Number 1168

  New Wave Of Jazz) *
TONUS – EAR DURATION (CD by New Wave Of Jazz) *
FRÉDÉRIC NOGRAY – WILD NOISE HALL (CD by Fréquences Critiques) *
MINIZZA – ULYSSE & MONA (CD by Brocoli) *
MATTIN – SONGBOOK #7 (LP by Munster Records)
  Holotype Editions) *
DISCORDLESS – NELOCUIT (cassette by Amek Tapes)
VOLOK (cassette by Electroconvulsive Therapy)
INNER PARADISE – 3 ASEXUAL NON-RITUAL MELODIES (cassette by Electroconvulsive
  Therapy) *
BLACK FAUN – LIVE 09022018 (cassette by Electroconvulsive Therapy)
  Zoundz) *
ANTHONY JANAS – LUCIFER, SCOOBY DOO AND ME (cassette/shower curtain by Nihilist)


Against the sign of times, I’d say, Radboud Mens decided to resurrect his ERS label. About twenty
years he released a whole bunch of LPs and CDs on this Staalplaat housed imprint by the likes of
Jos Smolders. Oren Ambarchi, Shifts, Crawl Unit, Aube & Zbigniew Karkowski and Artificial Memory
Trace and then the label were dormant for many years. But tired of dragging demo’s around Mens
picked up doing releases again, on CDs and in times where CDs aren’t the most popular format
and distribution is at times difficult to get. So that, for me, is already a bold step. On the first two new
releases, Mens is in a collaborative mode. First with 1605Munro, which is the nom de plume of
Anders G, Jankowski, originally from Buenos Aires but based in Berlin. He calls himself “artist,
sound-designer, internet- and multimedia-designer’ and by the looks of it he has quite some
releases, none of which I heard. The cover doesn’t provide us with details as to the how and what
behind the music, except that both are responsible for all “instruments & treatments”, while one
Lenka Zupkova played the violin. So whether this was played being together or the result of some
back and firth file exchange through the Internet I don’t know. Mens’ music has evolved from
minimal rhythm/techno/beat music to multi-layered ambient pieces, using homemade instruments
and computer treatments, so I was quite surprised to find something a bit different here. Throughout
one could say this is ambient music, but the ten pieces are quite condensed; somewhere between
five and eight minutes. They explore various roads. There are the longer, sustaining sounds of
processed instruments but also a bit of rhythm, and this time not some strict 4/4 time measures, but
small jumpy click and cut based bits and bops and it all sounds surprising ‘light’. It is surely music
with a deep melancholic touch but ‘light’, as in ‘frivolous’; such as in ‘Some’ for instance. It is all
reduced music, using whatever is necessary, and seemingly not a lot of other things, which works
very well. With the occasional addition of the violin, I am reminded of the music of another Radboud
Mens collaborator, Michel Banabila, sharing a similar fine melodic touch when it comes to painting
a fine musical atmosphere. I am very pleased with this release; it lets us hear a side of Radboud
Mens that we didn’t know yet; light-hearted, melodic, playful and still very ambient. I am not sure if
that is due to 1605Munro, but if so, I would recommend Mens to do more with him. (FdW)
    Whatever sort of music Radboud Mens is making, he always seems to gravitate towards stasis.
Mens’ music tends to begin along with some chosen path and stay there for a rather long time. His
signature seems to be his restraint, staying put when other artists might have grown fidgety and
tried to break up the monotony with events. This latest instalment of Mens’ on-going collaboration
with Matthijs Kouw is no exception. Kouw’s solo music tends to have a warmer, more romantic
atmosphere to it than Mens’ chilly minimalism, but both musical personalities mesh seamlessly
here. Across two CDs, the artists emphatically do very little. These six tracks were created with a
modular synth, “long magnetic string” (?) and analogue filters, and they are all compositionally and
tonally quite similar to one another. Each piece stakes out some sonic territory with an austere
buzz or hum, then resolutely marches in place for around twenty minutes. A few tones are
introduced… maybe another tone appears and fluctuates a bit… if things are really cooking, you
might hear one more tone… and that’s it! The pace never quickens, the density never develops,
the tonal palette never alters much. Two hours of stubbornly sedate audio furniture, about as active
as the motor in your refrigerator. The double CD format is really perfect for this; put both discs on
repeat and let the zero-energy buzz bring the heartbeats of everyone within earshot down towards
comatose levels. (HS)
––– Address:

  New Wave Of Jazz)
TONUS – EAR DURATION (CD by New Wave Of Jazz)

When I bumped into Dirk Serries the other day he handed me these three new releases and he
told me more about his ‘mission’ if you are willing to call it like that. His ‘jazz’ has very little to do
with jazz actually. It rather deals with the world of improvised music, free jazz, classical music,
graphic scores and perhaps also a bit of the old ‘we can do that too’ spirit, which is part of Serries’
background. This is all not the easiest music around, and I am taking these at a one-CD a day
approach. I started with the one that is the first not to include Serries as a musician on his label and
that is the duo release of Christoph Schiller on spinet and voice and Anouck Genthon on violin. I
have heard the music of the first in various forms of improvised music with others (Birgit Ulher for
instance; see Vital Weekly 1155), whereas the name of Anouck Genthon is a new one for me. She
is part of the large Insub Meta Orchestra, and so I surely heard her play before. Both of them are
from Switzerland and recorded their music about a year in Basel. The seven pieces on this release
take ‘only’ twenty-eight minutes, and while not a lot seems to be happening with all the silence
between the notes, this is an all-attention demanding release. The title can be translated as
‘occasionally light snowfall’, and that’s how we could regard the music; a bit of snow that falls.
Here and there, and sometimes a bit more, sometimes not much at all. Schiller very occasionally
adds a bit of voice, not using words or long-form sounds, but a hiss or a sigh, placing an accent in
the music. The violin plays longer sounds, while the spinet places carefully were chosen notes
here and there. It is all very ‘Wandelweiser’ here, which is something that Serries very much wants
with many of the releases on this label and that is to break down barriers between worlds that don’t
know of the existence of other worlds. Wandelweiser composers, improvisers, auto-didactic,
modern classical; this release seems to me a perfect example of that approach.
    When I met Serries he was performing with Tonus, his ensemble of players with himself on
accordion. It is an instrument he also plays on ‘Ear Duration’, which consists of three pieces
recorded in a studio in London. The other players are Graham Dunning on snare drum and
objects, Benedict Taylor on viola, Martina Verhoeven on piano and Colin Webster on flute and
alto sax. Serries also plays acoustic guitar. In their pieces, they do not freely improvise, but work
along guiding principles; something about intervals, changes, duets, trios, all together, movements
and whatever else you can agree. They recorded three sets that day and they are presented here
in the order of ‘Set 2’, ‘Set 3’ and ‘Set 1’, with the latter being the longest. It is also the piece that I
think captures the group in full force, perhaps in their most improvising form, while the other two
seem to me having to do with various pre-arranged conditions; more composed if you will. After
the concert I was discussing this music with various people and let’s not go into what one spectator
said (“I didn’t expect this, and henceforth I don’t like this”; difficult to argue with), but some interesting
notions were exchanged about the length of the concert (one hour), the concentration required and
if the space (in this case a church) made much difference. I think for me personally, the space in
which I hear such difficult music surely makes a difference. At home, the experience is quite
different than in a public space. It would seem I simply have more concentration at home to fully
absorb all the finer nuances in the music and Tonus surely plays something that requires a lot of
effort, but captured within these sixty-five minutes is some great beauty. The instruments sound
like they are supposed to be, most of the time that is, and very rarely like they are used as objects.
It is a great release, one that is best enjoyed in complete solitude, fully concentrating on the
sparseness of it all.
    To end with something completely different and yet also perhaps from the same end of the
musical spectrum is the duet between Benedict Taylor on viola and Dirk Serries on acoustic
guitar. Although I am only judging it by the thing I hear, I would say this is something that requires
no scores, graphic or otherwise, hardly much planning, but set up a bunch of microphones, press
start on the recording and take it from there. It all surely sounds improvised to me and where the
other two new releases excel in what you don’t hear, here it is all about what do hear and that is a
lot. Taylor and Serries play their instruments with quite some vigour and attack. Notes and bend,
strings are plucked, strummed and bowed and there is hardly a second within these fifty minutes in
which there is silence. This too is a work that requires your every bit of concentration, but this is
also something that you can immerse yourself in; don’t pay too much attention to the individual
notes, tones and gestures but instead, take the overall bird view and listen to it as it rolls out. Turn
up the volume a bit, and allow for not many other sounds around and you’ll become one with the
fiery attack of the music; drown in it. This is all very ‘free’ music and quite a radical statement at
that. Acoustic noise, if you will. (FdW)
––– Address:


You may remember the initials JKH from a few years ago when it signed off reviews in this rag, but
since some time Jan Kees Helms decided to stop that and concentrate on his day job and his other
interests, such as photography and music. As StringStrang he released a couple of CDs, all dealing
with guitar, a bunch of effects and bringing music along the lines of Fear Falls Burning or Stars Of
The Lid; not always with the same refinement, so I guess he was carving out his own niche there.
Much to my surprise, he gave me this CD on his revived Lor Teeps label with two, thirty-minute
piece of music entirely recorded on location. The first piece, ‘Caffe Espresso’, was recorded
January 2018 in Rome and ‘Triddum Deep’n’ in Diepenheim (The Netherlands) from October 2017
to February 2018. No guitar in sight, but I do believe he still uses some guitar effects, judging by
the photos and information on both websites. In a way his approach is quite traditional; taking a
bunch of field recordings from a single place, creating a collage of sound out of it. But his use of
guitar effects to put some mild transformations on the material is something that we don’t hear a
lot. Helms blends ‘pure’ recordings in with some that have quite some treatments on them. Reverb
plays quite a role in these pieces, adding a majestic touch to the already atmospheric proceedings.
In ‘Caffe Espresso’ Helms moves from the street where he meets a beatbox talent and goes (flees?)
into a church and tapes the empty space, amplifies that and adds even more reverb to individual
sounds, and the majority of the piece has quite the ambient character. In the other piece, taped in
the rural surroundings of Diepenheim, Helms goes for a similar approach; first, there are an
extensive bit of pure field recordings, which are gradually more and more abstracted, even when
individual field recordings are used in the pure form, such as the flagpole in the wind. The solitude
of the land is represented with the dripping of water and birds singing and some remote activity.
This too has quite the calming effect, and while both pieces aren’t necessarily ‘ambient’ in the
most traditional sense of the word (no long form washes of synthesized sounds for instance), the
transformations applied to the field recordings make this surely a highly atmospheric record. Two
pretty strong collages of field recordings telling a fine, if not a bit abstract stories. (FdW)
––– Address:

FRÉDÉRIC NOGRAY – WILD NOISE HALL (CD by Fréquences Critiques)

Nature is noise enough was the title of a piece by Germany’s Falx Cerebri, ages ago, but I was
reminded of that title when I was listening to Frédéric Nogray’s ‘Wild Noise Hall’. Not just because
of the word ‘noise’ in the title, but it sure helped. Nogray is the kind of composer who loves field
recordings (I mean: who doesn’t?) and his favourite country to tape them seems to be Honduras,
where his more recent works all were recorded. This time it is the wildlife on the coast of the
Caribean Sea and back home he mixed all of these recordings together into this fifty-three-minute
piece of music. As with his previous release, ‘Ondurenas’, these field recordings are quite ear
piercing and this time there seems to be no crystal singing bowls and acoustic sine waves. Just
these high-end insect sounds coupled with recordings of birds, sea (?) and wind; the latter provides
certainly in the first half much of the low-end sound spectrum of the piece. After about twenty or so
minutes there is much room for high-end squeaks and calls. I have no idea how Nogray works, but I
assume there is very little by way of electronic processing. If anything I would think Nogray uses
quite a bit of equalization on his sounds, emphasizing certain frequencies in favour of others. By
creating a multitude of sound layers it all becomes even louder and also quite dense; perhaps a
dense as the rainforest, I was thinking. Even more than before I think Nogray is the noise artist
among the field recording artists. Where Francisco Lopez was the one who went all quiet, leaving
much to the listener to explore, Nogray leaves the listener very little option; sit back, play loud and
be fully immersed by it all. A totally different approach than most and as such he’s doing something
that not a lot of others do. This is his most brutal work to date. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:


“Bande Originale du Film” means ‘Original Movie Soundtrack”, and it sounds nice in French. I
once met a guy who collected film soundtracks, preferably of movies he never saw, and as this
was in the golden days of VHS rental, it was unlikely he would ever see them all. I forgot his
reasoning for this odd collection, but somehow I think he didn’t say that he loved to make up his
own pictures along the music. Reviewing soundtracks in Vital Weekly is never an easy thing
because one hardly gets to see the movie. IMDb informs that the movie ‘Ulysse & Mona’ is about
“Ulysses, a secluded artist who mysteriously retired a few years ago, meets Mona, a young art
student full of life. The encounter will change them both”, which I must admit doesn’t sound like the
sort of thing that I would rush out to see in the cinema, but no doubt it is good. A long time ago
Minizza surprised me with ‘Music For Girls’ (Vital Weekly 488) which I thought was a great pop
record (including help from Edward Ka-spel and Roel Meelkop) and since then have been
involved with more records and this new one is, so I believe, their second soundtrack for director
Sebastien Betbeder. It includes snippets of dialogue and sounds from the movie, but in all
eighteen pieces, there is much music, and one can surely listen to this as a stand-alone release.
The overall mood is easy to be defined as melancholia, with a set of electronic instruments, piano,
a bit of strings (by a real violinist, not out of a box), playing some sparse notes, supported at times
by similar minimalist support from a drum machine. Sometimes it is more up-tempo and joyous,
such as in ‘L’Impossible Eclair’. A few tinkling notes, a melody or two interwoven and then it is
already onwards to the next song. Like with some of Machinefabriek’s recent endeavours in the
world of the soundtrack, the briefness is not something that I find appealing. Some of these pieces
are lovely, ‘Ostinato’ for instance, which could easily be much longer than then 1’54” it is now.
Once you are into a piece it is already over. The total length is thirty-seven minutes and with
eighteen pieces that means none of this is very long. Like before this all very much part of the
electronic pop music scene, sub-department melancholy. Without pictures, it works pretty well
too. (FdW)
––– Address:


Releasing a double CD is a great way of introducing a composer. I had not yet heard of Cecilia
Lopez before, who is “a composer, musician and multimedia artists from Buenos Aires, Argentina”,
whose “work explores perception and transmission processes focusing on the relationship
between sound technologies and listening practices”. She uses performances, installations and
the creation of sound devices. The pieces on these CDs tell us what this is about. The first CD is
called ‘Red’ and divided into five parts and the installation uses many small speakers and contact
microphones, all part of web structure and by moving this web, the feedback changes all the time.
I wasn’t sure what to expect here and after some initial hesitation, thinking it was some sort badly
recorded feedback hum, it slowly started to make sense. The constructions Lopez created are
heavy and rusty and as the first part of ‘Red’ plays out (over its course of twenty-two minutes),
more and more the delicacy of this minimal music is played out. Especially in the four, shorter
parts that follow, this delicacy comes alive, even when brittle tones aren’t avoided, such as in ‘PP’.
    The other CD has one piece, close to seventy-three minutes, and is called ‘Machinic Fantasies’.
This is played on “two-hand rotated 55-gallon drums each having a speaker inside with multiple
cut-outs that act as acoustic filters”. The speakers emit field recordings, spoken word or live
instruments and picked up through the holes via microphones. Apparently, there is a complex
score (example on the cover) for this, but I assume there is also some freedom when it comes to
choosing what goes into the speakers. On this instance, these are trombone and trumpet, while
there are also two ‘spinners’ to rotate the drums and Lopez responsible for the electronics. While
this too is quite a rough piece, it’s slightly subtler than the pieces on the other disc. There is a
minimalist drone here that changes forever but nevertheless is quite delicate in all its heaviness.
Around that, we have the trombone and trumpet and while I am not exactly sure how it works,
throughout the sound changes quite a bit, from all sides; the rotating drums, the instruments and
whatever works around here in the form of electronics. It is a heavy, dense piece of machine-like
drones and at times sounds like one giant rusty archaeological dig from the early industrial
    This was all quite interesting, I thought, even when at the same time the lack of seeing how this
all looks like is sadly missed. There is a very fine mix of interests in this work; its minimalist, it is
drone-like, but at the same time part improvised and documentation of an installation. At least,
that’s what I think, judging by hearing this. (FdW)
––– Address:


Very many years ago long before the Internet, short wave radio was a wonderful thing. I tried
tuning across short wave bands quite recently but there was very little to hear. One of the
properties of short wave radio is that signals bounce off the various layers of the ionosphere – an
upper layer of the earth’s atmosphere ionised by solar radiation. This bouncing means that
signals can propagate around the world, but also as the layer is effected by the suns activities
this reflection is not stable, moreover it changes between day and night. So back before the
Internet at night, the short-band was ‘alive’ with sound. Drifting phased signals of numerous
stations broadcasting from all over the world, radio hams talking on single side-band,
communication beacons and the strange numbers broadcasts, numerous Morse code channels
all drifting and at times superimposing as one scanned the band. Songs in foreign languages
appearing and disappearing, tones, beeps, long trailing whistles…. so its taken me nearly a
thousand characters of seemingly irrelevant information to describe the Merzbow CD. Here M.A.
In the first two tracks, Futaomote Parts 1 & 2 uses mixed noise tracks, electronics against a
background of textured ambient noise, white noise, filter sweeps and self-oscillation with pulses,
and in the second two tracks, Yasugibushi a Japanese old folk song was sampled, processed at
different speeds in a mix similar to the first two, and was there that I was reminded of short-wave
radio. (It will not be a surprise to add that many so-called Avant-Garde composers back in the
latter half of the 20th century used short wave transmissions as source material.) Thus this noise
is not as dramatic as some of Merzbow’s other works, the laying of the various textures, sources
etc. blending into more uniform soundscapes. The second CD contains two live tracks from
Opening Performance Orchestra which were played in Tokyo and Prague in 2017 and mastered
by the beginning of 2018. OPO is a seven-member ensemble based in The Czech Republic
( and their CD consists of two long works of ‘noise’ but very dissimilar to the
Merzbow CD. I think this not only about genre but also that these being ensemble works their
structure is more finely detailed if I can describe the works as such. Both build from fragments into
a whole which is not a continuous wall of sound, details can still be heard in the complex mix. It is
of no surprise that this then is far more dense in feel to the Merzbow, it is  in itself an aesthetic of
sublime noise, and so also a contrast to the more open and simple feel of the other CD, these two
tracks seem more complex which given the chaotic mix is strangely ambivalent, whereas with
Merzbow the term “Noise Music” would emphasise the  ‘Noise’ here the Noise becomes an
‘abstract’ ‘Music’, or in OPO’s term, “Fraction Music”. Finally, I should add as usual from Sub
Rosa the presentation is excellent, a gatefold digipack with artwork by Jaroslav Buzek. (jliat)
––– Address:


Maybe the name of Hermann Scherchen isn’t that well known anymore, as he already died in
1966. He was mainly known as a conductor of music from Bach, Beethoven, Mahler but also a
lot of the avant-garde composers Webern, Berg, Varese, Nono and Xenakis. He was also involved
with electro-acoustic music and built with the help of Unesco (and his own money) a studio in
Gravesano, Switzerland and here he researched electro-acoustic, both recordings techniques and
radio broadcasts. The studio was a meeting point for composers like Berio, Ferrari, Schaeffer and
many others. All of this is subject of the release by Christina Kubisch. She made field recordings in
the original, no longer existing place where the studio once was; has parts read from the magazine
the studio published, electro-magnetic recordings, improvisations on the Synthi AKS as well as
Scherchen’s voice from the many recordings that are now in the Berlin Academy of Arts. This
results in a beautiful sound work. Kubisch writes that we don’t know much about Scherchen’s
private life here (he was with his fifth wife in these years, with whom he had five children) and I
must admit we don’t ‘learn’ much more about that private life, listening to these forty-eight minutes
of spoken word, field recordings (water dripping outside the old studio, church bells), Scherchen
singing, talking along with beeps and bleeps on the AKS. We hear him giving instructions on
filtering, which microphone to use, all in German but even if you don’t know what it says (and I
admit, I do understand, so I can’t judge this entirely), it sounds totally fascinating. It is almost like a
very dry, laboratory set-up of sounds, being explored, which comes in the form of a radio play
setting. Totally captivating stuff, even when the experiments as such perhaps make less sense,
all of it being freely cut and pasted together, but as a radio-drama (commissioned by Deutschland
Kultur) this works really well. Normally I am not too blown away by releases with much-spoken
word fragments, but here I would say I can’t get enough of, having played it twice in a row.
    In the past, I reviewed several of Stefan Roigk’s releases, some of which dealt with quite a bit
spoken word (see Vital Weekly 9401035 and 1073). Roigk calls himself a “multi-disciplinary
artist living in Berlin. Roigk deals with the borders between sound collages, sculptures,
installations, film and graphical scores. His artistic strategy lays in the combination of different
types of media to one single composition”. Fragment Factory release a record that is not about
spoken word, but a sixteen minute piece (on one side of the record, the other side being blank,
and yes, I wrote how I feel about that being sad waste of vinyl before) that took him fourteen
years to complete, “has gone through many stages, from being finished, revoked, left untouched,
reworked, discussed to finally getting banned onto vinyl in its ultimate and irrevocable form” as
the label says. It combines, also sayeth the label, “concrete sounds, field recordings and
devotional vocal fragments”. It is not easy music. Maybe it is the brief length of this that made
me play this over and over again, sometimes getting distracted and not paying too much attention,
and seemingly something I get lost in. Maybe it’s an omen that, just like Roigk, it took me so much
time to get into it. The whole thing is a collage of sounds, moods, textures, impressions,
instruments and maybe even words. Surely the devotional aspect is something that plays a big
role here. With occasional wordless chanting and humming, a stroke on a bell and some
additional reverb there is a delicate religious (quasi or otherwise) approach and works well.
Every time I played this I seemed to be noting something new in the music and as such these
sixteen minutes surely contain a rich wealth of information. Musique concrete is probably the
best term to say what it contains. It is, I think, Stefan Roigk’s best work to date. (FdW)
––– Address:

MATTIN – SONGBOOK #7 (LP by Munster Records)

Maybe it is strange to say this, but although I don’t understand the work of Mattin, I really like it.
There is always a concept behind what he does and most of the times I don’t get what it is about.
Here is ‘Songbook #7’, which takes two moments in history as inspiration: “1) The first seven
months of 1917 in revolutionary Russia. 2) The figure of Germaine Berton (pictured on the cover),
the anarchist who in 1923 was accused of murdering Marius Plateau, director of the far-right
organization French Action League.” This is all highly political stuff; just what it means is a bit
clouded. Surely it is a comment on our troubled times of rising conservation and totalitarianism.
Mattin recorded this record along with his bandmates, co-musicians, or whatever he calls them
and they are Farahnaz Hatam, Colin Hacklander, Lucio Capece, Moor Mother, Cathleen Schuster
and Marcel Dickhage. The music was recorded November 2017 at Digging the Global South
Festival in Cologne, but I think there has been some kind of editing/ The instruments used are
drums, computer, electronics, sampler and bass clarinet while various voices are used. This is an
odd record; partly heavily in the world of experimental music, with a slight tendency towards noise
and some old school industrial music on the second side, but it also has elements of rock music,
more especially punk rock, with all shouting vocals, and the drums buried in the mix; so effectively
punk that is not very well recorded (which I love). But likewise, it can be silent for some time, with
just a bit of mumbling. It’s a most curious record and that’s why I love Mattin’s work. I never have a
clue what it is about and the music is most of the times quite a surprise, and this record is no
exception to that. Lyrics, if that is what they are (not sure there, either) are enclosed here, for your
sing-along chant, clarification or perhaps for further inspection of the historical subject of it all. It’s
like opening a can of ideas! (FdW)
––– Address:

  Holotype Editions)

The name Reinhold Friedl should need no introduction to all of you who have been reading
these virtual pages for many years. He is best known as the director of the Zeitkratzer ensemble,
performing modern classical music as well as ‘industrial music’ on a whole bunch of acoustic
instruments, but he’s also a composer and piano player, working alone and sometimes with others.
In his solo work, the inside of the piano plays a big role. In 2011 he released his first solo record,
‘Inside Piano’ (Vital Weekly 785) and since then has a few releases along those lines. It is what it
says on the box: Friedl plays the inside of the piano, that giant cupboard full of strings, think and fat,
each with a resonating quality. Friedl plays these with objects, and on this record, those objects are
mentioned in the title; spring, flower, cracker and stream. And I easily admit I have no idea what
‘flower’ and ‘stream’ might be. It is actually a bit more complicated. Titles are like this ‘Music For
Piano, Cymbal, Metal Sheet, Screw, Spring’ or ‘Music For Piano, Metal Tube, Flower, Metal Sheet’,
so there are a bit more objects per piece. As a government health warning, it says ‘no overdubs, no
electronics’ (or maybe like Queen’s ‘no synthesizers’?), which I admit is not always easy to believe,
but I am sure Friedl can be believed. He knows his instrument and objects well and it results in four
quite distinctly different pieces of music. In the first one, the approach is dense and playful, including
a bang on the keys while objects are struck on top of the strings to produce a vast soundscape, thus
creating a fine contrast. With ‘metal tube, flower and metal sheet’, Friedl creates overtones and
textures, that slowly decrease in density. The piano sounds like it’s been recorded in a large empty
space, allowing for some more reverb. The most complex piece is with “glass, spring, plectrum,
cracker, screw’, going from various chaotic intersections to dense sounds that seem to have a
delay effect (and I know: it’s not) again for even stronger contrasts here, ranging from the mellow
to the intense. Mellow is certainly the approach he takes using an e-bow, stream and cymbal in
the final piece, which is a beautiful drone piece of long sustaining singing tones in the best
tradition (if there is such a thing) of Stephan Mathieu. In a few words: what a great record. (FdW)
––– Address:

DISCORDLESS – NELOCUIT (cassette by Amek Tapes)

Arno Bruil is the man behind Descendeur, and ‘Shoker Necklace’ his first record. He is also part
of France Sauvage and Femme. On the format of doom, as someone once described 10″ records,
he has five tracks, spanning twenty-two minutes and they are all rhythm heavy. Deep bass, loud
rhythm, piercing synths; ‘play as loud as possible’, Warm says, and for once that is a good notion. It
works better at high volume, I agree. Bruil also adds vocals to the pieces and words are by Albert
DeSalvo, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos and David Berkowitz, quite a bunch of idiots (at which
point I’d say, Google these loons in your own time) but no doubt fitting the harsh, cold clinical
music quite well. Perhaps its all a bit too grim for my taste, certainly with those fine lyricists, and I
could call this dark wave (or even gothic) but then the weather is grey and no doubt there is
something to complain about on this wet Wednesday afternoon in January (of course I should
have written this on Blue Monday, but I didn’t). There is not much more to say about it. Great hard
stuff… Rocking and beating. I’d say a killer but that is probably inappropriate.
    Another set of heavy beats can be found Marius Costache’s tape ‘Nolecuit’. It has been nine
years since he released any music as Discordless. He also works as Environments and Febra.
Like Descendeur his beats are dark and heavy, and likewise minimal. It seems to me that
Discordless is heavier on the use of synthesizers and effects; more so that Descendeur does. All
of these nine pieces are instrumental and quite lengthy. Close to five minutes for the shortest song
and almost nine for the longest. Within each of these songs, Discordless has a fast(er) rhythm
going and waves throughout a song a freak out of effects going bonkers over those rhythms and
synthesizers in occasional ear-piercing settings but just as easily set out to drone away, albeit
also in a heavy mode. It is all a bit long for my taste, as I think some of these pieces could have
been more compact than this wild freak-out. There is no advise here when it comes to the use of
volume, but this too is best enjoyed at a high volume, if only at this length a bit tiring. (FdW)
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VOLOK (cassette by Electroconvulsive Therapy)
INNER PARADISE – 3 ASEXUAL NON-RITUAL MELODIES (cassette by Electroconvulsive
BLACK FAUN – LIVE 09022018 (cassette by Electroconvulsive Therapy)

Here are three tapes from a new label from Greece, which landed here on my desk, with a note
that a review wasn’t necessary, but just to share the music. Well, regardless of that, a review might
be of interest, I would think. Reviewing, however, isn’t easy, especially in the case of Volok, which
is all in Russian on the cover. The music sounds like a bunch of Russian monks in a monastery,
slowly chanting, along with a low humming synthesizer. The title translates as ’round dance’, but
there is nothing much to dance too. The chanting, which stayed the same throughout the seven
pieces, reminded me of the scene in ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, where Tom Cruise enters the quasi-religious
sex party, but without the same sort of melodic synthesizers. With Volok the synthesizers are as
dark and a minimal as the chanting. Even when some of this sounds very similar throughout,
there is surely something quite captivating about these pieces. For the duration is was fine
enough, not something to be heard all day; that would probably drive me crazy.
    Going to the Bandcamp website of Inner Paradise, I read that they were “formed in Kaski (Nepal)
on 2015. Their electronic sounds and noises are mixed of PPN, Post- Industrial and Dark-Mantras
with a new interpretation of the Jain mantras by Rsabhadeva and Mahavira. After a dozen concerts
and performances in Nepal and India and some trouble with the religious authorities, they moved
to Europe”, where they recorded this twenty-minute cassette Italy and Greece. I am a bit too
sceptical (or is that skeptikal?) to believe everything I read, but maybe it’s true. They call their
music, or at least, this release, “100% Jain Post-Noise”, whatever that might be. The music on this
twenty-minute cassette is quite interesting. A fine mixture of radio waves, drones and what could
be an accordion, but also something else. The result is eerie, electronic music, quietly disturbing
on ‘Kalpa Sutra/Harmony’, collage-like in ‘Little Bit Inside/Conformity’ and a combination of both
ends, with a bit more loops of spoken word/radio broadcast in ‘Kisses And Stop/Integrity’. Quite a
bit of variation here, but it sounds all pretty coherent.
    The last one is by Greek duo Black Faun, with a single-sided cassette, which is recorded live on
February 9 last year at Sticky Fingers in Patros. According to their bio on Facebook, they use
electric and acoustic instruments, toys, loops, sounds and basically anything else that generates
sound and thrown together to play collage-like music, although on this particular occasion it is a
rather power electronics inspired piece of brutal tones, distortion pedal abuse and mayhem throw
out. File under noise. While not necessarily the loudest noise around, they reach towards the
certainly for the outer limits of harsh noise walls, yet cleverly they keep it all very well in hand. At
thirty-four minutes I would think this is was just long to be entertaining; more I would think would
have been too much. (FdW)
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Did I hear of Dagora before? I can’t recall. Not sure if they now split up with a name like this, or
perhaps if there is some hidden pun/nod/respect to The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. At least
he made it to the cover, so it must be. Maybe this is just a one-off release from the weird and
wacky minds that you also find with Occii, Amsterdam’s more adventurous stages when it comes
to new music. Both sides of this eighty-minute tape revolve around the sound of the cymbal, one
of those parts of the drum kit, in case you were wondering; and yes, Prince referred to himself as
the symbol at one point. It all ties together. On the first side, we have Stevus playing the cymbal
acoustically without the use of any effects and he does that to great effect. I guess it’s easy to hit
the cymbal and get it going, ringing and singing as you would know it, but after about sixteen
minutes he takes the sound down and it becomes all spooky and quiet, like someone moving
around in the recording space with a handheld recorder, going outside and the cymbal almost
disappearing. It ends with a poem and sparse cymbal sound. It is all-together a great piece,
powerful and delicate. On the other side is PQ uses Stevus recording and putting it through what
is just called ‘his wide range of machines, the circuit bending wizard’, so I have vaguely an idea of
what’s going on, but that is also based upon what I hear here. PQ moves the original around,
sometimes sounding like the ‘original + transformations’, but at a few assorted points in time the
transformations are to such an extent that they no longer sound like a cymbal. Towards the end, it
becomes some sort of crazy electronic organ doodle, and it is hard to believe it has anything to do
with the cymbal. PQ offers quite a wild ride here, going from one end to the exact opposite but it
surely works quite well; different kind of power. Nice risograph printed cover also wrapped around
here and it tops off a fine product that oozes the halcyon days of cassette releases. (FdW)
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ANTHONY JANAS – LUCIFER, SCOOBY DOO AND ME (cassette/shower curtain by Nihilist)

Is the title a reference to the Cassandra Complex’ 1989 album “Satan, Bugs Bunny and Me”? My
gosh, that’s as nerdy an industrial-music inside-joke as I’ve heard in ages. Wow. The other notable
aspect of this album (apart from the music, of course) is that a small art edition includes both the
tape and a shower curtain. You read that correctly: a shower curtain, adorned with repeating
images of (what I assume must be) the artist’s face. What can you say? Seeing as I only received
a digital version of the album to review (understandably, the shower curtain was not included in
the download), I cannot offer any words on the curtain’s relative merits as compared to other
shower curtains. Not sure whether I’m qualified to review shower curtains, anyway. Heck, I’m
barely qualified to review music. So I’ll attend only to the sound, which is some compelling audio
soup, a disparate collection of song-like noises with tinges of both perverse delirium and pleasant
airy ambience. Much like the work of Nihilist-In-Chief Andy Ortmann, Janas creates music that
leaps between distinct moods and implies dramatic narrative without making it explicit what the
extramusical text might be. It’s that ambiguity that’s interesting.
    A dry satirical tone is set with the first track, “Traditional Introductions”, a speed-altered
(presumably found) voice explaining how Scooby Doo was co-opted by coprophagic gay men
who… eh, I’m not going to type up the content of this speaker. Listen to it yourself, or take a guess.
Since the spoken text is the start of the album and is referenced right in the title, and is bookended
at the end by the only other legible voice on the album, it must be key to Janas’ overall meaning…
which eludes me. But I don’t mind. The side continues with sombre undulations beneath layers of
lurching metal and frantic percussion. The mood is decidedly meditative, segueing as it does into
“Composition for Boxwood Recorder, Tape and Electronics”, which does exactly what it says it will
do: gongs gong with portent, woodwinds drift windily, and the promised recorder solo brings it
close to New Age… though interjections of loose-tape blorp periodically destabilize the serenity.
Side two begins on a more sinister note with “Arbitrary Studies V for Processed Field
Recordings”… growling wordless voices refracted and sent reeling. “Music for Commercial
Cleaning Products” is shiny and plastic and sounds like something The Residents might have
done in 1987. My favourite tracks come toward the end: “Three Tones Enclosed by Organized
Sound” is a pleasingly confusing jumble of motion, sharp turns, and synth blurts. “Prelude to a
Fictitious Film” continues with that level of energy, packing an impressive amount of densely-
layered information into just 2.5 minutes. The album concludes with the title track, a ballad that
ties together what came before it: gentle woodwind lilt, slow electronic burble, jarring electronic
interruptions… and this time, a softly strummed acoustic guitar (or mandolin?) with spoken lyrics
about… um, Lucifer and Scooby Doo. What does it mean? What does it have to do with the
introductory spoken language? I’ve got no idea. Maybe the shower curtain explains it all. (HS)
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