number 933
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week 21
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JAMES MURRAY - MOUNT VIEW (CD by Slowcraft Records) *
LAMBWHOOL & NICOLAS DICK - POST (CD by OPN) *
LAMBWHOOL - VANISH (CD by OPN) *
TELEFANTASTICO - DEATH POEMS (CD by OPN) *
FLUXUS - MENTAL ILLNESS (CD by OPN) *
UNDERHILL - PROLOGUE (CD by Ad Noiseam)
DETRITUS - THE VERY IDEA (CD by Ad Noiseam)
JAROMIR TYPLT & MICHAL RATAJ – SKRABANICE/SERIBBLES (CD by Poli5)
NICK SMART’S TROGON – TOWER CASA (CD by Babel)
RAYMOND MCDONALD & MARILYN CRISPELL -  PARALLEL MOMENTS(CD by Babel)
ALEXANDER HAWKINS – SONG SINGULAR(CD by Babel)
ALEXANDER HAWKINS ENSEMBLE – STEP WIDE, STEP DEEP(CD by Babel)
DOMINIC  LASH QUARTET – OPABINIA (CD by Babel)
1000SCHOEN - PAINTINGS AT THE NIGHTSKY (2CD by Nitkie Records) *
CYCLOTIMIA - THE INVISIBLE HAND OF MARKET (CD by Zhelezobeton)/Shadowplay Records/Monopoly Records) *
KSHATRIY (CDR by Zhelezobeton) *
UHUSHUHU - LONG SONGS PLEASANT FOR HEARING (CDR by Zhelezobeton) *
CHVAD SB - CRICKETS WERE THE COMPASS (CD by Silber Records) *
TONGUE MUZZLE - LOBSTER COCK AND FRIENDS (CDR by Facility Records) *
TONGUE MUZZLE - VAGINA PROBLEMS (CDR by Facility Records) *
THURSTON MOORE & MARGARIDA GARCIA - THE RUST WITHIN THEIR THROATS (LP by Headlights)
MANUEL MOTA - BLACKIE (CDR by Headlights) *
VIRILIO - SIGNATURE (12" by Record Label Record Label)
CHRONOTOPE PROJECT - DHARMA RAIN (CDR by Udana Music) *
SIGTRYGGUR BERG SIGMARSSON - FOR EINAR JONSSON (1874-1954) (CDR and book by Some) *
ICHTYOR TIDES – EEVER SCHAPES (cassette by A Giant Fern)
AFRODITI PSARRA / GEORGIOS KARAMANOLAKIS (split cassette by ORL Records & Paraphernalia)
CROWN OF CERBERUS – HER EVERLASTING STRENGTH (cassette by Terror)
LL.TEMOR.LL - BILABIAL JABIRU (cassette by Ephem-Aural)
GODS ON SAFARI (cassette by Ephem-Aural)
TOM SMITH/MICHAEL MUENNICH - IN MEDIA RES (cassette by Noise Below)



JAMES MURRAY - MOUNT VIEW (CD by Slowcraft Records)
A quick search for the name James Murray, to check if I wrote previously about him, rendered only Brendan Murray, which turns out to be funny, because whoever this James Murray is, it's not that different then his US namesake, but altogether of a much more lighter tune. In a neat home printed card stock CD sleeve we find a CD of seven pieces of drone music of what seems to be a more digital approach. This Murray has had releases on such labels as Hibernate, Lost Tribe Sound, Ultimae Records, Psychonavigation Records and even on the legendary em:t label (albeit in their later stages). You know where this leads us: into the meadow, down the brook, onto the forest. 'Climb The Rise' is the name of one of these pieces, and that's the pastoral sound Murray is going for. Carefully transformed instruments, no longer to be recognized most of the time when it comes to the abstract nature of these drones, but it never looses its melodic touch. I guess a piano plays an important part in this music. This is the 'usual' carefully constructed water-painting music, the one we also had last week with Taylor Deupree. Soft, sketch like, minimal but also emotional and delicate, like being on a near point of collapse. Like a piece of very old paper than has been outside for too long: if you pick it up it may fall apart. If you were looking for that entirely new insight in this kind of music, rest assured: it's not here. If you were to look for a new name to add to your list that says 'here's a list of great ambient musicians', then you need to add James Murray to that list. His work easily matches with the best. (FdW)
Address: http://jamesmurray.info

LAMBWHOOL & NICOLAS DICK - POST (CD by OPN)
LAMBWHOOL - VANISH (CD by OPN)
TELEFANTASTICO - DEATH POEMS (CD by OPN)
FLUXUS - MENTAL ILLNESS (CD by OPN)
Judging by the catalogue numbers these are all recent releases by the French OPN label, which, apparently, have a lot of faith in the endeavours of Lambwhool, as two releases are with the music of Lambwhool's, being Cyril Laurent, whose main inspirations are Dead Can Dance, Tangerine Dream, Labradford and The Young Gods' 'Heaven Deconstruction'. In 2005 he released his first record and since did a couple of collaborations with people as Babylone Chaos, Le Diktat and now with Nicolas Dick, who is a former member of Kill The Thrill. They recorded four albums and since 1995 he also works with improvisation a.o. with Jim O'Rourke and Thierry from Fragment. His main instrument is the guitar, whereas with Lambwhool most likely it also is, but maybe more (electronics? synthesizer?). Maybe the title suggests they worked via the (e-)postal system, but who knows, maybe they worked face to face. In these seven pieces it's not easy to hear Lambwhool's influences, save perhaps for Labradford. Widely spun sound fields of the endlessly sustaining guitar and tons of sound effects as floodlights for these lonesome guitar sounds. It's all quite dark and desolate, with the word atmospheric written in capitals. Quite a nice release for a grey, rainy day. Nothing new in ambient drone land, but expertly performed for maximum atmospherics.
'Vanish' by Lambwhool is sold as an 'ep', but at thirty-three minutes (four pieces) surely a full length in some books. On two of these pieces we have a violin played by Albane Geslain and on one of them also the piano and keyboards of Margaux Laurent. It's the addition of these instruments in these two pieces that make this album a more musical one than the 'Post' album. Both are highly atmospheric, but whereas 'Post' is the more abstract one of these two, 'Vanish' is more - traditionally - music, more Labradford like if you will. Each of these four pieces has a soaring, bittersweet, melancholic melodic twist, and as such reverb is not spared. Maybe a bit too dramatic in 'Farewell', with it's choir like sounds (Vangelis style!) and deep percussion swells, but certainly in the other three pieces it's all very nice and atmospheric but with the drama kept within certain boundaries. A fine album, again of not a lot of surprises.
Something else is the music of Telefantastico, of whom I never heard, but who are from Finland, I believe. Their pieces are throughout a bit shorter than with Lambwhool and use a variety of instruments, such as drum machines, synthesizers, electronics and maybe a guitar. Especially when they use rhythm they sound very different, obviously, even when certain blackness is part and parcel of their music. The keyboards play minor chords and when the drum machine bangs it is dark and solid; only towards the end of 'Hope' there is a more lighthearted ethno inspired bit of rhythm. It's the world of ambient meeting down at the industrial lot and as such it sounds very much like something from 1990 - thereabouts. Lots of reverb here too, to generate that extra added atmospheric feel to the music. A most enjoyable release I thought, mostly because it sounded so retro like. Not something I would easily play every day, but as a little time machine it works very well.
The most different one however is the release by Fluxus, a duo of Mauri and HIV+, the first playing 'machines, sound design and mixing' and the latter is responsible for lyrics, vocals, noises and soundscapes. On one track they have the vocals of Arturo Lanz (of Esplendor Geometrico fame) and one Vera sings on another piece. The eleven pieces here are all about rhythm, noise and voice; clinically cold music, perhaps of such a state of disappear or, if we follow the title, of any form of mental illness. It bangs about, synthesizers produce hiss, white noise and square waves in sequence with the rhythm, and the voice is fed through vocoders to make it more alien, distant and cold. It's not really something of an amazement they asked Lanz to sing on one piece - and if you don't pay a lot of attention it's hard to figure out which track is his and which are sung by HIV+. Oddly enough I am also at times reminded of the voices of Etant Donnes and the music takes a bit a of techno turn, also very occasionally. Here too I quite enjoyed and as with the album by Telefantastico for exactly the same retro reasons. It's a small time machine, which despite all the grimness of the music brings a big smile on my face. (FdW)
Address: http://www.opn.fr

UNDERHILL - PROLOGUE (CD by Ad Noiseam)
DETRITUS - THE VERY IDEA (CD by Ad Noiseam)
Underhill is an Austrian project born in a dark basement studio in Innsbruck back in 2006. Originally the project was established by Dean Rodell and singer Martina Astner. Later other artists such as Mc Coppa, Tim Elliot and Ivan Shopov has joined the project. However this present album only features Dean Rodell and Ivan Shopov. The critically acclaimed debut album "Silent siren" (2012) had its focus on the dance-scene with dubstep rhythms and dark, growling sub-bass. On this follow-up album titled "Prologue" Underhill leaves the dancefloor and dives deeply into the subconscoiusness with an album that puts more effort in the introvert expression and it definitely works well. Melancholic soundscapes of drifting ambient fades in and out - sometimes floating by itself and other times in company with glitching noise and downbeat rhythm textures. Processed voices strengthens the feeling of being in a dream state as you listen to the album. The sound textures of the album once in a while draw the memories back to the early days of dub-ambient legends such as Pole and Kit Clayton. "Prologue" is the perfect soundtrack for deep listening in total isolation from the world beyond the brain.
British composer David Dando-Moore is one of the true legends of Berlin-based label Ad Noiseam. With his first album titled "Endogenous" on the label in 2003, present album titled "The very idea" is the sixth full-length released on Ad Noiseam. The strength of Detritus is the ability to create cinematic soundscapes with the help of electroacoustic instruments played by the artist himself, combined with warm electronic ambience and rhythmic textures. Similar to a traditional movie soundtrack the atmosphere, throughout the runtime, change from warm and gentle tones to more dramatic and dark spheres.  The music is much based on samples of acoustic instruments where piano is the dominating instrument. Also harsh and heavy guitarriffs (reminiscent of early industrial-metal such as God Flesh and Saw Throat) interferes thus adding some atmospheric tension to the album. Once again Detritus invites the listener to drift into his own personal inner cinema and once again it's a great listening experience. (NM)
Address: http://www.adnoiseam.net

JAROMIR TYPLT & MICHAL RATAJ – SKRABANICE/SERIBBLES (CD by Poli5)
I really do not understand the texts of the poet and musician Jaromir Typlt, because I do not speak the Czech language and that is really a pity, because the atmosphere of the album Skrabanice/Seribbles is a beautiful story in which voice and music melt together. Mostly the music is fragile and narrative. The story-telling voice is supported by abstract sounds, created by electronics, mbira, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass guitar and sound objects created by the poet himself and by Michal Rataj. The sound collages are subtle and well-composed.
Some pieces are like traditional experimental music with no structure and fragmentary, but then it flows without any problem into a drony sphere with some clear ticking on a string of the guitar. There are moments that the abstraction flows into a well-structured song with rhythm and melody and suddenly returns into some scratches. In a strange way these abrupt changes do not come as a surprise, but are just natural movements in the story. Michal Rataj has a lot of experience in creating music and audio compositions for radio plays or soundtracks for movies. Jaromir Typlt published a lot of books and since 1999 he experiments with written word in combination with movie, performances and sound. Skrabanice/Serribbles was first performed in 2009 in Prague and recorded in 2013.  Anyhow, the CD is like a book or like a soundtrack for a non-existing movie. The sounds and voice takes you to different worlds which are scary, aggressive or calm. Unfortunately there are no happy moments in this surrealistic book, but I do not care, I like these kind of stories.(JKH)
Address: http://michalrataj.com/

NICK SMART’S TROGON – TOWER CASA (CD by Babel)
RAYMOND MCDONALD & MARILYN CRISPELL -  PARALLEL MOMENTS(CD by Babel)
ALEXANDER HAWKINS – SONG SINGULAR(CD by Babel)
ALEXANDER HAWKINS ENSEMBLE – STEP WIDE, STEP DEEP(CD by Babel)
DOMINIC  LASH QUARTET – OPABINIA (CD by Babel)
Another bunch of releases of the productive Babel label, a label founded in 1994 by Oliver Weindling, specialized in jazz recordings from UK artists. Alexander Hawkins is a prominent keyboard player in the English jazz scene. Plays in Mulatu Astake’s band, recorded with Louis Moholo, and co-leads the Convergence Quartet and the organ trio Decoy. ‘Song Singular’ is his very first solo piano album, and convincing proof of his musicality. He is a capable and inspired player. His pieces have depth and complexity.  Inventive and narrative pieces that are a joy to listen to. He is inspired by pianists as Sun Ra and Duke Ellington, who where bandleaders as well. This is also the case for Hawkins. So lets jump to ‘Step Wide, Step Deep’ by his ensemble. It has Dylan Bates on violin, Neil Charles on double bass, Otto Fischer on electric guitar, Shabaka Hutching on clarinet and bass clarinet, Tom Skinner on drums and percussion, plus Hawkins himself on piano. This release is the follow up ‘All There, Ever Out’ (2012) and has the ensemble in a slightly different line-up. Compared to his solo album I perceive an equal richness of ideas that come to flourish from improvisational as well as compositional efforts. Played by a great bunch of musicians who interact and listen on a high level. The compositions are thoroughly constructed, but there is a sense of humour and lightness in them that makes the music very accessible and enjoyable. Truly a great work! ‘Tower Casa’ by Nick Smart’s Trogon is also the work of an ensemble: Chris Montague (piano), Kishon Khan (piano), Denny Martinez (electric bass), Dave Hamblett (drum kit), Pete Eckford (percussion) and Nick Smart (trumpet, flugel). They offer a Cuban-flavoured set of jazz tunes, Smart’s trumpet in a prominent role. As I am not very into Latin music, I tended to neglect this one. But it has interesting aspects. We hear unusual combinations as tambura in a Cuban context, fine pulsating patterns in nice arrangements. But not turning me into a lover of this Latin idiom. The Dominic Lash Quartet features again Alexander Hawkins on piano, plus London-based Spansh musicians  Ricardo Tehero (tenor sax and clarinet) and Javier Carmona (percussion). Dominic Lash we hear on contrabass and he signed for all the compositions. ‘Opabinia’ is his first release as a leader.  Jazz of a very sensitive and delicate nature is what they are up to. Lash is a young talent who studied bass and composition and is into jazz and improvisation and contemporary composed music as well. Together with Alexander Hawkins, a.o., he runs the transatlantic Convergence Quartet. Name of the cd and of most tracks come from fossils from the Middle Cambrian period for some reason, attracted by the theory that all life is shaped by contingency, including that of improvising musicians. The music itself is far from fossilized, but a lively and fresh try in crossing modern music with jazz and improvisation. We conclude this overview with a few words on ‘Parallel Moments’ by Raymond MacDonald and Marilyn Crispell. Crispell is already some time around and may be known for her work with Anthony Braxton. MacDonald is a Scottish sax player, co-founder of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. In 10 concentrated improvisations recorded in 2010 live on a festival and in a studio, they present their musical dialogues. Very different conversations I must say, but all are virtuoso and sparkling. Free improvised music of an abstract level but often with a romantic feel to it. (DM)
Address: http://www.babellabel.co.uk

1000SCHOEN - PAINTINGS AT THE NIGHTSKY (2CD by Nitkie Records)
Former Maeror Tri member Helge Siehl embarked on a solo career in music, working as 1000Schoen. He seems to have a find a stable place in the catalogue of Nitkie Records, who already released two double CD sets and a single CD - his first one (see also Vital Weekly 764, 789 and 841). Here's his latest release and once again it's a double CD. I am not sure of we should take the 'paintings' literally - meaning music for paintings - or perhaps more in a metaphorical way, as music for something dark. Like his former Maeror Tri buddies who now work as Troum, 1000Schoen follows the path of all things dark and atmospheric. We have here more than 80 minutes of music and all of these in lengthy pieces, ten minutes are short and twenty is long. A typical piece of 1000schoen starts out with some drones and then slowly adds various sound sources, just as the overtones produced by cymbals or percussion instruments. That seems to be something new in his work, something that wasn't as obvious before. Loops; yes, rhythm: not so much. Maybe 1000schoen is using a drum machine or real percussion, or, more likely, a combination of both. It adds a different flavour to his music, more spice, but all along maintains to have that dark atmospheric quality. Oddly distorted rhythm in 'Melting Glass', which gathers a more tribal feel of sonic overload. It seems as if 1000schoen is on the move, onto something else, something new, expanding his sound and that seems to me a good thing. Orchestral ambient of an abstract nature, not unlike Maeror Tri, not unlike Troum, but with a clear voice of his own. An excellent move forward. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nitkie.ru

CYCLOTIMIA - THE INVISIBLE HAND OF MARKET (CD by Zhelezobeton)/Shadowplay Records/Monopoly Records)
KSHATRIY (CDR by Zhelezobeton)
UHUSHUHU - LONG SONGS PLEASANT FOR HEARING (CDR by Zhelezobeton)
It's been a while since I heard 'Music For Stockmarkets' by Cyclotimia (see Vital Weekly 668), who expand their interest in the world of global finance further with this new release, consisting of ten pieces, as well as five extra pieces called 'Oil & Gas Colony', plus a sixteenth bonus piece. Just yesterday I told someone that just music doesn't make a great story in the newspaper, you have to market your music, preferably with a good story, a fine myth or something that nobody else thought of. In these pieces, like before, it's hard to recognize the invisible hand of market (or visible for that matter) and these boy(s)/girl(s) play their vintage soviet synths in a variety of styles. A bit of dance, a bit of industrial, a bit of ambient and while all is instrumental; you could say this is a bit of modern pop music. I can hear that guy from Depeche Mode intoning his sonorous voice here in some of these pieces - now we just have some occasional dialogue from a movie. Sixteen songs, one hour, which means they aren't that long at all, but every one seems to the point. The 'Oil & Gas Colony' pieces are a bit more abstract, more like a radio play; spoken word, a collage of sounds and such like, making it more of a story. I think that is indeed a route they should follow more and make more out of the whole 'finance' edge they have. Like with the previous release I enjoy this release, but it seems also a bit long.
On CDR we find music by Sergey Uak-Kib, better known as Kshatriy, who has released a whole bunch of releases before. This particular release is the first finished recording he ever did, in 2005, and of which he distributed a handful of copies to friends. We didn't review that one, but his later works found themselves into these pages. Now it's re-issued again, in an edition of 77 copies, and the four pieces span thirty-six minutes. The heavy transformation of any sound given, but most likely field recordings create Kshatriy’s music. I can easily see Sergey traveling the Siberian land and capturing some arctic wind into his microphone and melting these with field recordings of contact microphones scraping the permafrost. Did you say Thomas Köner? That's probably a valid point of reference, or indeed other in Isolationist one-man studios around the world, from say the mid 90s onto the present day. All atmospheric, all dark (how often do I use these words on a weekly basis, I wondered), but Kshatriy has it's own blend, certainly in these earliest recordings there is a nice raw edge to it. Not that smooth, but with a grittier, somewhat metallic undercurrent. Nice and rough.
That can also be said from the release by Uhushuhu, a project from one Daniil Kharms, named after the onomatopoeia of owls and this is the first release, following some 'interesting performances at small underground city clubs and forest open-air festivals in the Leningrad region' - did they rename the city again? Indeed long pieces here of a likewise rough diamond shaped drone/noise/ambient/industrial, with the howling of overtones, layered together, and created with loops of a varying length. That makes that nothing seems to stay in the same place and within this mass of sound we have a constantly changing sound picture. Maybe, outboard, there is some more sound effects running about to change the sound further in real time and it works pretty well. Whether this is pleasant for hearing is of course subjective: if this kind of music means nothing to you, then it will be hardly pleasant at all but I quite enjoyed it. It's a tad lighter than the release by Kshatriy, in all its darkness, if you get my drift. Varying shades of black. I can imagine a concert situation with people lying down and these 'long songs' waving over the audience, lulling them sleep or transporting them to different places. (FdW)
Address: http://zhb.radionoise.ru

CHVAD SB - CRICKETS WERE THE COMPASS (CD by Silber Records)
TONGUE MUZZLE - LOBSTER COCK AND FRIENDS (CDR by Facility Records)
TONGUE MUZZLE - VAGINA PROBLEMS (CDR by Facility Records)
A new name for me, this Chvad SB (and how to pronounce that? That's why our podcast doesn't have spoken intros to each track. I don't want to run the risk of being laughed at an 'entirely' wrong pronunciation). This Chvad SB has been a member of such as Things Outside The Skin, The Qualia and recently Controlled Bleeding. In 2010 he founded his own band Tongue Muzzle. I received three of his most recent releases. Following a quick scan of all three I started with the solo CD, which I guess is indeed all solo. There is no specification towards which instruments were used, but my best guess would be electronics, synthesizers, guitars and maybe some other stuff, such as voice, but then heavily processed. Silber tells us that some of this stuff was improvised and some were composed over a number of years. I couldn't tell which apart, and I am not sure if that is a good or a bad thing. A piece like 'The Dust Cloud Permeates', the longest on the disc, seemed improvised and didn't do much for me. It seemed to revolve around a few sounds, loosely played on the guitar, some drone in the background, but not very well defined. I must say that the more electronic pieces were, the more I seemed to like them. When a guitar comes in it seems to bring down the music a bit, and if it was (all) electronic it seemed to be more together and quite powerful. I was reminded in the use of these synthesizers in a dark, atmospheric tone of some of the work of Controlled Bleeding, such as 'The Poisoner'. Those pieces I liked best and luckily they were a majority around here. Maybe mastering the whole thing would have been an idea? Maybe I am wrong?
Tongue Muzzle is band with a varying membership and with varying interests, but perhaps a unity in choosing odd titles for their releases. They have a background in improvisation and these two releases are quite apart. 'Lobster Cock & Friends' has many guests on bass, synthesizer, accordion and devices, whamolom beatbox and vocals, and is quite rhythm heavy. A nice stomping sound, which is not unlike say dance music (techno), but then pulled into a rock context. Synth heavy too, so perhaps this is kraut, techno and rock mixed together. Seven pieces which lasted thirty-five minutes and I wouldn't have minded this to last a big longer as I very much enjoyed this. It's a heavy release throughout, sound wise, but also music wise. The last piece, 'Laughs At The Demon' seemed a bit out place. An Edgar Allan Poe story is recited through the phone lines and on top a band has a introspective space jam, without much rhythm. Very psychedelic and surely nice enough, but maybe on an album of more of this?
The other record, 'Vagina Problems' has a smaller line up, SB on electronics, Brian A. Bernhard on bass, James Devin Johnson on electronics and the non-related David Johnson reciting poetry and stories. The band improvises and Johnson recites his stuff. All recorded in one go and these seven pieces last one hour, which is way too long. The voice is quite on top of the music, so it's hard to enjoy this in terms of purely music with a bit of spoken word. I always find it hard - as a non-native speaker - to keep my attention to the story, which I guess, is a bit of a problem for other non-English listeners. There is an echo used on the voice microphone, which is steady in each of these pieces, which gets a bit annoying too. I am sorry to say, but I find it very hard to be enthusiastic about this. The music is very much improvised from a rock stance, but I am sure it has a (great) value, but not for me I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.silbermedia.com
Address: http://www.facility-records.com

THURSTON MOORE & MARGARIDA GARCIA - THE RUST WITHIN THEIR THROATS (LP by Headlights)
MANUEL MOTA - BLACKIE (CDR by Headlights)
Primarily Headlights releases the work of Manual Mota, but sometimes side steps to release the work of others and Margarida Garcia has been one of them. Here is a record that was recorded last year at ZDB in Lisbon and edited later on for release. With Sonic Youth on hold Thurston Moore has time to venture out into the world of improvised music and plays around a lot. The instruments are the electric guitar for Moore and the electric double bass for Garcia. The electricity brings a certain 'body' to the proceedings, which makes it easy to play a bit more loudly than one would perhaps expect. Moore and Garcia don't play noise, but at the same time it's also not a very quiet and introspective recording. They will show you around in different places and spaces that belong to their world of improvisation. Meaning the guitar sounds like a guitar and the bass like a bass, topped with electronic effects, maybe a bow or two on each of these instruments, ending on a contemplative note towards the end of side B. Here the instruments are used they way they are (almost) intended, and as such perhaps this is part of a more conventional improvised space. Who cares? It was a great ride. Bumpy but lovely.
Headlights' label owner Manual Mota continues to release his solo guitar music, here with live recordings from February and March this year. Last time around was only in Vital Weekly 925 when we reviewed two his recent releases. Though they were both different, here it's alike the release 'ST13' from back then, though these pieces are longer here. He continues to explore his wide-open micro cosmos of the subtle variations of a string on a guitar. Mota doesn't play 'chords', or 'strums' away, nor does he play extended melodies of any kind, but the sequence of sparse notes makes that this highly melodic after all. It's just spaced out over a lengthier amount of time. Oddly enough these desolate pieces of blues music arrive, like before, on a very sunny day, but somehow I was thinking this fitted the day nicely. I envisage a wide-open space, a desert perhaps, and me sitting on the porch with sun glasses while listening to the desolate howl of Mota's guitar. With the birds now chirping outside, it's almost a reality. Another fine release! (FdW)
Address: http://headlightsrecordings.blogspot.com

VIRILIO - SIGNATURE (12" by Record Label Record Label)
Last week I wondered about the 12", and here another one that has that format spins at 45 rpm, but it's not really a dance record. Virilio (named after Paul, I wondered) is a duo of Corinna Triangafyllidis (tympani, tamtam, synthesizer, drum machine & voice) and Dimitris Papadatos (electronics, guitar, turntables, synthesizer, voice), who have been working together since 2008, 'recording their Skype improv sessions under the moniker Cassettine and KU'. Since 2010 they call themselves Virilio, and this record was recorded in the Acacia (hey) Studios in Athens, in 2013. It proofs that, despite the entire economic crisis, Greece remains an active place for new music. This is the kind of music that easily defies any description, as it doesn't seem to fit in any specific category. You can hear a bit of old school industrial music in here, partly improvised on the spot, using a bank of electronics, especially on the more more monolithic 'Signature 2' this seems to be the case, and on 'Signature 1' it seems to be more the case of noise, industrial music meeting up with a more carefully constructed bits of rhythm, also from the world of industrial music, but coming in from the end of techno - say the Pan Sonic side. Quite enjoyable if not somewhat similar these two pieces. It made me however curious to hear what else they have up their sleeve. Next time a full-length record, perhaps? (FdW)
Address: http://www.rlrl.info

CHRONOTOPE PROJECT - DHARMA RAIN (CDR by Udana Music)
Jeffrey Ericson Allen is the man behind Chronotope Project and his background is in classical, new acoustic and theatrical music but also plays ambient music using guitars, electronics and synthesizers. Hearts Of Space, Echoes, Musical Starstreams, Star’s End, Galactic Travels and Ultima Thule have released his music; in 2015 he will also be part of the Spotted Pecacry label. This new release, which is privately released on his Udama Music label, has the classic LP approach. The first two pieces would be on side A, and the third piece could go onto side B. Perhaps it's no longer the time to release such things on LP (or perhaps Allen didn't look or didn't want to) but on CDR it sounds great - free of any surface noise. The music has to do with 'the essential unity of space and time', as outlined in the band name and the music is best described as classic 'ambient meets cosmic' through lenghty stretches of sound, mild percussion, and swirling long-form melodies just on the surface. It's minimal in development, and as such best for being either stoned out of your head or a thoughful zen meditation. I am neither of that, but on a rain covered sunday afternoon, with not much else to do than drinking coffee, reading and watching rain against the windows, this is the perfect soundtrack. Very melodic, not very abstract, no twisting of field recordings, but an excellent production of the music on synthesizers, sequencers and a bowed guitar string. Everything about this says, no screams, warning: you may have heard this done before - in some cases ages ago - but at the same time it also says: excellent music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.chronotope-project.com

SIGTRYGGUR BERG SIGMARSSON - FOR EINAR JONSSON (1874-1954) (CDR and book by Some)
Perhaps by now a somewhat forgotten fact, but Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson may be best known as a member of Stillupsteypa (and for their collaborations with BJ Nilsen), but he's also a visual artist and once the 'owner' of a record label, called Some. He tells me this package is a sort of revival of that label. The book at hand is a catalogue of artwork from the years 1997 to 2014. Lots of drawings, photos of performances, but also photos of objects, pictures of the artist as a child, letters, and some words, but no expert insight essay. Which I guess is a good thing. It leaves some of the mystery in tact and has a fine naive impact on the viewer, perhaps establishing him as an outsider. The book is published in an edition of 100 copies, half of which are sold and the other half comes with a fourteen-minute piece of music, called 'For Einar Jonsson (1874-1954)'. He was Iceland's first sculptor, who drew inspiration from the Icelandic folklore heritage, but also using mythological and religious motifs (I am quoting a website here). Later on he rejected all classical art tradition and enamoured theosophy. The fourteen-minute piece is a way too short for my taste - and for the book. I wanted to sit down, play the music and all along look at the images, but I had to put the piece on repeat. Sigmarsson uses what seems to me the sound of a church organ, and turns it into this heavily processed piece of drone music. A bit stretched out, many layers and all along the source material can be recognized, which gives the piece, perhaps, also a religious motif. It's the kind of drone music we know Sigmarsson do very well, and here he doesn't disappoint us either. Except of course that it could have been twice as along - at least. Putting it on repeat is not the same thing, but will do as well. Hopefully more to come! (FdW)
Address: <stilluppsteypa@gmail.com>

ICHTYOR TIDES – EEVER SCHAPES (cassette by A Giant Fern)
With 'Eever Schapes,' Ichtyor Tides' Nikola Akileus completes a trilogy that began with 2012's 'Eever Schores' on Sirona-Records and continued with 'Eever Schemes' on Already Dead Tapes. I haven't heard either of the original two releases, so I am somewhat without context to assess this tape on the basis of its predecessors. But that's okay, because 'Schapes' thrives on its own merits. The tape comes in a wooden box with a cryptic geometric figure printed on it, and is accompanied by several full-colour prints depicting lifeless angular constructions. The theme, then, is geometry – audio which mimics the panels, planes, and blocks on the images. The first half, which spans three parts (“Xivs” I, II, and III), makes this clear. Part one inserts an airy synth drone which seems to rove along uneven terrain, mapping various plateaus and inclines as it plays on. Part three, meanwhile, simulates a mobile microphone traversing a cube filled with buzzing bees. The flip side branches out in other directions, exploring distinct textures over five unrelated tracks. Compositions with esoteric names like “Aporeiq Schant” and “Deflaverse” devise distinct arrangements of electronic sounds, capturing Akileus at his most assiduous. Several moments approximate the detail-oriented experimentation of late-nineties Mego fodder, ranging from meticulous digital edgework (“gleasind”) to anxious drone (“Shorrean Village”). It's the bits where he gives full attention to the finer points of sound that rank as his most compelling and well-realized creations. The beautiful packaging by A Giant Fern mirrors this commitment to aesthetics. (MT)
Address: http://agiantfern.tumblr.com

AFRODITI PSARRA / GEORGIOS KARAMANOLAKIS (split cassette by ORL Records & Paraphernalia)
Well-ornamented little cassette here from nifty Greek label ORL, collecting the efforts of two otherwise obscure solo artists. Side A, “d4m4g3,” is the work of Afroditi Psarra, who is currently working on her PhD in Image, Technology and Design. She seems to have pioneered the idea of building 'embroidered synthesizers” which are, essentially, circuits knitted into textiles with the help of Arduino microcontrollers. From a sound perspective, the side is a gradual build. We begin with a pattern of analog spikes upon which strata of electronic noise are gradually overlain. After a few sinews, this sonic accretion arrives at its frenetic climax, a joyous huff-&-puff any harsh noisester would recognize. On the flipside, Karamnolakis sends synths, tapes, and a Gameboy through a veil of reverb, ending up with a hazy swell of soft-noise pierced by comets of drugged 8-bit FX. It's more engrossing than Psarra's side -- partly because little morsels of melody escape from track's noisy bowels, but also because it conjures a grand world of noise wherein the listener can comfortably lodge. Though they both work in abstract music, these two artists seem an incompatible pairing. Regardless, both minds are adept at crafting compelling sound art. (MT)
Address: http://www.orila.net

CROWN OF CERBERUS – HER EVERLASTING STRENGTH (cassette by Terror)
Levas' Terror imprint steps away from scummy noise and related snarl for a brief spell of serenity – here in the form of M. Chami's ambient Crown of Cerberus project. 'Her Everlasting Strength' is dedicated earnestly to Chami's grandmother, a family matriarch who's clearly left a strong impression on her grandson. Tastefully summarized elsewhere as “like a weird, fucked up version of Enya or something,” this basically sounds like a new-age goddess being played in reverse, chopped up here and there, and coated in reverb. Indeed, the miasmal chants of the backtracked female vocalist, slung over pillows of soft-synths, convey Enya's trademark new-agey quasi-transcendence. There are melodic motifs which recur through the tape, which make it a wee bit same-y at times, but the overall impression is a positive one: each track is expertly digestible, and the tape does a great job of evoking a dreamy but skewed atmosphere. I can imagine these sounds as the soundtrack to some ethereal 'Myst'-like nineties videogame replete with clipped sky and flat panels of pure colour. In that sense it's not far off from many of the glowing synth demons that have flooded the scene over the past few years, but Chami's production style on 'Her Everlasting Strength' is unique. (MT)
Address: http://www.terror.lt

LL.TEMOR.LL - BILABIAL JABIRU (cassette by Ephem-Aural)
GODS ON SAFARI (cassette by Ephem-Aural)
These two tapes came together in one package and took some detective work to find more out about them - hard to read these covers. According the bandcamp page of ll:temor:ll (pronounced "TEMORTEMORTEMORTEMORTEMORTE") their tape should be filed under 'edm, electronic, idm, abstract hip hop, ambient, downtemp and seattle' and it's the musical project of Phoenix native Aaron Mortemore, who is behind Treasure Hunt Records, and who spend his time working with 'retro tape machines, samplers, and circuit bent tomfoolery' and fills his tape with a collage/cut-up/mash-up of sounds which not necessarily translate into concrete songs, but rather sketches and such like, cut together. I must say I am not sure what to make of this. While it surely had some entertainment value, I found it hard to say if I really enjoyed, or if I would easily play it again soon. It seemed to me too much loosely ended, without much head or tail, and probably also not enough intensified on the improvisational side of things. You scratch your head and go: 'what the hell was that about?'
Keenan Houser is from the Bronx, New York and works as Gods On Safari. His cassette is apparently two albums on one cassette. I am not sure, it's playing right now, and the cover has no information whatsoever as it all appears on the tape itself. He uses 'electronic and virtual instruments' and his tape sounds actually quite nice. Maybe it could use some mastering as it sounds a bit naff here and there, but the quirky rhythms and synthesizers hammer nicely away. Not entirely the kind of dance music you could actually move your body to, but you could tape your feet along. Sometimes in a very strict tempo and at other times quite chaotic. It's hard to make out which track is what - if in fact these are meant to be tracks as such, which is something I can't be certain of - but the whole thing is more coherent than the ll:temor:ll release. Things stay together for a longer period of time, and through it works rather well. Here the entertainment value is clearer. You can play this and feel good as well as occasionally confused. Put in your Walkman and go out skating! (FdW0
Address: http://www.ephem-aural.com/

TOM SMITH/MICHAEL MUENNICH - IN MEDIA RES (cassette by Noise Below)
If I understand well the idea of getting these two together on a split tape was the fact that the label was quite fond of how both of them used voice in their work. Tom Smith is of course best known for his work with To Live And Shave In LA and Muennich has his work released on his label, Fragment Factory. The Tom Smith side is very low in volume, like it's been taped on a machine that is verge of breaking down, or someone tried picking this up through a closed door. You hear a far away voice in here and that's what makes that I kept on listening, both ears wide open. It remains hard to understand or decipher, these coded messages of slowed down time and highly obscured electronically components burned down. Muennich's side may have a voice, but it's feeding through boxes and/or synthesizers and sound, curious enough, like something Con-Dom could have done in a more contemplative mood. Maybe it's (also) a bunch of field recordings that go along, rain or train, the choice is up to you. It has a nice minimalist feel this piece, of slow changes, making this something of a cross-over between industrial music, spoken word, ambient and field recordings. Two quite different sides but each of these seem to be working around a minimal set of ideas and it works out quite well on both sides. (FdW)
Address: http://noise-below.org


Correction to last week's issue:After publishing the reviews of Hazard Records releases I was notified by Hazard Records that the copy of 'Propria Copia' wasn't properly copied - oh irony, with such a title - and in fact I had been listening to noise instead of the music, and hence the review of DJ Hazard made no sense. I downloaded the proper copie and indeed this is something entirely different indeed. These seven pieces deal, each in their own way, with electronics and plunderphonics, yet almost each of them also has a fair amount of rhythm, owing to the world of techno in all it's various guises. Downtempo on 'Remember Me' by Xavier Maristany, or nicely minimalist (Ikeda, Carsten Nicolai) by Maison Bricolage. In some of these elements of musique concrete/electro-acoustic music are also used, but in a more sequenced way.
Oscar Abril Ascaso has with 'RMS (cafeteria CCCB)' a piece that is build with field recordings, from the local cafeteria, on apparently a not very busy day. It's the only piece that has no rhythm. In fact: a most enjoyable compilation!
Listening to this and then returning to DJ Hazard's remix of this makes sense. It very much has to do with the original music, loading all of this into the sampler and then starting to play around with it, in a live fashion. That much of the review is still what I think of it.









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