Number 1026

CALDER – DOWN (CD by Nature Bliss) *
REUTOFF – NO ONE’S LULLABIES (CD by Zhelezobeton) *
LE REVELATEUR – HYPER (12″ by Dekorder)
POKK! (12″ by Sm-ll)
CADAVER EYES – CLASS MAMMAL (CDR by Heart & Crossbone)
TRAP RIG UNIT – XII[AST12 (CDR by Trangsao) *
A4 – FOCUS (cassette by Vitrine)
GUYER’S CONNECTION (cassette by Crash Symbols)
RATKILLER – ODOR ORIENTING (cassette by Crash Symbols)
[[[PERSONBLACK]]] – DESOLATUS (cassette by Ephem Aural)
FRIENDS & FARMERS (cassette by Ephem Aural)
ERUPTS AS INTRUSIONS – SUNTAN PRIEST IS OURS (cassette by Spurious Transients)


With so much music being sold these days through mail order outlets and hardly through
shops, the necessity of getting very specific artwork (band name on the front, in the
top half of the sleeve for instance) is perhaps also diminishing. Besides the two names
of the artists and the title, there is nothing else on the cover of this release and
since after I returned from being a couple of days away and there was a pile of releases
and information sheets, I wasn’t sure if there was a sheet of information with this,
so a bit of online research was necessary to find out more about this. Here we have the
combined talents of Cyril Secq, of whom we know is a member of Astrïd, playing the guitar
and adding to the music of Tui, also known as Orla Wren, and who is best known for his
ambient take on electronic and acoustic instruments and sounds. Orla Wren takes a whole
bunch of acoustic guitar sounds from Secq, which were recorded as a solo project and
incorporates his own brand of “field recordings, edits and organic arrangements’ and
the result is something that I didn’t expect. Surely the whole thing has that ambient
feel to it, most naturally through the warm playing of Secq, and Orla Wren adds a whole
bunch of long form sustaining sounds to it, but from time to time he also adds the
crackling and hissing of more obscured electronic sources, magnetic currents, electrical
sparks and as such brings the material to another level. It makes this something different
than just the next ‘drone’ project based on processing acoustic instruments with a bunch
of loop stations. It buzzes and cracks, with some of the more angular sounds, and creates
a wholly more experimental soundscape. That is the way to go. (FdW)


From the ever so active Chihei Hatakeyama there is a new album that is entirely based on
‘a sound file of electric guitar’. “Earth spider is called in Japan ‘Tsuchigumo’. It is
a historical Japanese derogatory term for renegade locals clans, and also the name for
a race of spiderlike yokai in Japanese folklore” and Hatakeyama thought that earth spiders
were the “people who were conquered by Yamato Imperial court at the end of the Yayoi
period (third century) and they were forced to work in mines”, and thus this album is
inspired by the sorrow of them. The three parts of this album were, as said, generated
by a single sound file, which is stretched out and expanded into a sixty-six minute work,
divided in three parts. Obviously I have no idea how long the original file was not nor
how this was processed into the music we now hear. The picture on the press blurb shows
Hatakeyama behind two laptops, so for all we know that’s how he works. The resulting
music is something that fits very much what we already know from this musician; he plays
very quiet and subdued music, tranquil and, indeed, as intended a meditation. In a world
full of noise, terror and distress this is might be seen as a form of escapism and I would
say: why not? Leave that crowded world behind and sit down and don’t do anything at all,
close your eyes and simply meditate while this plays at a very low volume, just enough to
fill up your environment and let it float sparsely through your living room. The music
Hatakeyama plays if far from static drones, and seems to be on a perpetual move all the
time. You can actively listen to that or as easily enjoy this as a continuous stream of
sounds. I just hope you live in a quiet neighbourhood so that outside sounds don’t
interfere too much. Classic Hatakeyama music! (FdW)


Over the years Fang Bomb has issued many brilliant works and this is definitely no
exception to that quality streak. Previously the label released two of Paul Barran’s solo
releases, “Panoptic” (2009) and “The Other” (2015) and now they present the first Cray
Twins album – the combined efforts of Barran and Gordon Kennedy with whom Gordon had
already collaborated on his solo works.
   There is a delicate equilibrium present throughout the most of the album; even though
for instance a track like “Fianuis” juggles with a well-known dark ambient component like
reverberated choral vocals, it combines its distant haziness with chirping, high-end
electronics in the foreground. And then the choir does not linger for too long – which
goes for many of the more melancholic bits on “The Pier”. They do not outstay their
welcome, but pass in such a well composed and organically constructed way that the album
is never at risk of sporting a mere collage of atmospheres.
   Also the combination of desolate ambient/drone, field-recordings and lowercase
experimentation is well balanced and often seems to alternate between bringing several
of these elements together at the same time (“Duao 2”) and offering them in an almost
consecutive manner (end of “The Pier”), which allows one to focus on the sound design
as such.
   The thing I liked most about the album is the way that a couple of tracks down we are
confronted with heavily treated fragments of (what I believe to be) a fisherman’s song on
“Song From a Black House”. Although it might break with one’s expectations of an ambient
album, I felt that the glissandos of the vocal wailing and the percussive improvisation in
the background created a beautifully haunting avant-garde atmosphere. In the end this is
the track that I’ve listened to the most, just because it presents something out of the
ordinary in such a capable manner that to me it has become almost like a miniature
addiction, being swept across the mood spectrum by the unusual confluence of features.
   To me, this is a true gem and I am confident I will be playing this until I know it
by heart. Absolutely brilliant. (PJN)


Anthony Pateras, known for his great work on the piano, runs the Immediata label and
each of the releases is packed in great package with silver print and each comes with
an extensive booklet, usually Pateras interviewing his musical partners of the day. With
Valerio Tricoli he has a duo under the name of Astral Colonels. Tricoli is best known for
being a member of the excellent Italian group 3/4Hadbeeneliminated and for his use of the
Revox B77, which is, just in case you have no idea, a reel-to-reel machine. Pateras plays
a Doepfer A-100 (modular synthesizer), harpsichord, pipe organ and prepared piano. They
have been working together for seven years now; or rather in 2008 they made this recording
and over the course of seven years Tricoli has been working on the transformation of the
sounds; from the interview I understand editing plays a very important role in his music.
The three pieces on this CD don’t take a long time, lasting only thirty-six minutes and is
filled with rich beauty. Here we have the transformed sounds from the piano, organ, synth
and such like and it speeds up, slows down, gets reversed and whatever else techniques are
applied by Tricoli, and the result is something that can easily be called musique concrete,
in the most traditional sense of the word. No digital processing, computer treatments but
good old fashioned layering and editing on an analogue machine. Highly exciting music, that
plays like a rollercoaster ride, especially the many layers of the harpsichord in the third
part. This is all together an excellent release.
   Extended Pianos is a trio of Pateras on prepared piano and Erik Griswold playing the same
instrument with Robin Fox on an early version of audioMulch, optronics and virtualizer. Early
version of some of this I’d say as the music was already recorded in 2001. The trio was rather
short lived and the release they made back didn’t happen on Tzadik and Hat Hut, and one can
wonder why not: it’s great music, and sounds, after fifteen years, still remarkable fresh.
Griswold and Pateras actually played together for a month, in order to create the five pieces
on this CD. Rather than improvisations, these pieces are compositions. I admit that the
difference between improvisation and composition might not be very big here, and maybe not
something we should about that much. It’s the result that counts and it sounds great. The
prepared piano, a technique that goes back to the late 1930s and John Cage wanting some
percussion sound, but who only had a piano at his disposal, sounds here as well as fine
mixture being percussive and occasional more piano like. The quasi gamelan like sound that
the prepared piano can make shines through here as well. Griswold and Pateras play it slow
and introspective and then it can easily explode into some fast and hectic playing. Meanwhile
Robin Fox adds some very subtle layers of electronics to all of this, and sometimes very
strong layers of sounds, bursting like a fine modern electronics record from the 1960s. The
result is a very vibrant interplay between all three players and in some ways it connects
with the disc of Astral Colonels; it shares the same analogue sensibility of the older
musique concrete and sounds like it got a similar treatment as the Astral Colonels disc.
And that makes excellent numero two! (FdW)


Surely it’s coincidence that we receive yet another Artificial Memory Trace, and while the
production is high for Slavek Kwi, it must also be noted that, despite this massive production,
every one of his releases is value for money; his releases usually clock in at eighty minutes.
‘Hypnotikon’ is no different and here we have field recordings being processed from the
Northern Territory of Australia, which he made in 2009 and composed in 2012. More than before
it seems to me that Artificial Memory Trace is moving towards an even more minimalist sculpting
of sounds. It seems he takes a few sounds from nature and plays them very much as they are,
especially in the singing insect opening of ‘Intakta’, but also in other pieces development
is very slow, but he seems to be using more treatments here. I never can figure what it is that
he does, treatment wise that is, to alter his field recordings, but I would assume there is
quite some computer processing going on here in these pieces, especially in ‘Morf’ – or maybe
that title is a dead give away? Morphing sounds together through the use of digital morphing?
Artificial Memory Trace’s music is quite radical, ranging from the extreme soft to the
considerable loud variation and from long form sustaining sounds to the crackling of leaves
and underwater events, such as in ‘4mile Hole Billabong Underwater’, set apart from each other
and sometimes slowly moving towards each other. Artificial Memory Trace takes his time to
develop his music; nothing ever happens in great haste it seems, and as a listener one should
also take the music very patiently and let sounds explore your own environment. It then seems
to work best, I think.
   The other new release by Unfathomless is a collaborative work between Colombian sound artist
David Velez and Bruno Duplant from France. The information is a bit unclear if they recorded
this work together, as ‘in the same space’, or through the use of the Internet. The cover says
‘recorded between Bogota, Colombia and Waziers, France, in abandoned factories and warehouses,
deposits with discarded electronics and houses of friends and relatives with obsolescence
electronic equipment’; the latter is to be understood as those things that were once popular
(or not), but which nobody seems to be using any more, such “VHS, Beta, floppy discs, zip drives,
laser disc etc.” and due time it will be hard to find any apparatus to do a proper playback of
the media. In many this seems an unusual disc for Unfathomless. For one it doesn’t seem to be
dealing with field recordings per se, even if one takes in account the use of abandoned factories
and warehouses, but also the electronic sounds that are stored on these carriers seems to be far
away from the usual sounds picked up in creeks and rivers around the world. Perhaps one could say,
in all the strange of the music, noisy, abrasive even at times, this is a more musical work than
many others on the label. The hiss stored on the carriers, the sounds generated with these objects,
like rusty debris found on an old factory floor, is still quite musical, albeit of a highly
experimental nature of course. Towards the end there is a longer bit that seems to be referring
to the world of Unfathomless, through a collection of field recordings. I found all of this quite
captivating. It is a great journey into the industrial wasteland. (FdW)

CALDER – DOWN (CD by Nature Bliss)

From Island hails Calder, a duo of Larus Sigurdosson and Olafur Josephsson, who is better known
as Stafraenn Hakon. Sigurdosson has a background in classical music and builds his own instruments.
He has a solo material available, while Josephsson plays ambient guitar and has a whole bunch of
solo releases on Vogor Recordings, Darla, Sound In Silence, Resonant, Awkward Silence and more.
For this release the credits are that Sigurdosson plays guitars, pianos, acoustic instruments and
organ, while Josephsson plays guitars, acoustic instruments, bass, drum programming, piano and
synths. They have eleven songs, which they recorded in the countryside, with some basic acoustic
songs by Sigurdosson, which were further treated by Josephsson, adding electrical elements. These
eleven pieces take their time to develop, as many of these are four minutes or more. There is quite
some chamber orchestral sound in this music and the emphasis lies on mood music, but unlike many
drone partners in this field, Calder keeps it all on the melodic side of the musical spectrum. We
hear many tinkling guitars, playing moody tunes (but tunes indeed), along with ditto atmospheric
electrical buzzing guitars, and occasional a bit of real drums, or the thoughtful piano sound.
When there is vocal humming I think they take matters a bit far into new age land. There is overall
a similarity in these pieces, which towards the end of this release started to annoy me a bit.
Yeah, I heard enough sweet guitars, drums and keyboards by then. In that respect I think the album
could have used a bit more variation. But if you want a solid fifty-minute pop inspired mood music
experience, than I’d say Calder play a perfect bunch of tunes. (FdW)

The third round of releases by this label from St-Petersburg in quite a short time, and this time
it’s three ‘real’ CDs, whereas normally they produce mostly CDRs. I started off with Reutoff,
which I mostly know of the name, and hardly of the music. Back in Vital Weekly 656 I reviewed a
collaborative work of them with Troum, but that seems to be it. Originally this album was released
in an edition of 80 copies on cassette by Sea State, but Zhelezobeton liked it so much that it was
granted another release, adding four more pieces. Reutoff likes some time to explore their songs;
none of the nine songs lasts under six minutes and can go up to almost ten. The music is best
categorized (if you need that sort of thing) as ‘dark wave’ or ‘industrial’. Each of these pieces
is held together with some forceful rhythm track that works like a sledgehammer and eerie
synthesizers are played to go long, like the buzzing sound of a gas canister in a dirty warzone.
There is unmistakably the element of slow techno music to be detected in here also, and I can
easily imagine people dancing to this, slow moving, like ghosts on a dance floor. It’s perhaps
not entirely my cup of coffee, but I enjoyed it all along, doing the quarterly accounting, reading
a bit; not exactly the dancing queen anway, me that is, but the music by Reutoff is designed for
ears and feet I think. Maybe also a bit for depressed people, but I had no hiccups there.
   With the release by Russia’s Bardoseneticcube and Shinkiro from Japan we land in an entirely
different world. They worked before as Bashin, with a release by Athanor in 2011, and I have no
idea why they this time around they don’t use that name anymore. Their work is dedicated to the
basic principles of Buddhist teachings. The music here spans five long pieces, with a total
of fifty minutes of music. Five long, dark and highly atmospheric pieces of music. This is the
musical territory that fits the word ‘drone’ perfectly. Maybe we deal with processed field
recordings, or they used a whole bunch of Tibetan bowls or bells, or even just a bunch of
analogue synthesizers, but the result is the same anyway: long sustaining fields of massive
sounds. This is not the lightweight version of ambient/drone/atmospheric music, but it seems
that the complete weight of the universe is bundled into this, with quite some drama to it.
In ‘Afterglow’ they also use voices, humming majestically, but which I may find a bit so so,
too gothic for my taste. With it’s howling guitar played with an e-bow this is also the least
favourite track of mine. It breaks a bit with the cosmic scenery of the other four, all which
I quite enjoyed, with perhaps ‘Dark Ages’, the closing piece as the best of the lot. Dark,
moody but not without a sense of melody. Great release, although to be honest, nothing new under
the sun.
   The name Hattifnatter may sound new, despite starting in 2007, they have been on various
releases (see Vital Weekly 772 and 881) and the two members are no strangers to us. It’s Evgeniy
Savenko, whom we know as Lunar Abyss) and M.M., who works as Kryptogen Rundfunk (and who acts as
a label boss here). They describe their collaboration as ‘free-form exploration of the psychoactive
electroacoustic ambience’ and ‘Barometrizm’ is their first full-length release. The material used
in these six pieces was created ever their start-up in 2007 and has been refined over the years.
It combines, I believe upon hearing this, the best of both worlds: the vast expanding ambient
universe of Lunar Abyss and the more experimental, electronic and electro-acoustic music of
Kryptogen Rundfunk. Adding bits of field recordings, short loops of acoustic sounds, the
transformation of radio sounds and the whispering of voices against the long sustaining sounds,
the lock down of sounds inside a bunch of electronic effects, running endless courses. They might
actually both be doing those things, and there is no exclusive division of labour here. At times
quite industrial and mechanic in approach also, such as the first part of ‘Floksary’. This is
neither full blood ambient, nor right on experimental noise with a soft edge, but takes the best
of both worlds I’d say. (FdW)

LE REVELATEUR – HYPER (12″ by Dekorder)

In more recent times I didn’t keep up with the releases by Germany’s Dekorder, so I was unaware
they had a series of ‘hybrid vinyl’, one side of picture disc and the other side black. These two
new releases are number eight and nine in the series and both by artists I didn’t hear of before.
I started with Vindicatrix, who are/is from London, but that’s all I know. This is all electronic
music with vocals, albeit pushed to the back to the mix, so it’s hard to say what these songs are
about. Up front we find some hard pushing beat from a drum machine, and somewhere in the middle
there is obscured electronics, more voices, perhaps from field recordings. The picture disc image
is ‘based on a list produced by United for Intercultural Action of those known to have died
attempting to enter Europe between January 1993 and October 2012′, so it’s safe to assume there
is a political edge to all of this. It is all quite dark actually, both the musical content as
well as the whole package itself. I must say I don’t know what to make of this. The music is
perhaps a bit too gothic for me, with all it’s slow, dark beats and whispering voices, along
those sounds drenched in reverb. It is perhaps the political element that I miss out upon to make
that direct connection to the music. It was interesting to hear, that much is sure.
   Behind Le Revelateur is a duo of visual artist Sabrina Ratté and composer Roger Tellier-Craig.
The latter we know as a member of Et Sans, whose releases were reviewed in these pages, and also
of Fly Pan Am, Godspeed You Black Emperor, and a great solo CD under the name of Edgar Olivier
Charles (see Vital Weekly 476). This is the first time I hear him play as Le Revelateur, and it
is a pity there are only two tracks on this one-sided album (unlike the Vindicatrix one, which
had music on both sides), so I can’t compare it to earlier works by them. The opening piece is
‘Imagineers Are Governed’ and is a slow builder of what seems to be at first dislocated computer
sounds, seemingly random, but as the piece progresses it all becomes quite a close web of sounds.
The other piece is ‘Fakeaway Haptics’ is along similar lines but starts straight away from being
quite busy, with another web of tumbling sounds, falling together, breaking apart; laptop music
for sure, straight from the world of musique concrete and acousmatique, but also owing to the
world of laptop glitch, microsound meeting the outer limits of techno music, say SND or Mark Fell.
Sixty years of developments of electronic music captured in fifteen minutes of music, sounding
all fresh and sparkling; now that’s what I call an achievement. (FdW)

POKK! (12″ by Sm-ll)

The label name is pronounced ‘small’ and the inaugural physical release is by the label owner
Martin J Thompson. The label has been existence for three years, releasing mostly in the digital
format. Pokk! have three pieces on this 12″, plus there is a remix by Yves de Mey. Pokk! takes
his inspiration straight from Cologne, think Kompakt, but uses a much more austere sound, so one
could also imagine early Alva Noto, ø, Pan Sonic, early Thomas Brinkmann, SND (though perhaps
not as early) or Goem, or releases on the latter’s label Audio.NL (if anyone remembers that).
Each of the three pieces is certified ‘minimal’; a rhythm is set forward, based around the kick
drum sound and on top there is a small bunch of likewise minimal loops of sound. Treatments come
via the use of delay or reverb, which are added to the mix during the piece, or perhaps the
additional layering of going through a synthesizer. This is the kind of music that probably
leaves you entirely cold and alien, or it sucks you right into it. There is nothing in between
I would say; superficially liking this doesn’t seem to be an option I would think.
   Yves de Mey’s remix is an even more bass-heavy affair with the entire low end brought up,
and on top we hear a crackle and a sine wave pulse, ringing about. His treatments bring out the
most musical elements of the music, but that’s perhaps because he has been using the most effects
on these sounds and moves quicker through the material than Pokk! does.
   If you want to take your Kompakt minimalism to another extreme level, than this is surely the
place to be! Excellent and most promising start of this new label. (FdW)


It’s no big deal to admit I had no idea who Thomas Pynchon is, being not too well-versed in
American authors (or any other for that matter). That means I also have no idea if the music of
Thaumaturgist fits that of the novels by this author. From what I understand from wikipedia his
novels are dense and complex and includes fiction and nonfiction, dealing with many genres and
themes, including history, music, science and mathematics. Behind Thaumaturgist we find Oscar
Wyers, who used to run the Oggy Records label, but now works with V-Pong as a label name and
whose first release on this label was under the name of OGW (see Vital Weekly 1020). Like on that
release he works with the notions of techno music, but maybe even in a more rigid sense here.
The machines tick away their beats and on top Thaumaturgist put his keyboards down and sometimes
it sounds quite naive, but that’s the style of Wyers I think. The pieces on ‘Thomas Pynchon
Tribute Band’ are actually quite long and after a while one realizes there is a great hypnotic
effect to the music. While this music doesn’t seem to be exactly dance floor made anyway, I’d
see this in the tradition of krautrock, with machines instead of drums and guitars. It works
best in a piece such as ‘Phantasmic Extension’, with its jump around chords on the keyboard
and an ancient rhythm machine sound. In ‘Frash Jsx’ and ‘Navigating The Seas Of A Hazy Past’
the techno(id) rhythms play a more dominant role. A great release to chill out to, but at the
same time also do some vacuum cleaning or other chores around the house. (FdW)

CADAVER EYES – CLASS MAMMAL (CDR by Heart & Crossbone)

Cadaver Eyes consists of Opp (percussion/vocals) and Zax (no-input-mixer) who have been active
in the Israeli punk/experimental underground since the late eighties and popped up more recently
in Vital Weekly with their band Leitterschpich. Class Mammal is their fourth album up to date
and according to the info that came with the promo, it’s explicitly political. Now although the
info mentions their opposition to the Israeli occupation of Gaza – moreover, to the ‘consumerist
capitalist society’ as a whole – the average listener will most likely be largely unaware of any
political or critical connotations when either listening to the album or scrutinising the artwork
for clues. To be hones, the album sleeve rather reminded me of the comical output of the acoustic
black metal scene that briefly existed after Impaled Northen Moonforest had risen to fame more
than a decade ago.
   The presence of two cover songs, originally by Mudhoney and Creedence Clearwater Revival seem
to obscure Cadaver Eyes’ political commitment and message even more, up to the point where the
whole endeavour seems somewhat facetious. Which is a pity since the music itself is quite
interesting. What we hear is dense, coercing noise-scapes with a strong emphasis on the throbbing
low end. On top of that there’s mostly slow paced drumming that is vaguely reminiscent of doom
metal but often ventures out into more experimental territory. And then there are the chilling
vocals, whose message are incomprehensible (to me) but definitely provide a grim atmosphere that
works perfectly with the rest of the sound.
   So yes, too bad about the alleged political message, because although I believe it’s one that
deserves to be heard, I severely doubt that gritty doom noise is the proper platform to spread
the word. Musically speaking it’s worth checking out. (PJN)

TRAP RIG UNIT – XII[AST12 (CDR by Trangsao)

Like I said before, every new envelope that lands on my desk seems to be another unknown vault
of experimental music. Here one Trap Rig Unit leads to Trangsao, a label from Kansas, who also
released music by RDCD and Zyzakom, especially of the latter, but also 257 Levels Above and
Hiroshi Hasegawa, and him I know. But as said here’s Trap Rig Unit, the musical project of which
no information is available, it seems. Nothing about instruments used, nor are any of the titles
give away towards intention or purpose, just ‘I’, ‘II’ and ‘III’. Which means something’s need
to be guessed, which is where we sometimes go wrong. In the case of Trap Rig Unit it is not easy
to say what is in use here; I would be inclined to say there is a reel-to-reel machine, which
speeds up and slows down voices/field recordings, and an array of the more lo-fi end of guitar
effects, such as delay pedals and some reverb. In ‘II’ there is also a bit of percussion in the
beginning but like with the other two pieces the focus seems to be to create some more power
electronics kind of music. The delay is set to ‘endless’ in all of these pieces making it a bit
more noisy than the beginning of each piece may suggest. There is a somewhat crude live feel
to it, like these pieces have been recorded on the spot (especially ‘III’ suggests that) and
while the music has potential (again especially ‘III’, with it’s cascading waves, I think it
could be worked on a little bit more; maybe less live feel, maybe more editing and see whatever
else comes to fruition then. (FdW)


Right from the suburbs of Athens, Greece hails Aglaia Is Always Wrong and ‘Forgetful Diver’ is
his first full-length album. There is no information on the cover as to used instruments (unless
it is that list in Greek on the cover), just three track titles. On the website of the label we
find this: “Its sound takes us to the fleeting borderline between noise and industrial aesthetics,
staying true to its idiosyncratic style, that was formed after a long research in the compositional
process of music-making, experimentation with sampling, field recordings and tape manipulation”
and there is a combination of various pre-recorded sounds and loops. Two pieces are from 2015
and one from 2012. I think the sound to be quite improvised, with a somewhat loosely organized
connection between the sounds. Despite the description on offer, I also believe there is a
guitar part of the music, rather than what the website says. That too is played in a more or
less experimental/improvised fashion, making it all it a bit more rock like in approach, certainly
in a piece such as ‘I Mavri Laterna’, with it’s howling drone on the guitar. That was quite nice,
but is also the shortest of the three pieces. I am not blown away by the other two pieces; I think
they are a bit long and just seem to go nowhere and hoover about in noise. They both start all
right, but unfortunately end in a noisy mess. (FdW)

A4 – FOCUS (cassette by Vitrine)

For a moment I thought someone send me something new by the Dutch punk band by the same name
(from the mid 80s), but I soon realized this A4 stands for All Fours, the musical project of Eric
Blevins, which he apparently no longer maintains; the cover says ‘allfours was eric h. blevins 1982-
2015′. Earlier work was released by Blevins’ own label Suitcase Recordings, with some long intervals.
The forty minutes of music on ‘focus’ (no capitals) is a ‘agglomeration of source tapes, raw material,
rough drafts and false stops/starts recorded from 1982 to 1989′ and it includes also some work he
did as Absolute Ceiling, together with James Ellis. There are no individual tracks to be noted on
this release, and the whole thing is more a collection of snippets that run twenty minutes per side.
While these are source tapes, raw sounds and such, one should not understand this as something of
rapid editing of a few tapes stuck together. It’s rather a minimalist take on musique concrete and
sometimes it goes via the use of loops, which play for some time, almost making it into a ‘piece’,
such as the opening of the B-side, which may be a bunch of field recordings. And sometimes I had
the impression that sounds were used to cross-fade from one part to another, which worked quite
well, I think. The whole tape works best if one takes this as one long, forty-minute sound collage
ofelectronics, field recordings and editing, again, in the best tradition of musique concrete.
If that was it for All Fours then this is a great farewell. (FdW)

GUYER’S CONNECTION (cassette by Crash Symbols)
RATKILLER – ODOR ORIENTING (cassette by Crash Symbols)

All around new names for me on this label from West Virginia and I randomly picked Guyer’s
Connection to play first. I understand this is a duo of Tibor Csebits and Philippe Alioth that
began in 1982, using two synthesizers and a drum machine plus vocals and in 1983 they released
their debut on cassette, which was re-issued in 2014 by Minimal Wave, so you perhaps have an idea
where to place the music. In 2006 they released a LP with recordings from those early years (I
believe they were only active for a couple of years) on Kernkrach, of which Medical Records
released a more comprehensive version on LP in 2012. This is the cassette version. If ever you
wonder what minimal synth is about, then this album can be a perfect guideline. It’s pop-like
with some great minimalist electro rhythms, arpeggios on one synth, a melody on the other and
a vocalist intoning his vocals, sometimes with a bit of reverb or a vocoder effect. And, not
unimportant either, there is quite a bit of humour in these songs, plus catchy hooks to almost
each of the thirteen songs. You would perhaps expect this 80’s music to be doom and gloom, but
it isn’t. Think if you remember, Andreas Dorau, and you know what to get. A bit serious, a bit
silly and that cover of ‘Macky Messer’ is absolutely great. It makes it perhaps all the more
minimal synth and Deutsche Welle and it surely made me smile all day.
   Not quite recent seems to be the release by Fishers, the solo project of Dale Eisinger, who
is also part of Godmode and Horselover Fats, and the drumming half of Yvette, all of which I
didn’t hear before, so perhaps it’s not easy to put this in the right dimension. I understand
that some of his other work is quite noisy, but this one is less noise based. The cover lists
for instruments ‘mostly two broken guitars and voice and one MPC 100’ – the latter being a drum
machine. Most of the pieces are quite short, say between two and three minutes, except for two
that are close to seven and nine minutes. There is an element of folk music to this, or perhaps
anti-folk is a better term for this. The quality of the recording is quite crude but that surely
adds to the vibe of the music. It all sounds hearth felt, outsider music, recorded in some
basement with quite some reverb. I have no idea what these lyrics are supposed to be about but
something tells me it is all a bit grim up there. I quite enjoyed the desolate tone of it all,
but perhaps I was still in a good mood from the Guyer’s Connection release?
   A wilder ride we get on the release by Ratkiller, who is from Estonia. The label calls this
“an 80s and psych tinged standout”, but I am not sure if this is from the 80s or that it just
sounds 80s – whatever that means. There is some help from “producer Ajukaja and experimental
recorder Benzokai” and a remix from Orange Milk Records co-proprietor Seth Graham. There is a
poppy edge to these sampled works involving rhythms, guitars, electronics and a bit of vocals
(which for all care could have been left off, although the vocal samples on the other hand were
quite funny), which results in a connection of psychedelic music from the seventies meeting
ambient music from the 90s – say the trippy works of the likes of The Orb, but not as house
music inspired. To some extent Ratkiller also borrowed quite a bit from the world of plunder-
phonics. In that respect this music is just very trip-like – expanding consciousness and all
that, but even without the right hallucinogens this worked really well. Put this in your
walkman and start walking and tripping! (FdW)

[[[PERSONBLACK]]] – DESOLATUS (cassette by Ephem Aural)
FRIENDS & FARMERS (cassette by Ephem Aural)

More music by Dutch trio Lärmschutz (noise protection), following their tape by Barreuh Records
(see Vital Weekly 998), who calls themselves ‘anarchopunk jazz’, consisting of guitar, violin,
bass, trombone and drums – some players handle more than one instrument. Here they team up with
Violet Meerdink who works as Spelonk. Her primary instrument is the violin and the four of them
set out to play some parts of the ‘Le Nozze Di Figario’, which, as you should know, is an opera
by Mozart. That bit I knew too, and surely I heard bits and pieces growing up in a classical
music oriented household, but I couldn’t sing any part of it to save my life. The noise
adaptation by Lärmschutz & Spelonk has not much to do with the original, except I guess for
some of the titles of the parts. If one is to expect one full blast of rock-meets-noise, then
you are wrong. This is not like that at all. There is the usual hard hitting scratches and
screeches on their instruments, but at one point (and, this is a tape, so it’s hard to say
where exactly) the sounds drop in favour of a more mellow and melodic violin part. Still
perhaps nothing that has something to do with the original opera, but the sheer dynamics of
this improvisation made this all quite interesting. The element of anarcho is surely a main
feature, but I am not too sure about punk and/or jazz here. Lärmschutz & Spelonk have their
own brand of improvisation to bring out the best Figaro could possibly want.
   “[[[personablack]]] is a solo electro-acoustic project integrating dark pop, synth, Just
Intonation, Spectralism, and Death/Doom/Noise. With an innovative setup of acoustic instruments
and complex live processing, [[[personablack]]] expresses a strong artistic presence that will
stand the test of time”, so the label tells us and it starts out with a blast of super fast
drumming and noise guitars, or maybe it’s just more distortion coming from the drums? All of
the music was recorded live, so we are also told and I must say I don’t hear much dark pop or
synth; or perhaps just also no just intonation and spectralism, but I must say I have no idea
what that is. Which leaves ‘death/doom/noise’ and yes, all of that is part of the first bunch
of songs. This is not the usual kind of music I hear a lot, usually avoiding anything metal-
like, but the rattling of cages that takes place here is actually quite captivating. Hard to
tell the difference between some of these songs; I guess the main difference is the tempo,
which may at various points go up to above 500 bpm (maybe a little less), leaving us with an
almost static rattle. But then there is also a slower piece (I have no idea which one that
would be, finding it not easy to locate them on a cassette) with much drums and reverb, and
a bit of guitar, and that might count as dark pop, but it sinks into the world of sound
effects. On the other side we have ‘Black Hole Andromeda’ which is a doom ambient piece.
Those two stand out from the doom/noise of the other pieces. A very consistent release,
mostly very enjoyable.
   The final release by Ephem Aural is somewhat older and by Friends & Farmers, a duo of
David Evan on guitar and Ben Dumbauld on drums. Here we have something entirely different.
Short songs that sound like “traditional country blues style with a folk-punk-rock aesthetic”,
as the label promises us, and it’s all surely quite catchy, but I think this is perhaps too
much out of the lines for Vital Weekly, being to the untrained rock ears perhaps a bit too
normal alternative (punk-) rock music. It’s not bad I think, but maybe I prefer my own old
classics from the world of punk and new wave. (FdW)

ERUPTS AS INTRUSIONS – SUNTAN PRIEST IS OURS (cassette by Spurious Transients)
You couldn’t tell, but Erupts As Transients is an anagram for Spurious Transients, a project
by Gavin Lloyd Wilson from Pembrokeshire, Wales. He’s also a bass player with ‘internationally
renowned spacerockers Sendelica’, guitarist and bass player for The Spookers as well as playing
a 2-string bass for ‘Cardigan-based punk trio The Hogweeds’. As Spurious Transients he worked
for thirty years, yet I don’t think I heard any of their music. There is always lots to explore
I think. I did a quick scan of the material by Spurious Transients, and it’s a band that plays
more cosmic rock (also), but Erupts As Intrusions might be a solo project exploring the noisier
end of experimental music using ‘found sounds, field recordings, audio samples and even the
occasional synthesizer’, with sounds from a bang on a piece of metal, humming electrical sources
and a bunch of pedals. Four pieces that span twenty minutes of music. ‘Utopian Stress Ruins’
is a more subdued piece, but like the rest with a psychedelic edge to it. While I was less
enamoured by the more industrial bang clang approach, I overall enjoyed this release quite a
bit, especially the more subdued second side but also parts of the first side, when not banging
around. I thought the production was great, with some fine, keen ear for dynamics. One hears
there is someone working here who’s been around studios and recording technology before and
who crafted a fine piece of raw sounding ambient/noise/electro-acoustic work with considerable
variation and much depth. Twenty copies of this are available on cassette, and it’s worth your
while finding out about this. (FdW)

(USB drive by Phantom Archives)

Apparently the USB drive has a life span of 700 years, so it’s a good medium to save your music
on for some years to come. Michael Esposito is a man who thinks in such long time spans, using
voice phenomena from long time ago, but recorded in the present. He’s best known for a string
of flexi discs he made with such luminaries as Chris Connelly, Carl Michael von Hauswolff,
Scanner, Jan Warnke, John Duncan and Michael Muennich. But there is always much more music
released that had a very limited sales range, or simply was archived for some time to come.
This USB drive contains, if I counted correctly some 110 minutes of works from the past few
years, included jpgs, word documents and PDF files. Music recorded with Bryan Lewis Saunders,
Komissar Hjuler Und Frau, Rainier Lericolais, Patrick Esposito, Guillaume Belhomme and Hauswolff.
With the latter he recorded a Luminescent Phonograph Cylinder Record, which was released by
Ash International, which is now present of this collection, just like some other works being
available before. In all of these pieces the treatment of Electronic Voice Phenomena plays
a central role. Lots of that takes place, I should think, inside the computer, but all along
Esposito, as it’s him to works on many of the pieces solo, also uses untreated field recordings
of the locations where he is taping his voice sounds, so most of his music is mixture of voices,
field recordings and treatments. In the two pieces with Patrick Esposito (his brother I assume)
a guitar is added but as far as I’m concerned that wasn’t necessary. Otherwise I think this is
a more than fine collection of some fine soundscapes, obscure voices and documents of times past,
all preserved for some far away future. (FdW)