Number 1034

   (CD by Menstrual Recordings) *
REGLER — REGEL#8 (METAL) (CD by At War With False Noise) *
ANNA ZARADNY — GO GO THEURGY (LP by Bocian Records/Musica Genera)
   (LP by Aussenraum Records)
HAROLD NONO — IDEEIT (CDR by Bearsuit Records) *
FRANK.WHEELER. — LONGHORSEMAN (CDR by Frankly Different Records) *
   (cassette by Oggy Records)
STROKER — THE BITCH (cassette by No Rent Records)
AMA DIVERS — AN ECHO IN SOUND (cassette by No Rent Records)
EMILIANO ROMANELLI — TABULATURA (cassette by Cassauna/Important Records) *


Here’s another release by Plus Instruments; I also reported on the two previous releases. That was
‘Dance With Me’ (Vital Weekly 814) and ‘Trancesonics’ (Vital Weekly 894), all of which continues
a string of works that has been going on for some thirty-five years now. Right in the centre of Plus
Instruments is Truus de Groot, in the late seventies singer for Nasmaak, later Nasmak and then
with Lee Ranaldo and David Linton forming Plus Instruments in 1981. A group with a guitar, drums,
vocals and tapes. Later on she played more rockabilly tunes as Trigger And The Thrill Kings, but
in 2012 Plus Instruments became part of the ‘Ultra’ revival — the Dutch version of No New York
(the shortest description I can think off), and since then there have been releases and concerts.
Recently De Groot toured the Netherlands, with former Nasmak drummer Toon Bressers on drums.
On her releases, De Groot plays most of the synthesizers, sequences, rhythms and sings, and it
sometimes reminded this listener of the old D.A.F. sound: cold, motorik rhythms with a great vocal.
That worked on ‘Trancesonics’ even better than on ‘Dance With Me’, which I thought was a bit un-
balanced, so expectations are high and we are not disappointed, but there are minor changes. For
me the music of Plus Instruments works best if it is machine/sequencer driven with a motorik beat
(think D.A.F. at their height) and on top Truus de Groot’s soulful voice. It brings warmth to the
machine and that’s what she does best. The minor changes are due to the fact that in some of these
pieces there is James Sclavunos playing the drums and Paulo Beto on synthesizers, bass and guitar.
Those pieces add a more rock like beat to the music, even when it is trying to sound as machine-like.
James Sclavunos we know from 8 Eyed Spy, Nick Cave, Grinderman, and Teenage Jesus And The
Jerks and working with Truus before in Trigger And The Thrill Kings, while Beto is for me unknown
(he played in Freakplasma, LCD and Shiva Las Vegas). By playing these more rock inspired tunes,
Plus Instruments loose a bit of the coolness that it has when Truus does it all solo, I guess, but there
are still some excellent pieces on this release, such as ‘Come Closer’, the moody ‘Unlikely Crush’
and ‘Bad Mood’ (which sounds like an electronic Nick Cave song), the joyous ‘On The Other Side’
(with full band, but still not as rocky) to which we also find some rockers as ‘Your Mind’ and the title
piece. While I think the majority of the songs are great, I think Plus Instruments is at it’s best with
it’s mechanical swing and Truus vocal delivery that goes along and the rock format is something that
makes it a bit too normal for me. Keep the boys in the same line and don’t let do their rock poses
and all will be fine. (FdW)
––– Address:

(CD by Menstrual Recordings)

Despite starting to play music in 1978, Italy’s Giancarlo Toniutti hasn’t released much over the thirty-
eight years. Including his earliest cassettes there have been, according to discogs, fourteen releases,
two mini CDs and a retrospective box set on the honourable Vinyl On Demand of his early cassettes
releases. When Toniutti started he played with Tiziano Dominighini as a duo, which they named
“airthrob in” (the quotation marks are part of the name) of improvised music, using a synthesizer,
a guitar, sound effects and electro-acoustic sound sources. Later in his career Toniutti only used
acoustic sounds and analogue treatments.
   This new release is in fact old and new; let me explain in less words than Toniutti uses in the twenty
pages of the booklet, which are actually an excellent read (and I might add, a little less difficult than
one expects from him, judging his earlier releases). In 1981 and 1982 Toniutti and Dominighini recorded
a bunch of musical improvisations with the intention to use them in a sound installation that would also
involve urban sounds, mainly that of human intervention, rather than non-human, and all of this presented
on the same level, volume-wise. The proposed idea back then for the installation didn’t happen, and the
project remained unfinished. In 2013 Toniutti discovered two of the unfinished pieces with Dominighini
and decided to finish the project now adding recordings of the countryside, albeit near a highway. That
is the composition that is now released and it lasts sixty-five minutes. Maybe from my description it
sounds all so so interesting, but these sixty-five minutes sound great. One long monolith of sounds,
from the nearby highway droning and droning, the endless parade of cars and wind (no doubt), and every
now and then there is the music, now no longer on an equal level as the rest (as originally intended),
but instead hoover in the background; it might also be the way the music is played. That is something
we don’t know at this point. Sometimes the music sounds like a radio tuner coming in from a far and
we hear something that reminds me of a violin, but most of the time everything is vastly obscure, but it
blends in well with the highway sounds. The development of this piece is very minimal, even when after
repeated playing I think there are various parts to be detected in this piece. Toniutti, for it is him only
who completed this project, changes a bit in the colouring of the sound, sometimes allowing the music
to rise up and on other instances changes the volume of the environment, created a work that is entirely
alike what Toniutti does, completely outside of any fashion or trend, and it is another beauty. One could
only wish he did a bit more releases. (FdW)
––– Address:

Maybe the two musicians on this disc are by now quite well known that we no longer need to list the
instruments they play? Maybe that’s what Herbal International thought when they put together the cover
of this CD? But just to be sure, I think that Burkhard Beins plays percussion and Chris Abrahams plays
piano and synthesizer (maybe organ like he does sometimes, but I am not sure). It’s not mentioned on
the cover, and the only thing it tells us that this was recorded from January 5 to 9, 2015 in Sydney and
that the album was edited by Beins. I am quite a fan when it comes to the music on Abrahams, as he
brings much energy and vibrancy to the table, and that is no different on this new release.
   It’s quite difficult to dissect what is going on here. Should one not know who made this album, a blind
test if you will, then one could easily think this is an album made with a modular synthesizer and perhaps
very little something else; it is not easy to detect in this album the sound of percussion or drums, but that
made me think that much of this is Beins playing percussion, triggering the synthesizers of Abrahams
and that in the final mix of the album very few of the original drum sounds are used. True, there is some
rhythmical undercurrent in some of these pieces, such as in the surprising song-like opening ‘After The
Violet Of The First’ and ‘Second-Hand Ecstasy’, but there too the rhythm may come from the synthesizers.
I quite enjoyed all of this, as it seemed to bypass such notions as ‘improvisation’ or ‘composition’, taking
the latter into the first by making some great decisions when mixing the material. All of these pieces are
very vibrant and burst with energy, sometimes highly uncontrolled but then sometimes also with quite
some peace and dark tranquillity. This is one excellent release. (FdW)
––– Address:

REGLER — REGEL#8 (METAL) (CD by At War With False Noise)

The conceptual masterminds of Regler return, this time with their opus numero eight, discussing ‘metal’
music this time. Anders Bryngelsson on drums and Mattin on guitar did a tour this time, of three concerts,
in Paris, Angers and Skopje. The instruction reads as follows: “immediately before the start of the concert
ask members of the audience to play their favourite of different genres of metal (heavy metal, trash metal
and black metal) from their mobiles and mp3 players. Connect them to the mixer. Ask somebody to mix
them live while you play your interpretation of these musical genres”. That is concept art at work, but I
must say it also works quite well when you listen to the results. If there is any ‘real’ metal mixed in here,
than I surely wouldn’t have recognized it. There are recordings from all three nights, with the one from
Paris (‘heavy metal’) working as a solid block of metal music, erecting a fine wall of sound, while the
next night in Angers they worked on the notion of ‘trash metal’, which is all about starts and stops
apparently and has in its twenty-five minutes quite a tormented sound; it is not an easy to digest piece
of music, but one got to love the consistency with which all of this performed, ending a great furious
coda. ‘Black Metal’ from Skopje, actually the night after Angers, is another wall of sound approach and
one that also works quite well. It seems less solid than ‘Heavy Metal’, but it is meaner and dirtier than
the first night. Maybe they tour went well, and Regler decided to take more risks? For someone like me,
whose intake of metal music is very limited, and thus also knowledge on the subject, I can see I quite
enjoyed these three conceptual approaches to the world of metal music a lot. This is another great
project by Regler and it makes more and more curious about what they will come up next. (FdW)
––– Address:


Wah, an electric guitar quartet. It brings back good memories of Les 4 Guitaristes de l’Apocalypso-Bar
and the Fred Frith Quartet, a.o. But here is a new one, initiated by Canadian composer and guitarist
Tim Brady. Earlier work by him, released on Ambiances Magnétiques, has been reviewed here. Although
I know only few of his works from his long time career, I think it is true to say that composing for this
instrument that he knows so well as a perfomer, is at the center of his work. And maybe ultimately in
the works for this new project, released by Starkland. He started this quartet in 2013, that is paralleled
by extended versions of 20 and one of 100 guitarists! The quartet plays two long compositions by Brady
plus two shorter ones by Berthiaume and Wiens, also composers and guitarists, and also known from
releases on Ambiances Magnétiques. Berthiaume is one of the players in this quartet, together with
Gary Schwartz, Michel Héroux and Brady himself. All of them, highly skilled performers. Brady’s
composition ‘The Same River Twice: Symphony No. 5’ is divided in eight parts. First five parts are
written for the quartet. They sound orchestral and are played with great discipline and finesse. The
last three parts use the same compositional elements as in the first parts. But everything is now for
solo guitar plus additional tools. In these parts Brady abstracts from normal guitar sounds and creates
electro-acoustical surroundings. But also here Brady demonstrates that he is a composer who wants
to stay close to paradigms of popular rock culture. Brady uses influences of rock, chamber music,
electro-acoustic as well as orchestral music. Fans of Robert Fripp and his League of Crafty Guitarists,
surely can relate to his music. Fungi’ by Berthiaume is a very harmonic and accessible piece of music,
composed from conventional elements. But in its arrangements for four guitars it is a very enjoyable
piece. In contrast, the closing piece “What is time?“ is a very experimental work. By far the most radical
composition and really fascinating. Wiens plays here above all with timbre and creates strange textures.
The version we hear on this CD is a mix by Brady of two live versions of the piece (DM).
––– Address:


Highly flattered as I am to receive such a delight, a hardcover book, forty-nine pages with the poetry of
Hsia Yu, both in Chinese and English, and it sure looks great, I feel Vital Weekly is not the right place
to discuss poetry (or literature, video art, choreography, architecture and sculpting — to mention a few
other fields in the world of art that we do not know next to nothing about; I am sure I could think of more
fields). So I simply can state: I have got the foggiest what these poems are about. There is however a
CD part of this package, which contains sounds and music by Yan Jun, the Chinese musician of noise,
improvisation, and field recording and such like, and someone who travels quite a bit. While on the road
he records a whole bunch of sounds and Hsia Yu recited her poem on locations as well, and the two are
put together on this release. Yan Jun, for whatever little I heard of his work (I readily admit) plays with
quite some radical sound material on this release. He likes feedback a lot (hence the word ‘tinnitus’ in the
title), but also otherwise has some interesting electro-acoustic sounds to offer. It is very hard to say
what these are; maybe a microphone upon a surface? Maybe these are processed sine waves, feedback,
using broken speakers? And some of this might be from the world of field recordings, that much seems
clear. Otherwise it is hard to say, but there is an excellent radicalism in these sounds that however fit
wonderfully well with the recited poetry, which seem to posses very little emotion (I might be wrong there).
Hsia Yu recites these in a way that isn’t imposing or acting, but just as it is — I suppose. In all its
extremity this is actually a quiet release — how curious. Very enjoyable, whatever it means. (FdW)
––– Address:


Here we have four new releases by the fine Portuguese home for all things improvised, free, polished
and rough — as these will proof. They work a lot with people I never heard of, such as Joao Camoes
(viola) and Jean-Marc Foussat (electronic devices and voice), although Dolf Mulder reviewed some
earlier work by them (Vital Weekly 1018). This is my first introduction to their improvisations and it
sounds quite interesting. The violin sounds like a violin but in combination with the some non-musical
sounds from the electronic devices it becomes quite something else. Camoes’ playing seems to
me quite traditional, but in playing with Foussat there is quite some dialogue; it seems to me that
both players listen very close to what the other is doing and respond (or don’t, if need be) accordingly.
Sometimes by following, keeping up the rapid sequence of tones and notes, but it can also by
contrasting the other player. This is by no means ‘easy’ music as these two players are on a wild ride
together, but it works very well. One sits down and pays notice.
   Andre Goncalves then who plays a modular synthesizer, laptop, guitar and Fender Rhodes. He
is the man behind ‘ADDAC System brand of modular synthesizers’ (also something I haven’t heard
of) and a long time ago he recorded a CD with Kenneth Kirschner (Vital Weekly 508). As far as
I understood he is not very active when it comes to releasing solo music. There was a gap of ten
years in which nothing was released. In the past he worked as ‘OK Suitcase, Last Time This
Happened We Had a Street Party, Stapletape, Gigantiq, Feltro and more’ and did improvisations
with ‘ Achim Wollscheid, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Casper Klausen, David Maranha, Eric La Casa, Hans-
Joachim Roedelius, Kenneth Kirschner, Manuel Mota, Michel J. Schumacher, Ernesto Rodrigues,
Richard Garet, Phill Niblock, Sei Miguel and Tim Hecker between many others’. On this new CD he
has two long pieces, and some guests: Pedro Boavida on Fender Rhodes on the first piece and Rordrigo
Dias on bass and Concalo Silva on guitar on the second piece. There is certainly an air of improvisation
to be noted in these two pieces, with the longest of the two, ‘Long Story Short’ reminded me of micro-
sound and laptop music of fifteen years ago. Spacious but playful sounds on the piano, mild processing
and whispering voices from a television set in the background. It is perhaps a bit too long at twenty-
seven minutes, and it could have used some editing. ‘Will Be Back In A Few’ is nineteen minutes and
less playful but works quite well overall, I thought, as a contemplative piece of ambient music, leaning
heavily on the use of sustaining guitar and bass sounds, and a bit of field recordings. This is a very
refined release.
   This is my third encounter with the music of Norway’s Ich Bin Nintendo, a trio of Christian Skar
Winther (electric guitar), Magmus Skavhaug Nergaard (electric bass) and Joakim Heibo Johansen
(drums) and here we arrive in an entirely different musical territory. Itunes opens up and call this punk,
but post-punk is equally all right to use, I’d say. If I understood well, their music finds it’s origin in the
world of improvisation, but that there are more or less fixed structures, which gives these pieces a
more or less song-like structure. Yet the length of these pieces is not very punk like as, the six pieces
are between four and almost seven minutes in length. This is music that needs quite a bit of volume
in order to work best, but it’s not all about aggression, I should think. It’s more about energy, among the
players but also unleashing a fine portion of energy with the listener. Ich Bin Nintendo’s music is quite
dark, but from a production point they refrain from sounding doom-like. Maybe there is a positive side
to being dark, I wondered. Maybe this is not music that is entirely inside the world of Vital Weekly,
but it surely refers to our roots quite a bit, and that’s why this surely has our thumbs up and fists
raised; bring on a concert!
   We end our tour with the music of Nick Millevoi, who plays acoustic and electric guitars, along with
his band on Hammond organ, piano, upright and electric bass and drums, ‘a record that summons the
folk, country, and blues roots of present day American music’ as the label puts it. They also tell us
about ‘alternative tunings of the guitars, unusual manipulations of the effect pedals, and a careful
management of feedback’, but all I hear is rock music with long solos on the guitar, a bit of folksy
strumming, lots of organ and this is surely nothing that is of particular interest to Vital Weekly; at
least not to the reviewers there of. I can easily see that this release being the most commercial viable
 release of this four, and perhaps that’s the way things go; the more ‘regular’, ‘acceptable’ a release is,
the less we are interested; or perhaps we just lack any knowledge about such things as Americana,
blues and folk? I understand the need that products need promotion, but this one would have been
better off somewhere else. (FdW)
––– Address:

ANNA ZARADNY — GO GO THEURGY (LP by Bocian Records/Musica Genera)
(LP by Aussenraum Records)

Just quite recently I reviewed a release by X3D5 X Noises Of Russia and the title was Theurgy; today
I receive this record by Anna Zaradny, which is also called ‘Theurgy’. So it’s about to find out what that
means, theurgy. According the almighty Wikipedia it “describes the practice of rituals, sometimes
seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence
of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving henosis, and
perfecting oneself”, which made think there is perhaps some form of religion at work for both this as
well as the previous (and unrelated) release. Although maybe the addition of the words ‘Go Go’ takes
it somewhere else? There is not much on the cover to go by. Zaradny composed this music with the
help of electronics, analogue and digital synthesizers. In the two parts (two sides of the record) that
make up ‘Theurgy’ Zaradny plays some great, powerful music on her electronics. It’s drone like, but it’s
not about something static that doesn’t change throughout. Various drone sounds intertwine, mix-up
and change slightly over the course of the piece, in which Zaradny has some clear, distinct parts. In
the main section of the first part, rhythm prevails, straight forward beeps set against a dark wall of
sound; not as in rhythm machines, techno, but rather like Alva Noto sometimes does. The other side
is absent of that but has that dark, frightful music. This is certainly a record to play at a massive
volume, so it all works better for you. If you don’t feel the sound pressing against you, you probably
miss out on something.
   At the same time I also received a collaborative between Zaradny and Kasper T. Toeplitz, and from
the enclosed information I learned that Zaradny plays here saxophone and computer, while Toeplitz
plays bass and computer. The music was recorded in Warsaw last year, and mixed in Paris; I assume
the latter by Toeplitz. The title translates as ‘station never in life’ and one side is called ‘Jamais’, which
means ‘Never’, which happens to be the title of the other side. They have played together before, but
this is their first release of a collaborative effort. If you know both of these artists and their solo work
than you might know it can contain something that is very heavy. Not just some mindless noise
onslaught, but something that is heavy on a dynamic level. Always heavy on the bass end — that’s
what for me the word ‘heavy’ means, and not ‘noise’, per se, but on top of that they wave together
some more mid/high frequency noise thing, from time to time. Especially Zaradny’s work on saxophone
sounds great; it is hardly to be recognized as a saxophone, but also not like anything else really.
Having said all of this, the record is not about being all very loud and heavy, on the contrary it has
it’s great moments of carefully chosen quietness also, in which the two of them play surprisingly ‘quiet’
drone music. The division between the ‘loud’ and the ‘quiet’ is one that works quite well on this record.
It means one has to turn up the volume quite a bit to enjoy the most out of the softer passages but it
also means that the bass-heavy drones come to you in a very sonically present way. This is music
that doesn’t allow you to escape from it; it is a full on demanding work but I love it. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com
––– Address:


The follow-up to last year’s ‘The Reoccurrence’ sees Arek Gulbenkoglu release another private work
in again an edition of 77 copies. Back then I wrote that I never heard of him, but I reviewed his ‘Point
Alone’ in Vital Weekly 492 and a collaborative with Dale Gorfinkel in Vital Weekly 616, so there you
go. On that last CD he plays snare drum and on the first one acoustic guitar. These days it is all
about ‘tape detritus, voice and abused electronics’ and it deals with his ‘fascination with at its most
elemental level […] in which textures are examined from different angles, and threads are pulled bare’.
There are three lengthy pieces on this release, which are not easy to digest. In ‘Interesting Rot’, the
final (and longest) piece we recognize the voice for the first time, but like in the other two pieces the
heavy, extended use of feedback and noise makes this not easy music. And in his noise Gulbenkoglu
is quite direct. The feedback is as picked up in his recording space, maybe using headphones and
microphones and a simple mixer, but has very little do with the (over-) use of sound effects to create
heavily distorted patterns. This seems to be an album that is much louder than the previous release
and surely can cause a bit of headache in the end, even when it’s ‘only’ forty-two minutes. It’s best I
would think to take this in, one at a time. I strongly believe there is a concept at play here, but I am
not sure what that would be. Maybe it’s homage to Henri Chopin or to sound poetry in general? That
could very well be the case. (FdW)
––– Address: <>

HAROLD NONO — IDEEIT (CDR by Bearsuit Records)

This is one of those instances in which finding a name again in the Vital Archive is not always easy,
but as far as I could see I only wrote about Harold Nono back in Vital Weekly 724, when I reviewed
his collaboration with Hidekazu Wakabayashi. Here we have Nono solo and now I learned he has
three solo albums, and he worked with Me Raabenstien as Taub, with Eric Cosentino as Jikan Ga
Nai and with N-aqia as Haq. I didn’t hear any of these. On his new solo album it seems that he
found his way into the sample pack of orchestral sounds as many, if not all of the pieces on ‘Ideeit’
seem to be inspired by the world of classical music, sampling violins, percussion, wind instruments
and all of these are sampled together into pieces of more or less pop tones, all of a moody and
melancholic nature, but in keeping all of his together with a rock inspired rhythm, or a fuzzy guitar,
such as in ‘Dedy’, but throughout Nono walks a romantic path. Of course he includes the sound
of children, as if it was recorded at home, such as in ‘Life Under The Layfayette’. There are also
exceptions, such as the vague electronic piece ‘Otosan’ and dark drones of ‘Dead Man’s Fall’,
and the spacious meandering of days past (note the vinyl crackle — now available as a plug-in)
in ‘Running Down A Pipe’. At times Nono cuts up his music in the best Oval tradition, but it always
remains musical. All of these twelve tracks together make up a highly varied album, but it works
very well. Nono has crafted an excellent album of moody, orchestral tunes and it’s never too long
or full of cliche’s. (FdW)
––– Address:


This is another confirmation of what I already knew: I don’t know much. I looked at the bandcamp
page of Anywave, to check up if there was more information about ‘L’Atelier Des Filles’ and it looks
like The Beautiful Schizophonic is the only name I recognized among the 20+ releases. While Jorge
Mantas, the schizophonic himself, doesn’t seem to be very active when it comes to releasing music,
he does it always with great style. This particular release comes with a booklet with pictures by
Julie Carreyn, of (naked) girls holding household appliances of ‘high’ cultural and symbolic value,
and maybe some of the music is used in the film of the same name (there is also a book). The
last time I heard a full-length album by Mantas was ‘Belkiss’, back in Vital Weekly 874. Back then
he played processed vocals, glockenspiel, guitars and field recordings, but on this new one it is
all ‘just’ solo processed guitar, which I think hardly makes a difference with the previous releases
by him, although the humming is no longer there, which is a good thing. The seven pieces here
are all equally strong when it comes to playing the moody card; atmospheric, warm, glitchy,
digital processed and nowhere do we recognize the guitar as such (maybe we the exception of
‘Nu’, but it sounds more like a bass guitar actually). It sustains as endlessly and as beautiful
as possible. It is something that Mantas does very well and he’s not changing the tune on this
new release. One could regret that, even when Mantas changed a bit (just guitar this time, but
I admit, that’s a small change), but given the small catalogue he’s build up over the years one
could say he’s still carving out his own sound. (FdW)
––– Address:


Before this arrived Goh Lee Kwang already warned me that the cover had no information at all,
just the image of a bat. This CDR is mostly sold by hand so people know what they get. I am not
sure why this especially was sent to me, as looking at his bandcamp page, Goh Lee Kwang has
quite a lot of releases to promote. Here we find two pieces, of thirty minutes in length for both of
them and it seems to me both pieces are doodles on a modular synthesizer set-up, which in the
first piece don’t work out that well, I thought. It is all a bit dis organised for me, but in the second
piece there was an interesting underlying tension among these sounds and it all worked quite well.
It’s a pity that the CDR had a scratch towards the end so it didn’t play all of this. A fine work, for
which download and CDR is the perfect way to sell them, even when a bit of information would
have been nice. (FdW)
––– Address:

FRANK.WHEELER. — LONGHORSEMAN (CDR by Frankly Different Records)
(cassette by Oggy Records)

These two are lumped in for a reason. Both of the musicians who are behind Scheerling and
Frank.Wheeler. (dots intended) work together as Naagauk, of whom I reviewed a great debut
cassette three weeks ago. Their solo projects show they are also interested in doing something
else all together.
   Behind Frank.Wheeler. is Wouter Jansen, who is also a member of Me & Mr. Jansen, a singer-
song writer project, but which is apparently more commercial. As Frank.Wheeler. Jansen plays
ambient music, which is heavily inspired by the world of soundtracks; especially ‘Revolutionairy
Road’ score by Thomas Newman was a big inspiration. Guitar and piano are at the basis of
Frank.Wheeler.’s music but all of these are extensively treated using analogue and digital
treatments. While the music certainly sounds cinematic, the eight pieces also stand very well
by themselves. It sounds like it’s from the world of ambient glitch, and with that comes the
warmth of that kind of music. Everything is quite spacious, with a sufficient amount of reverb
added to the music, and warm yet glacial (or should that be ‘glacial yet warm’?) drones pass
like clouds on a sunny day. Think also Stars Of The Lid mixed with a bit of early Stephan
Mathieu and some rhythm thrown for the equation, but only sparse. I can easily see this kind
of music be part of an art-house movie. There is one complaint to make and that is: why does
Frank.Wheeler. keep all these pieces at such a short length. The longest is five minutes,
but two of the eight are under two minutes, so the whole release is just twenty-five minutes.
I certainly believe some of these pieces could have lasted a bit longer than their current length,
and I wouldn’t have minded some more of these pieces. On the other hand, a point of praise:
this is a limited edition of thirty copies and they all come in a beautiful carton sleeve with two
mini postcards. That looks highly professional.
   On cassette we find the other half of Naagauk, Bert van Beek’s project Scheerling on a split
cassette with Thaumaturgist, of whom we also reviewed work before (Vital Weekly 1026), just
as we did with Scheerling (Vital Weekly 959). Again Scheerling is inspired by the poetry of
Dennis Gaens, as translated by Van Beek’s mother in the dialect of Enter, a part of the East
of The Netherlands. This time around there is no mentioning of any instruments, but I could
easily believe all of this uses a guitar and many effect pedals. The information mentions also
‘folk instruments and field recordings’ but all of this is effectively transformed into four pieces
of dark and mysterious drone music. Perhaps not of the kind you haven’t heard before, but it
is all very well made, with lots of emphasis on the guitar sound, or so it seems to me. Nothing
seems to be on hold for an endless amount of time, but every so often, Scheerling changes
colour and texture of his music, and makes all of this less static and livelier.
   The music of Thaumaturgist is quite something else by contrast, but that’s something we
already from the previous release. By using old drum machines and small synthesizers, he
creates here two long compositions of loops, rhythms and sounds and in part one of ‘Mysteries
Van De Droom’ this is worked in quite some krautrock like proportion, which turns out to be a
damn refined piece. Long, spacious, but also rocking and psychedelic. An excellent piece.
That can’t be said of the second part of the piece, which derails quickly and meanders about
in chaos and hectic and unfortunately didn’t hold my attention for very long. That makes two/
third of this tape great, which is not a bad score, I’d say.
   All three bands play in Arnhem on June 17th at the presentation of the Frank.Wheleer.
release. (FdW)
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STROKER — THE BITCH (cassette by No Rent Records)
AMA DIVERS — AN ECHO IN SOUND (cassette by No Rent Records)

So far I heard only Radboud Mens’ release on No Rent Records, and one other that is quite
personal, but otherwise I had no idea what exactly this label releases, music-wise that is.
After I heard these two releases, I think this label might be open to all sorts of music. I didn’t
start with Stroker but it is the first one I write about. Behind Stroker is Rachel Slurr, who is
also in Heaven’s Gate and she hails from Philadelphia. On her twenty-six minute we find four
pieces, and it kicks off with a Merzbowian onslaught, which is quite nice in the low end of
the sound, and a bit less on the high end. When a piece is about to end it breaks down into
what might be the original sound sources, acoustic rumble, voices from TV, that kind of
thing. Stroker keeps her music quite minimal, but it’s not without change; in the title piece
there is even a bit of melodic change to the music, which makes it surprisingly ‘musical’
   Very musical, also because it is very different is the music by Ama Divers, a trio of Renee
Mendoza Haran (piano, vocals), Brian Mendoza Haran (synth, guitar, oscillators) and Chris
Girard (guitar, tapes). Renee was once a member of Ashrae Fax, a ‘synth-punk’ from North
Carolina. Here they named themselves after Japanese women who ‘plunge vulnerably into
cold depths and after enduring long, dark, breathless moments, return to the surface for air’.
Stage central is Renee’s voice and piano work, and Girard’s guitar, all going into a mixer,
handled by Brian who adds a whole bunch of delay lines to create an atmospheric set of
sounds, which is however very musical. Renee plays notes, melodies and hums along that.
It makes up something that is quite spacious and yet quite melodic, in the best Brian Eno/
Ambient sense of the word. I like the first side a lot, but on the second side there is a pieces
like ‘You’ and ‘Seasaw’, with real vocals, text and such like, and I must admit that wasn’t the
kind of thing I dig. Maybe it sounded a bit like Enya or such like, but it sounds too kitschy
for my taste. I certainly don’t mind music to be musical, melodic, poppy or that kind of ilk,
but this was too way too smooth for my taste. I preferred the last piece on this side and the
whole of the first side way more than these two real songs.
A label willing to take risks and overstep a boundary; that’s a unique thing, I guess. (FdW)
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EMILIANO ROMANELLI — TABULATURA (cassette by Cassauna/Important Records)

By now surely the name Tu m’ might no longer be well known. From 1998 to 2011 this was
an Italian duo of Rossano Polidoro and Emiliano Romanelli, mainly using laptops in the field
of microsound, ambient glitch and such like. They released their music on such as Line,
Headz, Dekorder, and ERS and there was always a visual background. Now one of the two
former members releases his second solo work, following ‘333 Loops (Volume 1)’, see Vital
Weekly 926. Here we have another ‘volume 1’, of a work called ‘Tabulatura’, which is a
composition from 2008 that uses ‘sixteen pre-recorded guitar parts and computer with custom
software. It is conceived as a system to generate different electro-acoustic patterns’, which
are recorded, live without any overdubs. There are seven ‘patterns’ as they are called on this
cassette. I usually take a nap around 16:00, which today was when I was playing this
particular work, and as usual I had my cassette recorder on ‘repeat’ and I am not sure how
often it repeated, but after the first time I dozed off to this wonderfully mellow pieces of drone
music. There is surely something very digital about these drones, but the near stasis of the
music works very well as it retains a beautiful warm glow. It is not difficult to see why an
older man like myself would be able to dose of while playing this music. Between these seven
pieces there is very little difference and one could perhaps argue this is ‘boring’, but I think it
fits the overall release quite well. This is some pretty meditative music. After a couple of
cycles and a nap, I need some strong coffee and some wake up music. This is an excellent
release. (FdW)
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