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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 903
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week 43
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
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TWILIGHT CIRCUS MEETS EDWARD KA-SPEL - 800 SAINTS IN A DAY (CD by Tourette Records) *
IKEBANA - WHEN YOU ARRIVE THERE (CD by Flau) *
0 - SONANDO (CD by Flau) *
FOUNDLAND (CD compilation by Flau)
DARKROOM - GRAVITY'S DIRTY WORK (CD by Burning Shed) *
GEISHA - FURTHER/CLOSER (CD by Psychonavigation)
MICHAEL THIEKE & BILIANA VOUTCHKOVA - ALREADY THERE (CD by Flexion Records) *
JERRY HUNT – HARAMAND PLANE (CD by Pogus)
SALIM GHAZI SAEEDI – NAMOWOMAN (CD by Salimworld)
HAKON STENE - ETUDE BEGONE BADUM (CD by Ahornfelder) *
HAKON STENE - BONE ALPHABET (CD single by Ahornfelder)
MOE - OSLO JANUS (CD by Conrad Sound) *
PAULO J FERREIRA LOPES - FEEZE (CDR by Atrito-Afeito) *
ANTOINE CHESSEX - ERRANCES (CDR by Under Platform) *
JACOB BRANT - RAINMAKING (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
DISKREPANT - A CAPTIVE OF OXYGEN (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
NEGATIVE GEMINI (cassette by RVA Tape Club)
SLOW NEWS DAY IN THE VAMPIRE WORLD (cassette by RVA Tape Club)
ELIAN (cassette by RVA Tape Club)
ANDUIN (cassette by RVA Tape Club)
VEJGAARD AMBIENT - THE 3RD HOUSE (cassette by Metaphysical Circuits)
LUMINOUS - AD LIB TO FADE (cassette by Metaphysical Circuits)
CLOUD CHOIR - SOMETHING (cassette by Metaphysical Circuits)
ARIA ROSTAMI - DECADES/PETER (cassette by Crash Symbols)
WEERTHOF - OUT OF CONTROL (USB by Esc Rec)



TWILIGHT CIRCUS MEETS EDWARD KA-SPEL - 800 SAINTS IN A DAY (CD by Tourette Records)
When I opened this I smiled. Behind Twilight Circus we find Ryan Moore, at one, early, point a session player for Netwerk Records, guesting on records by Skinny Puppy and The Tear Garden, then becoming a member of The Legendary Pink Dots and moving to The Netherlands. And of course behind the Dots we find Edward Ka-spel, the band's lyricist and one of the two long term members. Moore played drums and bass for a number of years with the Dots but decided to leave to pursue his life long passion with reggae, as Twilight Circus. And that's what he does still, playing reggae music. So, you can imagine, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this collaboration. The cover says 'recorded in Nijmegen and London', but it's not easy to see who's doing what here. Moore gets the credit for loops, samples, drums, guitar and bass and Ka-spel for voice, scapes, keyboards, broken things. One of the things this is most certainly not: an album of reggae tunes with Ka-spel toasting about; and the other thing it also isn't: an album that resembles the Legendary Pink Dots. The music is kept within the experimental area, which means Ka-spel isn't singing that much, there are lots of samples used to create elaborate soundscapes. It's here where we find them in their most psychedelic nature, but the main power of the album lies in the use of melodies throughout. Sometimes big, like in 'No Secrets', the shortest song with an almost poppy feel to it, or the shimmering organ sounds in 'Church Of Cheese '75'. Rhythm plays a bigger role than in much of the current solo work of Ka-spel, and the element of dub is never far away, but never used in a traditional manner, which is great, such as in 'Saigon'. An excellent ride, this work, going all over the musical place, from the experiment to bouncing rhythms. A delight to hear! (FdW)
Address: http://tourette.com

IKEBANA - WHEN YOU ARRIVE THERE (CD by Flau)
0 - SONANDO (CD by Flau)
FOUNDLAND (CD compilation by Flau)
Ikebana seems to me to be a Japanese duo of Maki and En, who offer seven tracks on their album 'When You Arrive There'. Ikebana is an art of flower arrangement, focussing on "other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, rather than its blooms, and lays emphasis toward the shape, line, form of the arrangement […] about minimalism, about beauty in space, and about calmness", so it's perhaps not strange that the music of Ikebana is similar. These two female artists play guitar and sing, with lots of space between the notes. Simple strumming, singing of a kind I like, and sometimes with a bit of feedback or other kinds of 'dirt' mixed hum, like cable hum. The music is very spacious, as you can imagine, but it retains an open character I think. Ikebana use quite a bit of reverb to reach for that space they need, but the music is always warm and intimate, I think. It's kept small and to the point, as opposed to being orchestral and meandering about. Quite folk like, but with a strange twist to it; there is always something wacky going it seems, and makes that this is quite out of the ordinary.
0 is a trio of Joel Merah (acoustic guitar), Stephane Garin (percussion, metals, glockenspiel, toy organ) and Sylvain Chauveau (acoustic guitar, glockenspiel). I think I heard their music before, but it's simply not easy to google, isn't it? That might be the whole point of course from such a band name. Here we have no such thing as reverb, but we have a likewise intimate form of music, but then from what it seems an entirely acoustic nature. It may be that some of these sounds are sampled, or even treated (mostly looped I would say), over which they play their deceivingly simple melodies. The two glockenspiels sound great, and tinkle nice away, such as the acoustic guitar. Very sweet, this music, but in terms of what it is, but also just very sweet. Seven tracks, spanning thirty-one minutes seem to me the right length for such an album. Not too short, not too long and it ends before it starts to repeat itself, I would think. Very nice.
The Flau label seems to have a weakness for female vocalists and they seem to expand beyond the mere releases of CDs. They also organize concerts, such as 'Foundland', a series of 'beautiful quiet sounds', in which they host concerts by people like Sharon Van Etten, Grouper, James Blackshaw, Pascal Pinon, Masha Qrella, TAPE, Florencia Ruiz, Eiko Ishibashi and Tujiko Noriko. On the CD we find live recordings with female vocalists, with such Japanese artists as tenniscoats, PoPoyans, Rima Kato and Predawn, and from abroad Aspidistrafly, MayMay, and Rachael Dadd. A lot of these I never heard of. But I must say it all sounds wonderfully homogenous here, all of these voices may sound a bit different, but also cover the same territory: that of the most intimate singing. Aspidistrafly is a band that leaps out, with their shoegazing, but they appear to be a rarity in this lot. Its a nice compilation to round off a trio of intimate musics - time for something heavy! (FdW)
Address: http://www.flau.jp

DARKROOM - GRAVITY'S DIRTY WORK (CD by Burning Shed)
GEISHA - FURTHER/CLOSER (CD by Psychonavigation)
Here's a new name for me, Darkroom, which is a duo of Michael Bearpark, who once was a member of No-Man and Henry Fool and Andrew Ostler of Expert Sleepers, and they get a bit of help from Andrew Booker (No-Man, Henry Fool, Sanguine Hum), Simon Taylor and Simon H. Fell (Bruce's Fingers). I heard of No-Man and of Fell, but otherwise I seem to tap into a new world here. The instruments used here are electric guitars, pedals, loops and feedback and bass for Bearpark and synthesizers, keyboards and programming for Ostler. This is where the world of ambient meets progressive rock - especially in the use of ebow on the guitar and the use of reverb thereon - and a bit dance rhythm - faintly but distinctly present. Moody and atmospheric music is what is being served here. Robert Fripp never seems far away, especially in those spacious guitar parts. While I enjoyed this a bit, I thought that some of those of those guitar sounds were a bit too much out of fashion for my taste. The howl of a guitar that we have heard howling before. The album is at it's best when the guitar and synth/sequencing is a bit more in balance and the pieces have that driving krauty rhythm. Sadly not always in favor with these players.
On the ambient side of things but then with much more electronics, and much more rhythm, is the album by Geisha, nom de plume for Robert Crosbie, who is also a member of the Dublin indie act The Riot Tapes. His music bounces back and forth between jazzy piano motifs, deep synth ambience, digital processing techniques, dubby rhythms and oddly placed samples. From the long list of names which were an influence we find Stockhausen, King Crimson, Brian Eno, Seefeel and such like, but also The Orb, and that's the kind of reference that will tell all, I think. Geisha shares the same affinity with The Orb when comes to placing such distinctly different musical genres next to each other and actually can get away with it. Long, spacious pieces here, always over the five minute break and below the ten minute (in that respect are the forty minutes of The Orb's 'Blue Room' pretty far away). If cosmic music would really melt again, like it did in the 90s, into ambient house, then Geisha has all the card to make it big on that scene. His 'Further/Closer' seems to have all that is necessary for such a revival. (FdW)
Address: http://www.burningshed.com
Address: http://www.psychonavigation.com

MICHAEL THIEKE & BILIANA VOUTCHKOVA - ALREADY THERE (CD by Flexion Records)
Swiss label Flexion Records are specialized in releasing improvised music with a recording presently by Berlin based clarinetist Michael Thieke, whom we know for his work The Magic I.D., Hotelgäste, Splitter Orchestra, The International Nothing and who other more ad hoc projects. He teams up with Biliana Voutchkova, a violin player, who worked in New York for a while, but now is also based in Berlin. Out of the five pieces here, one was recorded in Thieke's home and the other four in Ausland, although on two different nights. This is improvised in which the violin is best recognized as a violin, but the clarinet plays lengthier sustaining sounds. The violin scratches and screeches but the clarinet provides the undercurrent in which all of this can easily live and breath. It never explodes, it never breaks out, it all stays on a more or less atmospheric level. Carefully improvised, carefully played and music that requires some fine attention from the listener, in order to grasp all that is happening here. It's a fine release for sure, but perhaps also a bit without surprises. But surely nice enough. (FdW)
Address: http://www.flexionrecords.net

JERRY HUNT – HARAMAND PLANE (CD by Pogus)
The Pogus label has a fine nose for forgotten and underestimated recordings from the past in the field of electronic music. This results in well-documented releases, like this one: ‘Haramand Plane’ by Jerry Hunt, originally released by ?What Next?(1994). Electronic music attracted pioneers of all kinds, often loners who built their own universes with more or less success. Jerry Hunt was one of them, an eccentric composer from Texas who ended his life in 1993, aged 50. He studied piano and composition at the University of North Texas and became an accomplished pianist, playing compositions of American and European composers. He gained some fame with his live electronic events combined with ritualistic performances. In order to make his work available he founded his own Irida label. The titles on this Pogus release were the last works he realized before he died.  Titles of the three works on this release are: ‘Chimanzzi: Link (1)’, ‘Chimanzzi: Link (2)’ and ‘Chimanzzi: Drape: Link’. It is electronic music of a very own kind. Fine textures with lots of details and layered sounds. It makes the impression of very organic sound constructions, that are far from dry, academic experiments. I admit, I associate abstract electronic music more with the intellect than with other human capacities. But listening to these works I became more and more impressed by the lively and organic feel that is in this music. This music flows like water in a river or blood through our veins. Very evocative and sensitive music, sounding quasi-nonchalant. Resulting in something that is more than just music. Must have been a visionary artist! (DM)
Address: http://www.pogus.com

SALIM GHAZI SAEEDI – NAMOWOMAN (CD by Salimworld)
A new work, privately released, by the one man project of Ghazi Saeedi from Teheran. Composition, arrangements, performance, mixing and production, plus cover design, all is done by Saeedi himself. Nine new compositions, all kept between 4 and 5 minutes, with Saeedi playing guitars, basses, keyboards and drums. Listening it is evident he is most at home playing the electric guitars. Like on his earlier releases, Saeedi stills operates in the typical avant style we know from RIO-bands like Univers Zero and Art Zoyd.  Again an all instrumental work of  following this particular grammar. No real new surprises in that sense. But nothing wrong with that, as Saeedi constructs several strong compositions that are very satisfying. The closing track has jazzy touches, coming from way he plays the keyboards. Most of the time influences of metal or hard rock, or world music are far more nearby. Saeedi makes an original blend of these influences, showing has compositional talents. I should also mention this is a concept album. The cover features Medusa in a painting by Carvaggio. Salim says: "namoWoman cover design is a symbolic representation as if the way of transforming dualistic conceptuality passes through castrating one's sexual identity and reconstructing it anew. All songs in this album appear as perspectives of such creative realms". This illustrates that for Saeedi conceptual thought and  philosophy inspire him in creating this music. But for me as a listener, enjoying this excellent music, these aspects are of minor importance. (DM)
Address: http://www.salimworld.com

HAKON STENE - ETUDE BEGONE BADUM (CD by Ahornfelder)
HAKON STENE - BONE ALPHABET (CD single by Ahornfelder)
Here's something odd. One Hakon Stene plays three pieces by classical composers, Alvin Lucier, Marko Ciciliani and Michael Pisaro on guitar, amplified triangle and rice on objects. That I understand, but why exactly had there to be three pieces by Lars Petter Hagen preceding these pieces? They are from a series of seven, and from 2003, but I am not sure what relation they have with the three main pieces of this release. Stene studied in Oslo, Freiburg and San Diego, although it's not stated which instrument - but I believe percussion. The three works here are 'personal, experimental and conceptual approaches to sound production'. The Ciciliani piece, with its open ended playing of single notes on the guitar is perhaps not the kind of thing I like very much. It has perhaps a too improvised/random approach. His rendition of 'Silver Streetcar For The Orchestra' by Lucier is nice, but suffers, me thinks, a bit from too much reverb. which is perhaps something that I didn't hear in previous versions of this piece. His 'Ricefall' by Pisaro also uses quite a bit of reverb, but here it turns out to be quite noisy and it works quite well, even when it's a bit long for such a subject.
At the same time there is also a CD single with the eleven minute piece 'Bone Alphabet' composed by Brian Ferneyhough. I am not sure, but why this had to be on a CD single eludes me, as I assume Ahornfelder is not aiming for the charts, I would think. It's a nice piece, and receives a 'remix' by one Sir Duperman, who seems to be using max/msp to stretch out it a bit here and there, and luckily doesn't produce a house or techno piece. The whole reasoning however slightly eludes me. It's not a bad CD and I understand Ahornfelder wants expand more into the areas of modern classical music, but I must say I am not all too impressed with this. It's not bad, but maybe I heard better? (FdW)
Address: http://www.ahornfelder.de

MOE - OSLO JANUS (CD by Conrad Sound)
In Dutch the word Moe means tired, and boy, I am tired. I was working in a sort of volunteer manual labor thing all day and upon returning I found this CD by MoE, the band of bass player Guro Sknumsnes Moe with Havard Skaset on guitar and Sveinar Hoff on drums. They play noise rock of a more slower kind. Maybe it's not rock per se, noise based it is for sure. It's all rather freely played, although not without a certain sense of time structure. But no doubt there are people who would classify this as 'insane' music, maybe due to the fact that many of the vocals are shouted and maybe about something, but maybe not; who's to tell? Who cares? Not me, obviously, as I am quite tired already. I am not sure what the effect of this music is on. Sometimes this super energetic punk rock meets free form improvisation has this uplifting effect on me, but here Moe is all a bit slower and weights like ton on my shoulder. Maybe this is all an illusion. But especially the long slow 'I.I.I.' with it's synth noise is the perfect way to unload the tiredness and go to bed - which I did. Not entirely the sort of material for the weekly, but quite effective music indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.conradsound.com

PAULO J FERREIRA LOPES - FEEZE (CDR by Atrito-Afeito)
On both accounts here new names. Both the label, for which is their inaugural release, and the artist are for me new names. The release looks great with a silk screened slipcase. The label is run by Karoline Leblanc and Paulo J Ferreira for the 'conveyance of unreleased material, old and new, live and studio, acoustic and electronic, improvised or composed' of them and their collaborators. Lopes does work here with a Roland Jupiter4 analog synthesizer, reel to reel recorders, effects, no sampler (wether it means there is a no sampler or something that is a 'no sampler' I don't know off that has features; I never see a point in mentioning something you didn't use) and drums on one track. Music wise Lopes taps into the field of electronic music, which crosses various genres, such as techno music - be it not always with dance able rhythms, but repeated blocks of sound anyway - electronic music from the sixties, but without the notion of longer compositions. Lopes' pieces are more alike improvisations, although I wouldn't be surprised if that was otherwise, and in most of the pieces he keeps his stuff together and relatively brief. That makes this quite a vivid and diverse release, with fast drum machines, synthesizer doodles and occasional feedback like sounds being played with a fine sense of micro melody. Hardly abstract at all, and throughout most pleasantly listening music. Not too difficult or academic, but nicely refreshing. (FdW)
Address: http://atrito-afeito.com

ANTOINE CHESSEX - ERRANCES (CDR by Under Platform)
The saxophone may not be my most beloved instruments to hear, I have no dislike either, especially in the hands of the likes of Chessex. Here he has a work from 2011, which has two distinct pieces captured in one piece. I've heard his releases, saw him play at least a few times, and am always quite pleased with his work. He's not the sort of saxophone player to use his instrument as a resonating box which is used to produce sounds of any kind but hardly resemble the saxophone; in Chessex case you recognize indeed the saxophone, but not unlike Niblock he uses many closely pitched variations in a very dense piece of music. Some of these layers are so thick, they become like sine waves and then on top he waves some very clear lines of saxophones, more sparsely, but never the less in a similar drone like fashion. Chessex uses probably more melodic lines, although very sustained, than you would have with an average Niblock release, but that's makes his voice in this area probably more unique. There are similarities here with the work of Niblock, especially when it comes to playing all things minimal, but also with some distinct differences, one of which is the clear definition of separate voices in his saxophone playing. Chessex produced another great release with 'Errances'. Not his best, but easily among his best releases. (FdW)
Address: http://www.under-platform.com

JACOB BRANT - RAINMAKING (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
DISKREPANT - A CAPTIVE OF OXYGEN (3"CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
The name Jacob Brant sounds Danish (to me), but he's from the UK I'm told and I have no idea who he is. He plays 'drone ambient' according to Attenuation Circuit, but it's a bit louder than you would expect. I don't see the references to Ligeti's 'Lux Aeterna' very much, nor Phill Niblock, but sure, perhaps If, Bwana is something I can dig. It has mainly to do with the multi-layered thickness of the piece - which is actually two parts - but which also has something that we could loosely describe as 'live' or 'improvised', with sounds dropping in and out, especially in 'Rainmaker'. That, plus the loudness of the music, makes not the soundtrack to relax by. It's a bit nervous and hectic to be full-on drone music, perhaps also too musical. A bit of chaos in search of organization I was thinking. Not bad, but in some more shaping and bending, a bit more composing could wonders here.
Per Ahlund has been working some time as Diskrepant and 'A Captive Of Oxygen' is his second part in a trilogy that started with 'Through The Odious Framework' (see Vital Weekly 840) and it sees a continuation of that release, using field recordings, sound effects, manipulation, analog modular systems, acoustic sounds and such like. This is basically another fine mix of all of these sound sources working together in the best musique concrete-meets-drone-meets-ambient way. Here we have something of which the balance works quite well, and which is loosely organized, maybe almost in an improvisational manner put together, but working through some distinctive parts of the piece. It's not that academic in that respect, but of course that for me makes it better and also never any less serious in itself. It's also not something that is necessarily new in terms of… well… new, something unheard of, but it's all done very nicely indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.attenuationcircuit.de

NEGATIVE GEMINI (cassette by RVA Tape Club)
SLOW NEWS DAY IN THE VAMPIRE WORLD (cassette by RVA Tape Club)
ELIAN (cassette by RVA Tape Club)
ANDUIN (cassette by RVA Tape Club)
A series of four relatively short cassettes from the Richmond Tape Club. All of these artists hail from Richmond, Virginia. The first one has Negative Gemini, the solo project of Lindsey French. She uses 'various synths and a vocal loop pedal' and that results in four tracks of her singing. What can be noted straight away is that the sound quality is not the best around. Not because it's copied onto a tape but perhaps because it sound like record with a microphone in a basement, rather than taping it through mixing consoles. Maybe a deliberate choice? That is a bit in the way of the music I think, as I was hearing how it was recorded. The songs didn't strike me as particular strong. A synth melody, some rhythm, some echo on the voice. I have no idea what these lyrics are about but no doubt some sort of angst or doom is present.
Ambient dub is what we find on the release by 'recording engineer/producer' John Morand and his wife, Tara Morand. They use DJX, drum machine and turntable plus the help of such noteworthy guests as Stephen Vitiello, Molly berg, Jonathan Lee, Bobby Donne (of Labradford fame) and some of these tracks were used in the Irish horror film 'Portrait Of A Zombie'. It's perhaps exactly what you would expect from such description. The rhythm pounds heavily away, in a strict tempo, with the help of echo, reverb, but never a lot, in order to retain that ambient feel, with some more spooky sounds dropping in and out. Much better recorded but I wish it would have been on a CD, as I can imagine this would sound much better if sound-wise everything had a bit more clarity.
Behind Elian we find Michael Duane Ferrell, and these tracks here are his first since 2011. He has had releases on Home Normal. His music was 'recorded and arranged on computer, each track was then signaled out of external effects and accompanied by synthesizer', which is apparently a new of  working for him and perhaps sounds different than his older work. I may not have heard that so I don't know. But what I hear now sounds very good. This is altogether more abstract than the two previous tapes from this club, going into a more noisy territory, but it's never over the top. Music that seems to be locked in itself and mutates as times goes on. There is a certain 'rot' in these machines munching away the insides of the music. Ambient industrial at its best. Great release!
Anduin is Jonathan Lee and his music I know I heard before, but perhaps some time ago. His cassette EP contains five pieces of his dark, moody song based material. I assume Lee plays guitar here and some other instruments (or perhaps any of his guests such as Jimmy Ghaphery on saxophone, Graham Scala on guitar and Noah Saval on harmonica). The result is a rather darker than dark kind of blues music. Meandering about, strange, cinema like, odd music. There is some kind of song structure to all of this but also a level of droney and doomy abstraction, which makes this is into a great release.  it moves away from the pure abstract ambience and towards something that is more musically structured. Keep straight ahead on this road, Anduin. (FdW)
Address: <rvatapeclub@gmail.com>

VEJGAARD AMBIENT - THE 3RD HOUSE (cassette by Metaphysical Circuits)
LUMINOUS - AD LIB TO FADE (cassette by Metaphysical Circuits)
CLOUD CHOIR - SOMETHING (cassette by Metaphysical Circuits)
Three classically packed cassette releases on the Copenhagen label Metaphysical Circuits, one colored ink on colored stock. It seems all of this is people I never heard of. Without reading the press texts I picked 'The 3rd House' by Vejgaard Ambient. This is one Karsten Høegh, who also released through A Beard Of Snails and Pretty All Right) and according to this label he plays 'synth-nosis, dub-like dream-housing, heavy with peace pipe pop sensibilities, splashed with metrofuturist technocentricities' - funny! Now while there is rhythm on this tape, it doesn't mean this is dance music per se. It opens with a nice, almost dancy piece called 'Con Further Recs' as well as a piece on the other side (hard to figure out the title), but in the other pieces the rhythm is too fast, too minimal or too buried to be full on techno or house. But the element of ambient is never far away, and so is the practices of dub (reverb, echo), which makes this a most pleasant tape indeed. Quirky electronic music with light pop feel to it. You can play this in a car with the windows open and still be a bit hip. Do cars still have cassette players I wondered.
Also for Tim Chaplin's project Luminous the label comes up with some nice wording: "electronic, somewhat minimalist, brimming with dissociative psi-ence friction, dadaist drum 'n bass deconstruction, subtle tech-hop trippin', and scattershot, roughened riotin" but also just 'witch-trial house' which of course something that I never heard off so it surely exists. Here too we have something that works extensively with loops and samples that work somehow into a rhythm, but again we don't envisage floor fillers, sweaty masses and such like. The most accessible bits is at the beginning and from there on we have a journey into more textured spacious sounds, which makes the release loose its energy a bit. Maybe, as the tape evolves, it all became a bit too fragmented for my taste.
Cloud Choir is a duo if Michael Cupoli and Richard Doran and this is their first tape of 'blistering ectoplasmic/orgasmic synth cascades and electroshock'd android flange beats/breaks  engulfing you'. I am not also not sure what that actually means. Here not just the cover looks like it's been lifted from a 80s catalogue, also the music is straight from those days. Lots of noisy electronics in a swirling mass of sound, along with some melody played on an organ below the surface of hearing. A bit like late 80s/early 90s Merzbow, but then with a little of melody. It's precisely the sort of power electronics that were once popular in the world of cassette releases. Cloud Choir do a nice job, and perhaps will find new fans to win over for 80s power electronics, but I might have heard my portion in those days already. (FdW)
Address: http://www.metaphysicalcircuits.blogspot.com

ARIA ROSTAMI - DECADES/PETER (cassette by Crash Symbols)
From San Francisco hails Aria Rostami, of whom I never heard, and I am not sure of any previous releases. His music is of the electronic variation and of the more rhythmic variation. The cassette has two sides - of course literally too - and contain older and newer sets of songs. One is called 'Decades', and the other 'Peter'. The first one is the more recent one, and consists of a fine mixture of ambient doodles and IDM rhythms with a bit of shoegazing here and there. Quite melodic stuff actually, in quite brief songs, seven if I am not mistaken, although it's perhaps not always easy to see where one begins or ends. On the 'Peter' side we find less songs, six, and is 'an aural distillation of his relationship (of Rostami that is - fdw) with a former collaborator, written in his memory, and meant to encompass both his and the composer's identity, as well as their intersection'. I am not sure what that means, but the music here seems a bit more ordinary or less scattered through. Perhaps more coherent, but I thought it was also a bit more duller than the other side. I liked the liveliness and swift changes on 'Decades' more and the more dreamy IDM variations of 'Peter' are not bad, but perhaps not really for me. Nevertheless I thought this was quite entertaining and nice; a pleasant release to spend your time with. (FdW)
Address: http://crashsymbols.bandcamp.com

WEERTHOF - OUT OF CONTROL (USB by Esc Rec)
Esc Rec is an interesting label, started and still steered by Harco Rutgers. The label’s catalogue releases a wide range of styles which tends to put people off (listeners like to see a label stand for  a clearly defined style or genre, like Factory Records, INA GRM  or EG Records) but quality of sound and packaging is in general perfect. And one might say that this level of quality is the label’s defining selling point. Aside from different musical styles Esc Rec also has a knack for special packaging. This case is no different. The music was sold on a USB stick inside a bar of soap. Since the process of making soap is quite intense and since this is low budget personal release the number of soap bars was very limited and has been sold out now. What rests (for a long while) is digital release on Bandcamp.
So, let’s dig in to the music. It’s main protagonist, aside from composer Michiel van de Weerthof,  is a sampler. The sounds sampled and played are instruments (in the classic definition) and personal and household nature. This brings a homely and non-pretential atmosphere to this release. The tracks are short, are of a sketchy structure and because of their MIDI basis tend to be in strict tempo (although there are tempo changes). And I don’t know what to make of it, actually. It’s interesting, one moment pretentious and quite cheesy the next. Composers like Nicolas Bernier, whose works also are for a major part sample based, include sampling as a kind of meta-layer into their music which gives them a reason to go much deeper with the technology of sampling and be more adventurous in slicing and layering and juxtaposing. Weerthof didn’t go there and stayed closer to home. But I guess that’s exactly what Michiel van Weerthof wanted it to be and in that sense it’s a successful project. (JS)
Address: http://www.escrec.com/4994




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