performed on festivals in the US, Canada,Ireland and Chile in the last few years. The DVD captures a live performance from Zürich, 2011. Each idea works out a different approach of `how technology extends affects the interplay between image and sound.` In each section only one instruments is central (drums, guitar, piano), albeit in trio, duo or solo format.  I have to admit that I am a bit allergic for multimedia works. Viewing and reviewing this release this didn’t change. The continuities or discontinuities between sound and image, leave no impression.  Also the music on its own failed to interest me and had no emotional impact. What I perceive is most of all a lack of (musical) interesting ideas or constellations. (DM)
Address: http://www.hinterzimmer-records.com

ERIK FRIEDLANDER//SCOTT SOLTER - NO COMPASS: SOLTER RESETS FRIEDLANDER (REMIXES OF BROKEN ARM TRIO (CD by Skipstone)
Music by a trio of Friedlander (cello), with Trevor Dunn (bass) and Michael Sarin (drums), dating from 2008, was the material for Solters remixing act. Solter, originating from California, is a sound engineer and worked with artists like John Vanderslice, Spoon, Mountain Goats, Pattern is Movement, and Superchunk. He always wanted to have some musical influence on the music he was recording, but not by learning to play an instrument himself, until he decided the studio was his instrument. In a way he practices this on this release. I don´t know the original recordings of Friedlanders trio, but I´m sure that Solter remixed and changed the music extensively, and built his own musical pieces from this material. This makes me wonder what made him decide to use Friedlanders recording, instead of so many others that may have led to comparable results. Anyway, we have to deal with what we hear, whatever the genesis of this work was. Then I have to say this is – as such - a pleasant listening experience. There is not much recognizable cello, bass and drums. We hear crystal clear ambient sounds in these deconstructed pieces. Very well produced.  Everything is painted with a good sense for detail and depth. Sometimes one hears a glimpse of  the acoustic origin of a specific sound, often however not. Sometimes a melodic line occurs, to disappear a little later in the amorphous sound collage. As compositions the five tracks on this mini-cd did not convince me. Let’s say, this release is of interest. (DM)
Address: http://www.skipstonerecords.com/

MERCY GIANTS - STEEL DUNGEONS MIGHTY FOES (CD by Tonefloat)
Whilst writing this review, i found out that the coinage of the term 'post-rock' was, contrary to what i thought, not within the context of Simon Reynolds review of Bark Psychosis'"Hex" after all. Whatever the value given to such genre-characterisations, in this instance I would have found it pretty apt had that a nomer actually had been primordially designated to Bark Psychosis, as the experience of listening to Mercy Giant's latest album "Steel Dungeons Mighty Foes" brought me right back to those days. Beautiful days, in fact, as i come to realize fully listening to "Steel Dungeons". Not that the listening experience itself is comparable to my first exposure to "Hex"; the experience of this exposure to the genre-defying and even genre-setting quality of the Bark-Psychosis sound at the time is incomparable to the rather more genre-affirming quality of "Steel Dungeons", almost 20 years 'After Hex'. The times are not the same nor am i the same; but what is astonishing is that such times and corresponding incarnations of myself are still accessible, even from such a wholly different time and incarnation of my own actual 'now'. The music is built up layer by layer, with the individual layers both working in transparent isolation on their own level as well as working on a more synergetic level. Different horizons, with different perspective-points, moving at different speeds - together creating a highly but very subtly dynamic canvas dissipating the hierarchy between these different musical perspective-lines. Melodies can be both on the foreground or on the background; the same goes for textures and rhythms. What is on the foreground at one moment can be on the background at the next moment. Furthermore, what is at one moment a rhythm can be a melody the next moment, and vice versa. It would be on this basis that my own definition of 'post-rock' would rest: what was once rock is now fluid, mercurial, quicksilver-like, both in melody and in rhythm/texture. Together these different structural and compositorial elements coalesce into this brooding canvas which itself becomes the picture. Perhaps with this we are hard underway to the new frontiers of 'Quantum-rock'? (MP)
Address: http://tonefloatrecords.blogspot.nl/

DAVID WENNGREN & JONATHAN NASTESJO - BELOW (CD by Soundscaping)
Last week I was outside a lot: Nijmegen hosted the annual four days marching and for non-walkers free live music for seven days, including a few 'alternative' stages, which maybe be 'alternative' if say Adele is the best you like, but if you consider yourself be outside anything, then what was on offer was usually stale, mediocre indie pop/rock/techno. The best night was perhaps the non-western music, but who knows how middle of the road they were. I always go, I always wonder why and could easily write a small book of what the hell I think of music. Oh, and there is hardly an artist playing of whom I heard before, which is entirely my fault. But 'those in the know' do know some of these people - how do they, I will ask them - have different sources than I have. What does all of this rambling about the current state of 'alternative' music have to do with the CD by David Wenngren and Jonatan Nästesjö? This: I don't think I heard of them before, which gives me (should probably give me) an enormous headache as to amount of musicians I never heard, not even in this small little niche Vital Weekly is working. I could have - maybe did have - heard of Wenngren when working as Library Tapes or Murralin Lane, Le Lendermain or his collaborations with Peter Broderick, Danny Norbury, Kane Ikin and others, but it's no doubt that week of beer drinking that gave me another headache. I am sure I didn't hear of Nästesjö before - so many ¨I would have remembered. For both of these people the use of field recordings is very important and so is the use of acoustic instruments. Four pieces here, spanning thirty-five minutes and I must say: not a field recording or instrument to be easily spotted here. Maybe the closest I heard to instruments is the orchestral humming drone of 'Before I Leave', which is a slow riser and burns out slowly, but in between catches a massive drift. The other three pieces move along similar ambient, drone lines. In the middle of hearing this I answered the phone and the 'other side' was asking wether I was in deep trance. I wasn't, actually but I can easily imagine this working on a meditative level. Highly esoteric sound waves, and maybe bordering closely to all the imaginable cliches in the field of ambient and drone music, but I must say I also quite enjoyed this. It's melodic yet atmospheric and more grey(ish) than black, if you catch my drift. Not exactly the kind of music for a summer's day, but save it for the moment day turns into night and turn off all the light. (FdW)
Address: http://label.soundscaping.net

STOCK11_003 (CD compilation by ZKM)
My dislike of reviewing compilations is unfortunately not very well-known, so maybe I need to explain again. With compilations it's usually a question of 'what is it for', 'is there a thematic approach' and 'which market is the target here'. Unless you wish to describe each individual artist and their pieces, you can only say something in more global terms of the compilation, which is my usual approach. Here we have technically a compilation, but perhaps at the same not. Stock11 is 'an artists collective focussing in the strength of collaborative work', which if I understand correctly play in various combinations, acting out their love of modern composition, improvisation, conceptual music and noise. It's not easy to decipher the cover and see who plays with whom here. There are twelve tracks of which seven are by Taste and last exactly a minute each and consist of laptop noise improv. The other five pieces are all somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes. Its indeed all present here: modern composition, improvisation, sound poetry (??), chamber music and something that sounds like a conversation. I don't know what to make of this. It's surely all made with some fine idea, great care, and love for doing something different, but did I like what I heard? The short pieces by Taste were pretty much alright, if the laptop improvisation is still your cup. The improvised music by Maximalian Marcoll was the best of the longer pieces, but I am aware that is purely my private perception. The other four long ones were alright, but not necessarily appealed to me very much. To round up, the musicians involved are Uwe Rasch, Hannes Seidl, Christoph Ogiermann, Juergen Palamtag and Jennifer Washe. They play on each others pieces. If you are looking for new names in this musical area, then you should surely check this out. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zkm.de http://www.aufabwegen.com

FILIP GHEYSEN - TABLETOP GUITAR (CD/DVD/book by Silken Tofu)
Perhaps the music business is in a crisis, and it will be become more and more difficult to sell new music, especially on what some consider to be a doomed format, the CD. I would certainly regret that, as CDs are my favorite sound carrier. The love of vinyl, which some always boost about, is mainly for those few techno lovers or lovers of a high quality repress of golden oldies. But who buys something that he never heard of on a piece of vinyl, which shipping costs these days is more than the actual record itself, in most countries. I was thinking about all of this when listening and looking at this particular package. Limited to 250 copies we get a CD, a DVD and a book, all of which contains the work of Filip Gheysen. It's been a while since we last heard something by him. Gheysen used to work as Picturesque and Teledroom (together with Wio, the guitarist of Wio), and he is a member of 4 Black Boxes. This new release is his first work under his own name and the title is a clear indication what to expect. The guitar is flat on his back and played with a bow or e-bow, and fed through a bunch of effects and the result is some excellent drone music. It's perhaps nothing so much new on the subject of drones made with guitar, but Gheysen does play it with some great care. He is not always aiming for the gentle sound, such as he does in 'Tabletop Guitar V', but sometimes Gheysen comes up with something is meaner, dirtier and noisier than would you would expect. Highly varied stuff. Since 2011 he has also been creating videos, of which we find three examples on the DVD. Here he takes his visual side, of which photographic examples can be found in the book, to the moving image front. In both still and moving images there is an emphasis on the minimal, dark colors, either completely smeared with oil, or carefully created using spots and lines. All of this, music and images, is very abstract and doesn't relate to anything in particular. You can easily let you mind wonder about, while taking all of this in. Music and visual of an atmospheric kind. If this isn't the feature, then releasing a real painting and one CDR is probably the next logical step. Let's hope that won't happen. (FdW)
Address: http://www.silkentofu.org

"         "[sic] TIM GOLDIE/DANIEL BEBAN - SLAKES (3CD by Entr'acte)
For whatever reason the two previous release by "     " [sic] Tim Goldie/Daniel Beban (which should be one band name I guess where reviewed by Jliat (see Vital Weekly 604 and 669), but upon inspection of this three discs, I am not sure why I mailed them to him. Maybe they were more noisy than this one? Here we have recordings from the period 2001-2007 and every title gets a page in the book that comes along and makes up a nice arty book thing. Like an art catalogue without art. All in Entr'acte best known design. The improvisations are for guitar and drums and overall there is indeed an aspect of noise woven into these pieces. There is no specific information as to when pieces were recorded, which is a pity. The element of noise is reflected in a very direct and loud recording of the drums and occasional leaky cables and feedback. Tracks can be as short as four seconds as well as over ten minutes. There is a nice, sheer aggression in this music, which makes it all a bit punk rock/power electronics like. Do I like this, I wondered? Well, to a certain extend I do actually. I played this all in one go, which was perhaps a bit much. But if you take it in in somewhat smaller quantities than this becomes most enjoyable. On the brink of very loud and very soft, which those short pieces as empty (?) holes, this is one that keeps surprising. What's next you wonder when listening to this. The sound of one hand clapping very loudly. Most surely an odd release, and a lot at once. Surely that's the whole point. (FdW)
Address: http://entracte.co.uk

BEDAWANG, EXCLMATION POINT AND STIRNER (CDR by Skum Rex)
Skum Rex is a label run by noise-musician Tony Stirner. Bedawang starts the CDR with an very intense noise track, with little sound-wave and multi-layered noises. The second track is more melancholic with some glitches and minimal melody lines in the background and ends with some fine scratches. The strength of the noise of the Belgian group is the length of the tracks, around 15 minutes and the repetition of these noisy sounds.Great tracks! Exclamation Point is a noise-project from Italy and starts in 2011. The trilogy “Liberta di …”  start and end with music created by I guess a fucked up synthesizer and some other electronics. The first one is more based on harsh noise and the last track has more rhythm and diversity in sounds. In the second track Exclamation Point destructs some musical classics by noise. And old concept to combine different musical elements to create a surreal atmosphere. Stirner, the owner of the label Skum Rex, knows how to create old school harsh noise without compromise and aggressive titles of the tracks. The most interesting track is “Keep on Fuckin’ Up.” The track is created with some dirty effect, but the main source is a mouth organ, which you can hear in the last minutes. His maniacal noises has a total other impact than the minimalistic approach of Bedawang. This collaboration CDR is interesting for starters of noise music, to give a nice introduction of several styles of creating noise. (JKH)
Address: http://skumrex.blogspot.de/

BURNTABLE – SELF-TITLED (cassette by Nekorekords)
From glorious Nekorekords, home of all manner of abrasives, comes forty minutes of variegated noise. Burntable pools the efforts of five artists based in Korea – Choi Joonyong, Hong Chulkji, Joe Foster, Ryu Hankil, and Takahiro Kawaguchi – and together they repurpose an armament of sound (and non-sound) equipment to compelling ends. The sounds are often piercing, but are carried through with a restraint that veers more towards the free-improv end of matters. But instead of traditional instrumentation these hired guns are wielding typewriters, malfunctioning CD players, and if you look in the corner over there someone's doing something awful to a turntable. The tape's two sides are not entirely dissimilar, but “The Low Scorch,” whose title could not be more apt, has a half-dissolved pensiveness to it that lifts it above its counterpart. There's an interval where the troupe's standard ply of harried scrap noise finds itself sparring feebly against a HAL-esque electronic hum, and in that moment the five noise artists transiently wrap their digits around Greatness. The rest of the cassette is just, characteristically, solid. (MT)
Address: http://www.umpio.com

CREATION THROUGH DESTRUCTION / BLACK LEATHER JESUS (split CDR by Terror)
Two arbiters of noise are paired on this dense CDR, one a relative newbie from Serbia (who also crafts noise walls as Dead Body Collection), the other a gristly veteran based on American soil. Richard Ramirez's end of the bargain, billed under his longstanding Black Leather Jesus moniker, asserts the usual surplus of boisterous pedal bluster, entirely devoid of empathy. Ramirez's obsession with S&M culture is articulated in the malevolence behind his two tracks, both of which assert aural dominance and never relent. On “BearFighter” (a name possibly inspired by Ramirez's fondness for horror/B-films), you catch glimpses of your tormentor's white knuckles, but his face is just out of view... in effect, the whole exercise is deftly deprived of all humanity. Creation Through Destruction's half is mastered at a higher volume than its counterpart, which leaves things a tad uneven. His noise is more vast and scenic than the BLJ side, its swoops and segues lending a greater sense of grandiosity to the proceedings. This yields more awe in the listener's mindspace, but burrows away from the stern sadomasochismo of the Richard Ramirez Experience. (MT)
Address: http://www.terror.lt

THE CATS' ORCHESTRA - WIDOW FISH RUMOURS (cassette by A Beard of Snails Records)
When he isn't putting out other people's releases on his Dumpster Diving Lab label, Nicholay Syrov heads his own blithesomely odd sound project in The Cats' Orchestra. A Beard of Snails, one of the more idiosyncratic labels on the weird-music scene these days, brings us Syrov's latest cassette opus in an exquisite homemade shell. It's a whimsical head trip composed of synths and occasional bass/guitar ornamentation, its kraut-ism blurred to a more abstract plane. On side A, “pl-ml” is a swirling pseudo-epic that seems to steal snatches from Young Marble Giants and Kraftwerk. It mulls about with sprigs of synth and a miniature hand-drum pulse, a waft of eeriness further imparted by an effects-abused vocal seemingly pulled from the bedlam of a Bruce Haack joint. It's the most fleshed-out track on here, though side B's parade of sweets is successful in an unfinished, fragmented kind of way: “Hand Waves”'s mysterious sense of wonder, the lo-fi cosmic murk on “Stay Here and Wait,” “Welcome to the West Coast” and its scuzzy muss of basement low-end and crumpled synth tinsel... (MT)
Address: http://www.abeardofsnails.com




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