Number 1104

QST – THE SILENT COOKBOOK (CD by Static Caravan) *
ANOMONE TUBE – THREE WORLDS (3CD by The Epicurean/La Esencia)
O3 – TRASHUMANCIA (CD by Sofa Music) *
  (CD by Spekk) *
NEUTRAL – NÄR (LP by Omlott)
OTHELLO AUBURN – TWO-WAY SWITCH (12” by Le Cabanon Records) *
IAN HATCHER – DRONE PILOT (SOUND WRITINGS 1) (7” by Cosmosmose Edition)
KOTRA – CICADA (CDR by Kvitnu) *
BEN RATH – BLACK HEART MUSIC (CDR by Eilean Records) *
THEME – SACRAL BLOOD WARNING (CDR by Fourth Dimension Records/Idioblast) *
GC-VP – THE FIRESIDE ANGEL (CDR by Fukminate Mewziq) *
  Mewziq) *
VISUAL AIDS – CRAIG (CDR by Fukminate Mewziq) *
  Mewziq) *
  Mewziq) *
MARK VERNON – REMNANT KINGS (cassette by Cosmovision Registros Andinos) *

QST – THE SILENT COOKBOOK (CD by Static Caravan)

Sometimes one gets the idea the mind is playing tricks, upon only having read a title. Silent cooking, as
in: didn’t Moog’s have a baseline sound of their own? And isn’t the silence just a flick of the finger away,
away from the ipad-screen or the computer’s mouse? Oh well, never mind, maybe.
    Frans de Waard’s QST has cooked up quite the stew here. ‘The Silent Cookbook’ is one heck of a
synth record. One might be tempted to lump this into the ambient-with-a-beat territory and fair
enough: some tunes are not that far off from Biosphere’s N-Plants.
    Then again, the all-encompassing feel of this record marries gentle, lilting grooves with a kraut-
inspired mellow motorik and futuristic shine. There’s a shimmer of chrome covering all eight tracks;
shiny, end-times-y but not un-merry.
    De Waard under his QST moniker is more danceable than one might expect from his many other
projects. He even pushes the beat boat out so far one might be slowly but very surely finding some
footing on terra firma in fringe areas of house music. And more than a tad, there’s an over-arching
feeling Jean-Michel Jarre could’ve (should’ve, maybe, too?) made some of these tracks or at least
elements thereof.
    ‘The Silent Cookbook’ is dreamy and peachy, pristine synth pop ambient at full throttle. Deep
space laser sharp etched grooves, so playful one could mistake these for ironic pastiche. Solid steel
synthscapes galore reign supreme here with massive ambiences and textures and plenty of rhythm
to boot. Plus: lovingly released by the epic Static Caravan label in a hand-assembled edition of only
150 copies. So I suggest you don’t wait this one out. The future is now, no time to waste. (SSK)
––– Address:


It is with much respect that I notice the dedication of EE Tapes to releasing the music of Alain Neffe,
mastermind behind Pseudo Code, Bene Gesserit and now, again, Human Flesh. Each of the names
Neffe works under has a specific concept and as Human Flesh it is all about creating music via postal
systems. In the old days by sending and receiving musical matter on a cassette, these days, no doubt,
via the Internet. Receiving a recording of a rhythm machine from the USA, a saxophone from the
Netherlands and Neffe adding a synthesizer and mixing to finalize the mixing. One name he worked
with a lot, in Human Flesh but also in Subject, and way before in Kosmose (in the seventies) is guitar
player Daniel Malempré, who works solo as MAL. Guitars are what this new release is all about also.
Malempré playing is at it should be (well, you know what I mean) and Neffe, the non-guitarist,
extracts all sorts of sounds out of it using an iron bar, violin bow and mucho sound effects. Each
recorded his parts at home, and then they came together to add some further stuff and in the final
stage Neffe constructed everything together and did the final mix. This is what Neffe calls a ‘non
typical project’, and that is very much true. Guitars are an instrument that Human Flesh used before,
but never (so I believe) as the single instrument; there always was a synthesizer and rhythm machine
not far away, just as was very much a common thing in the Insane Music world of Neffe. It is not
difficult, I think, to say who produced which sound. The lengthy sustaining guitars, played with an
e-bow, sounds very much like Malempré’s solo work and whatever sounds noisy, distorted, using an
object on strings, must be Neffe’s. It is quite a forceful playing that goes on here, duelling banjos
indeed. Some of Human Flesh’s more careful styled music is not very present here, as there is quite
the orchestral sound here, even in the more quiet moments, such as in ‘Jean-Charles, The Drunken
Cellist’. The way these sounds bounce around, colliding is probably the better word, sounds at times
like an uneasy marriage, but after a while the whole thing started to grow on me more and more. In
‘Little Kroenart, the gentle Cosmic Trucker’, we recognize MAL’s seventies inspired guitar playing and
it’s very much a comfortable and recognizable Human Flesh piece, but now spiced up with more
distorted guitars. It is certainly a most daring move by these two gentlemen, but they continue to do
what they have been doing for forty or so years and that is to search for new musical languages and
surprise the listener. (FdW)
––– Address:

ANOMONE TUBE – THREE WORLDS (3CD by The Epicurean/La Esencia)

A massive blast of Anemone Tube works on 3CDs is presented in the form of an exquisite box set out
on The Epicurean / La Esencia. Three Worlds follows the cosmological treatise on the universe from
14th century Theravada Buddhism. More to the point: the three levels of existence of all beings and
mythical creatures, through Allegory of Vanity, Forget Heaven and Vanity of Allegory.
    These three discs, all packaged in sleeves made to the highest specs as we are used from The
Epicurean, take the form of two book-end like shorter ones clocking in around forty minutes and an
epic middle piece of more than an hour in length. This classic triptych presentation gives further
substance and format to the myriads of threads and influences, inspirations and meditations flowing
from this opulent collection. Like with a literary collection of short stories in a body of work consisting
of shorter and longer form novels, Three Worlds brings together previously releases and unreleased
materials from wide variations of sources (compilations, short format tapes, discarded studio session
outtakes) and eras in Anemone Tubes oeuvre. What might seem to be disparate at first sight is in fact
and indeed tightly knit together in over-arching streams of conscious- and unconsciousness; as much
rationally planned in conception and execution, as it is a labour of aural love and deeply felt
commitment to the sound and subject matter.
    Re-contextualizing the various pieces shed new shards of light and interpretation on the works at
hand, above all on the intrinsic force fields Anemone Tubes manages to conjure from screeching
feedback, howling noise, disembodied voices and menacing drone. However: the alchemical blend the
Berlin based artist distils from his machines and field recordings whirls its way deftly between power
and experiment; rituals of realism juxtaposed with magical dark rites – rough, un-hewn at times, but
armed to the teeth and ready for far reaching pleasures. Transience at the forefront: sound as a dance
unfolding, somewhere between autumnal clouds, from birth to death: embracing the main road of life,
now come – now go.
    Like sunset and sunrise the collected works of Anemone Tube here on Three Worlds stop, start
and stop again the flow of existences, punctuate this too. And underscores, italicizes it. Makes aware,
profoundly. This noise ambient jettisons us into a dismal world but not without its golden temples. It
embraces impermanence, itself almost a bubble in a pond of water. Or: in a stream, never the same.
    Taken out of their original context, put in another; these works take on new and unexpected
transformative guises – a passing without ever turning around. Anemone Tube’s work steadily and
flowing in flux remains just beyond grasp. And like a shepherd he tries to keep his flock together, for
its and his livelihood. That is: always keenly aware of the flip-side; of death looming, of the inevitability
    Anemone Tube doesn’t wallow in denial; he doesn’t wallow in depressive deadliness either. His
works stand the test of time and re-contextualization precisely because they are deeply informed by
the dichotomy wherein accumulation leads to exhaustion, meeting results in separation and birth into
death. These works do not deal in either/or. These proclaim the and/and; both the vanity of the
allegory and the allegory of vanity. And heaven to forget; but how to unknown something, which was
a belief in the first place: something unreal or intangible? In a way Anemone Tube projects an intriguing
and highly engaging form of hyperrealism filtered through his philosophical lens. That is: a camera
obscura to finally see clearly now by means of aural sensory poetics.
    As above so below – as below so above and somewhere in between never and always the two shall
meet. Anemone Tube dissects rhythmic industrial and excavates the darkest of ambients, he roughs up
the rawest of noises and speaks volumes in careful whispers. His entertainment is trans figurative,
transformative, transubstantiating and transfixional. For: can we pinpoint ‘man’ to one thing only? Can
you look into the deep dark truthful mirror of yourself and your own existence and tell the tale of utter
reality and truth – would you dare? It’s this charge and address Anemone Tube hyper-tensifies with a
vengeance and passion for prodding further, questioning still and confronting not per se his audiences
by means of shock or awe, but above all: himself – below all, too.
    Three Worlds all in all is a meditation on being – being human, being alive, being creative. The
three albums too enrich present day living with tender moments of framing, setting, closing in on
time, closing up and freezing shots. Filmic not so much as photographic not so much as holographic,
for Three Worlds underlines the fact that in all of Anemone Tube’s works – from the earliest of
experiments to the later full-blown aural tragedies and highly textures noise operas – the wholeness
of the body of work is in the fragment already: contained, fully formed, all there.
    Now: with Anemone Tube the uttermost brilliance lies exactly in the fact that it’s not only all there,
but the diametrical ‘other side’ is evident too: nothing remains. His work is not a pendulum shifting
from one end to another; his is a clarity of aural manipulation and composition embracing as much the
holo- as the un-holographic; the Alpha and the Omega. Anemone Tube’s works are however and of
course not written in extremes, in A or Z only, no black and white, but his Technicolor poetry is a realm
of all of the alphabet and (rendering) speechless. Living without regret, ego-less and all-encompassing
sublimely human, with distant prospects informing every tiny step – where passing time and your
passing time merge and are both carried on your sleeve. And shoulder. Flapping its wings in true
freedom of spirit. (SSK)
––– Address:

O3 – TRASHUMANCIA (CD by Sofa Music)

Back in Vital Weekly 623 I reviewed ‘… De Las Piedras’ by Ingar Zach (percussion), Esteban Algora
(accordion) and Alessandra Rombola (flutes and tiles installation), which they released on Another
Timbre under their own names. Now I learn they are called O3 and since then have worked with the
Merce Cunningham Dance Ensemble, Miguel Angel Tolosa, Kim Myhr, Jane Rigler and Jim Denley, as
well as playing off and on concerts in Europe, but apparently without releasing any new music. That
is now happening with ‘Trashumancia’, which they recorded in the same chapel in Uruena in Spain,
just like the first album. As before the music is very intense, very much focussed on the listening
experience. Overall the sound is quiet and one has to turn up the volume a bit to hear all that is
happening but only then it reveals some of the beauty of the music. Somewhere between the world
of improvisation, as represented by Zach and his percussion and sound art of Algora and Rombola
there is a delicate interaction between all three of them. Like before, again, there is an influence to
be detected, I’d say from the work of Pauline Oliveros and her approach to the accordion. The space
in which this was recorded plays an important role as well, adding a warm layer of haunting space to
the music. Drone like, quiet, atmospheric and yet also quite free in their approach, as the loudest
outburst ‘Lobizniega’ proofs, following the very quiet ‘Natureleza Inerte’. This is something to play in
all quietness and without many other distraction; only then it will reveal its beauty. Anything less
wouldn’t work, I would think. (FdW)
––– Address:

  (CD by Spekk)

By now the name Federico Durand should be well known to the readers of Vital Weekly, and also the
fact that he is well known in Japan. Apparently he plays there a lot of concerts, and in 2017 he was on
tour with Tsuda Takashi, who calls himself hofli (without capitals). They wanted to prepare some
souvenir CDRs for their 2017 Japan tour and they send each other field recordings so that the other
could add a bit of instruments, textures or processing. Apparently the result was very satisfying, so
there is now a full-length album for all to enjoy, even if you miss out on tours in Japan in 2017. I had
not heard of hofli before, so it is not easy for me to comment on what he does and how it relates to his
own work, but overall the ten pieces on this album is perhaps something that one would expect from
Durand. Field recordings are recorded in the backyard, rather than on difficult mountaineering trip,
of birds singing and kids playing, slowly fading over in the plucking on guitars, sustaining drone like
sounds from looped accordions or wind instruments, along with a fair amount of reverb and delay to
suggest more space. Sometimes it is very sparse, as in ‘In The Herb Fragrance’, but more usual is a
somewhat fuller approach with various layers of drones fading together to form a gentle yet dense
mass of sounds. I must say that I enjoyed the sparser pieces a bit more than the denser ones simply
because the dense pieces sounded a bit too regular and the sparse pieces showed a bit more musicality
to them. It is a fine album that is sure, but perhaps also one without many surprises. (FdW)
––– Address:


This new, long (close to 80 minutes) release by Celer contains music that was created for an installation,
of three speakers in a triangular shape; one low end, one mid end cut and one high end cut, so ideally in
the middle it should be perfectly mixed, “yet evolve due to small differences in start times”. Will Long,
the Celer man, is credited for piano, tape and Lexicon PCM90, which is a reverb unit. Had I not known
there was piano used, I would not have guessed that, I think. Opening up the file in a sound editor to
use a bit for the podcast shows a very digital music looking sound wave, which is basically one deep
drone that one only notices when one hits the stop button (bass dropping out) and very gentle mid/
high variations, which could very well be some kind of piano sound indeed. The music is utterly
minimal. Did it change at all? I found that hard to say. It sounded very much like music that perhaps
only Celer could do. Very much, and I mean very, very much drone like with a thick sound that doesn’t
sound like a thick sound at all, music that is more present in your space than is actually heard; very
Zen-like I guess also, perhaps very much like something Eliane Radigue could do, should she ever
work with digital means. This is music that has come to a standstill, and yet it knows how to fascinate
the listener. There is not something in here that you haven’t heard before in the vast catalogue of
Celer, which might be a delight for true Celer fans, or a downer if you are someone who likes a bit of
change. (FdW)
––– Address:


So far the name of Jaime Genovart popped up once in Vital Weekly (680), when I reviewed a work he
did with Alan Courtis, Christof Kurzmann and Pablo Reche. He played ‘recording, synth, soft’ on that
release. Genovart also has a group with Dario Pinto Calvis and Guillermo Mugular called audio Das
Poly and with Pablo Reche a duo called Noema and has worked with Corutis, Kurzmann, Kim Cascone
and Zbigniew Karkowski. The twelve pieces on ‘Deshabitabla’ can be best described as modern musique
concrete with the laptop playing a central role in the proceedings. I assume the laptop is fed with the
usual meal of field recordings and recorded sounds and inside calculators work hard with zeroes and
ones to cook up very processed versions of these field recordings and sounds. Then the outcome of all
of this is sorted, edited and mixed together into what we find on the release. Shortish collages of sound,
that reminds me of the best of the laptop brigade from a few years back, say Roel Meelkop or M. Behrens,
but there are many more of course. The non-academic side of electronic music that is, and as such it
may seem that what Genovart does is not shockingly new or different but nevertheless I quite enjoyed
what he does here. He has a fine ear for field recordings and other sounds (bells, chimes, such like) and
knows how to maintain a hint of the original, but also uses interesting processes and because he chooses
to keep his pieces short and to the point there is a fine sense of energy in these pieces. Genovart plays
some very vibrant musique concrete, short and to the point and came up with most lovely debut album.
––– Address:


By now there is quite a bunch of Michael Begg releases, twelve it seems, under his own name and as
Human Creed and also from the group he’s a member of, Fovea Hex. A busy man, but he also finds
time to create audio-visual installations and one of those was in the wheelhouse on to the Clydebank
Titan, as part of the 2017 Sonic-a festival. That was quadrophonic, reduced to stereo (obviously) for
the CD release. The music is made from field recordings in the area, as well as Aeolian harps Begg build
over the years. The wind around the wheelhouse playing those harps is also at the foundation of the
music. All of this is very ambient and as such it may seem odd (or at least I thought so) that the eight
pieces are not very long; from a mere one-and half minute to six, but around four is the most usual.
 It’s good to see someone who believes less is more and not plays out his ideas too much and thus
spreading it thin. In all of these pieces there is an endless amount of drone material, but of a lighter
nature. Delicate and sparse, rather than full and dense. I had the impression that some of these pieces
consisted of just a few sounds, rather than a multitude of sources. Begg’s music may be ambient and
quiet, but it is not always very gentle, which is exactly how I love these things. He knows how to add a
sharp edge to his sounds, almost as if he’s aware of the hole that he can fall into, the dangerous shady
world of new age music. Begg stays safely away from that world with his ringing and singing overtones,
like singing wine glasses and loops of obscured field recordings (in ‘It’s All Triangles’ for instance),
topped with a fine spice of dark reverb and, as easy as that may sound, that’s all you need for great
album by Michael Begg. (FdW)
––– Address:


From the two Ossario 12” I got to know Italian producer Nicola Ratti as a protagonist of muscular,
ripped minimal technoist music with a penchant for the stripped bare aesthetics of the Raster-
Noton crew. For The Collection he adds significantly more noise and noises to the palette. Acoustic
and electronic sounds collide and mesh between dust and short wave rumble; all in a wash of greyscale
toned down irregularities, not unlike the Grau-paintings by Gerhard Richter; as in: over-painted in a
way, so to speak.
    Here Ratti presents a survey or collection of pieces, which have been cooking in his lab for quite
some time. Highlights he considers them, stray and unconnected too and presented on this cd as a
mosaic. And yes, the highly-strung pulse technoist sounds are still there, as is a more eloquent,
embellished ambient tone (a bit furry around the edges, smeared, not unlike several other Room40
acts, that is, in the best of ways). Texture rules supreme as does air for the tapestries of tonality and
timbre to play out.
    Roughness appears in irregularities in rhythm and timing; smooth slow moving drone-like lines
pull disparate elements together in a tight fit and elusive screeching feedback is drowned in woozy
fogs of machine static and bubbling bell-like tinglings. More than anything Ratti emerges from this CD
like the producer of chances and changes; not planning ahead like a neurotic madman, but going where
instant inspiration or his machines take him. Yet, Ratti manages to instil an almost fearsome
idiosyncratic identity to his works. The Collection wholly deeply satisfies in showing the evolution of
exactly this signature touch of a master studio wizard at work. (SSK)
––– Address:


While I was listening to ‘Massif Throphies’, the latest solo record by BJ Nilsen, erstwhile from Sweden
now residing in Amsterdam, I was looking at Discogs and realizing that I haven’t heard much of his
latest work, and what I heard in recent years was more from his collaboration with Sigtryggur Berg
Sigmarsson and Stillupsteypa than solo. I do of course know that much of his work deals with field
recordings and as such ‘Massif Throphies’ is another work that explores the alms of Europe, Gran
Paradiso in Italy. Nilsen spend a month hiking through the area, recording sounds and all of that,
plus the experiences of the area has been put in the five pieces on this record.  It’s been a while since
I was last in the Alps, but hearing some of the sounds on this record brings back fond memories of
ancient holidays in the area (Austria, mainly). BJ Nilsen’s approach to field recordings is not that of a
documentalist, taking and taping the environment, but that using these sounds freely to create a
composition out of it. Layering them together, or processing these sounds into a long form drone, such
as in ‘Eaux Rousses’ or ‘Camping Europa’. It is sometimes hard to say what the original sounds were,
but it doesn’t always matter. For all we know it’s a bunch of alp horns layered together in the best
Niblock tradition. Sometimes Nilsen keeps it all together quite small and together, such as the cowbells
in ‘Rough Grazing’, which also seems to harbour a small melodic touch towards the end, but it can also
grow into something much bigger and perhaps even threatening; Vvery much like the title says: this is
all quite massive music, most of the times that is, but not exclusively. As dark as it can be, high up,
when the top of the mountain disappeared in the clouds but also bright, light and sunny, like a holiday
snapshot; this record is heavy, almost like climbing a mountain and with a most rewarding view;
despite the weather conditions. (FdW)
––– Address:

NEUTRAL – NÄR (LP by Omlott)

This is a duo of Sofie Herner and Dan Johansson, who play off and on with Lydia Lunch, or play concerts
in Belgium and Sweden (I am not sure why just these two countries are mentioned. Dan Johansson is
best known for his work as Sewer Election and Herner as Leda (see Vital Weekly 1030). As Neutral they
had a 7” in these pages before (Vital Weekly 1083) and ’När’ is their third album. Here they have eight
shortish songs on this record, which seem to continue what I first on the 7”. Neutral has a somewhat lo-
fi sound approach in which distortion easily has a steady place. There can be sonic overload on the
guitars, bass or electronics; they play around with instruments, voices and electronics. I’d even say
mainly electronics and voices, as this seems heavier than the 7” on that and perhaps a bit less on the
guitars. The organ they use is fed through a bunch of sound effects to reach for rough edged lo-fi sound
and the voice is also transformed. It is hard to say if these lyrics are very important or not, as they are
not always to understand or follow, even when they are in Swedish (I think). Somehow it all sounded a
bit out-dated, but in a lovely manner. This could have been as easily been released on a cassette in mid
80s. Well, that and recorded onto a cassette for additional graininess, I’d say. This is hardly pop music,
not even alternative, but somehow one has the idea of this being pop, with those shortish lengths of the
songs, vocals and shimmering, hissy melodies. This is a lovely record; stylish packed in black and white
and in an edition of 300 copies probably as such a pre-programmed collectors item. (FdW)
––– Address:

OTHELLO AUBURN – TWO-WAY SWITCH (12” by Le Cabanon Records)

For me this is a new label, which already released records by Bruma, Horla and Crypto Tropic, none of
which are familiar names here, but here are the latest two, and I started with Othello Aubern. He’s
born in 1987 from an Italian mother and Swiss father and living these days in Omsk. His 12” has five
pieces of the outer realms of techno music. All the signs that this is from the world of techno music,
12”, bit of an arty cover, 5 pieces; there is rhythm, sequenced sounds and a touch of melody. Yet it
seems to me that this is something that is not always easy to dance too. Years and years ago we talked
about intelligent dance music, but maybe that doesn’t come close to this; maybe that was more dance
music than this? Auburn tips all the right boxes, but there is a complexity in the music that makes it
less dance-like. Having said that there is quite a bit to enjoy anyway. The music is not really fast and it
is well produced. Everything seems to be in the right place, with some excellent deep bass sound,
chirpy high-end sounds, and all of this on a fairly abstract level.
    The Auburn record is part of the ‘Couleurs’ series, and the one by Cluster Island is the inaugural
release for the Stand-alone series. I am not sure what make a release part of what series. Cluster Lizard
is a duo of Kateryna Zavoloka, also known as Zavoloka and Dmytro Fedorenko, also known as Kotra (see
elsewhere for a release of his own music). Together they run the Kvitnu label, also specialized in realms
of techno music but of a different kind; more sonic overload. I had not heard their work as Cluster Lizard
but heard much of their previous solo work. I can’t say it is exactly what I thought this would be, that
would be too easy to say, but these two musicians don’t go very off the paths they walked so far. The
rhythms are minimal, heavy and dark, in the best Kvitnu tradition; a bit industrial and not always that
fast. The main difference, so it seems, lies in the use of synthesizers here. They are likewise heavy and
paint pictures in black, brown and grey. There is a haunting quality to the music, like a soundtrack to
a documentary of an industrial world in decay. It is all quite dark, but not without a hint of light, a
shimmer of melody and a touch of hope, I guess. This is a slightly different taste of what we know
already, and that, in my book, is always a good thing.
    Both records have a great artwork and much care has been going into that. That is good to see in
a world that has usually generic white sleeves. (FdW)
––– Address:

IAN HATCHER – DRONE PILOT (SOUND WRITINGS 1) (7” by Cosmosmose Edition)

Sound Poetry: that is poetry, spoken, sometimes enhanced by sound, in various guises, possibly music…
A genre made famous from 1975 on, from the Poesia Sonora LP as edited by Maurizio Nannunci. This
infamous anthology featured (future) greats like Ernst Jandl, Franz Mon, Brion Gysin, Sten Hanson and
Bernardn Heidsieck.
    The German label and platform for sound experimentation Cosmosmose starts its Sound Writing
series with a touch of Sound Poetry by Ian Hatcher. Born in 1983 this writer, programmer and sound
artist primarily concerns himself with digital systems and Digital Language Arts. Mind you: he came
up with his own propositions therein: “the way he trained his own voice, prosody and word-flow to
mimick the qualities and even glitches of speech-synthesis is extremely suitable for a realization in
sound”, so the press release states.
    Sound Writings 1 entitled ‘Drone Pilot’ takes the shape of a 7”, packaged in a neatly designed
cardboard sleeve. Clean cut, academic, objective. And at that not per se the most poetic of gestures in
terms of design. Hatcher however sees the work itself – split in two parts of each six minutes in length –
as “a work of voice/sound poetry about a person who becomes part of a huge impersonal war machine,
connected to a network of power and violence, which ultimately erases the person’s individuality.” So
that kind of neatly seems to fit together with the impersonal, industrial look and feel of the release.
    Hatcher is personally involved with and focused on the “entanglement of humans and machines”. 
His interest lies with experimentations into the ways of imprinting digital logic(s) on man’s mind(s).
And also: how human memory and the digital ‘version’ thereof can extend each other (if and when that
is the case in the first place, one might add). Now where it gets interesting in terms of this mesh of
personal – impersonal, subjective – objective, trail-and-error experimentation – scientific tests… is
where Hatcher uses just his voice for his performances, without any electronics. Though he adds: “but
electronics are always present, in the aesthetics of the performance and the electrical currents of the
body.” Sure, that’s a bit thick, maybe even pushing the boat out a tad too much for my taste.
    So: there is a foundational backbone that presents itself as rather fully formed in terms of scope
and vision, how about the work itself? Well, to me it’s just not happening, at all. In the first place that’s
down to the text which is – to my taste – not really anything of major literary merit, nor evocative
beyond the point of blank nerdy binary bedroom lyricism. It may seem rather deep, but is shallowness
in so-called sophisticated disguise. It’s just a bunch of signs in black ink on a white page. These signs
don’t seem to want to elevate themselves from that pages. See: “To disintegrate is to repopulate // In a
red afterimage of a small figure scampering // Was it a dog? It was a dog // Was it a child? It was a
dog // It was a bee spun up in webs of equivocating.” And see language falling flat on its face. With a
dry thud.
    Hatcher’s reading / performance voice makes matters much worse. From the morose poetry he
manages to pull all live, any heartbeat, all energy. Sure one can all too easily hear how he tries to
emulate early voice synthesis or tape slowing and speeding up and other effects. Oh, jeez, jolly. And to
make matters wholly cringe-worthy, Hatcher even adds a bit of chanting to his faux imitation of
Stephan Hawking’s voice synthesizer.
    Sound Poetry can have all the excitement of avant-garde performance at its very best. Hatcher,
however, manages to present the absolute inversion thereof. Now, that in and of itself could be seen
as a feat, were it not for the fact that while it looks like the input might hold a lot of promise, this
release only delivers an excruciating blandness and emptiness that does no justice whatsoever to the
myriads of poetic options for the interpretation of the quite interesting subjects Hatcher explores in
his non-performative work. It’s flat and dull, dreary and tedious. (SSK)
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KOTRA – CICADA (CDR by Kvitnu)

It’s been more than years, so it seems, that I last reviewed something from Kotra, the musical project
of Dmytro Fedorenko, who is also the boss behind the Kvitnu album (see also elsewhere for another
release of which he is part). It seems that he was active in the years in between but not all of his work
reached these pages. The text that came along this suggests that this album was recorded and shelved
rather than released for reasons that are not mentioned. There are six tracks on this CDR, which at
twenty-two minutes is rather an EP than a LP, I would think. The music Kotra plays is very much along
the lines the label releases; that is music with a heavy rhythm underneath, minimal and loud, in the
best Pan Sonic tradition, with a bunch of piercing synthesizers that go along these minimalist beats.
Some of these synthesizers play something that is a melody, but they can also function as sine waves
that hoover along. There is however something that makes Kotra’s music a bit more complex and, at
times at least, also a bit more musical. It might be that sudden break, that off-beat that comes in very
occasionally, a bit of side rhythm, some melodic line lurking about; that kind of thing. But a piece like
‘Don’t Forget, Exit’ is something that is textbook Pan Sonic. There is a groove in all six of these pieces,
but perhaps it is not always a groove that engages to dance. It is the kind of groove that makes you
stand and stare, nodding one’s head along the über-rhythm. After twenty-two minutes one is tired
and satisfied, I think; it’s been a warm bath; time to cool down. (FdW)
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While I am not sure if it is a deliberate thing for Eilean Records to do, but somehow they manage to
find musician I never heard of, like with Ben Rath and Jacek Doroszenko. The latter is someone who
was a member of Mammoth Ulthana (see Vital Weekly 890 and 1029) but his solo work I think I had
not yet heard. He has a bunch of releases and is also active in the production of installations and visual
art. On his album he plays “electronics, prepared & grand piano, field recordings, electric & acoustic
guitar, bells, gates, toys, random objects”. The field recordings were taped while in residency in Norway
and Greece, even when I couldn’t tell when and where they are heard or what the difference is between,
but no doubt it’s not really of great importance. Doroszenko’s music belongs to the experimental side
of ambient music. He uses from time to time longer sustaining sounds, made from the processing of
the various sounds he uses, but on top of that there is also piercing sounds from insects, bowed
instruments, rusty fences and, as easily, also some meandering piano notes. It’s not always as careful
and delicate as one should expect with this kind of thing and that’s something I enjoyed very much.
Doroszenko delivers quite a diverse album, creating a variety of moods, both light and dark and that
works quite well, I think. None of this is really overly long or too sketchy, but in each piece (somewhere
between two and eight minutes) Doroszenko paints a picture and then continues with another, using
different colours and techniques. This is a great release.
    Ben Rath is “an amateur musician currently based in Manchester, UK”, who uses guitar, keyboard
and piano, along with samples and field recordings. Since 2014 he has recording and releasing music
and sometimes plays improvised music as Black Heart Music. His album is about ten minutes longer
than Doroszenko’s one and tracks can be up to nine minutes but the main difference is that Rath plays
around with a more single minded approach to sound. Whatever instrument he picks up for a track,
there is always quite a lot of effects in use and also time stretching, taking the recordings apart and
making them longer. Fiddling with the equalization downward creates the darkness and it’s a mood
that runs through all nine tracks. While this is surely not a bad album, I must admit I was also not
very enthusiastic about it. This is the kind of music that works out all right, played on a rainy day and
with nothing much else to do than watching the clouds pass and rain fall, setting the tone for autumn.
But just as easily I would think there is so much more music that fits that particular dreary day than
this and perhaps this is easily forgotten. Rath should try and find a sound that is more ‘him’ and not a
general template of ambient music. (FdW)
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THEME – SACRAL BLOOD WARNING (CDR by Fourth Dimension Records/Idioblast)

When Theme from the UK released their debut album ‘On Parallel Shores Removed’ I was delighted.
Check out Vital Weekly 247. Since then I reviewed two further releases, ‘Our Angels Dislocated’ (Vital
Weekly 527) and ‘Valentine (Lost) Forever’ (Vital Weekly 697), the latter I didn’t like very much,
mainly due to the vocals sounding like David Tibet, whereas the two previous releases were
instrumental. Theme came out of scene with mostly heavy guitar experimentalism (Splintered, ASP,
Band Of Pain) but sounded especially in the early days like an interesting combination of machine
rhythm and noise. There was a release on LP in 2014, which I missed out upon, but now there is this
limited edition of 50 copies CDR release. This time around it is a duo of Richard Johnson and Stuart
Carter and the shift from their old sound towards a more ‘rhythmic noise but also with vocals’, crossing
industrial music with psychedelic music is still present. This is a different Theme indeed than before,
which is of course fine. There are many vocals on this album, but they no longer sound as David Tibet,
luckily, but it is fed through a bunch of sound processors and sound like vocalists from the industrial
area (think along the lines of Ramleh, Whitehouse and early Cabaret Voltaire), which fits the banging
of sequencers, rhythm machines and piercing synthesizer sounds pretty well. This is some true old
school power electronics, and as such I thought it was most enjoyable; perhaps because I don’t reach
that often for that kind of music when looking for something old to play and its a great reminder of
days past. If you like Richard Johnson’s Splintered, than you would enjoy this new direction as well.
Powerful electronic music, and no doubt there is some sort of political edge to all of this, which
somehow eludes me, but I found the energy level of the music quite refreshing and liberating. (FdW)
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None of these three new releases by Jens Kindermann is very long, but somehow there is reason for
keeping these works on three separate discs. ‘The new Living Room Series contains three volumes of
sound collages exploring the inside and outside environments’, says For Kings And Queens, but how
that works out I am not entirely sure of. It suggests the presence of field recordings, inside as well as
outside, but judging by what I hear it might also be something to do with instruments, be it guitars,
voices and/or electronics. For each of these there is a short description, but that’s more poetry in action
than informative. For volume 1 it says: “Dull summons of the giants from the depths of the tempting
vest, pounded and healed the breathing heaviness of the splintering dream. Torn and trembling in
flight, the vibration of the wild birds was splashing wet”. So you know! In total there is some ninety
minutes of music, with per volume two long pieces.
    Much of the earlier work of For Kings And Queens seemed inspired by the whole laptop music
movement, say Fennesz and beyond, but on these new pieces one could say that has been left behind
in favour of a more expansive sound, using more and diverse elements, along with many treatments
 but not as reduced as before. There is certainly, at least that’s what I would think, an element of
psychedelica to this. Deep ripples of bass sounds, cut-up voices from field recordings and electronics,
and all of that blending from the world of industrial music, psychedelics, ambient and glitch into
something that is quite good. I called the last one, ‘Elektroraum’ (Vital Weekly 922) the best For Kings
And Queens the best so far, but these six pieces are most certainly right up there with his best work.
This is some utterly vibrant music, especially ‘Ausland 2’ (on ‘Volume 2’), but also in the other pieces
things keeps bouncing and leaping around with quite some vigour. On ‘Volume 3’ there seems to be
more ‘real’ instruments.
    If there were something to ‘complain’ about it would be that the pieces could have been a bit
shorter, say twelve minutes max, and then all on one CDR release for some gentle, uninterrupted
listening experience. That would have been ideal, but as it is now, a set of three it also works pretty
well. (FdW)
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GC-VP – THE FIRESIDE ANGEL (CDR by Fukminate Mewziq)
VISUAL AIDS – CRAIG (CDR by Fukminate Mewziq)

This is a continuation from last week’s impromptu review/subconscious slur that we call review. But
before I do, I’d like to reprint the label’s message found on social media about the previous review and
respond: “Whether I should be or not I’m out here “making” music and attempting to either engage in
or posit a conversation about some fundamental practices as I see them…central to all my engagements
is how far hip hop can be pushed and employing improv/noise/drone in this effort…anyway recently I
sent some of this material to #vitalweekly and this is the response I got…I’m pretty sloppy in handling
logistics but also Frans de Waard hates all “rap” music so let’s remember all that…I’m not angry maybe
a bit disappointed but a “bad” review can go a long way in generating interest in that making something
sound bad can actually do the opposite…Thanks in deference…”
    Now, that is a bit of most wanted extra information I didn’t get before, the whole pushing of hip hop
and all that, but as I made clear many times before we are not the persons to deliver critique on music
that we simply don’t know much about. You can send us a country & western record, claim it’s
experimental, but we would shrug our shoulders and simply tell that country & western isn’t our forte.
Or heavy metal; or rap/hip hop. So remember that when you continue what I made of the rest of label’s
releases. Spoiler: I am still not very enthusiastic.
    I no longer try to find an order, and work through the pile of seven and see what’s on there. I gather
GC stands for G. Castro, man behind the label, and VP… well, maybe part of EVP, which, if I interpret
Bandcamp correctly, is perhaps part of the idea. It opens with a long piece, ‘Inches From The Earth’,
first a bit of hiss, then some massive reverb, which works really well. The other four pieces are shorter
and deal with voices, not EVPs I’d say, but rather from a living person, fed through some effects. Some
of it may be taped from the radio and comes along with noise from synthesizer or effects. Though not
bad, they don’t match up with that first piece, which was most enjoyable.
    Then we move to Fetal Imposition who starts out with a fine cut-up for a few seconds, before getting
stuck in a looped rhythm for too long. Loops seem to be the thing that is moving this forward, cut from
reel-to-reel sources, maybe, or some imperfect form of sampling. It is a bit hard to say really, but
perhaps I am also a bit distracted by the fact that despite some of the sonic overload it stays sometimes
too long for the same time.
    Which is something that can also be said of I Have Polyps On My Soul’s Throat, who use the crackling
of vinyl, electronics, harsh noise and digital distortion to create some nocturnal horror soundtrack of
broken records (and broken dreams?). Some of these loopy and goofy treatments sound not bad at all,
even when not always for the duration of each track.
    Visual Aids? That must be the silliest name in some time (maybe since Insects With Tits?) and this
is ‘laptop wrung through direct input mic… piling cornpiling ontop over itself’. There is indeed a pile-up
on the CDR motorway of garbled pop tunes, played or plundered, hard to say, of metal banging meeting
rap music. Keep up the good work and keep me out of the loop.
    Time for Cold Beer. I rather have a glass of than a CDR, but it has to wait. No party if work’s not
over. Three pieces on this rather short CDR. Not much information but there is more noise of plundered
sources, mucho distortion, especially in track numero uno and tres, but dos is mostly enjoyable with
some dark noise rumble.
    Now there’s a question that has been going round my head for some time; ‘what’s the point?’.
Indeed. I have no idea if Ameriqa’s Favorite Noise Record is another guise of G. castro (or perhaps he
is behind all of these releases), and I am sure it is not likely to become a favourite noise of many people
(of course there will exceptions. This is some percussive banging and some noise in the best tradition
of old school industrial music.
    And now, ladies and gentlefolk, the final release by Fukminate Mewziq. I hope for now, but also for
some time to come. Five tracks, thirty-six minutes. More distortion, more loops, and in the words of The
Beatles ‘I’m so Tired’.
    It may seem that I am very negative and perhaps in some cases I am. Not every piece of noise is
brilliant and/or avant-garde. Much of this seems to be made without much thought (which I know for
some people consider an art form as well), but I take these things from the perspective as a listener,
and someone who has heard a fair bit of noise, and I just found this not really engaging as a listener,
and with some of the unattractive and not very informative artwork made this quite a struggle. (FdW)
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MARK VERNON – REMNANT KINGS (cassette by Cosmovision Registros Andinos)

Hot on the heels of his cassette with long-time compadre Burns (see Vital Weekly 1096), Mark Vernon
returns with another solo work, this time around released on a label all the way from Chile. It is
described as “Bits and bobs. Odds and ends. Scraps and leftovers”, which is a bit of a let down. It sounds
like scraping the barrel to see if there is something worthwhile to release. Vernon is someone who uses
a lot of found sound to create a fine radio drama out of it. Lots of voice material, odd snippets of sound
found on worn out cassettes and sound carriers no longer commonly used. He has quite a career with
releases, concerts and above all, radio. The leftovers found on ‘Remnant Kings’ sound just like that. It is
stuff Vernon has collected over the last twenty years, on a single reel-to-reel tape; he says it’s like a
family photo book of snapshots. A bit of household fun, children talk, toys and some of it very soft (maybe
too soft in volume for cassette, I was wondering), but there is also a bunch of pieces that use field
recordings, and an improvisation with feedback; ‘Invitations To say No’ is that (I think) and that one
sounds great, very intense and mysterious. That cannot be said of all the other tracks. Sometimes it is
just a bit too much of random, found sound. The good thing is that it sounds like a long, fifty-some
minute collage of sound, and not as nine separate pieces, with sometimes things being cut-up in the
middle of piece. It is not Vernon’s masterpiece, but that’s all right. It cleans the bins and time to move
to what will be another fine record. (FdW)
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