Number 1191

Vital Weekly in the summer of 2019:

1192: 23 July
1193: 30 July
1194: 4 August
1195: 9 August
1196: 22 August
1197: 27 August

LORI FREEDMAN – SOLOR (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques) *
MONICKER – SPINE (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques)
SHOTS – PRIVATE HATE (LP by Careful Catalog) *
CRESCENT – DRUM INTINS EP (12″ by Minimmal Movement)
VOT’E – HAMMERSMITH FLYOVER (12″ by Minimmal Movement)
E.M.I.R.S. – ADEM/BREATH (CDR, private) *
MODELBAU – NIGHT CALL (cassette by Important Drone Records) *
MODELBAU – THE WHOLE TRUTH (cassette by Trapdoor Tapes) *
MODELBAU – MIRROR IMAGE (CDR by Hologram Label) *
MODELBAU – THE FEVER (CDR by Hologram Label) *
PEOPLE SKILLS – MOUNT MORIAH TOCSIN (cassette by Alien Passengers) *
PEOPLE SKILLS – TELEPHONE BOOTH (cassette by All Gone) *


By now you might recognize the name Rene Aquarius from these pages being a member of Dead
Neanderthals, or the one-CD only project (it seems) Krishna (Vital Weekly 1041), but nowadays
more and more active with solo releases. Surprisingly that sees him moving away from his
instrument of choice, the drums, and working with sounds. ‘Woodland Sigil’ is the best example of
that so far, or perhaps I should say the most extreme example. Aquarius made field recordings in
various parts Smaland, Sweden, which I can say from my own experience is a beautiful area; lots
of trees, lakes, small villages and friendly people. No people were caught before Aquarius’
microphones as his focus lies in the recordings of small creeks, wind, trees and such like. Back
home he does something with these recordings, but I am not sure what it is. In each of the five
pieces, there seems to be the use of long loops, of repeating sounds and some kind of drone-like
undercurrent. How he created that is unclear to me. I was thinking he could have applied some
kind of processing to the material to generate these drone sounds, or perhaps he took out a gong
and strikes that to generate that. It surely adds quite a spooky element to the music, like a ghost in
the forest sort of atmosphere. Each of these pieces seems like a variation of the other, but they are
not. Titles are indications of what kind of sounds are used; ‘Shore’, ‘Chapel’ and ‘The Oak’ seems
self-explanatory, whereas ‘Ancient Forest’ and ‘Black Soil’ leave a bit more to guess. Yet they all
sound dark and moody, and perhaps also a bit spooky. In ‘The Oak’ it sounded like rain upon a
metal roof, and in ‘Chapel’ there are some dog sounds. With thirty-six minutes just a bit on the
short side, as I wished there was a bit more. (FdW)
––– Address:

LORI FREEDMAN – SOLOR (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques)

Lori Freeman needs no introduction here. She is an exceptional performer (clarinet), improviser
and composer from Canada. Doing some 75 performances a year, hundreds of compositions
were premiered by her over the years. Recently we reviewed Freeman’s solo work ‘Excess’.
Accompanying her 2016-tour, ‘The Virtuosity of Excess’, that had Freeman performing compositions
by others (mainly) of very detailed notation. After this intensive period, Freedman felt the urge to
play and express more of her own music and work. As a consequence, these recordings came
about. She is performing here five of her own compositions, plus doing two improvisations, playing
B-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet and voice. This is once again another very
worthwhile solo statement by this extraordinary player; very communicative and vibrant music from
a very open-minded musician who wants to investigate every corner, crossing every border. Not
afraid of extremes and far-out gestures. Her music is full of contrasts, intro and extravert, raw and
polished, changes in speed and dynamics, extended techniques, etc. Always in the function of the
musical story, she has to tell. (DM)
––– Address:

MONICKER – SPINE (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques)

Monicker is Arthur Bull (guitarist), Scott Thomson (trombone) and Roger Turner (drums). Veteran
Bull originates from the Toronto scene. In the 70s and 80s, he was a member of the Toronto-based
CCMC and worked with Michael Snow, vocalist Paul Dutton and John Oswald and many others. In
1990 he moved to a small village in Nova Scotia, and music was no longer his main activity.
Although it was here that he worked with another guitarist, Daniel Heikalo, resulting in two beautiful
CDs by from this sparsely documented performer:  ‘Dérapages A Cordes’ (2000) and  ‘Concentrés
et Amalgames’ (2006). In contrast veteran UK drummer and improviser, Roger Turner is very well
documented on an uncountable amount of releases documenting his many collaborations (Annette
Peacock, Tim Hodgkinson, Otomo Yoshihide, etc, etc,). Like Bull, composer and trombonist Scott
Thomson is from Toronto. He is a creative force behind the Montreal-Toronto Art Orchestra playing
Roscoe Mitchell’s music. Both Turner and Bull play as a duo since 2002, meeting meanwhile in
other ad hoc projects. They invited Thomson during the Halifax residency in 2017, and Monicker
was born. As Monicker, they toured Eastern Canada and recorded this debut. Six of their
improvisations made it to this release, underlining they make a very flexible and tight unit. Their
improvisations pass by very fluently and intensively at a considerable speed and always very
focused. Very manoeuvrable and vivid interactions, built from small gestures and movements by
all three players. A joy! (DM)
––– Address:


Keith Tippett started his career in the early 70s as a jazz pianist and composer. He became soon
a prominent force in the UK-jazz movement. Centipede and Ovary Lodge were some of his early
ensembles. He played also on several early King Crimson albums. Later, in the early 80s, he
made a series of remarkable solo albums: the Mujician-series. His first solo effort, however, was
‘The Unlonely Raindancer’, a double album recorded during a tour in the Netherlands in 1979.
Recordings come from four different concerts that took place within a time span of ten days in April
1979. A release that was for shadowing his later solo work. Discus Music, the label of Martin
Archer, has now re-released this album. Many of Tippett’s older recordings were re-released over
the years. However, this one was still waiting for rerelease since its first release on the Dutch
Universe Productions-label in 1980. Rob Sötemann, who accompanied Tippett during his tour,
started this label. He recorded, edited and selected the music for the album. Tapes of the tour –
600 hundred minutes in total – were preserved well at Ogun Records. Not the master tapes,
however. So Archer had to do the selection process again! Listening through all the material. No
doubt this album had special meaning for Archer who must have been very motivated in clearing
this incredible job. The CD opens with the sparkling ‘Tortworth Oak’, a work that appears in two
versions on this release. It is the only composed work on this album that was developed during the
tour. ‘The Unlonely Raindancer’ is like a constant stream of repeated patterns in the high regions,
evoking an alienating effect. ‘Thank you God for my Wife and Children’ is a ballad-like
improvisation. In improvisations like ‘The Muted Melody’, there is a drive-in his improvising that
made me think of the pianola-music by Nancarrow.  This is absolutely not an album of interest for
historical reasons only; far from that. These improvisations form the eagerly playing Tippett are
still a real joy to listen to. (DM)
––– Address:


Following a week of absence, there is bound to be a small pile of new music and some quick scan
is required. For instance, what is for someone else (improvisation, harsh noise) and what can stay
here for further inspection. Music by Wide Ear Records usually ends up in the hands of Dolf
Mulder, being all about free jazz and improvisation. Here’s however something that went from a
quick scan into full rotation; a disc by Michel Wintsch on piano and Benoit Piccand on live
electronics, by which it is said that these electronics process the sound of the piano. The CD is
named after Hipparchus of Nicaea, “mathematician and astronomer, who laid the foundations of
trigonometry” (“a branch of mathematics that studies relationships between side lengths and angles
of triangles”), and I am not sure I could say what the relationship is between that and the music.
Throughout the piano can be recognized as such and the electronics appear to be on equal par
with that. The music is very much improvised, with Wintsch playing his notes wild and free but with
a great amount of spacing between the notes, to let those processed bits do their work. There is a
lot of granular synthesis going, stretching, speeding and slowing down the piano and it becomes
a dense pattern of clustered sounds, even in its sparser moments, such as the carefully building
tension of ‘Klounes’. There is in these seven pieces a very fine amount of variation to be noted,
which sees them moving through various interests, be it wild and free or quiet and calculated,
sometimes within the space of a single piece. This is an excellent release! (FdW)
––– Address:


Back in Vital Weekly 1156, I noted the apparent comeback of guitarist Taku Sugimoto, back into
the world of releasing music on compact discs. Here he has a new CD that sees three of his
compositions performed by others, being Andrey Popovsky, Denis Sorokin and Alexander Markvart.
All three appear on ‘Trio (For Three Guitars)’, while ‘Solo For Guitar 1’ is performed by Sorokin and
the second solo for guitars is performed by Popovsky; both of these solo pieces are for electric
guitar, while the trio is for ‘semi-acoustic guitar, classical guitar and acoustic guitar’. All three pieces
are very quiet affairs, as is to be expected for those who know the work of Sugimoto. It is also very
difficult to detect three different guitars in the trio. As I have to rip a piece for the podcast, I see the
sound wave of a piece and this is also on the very soft side. There is always, for me that is, the
sensation of normalizing a piece, bringing the level up to zero Db and see what is going to happen
then. It is something that anyone can do, using a free audio editor and something that I can strongly
recommend. I am not sure if Sugimoto is the kind of composer that wants the listener to fiddle
around with equipment (like Francisco Lopez does and so that each listener creates his own
personalized version of his music), but you’d be amazed at what you hear. In ‘Trio’ these are
mainly single sound events, played with a lot of space between them, but in ‘Solo For Guitar 1’
there are some very distinctly different passages of resonating and sustaining sounds, with a fine
ringing sustain from reverb, whereas ‘Solo For Guitar 2’ is more of an exercise in endurance with
repeating sounds and spaces in between. All of this detected when played in a more regular
volume and I am not sure if that is what Sugimoto wants; perhaps he’s more interested in his quiet
Wandelweiser approach and we should take a Zen-like approach to this, in which case I should
say this is for me a bit more problematic. I would think this makes it all a bit too extreme, in terms
of quietness.
    A duo with a violin and double bass; that can go many ways, what Johnny Chang (violin) and
Mike Majkowski (double bass) are doing is something that seems, at least to me, quite a bit
removed from the world of improvisation and firmly attached to that of drone music. From both of
them, we reviewed earlier work. The three pieces on this new release were recorded in spring
and winter of 2017, in Berlin, and by the looks of it, they have been going for some time and as
such choose a ‘band’ name. Their debut album was released in 2016 by Another Timbre and
sadly didn’t make it to these pages. I would be curious to hear that one, as these new pieces are
some excellent examples of acoustic drone music. These pieces are between ten and twenty
minutes and both players use a bow to create some endless sustaining sounds and the intervals
caused by starting again with the next cycle has a loop like character, but it is also quite human;
there is no static repetition here and each of the pieces sounds like a relatively simple exercise,
but for all I know it is not. In ‘Object’ I would think there is some sort of electronics going on, resulting
in a doubling of the sound; it could also very well be that this is a superimposition of various
recordings together; it has an even more majestically feel than the other two pieces, ‘Time’ and
‘Place’. This too may have a Zen-like character, but is throughout very audible and even for this
non-meditator an excellent release. This is some fabulous acoustic drone music; highly
recommended if you want to expand on your usual daily drone digest.
    Ju Sei might seem the name of a single person, but it is a duo of sei (no capitals) on vocals and
Junichiro Tanaka on guitar and effects pedals. On November 21, 2015, they performed in the
performance space run by the label (and shop) Ftarri, and along there were a few guests; Uta
Kawasaki (electronics), Masahiko Okura (contrabass clarinet) and Michael Thieke (clarinet). In
2014 Ju Sei had a release on Ftarri before, which went by without a review, but way before that, I
reviewed ‘Taigun Yuei’, a CDR released by Black Petal (see Vital Weekly 655). Originally they
were an acoustic duo. The music here still has some acoustic elements produced by objects upon
instruments or other objects, with the occasional burst of electronics going on. Here too we are
dealing with something that is very quiet and introspective, but unlike Sugimoto, there is always
something to hear, even if only a little bit. In the middle of this thirty-two-minute piece, there is a
controlled outburst of activity, on all of the players, which one could see as an extreme break with
the carefully built tension so far, or what is coming after that. Perhaps one could see this break as
some counterpoint, a display of whatever else is also possible. It is altogether quite some extreme
music and quite demanding on behalf of the listener. Perhaps a different kind of demand, but
nevertheless a fine exercise in hearing. (FdW)
––– Address:


“Invisible Reflections”, a long-distance collaborative album by two multi-faceted artists, is a classic
collaboration: two guys in different parts of the planet swap files with one another, you know how it
goes. Their backgrounds, though, might not seem at first like a natural pairing. Uton’s work can
take the form of meditative free-noise and drone, while Kikuchi’s very diverse discography covers
post-rock (as a drummer), sound art and harsh noise. This album, however, doesn’t sound like a
postal exchange. Perhaps they were on some intercontinental psychic wavelength, because
“Invisible Reflections” could easily be mistaken for two guys in the same room, floor covered in a
tangle of wires, blasting together at top volume in a haze of smoke. A cosmic, almost psychedelic
atmosphere permeates most of the disc, the fog clearing for momentary crescendos of blurring
noise before returning to a baseline of percolating synthesizers and free-jazz drums. It wastes no
time getting to the point. The dense opening song, The Black Horse of Mutated Ideas”, seems like
a live-in-the-studio free-rock blowout, both players soloing ecstatically with every sound in the red.
Kikuchi’s drums provide the pulse beneath all the electronic glorp, driving the song forward as it
builds towards its inevitable exhausted conclusion. If the Corsano-esque drum scatter was mixed
higher, perhaps the pulse would be more evident beneath all the noise, but then that might lessen
its disorienting effect. On the next song, “A Signal for Reflection”, that percussive clatter is
exchanged for sickening piercing tones, all mashed together into scorched goo. Kichuchi also
adds a textural skeleton (and then a pounding anchor) to the otherwise spaceward flights of
“Spectral Source”. When both artists are laying down sheets of mud-covered synthesized mush,
like on the lengthy “A Signal for Reflection”, they merge into a single voice of deflated electronic
shriek. The final track, “Infinite Possibilities”, is a nasty downer of blown-out growl, hovering
feedback and haunted-house delay. (HS)
––– Address:


The thirty-five-some minutes on this CD might consist of seven separate parts, according to the
cover, but it plays as one radical piece of improvised music. Here we have Xavier Charles on
clarinet and Eric Normand on electric bass and objects. Both of them have quite a career in
improvised music and they match together very well, when it comes to a radical approach of their
instruments, the unusual way of playing these instruments and making them sound like something
else altogether. They scratch, bit, blow, bow and who knows whatever else their instruments and
come with music that is thoughtful, loud, quiet, extreme, musical, atonal and all of that in a relatively
short time span and in rapid succession. Sometimes the clarinet and bass are not to be recognized
at all, and sometimes they are a very clear presence. The music is a wild ride, most of the time, with
no hands on the wheel; see what happens then, seems to be their motto. With their experience in
radical free music they sure know how to respond to each other, going from one place to the next;
react, subtract and attract, respond, question and then do the opposite. Just because you can,
seems to be their modus operandi. This is thirty-five-some minutes of sonic bliss, splintered and
clustered, a force. (FdW)
––– Address:


This one deals with the colonial history of Denmark, and marks that one century ago the Danish
West Indies was handed over to the USA. Danish composer Peter Jensen was asked by the
Royal Danish Library to devote a project on this chapter of the Danish history. Jensen was once
a member (trombonist) of the Danish Radio Big Band and composed many works for large
improvisational ensembles. Since 2000 especially for this prestigious Radio Big Band that did
projects with Miles Davis, Stan Getz in the past, and with Chris Potter and Mike Stern more recent.
Also, this new work by Jensen has performed by the DR Big Band. A work that has three recorded
testimonies by West Indian women integrated into the musical composition. On ‘The Prime
Minister’s Speech’, he also integrates the speech by Prime Minister Rasmussen at the celebration
of the 100th anniversary of «Transfer Day» of the West Indies islands in 2017. Listening through, it
becomes clear that Jensen composed a soberly arranged introvert work of a reflective nature.
Stimulating this way to meditate on this aspect of Danish history and its dramatic content with all
its political and moral aspects. It is difficult to say if and how Jensen comments through his
composition on this historical episode. The way he structured the composition it is however clear
that for Jensen these testimonies and speech make up the centre of the work. The title track, for
example, has a woman repeatedly stating ‘Stand on your feet and fight’ and similar self-evident
expressions. In the second part of this composition, Jensen expresses the drama and strength of
these words through an energetic solo for electric guitar. An emotional and thought-provoking
work! A release by Ilk Music, an artist-run label and collective from Copenhagen focused on
new music. (DM)
––– Address:


It’s always nice to find your name on a record, even when I was at the time very clueless what
they wanted from me. The original invitation was this: “We invite the artists to send us one or
more “ memory files” which derive from their memory or stimulate their memory. The sound which
we would ask you could be of any kind: a simple sample, rhythm, loop, sound structure, voice or
noise, these personal sound files will be integrated and processed by us in the audio composition
of MEMORY CODE.” I send them something that I think are my earliest recordings of noise music
when I was about 15 or 16 years old. The sounded not as I remembered them and I had no idea
what the two members of Schnitt, Marco Monfardini and Amelie Duchow, were going to do with it.
Then this LP turned up and I was pleasantly confused when I heard it. Even, I should add, when I
had no clue the first place what the whole idea was (perhaps also because I didn’t do much
research and I like surprises. Yes, I know, that could have gone very wrong also). I find myself in
the company of other sound suppliers, such as Vitor Joaquim (from @C), Caterina Barbieri, Pavel
Zhagun, Anders Ilar, Incite/, Herman Kolgen, Ran Slavin, Tacit Group and Tilman Ehrhorn. I didn’t
recognize all of them, but the ones I do know are all from the world what I would dare to call, very
loosely, the world of laptop musicians, working with glitches, scratches, hiss and beats, and Schnitt
is from the same world. Unlike Minim, in the previous issue, Schnitt knows how to work with these
kinds of sounds in an intelligent way. The nine pieces are moody electronic pieces, evolving and
revolving around slower beats, and around these clever beats, they spin a fine web of drones,
glitches and all those ingredients. You may ask if the others supplied these? I have no idea, really.
My hissy cassette from 1981 (or thereabouts) was not something I easily recognized in this
material. This is not music that aims on the dance floor, I would think. It is a bit too complex for
that, but it would go well in a modern art setting, an installation. Think of the work of Ryoji Ikeda
and you get my drift (and I would think Ikeda is a household name by fame, far beyond the limited
realm of these pages). Schnitt’s music is more based on the idea of a song and each has its own
character. It is not music I listen to a lot these days, but more like a memory from them olden days;
a different kind of code, I guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the material comes back to those
invited with the question for a remix and take onto the next level. (FdW)
––– Address:

SHOTS – PRIVATE HATE (LP by Careful Catalog)

“Private Hate” is a thrillingly confounding mystery. Very generally speaking, it lives in the same
anti-musical world as Sukora, Gabi Losoncy or Jon Dale’s magnificent “Theater” album, or at least
close by. The sounds on this record are almost, but not quite, nothing at all. Previous albums by
Shots have been more conspicuously the work of people rattling around on metal objects with
recognizable percussion, interacting like improvisers, building and releasing tension. “Private
Hate”, however, is far more severe in its refusal to gel into any semblance of music. The presence
of humans behind these sounds is close to zero. In fact, if someone told me that they left a tape
recorder in their backyard for an hour and just spliced some random moments together and
pressed them onto 12” wax, I’d believe them. The events (such as they are) that (barely) fill this
record are both brittle and grimy at the same time. Footfalls in empty rooms, traffic heard from
open windows, tinkling glasses and soft line hum are pretty much all you get. Apparently, three
people made “Private Hate”. Wow. Were two of them sleeping? Or all of them? There are stretches
(like on “PH1”) that sound somewhat more recognizably like people making intentional intermittent
textural (but rough and fragile) percussion sounds, which are interrupted by tape recorders being
turned on and off. Then there are tracks like “Bulla Nota”, consisting of creaks that could either be
the work of a person playing an instrument or else just the arbitrary, accidental sound of a section
of fence blowing in the wind. “PH2” might be the sound of an elevator in a parking garage near a
highway, or it might be a person striking an oil drum with remarkably random-seeming cadence.
Minutes pass with almost no sonic events aside from open-air and distant cars. “PH3” contains a
soft electric hum that reminds me of a cord plugged in and left alone for nine minutes. Are these
“field recordings”? Is Shots a band? I don’t know and don’t much care. It takes guts to make a
record so devoid of conventional pleasure or satisfaction (who needs those, anyway?), especially
a nothing that’s neither precious nor imbued with any apparent conceptual conceit (at least, not
one that’s shared with the listener). As soon as “Private Hate” finished playing, I listened to it
again… and then a third time. And I still have no idea what the heck this is, but I’m so happy
that it exists. (HS)
––– Address:

CRESCENT – DRUM INTINS EP (12″ by Minimmal Movement)
VOT’E – HAMMERSMITH FLYOVER (12″ by Minimmal Movement)

From my favourite local (and possible the only one I know) enterprise for dance music, Minimmal
Movement, we have here two new slabs of minimal techno music. Although from sunny Nijmegen,
many of the musicians hail from other parts of the world, primarily from Romania. I have no idea
where Crescent is from though; Discogs doesn’t know either and this is the only release so far.
Two originals, in the parlance of our times, by Crescent and one remix by Naj Naj on the second
side, and especially that one is a one-hell-of-a minimal beast. By comparison, the originals are
quite busy, when, in fact, they are not. They are minimal with some well-placed breaks; a stomping
rhythm and a fine creepy synth line or two in a well-chosen moment. Perhaps not a sunny as some
of the other releases by this label, this is nevertheless some great party music.
    Which is also, obviously, the case with Lyudmil Dragomirov’s project Vot’e. He lives in London,
but might very well be from Romania and this is also a debut release. The first side his original and
on the second a remix by Paul Agripa. His work seems even more minimal with a bunch sounds
going on and on, along with a straightforward dry drum beat. There are a few breaks, but otherwise,
this is one driving force. Funny sounds in there as well, that you could find annoying but perhaps on
a massive sound system under the proper influence, this is a mind-bender. I love it straight anyway.
Agripa adds a bunch of ambient synth patterns to the mix, and drops the weirdo sounds a bit of that
and it sounds familiar and strange at the same time. Here too drums and bass synth are very dry,
and the rest of the sound is in full overdrive modus, but in the background.
    Both records seem to be moving towards a slightly more experimental approach in the world of
minimal techno, but at the same time I admit I have no clue of that world, so what do I know? (FdW)
––– Address:


Yesterday was a pretty chaotic day. Social media discussions, packages, visitors, celebrations
and what have you else, writing reviews became a difficult thing, especially if you have to sit down
with a 7″ by The Memory Band. There are two pieces that spin at 45 rpm, i.e. not very long, so
dividing time between listening, writing and chaos is difficult. No doubt, also because the music, in
this case, is of a rather delicate nature. Stephen Cracknell is the producer of The Memory Bands
and we reviewed some of his work before (Vital Weekly 879926989). Here Nancy Wallace (also
of The Owl Service) provides the vocals and Fred Thomas plays electric piano, cello and pump
organ on the first side, and John Smith guitar on the second. Now, today is a quieter day I made
myself a cupper (also known as a cup of tea) and listened to this 7″ in quietness. ‘After Night’ “uses
lyrics assembled and adapted from a handful of ballads with similar lyrics but differing titles
collected far and wide in the English-speaking world since the eighteenth century”. This is folk
music with the full treatment; building up dramatic climaxes, quiet interludes, a great mournful
voice and, you know me (I hope), I have no idea what these lyrics are about. But it is a damn
great song.
    The other side is a cover of Anne Briggs’ ‘Tangled Man’, a rather pleasant upbeat song by the
sound of the acoustic guitars and the sweet voice of Wallace. It is of course (?) a song about
leaving and perhaps less pleasant, but it is a great folk song. Purer folk, I’d say, with one voice
and two guitars, but maybe even closer to tradition than the other side. It is music to escape the
chaos, and that is the best 7″ medicine a doctor can prescribe. (FdW)
––– Address:

E.M.I.R.S. – ADEM/BREATH (CDR, private)

About a year I was pleasantly surprised by Quinten Dierick’s cassette as E.M.I.R.S. (see Vital
Weekly 1143), which was a long ride, going through endless variations on the theme of reel-to-
reel manipulations, Dictaphone abuse, cassettes and electronics. Here he returns with the good ol’
CDR release, with a hand-printed sleeve and booklet, each being unique with additional drawing
on each of the full colour Xeroxed pages. As the title indicates this new release deals with the
human voice in all of the six pieces and Dierick’s does a great job when it comes to variation. It is
perhaps a little less ambient and little more towards the noise, but nowhere it gets very heavy, very
noisy or very loud. Dierick’s sighs, breaths and, most surprisingly, almost sings in what I think is the
highlight of the release, ‘Beeks’. This is almost like children rhyme (but coming from an absurdist
Dutch radio show from years ago), which he sets to some excellent reel to reel manipulation of the
self-same voice, along with time variations of feedback. That kind of manipulation, the handheld
reel-to-reel tape, the loops, the variations of time on the machine, is a recurring thing on this release
and Diericks works his magic very well. ‘ShimmeringSolicitorsHymn’ may seem to use no human
voice, but the synth picks up something and re-creates that into voice-like sounds. There is a cover
of Hank Williams SR ‘Kaw Liga’, which I didn’t recognize at all. There is a piece with quite a bit of
percussion, banging around on chairs and tables in a big space, with a very direct pick-up of the
sound in that space in ‘Aardadem’, with curious, weird sounds around that. It ends on a dark note
with  ‘Adem’, a piece for layered synths in minor but massive chords. The previous cassette was a
bit long, perhaps, but at thirty-seven minutes this CDR was way too short. Here another two
pieces, another ten to twelve minutes would have been most desirable. (FdW)
––– Address:

MODELBAU – NIGHT CALL (cassette by Important Drone Records)
MODELBAU – THE WHOLE TRUTH (cassette by Trapdoor Tapes)
MODELBAU – THE FEVER (CDR by Hologram Label)

Frans de Waard makes music at such a rapid clip that I can’t really comprehend how he does it.
This is especially impressive seeing as each album is whole sounding and considered, not a one-
take improvisation or self-generating auto-pilot. Each of these five (!!) new albums is a completed
idea that establishes and sustains a unique atmosphere and stands on its own. If one thing can be
said to unite all the Modelbau releases, it’s patience; in this guise, de Waard doesn’t race to fill up
empty spaces or speed towards the next section. That gives a lot of this stuff a contemplative, even
ambient character.
    Of the five new albums, “Kick the Can” is the noisiest, which seems fitting, as it’s released on the
Stront label, run by Peter Zincken of Odal and Fckn Bstrds. Still, Modelbau’s noise isn’t a full-bore
assault or grimy negativity. “Kick the Can” is lettered with spiky shortwave squiggles and gut-
churning synth low end, but it’s still too sparse and slow-moving to be called a noise album. It has
harsh elements to it, but the sections breathe. On the other hand, “The Whole Truth” isn’t harsh or
noisy, but these two static slabs are distinctly unnerving. The bizarre haze of animal sounds,
faraway thump and irregular metallic clang on the first side sounds like a forest fire recorded onto
a warped cassette tape. The second side sounds like the interior monologue of a raccoon
rummaging around for food in dumpsters and underneath bushes next to an urban shopping mall.
    The fact that “Night Call” was made for a label called Important Drone sorta gives the game
away: it’s a drone album! These two half-hour meditations are forthright and powerful, charging
straight out of the gate with a full-force oscillator thrum. The second side brings back the electric
flutter, culminating in a lovely floating shimmer that one could easily zone out to. The sunniest and
positive of the bunch.
    Both “The Fever” and “Mirror Image” are released simultaneously by Miami’s Hologram Label,
and they work nicely as a complementary pair. “The Fever” is pretty close to ambient music, at
least as close as de Waard gets with Modelbau. Minimal crumples and clatters form an acoustic
baseline for otherworldly feedback filigree. By the middle of the album, some distant machinery
and inhuman growls interrupt the otherwise pleasant drift with an implacable menace that soon
dissipates into a grey fog. If “The Fever” sounds like a half-remembered and vaguely disquieting
dream, “Mirror Image” is the sound of waking up and slowly realizing that everything is okay. Rich
tones establish a firm presence in reality, grounded and secure. A serene mood permeates all six
tracks, unhurried and unworried by whatever nonsense was cooked up by nervous neurons the
night before. (HS)
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Releases from the house of Unsigned, a label from Budapest, not always excel in very clear,
informative covers. This is not different; I gather the first three pieces are by Hungarian Noise
Makers and the other three by Fixateur Externe. The CDR also contains a video by the first. But all
of this is more or less fluid here. I can imagine bands and projects like this having the same
members. One Attila Vlad gets credit for ‘software instruments and noises’ on five of the six tracks.
This is a release that lives up to the name of one of the projects, a world of noise. Not the kind of
harsh noise wall, or mindless distortion of some kind, but oddly enough, the voice plays an
important role in all of these pieces. Distorted, screaming, with many sound effects applied to
those voices, amidst a barrage of manipulations that could be analogue (reel-to-reel manipulations,
but perhaps I was distracted by the sight of such a machine in mp4 video, which turned out to be
the noisiest piece of the collection). Hungarian Noise Makers sound a tad more electronic and
reminded me of Henri Chopin being the singer of an industrial noise act, whereas Fixateur Externe
has a more organisation, a beat even, but also add elements of improvisation, such as a
saxophone in ‘Isten Szerne’. The voice is not as screaming and distorted but weird in a different
way. Layered, vague and not necessarily speaking or singing a coherent word or two. Is it good?
Or bad? I don’t know. It is very much a product of direct energy, a worthy underground
product. (FdW)
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As I was halfway through this new release by Somnoroase Pasarele from Romania I was thinking
that it was quite experimental and lacked their usual love for rhythm. I then had a better look at the
cover of this release (that comes in one of those slimline CDR boxes that I think look very cheap,
even when the cover is printed on glossy paper) and saw this was already recorded in 1994. That
may explain this a bit, I would think. For this recording, I now assume one of the earliest from the
group, there are no electronics, no drum machines or synthesizers, but a “Unitra turntable and two
pirated International double-deck cassette recorders”, and it was “recorded on a Raks cassette,
using a Panasonic portable recorder”, all of which says something about the somewhat primitive
nature of the music, which is ‘sampled’ (a term to be used loosely) from “Pascal Bentoiu – Choral
prelude to Hamlet, Aeh – Lilial (piano) 1992 and Aeh & Psh – Tragica lucrare III (prepared piano
and percussion) 1993″. It is strange, noisy, quiet at times and doesn’t too much like turntable noise
and there is something pleasantly naive about this loud collage of sounds. Primitive surely,
abrasively loud, thoughtful quiet and with the samples from choral music slightly ‘gothik’, but with
the noise also firmly based within the world of industrial music. I have no idea where and how this
fits into the history of Somnoroase Pasarele but throughout a fine work.
    Scoro, of whom I had not heard yet, performed work for three stereo cassette decks, but then in
2018. One can hear the differences quite easily. While Scoro’s music is not necessarily quiet, it is
also not on the same level of noise as Somnoroase Pasarele. There are no sources mentioned
here for the sounds, but I could think this might very well be that these tapes are filled with sounds
of his own making. As said, the music is not necessarily quiet but it is throughout also melodic,
with hints of instruments used, such as guitar, percussion (from machines perhaps) and
synthesizers. There is a sort of direct in your face cosmic feeling that is unsettling and therefore,
perhaps, a nice thing. At least it is something I found most enjoyable. This too seems and sounds
like a collage in sound, but the building blocks are rather more musical that I would think is
common in this kind of music and that is very nice. Towards the end, things tone down a bit more
and the guitar shines through some sort of improvised manner. I have no idea if this Scoro plans
to do more things but I would think that if he removes the element of randomness from his music
and decides to plan things a bit more, it would surely have a great impact on the final composition.
Maybe that is something to consider for a future release? This is already a promising start. (FdW)
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PEOPLE SKILLS – MOUNT MORIAH TOCSIN (cassette by Alien Passengers)

I think Jesse Dewlow is sick. Not “sick” as an exclamation (“sick set, bro!”), but sick as in physically
ill. Dewlow makes music that sounds unhealthy. Listening to the oozing amorphous song-like
sound blobs on these two tapes, I’m transported back to my childhood in the late 1970s, when I
had to stay home from school with a fever, drifting in and out of unrestful sleep while my mother
had daytime television running a few rooms away. I could hear teevee conversations (game
shows? daytime soap operas?) or maybe my mom on the phone with friends, but filtered through
a painful headache, persistent nausea, boredom and in between consciousness. That’s what this
recalls for me. Dewlow, the man behind People Skills (an ironic name for music this defiantly
unfriendly), deserves commendation for coming up with a sound so potentially alienating…
clearly, he has a vision and a specific, unique voice. 
    The more abstract of these two tapes, “Mount Moriah Tocsin”, reminds me of a bit of Sandoz Lab
Technicians or CJA. It begins with “Diamond Ring”, a relatively songlike blob with a tin-can drum
box tapping away and loops so raw they sound like they were recorded onto masking tape.
Dewlow’s vocals are delivered in a mush-mouthed monotone from beneath a crushing fog of room
tone rumble and negative-fidelity hiss. Behind the obtuse nods toward song, form is a stream of
errant chatter from an unrelated conversation. Maybe this is the single? From that opening number,
a sense of deflated sadness sets in. A melancholy organ takes the lead as someone works on a
carpentry project (maybe drilling wood and building a table?) in the same room that Dewlow
happens to be recording in. That shuffle of mundane extraneous incidental motion persists
throughout the album, acting as a sort of anchor as the seasick loops degrade and warp… I hear
ocean waves (on “Harboring Criminals”, which opens side 2), the wind blowing on a microphone,
the clicks of someone shifting in their chair. The atmosphere is one of a private performance that
the listener is surreptitiously eavesdropping on. And then the album ends with a major catharsis:
a full-sounding church organ and chanting punctuated by synth crackle. Suddenly, People Skills
swings open the windows and doors and lets in cleansing daylight.
    Dewlow’s more conventionally musical side gets the spotlight on his “Telephone Booth” cassette.
The overall mood still seems to be informed by codeine and heat stroke, but for the most part
“Telephone Booth” is an album of songs played on guitars and keyboards with that damned drum
machine still making sickly clicks as Dewlow distractedly moans verses and choruses. If you squint,
you can imagine this to be the demo cassette for a future Kranky album, distortion and mistakes left
in with the intent to smooth them all out later. However, I know that the blemishes are part of the
package, preserved on tape as the artist’s intentional signature. Still, if you like Stars of the Lid or
Labradford and can mentally conjure what they might sound like if they made their albums on a
dusty Tascam pulled from beneath a bed on a slow Sunday afternoon while all players have nasty
head colds, you’d get pretty close to “Telephone Booth”. (HS)
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