Number 1056

AB INTRA – HENOSIS I-V (CD by Zoharum) *
PHURPA – RITUAL OF BÖN (LP by Zoharum) *
RECONNAISSANCE FLY – OFF BY ONE (CD by Reconnaissance Fly)
RUMORE AUSTERO (CD by Scatole Sonore Produzioni) *
ESCAPE (CD compilation by Degem)
MEI ZHIYONG – LIVE IN SWITZERLAND (12″ by Aussenraum Records)
CHECK OUT (10″ by Hornschaft/African Tape)
ZEBRA MU – YEARS OF EXTINCTION 2009-2012 (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
BEAT KELLER & DARIUS CIUTA – A2 (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
EMERGE & DON VOMP – LIVE AT PAMPIN (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *

AB INTRA – HENOSIS I-V (CD by Zoharum)

A group that I have not heard of in quite some time, and yet never forgot about is Navel. I
remember back then, and I am speaking here some sixteen or more years ago, I was quite a fan
of their ambient guitar sound and even released something on a short-lived CDR enterprise. I
must admit I didn’t recognize the name Günter Schlienz as being a member of that group; it all
slipped my mind. I now learn he’s also active as a solo musician and a man who loves his
synthesizers, and has a bunch of cassette releases on his own label Cosmic Winnetou, but
also Metaphysical Circuits, Gift Tapes, SicSic, Goldtimers Tapes, Constellation Tatsu, Makrame
Records and others. I believe this is my first encounter with his modular synthesizer music, and
with an expertly chosen title for the time of the year. Winter is coming and that means it is still
Autumn, and so the three pieces on this release are called ‘Oktober’, ‘September’ and ‘November’,
in this order and I must say: this is an excellent release. It’s not something you haven’t heard
before in terms of modular synthesizer music playing a strict ambient card, but Schlienz does
it with great care. These three pieces are long, sixteen to twenty-five minutes and on the surface
it seems they are not changing a lot, but upon closer listening they do. Very minimally, but they
do. The music he waves together is very slow and is like a web of sounds; you can never over see
the totality of these sounds but all of them drop by in slow changing patterns and these patterns
sound different all the time. So while it doesn’t seem to change, it actually does, some sounds
linger on, while others are added and subtracted. The sound is overall very quiet and reminded
me of the very ancient cassette by De Muziekkamer, ‘Kamermuziek’ (sadly never released on CD!)
as well as some of the releases by the Midnight Circles label.
    The second release from Zoharum is by Ab Intra, who is no stranger to this label, after
releasing ‘Aura Imaginalis’ (not reviewed) and ‘Supremus’ (Vital Weekly 826), as well as a
double split CD with 1000schoen (Vital Weekly 937). I have no idea who is behind Ab Intra,
yet I do know that the title of his latest CD stems from the Greek for ‘unity’ or ‘unification’.
He (assuming here actually) is someone who also loves his synthesizers, perhaps even of the
modular variation like Schlienz, but his output is totally different. If Schlienz is good at playing
the ‘minimal’ card, then Ab Intra plays for the maximum output. In the five pieces (all noted by
triangle symbols) he feeds his modular synth work to each other and then through what sounds
like a long line of sound effects, and the endgame is what could be easily classified as power drone
music. It comes across as a bunch of tormented church organs that over the course over several
hundred years have been left outside in the acid rain and just recently have been dusted off to play
some music again. There is some intense unity in these sounds, going from rock/drone like in the
opening piece to arpeggio in the closing piece; variation through unification, if you get my drift.
    Russia’s Phurpa have been around a couple of times in these pages with their shamanistic
music and on ‘Ritual Of Bön’ they explore the magical practices of ancient Tibet, Iran and ‘even’
Egypt and Bön is a “Tibetan religion, which self-identifies as being distinct from Tibetan Buddhism,
although it shares the same overall teachings and terminology. It arose in the eleventh century
and established its scriptures mainly from termas and visions by tertöns such as Loden Nyingpo.
Though Bon terma contain myths of Bon existing before the introduction of Buddhism in Tibet,
“in truth the ‘old religion’ was a new religion”, as Wikipedia always comes in very handy. There is
nothing in there about the music of Bön, and to the untrained ear that I have for this kind of thing
it sounds like something that Phurpa does; lots of overtone chanting here, and very minimal in
terms of percussion and or flutes. That’s not to say they are not there, but I think it’s pushed
away a bit; on the second side, ‘Long life’ it seems to be more present. It is not the kind of music
that I play a lot, but when I do I always quite enjoy it; even if I may have very little affinity with the
underlying roots of the music. Enjoyed purely for what it is, I must say I had a great time. (FdW)
––– Address:


This is a neo-classical work by French pianist and composer Quentin Sirjacq. Inspired by minimal
music, ambient and new age. Strange for someone who studied composition and piano at the
Royal Conservatory in The Hague and took lessons from Fred Frith at Mills College. But Sirjacq
also works as an improviser and performer of new music and composes for theatre and film. On
this new release Sirjacq plays piano plus Fender Rhodes, synthesizer and percussion. Arnaud
Lassus assists on marimba, vibraphone and glockenspiel. Sirjacq is very clear about his intentions.
One might expect music that is experimental or demanding considering his background. But on
the contrary – well, for this release – he wants to create a comfortable musical environment that
doesn’t ask to much questions, if any at all. Instead he wants to offer the listener some peace
and rest. Or in his own words: “I believe music today should allow us to care more about our
inner life and self understanding in order to become more peaceful individuals and acknowledge
the complexity and mystery of the human being.” His music surely will function this way for some
listeners. Sirjacq creates compositions in different styles, but all serving this same aim. This is
dreamy, romantic easy listening music. A brave undertaking in a way to create such overtly
accessible music, and to keep the balance right and yet he stays away from kitsch and muzak.
I think he succeeded, which doesn’t imply I enjoyed this one. (DM)
––– Address:


Fovea Hex member and erstwhile known as Human Greed, Michael Begg now works mostly under
his own name and was recently commissioned by Scottish National Galleries to compose a work
around 19th century painter Charles François Daubigny, wildly regarded as the one of the painters
paving the way for the impressionists. In the last years of his life he primarily painted nocturnal
scenes and this was, we’re speaking of the 1870s, also the period when the nocturne as a piece
of music to be played around that time of the day made it’s rise. Somewhere else in France in that
time “Edouard-Lean Scott de Martinville conceived and produced the phonautogragh. This device,
appearing years before Edison’s phonograph, enabled sound, for the first time, to be captured.
Unlike Edison, however, de Martinville neglected – or saw no need – to provide the means to
playback the recording. Rather, a visual representation was captured on a lamp black cylinder.”
When in 2008 they uncovered what was on there, it was a voice singing ‘Au Clair De La Lune’.
As you can imagine, providing you know the music of Begg a bit, these are all fine starting points
for the kind of music he plays. Much like impressionist painting, Begg plays music that hints
towards such things as landscapes, nocturnal mostly but also otherwise, with the simple stroke
or gesture of a few sounds on the map of the magnetic tape. Some sounds, however vaguely they
might be, depict more than a highly refined composition. To that end Begg uses field recordings
of birds, cello sounds by Clea Friend or his own electronic set-up; I assume this is mainly to be
found in the world of computer processing the aforementioned sources, adding them all together
and yet still knows to make the music very quiet. There is not a single shocking sound here (and
why should there?), but its not always sweet or introspective, as ‘Daubigny’s Reverie’ with it’s
more haunted drones proof. The second half of the disc seems all together to be a bit darker on
the atmospheric side. Maybe night has fallen and we are wandering all by ourselves through a
moonlit forest? Ranging from the very abstract to the more musical, this is a beautiful trip into
the musical twilight. Overall a great release, that I would rank easily among Begg’s best. (FdW)
––– Address:

RECONNAISSANCE FLY – OFF BY ONE (CD by Reconnaissance Fly)

I don’t know much about the state of the art of progrock as I do not enter this world very often
nowadays. It is only through the releases on Rune Grammofon by bands like Elephant9 among
others that I pick up some of the developments. But I used to listen a lot to the Canterbury-style
progrock by bands like Soft Machine, Caravan, Egg, Hatfield & The North, etc. in the past. And it
are exactly these groups that I have to think of strongly, listening to this new effort by the
American combo Reconnaissance Fly. Their keyboard-dominated music makes no mystery of these
influences. Band members are: Amanda Chaudhary (keyboards), Rick Lesnik (saxes, clarinets), Larry
the O (drums, percussion), Polly Moller (voice, flute, guitar) and Tim Walters (bass). The band
started in 2009 as a follow up of Polly Moller & Company. In 2014 they released their first CD
‘Flower Futures’. Listening to ‘Off by One’, what they above all add to the Canterbury-influences
is humour. Things like the funky and jazzy steps in ‘Itzirhktna’, (the only track composed by
Chaudhary who recently left the band and was replaced by Bret Carson, who you may know from
the Quattuor Elephantis release last year on Edgetone Records), the ‘twangy’ guitar in the closing
piece, and not to forget the quasi-operatic singing style by Polly Moller in ‘Undeciphered’. It
sounded as verbal singing but it is non-verbal nonsense. The record takes about 30 minutes and
contains five tracks, four of them composed by Tim Walters who cleverly composed and arranged
pieces of music that breathe a friendly atmosphere. No problem with this rebirth of good old
progrock. The album was recorded live in Studio Faire la Nouba of Larry The O who engineered,
mixed, and mastered this release. (DM)
––– Address:


From the highly productive Tomek Mirt, who simply works as Mirt, I may have missed a few of his
more recent releases, including the one that is called ‘Vanishing Land’, of which, according to the
information I got, ‘Random Soundtrack’ is a sister album. He calls this ‘extended field recordings
or sonic ecriture automatique’ and ‘it is another attempt to search the point where music and
found sounds intersect’; ‘it’s a series of interfusing recordings, compositions, scraps of field
recordings ordinary connectors’. As I reading and re-typing all of this, I am listening to the music
and in my head trying to figure what it all means in connection to the music. I think it is like this:
we have a bunch of field recordings on one hand and a selection of hardware, as in synthesizers,
samplers and drum machines on the other, and now we’ll see how we can patch this together,
but the emphasis, I think, lies very much in the use of the hardware. Field recordings are present;
there is no doubt about it, but only a small role in these mildly and kindly shaped techno pieces. I
am not complaining here, I like both kinds of approaches and I think Mirt does a very fine job here,
sculpting these techno/synth tunes, with a bit of additional rain/street/jungle sounds and it is a
very entertaining release of shorter and longer tunes. Not exactly the kind of techno thing that is
made for easy dancing, but I could imagine playing this while travelling to exactly the exotic places
Mirt did these recordings. A lovely warm disc; The Orb would be proud of this grandson. (FdW)
––– Address:

RUMORE AUSTERO (CD by Scatole Sonore Produzioni)

“Rumore Austero produces unorthodox instrumental snapshots for modular practices, mostly
performed in barren unusual environments”, the press text says about this duo of Giordano
Giorgi and Marco Carcasi. The cover lists a whole bunch of instruments, such as field recordings,
kalimba and Shruti box but all the rest is in Italian, so I am a bit clueless. I would say there is a
variety of instruments available for them, both conventional and otherwise and in the eleven
pieces they explore via the idiom of improvisation and endless amount of approaches for these
objects. One thing seems to be clear to me and that is these improvisations are part of the world
of rock music. Guitars seem to be playing an important part here and even played in an odd way,
there is still something about this that sounds a bit like a rock guitar. I was thinking at times of
The Ex and their guitarists, but then without vocals, drums or exotic saxophone players. Rumore
Austero add a fine amount of distortion to garner a bit of extra spice in their music; they use
objects to hit their strings and do so in a fine repetitive manner, such as in ‘Coda Mozza Vuole
Ali’; some of this then reminded me of a very condensed Glenn Branca. Their rockist agenda works
quite well, I think, and they plunder easily over many years of free rock and they do it quite well,
bordering on the more abstract sound art and the convenient alternative rock space; perhaps not
always innovative but always with the right attitude to make each piece be alive. (FdW)
––– Address:

ESCAPE (CD compilation by Degem)

While I was not necessarily thinking of the word ‘escape’ when I played this compilation, I was
looking at the weather outside, with autumn rain pouring down, and thinking as an escape, as
in a holiday, would not be a bad idea. But the seventeen composers (two work as a duo, the rest
solo, so fifteen pieces in total) here have different ideas, it seems, but then it’s not always clear
what their idea of ‘escape’ might be. There are liner notes per composition in German and English,
but even then not always clear what it is about. The escape button on your computer board,
former youth prison’s field recordings, Germaine Greer’s voice, a rubber boat (holiday then after
all?), or a match of ping pong, everything that can be used to shine on the theme of escape
seems to be used here. All of these pieces use computer technology to transform sound material
on end, beyond recognition and sometimes also beyond meaning per se. It leaves a bit of guessing
as to what we hear exactly (and keep the insert at hand if you want to know as to who’s doing
what here; the backside of the digipack is very difficult to read; very darkly printed). Many of the
names (Simon Vincent, Paul Hauptmeier & Martin Recker, Julia Mihály, Kai Niggemann, Inge
Morgenroth, Mehran Sherkat Naderi, Kirsten Reese, Sabine Schäfer, STROM, Claudia Robles-Angel,
Johannes S. Sistermanns, Arsalan Arbedian, Felix Leuschner, Nikolaus Heyduck and Hiromi Ishii)
are new to me, except for a few, such as Strom, of whom I recently reviewed a new release. It’s a
fine compilation of modern musique concrete compositions, with Strom being the most improvised
one, by new composers and while none of these leap out, this is surely a place to investigate new
names. Oh, look, sun is shining again; I need an escape to get the groceries. (FdW)
––– Address:


A trio of improvisers: Jacques Demierre (piano), Axel Dörner (trumpet) and Jonas Kocher
(accordion). Both Demierre and Kocher are from Switzerland. Dörner comes from the Cologne
area. All three of them have improvisation as their main activity and have quite a list of collabo-
rations. Both Demierre and Dörner are also into composing, whereas Kocher is a sound artist and
initiator of Bruit, “a structure which initiates and produces sound and interdisciplinary practices:
improvisation, new music theatre, performances, installations as well as releases relating to its
actions”.  As a trio they exist since 2008. Their music is an example of completely free and radical
improvised music. On this release they are engaged in two lengthy sessions: ‘The Mirror’ (18:09)
and ‘The garden”(17:41 ). Music that asks for a concentrated listening, otherwise you miss the
point. It is a live recording from 2014 at The Cave in Geneva. It is that is best enjoyed live where
one can sense the interaction more physical. The improvisations are not demanding because of
their complexity. The three musicians take time to develop their patterns and statements, using
long-extended phrases and sounds. Also there approach is minimalistic. In result this improvising
music works out very reflective and meditative. Gradually, after 11 minutes things become more
dramatic in ‘The Mirror’. Dörner creates wonderful sounds and textures on his trumpet. ‘The Garden’
starts promising with a fine interaction between the three, before disappearing almost completely
into silence. It takes minutes before they wake up from this meditative interlude. Hammering piano
chords, intense solo playing by Dörner, underlined by the accordion, make an enormous contrast
and lead us to an intriguing finale. (DM)
––– Address:


The foreign lands mentioned in title might be just one land, and that’s Estonia, and Jim Haynes
was invited for a residency at MoKS in that country, hosted by Simon Whetham and John Grzinich,
for people working directly or indirectly with field recordings. And that is surely something that is
Haynes’ alley. Whereas from much of his previous output one could have the idea that Haynes is
another drone meister, transforming lengthy chunks of sound into long form pieces of drone
music, it seems that in more recent times Haynes ventures out to the world of musique concrete.
The recordings he taped in abandoned, crumbling old soviet buildings owe more to the world of
acoustic sounds, with contact microphones scraping over concrete floors and the crackling of
faulty electricity wires, which are cut, edited, pasted, looped and refined on tape (well, more likely
to be a computer these days) in the form of a collage, cutting sounds in and out of the mix. Some
of this gets layered and thus a drone might formed, but just as easily it’s all a wild collage of sound;
Haynes is no longer the drone merchant pur sang, but as noted with his previous release,
‘Scarlet’ (Vital Weekly 970), his current work is more along the lines of Francesco Meirino or Joe
Colley, with a few surprise jump cuts thrown for that all sudden wake-up call. The first side as
three of these collages of field recordings and they work very well. From the prolonged crackling
of streetcars, piled up together, to the electrical current flickering in an empty space. It is all from
the haunted house, I guess, and it simply is made with great care.
    The second side has a side long piece, ‘Electric Speech: Nadiya’ and is cut-up of voice material,
that is very much like Nurse With Wound’s own studio play book, but Haynes also mentions Robert
Ashley’s ‘Purposeful Lady Slow’ as a point of reference. Below the chopped up voice there is quite
a bit of electronics and short wave sounds and the reversing of sound for that extra spooky or
surreal (cross out what you don’t like) effect. There is no text that could be deciphered in anyway,
but it has a real classical musique concrete feel to it. This is an excellent piece of music that, in all
its nineteen minutes is full of tension and creepiness and which makes one on the edge of the seat.
I thought this was one excellent record; probably the best work by Haynes so far, who seems to be
maturing with every new release. (FdW)
––– Address:


Just last week the name Konrad Kraft came up in a conversation and I mentioned I knew the name
but didn’t recall hearing his music. Lo and behold, when investigating for this review, it turned out
that as ‘recently’ as in Vital Weekly 787 I reviewed a CD by Konrad Kraft, real name Detlef Funder,
also by Auf Abwegen. My memory is not what it used to be, I guess. Back in Vital Weekly 57 I also
reviewed a CD by him, and according to the information in front of me, that was the last CD release
before the other one. A fifteen-year break seems quite long. Back in the nineties he was more active
in the world of music, which included running his own label, SDV Tonträger. In all these years the
modular synthesizer played an important role in his work and on the six pieces on ‘Quadrat’ this is
not different. This is another approach to modular synth than say Günter Schlienz, reviewed
elsewhere in this issue; Konrad Kraft’s music is all the busier with all sorts of configurations being
made and sculpted into seven pieces of modern electronic music. Not in the sense of sixties
electronic music, as Konrad Kraft uses quite a bit of repeating blocks of sounds (not as in loops
actually), but is perhaps closer to pop music than he would believe himself; maybe, one could say,
his music is along the lines of Conrad Schnitzler and Asmus Tietchens, although from the latter
from quite some time ago; maybe somewhere along the lines of his Sky Records. This might be
bridging the gap between serious electronic music, industrial music, cosmic music and becomes
invariably a hybrid of it’s own. His previous CD had somewhat longer pieces, and here it seems a
bit concise and to the point, which I certainly enjoyed much better. This is something that is
beyond much what I hear normally, someone who does something that is totally like himself and
who doesn’t seem to be following any scenes or trends. (FdW)
––– Address:


Of course you know the name Ilpo Väisänen; it’s hard to imagine you have no idea who he is, and
yet, looking at the entry on Discogs we only see very few releases. His claim to fame is more due
the alliance he once formed with Mika Vainio, first known as Panasonic and then as Pan Sonic, the
highly influential duo from Finland when it comes to creating that fertile link between techno and
noise, bringing them to the club scene as well as the avant-garde. They are no more a going concern
as a duo, and Vainio was always very active as a solo musician, whereas Väisänen had a side interest
in Angel, together with Dirk Dresselhaus of Schneider TM. As said his solo output has been very
sparse. I once saw a solo concert by him, which sounded more like Asmus Tietchens than anything
remotely techno, and I thought it was great (I believe this concert is available on DVD through Atak
in Japan).
    There is hardly a review from new releases on Kvitnu that doesn’t mention Pan Sonic as an
influence and the label also released a work by them (see Vital Weekly 922), so a link has already
been established. Whereas Vainio in his solo releases ventures out the world of noise, drones and
highly charged electrical currents, Väisänen stays closer to the world of Pan Sonic, merging rhythm
and noise. That is not to say that these beats would easily fill the dance floor, per se, but the
repeated blocks of bass sound, along with high piercing synthesizer sounds and wobbly synthesizer
line might be something that would do well on the turntable of a more daring DJ. Whereas the old
Pan Sonic sound seemed hermetically closed and serious in approach, Väisänen opts in his solo
work for something a bit more playful, less rigid perhaps. Both sides, lasting twenty minutes, have
nine pieces called ‘Osat’, which means ‘parts’ in Finnish, and I assume part one, part two etc. of
the title piece, but each of these pieces flow right into the next segment and gives both a fluid
character to the piece, as well a fine sense of movement; the piece can also be enjoyed as a whole.
I thought this was a great record, very Väisänen, very Kvitnu (great cover also) and so only one
question remains: will we have to wait another fifteen years before he releases anything new? I
would hope not. (FdW)
––– Address:

MEI ZHIYONG – LIVE IN SWITZERLAND (12″ by Aussenraum Records)

From China hails Mei Zhiyong, born in 1984 and now living in Changchun City. Whenever I see a
recent clip on Facebook from him, I notice there have been already 1,000 to 2,000 views, so I
assume there is some popularity. In September/October last year Mei Zhiyong toured Europe a
bit and recordings of the second concert is on the first side of this 45 rpm 12″, and the final
concert ended up on the second side. I must admit I was a bit surprised to see this released by
Aussenraum Records, whose releases are not necessarily quiet, but a venture into all out noise
is something I didn’t expect. I never heard Mei Zhiyong’s music properly, and his noise is quite
overwhelming, but perhaps not quite in a sort of Japnoise way. Unlike say Merzbow or Massona,
Mei Zhiyong uses start/stop here, with sounds coming from tape and feeding through sound
effects, such as distortion pedals and the like, and he cuts them in real time in and out of the
mix. Apparently there has been no editing or mixing afterwards and it is what it is. This seems
all to be at the noise end of tape-collage I think, especially on the first side. On the recording on
the flipside there is a more continuous affair going on with a scream of feedback and distortion
from the overload of mixing boards, but here too I suspect the presence of tapes. The visual side
of Mei Zhiyong, which I only saw on film in short clips, is of course something that is not present
on this release and perhaps that’s a pity; captured on vinyl there is surely something lost of the
action and what remains is some great pieces of noise music that however miss that extra bit.
––– Address:

CHECK OUT (10″ by Hornschaft)

Here is one of those things that looks beautiful but which gives me one hell of headache. A 10″
sized book of pictures, taken by Giordano Simoncini and music by Alessansdro Incorvaia, and
I assume ‘in the corridors of a school in Nowa Huta’, as this location is also mentioned as the
place where Grezgorz Tomaszewski recorded the music in the night of April 10, 2014. The
website the book mentions refers as a distributor to casino’s in Africa, but it’s the only one
mentioned in this lavishly printed book as well as on Discogs for the label African Tapes, the
distributor. So what do I know? Oh yeah, next to nothing really, which is with such a release, no
expenses spared, a real pity. The music by Incorvaia is of a man armed with a guitar, some
sound effects (delay, a bit of reverb) and made a loop device. He strums quietly away, let’s sounds
wander off into a void unknown and throughout the various sections, there might be four of
them according to the book, has a real laidback attitude, which is very nice. This is the kind of
post-rock sound that I heard a lot, a long time ago, from say the likes of Windy & Carl, but never
that much anymore these days, and to hear it again, is quite a fine thing, relaxing after hours
with a book and coffee within reach.
    I might be all wrong of course, and maybe while opening the parcel, I lost the press text
and I’m all sorry, should that have occurred (pretty sure there was none enclosed), but I really
think some more ‘explanation’ would have been really handy. Not just for me, but perhaps
also for the unassuming consumer.  Now this just floats around and I am sure that is not the
intention. (FdW)
––– Address:

ZEBRA MU – YEARS OF EXTINCTION 2009-2012 (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
BEAT KELLER & DARIUS CIUTA – A2 (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
EMERGE & DON VOMP – LIVE AT PAMPIN (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)

Listening to this album by Zebra Mu, the musical project of Michael Ridge, made me realize that I
may not have heard as much of his music; This seventeen-track release is a compilation of releases
from the years mentioned in the title and are all released before; on cassettes, CDRs (3″ and
business card included) and even floppy disks. I checked his website and apparently his video of
a 5 pound note playing the 7″ of Abba’s ‘Money Money Money’ went viral, but there is more to be
seen and it might be a glimpse into his sound world. He likes to construct stuff involving contact
microphones and he likes using acoustic objects, along with a furious amount of feedback,
distortion and sonic overload. Sometimes there is a bit of field recordings, such as in ‘Church Bells
And Squeaking Chair’ (no prizes if you guess which field recordings), but that is quite loud. At times
I was reminded of some of the good ol’ Merzbow but then in the mid to late 80s, when he cracked
his acoustic sounds wide open, without sparing the guitar effects. This is quite good music, as
Zebra Mu offers a certain amount of variation, providing you have some experience with the word
noise of course. I like to argue though that sixty-seven minutes is perhaps a bit much to take in
all at once of this, especially when pieces are bit longer and more single minded focussed on noise
such as ‘Rusted Trapdoor’ (here one could guess actually). Do one half a day and you’ll be happy.
    You could easily think the name Beat Keller is a wordplay on ‘beats in basement’, or think of
The Beatles playing the Cavern, but Beat is actually not an uncommon name in Switzerland and
Keller, well, that means basement in German, but also is a fairly regular last name. He plays
‘feedbacker electric guitar’, but is also trained as a jazz guitarist and he plays with various groups,
as well as composing for other groups. I guess this new work is perhaps a bit of an oddball for
him, as it sees him playing with Darius Ciuta, who plays shortwave radio and objects. This is quite
far from the world of jazz, but perhaps not so far from the world of improvised music. It is, in all
its subtleness, quite a radical work. The feedback produced by Keller is not always ear-piercingly
loud, but it’s at times pretty high pitched and generally follows slow curves when changing his
pitches. Ciuta’s contribution is probably no less extreme I think. At times he produces some very
dry sounds, merely clicks and ticks, a bit of hiss and noise, but here too it is all very much under
control. It never explodes or becomes a wall of noise. Hard to recognize a guitar in here, but also
any other sound is not easy, I guess. I enjoyed this best at a somewhat lower volume; in all its
abstract approach towards sound, this also has some kind of Zen-like approach, I think. Sounds
move in, out and around in what could be a fairly random fashion and appear in all sorts of strange
overlapping configurations. This was a great release of some excellent, different approaches.
    Label boss Emerge teams up with Don Vomp, who has six entries on Discogs, all in some
way recorded with Emerge. Here they have a live recording from September last year made at
Pampin, where ever that is. As far as I know Don Vomp is a violin player, and Emerge is well,
Emerge; armed with sampling devices and electronics picking up the sound from Don Vomp and
treating them. Here in a recording that lasts thirty-seven minutes. This is quite a fine work. It’s
not easy to see what the violin is doing here, if in fact it is that what he plays, but there is an
excellent vibrancy in this work, of sounds moving around, very dry and very wet in the mix,
moving forward, backward, up and downward; crackling, drone like but it doesn’t become static,
which is a great thing I think. It’s almost the sound of burning fire that we hear in this release,
along with someone fiddling about with the equalization, playing with some of the more extreme
frequencies at both the high and low end of the piece. There is no noise blast at the end, which is
good for a change. This is surely one of the best of Emerge’s recent releases. (FdW)
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From Utah hails this somewhat oddly named band, and there is nothing much with regards to
personnel, equipment or anything else on either the cover or the bandcamp page. Just that it
was recorded from December 2015 to September 2016 and a small note calls this ‘experimental/
drone’ music, which is it probably is. The title piece and ‘CointelAmateur’, both of which open up
here, and the first bit of ‘Tell Them Not To Kill Me!’ all have the same ringing bell like sound; maybe
a processed doorbell, or a glockenspiel locked inside a granular synthesis patch. Somewhere in that
third piece a Mexican voice drops in, and bells remain. In the fourth piece, ‘Do Not Dwell With
Heretics, And Do Not Have Anything To With Rulers’, the bell tone is a bit lower on the octave
range and sounds like that for the entire twenty-five minutes this lasts. Also ‘It’s For You’ has
than same sound. I am not quite sure what the intentions are here. Of course if a singer-
songwriters sings and plays guitar than it may sound the same too (how come I am thinking of
Bob Dylan here? Never mind), but on a more experimental release such as this it sounds a bit the
same, while there is no indication that these are six parts of the same piece, mainly because of the
different titles. I may not rule out I am missing a very conceptual edge to this. It sounded all right
but in the end I found the similarities in the sounds and the way Embargo Effective Immediately
simply too much to be something to be fully emerged in. From the section ‘experimental/drone’
music I think there are others that do a better job. (FdW)
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Two times music by Architeuthis Dux, a duo of Kenny Brieger and Tony Duran, of which the second
is in collaboration with the hyper active Arvo Zyla. I never heard of them, so I started with the one
that this duo did alone. There is nothing on both covers that might give us a clue as to what kind
of instruments are used by them, but judging by the eight tracks here one could easily think these
men have a variety of electronic gadgets, those lovely small synthesizers, stomp boxes and guitars
at their disposal, and perhaps there is some form of percussion, of the metal variety, even it is more
or less played subtle and fed through a bunch of sound effects as well. They hail from Austin, Texas
and work together since 2012 in the field of power electronics. Judging by the quality of the
recording, I would think that these eight pieces are taped in front of an audience, or picked up
with a bunch of microphones in their rehearsal space, i.e. quite raw and with some distance
between where the sound is actually produced and the location of the microphone. I was reminded
of other US industrialists, especially Boy Dirt Car and their various offshoots. Maybe it’s all part of
the Architeuthis Dux aesthetics not to do a thoroughly refined recording, but somehow I think this
kind of music, played the way it is now, comes across much better in situ, preferably an old factory
building, mid winter and no heather, as to unease the experience. Sitting at home, with this
somewhat distant sound is like listening to a bootleg really, which is not bad, but also not ideal.
    With No Part Of It label boss Arvo Zylo Architeuthis Dux team up for six-song release called
‘The Unbegotten Source’, of which there is no further information available as to the how/when/
what/where. Unlike ‘Submergency’ the recording quality is more ‘studio’ like, without that ‘live in
a room presence’; it is something that hits you in the face and it hits you very hard. Much of this
music is very noisy and very loud, all on the overload mode, but it is not something that is without
variation. The opening of ‘Execration Texts’ has a rhythm machine and within the twenty-four
minutes changes a few times from super loud to a bit quieter, and overall aims at a more
psychedelic noise approach. The other five pieces are shorter and within a track not with that
many changes. Lots of feedback, erecting walls of the stuff, mucho distortion and, as said,
overall with more care for production values, so it all sounds much louder and way more direct
than the Architeuthis Dux release, but I am not sure which one I prefer; if I had to choose I would
go for that one rather than the collaboration effort, which sounded too clean cut noise for me,
even with all the variation thrown in. The ‘solo’ one by Architeuthis Dux had an overall distinct,
retro 80s cassette quality to it, which I think sounded better to these ears. The other one is for
those who love to have their Harsh Noise Wall with some additional wallpaper on it. (FdW)
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This cassette comes in a wooden case, and hurrah for those who try to do something different
with cassettes, and Mappa is currently one of the very few labels actually doing something great,
non-jewel case based in packaging their releases. On the front is says the name of the musician
and the title, as listed here in this review, but also it mentions Sarah Hennies. She composed this
piece at the request of Alvear and he performed it twice, and each recording spans the entire side.
One version is 44 minutes and 41 seconds, and on the other side it is one second longer. Now, I
wouldn’t recommend playing both sides right after each other, which I actually did, and dismissed
it as ‘the same thing’. Which it might actually be, or very well may not be; I still haven’t figured this
out. Alvear is a guitarist who performs scores by people like Jürg Frey, Radu Malfatti, Michael Pisaro
or Antoine Beuger, i.e. Wandelweiser composers and with this particular piece Hennies could join
those ranks. Five of the six parts are very quiet and consist of a very slow, repetitive playing of
the guitar; it is in the first part like listening to a very slow game of ping-pong and in the other
pieces there is also a highly percussive element. What about that other part then? It’s actually
the same sort of thing, but here Alvear’s playing goes over the course eight minutes into a
mighty crescendo, but otherwise it follows a similar percussive trajectory. All the other parts
stay on the same volume for as long as the section lasts and usually these volumes are quite low.
This is certainly not easy listening music, and I can easily imagine some people would be annoyed
by it but this is the kind of music that demands a different mind set when listening to it, one that
perhaps requires a more Zen-like approach to listening to music. I thought this was all quite
fascinating music, both from a meditative point of view, as well as a more ‘objective’ music-lover
position. (FdW)
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