Number 1017

ISOTHESIS – STERN UND OPIUM (CD by Steelwork Maschine) *
][|][ – _|_ (CD by Steelwork Maschine) *
HANS KOCH & THOMAS PETER – WUCHERUNGEN (CD by Herbal International) *
ULRICH KRIEGER – /RAW:RESPACE/ (2CD by Experimental Intermedia) *
MARC HURTADO WITH Z’EV – SANG (CD by Monotype Records) *
ASPEC(T) ZALASKI – DROGA (CD by Monotype Records) *
KEN IKEDA & CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA – MOSS (CD by White Paddy Mountain) *
TIM OLIVE & BEN OWEN – 63-66 (CD by 845 Audio) *
BRUNO DUPLANT – FICTIONS (LP by Aussenraum Records)
AUTISTICI & JUSTIN VARIS – NINE (2CDR by Eilean Records) *
QUALIFAX (cassette compilation)

ISOTHESIS – STERN UND OPIUM (CD by Steelwork Maschine)
][|][ – _|_ (CD by Steelwork Maschine)

Releases by Steelwork Maschine from France are usually packed inside a black digipack
sleeve with stickers on front and a white sticker on the back, announcing that these
are releases in an edition of 100 copies. Yet the CDs themselves are pro-pressed and
inside there is usually a small booklet. These booklets not necessarily contain a lot
of information, but then so the information that comes separate is equally sparse.
If you want to know more, Isothesis at least has a website and we learn that one
Guillaume Tiger is the man behind Isothesis and that he “produces deep dronescapes
and sound sculptures, ever evolving noise starred pieces, halfway between improvisation
and thought structures”. On ‘Stern Und Opium’ there are two pieces; one is called
‘Stern’ and the other is ‘Opium’ and they are the result of ‘a long term process,
a digestion of field recordings and synthetic sources melted into rich and evolving
sonic textures’. Evolving might be the right word, as things evolve very slowly around
here. ‘Opium’ is a thirty-three minute drone scape, which borders on the near stand-
still. Just very slowly one notices changes, certainly more so in the second half then
in the first half. ‘Stern’ is at nine minutes the shorter piece and also a bit darker.
Here I could say the original sound is from thunder, but then heavily processed, whereas
in ‘Opium’ one is clueless as to what kind of field recordings were at the basis of all
of this. I quite enjoyed these dark textures; very atmospheric, very moody. Nothing new
as such in the drone sky, but thoroughly enjoyable.
   For the third CD by the mysteriously called ][|][ (see also Vital Weekly 861 and 944)
we only have the following information: “In many faiths of the world, death would take
the souls of the dead (generally those who got lost in the sea) in a boat  named “the
boat of the dead” because according to these  faiths, a  disembodied  soul  cannot cross
an area of water without a boat or a bridge. In Brittany, this boat is called “Lestr an
Anaon” and his captain is the first one (or the last one) dead of the year. This boat
navigates at night, gathering the souls of disappeared sailors to take them back to the
country, which saw their birth. This boat also calls and takes the fishermen and the
sailors who had a bad life by sentencing them to an eternal wandering on the ocean until
the Judgment day.” That is sometimes the amount of information one has; nothing about the
people who actually do the music. Just like Isothesis, ][|][ deal with drone like sounds
but there are some important differences. First of all, there are more pieces on this CD
than on the other, and these pieces have more changes within. Also it seems that, as before
on previous releases, ][|][ use heavily treated church organ sounds to compose their dark
atmospheric music. A third distinction is that much of what ][|][ does has a colder feel
to it. While these drones may not necessarily be very warm, I find them rather beautifully
menacing. Like a horror movie soundtrack. At any given moment you can expect some ghostly
laughter to appear (of course doesn’t happen). There is not a lot of difference between
the various releases by ][|][; maybe some of the music here is a bit more noise based,
I thought, such as the seventh piece. I must admit I quite enjoyed this release, again,
just like the previous ones, but I thought at seventy-seven minutes this was perhaps a
bit too lengthy; even so when it’s sole purpose is to space away in the darkness. (FdW)


Music by bass clarinet and soprano saxophone player Hans Koch has been reviewed before
and I particularly enjoyed his solo release ‘Erfolg’ (see Vital Weekly 964). For Thomas
Peter it has been a long time ago since I reviewed ‘Medir’ (Vital Weekly 682). That one
was entirely made with digital means, but on the disc he recorded with Koch he plays
‘amplified objects, live electronics’. The music was recorded in March 2014 in Biel,
Switzerland and whatever sessions they recorded together, it has been cut down to
fourteen pieces, in total 48 minutes, which means that these pieces are not always very
long. Other than Leila Bordreuil and Michael Foster reviewed elsewhere, who gave all of
their pieces titles, and ‘thus’ make it more song like, this doesn’t seem to be the case
with Koch and Peter. Their pieces have no titles. Overall the music here as a very
electro-acoustic feeling to it; perhaps not a strange thing if one realizes one of the
players uses amplified objects, but also Koch makes his wind instruments occasionally
sound like an amplified objects (whether or not it is amplified we don’t know). These
pieces are very vibrant with lots of dynamics within the sound and lots of interaction
between both players. At times quite noise based, such as with the eight piece here,
being all feedback and noise. But they also know how to pull back and play something
more introspective and mellow. There is quite some variation in these pieces, loud,
quiet, rhythmical and there is an occasional role for the wind instruments to sound
like wind instruments. This is a most excellent work of improvised electro-acoustic
music. Very fresh and exciting. (FdW)

ULRICH KRIEGER – /RAW:RESPACE/ (2CD by Experimental Intermedia)

You may know Ulrich Krieger as a saxophone player who has played with Lou Reed, Lee
Ranaldo (part of Text Of Light), Faust, Zbigniew Karkowski and his ‘death-doom-noise-
metal band’ Blood Oath (I didn’t know the latter), but also with the more silent types
of the Wandelweiser Group. Several of his works have been reviewed before, as recent
as Vital Weekly 991. On ‘/Raw:ReSpace/’ he takes matters in full control and in
all six pieces he plays his electric tenor saxophone, saxophone-controlled feedback,
pedals and delays. He even adds vocals to one piece. The only other player here
is Joshua Carro, who plays drums on two pieces. Pogus calls this ‘the first-ever
experimental noise-metal saxophone album’, a claim that might very well be true.
Saxophones have been used to produce noise before; Borbetomagus is an example that
springs to mind. But indeed: solo and with an amount of intelligence and variation?
Most likely not, but I readily admit I am not the expert when it comes the topic of
‘saxophones and noise’ music. The first disc, ‘Raw’, has five pieces, of which
‘Needles’ (one of the two with drums) is a very rock like one; it’s also the one with
vocals. ‘California’, the other one with drums, is less rock oriented and more a free
form improvisation piece – bordering on the extreme free jazz and the more contemplative
feedback. The other three pieces aren’t exactly Merzbowian slabs of noise either. They
are loud, that’s for sure, but the opening piece ‘Desert Center’ sounds like a sledge-
hammer meeting a foghorn, and ‘Shoshone’ is a more controlled effort in working a mighty
crescendo, but not the full-on blast. ‘Trona’ starts out in such a noise way, but even
then it dies – the mighty decrescendo. Yes, there is some noise around here, but not
throughout and highly controlled. Maybe the real blast is on the second disc?
   The second disc contains ‘ReSpace’ and that’s something entirely different. Here
Krieger just plays ‘saxophone-controlled feedback and delays’, and over the course of
seventy-four minutes this results in eleven shorter pieces in which there isn’t exactly
noise, but a highly controlled form of feedback, which leads to some beautiful drone
like ambient pieces. Each of these pieces (segments would perhaps be a better word)
is followed by a minute or so silence, but the next one comes and which sounds like
another variation to the theme. The sixth one, right in the middle of the piece, is
the longest part. Following some of the harsh music on the other side this is a most
welcome difference. Noise-metal? I may not agree. It is however a great double
CD. (FdW)


These days the word to use is ‘remix’, but I always liked the word recycling; going
right into sound, take it apart, reconstruct, re-edit and re-shape. This is what this
new release is all about. ‘Filarium’ is the follow-up to ‘Les 120 Jours’ from 1998
when Lionel Marchetti, Michel Chion and Jerome Noetinger created a whole bunch of
sounds and then each composed his own piece of music. ‘Filarium’ takes that a bit
further. On the first disc there are three individual compositions created from
several recordings they recorded together, and on the second disc there, there are
two studio reyclings in which they work with the material according to pre-planned
set of rules and one live recording. All of this reminded me very much of P16.D4/
SBOTHI working together, going back and forth with sound material. This is very much
a work of concrete music, and if you know any of the work these three composers
recorded before, than you will know what to expect. Electronic sounds, concrete sounds,
cutting in and out, crackles, a bang on a piano – it’s interesting to look for sounds
that reappear over this work. There are differences here to be noted. Whereas Noetinger
and Chion are a bit more traditional in their musique concrete approach, Marchetti’s
twenty-eight minute piece is very quiet, with lots of voices and it comes with a lot
of tension. Soft piano chords, voices, sighing, and objects, but all of this highly
spaced out over the length of the piece; it has a great sense of drama to it. Noetinger
seems to be using more loops than the others but also builds some careful silent parts
in his piece to counterpoint the hectic of some of the other parts. Chion’s piece is
the shortest here and also the one that uses the most ‘sound information’. Chion’s
music here has quite a brutal force to it, with crudely cut loops flying about in the
mix. This is, perhaps oddly enough, the most industrial piece of the six on this CD.
Cleverly placed in the middle on the first disc.
   On the second disc we have a piece of various sound elements stuck together, in what
could be a rather random way, but which gives us a nice insight in the production of
the raw sound material. With microphones open there is also, I think, some banter in
the studio. Maybe one could take this and recycle it yourself (as you as long as you
don’t call it a remix, I’d say). In the live version they add some more sound, I believe,
and is from all the pieces the one that seems to have the most sound, but it may come
across also as a bit of too random, even when the second half of the piece is quieter,
it also seems a bit unfocussed. The third collaborative piece also has randomly stuck
pieces together, but through some process sounds are erased from the tape, making this
is quite sparse and intense. Quite a lovely way to end a whole bunch of recycled
compositions: slowly erase it. Overall: an excellent production, a landmark in
recycled music. (FdW)

MARC HURTADO WITH Z’EV – SANG (CD by Monotype Records)
ASPEC(T) ZALASKI – DROGA (CD by Monotype Records)

By now the name Marc Hurtado may no longer mean as much as it did when he was one half
of Etant Donnes, but he continues to explore his voice in combination with sound. No
longer field recordings as he did in the latter days of Etant Donnes (together with his
brother Eric), but with others, such as Alan Vega, Vomir and soon Dissecting Table.
To do a release with Z’EV is, in my opinion, not a strange one, but what struck me was
that it seems that Hurtado is the one who decides upon lyrical and design content.
‘Sang’, meaning blood in French, is a very ‘Etant Donnes’ word, and also song titles
as ‘Aurore’, Coeur A Coeur’ and ‘L’Eclipse’ wouldn’t have been out of place in the early
days (in fact: they were used before). Also the pictures in the booklet come from the
greater previous work. Maybe we should see the artist (Marc Hurtado) ‘with’ (accompanied)
by the musician (Z’EV in this case). There are sixteen songs on ‘Sang’ and the well-
known voice of Hurtado, whispering his French lyrics, is present in all of these pieces.
I wasn’t blown away by Etant Donnes’ final works in which they used aggressive percussion
and mostly shouting their poems. It always worked best, for me, in this whispering voice
and those mysterious field recordings. Z’EV percussion works out in many different ways
here, which is great. It seems to be mostly acoustic percussion (perhaps what you expect,
but Z’EV prefers electronic drums these when collaborating), which rattles about at times,
but also it can go spooky and intense, pointillist, adding texture. I am not sure how
this work was recorded; maybe Hurtado had access to a whole bunch of Z’EV material which
he cut to see fit or them together in a space. Somehow I think the first method is the one.
Hurtado also uses electronics to manipulate his voice material; I think something like
a Kaoss Pad does the trick. I enjoyed this CD quite a bit, but it is also a bit too long.
A number of pieces last over eight minutes and the total length of seventy-five minutes
is also too much. Your interest can’t keep up, especially if the French language is not
your daily bread and butter. Easily a much stronger album could have been made if one
would have limited this to the length of the classic LP (forty minutes). There is no need
to release it all; or perhaps in two bunches.
   The other two releases also deal with musicians working together but then surely inside
one space, such as the basement studio of Aspec(t), Napoli’s duo of SEC_ (reel-to-reel tape
recorder, no-input mixing boards and samples) and Mario Gabola (self-built photosensitive
system, no-input mixing board) who in April 2013 teamed up with Andrzej Zalaski on drums
and voice to record what became ‘Droga’. It has three more pieces than Hurtado/Z’EV, but
it lasts half the length. I am not sure if I heard Zalaski’s work before, but I sure know
Aspec(t) and their noisy approach to improvisation. With pieces ranging from mere 18
seconds to one that lasts seven (which is a rarity, one to two minutes is more likely on
this album), they hold on to the punk aesthetics in the field of improvisation. Everything
bursts here with noisy electrical currents, beeping and scratching, feedback explosions
and all along Zalaski is banging the hell out of his drum kit. This is some very tiring
music, and I mean this in a most respectful way. This is a 38 minute concentrated burst
of energy, very vibrant, very punk. It seems that drum sounds produced by Zalaski are
picked up by whatever means Aspec(t) have, adding to the real-time cut-up style they have.
It’s all very made and breaks music. Like said: one remains behind very tired, but also
utterly delighted. The best of noise, improvisation and punk, combined into one blast.
   Like I never heard from Zalaski, I think I also never heard of Martin Taxt, who plays
‘amplified microtonal tuba’ in duet with the no-input mixing board (he might have invented
it) Toshimaru Nakamura. From 7 to 10 January 2014 they worked together in Tokyo and
Nakamura mixed the music. The result is ten pieces of music. I am never sure what the sound
of a microtonal tuba is like, but I may not have been thinking about something like what I
am experiencing now. Maybe I had no expectations at all, which is no doubt the best way to
start listening. Much like the previous Aspec(t)/Zalaski release this is all about noise,
but with some important differences (and not just about this having fewer tracks taking up
more time), but whereas the other one is all broken up and collage-like, this one is all
about straight forward noise. It seems to me both of these musicians have their distortion
pedals out and set out to play as much as possible. Microtonal tuba you may wonder, where
did that go? I have no idea. But then it’s amplified so I am sure it is in here somewhere.
If only I knew where it went. Maybe I found all of this a bit too easy when it comes
to noise. It’s great to create that, better to hear it in a live context, but in the
end it came across as too simple; it lacked a bit of depth, or to stay in the many food
references of the individual titles: it could have used a bit more spices of a contrasting
flavours. (FdW)


From the ever so active Chihei Hatakeyama another new release, and he’s soon more active
than fellow Japanese musician Merzbow, albeit in a totally different musical field. I’m sure
I am not receiving all that he does, so there you go. Several of his works are collaborative
efforts, such as this one with Ken Ikeda, who has been creating sound installations and
worked with David Lynch. When it comes to releasing music is perhaps less active than
Hatakeyama, but he has had releases on Touch, Spekk and Baskaru. Ikeda is someone who likes
to use electronic sounds as well as acoustic sounds and use them in a rather playful manner
through the use of sampling. Hatakeyama is someone who plays the ambient card a lot, so
together it brings some interesting results. I assume he plays his guitar and effects here
and over the course of more than two years there have been various sessions by these two
musicians from which they culled these nine pieces. Rather than going with the long flow,
these pieces are rather short and to the point, which is great; it works well. It touches
upon both the playfulness of the sounds produced by Ikeda, warm, gentle loops of
unidentifiable origins versus Hatakeyama’s long(er) formed spacious drones. These nine
pieces are a most gentle ride with no bumps ahead, or it should be the somewhat nastier
overtones of ‘Tsuyu To Kie’, but that’s all highly relative. Nothing hurts here and that’s
great. It flows like a river in the mild spring sun – all of that stuff that is so missed
in the cold winter nights. The longing for late springtime, early summer breeze really
starts here. May it arrive soon! (FdW)


Apart from two bits of text on the cover, there is not a lot to go, and the website repeats
those quotes. So there you go; I don’t know a lot about this. Assuming it being on Bolt
Records I expected some connection to the world of the more official avant-garde music,
modern electronics or radio play, but none of that seems to be the case. I don’t know
Mrozowicka and Cichy but together they created four pieces of music, which can be best
summarized as ‘cosmic’ music. The two bits of text also refer to the solar eclipses and
northern winds. There are no instruments mentioned, and as far as I am concerned, based on
hearing, this could really be anything. From guitars and lots of effects to heavy computer
treatments of field recordings. There is, for all I know, surely a piano used in some of
this. Maybe all of it is made with the use of a piano, heavily stretched out most of the
time? This is some very fine ambient music, nothing more, and nothing less. This is the kind
of thing that Brian Eno did ages ago (and with the piano sounding I should add ‘with Harold
Budd’, but the piano is not to such an extent here). It is perhaps not something I would
easily think Bolt Records would release, but then: why not? Nothing new, but during a long
winter night this is certainly a most welcome release.
   The other new release by Bolt Records comes with a booklet, which I duly read and this
is what I understood; there is a documentary about the work of Eugeniusz Rudnik, who was
born in 1933 and who worked as an engineer for the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, and
who later on also composed his own electronic music. This CD is not the ‘OST’ to the movie,
but, and here’s where I have to guess a bit, a sort of collage of musical material from
Rudnik, rather than finished compositions (and I admit straight away: I might be wrong)
from pieces that may or may not be part of the movie, along with spoken word by the director
of the movie, Zuzanne Solakiewicz, who also selected the pieces. It might also very well
be that these sounds are mixture of various pieces together, a sort of remix if you will,
although I would rather refer to ‘sound recycling’ in the best tradition of Asmus Tietchens.
All of the spoken word is in Polish, which, I must admit, put me off at first, but as the
CD progresses makes more sense (plus there is a translation in the booklet anyway), along
with the modern electronic music of Rudnik. It has the quality of a radio drama, a film
without moving pictures, which is something the booklet also refers to (also referring to
others in this particular world, such as Derek Jarman’s ‘Blue’ and the Metamkine series
‘Cinema Pour L’Oreille’). This piece of music, or rather ‘sound essay’ doesn’t replace
the documentary I should think, having not seen it, but it rather sheds a new light upon
the notion of a documentary and how to ‘recycle’ the sound there of into a ‘sound essay’.
All of this is quite playful, which is something that belongs anyway to the soundworld
of Rudnik. Great release! (FdW)

TIM OLIVE & BEN OWEN – 63-66 (CD by 845 Audio)

Usually releases by Tim Olive are recorded in the country he resides these days, which is
Japan, but his duet recording with Ben Owen was recorded in New York, on two separate days
in October 2014. As always Olive gets credit for playing magnetic pickups, while Owen (also
responsible for the letterpress cover) plays shortwave radio, paper and contact microphones.
There are four pieces on this release, the shortest being six minutes and the longest twenty
minutes. If you are familiar with some of their (solo) music, then you may wonder what to
expect. Olive’s work can be loud and bouncing, noisy even at times, while Owen is more a
quiet type, one who let’s everything shake and rumble, just below the threshold of hearing.
It is always interesting to see how such things will work out. In this particular case I
would think that these musicians keep a fine balance between the two of them. Here we have
four tracks in which I believe that the first and the fourth, more than half the CD, have
Olive taking control with his pickups (although as easily I admit I don’t know what it is
they do) and the middle two pieces are more Owen’s doing. In these two pieces there is a
very quiet sound with very static (in every sense of the word) motion, from radio waves to
the rustling of paper (if at all), and a feedback like high-pitched sounds. In ’65’ all of
this moves to the more low-end side of the sound spectrum. In the other pieces there is
more action (although all of this is relative), with scanning of surfaces and objects.
The oddest thing is that everything is very stereo panned, with each player being in one
corner; one can hear the together, or just hear them solo. It’s a great CD, one that
requires quite a bit of your attention, but something that you will surely find rewarding.
   The only time I heard of Takuji Naka before was on a trio disc he did with Takahiro
Yamamoto and Jason Kahn (see Vital Weekly 926). Over there he played saxophone, tape and
electronic device, but on this new disc (recorded in 2013) it’s ‘tapes and spring reverb’,
and Olive, as always, magnetic pickups. Here we have five pieces and a total length of
thirty-one minutes of quite intense playing of surfaces, sounds and objects. Everything
cracks and beeps, objects rattle and there is some scratching of tapes to be detected
here. Whereas the other CD had certain space, a sense of tranquillity among its more
subdued tones, here it’s more upfront, right in your face even in its more quiet moments.
Naka and Olive use a real-time cut-up process from time to time making this quite a
different release. This one is a bit more noise based, scratching and bouncing over
the place, but it’s all done with a refined ear for the details. (FdW)


Resisting the temptation to start with the one that comes from close by, Dead Neanderthals,
I went for the disc by Leila Bordreuil (cello) and Michael Foster (sax). Apparently they are
25 years old and have been playing together for seven years. All of the pieces on this CD
have titles, so perhaps we could refer to these as ‘songs’? I am not sure what they would
feel about such a notion. There are thirteen of these pieces, ranging from thirty-four
seconds to over eleven minutes. In total fifty-two minutes of quite some radical improvised
music. It’s perhaps because it’s very loud or very quiet, and also not because it’s heavily
processed but it all sounds like an endurance test for both players as well as the listeners.
Sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, with both of these instruments easily recognized (at least
most of the times) and without many extended techniques. Bordreuil and Foster keep everything
quite close together with their instruments and have a somewhat clustered playing. After
these fifty-two minutes one is left behind with a sense both fatigue and satisfaction. It’s
not easy to just play just another CD after this. It’s better to take a walk outside and
refresh and reload.
   Although I love referring to sunny Nijmegen, it’s not always sunny. But life is good in
a small town Dutch city with a healthy underground music life (well and overground too, with
a band whose recent video is even loved by Tommy Lee; some people do care about that) and
some of the musicians look further afield. One group that is very active in getting about
is the duo Dead Neanderthals, Otto Kokke on saxophone and Rene Aquarius on drums and they
play free jazz that is inspired by minimal music, metal music and grind-core. They play
around town quite a bit and, together with Donne & Desiree part of what some people call
‘new wave of Dutch heavy jazz’. Despite having a fair of releases out, they didn’t make to
these pages a lot (not so small city then?), but here’s a CD with two pieces, ‘Worship’ and
‘The Sun’, both around eighteen minutes (no doubt pre-programmed to appear on vinyl one day?).
The music of the Dead Neanderthals is a wild ride. It is indeed free jazz music, especially
the saxophone plays a very outgoing role in this one but also the drums have a free role.
It doesn’t mean that the two of them play just anything on their instruments, and that there
is no level of control. I am sure there is. There is something very minimal as to what they
do. Everything goes on and on like maelstrom of the unconscious. Your mind is rattling and
there is no stopping it. This is what Dead Neanderthals do with their music. Especially the
drums rattle on and on, with small changes but throughout trying to keep a few steady rhythms
at the same time. It’s head-trip music. Play loud, obviously I hasten to add and this will
have a totally cleansing effect upon you as the listener. It will be a total immersive
experience. Live, I can guarantee you this works much better even, but here, on this CD,
it’s almost as strong. And I am not saying this because they are from sunny Nijmegen.
Today a real sunny city indeed. (FdW)


This might be the first time that French publishing house Lenka Lente produces a booklet that
is both in French (they were up until now solely in this language) and English. It contains
a poem by Charles Plymell, born in 1935 and who was part of the Beat generation. ‘Apocalypse
Rose’ is a poem from 1963 and I must admit reviewing poetry is just something I can’t do.
I read this, think it reads very well, but as to it’s meaning or structure or anything like
that, I draw a complete blank. The music here is by Bill Nace, a guitar player best known for
his work with Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth fame) as Body/Head, but who also played with Chris
Cooper, The Peeper, Vampire Bely, Ceylon Mange and others. He also runs the Open Mouth label.
Now as I obviously didn’t ‘get’ the poem, I can also not say whether I think the music is
a very apt interpretation; or perhaps a very free one. Or…? What I do know is that I quite
enjoy the music. It seems as if Nace taps out some sort of rhythm on his guitar, which is
not exactly like a rhythm but a vague sort of beat, which over the course of the fifteen
minutes slowly dies out, and also seems to change, less rhythmical but as the sound dies
down, it’s difficult to say what’s going. There is a sound at the end; apocalypse has
arrived? A fine work all around, perhaps a bit all too brief. (FdW)

BRUNO DUPLANT – FICTIONS (LP by Aussenraum Records)

Over the years I reviewed quite some music by Bruno Duplant, but to be honest I couldn’t say
what it is that he does. That is no doubt a good thing since it means that he does various
things, such as playing double bass, percussion, organ, electronics, but also composing and
running the Rhizome.s label. His latest record is about two nuclear disasters, Tchernobyl
and Fukushima, both leaving beyond a ghost town, Prypiat and Futaba. Duplant didn’t visit
these places but ‘took their existence as a starting point for an electroacoustic composition
to investigate the relationship between fiction and reality. Sonic journalism like Peter
Cusack’s ‘Sounds from dangerous places’ documents the reality of exclusion zones. Bruno
Duplant tries to translate the reality of such zones into fiction by using sounds, which
originally had no relation with these places’. Which gives us two pieces of the same length,
‘fiction as testimony of a reality easily forgotten, and buried in silence’. Now as I am
old enough to remember the Tchernobyl disaster, and Fukushima taking place in the era of
social media, I can hardly say these are ‘easily’ forgotten (Harrisburg, anyone?). So I’m
afraid these words, this concept is a bit lost on me. Why would you want to put fiction
into this reality? Because it is easily forgotten? Says who? In these two pieces one hears
a bunch of field recordings of a highly obscured nature (I couldn’t even guess what they
were); wind flapping against objects (the ‘abandoned city’?), along with some electronics
(‘geiger counters’ being processed, sorry, on a melt-down of course?) and maybe the hand-
manipulated sounds of objects – you realize I am merely guessing here. Now it may seem that
I am trying to ridicule this, but I am not. Not by a long stretch, as I quite enjoyed the
two pieces on this album. They are a minimal in development, but not without any and evoke
a sense of loneliness; the music is throughout quiet, but not silent. If anything ‘fiction’,
I would think this kind of music could go well with a movie about post nuclear landscapes –
non-fiction of course, but perhaps also any fictional movie about abandoned people and lost
cities. Even without any strict concept this is a most enjoyable record. (FdW)


It is no doubt something I should have done earlier, and I still didn’t get around doing it:
reading stories by H.P. Lovecraft. I am now as far as having downloaded them (you can ignore
this bit of course) and now it’s waiting for that bit of time to start reading at least one.
This new record has two of them, ‘From Beyond’ and ‘The Hound’, both can be read on Wikipedia
also, being read by Laurence R. Harvey and with music by the ever so mysterious The Duke St
Workshop, armed with his analogue synthesizers and drum machines. Before (see also Vital Weekly
888, 920 and 949) I referred to their music as soundtracks for Doctor Who, X-Files or Twilight
Zone and that is still a valid observation. It fits the horror stories here also very well.
Me thinks that the spoken word was recorded first and then the music was added onto that;
spooky tunes, ghostly rhythms and Harvey who has a great voice in narrating this. Obviously
one has to like the formula of ‘music with spoken word’, and I am not really one of those
people. I like stories, books, magazines and what have you, but to read them myself, rather
listen to a record in which the role of spoken word is of more importance than the music.
Which of course is absolutely valid to do so, but it’s just not always the sort of thing I
would play, being the ‘pure music’ guy. I really enjoyed the cosmic music inspired synths and
beats The Duke St Workshop produces here and I was thinking a download code with just the
music (a do it yourself package: read your own version of these stories!) would have been
a lovely bonus. All in all, while not something I would play everyday, I think this is a most
lovely record of some fine story telling, in both words and music. And did I imagine hearing
a version of Satie’s ‘Trois Gymnopédies’ on the first side? Maybe these stories got me anyway,
spellbound? (FdW)


A work of collaboration between David Newman, who goes by the name Autistici and one Justin
Varis, of whom I only remember a remix that he did for Newman (see Vital Weekly 738). I don’t
think he has many releases to his name. I am not sure what the title means; there are eight
collaborative pieces here and eight remixes and they all have names of colours. The cover says
’16 tracks, nine colours, countless possibilities’. All right, fair enough. Autistici I know
best for manipulating recordings of instruments and field recordings, extracting small bits
out of that and creating warm glitchy music with that. In recent times this music shifted more
and more to the world of ambient music but on this particular work it seems he goes back a
bit more into his own past and creates music that is taking all of these short sounds and he
starts looping them around. Maybe it’s the influence of Varis? Or perhaps it is what Varis
brought to the table. Whatever it is, it sounds actually not bad at all. From what I heard
on Eilean Records so far this music with rhythm is something we don’t hear a lot. The warmth
and the melodic touch are never far away in this music and that is also something we love
Autistici for. It is not music that is completely and utterly ‘new’ by any means, but it is
just very well made. Not as quiet at times and that makes it quite enjoyable.
   This comes with an extra CDR of eight remixes, one of each original, and all of them by
‘people whose artistry we adore’. It may not be that these remixes bring the original into an
entirely new sound world; very likely it just fits along what one has just heard. The remixes
are created by Marcus Fischer, Isnaj Dui, Christopher Hipgrave, Monty Adkins, Pillowdiver,
Offthesky, Letters! On Sounds and Wil Bolton. That’s a nice who’s who of similar thinking
minds of the laptop scene (though I didn’t recognize the name Letters! On Sounds), or perhaps
I should say analogue processing scene, tape scene, reel-to-reel specialists and what have
you. All seven that I heard of before create something that can easily be related to the
original – more of the same if you will, but everybody slowing things down a bit more,
playing the ambient card more than the original I think. It’s that oddly named Letters!
On Sounds that makes the difference here. The guitar is mixed up front and soon finds it
self in a cut-up version of the recordings, along with the speeding up of other sounds and
a bit of rhythm thrown in. Now that makes quite a difference. I wish remixes were more
about making a difference and along such lines. But all in all these two CDRs are filled
with some great music. (FdW)

QUALIFAX (cassette compilation)

If it’s on a label I must admit I didn’t see that. I got it through Quinten of the ever so
lovingly obscure E.M.I.R.S. who did all of this work at home, Xeroxing covers, hand painting
covers and such like. There are four bands on this tape, and it’s sheer impossible to figure
out who’s doing what here. Partly because the information is a bit obscure, but that also
goes for the music itself. The four bands are E.M.I.R.S. and Ill Omen, both from The Netherlands
and Putsum (which is Adam_is, see also Vital Weekly 570 and 672) and Coma Berenices, both from
Greece. As said the timings on the insert make no sense at all, as summed up it could be on one
half of the tape, but the whole tape is over sixty minutes. Maybe confusion is what this is all
about? Putsum plays some guitar, at least if he’s responsible for the opening of side B and he
plays with sense of distorted blues man. Nice, but not great. Ill Omen is all about noise and
not really my cup of tea. The most interesting music is on the first side. I couldn’t make out
which were the two E.M.I.R.S. pieces which sandwich the Coma Berenices piece, but all of this
had some vague reel-to-reel manipulations with likewise obscure sound input. Probably very
much of the kind I would expect from E.M.I.R.S., and metal sheets of Coma Berenices provided
a more noisy counterpoint to all of this wilful obscurity while at the same time it adds to
it. I wished a bit more of that and a bit less of the more traditional noise.The contact
address might be all-wrong, but you could at least give it a try. (FdW)