Number 1092

week 31: issue 1093 on the Sunday after 1092
week 32-33: no Vital Weekly
week 34: we hope to return to our Tuesday schedule

EMPUSAE/KLANKDAL (split CD by Consouling Sounds/Wool-E Discs)
ONEIRICH – ‘S NACHTS (cassette by Wool-E Tapes) *
  AS BRIGHT…. (cassette by Wool-E Tapes) *
STUDIO 12 (5LP compilation by Vinyl On Demand)
LIXIR – SUNSHINE (12″ by miNIMMAl movement) *
OPREA TIMPU – SMOOTH CALLING (12″ by miNIMMAl movement) *
[.QUE] – WONDERLAND (CDR by Sound In Silence) *
LIAM J HENNESSY – HELD (CDR by Sound In Silence) *
RM FRANCIS – HYPERPLASTIC OTHER (cassette by Nada Records)
ANLA COURTIS – CONCEPT BONGO (cassette by Coherent States) *
THE NEW BLOCKADERS – ETUDES DE RIEN (cassette by Coherent States)
DEAD GUM – SMOKE/AN ALLY (cassette by Coherent States) *
BEHIND YOU – THE GOODMORNING SESSIONS (cassette by Hxoi Kato Apo To Spiti)

EMPUSAE/KLANKDAL (split CD by Consouling Sounds/Wool-E Discs)
ONEIRICH – ‘S NACHTS (cassette by Wool-E Tapes)
  AS BRIGHT…. (cassette by Wool-E Tapes)

The first CD is already a year old but was (perhaps) send along as an introduction to the second
CD, by Belgium’s Klankdal. I tried to think how that could be translated in English but it’s not a
real Dutch word. ‘Klank’ means sound and ‘dal’ means valley and it’s the musical project of Glenn
Dick, who also works as Find Hope In Darkness and Sebastien Crusener and their CD translates as
‘all day in shreds’. As I just learned from the split they did, Klankdal is all about playing heavily
treated guitar sounds and field recordings; the geese that I just heard seemed like flying right
outside the house. There is one, thirty-three minute piece here, ‘Mist’ (fog) followed by a one and
half minute spoken word epilogue. Fog is exactly the right word to describe the musical content
here, as the guitar sound very much like foghorns, calling out to all ships in the mist and those
field recordings, apart from the geese at the beginning, hardly seem to play a role (a bit of water,
a bit of birds towards the end). This is some very desolate music, I think, roaming about in
nocturnal colours. Guitar chords in the traditional sense are not played here, just a whole bunch
sustaining tones on strings played with an e-bow and a massive amount (I am guessing here)
of sound effects.
    Their piece on the split CD is a likewise drone affair, but then recorded live, which sounds also
quite minimal but is covered with a bit more nasty tones in selected places and perhaps also seems
to have more room for manipulated field recordings. Empusae is the musical project of Nicolas ‘Sal
Ocin’ Van Meirhaeghe, as it says on the cover and his three pieces are more traditional post-rock
ones. Playing guitar, feeding it to a loop pedal (maybe even two of them), adding drums out of a
box, which in ‘The Woods Have Eyes’ sound a bit hollow (like drums recorded in a large space from
some distance) it is mostly melodic and yet of course also quite dark, but I guess that comes with
territory of post rock. I must admit it is not really well-spend on me.
    Obviously this publication deals with a lot of cassette releases and we’re happy about that,
but very seldom they last as long as the one by Oneirich, the musical project by Bram Hagers. ‘At
 Night’ is the translation of the title (Belgian musicians seem to love their Dutch language more
than the Dutch do, it seems) and many of the pieces also come with Dutch titles. I have no idea
what Oneirich uses, equipment wise that is, but judging by the sounds he produces I’d say a
whole bunch of small devices, monotrons and the like, maybe some primitive oscillators or
electronic shruti devices and a bunch of sound effects; on the other hand I was thinking that
some of this sounds like a modular synthesizer. Throughout the pieces are more or less between
three and four minutes and in each one Oneirich plays around with a few sounds per piece and
then have them going once set in motion and perhaps (like so often I am guessing here) does an
on the spot mix of these sound sources before reshuffling equipment, finding another set of
sounds and the whole thing starts again. The music ranges from heavy drones to a bit of noise,
but it can also work out to be quieter and introspective. Rhythm is hardly a feature here, even
when there might a couple of loops at work. Taped voice is present in ‘Mercatus’, but that too
is a rare thing. However there is enough variation to keep on playing this for the entire ninety
    Only four minutes shorter (apparently) is the cassette by Apongeton, also known as Jochym
Vandenabeele. On side A he has eight pieces from an album he worked in 2014 and 2015, but
were not formally released ‘due to the loss of their project files’. For whatever reason this side is
one long track on Bandcamp, not something you note of course when you play the tape. The
other side has four parts of ‘Music For Spacports’, with a nod (and a smile) to Brian Eno. If some
of the music by Oneirich is a bit crude there is no such thing with Apongeton, who mostly plays
ambient music on a bunch of digital synthesizers and sound effects, all in what seems to me the
best tradition of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, to avoid the ‘C’ word as a musical genre for
once. The pieces on the first side are a bit more complex than on the four on the other side, but I
must say I enjoyed those four more than the ones on the other side. The complex pieces sound
perhaps a bit too retro for my taste whereas the ‘incidental music style’ (Apongeton’s words)
makes up for ambient music that is both easy to like and to ignore, as ordained by Eno of course.
A few sounds on a synth of two are set in motion and then starts to play around, biting it’s own
tail. Not always the most quiet of music (Part II for instance is a bit heavy for true ambient music),
but these forty-three minutes are true delight, whereas Side A is mostly ‘decent’ to my ears, not
too great but certainly not bad either. (FdW)
––– Address:


Cornelis Cardew was an English avant-garde composer and left-wing activist, and was founder of
the Scratch Orchestra, played with AMM. He died much too young by a car accident in 1981. First
he was into experimental music, influenced by the indeterminacy-paradigm of John Cage and
improvisation. Later he rejected this experimental music, and composed in function of his political
convictions, people’s ‘liberation’ music. The works on this double cd reflect his experimental phase.
John Tilbury (piano), who – by the way – also wrote an extensive biography on Cardew, interprets
the compositions by his old AMM-mate. Harpist Rhodri Davies and bassist Michael Francis Duch
accompany Tilbury. They make up a trio that is around since 2008, performing experimental
music from the 50s to present, especially works by Cardew and Christian Wolff. The first CD of
this double bill is a rerelease of an album the Norwegian label +3DB released in 2010, also titled
‘Works 1960-70’. It contains a selection of six compositions, including ‘Treatise’ probably the
most famous and most performed of his compositions. New is the second one that entails seven
‘Schooltime Compositions’. Works that were written in 1967, “designed to rouse feelings of
collective action and learning”, as the liner note explain. I started listening with this new recording,
and was struck by the meditative beauty of these works, not to say the delicate performance by
the trio. Call it chamber music, music closer to Zen then to political action, if you ask me. The
works on cd 1 were recorded live at Dokkhuset, Trondheim. The ‘Schooltime Compostions’ were
recorded in a studio in London. A fine introduction to the work of Cornelius Cardew. (DM)
––– Address:


Recently I reviewed ‘Rideau’, the excellent rerelease of one of the early albums by Une Drame Musical
Instantané. This influential trio of Beranrd Vitet, Francis Gorge and Jean-Jacques Birgé stopped just
before entering the 21st century. And since 2000 not much is heard about them. In 2007
‘Etablissement d’un ciel d’alternance’ appeared, an album by Birgé in collaboration with writer
Michel Houellebecq and also Vitet., who passed away in 2013. Last year Birgé and Gorgé released
album for Souffle Continu Records, called ‘Avant toute’. Also Birgé had a trio – Somnabules –
including Nicolas Clauss and Sacha Gattino, but their work has not been documented on CD as far
as I know. And that is about it. Understandingly Birgé announces this new album as his first new
releases since 20 years. The title of the album might be a reference to this fact: ‘Long Time no
Sea’. It is a release by the trio El Strom: Birgitte Lyregaard (vocals), Sacha Gattino (sampler,
percussion, zither, harmonicas, jaw-harps) and Jean-Jacques Birgé himself (Theremin, Tenori-on,
Mascarade Machine, keyboards, reeds, harmonicas, jaw harps). The use of so many instruments is
a first indication of continuity with the Un Drame, when also a wide diversity of instruments was
used. But let’s listen. Things might have changed over the years. The vocals are by the impressive
Danish vocal artist Birgitte Lyregaard. Her vocals dominate in the richly textured and carefully
crafted constructions. She performs her own lyrics. Others were written by Birgé, Madame
Blavatsky (!), a.o. As was the case with Un Drame Musical Instanané, this music is in a similar way
‘in between’ everything. In between audio play, song, collage, composed and improvised music,
occupying their own and well-defined space. No matter how many different ingredients are mixed
up in their compositions,, El Strøm – Danish for current or river – creates fascinating, song-oriented
music that is very well constructed. Music with a typical flow. Half of it is recorded live, the rest in
different studios. This is a very welcome comeback by Birgé. Hope we will hear more from this trio!
––– Address:

STUDIO 12 (5LP compilation by Vinyl On Demand)

A few weeks ago I reviewed a LP by 80s cassette musician Cybe (see Vital Weekly 1090) and I
remarked that being different back then paid off. I have said the same thing about The Legendary
Pink Dots; whenever I played a compilation in the early 80s with experimental and electronic music
one could always discern which was by the Dots. Something similar can be said of Dutch band
Nexda. Play ‘Colonial Vipers’, a cassette compilation by Trumpett Tapes, and you get my drift;
among many serious men bending over to play a synth and drum machine, the organic dub like
sound of Nexda stood a mile, maybe even two. They were a group from Haarlem (which you find
left of Amsterdam on the map, in spitting distance, but very much a different town), around
singer and saxophone player Ivo Schalkx, who had (apparently) a guru like status in the local
squatter scene, also with long term friend Karin Hunting (bass, guitar) and Martien den Nijs
(drums) and other members; floating of course, as time dictated. The sound of Nexda was one
inspired by dub and reggae but even surely these days sound weird enough not to click with true
dub/reggae; the addition of saxophone, that strange wordless voice or the drones played on the
organ, along with the hand crafted drum set of Nexda made sure they were as different as possible,
then as well as now. And yet they were the nucleus of a scene in Haarlem, that included their own
squat, cassette store, studio and cassette label, Studio 12. This box of five albums is not just
about Nexda, of whom three tapes are included in this box. One sees them progressing from ‘Red’
and ‘Blue’ cassettes in which their dub sound is starting to evolve and which is surely by all
standards ‘experimental’ and then listen to ‘Dirt & Junkride’, also enclosed in this box, which is
already a more traditional dub sound, with melodica’s and all, and you see what I mean. After that
they did another LP, which was even more traditional, but with a very direct recording and a
distinct drum sound (not enclosed in this package). In the booklet is says that Nexda wanted to
be ‘extremely original’, but that PIL and Lee Perry were massive influences. I heard some of the
original releases back then and praise to earLABs for an excellent fresh re-master of the sometimes-
shabby cassette releases.
    Thanks to the involvement, I should think, of Wim Dekker, Nexda and Studio12 stood out of
the many other likewise scenes in The Netherlands. Dekker had a record and clothing store in
Haarlem, but more importantly was also a member of Minny Pops, the longest serving one (to this
very day) next to singer Wally van Middendorp. This connection made it possible that Studio 12
bands ended up on Plurex, the label Van Middendorp founded. There were two 12″ records by Nexda
as well as a 12″ by Smalts, often called ‘Minny Pops without Wally’ (even when that doesn’t entirely
justify it). The sound of the two Nexda 12″s is sadly missed in this package, I think, since they had
a much better recording, but showed them on their dub route to dub. Understandably they are not
part of this, as Plurex released them and not Studio 12.
    The Smalts corner then, the synth invasion on Studio 12 is represented here with some
obscure live recordings from Smalts but with the complete ‘Muzak For Critics’ compilation
cassette of likeminded moody synth soundscapes including four pieces by Siebe, who I believe is
the same as Cybe from some weeks ago. Other members of Smalts and Minny Pops, Pieter Mulder
and Ron van Zanten have also solo pieces here. There is an interesting range of sounds here with
some very smooth (Wim Dekker) and others quite rough, like early experiments with electronic
devices. The minimal synth ethics are hard at work here, and perhaps in total connection with the
times of the early 80s.
    The most experimental sounds can be found on the fourth LP with on the firstside K&I, which
is Karin & Ivo with a more experimental work where you can find faint traces of the Nexda sound,
but this time around a lot more experimental. The rhythm aspect is present but through a machine
rather than a human beating a desk drawer with a table leg (as in Nexda), along with melancholic
saxophone and tape-manipulation. On the other side there is Die Kru Blød, who take the Nexda
sound into a more sonically extreme territory. Their rhythm approach is crude but funky, with
much emphasis on the bass sound and vocals fed through effect machines; a whole lot of them.
This is a more post-punk approach, I’d say, more in tune with the then current trends. The booklet
mentions this “as a sort of gabber avant la lettre”, suggesting that if this was made into a 12″
back then, the members “would be sitting on some tropical island now, living off my royalties”; I
don’t think so, as even for the time the music was too extreme.
    A combination of all interests that one can find on the Studio12 can be found on the ”Studio
12 Sampler’ LP, which includes some of the more moody work of Nexda, but also a very upbeat
synth piece by Heathrow Saxxe, as well as well-produced pieces by Cargo Cultus or the out there
experiments of Karin & Ivo. Nexda’s contribution to the flexi discs released by Vinyl Magazine is
also part of this collection, which is particular great if, like me, you have a battered copy of
repeated playing (a box collecting all 26 flexi discs would also something be worth having).
    Most of this LPs I heard in some form before, mainly I had various of these original cassettes,
so the one thing I did not hear before was the music of Vitaal, which comes as a bonus 7″. In the
booklet there is not a lot of information about them, but they can definitely be found at the synth
angle of Studio 12, alongside Cargo Cultus and Smalts but this time with vocals that play an
important role in their sound. The music is more up-tempo and forceful, even gothic perhaps and
of all the music here perhaps also the most dated on. Nice nevertheless but quite dated. In
darkwave areas this would certainly be considered as ‘vintage cool shit’ (I am sure they use
different words for that).
    Like with most Vinyl On Demand releases there is a booklet enclosed, with some inconsistency
as what the former location of Studio 12 complex was (compare John Oomkes and Richard Foster’s
pieces, back to back printed) and the quote-wise text of various people is nice, but scratches the
surface. A more in-depth history is something I would have loved here, to know more about a small
scene that I heard of some many years ago and which could do with some proper documentation.
That, plus the fact that the semi-guru Ivo Schalkx is mentioned a lot, but never has his own say, is
perhaps the biggest omission (I am not sure here if he is still alive or if there is another reason for
remaining silent). Otherwise this is a more than excellent box, another treasure of ancient musical
history, buried in a cave. (FdW)
––– Address:

LIXIR – SUNSHINE (12″ by miNIMMAl movement)

Following the two compilations that gave life to miNIMMAl movement label from Nijmegen (as you
realized, obviously, seeing it’s nick name used there, Nimma) there are now two new 12″ releases,
devoted to single artists. There is a short line between Nijmegen and Romania, as these two come
from that country, just as the second 12″ also had Romenian artists. Lixir from Bucharest has a
very sunny piece, called ‘Sunshine’, with a great minimal beat and some awfully catchy melodic
sample. If this can’t make you smile, then what can? ‘Fleut En Scarlett’, named after a flute sample
and a sound card is also minimal techno, but a bit darker, even with that flute, whereas ‘Cleptoman’
reminded me of Unit Moebius at the beginning but has a nice dub like vibe to it. One Cosmjn delivers
a remix of ‘Cleptoman’, making it a straighter forward and adds a bit more light to the proceedings.
Four great pieces of minimal techno.
    Which is something that Oprea Timpu also delivers. His ‘Smooth’ starts out with the best
Kompakt tradition, but in his use of keyboards it is all a bit less minimal and straight forward.
Also ‘Calling’ is not that minimal I’d say with some nice breaks and all a bit darker than ‘Smooth’.
This piece gets a remix treatment by Roger Gerressen, from glorious Nimma he is, and adds a
nocturnal feel to the mix, as he calls it ‘Late Night Call’, spacing out one last time, stretching out
sounds in a rhythmic way before letting the kick drum do it’s work again.
    At the time of writing Nijmegen awaits its yearly week long summer festival, as part of the
four days of marching event, and no doubt these records will be spun somewhere. It’s a pity you
read this when the proceedings are over, but at least we still have the music. Why did no-one
connect the city’s area code, 024, to ‘Hour Party People’ is something that still eludes me, but
surely someone who is into dance music locally should do it. (FdW)
––– Address:

[.QUE] – WONDERLAND (CDR by Sound In Silence)
LIAM J HENNESSY – HELD (CDR by Sound In Silence)

Ties between Sound In Silence and Japanese musicians are short it seems, as with [.que] they
release music by Tokyo based multi-instrumentalist Nao Kakimoto, who has been active since
2010 and released seven albums, one EP and three singles on Schole, IntroDuCing! and his own
label, Embrace. Because he’s also active with the release of soundtracks for movies some of that
spills over into his own releases. In 2015 he worked on music for a short film called ‘Kurokawa
Wonderland’ and developed ideas that are now part of ‘Wonderland’. The music is well orchestrated,
using a variety of electronic instruments, rhythms, but also guitars and piano, along with a bit of
field recordings. This is not all just some melodic warm washes of slow sustaining ambient music,
but it is actually all the more folky and poppy; all instrumentals and all short and to the point.
Actually more folky than poppy. With some of those tinkling guitars and sparkling guitars
embedded in warm electronics and rocky rhythms, topped with some great musical production
values this is quite a beauty of an album. Perhaps not exactly the kind of thing you have never
heard before, as folktronic is a whole genre by itself, but seeing and hearing it around a little less
these days, it’s good to hear such music again on a lazy Sunday. Lovely introspective tunes.
    I may also have never have heard of Liam J. Hennessy, who worked from 2010 to 2014 as
Drops, releasing a 7″ and EP on Heat Death Records and a split he did himself as with Umber. ‘Held’
is the first release under his own name, and contains six pieces, which are the first six he recorded
last year, one song a month. Maybe I am knit picking but at the total length of twenty-two minutes
I wonder why he didn’t release all twelve from 2016 (apparently he did one every month for the
whole year). Interestingly enough the label informs us that there are field recordings in every piece,
which is something I don’t think I hear. Very much like the music of [.que] this can be found in the
world of folktronic, with a somewhat more upbeat character. Also Hennessy seems to be working
solely with layers and layers of guitars; to provide a drone in the background, to play melodies with
chords and solos with plucking strings and topped with some rockier beats or loops of acoustic
sounds in ‘Over The Sky’. There is something melancholic about this music but at the same time,
perhaps due to the addition of the beats it is also a bit cheery. Cheerful sadness; that sounds like
a contradiction, I would think, but imagine a sunny day with occasional dark clouds and a spat of
rain. A rainbow at the end of it, and one is cycling through a wide-open land and wind in one’s hair.
The sound of a perfect summer’s day. (FdW)
––– Address:


More echoes from Freeman who releases his fourth chapter in his ‘Echoes of Nature’- series. All ten
tracks on this new album have James Freeman (field recordings, synthesizers), Nika Rejto (flute)
and Mads Tolling (violin, viola) as performers. What strikes me again, are his very recognizable,
strangely ‘free floating’ compositions. With synthesizers and field recordings Freeman constructs
his typical open frameworks. Tolling and Rejto are – as on earlier releases – invited to improvise on
acoustical instruments, within and in connection with these frameworks. Clearly Freeman created
his own voice, his own sound world, by developing his own procedures, etc. But his concept is too
strict and limited, so that this new release offers above all more of the same.
    So let us turn to Slender Loris. You know, I learn a lot from reviewing music for Vital Weekly.
Did you know that the Slender Loris is a small creature spending most of his life on the top of
branches in tropical forests? Well, I didn´t. It is this name that Keith Kelley and Tony Obr choose –
for whatever reason – for their duo-project. Obr is a musician, composer, sound designer, etc.,
from Phoenix, Arizona, who `often works at the confluence of art, technology, and performance,
focusing on innovative uses of sound in a non-musical context`. Kelly I know from his free jazz
unit Ask Not. Besides his activity as a saxophonist he also works as a educator. On ‘Two parts
Helium’ we hear Kelly playing soprano, and tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and flute and Obr
modular synthesizer and electronics. No wonder their improvisations are a play with the timbres
of acoustical wind instruments and synthesizers. Obr creates fascinating sounds and patterns.
In the opening piece ´Tiny Bones´ his playing reminded me of the African kalimba. But he can also
be very mean and aggressive. But what is more important, this strange marriage is a successful
one. Partners communicate and share things and interesting dialogues develop. Absolutely a
satisfying musical meeting between an electric and an acoustical instrument, which often is not
the case. (DM)
––– Address:


Philippe Cavaleri is the ambassador of soft music as the band name can be translated and for
several years he creates music in workshops, working with kids in the age of 3 to 13. And
apparently over the years he has recorded everything that happened at these workshops, which
are now compiled onto this cassette. “The recordings are always quite complicated to realize, I
have twenty kids running in all directions, wanting to try everything, the turntables the synth
the microphone and its distortion, and most often, all at the same time”, he writes and I can
relate to that. The documentation is not a very linear one, but it sounds like Cavalerie had a
whole bunch of recordings, which were thrown on the floor, and picked up at random and stuck
together without much narrative or interaction. We hear all sorts of sounds dropping in and out
of the mix, kids screaming, mild distortion, percussion abuse and whatever else goes on at such
workshops. I wasn’t too sure what to make of this, as I didn’t make much of it at all. This was
certainly not ‘soft’ music by any means, but at it’s best ‘electro-acoustic anarchy’ performed
by the kids united (or not, depending on how you see this). Not my thing, I guess. (FdW)
––– Address:

RM FRANCIS – HYPERPLASTIC OTHER (cassette by Nada Records)

This particular RM Francis is not to be confused with Richard Francis from New Zealand as this
one hails from Seattle. He calls himself a computer musician; he has two previous releases on
Draft Records, and one on Agents of Chaos. He’s also a member “of the networked computer
music ensemble Mesh Collaborative”. That’s about the extent of the background information
about the music. The music on this cassette was composed ‘largely using a two-dimensional
array of 17.040 computer-generated values between 0 and 1, which was divided into 71
parametric paths. The array values were scaled and converted to MIDI message; the paths were
arbitrarily assigned to individual parameters of commercial software synths” and so on, is what
it says on the cover, but to understand that you probably need a course in computer music. The
computer music of RM Francis is something I don’t hear a lot anymore these days. It is, in a way,
very much linked to the world of modern classical music, old school electronic music, with sounds
not related to anything from the ‘real’ world, but all of this very artificial sounding. Sounds glide
and slide and up and down in pitches and have a very hectic, nervous character, but throughout
Francis keeps this is all sort and to the point. There seems not be much in terms of additional
sound treatment (reverb, delay), which made it all perhaps a bit dry; I was reminded of Mark Fell’s
work in that respect. I enjoyed this quite a bit; especially because it so much by itself, and not
part of some scene. At least that’s what I thought. There was a version of this cassette “hand-
molded chocolate cassette wrapped in chartreuse foil with download”, next to one in a normal
box, which sounded like a tasty object. (FdW)
––– Address:

ANLA COURTIS – CONCEPT BONGO (cassette by Coherent States)
THE NEW BLOCKADERS – ETUDES DE RIEN (cassette by Coherent States)
DEAD GUM – SMOKE/AN ALLY (cassette by Coherent States)

Argentina’s Anla Courtis, erstwhile member of Reynols, is always a very busy bee with his solo
music, travelling the world, playing concerts (sometimes in collaboration with others) and
releasing music. Here’s a cassette with a single instrument, a set of bongos, which I guess are
recorded at home and then manipulated around; just to what extent is of course the big
question here; at least if you are a reviewer who find such questions of interest. I am sometimes
one of those reviewers, and sometimes not at all. But listening to this music I realized this was a
question I was interested in. One hears the bongos, one recognizes the sound, but how they are
played I am not sure. It’s not your standard beating of the bongo, but the attack on the skin has
in some way been altered, so it meanders a bit. It has a very pleasant meditative aspect I thought
and it works really well. It could be that these transformations were done with some computer
manipulation or perhaps that these sounds, well recordings thereof are fed through a bunch of
stomp boxes or other sound effects, as I hardly believe it is possible to handle bongos at the
same time as the effects. Both pieces are around fifteen minutes in length and it works pretty
well in terms of modern composition or carefully planned improvised music; it is never traditionally
rhythmic music, and if so, a bit more on the first side than on the second side, but it is all rather
ambient music than anything else. This is an excellent tape
    I can safely say I never understood The New Blockaders, and I gave up trying to. On their
website one reads the statement “We will make anti-statements about anything and everything….
We will make a point of being pointless” and while some people regard them as pioneers of noise
music, I think their ‘rusty bicycle destruction’ sound on their debut LP ‘Changez Les Blockeurs’
was interesting but it was maybe not pioneering; it’s just trying to work out what Russolo said in
1913 in his noise manifesto and see if they could keep that up for two sides of the record.
Everything is ‘anti’ and ‘nothing’ is what remains. I am not sure what that means, but perhaps
more importantly why produce new things, if the point has already been made? This is perhaps
the thing I have most ‘trouble’ with, chewing on their latest, ‘Etudes De Rien’, etudes of nothing.
The trio of Rupenus, Durgan and Gillham still bang around objects, have feedback, throw around
metallic pieces (bicycles not anymore, I would think) and it surely sounds harsher than on their
debut album, but effectively this is the same thing, which is actually something I can understand.
‘Progress’ is certainly not a word that one attaches to the world of the Blockaders. I am sure they
would find progressing, development or growing opposed to the idea of already having fulfilled
their anti-whatever stance. Well, maybe they are ‘pro’ development as much as they are against
it; one never knows probably, as it can be good or bad at the same time. That’s the dualistic
nature of The New Blockaders. Oh, wait; there is still something to be said about the music, right?
Occasionally I like to roll around in a bath of noise, and why not ‘Etudes De Rien’, which certainly is
not nothing. Both sides have much noise on it. You could easily play (perhaps) any other
Blockaders instead and it would hard to tell the difference. And I am sure it is great fun to trash
around material like this. Do try this at home, would be my advice.
    Panagiotis Spoulos I know best from his own label Phase! and his membership of projects
like Wham Jah and $oft $kull or past ones as Reverse Mouth, Postblue, Old Fashioned Donkeys
and Old Fashioned Donkeys. ‘Smoke/An Alley’ is already the thirteenth release by Dead Gum,
none of the twelve previous ones I seem to have heard. This is some alien music, I think, and
much of that can be ascribed to the extensive use of reverb, which adds a dark alley atmosphere
to the music. Alleys in a big city, so if you look up there are massive buildings around you and
the sky above is, naturally, pitch black. In this alley (I take the title of the B-side here to conjure
up all the metaphors in the music) we hear some far away screaming (the hunter? the hunted?
That’s not clear) of agony (or ecstasy) and those small synthesizers create piercing tones that
resemble the sound of ventilator shafts on the street or from a diner nearby. In both pieces it is
surely nighttime and the mood is grim. This is a scary place I would think, nothing like the sun
soaked quiet street I am watching if I look outside. I can’t say who or what inspired this music
but I would think a fair portion of horror and zombie movies, novels and music were surely
consumed before any equipment was switched on. Pleasant dreams and nightmare music, a fine
combination. (FdW)
    Ghone is back. His experimental noise hits again with Zagtel Jaar Mileit; a fifteen minute
gentle blast of buzzing and fizzing noise rumbling, clicks and ticks. Exploratory noise that is;
prodding at the ethereal regions where clean signal takes a left turn and leaves us with the rest;
whatever is left over. And it is this residue Ghone picks up and expands upon. By zooming in
Ghone closes in on minute details, looking for timbre in rattles and hisses. Idiosyncrasies too of
aural phenomena where the ear can’t connect the dots any longer towards any sense of aural
origin. Like the inverse of massive pounding layered noise field, Ghone here works with painstakingly
subtle sfumato; blurred edges and thin veils filter through the din – a brightly lit microscopic
tableau of signals in flux juxtaposes, layered, joined, melted together. The glowing aural force
field Ghone projects, fills up gradually over the course of the piece, but manages to remain full of
throbbing pulse and room for the elements to move around as if in magnetic push and pull, like
electrons around a nucleus: a true small electric symphony: a sonic petri dish teeming with life
    All hands on deck at the Stud Stim pulse generator with Modelbau’s part of this split album.
Sine waves flow in clean streaks here; the raggedness and jagged edges of Ghone are complimented
by means of diametrically opposed statement of source, course, intention and result. Poetic
contemplation seems (!) to be almost completely wiped out in favor of crisp and surgical lab-
tonality. I am told Frans – Modelbau – De Waard used this instrument for his GOEM-works too
and the ‘Wellenwanne’ he presents with ‘Pulse/Phases’ does remind me a lot of early Raster-
Noton releases when GOEM was present on that label’s roster too. This is forty minutes of
expertly manipulated resonant sine wave pulse drone, not unlike Frank Brettschneider’s
‘Kippschwingungen’. But De Waard manages to squeeze in a very interesting play on the not-
connecting-the-dots issue in aural perception and personal reception of noise Ghone first
addressed on this split record. For these rhythmic drone and ambient wave scapes do alternate
between the de-humanised, machine-like industrial, 1 and 0, black and white, digital realm of ‘it
is what it is and nothing more’ on the one hand and deeply felt human intervention, invention,
musical passion and drive even, in the exploration of tone, timbre, sonic field and aural impact – l
ike an interplay, dialog, discussion, debate for cold and warm where never the twain shall meet or
so it seems; but don’t they? Just monitor your own heart beat while listening and you’ll notice
how Modelbau’s pulses take effect. For the aural picture here might be a one of pixelated raster;
somewhere between cause and effect (and affect too) these seven tracks in all their minimal,
stripped down, chilled starkness do pull you right into the full image – for: yes, you can –
somehow, somewhere – connect some dots, even between very few and apparently simple
clicks, cuts and waves. (SSK)
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Raymond Dijkstra is best known for the many very limited releases he has to his name, but
perhaps also for the various projects he’s involved with, such as Astra, La Pupee Vivante, Nivriti
Marga, or in the past with Ki Sync Pulse and Indra Karmuka. Late 2015 he surprised me with the
addition of a new project, Bhaavitaah Bhuutasthah, with whom he released a LP, ‘Remembering
In The Cosmic Manifestation’, with Raymond (calling himself Le Ray back then; he’s now back at
calling himself by his real name) playing “Moog IIIp, mellotron and ‘percüs'”, which is perhaps
something he also plays on the three pieces on this new cassette; there are no such things
mentioned. On the label’s website you can find a true story in which Dijkstra sells a harmonium
to a young man, which turns out to the grandson of a previous tenant of the same house where
Dijkstra now lives. That inspired this tape, which title is translated as ‘feedback’, which “attributes
this idea of feedback loops within language”, as it is called here. Whereas the previous Bhaavitaah
Bhuutasthah seemed to be very much inspired by the work of Florian Fricke’s Popol Vuh, with a
percussive sound and cosmic synthesizers that were part abstract and part melodic, the three
pieces on this cassette are mostly abstract. It is more like abstract music to me, of sound
resonating around in space, with collisions of objects and sounds going in a machine, and
coming at the other, slightly transformed, going back in, coming out and you get my drift.
There are no melodies here, not even vague ones; if this is also to be called ‘cosmic’ music,
which I would easily do, this is how I imagine the earliest Kluster to have sounded, when Conrad
Schnitzler was still a member; experimental, moody, noisy perhaps, improvised for sure and
spooky. Especially the slightly distorted ‘III’ worked for me quite well. The scraping of metal
plates reminded me of the other work of Dijkstra, but this time around it is embedded in a
more orchestral synth pattern, a church organ on the verge of meltdown or something like that.
I can see why this was released on cassette, as the nature of the music is probably a bit too
extreme for wider consumption. Real fans of Dijkstra should pay attention, I think, as this is a
bit different again and probably quite limited. (FdW)
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BEHIND YOU – THE GOODMORNING SESSIONS (cassette by Hxoi Kato Apo To Spiti)

This is a duo from Volos, Greece (or at least that’s where it was recorded) comprising of Orfeas
Kappa on clarinet and Lambros Zafeiropoulos on electronics and recordings. Both sides of their
cassette last thirteen minutes and a bit, and we recorded in 2015 already. Even when their music
seems improvised, the A-side is built from various recording sessions. One piece from two different
dates stuck together. Hard to say what their modus operandi is but judging by the sound I would
think the clarinet plays a bit and it picked up the ‘recordings’ and then fed, via the electronics that
are also part of this, back into the mix; a constant live processing/sampling sort of thing, involving
a real instrument and a bunch of electronics. The always melancholic tone of clarinet fits well with
the drones that are spun from it; at the beginning of ‘Side Y’ I was reminded a bit klezmer music,
but the whole thing became a tad more alien that I anticipated, certainly when everything derailed
towards the end and it all became a bit chaotic and noisy. The other side stayed more ‘together’
in, with a slower built up, conquering a terrain and expanding on that, even when there is a small
fade over in between to go from one section to another. Quite pleasant and well-done improvised
music. (FdW)
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