Number 1063

CLUBBLUE – DARK-ASIAN-ENERGY (CD by Gruenrekorder) *
ENSEMBLE NEON – NEON  (CD by Aurora Records)
ANDREW LILES – TRES CHERE MERE (miniCD by Lenka lente) *
RADBOUD MENS – TEST TONES (LP by Esc Rec/Sediment) *
OBERLIN – WRITING ON WATER (CDR by Thirsty Leaves Music) *
RUI BONITO – LOW KEY (CDR by Thirsty Leaves Music) *
GRISHA SHAKHNES – CHOICE AMBIENCE (cassette by Disappearing Records) *
RABOR – VOICES OF… (cassette by Lighten Up Sounds)
OVERSCAN – TIME ERASES MEMORY (cassette by Lighten Up Sounds)


Right by the looks of this release, one realizes this something different, unusual in the world of
Gruenrekorder. The cover and booklet shows us distorted digital images, and also the titles of
the pieces make you raise an eyebrow; ‘Bambi Died Of Lung Cancer’, ‘Singacore Sling’ or
“#fuckyourselfie – ethnology of solitude’ aren’t ones we see a lot in this label’s catalogue. The
back cover has this little text: “while field recording in autumn 2014, CLUBbleu dived into the
pulsating multi-cultural metropolis of Singapore, trying to catch the most characteristic urban
sound scapes. CLUBbleu translated their overwhelming impressions of this city into 10
compositions at the border of electroacoustic music and electronica, a style they simply name
buʞitpantroniʞ” and that CLUBblue, as they spell it, is Julia (fame controllers, toy instruments,
analogue synthesizers, live-electronics and field recordings) and Felix (e-drums, live-electronics
and field recordings). So then what is this about? Beats me if I knew, but here’s what I think.
CLUBblue is a duo of improvisers, who use a lot of electronic music machines that can hold
samples, and these samples contain field recordings of Singapore, which they, for once, not
carefully construct into a finely woven collage of sounds, but bend and re-shape along the lines
of improvised electronic music, full of power and energy; maybe even along the lines of techno?
Not that this is in anyway a dance record, as there are no 4/4 beats, hi-hats or synths. But there
are fast pulsating rhythms, samples flying about, cutting in and out of the mix, usually of a very
abstract nature, but as in ‘Singapore Sling’ they can also be taped inside a nightclub with singing
 and ethnic music. Stretched out, chopped up; it works best when CLUBblue maintains their speed;
if the pieces become longer, they tend to meander about which is not always helpful. Especially the
three tracks at the beginning work very well, as it has energy, speed and aggression, but a piece
like ‘Snap To Grid’ is more spacious but seems not to have enough sound material in it to be
interesting all the time. It doesn’t make the CD very strong on the whole, but in parts it is quite
powerful, and perhaps leaves some room to breathe in between; of course if you are looking for
such things. (FdW)
––– Address:


The press text says that this is the first time that the music from Argentinean composer Alejandro
Franov is released by Spekk; I know he has a bunch of releases in Japan, and I thought they were all
on Spekk. A quick investigation (Vital Weekly 863, 893, 924 and 1014) learned they were indeed
all Japanese, but on labels as Nature Bliss and Panai, which might be all from the same house, I
think. I heard quite a bit of Franov’s music so far and mostly that was all quite gentle, but this
new one is quite something different. For one he only plays one instrument here, exploring the
possibilities of that. It is called a keyboard on the cover, but not what kind of keyboard. It is called
‘piano keyboard’ in the information, but if so, then I believe this is an electric piano. Franov plays
six long pieces of minimal music, sometimes a bit mechanical and machine like, even when I still
believe he plays it with his two hands, as the setting of the keyboard changes throughout these
pieces. Maybe he uses various layers of recordingsthroughout these pieces? It seems so. It sounds
very much like minimal/microtonal music with all it’s repeating notes, which not always sounds as
logical or pleasant, which I liked all the better. A piece like ‘Ballenas’ is quite gentle, almost drone
like in approach, slowly dissolving in thin air, and ‘Ultima A’ sounds like a Pascal Comelade piece,
but with a varying speed on the recording machine, but a slow (and longest) piece like ‘Relato
Completo (Desigualdad)’ meanders about in quite a high pitch for a while, before descending
downscale; this is Franov at his most experimental I think, and I would rank this easily his best
work to date. Keep in mind that I would easily go for the more experimental side of someone’s
work, and I can imagine that someone who is used to Franov’s other, gentler work might frown
upon this work. “What hell was he thinking?” I have no idea what he was thinking but I sure love
it. If Reich’s ‘Four Organs’ or Riley’s ‘A Rainbow In Curved Air’ mean anything to you, I would
suggest playing this crude touch upon the same minimalist idiom. Excellent! (FdW)
––– Address:


It might very well be the first time I see the name of [s.], the man behind Five Elements Music (as
well Radioson, Redhouse, Black Deal With Snow, Candyman And Evil Flowers, Sister Loolomie and
Exit In Grey), mentioned with first and last name, Sergey Suhovik; I might be wrong of course.
Suhovik is someone who uses many different monikers and there are differences between these
projects, even when sometimes perhaps small. Five Element Music deals with mostly with processed
field recordings and on ‘Lokrum Patterns’, he recorded them in Croatia, Dubrovnik and Lokrum
Island. He found Dubrovnik to be full of tourist noise and streets sounds but found some quiet
places and mixed that with the sounds from Island, no doubt the many cicadas that can be heard
on this album, and throughout sound loud or quiet, but never seem to disappear. Along with that
there is rumble from leaves, branches, dirt, a bit of water and other animals; at least that’s what I
think, I might be wrong. Both pieces, almost of equal length, have a much more natural feel than a
city feel. I have no idea to what extent there is any treatment going on here. It only seems logical
there is some of it, even when most of the time it sounds like there isn’t any. It sounds very
organic, even when it is clearly put together from overlapping recordings from different locations
and the form is a collage of sounds, with almost everything slowly fading into each other; no hard
cuts on this one. Delicate most of the time, it is however in various places also quite noisy. This I
thought was a very well made release; not perhaps the newest, most innovative of releases in this
field, but one that worked very well. (FdW)
––– Address:

ENSEMBLE NEON – NEON  (CD by Aurora Records)

Here’s an intriguing new ensemble from Oslo who present themselves for the first time on CD. They
started in 2008 as an initiative by Jan Martin Smørdal and Julian Skar. They focus on performing
modern compositions according to the highest standards. For this release they recorded five
compositions: ‘Two Circles’ by Alvin Lucier, and ‘Monocots’ by Oren Ambiarchi and James Rushford.
Two other works are by the founding fathers Smørdal and Skar, respectively ‘My Favorite Things’
and ‘Kunsten å tvile 2’. The CD opens with ‘Travelling Light 2’ by Kristine Tjøgersen, also member
of this ensemble and they are works by very different composers. But still there is a common
thread that binds all of them together. Works are full of subtle and nuanced movements and
gestures. Playing with sound and colour. Far more then melody and rhythm for instance. Drones,
textures and soundscapes are the key characteristics here. The collective counts twelve musicians
who are playing, violin, cello, percussion, guitar, piano, flute, clarinet, voice and sax, which allows
for a very rich colouring. The opening work ‘Travelling Light 2’ is a very impressionistic work where
I constantly see ships doom up and disappear in the fog. The composition is very sound-oriented.
‘My Favourite Things 2’ starts with a pulse. A narrative work where the music undergoes different
changes and phases. ‘Monocots’ is also a very strange work. An acoustic guitar meandering quietly
and simple through a cloudy surrounding of drones. There is an otherworldly atmosphere in all
these five works. A well-chosen selection of compositions that enforce each other. Played very
disciplined and concentrated. A pronounced and convincing statement. (DM)
––– Address:


Mostly we encounter Jonas Kocher playing the accordion in combination with other people, here
we have a release of two solo works, and both works are compositions. The first one is untitled
and for solo accordion by Christian Kesten. On the cover Kesten writes: “The accordion contains
some remarkable mechanical characteristics. In the highest register of the right hand, the last few
buttons don’t play the expected tones. The pitches are simply too high. The necessary reeds would
be too small and fragile to produce them. These buttons transpose the tones an octave down. The
buttons in the neighbouring octave do play the expected tones. One might assume that the two
octave registers would actually play the same pitches. But as they play them on different reeds,
there is a slight microtonal difference.” The second piece is ‘Eine/r 1-6’ by Stefan Thut and he
writes: “If the full set of chromatic pitches within a wide range is randomly generated the probability
of new pitches appearing decreases. Repeated events become silences. A group of two or three
pitches is represented here by the variables y and z, single events by the variable x, reminiscent of
a single point in Euclidean space. The present score mirrors the concluding section of the above
    Both of these pieces are very quiet, almost inaudible and that is a pity. I opened both pieces
on my computer and simply made them much louder and one hears a lot more. I am not sure why
Kocher decided to put his music at such a low volume on this CD. Maybe it is to make it all
meditation like? That could very well be the reason. The Kesten piece is indeed very much in the
higher end of the sound spectrum, and if you put up your volume too loud these sounds become
easily irritating. It has a very much sine wave like quality and it sounds like something one probably
don’t get a lot from the world of accordion. In the second piece the frequencies are also leaning
towards the high end of the spectrum, but it little less extreme due to the fact that some of this
is very low-end too. Thut composed a piece that is very much all over the place, and instructs
Kocher to play clusters of sound and then a bit of ‘silence’, followed by another cluster from the
opposite side; high and low are used equally here. Quite a long piece the latter and no doubt that
has to do with the fact that Thut (and Kesten probably as well) want to emphasize ‘sounds’
versus ‘silence’, in some sort of meditation attempt. As said, for me personally it all could have
been a bit louder so we hear the full beauty of it. (FdW)
––– Address:


According to some people the whole CD industry is down the drain, or even the whole music
industry, and perhaps for a CD in an easy sleeve that might be the case, unless of course you
use it as an advertising tool, or an easy to carry piece of merchandise on the road. However like
a label like Silentes proof there is always the possible to release a high quality product, with a
book of photographs or text, or both. Grain Of Sound follow that lead and release with ‘Cinza’ a
72 page book, 165x215mm, printed on ‘Munken Linx’ paper, with photographs by Nuno Moita,
an introduction text by Carla Carbone and music by Carlos Santos. Moita uses very long exposures
and that gives his pictures a fluid character, and he does his prints in black and white; well, grey is
the best word, as it is not strictly black and white here. It looks like every picture looks like a
winter’s day. I could say like today, here in The Netherlands, but actually the sun is shining. These
pictures look like collages of various images overlapping each other and I must say, novice as I am
to reviewing photography, they look fascinating.
    On the CD we find music by Carlos Santos, from Portugal and, together with Paolo Raposo,
he was the duo Vitriol and since many years he uses max/msp on his computer along with
microphones, piezos and electronics, and judging by the music on this CD, also field recordings.
His work as a graphic designer can be seen on the covers he does for the Creative Sources label,
who also released several of his improvised works. Obviously I should be looking for connections
between the music and the photography and as far as I see any, I’d say the music of Santos is
also a collage of long exposed sounds. Sounds going into the computer get processed and then
fed into the machine for another round of processing; ad infinitum. It blurs every reference to its
original and only contours of the sound remains; or perhaps a single colour, which, by association
one could think of as ‘grey’. I don’t know, but maybe I would have thought about ‘red’ if this were
all about ‘red’. Somehow I also think that might not have been the case, as there is something
sombre about the music of Santos. The sparseness of sounds at times (water is the only sound
I recognized in ‘Longing island’ and voice in ‘Petite Symphonie Pour Voix Et Paysage’) of single-
minded computer processed entities. Glancing at the pictures in the book while listening to the
music means that these influence each other. The music is grey and the images bleak, and vice
versa. This is disturbing beauty. (FdW)
––– Address:


Whenever I wrote about Andrew Lagowski in the past years it, so it occurred to me when I was
thinking about this new release by him, that when I wrote him in the past years it was usually
about a re-issue of his work; ‘Geometry Of The Night’ (Vital Weekly 990) or Nagamatzu (Vital
Weekly 959) or even Dr. Fleischbrittel (Vital Weekly 810) but not a lot of his new work, whereas
a glance at his Bandcamp learns there is surely new work to be enjoyed. It makes that I am far
from up to date on his recent work, but this new one fills in the blank a bit. It is the follow-up to
a release called ‘The Data Logs Of Astro Myrmex’, and I read that “in order to navigate the vast
regions of interstellar loneliness, guide ‘lockstars’ are identified and used as signposts”, and this
is the soundtrack to that navigation (well, or loneliness, perhaps) and Lagowski continues his
deep space exploration with some deep drone work, via the use of sequenced samples, synthesizers
and such like. The cover indicates that he left in some mistakes and that these are intentional but
it’s nothing really; at least I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary here. Long form sounds,
tinkling bells, like little stars at the firmament and from time to time these orchestral synthesizer
sounds; I can easily believe these are a big spaceships, floating slow and majestically in deep space.
However, looking at the spaceships they are a black and white. This is the soundtrack, this could be
the soundtrack to a black and white movie, rather than some fancy, modern day full colour science
fiction flick. When these big sounds do not occur, or not to the same extent as in ‘LoS Jitter
Summary’ than one has the idea to be floating in space, like that recently deceased astronaut,
John Glenn, once did, as ‘Mirach’ (is that short for ‘miracle’ I wondered). All the usual space
metaphors apply to this release, and that’s perhaps because it holds very little in surprises;
S.E.T.I. does what he does best and that’s creating drone based ambient music. Nothing new
under the sun, but it does sound rather great again! (FdW)
––– Address:


Here’s another release by Costis Drygianakis (see also Vital Weekly 838, 910 and 978) and
apparently he’s now entering a new period, and yet again he has it performed by a whole bunch
of people, playing violin, guitar, percussion, voice, bass, kanonaki, clarinet and electronics. The
only name I recognized was that of Jason Lescalleet, who provides electronics. I am not sure
how Drygianakis works; perhaps he writes down his a score and has it performed or maybe just
parts and has people improvise along guidelines. Previously his work seemed all about death, now
it’s ‘Wings Of Winds’, maybe a lighter theme? Music wise I don’t think this new work sounds so
much different than before. It is a work that spans a wide field of musical interests. Extended
passages are very soft with just a bunch of small electronics, one instrument that goes along,
but there are a few passages that are loud and orchestral; these may have much more modern
classical feel about it; or perhaps an improvised feeling. Those parts, for instance the opening
minutes of this piece and again around the forty-minute break, are the ones I didn’t particularly
like very much. When Drygianakis is about going more tape-manipulation, electro-acoustic, say
from six to twenty-six minutes, where he builds tension pretty well, and works with a variety of
sounds and dynamics, I am actually all ears and enjoy it quite a lot. This I thought was quite good
to very good. Throughout it means that I enjoyed most of this fifty-minute piece with the exception
of some of bits and pieces here and there. However as a whole I think this is quite a fine combi-
nation of modern classical playing and electronics, and for once not playing together at the same
time, but oddly enough next to each other, or so it seems. (FdW)
––– Address:

ANDREW LILES – TRES CHERE MERE (miniCD by Lenka lente)

Or, as they say in Anglais, Mother Dearest.  Guilliaume Belhomme, label boss at Lenka Lente in
France, has been producing these quite hip little booklets accompanied by a mini CD for several
years now. Big fish Nurse With Wound contributed a few times and now we have a brand new
release by NWW-member Andrew Liles. In the past, we complained in Vital Weekly about the
booklets being in French, which may look arty but also seriously limited the market. This one, as
the bilingual title suggest, is in both French and English. Hooray! So now we can read the tragic
story of Violet, and her even more tragic relationship to her mother. And sausage day. I won’t
spoil the fun too much, but let me assure you this is a intriguing story about childhood suffering
in a surreal family setting offering the listener/reader another side to Andrew Liles, that of the
storyteller. And he pulls it off with considerable gusto. The booklet is accompanied by a 13 minute
mini CD, which I really enjoyed. This is a far more restrained and classical-tinted soundtrack rather
than the slightly more chaotic recent ‘monster’ releases, which were based on brief samples from
the immense Liles-library. On Mother Dearest Liles focuses on sound, which is sparse, classical and
actually, like Violet, lovely and very pretty. Liles paints a safe room for Violet, where no one speaks,
and where the walls are cushioned pink. In all, Mother Dearest, is a wonderful and very rewarding
release, both musically as in its written words. (FK)
––– Address:


For a long time Chester Hawkins was known as Blue Sausage Infant, but some time ago he decided
to put that moniker aside and solely using his real name. That came with a small change in his music
as well, as since then he explores the cosmic ends of the musical spectrum, using a whole bunch of
synthesizers (analogue, modular or otherwise), as well as, on this new work at least, “deep-woods
field recordings, electronics and ‘violated lap steel'” as he calls it. The music on this album is the
soundtrack for a movie called ‘Pale Trees’ by Tim Ashby, which might not be out yet, about a “girl
tired of her mother’s admonishments about not facing reality”, digs up her mother’s female action
figure from her early days in Hollywood which leads to ‘profound transformations throughout the
family’. Sounds promising I guess, but we only have the music to go by. Since ‘Stranger Things’ on
Netflix became hugely popular there is more attention for 80s synth music; Steve Moore is someone
who also does a lot of soundtrack work, and Hawkins fits that posse very well. His two sidelong
pieces are massive synth based affairs, playing mostly a somewhat dark tune, with a bit of sparse
notes. Unlike some of the music by Moore, Hawkins uses less arpeggios but somewhere in on the
second part of ‘Pale Trees’ there is the steady beat of a drum machine, perhaps a bit too single
minded in it’s pattern. Hawkins’ music works best if he let’s minor chords play long sustaining
drone sounds, with bits of saw/sine/ tooth oscillations on top of that. The field recordings and
‘violated lap steel’ may seem to be less likely spotted in this music, and perhaps they are just
heavily processed, which seems to be the case with he first on the first part – that might be bird
sounds? It is obviously not easy to say if this is something that ‘fits the movie very well’, if one
hasn’t seen the movie, but I do know that as two pieces of music this stands also easily by itself
as some great music. (FdW)
––– Address:

RADBOUD MENS – TEST TONES (LP by Esc Rec/Sediment)

You could think I put 280 euros on the table to purchase this record, as that is this price it is
sold for, and yes, that’s pretty steep indeed, but it comes in a box, with three artworks by the
composer and a poster; oh, and there is only one copy available. I didn’t buy it, but I did hear it
and so can you, as the music itself is available as a download. It might be no secret that I know
mister Mens for a long time, and at one point we were even colleagues. I followed his career from
early on, when he called himself Hyware, then Technoise and ultimately under his own name, when
he released a bunch of highly minimal techno 12″s, mainly on the label. In 2001 Mens
made music with a test-tone record and a delay unit, set in a locked groove tempo, thus
overlapping sounds and creating a rhythm. It was a project he never finished, but for his Sediment
release (which is all about a concert and a subsequent ‘one copy LP’ release, hand-cut) he dug out
the original idea and in concert scratched the test tone record while playing it. That’s what you get
on vinyl; or download. As I was playing this I looked a few times up and thought ‘wow that is a
scratchy record’ and then realized it was a digital file. It is an odd combination these test tone
sounds and the scratching of the vinyl. At times it locks into a fine rhythm, with the test tones
providing the bass and the scratches the high end sounds (hi-hats?), and they grow together in
an organic way, but it never becomes a dance record of any kind. And sometimes, especially on
the second side this grows into something quite chaotic and then it doesn’t work very well. The
first side is for me the better of the two; everything evolves in a natural way and there is quite a
bit of tension in the music and a natural flow to the piece. There is also a bonus in which Mens
takes one of his old Audio.NL  and adds scratches to that, thus giving it the good ol’ Thomas
Brinkmann approach, when we first got to him. Maybe this one is also chaotic at times, but with
the entirely different result than on the LP, and a very nice result at that. Maybe a high price for
the real thing, but worth every penny in your download price range. (FdW)
––– Address:


Usually I start playing a record, and start looking for information as it plays; be it on a sheet of
information or online. After the first two pieces were done, I found out this is a 45 rpm record,
while I was spinning it at 33rpm. It does make a change, but nowhere on the cover it says 45rpm,
so mistakes are easily made. In fact I recommend trying both, as the differences are interesting, as
well as worthwhile. Anyway, I went back to play it at the intended speed. Maria W Horn was reviewed,
via a split cassette with Insect Ark in Vital Weekly 1027, which sounded totally different than this.
Horn also had releases on Ideal and Creative Sources and hails from Stockholm, where she is
involved with the Sthlm Drone Society and the XKatedral cassette label. On this 12″ (twenty-two
minutes) she does something different on both sides. There are five shorter pieces on the first side
and one long on the other. The five pieces she calls ‘digital punk’, but for all I know this could very
well be analogue modular synthesizers; the modules working overtime, that much is sure here.
‘Punk’ might be a word that suggests something else, but I could easily see it fit to the raw and
untamed energy of these pieces. Loud bursts of sound, and whether they were made analogue or
digital hardly matters, sometimes forming a bit of rhythm, topped with a fine, healthy doses of
distortion and feedback made me think of the early records on Mego. It is all kind of furious and
dirty, but it sounds really good. Neatly fresh, and this is the kind of music that could easily appeal
to wide group of music lovers; noizeheads, distorted techno junkies, digital hardcore freaks and
daring droneists.
The second side seems to be more about drones, and Holodisc says that it sounds like “Éliane Radigue,
if she composed on a computer!” which I beg to differ. I am not sure if this is laptop/computer
music per-se, as with the other side, this could as easily have been made with a modular synthesizer
setup. It starts out drone like, but not before long starts to grow as a considerable noise piece in
it’s own right, although quite different than the five on the other side. In no way I was thinking of
Eliane Radigue when hearing this and rather thought of a bunch of monotrons and sound effects,
each struggling about for their right to be dominant in the mix. Perhaps this side would appeal
more droneminds than those signing up for the other side, but I wonder what she does in concert
and how appealing it is, and for whom. This could be big! (FdW)
––– Address:


Following three earlier 7″ releases, Danish composer Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard completes the series
with the simultaneous release of the last four 7″s, and through Bandcamp I got access of all seven
at once. In each of these 7″s he uses a single instrument played by multiple players, each their own
instrument and on the first three he uses recorders (the first one we didn’t review), chromatic
tuners (Vital Weekly 1003) and pianos (Vital Weekly 1033). Here it is triangles, hi-hats, shakers
and clarinets. For each of these instruments Løkkegaard is interested in capturing the essence of
the instrument and that times a few of the same instruments, each playing the same thing. I am
not sure what makes up the numbers per instrument on each record; somehow, logic says it’s as
many players as he can find. Each 7″ has a list of players. Along with these 7″s there is also a
booklet (also 7″ sized) with pictures of these players and texts, among others by Sven Schlijper-
Karssenberg, who relates all of this, quite rightly I would say, to the grand tradition of minimalism,
both in music and art. The pieces are all quite different in approach, which of course is not really
odd considering the instruments, but in each of them a single approach is used and that works on
the format of a 7″ wonderfully well. Pieces are around four to five minutes and from the rattling of
the outside of a hi-hat to the drones of the inside, both equally percussive, just like the two pieces
for shakers, which seem more recognizable as such. ‘Coarse Grain’ sounds like the passing of train.
The two clarinet pieces are, like the alto/soprano recorders and chromatic tuners before,
representing the drone aspects of a single instrument, while the mass of nine pianos reminded
me of both Charlemagne Palestine as well as Steve Reich. Here the phase shifting comes very close
to the original from the sixties. I think I wasn’t too convinced by the first two 7″s I heard, but now
I hear them all together it makes much more sense I think. Of course flipping over a 7″ every few
minutes is a drag and perhaps the only downside to this, but may I suggest, due time, a proper CD
release of all fourteen pieces? Played as a statement of minimalism that would work really well, I
think. I played it from the bandcamp version and that made so much more sense. (FdW)
––– Address:

OBERLIN – WRITING ON WATER (CDR by Thirsty Leaves Music)
RUI BONITO – LOW KEY (CDR by Thirsty Leaves Music)

For both of these releases there is not a whole lot of information available. Behind Oberlin is one
Leandro Xhalter, who worked with an Eurorack Modular Synthesizer System and spend ten months
recording the pieces on this release, in Koblenz, Germany. That’s about the extent of what I know
about this. And, oh, there are seven pieces on this release, the shortest being one minute and the
longest twenty-one. The result is mostly ambient music, which takes the shape of revolving, loop-
like sounds, doing shorter and longer curves, but somehow seems to return to the source.
Sometimes, as in ‘The Coin Collector’ more drone like, and in that long one, ‘Winterlude’ quite
friendly and open at that but in ‘Mer Des Druides’ it is more arpeggio-like. Quite some pleasant
music can be found on this release, which however didn’t stand out from the many modular synth
boys and girls that are doing something similar, with a varying degree of ambience, noise or cosmic
trip. That perhaps is not enough? I am not sure.
    Something else is the music of one Rui Bonito from Portugal. Here too information is quite
sparse, yet again we know what he’s been using to play this music; “prepared electric guitar, a
nylon string guitar with cymbal and cymbal fragments, a flute, his voice, a piano, an analogue
synthesizer, a digital sampler, a valve guitar amplifier, a fuzz pedal, a tape delay and other reel tape
effects, a reel tape recorder, a tape multi-track, dynamic and condenser microphones” and the nine
pieces here are the result of some ‘in-studio improvisation’. Bonito likes some free form playing
without caring too much about levels so it sometimes distorts a bit, even when all of it remains
relatively on the gentle side. Sometimes Bonito tends to be a bit more acoustic, and yet at other
times it is more clouded by the use of delay and reverb effects, especially when applying some
wordless humming. When that happens it is easy to see that he wants to have a certain
atmosphere in his music, but perhaps that is all a bit too obvious. Either way he plays, he likes
to keep things on the minimal side of the spectrum. His pieces strum about in a free form, what-
ever he’s picking up from the table to play, but within a piece he keeps everything tight together.
 By multi-tracking his music he creates dense patterns of sounds that are very similar. Throughout
I thought this was most enjoyable, even when there is room for improvement such as cutting back
on the use of effects, for instance, and rely more the nature of his own playing. Something to
consider for the future, perhaps? (FdW)
––– Address:


This is a box in which one find one music CDR by Martin Küchen, who also delivered five poems and
eight prints by one Johannes Heuer. In the version I have there is only one of these prints. The
whole thing is limited to fifty copies. The music side of this lasts forty minutes and in that
timeframe Martin Küchen plays forty-three pieces of music, using his alto-saxophone, electric
toothbrush and radio. It all sounds very fragmented and that is no doubt the idea behind this.
Sometimes it is hard to say what is the radio, or the saxophone or the toothbrush, or perhaps
two or three of these at the same time. There is a fine electro-acoustic quality in this music of a
rather more brutal nature; not in the sense that these is very loud, but because it is devoid of
much electronic treatment and has that direct in your face quality. Topped with the rather short
‘start and stop’ approach of these short pieces, the fragmentation, you know this is something
different. A most enjoyable release that works best when played ‘at random’ and then for a full
few spins. (FdW)
––– Address:

GRISHA SHAKHNES – CHOICE AMBIENCE (cassette by Disappearing Records)

So far I reviewed a couple releases by Grisha Shakhnes; first under the name Mites (Vital Weekly
802 and 843) and then under his own name (Vital Weekly 880, 939 and 985) and yet I still don’t
know an awful lot about him. There is in much of his work a crude form of collaging field recordings
and electronics, without sounding very noise based. I might be entirely wrong of course. The cover
of this cassette release is all hand written, so there isn’t too much in the way of information, not
any of that on the bandcamp page. Two pieces here, both around seventeen minutes and we see
Shakhnes continue on similar notions here. It remains very hard to hear what kind of field recordings
he makes; it could be some sort of open-air ambience of a small motorboat with all sorts of events
happening in the distance, but I could be entirely off the mark. Shakhnes colours his music by
working with the filters to emphasize certain frequencies or to leave them out all together and he
uses very minimal development in his pieces, yet they are nevertheless there, slowly altering the
sound of a piece, or by very slowly adding new sounds to mix; that happens sometimes in such
gradual way that one hardly notices this. While this may sound like more of the same thing in the
career of Shakhnes, this one I particular liked. Perhaps it was that minimalism? Or the dark weather
of the season? In any case, it is much appreciated. (FdW)
––– Address:

RABOR – VOICES OF… (cassette by Lighten Up Sounds)
OVERSCAN – TIME ERASES MEMORY (cassette by Lighten Up Sounds)

Much on the cover of the Rabor cassette is in Cyrillic writing. I could go all fancy and copy all of that
and paste in the weekly, but I prefer to stay all-English, and that’s even taking in consideration that
the artist is in fact from Russia. According to the label this album ‘collects a series of ambient
works from the years 2014-2016, following the themes of nature and ancient folklore’ and Rabor
is called a Slavic folk warrior. That evokes here images of a guy with a long beard, deep voice,
acoustic guitar and much reverb, but that is not the case here. Whatever the folk elements in this
is, I am not sure, but Rabor plays a bunch of synthesizers and a drum computer, which is perhaps
something else than a rhythm box. If he uses drum sounds they are slow and heavy, like sampled
orchestral percussion, but no doubt from a sampled kit available in any app store near to you.
Maybe he got his synths from the same source as well, but for all I know they might be real
synthesizers, played by all his ten fingers. The ambient tag must be taken seriously I think, and it
 is ambient of the variety that isn’t ‘press down two keys on a keyboard, add a ton of delay and
reverb, drink coffee and switch off recording after an hour’, as Rabor plays melodies on his
synthesizers, with chords majestically bouncing around, the digital bells tinkling about, a bit of
water (imitation by a synth? Field recordings? I am not sure), piano like, organ like and all of this
in quite a dramatic setting. Rabor has two long pieces, fifteen and twenty minutes and one of five
minutes; inside the longer pieces Rabor changes his tune more than once, shifting from one
melancholic tune to majestic slow drum to dramatic chord progression with considerable ease.
Just the shorter ‘Emerald Tears’ stays in one place and reminded me of a Christmas song – I am
not sure why that happened; must be that day of the year. All in all I was quite pleased with this
music, as it sounded perhaps not like something I would easily spin a lot, but I was surely glad
that this is not some neo-folk-noir with the usual rune symbols and dubious politics, but someone
who plays a fine set of shimmering wintery melodies using the pre-sets of the keyboard rather well.
    Marcus Miller is originally from Australia, but now living in Osaka, where he has his synthesizers
set up, and here, I easily believe so, they are surely of the analogue variety and the music Miller
produces as Overscan is definitely inspired by the arpeggio-heavy Berlin school; think foremost
and above all Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. It’s not just pure arpeggio stuff that Miller does;
perhaps that’s only one small bit of it, and in most of the pieces he plays long form sustaining
sounds, big and fat with lots of ornaments. This is nothing that you haven’t heard before, I am
sure, and that is perhaps the downside of this. It sounds wonderful, I think, but perhaps that’s
because I am a sucker for this kind of cosmic synth thing, being a big Steve Moore aficionado and
all that. I can imagine that if keeping up with what Tangerine Dream and Schulze put out in the last
forty years is already a bit too much, it surely makes it even more difficult to keep up with copy-
cats. Because that’s what Miller is, and if you are being copied you know you did something very
well. I love this. (FdW)
––– Address:

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