Number 1083

AJNA & DRONNY DARKO – BLACK MONOLITH (2CD by Reverse Alignment) *
NEUTRAL (7″ by I Dischi Del Barone)
CLUB ALPINO – WOOULDY (CDR by Gusua Records) *
STEFAN THUT & SETH COOKE – AUSSEN RAUM (cassette by Notice Recordings) *
CHIK WHITE – RAFT RECORDINGS FROM ECONOMY (cassette by Notice Recordings) *
THE ELKS – BAT ENGLISH (cassette, private) *
LID – SUBMARINE DEVOTION (cassette by Lavnedersweep Records)
PHIL MAGUIRE – SOLO COMPUTER MUSIC (cassette by Verzimprint) *


Mathias Josefson’s project Moljebka Pvlse has been around for quite some years now and there
have been quite a few releases so far. With this new album Josefson wants to explore the
“semantics of light” and that calls for a somewhat different approach then. In the ‘old’ days, the
sound of Moljebka Pvlse seemed very much dictated by the use of field recordings and the
electronic treatments thereof. On this new release I am not so sure if that is still the case. I
wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there has been a shift from field recordings to instruments
and in that respect especially the guitar. In the twenty-four minute opening piece, ‘The History Of
Levitation’, we could easily belief to hear a whole bunch of guitars lovingly playing together. And
with a whole bunch I could easily think 50 or 100 different layers, close together, and yet all a bit
different. There is a refined sense of microtonalism going on, but also something that we could
lightness. Before landing on a piece of equal length we have the six minutes shorter ‘Between
Lightness And Luminance’ in between, which is less of a drone affair, and guitars might have been
replaced by violin sounds (or others from the orchestral bin), which scrap around, a bit far away
and a bit remote, which gives the whole thing a spooky character. In ‘A Field Guide Ro Sunrise’,
Moljebka Pvlse uses drones along with percussion instruments played sparsely but adding a new
element to the music, something freer and improvised even. This is indeed a break from the old
Moljebka Pvlse sound and yet still something that fits what he does. Not a shocking move but a
carefully planned one and hopefully a road to explore further.
    The next one is the collaborative work of Vladislav Sikach’s project SiJ, whose first album,
‘The Lost World’ was also released by Reverse Alignment, who teams up with one Item Caligo, the
musical project of Sergey Epifanov. The cover shows us landscapes in twilight sceneries and that
is an indication for the flickering ambient music played by these projects. A vast open sound
engulfs here, played on a variety of synthesizers and digital means (although perhaps the
synthesizers are also digital; I am not sure) and it is somewhere between light (Moljebka Pvlse)
and dark (spoiler alert; the next one I’m reviewing from this label), and some of these synthesizers
are scarily close to the world of new age music, such as in ‘Her Soul Involuntarily Yearned For Rest’,
or the piano of ‘If Our Hope Not Fades’ (and yes, I think that these are tacky titles too); when the
two go down for some serious darkness however, such in ‘So Terrible To Contemplate’ or
‘Tranquillity of Mind’, then the balance is in their favour again. Field recordings are employed here
too, but only very sparsely I think; maybe a seagull in ‘Life Loves Your Pain’. Despite some of the
sugar sweet approaches to the sound of the synthesizer in certain places, I thought this was all
in all quite an enjoyable release; perhaps a bit too regular; not a lot of their own perhaps.
    This time around we kept the darkest of the lot as something for the last hour of the day. It
is long distance collaboration between Chris F and Oleg Puzan, who have been working together
for some time and have had releases on Petroglyph Music in 2013 and 2014. These works are
now part of ‘Black Monolyth’, a double CD, with also new music. The cover is a bit sparse when it
comes to telling us the provenance of these pieces, but it might be that the first disc is the old
work, and the second disc is all new. There aren’t a whole lot of different approaches between
these two, I would think. The title of the album is the musical program here. Whatever the input
is, and I suspect this to be field recordings of whatever nature, are transformed into a pitch black
monolith of drone sounds, which in the older pieces are perhaps a little bit monolithic in approach,
smeared as they are with the use of sound effects and in the newer pieces it has the illusion of
being a bit lighter and opener, but in fact are as hermetically closed as the other works. On the
second disc each of the seven pieces lasts eight minutes and two seconds, so perhaps there is
some conceptual edge to it; they do seem to be different pieces though, and not one long piece
cut into seven equal bits. This music has the heavy weight of the universe as well as the colour
of the endless journey through space; pitch black and top heavy. Quite a journey this is, not into
terra incognita, as the deep space is a crowded place. (FdW)
––– Address:


M(h)ysteria is Giovanni Di Domenico (Hammond organ), Laurens Smet (electric bass) and Jakob
Warmenbol (drums). Di Domenica is an Italian improviser, living in Brussels where M(h)ysteria has
its base. In the past he worked with Nate Wooley, Jim O’Rourke, Toshimaru Nakamura, among
others In 2013 he recorded an album with Akira Sakata. Nowadays he plays above all with Belgian
comrades. Warmenbol and Smet are both members of the improvisation-collective Nest. Smet
plays also with the interesting units Bambi Pang Pang and Tandaapuski. Both make a solid base
on bass and drums, with exciting drums by Warmenbol. We are talking of a power trio, playing on
the edge of free rock, jazz and improvisation. They don’t go for virtuosity of complexity. The
music has to convince by its power and energy. They make their point in three extended pieces.
‘Road Rage’ and ‘Crumbs War’ depart from a composition by Di Domenico. The title track is a
group improvisation. The Hammond organ is in the centre of their eruptions. But alas Di Domenica,
founder of this trio, creates his patterns and improvisations without much phantasy or vision. (DM)
––– Address:


Tigers Mind is a trio from Denmark: Danielle Dahl (saxophones, EWI), Niklas Adam (electronics,
guitar) and Thomas Eiler (drums). Eiler works on many fronts in the Danish scene of experimental
music as a member of Bad Astma, Svin, a.o.. Adam moved to  Oslo, where he works mainly in
interdisciplinary contexts. Norwegian artist Dahl chose Copenhagen as her base and is involved in
the local underground music scene, working in very diverse musical projects. As Tigers Mind they
are in business since 2010 and toured in Japan, Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. ‘Paradiso
Pudding Mix’ is there their first full-length release. Earlier they debuted with the self-released EP
‘The fish Tape’. They create a music that combines electronics, improvisation and noise. They are
not afraid of using many different elements and procedures, integrating radically many different
influences. They play with dynamics and contrast, leading up to an eclectic music that constantly
surprises. But after several listening I began to miss something. Although we are talking of
excellent musicians, elaborate music, it didn’t work for me. I couldn’t get inside of this dazzling
music. (DM)
––– Address:


A few weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised, no shocked, by the volume of Kazou Imai; not because
I never heard noise before, but to hear it on a release by Japanese Ftarri was certainly quite a shock.
I am not sure if there is a new direction at play for this label, but this new one is also one that isn’t
exactly shy on the volume either. We have here the duo of Martin Taxt on microtonal tuba and
Toshimaru Nakamura on mixing board; yes, that’s right, mixing board and not the usual no-input
mixer. This is because now there is a microphone used, to pick up Taxt’s playing and using his no-
input mixing experience, Nakamura transforms the sound of the tuba as they go along. The three
pieces on this album were recorded on different locations in Japan in 2016 and each piece is named
after the city it is recorded in. Whereas it was the idea to process the tuba sounds, in concert it
happened that feedback was directed and obstructed by Nakamura’s feedback. I am not sure how
that worked but the pieces are quite powerful in their improvising play and the noise variation
thereof. At times, in fact most of the times, the music is very loud, with lots of feedback sparking
off, and it seems that the tuba disappears in here at times. Sometimes Taxt doesn’t play this like
a tuba at all but as a big metal bowl, scratching it with objects of fingernails and yes, sometimes
the volume drops a bit. That brings the whole thing to a new dynamic level, neatly bouncing back
and forth between the distortion and the mayhem and the controlled chaos and in between even
finds time to go all-quiet. At times it is hard not to think of Merzbow, I thought, which was neat
to think (‘Merzbow like sounds on Ftarri, isn’t that strange?’, that sort of thing). Thirty-seven
minutes, and what a blast. (FdW)
––– Address:


While I reviewed quite a bit of Hubro’s releases in the past, in more recent times this duty went to
Dolf Mulder, because it was up his street. With these two they are right back in my domain, I guess.
I started with Espen Sommer Eide, who is one half of Alog and solo works as Phonophani. His debut
came out in 1998 and he had a bunch of releases, of which only the self-titled debut made into
these pages, Vital Weekly 370 (albeit a re-issued version). So it’s been a while since I heard what
he did, and I am clueless about his musical development. Apparently Eide also spends time creating
sound installations and the music here seems to me all computer-based, even when the press text
says ‘inventing his own instruments and developing or tweaking his own software’. I must say that
what I hear is a delight. On the surface it sounds like an album of glitchy electronics, made out of
the unwanted residue of the audio dustbin; crackles, static sounds, hiss, pops and clicks. And as
such you could easily dismiss that as ‘been there, done that’, but what Phonophani does here is
really good. It walks that fine balance of ambient music and noise, but it has that fresh air around
it. There is that extra touch of magic, the musical touch if you will. There is quite a bit of rhythm
in this music, such as the minimal drumbeat of ‘Deep Learning’, but also in his use of loops of other
sounds, Eide is quite rhythmical most of the time. Every track seems to roll and vibrate, and
nothing is ever static, or remaining in the same place for very long. Add that to the dynamics of
the sound, with a very fine bass end, as well as some of the nastier tunes in the mid/high end.
Dreamy at times, as in “I have No Subconscious’ or shoegazey in ‘Sunrise At Bear Island’, this
album is an excellent head trip. Play loud and dream on. An excellent release.
    Of a more experimental nature is the music of Brutter, the two brothers Christian and Frederik
Wallumrød, of whom I reviewed their debut LP in Vital Weekly 994. They play drum machines,
synthesizers, electronics (Christian) and drums and electronics (Frederik) and they explore the
realms of ‘beat music’, or more precisely, ‘when is a beat not a beat’ and ‘can arrhythmia be
rhythmic too’. That’s right up my street. I once acted in a video clip and had to tap a kitchen
utensil along the beat of the song and failed (‘and you call yourself a musician?’ asked the director
of this clip. It ended my career in acting, not in creating music) and surely these two brothers can
hold a bit of tempo, but the beats they produce have very little to do with dance music. To say it
is all improvised and off beat is also not really doing this justice. From the previous release they
moved on and now are using also delay and reverb pedals, and the sound is not as dry as before,
adding complexity to the music; meaning also, more anti-techno than before. The music is, as
before, most odd and this time around works a bit better, even when some of these pieces seem
still to be a bit on the long side for my taste. Either make it more minimal or add more variation,
but don’t let sounds just run wild in echo for some time. A piece like ‘Haydnsikh’ sounds sufficiently
anti-techno, with its non-consecutive rhythms and kept within two and half minute it works very
well. If they would set out to play to play shorter, concise pieces, based on one or two ideas than
this would grow more, I think (FdW)
––– Address:


While I promised myself not to write about stuff I actually buy, I know I will also easily break that
promise. Perhaps that’s dedication, but I’d like to give support to good causes and this is surely.
If you paid attention over the years, you know I am a big fan of Pseudo Code, the Belgium band
that existed for a few years in the early 80s, being really active in the world of cassette releases,
with their own label Insane Music as well as delivering tracks to many compilations, and had a very
distinctive sound. Since about ten years there have been various re-issues and archival releases,
on WSDP, Sub Rosa, Plinkity Plonk but the most active of these purveyors of musical history is
EE Tapes. Originally ‘A Soundtrack From The Underground (Selected Contributions To The
International 80s Network)’ was to be a ‘subscription only’ record, producing no more copies
than sold, which made me sign up right away (and thinking a review is not necessary anyway!),
but now it is ‘commercially’ available, so why not advertise it with a ‘review’. It is of course not
really a review, I spoiled that already enough by saying that I am a big fan and all that, and of
course you can easily find my previous praises for this band, but this album contains eleven
pieces that we previously found on compilation cassettes, seven of which in a longer version
now, so some of these belong to my musical DNA, such as the side long ‘Le Gange’, which spans
the whole last side of this pack. Pseudo Code called their music Potlach Music, to differentiate
from the then common industrial music and while there are similarities, the music of Pseudo Code
is much more personal, loaded with emotions. The vocals of Guy Marc Hinant is full of drama and
despair, and Xavier S and Alain Neffe have an excellent tapestry of synthesizers, pianet and
rhythm machines creating a psychedelic, trance like rhythm or improvisation or both and it is
the combination between these three players that create such an unique sound; one that stood
out back then, but even today lost nothing of it’s power; excellent mastering here also, let that
be noted as well. This is another wonderful souvenir of the 80s, and hopefully there is more to
come. (FdW)
––– Address:


This new release by Parodi comes as a limited USB ‘Circuit Board CD’ release of 100 copies, released
by Migro, a label specialized in releasing works by composers and improvisers who are into exploring
new concepts. The USB-stick encloses the sound work in three different audio formats: stereo,
binaural and quadraphonic with various accompanying texts, visuals and pcb files added. Well, what
is form and what is content concerning this work? What is this release about? Parodi, a classical
trained pianist, develops and shapes his ideas and talents in many different directions. One of them
is his love for self-built electronics. For example, for Extreme he recorded ‘The Mother of all
Feedback’,  that had him playing feedback modulators, etc. His release ‘Right Error’ belongs also in
this category. Parodi took inspiration from Thelonious Monk, the great jazz pianist, famous for his
so-called ‘wrong notes’. There is a story of Monk being dissatisfied after a concert because he
played the wrong errors. Not the errors he intended and hoped to play. So one can also speak of
right errors. A clear example of how musicians play with conventions and expectations, in order to
create new music. In this project Parodi constructs a sonic work starting from a ‘right error’. “The
right error was produced by a Schoeps CMC6 MK4 microphone during a recording session. Listening
to the recording, at the very beginning a noise appeared, though no sound was yet played”, Parodi
states. A noise appeared out of nothing. This original error was stretched out in time following a
binary transcription of the text of Monk’s ‘Round Midnight’, his most famous composition. With
text,  Parodi means the lyrics – I suppose – that were written later and not by Monk himself. This
shows Parodi works on a conceptual level, following a minimalistic approach. Not sure, what
element Parodi abstracted from the text. Probably length as, as the sound sequences differ in
length, as does the silence in between.  The result sounds as some exceptional sequence of sounds
from outer space, suggesting there is some logic or intelligence behind it. Not just random noise,
but somehow organized. Parodi organized this sound work into five parts, called ‘Right Error Part
1’, up to ‘Right Error 5’ and composed it for an eight loudspeakers sound system. In each part
sound and silences are grouped differently. There are changes in dynamic, modulation and length.
There is no linear, narrative progression. The work abstracts from almost all ingredients that
normally expect from music and even sound works. If  ‘organized sound’ is your preferred definition
of music, this creation by Parodi will sound ‘as’ music into your ears. But whatever your definition
and understanding – emotional, cognitive, etc. – of music and sound may be, a meeting with an
avant garde work like this for sure is in interesting one. Provoking questions about our listening
habits. (DM)
––– Address:


Named after a LP by Amon Düül, this German exists for some twenty-five years now, and their
first CD was “basically a giant middle finger to a great part of the gothic/industrial scene which
in the early nineties had turned into the same idolizing, superficial music scene that alternative,
experimental artists once rebelled against” – and to be honest I am sure I heard that CD when I
worked in a record store, but the middle finger approach was lost on me. I don’t think I heard
much beyond that and in the back of my mind I had stored Phallus Dei away as a ‘gothic’ band.
Now that I get this all new release by Oliver St. Lingam, MK E and Richard van Kruysdijk (who is
also a member of Strange Attractor, Daisy Bell and solo as Cut Worms) with guest players as
Merzbow, Niels van Hoorn (formerly of The Legendary Pink Dots, also of Strange Attractor), free
jazz legend Peter Brötzmann and Jacqueline Hemelink, I must say I am very pleasantly surprised
by it. Obviously the mood is dark and the music is ‘heavy’, if I would want to avoid the use of the
word ‘noise’, but there is throughout lots of different things to be heard. The five pieces on this
release are long from ten to twenty minutes and hardly constitute as ‘songs’. There is a wall of
guitar sound in ‘Krieger’, with a bang on the drum kit every now and then some far away voices.
‘Starman’ (maybe a reference to the starman who died last year?) has synthesizers and a quick
bouncing sequenced rhythm and at one point Brötzmann leaps in with his wailing saxophone and
it becomes a refined piece of psychedelic music. There are no vocals most of the time, and the
musical interests diverse; Hamelink’s cello dominates the second half of ‘Zauberwald’, almost like
a minimal folk dance with a synth bouncing along, until the drums start some heavy stomping and
the guitars on endless sustain. ‘Stigmata’, the final piece, starts out very quiet, almost inaudible
and stays there for quite some time, but slowly deep drones slip in and the mood becomes
threatening and ends on a slow guitar and drum beat, forceful and majestic played. As said I was
very pleasantly surprised by all of this, and I played the album, at seventy-one minutes also quite
a tour de force, a couple of times and I believe to hear that these three men played with a sense
of a humour. ‘Oh let’s do this for fun’, but at the same time also not forgetting that music
making is a serious affair. If gothic is not your cup of tea then try this one for a change! (FdW)
––– Address:

NEUTRAL (7″ by I Dischi Del Barone)

The fifteenth 7″ by Swedish I Dischi Del Barone is by Neutral, also known as Dan Johansson and
Sofie Herner, who have two albums for Omlott and a lathe cut 7″ for Ljud & Bild Produktion, and
a cassette for Happiest Place. I had not heard of them before, so I can’t say where to place this in
their body of work so far. ‘A-B-C’ on the first side opens with violin scraping and a voice through
some walkie-talkie/kid stuff microphone and later on the drums ‘kick’ in; it is quite a lo-fi
production, and the voice seems to be a loop of some kind. Once it is stuck in repetition it stays
there until there is a quick fade out at the end. That made it sound like it was cut out of a bigger
thing, which is a pity. It would be nice to have a more fully organized song on a 7″, I thought. On
the other side there are two songs ‘2-0-1-6’, which is the same violin held a little too close to the
amplifier and creating a head splitting ache, but it works very well and there is a cover Le Forte
Four’s ‘Japanese Superheroes’ (which I hadn’t heard before) which comes without any break with
the previous song and there is a suddenly a trombone present, actual singing and tormented
organ sounds, all in the same spirit as the good ol’ Los Angeles Free Music Society once thought
us, and which is perhaps sadly not copied a lot these days. Why not? Good question. That whole
lo-fi, free form improvisation ‘pop’ works pretty darn well here. It is hard to stay neutral on this; I
love it. (FdW)
––– Address:


Music by these two musicians has been released Home Normal, IIKKI, Parlour Tapes+, Unknown
Tone Records, and more, and Hüwels also has his own label, Slaapwel Records. He’s a guitarist and
loves his loop devices and field recordings. He spent a year working with Danny Clay, who plays
turntables, sine waves and celesta. I think we should assume this working together as sending
each other sound files and adding and subtracting sounds from them, before arriving at the six
pieces that we now find on this release. In each of the titles I think we have the date when a piece
was finished; or started. Well, finished I’d say as one is called ‘3.12.2017’, which is a bit late to
start one that is to be released and reviewed on 5.16.2017. Three pieces are over ten minutes
and three are shorter, from three to seven minutes. The music is very much along the lines we
would expect Eilean Records to release; spacious, ambient, drifting, non-specific. There are some
lovely drones spun here, very quiet and very textured and none of the turntable seems immediately
recognizable. No steady repetitions of skipping vinyl. So, I have no idea what this particular
turntable is doing, but maybe it is at the start of some of these drones, which sometimes sounds
like field recordings, such as in ‘2.28.2016’. I have no idea, likewise, how this was made, but I
would think that Clay lays down the groundwork and Hüwels performs his guitar sounds on top
of that and all of that in a more or less live situation. There is nothing here that you haven’t heard
before, I would think, but it works very well. I fell asleep, woke up, play it again and a read a book.
Just as ambient should do, I guess. (FdW)
––– Address:


The End is a trio of Fabien Duscombs (drums), Mathieu Werchowski (violin) and Hebby Boubaker
(electric bass, monotron). With this power trio we are in the south of France. Boubaker has a
history as a guitarist in rock bands, before he changed to saxophone and improvisation. Werchoski
studied classical violin at the Conservatory in Grenoble. But became attracted to improvised music.
So he ended up as a performer of composed as well as improvised music. Also he works as sound
designer. Duscombs is a self-taught drummer, a central force in the improve scene of Toulouse.
    Played in local groups like La Friture Moderne, Le Tigre des Platanes, and became more and
more engaged in improvised music. Their first release as a trio, ’Last Blues’ appeared on the Lyon-
based Gaffer-label in 2014. Don’t know if the music had bluesy influences, as the title suggests.
On this new album there are. Their free rock has bluesy and psychedelic touches. The improvisations
are very intense and of a hypnotizing quality. This implies the three improvisations on this CDR are
of considerable length: ‘Hèliocentrisme‘(8:40), ‘White Is The Color Of The Sun’ (27:45) and ‘Solar
Blues’ (12:54). The playing is furious and tight. There is fine interplay between the three, who are
equally equipped and participating in their engaging battles. The violin of Werchowski with its
unusual sound however, is the most remarkable element. A great work of really hot improvisations!
––– Address:

CLUB ALPINO – WOOULDY (CDR by Gusua Records)

The new label Gusua Records tells us that there is a manifest behind their label, and it reads: “not
all sounds are born naturally, however all are nature dependent / sound carrier is always an
instrument / even if there is no electricity, we will continue to create” I am not sure they are from
but the music of Club Alpino, the same person who runs the label, is inspired by the folklore and
myths of Europe and field recordings here were recorded during “hitch-hiking trips through the
Iceland, former Yugoslavia, Italy,  Lithuania, Austria, Bieszczady & Karkonosze mountains”, and
there are some “handmade tape loops”. I am sure there are also instruments used. The opening
piece is surely all about field recordings, some electronics/synthesizers and a text by Edgar Allan
Poe and sounds a bit gothic, but in the other pieces Club Alpino also uses a fair bit of rhythm and
while everything is quite dark in this release, it is also more synthesizer based, even a bit of cosmic
arpeggio in ‘Huldur’ and field recordings seem to be not as much in use in the other five pieces. It
is a piece of music that I enjoyed very much. A bit of darkwave like, which is good for a change.
The whole ‘myths of Europe’ is perhaps a bit lost on me, but perhaps a piece like ‘Rau’, no rhythm
and lots of atmosphere suggesting synthesizers can be seen as a soundtrack of forests and mist
of time. In the final piece ‘Baltika’ there is a bit of traditional Eastern European wind instruments
and the slow pounding rhythm might be inspired by some folkloristic dance, but as said that whole
notion of folklore is a bit lost on me. The six tracks on this album is a very varied bunch of tracks,
maybe even a bit too varied and one is not really sure what it is Club Alpino wants; to be a bit
techno-like? Moody and dark, be it atmospheric and rhythmic? Or maybe the whole album is a
story in itself? See, what I mean? Nevertheless I though this was a most enjoyable release. (FdW)
––– Address:

STEFAN THUT & SETH COOKE – AUSSEN RAUM (cassette by Notice Recordings)
CHIK WHITE – RAFT RECORDINGS FROM ECONOMY (cassette by Notice Recordings)

For the first cassette I think we should regard Thut as the composer of the piece and Cooke as
the performer. The Thut composition is text based and enclosed in a very small print and perhaps
not easy to believe this is the score, but it says ‘(several times) between sound and noise’, so
that’s pretty open. Cooke is the performer here and for his execution he went to the “oft-ridiculed
water feature built atop and supposedly symbolising the redirected and culverted River Frome
beneath Bristol’s Harbourside. This botched and banal public art is the centrepiece of a perpetually
contested inner-city site in flux over seven centuries”, and over the course two pieces, each twenty
minutes and six seconds, we hear water sounds as recorded “repeatedly treading a single straight
path through the fountains and the cascade” and four of them are on this cascade; each about
ten minute in various gradations of loud; on the second side much louder than on the first side.
There seems to be no treatment when it comes to these water sounds, save for placing the
microphone in such way that it closer to the water and make it all quite intense. It seems all to
be quite conceptual but as a piece of field recordings it also works quite well.
    Chik White is actually called Darcy Spidle and it was used in bands such a crust-punk The Hold,
doom metal Vennt and art-damaged noise rock trio Attack Mode. But now it also the name for the
solo outing, when he moved to the rural coast of Nova Scotia, performing a ‘regular ritual of
improvising on the instruments in natural settings’ and to that end he uses handmade jaw harps,
as well building other instruments out of oceanic refuse. The pieces on this cassette have been
recorded during a residency as Economy in Nova Scotia. As much as the instruments, the site of
recording plays an equally important role here. Sitting next to ocean waves and small creeks or
inside a wooden shed, with walls squeaking, and then playing his instruments, jaw harp mostly,
but also pieces with strings, percussive bits and what have you, all in a very minimal and repetitive
way, which works fine. It is almost like listening to an ancient field recording from Africa, a historical,
anthropological find. But some of the more extreme frequencies of placing the microphone in an
odd angle makes that this is more ‘now’ than ‘then’. For instance in ‘Metal Part Weeping Cliff’
where the microphone is very close at the end of a rain pipe, and on the other side there is a
performance of jaw harp and voice. A most strange recording for sure, but it sounds all very
fascinating. It is almost like becoming part of this ritual, and being not a visitor but a participant.
And this said by someone who is not easily into the whole notion of anything ‘ritual’. This is a
great release. (FdW)
––– Address:

THE ELKS – BAT ENGLISH (cassette, private)

In 2014 The Elks first came together; a quartet of Liz Albee on trumpet and preparations, Kai
Fagaschinski on clarinet, Billy Roisz on electronics and e-bass and Marta Zapparoli on tapes, reel
to reel tape machine and devices. It’s the latter that is for me the unknown one. In 2016 they
started to play live and did so in Nickelsdorf, Austria and Cave 12 in Geneva, Switzerland. Of both
of these concerts we find cuts here, some twenty-five minutes per side. You would perhaps
expect, based on the history of these players, something that is very quiet and subdued, leaning
towards some ultra quietness, but they set out – bravo – to do something different. And doing
something different, something out of the ordinary is what we like of course. The music is louder,
grittier, more daring but without making a giant leap into the world of noise. That doesn’t happen,
but they are all on an adventure trail here, going out of their comfort zone and doing something
different (well, obviously I can’t speak for Zapparoli). It bursts, hisses, drones, and there is a
constant presence of sounds, lurking beneath the surface when the volume drops but there is
also a bit of violence (all relative of course, it’s not japnoise), such as in the first section of
‘Geneva’, and a fair portion of the second part of the second Geneva section when they reach
for something powerful. But as said, moments of introspection and quietness are never far away
and throughout these seasoned players pay close attention to what the others are doing,
creating an excellent dialogue in sound. This is some wonderful music. (FdW)
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LID – SUBMARINE DEVOTION (cassette by Lavnedersweep Records)

Out of Swansea is Lavendersweep, a label specialized in “indie, shoegaze, punk, new wave and
ambient reissues and new releases”, so I hoped I’d be introduced to some ambient here, because
the other categorizations are not really the sort of thing Vital Weekly writes about. Sadly the
music of Lid is one of those other genres and I am not sure which. This band was out Leicester
and released on Sorted Records. This was in the early 90s. They had a few records, which were
described as ’90s indie pop drawing heavily from the mid 60s’. This cassette has all of their
recordings as Lid, fifteen in total and while I like a good bit of pop, mostly electronic pop I admit,
this sort of lo-fi pop rambling sound indeed a bit sixties, a bit like Velvet Underground, a bit late
80s jangly britpop and the recording quality is best labelled as ‘basement’. It is something I played
with interest (but it’s very hard for me to hear something that I am not interested in, as I’d like
think things over and have such notions as ‘what does this remind me of’, ‘why did I never hear
stuff in them early days’ etc.), decided it’s quite all right, that I have no idea what to write about
this, really being something that could have come from another planet. (FdW)
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PHIL MAGUIRE – SOLO COMPUTER MUSIC (cassette by Verzimprint)

Funny title I thought. Isn’t computer music always solo? Unless you use two? I am not sure if I
heard of Maguire before, so there isn’t a lot of background information to share. Maguire uses a
computer, a mixing board and found sounds and both sides of the cassette are ‘edited live
recordings’. The A-side was premiered on BBC Radio 3 in 2016, and I wonder what listeners made
of that piece. Here Maguire uses max/msp and found sound, presumably the spoken word bits
that follow after each section, even when these spoken words are very low in the music. The music
itself is also quite a bit low and consists of sine wave like sounds, mostly at the lower end of the
sound spectrum but sometimes also at the very opposite end. How does such music sound on
radio? I have no idea, but maybe I also the ancient notion of ‘radio’ being a small transistor thing
that I had as a teenager, and surely none of this would have sounded properly on it. There are
about five extended section, followed by silence and some cuts and clicks and the found sound
bit are these ancient voices. This piece is called ‘There Will Be No Miracles Here’, which is a curious
title of course, and maybe it reflects a bit the nature of the microsound inspired music? That we
may have heard such a thing before?
    The other side is ‘Probst 1’ and ‘written in response to paintings by Franz Kline and Clyfford
Still’ and it is quite a different beast. Here too the rumble is very low in the dynamic spectrum but
it comes without any breaks and certainly isn’t as quiet as the other side. The rumble is
omnipresent and the whole thing sounds like bits stuck to each other or distorted sine waves
being chopped and very occasionally with a high-end peep. This has more the feeling of an
improvised piece of music than the other side, and sounds less structured.  Not the easiest
music around I would say, especially ‘Probst 1’. (FdW)
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