Number 1133

DARKRAD – HEART MURMER (CD by Audiophob) *
QUATOR BOZZINI – GYULA CSAPO: DÉJÀ? KOJA? (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques)
KARL MARX’S 200TH! (2CD by Karl Records)
ROEL MEELKOP – (K)7 (cassette by Robert & Leopold) *
GERM CLASS – DIMENSIONS OF VALUE (cassette by Ota Tapes) *
SOMNOROASE PASARELE – AUTO (cassette by Ota Tapes) *
  sec. records) *
TROY SCHAFER – THE MAILMAN (cassette by (1.8) sec. records) *
MODELBAU  IDLE AWAY (cassette by Maneki Neko tapes) *


In the early 90s it was possible for me to come across The Legendary Pink Dots in my hometown, which
they had chosen upon leaving Amsterdam (wise choice of course). Somewhere along those early days I
met Steve Stapleton when he was producing ‘Malachai’ for the Dots. I believe back then it was already
mentioned that Edward Ka-spel, singer with dots and Steve Stapleton, always head Nurse (With
Wound), were working on a collaborative record, which is something that never happened. I remember
inquiring with mister Ka-spel at least once a year when working in the record ‘industry’. On this release
there is a nineteen minute piece by Ka-spel & Stapleton, and one, a minute shorter, by Colin Potter &
Quentin Rollet, which features Isabelle Magnon on piano. So we have twice a Nurse on each piece.
Somehow I don’t think the Ka-spel/Stapleton piece is from all those years ago, but I have very little
evidence for that. This piece contains all of trade marks sounds and techniques that have been on
display since the early 80s in either The Legendary Pink Dots, Ka-spel solo and Nurse With Wound.
There is quite a big wash of drone like sounds throughout the entire piece, but none of these drones get
the upper hand and there is a constant shift among these. On top there is Ka-spel’s voice, who these
days more and more recites poetry, rather than singing. Stapleton’s role is to add orchestral string,
sparse percussion and all of this in an excellent form of sound collage.
    The other piece is by Colin Potter, since many years stage central when it comes to mixing Nurse
With Wound in the studio and on stage and saxophone improviser Quentin Rollet. Mentioned is that
Potter recorded this in London and Rollet recorded the piano part of Isabelle Magnon but I assume he
was also in London. This is not an usual Potter work of heavy, fat drone sounds; here Potter takes apart
the saxophone playing of Rollet, into tiny bits, feeds them to granular synthesis and puts it all back
together using bits and bops of the original playing, interspersed with the piano of Magnon, which is
likewise scattered around. Sometimes very wild and chaotic, such in the first half, or spaced out in the
second half and a wild ending. This is quite a different piece than the first one, save perhaps that both
a very much studio based creations, something that makes this very much a Nurse With Wound
    I must admit I don’t know an awful lot about Phil Mouldycliff except that he has a bunch of previous
releases with Potter, but all of these quite some time ago (although the last one was back in Vital
Weekly 1036), but apparently the two men kept on working together and over the years they have
gathered a whole bunch of field recordings of birds. These recordings are now incorporated in these
four lengthy excursions. In the first piece they sound like a modern music ensemble, with percussion
rolling about, flutes and birds and electronics, whereas in the other three, all of which are much longer,
they space out their material and reach out (or back) to the world, which sees them using their more
drone like approaches when it comes to laying down the backbone of a piece. On top they wave together
their sounds, from birds, but also, so I would think, percussion, piano and who knows what else. That
may be the downside of this, as with the amount of sound effects used, and especially reverb, it is never
easy to know what went into the melting pot that created the music. Maybe some different approaches,
just as in ‘Avian Catalogues I’ would have been nice to see whatever would have been possible with
those bird sounds. However I can also understand why they would keep this more together in the
world of drone music, being all more common territory for them. (FdW)
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The first time I heard music by Christine Webster was back in Vital Weekly 1088 when I reviewed her
USB drive ‘Diary #1’. On the cover of ‘Iceberg The Drift’ Webster writes that this is her second release to
deal with a natural catastrophe. First was “Fuskushima Days projects in 2012” (I am not sure if that is a
natural catastrophe or human), it is now about the “Larsen C Ice Shelf Rift in Antarctica, which during
the summer of 2017 caused the complete breaking of the oversized A-68 iceberg, drifting now in the
open sea for years, maybe even decades”. Like on her previous release, Webster uses modular electronic
modular electronics, although now they are not specified as to what kind of machines. Whereas the
previous release was quite playful and open, this new seems to be more composed and less open. The
music reminded me of modern electronics, sounds bleeping about, but in a rather slow mode and with
quite some reverb to add a fine sense of space. Sometimes she uses tones from her set-up that remind
me of small and larger blocks of ice breaking and falling apart. I am not sure but like her previous
release some if not all of these pieces have a somewhat ‘live’ feeling to them, especially in a piece like
‘Tensile Stress’ and immediately this becomes a somewhat playful piece. Throughout however the
music is very solemn and slow in development, perhaps, indeed like a massive iceberg adrift, but a
very slow adrift it is. It is a most enjoyable piece of music (all seven of them) and it seems a step
forward in the progress of Webster’s music. If you like modern musique concrete than you should
surely check out this particular new composer. I am not sure, if she is from France, but her work surely
sounds very French, say the INA-GRM studio scene, and Webster surely is finding her own voice. (FdW)
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The cover of Darkrad’s ‘Heart Murmer’ shows black and white images of a girl and some choreographic
moves and texts as ‘She Lives In Me’, which may seem all a bit gothic. The music is however dark but
not as gothic as promised on the box I would think. Jana Komaritsa is the composer of the music and
she is from Russia, and “she continues the theme of inner blackness and disturbances of mind, weaving
the canvas of ominous world”, as Audiophob puts it. She uses a bit of voice, wordless and chant like but
the main focus is on the use of synthesizers. They are used to press down a bunch of keys and then all
the knobs, sliders and what have you are slowly turned clock and anti-clockwise and fed along the lines
of reverb and delay. It is not always abstract as much as it is not always melodic. Darkrad has a fine
balance between both ends, seemingly not preferring one or the other. The same thing can be said
about ‘loud’ versus ‘quiet’. While it is never one or the other, it is sometimes distinctly louder or quieter
than the rest. Here too Darkrad has some variation on offer. She once made her debut on Cold Meat
Industry and I am sure that is some indication as to what she does music wise. While this is not my cup
of daily tea, especially when it came to use of whispering voices and such, I very much enjoyed the
resulting dark ambient, partly abstract and partly quite musical routes she takes in her music and
while not really the best season for the year to feel sad and melancholic to enjoy this, it works quite
well. It rained yesterday. (FdW)
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Ed Pettersen is a new name in the columns of Vital Weekly. He is first of all a folk singer, interpreting
the work of others as well as his own material, condensed on several solo albums. As a producer he
realized ‘Song of America’, a three-cd set with many artists participating. So he is deeply embedded in
the traditions of Americana. But there is more. His family background led him also to Norwegian
traditional music. Besides he has an interest in more experimental excursions, for example as a member
of the experimental hybrid combo Nashville Electric that released an album (‘Orson’s Family’) for
Edgetone. Recently a few interesting albums appeared on his own label Split Rock Records, that may be
of interest for Vital Weekly readers. These are releases that document some of his work as an improviser
and performer of contemporary composed music.
    First there is his duo effort with veteran guitarist and improviser Henry Kaiser. In four improvisations
that all clock around ten minutes, Kaiser and Pettersen interact in some engaging guitar duets. Kaiser
playing a 18-string harp guitar, and Pettersen on an 8-string Weissenborn-guitar. Kaiser, an improviser
from early on, always reflected influences of blues and Beefheart in his atonal work, what makes him
an ideal partner for Pettersen on their post-Americana trip.
    Both participate on ‘Interstellar Transmissions’, a 2 CD-set of group-improvisations, recorded in the
same London studio as their duo effort. CD 1 one has Kaiser and Pettersen on guitar, plus Martin Küchen
(sax), Tania Chen (piano), Jeff Coffin (sax, flute), Damon Smith (double bass) and Jordan Muscatello
(electric bass). The improvisations sound spatial and open, expanding in a free anarchistic spirit. During
these drifting improvisations, moments occur with remarkable suggestions and concentrated
interactions by Chen and others. CD 2 has Pettersen in a trio line up with Martin Küchen (sax) and
Roger Turner (drums). The improvisations have a free-floating character, because of the long sustained
sounds and textures provided by Pettersen’s electric guitar. Küchen and Turner make their statements
on top of these sometimes-noisy layers of sounds. ‘Neptune’ is the most interesting improvisation. Here
it is percussionist Turner who is in the lead, triggering the most interactive improvisation. No idea have
these line ups occurred. I guess they never played before in this combination and met for the occasion.
    Also recorded in London is the release by the London Experimental Ensemble. The ensemble is
comprised of: Antonio Acunzo, Olie Brice, John Eyles, Carole Finer, Tony Hardie-Bick, Ken Ikeda, Daniel
Kordik, Edward Lucas, Elo Masing, Keisuke Matsui, NO Moore, Jordan Muscatello (who also participated
on ‘Instellar transmission’) and Ed Pettersen. The musicians play on a set of acoustical as well as
electronic instruments. They set their teeth into a complete performance of the composition ‘Treatise’
by avant-garde composer Cornelius Cardew. Cardew worked on this composition between 1963 and
l967. It is a graphic score of nearly 200 pages, with no instructions for the performers. The composition
still triggers and excites performers to do their interpretation. From Discogs I learn this composition
was recorded about five times in the last ten years. Not bad for an avant-garde composition. The work
opens with a well-known statement by Wittgenstein ‘The world is that what is the case’ and continues
then for about 130 minutes (!). It was composed in a time when chance and coincidence were integrated
into composing. Remember John Cage who introduced the use of the I Ching for example. Also AMM
started in those days, with Cardew as a member for a while. No wonder the performance makes the
impression of being improvised to an extent.  Giving room for decisions and choices by the musicians
during the performance.  The ensemble creates a vivid and intriguing sonic landscape that fascinates
from start to finish. Although there is absolutely coherence and interaction between the players, the
work makes also the impression as if each player moves along following undisturbed and independent
its own path. Because of this paradox, there are many details to enjoy in this dynamic continuity. Back
in the US, Pettersen compiled all these recordings on three carefully produced and designed CDs with
full artwork and credits. ‘Treatise’ comes with informative liner notes by Eddie Prévost.  (DM)
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QUATOR BOZZINI – GYULA CSAPO: DÉJÀ? KOJA? (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques)

The Bozzini Quartet started in 1999 and developed into a very profiled ensemble that concentrates on
performing contemporary music. Music from the Montréal-scene on the one hand, but also from other
parts of the world. Choosing works by well-known and lesser-known composers: Steve Reich, Howard
Skempton, Malcolm Goldstein, John Cage, Claude Vivier, etc. Since 2004 they release most of their
programs on their own Ambiances Magnetiques-associated Collection QB-label. This also counts for
their latest work: ‘Déjà? Kojâ?’, a composition of  Gyula Csapo. A release that illustrates that they are
not afraid of making daring choice such as choosing for a composition by a less known composer.
Listening to this work, it becomes evident they had a good reason for this. A profound and penetrating
composition by Gyula Csapo. Csapó is a composer from Hungary where he studied at the Béla Bartók
Conservatory and the List Ferenc Academy of Music. Later he studied with Morton Feldman and John
Cage. He lives and work in Canada since 1990. ‘Déjà? Kojâ?’, composed between 2011 and 2016  is a
massive work in three parts. Together taking a bit more than one hour. Throughout Csapo creates
dissonant layers of music in this serious and static work. In the second part the music becomes a bit
lighter by the use of pizzicato and glissandi. Also he alludes here to a well-known classical composition,
that I am unable to identify. Not an easy work, but a very rewarding and satisfying experience,
revealing an intriguing beauty for the concentrated listener.
    Bernard Falaise started in groups like Miriodor, Klaxon Gueule, les Projectionnistes, a.o. He wrote
for the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (ECM), and other ensembles. Also for exhibitions,
television, theatre and dance.  As an active improviser he worked with a great variety of musicians for
almost 25 years now. He released several solo projects. And his newest release is a next step on his
path as a solo player and improviser, exemplifying once again Falaise is a very unique crossing the
border-type of musician. ‘Lézardes et zébrures’ is a fine collection of nine instrumentals. Most pieces
start from acoustic guitar played in open tunings in a fingerpicking style. By using a freezer pedal and
adding other instruments Falaise creates an inventive musical world. Weird constructions, but
accessible and enjoyable at the same time. Combining instruments and sounds of acoustic and
electronics origin.
    Ida Toninato & Jennifer Thiessen are new to me. Thiessen is a violinist playing viola d’amore and
viola on this duo effort. She performs classical and contemporary chamber music, as well as improvised
music (Michel F. Côté, Antoine Berthiaume, a.o.). With dance  ensemble La La La Human Steps, she
performed works by Gavin Bryars and Bang on a Can composer David Lang. Toninato is a saxophonist,
composer and improviser, also from the Montréal scene, participating in Ensemble Supermusique and
Joker. She plays baritone saxophone on this album. Their duo effort is a work of intimate music focusing
on the timbres and sound qualities of their instruments. They create beautiful deep resonating, spatial
textures. The music develops slowly in a calm way, giving duration to the created interplay of sounds
and timbres.  Improvisation plays a big role here, but one could call it contemporary new music as well.
They don’t just create a musical effect. But their investigation on sound and timbre is hold together by
a strong musical vision.Because of the deep sonorities the music brings you in a reflective and meditative
state. A very inspired and moving meeting by these two musicians and their instruments. (DM)
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On these discs Betrand Denzler is either composer or performer. For no other reason than it’s a CD
(and that is surely no valid reason) I started with the release by Trio Sowarei, which is Denzler on
tenor saxophone, Phil Durrant on modular and software synthesizers and Burkheid Beins on percussion
and objects. It has been a while since I last heard music by Trio Sowari (Vital Weekly 648), but I gather
these are very busy people, performing around the globe all the time, so it might take some time before
they meet each other again. Two days in July 2016 in Berlin was enough to get the show on the road
again and recorded four excellent pieces that defy such notions as improvisation, composition, electro-
acoustic music or musique concrete. It is all, perhaps quite rightfully so, quite blurred and as clear-cut
as it could be. But that’s how things should be of course. Both Denzler and Beins play their instruments
like they are supposed, i.e. one can recognize them as such, but also use extended different techniques
and approaches to them and make it sound unlike drums or saxophone. Durrant’s input here is of
course anyway different than, simply because one doesn’t always know what a modular and software
synthesizer is supposed to sound like. It peeps and it cracks, and that’s not just Durrant, but something
they are all responsible for and there is some wonderful interaction between all the sounds everyone’s
producing. It can be loud, it can be quiet, often within the space of a few seconds, or for extended times,
such as the moody and mysterious piece ‘Levitation’; it can be short and abrupt or spaced out, yet
always with a fine dialogue among the players. Every listens, everyone responds or keeps quiet and
when needed there are a quick interference and the conversation changes. This is a fine release and
these men should meet more often.
    On the other new release, Felicie Bazelaire plays none compositions for the double bass, all
composed by Betrand Denzler. With music like this, or should I say ‘compositions like this’, it is never
easy how to judge it. For one, the reviewer has no idea what these compositions look like. Are they
fixed notes on paper, or simply a set of instructions; or perhaps even a graphic score? Hard to tell and
as such it’s not easy to say if this is a good performance, as intended by the composer. We can assume
it has Denzler’s approval; otherwise his name would not be part of it. In these pieces the dark, heavy
sound of the bass is the central thing and it’s played with a bow and Bazelaire produces some very
slow, slightly menacing tones. Seven of the nine pieces are called ‘Etude’, which may account for the
somehow similar approach there, of slow strumming and minimalist changes. It’s not until the sixth
piece, ‘Etude #3’, that the bass is not strummed but plucked. The two pieces that are not called ‘Etude’
essentially don’t sound that much different really, so it sounds in the end very coherent and together.
This os quite a fine dark release of modern compositions for a solo instrument. (FdW)
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KARL MARX’S 200TH! (2CD by Karl Records)

It is not easy, or perhaps even impossible, for a publication dedicated to music reviews to write about
political or economical affairs, but hard to avoid when it comes to a compilation to celebrate the 200th
anniversary of Karl Marx’ birthday. Apparently, according to the label, we live in a times “of untamed
capitalism, seemingly endless greed and persisting exploitation of underprivileged humans” so it’s time
to “remember the great philosopher’s and economist’s theories on capitalism” and “look out for
alternative ways of economic organization and appropriate means to bridge the gap between rich and
poor”. Like communism prefers it, I guess; capitalism versus communism, like nothing else exists;
anarchism (no celebration for Bakoenin’s 200th in 2014) or the economical theories of Von Mises. For
all the man’s great theories and philosophies none has proven to become a workable system anywhere
since and today’s workers care more about their country, voting for more nationalist parties than ever
before. I have no idea if the twenty-eight musicians here are all die-hard commies or if there is a
dissident voice to be heard. It must be no surprise from my somewhat sceptical intro that I am not a
communist. Or, take a look at my wallet, that I am a capitalist. I don’t subscribe to any system that
wants to say something about the whole of mankind. (There is no need to send me any texts about the
subject; I did my research already when I was younger and more interested in the subject of politics). I
found the printing of the essays in the booklet too small to read. So included are Andreas Reihse, Aidan
Baker, Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Jasmine Guffond, AGF, Nicolas Wiese, Casper Brötzmann, Marc
Weiser, Reinhold Friedl, Schneider TM, Gudio Möbius, Porya Hatami and Nickolas Mohanna to mention
a few of the twenty-eight, and if you know any of these names you might, quite correctly actually,
conclude this is highly varied musical bunch. I didn’t, but if I would a random track to an unassuming
listener and ask him/her what the political stance of the musician was, I doubt he/she would say it’s
communism. It is a lovely set of weird and not-so weird music, like a fine, two-hour experimental radio
show. Two questions: which worker will get this and why is it that I find this so cryptically: “all
proceeds will be donated”. It doesn’t mention to who or which organisation. Am I too sceptical (or cynical)
when I say: that’s communism for you? “We know what is best for you; you don’t need to
know”. (FdW)
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ROEL MEELKOP – (K)7 (cassette by Robert & Leopold)

In them ol’ days K7 was used as an acronym for ‘cassette’, as that what it more or less sounded like in
French. Roel Meelkop is someone I know very well, probably among the very top 10 of people I know
best and longest, and is somebody I worked with a couple of times. A decade or so ago he was quite
active when it comes to releasing music, mainly on CD, but in more recent years his interest (or heart)
is no longer in there. He wants his work to be in the ‘now’, plus he now plays private concerts with his
newly acquired set of Tibetan bowls. In his ‘old’ work the computer played an important role and
Meelkop could take any sound and transform it into a piece of music. Usually quiet and perhaps that
was one of the reasons that much of his work is available on CD, given the advantages of the medium
when it comes to quiet music. Quiet and subtle approach to sound is also what is going on here.
Sparsely treated acoustic sounds open up here and from then on it goes through the whole Meelkopian
methodology of treating sounds with laptop technology (Audio Mulch, not Ableton live) and perhaps
even a bit of analogue synthesizer (towards the end of side A). Nothing is ever hurried and throughout
everything flows from quietly from one low-end bass tone into the next segment of bowls, children
playing or rustling of leaves. Sometimes it seems as if the original source material can be heard through
this, but that might very well be an aural illusion. Occasionally Meelkop is in quite a playful mood here,
especially when fiddling with reverb on the B-side. It is great to hear some Meelkop music again after
some time of not much news. This is a fine addition to his already expansive catalogue and his music
works quite well on a cassette; now that’s something I for one find something very interesting. (FdW)
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Tommaso Pandolfi is the man behind Furtherset and he is a “representative of the ‘Italian New Wave'”,
whatever that should be. He was a participant “of the 2015 Red Bull Music Academy in Paris and has
played some of Italy’s most renowned festivals”, the press text mentions, and surely there are people
who find that of interest; I am not one of them, as I don’t drink stuff that smells like cleaning fluid. I can
see the attraction of Furtherset for the world of pop where this would be called ‘underground’, but in
the other underground, our version, this is all very moderate and poppy, be it a bit dark. Reverb is not
spared to create ‘ambience’ and the fuzzy pedals remind me of shoegazing. There are no vocals in any of
the six pieces; there is quite some bass playing and synth wielding. Massive and masculine. I bet people
like this. I am not one of them, but I also don’t dislike it. It is just not the kind of music that I find much
interest in, nor do I think it belongs very much to the world of Vital Weekly. (FdW)
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YAMA-NO-KAMI – KAUSARETA (cassette by Ota Tapes)
GERM CLASS – DIMENSIONS OF VALUE (cassette by Ota Tapes)
SOMNOROASE PASARELE – AUTO (cassette by Ota Tapes)

There is no information available on Bandcamp or the cover for Yama-No-Kami, or on Discogs so I am
quite in the dark. I could assume, but for no good reason, that Yama-No-Kami is from Japan. This is a
guessing game, I assume. So we here someone who plays a bit of synthesizers (software more likely
than real ones, I think) and creates part moody pieces and part rhythm pieces of music. I am not sure
if Yama-No-Kami would refer to these as ‘songs’ or ‘pieces’, as it could be either way really. Somehow,
so I think, it sounds very Japanese in a way that it is meldoci, somewhat tradionally based mood music
that could have also founded it’s way to labels as Spekk, Panai or Flau. Save perhaps that it is not yet
the most original voice music here. It’s well-played, the pieces are nice, but at the same time also not
more than that, I would think. It takes the piano and the moods to the world of mild computer
treatments and it does it well, and yet you couldn’t help wondering that one heard all of this already. I
could also think that this is perhaps just as well and a release is justified.
    Somehow I would think that Germ Class would refer to their material as ‘songs’ as more than Yama-
No-Kami this is the world of alternative pop. Germ has three members, which are thus mentioned on
the cover (and Bandcamp) “SC_vox, PK_vox and instruments, NH_Programing”. That isn’t an indication
towards the music they play but this is some alternative electro/pop music. Somehow this sounds very
80s, I think and very much from the world of cassettes. Think Solid Space, Algebra Suicide or those kind
poppy alternatives. One of the voices reminded me of Vini Reilly of the Durutti Column, sad and fragile,
but otherwise there is no connection. The songs are short and to the point; just over two minutes and
just under four minutes, although very rarely that. There is a rhythm machine in the middle, a bit of
dissonant guitar, male and female vocals alternating and an organ here and there. All of these ten
pieces are bit sad, melancholic and dark, as to perhaps top off that 80s feeling the music has. And
maybe these times are as equally grim as the height of the cold war? If so, then this can be re-discovered
in thirty years and get a second life.
    The only name that isn’t new here is that of Rumanian Somnoroase Păsărele, whom already had a
bunch of tapes reviewed in these days. Overall I enjoy their electronic music, though not always. This
time around they have chopped up their music into eight individual pieces of music instead of some of
their previous releases, which had longer pieces, divided into shorter bits. The duo consists of Gili
Mocanu, who is helped with sequencing by Miru Mercury. I still haven’t figured out how that works
with these guys. Maybe it is Mocanu who does all the music and this is not a duo at all? Whatever is the
case, this new one is quite a lovely release as it is. Eight pieces (well, songs might be equally
appropriate) of electronic music. It is a bit of everything; one can hear the influence of techno music,
industrial music, minimalism, and cosmic synthesizers. It is mostly somewhat darker and leaning
towards the world dark wave with a bit of noise influences and while these pieces are finished as
compositions, I don’t think they are to be understood as pop songs. Throughout the synths are too
gritty and grainy, the rhythms too minimal and the material not as groovy, but that’s where I quite
like it. Not as smooth but something quite nice for the mind and less for the feet. This I thought is one
of their best releases. (FdW)
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  sec. records)
TROY SCHAFER – THE MAILMAN (cassette by (1.8) sec. records)

As I had no clue whom Bertil Malmberg is/was, I looked him up on Wikipedia and read: “Bertil Frans
Harald Malmberg (13 August 1889 – 11 February 1958) was a Swedish author, poet, and actor. He was
born in Härnösand to Teodor Malmberg and Hanna Roman. Malmberg is the 1956 winner of the
Dobloug Prize, a literature prize awarded for Swedish and Norwegian fiction. He died in Stockholm.”
And it lists a bunch of his books and nothing much else so I am a bit clueless when it comes to a relation
between the music and the author. Steve Roden was absent in the world of releasing records but seems
to be back now and hearing the two fifteen minute pieces on this cassette, there is also some change in
his music. Maybe not for his entire new output, but still this cassette is a bit different. In the way old
Roden would create long sound collages out of repeating sounds that would have different lengths so
new configurations would emerge. On this cassette he has field recordings (side A) and modular
synthesizers (side B), which he calls the robot side, and surely this is looped and minimal, there are
now rough cuts the material can change into something completely different. That certainly is a new
feature in this work, but also the fact that music is less delicate is another new feature. It is not really
noise like of course, but certainly louder and somewhat cruder. Both in the rattling of field recordings
or the sustaining tones from his modular set-up. All of this makes quite an interesting move for Roden
and I am very curious to see where this goes in the future.
    Before I complained that there was never much information on Troy Schafer with the sometimes
puzzling releases he did, but now I learned he has an orchestral education in Wisconsin and Chicago,
composes for mainly for “violin, voice and displaced sounds” and has worked with Kinit Her, Wreathes,
Burial Hex, Wormsblood, Rain Drinkers, Devotion, Spiral Joy Band and Chagas Schafer duo. His ‘The
Mailman’ cassette has two distinctive sides. The first is described as “a dramatic story across a series of
short compositions, while the B-side offers re-interpretation from artists ‘near and dear’ between
captivating interludes”. The violin is certainly an instrument that is used a lot here along with the voice
of Natalia Nicholson reciting poetry like texts. I am not sure what these texts are about, but sometimes
sound sad, sometimes funny. Interestingly enough I didn’t hear much difference in approaches on both
sides. Both have music, both have spoken word; more violin on the first side, perhaps a bit more piano
and orchestral sounds on the second, but it works out in similar melancholic pieces. It is somehow
modern classical music but with the addition of electro-acoustic sounds, sometimes even on a tiny level
this is also something that is different than your standard classical notes. A piece like ‘Hole House –
Another Side Of Despair’ has something that reminds me of Nurse With Wound, with sounds flipping
in and out of the mix. I thought this was quite a lovely release altogether. (FdW)
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MODELBAU  IDLE AWAY (cassette by Maneki Neko tapes)

In a world where every title starts with the letter I, we stumble upon a recent release by Modelbau, aka
Frans de Waard, titled “Idle Away”. It counts nearly 40 minutes distributed over four tracks and this is
where our story begins.
    Opener ‘Islet’ takes us to the realm of estranging stop-motion films; we see Jan Svankmajer riding a
bicycle through malformed clay cities while dense mechanical clouds threaten to pour down every
single last bolt and nut onto him until he’s soaked with stifling surrealism. However, the clouds seem to
dissipate by some deus-ex-machina intervention and while old Svankers can’t believe his luck we hear
the distant sounds of metal objects finding their natural position after a short but certain journey
downwards. In second track ‘Impede’ we venture out into a radiation-ridden wasteland where we
navigate by the assuring sounds of a looped homing beacon from the rim of the perimeter. Around
midday the sun is becoming increasingly brighter and some of our patrol can barely muster up the
strength to continue our journey to the centre of the fold. Suddenly we notice that our protective suits
are leaking and while we hide in the shade of a large sand hill it takes a while before we realise that
the most fabric has become porous and cannot be repaired properly. The remote clanging loop remains,
beckoning us to hurry back home. “Iridescent” segues nicely into another dystopian scene, where after
successfully ridding the world of micro-cheating and micro-transgressions, a well-trained and checked
humanities scientist from the social justice army of lovers is lowered together with their quantum
vessel in between sound waves to correct the unbearable problems of micro-tonality. The vehicle has
much difficulty getting through the temporal orifice and scrapes against the walls of the tunnel for
most of the journey, until it finally the passage way widens and opens up into a vast cavern of
possibility. A free fall into all-things-that-could-be imbues the scientist with a sudden realisation that
being-as-such is all that matters, that acceptance of otherness comes with the deepest realisation of
existential oneness and that authentic being as part of the one thing that exists, is something that
couldn’t possibly be framed by any kind of sloppy post-modern conceptuality. Once out, our scientist
tries to impart his philosophical enlightenment onto his superiors, upon which he is shipped off to
rainbow camp X for a thorough dialectic materialist correction.
    ‘Ice Rink’ has us shuffling through the snow, only to stop and listen for any sign of life every once
in a while. Even though we all sense there is something uncanny about this place, there really doesn’t
seem to be anything out here but endless white plains. While setting up camp, trying not to freeze, we
notice the wind playing around with the frozen Norwegian flag that is hanging somewhat limply from
its pole. All at once sensors pick up a massive amount of radiation from what we think is an aircraft of
extraterrestrial origin, trapped in the ice. It must be nearby, but chances are we will have died from
hypothermia before actually finding it.
    So yes, all in all a diverse and captivating release on Maneki Neko. This is Modelbau at its best.
    Critics may consider the title “The Prime Mover” to belong to the confessions of a neo-aristotelian
advocate of creative design. It would be the first gospel noise to be played in this house – not counting
Current93. However, I reckon it actually refers to the artist as the primary creative impulse in a chain
of effects that causes a sound piece to arise. De Waard seems to have had a good day of tinkering with
the Koma Elektronik Field Kit FX, or actually several days as the titles seem to suggest.
    The first track starts off as a low end magnetic drone that is hell-bent on escaping the laboratory it
was created in and while it dashes outside, it gathers sludge and scrap metal. It slowly realises it
suffers from paralysing agoraphobia and while it lies passed out in a pool of liquid from lemonade
stand it knocked over on its way out, insects swarm over it. In track two a frog plague is the harbinger
of another apocalypse. Carefully a sad melody starts to lament the end of all things while the water
slowly rises and ginormous bells in heaven usher in the end of the age of man. Track three gives us
more bell-like sounds and after a while reveals some interesting alien textures that hold midway
between inhuman wailing and far-off sirens, while insects chirp in the foreground. Some ancient
mechanical laundromat device gets reeled in to interface between the alien communication attempt
and us in 3D space, but the visitors end up leaving before the machine can finish its job, because they
really can’t be bothered with hanging out with us lower lifeforms. Four drones on as a complexly
layered sum of timbres that after a while throbs like a tropical fever. Birds out in the jungle can’t
seem to quit their yapping while you lie on the ground sweating with a grumpy millipede trying to
crawl into your ear.
    On the fifth track a bullied kid’s spirit plays a melancholic ditty on an echoing home keyboard in
 the cellar of an old abandoned school building. Someone left the tap running and slowly the catacombs
are flooding while gradually all environmental systems shut down. Six gives us the haunted radio
waves that one can occasionally pick up on an deserted fisherman’s island. In track seven we follow a
ghost hunter who wanders around an old sanatorium with his mates. While tweaking his equipment,
fascinated by this one recurring droplet of sound, he manages to align fundamental frequencies and
accidentally zaps himself into the spectral time loop that causes the repetitive anomaly. Whilst
struggling he gets sucked in deeper and deeper and all that his friends find when they come and
look for him is his EM meter, which they decide to switch off.  Finally, a scientist is watching rotating
green 3D line models of all previous seven situations on his massive multi-monitor simulation system.
Each situation is run countless times with minor possibility changes on quantum level and until the
entanglement of all material potentials is conceived. And that’s it. Another great Modelbau release
that offers a wide range of interesting sonic vistas to explore, without repeating itself. Come on son.(PJN)
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