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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 923
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week 11
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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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FRANCE JOBIN - THE ILLUSION OF INFINITESIMAL (CD by Baskaru) *
LAURENT PERRIER - PLATEFORME #1 (CD by Baskaru) *
YOSHIO MACHIDA - MUSIC FROM THE SYNTHI (CD by Baskaru) *
TROUM - SZYGIE (Cold Spring Records)
TUNNELS OF AH - LOST CORRIDORS (Cold Spring Records)
Z'EV - A HANDFUL OF ELEMENTS (CD by Cold Spring)
KAKOFONIKT - KAKTUUS (CD by Fourth Dimension) *
MARK VERNON - SOUNDS OF THE MODERN HOSPITAL (LP by Meagre Resource Records) *
ROOIE WAAS - NU (LP by Blowpipe)
DENEUVE - OLD BRUCE (12" by Blowpipe) *
NURSE WITH WOUND & ARANOS - SANTOOR LENA BICYCLE (2LP by Tourette Records)
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - TRAUMSTADT #3 (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope) *
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - TRAUMSTADT #4 (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope) *
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - TRAUMSTADT #5 (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope)
BRUNO DUPLANT & PEDRO CHAMBEL & FERGUS KELLY - (WINTER PALE) RED SUN (CDR by Eh?) *
WEGRZYN - VOLKSMUSIK (CDR by Eta Label) *
KRZYSTOF TOPOLSKI - PRESENCE (CDR by Sqrt Label) *
ANDRZEJ FRELEK - TRAVERSING (3"CDR by Sqrt Label) *
VOID - 1 (3"CDR by Sqrt Label) *
NEGATIVE ENERGY - NOBODY CAN READ MY MIND (cassette, private)
NEGATIVE ENERGY - THIEF (cassette, private)
CADLAG - CADLAG LIVE TAPE (Cassette / Tape Reel / VHS by Pharmafabrik)



FRANCE JOBIN - THE ILLUSION OF INFINITESIMAL (CD by Baskaru)
LAURENT PERRIER - PLATEFORME #1 (CD by Baskaru)
YOSHIO MACHIDA - MUSIC FROM THE SYNTHI (CD by Baskaru)
French label Baskaru releases in trios, which is good, I think. You are more likely to get all three if you are already considering buying two. Hard to decide where to start, but I went for France Jobin, whom I know as a very nice person and whose music I haven't heard in some time. She is from Montreal and worked as a blues keyboardist in the 1980s, and then did nothing for a decade (well, raising her sons, if that is nothing) and then returned to create very silent electronic music. First as I8U but then, later on, under her own name. As said, her music is very silent and that might be because she wants our full concentration. Or, perhaps in a Lopez way, she wants us to have more space in controlling her music. Because it's very soft, you can decide to turn up the volume and fiddle about with the EQs, adding more high, mid or low frequencies if you please. That's not what I (like to) do. I play it as is, but even I turned up the volume a bit on this one. You have to, I guess, as some great music unfolds then. France Jobin probably does what loads of people do: process field recordings with computer means and create organic, sustaining fields of sound, with shimmering melodic content, such as in 'Zero'. Or with even more minimalism in '+1', adding more silence and singled out sharp tones, ending the CD on a loud phrase, the most explosive loudness this CD has. A wake-up call perhaps. If music on labels such as Line is up your alley, or you can't get enough of all the silent music Lopez brought us in the past, then this should be up your alley also. Very microsound I'd say if anyone were still using this musical phrase.
To go the next one, you have to switch your volume to 'normal' again. Here we have Laurent Perrier, erstwhile known as Zonk't, Pylone, Heal and Cape Fear with releases on his Odd Size label, who has three long pieces here, named after those who supplied him with sound material for these pieces, Felix Kubin, Lawrence English and Gianluca Becuzzi (and two more volumes to come on Baskaru in 2015 and 2016. These people had no directions other than to send some sounds close to their own style and Perrier tried to create something that retained the spirit of the original material. That is of course hard to judge by the listener, who didn't hear the original material. For all three pieces goes that they are heavily revolving around computer-processed sounds; lots of granular synthesis are used by Perrier, but not always, luckily, with the same outcome. The piece called 'Felix Kubin' is a wild and vivid collage of sounds in the best tradition of musique concrete and occasionally Perrier knows how to make it sound like it has been treated with analogue tape techniques. Maybe Kubin like indeed, but in 'Lawrence English' he follows the course of the man's music in stretched out sounds, but with a more resonating result, like English is being captured in an industrial site and not with the more silent approach Lawrence chooses himself. In 'Gianluca Becuzzi' he uses a lot of short, ringing sounds, looped around and other forms of click 'n cut techniques, snap, crackle and hiss, and it sounds very nice. A fine concept, well executed, great release.
On the final new release we find music by Yoshio Machida, whom, so I recall, once made music using steel drums and electronics. Here however he works fully with the Synthi AKS, a 1971 synthesizer by EMS. Portable, without a keyboard but with small connectors and a matrix patch panel to create sounds in a very imaginative manner. Machida uses just that and for each of the thirteen pieces here he recorded three to five patterns and mixed them together. Except for the last, which is about seven minutes, all of these pieces last around two to three minutes, in which Machida plays around with a few sounds and he does that with quite some imagination. Sometimes it forms a few rhythmic blocks and you can easily spot the influence of say Pan Sonic in this, but there are also more introspective moments around here, such as 'Synthi No. 16' or 'Synthi 02'. There is not really some sort of balance between the two, but that makes this all the nicer. A highly varied album, one that I thought is very entertaining. It offers a lot of insight of the tons and tons of possibilities that one synthesizer has to offer. Very refined work of brutality meeting something way softer. (FdW)
Address: http://www.baskaru.com

TROUM - SZYGIE (Cold Spring Records)
TUNNELS OF AH - LOST CORRIDORS (Cold Spring Records)
Troum is a joint venture between two members of the well-acclaimed project Maeror Tri. In 1997 the two members Glit[S]ch and Baraka[H] introduced the Troum project. Troum takes its starting point in atmospheric drones and multi-layered noise woven into an alluring sound texture. Present album titled "Szygie" is a collection of rare / deleted tracks recorded by Troum in the period November 1999 to May 2002. That "Szygie" is a compilation of tracks taken from different periods of the lifetime of Troum becomes clear as you listen to the varied expressions throughout the runtime. The expressions spans from industrial-based ambient across orchestral ambient and deep ambient to more threatening sound art. The album opens in orchestral based dark ambient. Grandiose soundscapes of melancholy drifts upon the listener from beginning. As the album continues the expression turns into beautiful moments of deep ambient resulting in hypnotic and well accomplished tripping ambient. Moments after the album takes a new step into territories of concrete noise and voices whispering in the background to add a great feeling of dream or nightmare depending on the nature of the listener. Despite the great variation in the ambient expression throughout "Szygie", the album works really well as an entire work. Everyone interested in ambient music or dying for a trip into dark hypnosis should definitely check this out. Next album comes from British sound artist Stephen-Ah-Borroughs performing under the alias Tunnels Of Ah - a name that hits the bull's eye considering the sonic expression of the present album. Stephen Ah Burroughs is the brain behind legendary project Head Of David. Present album titled "Lost corridors" is the debut album from Tunnels Of Ah.  Musically what we are dealing with here are long repetitive drones swirling inside tunnels of dark sinister ambient. Divided into seven intersections the composer uses processed sounds of acoustic instruments such as whining guitars to create the hypnotic textures that change between drifting tranquillity and rumbling noises resulting in an excellent kind of drowsiness. Ghostly voices occur to strengthen the feeling occultism. Turn the lights off look and let the dark, threatening yet beautiful buzzing drones clear your brain. The perfect soundtrack for drifting into sub consciousness. (NM)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk

Z'EV - A HANDFUL OF ELEMENTS (CD by Cold Spring)
Readers who has been studying the history of Industrial music should know that Stefan Joel Weisser is a true legend of industrial sound expressions. Side by side with more well-known Industrial legends Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, Z'EV was an important part of the Industrial pioneers in the 70's. Thus Z'EV was one of the presented industrial pioneers in the ground-breaking work "The Industrial Culture Handbook" out on RE/Search back in 1983. The California-based multi-talented artist has specialised in producing concrete soundscapes using found sounds of Industrial materials. Present album titled "A handful of elements" is no exception. Having dug into the 40 year old archive  of sound materials from Z'EV, Stefan Joel Weisser delivers a work of dense, carefully structured noise drones divided into five intersections. The expression belongs to the ambient scene however do not expect any kind of chill-out atmospheres on this one. That Z'EV has its roots in the industrial scene seems obvious as you wander through the territories of threatening metallic noises giving you the feeling of being trapped alone on a distant space station light-years from any kind of human contact. Turn of the light and let you drift into this sonic nightmare of seductive industrial soundscapes. (NM)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk

KAKOFONIKT - KAKTUUS (CD by Fourth Dimension)
A trio from Poland with people I don't think I heard of before: Patryk Lichota (computer, field recordings, echo-Theremin, saxophones & preparations), Szymon Lokis Mizera (hurdy-gurdy, didgeridoo, vocal) and Hubert Winczyk (sine/square wave generators, analogue electronics, toy instruments, found objects, plastic & metal tools, vocals) and on one track the vocals of Blanka Dembosz. The cover also noted 'Recorded during two improvised sessions based upon common experience', whatever that means. These two sessions do lead up to seventy-eight minutes of music of a more improvised nature. KakofoNIKT, as the correct spelling goes of this band, is from Poznan and this is their debut album. It's a long album, at seventy-eight minutes, and that's maybe the only downside of it. It's a lot of music to take in at once, even when I thought it was very nice. It's not easy to say what it is that KakofoNIKT is doing here, as it kind of defies description. It's improvised for sure, but it's not of the standard free improvisation, onkyo or free jazz. There are, I guess, too many electronics involved in this music. Then there is certainly an element of the more adventurous post-punk brigade in here; I was thinking at one point of nicely saxophone sounds that it sounded not unlike Five Or Six, complete with similar echoed vocals and a strong rhythm, in 'Speed Up Your Breath, Each Breathe In Is The Deflaction, Breath Out Is The Inclination' (all titles read like instructions, but instructions to what really?). There are more of these bouncing, driving pieces here, but also more free wailing improvisations of electronics and acoustic sounds, such as 'Cover Yourself With Material, Such As Blanket Or Film Of Some Kind And Coil Yourself Into The Position Of An Embrio, Listen For (The End)'. It makes all of this together a really fine album, highly varied and very interesting. This is a band I wouldn't mind seeing. An adventurous band, defying any description and bouncing all over the alternative music place: that's what I like best, I guess. How would that sound in concert? (FdW)
Address: http://www.fourth-dimension.net

MARK VERNON - SOUNDS OF THE MODERN HOSPITAL (LP by Meagre Resource Records)
Sound effects records? Do they still exist? Or is everyone these days turning to freesound websites to find that plane taking off to mount below the amateur film of the latest holidays? I remember sound effects records from the 'old' days as something you could use to lift some sounds off and incorporate in your own music; I guess that was before you had to rush out with a mini disc and record these sounds yourself, which of course always adds a fine cachet of its own. Here we have a classic sound effects LP, yet it's also 'fake' perhaps. It's rather a LP of field recordings than a sound effects LP. Mark Vernon, once of Vernon & Burns, is someone whose work is always on the fringe of radio art, radio, installation, soundtrack and performance. There are thirty-three pieces of sounds from various sections of the hospital on this record, recorded over a two year period at such departments as anaesthesiology, clinical simulation centre, health records, laboratories, ophthalmology, oral and maxillofacial, radiology, nuclear medicine, neonatal unit, pharmacy and the mail room. Everything is listed on the record. "Is it music", someone recently asked me when I played something that was very soft and very ambient. You could wonder the same thing about this, I guess. Everything time based and selected by the composer, I would think, is music. I thought this was a great record, even if I don't like hospitals very much, but then, who does (other than the doctor making his money I guess)? Even when I didn't visit all those departments, and hopefully never will, it was a great listening experience. The mechanical sounds of apparatus, computerized voices saying what you should do, the obscure rattling of sounds, the drones of machines - all of this to make you better. How odd. It's probably something you don't realize when you are in a hospital, but maybe you don't think about that anyway when you are in a hospital. Adventurous DJs can work with this record to great effect (but where are the adventurous DJs anyway these days?), but also from a point of field recording lover, I can imagine this is something you can dig. It's something else than your usual bird/insect/rain forest/big city hum. Like said: an excellent listening experience. Topped with a great sound effects cover, this is a great record. Another time machine. (FdW)
Address: http://www.meagreresource.com

ROOIE WAAS - NU (LP by Blowpipe)
DENEUVE - OLD BRUCE (12" by Blowpipe)
Third time around I hear the music of Rooie Waas, once a duo of Gijs Borstlap (vocals, cacophonator) and Mikael Szafrowski (weird sound generator), but now also with Ofir Klemperer (keyboards) and Gerri Jäger (shakers, programming). You may remember I wrote before I don't like rap music, and while this is not really rap music, it borrows some of the musical idiom of that. The hooky rhythms for instance, lyrics being told rather than sung, but there is also the more noise 'instruments' that are being used here, taking it away from the world of rap. Those add a particular noisy edge to this music, a crunchy sound from those self-built synthesizers, making things particular raw. Loud, obnoxious music, but with a funny edge to it, mainly in their Dutch lyrics. That perhaps limits their audience to those who understand Dutch, but I can imagine for those who don't this makes it all the more exotic. The real surprise that I had when I first heard their music ('Het Is Maar Een Constatering', Vital Weekly 847) is no longer here, as I more or less had an idea what was coming, and this new album may have a slightly more expanded sound, but by and large there is not really a change over. The keyboards are a trusted Korg MS20, adding more noise and sine waves than nice tunes on keyboards. I still haven't seen Rooie Waas; maybe I just missed them when they played locally, or maybe I don't hang out at the right outdoor festivals (if I would do such a thing), but I surely will, one day. Till then, I most certainly enjoy their unique take on hip hop rhythms, Dutch lyrics, noisy keyboards, weird sounds, and the improvised nature which lies at the basis of these pieces. I would assume more a live band than a studio band - hence my curiosity.
The classic 12" format. And I don't mean the 12"s that DJs spin, but the extended format, the EP on vinyl. Four, five pieces by one band. It seems now, at least to me, a very 80s thing. Nowadays musician reason: if I can put 40 minutes on a LP, why settle for 20 on 12"? Here we have four (five if you download it, and dropcard come with the vinyl) pieces by deNeuve, as the correct spelling is. You may remember the short but heavy revival of Ultra, two years ago, here in The Netherlands? The Dutch answer to post-punk and beyond? That's when I first heard of deNeuve, the duo of Andre Bach and Mark Tegefoss, once one half of Tox Modell (one of the more radical Ultra bands, the real Ultra, maybe), then of Tecnoville and then, for a long time, Det Wiehl - a great band, of which, in an other life, I couldn't sell a CD. Det Wiehl is still around but encapsulated with doing 'difficult' music for theatre and dance pieces, and I reasoned (Vital Weekly 831), Bach and Tegefoss missed playing a fine 'song' (as opposed to a 'piece'). They use voices from old movies (Lenny Bruce perhaps - see title) and do some great songs here. Heavy on the rhythm (-machine) in the title piece and 'Morningboy', with the guitars making heavy rock gestures - guitars is what this duo is all about, in whatever incarnation, but they know how to bend the strings for whatever purpose; here we have a duo who aren't limited to one thing. deNeuve is something entirely different than say Det Wiehl. Here it's the completed song, within four, five minutes, maybe like they did in Tecnoville in the old days, but less formal punky. The rhythms are electronic here, stomping about (sometimes like an industrial act), with the guitars rocking, screeching about, but also more introspective, collage like in 'Ruski'. An excellent record; dare I say it? A bit short, perhaps! (FdW)
Address: http://www.blowpipe.org

NURSE WITH WOUND & ARANOS - SANTOOR LENA BICYCLE (2LP by Tourette Records)
Like the Legendary Pink Dots, Nurse With Wound also have an extended discography under their belt, and, perhaps more than the Dots, there is always someone willing to re-issue something, preferably on vinyl, still the preferred choice for the 'older' customer. Good news is that a CD from ten years ago makes up three sides of a record, so the fourth will have bonus material (which I guess is bad news if vinyl is not your preferred choice anymore). Aranos is a musician on primarily the violin from the Czech Republic but since many years located in Ireland in close proximity of Steve Stapleton, the Nurse With Wound, whom, I should think, doesn't need much introduction. The two of them already did a work in 1997, 'Acts Of Senseless Beauty' (also re-issued as a double LP by Tourette Records, in 2011), which, I wrote this before (Vital Weekly 795) didn't blow me away, but as a re-issue sounded alright and had a great bonus side. Here on 'Santoor Lena Bridge' things are more developped than on 'Acts Of Senseless Beauty', more organized and perhaps more the result of studio magic - surely one of Stapleton's master tricks - than of random, imprvoised edited together, as I thought was their first collaboration. Aranos' violin plays a less dominant tune here and is more embedded in the electronics taking a larger role in this. Like on the previous double LP, the sidelong bonus piece is the best (sorry vinyl haters). It takes the flute sound in a looped form and expands on that via simple, yet highly effective means, into a nicely shimmering piece of drone music, going from something you recognize into some highly abstract, remote territory of sound, found in the strangest corner of the studio. An excellent piece I thought, a bit different than the original release, and very nice. Certainly not filler! The previous review of the double LP ended with "Still a bit clueless why this had to be released as a double LP", which is also the end here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.touretterecords.com/

THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - TRAUMSTADT #3 (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope)
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - TRAUMSTADT #4 (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope)
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - TRAUMSTADT #5 (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope)
Suppose you are really into the music of Mozart, you know also who Köchel is. Ludwig von Köchel is the man who made the first catalogue of the works of Mozart. Or like Jarmil Burghauser did for the works of Antonin Dvorak. Who will do us a similar catalogue of works by those musicians with an expanded back catalogue, say Merzbow, Muslimgauze, Conrad Schnitzler or The Legendary Pink Dots? Recently 'Traumstadt 2' popped up on CDR (see Vital Weekly 917), now numbers 3, 4 and 5 of the series appear. All of these appeared before, on cassette. 'Traumstadt #3' for instance appeared first in 1988, first by Staalplaat, then Mirrordot and Jarmusic, and, according to the liner notes to this CDR re-issue, 'disappeared many years ago and recently commanded a silly price on Ebay, so it seemed high time to let the music be heard once more' (any one willing to pay silly prices for any of these on cassette, I may have them somewhere). Each of these tapes reflects a certain side of the early Dots (well, maybe also the later Dots, come to think of it). 'Traumstadt #3' is a collection of live recordings from Rennes, Munich and Amsterdam (actually a preparation for a concert at the legendary NL Centrum) and for some the Dots in their best incarnation, with the violin of Patrick Paganini, funky bass, spacious guitars and psychedelic mixing (courtesy of Hans Meier). Exciting performances of some great songs. It's a pity I never saw this incarnation in concert, actually.
Real archivists (meaning: not me) should investigate 'Traumstadt #5', a compilation of obscure compilation pieces from the 80s against previously releases as 'Under Triple Moons' and 'Stained Glass Soma Fountains' - and others no doubt - to check what the differences are. There is an overlap with these releases, and maybe also in remastering (techniques will always improve I guess), but should you have a hard time finding these, or looking for the original cassette collection on CDR (or download: all of these can be downloaded from the bands' Bandcamp page), or simply need an introduction to early Pink Dots material, this is one damn introduction. For me this compilation of compilations is like a time machine. Many of these pieces came to me on the original compilations they can be found on, and I remember most of them vividly (but then: I do play 'Under Triple Moons' and 'Stained Glass Soma Fountains' every now and then, so there you go) and all of these are standout pieces, which defined the early sound of the Pink Dots. Psychedelic, funny, collage like and great, great songs, all carried by the characteristic voice of Ka-spel, keyboards of The Silverman, Paganini's violin: all those great early Pink Dots are in place and make up a great selection of songs. I used to sing along with 'The Heretic' when I was a student, together with my mate with whom I was doing music. I can still sing them along actually. Those were the days.
And then we arrive at the third side of The Legendary Pink Dots and one that I still cherish a lot: their love to experiment and play long pieces of improvised electronics, with hardly any vocals. 'Traumstadt #4' is such an example. Two long tracks, of which 'The People Tree' already found it's way to 'Crushed Mementos' (I am certainly not auditioning as a Pink Dots archivist - anymore), but I believe this is the first time 'Premonition 18' makes it to a CD(R), and being five minutes longer than 'The People Tree', almost thirty minutes of music, you could see 'The People Tree' as a bonus. These spacious patterns may remind you music of the earlier part of the seventies, Pink Floyd meets Tangerine Dream perhaps, and that's what made The Legendary Pink Dots always a bit suspicious in the 80s world of underground cassettes. I'd rather think they carved out their own niche in that world, creating this hybrid of psychedelic music, early electronics, pop (as it sometimes works to a proper song in the middle of all of this) and drones. Excellent stuff, great to hear this again, after all these years. (FdW)
Address: http://legendarypinkdots1.bandcamp.com/

BRUNO DUPLANT & PEDRO CHAMBEL & FERGUS KELLY - (WINTER PALE) RED SUN (CDR by Eh?)
A disc with three players and no information; other than the line-up: Bruno Duplant (organ with electroacoustic devices), Pedro Chambel (sinewaves and noises) and Fergus Kelly (processed electronics). This is released by Eh?, part of the Public Eyesore empire of improvised music labels, but the forty plus minutes here show us a different side of improvised music. You may have guessed from the 'electronics' involved with these musicians that this might be different, and it sure is. It's a bit noise like, but not power electronics, just a bit louder, a bit dirtier and a bit grittier than usual; nothing careful here, but maybe that's also part of the recording. I suspect this is a room/microphone recording, adding an alien vibe to the music, a somewhat distant approach. It bursts and bubbles in the background and these drones sound like 'obscure', 'vague' or even 'industrial'. It is like being held hostage inside the engine room of an old steamer; on it's way to sink. Far away we hear a foghorn, but we can't reach the surface, no matter how hard we scratch the surface, how busy we are with a screwdriver, picking the lock. It's heavy weight music here, a soundtrack to an obscure movie about an unsuccessful rescue of an old soviet submarine. Enough metaphors, I'd say: great release! (FdW)
Address: http://www.publiceyesore.com/ehcat.php

WEGRZYN - VOLKSMUSIK (CDR by Eta Label)
From Poland hails Lukasz Wegrzyn, born in 1979 and in his teens a member of indie/rock/noise bands, but since 2009 he plays electronic music. A rather sad event in his life inspired him to create the album 'Volksmusik', no doubt having to do with the loving memory of Jan and Helena mentioned on the cover, and with that connections are made to rural life in his childhood. The instrument of choice here is the piano, but then heavily treated. Not just a dot of echo or a dash of reverb, but the full on treatment. In 'The Orchard', the opening piece, this is not yet clear at the start, when we hear the piano solo, but in a strict linear fashion more and more transformations are added, until finally the original piano sounds have disappeared and (mild) noise remains. It's perhaps only in this piece that we recognize the piano playing as in the other two - all three are quite long - it's less obvious, but with some good will you may recognize it (save for the final minute of 'Eleven Summers', the last piece, which seems to bring things home again). From all of these levels of processing’s it's not difficult to deduct that, while this album is firmly rooted in the world of microsound and ambient music, it's also a bit louder than what you would maybe expect. It's all a bit grittier, dirtier and perhaps more interesting than the usual album of carefully strummed and likewise processed piano pieces. There is a small storm going in these pieces, a sense of turmoil, especially in 'Weather Report', but also in 'Eleven Summers' things are not that easy going, like a slow dripping liquid, oil perhaps, from a barrel. Quite a fine album, this one. Intense most of the times, not entirely aiming to please, but all the more reason, I would think, to lend this man your ear. (FdW)
Address: http://www.etalabel.com

KRZYSTOF TOPOLSKI - PRESENCE (CDR by Sqrt Label)
ANDRZEJ FRELEK - TRAVERSING (3"CDR by Sqrt Label)
VOID - 1 (3"CDR by Sqrt Label)
Three quite different releases from Polish Sqrt label and mostly by people I never heard of - with one exception, as we will see. First we have Krzysztof Topolski, who spent his childhood in the Suwalki Region and for this new, thirty-minute, piece, returns to the area to record a bunch of field recordings, which have, no doubt, a lot of meaning for him. It's not easy to say what this, if anything at all, could mean for us, as a listener, who may not know the Suwalki region. These field recordings - water, insects, people talking, crackling of leaves etc. - are perhaps unprocessed by any means, but mixed together in a nice way, like a journey, if you will. We move through the land, by the meadow, we reach a road, talk with a friendly man, a peasant perhaps working the land and enter the forest. That's the trip here. A fine trip in sound, but perhaps also nothing remarkable. It reflects, again perhaps, the agricultural nature of the area, in which not a lot happens. Which is great - there is already happening so much in our lives that we could do with some quietness, a bit rural non-excitement. This trip could have also lasted an hour, easily, and it would have been a nice ambient excursion also.
On the 3" CDR front we find music from Andrzej Frelek, and on the cover I read 'recorded live, without overdubs and loopers of any kind, on a no-input mixer, cell phone playing field recordings and a laptop acting as a processing device' and 'best listened to on a level alike to natural ambience or very loud'. The field recordings were more or less made randomly during the day and Frelek realized how fascinated 'and maybe scared, I am by all the sound we are exposed to daily'. Maybe to fight his being scared made him want to process these sounds, but no doubt some people would argue that his results are as scary as some of the original sounds he put in here. In these nineteen minutes we are treated to some heavy type droning sound material. Very occasionally we hear the original sounds - a shopping centre - but the electronics and laptop seem to prevail here. Not that's awfully loud or something like that. It moves from very loud, feedback like passages to very quiet, near silence passages, even when they are never quiet. Towards the end a more common use of a delay machine is used and that I thought was a pity. Otherwise quite a raw and fine release: a somewhat different take on the use of field recordings, which I always like.
On the final release, by Void, we have a trio of Aleksander Papierz (saxophone), Jan Ufnal (drums) and the only person of whom I heard before, Artur Ruminski (guitar). About a year ago they recorded this twenty-one minute live onto 8 tracks and these were mixed by Lukasz Ciszak here and show a fine love for free noise rock. Chaotic in approach, loud perhaps, but not necessarily bouncing of into the world of numbness feedback rock. Half way through we suddenly recognize the saxophone blearing away, but guitar and drums take over again. It shakes and it rattles, but not in a strict tempo, ending on a more melancholic note. Very nice, but something tells me you rather would want to hear such orchestral rock chaos be played live in front of you. Right in front of you, actually. (FdW)
Address: http://sqrt-label.org/

NEGATIVE ENERGY - NOBODY CAN READ MY MIND (cassette, private)
NEGATIVE ENERGY - THIEF (cassette, private)
Two short tape releases here, which do not scream 'welcome to the pleasuredome'. The picture of a razorblade on one, with the only words 'nobody can read my mind', the other one a razorblade holder and the word 'thief'. These are to be understood as titles of the releases. The Bandcamp page doesn't reveal much more, other than, perhaps, this is from Manchester. It reeks of noise, again: perhaps, but it's not, thankfully. It's dark music for sure, using (perhaps, perhaps) a synth of some kind, some sources from 'media', vinyl perhaps, and found sounds, such as spoken word. Very thoughtful, in 'Nobody Can Read My Mind', and in a very interesting collage form. Intense, moody, dark, but also on the fine end of modern day musique concrete. I quite enjoyed this first one. Quite raw as such, but on the right side of being noise: this is made with some advance thinking in what to do, and how to execute it.
The second tape was a bit different, which was a nice - here's someone with more tricks up his sleeve. It opens with a spoken word collage of people naming professions like banker, doctor, lawyer, graphic designer, gardener, nude worker and also thief. I am not sure if thief is a profession, or whether there is a more political mantra: all bankers, lawyers etc. are thieves. This vivid cut-up styled piece is more akin of plunderphonics (including any political undercurrent), and with the high pierced tone underneath, quite a heavy noise piece. The rest of the tape also seems to consist of plundered voice material, looped around but in a more abstract way. Some of the voices are (shop-) lifted from stores with automated payment options. Here too we find an interesting combination of electronics, abstraction and musique concrete and perhaps a political agenda. It may have a misanthropic design, but the music is great! (FdW)
Address: http://negativeenergy.bandcamp.com/

CADLAG - CADLAG LIVE TAPE (Cassette / Tape Reel / VHS by Pharmafabrik)
This is very intense! CADLAG is Slovenian-based quartet featuring members of projects such as Earslaughter, PureH, Smoke 57 and Dodecahedragraph. Judged by the aforementioned names, you might have a clue of what to expect on this 40 minutes running album titled "Cadlag Live Tape". The quartet takes its starting point in electronic manipulations of sound. From analogue to digital expression Cadlag creates thick drones of harsh noise crushing every bit of silence in the room where the album is launched. The album delivers two lengthy pieces that has both been recorded live. First piece titled "Infundibulum" is a live performance recorded in April 2013 at the Noise Festival of Ljubljana. Second piece was captured at the New Media Festival in October 2013 in Trbovlje and carries the title "Speculum". Both pieces works excellent as they are being transmitted from audio medias such as cassette and tape reels, but as Cadlag puts a strong effort in the visually of their live performance the band has also released the work on a VHS Cassette. As said: Very intense expression thanks to the massive overdriven walls of sound.
Address: http://www.pharmafabrik.com








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