Number 1080

STEVE RODEN – A THOUSAND BREATHING FORMS (2003-2008) (6CD plus miniCD by Sonoris) *
PHARMAKON – CONTACT (CD on Sacred Bones Records)
MOE – OSLO JANUS (CD by Conrad Sound)
ANDERS BRØRBY – NIHIL (CD by Gizeh Records)
  (CD by Mikroton Recordings) *
MKM – INSTANTS/PARIS (CD by Mikroton Recordings) *
PHONOGRAPHY AUSTIN VOLUME 01 (CDR compilation by Phonography Austin)
   WILL NOT BE AT ALL (CD by Immediata) *
ABSURD COSMOS LATE NIGHT 2016-17 (2CD by Index Clean) *
SMELLYCAT – DEAREST (double cassette by Amek Collective)
  (LP/CD on Karl Records)
MAKKATU – ORDEAL (CDR by Urbsounds) *
ANTHENE – ORCHID (CDR by Sound In Silence) *
HACKEDEI – HITS MIT HACK (cassette by Raketenbasis Haberlandstrasse) *
MASAYUKI IMANISHI – CLIPS (cassette by Soft Error) *

STEVE RODEN – A THOUSAND BREATHING FORMS (2003-2008) (6CD plus miniCD by Sonoris)

Hold on, didn’t Sonoris just release a 6CD set Steve Roden? Not ‘just’, but in June last year is still
not a far away past. Back then I noted that I hadn’t heard any Steve Roden music for quite some
time, while before he was quite a presence in these pages. Since then there have been two new
releases by him and now there is another six CD set (actually six and a half, as there is also a mini
CD included), with a focus on the work he composed between 2003 and 2008. Many of these
pieces were unreleased, but some came out as limited CDR on his own New Plastic Music, as well
as Sirr Records, Volume Projects as well as En/Of (whose highly limited LP releases I always believed
were banned from a re-issue, but this proofs me wrong, I guess). Some of these pieces were part
of sound installations.
    In the previous review of his earliest work I noted that the more or less ‘usual’ working method
for Roden is to taping “a few sounds from a few objects, sometimes using his voice and then
sampling them, looping them around, with lots of space between them”, letting them shift back
and forth between these loops, with long fades between these passages. As there is no regular
interval between these loops nothing stays the same for a long time. The difference in the sounds
he uses is where the main difference in the music is. These can be toys, sounds from vinyl,
harmonium sounds, a banjo, a guitar but also sounds picked up by chance, elevator bells for
instance. The usual time frame for a Steve Roden composition, one that has all the makings of a
very good Roden composition, allowing things to develop and chance, not too hastily, is around
ten to twenty minutes, but there are pieces here much longer, including one that lasts an hour
(his contribution to radio series ‘One Hour As…’), and those works work as well, most of the
times. Shorter I must say I am less convinced. The eight pieces from ‘Stills For Guru Dutt’, all
around three minutes, is a bit too short to be something fully formed and passes too quickly
to be noted.
    Among the more curious pieces is ‘A Christmas Play For Joseph Cornell’, in which Roden
taps his bathtub with mallets, adding a much more rhythmical feel to his music that one is
perhaps used to. ‘Sleep/Walk/Drive’ is a piece with mostly louder field recordings and seems a
bit like an odd ball too in this collection. Otherwise the music is mostly quiet, ambient and
microsound (which is something Roden might take credit for inventing that title) and on a long,
slow Sunday afternoon the most perfect music to play, while relaxing, reading and sipping a wine.
Will there be another 6CD soon? (FdW)
––– Address:


Hopefully I am excused for the fact that I had no immediate reference to Enore Zaffiri, who is
described in the booklet as ‘one of the pioneers of Italian electronic music’. It is a highly informative
booklet, even if perhaps a bit dry in describing what this is all about. Here’s what I understood from
it. The title of the piece means ‘music for one year’ and that exactly what this was intended to be;
music that would last for one whole year in a sort of installation/environment setting, and as such
the piece was composed, on paper, with words and diagrams but not recorded as such. When
writing this in 1968 he used some highly primitive equipment such as sine wave oscillators and
magnetic tape recorders, none of which are easily available these days, and he performed only one
hour piece, March 28th, 6 p.m.’, which was released. It is not this performance we have here in
front of us, but one Andrea Valle performed in 2012, using super collider, using all the frequencies
that are required for this piece. This is some heavy music, which took me a few rounds to get into.
The sine wave are pretty much ear piercing, so one has to set the volume quite low in order to
make it work. If you did that and the balance between the music and the listener is set, one can
enjoy this work quite well. By moving around your house/room/space, you will notice the difference
between all the sine waves used at the same time, and sometimes these going quite down in
volume and making it all the stranger. You could choose to read the extended booklet in the
meantime, but I suggest to sit back and listen; perhaps not too loud, but let yourself be immersed
with the sound, creating an environment for yourself. Nevertheless be warned: this is some radical
music. (FdW)
––– Address:


Last year I reviewed Vincent’s collaboration with trumpeter Tom Arthurs (‘Real-time Sound
Sculptures Vol.1), a work that was hard to digest for me. Earlier there was the debut-CD ‘Opening
Lines’ of his Occasional Trio. With his latest release for solo piano, Vincent shows a totally other
face of his art, although there is continuity with his refined piano playing in the trio. With ‘Stations
of the Cross’ we are dealing with an example of music that explicitly comes from a religious
inspiration. “Inspired by William Fairbank’s installation in Lincoln Cathedral entitled Forest Stations,
and galvanised by a short but moving visit to Jerusalem in 2015, I have composed a new work for
solo piano depicting Christ’s spiritual, emotional and corporeal journey, accompanying His path to
Crucifixion and subsequent Resurrection”, Vincent explains in the liner notes. The work consists of
17 short parts. First and last one are meant as an introduction and conclusion. The 15 pieces in
between offer interpretations of the respective stations of  ‘The Forest Stations’. Another quote
to illustrate his intentions: “It is intended that the work opens up reflection upon and discussion
of the image of a sole human figure weighed down with burden, an image which for me raises issues
of the relationship of the individual to a society and a state which are not only capable of looking
away but also of allowing suffering, themes of truly vital relevance to us today”.  All 17 parts are
very limited in time and characterized by long sustained chords that disappear in silence. They fall
like drops in an ocean of silence. This music is built from very sparse elements. It sounds static,
sometimes a bit dissonant and provokes a reflective mood. The opening track ‘Meditations on
Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane’ is also a sequence of chords and short patterns embedded in
silence (or is it the other way round?) The chords played here by Vincent have a jazzy touch. A
lecture by a musicologist I visited many years ago came to my mind that, in reference to the work
of Arvo Part and John Tavener and the likes, spoke of  ‘under-composed music’. The music of
Vincent is of a similar minimalism and likewise associated with religious meanings yet in the end it
is closer to the work of Morton Feldman. The performance by Vincent is very inspired. For music
that is built from a few notes and chords, it is essential to really believe in them as a performer/
composer. (DM)
––– Address:

PHARMAKON – CONTACT (CD on Sacred Bones Records)

It’s early April when Margaret – Pharmakon – Chardiet turns on a throbbing bass note at Rewire
Festival in The Hague, Literally moving sound waves fill the packed room with massive depth of
tone. It doesn’t go anywhere. Stays. Unrelenting. And after a not so long while: unnerving. No
dynamics. No movement. Stasis.
    Chardiet scurries across the stage and screams on the top of her lungs. The low throb is
joined by piercing high pitched yelps. These stay put. Even as she doesn’t. Constantly moving
and gesturing Chardiet leaves behind the stage. Roaming through the audience she tries to find
a path for herself and the mic cable. At times she stops and screams right into someone’s face.
The look in Chardiet’s eyes: one of emptiness – a void. As if nothing registers.
    Meanwhile the look on the faces of the audience varies from one of shock and disbelief
towards the sound pressure levels to one of blank staring, bewilderment and maybe amusement
even. The latter also of the sort: ‘Gee, this woman has got some issues needing to get out…’
    Chardiet might well have. Judging from the live performance we remain none the wiser. She
cuts her show way short. Nothing ‘happened’ apart from her ‘happening’ to be more in the crowd
than on stage and if there was any point at all this was lost in unintelligible blasts of screeching
vocal cord abuse. And that’s that. Point taken? Virtually none made.
    Some writers however see Chardiet as one of the spearhead front runners of a new and highly
important movement in today’s experimental music in as much as she – with her peers – delivers a
much needed blast of female voice, body, sentiment and psychology with politics to the fold. Could
be. Even when hard pressed I can’t make a case for such an inferred position, based on her live
actions. Let alone when this comes from the presupposition that the noise/experimental genre is
“male dominated”. It’s not. Clearly not. Look a bit harder, listen further. Too many great female
artists work in this field to pick Pharmakon as a prime mover to be cherished because of the fact
she’s female first and foremost. That does great disservice to the other women active in the genre
and also to Chardiet herself. As: reasoning in this train of thought her work gets all the attention it
gets mostly as a female apologetic.
    On record Pharmakon projects a more disparate aural image. On Contact screeching noises
from guitar feedback and synthesizers are layered, stretched and dispersed through a sonic field
that’s open and fluid. The air might be stale; the surroundings shrouded in near darkness and the
temperature sultry bordering on the uncanny hot and steaming sexy, the noises do convey a sense
of a concept of battle between mind and matter (or: body), of man versus machine, of blunt force
blows against gentle touch.
    Chardiet channels energy and empathy through the meanest of mean sounds. As with her live
performances this begs the question if there’s an exchange here – somewhere, sometime – between
artist and audience; a bridge to cross the muddied waters. There very well might be. And it’s not a
static one.
    On repeated listens the record opens and closes this channel at various places. Sometimes
extremely short in duration – sometime for quite some time. Then and there Chardiet hits home
hard – pries open badly healed scars and digs a bit deeper. But that doesn’t exactly hurt
(Pharmakon is the inverse of being in it for the pain game). As a matter of fact; she does seem to
remind one of the existence of a kindred soul. Every so rarely. But at least: praise the lord for these
moments. Wholly absent from Pharmakon’s much lauded live performances these moments project
a transcendence through unwieldy industrial noise that’s always desperately welcome in the
experimental genre – whether from a female or a male protagonist – a musical human connection.
    Chardiet’s conceptual resolution is on full frontal display on Contact. And so is her resolve in
giving it her all and putting a lot on the table. Too much maybe; as if an avid visitor of the weird
record store tried to carry home heaps of vinyl from the likes of Incapacitants and Merzbow and Keji
Haino and Whitehouse and Nurse with Wound and In Slaughter Natives and presents us with all and
everything just to make the long haul show in every bleeding second.
    Chardiet maximizes, yet manages to keep over-dosage in check. It’s a lot to handle and at
moments the noise gets the better of her, but the abundance of influences – so frankly worn on
the sleeve –  anchors Pharmakon quite neatly as the youngster sprout on the family tree of noise
and industrial’s finest lineage.
    Yes, there’s something genuine and sincere on display here. A voice poised to be heard. A
noise so captivating it moves the listener trance-like through the artist’s move and motions. As
Chardiet opens up herself through her music and vocal cord rupturing screaming; so she opens
herself to the world outside. As she walks through the audience only emptiness seems to register,
but maybe it’s all too much still to take in – this influx and outpouring in an emphatic blissed out
noise zone. Gee. Could be.
    And perhaps then the pivotal position she’s put into in the radical feminist discourse doesn’t
fit her at all, yet. For Chardiet looks to be only just opening up and immediately the flood gates are
wide open. And the torrent comes rushing through. The ecstatic climax of Contact does seem to
be one of shut down again, but the door is not slammed in our faces. And there’s some energy
leaking through, like a threshold communication. Finally: there’s a sense of humane transformation,
draining but rewarding experiences shared. Humane as in: without the slash in male/female. Us.
Now there, at long last, might be a rather sedative, soothing and calming bottom line truth to
Pharmakon after all. Only empathy, untamed. (SSK)
––– Address:


Now there’s a name I haven’t heard for a while. Skrol’s Vladimír Hirsch has of course been around
for ages, but I’ve failed to keep track of his work ever since Skrol disbanded. This album, released
under moniker Subpop Squeeze, took two years to finish and was released by E-Klageto, which is
a subdivision of Psych.KG.
    Anacreontics is a classic exercise in repetitive sequenced industrial of the cold & caustic
variety and perhaps in a way, akin to the original Skrol, though Subpop Squeeze does have a sound
that is much more piercing and synthetic compared to the bombast of the former. And then it
features some tangy electric guitar riffing on most of the tracks (Neikthropy / Transient Spell /
Roaring Secrets), that takes it straight into the domain of industrial rock – think classic Ministry,
Godflesh or Skin Chamber –  even though I can’t find any guitar credits on the sleeve. With that in
mind, rather than what one might expect, at no point the album becomes anthemic,  nor does it
become memorable by means of hooks or catchy vocals (nor does it ‘rock’ much for that matter).
A lot of the vocal contributions are spoken word parts or what seem to be samples (e.g. Roaring
Secrets) and the percussion hardly ever comes close to playing a mere down-beat pattern – a thing
that I count as a plus. Adding all of this up – industrial/guitars/harshness, another obvious
comparison would be early MZ.412, but it’s nothing like that at all. I’d say it’s even on the opposite
side of the spectrum. Anacreontics is much too structured and repetitive compared to the satanic
chaos of Henrik and his mates.
    The album starts out ‘Nordic industrial’ enough, even having a twangy CMI thing going on the
opening track ‘Derm’, but enter the first djenty bits on the second track and we’re off with a
different kettle of fish. There’s an appearance of conspiracy theorist David Icke on the track
Thanatic, which is quite dramatic with its wonky beat and long reverberated gushes of guitar
violence, but all in all i have the feeling that the whole thing just washed over me. I mean, the
tracks are well composed and for instance Neikothropy really had me nodding along to the intense
pulse, but after its one hour run, I didn’t feel it had delivered really. Sure in the end it’s all a matter
of taste and I guess assumptions surrounding the guitar bits led me away from appreciating the
album for what it is, expecting some epic “Burning Inside” to pop out of the speakers eventually. I
admire the skilful composition and razorblade production, but this just isn’t a thing for me. (PJN)
––– Address: <>

MOE – OSLO JANUS (CD by Conrad Sound)

Sometimes an album slips through the cracks (or literally falls behind a cupboard), but when it
turns up again I write a little review anyway, even though it has been around for a while at that
point. So that’s the embarrassing story behind this belated MoE review (i reckon that rather than
having the same name as the bartender in the Simpsons, the band’s name is pronounced “moo-eh”
– hence the capital ‘E’) for Oslo Janus III, that was released by Conrad Sound last year. In addition to
their regular studio releases the Norwegian three piece drops an ‘Oslo Janus’ album every once in a
while to give an impression of their imposing improvisation dynamics.
    First time I heard to MoE was in 2011 when their debut “It Pictures” had just been released. I
loved the raw energy, intense groove and staccato hammering, which to me was somewhat
reminiscent of early Noxagt, though it easily escapes that comparison due to the enticing vocals of
Guro Skumsnes Moe. Where Follow up “3” saw them morph into a behemoth so bass heavy it could
squash a hippo in a second – a trend that was continued on ‘Examination of the Eye of a Horse” –
the Oslo Januses (Jani?) show a somewhat different side of the band, namely that of instrumental
improvisations. Five tracks ranging from often complex and (seemingly) discombobulated noise
rock and intensive drone, to doomy low end sludge smack the listener across the room for an hour
and then some. “Mr. Tokyo” is a highly skilful exercise in off-beat structuring that finally gets itself
together somewhere half way through and has you nodding along to the steady earthy growl which
turns into the boggy trench that is “Gavrilo Princip”, through which one is pleasantly dragged at a
snail’s pace for about 11 odd minutes. “ShMchk” gives us a noisy guitar tapestry that serves as a
background for a slow and crude battle between bass and drums. The crispy drone of “Omertà”
could easily have been the intro to a Darkthrone album, with its feedback wails and occult percussion
in the distance.
    Then there’s more monolithic dronery on Fukushima that builds up to a screaming culmination
point, quite literally. While the track fades out we hear Guro loosing her marbles which is a nice
finishing stroke to the whole thing. The bonus track, that drops in after 15 minutes of trying to
recover your senses in silence, is a great interpretation of Black Sabbath’s Black Sabbath; slow and
brooding… so completely in pace with the rest of the album. All of this was recorded in Tokyo in
2015, released a year later and reviewed another year after that by yours sincerely. Amazing stuff
though. (PJN)
––– Address:

ANDERS BRØRBY – NIHIL (CD by Gizeh Records)

Brørby has not been faffing about since I wrote a bit about his album “You were there with me”. I
just saw that five separate releases have been published after his first album in 2014 and now
there is “Nihil”, which is out on Mancunian label Gizeh in a limited issue of 175 copies. The album
is part of Gizeh’s new ‘Dark Peak’ series and the beautifully handcrafted (or so it seems) sleeve was
designed by Richard Knox and Claire Brentnall.
    Brørby’s sound has evolved a lot since the aforementioned “You were there with me” came out and
though the album starts out friendly enough, already at the end of the first track we take a dive
into the murky and muddy deep end. Noise, monumental choir drones, screaming lead synths and
distorted, dense melodies paint a raw and relentless landscape that is a dystopian nightmare as
much as it is breathtaking. There is a clear divide between the few rhythmic pieces that sport a
clear sequenced framework and the darker ambient and noisy pieces that seem to progress more
organically. The thing I like most about Brørby’s work is his balanced and skilful use of harsh and
distinct timbres and the fact that even though the production applies a fair amount of reverb, it
doesn’t obscure the individual sounds as such, which causes a lot of the sounds to have a direct
impact due to their crispy clarity.
    There are a couple of tracks on which the sharp and rigorous ambience is washed away by a lull
of hibernal sunshine, like at the end of “Put Your Ear to The Ground”, “The Knives in Her Eyes” and
“You Have Made Me No Longer Afraid Of Death”. Except for on closer-upper “We Sat In Silence,
Watching Each Other Disappear”, all in all, the actual noise is not the excessive amount you’d find
on a Masonna album; the dosage is just right for keeping your senses stimulated, rather than
numbed. Moreover, the main goal of the album seems to be to dip the listener into an pittoresque
pool of lingering melancholy, evoking the bitter-sweet reminiscence of times that are behind us and
the inevitable end of it all – “mono no aware” it is called in Japanese art. “From The Window Above
The Lake” does the best job there. What a brilliant piece. The album was mastered by James Plotkin
who seems to be the go-to engineer for virtually anything experimental. Not sure how much of
Jotters Plotters is in there, but yes, it sounds aptly tempered and transparent, whoever is to blame.
In the case of the music itself, Brørby definitely is the culprit and I kindly take my hat off to the man
that has again surprised me with such an outstanding piece of work. It’s hard to draw a direct
comparison for those who might require one before they can be bothered to listen to it, but
imagine the music of a less granular Tim Hecker imbued with the painful melancholy of The White
Birch and you’re on your way. Deary me, just listen to the bloody record. (PJN)
––– Address:


‘Rideau’ was my first UDMI album. I bought it in the early 80s. Many others would follow. ‘Rideau’
was their second release. They started in 1976 and debuted in 1979 with ‘Trop d’adrénaline nuit’.
We are talking here of the trio of Jean-Jacques Birgé, Bernard Vitet and Francis Gorgé, indeed a very
unique trio. From the beginning they blended jazz, rock, electronics, new music, improvisation,
sound, audio-visual into fascinating ‘Gesamtkunstwerke’. In a way that has some resemblance with
the work of Alfed Harth and Heiner Goebbels, who were operating at the same time. They released
most of their work – and that of their friends (Pied de Poule, Hélène Sage, a.o.) – on their own
GRRR-label. During the 80s and 90s they contributed to several compilations on a diversity of
small underground labels, what introduced them to a younger public: ‘In Fractured Silence’ (United
Diaries), the ‘Dry Lungs’-series (Placebo), ‘Mouvement – Compilation Européenne’ (La Légende des
Voix), a.o. All three members already had their history in the jazz scene of France, especially
Bernard Vitet who died in 2013.  As a trio they would become a stabile force for many years.    
    ‘Rideau’ is a perfect start for getting introduced to their idiosyncratic way of assembling
influences. They developed their very own world, their own language. Listening after a long time
once again to ‘Rideau’, the music still talks and sounds far from out-dated. The musicians play a
wide variety of instruments: brass, voice [percuvoice], bendir, violin, synthesizer, trumpet and
Jew’s harp by Vitet; guitar, percussion, bass, arco bass by Francis Gorge and synthesizer, percussion,
organ, flute, mandolin, Jew’s harp, piano, drums and reeds by Jean-Jacques Birgé.
    The CD has four bonus tracks. The first one, ‘Tunnel sous la manche’, recorded in June 1983,
appeared in a shortened version on ‘In Fractured Silence’. Three following bonus tracks all date
from the same time, recorded between their fourth and fifth LP. Back then their music sounded
very experimental and wild to my ears, now it strikes me this is really full-grown, open and well-
balanced music by inventive musicians who had a strong musical intuition and vision. So a big
thank you to Klanggalerie who made this relevant album available again, in a new mastering by
Jean-Jacques Birgé. (DM)
––– Address:

  (CD by Mikroton Recordings)
MKM – INSTANTS/PARIS (CD by Mikroton Recordings)

Recently I bumped, by accident it seemed, into Miguel A. Garcia, crossing paths in a city far, far
away and it was good to see, finally, his modus operandi, even perhaps for that night/tour only.
A set-up that consists of computer-controlled feedback and some extra electronics that worked
very well in his duo with Sebastien Branche (on saxophone). Here Garcia also gets credit for
electronics, just as Alfredo Costa Monteiro. It doesn’t mention if this is a live recording or perhaps
some studio meeting and to what extend there is an editing or layering of the music. Somehow I
don’t think the latter is the case, and that all of this is a pretty straightforward set of recordings
of some pretty intense music. I would believe that this works very much along the lines of
processing internally looped sources together into some very strong, forceful music; feedback
maybe, acoustic sounds maybe? I must admit I have very little idea as to what is going on here. If
this is improvised then these two men have mighty control over their apparatus to play these
sounds. This is nothing for the weak of hearth, I would think. The advise ‘play loud’ is usually not
very well-spend on me, but in this case I am sure it is the only you should do. Just like last week’s
release by Cilantro on the same label this is something one would not expect but it sure is damn
fine release.
    Following forty minutes of wall of sound approach it is perhaps good to step back, sit down
and relax and the quartet that offers ‘Fracture Mechanics’ provide exactly the right soundtrack
for that. We have here four veterans of the improvisation scene; Burkhard Beins (hand oscillator,
monotron, e-bowed zither, snare drum and objects), Lucio Capece (soprano saxophone, soprano
saxophone samples, wireless speakers and preparations), Martin Küchen (tenor saxophone, flute,
radios, iPod, speakers) and Paul Vogel, who gets the most curious instrument credit in some time;
‘air from another planet contained in terrestrial glassware’, whatever that is. There is a short,
introduction opening piece of people speaking (maybe the musicians), but the main portion are
three very long pieces, with a total length of seventy minutes, of some very careful improvised
music. Lots of very remote sine wave sounds from whatever sources and the saxophone of
Capece sometimes being the only instrument that can be recognized for playing small waves
above the abstract mass of sound that meanders below. There is a wealth of sound events
happening, and sometimes it is way below the threshold of hearing, and sometimes quite a lot
above that.
    Following which it is perhaps time to up the ante again, a bit, with a trio that we haven’t
heard in quite a while, Günter Müller (iPods, electronics), Norbert Möslang (cracked everyday-
electronics) and Jason Kahn (analogue synthesizer, radio and mixer). This is quite a meeting of
opposites, I thought. Kahn’s own music over the years has become subtler, and Möslang perhaps
never went anywhere being silent. This recording, already almost five years old, is still something
that is worthwhile to hear. It shows this trio in full force, which means that they are forcefully
present most of the time in their sound. Lots of deep bass rumbling and high end screeching and
just very few bits really down in volume. Towards the end there is such a passage of quietness; it
seems as if the music is already done, certainly after all the noise that was poured over us in the
past thirty or such minutes, but not, for at least six or seven minutes we hear very little and this
might be, in good jazz tradition, Kahn’s solo spot but he keeps his sound alive until the very,
noisy, end of this. Unlike Garcia/Costa Monteiro, who keep their sound together during the entire
duration of a piece, this trio bounces around all the time, leaping from one massive block of sound
to a more detailed version thereof and back again. I must admit I don’t remember this heaviness
from their earlier releases, which I recalled were a bit more controlled and quiet. Maybe that night
in Paris they were in the mood to call out the big guns and play some heavier on the occasion? I
am not sure here, obviously, but whatever it is, it surely delivered an excellent release.
    And finally label boss Kurt Liedwart is also a fanatic user of ‘ppooll’, and in September 2015
he played a concert with Martin Taxt on tuba and Andrey Popvskiy on viola, electronics and objects
in Moscow, which was mixed by Toshimaru Nakamura. All of the recent Mikroton releases this is
the shortest one at just twenty-eight minutes of mostly closely tight in sounds that only in one
small section falls apart in some sort of rhythmic ticking by all three. Otherwise everything stays
close together with longer sustaining notes on especially the tuba and the computer with the violin
opting for a freer role, adding small bending notes, little objects being carefully played adding small
textures to the proceedings of the overall sound. It gives the whole thing a bit of sinister character,
with those sustaining drones lurking and filling the background, while never staying too long in the
same place, and those small sounds on top of that that sounds like the murderer in this flic is
never far away. Following the previous heaviness this is one of an entirely different one, but it
works equally well. (FdW)
––– Address:

PHONOGRAPHY AUSTIN VOLUME 01 (CDR compilation by Phonography Austin)

From the world of field recordings we have here Scott Sherk, who three previous releases, by And/
oar and 3Leaves, where most likely not reviewed before. For his latest work, ‘Altenejo’ he went to
the sparsely populated area of the same name in Portugal with cork oak and ancient trees, and he
takes us on a trip around the area. He was there with Pat Badt, who did painting and together they
created an audiovisual installation, which they brought back to The Obras Foundation, who invited
them in the first place. I am not sure to what extent the sounds recorded by Sherk have been
processed in any way. In the first piece it sounds like that, with some melodic line shimmering
below there somewhere. It does not seem to return in other pieces. In the music we hear sheep
bells, cicada’s, wind, crickets, but also ‘nothing’, as in just the amplified surrounding of the place
in which not a lot seems to happen. Especially the crickets seem to be doing the musical bit here
and many of the others sounds are more like drone related environmental sounds, in which these
are embedded. The whole thing is throughout very silent in approach, very microsound and perhaps
not the newest of the newest in terms of field recording, but throughout a very pleasant head trip;
probably can’t beat the real experience, but nevertheless.
    It is quite a leap from Portugal to Austin, a city I have been too, albeit some 24 years ago, so
hopefully you’ll excuse me for not remembering too much about that. It was already a long travel
before arriving there and it was May already, so getting a bit too hot outside for this Viking. The
city has, so I learn now, a small group of people interested in working with field recordings. They
want to challenge the “stereotypical conceptions of field/location recording. […] Has shown a
healthy desire to void the ‘orientalizing’ tendency of recording only those phenomena and events,
which might be outside of listeners’ customary experience, and has instead expanded on the
acousmatic tradition of showing how any sonic experience can contain seeds of newsness or act
as a spur to profound transformations – regardless of its intimacy or foreignness with respect to
the listener.” So we have here anything that is a short recording in an Orthodox church service, a
box full of bees, walking the pavement (from the day job to a gamelan rehearsal), audience
applauding, a very detailed recording of rain falling down on something (I have no idea what it is),
a train passing (great recording there), waves washing ashore, and frogs. Quite an environmental
trip I thought, more so that a cityscape, which was something quite for an American city I suppose.
I am not if anything was done to the recordings, save for some editing and touching up, but some
of these pieces sounded very much like small compositions by themselves, and not cut outs from
bigger sound events, which is something I particularly enjoy. This was a fine and varied bunch of
field recordings by people as Laura Brackney, Kevin Sample, Sean O’Neill, T Putnam Hill, Junior
Williams, Alex Keller, Josh Ronsen (the only two names I recognized) and Vanessa Gelvin. (FdW)
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   WILL NOT BE AT ALL (CD by Immediata)

It was not an easy choice but I decided to start with the new solo release by Anthony Pateras,
released on his Immediata label. Partly because I think I heard quite some music in which he takes
part but very few seem to be solo, so that made me curious as to what that would be like. ‘Blood
Stretched Out’ contains two long pieces, both recorded in concert, in France and Germany, 2016
and 2013. I feel I am not the right person to discuss this kind of music, because I seriously lack
the knowledge and the lingo to do so. On the back of the booklet (that has many interesting
thoughts by Pateras over the years), he writes his personal reference list of techniques for one
of the pieces, and among it says ‘super quiet 4 note figures’, ‘Cecil triplets’, ‘Bleed opener’,
‘Articulated bass’, ‘Sostenuto Nancarrows’ or ’10 note ascending ostinati with Chico gunshots’,
and much of that doesn’t means to me, but listening to the music one gets the picture of that.
‘Chromochromatics’, the piece that has this list, bumps all over the place, from staccato notes,
rapid chords, clusters of sound and is a very free piece of music, but for me the title piece, with
eight minutes more at forty-three minutes, a beauty of minimalism, worked better, with repeating
notes all the time, starting loud and untamed, but as the piece progresses going all over the
dynamic range and slowly spreading out his clustered piano tones. Quite a heavy piece, well,
maybe both of them, and at eighty minutes quite a sit, but if you take this one at a day, you’ll
be all right. I say this more often, but this too, is something one should probably see in concert
one day.
    The other new release is also by Pateras, who is the composer of the piece, and it is for six
percussion players, who additionally use electronic sound material, which have been recorded and
edited by Jerome Noetinger and Pateras. Noetinger is also interviewed in the booklet about his
work with reel-to-reel recorders and the other interviewee is Sylvere Lotringer of Semiotext(e),
who is responsible for the title of the work. This work too can be found in the world of composed,
modern classical music, but like with so many of the works by Pateras it seems to be more than
that. In this case I would think the addition of the electronic sounds is an important addition to
the percussion music, which is most of the times quite minimal. The six players of Synergy
Percussion use an extended variety of instruments in their playing, from toms to timpani and
small wooden objects as well as glockenspiel. Throughout the four pieces, each around fifteen
minutes, there is an excellent sense of dynamics going on. Part IV is quiet and subdued, but also
has some violent bursts; here percussion instruments are played with bows, and in the three
others with sticks, mallets and whatever else they use. I very much enjoyed this; especially the
combination of electronics and percussion makes this a very vibrant release. Modern classical?
Perhaps? Musique concrete? Surely that too. Overall quality? Excellent. Also the two interviews I
regard as very informative, shedding some interesting light upon the working methods of these
people, and that includes Pateras himself, having the role of interviewer here but also tells quite a
bit about himself.
    Somehow I always think Jerome Noetinger is a man of live action, rather than someone who
wants to release a lot of music on CDs or records. But in the same week as I received his work with
Pateras, I also got this release by him and to his credit we find ‘electro acoustic devices’ and Aude
Romary, of whom I had not heard before, plays the cello. They recorded six pieces together, in
2015 and these were mixed later on. These pieces range from just below two minutes to over
twenty-one minutes, but if you play this without any look at your CD player, it is also possible that
you think of this as one long piece or as many more individual pieces, although some of the breaks
between pieces sound like firm breaks indeed. Perhaps such is the nature of improvised music, I
thought. This is the kind of improvised music that is in the middle ground of being traditional and
more experimental. Sometimes Romary plays her cello with quick movements, perhaps as you
would expect with this kind of music, but in for instance ‘Cinquième Discorde’ she holds the tone
and makes it into a very fine acoustic drone. Noetinger’s part here is throughout to provide all
sorts of sonic interventions, some of it from his own doing, but I would believe also from picking
up the sound of cello, transforming it on the spot and feeding it back into the mix. Some of this
is quite low in volume and therefore not always easy to follow and it makes it quite a demanding
release. (FdW)
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ABSURD COSMOS LATE NIGHT 2016-17 (2CD by Index Clean)
SMELLYCAT – DEAREST (double cassette by Amek Collective)

It might be no shock if I say there is, within the realm of experimental music lots of stuff I don’t
really get. This is one for instance. This double disc contains music from various cassette releases
by Absurd Cosmos Late Nite from Melbourne and some live material. It is the musical project of
Mark Groves, who works sometimes as Von Einem, Absoluten Calfeutrail, and who is also part of
power electronics duo of Dead Boomers, bleak noise rock True Radical Miracle and tape/concrete/
spoken word duo Red Wine and Sugar. “Absurd Cosmos Late Nite is assembled for the red-eyed
air of a post-midnight suburban petrol station scene. A stop for coffee, snacks, The Picture
magazine, forced conversation and the undead ambience of a low resolution broadcast chatter,
in which this perpetual predawn marinates. Chosen text and audio are assembled from collected
fragments of local talkback, overheard declarations and the endless online comment pit. The
compositional approach is extrapolated directly from Juicy Bananas’ 1984 contribution to the
soundtrack for 80s dickhead punk touchstone Repo Man.” So perhaps this says something why
I don’t get it. Not a driver, so no hanging about at car stops after midnight and ‘Repo Man’ I never
saw. We have two CDs of lo-fi noise/background hum, maybe indeed from car stops and some
unidentified talk on top of that, about coffee, jobs, video and god knows what else. Once I found
out what this was about I skipped through the pieces, as this kind of eavesdropping is not really
kind of thing. Maybe this is all very arty and I just ‘don’t get it’, which might be entirely my bad.
I prefer some good music, I guess.
    Which is not to say there is no good music either, by Smellycat, from, I assume, Bulgaria
(the label is from Bulgaria and Thailand), but it is also I am not entirely understand, so I lump
these together. Smellycat is a ‘low-key sad boy’ and the songs he made in the past four years.
Perhaps reading the press text is what I don’t get; “its sound will comfort you when your eyes
are already hurting from staring at that ancient CRT TV. It’s music playing in the back of your
head when you’re sick of trying to beat Crash Bandicoot on PSX or need something to wipe the
Final Fantasy VII OST out of your brain when you fall asleep. Divided in four parts, which are as
short-lived as they can get, Dearest is like a news feed of profound indifference, soaked with neon
anime colours, lo-fi vaporwave vibes, Tumblr soft porn or cats, cats, cats.” No less than twenty-
eight tracks, and I recognized Toto’s ‘Africa’ and ‘Forever Young’ by Alphaville among the samples
and all of these pieces are very short; in fact they could have fitted on a single cassette as well.
There is a bit of singing, most of the times slowed down quite a bit, there are keyboard, melancholy
and drama all around (check out titles as ‘Swallow Us’, Yr Leavin’, ‘Howrru’ or ‘We Have Cried’ and
that is indeed the sound of one sad-boy. I am probably not allowed to say but grow up and you’ll
get over it; hopefully. (FdW)
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  (LP/CD on Karl Records)

Zeitkratzer – the ensemble fronted by Reinhold Friedl – takes on the earliest two records by
Kraftwerk. Having previously tackled and maybe also revitalized the works of Stockhausen,
Whitehouse, Nicolai and Haino and making headline across the world with their acoustic
interpretation of Lou Reed’s masterpiece Metal Machine Music, Zeitkratzer dives straight into
the aural world of embryonic krautrock. So this is by far not (yet) the Kraftwerk cruising the
Autobahn, doing the math with their Pocket Calculator or cycling a Tour de France.
    This is however the Kraftwerk featuring the flute. Thank God that was dropped sooner than
any later. But this instrument does lead the way in the nervous, jarring Ruckzuck, injecting some
progrock vibes into an all out percussive meltdown. Way more intimate and gentle are avant-
chamber music explorations such as the rather wonky Strom or the scrape-fest of Spule 4.
    More in line with the million selling Kraftwerk are the 17 minute opus Kling-Klang with its
mellow and unnerving soothing swing; all progged out, true stoner style. Bring in the lava lamps,
stuck ’em up punk and space out. Still: the sweet shimmering synth melody is keenly reproduced
here with lush strings, accompanied by – again – the snake charmer flute.
    Zeitkratzer doesn’t keep to facsimile (let alone: playing covers) only. The arrangements shed
new light on the compositions that get the ensemble’s treatment. In other cases this meant:
bringing out odds and ends one normally wouldn’t expect to hear or missed, drowned out in sheer
howl of noise and feedback for example.
With these Kraftwerk-reworks however, Zeitkratzer rather painfully puts the massive flood lights on
the fact that the musical material at hand wasn’t that great to start with at all. Cute, sure. And an
important step in the making of what was to be a future great and giant act. Yet, one can genuinely
understand why Ralf und Florian will not re-release these elements from their catalog. Kraftwerk’s
minimalist superficial lightness on these two early records features only one really experimental
highlight in the guise of the quirky Atem. It’s here Zeitkratzer shines even brighter than on the
other in themselves stunning interpretations (dare I say: covers) of the early Kraftwerk songs. Not
all is lost then and an added ‘bonus’ for the aficionados: with Kraftwerk refusing re-release one can
now hear the material as gloriously played as one could ever desire. (SSK)
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This is a strong duo-work by London-born Nicolas Field and Slovenian sax player Gregor Vidic.
Field studied drums and percussion at the Conservatory in Amsterdam, and several supplementary
studies at different places. Since 2000 he plays in different bands of improvised and contemporary
music all over the planet. Since 2008 he also works in the field of visual art and sound installations.
He has several duos going on, with Akira Sakata, Jasper Stadhouders, Jeff Carey and one with
Gregor Vidic. Saxophonst Vidic, based in Switzerland, is a member of the Insub Meta Orchestra, a
large pool of improvisers from Switzerland. And that’s about all I could trace about him. Both Vidic
and Field are also involved in a quartet with Portuguese musicians Hugo Antunes and Albert Cirera.
On ‘Do you have a Room’ they prove, they can make some intense boiling improvisations as a duo.
The LP consists of four improvisations that reminded a lot of Cactus truck. A constant stream of
high-energy playing that overwhelms you. ‘This (the) hmmm of earlier on…’, has them operating in
a more subtle way, engaged in fascinating, little manoeuvres. Both make a good match. Their
thundering interactions are really engaging and has them both equally participating. Especially
drummer Field is constant on the move, playing his ever-changing patterns at a high speed. The
saxophone sounds abrasive and sensual in the hands of Vidic. A very dynamic and fresh work of
convincing powerplay. (DM)
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MAKKATU – ORDEAL (CDR by Urbsounds)

If I understand this correctly we are dealing here with a record that was recorded by the upcoming
(?) noiseman Mei Zhyong during his tour in Europe, in September 2015 (list of dates provided on
the insert). Sound recordist on duty for this tour, most likely because he also played, was Dave
Phillips, who also gets credit for the composition of the music. While I am not sure, I would think
this record is a forty-minute (give or take) collage of live recordings, sometimes layered on top of
each other and Phillips applies some of his usual technique of dropping sounds in and out of the
mix at seemingly random positions, while other sounds are continuous. Zhyong’s music is usually
quite without any mercy on the listener, so when I stuck this on my record player, I carefully
checked the volume level, but I found this to be not as forcefully loud and present as I anticipated.
Surely there is a brutal approach to sound here, mucho distortion as it happens, tons of feedback
weighing like a ton, acoustic bursts of contact microphone abuse, but also accidental recordings
of whatever else goes on before and after a concert; ever the recyclist, mister Phillips, I would say
with a smile. He doesn’t like to waste anything and why should he? All sound can be music and if
it fits the overall composition, then why not use it; or some such thoughts. All in all this is a pretty
fine album of noise, but without being for the sake of noise. This is the kind of noise that is made
with some deliberate actions, considerations and care for composition. That in my book is always
a good thing.
    On CDR we find Makkatu of whom the label doesn’t tell us anything on their website and
according to Discogs ‘Ordeal’ might be their debut release. It has nine songs/pieces and spanning
in total fifty minutes (if you have to write something anyway, then mention the basics). I assume
this is a one-person musical project and armed with a laptop, or maybe a set-up of analogue
equipment to produce his own version of techno music. I am never sure if it is really dance music,
as in ‘I am not sure if I see a dance floor filled with sweaty people doing their moves to this’, but
that might have to do with me not being a dancer per se, and whatever I hear played by my
younger friends seems to sound different (and yes, also hardly ever as a bunch of single pieces;
it’s almost always a mix of pieces together), but some of the songs by Makkatu have a great
groove, I must admit. ‘Gorge’ is one for instance, with a stomping beat, acid bass and the right
strange sounds in the background. Some of the other pieces have slightly more complicated
rhythm, and seem less easy to move around too, such as ‘Embers’ (and again; I may be totally
wrong of course). One thing that struck me is that almost all of these pieces are quite dark; if
this is played on a dance floor than this floor is covered with not a lot of lights. Perhaps that is
a bit of a pity I thought; dancing perhaps should equal a bit of fun, right? Still, I thought this
was a most enjoyable release. (FdW)
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ANTHENE – ORCHID (CDR by Sound In Silence)

Behind Anthene is Brad Deschamp from Toronto, So far he has three albums, two EPs and one
split release, which were released by Cathedral Transmissions, assembly Field and Polar Seas,
which is his own label. He’s also one half of North Atlantic Drift. His primary instrument is the
guitar and a bunch of effect pedals, all used to play icey droney fields of ambient music. This is
very much from the world of soundscapes in the best tradition of say Brian Eno, and everybody
else who tried to sound like him in the last 30 or more years. Seven pieces are offered here, all of
which sound quite similar, which makes the album very coherent, but also very similar and that is
a pity, I think. All of these pieces start with one, sustaining drone, to which during the course of
four to seven minutes, a few more are added. The difference is to be found in the colour of the
drones. A bit lighter, a bit darker, but nothing seriously different. Not a single tinkle of the snares,
a strum of a chord, nothing. This makes this album perfect for dozing off (I did) because you know
nothing weird is going to happen. It makes this album perhaps a bit mediocre if you are looking for
something new, weird or different, but if you want to explore a new name doing what you here at
the right place.
    Back in Vital Weekly 1069 I already reviewed a split CDR with Yasutica Horibe, also known as
Stabilo. That one was with Fjordne, also from Japan, this time it is from the homeland Kosuke
Anamizu, who works as Moshimoss. Also like before, both projects deliver two pieces, of which
the ones by Stabilo are seven minutes and the others half that. Moshimoss, a new name for me,
has records on Dynamophone Records and Nothings66, and under his own name as well as
Preghost and Shewasasea on labels as n5md, Mule Electronic and Traum. There is not a lot of
difference, I think, between both acts, which is (again?) a pity, but here too it brings a very
coherent (and at twenty-four minutes also short!) record of cascading tones from processed
field recordings, sustaining synthesizers, looped guitars and from the Eno/Budd legacy some
tinkling piano sounds with a fair bit of reverb, all to set out for some mighty fine ambient music.
Throughout there is more variation in these four pieces by these two acts than on the one by
Anthene, and not just because there are two different people playing the music. But this too
offers not really any new insight in the world of ambient, drone and such like, but cuts deeper
and deeper in the path that has been set out, and in doing so they do a really great job. Excellent
production and execution of this music here. (FdW)
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HACKEDEI – HITS MIT HACK (cassette by Raketenbasis Haberlandstrasse)

If my knowledge of the German language doesn’t fail me, this has all to do with butchers and
chopping up meat. It is Hackedei inaugural release, but whoever is behind it also works as,
according to the gospel of Discogs as (takes a deep breath) An-Dy, Andreas Davids, Atamk,
Böswillige Programmieranweisung, Der Schwarze Apt, Elliot, Explorer 5, Feedback Force, Garat,
Monoblock C, NaXum, Orbicybe, Wiederherstellungschirurgie and Xotox. I don’t believe I saw a
name in there that I recognized. The music here deals with rhythm. Having just heard the Makkatu
release reviewed elsewhere I am still in the mood for some more dance based music, but with
Hackedei it is save to say he (she?) doesn’t reach for the dance floor at all. None of the beats
used are about 4/4 time signatures to get them legs shaking and moving, but it’s raw and
ougher, as in some biting old school elektro sense. Maybe, there is a bit of Germanic humour in
this, the one that we love (Der Plan, Andreas Dorau, Felix Kubin), but this time around it is not
easy to find, I think. Throughout this is a varied release, with some of these tunes being dirty
and industrial (in ‘Fleischwolf’ or ‘Ein Kilo Mett’) but also dreampop (their word) in ‘Kein Kriterium
Für Frische’ or ambient in ‘Hackfleisch In Space’ (see, that’s not really funny). The whole thing
has charm, that much is sure, even when it also sounds quite amateurish, which I guess is the
whole point of this. Very 80s, this is. (FdW)
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MASAYUKI IMANISHI – CLIPS (cassette by Soft Error)

Applause to those who, in times of ever diminishing sales, start a new label. It is called Soft Error,
run by musician Mark Lyken, to focus on ‘sound art, field recording, drone, sound collage, tape
music and unruly electronics’ and their inaugural release is by Masayuki Imanishi, of whom I
reviewed a LP before (see Vital weekly 1024), but who also had releases on Gender-Less Kibbutz,
Deserted Factory, Psych.KG, A Giant Fern, Creative Sources and obs. For this new release, with a
single piece on either side of the cassette (twelve and twenty minutes), he uses paper, speaker,
field recording and synth. I had this tape on repeat for some time, distracted as I was by so many
things at the same time. Obviously that is not the way to play music, but perhaps also it is,
inevitably, the way things go. I noticed that in both cases, playing the music without paying too
much attention and with some eye for detail, that it didn’t matter that much, and it worked in
both cases really well. There is something very microsound about the music, even when it does
not drop to an all time low (in fact never at all), but the hiss and rumble or whatever it is that he
does works very well as a pleasant backdrop to what one is doing, checking mail, reading, relaxing
or a concentrated listening. Obviously in the latter modus one simply hears more of what’s going
on, and the delicate care that has been used for the detail in the music. On the first side there is
quite some crackling and bubbling going on, like the processed rain drops falling down, while the
other side is a beautiful stretched out drone piece, slowly changing colour as the piece progresses.
Here I believed to hear a multitude of ventilators or otherwise obscured motorized sources.
Nothing new or spectacular going on here on this tape, but quite a beauty of poetic noise. (FdW)
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This is already the third cassette by Colin Andrew Sheffield and James Eck Rippie in less than a
year and their fourth album since they started, but that was fourteen years ago. So one could
say that is quite a comeback since then. They are reducing further here, with this time around,
no titles; just two sides of music. The line up is as before, with Sheffield on ‘samples and
processing’ and Rippie on ‘turntables, samples and processing’; which made me think that
somehow whatever streams off the turntable is sampled and processed by both men. Tanuki
refers to this as ‘their own brand of plunderphonics’, but don’t confuse this for anything that
sounds even remotely similar to John Oswald, Tape-beatles or that ilk; there is nothing by way
of spoken word, socio-political commentary or such like, but in the world of these Texans, there
is none of that, and perhaps also not much that sounds like instruments being sampled, but with
some good will one could recognize classical music in here, stretched out and played out. It takes
the form of drones most of the times but it is not exclusively about that. Here on the first side it
seems to be more about drones, but also on this piece we detect a serious experimental edge.
Both of these pieces are not really chill out drone affairs and the first half of the second side is
scratchy and jumpy, like a bunch of broken records being played and electronically treated, but
in the second half these two men arrive at a more spaced out sound, with voices humming over a
landscape of drones. The first side has some of these voices and treatments but then throughout
the entire side, with a few ups and downs along the way. This is another beauty in their small
collection of releases. (FdW)
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A cassette with just one single track on it by Finnish / Philadelphian black metal duo Nihilistinen
Barbaarisuus. Not much to go on for a review, but on the other hand we don’t receive that many
BM releases for review here at Vital Weekly, so I’m grateful and a bit curious nonetheless. The track
is a piece of the atmospheric variety which means it is quite synth-laden and drenched in reverb –
think Gramary, or taking it slightly further back, the early work of Austrian cross-inverters Abigor.
The track sports some interesting melancholic and dissonant chords – not your standard two finger
austerity and then the guitar has that kind of tremolo picking + amping that causes a pleasant wail,
rather than ear-piercing screech. The drumming is tight; so tight that at first I took it for a
machine… which it might still turn out to be. It’s just so neatly tucked away into the background,
except for the heavily triggered kick and snare drum and the rapid tom fills, that it becomes
somewhat hard to tell. One minute in there’s a mellow break – you probably know the type; the
soft rock most of the work of Amesoeurs consists of but is then labelled ‘black metal’ by Pitchfork
and your hipster buddies. Still this track manages to get back on track and blasts on for a while.
Good stuff. More please. (PJN)
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