Number 1058

  ASTROCYTE (CD by Ftarri) *
BRUSSEL – DELTA (CD by 33Revpermi) *
TEXT-SOUND COMPOSITIONS 9 (compilation LP by Fylkingen Records)
TEXT-SOUND COMPOSITIONS 10 (compilation LP by Fylkingen Records)
TEXT-SOUND COMPOSITIONS 11 (compilation LP by Fylkingen Records)
E.M.I.R.S. – DOMUS (10″ by BK)
NOISESCULTPOR – SOLAP ARE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
GHOST FLUTE & DICE – LIVE AT ECHOKAMMER (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
  Attenuation Circuit) *
ATTRITION – SECOND ONSLAUGHT (cassette by Maneki Neko Tapes)
  cassette by Some)

ASTROCYTE  (CD by Ftarri)

As I was playing the first piece of the ‘Astrocyte’ CD, called ‘attractor’, the first thing I was thinking
that it sounded a bit more jazzy than I am used from Ftarri. Lots of brushes on the snare drum and
vibraphone; that sort of thing. But then suddenly there was this high-end sine wave sound; it was
time to study the cover and the website to see what this is all about. The main player here is
Masashi Takashima, from Fukushima City, who composed this piece and who is a drummer and plays
an electronic set-up he called G.I.T.M., no doubt responsible for those high end sounds. Kageyama
plays vibraphone and percussion, while Nagasawa plays drums on that piece. The cover mentions
Takashima as the composer of the piece, where the second piece is listed as an improvisation and
sees the addition of Toshihiro Koike on trombone. ‘Attractor’ has that free jazz feeling of a laidback
Sunday afternoon, but with that alien factor thrown with these sine wave like sounds, giving this
piece quite a sense of unrest. The second piece, almost twice the length of the first, is a piece of
total free improvisation, but I was less pleased about it than about the first one. It is just a wild
improvisation and each of the instruments sounds you like you know them, especially the
trombone. This is the kind of improvised music that makes me just nervous I guess. It is perhaps
not bad, but then when witnessed in the surrounding of a concert space, and at home, on a disc,
perhaps doesn’t seem to have an equal power anymore. I might be wrong of course.
    It’s a bit unclear if the other release is by Suidobashi Chamber Ensemble, or credited to the five
players (as iTunes does) Wakana Ikeda (flute), Yoko Ikeda (viola), Aya Naito (bassoon), Masahiko
Okura (clarinet, bass clarinet) and Taku Sugimoto (guitar). They perform five compositions here,
by composers from the Wandelweiser group, being Jürg Frey, Michael Pisaro (three pieces) and
Antoine Beuger. Each piece is for a few instruments and only in one piece, by Pisaro, they all play
together; it is also the longest piece. Perhaps as an exception there is quite a bit to read about
this release on the Ftarri website (also in the booklet that comes along with the CD), and I like to
use this extensive quote from Taku Sugimoto: “When you are at home, usually nothing special
happens, so you feel comfortable. When listening to the music of Wandelweiser in concert, you
may notice that there are lots of spaces between musical tones and this kind of musical emptiness,
the silence, is the same kind in terms of sound as what you can hear at home. It is often said that
to concentrate on listening to music, which contains long silences makes the listener tired. But it
is not always necessary to concentrate. You are at home. Why not feel comfortable?” I am at home,
sitting, reading and listening, but even on a quiet Monday afternoon in a street that has very little
traffic, I hear noises from outside, other people in the house also, which I could find comfortable,
but somehow it isn’t the same time with a vague bass booming from somewhere. And boy do
these five Japanese musicians use a bit of silence; lots of them in fact, which I think is then all
about mood music. One has to be in the right mood, I guess, to fully enjoy this. Listening with
headphones, I guess, is not really something I enjoy at home, nor for this kind of music. I simply
had to wait for a better moment to arrive and only then I felt comfortable to enjoy all of this.
There is lots of space on this release, and sometimes very little by way of instruments, but once
I felt comfortable enough to take it all in, I noted that I very much enjoyed all of this. Sparse
beauty. This is music that is like a watercolour painting. (FdW)
––– Address:

BRUSSEL – DELTA (CD by 33Revpermi)

You don’t find a band like Brussel in our archives easily, as it might get confused with the city of
the same name; I guess very much so for the band that calls themselves Rotterdam. Behind the
band is Bruno Fleurence, who plays Surpeti (couldn’t find a translation for that), guitar and organ
and Hugo Roussel on guitar. I believe they are from France. ‘Delta’ is their third release and it’s
music that is beyond categorization. There is in all of these six pieces an element of drone music,
played on a shruti box (maybe that’s what the Surpeti is), but non-mechanical, not from machines
but with human intervention. There is also an element of improvisation going on, as all of these
pieces are somewhat loosely structured and sometimes sounds drop in and out of the mix; some
of the guitar playing happens to be on acoustic guitars, with and without objects, and the playing
is sometimes blues like and on other occasions totally abstract. And finally one can find in here
influences from the world of ambient post-rock, but this too is on a more abstract level. It moves
cleverly between bigger, maybe electronic sounds and more intimate acoustic sounds (guitars,
objects, harmonium, accordion or some such). It is not easy to guess how some of these
‘electronic’ sounds were made but one could think of whatever happens acoustic being processed
to quite some extent. Some of this is very intense music, with a lot of sonic information at the
lower end of the spectrum, but just as equally it can open up and in comes some sunshine. This
is quite an odd album, and one that grew more and more, every time I played it. (FdW)
––– Address:


With close to two-and half hours of music this is only the first half of the complete ‘Threads Of A
Prayer’. I only heard once before the music of Jeffrey Roden (and yes he is related to Steve Roden;
he is his uncle), back in Vital Weekly 481, when I reviewed his ‘Seeds Of Happiness Part 1’, which
was a solo bass release, quite musical but that didn’t do much for me. On his new release, Roden
is no longer performer but composer. The whole first disc, seventy-two minutes, is filled with
Sandro Ivo Bartoli on the piano, playing ‘Twelve Prayers’, ‘Untitled 10 Pieces’ and ‘The Passing Of
A King’, and these pieces are quite silent. Slow, majestic, thoughtful, and easy to see them linked
to say Morton Feldman, Arvo Pärt or even older composers like Satie or Debussy, but everything
remains in the same subtle way of playing the keys. It seems to me that ‘Untitled 10 Pieces’ is
even quieter than the ‘Twelve Prayers’, which are actual prayers; all of these prayers are in the
booklet and show a spiritual background. That too is probably another link to Pärt.
    On the second disc there are four pieces, ‘The Many Latitudes Of Grief’ (octet for string
quintet, piano, timpani and trombone), ‘Untitled Quintet #2’, ‘Untitled Quintet #3’ (both of
which are rather short) and ‘Leaves’, all three of which are quintets, and they are performed by
Bennewitz Quartet, as well as Szymon Marciniak (double bass), Bartoli (piano), Wolfgang Fischer
(timpani) and Johannes Kronfeld (trombone). Here we may have more instruments per pieces
and hitherto more sounds, certainly in the two short quintets, the overall mood is still very much
about it all being quiet and introvert. Again this has very much to do with Pärt and Feldman way
of composing music; there are no dissonant notes, very quiet, and there is much room for silence,
even, when perhaps less in the ensemble pieces than in the piano pieces. One could say ‘music for
rainy Sunday afternoon’, but it’s Friday afternoon, and not rainy; clouds wave by and every now
and then they is ray of sunlight. Somehow that seemed more appropriate for this kind of music. It
is, should one believe in such things, like the clouds are moving along an almighty conductor,
which some call God, and not some tormentor who makes it rain all day. If you get my drift.
    Beautiful stylish design by Rutger Zuydervelt and it comes with a highly informative booklet
and all prayers. This is a beautiful release indeed. (FdW)
––– Address:


From Montreal, Canada, hails the composer James O’Callaghan, whose works deals with chamber
music, orchestral music, live electronic and acousmatic idioms, audio installations, and site
specific performances; he received a bunch of prizes (how many are there for this kind of music,
I wondered looking at this list). In his acousmatic music he uses field recordings, amplified found
objects, computer-assisted transcription of environmental sounds and ‘unique performance
conditions’. On this CD he presents four compositions, each based on one or more instruments.
There is piano, acoustic guitar and toy piano, string quartet and orchestra. Not that it is always
possible to recognize the sounds in the music; perhaps only because you read the liner notes that
mentions this, rather than you hearing them. Three of the four pieces are a trilogy that imagines
the sounding bodies of instruments as resonant spaces. The treatments applied are not really
mentioned, but somehow I don’t think it’s some good old splicing tape and an ancient reel-to-reel
machine; in stead much of this takes place inside the computer, and the countless possibilities
that this offers. Much of the work by O’Callaghan is produced by GRM in France, and they have
some excellent tools for the production of computer-based music. Years ago I complained that I
found many of the releases by Empreintes Digitales interchangeable and while some of the music
of O’Callaghan sounds pretty interesting I couldn’t help but thinking that some of this I already
heard on a lot of previous releases by this label, by other composers. There is, so it seems from
the outside, very much a template within this genre and as such I think the work delivered by
O’Callaghan is not bad, but perhaps also not the most original in it’s kind. (FdW)
––– Address:


Yeah, I know, Bocian Records; right. Didn’t they quit releasing new stuff, already twice before?
Somehow they continue all the time, which is actually fine, since they have released some great
music. Here we have a live recording made at Cafe Oto in London in February 2014 and April 2015
and while it lists Antoine Chessex on the front cover, he is not among the performers; he is however
responsible for the two compositions that are being performed here by Jerome Noetinger, who
plays reel-to-reel recorder and electronics and an ensemble called Apartment House, which on both
nights had a different line-up, with Anton Lukoszevieze on cello being part of both nights but then
he is also the founder of Apartment House. Instruments played are violin, clarinet, trombone and
cello. Chessex is responsible for the mix of both pieces. Both of these pieces are quite dense with
lots of microtonal gestures, and apparently use a conventional score for instruments, along with
free role for the tape machine and it makes up from pretty strong mixture of modern classical music
(all the instruments) and musique concrete (Noetinger); the line between both ends becomes a bit
unclear, especially when one has the idea that Noetinger is picking up the sound by the players and
feeding them back into the mix. If there is any room for improvisation, and I believe there is, then it
is happening on exactly that crossroad between the official score and what Noetinger adds, ad lib,
to the performance of that score. Of both pieces I liked ‘Accumulation’ over ‘Plastic Concrete’,
simply because it was a little more paced out, and allowed for longer moments of quiet development
of a single instrument and few movements on behalf of Noetinger. It is, all in all, music that is
performed with a considerable amount of force and one could say it’s pretty heavy weight. I am
sure the performance must have been explosive, but also on disc it breaks and cracks under its
weight. One to play a piece a day, I’d say. (FdW)
––– Address:


This might be the sixteenth album (according to Discogs) by US’ Idea Fire Company, which is
close to thirty years of existence is not much, it follows closely on the heals of last year’s ‘Lost
At Sea’ (see Vital Weekly 1005), which was shorter than the gap between that and ‘Music For
The Impossible Salon’ (Vital Weekly 889), so either the band goes in over production mode or
finally, yes finally, there is some proper recognition for this truly great band. I am biased, in case
you are wondering. It’s no secret I love Scott Foust and Karla Borecky, the two main members of
the company and sometimes they are with other musicians; I was one of them, some time ago,
and it was great to work with them and to travel around. Whenever something is released, I drag
out all the old ones, and play as many as time will allow me. The two recent albums had a more
acoustic character, with piano, trumpet or trombones, but on this album they, still a duo, return
to using synthesizer on almost all pieces, except ‘The Happiness Hunters’, which features just
piano and radio. The piano can also be heard in three other pieces and there is a guitar. Each side
of the record begins and ends with a part of the title piece, book end pieces if you want of a more
looped character, something we haven’t seen for a while Idea Fire Company. It means that the piano
plays a big role on four main pieces and Borecky plays it with a slow, majestic force; strumming that
big minor chord which gives the music quite a portentous character, like there is big doom lurking
over us. Foust on synth, radio and guitar follows a similar trajectory, such as in the jarring ‘The
Sinking Ship’, with its distress synth signal and bang on a guitar. In other pieces the emphasis is
more on the small chamber music version, but more than the other recent works it also allows for
some more experiment in sound. Do I think this is a great record? Hell, yeah, you bet it is. I really
believe that Idea Fire Company is one of the most underrated underground groups of the USA;
many others with less talent got a bigger name and fame, so there is some truly injustice in this
world. But, ever the optimist; with two records in a year things might be looking up a bit for them!
––– Address:


Back in Vital Weekly 1015 I reviewed the split LP by Vortex and J-Kristoff Camps, and I noticed
back then that Boubaker moved from playing the saxophone to a modular synth set-up, but
maybe I thought this was only for his work in Vortex (not to be confused with the band of the
same name, reviewed last week), but now, with this duo record with Alexandre Kittel, he still plays
it, so perhaps we are dealing with a more permanent change, away from the horn? Kittle here plays
‘table cymbals and electronics’, and I assume ‘table cymbals’ are those cymbals that lie on a table.
Much like the Vortex side of that split record, things aren’t particular careful here, even when it’s
also not straight away harsh noise music. This is the kind of free form ‘noise’ music that I enjoy
very much. The music is very much freely improvised by these players, rattles about from time to
time, it peeps and bursts but it has a very fine free improvisation/free jazz energy that is on a
constant shift. Both players aren’t isolated on their own island, as they keep interacting and
changing the scene throughout, responding to each other and leaving room to the other when
necessary.  Backwards as well as forward, this I thought was a most pleasant record, of not a bit
short. The good news is that at the same time there are two more pieces, even a few minutes
longer at that, available from the bandcamp side of the label. So in fact it’s double release, and
perhaps a double set of vinyl would have been great, but this too is an excellent solution. One
has in the end little over an hour of some excellent music. (FdW)
––– Address: http://unrevenu.bandcamp.com


Following the split LP that Dyane Donck did with Daisy Bell (a band of which she is also a member,
along with Strange Attractor and Phallus Dei member Richard van Kruysdijk), which was reviewed
in Vital Weekly 855, she now has her first solo LP out. She lives in the Dutch city of Breda, in a
neighbourhood with lots of people from other countries and she asked them what kind of music
they are listening to. Donck then investigated the names she got and was inspired by it, sometimes
sampling them, which she merged with field recordings from her own area (train station, street
sounds, people talking). She works this into the three songs per side and the two sides of the
record are indeed quite different from each other. The first side has songs that deal with rhythm
and on the other side is the atmospheric, drone version of it. It might just be me, of course, that
I enjoy that second side better than the rhythmical one; that one uses samples from non-western
music quite a bit, rhythmical as well as instrumental, and comes across as a bit of collage of sounds
that not necessarily always fit together very well. Also on this side I wasn’t too sure about those
recordings that apparently surround Donck; they are either processed to a great anonymity, or I
fail to recognize them as from her surrounding. Donck does what she does well, and the music is
made with fine ear for production, with some great depth, but somehow this side fails to impress
me that much. Sometimes it seems too much like an attempt at techno/drum ‘n bass, such as in
‘Zirkoon’, and perhaps that didn’t help for me either.
    The pieces on the other side use drones to wider extent and here it seems also that we hear
more of her surrounding; cars passing and a door closing for instance. She builds that into some
great, intense sound scape or ringing and sustaining sounds, and it seems almost that these
three pieces flow right into each other, almost to make a trio of soundscapes, with ‘Azimut’ a
slowed down rhythm and some reversed vocals, almost like returning to the other side. There is
much mood in these pieces and it makes up for some great spooky soundtrack music; that
happens a lot when you reverse voices, I guess. I enjoyed this side of the record a lot, and wished
both sounded like this; the nervous system of the big city exposed via some excellent
soundscapes. That she should do more, I think. (FdW)
––– Address:


Maybe I have a different notion with the word ‘ensemble’, but sure three persons are an ensemble
too. David Maranha Ensemble consists of himself on organ and violin, Filipe Felizardo on electric
guitar and Diana Combo on drums. I have been following the music of David Maranha for a long
time, ever since I first heard his group Osso Exotico slowly expanding into classical music, and in
his solo works exploring drone music, which, as the years progressed became more and more
inspired by sixties drone/rock music, and that is something that has been going on for some
time now, regardless, it seems with whom he works. Maybe that is a pity, as one could be working
with different people for achieving different results. But all right, with your own ensemble you can
of course do what you want to do, and so Maranha continues with his exploration of slow heavy
sixties drone music; this time with some more emphasis on the guitar, which is quite distorted
and rock like, while Combo’s drums just like sledgehammer pounds the rhythm down, while
Maranha himself also seems to have added a fine portion of distortion to his organ and violin.
Maybe as such it is a bit less of Velvet Underground/Nico/La Monte Young axis and more about
such heaviness of the Swans, surely with the size of distortion and slowness of the drums
coupled with the minimalist development of the pieces. There are four pieces here and the music
works in two pieces clocking over ten minutes. Then it all shines brightly what they want. You
could head bang to this music, I guess, if you would want to. A most enjoyable record, this one,
not for the weak of heart. (FdW)
––– Address:

TEXT-SOUND COMPOSITIONS 9 (compilation LP by Fylkingen Records)
TEXT-SOUND COMPOSITIONS 10 (compilation LP by Fylkingen Records)
TEXT-SOUND COMPOSITIONS 11 (compilation LP by Fylkingen Records)

Only a few weeks ago I reviewed ‘Text-Sound Compositions 8’ and already announced there would
be three more volumes in this series, and now they arrived, all at once. To repeat from the earlier
review, these releases contain ‘recordings made between 1968 and 1970, when there was an
annual festival of the same name’ and should have been released at that time, but that didn’t
happen. These LPs have some names that are quite well known while it also serves as an
introduction to others. And some of these people are on more than one volume, like Bob
Cobbing and Herman Damen (both appear also on ‘Text-Sound Compositions 8’, see Vital
Weekly 1053).
    Volume 9 opens with Christer Grewin with a beautiful piece of voices and electronics, in
which it seems that the voice is transformed by synthesizers; cut-up voices, collaged together,
with a few beautiful layers this is a most intense piece of music. The cover tells us that this is
the first time his work is released (the composer died in 1999) and I hope Fylkingen would release
some more of it. Bob Cobbing’s piece this time is a taped from a performance and partly improvised
and sound like a shamanistic performance, including some percussion instruments, but comes
across too much as a tribal hippie freak out, that is not well spend on me. On the other side we
find Maud Reuterswärd and Bengt Nyquist with a piece that is about the massacre in Son My,
Vietnam. A political piece of voices and some screaming but all together it is a bit too distant to
be really scary. Oyvind Falhström is quite a well-known composer of sound poetry works, with
what now seems like a fairly traditional piece of multi-layered voices. Two short compositions by
Charles Amirkhanian conclude volume 9 and the first is a four-channel piece of poetry narration
and the other is cut-up text about nutrition from promotional announcement, which then
becomes quite alien and disturbing. Both sound also like more regular sound poetry pieces.
    In that respect the tenth volume opens with something quite different, which is a piece by
Tamas Ungvary, and it is a mostly an electronic piece with some occasional computer voice; it all
sounds rather primitive, but I think that it’s the beautiful charm of it. Also Herman Damen’s piece
is to some extent more electronic, as well as rather primitive again with the use of those electronic
sounds and voice treatment. Here too however it sounded quite all right, if not a bit long in the
case of Damen. It has most certainly a theatrical aspect, which is sadly lacking on the record. The
other side is all taken up by a piece by Lars-Gunner Bodin, of which an excerpt was released before,
but now comes in its entire form. Here too electronics seem to be playing a bigger role than voices,
but the piece, already recorded in 1965, also has this very nice primitive electronic feel to it. This
LP is a very coherent one, when it comes to combining electronic music and voices/poetry/vocals.
    Volume 11 opens with another piece by Grewin, which again is a beautiful intense piece, even
when ‘Ord Som…’ is pretty quiet and introspective. This is another stunning piece of music. Bring
on that CD with his complete works, please! Lars Hallnäs has a piece that uses a German voice and
radio waves ‘paying close attention to wave fluctuations caused by solar flares’ and is a slightly
confusing and short piece of spoken word and cut up electronics, and in a way sounds quite
removed from traditional electronic music in that respect. Roberta Settels was born in the USA
but lived in Sweden for a long time; her composition is ‘P4’. Not much in the way of voice material
it seems, but some very intense music here. Almost noise like with those static radio sounds
moving around. Jon Appleton on the other side has an eight-year old boy read the story of Little
Red Riding Hood, to which he adds sounds from the Bucla synthesizer. It is perhaps a strange
combination but somehow it works rather well. Eugeniusz Rudik from Poland has had some
retrospective releases in recent years by Bolt Records and his short ‘Wokale’ uses singing as
well as electronic sounds in an almost gospel like manner. The eleventh volume closes with a
piece by Rune Lindblad, which seems quite appropriate, as he is the grand old pioneer from
Swedish electronic music, with a piece about old age, which, seeing in the historical light of
these LPs, is also very appropriate. It is a very powerful piece of electronic sounds, old voices
and sounds of coughing (it seems). There is nothing subtle about this, and it has a great-
untamed power. Excellent ending! (FdW)
––– Address:

E.M.I.R.S. – DOMUS (10″ by BK)

Now, I happen to be reviewing this, obviously as one landed on my desk and while it did not
contain that unnecessary note ‘will you review this’ (I never understand why such notes are
added to what is clearly a promo; what else should I do with it?), the problem here lies in the
availability of it. There are only 8 copies made of this record, carved, I assume, as dub plates in
London. It contains the work of E.M.I.R.S., the artist formerly known as Belchsingersonggrinder,
and officially as Quinten Dierick, whose first concert under his new guise was witnessed by me
and which I thought was great; it moved away from the pure noise of his earlier work and was
very thoughtful with cassette hiss, small synthesizers and supported by a reel-to-reel machine.
Since then I saw him on a few more occasions with a varying degree of intensity, but working
around with field recordings a lot more these days. On ‘Domus’ he documents a residency in
Athens, where he recorded street sounds, people talking, construction sites but also played
concerts. The music was composed on the spot, but finished at home, where he imitated voice-
wise, some of the sounds and added then some more sounds and electronic processes. In a way
this is quite a heavy piece of music, or in fact all four of them, even when they seem to be flowing
right into each other. I mean with heavy that the sounds are recorded with quite some sonic
overload and all of it is very close together. Not like the first concert I saw, which was quite mellow,
but more like the music I heard after that (Vital Weekly 1017, 1010) where E.M.I.R.S. explore the
more intelligent end of noise music, along with rougher end of musique concrete and field
recordings into his own brand of noise, for the lack of a better word. I thought this was a great
record, but who will know? Maybe not enough people.
    The cover comes with a stone lithography cover and looks very much like the highly limited
art item it is. (FdW)
––– Address:

NOISESCULTPOR – SOLAP ARE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
  Attenuation Circuit)

Not so long ago I got 13 releases from Attenuation Circuit, which I thought was a bit much at
once, so since then they send me three releases a week, neat and clean, and probably, seeing
their furious release schedule they will keep this up for a while. The first of the three new releases
is by NoisesculptoR (as he spells it himself), which is one Robert Sipos from Eggenfelden, Germany.
He has a bunch of releases on Craneal Fracture Records and Unsigned, but I don’t believe I heard
much of his music before, except for something on a split with the Royal Hungarian Noisemakers.
Based on that work I must admit I had no idea what to expect. He has six pieces here (no titles on
the cover), which last in total some fifty minutes, which means each track is quite long. Hard to
say what he uses in terms of instruments, but I think it is easy to think there is a fair amount of
electronics and reverb at work here, working overtime to get the most out of it when it comes to
playing forceful, moody and dark tunes. There might be field recordings on the input side of things,
and they might easily be taped inside a factory; and if that is not the case that perhaps this music
tries to emulate the sounds of the factory. While the music is not noise per-se, this is also not
particular anything else, let alone ambient. Industrial with a dash of ambient, that surely could be
the case here, bordering occasionally closer to the first than to the latter, especially in the fifth
piece, and in the bass overload of the sixth piece. Sculptures? Yes, perhaps they are so indeed,
carved out of heavy rock with a big hammer, that is.
    But then Ghost Flute & Dice, who is behind that then? Another review on the label’s website
suggests one Mikkel Almholt, of whom I also never heard. He has here two pieces, which were
recorded at the Ganze Bäckerei, Augsburg, which for the night has been renamed to Echokammer.
Ghost Flute & Dice, as a name, suggests collaboration and maybe that is the case. One person to
play the piano and someone else to do real-time treatments. Although that is to say that the piano
untreated doesn’t seem to sound out loud in this piece, so it might very well be one person who
plays piano samples back from a computer and then feeds them to various computer treatments
(more so than analogue treatments, I suspect) and it works wonderfully well. Maybe because one
sometimes wrongly assumes that Attenuation Circuit deals with the noisy end of the musical
world, it is perhaps not easy to believe it as easily work out into something that is perhaps more
from a modern classical music background, even when Ghost Flute & Dice use from time to time,
quite a bit of loops, which is not what they don in the world of serious composing; I believe so.
Especially the second part is a massive hammering of sounds, looping around perfectly and in and
out of sync with each other. Not exactly the kind of minimal music one could learn from the likes
of Reich & Glass, and occasionally a bit too noisy, this is rather like the demented son of Asmus
Tietchens exploring some other dots on the map of the studio, in which sonic overload is very
much allowed. Not for the weak of heart.
    Le Scrambled Debutante is by now a group who is a firm fixture in the ranks of Attenuation
Circuit and this time around consists of Exodus Z.-Polenta (aka Sir Bear Trapper), Ms. La-Dee-Dada
& Her Pet Eye Ov Tomato, David Abner and Thee Weenie Ov Tahini; surely there are some
pseudonyms in there, I’d say. The previous review I wrote (in Vital Weekly 1047) is listed on the
bandcamp page with this release and perhaps that has to do with the constant flow of releases
in Circuit land, but maybe we are to believe that some of this is also a bit interchangeable? It is
an impression that at least stuck with me. Le Scrambled Debutante is one of those ‘bands’,
‘projects’ if you will, which release quite a bit of music, and one doesn’t have a proper clue as
to how it was created, so one has to guess; when a lot of music sounds quite the same, and
perhaps that previous already explained it all: “I have this vaguely romantic notion that they
gather around a reel-to-reel tape machine and consume the right kind of spiritualia and do this
all group musical weirdness using electronics, records, and what have you. As such this new work
isn’t much different than many of the other works I heard from LSD; there is a serious pile-up of
sound debris on their machines (analogue or otherwise) and someone is blindfolded when doing
the mix of this, moving through the various sections they recorded, but stays all one piece of
music. Some of these sections are a bit long I would think and some rigorous editing could be in
place to make it all a bit more surrealist and/or Nurse With Wound (take your pick), but my
suggestion is to use a similar amount of psychotropia and bob’s y’r uncle.” In that sense this
one is more of the same thing; still no bottles are open here, or joints are rolled, so perhaps it
all sinks in a bit later? (FdW)
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The one time before we hear of Patrick Kavanagh was in Vital Weekly 968, when JKH reviewed a
release of his with Anastasia Mano under the name of Subterranean Death Trap. In the press text
for his latest solo release, he writes he was also a member of Spiney Fleshpot (along with the
recently deceased Peter Read) and that he plays around with drummer Louis Burdett. Before that
he was a member of Jaundiced Eye (with John Murphy, also deceased), Dweller On The Threshold,
Box The Jesuit and Madroom. His earliest bands were Moist, Leather Moustache and Smack Of
Jellyfish. None of the somewhat silly band names mean much to me. His main instruments in his
solo work are the piano and a synthesizer, and he has three very long pieces, and two that clock
at nine minutes, so perhaps also a bit long already. This album is a bit of a mixed bag, I think. The
first three pieces are explorations of the ambient music template, but not so much in the Eno/Budd
style. Kavanagh plays freely and without that much reverb added to the mix. He adds something
else, and that’s a field recording in a strong collage like manner. People talking, street sounds and
a bit of percussion are thrown in and it is all perhaps less ambient and more radiophonic/modern
classic, especially the more solemn ‘The Leaves Danced For Wanda’. The best piece was ‘Emergence
From The Chrysalis’, in which the piano is pushed back in favour of electronic sounds. And what
about the other two, you may ask? ‘Plough’ and ‘Grow’ are pieces for hammered piano sounds,
the fast and the furious; maybe Kavanagh calls this is his minimalist composer interest, but I
found both pieces very weak and out of place on this album. He could have left both out and have
much a more excellent record that spans fifty minutes, and not half good but full length. (FdW)
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ATTRITION – SECOND ONSLAUGHT (cassette by Maneki Neko Tapes)

Back in the day I was quite a big fan of Attrition, the musical trio of Martin Bowes, Julia Niblock and
Ashley Niblock. On compilations I found them always great and their early cassettes, ‘Death House’
and ‘Onslaught’ were warmly greeted. Their first LP I remember as one that was pretty good, but
after that I lost interest, even when I occasionally came across a new release from them in the years
following that; I am no longer sure why I lost interest. I can’t remember when I last heard
‘Onslaught’, their 1983 cassette for Third Mind Records; surely it was ages ago. When I played
this remastered version on cassette I only had a vague recollection of how it sounded back then.
For whatever unclear reason it didn’t stick in my mind that much I guess. Just the early version
‘Shrinkwrap’ sounded truly familiar. This cassette has on side the original, thirty-minute, version
of ‘Onslaught and on the other side four pieces from compilation cassettes from same years. This
is Attrition in its earliest phase and perhaps at their most experimental. In later years the band had
a fixed form with synthesizers and drum machines along with the dual male and female voices. In
this early works there is not yet the male voice (except on ‘Shrinkwrap’, which was already then
their most completely formed song) and the songs have a much freer form. There is a synth or
two; the drum machine goes through various patterns but not necessarily in a very traditional
form. There is a certain ‘start/stop’ form they are using and at times songs are more atmospheric
excursions, in which everything and everybody expand on their own, which may be a bit freaky,
such as in ‘First Onslaught’. There is a fine combination of experimental electronics, voices, poetry,
atmospheres and a lose structure. I totally forgot about this, but most enjoyable. I immediately
dug out the other two early works I had by them and had lovely trip down memory lane. (FdW)
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  (cassette by Some)

These two kind gentlemen, one from Sweden and one from Iceland, have been working together
so much that one could wonder why they didn’t choose a band/project name. They worked as
Stillupsteypa (which is Sigtryggur Berg Simarsson and Helgi Thorsson) or under his own and BJ
Nilsen. This one is from the latter category and released by Some, Simarsson’s own label. There
have also been records on Ultra Eczema, Editions Mego and Helen Scarsdale Agency. I am not sure
if they also work face to face, or if there is also work done via the use of file sharing. The
handwritten (and hand drawn!) information/package lists per side a bunch of titles, thirteen in
total, but I couldn’t say if there are as many pieces on the tape; for all I know and hear it might
be very well a side-long sound collage, which occasionally breaks up and down via abrupt moves,
following by another extensive process of layered field recordings. Much of what they do, and in
that respect this tape is not different, is a lot based on drones, generated by the manipulation
of field recordings, assorted samples from media sources (some of it sounded like an old 78 rpm
record) and maybe some of their own voices. It doesn’t mean that this is all an ominous long
drone. By applying cut-up methods, short loops, drones and abrupt changes they create a rather
rich layered music, and some of this reminded me very much of The Hafler Trio is the earliest period,
around ‘The Sea Org’ or ‘Brain Song’, which is something that I particularly enjoyed. Somewhere on
the first side it sounded very much alike ‘The Sea Org’ that I had to play the original and see what
the differences actually are. This I think is a great tape, probably one of the best works by them I
heard so far and while it looks great with Sigmarsson’s drawing and handmade cover, I really think
this should be re-issued on LP straight away. (FdW)
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