Number 1068

MARTIN NEUKOM – STUDIEN 21.1-21.15 (CD by Domizil) *
  (CD by Zarek) *
IGNAZ SCHICK & OLIVER STEIDLE – ILOG (CD by Boomslang Records) *
  (cassette by Elevator Bath) *

MARTIN NEUKOM – STUDIEN 21.1-21.15 (CD by Domizil)

The Domizil label exists since 1996 and celebrates their 20th anniversary not with another
compilation (very good), but with four individual releases by their four most active composers.
Originally the label had a background in home brew techno and experimental composers, but is
these days firmly rooted in the world of computer music, embracing all the technology that is
now available to do all the music at home. It has grown into a much more serious concern. Let’s
have a look at these four.
    I started off with Marcus Maeder, one of the main artists on the label, and whom I’d say is
the boss (but no doubt he isn’t), whose ‘Non-Human’ “deals with the presentation of imaginary
objects and processes through music. Music as a time-based art can describe objects and make
them come alive in a completely different way than can be done using images. On non-human,
objects that elude human perception or that are beyond conventional descriptiveness find their
musical expression: dormant entities, the reality of a star, the phase space, etc. find a form of
presentation and experience in which it is attempted to realise artistically/musically that which
either exists only as a theoretical concept or can be described verbally only in a very abstract way;
the musically translated terms on non-human come from the realm of physics, cosmology and
speculative realism”. Sorry for the long quote, but it is perhaps an example of the serious; almost
philosophical approach Maeder has these days. The ten pieces on ‘Non-Human’ are relatively short,
mostly between three and four minutes, which a few exceptions, and throughout the music is very
quiet, sometimes even below the threshold of hearing. I have no idea how it works with space and
objects, but I could very well believe this has something to do with sound bouncing around in
spaces and resonances/reflections being picked up and treated again. I was thinking along all the
lines of a do-it-yourself package, in which the listener actively engages himself in tweaking volume
and equalisation to get his own individual piece out of it. As I ripped a piece for the weekly podcast
I noticed, when I normalized (making the loudest sound bit 0db) a wealth of sound information that
I didn’t hear when I played the CD. As it is now, on CD, it is all quite a radical listening experience.
Musicwise I was reminded of the work of Asmus Tietchens.
    Martin Neukom’s CD is twice as long, and clocks in at almost eighty minutes and it has fifteen
studies, using “eight van der Pol oscillators are arranged in a circle. Each of these oscillators has
variable parameters frequency, nonlinearity and a gain and is coupled with his neighbours by variable
coupling factors and delay times in both directions”; Wikipedia tells me “in dynamics, the Van der
Pol oscillator is a non-conservative oscillator with non-linear damping”, plus a lot more which goes
way over my head, as much, actually, as the rest of Neukon’s description. It all has to do with the
interaction between these oscillators, responding (or not) to each other, if I understand correctly.
It is perhaps also based on how the music sounds. The music is pretty much audible and indeed in
these fifteen pieces one hears the oscillations working overtime, bouncing around and along and
against each other. All of this sounds like an investigation in pure tones; there is no ornament, no
processing to sweeten things, or additionally colour but things are as they are, even when there is
plenty of variation in these pieces. Not inside a single piece, as once the ball is rolling it very much
stays the way it in, even though sounds may slow down or speed up a bit. Sometimes all of this is
chirping high, or very low, or a combination of this, sometimes being steady waves or broken up
tones. Neukom’s music is also a radical listening experience, but it is more the wealth of pieces
that is simply a bit much, but one could create (another DIY move) their own greatest hits of this
and have really strong forty-minute album.
    From Thomas Peter I reviewed a collaborative work with Hans Koch not so long ago (Vital
Weekly 1017), but it was not since Vital Weekly 682 that I heard some of his own music. On
‘Thornbill’ Peter uses sound recordings from various public places as well as private residences.
Some of these are noisy, other are very quiet. “What interests him in these snapshots of the
acoustic status quo is the complexity, the density ratios and the inconspicuous musical links.
Peter transcribes movements, pitches and rhythms, attempting to extrapolate a grammar.” The
input, the field recordings are no longer to be recognized as such as the transformations he applies
inside the computer bring out something radically different. He also uses electronic sounds and
recordings of acoustic instruments (that’s perhaps cheating?). One could say that Thomas Peter
is someone who uses field recordings, electronic sounds, acoustic sounds and lots of computer
technology to create his music, and as such he is not much different from so many others
(thinking here for instance of Marc Behrens or Roel Meelkop). There is perhaps a bit less of a
concept here, certainly compared to Maeder or Neukom, but it means that outcome is somewhat
less of a radical experience and the idea here is to have six pieces of music, all which are delicate
and highly enjoyable. Thomas Peter treats his sounds with much respect and goes about playing
his music with much refinement. There are acoustic treatments, sustained tones, minimal
development from time to time, the odd crackle, and perhaps it is not something you haven’t
heard before (for instance by the two already mentioned), Thomas Peter delivered a great release;
intense and fragile, careful and suspenseful.
    And finally there is Schurer, also known as Bernd Schurer, who also worked as Shatterer Of
Earth and Teleform, and was, in the mid 90s, part of Das Erdwerk. He too seemed to have no
releases since 2008 (‘Parallax’, also Vital Weekly 637); I have no idea what he has been up to
since then. The pieces on ‘Blind Material’ have been recorded between 2008 and 2015 and have
ben part of installations (ah, that explains), and recorded straight to disc. The music “concerns
itself with the possibilities of non-signal based presence in sound, stasis and contingency as well
as psychoacoustic illusions. In his work blind material, Schurer sonifies various processes using
stochastic methods, which can neither be predicted nor directly composed” and as far as I
understand recorded using speakers in various configurations in a space and then superimposed.
If the other three releases on Domizil from today seem to have something ‘new’, something that
is very much ‘now’, the music by Schurer sounds perhaps a bit old fashioned; a bit like electronic
music from decades ago (but then crisp and clear, and not on old scratchy record) and it sounds
great. I was thinking along the lines of modular synthesizers for this release, more than laptop
techniques (and as usual I might be all-wrong of course). In the long ‘Soliloquy Synthesis’ there
might also be field recordings and it is a surprisingly mellow piece of music. The three shorter
pieces before that and two after that are more a tour de force, with quite wild blocks of sound,
sometimes ear-piercing loud, full of life and force, with that long piece of solitude in the middle.
Whereas Thomas Peter gave us a work of great carefulness, Schurer gives us some great power,
and just like the other three releases it is another side of the coin of radical listening. (FdW)
––– Address:


Crane is a London-based composer, educated at Nothingham University, writing instrumental
chamber music, as well music for theatre, film and dance productions. British and Dutch ensembles,
like the London Sinfonietta and De Volharding, but also a Norwegian one, which brings us to this
release, have performed his work. Asamisimasa is an ensemble from Oslo. On board are Tanja Orning
(cello), Hakon Stene (percussion), Anders Forisdal (guitar), Kristine Tjorgerson (clarinet) and Ellen
Ugelvik (piano). Crane works with this ensemble since 2008. The ensemble performs five works of
Crane on this release, composed between 1998 and 2009.  John White seems a fairly common
name, but my instinct says the opening track ‘John White In Berlin’ is a reference to composer John
White, you may know from the Obscure Records releases by Brian Eno. In the program for a concert
in Oslo in April 2013, Crane writes: “I use simple and basic musical objects; common chords and
intervals, arpeggios, drones, cadences, fragments of scales and melodies. The materials may seem
familiar – perhaps even rather ordinary – but my aim is to find a fresh beauty in these objects by
placing them in new structural and formal contexts…” This makes one and one is two, if you ask
me, as this counts also for White and other composers in the Obscure Records series. All five
compositions illustrate that Crane works in similar territories. Overall the music develops slowly
and is built constructed from elementary and simple musical ingredients and procedures. Nice
harmonies and colouring, simple melodies, warm drones. In effect his minimalistic music is of a
meditative nature. Evocative, and strongly dependent on a performance in right spirit, in order to
bring alive what these compositions are about. The ensemble does a very satisfying job! (DM)
––– Address:


Recently Fou Records released an album of Lazro accompanied by Léandre and Lewis in a live
recoding from 1984. This time we have him in a very recent live recording, in a set with pianist
Sophie Agnel, recorded on June 22th, 2016 at Dom Club in Moscow. Agnel is new to me. We find
classically trained Agnel on several recordings of improvised music since 1997, playing with people
like Lionel Marchetti, Jerome Noetinger, Phil Minton, a.o. Since 2012 she has a trio with Steve Noble
and John Edwards. Together with Catherine Jauniaux she developed a musical project for children.
The piano is her main instrument. She also developed a new instrument, the so-called cordophone
that functions in electro-acoustic settings. Also she is member of the all-star Orchestre National
de Jazz. In 2007 she joined a quartet of Lazro, and from then on both Agnel and Lazro met on
different occasions. Both are experienced improvisers as the six improvisations on this cd prove.
We hear communicative and sensible interactions between the two. Agnel uses also the inside of
the piano in her playing creating fascinating sounds and colours. Together they develop stories
convincingly, including introvert and lyrical passages as well as dynamic outbursts, always well
proportioned, delicate and with poetry. (DM)
––– Address:


Quentin Tolimieri is a composer, pianist and improviser based in New York City. His work has been
presented in Europe and North America. Much of his composed work concerns electronic music,
like the three-hour multi-channel work ‘Three Comedies’ that was presented at Sound Art
(Denmark). Also they are a few works for small ensembles. So far only one composition of him
is featured cd, on ‘West Coast Soundings’ (2014), an album of modern classical compositions
released by Wandelweiser Records.  ‘Piano’ is his first album and it is a solo-album for piano. The CD
has eight works recorded on two day in November 2015 in a Brooklyn Studio. Tolimieri composed
all the works, except ‘Green Dolphin Street’ by Bronislaw Kaper and ‘Well, you needn’t’, a composition
by Thelonious Monk. ‘Green Dolphin’ shows Tolimieri of his most lyrical side. In other tracks, like
‘Shorty’ or the Monk-composition, one inevitably thinks of Conlon Nancarrow who composed for
pianola. His attacks, the rapid rally’s he plays, all this is familiar with the ‘unplayable’ works of
Nancarrow. Tolimieri’s music seemingly moves uncoordinated in many directions, sounds chaotic
and gets lost in ornamenting. But the opposite is the case. This is very thoroughly put together
with humour and vision. It is complex, but not for its own sake. On the other hand his
constructions are very transparent in a way, moving around a strong nucleus. Yes, there is a
strong logic at work here. Truly vibrating music of a dazzling beauty. A name to watch! (DM)
––– Address:


Brothers Hans and Rasmus Kjorstad come from South Fron in Gudbrandsdalen, Norway. Both
studied at the Norwegian State Academy of Music and became prominent fiddlers in the Norway
folk scene. With ‘Pusinishi Ulla’ they make a very interesting debut. They play eleven folk tunes,
all composed long time ago by different Norwegian composers. Compositions that representative
for the area they come from. The brothers grew up with this music and play it from early youth.
But one can easily hear this is not meant as a nostalgic or traditionalist exercise. On the contrary,
they interpret the music in a way that does justice to the original compositions, but that is also
very up to date and fresh. There is urgency and relevance in their captivating performances. I can’t
judge what they have added to the originals. But is evident that they seek to actualize this
traditional music that they love. Both have a great technique and skill at their disposal. And their
interplay is very convincing and enjoying. Also it is as if they seek for a universal of global scope.
In a piece like ‘Sa Lokka E Over den Myra’, they make allusions to blues, African music, etc. By trying
to be as personal and local as one can be, they made an excellently recorded album that will appeal
to listeners all over the planet. Great! (DM)
––– Address:


Athana is the project of Norwegian guitarist and composer Als Terje Hana. Hana played on dozens
of recordings as a studio-musician. In the 90s he was member of the Stavanger-based rock band
Leif & Kompisane. Athana (A.T.Hana) is Hana’s personal outfit.  And ‘Invisble Colors’ is the 13th
release of this project that he started in 2005. I gave this one really a good listening – which is of
course my job as a reviewer –  as I had great difficulties with an earlier release of them that I
reviewed for Vital Weekly. First some facts. Involved are Torgeir Nes (electronics), Øyvind Grong
(bass, tuba ) , James Bond (percussion ) and Alf Terje Hana (guitar, electronics). With this quartet
Athan climbs the stage. For this new studio recording there is also participation of Stewart
Copeland (The Police), Gary Husband (John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck, Mike Stern, etc.), among others.
Athana deals in groovy ambient textures, drenched in electronics, with electric guitar meandering
through this landscape. I don’t hear ideas that are pleasantly uncomfortable, nor comfortably
unpleasant, if you know what I mean. Instead pompous soundscapes built without much fantasy.
There is a discrepancy between the impressive, massive sound on the one hand, and the lack of
content, musical ideas on the other. Well, I can’t connect it to my aesthetics, so it may be better I
keep my mouth shut. On the other hand, this is a very professional outfit and recording, and surely
will appeal to others who are into progrock-related heavy drones. (DM)
––– Address:


These days I seem to be bumping into the Kleefstra brothers, Jan and Romke, more often than I
hear new releases by them, either as part of Piiptsjilling (with Machinefabriek) or their trio with
Anne Chris Bakker, with whom they now release their eight album. I see the Kleefstra brothers
perform their music every year, sometimes even twice a year, Romke on guitar and Jan standing,
waiting to recite a few lines of his poetry in the rare language (beware; not dialect) that is Frisian.
Of their trio with guitarist Bakker, I only heard ‘Griis’ (Vital Weekly 824), but he too pops up in
their various configurations in which they all perform (also incorporating Machinefabriek from time
to time). Over the many years that they have been active one can’t say that the music changed a
lot, or perhaps, if it changes at all. I am not sure if that is something they want or do, changing,
but it still sounds like the very first time I heard the Kleefstra brothers (maybe back in Vital Weekly
627, with the first Piiptsjilling release); long sustaining sounds played on the guitar, feeding
through loop devices, delay units, reverb, chorus and what have you, and in each of the five pieces
there is Jan Kleefstra’s poetry lines (translation included), which evokes images of a bare, empty
land hit by a stale cold wind, coming from the sea side and a massive grey air above that. Just the
way the part of The Netherlands, Friesland, is at this time of the year. It all has a sombre mood.
When I see them live I think it’s great music, but somehow more suited for home consumption,
and now I hear this new record I think it is perhaps not a bad idea if there would be some kind of
change in the music. I would think it is time for small change in the menu.
    There are five pieces on this CD, but somehow it seems to me that the fifth track is by error
the same as the fourth one; who knows, maybe one day this version will be a collector’s item?
––– Address:


With this trio of new releases on Russia’s Frozen Light label, I started out with the one project I
had not heard of before, or actually two; we have one Norma Reakstii working together with
Dadhikra, and with both of these having an e-mail address in .Ru, I can assume they are from
Russia. The Frozen Light website(s) don’t have any information about these project yet, but the
cover has a short outline about life on earth suffering occasional mass extinctions, millions of years
ago, and that destruction of life also helped evolution. One dominate group disappearing and
another one replacing it; I am sure there is some sort of politically engaged message in this, that
somehow relates to mankind. Unless of course it’s all about fossils, artefacts from yesteryear, as
this release is dedicated to Charles Doolittle Walcott, a well-known palaeontologist. The three pieces
here are named after geological areas, and with each of these we have two, the previous and the
next one. Now, I am no expert, but this extinction was surely not the result of a single day action,
but each piece has the sub title ‘one day of brahma’. The music is pretty noise based, not harsh
noise, but gentle amount of distortion is surely present in all of this. It is very hard to say what
kind of sound sources have been used in this release; it could really be just anything. Within the
music there is hardly any clue, except a large amount of distortion and ‘Cretaceous-Palaeogene’
also some feedback, and which is by result the loudest piece on this release. I played this with
interest, but was not blown away by it. For a noise release it was not bad, even when not much
thought seemed to go into the compositions themselves and how to make them engaging for
the listener. I heard better in that respect, but then luckily this wasn’t some pointless HNW release
either, so that’s always good, I think.
    Music from Small Things On Sundays, Danish duo consisting of Henrik Bagner and Claus
Poulsen has been reviewed before, on many occasions, and as recently as Vital Weekly 1059.
Both members are also very active it other projects and have their own labels. At the core of
their instruments one always finds ‘various treatments of vinyl records’, bowed guitar, radio,
processing and resampling. The music of Small Things Of Sundays can go in various directions,
ranging from quite delicate to very chaotic and messy. On this new CD it works out in the first
way, the highly atmospheric path is what they walk here and they do an absolutely great job.
More (well, or less) than before, the sound of vinyl is not something that one easily recognizes
here, and that, in my book, is something that I enjoy very much. Sometimes the whole turntablism
posse works on my nerves, and I go thinking ‘well, yeah, scratchy records, so what’, but whatever
treatments Bagner and Poulsen are using, it surely doesn’t reveal, or hardly, the fact that they
come from vinyl sources. Small Things On Sundays play the ambient card here very much and as
such I was reminded of zoviet*france (always a plus in my book) even when Small Things have their
own approach. I would say this is one of the best releases I heard from them so far and the best
piece is ‘Into The Unknown’ (perhaps an area ready for improvement are the titles they choose for
their pieces), in which they have slowly meandering, drone like sounds, with some chirping insect;
at first there was someone outside with a rusty bicycle, but the sound didn’t go away, and I realized
it was inside the music.
    And hot on the heels of Stefano Senesi’s latest full length ‘Culti Segreti’, he now follows with
‘Passagio Soprannaturelle’, a four-track miniCDR, in a very limited edition. Upon listening to this
music, I would think that this the successor to their album ‘La Via Di Neve’, which was reviewed in
Vital Weekly 1020, as this has the same approach to using keyboard sounds; long sustaining
sounds and it sounds very mellow; just the kind of winter music I guess, and exactly that same
reference I made back then, also because it was wintertime around these woods too. The second
part of the title piece has a somewhat darker ring to it, compared to the three other pieces. This
was some fine mood music for sure, but more for the die-hard fans who couldn’t get enough of
the pieces on ‘La Via Di Neve’, and who wanted four somewhat shorter new pieces. I thought it
was rather neat and sweet, for what it was, and nothing outstanding. (FdW)
––– Address:

  (CD by Zarek)

It was not a difficult choice where to start with this trio, even if I like to take a risk or two. I
hadn’t heard any music from Perlonex in a few years, so it was good to see something new
again. Although the word ‘new’ is merely relative, as ‘Perlonoid’ was recorded in 2010 by this
trio of Ignaz Schick (turntable, objects, sine waves, live-electronics, feedback), Jörg Maria Zeger
(electric guitars, live-electronics, feedback) and Burkhard Beins (drums, percussion, objects,
zither). This is the start of a couple more archive releases as well as new music later this year.
The group has been on a hiatus for some years, partly due to all of these people playing with so
many other improvisers, all over the world. The last time I heard music by Perlonex it was recorded
with Charlemagne Palestine, well before this was recorded, and it is interesting to see that also
‘Perlonoid’ has a minimalist touch, with however a very maximum dynamic range. The piece is
forty-six minutes and moves in two waves from quite mellow via crescendo to something very
loud. It is like they performed the same piece twice in a row, but of course there are many small
differences. It is a heavily layered, orchestral piece that keeps building layer upon layer and in
their two peaks becomes very forcefully loud. Essentially, so I was thinking, this is a drone record,
but then played by a trio of musicians, working with an odd range of instruments and sounds. On
Schick’s turntable we don’t find any vinyl, but objects rotating (and I read that this was the last
time he did use it like this; now he’s back to using vinyl again), but that is something that we
hardly find back in the music. Only at the break in the middle and the last two minutes one hears
the instruments as they are. It starts out with an ominous drone already. This is a fascinating
piece of music; minimal, maximal, powerful and highly intense. I would recommend this at a high
volume and let the sound wash you away.
    More archive music was found by Schick, which was recorded at the A L’arme Festival in
2013, who invited him to gather an ensemble. Schick listed himself on alto saxophone and flutes,
Matthias Müller (trombone), Toshi Nakamura (no-input mixer), Marta Zapparoli (tapes, electronics),
Werner Dafeldecker (ac. guitar, live-electronics) and Paul Lovens (selected drums & percussion).
Schick brought along a bunch of graphic scores and after the rehearsals he took them away and
everybody played from memory, which is an interesting idea of course. The two pieces are twenty-
three minutes and these are most curious. Whenever Schick picks up his saxophone and starts
playing it, the pieces become a tad too much free jazz for me, and it’s something I simply don’t
like very much. Having said that I must also there is so much more about this music than just free
jazz. These six players bounce all over the spectrum when it comes to improvising and that is
actually very nice. Sometimes it’s all introspective, glitch and scratch like and before you realize it
these six players are in a totally different area with their music, either something noise based with
some piercing sine waves, ambient, drone like or even a bit of post rock acoustic guitar stuff,
courtesy of Dafeldecker. And of course the totally free improvisation but then sans saxophones
 is also part of this. It makes all of this a highly varied release and while I didn’t like the full 100%
of it, pretty much a lot of it I very much enjoyed.
    Also received and let’s say I didn’t notice the fact it was released in 2015, is a CD by Ignaz
Schick, here back at the turntable, teaming up with Oliver Steidle on drums, percussion and Kaoss
Pad. I never heard of him before. They might be calling themselves Ilog, but it might also just be
the name of the release. They label the music as jazz-core/noise and have been playing together
since 2013. The core part of the description of course refers to hardcore as that’s what this music
is about; a full-on attack on the senses via mostly chaotic drumming that is usually superfast, even
when there also exceptions, such as the first part of the third piece, ‘Movement 3’. I have no idea
what Schick puts on his turntable this time; it can be objects but just as easily it can also be vinyl,
but if so then I have no idea what this vinyl could be. It goes, I would think, through a bunch of
sound effects, and comes out with much distortion and feedback. This is some powerful music
indeed, one that drained the energy out of me, but I mean that in a positive way. Here too I can’t
say it was something that I enjoyed for 100%, but like the previous release, I enjoyed most of it. I
would this is explosive duo should be a real treat in concert. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:


It is not that long (Vital Weekly 1042) since I reviewed ‘Piano’s Abyss’, the third (but first one I
heard) album by Angelina Yershova, from Almaty, but it is already time for a new album, again
released in her own Twin Paradox label. Yershova plays the piano, an acoustic one, and uses the
recordings inside computer-based electronic music, involving beats, rhythms, textures, glitches
and which may or may not be derived from the same piano recordings. That is, I must admit,
sometimes hard to believe. Before Yershova called this piano drone music, but I don’t see that
mentioned now. It is not really drone like music in the classical sense of the word, even when
there is quite a bit of that be found here. That is perhaps the one thing I really enjoyed about
Yershova’s music; the way she crafted her piano samples to make them sound like a rhythm
machine. On top of that, and that’s what perhaps this makes far less from drone music, Yershova
plays the piano and that sounds rather lively, playful, spacious, melodic, sad and joyful; all sorts
of moods drop by, and, like on the previous release, some of this sound perhaps a bit too much
like new age music, such as the title piece, and lacks the ambient qualities of say that recent Brian
Eno album. But in her more up-tempo pieces, the ones with the steady techno tick, ‘Anarchic Piano’
for instance, she taps into the field of dance music with a fine sense for the minimalist tradition
(Reich, Glass), which works very well. In other pieces she’s more abstract and in these pieces a bit
shorter and more to the point, and the addition of these pieces makes up that this is finely varied
album. (FdW)
––– Address:


More music by Il’ja Bilha, on voice and guitar, and this time, it seems, without A. Subbotin on drums
and voice, which is different than the first time I heard their music as Schperrung (see Vital Weekly
1041). Again the release is over an hour long, starting and ending with some highly obscure field
recording from a hydroelectric power station. Apparently the music is all about ‘water and
electricity’, so Bilha writes me, and ‘white border is a bed where the humans are sleep’, which
makes me none the wiser. Very much like the previous release I heard this deals with the world of
tormented rock music, and this time reduced to one guitar, one amplifier, some stomp boxes and
very occasionally the use of a microphone. The guitar is sometimes a bit out of tune, and Bilha
can’t play properly, or pretends not to, and it makes all of this very much the outsider rock music
that many people like. I think I miss out the use of drums on this release, as that seemed to add a
bit of variation that I seem to be looking for here; now it’s all a bit too much a stripped down guitar
work in need for some additional sounds or instruments. Though not bad, I would think it could all
have been a bit shorter; a more selective mind could have been made up, I’d say before sticking this
into the shiny cover. (FdW)
––– Address:


More music by Brendan Landis, and the fourth volume of ‘Slow Names’; I didn’t hear the first two,
but the third one was reviewed in Vital Weekly 992. Back then I compared it with Town And
Country and Ben Vida. Landis is a guitarist and dances many dances. His music can go out to
being full on noise to very introspective and quiet. With a title like ‘Slow Names’ it is no rocket
science that music in this series is mainly from latter categorization. It is all played on acoustic
and electric guitars in a rather loosely improvised mood, and with some fine space around him; if
I would be in a romantic artistic streak I’d say Landis set up his recording studio in some back alley
in New York City, and the amplifier is not set to very loud, but the sound of the six strings bounce
against the high walls, and if we look up we only see a bit of blue light and the passing of large grey
clouds. Sometimes Landis turns his microphone in the opposite direction and picks up some street
noise, such as the elevator sounds of ‘Here, Let Me Show You’ or the warbled talk in ‘The Color Of
It’, but these are exceptions; most of these pieces are instrumentals. If one name springs to mind,
then it would be that of Loren Mazza Connors (even when Mazza no longer seems to be part of his
name) with whom Hey Exit shares a similar desolate guitar sound. Much of this seems to be played
on the electric guitar, with a sufficient amount of reverb to it. It is all together perhaps a bit of a
long release, clocking at sixty-six minutes, and as such it could have been a bit shorter and/or have
a bit more variation, but with a good wine, this is all perhaps a bit nit-picking. (FdW)
––– Address:

  (cassette by Elevator Bath)

Don’t let the title confuse you, as it might be the same as the one back in Vital Weekly 1042,
when this duo came back after a fourteen year hibernation. Back in Vital Weekly 316 I reviewed
their ‘Variations’ LP and then ‘Vessel’ in Vital Weekly 359, after which nothing was heard of them
as duo. Here again they have two side long pieces and sound sources are highly obscured here, but
at one point in ‘4’, on the B-side (‘3’ on the flip), it turns out that they use turntables along with
electronics. And then, going back to the other side, one realizes that the chunks of music in there
might also very well be lifted from vinyl. In their information they mentioned that their music is
‘sculpt primarily with commercial recordings to turn aspects of plunderphonics and electronic
sound art into a form of abstract beauty’. Which is not only what I would make of this but also
their claim ‘abstract beauty’ is something I acknowledge. I am not the world’s biggest lover of all
things turntables, that should be no secret, but what Sheffield and Rippie do here I like very well.
They take their turntable sounds apart, sample them again and stretch it out a bit and move them
around. Sometimes it sounds like abstract electronic sounds (the start of ‘3’), or eerie orchestral
passages in the best tradition of Arvo Part (middle of ‘4’) and then like some roaring twenties
Hollywood scratchy 78rpm; ranging from the chaos that surrounds a collection of dusty records,
all the way up to having a clean, single drone piece of music and anything goes in between. Again,
an excellent collaboration going on here. (FdW)
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