Number 1169

GGRIL – FAÇONS (2CD by Circum Disc) *
MATTHIAS BAUER – SPONTAN IN GRANIT (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
  Recordings) *
  WELTGLUTLEHRE (2CD by Sublunar Society) *
KINI – A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN (CD by Sublunar Society) *
HUNTER COMPLEX – OPEN SEA (LP by Death Waltz Originals) *
W/V – W/V (LP by Silken Tofu
  Records) *
SYNTAX – CURRENT (SD card by Kasuga Records) *
MAX UHLICH – SONGS FROM A JUG (CD by Edmonton Arts Council)
BIONULOR (CDR by Oniron Label) *
  Spectrum Records) *
COLIN WEBSTER & GRAHAM DUNNING/LÄRMSCHUTZ (split cassette by Faux Amis Records)


Should you been reading these pages for many years, you may know that I always very much
enjoy the music of the impossible to pronounce Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, which I am allowed
to address as Siggi. More than twenty years ago he came into our orbit with the group he still is a
member of, Stilluppsteypa, as well as producing a fine string of solo works. He works with all the
familiar ingredients, field recordings, computer processing, drones, and perhaps it’s not always
‘new’ or ‘strange’, I always find great pleasure in hearing his work. There is always, I think at least,
an element of humour in his work. ‘Ok Computer’ of course is the title of Radiohead’s best selling
album, and surely Sigmarsson has a little joke there, as he’s a man of computer music, like them
good ol’ laptop days (actually the piece here is called ‘Ok Computer Music (Sounds Familiar),
which is probably even funnier). Ol’ days that have been replaced for new ones with modular
synth doodles. At one point everybody seemed to be fed up with people performing only armed
with a laptop (‘who’s the dude checking his e-mail?’) but for someone like me, it is the result that
counts and music are for listening. The laptop is still for most people the one way to go when it
comes to doing a home studio production. Sigmarsson proofs this with his new work. One piece,
forty-seven minutes, of heavily laptop processed sounds. Lots of drones, sometimes seemingly
generated from Sigmarsson’s own voice (or perhaps that of Arnjotur Sigurdsson, Dan Melchior or
Leif Elggren; the latter mentioned as ‘secret guest’; not exactly secret if you mention him, right?),
humming wordlessly, somewhere after the twenty-minute mark into what seems weightless space,
but also taking his harmonium apart with soaring overtones, shortly after that, before landing on
the piece’s quiet and long ending. The busiest movements are in the first half, with a more
musique concrete like approach of tones being chopped up by max/MSP, pure data or perhaps
audio mulch; maybe, for all I know, some pitching and shaping within the realm of a multi-track
program, and nothing much via plug-in processing. This is a very fine work, once again. Don’t
expect Sigmarsson to do explore entirely new territory, but instead, he develops his trade further
and further, going for a rough refinement. Great cover by Michael Muennich and an edition of 100
copies, so you need to act quickly, I should think. (FdW)
— Address: <>

GGRIL – FAÇONS (2CD by Circum Disc)

On both of these new releases by the French Circum Disc label, we have larger ensembles
playing the music. The first ensemble is called Un Ensemble (which means ‘an ensemble’ in
case you were wondering), including electronics, voice, sousaphone, trumpet, drums, bass
clarinet, guitar and much more, in total twenty-five players. On this disc, they also use eight
speakers and players and speakers are around the audience. The director can decide where a
player is heard and thus the sound moves around. This is the part of the installation side of this
and Jean-Luc Guionnet (who also plays alto saxophone) devised it. Sometimes you hear him
shout out a position of the composition. I hope I summarized the information from the press-text
correctly; the liner notes on the cover is all in French. The eight pieces documenting this concert is
certainly not very easy music. This is partly because of the nature of the music, which seems very
quiet but perhaps also because the space is quite big and sounds must travel from afar to reach
the microphone; it is all very quiet and distant. It is music that easily lost. It is very hard to find a
volume setting that justifies a good playback. Most of the time it is too quiet and when it erupts it
does so with quite some vigour. That might very well the intention of the composition. Somehow I
would think the whole idea of distributing sounds over various speakers in a bigger place is very
interesting and surely a must-see/hear experience, but removed from the context, at home, I am
less convinced it works that well. It misses the spatial proportions of the piece as performed in that
particular space. It’s not a bad piece, but really not something I could get a firm grip on.
    The other ensemble is Ggril, with twenty-one players, similar instruments (give or take) and the
music from both CDs could have fitted on one disc, but for reasons, I am not entirely sure of it is
spread over two discs. The first one has two pieces, each with different guest players, Caroline
Kraabel (alto saxophone) and Ingrid Laubrock (tenor saxophone), while the second disc has six
pieces, all with John Butcher (soprano and alto saxophone); he is also the composer of those
pieces. Isaiah Ceccarelli composed the first piece and it is quite a tour de force of long sustained
notes and some great unleashing of raw energy. It’s minimal in it is movements but it stands firm
as a wall of acoustic noise. Like playing clusters on a church organ or massively amplification of
violins. An almost rock-like piece of orchestral music. ‘Sur Les Genoux’ by Xavier Charles’ is quite
the contrast, with lots of small sounds by each of the players. It is not unlike his own improvised
music and something that, with all the small sounds and instruments being used as objects, and
without many moments of rest, it is a mild nerve-racking piece of music; it is all about the
concentration effort the listener has to do. John Butcher is the only composer who performs on his
pieces. I understand that the way these were composed it has the most room for improvisations,
which clearly can be heard. Sometimes there are certain repetitions to be noted by some of the
players, while others have a freer role in the proceedings. This results in an interesting variety of
approaches; from short tones to expansive sustaining ones. Here too the orchestral approach
shines through all the pieces. (FdW)
— Address:

MATTHIAS BAUER – SPONTAN IN GRANIT (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)

Bauer studied double bass at the Hochschule für Musik in East Berlin in the former German
Democratic Republic. Over the years he worked – as a composer as well as a musician – with
many ensembles playing contemporary classical music as wells as improvisation. Both Lyon and
Cologne were his home base for a while. Since 1991 he is based again in Berlin, where he
worked with David Moss, Chris Cutler, among others. He performed solo works specially
composed for him by Georg Katzer, an important composer in the former GDR. He is the brother
of Conrad and Johannes Bauer who both were very active in the west in the 80s and 90s. Anyway,
nowadays Mathias Bauer works with Berlin-based ensembles like Unitedberlin, Asian Art and
Junge Music. With Maria Lucchese (theremin, zither, voice, gongs) he is one half of the duo
Alchimia Organica. For ‘Spontan in Granit’ however he decided to make a solo statement. In 18
short improvisations, he gives way to a diversity of improvised excursions ranging from dynamic
to very intimate. He explores different techniques and ideas consequently condensed in a 1 to 3
minutes time span and they are solid miniatures of very expressive and vivid music from an
inspired musician. Dietrich Petzold, like Bauer a composer and musician of the German
Democratic Republic, recorded the sessions in March 2018. (DM)
— Address:


Building Instrument is a trio of Mari Kvien Brunvoll (vocals, electronics, zither, omnichord), Oyvind
Hegg-Lunde (drums, percussion) and Asmund Weltzien synths, electronics). This Bergen-based
trio started in 2008 exploring electronic music. But soon they started to incorporate acoustic
instruments as well. They debuted in 2014 on Hubro, followed by a second album in 2016. With
´Mangelen Min´ they present their third statement. They practice a very eclectic style: ambient,
modern classical music, dub, Balkan are some of the very contrasting influences they use. Brunvoll
has roots in folk and jazz as a singer, coming from a very musical family. Besides they also
combine very different procedures of real-time playing on a diversity of instruments, live sampling
and electronic processing. From all these influences and procedures, they developed their own
personal musical universe in a way that the result is more than just the sum of its parts. At the core
it is pop, and most of the twelve tracks are in one way or the other indebted to the song-format. But
most of them also are of an experimental nature, full of eccentric twists. They succeed in creating
very distinguished electronic sounds and textures with well-chosen colouring. Here Brunvoll
combines complicated rhythmic patterns with spacey electronic atmospheres and dreamy vocals
in some of the tracks. Sometimes pleasing, sometimes challenging they created a really convincing
album. (DM)
— Address:


David Stäckenas (acoustic guitar) and Klaus E. Holm (alto saxophone, Bb clarinet) debuted at the
Kontak Festival in Tromso, Norway, 2013. They are true improvisers combining elements of folk
and modern composed music. With “Dayton´s Bluff” they present the first document of their
collaboration. Holm studied jazz at the Trondheim Music Conservatory and composition at the
Norwegian Academy of Music. He is a member of Paal Nilsson-Love´s Large Unit, Trondheim
Jazz Orchestra, Honest John, International Breakthrough, etc. Balrog is the name of his own trio
originally completed by Roger Arntzen and Ivar Grydeland. Nowadays David Stäckenas is a
member of this unit, replacing Grydeland since 2016. Stackenäs is a guitarist from Stockholm,
who debuted in 2000 with an impressive solo-album. Multiple collaborations led him all over the
planet. Their cd opens with two live improvisations, recorded at the Blow Out in Oslo in 2016. What
follows are five improvisations recorded in the home studio of Stackenas in Stockholm. Stackenas
seems a Derek Bailey-influenced guitarist to me, but allowing himself more repetition of patterns,
as did Bailey. Melodic, folk-influenced elements are somewhere in the background. Holm plays
with timbre most of the time. Their improvisations have something sober and dry, but they are
fascinating and worthwhile throughout, following a strong inner logic. Very pure and physical.
These guys create focused interactions that are really dialogue, leading up to interesting sound
sculptures, with some dazzling moments during the way. (DM)
— Address:


Charles is a composer, clarinettist and live electronics designer. He studied in Lyon, Strasbourg
and Harvard. As a clarinettist, he worked with Karlheinz Stockhausen for the world première and
recording of ´Rechter Augenbrauentanz´. He is interested in creating new instruments and
possibilities at the crossroads of acoustics and electronics. In 2009 he started composing and
performing the Electroclarinet, the clarinet in connection with electronic tools.  This album marks
a decade of exploring this instrument. The album consists of compositions titled ´Electroclarinet 1´
up to ´Electroclarinet 6´ written for respectively for Bb clarinet, contrabass clarinet, basset horn, Eb
clarinet and bass clarinet always in combination with electronics. The CD is completed by one
other composition, ‘Lina’, that has Charles playing just contrabass clarinet using no electronics.
Of course one could say the clarinet is in its self complete and not in need of any application to
change the sound, adding more possibilities, etc. On the other hand, one could say a given
instrument is ‘just’ a frozen set of possibilities that one can defrost, connecting it with other tools
and possibilities. If this helps to realize a musical vision, why not? It did help mister Charles who
created some very engaging works. In his compositions, the acoustical qualities of the instruments
have a prominent place and are not distorted, but supplemented with electronic treatments. At
moments I had the impression he provided the clarinet with bigger ‘wings’ as it were through his
electronics, enlarging movements coming from the clarinet. But also he contrasts the acoustical
sounds with opposed electronic textures and gestures. But never in a way that the clarinet moves
along on some unknown planet that is completely alien to the clarinet. In the end, electronics and
acoustics are integrated into one other, into one musical adventure. It may be a bit too academic
for some ears, but his music is for sure full of drama and drive. ‘Electroclarinet 6’ for example has
some fairly wild and noisy parts. ‘Lina’, the only pure acoustical work ending with a scream by
Charles is likewise very dramatic and lively. Although his music is far out, Charles devoted the
compositions to Debussy, von Weber, Messiaen and Stravinsky, composers he feels indebted to.
Maybe the respective compositions contain a bow or allusions to works of these composers, but I
couldn’t put my finger on them. (DM)
— Address:


Die Hochstapler is a quartet of Pierre Borel (saxophone), Louis Laurain (trumpet), Antonio
Borghini (double bass) and Hannes Lingens (drums). An international line-up. Both Borel and
Laurain are from France, while Borghini originates from Milan, Italy. Drummer and accordionist
Hannes Lingens is from Berlin and an active force of the Umlaut Collective. ‘The Quick Brown Fox
Jumps over the Lazy Dog’ is their third statement, recorded in December 2017 in Berlin. They
debuted in 2013 with ‘The Braxtornette Project’ interpreting works by Anthony Braxton and Ornette
Coleman. In 2015 ‘Plays the Music of Alvin P.Buckley’ followed. Buckley was their collective alter
ego. Both albums were released for Umlaut Records, as is their latest one. Their new album
contains six collective improvisations. The opening track ‘Dear Margarita’ is built from well-known
phrases and patterns. Also in other tracks, melodic themes pop up that sound familiar. Sometimes
they stay close to American jazz traditions, moving on with swing and groove. At other moments
they excel in free improvised music, as we know it from the European continent.  But is their
inventive play with these idioms that make this one very spirited. They interact with humour and
imagination. Slapstick-improv that never becomes trivial. (DM)
— Address:


This is the debut album of Romanian sound designer Alina Kalancea on Alex Gamez’ Störung.
Gonna jump right in and do this one track by track.
    Opener “Imbalance” features Kalancea reciting a morose poem about how exposure to tragedy
leaves a festering imbalance. Muted synth pads and multi-rhythmic stabs from the sofa on which
we lie down to vent our hearts. The voice leaves us quite suddenly and background elements
advance. There’s a pulsing sample&hold throb that propels the track, which reminds me slightly
of Biosphere’s “The things I tell you” – even though “Imbalance” is much less eerie.
    The eponymous track “The 5th Apple” slowly crawls into the foreground with its deep steady
sine pulses. Soon the track reveals subtle layers of shifting harmonics that modulate together with
the low-end thrusts. Feedback and formant-invested wails attempt to reclaim the surface, but
before that happens the whole affair is covered with a woolly blanket and stored away in a damp
cellar with leaky pipes. “Insider” starts similarly with a dense pushing bass line but the spotlight is
demanded by the vocal delivery again. A matching amount of effort and talent seems to have been
put into both the lyrics and the impeccable sound design. It is deeply haunting, to say the least.
    We move onto “Fears”. The track sports a saturated overtone loop that at first seems to
overshadow most of what is going on underneath it. This being far from the result of “bad mixing”,
it’s remarkable how some of the elements seem to have been purposefully hidden within the
structuring. When the sound opens up, there is an elegance to the way the different elements are
situated. Even when most sounds die away, some less obvious parts are paraded in front of our
ears, just to astound us the second time around.
    The 5th track, “Poisonous Girl”, features the amazing Julia Kent on cello. It is again a track that
seems to have an incredible amount of layers that are almost impossible to take in on the first spin.
There is some recitation, but now we hear Kalancea sing as well. Spoken word and singing seem
to be caught in a call and response figure with the cello sometimes chipping in. The tension is very
well engineered on this one.
    “Behind the Curtains” features more strings, though this time arranged and performed by Raven
Bush. The piece seems to wander towards its resolution in a pretty straightforward fashion but still
hits some ominous bumps along the way. The ambient tail end lingers on for short while and
makes us wish it went on forever.
    Twinkling stars slowly try to smother the listener in “Limbo”. The bell timbres bounce around
while there is something approaching in the low end that starts to grind down the oppressive night
sky. There’s another instance of the sound of dripping water, though this time it presents itself as a
metronome that allows us an attempt to measure the vast expanse of the vault until the splendour
becomes overwhelming. The track seamlessly jumps over into “Devil’s Lullaby”. A sheet of droning
noumenon smears itself across the ceiling while muddy noise rotations provide us with a vague
inkling of time. A heavily processed voice appears (one “FBHK”) and imparts some final shreds of
unrequited longing after which the event fades away at a snail’s pace.
    Grab your headphones for this one. It’s a remarkable debut release for Kalancea. Even if my
messy rambling can’t seem to convince you, I advise you to check it out. (PJN)
— Address:

  WELTGLUTLEHRE (2CD by Sublunar Society)
KINI – A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN (CD by Sublunar Society)

Upon opening this envelop a whole bundle of releases by Swedish Sublunar Society rolls onto
my desk. I scratch my head and the first one I pick is a double CD by Lulu Rosenkrantz. I am sure
not his real name. The website shows us a man with a beard and tells me he is “a German avant-
garde composer and singer”, who started out in 2012, and something about a rebirth leading to
Lulu. ” Songs of passion, desire and yearning were breaking through. A gateway to this mortal
world. His chants accompanied by the voices of the living and the dead. Mystic spells, wise old
words and almost forgotten tales marked his path. Summoning, lamentations and passion play”. I
also read that in 2017 ” the album “Durch einen Spiegel in einem dunklen Wort” was released. In
2018, the double album (CD) “Durch einen Spiegel in einem dunklen Wort & Weltglutlehre” was
released, along with the digital album Weltglutlehre”. I am not sure where the digital album differs
from the second disc in this package. The first disc is seventy-four minutes and I had more than
enough after three of the thirteen pieces. Lulu sings like a monk, including the necessary cathedral
setting on the reverb and some additional processing on the voice, along with some extra sounds
on synthesizers and percussion. It sounds like gothic pretentious arty music to me, and I seem to
be allergic to this; I couldn’t detect anything in here that I liked. The second CD dwells much less
on the use of vocals. Again seventy-two minutes and Rosenkrantz uses field recordings, drums,
synthesizers and lots of effects to create a similar gothic atmosphere of moody music. While it is
also something that not necessarily blows me away, this was almost like a breath of fresh air after
the life in a monastery on the other disc. All in all, not something that easily won me over and I
doubt it ever will.
    The music by Ocean Viva Silver is of much, much more interest. At the basis, there are
recordings from 2002 when Valerie Vivancos (she who is behind Ocean Viva Silver; check the
anagram) did five concerts as part of a sleep-in in Copenhagen. Music was recorded but
apparently, also the sleeping audience was taped and processed. Music by Ocean Viva Silver
was reviewed before (Vital Weekly 964), when I discussed both her solo project and her duo with
Rodolphe Alexis, under the name of Ottoanna. Here she continues to work with heavily processed
sounds her course in acousmatic music. Mastering was in the capable hands of Robert Hampson,
also known as Main and Ocean Vivia Silver shares a similar interest in laptop techniques and
compositional approaches. Various layers of sound are stretched out over each other, moving
and changing slowly, with the material being pitched up and down, moving along the glacial-like
drones. The sound of snoring is not easily detected in these pieces, but no doubt they are also
bent and shaped, up, down and sideways. The result is perhaps not the most original voice in the
world of laptop music but the six pieces are well made and pleasant to hear. It is all well-made
music, and surely Ocean Viva Silver knows what she is doing; it only needs a bit more of his own
voice in the treatments and composition.
    Something completely different is the music by Kini, also known as Echeverria-Valda, hailing
from London, landing there with Bolivian roots. She sings and plays the guitar, solo and with
bands but along the way she also gathered more and more interest in recording studios and got
a masters degree in electronic music production. She works as dubbing mixer, sound editor and
sound designer in the film industry and as Kini plays solo music. The ten songs on this release are
a pretty diverse bunch of pieces, bouncing all over the place. In the opening piece, ‘Icaro’ she sings
and plays various percussion instruments, stretched out and looped about, which she does in
several pieces but in a song like ‘Induction’ the rhythm is absent and it sounds like a drone piece
consisting of sounds she recorded and processed from induction cooking. As such there are more
pop sensitive pieces on this album and more abstract pieces of sound art. At first, I thought these
interests were a bit too diverse for my taste, but upon repeated playing, they make much more
sense. Kini treats her music like a trip, going from place to place and not always these places are
very similar. From, say, being at home, to do some quiet cooking into the city, busy with (night-) life.
Kini uses her voice to great effect; singing and looping phrases, adding percussive bits, also
sampled, looped, stretched and pitched and reaches for a dramatic effect in her music that is
rarely seen in Vital Weekly, but without over-doing, it and that’s very attractive. A great release!
    After which we move to our home country and meet up with Arno Peeters. He recently turned 50
and has been around doing music for thirty years and in those early days on cassette but somehow
not something I remembered hearing a lot. By the late 80s he was involved in techno music and
when that became too conventional and restricted moved back into a more abstract sound
composition and starting a career that goes on until today involving sound design for radio and
television. His release for Sublunar Society has two components; it is either a CD, called ‘Plugin
Dropout’ or a DVD with the same music (no images) of the CD and his work ‘Aeroson’, which was
already released in 1997 by Mille Plateaux, which had won him the first price of the International
Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music (IREM), in the category “Composers Under 30”. I didn’t
remember this Mille Plateaux release from those days. ‘Plugin Dropout’ was already produced in
2003 (on CDR by Peeters) and contains all the joys of sampling. If you know his company is
called TapeTV, you might be less surprised to learn that Peeters uses a lot of sounds taped of the
idiot box and it is set to a fine bed of rhythmic sounds. Some of these rhythms remind me of his
earlier days in techno music, and yet Peeters here expands these beats further, making them
orchestral and while this is all rhythmic, both from the beats and the samples alike, this is not
really dancing music, but rather a jumpy version of plunderphonics. In ‘AeroSon’ he is inspired by
the Indians of the Mekaron, a tribe in the Amazon, their chanting and didgeridoo like pipes, which
reminded him of the sound of a dot matrix printer (Google that sound if you were born after 1995).
Peeters uses field recordings he made and we see on the film the sound wave and a diagram of
the composition, along with some other words of explanation, for instance, the sound of shortwave
that sound like insects. Peeters treats his sound in a very musique concrete way; sustaining,
stretching, looping, granular synthesis creating glissandi, movements and as such the work never
is at any standstill. There is a lot happening in this piece, sound and information wise. It is all
about communication, one way or another, with telephone sounds, morse codes, matrix printers,
tribal sounds and all of this heavily processed in a very vibrant manner. It is not difficult to see this
would win a price; with all the comments on the future of a digital culture he makes in this piece,
this is something that Peeters saw quite rightly coming. This is still an excellent work; radio drama
and musique concrete composition in one piece.
    And then again, something completely different. Laurent Pernice has been around for a good
thirty years, starting out with the ‘industrial’ band Nox, then making techno music, ambient techno
and ever since diversifying in all sorts of electronic music, from dance to quite abstract music. On
‘A world Too Late’ we hear Pernice in control of beats, lots of them, and unlike Peeters’ music, I
would like to believe these beats are here to move the listener, get off that chair and move your
feet. I must have told this before but I am hardly the sort of guy who knows much about the finer
details of current dance music (well, nor that of the old techno music, I should think), so I am not
sure where to place Pernice. At times it is quite minimal, but his extensive use of voice samples
tells me this is not really part of the world of minimal techno. Another thing would be that some of
his synthesizer sounds are a bit too busy for that. Yet it is also not full-on techno, acid or house, yet
rather a very fine hybrid of styles, taking whatever influence Pernice suits best for his pieces and
he apparently and quite rightly doesn’t care if his music belongs to a ‘scene’ or not. The voices
Pernice adds to the music give the whole thing at times quite a filmic approach, which is very nice
and also out of the ordinary. An oddball is the ‘Op 15 n°7_Schumann Revisited’ piece, which is
devoid of many rhythms and is a clicks ‘n cuts glitch collage, followed by ‘L’incendie’, which is the
most mellow song on this collection, along with ‘Ultra Love’, a solo flute for less than a minute. It all
ends in ‘L’Espoir’, the longest piece here, which takes a very long intro of field recordings before
rhythm arrives. Certainly, towards the end of the release, Pernice offers quite a wild variety. Great
release! (FdW)
— Address:

HUNTER COMPLEX – OPEN SEA (LP by Death Waltz Originals)

So far I reviewed all of the music releases by Lars Meijer’s solo project Hunter Complex. I can
safely say I am a big fan. I once saw him play live and that was great too. He wheeled in a bunch
of old analogue 80s synthesizers and had a video backing of 80s films cut-up. He played music
that sounded very much like music from the 80s; say something like the soundtrack to Miami Vice.
There was a self-titled CD (Vital Weekly 717), the LP ‘Heat’ (Vital Weekly 896) and the single
‘Hours’ (Vital Weekly 932), all his Narrominded label. Now he found a new home for his music,
the apparently well-known imprint of Death Waltz Recordings, who re-issues music by John
Carpenter, Ennio Morricone, and becoming label mates with Steve Moore, Antoni Maiovvi and
such synth heroes. The new album is all instrumental and it is a treat for the ears. It combines the
best in 80s synth pop, Italo disco and cosmic synth, but all within the length of a pop song. All of
these pieces are highly melodic, ranging from minor chords to jubilant major ones. Sad at times,
joyous at others; fat bass lines, analogue synth arpeggios and sometimes very crispy digital ones.
Some of this stuff could act very easily as a movie soundtrack (‘The Heart Of High Places’, ‘We
Fought For America’ or the Vangelis’ like ‘Crows Zero’), and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what is
going to happen with some of these songs, or future Hunter Complex songs. It would seem to me
now is the time to make that next step and get feted by the captains of the film industry. Another
first-class record by Hunter Complex; can’t wait for the next! (FdW)
— Address:

W/V – W/V (LP by Silken Tofu)

W/V is a collaborative effort between bass guitarist James Welburn and experimental vocalist
Juliana Venter. Their eponymous album consists of two tracks that were recorded in four
sessions, in both Berlin and Oslo. This is all brought to us by Silken Tofu, so personal
expectations are high.
    Right off the bat “Concave” inundates the room with fat waves of low-end sludge; a spiralling
torrent that engulfs the ears completely. Calling out from the depths, Venter’s demonic shrieks
barely seem to make it to the surface. A few minutes in, the power of the drone is taken down a
notch, which allows Venter to pierce through with her own vocal loops. Moreover, it gives her
more space to showcase the many facets of her wide range of extended vocal techniques.
Transitions between effects layers and timbres are often sharp and hard, which is a welcome
change after ages of subtle fades and proper dosage. The abrupt structuring underlines Venter’s
overall modus operandi that doesn’t shun the extravagant. Welburn’s drones are the perfect
chthonic substrate that seems to tie the vocal spectacle down, tethers it to the earth, albeit it on a
leash of considerable length.
    “Moonunit” starts off more tentatively, with some deep scraping and sparse metal timbres.
Cautious vocals seem to carefully summon something and indeed suddenly a searing, lambent
light beams down upon which the building starts to crumble. We move on to a scene where the
voice manifests through somewhat more traditional phrasing over an impressive apocalyptic
rumble in the background. The lamenting soon starts to shift between animated spoken word and
animal-like sounds and it is clear at this point that both constituent elements have finally settled in
a perfect state of equilibrium. A thrust of feedback from Welburn is the harbinger of the final
structural shift that sees the departure of Venter’s voice from the spotlight. Swirling saturation fills
up the entire room and shows a sequence of tonal changes until, while still in complete control,
the whole thing slowly strands on a subtle beach of noise.
Without a doubt an amazing album that shows a great deal of skill on the part of both performers.
Moonunit was definitely my favourite as it shows a more balanced synergy between the two. Fans
of Greetje Bijma, Sussan Deyhim or Diamanda Galas may like this one, as well as people who
would like to see any of those artists roaming the realms of the dark and eldritch. (PJN)
— Address:


This one-sided record lasts one minute and twenty-seven seconds and it takes more time read the
text that is about record than playing it; it is all about Morgan Fischer and his ‘Miniatures’
compilation LP with fifty-one one-minute tracks by various artists, and how this is a short rendition
of an album Fischer recorded on 1972 in Rome, well the entirety of one side of that LP. Plus there
is a bit of Gustav Holst ‘The Planets’, Bowie, and ‘It’s A Small World’ in there. They could have
thrown in the fact that Fischer was a live member of Queen for a while, but they didn’t. Gabriella
Marconi sings, Stefano Menozzi plays the piano, Manitu Rossi on voice, theremin and bass guitar
while Vittore Baroni, along with Rossi the mastermind behind this conceptual group, sits back and
overlooks the execution. It’s a beautiful song, short, solemn and a power ballad. Short and sweet
and as ever, slightly confusing, but such is the world of Le Forbici di Manitu. This lathe cut is
released in an edition of 33 copies. (FdW)
— Address:

SYNTAX – CURRENT (SD card by Kasuga Records)

Perhaps not the most exciting name you can choose for your musical project, but Laurian Bardos
did choose Syntax. He draws his inspiration from the world of medical psychology, which is
something I don’t hear a lot. “From this perspective, the evolution of his music has been greatly
influenced by the study of perception and the Gestalt theory, which connect the spatial (geometric)
form with the temporal form (sound)”. Like some of the previous releases by Kasuga Records (Vital
Weekly 1153 and 1155), this too connects to the world of clicks n cuts, mostly with the music of
Andreas Lutz, my initial introduction this label. The eight pieces by Syntax are built from clicks and
cuts, reshaped and remodelled into beats. A bump here and a cut there. As far as I can judge
matters like that, this is not something could easily ‘dance’ too; it is more dance music for the
 brains. The bass sounds are well organised, but not stomp around on an all too strict 4/4 patterns.
I was discussing laptop music from the earliest years of this century just the other day and
wondered if it is time for a little come-back, and I could easily think that releases such as the one
 by Syntax on Kasuga Records might be one of the early revivalists. I might very well be wrong
and for all, I know it’s already going on (or never happening). People like Syntax work very much
along the early lines set out by Alva Noto, Jan Jelinek, Ryoji Ikeda or even Pole, but his approach
is slightly more playful and lighter, most of the times, with some nasty bumps in ‘Dipole’ or ‘Vector.
His titles could always benefit from some re-thinking but otherwise, I thought it was all quite nice.
Time for some late afternoon historical context listening! (FdW)
— Address:


One of the best purchases I made last year was ‘Sleep’, an eight-hour suite by Max Richter. Firstly
because it did exactly what it said on the tin as I cannot count the times I actually fell asleep
listening to it, and secondly because the, for some, absurd length allowed the music to come
alive, slowly and unobtrusively penetrating my mind and, indeed, my body. This new release by
Andrew Liles, known for this work in Nurse With Wound but perhaps more importantly also the
purveyor of an incredible body of solo work, rivals ‘Sleep’. Not only for its length, as ‘The Geometry
Of Social Deprivation’ is also around eight hours in duration, but primarily for its beauty and
utilitarian purpose. The number 23 is central to this release. Those in Thee Know will know 23
denotes adventure combined with creativity, freedom, sensuality and an interest in nearly
everything. People with 23 in their numerology charts are apparently also good salespersons,
which comes in handy when selling your own product. Allow me to elaborate on the number 23
in relation to the music on offer. The album consists of 23 tracks, each one constructed taking
samples from 23 six inch shellac records from the 1920s. This strict working method means each
track has a unique identity and sound of its own. And, to me personally, Liles’ music works is at its
best when his compositions are based on a limited and thematic amount of samples, allowing his
compositions to develop a life of their own and giving the music a thematic focus that prevents the
music from entering The Abyss of Chaos. The eight hours of music on ‘The Geometry Of Social
Deprivation’ buzzes, scrapes, scratches, soothes, pleases and (luckily also) irritates. At times it
makes you feel you’re launched into a 1920’s surreal dandy club and the next moment you’re in
some sort of decadent 2000’s downtown joint. Intended as a ‘functional’ piece of music, much like
Max Richter’s ‘Sleep’ box set, Liles’ new piece de resistance is best enjoyed whilst at work or as a
soundtrack to your daily routine. ‘The Geometry Of Social Deprivation’ is, both in concept as in
execution, an essential addition to an already quite diverse catalogue of Liles’ work. The album is
available in three formats: a 23 track download, a CDR version including the 23 track download
as well as an exclusive recording and finally, the ‘deluxe’ edition (a very popular format these days
for receding hairline acts from the 1970’s and 1980’s) featuring all of the above as well as a
wooden key and one of the original shellac records in a bespoke cover. That the deluxe edition is
limited to the number of shellac records used, only 23 copies, makes perfect sense. ‘The Geometry
Of Social Deprivation’ is the ideal and essential soundtrack to long winter days spent in isolation. I
have ordered mine, order yours now! (FK)
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MAX UHLICH – SONGS FROM A JUG (CD by Edmonton Arts Council)

We reviewed Edmontonian Max Ullich’s, we’re talking the town of Edmonton in Canada here, first
album ‘Hakiko’ in Vital Weekly 945. Not quite the usual Vital Weekly-fare, Uhlich moves in circles
folk-tradition based. Think Current 93 without the hoo-ha and with a fine singer/songwriter tradition
added. Uhlich’s first album was a sincere collection of traditional songs, which would have
benefitted from a tad more strict editing. Uhlich, about whom I refreshingly know next to nothing,
makes music, which on a superficial level has little to do with much, if not most, of the music
reviewed in Vital Weekly. This is not experimental or avant-garde music. ‘Songs From A Jug’
warrants inclusion in Vital Weekly simply because this is an independent product, made out of love
for sound and music. Music that could be qualified as happy and optimistic; qualities that are not
often used in these pages. I wonder why not incidentally. Featuring 10 songs in 39 minutes, ‘Songs
From A Jug’ is briefer and more focused than Hakiko. These new songs do not necessarily show
development in a new direction for Uhlich; they are still conventionally structured and performed
songs. Most of the songs feature Ulich on vocals and guitar, with at times minimal backing of
percussion and bass. His tendency to whistle adds to the overall lightness of these songs, but
whether you can handle whistling in popular music (or in fact in any kind of music) is a personal
thing of course. Speaking of personal, my favourites on this album are the sparse and somewhat
terse ‘Green’ and the rather catchy alt-pop ‘Cherry Leaves’. As said, these songs are not the usual
Vital fare, but the ‘Songs From A Jug’ deserve to be heard. (FK)
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BIONULOR (CDR by Oniron Label)

Presented here is a bit of a dilemma… Ten years ago Bionulor released its first album, now it is
re-released, including two bonus tracks. The music has been remastered for this one, promising “a
more mature, richer sound”. The dilemma is that, next to these facts I just more or less quoted, is
that the other information is my original review from Vital Weekly 695 and in keeping with the
recycling spirit of Bionulor, I will quote my review entirely. “The music created by Bionulor is “100%
sound recycling” as he calls it himself. Each piece is created with only one sample, which is then
processed in lots of different ways. A bit like Aube used to work, taking one source to create music.
Aube did that for a whole CD, but somehow I think Bionulor changes his source per track, which
of course is fine too. He writes that he uses ‘musical waste’, like sounds from old tapes, vinyl and
archive recordings. The processing done by Bionulor are entirely made in the digital domain, i.e.
the computer. A job well is done I’d say. The music is glitchy, yet warm. Warm digital ambient music
along the lines of say Fennesz or Stephan Mathieu. As such one could say there is not much news
under this ambient glitch music, but Bionulor does, however, a fine job. Fifty solid minutes of finely
woven, textured music. Some tracks could have been a bit shorter I’d say, but surely that’s
something for the future. This is a promising start.” There have been more releases by Bionulor
since then, all showing a similar love for the use of classical music being treated with 21st-century
technology. Most of the times these treatments are sparse and some of the original music shines
through, even when it’s looped around. The two bonus tracks are more of the same, really, and
that’s not a complaint. One of them is a 100% recycling of a piano piece by Chopin and sounds
somehow wonderfully melancholic as well as a bit joyous. Next time, however, new music, please!
— Address:

  Spectrum Records)

While the header here shows two names, I believe they have different roles here. Tim Feeney is
the composer of the piece, whereas Aaron Michael Butler is the performer. Feeney we know as a
percussion player and the thing he said he’d never be is a ‘composer’, and yet here is one. The
score (not shown) instructs the solo performer to assemble material to play continuous and detailed
sounds from an acoustic source, which should also be recorded and played back through two or
more resonant object with transducers. On top of that, there should be a location recording from two
places that “carry a strong positive or negative charge”. Here on this premiere version from two
points along the Hocking River in Athens, Ohio. The whole version here is seventy minutes long
and the first half is very quiet music, with what seems to be quite a bit of hiss and some occasional
scratch on a snare drum. In the second half of the piece, these percussion-based soundscapes
become much louder and there is also quite some variation in the drum surfaces. This is all quite
difficult music, especially the long opening sequence that was quite soft didn’t work well for me. It
is the second half that I thought was really good. The field recordings may get a little bit lost in
here but the fine playing of surfaces works well here. I can easily imagine different surfaces and
different techniques to play them; rubbing objects on those surfaces, brushes, sticks or mallets,
again rubbing, banging and such like making this both intense and a great pleasure to hear.
Towards the end, the last twenty minutes) the intensity is becoming massive and the balance
between field recordings and percussion is on an equal level and it all works out very fine.
Perhaps it is a strange to say, as it involves saying something about compositional choices
made by Feeney and I am sure it works out for me as ‘quiet’, ‘not so quiet’ and ‘loud’ each bit
distinctly different from the other, which is a valid choice. But as said, I could easily do without
the whole long opening sequence, which was for me just too easy and way too long. A piece
that could be trimmed down to say sixty minutes and make the opening bit much shorter.
Maybe it was not my day for some silent music? (FdW)
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COLIN WEBSTER & GRAHAM DUNNING/LÄRMSCHUTZ (split cassette by Faux Amis Records)

This is the first of twelve monthly instalments in which Dutch group Lärmschutz will be doing a
split release with other people. For the first release they choose Colin Webster and Graham
Dunning, both also a member of Tonus (see last week). Webster plays alto and baritone
saxophones and Dunning snare drum and objects. Unlike their more careful approach as
members of Tonus, they go for a rather free improvised set of pieces, with especially Webster
taking up the free jazz spirit on his horns. Dunning provides a more acoustic object approach
here, using various objects to scan the irregular surface of the snare drum. It is surely some
exciting music, but sometimes a bit too much free jazz for my taste.
    Lärmschutz on the other side is in their usual trio set up, where Thanos Fotiadis seems to have
traded in his drum kit for synths and electronics for good. The others are still on trombone &
electronics and guitar. Their three pieces also have a slightly more acoustic approach, perhaps
inspired by the other side of the tape. The music is likewise improvised; obviously, I hasten to say,
but without the additional distortion from stomp boxes and massive amplification. A new element
has arrived in the form of radio sounds, in ‘Holly Jolly’. The music of Lärmschutz might also be free
but I always seem to find it less rooted in the world of free jazz and find it throughout quite
fascinating. These three pieces, showing perhaps a slightly more vulnerable side of the group, 
are no exception. (FdW)
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