Number 1010

SEKHMET – TE SHII ES TAH.. (CD by Veto Records)
300 BASSES – TRIA ATOMA (CD by Moving Furniture Records) *
BERNARD GAL – ZWISCHENBRÜCKEN (DVD/book by Edition SP CE/Gromoga Records)
DARIUS CIUTA & SLAVEK KWI – AIRBELL 21/F-S1(2)A1T-02 (double CDR by Tentacles Of Perception) *
OGNI VIDENIY & SVETLO111 – SYNAPSE (CDR by Zhelezobeton) *
MAVEN CX – OVEBURNT AFTERDRIVE (cassette by Dream Fader)
ALEXANDRA ATNIF – SESSION 1 (cassette, private)


For no particular reason I think Akira Rabelais is one very eccentric
artist. Artist, not just musician. His work stretches out from the
creation of music, visual art, poetry and the creation of software.
In the past I used his Argeiphontes Lyre software, which basically
filters sound, quite a bit. Normally software developers think about
whether their product is easy to handle or learn, but with Argeiphontes
Lyre that is not the case. I still have a vague notion of how it works;
you click on a few buttons, load a sound, and then you wait. Sometimes
this waiting takes a long time and the result sounds almost the same
as the original, which can be frustrating, but no doubt that’s part of
the fun. Likewise his website doesn’t easily ooze accessibility, but on
the contrary there is lots to explore, and there are lots of ways inside.
   His new solo double CD has one long, seventy-minute piece on the
second disc, and four pieces on the first. The shortest is twenty seconds,
while the second is forty-two minutes. The first disc has four pieces
for piano, played by Rabelais himself and Harold Budd. Some months ago
I played pretty much all the work by Harold Budd as early morning music
(in an attempt to start the day with non-Vital Weekly related ambient
music), so I am now well-versed in his music and this new work with
Rabelais, the beauty continues. I would think this is a composed work,
with notes written down on a piece of paper and then played. According
to Rabelais he recorded Budd playing the piano and ‘retuned’ it a bit.
In the long “II. Every Tone Is the Prism as Words, Any Unexpected Corners
Must Be Slipped Away” there is lots of space between the notes; these
notes are like stars at night: you can see them in this black space
and you look for another, somewhere else. This is a very quiet work,
most likely one of the quietest works, which involve the work of Budd,
I should think (even I believe it’s mostly Rabelais who plays on this
piece. In the other two long(er) pieces the space between the notes
is not as radical, and in ‘IV. Your Effort to Be Entirely Among Sense,
Distance, From Under the Most Difficult Value of This Grace, Which
On Each Has Much Depends’ (yeah, a bit of long titles!) even going on
continuously, but all of the four pieces are beautiful haunting pieces
for two pianos. No software in use here (I think, perhaps not for the
creation of music), two men, two times 88 keys and simply gorgeous
   On the second disc, I would think (but in Rabelais’ world nothing is
really a certainty), he uses his piano recordings from disc one, feeds
them to his own software (which obviously is something he should know how
to work) and gives it mild treatments; stretching everything out just a
little bit, adding just a little bit of delay, giving it this excellent
ambient feel. It may seem that this is one long file, being processed as
it, dropping at from thirty to forty minutes a bit in volume and picking
up the piano sound later on, adding a bit more low end in the rest of the
piece, but throughout I had the idea all of this was put together with
great care. It has a poetic, dream-like feel to it, which works very well.
It reminded me of the work by William Basinski, but perhaps a bit sweeter.
Stay at home music; sip a bit of wine and great a book while listening to
both of these discs on repeat. Excellent release. (FdW)


Cosmic Impulse! Jazz, 60s baroque pop productions and decades of cop
themes are said to be the influences that Begg used for his new production.
Compliments first for completing this job that has the involvement of
eleven musicians. We are talking of the Midnight Doctors, an ambitious
project by New Castle-based multi-instrumentalist Phil Begg. In 2013
Midnight Doctors debuted. This CD is the follow up. Released on Ourodisc,
a label that was started in 2008 by Phil Begg to self-release music he
is involved with (Hapsburg Braganza, a.o.). A big ensemble, with Begg
himself being one of the performers, playing piano, harmonium, guitar,
percussion, tubular bells, eurorack modular and electroacoustics, plays
the compositions by Begg himself. Other instruments involved are tenor
sax, double bass, violin, tape, voice, clarinet and trombone. His music
is difficult to classify, but not because it is not outside all
conventions. On the contrary the music is in a way very conventional.
However ‘My Forsyth’ is a strange experimental collage-work that
fascinates. ‘Death of the Similaun Man’ is a dark percussive piece.
The other pieces however are very accessible instrumentals that remind
more of the past than a future to come. A better production would have
helped. The arrangements would be more pronounced, also the diversity
of sounds that are added. On the other hand it must be said that Begg
surely follows his own path. (DM)


Captivating grooves and drones by a new power trio from Belgium. Let me
present you the crew. Leo Dupleix (keyboards) studied at the Brussels
Royal Conservatory, and has his base in Tokyo. Mainly working as an
electronic musician in the contact of improvised and experimental music. 
Laurens Smet (bass) comes from Antwerp where he visited the conservatory,
and works in jazz and improvised combinations like Bambi Pang Pang. Louis
Evrard (drums), influenced by contemporary music, hip-hop and everything
in between, operates in many different contexts. They met in Brussels
and discovered they had a common interest that is now demonstrated on
their well-balanced debut album as Tandaapushi. Drone rock with a well-
chosen, coherent outlook. In their pulsating structures they move very
convincingly towards their goal. Minimalistic on the one hand, they do
their thing with fantasy.  The bass playing of Smet effectively
complements the beats and rhythms by Evrard. Both supply a solid floor
for the fine sound textures by Dupleix.  This results in truly
hypnotizing, trance-inducing music, that somehow picks up where kraut
rock bands like Can, Neu and Faust stopped. Released on the Danish
Jvtland label of Martin Vognsen. (DM)


Every now and then, I encounter a record that really stands out. This
first solo album by the French-Japanese violist Frantz Loriot is one of
them. Exceptional and intriguing in many aspects. From a very young age
Loriot played the violin. Later he studied musical sciences in Paris,
and changed the violin for the viola. Under the influence of Joëlle
Léandre, Barre Philips and others he turned to improvisation. And this
CD with the descriptive title ‘Reflections on an Introspective Path’
is his first solo statement. He is involved in many different projects.
Also he leads two large ensembles. One in Europe, the 10-piece European
Notebook Large Ensemble, and another one in New York, the 12-piece
Systematic Distortion Orchestra. New York is also the place where he
did his recordings for his solo cd. Everything was recorded on December
20th, 2014 at Bunker Studios. The recording is crystal clear. It is like
being inside the instrument. All sounds and every nuance evoked by his
playing, using extended techniques, are registered and can be enjoyed
at an almost microscopic level. The playing by Loriot is intense and
lively. Impressive is the range of sounds he is able to extract from
this instrument. But above all he manages to make very engaging and
emotional music, that I experienced as very organic and physical.
A true tribute to the viola! (DM)

SEKHMET – TE SHII ES TAH.. (CD by Veto Records)

Sekhmet is a Swiss ensemble of three young musicians, named after
Sehkmet an Egyptian goddess. The trio is made up of Sara Käser (cello),
Raphael Loher (piano) and Vincent Glanzmann (drums). ‘Te Shii Es Tah’
is the mysterious title of their debut, released on Veto Records of
Christoph Erb. Also the titles of tracks have strange names, and I guess
are taken also from old Egypt for some unclear reason. A few words about
their backgrounds. Käser plays improvised as well as modern composed music.
Loher started with the blues but nowadays travels between improvisation,
modern music and rock music. Glanzmann works as a composer and improviser.
Profiles that are common these days. Musicians operating in the context of
improvised as well composed music. As a trio they are into improvisation,
as is demonstrated here in ten tracks, recorded at the Jazzkantine in
Luzern. I associate their improvisations more with chamber music, than
with jazz. The improvisations are very pointed and concentrated. All
three take equal part in their musical communication. The pieces have
drama and are structured along very different ideas. Sometimes they are
more into sound and textures like in “Af’tah”. Pieces like “So Osun” is
a captivating interplay of patterns, with drummer Glanzmann in the lead.
Closing piece “Clerte O Gun” has jazzy touches in the beginning, and also
demonstrates their sense for humour and wit. All in all, this is some
spirited and manoeuvrable improvisation of a trio that has a considerable
vocabulary at their disposal and lot of ideas. (DM)


This is already the second release by Mathes for Unfathomless, following
‘Efequen’, which was reviewed in Vital Weekly 872. On the Unfathomless
mothership Mystery Sea he also released a work and likewise on Basses
Frequencies. For this new work he recorded sound material in a rusty metal
tank as well as the local environment of Port Saint-Louis du Rhone in
the South of France. That results in one long piece of close to forty-
three minutes. As you can imagine from reading the word ‘metal tank’,
the other oft-used word, ‘reverb’, is never far away. Just as with last
week’s release by Osvaldo Coluccino, also on Unfathomless, which was
recorded in a monastery, the natural reverb plays an important role in
this piece. But where Coluccino had a variety of recordings from various
spaces, everything here sounds pretty hollow. It seems, and I might
entirely be wrong of course, that inside this rusty tank Mathes explores
the space with metal objects, thrown about from afar, but also carefully
playing the surface of the tank with the same objects, and then it
happens closer to the microphone, i.e. with a less amount of reverb.
That is what creates the variations in this release. All of this clearly
divided into various sections, which are connected using cross-fades,
so the work flows naturally from section to section. These variations
in approaching the rusty tank – far away, close by, makes that this
is more interesting than the average musical approach to such places
(rusty tanks, bunkers and other hollow spaces with lots of natural
reverb). While I quite enjoyed this piece, I must say I found it not
so surprising. I suppose this is the kind of things people do when they
are in rusty tanks. But as I said, this is well enjoyable, though no
masterpiece. (FdW)

300 BASSES – TRIA ATOMA (CD by Moving Furniture Records)

Slowly Dutch label Moving Furniture Records becomes the best place for
new music releases in this country. Lots of their artists are Dutch,
which I always think is a great thing (unlike the situation for festivals
for new music in The Netherlands, where it is hard to perform if you are
Dutch; they rather rehash the same thing over and over again), but there
are also foreign artists to be found in their catalogue. Obviously the
label boss decides what to release and with his own musical project
being Orphax it’s perhaps not a surprise he likes a lot of drone music.
In that respect you think that a trio of accordion players might be a
bit out of place, but what these three do fits very much the ideas of
the label. I reviewed their debut CD ‘Sei Ritornelli’ in Vital Weekly
839 and here they have a new release, recorded over a few days in Athens
last year. I am not sure if that means these recordings are ‘live’ or
in any way the result of studio tricks, such as multi-tracking. Not that
it all really matters, I should think. We have here three pieces, played
by Luca Venitucci, Jonas Kocher and Alfredo Costa Monteiro, of which the
latter also plays objects on his accordion. These three pieces last in
total thirty-five minutes and have some of the best acoustic drone music
around. They press keys down and play very slowly to create a wonderfully
rich field of overtones. 300 Basses’ music sound sometimes like bows
playing cymbals; perhaps they use cymbals to play accordion? The music
is the not, so it seems, the result of improvisation, but of playing
carefully constructed pieces, in which silence plays a big role from time
to time. The changes within each of these pieces are quite minimal, but
they work very well. All of these are wonderfully paced and placed. It
makes that this album fits perfectly in the world of Moving Furniture
Records, partly because it contains the well-known drone music by this
label, and on the other hand while all of this sounds so differently,
coming from an acoustic end. I would love to see them play in concert
one day! (FdW)

BERNARD GAL – ZWISCHENBRÜCKEN (DVD/book by Edition SP CE/Gromoga Records)

A good friend of mine always says: “get out of this silly business of
records nobody wants to buy and get into art installations; that’s where
the money is”. Maybe that’s what Bernard Gal thought? He’s been into the
creation of multi-media installations for a long time now and with
‘Zwischenbrücken’ he releases his second book about his work in this
directions. First time it came with a CD, this time it is a DVD, with
close to two hours of music and two hours of films. This is (only?)
his eleventh release, so he’s not really into the silly business of CD
releases I should think. His installations are presented all over the
world, not just Western countries but also in Oman and Tunisia. Some
of these installations are site-specific, while others can be shown in
various places. In other pieces it’s all about theatrical aspects of his
work, and he uses players of instruments in his pieces. Light plays a
big role in many of his pieces. In ‘Solo’ for instance he has four old
telephone boots with various lights, which have music and one notices
the city from a different colour. Shadow play with real musicians is
also a common place. In this document we find snapshots of all of these
from the last ten years. Most of them are represented by both audio and
video and usually last somewhere between five and ten minutes. That
perhaps has a bit of a snapshot idea to it, which is a pity. For some
of these pieces I wouldn’t mind to hear a longer version, whereas others
didn’t interest me that much, such as ‘Klangschatten’, but as I’m not a
child so I am also not the intended audience. The book itself (144 pages,
200 photos, hardcover) contains for every installation a description
(which looks like it might not have been made by Gal, but by a third
party), whereas Gal himself writes more personal observations about his
pieces. It all looks great, if not a bit highbrow art like, but I guess
that comes with the territory. As a pure music man I can look at this
and be a bit envious: simple ideas are turned, apparently, easy into
great visual and musical pieces that work well – judging by the
documentation. But for some of the music pieces I also had the idea
that Gal is perhaps relying a bit too much on the use of laptop
techniques and it seemed sometimes a bit too much time stretching and
plug-ins making this into warm glitch-like music. Perhaps that is where
the pure music man comes in, stripping away the rest and listening to
the music? As a gesamtkunstwerk however I would say Bernard Gal’s work
is all top-notch. (FdW)
   Address: http://www.sp-ce.net


Already active in the Danish underground for about a decade or so, and
having worked with f.ex., Peter Peter (Sort Sol, Iceage), Bjørn Svin,
Jørgen Teller and Lotte Anker, as well as performing with Ingrid Chavez,
Rhys Chatham, Fast Forward and others, this is Christian Rønn’s debut
album. For this he plays Würlitzer piano, Yamaha CS5, MFB Dominion X-sed,
Casio, FX devices, Ehlert Acoustic Church Organ and Real-Lyd – for some
of this I have no idea what it is. The press information refers to Neu,
Cluster, Brian Eno and Steve Reich, but all of this very strictly kept
in the realms of electronic music. There is throughout shimmering melodic
lines here, which keeps this out of the very abstract work. Seven pieces
here, all about lines playing on the keyboards and filled up extra sounds
from the synthesizers. This music exists within some middle ground of
dark ambient, electronic pop, psychedelic music, a bit of drone and is
made with delicate touch of improvisation. It works very well, but more
or less only as something that plays rarely nicely in the background.
There are no shock elements here, nothing angular, weird or biting. That
is perhaps a bit of a downer, I guess. This is harmless music. I didn’t
mind; I wasn’t drawn into this, but doing a variety of things at the same
time, turning the record over and over, until I was done with my small
household activities. This record provided an excellent backdrop for
doing such tasks. A bit dark, a bit melodic, a bit abstract and quite
free in choosing the right sound material to set such moods. (FdW)
   Address: http://insulamusic.dk


It’s been a while since I last heard of last heard of Ingenting Kollektiva,
which had two releases shortly after one another (Vital Weekly 820 and 855).
The recordings from this new LP took about five years and are inspired by
‘the atmosphere of melancholia summoned by Georg Büchner’s novella fragment
‘Lenz’ and researched by Robert Buron in his book ‘The Anatomy Of Melancholy’
we read on the information. The group, which may or may not consist of
Matthew Swiezynski, Johannes d’église, Arthur de Eriomém and Tarrl Lightowler,
take their musical inspiration from the idea of ‘Lontano’, which means ‘from
a distance’ (as explored by such composers as Ligeti and Penderecki), and it
was recorded in the Arthur de Eriomém rural library Casa di Memoria. There
are instruments mentioned on the cover, but no who plays what: jazzmaster,
telecaster, acoustic (all of these guitars), strings, harmonium, bells, field
recordings, found melodies, percussion and twin reverb. With all the cultural
references they mention, one should probably first do a study of all of these
and then play the record. Which reviewer has such time available, I wondered?
The group plays some very refined form of improvised music, indeed sounding
a bit from a distance, but perhaps some excellent microphones just captured
quite a bit of atmosphere in this library. It sounds gorgeous; there are
elements of psychedelic music, folk music, drone, free music and at times
I was reminded of Nurse With Wound, with the studio manipulation being an
extra instrument. It is all heavy on the moods and with dark atmosphere;
it’s never grim or black. The music by Ingenting Kollektiva is mistier,
small raindrops from grey skies over barren land; exactly the kind of image
Ingmar Bergman projected in his movies. Not exclusively about desolation,
as there seems always to be a bit of hope.
   The other new record by Invisible Birds is by Asphodel, the musical
and visual project of Atay Ilgün and Alper Yildirim, who both also run
the Wounded Wolf Press label in Turkey. Their record is about the a forest
located in Mount Fuji, Japan, called Aokigahara, where thousands of people
committed suicide, so the whole forest is covered with photographs, letters
and instruments, all untouched out of respect of the death. I never heard
of this place and it surely sounds like grim one. There are no instruments
mentioned on the cover, but the result is about ambient music with a strong
tendency towards drones. I believe to hear flutes, guitars, and percussion
and of course there are lots of sound effects; especially the reverb is
working overtime here. In these six pieces moods and textures play a big
role, not unlike on the record by Ingenting Kollektiva, where instruments
sound clearer, with Asphodel the textures are more abstract; it could be
about a forest in Japan, but just as easily it could fit any forest,
lonesome island, misty lake, desert (although it doesn’t feel ‘hot’),
or any other mind expanding experience for which you don’t need to leave
the house. It is a well-made record, somewhat unsurprising but maybe we
are lacking the correct movies/books or whatever other cultural ephemera
there is to be had for this. (FdW)

A FORGERY (7″ lathe cut & CDR by Ballast)

Another box filled with goodies by Ballast, the new imprint for small
beauties by Blake Edwards, also known as Vertonen and Dead Edits. It’s
in the latter capacity, a duo of Edwards and Eric Lunde that he presents
this box, and they go along Lautreamont’s ‘plagiarism is necessary,
progress implies it – and a sense of humour doesn’t hurt’. Dead Edits
took a copy of Stefan Weisser’s ‘Editeditions & Contexts’ 7″ and used
that as the source material for their release, all with the blessing
of Weisser, which may also be known as Z’EV. The 7″ came, back in 1983
when it was released, with visual poems printed on cards. All of this
became the source for Dead Edits, who received a bunch of extra prints
from Z’EV to use. This box has lovely items, such as hand drawn covers
by Lunde of the original, a card to cut ‘n paste your Weissermobile,
lots of Xeroxed arts with poems based on the original set, a 7″ lathe
cut and a CDR. All of this in an edition of twenty copies: a true art
object. Before I started to play this, I took out the original 7″
(which as a true Z’EV fan I have!) and played that again, albeit only
at 33 rpm (one can play this at any speed). Voices rotate in loops
along with sounds of bottles being smashed and other sounds. Quite
hypnotic music but it is not without variation. A fine record, but not
something I would easily pick out to rework. Dead Edits, however, did.
For the lathe cut version, Edwards recorded the music from unamplified
copy by placing a microcassette close to the needle; just that, but
also picking up any other sound from the room, motors, and assorted other
noise. All of this remains very quiet and one cannot recognize the
original easily.
   The CDR has much more audible pieces and here Dead Edits apply their
more ‘usual’ process of playing their music in all sorts of strange
manners, picking the sound from small speakers, lo-fi Dictaphones,
cutting up mixes, adding their own voices and a constant cut-up. Unlike
the original, which is very looping based, the music here is not
entirely loop based. It’s of course there, but the voice of Lunde plays
an important role and effectively creates more poetry, in new contexts.
There is some excellent variation in these nine pieces, ranging from
pure sound poetry to industrial loops and all of that in the best lo-fi
musique concrete tradition – just as one would expect from Dead Edits.
An excellent release: much food for thought. (FdW)


From Boston hails Morgan Evans-Weiler, who plays violin as well as
electronics and who runs the Individual Lines label, releasing music
by Taps (Chris Strunk & Brendan Murray), Jesse Kenas-Collins, Deleuzer
and others. He has performed with Vic Rawlings, Sarah Hennies, Dave
Gross, Keith Rowe and many others. On his solo release ‘Violin/Sine’
he uses a violin (obviously) and sine waves. ‘The works featured
juxtapose the very slow change of static fields with iterations of
material that aim to alter the field. These events give new insight
into the nature of the static field; they reveal the infinite
possibilities held within a stasis’. Just today I was reading Alvin
Lucier’s excellent book ‘Music 109’ (highly recommended if you are
into ‘new’ music and want something that is easy to read and understand),
and he himself is a composer who extensively researched this field of
sound proportions with sine waves and instruments. I am not sure where
Evans-Weiler sees himself in this particular field, but I must say he
learned his lessons from Lucier and is a fine composer/improviser when
it comes to sine waves and violin. In these three pieces he explores
all of this very well. His violin playing doesn’t always follow the
same pitch(es) as the sine waves, but plays along in his one way;
sometimes neither are constantly present (unlike most of Lucier’s work
in this field), such as in ‘Permutations’. In the two parts of ‘Chorus’
both seem to be present most of the time, but in varying degrees of
intensity. In ‘Chorus II’ that worked best, with that continuous sine
wave and sparse violin. All of this is best played at a medium to low
volume. Quite a refined release. (FdW)

(double CDR by Tentacles Of Perception)

At the basis of most collaboration there is the exchange of sounds,
which should hardly be a surprise, but in this case Ciuta from Lithuania
and Kwi from Ireland (and who is better known as Artificial Memory Trace)
exchanged objects that create sound. I believe Kwi mailed an airbell,
while Ciuta mailed two balloons, with air from his room and his street.
Kwi attached little microphones to these balloons and recorded his own
environment (house, garden, his car) and uses those recordings to create
his nearly eighty minutes composition. I am not sure if it is entirely
accurate to say that there is such as thing as the Artificial Memory
Trace sound, and whether or not as Slavek Kwi it would be something
similar, but in these eighty minutes we find all his trademarks:
crackling sounds of field recordings (wind, water, street), some with
extreme filtering, bringing out very low or high end sounds, although
maybe a bit less extreme in this piece; and there is that seemingly
flowing sound, going from section to section. Excellent piece.
   Of similar length are the three pieces by Darius Ciuta, who is
perhaps a little less active as Slavek Kwi, but who has had releases
on Triple Bath, Mystery Sea, Unfathomless, Con-V and even a 24-hour
piece on a Raspberry-Pi device. Much of his music exists only in the
form of downloads. His nearly 80 minutes piece works very much with
the same sounds but Ciuta takes on some more radical filtering than
Kwi does. Very low end sounds, but more usually very high end sounds,
just clicks and somewhere in the distance you can recognize the
original sound sources: people singing, talking, water and wind.
This is quite some radical music. It is perhaps at 160 minutes all
a bit too much of radicalism, certainly when you play the Ciuta CD
second, but of course you are free to play them wide apart and enjoy
what it is in there.
   As a bonus, when you go for the download of this album, you can
also get a folder of sound material used in all of this and mix your
own version. Now there’s a challenge! (FdW)


This is the second release that Fergus Kelly and David Lacey release;
the first was ‘Bevel’ in 2006. I am not sure if I heard that one;
somehow I don’t think so. In this duo recording Kelly plays ‘invented
instruments’, electronics and percussion, while David Lacey on
percussion and electronics. Lacey is an improviser, who has played
with a group called Chip Shop Music, but he also played with Paul
Vogel and others. It was recorded during various sessions between
2011 and 2014. That’s about the extent we learned about the creation
of this release. Throughout these five pieces (fifty minutes of
music), it is all very quiet what these men do. Sometimes I had the
impression it was recorded from afar, but maybe there are creative
reasons for this to be at such a low volume. It made me wander off
that times and at one point I even switched off the CD to start again
from the beginning at a considerable louder volume. But even then
it stays quiet, with events spreads out wide apart. There is surely
always something to be heard here, continuous sounds, the rumbling
of objects, the exploration of surfaces and such like, but only very
occasionally it seems to break out of the low volume and become
something louder. This happens for instance in ‘Old Minutes’, which
in the middle suddenly bursts out. I wished that would happen a bit
more than just this once. I believe this would all be a delight to
see, especially a more action oriented piece like ‘After The Matter
Had Settled’, but somehow I seem to miss out on something here, and
it’s hard to say what it is. Maybe this is all a bit too delicate
for me? Too wide apart or perhaps too loose in organisation? I am
not sure yet; maybe I should play this more often and find out why.
If quiet improvisation is your business than I am sure you’ll be
delighted to hear this. (FdW)

OGNI VIDENIY & SVETLO111 – SYNAPSE (CDR by Zhelezobeton)
(CDR by Zhelezobeton)

Both Ogni Videniy, a duo of Petr Abysov and Alexandr Chulkov and whose
music we reviewed before (Vital Weekly 772 and 971) and Svetlo111,
of whom I never heard before are now all based in St. Petersburg and
often play together ‘at city gigs and forest festivals’ (the latter
surely have a curious feel) and together they recorded three tracks
of electronic music. Music that is quite ambient in approach but it
is not exclusively or necessarily quiet. It has that long sustaining
character but is much more vibrant. It seems as if sounds are locked
inside a system, and swing back and forth between parameters; music
like a pendulum. It has a rather crispy feeling, music with sharp edges.
I imagine all three players to use analogue synthesizers and a variety
of sound effects to create this very rich music; almost psychedelic
music. Effects such as reverb, delay, chorus, flanging are used crudely
but that works very well. At forty-three minutes I still thought this
was a bit on the short side and I wished this had been longer. This is
some mighty fine ambient-industrial music; music to play loud and get
lost in. Where are those forest festivals, I wondered?
   After this great start we continue our trip with Ogni Videniy, just
on their own, and they continue their exploration of Buddhist themes,
and more especially Buddhist cosmology. ‘Every track is dedicated
to a certain state of mind and its corresponding plane of existence
of sentient beings, from material worlds to the realms of pure
consciousness’. Here we find this band in a more contemplative mood,
and also more minimal in their approach; maybe more ambient than
industrial would be the thing to say in this case. Their sound is
essentially made out of the same apparatus as the ‘Synapse’ release;
lots of synthesizer sounds and effects, but also a bit more rhythm
thrown in, via machines, plug-ins or sequencers. Occasionally one
has the idea of ambient house music, with the word ‘house’ not in
big lettering. There is a psychedelic element in this music too,
but it works on a much more subtle level I think. Ogni Videniy has
a somewhat more melodically touch to the music. After the wild ride
of their collaborative effort, this perhaps the chill-out album,
complete with bird calls in ‘Beautiful Devas’. There is an excellent
mid-nineties ambient feel about this album, which is something I
totally dig!
   All the way from Arkhangelsk hails the band Six Dead Bulgarians,
who have been around for twenty years now. The core of this band
is Alexander Chulkov, who gets credit for ‘analysis and problem
examination’ and on the new album there is also Mikhails (‘preparation
of psycho-acoustic modules’), Pyotr Abysov (‘preparation of elektro-
acoustic modules’; we just met him as a member of Ogni Videniy) and
Pasha Uhushuhu (‘quality control’). The title refers to a ‘concept
according to which consciousness is seen as software of a human being
subject to accumulation of errors and demanding for adjustments and
updating’. Oh. I didn’t hear much psycho acoustic modules (which are
in fact acoustic instruments, as the press text explains) as most
this seems to be made with the use of synthesizers and sound effects,
and the result is not unlike that of Ogni Videniy, but even sparser
and minimal, if that is possible, but essentially it is from a similar
source: lots of ambient, a bit of rhythm. Six Dead Bulgarians go just
a bit deeper and darker than Ogni Videniy, who allow more light and
air in their music. The Six Dead Bulgarians sound hovers closely to
the underworld of sound, such as in the entire beatless ‘Anonymizing’,
and ending in an underground techno club, playing ‘Stoping’, but that
too is a bit clouded with a dark, smokey ambience.
   Three excellent releases, which are probably best enjoyed in this
order. (FdW)

(cassette by Holoctics)

In Vital Weekly 1006 I was first introduced to the music of Aas, which,
by the look of their website, are quite active in performing music, doing
video and photography. The music was quite a loud piece of drone music,
played on a guitar and drums. Here they have a new release, a split one.
Side A starts with Téléplasmiste, as Aas also a duo, of Mark O Pilkington
(Strange Attractor, Raagnarok, Urthona – I believe I don’t know these
bands) and Michael J. York (Coil, Cyclobe, and yes, I did hear of them
before). They both play an extremely rare Fenix II semi-modular synthesizer.
Their piece is a wonderful piece of synthesized drone music. It is perhaps
a bit on the soft side for a cassette release, but it sounds great. Tones
glide by, easy and full of harmony. Maybe there is a ritualistic element
to this music, which passed me by, but that’s all right. I can easily
enjoy this without thinking of any kind of ritual.
   And if I thought Téléplasmiste was quiet, then I wasn’t prepared for
Aas, who take it all to threshold of hearing here, certainly in maybe
the first half of the piece. Very much like their first release they
choose for a very linear build-up. Starting out quiet and then keep
building the piece by adding layers of sound to the palette, making it
denser and, obviously, louder. Here too we could think there is some
kind of ritual in play, but I doubt that. Once the ball is rolling the
piece becomes rhythmic, bouncing back and forth. Hard to say if this
is again drums and guitars; it could be, but then both of these seem
heavily treated with the use of sound effects, certainly in the first
half. Both of these sides have a psychedelic feel to them, bringing
to different states of consciousness.
   Téléplasmiste might be for dream states, but Aas definitely works
best in wakeful state, but in full trance mode. (FdW)

MAVEN CX – OVEBURNT AFTERDRIVE (cassette by Dream Fader)

This tape comes with a great, pro-printed cover, full of cryptic texts
about escalators, also showing one or two, in images. Maybe it’s about
going underground? I don’t think I heard of Maven CX before, which seems
to be a duo out of Canada, being Kevin Moeng and Steven Scherrelies. Not
a lot of information on the band themselves, but based on what I hear
I believe they have a bunch of synthesizers and rhythm machines at their
disposal and throughout this (debut?) release the mood is a bit dark.
This is not music to dance too, but Maven CX also isn’t all about
abstract musical textures. There are elements of ‘pop’, however dark
they are, to be found in this release, with shimmering melodies. Their
songs are most of the time on the brief side, which works best for what
they do. Per song there is not a lot variation inside the piece; a bit
of rhythm, some drone-like sound, a hint towards melody and that’s it.
To do this for a longer time would not work very well, but within two
or three minutes there is no problem. Especially because there is some
variation as towards samples they use, such as a kalimba. I thought
that all of this was enjoyable; pleasant to hear but it is also without
grandiose new ideas. There is certainly room for improvement in terms
of song writing but this is a promising start. (FdW)

ALEXANDRA ATNIF – SESSION 1 (cassette, private)

This cassette I found in my mailbox without any stamps, so someone must
have made a drop-off. I am sure it was Quinten/Belch/E.M.I.R.S. as the
note that comes with this says that there is a new E.M.I.R.S. album to
be downloaded. Alexandra Atnif is from Bulgaria, apparently, lives in
the USA and somehow Quinten/Belch/E.M.I.R.S. ended up with a copy to
spare. I read on the bandcamp part of this that this was ‘a continuous
session recorded in my bedroom’ and essentially both sides are the same,
but one is a ‘Dirty Lash Mix’ and other one is a ‘Filthy Violence Mix’.
The cover has not really much information, other than the name of the
pieces and some website links. I have also no idea if Atnif did music
before, but ‘Session 1’ might be her first work. I am less pleased with
this than Quinten/Belch/E.M.I.R.S., who apparently likes this a lot.
The B-side sees all of the material played with a lot of extra sound
effects, to aim for that full-on sound blast. The A-side however is all
a bit clearer, with some fine hammering rhythm machine in a good old-
fashioned industrial music style. It’s all quite simple and direct; it
is also quite minimal, without much variation. That is a pity. I’d love
to say, most promising start, but I am not sure yet.
   As I witnessed the first concert by E.M.I.R.S and I enjoyed that very
much, I am always keen to gear what he is up next, even when I have
download that. I also very much enjoyed his previous release, ‘The Reel
Estate’, a collage of found sound (see Vital Weekly 970). Quinten, the
man behind E.M.I.R.S, once called himself Belch, or Belchsingersonggrinder,
an one-man punk band playing drums and guitars at the same, but now older
(wiser?) his music is a big softer than before. As E.M.I.R.S he uses lots
of sounds taped on cassette, old reel-to-reel tapes, contact microphones
and field recordings. His new release was recorded in his recently
completed new studio. Quinten says that E.M.I.R.S. ‘in contrast to the
Belchsingersonggrinderstuff, all this is pretty quiet and balanced work,
no heavily distorted noise or screams, pretty arty material’, but in the
opening piece ‘Uncle Walked Through Glass On Airport Pt. 2’ (part 1 is
the closing piece), he dabbles in the world of feedback and heavily
processed vocals, which doesn’t make this exactly easy music. In the
other pieces this is also the case, but to some extent not the full
force noise. E.M.I.R.S. always employ quite some rhythm, via tape-loops
and synthesizers and in ‘Roler’ sounds like a good ol’ 80s industrial
band, including that garage/rehearsal space sound. In ‘Uncle Walked
Through Glass On Airport Pt. 1′ he returns to the world of noise again;
though not a bad release I enjoyed the previous release and that debut
concert better. (FdW)