Number 1197

COOPER MOORE SESSIONS (3CD by Split Rock Records)
TONUS – SEGMENT TONES (CD by A New Wave Of Jazz) *
WARMBLADDER – 8 (CD by Gotta Let It Out) *
WARMBLADDER – CUNK (cassette by Gotta Let It Out)
CLAUSTROPHONE – #1 (cassette by Gotta Let It Out)
KLINIKUM – COLLAPSED (cassette, private) *
MARIE ROSE SARRI & PHILIPPE LAMY – ACTE DE FOI (cassette by Hemisphäreの空虚) *
MATTHEW ATKINS – SPECTRAL TERRACE (cassette by Hemisphäreの空虚) *
CARLO GIUSTINI & BANISHED PILLS – BILOCAZIONI (cassette by Hemisphär *eの空虚) *
MATTHEW REVERT – THE INPATIENT (cassette by Round Bale Recordings) *
GATEWAY – SUMMED-UP-SOUNDS IN PROCESS (cassette by Round Bale Recordings) *


Already announced in the review of the recent Edward Ka-spel solo CD in Vital Weekly 1195 was
the fact that a new release by The Legendary Pink Dots was imminent and is now released. A
while ago I had a visitor around close the Dots camp and he gave me a quick sneak peek at a few
tracks of this album, saying this was a definite new, fresh break. He wasn’t hyping; I know him for a
long time. The few bits were surprising and now I heard the whole album, I can safely say that he is
right. In these ten pieces, the band shows a refreshed side, through the use of much rhythm, guitars,
synths and of course the voice of Ka-spel, the trademark of the band. These rhythms are no longer
the result of some driving krauty sequencer beats that they used in the past, but a rather ‘modern’
rhythm machine version that leans very occasionally towards techno (‘Neon Calculators’, a
reminder of ‘Neon Gladiators’?), but just as well rocks away too; sometimes they fiddle around with
the rhythm and use dub techniques in their breaks. Erik Drost’s guitar also sounds fresh and poppy,
such as in the opener ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ (which president? And with a pinch of salt, I
assume). The Legendary Pink Dots are atmospheric at times, they always are, but here the
atmospherics are part of the song, rather than a lengthy piece of atmospherics by itself. These
longer atmospheric parts have not disappeared as, hey, this is the Legendary Pink Dots and for
them, lengthy exploration of sound, voice and instruments is simply what they do, now for forty
years. But throughout there is some great, youthful energy coming from this record, sparkling
fresh. No doubt the lyrics are about the sad current state of the world, about love (lost or otherwise)
and such, but I am not the person to comment on lyrics. I do know I found this entire release quite
captivating and looking forward to seeing them in concert again, and how they bring this new
sound across in concert. It looks like I have to wait a few months, sadly… (FdW)
––– Address:


Back in Vital Weekly 1180, I had my first introduction the music of Alex Leonard, who works as
Ebauche. That was his fourth album as such. Now he announces a new project, which he calls
Dronal, a perhaps not so surprising name for something that he wants to focus on ‘pure ambient/
drone’ music. To that end he uses field recordings he captured primarily in the Bavarian Alps in
2018, along with some from Poland and Ireland. Furthermore, he uses granular synthesis to
manipulate these recordings and recordings the Soma Ether, “a wide-band receiver capturing
natural and unnatural electromagnetic signals”. All of this together becomes the music of Dronal.
The sixteen pieces all have individual titles and indeed some of the pieces end with a fade-out,
yet these fifty-five minutes surely can also be heard as one long opus of drone music, interrupted
by a bit of silence here and there but also with some very dry acoustic sounds, right in front of the
microphone and very much in your face as it were. It gives the album quite a nice ebb and flow
element. The drones produced by Dronal are, well… drones as you would expect them. Vastly
orchestrated sounds that sound like a bunch of cello and violin strung together, with a bunch of
additional effects, like reverb. It is well-produced, that much is sure, but you could wonder about
the originality of it all. That side may be lacking a bit. Lying in a chair, reading a book, suffering the
heat, the sound of Bavarian Alps is more than welcome of course. Virtually escaping a hothouse
via some music is surely the next best thing to a real holiday in the Alps. As said, I think this is all
some great music. (FdW)
––– Address:

COOPER MOORE SESSIONS (3CD by Split Rock Records)

This release consists of three very different CDs, filled with improvisations and gospel with Cooper
Moore as the main performer. Cooper Moore is a musician with a very long career. In the 70s he
became a collaborator with David S. Ware. Later in the 80s, Hamid Drake and William Parker were
important companions. Over the years Cooper Moore developed himself into a multi-instrumentalist
and instrument builder. The output by this legendary performer is only sparsely documented alas.
Most releases with his contributions are from this century. In 2011 he met the guitar player and
singer-songwriter Ed Pettersen who is involved more and more in projects of improvised music.
Both were involved in the recording of the Guiseppe Logan Project. Together with Larry Roland
(double bass) who also was part of this project, they recorded a live set in the studio. It has Cooper
Moore playing piano and Pettersen guitar and effects. Titled as ‘Occupied’ these recordings we
find on the second cd of this three double bill. Pettersen creates streaming and flowing
backgrounds, of ambient like quality, with Cooper-Moore playing nervous jazzy patterns. Track two
starts in a very sensitive jazzy mood by piano and double bass. But again when Pettersen starts to
add his strange spun out textures, this results in a disorientating tension. As if we are witnessing
two musical efforts at the same time that interfere with one other. This aspect defines most of the
improvisations on this disc. That same year, 2011, Cooper Moore was invited to visit Nashville for
some more recording playing with Pettersen, plus Jerry Navarro and Dylan Simon. Results of these
sessions are condensed on the first CD of this box. The first improvisation ‘Sometimes’ impressed
me most. Starting as an early obscure krautrock-adventure, with creepy rhythm-based soundscapes
with meandering spacey electric guitar in the background in the first improvisation. In the second
one, it is synths that improvise on rhythm-based patterns by bass and some strange guitarlike
instrument built by Cooper Moore with a deep sonority. This can also be enjoyed in the succeeding
improvisation ‘Magical Things’. A great blues! Dylan Simon like Pettersen was a member of
experimental unit Nashville Electric that released two works. He is an interesting player of
electronics! Together they produce some very odd improvisations of an ambient quality. The way
it is recorded evokes a strange atmosphere. There is something mysterious in their sound. On the
third disc, ‘The Reverend Eddie Bones’, they turn to gospel. Here Cooper Moore (diddley bo, guit
jo, drums, flute, vocals) performs with Ed Pettersen (guitar, vocals), Jerry Navarro (double bass),
Freedy Holm (lap steel, banjo), Al Perkins (pedal steel, dobro), Marcia Wilder and Kira Small
(backgrounds). With Molly Thomas, fiddle on ‘Looking for You’ and Amy Speace (backgrounds) on
‘Looking for You’. They interpret traditional gospel songs but also a song by Townes van Zandt
(‘Looking for you’) as well as a composition by Pettersen (‘Prayer’). On this one, we have Pettersen
in a prominent role as the singer. Cooper Moore plays a diversity of instruments. I liked his
drumming in ‘Milky White Way’. The cd closes with ‘Little Drummer Boy’. With all differences
between the three one can say that jazz, blues and gospel are embedded in abstract textures
generated by electronics and electric guitar, uplifting these earth-rooted styles in an almost
timeless continuum. Most of all however this release is a unique chance to enjoy the playing by
Cooper Moore on diverse (self-built) instruments (DM)
––– Address:

TONUS – SEGMENT TONES (CD by A New Wave Of Jazz)

This is the first part of a review of in total 7 discs, all released by the A New Wave Of Jazz label, a
label run by Dirk Serries. Formerly known as Vidna Obmana and Fears Falls Burning, but these
days immersed in the world of improvised music. On Friday 18 and Saturday 19 October he
organises a festival with many of the people that appear on these seven discs playing a concert.
This week I will review the three discs that involve Dirk Serries, and next week, the other four, all
by others. These three already show the wide scope improvised music can be in the world
according to Serries. First we have Tonus, a group that always contains Dirk Serries and his wife
Martina Verhoeven, but otherwise seems to be an open membership group. Today, on ‘Segment
Tones’, it is a trio. Serries plays accordion and soprano melodica (the latter I would believe for the
first time), Verhoven is on concertina and cello and Colin Webster on clarinet and alto saxophone.
Whatever the line-up of Tonus might be, I do believe they play slow and quiet music; music that is
not in any way, shape or form, part of the hectic world out there. It is, perhaps, the music you could
believe to be part of some kind of meditation; maybe you already do, if meditation is your ‘thing’. It
is not for me, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think like this or appreciate it. Slow, quiet music asks
for some listening and that is something I like. That, and of course the Serries approach to ‘I never
played this instrument so I am sure I can do it’. They don’t use these instruments on all of these
pieces. In ‘Modulation Grid 1’, I would think it is the concertina, melodica and clarinet together in a
fascinating interplay of long sustaining tones with irregular intervals. In the title piece and
‘Amplitude’ the cello plays a big role, striking is slow and low with the microphone close by and the
result is that ‘Amplitude’ is quite a dark affair and ‘Segment Tones’ only slightly lighter but still also
dark and mysterious.
           Of an entirely different nature is the trio disc that Serries and Verhoeven recorded a month
later, December 2018, with percussionist Kris Vanderstraeten (also known for his work with Timo
van Luijck). Here Verhoeven is at the piano, where she is often to be found and Serries plays
acoustic guitar. Here we have five pieces of hardcore free improvisation and perhaps, even if this
sounds negative (which it is not), it sounds exactly as you would imagine free improvised/free jazz
music to sound like. Upon superficial hearing, it is three people producing sounds on their
instruments in a chaotic and disoriented manner. Verhoeven plays the keys, Vanderstraeten rattles
the cages and both instruments sound like you know they do, but Serries plucks, hits, scratches the
strings, and effective maltreatment of the acoustic guitar. Your teacher would not approve. However,
I am not someone who hears this kind of music for the first time; that doesn’t mean I am an expert on
this, far from it. I do think I have, in general, a wide interest in matters of new music, and understand
a little something of the world of interaction. That is what this is about; this is the music of three
people enjoying the total freedom to play together, use the instruments as they see fit, and while
superficially it may seem they are just doing something free and wild, I would think they listen and
respond to each other in a great way. Responding, acting and re-acting, doing the same thing or
doing something completely different and all along keep the listener listening. This is getting close
to the area of free jazz, but it is not, I would think, even when trying to distinguish both matters is
not easy. Just like this music is not easy, but upon close listening reveals a lot of beauty.
           When Serries handed me a flyer of his festival earlier this year, I said that Asmus Tietchens
seemed out of place in this whole wide world of improvisers, but he responded that Tietchens is
very much part of the same aesthetic. Serries and Tietchens worked together before when Serries
was active as Vidna Obmana. Back then it was all electronics that were being processed but this
time Serries gave Tietchens five recordings to work with, all using a different wind instrument
(hence the title). These are clarinet, melodica, concertina, accordion and harmonica; only the
clarinet gets two different processes. Tietchens, you should know by now, is the man who works
in the best traditions of musique concrete, using the studio to vastly alter sounds that he receives.
Over the years he has worked with many other composers, mostly delivering him sound material,
rather than vice versa. In the opening piece, ‘Air Klarinette 1’, one could hear something reminiscent
of the opening minutes of the Tonus release, but then a bit stretched out. This is, however, just the
gate that goes into the house of Tietchens, as in the five subsequent pieces there is very little that
reminds us of a melodica, concertina or such like. As with much of the music he produced in more
recent years, Tietchens is very fond of some highly careful constructions in sound and does not
give much away from the origin of the sound. ‘Air Melodica’ is a beautiful subtle composition of a
few sounds on an otherwise quiet road. Soft but intense. The wind approach is present in some of
the other pieces, slowly drifting but never loud or brash. Tietchens uses classic filters to transform
these sounds and not granular synthesis, even when one could think he does from time to time.
This is Tietchens at his most refined and that’s what we like best. (FdW)
––– Address:


Following ‘Viable Systems 1’, there is now the second instalment of what Berry calls ” a catalogue
of moods & textures over the series, that the listener can use as an aid to there [sic]
environment” (see also Vital Weekly 1101). The viable system, as explained before, is “a model of
the organisational structure of an autonomous system capable of producing itself.” Again Berry
uses synthesized sounds rather than processed field recordings, which he used at the start of his
career, and I am inclined to think this is music that sets itself in motion. Give it a few parameters
and then let it explore itself. You could think this would lead to long pieces of slow drifting sounds,
but that doesn’t happen here. The music is slow indeed, but none of these pieces is overly long. At
close to eighty minutes and fourteen pieces, these pieces are average five to seven minutes, with
some being longer and some being shorter. The slow arpeggio sound of before is now gone and
the music is mostly long drifts of sounds along with occasionally bell-like ringing sounds. I was
asked a while ago to explore the various apps that Brian Eno made and noticed that bell ringing
sound in several of his apps. I am sure Berry doesn’t use these apps, as mister Eno has some
more trademark elements in his work that aren’t part of this, but throughout it made me think that
Berry’s music here is in various alike that of the inventor of ambient as a genre. He’s not alone in
that, of course, but a clear one for sure. The slow drifts of the music can have many purposes I can
imagine, relaxing probably the number one there, along with creating a pleasant environment. As
I was saying with Stephan Mathieu’s music recently, I can imagine that Berry’s music would also
be a very good generative app allowing the listener to create his version, and have a true viable
system going. That way the listener can create something that is even more suited for its aims.
Purely as a listener/reviewer, sitting up, thinking what to write (and occasionally look something
up), I would think, like before, that this is surely another long CD. That’s, of course, me aiming
wrong there, I know. Let me shut-up, pick up a book and play this again; that seems to be the
most suitable activity for this music. (FdW)
––– Address:

WARMBLADDER – 8 (CD by Gotta Let It Out)
WARMBLADDER – CUNK (cassette by Gotta let It Out)
CLAUSTROPHONE – #1 (cassette by Gotta let It Out)

As I am looking at the five releases by Denmark’s Gotta Let It Out trying to make up my mind where
to start, I think that none of these names means anything to me, nor had I heard of the label before.
So, I pick the one which cover says ‘you know this isn’t Vital Weekly music’, showing the two young
musicians on the front, usually an indication of a more pop music inhabited territory. In the
meantime, I look up what this label is about. “Gotta Let  It Out is an independent music label and
publishing house established in 2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark by the musician-improviser
Tomo Jacobson and the photo-video artist & anthropologist Malwa Grabowska aka. Hipermania.
We are proudly genre-less. We are about dissemination of multiple perspectives and landscapes
of action & thought through the audiovisual media. We leave full creative control to the artists. What
binds our releases are Genuity, true expression, and freedom to explore. Our artists say, that they
simply Gotta Let It Out. Gotta Let It Out is also the organizer of Freedom Music Festival the festival
dedicated to freedom and improvised music that happens yearly in Copenhagen since 2015.
We’ve already organised over 200 events, all under the umbrella of Freedom Music. And then
there is Flat Store by Gotta Let It Out, a carefully curated independent music and printed matter
store, located in our flat in Nordvest in Copenhagen, Denmark.” That certainly sounds like
something we at Vital Weekly certainly would love, even when, indeed, Nenne is not my cup of
tea. This is a duo of Lo Ersare (vocals, lyrics) and Albert Karch (music production) and they call
their music ‘fairy-tale pop’, meaning not too distinct vocals set against an electronic backing. The
lyrics are in Japanese. It is not bad at all, these sweet melodies and vocals. I can easily this going
down somewhere in a big way, some alternative pop market area, but I’m afraid not my thing, even
when dream-pop sometimes has my warmest attention.
           I guess also on the ‘pop’ side of things is the release by Kristian Tongvik. It arrives on a CDR,
but the cover indicates seven pieces on the A-side and the same on the B-side, plus, small print,
‘promo copy, not for sale’ and ‘GLIO40LP’, which might be that this is an LP release, and not how
we love to receive stuff at Vital Weekly. Check out those ‘frequently given answers’ page on our
website. On the label’s website, there is nothing yet to be found about this LP or the musicians, so
I have to go by what I hear. The ‘pop’ music of Tongvik is certainly a lot more experimental than
that is on offer by Nenne. These are more like suggestions towards pop songs, with dashes of
rhythms, child-like and naive at times, which can also be said of the vocals, but the electronics
and synthesizers are dark and play a more abstract thing there than your odd melody. And
sometimes Tongvik does just do that as well. Sometimes these rhythms form a more coherent
pattern, but just before leaping into a bunch of all too straightforward beats, Tongvik sets out
derailing the whole thing, as he does in ‘Hommage de 808’. In some way it reminded me of early
Der Plan, even with the more sophisticated synthesizers and beats, and perhaps a lesser amount
of silliness when it comes to lyrics, sharing a similar naivety. This is pop for the truly alternative
pop mensch; I have no idea but I can easily envisage him with a puppet show on the road. I have
no idea why that idea popped into my head.
           I was trying to find some more information about Warmbladder, but Google pointed me
towards a direction that I am sure has nothing to with this trio of Tomo Jacobson (midi-ribbon),
Jonathan Leland (electronic drum kit & percussion) and Ignacio Nacho Cordoba (electronics).
These are instruments that not immediately mean something to me, which is fine of course. The
music surely is something belongs very much to these pages, as it is one long, forty-minute piece
of improvised electronic music. I would think that this is not one long session (I might be wrong of
course), but culled from various sessions and perhaps with some overlapping between them. The
music is chaotic most of the time, with sounds tumbling around, like that badly constructed Ikea
bookshelf falling apart (again!) but then all of a sudden there is an ongoing melodic thing going, a
repeating synth, with the drums being hectic in the best musique concrete; until, of course, it
explodes or collapses together and there is some unified chaos again, before things start to
shape up with some start of a rhythm, a bit of coherent percussion. It’s waiting for somebody
getting nervous again. I am not sure if the longitude of this worked for me. I wouldn’t have minded
a more chopped up version, cut down to individual tracks, resetting the score and start from
scratch. In this version, one gets easily lost in the mayhem.
           The above line-up plus Jonas Engel on alto saxophone and Taus Brechnoi-Olesen (if I
read that right on the cover) on what is called “nacho’s signal through guitar processing” have two
pieces on ‘Cunk The Movie OST’, which film I could not find online (either). Two pieces here, ‘Jazz
Terror’ and ‘Terror Jazz’. These continue some of the hectic of the previous CD but now in a
condensed form and, much to my surprise, the additional instruments may not always sound as
was expected (but then, how does that nacho guitar sound anyway?), yet the pieces sounded
quite coherent in terms of free improvised music. This sounded like it was either planned in some
way or mixed in such a way that it sounded like there are two neatly shaped compositions. There
is some of the original chaos, but it is now lurking in the background, being ornamental and in the
foreground, it is all more or less melodic yet weird and that works very well. Maybe that is the
influence of the two additional musicians, so I wondered, but maybe the is something that reflects
a different phase of the group? In any case, this is quite a nice release indeed.
           And finally, there is the c25 cassette by Claustrophone, a duo of Tomo Jacobson in
Copenhagen and Dawid Gasiorek in Warsaw. For their tape, they have two pieces that “were
made in halves with one of the musicians preparing the first layer of the composition and giving
it to the other to finish. There are instruments mentioned, so I have no idea. Maybe Jacobson
uses his midi-ribbon, whatever that is, and as I have not heard of Gasiorek before, I have no idea.
Due to the abstract level of the music, I found it impossible to even guess what was going on here.
Perhaps some heavily processed wind instruments on ‘What’, some organ drones on ‘How’?
Maybe percussion through midi-controllers and max/MSP? It is all very well possible, and maybe
there are some field recordings hurt in these proceedings as well. There is a nice careful approach
to the proceedings, which might be the lo-fi approach to working together. It is quiet and not too
outspoken but far from being just vaguely playing around with some sounds. This has a fine
mysterious character to it, especially when the organs are in full force on ‘How’. Time to unwind
after all the pop and heavy free music. (FdW)
––– Address:


Surely I am not the only who, when hearing the name Arovane will think about music with beats. I
guess that is where his claim to fame comes from. At the same time, I can easily admit that in more
recent years I didn’t keep up with his more recent output. The last time I heard some of Uwe Zahn’s
music was already back in 2013. Here he teams up with one Mike Lazarev, of whom, I think, I had
not heard before. The main instrument here is the piano, as played, by Lazarev, in his London
studio. Sometimes with the windows open and capturing a lot of the atmosphere around the
instrument. These sounds were then taken to the computer for further exploration, and then fed
back to the piano recordings; the same ones or different, I am not sure of that. Like the piano
playing, the processes applied by Uwe Zahn are very minimal and sometimes very difficult to
detect, such as the blend of both ends together. With ten pieces in thirty-one minutes, this is a
rather short album with each of the pieces more sketch-like than a fully formed long piece, and
that could not be working well, but here it does. Each of the pieces is a brief poem of a few sounds,
a tinkering on the piano and this weightless space created around it from the shimmering of
electronics, topped with a bit of reverb to suggest a bit more space. All of this makes this very
delicate release, ambient music, if you will, of the highest order.
           Even a bit shorter is the release by Michael Cutting from Salford. I had not heard of him
before, which might be explained by the fact that this is first release (according to Discogs). He
works with reel-to-reel machines, loops made thereon, but also using the imperfections of the tape.
‘Luft’ means ‘air’ in German and that might have something to do with the 19th century he uses in
the seven pieces. Also, there is, according to the information, the playing of “an e-bowed violin,
fender Rhodes, clarinet, trumpet, sine tone generator and voice”, even that is not always clear
(not that is necessary to be clear, of course) but sometimes these surely can be recognized. His
album is even a bit shorter than the other new release by Eilean Rec, clocking in at just less than
thirty minutes. Whatever he plays or whichever method he applies, the music is quite drone-like
and for Eilean Records that is not a strange thing, except that this release is a bit more experimental
than many of the other releases by this label. The rusty rumble of objects may not always sound
original, but for this label is makes a nice change. I was reminded of Coppice from time to time,
with that sound that reminded me of being inside a trap organ and hear all the working from close,
while slightly more massive sounds work on the outside. And sometimes this sounded like a fine
small of modern chamber music. Only ‘Seeking Safe Harbour’ with its vocals mumbling about
didn’t do it for me, but otherwise, this is a very fine release. (FdW)
––– Address:

KLINIKUM – COLLAPSED (cassette, private)

After a small flood of releases under various names, but ultimately setting upon Klinikum, Egbert
van der Vliet took a step back and did a few online-only releases (check out his Bandcamp page)
and now has another new cassette. In good ol’ fashioned style, respecting his roots the first time he
did cassettes in the late ’80s, the cover is all black and white and the cassettes are recycled tapes.
The music, in total thirty-three minutes, consists of four untitled parts, each dedicated to what we
may assume to be friends, sources of inspiration, or something like that. These are Phillip b.
Klingler, Frans de Waard, Peter Zincken, M. Nomized, all of whom are also around in the world of
cassettes for a bit longer than Van der Vliet, and still play their role when it comes to experimental
music, noise and electronics. On the cover, Van der Vliet takes credit for “samples, destroyed
music”, which left me a bit in the dark, to be honest as to what that might be. The four pieces are
quite the consistent approach to using, I would think, samples of skipping records and overlaying
a whole bunch of them to create a somewhat dense pattern, that is also quite a noise. It doesn’t fall
in the pitfalls of harsh noise for the sake of harsh noise, far from it. Klinikim’s noise music is, as is to
be expected from the noise I guess, quite minimal in approach, but in each of the pieces, there is
also room for small changes. Klinikum mixes his various sources in a very intelligent way and
never lets it slip into dreaded repetition. He sneaks in voice material from time to time, lurking at
the background of the music like a detuned radio. It is, all in all, a very consistent release of raw
beauty. Just like we love ‘m. (FdW)
––– Address:

MARIE ROSE SARRI & PHILIPPE LAMY – ACTE DE FOI (cassette by Hemisphäreの空虚)
MATTHEW ATKINS – SPECTRAL TERRACE (cassette by Hemisphäreの空虚)

The three latest tapes on the Tasmanian label Hemisphäreの空虚 fall squarely within the genre of
electro-acoustic abstraction. I’m usually into what the label does, but two thirds of this batch is
rather too arid for my tastes. Your own mileage may very. First up, a French duo of Marie Rose
Sarri and Philippe Lamy with a suite of six pieces for computer-manipulated field recordings
called “Acte de Foi”. There’s a certain plastic, polite distance to this music; the granular bits weave
and duck around squiggling laptop coughs, brief thick tones and sudden silent pauses without
much direction; they could have been presented in any order without much change in overall
effect. Even with all the apparent motion, “Acte de Foi” seems to be running in place, not lingering
long enough in any one sonic area to make a distinct impression. The sections that I enjoyed most
are the passages which are allowed to breathe. The track “Clin d’Oeil”, for example, lets its
atmosphere alone for a whole two minutes before its underwhelming finale of generic laptop
fizzle. The field recordings they used aren’t particularly evocative; I can hear the telltale sonic
qualities of an open-air microphone, but can’t tell what was being recorded or why. Whatever this
tape’s purpose is, I’m not hearing much to bring me back to it.
    Matthew Atkins’ “Spectral Terrace” album is all about steadily shifting static percussive textures,
though (like “Acte de Foi”) it’s rather linear and cold. During a moments when Atkins hit upon an
interesting sound, I listened hoping for more of a commitment to it, exploring those elements and
digging into them… but, eh, then after half a minute he’d percuss off distractedly into a different
direction as if his Ritalin had just run out. Ah well. The two side-long pieces that comprise
“Spectral…” are composed of closely-mic’d clusters of small taps and whirrs, the busy clicks of
brushes against cymbals, small objects vibrating on a snare, maybe a piano (?) and tastefully
low-key processing. The second side, “Lost Time in a Lost Place”, seems to feature eavesdropped
conversations and motors spinning on resonant surfaces, though overall it’s not too dissimilar from
what came before… there’s a point when it eventually builds into a resonant roar that seemed to
be signaling a new destination… ah, exciting! But, no. What seemed like a crescendo dissipates
as soon as it gets going, pulling back and frustratingly changing the subject again. I’m reminded
of a lot of live “free improv” I’ve heard, someone keeping busy in order to maintain an audience’s
attention, constantly rushing along to the next idea.
    The tape that I enjoyed most out of this batch was “Bilocazioni”, by Carlo Giustini and Banished
Pills (aka Edoardo Cammisa, who also runs the Sounds Against Humanity label… hang on, is that
a label named after a party card game?! Oh dear…) and it’s a good one. Many sound sources/
instruments are listed (including, intriguingly, “plant bio data translated into sound”… not sure what
that means… is that what Michael Prime does? Dunno), but its to the artists’ credit that the music
transcends its ingredients. Each side was composed by one of the two guys, but it’s unclear
whether the sounds were made by both people or if this was a split release. I can’t tell from
listening, so I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Giustini and Cammisa burst right out of the gate
with a thick fog of tape hiss and droning goo, beneath which some falling clunk seems to shuffle
and snore. Giustini’s side is drone-centric and vertical, stacking viscous analog puddles into
mushy blobs of rotten cellulose. Cammissa’s side is more event-driven, throwing field recordings
together into a collage of microphone fumble, pond water blorp and ambient room hum. The tape
sounds dirty, as if it was left beneath a floorboard for a couple of hot summers, then unearthed
and released with minimal mastering. (HS)
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MATTHEW REVERT – THE INPATIENT (cassette by Round Bale Recordings)
GATEWAY – SUMMED-UP-SOUNDS IN PROCESS (cassette by Round Bale Recordings)

Here are two tapes and an LP from the wonderful Round Bale Recordings label, out of Minnesota.
All of these releases warrant and reward repeated, deep listening and all of them are quite
different from one another.
    “The Inpatient” is an intense album by novelist/graphic designer/sound artist Matthew Revert.
As the title implies, this was recorded while Revert was experiencing what must have been
serious physical distress before surgery. These ten songs feature unaccompanied acoustic guitar
and improvised songs in Spanish (a language that I’m unsure whether Revert actually speaks),
crudely recorded to what sounds to me like a low-bias cassette tape. If I were in pain and about to
be operated on, I don’t think I’d get the urge to record some music… but Revert took inspiration
from his agony. The uncomfortable intimacy permeating this album is intermittently mitigated by a
sense that the whole thing is absurd. Sometimes, Revert’s voice is a growling whisper, though he
occasionally breaks out a more sonorous croon, though not for very long. On “Anytime, Anywhere”,
his blues shuffle and pained yelp are affecting and strange… “Name the Place” seems to be going
after a Kan Mikami vibe, minimal and brittle yet communicating a tightly-coiled anguish that
transcends language. More abstract tunes like “A Ghost”, “After All Is Said and Done” and “A
Beautiful Balloon” are more atmosphere than song, with Revert hammering the strings and letting
them buzz as he whispers/screams vaguely threatening-sounding consonants. If you like Dead
Raven Choir or Kengo Iuchi, this is probably for you. It’s difficult, uncomfortable stuff.
    Another song-based album from the label is the instantly remarkable “Central Planning” by
Private Anarchy, aka Clay Kolbinger, formerly of Madison noise/jam weirdos Davenport, Maths
Balance Volumes and Second Family Band. I like those other groups,  so I was already looking
forward to this one and expecting something similar… but holy cow, this is NOT what I was
expecting… it’s FAR better than that! “Central Planning” is an album of amphetamine-nervous
post-punk and is exciting indeed. Think of the jittery sharp angles of Dancing Cigarettes, the
choked yelp of Pere Ubu or Red Krayola, the casual unpredictability of Thinking Fellers Union
Local 282 (particularly on “Accumulation”)… those shadows on the wall might be hard to avoid,
but Kolbinger isn’t a cover band. Private Anarchy’s songs rush forward in several competing
directions at once, an unflagging awkward energy and intensity that’s pretty singular. There are
lots of impressively under-stated production moments here, like surprising double-tracked vocals,
occasional layers of spliced-tape gibberish or electronic interjection, and a Minutemen-ish naked
guitar and drum sound. To be clear, I happen to love late 70s/early 80s post-punk but am allergic
to modern bands trying to sound like 1981. Sure, fans of Swell Maps will also love “Central
Planning”, but this is not an album of spot-the-reference… it’s seems honest and personal, but
maybe has some similar fuel coursing through its veins. This is one of the best albums I’ve heard
 so far this year. 
    Finally, “Summed-Up-Sounds in Process” is a frothing, symphonic slab by Jason Filer and
Tim Gick, who are members of suddenly-everywhere-at-once improv collective Crazy Doberman.
The album seems to be rooted in studio manipulations of instrumental improvisations, but is much
more than that. In two 15-minute parts, the sounds generated by Filer and Gick are morphed via
tape and synthesizer into fluid, psychedelic animations. Saxophones get elongated like taffy,
passages pulse and breathe and seem to multiply while you listen. The duo moves confidently
sideways, contorting a horn line by surrounding it with loops and manipulations until it transforms
into a dense, ecstatic yowl. Other sections are more sedate, a slumbering pulse slathered with
syrup that gradually/incrementally becomes a spit-encrusted synthesizer dirge. The manner in
which one sonic element converges with another is unclear… even as I listen for the 2nd and 3rd
time, I can’t really predict what’s coming, and yet it seems organic and makes sense. Each chunk
of reeds and electronics seems to be a distinct living entity, moving inevitably towards its
destination but throwing dirt over its shoulder, covering its tracks as it slithers sideways. (HS)
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