Number 1012

ASTROWIND – KEDR (CD by Frozen Light) *
MARC BARRECA – TAPE RECORDINGS 1977-1983 (LP by Vinyl On Demand)
K. LEIMER –  – TAPE RECORDINGS 1977-1980 (LP by Vinyl On Demand)
TOY BIZARRE – KDI DCTB 180 (10″ by Substantia Innominata)
HIGHWAY ISSUE 2 (book by Ademas)
WRITING AROUND SOUND (magazine by The Auricle)


This CD documents what happened one night at La Resistanza, Ghent, Belgium, released by the
El Negocito label also from Ghent. John Dikeman was invited by the Amsterdam Doek-festival
to start a new project. He chooses for Hamid Drake and William Parker, both well-known
improvisers from New York who have played together a lot in the past. Both are around since
the 70s and were part of Brotzmann´s Die Like A Dog Quartet, to give an example. And,
relevant here, both are admired by Dikeman, an improviser of a younger generation. Like
Parker and Drake, Dikeman is from the States. However he lives and works in Holland since
2007 and worked with Blast, Cactus Truck. If you are acquainted with the hardcore jazz of
Cactus Truck you already have experienced the overwhelming power in his playing. If not,
try this one. Here Dikeman again profiles himself as a high energy blower, but shows he
is also at home in more lyrical and subtle passages that seem initiated by Parker. In this
trio format they did a small tour, and this CD has a registration of one these concerts.
There is never a dull moment here, as all three have a big vocabulary at their disposal.
The extravert and concentrated conversations they built, are truly convincing and a joy.
Very pure! (DM)


This project came into being from an ‘ethnographic research project on free improvisation
in Brazil’ by saxophonist and theorist Franziska Schroeder. She lectures at the School of
Creative Arts in Edinburgh. Played with musicians like Joan La barbara, Pauline Oliveros
and Evan Parker. She has a few records out on Creative Source and Slam. For her research
in Brazil she came into contact with guitarist Marco Campello and drummer Renato Godoy.
Together they decided to do some recordings in a studio in Rio de Janeiro that are now
released by PfMentum. All recordings were done on one day in May 2014. Couldn´t find much
information on both Brazilian players. Godoy grew up playing in several rock bands in Rio,
but gradually changed to music dominated by free improvisation. Self-educated Marcos
Campello has a duo with J.-P.Caron (untuned piano, objects). They released to albums for
Seminal Records. That is about everything I could trace about their backgrounds. What
this album proves is that they are accomplished players in the field of improvised music.
Campello has a lovely style and approach. Between the three, there is real chemistry and
fine interaction in the improvisations. Really hot at moments! Although Schroeder is
often in a prominent role, Campello and Godoy also make their marks in these communicative
improvisations. A very successful meeting, that makes one wonder how this is possible
from a meeting of musicians that just met. (DM)


Splashgirl is the playground of three Norvegian musicians: Andreas Stensland Løwe (piano/
electronics), Jo Berger Myhre (doublebass/tone generator) and Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød
(drums/percussion/sounds). They started in 2003, and with ´Hibernation´, the home band of
Hubro Music, delivered their fifth album. Again we find Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))),
Marissa Nadler) involved as technician and producer. The nine compositions are all carefully
constructed and painted with a fine balance of electronics and acoustical instruments.
Overall the music is very laid back and melancholic. Sometimes this was too much for me,
to be pulled again and again in the same dark and shady moods. On the other hand their
craftsmanship has a lot to offer. Their accessible music is more close to jazz then it is
to rock. But above all these three musicians developed their very own Splashgirl-stamp.
Geir Sundstøl contributed to literally hundreds of records during the last 25 years. But
there is good chance you have never heard of him before. Well, I didn´t. He was pursued
by Hubro to make a solo album. And so he did, making ´Fur U Lund´ his first solo outing
after so many years of being in business. We find eight instrumentals, all composed by  
Sundstøl, except two that he co composed with David Wallumrød. Wallumrød (keyboards)
is also one of the four performers, together with Erland Dahlen (drums, percussion)
and Michael Blair (drums, percussion). Blair is an American drummer living in Stockholm
nowadays, who worked with Mark Ribot, John Zorn, Lou Reed, etc. His instrumental music
is rooted in all kinds of Americana (jazz, blues, country, etc.)’ The pieces are coloured
by the many different guitars Sundstøl uses, as well as a wide range of percussive and
other instruments. The music is very atmospheric and evocative. Served very well as a
soundtrack for a movie that I made instantly in my mind. (DM)

ASTROWIND – KEDR (CD by Frozen Light)

With Christmas in The Netherlands being two days followed by a Sunday there is three days
of no mail, and nothing on the TV than the usual circus and being home alone, one could
think that the Frozen Light made a smart move by sending this whole bundle – with the
casual note: ‘please don’t review all’. Yeah, right, I am sure that was not the intention
when this mailed this lot. So it’s more than three things and a lot is surely older than
six months. Let’s pretend we didn’t see that. A quick inspection learned that none of
these names mean much to me, so over the course of three lazy Sundays I went randomly
through this pile. First there was Mindvoid from the Ukraine with ‘Thundernoisespell’,
which has seven pieces, three of which are live, and five further bonus pieces from the
previously released ‘Chi L’ha Vista Morire’ CDR, released by Bosnian Human Cross Records.
This is some strange music that easily defies description. There is no indication towards
instruments, but at best we could say there is a sampler working overtime. Taping industrial
rhythms, heavy metal guitars, rock drums, a children choir, and music from advertisements
and as such it is sometimes very pop based, but also noisy and industrial at other times.
Maybe this could go down as ‘plunderphonics’, even when there is no overtly concept or
socio-political message to get across. I was thinking this was all just about having a
laugh about sounds and musical notions? It took some time before I got into this, but then
I actually quite enjoyed this factory churning out industrial music in various shapes and
colours. Good start.
   On the cover of ‘Tapes Analogue’ by Sad Parade I found a bunch of names, presumably
bands of influence: Kraftwerk, Sisters of Mercy, Soft Cell, Visage, Joy Division and some
of these I like too, so that was surely an easy target to play next. Sad Parade, also
no name to guarantee a lot of fun, was from Finland, and this is a bunch of historical
recordings. They existed in the early nineties, when I was firmly out of touch with
anything darkwave, so this is my introduction to their music. Four songs are from a demo
from 1992, six from a tape from 1993 and eight songs recorded in concert in 1994. In the
earliest material they sound a bit like a sub-standard Joy Division post-punk doom band,
with a bit of synths thrown in. Think De Brassers, but not as well. On their official
tape release the drum sound is more prominent in the mix, a mixture of programmed beats
and perhaps real drums, with a strong feature of the bass also. The voice is as expected
from beyond the grave as this is what this music is all about. It is a bit gothic, too
gothic perhaps for my taste, but I quite enjoyed these six songs. The live material
provides a fine look in how this sounded live, with more drums than programming, but
is just not as great as the original official tape release. Nevertheless this is all
quite good doomy music. Short days and long nights: Sad Parade provides an excellent
musique noir soundtrack.
   Recently I saw the documentary ‘Beware Of Mr Baker’, about Ginger Baker, so I hummed
‘White Room’ when I saw that the disc by Arthur Arsenne (guitar, loops, fuzz microphone,
joystic oscillator), Piotr Cisak (bass, vocals, effects) and Pawel Oleksinski (guitar,
vocals, effects) was recorded in The White Room (Nice, France; yeah I could have hummed
‘Nice In Nice’ too), in March 2015. Their music is described as ‘doom-driven drone
ambient with noise and abstract sounds’, which sounds like an almost correct description,
although the ‘noise’ is not something I necessarily agreed with. Here we have four long
pieces of slow developing guitar sounds, a bit ambient metal, a bit of humming voices and
a very dark sound. I am sure lights were off that night in Nice. I can imagine that this
sounded great that night in that place, but I am not entirely convinced it works as well
as on disc. It is all a bit long and without too much variation. After about thirty
minutes I knew what they were about, and then there was another thirty to go. It wasn’t
bad at all, don’t get me wrong, but my attention started to wane after some time, and I
wasn’t down under in this swamp to fully enjoy it.
   Astrowind is the project of Latvian composer Kirils Lomunovs, who recorded all the
sounds on ‘Semikarakory’ on an ‘open-reel tape recorder during live improvisations on
analogue synthesizer and analogue desktop effects processors’ which were later re-edited
and mixed down. The album is dedicated to the work of actor and director Alexander L.
Kaidanovsky, and especially to his work “Zhena kerosinshchika” (engl. “Kerosene seller’s
Wife”) [1988] about which the label says ‘this is an imagined walk in the dreary
territory, where every being dwells in the anxious suspense, in an unquenchable thirst
of freedom, haunted by the whing of the broken glass’. What I missed on the previous disc
(ambient music that worked throughout, keep attention and tension alive all the time)
works very well here: the ambient music from Astrowind is textbook cosmic music from the
seventies right up until the present day. Long sustaining sounds, bits of field recording,
heavily processed or rather not and in the title piece also some dark undercurrent thrown
in. Sometimes a bit of spoken word, not necessary as far as I’m concerned, but it also
doesn’t break the flow, so it is all right (and it’s in Russian anyway, so it acts as a
texture more than as something that needs to be understood). This is quite a bright and
dark release, sparkling fine moody ambient music with some excellent synthesizer music.
   Fired by this, looking at whatever was left, I picked up the one that was a bit harder
to read but which turned out was another disc by Astrowind. I am not sure which of the two
is more recent. I am not sure why ‘Kedr’ is very limited. Here too we have four long pieces
and the cover lists per piece what kind of synthesizers were used, such as the “Vermona
synthesizer, Roland RE-201 Space Echo, multiple artefacts of Formanta Radio Factory in
Kachkanar, USSR, including Polivoks itself, as well as other exciting and legendary tools.
A virtual-analogue synthesizer Oberheim OB 12 – “crazy mathematician” – plays a special
role in this record”, as the label announces. Somehow it seems to me that Astrowind’s music
here is a little rougher at the edges, a tad more experimental and in each or the four
pieces there a bits and bobs of rhythm mixed in. There is nothing wrong with any of that
of course as it makes up an album of ambient music, albeit from the experimental end of
things. Unlike ‘Semikarakory’, which bright and dark mixed together in a great way, ‘Kedr’
is mostly dark in its outcome. Just look at the covers and one knows the difference
between both. I enjoyed this one just as well, but it seemed also safer and risk free;
maybe this is just the kind of music that I hear a lot when reviewing for Vital Weekly?
Having said that, this is one of the better in it’s kind.
   Also very limited (103 copies) is the release by Voices In The Ground, the project of
one Hangsvart, who is also in such projects as “Abysmal Growls of Despair (Funeral Doom
Metal), Catacombed (Drone Doom), Caelum Natus Ex Mortuus (Dark Ambient), Plagueprayer
(Horror Doom Metal)”. As Low Cave Sounds he produces something that is “very deep and
claustrophobic, absolutely dark and totally uneasy to listen and to understand”. No
instruments are mentioned on the cover. In the third piece of the first disc I learn
these are voices, but in the two previous pieces it was mostly distortion. Not in a
feedback kind of way, but just a lot of overload. Drones but then rather mean, low and
loud; that would be the best description of Low Cave Sounds. Voices that howl, grunt and
spit are used rather sparsely. Yes, this is indeed some uneasy listening, I think. It
is not really text book noise music, which makes this a little bit different than much
else what is available in the noise scene, and listening to one CD was quite all right,
but I must admit I found the second disc a bit too much of the same thing.
   From Sergiy Fjodsson, who works as Moloch we receive the longest release, close to
eighty minutes of music, and it is entirely based on field recordings made “in Winter
2010 at close live ritual in Carpathian Mountains” and the label also tells us that
“all sounds represent a real-time-recording, along with background sounds of the open
space and atmosphere of the natural acoustics. No PC programs were used here”. That
is of course hard to believe if one hears the music, which seems very much like something
that is played on a synthesizer, which is set to ‘orchestral string sound’ and which is
used throughout these eleven pieces. Usually this is deep and dark, but here it isn’t as
deep as one would expect, but obviously this is also not cheery music. All of these melodic
lines are played in slow arpeggio modus and apparently sounds like ‘Mortiis (era 1), Vond
and old Burzum’, which are references that not necessarily means a lot to me. I thought
this was a most strange record. It could be very annoyed that much of this sounds the same;
it’s essentially the same song over and over again, in the same mood, tempo and the same
keyboards settings. But oddly enough I didn’t feel annoyed; more so I quite enjoyed this.
One sits back, reads a book, and watches the grey Christmas sky outside and there is this
music dropping by in eleven minor variations. So, yes, I quite enjoyed this.
   We close with the only CDR release in this bundle with music by The Old Man In The
Desert (maybe related to the old man of the mountain?), a group of one person who is just
called A.S. and who plays all of this music himself. Frozen Light refers to this as ‘sub-
Moscow Black/Shoegaze/Post-folk project’ and it compiles pieces from 2013 to 2015 and these
songs were scattered over demos as well as some previously unreleased bits. A man armed
with his guitar, (loop) effects and a drum machine. He hammers away on all of his
instruments, and everything is captured with quite some reverb, to create more atmospheres;
almost as if The Old Man In The Desert is afraid we would think his music isn’t atmospheric.
Some of compositional methods are a bit similar (and we just learned that should be no
problem), with heavy intro and built-up, followed by softer passage and a mighty crescendo.
When the sound isn’t ‘rehearsal-room hollow’ and the drums and guitars tuned down, there
is actually something else going such as the synth based ‘A Moonlight’. But that is hardly
representative of the music. That’s a pity because after a while I was more or less done
with the hollow sounding production of this. Let’s safely say this old man ain’t buying
this. (FdW)

MARC BARRECA – TAPE RECORDINGS 1977-1983 (LP by Vinyl On Demand)
K. LEIMER –  – TAPE RECORDINGS 1977-1980 (LP by Vinyl On Demand)

A few weeks ago I reviewed the latest release by Marc Barreca, ‘Beneath The Mirrored
Surface’, which is his ninth album. I noted that number included an unheard yet recent album
of his earliest tape works; unheard by me, but lo and behold these two just arrived before
Christmas. There is a connection between K. Leimer and Marc Barreca; I believe both are from
Seattle, and both release their music on Palace Of Lights, Leimer’s label. Both were also a
member of Savant, a group playing electronic music with a more ‘pop’ angle. That was all in
the early 80s. These re-issues for both artists deal with their earliest works. There are
some differences to be noted. While both use a bunch of synthesizers (interestingly enough
different ones, so they weren’t using each others equipment), Leimer plays mostly alone,
and has one piece with female vocals. Barreca uses on three tracks a cast of guest musicians,
providing guitar, bass, saxophone, drums and voices.
   Barreca’s LP is a best of from four cassette releases, from 1977 to 1983 and sound like
ambient should sound like from those days. Barreca took notes from the early ambient work of
Brian Eno. Repeating fragments, sustaining sounds just like on ‘Music For Films’, Barreca
keeps his pieces short and to the point. Each of these pieces is well rounded off piece of
music, which creates the right atmosphere, straight away. Sometimes it is moody and spooky,
but most of the times it is melancholic and introspective. Throughout there is quite a lo-
fi feeling about this music: the production side is kept ‘small’, maybe due to technical
limitations, rather than ideological decisions. There always seems to be just a few sounds
playing but always in a fine configuration to each other. The three pieces with the guest
musicians sound quite different, as here Barreca starts using rhythms, sequences and sampled
voices, thus coming close to his work with Savant. Maybe a bit out of place these pieces,
but strategically located at the end, and, perhaps forecasting something else? However a
re-issue by Savant could be in order also, I would think.
   K. Leimer always the seemed the more active composer: the four sides here are from 1977
to 1980 and also span four cassette releases. He also uses other instruments than synthesizers,
such as piano, pianet, guitars, bass and rhythm box. The ambient music of K. Leimer (K. stands
for Kerry, if you must know) is always a bit more expanded, certainly on the second record
with works from 1979 and a bit from 1980. Here we have the expanded sound with drum machines,
bass and guitars and Leimer’s music is more ambient with a nod to pop than with Barreca. On
the first record in this package, with music from 1977 and 1978, Leimer works with piano,
synthesizer and a sustaining guitar. Here we find the piece with the female vocalist Nancy
Estle and it sounds rather tacky, but it works well. In his earliest works Leimer plays
rather naively his music, taking inspiration from Robert Fripp as well as Brian Eno, and
isn’t as stylistically set to one thing or another. He tries out many ideas within the
boundaries of ambient music and just like Barreca he manages to keep his pieces short and
to the point.
   Both of these records contain some great historical pieces of music, unheard by me before
at that time (I think I first discovered K. Leimer’s music in the mid to late 80s), but
making perfect sense. Both of these musicians remain true ambient artists to this very day
and both of them are never on a repeat mission, always seeking out new ways to work with
sound in ambient music. These sets show where their journey started and it is indeed quite
a wonderful insight. (FdW)

TOY BIZARRE – KDI DCTB 180 (10″ by Substantia Innominata)

If that is anything to go by, in the world of classical music, composers use ‘opus’ (Latin
for work) to indicate what they composed, ‘Opus 25: Symphony number 2’, that kind of thing
(unless of course you’re Mozart, you have someone else listing your works, mister Ludwig
Alois Ferdinand Ritter von Köchel, so it says ‘KV’ and not ‘op’). Something similar is
done by Toy Bizarre, also known as Cedric Peyronnet, except that he just numbers his works,
‘kdi dctb’ – whatever that acronym stands for I never figured out, and it’s not followed by
‘symphonic poem’ or ‘piano concerto’. I am not sure where he’s up these days with numbering
his works, but surely well over 200. So to get ‘kdi dctb 180’, spread out over two sides
of the record, made me think this might be a somewhat older work. It source material was
recorded at an unknown bridge in Bazine Valley, 2003-2007 and composed from 2013-2015, so
it took some time before completing this. It completes a trilogy to which also ‘kdi dctb
039′ and ‘kdi dtcb 151’ belong, which I am not sure I reviewed. It is a secret location,
connected to Peyronnet’s childhood; a creepy place apparently.
   Toy Bizarre manipulates field recordings, but then you may say: like so many others.
That might be right, but along with Artificial Memory Trace, Toy Bizarre belongs to the
absolute top of their trade. The original field recording is never easily recognized
through the many treatments this music receives along the way. Surely these are mostly
made with the use of computers, but I like to believe that there is also a fair amount
of analogue treatments, such as playing the material on small speakers and recording
these in odd locations. All of this results in a bulk of sound material, which is cut
and pasted together into some excellent sound compositions. Opening here with some strong
drone material, flying about and then crossing over to some layers of water recordings,
which sound as recorded from an odd angle, giving it a most curious sound color. The
other side opens up with what seems to be the crackling of leaves, but somehow recorded
with digital distortion. The middle part is drone-like again, but now a bit more static,
whereas the ending provides us with some sort of acoustic sound that is quite in your
face. This could be some acoustic object but it’s more likely these are the sounds of
insects or birds, recorded up close. This is some fascinating music all around, one
Toy Bizarre’s many great records. (FdW)

DSORDNE – CARCERI (CDR by Klappstuh)

The ending of the year tends to make one (or is it just me?) nostalgic. So I decided to
clear out my paper correspondence, which has been building up since the early 80s. This
‘archive’ of letters, catalogues, drawings, flyers and whatnot fills up more than twelve
dossiers, which in a few days, I managed to cut down to half its size. Much of the
catalogues and flyers went into the bin, much of the correspondence was kept – including
the letters I exchanged with Marco Milanesio from (contradictory) Turin in Italy. He was
and is the main man of the experimental/ambient project DsorDNE. Marco was (and perhaps
still is), like me, a major fan of the Legendary Pink Dots resulting in 1987 in a split
single of the Dots and DsorDNE. The single was released with the Snowdonia fanzine,
which, if you could read Italian, was great fun and very informative – with some copies
luckily including an English translation. Snowdonia was run by Marco Pustianaz of whom
also letters were kept in my archive. But I digress. In 1992 DsorDNE released their
cassette album Carceri (‘prisons’), which echoes much of the sound of their great and
sole vinyl LP E Un Sole (Hax 1990). The German label Klappstuhl can be heralded for
re-releasing DsorDNE’s this now quite rare cassette on CDR. Recorded between 1989 and
1991 the seven tracks on Carceri are de facto solo recordings by Milanesio, who in the
liner notes displays his fascination for Franz Kafka. The great German author, who is
well quoted but not that well read, is certainly all over the introduction of the album;
a doomy, post-apocalypse soundscape with electronic sounding like insects thrown in.
It proves to be a fine introduction to No Time, which surprises (me) with its sequenced
post-punk drums and funky bass line, which continue in Giorni E Luoghi – adding ambient
synthesizer lines. Starting with out the rather in-your-face and the ‘of its time’
sounding drum patterns of the previous tracks Scimmie gains some well-deserved space
in return. Adding spaced vocals and ambience the drums kick in during the second half
of the song, giving it a post-punk feel. A lovely piano melody (a bit like Wim Mertens)
introduces Solo (E) In Movimento, which strongly contrasts with the previous tracks.
Liquidi Silenzio, on the other hand, proves a return to the drum beat-driven sound of
Carceri, which would do well at an ambient dance party. Closing track Carceri leads us
back to the atmosphere of the opening track: all doom and gloom with a nice trumpet
thrown in. In all, and even though I personally prefer the more subdued earlier ambient
recordings by DsorDNE, this is a particularly strong and professionally recorded album
which should appeal to anyone with an interest in Italian post-punk ambient music. (FK)

HIGHWAY ISSUE 2 (book by Ademas)
WRITING AROUND SOUND (magazine by The Auricle)

Vital Weekly is a most time consuming enterprise and before writing comes listening,
which is something that takes many guises. Sometimes one is full attention, taking note
of detail changes, but sometimes music invites the listener to do something else. For
me reading is something I love to do, especially when there is something to read about
music. Books and e-books (illegally obtained or otherwise) are favourites, but music
magazines are always something I enjoy too. In the ‘old’ days Vital Weekly reviewed
more magazines and fanzines than it does these days, unfortunately I should say, but
I enjoyed the first issue of ‘Highway’ a lot (see Vital Weekly 968). Here’s the second
issue, still sized roughly 10,5 x 16 centimetres, and 220 pages. A fanzine/book that
fits in your pocket; easy to read on the train. Like the previous issue, ‘Highway’ is
not just about music. There is for instance an interview with Mark Fisher, who makes
some interesting comments on music scenes then and now and photographer Sebastian Mayer
about his work on shooting musicians. Israel Martinez explains his installation about
the drug wars in Mexico, a piece on Dadabots, which if I understood correctly do
automated remixes of music, a piece on ‘Decorder’, the early 80s movie about muzak
(which I recently saw again after thirty or so years), plus five pieces on music scenes,
including an older piece by Kim Gordon. Topped with a bunch of photos by Hundebiss.
The only bit I didn’t understand was ‘An Anthology Of Recorded Music, Volume 1’, in
which non-related artists tell about how a certain piece was made, but perhaps it
didn’t help that I didn’t know these pieces. But it’s perhaps a learning curve? I
really enjoyed reading all of this; I wished I were a commuter again (well, not really
of course, but to read a pocket sized book on music on a train is most enjoyable).
   Of a somewhat different nature is the publication ‘Writing Around Sound’, from New
Zealand. A5 sized and printed on glossy paper this is all about ‘hearing’, ‘listening’
and ‘sound’. It comes through the Auricle Sonic arts Gallery, which is also a place
for concerts and installations. Inside the publication we find articles on Antonin
Artaud and Cruel Noises, about ‘mishearings’, ‘universal vibration’, a piece on the
creation of spatial and temporal atmospheres (by Dani Cunningham), photo collages by
Marine Aubert but also pieces on ‘online publishing and creative commons’ and more
specially Nat Grant’s ‘Momentum project’ plus a piece called ‘The Tyranny Of The
Preset’. Maybe for some of this stuff it would have helped to see what it was about,
especially when it comes to the installation works described, but it’s an interesting
read all the way through. (FdW)

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