number 911
week 51


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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HATI - WILD TEMPLE (CD by Monotype Records)
SVART1 – SATANISCHE HELDEN (CD by Industrial Culture)
@C - AB OVO (CD by Cronica Electronica) *
THE NECKS - OPEN (CD by ReR Megacorp) *
KHASHO’GI – AY (CD by Veto)
TARAB - STRATA (CD by Unfathomless) *
LUBOMYR MELNYK - WINDMILLS (CD by Hinterzimmer Records) *
THE WORRIED ONES - LIVE AT LE 64 (CD by Firework Edition Records) *
RION - FIREFLIES (CD by Hibernate Recordings) *
JEFF CAREY - [3:30] (CD by Forwind) *
P_LAB - TIMES SQUARE WEBCAM 3 (CDR by Care Not Care) *
BLACK THREAD - FRAGRANT HOOF CARVINGS (cassette by Turmeric Magnitudes)
BLACK THREAD - AURORA (cassette by Turmeric Magnitudes)

HATI - WILD TEMPLE (CD by Monotype Records)
A trio of new releases on Polish fastest growing label, Monotype Records, and two of them are collaborations. The first sees a live recording of CM von Hauswolff, Jason Lescalleet and Joachim Nordwall, captured at the Issue Project Room in 2011. They 'had enough of everything. Still they don't hide themselves inside caves like hermits or in the shade like junkies - they sigh thrice and then they endlessly move on with their skills like electrons around the atomic nucleus; like the fruits on a thousand years old olive tree; like the harmony of the spheres' - it says on the press blurb, but it could have also been called 'Everything', 'A Trio' or 'Just Another Live Collaboration' - sometimes, it seems to me, picking a title is difficult. This trio of electronic composers are known to be loud, forceful, and working with the physical side of sound - it makes your eyes bleed, and in this collaboration they don't disappoint. Close to fifty minute of very minimal electronic sound pattern - minimal but nicely forcefully present - it's loud but never presents itself as over the top noise. You may think that, judging what I wrote about the title, this is yet another collaboration, but I actually quite enjoyed this work. It's quite intense, with lots of sonic information, highly dynamic, even a bit of steady pulsating rhythm thrown in, and ending as it started: within the most noisy bit - lots of feedback.
Definitely not recorded in concert is the collaboration between Ralf Wehowsky, also known as RLW and before of P16.D4 and SRMeixner, sometimes known as Stephen Meixner and best known for his work with Contrastate. I believed they worked together before, but I can't find it (on discogs that is). There is a lot of text on the cover, explaining how this was made, by sending each other CDRs, how things were conceptually worked out, into say text based pieces, instrumental pieces and 'meditation on sentiment' and how both 'touched all pieces in various ways'. The eleven pieces here vary in heavily in length: from merely 14 seconds to ten minutes. The whole work has a very nice playful character. Sometimes funny, most of the times serious, but never too serious or never too funny - hence: quite playful indeed. Lots of voice material all around, speaking about German schlagers, chanting, whispering and everything is over laid with computer processed sounds of the original material. There are also samples of nostalgic records - for the two composers that is - thrown in and adding a strange, alienated atmosphere to the music. Highly electro-acoustic, bringing musique concrete and hörspiel into the same place. A highly varied disc of pieces which makes you want to return again and play it all over.
From those busy bees Hati we have a new release that is called 'Wild Temple', which is a new studio album. Here Rafal Iwasnki and Rafal Kolacki are joined by Slawomir Ciesielski, former of the Polish rock band Republika. The studio here is inside a military fort in Torun. The press release mentions 'Ka' as their previous release, but I believe that was from 2009. Maybe I saw a bunch of re-issues? In any case, Hati is a percussion group, using both traditional percussion instruments such as gongs, but also metal percussion and hand made objects. I guess a band like Hati, whose music comes in a more or less improvised manner, could go to any place with a nice natural reverb, set up some microphones and bang away. Not that they play heavy metal - pun, yes indeed, intended - as much of what they do is very carefully played. They investigate their material in quite a ritualistic manner. Magick, as the correct spelling dictates for this kind of music, is no doubt part what they are after. When you are down to the ground, and I like to consider myself as such, it's not easy to get into this magickal world. It's the same problem I had in 1984 or thereabouts with Zero Kama or Metgumnerbone, but I could enjoy the music as such quite well. Maybe Hati are the true successors in a very particular angle from the world of industrial music. I think this was, as music without any other connotations, quite nice enough. (FdW)
Address: http://www.monotyperecords.com

SVART1 – SATANISCHE HELDEN (CD by Industrial Culture)
Svart1 is a project of Raimondo Gaviano, who works in the fields of ambient, dark ambient, industrial and noise. He currently lives and works in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. He started to make music in 2007 and released music at several labels and internetsites. The album Satanische Helden is his first professional CD release. The music is inspired by several presentations aka incarnations of the devil himself in Eastern cultures. Of course the voice of satanist Aleister Crowley must be used to make the satanistic atmosphere complete. The dark albums treats the listener for 10 compositions which have aswell a dark ambient atmosphere, but also tracks with ritual percussion, industrial beats or noisy sounds. Svart1 uses electronics, edited acoustic instruments and field-recordings to create his music. The track “Ade” flows from a harsh-beattrack to a recording of a purring cat and these different sounds mix in harmony. Also in other tracks are several musical elements with different backgrounds mixed together to change the atmosphere or to give another layer to the music. Elements of choirs, industrial beats, the edited sound of cymbals, noise and ambient moods come together and create several interpretations of presentations of the devil. Some tracks are very noise and dark, but other tracks have a silent and ritual atmosphere. Honestly, I don’t have anything with the devil, jesus, allah, jehovah or any other god or religion, but this album will be a good worship to the devil, if you believe in this enemy and old friend and angel of god. The album is released by Industrial Culture and label run by the Raphael Feldmann from Germany. The aim of the label to provoke, to keep a mirror to society and to do releases for a elitist group of people who are involved or interested in that state of mind. In that case this album suits well in the ideology of the label, although I have my doubts if satanistic music lead to a real provocation nowadays. (JKH)
Address: http://industrial-culture.com/

@C - AB OVO (CD by Cronica Electronica)
Its been quite a while, I believe, that we last heard something from Portuguese laptop improvisers @C, Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais. Maybe they too are less interested in releasing CDs and otherwise engaged in the production of music? This new release hints at such, as this is the soundtrack of "Ovo, a play by the the puppet theater of Porto […] created cooperatively during a series of rehearsals that involved all the participants". In total nineteen pieces were recorded, but @C reworked them for a single CD release,in which we no longer see the actors, the stage etc, and hence the title 'Ab Ovo'. I am not sure how they reworked the original music, but my best guess would everything is thrown into the blender called laptop and reconfigured, new contextualitions and such like and then presented in the form of six pieces, on this quite long release - sixty-six minutes. It's maybe a bit too long as a whole, but some of the tracks also seem a bit long,  or such as '100' or '101'. It doesn't seem to hold enough sonic differences to keep things interesting. The music from @C works best, for me, when it's a bit jumpy, a bit all over the place, collage like and improv based, such as in '103'. Their ambient ground, which they seem to be touching up on here, is perhaps less well spend on me, or maybe I heard it done better, by others. I thought this CD was alright but it also had too many moments that could be shorter and to the point. It's all a question of organizing the improvisations I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org

THE NECKS - OPEN (CD by ReR Megacorp)
My mistake: I never heard of The Necks (or maybe I assumed it was a pet name for the No Neck Blues Band?), but I do know the players in here quite well: Tony Buck on drums, Lloyd Swanton on bass (alright, he's the one I didn't know) and Chris Abrahams on piano. They are from Australia, and normally I would add 'but they travel the world, so who cares where they are from', but now I'd say, 'ah Australia, jazz, my tea'. I have absolutely no idea how it works, but I seem to love jazz from Australia. Pollen Trio, Gilded, Spartak and 3Millions and now The Necks. There is here just one piece, close to seventy minutes, and perhaps taped in one-go, but maybe edited together. It's not clear and not really important. This is, as said, the kind of jazz I like. It's not very uptempo, it's not very wild, it's free but not chaotic, it's very wide open and very spacious. Instruments can play for some minutes all by themselves and then suddenly a, say, piano drops in and the mood changes a bit. Or not, really. It doesn't matter. Unlike other jazz records I heard, this is also about repetition, continuous blocks of sounds and only very occasionally something changes in here. Ambient jazz? There is hardly electronics in the neighborhood here, as the acoustic instruments seem to prevail here. I was thinking that this is, at times at least, close to the music of AMM, but much more melodic, less sparse and maybe more jazz, if you will. It's raining outside, it's cold and I closed the curtains and play The Necks, quite loud and imagine a warm Australia, a smoky jazz club and all they have is this music and cold beer. Oh, how I wish to be there! (FdW)
Address: http://www.rermegacorp.com

Two double CD releases on Herbal International. First off is some two hours of music by Seijiro Murayama, the Japanese percussion player who lives in Europe. According to his website he has three fields of interest: "1, non-idiomatic improvisation (that includes idiomatic researches about it, or workshops on it), 2, electro acoustic composition, 3, plural disciplinary collaboration (with words, images, body movements etc)" and it would seem to me that these four pieces here are a combination of 1 and 2. It says recorded at Hotel Pupik, 2011, which may suggest a live recording, but for all I know (and I didn't investigate) it might also be a studio. Which brings the second subject on board: is this played live (in concert or in studio) or is this the work of over dubbing? That is a question that I find very hard to answer. Murayama's playing is very minimal and we do recognize indeed the element of percussion instruments, and Murayama explores his instruments with great care. It has a fine meditative character this music and it explores in depth the textures of the instruments. Murayama doesn't use his drum parts as a drum kit, but plays one or two separate elements with brushes, sticks or objects and explores them. But over the course of a thirty minute piece, he picks up a new device to play and continues with that. You could wonder if two discs, with 120 minutes of music, is a bit much, which I do think actually, because one disc makes a very valid point already. Why two? Why not ten?
The other release seems to be a split release in which case both artists work with the same source material, being recordings from the harbors of Le Havre in France and Liege in Belgium. In Cedric Peyronnet's case it is said these recordings were used in a concert in those cities, which lead me to believe that he did those recordings and worked with them, and then asked LaCasa to work with the same recordings. I might be entirely wrong and maybe its a coincidence that both have recordings under their belt from the same cities. Of the two I started with La Casa, who is someone, and here I am guessing again, who uses field recordings pure as they are but mixes them together and not presents them as they are. This mixing leads to a soundscape and La Casa is a fine master of that particular trade, I'd say. Lots of resonating sounds - easily found in a harbor I would say - which La Casa waves together like drones, but suddenly break up with a swift change over in the sound world and starts building an entirely new piece, within the same piece. Somehow I don't think he uses any processing, but the multi-layered aspect of his sounds makes it sounds like so.
Peyronnet on the other hands seem to me someone who uses some sort of electronic/digital manipulation in his treatment of the sound material, even be it in the drastic equalization of the sound. In recent years Peyronnet, under the moniker Toy Bizarre, offered a variety of approach to field recordings (perhaps unlike La Casa, who seems to be more or less be using one technique, but extremely well) and this is also what we have here. Drastic equalization, short delay, maybe a bit of reverb, or perhaps more complex computer treatments which don't sound like that - which is always fine I should think. Whereas La Casa in his pieces separates Le Havre and Liege in strict pieces, Peyronnet easily blends it all together. Here we have some drone like approaches too, abrupt changes, but somehow it all seems to be a bit more abstract in approach, and works a bit less as a narrative. Having said that, it says nothing about the quality itself of course. In both cases we are dealing with some excellent soundscapes.
Address: http://herbalinternational.blogspot.com

Recently BJ Nilsen released his collaborative album with Anla Courtis, exploring the beautiful, yet small city of Nijmegen, here he is in solo mode exploring London. As part of a scholarship he was in that city to 'introduce sound as an art practice to urban scholars and students', and what better than to explore, sound wise that is, the city you are in? There are three pieces here, one of which is more or less about the Thames, running through the city. That's the opening piece and perhaps the most 'telling' piece of the three. In the other two its more difficult to find a common theme. It's likewise not easy to tell what it is that Nilsen does with these recordings. My best guess is that he mixes these together, that it's likely there is some sort of equalization used, but how about any sort of treatment? That's something I don't know. Certainly in 'Twenty Four Seven' there seems to be some sort shimmering melodic touch. In 'Coins And Bones' it seems that he collected all the drones from the urban environment (lifts, shafts etc) together and superimposes them into a musical drone pieces that works very well. 8That could be from some processed field recording, but perhaps as easily Nilsen walked in a shopping mall and picked this up? Hard to say. Like with his collaborative release with Courtis, the music here is at times quite soft so you need to turn up the volume quite a bit, which makes that the loudest parts blast in with fine power. These three pieces are distinctly different, but sum up various aspects of the city quite well. It's not a pure documentation of field recordings, but a cleverly made soundscape. A true delight to hear, a work by one of the best. (FdW)
Address: http://www.touch33.net

Following hot on the heels of 'Lifespans' (see Vital Weekly 901), Jaap Blonk releases another work. Not active in recent years - it seemed - but in 2013 catching up again. 'Lifespans' was a most interesting and curious move into the land of noise, and I was curious what would be next. "'Polyphtong' was conceived as a quadraphonic piece for live performance. For the stereo version presented on this, the composition has been radically reworked. All sounds to be heard in it are based on Jaap Blonk's vocals" it says on the cover. Just as 'Lifespans' this work is quite a surprise too. Not as a monomaniac in noise as that one, these eight pieces are also created by extensive of the computer, but it moves over a wide field of interest. The voice is something you can recognize quite well in these pieces as being the source material, sighing, whispering, shouting and whatever else Blonk can do with his mouth - and if you ever saw him perform sound poetry, or as part of an improvising ensemble, then you know this can be lot - but treated with computer software (max/msp would be my best guess, but it can be anything else really) and put together into something that is occasionally drone like, ambient, serious computer music, sixties electronics and only in the middle - in track six (no titles, continuous play) - reminds the listener of Blonk, the voice improviser, with it's multi-layered voice improvisation material, but here too the computer is never far away. As said, all of this is much less noise based as his previous release, which I thought was a daring move, a consistent blast of noise, but perhaps not easy to play again; 'Polyhtong' is however a work that is as daring, but not very consistent in noise approach, but certainly invites itself to be played again and again, which I think is what music on a physical release should be all about, so I would prefer this one over the previous. Blonk has successfully re-invented what he is doing, and explores new roads here. (FdW)
Address: http://jaapblonk.com/

My first response to this new work by Creshevsky was a smile. There is some humor in the descriptive title of this work, ‘The Four Seasons’, if you realize that the composer calls his music ‘hyperrealism’. The second one were old memories of ’Sonic Seasonings’ by Walter  Carlos popping up. An early electronic work using lots of field recordings. If one concentrates on the expansion of technological possibilities, a lot happened since in the field of electronic and electro-acoustic music. I had the luck of  reviewing several of  Creshevsky’s releases dating from the last few years. From these you may remember Creshevsky is an American composer, working in New York since 1966, after studying with Nadia Boulanger and Luciano Berio. Since 1971 he concentrated himself on composing electronic music. He developed his very own approach and language. He aims for a music that goes beyond the limitations of instruments and performing capacities of players. Let’s listen and see if this is paralleled by pushing further our receptive powers as well. The composition is divided in four parts, named after the four seasons, with small interludes in between. For creating his music Crevhevsky is dependent on performers and their instruments. Quite a lot in this case: Amy Denio (voice), Chris Mann (voice), Tomomi Adachi (voice), Teodross Avery (tenor sax), Adrian Banner (piano), Orin Buck (bass), Monique Buzzarté (trombone), Jeremiah Cawley (voice), Sherman Friedland (clarinet), Beth Griffith (voice), Rich Gross (banjo), Kathy Hanson (voice), Gary Heidt (guitars, voice), Ben Holmes (trumpet), Rodney Jones (guitar), Mari Kimura (violin), Alex Kontorovich (clarinet, alto sax), Maria Mannisto (voice), Ray Marchica (drums), Al Margolis (clarinet), Gregg Mervine (drums), Marco Oppedisano (guitar), Lonnie Plaxico (bass), Heather Chriscaden Versace (bass), Susan Watts (trumpet, voice), Audrey Betsy Welber (tenor, alto saxes) and Amy Zakar (violin). How does Creshevsky select these musicians? I wonder – thinking for example of the voices - what qualities are important and matter, as Creshevsky afterwards manipulates their contributions into the music he wants to create. Transforming these recordings into the final composition, transcending physical borders, he had to write music first that the musicians could play, having in mind the music as he wants it to be in the end. Must be a complex procedure. ‘Spring’ is a good example of Creshevsky adopting different styles that are intelligently intertwined by the composer. The piece opens with beautiful baroque trumpets followed by rock inspired part, an orchestral section that is followed up by traditional Japanese or Chinese music. Near the end the piece turns into an almost completely vocal work breathing atmospheres of early composed vocal music. Beautiful! Also ‘Winter’ has some is an example of this, where, near the end, the work accelerates into a speedy Balkan-klezmer ride. The opening piece ‘Summer’ is seems constructed from a succession of instruments: harpischord, piano, percussion and sax, violin, voice, etc. The interludes have a special place is my heart. Baffling, vocal dominated miniatures, sparsely instrumented. This exuberant music is very rich, full of details, surprising twists, combinations of styles, instruments, changes in speed and dynamics, allusions to other compositions etc. And far more than just a collage, but a very captivating and emotional work that speaks one voice. How super, supra and hyper his music maybe, this is very human music. Pure joy! (DM)
Address: http://www.tzadik.com

A new work by Seino (acoustic, electric guitars), in a trio line up with Yasutaka Yorozu (bass) and Larry Marshall (drums). Recorded live at Big Apple, in Kobe (Japan), on may 31st, 2013. Same line up as on ‘Old Red Chair On The Porch’. Marshall is an American drummer and composer who lives and works from time to time in Japan. Yorozu is a acoustic bass player from Kyoto moving within very different musical territories. Seino graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1996 and works mainly in Japan. Through his label Vos Records he releases his works. His latest, ‘Flower Flows’, contains six titles, all composed by Seino. Seino flourishes in open and extended improvisations. Resulting in a few outbursts, but overall they prefer a quiet, meandering jazzy style. Accessible music, reflective and meditative in nature. Romantic and lyrical where he plays acoustic guitars like in the title piece. Seino is not so much a renewing force, considering structure and composition of the pieces. But he is a very capable and inspired interpreter of a well-known jazz idiom. (DM)
Address: http://www.takumiseino.com

KHASHO’GI – AY (CD by Veto)
A new name from the Swiss scene. A band founded by drummer and composer Vincent Glanzmann, with Hanspeter Pfammatter (synths, electronics), Manuel Troller (guitar) and Andi Schnellmann (bass); Tokyo-born Glanzmann got fascinated by percussion at a very young age and studies now at the Highschool for Music in Luzern. Among his influences are Norbert Pfammatter, Pierre Favre and Gerry Hemingway. He works a lot in interdisciplinary settings: theatre, visual arts, film and dance. With Khasho’gi he makes his first musical statement on cd. With his mates he delivers a convincing debut-album. One feels their urge to experiment. It is neither rock nor jazz, but has elements of both, combined with anything between pure noise and tribal music. No wonder rhythmic complexity is at the base of several of the tracks. In the tracks they create very different textures and structures. The opening piece is a short but forceful percussive intro with African music in the background. ‘Halsbrand’ quickly develops into a heavy electric piece, but turns halfway into an open and quiet improvised outro with fine guitar playing by Troller. ‘Unaga Burger’ starts also as an Africa-inspired piece of music, almost danceable. But again it is not what it seems. Halfway the piece turns into a harsh, abstract, sound improvisation and then turns into a complex repetitive structure. Fascinating. ‘Goectioculus’ is Khasho’gi from its most rocking side. These guys have ideas  and dare to make uncomfortable moves and twists, showing different faces.. The playing is very together and tight. Must be fun to see them live. To be continued I hope! Also on Veto a new release in the ongoing Improvised Series that are about meetings between improvisers of Luzern and Chicago, with Christoph Erb (reeds) as the constant Swiss participator. This time in the company of Keefe Jackson (reeds), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) and Tomeka Reid (cello). Tomeka Reid is at home in classical as well as improvised settings. Keefe Jackson leads two groups of his own: Keefe Jackson’s Project Project and Keefe Jackson’s Likely So. Also he is a prominent member of the Fast Citizens Collective. The four are involved in some very communicative and enjoyable group improvisations. All take equally part in their well-balanced excursions. All excellent recorded by John Abbey, on april 14th, 2012 in Chicago. Again a very satisfying, Swiss-US, musical meeting. (DM)
Address: http://www.veto-records.ch

It's odd, come to think of it, that a label known for all it's improvisation, electronics and experimentalism, to have a sub-division for more poppy music - it would normally be the other way round - but Polish Monotype has this subdivision called Catsun. In somewhat oversized but nice packages we find two releases by Polish musicians. The first one is Ter. She was a member of Brasil And The Gallowbrothers Band, which had previously releases on the same label. She also works with Mirt - stay tuned. On her solo album she plays modular synth and percussion, while one Zale plays percussion on half the tracks. Her tracks are kinda longish, five minutes is the shortest and nine the longest. Of course this is not really pop music, but anyone out there with a better word for it? Ter plays minimal beats, not really of the 4/4 time signatures and her synth lines are partly abstract and partly melodic. In the opening piece there is also a bell like tinkle, which brings in an exotic element to the play ground. I think it works best in combination with the real time percussion of Zale, along wit the sequenced beats of Ter and the minimal synth lines she plays. This is a great captivating feel about it. A bit of modern dance, a bit of experiment, a bit of dub and a great slice of pop sensitivity. At first the pieces seemed long, but the more I play this, the more it grows on me. Excellent release! Maybe it would be a wise thing if she would give her pieces titles though.
Tomek Mirt is the man behind Catsun and has already released a bunch of solo records. He too doesn't use titles, at least not on the cover of 'Rite Of Passage', but they are mentioned in the press text, which is a bit odd. These days he works with Ter when it comes to live shows. His music made a change from the last album onto the new one. His previous releases were all pop like, ambient, jazzy, trippy hoppy music, but on this new release it seems as if he switched off the majority of the music machines and instead focus his attention on the detail and expands on them. A more minimal sound if you will. Heavily relying on his modular synthesizers, but with a sense of captivation. Mirt grabs the listener and takes him on an intimate ride, in a darkened car, at night. Perhaps this is more ambient like then pop, but there is, in most of the tracks here, a shimmering sense of melody, sometimes present below sea level and sometimes just above. Rhythm is hardly present here, only in 'Rite 11', we find a steady beat. Apparently all of this was done in real time, on a modular synth, and without editing and such like, which made me think this should be a great thing to experience in concert. Great moody music; excellent release. (FdW)
Address: http://catsun.monotypercords.com

TARAB - STRATA (CD by Unfathomless)
Not the most active when it comes to releases by Eamon Sprod always gets around with his music, and has been releasing music on 23Five Incorporated, Naturestrip and most recently on Semper Florens (see Vital Weekly 866). Here he has a thirty-four minute piece based on a recording in a 'series of vacant lots and their surrounds which back on the Macaulay Station and Moonee Ponds Creek, North Melbourne, Australia', so train sounds are part and parcel of this. Although it's not entirely clear what he does, I'd say Tarab uses an excellent balance between pure, untreated sounds - here's where the trains drive right through your living room - and the treated versions there of, but it's never really that clear what is what indeed. Maybe Tarab stuck some contact microphones of the tracks as to pick up some far away signals, or rummages through the dirt along the tracks, which makes a very dynamic piece of music. Sometimes very loud and present but then as abruptly switching off and staying is this low audible audio rumble of amplified gravel. Sometimes, as say around eight minutes, there is a deep end bass sound which must be something the computer coughed up, but then, I might be entirely wrong here. This is a great release of music that comes to us a soundscape and not as a pure documentation of sounds; exactly the kind of thing I like. Much enjoyable release from down under. (FdW)
Address: http://www.unfathomless.net

LUBOMYR MELNYK - WINDMILLS (CD by Hinterzimmer Records)
Following his release on Unseen Worlds of two weeks ago, here's another release by Lubomyr Melnyk - maybe soon to be the Merzbow of the piano music? That's a joke of course, but it's great to hear more of his music. The music here is based on a story of a very old Walt Disney animation, 'The Old Windmill', and depicted on the label is one which you see sometimes in the land of clogs and windmills, but the image (and text 'the Art of Lubomyr Melnyk') make it look like a new age record. Perhaps the music depicts such old windmills, still creaking in the wind, wooden floors squeaking and such like? The three pieces here are what we know from him, so far. Continuous Music - the term he coined himself - with the sustain pedal always pushed to generate these sustaining tones. The fastest playing pianist in the world, this just goes on and on. Highly melodic, with much energy and quite beautiful. Maybe this release suffers from the fact that two weeks ago I already quite a bit of the Unseen Worlds album, which makes this perhaps a bit too much for now. If you can't get enough of it, then you know you can't be wrong. For me it would have been better if this had arrived in two months time, and the other record would have sinked in a bit more. But otherwise: another Melnyk record! (FdW)
Address: http://www.hinterzimmer-records.com

THE WORRIED ONES - LIVE AT LE 64 (CD by Firework Edition Records)
From the always mysterious surroundings of Firework Edition Records we have here The Worried Ones, a duo (one-off?) of Jean-Philippe Antoine and Leif Elggren. They named themselves after the well-known (their words, not mine) American country & western song 'It Takes A Worried Man' and that song opens the CD. It's sung, not rather well, with the addition of rhythm machine. Then Elggren reads the text 'The North Is Protected' which is followed by 'Razor, Boats & Automobiles' which sees Elggren playing 'processed and amplified haircutters'. It's not clear what Antoine is doing here - maybe he got his head shaved? According to the cover 'it (being the former track - fdw) segues into a mix of two compositions by Jean-Philippe Antoine: 'Transports En Commun' and 'Squirrel Island Water Music'. So, in all, four pieces on this CD, except that the final piece is a re-run of the first piece, but then a bit different. So, it's about the two pieces in the middle. Elggren's spoken word piece has a feedback like sound in the background, but the voice is quite loud; maybe this sort of spoken word thing is not really my cup of tea. However the other piece, 'Razor, Boats & Automobiles', is one that I quite enjoyed. It has an excellent raw drone quality, which is something we find more in the work of Elggren (solo). It's music generated from some sort of action which you can hear, but it also stands by itself quite good. It fades over in the other two pieces at the same time, which has a totally different character altogether, vaguely, dreamy and remotely sounding; highly processed field recordings and bird twitter. An excellent piece of music. Conclusion: another fine, yet highly mysterious release. (FdW)
Address: http://web.comhem.se/elggren/fer/fer.html

Here's a bit of mystery for me. It says Carole Rieussec but also (Kristoff K. Roll) and both CDs may or may not contain the same pieces, but one is a 'mise en abime de la parole' and the other 'version plateau', and have different titles. Lots of text in French and a bit in English, with the promise there is further text on the label's website, which I didn't find easily. I am sure I got most of this wrong, but I think we are dealing here with female voices and texts by Carole Rieussec and sound material by Kristof K. Roll, of whom I haven't heard something in a while. If I had to put this into a box, I'd say this is somewhere between a hörspiel and sound poetry. More sound poetry perhaps than a strict radio play perhaps. I am not sure how sound and text relate to each other. The music, all culled from electro-acoustic sources is rather minimal. A bit of fire, out door sounds, crackles, and sometimes processing of the voices used. It surely has something captivating, but it's hard to say what it is. I don't understand much of the words and the music is too sparse to be enjoyed purely for that. However one keeps listening. The only thing that came to mind, if one needs to compare it with something one knows, is the work of Dominique Petitgand. It's nice, it's fine, but someone I also have the notion of missing out on something. The weirdest thing: it's a mono release, so you hear something on one speaker, while the other remains silent. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cesare-cncm.com

RION - FIREFLIES (CD by Hibernate Recordings)
A new duo here, of Ryo Nakata (guitar, laptop) and Ian Hagwood (mellotron, harmonium, reels, double bass, guitar, rhodes, flute, vibes, bells, gongs, field recordings). Hagwood has an extensive discography of ambient music on such labels as Experimedia, Dragons Eye and his own Home Normal label, and Nakata is best known as Ryonkt, with releases on Smallfish, The Land Of, Resting Bell and Twice Removed, while running a label of his own, Small Fragments. They have been working on this music for two years, collecting all the sounds and creating them on multitrack cassette and then a bunch of reel to reel machines. I surely believe that claim. The whole album is quite complex in structure, but has a warm element with a bit of warm hiss in there which may reveal the recording device. 'We like ambient' it says on the cover and that's no lie. The five pieces here are textbook ambient pieces. Sustaining sounds generated from the instruments mentioned, either in real time (harmonium) or maybe otherwise transformed - slowed down on a bunch of reels - with the crackles of the environment the instrument was recorded in. Topped with a bit of field recording, fire works or such like, and you have a beautiful, atmospheric music release. Did I hear anything new that defines the world of ambient? No. But did I expect to? Neither. I believe the whole ambient music scene is pretty much carved out and as such it's hard to create something entirely new. Do I care? Honestly? Yes, it would be nice to hear someone stepping out of line and create something that I could think of as 'wow, that's something new'. Did I care here, today, with 'Fireflies'? Not really. It's one of those cold yet sunny December days, inside the house it's warm and cosy, and this is the perfect soundtrack to do nothing and stare outside. (FdW)
Address: http://hibernate-recs.co.uk

JEFF CAREY - [3:30] (CD by Forwind)
If my memory serves well, The KLF in their handbook on how to create a number one hit in four weeks, the ideal length of a number one is three minutes and eighteen seconds. Number one in the yearly Dutch top 2000, a favorite pastime for middle aged/of the road music consumers is Queen's operatic 'Bohemian Rhapsody', which most certainly extends that length, almost twice as long. Jeff Carey doesn't play pop music per se, but these six pieces last around three and a half minute. But I guess that's about it when it comes to pop music. Carey is a computer musician of the louder variety. Armed with SuperCollider and a joystick and game pad he can cut really quick through a whole bunch of sounds and processing. Thanks to the current speed of computers this actually brings on some highly vibrant noise music. Jeff Carey does make noise, indeed, computerized noise, but of the static variety. He jumps, cuts through this material, and it hardly stays in one place. This lasts twenty-two minutes, which I think is more or less the right length for such music. It doesn't leave anyone unharmed who listens to it. Think Merzbow, but then heavily chopped up and highly dynamic. Bass parts from your speakers shake and rattle as this material thumps about. Silence = zero and zero = full on noise blast. Now, sometimes I like to think that all the noise boys are mindless CDR fillers, but Carey proofs how to create intelligent noise. He should be the supporter of Autechre one day and blow some minds away. (FdW)
Address: http://www.forwind.net/releases/fwd10

The fluctuating membership of P_Lab - two, three or four players - like their drone and noise music. To that end they use laptops and synthesizers. A while ago they sat down in their studio at ESAM in Caen and they were looking at one of the webcams on Times Square, New York, 5 AM, so with a city a sleep and flickering traffic lights. A police car making rounds and a clubber dancing home. You could say, and perhaps that was the idea to use these moving images as a sort of graphical score when this playing this music, to get a similar moving and minimal pattern going in the music. They manage well, I think. There is nothing special about this music and while that may sound negative I don't mean this in a negative way. This is electronic music with the elements of drone and (a bit of) noise and it works rather well. That's it. Thirty-two minutes of this particular jam session, and it could have been ten or seventy and one still would have the same idea of what they do. P_Lab - no names please - never stay very long in one place, nor do they work out their compositions. It's a free fall of sounds and it works quite nice. But perhaps it's also something one easily forgets once it's over. So what's that then? Not bad at all, for now. (FdW)
Address: http://p-lab.bandcamp.com

Two discs of improvisation on the Slovian label l'innomable, and both of them have Christof Kurzmann with his laptop, playing ppooll - lloopp spelled backwards. On April 27th 2012 he played at the Ulrichsberg Kaleidophon Festival with John Butcher on saxophones (acoustic and feedback) and Leonel Kaplan (trumpet) in what turned out to be a thirty minute concert. Here we have a fine combination of computer treated glitch sounds, feedback and acoustic manipulation. Perhaps Kurzmann picks up some of the sounds on the spot and treats them in real time, maybe not. It all fits pretty well together, and sometimes it seems unclear what is what here, which is perhaps the best compliment one could get. The whole music experience becomes one and everything could be everything and not a single player isolates himself from the others, unless it's necessary, such as Butcher's 'solo' towards the end. Quite a contemplative piece of music here, with a partly moody, textured atmosphere. Odd bits of rhythm can very found in here occasionally too. Nice one.
On the other release Kurzmann gets credit for 'lloop #1' and 'lloopp #2' - two laptops a go go? Tomazin is a voice artist who also uses dictaphone. This is most certainly more difficult music. It seems much softer than the other one and more obscure, more difficult to access. It's also contemplative but perhaps I have a bit of difficulty with the use of the voice of Tomazin. It sounds - dare I say - a bit hippish to me, while I quite like Kurzmann highly abstract electronic sounds. Only a few occasions it seems to be working quite well, when it's hard to recognize her voice at all, but there are also extended bits in which the voice takes quite the leading role. I must say I had a hard time with this. Maybe I was just tired after a long day? Maybe I don't know. Maybe I should I return to this in a year or so. (FdW)
Address: http://linnomable.wordpress.com

BLACK THREAD - FRAGRANT HOOF CARVINGS (cassette by Turmeric Magnitudes)
BLACK THREAD - AURORA (cassette by Turmeric Magnitudes)
I admit it, I'm a sucker for the black-and-off-white patterns that decorate Turmeric Magnitudes' J-cards, and I'm a big fan of the label's name, too. Greg Gorlen, who runs the label, is a deliberate weirdo from San Fran who's cooked up a bustling 2013 – issuing a heap of releases by his wonky sound project, Black Thread, and its various affiliates.
'Fragrant Hoof Carvings' is one such offering under the Black Thread name. A characteristically non-sequitur title portends a commitment to esoteric sound, and Gorlen delivers on that front. Both sides bury abstract synth-loops under six feet of grainy fuzz. The out-of-focus tracks sound as though they've come through a cheap mic rigged up to a dusty tape-recorder that's so mangled it blurs the frame with the sound of its own internal mechanics. Like any good 'zoned-out' tape, there are two dominant impressions. First, there's the sense that you're peering in on something hopelessly and artfully obscure. It's as though the recording is capturing something rare yet covertly important. Second, there's that vague feeling of transcendence associated with the shimmering, synthesized mumbles, though their dazzling sheen is attenuated by the willfully decrepit production. The combination of both features is what makes a tape like this compelling. It feels like you're locating an inner radiance by means of something tiny and tinny. And although each murky ripple of synth is merely one iteration of a sound-making ritual perpetuated by cassette-jockeys across the globe, the final product is a treat.
'Aurora' is a more varied offering, in that it ranges from ragged noise to moments of tranquil pause – and there is a fair bit of grey zone, too. We start off with a gnarly gust which gradually transitions into the tape's bulk: reverb-coated synth curls thriving under a torrent of surface noise. At times it sounds as though this affair was recorded in the midst of a hurricane, angry air battering the microphone's pores as faint wisps of keyboards-etcetera struggle with the elements to be heard. Perhaps we are to imagine the windy bluster as neon strokes of the aurora borealis, though this sounds more like moving air than dueling magnetic fields.
Occasionally the noise on 'Aurora' borders on oppressive, but the overall mouthfeel of the tape is one of foggy weariness. Side B seems to follow a reciprocal trajectory to the first half, starting with (relative) calm before slathering on the wind-noise. By the main composition's very end, the tuneful noises are all wiped out, leaving a stream of meteorological field recordings. Then a haunting stretch of audio ensues, an old piano being tickled in a condemned mansion. It's seemingly an out-of-character finish, though it maintains the central motif of wistful dysthymia.
Spitting Falcons is really just Gorlen recording under a different name, and although the title here is more than a mouthful ('I Would Never Trade What I Don't Have For What I Do Have, Even If What I Have Is Nothing'), this tape is the briefest of the three. The cassette's name is ostensibly a piece of dime-store philosophy, but I wonder if there is something more? Perhaps it's Greg's riposte to fly-by-night tape traders shilling inferior product. Maybe he just wanted to sound ominous. Either way, this tape is the most kitchen-sink-ish of his three. It stars a wacky cavalcade of sounds, including a steady supply of twitchy guitar niblets, ample analog squall, momentary woodwinds, craggy static, and so forth. It is a fun affair, seldom abrasive, instead suspending the listener in a state of what's-coming-next. I liken this to the seething junk-music of prolific Canadian freaks Fossils, whose similarly random collages of mucked-up tapes and bouts of noise evoke the same edge-of-seat neuroticism. (MT)
Address: http://turmericmagnitudes.bandcamp.com/