Number 1040

GAAP KVLT — JINN (CD by Zoharum) *
RARA — W//\TR (CD by Zoharum) *
PHURPA — CHÖD (2CD by Zoharum) *
SAL SOLARIS — THRESHOLDS (CD by Zhelezobeton) *
MIRA DREVO — SLEDY NA SNEGU (CDR by Zhelezobeton) *
NOW IT’S DARK: DAVID LYNCH TRIBUTE (CD compilation by Zhelezobeton)
MATTHEW P. HOPKINS — W’S (7″ by Albert’s Basement)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN — HE-MAN MUSAK (CDR by Mirran Threat) *
   ‘EIN FÄCHER VOLLER LIEBE’ (cassette compilation by Raketenbasis Haberlandstrasse)
DESIRE PATH (cassette compilation by Raketenbasis Haberlandstrasse)
ACIEM/FLECTERE (cassette compilation by Noyade Records)
GRAHAM DUNNING/TOM WALLACE — DOWN INTO DUSK (cassette by Earshots! Recordings)
NILS QUAK — EINIGE SEHR POPULÄRE SONGS (cassette by Wounded Knife) *
CUKIER — ROAD TO RECOVERY (cassette by Wounded Knife) *

GAAP KVLT — JINN (CD by Zoharum)
RARA — W//\TR (CD by Zoharum)
PHURPA — CHÖD (2CD by Zoharum)

The order of playing these three new Zoharum releases is determined by the colour of the covers. I started with
the one that has the most extended use of the colour white on the cover; perhaps assuming it would also be the
‘lightest’ one in musical content. Of Gaap Kvlt I reviewed his debut CD ‘Void’, back in Vital Weekly 936 and now
‘Jinn’ is released. Still we have no idea about the ‘who’ and ‘what’ of Gaap Kvlt, and while the previous was about
the use of rhythm, slower than the usual dance oriented release, this new one takes matters into a more drone
based surrounding, but it is also not devoid of any rhythm. Darkness however is, as before, very much present
on this release. Either through the use of synthesizer, slow thumps on the drum machine or the extreme filtering
of field recordings, such as in ‘Peninsula’, which has a great mysterious ring to it. But that one is followed by the
rather up-tempo beats of ‘Prayer 8 (Death)’, with it’s dark looped voices in the best industrial culture tradition.
In each of the nine pieces Gaap Kvlt takes his time to let things develop, so his pieces are easily between five
to close to nine minutes. Sometimes it is maybe a bit too long, and that’s not always necessary. I can see what
it is Gaap Kvlt is aiming for; depth, atmosphere through minimalism, but it may not always work out that well.
Having said that, I think it is quite a good album anyway; Gaap Kvlt offers an interesting amount of dark shades
through his musical output, with the surprising light ‘Vient’, at the end. Melodic synthesizer tops a Muslimgauze
inspired beat.
   Black with shades of grey, that is the cover of Rara, formerly known as Przed Panstwem Rara, which is a trio
of Rafal Skonieczny (acoustic guitar, synths and loop effects; he started the band), Michal Pszczolkowski (electric
guitar, synthetic sounds) and Mikolaj Zielinski (bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, monotron) along with various
guest musicians, including vocals by Ola Bilinska and Kuba Ziolek on one piece. This is quite a strange record,
which I would like to sound as a positive thing. They are above all a band that plays together, rather than something
that has been stuck together on a computer. The music they play is quite a wild, varied bunch. From what seems
a folk song ‘Przynieś To Z Nocy’ to the heavily sequencer driven second half of ‘Pasażerowie Wiatru’ and throughout
at times quite an ambient post rock sound, and at other times this is erupts into quite a heavy rock sound, complete
with a full-on distortion on the guitars. With all the changes in tempo, use of instruments, voices, heavy drumming,
meditative acoustic guitars, one could also say that Rara plays their version of prog-rock, albeit one of a highly
alternative variation, with the closing piece ‘Gen Planety’ finding Rara in it’s most poppiest moment. Almost like
a conventional rock song, sounding like… Why did I never pay attention? It sounds like something I should known
by name, but for the life of me can’t think of. Velvet Underground perhaps. There you go. Despite the overall black
cover, it is actually less ‘black’ and ‘dour’ as the cover suggests.
   Then in the blackest cover of these three, (black on black print) we find the album ‘Chöd’ by Phurpa and the title
means ‘being cut off’ in Tibetan. Phurpa are shamans from Moscow, who specialize in ‘rgyud-skad’ singing, using
traditional instruments, often made from human bones. “Chöd is the practice of sacrificing the body”, I read in the
text that came along, not just for ‘enlighted beings, but also the residents of the six realms of existence, including
the essence of hell and the spiritual ‘filth’ there is, all possible demons’. I already reviewed some of their darker
than dark throat singing and slow drumming on skins and whistling on bones (see for instance Vital Weekly 789,
803 and 948), but it seems that this new release is even darker than before and also seems to be relying more
and more on the use of voices. Bone trumpets and skin drums are now quite sparse in the two times forty-five
minute pieces that we get on both CDs. I must admit I only partly enjoyed this work as it is from a world that is
simply not mine. (FdW)
––– Address:


For a long time I thought Casio only made one small synthesizer, the VL-Tone 1, for which I traded in all my
records second hand (except for two ELP LP’s; couldn’t get rid of those already in 1981) just to buy this synth.
I never played a proper tune on it, as I was also put off by one Gust de Meyer, a composer from Belgium, who
released a cassette in 1983 with some excellent minimal pop music played on four of these synths (probably all
by himself using multi-track). So, that being the time of no Internet, and hardly visiting music stores, I never
knew, until much later, that there are many more, bigger models of Casio keyboards. David First, a composer
from New York of whom I never heard, was a member of The Notekillers, a psychedelic punk band, and later
on started to played minimalist drone music. He still combines pop and drones, as well as covering much in-
between. In the early eighties he had an ensemble called The Flatland Oscillators, using tone generators but
when discovering the Casio and learning one could detune a bunch of them to play drone music, he composed
‘Four Casios’ (in lieu of Reich’s ‘Four Organs’), which lead to The World Casio Quartet; three times the Casio
CZ-1000 and one Casio CZ-101 (google them to see what they look like). For a period of four years they played
around town and one day (oddly enough the exact date is not on the package) they recorded four pieces, which
are now re-issued by Pogus. The world of drone music holds little surprises, I guess, to the world of Vital Weekly,
but the more I play this, the more I like it. It has a beautifully crude edge to it, without being very noisy (in fact
quite gentle most of the time), but rough around the edges in ‘Plate Mass’, straight forward dark as it is to ‘Cloud
Bride’s Last Great Awakening At The Border Of Splintered Souls’, moving from drones to a mass of bleeps.
These two are the longer pieces here, and there are two shorter pieces at the bookends, which are a bit more
chaotic in approach, and with a somewhat easier to recognize Casio sound. All four pieces are highly minimal
when it comes to development, but one never has the feeling it takes too long; in especially the long pieces
there is a great flow in changing moods. If you like the drones made today (say something a long the lines of
Orphax), then I am sure this will be as appealing. (FdW)
––– Address:


Grigg and Brügge dedicate their music to Evan and Derek, Nate Wooley, Mats Gustafsson, a.o. Making no
secret of the game they are playing: free improvised music. Tobias Brügge plays tenor sax, and Matthew Grigg
guitar and amplifier. Grigg travelled a lot through Europe, meeting and playing with improvisers everywhere.
Münster for example, a city in the west of Germany where Tobias Brügge has his base. Earlier they released
a cassette, ‘Vocabularies’ is their first cd-release, counting 11 improvisations. Their style reflects most of
all improvised music as we know it from the UK. ‘Classical’ improvised music if one can say so. They give
a varied impression of their skills and music. Like in the closing piece ‘Plastered to the Gravitron Wall’, their
excursions can be very wild and loud. ‘Ghost & Flowers’ or ‘High Society’ are on the other side of the spectrum.
Very close to silence, the music built from short subtle patterns, playing with timbre and sound. They are
capable players, but their dialogues and battles didn’t always convince me. I missed some new fresh and
original moves. Too much of the same in the end. (DM)
––– Address:


Three Free Radicals is a duo of Minneapolis based composer and live electronics performer Scott Miller and
Estonian guitarist Mart Soo. Miller is a composer of electroacoustic, orchestral, chamber, choral and multimedia
works, known for his interactive electroacoustic chamber music. Besides he is a Professor of Music at St.
Cloud State University, Minnesota. During a six month stay in Talinn Miller got introduced to the local improv
scene, and started working with Mart Soo, a guitarist, composer and improviser. He played on stages in Europe,
Japan and US in many collaborations (Markus Reuter, Uchihashi Kazuhisa, Paul Lovens, Xavier Charles,
Eugene Chadbourne, etc.). Check out his very nice solo album ‘Kulg’on bandcamp! The collaboration of Miller
and Soo went well and deserved a name: Three Free Radicals. The results of their inspired musical meeting
deserved a release on cd, and consequently ‘Diary of a Left-Handed Sleepwalker’ was produced. Recordings
took place on one day early 2015 in an Estonian Studio. All 11 tracks on the album show this was a very fruitful
process. Soo plays guitars and live electronics. Miller plays the Kyma, a self-built electro-acoustic system I
suppose. The playing by both is very inventive and to the point. The music has depth and beauty. Sometimes
the pieces are built around a loop, or a groove. Others are more about sound textures or wild improvisation.
Sometimes the playing by Soo touches shortly on jazzy moods or on rock vocabulary. But most of the time
they operate on a highly abstract level. Their interactions and interplay are superb. Their pieces are very solid
and communicative. Truly a very enjoyable and satisfying release of experimental music by a duo that has a
story to tell. (DM)
––– Address:


Now turning in his fifth release (see also Vital Weekly 825, 863, 920 and 978), local composer, if I may call
Florian Wittenburg just that, confuses me a bit more with his music. In fact he leaves me more and more
clueless. So far he has shown an interest in computer manipulation of acoustic sounds and piano music, and
on this new release he explores both ends. The piano music here was inspired by the African fish eagle, and
upon hearing that, Wittenburg wanted to imitate that on his piano, which results into two beautiful quiet pieces
of piano music. Then there are two part of ‘Willow Tree?’ in which he uses the processed sound of bowed wine
glasses and text recited by John Devitt, which is all quite fine too; more abstract of course and almost dramatic.
But then there is also the lengthy piece ‘Koninklijk Arpeggio’, which is a keyboard piece, starting out rather
mediocre with a boring pre-set sound, but then effectively being transformed by computer manipulation. Also
‘P2s2p’ is a synthesizer piece, which follows a similar course as ‘Koninklijk Arpeggio’, and which sounds a bit
regular (even more) and I am not sure what to make of both of these pieces. They seem ‘easy’ to me; feed
some sound into computer program and see what comes out at the end. It makes that this release contains
quite diverse approaches when it comes to his music, and as such it is probably a fine calling card for the
various interests Wittenburg has. For me I would prefer to have them grouped and released separately. (FdW)
––– Address:

NOW IT’S DARK: DAVID LYNCH TRIBUTE (CD compilation by Zhelezobeton)

‘Thresholds’ is the first solo album by Sal Solaris in fifteen years, and I believe I didn’t hear the previous one.
I did hear a compilation of rare pieces from 2004-2010, which was reviewed in Vital Weekly 913, which didn’t
particular blow me away. It was all quite dark and ‘gothic’, music for people who like to dress all black. Here is,
as said, a new album by this duo and like before it is heavy on the rhythm, noise and all around darkness.
There are nine pieces on this CD, but still lasts some seventy-two minutes, so most of these pieces around
eight to nine minutes, which I think is a bit long, as not always do these pieces have enough in them to sound
as long as they do, which is perhaps something that could be said for all of the pieces. A usual approach is
that there is a lengthy, synth heavy intro and then slowly beats are layered together until we have a dense,
top-heavy rhythm section and lots of synthesizers, either adding a bit of melody or a bit extra venom to the
music. There is a piece of heavy, very-uptempo dance music in ‘Displaced’. Like before I have quite mixed
feelings about this music. While I enjoy some of these crude excursions into the stomping ground, and
some of it a bit overlong, it is also something that is not entirely my cup of tea and I doubt if I would give this
easily another spin in a couple of months. But no doubt this is the kind of music that is massively popular
elsewhere, so what do I know?
   It’s not that I copied the title and name of the artist of the cover of the release with the second new release
by this label from St-Petersburg. Almost everything on the cover is in Russian, but the ever so professional
people at Zhelezobeton deliver great information, so I know for instance that the title means ‘footprints in the
snow’ and that this is a live recording from December 25th, 2015 at the St. Petersburg Sound Museum (which
was formerly know as the Experimental Sound Gallery; a name change I wasn’t aware off), during one of the
nights of the ‘Alchemy of Noise’ party series. Mira Drevo is here a duo, consisting of permanent leader Dmitry
“Skald” (synthesizers, sampler and authentic field and ethnographic recordings, along with acoustic instruments
such as flutes, mouth harp and percussion) and a member of doom metal band Sequoian Aequsion called
Pavel on guitar. I am not sure if the thirty-two minutes that is now the length of this release is also the complete
length of the concert, but it works very well in terms of ‘alchemy’, ‘noise’ and ‘ambient’. There is an underlying
bass guitar, the meandering of hand-shook percussion, a bit of voices and long sustaining flute sounds through
a bunch of reverb modules and delay pedals. I guess that’s what they call organic music? There is a delicate
yet rougher ring to the sound; it is a live recording after all and one that works quite well. There is very little in
terms of smoothness here, but that makes that I enjoy this all the more. It’s ambient music but has an
occasional improvised feeling to it, which is quite spacious but not without human flaws. Highly enjoyable,
and something that could have been a bit longer for my taste.
   Eleven Russian artists pay tribute to David Lynch, and I assume more his films than his music, but then,
who am I to tell the difference? Much of what Lynch does could maybe be seen as ‘surrealist’, with strange
events, odd persons and wacky situations. Having said I must immediately admit I haven’t seen all of his
movies or even heard that much of his music. I would say enough to judge the music on this compilation.
The idea to do such a compilation comes from Sal Solaris, who already did a tribute a couple of years
ago, but now there are also pieces by Reutoff, Light Collapse, Dvory, Skripp, Wunderblock, Relic Radiation,
Kryptogen Rundfunk, Arcuation, Povarovo, DMT besides Sal Solaris themselves. All the ingredients you
would expect to find are in here; there is lots of darkness, a bit of rhythm, lots of textures, moods and
atmospherics, and seemingly no sampled lines from movies. It is not easy to say whether or not sounds
are sampled from the movies, but perhaps that has to do with the copyright? Had I not known anything about
the fact that this is a David Lynch tribute, could I have guessed it? Probably not. I would have thought this
to be another fine compilation (or even something that could have been made by one person) of Russia’s
finest in terms of dark music, and that this is another collection. Not more, nothing less. Main question is
of course: whom will Lynch sign of this bunch to do a Twin Peaks tune for the next series? (FdW)
––– Address:


Following the CD ‘Matrice’ (see Vital Weekly 834), Annabelle Playe now releases her second work,
‘Vaisseaux’, which means ‘boats’ in French. She writes that ‘four musical are composing ‘Vaisseaux’,
privileging electronic sonorities and giving what to acoustic sound-emitting objects’, and I have no idea
that means (exactly; although I could guess), and furthermore ‘a combination revealing a musical universe
made of atmospheric inputs and outputs. It’s questioning what is moving ourselves within and beyond
through the informal and the unsees.
   An interrogation of detail and speed, cutting and continuum’. She writes that depending on which project
she’s working on she composes, sings and writes. I would think voice is not really present on these four
pieces of music, and that they are mostly made using electronics. But then I am not sure what kind of
electronics that would be. It could be either these small ones, like the monotron, or perhaps a bigger,
more made to measure modular synthesizer. It is results however into quite interesting electronic music,
one that defies easy categorization. Sometimes it comes across as a bit noisy, but I believe it is not her
intention to play loud music. More over it is also not her intention to play very soft music either. All of
this might be the result of cut, paste and collage music together from a bunch of electronic sources,
mainly synthesizers, rather than a bunch of processed acoustic sounds. So, just as easily this can be
called ‘noise’, ‘ambient’, ‘sound art’ or ‘serious electronic composing’, and I would think the latter is most
appropriate, but then a bit less rigid in terms of composing and performing this electronic music. She
frees up the music and melts into something that is no doubt much of her own. Excellent record. (FdW)
––– Address:


A real book, one made out of paper, may not be the standard in the publishing industry anymore, but
what joy to hold this one in my hands! All about Dutch label cum shop Staalplaat, this book tells you
much about how NOT to run a record label or a shop. Written by Frans de Waard, who spent eleven
years at Staalplaat, it is a well-researched topic. The writing has a certain flair and sense of humour
and, providing you’re a fast reader, you’ll have the whole thing finished in just a few evenings. And
what will you have learned by then? Well, as said, a lot about Staalplaat — that (in) famous label and
record store, responsible for some of the best cover and packaging designs for cassettes, CD’s, vinyl
and video ever. Not to mention some of the worst selling music ever, which, in a sense, captures
Staalplaat’s mission statement, “We do not care about selling, we care about music” — perfectly.
Frans describes in delightful detail the often grumpy, offensive, mass-smoking and unhelpful staff
roaming Staalplaat’s modest shop space in Amsterdam, ready to ignore anyone deemed unworthy of
buying Staalplaat product. Where the back office is concerned, there seemed to be a working
atmosphere you probably wouldn’t prosper in, but where despite of (or thanks to?) the ongoing tension
between the main Staalplaat players, great things are achieved. As said, the Staalplaat release policy
basically boils down to the question “Do we like your music?” In a world where both major and minor
labels are more and more poised towards making monetary profit in order to survive, this is certainly
refreshing. The results are likewise — you never really know what to expect from Staalplaat’s next
release. Granted, apart from yet another Muslimgauze CD — Staalplaat’s biggest selling act and often
bread and butter. I visited Staalplaat a couple of times in ‘ye olde days’ and encountered some of the
colourful characters detailed in this book. Even though that doesn’t make me an expert per se, this
book does confirm my experiences at the time. Though the market for a book on Staalplaat might be
not a major one, it should be able to please a wider audience than those simply interested in Staalplaat.
As Staalplaat’s business politics, often erratic, illogical and impulsive — to say the least — Frans offers
plenty of tips how NOT to run your music label. To illustrate these tips, the book features some great
anecdotes, the occasional gossip and a lot of name-dropping.
   As I wrote earlier in this review, the writing style is easy on the eye and brain: the short chapters
(paragraphs even) tempt you to continuous reading. Having known Frans for a long time, I certainly
recognize his writing style and some of the anecdotes, which I have heard before — some in fact more
than once. In this book we may learn a lot about Staalplaat but, despite the fact Frans is both author
as main character, far less about Frans as a person than you might have expected. That is the author’s
prerogative of course, but for me personally that would have added a certain context and depth. The
125+ pages of the book feature the main story. Then there are 75+ pages of appendixes. There are
interviews, documents, lists and a long (radio-) interview with Muslimgauze’s Bryn Jones from 1997.
Personally, I would have gladly exchanged the appendix for more pages about Staalplaat, but that is
a minor complaint about a book that is interesting and fun. And it is a BOOK — the paper survivor of
the digital dodo. Hold it, flip through its pages, admire the brilliant cover drawing and put your favourite
bookmark between the pages to remind you where should continue reading — whilst listening to one of
Staalplaat’s many releases. I love paper books — to me they represent a higher value than an e-book,
and I don’t care if you disagree. I highly respect people who, with limited recourses but maximum
perseverance, are able to pursue their dreams and create something special. So, here it is: that
something really special: buy it, read it, enjoy it and please, if you run a record label, be sure to ignore
(some of) the advice this wonderful artefact has on offer! (FK)
––– Address:

MATTHEW P. HOPKINS — W’S (7″ by Albert’s Basement)

The name Matthew Philip Hopkins faded from my memory, I must admit, since I reviewed only one of
his LPs before (back in Vital Weekly 916, so perhaps not that long ago), even when I quite enjoyed his
record. Hopkins was a member of Naked On The Vague, Vincent Over The Sink, Hochman & Hopkins,
Four Door, and more recently Half High and had a duo with Tim Coster. He is based in Melbourne
these days, and his music still explores the boundaries of drone music through the use of found
sound, acoustic objects and such like. There might also be a bit of synthesizer used here, adding a
bit of extra layer to the music. Let me say that I think both of these pieces are great, there is no doubt
about that. But I could easily these pieces being a bit longer, extending the length of what is possibility
fits on a 7″, and that perhaps music like this is not the most suitable for a release on vinyl, however
that medium is in some circles. The spacious drone like sound, introspective as it is, remind me once
again of the music of Matt Krefting or Idea Fire Company, both of them on a quiet day. It is intense
music with some danger lurking beneath (through the use of field recordings that drop in quite
unexpectedly on ‘W & W’), and throughout both sides one thinks; yes, excellent stuff! Can this go on
for a bit more? Next time a proper LP, again, please. (FdW)
––– Address:

   (CDR by Miss Management)

One of the most eclectic bands in the world, Germany’s Doc Wör Mirran, strikes again, three times
this time, and obviously my attention was drawn to the release they did with Christopher John Millar,
better known as Rat Scabies, the drummer of The Damned, until 1996. Not one of those punk bands
that really followed back in the day, but surely with some classic songs. I am not really surprised
that he’s on a release by Doc Wör Mirran, as these guys used to have a label called Empty Records,
and easily delved the mines of old punk rock (and lots more, including my hero John Trubee). The
three pieces, total nineteen minutes of music, shows the band in a free rock modus, with founder
Joseph B. Raimond on bass, guitar and synthesizer, and the latter is also played by Ralf Lexis.
The blearing saxophone of Gormley is also present and adds more spacious room to the space
rocking improvisations of this trio. It has nothing to with punk music (and why should it anyway?),
but all about improvisation, spacious synthesizers, a bit of krautrock in the rhythm and a bit of jazz
on the saxophone. It is a pity this is only nineteen minutes I would think, as I believe there was
more potential in this kind of music, for a couple of more tunes.
   On ‘Raj Instrumental’, Gromley plays synth, horns, drum patterns, Raimond bass and Lexis guitars
and drums. I must admit I am a bit lost with this one. Here we have nine pieces of synthesizer sounds,
guitar licks, a bit of synth noises, arpeggios, a bit of jazzy saxophone/horn tooting; all of this put
together in a rather improvised way, and easily defies any genre, but at the same time it all sounds
a bit haphazard put together. Lot of this sound like a great idea to start a music piece with, the
foundation, as it were, but it is just the start, not yet a complete song. Maybe it is because there is
a variety of musical approaches here that makes it not easy to set one’s mind to it. I was thinking
that it fits the kind of confusion this band is usually after.
   Raimond teams up with Stefan Schweiger, Michael Wurzer (who had the Clockwork Tapes label
in the 80s) and .mario. — although the latter may have delivered titles only, like he did on the
previous release. No instruments are mentioned, but I can safely assume these to be a drum
machine, guitars and a bass; maybe a sampler and a bunch of monotrons is in there too. In the
opening (and title-) piece this is a wall of guitar sound, strumming along each other with a firm
amount of distortion, while the rhythm ticks time away. It has a fine krauty feeling. In ‘Filler’ the
monotrons are duelling and beneath there is the guitar wailing away, but because it is a bit
buried it all seems a bit unbalanced. ‘M&M&Ms’ is the final piece on this thirty minute release
and is, much to my surprise, a noise piece of radio waves and lots of electronics. Much of this
no doubt put together in an impromptu manner, but it works quite well; much better than on the
previous release. Maybe these three pieces fit together better, displaying a sense of ‘wall of
noise’, in three different approaches? (FdW)
––– Address:


The acronym of the label stands for I Never Think Of You, and we have no idea who this ‘you’ is,
some old lover, or maybe the dear listener. It is perhaps a pity that I didn’t get to review ‘Sanyo 07.1/
Sanyo 07.2′ by Nigel Samways, but maybe it was only available in the digital realm, so I checked
upon bandcamp. Those two pieces were mono recordings made on a microcassette Dictaphone
made in Japan in 2007, and sound exactly like that; street sounds captured on tape and cut into
two pieces of sound art. In the remixes Samways did with Moigne, they apply quite a bit of computer
processing to stretch out some rudimentary sounds of this and have those looped around along with
bits from the original sources I guess. While it sounded all right, I wasn’t sure what this would add in
general, or why this was released on a 3″CDR and not the original; or hey, maybe all of this on one
disc? Both of these remixes are stretched to nine minutes, which I also thought was a bit long.
I preferred the ‘Midnight Temple (Coda)’, found at the end obviously, a lot more; it was at the end,
a little under three minutes and almost like a pop song. Now if they would have taken the remixes
more into that area, I think it would effectively something else. I am just not too sure about
this. (FdW)
––– Address:

   ANHALT 2016 ‘EIN FÄCHER VOLLER LIEBE’ (cassette compilation by Raketenbasis
DESIRE PATH (cassette compilation by Raketenbasis Haberlandstrasse)

Now here’s something that left me wondering a lot. The cover looks quite serious, but upon closer
inspection this might all be German fun, in say the best tradition of Andreas Dorau or Der Plan.
I have no idea what the title means, and I never heard of any of these composers; people like
Margot-Maria Petzokait, Wolfgang Andernach, Pys Hamacher, Raupach & Petzokait, Peter
Maybaum, Marcus Bork, Weihnachschor Aurach-Fisten (with the curious stomping ‘Mitmachen’,
‘Join in’), Stefanie Bachkoben, Hans-Joachim Hündgen and Tristan-Weyher-Kallenbach. All of
these pieces deal with one kind or another bit of rhythm, crude as it happens, but all from a pop
angle and most of the time with ‘silly’ vocals. This very much reminded me indeed of early Neue
Deutsche Welle, even when some of this music is produced with digital means and sounds much
better than what was released on cassette thirty years ago. There is a varying level of complexity
in these songs, ranging from some jazzy samples by Andernach to a straightforward techno loop
and single synthesizer approach by Pys Hamacher, and from people trying to sing to those who
don’t try at all. Thirty minutes of great fun.
   Much shorter is the compilation called ‘Desire Path’, which lasts only ten minutes and here too
the musicians, five of them in total, of whom I hadn’t heard before; fr4s, Alessandro, Andreas
Schallenweder, Dieter Gürth and Zuli. Here to the music deals with rhythm but in these five
cases it all seems to be instrumental and less rooted in the old world of German new wave,
but instead these pieces take their cue from the more experimental edges of current dance music.
Especially the two longer pieces by Alessandro and Zuli, of which the latter is quite a heavy beast
and the first the most ‘commercial’ (all things relative here of course), simply because it sounds
like the best production. The other three pieces are mere snippets of pieces, with a few rhythmic
layers of synthesizer sounds. While all of this sounds quite all right, the whole reason kinda
eludes me, if I must be honest. I would not have minded a somewhat longer release; maybe
that would have shed some more light on the conceptual inclinations. Should there be any,
of course. (FdW)
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ACIEM/FLECTERE (cassette compilation by Noyade Records)

This compilation has two extended pieces per side and each side has a theme, ‘Aciem’ and
‘Flectere’, and I read ‘first is textural and meandering side of the genre […] second part is the
line’. On side A we find Ghost Reflection and Lunar Abyss. The first has a twelve-minute piece
of bell like sounds, voices and lots of sound effects, while Lunar Abyss locks in all the loose
sounds they have floating around inside an endless line (already!) of sound effects, much
delay and reverb at that, to create that wonderful yet vaguely ritualistic atmosphere. Close
your eyes and think of all of this as nocturnal sounds in an endless cold Russian forest and
you are sitting near the campfire with some people rattling bells and whispering.
   The other side has Thisquietarmy with a rather straightforward drone piece, slowly building in
cascades with a guitar sound that grows in intensity over the course of fourteen minutes,
growing and expanding and ending like a ark sea, massive sea creature. Also System Morgue
uses the drone form and there might be also a guitar in use here (played with an e-bow no
doubt) but here the rolling takes place on a way subtler level, also towards the end (obviously,
I could add, as this is what is done in the world of drone music), but throughout it keeps it’s
mellow character and is, maybe, as such the most ‘musical’ piece of these four. While the
concept of this release eludes me somewhat, the four pieces are most likely four sides of
the drone coin, and all of these are quite good. (FdW)
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GRAHAM DUNNING/TOM WALLACE — DOWN INTO DUSK (cassette by Earshots! Recordings)

From both Dunning and Wallace I have reviewed music before. From Tom Wallace it was already
back in Vital Weekly 631, with a release dealing with field recordings made in a hospital and from
turntablist Graham Dunning a release with his trio Dunningwebsterunderwood in Vital Weekly 996.
Here they have a split cassette, which deals with field recordings, but with some important
differences. On the first side we find six pieces by Wallace, which made he made in recent years,
traveling South East Asia. Wallace introduces each of the pieces with a spoken word intro, which
for me is something I rather see in print. While some of these pieces contain various layers of
sounds, they are all made at the same place and time, the cover tells us. Many of the sounds
Wallace captured reminded him of the sounds he hears in the electronic music scene in London,
so you can imagine that he recorded lots of insects in forest, buzzing and singing and which can
reach some highly piercing frequencies, so I easily see what he means. Apart from the talking I
though this was a great release of some very minimal field recordings; not minimal in the sense
of a few, but minimal as in ‘much information, very few movement’.
   On the other side we find a recording of an empty dance floor inside two railway arches in
London, with no audience and Dunning spinning records with no music. I assume the doors are
open as we hear people talking outside and occasionally children screaming. It is however not
a pure one-off recording of this space that happens to last thirty minutes. It is very much a story
Dunning is telling us; doors are closed and sound is blocked and emphasis goes to the crackling
of the blank records, while dust is settling down upon down. There is the sound of cooling fans
made audible in more quiet places, and it all never sounds like an empty club. After a while the
sound of skipping empty vinyl may get a bit much, and perhaps Dunning could have told this
 story in twenty minutes also. (FdW)
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NILS QUAK — EINIGE SEHR POPULÄRE SONGS (cassette by Wounded Knife)
CUKIER — ROAD TO RECOVERY (cassette by Wounded Knife)

Of course we have to take the title of Nils Quak’s new release with a pinch of salt. It means
‘some very popular songs’, but they are not popular (yet?). It has been quite some time since
we last heard something from Quak, apart from a track on a compilation ‘Noise Of Cologne 2’
(Vital Weekly 884). Before that he had a release on Audiobulb (Vital Weekly 680) and Ripples
Recordings (Vital Weekly 760). On the first he was Autechre inspired but on the second already
worked in a more ambient territory, using various sound sources, such as synthesizers, old
flexi discs, guitar and piano loops. Maybe he spend all the time in between those old releases
and this new cassette learning his ways around the modular synthesizer as, along with granular
synthesis, that’s what he’s been using on these eight new songs. These pieces are once more
quite mellow, but nothing so much as all out drone pieces all the time as in all of these
pieces there is a rhythmical undercurrent; sometimes more present than on other occasions,
embedded in a mass of little drones, oscillations and bubbles, usually a bit darker, but Quak
allows a bit of light in his pieces from time to time, which offers a much needed variation to
the music. While I think this is hardly something new under the sun, I thought all of this made
up for a most pleasant release.
   Of an entirely different nature is the release by Cukier, who’s ‘Road To Recovery’ is their
second album, following the not reviewed ‘821’ by Pawlacz Perski Tapes. Cukier is a trio of
Łukasz Kacperczyk (synths), Michał Kasperek (drums) and Piotr Mełech (clarinets,
electronics), and we have here another five live in studio recordings. This is perhaps something
one easier associates the Wounded Knife label with than the Quak release. This is one of
those very free and wild rides of improvised music meeting noise as well as musique concrete
and electro-acoustic music. Most of the times the drums and clarinet are easy to recognize
with the noise of the music, but the electronics added to the clarinet make it sometimes a
furious and uncontrollable beast. I found the music throughout better when it was less bouncing
around, i.e. when Cukier played something that a bit more thoughtful, introspective perhaps.
The final part of ‘Attempt II’ and ‘Attempt IV” were just too noisy and chaotic for my taste, but
‘Attempt I’ and ‘Attempt III’ and the larger part of ‘Attempt II’ they were going towards a dialogue,
rather than a confrontation and that worked much better. When they respond, they listen and
for this music that is a better plan. (FdW)
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