Number 1002

THE NECKS – VERTIGO (CD by Northern Spy Records) *
LUCA SIGURTA – WARM GLOW (CD by Monotype Records) *
YU MIYASHITA – HOMAGE (CD by Signaldata) *
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA – FIVE DREAMS (CD by White Paddy Mountain) *
AIDAN BAKER – ELEMENT (CD by Teta-Morphosis) *
THE DEAD C – PALISADES/T.I.F.F. (7″ by Il Dischi Del Barone)
MTO – MARY=X (7″ lathe cut by Static Caravan)


Line is surely missed from the pages of Vital Weekly, for reasons I am not
entirely aware of; maybe it’s the high postage these days, which pesters
so many labels on both sides of the pond, or maybe we’ve fallen out of grace
over something we wrote; perhaps they just have digital promos – I simply
don’t know. But Asmus Tietchens is a dedicated follower and supporter of
Vital Weekly and send down a copy of his release on Richard Chartier’s
Line label. But maybe that’s because we (and this time it’s actually ‘we’,
whereas usually I mix-up ‘me’ and ‘we’; but in this case: more writers
for Vital Weekly enjoy his work) are supports of mister Tietchens’ work
for quite some time, and I for one surely heard at least 90% of his
released output. We could tell you were works fit in that career. In
Vital Weekly 907 I reviewed ‘Fast Ohne Title, Korrosion’, which seemed
to be something entirely different in that long line of releases, with
loud synthesized sounds, tape manipulation and such like and I wondered
if that would something of a new direction. So far I haven’t heard
anything by Tietchens that came close to that release, and ‘Ornamente’
is not different. That is a pity, to be honest. Here Tietchens is on the
same trail as his previous releases for the Line label, and before that
on Mille Plateaux (plus a bunch of other, one-off releases such as ‘Fahl’
on Farmacia901, see Vital Weekly 967). In all of these works Tietchens
is the reductionist, or as he said it himself he feels connected to the
world of Ikeda and Noto, but that he is not part of it. I am not even sure
if he would agree to the word ‘reductionist’. Unlike many others who work
in the same field of reduced electronics, Tietchens is not someone who uses
all sorts of computer plug-ins, max/msp or some such, but in stead works in
very analogue way. Recycling sounds is what he always does, so whatever the
origin of the source material: by the time it leaves the studio it no longer
sounds like anything like that. Tietchens feeds his sound material through
all sorts of filters and strips the sounds naked to just a few sounds remain.
A few ticks and clicks, some slow moving sound (in ‘Ornament 5’), which is
almost like a drone. It sounds very quiet and distilled. In the opening piece,
‘Ornament 1’, we might even recognize an organ-like melodic touch, but here
too the abstraction has already set in. In ‘Ornament 2’ and ‘Ornament 3’ it
seems like Tietchens is using water sounds, like he did in his various
‘Hydrophonie’ releases (and maybe also in ‘Ornament 4’, but that one also
has quite a lot drones below the surface). It’s not a Tietchens release you
haven’t heard before, it’s the not anticipated follow-up to ‘Fast Ohne Title,
Korrosion’, a pity at least in this little corner, but it’s another damn
fine Asmus Tietchens release! (FdW)

THE NECKS – VERTIGO (CD by Northern Spy Records)

About two years ago I was pleasantly surprised by a release by The Necks,
‘Open’ (Vital Weekly 911). I had never heard of them, which caused some fun
by some: ‘how come you never heard of The Necks’? But now I am more aware,
thank you. This Australian trio consists of Tony Buck on drums, Lloyd Swanton
on bass and Chris Abrahams on piano and maybe keyboards – there is no actual
list on the cover. The website mentions Hammond Organ. This is their 18th
release so far and it’s a studio recording. Mentioned is however that a typical
piece by The Necks starts out with one player playing a motif, but the way
‘Vertigo’ starts is a bit different. It seems as if we come in straight away,
in the middle of proceedings and that goes on for the entire forty-some minutes
of this piece. Apparently they initially wanted to have some kind of drone
running through this, but in the end, somewhere half way through, that drone
is broken up, but it returns later on. Buck plays the drone with a lot feeling
on the cymbals and Abrahams with some keys glued down on the Hammond, leaving
hands free to play the piano on top of that, while Swanton plays the bass
steady most of the time but also finds his place to improvise on top of that.
The second half seems a bit jazzier than the denser first half, even when both
sides of the open ended break in the middle are pretty much hermetically closed.
There is even a bit of distortion going on in the second half, almost like a
rock band. Along with ‘Open’ I think this is another great release of ‘aussie’
new jazz (although: what is ‘new’ when you did eighteen releases so far?).
Last time I said ‘ambient jazz?’ and this time I’d say ‘doom jazz?’. It’s surely
a fantastic jazz album for anyone who says ‘I don’t like jazz’: these guys
proof you wrong.
   The other release on Northern Spy left me somewhat confused: this is,
I believe, the first time they send some music down here and maybe they have
not an idea about the kind of music Vital Weekly writes about. Itunes pops
up and calls this ‘indie rock’, exactly the kind of thing I have no idea about.
Not from anything current or old. It sure sounds very rock like indeed, punky,
feedback like, with vocals, quite noisy, but also heavy on the rock side.
Maybe this is for hip people? Something I certainly consider myself not to be?
Pieces are long here, from five to thirteen minutes and there are only four
pieces. In ‘My Lens’ it almost seems like a couple of songs stuck together.
Actually it’s not bad, but it’s just not something that is very much at home
at Vital Weekly, I think. I am sure ‘indie rock’ has platforms elsewhere
where this sort of thing is covered much better. (FdW)


The work of Lea Berttucci didn’t go by Vital Weekly unnoticed; especially her two
solo releases as reviewed in Vital Weekly 909 and 966 were particular good. She
plays the bass clarinet and works with sounds from a more electro-acoustic nature.
As an improviser she is not shy to use studio technology, such as using multiple
layers of her own playing. Leila Bordreuil is not someone I heard of before.
She is originally from France and plays the cello and has played with Marina
Rosenfeld, Anthony Coleman, Tom Chiu (Flux Quartet), Chris Corsano, Eli Keszler,
Richard Teitelbaum and many others. She also composes pieces for the American
Symphony Orchestra. In ‘her composed works draw from a similar texture-based
musical aesthetic while developing relationships between sound and space’ and
perhaps that’s something that we feel reflected in the release with Lea Bertucci.
In 2013 they recorded this on two-inch magnetic tape (I am not sure why that is
mentioned or important) in a large church hall. The four pieces (spanning thirty-
two minutes) explore nature of a large space and how sound bounces around in there.
The two players play improvised music and not necessarily go for the longer, the
more sustaining tones, but also, and what seems to me the majority, the shorter
more acute sounds, making lots and lots of small gestures on both their instruments.
If I’m honest, and I know I should be, I think I don’t always hear the big space
this was recorded in. Perhaps if this was picked up with microphones close by,
as well as far away and then mixed together, I think this could have been clearer.
Now it just doesn’t seem to be there that much. The four pieces are true delights
of freely improvised music, and both players call and respond to each other quite
well. There is a fine, delicate play going on between these two highly gifted
instrumentalists. Perhaps a bit short, but I put it on repeat straight away. (FdW)

GESCHNAPPT (CD by 1000Füssler)

On his own label 1000Füssler, Büttner has a new release with two slightly older
pieces and the first one is the title piece, which he translates as ‘if somebody
hears us – tell them – we only had to catch a breath’, and its music to a performance
piece by Anja Winterhalter and it’s from 2010. What the performance was about isn’t
mentioned, which is perhaps a pity as now it remains a piece of music, created with
the use of cracks, hiss, pops. Büttner uses a laptop, but also field recordings,
microphones, small speakers, objects and some treatment of all of that, again using
the laptop. That’s the kind of work we find here in this title piece and Büttner does
a fine job, but not something out of the ordinary I think. It fits his own previous
releases, perhaps a bit more refined, a bit more delicate, but at nineteen minutes
also perhaps a bit on the long side for what it is. The other piece on this release
is ‘Falte’, which is over thirty-three minutes, which uses sine waves, digital crackles
and white noise, which Büttner plays back over different external loudspeakers,
which were prepared with resonant objects like tin cans, tubes, wooden boxes ‘to add
some natural acoustics’ and also “pure sine wave without any overtones reacted with
the physical characteristics of a tin can or white noise be filtered by the resonance
chamber of a plastic tube’. A work that belongs to the world of musique concrete,
I’d say. It’s not easy, if not impossible at all, to tell why I enjoyed this piece
over the other one. Maybe it’s because it uses sounds that I find more appealing?
Maybe the whole form sound collage works better in this piece? The sine waves shift
back and forth and keep changing the way the sound, sometimes close by, sometimes
from afar and clearly cut into lots of smaller segments: just like a mighty musique
concrete piece would dictate a composer. There is nothing in here that is on an
endless sustained routine or noise for the sake of more noise. Sometimes it’s loud
for sure, but then sometimes, in fact most of the times, it’s not, and it moves along
between various degrees of audibility, thus remaining to keep the attention of the
listener until the very end. This is, for me at least, Büttner at his very best.
This piece, alone, on a CD, would have been also just enough, and the title piece
could have been a 3″CDR for the die-hard fans only. (FdW)


Only two weeks I reviewed a recording from St. Petersburg by Gaudenz Badrutt (acoustic
sound sources and live sampling), Ilia Belorukov (alto saxophone, objects) and Jonas
Kocher (accordion) and now Kocher and Badrutt team with Hans Koch on bass clarinet for
a recording from May 2nd 2014 in Rome. This is the world of improvised music and this
concert was nothing different. I have no idea what Badrutt does, come to think of it.
The three players here seem to have more interest in playing short sounds, rather than
long ones, and I thought that was remarkable. With the accordion it’s possible to play
those ‘long’ sounds, and the clarinet could do variation of both; this is not the case
with this release. If there is some kind of variation then it lies very much in the use
of ‘loud’ versus ‘silence’ – ‘quiet’ is a better word, as it never gets fully silent.
It never gets super loud either, not in the sense of ‘noise’ that is. Only on three
occasions, maybe eight minutes in total things become very audible and hints towards
something more drone/noise like. As said it’s very hard to hear what Badrutt does here,
but these thirty-four minutes is something quite intense all together; especially the
parts which appear to be very quiet require some concentration and dedication before
unfolding some of it’s beauty. Probably the best thing would have been to watch this
in concert, but also on CD it still has quite some beauty. (FdW)

LUCA SIGURTA – WARM GLOW (CD by Monotype Records)

Now here’s a name that immediately said to me: you know me, but somehow it’s one of
those musicians that have been off my radar for some time: Luca Sigurta. He has a bunch
of solo releases on Fratto9, Creative Sources, Afe Records, Dokuro, Lisca, Tulip and
Karl Schmidt Verlag but if my search machine works well, I reviewed only a solo CD back
in Vital Weekly 438, so perhaps I am excused that I have no immediate idea of how his
music sounded back then. Sigurta is also a member of Luminance Radio and the noise duo
Harshcore, as well as responsible for various collaborations with others. Back then it
seemed to me Sigurta was connected to the world of microsound and musique concrete,
but the seven pieces on ‘Warm Glow’ offer something else. These days he experiments with
ambient music, slow rhythms, has a girl singing on ‘Boundaries’, and enters a curious
field of trippy music. It’s not exactly trip-hop like, but thanks to the use of real
instruments (played by others, listed on the cover), Sigurta’s music becomes much more
musical. Sometimes it’s a bit jazz-like, trip-hop like but also it has enough weirdness
around here, to make it just not entirely, easy accessible music. I think Sigurta thought
hard about the whole nature of trip-hop, ambient, pop, melodies and concocted something
that is actually quite original, certainly in terms of crossing various genres into each
other. He created a bunch of excellent moody songs, with some fine shimmering melodies
buried in there. Maybe something that might be more popular, as in terms of ‘pop music’
and this might be his new game; may there be more new music from him soon. (FdW)

YU MIYASHITA – HOMAGE (CD by Signaldata)

A CD in a jewel case with just a small sticker on the cover and actually much of the few
text is in Japanese. This is life not made easy, me thinks. What do we know? Yu Miyashita
is the composer of the music and ‘Homage’ the title of the release, and the label is
Signaldata. Itunes tells us the titles of the pieces, which are homages to Leonardo
(Da Vinci? The computer music magazine?), Ionesco, Goethe, Novalis, Shusaku and Michael.
The same website also tells us that Yu’s work is inspired by the late 90s world of glitch
music. That indeed is something I can vouch for when playing this release: this could
have been on Ritornell, Mille Plateaux’ subdivision for all thing weirder, stranger but
still very much part of the world of computers. But actually, Yu Miyashita is already
part of that scene, as his ‘Noble Niche’ was released on the revived Mille Plateaux in
2011 – see Vital Weekly 790. Here Yu is less noisy and works around with loops of sounds,
rather than rhythms and hence me thinking that this would be better suited on Ritornell.
It’s all in the details maybe? When Yu uses more beats he actually works as Yaporigami –
more minor details I guess. From ‘Noble Niche’ to ‘Homage’: it seems worlds apart. From
something quite ‘noisy’ to… just where exactly? One could say this is ‘ambient’, but there
is more to that than just that. It’s not just a few layers of sounds, working together to
create a warm bed of ambient patterns, but rather the elements of noise have been softened,
slowed down and melted into something that is partially quite beautiful and part haunting,
thanks to the various layers of voices he sometimes uses. It owes to the world of skipping
sounds (think Oval circa ’94 Diskont’), but also to Fennesz on darker days, shoegazing and
malfunctioning software. It is perhaps not something you haven’t heard before but it’s
nevertheless of a great quality. Maybe someone should invest a bit more in design? (FdW)


You may recognize this name as a member of Kernel, in which we also find Kasper Toeplitz
and Wilfried Wendling and normally he plays the bass in whatever form plus electronics.
But he changed his modus operandi these days and works with modular synthesizers, along
with other electronics and a laptop, ‘as an assistant of analogs and (almost) no more
like sound generator’. Over at you can see what that all looks
like, plus how he combines a bunch of pieces we find on ‘Ilumen’ into one piece. As I noted
a few weeks ago, the modular synthesizer is these days the new laptop: everybody has one,
and it calls for some critical notion. Like many others in the past on the laptop, doodling
away, the modular synthesizer can also be a machine, which invites to doodling. Lots of
knobs and cables and results are quickly generated. But are they good? I guess much of that
depends on how one chooses to work; if there is a strict policy of ‘no editing’, then this
might easily lead to ‘difficult to listen’. However if editing is allowed than surely there
is a world to win. I am not entirely sure of course, but somehow I believe Abeccassis is
someone who edits his music before releasing it. It sure sounds like that. His music walks
a fine line between ‘loud’ and ‘quiet’ and is mostly, if not entirely, to be found in the
world of electronics. It is music with certain heavy weight to it, with oscillators working
over time, a deep furious bass, high-pitched frequencies, minimalist moves and all such
like, all cut together like a fine musique concrete composition, but sometimes with the
force of noise music. A powerful release, top heavy, and good quality noise music with some
considerable thought: that’s how we like these things! (FdW)


The press release for this is very lengthy, even when it doubles with information to be
found on the cover of the CD. There is also some information on the composer, but it leaves
out what I know him best for. I am sure for him that’s ancient (or perhaps irrelevant)
history, but maybe it is for readers a few lines to connect. Martijn Tellinga I know best
from the time we spend in an office together, working for Staalplaat, and him presenting
lots of music he created as Boca Raton, one of which I even released. Tellinga also had
his own label, Stichting Mixer, which acted as a publishing house for cross-over between
beat oriented music and musique concrete. Tellinga later on went to the Institute for
Sonology in The Hague and established himself as a serious composer of new music, dividing
time between Amsterdam and Beijing. His current work, and I didn’t hear any of his work
since ten years or so, is all about composing and performing ‘musical proposals and
acoustical situations’, ‘rendering an on-going meditation on the rudimentary condition of
the sonic arts’. It is ‘drawn from a reduced formalist-seeming vocabulary’ but his ‘scores
are often open-ended, simple rule-based system providing performers with a template for
listening, acting and interacting’. The five long pieces that we find on ‘Positions’
certainly could all be linked back to all of this. There is for instance ‘Truth, Exercise
For A Listener’, which can only be recorded with a handheld device, so the engineer is
part of the execution of the piece (and thus sounds sometimes far away). ‘Positions,
For Those Involved’ is a piece for audience making sounds for themselves, and there are
no musicians. That’s the kind of music one can expect here. The press text mentions some
notes by Michael Pisaro and although it’s not mentioned, maybe Tellinga feels these days
connected to the Wandelweiser group of composers? His music would certainly fit in that
with these more silent composers. Tellinga’s pieces are part minimal, such as ‘Three
Modulators, For Trombones’, which employs slow moving, long sustaining trombone sounds,
such like ‘Branching Into Others, For A Large Instrumental Field’, which is for more
instruments and who location is wide apart in an auditorium. These pieces I really enjoyed;
it reminded me of Phill Niblock. The other pieces worked less for me. The absence of
music and everything being in favour of an idea rather than music is nice, certainly when
it’s presented in the context of a live ‘concert’, however broad that might be in this
case; it’s perhaps too much John Cage, Fluxus and ‘happenings’ to me. I know that sound
may equal music, but I rather sit down and be enchanted by musicians doing whatever is
possible with sound. (FdW)


Itunes opens up and says this is indeed ‘Inscriptions’ by Wil Bolton and it’s classified
as ‘new age’. Who does that? Maybe someone who wants to pull a great prank? That might be
possible of course. Or perhaps someone seriously thinks Bolton’s music should be linked to
the world of new age? Maybe it was done in an effort to bring this music a wider audience?
Of course Bolton’s music isn’t noisy, and surely something highly ambient, but new age?
That seems a bit too far off the mark I think. Take ‘Hedera’, the second piece, with its
long sustaining sounds, piano tones, a bit of guitar tinkling and something that could be
the layered trombone sounds – or any other set of wind instruments. It sounds great and
surely nothing like some cheesy new age. Bolton effectively uses field recordings and lots
of guitar, both treated and untreated and that sometimes leads to gloomier trips, such as in
‘Cathedral Lines’, with washes of dark drones tumbling ashore. More delicate music and yes,
one could wonder: didn’t we hear more like this from Bolton before? Yes, we did and perhaps
it’s time to change the tune a bit, choose a new set of sounds, a limitation perhaps of
sounds; I don’t know exactly but it could be interesting to make a move. For the grey
Sunday afternoon, ‘Inscriptions’ however seems to be just the right soundtrack. (FdW)


Dirk Serries’ musical projects have been going for about thirty years now, and gone from
Vidna Obmana to Fear Falls Burning and, more recently, his own name. In more recent years
his music isn’t reviewed a lot in Vital Weekly, mainly because they are released on highly
limited edition pieces of vinyl (for which the promotion is digitally, which of course is
something we don’t do, etc.). Takahiro Yorifuji works as Hakobune, who has been around for
a few years now and who is someone who knows how play some mighty atmospheric pieces of
music. The cover doesn’t reveal much about the nature of the compositions or working
methods. It would seem to me that this is the work of the exchange of sound files rather
than sitting down, face to face, in a studio. Maybe it’s Hakobune who takes the guitar
playing of Dirk Serries apart, deconstructs it and feeds it to a different line of sound
effects (analogue or digital) and makes it sound more and more glacier like, drone inspired,
dark on the ambience side of things. Maybe these processed sounds went back to Serries and
he added some of his playing on top? Whatever method applied here, it is the result that
counts of course. Four pieces, all in the twelve/thirteen minute range and all variations
to the notions drone and ambient. There is a shimmering melodic mood to these pieces;
especially the final piece, ‘Obscured’, has a beautiful orchestral texture to it. Foghorn-
like strings and wind instruments, reminding me of a Gorecki or Part piece, but to a lesser
extent this goes for all four of the pieces. Maybe that is the intention from these players:
to play something that is slightly reminiscent of modern classical music? It all makes
quite beautiful music, one that fits the rapidly early nights and dark days.
   Labelboss Chihei Hatakeyama also has new release available and this one too is about the
use of a guitar. A novel, ‘Ten Nights Of Dreams’ by Soseki Natsume, inspires the music.
The basis of this release was already recorded in 2008 during a single day session, using
an electric guitar and a reverb unit. Over the years Hatakeyama has been working on editing
this material and now releases this five-part work. The sound of the guitar is very hard
to recognize, as Hatakeyama transformed it into a wonderful glacier like sound mass. Only
in the closing piece, ‘May’, we recognize the guitar, but it has that metallic reverb ring
to it. The five pieces are named after months, ‘January’, ‘April’, ‘July’, ‘February’ and
‘May’, but if one was to do a blind test and guess the month based on the music, I don’t
think one wouldn’t do very well. ‘July’ or ‘January’: the differences are in the detail.
Maybe all of this is of less importance for the listener; maybe the whole thing about titles
is private matter for the composer of the music. As I was busy talking with people at home
and on the phone for some time during the day, I had this release on repeat for at least
four hours, including time when I was doing nothing at all, and just listening to the music.
That was all together a great experience, and not for a single moment I had the impression
‘oh I heard this, so let’s play something else’. This was perhaps not a ‘new’ release
in terms of ‘innovation’ but it was another wonderfully beautiful release by this
Japanese master. (FdW)

AIDAN BAKER – ELEMENT (CD by Teta-Morphosis)

These three came in one parcel and might be released by one and the same person, albeit by
three different sub divisions? The ‘mother ship’ might be Semper Florens, which releases music
that is inspired by the use of field recordings. Loren Chasse from the USA is someone who has
been working inside that particular musical area for quite some time, but for whatever reason
he never released a lot of music. Maybe he’s just very critical of his music and that leads to
just a few releases? I don’t know. Likewise I must admit I have very little idea as to what it
is that Chasse does to create his music. Surely there is some field recording going on here –
a bunch of locations are mentioned on the cover (the Florida Gulf coast, Lava Beds National
Park, California, Chinatown, Los Angeles, Lower Lewis river Falls, Washington, Elowah Falls and
revival drum shop, Oregon), which brings some of the usual suspects: water recordings and wind.
But there is also the use of instruments to be noted. Percussion is something I believe to hear,
maybe a guitar or some other string instrument. The music is quite intimate I think: Loren Chasse
keeps everything quite close to each other and close to home. It never bursts out in something
entirely different, or there are sudden moves to make a totally new gesture. Obviously there is
also some kind of sound processing going on here, but here we have more questions than answers:
digital, analogue, real-time human intervention? Hard to say, again. Sometimes I think there is
some sort of sound being played by Chasse, at home, or somewhere outside and he’s taping the
action on the spot. Maybe there is some sort of conceptual edge to his work? There is something
here that reminded me of the work of Small Cruel Party, a similar mystique in using sounds and
instruments, melting these together, creating some finely woven dense patterns. Very quiet music,
sometimes of the edge of nothing being there and ultimately quite a great release.
   Over the years Aidan Baker has many releases under his own name but also as Nadja, ARC and
other guises, but somehow the majority doesn’t seem to make it to these pages. The thing I learned
by looking at discogs is that ‘Element’ is Baker’s first solo release, from 2000 and the music
was recorded in 1997 and 1998. Teta-morphosis is a sub-division of Semper Florens and deals with
re-issues of classic drone/atmospheric music releases. Trained as a flute player, Baker later
taught himself to play the guitar (as well as keyboards and drums), which seems to be his primary
instrument here. A couple of years ago I saw him perform live for the first time and his ambient
music worked really well in concert. It perhaps made me look at some of the earlier stuff a bit
different. In this first release Baker doesn’t have yet the level of ambient control he has in
his later pieces. The use of sound effects seem to me a bit cruder, especially in a piece like
‘Element #2’. Whereas these days the guitar is almost ‘removed’ the music and long sustaining
patterns remain, the six strings here are more easily part of the game. Carefully strumming,
going through lines of delay machines (‘Elemental’), to create a slightly psychedelic ambient
music. Sometimes, as in ‘Element #3’ and ‘Element #2’, a bit too loosely organised and one tends
to wander of and forget the music; Baker doesn’t hold attention there. ‘Elementary’, the fifth
piece was originally eleven minutes, but comes here with a long bit of silence in the middle and
some bonus music at the end. That’s a nice gesture I guess?
   The final release might be from the label boss himself, who goes by the name of [s]. (that
includes the . at the end), and who sometimes works as Five Elements Music, but also Sister
Loolomie for the somewhat stronger forms of ambient industrial music and Exit in Grey. As Five
Elements Music his interest lies more in the ambient variations of ambient industrial music.
For the four pieces on this release he uses a vinyl player, radio coils, metal, wood, stones,
effects. On his previous releases [s]. melted all of that to some highly distilled, quite dark
drone music, but in these pieces there are faint traces of rhythmic particles (which I guess are
hard to avoid when using a turntable), of rotating hiss, of metallic object dangling in the wind
and field recordings of an indefinable nature. Some of these sounds are pitched way down, to get
the max out of the lower regions of the sub-sub bass sounds and you know what you get: a high
quality, dark drone release. Maybe it is all a tad noisier than some of his earlier work but of
equal fine quality. (FdW)

THE DEAD C – PALISADES/T.I.F.F. (7″ by Il Dischi Del Barone)

There was a time when I was very much into the whole lo-fi, noisy improvised music from New
Zealand, and actually I still might be, when time allows me to play some of the music I have
stored here. Corpus Hermeticum was an important label for me in that scene and the main operator,
Bruce Russell, an important person to follow. It’s through that connection that I became more
familiar with his group The Dead C, which includes also Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats. Most
likely for many other people it was the other way around: through The Dead C they learned about
the other work of Russell. The Dead C is a free noise rock group, with lots of emphasis on the
guitar and drums, playing some highly space craze music, with especially the guitar howling
through a wall of feedback. It also may have the idea of a song structure, even side A cuts
out rather abruptly here. When I played this I realized it was quite a while since I last played
any music by this band, or in fact something similar from down under. I played this loud and
a couple of times and found the whole psychedelic noise quite refreshing, especially after so
much ‘careful’ music for the rest of the day. Great 7″! (FdW)

MTO – MARY=X (7″ lathe cut by Static Caravan)

Here is a new name for the Modified Toy Orchestra, who now go by the name MTO. I think this is
on 45 rpm, as it already sounds quite dramatic at this speed. It’s about Mary Bell, the second
wife of Richard Feynman, the US physicist, working on the first atom bomb and always wanting
his wife’s attention on the ‘infinite mysteries of calculus’. This song has a very sorrowful
tune and a highly processed voice, making it neither male or female, so it’s not easy to see
who is actually lamenting or singing here. It seems like a song, which doesn’t really start,
but keeps repeating itself, like the mystery starts over and over. The other side has it’s title
lifted from a news broadcast observing ‘the faces of the doomed astronaut’s families during the
space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986′, and Feynman was part of the government committee to
research this disaster. If ‘Mary=X’ can be seen as song, then this side, ‘The Breath They’ve
Been Holding’, is even more sorrowful and more an abstract piece, that disguises at the start
as a song, but follows the disaster and is an electronic anthem for all things disastrous.
It slowly dissolves in weightless space. The lathe cut here is a fat baby, and the sound quality
is actually quite good. The cover looks like a chalkboard and refers to Feynman as a teacher.
This is limited edition of 100 copies. What more do you need from a great label, than so much
beauty on a 7″ sized platter? (FdW)


Here’s a new name: Gary Fisher is from Salford in the UK and he has been playing out and about
since a few years and studied sound arts in London’s College of Communication. I understand from
the information that he likes ‘exploring found sounds, objects and materials; amplification of
objects and surfaces and instinctive play versus considered deliberation’, which he puts together
as sound compositions. I am not sure if there is any use of ‘real’ instruments. Sometimes it sounds
like that, but for all we know these might be sampled lifted from other sources, such as vinyl
(as, yes, there is some occasional vinyl sort of hiss to be noted). The ten pieces on his privately
released ‘Joined Apart’ all play the moody touch of music. It’s all a bit dark, using various
degrees of sound processing, both from the analogue and digital domain (such as the time stretching
of ‘Ten Stage Phaser Version 1’) and usually Fisher uses minimal means to achieve what he wants.
He has quite some nice sounds at his disposal and through uses them with quite some imagination.
It’s atmospheric and ambient, most of the time, but it also uses more forceful electronics from
time to time. So that’s all not bad at all, but I also noted that some of these pieces were just
a bit too long for the minimalism they had. After a few minutes one gets the gist of the music,
but then didn’t seem to evolve beyond that point. Then it seemed that some of these pieces were
nothing more than a bunch of great loops stuck together. Especially in the longer pieces such as
‘Falling Piano Dream’ this seemed to be the case and those dragged a bit on. But that is stuff
that needs time to develop, I think. There is lots of good stuff happening here and there is
room for improvement, both in music and presentation. A promising start. (FdW)