Number 1185

WHIM ENSEMBLE – SAME (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques) *
  Magnétiques) *
MONSTA – MONSTA III (CD by Opa Loka Records) *
CONJECTURE – V (LP by Amek) *
DULCET BUSINESS NEWS (CDR compilation by The Slightly Off KIlter Label)
CULVER – ASTA TAUNUS (cassette by Invisible City Records)
HUCKSLEY – GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST (cassette by Cautious Horses) *
@C – ESPACO, PAUSA, REPTICAO (cassette by Cronica Electronica)
TROU AUX RATS/DRUUNA JAGUAR (split cassette by Atelier5-7-5)
  BRITISH ISLES (cassette by Linear Obsessional Recordings) *


It’s very easy to misunderstand David Jackman. Well, also to understand him, really. I don’t ‘get’
pretty much anything of his work, and yet I love it very much. Ever since picking up the first
Organum record (‘In Extremis’) I liked his music and later on, I found there is sometimes a release
by Organum and sometimes as David Jackman. The latter seemed to be reserved for more
conceptual leanings, such as records filled with machine gun fire. It was all about war, it seemed.
As Organum he played some beautiful drone music, made with string instruments, electronics,
piano and such like. The confusion comes in with a release like ‘Herbstsonne’ (‘autumn sun’), which
sound very much like the work of Organum. It uses tanpura, piano, organ and bells, and that could
have been also used on the latest Organum record, ‘Raven’ (Vital Weekly 1143). Perhaps the whole
difference between Organum and David Jackman boils down to the fact that the first may be a band
and the second is really a solo work? I have no idea, really. ‘Herbstsonne’ is one long piece, forty-
seven minutes and sounds very spooky. The tanpura drones are in the background, along with, I
assume, the organ, and on top, there is the regular bang on the piano and bells. Five times these
bangs are louder, like a small cluster of bells and piano tones; the drones continue throughout. It
sounds like a funeral march, slow and solemn, a slow march towards the grave, and as such it fits
the requiem themed releases of the last years (‘Amen’, ‘Sorow’, ‘Omega’, ‘Sanctus’ and ‘Raven’; all
actually under the banner of Organum) and ‘Herbstsonne’ is no different. Before I already talked
about Jackman’s advancing age and all of this is perhaps to be seen as a very long farewell
soundtrack. That is also one of the big mysteries in the work of David Jackman. I can imagine
people going ‘oh it’s the bloody same thing over and over again’, but I like the sheer consistency
of it all. It is the same and yet it is also very much different. This is another piece of very sad music
and I love it. (FdW)
––– Address:


In a previous review, I wrote that I never heard of Mark Harwood before (Vital Weekly 1152). Now I
learn he’s the man behind the label here and that “his performances rely on teasing out and
playing with the mood embedded within any given environment and audience situation”. This
time I can say of Sholto Dobie that it is a new name for me. He is from Edinburgh and plays his
own creations, made out of reeds, whistles, bin bags, fans and air compressors. He is, along with
Lia Mazzari and Tom White part of Al Fresco and plays with on a regular basis with Ben Pritchard.
The work he did with Harwood is made with mostly acoustic sources, which I thought is good of
them to tell me, as I would have been clueless otherwise. I guess it is one of those things that if you
know what’s going on, it makes more sense. Maybe because I just read words such as ‘whistles’
and ‘reeds’, I believe to hear these in the music here, but with hindsight, everything is possible
when it comes to hearing sounds. There is in these seven pieces a deliberately obscured sound,
which I found most enjoyable. It could be music recorded from the inside of harmonium, loops with
the sound of a reed instrument, but blown in the next room or playing around with small sounds
along the lines of John Cage while someone has put the microphone a little bit too close to the air
ventilator. Sometimes I had the impression I was listening to some heavily slowed down reel-to-
reel recording of some long-term smoker breathing in and out. Other instruments that could have
been used are violins (in ‘III’), but also looped and transformed with rather lo-fi means. It is all
somehow, somewhere quite mysterious and that’s how I love these best. Every time you play this,
you discover something new in here and that makes up, for me, the definition of good music. (FdW)
––– Address:


Last year this trio surprised with their debut ‘Ulme’. It was also the first release by the newly
established Motvind label, as an extension of the Motvind Festival. Now their second work is out
the second release for the independent Motvind label. Miman is Andreas Hoem Røysum (clarinet
and guitar), Egil Kalman (double bass and modular synthesizer) and Hans Kjorstad (violin). They
exercise improvisation at a high level. Very inventive, really searching for new possibilities and
also finding them! No wonder as these musicians are educated and experienced in very different
styles traditional folk, Indian music, modern composed music, jazz and improvisation, etc. Inspired
by these influences they are able to abstract from these influences, in order to create their own
music that is free improvised I suppose but is sometimes – in a way – close to modern composed
music. Not only musical traditions and practices inspire them. Translated the title of the album ‘Vast
Amount of Space Gravel’. Space was also a point of reference. “To clarify the expression of the
band, concepts regarding weightless objects and the speed and distance between them, has been
important for the creation of inner images that have inspired the music on this records”, they explain.
And that is why they choose for an image from a publication by Johannes Hevelius, an astronomer
from the 17th century. On a day in August 2018, they did the recordings for this second release in a
studio in Copenhagen. Again they excel in some very communicative and condensed
improvisations full of ideas and sense for an experiment. The music is very lively and expressive
and should appeal to anyone who is interested in what is happening in the frontline of improvised
music. (DM)
––– Address:


Portuguese performer João Camões studied viola in Coimbra’s Conservatory of Music. Classically
trained he changed for improvised music, and played in many diverse constellations over the years.
A few of his collaborations we reviewed here over the years; one with Rodrigo Pinheiro and Miguel
Mira for Tour de Bras, and one with Jean-Marc Foussat and Jean-Luc Capozzo for Clean Feed. 
This time he is in the company of two French musicians: Gabriel Lemaire, saxophonist, composer
and improviser, and Yves Arques, a pianist who works in Germany and France in diverse projects
of experimental music.  Alvaro Rosso guests on ‘Herzkino’ on double bass. They surprise with short
work, just two improvisations taking about 30 minutes in total. The title ‘Selon le vent’ suggests the
kind of improvisation to be expected here. Patiently the three built up airy and thin sound textures
that slowly move and change. All players are very tuned in and create some very inspired and
poetical clouds of sounds pushed forward by a gentle summer breeze. Released by Portuguese
Jacc Label, operating since 2010 in the field of improvisation and jazz. (DM)
––– Address:

WHIM ENSEMBLE – SAME (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques)

Whim Ensemble is Ofer Pelz (prepared piano, percussion) and Preston Beebe (percussion). Both
are new to me. Beebe is a composer and percussionist with a strong interest in using technology,
live as well in the studio. Preston studied composition, electronic music, and percussion at several
institutes. For example from 2014-2015, he studied at IRCAM and composed a work for baritone
saxophone & electronics, performed in the Centre G. Pompidou in Paris. As a duo, they debuted in
2016 with a release for the Montréal-based Kohlenstoff label. The music keeps the middle between
improvised and modern composed music and moves within abstract territories. They have a very
varied sound palette to their disposal, using prepared piano and a variety of percussive objects and
gadgets. Some of their improvisations are very intense and dramatic, like the opening one ´Four
Zero´, that sounded like an abstracted version of a Morricone-theme. In other improvisations, I
missed however something. Lovely sounds, but a bit too much sounds only, missing an idea, focus
or direction. Just dwelling around. But in contrast, there are also some dazzling perspectives
opened up by them. The rich sound spectrum built from scraping and percussive sounds, lead up
fascinating timbres and textures full of details. (DM)
––– Address:


Not The Music is a duo of bassist Eric Norman and bass clarinettist Philippe Lauzier, both Montréal-
based musicians. English saxophonist John Butcher joined them for concerts in Ottawa and
Montréal. First five improvisations – ‘En conséquence’- were recorded live on April 27th 2018 in
Ottawa. The second set of five improvisations –  ‘par interruption’ – were recorded live on April 26th
in Montréal. Lauzier is a composer, improviser, instrumentalist (clarinet & saxophone) and sound
artist. Normand is likewise working on many fronts as a composer, improviser, bassist, instrument
designer, composer, songwriter, singer and record and concert producer. Earlier the duo released
an album for Tour de Bras. Here in the company of John Butcher, they give way to very
concentrated set with a lot happening. All three of them are experienced improvisers, each one
with its distinctive style and technique. They interact and communicate with full force and
concentration, although sounding sometimes a bit hesitant and modest. Strongly focused they
demonstrate a concentrated interaction with sometimes diverging sometimes-converging
manoeuvres of emotional impact. Often repetition of motives and gestures is an important strategy
of building up tension and drama. Excellent work. (DM)
––– Address:


Stefano de Ponti is a multi-media artist from Milan, Italy working in the fields of performance, radio
art, theatre, audiovisual installations, soundscape and electroacoustic music. I don’t know his
earlier work. ‘Malagrazia______landfall’ documents his collaboration with the theatre group
Phoebe Zeitgeist, also from Milan founded in 2008. The idea for ‘Malagrazia’-project came from
Phoebe Zeitgeist-member Guiseppe Isgro who took charge for the whole thing. The cd consists of
two long tracks and two short ones: ‘Entomologia Della Grazia’(22:25), ‘De Diligendo Deo’(3:08),
‘Insula’(20:51) and ‘Homo Homini Lupus’(1:10). De Ponti all instruments (violin cello, synthesizer,
guitar, organ, electronics, field recordings). Plus drums on ‘Insula’ by Guillaume Fuzz Lachat, voice
by Aldo Isgro on ‘Homo Homini Lupus, organ by Eleonora Pellegrini on ‘De Diligendo Deo’ and
guitar by Antonio Tonietti on the opening piece. He created some undestined but very evocative
sound works that probably fit well with the theatre. His work reminded me a bit of the early work of
Franco Battiato, who equally combined spoken word, environmental sounds and experimental
music. The vocals sound as if taken from the theatre performance, but I’m not sure. In any case, the
vocals perform with typical theatrical overdrive. They are embedded spherical and tasty sound
textures of which De Ponto proves himself to be a capable constructor. Released by the Swiss
Luce Sia label  (DM)
 ––– Address:


Over the years I reviewed some of Wyness releases, in which he explores field recordings, but on
this new release, it seems that he plays the percussion. The cover lists a whole bunch, and not a
traditional drum set in sight; hand-made chordophones, metallophones, idiophones, found
percussion, stones, coal, scrap metal, band saw blades, spring steel rods, handbells, temple bells,
Tibetan bowls and prepared dc motors. The latter, so I assume, used to set some of these devices
in motion. He writes that he thinks “of music as a phenomenological reality, a physical and
psychological presence”.  It is about sounds travelling through space and time and in that sense,
his latest CD works quite nice. It is one long piece, clocking at fifty minutes and in that time we
move through various space of percussive sounds. None of these, however, should be confused
with the actual drumming of rhythms. Wyness strokes, brushes or rubs objects along with each
other and generates something that is perhaps more drone-like than rhythm-like. In a sort of
romantic notion, I imagined Wyness in a garden shed, dusty and smelly (our old garage had that
distinct smell, I remember), with a bunch of very rusty of metal objects found, which he endlessly
rubs and scraps, metal on metal, and the machine is recording it all. Back home, all these
recordings are placed on the computer and the ‘real’ composing starts when Wyness brings
structure to these recordings. An extremely slow fade from one section to the next, rattle upon
drone upon metallic brush and dialogue is made with these sounds. Sometimes it seems like the
whole thing is slowed down a lot, but something tells it is probably not the case. This is a very
delicate release, with some slow unfolding beauty. (FdW)
––– Address:


The instrument that provides happiness to the group here is the guitar. This is a quartet of guitar
players with Marc-Olivier Lamontagne, Jonathan Barriault, Tim Brady and Simon Duchesne;
sometimes they work as a larger group of twenty musicians or even 100 in site-specific renditions.
They are not guitar slingers in the traditional rock sense of the word but academically trained in
classical music. There aren’t many classical works for electric guitars I would think, but the group
commissions their own pieces and on their second CD (see for a review of their first CD Vital
Weekly 1034) these are composed by Scott Godin, Jordan Nobles, Maxime McKinley, Gordon
Fizell, Emily Hall and Tim Brady. Five compositions, each about ten or eleven minutes, and none
of these seem very much along the lines of modern classical music; it is also not really rock like.
Just what it is, is not easy to describe. There is ambient feeling in the composition by Jordan
Nobles, meandering far away, but there is also blues like influences, a jazzy undercurrent, mild
distortion and dissonance in Gordon Fitzell’s piece, which is a far as noise will go here (and of
course is not really noise at all). Emily Hall lets the guitarists use a bit of drone music with the use
of an e-bow, although not in every movement of the piece 9she’s also the only one who has various
movements in her composition). In Scott Godin’s ‘Martlandia’ (a homage to Steven Martland, one of
the few classical composers who released on Factory Records) is very quick in using notes, and
reminded me of Robert Fripp. Throughout there are some very diverse pieces on this release and it
all works really well. Not easily to be classified. (FdW)
––– Address:

MONSTA – MONSTA III (CD by Opa Loka Records)

Boaz Bentur hails from Israel where he is a member of Tiny Fingers and Octans, as well as other
bands. As Monsta he operates alone, playing the bass and, no doubt, lots of effects. In 2018 he
released an EP, ‘Nepture’ and now it’s time for ‘Monsta III’, so whatever to ‘II’, I don’t know.  There
are two long pieces on this release, ‘A3’ and ‘B3’, and throughout this is quite dark music. To me,
that seems inevitable with the bass guitar, playing all things low. The effects used mainly delay,
much of that actually, reverb and a bit of chorus, flanging and phasing. The sound of the bass guitar
is never far away, but there isn’t any rhythm. I understand that these pieces were part of “a series of
live psychedelic/meditative sessions, performed in special locations and atmospheres when people
are lying down on the floor with eyes closed”. As it happens, I too fell asleep when I played, mainly
because it was just that time of the day for the quick afternoon nap. I let music play when that
happens and I must say I very much enjoyed the slow part improvised bass doodles in combination
with some of the ambient effects as a backdrop for quick nappie. When fully awake and upright, I
started playing this again and I realized it was good, but also, perhaps, nothing I have heard before.
Good, solid, dark ambient music now played with bass guitar and lots of effects. Perhaps a bit too
easy on the latter department, but all right, that’s it. I am not entirely sure why this had to be a CD,
and not a CDR or a Bandcamp only release; why did it stand out? I am not sure. (FdW)
––– Address:


Despite being active in music since 2000, the name Gael Moissonnier came up only once, when I
reviewed his ‘Live At Knot Gallery’ in Vital Weekly 879. Reading that now, I could say he was an
early adapter to the whole modular synthesizer thing with his A-100 Modular Analog synthesizer,
tapes and field recordings. I missed on previous releases by him on his Zerojardins label, but now
there is the full length of ‘Luminophores’. It has five pieces of which the first four are short, between
90 seconds and two-and-half minutes. The fifth one is almost twenty-five minutes. Whereas I
thought that only other thing I heard was a bit long and a bit loud, things have become a bit quiet
now, and that works very well in favour of the music. Whether he plays short pieces, consisting of a
few sounds that are explored with a limited time frame or more ominous long piece, which is a
rather free flow of modular sounds, it all works just fine. The thing with modular set-up is that people
use it, perhaps, too much as a single thing to do music. I have no idea how that works with the
music of Moissonnier, to be honest. It would be interesting to see a bit more composed with
apparatus like this, and not have a bunch of filters playing around. As said, I have no idea which
stance Moissonnier takes in this. The opening of the long piece, ‘Une Relation (Fragment Etendu)’
sounded like the result of some layering and mixing of sounds, but as the piece progressed I
thought it was perhaps also a bit more single improvised. Like with Monsta release reviewed
earlier (see elsewhere), I have no idea what is the deciding factor to release this on CD, which, I
would think, is rather an investment, which one doesn’t use for some quick ideas or a progress
report. It is not a bad release, not at all, but it seems to be missing something. (FdW)
––– Address:


Somewhere in the East part of this beautiful country, there is the small village of Goor where a
man named Hans organises concerts in his living room. Many a drone guitarist passed there and
played in an intimate setting. Sometimes Hans goes to town and hires a venue and puts on a
bigger festival, the H.A.N.S. festival, which acronym stands for “Harmonics And Nonadaptive
Sounds”. Recently he added another activity to his routines and that is running Norwegianism
Records. This label was until now run by the two members of Dead Neanderthals, but they no
longer have the time to do so, and so the label moved from sunny city Nijmegen to the village of
Goor. The first release Hans curated is the collaborative effort by Eric Quach, who is best known
as Thisquietarmy and Tom Malmendier, a drummer from Belgium. They first met in 2016 when
they played at a festival in Belgium and in 2017 they recorded in Montreal, following which Quach
added some more music on the multi-tracks. Then the whole thing was mixed into four heavy
weighing pieces of music. This is quite a wild ride, indeed. It is, perhaps, on paper an unlikely
meeting. Here we have someone who has his guitar droning out all the way; loud, vicious, singing,
ringing, wailing about. Then there is a drummer who rattles and shakes the cages, in a very free
jazz manner. Does that work? Hell, yes, that works. In ‘On A Marche Sur Le Soleil’ this brought up
to very rock like proportions, with the guitar howling around and the drums kicking about, like one
(twenty-two minute!) storm. By comparison ‘A Dos De Cheval Toute La Nuit’ is a quieter, spacier
piece, but it is short. The two remaining pieces are again fifteen to seventeen minutes long,
blasting out. The distortion pedal is pushed through the floor I would think. This music deserves to
be played very loud and be a full-on presence in your living room. Which reminded me: what kind
of living room does Hans have if he can present this kind of music? I bet this is the stuff he brings
to town! Norwegianism Records seems to be in good hands (I could make a pun there, but that’s not
necessary) for the future. (FdW)
––– Address:


‘Ariadna’ was the first album by Kedr Livanskiy and I didn’t hear that. That’s okay. ‘Your Need’ is her
second and made in a time when ‘she felt trapped by her own image and needed quite some time
to resolve internal dissonance – to grow, to evolve”. She also works as a DJ, playing ‘ghetto, house,
breakbeat and UK garage; (mostly music for buildings, so it might seem). She recorded this album
with Flaty in St. Petersburg and she sings, plays synths and drum machines. Both of them may do
all of this, maybe; even. It is very much a house music release, with vocals (quite a bit of reverb in
these voices; why?), the occasional rave synthesizer, a few dub elements and throughout I kept
thinking: I have no idea if I like this or not, not necessarily having an aversion for dance music, not
really being blown by her voice, but also thinking that this is not the kind of music that I am doing
Vital Weekly for. There are surely different outlets in the world to deal with this kind of music. (FdW)
––– Address:


This comes from the department ‘modern classical music’, from a Polish composer living in the
Netherlands, hence some Dutch sponsoring. Katarzyna Glowicka composed this work. The libretto
for this opera uses texts from contemporary Afghan female poets, writing during the Taliban’s
regime. Words are enclosed in the booklet. The music is very much what you’d expect from a
modern opera. Well, maybe not. This is just nothing at all for Vital Weekly. I have no idea if anyone
at Bolt Records reads reviews like this; I hope they do and someday realize that there can be out to
better use and reach to publications that write about serious modern music. (FdW)
––– Address:


Bulgaria’s Amek Tapes takes a bold move, after releasing mainly cassettes to move to LP, even
when it’s not their first. It is their second release from Conjecture, the musical project of Vasilis
Angelopoulos and it seems that this new work is along similar lines of the previous release. I
learned back then (Vital Weekly 1112) that that release was a sort of change of menu for him,
doing it all on a new hardware setup. The six pieces on this LP are top-heavy, weighing down on
one’s ears, all dark and grim; also like before I should say. Greece, where Angelopoulos is from, is
not the sunny place we know, it seems. Rhythm plays a very important role in this music, not
necessarily being an invitation to dance too. It is a bit too dark (but who knows in which bat cave
disco this is a party hit?). That seems to me is the new element in his music. The synthesizers are
still monolithic humming and sawing, but it is not music that is without melody, even when it is at
times quite buried inside the mix. There is not much sunshine in the music, a bit like the cold and
clouded Mayday (mayday, mayday, I thought) it is on which this arrived and as such it is the perfect
soundtrack for such a day. Post-summer, come rainy autumns days this will come off the shelves
again, on another fine moment of feeling down. And once again, I think this is the kind of music that
would do well in films about zombies, aliens, post-nuclear drama or any sort of dystopian nightmare.
Right there I had the idea of which movies to watch tonight, ‘Children Of Men’ and ‘Total Recall’;
see; I am feeling good again after hearing 40 minutes of sonic depression. (FdW)
––– Address:


Braňo Findrik is the man behind Dead Janitor and so far he has released his music through digital
channels. ‘Medusa’ is his first LP and my introduction into his sound world. Dead Janitor is a man of
electronic music, taking his inspiration from Aphex Twin and Autechre. I am no fan of Autechre, I
must admit. Their music leaves me entirely cold. Lots of software treatments over some stutter
beats. It is something I hear also in the music of Dead Janitor. There are several rhythms at work
in the same place, and on top of that, there is a whole range of digital and analogue sounds that
come along. It is not always without melody, which is nice. Sometimes the music very much fucked
up, in neck breaking speed (in ‘Mandatory’ for instance); for me, things worked best if it all a bit
more spaced out, such as in ‘Mass’. Maybe I just can handle sonic overload that easily? Especially
when it has so many different rhythms at the same time. Tracks are kept concise and to the point,
often exploring a few things but not overstepping it, with the sudden introduction of new elements. I
enjoyed most of this; especially, as said, when he keeps things a lot simpler. I am not sure what he
wants with this music. It doesn’t seem to be aiming at the dance floor, but perhaps it does? Maybe
this is partly listening to music and partly crazy dance music. It is not entirely my cup of tea, yet I feel
it is all made with some great passion for odd time signatures and complex sound structures, of
course, topped with fine production quality. (FdW)
––– Address:


After checking if this was really a new release by Protovulcan, and indeed it is, I thought ‘wow, that
was quick’. Only in Vital Weekly 1170, I reviewed their previous release ‘Psychic Pinball’ and now
it’s time for ‘Life Is twigs’, another short (thirty-four minutes) blast from this trio. Deric Criss (drums),
Nicholas Ammerman (guitar) and Will Maclean (Moog bass, Wurlitzer and vocoder) play music that
is called as something “for fans of everything from Zombi to Zombie Zombie and even The
Zombies”. This new release is released on cassette, CDR and Edison Blue Amberol Record
Cylinder; can’t imagine a big market for the latter but it surely may raise an eyebrow here and
there. I am happy to have the CDR; last time they send the cassette version and I wasn’t convinced
it was the best medium for this group to release their music on. It seemed to take away some of the
dynamics of their sound because dynamic it surely is. Protovulcan is a rock band and perhaps as
such Vital Weekly is not the best publication for this. There is a strong space rock influence in this
music (and that appeals to me, with my private interest in F/i and Vocokesh) and it sounds like it is
recorded in a garage, rather than a studio of some kind, so the music quite direct and without much
fiddling of sound effects. The keyboards seem to be pushed away a bit more and have a more
ornamental function and throughout the italo/disco influences are a bit fewer in these pieces and
more in favour of an acid-rock agenda; same goes for the robotic voices. I wonder what would
happen if this trio would be in a real studio and have all the tools to make the sound professional. I
can see they would benefit from such a thing, or it might be proof that music like this is best when
recorded with basic conditions. This is another fine blast of energetic rock.
    True story: right after I was done thinking about Protovulcan, I looked at the various things waiting
for a review and picked up, rather randomly, the new release by Electric Bird Noise. I heard music
from guitarist Brian Lea McKenzie before, but it was in a far away past (Vital Weekly 938) and it
sounded not unlike The Durutti Column in the past. But, you guessed this right, now it links to the
music of Protovulcan. Electric Bird Noise is assisted here by Jason Hearn (drums), Bradley Wayne
Roberts (bass), Steve Strong (drums) and Alan watts (orator). The latter only appears only in one
track, ‘Hearn-Roberts-Watts’, which shows us how things work here; the title makes up who’s
playing in these pieces. Now I link this to the music of Protovulcan as I can see various similarities.
The music here is also rocky, spacey and trippy; perhaps there is a bit more when it comes to the
use of studio effects, but not a lot. Reverb is in overdrive here, which gives it that spacey edge.
Differences lie mainly in the absence of keyboards in the work of Electric Bird Noise. Also, I would
think that the music of Electric Bird Noise is louder and more aggressive than Protovulcan. At least
in the way the music is finished (mastering), this is clearly the case. Just like Protovulcan, this is
also some hi-energy rock music, and perhaps also not the most suitable for these pages, but I love
it all the same. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:

DULCET BUSINESS NEWS (CDR compilation by The Slightly Off KIlter Label)

Ah, compilations. Every time I receive one I am reminded to put a disclaimer on the Vital Weekly
site that says: we don’t like reviewing compilations, full stop. I bet no one would read that and they
still arrive. Slightly Off Kilter Label is known for more adventurous improvised music and they have
here a compilation, quick glance allowed, of names that seem to be mostly new ones. They give
some descriptions in the press text, varying from “Dubtech”, “electronic psychedelic”,
“reaggaetronics”, “dub electronics” and so on. Some of these tracks were released before by the
same label, some are new. Why the re-issuing I wondered? I can see why the label thinks these
pieces go together, as they all dip a toe in the lake of ‘dance’ music. There is quite a bit of rhythm in
these pieces, even when not necessarily something to do dance too. The long space jam by Mota
is quite boring, but the other pieces do quite all right. It has that naive charm of people fiddling with
a style, say reggae, but ending up with something that is not reggae. Stray Transmission is the only
that a strong 4/4 beat going that is techno alike, but his use of traffic sounds will keep this off the DJ
menu. Also included are Rubber Bus, Dr:Wr, Kaleidophon, Best Left Alone and Far Rainbow. This
is an interesting compilation, certainly if, like me, you thought they only did improvised music. (FdW)
––– Address:

CULVER – ASTA TAUNUS (cassette by Invisible City Records)

Two sides of the drone here, or perhaps it is two versions of the drone? ‘Lay Bare Internal Structure’
is the second release by Rovellasca, following the cassette ‘Interference’ (see Vital Weekly 1162).
It is the first CDR release by Invisible City Records and still, the project remains a mystery. Again,
beyond name, title and catalogue number, there is no information on this release. It is one, twenty-
one minutes and forty-two seconds long piece of heavy drone music. It builds and builds from
sources unknown, a bunch of dishwasher recordings I’d say, fed through a line of stompboxes,
weighing down heavily upon the listeners’ ears. Play loud and you’ll be crushed, I should think.
There is no recommendation this time for the use of headphones and I didn’t try that. I hardly ever
use headphones for reviewing purposes. It’s a massive piece of music, but I am not sure if it’s
strong enough to stand by itself as a single composition. To my ears, it may not be special
enough, and perhaps a bit shorter and with more pieces, it would have been a much better
    Lee Stokoe is Culver and he’s been around for more than twenty years. It was as early as Vital
Weekly 355 we first his music. Looking at his output on Discogs, I’d say I also missed out on a few
of releases; the last proper release I may have heard was his collaboration with Karst, and that
was reviewed in Vital Weekly 801. So I can’t really comment on his development as a musician, I’m
afraid. Going by this new release, I’d say he is continuing his explorations of the guitar and drones.
Just like Rovellasca, these drones are quite massive, with a firm amount of distortion on the guitar
sounds, but the original guitars are still audible, adding finely woven looped textures throughout
these five pieces. Culver takes quite a bit of time for his sonic explorations, which through each
piece, remains quite minimal when it comes to development. Of course, that is all intentional, I
would think and I was thinking this is perhaps best suited for stoners, playing this sort of noise
drones that are not entirely without a melodic touch (even when buried quite deep within the
mix) on their Walkman. Cassette Walkman of course as there is no digital version available. (FdW)
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HUCKSLEY – GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST (cassette by Cautious Horses)

Although Hucksley is from Christchurch, New Zealand these days, where he “lives in a wooden
house”, he lives in Cardiff, Wales ten years, attending music school. It was there he composed
the five pieces that we find on ‘Ghosts Before Breakfast’ was recorded back then. The idea was
simple: “stick iTunes on shuffle, make a note of the first songs that get played; cut them up; make
something new”, and in the press text there is a whole list of names, from Charles Mingus, Steeleye
Span, Zappa, Hancock, Steve Reich, Trevor Wishart and Tom Waits. Why this wasn’t released back
then I don’t know. The press texts also give us some “quotes from our previous projects”, and much
to our pleasant surprise Vital Weekly is quoted saying ‘It had some nice bits’, but surely it’s part of
the ploy to confuse. Just like the music is a plunderphonic festival, so are the quotes. They surely
used those words but not for the music of Hucksley, who, as far as I see has no other releases. The
five pieces span a total of twenty-four some minutes of samplemania. I don’t think I recognized any
of the fragments used here; hell, I didn’t even recognize half the names here. It is a pretty wild ride
of stuff here, with everything and everybody struggling to find a place in the mix. It is a hectic
situation down at the station where everybody using the same microphone. This is not your
plunderphonic music as a social comment (think People Like Us or Negativland), but a sample
festival for the sake of it. The results are quite exciting. It has quite an energetic feel to it,
steamrolling like a train, heavy on the use of rhythm, guitars, smashed up vocals and wacky
synthesizers. Good vibes all around, I believe is what they say here. “More than a few good
bits”, said Vital Weekly. (FdW)
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@C – ESPACO, PAUSA, REPTICAO (cassette by Cronica Electronica)

There is quite a story behind this release by @C, the duo of Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais,
who are also behind the Cronica Electronica label. The music here is part of a new work for the
Exhibitions Pavilion of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto (still going until June) and
@C are using sound sources by more than fifty musicians with whom the label worked in the last
fifteen years, from Alex FX to Yiorgis Sakellariou – to give you the alpha and omega here. If you
contributed, and you bet I did, it is a great sport hearing your own samples back in this work. The
‘work’ here is an installation piece, “an area for a multisensory immersive experience that incited a
dialogue with the sound objects, the architectural space and its visitors. An infrastructure built from
speakers, flooring, light, fragrance, and a hovering frame, set a stage for the creation of a nonlinear,
generative and open algorithmic composition for computer and speakers. This area was a pivotal
point for listening, but it also steered visitors to move, leaving the ideal listening point and exploring
the exhibition space to discover how different perspectives over the sonic matter could be attained
through its traversal” (sorry for the long quote, but couldn’t have said it better myself). The fifty artists
supplied 300 smaller and bigger sounds and the two twenty-six minute pieces on this cassette use
the generative system used in the installation but intended to be independent compositions. Both
pieces are a myriad of sounds, tumbling and falling together and it sounds like the best of @C
(even when it has surely been a while since I last heard their music). It is not easy to find a
narrative in here, a guide, a line or whatever, as at times it is some wild chaos, but as a stream of
consciousness, it works quite well. On the other side we find  “Repetição” (Repetition), which has
texts from “Le solfège de l’objet sonore” (Music Theory of the Sound Object), and Pierre Henry’s
“House of Sounds”, also spaces concerning sound. Here the text is incorporated in the music and
while some of the chaos remains, the modern version of musique concrete, there is more sense of
spacing (pun perhaps intended) and it makes a great narrative that allows you not to pay too much
attention to the voices. In here I recognized some voices of a then four-year-old year girl, who
played a part on one of the earliest releases on this label, and who is now some sixteen years
older. Times flies indeed. This is quite a successful release, most enjoyable. (FdW)
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TROU AUX RATS/DRUUNA JAGUAR (split cassette by Atelier5-7-5)

There are always genres within the wide musical spectrum that I don’t ‘get’ at all. Hip hop is one,
country & western, Dixieland, heavy metal and harsh noise wall, among the others. The latter
might seem a bit odd, hearing that I don’t ‘get’ this, as it’s the only music out of those mentioned
that I think should be reviewed in Vital Weekly; all the other genres should find a different weekly.
Somewhere in the movie ’24 Hour Party People’ I think the Tony Wilson character says, that ‘people
who play jazz are the only ones to enjoy it’, or along those lines. That goes for harsh noise wall
music as well, I think. To create it: great; take a listen to somebody else’s efforts: meh. Romain
Perrot is best known as Vomir, one of the unsung heroes of the HNW genre and when he does
that kind of stuff, I am happy to leave it to Jliat’s wise words. What I like about the man is that he
thinks about how to work within different genres and how to change them around. Perrot works
also as Trou Aux Rats in what I would label to be ‘demented singer-songwriter’, or simply ‘outsider
of anything’. Apparently, he has some fame (too) with this name, as the twenty minutes on side A
were recorded in Tokyo, in April of last year. We hear him singing (?) with a rather down, sad
voice, monotonous and on top of that he ‘plays’ guitar, feeding it through a bunch of effects (delay,
chorus, reverb, pitch shifters and such like) and while not necessarily very musical, it all sounds
pretty mysterious. It is altogether quite captivating; this is strange, outsider, weird, or vague. It might
all be just that, but somehow, somewhere I think Perrot knows exactly what he is doing and
subverts here yet another genre, which I like very much.
    Druuna Jaguar on the other side is the man/woman/project behind the label Atelier5-7-5, which
is described as a ’boutique label for extreme music. Limited edition cassettes’. The two previous
split releases were left in the capable go-to goth guy from VW, so I am nowhere this group for the
first time. ‘Maquina Poema’ is the title of the piece here and it starts out with a fine lengthy drone
introduction. Then this is interruption by some digital processing of what I think are field recordings
and it has a strange dark musique concrete feeling to it. Not exactly goth but some serious great
dark ambient music. From on it starts building again from a single drone to a more collage-like
approach of rusty metallic objects being treated, until it is abruptly over. At fifteen minutes that is
not very long and I was ready to hear more of this for probably a bit longer than that. Next time
more, please? (FdW)
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  BRITISH ISLES (cassette by Linear Obsessional Recordings)

Here’s a new release by someone who has been regularly releasing new music; the last time was
‘A Blue Guide To Shore Ghosts And Sea Mystery’ (Vital Weekly 1117). This time his journey is not
along coastal lines but going underground, into the world of caves. He recorded sounds in caves in
Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Buckinghamshire, South Wales and Cornwall. The later being a sea cave.
There is a pdf on the website that shows you these places and additional information (it is also part
of the download). Back home he edited these recordings from these six places into six pieces; each
piece using material only from that location. Some of the sounds are not treated at all, while others
are heavily treated, looped and edited. In ‘Clear Well’, the longest piece here, the looped sound
becomes after a while a bit tedious. It has a rhythm-like feeling to it, but it doesn’t work; the same
goes for the looped voice in the second half of the track. The other five pieces are much better in
that respect. The combination of treated sounds and those more pure versions work quite well
here, with some spooky music in ‘West Wycombe’, the splashes of water in ‘ Church Cove’, mixed
with some very deep bass sounds, or the collated sounds of ‘White Scar’, going from very quiet, via
birds sounds (inside a cave? Apparently) and ending with what seems a jackhammer. That sees a
return in ‘Blue John’, which also ends on a rather noisy trail. Throughout this is a most enjoyable
trip down into the caves here, with the occasional miss. (FdW)
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