Number 1105

AMP – Q FACTORS (A MIXTAPE) (CD by Ampbase) *
GAGARIN – CORVID (CD by Geo Records) *
MY HOME, SINKING – KING OF CORNS (CD by Infraction Records) *
SONTAG SHOGUN & MOSKITOO (7” by Home Normal)
YELLOW6 – ABOUT THE JOURNEY (CD by Sound In Silence) *
CON_CETTA – ORIGINE (CDR by Sound In Silence) *
THE ELKS – THIS NOT THE ANT (CD by Mikroton) *
KURT LIEDWART – TONE (CD by Mikroton) *
KURT LIEDWART – MARE (cassette by Mikroton) *
TAPAGE – CHROME FRAGMENTS (cassette by Lomechanik) *
MAGYAR MEZONY HAVIZAJ VALOGATAS (cassette compilation by Unsigned)
UNSIGNED EXPERIMENTAL NOISE COMP #3 (cassette compilation by Unsigned)
RADERKRAFT (cassette by Out Of Sync Tapes)
  Versus Crow)
NICK HOFFMAN – PARVAE HARMONIAE (cassette by Pilgrim Talk)
ANDY BIRTWISTLE – AUDIO CASSETTE TAPE (double cassette by Start Here)
ANDY BIRTWISTLE – CHEWED (cassette by Start Here)


Like I said in the previous review of an AMP release there are weeks that I don’t think of them (see Vital
Weekly 1062) and so it escaped my attention they are working on a new CD and while waiting we are
served with ‘Q Factors (A Mixtape)’. “A collection of mixes, in the remix style, this release was first
conceived in 2000 and has very slowly evolved, until the start of this year when the final tracks were
finished”, which seems like a very long time indeed. I read all the information, listened to the music
and realized I am just not very well informed; or not enough that is. There is reference for each track
to people that were a member, or (re-)mixer of some kind, or friend of the band (a duo) of some kind.
Some of these pieces might have been released elsewhere, or these might be alternative mixes.
Whatever is the case, the music on this release, ten long songs, is all quite rhythmic. And here comes
my problem about the band; I must admit I didn’t expect AMP’s music to be so rhythmic and electronic,
even when a guitar is not far away. There are broken beats, rock beats, trip hop beats and Richard
AMP’s guitar sometimes meandering about, rocking our, do the all ambient trick, but beats seem to be
the most important feature just as much as Karine Charff’s voice, sometimes drenched with sound
effects and buried melancholic deep in the mix. So, in that respect, I am not only surprised, but hence
there am me thinking not knowing where to place AMP, as a group. It is a most lovely release, that
much is sure, even when it seemed a bit too far off the daily Vital digest. It taps for me too much in the
world of hip beats that I don’t consider all too interesting myself. I like AMP to be moody, melancholic,
with or without a rhythm I guess, with buried vocals, ambient guitars and a trippy sound; just as they
do ‘Push ’n Hold’, one of the few pieces that doesn’t seem to be a remix of any kind. Also the beatless
remixes by Yellow6 and Ladder To Royale are highly textured and most enjoyable, all of these to be
found towards the end of the release. I am wondering what the new CD will be like! (FdW)
––– Address:

GAGARIN – CORVID (CD by Geo Records)

Graham ‘Dids’ Dowdall is a busy man, and he has been ever since he was a member of Ludus in the late
70s, or playing there after with Eric Random, Nico, Suns Of Arqa, Band Of Holy Joy and these days with
Pere Ubu and Roshi ft Pars Radio, or teaching, being an expert in music and disabilities. As Gagarin he
plays drum pads, samplers, iPad and effects, and has been in Vital Weekly a few times before (781, 666
and 544). On ‘Corvid’ we find a bunch of pieces that he was commissioned to make ‘in response to 5
hills in Surrey to accompany walks and reworks on these pieces, which feature recordings made in
situ’. Eleven pieces in total and it’s not always easy which pieces are from the original commissioned
work and which are reworks. Not that this really matters of course. There might be field recordings in
this music, but I think we should assume these to be very much processed, to a point of no recognition
(save for some birds here and there). Dowdall is a drummer and that’s something that is very clear
from hearing the eleven pieces on this release. His rhythms are, so I believe, a combination of hand
played ones, samples and stuff that you program on various apparatus. In his music Gagarin is not
particularly interested in playing something that is oriented towards the dance floor, so it seems, but
his rhythms are moods and textures as much as the electronics that control and process these rhythms.
It is all about setting the right, somewhat dark atmosphere in his music, adding a bit of synthesizers
and melodies in some of these pieces. I can surely see myself walking outside, hills or no hills, with this
music as a soundtrack to nature. Preferable, I’d think, with the volume a bit down, so one would hear
also a bit of the field recordings around you (and of course that car so you don’t get knocked off your
socks), and then the music of Gagarin makes even more sense, a tripping journey soundtrack, such as
the cosmic opener ‘Gibbet’. I thought all of this was great; it made an entirely different use of field
recordings, but also of beats and textures, and throughout it was all a pleasant surprise and throughout
a great CD. (FdW)
––– Address:


These days Laux is based in berlin, but hailing from Neubrandenburg, Germany and playing and
producing music since 1998, ‘ after discovering a talent for meticulously sampling and looping audio’.
Dronarivm places him along the lines of Pheek, Ezekiel Honig and Marc Neyen, all of whom I don’t
know. Somehow I assume he plays all the instruments himself. There is the piano, violin and cello, all
which are looped indeed and played around with using electronics, to suggest additional space (as in:
there is surely no lack of reverb). Apparently there is also quite a bit by way of field recordings, but
somehow I don’t hear those, unless twisted and turned quite a bit (or it is that piano stool we hear in
‘There Is Still Hope’?). In all of the eight pieces on this release the three instruments play an important
role with sometimes the piano taking the lead, or the strings, but never both I think, and one could
almost think this is recorded in a cavernous (or cathedral like) space, and it works well with the
orchestral feeling of these pieces. The strings played in long minor chord tones, with a slow twist at
the end, that steel guitar like tear at the end, while the piano plays it’s chords with a similar slow
majestically feeling. Music that sounds like the fading of day light, but no doubt that is an image that
just came up as I was watching outside for a bit while contemplating the meditative nature of the
music. The titles of Laux’s pieces aren’t always the most optimistic ones, to say the least; ‘I Wish I
Could Sleep’, ‘From Sadness To You’, ‘The Lost Violin’ or ‘Are You Still With Me?’ but throughout I
would think this music is sad and melancholic, yet not necessarily without a shred of light; it is just
not easy to see, I guess. Laux is one man that sounds like a chamber orchestra; long live technology I
guess and he does a great job. (FdW)
––– Address:


Let me take you down a rabbit hole way back to 22 July 1984 (which is more than 33 years ago!) when
the sun shone brightly over a square in Arnhem, The Netherlands. I remember that afternoon vividly:
 am sitting next to someone who is smoking a joint and we are both enjoying an open air performance
by an odd trio with an odder hair-styled singer. He looks punky, but their music is anything but punk.
And besides punk is dead innit? The somewhat confused onlookers, mostly Saturday city centre
shoppers (unlike me – I am here for the occasion), are hit between the eyes with doom-laden yet very
catchy post-punk electronics and some quite creepy atmospheric songs. That day marked my first
encounter with Attrition, a UK-based proto-gothic trio playing industrial/experimental music you
could perhaps even dance to. Attrition had been booked to be part of a series of concerts that summer
in Arnhem, my hometown at the time. I also went to see Zsa Zsa play in that series as well as another
band I cannot remember the name of. The series had been co-coordinated by Dutch radio DJ Ignit van
Kasteren (my then-heroine), who also ran Ding Dong records and tapes, a small independent store
(and label) for experimental music in Arnhem.
    Attrition had been formed four years previously by Martin Bowes (vocals, electronics and effects)
and Julia Niblock (vocals, bass, percussion) with Julia’s brother Ashley Niblock (keyboards, electronics)
joining slightly later. Having ditched their original drummer, they purchased a drum computer and
became part of the 80s independent cassette-culture, releasing cassette albums such as the post-
atomic ambient zombie soundtrack ‘Death House’ (still a personal favourite) and the more song based
‘Onslaught’. The very fertile early 80s compilation cassette-scene ensured that Attrition’s dark
melodies found a welcome home on compilations such as the legendary five-cassette series ‘Rising
From The Red Sand’. In 1984 the band also released ‘The Attrition Of Reason’, their first ‘proper’
album on vinyl. On this album the band successfully combined Martin’s deep growling vocals with
Julia’s semi-operatic bursts and the musical bombast with atmosphere and more ambient songs
setting a template for what would, much later, be defined as ‘Dark wave’. Despite two digital reissues
of ‘The Attrition Of Reason’, it has been ten years since the album was last available. Reason enough
for Hong Kong’s Ultra Mail Prod label, specializing in high quality ambient and industrial music, to
release this most elaborate, and possibly definite, version. This double disc, released in an edition of
100 copies, feasts our ears with the complete original album, the ‘Deliverance’ EP (with ‘Monkey In A
Bin’ single of the week in the UK), four original demo mixes, the full ‘Onslaught’ cassette as well as a
scattering of bonus tracks taken from various compilations released at the time – a grand total of 24
songs and over two hours playing time! Listening to this album took me to the 80s; not the easiest of
decades to grow up in – a decade marked by economic crisis, nuclear threat and worldwide political
tension. But it also takes me back to that extremely sunny day in 1984 when I watched Attrition play
in the glorious Arnhem sun. Ultra Mail Prod’s ‘The Attrition Of Reason – Redux’ is a textbook example
of the kind of reissue you want, no need, to own. (FK)
––– Address:

MY HOME, SINKING – KING OF CORNS (CD by Infraction Records)

If you’d asked me this morning ‘so Enrico Coniglio, what is it that he does’, I’d probably said something
along the lines of ‘isn’t he that Italian ambient musician, lots of guitar, effects, loops made?’ (the
rhetorical part to cover up possible mistakes of course), but after hearing My Home, Sinking, his latest
moniker, I have to revise that a bit. First of all there is quite a cast of extra players here, adding vocals,
viola, vibraphone, organ, glockenspiel (none by people I immediately whose names I recognized), while
Coniglio himself plays most instruments; guitar, melodica, harmonica, horn, electric organ, synthesizer,
psalter, tapes & vinyl, found objects, field recordings & programming. Yes, there is surely an ambient
ring to these eleven pieces, but it is extended to so much more than that. It has a pastoral feeling, these
pieces, slow and peaceful, and quite rightly Infraction Records places this along the lines of Talk Talk
and Harold Budd, as diverse as that may seem (well, maybe not!). Not all of this is perfectly played,
which I think is the beauty of it, as it seems to me that some players had a free role in adding sounds
on the pieces in a more freely improvised manner. There is a folktronic, jazz noir and trip hop feeling
to this music. ‘I Can’t Help It (But This Is The End)’ sounds like Portishead, especially of course in the
voice of Chantal Acda, in what is perhaps the more conventional bit on this release. There is a smoky
atmosphere to this music, which is alike a fifties black & white movie (French no doubt); spooky,
haunting (‘Full Blank’ for instance, the nightmarish closing piece) but also serene and introspective.
    The cover is black and white and reminded me of 4AD Records. This didn’t seem a typical
Infraction Records release, but it fits their catalogue really well. It’s moody and dark, it’s ambient
and not just that and it is reaching for the outer limits of pop music (again, think 4AD and for instance
This Mortal Coil). This is an excellent release. (FdW)
––– Address:

SONTAG SHOGUN & MOSKITOO (7” by Home Normal)

Home Normal relocated from Tokyo to Warsaw and the head honcho Ian Hawgood produced another
work, this time in collaboration with Danny Norbury. He plays cello and piano and is/was a member
of Black Elk, The Boats, Kinder Scout and Le Lendemain, as well as active as playing solo music. I am
not sure what Hawgood plays. I understand that the seven pieces on this release should be seen as
one continuous piece of music, and I am playing this right after the release of My Home, Sinking, which
in a way makes perfect sense. It continues very much in a similar contemplative mood, of violin and
piano tones in minor, and some obscured sounds pushed far away in the mix, barely audible but very
much there also; like they picked up some extra sounds while recording this, and you be assured,
these things are not there by accident. This is however not in every piece, only in some. As the work
progresses it moves into a very lush work of violin sounds, multiple ones, together and intertwined,
of great sadness and desolate beauty. It no longer sounds the way it opened, which was sparse and
austere. Over the course of thirty-three minutes it expanded and yet stayed quiet and melancholic.
The beginning may have had a feedback drone every now and then, but that is entirely gone at the
end and the piece has become a small chamber orchestral one. Beautiful.
    The 7” is a collaboration between Japanese vocalist Moskitoo, also known as Sanae Yamasaki, and
known for her releases on 12K (see Vital Weekly 565 and 895), who teams with the trio Sontag
Shogun, being Ian temple (piano), Jesse Perlstein (field recordings, treated vocals, electronic
processing) and Jeremy Young (tapes, oscillators and electronics). In the past I wasn’t always too
pleased with Moskitoo’s voice. The two songs on this 45rpm 7” are indeed songs, and not, as we find
a lot in these pages, cutouts from bigger pieces, cut to fit on a 7”. The piano is the leading instrument;
playing some introspective tunes, and the rest of instruments swirling about in a steady, gentle flow.
The words by Moskitoo are also flowing about, rather than strictly singing; more a sigh and a whisper,
than a hook and verse, if you catch my drift, although on ‘The Thunderswan’ one could have the
impression that is perhaps tried. Does this end up in a nationwide top 10? Obviously the answer is
no, but that’s not what this is about of course. It is all about the creation of two beautiful ambient pop
songs and should Lynch consider another Twin Peaks serial, he could use ‘The Thunderswan’ and who
knows, catapult this lovely little record in an alternative top 10; that of best Twin Peaks songs. (FdW)
––– Address:

YELLOW6 – ABOUT THE JOURNEY (CD by Sound In Silence)
CON_CETTA – ORIGINE (CDR by Sound In Silence)

The name Yellow6 has been around for some twenty years, which is a lifetime and it seems that I off
and on tap into what Jon Attwood does; not always, but just enough to follow his career a bit. The last
time I reviewed some of his work, I think, was in Vital Weekly 824, when he had a CD and DVD to offer.
When I first got to know his music, Yellow6 seemed part of the world of ambient guitar slingers and
that, so I believe, is something he still does. His work found it’s way to many labels (Enraptured, Make
Mine Music, Ochre, Resonant, Distant Noise Records, Basses Frequencies, Chat Blanc Records,
Cathedral Transmissions and many more), and he has work with Portal, Rothko, Avrocar, Landing,
and, again, many more. He plays guitar and that goes, via a loop system, reverb and delay plus who
knows what else, into a process of slow deformation, transformation, cycling about, and everything
becomes part of it, going round and round. Yellow6’s music is best when he takes some time, to let
the material slowly ripe and develop. Everything he does is about creating big textures with a few
sounds; it sounds very melancholic and dreamy this music, and one can easily imagine a movie to go
along of a sun soaked desert (rather than a misty forest; but I admit that is my perspective of the
music); perhaps it sounds like an Americana styled sliding on the guitar? I am not sure. In ‘The Death
Of Nostalgia’ there is even a bit of voice stuff, buried deep in the drones. In ‘Last Day’ there is more
experimentation with sounds coming close to feedback and distortion and makes a nice, little variation
on the whole. It is great to do something out of the ordinary, I guess, to break away from the more
known fields of music, even when yellow6 remains close to what he does best: playing lengthy slow
and sad tunes. This is a long CD, some seventy-five minutes, but most rewarding indeed.
    Much shorter, thirty-one minutes is the release by Giuseppe Cordaro, from Reggio Emilia, Italy
and he works as Con_cetta. Zymogen and Moteer released his previous albums, but he also contributed
to compilations on Cronica, Silent Flow, Dewtone Recordings and such like. He is also one half of
Dankerque and Buttinelli.A. ‘Origine’ is his first solo album in nine years and I have no idea why it
took so long or why it’s only thirty minutes. Here we find processed piano melodies, ditto field
recordings and guitars, and found sounds; the usual suspects one could say for an album of moody
electronics. Compared to the album by Yellow6 the music of Con_cetta is much more abstract; partly
because it’s not always easy to recognize an instrument as such, save for that piano I guess but that’s
only in very few pieces, but it’s also not always the strictest interpretation of ambient music that is
delivered here. The sixth piece, for instance, is more a doodle on a synth, cutting in and out with
minimal development. This is the kind of ambient/drone/atmospheric music that I enjoy very much,
since it is not very textbook stuff, and that is great. Con_cetta paints pictures according to his own rules
and reminded me of Mirror, Jonathan Coleclough (but with shorter pieces) and heavier forms of laptop
ambient. It is all quite dark but with some lovely textures. (FdW)
––– Address:

KURT LIEDWART – MARE (cassette by Mikroton)

It was not easy to decide where to start, but I had a slight preference for the Lehn/Schmickler release.
I am not sure why, but I guess it’s a combination of liking their older work and not having heard much
new music by them in recent years. ‘New Images’ is the translation of the title and I gather both are
edited from live recordings by the two; one from 2013 and one from 2016. Marcus Schmickler is behind
the computer, playing whatever sort of thing he uses (I am guessing max/msp or supercollider; might
be something else) and Thomas Lehn on analogue synthesizer, as the cover says, which I gather is the
EMS one, the Synthi A, which has been using for more than twenty years now, and on which is a
powerful player. Just as powerful as Schmickler is on the computer, as both of these pieces, with a total
playing time thirty-seven minutes, show a brutal force of energy. Not because it’s super loud, well, not
always, but because it keeps leaping all over the place, and never loses its dynamic approach. When it
becomes quiet, it’s not for a very long time before things burst out again, expand and explode. Nothing
stays in the same place for very long and Lehn and Schmickler have a great interaction going between
the two of them, responding to each other in a very intuitive manner.  On ‘9112013’ there is a giant
explosion and then a very careful ending; this a great, massive burst of musical energy to start listening
to new releases by Mikroton.
    So for the next one I decided to pick one that looked a bit puzzling. Is the artist Junk & The Beast, or
is Petr Vrba and Veronika Mayer; or perhaps both?  Very vaguely, somewhere in the back of my head it
said that I heard these names before. Vrba hails from Prague is a trumpet player, clarinet player and he
also uses vibrating speakers and in one piece thermos flasks, whereas Mayer is from Vienna and plays
electronics and accordion. They are both active as composers, improvisers and sound artists. On ‘Trailer’
they explore the “combination of textural materials crossing them with vibrations of objects on the
speakers, pure sound waves, feedbacks, tones coming from trumpet, accordion, electronics and laptop,
culminating in creation of muscular frenetic soup and tense energy fields”. As much as the Lehn/
Schmickler release is a burst of energy, this is the all-silent approach, the Zen listening experience. The
music here, spread out over four pieces is all about controlling a few sounds, carefully balancing them,
letting them hang around and then slowly playing them out. Scratching the surface sounds perhaps
negative, but that’s what they do. They touch, lightly upon a surface, whether this is the surface of their
instrument(s) or tables, floors or whatever, being made audible by speakers emitting low-end
frequencies, and adding very sparse sounds produced by hands and mouths. This is not music one can
put on for some pleasant background sound, but something for your full and unlimited concentration,
 so that it can unfold all that is hidden in here. Very beautiful, and one feels very tired yet rewarded
    Of the quartet The Elks I heard a while ago for the first time (Vital Weekly 1083), here they return.
We have here Liz Allbee (trumpet, preparations), Kai Fagaschinski (clarinet), Billy Roisz (electronics,
e-bass) and Marta Zapparoli (tapes, reel-to-reel tape machine, devices), and they recorded the material
on this release already in April 2014. All four players have an extensive background in improvisation,
impromptu playing and in groups that have been around for some time. Their previous release came as
pleasant surprise as I expected something quiet and introspective, but it was altogether louder and
noisier than anticipated. What I have to keep in mind also is that on this CD the recordings are older
than on the cassette I reviewed some twenty weeks ago, and perhaps that is the reason this seems the
kind of thing I expected back then; the careful and introspective playing. I am not sure how these four
people are playing together as The Elks (to which I should add [sic], as the plural of ‘elk’ is ‘elk’), but
maybe these are the earliest recordings of this band? Unlike Vrba and Mayer this is however not
exclusively about some very quiet music and sounds as there is much to enjoy, using a volume that is
a bit louder altogether, even with a touch of noise (in ‘Noise For Slugs’). That is not to say this all very
traditional improvised music as there are elements that are a bit ‘odd’, to say the least. Things like a
beat of something, the heavy synth like sounds of ‘Oceanie Bathtub’, which adds a psychedelic flavour
to the music; repeating sounds is something they seem to like as it is happening on a few more places,
and makes this a very varied dish of musical interests. Composed, improvised: all of these lines are
blurred here and it makes up for some truly wonderful music. Hearing is believing.
    And finally there are two new releases by label boss Kurt Liedwart, who is also active as a musician,
although not always on his own label. Of his own work he says that he is working with “art and sound
that cross genres, mixing music practices such as electroacoustic and improvised music, noise and
glitch, and art movements such as actionism and Fluxus” and he works with “analogue synthesizers,
electronics, light-controlled electronics, electromagnetic devices, laptop, sine waves, field recordings,
percussion processed electronically in real time”. First there is the CD ‘Tone’, which is about extreme
and reductionist electronics, but also with melodies. If one is to think of Mikroton as a label for
improvised music than this is the sort of thing that proofs you wrong. Maybe some of the playing is
improvised but through editing Liedwart composed long form pieces of radical electronic music, in
which there is indeed place for a melody, traces of rhythm and extreme frequencies from the world
of noise music, especially in the second piece, ’Tonen’. While that is a most enjoyable tonal outburst I
preferred the other pieces on the CD. These aren’t in the same ballpark volume wise, and offer a more
detailed look into the machines Liedwart is using. These are shimmering dark pieces of electronic
sounds intertwined, with an odd half-baked melody being eating away by a computer virus, or a looped
sound of bytes that got stuck in the hard drive. It’s here that Liedwart shows the most variation and
while not always very quiet, it works simply well here than in a sonic overkill.
    On the cassette ‘Mare’ (the Latin word for ‘sea’) he uses mostly synthesizers and electronics, and
sounds from previous works he did (mostly field recordings I think) and did a whole bunch of
improvisations over a longer period of time. From the improvisations he edited the compositions,
which is something that his label is known to do. Rather than releasing improvised music the releases
on Mikroton are compositions based on improvisations. These are mostly quiet; or rather ‘soft’ in
volume, not necessarily quiet. It is, in a way, like listening to an oceanic soundscape, I think. The
white noise from the machines emulate the seaside sounds of slow cascading waves; beautifully subtle
and yet not entirely ambient. There is a shimmering noise side to these pieces, and that is the beauty
of this. The field recordings, whatever they originally were, tumble and rumble nicely and altogether
this is a great cassette. More varied, so it seems than the ‘Tone’ CD, building in intensity of the pieces
and I think it’s a pity that this regaled to a cassette only. So be it. (FdW)
––– Address:


This second solo effort by Greg Fox is a very odd one. Fox is a drummer and a lot more. Most of his
output concerns releases by Guardian Allien, Zs and Liturgy that have Fox as a member. All these
bands play metal-related music, be it more Avant-garde, black metal, etc. Listening to ‘The Gradual
Procession’ it doesn’t take long to assume a background like this. Fox is a very powerful and virtuoso
drummer who plays his polyrhythmic bombardments with exact precision. One could easily imagine
his compositions to be played by a complete band. But they aren’t. We hear music that has the
drumming by Fox in the forefront, accompanied by a few guest appearances, and electronic generated
responsive sounds by Fox himself, I guess. “Sensors attached to Fox’s drum kit trigger tonal palettes,
or virtual instruments invented for each piece, which Fox communes with in the post-Free jazz
manner”.  An interesting procedure, but the resulting compositions didn’t satisfy me. Fox above all
shows he is a very capable drummer. His six extended melodic compositions touch on many musical
territories. Spirituality is important for Fox, I learn from several sources, and inspiring him for this
album. However his music didn´t make any appeal to me in that direction. For sure this is a record
by someone who has a plan and vision, and is not afraid to shape it in an unusual musical format. But
also I couldn’t relate to it and I totally miss the point here. (DM)
––– Address:


Here is a duo effort by Hans Joachim Irmler and Carl Friedrich Oesterhelt. Irmler runs the Klangbad
label, and was owner of the Faust-studio in earlier days. Oesterhelt is of a younger generation. He is
a musician and composer with Carlofashion, Tied & Tickled Trio, etc. Also he writes radioplays and
music for theatre. After their first collaboration ‘Formen’ released in 2016 for Klangbad, they
immediately continued with a second project for which they were inspired by the book ‘Les Chants
de Maldoror’, by French writer Lautréamont, published in 1868.  A poetic work that later was a
favourite among the surrealists. The book is divided into six parts. Likewise the adaption by Irmler
and Oesterhelt is a work in six parts. The text of book is not vocalised or performed. The music is
overall instrumental, and an eclectic combination of neoclassical music, strange electronic intermezzos,
rock, etc. Performed by Irmler and Oesterhelt who both play keyboards mainly: piano, Hammond,
analogue synthesizer, plus voice and drums. They are accompanied by a drummer, a string quartet
and the Stadtkapelle Scheer. It is a bizarre and eccentric work that works because of the way they fuse
very different musical episodes. Different in instrumentation, different in musical style. The parts
played by the string quartet are composed in a neoclassical style. In the opening track ‘Erster Gesang’
for example the music is clearly inspired on the rhythms of Stravinsky’s ‘Le Sacre de Printemps’ and
combined – with humour – with “hoempapa”-intermezzi played by the Stadtkapelle. It is because of
these abrupt changes and unusual combinations, that this work is truly a fascinating and engaging
––– Address:


Waller is a young American composer from New York City. His music doesn’t reflect a nervous
downtown city life and environment. On the contrary, this is music of a pastoral and lyrical nature;
music that is very harmonious, tonal and not very demanding. With the emergence of minimal music
by Philip Glass, Reich and others, modern, American composed music made a drastic turn to
harmonious, melodic and tonal music. Doing everything that was forbidden by the modernist paradigm
in those days. But the impulse of Glass and others was one to stay. Many composers nowadays start
from this new point. Waller is evidently an exponent of this tradition. Leaving strict repetitive
minimalism behind, although repetition still is an important ingredient in his compositions. His music
 is close to kitsch and cliché. It is not an ironic play with this tradition, but a serious attempt to create
new music between these twisted borders. But his music is far too intelligent to fall into an easy trap.
In 2015 he debuted with the double album ‘The South Shore’, an album of compositions for solo, duo ,
trio and small ensembles, and a variety of instruments. His new album, released by Recital Thirty Nine,
a label run by Sean McCann, is dominated by the piano, played by R.Andrew Lee, an experienced
performer of minimal music. Plus a bit of cello played by Seth Parker Woods. At moments the
introspective compositions are of a transparency and simplicity that fail to interest me. But a
composition like ‘Breathing Trajectories’ is of a charming and intriguing simplicity; a bit dissonant
at moments, very meditative. ‘Dreaming’ of 4:33 (!) is also a lovely piece, built around a pattern that
returns and returns in slightly different moods. Throughout the neoclassical music by Waller is of a
melancholic nature and following an impressionistic aesthetic, that make it feel related to French
composers like Debussy and Ravel, or Satie like in ‘Maidens Dancing’. (DM)
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This is a duo work by Daniel Barbiero (double bass, prepared double bass, field recordings) and
Cristiano Bocci (electronics, electric bass, field recordings) with Matteo Ranieri as a guest on
harmonica on ‘Train to Siena’. Recorded between September and December 2016 in Silver Spring
(USA) and Follonica (Italy). The recordings were mixed by Bocci. ‘Nostos’ is their first collaboration
that resulted along similar lines. This one was also released by the Italian netlabel Acustronica. ‘Non-
Places’, in their own words “is a collection of sound constructions inspired by non-places — public
places that are often, though not exclusively, of commercial purpose, and that impart a sense of
anonymity or displacement to those who pass through them and use them to their own ends”, so
places that exist only for their function for us.  So we are talking here about a conceptual work of art
that came into being along following procedures: a particular field recording is the starting point, in
this case mainly recordings from a train stations and other public spaces on both sides of the ocean.
Barbero composed music to it, slowly played patterns on double bass. The music is elementary and
basic, and not complex or virtuoso played. The playing is in function of recreating the experience of
these non-places. Finally Bocci deconstructed the recordings and constructed them into their final
shape. The electro-acoustic compositions move somewhere between music and sound work. It are
atmospheric ambiances and moody textures that invite to hang out a while in these evocated
atopias. (DM)
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The Slovakian label Mappa so far released a few cassettes, which all looked extraordinary in the
packages (a rarity these days, compared to the 80s) and now the label expands to releasing CDRs
in oversized carton sleeves with fine block print. On the first one we find music by two Argentinean
musicians, Sergio Merce (microtonal saxophone, analogue synth, electronics, edition; the latter I
believe is the editing process) and Catriel Nievas (clean electric guitar) and together they recorded
two pieces and Merce’s house in Argentina. They say they wanted to explore music “surrounded by
a certain tonality or tonal centre”, but not classic noise or melodic, but to “explore the connection
between melody, noise and harmony at the same time, and how harmony and noise transformed
each other”. Two sessions they recorded and these were edited down and so there is a twenty-two
minute piece and an eleven minute one on this release consisting of some very careful music that
sounds like a bunch of sine waves, processed feedback in the first one, ‘For The First One’, and in the
second that seems to be mostly done by Merce and his microtonal saxophone, as the guitar of Nievas
is more a cross-over between feedback guitar, but very careful, and occasional plucking of strings,
which makes a wonderful combination between the quite abstract music and some more desolate
tuned guitars. In the first part the plucked guitar is only there for a few isolated occasions, as to mark
breaks, I would think, in the piece. However in both pieces the minimalist and abstract exploration of
long sustaining sound patterns play an important role. It all moves slowly but it sounds wonderfully
great, if not perhaps a little like something you heard before, say the work of Oren Ambarchi.
    Bruno Duplant and Pedro Chambel run the Rhizome.s label and are active when it comes to music
with a more conceptual edge to it, like on their double CD. Duplant calls his pieces with field recordings
“autofictions/self-fictions’, by which I understand he means that they come from many places and are
mixed together, and thus create a fictive place. That’s what they do here with three pieces that span
some ninety minutes. I must admit that I am not all too enthusiastic about these. In itself they use
some pretty interesting sound material, setting natural elements, birds for instance, against a city
environment, like inner spaces of tower blocks and occasional electric whirring of the urban space,
but it’s perhaps at the same time no more than just a bunch of field recordings mixed together, and
as such creates a space that doesn’t exist, but isn’t that to say of all pieces that involve field recordings.
There is, as far as I can see and hear not really a story behind all of this. There seems, if I have to
believe the press text, also a bit of electronic music mixed but that’s also something that is very much
in the background. Maybe I am missing the whole point of this exercise? (FdW)
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TAPAGE – CHROME FRAGMENTS (cassette by Lomechanik)

It’s always good support people, especially if they more or less live around your corner, and with the
label Lomechanik that is almost the case. Tijs Ham is the man behind Tapage and the only time before
I heard his music was when he did a cassette with Espoir, the musical project of Roald van Dillewijn
(see Vital Weekly 982). I don’t know much else about Ham, other than he’s a member of The Void*. On
‘Chrome Fragments’ he uses old cassettes that he recently digitalized and he made new interpretations
of these pieces. I am not sure when these pieces, and I mean the original ones, were made, and to what
extent they are now being transformed at this point. The music is quite rhythmical most of the times,
not really dance floor speed, but it works quite well. Somewhere buried inside there are samples of
what I assume are some of the original old recordings; we hearing the buzzing and whirring sound of
feedback going round and round. It is however not really very abstract, and mostly quite pleasant
music to hear. There is always a bit of melody in these pieces, some weird arpeggio synth and the
semi-industrial bang on a can rhythm of a broken up beat, like bricks out of a road. This is, after all,
released by a label known for their more dance music related releases. As a bonus (download only),
you will get ’Tapedrone’, which is the original piece from back then. On the box there is a bit of that
 loop attached. This is a most experimental afterthought, a great ending to an already varied release.
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MAGYAR MEZONY HAVIZAJ VALOGATAS (cassette compilation by Unsigned)
UNSIGNED EXPERIMENTAL NOISE COMP #3 (cassette compilation by Unsigned)

Two compilations from the Hungarian house for unsigned music and I could use that to explain once
again how much I don’t like to review compilations. Especially when there is not a lot of information
to go by. The first one seems a bit more rock like, even when electronic equipment and sounds are
also used and we find here music by dzsemszGOND, Royal Hungarian Noisemakers, L*mbik, pulpo!
 live act, BOM, United Gods, Lee Kajko, Live Animal Transport, Hideg Roncs, UEUM and broderferenc.
Throughout it is quite a diverse bunch of music that is heard here, but somehow all of it from a more
rock-like background. Or so I believe.
    The other compilation is international, with musicians from The Netherlands, Italy, Russia, and
Hungary and here we find Adeptus Mechanicus, Lorenzo Abattoir, Your Grace Adrianna Natalie, Yann
Is The Bastard, WN, Conure, Alexei Borisov and Katya Rekk, TheUse, Pulpo! Live Act, Miguel A. Garcia
and Royal Hungarian Noisemakers, which I take it some of these people have found their way to labels
(although I am not sure if that means ‘signed’) as I have reviewed their work before. Here it’s
electronics and experiment that rule here. Of the two tapes I thought this was the most interesting
one. If you feel the same way? Check out both on Bandcamp. (FdW)
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RADERKRAFT (cassette by Out Of Sync Tapes)

This cassette was handed to me in person some weeks ago and thanks for that, person unknown. He
said that some of these pieces are also on vinyl, on a label run by Eddy de Clerq, one of the more
legendary dance music DJs in The Netherlands, and known for his fine taste in electro. I can see why
he is attracted to the music of Raderkraft. It has that utter hip retro electro sounds that was so
underground thirty or more years ago, with that excellent sequencer driven beats, topped by some
fine melodies on a bunch of ancient keyboards. Because in this particular world nobody can sing and
yet they want to, the vocals are distorted, vocoded or otherwise mangled, but that adds to the fun.
Lovely quirky electronic pop music. It reminded me of Das Ding, which everybody knows, and
Unheimliche Jungfrauen, who probably no one no longer remembers. There was no address on the
cover, but maybe you can connect through Facebook with person unknown? Simply to book him at
your next party and I am sure he delivers the dance goods. (FdW)
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  Versus Crow)

While I am not entirely sure, I don’t think heard of Sophie Cooper before. I see on Discogs she has
various releases, all on cassette, and one with Julian Bradley. Cooper is from Todmorden, West
Yorkshire, and is a member of The Slowest Lift and Vibracathedral Orchestra. She did a residency
in a place called The Curfew Tower, run by, among others, Bill Drummond, where she used her voice
to record music and her mouth to play the trombone. She does that using improvisation. I believe
the pieces on both sides are to be seen as sketches, rather than completed pieces. Sometimes the
phone rings and she answers it, also recording these. That’s because some of these pieces were
recorded in a public phone box. This is quite a strange release. I very much enjoyed her solo
trombone music, when she layers her playing in the best tradition of Phil Niblock (I am thinking
here of ‘A Third Trombone’ of course), but it is all less organised, and, perhaps, more anarchistic;
that, one could say, is the improvised element of the music. She uses electronic gadgets such as a
 delay to further enhance her playing. Less enamoured am I by her vocal pieces, and that stuff in the
phone box. That I guess is some kind of sound poetry that is perhaps not really my kind of thing. It is
all quite a mixed bag this release, some of it really good, most of it fine and some of it not really for
me. (FdW)
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NICK HOFFMAN – PARVAE HARMONIAE (cassette by Pilgrim Talk)

There is in my humble opinion not enough music available by Rudolf He’s been around doing
music for thirty or so years and mostly active in performances of a more radical nature (so I am told,
having still not seen one) but also his music is quite extreme. In recent years his music slowly
transformed from radical cut-up technique of recordings of acoustic sounds and voices to something
 that is continuous and dealing with field recordings. Everything that he records is amplified quite a
bit, and he applies filtering to emphasize certain frequencies and resonances. One hears the sound of
pigs, of sex, or children and along with all of that comes the looped sounds of hiss that almost sounds
like an organ/synthesizer. It reminded me of the more recent music of Dave Phillips, who, alike it’s
founder, is also a member of Schimpfluch gruppe, so there is surely a shared aesthetic there.
The eight pieces on ‘Rituelle Entfleischung’ (ritual de-boning I believe is the translation) are short,
two to three minutes but they are very rich in the sonic material. I could say that it’s enough, but in
all honestly I had this tape on repeat for a couple of runs, finding every time something new to
discover in these sounds. Are those really pigs, sex, and children or perhaps is it something else?
The electrical disturbance during a thunderstorm for instance? Or maybe I am all-wrong, again?
That’s the sort of thing I was thinking about while thoroughly enjoying this release. Yes, there could
be a bit more available from the man.
    Labelower Nick Hoffman also has a new release. He is ‘multidisciplinary artist working across the
fields of algorithmic composition, generative music and medieval music’, and by now he holds an MM
 in Intermedia Music Technology from the University of Oregon. The music on this new release comes
as quite a surprise, or maybe even a shock. Before Hoffman’s music was computer based, a bit noisy at
times, collage like, drones and everything that is common procedure for Vital Weekly, but now it’s all,
I think so at least, about medieval music, and Hoffman picked up a guitar and plays pieces by
composers as Guillaume de Machaut, Hayne van Ghizegam, Christopher Tye, J.s. Bach as well as
others and I hoped I am excused for not recognizing all of them (nay, just 1). Hoffman adds a bit of
colour and depth to the recordings, which makes this music sounding like it’s played in the big hall
f a castle. Would I be able to smell (I can’t), then I could perhaps smell the pig being roasted and the
candles lighten up this scenery of knights and princesses. Odd? Hell, yeah it’s odd. Did I like it? Sure
did. Not because I am a sucker for old music per se, or a lover of Game Of Thrones or the fact that I
hold some degree in history, but I love this for the sheer difference of the rest of Vital Weekly and
while I have no knowledge of medieval music, I thought it sounded fascinating. (FdW)
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ANDY BIRTWISTLE – AUDIO CASSETTE TAPE (double cassette by Start Here)
ANDY BIRTWISTLE – CHEWED (cassette by Start Here)

Back in Vital Weekly 1048 I reviewed ‘Salute To Vinyl’ by Andy Birtwistle, also a filmmaker and
writer. Now he returns with three more cassettes on his Start Here label, which “aims to bring
discerning listeners the finest in magnetic tape-based media archaeological art”, along with a
booklet called ‘the art of the audio cassette’. Back then he used blank vinyl to play music, and I
wasn’t blown away by the concept nor the execution of it. All three new cassettes are concepts
rather than pieces of music. First there is ‘Audio Cassette Tape’, which is a c42 and c2 cassette
and which consists of nothing else but a voice announcing which side of the tape you are listening
to, and the sound of the tape itself”; I hope one can excuse me for not having listened to all of this
over and over again. I pretty quickly got the drift of this, and skipped through the rest and on to
the next.
    Let’s move on to ‘Chewed’, which at least seems to have some music going on (and yes, a
repeated voice saying ‘side one’ can be seen as music, but is it really something we need to hear)
and this is all to do with the failure of the cassette player, stretching, creasing and other damage
done to the tape, which Birtwistle recorded. He made a cassette with sine wave tones and played
it on a “faulty Technics RS-HD350 Stereo Cassette Deck”, and lo and behold: this is something I very
much like. Now of course this may also be a thin concept, playing a cassette on a faulty deck, but the
result is something worthwhile to hear. Not that it sounds like entirely new thing, as there is a long
 line of people working with cassettes, faulty players and such like (the names of Howard Stelzer and
Jason Zeh spring to mind). On the first side the frequencies are mid to high range going low and on the
flip it is mid to low range and then up again, reversing the process. This is quite a lovely, rough one.
    Cassette number seven is ‘Level Crossings’. Each cassette, one to seven, is described in the
beautifully printed, full colour book, along with extra information and each cassette has it’s own
concept, as explained in these pages. ‘Level Crossings’ is all about the cassette as a storage medium,
and we all know, well, I hope at least, that cassettes are prone to add hiss to the recordings. For this
particular one Birtwistle uses a bunch of old cassettes to tape some field recordings in Canterbury,
at a train station, on a recorder from 1966 and one from the 80s, at maximum volume and then
copied the tapes onto a new cassette “at a higher level, producing further distortion, and the process
repeated eight times so that each generation of the tape produced further modifications of the
original sound recordings”. On side A there is ‘Generation One/Generation Three’ and on the second
side ‘Generation Six/Generation Nine’. I believe each generation is about ten minutes long and one
can hear easily how that natural addition of distortion works here. There is a substantial sonic
overload happening that would easily go down well with those who love harsh noise wall music,
of which I am not one. (FdW)
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Dursi is an Italian musician and performer who lives in Berlin. He debuted with a cassette release for
Das Andere Selbst, called ‘Polimorphonia’ in 2016. Recordings for this second cassette release date
from 2016-2017 and are brought us by another Italian tape label: Arte Tetra from Bologna. Everything
we hear is composed and performed and recorded by Dursi. What is it that we do hear on this tape? It
is non-verbal sound poetry, accompanied sounds from several sources. Noises and sounds are generated
by simple percussion and objects. With these objects he constructs  – again – simple and minimal
patterns. Both sides of the cassette have one long extended work of sound poetry. Abstract in one sense,
but also very physical and touchable in another one. Dursi keeps things uncomplicated and very direct.
He uses accessible rhythms and melodic elements in what seem short improvised sections. Besides he
uses pure sound material. In a studio he compiled the ingredients into the final works. Happily in this
assembling phase nothing was lost of the spontaneity. And because of that, this sympathetic sound
poetry really works. (DM)
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