Number 1015

CARLO COSTA – STRATA (CD by Neither/Nor) *
(CD by Gold Bolus Recordings)
BROADCLOTH – IN STITCHES (CD by Gold Bolus Recordings)
MAZUT – 1 (CDR by BDTA) *
ORPHAX – DREAM SEQUENCE #2 (3″CDR, private) *


By now you must be familiar with the name Federico Durand, with his releases on Spekk, Own and
Desire Path, either solo or with the duo Melodia. Apparently, like other musicians from Argentina,
he’s big in Japan and plays a lot of concerts over there. In 2014 he bumped into Taylor Deupree,
head honcho of 12K and became friends and that friendship now brings us this album of new solo
pieces, all inspired (apparently as always) by his family. The cover lists all of his instruments,
which makes an interesting read: “Auris lyre hammered with a black pencil, synthesizer, piano,
music boxes, Roland Space Echo RE-201, Ehx 2880, Mackie 402VLZ4, hokema, little objects, crystal
cups bowed with a penknife, Koshi chime, Fostex X18, contact microphone, minidisc, Sony TCM-200DV,
owl of wood, tape loops, scissor and masking tape”; I guess it sums up his love for small objects
and all things analogue. I understand also that much of what Durand does is hands-on: playing all
of this with his two hands and looping stuff on the spot, thus creating this very intimate sound
his music always seem to have. More than before it seems we now hear snippets of voices, maybe
from around his own house, children voices. It is perhaps a reminder of home-life when he is
on the road? For me it’s also another reminder: that of the music of Dominique Petitgand, who
was also an avid taper of domestic life, and who also used small instruments around these home
recordings; there is however one distinction and that is that for Petitgand it was almost
obligatory to use them in every track, whereas Durand uses it more sparsely. For him the sound
of his ‘toys’ play the most crucial role, and it makes his work less of a radio-play and it seems
to be using a bit more melody, which he loops around and creates beautiful hissy pieces of music
with. Sometimes, such as in ‘Linternas Junto A La Laguna (Lanterns beside the lake)’, the cassette
hiss forms even the most substantial part of the composition but usually it’s a few sparse notes
on the piano, a bow playing a small object to create some overtones, and everything pitched up and
down, to form a web of small tones, intertwining with each other. All of this is a highly natural
setting, free from digital processing or other computer tricks. In the official world of music
journalism one would say ‘honest’ music. I don’t believe in such notions. But I’d say this is
highly personal music, without caring too much about ‘styles’, ‘trends’ or ‘scenes’ and this is
some damn fine release. (FdW)

CARLO COSTA – STRATA (CD by Neither/Nor)

Ah, the post Christmas dip is here. Or is that: January, the dullest month of the year? Anyway,
maybe labels need to awake and get going again, so sometimes there is not a lot to review and all
the more time to listen closely to what there is. Carlos Costa is a percussion player as well as
a composer and he was born in Rome, but since 2005 lives in New York, where he has various projects,
such as Nature Morte with bassist Sean Ali and violinist Frantz Loriot, a self named quartet and
various duos, but his most ambitious project is the ensemble Acustica. Here we thirteen musicians,
trumpets, flutes, saxophones, electric guitar, violin, piano and all such like, and it’s this
ensemble that performs ‘Strata’. Referring to layers of soil and sedimentary rock, we find here
various layers of sound being played in various combinations and configurations. As you can imagine
with such a large ensemble there is an orchestral feel to this music, and there surely is. There
is a modern classical feel to this music, but that seems to be just one part of it. With all my
limited knowledge of such matters, there is also an element in here of improvisation and treating
the instruments in more unusual ways – mildly that is, as it never seems to be very present. It’s
interesting to hear this, follow a particular instrument, say the piano, and hear it play with a
few of the others, and then, bumping along into another one, before disappearing itself; it’s all
of these small changes, however rapid these are (as this is not at all minimal music per se) and
how these layers overlap each other in varying patterns. There is around the thirty-minute break
quite a dramatic climax, noisy even, which added to the tension this piece has. Sometimes this
tension is high and forceful, but it can also be likewise be small, quiet and creepy. This is not
something to put on and play while doing something else. Sit down and listen: that is what this
music requires. Not something for every moment of the day. (FdW)

(CD by Gold Bolus Recordings)
BROADCLOTH – IN STITCHES (CD by Gold Bolus Recordings)

Gold Bolus Recordings, a new label for me. It started as an outlet for the music of Dave Ruder,
a multidisciplinary artist from Brooklyn. Nowadays the label is focussed on contemporary
experimental music from NYC. Two of these projects are presented here with these two cd releases.
The Wasps Nests are Natalia Steinbach (violin, vocals), Jeffrey Young violin, vocals), Alex Cohen
(drums), plus Valerie Kuehne (cello, vocals,). In the Closing track ‘TEN’ they are assisted by
Prehistoric Horse: David Grollman (percussion), and Lucio Menegon (guitar). Their music is song-
oriented, composed by performer and free spirit Valerie Kuehne. It is close to performance and
theatrical arts. Vocals and text are important. They reflect a research and obsession with American
cheese, and thoughts about disintegration of society. Broadcloth is an interesting combo of Anne
Rhodes (voice), Nathan Bontrager (cello, voice) and Adam Matlock (accordion, recorder ,voice).
A young trio. Their debut album ‘In Stitches’ was recorded during a few months period in 2011 in
a studio in Milford. We find eight tracks on their album, some of them composed by individual
members, others by all three of them. Also there is one traditional folk tune included ( ´Idumaea´).
Their music is situated somewhere between  improvised and contemporary composed music. Most of it
is composed I think. Compared to The Wasp Nests these musicians are more advanced players. But
why compare? Both do their own thing. Besides their surprising instrumentation, it is singer Anne
Rhodes who is most impressive. She did a lot of opera work, as well performing works by Anthony
Braxton, Alvin Lucier, a.o.  The trio delivers a clever work of lively modern music. (DM)


Quite hot on the heels of his previous release ‘Pool North’ (see Vital Weekly 1005), Adam Golebiewski
from Poland returns with a more ambitious project: a book with mainly pictures and a short text about
an installation he did called ‘In Front Of Their Eyes’. This includes a set of binaural microphones,
a drum and a performer. The binaural are placed inside the drum and the sound is transmitted into
a dark room where people listen with headphones. But with the binaural microphones (on a dummy head)
are very close to where the action takes place, it’s all very loud, which is exactly the idea of
Golebiewski. This is somewhere in between a concert and a sound installation, as someone needs to
play the drum. Over the period of a few days Golebiewski performed his piece and the results can
be heard on the four pieces of this disc. This is quite a heavy listening experience, I think. The
recording, while purely acoustic, sound indeed very close-by and Golebiewski plays the drum with
a number of objects and the result is very noise-based, but dry and clean. It’s right in your face,
this music, it cracks your head open in a very loud way. Objects scratch all over the surface,
resulting in high piercing sounds, almost like feedback. This is some very intense improvised music;
almost like an all-acoustic Merzbow record, but perhaps there is more going on here than on an
average Merzbow record. Golebiewski plays with furious intensity on a single object, the drum, with
a multitude of objects to create some of the more aggressive sounds possible. This is an excellent
release, both a stand-alone music release and art catalogue. The only pity that the only website
mentioned (see below) just has an address to write to but nothing else. Maybe the website needs
a bit of updating. (FdW)


The two previous releases by The Joy Of Nature (originally called The Joy Of Nature And Discipline)
were reviewed by someone other than myself (see Vital Weekly 764 and 832), so this must my first
introduction to their music. This band is from the Azores, which might also be a first for me. The
title of their new release translates as ‘the wheel of time’, maybe inspired by the book series?
It could be, as the musical world of The Joy of Nature could be that of a phantasy world. The lyrics
used by Luis Couto, the main man here, were inspired by many sources, from traditional poetry of the
Azores to Celtic people and ancient Chinese poetry and all deal with cyclical nature of time. Musically
The Joy of Nature sounds like anything but what I usually hear for these pages. It’s partly folk like
but it comes with a lot more rock instruments. Guitars play the biggest role, but drums and bass are
also present. It is perhaps something that I would also call ‘gothic’, but I always enjoy ‘Aion’ by
Dead Can Dance (actually pretty much all of their releases), so I occasionally dig this kind of music.
And I did also like this album, at least 2/3s of it. Like with many releases, certainly if it’s more
or less a band, I think the length of a LP, say forty minutes max, is the right length. That also
goes for The Joy of Nature. The strumming of guitars, the deep melancholic voice, and the mediaeval
sounding strings, the pounding of the drums: it all works quite well, but after about ten (out of
sixteen) pieces my interest started to wane. It doesn’t help, I guess, that the lyrics aren’t always
to be understood, even if they are in English (which I believe they sometimes are). On a cold Monday
in January, the bleakest of all months (and it’s not even blue Monday!) this is however some perfect
doom and gloom music. Sometimes sit and sulk is the best remedy against depression and The Joy Of
Nature has the best soundtrack (FdW)


So far I quite enjoyed the music of Regler, Mattin (on guitar) and Anders Bryngelsson (on drums) in
which they “set up rules and try to do different genres of music with rock instruments”, and so far
they tackled ‘dbeat’ (‘Regel 1’, see Vital Weekly 966) and ‘dub’ (‘Regel 2’, see Vital Weekly 966),
free jazz (‘Regel 3’, see Vital Weekly 957) harsh noise wall (‘Regel 4’, see Vital Weekly 983), all
with quite diverse results, ranging from the very loud to the very quiet. For ‘Regel #5’ they perform
a piece by Manfred Werder, from the Wandelweiser group, which is modern classical music, all about
very quiet music. The piece has a Walter Benjamin quote as a guiding principle, about how he got home
and fell asleep, for a few seconds. It’s in German on the cover. Scores are open ended in the world
of Wandelweiser (as far as I know), so who knows? Maybe Regler does exactly what is required and perform
a very silent piece. What do we hear? Two people stumbling into a room and rumble about for a bit and
then, perhaps, fall asleep. Beyond the ten-minute break we don’t hear much anymore, just some static
hiss and very occasional a rumble – the musicians fell asleep, as depicted on the inside of the cover.
This is music that is about something else and it’s music that is about music, about listening. I quite
enjoyed their previous releases, but in this instance I am not entirely convinced, I must say. I am
already aware of silence, silent music and all that rattling of John Cages. I understand the concept
of silence, or the absence of it, and I simply prefer a great piece of music.
   Likewise I had some trouble with Mattin’s DVD-R release. On the cover I read “in 2004, Sub Jam
established its sub-label: Kwanyin Records. in 2010, Kwanyin starts ‘Mini Kwanyin’ series. CDR.
limited copies. unified package. hand produce. the value of CD (or CRR, vinyl, etc) is not as medium
of music. but how it build relationship with people. this is a series of guerilla publishing. it
awaking more sounds” plus what I assume is the same text in Japanese. When you open it up it has one
static image that says ‘anti social realism’ in four languages and that’s it. Static as in not-moving –
it’s not a film of a particular length with a single frame, it’s a single frame. I barely know how
to review music after thirty years; reviewing conceptual art is not something I can do at all. (FdW)


So far Amsterdam based label Rev Laboratories worked together with Aagoo Records for their releases,
and so far much of this deals with handling the visual side of the releases (check for instance Vital
Weekly 881 and 906), but perhaps Bas Mantel (from Rev Laboratories) was also responsible for curating
the musical sides of these projects? He is surely now, on this 3″CD and booklet. The booklet takes
the size of a newspaper (tabloid size) and deals with ‘claustrophic revelations, silent confessions
and tormenting nightmares. Its source material is taken from several international newspapers over
the period May 03 to May 10, 2014″. It comes to you in stark black and white, like cut-up poetry in
the best dada style (soon celebrating 100 years of the Cabaret Voltaire, mind you! – if of course
that has any relevance on this particular project). It looks great I think. I am not sure of course,
but it might very well be that Janek Schaefer takes his source material from radio sources (more
world news!) and to various degrees processes these. In ‘This World’, the opening piece, this is most
present, with various radio signals floating about in the mix. This world sometimes makes you insane.
In ‘Our World’ Schaefer turns towards his family with something that sounds like recorded in a war
zone, with somebody (Schaefer perhaps) telling us about explosions outside and that his daughter is
sleeping beside him, but in the end he goes to sleep again, all of this with a fine, dark drone
based undercurrent. ‘Imagine A World’ is news from the future world, which may not always be bright
if we don’t look at the changes of our climate. The final piece is ‘Another World’ there is not much
spoken word, but perhaps the lengthy, austere drones of this pieces is supposed to be a space ship
transporting us to another dimension? This is quite a diverse release, with quite a bit of spoken
word of varying sources and perhaps much like a newspaper has many voices. Both music and visuals
make up an austere yet beautiful package. (FdW)


The problem with language is that no one will be able to understand them all. It would be a good
thing to reach out if you want to have some publicity outside your own field. Part of the press text
is in French, part (a different one) in English. Handwritten it is also says ‘the B-side contains
some French words so maybe a French reviewer would be nice… maybe not…’ I could send the record back
to France and get a review made; I didn’t.
   On the first side we have Vortex, a duo of Sebastien Cirotteau on amplified trumpet, tubes and
snare drums and Heddy Boubaker on analogue modular synth. They have six pieces, which sound like
they were improvised on the spot. It also seems they aren’t particular careful musicians; everything
rumbles and bursts, thrills and shakes. Vortex sound like a band that plays improvised music from a
noisy perspective, but it’s never something very over the top noise-like, with lots of distortion
going on. All of their instruments don’t sound like they are supposed to, and yet one can recognize
easily the trumpet and the snare drum being played with objects. Boubaker adds some nasty tones from
his modular set-up and these six pieces are quite vibrant and energetic, but it’s a controlled form
of energy; these two musicians know what they are supposed to do and to create a highly dynamic
   On the other side we find one J-Kristoff Camps, who takes samples out of each of the six pieces
by Vortex to create a new piece. There are also some more cryptic messages: “The numbering (I assume
of the pieces – FdW) also determined the time signature, so this remix is shaped as a ‘dances suites’.
These samples are extracted the “Blow Up” technique (i.e. screening process allowing to look for small
details within the flow of sounds)”. I vaguely understand the latter, not the first. Camps also added
his own sounds: “Mocchitsuki in Nara, the Kyoto station, my kettle, a clock, a steam train, ululating
(singing that is – FdW) from a protest and festive rally, a guitar” as well some others on instruments,
and also ‘extracts from police court case Minutes and from the Invisible Committee (Editions “La
Fabrique”)’, which also is not quite clear. And there is the voice of Camps, who recites texts, rather
than singing, whispering or shouting. The texts seem to be about a court case and recounts about his
movements – at least if I understood this well. I must admit that this side does not blow me away.
Partly because I didn’t understand all that was said, but more so because it seemed to be largely
based on the voice reciting a text, and samples seemed to be more to the background. That is usually
the kind of thing I don’t like – my bad of course. I am more the pure music-man and less the
poetically inclined person. (FdW)


While my father had loads of classical music on record, very little was ‘modern classical’. I think
Stravinsky must have been the most modern, with one or two exceptions. One of these exceptions was
‘Folk Songs’ by Luigi Berio, sung by his then wife Cathy Berberian. These folk songs are a cycle of
traditional songs, or songs of folk inspiration, from various countries and adapted by Berio, some
fifty years ago. I was especially taken by ‘I Wonder As I Wander’, which is a US traditional. Now
it’s time for Eloise Decazes (vocals and on one piece piano) and Delphine Dora (piano, harmonium,
field recordings, vocals) with a bit by one Mocke on guitar, to try their own version. When my
father got rid of his records, I took the Berio LP to my own home, and, while it’s tempting to play
that before or after this one, I resisted. The instruments these ladies use are sparser than in the
Berio version, in which some of the strings sound damn right frightening. That doesn’t happen here,
but the dual voices on these versions are actually great to hear, that makes a nice twist. Perhaps
it adds to the folk character of the music – the sparse instruments making it all more intimate,
but the expanded singing sound like it’s being taped in an ancient bar, or at a campfire. All of
this makes that it sounds more conventional than the original, it seems to me, but that’s really
not a problem; it offers something else, something different than the original and it works very
well. Tomorrow I will dig out the original Berio recording.
   You may or may not know that Ed Sanders was the founder of the Fugs in 1964, a satirical and
political band from the sixties, with songs about Vietnam, sex, drugs and all such niceties of
those days. Sanders is the poet from the group, which is something that one finds present in his
piece ‘Yiddish Speaking Socialists Of The Lower East Side’, which was first released in 19901 on
cassette and now on this 10″. It’s solo and mono. Sanders recall the story of fifty-years history
of Jewish militancy, from 1880’s until the mid 1920’s. About pogroms in Eastern Europe, escape
from there and crossing the Atlantic and arriving in New York at Ellis Island and working for a
small fee in sweat shops. I mainly am quoting the press text here. Sanders sings and recites his
text while playing the ‘pulse lyre’ a small finger-operated synthesizer of his own invention,
which has a great organ like quality to it. While I just wrote about the Vortex/J-Kristoff Camps
record that voice stuff is not my cup of tea, the half-sung, half-spoken text of Sanders, with the
accompaniment of an organ like sound is something that I actually quite enjoyed.
   Both of these records come with a great folk art full coloured sleeve and make these delightful
art objects. (FdW)


This is the first release by Polish duo Mazut, which consists of ‘melody and rhythm’ by Pawel
Starzec and ‘noise and structure’ by Michal Turowski. They have been together since 2013, but after
a few years of talking together about starting. On November 25th, 2015, they spend a few hours in
their basement recording music, all ended up using the Yamaha MT50 four track recorder, and their
equipment consists of stomp boxes, toy synthesizer, laptop, old radios, recorders, tapes found in
dumpsters, 1970s microphones, simple generators and drum machine. While the original idea was to
sound like Skullflower with ‘drums and bass’, they are now actually doing something similar but
more mechanical: the drum machine plays a central role in these five long pieces (clocking at an
hour), but around that monotonous hammering of the drum machine there is a lot of noise being spun.
Mazut however keeps the balance right. The drum machine is never over taken by the noise; it’s mid-
tempo techno inspired beat dominates each of these five pieces and doesn’t change much, save for
the addition of some delay here and there. It is fed into a synthesizer or two, and there are also
stand-alone generators of sine waves, square waves and such like. The effect that Mazut intends to
each for, I would think, is something psychedelic, maybe trance-like, hallucinating. Maybe if you
consumed the right (amount of) drugs then this altered state could be reached, but on a cold,
uninspired grey Sunday late morning, sipping some coffee this is not the case. While I think the
ideas behind each of these five pieces are not bad, I would also think that four of the five pieces
are just way too long. Maybe this is sort of thing you can get away with in a concert situation
(everybody dancing), but in the form a release I think it could benefit from some more rigorous
editing. Once the marching rhythm of a piece is in place than you know pretty much what is going
to happen: it stays in that place, save for some extra effects or in the first two songs 909
bassline – which is Mazut’s most dance-like offering. Don’t get me wrong: I actually do like this
album, it is just that I think some of this is just too long and it could have benefitted from
some bolder choices; it would have resulted in an even stronger album. (FdW)


Last year I saw Orphax play a couple of concerts, three, as far as I can remember, and heard a
whole bunch of his releases; well, maybe also three. I liked the concerts, as they are very pure
musical expressions, and there is very little to see. From the releases I particular enjoyed the
first instalment of ‘Dream Sequence’ (see Vital weekly 1001), where Sietse van Erve, aka Orphax,
used an ancient home made synthesizer, and got no results that were much different from his drone
world, but this was a particular atmospheric and very deep release. On th second release in this
series all sounds are generated live, using a Casio SA10, one of those cheap instruments would-be
synthesizer players used in the 80s (or would-be samplists if they have the SK1 or SK5). Some
ancient keyboard always seems to be at the heart of the Orphax sound, but it’s always feeding
through a software tool called ‘Audio Mulch’ to get that extra drone out of there. Orphax’ musical
world is one obsessed with drones and as such many of the works may sound the same. Like before
this new piece moves in between two sections, with a longer middle part in which the volume goes
down a bit and the reverb up a bit more. This is, oddly enough the more industrial sounding part
of the piece, a bit shrill. But in the two parts that bookend this softer yet shriller part,
there is more use of low-end, mixed with the shrill sounds towards the end of the whole thing.
My preference was with the more subdued opening nine minutes, which was all about the low end
and which made this more of a follow-up to the first instalment than the rest of the piece.
Throughout I thought this was well made but I preferred overall the first one to this second
part. The more industrial these drones become, the less interested I seem to be. Keep ‘em warm
and ambient! (FdW)

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