Number 1035

BIGENERIC — ORMEA (CD by Everest Records) *
PHIL JULIAN & JOHN MACEDO — BIND (CD by Hideous Replica) *
PBK & WOLF EYES — RABID (LP by Sonoris)
   (12″ by Lamour Records)
UBX127 — LAMOUR REMIXES (12″ by Lamour Records)
GUF4LIFE — SLIM VIC REMIXED (12″ by Lamour Records)
DE FABRIEK — REMIXES VOL. 5 (CDR, private) *
KEN BRENNAN — OPALESCENT (CDR by Vacancy Niagara) *
PROTO PROTO — $3 WAR (CDR by Vacancy Niagara) *
   (cassette by Canary Records/Tanuki Records) *
PRO424 — 4241 (cassette by Lamour Records)
DRONING UKRAINIANS (double cassette by Lamour Records)
J. SURAK — LOST GEOGRAPHIES (cassette by Zeromoon)
YTAMO & MIDORI HIRANO — TIME UNBOX (cassette, private)
FALAFEL BIELS (cassette by Dehef)
KREV XXV (USB stick by Spectral Electric)

BIGENERIC — ORMEA (CD by Everest Records)

When I saw the cover of ‘Technico/Electric’ by Alphatronic I thought this was a CD re-issue of the
previous LP, as the cover looked very familiar. Much to my surprise, I looked up the review of the
previous work, which turned out to be called ‘Cybersin’, and I wrote in in Vital Weekly 775: “It
seemed like yesterday that I reviewed ‘Sonic Landscapes’ by Daniel Wihler, also known as Daniel
Wihler, but perhaps it’s because the cover of his latest release looks similar to that one? But it was
back in Vital Weekly 701 indeed.” So the covers of Alphatronic form a brand, a style? And what
about the music, I wondered? I quite enjoyed the previous two releases for what they were; pleasant
tunes, which taps out of the field of techno music as well as it borrows, through the use of modular
synthesizers, from the world of cosmic music. All of that results in some great tunes, which are
never that long. All twelve songs on this release are between 4:03 and 4:49 minutes, which totals
up to seventy-one minutes. And songs they are, with head and tails, reminding me at times of the
best of Kraftwerk, but then all instrumental (maybe vocals would be an interesting next step in the
evolution of his music, I thought). You could wonder if that is long, and if, perhaps, there is a certain
similarity in approaches here among these tracks. That is perhaps one way of looking at it, but
while I sat down for a while, read a bit, checked my e-mail, did laundry and went back to reading,
this music worked pretty nicely while doing this. I think all of this would be less suitable for dancing,
but surely that might not be the intention of Alphatronic. Quite entertaining and pleasant.
   Behind Bigeneric is Marco Repetto, whose background is in punk music, with such bands as
Glueams, Grauzone (insert; ‘you surely know their song ‘Eisbär’) and Eigernordwand, but later on
he went all electronic, which is something he still does, going from ‘hypnotic, ethereal techno to
psychedelic ambient soundscapes and sound installations’. I haven’t heard his previous releases,
which is not a lot; six albums since 1995. His ‘Ormea’ is sixty-eight minutes, so not much shorter
than the Alphatronic album, but it has only nine pieces, all of which are longer than any of the
songs on the other one. The other difference is that much of what Bigeneric does relates more to
the dance floor than Alphatronic. He spaces out in his pieces, takes his time to play the slower
developments in these pieces but one can easily see how that would go down on a dance floor.
The tempo is not always that high, and elements of ambient and psychedelic music are easily
woven in these songs, which makes this all the more playful for home-listening as well, especially
such songs as ‘Nirasca’ or ‘Tanar’. Apparently field recordings play an important role in some of
these songs, but I didn’t always recognize them, other than the rain sounds of ‘Moava’, the longest
of all and perhaps also the most ambient/dub one. An album for homes and dance floors alike,
pleasant, up beat, melancholic when needed, there is much going on here; both of these new
releases by Everest Records will find a repeated play in this household. (FdW)
––– Address:


Richard Eigner (percussion) and Roman Gerold (piano) hail from Austria and have just released
their third album for Karaoke talk. The press release states they were both born in 1983. Wow!
That was the time when I was heavily into early industrial stuff like TG and SPK… Ritornell’s “If
Nine Was Eight” is anything but that. The ten songs that make up the album comprise of contra-
bass, flute, piano, Fender Rhodes piano and cello. Not your regular industrial fare then. If anything,
I’d say this is clever late night listening jazz with just a hint of electronica, all very well executed
and produced. At times the music reminded me of later Talk Talk albums like Spirit of Eden and
Laughing Stock without the rougher guitar edge and outbursts – in which lies the weak(er) point of
this otherwise great album: after a while Ritornell’s music sounds too polished and professional,
making you (OK, me) long for some sort of extreme outburst – it is all very pleasant and friendly.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to “If Nine Was Eight”. The occasional female
vocals (like Mimu’s vocals on ‘The Book Of Now’ – which reminded me of Dutch 80s vocalist Fay
Lovsky) work very well for an album that will not upset the apple cart, but will give you a good
and foremost safe ride home. (FK)
––– Address:

PHIL JULIAN & JOHN MACEDO — BIND (CD by Hideous Replica)

Of the two, the name John Macedo is a new one for me. He’s a sound artist from London, who
works with acoustic instruments and environmental sound, and both analogue means as well as
digital means, in recordings, concerts, and installations. Phil Julian is less present these days
in these pages, then when he worked as Cheapmachines, releasing music on Entr’acte, banned
Production, The Tapeworm, Harbinger Sound, Con-V and such like. He is also a member of the
drone Signals with Mark Beazley and Chris Gowers, and The Seen, an improvising group from
Mark Wastell. As Cheapmachines his music was sometimes very loud, sometimes very quiet,
usually improvised with laptop and electronics, but working under his own name everything
seems to be more planned. The eleven pieces on this CD were recorded from 2013 to 2016,
and span thirty-eight minutes. Curiously enough they are quite short, save for the last one,
which lasts ten minutes. There is no further information as to the nature of the instruments,
which I assume are mainly to be found in the field of computer, sound processing, modular
synthesizers and maybe a bit of dabbling with contact microphones. I am not sure, but that’s
what I gather from playing this music. There is some nice intense sound exploration in these
pieces, with fine, intelligent noisy undercurrent, but seeing these pieces to be short and to the
point, and with some excellent variety; none of this lasts very long. Macedo and Julian apply
collage techniques within these pieces and it bounces all over the place, while occasionally they
make longer curves and it’s less cutting in and out of the mix, such as in ‘Enhanced Odds’.
Glitchy, electronic, noisy, and all of this with quite some thought and imagination; an excellent
release of which only 100 copies were made.
––– Address:


In the note that comes with this new CD by Stefan Roigk he says that I will hopefully enjoy
this CD, ‘even if it is in German’. I have been on that high horse when it comes to language in
recent years. Send me a CD with lots of spoken words in Polish/Chinese/French or what have
you, or press texts in any other languages than the one I have mastered, is something to re-
consider. I know everybody wants to push a product and that reviews are a means to get the
word out, but consider the fact that at the receiving end there might be a reviewer who hasn’t
mastered your language and who might be entirely lost. Among the languages I mastered,
all of them just a bit, really, is Dutch, English and German and at that might I may be all right
for this release by Stefan Roigk. He offers three pieces, all of which are heavy on recited text
in German. And I mastered the language to understand the words, but here we quickly encounter
another problem (they never come alone, do they?), and that’s the fact that I am not always
blown away by spoken word releases; just how often do you play such a release, I wonder.
It no doubt has also to do with the fact that I am more the pure music guy. As said text plays
the all-important role here, although in each of these three pieces he also uses field recordings,
pretzel sticks, water, ventilator feedbacks, modified vintage intercoms, wooden table & chairs,
cables amplifier, waveplayer, tripods, speaker, horn speakers, radio, tape unit and such like
(odd to see it’s all listed in English on the cover). When Roigk uses sounds along with his
voice, and not just his voice, than it turns out there is something interesting to hear, for me
at least. That happens towards the end of ‘Vom Sagen Hoeren’, the manipulation of his voice
through various speakers in ‘Schweigen Ist Gold’, along with the humming of ventilator and the
simultaneous voices of the title pieces making understand not an easy task anyway. When
he sings in that piece, I was reminded of Gregory Whitehead. All the time I wasn’t paying
that much attention to the actual content of what Roigk was saying, so I have very little
understanding of what was going on in that respect. But listening to this as a work of sound,
my primary focus, I can say this is quite a fine release of radio play. This could easily also
appeal to anyone for whom the German language is a complete mystery. (FdW)
––– Address:


So far Sub Rosa released seven anthologies of ‘noise and electronic’ music, plus one with
Chinese experimental music (not all of these made it to these pages), but apparently they will
continue with more ‘area anthologies’ (which is more ‘area of influence’ rather than ‘country’).
Now Turkey might not be a country one thinks of easily when thinking about experimental
music, but no doubt that’s all the more reason to have an anthology dedicated to the country.
The booklet gives us short biographies of each of the composers, twenty-nine in total,
but there is no background into the music life of Turkey as such; apparently there was no
equivalent of the Ina/Grm studio, or the WDR studio. Perhaps it’s no wonder that the two
deceased composers, the two who first put Turkey on the experimental map, Bülent Arel
and Ilhan Mimaroglu worked mainly in the USA. A quick scan for me resulted in the fact
that I knew these two names, as well as that I heard of Erdem Helvacioglu, Cem Güney
and Korhan Erel, although I could say if I know their music that well. This anthology bounces
neatly all over the experimental map, from serious avant-garde/classical music to noise,
to glitch, from conservatory students to auto-didacts at work. While not every piece is equally
great, there is much to enjoy with this release. None of these tracks seem overtly long,
which is a good thing, as it is indeed an anthology of examples, of various interests, rather
than something very long (and perhaps tedious). There is a lot to explore in this one, and
while none of these leaped out especially; I thought it was very insightful. To end with the
obligatory complete list of composers: Bülent Arel, Ilhan Mimaroglu, Erdem Helvacıoglu,
Batuhan Bozkurt, Alper Maral, Batur Sönmez, Cenk Ergün, Korhan Erel, Sair Sinan Kestelli,
Koray Tahiroglu, Mehmet Can Özer, Tolga Tüzün, Basar Ünder, Nilüfer Ormanlı, Utku Tavil,
Asaf Zeki Yüksel, Osman Kaytazoglu, SIFIR (Z.Aracagök), Cem Güney, Volkan Ergen,
Mete Sezgin, Mors, Tuna Pase, D2GG, 2/5BZ, Cevdet Erek, Reverie Falls On All,
Burçin Elmas, Meczup. (FdW)
––– Address:


While his own name may not ring bells, Hansen was part of both Noisejihad and
Wäldchengarten, but apparently he also has solo releases (discogs doesn’t mention these)
and sometimes he creates sound-installations. On his ‘Terminal Velocity’ he has twenty-one
‘vignettes’, as he calls them, recorded at the EMS studios in Stockholm, home for a great
old synthesizers, surround sound set-up and other electronic music delights. We learn
from the cover that the pieces on this album can be enjoyed as twenty-one separate pieces,
or as two (or even one) long piece, as they more or less flow into each other. I must say
a daring approach, but I am not sure if it works for me that well. I quite enjoy single pieces
out of this collection, as they are spacious, gritty (there is even a distorted guitar to be
spotted in some of these pieces), noisy, ambient and such like, but the pieces are so
damn short. Much of what you hear in these short pieces could easily offer something that
lasts four or five minutes I would think. Have some more pacing, slower developments,
let sounds play out more and that sort of compositional deliberations. There is a wealth
of material in these twenty-one pieces that just scream to be explored. So, I’m in this odd
position of saying: Hansen has created a wonderful record, with some great electronic
music, with some fine variation among these pieces, exploring a few themes and
approaches, but somehow it seemed he couldn’t make up his mind and choose to give us
all the ideas, rather than the complete songs. That is the downside of the record, I think,
but it comes with a download code, so alternatively you could download the whole album
and perhaps play some of these pieces on repeat — to check if longer would be maybe
improve the pieces, or if Hansen made the right choice and keep ‘m short and
concise. (FdW)
––– Address:


Inevitably the name of this band makes one think of architect Daniel Libeskind, the architect
of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, a.o. Consequently I started listening to this release with
‘architecture’ as a metaphor for this music in the back of my mind. There are links. Danielle
Papenborg, key member of this band, is a multidisciplinary artist, also operating in the field
of architecture. The front cover of the album is a beautiful illustration of this: photographs of
little paperwork sculptures. Very well done. Danielle Liebeskind is the name Papenborg uses
for all her artistic activities. One of them, her singer songwriter evolved into a band (2013)
after moving to Nijmegen with guitarist Martin Luiten (Julie Mittens, Uw Hypotheekadvies,
Pick-Up) and drummer Donné Brok (Donné et Desirée). As a trio they are around since 2013.
From early on they began to abstract from the song-format: no singing. Just spoken word of
self-written poems, embedded in extended and open sound textures. So if not about
architecture, this music surely is about space. This new work, released on their own Dear
Music and Art label, surely is a full-grown example of their approach. For this occasion they
are assisted by composer Gijs van der Heijden (grand piano), Stefan van der Berg (guitar,
Gino Miniutti (guitar) and Sietse van Erve (electronic devices). I don’t know many examples
of spoken word combined with music and sound that really satisfy me. Can’t think of any
example at the moment. Often the music is functional and backing the spoken word. In this
case however, spoken word and the music both equally tell parts of the story. One is not
subordinated to the other, although quantitatively spoken; the spoken word has a minor
position. The ‘songs’ on this album originated from a two-day inspired session in the studio
(Utrecht, march 2014), improvising from a rock attitude. The opening track ‘Kimya Dason
Tribute’ has a nice unfolding opening, using backward played tapes, before guitar and piano
setting in for. In ‘The new Year’ I enjoyed a nice meandering guitar solo. Also in ‘Saw your
light’. Nice finale, when a melody gets more and more shape. Great slow post rock.
Sometimes patterns are repeated for a while and evoke pleasant cadencing passages.
Also melodic and harmonic elements occur in most pieces. Especially van der Heijden
often adds well-chosen profiled elements. Sometimes I heard references of good old
cosmic krautrock. But although one can make comparisons like these, I want to stress
this album stands very much on its own feet, and is injected with a strong poetic spirit from
beginning to end. The combination of instruments and devices make up a charming palette
of sounds, including not forgetting the clear voice of Papenborg. They created attractive
sound sculptures with some intense and fascinating moments. A very well-designed
space. (DM)
––– Address:

PBK & WOLF EYES — RABID (LP by Sonoris)

Of course I have to be honest, and honesty dictates to mention the fact that Wolf Eyes,
despite the world popularity, are not a band that is on my radar. Never were, either. I may
have heard a bits and pieces, and I never ever saw them play live (as far as I recall),
and I know they are hailed as masters of noise, mainly (I believe) by overground music
press for whom it’s easier to make one group king so they can ignore the rest. Being on
a bigger record label surely helped. Maybe I am the old sour cynical? Anyway in 2004
John Olson of Wolf Eyes handed a CDR of audio sources to PBK, also known as Philip
B. Klingler, who has been working inside experimental music since 1986 (and with less
recognition as Wolf Eyes, I might add), using turntables, sampling, synthesizers and
samplers. Over the years after 2004 he worked on transforming the material, without the
use of a computer, but playing around with it live in his home studio, at gigs and radio
shows, all taping straight to a digital recorder. Some of these pieces were released in
Russia on a CD, Olson’s own label American Tapes and on a net release, and now find
their way onto vinyl. There are six pieces here of noise electronics, which can’t be called
pure PBK, nor pure Wolf Eyes — I think. It’s not easy to dissect the source material from
the end result, I would think, but I can see PBK’s approaches shine through this, with
stuff re-recorded onto cassettes and reels and hand spun, added with lots of extra sound
effects and some of the original sound leaking through. It is all maybe a surprise for me (?),
as it seems a bit less noisy than I would have expected, all of course being relative with
this kind of music. It’s at least not something that marches on with a ton of feedback
packed to it; PBK crafted some intelligent noise-based sound scapes from the noise
drenched origins, and in doing so, he offers an interesting variety of approaches. It is
perhaps a pity that this particular copy left something to desire, but pops and ticks might
enhance the music as well. (FdW)
––– Address:

   (12″ by Lamour Records)
UBX127 — LAMOUR REMIXES (12″ by Lamour Records)
GUF4LIFE — SLIM VIC REMIXED (12″ by Lamour Records)

There are many similarities among these three slabs of vinyl. They are all released at the
same time, although independently, all released by Swedish Lamour (also releasing two
cassettes, see elsewhere) and all to found in the world of dance music, aiming at the
dancefloor, all 12″s, rather than LPs, and it’s exactly there were my knowledge is way
below par. Dance music’s fragmented scene, which requires some inside knowledge,
is always something of a mystery to me. However that Bottenvikens Silverkyrka plays
acid is something I figured out before reading the press text. They are ‘a northern Sweden
congregation that preaches through their machine music: acid techno infused with the
message of eternity in the tradition of the Swedish revival movement’, which might be
a clever way of saying: ‘oh look techno with a bit of gospel/church choir samples, they
are all believers from the church of acid’. With a bit of luck someone will fall for the story —
official media rather write about a good story behind music than about good music with
no story. Having said that, I quite enjoyed the four acid pieces on this record; can’t say
I was dancing along, but surely heads were nod, feet were tapped. Most enjoyable.
   Then there is a 12″ with four remixes of UBX127, who released his debut 12″ on Figure,
the label by Len Fakis, which received some support from Dave Clarke, Laurent Garnier
and Slam, which surely means something to someone. I haven’t heard that one, but here
is a 12″ in which UBX127 tackles three artists from Lamour with a remix of four pieces of
which two are by Slim Vic, one by Lenberg and one by Motormännen. The music spaces
out into the world of techno music here, quite minimal at that, but UBX127 adds some
great driving sequences to the music, which makes this highly suitable for dance floors
alike, but also if you want to be prepped up when driving your car, or better: riding your
bicycle or running. This is surely music that keeps the spirits up, a natural drug I’d say,
although no doubt it works also very well with drugs.
   The most experimental of the three records is the remix treatment Slim Vic gives
to the music of GUF, which stands for Gävleborgs Ungdoms Folkband, which is a
traditional folk music group from Belgium, eighteen persons in total, and with clarinet,
guitar, saxophone, fiddles, flutes, congas, and keyed harp, some of these times a lot.
I am not sure what the relation is with Lamour and Slim Vic, but he takes ‘Belgisk
Marsch’ in two parts to remix and adds long synthesized washes, drums, rain sounds
and locks in the folk tune neatly. Kitschy? Oh yes, certainly, though not always, I’d say,
but I must admit this sort of kitschy music is a guilty pleasure (you should see my
collection of dance remixes of Mike Oldfield tunes!), but this is the record that is least
suitable for the dance floor, as Slim Vic moves quite a bit through territories of no beats,
in part two even without, but with some more time stretched melodies that we heard
in a slightly purer form on the other side. Perhaps not as kitschy then? Still this is
a lovely record. (FdW)
––– Address:


Two weeks ago I wrote about Sutcliffe Jugend that ‘very rarely names get more legendary’,
today I’d like to paraphrase myself by stating: very rarely named get more obscure than
with De Fabriek. They have been active since the late seventies, as a band and a label
of the same name, and in the 80s they were very active players in the world of cassettes
and exchanging sounds through mail. Membership was always fleeting, with Richard van
Dellen always seemingly in control somewhere. With the arrival of Internet the band went
truly underground. Like in the old days you could only reach them by physical mail, and
not by phone, and to this very day there is no e-mail account, twitter, facebook, bandcamp,
and what have you, for De Fabriek. Van Dellen doesn’t care, it seems if people will find out
about his work. I haven’t heard anything from them in ages — I am not sure when was the
last time; maybe that co-release with Hitmachine, reviewed in Vital Weekly 603. This new
release sees some old players again, such as K. Mons (who was once responsible for the
three concerts De Fabriek ever did), N. Selen (from O.R.D.U.C. fame, himself quite active
throughout these years), A. Nanuru (who contributed voice to ‘Neveleiland’, one De Fabriek’s
best LPs from the 80s) and Van Dellen himself. Other members (‘workers’ is how De Fabriek,
translated ‘the factory’, called them in the past) here are S. Steiner and JP van Aalst, all
of whom probably send in sounds to Van Dellen, who uses all of the disparate elements
to create his music, and with considerable ease.
   But, then you may ask, what is De Fabriek all about? That is not an easy thing to say,
as there is no defined De Fabriek sound. Over the years the group experimented with
ambient music, with noise, with rhythms, industrial music and perhaps even cosmic music.
This release of ‘Remixes’ (of what exactly I wondered) sees a bit of all of this and that
makes this twelve track release a nicely varied journey into the world of De Fabriek, and
we find the gentle guitar strumming of ‘Sorteer Machine’ next to a heavy guitar sound in
‘Bedrijfsongeval’, dark ambiences of ‘De Heringetredenen’ and ‘Blank Angels’ or the radio
play like ‘Rustpuntrust’, with A. Nanuru’s voice reciting a story (this could have easily
been an outtake of ‘Neveleiland’). In ‘Omweg’ there is a sampled rhythm from an exotic
record, kind of tabla like. Guitars play quite an extended role here, but are transformed by
the use of sound effects, without sounding too droney; De Fabriek keeps their pieces
short and to the point. It is all in all a wonderful collection of pieces and it’s great to hear
something new from De Fabriek. And if you want a copy, just write a good ol’ fashioned
letter! (FdW)
––– Address: De Fabriek — Heemskerckstraat 69 — 8023 VH Zwolle — The Netherlands

PROTO PROTO — $3 WAR (CDR by Vacancy Niagara)

So far I knew Vacancy Niagara mostly as a label that recycled used cassettes with new
music, but the very first time I heard some of their music it was on a CDR, Sick Days in
Vital Weekly 969. Here they have three new releases, all on CDRs, which you can’t recycled,
but the boxes are (cracks noted!), of which the first, by Ken Brennan, is also available as
a three hour/double ninety-minute tape, and as a CDR, with a continuous mix of eighty
minutes. Brennan is a member of Think Of A Name (see Vital Weekly 1001) and he a side
on a split with Martin Rach (Vital Weekly 1018). I wasn’t blown away by his vocals on that
release. I read that for this new he uses ‘live improv & editing feat. guitar, fx, keys & mic.
Lovingly orchestrated & recorded — all in 1 take’, which is not something I heard. For all
I know Brennan stuck a bunch of pieces together, after he finished recording, sometimes
through some long cross fades. Maybe the whole notion of editing is a bit over done here
(or rather not done), as some of these bits doodle on for quite some time, except maybe
for some dropouts here and there. Vocals don’t seem to be part of this, so we’re safe in
that regard. There is a lot of rhythm, lo-fi resolution samples at that, and on top Brennan
plays lots of guitar and keyboards and it has a vaguely poppy notion, but in most instances
it is all a bit to be a real pop tune. Nevertheless I must admit I enjoyed the naivety with
which this was all recorded. It all ends on a sweet note, which is quite melodic.
   Then we move to two Dutch bands, Larmschutz and Rumatov. Of the first we already
reviewed earlier cassettes on Barreuh Records and Ephem Aural (see Vital Weekly 998
and 1026) and this is an anarcho-punk-jazz trio with guitars, violin, bass, trombone and
drums and on January 16 of this year they met up with another Dutch duo, Rumatov,
of whom I may not have heard before. Vacancy Niagara describes them as ‘noise beat
drone’. Their seven songs are inspired by old analogue photos, distorted by sunlight,
wrong focus and other errors. It’s hard to say how successful this collaboration is, but I
do believe I hear a bit of both bands in there, assuming that what I don’t know is courtesy
of Rumatov. This is quite the rehearsal space recording, which is a pity, as some of it
sounds quite murky. These two bands jamming together go for the heavy overload, from
time to time, with some true noise, beeping and peeping on all of their instruments, with
a strange separation at times between the right and the left channel. When they take
matters into a somewhat quieter realm it is actually more interesting and a fine interplay
arrives between all of the players, with everybody being all careful and attentive towards
the other players. But here it becomes a real pity that the sound quality is not so defined
throughout. I know, anarcho jazz punk noise beats and all that may not fit that very well,
but it helps. At least for me.
   Julian Anderson’s project Proto Proto was first reviewed in Vital Weekly 1018, with
some noise based released, which was a bit too long for my taste. Here he has six
pieces, seventy-one minutes in total (all of these releases are actually close or over
seventy minutes) and here his music moves into something much more rhythmic and
one might say techno-like. Samplers, rhythms and keyboards are used to that end
and everything feeds into the mixer and at then at the end a machine is setup to do the
recording. Unlike so many other releases in this field (for instance both albums by Everest
Records, reviewed elsewhere), the recording quality is deliberate on the low side of things.
I was reminded of Thaumaturgist, of whom I reviewed a cassette last week. It shares the
same naivety when it comes to recording and mixing of dance music. Compared to the
first release I heard of Proto Proto this is surely a major leap forward, even when some of
these pieces could benefit from a bit of editing, but when things are released in editions
of thirteen copies, such considerations might not be made. Especially the fifth and sixth
pieces had some really great smooth moments. More of this please. (FdW)
––– Address:

(cassette by Canary Records/Tanuki Records)

Apparently Canary Records first released this collection online, but now Tanuki Records
re-issues this as a cassette (they also just re-issued their Simon Wickham-Smith cassette
on CDR, see Vital Weekly 978; in case cassette is not your usual standard). This is a
collection of ancient recordings, made between 1910 and 1944 of people imitating the
sound of birds, as recorded in France, India, Australia and the USA. These recordings
come from highly crackling sources, which account for the authenticity (or not, of course).
Technology these days is of course of such a standard that is no doubt easy to fake
whatever you want fake, Jimi’s guitar solos, a minimal synth record, or these old
recordings from a hundred years ago. But somehow I think this is the real stuff. It’s an
odd bunch of recordings of people imitating bird sounds, which is as promised on the
package. On the second side there is a long section with more explanation from an
Australian performer (these are the most recent recordings, from 1944), which sounds
like a recording instruction to do it yourself. It is followed by a recording of a disc of
water-organ and flute duet, allegedly to be played for canaries, ‘teaching them an ideal
song’, but with all the hiss it sounds like an industrial loop. Excellent stuff. The other
side is more like ‘this is a bird, and it sounds like this’, but the whole package sounds
and reads sufficiently weird. There is a small booklet with this about the history of bird
imitation, recording and reproduction. This is like a weird sound effects record, but most
genuine positively weird! (FdW)
––– Address:

PRO424 — 4241 (cassette by Lamour Records)
DRONING UKRAINIANS (double cassette by Lamour Records)

When I first got music by Pro424, back in Vital Weekly 979, the label assumed I wouldn’t
like it, but they were wrong. I quite enjoyed that minimal approach towards synthesizers
and rhythms. Say where Tangerine Dream could meet up with Plastikman. Here Pro424
releases a cassette with four long pieces he recorded for a radio show, directly onto his
ancient four-track Portastudio, which uses cassettes on double speed, so each track
was fifteen minutes. They were stuck together, were available for free on Bandcamp but
still Lamour Records liked the result so much that it was decided to remaster it on an
old reel-to-reel machine and release it on cassette, to make the circle round again. The
cover shows us a modular synthesizer set-up so let’s assume that’s what we get here.
There are no rhythm machines as such working overtime here and everything comes out
of the modular itself, the slow building sequences, the vague hint towards a melody, the
slow arpeggio’s — everything that happens here, happens slowly and in due time. It all
comes with a bit of tape hiss, just as one would expect from an old-fashioned cassette
release. Pro424 says he wanted something that could have been from the 80s, but in
those days not a lot of underground musicians were in possession of modular
synthesizer. That aside, pro424 created some wonderful spacious music.
   The other cassette by Lamour Records is perhaps a bit of an oddball for this label,
which for me always hints towards pop. It is a compilation with drone music from the
Ukraine, as compiled by Dao de Noize (of whom we reviewed music before). Two
cassettes, twice eighty minutes equals a lot of drone music by lots of people I never
heard of; Adrageron, Creation VI, Drop Sum, In Meditarivm, Sche!, Melancholic
Memories, Trianov & Dark Monolith, Oil Texture, Dronny Darko, Trianov, Absurd
Inspiration vs Filivs Macrocosmi, Saturn Form Essence, Schperrung feat. Dark
Monolith, Ravcan, Monocube, Gamardah Fungus, SiJ, Malad and finally Dao De
Noize himself, and that might be the only name I recognized. The music was kind of
like what I expected this to be: very dark, quasi-mysterious, lots of processed
acoustic instruments (voices, guitars, field recordings, flutes) and all of this hovering
at the dark end of the deep well. These are the sons of Troum and Zoviet*France,
which is quite all right. Not spectacular happens here, except maybe for the noisy
ending on the fourth side? It’s still a bit of a mystery why Lamour would release this,
but it is surely a fine collection. (FdW)
––– Address:

J. SURAK — LOST GEOGRAPHIES (cassette by Zeromoon)

Already going for some thirty years, J. (as in Jeff) Surak was once a member of New
Carrollton, a group from Washington DC and solo as -1348-, mostly releasing on his
own Watergate Tapes. Later on he lived for some time in Russia, and when he came
to Washington he started as V. and also using his own name. It seems he is a lot less
active these days, but every now and then he releases something new. ‘Lost
Geographies’ is the follow-up to ‘All Gold’ (Vital Weekly 1001), but this one might be
available in a somewhat bigger edition, than the smaller editions of the previous. The cover says
this is ‘music for tape loops & low grade cassettes, field recordings, short wave and
cheap electronics’, which sounds like my kind of set-up. On the first side there are
three pieces of nine to ten minutes each, and on the other side there is a live recording
from December last year, which lasts thirty minutes. There is some difference between
the studio and concert approach. In the three studio pieces Surak allows more detail in
his music, using an interesting variety of sources, low resolution samples, mechanical
sounds, field recordings and a bit of electronics. Surak waves together some beautiful
industrial ambience together in these pieces. Which is exactly what he does in concert
but it is all a bit more clouded, especially as the music progresses and sound effects
seem to take over which add a cover to the music; not unlike the music of Fennesz or
Tim Hecker, Surak plays out that wall of sound makes ambient music very gritty and
distorted, but which in a live context probably works very well. At home, I am less
convinced, I must say. I enjoyed the more delicate three-piece suite on the other side
much better, and I wouldn’t have minded something similar on the other side. (FdW)
––– Address:

YTAMO & MIDORI HIRANO — TIME UNBOX (cassette, private)

This is a new work by Midori Hirano, of whom I reviewed a cassette earlier, in Vital
Weekly 967, but also a CD, all the way back in Vital Weekly 544. These days she is
based in Berlin and its there she met Ytamo, also known as Ryoko Araki. Hirano
started to play the piano at the age of five and Someone Good released her second
solo in March of this year. Hirano is mainly into using acoustic instruments as well,
but on this cassette the two of them play piano, synthesizer, rhythm box, sampled
sound fragments and they sometimes sing. The six pieces on this release were
already recorded in 2011 but now find their way to a self-released cassette. It is not
easy to say what these women are up to here; there is throughout these six pieces
of music the atmosphere of a room recording. That is not unusual and these days
it seems that it almost a big deal of making sound very ‘room like’, lots of atmosphere.
There are no children playing in the background, which we find these days on a lot of
other releases. The music is quite spacious at that, with lots of knob twiddling on a
synth, the odd bang or two on a piano, some melancholic chords on the same
instruments, a desolate chord on the harmonica and some other, less easy to define
sounds. Like on her recent solo cassette, Hirano makes this sound very intimate
and private, and again, one is reminded of the releases on such a label as Flau,
even when this is in a slightly more experimental realm, with all things being a bit
more improvised and free, yet never losing that sense of space. You could wonder
why they didn’t do a CD version of this, as the material certainly is up for it. Maybe
some daring mind should re-issue this, due time, as the long lost item from 2016.
Until then everybody needs to head out and buy it on cassette. It comes in a
neat little carton box! (FdW)
––– Address:

FALAFEL BIELS (cassette by Dehef)

In Rotterdam there is a place called the Noodlebar, rather a regular event thing
inside another club I believe, and it’s not about tasting noodles. The noodles they
refer too are the cables in modular synthesizer. People show up to learn about
modular synths, impromptu concerts and talk all things modular. Someone like
Das Ding and Falafular Modules were mainstays, but also Falafel Biels was such
a player (although Das Ding and Biels no longer), and Dehef Tapes (who brought
Das Ding earlier on cassette and later
on vinyl) now releases a fifteen minute tape of work by one Falafel Biels, which
makes quite an odd impression. Maybe I was expecting something along the lines
of Das Ding, with fine electro rhythms, but Falafiel Biels likes his work a bit more
abstract. Somewhere between mood music, science fiction soundtrack, cosmic
music and the start of a song that is perhaps a techno, but without any dancing
going on still because it stays in sixties serious electronic sound. That may sound
impossible, but hell yeah it does sound possible, because I just heard all of that
passing by in mere fifteen minutes. And with that we come to the main complaint
I have about this; why is it so damn short? I always imagine these knob-fiddlers to
play around for hours on end, so I could easily think there is always a lot more
material, and so, why is this just fifteen minutes, and not, say, thirty? I can easily
see that Falafiel Biels is the person who has it in him to offer some more of this
pretty exciting music. This one is fine; just make the next one a bit longer! (FdW)
––– Address:

KREV XXV (USB stick by Spectral Electric)

Of course you noticed that 2016 is the 100th anniversary of Dada, the art form that
came to fruition in the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in 1916 with Hugo Ball performing.
Maybe the 25th anniversary of the Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland is something
that you didn’t think about, but that’s also this year, well actually according to their
own website it should be next year, as it says ‘The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland
[KREV] were proclaimed in 1992 and consist of all Border Territories: Geographical,
Mental & Digital’. The kingdoms have two kings, Leif Elggren and Carl-Michael von
Hauswolff and this large art project includes having embassies, citizens, passports,
flag, anthems, ministers and actions. There is a book on the kingdoms, which is
sadly not part of this USB drive, which is 8GB big and contains flyers, documents,
movies and lots of music, most of which appears in multiple formats (mp3, wav,
aiff) and if I do a quick count there is some five to six hours of music. The most
recent thing is a two-and half hour recording from last May 13, at the Cabaret
Voltaire of KREV’s anthems being performed by a whole bunch of guests, such as
Carsten Nicolai, Edvard Graham Lewis, Gen Ken Montgomery, Rick Reed, John
Duncan, Scott Konzelmann and a whole bunch of others. Those recordings sound
pretty vague as to whose doing what around here, but it also sounds quite compelling.
   There are eleven sections to be found on this USB drive, all of this to do with
KREV, even when this seems sometimes far fetched, or so it seems, such as the
film documentary by Gen Ken, who explains his art/work with lamination, but he
happens to be the minister of lamination, so that explains. There is a curious film
in which Francisco Meirino ‘plays’ the flag: following the lines of the flag the sound
goes up and then.
   There is a whole bunch of curious audio snippets, ‘audio samples by Leif Elggren’
for instance, live recordings from Rick Reed, instigator Michael Esposito working
with Adi Newton (Clock DVA), music by Dave Phillips, Mykel Boyd, various live
recordings dealing with KREV — and I am sure I will forget to mention some more.
There is a world to explore on these gigabytes worth of information, music, words
and images. If I open this up again in a week, I am sure I hear something new.
Which is of course a true delight. One should have something more to explore,
later on. (FdW)
––– Address: