Number 1192

Vital Weekly in the summer of 2019:

1193: 30 July
1194: 4 August
1195: 9 August
1196: 27 August

RATCHET ORCHESTRA – COCO SWIRL (CD on Ambiances MAgnétiques) *
JEAN DEROME – SOMEBODY SPECIAL (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques) *
  Bocian Records) *
  Zhelezobeton) *
CISFINITUM – MONOCHROME (CD by Zhelezobeton/Aquarellist/Kultfront) *
  Agenda) *
ANDERS BRØRBY – KILL COUNT (CDR by Somewhere Cold Records) *
OTTO SOLANGE – шон (CDR by Eilean Records) *
ECOVILLAGE – HOLD MY HAND (CDR by Eilean Records) *
BLACK FAUN/LÄRMSCHUTZ (split cassette by Faux Amis Records)
  (cassette by Invisible City Records) *
LIMINAL HAZE – VOLUME 2 (cassette by Invisible City Records) *


Over the years that see activity by Philippe Petit, I off and on hear his work. Sometimes not at all,
and then suddenly there is a next flow of releases I do get to hear. His work with writer Eugene
Robinson (see Vital Weekly 1143 for instance) didn’t blow me away, but I do like his solo work
quite a bit (Vital Weekly 1041 for instance). In his early work, he worked with turntables, but also
field recordings, electronics, cymbalon, piano and these days a lot with modular synthesizers. On
this new release we see him working with the Buchla Easel “connected to an Avantone Pro Cla-
200 amplifier”, live recorded to two separate tracks, each treated differently with a GRM ‘comb
filter’ to create true stereo spatialization and an even more efficient voltage intercourses between
oscillator, modulator, pulse LFO and other voltage sequencer”; I am sure all nerds know what that
means. I don’t. A novel by Edgar Allan Poe inspired the music. The whole modular synthesizer
scene of recent doesn’t blow me away. Especially the endless amount of shared clips on social
media, with impressive ranks of knobs doing only a sparse ‘bleep’, I find pretty annoying. In this
case of the new album by Petit, he created something more than that, and the two long tracks
connected with a short interlude and put on his most powerful act. The music is throughout quite
a noisy beast, with very rare instances of quietness. Some of that darkness we find in the work of
Poe, we find here in the music of Petit. I am not sure if the element of ‘live without overdubs’ is
really necessary, as I can imagine that with all the building blocks one can create with these
sounds, it is possible to create a slightly diverse work with some more sonic depth. Now it all
stays on the loud side and occasionally Petit loses it and needs to get back to a new starting
point. Editing might have worked there? But like a fine noise blast, this worked pretty well.
    While I don’t like to lump releases together, it is easy to make the connection between Petit
and one Bana Haffar. I had not heard of her before. She was born in Saudi Arabia in 1987 and
lives now in the USA; she plays electric bass and classical violin but in 2014 switched to using
modular electronics. Nerds no doubt want a list! Here we go: Make Noise Rene 2, Make Noise
Tempi, Make Noise WoggleBug, Make Noise Morphagene, Make Noise QMMG, Make Noise
tELHARMONIC, Make Noise Maths, Serge Resonant EQ, Mutable Instruments Shades, Mutable
Instrument Clouds and on the non-modular side field recordings (“made using a Zoom H6 and
Lom mikroUsi microphones, GE 35383 microcassette recorder”). She played her thirty-two-minute
piece at AB Salon in Brussels on May 3rd, 2019 and Touch was quickly available to release it.
The fact that this is a live recording begs for some questions. I had not heard any other work by
her and I am not sure if the live/unedited work is for her a principal thing, or it just happens to be
that this is a particularly great recording. For me, that is hard to judge of course, even when I do
enjoy this. Here too we hear Haffar leaping out, over-cooking the machines, but she quickly
corrects stuff and continues her journey. Her work is way more mellow than that of Petit’s, moving
through a variety of musical interests, ranging from modern electronics at the start of the piece via
cosmic connections to demented rhythms towards the end of the piece; not really dance music but
surely a deviation of that. Field recordings are used but not easily recognized as where they hail
from. Haffar combines seriousness with a more loose approach to the world of modular
electronics and it is quite entertaining. Here too I would think a studio version, editing and such
would be a great thing and I’d be curious to see what that would bring. Maybe this is something
for a new release? Hopefully! (FdW)
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To the musicians who created the music here, this is the “spiked soundtrack to a theoretical film”.
Daniel W J Mackenzie works as Ekca Liena and is a member of Plurals and work by him was
reviewed before; Richard A Ingram works as Oceansize, is one half of British Theatre and
keyboard player for a rock band named Biffy Clyro. The two men worked on the music via the
exchange of sound material by mail. For neither player, there is an instrument mentioned the
cover so we have to guess here. I believe to hear quite a bit of field recordings, acoustic object
treatments, piano and guitar, next to, of course, to a bunch of electronics and perhaps software
for processing and surely for editing. Together they recorded eight pieces that work with the best
of notions from the world of drone music, ambient, musique concrete and such like. Their film is
no doubt a dark one, with sombre black and white images of the dark forest, late-night mist over
a swamp and long shots of a nocturnal highway with very occasionally passing headlights. The
tale of the story, I would think, is not important; it is a collection of sound images, slowly moving
and drifting. There is no direction in the music and sometimes that is not very good to notice, but
in these spatial drifts, it all works quite fine. Play this, do something and flow in and out of it all, like
the music also does. That worked best for me here. In terms of musical innovation, this is perhaps
not the newest of things yet these two composers produced their hybrid version and that worked
well. (FdW)
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RATCHET ORCHESTRA – COCO SWIRL (CD on Ambiances MAgnétiques)

This orchestra was started in 1992 on the initiative of Montreal-based composer, double bassist
and bandleader Nicolai Caloia. He is into improvised as well as composed music and the
combination of both, for small and very big line-ups. With his big-sized Ratchet Orchestra, he
wants to explore improvised ‘chamber jazz’. For the ‘Hemlock’ project in 2012 over 30 performers
were part of the orchestra. For ‘Coco Swirl’ he chooses for a smaller crew. But with following 19
musicians we can still speak of an ensemble of big band proportions: Lori Freedman (clarinets),
Jean Derome (flutes, baritone saxophone), Yves Charuest (alto saxophone), Aaron Leaney (tenor
saxophone), Jason Sharp (bass saxophone), Ellwood Epps (trumpet), Craig Pedersen (trumpet),
Scott Thomson (trombone), Jacques Gravel (contrabass trombone), Julie Richard (tuba), Joshua
Zubot (violin), James Annett (viola), Jean René (viola), Guillaume Dostaler (piano), Ken Doolittle
(percussion), Isaiah Ceccarelli (drum set) and Nicolas Caloia (double bass, conductor). So we are
in the company of some very pronounced and experienced players who bring in a lot of ideas and
experience and make this a very lively and enjoyable recording. Caloia delivered the
compositions. The last one, ‘Before is After’,  is a suite in six parts. Term ‘improvised chamber
jazz’, describes very well what he is aiming for. Jazz and improvisation make an organic whole
with features of academic composed music. His intelligent compositions are of fascinating
complexity and relevance. They make up an ideal starting point for excellent and expressive
improvising. Many intriguing moments pass by in this eclectic universe that is bursting of musical
ideas. The instrumentation is very diverse and colourful assuring fine contrasts like the one in
‘Blood’ between the blowers and the experimental electric guitar played by Shalabi. This is more
than an excellent release in a transparent recording. (DM)
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JEAN DEROME – SOMEBODY SPECIAL (CD by Ambiances Magnétiques)

Was Derome’s latest ‘Sudoku pour Pygmées’ more of a rock-based album if you want, this time it
is all about jazz. Not with compositions by his hand, but nine compositions written by Steve Lacy
and selected by Derome. Lacy, who died in 2004, deeply influenced Derome during his career.
The works are performed by his trio, consisting also of Normand Guilbeault (double bass) and
Pierre Tanguay (drums). The trio debuted in 2004 with work with compositions by Derome. On
later releases, they started to dig into jazz history and interpreted works by Ellington, Mengelberg,
Konitz, Dolphy, a.o. But this time as said a release completely dedicated to one composer: Karen
Young and Alexandre Grogg, who both have a prominent role on this recording, assist them.
Young is a singer, composer and arranger from Quebec, singing in contexts of classical, world as
well as jazz. Grogg, also from Quebec, studied improvisation, worked with Normand Guilbeault,
Michel Côte and co-leads the quintet Ensemble en Pièces. They concentrate on nine compositions
by Lacy, or to be more precise songs by Lacy, he composed that for his wife and musical
companion/vocalist Irene Aebi. Lacy is known most of all for his work as a free improviser on alto
sax, performer and short-time collaborator of Monk, but what I discover now is that Lacy was also a
composer of solid and beautiful melodic material, literally hundreds of songs. So I guess it took a
while for Derome to select a few of them for his project. Songs that have lyrics written by Lao Tzu,
Thomas Gainsborough, Herman Melville and Brion Gysin. The works are performed with verve
and swing by the musicians, and the vocals by Young are great. This is music is very lively and
breaths. (DM)
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An album of duets by two Norwegian performers: Kasper Værnes  (saxophones) and  Andreas
Wildhagen (drums, percussion). They perform together for ten years. Also, they participate in
some identical ensembles and projects like Knyst!, a trio with Nakama founder  Christian Meass
Svendsen plus participate in Paal Nilssen-Love´s Large Unit. They soon became a duo after their
first meeting, exploring ideas and possibilities of saxophone and drums. With ‘Troposgrafien’ they
make their debut. Recordings for this debut took place in 2016, during a rehearsal period at the
Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. In five improvisations they give way to diverse aspects of
their collaboration and they are all moving between extremely loud outbursts and subtler
dialogues. ‘Magma’ for example is a very wild and raw exercise – like one continuous eruption –
with very intense interaction between the two. In contrast, the next improvisation shows them
from their introvert side. Also in a subtle interplay, they reach a satisfying intensity and
togetherness. Throughout their explorations, that differs in dynamics and energy, show we
are dealing here with two excellent improvisers who take risks in their communicative and
dynamic improvisations. (DM)
––– Address: http://


For me, this is an all-around introduction to musicians and label, albeit a short introduction. The
CD has five pieces and is only twenty-five minutes long. There is not a lot of information on the
musicians, but we are told that the title, ‘Lumiraum’ is “a neologism, the suffix AUM included in the
title, according to the Hindu tradition is the basis of their ethical and spiritual conception”, which
might be a clue as to where this music is going; maybe not. If you would think this is all a bunch of
drones, then you mainly, but not completely wrong. Magnani plays “analogue electronic devices,
clarinet, soprano sax, alto and bass recorder, carob shaker and vocals”, while Trzcinski plays
“analogue and digital electronic devices, vocals”. Honestly, I must say I didn’t hear much of these
voices; maybe they are heavily processed. Ambient is the keyword here, and perhaps if I had to
pick a time frame, I’d add ‘ambient music from the mid 90’s’. This is not some dubby ambient house
release with lotsa rhythm and bird and dolphin sounds, but it is more connected to the music of
Jorge Reyes, Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana and music released by Hypnos or Silent Records.
Even without the use of rhythm in an overtly recognizable way, this has a very fourth world vibe
to it. The wind instruments sound mysterious, sounding from afar, while synthesizers play chords
and tones, rather than long, sustaining waves. In a way, this all from the world of improvised music,
with those shimmering free wind instruments, such as in ‘Buriash’, but taken out of that context and
brought into the world of finely textured ambient music. At times it leans a bit too much to the world
of kitschy new age music, but it won me over, believing these guys have their hearth in the right
ambient place. No idea why this is so short, and wishing it would have been a proper LP-sized
length (also available on LP, and so I would think there is more space available). (FdW)
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Both Simon Baletrazzi and Nicola Quiriconi made music that was reviewed in these pages. They
worked together as Daimon (Vital Weekly 1129), but also VipCancro, Quiriconi’s ensemble of
strange acoustic and electronic music. Balestrazzi was active with such groups as T.A.C., Dream
Weapon Ritual and A Sphere Of Simple Green. This is the first work as a duo and as such
decided to use their names, rather than come with a band project. This too sees a continuation
of their earlier explorations in some highly unusual musical territory. It is unusual in the sense that
they use elements from various musical genres together into something quite nice. First of all, the
music is very silent and as such seems to be coming from the world of microsound. It makes it very
hard to recognize the sounds, but I would think it is a combination of hand manipulations of sounds
with the use of contact microphones or very close to the ‘normal’ microphones and the use of
instruments, mainly wind, and voices. That brings in the element of improvisation to the music. It is
not easy to recognize but it is what it is. Along with that, there is occasional distortion and feedback,
noise one would say, but that too is remotely present, like a ghost in the back of the recording.
Perhaps like John Cage wanted those unwanted noises to be part of the music (well, in ‘Cartridge
Music’, that is). In the seven parts of ‘Licheni’, the two musicians explore the possibilities all of this
has to offer them, and they to that in a great way. The occasional drone sound passes by, adding
a sombre and atmospheric quality to the music; the dark cover tops it off. You have to crank up the
volume quite a bit here, and some of the nastier frequencies will come across meaner and louder,
but it adds to the radical experience of the music. Great release! (FdW)
––– Address:

  Bocian Records)

It is a surprise to see another sign of life from Polish Bocian Records; I thought they stopped
doing new music, sad as that was. But here is a new CD by them with two long pieces for the
harp, played by Hélene Breschard. She is a classically trained harpist but also plays with JF
Pauvros and in the IRE ensemble, which is co-directed by Kasper T. Toeplitz. He’s the composer
of ‘Convergence, Saturation & Dissolution’ for electric harp and live-electronics, the second piece
on this release. The first piece is ‘Occam Ocean XVI’ for acoustic harp and composed by Eliane
Radigue. She is by now the grand old lady of electronic music, but this is an acoustic piece.
Incidentally, the first work she composed for someone else was Kasper T. Toeplitz, who recorded
and mixed both pieces here. It is, of course, interesting to hear something that Radigue composed
which is not for an electronic instrument; it is also strange, in some way. It has that empty, Zen-like
approach we know from her work, with Breschand playing much of this with a bow, in the opening
and closing section of the piece, whereas in the middle section she plucks the strings, in what
seems to be a vaguely Eastern manner. It is very much a work of modern classical music.
    In Toeplitz’ piece for electric harp and electronics, we oddly find some of that Radigue
influenced drone sound, but also some of Toeplitz’ trademark heavy noise work. The piece is
built from a few sections, going very quiet droning to ear-piercing plucked strings that are loaded
with extra effects as to emphasize the reverb sound. It cuts out abruptly (another Toeplitz
trademark) but quickly returns for a noisy coda. A top-heavy work, once again, and quite a
beauty it is. There are some interesting contrasts to be noted between both pieces. (FdW)
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CISFINITUM – MONOCHROME (CD by Zhelezobeton/Aquarellist/Kultfront)

Here we a trio of releases filled with dark sounds and I am sure summertime might not be the
best season for that kind of music. But a mild day it surely is in sunny Nijmegen, so why not a trip
to the tundra? Igor Potsukailo is the man behind Bardoseneticubbe and he has a bunch of
releases that didn’t go unnoticed in these pages and one of them was a release with Manabu
Hiramoto, also known Shinkiro, which was reviewed in Vital Weekly 1026. Then they travelled
‘inside and outer space’ and this time they take us ‘beyond the edge of the universe’. I assume the
two men shared sound files and did that for nearly two-and-half years. There are no instruments
mentioned, but I would think they use a variety of Tibetan bowls, percussion, synthesizers, guitars
and effects and from the latter they use reverb a lot. A massive space is suggested here through
the use of reverb and perhaps that is all a bit of a cliché. It doesn’t make the music bad per se, but
it is here also a means to cover some of the weaker ideas. You can bang on any can and suggest
a massive space. The sustaining ambient sounds, played with either synthesizers or guitar and
bows, they also use I thought were of much more interest; they sound like space ships through the
black sky and that too might seem like a cliché, but it is the dark ambience I love very much. So
there are a few mixed feelings here with this release.
    Following a bunch of digital-only releases, there now the first full-length release by Notum, of
who I only know that he’s from Berlin. Housed in a cover painted by Matt Waldron of,
there aren’t many details on the cover when it comes to instruments as such, so again we are
guessing here. I’d say there are a lot of synthesizers used here, a bit of effect and some taped
voices. There are lots of drones, obviously, I’d say for a release on this label, but it also seems to
me that Notum is playing these drones louder and meaner than many of his peers. It is not
exclusively about drones though. There is also a piece like ‘Queen Of Space’ with a heavy rhythm
set against some processed toy piano or ‘Focus’ with a dark minimalist slab of techno rhythm that
seems a bit out of place unless the variation is something Notum went for; I am not sure there.
‘Threads’ follow it, with eleven minutes the longest piece of the CD, and Notum goes into an all
space ambient modus here, with guitar and loops. Mixed feelings are also something I have with
this release. There are some fine dark ambient pieces here, of the louder variety, but he tends to
overcook his meal, and also seems to think that this first opportunity for a full-length album is also
the moment to display all his musical interests and ideas but not necessarily leads to a coherent
album. It does, however, hold quite some potential for the future.
    Back in 2005, a very new Russian label released work by Eugene Voronovsky, also known as
Cisfinitum. It was not the first release for him or the label. ‘Bezdna’ was reviewed in Vital Weekly
478 and more followed from Cisfinitum and the label that released it, Monochrome Vision. In
September of last year, Dmitry Vasiliev, the man behind Monochrome Vision (also a mail-order
and organiser of concerts, as well as writing about exactly ‘this’ kind of music), died in a tragic
accident in the Black Sea, thus ending the label. About the same time, Cisfinitum put the final
touches on this new release, which became ‘Monochrome’, a fitting farewell to the man himself.
Whereas I remember most of Cisfinitum’s music as being quite atmospheric, ambient and drone-
like, this is not the case here. Rhythm plays an important role here and apparently, these are
‘non-square rhythms’, 7/8 or 15/16, which again apparently makes “the strong beat gains fluidity
typical of oriental music’. These odd beats guide the sampled sounds of choral music from
medieval composers and that may seem an odd pairing but Cisfinitum melted the choral voices
into something quite abstract and ambient like. The music gets a rather majestically feeling, a
sort of massiveness that works rather good with these beats. I am not sure about the fluidity or
the Eastern feel (although, I must admit at one point thinking of Muslimgauze; in ‘Auyaea’, I think),
but in terms of dark atmospheric music, hearing something interesting in the world of rhythm, this
was all a most pleasant release. It would have been something that mister Vasiliev would have
been proud to release; sad to realize this is a reminder he’s no longer here. Indeed a fitting
musical eulogy. (FdW)
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When I returned home from being a week away, I found this new release by Francisco Meirino. I
thought that would be an ‘easy’ one to review, as I know his music quite well. I started playing it,
looked at the cover and decided to come back later. It turned out this is not your usual Meirino
cracked electronics, dying PA and malfunctioning equipment release, but it has three pieces that
were written for ensembles; two short piece for Ensemble Vortex and a longer one for Ensemble
Phoenix Basel. I had no idea that Meirino was into this sort of new music/composing activity. It
surely is something that caught me by total surprise. Instruments used are bass clarinet, cello,
viola, double bass (Vortex), and double bass, flute, electric guitar, trumpet, saxophone, keyboards,
percussions, electronics, clarinet and violin (Phoenix). This is some radical acoustic music,
perhaps just as we would expect from Meirino when he’s using electronics. Bending and shifting
sounds around, droning and nervous activities side by side. In ‘Epidemic’, the long piece for
Ensemble Phoenix Basel, it sounds like a disease is brought to life. It’s nervousness of the wind
instruments versus the drones of guitar and percussion; this makes it sound like a body is under
attack from bacteria. In ‘Nabla’, the five-minute opening piece here, it is all explosive and abrupt
in changes; in true Meirino fashion sound is chopped up and changed around, whereas in ‘Ghetto
(Phase IV)’ he has almost sweet string touch in the beginning, but here too ends on that nervous
bending of sounds. This is all quite unsettling music and it fits the Meirino aesthetic. (FdW)
––– Address:


Wrongly I assumed I had not heard the Ivan Palacky before, but I reviewed a disc of improvised
music of his and Klaus Filip, Toshimaru Nakamura and Andrea Neumann in Vital Weekly 862; his
name also popped as a player of a knitting machine (Vital Weekly 794). To say that I have any
idea what he does: not really. Lukas Simonis, on the other hand, is someone I know since ages,
and whose work ranges from playing the guitar with Dull Schicksal, Trespassers W or Ig
Witzelsucht (great CD last year!) to doing lots of improvisation things with Pierre Bastien, Anne
La Berge, Candlesnuffer or solo. Together with Palacky he recorded this CD in Libusin in the
Czech Republic on October 20, 2018, and that resulted, I assume after some editing, into two
pieces, ‘ZEMPHENG (long piece)’ and ‘retserleq (short piece)’, altogether fifty minutes of music.
As far as I understand Palacky’s website (apparently only in the Czech language) he still plays
the knitting machine but based on listening to this CD that was not very clear to me. Well, in my
defence, I may have no idea what a knitting machine sounds like. I do believe I did hear Simonis’
guitar and stompboxes. The music is quite the interesting mix of instrumental sounds, the strings
being bent and bowed, with something very hard to define, but that sometimes sounds indeed
machine-like. There is a bit of rhythm, very primitive, there is hiss, noise, there is some quieter
interaction and there is the occasional point where I thought they lost it a bit. It is probably what
you imagine improvisation music to be. This is a very fine work, topped by a fine cover by graphic
designer Redbol. (FdW)
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ANDERS BRØRBY – KILL COUNT (CDR by Somewhere Cold Records)

Here we have one-and-a-half release with music by Norway’s Anders Brørby, displaying two quite
opposite approaches to music composing. It is something we were aware of from his previous
releases. First, there is the full album, ‘Kill Count’. I am looking at these titles, such as ‘Francine
And Many, 1978′, ‘Jessica, 1979’ or ‘Laura, 1990’, coming to the eleventh piece, ‘Scene From A
Cold Cell’. I tried Googling for murder victims with these names yet after a fruitful hour of reading
upon the most interesting homicide cases, I still hadn’t found my answer. I could ask mister Brørby,
but I didn’t. The music here seems to me to be all digitally made, with noises, synthesizers, effects
and voice samples; sometimes informative, sometimes screaming with pain and anger. These
computer manipulations aren’t necessarily abstract as Brørby cleverly slips in hints of melodies
and traces of rhythm. The feeling I get from this music is quite unsettling; even in its quieter
moments, there is a nasty undercurrent, approaching violence. Sometimes the sound is just
mean and loud, mildly to wildly distorted click-based rhythms, demented field recordings and
you know that suburbia will never be a safe place again. But we, the listeners, are safe in our
own homes and can easily scare away, listening to this.
    The other release is a split with four pieces by Anders Brørby and Jason T. Lamoreaux, who
calls himself The Corrupting Sea and who has five tracks to offer. I don’t think I heard of
Lamoreaux before. Also, I have no idea why this split release is called ‘Trilogy 1’, which is a
series of split releases released by Somewhere Cold Records. The music here, perhaps as a
guideline by the label, is created with guitars and electronics, and that’s what these musicians
duly did. The four pieces by Anders Brørby sees him playing around with a more ambient notion
in his sound, even when occasionally he slips in some very heavy, slow rhythm. The ambient
music he produces is perhaps not for the weak of heart; it is quite loud and bass-heavy. Also his
hands a very much attached to the reverb button. The Corrupting Sea is a bit more traditionally-
minded in his sustaining guitar drones, topped with field recordings and adding looped guitar
passages to the menu. It is a menu that we know very well by now; the one-man guitar orchestra
through the use of loop pedals is an often seen feature on small stages around the world. The
Corrupting Sea doesn’t add much news to the genre, does a pretty solid job in producing his
drones and it is a fine solid pastime; nothing more but certainly also nothing less. (FdW)
––– Address:

OTTO SOLANGE – шон (CDR by Eilean Records)

Although I am not entirely sure if I reviewed all of the releases by Eilean Records; I seem to
remember that Mathias van Eecloo, the man in charge here, wrote me that he thought some of
his releases had too much rhythm, which I would probably not like. I am not sure why I would not
like music with rhythm, but so it is. Maybe he changed his mind now, and that’s why he sent me
this release by Otto Solange. Maybe he sent me this because Otto Solange is the name by which
Van Eecloo records his music. I don’t think I knew that, but he did work by this name from 2013 to
2015, and this album will be his only album; just a sort of a continued life even after it is gone. As I
said I have no idea if Eilean Records did more music with rhythm, I can’t say if this is an oddball in
the catalogue or not. The title is the Mongolian word for ‘poles’. Van Eecloo uses samplers, effects
and loops (but stresses to say ‘no laptop’) and taking samples from his music collection and cuts
and past these together. There is quite a bit of rhythm, a sort of slow drum ‘n bass thing, a bit trip-
hoppy, along with other samples of wind instruments, keyboards and voices, this is a neat,
somewhat naive take on trip-hop and plunderphonics. Sometimes these rhythms are sampled
from records, including scratches and hisses, and sometimes from a drum machine. A drone is
occasionally a feature, but unlike some of his other solo work doesn’t play a big role. It places a
moody texture on the music, making it a bit darker, whereas perhaps the rest of it isn’t that dark.
There is a lack of completion here; some of these are ideas, halfway stopped in their tracks. One
could say ‘why release a half-finished release?’, but I enjoyed the naive quality of the music. It
offers insight into a process, of trying out new forms and that sometimes works quite well, and
sometimes not all, and yet you don’t want those misses. Quite funny, altogether, although that
might not the word Van Eecloo is looking for.
    As I am writing these words, my beloved city of Nijmegen is a madhouse. 45.000 people
walking for four days, and many more party hard for seven nights. Today the walk passes my
house not too far away and yet I don’t hear much of it. The occasional chopper overhead, or
some vaguely, far away music. Perhaps a day like so many Nijmegen summer days; quiet and
sunny. I was in town yesterday evening to see a concert and that was good, great even, but I was
happy to be home again. I played ‘Hold My Hand’ by Ecovillage again, the perfect medicine
against the madding crowd. The musical project of Emil Holmstrom and Peter Wikstrom, since
the start of the century. I only heard their ‘One Step Above’ album (Vital Weekly 956) and missed
out on their releases for Darla Records, Quince Records, Parallax Sounds and Constellation
Tatsu. ‘Hold My Hand’ is their sixth album and since the previous album, I heard it seems that
they moved towards the use of more acoustical instruments. There is much space for guitar,
piano, cello, trumpet and viola, some of which are played by guests such as Ludvig Cimbrelius,
David Feldman, Luis Miehlich and others. There are also electronics, by way of loops of sounds,
voices, keyboards, effects, field recordings (bird calls, water), and there is a great pastoral feeling
about this music, which I enjoy very much. Not just on a day like today, but any warm, slow day
during summer. Music that has a cottage feel, where one sits on the porch in the late afternoon
shadow, reading a book, and this music sounds from afar, and the extra sounds are from activities
in the surrounding area. There is no work, not much activity, just a summer holiday laziness. It
is, of course, the sort of holiday I very rarely do, because music like this is just a fine substitute?
I am easy to please, I guess, but this is some wonderful stuff. Highly recommended if you like
your ambient to be a bit more orchestral. (FdW)
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From Geneva, Switzerland, hails Left Bank (I presume from the left bank of the lake?), and there
are no further names given here. They describe their group as a ‘multipurpose facility for real-time
audio processing – advanced time manipulation and free form computer-based improvisations”. I
would call this laptop music and of a variety that is very rarely heard these days. It is a great
reminder of music that was produced fifteen or twenty years ago when LiSa, live sampling, the
software that could handle that was en vogue and when laptop artists took stages worldwide,
much like these days it is modular synthesizers. I have no idea what kind of software is the state
of the art thing these days for such proceedings, but my best guess would be something they
created in Max/MSP. Likewise, there are no sources mentioned, but I imagine a vast variety of
field recordings went into the blender and perhaps also a good banging and trashing of acoustic
objects around the house, all such an extent that we have no longer an idea of what is going on
here, originally. It is granulated; slowed down, speed up (especially that), all in a rapid succession
of changes. It is, as it was before, the perhaps now not so modern, variation of musique concrete
and electro-acoustic music; what we may have called glitch or click n cuts back then, even when
this duo has very little time for anything rhythmic. Left Bank does as a great job here, keeping it
all very vibrant and energetic; best is to play this loud and be overwhelmed. (FdW)
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BLACK FAUN/LÄRMSCHUTZ (split cassette by Faux Amis Records)

The seventh instalment of this series of twelve split cassettes sees Lärmschutz splitting a side
with Black faun from Greece. I reviewed a live cassette from them before in Vital Weekly 1168. It
was something that I thought was all right, not too great and certainly not bad at all. They were on
tour earlier this year and in the studios of Lärmschutz they recorded their thirty-one-minute
‘Helhesten’. Lärmschutz, as per usual, respond to that piece. That means noise plus noise equals
more noise. Let’s start with the Dutch hosts for a start. This time they are a trio with both Stef Brans
and Thanos Fotiadis on guitar (first time for the latter? I am not sure, as I heard quite a bit of their
music over the years) and Rutger van Driel on trombone. They are known to play a heavy-duty
song or two and here they set out on a course of improvisation noise. The two guitars provide
some textured distorted and dense patterns and the trombone takes the freest of roles here,
feeding it through some stompboxes as well, and it becomes a rather long and somewhat
formless mass of noise, but in response to Black Faun that seems most fitting, as they too are a
bit formless in their approach to noise. It is good if it is loud, seems to be their motto. They use
feedback and objects scratching and scraping together and it surely has their moments but this
too tends to go on for a bit too long. It might be that today I am not so much in the mood for noise
that wears me out? (FdW)
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  (cassette by Invisible City Records)
LIMINAL HAZE – VOLUME 2 (cassette by Invisible City Records)

Following his three previous releases (see Vital Weekly 11291161 and 1165) I have been in
contact with the man behind Calineczka and exchanged various communications about lots of
things, but drone music being an important topic. I cannot divulge all that was said. At one point
he sent me something digital-only (see link below this review) and ‘maybe you have some time to
hear it’. I did check it out, but I can admit I didn’t hear all of the six-plus hours of this. I wish I had
the time. However, I must say that I enjoy the shorter time for his work better. So far his cassettes
had works that last about thirty minutes and that seems for me the sort of length that works best.
On this new cassette, this is no different. In both parts of ‘Oklo’, Calineczka pays homage to the
drone works of Elian Radigue in his own way; slowly moving tones, which stay in a certain
configuration for some time and just as one is about to think, ‘hey, nothing changes’, it of course
changes, if only for a little bit. ‘Part 1’ seems a bit more minimal compared to ‘Part 2’, which moves
quickly to a small variety of changes. This is the kind of music that leaves many options for the
listener; one can choose to play this loud and be fully overwhelmed by it, or, quite the contrary, on
a very low level and have it as a mere presence in one’s space. I prefer the middle ground and
have it on some kind of medium level, which allows me to hear the finer details of the work and it
provides a fine headspace for this music. The music floats through my living room and by moving
myself through the same space, the sound makes delicate changes as well. In that respect, I
would think, the work of Calineczka owes also to that of Alvin Lucier. Another fine hour of
drone music.
    Recently I heard music by Diumal Burdens, also known as Ross Scott Buccleuch for the first
time, and two releases by Rovellasca, which is nom de plume by Craig Johnson, who is also
working as Death In Scarsdale and the proprietor of Invisible City Records. Both men get credit
for tapes and effects, while Craig also plays keyboards and Ross a synth. They have four pieces
here, between nine and thirteen minutes. It is a culmination of what I heard they are doing as
Rovellasca and Diumal Burdens. It has the long and loud drone infested noisiness of the first and
the hissy tape textures of the second. While one could say that all three of these projects are
connected in the approach to music, and can be seen as connected to the current way of ‘lo-fi
drones, cassette tapes, hiss, small synths’ and such (there is yet no name for this sort of thing?
Great!), they stand apart with these three projects in that sense they are louder than most of their
peers. There isn’t much by way of delicacy in these releases, and that is something I enjoy about
this. They listen and learn and they make their own decision to do something more of their own
making; setting out on a course that is a bit louder. Yet, the music by Liminal Haze is not mindless
lo-fi ambient noise for the sake being very noisy. There is still quite a bit of detail to be heard in
these pieces; field recordings captured in tunnels, perhaps, slowed down, with a bit of reverb, and
through equalization emphasizing the cassette hiss. In ‘II’ there is more of synth drone approach,
just like ‘I’ (but a bit less?) while the two pieces on the other side see a more cassette/drone/hiss
approach. This is most lovely loud lo-fi release, something you know and yet different. (FdW)
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