number 937
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week 25
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PSEUDO CODE - THE RADIO'S ON (CD by EE Tapes) *
MICROSCOPIC SUFFERING - THE ROWING (CD by Pent Up) *
FALOT - EXPÉRIENCE BLOCKHAUS (OVER THE RAINBOW) (CD by Musique Mauvaise) *
ROMPRAI ETRON - MONTPELLIER ANAL PARASITE (CD by Musique Mauvaise) *
BETONFRAKTION - SURE 'NUFF 'N YES WE DO (CD by Blowpipe) *
XAMBUCA - UNICHTOZHENIYE (CD by Erototox Decodings) *
XAMBUCA - KAMUY (CD by Erototox Decodings) *
ELISA FAIRES - PHOTOSYNTHESIS (CDR by Erototox Decodings) *
VINCENT WRENN - YESTERDAY + TODAY (CD by Erototox Decodings) *
NG4 QUARTET - A QUARTET FOR GUITARS (CD by Mikroton) *
KAZUHISA UCHIHASHI & NOID & TAMARA WILHELM - I HOPE IT DOESN'T WORK (CD by Mikroton) *
ANGELICA CASTELLO & BILLY ROISZ & BURKHARD STANGL & DIEB13 - SCUBA (CD by Mikroton) *
TROUM - DREAMING MUZAK (CD by Zoharum) *
1000SCHOEN/AB INTRA (2CD by Zoharum) *
AABZU - IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (CD by Zoharum) *
KEITH BERRY - TOWARDS THE BLUE PENINSULA (CD by Infraction Records) *
FIBREFORMS - TREEDRUMS (CD by Infraction Records) *
LOREN DENT - ANTHROPOLOGY (VOL. 2 & 3) (2CD by Infraction Records) *
PAUSAL - ALONG THE MANTIC SPRING (LP by Infraction Records)
LANTSCAP - VARYING DEGREES OF ALIVE (LP by Infraction Records)
MINNY POPS - SPARKS IN A DARK ROOM (2LP by Blowpipe) *
ORIGAMI ARKTIKA - ABSOLUT GEHÖR (LP by Komkol) *
SCULPTRESS OF SOUND - SPECTODRAMA (12" by Makiphon)
CATHAL RODGERS - INSTRUMENTAL CONDITIONING (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
FOSSILS & BILL SHUTE - DIESEL FALLOUT DIXIE STAMPEDE (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
K2 - AUDIO PATHOLOGY ARCHIVES VOL. 5: THE BREAST TUMORS (CDR by Kinky Musik Institute)
K2 - AUDIO PATHOLOGY ARCHIVES VOL. 4: THE LUNG TUMORS (CDR by Kinky Musik Institute)
ATECHTS - DESOLATE COLLAPSE OO3 (cassette by Desolate Collapse)
ATECHTS - DESOLATE COLLAPSE OO5 (cassette by Desolate Collapse)
DRY SOCKET - VIOLATOR (cassette by No Sound No Heart)
RAY CREATURE - DON'T STOP TALKING (cassette by No Sound No Heart)
BEYT AL TAPES - DESENRASCAR (cassette by Meat Based Leftovers)
SPACE PROGRAMM/LATEX LYNX (cassette, private)
CR HOUGAARD - MUSIC TO TAKE NAPS TO (cassette by Reclaimed Tapes)




PSEUDO CODE - THE RADIO'S ON (CD by EE Tapes)
Following Pseudo Code's previous release 'With Helpful Friends' on Plinkity Plonk, they return to EE Tapes, who by now are the one label to deal with the heritage of Insane Music (to which Pseudo Code belong, but also Bene Gesserit and Human Flesh), with another album of mainly unreleased archive material. Whereas Human Flesh and Bene Gesserit are on-going concerns, Pseudo Code is definitely closed. Alain Neffe, the main man, operating synthesizers, strings organ, vocoder, ring oscillators, rhythm machines, could perhaps be bothered to work again, but Guy Marc Hinant (guitar, drums, pianet) is far too busy running Sub Rosa and with regard to Xavier S (vocals), I have no idea what he's up to these days. This anthology contains the earliest works of Pseudo Code, from 1980-81, which is what gave this CD the title 'The Radio's On'. These recordings were abandoned and shelved, and I don't know why, but to me they sound like genuine Pseudo Code. Some of these pieces made it compilations under different titles, such as 'Wondering Why', which is here still called '1999'. Pseudo Code's music is very electronic, and doesn't sound as extreme as it perhaps did, some thirty years ago; some of it may sound like pop music, like that '1999' piece, but also psychedelic, noisy and minimal. Dark wave meets experiment. The pianet is an odd instrument in perhaps any group, and it gives that very distinct Pseudo Code sound, just as the vocals from Xavier do. Whatever they play, it's always instantly recognizable as Pseudo Code. This collection of rarities, both released and unreleased, can serve as a fine introduction to this group, leading the listener to explore of their work. After thirty years of listening to their Pseudo Code - one of the bands that never went off the radar for me - I still enjoy this a lot. Immensely actually. (FdW)
Address: http://www.eetapes.be

MICROSCOPIC SUFFERING - THE ROWING (CD by Pent Up)
There is always a lot of music I have no idea about. Metal for instance. Today I read in my newspaper about a Swedish metal band named Ghost, which I obviously downloaded straight away, as I don't hear much metal. Which proofs: what do I know? I played it with interest, and quite enjoyed their Army Of Lovers and Abba covers, so it wasn't time wasted. Then it was back to work and I studied the package of Microscopic Suffering. People with pig masks, why not, who call themselves for instance 'pig/Tane West' (who plays violin). So I could launch into a diatribe about why I dislike all these things to sell music that have nothing to do with the music, but who cares about that? There is violin, bass, loops, drums (and it looks like they have two drummers) and guitars, and the music was already recorded in December 2008, but for whatever reason now released. This is more metal than Ghost and also less comical (I couldn't take Ghost' demon lyrics very serious), with a heavy slow sound, menacing, loud, and grim. Very grim indeed. I don't think it's something that I would listen to on a daily basis, but here too: no time wasted, as I enjoyed it quite a bit. It starts a bit more experimental with loops and rattling percussion, all instruments but the other two pieces have this voice beyond grave thing, but that experimental bit put them in my favour. Cut together as nineteen-minute piece, this is quite an odd release. Why now, is one of those questions? Why not, probably being the only right answer. (FdW)
Address: <pentuprelease@gmail.com>

FALOT - EXPÉRIENCE BLOCKHAUS (OVER THE RAINBOW) (CD by Musique Mauvaise)
ROMPRAI ETRON - MONTPELLIER ANAL PARASITE (CD by Musique Mauvaise)
Nick Land et el propose (it seems) an answer to rampant late capitalism which has destroyed humanity by consuming it, (a Capitalism still (it seems) run by rich outsiders in some space station or penthouse from which they gloat over their wealth gained from exploitation of the proletariat… and stroke their white pussies like in some Bond film…) which is a return to pre enlightenment days of cathedrals and  I presume some society of serfs and Lords which ensures escape from consumerism in medieval bondage in which humanity can once again be human! (sic) This is an alternative to his (their) former idea of accelerating capitalism to its death… presumably without throwing out the baby (humanity)… What has this to do with the above? Well why has the great nay sayer Vomir (Romain Perrot) diversified the industrial production of fin de circle HNW into ‘music’ with lyrics - he has something to say? He wants to say something - NOW! So noise qua noise is dead? (it was never alive) “noiseguitar solos, buried vocals..” reappear like the bitch at the end of Fatal Attraction.. but here (not there) not to die again – but as an unkillable zombie? You can't shut humanity up… hmmmm…
So theories of noise qua noise collapse in folk music, volk music of pre-industrial medieval splendor – the graphics resemble Teutonic fables and a Heideggerean return to the poetry of Hölderlin, ignoring the concentration camps.. However this is to be expected, didn’t the minimalists either fade away in marihuana or revert back to opera. Nixon in China, Two Trains, The Cave… yes humanity at it most human wants stories, words and music, nursery rhymes in which to make sense, a sense which has a telos, and blocks the howl of the wind the wolf the God of Job…the actually of the meaninglessness of The World. We want evil, good and bad, knights and princesses, and eventually the Holy Mother of God. Maybe – or maybe just relief from the boredom of a universe of darkness without feeling or anima… But who is the “We” here?  “Someone to open each and every door, But it ain't me, Someone who will die for you an' more, But it ain't me, babe, A lover for you life an' nothing more But it ain't me, babe…it ain’t me you are looking for” (jliat)
Address: http://www.decimationsociale.com

BETONFRAKTION - SURE 'NUFF 'N YES WE DO (CD by Blowpipe)
Its great to see some small independent labels taking risks here in the Lowlands, going off the path, against the grain. Narrominded is one, Blowpipe is another. We support that obviously, but that doesn't mean that everything they send is our cup of tea. Betonfraktion (a substance of concrete? a bit of concrete?) is a trio of Frank Crijns (guitar, devices), Marzj (drums) and Störsender Swarth (voice & noise) for instance is foremost a rock band, with a bit of improvisational qualities, maybe even a bit of heavy rock/rap influences (Urban Dance Squad?), but it's all very loud, like in a metal sense. Which happens to be the kind of stuff we don't know much about. It's hard to decipher what these lyrics are about, but maybe a bit of politics? 'Rattle Your Brain'? 'Synthetic Anti-Riot Speech'? That sort of thing. Four pieces only, lasting just seventeen minutes but oh, boy, what power and energy. The spirit of punk but with much longer track than the one-minute, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Metal with the energy and power of punk. An excellent antidote for the all drone and experiment that usually sound around here. (FdW)
Address: http://blowpipe.bandcamp.com/

XAMBUCA - UNICHTOZHENIYE (CD by Erototox Decodings)
XAMBUCA - KAMUY (CD by Erototox Decodings)
ELISA FAIRES - PHOTOSYNTHESIS (CDR by Erototox Decodings)
VINCENT WRENN - YESTERDAY + TODAY (CD by Erototox Decodings)
Four new releases by Erototox Decodings, two of which are by Xambuca, and both with a title I can't read - one might be Japanese, and one is in Cyrillic; I am told the first stands for "Unichtozheniye" (meaning obliteration) and the latter is pronounced as "Kamuy" ("which is the name referring to an Ainu deity, more specifically the Bear God"). I started with the latter, since it has the older catalogue number. Xambuca is a multimedia collective around core member Chandra Shukla, with the help of Jason Scott Furr, RK Faulhaber, Lux Vibratus (Chrome), Elisa Faires, Larry Thrasher, Todd Mellors (Saifir), M.S. Waldron (irr. app. ext.), although this CD doesn't list anyone, except that all songs are by Chandra Shukla. Throughout this first release is beat and rhythm heavy, and Xambuca shows us to be an excellent student of Pan Sonic. Fifteen hard driven motor beat pieces, with a set of piercing synths/sine-waves/drones underneath. Quite industrial, not unlike Esplendor Geometrico, with the drive of Pan Sonic. Only very few pieces are without rhythm, such as the ninth piece. Quite a nice release, but at seventy-five minutes quite a tour de force. It could have had more power if only the very best tracks were selected and the album would be, say, fifty minutes. Now, some of these pieces are a bit too long and without too much self-reflection. It is, however, a very consistent work.
The Japanese titled CD has a more recent catalogue number, but is in fact a re-issue of a work from 2012, which was available as a download only. This is the musically more varied release. The music is dedicated to the Ainu Ezo people and the Ainu nation respectively Hokkaido and the Kuril Islands. I am not sure if the music is in any way related. Here Xambuca mixes his heavy rhythms with more 'ambient' passages of a synthesized nature, but also some of the rhythms are quite mellow, such as in 'Surku' (here titles are in Japanese and English). I quite like the varied palette, which is on offer here. It shows us a Xambuca, which is moody, textured, aggressive, upbeat, down beat, spacious, energetic. It has a bit of that gothic-ness which I also heard on their previous release, especially when there is a melody played on a keyboard. Dark, moody but also quite musical; this could go down well at a gothic party (such as 'Nis'). While this touches upon a ground that is not necessarily mine, I enjoyed the variation here more than on the other release. If that release would have been shorter, I think I may have enjoyed that one more. Never truly satisfied, it seems, but both were actually very nice, very pleasant excursions into a darker undercurrent.
I never heard of Elisa Faires, who has a second release on Erototox Decodings and she is a vocal artist. Vocals and loop pedals. It starts out with a long, nine-minute, piece of wordless chanting being looped and layered, and which sets the tone for the rest. The second piece is called 'Cathedral' - maybe that is an indication as well. I can be brief about this. Every song/piece sounds alike the other, with an endless amount of reverb to let you know this is moody and atmospheric stuff, but also to tell you it's esoteric. It just annoys the hell out of me. It's poor on ideas, although right on the execution. She knows what's she is doing but not really why, it seems.
I saved the most interesting one until last, a release by one Vincent Wrenn, of whom I also never heard, but who has built an instrument, which has eight oscillators, eight amplifiers and eight speakers, in a cubic framework. Wrenn works with a microtonal system of seven octaves and each octave being divided into 360 notes, with Saturn being the lowest and the sun being the highest octave. That may sound also pretty esoteric, but the six pieces here are excellent studies in what seems to be sine wave like sounds. Each of these pieces appears to have very few variations and when played very loud may burst an eardrum, or destroy your relationship with your neighbour. I would think these pieces are best enjoyed when played at a medium volume, with the listener moving through space - even if it's just the head only. Your ears will pick up different frequencies as you move along. This is a very consistent release. Think early Arcane Device combined with Alvin Lucier's 'Music On A Long Thin Wire': this is some great modern classical music. This is something that should been seen as well as heard and make it into a total experience. Excellent! (FdW)
Address: http://erototoxdecodings.com/

NG4 QUARTET - A QUARTET FOR GUITARS (CD by Mikroton)
KAZUHISA UCHIHASHI & NOID & TAMARA WILHELM - I HOPE IT DOESN'T WORK (CD by Mikroton)
ANGELICA CASTELLO & BILLY ROISZ & BURKHARD STANGL & DIEB13 - SCUBA (CD by Mikroton)
A quartet of improvisers who all use the guitar, and all guitars in combination with electronics: Keith Rowe, Anthony Taillard, Emmanuel Leduc and Julien Ottavi. All from France, as Rowe also lives there these days. The recordings were made in December 2013 and maybe there is some sort of idea/concept/score at hand, but it's hard to guess what it is. One could also say we have four men with guitars (electric) and electronics who improvise together. And they do so in a very nice way. The guitar can be heard as such throughout this and it never gets very loud or rude, which perhaps the presence of Ottavi may suggest. A fine, sturdy work. Nothing great or spectacular, I think, but 'another' fine disc of improvised music. I like it, but I could also be without it, which is perhaps not as positive.
The next Mikroton release has three players, who are all new to me: Kazuhisa Uchihashi (guitar and daxophone; that's no spelling mistake), Noid (cello) and Tamara Wilhelm (DIY electronics). Their five pieces were recorded in July 2011 and July 2013, both in concert. I am not sure if this is really my cup of tea. Maybe like the NG4 Quartet I was thinking that these improvisations are quite nice, surely, but somehow I also failed to see the added value of these recordings to be released on CD. Maybe I am just tired? Maybe I have a hard time concentrating on this - and while lacking this form of concentration, making mistakes and loosing this text (but no harm done with the right interference). I am wrong, I think. This is quite a nice release, and the quality level of improvisation here is excellent. It has a fine dynamic level, louder than usual it seems, at times, and the three players work together in a very refined way.
The final new release is by a quartet of players, Angelica Castello (amplified subcontrabass, paetzold recorder and electronic devices, Billy Roisz (electronics), Burkhard Stangl (electric guitar) and Dieb13 (turntables & klopfer). They played together in concert on the 13th of December 2013 in Vienna and the only other thing the cover says it is 'a timeline composition for 4 improvisers by Dieb13'. So, maybe, in some way there is a score/concept/idea behind this. The concert here is kept in one piece and it's the most coherent one, perhaps also the one in which electronics play a bigger role, perhaps even on a 50-50 balance, or perhaps even more. It's hard to say, but there is indeed some continuous sounds on this, which seems to be a rare thing on the world of improvisation. Of the three new releases on Mikroton this seems to be the one I am enjoying most. It's intense, it's quite dynamic, it's balances nicely on the improvised and composed nature of the music, has extended parts in the world of electronics, but at the same time also is rich in acoustic sounds, with Stangl's guitar playing when he seems necessary - which is not always. Some excellent interaction here. (FdW)
Address: http://mikroton.net

TROUM - DREAMING MUZAK (CD by Zoharum)
1000SCHOEN/AB INTRA (2CD by Zoharum)
AABZU - IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (CD by Zoharum)
You could say that the first two releases make up Maeror Tri. This German trio ended in two new groups in 1997, Troum and 1000Schoen. The first one is by now a leading force in the world of ambient drone music, while the second becomes more and more active. Troum's release on Zoharum is a re-issue of their very first release and was already re-released in 2006. It was reviewed in Vital Weekly 535 and I am to stand my opinion from back then: "Another more than welcome re-release is 'Dreaming Muzak' by Troum. It is the first and also the last cassette by Troum, released in the early days of their existence (in 1998), along with 'Ryna' and 'Daur', the first releases of the band. These days they are highly popular among a crowd of people who like their things to be dark, atmospheric but without any sort of quasi magickal or ritualistick undercurrents. Troum likes to play upfront ambient drone material. Yes, that simple, because it would hardly justify their music describing it in a different way. Among some many people involved in producing music that can be described as 'drone', carefulness and softness are the usual keywords, and that is what sets Troum apart from them. Their music, made with relatively easy means such a guitar, accordion, percussion and tape-loops, is much louder and more present than their UK counterparts (Mirror, Ora, Monos). The music of Troum may have developed more and more over the last eight years and 'Dreaming Muzak' may perhaps be indeed the early beginnings, it's still a great work, moving slowly, but getting the listener into a heavy trance like (if you are open for that of course). Troum are among the best in their area. Then and now."
1000Schoen recently had a new double CD on Nitkie and here is another double CD, but a shared one with Ab Intra. The latter is from Poland and here they tackle the four elements. 1000Schoen does earth and fire and Ab Intra water and air. For whatever reason earth and air lead to no more than one track, but the others do. Also earth and air are on one CD and water and fire on the other. That's nice, but I think not without risk. I played this and noted that both projects sound, more or less alike. Ambient, drones, atmospheric. The differences are in the details it seems. Both use a lot of electronics, but it seems that Ab Intra is all about electronics, modular synthesizers, soft synth or whatever and 1000schoen is more about treating acoustic sounds with electronics, and working with ringing and singing overtones. In 'Turnanta Stalo' this leads to a bit of heavy percussion, and nice overtones. It's surely the most 'different' piece of the lot. What can be noted that both 1000schoen and Ab Intra they both have a very rich sound pallet. You might even say this is quite loud. This is something I also quite enjoyed from this release. I wish water and fire were a bit longer and beyond the thirty-four minutes they now are. This is some very excellent piece of drone music.
Behind Aabzu we find Maciek Szymczuk and Lukasz Szalankiewicz (the latter known as Zenial) and for their second album (see Vital Weekly 841) they point their direction towards the sky and named their album after the 1953 film classic (I am quoting here, I haven't seen that movie) and contains again some techno heavy laptop music. Lots of rhythms are to be found here, spacious synths and bits of voices thrown in. Unlike their previous release, which was a live recording, these are studio constructions and like the previous release this comes in summer time. Doors open, sunshine everywhere and these sunny boys (well, their music is sunny; it was not entirely necessary to put their picture on the cover, I'd say). I am way too much out of tune with what goes these days in the world of techno music, and anything should be qualified. Just like with metal music, you get burned too easily for using the wrong terminology. Partly dubby, partly techno, lots of synthesizers, which make it perhaps less dance floor music and more car driving material (or flying a space ship of course), but what the hell do I know about dance music? I had a great time with this fine piece of entertainment. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zoharum.com

KEITH BERRY - TOWARDS THE BLUE PENINSULA (CD by Infraction Records)
FIBREFORMS - TREEDRUMS (CD by Infraction Records)
LOREN DENT - ANTHROPOLOGY (VOL. 2 & 3) (2CD by Infraction Records)
PAUSAL - ALONG THE MANTIC SPRING (LP by Infraction Records)
LANTSCAP - VARYING DEGREES OF ALIVE (LP by Infraction Records)
A large bundle of new releases from USA's Infraction Records, the sole heir, in my opinion, of classic ambient houses such as Silent Records and Hypnos, maybe along with Hibernate Recordings and Home Normal. I might be totally wrong of course. I started with one of the names I recognized, and I hadn't heard much of in some time: Keith Berry. Some years ago he had a bunch of releases, more or less at the same time, or so it seemed, but in the last few years things were quieter. He still works within that field of drone music, all relatively dark but never too dark, all highly atmospheric and you never know how this was made. Most likely, but perhaps not at all, this is music generated from heavily treated field recordings. The odd thing, well perhaps in Berry's case, is that it's divided into twelve pieces, with a total length of fifty-one minutes, and these pieces something flow right into each other and sometimes they have a fade out, but during which the next piece also fades in slowly. There are no separate track titles, so probably it's one piece after all. Berry, from the UK, stays close to his UK counterparts, Monos, Ora, Paul Bradley, Jonathan Coleclough, Mirror, Andrew Chalk and maybe, at times, also a bit William Basinski like, with a slow decay over time. An excellent release of moody atmospheric music.
Following Berry I turned to Fibreforms, a trio of Kevin Hayes, Kirk Marrison and Clark Rehberg, who call themselves these days Kiln. They are from Michigan and somewhere along the lines they changed names. 'Treedrums' is an album from 1996, now nicely repacked (all of these releases look actually great, no rush jobs, nothing cheap). Repacked, but also 'economized, re-amped, remixed, and properly restored', so altogether a different release. I looked at the cover of the original on discogs and it might have been something I heard before. Their ambient is of a different nature; it's more the rockist agenda that is being played, and in particular the post-rock variation. All of this is instrumental of course, with lots of spacious guitars, reverb on the drums and much electronics. Think Tortoise, think Trans AM, Windy & Carl, but I also would like to mention something like O Yuki Conjugate; not because of the ethno rhythms, but of the ambience Fibreforms puts forward when the rhythm plays a more minor role. This ambient of the rock variation is actually very nice, certainly when it's part of a larger ambient bundle. It offers that bit of variation that you may need here. It also proofs that there are more ways 'to do' ambient than just computer processing field recordings. It sounds dated, perhaps, and then it also sounds entirely fresh. Great CD.
Three years in the making, 'Anthropology (Vols 2 & 3)', and the first volume was reviewed quite some time ago (Vital Weekly 694). Loren Dent's (brother of Arthur?) music has almost exclusively been released by Infraction and he is a man to play the synthesizer - a lot. Before I thought he was using processed orchestral music, and perhaps he still does, but here, these twenty-five pieces (two and half hours of music) also have something very synth like and very few pieces deal with the sound of a piano, processed and all. It seems as if Dent wants to immerse the listener with his music. Not just because of the quite massive sound waves he pours over the listener, but also because of the amount of music he releases at the same time (the previous included a CD and a four hour USB drive). This is music to have you immersed by actually. You sit down; you relax and let it all wash over you. In terms of 'musical development' Loren Dent doesn't seem to be doing anything you haven't heard before, but I am sure that is also not his objective when it comes to making music. Here it seems to me it is all to do with such notions as beauty, meditation or relaxation. Again the longitude of Dent's music is something that surely pleases the fans of the genre. Those fans sure get a lot here.
I am not sure if I reviewed something by Pausal before. This duo, consisting of Alex Smalley and Simon Bainton, have had three previous releases on Infraction and this new LP has several shorter pieces on one side and one short and one long on the other side. There is no indication of instruments on the cover of this record, but they might be guitars and electronics. But the website also talks about 'sounds of bells, woodwind and piano'. All of these are pretty much stretched out but in quite a gentle way. Pausal's music appears to me to be very clean cut, without any rough edges. Simply humming away in the night, this is late evening music, probably the one piece of ambient here to bring you down to sleep. It's at times as dark as Berry, but as said, also less rough - if that is something that could be applied to any of these actually - than Berry. Perhaps, spoiler alert, of the five releases this is one that appealed to me least. It sounds great, and Pausal have crafted a fine album together, but it's also too much without ideas of their own, and follows a well-known ambient template. If that's what you want, then it won't disappoint you.
Lantscap sounds a bit like the Dutch word 'landschap', meaning 'landscape', so perhapsit's a bastard form of the word? Behind Lantscap we find Warren Kroll (also known as Forrest) and Ian Hawgood, the man behind Home Normal. Apparently this is an album of guitar based, in the best Mirror tradition, but also using pedals, synth, vocals, tape machines. Overall this record seemed a bit rougher than the album by Pausal. More alive, more live even, with those shimmering delay effects playing underneath those endless sustaining guitar patterns. Five pieces, not that long, but each seemingly related to the other, but rounded off, like a fixed composition. Maybe the title is programmatic here, and there is an element of things being played live here. I think, differences being marginal of course, I enjoyed the Lantscap quite a bit more than the Pausal one. A lit more rough at the edges, maybe reminding me of Mirror - and remembering: when was the last time I heard one of their records; makes note here - in their best, which was probably all, days. Beautifully dark shimmering and haunting, the fine soundtrack for autumn days of days getting shorter - which I admit is not this week (not here at least). Great record! Five releases, five times ambient, five times with smaller and greater differences. All five of these with a great cover, all very stylish. (FdW)
Address: http://www.infractionrecords.com

MINNY POPS - SPARKS IN A DARK ROOM (2LP by Blowpipe)
Two years ago, an Ultra revival swept the lowlands and still small ripples of that can be noted. Ultra was, in 1980-1981, the short lived Dutch answer to 'No New York', with a variety of bands and perhaps a variety of musical styles, from very noisy to very quiet, from all guitars (and drums, bass) to all electronic, and all in between but away from conventional notions of pop, rock and punk. Ultra was also the name of evenings in that period, organised by Harold Schellinx (who wrote an excellent book on those years and this musical movement), Rob Scholte (now a famous painter) and Wally van Middendorp, owner of Plurex records and singer in Minny Pops. Even back then, Minny Pops already had a status - entrance at their Ultra concert was higher than regular Ultra nights (so we read in Schellinx' book) - with a 7" on Factory Records. Though not strictly separated, I think there are three incarnations of Minny Pops, of which maybe their first phase was the only 'real' Ultra, in terms of weirdness and avant-garde. By the time they moved on to the Factory 7" and a little later 'Sparks In A Dark Room' they were more a regular doom/dark/wave band, while in their third phase it was all more instrumental and merging more as Smalts - three members playing instrumental music without Wally - circa their final, and least recognized, album 'Poste Restante'. Van Middendorp was the main instigator of the Ultra revival, which was also a Minny Pops revival - so cynics could say it was perhaps vice versa. Four evenings (Nijmegen, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Amstredam) showcased 'young' bands inspired by Ultra with a fifth evening bringing it all to (another) logical conclusion, at the prestigious Melkweg in Amsterdam. Some of the 'young' band regulated to the small room upstairs, and some going by unnoticed, this final evening saw Minny Pops, The Tapes and Plus Instruments hit the big space for an enthusiast audience. The Tapes - great, great band, not so Ultra - were fine, Plus Instruments were great, and despite some performance element, Minny Pops was less Ultra as their set was all about 'Sparks In A Dark Room', with only a few older pieces. How it sounded, can be heard on this 2LP. The first is a plain re-issue of their May 1982 LP while the second disc is the April 2012 concert. The LP was already released in 2002 on CD with a couple of interesting bonus pieces, including the Smalts 12"from 1982. That CD has been repacked with the live recording as a bonus disc (I could launch into something about marketing techniques, punk spirit, sell out, but I won't). While not so Ultra, not so avant-garde, 'Sparks In A Dark Room' is a great record. The half spoken, half sung vocals, with reverb and delay, embedded in atmospheric pop tunes works quite well. This was, in my humble opinion, how the early 80s sounded. Dark, doomy, danceable, with a touch of light; hope and despair never far away. In their concert in 2012 they mostly return to the material from 'Sparks In A Dark Room', perhaps because some see this as the best period; a combination of a good 'pop' song, coupled with a bit of weirdness, especially in between the song banter from Van Middendorp, cryptic as ever. I quite enjoyed it; more than I seem to do on the evening itself, distracted by other events also happening, meeting people, drinking too much as usual. It sounded as it sounded thirty years ago - check out 'Standstill To Motion' (Vital Weekly 814), documenting a concert from 1981 at the same venue. I may have wrongly expecting the Minny Pops to update their sound in 2011/2012, but such is not the case when it comes to reunion. My mistake maybe. Now, two years later, Ultra 2012 is a memory and souvenirs like this keep the memory alive. Minny Pops were great on that LP and on that night. And still alive, contrary to what was told that night. And why not? If you have something nice going, keep it going. (FdW)
Address: http://blowpipe.bandcamp.com/

ORIGAMI ARKTIKA - ABSOLUT GEHÖR (LP by Komkol)
This already arrived some time ago, and I played it already quite a lot. That could be an indication that this is really good, but in this case it's more doubt and an uncertainity to make up my mind. Origami Arktika is a band that includes Rune Flaten on vocals, and Tore Honore Boe, Kai Koloi Mikalsen and others; no instruments are specified here, but it's quite heavy on percussion and string instruments (guitars no doubt, a bass but also a zither). Not this keep a steady beat per se, as the drumming is done in a more ritualistic form. It owes more to the world of free psychedelic music than say dance music, more jazz than rock. These shamans do a slow dance. Perhaps this is all rooted in the world of ancient folk music, but then updated to the current day? I am not sure, but it sounds like it. At times quite drone like, but unmistakably a 'musical' record. This is a band playing. Maybe these are things I find hard to get in to. Maybe it's because I don't understand Norwegian, providing this is not sung in another language I don't know. Maybe I am slightly allergic to all things ritualistik as such spelling dictates. But then, and here comes my uncertainty, I am playing this and find myself tapping my feet along and getting into their somewhat krautrock inspired rhythms. If you like the Nordic mysticism of say Sigur Ros and want something as moody but no doubt a lot weirder, than this is the place to visit. It's in a dark Norwegian Wood. (FdW)
Address: http://looop.no

SCULPTRESS OF SOUND - SPECTODRAMA (12" by Makiphon)
Last September I saw a concert by Sculptress Of Sound, a trio from Cologne with Julia Bunnagel, Patricia Koellges and Tamara Lorenz. They play bass, synth and sing. I can't say I was blown away by it; rather I thought it was quite dreadful. I didn't make notes, but I do seem to remember that it was all very pretentious, very arty: a bit post-punk - I was reminded of Malaria - and in a way amateurish. Their playing has improved for the three pieces on this record, but perhaps it was touched up for the release of this, but it seems still very pretentious. Very serious and, excuse me for saying this, very German (a country I love by the way). While I was playing these three pieces, I was thinking what would have happened if I hadn't seen the band play live before and all I had to go on was these three pieces of music? That's of course something we no longer know now, but I doubt if my judgement would be much different. The whole atmosphere of this is for me too theatrical in a rather dull way - just as I thought their concert was dull in pretentious way. Maybe this serious music/art is just not my cup of tea? (FdW)
Address: http://makiphon.de

CATHAL RODGERS - INSTRUMENTAL CONDITIONING (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
FOSSILS & BILL SHUTE - DIESEL FALLOUT DIXIE STAMPEDE (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
It's been quite a while since I heard 'Thirty-Nine Years Of Decay' (Vital Weekly 840), or his older moniker Wereju: Cathal Rogers from Ireland. He plays the guitar. In his previous incarnation this was all about the drones from the beast with six strings, now it's more about playing the strings and get away from the drones and the sound effects. That previous release, from almost two years ago, was louder, but not as noisy as it could have been. In the meantime it seems that Rodgers spaced out, mellowed out and tuned down. Here he strums away, just like that. Apparently he plays guitars, bass, synth, electronics and steel bow chime. It's hard to hear these, but who knows, perhaps they are there somewhere -at least in the fifth, seventh and ninth piece, I would say. I am (also) not sure how this works with the titles of the pieces, but maybe the text on the cover is the list of the titles. This is all quite moody stuff, but also quite lo-fi in recording quality. That is a pity, as this surely has quite some potential. It should mix a bit more with the pieces that are less about the guitar, a bit better in the recording department and it could be really good.
The other one is also a bit puzzling. Here we have the poetry from Billy Shute recorded by Derek Rogers in a dialogue with Canada's Fossils, David Payne and Daniel Farr. I expected some of their 'usual' lo-fi experimentation with guitars, drums, sound effects and tape-manipulation, but they rely solely on the latter. The words are treated by tape manipulation, just chopping up sentences, like a fine William Burroughs thing - even when Brion Gysin invited it. It takes the meaning out of these words and sentences, which you may not easily notice, if you listen superficially. Ten pieces which last about thirty-one minutes of what seems to be 'just' spoken word, and not even listened to with care will reveal its cut-up nature. Sometimes they use dictaphones to (re-) capture the voice but otherwise just spoken word. Quite an odd release, and perhaps not really the sort of thing I expected from Fossils. Maybe just because of that, I quite enjoyed this. Expectations should be avoided at all times. I quite enjoy Fossils. (FdW)
Address: http://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com

K2 AUDIO PATHOLOGY ARCHIVES VOL. 5: THE BREAST TUMORS (CDR by Kinky Musik Institute)
K2 AUDIO PATHOLOGY ARCHIVES VOL. 4: THE LUNG TUMORS (CDR by Kinky Musik Institute)
It would be wrong of me to just list the equipment, KORG volca beats, KORGvolca bass, KORG volca keys. KORG Monotribe, KORG MS-20mini, Sleepdrone 5, KORG Monotron & Monotron Delay, junk electronics , broken CD…  then add that these two CDrs are an exemplary (perfect, ideal, model, faultless, without fault, copybook, flawless, impeccable, consummate;) exposition. K2 might not be higher than Everest whatever and whoever that is a metaphor of – but is “the second-highest mountain on Earth-K2… is known as the Savage Mountain due to the extreme difficulty of ascent. “Just the bare bones of a name, all rock and ice and storm and abyss. It makes no attempt to sound
human. It is atoms and stars. It has the nakedness of the world before the first man – or of the cindered planet after the last."- ( Fosco Maraini) Hmmm – seems about right-  I would have to say why?  Nature naturing, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:.. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Oh? Spin, yes they do not “spin” stories or agenda, they are not like the social beats –humanity with its kings, hierarchies, stories, the “keep it simple- stupid”, the beauty isn’t gilded or degraded, naked sounds not nude or worse prostituted as value in the degradation of Wagner and all the acolytes of him crawling back out of the unconsciousness, why is Tolkien so popular? Nature has no hierarchies, D&G – is rhyzomic, a body without organs – organization - like the patch matrix of the MS-20 one might say. Organic and not orgasm… The achievement in making noise that doesn’t guild the lily of sound into music for the spheres. (Oblique pun in there…) Never mind the bollocks then – this is K2! So you have this stuff, see above, and it makes these sounds… this review might be wanting, you might want more, but there really is no more that can be said. This is noise. It’s like when I showed the magnificent – (I thought) comet Hale Bopp to the bartender… and he just said “yep… that’s a comet.” Well yep, that’s noise. Get it? Get it!… (jliat)
Address: <kinkyk2@icloud.com>

ATECHTS - DESOLATE COLLAPSE OO3 (cassette by Desolate Collapse)
ATECHTS - DESOLATE COLLAPSE OO5 (cassette by Desolate Collapse)
Together with these two tapes there was a longer hand written note, something that you hardly see these days. Dave explains that he found out about Vital Weekly from the recently published Muslimgauze book and that he sends me these tapes, which are published in an edition of thirty copies, as he expects not many more people want to hear this. Both of these tapes contain an hour of music, which Atechts calls 'ambient melancholia'. I assume he works with synthesizers and tapes of sound and/or sound manipulation. The development in all these compositions is rather slow. The sound is a bit muffled and dark. Maybe this is because of the recording quality, or perhaps this is a deliberate choice. I am not sure. The music has a rhythmic feel to it. Not in a dance sort of fashion, but slow loops of heavily treated sound. In a way it sounds like old Maurizio Bianchi in his more 'ambient' phase - say 'The Plain Truth - but more vague, more amorphous, more abstract - if such a thing is possible at all. The side first of '005' seems like something has been heavily slowed down, through the use of an old reel-to-reel recorder. The b-side here seems to be the most drone like piece, but it's also the piece which sounded the most 'clear' cut, with the drone present, loud and clear. I think there is surely a market for this, even bigger than thirty, as this all sounds very consistent and it's presented with nice dark grey package. Maybe it could be improved on the sound production part of this, maybe it should be just like that. Very nice first encounter. (FdW)
Address: http://atechts.bandcamp.com/

DRY SOCKET - VIOLATOR (cassette by No Sound No Heart)
RAY CREATURE - DON'T STOP TALKING (cassette by No Sound No Heart)
Michael Anderson you may now for his work as Drekka, here he is one half of Dry Socket, together Dylan Ettinger. They are from Bloomington and played a couple of secret live shows and a demo in 2011, which I believe is now reworked for into this release 'Violator'. They sound like good ol' industrial music, right from the very start. The B-side with its metallic percussion maybe Z'EV, Neubauten or SPK, while the more electronic first side it's all a bit more Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. Four lengthy pieces of noise, rhythm, vocals - all through a bunch of sound effects for extra gritty textures. I love it! It made me wanna shout along, and go down in the basement and try this myself. It sounds very old fashioned and normally that's not a recommendation I guess, but here it works wonderfully well. Long live those new small synths!
From the same city hails Ray Creature, also a duo, of Jon Erich Booth and Natascha Buehnerkemper. This cassette is a companion release to a LP that is also about to be released. Also four pieces and also in a way quite retro in approach. The opening piece reminded me of Attrition - early days when they have male and female voices singing, while Booth's voice on the other side reminded me of Nick Cave. The music is quite gothic, dark wave, and on the second side more rocky and one the first side more synth/rhythm machine based. Whereas Dry Socket sounds like it was taped in a basement, the production from Ray Creature is like a top class studio. Quite post-punky too, again the B-side more than the A-side. The sun is shining, the weather is awesome and I am in very good mood for stuff like this. Way too short, way, way too short, both tapes actually. (FdW)
Address: <nosoundnoheart@gmail.com>

BEYT AL TAPES - DESENRASCAR (cassette by Meat Based Leftovers)
From Gent, Belhium a new cassette label by the name of Meat Based Leftovers, who will bring us releases of solo artists, outsiders to any movement and active in the world of tape music and improvisation. The first is by Beyt Al Tapes, from Brussels, who is also known as Niels Latomme, with a release entirely based on recordings he made during a weeklong stay in Abrantes, Portugal. These recordings are not your typical field recordings of nature or locals, but also his own voice reciting texts but then all chopped up using lo-fi tape techniques. Sometimes he just bangs around and treats that in some way. That makes this hardly the work of field recordings, as said, but more a very personal form of sound poetry. The second side is very low in volume, as if almost nothing is there, whereas on side one there is quite a lot happening. No separate pieces here, just a steady stream of sounds, words and ideas. One side louder than the other. The cover leaves room for improvement in the design department, but otherwise a very fine release. (FdW)
Address: http://meatbasedleftovers.blogspot.be

SPACE PROGRAMM/LATEX LYNX (cassette, private)
CR HOUGAARD - MUSIC TO TAKE NAPS TO (cassette by Reclaimed Tapes)
Two tapes from Denmark, and leaves some puzzle here, mostly the second one. The first is a split release by Space Program, the project of CR Hougaard, and Latex Lynx, the project of Tobias Hornstrup. Hougaard played also in Meek, a drone project, and the doom metal band The Manipulated. I believe his is also the person to initiate these split releases, which appear not be on any label, and his side is filled with music that is quite dark and quite raw, despite the fact that it also sounds quite ambient and drone like. Latex Lynx is more noise and drones, and within it that, more noisy and distorted. I thought Latex Lynx was a bit too simple in approach for me, but Space Program certainly had some excellent moments. Brutal but elegant in its ambient approach. The music was all right, but never too great. A typical product for cassette release.
The other tape comes in a green carton cassette box sized thing, but the actual tape has just the Maxell tape with something handwritten on it, and a separate piece of paper explaining what it is all about. I assume this is some kind of recycling thing. "'Music To Take Naps To' is a collection of tracks made from twenty-four random cassette tapes. All kinds of classical music, religious prayer tapes, pop music etc were cut to pieces, effects were added and the result was recorded back on he original tapes", CR Hougaard writes on the insert, so I must (?) assume we are dealing with an edition of 24 copies here. This too is pretty ambient stuff, but of a different nature than what he does as Space Program. This is indeed heavily treated to such as extent that none is to be recognized; no pop tunes, classical music or prayers can be heard. It seems to me that a lot of this was put on a high-speed reel-to-reel tape and then played at the lowest speed possible. There is an odd but fine ring to the music. I quite like the consistency of this. It's like the KLF's 'Chill Out', but then less the beats and less the music, and just the atmospherically residue is what you hear. Ninety long minutes, times five if you put this on repeat, makes this a long night of fine sleep music. (FdW)
Address: http://spaceprogramsounds.bandcamp.com/












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