Number 1151

BILL THOMPSON – MOUTHFUL OF SILENCE (2CD by Burning Harpsichord Records) *
MOON RELAY – IMI  (CD by Hubro) *
TASHI WADA – NUE (CD by Frkwys/RVNG Intl’) *
MIND & MACHINE VOLUME 1 (CD compilation by Ravello Records)
MIND & MACHINE VOLUME 2 (CD compilation by Ravello Records)
URBANFAILURE – RADICAL REST/[/] 42 (LP by Urbsounds)
  RUIN A SATURDAY NIGHT (double 10′ by Elecrro Motive Records)
ERIC LUNDE – JERK SHOCK (lathe cut 7″ by Smites!/Ballast)
BOY DIRT CAR – GRAVA (CDR by After Music Recordings) *
EILEAN REC & DAUW DIALOG TAPES II (CDR compilation by Eilean Records)
SIRIA – CUSPO (cassette by Cronica Electronica)
TAMTAM – RHEINGOLD (cassette by Cronica Electronica)
WHITE BOY SCREAM – REMAINS (cassette by Crystalline Morphologies) *
GABIE STRONG – INCANTATIONS VOL. 1 (cassette by Crystalline Morphologies) *
SHELTER DEATH – I CANNOT HEAR THE FILTHY CITY (cassette by Crystalline Morphologies) *
MAX KUIPER & THORSTEN SOLTAU – VOX CATULI (cassette by Sentimental Productions)
EDWARD SOL – MONSTROUS ARTLESSNESS (cassette by Village Tapes)
BROWNING MUMMERY – WORLD OF SHELLS (cassette by Trapdoor Tapes)
GRIM – PRIMARY PULSE (cassette by Trapdoor Tapes)
INFLATED CLIMAX (cassette by Trapdoor Tapes)
THE MUCH QUINTET- VOL.1 & VOL. 2 (cassette by Friendship Tapes)

BILL THOMPSON – MOUTHFUL OF SILENCE (2CD by Burning Harpsichord Records)

As I was playing this double CD by Bill Thompson I was thinking about drone music. Of course no
coincidence as these two discs were forty minutes of drone music per disc. There are such thoughts
as ‘at what volume level should this be played at?’ for instance, but also ‘what makes a drone a
good drone?’ I guess for the first question it is in the realm of ‘whatever you see fit’. Unlike in a
concert situation where the musician decides the volume level, at home you have all the freedom
to control that. Sometimes drones require a considerable volume, to fetch an all-immersive state,
but for instance in the case of Bill Thompson I would think a more modest volume works better; I
tried. At high volume the music becomes somewhat penetrating but lower it just seem to be a
presence in the room. Thompson uses a Moog guitar and electronics. The guitar was a rather
short-lived thing that was taken off the market when it proved to be too expensive. It had, apparently
an infinite sustain (why am I thinking of Spinal Tap here? Never mind) as “well as blend different
overtones via the foot pedal”, and something that Thompson, originally a jazz guitarist, likes for his
explorations of drone music. His pieces are essentially variations of the same piece, which he
developed while gigging all over the UK for a year. These two pieces, ‘Solitude’ and ‘Stillness’, are
both quiet explorations, with ‘Solitude’ gaining a massive loud bit in the second half, highly textured,
with ringing sounds and towards the near of ‘Solitude’ something that reminds the listener he is
hearing a guitar. This is all along the lines of say Phill Niblock, early Jim O’Rourke, or early Rafael
Toral. For me the low volume worked best, but I can easily imagine this in concert being a notch or
two louder and still be most enjoyable. (FdW)
––– Address:


I don’t often jump in the world of singer-songwriters. But in the case of Norvegian Anja Garbarek
there is more to it. With Garbarek we are in the company of a Norwegian singer-songwriter. Yes,
she daughter if saxophonist Jan Garbarek. Anja Garbarek first surfaced in 1992, debuting with
‘Velkommen Inn’. Several pop-albums followed, with support by Robert Wyatt, Mark Hollis, Steven
Wilson, etc.. Also she did the soundtrack for Luc Besson’s ‘Angel-A’(2005). ‘The Road is just a
Surface’ is her first musical work since 2005, and her fifth solo work. It is a music-based theatre
work “which explores the experience of being trapped in an emotionally locked life situation and
the longing for moving on”.  For this undertaking she collaborated with choreographer and director
Jo Strømgren. A collection of songs embedded in a continuous soundscape combined with video,
choreography and text. Performing on stage are Anja Garbarek herself, violist Bergmund Waal
Skaslien and dancer Line Tørmoen. Of course I can only speak of the audio part. The project is
released in two editions, a red and a yellow one. The red one has the songs embedded in a
continuing soundscape, as used for the theatre. On the yellow one the songs have been mixed
and edited into clear into melodic pop songs. Music and texts are written by Garbarek and tell the
story of an imaginary person and his dark, emotional conflicts. It is a very sophisticated work. The
songs are catchy and arranged  as very well-balanced soundscapes. Sometimes with an avant-
garde touch. Ambient textures and weird interludes visualize a dark inner world. Evoking a David
Lynch-like strangeness. (DM)
––– Address:


Argentinia-born Dewar studied with Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, Milo Fine, a.o. and works as
a teacher in the US. Last year we reviewed another trio-recording by him for Pfmentum:
‘Encantamientos’. Here Dewar was in the company of veterans Andrea Centazzo and Anne
LeBaron. This time John Hughes (double bass)  and Chad Popple (drums, percussion, vibraphone)
are his companions. Hughes is a double bassist from Rochester living and working since 1999 in
Hamburg, Germany. He and Popple known another and recorded with saxophonist Bernd
Reinecke for another trio-recording also recorded in Hamburg (2014). Both play also in jazz
group focused on the work of the great masters, Ellington, Sun Ra, a.o. Hughes is a double bassist
from Rochester living and working since 1999 in Hamburg, Germany. Popple and Dewar play
together since the early 90s. Considering the fine togetherness of their interplay this almost had to
be the case. The title-track ‘Reflejo’ is a work in three parts composed by Dewar. Chamber music
that reminded of work by Doctor Nerve, especially the first part. The thematic material also made
other names pop up in my mind (Neil Ardley), as if Dewar reflects on existing material… Anyway,
it is a strongly polished and shaped composition. The other four works are group improvisations.
Both improvisations and compositions make a nice contrast. But is the excellent musical interaction
that prevails. Personally, I like especially the improvisations. They are really fantastic. High
musicianship. All three of them have a lot to offer and take equally part in shaping their
constructions.Although improvised music is often perceived as ‘difficult’, these improvisations are
very enjoyable and accessible because of a clear inner logic. A very nice and beautiful work!
Everything is recorded, mixed, and mastered by Wolfgang Helbsing in Hamburg, Germany on
November 7, 2015. (DM)
––– Address:

MOON RELAY – IMI  (CD by Hubro)

Yesterday it was one of those Sundays when it rained almost the entire day. Not a lot always, but a
constant drizzle. I played Geir Sundstøl’s ‘Brødløs’ and noticed that the previous releases by him
were not reviewed by me (see Vital Weekly 1013 and 1066), and while I surely heard bits of them
before passing them on, I am not sure why I passed them on. It is perfect rain music, but today the
sun shines (well mostly) and again the music proofs to be perfect. Stundstøl plays a whole bunch
of snare instrumnets, from Shankar guitar to mandolin, from banjo to pedal steel and it’s especially
the latter he uses quite a bit. Other musicians provide drums (Erland Dhalen), keyboards and
synthesizers (David Wallumrød), or trumpet (Nils Petter Molvaer) and so on, and the music is slow,
spacious, sometimes a bit jazz like, but just as easily qualifies as ambient music. It is a small jump
to think about Americana here, but with some of the space suggested also someone like Brian Eno
comes to mind, especially his ‘Apollo’ record. Eno and Bowie play a role in the piece ‘Warzaw/
Alabama’, which links them to John Coltrane in a very sad piece; certainly a highlight of the CD.
Throughout there is a very slow atmosphere here, like slow, lazy and rainy Sundays in autumn, or
cool breezes on sunny spring day (as in ‘Kraag’). Typically this is the kind of music that easily fits
an art house movie, preferably a road movie of some kind; Ry Cooder is never seems too far away
here. It is perhaps not the sort of thing I’d play a lot, but in the past few days I played it a lot and
every time I liked it more.
    The opening notes of Moon Relay’s ‘Imi’ sound like nothing Hubro would release; a 4/4 beat
thumping, some cymbals. It is almost the intro of a techno song but as soon as the rest of the band
kicks in you realize this is something else altogether, again. Moon Relay is a four-piece band that
has Daniel Meyer Grønvold on guitar, bass, percussion, piano, synth, cassettes and drums, Havard
Volden on guitar, bass, synths, tapes and drums, Ola Høyer on bass and Christian Naess on drums.
The more or less traditional makings on a rock group, I would think and the musical roots of Moon
Relay can be found in the world of late 70s, early 80s post-punk, division dance music. Think Gang
Of Four, Medium Medium, Talking Heads, A Certain Ratio, but without the addition of wind
instruments, and as such their inspiration comes also from the world of No New York. Plus, and
that is quite an important difference, Moon Relay is all instrumental and their songs are usually a
bit longer than your more average post punk piece. They have six songs (one ends in a lock
groove on the LP version) in thirty-eight minutes, so that might you an idea about the length of
these pieces. It means there is quite some development within each of the pieces, slowly building
towards an orchestral wall of sound. Apparently there is quite some over-dubbing of electronic
drums, synths and effects here, so I am not sure how they would make up for in a live situation, but
I am quite impressed by this. Even when it sounds like post-punk/funk of thirty years ago, Moon
Relay adds quite a bit of their own making to the music so it sounds also something else. The
somewhat longer approach to the overall songs for instance, the layering of electronic effects, the
addition of ‘other’ sounds (speeding up tapes from cassettes, radio noises), make all of this a
highly vibrant record. Also the kind of music that is not much in rotation with me these days, but it
is surely something that will be. (FdW)
––– Address:


This is the second album by Havard Volden, born in 1980 in the lovely Norwegian city of
Trondheim, and he’s a member of Moon Relay (see elsewhere). It is the first time I hear his music.
It was not easy to figure it all out, I must admit. It was perhaps that the second piece, following a
short introductionary piece of music, is an almost seven minute long improvisation on guitar and a
bit of effects. It’s sounds a bit too easy, I think. Along I am reading the press text and it says that this
is not unlike ancient tape music, the electronic music of so many moons ago. Not in this piece it is,
and I double-checked if I was reading the right words to the right release; I did. However on the
pieces that follow it is easier to make that connection to old tape music, splicing together tape-
loops, crumbled magnetic tape picked up from dirty floors and that short of thing; tapes that may
contain field recordings, synthesizers or guitar sounds, but just as well he uses those to tapes to
play along these sounds. Speeding up tapes, slowing them down, cut ‘n paste, feeding back and
mild distortion, but never too much. It works best if he keeps his pieces short and to the point. In his
longer pieces there is a tendency to do over-do the improvisational aspect of the music, but in his
shorter pieces it seems9 as if he’s more interested in composing the sounds into concise little
pieces. At thirty-seven minutes it means that I surely liked one half of it, and from the other half
there are some fine moments, but he also seems to be losing control a bit. I have mixed feelings
about this one. (FdW)
––– Address:

TASHI WADA – NUE (CD by Frkwys/RVNG Intl’)

The subtitle for this is ‘with Yoshi Wada and Friends’, perhaps for those who recognize the name
of Yoshi as an early member of the Fluxus movement. The friends are Julia Holter, Simone Forti,
Cole MGN and Corey Fogel. FRKWYS is a series by RVNG (they sure love acronyms) for
‘intergenerational’ works and here father and son work together in the studio, which is something
they haven’t done a lot. The music deal with ‘the psychoacoustic and perceptual explorations of
his mentor, composer James Tenney, and reimagined forms of ancient and devotional music’, but it’s
not about the past but having a group of people together to work and look forward. There is a wide
range of instruments at work here, from percussion, to prophet, audio generators, bagpipes, voices
and sirens and alarm bells. Throughout the music is minimal and I can surely think of the ten pieces
here as devotional music, inviting the listener to move into their headspace or form of meditation.
Various sounds are layered and within that Wada create small differences and within these delicate
differences it becomes quite an orchestral piece. It is not per se for many instruments, but studio
technology makes it all a bit more complex and there is a fine crisp sound here; throughout there is
a somewhat sacred atmosphere in these pieces, slow and peaceful, especially in such pieces as
‘Fanfare’ or ‘Double Body’, with its slow bang on the drum and delicate swarm of drones on the
bagpipe and sirens. I can imagine that some would have a problem with that, but surely they might
not be the target audience for this music. I too would not easily go for such heavily charged music,
but every now and then: surely I could. It’s like church; you also go once a week! (Well, some) (FdW)
––– Address:


Following his debut ‘Landscapes’, a 10″ record also released by Warm (see Vital Weekly 1067),
here is ‘Returns’, a rather short CD by Pascal le Gall. Short as in twenty-nine minutes only. Le Gall
works with “records played on turntables with variable-speed drives’, which I admit sounds like a
rather dull description. There is a short introduction piece with sound of broken glasses, and it is
called ‘Part One (A Tribute To John Cage)’, followed by two long pieces and one that is a bit shorter,
but none go with any title or dedication. I believe, based actually on his previous release that Le
Gall is inspired by the Cageian work with records such as he did in his ‘Imaginary Landscape’
series, with records spinning in various speeds. Le Gall likes his varispeed turntables to spin the
records considerable slower speed and paint a rather dark and obscure picture in sound. It means
that, just like his 10″ before, he’s very much into the world of ambient music, even when Le Gall
uses the collage form quite a bit. In the second part there is some multi-speed percussive sound,
and while I am not sure if Le Gall uses sound effects (I believe he does), his delay and reverb
treatment work very well to garner that much loved dark atmospheric feeling. Like before it is not
something I haven’t heard before but perhaps that something one can say for many of the turntable
musicians. It is overall quite good, and it is perhaps a pity it is over after thirty minutes, as I wouldn’t
mind some more and not get up and change the tune. (FdW)
––– Address:


Composer Peter Garland has been featured in these pages before (Vital Weekly 675994 and
1117), with works Cold Blue Music released. Now it’s time for Starkland to release a work he
composed in 2010-2011. From the text I learned that Garland lived and worked in such countries
as Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Morocco, Japan and Turkey and that is of influence on his
music. This new work “depicts the 24-hour day cycle in five movements”, being “mid-day, sunset,
after dark, late, early morning) and it is for a single percussion player. It is performed by the person
who ask Garland to compose it, John Lane and in each piece he plays one instrument; 8 drums
(Chinese or Native American), 9 rice bowls, 3 triangles, glockenspiel and tubular bells. This is
some highly impressive music. The music is very rhythmical, obviously I should say, and it is very
minimal. Minimal, as in the very best tradition of minimal music from the sixties, with slow shifting
patterns. In ‘After dark’ the triangles have an excellent overtone ringing to them. Almost like a
Carillion, delicate but massive. The drums on the other hand in ‘Mid-day’ sound dry but also
manage to get that shifting sound, like it is becoming a weightless space. The rice bowls of
‘Sunset’ are like metallophones and especially this piece sounds like Steve Reich during ‘Six
Marimbas’, and the glockenspiel of ‘Late’ like ‘Drumming’ on 78 rpm. By contrast the tubular bells
of ‘Early Morning’ are slower and Garland let them ring also but there is a little pause for some
sustain. It reminded me of the previous work by Garland, ‘Moon Viewing Music’ (Vital Weekly
1117), which was for large gongs and tam-tam and while slower than ‘Early Morning’ it has
that same immersive feeling to it. Like the previous release this is a great release; maybe the
best work I heard so far of his hand. (FdW)
––– Address:

MIND & MACHINE VOLUME 1 (CD compilation by Ravello Records)
MIND & MACHINE VOLUME 2 (CD compilation by Ravello Records)

Time for some of my favourite mantra’s when it comes to music reviewing. The first being that the
world of music, even the one that is, by and large, experimental, is bigger than you think it is. After
more than twenty years I encounter new names on a weekly basis. That is a positive thing of
course. They are introduced this time on two compilations and here’s the second mantra: I don’t
think like reviewing compilations. The time frame to get to ‘know’ a composer is not enough, usually
a few minutes. There is no background on this. I never heard of Ravello Records, so I am not sure
who these musicians/composers are neither what ties them together. On the cover of the first it
says that it is about working with “organic (natural sounds) and electronic (circuit derived)” and
these composer are “exploring the wide range of works categorized as electroacoustic”, while the
second promises “a deeper dive into the complex realm of electro-acoustic experience”. The
subtitle here is ‘organic and electronic works’, which made me think this might be some new age
music, but it’s not. What is then, you ask? That is hard even harder to say, as there isn’t much that
connects these pieces. There is a modern classical piece by Patricia Spenser & Grace Anderson,
a strange chamber orchestra piece that sounds very mellow by Bill Whitley, tacky ambient from
Schliestett & Bliss, but also some sort of drum & bass inspired by Julius Bucsis (this all being on
‘Volume 1’). In that respect are the pieces on the second volume a somewhat more coherent set,
and indeed from the world of electroacoustic music. Tom Prescott and Corey Fant use granular
synthesis to transform acoustic sounds and Joshua Tomlinson works in a more musique concrete
kind of a way, just the Lou Buk does with the sound of a toy piano. Jennifer Bernard Merkowitz
has a more traditional ‘bass clarinet and tape’ piece, while Joshua Harris and Julius Bucsis are in
between all of these with their pieces. If ‘Volume 1’ is too much of a mixed bag, then ‘Volume 2’
then surely makes up a fine set of pieces and from some of these I wouldn’t mind hearing some
more. (FdW)
––– Address:


Good news: Rivulets have a new CD out. Obviously they want the world to know. Bad news is
they send a copy to Vital Weekly who hasn’t the faintest idea what to write about this. But at least
now you know it is out. (FdW)
––– Address:


I have a soft spot for groups like De Fabriek, of which there aren’t very many: perhaps they share
company with Doc Wor Mirran, Controlled Bleeding, Nocturnal Emissions… bands who are very
prolific, yet don’t adhere to any specific sound. They do whatever they like, whenever they like, and
stick with that commitment to unorthodoxy for decades. The Dutch group De Fabriek began in (or
somewhat before?) 1980, at the epicentre of international cassette-network action, when a surge of
home-recording and self-publishing being the norm. From tat flurry of activity until today (and still
going!), De Fabriek created more than 100 albums (mostly tapes), tracks for compilations (again,
mostly cassettes) and collaborations with like-minded bedroom-studio weirdos from around the
world. Even just in the seven years before this LP, “Made in Spain”, was released, De Fabriek had
already produced more albums than many other groups would make in their entire careers. In
1987, an LP was rather high profile for an industrial noise band such as these guys, so the group
went to Mekanik Kommando’s studio in Nijmegen to record it in a more pro environment. The
result is one of the band’s best efforts, so it’s terrific to see it get a reissue treatment as high quality
at this one. And while the music was not, in fact made in Spain (it was made in Nijmegen), the title
remains fitting: the 1987 LP came out on the Spanish label Discos Esplendor Geometrico and the
reissue on another Spanish label, BFE.
    It’s also fitting that Esplendor Geometrico would release this first, as the sound somewhat
resembles that group’s harsh electronic rhythms and white-noise synthesizer squall. Songs lurk
beneath the robot roar, but one must listen carefully to discern playful/simply tunes below oceanic
static. As noisy as this album becomes, it’s not overwhelming or even terribly aggressive… rather,
the noise is a soothing, monotonous bed of hiss subsumed by stubbornly repetitive robot clunk.
“Made in Spain” sounds, more than anything, like an actual factory… machines switched on to build
car parts or turbines. This is industrial music in the most classic sense; inhuman thump/grind and
harsh fuzz that only occasionally hints at more disconcerting psychedelia. It must have sounded like
the future in 1987. (HS)
––– Address:

URBANFAILURE – RADICAL REST/[/] 42 (LP by Urbsounds)

You don’t see a lot of equipment endorsement thanks on record sleeves but here, on the LP by
Slovakia’s Urbanfailure, there is one and goes out to modular electronics producer Gotharman in
Denmark. They create stuff that I have no idea how they work, and which are aksi beyond my
budget. The previous release I heard by Urbanfailure (see Vital Weekly 1029) was all recorded
live, but this time there is no such mention on the cover. There are thirteen pieces on this release,
so one could conclude these pieces are rather short, which they are, and while short they owe
much to the world of techno music. Raw techno music and never too long is what Urbanfailure
does here. The music is dirty and loud. Apparently it is a combination of hardware synthesizers
and granular synthesis, and Pan Sonic and everything that came beyond inspire it. Sometimes
Urbanfailure’s music is much more techno than on other places, but throughout it is seriously
fucked up music. This is not something that would go down well on a dance floor I would think,
unless you would cut out a loop and keep that playing for a while. It’s too chaotic in its organisation
to be true dance music. Industrial music of the particular brand that uses a lot of harsh rhythms,
Esplendor Geometrico or Le Syndicat spring to this particular mind, is also a place that Urbanfailure
touches upon. This is music that is best enjoyed when played loud, probably much louder than your
neighbours would allow you to. There is some excellent energy vibing of this record, which
refreshed me very much. (FdW)
––– Address:

  A SATURDAY NIGHT (double 10′ by Elecrro Motive Records)

Hopefully you will excuse me for not recognizing the name of John Saint-Pelvyn. I understand that
the best way of getting to hear his music is see him perform in one of Minneapolis’ underground
venues, or find his long out-of-print cassettes. In 2017 he released, finally, a split LP with Ka Baird,
and now this double 10″, so it’s my first introduction. Saint-Pelvyn plays mainly guitar, an electric
one and has some neat amplification; sometimes he plays Theremin. This was the work of
improvisation, direct to tape and no editing, but with the second record (three sides have one piece
only, and third has two pieces) I could have believed there is some kind of multi-tracking going, as
noted on the insert. There are some voices on ‘Saint Herman’s Song’ and ‘Song For Gold And
Radon’ and I assume these are from Naomi Joy (of Mother Of Fire) and Ka Baird (of Spires), but in
‘That Sun Might Rise In The West’, it seems like he layers some beautiful guitar feedback with organ
like sounds, maybe a Theremin and it all sings and rings in a beautiful way. Loud perhaps, driving
a stake through the heart, or painful in a blues manner, but also in an excellent minimalist way. I
wasn’t blown away by the addition of voices on those pieces, which sounded a bit too free freak
folky for me but the more Hnery Flynt like strumming of ‘Yreka, Last Call’ and the free strum of the
title piece made a great impression on me. The overall sound is direct, like Saint-Pelvyn is sitting
next to you, and its some music straight from the heart. I’d go to any Minneapolis underground
venue to see this guy play a concert. And perhaps this record is incentive to do some more,
soon? (FdW)
––– Address:

ERIC LUNDE – JERK SHOCK (lathe cut 7″ by Smites!/Ballast)

Believe it or not but I know one Trump supporter whose work finds to these pages, but since it
doesn’t seem to play a role I don’t mention it. There are musicians who think that Trump is the
new punk taking the shock and awe tactics of the left and use it for his own end. Collaging memes
and such tactics. That surely doesn’t include doing lathe cut records, as Lunde does. Lunde, me
thinks, is certainly not a Trump fan, judging by the content of this record, which he released in an
edition of 19 copies. In it one finds texts about Trump and in one he’s depicted as someone who
has intercourse with a sheep. There you go. On the record we find on one side ‘Rat Flag’, which is
taken from the play ‘Le Theatre De Malaise: The Twilight Maelstrom Of Cookie Lavagetto’ by
Michael O’Donoghue, from the sixties, “an absurdist work exploring themes of Sadism entitled “The
Twilight Maelstrom of Cookie Lavagetto”, a cycle of one-act plays called Le Theatre de Malaise”,
according to wiki. O’Donoghue was a writer for Saturday Night Live and being not from America,
and with very little understanding of its culture, I would think there is a deeper meaning to all of
this somehow eludes me. Even after looking up who Cookie Lavagetto was. You can do that
yourself. It is a spoken word theatre piece with a taped German voice and an English voice
translating it. Quite a curious little piece, just like ‘Candidate’ on the other side, a cover of the
David Bowie song (I didn’t recognize it). “There is a reason for that. It is a personal tribute. And
yet the lyrics are relevant”. As I’m blissfully unaware of much of mister Bowie’s output I looked
up the lyrics and yes, I can see the connection Lunde’s want to make. “I’ll make you a deal, like
any other candidate”. That’s our man, the best dealmaker, the very best indeed. The package
comes with a small booklet and assorted inserts as they probably call it. It is one of the most openly
political works by Eric Lunde; or least one it had a message that even I could understand. (FdW)
––– Address:

BOY DIRT CAR – GRAVA (CDR by After Music Recordings)

These days Boy Dirt Car seems to be going stronger than in many other years of their nearly forty
years of existence. They got going in 1981 and released quite a bit of records back then and since
then wasn’t always the most liveliest in releasing music, but since a few years they are quite active
with producing new music. This new one sees Darren Brown, Julie Brown, Dylan Ritchie and Josh
Mead (for all of them no instruments are specified) playing ten pieces that deal with events that
happened on August 9th 1969, which aren’t specified but I would think this is the day Sharon Tate
by followers of Charles Manson, but the text also refers to race riots, the war on drugs and Vietnam.
As with the previous album (see for instance Vital Weekly 1091) this is short but with thirty-seven
minutes also a bit longer than the previous. Also as before is their approach when it comes to
combining their rock with electronic sounds, improvisation and something that can only be loosely
called ‘industrial’, be it a bang on some metallic percussion or some piercing synth (such as in the
short ‘Time Travel’), but it is all so common place these days that one hardly would label it as
‘industrial’ anymore. Some of Boy Dirt Car’s music is quite obscure and that’s the beauty of it.
Singing or reciting text is not something that is present here, not to the same extent as it was on
the previous release. This is surely quite wacky music that defies any categorization and is what I
surely would deem is true outsider music. Devoid of any style or trend Boy Dirt Car only sounds
like themselves. (FdW)
––– Address:

EILEAN REC & DAUW DIALOG TAPES II (CDR compilation by Eilean Records)

Maybe I say it somewhere else in this issue, or perhaps I last week and surely again next week,
but reviewing compilations is not my most favourite activity. It has, at least usually, nothing to do
with the music, as I enjoy that most of the times, but the whole reasoning sort of eludes me. I
already know Eilean Records is a great label for all things atmospheric; they are present with new
releases every month in these pages. Releases by Dauw from Belgium are rarely reviewed in
these pages, but I do know they too have their hearts in the world of all things atmospheric and
ambient. Three years ago these two labels installed their first ‘Dialog Tapes’ and it is “an ambitious
attempt to connect a musical field through its own creative forces. its about connectivity and making
new unexpected musical ties between individual actors”, which I think means that various
musicians team up together. Participating here are Autistici, Benoît Pioulard, Dudal, Emmanuel
Witzthum, Humble Bee, Josh Mason, Machinefabriek, Monolyth & Cobalt, Offthesky, Ojerum, Olan
Mill, Omar El Abd (Omrr), R Beny, Steve Pacheco, Stijn Hüwels, Toàn, Yadayn. Eilean has 180
copies and Dauw 100, which begs to ask the question: why not on CD?
    I was playing this a few days ago for the first time, without paying much attention, engaged as
I was in something else, so I wasn’t fully paying attention to the cover. Yet while I knew it was a
compilation, I must admit it doesn’t like one. Is that a good or bad thing? I don’t know, to be honest.
All of these pieces, eight in total by these sixteen musicians, sound alike. Thoughtful, quiet pieces
of music. Sometimes a bit more organic, a bit more on the use of instruments, more or less crackles,
while drones of whatever kind seem to be presence in all of these pieces. It makes up a fine
coherent album of what these labels have to offer, their label sound as it were, but at the same time
it is also all a bit interchangeable and that is perhaps not what a musician would want. At least so I
would think? It is very fine stuff, a damn fine autumn album of moody, pastel coloured tones. But it
is also a dialog of preaching to the converted. Maybe that was the idea? (FdW)
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SIRIA – CUSPO (cassette by Cronica Electronica)
TAMTAM – RHEINGOLD (cassette by Cronica Electronica)

While I had not heard of Síria before, I did hear Diana Combo, who is behind Síria, when she
works as Eosin (see Vital Weekly 1131). Cronica writes that “in this project [she] joins her voice to
the usual practice of combining vinyl records and field recordings, in a gesture of appropriationism
that she has been presenting as EOSIN”, which begged the question for me: what is the difference
then between Síria and Eosin? Right, there is the addition of voice. Ah. I wasn’t blown away by her
previous release, which seemed to me nothing more than a DJ set; here at least she takes matters
a bit further and this time around the vinyl sources aren’t easily recognized and in some case I
would think that musicians gave her recordings to use, just as Svarte Greiner, Antoine Chessex or
Joe Colley. I am not sure if there is something lifted from records, but who knows? Throughout
these nine pieces are mostly introspective with a few sounds per piece, sea waves washing ashore,
some crackles, a drone and with the voice of Síria improvising on top of that. She controls her voice
quite a bit, creating more dreamy poetic sounds than something very open or loud. I quite enjoyed
this release, especially on the second side there were some great pieces; I am not sure which, I
believe ‘Gloria’ or ‘Senhora Do Almortao’.
    Tamtam is a duo of Sam Auinger on sampler and field recordings and Hannes Strobl on
electric upright bass and here they have a piece that deals with the old German saga, called Die
Nibelungen, as immortalized by Richard Wagner in his opera cycle Die Ring Des Nibelungen. In
the Rhine River lies a treasure buried and so for this homage (for the lack of a better word) they
use field recordings made at the Rhine. There is also the self-made gong by Robyn Schulkowsky.
The piece lasts twenty-eight minutes and on the second side there are remixes by Eosin, Maile
Colbert and @C. Very much like the mighty Rhine itslef the music moves in very slow waves;
apparently there are five parts but that’s not something I heard. It has tranquillity here and the
sounds, whatever they are, were played majestically. In Eosin’s remix the tamtam is used to create
a fierce rhythm, along with some fine drones and Combo created an excellent piece I must say. In
Maile Colbert’s remix it seems as if the water of the Rhine has been replaced by street sounds and
@C as usual call out all laptops and amplify the waves and shorten them and thus mechanical sort
of drone is generated. The whole element of nature is gone within this powerful remix, but it
resulted in a fine piece of music. (FdW)
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WHITE BOY SCREAM – REMAINS (cassette by Crystalline Morphologies)
GABIE STRONG – INCANTATIONS VOL. 1 (cassette by Crystalline Morphologies)
SHELTER DEATH – I CANNOT HEAR THE FILTHY CITY (cassette by Crystalline Morphologies)

Here we have a new label for me, Crystalline Morphologies which is run by Gabie Strong, whom
we will also meet as a musician and she has a small roster of people and the “primary energy is
devoted to releasing unclassifiable, composed and improvised work by underrepresented womxn
[sic] artists and allies, whose contributions are overlooked in the context of avant garde and
improvised music.”
    The first release I heard is by Micaela Tobin, who “is a classically trained soprano and sound
artist”. As White Boy Scream she records her “own hybrid of noise-opera”, and that seems to be
very much a true thing. Among the furious blasts of noise and the elegant drones there is the
operatic voice of Tobin. Sometimes not so much improvised, as when it is locked in the system of
sound effects, otherwise she sings in a more improvised manner. It not the kind of noise that
pleases itself by being just loud for the sake of being just awfully loud music, but by creating a
mixture of just that type of loud noise, set against more intimate moments of toy piano abuse,
poetic murmurings, bouncing between torture and tenderness. I understand that the album is
dedicated to a departed friend and that might explain some of the personal drama that we find
in these four pieces. This tape is about thirty minutes but within lies some truly extreme, dynamic
    Christopher Reid Martin from Los Angeles is behind Shelter Death and that’s about it as to
what I know. His tape is a bit longer, maybe around forty or so minutes and here too there is
certainly some kind of drama going on, but on an entirely different level. There is no noise here,
but melancholically played keyboards, organs, piano, guitar and a slow yet effectively placed
rhythm, though usually not all the same time. Very occasionally there is a voice, singing/reciting
texts of which I am not entirely sure we are to understand what is said. This is surely one wacky
release. While I actually like it’s looseness, it may seem to me that Shelter Death perhaps also
has difficulty in making up its mind as to what it wants. A bit more melody? A bit of guitar trashing?
Oh no, let’s do one with that rhythm machine that is over there in the corner, or perhaps rather that
tape collage? You guessed it; this is certainly all over the place. Normally not so much my thing
but here I must say it works rather well; I am just not too sure what it is that attracted me.
    The longest tape this time is by label owner Gabie Strong herself, with two side long
compositions; thirty-one and twenty-eight minutes. She plays guitar, singing bowl, bells and
palm fronds. In ‘Overhead, A Raven’, the piece on the first side she spins a long form drone piece
with a guitar for about twenty or so minutes and when it cuts out there is the remainder of that
dronal residue along with the singing bowl being struck and letting it sing its overtones, with
smaller bells ending this quite intense piece of music. On the other side we find ‘Incantation For
Revolt Against Brutality’, which is also a drone piece but then all the way through the end, when it
cuts out abruptly, signalling the end of the piece. There are buried in here bit of voices, which I am
not sure are Strong’s but they add a fine creepiness to the piece; I first thought they came out off
another room, or even outside the house. This release was quite coherent in its approach and it
worked out very well. All of the music on these three cassettes is dark, moody and dramatic, each
within it’s own variation thereof. I am not sure if it was planned like that, but it worked out fine. (FdW)
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That sounds all a bit grim, doesn’t it? Something of an inconsolable ghost, whatever that may be
and some kind of ‘channelling’, but that is just named after the location it was recorded, which is a
place called Kinoteatr Zdrowie in Sokolowsko, Poland in August last year; one easily has images
of dark Medieval castles in the mist. The group is a trio with people whom you may know from the
world of improvisation; Zsolt Sores Ahad (viola, electronics, voice), Hilary Jeffery (trombone,
electronics, voice) and Gideon Kiers (computer, electronics, film). Of one aspect is lacking here
and that is ‘film’, but the music is present. I am not sure if I am to think that the two pieces here are
film soundtracks or something else. Yet if it is a film I’d be curious to see what would be shown
along these mighty fine combinations of acoustic drones and their electronic counterparts. The
trombone plays some long form sounds, with a long decay on the sound, and before it died out
there is a new wave cascading. The viola does something similar but is in a different, higher range
so the drones get slightly doubled. The electronics are used to create more long form patterns,
but also to transform the sounds that are played, for instance by adding a fair amount of reverb in
well-chosen places. Only in a few places the viola and trombone play shorter sounds thus perhaps
revealing something of the backgrounds and practices with more traditional improvised music.
That is however a minority. Overall the music is a bit muddy, which I should think is the intention
of this trio. Like pieces of mist swirling through woods, over barren land and swamps this is very
much their own interpretation of drone music, improvisation, ambient, composition and film
soundtrack. It is something that also works very well by itself, without the images I mean. It is quite
a powerful release altogether and surely would have been something to witness. (FdW)
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MAX KUIPER & THORSTEN SOLTAU – VOX CATULI (cassette by Sentimental Productions)

Over the years I reviewed some of Thorsten Soltau’s music, but I still couldn’t say what it is he
does, besides of course dabbling with electronics with a mildly varied outcome, style-wise. Here
he teams up with Max Kuiper, whom we best know as Les Horribles Travailleurs, even when his
work don’t always make to these pages, perhaps due to its limited release schedule. Their release
together deals with the story of “Reynke De Vos/Renart (or Reineke)”, the cunning fox from the
Middle Ages. The music started with sounds played on drums and voice by Soltau,
processed by Kuiper, adding also other sounds to it, including church bells, water, a large group
of sparrows, in a garden, wind moving a large transparent plastic sheet hanging in an abandoned
military building, but also Nepalese cymbals, metal sound bars, cymbals, violin, piano, and
gamelan. The music is quite dramatic, to say the least, especially on the second side of the tape,
with massive percussive sounds rolling about and stringed instruments zooming in and out of the
mix. It is very much the soundtrack to a horror movie, I’d say. The castle is maybe empty, save a
knight or two, a damsel in distress and werewolves lurk in the misty wood around. The villagers
are scared but what can you do. Not really the story of the fox, but throughout the atmosphere
depicted by these two is quite mediaeval; well, of course that is not possible, but how we perceive
the Middle Ages to be. Misty, obscure, vague, spooky and haunted. This is a great tape that could
have been easily released as a CD, I’d say. It is that good, I should think. (FdW)
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EDWARD SOL – MONSTROUS ARTLESSNESS (cassette by Village Tapes)

If he’s not busy doing music than Edward Sol is busy with running his little myriad of labels;
Quasipop, Sentimental and Village Tapes. The latter has three releases, all by Sol himself, and
he describes the enterprise as “Non ambitious private label for contemporary avant-garde music
and art”. This time he writes it is all dedicated to John Cage. The pieces here are described with
‘reel and cassette tape loops., sampler’ and like Le Gall (see elsewhere) one could think of Cage’s
works with many loops, such as ‘Rozart Mix’, but maybe the dedication should be seen broadly,
having to do with Cage’s open-mindedness towards the creation of music. The two ten-minute
pieces here are delightful collages of raw loops of very diverse sound sources, instruments such
as a saxophone, some voices, percussion, playing along and against each other and Sol creates
some richly textured music with this. Thoughtful, even with a sad current in ’19:00′, it all sounds like
the soundtrack old sepia photographs; holiday snapshots from a century ago and on ‘Swamp Song’
Sol takes a more noisy approach and a flame burns these pictures, crumbles them together and it’s
the machine that slowly eats the tape. In a way you could think of this as musique concrete, the 21st
century version of it that is, but then the lo-fi variation of it. Alternatively you could think of this, as
ambient industrial sound collage at it’s best. (FdW)
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BROWNING MUMMERY – WORLD OF SHELLS (cassette by Trapdoor Tapes)
GRIM – PRIMARY PULSE (cassette by Trapdoor Tapes)
INFLATED CLIMAX (cassette by Trapdoor Tapes)

Australia’s Trapdoor Tapes have all the right signs of a classic industrial/power electronics label;
much noise in their catalogue and black and white Xeroxed cover. Well, the one by Browning
Mummery is on yellow paper, but the images are all fading. Here’s someone who did some serious
study of these things were made thirty years ago and decided to do with his own label. I must admit
I have a weakness for stuff like this. Maybe it’s part the loss of youth, sentimental reasons but also
because I actually do like some of the music they release. It’s old school industrial and not your
usual harsh noise wall.
    I learned that Browning Mummery is the collaboration between Andrew Lonsdale and Yvan
Volochine and they have been active since 1983; before that they were active as boxmusik (no
capitals, released on their Boxmusik label, capitals in place). Later on Extreme, Obelisk, Iceage
and Zero Cabal released cassettes. Despite their many years of service I had not heard of them of
before, but in my defence they released only eleven albums in thirty years. The cover lists four
pieces, which were apparently recorded during a thunderstorm in 2014, but listening to the tape I
could easily think there’s more than four pieces. This is exactly the kind of power electronics I like.
It is removed from shouting abuse and toying with Nazi samples, but instead works with distorted
synthesizer tones, ranging from mild ones to some nastier bits, pushing the boundaries of
electronic music. Along there are abstract vocalizations, feeding through effects and maybe some
more manipulation of cassettes that have seen better days. Cassettes with loops of machine like
sounds, the everlasting conveyer belt. None of this works in any way that one associates with
composing, and developments are minimal, to say the least. In that respect it’s still 1984, and I
love it.
    Jun Konagaya is the man behind Grim, or GRIM as they spell it. He too has been active since
the early 80s but perhaps always remained obscure. There were only a few releases in the 80s,
and the rest from the last decade or so. Konagaya is also a member of White Hospital and runs
the Eskimo Records label, releasing his own music but also Vasilisk, White Hospital and The
Gerogerigegege. Voice plays an important role in his music. Screaming, wailing, everything but
regular singing; well, if that isn’t obvious. In between and among he also, so I gather, some stuff
that leaks in from a well-detuned radio devices or sources unknown. But here too we are not
dealing with some third rate Whitehouse imitation, but something that has some genuine
consideration in it. You notice these sort of things when Grim get the volume under control and,
lo and behold, one could even think that there is some multi-tracking on and Grim has a fine ear
for sound collage; all of this towards the ‘Assassin’s Room’. But obviously these moments are in
minority here and throughout this loud and noisy, but you notice some of his structuring there as
well. Grim should be better known I think; his work certainly deserves it.
    Of course an anonymous project should be part of everybody’s old school industrial catalogue
and here’s Inflated Climax. You don’t mind me not knowing about this, right? “All sounds composed
during 2015-2017″, and these are the sounds of distortion; hard to say if any instrument is used
here. One could think a synth, surely, but such just as well, this might be filtered feedback treatment
and as such I think these treatments are used to cut crude loops out of it. Loops of a varying length,
so you might think it is rhythmic, but at the same time, well, it’s probably not. These rhythms have
very little to do with rhythm machines, dance music or sequencers, but are slow and low thumps
of sounds on repeat. Maybe again that machinery life that Browning Mummery, but all much lower
in approach, both in terms of composition (hey, why not use ‘decomposition’ here, to top it off?) and
in recording quality. A sixty-minute tape was a bit too long, me thinks.
    Trapdoor also deals with ‘now’ music, and such is the case with Neurasthenia, whose debut
album is called ‘Psychological Reincarnation’. It is a trio with Hiroshi Hasegawa (C.C.C.C., Astro,
Mortal Vision, Nord), Luke Holland (Armour Group, Mshing, Word Of Life Church SS) and Thomas
Miller (Word Of Life Church SS, Psychward) as their member and the album was recorded while on
tour in Japan, in 2016. That might explain the geographical distance between some of these band
members. They too dabble with harsh noises, mucho distortion. There is synthesizer stabs, a bang
on metallic percussion, many stomp boxes and the occasional scream and howl. The B-side tales
matters apart and while not entirely ‘quiet’, there are surely moments here in which they pull back
and take stock of their boxes, approaches and re-evaluate their result. There is more balance here
than there is on the first side, which is more like furious rage. Everything was recorded in one take
in a studio and they could have fooled me; I believed this was rather a collage of various bits and
bobs taped on the Japanese road. I preferred the second side over the first, but in concert that
could have easily been the other way round. Nice start! (FdW)
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THE MUCH QUINTET- VOL.1 & VOL. 2 (cassette by Friendship Tapes)

This cassette combines two earlier releases by the so far unknown The Much Quintet. On both
releases we meet the same line up of Katie Weissman (cello, vibraphone), Derick Evans (piano,
harmonium, electric guitar), Peter Kirsch (wah guitar, piano, vibraphone), Toppus Bottomus (electric
guitar, fretless electric guitar, electric bass, piano, ebow) and Andre Welks (vibraphone, tambourine,
piano, melodica). I couldn’t trace much about their musical whereabouts. Except for Weismann who
has her Bachelors of music in cello performance (Boston University). She seems the most profiled
musician: one half of the cello and oboe duo Parvenue, cellist and singer in the chamber-folk band
Tiny Rhymes, and Part Time Professor of Cello and Philharmonia Section Leader and Buffalo State
College. That’s about it. So I guess we are dealing with a young and local scene of musicians. All
sessions were recorded in Tonawanda, New York. The first volume in December 2016. The second
one in January 2017. Improvised music is their thing. They offer some free-floating excursions, with
participants stepping in and stepping out of the flow they produce together. Sometimes it seems as
if everyone follows its own path, leading up to an anarchic cacophony or drone. They don’t start
from a jazz background, but more from punk attitude. (DM)
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