Number 1054

MATT WESTON – SKATE FOR THE LIE (CD by Tape Drift/7272Music)
GOH LEE KWANG – BACK2BED (CD by Herbal International) *
WELL, THAT ABOUT WRAPS IT UP FOR THE SEA (CD compilation by Cordelia Records)
DRAPE – LET THERE WATER AIR (CD by Infraction Records) *
BEAUTUMN – BORDEAUX (CD by Infraction Records) *
JAMKA – INTER ALIA (LP by Urbsounds) *
NIMMA 001 (12″ compilation by miNIMMAl movement)
NIMMA 002: ROMANESC (12″ compilation by miNIMMAl movement)
TAGC/MATAR/MIKYEL BOYD (7″ flexi disc by Somnimage)
KRAKEN – TODO LO QUE MUERE (cassette by Lage Landen Lawaai)
DJ KOOLKATZ – THE BEST DISCO IN TOWN (cassette by Lage Landen Lawaai)
MÖRKERSEENDE MÖRKERSEENDE (Cassette by Mörkerseende)
MATTHEW D. GANTT – ITERATIONS (two cassettes by Gold Bolus)


Twenty-five years ago, Tom Steenland founded Starkland, and it was to release CDs with the
music by Tod Dockstader. Born in 1932, Tod was trained as a film editor and worked as a recording
engineer in New York, working in his time-off on his own music. In the mid 60s he released a few
LPs but since he didn’t have an academic background he was also ignored by the early 90s
Dockstader was largely forgotten. That is until Starkland was founded and his music became
available again. Much had changed, and following punk and industrial music in the 80s, as well as
the easy access to recording equipment, there were lots more people building electronic pieces
without having the necessary conservatory background. Following his newly found acceptance by
an audience who didn’t care about academic background, Dockstader composed new music, such
as the three CD set ‘Aerial’ on Sun Rosa. On February 27, 2015 he died, giving up composing when
diagnosed with dementia.
    A few years ago Justin Brierley wanted to interview Dockstader and when he visited he asked if
he could see the ‘old computer’ and Dockstader’s daughter showed him one that contained over
150 hours of audio, all unreleased, and some of these pieces not exactly finished. Brierley combed
through it and Steenland did a further selection, and now releases this fifteen-track release of
archival music, and judging by the dates from the final work he did as a composer, around 2007
and 2008. Whereas in the old days Dockstader would work using analogue tape, I assume these
pieces deal with the use of computer technology, but I might be wrong. It’s perhaps the way some
of these pieces sound like, but then a piece like ‘Todt I’ is a combination of acoustic sound (door
bell, spoken word, leaves in a book) combined with electronic treatments and it makes a particular
strong impression. Most of these pieces have a similar strong feel and unlike some of his other
work the pieces here are shorter (four, five minutes) and very much to the point. There is a fine
combination of interests here; from more pure electronic experiments/tape-collage to musique
concrete experiments involving acoustic sounds, and from granular synthesis from the computer
to what I assume to be analogue treatments. There are some true beauties here, such as the
aforementioned ‘Todt I’, ‘Todt II’ (which is actually from an earlier date it seems), ‘Creak Creek’,
the heavily treated pianos of ‘Piano Morf’, or more curious pieces like ‘Big Jig’, which sounds like
Esplendor Geometrico in disguise. Other pieces remind me of ‘Aerial’, but now in a much more
condensed form. I don’t know if there is going to be more or that this concludes it all, but if so,
that would a great end to a life inside in electronic music by one of the best composers in the field.
May the future bring even more recognition to his unique talent in working with electronic sounds.
––– Address:


For reasons I am not entirely sure of I believe I may have missed out upon a few recent releases by
White Paddy Mountain, the label run by Chihei Hatakeyama, who is present on these new releases.
It’s always a pity to miss out on stuff, and hopefully it has little to do with the current state of the
market for CDs, which might not be as good anymore. And that too is sad, as, and I am very much
on my own here I know, I think music produced by Hatakeyama and the likes of him is best served
on a CD release, not a cassette or the uberhip vinyl.
    Hatakeyama and Hakobune, also known as Takahiro Yorifuji, play the first release here, which is
a duet for two electric guitars, a Stratocaster and a Les Paul, if you must now. We know Hakobune
too for his various releases in the field of ‘mood’ music, and from his previous work with
Hatakeyama (see Vital Weekly 930). Back then I was dividing my time by playing that release on
repeat and reading a book on Muslimgauze. Today I could almost write the same thing; on a day
with very little mail, other than these two releases, I can play them on repeat for a while, and at the
same time sink my teeth in Peter Hook’s tale of being a member of New Order; a totally different
world, as I can’t see the two Japanese guitarists having the same life style, or playing the same kind
of music. Occasionally I take a look outside and the sunny, yet cold morning, has slowly turned into
a grey and still cold afternoon. Winter is coming, I was thinking, and as such these guitars and
mucho effects play the perfect soundtrack to such a day and these activities. Here we have to long
sustaining sounds of twelve strings bouncing majestically around, perhaps like a perpetually slowed
down intro from a shoegazing band, looped and played around with echo, reverb and who knows
what else they use for this sound; chorus no doubt, loop pedals obviously, but I must say that
otherwise I am at a loss here, and I was thinking that I really don’t care as much as to what these
sound effects are. The overall tone in these three pieces (all clocking in around seventeen minutes)
is dark, as to be expected, but the chords in minor also have a somewhat sad ring to it, especially
in both parts of the title piece. In the meantime there is a bit more rain, and a bit darker outside.
Then it was time for the next release, ‘Coastal Railroads In Memories’.
    On his solo album Chihei Hatakeyama is inspired by ‘his memory of a view of the sea from a
train that runs along the coast. He thought roadbed was formerly symbol of civilization’, he writes
somewhat cryptic in the information sheet. The five pieces use processed sounds from piano,
vibraphone, electric guitar, computer and modular synthesizer, all mixed through an analogue
mixer and not a computer. Now you could easily think that with this amount of instruments the
music would be much different and of course that’s not the case. In his solo work Hatakeyama has
a similar interest in creating dark and atmospheric music. But if you decide to listen closer, and
analyse what he is doing then you realize that there are lots of small differences in the music. You
can hear the various instruments playing together. There is a slight tendency towards rhythm
sounds, probably the vibraphone being looped but it comes with quite some reverb and delay, and
similar processes are used on the other instruments. You can hear the guitar playing chords, unlike
on the duo disc with Hakubone in which the guitar is not to be recognized as such and it is smeared
out into these long waving patterns. The patterns on this release are shorter and we hear smaller
washes of sound arriving on the beach. All of this, and that goes both releases, is all classic ambient
music, not just with a capital A but also for the rest of the word. It is slow moving music, depicting
empty places, both those that exist as well as imaginary I would think. Think ‘On Land’ by Brian Eno,
and then times five and all a bit longer. A deep sound, and in this case a bit more experimental and a
bit less sad, compared to the other one; both of these are perfect soundtracks for day of early,
fading light. (FdW)
––– Address:


This surely comes like a massive surprise, not only because Sun Ra left this planet in 1993 to live on
Saturn, as he always proclaimed he would do, but it is also a surprise in terms of collaboration. I can’t
claim to be a Sun Ra expert, not even pretend to be; hell, I am not even a fan. Some of his music that
I heard I quite enjoyed and some of it is far too free jazz for my taste, but with a catalogue of so
many titles it is not easy to say one is an expert. At one point someone asked Merzbow why he
released so much music, and he answered that his goal was to have more releases than Sun Ra, so
there you go (and I have no idea where I got this information from; maybe an interview, but maybe I
made it up). So perhaps it is natural that there is a meeting of some kind. Cold Spring got access to
two rare and unreleased tracks and permission for Merzbow remix, and if I understand well, the LP
version is different than the CD version. I only heard the CD. It would have been great, I think, if there
would have been an option to hear the material before it got the remix treatment, so it would have
been possible to compare both. Merzbow’s treatment, and I’m sure this is well known, is a full blast
rework. Whatever is handed to him is fed through a whole bunch of sound effects thus rendering
whatever original sound beyond recognition. The two pieces on this CD are not different from other
work, and that is a pity. Merzbow fans, and there are a few out there, surely won’t be disappointed
by all of this, as the master of noise delivers exactly what is expected. But if you are interested in
Sun Ra, and you are curious to hear any traces of Sun Ra’s original music, then you will have a hard
time here. Sometimes one can recognize some horn sounds, percussion and even a stab at a
keyboard, but it’s covered by Merzbow full cover blanket approach; unless of course we’re dealing
with a side of Sun Ra that I don’t about. It would have been nice if Merzbow would have left some
traces of the original in here, or applied some other techniques in the transformation of all of this; I
was thinking of his cut-up techniques applied in his 2LP ‘Scum’, cutting up tapes and sticking them
together in an entirely different fashion. As a Merzbow release I find this totally satisfying, but as for
a unique collaboration, it is now a bit too much one and not enough of the other. (FdW)
––– Address:


Last week we already had Vetropaco, a collaboration between Andrea Belluci, of Red Sector A, and
Gianluca Favaron, now the latter returns with a release with Anacleto Vitolo, of whom I don’t think I
heard before. He was part of (i)Neon, Internos and Algebra del Bisogno. On ‘Zolfo’ he’s responsible
for live electronics, cymbals, laptop and objects, while Favaron plays tapes, objects, microphones,
analogue and digital effects. Over the course of four months, earlier this year, they composed these
pieces of music, which I think are very much along the lines of what one expects from the previous
work of Favaron. This is the kind of music that is very ‘now’, combining a variety of musical interests
that seem, at least theoretically, wide apart, such as drones, musique concrete, electro-acoustic
music, and a bit of looped rhythms, so that it is never really one thing or another. And that I think is
great; it is the modern variety of serious electronic music, but without being all together too serious.
There is a fine liveliness in these pieces, a rough edge if you will, one that is probably at odds with
the ‘rules’ of composing ‘serious’ electronic music, but it works pretty well (see also Tod Dockstader,
I was thinking). The gritty bass sounds, the somewhat harsher undercurrent, and then all of that
suddenly looped into a bit of rhythm that never goes into a groovy beat. This is in your face and
direct, but without everything becoming super loud. Just thoroughly pleasant electronic music with
a fine experimental twist. This is exactly how I like these things. (FdW)
––– Address: http://13.silentes.it

MATT WESTON – SKATE FOR THE LIE (CD by Tape Drift/7272Music)

A joint release by Tape Drift Records and Weston’s label 7272Music, and a welcome follow up to
his earlier releases. It is also available on cassette from Tape Drift Records.
    Again a release with just a few tracks all performed, composed and produced by Weston
himself. Percussion and drums are normally his main instruments. But on this one we hear also
electronics and guitars. Weston sticks to his noisy aesthetics with rock and improvisation elements.
All elements seem well chosen and have their place in Weston’s musical constructions. The opening
track ‘This Machine Kills LRAD’ is the most abstract one of the four tracks on this release. Just
concentrating on sound. ‘Tarrings and Featherings’ is mainly built from patterns played by the
drums. “The Old Man with the Burning Eyes’ is a speedy, multi-layered wall of noise of percussion
and guitar. At a certain point a slow melodic line enters, showing a more friendly face. Even more
this is the case for the closing track ‘You’ve got that Song’, that starts again with a melody played
by guitar. Almost a ballad. Gradually the piece moves into more noisy and rock-dominated territories.
It is the most conventional track on the album, where Weston on his own sounds like a complete
band. In just four tracks Weston offers again a wide scope of musical extravaganza, proving once
more his strong handwriting. (DM)
––– Address:


Verdery has already more than 15 records out. But this is my first encounter with his music.
Verdery is a very accomplished guitar player working as Associate Professor of Guitar at Yale
University’s School of Music. On this new recording Verdery presents 16 compositions from his
composer colleagues of this School of Music: Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Ezra Laderman,
David Lang, Hannah Lash, Christopher Theofanidis, Jack Vees and Verdery himself. Compositions
that were written on his invitation. Verdery plays on a variety of guitars: Fender Stratocaster, steel
string, baritone and classical guitar. The opening composition is a work in three parts by Bresnick.
A romantic and poetic work breathing Spanish atmospheres.  With ‘On Vineyard Sound’ by Laderman
we remain in similar moods.  ‘The Mentioning of Love’ by veteran composer Ingram Marshall has
Verdery in a duet with flutist Rie Schmidt in a Balinese-flavoured composition. And ‘Little Eye’ by
Bang on a Can-composer David Lang has Jack Vees on pedal steel guitar. Only two compositions
woke up a special interest. First of all ‘Play these Notes’ by Hannah Lash, composed for electric
guitar. A nervously progressing and fascinating little miniature. The closing work is a composition
by Jack Vees, ‘National Anthem’, with processed sounds from the National’s album “High Violet”
and Verdery on various guitars. A lengthy and strange work, with interesting passages that might
talk to you more if you know the album ‘High Violet’. In the final minutes of this composition I
discovered remarkable similarities with another album: Jade Warrior’s ‘Kites’. (DM)
––– Address:

GOH LEE KWANG – BACK2BED (CD by Herbal International)

If I hear a clarinet, I immediately think of Michael Thieke these days, it seems. If it involves a clarinet,
then surely he’s involved, and Port Chiusa is no different. Here we have three clarinet players, besides
Thieke also Hans Koch (a clarinet powerhouse of his own) and Pead Conca, the latter also responsible
for the composition; then there is also the voice of Maki Hachiya. She sings a text that is inspired
by Heike Fiedler’s ‘Nano Splitter Gefaser’, which is printed on the cover. The three clarinets are
recognizable as such as and play long form sounds; these may come across like sine waves almost,
but upon closer inspection these are not. The voice follows the playing, or guides it, that is perhaps
not entirely clear, but throughout this sounds very mellow, with a few occasional outbursts with all
four instruments. There is a modern classical to this piece, almost like a chamber opera, which is
perhaps not always my biggest love, but when they are playing these sine wave like sounds, like a
fine Alvin Lucier piece but then shorter, I am very delighted. This is some very strong music, that
requires your full attention; a meditative piece perhaps (also?) but you have to be fully ‘there’ to
capture the beauty.
    Labelboss Goh Lee Kwang is also very active as a composer of his own music and on his
‘Back2Bed’ he adds something to the music that we don’t see a lot these days and that is humour.
The cover is in simple cartoon style, including text balloon’s and the instruments are ‘guitars,
electronics, etc.’, which in the first two pieces don’t work out too well, I think. These two pieces,
some thirteen minutes of music is just some free improvisation guitar rambling. I am sure he could
do better than this. The best are the three pieces that come next and which make up some fifty-five
minutes of music. In ‘No Beat’ we have indeed no beats, but some fine chaotic electronic sound, of
loops swirling in out of the mix, both continuously bouncing around, as well one-off affairs thrown
in. ‘The Rolling Stoner’ (see? humour!) is more about field recordings being electronically processed,
but there might be some kind of guitar pushed around in the background, and slowly grows into a
bigger beast of improvised sounds on the guitar and percussion, but it seems to me that electronics
play an important role here. In it’s seventeen minutes it is fiercely leaping around and has a very free
and spacious feeling. The final piece is ‘Tanah Air – My Land’ and is very sparse, with a clicking/
scratching sound and field recordings of thunder. In all of these three pieces Goh Lee Kwang shows
he’s capable of playing around with a limited amount of sounds for a longer amount of time and
keeping it all interesting, moving them around in changing configurations. He should do that more
and leave the pure improvised strumming for what it is. (FdW)
––– Address:


Did I hear of Orchestramaxfieldparrish before? I don’t recall, and it is a strange name, so I would have
probably remembered, I guess. This is another project by Mike Fazio, who works also as A Guide For
Reason and Sonic Arts Society, though I know him best under his first moniker. He is also part of
Chill Faction, Gods Of Electricity and Life With The Lions. I must admit to be a bit at a loss as to the
exact musical differences between his various projects. I do know however the difference between
these two releases.
    ‘A Midsummer’s Night’ has four pieces and seems to have recent recordings. For each of these
pieces the cover explains what is going on here, so the first is ‘music for prepared archtop guitar and
treatments’, the second is ‘music for pizzicato lute guitar, mellophone and treatments’, etc;
obviously I have no real clue what these preparations are or in what way Fazio plays them, let alone
what kind of treatments he applies. I can only assume that he plays his instruments in a more or
less improvised way and then adds a whole bunch of electronic sounds, and/or feeding them through
modular synthesizers to arrive at what becomes a cross-over between something more improvised
and ambient music. Via the extensive use of reverb and such like he suggests all this great space
and atmosphere, and somewhere buried along we find the origins from the instruments. It makes
that ‘A Midsummer’s Night’ is not your standard ambient album, as Orchestramaxfieldparrish makes
it sound grittier perhaps, atmospheric but with a fine twist, and as such this is quite a fine album.
    On ‘Instant Light’ there are three pieces, and from what I gather the sounds used are a bit older
and this is the one that started Fazio off thinking about Orchestramaxfieldparrish again, after an
initial flow of releases between 2007 and 2010. These three pieces are less rooted in the world of
instruments it seems but it might use a lot of sound effects, field recordings, singing bowls, metals,
modular synthesizers but according to the cover also guitar on the final piece, ‘When Your Dreams
Of A Perfect Tomorrow Come True’, but whereas on ‘A Midsummer’s Night’ the instruments play an
important role and it all sounds a bit more improvised, the music is all the more ambient. Everything
is covered with a sufficient amount of reverb, delay and with the soft tinkling of bowls it all becomes
very meditative. In ‘And Be Carried Off And Vanish’ no more bowls and just a delicate process of field
recordings. Whereas I did enjoy both releases, I must admit that if I had to choose between the two,
I would go for the ‘Instant Light’ release, perhaps because it had a great flow of electronically
processed sounds, some great production and maybe for a calm Sunday afternoon the most fitting
    All of this made me curious to the older works by Orchestramaxfieldparrish and why I never
heard those in the first place. Both CD are limited to 100 copies and have the usual high quality
artwork. (FdW)
––– Address:

WELL, THAT ABOUT WRAPS IT UP FOR THE SEA (CD compilation by Cordelia Records)

I like press releases and liner notes that not only tell the truth about world politics and the domin-
ation of Experimental Surf Music (ESM) in this day and age, but also bring a smile to your face. This
album is the fourth in a series of compilation albums on Cordelia records, starting with Beyond The
Sea, continuing the concept of ESM with Further Beyond The Sea and coming close to perfecting it
on Considerably Further Beyond The Sea. But what concept, I hear the reader murmuring, and what
the Prozon is Experimental Surf Music?! Let’s just say it all started with the appearance of The
Melamine Division Plates on Britain’s Got Talent. They were kept from winning due to clever, almost
Clintonesque, manipulation of the vote, but the court case they filed, where they stated they
wouldn’t accept the outcome of the actual vote (or ‘Did a Trump’ as it is now commonly known),
dragged on for years. The Melamine Division Plate defined ESM and these days it is hard to find a
popular song that not features a Theremin solo in the middle eight. Cordelia records has taken it
on them to compile the definite ESM compilation. This fourth instalment is based around a song
that perhaps defines ESM best: She Loves You by The Beatles. Since their reforming just a few
months ago, featuring Yoko Ono on guitar, vocals, bass, drums and Theremin, The Beatles have
been playing She Loves You to millions of people on their sell-out tours. Who doesn’t remember
the spectacular Hollywood Bowl performance where Yoko Ono’s nipple slipped from her dress whilst
singing a duet with Adele (Yoko, not the nipple). Compiled on this most wondrous Cordelia album
are no less than 15 versions of the ESM-version of She Loves You – and one other song. It is mind
boggling to imagine the sheer time and effort label boss (and part-time Theremin performer) Alan
Jenkins spent on getting all these bands to participate. The Kettering Vampires are easy-peasy; they
can be found on every compilation album that’s around and they are probably playing at your local
grocery store tonight. But what about The Bosonics of which all members were thought to have died
in that freak octopus accident? And The Conrad Gessners who, after their ill-fated performance with
Justin Bieber on theremin, vowed never to record again? They are here, my dear ESM loving friend,
here for you to enjoy. I am not ashamed to admit I have been shedding a few tears, overcome by
emotion, whilst listening to Well, That About Wraps It Up For The Sea. Word has it NASA bought a
copy to send along with the new Mars explorer – bringing civilization to the outer rims of our galaxy.
You are in good company. (FK)
––– Address:

DRAPE – LET THERE WATER AIR (CD by Infraction Records)
BEAUTUMN – BORDEAUX (CD by Infraction Records)

This is the recent batch of releases from America’s finer homes for all this ambient music, and a
label I always regarded as the one and only successor to Silent Records, even when Infraction
releases have very little in way of beats. Ambient for this publishing house has to do with what
Brian Eno once thought ambient music to be; “Ambient music must be able to accommodate
many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as
it is interesting”.
    The first one is the second album by Drape for Infraction and the duo of Spencer Williams and
Ryan Gracey use the guitars, cello and tons of sound effects, resulting in quite some fine and dark
orchestral sounds. There are seven pieces here, all around four to six minutes, which seems rather
short, I would think, and the whole thing clocks in at thirty-five minutes (but then it’s also available
on LP), which is a bit short I think. It’s never right is it, I thought, too short, too long. Music like
such as this benefit, I think, from a somewhat longer and slower built-up and simply taking time to
play out. The string sounds here, fed through a bunch of loop stations, devices and what have you,
helped with washes of synthesizer and field recordings make up some excellent ambient music of
the variety of post-rock, and it is almost impossible not to mention the influence of Stars Of The
Lid, exactly like I said when discussing their previous release, ‘An Idea And Its Map’, back in Vital
Weekly 893. The introduction of piano in ‘Interiors’ is maybe something new, and it fits the sound
of Drape very well, yet would also not have been out of place on a Stars Of The Lid album. In that
sense one could say there is not much innovation going on and one could see that with some regret.
Yet Drape isn’t very active, with this being their fifth release in about seven years of existence. Just
like the music they take matters slow and who, knows they will as slowly change their sound. This
particular release is very good, and that’s all that matters, I’d say.
    Then ‘Bordeaux’ by Russia’s Alexander Ananyev who works as Beautumn and this is his third
release for Infraction Records, following ‘White Coffee’ (Vital Weekly 506) and ‘Northing’ (Vital
Weekly 561). I am not sure why there is such a long gap between those two and this one. After
twelve years of musical activity ‘Bordeaux’ is his fourth release. While playing this release I was
thinking about Russia and the ambient musicians that live there, and who are with quite a few. The
question that came up was ‘is there is something in here that makes this a very Russian release’? Is
my imagination running wild, again? Perhaps I am just distracted by what the label says about this
‘something inherently Russian about Bordeaux’. Hard to say, but the somewhat dark and sombre
sonorous tones seem to depict those vast cold Russian tundra. Very cleverly Beautumn waves in
some field recordings, sounding like wind against a rusty tractor upon said tundra, the rummaging
of acoustic objects or voices from a far in time, a detuned radio transmission from some competing
US space program (well, it seems English). The only instrument one recognizes is the violin of the
title piece, sounding likewise sad and dark, along with sounds that could be from a bunch of number
stations. Beautumn’s pieces are a bit longer than those by Drape, and as such a perfect length for
what he wants to say within that time frame. This is a great release, reminding me of the best of
Biosphere in its full ambient phase.
    Celer is very active these days with new releases, all recorded by Will Long, but of course you
know it was a duo of Will and his wife Danielle Baquet-Long, who died in 2009. The music on ‘I Love
You So Much I Can’t Even Title This’ was recorded when she was alive and is inspired by Samuel
Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’, known to be one of the saddest pieces of classical music, premiered
in 1938 but gaining much popularity. Apparently right before Barber died in 1981 he said, “I wish
people would listen to my other compositions.” Celer recorded their album using tape and laptop,
title ‘came alluded to a Morrissey song’ (also a no festival of joy kind of guy) and released on CDR
back then. The music, according to Discogs, was recorded using ‘field recordings made of choirs
and a string quartet, performing the works of Samuel Barber, at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco,
California, in late 2006′, but all of this is now stretched out further and beyond recognition (I think),
but it is of similar emotional depth. This is the music of sadness indeed, and perhaps our mind is
steered in that direction, since we know the tragic end of Danielle, but even without that, I would
think this is all quite sad music. Each side is about fifteen minutes and performs a fine, utter
minimalist flow of drone sounds, which indeed could lifted from string quartet or a choir, but it is
all transformed to such an extent that this is no longer to be recognized from the results. Of all of
these three new releases this is the one that is the most refined, most ambient music if you will and
without much happening. If any of these three doesn’t enforce anything upon the listener it is the
music of Celer, and it is something that fills up your space in a great way, either when you play this
soft or a bit louder. More interesting, however, than ignorable, I’d say. (FdW)
––– Address:

JAMKA – INTER ALIA (LP by Urbsounds)

Following the recent release of Urbanfailure on 7″ (see Vital Weekly 1029) here is a LP by Urbsounds
of Jamka, the London duo of Monika Substova and Daniel Kordik. We reviewed a LP by them before,
a long time ago, in Vital Weekly 634. Urbsounds also released that one, but it seems there was some
hiatus in new releases on that label. The old LP listed a bunch of gear, but not so here, even when I
can assume they still use a bunch of rhythm machines and synthesizers. Again the music is heavy
on the rhythm, but unlike the previous record in which the hooks were all a bit too difficult for the
dance floor, they now rely on a more minimalist approach to the rhythm, heavily stomping forward,
while the synthesizers are played also in crude fashion, loud and minimal when it comes to melod.
Sometimes it is merely a tone, and the modulation wheel working overtime. The influence of good ol’
Pan Sonic is never far away with this kind of music, and it would very much fit the Kvitnu label. Like
before I think this is all more industrial than techno, but I might be wrong. Mastered by Eric van
Wonterghem, known for his work with The Klinik and Absolute Body Control, and that’s where you
can locate Jamka too; dark wave music, everything played on the lower end of the synthesizer, but
especially when you crank up the volume (annoy those neighbours when you can) you will discover
some excellent power in this, and you will be refreshed entirely. It sounds dark, but it worked very
uplifting; at least for me it did! (FdW)
––– Address:

NIMMA 001 (12″ compilation by miNIMMAl movement)
NIMMA 002: ROMANESC (12″ compilation by miNIMMAl movement)

When it comes to the hometown of Vital Weekly I usually refer to it as Sunny Nijmegen, but that’s
because Howard Stelzer used to call it as such once; it rains today. Nijmegen is not big, not small,
by Dutch standards and I have no idea how it relates to other cities of similar size when it comes to
a lively music scene, but being born here and hopefully one day die here, I’d say there is a great
scene with many different projects, and obviously I will fail to mention few, but it includes Bertin,
Distel, Danielle Liebeskind, one half of Donne & Desiree, Dead Neanderthals, Scheerling, the posse
around that guy with the review rag, Het Oordeel, and once the hometown of Oggy Records. But
beyond that there is a lively scene in the world of dance music, including Shipwrec Records, Eshu
Records, Wolfskuil and now miNIMMAl movement, and that’s no misspelling (this time) on my behalf
of the word minimal. You can read into that also Nimma (the catalogue number of these two
releases), which is street talk for the city of Nijmegen, and hated by some. I use it too. Run by an
enthusiastic young man who I happen to know since he was a very young boy indeed, his enterprise
spans 12″s with minimal techno dub music. And an enthusiast he is, getting acquainted by
producers of the genre, who are mostly from Eastern Europe. On the second 12″ they are all from
Romania (Kivu, Costin Rp, Bacauanu, Unisson) and on the second three from the Ukraine (Yaroslav
Lenzyak, Podime & Nivn, Raru) and one from The Netherlands (Pascal Benjamin). Yes, for whatever
reasons apparently also not clear to the label honcho the music he loves is a big in Eastern Europe.
In true minimalist fashion (white cover, just a label, showing the bridge across the river and titles),
the music is what counts most. Minimal techno dub is a word that describes it all perfectly. The
music is not too fast (I couldn’t say what BPM; can’t count properly) with usually techno based
beat, punchy and dry but with the use of delay on some of the sounds for the dub effects and lots
of reverb on synthesizer pads for that full on spacious effect. This I think is the true trance music.
miNIMMAl Movement’s Soundcloud has lots of podcasts in which you can hear how this works in DJ-
sets, but in the eight pieces on these two 12″s (the second is not out yet, but I heard it anyway)
you get a clue how it works inside a single track. There is not a lot of movement in these pieces but
it deals with minimal changes (duh) of a few sounds, shifting back and forth. The perfect music to
dance to, but also if, like me, you’re not entirely of the dance variety human kind. I was reading,
writing, facebooking and all those things and enjoying the nearly 75 minutes of both records,
tapping my feet and shaking my head along the grooves. Great indeed.
    There is however a downside too, so I was thinking coming back to earth, and that’s there is
some interchangeability within these pieces. Eight different musicians, from various countries, but
all working within that same formula that is apparently part of the movement; the mucho delay/
reverb treatment on the synthesizer washes, the strict 4/4 beat, even when it works out a bit
differently for each of these artists. That is perhaps a bit sad, with the louder chirpy tunes of
(Dutch) Pascal Benjamin as an exception. But then this is not the kind of music that needs a lot
of analysing, and it just needs to be played in order get some physical movement and as such this
works pretty well. More records will follow shortly, but then also by a single artist. I am curious to
see how that will work out. (FdW)
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TAGC/MATAR/MIKYEL BOYD (7″ flexi disc by Somnimage)

Obviously the influence of Michael Esposito is all over this release; the black & white cover and the
format but also on the side of musical input. This flexi disc, containing three pieces of music, was
produced for two evenings of live music, held on October 6th in Chicago and the 7th in Kankakee,
and is released by Mykel Boyd’s Somnimage label. Esposito is present with the very first outing by
his new project Matar, which he does with Adi Newton, best known of Clock DVA and The Anti Group,
or TAGC as they are now called, and who open here on this flexi disc. Mikel Boyd closes the
proceedings here. As all three pieces ended up on one side, they are obviously quite short. TAGC’s
piece evolves a looped rhythm from some ethnic source, along with some sort flute sample.
    Matar is not unlike that, but here the loops are more of an electronic origin and basically that’s
it. It is just that, and that’s too short to say anything about it. They are apparently signed to Mute
Records, so I’m sure there is much potential in the project.
    Mykel Boyd at the very end – we’re four minutes into the disc – has a piece that is more subdued
and calmer than the other two, but also works around with electronic loops, which is, at such the
recurring theme of this record I guess. I quite enjoyed the briefness of this disc, even when it leaves
much open to guess about, and I was thinking: a 10″ flexi disc, such as the legendary ’23 Minutes
Over Brussels’ by Suicide, why don’t we see more of those? (FdW)
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Atemwerft is a German netlabel specialized in vocal arts and sound poetry, also producing CDR-
releases, like this one by Donatella Bartolomei. This beautiful work comes in a white origami
cardboard cover with nice design and artwork by photographer Alessandro Didoni. The black CDR
is in vinyl-look. Well done. It is a vocal-only album by Italian singer and actress Donatella Bartolomei.
    An extreme and eccentric work that immediately asks for comparison with the work of
Diamanda Galas. We are in a similar universe. From what I know Bartolomei debuted with a self-
released CDR in 2013 called ´Voce Sacra´. She lives in Milan, working as a singer and actress, both
teaching both arts as well. The songs of Bartolomei are full of drama and theatrical gestures. She
sings, screams, speaks, etc. She can be an opera diva in one track, turning to a vocal artist in
another and always very expressive and pronounced at that. The sacred is an important element
in her art. In an interview she explains: “Sacred is all that concerns us deep inside, that leads us
beyond ourselves. In my projects like ‘Voce Sacra’ or  ‘Dea Luna’ there is this connection with the
sacred. What interests me is Sacred Art, not in a strictly religious and traditional but in a much
wider, freer sense.” The voice is the optimal instrument to express our deepest emotions and
spirituality, and to go beyond. To go deep and beyond is what Bartolomei exercises in each song.
Most of them are written or co-written by Bartolomei. But she sings also a traditional gospel:
‘Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child’. The closing bonus-track ‘Vovovotah’ is written and
performed by the band Kampsindaja with vocals by Bartolomei. Throughout the album there are
guest appearances by singers Giulia Sirtori, Emanuela Zuccalà and Stefano Luna. Bartolomei did
also the mixing, a complex job, resulting in an extraordinary and intriguing work. (DM)
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KRAKEN – TODO LO QUE MUERE (cassette by Lage Landen Lawaai)
DJ KOOLKATZ – THE BEST DISCO IN TOWN (cassette by Lage Landen Lawaai)

Always the one to get the noise party started Lage Landen Lawaai brings the death squad in
with Kraken’s ‘Todo Lo Que Muere’. Lamentations of the dark ambient sort rummage through
the din, not unlike the Piranesi-doom-symphonies full of tension and horror we’ve come to know
from the likes of Atrium Carceri. These dreaded netherworlds are cloaked in nebulous and nefarious
shrouds here, like flickering, battered old celluloid Super 8 film with fading images and once every
now and then a little something you might be able to hold on to, only proving to be just out of
reach when trying to focus too closely.
Voices wander and scurry, disembodied, disenfranchised, haunting, coming at you. Perhaps more
musique concrète than we already know Kraken’s darkest of ambient sorts these miniatures
(clocking in at two of four minutes and a bit and one longer piece just shy of ten minutes), the
somewhat sketchy quality of these tracks brings about a tactile, home-grown vibe that’s exactly
the kind of uncanny mood you don’t want (but do need!) from this duo. This is to say: these
creepy crawly compositions are so unnerving and unsettling you’d label these as unwanted guests
in your house – ghostly, ghastly, great!
To really kick things up a notch in the party animals department, DJ Koolkatz’s release comes with
black and white confetti and a party whistle (for real!). And a colour front cover image too. A first
for the label. A photo by the way of a party venue trashed to ruins. DJ Koolkatz is one the many
noms de plume Herman Klapholz, best known as Ah Cama-Sotz, uses. Surprisingly it’s not cold and
lonely on his dance floors. Industrial machinery may have ravaged places and hearts alike; Koolkatz
keeps the soul and funk alive. Warm bass groove are jumbled up in some cuts and scratches, but
nothing too strange or alien is going on here. Just a little festive mood after all has gone down the
shitter, except for some good ole boogie records, covered in dust and brine. If this passes the Kool
Aid Acid Test remains an open question. Irony might have been lost somewhere in translation, but
this does sound like the after party craze mayhem Maschinenfest finds itself in at the very last
hours. Get down, shake your ass and, well: let the beat control your body. Or something. We
didn’t really see this one coming. (SSK)
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MÖRKERSEENDE – MÖRKERSEENDE (cassette by Mörkerseende)
“Mörkerseende’s self-titled debut drills into the hate of oneself and fights self-destructive urges
with musical apathy. A screeching alarm builds into a turbulent turmoil of tension. Rumblings turn
into a crushing stillness while a metallic hum calmly crawls toward its own end. Eventually the brink
of a mental breakdown is within reach, and its never been as welcome. ”The mistake here is to
actually ‘read’ the text or listen to the music. Taking the text, Art here or at least ‘musical apathy’
combats self-destructive urges. And yet the outcome is a mental breakdown or its brink. So see
your reaction is that I’m taking the text far too “literally”.  Of course I am! Compare this to the
following,“The nothing is the complete negation of the totality of beings   … we can never
comprehend absolutely the whole of beings….. Boredom reveals beings as a whole…Anxiety
reveals the nothing… the nothing itself nihilates… the revelation of the nothing belonging
essentially to Dasein…  the truth of metaphysics dwells in this groundless ground … Art is the
setting into work of the truth … truth is the unconcealment of beings as beings… ”Hmmm – so
what to say if this cassette is intended to offer something ‘welcome’, isn’t that just the problem
which destroyed P.E. And is now destroying Noise if it hasn’t already done so? Oh – police siren
sounds and loops of lo fi static… of course I’m being very negative here, and that’s very bad of
me. But surely that makes this review one that is self destructive and apathetic?  IOW if P.E. was
to caused distress in its negativity how then to praise or deny this? (jliat)
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MATTHEW D. GANTT – ITERATIONS (two cassettes by Gold Bolus)

This double cassette shows us four sides of the work of Matthew D. Gantt. Two sides contain his
work on the modular synthesizer, which I believe is unique on every tape, and is some kind of process
made by using the piece that is on the first side, ‘Etude’, going through a ‘series of randomized
systems with an Eurorack synthesizer. The listener is urged to play both sides at the same time,
thus creating your own four-channel listening environment. ‘Etudes’ are three pieces of guitar
improvisation, and sound very much like the guitar does in the world of more regular improvisation.
It is not something that is great or different, just sturdy, fine improvisation on an electrical guitar
that is not without the roots of rock music.
    In both parts of ‘Trace’, the synthesizer is in mono, so one could, technically do a four-track
mix of these synthesizer sounds. They are bubbly and sometimes quite fast, changing, until it slows
down and because the settings don’t vary that much all of this sounds similar and with ‘Etude’
serving as a matrix the way the piece moves is also similar, which I thought made the whole project
pretty interesting.
    The fourth side contains ‘Assemblage’, a piece in two movements, as detailed on the enclosed
score, and here too the cassette contains a unique performance. On the copy I have it is performed
by Maciej Lewandowski on cello and, although the score is quite complex, it makes up quite a
beautiful piece of music, quite atmospheric and played in a great way throughout this piece. The
performance however seems a bit short, perhaps ten minutes, and leaves a lot of blank tape.
    Now with all of this, except ‘Etude’, it seems, being pieces unique to this tape, it is probably
not easy to give a general opinion about it; maybe your copy is entirely different and which in the
case of ‘Assemblage’ might very well be the case. In the case of the two parts of ‘Trace’ I doubt
that, but it something to wonder about. On the other hand, in a time of mass production it is nice
to have something truly unique. (FdW)
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