number 915
week 3


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ZOOR - VOLUME A & B (CD by Umlaut Records) *
30/4/2013 (CD compilation by Fragment Factory)
OPEN SOUND (CD compilation by Fibrr Records)
THE MOON IS ANGRY (double compilation cassette by Intangible Cat)
SPORE SPAWN - EAT BIT (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
MAURIZIO BIANCHI - PHONEMISSIONS (cassette by My Dance The Skull)
BRYAN LEWIS SAUNDERS & Z'EV - ME AND MY SHADOW (cassette by My Dance The Skull)
AKI ONDA - MIDNIGHT RADIO 1 OR PART A (cassette by My Dance The Skull)

The year ended with Artificial Memory Trace and it starts with it, now on a CD release from Russia's Semper Florens. Three pieces of quite varying lengths, six, twenty and forty seven minutes, and all deal with field recordings, like almost all of Slavek Kwi's work. Much of this was recorded during the Mamori Soind Project in the Amazon, Brazil but also, in the title piece, from Tasmania and Czech Republic and even fireworks from the UK. The music from Kwi may be based on field recordings, it's never a purely, untreated piece of sound. Artificial Memory Trace uses his recordings as bricks to build a place, palace perhaps, of sound. Sometimes he treats these sounds, by fiddling around with the EQ and gets out more bass or more high end, whatever is required, and collages these chuncks together into a fine piece of musique concrete. It's quite minimal music at that. You can listen for a few or more minutes to chirping insect sounds, bees, waters, ants or what have you, but then slowly something else is added to this biotope and without chnaging the scenery too much these two co-exist and the other may take over. You could hear in all of this the survival of the fittest perhaps, but I rather take a more positive view and would rather think of this as a journey. A journey which takes you as easily from the amazonian rain forest in summer time to the new year's eve fireworks in the UK, only to find yourself, within minutes, to be diving to the world of crustaceans, mollusks and soniferous fish in Tasmania - while along you may still hear a bit of that rain forest, which you will find on the map totally somewhere else. That's what this music does: create artificial journeys to various places at the same time. There is hardly human interference here, except for the role of the composer himself, who creates this journey. It's the natural world at the same time. In the shortest piece here, 'Pegamorsego', even in a fine musical fashion of glissandi from insects and bats, made audible in nicely gliding scales. A long journey, at some seventy-five minutes, but a most rewarding one. Excellent! (FdW)
Address: http://www.semperflorens.net

Van Binsbergen made her mark in the Dutch impro and jazz scene. Starting in the early 80s, she started many groups and projects all showing influences of jazz, rock, funk, composed and improvised music. She worked in all kind of formats, but I think this new album is her first solo album. It came into being from very personal and coincidental circumstances. She was offered to make some solo recordings in a studio in Osnabrück and decided to take this opportunity totally unprepared. During this period she was prevented from playing for months due to a fracture, and also her mother passed away. And so this recording became also a reflective moment in her personal life and the improvisations on this records are defined by it from beginning to end. Thrown back on herself, she gave expression of her thoughts and feelings in thirteen beautiful short improvisations and soundscapes. No wonder a melancholy and sad atmosphere dominates in these pieces, most of them recorded without overdubbing. Thanks to the musicianship of van Binsbergen channels her experiences in sober and to the point musical constructions, never losing themselves in a technical facade. And because of this, this self portrait, that van Binsbergen dedicated to her mother, is at the same time a very uplifting experience. (DM)
Address: http://www.corrievanbinsbergen.com

The name Wojciech Kucharczyk doesn't pop in Vital Weekly, yet he is quite active. Since 1994 he works with music, Molr Drammaz, and his label Mik Musik. Here he has something new, Dwutysięczny (meaning 'twothousand' in Polish), a quartet of himself and Błażej Król, Jerzy Mazzoll and Radek Dziubek. The album itself can be translated as 'silkworm'. Actually I believe this is more Król's band and in 2000 he asked the other three to contribute sound material. Anyway, I don't know if that is still the case with this new album, other wether they are now actively playing together. Likewise there are no instruments mentioned, so perhaps anything goes here? There is, it seems to me, quite some electronics, certainly in the first two pieces, but also wind instruments such as in 'Ten, który kroi jeziora'. The music might be 'easy', but it's not easy to put this into any sort of categoraztion. It's a bit of everything. Ambient in the first two pieces, and also a bit jazzy, but more clearly in that direction in some of the other pieces. Throughout however this is quite gentle music, which seems to me something one wouldn't expect from Bocian Records, whom I know for some more radical sound experiments and the most free-spirited jazz varities. All of that is present in this music too, but as said, all a bit more gentler. Its not easy to say what is going here, to estimate, say, the level of processing on these instruments, but there might be some. This is certainly one of the weirder releases in some time. Not something that is easily pinned down; something with quite an amount of variety in these six pieces and an invitation to play it again, straight away, from the dreamy opening to the technoish end of 'Sadachbia', which I did for three times in a row. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

Over the years Rutger Zuydervelt has moved from playing 'just' concerts and releasing 'just' CDs (and whatever else) to doing soundtracks to movies, sound installations and music for ballet. Quite a great move as there is probably more work and more money in there. The CD becomes a by-product, a souvenir if you will for said movie, installation or ballet. Here we have the latter, music created for Ballet Moscow, as part of the Russian-Netherlands year 2013 (which didn't go to well, with Greenpeace being locked down, the Russian ambassador being arrested while being drunk, and something about gay rights in Russia, versus Russian dissidet dying in Dutch prison - oh). But this went well, this collaboration with Ivan Perez. "Attention deals with human relations in all its aspects, and especially how these function in a Russian society. It's a very physical performance that draws from agression, humilation and intimacy in equal parts. The score enhances this, making it a very intense and at times intimidating work." For this work, Zuydervelt uses drums/percussion sounds in his six pieces, all of course highly processed in whatever fine fashion Zuydervelt employs for his music. But, not for the first time, we also hear the percussion in their original state. The bowed, scraping of cymbals, which emerge from the opening drones of 'Perfect Contact' for instance, but also the percussive hazyness of 'Slapping Dance', which deems me perfect suitable for a dance production, or the solemnly played 'Manipulation'. But a piece like 'Kostyas Solo' is trademark Machinefabriek: lots of drones, crackles, deep bass and static hiss. These two sides may seem opposites but they are not, really. They make up a great and varied album, with Zuydervelt further expanding his sound pallette. A great album! (FdW)
Address: http://machinefabriek.bandcamp.com

ZOOR - VOLUME A & B (CD by Umlaut Records)
Somehow I found myself in a lock down behind my computer. Not the most favorable place to be when trying to review. I rather sit back, listen and think about what I hear. But not today, doing all this sort of thing which keeps me at the screen, wanting a few minutes, do one thing and wait some more. I was planning to listen to some old stuff as a sort of passtime but then the mail arrived with just this CD release. A quick glance learned me this was jazz music, and I should probably load this on the already heavy burdened Dolf Mulder (maybe jazz and improvisation are the last true bastions where people actually do physical releases, I was thinking? Maybe we'll have a jazz weekly soon?) but I decided to play it anyway. I liked that release by The Necks a few weeks ago, so maybe my dislike for jazz isn't that deep. Here we have Betrand Denzler on tenor saxophone and Jean-Sebastian Mariage on electric guitar. They are both a member of HubHub, and join hands here with Antonin Gerbal on drums. He's a member of Peeping Tom. Two extended live recordings here, one being forty minutes, the being thirty.  I didn't expect to play this release this long, but in fact I played it twice in a row. Partly because I was glued to the screen, but perhaps also because I was too much immersed in the music itself. It's jazzy indeed, but it has a certain spaciousness about it. Not unlike The Necks perhaps but more jazz like. Especially Denzler plays his saxophone in a jazzy form. But it's extended playing, they take their time to evolve matters, unlike some of the free jazz which seems to be all about playing as many notes as possible. This hardly doesn't happen here, although it does some times. I must say I quite enjoyed this, even when I cut myself loose from the screen and concentrated fully on this. I enjoyed it's 'lazy' playing, the sustaining of cymbals and the free play throughout of this. Very laidback, but also compelling in an odd way. Very nice stuff. Me and jazz? Maybe it will happen… (FdW)
Address: http://www.umlautrecords.com

Luscinia Discos is a small Granada-based label specialized in experimental music – mainly -  from Spain and run by Sarah Vacher Olivares. Their latest release offers an interesting musical meeting of Saavredra and Galiana. Saavedra is a reputed multidisciplinary artist from Valencia, Spain. He has several solo albums out on Audiotalaia that are devoted to one singular instrument. Galiana is an improviser, composer and musicologist also from Valencia. As a performer he has experience in improvised as well as composed (classical) music, plus electro-acoustic and film music. As a member of Ensemble Impromptu he released an album (‘Instint’) in 2005 on Marmita Musica Viva. As a duo they already have an album out, so ‘Transitions’ is their second one. It is a live recorded free improvised set that took place on may, 11th 2013 at Pluton  CC in Valencia. It is divided in six parts. Saavedra plays drums, game calls, objects, effects pedals and Galiana soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax. In part four there is a  guest appearance by Bartolomé Ferrando (vocals). They develop interesting musical dialogues. Sometimes reflective and slowly progressing, at other moments very expressive and loud. In a word it is a very fine recording of radical free music. Engaging and communicative improvisation of a considerable technical level. Very worthwhile. (DM)
Address: http://luscinia.ruidemos.org

30/4/2013 (CD compilation by Fragment Factory)
OPEN SOUND (CD compilation by Fibrr Records)
THE MOON IS ANGRY (double compilation cassette by Intangible Cat)
The more I write 'I don't like reviewing compilations', the more compilations I seem to receive. Fine. Please accept these standard considerations: compilations are not really interesting, unless they deal with a particular idea. But if you release a compilation to make it own out there that you have a label, and want people to know who they are, then, in 2014, you better put up a link on bandcamp and send out postcards. Mind you, this doesn't say anything about the music, the musicians (of whom I surely understand why they want to be on compilations) or the labels releasing such compilations. For instance, I think Fragment Factory is a great label, operating in the more intelligent corners of the world of noise music. The musicians here are known for creating some of that intelligent noisem and have been around for some time, like GX Jupitter-Larsen, Leif Elggren, Giuseppe Ielasi, Michael Esposito, AMK and Aaron Dilloway. Some names may seem new, like Krube and Michael Barthel. But to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the label? What kind of milestone is that, I was thinking. But, having considered all that, I can also say that this compilation is a great showcase of the label. The only really (harsher) noise piece here is by Jupitter-Larsen, but the eleven others are not really noise based, and all more experimental in nature. The voice plays quite a role in these in these pieces, such as Montessuis' interpretation of Hugo Ball's poem 'Karawane' and Elggren's take on George Buchner 'Woyzeck' or the improvisations of Barthel . Some people do what we expect them to do, such as Dilloway and AMK, and some surprise us, such as the audio debris of Philip Marshall, the acoustic noiuse of Krube, and the near silence of Ielasi. Great stuff, I'd say, lots to explore. Also a reason to release a compilation.
The next compilation is more or less a documentation of… what exactly? Opensound is all about learning to listen, and this is done through "a series of workshops, residencies, exhibitions and concerts", organised by a variety of partners in different countries, such as Apo33 in France, Audiolab in Spain, Granular in Portugal, Modus Arts in London, N.K. in Berlin and Piksel in Norway. This compilation of thirteen tracks are documents of live performances held by these partners in the last two years. Some times the credits go to the partner, such as Apo33, Piksel or Granular, and some times to specific artists, such as J Milo Taylor, Yaseen Taylor Cahen or Farahnez Hatam. Just what they do is not always clear. The pictures in the booklet shows us people behind mixing boards, looking seriously. I assume that a lot of this deals with the use of laptops to generate and process sounds, there a lot of field recordings thrown in for good measure, and some kind of electronics. In the piece bt Good God we hear solo drums, elecronics and processing of inside piano recordings; that is the seventh piece and the first to have such clear instruments. Up until then it seemed all a bit more about very carefully constructed and highly processed field recordings, radio static, or maybe even siund poetry by Oetxeberria Ikurren Dust (and perhaps the most musical piece on the entire release), inviting the listener to listen even more closely, more intensly. After that, the music on this compilation becomes a bit more varied. The long piece by Granular, which has some contributions from @C (but is otherwise a bit of chaos as to who does what, which results in quite a chaotic performance). We find here also some pieces which is a more oriented towards noise, such as by UKI and Yaseen Taylor Cahen. I played this release with great interest, but wasn't always too impressed by it. It's certainly not a bad release at all, but it doesn't have the fine variety of approaches as say the compilation by Fragment Factory. Some of the pieces might be a bit too non descript, people talking in a bar, a bit of radio static and such like may not be enough to invite to listen (MLK Sireias). As a package, to explain what Opensound is about, this is however well made. Informative booklets also mean something!
And the final compilation for this week is from Intangible Cat, with four bands, one per side and one tape is called 'Moon Tape' and the other 'Earth Tape', and probably about ten minutes per side. On the first tap we find Homogenized Terrestrials, of whom we heard some pretty interesting music before. Here however it's all a bit vague. Some sort of vaguely, heavenly chant? I am not too sure what it is, as it seems to pass without much notice, which is perhaps a pity I was thinking. Then we have one Andrew Quitter on the other side, using bowed cymbals, brass djembe and analogue synthesizers. Quite a strong drone is set in motion by the synth and the bowed cymbals, with the drumming on the djembe adding an ethnic element. Back on earth we find one Crudeuces, of whom I think I never heard. He (?) uses rhythm too, from some slowed down drums but plays on top some distorted sound which suggest we are dealing with some heavy type of music here, but it's somehow lost on me. Dog Hallucination is the final band here with piano manipulation and guitars with noise. This noise is kept to the background here in favor of some interesting manipulation of sounds, creating a very nice atmospheric piece of music. Introspective, moody and something that grabs the listener. Great piece of music. So, we have two great pieces and two that didn't do much. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fragmentfactory.com
Address: http://www.apo33.com
Address: http://www.intangiblecat.com

SPORE SPAWN - EAT BIT (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
One is tempted to argue that this release is both intellectually true, “Four AA Batteries Massacre” has the sounds of batteries being inserted and removed, tips a wink to Robert Morris’s “Box with the Sound of Its Own Making” and hence locates itself with the Modernist milieu, and deeply subjective, it’s a witness to its only human dependence. But that would make me as deceitful as those who think art should deceive, fool the birds with berries so real, communicate ones inner feelings. However for once the actual notes which accompany this work admit to “sound that doesn’t care about feelings, humans, the earth” And of course – even this statement therefore is ignored, which is the beauty, by which I mean the super smartness, of noise…. Qua noise. The only beauty is here in the eye of the beholder, as I was saying just the other day, mountains qua mountains are neither beautiful or ugly, in fact they are not mountains at all, for where do we draw the line demarking the mountain, and if we do its our demarcation. I was recently accused of making a ‘category mistake’ in discussing noise, having flown into another country, both mountains and
countries of course fictions to go to war over. Without the concept of a mountain Moses could not go up one and bring down the law of YAHWEH. My only faint criticism of this noise is that its certainly not sound. Neither is it Safe. What is safe is a locked box to keep valuables, what is valuable for us, the arbitrary value of words and sounds as music. The Von Trapps are as guilty as the SS in that respect. The hills are not alive, they being inanimate, are dead, and not hills at all. This is then dead noise. (Man) (Jliat)
Address: http://attenuationcircuit.com/

First release of long time collaborators Drew Ceccato (tenor sax), Alex Christie (electronics) and Chris Golinski (drums). Christie is from San Francisco and works as performer, composer and educator working in the context acoustic as well as electronic music.  Ceccato is a powerful player of modern improvised and composed music. Like Ceccato, Golinski is a San Diego based artist (percussionist, composer, improviser). Through free improvisation they explore interaction between electronic and acoustic sounds. Their improvisations are full of small and subtle movements and gestures, making these improvisations very delicate. At the same time acoustic and electronic sounds are interwoven into a solid and well-balanced whole. The music comes to you as a flow of sound textures  full of details. Very enjoyable. (DM)
Address: http://www.edgetonerecords.com

Thomas Shrubsole is an active person, working with such guises as Jesus On Mars and Space Capsule (the latter reviewed in Vital Weekly 902) and Sub Loam. His releases are in a small edition, but recently also started to look better. Here with a larger print on cardboard and the CDR packed in another print, folded around the CDR itself. There are three pieces on this release, with a total length of sixteen minutes. That's not much, I was thinking, when playing this. The website learns me this is "Composed and played by Sub Loam using organic, acoustic and electro-mechanical instruments and means, composted direct to 4-track tape." Nice; composted. However, when I first played this, I was thinking that the opening piece, the longest of the three, was made with the use of a saxophone, multi tracked and processed using computer means. A bit like Lol Coxhill once did, on his split release with Eyeless In Gaza, but less jazzy. Maybe another point of reference would be Nurse With Wound with a more sparse use of resources. A tape collage of saxophone sounds. But then perhaps I am all wrong, and I happen not to know what these organic, acoustic and electro-mechanical instruments are. Of course you could as easily argue it is not really interesting to know these things. Do I like what I hear? Yes I do. Do I care what how it was made? Not really (and when I wrote this before someone said "so you also don't care your shoes are made in a third world sweatshop?" - it seems something different to me, entirely). Like Space Capsule this is vaguely rooted in the world of jazz, but then, perhaps, also connected to the world of musique concrete - more that than jazz, I was musing. Excellent small release, great package, but way too short, I'd say.  (FdW)
Address: http://dissolvingrecords.blogspot.com

MAURIZIO BIANCHI - PHONEMISSIONS (cassette by My Dance The Skull)
BRYAN LEWIS SAUNDERS & Z'EV - ME AND MY SHADOW (cassette by My Dance The Skull)
AKI ONDA - MIDNIGHT RADIO 1 OR PART A (cassette by My Dance The Skull)
Quite a catch, I'd say, for My Dance The Skull, these four names which a certain ring of 'fame' to it. All four could be known from a lot of releases, perhaps least for Saunders and Onda, but certainly for Z'EV and Bianchi, both of them, each in their own way, grand fathers of industrial music. Bianchi uses 'phonetic voice, noise emissions, no electronics' as it says on the cover, and recorded 'using an Aiwa TP-C400 compact cassette', which may or may not indicate a live to tape recording. Now, of course I haven't got a clue what 'noise emissions' are, but this surely sounds different than much of the work we know from him. Usually a Bianchi piece is an amorpheus mass of sound, mingled together, with loads and loads of sound effects being used. Here we have two twenty-four minute pieces and it starts out with Bianchi and his voice, and a microphone. Singing? Chanting? A ritual? Just drunk? It's hard to say and the title 'Precursor Molecules Metastatic Phonation' may not immediately give an indication. The microphone is also used to pick up more percussive elements, like rattling the fences on that aforementioned piece or xylophone/metallophone like on 'Linear Receptors Terminal Cell-Matrix'. It's all quite minimal, so I assume Bianchi is not drunk, as he repeats lines and phrases and it doesn't seem to be looped, but rather played in real time. As said, this is an entirely different side to the work of Bianchi. A delve into the world of sound poetry perhaps? Is it great? I am not sure. I was rather pleasantly surprised by the entirely different approach of Bianchi, which I enjoyed immensely, so I tend to give this the benefit of the doubt.
Dream sleep recorder Bryan Lewis Saunders has had a previous collaboration with Z'EV, but here presents a new fifty minute work (with the same story repeated on the second side, and back in the day ninety minutes were considered the longest for a cassette - no one released a C120, and quite right: this 100 minute tape has a bit of problem running its course, without some force it won't do). I downloaded one of those dream/sleep apps to see what I would come up, but alas not a lot was captured during the nighty-night. Unlike Saunders who always has something going on in the bedroom, it seems. Z'EV is of course best known as a metal basher and percussion player, but perhaps lesser known is that he also produces electronic music. Here the old industrial master is responsible for a very subtle electronic background, which may or may not be culled from Saunders' voice, carefully stretched and melted around the murmering and whispering of Saunders' deep sleep thoughts. It's very hard to say what these words are about, as, to be honest, I hardly listen to what he says, but more attracted to the idea of this voice material as well as somewhat creepy character his voice also posseses. This could easily be the soundtrack for a highly obscure horror movie - say Warhol's 'Sleep' being disturbed by a yelly monster slowly crawling all over the bed. Nice!
And speaking of beds and sleep: Aki Onda plays all over the world and when lonely in a hotel room, late at night, post concert, he listens to the local radio and tapes what he hears on his walkman. Most of the times he falls asleep when listening. Over the years he has accumulated a whole bunch of recordings of all these stations, in a nod to Michael Snow' 1980 recording of shortwave radios from all over the world; Onda brings his radio all over the world. This is perhaps one of those thinsg were you could wonder 'what the hell is this being released'? Thirty minutes of taping into radio stations all over the world. 'Hey, I can do that', and yes you could. But you didn't. The radio as instrument is something that deserves a doctor thesis by now (if it didn't get one already) and Aki Onda's work here is not really a big surprise, or a major leap in the use of radio-as-instrument, but it's a fine work for sure. I suggest you get a walkman with speakers build in and put this on repeat, soft volume, when being locked in a hotel roon on your own. If a radio is provided in this hotel room, then mix incoming signals with this tape and be your own Aki Onda. Or simply go to sleep. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mydancetheskull.com/

1. Frans de Waard <info@kormplastics.nl>

Thursday 16th January 2014 THU20 at Steim, Amsterdam. Doors open at 20:00. Admission: 7 euros. Everybody who pays and leaves an e-mail address will receive a free download to the recordings of this night.

new releases available on bandcamp:

Roel Meelkop: http://roelmeelkop.bandcamp.com/album/an-ear-for-numbers
Kapotte Muziek: http://kormdigitaal.bandcamp.com/album/terugkoppeling
Freiband: http://kormdigitaal.bandcamp.com/album/regular-of-light

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All written by Frans de Waard (FdW), Dolf Mulder (DM) <dolf.mulder@hetnet.nl>, Niels Mark (NM), Jliat (Jliat), Freek Kinkelaar (FK), Jan-Kees Helms (JKH), Michael Tau (MT) and others on a less regular basis.
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