Number 1043

Cold Spring Records) *
THE SOUND OF PROGRESS (DVD by Cold Spring Records)
PALE THORNS – SOMBERLAND (CD by Divided Visions) *
MANIFESTO – EXIT (CD by Reverse Alignment) *
MOLLUSK – ASTRAL MECHANICS (CDR by Reverse Alignment) *
ORPHAX – THE EMPTY ROOM (card by Broken20) *
C103/AMK/GX – AN EVENING OF GARBAGE (cassette by Incubator)
RYOKO AKAMA – HAKO TO OTO (cassette by Crustaces)
4 IN 1 VOLUME 4 (cassette by Insane Music)

THE SOUND OF PROGRESS (DVD by Cold Spring Records)

A while ago I heard through the grapevine that Cold Spring Records struck up connection with punk legends
Crass; I believe it was to release live recordings, and as such this is perhaps some sort of start, but as it is
said; Crass was then – this is now, so it’s not called Crass but Penny Rimbaud’s L’Academie Des Vanites. Of
all the punk bands in the world there are only two whose work I more or less own complete: The Ex and Crass;
for different reasons actually. The Ex because they expanded the word ‘punk’ into a much wider musical territory,
including improvised music, free jazz and ethnic music (even if they didn’t seem to be happy with how I wrote
about them in the past, so no more promo’s come this way; sadly enough), and Crass I always enjoyed for
their consistent approach towards music and the music industry. Crass were of course a bunch of hippies,
taking the hippy ideals into experimental music land before turning into punk and, post 1984, when the band
split up, various members continued with free improvisation and poetry concerts, most notably founding
member Penny Rimbaud, who is, and I am sure he doesn’t agree, is probably the leader, spiritual and ideological,
 of the group. Crass’ album ‘Yes Sir, I Will’ was made in 1982, when the Falklands were the focus of a war, and
Crass delivered this pacifist statement.
In 2014 Rimbaud was asked to participate in the Rebellion festival, ‘a yearly punk gathering in Blackpool’ and
to end decided to re-write the album about love from a more Taoist perspective and in the memory of mister
All You Need Is Love, John Ono Lennon. The concert opens with The Who’s ‘My Generation’ and Lennon’s
 ‘Working Class Hero’ (is something to be, a dairy farm is something to own if you have some money to spare,
but no doubt I’m just being silly here, pointing out hypocrisy of millionaire rock stars; yes, love is what we want).
Following these ‘covers’, with actually different lyrics than the originals, the other pieces are by Crass and very
much text heavy. Eve Libertine and Penny Rimbaud, leaving drums to Gene Calderazzo, share vocal duties. The
rest of the musicians play tenor sax, cello, guitar and bass, and sound at times surprisingly conventional
(especially the saxophone blears away in the earlier songs), but as the concert progress it becomes freer and
weirder, with sounds on tape mixed in, mixed with the poetry (all included in the extended booklet). I very much
enjoyed this release, as this was another thought provoking release, as I am used by Crass; well, Penny Rimbaud
that is, as he was the main instigator of all of this. There is much to explore here in terms of the many words
used, and as revolution is much needed; against the state but perhaps also against those wolf in sheep clothes
trying to seduce the masses with the false hope of a new world through one powerful leader. The world certainly
isn’t a better since 1984; the current state of affairs is probably far worse, so this injection of love is very
much needed.
Someone last year pointed me to the existence of the documentary ‘The Sound Of Progress’, from 1988 in
grainy textured colours, ripped from a VHS to be found on Youtube. I think it came with the question: do you
remember seeing this on the telly back then? I did watch the idiot box back then, but I can’t remember if I saw
this on Dutch TV back then. But maybe in 1988 I wouldn’t have considered myself to be a fan of Scraping
Foetus Of The Wheel, Current 93, Coil or Test Dept. I think I would thought so a few years before, but as a
twenty-three old I probably considered all of the bands sell-outs, betrayers of the true underground spirit,
and I was, armed with my cassette releases, the one and true purveyor of that underground. This documentary,
now fully re-mastered sound and image wise, was made between 1986 and 1988 by a young Dutch filmer
Alexander Oey, and he interviews these bands and speaks about their motivations, plus we see some of them
at work, in the studio (Coil with some beautiful ancient technology recording ‘Horse Rotorvator’), and in
concert (especially from Foetus there are some fine fragments). The subtitle is ‘Popmusic According To…’,
which was no doubt a tagline to make sure it got broadcasted in the first place, and while Foetus and Test
Dept had ties to the music industry (Some Bizarre Records, Virgin), I don’t think Test Dept or Current 93
would have considered themselves pop. These four bands/persons have quite distinct approaches. Test Dept
are the most political, I’d say, from a traditional point of view. ‘We want to help the workers forward, fight the
fascist system’ etc, whereas Foetus admits he likes the Western culture of trash and claims to being rock n roll
in certain ways (I always considered him like that anyway) and David Tibet is resolute in his disdain for anything
coming the west and declaring to go to India. At the end of the movie he’s back and declares India to be full of
hippies and fake guru’s, but all along I always thought Tibet is a guru himself, with lots of disciples, following
his every move, into whatever obscure mediaeval poet, 16th century painter (“only 3 paintings exist”) or an
obscure 19th century opium writer he has found, followed for some time, and then abandoned in pursuit of
something new obsession. Or in fact whatever religious system he’s now into. I am no follower (“There Is No
Authority Than Yourself”, Crass would say, and incidentally the title of another Oey documentary about that
band from not so long ago, and hopefully also on DVD one day. Cold Spring, please?). Coil, by way of very young
looking John Balance and Stephen Thrower speak of more personal influences, dream diaries and self-inflicted
madness, LSD experiments to find inspiration within them. At that time (1988) Coil was probably the most
esoteric of this lot. It is great to see these angry young men hammering out their statements (very much like
I just did on Tibet, so don’t get all upset if you feel your guru has been insulted by this nitwit) on what we may
now see quite differently. Maybe the world of 1988 wasn’t that bad compared to 2016, with more and more
poor people feeling dissatisfied and demanding (and getting!) strong leadership. The cold war ended and is now
replaced by just coldness and love (Crass!) seems far away. What both the CD and the DVD learn us that there
 is no authority than yourself; just say no to the system, in any form; don’t follow any man, any religion, share
love and be good. If there were a lesson to be learned from these two releases, by the various gurus included in
these, then it is this lesson, I would think. (FdW)
––– Address:


As I noticed in Vital Weekly 1037 I just didn’t hear for quite some time from Steve Roden, but listening to six
CDs of his music from his twenty-five year career surely was a great thing a few weeks ago. Here is a new release,
if you ignore the fact that it has already been recorded in 2011. It was created for an exhibition called ‘Time Again’,
at the Sculpture Center, Long Island City, New York and the booklet shows some collages, which may or may not
be used in the exhibition. We learn from the brief liner notes that the sound installation was outside, and inside
a silent film was presented. I gather that accounts for the use of the sound of a film projector every now and
then in the composition. The music piece is called ‘Distance Piece’ and, besides the camera, also uses guitar,
bowing a cymbal, tapping a cymbal, the sound of stones, a bit of voice, cars and birds, all of which are cut
together in a very Roden-like methodology. Everything is cut down to (long) loops of sounds and because of
the irregular intervals by which they return, make that it may sound superficially the same but there is not much
logic in there. On top of that I think Roden also add a few live elements, such as the guitar, played with a mild
reverse delay effect at times; with the sound of the camera popping up every now and then, it also adds a very
 delicate filmic element to the music. Like playing a film but then without images; or rather one that generates
it’s own pictures, right in front of you. This is especially because of those elements that take some time before
appearing again, like a bit of speech, a car passing or such like. The ground ‘drone’, if you will, is made of object
 upon cymbal, imitating the sound of an open window in the wind, and the continuous presence of the guitar.
The whole piece lasts forty-six minutes and that’s not a minute too short or too long; it seems to me the right
length for such a work. It is elegant in its use of sounds, a drone backdrop, the story-like approach the
composition and it is a classic Steve Roden work. He invented lowercase music as a term, and ‘Distance Piece’
is a fine example of it. (FdW)
––– Address:


Westerhus played with Jaga Jazzist, Supersilent, Nils Petter Molvær and Motorpsycho, a.o. For Rune Grammofon
he released several solo albums and collaborations with Sidsel Endresen. He is a musician who is very focused on
innovation. His latest solo album ‘Amputation’, is illustrating this. It’s the follow-up to ‘The Matriarch and the
Wrong Kind of Flowers’ (2012, Rune Grammofon) and it is a collection of six pieces, lasting between four and
ten minutes. Westerhus plays everything by himself: electric guitar, voice and drum machine, as well as mixing
and production. The music is heavily processed, his voice manipulated. Sometimes it is over the top and not
serving a clear aim. In all pieces he creates orchestral sound worlds, most of them without a beat. Basically it
are songs, amputated however from all normal constitutive elements, except Westerhus singing a melody. By
consequence his attractive singing is embedded in strange and abstract constructions of noises and sounds
that show Westerhus’ drive for doing new things. In every piece he uses another set of ‘colours’ to paint his
works. ‘Infectious Decay’ may be the most traditional structured composition on this cd: a real ballad. The
atmosphere, like in the other compositions is dark and desolate. “It´s music I’ve dropped to the floor
repeatedly, maybe even on purpose. It’s music in a cracked mirror portraying the time it was created”,
Westerhus explains. Intriguing album! (DM)
––– Address:


Once you are familiar with the sound of the Hardanger fiddle, you will recognize it immediately. Chances to
have this experience frequently however are low, unless you are a fan of Norwegian fiddle folk music, as this
is the natural habitat of this instrument. Apneseth is one of those musicians who want to give an instrument
a new life, breaking out of the context of traditional folk music. Apneseth, a prominent player and interpreter
in the Norvegian folk scene, released in 2013 his first album ‘Blikkspor’ for Grappa Musikforlag, an album
produced by famous ambient-trumpeter Arve Henriksen. For his follow up Apneseth continued working with
drummer Øyvind Hegg-Lunde (Building Instrument, José González) and guitarist Stephan Meidell (Cakewalk,
Krachmacher), who were also involved on his debut recording. Drums and percussion by Hegg-Lunde are easy
to identify. More difficult is it to trace the contributions by guitarist Meidell, who also provides some electronics.
Their contributions may be sparse, they are however very effective and creating a beautiful and full environment
for the fiddle. Most prominent they are in a piece like ‘Nattkat’ were drums and guitar creates a complex
rhythm-based cyclic structure. About half of the tracks originated from improvisation in the studio.
Apneseth composed the others. In all tracks one hears echoes of folk music, not only of Scandinavian origin,
but also Japanese influences can be traced, and a slide guitar that evokes American moods. But they expand
the musical forms into varied and tasty improvisations, or drones and compositions of a more abstract nature.
Above all it is fiddle playing by Apneseth that makes the difference. The fiddle has a deep and full sound, and a
melancholic soul. Wonderful music. (DM)
––– Address:


This is the fourth CD by the Jazzfakers, again on Alrealon Musique. From early beginnings The Jazzfakers are a
quartet with David Tampura (sax, keyboards, guitars) and Robert L.Pepper (violin, electronics) as core
members. Raphael Zwywer (bass, electronics samples) joined later and drummer Matt Luczak makes his
debut with the JazzFakers on this new release. Recording for this release date from 2013 at Martin Bisi’s
studio. Over the years this combo developed their own eclectic music from an amalgam of influences. Call it
a kind of Avant rock with plenty of room for improvisation and experiment. In the past results never completely
convinced me. Hope this time they will do. They took the title for their album from a book by Oliver Sachs of
the same name that served as a source of inspiration. The titles of tracks refer all to exceptional psychological
conditions like Delirium tremens, Synesthasia, a.o. In eight tracks they take very different routes. For sure this
is a rich album with jazz-oriented improvisations with Tamura’s sax in the lead, but also a lot far more
experimental sound excursions. Takes some time before you have picked up everything what they are doing
here. Their thoughtful constructions are always interesting mixes of many ingredients and choices. They go
for diversity and make a kaleidoscope of possibilities. Sometimes even fascinating and moving. (DM)
––– Address:

PALE THORNS – SOMBERLAND (CD by Divided Visions)

It may sound like the name of a person, but Pale Thorns is the name chosen by Magnus Lindh, one half, along
with Martin Bladh, of Skin Area, but solo explores some different kind of music. ‘Somberland’ is his debut album
as Pale Thorns and Lindh plays all the instruments, which I believe to primarily guitars, bass, drums and vocals
and the result is something that I believe is a bit outside of the world of Vital Weekly, and a little bit inside. There
is a beautiful introspective piece such as ‘Through Passed Times’ with tinkling guitars and humming voice or the
field recordings of ‘Deserted Highways’ but the majority of the eight pieces sees Pale Thorns playing a wall of
guitar sound, that is maybe (who knows) coming from the world of dark metal music. There are lots of distortion
pedals as well as trickeries in that department, and the pillars holding up these walls of guitars is the pounding of
drums. Lindh adds what sounds to me vocals in which the lyrical aspect is not always clear, but I would think all of
this sounds very metal like and it sounds very dark. This is the kind of music that I hear and I can think: yeah, all
right, it sounds great, it comes across as well-produced, but is it necessarily made for me? Nah, I don’t think so.
The whole metal edge is something that is lost on me. (FdW)
––– Address:


Perhaps, so I was thinking when I was listening to the new Maurizio Bianchi CD, mister Bianchi is not really one
composer, maybe it’s a whole bunch of composers; robots maybe, machines even? Maybe I was just distracted
by his use of the word ‘finely machined’ on the cover, which made me consider all of this; the man produces so
much music. As usual the cover is a bit cryptic here; ‘the term ‘Mikromusicha’ means that branch of the sound
world that deals with infinitesimal molecules interact with the neuronal apparatus of the individual fully aware of
its limitations. For its characteristic developing sound within the membranes of the linear modulation experimental,
‘Mikromusicha’ fits nicely with the deepest emotions and the intimate passions’, so your guess is probably as
good as mine. One thing that was loud and clear is that this is dedicated to ‘microtonal artist Akifumi Nakajima
(1959-2013)’, the musician who worked as Aube. One of things that Bianchi doesn’t do is copy the old Aube
sound. If you recall Aube used one single source to work with and added slowly more and more sound effects to
what usually started as a single sound. An approach he used quite a bit (too much), I always thought. Bianchi’s
music is also filled with sound effects and it is never easy to identify sound sources. Not easy? Hell, it is bloody
difficult to think of any of this in terms of single sources. In the longest (opening) piece ‘Infinitesimo’ one feels
trapped inside a factory with lots of conveyor belts slowly crushing objects to bits, with sparkling electricity
everywhere. That sets the tone for the four other pieces as well. Bianchi goes upon deep here with lots of dark
electronics, but none of this is really to be classified as drone music; if one does, then it is more likely to be a
combination of noises and drones, perhaps the musique concrete variation of noise, or vice versa, musique
concrete’s sick little brother. But it is not always ‘loud’ for the sake of loudness; Bianchi knows very well how
to lower the volume and it’s a soundtrack like CD, again, I would think, not uncommon for him if one oversees
the vast output of Bianchi and this one is another fine addition; not his best work to date (some would argue
Bianchi’s best works were made in the early 80s; I don’t agree), but one that fits nicely along much of his recent
output. Dark, concrete, noisy, heavily stacked up on the use of sound effects and just another damn fine dark
ambient work. Limited to 100 copies, so true fans have to act fast. (FdW)
––– Address:


The fact that this is called ‘First’ doesn’t mean this is Benjamin Nelson’s first release. He already had a bunch of
small releases, but none of which every I saw, so ‘First’ is his first real CD and also my introduction to his work.
He says Eliane Radigue and Maryanne Amacher, the serious composers angle, inspire him but then also by Jeph
Jerman and John Hudak, the 80s home taper angle. His ‘First’ is a single piece of music, lasting sixty-five minutes.
The cover provides no additional information and one hears, upon superficial first listening, line hum being
amplified. But if one listens more closely one notes that the line hum is being transformed, very gentle and by
working the frequency range there is room for additional sounds and sines to exist along with the basic hum.
 It is more Amacher/Radigue than Jerman/Hudak, but perhaps some of the latter’s more conceptual approach
is also at work here. The music changes only very minimally over the course of these sixty-five minutes, but
there is certainly change, as said, mostly by minimally altering the frequency range of the few sounds. It’s not
an easy work, not a single-minded drone piece one easily plays and contemplates with. It rather keeps you awake
and fully concentrated, I would think. Listen closely and it will reveal its beauty; otherwise I think one is easily
annoyed with this. (FdW)
––– Address:


It’s easy to misspell the title as ‘Agoraphobia’, the fear of town squares, and crossing them, but it really says
‘Agoraphonia’, which I guess is a word that means the sound of town squares. For their release, Francesco
Giannico and Giulio Aldinucci had an open call to send them recordings of town squares and they received a
whole bunch, and four of them were used to create individual pieces while a fifth, the title piece, uses about
sixteen different ones, but with eighteen minutes, this is also the longest piece. The other ones are from
Marrakesh, Buenos Aires, Jiangsu (China) and Calcata Vecchio (Italy).
I am not sure if I ever heard of the first musician before. Francesco Giannico is described as “an electroacoustic
musician, video artist and web designer”, who studied “Musicology and Musical Heritage” and he is the founder
of Oak. “Giulio Aldinucci is an Italian composer who works mainly in the field of electroacoustic music”, as it
says on the website, and worked as Obsil before (see also Vital Weekly 953, 776, 702). They use the recordings
of town squares as a starting point to play highly drone based music, using guitars, synthesizers and perhaps
processing the sound of the field recordings. That I must I found a bit odd, perhaps. Basically you can take
anything, sound wise, and take that to be the start of any piece of drone/ambient music, so what is the added
value of the town square recordings, I wondered. In each of these pieces the town square plays some role of a
kind, more or less present in the mix that is, but on top this duo waves together their patterns of synthesizer
and guitar manipulations.
In the title piece this is all perhaps more of sound collage, collating all of these town square recordings together,
and as such this is probably the most non-ambient piece of this lot and more a collage of various open spaces
together. This was all quite enjoyable and while the concept didn’t strike me as particular strong, the music
itself was quite good; nothing spectacular new or innovative, but fine solid music. (FdW)
––– Address:


Earlier we presented the beautiful solo-album ’Reflections on a Introspective Path’ by Loriot, a violist of Japanese-
French origin. This time he knocks on the door with a recording by his own NYC-based large ensemble. We hear:
Nathaniel Morgan (alto sax), Brad Henkel (trumpet), Joe Moffett (trumpet), Ben Gerstein (trombone), Sam Kulik
(bass trombone), Sean Ali (double bass, words), Pascal Niggenkemper (double bass), Carlo Costa (drums &
percussion), Devin Gray (drums & percussion), Flin Van Hemmen (drums, percussion) and Frantz Loriot viola.
In 2015 he released ‘Urban Furrow’ for the Portuguese Clean Feed-label by his Europe-based Ensemble The
European Notebook Large Ensemble. ‘The Assembly’ was recorded in that same year on January 21st , in a
studio in Brooklyn. Of the four tracks, first (’Echo’) and last one (‘Le Relais’) are composed by Loriot. The title
track and ‘…Maybe… Still…’ are by the ensemble. The opening piece ’Echo’ has a primary role for the drummers.
The composition works towards a climax. It has the blowers repeating more or less the same phrase over and
over, with rolling and thundering drums on top of it, creating a very concentrated and fascinating stream of
energy. ‘The Assembly’ is a lovely cacophonic improvisation with a lot of details. ‘…. Maybe…Still…’ is something
completely different. A text by Sean Ali, read by Ali himself is on the forefront here, with improvisations in the
background. Halfway the piece continues as a subtle sound-improvisation close to silence. Also the opening of the
final composition ‘Le relais’ again rises up slowly from silence, by the drummers playing a diversity of percussive
instruments. Strings and subsequently wind instrument join in later and give way to fascinating interactions.
Engaging stuff! (DM)
––– Address:

MANIFESTO – EXIT (CD by Reverse Alignment)

Reverse Alignment is a high quality label from Sweden, whose releases appear both on CD as well as CDR and just
by looking at them, you can’t tell the difference. Much care goes towards the professional packaging. I am not
sure what decides that something goes to CD and other music to CDR but no doubt it has to with the prospective sales.
Magnus Zetterberg is the man behind Manifesto and while he has a number of releases, I only heard ‘Core’ back in
Vital Weekly 645. He also had releases on Noise, Filth & Fury Recordings, Anaemic Waves Factory, Bone Structure
and Silken Tofu. The music he produces as Manifesto is to be found at the crossroad of industrial music and more
dark ambient doodling, with none of these going for a lead role in this, which makes this quite good. On the
industrial side of things, Manifesto keeps it quite old school, with solemnly dark percussion and a fair bit of
feedback, making this sound like the good ol’ days of Cold Meat Industry. He straps on a guitar to add a bit of
rock pose, but it sounds as demented as the genre prescribes for such things. For his ambience he uses a bit of
field recordings and feeds that through some sound effects, and applies a musique concrete kind of collage to
them in a peaceful manner. Manifesto doesn’t shy away from making something like introspection, and in his
longer pieces he touches easily upon both sides of the sound spectrum. As is to be expected with this kind of
music, it is all very dark and bleak, and is not around to cheer you after a day of hard work in the factory. But
if you revel in misery, then this is surely your soundtrack.
Swedish duo Mollusk present their second part of a trilogy that started with ‘Aeon Synpases Connect’ (see
Vital Weekly 1021), and here Per Ahlund and Johan Boberg continue to explore their improvised electronic
music, played on their modular synthesizer set-up. Again these are ‘live transmissions’; probably referring to
the fact they were recorded in a concert-like situation. There is quite a difference with the previous release, I’d
say. That one was all about ‘modern’ electronics, taking its cue from early electronics and musique concrete,
but in a slow and somewhat noisy way. The three pieces here on ‘Astral Mechanics’ owe much more to the world
of ambient music, with some highly remote sound, icy glacial sounds, and in general a much more spacier sound.
Developments are, as before, quite slow here, maybe even slower than before, but because all of this sounds very
atmospheric. There are some finely treated field recordings in ‘Parallel Chakra Remodeling’ (I believe) but otherwise
everything is very much electronic, more drone like than cut-up, if you get my drift. I very much enjoyed this
particular one, even when I think it is all a bit on the soft side, volume-wise. Some additional mastering would
be have been nice. (FdW)
––– Address:


Do I love music by The Legendary Pink Dots? Yes I do. A fan boy? Maybe. Can I hum every tune? No, I can’t and
when I got this realized that my weak spot in not being able to hum their music is the mid to late 80s phase by
the Dots, which I ‘missed’ back then. What happened? When they released cassettes I was a massive fan boy and
while I stayed with cassettes as the medium for exciting music, the Pinkies moved to doing vinyl. I am not have
cried ‘betrayal’, but I gave up buying their records. So their golden period, of ‘Any Day Now’, ‘Asylum’ and ‘Island
Of Jewels’ went by me unnoticed. I got back into the band when I found out they were living around my corner
and I was asked to attend their plants when they were on tour. I picked up with ‘The Maria Dimension’ again, which
still stands for as a masterpiece. Odd world. So it’s not really a surprise that this new compilation with fifteen
artists covering ‘Asylum’, each by taking one track of the original record and it comes beautifully packed in a 7″
cover with cards, a booklet and interview with Edward Ka-spel, all doing justice to the original design of Stephan
Barbery is not something I could immediately relate to. I dug out the original ‘Asylum’ a few days ago, as well as
few others from that period, and spend a lovely Sunday afternoon with that. When I played the ‘cover’/’tribute’
today I didn’t recognize much, so what I did, strictly for review purposes of course, is make a mp3 of the original
and of the ‘Escape’ release, so it would be easier to A/B individual tracks.
Some of these pieces seem quite truthful to the original, like Freek Kinkelaar’s “Golden Dawn”, and sometimes
just the idea a song is left, such as the various shifts in ‘So Gallantly Screaming”. But then there is also something
like Bene Gesserit’s “A Message From Our Sponsor” is not like the original at all, but take it entirely somewhere
else and is great fun, same as with Klimperei’s toy instruments on “Demonism”. “I Am The Way” in the hands of
Les Hauts De Plafond doesn’t match up the original, unfortunately. It can bounce both ways of course. I guess
that’s where the fun is with a tribute project like this. One can be inspired by a sad, quiet song and make it into a
loud sad song, anguish can turn into joy etc. The sky is the limit and while I am not blown away by each version
(nor of each on the original one), it is surely great how inspiring the songs ‘Asylum’ are to people, thirty years
 later. A pretty successful project. (FdW)
––– Address:


While Fairon had four cassettes on two French labels (Nos Yeux Aveugles and Le Krab) between 1990 and
1993, I heard of his other activity first, when he did a blog called Continuo, exploring the vaults of obscure
music and disseminating them via MP3. This was at the height of blogosphere, already a decade ago. I found
some pretty interesting old stuff on there and the blog certainly belonged to my short list of daily reads. These
days he has a blog to tell us about exiting old record without a download option, or simply to write reviews of
music he heard or books he read and cares to comment on. So having missed out on his own music, I can’t say
if this new CD is anything alike his earlier work. Fairon writes about the title that “Isotype (International System of
Typographic Picture Education) was developed by Otto Neurath at the Museum of Society and Economy in Vienna
between 1925 and 1934 as a means to put statistical information into graphic form, particularly through pictorial
charts, where repeated pictograms are used to indicate quantities” and perhaps as such he lets things develop on
their own. By using a variety of sounds (“poets reading their texts from the 1960s, to the ‘concrete’ sounds of
basketball, dulcimer, Flamenco guitar, bull-roarer or bird songs, to the sounds of Armenian and Arab YouTube TV
channels”), sampled together he mixes these into streams of concrete sounds. These samples may be fed through
a bunch of synthesizers as it sounds at times pretty much like a modular synthesizer. The whole approach sounds
like musique concrete anyway, with slowly forming sound collages. Fairon takes his time to create his collages and
sometimes they seem to consist of just a few sounds, put on longer loops and some of these with just a few
sounds. All of this sound ‘quiet’ and without being very demanding; nor is it, however, very ambient. Some of
these could have been a bit shorter I think, as not always all of the time used is really needed to tell the same
story. It may touch upon ambient ground, such as in ‘Roman à Clef’, with its various exotic samples and
percussion, but throughout Fairon remains quite abstract yet introspective. This is one of those records that
is not without flaws (the length of the pieces being the main problem) but through it was quite enjoyable and
nice, and even funny, such as the chanting in ‘Rêves de Coumbite’ (and is perhaps a touch of cliché). It’s not
easy to tell how serious or funny Fairon wants to be. (FdW)
––– Address:


Originally part of VOD’s new and extensive 8 LP set ‘British cassette-culture: recordings 1975-1985’, the Pink
Dots’ Premonition is also granted a stand-alone release. And rightfully so, as “Premonition” is not only one of
the best-ever albums by the Dots, it is, I would argue, one of the best-ever cassette releases of the 80s. Originally
released on Ian Dobson’s Flowmotion label in 1982, in an edition of not much more than 60 copies or so,
“Premonition” gained extended fame when Dutch label Ding Dong re-released it a year later and sold, according
to legend, close to 1000 copies. As well as a new cover, the Ding Dong version of “Premonition” featured a
different track listing to the earlier Flowmotion version as well as three additional songs: Voices, Dying for the
emperor and Love puppets. Even though Ding Dong can be credited for bringing the music to a much larger
audience, I have always preferred the Flowmotion edition: the music flows far better and it sounds different
to the remixed/remastered Ding Dong version. This makes Premonition a very much welcomed and long-
anticipated release. The only thing I don’t like about the VOD edition, and my apologies to Frank Maier who
has done a great job on this release, is its cover. I am convinced that, even in black and white only, something
better could have and should have been created for the wonderful musical kaleidoscope that is “Premonition”.
A missed opportunity in my opinion therefore, but as artwork is such a personal thing, I am sure others will
disagree. However, as soon as I have put on “Premonition”, all is forgiven. The album was recorded in 1981
when the line up of the Dots had changed dramatically: original members April White and Phil Knight had
temporarily left the band and guitarist Mick Marshall, who had joined the Dots in their very early days and
subsequently left, had returned. Roland Callaway joined on bass and Keith Thompson adds drums. This far
more traditional band line up had a direct influence on the writing and recording of Premonition. For one, Mick
Marshall brought more structure to the song writing. Roland Callaway’s bass playing, as well as guitar and
keyboards, is one of the key and perhaps most overlooked elements of the early Pink Dots – just listen to his
amazing playing on the “Curse” album. The only exception to the new line-up is the song “Before The End”,
which features April and Phil and the guitar of Tony Johnson. I find it really hard, if not impossible, to pick
favorites as these songs work so well as a whole. It is one of those albums you simply have to play in full.
The sequencing, so often an overlooked aspect of making an album of Premonition is simply perfect. The
recording and mixing may be rudimentary and primitive, but remember this is 80s home-produced music.
Now I could have easily lived with only the release of the original cassette on vinyl, but VOD offers bonus
tracks as well, such as a beautiful version of “Hanging Gardens” and, on the additional single, “I Dream Of
Jeannie” from the Ding Dong compilation cassette “Turkish Delight”, “Love Puppets”, one of the three
additional tracks on the Ding Dong release of Premonition and Shakespearian, a previously unreleased track.
The fact that Premonition is more song-based than previous releases, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for
experiment – as with all early cassette-releases by the Dots, the songs are alternated by soundscapes, tape
loops and field recordings. This formula, in the best sense of the word, is what set the Dots apart from the
independent and experimental music of the day and why their music still sounds fresh today. “Premonition”
has been created with so much care, purpose and determination that it always remained close to my heart.
I know the words to all the songs and many are the days that I sang along to the music. Now VOD has
produced 444 copies of this precious diamond on vinyl. Finally. (FK)
––– Address:


From Susan Matthews I reviewed a solo CDR all the way back in Vital Weekly 810. Back then she played pieces
by Erik Satie. Later on I heard her as part of Dead Mauriacs. She has lots more releases out but they don’t always
reach me. Her new release was created for Net Label Day and released by Pilot Eleven, it says on the website, even
when the cover of this CDR says Sirenwire, but maybe that is for the distribution on CDR. The music is inspired by
her recent trip to Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria and has three pieces, which sadly only lasts fourteen minutes. The first
piece is dominated by piano and some highly obscured drone sound, and towards the end some voice; this is quite
moody and it sounds great. ‘A Room Of Lights’ starts with an organ and the same voice, pushed a bit to the
background, telling a story, reciting a poem, or something similar, and has a likewise moody character, but is a bit
simpler in approach. In ‘St Paul In The Yantra’ the mood continues and as far as we know lifted from a field recording
in a more cavernous surrounding, no doubt a St. Paul church in Veliko Tarnovo, which sounds fine, but which was
maybe a bit too regular field recording becoming a drone. I thought it would have been nice if this were all a bit
longer; it touches upon variation in these three pieces, but it could have been explored more, through some more
pieces. (FdW)
––– Address:

ORPHAX – THE EMPTY ROOM (card by Broken20)

Now while we don’t review download only releases, the music here has to be downloaded, but there is a physical
object to buy, being a text by Murdo Eason and photo by David Fyans. Both of these look and read great and
surely fit the music of Orphax quite well. All components deal with a certain amount of emptiness, I would say.
Orphax has two pieces of music, one lasting seventeen minutes and one forty-eight. I have been hearing a lot of
Orphax’ music over the years and I surely saw him a few times in concert, but the more I hear it, the more I like it.
His ‘Dream Sequence #1’ (Vital Weekly 1001) from last year I enjoyed very much and ‘Time Waves’ from earlier
this year (Vital Weekly 1019) was also one of his better ones, but this new one easily elapse those work. Both
parts of ‘The Empty Room’ are filled with some highly imaginative drone music that is always changing, even when
superficially it doesn’t seem to be the case. Compared to the music of Benjamin Nelson reviewed elsewhere,
Orphax is also inspired by (especially) Eliane Radigue but his work is, unlike Nelson, aimed much more at
contemplation and doing nothing at all. I am not sure if mister Orphax is at all interested in meditation but
his music surely is fit for such a thing. Especially ‘Part 2’ of ‘The Empty Room’ I thought was wonderful. This
should have been a CD release, in my humble opinion. (FdW)
––– Address:

C103/AMK/GX – AN EVENING OF GARBAGE (cassette by Incubator)

Since Abo (Mark Schomburg) resurrected the Incubator label he has presented some wild and unique packages,
just like he did in the old days when he had his Petri Supplies label and his own musical group Yeast Culture.
Much of what he releases deals with old recordings and this ‘new’ cassette deals with recordings made in 1989.
The first side was recorded at Incubator, back then a shop/space with music by Cryonic 103, or C103 as they
are sometimes called, followed by GX and AMK playing gin rummy (along with AMK’s girlfriend and blackhumour)
and the audience, easily bored by this, fooling around with hundreds and hundred of yards of magnetic computer
tape. All of this was captured by a bunch of microphones. C103 play lots of electronics, radio sounds, AMK’s
turntables and have a fine late 80s raw industrial feel to it. Following a short intermission of tech talk on the
evening the AMK/GX performance follows, which obviously lacks the visual element and one repeated sample is
perhaps not enough to keep the attention going, despite the fine rustling of magnetic tape.
The other side is the ‘Battle Of Fort Casey’, which happened right after the Incubator event, when a bunch of
people, AMK, GX, blackhumour, Colin Upton and others, headed out to Fort Casey for a private performance at
this retired military fort, but the group was caught by park rangers and fined. All of this is dully documented on
the B-side of this cassette. Now here too we may lack the visual side of things, but it makes up some fascinating
listening of objects being crushed, fences being over thrown, people talking, running, whistling and some other
highly obscured stuff. This made up some fascinating documentation and an excellent release of pure field
recordings; field recordings that of an obscure and illegal performance action that took place close to thirty
years ago, expertly captured on tape. (FdW)
––– Address:

RYOKO AKAMA – HAKO TO OTO (cassette by Crustaces)

On the homemade label Crustaces (tapes can be obtained by sending a gift or postcard) there is now a cassette
by Ryoko Akama, which she recorded in a rural hotel room in Santa Cruz da Trapa in Portugal. That’s about all the
information we have on this tape, and that includes the label’s bandcamp, where one can hear only a tiny fragment
and not the entire release. I have no idea what she plays here. On previous releases (Vital Weekly 1000 and 1001)
these seemed to be electronics and a guitar, but on this new release it seems to me this is a toy instrument, maybe
a piano or something alike. It has been recorded with a considerable amount of hiss leaking in (maybe it was recorded
on to cassette anyway) and Akama plays it using her notes sparsely. So we hear a bang here and there and then,
plus there is quite a bit of hiss. This is something that happens on both sides of this tape; it all gives the impression
of a private session of music, recorded with intent purposes very lowly. I had this on repeat while being distracted by
social media for far too long as it happened, but I kept enjoying this very meditative music. Actually I don’t know if it
is intended as meditative but that’s the impression I got. I thought all of this was highly enjoyable; as sparse as it
was. (FdW)
––– Address:

4 IN 1 VOLUME 4 (cassette by Insane Music)

eBack in Vital Weekly 846 I already recounted the fact that one of the first cassettes I ever bought was ‘4 In 1
Volume 1′, which had four groups from Brussels, Pseudo Code, Human Flesh, Mecanique Vegetale and Etat Brut,
and which for a long time was one of those classic releases that I treasured. The second volume, a LP, wasn’t
that favourite with me, but the third one, subject of the review back then was. Now it’s back with the man who
released the first one to do the fourth volume, and like the first it is also on cassette, mainly because a CD or
2LP is out of his financial possibilities. And that man is Alain Neffe, who is always present with at least two of
his groups on these compilations. This time it is six pieces by Bene Gesserit and one long piece by Kosmose, a
band that Alain Neffe had before Pseudo Code, in the second half of the 70s. Sub Rosa did a double CD by them
last year, which went not reviewed here, but which showed an excellent display of improvisation and electronic
music. It’s great to see some of those earliest works become available. The two other groups on this fourth
volume are M.A.L. and Alice Just.
This is another interesting and fine release, showing the variety of styles that inhabit the world of Insane Music.
The six pieces by Bene Gesserit are as powerful as their recent release on EE Tapes (Vital Weekly 1029), an
excellent combination of weird pop, cabaret and some rockier guitars – the latest update of their otherwise more
electronic sound. M.A.L., a guitarist who has been around since the early days of the label, and who played on
quite a number of Human Flesh pieces, delivers two longer pieces of looping guitars and voices, of which I quite
enjoyed ‘The Supreme Alchemist’, with it’s spacious krautrocky guitar; ‘Kosmose Alone’ does something similar
but it’s a bit too much over the top retro; too much Ash Ra Temple I am afraid.
I never heard of Alice Just, but her four pieces impress me quite a bit. With a bit of help from Neffe and Flavien
Gillie her music reminds me of a crossover between Human Flesh, Bene Gesserit and Cortex; the poetry of the
latter, the synthesizers of the first and a bit of the wackiness of the band in the middle. It made me curious:
isn’t this Neffe and friends in a new guise?
Kosmose is placed at the end and here we have a fine combination of seventies psychedelic improvisation and
a fair amount of experimental electronics mixed in, making this already a bit more industrial music than was
probably known at the time. When the drummer hits the cymbals again, it marks off a rocky ending, completely
in line with the time. It tops off a great compilation and with fifteen minutes per artist one gets enough music
to get a bit accustomed to what they do, and can easily be your guide to inquire further. (FdW)
––– Address: <>