Number 1029

OZMOTIC – LIQUID TIMES (CD by Folk Wisdom) *
KOMORA A – CRYSTAL DWARF (CD by Monotype Records) *
MERZBOW – LIFE PERFORMANCE (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
THETHERDOWN – FIRST FLIGHT (CD by Trace Recordings/Slowcraft Records) *
THE DWARFS OF EAST AGOUZA – BES (2CD by Nawa Recordings) *
LXMP – ZONY W PRACY (CD by Lado Abc) *
QUARTZ LOCKED – WAVE 91.6 (LP and flexi by Warm)
   ESOX LUCIUS  (LP by Corvo Records) *
HANNA HARTMAN – BLACK BAT (10″ by Komplott)
URBANFAILURE – RANDOM SHADOWS (7″ lathe cut by Sky Burial Productions/Urb Sounds)
DAL (CDR by Ueuoropa Records) *
SONTAG SHOGUN – 2015, NYC (cassette, private) *
SONTAG SHOGUN – TALE REMIXED (12″ by Interbang/Folk Wisdom)
KYLIE FIELD – UNTITLED POEM CASSETTE (cassette by Tanuki Records)


Following his double CD ‘Case 1959 – Dyatlov’ (see Vital Weekly 995) also for Reverse Alignment,
here is a new work by Jarl from Sweden, who since the early 2000s has built a mighty fine catalogue
of everything that is dark and drone like, reaching for the deep end of the cosmos. To that end he uses
a bunch of synthesizers (modular no doubt), electronics and apparently also the treatment of acoustic
sounds. It is music, if you are open to this, that goes straight into your mind, and that’s exactly what this
new work is about: ‘an internal trip through the structures and events of the cognitive mind with a main
focus on the Amygdala, where the processing of memory, decision-making and emotional reactions
occur’. In a science-fiction scenario, think Doctor Who, I can imagine that the Doctor is shrunk so he
can travel inside the brain and repair something (I think such an episode exists, about the daleks) and
Jarl’s music can serve as the soundtrack to that episode. Somewhere far away we the throb of the heart,
and the sustaining layers of sounds are the hollow reverberations of neural pathways, like they are real
corridors. It is like a factory in which brain functions are loudly amplified and subtle drones mingle
with more machine like sounds and acoustic debris. It is the kind of music we know Jarl is doing and
while not entirely something new all the time, I must admit I quite enjoy it’s long dark spaciousness,
the delicate mixture of noise, ambient, drones and industrial music and it moves from one thing to the
next. This is, again, a great release by Jarl. (FdW)
––– Address:


From this whole new bunch of releases by the Polish label Zoharum I started with the one that I
thought did not ring any bell here, Mammoth Ulthana, but I was wrong; I did review their debut album
in Vital Weekly 890. Jacek Doroszenko and Rafal Kolacki, the duo that is Mommoth Ulthana, took
some time to come up with their follow-up release, still combining percussion and software. With their
debut album they went out in ambient land, but in this new this is all a bit heavier on the percussion
and the wind instruments. Both of these men play a variety of these, and Zenko is the one who gets
credit for ‘electronics’. It makes that this is a somewhat more dynamic release, but that goes also out
into the world of tribal music, and it sounds like the whole range of percussion instruments have to be
played at once, I think it’s all a bit too much; what I liked about the first release was the atmospheric
sounds, in which software and instruments appeared on a similar level, but that’s not always the case
here, which I think is a pity. They extent their range of sounds, but it doesn’t always seem to work for
me very well. It’s not a bad release, not at all, but just a bit too tribal for me at times.
   All right, I never heard of (Karolina) Kallee & The Lunar Trio (I think), who recorded and mixed this at
‘the last days of the south-west tower, at the land of Lost Continent, 2013-2015 e.v.’, where ever this
might be found on a map. No clues otherwise to instruments and such like. I would believe there is a
lot of electronics at work on this album, especially synthesizers, most likely some sort of modular system.
In ‘Nox’ these play an ambient tune with slow envelopes and pretty much audible, but in ‘Nox Lunaris’,
it is very hard to hear anything at all, except a low end rumble, with very minimal to no development.
It just bumps up every now and then just above the threshold of hearing. It is the longest piece out of the
three presented. In ‘Nox-Lux’, with one minute shorter than the previous we hear the first and second
piece working along each other. It has that slow enveloping sound of the first piece but filtered to a
radical low end but is altogether more audible than the ‘Nox-Lunaris’ piece. I would think that as a piece
of ambient music this is quite radical and different than what is more common in this scene. I like the
fact that it sounds different but that in it self doesn’t bring us a great release, I was thinking. I thought it
could have a bit more variation in the sound material and ultimately the concept worked well but the
execution failed a bit.
   Also on the conceptual side is the release by Hati member Rafal Kolacki, who did a bunch of recordings
at ‘The Jungle’, not the Rudyard Kipling jungle of animals, but the refugee camp in Calais, France, where
roughly 4000 immigrants from all over the world live together in a very small space, and where music
is very often the only form of recovering from homesickness. At least in Kolacki’s words that is. Spread
out over twenty-seven relatively short sounds fragments of mainly musical activities in this camp, either
picked up playing through phones or sometimes played and sung by inhabitants. Kolacki’s connects all
of this with a stern anti-capitalist world view, which one does not necessarily have to agree with, even
when the conditions these people are living in is extremely bad. I am sure that most people know this
and anyone who has a decent heart will find such circumstances intolerable; I am not sure what this
selection of sounds wants us to do. Find comfort? Find distress? It’s not entirely clear, I must admit.
   And finally we deal with the legacy of Maeror Tri, the trio that existed from the mid 80s to 1997, when
two of them split up to become a duo called Troum and the third member went on to do a solo project
called 1000schoen. Both of these are quite well known for the work in ambient industrial music and as
much of their work sells quite well, so it means there is also demand for music from the formative years.
Both of these re-issues have been re-issued before, but both of them read ‘this is the first properly re-
mastered CD reissue’, and looking at these covers, it could grow into a nice little series. I’d say Maeror
Trio’s legacy deserves such a collective re-issue and these two CDs show what they are all about.
It contains two cassette releases, one split cassette and three pieces from compilations. This is all at the
height of ambient industrial music, when musicians like Maeror Tri moved away from the more noisy
exercises in industrial music, adding clearer guitar sounds, tape manipulations, field recordings, dabbling
with acoustic sounds and above all spacious effects to create a rich pattern in sound – music for the mind
rather than anything else. All of these in a rather naive tone, sometimes a bit too long and not always
worked out that well, but that’s exactly what attracted me back then to this music and what I still very much
love these days. Their recent projects deliver great works too, but these roots, recorded with humble
means is what I really like; perhaps it has to be something with getting old and nostalgic? I was around
when these came out the first time and these re-mastered versions are simply gorgeous. I took out a
whole bunch of other Maeror Tri releases and drowned in nostalgia for the rest of the afternoon. (FdW)
––– Address:


Here’s the follow-up to ‘AirEffect’ (see Vital Weekly 984), which Italy’s Ozmotic (misspelled as Ozmatic in
the review; my fault but in my defence, some of the writing on the cover isn’t that clear, also on the new one)
recorded with Christian Fennesz. He is also present on ‘Liquid Times’, but a lot less, only on two pieces.
Ozmotic are Stanislao Lesnoj (soprano sax, soundscapes and electronics) and SmZ (drums, electronics
and objects) and their music is mostly electronic sounding, crossing easily such boundaries as glitch, noise,
ambient and goes towards rhythm driven music, but is never really oriented towards techno. Lastly jazz
music plays also a role in this music. Now that is truly a fairly eclectic mix of styles that might easily go off
the rails, one could think. It doesn’t, I’m happy to say, as it moves in all sorts of directions but it leaves out
the one thing that I didn’t care for that much with their previous release and that is the free jazz approach
of the saxophone. I was reminded more and more of the music of Radian, especially when the drums kick
in with the steady rock like dance groove. The other elements swirl nicely together here; the crackling of
laptop sounds, the wind instrument wailing in the background, guitar strings being bend, and the overall
jazz noir of all the other sounds. Ozmotic’s music could easily fit into the soundtrack of some LA detective
series that plays out at night. There are also two remixes to be found at the end of this, one by Senking,
with whom Ozmotic will play more in the future, but whose remix here is perhaps not adding much yet.
Frank Bretschneider on the other hand is doing what he always does, but adds that electronic groove to
the equation and that works rather well here. (FdW)
––– Address:


Two very experimental and ambitious works by Gruenrekorder. ‘Aus Vierundzwanzig’ is a multimedia-work.
A thick booklet is included. There is some work to do here. Rasch studied composition with Rolf Riehm in
Bremen. His works feature above all audio-visual projects and installations, with in interest for the relation
between body (movement) and sound. ‘Aus Vierundzwanzig’ is no exception to it. We are talking here of
a project Rasch started in 2009 and is about adapting Schuberts ’Winterreise’, composed in 1827. A very
conceptual work, that is very far from any reprise of the Winterreise in whatever romantic sense. The music
is performed by Mark Lorenz (sax), Nikola Lutz (sax), who also works as a duo Invading Pleasures (see
below). Plus Erik Drescher (glissando flute). The performance is done by three dancers. The music is
treated and sometime recognizable as originating from sax, sometimes not. They correspond with the
images that are mostly built from the human body ‘dressed’ in boxes, making simple movements. One
sees the movements come from the human body, without seeing the body itself. Despite all explaining
texts that are included I could not relate to this one. This surely has something to do with me, as I find
multimedia projects often not appealing.
   So let’s change to the Invading Pleasures, which is the name of a Stuttgart-based duo of saxophonists
Mark Lorenz Kysela and Nikola Lutz. They have an interest for combining saxophone with electronics.
‘Infinite Jest’ is their debut album, counting six compositions that all illustrate this interest. Five works are
especially written for them. Two parts from Rasch’s work ‘Aus Vierundzwanzig’, a work by Nikola Lutz
himself, Ppus three compositions by Malte Giessen, Remmy Canedo and Joseph Michaels. All works
have in common that electronics play an important role in embedding, manipulating, transforming the sax
playing, etc. Highly experimental and conceptual. But again I have to say that this accomplished music
did not work for me. I don’t like the combination of sax and other – often electronic – sounds. Also the
compositions didn’t impress me. All together these two releases are too far away from my aesthetics. (DM)

KOMORA A – CRYSTAL DWARF (CD by Monotype Records)

Apart from hearing a few bits and bobs here and there, I must admit I have no idea who or what Komora A
were, up until now. It is a trio from Poland with Dominik Kowalczyk (computer, electronics), Karol Koszniec
(sampler) and Jakub Mikolajczyk on modular synthesizer. They work with improvisation, yet the outcome is
something that is perhaps more ambient than one expect and yet (again) it isn’t a half-baked cliché of
ambient sounds. I realize that sounds a bit more complex than it is supposed to be. In each of the six lengthy
pieces they explore the darker end of electronic music textures through the instruments and that results in
drone like sounds, a bit of crackling and hiss, and continuous knob-twiddling, which is the most important to
this music: it makes this all a bit more vibrant and ever-changing, compared to the usual electronic drone
records. That accounts for the more improvised side of this music. But it is not something of the plink-plonk
variety; everything sticks together like injected with hot glue. Like it is all connected to each other and if one
moves, the others must also move. The three members of Komora A listen closely to what the others are
doing and respond accordingly. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there is some form of agreement beforehand
as to what a composition/improvisation will be like, which parameters to follow. I might be wrong, but that’s
the impression I have from this music. A good and solid release of experimental, electronic and improvised
music. (FdW)
––– Address:

MERZBOW – LIFE PERFORMANCE (CD by Cold Spring Records)

It’s re-issue time for Cold Spring Records with these two releases, and there is one where you could think
‘oh that’s obvious they do that’ and one that is perhaps a surprise. The more obvious re-issue one is also the
oldest, time-wise, in recording dates. By the mid 80s, Masami Akita’s Merzbow was already an established
name in the world of home taping, either with his many releases on his own ZSF Produkt, releases on other
labels and many contributions to compilations. ‘Life Performance’ is not ‘live’ (of course), but a home recording
Merzbow did and which was released first by ZSF Produkt on cassette and as ‘Life Performance Feb ’85’ by
Le Syndicat. I don’t think I ever had either version, but already in those years it was not easy to keep up with
the many releases by Merzbow and I was quite some fan by then. The 80s Merzbow is a bit different than the
post 00s Merzbow. Much of his music was built around the use of effects, but not as in the 90s version of them
feedback to each other, but to transform loops going through. Loops of acoustic rumble, radio waves and even
a rhythm machine on occassion. These loops were made using a cassette or reel-to-reel machine, not some
fancy loop station (which didn’t exist yet in that form). Four long pieces and a short one is what we get here
and it’s quite an overload even by Merzbow’s own 80s standards. He was also working with scrap metal
percussion and doing sparser works than this – ‘Enclosure’ is one that springs to mind, but on ‘Life
Performance’ there is more a connection to the current Merzbow sound, with it’s on-going fields of distortion,
out of which sometimes rises a sound, a voice or sound wave. No doubt this historical release will go down
well with the current fans, but it’s good to hear some old Merzbow with such fierce power again.
   The other re-issue I did review, all the way back in Vital Weekly 159 and contrary to what I normally do
and just make the reference, it’s interesting to see what I wrote and, if after 18 or so years I still feel the same.
“A set of collaborations here: Ralf Wehowsky, nowadays known as RLW (formerly of P16.D4) gave some
sound material to Andrew Chalk (who gained his fame from the circles around Organum) and on the B-side
it is RLW who goes about with sound material from Andrew and Eric Lanzillota (not the first recordlabel boss
doing sound on his own). On the A-side the sound sources are unrecognizable, because Chalk builts a large,
slowly evolving drone sound in which he heavily manipulates the sources. Not uncommonly to the Organum
sound or the beautiful Jonathan Coleclough CD on Robot. Being a deep admirer of this kind of dark atmospheric
music, I don’t mind I don’t recognize anything of the original sound material (which I believe not to be of
importance anyway). The B-side turned out to be a little bit more problematic. RLW produced a similar drone
as Chalk, but mixed to the background. Over these he presents, apparently randomly, the sounds that he is
supposed to work with. But the result is, at least for me, a bit too lose. There is, so it seems, a random factor
at stake that just makes it too simple. Having said that, this is not bad at all, the built up may seem a bit simple,
the overall effect is a pleasant listen. And that’s what counts.”
   I spend some time this week trying to find the mail that Wehowsky send me back then, explaining that what
I perceived as ‘random’ was in the fact the result of many hours of work (he did mention a number and that’s
why it would have been great to find that old e-mail; I believe it was ‘200 hours’, but I might be entirely wrong
of course); It’s not an argument that easily impresses me. I must admit I hadn’t played this record in a long time,
so I was curious to return to it after all these years. ‘Wycha’, the first piece (Chalk using sound material from
Wehowsky) is still a lovely drone piece. It sounds these days like a more common place in the world of drone
music, but Chalk’s washes of delay machines and curious electrical sounds (washing machine, I was thinking),
make up a lovely piece. ‘Chalawy’, on the other side, with Wehowsky using the sounds of Lanzillotta and Chalk,
still has this somewhat random character, I must admit. There is the long form drone sound on one hand and
a set of acoustic events presented on top of that on the other hand. The drones make a fine impression still
(or more than before, perhaps), but I am still not always charmed with the loose end sounds that drop by ever
now and then. It’s good to have such delicate music on CD; the blue vinyl pressing of before seemed less
detailed. (FdW)
––– Address:


One of things I liked in the old days about Belgium’s Insane Music was that a few of the same people were
doing all these different bands, and that each band was it’s own musical niche. That is something you hardly
see these days I think (or, vice versa, somebody who does a lot of styles, but only uses one name; Richard
Youngs is a name which springs to mind who does a lot of different things). So within the Insane Music family
you have the bleak electronics of Pseudo Code, the cosmic synthesizers of I Scream, the poetry of Cortex,
the quirky pop of Subject, the mail music ambience of Human Flesh and there was Bene Gesserit, the duo of
B. Ghola (music) and Benedict G (vocals and lyrics); dada pop? Cabaret music from the thirties on electronic
instruments? It was never easy to say. Along with Human Flesh this group seems to be the only one still
recording new material, and while they were quiet for a long, in the past seven or so years much of their old
and new work has been released, mainly on such imprints as Plinkity Plonk and even more so on EE Tapes.
This new release by Bene Gesserit contains all recent unreleased recordings, hand picked by EE Tapes’ label
boss Eriek van Havere. Also in recent years Alain Neffe, who is B. Ghola, invested in new equipment to make
changes in their music, and what is the most surprising new element? The many guitar sounds. Daniel
Malempre plays guitar on two pieces, so we must assume it’s B. Ghola who plays them on many of the other
pieces, and he does with the love of a rock guitarist. Or maybe he samples the hell out of guitar sounds; I am
not sure there actually. These sixteen pieces sound pretty fresh, like the injection of new equipment brings out
fresh ideas. Benedict G sings as before, bending her voice around the electronic music (now with the addition
of guitars), but also on the sample front there is more, like horns in ‘Folie Candencee’. Cheerful, sad, comical,
depressed: all of these have a place in this music, and sometimes within one song. ‘The House Of The Rising
Song’ has a funny title, but sounds very serious otherwise. The sound is now pretty full, without becoming the
Spectorian Wall Of Sound, and while the guitar at first seems like an odd ball, it grew quite a bit on me. It
makes the music quite a bit more powerful (‘Alors, Revolution?’ sounds like Front 242 at times, but with female
voices), more than before I should think, but it works very well. Bene Gesserit has entered a new phase in
their existence! (FdW)
––– Address:

THETHERDOWN – FIRST FLIGHT (CD by Trace Recordings/Slowcraft Records)

If you call a release ‘First Flight’ then it is probably your debut release and that it is for Thetherdown, a trio of
Anne Garner (vocals, flute, keyboards), James Murray (processed guitars) and Mark Beazly (electric bass,
mix and master). Murray we know from his solo CD ‘Mountain View’ (see Vital Weekly 933), Beazley from his
previous work with the band Rothko, while Garner is for the unknown one for me. They got together in August
2015 and recorded these four pieces in single takes, without editing or overdubbing. Each piece is around ten
minutes in length and each plays out the atmospheric music card. One could easily dismiss this as ‘oh well,
that’s something we have heard enough by now’, which might be very well true, but I think these pieces are
great. The opening piece, ‘Wingbeats’, is the one with the most dominant flute sounds, whereas in the others
the guitar and bass prevail, and in ‘Thermals’ all three instruments appear to be on an equal level. As said this
group plays some great, yet dark mood music. Slowly developing tones in each of these pieces, yet there are
some differences to be noted. ‘Uplift’, the closing piece is the most orchestral of the three pieces, with an almost
Godspeed like feeling to it (without any drums) whereas ‘Thermals’ is the most quiet one, with slow moving
spaced sound over a wide open plain. ‘Wingbeats’ is the most melodic piece and ‘Pitch Roll and Yaw’ already
has the orchestral feel but isn’t as jubilant as ‘Uplift’, and is the more slow one in this quartet. I played this CD
a couple of times, while reading, talking to someone and a bit during my afternoon nap; I kept hearing new
music, so it worked pretty well. (FdW)
––– Address: http://tracerecordings.com


The first time I played this release I read the liner notes, but these are ‘loose thoughts’ by the author, and
‘careful listener must be ready to engage with the possibility of a transmutation’, but it didn’t work for me. Maybe
I was distracted by the music? Jacek Staniszweski I once encountered as a member of Neurobot, when he
called himself Facial Index (see Vital Weekly 289 and 752), but I must admit I entirely forgot about him until
today when I wasn’t transmutated and listening to his latest release with four long pieces and a very short coda.
While the cover doesn’t tells us nothing about how this work was made, but the website tells us it is “derived from improvised and often intense electronics also using treated turntable”, while I was thinking much of this had to do with use of computer processing, especially in ‘Pengr’ and ‘Toglos’. In ‘Boigbee’ a rhythm pops up and it reminded me of the older Neurobot music, which partly owned to the world of Pan Sonic and Goem. Here too I had the idea that there was indeed some kind turntable sounds applied, but maybe I was only thinking that because I just read about it. ‘Zefx’ also uses a bit of rhythm from objects on turntables, along with electronic sound effects. I am not
ure what to think of this release. I quite enjoyed the first two pieces, even when both were also a bit too long for
my taste and could use a bit of trimming. More of those kind of pieces, and then them being a bit shorter? (FdW)
––– Address:

THE DWARFS OF EAST AGOUZA – BES (2CD by Nawa Recordings)

It is not often that I get to review a CD that is recorded in Egypt, but that is the case with the Dwarfs Of East Agouza, a trio of Maurice Louca (organ, synthesizer, beats), who is born in Cairo, Sam Shalabi (electric guitar), who is half Egyptian and half Canadian and Sun City Girls mastermind Alan Bishop on acoustic bass, alto saxophone and  vocals. His Sublime Frequencies label released a lot of music from ‘previously ignored musical genres from Asia, the Middle East and Africa’. In 2012 the three of them were living in the same apartment building in Cairo Agouza district and started playing together, jamming on end. I was thinking this would probably not be entirely my kind of music, thinking perhaps this would be alike Dolf Mulder’s alley of improvisation/jazz, but after a quick exam I thought this to be something of interest for me. And it was. This is some kind of music I don’t hear a lot and it might not be easy to say something about. What do we hear: some vaguely North African percussion being looped around, which remains quite minimal, as in without too many changes and Bishop freaking out on the bass.
Shalabi plays repeating motives on his guitar, but doesn’t loop then; it is all in real time, so none of the repeating
fragments are exactly the same. And then there are Louca’s keyboards. Obviously I am big sucker for the organ
and the minimalist yet rock like approach of Louca is something I like. Sometimes Shalabi reminded me of The
Doors through this organ like sounds, but also the somewhat jazzy and bluesy guitar motives played. That and
a bit of Henry Flynt, I thought; an odd combination but why not? I quite enjoyed the first disc, with it’s four
psychedelic pieces, but I was less blown away by the thirty-five minutes of ‘Museum Of Stranglers’ on the second
disc, in which Bishop wails about on his saxophone and the drumming is a bit Muslimgauze-alike from time to
time. The four minutes of ‘Resinance’, also on disc two is more like what I heard and liked on the first disc.
Maybe this more free (jazz) styled version of this band is not my cup of tea? I do like the other, more ethnic,
more minimalist side of this band a lot however. They recently toured Europe I learn, so I missed that. Maybe
a next time? (FdW)
––– Address:

LXMP – ZONY W PRACY (CD by Lado Abc)

The first time I heard of LXMP was when I reviewed their interpretation of Herbie Hancock’s album ‘Future
Shock’ album into ‘Back To The Future Shock’, which entirely eluded me (see Vital Weekly 890). Here the duo
of Piotr Zabrodzki (synths, combo organ, other things) and Macio Moretti (drums, bass synth, other things)
returns with a homage to ‘the true heroes of the not-yet-space age: Dick Hyman and Mary Mayo, Oscar Niemeyer
and Lucio Costa, Michelangelo Boretti and Gregorio Lavandini’, which might be an odd collection of jazz piano
players, space age musicians, architects and a designer of garden furniture, if googling means you get some
kind of truth these days (which I doubt). The title means ‘wives at work’ (as opposed to ‘men at work’ I wondered,
the band of course) and the album consists of ten nervous tunes played on a bunch of keyboards, with lots of
likewise hectic drumming. Think Sogar & Swing on cocaine, or Felix Kubin no vocals included, or Keith
Emmerson being silly on his keyboards and Carl Palmer fooling around (Greg Lake was out when they did this).
Maybe this is space age, I have no idea, but it is certainly quite far removed from what I really like. It is too funny,
perhaps, but I don’t get the joke. (FdW)
––– Address:

QUARTZ LOCKED – WAVE 91.6 (LP and flexi by Warm)

The new French label Warm starts out with a LP release (Warm #001) by Quartz Locked and an accompanying
flexi disc (Warm #002) with the same band teaming with Belgium’s Köhn, the latter only with the first 250 copies.
All of the cover text is in French, which is a pity I think, but as someone pointed out it’s not easy to translate French
into English for French speakers. Problem is then of course that foreign listeners, curious to know more, miss out
something. If I understand correctly Quartz Locked is the musical project of Julien Merieau, and with every track
he lists all the sources of the samples, which not always mean a lot to me (lots of names of people I don’t know),
but also sounds from trains, The Conet Project and such like. It is quite heavy on the text side, with readings in
French rather than pieces being sung and Merieau adding mainly synthesizers, piano rhythm machines and
mixing. From the information that came along (in English, merci!), I understand that Merieau has an archive of
sounds that he collected for a radio program, and as such we perhaps see the title of the album, and the pieces
on there upon: as a transmission of sounds and stories, with their narration, rather than regard these as songs.
Or alternatively it is like scanning the radio waves for interesting stories, sounds and music. Even when not
everything makes sense here, I would think this is quite a fine record. The music added by Merieau stays on
the minimal side of things, adding more texture like music than strict melodic musical content.
   Leave it up to Köhn to add a more musical component to the music. In the three minutes their collaborative
song lasts there is a distorted rhythm at the core of the piece, along with mildly distorted guitars and a collage
of voices in vari-speed. It sounds quite a bit different from the LP, a bit wacky at that, but it makes perfect anti-
dote to the more serious edges of the LP. (FdW)
––– Address:

   ESOX LUCIUS  (LP by Corvo Records)

These two releases are released on LP by Berlin’s Corvo Records, but for promotional reasons they also
made pro-pressed CDs, and let me once again say how much I love CDs, contrary to popular fetishism for vinyl.
A good mastered CD for experimental music is to preferred over vinyl, certainly when such delicate music is
pressed on it as with these two. ‘Borromean Rings’ by Robin Hayward (microtonal tuba and composition) and
Christopher Williams (contrabass) is one piece that lasts thirty-one minute and while not a continuous piece of
music, so it’s easy to cut it in half for LP pressing, it works best when listened as one, uninterrupted piece of
music. The piece is a bit like a chess match: ‘notation is used to define a field of possible moves for navigating
within harmonic space’, with the difference there is no winner in this match. The score lays down a harmonic
framework and the two players keep within that framework. Here we have a very minimal work of two
instruments from the lower range of the spectrum, playing sustaining pieces that last anywhere between one
and four or so minutes, in which the tuba plays a bit more notes than the contrabass, which is perhaps easier
to sustain than the tuba. It is a slow and majestically played piece of music, very low in the sound spectrum,
which gives all of this a somewhat soaring tone. Sombre and quite intense music.
   And whereas the previous was quite audible, the other contains such delicate music (read: occasional quiet
music) that I again am not sure if a LP is the right medium. Here we have a quartet of Isabelle Duthoit (clarinet,
voice), Franz Hautzinger (quartertone trumpet), Matija Schellander (modular synthesizer) and Petr Vrba
(trumpet, vibrating speakers). Their music goes out all the way into the world of improvised music, despite the
use of something like a modular synthesizer or vibrating speakers. In these five pieces there is quite a free
play of sounds from all four players, but it sometimes seems they all hold back a bit, like there is a lot of control
among the players. For me their music worked best if they all played together, such as in the title piece, with
it’s modern classical undercurrent, rather than what also seems at times a more or less random collection of
really strange sounds. I must admit I wasn’t that blown away by all of this. It was good, it was solid, but not
great. (FdW)
––– Address:

HANNA HARTMAN – BLACK BAT (10″ by Komplott)

The single sided record is never a favourite of mine: why waste a side, I’d say. But here’s one, a single sided
10″ (or as someone put it: the format of doom, not a LP, not a 7″) by Swedish composer Hanna Hartman. She
lives in Berlin and is mostly active in the field of electroacoustic music and it seems I only reviewed one of
her releases, ‘H^2’ (see Vital Weekly 769), which I quite enjoyed. On this new release, spinning at 45 rpm,
so it’s even shorter (damn!), she uses the contra bass clarinet sounds of Theo Nabicht, which she transforms
at great length using digital means, but all along she also picks up the sound of the mouth and what seems
to be screams and distributes over the sound system of the Berghain, Berlin’s famous night spot and then
picks up the sound again coming from different places, which even in this stereo mix down is something that
heard easily. This piece, lasting just under eight minutes is wonderful. It cuts back and forth between all sorts
of odd sounds, acoustic ripping apart of sounds and screams in a space. I played this about five times in a
row yesterday and I kept hearing new elements in this composition. Too short, no B-side but what a great
piece it is. (FdW)
––– Address:

URBANFAILURE – RANDOM SHADOWS (7″ lathe cut by Sky Burial Productions/Urb Sounds)

A highly limited lathe cut 7″ recorded by Urbanfailure, who ever that might be, and apparently the three
pieces on this 7″ are all live recorded, which is actually a great achievement. Rhythm plays an important
role in these pieces, banging on what seems to be metal percussion feeding through a variety of electronic
devices, such as delay and reverb, meanwhile also being picked up by a loop station or two. Maybe even
a synthesizer or two for some colouring of the sounds; it is not easy to say, but the end result is quite good.
There is an old school industrial music texture to these pieces, especially in ‘Gridiron Ambience’ it bangs
around in a heavy manner. ‘Standoff Abrupt’ has a more modern sound, in which live digital processing
plays an important role. ‘Consciousness Mismatch’ is the shortest of the three pieces and a pretty
straightforward rhythm piece, but without the complexity the other two pieces seem to have. Short but
great. I wish it had been longer. (FdW)
––– Address:

Perhaps one would expect that a label named Found Tapes would only release cassettes, or maybe
have artists using sounds found on tapes, but this is a CDR in a pro-printed cover looked quite pro and
it’s the third encounter I have with Chris Videll’s music (see also Vital Weekly 827 and 894). This time he
plays the ‘Arturia microbrute, Casio CZ-1000, Olegtron 4060, Drone Labs, loops and fx’ and while the
title of this release may suggest that these are leftovers, I hardly think that is the case. He continues his
more drone-like approach here, as started on ‘Winter Hours’, but now he moves even further away from
the notions of noise, while retaining something that doesn’t make that this becomes to mellow. Especially
in pieces like ‘Landline/Gunmetal Greay’ and ‘Curfew’ there is a nasty edge to the music, that slightly
piercing element that sets this apart from more standard drone music. While I was thinking that the word
‘cosmic’ would be appropriate but then a more sinister variation there, the piece ‘A Rising Tide’ came on,
with it’s repeating slow arpeggio’s, which is easily the most accessible and cosmic piece on the release,
along with the very mellow closing ‘Lifting The Veil’, which includes Daniel Barbiero on double bass;
here Tag Cloud becomes truly spacious and I’m not sure if that’s the way to go, as I love the more
roughly shaped electronic cosmic nightmares just a little bit better. Excellent release of mysterious
dark spaces. (FdW)
––– Address:

DAL (CDR by Ueuoropa Records)

Two new groups from Norway on what seems to be new label from Copenhagen. The cover aesthetics
of these leave a lot of room for improvement I’d say, but maybe it’s because I don’t care that much for
Xeroxed and folded sleeves. The first release is by Ulrik, Vilde and Fred, who met at Norcon,
Copenhagen, jammed around for some time on a single day and released the results the same day.
That’s the sort of quick action releases that the format of CDR allows. You could wonder if all nineteen
pieces/sixty-four minutes were worthwhile to release. This trio play electronic music on a bunch of
synthesizers, but I think these are software synthesisers, rather than ominous modular systems.
Along ticks away the drum machine. Some of the results are rather naive and quirky, but occasionally
they hit upon something that is actually not bad at all, such as the techno jam of ‘Choir Of The Damned
Sun’, but on many other pieces the rhythm machine is switched on and the three players doodle away,
without what seems to be much plan. It’s not poppy, not cosmic, not noise, not techno and then always
all of this in a tiny bit. It would have been better, I think, if they would have concentrated on recording
lesser songs and maybe apply a bit of rehearsing and then record the few good ideas into great
songs, instead of a recording running all the time.
   Dal is a solo project by someone who recorded these fourteen pieces in Norwegian woods of
Telemark and Suldal, and some of these pieces date back to 2012. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn
that one of the members of The Formula Of The Complex Of A Closed Mind is also behind Dal, as
there is quite some similarity in approaches, with however one difference: Dal did indeed work out
these electronic pieces and kept in mind other people would be listening to these. So while he (she?)
is using the same naivety of the band with the long name, there is also the notion of music being
composed, altered, changed and worked into a real song. And that does work out into some more
pop music like, with quirky rhythms, backward tapes, a gentle touch of melody combined with a fine
sense of experiment, and sometimes all of this in the space of one song (‘New Worlds In Strike’).
Also we hear the world of techno and cosmic music in here. This makes that this is all much enjoyable
than the other one and taken in account that this lasts forty-six minutes one could easily say this is
more like a classic album length release, with all the weaker brothers left out, which even on a CDR
release is not a bad idea. There is a fine amount of variation in approaches on this release and
throughout most of these pieces are quite good. If you are daring when it comes to new electropop,
it might worth your while seeking this one out. (FdW)
––– Address:


If you want a vinyl cut of the release by Sebastian Buczek you can ask him, he has a press that can
make such one-off thing for you. You could contact him, the press blurb says he speaks ‘Polish,
English, Portuguese and more’, but then all of the other information is in Polish, so, again, if you want
to promote a product in another country than your own, try (please, try), think of the recipient and the
languages he might speak (which might not be ‘and more’). So what is this ‘Stara Przygoda – Oddech
Ludzi’ about? I haven’t got the foggiest. Twenty-eight pieces, all pretty short, of field recordings, mostly
from people talking mainly, but in what language? I don’t know. There are also pieces in which it rains
and of a construction site and insects, and some of this sounds all right, but who knows? Maybe I am
indeed missing out on some deeper meaning behind all of this. Maybe it’s all highly political stuff and
here I am thinking it’s audio snapshots of Buczek’s latest holiday? Some of the campfire songs
suggest just that. I am lost here.
   Not a lot on the information front either is about the debut album of one Oondood, but at least it lists
his instruments ‘kalimbas, likembses, sanzas, bells, bellephones, drooms and electronic dzingas’ –
we can imagine some of these I would think. He too has a whole bunch of short pieces, more interludes
really, like snippets of sounds, interspersed with the ‘real’ songs. In the recent flow of releases by Mik
Musik the common thread was rhythm and electronics (well, obviously Buczek was one of the exceptions)
and Oondood perhaps works along similar lines but it’s all a bit less organized here. Recording is set to
overload, everything firmly too loud and it’s not about some weird 4/4 beat with wacky keyboards, but
more inspired by the world of industrial music, but it all remains a bit too vague. Things seem to
disappear in the mix. I would think there is some potential in this music, but I am not yet sure what it is.
   Finally on (recycled) tape only (bandcamp only has a few excerpts) the return (?) of Wojciech
Kucharczyk’s old project Retro*Sex*Galaxy, which is, if I recall well, the first solo thing I heard from him,
many, many moons ago. Before that I heard his Motr Drammaz project. This new release is a mixture of
old and new pieces, involving lots of electronics, manipulated voices and occasionally a bit of rhythm.
Some of this are sketches towards songs rather than fully worked out songs, while others seem attempts
at longer pieces of loops and electronics, which lean towards the cruder end of EBM. And as you may
expect some of these pieces just go on a bit too long. It’s more like a diary of ideas, collected over the
years rather a carefully selected set of finished songs. I believe some of this was pretty much not bad
at all, and some of it dragged on a bit too long. Keeping in mind there is no official download available
and all the tapes are recycled from other releases, this is no real surprise. Support your underground,
I’d say! (FdW)
––– Address:

SONTAG SHOGUN – 2015, NYC (cassette, private)
SONTAG SHOGUN – TALE REMIXED (12″ by Interbang/Folk Wisdom)

It would be better to start withe the 12″ and then review the cassette, hierarchy of the media I guess (or
maybe just hipster ‘we love vinyl so much’ talk), but in this case the cassette is the better starting point,
as it contains the music of Sontag Shogun, purely whereas the vinyl contains six remixes of their first
release, ‘Tale’. As you may remember Sontag Shogun is a trio of Ian Temple (piano), Jesse Perlstein
(voice, laptop, voice, field recordings, radio) and Jeremy Young (tapes, oscillators, carpet waves and
piezo’d objects) and normally they hail from three different cities (London, Seoul and Brooklyn), which
make rehearsing not easy, I guess. But they go on tour every now then and in April last year they played
at Le Poisson Rouge in New York a set of entirely new work. They are not a troupe of improvisers, as
they play planned pieces. The six pieces here are all early versions of which they will record proper
studio versions later this year. It seems that the vocals are now gone from the music of Sontag Shogun,
and the piano has a somewhat more dominant place in these pieces. The music of Sontag Shogun is
quite atmospheric most of the time, with on more than a few occasions a bit of glitchy electronics,
a droney synth but also humming voices, such as in ‘Yoshimi Was A Good Cat’. Noteworthy is also
the fact that there is now from time to time more percussion, which adds certain vibrancy to the music.
The percussion is from wooden instruments and have a vaguely tribal notion. It all makes up something
that is quite interesting, especially taking in account that this is a live concert and a forecast of a studio
   My opinion on remixes should be well known; what good are they? Will they bring an artist to entire
different musical corner, or is it simply more of the same? And if the latter, who is pleasuring who? So
far I know Sontag Shogun’s music as mostly atmospheric, microsound, acoustic, 12K like, and here their
‘Tale’ album (see Vital Weekly 928 for a review) get a six-remix treatment by Radicalfashion, Jake
Chudnow, Perdurabo, Indian Wells, Hakobune and Schneider TM. Whatever Sontag Shogun does,
these five bring out remixes that rely heavily on the use of loops and rhythm, and as such bring an
element to the music that it normally doesn’t seem to have, which I guess is a good thing. Only
Hakobune makes it all more atmospheric than Sontag Shogun would do themselves). I am not too well
versed in the background of these remixers (except maybe Schneider TM) to know if they would really
bring out tons of new fans to the music of Sontag Shogun (one of the reasons to have a remix made,
I guess), but who knows maybe it does. I thought these six remixes were quite all right, even the
one that didn’t sound too different and I hope it works: bring new audiences to a different kind of
music. (FdW)
––– Address:

KYLIE FIELD – UNTITLED POEM CASSETTE (cassette by Tanuki Records)

While I was playing this thirty-three minutes and thirty-three seconds cassette and listening to Kyle
Field reading his poems, I was listening to the voice, but you may know me: I hardly listen to voices,
vocals and/or lyrics, and while there was no distraction otherwise, for instance music that is that goes
along (just a few bird sounds every now and then), I was thinking a few things. One was: who is Kyle
Field, other than the football stadium located on the campus of Texas A&M university in College Station,
Texas and what are these poems about. As I was trying to concentrate on the content of the poems
(or maybe it is one poem, as the title indicates? There are no titles otherwise), I was also thinking that
this is Vital Weekly is at it’s worst. I would think not a lot of the regular reviewers would dip into this and
give it the proper attention it needs. Much like novels, tomes of poetry or any other form of literature is
usually lost upon us. I guess it’s not bad, but actually I am lost. Lost for words probably. (FdW)
––– Address:


Before she used her real name, Patrizia Oliva worked as Madame P, in which she explored her voice
along with some objects, small musical instruments and mostly a loop station. In more recent years
(and I lost track of her work for sometime, I must admit) she apparently works with field recordings,
Vietnamese flute, synthesizers and tape recorders. This new tape is dedicated to Oliver Sacks, the
neurologist who died last year and contains two pieces; side long (twenty minutes each). These
pieces act like sound collages, of Oliva’s singing along with found sounds from old records, tapes
and movies, but maybe also techniques she uses to record her music and add more hiss and grainy
textures; like adding a sepia filter to a picture you took with a digital camera to make it look old (not
that Oliva uses digital techniques – far from I would say; but she does all that is necessary to make it
sound ‘old’ and ‘dusty’. It is not easy to think of all of this as two separate pieces that happen to fill
up one side of the tape. It could, for all I know, be also a bunch of audio snapshots that have no
immediate connection to each other and the fact that there is one title for one side just doesn’t make
a difference to that notion. Oliva takes you on quite a fascinating ride I think, moving from spacious
hiss-texture to a song in which the old loop station sounds but now only brief, to some children
sounds and to a slowed down 78rpm record and spooky haunted house fragments. Great tape
in the usual handmade Staaltape fashion. (FdW)
––– Address:

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