Number 1038


MARGINAL CONSORT — 08.09.13 (3CD by Meenna) *
JUNJI HIROSE — SSI-6 (CD by Hitorri) *
ERIKM — DOUBSE HYSTERIE (CD by Monotype Records) *
T’IEN LAI — RHTHM (CD by Monotype Records) *
CUT WORMS — LUMBAR FIRST (CD by Opa Loka Records) *
KG AUGENSTERN — TENTACLES (CD by Gruenrekorder) *
WIDT (CD & DVD by Zoharum) *
CHRISTIAN WOLFARTH — SPUREN (LP by Hiddenbell Records)
MARTWA NATURA – IV (3″CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
SONOLOGYST — BEYOND THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE (cassette by Attenuation Circuit) *
CHEAP IMITATION — SOMEWHERE BEYOND THE SEA (cassette by Cheap Recordings) *
DESORMAIS — DROWN VARIATIONS (cassette by Kikimora Tapes) *

MARGINAL CONSORT — 08.09.13 (3CD by Meenna)
JUNJI HIROSE — SSI-6 (CD by Hitorri)

On September 8, 2013 between 7 and 10 pm, a group of four Japanese musicians (Kazou Imai, Tomonao
Koshikawa, Kei Shii and Masami Tada) played a concert at the South London Gallery in London. They call
themselves Marginal Consort and on the cover see pictures of them at work; playing a bowl with marbles,
string instrument, cups clarinet, trumpet, bamboo sticks and such like. The four met in 1975 in art school
but play together since 1997 by invitation of Imai. They don’t play a lot of concerts but when they do it is
usually two to four hours, without interruption. I had no idea what to expect from this; maybe some object-
based improvisations with lots of silence? That is not the case actually. Marginal Consort applies various
sound effects to their objects and don’t seem to allow for much silence between the sounds. That doesn’t
mean it is all quite noise-based or drone like, far from it. They play their objects, instruments and effects
with quite skill and in doing so there is an endless stream of sounds. It is picked up by a microphone from
the space in which this is played and that makes that it is a bit tiring to hear after a while and no doubt the
space adds a bit of additional texture to the music. But while this is quite long, I think it is still best to listen
to it in one go; I copied all of the CDs onto my computer and then played the long like a three-hour Zen
meditation. I thought it was music that worked quite well, while I was reading a bit and at several points
just stared out of the window a bit, while all of this kept rolling in, like a cascade of waves.
   Junji Hirose presents his ‘SSI-6’, following the fifth one, which was reviewed in Vital Weekly 993 (and the
fourth one in Vital Weekly 886). His main interest lies in playing the saxophone, but he also creates his
own instruments and that’s what SSI stands for: ‘self-made sound instrument’. On the previous release he
presents one long piece and a shorter one, whereas on this new release he has a nineteen-minute piece,
followed by fourteen relatively shorter pieces. I believe these pieces were made with one instrument that
uses air compressors playing objects, which are mentioned in the title of the pieces ‘Desk & Board’, ‘Rubber
Band’, ‘Washboard’ and such like. There is no other electronic processing used on these sounds. Here too
the music is picked up with a microphone, using some distance, which creates this sense of room. It is not
easy to imagine what this instruments looks like, but most of the times it sounds like wind blowing around,
and as such we don’t hear much of the material. And the wind sounds like hiss, something you probably
already know. The music is then in return quite noise based. Acoustic noise that is, and not about distortion
and overload. The music is throughout quite minimal but also has a fascinating ring to it. Maybe in some
cases, such as the first long piece, a bit overlong and it would have been a better idea Hirose would have
kept his pieces within the two to four minute range, and apply a stronger selection; an album of ten pieces,
spanning forty minutes would have been a killer, I think.
   I don’t think I heard of Kazou Imai before (well not before the Marginal Consort release that is), but I
learned that he was born in 1955 and studied with Masayuki Takayanagi and Takehisa Kosugi and since the
70s he played improvised music. To that end he mainly uses the guitar, but also viola da gamba, electronics,
everyday items and natural objects. The music captured here he played on the last day of a solo exhibition
of graphic artist Tentou Mishima (who died in 2012). Imai has five pieces here, of which the first is forty-one
minutes long and where he plays acoustic guitar, Fiedel Gamba, piano wire, branches and small objects,
while on the other four pieces (all four minutes in length) he just plays guitar. The drawings of Mishima act
as scores, perhaps. While we know many of Ftarri (and their various sub-divisions) releases to be on the
quiet side, this one isn’t. Imai recorded his music in a very direct way, in the middle of the space, wandering
around the microphone, torturing his acoustic guitar, while threading over scattered objects on the floor. It is
all very direct and in your face but it works well. He doesn’t play all the instruments at the same time, but
starts out with the guitar and wire and later on finds time to play the violin. The other pieces, solo acoustic
guitar, were not bad, even a bit different but after hearing already forty-one minutes, I thought it was perhaps
all a bit much. Fascinating music, but a bit much. (FdW)
––– Address:


Only recently I wrote something about languages, and that while I understand the need to promote releases
in order to sell a few copies, and of course I know people who’d say: ‘oh this is a wonderful release in a
language that I don’t understand’, I’d like to think that when things are a bit more text heavy, such as this
particular release by one Kamil Szuszkiewicz, who wrote ‘muzyka i libretto’, which even I know means ‘music
and libretto’, and ‘Owertura’ is no doubt ‘ouverture’, I get very much lost, so what these nine pieces are about,
say in terms of narration is very unclear to me. The voice is mostly in a sort of spoken word/computer mode
and the music is mostly electronic, stuttering at times, chopping up rhythms, sounds and occasionally the
voice itself. While this is all quite nice to hear, I am very much sure that I am missing out on something
here. It all reminded me of early 80s sampling music (Holger Hiller for instance) meeting Oval in the mid 90s.
Not bad at all, I think. I am just not sure about it. (FdW)
––– Address:

ERIKM — DOUBSE HYSTERIE (CD by Monotype Records)
T’IEN LAI — RHTHM (CD by Monotype Records)

It wasn’t a difficult choice when I opened this parcel to decide which one I wanted to hear first; I think
Howard Stelzer mailed me an earlier draft of ‘The Case Against’ for some advice, but I am not sure what I
told him, if actually anything at all. Having known mister Stelzer for something close to twenty years now,
and having heard quite a bit of music, I might think of myself as an expert on the man’s output. That I am
not, as I believe not to be much of an expert on anything, really. His main instrument throughout all of the
years that I know him is cassettes; in the early days a tool to play improvisations (solo or with other people)
and many of those in concert, these days it is all a bit less when it comes to playing concerts, so his work
shifted a bit towards the use of cassettes to record sounds on as well as to treat the sounds he picks up.
Where he does his recordings is not always clear. With these five pieces (more five parts making up one
long, forty-eight minute piece of music, even when all the pieces have separate titles) one has the idea they
are taped in a large factory hall (such as in ‘The Last Scattering Surface’), but he also records birds and other
environmental outside the house. Much of what Stelzer is creating dense patterns with these sounds, using
many layers of sounds stuck together, and applying minimalist filtering when needed. This is the sound of
industry in decay. One is reminded at times of the erosion process of say Eric Lunde, but Stelzer has very
much his own voice in creating his music. Partly rooted in the world of noise, but albeit of a much more
intelligent nature; there are no mindless walls of noise erupting about. One can put up the volume of this
and feel the music as well as keep it down and enjoy it all the same. Massive drones are mixed with bird
sound, and wind against fences with a street parade; this is another excellent release by the master of
cassette music.
   Erikm likes to write his name as eRikm, for reasons I never figured out. He’s been around since the early
90s, first as a turntablist, but later on using all sorts of media in his work, working in both live and studio
contexts, on commissions and occasionally releasing a record. Back in Vital Weekly 1000 I particularly
enjoyed his ‘L’art De La Fuite’ LP, which was an older work re-issued. Much of his work is along with other
musicians, such as Luc Ferrari, Christian Marclay, Akosh S., Mathilde Monnier, Bernard Stiegler and FM
Einheit. ‘Doubse Hystérie’ is a commissioned work and ‘the frame and the fundamental element revolved
around immersive listening with a “smartphone” (featuring a GPS) and audio headphones during a train trip
across the Arc Jurassien.’ eRikm made nine pieces of music but there are only six on this release; I am
not sure why. These train trips inspired these pieces, but might also be at the foundation of them, i.e.
using field recordings in some way. I am not sure, however. This time around eRikm doesn’t use much
vinyl, CDs and other DJ tools, but it would seem to me that much of this uses the good ol’ trusted laptop
to process and transform whatever goes into the music. Hard to say what that is, on the input side, but
much of this uses time stretching and a multitude of plug-ins that change these. In a way I was reminded
of the early laptop music scene, say the era of a label like Ritornell, when eRikm used these sort of
vocoder like plug-ins in ‘Cirrus’, or the layered violin of ‘Hallali’ that gradually becomes longer and longer.
Clicks and cuts are never far away. I am not sure if I really like this album, or whether I think ‘mmm…
all right… nothing special’. For the moment I am inclined to think the latter. Some of seemed a bit too
easy for me.
   ‘Rhthm’ is the follow-up to ‘Da’at’, bt the duo T’ien Lai, also known as Kuba Ziołek and Łukasz Jędrzejczak.
Their first album was reviewed in Vital Weekly 922. This duo uses a variety of musical instruments, ranging
from sampling unit, synthesizer, Unitra Maria radio unit, guitar, effects, dundun and sangban African drums,
rattles, gongs, congas, cowbell, vst instruments, miniclarinet and loads more. The previous album was
quite dark, very ambient and seemed to be inspired by Coil;  “heavily layered, spacious, obscure but also
psychedelic; a big foggy and druggy, this music”, I wrote back then. This new album, as the title already
implies, is all about rhythm, or as the label says ‘built on glitches, distortions, reverbs and plunderphonic
samples. From fragments of Faust records, through Polish, Australian, Far Eastern or North African pop,
to pieces of old scratched up vinyls with electro and hip-hop music’, which not always might be that easy
to hear, but it is a most pleasant album of rhythm based music. There is a whole bunch of guests banging
in extra drums (Mikołaj Zieliński (Alameda 3 and 5, Rara), Rafał Kołacki (Innercity Ensemble, Mammoth
Ulthana among others), Paweł Kulczyński (Wilhelm Bras, Lautbild) for instance, but even so the album
has something that is quite mechanical; think techno, think house, but darker and more alien. It is not
along the minimalist lines of Pan Sonic; there is much more happening in the music of T’ien Lai in terms
of sounds, movements and even melodies. It is even quite funny from time to time, such as the sampled
(disco) guitar in ‘Braslai’, which has a kitschy cliché sound, but it works wonderfully well. In ‘Slonce Wstaje
Nad Melilla’ they sample some slowed down rock music and in ‘Wurst’, German for sausage, they kraut
their way into the world of Tangerine Dream. I thought this was all neatly diverse and I can imagine people
dancing to some of these pieces. Excellent release; one to lift any dark mood. (FdW)
––– Address:


To include bits of CDs that reviewed in the VW podcast, they have to be ripped and thus we see iTunes
opening up; funny to see an alternative title coming up, meaning a release of exactly the same length exists.
In Kleistwahr’s case ‘How To Think Like A Millionaire’, which is perhaps something Kleistwahr would never
do, as becoming a millionaire is something he might want to, but which given this kind of noise music, is
not likely to happen. Kleistwahr is the musical project of Gary Mundy, who is perhaps best known for the
music he produces as Ramleh (and sometimes as Blind Alley or, but a long time ago, as Male Rape Group);
all of which can be easily called noise music, but there are differences. Ramleh’s music shifted from
straightforward power electronics to guitar/metal noise and back, whereas Kleistwahr’s music was always
a bit more to do with guitars and organ like sounds, and is not always that endless barrage of noise. That
is not to say it’s not there; oh, sure this has some finer harsh noise wall music, even when it lasts a few
minutes. But throughout there is a wackier sound at work here, almost improvised (with tons of delay,
reverb and a bit of distortion) with guitars, a random stab at an organ and voices (around the thirty-minute
break; the whole CD is indexed as one long track of fifty minutes, but according to the cover has eight
songs. I have no idea which is what here) and towards the end there is a spacious guitar noise bit, that
lasts about ten minutes, and which has a great psychedelic feel to it. Perhaps just like the more (church)
organ inspired opening, I guess. The real noise bits are between these bookends but as said here too it is
wandering about between super loud and something that is more considerate of the listener. It makes that
the total of this release is a highly varied bunch of approaches towards what can be regarded as noise and
that there is not a single answer possible. It is exactly that added bit of intelligent approach to use things
that make me appreciate noise again in recent years. (FdW)
––– Address:


Now here’s a release by someone I truly, honestly (double checked) never heard off, despite his (digital)
releases by Bruits de Fond, The Field Reporter and Green Field Recordings, and probably you could gather
from that he works a lot with field recordings. I believe this is his first ‘real’ CD and it deals with recordings
Gillié made in Haren, Belgium, part of his hometown Brussels. I never heard of this area, but apparently
it has a lot of abandoned industries, an unused airport and soon there will be a mega-prison in this area.
So Gillié came at the right time to capture some of the loneliness of the place, as heard under railways
and airplanes (the in-use airport Zaventem is nearby). So while this is a desolate area, it is still part of
the city and that’s not so nearby, but Gillié does whatever he can do to record the far away city. We hear
mostly the rumble of traffic, as filtered down through tubes and below arches, or even inside buildings.
Then, in the process of creating this forty-two minute composition, it is a bit unclear as to what he does,
but somehow I don’t think there is extensive processing going on here, but there might be, to certain
extent, be more sonic filtering of certain frequencies, to make it all darker and perhaps a bit louder.
Gillié puts emphasis on the lower frequencies here and there and the other thing I think he does is to
layer various recordings over each other and create this great intense piece of solitude. It is all quite
dark and remote, but it is also of great beauty I think. It is all quite drone based, with the occasional
crackle of leaves or gravel mixed at a very low level; there is even some humming that is vaguely
melodic (around the 27-minute break) and reminded me a bit of Oren Ambrachi, perhaps oddly enough.
Excellent introduction, I’d say, to this man’s sound world and great to see Unfathomless releasing
this! (FdW)
––– Address:

CUT WORMS — LUMBAR FIRST (CD by Opa Loka Records)

For someone who as been around for a long time doing more or less anything dark, electronic and
experimental (perhaps in that order), Richard van Kruysdijk’s music wasn’t reviewed a lot in these pages.
He worked with the German band Phallus Dei, Sonar Lodge and Strange Attractor, who’s ‘Anatomy
Of A Tear’ was reviewed in Vital Weekly 812. I saw his band Daisy Bell perform, which music I liked,
but I thought lacked a bit in rehearsal. I am sure he did lots more I am not aware of. He now has a new
solo project Cut Worms and ‘Lumbar First’ is the debut release. According to the cover Van Kruysdijk
plays ‘circuit bent suzuki omnichord, arp 2600, baritone guitar, modified bass guitar, drums, signing
bowls, tapes and one square meter of pedals’. Among the references we find such names as Stephan
Mathieu, Tim Hecker, Oren Ambarchi, Glenn Branca, Will Guthrie and Jim O’Rourke, which made me
all the more curious about this new enterprise, and I am quite pleased with the result. Perhaps I don’t
see all of these references in this music, which for all intentions and purposes owes more to the world
of dark ambient music; it sounds he’s using a bunch of analogue synthesizers playing sustaining
notes but according to the text it is all these instruments mentioned on the cover, which Van Kruysdijk
modifies on the spot, rather then through meticulous layering and redefining in the studio. Through
these seven lengthy pieces the industrial undercurrent is never far away, even when it of the highly
ambient variety. This music evokes images of old industrial landscapes, in sepia tones, using a healthy
amount of reverb to create and emphasize tension in the music. It doesn’t have the vulnerability of say
Mathieu’s drone music, or the delicacy of Ambarchi, but some of the more abrasive tones of Hecker or
Branca is certainly to be noted in this release. This is all together a very refined release of some of the
darker, sinister drone music of late. (FdW)
––– Address:


Fake Cats is a project that started in 2015 with the involvement of Igor Levshin (voice, guitar, bass,
keyboards, virtual ANS, metal rulers, razor blades, etc.), Kirill Makushin (voice, accordion, mouthorgan)
and Alexei Borisov (bass, guitar, drums, analog synths, tape recorder, suz, etc.). Guested by Konstantin
Sukhan (trumpet). Borisov is a veteran of the Moscow scene. In the 80s he started his career with new
wave group Center. I can’t tell you much on the other musicians involved, so let us turn to the music.
In a collection of 17 songs they present us their ideas. Rock, pop and folk-influenced tunes pass by.
The music is full of humour and irony. The title of the album, for example, suggests an album of music
inspired only on Russian traditions. But the opposite is the case. It is a melting pot of influences,
sometimes in song format, sometimes in fragments and impressions. The Russian flavour is above all
supplied by the singing of Makushin. It is not straightforward pop or rock, also it is not fitting to say that
this music is experimental. It is very accessible music. They cover a tune by Eric Satie, but also many
allusions to other existing musical material occur. ‘Clouds of My Memory’ bring back memories from the
days new wave dominated the radio.
   Fake Cats is a very productive unit. ‘Russian Canon’ is their first CD-release, by the Moscow-base
Frozen Light label, but it is preceded by three digital releases. (DM)
––– Address:


Following last weeks lavish dark book by Mikel R/ Nieto, there is now another oversized CD booklet
(15 x 23 centimetre), 44 pages of text and colour photos of a project carried out by KG Augenstern, a duo
of Christiane Prehn and Wolfgang Meyer. They have a boat, the MS Anuschka and they motorshipped
their way from Berlin to Amarages de Maguelone, which is all the way down south in France. On the ship
they made tentacles to scratch the bridges, under which they passed to there. All along they also took
pictures and all of that resulted in installation pieces in Arles and Valence. The fun for Vital Weekly is
that they passed by our sunny town also, as documented on the second piece ‘From Berlin to Nijmegen
(NL)’. Had I just played the CD and not read the book or looked at the pictures, I think all of this would
have eluded me. I am not sure what I would have made of this then, anyway. Obviously I know about
the story, so one never knows what else I would have been thinking. One hears a bit of water sounds
all along this, and scraping: yes that seems to be part of this anyway, along with motor sounds from
the vessel itself. It sounds all quite ‘pure’, without much alternation or processing afterwards. In each
of the separate tracks there are starts and stops to be noted, meaning, I gather, these are individual
sounds captured on that particular part of the route; all pieces are noted by their part thereof. It is all
quite a fascinating release, completely in line with Gruenrekorder usual policy of pure field recordings.
Very captivating, even if one is, like me, afraid of boats. (FdW)
––– Address:

WIDT (CD & DVD by Zoharum)

Zoharum releases with these new releases one artist that I never heard of and we see the return of
Murmurists, of whom we reviewed ‘I Cannot Tell You Where I Am Until I Love You’ in Vital Weekly 905.
Anthony Donovan is the prime mover of that project, and has been going at that since 1991. At first it
was his solo project, but over the years more and more artists were added, not just musicians, but also
working with theatre, contemporary dance and spoken words, so now 18 persons are a member. Donovan
is the composer of the music, but it is all more or less graphically noted, so the musicians can improvise
along these guidelines. Among the instruments we note percussion, oboe, bamboo flute, puredata, objects,
field recording, sampler, bass clarinet and bassoon, all played by other people, while Donovan plays guitars,
basses, keyboards, zither, electronics, objects, percussion and field recordings. There are also a bunch of
voices, such as by Bryan Lewis Saunders, Annie Dee, Sharon Gal, David Cunliffe and Anton Mobin. This
is the second in a trilogy, with the previous release as the first one. The cover mentions a libretto, but I
must admit the story as such eludes me. I do think the voices, mostly more reciting than singing, do add
a great extra flavour to the music, whispering, humming, talking and singing. The music ranges from wild
noisy, in the early part of this forty-five minute work, wild drumming around the twelve-minute break and
more introspective strumming, scratching and weirder computer processed sounds. It is not difficult to see
a relation between the music by Murmurists and Nurse With Wound in how music creation is approach,
improvised, collage, ever changing and not committed to a specific style, and all of that in combination
with a more narrative approach in voices. It shifts quite beautifully up and down — and it is still only just
one part; dance and theatre not included.
   Maybe Zoharum should have invested in a DVD for Murmurists too; I was thinking when I was playing
the Widt DVD. Zoharum says that Widt is ‘an audiovisual cooperation of two sisters — Antonina Nowacka
(music) and Bogumila Piotrowska (live analogue visuals)’; I am not sure how that sister things works, name-
wise. Nowacka uses voice, synthesizers and effects, and Piotrowska uses a TV set, video camera and
AV mixers, taking a very analogue approach towards visuals. Much of that comes in the form of video
feedback, with stark changing colours, grainy textures and it is overall something that fits the music quite
well. That music has also an analogue ring to it, buzzing on the synthesizers and Nowacka’s wordless voice
bending sounding at times almost religiously inspired (that might be the use of reverb in here, which is set
to ‘cathedral’ from time to time), but the synthesizer and effects are hardly in that direction. The music is
not noise like, but rather used sparsely to make oscillations, bubbles or drones and can be called ‘sparse’.
In ‘Bardo’ there is also rhythm, which is a monotonous drill drum, along with a more opera-like approach
on the voice. This I thought was all pretty good; images and music working together quite well and it
makes up some great interaction. (FdW)
––– Address:

CHRISTIAN WOLFARTH — SPUREN (LP by Hiddenbell Records)

From Christian Wolfarth I already reviewed a whole bunch of releases, including four 7″ releases, all-dealing
with ‘acoustic solo percussion’ (see Vital Weekly 687, 706, 744 and 772, or the double CD with remixes in
Vital Weekly 879). Very few of those pieces sounded anything he’s been playing drums, and while I like solo
percussion music from improvisers, I thought these 7″ were really good; almost like electro-acoustic works,
so with each new release I am eager to hear what his next move will be. On this LP there are two sidelong
pieces, ‘Spuren I’ and ‘Spuren II’. ‘Spuren’ means ‘tracks’ and if I understand correctly the early jazz drummer
Baby Dodds inspired him. That doesn’t mean this is a jazz record, far from it. In ‘Spuren I’ Wolfarth starts
with some excellent ringing overtones of a bow on a cymbal, big or small, and it moves quite gently through
space. It is humming lowly and rattles quietly until it hits a bump and just the rattle remains; it sounds like
hiss, but no doubt it’s a small chain or two upon a cymbal. This is really a great piece of music.
   ‘Spuren II’ on the other side starts out with a more percussive sound; the multi-layered rumble of objects
upon objects, but knowing Wolfarth it is all ‘live’ and not a matter of extensive layering of sounds. This piece
is more open within the way Wolfarth plays it, with a lingering menace of a drone pinned underneath. But
within this piece he moves through some more sections/ideas and there is more rattle and rumble going on,
but here too Wolfarth sometimes moves into the very abstract field, up to the point where one doesn’t
recognize anything even remotely resembles percussion. It’s hard (and of course unnecessary) to choice
between sides here, but the minimalist approach of ‘Spuren I’ appealed to me more than the somewhat loose
organisation of ‘Spuren II’. The former has a great ambient tonality, which at the right volume moves gentle
through one’s space. Pressed on marbled vinyl, this is a great work of art. (FdW)
––– Address:


From Newcastle hails Joe Murray, who works as Posset, and who had releases on Mantile, Chocolate Monk,
No Basement Is Deep Enough and other labels. We reviewed some of his releases before, and we called
him a Dictaphone artist, because that’s the instrument he mainly uses. On the 9th of January he played
at Bookshop in Sunderland and the final four minutes ended up on the A-side of this 7″. The other side is
recorded at home.
   ‘Fanzine Ink Dries Like Black Blood’ is a great piece of electro-acoustic sounds, a bit of voice poetry,
both live and on tape — or so it seems. Normally I would say something like ‘oh bits of a concert on a 7″
don’t work, as it is the format for a proper song’, but I must say that here it works very well, almost song
like in approach. It’s rounded off in a great way; ending on the quiet note. On the other side there is ‘Slurpy
Slurpy Creep Creep’, which is more obscured piece of garbled tape from a machine, which was just
capturing the sound of kid slurping his juice through a straw. If you hate sounds that deal with eating and
drinking then this might be something to avoid. It totally makes up a fascinating piece of electro-acoustic
music, and is also almost like a song. Great 7″! (FdW)
––– Address:


Back in Vital Weekly 988 I reviewed ‘Send The Call Out Send’, a double CDR release by Blake Edwards,
best known as Vertonen and master of ceremonies for Ballast. Today it’s a single disc, with close to sixty-
six minute piece of music. This is the second part of a trilogy, all inspired by the Book of Lamentations
(and perhaps sixty-six minutes has more than one significance I thought). It comes with cards that are
Blake’s efforts ‘at translating/transcribing related texts into three different ancient alphabets’ of which he
says that all ‘questions prompted by the visual/textual components in the trilogy will be presented as a
“answer key” of sorts in the third part’. We remain curious! It is good to see Vertonen doing exactly that
kind of music that I like best from him; long form drone pieces (he is known to dabble in musique concrete
and noise as well) and this one is no different. Among his main influences for this work he calls out Roland
Kayn and The Hafler Trio. I am not sure if I would have recognized that, certainly in the case of Kayn,
but surely something of the long form drone compositions of the trio of more than a decade ago is certainly
present. As always I am completely in the dark as to how Vertonen creates this music. Apparently a single
source is being processed and takes various forms of some utter deep sound. There is nothing loud, nor
there is nothing strange as all of this remains on a very low level. Set the music to the volume it starts
with (which is quite loud) and then everything else will unfold very quietly. As today is one of those hot,
humid yet dark days in June, the mood here is to sit down, and don’t do much; listening to music obviously,
reading a bit in that new Paul McCartney biography and the music is these slowly changing drones put
forward by Vertonen. It makes up some wonderful music again. Perhaps something we know from him,
you wonder? Yes, well, we did hear this kind of drone music before, from him, but let me worry (if I would
at all!) about that some other day. (FdW)
––– Address:


‘Lir’ is recorded live on April 14th 2014 at Vamp Vintage Art & Music for the People, Oakland.  ‘Lir’ refers
to an Old Irish Sea god. Also it is an abbreviation of  “the leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptor (LIR)
family, which is found in a gene cluster at chromosomal region 19q13.4”, the line notes explain. They do
not reveal why they choose the term as the title for this album. Anyway, we are talking of a very fine
recording by Michael Zelner of an inspired set of improvised music. With Edgetone boss Rent Romus
on alto and soprano sax and flutes, Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello and Daniel Pearce on drums. Pearce
is also busy as a writer, based in New York. He played a lot in New York and the Bay Area in many
different line-ups. Rankin-Parker, from Oakland, travels the world as a specialist in improvising as well
as in performing modern composed music. Romus is saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, composer,
bandleader, music producer, and community leader. Leading since 1994 his improv unit Lords of Outland,
has a duo with the great Thollem McDonas, etc. If his trio with Pearce and Rankin-Parker was just for the
occasion, I don’t know, but hope not. Rankin-Parker has a sound and style that is difficult to overlook.
A very pronounced player of engaging patterns and textures. It was very satisfying to concentrate on his
contributions while listening. The cd counts five improvisations taking altogether about 30 minutes, with
Romus and Rankin-Parker in an equal prominent role. Just a very lively and concentrated set by this
balanced trio. (DM)   
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Third part in the ‘Echoes of Nature’ series of composer James Freeman. Again Freeman is combining
sounds of nature with synthesized sounds, plus acoustical instruments. We hear Mads Tolling (violin),
Yehudit (viola), Nika Rejto (flute), Sheldon Brown (bass clarinet and saxophone), with Freeman playing
bass and guitar. With his concept of ‘Atmospheric Sound Paintings’ Freeman wants “to create a wave-like
minimalism that can be meditative as well as engaging, a mind space that is liberating.”  The natural
sounds of turkeys, birds, thunder, wolves, etc. are interwoven with a musical structure that was “created
by universal math formulas”. Results don’t differ much from the music we know from ‘Echoes of Nature
1” and ‘Echoes of Nature 2’. Again organic music, that drifts along for some reason. Although interwoven,
on the one hand, it is also as if everything is moving and meandering independently. Not much coherence
in my perception. But this is the way Freeman wanted it to be, I suppose. The solos by the guest
musicians satisfy me most. Here I taste intentional playing, what I miss in the rest. It functions best for
meditative purposes, but engaging music it is not. (DM)
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MARTWA NATURA – IV (3″CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
SONOLOGYST — BEYOND THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE (cassette by Attenuation Circuit)

Following ‘II’ and ‘III’ only some weeks ago (Vital Weekly 1032), there is now ‘IV’ by Martwa Natura, the
duo of Martyna Solecka and label boss Emerge, and like before this is a live recording, actually made just
a few days before the ones that we found on the previous releases. Emerge plays his voice samples and
(sampled I assume) body sounds, while Solecka adds her wordless vocals. It’s not always easy to see
what those vocals actually do in the music, where they are exactly; maybe she also uses electronics to
transform her voice, or everything is left too Emerge to do so. Like before they explore a quieter realm of
the sound spectrum, but, and that is also as before, there is also a noise bit, which is towards the end
and which lasts about four minutes. It breaks the gentle atmosphere of the music, but I am not sure if
that sort of noise blast is something this music needs. I prefer the really much more low-end humming
which marks the real end, and I think Martwa Natura should explore more along the dynamic lines —
high versus low frequencies and not necessarily loud versus quiet; that’s something we already a couple
of times.
   Then on cassette we find the music of Italy’s Sonologyst. I don’t think I heard his music before, but
according to the information he is inspired by the electronic avant-garde of the mid 20th century; the likes
of Stockhausen, Henry, Ferrari, Subotnick, Nono, Pousseur, Parmegiani and Maderna. The music from
Sonologyst is along similar lines, but also a bit different. Should you not know his sources of inspiration,
then I would have not thought as easily about (thank god for press texts!), but when properly guided I can
say: yes indeed. The eerie, spacious yet experimental soundscapes in these seven pieces are perhaps
a bit more stretched out than some of the older guys would have done. The compositional models handled
by Sonologyst are also part of that shady world where ambient music meets up with industrial music.
Slowly fading in sounds, using reverb extensively, a bit of voices here and there (which in ‘Hommage
A Luc Ferrari’ works really fine; that piece is surely ‘old school’), but in ‘Fragments Of Life’ could have
been as easily from the late 80s, early 90s, in terms of how sampling is approached. I quite enjoyed this
music; it’s an excellent combination of some more ‘old school’ approaches combined with some latter day
treatments. It’s a pity that it is released on cassette, so I recommend downloading it, and enjoying it in full,
hiss-free glory. (FdW)
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The third release from the Slovak house called Mappa is a cassette by Daniel Lercher and Vinzenz Schwab,
both from Austria. From Lercher we reviewed his ‘Missa Brevis’ (Vital Weekly 984) and a work he did with
Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (Vital Weekly 932). On these older releases he used field recordings, transducers
and electronics to create his music. Here he teams up with Vinzenz Schwab, of whom we reviewed ‘Dings #1’
in Vital Weekly 963, who works extensively with a laptop to transform sounds. This is their first collaborative
release and in the two pieces that come close to an hour of music they play around with their laptops, noise,
field recordings and sounds of an electro-acoustic nature. The first side is a studio piece, the other side is
live. There are some differences. In the studio piece they work with shorter pieces, even when they are all
glued together, shorter attention spans and it is more a showcase of what they can do; all of the variations
on the same theme, as it were. It’s quite noise, but in a civilized manner, nothing overtly harsh, but it uses
quite some scratched records, hiss and thunder.
   The other side contains a live recording and basically that’s divided into three sections, starting out with
some louder, hissier drones and ending with such, even noisier at that (maybe a bit of clichéd ending for
a concert), but with an extended section in the middle where things are considerable soft and some careful
sound processing is taking place. Some of this sounded perhaps a bit easy, especially the ending, but I
must say throughout I enjoyed the live side a bit more than the studio side. Here is all seems to come
together what they rehearsed on the other side. This is a sturdy and intelligent work of improvised
noise. (FdW)
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While I was thinking about the John Cage piece of the same name as this band, it also dawned upon me
that a valid question could be: cheap imitation of what? That’s no doubt a question that will be asked; well,
I asked myself anyway. I assume this is an one woman band from Göteborg, judging by the vocals, who
also plays synthesizers, field recordings, vocals, drum machine, piano, harmonica, zither, melodica, organ
and cello. The eleven pieces are quite short; ‘All Is Lost’, the first song, is at 2:44 the longest and ‘It’s not
over’ at 1:15 the shortest (discounting the even shorter bonus that is part of the download). One doesn’t
always hear the instruments listed on the cover, save for the vocals, rhythm machine and synthesizers.
The rest is either sampled and may have disappeared. Cheap Imitation seems a bit shy in what she does.
Her vocals are not very outspoken and reminded me at times of Cosey in the mid 80s — although I wouldn’t
go as far as to say it is an imitation — cheap or otherwise. Also the music remains a bit vague and not always
that present. That I believe is part of the deal; maybe this is an attempt at mystery, or sounding mysterious?
I am not sure. When the rhythm was most present I enjoyed this best; it was the best attempt at creating
pop tunes. It was all a bit short and maybe I wished it to be a bit longer, so I could form a more solid opinion.
Her own voice? Not yet. Cheap Imitation? Not really; it is a bit of a lot of different influences. (FdW)
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DESORMAIS — DROWN VARIATIONS (cassette by Kikimora Tapes)

For a long time I didn’t think about Desormais, the duo of Mitchell Akiyama and Joshua Treble, who released
a really great CD, ‘Climate Variations’, along time ago — of which I can’t find the review in my archive anymore.
Damn it. They had three CDs on Intr_version Records between 2002 and 2005 and then I must admit I never
heard from them again, and probably never gave it much thought, although when I found that CD again, a few
years ago, when I decided to play every CD that I have, I still liked their pop inspired laptop music. Akiyama
went on to play more techno inspired music and these days also creates installations and Treble when back
to his own name, Tony Boggs, and releases these days also as Unfollow (see Vital Weekly 1005 and 1027),
which made me think of Desormais again. I wasn’t the only one apparently as they got back together to create
a new songs under that guise again. I must also admit I forgot about Desormais’ follow-up releases, which
I remember not to be as good as that first one, so it makes it a bit hard to make the right connections to this
new work. Like Akiyama solo and Unfollow they now are on a more beat oriented track, but it all remains a bit
more abstract; they don’t necessarily aim for the dance floor, I would think. The tempo is a bit slower and a bit
more abstract; at times perhaps even a bit industrial, such as ‘Grab The Photos’, or even without any rhythms
and all drones like in ‘Wash’. Sometimes the rhythm is more dub like as ‘Oct 19’ or in the opener ‘In A Blurred
Out Ditch’. It makes that this release is highly varied in approaches, like Desormais is not entirely sure which
way their restart should go, unless it is to present a lot of variation. If that is the case, then they succeeded
wonderfully well. I am not sure which I approach I liked best here, as it all had it’s charming quality, but it was
all not enough to make up my mind. Hopefully the future will tell us. (FdW)
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While Van Alebeek is these days the artistic director of Staaltape, this particular cassette is a private affair. I am
not sure why. It has two sidelong pieces of music, one recorded in 2014 in Italy, and one in 2016 in the city of
Heerlen, down south in The Netherlands, where he is from. Much of what Van Alebeek does deals with capturing
sounds on a bunch of cassettes and mixing these together, in what may or may not be considered to be a story.
The first side is recorded on a four track cassette machine and uses his own sounds, as well as ‘commercial
cassettes’, which may account for some of the more rock like tunes that we hear in there. I have no idea if there
is any type of processing or looping going on, and for all we know it might be the result of manual editing — the
start/stop technique. Do not expect Van Alebeek to go all pop here, far from it. It’s only firmly ‘musical’ in one
place, and much of the rest consists of his more usual field recordings and tape manipulations. It’s perhaps for
him a work that moves around in a lot more places than is usual I thought.
On the other side we find a work that I am not sure of what it is. According to his website it deals with a speech
by former German president Von Weiszäcker and people talking about Elvis. I must admit the relation between
these somehow eludes me, but the pieces uses a bit speeches captured on a Dictaphone and presented along
with a collage of field recordings and hand manipulated music, lifted from recordings by others.
   Like said, Van Alebeek may or may not have a narrative to it and I guess that’s the poetry of it all. Both pieces
are fascinating forays in experimental radio play/story telling. (FdW)
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