Number 1173

  FEED (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
SOLYPSIS – HYBRIDS (CD compilation by Component Recordings)
RADBOUD MENS & MATTHIJS KOUW – 2 (LP by Moving Furniture Records) *
MVK – ER-1 (CDR by Clinamen) *
ORPHAX – PIANO MUSIC (7″ by Moving Furniture Records) *
DIRK SERRIES/LÄRMSCHUTZ (cassette by Faux Amis Records)


Much of what I heard by Giuseppe Verticchio’s Nimh project is very much in the past. There was a
CD by Silentes (Vital Weekly 777) and on Collezione Del Silenzio (Vital Weekly 792) plus also
work as Hall Of Mirrors. I must admit I forward what it sounded like, but reading my old reviews, I
would think Nimh is at the more noisy end of ambient music. His previous connections to MB and
Mauthausen Orchestra are not forgotten and in his new release, that is still something you can
hear. Throughout there is surely something that you can call ambient in this music, but don’t expect
an easy trip to the stars. Much of what Nimh does here has traces of disturbing electronics, sonic
overload or even downright noise. The pieces were recorded between 2001 and 2011, and all but
one of it has been released before (mainly by Silentes, Syntathesie Schallplatten, Olte Di Suono
and Taalem, so I am not sure if Nimh changed his approach in more recent years, but it’s all quite
loud here. Field recordings play quite an important role here, along with the usual suspects of
synthesizers and effects. Some of this from the world of analogue synthesizers but surely also quite
a bit from heavily processed computer treatments. Throughout the pieces are quite long, usually
seven minutes or longer and some a bit shorter, and in each of them Nimh explores different
textures. One of the pieces is recorded with MB and has a crude synthesized element to it. It is
heavy music, even when it is at its most contemplative mood and it is most of the time the
soundtrack to a haunted house and not necessarily very introspective. It is a pleasant house of
horrors at that. (FdW)
––– Address:


Behind the name Voin Oruwu we find Dmitry Avksentiev, from Kiev. He sometimes works as
Koloah. I don’t think I heard his music before. For Voin Oruwu he says that it originated from his
love for “cinematography and exploring mystical atmospheres”. On ‘Etudes From A Starship’,
which sounds like a film title (albeit a bit of a dull one, I think), he offers ten pieces within thirty-four
minutes and perhaps the most remarkable thing is, being on Kvitnu, a label with a strong identity in
heavy rhythms, is that rhythm is not entirely absent here but plays only a minor role. Much of what
is going in these ten pieces is that melodic, string sounds, mixed together with more abstract
electronic sounds, washes of synthesizers and some sort of field recordings from a foreign planet.
This is indeed the sort of music that could be from a science fiction movie of some kind. When
rhythm pops up, such as in ‘Decay Instability’, it is of that Kvitnu type of force and brute but not with
a big 4/4/ bass drum pounding away. Throughout these ten pieces offer quite a varied trip and that
works quite well. Maybe some of the pieces are perhaps altogether a bit too brief and some of it
could have been longer and going through more complex structures; I am not sure. This is not
music that I think will down easily in a club atmosphere, but maybe it will serve Avksentiev in the
pursuit of a career in scoring soundtracks. Some of this surely already has that potential. (FdW)
––– Address:


Originating from Germany Mark Lotz lives and works in Holland for many years. Last year he
surprised with the wonderful duo-effort ‘Food Foragers’ with his longtime mate Alan Purves. Lotz
of Music is one of his stable units over many years. Several releases by this ensemble saw the
light over the years. This time we are speaking of a live recording for the El Negotico, a Belgian
label based in Ghent, operating since 2009 with a focus on improvised music. This new release
documents a concert that took place on September 15th, 2016 in Neerpelt (Belgium). Members
are Albert van Veenendaal (piano, prepared piano), Jörg Brinkman (cello, effects), Alan Purves
Gunga (drums, percussion, brim bram, surprising sound objects) with Swiss artist Claudio Puntin
(clarinet, bass clarinet, jaw harp, voice, effects). Mark Alban Lotz plays piccolo, c-, alt-, bass-, pvc
contrabass flute, voice, effects. They do their best in eight stylistically very diverse compositions all
written by Lotz, except for ‘Improvisation’ by Brinkman and Puntin and the closing piece ‘The Egg
Jam Session’, which is written by Hermeto Pascoal. Most compositions are above all about
melody, situated somewhere between jazz and composed music. Many influences and elements
can be identified: jazz, groove, chamber music, world music, etc.  They stay away from the avant-
garde and experimental regions. Their cleverly constructed music is overall very accessible. Most
compositions continue in a very fluid way and in a lyrical style. Remarkable is also their multi-
coloured sound. No wonder as each musician plays several instruments. The contributions by
Puntin are substantial and fit very well with the rest. So I hope he is not one time guest. It is a joy
to listen to Veenendaal’s piano playing and his interplay with Purves on several moments. Yes,
they make a fine enthusiastic quintet. (DM)
––– Address:

  FEED (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

I remember buying the ‘The Jonah Syndrome’ LP by Liof Munimula, attracted as I was to the
strange name of the group. That was near the end of the 80s. It was one of the first appearances
of Michael Zerang on vinyl. And one of my first encounters with free improvisation and it is a path
that I would follow since. Meanwhile one can find the name of this percussionist, improviser and
composer from Chicago, on many dozens of releases. He worked with Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jaap
Blonk, Peter Brötzmann, Jim Baker and many others. For ‘Bind the Hand(s) that Feed’ he is in the
company of two musicians from a younger generation. Michael Foster is a “Brooklyn-based
saxophonist, improviser and multi-instrumentalist working within the fields of free improvisation,
composition (both graphic and notated), jazz, noise, punk, and industrial music and video’.
Katherine Young teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (improvisation, electronic
music, composition, experimental practices). She has a strong interest in the possibilities of
electro-acoustic music. As a performing bassoonist, she uses also electronic tools to create
unheard possibilities. She works within many and diverse projects and several long-standing
ensembles like Pretty Monsters, Architeuthis Walks on Land. I don’t know if the three have a long
history as a trio. I guess not. But this recording of a live concert at Elastic, March 23, 2018, proves
we are speaking of a solid unit who were really plugged in into something. We hear Zerang on
percussion, Foster playing tenor- and soprano sax plus microphones and Young playing bassoon
and electronics. They excel in six concentrated and dynamic improvisations with very abstract
sound-oriented research as their playground. They use many if not only extended techniques. In
cases of this kind of improvisation I tend to use the term ‘abstract’, as I just did, but at the same
time, this music is also very physical and down-to-earth. And above all, it is very musical and
dramatic with breathtaking moments that are the fruit of the very concentrated and communicative
interactions between the three. Just wonderful! (DM)
––– Address:


Varispeed is a collective of composers and musicians founded by Aliza Simons, Dave Ruder,
Paul Pinto, Brian McCorkle and Gelsey Bell. In 2011 they released their first project, ´Perfect Lives
Brooklyn´, a 12-hour rearrangement of Robert Ashley’s opera ´Perfect Lives´. In different
arrangements, they performed this for several years in different locations. Meanwhile, that is to say,
in 2012, they started a new project, namely a reinterpretation of ´Empty Words´ a composition by
John Cage which again was a 12-hour performance. Highlights of this performance are released
now on CD and were performed recently at Spectrum in NYC. ´Empty Words´ is a rarely performed
work by Cage, “a meditation on the voice´s power to transform language into music”. Nor is it often
released a quick look at Discogs learns. Surely not in its total length. Also for this release by
Varispeed, there is chosen for a selection. Eight highlights of the performance of this monumental
work were selected and offer an impression of this marathon. It is a composition in four parts using
texts taken from the voluminous ‘Journals’ by Henry David Thoreau. By means of the I Ching Cage
omitted sentences in Part I, phrases in Part II, words in Part III and syllables in Part IV. Only letters
and sounds are left at the end. Cage investigated how this process of omitting, could produce
more possible meanings, so it is a very conceptual work of art. The above-mentioned musicians
of Varispeed do the vocals and electronics. They are backed by an ensemble of about ten players
(sax, bass, vibraphone, viola, violin, sitar, glass instruments, flute, percussion). They performed
each part on a different spot and setting during this 12-hour performance; a very challenging
undertaking for the performers at the first place. How can one be focused over such a time span?
As for example, the narrative of the texts soon disappears due to the procedures Cage applied.
Well, the drama – if you want – is the elimination process itself that is performed and interpreted
here by Varispeed with their specific sense of theatrical aspects. (DM)
––– Address:

SOLYPSIS – HYBRIDS (CD compilation by Component Recordings)

As there was no information enclosed here, I am doing some copy/paste job from Discogs. For
Solypsis I read “James Miller. Solypsis specialises in speaker shredding frequencies and fucked
up non-dance floor smashes. It’s a harsh world he inhabits. Co-founder of Couch Fort Records.
Founder of the Digital Vomit label and Dismissive Records” and about the label “Component
Records was founded in 1999 and is releasing industrial drum’n’bass and other experimental
music. Closed in 2005. Re-opened in 2013. More known as Component Recordings”. Many
releases seem to be in the digital domain only but it is not difficult to see why this was released
as a CD. This, so at least I assume, is a compilation of mixes and remixes of work by Solypsis by
people who, to some people at least, would consider having some fame. I mean, it’s not every day
that I get to hear Meat Beat Manifesto doing a remix, but also the presence of Skinny Puppy’s Cevin
Key is certainly something people would think is a great coup. For me as a reviewer, not particularly
fond of remix compilations of music I had not heard before, it is not easy to relate to. To what extent
does this differ from Solypsis’ own work? I have no idea, really, although I can imagine the thirty-
two-second remix by Cock ESP is certainly an oddball. Loud noise whereas the other eight tracks
are heavy rhythm fests, each within some variation of dance music. Meat Beat Manifesto does
something that totally sounds like them with a hip hop dub sound, there is both Datachi’s and
Electric Company’s noise cut-up of rhythms, Cevin Key’s psychedelic trances, Terminal 11’s
drum ‘n bass, Justin Broadrick slow pounding rhythm and heavy shrieking synth and Snowbeasts
adding, the only one here, some sort of power electronic vocal to the mix. While I would say this is
not the sort of music that is in heavy rotation here, I must admit I quite enjoyed hearing this. I have
no idea if I used the proper lingo in describing these pieces, as I know very little about the world of
‘rhythm-based’ music, but there is a variety here that appeals to me quite a bit, plus also the heavy
approach was something that is well received on this quiet afternoon. (FdW)
––– Address:


Here Mattias Gustafsson returns to the Belgium label B.a.a.d.m. (still don’t know what it means for,
that acronym), following his previous LP ‘Nattmusik’ (Vital Weekly 1070). Gustfasson was a
member of Altar of Flies and Cryme but now goes by his own name to play some interesting lo-fi
music. The A-side is one long piece and previously released by Hästen & Korset as a cassette
(under the guise of Ornament) and the recording was made in 2012. It uses “bowed cymbal, vinyl,
tape and field recordings”, while the four pieces on the other side seem previously unreleased and
they use “piano, room, organ, wind, strings, voice, tape and radio”. The cover says that we should
play this with our windows open, which in February, in Northern Europe is a rare thing, but lo and
behold, as I write this, it is 17 degrees (Celsius) outside, so reasons enough to open those balcony
doors in this quiet surrounding, which does not seem to add much to the music. Not many birds yet,
not many people sitting outside on a Monday afternoon. But it is not difficult to see what Gustafsson
is aiming with his music and open window policy. The five pieces here are knitted together from
hissy melodies of slowed down tapes and vinyl, looped around, melodic and a bit hissy, on top
which there are some field recordings of suburban activity. Hear the children play in this peaceful
environment. Like with the previous record, this is all quite moody music. A bit dark, but not for the
sake of darkness I would think. It is just how this is; a few minor chords, some sounds from the
house, garden or kitchen, put together to form a contemplative piece of music. The hiss might be
arriving through the use of cassettes and it plays a fine role in this music. This is the sort of lo-fi
ambient music that relies on the use of cassettes and simple electronics and Gustafsson does an
excellent job in shaping these pieces; perhaps not something that is entirely ‘new’ or ‘unheard’ of,
but nevertheless, this is a more than average record. The four pieces on the second side show
how one could still be atmospheric and yet keep things concise, almost within the time frame of a
(pop-) song. That is something not many others do. (FdW)
––– Address:


Scott Konzelmann’s project Chop Shop is one of the most underrated music projects I know. The
reasons for it I am not entirely sure of; partly it is that there never have been a lot of releases and
also never a lot of concerts, but also misfortune in which Konzelmann lost his sound tools in a
flood. His tools include rusty speakers, ancient reel-to-reel tapes and it is some truly great noise
music. There is very little out there on a similar level. Active since the late 80s, there are not a lot
of releases; six albums (of which only ‘Oxide’ ever made it to these pages, Vital Weekly 625), plus
a bunch of singles including a double 10″ with heavy steel plates and a 3″ CD on the sadly no
longer existing label V2_Archief. The latter with a soft lead cover; another release came with
broken security glass. All of these releases are not easy to get hold off and all of these show
what Chop Shop is about and that’s the physical sounds through visible sources. The covers look
like the music sounds; rusty and loud. Konzelmann created speaker installations of old speakers,
through which he sends his sounds; loops of tape or records and in general these sounds are
picked up from space, so there is an additional ‘harsh’ feeling about this. This is music that needs
to play at a loud volume, as you would miss out some of finer frequencies. Maybe therein lies also
one of the reasons that Chop Shop isn’t that well known. It was never easy to travel with these
heavy speaker objects and besides getting lost in a flood a record is perhaps not the same as
seeing and hearing one in the rusty flesh.
    This double LP consists of Chop Shop’s earliest recordings. The first LP is culled from his first
cassette, ‘Primitive Power/Positive Force’ from 1987. Originally this was a ninety minute cassette,
but part of it is apparently (it is one of those Chop Shop releases I never heard) has “sampling that
would have raised serious copyright infringement/clearance issues”, while another part is still
available as a CDR, so the remainder is now on the first LP. Here we have Chop Shop in its
earliest incarnation and the presence of a drum machine in the opening piece is rather surprising.
On the other side, there is a piece, which is culled from looping pop music (I think) and along with
some of the heavy electronics used, it is not difficult to see Chop Shop’s first release to be part of
then-burgeoning power electronic scene. Having not found his own voice yet, this is, however,
something of historical value, Chop Shop’s first steps to what became his trademark sound, traces
of which can already be found in this record.
    The second LP contains the C45 cassette ‘Scraps’, as released by Chop Shop in an edition of
200 and which was available at Generator, Gen Ken Montgomery’s store/gallery in New York,
where Chop Shop presented his pieces as installations. Montgomery is responsible for some of
the liner notes here. It’s on this cassette that Chop Shop’s sound fully matures into this rich junk/
scrap metal sound; the heavy amplification of what seems to be the sound of a rusty plate on a
turntable or the stretch loop of a reel-to-reel recorder. At times it seems like there is something
attached to the speaker, which adds an additional layer of rattling, which, again, adds to the literal
vibrancy of the music. The instability of machines used are not covered up, or edited out, but used
as sounds by themselves. Sometimes a quick change, a rough cut, changes the material from one
abrasive field of sound to the next. Now, there was at the time very little that was alike. There is, of
course, the lack of visuals here, the rusty constructions in metal and perhaps also the sonic
overload (depending on what you are willing to do with your volume setting at home) is something
that needs no controlling, but you get the drift.
    The release of this great record marks the end of the C.I.P., this being one of those much-wanted
re-issues and a dream now realized, which is perhaps a sad thing. However, the next imprint is
already in place, Ballast NVP, for some time now. Of course with Chop Shop’s analogue approach
there is no download code, but I guess you expected that already. (FdW)
––– Address:


Kresten Osgood is a Danish drummer, multi-instrumentalist (rapper, composer, pianist, vocalist,
saxophonist, trumpeter) and improviser. He is a prominent force of the Copenhagen scene, as a
musician and organizer. He recorded with Paul Bley, Roscoe Mitchell, Derek Bailey, Peter
Brötzmann to name a few. He has a strong/great love for the American jazz tradition. This is more
than obvious with this new double LP by his quintet. He selected well-known works (‘Round
Midnight’, ‘Brilliant Corners’) and lesser-known works from Ellington, Monk and Mingus, but also
several compositions by lesser-known musicians like Jerome Cooper and Randy Weston. Most
of them composed in the 50s and 60s. Also included are compositions by Osgood himself.
Performed by Erik Kimestad (trumpet), Mads Egetoft (saxophone), Jeppe Zeeberg (piano),
Matthias Petri (bass) and Osgood himself on drums. It is beyond my capacity to have any
judgement or idea about how they treat the old works. In what way they stay close to the spirit of
a composition, which is something else as staying close to the ‘original’ recording. I don’t know
the originals they reinterpreted here that well. In any case, the line-up of this quintet suggests they
opt for traditional instrumentation. But listening to this quintet it is obvious that we dealing with a
dynamic jazz combo. Players treat the material in a very playful manner and give way to a
passionate interplay. Overall they play in a wild and adventurous style, what makes this and a
fresh sounding and inspired tribute to the jazz giants that inspired Osgood over the years.
Released by Ilk Music, a Copenhagen-based label run by a collective of musicians (DM)
––– Address:


Over a great number of years I wrote quite a bit about Michael (or Mkl) Anderson’s project Drekka,
and yet I still have very little idea what he does or where to place his music. Sometimes it is quite
rock-alike, sans drums but with lots of guitars and effects, going into a more ambient direction, but
sometimes it is more song-based, including vocals. Anderson has been around for quite some time
now; even part of Loveliescrushing and this new album by Dais Records is a collection of pieces
from 1996 up to 2002. I learn that Drone Records released the first track as Vir on a 7″. I didn’t know
that. While over the years Drekka’s music becomes more complex, with lots of effects running
around to play out the most delicate form of ambient music, here things are kept on a sparser level.
A guitar can be strummed and there is a bit of reverb/delay but also a bit of hiss, such as in
‘Instrumental 3’. Many of the eight pieces are by Anderson in conjunction with someone else as
over the years he has been playing with lots of different people. The influences for Drekka are
wide apart; from the post-rock music of Flying Saucer Attack and AMP Studio towards more
abstract constructions in sound that are part and parcel of many of the musicians featured in
these pages. Sometimes you could imagine this to be space rock, shoegazing, folk like (as in
‘We Who Are Not Lonely’, which sounds like a hissy version of Current 93), and fuzzy ambient or
even industrial. Some of this is Anderson solo and whether or not in combination with others, he
plays some very personal music. A piece like ‘Christmas 1973 or 1974’ sounds like some heartfelt
blues music, but of a much more alien level. All of these pieces save one were released before,
and the liner notes read like an opening into the world of small record labels and obscure editions.
Independent music is something that is close to Anderson’s heart and this LP is a fine compilation
in case you discovered him too late to get all these obscurities first time around. (FdW)
––– Address:

RADBOUD MENS & MATTHIJS KOUW – 2 (LP by Moving Furniture Records)
MVK – ER-1 (CDR by Clinamen)

Despite being around for many years it is only in very recent times that Matthijs (Vincent) Kouw
releases music, and this week it is actually two releases. On his website he writes that he is “Using
analogue and digital synthesis, field recordings, and recordings of various objects, Matthijs has
composed solo and collaborative pieces, as well as music for dance, film, theatre, and installations”
and that with work he is doing with Radboud Mens is an on-going collaboration. While this new
one is called ‘2’, which took some time and technical trouble before it could be released, but here
it is. There have been more than two releases so far. ‘1’ was also an LP for Moving Furniture
Records (see Vital Weekly 1075) and Mens’ ERS Records released a double CD of ‘3’ and ‘4’,
which has six pieces altogether (see Vital Weekly 1168). With the two new pieces on ‘2’, there
are now ten pieces and they are all named after the to the key they are in, ‘C’ and ‘E’ on this LP
for instance. In all of these pieces, they explore the nature of drone music, through the use of what
is described as “precisely tuned analogue synthesis”, which I guess are some sort of modular
set-up in combination with Mens’ creations of metallic flutes. I am not sure. There is a lot of drone
music in the world, especially in the world of Vital Weekly, and as such we don’t hear something
we haven’t heard before. There are perhaps some minor differences to be noted here. In ‘C’ there
are these long form sounds, which slowly sustain about, but it has a very delicate rhythmic
cadence, which works very fine; there is also an element of pleasant distortion in this piece.
Both of these make this piece somewhat different and very nice. On ‘F’ the overall mood is much
darker and here we have a more string-based sound, like a long string being played (think Alvin
Lucier or Ellen Fullman) and perhaps wind coming out of the steel flutes, courtesy of mister Mens.
It also reminded me of Phill Niblock or Organum; not the least to be compared with, but what
Mens and Kouw are certainly on par with that. This is an excellent record.
    The second is by MvK solo. On his website, he says about the name of his label: “Clinamen’ is
a term used by the philosopher Lucretius to refer to the unpredictable swerving of atoms. Lucretius
argues the behaviour of atoms does not occur by strict necessity, but always with some element of
chance. Swerving occurs at no fixed place or time and is an immanent property of the world that
gives rise to creativity in all its myriad forms”, and I can see the element of chance in his solo music.
He uses here an old Korg drum machine, the ER-1 (hence the title), as the primary sound source
and it is being manipulated with the use of “granular synthesis, feedback and various plugins”.
Kouw created ten pieces with the machine and these manipulations and they range from just
under two minutes to almost eleven. However, in none of these pieces, there is much by way of
rhythm. Kouw melts, breaks, transforms, pitches and bends his sounds into something much
more ambient, and something much more obscure. Kouw plays the mood music card quite
effectively and within these fifty minutes, there is some fine dark rippling and rumbling of sound
waves. The fact that this is a drum machine is no longer of real interest, and not mentioned on the
cover (only on the website), and instead, it could have been really anything that went into the
processing machine. This is very abstract music, and while it is moody and both ambient and
industrial, it is at times also quite abstract, such as the eighth piece here and altogether makes up
some great, delicate music, expertly mastered by Jos Smolders at EAR labs. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:

ORPHAX – PIANO MUSIC (7″ by Moving Furniture Records)

On many occasions where I review 7″ releases, I say something along the lines that I think ‘this’
kind of music I am writing about is not really the kind of music for a 7″ record release. The format
is too brief to be fully explored and usually, the pieces sound like something that has been cut out
of a bigger segment; quick fade in and fade out and there you have it. I do understand why
musicians want to release a 7″; the format is pretty cool. Orphax is also the label boss for Moving
Furniture Records, has released a lot of long-form pieces of drone music, but also a great lathe
cut 7″ (see Vital Weekly 1091), in which he proofs to understand the nature of the format; it was an
almost pop-like record. This is not the case on ‘Piano Music’; it is not pop-like, but on both sides,
Orphax shows us that he can keep his drone music within the limits of a 7″. Both pieces are around
four minutes and whatever piano is played, we hardly recognize it, although in the opening of
‘Elisabeth (Rework)’ there is some, as it throughout stretched around a lot and it becomes rather
(dark) ambient and not strictly speaking his usual drone music, even when I realize that this is
merely all-semantic musical terminology. It sounds great; perhaps not as different as his previous
7″, but Orphax does a great job at this concise format. One wish, there we go again, it was longer,
perhaps even a 10″ of it. I understand that is the format of doom; too expensive to make and not
enough customers to buy them. Which is a pity, as that would seem even better for Orphax to
explore such things as heavily processed piano music. Everyone should buy a copy of this and
maybe Orphax can be convinced to venture out into 10″ releases. (FdW)
––– Address:


Following ‘Poison of Dead Sun In Your Brain Slowly Fading’, Spanish Escupemetralla’s return
album (see Vital Weekly 1113), here’s another sign of life from this Spanish duo. They are still
called Muhammad and Muhammad, and their biographies are compiled from “interviews with
some of their descendants, illustrious Castilian people from ‘La Mancha’ and former of members
of the brotherhood of the Christ of forgiveness”. The name means ‘Spitshraphnel’ in Spanish and
they sure like confusion. They list a variety of influences, from Cabaret Voltaire to Sigur Ros, The
Tape-beatles to Vivenza and their music is, I guess, best described along the lines of all things
industrial, but usually with a firm atmospheric touch to the music. Interestingly all the tracks are
commented on the cover, makes up both an interesting read as well as pretty much a piece of
nonsense, I guess. The whole misinformation, deliberate vagueness I would think is part of the
overall concept. There is quite a bit of referencing to bands and music styles, Ramones, Grateful
Dead, Residents (in a one-minute track that reminds us of ‘The Commercial Album’) and sampling
of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax’. Some of this is spiced with a firm set of beats and
synthesizers with tons of effects to fill all the possible holes in the sound, but it can also take a
more surprisingly cosmic turn when the rhythm machines are shut off and synthesizers and effect
take off into the great sky. Sometimes the pieces are just a bit too long for my taste, and in its entire
full on minimalism, I think they could have been trimmed down a bit. Throughout these sixty-eight
minutes contain a sonic richness that explores the nuclear wasteland of a post-apocalyptic
wasteland. Barren, mechanic and science fiction went wrong; it is both bleak and funny. In a sort
 of strange way, that is what Escupemetralla are doing and do they do it very well. (FdW)
––– Address:


If you start reading this and your first thought was ‘Blacktop_audio’? Never heard of them? Then
that is no surprise. This group existed for four years, in Boise, Idaho and was the musical side of a
‘street theatre’ group called Blacktop. By accident Blake Edwards, the man behind Vertonen and
Ballast NVP heard some of their music when he was exchanging sound material with Jeph Jerman
(a.k.a. Hands To) in the early 90s. He liked what he heard, but forgot about it until in 2002 he was
cleaning out his cupboard and found that tape again. Online research didn’t result in much, but with
the help of Jerman, a former member was tracked down, and in particularly Penny Chapman was
helpful in getting this release out. It comes with an introductory text by her, as well as a long
interview she did with Jeph Jerman, plus a list of gigs and descriptions of their releases; all
cassettes in editions of 11 to 20 copies. There are no pictures of the group in action or otherwise,
which leaves something to imagine. It all makes up a very interesting read, which is something
that Ballast NVP usually takes off very well. The group used very primitive means, such as air
organs, radios, keyboards, skipping records, cassettes and guitar. This is not your usual no wave
group, but something that comes very much from the early days of noise music. Not Throbbing
Gristle alike or Whitehouse, but it’s easy to see influences by Boyd Rice’s black record for Mute
Records, but with a bit more variation when it comes to using instruments, technology and even
with the odd melodic touch; I would guess from some kind of record stuck in a lock groove. It is all
quite the prototype industrial music of the early 80s and I would think that had this group not split
up/gave up and existed for some more years they could have been on worldwide group of cassette
enthusiasts and even have acquired some ‘fame’, or even a re-issue or two on hipper re-issue
labels. This re-issue is most welcome, surely, but at fifty copies remains obscure, I guess. The
music is great but not without flaws; some of these pieces are just a bit too long, and
understandable from the point of time. Back then it was a thing to do: stick on noise for too long
and be provocative. Maybe some more pieces, but shorter would have been great as well? Or
maybe this is it? In which case I didn’t say a word. Looking for obscure historical noise music?
Blacktop_audio is something that quite rightfully should not be forgotten. (FdW)
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DIRK SERRIES/LÄRMSCHUTZ (cassette by Faux Amis Records)

The second split release in which the good people of Lärmschutz invite like-minded artists sees
them coming up with a quite a surprising guest, Dirk Serries. If you know what Serries has been
doing for the last thirty-five or so years, then this might come as a shock. Moving from Vidna
Obmana to Fears Falls Burning and his current love for improvised music, it is quite often at the
quieter end of the musical spectrum. If you know Serries’ musical journey really well, then you
know he started off by doing a fair bit of noise. That is what he is doing here too, but no longer with
synthesizers but using his by now trusted guitar and pedals and amplification, lots of that really, to
play an improvised noise guitar piece for twenty minutes, with a full on attack of the sense. It is a
great piece, a bold statement of noisy improvisation guitar music and Dirk is just the right man to
do that with his usual expertise.
    On the other side, we find Lärmschutz, in their usual trio line-up, with Thanos Fotiadis now
getting credit for “modular synth and electronics”. Their piece is about two minutes longer than
the Serries piece and for what I know they are in a particularly controlled mindset here. More than
ever before I would think their music is planned and executed according to that plan. It takes a
long, slow course of slowly enveloping sounds on the guitar and electronics before the trombone
shows up, and then it starts on a slow descent, back towards ‘silence’, for what it’s worth. This is an
interesting of Lärmschutz that we haven’t heard a lot before, but it suits them very well. This is
certainly another road they should be exploring more in the future. (FdW)
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