Number 1084

PAUSAL – AVIFAUNAL (CD by Dronarivm)
  The Epicurean)
ORA – TIME OUT OF MIND (CD by Shining Day)
  Lenka Lente)
BRUNK – SHELTER (CDR, private)
AN ANT AND AN ATOM – EXTERIOR (cassette, CDR, private)

PAUSAL – AVIFAUNAL (CD by Dronarivm)

The previous release I reviewed by Pausal was some time ago, when they had a LP on Infraction
Records and now the duo of Alex Smalley and Simon Bainton return with a new release. Other
works by them were released by Barge Recordings, Students of Decay and Own Records, none of
which I heard. Smalley calls himself Olan Mill when he works solo and has had releases on Hibernate
Recordings (see also Vital Weekly 998, 963 and 935). Their previous album as Pausal was
something I thought not bad at all, but perhaps very clean cut in approach. Ambient music without
a rough edge, very textbook I’d say. It had a darker edge though, which is something that kept it
out of the new age camp. The CD consists of three parts of ‘Murmuration’ and three more pieces.
All of these pieces were recorded as part of preparing for live shows and to that end they hired a
local hall to set up shop, test new gear, such as ‘looped turntable’, voice microphones and synths
but also to work with a louder volume. ‘Murmuration’ is what became their live set and the other
three pieces were recorded along the preparations. In the past they opened up for Grouper,
Mountains, Stars of the Lid, Chihei Hatakeyama and Greg Haines and out of these I can best see a
link to Stars Of The Lid, especially in the first part of ‘Murmuration’ with it’s massive orchestral
sound of strings sustaining in the lower region on end. Maybe Pausal use synthesizers here and
not guitars, but effectively the sound is not a lot different. There is a gracious flow to this music,
but also with a strong dark undercurrent. Maybe the results of playing live more? This music is
definitely not for those who think ambient should be all quiet and peaceful, as this also projects
a bit of violence, destruction, being a bit mean and that’s what makes this for me most enjoyable.
Over the past couple of days I have been playing this quite a bit and fell asleep a couple of times;
maybe be the time of the day, the slowness of a free day in the middle of the week, the warmth
outside, but it is also the warm wash of the music that rolls about here that alters one state of
mind; it made me sleepy perhaps, but I can imagine different states also being possible. This is
an excellent release! (FdW)
––– Address:


Listening to music can be done under many circumstances and each situation will have a different
effect on the listener. If you’re angry, aggressive music works maybe well, but if you want to relax,
it might annoy the hell out of you. On this Sunday in May The Netherlands have a tremendous hot
day, unusually hot, and I am waiting for the final stage in the Giro d’Italia to come on. Waiting (and
suffering, as hot weather and me don’t agree) I pick up the one CD waiting to be reviewed in these
pages and it’s Bleach For The Stars, the musical project of Benjamin Power. I never heard of him
and I read that he “uses his art to deal with his past and his life’s experiences. Without going into
his personal details it is clear to the listener that Ben has had his fair share of tragedy and bleak
moments in life”, and there is no indication as to which instruments Power is using here. Cromlech
Records calls this ‘dark ambient, drone and industrial’, and that is very much true. I would think
Power uses a guitar and a whole bunch of sound effects, but something tells me there is also some
analogue recording device that plays on half speed (such as a reel to reel machine), as much of the
darkness of this music seems to be coming from slowing down sounds – or at least that’s what is
happening in my imagination. Like I said today, now yesterday, is not the right time to take this is
all in; heat, cycling excitement (the favourite won) and so on the real today, it’s still hot, no cycling
but also getting darker (thunder is expected), and the somehow oppressive dark tonal poems of
Bleach For The Stars work quite well with the warm weather and darker clouds. An element of
improvisation never seems far away in this music, and reminded me of Throbbing Gristle’s guitar
wailing set against a wall of pitch black sounds, whatever the nature of the sounds may be. There
is very little room for ‘ambient’ here, at least not in the classical sense of the word. Moments of
quietness and introspection are very sparse and everything feels quite massive here. In terms of
noise and drone Bleach For The Stars doesn’t do much different than what we already know from
others, but Power has a very consistent execution of just less than fifty minutes of his own
nightmarish soundtracks. (FdW)
––– Address:


The truth about man stands as one of the key reference points for this new CD by Anemone Tube.
This project nom-de-plume adopted by Stefan Hanser has from pretty early on in its release career
been synonymous with the very highest quality of conceptually hyper charged drone ambient. ‘In
the Vortex of Dionysian Reality’ (ITVODR) only adds more to this setting high of the bar to new
standards of intensity and passionate processing of sound in supremely and astutely philosophical
    ITVODR was originally released as a double A sided cassette. Wagnerian music drama is evident
in the sequencing, in the elemental structure of the compositions and the symphonic reach of
Anemone Tube’s vision. Tragedy and strife seem to abound in thick layers of smooth synths cut
through with searing and seething feedback guitars and field recordings of raging megapolis noise.
A pursuit of rupture through oneness through rupture and vice versa runs through the musical
play; a sort of mini-opera for our present tense with immaculate sound (and visual, in the stunning
artwork) design.
    A marriage too, not of heaven and hell, not of Apollo and Dionysus in so far as they are treated
as separate entities or even two sides of one coin. No, Anemone Tube’s maelstrom is like an aural
double helix with constant exchanges of innate, primordial matter and information between the
constitutive factors. The AA sided nature of the tape infers a tape loop notion – a drama with no
end, a tragedy with resolve doubling back upon, folding back in itself; a Möbius strip of eternal
movement; not a vanitas perpetuum mobile but a strong pointer in the direction of the possibility
of cohesive redemption and abysmal nature in a collusion of extremities; of preconceived notions
of polarities atomized.
    The granular nature and added tape compression adds to the aural amalgamation; a reduction
audiophiles wrongfully say, because precisely in under this natural saturation the constructivist
parts and parcels of the sonic, philosophical and conceptual are pressed together, rub sides,
exchange. Excess might be found in the depth of aural projection, density and intensity, passion
injected into lifeless machinery of the electronic art – all in all  ITVODR is constrained and composed
with a masterful slight of hand, not in the least part because of the tight corset the five parts are
bound into time-wise.
    This CD (and an LP is forthcoming in early June on Anemone Tube’s own The Epicurean label)
doesn’t only expand the five works found on the cassette, with five new tracks, to double the total
length. The cd dramatically alters the aural perspective of the material drama unfolding. The
pressure isn’t so much relieved as pushed towards a different field of notion; one of much higher
frequency; a feedback current triple charged with squeals and screeches. Anemone Tube expertly
exposes the careering melodies in beckoning calls and fleeting answers of seemingly wild and erratic,
but upon closer inspection and deeper listening: tightly controlled feedback hurricanes – emotional
vortex storms like a written out composed reworking of Metal Machine Music for urban Aufstieg
und Fall.
    The wait is on for the LP to hear how the vinyl mastering, most likely: again, sheds new light
on familiar works; opening yet new and interesting vistas upon the compositions, not unlike
different performances of classical pieces under various directors. Over the course of three formats
Anemone Tube herewith deals with aural perception and perspectives in a most sublime way. Such
very informed and deliberate treatment of the same material to per se induce this revisiting of the
‘symphony’ I’ve not been witness too recently in the realm of experimental music. And as the tape
ran uninterrupted for 21 minutes and the cd moves through the parts of the symphony without a
break, it will be quite interesting to notice how the flip of the LP will have impact on the perception
of and perspective on the work.
    Again, on ITVODR tragedy reigns supreme in the Dionysian dreamland Anemone Tube projects.
Reality and dream merge; flow as one – there’s nothing left to take hold of to take or tear apart.
The archaic and sacral IS the profane and utterly contemporary. Destruction equals building up.
Passion = melancholy. Myth and life intermingle. The quotidian and the ideal; heights of wisdom
and shallow lusts are revealed to cluster. And all of this in a slow but sure drift away from the post-
industrial dense power-noise ambient sound art to be found on the tape. A sound now verging on
dronegaze; a hazy fog lit by pulsating strobes – flashes of Amusement Parks on Fire or My Bloody
Valentine as much as Stephen O’Malley’s solo works. No matter how densely layered, no matter
how raging in frenzy; Anemone Tube informs his work with clarity and depth, vision and passion
and above all: a keen productional ear.
    ITVODR in its 40+ minute exercise of polyphonic control and atonal chaos jam packed into
one single blast of shuddering and literally moving (like crashing, undulating waves) aural poetry
opens Anemone Tube’s work – maybe for the first time – up a bit. There seem to be cracks along
the monolithic concrete bunker walls. Not per se to let light shine in, as Anemone Tube wasn’t
‘dark’ to start with, per se that is. But in terms of poetic freedom; beautiful phrases, juxtapositions
of elements, lines broken put together and of course, all the way on the other side from the author:
the liberty of interpretation not forced upon us, but left to our own devices, however pummeled
these may be by the sheer intensity of the artwork, liner notes with Nietzsche quotes, enigmatic
titles and surely the musical material itself.
    Anemone Tube’s work is at the heart of it all sublimely human; warts and all. Darkness through
light through darkness – a journey through that can be fit on the tip of a needle; a needle shared –
of shared elementary building blocks, shared origin, inherent nature and human trials and
tribulations. A needle-tip too of boiling lava and coiling gases. A material place for t = 0: the flash
point burning brightly still inside each and everyone; the primordial ignition of the flame in a spiritual
alpha & omega. (SSK)
––– Address:

ORA – TIME OUT OF MIND (CD by Shining Day)

A while ago, Ora released a digital version of ‘Final’, a compilation of pieces that were originally
released on very limited CDR releases on Gnome Records, and perhaps it should be seen as the
final release by the group, consisting of Darren Tate and Andrew Chalk at the heart of it. They
first recorded at Colin Potter’s IC Studios and he became a member, as well as Jonathan Coleclough,
Daisuke Suzuki, MNortham, and Lol Coxhill. This ‘new’ CD could have been called ‘Beginning’ as it
contains the bands earliest pieces, dating from 1986 to 1994, and mostly never released before.
At this point the band was Chalk, Tate, Potter (mostly engineering) and Suzuki (on two pieces).
The music here was not intended as an album, but contains bits and piece from the studio floor,
field recordings and sketches, mostly on a portable recorder. And they are literally bits and pieces,
as the album spans fifteen pieces, from a mere minute to six minutes, but mostly somewhere
between two and three minutes. These recordings reflect the period when Ora was finding their
feet, how their approach to music would be. This sees them play their instruments rather loosely
improvised; this being synthesizers, flutes, percussion but, their second game, in outdoor
situations, adding whatever is on site to the music. This can be a rusty fence, scraping a concrete
floor of a barn, or simply let a whole bunch of sea waves do much of the work, such as in
‘Olderness’. It is all quite playful I think; one hears the excitement of trying out sounds in odd
locations. I mean ‘Picture Box’; what are they doing and where on earth is that location? A vague
rumble from outside, some sorts percussive rumble and stumble in this small space (which
presumably is in fact a picture box). And sometimes they are in the studio as in ‘From First To
Last’, experimenting a few sounds on a synthesizer or on a harmonium, the latter in ‘Windmill’
(and yes, if I apply the same logic here, then this would have been recorded in a windmill). This
has some of the more drone excursions you’d probably expect them to do, but this early proof
is that they had so much more on their plate. This is an excellent archaeological find. (FdW)
––– Address:


That is a word I have to look up, transmogrification, I thought and learned “to change in
appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.” Kyle Motl is a contra bass
player, composer and improviser, who works in the field of free jazz, contemporary concert
music, folk music and noise, and is a member of the Peter Kuhn Trio, and he with Abbey Rader
he has a quartet. Duets he plays with Drea Ceccato, T.J. Borden and Adam Tinkle. Solo he is
these days mostly active with improvised music on the acoustic bass, and that’s what
‘Transmogrification’ is all about. There are no overdubs or computer processing on this album,
and it is all to do with ‘pushing sound to its breaking point and revealing the extremities of
technique, timbre and dynamic envelope’, and he’s using free bop, contemporary concert music
and noise as starting point for these transformations. Motl produced fifteen pieces over the
course of two ‘hazy’ afternoons in 2016 and at fifty-two minutes this is perhaps a bit long (for
me at least), but taken in small portions at a time, six or so pieces, this is all quite fascinating
stuff. In many of these the bass is as such recognizable and that is what makes this perhaps
less radical than Motl thinks of this himself. He plucks, scratches, and bows the strings and does
that quiet, contemplative, hectic, filmic and much of all of these at the same time and all of this
is in a very free manner, but never uses his bass to make it sound like something else; a big
resonating box that can be used to play object upon. Somewhere on the line of free jazz and
improvisation, more the latter really, I think, this is all some very fascinating music. (FdW)
––– Address:


In a small country like The Netherlands there is a small, lively scene of experimental musicians,
who bump into each other quite a lot and it is almost inevitable that there will be collaborations.
Sietse van Erve, also known as Orphax bumped into Rutger Zuydervelt, alias Machinefabriek,
bumped into each other a lot, as players of concerts or visitors to other concerts. Orphax was
also interested in ‘Stofstuk’, an early piece by Machinefabriek (see Vital Weekly 573) that got
quite quickly a remix CD to its name (see Vital Weekly 586). Van Erve was not on part of that
remix project but over the years worked on a remix of his own and when Rutger found out, he
decided to thank by doing a remix of an Orphax piece, ‘Geluiden van de Eerste dag’ from ‘Tragedie
Van Een Liedjesschrijver’ (see Vital Weekly 899), in a twenty minute piece. To top it off they
worked on a joint piece of music, bouncing sound files back and forth and now all three pieces.
These three pieces are now to be found on ‘Weerkaatsing’, which means reflection, just as all
three pieces have titles which Dutch synonyms for ‘reflection’. Many works by both artists have
been reviewed in Vital Weekly, and if you read what was written over the years, you know the
words ‘drone’ and ‘ambient’ have been used quite a bit. This collaborative is not different and
both play what their fans, me included, expect them to do. Where Machinefabriek has the
sustaining organ sound Orphax is known, along with the stretching of bell sounds, Orphax uses
the violin loops of the original and even allows for some rough cuts. Machinefabriek seems to be
at his most minimal in this piece, in awe of Orphax, I’d say, and Orphax returns by showing a
more musical side. In their duet piece they go for the more conventional drone approach and it
consists of many layers of Orphax’ old organs picked up in a space with a microphone adding an
excellent space feel to them, and it gets a lovely treatment. This CD has a great cover too,
courtesy by Zuydervelt. An excellent release. (FdW)
––– Address:

  Lenka Lente)

Years and years ago I passed on a chance to buy the complete writings of Franz Kafka in one big
book for a very low price and today I regret that, since I could have read the story ‘A Report To
An Academy’ in Dutch. As before with Lenka Lente the booklet is all-French, but this time I got a
PDF with an English translation; perhaps if you want that as well, drop Lenka Lente an e-mail. In
this story an ape recounts how became human after a couple of years of being captured and that
he became a performer (hence his telling to the Academy) and that he no longer feels and
experience as an ape, but that he’s happy with it. It made me immediately grab for my copy of
‘The Metamorphosis’ by Kafka, which I do have these days (!), and read that along with the music
of Nurse With Wound, which is the sound portion of this package.
    Nurse With Wound deliver their fifth work to Lenka Lente and this time around it is something
from a recent concert in France, with the usual line up of Steve Stapleton, Andrew Liles, Colin
Potter and Matt Waldron on their usual toys and manipulation, along with Quentin Rollet on
saxophone and It Could Be Worse on vocals. These vocals make it not easy to read Kafka’s words
and listen to the music, as the voice is quite dominant in the mix here, but also feeding through
delay machines, so the content of the words is not easily revealed. Improvising on squeaky toys,
guitars, obscure boxes and with Colin Potter firmly at the controls, delivering a free range of echo,
delay and god knows whatever else when it comes to that department, the nurses are doing
another fine set of transformative music, which fitted both texts, the one that came with this and
‘The Metamorphosis’ of Kafka pretty well. (FdW)
––– Address:


So, with the last release by Deneuve (or DeNeuve), I wrote about the back history of this
Amsterdam duo quite a bit. Andre Bach and Mark Tegefoss go way back, to the late 70s, when
they were part of Tox Modell, one of the more radical entrepreneurs of Ultra (actually also as part
of Scratch), then a short lived new wave/punk/ultra band Tecnoville and for a long time they
were Det Wiehl, slowly morphing from ‘song’ structures to abstract compositions for two guitars
and electronics, mainly played along dance and theatre performances. With the aging process
perhaps something that is merely logical. Pop (punk, disco, wave, etc.) is for kids and played by
kids. As DeNeuve, Tegefoss and Bach return to playing songs, and as I wrote for ‘Ugly’ (Vital
Weekly 1012) and they do so very well. Incorporating their entire history into compact songs
for three, four minutes. Rhythm plays an important role, and it comes out of a drum machine,
which is perhaps the biggest surprise here. Somehow it seems that these ten pieces are inspired
by the world of techno music, with a strong 4/4 beat, but on top of that they use their guitars
and at times it sounds like Tox Modell (who sadly never released a proper retrospective CD) with
the backing of a DJ. There are snippets of voices and even guest vocals, such as former Tox Modell
singer Xavier Martin on one song and Mecano’s Dirk Polak on another. ‘Cheap Artists’ is the only
song with real drums (played by Bob Eisenberger), which is a bit of a pity, because the digital
drums sound so much better here, but it’s at the end of the second side. This is some very
exciting (pop? rock?) music. It has, like on ‘Ugly’ the mechanics of the rhythm machine, the
rock-ness of the guitars, heavy and distorted, the voices sampled from anywhere and everywhere
and it works best when played at a very loud volume. This being DeNeuve’s fourth release (see also
Vital Weekly 831 and 923), but it was with ‘Ugly’ that this band fully formed their sound, and
‘Light Heeled Fleet Footed Cheap Artists’ is a very further expansion of that sound, and perhaps
a little less when it comes to surprises, but it sounds really good, again. An advice I rarely give is
‘play loud’, but if something needs to be played loud, then I’d say it is this record. Full blast is
best. So, four great records, and with the last one I announced they would also play live, but I
now read that DeNeuve is a ‘song structured studio project’; that’s a pity, as I would love to see
them play live and how it all would work out in a concert. (FdW)
––– Address:


Already as early as in Vital Weekly 292 I reviewed a CD by Alex Keller, who lived back in Seattle,
but working with field recordings. Over the years I reviewed more of his work, and his latest solo
work was reviewed in Vital Weekly 1014. Sean O’Neill had a solo release in Vital Weekly 553, and
worked with Sarah Hennies and Clay Odom doing ‘electronics and design’ on ‘Clots’, reviewed in
Vital Weekly 1000. In the short CV that Elevator Bath gives for both musicians lists both of them
as multi-media artists and sound designers and both are from Texas. Since 2015 they play
together and they use field recordings, vintage telephone test equipment and magnetic oscillators
‘among other tools’ (which is of course a thing that makes me curious; what are those?) and they
play concerts and installations with these. ‘Kruos’ is an ancient Greek word meaning ‘frozen’ or
‘frost’, crystal being created by the cold, and this duo believes that “field recordings exist in a
similar kind of crystallized stasis – frozen in time”. The two pieces this results in show us how
that works, while not being entirely a complete standstill, certainly on ‘Kruos 1’, with its falling
of metal objects inside an old factory place with little bits of old machinery still on their last
breath. Mostly drone from heavily treated field recordings (‘among other things’ perhaps ‘laptops’?)
all rolled up to form a heavy mass of dark sound, with those metal plates soloing on top. Don’t
expect much action, but it works very well. The other side sees them going outside, put up a
microphone in the middle of a field and see if there is not much action, but as Cage thought us,
‘there is no such thing as silence’, and some remarkable low sound action takes; there might be
thunder, rain, insects, birds but just as easily they fool us, and we hear the sound of telephone
testing equipment and magnetic oscillators producing some static crackles, although surely
towards the end of the piece there is a rowing boat and birds and we move away from the drone
action that starts of ‘Kruos II”. These are quite beautiful pieces of music, that cleverly combine
field recordings and ancient technology merging together in a great way. Perhaps not as something
you haven’t heard before, but still a very fine release. (FdW)
––– Address:

BRUNK – SHELTER (CDR, private)

Bert Vanden Berghe, the guy behind Brunk, writes that he’s sending this but that he is not sure if
this is something for Vital Weekly. I am sure he’s been reading these pages for some time, so I was
mildly amazed/amused by his question. This surely is what Vital Weekly is about, Bert! Armed with
an electric guitar, field recordings and perhaps some electronics, Brunk creates ten minimalist pieces
of guitar music that he says have ‘American primitive, fingerpicking and noise influences’ and which
he calls ‘ambient, drone and soundscapes’ (how does that sound not like Vital Weekly, I wonder).
‘Shelter’ opens with ‘Safe Space’ and it sounds like a piano intro for a ambient house song being
stretched over two and half minute, but then that’s just the piece as it is. In his other pieces, the
guitar sound is more obvious, right from the next one ‘Stop Moving’, there is that fingerpicked
guitar, playing some careful, sparse notes. But there is more to enjoy in this release than just a
guitar playing thoughtful, atmospheric, indeed Americana inspired notes. Throughout Brunk adds
crackles, a bit of hiss, a drone, some static sounds, such in ‘Todo Se Detiene’, in which the guitar
very rarely present. Noise is something that is used almost next to nothing. ‘The Hyperthropic Scar
Song’ has some mild distorted sounds to it, but on top of that is the guitar with a rather majestic
tune, clean as a whistle. ‘Tectonics’ uses a synth sound (well, or a mobile phone app synth; quite
far away) and provides a somewhat different approach to Brunk’s palette of atmospheric sounds,
but such is the nature of this album. It veers between the total abstraction and the more pleasant
guitar pieces, from pure ambience to mild noise. Thirty-eight minutes long, but with a fine amount
of variation in approaches; why didn’t Brunk seek a label to get this material released, I wondered.
It deserves more exposure. (FdW)
––– Address:

AN ANT AND AN ATOM – EXTERIOR (cassette, CDR, private)

Officially this is a cassette release, but it is also limited available as a CDR, which the one I have
here. The CDR will primarily be sold on the extended summer tour An Ant And An Atom (slightly
confusing the press text names the band An Ant Ant An Atom, which perhaps is also funny) will
undertake with Foonyap. I reviewed an earlier release by then, in Vital Weekly 1042, which came
back then with an artzine. This new EP is called ‘of B-sides’, but I am not sure where we find those
B-sides. An Ant And An Atom is the musical project of Sean Warkentine, out of Canada, and his
music is influenced by the likes of Ben Frost, Valiska, Sarah Davachi, William Basinski and Daniel
Menche, which is quite clear if you hear the previous release, and the five new pieces here. I have
no idea how the textures are created here, as it might very well all electronic, all laptop or a
combination in between (which seems most likely, I guess), but in the end-result, the only thing
that really matters, what he offers is quite divers in all it’s moodiness. Only in ‘My Craft Broke At
Launch’ we detect a bass guitar at the opening moments. ‘Locked In Adrift’ is certainly one of
the quieter moments on this release, but throughout he’s more interested in a forceful tune, with
mild but firm doses of distortion and chorus pedals pushed towards the floor. It’s where ambient
meets shoegaze, such as in ‘I Dreamt Of Reaching Space, But Couldn’t Calculate The Escape
Velocity For Reality’, with its tinkling piano at the beginning, exploding like a black hole (how does
that sound?). Throughout everything is very drone based, and that bass guitar perhaps made it
kinda post rocky, but only in this piece, I think, and a bit of ‘The Crush Of Gravity’, yet otherwise
it seems mostly electronic. The summer tour will see Warkentine play Canada, which is perhaps a
pity for us (great for Canada of course), as I’d be curious how it would work out in a live situation;
boring laptop act, or exciting electronic crash?
––– Address: