Number 1022


MODELBAU – FOUR SQUARED WHEEL (CD by Moving Furniture) *
   ALFRED ZIMMERLIN (CD by Edition Wandelweiser) *
REZO GLONTI – BUDAPEST (CD by Dronarivm) *
ANGELICA CASTELLO – SONIC BLUE (LP by Interstellar Records) *
OWL RAVE (LP by Interstellar Records) *
REGOLITH – I (2LP by Rock Is Hell Records) *
MEKANIK KOMMANDO – ~~~/++/+- (7″ by Tone Float)
LEA BERTUCCI – AXIS/ATLAS (cassette by Clandestine Compositions) *


The name Subterraneanact perhaps doesn’t ring any immediate bells, not even when you
remember their self-titled CD, reviewed in Vital Weekly 828. Back then Subterraneanact
was a duo of Henk Bakker on clarinet and Jelmer Cnossen on drums and ableton live,
but these days it seems to be Bakker solo, with the same instruments as before. He
studied at the Conservatory of Utrecht and was, along with Lukas Simonis, one half
of Static Tics. Here he teams up with Rutger Zuydervelt, also know as Machinefabriek
and they both live and work in Rotterdam. The only work I heard from Subterraneanact
was quite noisy but on this new release Bakker plays he bass clarinet with great subtle
beauty, even when it still owns to the world of improvised music. Maybe Zuydervelt picks
up the sound of clarinet and (re-) works that into the overall music, adding sounds
from objects he also uses. Even when the cover says ‘edited and mixed by Henk Bakker’
the overall tone is more like Machinefabriek and perhaps a bit less Subterraneanact
(but as said, as far as I know this group/project based on one release). The eleven
pieces here range from quite short, less than a minute to over eight minutes, and is
best enjoyed as a work that is heard as one long piece, without paying attention to the
individual pieces and the whole thing becomes a collage of bass clarinet sounds, finely
woven drones and occasional acoustic object abuse. Sometimes looped around, but most
of the time in ‘real’ time, with carefully constructed atmospheric music. In the bigger
picture of Machinefabriek, who has been working with lots of instrument players, this
is another most welcome addition. A fine, sturdy work.
   The other new release by Machinefabriek is a compilation of remixes he did between
2005 and 2015. Now of course you know I am not someone who loves compilations, but there
is the exception for the ones like this. People like Machinefabriek are always busy
giving away their music to obscure compilations, creating hard to find remixes for
obscure releases and a release like this makes it possible to get a complete(r) picture
of his work (although diehard fans may still want the original release, I know). I know
a lot of the Machinefabriek work, but of this thirteen track CD I may have heard one.
Plus I was quite surprised by some of his clients, such as Amon Tobin (for Ninja Tune)
and Djivan Gasparyan (for All Saints Records). Other musicians that get the remix
treatment are Bas van Nienes, Wouter van Veldhoven (the one I heard), Fieldhead,
Aaron Martin, Coppice, De La Mancha, The Moi Non Plus, Gareth Hardwick, Fiium Shaarrk,
Vladimir and Red Stars Over Tokyo. There is one piece from 2005, but the rest is from
more recent years, with nothing from 2006 and 2007. Not of all the artists mean much
to me, so it’s not easy to say in what way these pieces are different from the original,
but in some cases there is indeed the trademark Machinefabriek sound to be detected,
such as in the ambient sounds added to the Amon Tobin music, or the clicks in the
Hardwick piece, which around that time, 2009, also popped up in the other work by
Zuydervelt. In some of these pieces he also uses a bit of rhythm, which is something
we haven’t heard since his very early days if I recall well. This is a release that
should appeal to a wider audience I would think and not just the diehard fans. There
is, spread out over 80 minutes, lots of be discovered. (FdW)


As one of the many monikers of Frans de Waard, Modelbau is a relatively recent one that
is his venture away from laptop music into the realm of portable synths, walkmans and
contact mics with a renewed focus on live performance. Whereas De Waard had intended for
the project to do digital releases only, this restriction was binned a while ago and after
a couple of tape & CD-r releases, Amsterdam’s excellent drone/ambient/experimental label
Moving Furniture presents Modelbau’s first properly pressed CD. Now for people who are
somewhat familiar with de Waard’s work this album is kind of an oddball. It mainly
consists of four single-note drones with wavering patterns of overtones and timbres
changes. It reminded me of a show by Reinier van Houdt I attended a while ago at Extrapool.
It’s a recurring feature called “The Long Now” that invites an artist to perform a piece
that is too long for a regular evening program. Van Houdt’s performance, a Robert Ashley
piece, lasted for 4 or 5 hours and it consisted of him piling up stacks of coins onto the
keys of a synthesizer, following some kind of intricate, if not arcane system. The result
was a constantly changing pattern of sine waves clashing and modulating each other, which
was quite intense as the ephemeral and alternating nature of the piece became more and
more overwhelming over time. ‘Four Squared Wheel’ is Modelbau’s yin to Van Houdt’s yang
in that respect and the four pieces are very monolithic and uniformly pure in their
monotony. Listening on headphones it was an experience of aural cleansing that made me
feel more centred in the end. I’m not sure if this was the intended effect, but it is
quite an interesting experience nonetheless and I liked it very much for that very reason.
   To celebrate 100 years of Futurism Wíeman was asked to cook something up and decided
to invite long-time collaborator Jos Smolders to join their ranks. This completed the
setup for “Alive Futarist Minifesta”, which is out on De Waard’s own Korm Plastics. Like
Modelbau’s album, this work consists of one track only and sets off with a piece that to
me somewhat resembled 80s martial industrial – stuff like Test Dept, SPK. Indeed quite
a surprise. Many of the loops have something metallic or motorized about them and seem
acoustic in origin – quite unlike the previous release “Cryptonesia”, which seemed much
more synthetic in retrospect. Still, before I had the time to ponder the historically
connections between fascism, futurism, my love for martial music and the scent of cold
steal and ballistic imagery this album would possibly leave me with, Wíeman drops an
extremely groovy electronic beat with some classic HAL samples put to it, which instantly
launches us into noisy space pop territory. And I have to emphasize ‘noisy’ there: don’t
expect a fancy “engage” cruise on one of those galaxy class sleek Enterprise models.
No sir, from this point on it becomes an entertaining but ever so harrowing trip, a on
ramshackle second-hand space raider vessel, rife with plasma spouting conduits, fried
electronic equipment and haywire, probably even malevolent computer systems… until
after twenty minutes the ship just breaks down altogether and then slowly the scenario
fades from a pile of fuming remains to a larger-than-life sci-fi machine like the one in
Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The music slips into an attractive groove, almost like a lofi 90s
Detroit techno track, but played at half speed. Still the mechanical timbres are abundant
and they seem buzz around the beat like fighter planes attacking some future-retro cast-
iron king kong, menacingly striding around some 40s silent movie set, knocking over props.
The end of the album is the best bit, which to me sounded like the forewarning howls
emanating from some trans-dimensional portal, desperately trying to prevent a future that
is in the end inevitable. Just so is the likelihood of me playing that very last bit again
and again. Brilliant stuff. (PJN)

ALFRED ZIMMERLIN (CD by Edition Wandelweiser)

The title of this release is rather self-explanatory: here we have four pieces, composed
by these four composers, of which I don’t think I heard before, but seeing this is
released by Edition Wandelweiser, I assume they are all connected to that group. A common
interest of this group is the use of silence and much of their pieces are quiet and Zen-like,
taking inspiration from John Cage’s ‘4’33’; they force you to listen closer. Here the four
compositions are performed by Christian Buck, who plays (acoustic) guitar and Christian
Wolfarth on percussion. They have been playing together as a duo since 2011 and they
commissioned these pieces, for which they took some time to record. Buck’s background in
classical chamber music, while Wolfarth has a background in improvised music. When I play
music like this, I always would love to see the score and try to consider what the musicians
thought while playing this (assuming these are not entirely straight forward scores). One
would expect that silence plays a big role in these four pieces, however it doesn’t to the
extent I thought it would be. Most of the time the instruments are quite audible; loud of
course they are not. It moves from the gentle percussive, both guitar and drums, ‘Squall
Line Territories’ by Alex Goretzki, which seems to be quite distant at times, moving through
space, coming from afar and close by, to the dark and freighting ‘Flüchtige Weile’ by
Katharina Weber, which is certainly quite present, despite using sparse tones from each
of the instruments. Alfred Zimmerlin allows no silence, and his ‘Spaziergang In Der
Abenddämmerung’ (walk in twilight) is quite a fine piece, with the guitar becoming quite
conventional musical from time to time. An interesting walk. The opening piece, called
‘New Piece’ by Jack Callahan has the most silence but from time to time quite conventional
rhythm structures, but it works really well in combination with each other. Excellent
release of modern music. (FdW)


This Belgian sextet follows a consistent route already for several years. Seen from a Dutch
perspective, they evidently are part of a tradition of typical Belgian ensembles like Julverne,
Karo, Louise Avenue, Simpletones, Maximalist, Univers Zero, Présent, etc. Ensembles that all
have their very own face however. ‘Made in Belgium II’ is their 6th release. It is the second
one in a series where they play works from young and not so young Belgian composers, some of
them related to the groups mentioned above (Walter Hus, Peter Vermeersch, Jan Kuijken, a.o.).
It is not rock or underground, nor highly academic composed music. With their chamber music
(guitar, flutes, violin, piano, cello, bass, accordion, etc.), they position themselves more
as a group for all ages and backgrounds, a broad audience, without becoming ‘commercial’ or
easy listening. Not at all. They have found an interesting balance in this respect. Musically
most tracks on this new album have a prominent place for pulse and rhythm. Call it post-
minimalism. But not in a Louis Andriessen vein, that is dominant over here in Holland. Melody
and a certain romantic feel are substantial ingredients of most compositions too. Like in
‘Chanoi, a composition’ by frontman Joris Vancinckenroye. ‘Kablamo’ by Ananta Roosens is
composed in Piazolla’s tango-idiom. ‘La vague’, composed by Hus integrates allusions to some
pop tunes I couldn’t identify. Humour and wit are ingredient of several of the other pieces
as well. Especially in the eclectic work ‘Tolles Pferd’ by Koen van Roy. The text is a
compilation of German song and ‘schläger’-titles, convincingly sung by flutist Jana Arns.
‘Funambul’ is a charming and intimate outro, composed by Aurelie Dorzée. All together a very
rich and full-grown statement from this inspired combo. (DM)


Oddly enough, perhaps, the music on this release is not recorded in the Hungarian capital
that lent his name to the release, but on Budapest Street in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi
by someone of whom I haven’t heard of before, Rezo Glonti. Dronarivm one expects to get a
fine bit drone music releases seeing this, but Glonti does a different job than most. He plays
guitar from time to time, adds rhythm from time to time, has quite some bass sound going and
is sometimes best found in the world of ambient house. In ‘Yellow Tone’ his guitar sounds
hopelessly out of date with the current flow – very seventies if you ask me. When the guitar
is pushed to the background in favor of more synthesized sounds and rhythms the music is
quite good, harking back also, but not earlier than the mid 90s when ambient house was peaking.
Glonti keeps his pieces between the three and seven minutes, although the latter is an exception.
Each of these is a rounded off excursion into dreamland, evoking chill out rooms, sunny beaches,
laidback cocktail lounges, Tangerine Dreamlike arpeggio’s and sometimes it was a bit dark
and gloomy, such as in the deep space of ‘Line Out’. It all seemed to me highly digital
music, made with laptops running Ableton Live and as such it had a fine production quality.
Throughout a varied disc with different aspects of forty plus years of ambient music,
with a little bit of from every incarnation. You could do worse! (FdW)


Opening packages is something that happens all day long at the VWHQ, and sometimes you open
something that is unlocking a seemingly new world. Regardless whether one thinks that VW is
written with algorhythms that spit out ‘never heard of him’ (but then for the third time;
isn’t that then an algorhythm that isn’t working?). So much for the pessimists. So here’s
a double CD by Australia’s Von Einem, who released a bunch of cassettes on Solar Anus,
Mazurka Editions, Altered States Tapes, Cantankerous Records, Virulent Rationality and Future
Archaic. One of these labels I heard of (name only because someone else reviewed them in
the weekly) and I recognized the name Joe Talia, who did the mastering of this collection
of pieces from these tapes, is a name I heard before. Otherwise I draw a complete blank here.
Thirty songs, recorded in the period 2011-2014, from a bunch of cassette releases by these
labels is to be found here and there is no mention of who or what, but discogs mentions Mark
Groves as the band member. This is all about good ol’ fashioned industrial music; fierce
rhythm, distorted synth, spliced speech from radio or TV and hissy tape-loops, cut and
collage with chopped up slices of feedback. There is even a bit of vocal here and there,
which reminded me of Eric Lunde from time to time. That’s great, but also the fact Von Einem
has a few tricks up his sleeve to produce his music. These thirty songs/pieces show an
interesting variety of interests. A bit of rhythm here, feedback there, cut-up in the third
corner, and while most of this is played with some style, the whole thing sounds also a bit
lovingly lo-fi. Hiss seems to be an overall ingredient in these pieces, which sound like
these pieces are maybe mastered directly from a cassette master (do people still master
cassettes to an actual cassette? Interesting question). It adds that great cassette quality
to the music.
   Normally I would think that two hours of this kind of music is a bit much, but its the
sheer variety of the music, all within the realm of industrial/noise/power electronics and
a bit of loud ambient, that saves this release and turns it into a great listening experience.
Even as a real, double CD a bit obscure, but that certainly adds to overall quality. Grim,
bleak, excellent. Is there more coming by them? (FdW)
   Address: none given


The website from the label doesn’t seem to be updated with information about this new release,
and the artist website is more interested in turning up smoke screens, so it leaves the reviewer
a bit in the dark. Discogs says that his real name is Skot Able, and he’s also working as I Dick
M The F Table, i dick m the f’table, I Dm Theft Able, i dmth efta blé, I’d M Thfft Able, I’d M
Thfft Able, Ib M Theft Adle, Id M, ID M Theft Able, IDM Theft Table, Idm Theftable, and I’m sure
it doesn’t have anything to do with stylistic differences in these projects. Somewhere in the
back of my mind I thought I’d M Thfft Able (in whatever guise) was all about plunderphonics,
and maybe some of this is in that area, but it could also very well that this is all about noise,
collage, Dada, or sound poetry, in which found media sounds play a role, small or big. The music
was recorded between February and April 2013 and mixed in October of last year. If it is filed
under plunderphonics, then it’s surely not your traditional version thereof. In fact, what I
just said, noise, collage, Dada, or sound poetry are all to be found in equal portions on this
release, topped with a fine dose of plunderphonics, but without being much about social issues.
I am not sure what to make of all of this. I thought of some of this was quite nice, and in
other places I think some editing would have made a better piece, because shorter would more
to the point. Maybe I’d M Thfft Able is just at the far noisy end of musique concrete with this
release? That might also be the case. See my point? I have no idea what I am doing. (FdW)


With releases like this one by Zbigniew Karkowski I’m always doubting: should I list in the
header just the name of the composer, or also the one who actually plays the music? Which in
this case is Kasper T. Toeplitz. I guess that is a problem of composers, compositions and
performers. Now, while for the majority of readers Karkowski might be the man who played
extremely loud electronic music, using sine waves, computers and electronics, it’s perhaps
lesser known that he was also a man who wrote notes on piece of lined paper and which other
people could play. I do believe he worked on opera’s and string arrangements for Jimi Tenor
at various points in his life (he died in 2013). I am not sure if ‘Fluster’ was recorded
especially for solo electric bass, and especially for Toeplitz. Maybe there is a clue in the
extensive liner notes but they are all in French. Why not Polish? That is the country of birth
for Karkowski (who was fluent in many languages) and for the label? Or, even better, why not
in English and maybe many more people could apprehend and perhaps appreciate it. I opened up
the piece in my sound editor so I could rip a bit for the VW podcast and it looked almost like
my screen turned black; just like a noise record, and sure, while this is all quite loud, it
is not all throughout that loud. The first fifteen or so minutes are just an unearthly low
rumble and seemingly not much else. Then, up until the forty-minute break, it’s very noise
based, like in a good old school industrial music fashion. After that it stays very much in
a higher region of tonal spectrum, so the work has three distinct sections. Its all damn heavy,
especially if you decide to play this at a very loud volume, which, for a chance, wasn’t
something I was doing. I quite enjoyed but doubt if I would be playing something this weight
easily for fun again.
   Despite his name sounding Polish, Mike Majkowski is from Australia and he plays the double
bass, sometimes solo as well as part of a duo with Jim Denley that goes by the name Blip.
He is also active with the Fabric Trio, Gunter Hampel European-New York Quintet, Keijzer
McGuiness Quintet, Konzert Minimal, Roil, Strike, The Kristin Berardi Band and The Splinter
Orchestra. A solo release of his was reviewed in Vital Weekly 844. This is the perfect
opposite to the disc of Karkowski/Toeplitz: Majkowski’s music is very quiet and not very
outspoken. Most of the time it is close to the threshold of hearing, without things getting
quiet for too long. I was thinking there is always something to hear and that’s great.
Majkowski plays his music in a very slow and minimal way, leaving his notes room to breathe.
Whatever technique he applies I’m not sure of, but in the second piece, ‘Ultramarine’,
it seems as if Majkowski uses a bit of electronics, taking it all apart a bit (though not
a lot), but it might also be the way he uses the bow on the strings – shaky but sustaining
for short amounts of time, creating quite an intense pattern of slowly changing sound.
‘Sleep And Oblivion’ is the longest piece here and has an equal slow beauty. This is an
excellent work of solo improvisation and after the blast by Toeplitz certainly a much needed
moment of quietness. (FdW)

ANGELICA CASTELLO – SONIC BLUE (LP by Interstellar Records)
OWL RAVE (LP by Interstellar Records)
REGOLITH – I (2LP by Rock Is Hell Records)

Already in this issue I wrote this: “Opening packages is something that happens all day long
at the VWHQ, and sometimes you open something that is unlocking a seemingly new world”, but
it’s something that also applies to the box that contained these three releases. The only
somewhat familiar name was that of Angelica Castello. Castelli is 42, and is originally from
Mexico and these days lives in Vienna. Her main instrument is the flute and as such some of
her works have been reviewed in Vital Weekly (see Vital Weekly 999, 937 and 773, the latter
for a solo release of her work). Her latest work ‘Sonic Blue’ has little to do with her work
playing the flute. Instead we find her on the Lofoten archipelago, somewhere far up in Norway,
where she taped the sound of whales and other sonic events around that. Castello takes the
listener below sea level and through her playing her own ‘subgreatbass recorder’, an instrument
of her own creation; she incorporates the field recordings into some great music. Hard to say
where field recordings stop, and instruments begin. The whale song working with the way
Castello plays her instrument, the vibrations of her instrument with the rippling of the sea;
the high frequencies, which sound like dolphins with whatever electronics Castello uses on her
side of the stage. This is an absolutely refined work of great beauty. It’s heavy on the field
recordings, it seems, but also make a fine pattern of improvised music, and the two of them
work together in a great way. An excellent record of some fine ambient music, but not in the
usual way.
   Then I moved on to the work of Owl Rave, which is the musical project of Gregor Huber,
playing and programming all the instruments and sounds, while he has two guest vocalists,
Antonia Steiner and Markus Dolp. I’m not sure what kind of instruments there are at his
disposal but surely there is a drum machine, a bunch of synthesizers and a guitar. Their
main influence is David Lynch’ ‘Twin Peaks’. When that was on the idiot box in the 90s I
watched a few episodes and thought it was utter bullshit but a few years ago I tried it
again, and enjoyed it much more (although I kept thinking until the very end that I wouldn’t
be surprised if a space ship would land and aliens would start singing ‘the hills are alive’;
maybe it did happen? I don’t want to spoil this if you still want to watch this). The dark
atmosphere, the strangeness of many of the characters, and that’s what is probably called
surrealism. Some of that dark smoky night club atmosphere is indeed present in the music of
Owl Rave; that slight jazz noir feeling of the rhythm, embedded with dark synthesizers and
sometimes a touch of distorted guitars and ditto grainy vocals, especially from the side of
Dolp. This is the kind of music that would work well in any such film noir/surrealist setting
that inspired the musician, I think. Moody and dark, and all of this are quite strong.
   The final release is by Regolith, not to be confused with the Regolith who released music
on Running On Air’ (see Vital Weekly 839). This Regolith is a duo of Richie Herbst, who runs
the Interstellar Records label (hence that I found it here) and Christian Zollner, who I happen
to know as one of the two owners, next to the ever so lovely Wouter Jaspers, of Koma Elektronik,
a company creating hardware sound tools for those who love to embrace new technology. I didn’t
know he did music, but knowing Wouter Jaspers that’s no surprise that he works with co-musicians
on these tools as his life breathes music. There have been a whole bunch of releases by this
version of Regolith, mainly split releases with others, but ‘I’ is their first proper own
release, spread out over four sides on a double LP. While these days Koma Elektronik in their
promotional videos show us a world that is increasingly more dance music oriented, here Regolith
stay quite close to the world of drones, and more particular the world of drones that are quite
loud and mean, noisy even at times. This has nothing to do a bunch of loud guitars and a stack
of amplifiers, or the world of drone metal, but I rather see connections to the likes of Chop
Shop with the minimalism of Phill Niblock. Each side is filled with a single, twenty-minute
piece of hard-boiled drone music, sounding mysterious, with a deep rumble from below the
surface. Is that an earthquake they’ve recorded, or is that one they just generated? This is
some excellent music shaking from those speakers here. Forget rock music, rock is hell. Give
me drones like these. (FdW)

MEKANIK KOMMANDO – ~~~/++/+- (7″ by Tone Float)

For a book that I am still working on about years inside the independent music industry,
I write about the 15 year old me and how I came to experimental music. In it I recount of an
article from a big time music paper called Oor about the very young movement, which the good
Dutch people dubbed ‘Ultra’, which, these days, I quickly describe as ‘the lowlands answer to
New York’s No Wave’ and I write “the article mentioned the launch of a new magazine, Vinyl,
which would include a flexi disc too, and what’s more, a flexi disc by a local Nijmegen band
I’d never heard of, Mekanik Kommando. Hard to believe but the period separating the Oor
article and the release of the Vinyl magazine was only a matter of days. I immediately hunted
down the first issue of Vinyl. The flexi disc is excellent: a band with two bass guitars,
a synth, and a rhythm machine, playing electronic, weird, different music.”  As a 15 year old
I didn’t have much music to play, so I kept playing on the same music over and over again,
and the two songs by Mekanik Kommando were captivating. Not long after that the released their
first, ‘It Would Be Quiet In The Woods’, which was released a couple of years ago by Dutch
label Tone Float. It’s the same label who is a home to The Use Of Ashes, the follow-up to
Mekanik Kommando, perhaps a bit more psychedelic rock than the mechanics of the Kommando.
It is also the same label that now re-issues the Vinyl flexi on a real piece of vinyl, as well
as two other releases that involve Peter van Vliet, main operator of Mekanik Kommando and The
Use Of Ashes. It strange to think that after thirty-five years I still excited about these songs,
as much as was as a 15 year old school boy. The radio sounds, the distorted voice, the careful
bang on the rhythm machine: as much as this was back then a lo-fi affair, it stood the test
of time perfectly.
   The other 7″ is probably not something you can buy, but worth mentioning anyway. What do
label bosses to do when they have a newborn in the house? They ask a band to record song and
release that on a 7″, CD or whatever. If you get twins? You ask two bands. Mister Tonefloat
celebrates the birth of two baby girls with a 7″ with two bands. On one side there is a licensed
song from This Mortal Coil, ‘You And Your Sister’, from the album ‘Blood’ and on the other side
‘The Eyes Of Love’ by The Use Of Ashes. Both of these songs breeze intimacy – well, I assume
you know the This Mortal Coil piece, but the breezy autumn guitars of The Use Of Ashes work
equally well in terms of a romantic song. I wonder what these twins will think of this come
time to make up their own mind concerning music; would still play that?
   There’s the risk of not doing the whole lot of Beequeen enough justice by diligently focusing
on the influence that Peter van Vliet brings to the mix – quite literally, since he did the
engineering and production on these two tracks. Still, the b-side of the new 7″ single “Sturmwind/
Gilbert” might as well have been a Mekanik Kommando track. It’s just that wonky drum computer
with the typical guitar riffing that hits home immediately. Only when Olga’s reverb-laden vocal
part sets in the warm nocturnal Beequeen buzz becomes more evident. The song is quite repetitive
in its own post-punky way and definitely has something ULTRA about it.
   The a-side, Sturmwind, is not as ominous a track as the title may suggest. It builds up as
a dreamy, laid-back pop song akin to some material on Beequeen’s most recent album “Around
Midnight”… and it’s sung in German, which was a pleasant surprise. Some noisy wayward whatnots
that come in after a few minutes provide the track with the necessary quirkiness that counters
its catchy hook into a beautiful and apt poise. It has been playing in my head over and over
again ever since listening to it this morning. However, being a bit of an Mekanik Kommando fan,
I’m pretty sure “Gilbert” is my new true love. (FdW) (PJN)


Quite surprised actually to see this CDR release in an edition of just thirty-three copies.
One would think that the name Kim Cascone would be able to sell a few more records? Once working
for David Lynch films, then running his Silent Records, pushing it to great height in the dance of
ambient house (including his own Heavenly Music Corporation) and then working with software and
playing audiences all of the world. After that perhaps a bit more silent (pun perhaps intended)
he is these days concerned with listening to music in a more meditative way, and sometimes organizing
‘drone cinema’ events. I forgot to mention that playing the guitar is also an interest. No doubt
there is much more told be told about him. I am not sure if he plays guitar on this release, but
I doubt that. Having said that, it is also not easy to say what it is that he does. Two pieces here,
the lower and upper region of ‘subflower phi’ (as in referring to the golden ratio, I would assume),
and both are very much pieces of drone music in which really not a lot happens. Or so it seems?
It’s not easy to say. It seems like single tone is locked inside a modular synthesizer and that’s
it. But that’s not the case if you listen closely (and maybe that is not the idea? To listen closely?
Maybe it’s Cascone’s intention to have this just running as it is, and the listener should engage
in other things, or perhaps in no-thing at all?), you hear the very minimal changes that occur in
this music. The tone very slowly changes and this can be heard better in the upper region than in
the lower region I think and I found this is best played at a medium to low volume. The sound will
not be all-immersive, but rather fill your space in a highly refined way, just as good ambient music
is intended (and where it’s different from the world of new age). Excellent release, and perhaps a
pity so few copies were made. This needs to be heard by more people! (FdW)


A true veteran when it comes to releases on Mik Musik, is Bartek Kujawski, who sometimes also works
as 8Rolek. In that guise he produces some great underground party music from the world of electro,
techno and house in it’s own hybrid form. Here under his real name (?) he produces something entirely
different. It is based on sampling I would say, mainly from orchestral sources, and sounds quite
‘sampled’. For whatever reason not clear to me I think Kujawski didn’t want to hide the fact that he
using rather simple orchestral samples to create this music. Beats, as such as he uses in his 8Rolek
work, are absent here, and very occasionally there is a bit of orchestral sampled percussion. Each
of the ten tracks last about three minutes, and the whole thing kind of eludes me, even after repeated
playing. Is this meant to be a parody on orchestral music? Or maybe even a satire of something like
Autopsia? Or is Kujawski all-serious here with this music. There is, I think (and I might be very wrong)
an element of humor in this music, but I’m not sure how to define that, or what exactly should be
funny about this. I quite enjoyed it, but perhaps it is also a slow grower: by now I heard it quite
a few times, and with every turn I heard something new that made me like this more. Quite an odd
release. (FdW)

LEA BERTUCCI – AXIS/ATLAS (cassette by Clandestine Compositions)

So far I reviewed a fair bunch of releases by Lea Bertucci, showing  a strong interest in the world
of improvised music, especially when she plays with others, but her solo album ‘Resonance Shapes’
(see Vital Weekly 909) I thought was a particular strong record in which her clarinet played an
important role, but in which she also used field recordings, bowed vibraphone and ‘various percussive
implements’, owing perhaps more to the world of musique concrete than improvised music. There is
quote from one Allen Mozek on the cover, with no other information, but maybe this quote gives a
clue, when I read ‘a bleed of reel-to-reel & micro cassette at least bringing the composite echo
its dissipation’. Bertucci has three pieces on offer on this cassette, all recorded in New York
City in 2015. These pieces are very much an extension of what she did on that LP before, but perhaps
going in a more atmospheric direction. It’s not exactly ambient of any kind, but it works beautifully
with overtones created with the clarinet and what I think is the amplification thereof, or maybe the
extended use of oscillators, along which she plays her material. Whatever she slips in as field
recordings remains very low in these pieces, but bursts out in the middle of ‘Cepheid’, before going
into the final part of the piece, which is the quietest part of the release. In ‘Dragano Earworm’ she
layers the clarinet, electronics and field recording into something that sounds very exotic, like the
sound of a rain forest. In the title piece (!) the world opens in the most ambient way that this release
has to offer. This is almost as good as her LP. Very close and certainly on an equal level as that
release. (FdW)