Number 1143

ORGANUM – RAVEN (CD by Siren) *
  Company) *
WANG LU – URBAN INVENTORY (CD by New Focus Recordings)
  Focus Recordings)
SKADEDYR – MUSIKK! (CD by Hubro Music)
DEAD GIRL’S PARTY – THE THINGS I’VE LOST (LP by Feeding Tube Records) *
GEORGIOS KARAMANOLAKIS – SCARED PATH (cassette by Coherent States)
   TAPIR (cassette by Coherent States)
SICK LLAMA – ACCELERANT (cassette by Coherent States)
TRISTAN MAGNETIQUE (3 cassettes by Otomatik Muziek) *


Puzzling is a word I use quite a bit and always with good reason, I should at least hope so. It is a
word that certainly applies to the work of David Jackman, also known as Organum and I have
been a fan ever since I heard ‘In Extremis’, one of the first records he put under that moniker in
1983. I say fan and I certainly have quite a bit of his work, yet not all of his bizarrely obscure and
highly limited 7″ releases (and I still hope that one day there will be ‘Volume Three’ etc as a follow-
up to two earlier volumes documenting his early work). In more recent years Jackman’s music
became more acoustic and perhaps also more minimal. Sometimes it seems that a piece is
repeated a number of times, and ‘Raven’ is alike that, except it seems the same track for thirteen
times. I am sure there is a reason for that number 13. Durations vary between 3’27 and 3’21. This
is the first Organum release since ‘Sorow’ from 2010, which wasn’t reviewed here in these pages,
and it seems to me a continuation from there. The music contains various elements also present
in ‘Sorow’, church bells, piano chords being struck in a slow and majestically way and gongs.
While Jackman is the only fixed member of Organum, two others are credited here as well, as
that is Alan Jones and Daisuke Suzuki (who also acts as label boss here). Maybe that is puzzling
as well, given the relatively few notes that are played here; who does what? With the passing of
years, and Jackman getting older no doubt, his work becomes more and more like a requiem.
Takes words ‘Amen’, ‘Sorow’, ‘Omega’, ‘Sanctus’ and now ‘Raven’; this is surely not the kind of
work that one could easily label as ‘happy’ music. As noted more and more in recent times, we
live indeed in grim times; maybe it is more to do with that than man’s own mortality? In each of
these pieces the same things happens, and I know I could rip all of these pieces and compare
the pieces to see if they are really the same or perhaps they have miniature changes, but I didn’t.
I just kept playing this, in fact on a tri-repeat because it was a slow afternoon anyway and it made
for even more sense to do so. I am not really a person that is into Zen or meditation, but I can very
much see the point of all of this. It is all to with the emptiness of sound, when the music is over (to
quote The Doors), and while it all sounds very funereal, I hope that, despite his age, Jackman will
be around for some time and unleash some more of this beauty to us.
––– Address:


Over the years I didn’t keep up with what Michael Gendreau is doing. From the early 80s to the
late 90s he worked with Crawling With Tarts, fluctuating membership group that used quite a bit
of turntables that I did hear on LP and CD but after that I lost sight. I read that he works these days
as an acoustician “working primarily on low-vibration and noise design for buildings” and that’s
where his interest also lies as a musician these days; working with “recordings infrasonic
vibrations of a performance space”, which he uses in concert settings and that makes many of his
pieces quite site specific. I guess it is also not easy to translate these recordings into something
easily reproduced on a sound carrier, but perhaps the CD is the best one to replicate the sound.
There is some very extreme music on this disc. All four pieces are made “using accelerometers in
the performance spaces” and easily range from very quiet, almost inaudible to something very
loud. In the opening piece “Ghosts Of Logical Reasoning” it is all considerable quiet, with a sort
of vaguely obscured rumble going on. In the longest piece, the title piece, Gendreau works very
extreme sounds; very quiet and very loud, with bass sounds taking this building almost apart. I
leaped up, grabbed the remote and turned the volume down a bit. “Objects Separated By String”
seems to have picked some street sounds and acoustic objects, but I easily admit by this time I
might have been hallucinating a bit. ‘Use with caution’ could have been printed on the cover, I
think, and since it’s not, use my review as an advance warning. These radical differences make
that this music isn’t easily approached; sometimes you would deem this way too quiet for a long
time, and at times you could think this is way too loud (or simply fear for your speakers). It is very
difficult to find the ‘right’ balance in playback, even if that is something you wish. Maybe the
element of surprise and scare is something you are after, in which case this is the perfect
place. (FdW)
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This is the third collaboration by writer and Oxbow frontman Eugene S. Robinson (and I still have
no idea what Oxbow is, really) and Frenchmen Philippe Petit, who worked with Lydia Lunch and
others, following his time doing a record label called Bip Hop Records. The two previous releases
where not to well spend on me and that’s mainly to blame on Robinson’s voice. By now you could
know I’m not particular interested in texts and lyrics, which I think here is a rant against religion (no
fan either, but also must say I don’t care really that much) set against Petit’s more improvised set of
sounds from synths, bass-organ, piano, percussion. One Percy Howard provides some vocals and
extra guitars by John 3:16 (to keep in the spirit of it all I guess) and Chris Haskett. They cobble
together a rather loosely set of improvised atmospherics using these instruments, but it is
Robinson’s voice that matters here; there is no escaping. He talks rather than sings and as so often
with these things “I am not the biggest lover of story telling set to music (perhaps with a few
exceptions, such as Randy Grief’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’) because I like to hear music more than I
like to hear stories; I rather read stories” (which is what I wrote last time) and that is not changed
since Vital Weekly 858. I guess it’s a fine release and everybody working on it does a great job,
but I am sure it is not really my kind of thing. If spoken word and improvised music has your interest
then I’d say this is worth checking out.
    Which is something I can also say about Iain Paxon’s ‘The Legend Of St Winiborde’, which is,
in his own words, a musical about the “troubled life of Winiborde, a lone visionary of dark intent,
who through twists and turns of deception, ultimately rises to sainthood”; another them of religion,
curiously enough. Paxon is a member of Hamilton Yarns, whose work in alt pop and folk I quite
enjoyed (see Vital Weekly 996 for their previous release). This ‘musical’ is Paxon’s third full-length
musical story. He’s responsible for the narration, piano, bass, percussion, shruti box and clarinet,
and members of Hamilton Yarns on cornet, violin, vibraphone and voices. His voice is quite
different than that of Robinson; more introvert yet also quite a bit on top of the music. The music is
always introspective and I would think rather composed than improvised. Sometimes Paxon’s
voice reminded me of David Grubbs when singing with Gastr Del Sol; perhaps also some of the
more chamber music arrangements. Like with the Robinson/Petit CD this is something that is not
too well-spend on me, and for the same reason, the whole story telling set to music. The big
difference is that Paxon encloses a CDR called ‘instrumentals’; the same twenty songs but just the
music. Of course with the enclosed lyrics you could do your own karaoke version, but I simply
enjoyed the music for what is was and that is fairly traditional supportive songs, with a bit of odd
sounds and instruments, like a flute in ‘The Hermit’, recorded in a charmingly naive way. Now you
can make your own story and of course that is not something I would either, but the thought is
tempting. That’s the idea then for others; release an instrumental version as well for those listeners
who aren’t that much into the narrative. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:


Musaeum Clausum – translated: Sealed Museum – is a French-German trio of Hannes Lingens
(drums), Sebastien Beliah (bass) and Louis Laurain (cornet). Lingens is a drummer and
accordionist operating in the field of contemporary and experimental music in ensembles like
Obliq, Konzert Minimal and the musician’s collective Umlaut Berlin. He also composes. Beliah
is a Paris-based double bass player and composer; playing jazz, free improvisation as well as
modern composed music (Ensemble Hodos, Umlaut big band, etc. Louis Laurain is a trumpet
player, improviser and composer from Paris, and is like his companions at home in composed as
well as free improvised contexts. They recorded their first album in two days in September 2016
in a former East German Ballroom in Halle. They describe their music as “a constant flow with
small variations of speed and intensity without beginning or end. In this music each player is
drawing freely and independently a path in the development of his ideas and then reveal the
elements of a general frame that moves slowly and patiently to reach sometimes a high level a
complexity.”  This describes it well. They develop lengthy improvisations from minimal ingredients.
Bass and drum weave hypnotic patterns without much happening. But it works well and brings
you almost in a meditative state. Laurain knows how to improvise long solos in a stripped down
manner.  He plays very effective and concentrated. Not a dull moment! (DM)
––– Address:

WANG LU – URBAN INVENTORY (CD by New Focus Recordings)
  Focus Recordings)

New Focus Recordings is an American label run by artists dedicated to contemporary music. It was
founded in 2003 by guitarist Dan Lippel and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003. Their releases don’t
often land on our table, but here are three of their latest . Douglas Boyce used to play in punk
bands back in the 70s. Nowadays he is a composer of chamber music combining influences of
medieval and renaissance music with modern contemporary music.
    ‘Some Consequences of four Incapacities’ is the triggering title of Boyce’s first full-length CD
if I’m not mistaken. The release contains three compositions all excellently performed: ‘102nd &
Amsterdam’ performed by the Aeolus Quartet, ‘Piano Quartet no.1’ by Counter) induction and
‘Fortuitous Variations’ by trio Cavatina. These are thoroughly composed works that underline that
Boyce also takes many influences from our modern times. ‘Piano Quartet no.1’ I liked most
because of its power and pulse.
    Composer and pianist Wang Lu grew up in China in a musical family with strong Chinese
opera and folk music traditions. She teaches at Brown University and composes for Western and
Chinese ensembles. ‘Urban Inventory’ offers five of her compositions, all composed between
2008 and 2016. It is her first full-length release. The album opens with the title piece, a work
played by the Third Sound Ensemble. Ensembles like Ensemble Intercontemporain, Alarm Will
Sound, perform other compositions. These are top ensembles that give lively and virtuosic
interpretations of Lu’s compositions. These have a lot to offer. Lu has a playful and creative mind.
She mixes influences of Chinese traditional and modern music with Western avant-garde. Makes
good use and combinations of pre-recorded sounds with orchestra. For sure a strong voice. There
is an attractive lightness in her complex compositions. And the arrangements are very colourful.
Sparkling music! ‘….
    ‘Through which the past shines’ presents works by Nils Vigeland and Reiko Füting, which is
performed by Daniel Lippel (piano), John Popham (cello) and Nils Vigeland on piano. Vigeland
studied with Lukas Foss and Morton Feldman. Füting grew up in the former German Democratic
Republic, where he received his first educations. Later he studied composition with Vigeland
and nowadays he is teaching composition himself at the Manhattan School of Music. Lippel is a
reputed performer of solo and chamber music, and a very sensitive player as this recording
shows. Lippel is playing on all compositions that are presented here. What makes this release
especially interesting for lovers of acoustic guitar in modern composed music. The title piece is
by far the most lengthy composition – about 21 minutes – and also one of the most intriguing. Small
clear defined gestures and patterns are contrasted with one other, resulting in a fresh and
pronounced work. (DM)
––– Address:

SKADEDYR – MUSIKK! (CD by Hubro Music)

Skadedyr is an ensemble of twelve musicians all with a background in the Trondheim Academy:
Hans Hulbækmo  (drums), Øystein Aarnes Vik ( drums), Heida Mobeck  (tuba), Anja Lauvdal
(piano and synth), Adrian Løseth Waade (violin), Ina Sagstuen (vocals), Ida Løvli Hidle
(accordion), Torstein Lavik Larsen (trumpet), Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø  (trombone), Fredrik Luhr
Dietrichson  (double bass), Lars Ove Fossheim (guitar), Marius Klovning  (steel guitar). Three of
them – Lauvdal, Dietrichson and Hulbækmo – you may know from the piano trio Moskus.
Hulbækmo composed also four of six compositions that are on this release. One title – ‘Frampek’ –
is a group composition, as is ‘Portrett’ that is composed by four members of the ensemble. The first
statement of this collective, titled   ‘Kongekrabbe’, dates from 2013 and was followed by ‘Culturen’.
On ‘Musikk’ they continue ont the same path. That is to say, they are again playng the game of
fusing elements of very different musical styles and genres into their compositions: avant-garde,
folk music, jazz, rock, psychedelic, country, improvisation, electro-acoustic, etc. Cheesy folk
tunes are combined with musique concrete textures, etc.  This results in music that lives from
strange and weird contrasts. Very clever and creatively done! They developed their own
procedures of citing and quoting. Not just for it is own sake. But in order to find out what new
music can be developed from these parameters following its own inner logic. Fascinating (DM)
––– Address:


You may not remember this, but ‘The Things I’ve Lost’ by Dead Girl’s Party was already reviewed.
That was in Vital Weekly 752 and I wrote rather surprised ‘why this is released on cassette and
not on LP?’ Obviously I wrote that with a bit of insider knowledge; Dead Girl’s Party’s Scott Foust
is no stranger to me and I know his love for LP’s over CDs and cassettes. But persistence paid off
and it’s great to see this now on LP, even if I am unlike Foust and prefer CDs to LPs. But I can see
why this is something Foust wants on LP, as this is very much an album of songs. The other half of
this duo is Matt Krefting and if you his solo work and Foust’s output with Idea Fire Company, XX
Committee or The Tobacconists, you could easily think this is another variation of drone music,
certainly when you take in account it was recorded in 2007. Dead Girl’s Party tried out drones,
abandoned them and started again, and try their hands at songs, with the vague notion of
combining Roxy Music and Dome, “with particular attention to both bands’ subversion of the
song form”. Instruments used as voice, guitar, tapes and radio (Foust) and voice, keyboard,
electronics and tapes (Krefting), using “strange recording techniques”. Vocals play an important
role, which is surely an odd ball for both, looking at the vast body of other work they have in other
projects. It’s not really pop as you know it, but certainly something that one could see in the rich
tradition of post-punk, where conventional song formats are shattered, different instruments are
used in strange ways and yet the experiment leads to something that sticks in your mind. As noted
in my previous review, the particular stand out track is ‘Spin The Wheel’, which you might find
yourself singing along, long after the record is over. There are indeed some odd techniques used
when it comes to recording; maybe using cardboard tubes to alter the sound in a more unusual
way, or working inside odd spaces, like a toilet or cupboard. In that sense, but also plainly from
the music, I’d say this is more Dome territory than Roxy Music, but it surely shares some of Eno’s
wild experimentation on the first two Roxy records, with Foust perhaps a sharply dressed as Brian
Ferry. This is an excellent record that eleven years after it was recorded didn’t loose any of its
freshness. To ponder on why this took so much time to get this on LP is a silly question; the
interesting question is, me thinks, will there be more by Dead Girl’s Party and can be it soon? (FdW)
––– Address:


Eh? Records is an off-shoot of Public Eyesore and the label was created to release tour-only
albums for the label boss, Brian Day, but these days is open for others; usually on CDR in small
editions. This new release is a tour-only, but albeit a post-tour documentation for a concert trip to
Japan by Tania Chen and Jon Leidecker. The latter you may know as Wobbly, even when not
very much present in these pages; currently he is also a member of Negativland (interview with
him in this month’s Perfect Sound Forever ). I don’t think I know who Tania Chen is. They both get
credit for ‘sounds’, and how these sounds are made I don’t know. Judging by the cover, showing
a radio and some toys, and hearing the music, I’d say there is a fair share of circuit bending going
on, probably on the toys shown, along with rhythm machines and electronics to further expand on
those sounds. Sometimes the party moves into drone land but with a noisy taste for crude elements
splattering about. Voice is occasionally used; I assume that’s from Chen, but it might be there is a
some speak ‘n spell toy sounds and dolls on the meltdown. When Chen’s sings it adds an element
of folk/improvisation to the music, yet in a slightly freaky manner. Pieces were primarily recorded in
Osaka (six of them), and make up a more or less continuous play, with the last one being the most
coherent (read: less chaotic) one, with a strong on-going rhythm and synth wash. The other two
pieces where recorded in Chiba and Tokyo, both of which sound quite improvised; obviously we
don’t get to hear the rest so I couldn’t say if the rhythms of Osaka is an one-off or not. Throughout a
most lovely varied disc and fine documentation. (FdW)
––– Address:


Recently I wrote something to the effect that most cassette releases these days are quite short, but
here’s one that is quite long, some 70 plus minutes I think, and an additional thirty minutes of bonus
material in the download. Quinten Dierick is from Arnhem, The Netherlands and worked before as
Belch, an one-man punk band and these days as E.M.I.R.S.; it’s a bit unclear if this cassette is by
Quinten Dierick or E.M.I.R.S. I guess it doesn’t matter that much as it’s one and the same person.
He plays around here with four track tapes, tape-loops, Dictaphone, cassettes, electronics and
voices. Much of this, so he told me, is recorded in his own studio, a wide-open space, using
microphones rather than through lines going into mixing desks. Before he used old found tapes,
rehearsals of music, theatre play and solo stuff, which is something that he freely uses here as
well and I am pretty sure he didn’t use the same thing twice. This is a wild trip of found sound,
noise, bits of music, bits of spoken word (his own as well as others; ‘Singularity’ is a Dadaist sound
poem for instance) and from the cassette it is not easy to say what is what (that’s why I downloaded
the tape; well, that and to put a bit in the podcast). All of this was made in a rather improvised way
and sometimes E.M.I.R.S. re-did stuff is something failed, so there is an aspect of planning behind
these improvisations. Much of this sounds rather electronic in nature, perhaps a sort of lo-fi
musique concrete, with some use of harpsichord or horns (played by guests of E.M.I.R.S.). This
is, as said, quite an adventurous trip that E.M.I.R.S. takes the listener, with some variation in his
approach; from heavily leaning toward drone music, open ended sound poetry and playful use of
reel-to-reel tapes. It never sounds ‘long’ and hardly ever an idea is repeated; yet it all sounds pretty
coherent. This is an excellent intelligent noise release. (FdW)
––– Address:

GEORGIOS KARAMANOLAKIS – SCARED PATH (cassette by Coherent States)
  TAPIR (cassette by Coherent States)
SICK LLAMA – ACCELERANT (cassette by Coherent States)

Here’s a trio of new releases as presented by Coherent States from Greece. The first one contains
music by Georgios Karamanolakis, whose last record was a collaborative one with Jean-Marc
Foussat (see Vital Weekly 1113) and this time he uses a EMS Synthi E, Modified Yamaha TG33,
SY35 Vector synthesizers, Roland Space Echo, Electroharmonix Distortion, Casio FZ10M, cassette
tapes and Mystery Man Vocoder Toy to come up with two side-long pieces of music, but possibly
both sides contain two pieces of music, and not one. Both sides are quite different beasts. “Children
of the Gods”, which takes up a fair bit of the second side is a heavy blast of noise music, but it
moves into “Return to the Stars”, which is full on noise. I guess it is all right, as it not really the sort
of noise that is entirely a wall of noise, but an abundance of reverb bouncing in all directions. I
thought the first side was of more interest to me. “Sacred Path” and “Mortal Path” seem, at least
from the titles, to be works from similar angles, working with some creepy textures, slowly into a
manipulation of tapes, drones that keep building and from there on shoots of in different directions,
also included noise, but more alike a sound collages of crudely cut-up tapes. Noise with an idea
always works for me better than noise with a little less idea. Nice one!
    The Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble is something I never heard of and it consists “Gnarlos (aka
Seymour Glass from Bananafish, Glands of External Secretion, Tedium House), Lucian Tielens
(Idler Arms, Serious Problmz), The City Councilman, Tom Chimpson, and fellow mutants stationed
in Berlin, Hiroshima, and various pockets of the US”. They are the “powerhouse” of the Butte
County Free Music Society, which sounds like to me a thinly disguised take on the Los Angeles
Free Music Society. There is some information of recordings made in the early 80s, but seeing
Seymour Glass (his current project Glands of External Secretion is also part of the BUFMS) is
involved I would take it all with a mine of salt. There is always a lot not to be believed, and better
not researched, because the story is better than the truth. That might not be a popular stance these
days. Spoken word is something that this ensemble likes and it is used a lot here, but unlike the
spoken word stuff reviewed elsewhere, the voices here are diverse and not always lie on top of the
music but is mixed together with the improvised sounds from instruments, cut-up of tapes and
scratching and beating of objects, yet it is all kept within reasonable noise. It is along the lines of
 the previous release on the same label of Glands of External Secretion, which I really liked a lot,
but this was all bit milder and at the same time also a bit weirder, I guess. I was more into Glands
of External Secretion I must admit, but this surely has some excellent moments as well, but maybe
the many voices and texts was not too well-spend on me. Now, that can’t be a surprise?
    Sick Llama’s latest CDR was reviewed only a few weeks ago (Vital Weekly 1140) but not by
me, so this is my introduction. Heath Moerland is from Detroit and wears his DIY mentality with
pride. He has his own label, Fag Tapes, which he will stop once he reaches 500 releases.
Apparently he also has at least thirty aliases and projects. Massive respect I’d say. I have not
much clue as to what kind of instruments are used, but me thinks surely a guitar, pedals and other
sound effects; all of this lovely melting together into five massive layered cakes. For reasons I now
no longer know I was expecting some kind of noise release, and sure, this isn’t some easy going
drone music, it is also not to say this is something very loud. There is something creepy about it;
like Hendrix burning his guitar and manipulating the sound with some massive sound effects to
alter the effect of burning in a very minimal way, times five that is. At twenty-two minutes the
shortest of the three latest releases, but with some gorgeous music carved into these magnetic
tapes, yet it’s a pity it is this short. I wouldn’t have minded hearing a bit more of this musical
nightmare. Now that’s what I like about noise music! Thoughtful, powerful, massive and yet with
a sensitive touch. (FdW)
––– Address:

TRISTAN MAGNETIQUE (3 cassettes by Otomatik Muziek)

So here’s what I understood. Günter Schlienz is Tristan Magnetique and under his own name he
produced an excellent CD, ‘Autumn’ (see Vital Weekly 1056) with some excellent moody
synthesizer music played on a modular set-up. “As Tristan Magnetique, Schlienz pays tribute to
noise artists like Mike Pollard or Peter Friel, who started „getting mellow“, as Günter puts it,
around 10 years ago. Putting the usual machines aside, Tristan took just a Casio CZ101, some
basic effect pedals and a 4-track recorder and bounced out this whole new persona”, writes his
label. But listening to the six sides on these tapes (surely, some ninety minutes of music,
altogether) I couldn’t help but noticing that this sounded awfully similar to the work he carried
out under his own guise. Surely that stuff is taped on a computer and this on a four-track cassette,
but honestly I find the differences very hard to notice between both monikers. That is, mind you,
no complaint. I liked ‘Autumn’ a lot, the follow-up ‘Book Of Dreams’ also (see Vital Weekly 1093),
even when that one sounded a bit too sweet for my taste, and the pieces on these three cassettes
seem to hark to a somewhat cruder approach, and ‘crude’ is a word that should be used with great
care here. In the work of Schlienz as somewhat strange end to a track is a crude thing, or the
allowance of some hiss while recording; a bit of high end sound going on for a bit too long; that is
crude in the world of Schlienz. He usually deals with quite delicate textures of on-going melodic
lines, overtones and using delay and reverb with some finesse in these pieces. It is textbook
ambient synthesizer music and I love it. I realize that I beyond the few works I reviewed from him,
 I never heard much else, but I should surely check out some of his other release. It seems to me
pleasant music for any time of the day, or night, and for all seasons. While reading a book on a
sun-soaked day, like today, or during some grey rainy day in autumn. I can easily imagine that
there are also people who would think this all too sweet and easy and a fine album of noise
and/or rhythm to follow this is indeed an option to consider. (FdW)
––– Address: