Number 1042

AN ANT AND AN ATOM — ENTROPY (CD plus artzine by … And An Earth) *
   (CD by Cold Spring)
VISIONS OF CATASTROPHE (CD compilation by Buh Records) *
UROK — NAGAWOR (CD by Mozdok) *
CELER — TEMPELHOF (CD by Two Acorns) *
MASAMI AKITA — WATTLE (LP by Elevator Bath)
   (cassette by Elevator Bath) *
MASSIMO MAGEE — MUSIC IN 3 SPACES (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
ALFRED 23 HARTH — KEPLER 452B EDITION (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
ERIK LEVANDER — HALV (cassette by Full Of Nothing) *
HIROSHI HASEGAWA/RASALASAD (split cassette by Thisco)
RASALASAD — THISTONAL (cassette by Thisco)
   (cassette by Noise Below)
   (cassette by Organized Music From Thessaloniki)

AN ANT AND AN ATOM — ENTROPY (CD plus artzine by … And An Earth)

In a great package, which is called ‘handmade artzine’, we find visual work by Lauren Crazybull, who, as part
of her exhibition ‘Entropy’ needed music for a performance she also did, and ask Sean Warkentine, who works
as An Ant And An Atom, for the accompanying music. The artzine looks great, almost like being cut-up from
the real show, and who knows, maybe it is. The music seems to me made with electronic means, synthesizers,
electronics and/or computers, and most likely is a combination of all of that. An Ant And An Atom plays the
mood card here with some careful opening piece, going down in volume and thoughtful processing of sound,
but around the nine-minute mark things go up a notch or two and An Ant And An Atom finds himself in a more
noise based territory. As influences he cites Ben Frost, Valiska, Sarah Davachi, William Basinski and Daniel
Menche, and the latter surely spring to mind when An Ant And An Atom plays some his more abrasive noise
music. That however is only part of what he does, and in other parts of this twenty-four minute composition
he’s mellow (at the start) or orchestral, such as in the last nine minutes, with heavily treated string sounds
playing a fine and a dramatic set of sounds, before going all fuzz and distortion again. It is a piece that moves
all over the place and probably over-uses reverb to gain more dramatic context, but in the end I found this
quite a fine piece of music. Maybe a bit more mellow parts would have been great and then making the whole
thing a bit longer? Maybe next time! (FdW)
––– Address:

(CD by Cold Spring)

It’s been quite a while since I’ve actively listened to Norvargr’s work; I think the last thing must have been either
“Interstellar” or “Pyrrhula” from 2008. Not that I don’t enjoy from time to time. It’s just that the man’s prolificacy
is something that’s hard to keep up with. “Anima Nostra” seems to draw on both Nordvargr’s more recent dark
ambient output and the ritual bits of MZ. 412, although the latter manifests itself as an ostensibly acoustic
incarnation on this new album. This acoustic experience is enhanced by the use of a truckload of brass samples,
horns and such, which give the respective tracks a bombastic, if not neoclassical feel. Because of this and the
Egyptian references, when giving the album its first spin, I found it hard not to expect some kind of death metal
blast — think Nile, Behemoth — abruptly barging in, but I guess that’s just the curse of habit. Other tracks,
especially “L’avènement Du Néant” reminded me a bit of Sephiroth’s ritual classic “Cathedron” on CMI. All in
all I’d say stylistically speaking it’s a new page in Nordvargr’s extensive body of work, but it does not necessarily
bring something new to the table. Not that there’s any pretension to do so, but I now realise that that is something
I may have hoped for myself.
   Essential to this release is the artwork by Renaudin, as it consolidates and visualises the esoteric experience
this work has to offer. I gather from the credits and the writing that came with the CD that the collaboration between
the two gentlemen encompasses more than just designing some indecipherable sigils to accompany a dark ritual
album, but at the same time it remains a mystery how exactly Renaudin was involved in writing the music — or
how his alchemical emblems are to be understood in the context of, or in coherence with the music, for that matter.
You might think “who cares, why bother” — I mean normally I probably wouldn’t either, but there is a certain stress
on this work being a “visual experience”, so I’m just curious as to how and to what extent artwork and music are
connected and intertwined. Despite all of that I did like it a lot and will definitely play it again some time at night.
   A while ago I wrote a bit on “Corrosive Shroud”, Khost’s second album on Cold Spring. Andy Swan (Iroha,
Atrocity Exhibition) and Damian Bennett (Carthage, Deathless) hail from Birmingham and their industrial doom
dirges prompted me to jot down the comparison “Jesu playing a snail-paced version of [Enemy of the Sun] by
Neurosis”. It’s safe to say them eventually teaming up with Justin Broadrick did not come as a surprise to me,
though I would not have expected it to be a remix album — yes, Broadrick has remixed 3 of the tracks that
appeared on aforementioned “Corrosive Shroud”, which presents an excellent opportunity to give that album
a new listen and compare those tracks to the remixes. “Inversion” leaps off at twice the speed of the original
and sports a chemical drum loop that stays on for the biggest part of the song. The track has completely lost
the organic touch of the original and if you’re into Broadrick’s machine-like brickwalled caustic production that
is probably a something you’ll love. Whereas I felt that Corrosive Shroud itself was already journey through a
metalworks without earplugs, the Godflesh treatment has intensified that experience in such a way that it now
comes close to being strapped to a conveyor belt running through some kind of car assembly line. Second up is
“A Shadow on the Wound”. The original featured a lot of chanting which I found quite the bold move at the time.
Broadrick’s version forces the track, which basically sounded like a band performing it, into a grid of repetitive
loops and heavily processed samples of the original song. Only the grunted vocals seem to break free from the
ongoing pattern-based regime every once in a while. On the third track Broadrick floors it and the first half might
as well have been a track from a Sonar out-take album or something released in the 90s by lofi gabber label
Industrial Strength. I gave it a couple of more minutes but then my ears were sick of the gated high end exposure.
The fourth track is a new Khost track, which kind of continues where the previous album left off and it is a
welcome change after 20 minutes of full spectrum pounding. I have to say I have never been either a Jesu or
Godflesh fan and this remix job has not won me over. To me Khost’s own sound is much more refreshing and
interesting and although I could see how a remix album like this could cater to the same industrial-minded
audience, it certainly did not appeal to me. Don’t get me wrong — it must be amazing to have your work
remixed by an icon like Broadrick, but personally this just didn’t do it for me.
   The seventh full length album of music and art collective Common Eider King Eider is again a collection of
reverb-laden ritual pieces. Like on predecessor Taaleg Uksur tracks consist of mesmerising drones, clouds of
chants, ominous atmospheres and sudden percussion explosions. The structuring and build up of the pieces is
very well done and climactic to say the least. It is somewhat unclear from the promotional document that came
with the CD, but it seems like this album was recorded under ritual conditions below ground in something called
the Wisp House. If it’s true what I suspect, that this was recorded in just one take, then that’s quite a feat and
adds to the exquisite ceremonial tension that permeates the whole album.
   The only thing is — and this may be intentional, as previous albums featured a similar kind of production —
but I felt the music had quite a punishing mid-high end, which made me reach for the volume dial every now and
then. If this record is supposed to sound let’s say ‘Norway 90s true & nekro’, which is of course fine, then I get it,
but personally I feel that I’d prefer an album like this one, that has a wide dynamic range and quite lengthy tracks,
to keep those frequencies in check. Taaleg Uksur also featured these intense mid-range bits, but that album felt
a bit more balanced somehow. Might be the conditions under which it was recorded. Anyway some lovely pieces
on this one, especially the second and third track, but I can imagine when in an Eider mood, I’d rather go for the
previous album. (PJN)
––– Address:


Like before these two new releases by Anthony Pateras come with highly informative booklets. In the one by North
Of North, the three musicians speak about the nature of improvisation; whether it is still fun to do, what of skills
and if anyone can do it. The answer is, I believe, no everyone can do it, even when it seems easy. The way North
Of North plays it certainly isn’t easy. Pateras is at the piano, Scott Tinkler on trumpet and Erkki Veltheim on violin.
Whereas previous releases by Immediate seemed to have some kind of some kind of electro-acoustic angle (as
far as I remember) this is all about three acoustic instruments and the three players approach them in a very free
manner, but without any gimmicks; these instruments are what they are, no matter how freely North Of North
improvises on them. You can always recognize them. It makes this a somewhat conventional improvised music
release, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I must say that this conventional approach also leans a bit
much towards free jazz, which is probably not always something like. But these forty-five minutes sound very
good. There is an overall vibrancy captured within these pieces that makes this particular release full of energy.
   The other release shows us Pateras in duet with Anthony Burr, who plays clarinets and ARP 2600. Five pieces
were recorded at the university of California and two in Berlin. The booklet here focuses on the career of Burr and
I learned some interesting stuff, such as that he worked with Lamonte Young and Alvin Lucier (and further research
learned we share our birthday), and all along I was playing this music, which is the total opposite to North By North.
Here we have seven pieces of very calm and introspective playing, and everything seems to be in a very minimal
mood. Sparse notes on the piano are mixed with similar sparseness on the clarinets, and the arp provides a drone
here and there. When Pateras prepares his piano he makes it sound exactly like John Cage intended it to be: like
a percussion instrument, and that adds another, again sparse, sound to the music. All of these pieces are of similar
austere nature; so perhaps one could think that there is some need for some sudden lively action, which (spoiler
alert) doesn’t happen. There is a beautiful slow flow in this music, which leads to some very Zen-like activity of
doing nothing at all. Another set of great releases for this label. (FdW)
––– Address:


‘I saw the best of my generation destroyed by madness’ so sayeth beat poet Allan Ginsberg in Howl – and on the
title page of the accompanying book (-let) to this CD. And it gets better when the Lord himself offers the second
one: ‘The light shines in darkness and darkness has not overcome it’ (from John I:V). The name Daniel Thomas
Freeman might be new to me, but the British engineer and producer has apparently been around for a while.
A member of Toast in the 90s and Rameses III in the 00s Freeman finally released his solo debut album “The
Beauty Of Doubting Yourself” in 2011. Freeman also scored the 2014 feature film “Catch Me Daddy”, a thriller
cut for Film 4, of which a reworking of the title track appears on this album. This brings us neatly to this album,
Freeman’s second under his own name — “The Infinite And Unknowable”. According to the press release “The
Infinite And Unknowable” was ‘constructed’ over a six year period from hundreds of layers of processes violin,
percussion, accordion and electronics using a mythical Ballardian, as in author J.C. Ballard, sea voyage as its
core. It is ‘A visceral attempt to explore the fathomless mysteries of the divine’. Oh dear, you might say, but
bear in mind that press statements are like Readers Digest: nothing more than a resume of the truth. Both should
be read with considerable care washed down with some grains of salt. Having said that, “The Infinite And
Unknowable” with its meandering, semi-classical and repetitive soundscapes does evoke memories of the works
of people like Gavin Bryars and Arvo Pärt. The whole thing, 12 tracks in nearly 70 minutes in all, flows nicely,
warm and friendly. The sea that Freeman travels in search of the divine is obviously an undisturbed one, its
surface hardly ever broken by storm or hail. The accompanying 48 page A5 booklet features poems and black
and white photographs by Freeman, including the poem that gives this album its title: ‘Now and here is all I have/
Yet in the long shadow of the tomb/The infinite and unknowable/Speaks. I am uncertain and even slightly
sceptical if listening to “The Infinite And Unknowable” will bring you nearer to understanding the divine –
whatever/whoever that may be. However, as a journey for the eyes and ears, “The Infinite And Unknowable”
works extremely well. (FK)
––– Address:


Although I say this a lot and it’s a source of public fun, but I really think I didn’t hear the name Adam Witkowski
before. On the front we see him as a two-year old, having just destroyed his favourite toy, a Rabab, a gift from
his father who left for his homeland Iraq months before Witkowski was born. The photograph he recently found
when sorting his deceased mother’s belongings and all of that set him thinking about the music he is now doing.
He found his father again and he uses his father’s voice is on four tracks. Witkowski plays baritone guitar and
electric guitar. He calls his music fake folk, which I would think is quite an apt title for what he does. There is
certainly an element of lonesome blues here, but not very well balanced, and certainly not by the book. His
guitar is warm and high electric, microphones are set up to pick the sound from the room, and that’s adds a
great liveliness to the recordings. The voice is reciting small bits of text, but the main focus is on the use of
guitar. Words that spring to mind are sparse, experimental, spacious, dark and haunting; all of that applies to
the music of Witkowski. There are ten relatively short pieces and it is covered with good ol’ spleen. If you like
Loren MazzaConnors or John Fahey then you might want to check this out too. (FdW)
––– Address:

VISIONS OF CATASTROPHE (CD compilation by Buh Records)

It’s been a while since I reviewed some releases by Peruvian label Buh Records (in Vital Weekly 854 to be
precise) but I can safely assume they have been busy all this time. Here we have three new releases, all on
CD this time. In no specific order I started with a duo disc by Tete Leguia (electric guitar) and Martin Escalante
(saxophone), who are depicted on the inside of the cover. They have five pieces here, recorded in Oslo by
Lasse Marhaug earlier this year, and it lasts twenty-five minutes. Within that time frame there is a solid
dismembering going on both instruments, which stay recognizable as such throughout these pieces. This is
total free music, leaning towards the noise end of improvisation. As such I think twenty-five minutes of this
high-energy blast is enough. It’s perhaps also because I think there is only so much one can do in torturing
the strings without too many effects and conventional tooting on a horn (actually also without too many
effects, as it seems).
   Also quite short, thirty minutes, is the release by Distorsion Desequilibrada, which is the music project of
Alvaro Portales, ‘one of the most important representatives of industrial noise produced in Lima between 1990
and 1994′. Coming from the punk and metal scene, he quickly grew to the noisier variations thereof and
started Atresia, which became in 1991, Distorsion Desequilibrada, taking inspiration from the chaos in Peru
in those years. Together with Edgar Umeres (who worked before as Glaucoma) he recorded ‘Fusion’, using
some borrowed multi-effect pedal, two guitars and a portable recorder, adding a bit of radio sounds when
Portales did the mastering. Back then in 1993 this was a demo, which now gets the CD re-issue treatment.
This is some classic industrial power electronics release. No guitar as such can be easily detected in this
endless (well, thirty minutes, three pieces) barrage of noise onslaught. It very much reminded me of Ramleh/
Broken Flag and Merzbow, right around that period and as such this is not something that true devotees of
the genre haven’t heard before.
   Distorsion Desequilibrada is also present on a compilation called ‘Visions Of Catastrophe’, which documents
‘noise industrial in Peru’ from 1990 to 1995. It includes Atresia, Glaucoma, Esperpento, Demencia Senil,
Phlegm, Experimental Manufakturing, Pestaudio and Sangama. None of these names I hadn’t heard before,
but either I was out of the noise scene at that time, or I simply never found any Peruvian friends back then.
Like with Distorsion Desequilibrada, all of these bands were inspired by grindcore, punk and metal, which is
quite interesting I think because that’s not how many of the noise bands I remember from those days arrived
in the world of noise, coming more from either improvised music or musique concrete. All of these Peruvian
acts crossed the barrier from anything remotely conventional in musical terms to through noise. This isn’t
the pure harsh noise wall that we didn’t call harsh noise wall back then, since there is also room for objects
abuse and the crude use of tape loops such as in the works by Esperpento and and Demencia Senil, along
with screaming vocals by Phlegm at the other end of the noise spectrum, or the same with the addition of
‘percussion’ (rattling on pans more likely) by Experimental Manufakturing. None of these pieces are very
long, and the whole thing is just forty-two minutes. Wasn’t there any more? I am not complaining however
as I think they all keep matters to a strict point and that is a rare thing in the world of noise music. (FdW)
––– Address:


Each CD is one hour of ‘improvised’ speech record live in 2014 together with a booklet with texts by Prado
and Mattin also Rayya Badran, Robin Mackay and Reza Negarestani. The recordings ‘evacuate’ the voice by
“subjective depersonalization”. They appear within the context of improvisation, contemporary music and a
critique of Capitalism. Eschewing any aesthetic this project is aimed at an understanding of the processes
of vocalisation from an ‘outsiders’ perspective. Thus it both critiques a Capitalist aesthetic, and adopts a
Speculative Realist approach in regard to thought and its object, one of Access. I’ve argued that since the
Renaissance and the rise of commercial banking all art has been nothing more than a Capitalist Aesthetic
of Value. Furthermore the “Ptolemaic disaster” of the Enlightenment as presented in Correlational thought
removed the object in itself to replace it with the object-for-us. Maybe not obvious but ‘object-for-us’ =
‘commodity’. The texts offer a diverse appraisal – exposition of the work. From the deconstruction of the self –
or Manifest Image or voice-self of speech, through the ‘ownership’ of the voice as identity and of alienation
via technology and ideology, through the voice as via the smart phone the mega machine of Capitalism,
the organ of fear to a reality un mediated, a really real? Towards understanding biological systems (of speech
a nd language production-recognition) by means of Artificial Intelligence.  What we do hear is disconnected
speech split across the stereo field with long ‘hesitant’ silences in which I could imagine the painful process
of attempting un-intentional speech. The pain IMO of infinite regressions – “I’m not thinking this… I’m not
thinking that… I’m not thinking that…. such regressions or hierarchies are identical in their logic to the
generation of number by empty sets. 0 = {}, 1 = {0} = {{}}, 2 = {0,1} = {{},{{}}}, 3 = {0,1,2} = {{},{{}},{{},{{}}}}.
Confused? Well its not that difficult, a set is like a paper bag – so a bag with sweets in it is a set of sweets,
you can put anything in the bag, tadpoles, rock stars, quasars or pocket lint. You can even put in numbers,
if you put all the whole numbers in a ‘bag’ you have a set of infinite numbers, but all in one bag, so ‘A set =
the many treated as one’. Back to our empty = evacuated set. You get an empty bag and put it in another
empty bag, then that one into a bag and so on… That’s the ploy I think Prado and Mattin are using.
   And so? Well you create a universe from nothing. And this is a new and strange universe. You might gain
an insight into the workings of speech in this universe but I don’t think so. I’d leave that to the Neuro-biologists
and I’d avoid scientism (of Metzinger, Brassier et al). I also don’t think you gain access to the Real,
(Meillassoux, Harman, OOO…) I think what you get is a Transcendent Metaphysics. And by that I mean
a different world to this one, not better or worse, or maybe…  a newly created real – one in which this world’s
(Capitalist, anthropological, liberal… logical, racist, sexual… philosophical etc.) ‘rules’ do not or might not
apply. Space precludes a full explanation because– this is a finite review – metaphysics has infinities…
and Absolutes… though the ‘mapping’ from such transcendent universes can be very interesting and useful.
From the banal use of counting (Maths takes place in a Platonic universe of pure forms) to the more
interesting ones such as Universals and Hilbert Space… (Jliat)
––– Address:

UROK — NAGAWOR (CD by Mozdok)

The iconography of this one spells out ‘darkness’, ‘metal music inspired’ and ‘ritualistik’. Urok is a Polish duo
of M. (who we might (?) know from Mazut, Gazawat, Jonasz Karpinski) and R. (Micromelancolie, Forrest
Drones, Ixora). Urok means in Polish ‘enchantment, charm’ and the duo has plundered a box of parapsychological
tapes, of which they use samples in all of the pieces, and ‘each track is a specific kind of positive witchcraft,
helping to deal with the curses’. Other than that they also use such things as a bunch of synthesizers and rhythm
machines. Music and text reminded me very much of mid-90s Silent Records releases (although nothing alike
in the visual department sadly), say John C. Lilly, and perhaps that’s also it’s biggest failure. While the ambient
music of Urok is very atmospheric, with lots of sustaining synthesizer sounds, bird twitter and other field
recordings, it is the voice that works a bit against the release. It is the same voice talking with that calm and
relaxing way, but which in the end I found a bit irritating. A few sparse moments would have been nice, but in
each and every piece? Maybe hearing this release twice in a row didn’t help, I readily admit that, but with the
amount of talking going on here, I must I am not sure I would play it easily again; probably just like the John C.
Lily release back then, in which I thought the speech part was a bit much. (FdW)
––– Address:


Following his rather short previous release ‘Three Dancers’ (see Vital Weekly 1031), here is a new one by Ryan
Choi, who again plays the solo baritone ukulele, and the album is about ten minutes longer, clocking in at thirty.
Unlike the previous release it seems Choi doesn’t use any other instruments such as “percussion, ‘other string
instruments’ and electronics”. Otherwise I think there is not an awful lot of variation with the previous release.
Choi again plays his ukulele with great care, with certain nervousness and hectic, such as in the long ‘South
Aleksander’ but also more contemplative in the shorter parts of ‘Set’. The sound has a bit of space, as recorded
in a somewhat bigger, livelier room, which adds a fine colour to these pieces. I have not much idea if this
beyond any tradition in tuning and such, and I think it sounds pretty good. Not as dense, perhaps, as the
previous release, but a bit opened more I’d say.  Quite good, but I have no idea what to say more about it.
If you are into music on the fringe of composed and improvised, with a modern classical touch, then the work
of Ryan Choi is certainly something you should check out. (FdW)
––– Address:

CELER — TEMPELHOF (CD by Two Acorns)

After reviewing a fair portion of the music of Celer, I still haven’t caught a live concert by them. This new
album is a documentation of Will Long’s European tour in 2013, when he played in the UK, Germany,
Switzerland, Poland and Russia. It was mixed between 2013 and 2015. Three short pieces are used as
interludes and six pieces make up the main album, which lasts, sadly, only thirty-eight minutes. Here we
have everything we like about Celer; the sustaining sounds, the refined ambient approach and still we have
no clue what the hell it is that Celer does. That of course is my bad; because as said, I never saw him play
live. I would think that much of what Celer is laptop generated and therefore (I might be wrong, I am the first
to admit) also in concert a laptop act. But what’s wrong with that? Or why would I even bother about that?
I shouldn’t. I was lying on the couch for a while, having this music on repeat (which seems I do whenever
something new from Celer drops in) and I wasn’t doing much else. I would say that it is exactly what this
music should do. Evoke a state of nothingness and that is something that Celer does very well. Another
beautiful release. (FdW)
––– Address:


These might not be the most recent releases, but earlier this year I saw B*tong play a concert which I enjoyed
quite a bit, and so, why not spend some attention to these older releases. The oldest one is the CD, from 2013,
and the LP from about a year later. Over the years I reviewed some of his music, though far from all I would think,
and throughout B*tong has explored the use of acoustic sounds being treated with electronic effects and sampling.
On the CD he finds room to use his own voice, producing sound rather than singing or reciting text, along with the
use of what seems to be animal sounds and all of that results in music, which is best described as ‘quite dark’ to
‘utter dark’. B*tong however isn’t interested in transforming all of this into lengthy masses of drone music but he
creates loops, sound fragments and collages to play his work and he does a great job. In the past I compared it
to Lustmord, especially in the mid 80s, I’d say, and it has certain playfulness, which is perhaps not something
one easily associates with this music.
   This more or less continues on the LP, which was recorded between 2009 and 2011 and which uses ‘samples
of natural and artificial origin’, as it says on the cover and there are some differences to be noted with the CD.
I think the LP is lighter in tone; surely B*tong’s music is still mostly ambient in approach, but here there seems
to be less deep undercurrents of heavily processed bass tones. Whatever B*tong samples here is kept light and
both in ‘Bow Shock’ and ‘Interspersed’ even a bit rhythmical, more so than I found on the CD. The music is kept
delicate but throughout these six pieces is also made of sound collages. B*tong uses extended cross fades
rather than rapid editing, which perhaps comes with the musical territory of (dark) ambient music. I think I
preferred the LP to the CD; it has bits of rhythmical music, bits of melody and is not as black and dark as the
CD. But I guess that is very much in the details, as both releases are highly enjoyable. (FdW)
––– Address:

MASAMI AKITA — WATTLE (LP by Elevator Bath)
(cassette by Elevator Bath)

Here we have two new picture discs by Elevator Bath, in an edition of 270 copies, and the first one is by mister
Merzbow, but this around he works under his own name, Masami Akita. I must admit I never know when he wears
his Merzbow cap and how it differs from the music he releases under his own name. The music here, two times
twenty minutes of noise in the best Merzbow tradition, so what exactly is the difference? Apparently this time
around Akita doesn’t use any drums, guitars or vocals and solely concentrates on using feedback and his rainbow
coloured collection of guitar pedals, which results in that loud, piercing music we know so well, following his 200+
(or hell, maybe 300 by now?) releases as Merzbow. I am no longer the big fan boy as I used to be (that happens),
and so I no longer am obtaining every new release, but whenever something new comes along I listen with
great interest and judge what I get served. The duets with drums might not really be my thing, but this one,
harking back it seems to the early 90s period (‘Rainbow Electronics’), I thought was very good again. Despite
all the furious sound layering going on, the Chinese wall of sound approach, Akita’s music remains very minimal
I would think. It goes on and on, but doesn’t divert much from within. There isn’t a quick break, a sudden
departure or a rough cut; it is like being drowned in a pool of noise, and it feels good.
   Tom Recchion has had a release on this label before (see Vital Weekly 841), and he is best known for his older
music within the Los Angeles Free Music Society, as well as playing with David Toop, Christian Marclay, Oren
Ambarchi and designing record covers for recently deceased pop stars, and probably some still alive. His record
is the total opposite of the Masami Akita one. Here we have two distinctly different pieces, which Recchion calls
‘unpretentious snapshots of specific moments in time and space’. The first piece is called ‘Oaxaca dawn’ and was
recorded in the place of the same name in Mexico at the cracking of dawn while ‘Bamboo’ was recorded in the
(windy) afternoon in in Hana bamboo forest on Maui in Hawaii. On the first piece we hear a lot of animal sounds,
dogs, hens, chickens, birds and insects and whatever else lives around farms, all of which seem to be heavily
amplified and makes up a densely woven field of animal sounds, which is highly captivating to hear. Hard to say
if any editing took place here, but it might very well. The bamboo forest recording on the other side is compared
to that quite ‘mellow’ with lots of rustling of branches of the bamboo, other leaves of plants in the vicinity and what
could be wind, which here sounds like white noise. It sounds like a record capturing dust and which has no music.
Here too I think it all sounds highly captivating, like hearing some highly obscured action-taking place, but then
entirely triggered by non-human and non-animal action. These are two beautiful examples of field recordings.
   It’s been fourteen years since Colin Andrew Sheffield (the man behind the label here) worked together with
James Eck Rippie. I believe the first time was when they did ‘Variations’ LP together (see Vital Weekly 316).
Later on they also released a CDR ‘Vessel’ (Vital Weekly 359). The credits on this new release are that Sheffield
is responsible for samples and processing and Rippie for turntables, samples and processing. Before their music
was quite minimal with long spun sounds and slow movements, and that is something that hasn’t changed on this
new release, be it that the music seems a bit louder than before, but never ever being very noisy. It is very hard
to say what it is that is subject to their sampler and towards the end of ’22:57′ we finally recognize some of the
turntable sound, and throughout it seems to be playing around with these highly amorphous fields of sound,
of whatever nature they are. In ’23:24′ samples might be taken from orchestral music records and have than far
away trumpet quality, set against a dark backdrop of intensified drone sounds, whereas the other piece uses
a mass of small sound snippets, maybe also orchestral, but with similar darkness hanging over it. Not as refined
as before, but perhaps more of their own this time around. Great experimental ambience. (FdW)
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Back in Vital Weekly 965 I was amazed by the fact that someone send me a letter, typed on typewriter, about
a record that one could obtain by writing a letter, since the label, as the name implied, had no part of it, i.e. the
worldwide web and such. I was looking for information on Blood Rhythms and to my surprise I saw the label now
has a website and bandcamp of sorts, but who can blame them? A product needs to be sold, I guess. Blood
Rhythms is, as far as I could dig up information, mainly the project of Arvo Zylo, who also works under his own
name; it is not clear when he does that and when Blood Rhythms is more appropriate. Over the last fifteen
years he has recorded a lot of material, which in his own words, was intended for ‘7 inches or prestigious
compilations, or they were criminally under-released, perhaps prematurely’, but now found their way on this
compilation of sorts. While I only heard the previous LP, I can’t say I have a clear picture of the music of Blood
Rhythms, but I liked that LP a lot. It seemed to have an interesting fresh look upon re-using sounds from all
sorts, and present them in an ambient way, or noise, or just funny and strange; which is perhaps something
one could also of the music of Zylo solo.
   Many of these pieces one could say are media pieces: using sounds from other sources, which are treated
with electronic effects and/or sampled. Sometimes a drum pattern pops up, such as in ‘Remove All Doubt
(Part 2)’, which sounds a bit silly. It reminded me of ‘Historical’ by Illusion Of Safety, one of their releases that
didn’t age well. Blood Rhythms are at their best when they keep their ambience on the industrial side, with
mechanical loops of a conveyer belt and an air conditioning van, such as in the long ‘The Stiffling Air’,
or applying old musique concrete techniques in ‘Mope’ (very NWW), or the intense synth bursts of ‘Dismissil’.
Here there is enough to intensity and power in the noise based ambient music to make this fully enjoyable.
As such even the more ‘silly’ pieces become quite enjoyable as counterparts to the pieces I like best.
In all its diversity a release I quite enjoyed. (FdW)
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MASSIMO MAGEE — MUSIC IN 3 SPACES (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
ALFRED 23 HARTH — KEPLER 452B EDITION (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)

Improviser Massimo Magee plays various wind instruments, such as the clarinet and the alto and sopranino
saxophone (on this new releases), but we have learned that some of his work can also be very noisy. On this
new release he explores three spaces; first there is the concert situation, then a piece for ‘horizontal and
vertical electro-acoustic alto saxophone’ along with home recordings and a piece that is in the digital space,
using software to transform the saxophone. The first piece, in concert, is a more or less traditional piece of
clarinet playing in a space, slowly moving through the space and sounds quite all right; not too different.
In the ‘home’ piece he starts out with some nasty high frequency, but it turns out that this piece is an
interesting collage of acoustic rumbling, instrument-as-object abuse, feedback and traditional improvised
playing. The computer piece is with twenty-four minutes the longest and it is created with ‘Cyber […] a digital
object designed to be read by the computer both as audio and as an image, these two forms arising from the
same data’. Through the hiss and scratch of what is no doubt the computer we hear the original sopranino
saxophone but it is quite buried in the barrage of sounds. Not that this piece is super noisy, but it is hardly
conventional improvisation. While I thought it was an interesting approach, I also thought it was way too
long for what it had to offer. If it were ten minutes it would have made the same point.
   The name Alfred 23 Harth I always associate with improvised music, and while it is probably more suited
for other reviewers, I played a bit of this new release and then continued to play this until the very end. There
are no individual instruments mentioned on the cover, and based on the twenty-nine mostly short pieces it
is not easy to guess. I’d say there is quite a bit of electronics at work here, along with Harth’s saxophone at
times. The twenty-nine pieces are called ‘Kepler Suite, An Allegory Of Life In An Alien Area’, and that means
all of these small bits should be seen as part of the total. In here Harth moves from anything to anywhere.
There are bits of free jazz, computer noise, rhythm box abuse, musique concrete manipulation and more than
once this is combined into the same piece. These can be anywhere from half a minute up to six minutes.
None of this is however very spacious, even if the title suggests something like that. I found all of this quite
captivating. There is so much variation going on that one doesn’t notice this anymore. It is like scrolling
along radio waves and tuning into new places all the time. This is a great release of much musical
imagination. (FdW)
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For the first release I am not sure if Iterare is the band name or the title, but it’s a trio of performers here at work:
Cyril Bondi (melodica, bass melodica, harmonica, tuned bowl), D’incise (melodica, harmonica, electronic tones,
tuned object) and Jacques Demierre (Indian harmonium). In September 2014 they improvised ‘with/around a 5th’
in a studio in Geneva, which (in the released form) lasts nearly seventy-seven minutes and finds them playing in
the higher region of the instruments. They play their notes/chords in various blocks, solo and/or together, and
making irregular intervals. There is always a bit of quietness after each bit and the length of each bit varies from
a few second up to a few minutes. One perhaps would expect this to be like drone music, but it’s not. It is rather
a Zen-like experience, I would think, in which nothing is the same and everything is on a constant change. This
is something you can play and drift off in your own world, far away from the ‘real world’ or one could sit down
and listen very closely. The latter didn’t work for me that much, I must admit. I rather drifted off; even fell asleep
for a short while and this very loose improvisation worked at it’s best then.
   Also on a more meditative approach when it comes to improvising does Alfredo Costa Monteiro, who plays
accordion and cymbal here, playing four pieces. By now Costa Monteiro is someone whose work is reviewed
a lot in these pages, and one could say I always like what he does, and these four pieces are no exception.
In each of these pieces he plays in a very contemplative mood; quiet and introspective; it is hard to say what
the cymbal does in all of these pieces. In the first one ‘Sixieme Repli’ it is used to strike against the body of
the instrument and occasionally bangs it, but throughout there is more a drone like sound to be noted in these
pieces of carefully adding air to the instrument and of hardly playing it; it all has quite a spooky character with
some kind of resonating sound. This is another wonderful release by Costa Monteiro. (FdW)
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From Almaty where she studied piano performance and composition hails Angelina Yershova, of whom I never
heard before and who’s ‘Piano’s Abyss’ is her third release; the two previous albums were also on Twin Paradox
Records, which is her own label. Of course all of this revolves around the piano and the body of the piano, that
big box in which one finds the strings. She uses all of that to create her music, which the label proudly announces
to be a “new experimental genre: piano drone music”. I must admit I beg to differ. The body and strings of the
piano have been explored ever since mister Cage added bolts and nuts to the strings and since mister Eno added
studio trickery to mister Budd’s piano, the drone aspect has also been explored. And of course all those people
who have been using piano sounds since then. Yershova’s music is not bad, but also not original, which is of
course not really a problem. She creates vast spaces of heavily processed piano sounds and I would think that
as such she uses computer processing. On top of that she plays the piano itself, which adds a more melodic
touch to the pieces. In ‘Shining Waves’ this sounded a bit like new age for me, but when it was sparser I quite
enjoyed it. At times I was reminded of early Thomas Köner, when he was playing gongs, but throughout
Yershova is less static, and has more variation to offer. What she does, she does considerably well, and it
stands in a long tradition. (FdW)
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ERIK LEVANDER — HALV (cassette by Full Of Nothing)

When I tried to go the website of the label, it was down, but they also have a bandcamp page, so I list that
instead. They just released the third album of Erik Levander, who previous albums were reviewed a long time
ago; ‘Tonad’ in Vital Weekly 455 and ‘Kondens’ in Vital Weekly 617. I have no idea why he was not very active
in more recent years, but now he returns with twelve-song cassette, which is like his previous works influenced
by the glitchy end of pop music. Levander worked with “Danish pop stars Efterklang and Swedish improv troupe
Fria Konstellationen” and maybe that accounts for his missing in action, but the return is quite good; Levander
surely has a great ear for crafting some weird pop music (I believe one has to say ‘pop shit’ in such cases), using
a variety of instruments. None of which are actually mentioned on the cover but I would assume there is a guitar,
synthesizers and computer treatments. Much of what Levander does works with overloading the input but that
seldom leads to noise. Levander is very good at spotting the right elements of pop music and plays them with
great care; despite the sonic overload that is. The influence of people like Tim Hecker, Oval and Fennesz is
never far away but Levander keeps his music to the (pop-) point and adds from time to time pretty conventional
musical elements to the plate, which we don’t see done in the same way as his influences, such as the metal
music influences in ‘Autopilot’. Most of the times however he plays out subtler, ambient glitch music and does
that with great care. I would say this is something that deserves a wider audience than a limited run on
cassette. (FdW)
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HIROSHI HASEGAWA/RASALASAD (split cassette by Thisco)
RASALASAD — THISTONAL (cassette by Thisco)

Hiroshi Hasegawa who formed C.C.C.C. back in 1989 was part of the inception of the genre, which became
Noise, enough said? Fernando Cerqueira aka Rasal.Asad Rasal Asad, Rasal.A’Sad, Rasalasad … founder of
Thisco and also has a track record (sic!) within the genre and others dating back to the 80s… ‘spoken wordcore,
drone, broken word, illbient, experimental, library music.’ And tracing both artists history now seems strangely
nostalgic, I suppose it had to happen… one comes across names like Emil Beaulieau, Scanner, Francisco
Lopez, Lasse Marhaug, Rapoon, and one can smell the dry cobwebs of an old house of say ones grandparents.
They have almost become ghosts? And one wonders about time, death, and decay, which was never Noise in
the first place. A line from the Matrix, the Agent Smith can’t abide the smell of humans, we invade time with
our flesh. The Hiroshi Hasegawa track has the nostalgia of noise in its industrial origins (amongst others) the
(usual) roar and feedback but a faint reverb giving depth. The track finally fades away and I hear the sound of
crows in the garden outside of summer 2016. The Rasalasad track is even more remote, like some soundtrack
to a 80s sci-fi film. What noise lacked was the ability to de-humanise itself. But this isn’t noise its an ethereal
luminescent soundscape.
   Rasalasad’s ‘Thistonal’ is another C20 cassette in which sound sources were provided from and
Smell & Quim and mixed together with original Rasalasad material. And this follows in much the same vogue
as the previous Rasalasad soudscape, reverb and bell like sounds…swell and merge. We have rhythms within
the synth sounds… The B side is more of the same. For me this music is far too sweet, it lacks either the
reckless nihilism and incompetence of noise or the skeletal framework of compositional music. Metaphorically
it’s like a rubber sex doll. And of course there are those who find pleasure in that or those. (jliat)
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(cassette by Noise Below)

The first release is basically a recording made by Thorivos jamming around with a bunch of electronic means,
monotrons and such I guess, along with some voice cut-up (Movie? Radio? Something I must I didn’t recognize)
but it also includes his own six-year old daughter Melina somewhere in the background banging on the piano and
occasionally delivering a vocal bit, by way of talking. Now all of that may sound like a very private affair, and it
is probably so, but I must admit it is worthwhile hearing outside the confinement of the family. Whatever happens
live in the room is picked up with a microphone, going straight into some sound effects so it’s not some kid
screaming and going rampant on the piano, but it mixes well with the electronics played by Thorivos, going
through various stages of havoc. Mild to wild is probably the best description. This is all quite a fine industrial
music, with and without children.
   AnanPie I never heard of but it is one Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou, who, according to the label is from Rabbit
Hole, Wonderland. Packed in a very pink furry wallet, this is something else. Maybe one could file this as
plunderphonic, by re-appropriating sounds found on the Internet with some girl singing, screaming, whispering,
moaning or otherwise engaged in doing voice sounds along with this. The nicely printed cards show us names
of the pieces, but it is not easy to detect any distinct tracks on this cassette (of course more often a problem
with this medium). Very much like one could say that the Melina & Thorivos release is a private one, this too
sounds quite private; like trapping someone in the bathroom singing along something odd found on youtube.
But in terms of outsider music I guess this works quite fine indeed. This is twenty minutes of musical
madness. (FdW)
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(cassette by Organized Music From Thessaloniki)

From New York hails Richard Kamerman, who we best know for his releases on his own label, Copy For Your
Records, some of which are a serious test for the ears, due to excessive loudness. He also worked with Anne
Guthrie and Billy Gomberg as Delicate Sen (see Vital Weekly 797). Much of his work deals with old and near
broken electronics, field recordings, objects and such like. There is not a lot of information on the cover,
so maybe the first side indeed contains recordings made at a glassblower’s studio, and yes, perhaps there is
a broken toy piano in here on the second side. What is then exactly the role of Kamerman, I wondered. Does
he stand by the side and observes the glassblower, wandering around in this workshop and capturing all the
sounds that come with the process of blowing glass (water, blowing, fire, cooling) plus whatever else goes on
in such a space; is there a radio on in the back? Or perhaps Kamerman is the guy who is blowing the glass
and this is performance captured on tape? Something similar one could say about the other side, which has
this highly obscured sizzle and fog sound, like street sounds captured through a mine shaft and someone
occasionally playing a bit on a broken piano, mainly at the start of this piece. Is it captured in action, or the
result of editing and mixing? That is also not easy to tell, I thought. It sounded quite captivating in terms of
a field recording, or live concert or whatever one calls this. This is surely the kind of I enjoy a lot: one has no
idea what the hell is going on and it sounds great. (FdW)
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