Number 1135

  Unfathomless) *
  by Nakama)
MIMAN – ULME (CD by Motvind Records)
PACIFIC 231 – TRANSENVIRONMENTAL (CD by The Sublunar Society) *
PRO424 – BEFORE IMMUNITY (LP by Lamour Records) *
  by Psych.KG)
XU – WHISPER MY WORLD (CDR by Eilean Records) *
DOC WÖR MIRRAN – COVFEFE LIVE (cassette by Clockwork Tapes)
RUSS WATERHOUSE – AMARO/AMARI (cassette by Gertrude Tapes)
CYBERIAN – LIMERENCE (cassette by Amek Tapes)
ATE – SECONDARY DROWNING (cassette by Amek Tapes)
CELER – SOMETHING CATHARTIC (cassette by Polar Seas Recordings)


Somewhere I knew I heard the name Hellvete before, but I was thinking of something gothic or metal,
and upon a small research I learned that I only heard something from Glen Steenkiste’s musical project
before and that was a split release he did for a tour with Urpf Lanze and Edgar Wappenhalter. That was
back in Vital Weekly 781 and I wrote that he played “folk like music, also with perhaps a bit too much
reverb (maybe to generate that necessary atmosphere), but works quite nicely in a minimalist/drone
like manner. A beautiful solitary howl”. I don’t remember this, after all these years. I never heard his
music again, despite him releasing on Kraak, Blackest Rainbow, Deep Distance, Makrame Records and
Letmo Productions. The title of this new double CD consists of the Dutch words for ‘dream’ and
‘harmonium’ (oddly the same word) and that might tell you a little something about the music. If the
word ‘drone’ is not something you automatically connect to ‘dream’ and ‘harmonium’, I seriously
wonder what you did think. I am told that the music here is all recorded live, which is not easy to
believe. Surely a few keys are stuck with sticky tape but then what? Are there electronics in play, a
bunch of microphones and speakers picking up the sound and feeding it around? I am not sure. I guess
there are just many, many ways of producing a good ol’ drone record and it is the result that counts.
And it sure as hell(vete) counts here. It is over 90 minutes of pure sonic bliss, spread out over four
pieces of almost equal length on both discs. It is a hot day, early summer 2018, and it is not the kind of
weather that I agree with, so I don’t mind sitting back and be overwhelmed by a bunch of drone sounds.
It was so hot that I didn’t want to get up and fiddle with the volume and left it playing at a volume that
was a wee bit louder than I would usually do these things. I was worried about the neighbours but
there were no complaints. I was reading but put the book aside and let the sound be all-immersive.
The two pieces on disc one are from 2013-2014, whereas the two on the second are from 2015-2017.
There are subtle differences between both discs, I think. The two older pieces seems a bit louder and
edgier than the two more recent pieces, which have more subtle nuances to it, changing volumes a bit
more I would think. The older pieces, once fully in place (and mind you, Hellvete doesn’t need much
time for that; there is no long fade-in here), is loud and clear. In all pieces it is all about the minimalist
changes within the time frame of the piece and it is done in a great way. This I thought was an excellent
CD. No solitary howl here, no excessive use of reverb; just four sets of excellent refined massive gentle
drones. (FdW)
––– Address:


The inaugural release on Unfathomless was by Mathieu Ruhlmann (see Vital Weekly 707) when it was
announced that Mystery Sea had a little sister. Now the mother ship seems to be silent and
Unfathomless is the main thing that keeps them busy. A little later on Joda Clement also had a solo
release and now these two Canadians join forces. They have known each other for five years now, and
in that period they did a lot of field recordings, sessions, concerts and touring. The sounds on ‘Sound
Diary Of Quiet Pedestrians’ were taped in East Vancouver, were they “became focused on large
transportation hubs such as shipping yards and train yards in the area”. Sometimes, apparently a
very quiet area and sometimes quite noisy, and that’s something they want to capture on the four
pieces on this CD. It is quite an interesting work of very still music. Over a vast terrain of seemingly
very little activity, they picked up very few sounds, rumbles merely over an empty landscape, but also
very few rusty objects. A ship coming into the harbour, a plane flying over, and the squeaky of metal
on metal, not unlike those on train tracks. Apparently they used a whole bunch of microphones, set up
all over the place and used quite a bit of time to tape their sounds, and somehow in a very clever way,
combined all of these sounds into these four relatively condensed pieces of music. It lasts only thirty
minutes but captures some fine beauty. It is, as said, all very quiet music, requiring quite a bit of your
attention, but if you open up your ears you realize there is quite a bit going on and because of this
being silent, it allows you to play around with the equipment settings and add a bit of filtering of your
own, to emphasize certain frequencies and create the optimum playback for yourself. Quite the beauty
this one. (FdW)
––– Address:

  by Nakama)

Three members of the Norwegian Nakama collective were invited in February 2017 to Kuala Lumpur
to play with local musicians. The meeting of Nakama founder Christian Meaas Svendsen with Goh Lee
Kwang was one of the arranged collaborations. Nylon guitar player Goh Lee Kwang and bass player
Christian Meeas Svendsen recorded in a Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, February 2016. Goh Lee Kwang is
already for some 20 years working in avant garde and electronic contexts. He travelled the globe
participating in many projects and festivals. Kuala Lumpur remained his home base, where he founded
Switch ON, a platform for electronic arts. The CD consists of three improvisations: ‘Gibberish’,
‘Balderdash’ and ‘Drivel’. The players call this “three nonsensical conversations”. It is evident that both
players come from a very different cultural background, and they never met before. But this does not
hinder both musicians to engage immediately in a musical conversation. At times it seems they take
autonomously their own route. At other moments their intertwined playing and their reciprocal
understanding is striking. This is a very spirited meeting with great moments and a hopeful one, in
these times of worldwide disagreements between nations, etc. The album comes together with a
custom made pencil which you can use to draw your own cover. (DM)
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Line upon Line is an Austin-based trio of Adam Bedell, Cullen Faulk and Mathew Teodori. The trio was
formed in 2009 and premiered so far 29 new works by young composers like Alex Mincek, Kate Sopher,
a.o. Compositions for percussion by Cage, Xenakis, are also regularly programmed. For this release they
perform three compositions by three different composer: ‘Popular Contexts, Volume 6’(2013) by
Matthew Shlomowitz, ‘[99 Words] ‘(2014) by Andre Greenwald and ‘The Great Knot’(2011) by Thomas
Meadowcroft. The composition by Shlomowitz consists of four parts, all using pre-recorded sounds. In
the case of the first two parts, this concerns pre-recorded music played on saxophones and bass guitar
respectively. The third and fourth part use environmental sounds, respectively aircrafts and crowd
noise. The sounds as such are not manipulated – one really hears aeroplanes – but the recordings are
cut and re-arranged for this composition. This leads to a very alienating but also very funny effect that
have vibraphone and drum kit in a fascinating interplay with these frames.  ‘[99 Words]’ by Greenwald
is a totally different work, of a zen-like rigour and it is also the most satisfying on this release. The
instrumentation is sober, The work is very open and transparent. One can easily follow and hear every
gesture, etc. This accessibility contrasts with the strange and odd musical form of this work. And that
really works.
    ‘The Great Knot’ is inspired on a bird species of the same name. A bird that can cross immense
distances, and is at home on several corners of the planet. This work is most close to popular music,
using melodic patterns that repeated. The flight paths of these birds served as a model for the musical
composition. The work starts with repetitive textures and sounds that gradually are transformed into
birdcalls. Then an up-tempo melodic part starts. Also this composition starts from a very conceptual
idea, resulting in the most accessible and conventional work on this release. With this selection Line
Upon Line show that they are really in for experiment and innovation. These three works go beyond
what one expects from a percussion trio, but it is too conceptual to really talk to you. Released by
Wren & Shark, an independent non-profit record label. (DM)
––– Address:


Here we have a new release from the New York-based Neither/Nor label. It is the tenth release of this
label that concentrates on improvised music by different projects and collaborations around Italian
musician Carlo Costa, who settled in New York in 2005. Remember his Natura Morto Trio or the
Acustica Ensemble. With ‘In the Wake’ we have percussionist Costa in a duo-effort with Havard Volden
(acoustic guitar), recorded  in Brooklyn, New York in May 2016. Volden is an Oslo-based musician who
studied at Berklee College of Music. He worked so far with Toshimaru Nakamura (JP), Daniel Meyer
Grønvold (NOR), and singer-songwriter Jenny Hval (NOR). Both know one other since 2005, but their
collaboration started in 2015 when Volden performed regularly in New York with Jenny Hval. They
decided to plan some time for rehearsing, performing and recording in 2016. Their album consists of
improvisations as we are used from Neither/Nor releases. It is extended, richly textured
improvisations. The cover has a abstract painting by Brooke Herr that seems inspired by the sea,
referring to what inspired both for their musical meeting: water. The four improvisations carry titles
as ‘Awash’, ‘Pool’, ‘Ripple and ‘Ebb’. In a minimalist style, with room for silences, both create delicate
textures that have real beauty from time to time. Costa uses no drumsticks, but scratches and rubs the
surfaces of his kit and cymbals. This sound-oriented improvisation doesn’t provide the normal
dynamics we normally get from music. This is a kind of music that invites you to enjoy along other
lines. To go into a detailed listening. Volden plays in a radical style, but he is not allergic of melodic and
other conventional elements. His guitar strumming produces a very abstract kind of blues, like in the
opening piece ‘Awash’.  Together with his repetitive playing in ‘Pool’ a post-rock minimalism also
defines his style. It didn’t really work for me,  nor in combination with Costa’s textures. The closing
improvisation is the exception: ‘Ebb’ opens a majestic sound texture by Costa, and throughout the
improvisation the suggestion of working towards a crescendo is maintained. (DM)
––– Address:


Kyoto-based Takuji Naka and Kobe-residing Canadian Tim Olive are operating as a duo for several
years now.  In 2016 they released ‘The New Attractive’ for the Osaka-based EM Records. That same
year they were on a tour in Europe and ended up in the Extrapool Studio in Nijmegen with Frans de
Waard. Olive played magnetic pickups and electronics, Naka tapes, electronics, spring reverb and
plastic tubing. Frans de Waard used tapes, contact microphones, electronics and synthesizer for their
sound improvisation. Many hours of material were recorded and mixed and edited minimally by Olive
and Naka later on back in Japan. The result is one extensive 30-minute work, ‘False Mercury’ that is
now released by 845 Audio. Mastered at Earlabs by Jos Smolders. All three are experienced musicians
of experimental sound improvisation. Objects, microphones, low fi tools, etc. serve as tools to create
their unheard worlds.  It is difficult to identify who is doing what, but that is not what counts here. It
sounds as one strange organism. It is not so much about interaction or dialogue in the way we know
it from  improvisation that evolved from a jazz tradition. On the other hand one doesn’t experience
this work as if it is only an amount of sounds and noises that are not interrelated. On the contrary it
is very much one sound world, an alienating framework, breathing a strange and fascinating
otherworldliness. (DM)
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A new name from the Swiss improve scene. Laura Schuler grew up in a musical family. Since early
age she plays the violin. After her studies she find her way to several ensembles, as a (co-) leader of
member. Also she is into composing. She has her own quartet with Philipp Gropper, Hanspeter
Pfammatter and Lionel Friedli as her companions. Solo improvisation is of special importance for
Schuler, which she considers as the most personal musical statement possible for herself. So maybe
no surprise that her first album is a solo one:  ‘Elements and Songs’. Most of the improvisations are
not extremely far out, in the sense of just exploring extended techniques and sound aspects. Except for
the second improvisation, ‘Klammer 1’, where she treats the violin almost in a percussive instrument
and ‘Klammer 2’ that has very scratchy and mean playing. Overall she lets the sound of the violin
flourish in all its richness and intensity.  In a few tracks sampling was used, like in ‘Dui’, that has sparse
but deep electronic sounds in the background, with very intimate and delicate playing by Schuler in
the forefront and is a combination that works very well. Throughout one can detect echoes of folk and
classical music in her personal improvisations. But more important she shows she has a story to tell.
Her improvisations are very inspired, lively and to the point. Concentrated and vibrant. In several
tracks she combines her playing with singing like in the opening track ‘All of a Sudden’. However her
singing has not an equal expressiveness as her playing and didn’t make a real good match for my ears.
 In the final track ‘Li’, I had to think of that other inspiring violinist and vocalist Iva Bittova. Anyway,
Schuler demonstrates she is a very communicative and musical artist. (DM)
––– Address:

MIMAN – ULME (CD by Motvind Records)

Hans Kjorstad I first encountered on the beautiful ‘Pusinshi Ulla’ album he released with his brother
Rasmus in 2016. Meanwhile Hans Kjorstad found his way in several groups and projects. Miman is his
latest one. Kjorstad started playing the violin when he was seven years old in Fron in Gudbrandsdalen,
Norway, a region that has lively folk music traditions. Often we link improvised music to the jazz
tradition. But improvisation was also an important element in folk music. It is from this source that
Kjorstad develops his music in numerous collaborations. This also counts for Miman, an improvising
trio of Andreas Røysum (guitar, clarinet), Egil Kalman (double bass, synthesizer) and Hans Kjorstad
on violin. During three days in March 2017 they recorded their album ‘Ulme’, after a few years of
extensive touring. As said they are into improvisation, induced with folk motives and techniques from
Norwegian, British and Indian traditions. They are really seeking for new something new in their
explorations.  Their improvisations are an abstract play with these traditional and other elements.
‘Skärvor’ and ‘Torre’ are fine examples of their improvisations: radical and abstract on the one hand,
but also calm and friendly in nature. In contrast the closing piece ‘Plaums Draum’ is a dreamy melodic
improvisation. The most extended piece on the album, ‘De Vises Club’, has a nice and balanced blend of
electronics and acoustical sounds. All three are excellent musicians, and their improvisations delicate
and concentrated. At times I missed a bit of dynamics and urgency. And I will never become a fan of
post-rock minimalism as demonstrated by the guitarist in the opening track. But no doubt a convincing
debut of a trio that is exploring new territory. And also the first release for Motvind Records, a new
label established by Hans Kjorstad. (DM)
––– Address:

PACIFIC 231 – TRANSENVIRONMENTAL (CD by The Sublunar Society)

One the many survivors from the 80s world of cassettes, Pacific 231 is however one of the few to still
use the old name for his new music. Though perhaps no longer as active as in the old days I guess and
releases became sparse in more recent years. His work evolved from ‘industrial music’ (however
loosely defined) towards something that deals with computer, self-generated, processed sounds,
sensors and biofeedback. The text on this new CD is a bit cryptic, saying what I just said in a slightly
more complicated way and that this “is the premise for further research involving many different
techniques including spatialisation. The visual realm will not be left aside and will be a natural adjunct
in the forms of virtual reality to develop future immersive environments”. Which made me think that
the CD is a medium that is a passed station with all of this self-generating processes and immersive
environments? Isn’t the next step rather an App version, like Brian Eno did with ‘Reflection’? The CD is
a static product, unchanging and depending on the preferred playback either immersive or wallpaper.
Pacific 231, nom de plume for Pierre Jolivet (these days living in Ireland), has five pieces here, four
considerable long and one twice that length. In these pieces Pacific 231 takes a few field recordings,
not more than two or three I would think, and plays around with these, using a bunch of digital
processors within the realm of software; maybe max/msp or Ableton Live. All of this is quite carefully
executed, whereas it is not really ‘ambient’. It is more like modern electronics, musique concrete if you
will, but a little less composed and Pacific 231 plays around with his sounds in a more or less
improvised way. It sounds all right, but it is not something that blows me away, or something I find
very immersive. It’s there, it’s pleasant, it’s playful and slight disorganised, but for me a bit too
‘normal’. Now, if this was an App, and you could fiddle around with the parameters yourself… I can
certainly quite some potential there. (FdW)
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PRO424 – BEFORE IMMUNITY (LP by Lamour Records)

Now, with the third album by Pro424, we learn that this is the project of Maximilian Karlander.
Lamour, home of Swedish finest electronics, released his two previous releases (Vital Weekly 979
and 1035). Like with the previous releases there are again references made to the work by Tangerine
Dream and Richie Hawtin. It is perhaps a strange combination, but the more you think about it, the
more sense it makes. There are five long pieces on this LP, which has about twenty-three minutes on
side A, and twenty for the B-side. The Hawtin reference lies in the minimalist approach to rhythms
and synthesizers, I would say, but the quick endlessly repeating arpeggios played there upon is of
course also trademark Tangerine Dream. On top of that it seems that Pro424 also plays a bit of guitar
here and there, like a similar endless sustaining level repetition; another Krauty influence. It becomes
the old and the less old; the Hawtin influences easily date back to the mid 90s, ambient house, guitars
on ringing singing sustain. Think of that psychedelic edge of ambient house; think Pete Namlook’s
endless space adventurous. All pieces seem to be flowing right into the next one, which some may
find a somewhat tiring experience. Only in the final piece, ‘Life Finds A Way’, tempo slows down and
it becomes a bit more weightless and drifting off into deep space. I wouldn’t have minded a similar
piece on the other side; to slow down and space out in the otherwise quite hectic underworld.
Otherwise this is pretty fine mellow dance beat infused ambient record. (FdW)
––– Address:


Before I surely mentioned my surprise about the vastness of the musical world. Here for instance is
one Yan Hart-Lemonnier, who music wise could have been in these pages before, but despite his
previous releases on Darling Dada, You Are Not Stealing Records, GOZombie and Flan Records or his
own Ego Twister label (and you guessed it: I don’t know any of these labels) ‘Le Coeur Et La Raison’
(“the heart and the reason”) is my first introduction to his music. Before he worked as Edmünd Prinz,
Edmond Leprince and Sir Edmund Et L’Autre.  This is some very strange music, and I easily admit I
am a bit lost with it. Hart-Lemonnier plays a keyboard and uses a rhythm machine; maybe he uses
more than one synthesizer, but maybe not. Everything about this is quite chaotic. There are rhythms
that don’t make much sense, rattling about in a very illogical way, and on top there are chaotic chords,
and Hart-Lemonnier uses many silly preset sounds. There is something very dry about all of this.
There is very little by way of sound effects or processing. There is something 8-bit about it, I guess,
but I am also reminded of an instrumental version of Harry Merry. Very occasionally he pulls back
gear and plays a more sorrowful tune, such as ‘Scrapbooking In Heaven’. That is the only one title in
English, the others are in French, so I am not the right person to judge if these titles are funny.
Whether or not this is all-serious or perhaps comes with a bit of humour is for me the biggest question
of this record. I listened with quite some amazement; I enjoyed the approach of Hart-Lemonnier and
his consistent rattling of drum machines and enjoyed certainly some of the songs. I can easily see why
Adaadat would release this as it fits their wacky pop aesthetics, but I am not convinced I would play
this a lot in the future. (FdW)
––– Address:

  by Psych.KG)

Strange is of course a word I use quite a bit in these pages, and it applies here, but maybe with
Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer, ‘strange’ is the common thing. I reckon that Louis Jucker is
responsible for the first three pieces of intimate acoustic guitar. He chooses, for whatever reason I
am not aware of, to sit in on the balcony, so quite a bit removed from the microphone, which also
picks up some other, very hard to define sounds. His second piece is a short microcassette abuse of
speeding up sounds and the third finds him closer to the microphone, more singing, a bit of guitar
and some sort of percussion. One has to be careful with such words, but no doubt this is something
that people (not always me included) would call ‘outsider’ music. I guess it is all about direct emotion
put down to tape and it has very little to do with composition or conscious decisions. It works quite
well here. Jeroen Diepenmaat I know as a serious artist, visual and music, and he has a short piece
from his recent ‘Lok’ session (see Vital Weekly 1128); a beautiful but way too short of grainy piano
sounds. Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer are artists from Germany with quite a reputation as
performance artists (and a real-life police officer). Also here I am not sure if the word outsider really
fits, but there work is always a curious mix of spoken word, weird found sound, off-key singing and
sometimes these things drag on a bit too long, like they do here. At one point I want to be the outsider
here and leave, yet I easily admit there is something quite captivating as well: how long will this last?
    On ‘Ode’ Diepenmaat presents a documentation of an installation he did in Utrecht, where he used
fourteen musical boxes. On ‘Min’, on the A-side, the tune keeps repeating but every time one note is
removed and in the end one just hears the mechanic of the box. A very simply, straightforward idea of
course, but I must say it sounds beautiful; almost like a very sad song about decay (decomposition
would be the right word I guess). In ‘Trek’ (“pull”), all the music boxes sound at the same time, and
while one could think it would be very chaotic, it isn’t. It is gentle and poetic. ‘Ode’ then, the final short
piece on the second side is a documentation of how the installation sounded in the space, complete
with its natural reverb. These are three different approaches to the music box and it works out pretty
well in all three pieces.
    For both records Diepenmaat created handmade editions; for ‘Ode’ is packed in a wooden box with
 a music box attached to it and for ‘Fluxus’ some contraption of wood. Seeing is believing here. They
look great, but maybe something for art lovers, I guess. For me the music is of more interest. (FdW)
––– Address: <>
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XU – WHISPER MY WORLD (CDR by Eilean Records)

Probably I said it before and surely I will say so in the future; Eilean Records from France have great
connections in the world of ambient, drone and related musical genres and here is again somebody I
hadn’t heard of before. Ben Mcelroy has been working since 2016 in music using guitar, violin and his
voice, next to a bit of computer processing and has two previous releases by Whitelabrecs and
Unknown Tone. His influences are “Pauline Oliveros, Sharron Kraus and Ralph Vaughn Williams”.
He recorded seven pieces, all of which take some time to tell their story and it is quite a diverse story.
The music ranges from what one would probably label as pure drone, such as the opening sounds of
‘The Sailor And The Albatros’, to some finger pickin’ Americana or some homey folky UK styled singing.
It may seem altogether a bit odd on paper, but I can assure you it works wonderfully well on CD. Maybe
because Mcelroy takes his time in developing a piece/song, so before singing or picking starts there is
something that happens before, strings and drones for instance, but slowly the element that makes the
songs, singing, a melody on strings or guitar and you might find yourself in a different territory.
Sometimes Mcelroy reverses his strategy and start with vocals, such as in ‘Harry And Clara’. There is a
very refined highland atmosphere around these pieces, in which drones sound like mist horns, the dark
voice singing about sleep, people and the sailor or the drowned men and it’s defies such categories as
drones and ambient really. I predict Mcelroy a great future with his hymns.
    From Nicola Fornasari I had heard before, because Eilean Records already released a previous
album, ‘Butterfly Meets Mountain’ (see Vital Weekly 939) and a collaborative work with Andrea Poli
(see Vital Weekly 999). I didn’t hear his other releases for Triple Moon Records, Twice Removed or
Cathedral Transmissions. The cover lists a whole bunch of devices “music boxes, singing bowls, piano,
arturia minibrute, casio toy keyboard, fx and looper pedals, monotron delay, samplr and borderland
granular on ipad, custom built pure data patch, tape recorders, tape heads, contact mics, field
recordings, processing” and all of this was used to record eight pieces on this disc. I am not the person
to say that this is quite a of instruments to create this music. If it’s needed then it’s needed, I guess. Xu’s
work very much belongs to the world of traditional ‘computer processes acoustic instruments’ laptop
music. Like with the one I heard some time ago, Xu is still the elegant man when it comes to processing
sounds. The music boxes seem to play an important role as their sound appears in multiple pieces. Xu
delicate transformations of sound sounds delicious but it is not a surprise dinner. It is a kind of music
that one knows from many others featured over the past twenty or so years in these pages. That is not
a bad thing of course; who says every release has to be an original one? Xu does what he does and he
does it quite well. There is some fine sonic depth in these pieces and some great care for detail. It only
needs a bit more of Xu’s own imagination, and less about following the rules. (FdW)
––– Address:


Along with a most obscure looking CDR (just band name and title really, plus drawings) was a note
that said, “here is a disc from our label. This is merely a gift, not a demo”, to which I wrote to said label
“what is to Vital Weekly?”, and of course the reply was ‘a review would be nice’, so I asked for more
information. I got this (quoted in full): “Our label is ran by myself and my partner Clarissa. Of no fixed
abode, we live in our camper van and travel throughout the UK constantly, where we record music by
both ourselves and people we meet on the road. Our label, Help For Zeroes, has been set up to
document these meetings and recordings. This is the first release. Greenmark Steamboat is duo of
Humphrey Peebles, a scaffolder we met in Stockport, and Clarissa Smeaton. Recorded over a weekend
(cliche #1), we utilised anything we could get our hands on (cliche #2), in other words the usual DIY
approach beloved of us non-musicians. The artwork, which makes this look even more amateurish than
it sounds, is by myself.” I guess that is enough to know? Hiding in the camper, I would think, is a
cassette machine, some Dictaphones, stomp boxes and perhaps a few monotrons. They are used here
to create loopy-based mild noise collages, which are not overtly loud but also not something that one
would call ambient music. I am not sure how these loops are made; via cassettes, perhaps? Via
Ableton? Or perhaps there is a looping device of some kind? Either way, one could say these are songs
from the kitchen sink, sitting behind a Formica table and using that in the process to do this music.
There are only four pieces, and perhaps at twenty-three minutes it is all a bit too brief to get a firm
idea of what this is all about. Also seeing the way this has been set-up you could wonder if there is
more to be expected. But a bit of chaos is also quite right in the DIY spirit I guess. (FdW)
––– Address:

DOC WÖR MIRRAN – COVFEFE LIVE (cassette by Clockwork Tapes)

Despite the fact that ‘cassettes are BACK, HOT and HIP’, if only, they are very commonly housing in
those standard boxes that they come in if you buy them in a warehouse (can you still?). In the 80s that
was the case too, the majority came in those dull boxes, and for a collector like myself, back then, that
was great, because it was easier to store lots of them. Yet there were some beautiful out-of-the-box
releases, in bathing sponges and milk cartons for instance, that made it also quite exciting for other
people to have. Doc Wör Mirran’s live documentation of a concert in Lithuania is packed inside a real
transistor car radio, with paint, and you just eject the tape and play it on a still functioning machine.
Maybe they went by car from their hometown Fürth in Bavaria to Lithuania and this radio is to
commemorate that fact? This is released in an edition of sixteen copies, mind you and the title refers
to Trump’s infamous tweet “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”, whatever the hell it means,
but I’m sure the Mirrans are no fans of the 45th president of the USA. I am not sure to what extent
there has been editing to this material, but I would think there is a bit. It is most surely not a
straightforward live recording, spread out over two sides. The material is cut down to eleven songs
and it is Doc Wör Mirran in a very odd modus. It is quite experimental, with songs half finished, some
improvised guitar bits, and a bit of industrial music jamming and whatever else they have done to
transform and reshape these live recordings. I must admit despite all the vague ideas thrown about I
quite enjoyed this, perhaps it sounded all so obscure. It was, so I was thinking, like driving a car (not
something I can do actually) and playing with the radio dial and picking up strange sounds, in between
stations – probably something that these days are also not possible anymore. Oh those happy, old days.
––– Address:

RUSS WATERHOUSE – AMARO/AMARI (cassette by Gertrude Tapes)

The name of Russ Waterhouse sounded familiar so I browsed the archive of Vital Weekly and it turned
that all the times his name appeared it was in concert announcements, and when his music was
reviewed, with the band Watersports, his name was not mentioned (Vital Weekly 528). I compared
Watersports back then with Idea Fire Company. On his solo cassette, which was recorded in February
this year at ADA Gallery in Richmond, Virginia, Waterhouse uses “tapes, rhythm-matic, microphones,
objects, room”, and again I am inclined to draw lines to the sound of Idea Fire Company. There is
certain directness in the recording, in the middle of the room, with some additional ‘room feeling’, and
there are two fifteen-minute pieces on this cassette. ‘Amaro’ is on the first, ‘Amari’ on the second, which
may seem to suggest a connection, but maybe there isn’t. The pieces are quite different. ‘Amaro’ is a
piece that is a strange piece, which seems to involve randomly played sounds from tapes, which at one
point is just some objects abuse and the sound drops quite a bit, but it returns in the second half with
loops and rhythms from tape. It all sounds pleasantly scary, I think, with a rattling of cages and chains
in a space, stuck in a delay. ‘Amari’ is altogether an easy trip, a pleasant ride, staying on the same
volume level throughout with a rhythm machine banging on, tapes stuck in loops, slowly unleashing
melodic lines there upon. This is most captivating piece of music, which for all I was concerned could
have been extended beyond it’s fifteen minute range. (FdW)
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CYBERIAN – LIMERENCE (cassette by Amek Tapes)
ATE – SECONDARY DROWNING (cassette by Amek Tapes)

That’s a great name, Cyberian, I thought. It is the musical project of Stefan Bachvarov and he recorded
fourteen songs that span over a one-hour worth on this cassette. As there is not a lot of information
available, we have to guess a bit as to the how and why of the music. Well, mainly the ‘how’ question of
course, as this is something that left me puzzling for some time; in fact, I couldn’t figure it out. With the
first few songs I was thinking of this as ‘laptop music, variation of Ableton Live’. Loops play an
important role, of electronic sounds, of treated acoustic sounds and an abundance of plug-ins, along
with the tinkling of piano or guitar. The latter no doubt also looped. A gentle sound is the result and it
reminded me of laptop glitch mixed with ambient music. A bit dark, but that comes with the territory,
I should think. But then a piece like ‘Across The Styx’ came on, with its rattling percussion, and it
sounded more drum ‘n bass meet rock alike. Which I guess is not a bad thing and a bit of variation
doesn’t harm any long release, but from here on there are a bit of oddballs in this release. I wonder
if a somewhat tighter selection would have resulted in a slightly stronger release. The difficulty with
cassettes is they are not easy to program of course.
    I believe I missed out on ate (no capitals there) debut MCCV, which was also released by Amek
Tapes, so this is the first time I hear the music of Petar Petrov. The label calls this “chamber drone
music” as well as “guitar-based ambient and shoegaze”, which I guess is a tell-all really. Three lengthy
pieces and one that is a bit shorter, in total forty minutes of music. It is apparently ‘thicker and more
massive’, but from where I am sitting it all sounds quite delicate and fragile. In each of the four pieces
(all called ‘Wave’) there is an endless sustaining of guitars trapped in loop pedals and spaced out with
the use of flangers, chorus, and delay and reverb units. Gritty, spacey, shoey and gazey indeed, and
perhaps it is safe to say that this is nothing new under the sun. In fact I am sure this is something that
has been done before, probably to death. Seeking something that you haven’t heard isn’t possible on
this cassette, but then you could wonder: why would you want to hear something new all the time?
Here’s someone who creates something you know from the world of shoegazing ambient drone and
he does a thoroughly satisfying job. And that’s just as good as well. (FdW)
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CELER – SOMETHING CATHARTIC (cassette by Polar Seas Recordings)

When checked the label’s Bandcamp page for that extra bit of information that wasn’t the cover, I
saw that forty-four people added this to their collection, which isn’t to say that they all have a copy
of the cassette, but for an edition of 100 cassettes that is quite an impressive thing. I guess it says
quite a bit on the popularity of Will Long’s Celer project. He has by now an impressive catalogue, and,
honestly, quite a few of it are along fairly similar lines, and yet so many people are still enthusiast
about a new release from him. It means, I guess, a few things; the fans are always right. It also means
that whatever a reviewer does is of relatively little importance. I am here to inform you that something
new has been released, and perhaps say something about the work and where it stands in the rest of
the works from the same or similar artists. Plus I can express a bit about how I feel about the whole
‘let’s be innovative/let’s not change’ thing. Celer here has five pieces, which were sourced from “a
record of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, played at 15 rpm and replayed and reprocessed on
tape”. That may already sound like a standard procedure for Celer; taking something and process that
using magnetic tapes. So far nothing new under the sun, and also the execution is textbook Celer. Long
sustaining tones, a bit wobbly and shaky, from the old vinyl versus the wobbly tape heads (who knows),
of what now sounds like organ tones captured on a dusty cassette. I love it. I sat down, read a book, had
this on repeat for a fair amount of time this afternoon, and then I got up, to sit down and think about
these words. No, it doesn’t matter that it sounds alike so many (great, mind you) Celer releases from
the standpoint of the listener. The reviewer wouldn’t mind writing a long piece on what’s new with
the Celer sound if that was to report, obviously, and surely he wouldn’t mind seeing Will Long doing
some more piano music as Mogador or techno as Will Long, pop with Oh Yoko, so that we have time to
explore the Celer catalogue as it is now a bit more, without the addition of new albums. (FdW)
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