Number 1175

AMON – THE INNERMOST LEGACY (2CD by Eibon Records) *
LIZ MEREDITH – REPRO (LP by Spleencoffin)
ØJERUM – NATTESNE (CDR by Eilean Records) *
BILL THOMPSON – MOUTHFUL OF AIR (cassette by Burning Harpsichord Records) *
VID EDDA – GENEVES ME SANSI (cassette by Anathema Archive)
JAY DEA LOPEZ – PULSE (cassette by Hemisphäre Nokukyo) *
BRUNO DUPLANT – CHANTS DE MEMOIRE (cassette by Hemisphäre Nokukyo) *
TABATA – THE LONG AFTERNOON OF TABATA (cassette by Fourth Dimension Records)
BALAGAN/LÄRMSCHUTZ (split cassette by Faux Amis Records)
STELZER/MURRAY – COMMUTER (cassette by Humanhood Recordings) *


Recently Fabio Orsi surprised me with his ‘come-back’ LP ‘Sterminato Piano’ (see Vital Weekly
1163) in which he traded the guitar in for a set-up of what seemed to be at the time modular
synthesizers in the best, rich cosmic music tradition. Later on, Orsi told me these were “digital
wavetables and lot of hardware midi sequencers”, which I still have no idea what these are. It is
most certainly not a one-off release, as proven by this new release, which, so at least I assume,
contains more wavetables and hardware midi sequencers. In my first review, I already spilt the
beans what I think of modular electronics and how much of that stuff owes to the tradition of
Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze; we are not to expect anything ‘new music’ from that scene
very soon. That includes the addition of techno beats, which is something that the late, great Pete
Namlook already did in the 90s. But rest assured all of this critique when it comes to technology
and lack of innovation says very little about the quality of the music. I know lots of people who are
allergic to the use of arpeggios, but I am not one of them. As I also wrote last time I am a big sucker
for what is called the ‘Berlin electronic school’ of music, which is exactly the kind of stuff Orsi is
presenting in the sixty-two minutes that this lasts. One of the things noted here is that in these six
pieces, Orsi has a slightly darker tone in his music. I am not sure why that is; if at all, there is a
reason for it, of course. In ‘Come Il Volto Di un Sogno’ the tempo is slow, and the development is
quite minimal. The austerity of that piece lingers on in the other pieces, even when the tempo
goes, such as in ‘Sottomarina’, up. It is, right there at the end, the most upbeat and up-tempo
piece of the album. In this hour (or three in my case, as I kept repeating it) I haven’t heard
something I hadn’t heard before, but all the same, being a sucker for the old Berlin electronic
sound, I enjoyed this a lot. Way to go, Fabio! is a new branch to the mighty tree that is Italy’s Silentes label. Another is their Silentes
Minimal Editions, who re-release a double CD by Amon, in cooperation with Eibon Records. The
latter originally released this in 1998. Behind Amon is Andrea Marutti, who seems to be less active
these days. A decade or so ago he seemed much more active when it came to releasing music,
either under his name, but also as Afeman, Lips Vago, Never Known and Spiral. As Amon, he was
most active from 1996 to 2008. Originally ‘The Innermost Legacy’ was a single CD; the second CD
contains “a selection of previously unreleased tracks recorded at various Amon concerts during the
late ’90s”. If Oris’s latest album is ‘slightly darker’, then this is sure ‘very dark’. It is the kind of dark
ambient that one heard quite a bit in the 90s, when for music like this, someone invited the term
‘isolationist’ music, a term to describe a broad range for more experimental forms of ambient
music, usually made by individuals in home studios. It is not a term I use a lot these days, but just
now I am thinking about it and it occurred to me that it is also a term that one could apply to music
that has a very claustrophobic feeling. That is something that the music of Amon has in abundance.
The sound of being locked in a small room and an escape is not imminent. You hear sounds
outside, but very much also inside your head and you could easily think you’re going crazy. It is
interesting to compare the studio music and live recordings from those years and note that the
studio recordings have a level of abstraction that I didn’t find in the concert material. It’s not that
these are easier going, as here too everything is pitched down quite a bit and a bit of distortion is
not avoided, but as far as live music from the dark underbelly of the universe this is something that
at a medium-high volume will be quite overwhelming. At the same volume, the studio recordings
would come to mild torture, with that more than a mild distortion of all sonic frequencies. It is all
quite overwhelming but on a rain-soaked Thursday afternoon, this is the perfect soundtrack; it all
stays very grey! (FdW)
––– Address:


You hear nothing from mister Jaap Blonk for some time and then twice in a week. Last week I
discussed his solo cassette on Eh? Records, now it is time for a trio improvisation, which features
Blonk on voice and electronics, Michael Vorfeld on percussion, string instrument, light bulbs and
electronic devices and Ute Wassermann on voice, bird whistles, palate whistle, (Aztec) wind
whistle/jaguar whistle, kutu wapa, frog buzzer, and mirliton. All three players move around in
circles of improvisation, with, for me at least, Wassermann, the least known (only from his duo
disc with Birgit Uhler, Vital Weekly 1009). Exactly one year ago, almost to the day I write these
words, March 12 and 13, 2018, they recorded in Berlin, and Blonk took on the job of mixing and
producing these into the product we now have in our hands. Blonk edited the material down in
thirteen individual pieces of music, each with a title, but more important: each piece has its own
character. Now, of course, much of this is pretty hard-core free improvisation with lots of hectic
playing, and everyone fighting for a spotlight (so it seems), but there is also some great dialogue
going between all players. What sets this a bit apart, I think, is their use of electronics. It has an
odd appearance here, with drones, clicks and cracks, but it is incorporated in the music in a very
natural way. The duo vocal approach is also something that works quite well. I liked the shorter
approach to the pieces, not the few longer ones. The shorter pieces give the whole thing extra
energy, vibrancy and a sense of urgency, which I somehow seem to miss in the longer pieces.
Throughout, however, this was a great release, especially powerful in the shorter time frames.
––– Address:


To call music ‘strange’ is perhaps a ‘strange’ thing to do if you run a publication for weird music.
This release is surely a bit strange. If I hear the word ‘exotica’, I don’t think of Martin Denny but of
the mid-90s revival when all the überhip DJs started playing cheesy exotic music, German porn
soundtracks and a few techno beats. It came and it went, just like so many passing crazinesses in
the world of designer bars. To receive something that is called ‘The Exotica Album’ in 2019 is
weird, certainly seeing this released by Hubro from Norway. Øyvind Torvund wanted to create
something that says ‘John Zorn meets Stockhausen meets Martin Denny’ and I should think he
manages it well. There is a small orchestra of sixteen players shaping his dream of such a meeting
and the result is… well, yes… strange indeed? It has those highly recognizable cheesy exotica
tunes, sitting next to indeed more typical Zorn-like orchestral passages and electronics that come
the same time as the original exotica, say the late 50s and early 60s. The pieces alternate between
these three main influences, only on a minimal basis they work along; say a few weird electronics
along with a bit of all-out exotica music. I think, but I am not sure (yet?), I enjoy it some extent; the
idea, surely, is quite nice and sometimes leads to a surprising result, but also I think it doesn’t work
and it seems that these influences are roped together, just because one can do. It makes that I
have mixed feelings about this release. The jury is not yet out on this. (FdW)
––– Address:


Back in 2013, an event was held in Cork, Ireland, organised by Paul Hegarty (author of Noise /
Music – A History) to celebrate (or commemorate) Luigi Russolo’s publishing of his manifesto,
L’arte dei Rumori (The Art of Noises). As part of the event  Strange
Attractor gave a performance using re-constructed Intonarumori devices. (there are very many
examples of these instruments on YouTube.) Most reading this will be aware of the post-noise
(circa the 1990s) attempt to re-create a pedigree of its history back via Metal Machine, through
musique concrète to 1914 and Russolo’s manifesto. I’m here reviewing a CD made with (again)
copies of Intonarumori but I’m also using the opportunity to raise the questionable nature of this
heritage. I raise the question and will not answer it, but those who originated the noise music
back in the 1980s-1990s as far as I’m aware did not cite this now given history. (Fake History).
(Merzbow cites Schwitters and UK Psychedelia, Sam McKinley minimal art, Richard Long, sharks,
skateboards and submarines…) But I will draw the readers attention to a paper presented at Cork
by Rhys Davies – lecturer @ the Royal Holloway University of London, “Why Sound Art became
the unloved bastard child of Music”. Unfortunately cut short by the now ridiculous practice of limiting
presentations, (Ugh! TED has a lot to answer for…) for which an abstract can be found in the link
above.  Russolo set his Intonarumori “within the traditional orchestra. This decision has
subsequently been cited as evidence of Russolo’s failure to conceptually grasp that his notion of
noise art should have been categorised as an integral creative pathway, distinct from the
hegemony of both the production and transmission of music.” And Davies argues from the evidence
that “the loyal Futurist Russolo was obliged to make editorial compromises which have resulted in
him being held partly to account for the subjugation of sound art within music for the next hundred
years…”  A process of “Music’s” appropriation of noise which still continues, as can be found in now
sedimenting literature which wants to make noise into music.  Another example of
anthropomorphism in the Anthropocene despite “I stopped playing music and went in search of
an alternative.” —Masami Akita… “Anti-music, anti-art, anti-books, anti-films, anti-communications.
We will make anti-statements about anything and everything. We will make a point of being
pointless…”- TNB..“All of this was never about listening, it almost says.” – Paul Hegarty…  “This
identification with the lack of meaning identifies ‘noise music’ as an object lacking meaning as
identical with any other object in the world or the world itself. This observation justifies noise as a
methodology for the production of what contemporary speculative philosophers call ‘flat’
ontologies. The possibility of ‘noise’ works as such democratizes not only noise as sound
production and art but also can democratize general and specific imaginative metaphysical
thinking in and about the world. The removal of skill and representation for noise is the anti-
correlationist move that is ontology flattening, similarly, the removal of correlationist constraints in
logic, epistemology and ontology can free thought and produce a flattening of ontologies in
thinking.” James Whitehead! … “A music produced by each individual for himself,  for pleasure,
outside of meaning, usage, and exchange.”  Jaques Attali…though I guess “resistance is useless!” –
Vogon guard.
    This (I’m going to talk about the CD now!) is a beautiful release, typical of Sub Rosa, and (my
excuse) the accompanying booklet has texts which relate to Futurism, and Avant Garde ‘noise’
Music, and silence. (One might dislike the Futurist’s love of war, naïve in the extreme in 1914, but
that doesn’t preclude any contribution to a creative activity, take for instance the Nazi Heidegger
and his influence on the Marxist Sartre…  though Futurism didn’t make much of an influence back
in the 20th C, attempts are often made to do so in retrospect, as above….) All tracks feature the
‘drone’ of  Intonarumori, on the first, The Noise of Art – Opening Performance Orchestra,  ‘futurist’
texts are read over this ‘drone’… and there appears also unrecognisable ‘readings’ but this might
be one of the Intonarumori … the second, Trio No. 3,  adds a violin to the mix. One might question
the violin as a ‘compromise to music’ but in the intervening years Futurism and the Intonarumori
have lost any shred of radical revolution and anarchy and become quaint historical relics, 
Intonarumori no doubt being made and re-made by many students of Western Art in institutions
of its establishments. The third track is a ‘composition’!! by  Luciano Chessa, Prilis hlucna samota,
features two Intonarumori separated across the stereo image. The nature of pre-electronics
Intonarumori making them sound more like ancient machines lacking in care and oil grinding
away as one might see in some museum. Question, would the writing of compositions using such
archaic instruments be a direct antithesis of everything Russolo and the Futurists were about?
Well, yes. But then this CD is an exhibit in some museum of Western Culture. We can or cannot
take this in the seriousness of its original form any more than we can the Futurist Cook Book…
which at first I thought some joke, but no, they had one, published in 1930, (which according to
the CD’s text is not Futurist as being produced after 1918)  in which it prohibited pasta!, abolition
of the knife and fork, ‘Guests wear pyjamas have been prepared for the dinner, each one covered
with a different material such as sponge, cork, sandpaper, or felt… ‘tactile vegetable garden,’ which
is a plate of cooked and raw green vegetables without dressing. The guest eats, wearing pyjamas,
the vegetables without the use of their hands, instead of burying their face in the plate of vegetables,
feeling the sensation of the greens on their face and lips. Each time a guest raises their head to
chew, the waiters spray their face with perfume…’  Track 4, Trio No 2. is the whole Orchestra again
with violin… 5, Neue Horizonte, by Fred Möpert adds a Theremin and a poem from 1975. 6, The
Mantovani Machine, pt.3 – Gas (2013) Blixa Bargeld, and,7 Futurist Soiree, adds Violin Piano and
Narrators. How does one approach such a contradictory work, like the cookbook it can only be as a
joke, or something whimsical, never serious using these old and obsolete machines, only as an
ironic post-modernist joke can these avoid the critical destruction from any modernist perspective,
defying the points made in the CD’s booklet by Monika Švec Sybolová as not being “new
machines”, as not going “against all traditions” and as not dooming “ galleries, schools, professors
and bourgeois taste..” They resemble the cookbook of 1930. The reason for eating that and
listening to this (or not) being the same IMO. However, Rhys Davies’ point remains as an epitaph
to what was once considered a failed experiment, and what is now the falsification of history.  (jliat)
––– Address:


This is not the first and surely not the last compilation of ‘new’ music out of Lithuania. Composers in
that country seem to get some great support, I think. Money is no problem? I am not sure who these
compilations are aimed at. It might be the reviewer, allowing spending some time with composers
she or he might not have heard before, albeit brief, or maybe there is a target audience out there
getting these to explore new music through compilations like this. I am not sure. I might have
mentioned on more than a couple of occasions that I don’t like reviewing compilations (do I really
need to go over the arguments again?) and that ‘new’ music, as in modern-day composed is not
the strong point of Vital Weekly. Each of the composers on this compilation works abroad and they
are all young. Quite a bit of these pieces seem to involve some kind of electronics, but also solos
for the instrument (bass, vibraphone) are in here; say the department of modern classical music.
That vibraphone piece by Justina Šikšnelytė is a great one; very minimal and repetitive. It is
perhaps these pieces that I actually enjoyed best; in contrast with some rather non-too outspoken
pieces of laptop music doodles. Included here are also Andrius Arutiunian, Gediminas Žygus, Jūra
Elena Šedytė, Donatas Tubutis, Juta Pranulytė, Aurimas Bavarskis, Aistė Noreikaitė and Vitalija
Glovackytė. Quite a fair portion of them are women, so I can foresee a new compilation by the MIC
Lithuania, collecting female composers, home and abroad.  (FdW)
––– Address:

LIZ MEREDITH – REPRO (LP by Spleencoffin)

Almost every day there is new music; most of the time by people I heard of before, but also on a lot
of occasions of new artists, new labels, and that is great. Especially when in the grooves of a record
there is also some exciting music. This record by Liz Meredith is such a record. Who is she? A new
name is usually the start for a quick search, which in this case go exactly… nowhere. On the label’s
website, I read this “Liz Meredith’s long-awaited second solo LP presents five new minimalist
pieces for viola, electronics, and tape loops. Wielding a rich palette of densely laden string
textures, tape squelches, and searing tones, Liz shows her mastery of the slow burn. Cover art is
screen printed with magenta, yellow, and silver spectrographic renderings of tape loop sources
from these compositions”. Upon trying to find who released her first album, I found a split tape
she did with one Travis Johns, released by Sixtyhurts. Maybe some people don’t like the notion
of much information? The four pieces on this record are quite different from each other. The first,
called ‘i’, is a strict viola piece, looped perhaps, but in a very sparse and minimal way. There is an
additional viola layer on top of that and played live. It sounds like a slow folk tune. I would think that
‘ii’ also consists of loops, but now the viola is slightly processed and the speed went up; again all
the sounds remain close to each other, creating another fine minimalist pattern. That also happens
on ‘iii’, but now the sound of the viola is entirely gone and we are dealing here with a dense drone
piece; densely orchestrated but the loop element is still very much present. Tapes also play the
main role in ‘iv’, but it seems that Meredith used some old and warped tape to loop and there is a
beautiful lo-fi aspect to this. Four pieces, all dealing with loops, so I would think, and in each of
them this is worked out in quite a different way, and yet Meredith keeps it all close together by
using a very minimal approach every time. That is the thread that runs through these pieces. This
is all quite a surprise! It is a very great and consistent record. It begs the question: why act so
obscure? This is a great record; something to be proud of. (FdW)
––– Address:


This is, I guess, somewhere between a miniLP and 12″, with a rather ‘short’ playing time, but with
multiple tracks so it’s not easy to call this 12″ or LP. Art Of The Memory Palace is a duo of Raz Ullah
(synthesizers, tape loops and drum programming) and Andrew Mitchell (drum set, bass guitar, fuzz
guitar, Roland Juno 60, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, string machine, upright piano, harpsichord,
vocals and percussion) and this is the follow-up to ‘This Life Is But A Passing Dream’ (see Vital
Weekly 979. There have been a few other, smaller, releases, such as a 7″ with James Robertson,
an author from Scotland, but this is the new major (well) sign of life. The music on this new album
has been inspired by “Hungarian Brutalist architect Erno Goldfinger; a towering presence in
Modernism who courted controversy throughout his life”, also being the source inspiration for the
Bond bad guy (“No mister Bond, I expect you to die”), but do not expect controversy on this record.
The Art Of The Memory Palace continues their fine excursion in dream pop. Before I compared it
with a bit “cosmic Germany”, but the sound has moved slowly towards being a bit more rock like. It
is, all the same, quite the atmospheric music, no matter what prevails here. Quiet and introspective,
no matter how hard they try to rock. Part of that is due to the voice of Mitchell, who has a high
falsetto, coming to the listener with quite a bit of reverb. It is a voice from a long time ago; maybe the
time when a bad guy was called Goldfinger, helped by Pussy Galore. The soundtrack to a sixties
movie, with ugly high rises, lots of concrete, passing off as the city of the future. Quite dark music,
with such remote vocals and everything covered with loads of effects that sound like dust settled
upon the music. As I was doing something else for too long this afternoon, I kept repeating this
record over and over, thinking that this should have been longer, more tracks, getting more and
more sucked into this retro feeling; like floating around on a dreamy cloud of past days. Not really
the sixties in my case, but more like early 70s and seeing myself on a fading photograph. Good? It
was great! (FdW)
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ØJERUM – NATTESNE (CDR by Eilean Records)

Paw Grabowski is the man behind øjeRum. He’s from Copenhagen and ‘Nattesne’ is his second
album for Eilean Records. ‘Vaev’ was the first (see Vital Weekly 1054) and since then he released
a whole string of albums on Hornbuckle Records, Branch Tapes, Vaald, Oxtail, Aurora Borealis,
Fluid Audio, Vienna Press, Round Bale and many more. Certainly, he is not someone who sits
around waiting for inspiration. Oddly, well perhaps, I didn’t hear any of those albums between
‘Vaev’ and ‘Nattasne’, so it’s hard to talk about this new one in terms of innovation, changing the
tune or doing the same thing over and over again. Before I was thinking the guitar is the primary
instrument for øjeRum, even comparing him to Durutti Column in their most experimental mood?
That is not the case on this album. There is surely still some guitar to be spotted here, but by and
large, I would think the sound effects have taken over, locking in and looping, controlling the
atmosphere. Fifteen tracks are presented here, all without a title, lots of reverb, quite a bit of delay,
stretching and looping, and still, the pieces are relatively short in approach; somewhere between
one and five minutes, with the final piece being the exception at nine minutes. øjeRum moves
back and forth between pieces that were built from sustaining blocks of sound and more picking
of strings on the guitar; it’s alternating on this release. First, sustain, then some guitar picking and
back again. There is also a few field recordings in here, most of what seems to be the recording of
a church (everyone is trying to be very quiet and every sound is massively amplified), but it may
not be the case that in this space, the music was recorded. Overall it was a fine and perhaps not
a really surprising album, which is fine. Not everything can be a surprise all the time. (FdW)
––– Address:

BILL THOMPSON – MOUTHFUL OF AIR (cassette by Burning Harpsichord Records)

Somewhere last year I reviewed ‘Mouthful Of Silence’, a double CD by Bill Thompson (Vital
Weekly 1151), which filled with drone music and now he returns with a cassette release, ‘Mouthful
Of Air’, again lots of drone music (and even more in the bonus). This cassette has ‘alternative’ mixes
of two pieces on that double CD, without taking it to an entirely new direction. “These were based
on suggestions by sound and visual artist Ian Stonehouse during an early mixing stage”, as it says
on the cover, while the bonus sees Stonehouse doing his own mix using a combination of these
pieces along with his own improvised modular electronics. Thompson plays “Moog guitar, live
electronics and found objects” and neither piece seems to bring out something new to the double
CD that we already heard. I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad. I guess, sometimes more of it
is too much, while on the other hand, it shows how serious he is when it comes to doing what he
wants to do. I found it hard to make up my mind. I enjoyed what I heard, the not as subtle long-form
drone approach of Thompson, louder and sharper than before, but still quite the same time. Good?
Sure? Original? Not really. The Stonehouse version lasts forty-one minutes and here he takes the
material into a more electronic surrounding, divided in two parts. The first one is relatively speaking
quiet and the second part (they flow right into each other) is leaning towards a bit of distortion. It is
not bad but also not something you haven’t heard before. (FdW)
––– Address:

VID EDDA – GENEVES ME SANSI (cassette by Anathema Archive)

The duo of Chris Shields and Alexander Holm, who go by the name Vid Edda, seems like a new
name to me. There is, besides what is mentioned on the cover, not a lot of information otherwise.
There are seven pieces on the first side of the cassette, going straight one into the next, and they
are called “Twerg recordings”, whatever that may be. On the other side, there is a live recording,
one piece made out of field recordings and two pieces “ripped audio from tape reels”, found in a
castle in France. All of this makes up for quite some varied tape. The seven pieces on the first side
are quite an interesting mixture of styles and dynamics. I hear voices, crumbled by the use of
Dictaphones, hissy phone lines and tape manipulation; along with what could turntable abuse,
electronics and the occasional heavy use of amplification. Because it’s a cassette it is not easy to
see where one track ends and the next begins. Bandcamp gives no clue either. Some of the sounds
return, like the warped voice and loops of turntable abuse. The live piece on the other side sees
them adding a notch or two and leans towards an electro-acoustic version of Merzbow from years
and year ago; occasional loud, contact microphone abuse and with quite some control. The other
pieces are by comparison quiet and introspective and all together it makes for quite a varied
release. I don’t think it would have worked if the second side had more of the same first side, but
now we get to experience various aspects of this group. Quite a great release. (FdW)
––– Address:

JAY DEA LOPEZ – PULSE (cassette by Hemisphäre Nokukyo)
BRUNO DUPLANT – CHANTS DE MEMOIRE (cassette by Hemisphäre Nokukyo)

Two new releases from a land down under and with the usual strong yet minimal visual approach.
The first is by Jay Dea Lopez, who, so I believe, is also from Australia. He has a bunch of releases
before but nevertheless, I know very little about him. Here he has ten relatively short pieces, from
thirty-six seconds to seven minutes (but more likely to be between one and three minutes) of “coil
pick up recordings”, which he sourced in Canberra, Glen Innes and Main Arm. There is no
mentioning of processing, but I can easily believe there has been some sort of post-recording
work. The title here is, however, not the program of the release. These pieces don’t deal with the
nature of pulses; do not expect some highly electrically charged Pan Sonic beats. Instead, Lopez
carefully adds effects to the recordings, splicing these up, looping them and the magnetic
resonances are translated into finely crafted pieces of electroacoustic music. It is drone-like at
times, a bit noisy at other some times, such as in ‘IX’, the longest piece and sometimes some of the
electricity behind walls and sockets that are picked up with a coil (assuming Lopez does with coils
what you are supposed to do with it) and stay as they are, buzzing and humming. Throughout this
short album moves back and forth between the easier accessible sounds and more angular weird
cracks and that is a great thing.
    Of a likewise conceptual nature, so it seems to me, is the release by Bruno Duplant, no stranger
anymore to these pages. According to the cover he uses “field recordings, electronics and analogue
treatments” and has two pieces that exactly last forty minutes in total. The pieces are called ‘Premier
Chant’ and ‘Second Chant’ and both pieces have quite a similar approach when it comes to the
composition. They are minimal affairs of electronics that seem to be trapped in some sort of set-up
that involves microphones, amplification and the resulting (mild) feedback approach, along with
bird sounds being picked up from afar. Maybe a big birds cage in another room, or perhaps this
was recorded with doors open on a hot night in more tropical surroundings, even when the cover
says ‘France’. ‘Chant 2’ has an occasional low sound (a bang? thunder?) which, by and large,
might be the only big difference between both sides. It is a very consistent approach throughout
and the cassette is the perfect medium for such a similar approach, but you could at the same time
if such an approach is not a bit too much. I am not yet inclined to say if I think this is bold, strong
move or perhaps senseless repetition. The first time I heard the tape I quite enjoyed it, the second
time it slightly annoyed me and I kept bouncing back between these opposites. It left something to
think about, which is surely also a good thing. (FdW)
––– Address:

TABATA – THE LONG AFTERNOON OF TABATA (cassette by Fourth Dimension Records)

Now here’s a name that doesn’t pop up that often in these pages, despite an impressive CV as a
musician. Guitarist Mitsuru Tabata was a founding member of Boredoms and at one point a
member of Acid Mothers Temple, Zeni Geva, Leningrad Blues Machine as well as being active
as a solo musician. He had a bunch of releases on Elsie & Jack Recordings, Utech Records, Even
Stilte and PSF. In 2006 he released ‘The Long Afternoon Of Tabata’ on CDR. It was a private
release and sees him playing two pieces, sixteen and twenty minutes, “live with no audience at
Outbreak Yotsuya, Tokyo, Japan on 11th February 2016″. It comes without any overdub and
Tabata plays “electric guitar with MIDI controlled synthesizer”. Fourth Dimension Records now re-
issues this on cassette, in an edition of 40 copies. They have released his work before. Tabata
here offers a sample of all the styles he has mastered over the years and wants to cram it all in his
piece, perhaps with the exception of noise music. But especially krautrock and psychedelic music
seem to have found a firm position in here. On the first side, the guitar plays a minimal yet leading
role. It keeps repeating small motives, a bit like a demented Mike Oldfield (which is a compliment!),
ancient and retro but set against the loop sounds of slowed down marimbas and drones. On the
other side, Tabata leans more towards psychedelic music with some nice guitar soloing for a long
time, and a lot of fine rhythms coming out of a box. Sometimes he also sings, but for all I know, that
is not really adding much to the music. It ends on a more menacing drone note here and the
rainbow colours of the music started to blur. There is always a grim note with Tabata and that’s the
beauty of it. Lovely stuff, once again. Should hear more of it, I guess. (FdW)
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BALAGAN/LÄRMSCHUTZ (split cassette by Faux Amis Records)

The March instalment of Lärmschutz 2019 split series is divided with Balagan, the musical project
of Sylvain Perge, born in 1957 (it says on Bandcamp, I’m not sure if that is relevant). His five pieces
drift wide apart and see him playing the piano, guitar, trombone, micro Korg and synthesizer/
vocoder. He presents long pieces, but the two longest seem also to be filled with just long stretches
of silence. Isn’t that something that we shouldn’t be doing any more in 2019? If I say drift wide apart,
I mean it wanders off in very different styles. From ‘Brother Jacob’ in ‘Piece 1081017’, when Balagan
on the piano, a free improvisation doodle on the trombone in ‘Bidone Trombone’, or the same but on
guitar in ‘Pepe Le Pollu!’ and some rough cosmic music leanings in ‘Bruit 1’. ‘Instant De Chavirages’
is an acoustic improvisation on objects, along with some electronic doodling. As said I don’t get the
silent bits in some of these pieces, which seem way too long for me, and throughout it was not easy
to make up my mind about it.
    Lärmschutz on the other side, also have five pieces, inspired by Balagan’s five pieces. Thanos
Fotiadis is back on the drums, along with piano and electronics. They don’t follow Balagan’s path
of variation here. The five parts of ‘Enkelvoudig Onverzadigd’ show Lärmschutz once again in a
more refined mood. Their expressionistic playing as we heard before on quite a few of their
releases is not something they do here a lot; their playing remains free but thoughtful. No longer it
is about the anarcho-free-jazz-punk, but setting out an environment of sound. There is more use
of reverb here, more than before it seems and that adds a more or less atmospheric quality to the
music. A certain lonesome aspect to the music, like wandering around in a deserted landscape.
The fourth one is a bit more hectic but in all its acoustic approach remains atmospheric. If we arrive
at the final piece we hear the Lärmschutz we know so well; it surely offers variation here too, but
not as much as Balagan did. (FdW)
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STELZER/MURRAY – COMMUTER (cassette by Humanhood Recordings)

It should be no secret that I know Howard Stelzer pretty well and that I am quite the fan of his
work. Lesser known, perhaps, is the fact that I am also always very pleased to hear new work by
Brendan Murray, even though he doesn’t seem very active at the moment when it comes to new
releases. He and Stelzer live in the Boston area and know each other for quite a long time and
they have been working together. It is quite the meeting of two opposites when it comes to
technology. In the left corner, we find mister Stelzer with his cassettes and sound effects and in
the right corner mister Murray with his laptop. When we listen to the three pieces on this cassette
(two on the first side, one on the second) we hear all the familiar elements of both musicians.
Stelzer’s use of cassettes with field recordings from electrical currents, factories and magnetic
resonances mingle nicely with the heavy charged drones as cooked up by Murray. In the opening
piece, ‘Foliage Capital Of The World’, these drones are still quite harmonious, even melodic, but
with a gritty undercurrent, a menace coming towards us, which in ‘Molina’ has fully arrived and
wiped out everything in vast nuclear blast, leaving wind to have free play over barren land in a
highly charged atmosphere of collapsing factories. Everything comes together in ‘Let the Children
Guard What the Sires Have Won’; one massive drone that over the course of twenty-seven minutes
slowly fizzles out, and along the way it is guided by a set of nervous clicks and beats, that towards
the end sound like something Pan Sonic or especially Goem could have done; that final bit takes a
bit too much time, methinks, but then it penetrates right into your skull. If you think ‘industrial’ music
is all about heavy rhythms and synthesizers, then check out this release, which I think is a much
truer sound reflecting the decay of the post-industrial society. A dystopian soundtrack! (FdW)
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