Number 1182

PETRA – FILAMENT (CD by Gold Bolus Recordings)
DANIELE BOGON – 17 ENCORES (CD by New Model Label) *
MICHAEL BEGG – VANITAS (CD by Omnempathy) *
INSTAGON – PLANETS: MERCURY (CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation) *
INSTAGON – PLANETS: NEPTUNE (CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation) *
INSTAGON – PLANETS: PLUTO (CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation) *
KLINIKUM – WINDOW SILL (cassette by Non-Interrupt) *
HYLOPATH – DRIVERLESS-HUMAN (cassette by Adaadat) *
STORYTELLER – PROJECT R.O.Y. (cassette by Adaadat) *
PBK – SOLUTION CIRCULAIRE (cassette, private) *
PBK – TONGUE OF A STABBED HOST (cassette, private) *
JACKEN ELSWYTH/QUINIE (split cassette by Betwixt & Between)
NAOMI JACKSON – PARTNER/EMOTIVE (cassette by The Lumen Lake)
  by The Lumen Lake)
RED BOILING SPRINGS – PATERNAL II (cassette by Nailbat Tapes) *
AYATOLLAH – MONOAMBIENTE INSALUBRE (cassette by Nailbat Tapes) *
SUFFERING PROFUSION – OBSILITARY (cassette by Nailbat Tapes) *


Last year things were not easy for Michel Banabila and that slowed him down on concerts (not
played any) and also his output seemed a bit less than usual. Of course, it might be that it’s not
easy to find money to release CDs these days. This album marks, I think, also a difference in
approaches for this Dutch composer. Before he has made many albums with instrumentalists,
such as Oene van Geel (violin) and Eric Vloeimans (trumpet), but with ‘Uprooted’, he takes it all a
step further. The five pieces on this release he gathered a bunch of instrumentalists in his studio
and together they form a small orchestral ensemble. Van Geel is present, but also Peter Hollo
(cello), Gareth Davis (bass clarinet), Stijn Hüwels (guitar and electronics), Gulli Gudmundsson
(electric bass, double bass and ebow), and Alex Haas (synths & electronics), with Banabila himself
on software instruments, sampler and electronics. Not every player is on all tracks; Haas only on
one and Hollo and Davis on all, just like Banabila himself.
    In recent times I thought quite a bit about modern classical music; there seems to be much of that
and not always something I understand or like. There are, however, also albums that I like very
much and this here is surely one of them. Of course, it is not easy what attracts me to this and not to
something else, which perhaps also sounds like a piece of modern classical music. Much of this
has to do with the way things are worked by the composer. If I understand well, Banabila took
improvisations from all of these players and through extensive copying, pasting, editing and
sampling created these pieces. He’s not in front of the players like a mad conductor explaining the
score to them. It is, I would think surely the sort of Banabila music that is recognizable as music that
he does. It is lush, it is ambient, it is mysterious and it is orchestral. Banabila paints some sombre
clouds of music in which there is slow movement; like on a grey day, when the sun is not to be seen
and clouds do move slowly. Today is very much such a day for the melancholic musical moods
depicted by Banabila. He layered freely all of these sounds together, doubling and tripling the
voices and playing around with them. It starts with a great piece is ‘Dragonfly’, the opening piece
here in which Davis plays a lead with his clarinet pushing and Van Geel and Hollo playing accents
with the occasional chord on the piano. Very mysterious, film and beautiful. The other pieces are
equally beautiful, going from mood to mood. This is a solid new album by Michel Banabila; you
know what to expect and yet you also get something that you didn’t expect, a slightly new
uprooted version of Banabila’s music. (FdW)
––– Address:


Moving Furniture Records, the Amsterdam based label for the music of our times has slowly but
very surely expanded its roster beyond subtle noises and immersive drone, to arrive at Olympian
heights with recent releases worthy of worldwide recognition and appreciation.
    Last month for example, MFR released the seminal Breach, a hard-hitting, key work in the
oeuvre of electronic artist Zeno van den Broek and virtually at the same time Terreng by Jon
Wesseltoft and Balázs Pándi saw the light of day: a stellar, brutal performance way beyond formal
minimalism or micro-tonality the label was hitherto known mostly known for.
    Following on the heels of the first series MFR initiated as a branch of the big tree trunk: the
Eliane Tapes series with works by artists influenced by leading composer Eliane Radigue, the
label now kicks off another offshoot. The Contemporary Series begins with a hefty double CD of
works for piano by Alvin Curran, performed by maestro Reinier van Houdt, featuring extensive
 and insightful liner notes by Tobias Fischer.
    One of the two pieces – Dead Beats – is a commissioned composition by MFR, written by avant-
garde mastermind and maverick composer Alvin Curran, especially for (and dedicated to) maestro
pianist Reinier van Houdt. As was evidenced by the World Premiere performance of the work late
last year at Korzo, The Hague, Curran – following in the footsteps of for instance his ferociously
epic work For Cornelius – has written a piece of deceptive simplicity in terms of musical material
which, however, due to repetition and multiplication reaches dynamic turns and developments
that are devastating for both audience and performer.
    These beats are not made for dancing, although a pulse is hammering throughout the piece,
audible and silent. There is a pounding rhythmical quality to the piece; an insistence of forwarding
motion, of ebb, turning into flood into tidal wave into tsunamic force into a flood of biblical
proportions (and back again to stiller waters). Curran has Van Houdt build, like a virtuoso bricklayer,
a structure of utmost variety and quirkiness yet solid and firm, in a continuous flow, flux and motion.
    Not only – mind you – a facade upon which the darting eye and ear easily loose their merry
ways, but also an interior which is maze-like: a Borgesian library of wonders (redolent maybe, in
fragments of Schubert and maybe Chopin too or bluesy lines even). Splendid music of
revolutionary radical nature of putting everything at stake, all at once, in the writing, performance,
recording and reception with the audience in equal measure. This is truly the music of our time by
one of the greatest composers, by one of the best pianists of our time, presented in a stellar
recording which captures all and every detail and subtly overtone.
    And then there is ‘Inner Cities (No. 9 – ‘9-11-01’)’ too. The other piece, another half hour of
Curran for piano as performed by Van Houdt. The work could easily feel like a bonus, an add-on
or afterthought to the massive and expansive Dead Beats. Inner Cities, however, deserve much
more attention than a position as encore or coda.
    This – the ninth part of a twelve-moment cycle, totalling over six hours – harbours devastation
on emotive grounds in deeply resonant free floating tones and relative restraint. The work
showcases dramatically moving meditations beyond mere political commentary of the actual
event-based narrative.
    More than anything the meditations seem to speak of hope versus hopelessness; of man’s
and art’s struggle for meaning or a voice in the face of monumentally tragic events like the 9-11
attacks.  And above all: for the need to keep on pushing for (y)our utopia: to keep the work up, to
write, perform, hear. To encounter.
    Therewith the grand Inner Cities (No. 9) underlines not only the revolutionary nature
embedded in the work of both Curran and Van Houdt; it also bears testament to MFR’s releasing
this double album – the label as the wholly natural intersection of disjointed musical parts of top
drawer quality, once again making its mark with a series to cherish. (SSK)
––– Address:

PETRA – FILAMENT (CD by Gold Bolus Recordings)

Petra is Kristina Warren, a composer, improviser from Providence, Rhode Island. She also
develops and builds also unique instruments, composes for an ensemble of chamber music,
writes about gender in electronic music, etc. ‘Filament’ is the fruit of years of performing with voice
and electronics. Solo as well in collaboration with others. Warren tried to leave behind conventional
notions of vocal beauty and listenability that are gendered and limiting in her view. From this
viewpoint, she produced her first solo album. In 10 compositions she shapes  ‘songs’ of a very
abstract level. They are all about the collaboration of voice and electronics, but each track is built
from a different idea, which makes it a varied sequence full of contrasts. Most of the time she
practices a non-verbal way of singing, screaming and everything in between. In some tracks, the
vocals dominate like in the opening track ‘Ul’. A multi-layered work, that sounded like a choir of lost
souls from the underworld. Well, the process of associating and impressions coming up in the mind
cannot be stopped I think. But one can recognize it as just an association, an impression of what
the music seems to evoke. And doing this one returns to what we actually hear and try to stay with
it. Other compositions have electronics in a more prominent role. But in all cases, the music is
extremely experimental, and often very discomforting like in ‘Grace’, that has penetrating sounds
and noises in the forefront. ‘Chapel’ may be the most conventional piece. Here I had to think of
vocal music I once heard from the Inuit. A sort of answer-response structure on a rhythmic base.
Yes, it is evident that Warren questions our musical habits and conventions with this challenging
debut release. A very pronounced message from a radical artist who composed, recorded and
produced the whole thing. (DM)
––– Address:


Harald Kimmig is a German violinist, improviser and composer from Offenburg. In his youth, he
studied violin. In later years John Tchicai and Cecil Taylor were among his teachers and he also
performed with them. Nowadays he has a trio with Carl Ludwig Hübsch and Lê Quan Ninh, and
another one with Swiss musicians Daniel Studer (bass) and Alfred Zimmerlin (violoncello). For
Creative Sources, he released two CDs in 2018 with Ernesto and Guilherme Rodrigues, a.o.
Already in 1997 Kimmig released a solo violin album ‘Im Freien’. With ‘One Body One Bow One
String’ Kimmig chooses once more the solo path. The release consists of two lengthy
improvisations of 35 and 27 minutes. During these improvisations, he introduces more and more
extended techniques and moves away from the recognizable violin sound. Speed and repetition
are two main characteristics. The improvisations are performed with great drive and show vibrant
energy. Patterns move on and are slightly changed and at the same time, the music is full of
dazzling detailed complexity. During these extensive improvisations, Kimmig sometimes makes a
contrasting gesture or twist. In some passages, he plays the violin in a percussive way,
at other moments he produces a very noisy sound. But whatever happens on the way, both
improvisations are propelled forward with a strong focus. This is an inspiring work by an
excellent performer, released by the Slovenian Inexhaustible Edition label. (DM)
––– Address:

DANIELE BOGON – 17 ENCORES (CD by New Model Label)

The information here is slightly confusing, I thought. It says that “17 Encores follows the previous
work by Daniele Bogon (published exclusively in digital format and with the name Alley), enriching
the 10 tracks contained in “17” with 5 other tracks.” I would say it doesn’t “follow”, since this seems
a re-issue of the ten previous tracks with five new pieces and dropping the moniker Alley and using
his given name. Bogon (1982) studied the piano, classical guitar and electric bass and played with
musicians from his hometown Padua, such as the post-rock band The White Mega Giant, touring
and recording with them until their split in 2016. His solo music is something completely different.
Upon opening this up in iTunes, it says that the genre is ‘new age’, oh no, but hold on to your
horses: it is not. The ambient music played by Bogon is, I think too dark to be new age. I recently
had an interesting discussion about the whole nature of ambient music and new age on a night
that burned incense while we the audience listened to what was labelled ambient music. The
result of the discussion was that the lines between them are quite thin. The small distortion in the
opening track ”Ex Nihilo’ says to me that this is not new age music. Bogon uses guitars,
synthesizers, piano and a few field recordings, along with extensive treatments in the studio in
these pieces and the results are nicely varied. The ten older pieces follow a trajectory of moody,
atmospheric notes, a few chords on the piano here, some darker cluster of synthesizers there,
and occasionally a dark beat is pushed forward, such as in ‘Insectx’, but that is a rarity in the
music of Bogon. In the five more recent pieces it seems he leans a bit more towards the world
of experimental but still within the context of ambient music. The digital processing on ‘Meraville’
is a fine example of that approach. The Push Against New Fakes remix of ‘Airport’ is nice, but I
would think a bit out of place with its cosmic doodling and rhythm machine. If that were left off it
would still have a very fine record, clocking in at close to an hour. Bogon is not necessarily an
original voice, but he does a great job anyway. (FdW)
––– Address:


Over the years Michael Begg has brought us some great works. First, he called himself Human
Greed but since some years he works under his own name. He is also a member of Fovea Hex,
the group around vocalist Clodagh Simons, as well as a new group The Black Glass Ensemble. I
had not heard of the latter, but they appear here on track. The cover mentions not other members
of the ensemble, but it does mention that Begg built instruments used on this release. Online these
are mentioned as “e-bow autoharp, sampled wood burning stove, piano drone wires, stolen French
music box, blow torch glass, and granular goblets”, which I guess surely leaves something to
imagine. Begg is a composer of ambient music. I also understands that his music is made using
various improvisations, solo as well as with the ensemble and in various places, such as a British
Council/Cryptic/AngloArts funded residency at the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts
(CMMAS) Morelia, Mexico (more work from that is promised for later this year; can’t wait). Begg’s
music is somewhere crossing borders between experimental mood music, orchestral passages
and long-form sustaining sounds; not that Begg plays necessarily long pieces. Within the space
of 65 minutes he twelve pieces, ranging from a mere minute and a half to thirteen minutes, and
overall it is one gentle flow. Sometimes he goes within one piece from mood to mood. ‘Have Faith’
starts out chilling with glass rubbing in a cavernous space, and ends with beautiful passages on a
bunch of violins. As such one could see this album as a collection of twelve pieces or as one long
piece, transporting you from space to space, from mood to mood if you will. Occasionally there is a
bit of silence, the transition from one track to the next, but as it so happens, also within one track
Begg moves all the time, so the distinction between one track and the next, seems to vanish from
time to time. I very much like the fact that Begg takes quite the leap here and there, from atonal
quietness to orchestral expansiveness and still remains to keep the listener captivated with this.
It is here wherein lies the biggest surprise of the music. The variety of approaches, all explored
before by Begg and others, put together on a coherent album that makes great sense. This is
music to fit one of those grey cold days in winter and while it is May, it feels like October today,
so Begg’s music is the perfect soundtrack to sip hot coffee, read a good book and have this one
repeat. (FdW)
––– Address:

INSTAGON – PLANETS: MERCURY (CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation)
INSTAGON – PLANETS: NEPTUNE (CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation)
INSTAGON – PLANETS: PLUTO (CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation)

It might have been close to six since I last heard from Instagon; by way of explanation, Lob, the
man behind label and group, writes me that they have remained active but postage these days is
a bitch. Not really an exclusive US problem, as in most countries it is sky-high (with a few
exceptions). It is good to see something from the group, who are releasing nine CDR EPs during
2019 each with the names of the nine planets – I am sure they are aware that Pluto is no longer
regarded as a planet. Instagon is a big band that started life in 1993 “as an experiment applying
‘chaos theory’ to the concept and constructs of the idea of what a ‘band’ is”. Looking at the names
of the members we see one name mentioned on all three, LOB, and some on two of them. These
members also play in such bands as Chopstick, Ideateam, The Taint, Orange Morning, Chikading,
Said The Shotgun, Destroy Judas and many more names that I have never heard of. They identify
themselves as “sometimes appearing as a ‘noise/outside sound project, sometimes appearing as
a free jazz group and sometimes as an experimental band’. It can also be ‘sonic space grunge
cosmic rock’. For the pieces on the ‘Planets’ series, they used recordings from the past twenty-five
years. However, the covers of these three releases show no indication as to when things were
recorded. Each of the releases has the same members for all pieces on that particular release,
which made me think that they might have been recorded on the same day/same time frame.
There are not a lot of differences in the music I would think, comparing the three releases. On
‘Mercury’, there is a rare track with vocals ‘Sunlight In My Eye’ (which happens on Mercury,
obviously), but otherwise, the music is instrumental. On ‘Neptune’ a saxophone plays quite a big
role, which doesn’t happen on the other ones. But by and large the music contains a bunch
people improvising on stage and most recordings, so it seems to me, be microphone recordings,
so there is a great, straight, almost garage rock like feeling to all of these pieces. Spacious it
surely also is, even it comes too a slightly more jazzy feeling on ‘Neptune’ (thanks to the
saxophone), also occasionally doing a small round of noise. The five pieces on ‘Pluto’ sounded
a bit funkier; you see, the differences are in the details. I have not much idea, not being connected
to the world of free rock, free jazz or free improvisation, to which one could compare this music,
but perhaps any band that devotes their time to endless riffing and jamming; perhaps the one I
could best think of is Germany’s Doc Wör Mirran. I am sure you can think of one or two. I very
much appreciated the directness of the sound and their love for going on and doing this kind of
music for so long. There is some dedication there for sure. (FdW)
––– Address:

KLINIKUM – WINDOW SILL (cassette by Non-Interrupt)

For the third week in a row new music by Klinikum, also known as Egbert van der Vliet. His two
previous releases as Klinikum were pretty good. This new one doesn’t disappoint either and there
are some minor changes in the approach we heard so far (the two previous albums, that is), the
most important one being that Klinikum now goes for the shorter time approach for his
compositions. The longest one is three and a half minutes, the shortest little over one minute.
Within the space of each track, he explores a few sounds and few effects to manipulate these
sources. It could seem like an on-the-go approach, of fixing a few sounds, do a set-up, control
the parameters and then do a quick mix. The ambient approach, in combination with loops/
samples, is also evident here. Most of the times it is the moody card that he draws, with a darker
shade of ambient to be noticed but when it comes to applying some rhythm here and there,
Klinikum also allows for a lighter approach. Almost all of these pieces show, again, a love for
building up pieces, taking a different road halfway through, make a sudden move or add
something entirely different and that works quite well. I am not sure if the briefness of the
pieces works to their advantage but this is another lovely tape indeed. (FdW)
––– Address:

HYLOPATH – DRIVERLESS-HUMAN (cassette by Adaadat)
STORYTELLER – PROJECT R.O.Y. (cassette by Adaadat)

All the way from London hails Adaadat and they have two new cassette releases. The first is by
Hylopath, a new project by Rupert Cole, who is called a ‘trans-disciplinary artist’, who worked with
Youth, Trevor Wishart and Jarvis Cocker, among others. He also composed a bunch of soundtrack
including for films by director Constantine Giannaris. ‘Driverless-Human’ is his debut release and
shows a love for electro-pop tones and robot voices. It is not the sort of electro-pop that the young
and hip dance to these days, re-discoveries from days long past, but Hylopath keeps his music
somewhat more obscure, a bit vaguer but at the same time he loves his melody, shimmering at
times, open at other times. The voices are most of the times fed through a vocoder and have this
slightly robotic touch to it. In those cases, I was reminded of my home town buddies Visitors who
cranked out one great album of synthpop about robots and aliens and then only existed in the
world of animation and comic stories. While that is nice enough I hoped more of that and Hylopath
partly fills those robot boots with some great tunes; lovely weird, genuine catchy and sometimes
within the space of one song. This will not be storming any chart, commercial or alternative, soon
but if you are looking for some nice quirky, modern pop music that is also not shy of some
experiment, then check this out.
    From Storyteller HS reviewed their Volume 1 in Vital Weekly but declined on reviewing the
second volume. I can now confirm that Storyteller is indeed the name of the enterprise, a duo of
Scottish writer, filmmaker and multi-disciplinary artist Bruce McClure and composer Bjorn
Hatleskog. Here they have 8 stories to tell, each set to their own soundtrack. You know me and
lyrics, stories, vocals and voices? Well, maybe you don’t. I love a good story; books, short stories,
magazines, I will read it (well, surely anything with/about music is preferred, but science fiction,
fantasy or the more idiotic conspiracy theories is fine). I love good weird music, but you knew that
from reading these pages. The combination, however, of someone reading stories over a hotbed
of music is not something too well spend on me. The voice distracts me from the music and vice
versa. In the case of Storyteller, it is also that the voice sometimes is too low in the mix, so not
always easy to follow the story that is supposed to be told. The music is mostly electronic, with
quite a bit of synthesizer and rhythm and less about other sounds; sounds, if you will, that are
connected to the world of radio drama. Raindrops and cellophane imitating thunder, that sort of
thing. As me learned colleague said last time: “McClure’s delivery never wavers from the single
emotionless pace at which he began, which makes it harder to follow. It’s the same whether he
reads dialogue or exposition”. I thought it was all right, nothing great, nothing bad. (FdW)
––– Address:

PBK – SOLUTION CIRCULAIRE (cassette, private)
PBK – TONGUE OF A STABBED HOST (cassette, private)

Of course (?) I look at social media sometimes, the version of seniors that is, not the kiddie version
that allows only pictures and no text, and a message from PBK piqued my interest. Apparently, he
had, in 1998, made a tribute to the German 70s group Cluster for a compilation and that expanded
later on into four pieces. These pieces used the “same sequencer method to create tracks for other
projects”, so I switched, for once, to the digital media and had a listen. Partly because I quite enjoy
Cluster; to be honest more their output from the ’70s than their recent ones. The long ambient
soundscapes, the rhythm machines, the melodic long drift. I wondered what PBK would do with
such a tribute. The four tracks span little under forty minutes and PBK certainly does his own thing
with the Cluster heritage. The main element he gets from the music is the ever-evolving
psychedelic feel from the music. He mentions that these are live mixes and that is something that
is clearly heard in these pieces. The music is a bit dark, and PBK is hands-on with fading sounds i
n and out of the mix. Nothing seems to be in one place for very long and there is a nice vibrancy
about this. Had I not known it started life as a Cluster tribute I would probably not have guessed it.
The melodic content of this is of an entirely different nature than the German band and the way
PBK treats his loops/sequences also. It doesn’t matter; the music is great, and it is indeed a bit of
a different PBK.
    The more regular PBK sound can be found on a like-wise limited cassette release (16 copies!),
collecting pieces he did for recent compilations, all post-2010. These pieces may provide a nice
insight in the wonderful world of underground electronic labels (such as Blackened Death
Records/HNM Records, The Institute For Organic Conversations, Hal Tapes, Green Records And
Tapes, Enforced Existence, No Part Of It and the sadly now stopped Monochrome Vision). It takes
the old PBK sounds that we first heard in the late ’80s, into the 21st century. It is what we could
easily call industrial music, even for the lack of a better word. The tools of the trade might have
been changed (which, for all I know might not be the case), from analogue to digital, or more likely
a combination of both, but it remains seven wildly, noise inspired pieces of music. Synthesizers
sounding like a bunch of insects, brutal drones straight from the conveyer belt, and feedback in
rotation. There might also be manipulation of ‘real’ instruments in ‘Misspent Genetic’, which results
in some brutal modern version of musique concrete. ‘Pinnacle Of The Sand Priest’ is the moment
of quietness here, but even in the quietest of moments, PBK has a great creepy approach to
sound. Still strong, literally, after all these years, still powerful electronics. (FdW)
––– Address:

JACKEN ELSWYTH/QUINIE (split cassette by Betwixt & Between)
NAOMI JACKSON – PARTNER/EMOTIVE (cassette by The Lumen Lake)
  by The Lumen Lake)

Scratch, scratch. I have no idea and scratch my head again. This lot is, for various reasons, not
something I am jumping up and down to start the review. First, there is the split by Jacken Elswyth,
who plays the banjo, sings a folk tune of two, and has three improvisations with on the other side
Quinie, a Glasgow-based folk singer. The three improvised pieces are careful drone like affairs,
using electronics, Shruti box and brushes and are someone along the lines of improvisation and
Americana. The two songs are far more conventional affairs, so I would think (again, I am not an
expert at all for this kind of music, scratch head and all). Quinie is also quite traditional with her
voice, bells, whistles and percussion. It is like visiting a fair where traditional arts and crafts are
exhibited along with traditional music. Apparently, some of these “draw on some gently comedic
sources”, but without having mastered the proper dialect, the joke is perhaps a bit lost. This is not
something for Vital Weekly; I think it is pretty but I have no idea why.
    The next cassette is housed in a plastic box with a bunch small piece of paper folded together
on tracing paper, which looks like it could easily break. The music and text are by Naomi Jackson,
who “is a musician and sound engineer based in South-East London, and a founder member of
Omnii Collective”. Of her release, she says “about navigating femininity when traditional femininity
isn’t your strong suit. It is about trying to force ties between sound and speech, and letting those
ties grow organically in a digital space. It is about my lived experience of being a queer woman,
and (unavoidably) about the lives of the women around me”, which for me, as an old white male,
is something that I could not relate to. As said before I am not the sort of person, my bad really, that
cares about a text at all. The music is electronic and sparse, broken up at times, glitch at other
times. It is all quite intimate music, except for the sixth track, which has quite a strong beat to it. I
quite enjoy the music; it was a bit poppy, it was sound poetry, it was glitch like, and most enjoyable.
I am sure I should say something about the lyrical content but that went right over my head. I tried
finding someone else for this review and failed miserably again.
    The last release is perhaps the one that is for Vital Weekly the most regular one, but we do it as
well as part of the ‘strange lot’, as it is also released by The Lumen Lake. It is also a split release
with pieces by Wendra Hill For from Oslo on one side and the other side contains two pieces by
John Harries And Grey Sea Over A Cold Sky Ensemble. Both deals with acoustic instruments,
electronics and cassettes and pieces are played improvising. Wendra Hill For is with four persons
the smaller ensemble; on the other side, John Harries has a solo piece, while 10 cymbal players,
soprano sax, violin, flute and two guitars perform on the other side of the cassette. The seven
pieces by Wendra Hill For are intimate affairs, in which, so it seems, the electronics don’t play a
big role. They keep their sound small and moody, but also in a more abstract way. At times it is
slightly dissonant, yet within the small setting, this works wonderfully well. Harries and his
ensemble deliver a sixteen-minute piece that is recorded in front of the stage and there is, certainly
in the first half, some strange sort of distortion to be noticed. In the second half, there is more of a
percussive feel to it, with all those cymbals rattling about. This piece is the antidote for the sparse
and controlled the other side. Also, Harries’ solo piece isn’t careful but a strange collage of sounds
of everyday objects, voices and harmonium drones. Nice one. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:

RED BOILING SPRINGS – PATERNAL II (cassette by Nailbat Tapes)
SUFFERING PROFUSION – OBSILITARY (cassette by Nailbat Tapes)

I’ve probably said it here before, but it’s worth repeating: one of my favourite things about
reviewing music for Vital is being exposed to new labels. I’d heard of Nailbat Tapes, a cassette
label from Portland, Oregon (by way of Nashville, Tennessee), but hadn’t had the occasion to
immerse myself in their releases. Thankfully, that’s changed! All three new Nailbats are quite
good, demonstrating a curatorial vision of thoughtfully composed and dynamic harsh noise. Of
course, I love a raw cathartic blast as much as anybody else… but it’s nice to be surprised and
impressed three times in a row by artists I hadn’t previously heard of.
    The best of all three excellent tapes is the one by Red Boiling Springs, the alias used by Chief
Nailbatter Matt Sullivan. Sullivan explains, “Paternal II” (part I is yet unheard by me) was “…
constructed primarily using in utero samples captured through a fetal Doppler monitor, plus
additional vocals and field recordings. These tracks trace the events surrounding the birth of my
son on March 19, 2018, including my wife’s postpartum complications that sent us back to the
emergency room”. YIKES! Well, cheers to Sullivan for transforming what must surely have been a
harrowing ordeal into a piece of music. I don’t know if I would have thought or even capability to do
anything like this if my wife and I were in the Sullivans’ position. But I suppose making music is a
more productive way to process such an experience than developing an ulcer or eating too much
ice cream. The fetal monitor is recognizable, providing a soft pulse below the billowing fog that
develops. Sullivan’s own voice makes some passages both tense and contemplative at the same
time. The music manoeuvres through several sections, but it never comes to a head; instead,
“Paternal II” paints a riveting sonic picture of anxiety, instability, the uncertainty of fatherhood and
fragile mortality.
    Next comes a tape by Ayatollah (aka Luis Felipe Henao Bustamante of Columbia, according to
my pal Discogs), and it’s another doozy. “Monoambiente Insalubre” sounds oppressive, filthy and
wretched as a damp basement, but this artist has several directions in which he intends to run at
the same time. Just when I thought I was comfortably settling in for another “dark ambient” echo
jam, Ayatollah doubles back, lurches forward in a peal of hands-on-pedals feedback, and then
brings on the heavy industrial metal-bashing percussion slam. The clean lines of digital processing
slam against the walls of analogue grit and distortion. Six of the album’s seven songs are around
five minutes long or less, so you know Ayatollah isn’t merely relinquishing control to a tableful of
gadgets… he’s sculpting songs with a dank, unhealthy atmosphere.
    The final tape is by Suffering Profusion, another name that’s new to me. Masonna albums must
have nourished Mr Profusion as a child because his positively Maso-esque shriek permeates most
of his “Obsilitary” album. Not a bad thing, of course! Surrounding his ejaculation generator is a
swirling fuzzball of crumpling constant motion. Imagine a wadded up ball of amplified newspaper,
constantly being unfolded, thrown across the room, crumpled again, sent flying again… imploding
and reigniting over and over and over. Like Ayatollah’s tape, “Obsilitary” is comprised of mostly
short bursts; the artist took care to make each one a distinct statement, not just another edit from
an improv jam. If you like the precision harsh sonics of Sickness or TEF, here’s another artist
worth investigating. (HS)
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It has been a while since I last heard music by Jorge Mantas, alias The Beautiful Schizophonic. It
might very have been not since reviewing his ‘Belkiss’ CD, back in Vital Weekly 874. He worked
within the areas of ‘warm, glitch, laptop music’ but carved out his own sound by then, even when at
times also a bit too kitschy for me. In teaming up with Michael Esposito we travel the land of the
unknown, the world beyond ours, perhaps, as Esposito, it should be known by now, is a man who
is very active when it comes to recordings Electronic Voice Phenomena. Here, in particular, voices
and sounds recorded at “Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, recorded back on a stormy night in 2014. This
zoo was built in 1868 on the huge original city cemetery before the great fire. After the great fire,
they moved the cemetery. Well, mostly just the headstones… when any construction is done on the
site, they find human bones”, as the enclosed PDF tells us. The perfect place for such a thing. Last
week I tried to find evidence of a mouse in my bedroom and, while sleeping somewhere else in the
house, used one of those sleep recorder apps and the results, short as they were from a six-hour
night, scared the hell out of me. It may have been a mouse, maybe not, but whatever it was that I
heard, I don’t know and sounded pretty scary. I assume that Esposito uses perhaps similar
recording techniques and in the hands of Jorge Mantas it becomes also the scariest thing. This
time he doesn’t transform the material into some lush sustaining tapestries of warm glitch sounds
but goes for a rather surprising noise approach. At times it is loud and those EVP recordings cut
right through it, irregular, weird, loud and quiet. Bits like my recorded night from the ’empty’
bedroom, but here with voices in distress. Mantas adds some wild music to it, in three of the four
pieces. It is loud, it is full of distortion, screaming and howling reverb, leaning towards feedback.
Only in ‘Ghosts Of Potter’s Field’ we are dealing with a more noise-free approach, but a collage
of sparse voice material and the kling-klang of metallic objects in an empty space. This is
altogether a massive release, in terms of historical context and musical content.
    Oh, while I am at it, the address below is also the place inquire about a blank USB device,
designed by Michael Esposito and Leif Elggren, which is yellow and black, just like The Hacienda
once was, but here with nothing on it. Also, this is the place for a most curious release, also
housed on a USB flash drive with the late Syd Barrett doing false starts and a surprise. Don’t tell
him, you heard this from me, though. (FdW)
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