Number 1176

WELF DORR UNIT – BLOOD (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
TRANSTILLA – I (CD by Opa Loka Records) *
  Cronica Electronica) *
SCHWALBE & ELEPHANT – 2 AKT (LP by Wide Ear Records)
HAWN – FOR A RIDE (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)
MODUS PONY/VLK (split cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)
V-STÓK – PRIMORDIAL SOUP (cassette by Amek) *
RE-CLIP – NOON (cassette by Hyster)


By now we know Fabio Orsi is back. He did recently an LP for Backwards (Vital Weekly 1163) and
just last week I reviewed his CD for All of this new work came after some hiatus of doing
stuff. Before that Orsi was quite active when it came to releasing music, and it seems that he picked
up that activity again, as it is now time for ‘Uncharted Waters’. With this release we also a learn
something else, and that is that the recent turn to the use of “digital wavetables and lot of hardware
midi sequencers” is not a one-off thing but something that is staying at the new sound for Fabio Orsi
for some time to come. Before he was all about the guitar but now it’s all electronic, and it is all
about neatly bouncing arpeggio, sequenced synthesizers. I think I longer have to say that I love
this kind of stuff, nor that I think none of this is very new. Orsi’s new music owes a lot to the early to
mid-seventies cosmic music, also known as The Berlin School, and this work is along similar lines.
‘Uncharted Waters’ is one piece of music, thirty-six minutes long and it ends as it as starts, which is
great. You can stick to a loop and have a really long sound trip. Orsi could have been a bit tighter
with doing that loop and make it flawless and in thinking about that, I think this album is perhaps
also slightly rushed in places and for no good reason. Well, other than perhaps the need to get
something out in a quick succession, which is of course never a good thing. I think Orsi does some
great music, highly unoriginal (if one should care about such a thing), but he should not try to go
into an overload production schedule. Give it time to sink in.
     I didn’t hear music from Rigor Mortiss before. At least, that’s what I think. But perhaps I wrongly
ignored it, solely based on the name of the band, thinking this would be some gothic music. Which
it actually is, perhaps, also is but also left me in a state of mild confusion. Rigor Mortiss (note the
two times ‘s’ at the end to separate them from a few other bands with a similar name) are from
Plock in Poland and apparently, there has been some time in between ‘Wbrewny’ and their
previous album ‘Brud’. The band uses vocals, guitar, drums, bass (the usual rock line up), but also
a sampler, synthesizer, accordion and gong. The album starts out in a heavy rock modus of a slow-
paced and heavy rock setting with some uneasy settings thrown in, which works quite well. It is
dark and heavy. In the next track, some of the more complex rhythms continue in the other pieces,
when also the use of the other instruments become apparent. In ‘Cyborgernas Bön’ they use
samples from Eugeniusz Rudnik’s ‘Miniatures” (didn’t recognize them) and hen vocals are used it
sounds a bit too gloomy and doomy for my taste. The oddball piece in this collection is ‘Vires
Spatii’, which is a very spacious, dark track that is rather mellow and leans heavily on the use of
synthesizers. This is quite an enjoyable piece and one that would fit the pages of Vital Weekly
quite well. ‘Last Sirens’ is also an oddball but more so because it sounded like mid 80s new wave
meets gothic, while the sound of the other pieces is heavier. While I wasn’t blown by the vocals (as
happens more, so it’s me), I quite enjoyed some of the darker, rock heavy songs but, so I was
thinking, I would also think that much of this is not really the kind of thing for these pages.
    The first album by Different State, one of Marek Marchoff’s many projects (also from 23Threads
and solo projects) was reviewed in Vital Weekly 776 (not by me) and later on I discussed ‘The
Frigid Condition’ (Vital Weekly 861), which was the last proper release by that project. Now there
is ‘Enormous Components Of Motor Unit Vol. 1’, in which Marchoff continues to explore what they
call alchembient, his own blend of illbient, ambient music, psychedelic music and krautrock.
Marchoff is the only member mentioned, so perhaps we should see this also as one of his solo
projects. It has a band name and a distinct sound. Rhythm plays quite an important role on this
album, and it is never up-tempo. Subdued and slowed down, this is the rhythm that could have
been sampled from an old jazz record, just like trip-hop would do, but I am inclined to think this is
the sound of real drums. Around that Marchoff waves patterns of sound effects, synthesizers and
samples. And like before there are vocals in this music. It comes with lots of sound effects as well,
suggesting space and atmospheres. Last time I wasn’t blown away by these vocals, but this time it
works quite well. It is all dark, like in a fine film noir soundtrack, with the voice adding a sense of
urgency and intimidating, and along with the big city noises of the music, making up a very fine
deep and dark pop noir record. I was reminded of Clock DVA at times (perhaps I was recently
playing some of that, I think), which is, I think, quite a compliment. I wonder if Marchoff tends to
do another one sooner than last time; I would welcome it. (FdW)
––– Address:


Seeing this is an exact replica of the original LP from 2007, I thought it would be great to do an
exact replica of my earlier review. I was certain I wrote about the album back then and guess what:
I didn’t. There was good reason back then not to review it myself, but reading the review from (Vital
Weekly 620) FK now, I would think there is no good reason for a replica review of it in 2019…
    I’ve been waiting for this album to arrive for quite a while. IFCO’s previous album Stranded made
it to my ‘Top Something’ of the year and is played regularly with great pleasure. With such high
hopes, the chances that The Island Of Taste would disappoint are, admittedly, quite high. But The
Island Of Taste does not disappoint. Far from it. More than ever IFCO (consisting of mainman/
women Scott Foust, Meara O,Reilly, Jessi Leigh Swenson and Karla Borecky, this time aided by
Dr. Timothy Shortell, Graham Lambkin and Frans de Waard) have created their own little safe
haven. Like all IFCO releases, this albums sounds out of any place or date, much like a journey
rather than one static location. This is probably why IFCOs music works much better on LP (where
the music benefits from space and length) than on a single format. Inside the colorful cover (a
painting of an island with huge plants, which seems to be floating above a sea) you will find an
envelope with various cards featuring photos of the band (Karla Borecky looking especially cute –
I can’t help it, I have a weak spot for ponytails) and essays on the phenomenon that is taste (‘Taste
is the fundamental quality that sums up all other qualities’ – a quote by the Count of Lautreamont – a
man who knew everything about taste). In short, the concept behind IFCO’s music is that taste has
been reduced to a static commonplace. However, true taste (true beauty) is something, which
needs to be re-discovered by each individual. The Island Of Taste offers a possible journey for such
a re-discovery. The album starts off with Land Ho!, featuring sounds of walking/scraping combined
with sparse electronics and bells. The title track, Lost Victories and Like Old Days all consist of
sparse piano playing, bird and rain sounds, singing (on Heroes Of The Last Barricade), remote
feedback and tape hiss. But, as always, I find the music of IFCO hard to put into words. Somehow
the words (also those in this review) tend to remove the beauty from the sound, which is not what
IFCO is about. There is so much to discover in this record. To paraphrase Scott Foust: “I think of my
work as a timebomb set for a mythical future. I would like to see it explode during my lifetime, but if
that does not obtain, I will die knowing it is still there. Ticking”. That sums up the output of IFCO
perfectly. Beauty waiting to be discovered by those willing to shake off the convention. This is a
beautiful record. (FK) with a bit from (FdW) who says it is great to have it on CD, as I am the last
lover of the format by now.
––– Address:


Danielle Palardy Roger is a percussionist, composer and improviser. She is part of the Montréal
scene since the early 80s, known for her work with Wonder Brass, Justine, Ensemble
SuperMusique, etc. She has many records out on Ambiances Magnétiques. With her latest work
‘Cannibale’ she created a musical satire, showing cannibalism in all its forms, proposing
capitalism is one of the most recent forms. Cannibalism dwells in us as mankind and continues to
surface in one-way or the other. Okay a satire, but a very serious topic. Performers are Isaiah
Ceccarelli (drums, voice), Michel F Côté (electronics), André Duchesne (electric guitar), Joane
Hétu (alto sax, narration), Elizabeth Lima (clarinet), Ida Toninato (baritone sax), Alexandre St-Onge
(electric bass, electronics) and Danielle Palardy Roger herself percussion. All instrumentalists also
contribute with vocals. The performers are well-known forces from the Ambiances Magnétiques-
scene and have a rare appearance of veteran André Duchesne. The music is very diverse, not
strange as the material is composed of five of the instrumentalists composed and makes a
theatrical ensemble of styles, with dramatic and intense vocal work by narrator Hétu. Some works
like ‘La Victoire de Guerrier’ are plain rock, whereas other tracks are far more experimental.
Musically this is an album of enormous contrasts, illustrating the different faces of the phenomenon
of cannibalism. (DM)
––– Address:

WELF DORR UNIT – BLOOD (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)

Whatever happened to Freefunk, that Funk-inspired jazz as it was practised by Ornette Coleman,
Ronald Shannon Jackson, Jamaladeen Tacuma and James ’Blood’ Ulmer? Especially the music
of guitarist James Blood Ulmer will be most associated with the term free funk. Ulmer is no doubt
the main reference point for the Welf Dorr Unit. The cover of this CD clearly makes reference to the
first album by James Blood Ulmer ‘Are you glad to be in America?’ A question that will have
different connotations in these Trump-times as back then in. ‘Jazz is the Teacher, funk is the
Preacher’ he sang on this 1980-album.  Dorr is a German saxophonist who took his base in New
York City. He started his unit in 2012, focusing on combining free jazz with rock and funk. Also
drummer Joe Hertenstein has German roots and is based in New York since 2007. Dimitri Ishenko
is a much-in-demand bass player who played with Steve Swell, Steve Lacy, Kenny Wollesen, etc.
Guitarist Dave Ross has a history with funk. In 1994 he won a Boston Music Award for his work with
the funk band Chuck. For years he played with free jazz legend William Hooker. It is his playing that
did it for me. They offer some nice tunes, well-played, but I miss urgency. Several of the pieces are
more close to jazz, like the ballad ‘Dixie’ or ‘Outcry’. They do also a tune by James Blood, ‘Big Tree’
from his 1980-album ‘No Wave’, in a free rock of a free funk style. In the final track ‘Left Alone’
things, at last, become hot, with intense interplay by drummer and guitarist and the rest. (DM)
––– Address:


Beck Hunters are a trio of Mick Beck (tenor sax, bassoon, whistles), Anton Hunter (guitar) and
Johnny Hunter (drums). Together with Martin Archer, Beck was one of the founders in 1994 of
Discus Music. He is a leading force of the Sheffield jazz and improvisation scene since the early
80s. He also leads his own band and was involved in numerous other bands and projects over
the years. Johnny Hunter is a drummer and composer who has a background of both the avant-
garde and the more mainstream jazz. Anton Hunter is a composer and improviser living in
Manchester where he leads his 11-piece Article XI band as well as his own trio. So these players
represent a lot of experience. In 2014 this trio debuted on this label with ‘The Hunt is on’, and after
four years ‘Has it been Found’ is the follow-up. They make a real tight trio as this recording proves.
They practice some very communicative and intense intertwined playing, that has all three players
taking equally part in their extended improvisations. Especially the drummer operates in a very
playful manner. They keep their focus in the quiet but also in the louder sections. They have no lack
of ideas and their gestures are throughout to the point. Not a dull moment here. Great work! (DM)
––– Address:


Over the years I haven’t followed Supersilent’s career. I think I liked their first triple CD release, but
not enough to hold on to it. Stale Storløkken is the keyboard player of the group and he also works
with Terje Rypdak, Arve Henriksen (also a member of Supersilent) and Motropsycho). I think this is
his first true solo album and it is all about playing a bunch of analogue synthesizers, which are
listed as “Minimoog, Prophet T8, Prophet VS, Arp Solo Soloist, Oberheim Xpander as well as some
digital/software synths”. Storløkken takes his inspired from Wendy Carlos, Vangelis and Tangerine
Dream and each of the seven pieces flows into the next. Unlike say, Fabio Orsi, reviewed
elsewhere, Storløkken’s music is not necessarily about having neatly bouncing arpeggios going
all the way but he is more interested in playing something that is more towards playing a fine
melody or two on his (t)rusty synthesizers and one could easily see this as a fine soundtrack.
Storløkken uses a bit of rhythm and sequences but it is all less in a straightforward manner and
not as massive as the good ol’ Tangerine Dream once did and others still do. Storløkken perhaps
crafts his rhythms out of individual synth tones and has them looping around and adds more than
a fair share of moody melodies. In some way, it reminded me of sixties electronic music, but then
rather condensed and made to fit the pop format. The word ‘haze’ in the title seems a more than
appropriate choice for such music; in ‘Skyrocket Hotel’, for instance, he has a guitar-like sound
going and shimmering, hazy reverb-drenched melodies on the synthesizers. At thirty-three minutes
this is a rather a short record and that is a great pity. I would certainly like a few more of these
pieces and some further exploration of these old synthesizers and rusty melodies. This is not for
one particular movie; it’s not science fiction or horror flicks, but something for you to dream your
images to. (FdW)
––– Address:

TRANSTILLA – I (CD by Opa Loka Records)

The two men behind Transtilla, who deliver their debut album here, know each other for quite
some time and have worked before. Anne-Chris Bakker and Romke Kleefstra already worked
with Jan Kleefstra on the Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra LP released in 2008 (see Vital Weekly 824)
and they are also members of Tsjinlûd, of which I hadn’t heard before. As Transtilla they wanted
to explore something that they touched upon in Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra and that is a noisier,
harsher side of the more spacious ambient guitar music they set out to play. There are five pieces
here on ‘I’ and if the idea was to play some noise, I must say they failed. If they wanted to move
away from pure sustaining and droning music of before, then they surely are doing a fine job. The
one thing that stayed in the darkness of the music. I believe both men play the guitar here and
surely lots of sound effects, including the can’t-miss-‘m loop devices. They loop, stretch and sustain
their guitar sounds but it is all indeed grittier and mildly distorted. Developments in the music are
quite minimal and that too is a continuation of the ‘old’ sound. Sometimes these developments
seem a bit too slow for my taste, such in ‘Poasen’, but in ‘Skura’ they are spot ongoing through
various motions, from very quiet to mildly loud, with more distortion on the guitar, all within the
space of fifteen minutes. Closing ‘Rudzki’ is one of the two shorter pieces and offers one stroke
of guitar sounds, like a rusty ship on a wild sea. This is a fine, solid album, without too many big
surprises; music for darker days and longer nights. (FdW)
––– Address:

  Cronica Electronica)

Portuguese trio Haarvöl (Fernando José Pereira, Joao Faria and Rui Manuel Vieira) have so far
released five albums, three of which are on the Dutch Moving Furniture Records label, one on
Pad and one of Family Film Project Edition. Not every member plays an instrument, as they are
very active with film as well. Their music is an excellent blend of dark electronics, heavily
processed field recordings and such like while using a combination of analogue and digital
instruments. Their work is a mixture of improvisation and composition. Here they work together
with Xoán-Xil López, “a Galician sound artist working on field recording and experimental music”,
as Cronica notes, without giving much other information. Ballet Teatro together commissioned their
work for the play ‘Revolucoes’ by choreographer Né Barros. There is a lengthy explanation in the
press text about the three movements of the piece (each around fifteen minutes), which I couldn’t
summarize. With releases like this or soundtracks to movies, the lack of visual experience is
something that we have to live it. I find assurance in the fact that the label thinks it is worthwhile to
release the soundtrack independent of the film or the dance, and as such we are at liberty to judge
these without having to consider the film or the dance. I am not sure how roles are divided here
with the players in relation to the total experience, but from what I hear they do exactly as I think I
would expect. In all three of these pieces they work their way through some lengthy, massive
blocks of drone-based sounds, from sources unknown (but believed to be field recordings;
obviously!) and in the final track, ‘Don’t Look Back, Run (Trauma)’ the looped sounds of a violin/
cello/otherwise stringed object, all of which are fed through a long line of effects, loop devices,
granular synthesis and who knows what else. Reverb plays an important role to suggest space
and atmosphere (perhaps: another box ticked there?) and in ‘Something’s Missing (Utopia)’, there
is fuzzy melody played out, which is quite nice. The piece in the middle, ‘Pulsating Waves (Reality)’,
is the most obscured piece, with very closely knitted tones and field recordings, without much
differentiation. It is all quite fine, solid work without being a great, original masterpiece. That, of
course, is not really a big problem; it is the current state of work and that is a great one. (FdW)
––– Address:


Behind Viviankrist is Vivian Slaughter, which, for all we know, could also be a pseudonym but also
her real name, and she was the singer of Gallhammer, a black metal trio of whom I never heard.
That’s not a surprise as much what happens in any metal scene, and that includes drone metal and
ambient metal, passes me unnoticed and I’m happy with that. Viviankrist is from Japan and
following the end of the trio and raising her daughter, she picked up a synthesizer from Maniac,
the erstwhile singer of Mayhem and also her husband, and that lead to the birth of Viviankrist.
There are a whole bunch of releases to be found on Bandcamp and ‘Morgenrøde’ is her first solo
record that is also available on a physical format. There are eight pieces here, all-instrumental, all
done, at least that’s what I think, with synthesizers. Quite a bunch of them, I would think, and what
she gets out of these machines is something that has very little to do with drones or ambient; but,
for that matter, also perhaps not that much with ‘true’ noise, flicking everything up to then and have
 it going for too long. In the eight pieces here, she plays music that is quite loud, but she keeps her
eight pieces to a length that is just long enough. She uses repetition of synth tones, along with
sharp attacks of the sines, sonic overload of the oscillators. It is all layered together from a bunch
of synthesizer sounds together, maybe with the addition of additional sound effects, effectively
combining a noise approach with a more rhythmical one. The outcome is surely some brutal noise
music but it is the addition of rhythm, bleeping repetitions rather than sequences perhaps, that
makes this quite enjoyable for someone who is a bit worn out with listening to noise. Some of this
reminded me of Esplendor Geometrico, such as ‘Spite Spits’, even when the rhythm is lighter than
the Spanish counterpart. While I enjoyed most of this, I also thought that it is at times perhaps a bit
too simple and straight forward in terms of rhythm ‘n noise; if Viviankrist wasn’t the former singer in
a black metal band but john/jane doe from nowhere, would it attract similar attention? I am not
convinced there, but it might be my usual suspicion of the forces of marketing. I thought it was
most enjoyable in terms of what it is and that I would have said if it was jane doe from somewhere
around. (FdW)
––– Address:


What’s next? Parlophone Records sending me a 7″ by a young group from Liverpool that might
break big? There are some guts involved to send a CD, in March 2019 that was released in May
2004. That is fourteen years ago. Of course one could argue that all promotion is good, and look,
he got a review here (granted also based on the fact that the other CD is much more ‘recent’, from
November 2017) but you could think he’s trying to get rid of some old stock. Or, let’s take a more
positive outlook (the sun is shining, it’s springtime), and Maath wants to update me on his
progress; this is first and last release (according to his Bandcamp page). On ‘No Survivors For
The New World’ Maath plays with dark ambient with only a light touch of the experiment; that may
come through some extra processing of the synthesizer sounds or field recordings but in general,
the ambient music of Maath here is also q bit melodic. It never reaches, and that’s good news, for
the surface of new age music. It is all a bit too dark for that, and it’s exactly the kind of darkness that
I enjoy. It is not music that I haven’t heard before, but Maath does a fine, yet not so original job
here. Well, in 2005 that is.
    We make a giant leap forward, twelve years to be precise, and we have his latest work, which
consists of three parts of ‘Darkness’, two parts of ‘Void’ and four parts of ‘Silence’ (that almost
sounds like cocktail recipe for ‘black dark ambient with no rocks’), with a total length of fifty-two
minutes. There is not much difference between  ‘darkness’, ‘void’ en ‘silence’. I don’t know if that is
good or bad news, really. Relating this album to the other one I am to say that the differences are
in the details. For the superficial listener or the drone-hater, these two albums are very much alike.
For those who care to inspect matters closely, and I have no idea if I am one of those, I would think
that the recent music is all a bit darker, less melodic and more abstract. The synthesizers sound
glacial like going in the direction of Lustmord at times, more orchestral yet quite sustaining, and is
perhaps more a current day approach to dark ambient music. Right in the middle, the fifth piece,
‘Void Part V’, there is a strange small piece with orchestral sounds; slow music also, but
recognizable as flutes, strings and something that sounds like a bit of old vinyl. That was a bit of a
strange oddball in this collection, but I would think it is, right there in the middle, also the best
location for it. I hope the next release will reach me a bit sooner after release. (FdW)
––– Address:

SCHWALBE & ELEPHANT – 2 AKT (LP by Wide Ear Records)

Schwalbe & Elephant really surprised me a few years ago with their debut ‘Ich als Du’, a very
poetic statement. Now this Swiss duo of Dalia Donadio (voice) and Linda Vogel (harp, voice), with
assistance in several tracks by Tobias Meier (sax), Silvan Jeger (contrabass) and Lukas Mantel
(drums), present their latest set of songs. Harpist and singer Linda Vogel also recently released
her first solo effort, ‘Maps to Others’. Donadio is a Zürich-based singer and composer. Improvisation,
song and poetry seem the most important aspects of her art, concreted in a diversity of projects. In
her duo work with Linda Vogel, she combines Swiss and German poetry and lyricism with an
experimental approach to the song-format. Their album ‘2 Akt’ counts fourteen ‘songs’, all moving
between 45 seconds and about 6 minutes.
    Recorded between October 2017 and January 2018 in Winterthur. One might think just harp
is a little too sparse to give substantial body to the songs. But that is not the case here. In their
interactions, they reach a full sound that is not in need of anything more, although they choose for
a few guest appearances. But Donadio has a great voice and Vogel is very skilled using some
extended techniques in a functional was. They create both sensitive and poetic miniatures that
have humour and spirit and won’t you leave untouched, even if you can’t decipher the charming
Swiss dialect. Again a very refreshing work from this duo. (DM)
––– Address:


One of the funnier band names I discussed in recent times was La Morte Young, to which a friend
of mine responded (without reading the review, apparently) “wow, that guy never releases CDs!”
The two members of Nappe are Pierre Faure and Christian Malfray, who play in the aforementioned
band, but are also (together or separately) in bands as Sun Stabbed and pFeM as well as having
solo activities. This is my first encounter with them as in the guise of Nappe. They use a combination
of manipulations of instruments, such as guitar, modular synthesizer and pieces of metals, as well
as a combination of technology, “old tapes, sampled on the computer and then “crayonne” on
Revox”. I am not sure what “crayonne” is supposed to mean, beyond, perhaps, pencilled? I guess it
is all close to the world of the fifties musique concrete and Nappe can maybe be seen as the
grandchildren of Pierre Schaeffer or Pierre Henry. But whereas the old masters went for the grand
gestures and longer pieces, Nappe goes for the more condensed variation of the electro-acoustic
music. Of course, seventy years of musique concrete already offered us a rich tradition of related
styles and interests that came since then; think industrial music, lowercase, glitch, lo-fi, ambient
and field recordings. All of that became luggage to carry when creating their music (well, perhaps
this goes for a lot of musicians whose work we review in these pages) and many of this is to a
bigger or lesser extent audible in the music of Nappe. Not so much industrial (in whatever sense
of the word), but the other interests are surely there. It owes to the lo-fi world with hissy tape
manipulations, rusty loops and vinyl abuse, but it is all set into fine compositions, in which quite
some thought was put into. These collages in sound aren’t loud or noisy but work elegantly, fading
and moving sounds around in the mix, and not necessarily with hard cuts. The elegance and
delicacy of the treatments are what sets this record apart; it is avoiding the traps of ambient music
and noise altogether and that’s the beauty of it. I was thinking of the work of P Children (sadly long
forgotten), P16D4 and THU20 but Nappe has a very strong identity of their own. This is an
excellent record that comes with partly hand stamped white cover and is on very heavy vinyl and
in an edition of just 100 copies; collectors should pay attention here! That it will disappear is
perhaps the only downside. (FdW)
––– Address:

HAWN – FOR A RIDE (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)
MODUS PONY/VLK (split cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)

From Cologne hails the Strategic Tape Reserve label, who already brought us some strange
excursions from the world of very alternative pop music. Music by Hawn was already reviewed in
Vital Weekly 868, not by me. They were a trio back then and now are a duo. “John Craun, who
plays synth and produces, and Michael Jeffrey Lee, who dances and sings”. Apparently, this is
their third release. Back then they also had a guitar but this is no more here. I am not sure what to
make of this. I may have told you I am not necessarily the biggest fan of vocals; I know, my bad. I
never cared much for lyrics and from vocal (pop) music I surely have favourites and they are not
necessarily the best singers around. Bernard Sumner from New Order comes to mind. When
Mark Hollies died just a few weeks, there was much praise for especially the last two Talk Talk
records as well as his solo album, and I agree to great music there. Yet the voice of Mark Hollies
is one I surely don’t like and which made me never to return those brilliant records. Something
similar I have with the voice here of Lee. It is all of course highly personal taste, this liking or
disliking voices. Lee’s falsetto-like voice just doesn’t work for me, even when I like the electronic
music from Craun quite a bit. It’s not quirky, up-tempo electro stuff, but moody yet melodic songs,
which set quite a fine grey mood for the vocals to appear. I would think that with the drama that
Lee has in his voice, it easily is a perfect match for the music of Craun. I’d say this is not my cup
of tea, but it is nevertheless well-made music and I could see a future for this mood duo.
    The other tape is a split tape; literally, and one side is black and the other is white. Both bands
have had releases before on this label, but both of which are new to me. Modus PonY, as is the
preferred way of spelling, is from California and VLK from the label’s hometown. I also believe both
bands work together, or at least shared some folders of sound, including “guitar melodies,
baselines, synth drones, field samples and other miscellaneous sound items”. It is not easy to hear
any of this back in the pieces each project made. Modus PonY seems to work from a more rock
perspective, in which the guitar plays an important role, occasionally leaping into the world of post-
rock and even prog-rock and jazz. VLK has a more electronic approach, sampling all of these
sources together, splicing and pitching and stretching up and down, but keeping a groove going
most of the time of sampled rock structures, but now embedded within the realm of electronics. My
preference goes out to VLK; not that I didn’t like Modus PonY, but they seemed to be a tad bit too
traditional for my taste and I liked VLK’s taking risks better. Not going for an easy tune, their
material is more out there. (FdW)
––– Address:

V-STÓK – PRIMORDIAL SOUP (cassette by Amek)

‘Air Chronicles’ might be my first introduction to Giuseppe Falivene, who has previous releases
on Purlieu Recordings and Shimmering Moods Records. I believe I didn’t hear those. There is,
otherwise, not much information about this musician from Italy. Nothing, when it comes instruments
used for instance, which of course leads to the poor reviewers, guesswork. And my best attempt at
that I would think that Falivene uses the laptop to work with. I have no idea what goes into that
machine; be it field recordings (in ‘Flux n.4, Recollection, surely some sounds from a children’s
playground?), soft synths or, I don’t know, voice stuff, it is for sure mangled and wrung out ten times
over, so we no longer recognize it’s provenance. Inside it, all gets fuzzy and hazy, but not
necessarily without melodic content. It is also quite noisy and it is loaded with sound effects that
have that shoegazing quality that laptop music just sometimes has. In ‘Flux no. 3 Awakenings’,
Falivene uses the sound of vinyl and turntable as markers to change the tune, but in between it is
still about those spacious, black hole drones that make up his sound. He has five pieces and there
are all very consistent in approach; that is a good thing and perhaps wise not to have too many
more of these. The sixth piece is a remix by Discordless (who recently had a release on Amek, see
Vital Weekly 1168), which is fine, taking matters to darker ambient territory, but by and large, do
not add much else.
    The other cassette is by Bulgarian musician V-stók, who is these days “taming electronic sounds
in the London scene for quite a few years now”. He has seven pieces here, which lasts fifty-five
minutes, so all of these pieces take their time. He uses guitar and “synth textures’, which is clearly
shown in these pieces. I am not entirely sure, but I could believe much of this has been generated
through the use of modular electronics and quite a bit of time with improvising and experimenting
with these. The result is quite diverse. It starts with ‘Omne Vivum Ex Vivo’, in a rather ambient/new
age sphere, with a bunch of humming voices and ends with the full-on noisy onslaught of ‘Golden
Carnivore”. In between he explores heavy, industrialized drones in ‘Mitosis’ or the Berlin school of
arpeggios in ‘This Life’, followed by the title piece of insect life, experimental electronics in
‘Electrolysis’ and ‘Food Chain’ being the start of some noise. If you wouldn’t know any better you
could also mistake this cassette for a compilation, such is the diversity on offer here. It is not easy
to make up one’s mind about this, but I think (!) I quite enjoyed this. Variety is a great thing but also
can be too much. Here it is surely in abundance but it works quite well. (FdW)
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RE-CLIP – NOON (cassette by Hyster)

From the ever-obscure empire that is Finnish Hyster, there is now a one-sided cassette called
‘Noon’ by Re-Clip. Hyster is not the sort of label to expand with many words on either artist or
release, so we have to make do with this: *Nona hora, the ninth hour of the day or the liturgical
term none. change that takes 2 centuries, yet from midday to midnight the sound of it remains the
same. also: birds get reduced to tiny cracks, mechanics of cassette deck gets amplified etc. NOTE:
the gaps, drops and “malfunctions” during the last track are part of the program, all copies are OK”.
That’s the total sum of information here, which is, I think, not really enough. So, while I have very
little idea about the musician(s), instrument(s) and such like I listen to the five pieces here, and
found it likewise not easy to figure out how all of this was made. So here’s a wild guess. I think
Re-clip is someone with a flute, a shakuhachi perhaps and some effect pedals, including a loop
or two to keep the signals going, while exploring the flute sounds further on top of that. The results
are quite different; usually oddly mellow and spacious, with space being suggested by the use of
reverb, but in ‘Heights’ it is also quite piercingly loud and nasty. That was something I personally
didn’t care for, but the quieter approach worked quite well. It never became ‘ambient’ or ‘new age’,
but with all these effects from the lo-fi end of the instrument shop, made it all quite ‘experimental’
and, indeed, lo-fi. It is vague, it’s weird and it’s quite captivating. (FdW)
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