Number 1204

MERZBOW – DYING MAPA TAPES I-III (3CD by Menstrual Recordings) *
 (2CD, private) *
MATTEO UGGERI – THE NEXT WAIT (CD by Infraction Records) *
ALARMEN – XENOTOP (CD by Audiophob) *
CHAOTALION – ASABJARIS (Krater/Audiophob) *
DNJEPR – SONGS OF NO RETURN (CD by Everest Records)
KLAUS JANEK – CASPAR (LP by Almenrauschen)
 Strategic Tape Reserve)
NICHOLAS LANGLEY – PLAYS THE VITAMIN B12 (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)
JARRA – ISOMONADS (cassette, private)
XNMOZA (cassette by Tak.etomashina)
EDWARD SOL & HOWARD STELZER – WARM BONES (cassette by Sentimental) *

MERZBOW – DYING MAPA TAPES I-III (3CD by Menstrual Recordings)

Of course, I have to be honest; I gave up playing new Merzbow releases a few years ago, after
being a die-hard collector for many years. I felt there were so many and I couldn’t give them the
attention they needed and then went cold turkey. What tickles my fancy these days is the fact there
are so many re-issues of Merzbow’s earliest days when he produced many cassettes for his ZSF
label. Slowly, so it seems, they all arrive on CD. That, I think, is good news. Not just from a historical
point of view, but also because I think that for me the very late ’70s and all of the ’80s, up to the early
’90s were his most interesting musical years. And yes, I sound like an old sod. Much of appreciation
has to do with the fact that it relates to the time you first heard music. I know the first LPs by Wire are
great, and yet I could never get into them, having not heard them at the time they came out, but only
some twenty or more years later. Merzbow, I first discovered through his presence on various
compilations (Assemblee Generale, Three Minute Symphony, Rising From The Red Sand,
Anthems, Sexorama, to mention a few of my favourites. There are more!) and quickly I found out
Masami Akita was easy to approach if you had a cassette label yourself. He would answer his
mail quickly and you’d have a track to release yourself. With rocket speed of only three weeks, you
had new music. Masami Akita was also a man to do trades and I am certain I had one of the three
tapes released by Aeon called ‘Dying Mapa’. I don’t think I had them all, and listening to this re-
issue I also no longer have any idea which one it was that had. Maybe I traded my sole cassette
of the series out of regret of not having them all, the completist fanboy I once was. On these
cassettes, forty-six minutes each, Akita plays tapes, rhythm, radio, TV, electronics, junk, noises,
guitar, bass guitar and on all three there is the second main man of Merzbow from those, Kiyoshi
Mizutani on violin and percussion. These three CDs show perfectly what early Merzbow was
about; total free improvisation. And preferable on instruments none was proficient with, such as
Mizutani on the violin. The addition of ‘non-musical’ sounds, such as radio and TV is, of course, a
tribute to John Cage and the rhythm machine shows a love for the early industrialists. All of this
was captured on shaky reels that add further to the lo-fi quality of the music. The noise that
Merzbow is so famous for, plays only a little role here, and is not just the fully-formed rainbow
electronics from 1991 and onwards, almost to the present day. That I now regard as ‘musique
automatique’ and I miss in there what was in these early works and that is playfulness. The joy
two people have in deconstructing improvised music and play their version of it, using whatever
is lying around for the day. Start rolling the tape and let’s play and do whatever comes up. I might
be wrong and the two men that made up Merzbow at that time had everything planned out, but
somehow I doubt that. Part of the early Merzbow legacy was covered in the 50CD set ‘Merzbox’,
but in recent a serious attempt has been made in completing the early history. ‘Dying Mapa’ is
one such fine example of great early Merzbow. (FdW)
––– Address:


Here we have two releases by Italy’s Ants label, both are duets and both involve strings. One is a
duo whose works we came before, although not yet together, and the other are new names. I
started with that one. R Keenan Lawler plays ‘National Steel resonator guitars and John
Krausbauer plays the banjos. From the label’s website, I learned that Lawler has played with
Rhys Chatham, Eliott Sharp, Charalambides, Jason Kahn. Kevin Drumm, Alan Licht and
Krausbauer, who is from Oakland, where runs Besom Presse. His love also is for the “ur-drone
and trance psychedelia” and has played with Kaori Suzuki, the “minimalist psych-punk group
Night Collectors, bagpipe player David Watson and Tetuzi Akiyama. In 2018 they recorded the f
orty-four minutes and twelve seconds of ‘Spectre Of Radiants” and it fits the long and windy road
of drone music. I am not sure how these instruments are played, but I would assume both use
bows to get that long sustaining, ringing approach that reminded me of Phill Niblock (although a
bit more beyond the sustain and not cut right there were the decay is supposed to start) or Henry
Flint, perhaps because of the slightly more rockist approach this music. It is a very direct approach
these two men seek. This is music that asks for an immersive listening session. Stop doing
whatever you are doing and put the volume up in full force. Then let the music take over your
space in its full forty-four-minute glory. You will notice small deviations from the mighty drone
and things turn out to be slightly less minimal than you anticipated. The only thing that I thought
to be odd was the quick fade out at the end. I wouldn’t have minded anyway a somewhat longer
disc with a less abrupt ending. Of course, that is minor stuff; the major thing is that I very much
enjoyed the powerful drone music.
           Of a different nature are the duelling guitars of Elliott Sharp and Sergio Sorrentino. Eliott
Sharps has been around for some close to forty years, working with jazz, noise, rock, no wave
and whatever else. Sorrentino plays mostly contemporary music (which is what we sometimes
call modern classical music) – see also Vital Weekly 1139 for a release by him where he performs
works by John Cage, Alvin Curran and Elliott Sharp. Here they perform four pieces; two of these
are graphic scores by Sharp, and two are improvisations. Funnily enough, I couldn’t tell them
apart. All four pieces, forty-eight minutes in total, sound like improvisations and in this, we hear
both men exploring the realms of the guitar. There are loud, hectic combinations, but also quieter
moments. The guitar is something that can be recognized as such. They both play electric and
aren’t shy of using feedback and distortion, which I found most enjoyable. It adds a brutality factor
to the music, which we do not always hear in improvised music. Both men act and respond and
show that they both have been around, doing this kind of thing for many years. My least favourite
piece is the opening one, ‘Hudson River Nr. 6’, which seemed somehow a bit too careful, or
perhaps too normal. The real fire for me was in the three other pieces when they opened up and
went to extremer lengths in firing each other up. Then the real dialogue started and it drove them
to great heights. (FdW)
––– Address:

 (2CD, private)

Those of a certain age and disposition will be familiar with the legend that is Metgumbnerbone;
one of the most obscure-yet-legendary outfits from the ’80s Industrial / experimental music scene.
Revolving around the nucleus of John Mylotte, Richard Rupenus, Philip Rupenus and Sean
Breadin, Metgumbnerbone never really presented themselves as a band, more as a group of
‘devotees’ recording their rituals at abandoned, cavernous locations and industrial sites, such as
huge silos and subterranean railway tunnels. In 1983 a session recorded by Mylotte, the Rupenus
bros, Watson and English was edited down to ‘Ligeliahorn,’ Metgumbnerbone’s sole official album.
Released in an edition of 500 copies on A:Mission Records, the album features four extremely
beautiful recordings using metal percussive instruments and objects being thrown around
combined with bone flutes, making good use of the huge natural reverb of the recording locations.
With little distribution and promotion, ‘Ligeliahorn’ soon sank into oblivion only to re-emerge when
fanatic Industrial collectors with cash to spend re-discovered the album. No doubt incensed by the
scandal then surrounding Metgumbnerbone. The story goes something like this: in November
1984 the ‘Newcastle University Student Union Courier’ published a front cover story on two
Newcastle students pleading guilty to two cases of grave plundering to obtain human bones to
be made into instruments. The students, together with several other participants, were identified
as members of the Club Of Gentlemen. This club, modelled on Edgar Allan Poe’s stories, was
also known as… Metgumbnerbone. Despite all this hoo-ha, it is perhaps good to realize that
Metgumbnerbone was only active for around a year and their recorded legacy is small. One year
after the release of ‘Ligeliahorn’ several members recorded two clandestine performances in a
deserted cylindrical silo near the River Tyne. These recordings were finally released on CD in
2013 as ‘The Curfew Recordings.’ Other than that, Metgumbnerbone released the 1983 cassette
‘Dreun’ (featuring several recordings from July and August 1983). ‘Cops Of Matter,’ a variation on
the ‘Dreun’ cassette, was issued as a bootleg. In 1984 several recordings were compiled for ‘For
The Raven,’ a cassette that was to be issued by Nekrophile Rekords but never realized. Over the
years several rehashes of these tapes have ended up on semi-official and bootleg cassettes,
which have been clouding Metgumbnerbone’s legacy rather than opening their archives. Until
now. Now we have ‘Anthropological Field Recordings For The Dispossessed,’ a generous 2+
hours of recordings wrapped in a typically enigmatic and low-on-information package that round-
up ‘Ligeliahorn,’ ‘For The Raven’ and several previously unreleased material. The first thing I noted
upon listening was how much more rhythmic much of the non-‘Ligeliahorn’ material is compared to
that album and ‘The Curfew Recordings.’ The sound and character of the performances differ per
location; ranging from ‘dry’ recordings to sessions with massive natural reverb and from almost
serene sessions to brutal shamanic drumming. There are sporadic voices buried in the sound
and whereas most performances are improvised and unstructured, some are more rhythmic and
structured. It sounds as if the Metgumbnerbone is guided rather by the location, than intention,
which is a good thing. This far more complete double CD is a fascinating listen, which, while
shining light on Metgumbnerbone’s darkness, does not provide many answers. And all the better
for it. ‘Anthropological Field Recordings For The Dispossessed’ is the essential soundtrack to
your clandestine late-night activities. (FK)
––– Address: none given

MATTEO UGGERI – THE NEXT WAIT (CD by Infraction Records)

Here’s more domestic music (see also elsewhere), this time centring about the time when Matteo
Uggeri and his wife Gaia were expecting their first child. That was in 2013. There were some
(unspecified) “little obstacles and troubles”, and Uggeri dealt with them by recording music. He
called in the help of a bunch of friends, such as Maurizio Abata (guitar), Enrico Coniglio (guitar
and organ), Andrea Serrapiglio (cello) and Christiano Lup (bass). Various singers were employed,
such as Dominique van Capellen-Waldock and Jenny Oakley. This is at thirty-three minutes quite
the short album, but what’s pressed on this disc (also available as LP and 7″; the latter also
available as a bonus CDR with the first 100 copies) is quite vulnerable music. This is not your
standard ambient record, which is perhaps something you would expect from this label. This is a
combination of ambient music, field recordings, voices, folk music even (in ‘A Lot Of Last Things To
Be Done’, with its acoustic guitar sounds, sparse as they are), covering a lot of space; quiet space,
like the house, is already closing down awaiting a baby and one has to remain quiet (there is a bit
of experience in writing these words, when it comes to having a newborn around the house) for
some time of the day. Then the silence is also broken with some powerful singing (quiet still) in
‘Atessa’ and the ‘cover’ of Black Flag’s ‘Family Man’, along with samples from a movie. The final
three pieces flow right into each other and are slowly meandering about with sounds from the
quiet house, a piano, and some sparse electronics and convey some great beauty. On the bonus
CDR (7″) we find two more pieces and seeing this called ‘After The Wait’, with titles being ‘Milk
Flow’ and ‘Out’, we assume this is careful postnatal celebration of new life and while not entirely
jubilant music, this is something of a release, a return to ‘daily’ job of composing music. ‘Out’ has a
carefully picked but powerful guitar and throughout there wasn’t a cry a baby to be heard. Perhaps
that would have made it too personal? I am not sure, but I kinda loved that absence, odd as it may
seem. (FdW)
––– Address:

ALARMEN – XENOTOP (CD by Audiophob)

Releases by Germany’s Audiophob usually break with a daily routine of listening to difficult music,
which these pages always seem to have a lot of. That doesn’t mean that releases by Audiophob
contain easy music, far from it. Usually, the music is dark and powerful when it comes to the use of
rhythm. The Negativity Bias, for instance, is one such act that does this pretty well. It is the musical
project of Chris Dupont (see also Vital Weekly 1061) and according to the information this might
cover many years of working with electronics and rhythms. It owes to the world of house and techno
music, but also minimalism and dub. Also, I would think he loves a fair share of industrial music, as
within his synth approach it is all quiet and strange. If it aims at a dance floor, which could very well
be the case, then it is not a flashy disco but a concrete underpass. Like with his previous release,
the music here is forceful and loud, and a direct punch in the belly. The pleasure and the pain? And
yet it is not without humour; there are eight pieces on this release and each one has a number in it,
so the first song is ‘First System Breakdown’, followed by ‘Twice A Man’, ‘Again Again Again’, ‘4 The
Squad’ etc., which either can mean titles don’t mean much to him or are meant to be a joke.
Whatever it is, the music is all most pleasant in all its grim approach.
           I have no idea who is behind Alarmen; at least I’m sure. Erstwhile reviewer NM mentioned
Carsten Stiller behind it, but that was back in Vital Weekly 534. The next CD after that was called
‘Next’ (Vital Weekly 722) and then, for a very long time, nothing. The music on this CD has been
recorded between 2017 and 2019. Rhythms here are present but differently than before. Of greater
importance, so it seems, is the use of synthesizer sounds, arpeggios and sequencers. That adds a
slightly more cosmic feel to the album, even when roughness is not entirely lost. This sequenced
synthesizer sounds circle round and round, with minimal variations and along there are ornaments
of other sounds. And yes, sometimes also a bit of rhythm, usually in the guise of 4/4 bass beat
below the proceedings, or a few claps here and there. The music is not necessarily groovy in
what you except to be dance floor grooviness. There is, however, a fine clean approach to the
sound, which I found very enjoyable. It must be that cosmic sense of the music that worked so
well for me and combined with some sparse rhythm, it was all melancholically stuff, that worked
very well on a dreary autumn day. Lovely stuff!
           And then we move to Audiophob’s subdivision, Krater Recordings, with something that is
perhaps closest to our daily digest of music, an album by Alexander Marco. He has a project called
saturnZlide, which is an “industrial fusion” project and Chaotalion is something entirely different. He
started this in 1997 and I heard previously ‘Tannenholzrauch’ (Vital Weekly 996), where he played
the guitar along with his soundscapes. I am not sure if the guitar is something he uses a lot. So I
understand, he uses lots of field recordings in his music, as well as lots of electronics to transform
them. The blurb talks about “unique references to the occult”, which I fail to notice (I tried, I did), but
I also think they were not necessary. The music is powerful by itself. This is ambient music with a
big A, with two feet firmly on the ground of electro-acoustic processing. None of the field recordings
could be recognized as such and for all I know, these could have been also more electronics, it all
works damn fine. The music is dark, obviously, atmospherically, of course, and spooky. Whereas
before I thought some of the pieces were a bit too long, here they seem to have the right length.
From three to nine minutes, this goes up and down, like one long journey, with occasional bits of
silence in between, i.e. the end of a piece, but I’d like to think of this as long trip that is best enjoyed
without any interruption, from beginning to end. Perhaps not as surprising as it walks some paths
well trotted.
           For the last one, I have very little idea of what it is. Is Kaffe Und Kuchen a band? A bunch of
pieces are credited to them her, from various cities. But it seems also a compilation of who’s who
in the German noise/experiment scene. Gehirn.explosion, Philip Nussbaum, Hypnoskull, Beinhaus,
Philipp Münch, Sisto Rossi, Hidden Technology, LDX#40, Thorofon, Graubrot, Carsten Vollmer
and so on. Maybe some of these names are mentioned here for the first time. I understand that this
a live CD of some kind; maybe of like-minded people also playing on the same night as Kaffee
Und Kuchen. I am not sure, as it all seems a bit wilfully obscure to me. The music is throughout
quite heavy; noise, feedback, stomping rhythms, industrial mangling. I am a bit lost here, can
someone send me a coffee and some cake to freshen up and straighten out? Oh, compilations;
you sometimes drive me to the edge. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:

DNJEPR – SONGS OF NO RETURN (CD by Everest Records)

Behind ‘Dnjepr’ hides Andrea Kaiser, who is an important exponent of the underground scene in
the capital city of Switzerland, Bern. This was near the end of the ’80s and the beginning of the
’90s. Since 1993 Dnjepr was no longer musically active. In 2017 however, he started a second
life as a musician, releasing the album ‘The Nine Gates’. On this path of a one-man band, Kaiser
continues with his new release ‘Songs of no Return’. It is a straight instrumental rock album and
has Kaiser playing the guitars, drums and electronics. All tracks are just plain rock with all the
clichés we know from this format. Alas, Kaiser adds not many surprising twists, ideas, etc.
Everything, the way a composition is built up, his guitar playing style, it is all old school. On his
own, with the help of multi-tracking, Kaiser succeeds in creating a full and solid sound. That is
about all I can positively say of this release, released on Everest Records, a Bern-based label
that describes them as specialized in electronics, drones and experimental music. (DM)
––– Address:

KLAUS JANEK – CASPAR (LP by Almenrauschen)

Often I feel a bit reserved when I put a CD of solo recordings in my player; afraid that things might
become boring, one dimensional, etc. But in the case of Klaus Janek, there is absolutely no reason
to be afraid of this. Also when it is your opinion that the double bass isn’t such a rich instrument.
Janek opens a wide range of possibilities that find their way in some intriguing compositions. Music
that is deeply emotional and human, fascinating and frightening. So I soon felt absorbed in his
musical worlds. What a voice! Born in Bolzano, in the north of Italy, Janek is based in Berlin for
many years. In his early years, he studied soprano and alto flute, trumpet as well as classical
percussion. He started in local rock and jazz bands. Since 1988 he concentrated on double bass,
studying with Mauro Muraro among others, and participated in workshops with Dave Holland,
Butch Morris and Peter Kowald. Since the 90s he is into avant-garde and improvised music with
a special interest for the combination of double bass and electronics. Besides he composes music
for cinema, theatre and dance productions. He released the core of his (solo) work so far on 5
albums, all to be released in 2019. This edition is titled ‘Almenrauschen’, a name that may by an
allusion to the mountains around Bolzano where Janek grew up. Anyway, three of the albums are
out so far. All solo ones. ‘Reciprocum’ and ‘Prospecting’ will be released later. Recordings for
‘Caspar’ took place on several occasions in the ’90s, spanning some four years. The album was
first released in 2001 for Solponticello. It was his debut recording. It is a work in seven parts. Janek
was inspired by the life of Kaspar Hauser who grew up imprisoned. Once set free he perceived
reality, ordinary phenomena like trees and birds in a completely distorted way from what was
common. He had to develop his way of deciphering, etc. of what he perceived. This story inspired
Janek trying to discover new possibilities from a radical approach. He creates beautiful drones,
contrasted with restless bowing and plucking, etc. At moments Janek also sings. At one moment he
sings unison with the double bass playing a melodic line. Or he screams and howls, or tries some
throat singing techniques. Also, some – accidental – environmental sounds pop up at a few places.
Part four has Janek playing in an extremely sharp and dynamic way. Vibrant and dramatic
improvisation by a player he puts his soul into his playing. The lp closes with a beautiful jazz
composition, ‘Prayer Beads’ by American bassist and composer Marc Johnson, with Janek
playing with deep and warm sounds. ‘Three Seasons’ was recorded live in February 2003 in
Berlin. He plays the composition by Janek on contrabass. For this composition in six parts, Janek
is inspired by what we go through in the case of a loss: fighting it, accepting it, etc. So here Janek
evokes moods and emotions. Again Janek impresses the listener with very sensitive playing;
making poetry of the dramatic experiences that inspire him here; a musical meditation on the
human condition. The opening of ´Winter part 2´ is one of those places where Janek creates
some very specific sounds and sonorities. ´Spring´ starts from a repeated pattern that is coloured
in different ways before Janek accelerates and works towards a peak of baffling intensity and
beauty. Ending with a melodic coda; a very lively and expressive statement. The third album,
‘Infinite Bang’, was also live recorded at Klanggalerie, Berlin. Recordings took place in November
last year. This time Janek takes inspiration from the book ‘Solaris’ by Polish author Stanislaw Lem.
It resulted in one lengthy composition of over 45 minutes that has Janek playing double bass and
electronics. After an acoustic start, the work continues after a few minutes on another plain with
looped and processed sounds from the double bass. After a while, the double bass engages with
the electronic environment and so on. Compared with the two other albums this one is even more
abstracting from conventions. His approach here is more reduced to a pure sound investigation; a
very proportionate and effective combination of acoustics and electronics. It is multi-layered but
there is no overkill. At moments his bass sounds like a creepy, screaming voice. An impressive
work. These releases convincingly illustrate that Janek is an important player open for experiment
and with a story to tell. Very relevant and urgent stuff. (DM)
––– Address:


From Ireland, but living in Manchester, is David O’Dowda, who was keyboard player in Table,
and pianist for “former Maccabees frontman Orlando Weeks ‘The Gritterman’, featuring Paul
Whitehouse” (I have no idea what I am quoting here). These days he writes music for TV, film,
advertising, trailers, and even a bit for ‘Dark’, the Netflix series that I happen to see. Maybe I heard
his song in there, but I don’t recall. He has two songs here that are quite pop like, with an electronic,
modern rhythm of sorts. Never really a rhythm machine, or real drums, but sampled from whatever
and on top of David O’Dowda falsetto voice. I must say I am not a fan of that kind of singing. Never
was, never will. I love Static Caravan, one of the best labels for modern-day pop music, but this, I’m
afraid, is not my cup of tea. Music for romantic comedy; not a particular favourite genre of movie
here either. (FdW)
––– Address:


These are two releases on a new label, for me that is, but who have been going for some years.
They have some releases on vinyl, cassette and CDR. I heard some of Erik Levander’s music
over the years (ever since ‘Tonad’, which I reviewed in Vital Weekly 455). In the early days it was
all quite glitch-based, but these days it is more electronic and more synthesizer based. On the
previous, ‘Couesnon’ (Vital Weekly 1118), he worked with processed clarinet, supported by
electronic instrumentation, all multi-layered”, now, so I think, he takes it one step further, and it is
all synthesizers; if there are any acoustics used in this music than they can no longer be r
ecognized. That said, there are some textures in here that one could call ‘orchestral’ and might
be the result of processing a clarinet (in ‘Ar av Tvivel’). ‘Inat’ (with a thingy on top of the ‘a’ that I can’t
find on this keyboard) means ‘Inwards’ and “refers to the introspectiveness of the compositions”.
Fine. However, I would think that the expressive, forceful music by Levander isn’t necessarily
introspective. But I also admit that is a purely personal thing to say. It is because of the relative
power used in these recordings that made me think of this as rather outgoing. There is some
mighty fine dark and atmospherically music on this disc. The opening, for instance, of ‘Tomhetens
Räckvidd’ is a powerful drone, rooted in the world of gothic rituals; it is not unlike Lustmord. The
way it slowly unwraps some organ sounds is great and very emotive, ending on a noisy trip. Many
of these processing’s reminded me of the world of electro-acoustic music, even when it is more
electro than acoustic. The meltdown of sound is complete here, resulting in droney ambience with
a spooky undercurrent.
           I almost claimed not to have heard of Seasons (pre-din) but then I noted in the information
there was a record on Mystery Sea. I had to look that up, as I have forgotten about it. It was in Vital
Weekly 702, so many moons ago. It wasn’t the most ‘sea’ like the label released and I still haven’t
heard anything else from this Manchester-based artist. This is also some heavy music, but
somehow not as ‘easy’ to get into; not in the same way as, say, Levander. I am not sure why that
is; maybe other things distract me? I am not sure how the music of Seasons (pre-din) has evolved
over the years, nor how he works. Judging by the music I would think there are quite a bit of
electronics at work, synthesizers, sound effects and such like, to create heavy yet warm fuzzy
drones, but also there are various pieces driven by the use of a rhythm machine or two, such as in
the opening piece ’48’. Here to everything is quite dark and forceful and these ends, drones versus
rhythms (drones and rhythms?) can be seen as two of sides of the same coin. One element drives
you forth; the other is there to let the listener contemplate. It has the crude makings of techno music,
but none of this is dance-like music. There is surely some dust on the needle and they muddle the
grooves on this dance record. I am not entirely convinced by the content of this. Perhaps I found it
all a bit too loud and muddy for my taste? Still, it had some enjoyable moments too. I don’t think I
can make up my mind. (FdW)
––– Address:

 Strategic Tape Reserve)
NICHOLAS LANGLEY – PLAYS THE VITAMIN B12 (cassette by Strategic Tape Reserve)

One of the modern life apparatus I don’t have is a dishwasher, an invention from William Howard
Livens (also improving chemical weapons during World War I and II). Severino Pfifferling (which is
also the name of a mushroom, the golden chanterelle; you could enter a pub quiz based on these
reviews!) has one however and uses it to record music with, the classic ‘instrument and synthesizer’
approach, in this case, the dishwasher. Domestic music (see also elsewhere). He taped the various
functions of the machine (pumping, washing, rinsing, drying) and accompanies that “using another
now-common home appliance of military origin, the music synthesizer”, although that last statement
is not something I am all too sure about, maybe I should brush up my knowledge there. The music
on this tape is great. You would perhaps expect this to be some full-on noise approach but
Pfifferling has captured the machine from some distance and that brings some clarity to the
recordings. I have heard such a machine and recognize the various functions and whatever he
does with the synthesizer works perfectly well. Maybe the sound guides the synth; maybe it is
more on a standalone basis. Whatever it is, the interaction between both is great. Pfifferling
selects the right kind of sounds of both to create a fascinating piece of music. Or rather, various
pieces, but this being on cassette means that it sounds like one radiophonic play, an endless
collage of sounds that sounds spooky and intense, yet also funny and alien; an excellent thirty-
minute trip in the kitchen. Excellent release.
           As these things go: I heard of The Vitamin B12 and even heard one or two of their records,
but I have very little idea who, what and why. I now learned they released a 4LP set in 1990 and is
a free improvisation group, including a varying cast of members, but always Alasdair Willis. A quick
look on Discogs tells me there are lots and lots of releases. Nicholas Langley has been a member
for some years and he runs the Third Kind tape label, plays with Hasni Malik and is part of Erm &
Nickname. I am not sure how this ‘Plays The Vitamin B12’ works. Is it a remix? Is it an edit? Or is
this Langley playing music by The Vitamin B12 on his own? The cover says that all compositions
are by Willis and “based on music from the albums ‘Rock Formations’, ‘Hot Heap’ and ‘Keio
Rhythms’, so let’s assume it is Langley who sampled the original and worked around with these
samples in what could be a similar vein of the original. In the information I read that ‘Rock
Formations’ “revealed a love for Cluster, Reich’s phasing work, and surf rock”, and that is surely
something I can see in these pieces. More than the Pfifferling cassette this seems one piece,
especially on the second side, even when the cover indicates five different pieces. There is a fine
repetitive mood in these pieces, of organ sounds stuck in a loop, drum machines that sound like
kraut boxes, and whatever is sampled (guitars? synthesizers?) moves along with the groove; or
creates it own groove, for that matter. The music is instrumental and very melodic. Yes, that fine
Cluster sensibility is there along with the Reich repetitions and it all has a finer pop touch, even in
the longer pieces, if you catch my drift. This is also a damn fine release, just like the Pfifferling
one, but on a different level. (FdW)
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JARRA – ISOMONADS (cassette, private)

At one point Vital Weekly carried the message everything that was vague or arty would be put
aside and not be reviewed. I believe at that time we received a lot of things that were ‘strange’
because one could and it would be ‘fun’ to see what we would make of it. I believe I met the man
named Jarra sometime ago, but I no longer recall where and when. I reviewed some of his works
a long time ago, followed by a hiatus for many years and two years there was suddenly something
new, ‘Musica Resevata Viva’ (Vital Weekly 1099). Jarra, back then from Eindhoven, The
Netherlands (and maybe still is?), moved from working with field recordings to playing around
with small synthesizers, feedback and sound effects. There is a small note with this cassette saying
that “‘IsoMonads” is an album made with analogue synthesizers inspired by Post-Anthropocene
reflections”. The tape has no name, no title, no website, no information. Had I not know Jarra I
would probably toss this aside. This new cassette, with three pieces, moves away from the quiet
and introspective tone of the previous release, in as far as side A goes. The two pieces on this
site are quite noisy and slightly chaotic, especially in the second piece. The music here reminded
me of rather plain and ordinary modular synthesizer experiments, which I do not always find too
interesting. Perhaps they seem to be all too easily generated. Side B is all together, for me, a more
interesting piece of music, working with slow sounds and minimal development. Here Jarra seems
to pay homage to the world traditional drone music, perhaps also adding field recordings to the
processed sounds. Now, here Jarra might not do something you haven’t heard before, and I was
thinking of everything from Eliane Radigue to Vertonen, but it is all most worthwhile to hear. So,
there, few mixed feelings about this. Overall, I would think there is some room for improvement.
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Over the years I heard quite some varying stuff from Enrico Coniglio; ambient, experimental and
even jazz noir. On his new tape, he limps out to some extremer forms of music. For the two pieces
that last exactly fifteen minutes, he uses function generator loops, cassette player and effects. If he
would have said this was all the doing of a laptop and some extreme filtering through max/MSP I
would have also believed it. The tape starts nearly inaudible and for a while, I thought the tape was
blank but it turned it contained music. In both pieces, Coniglio opts for a very minimal exploration
of his sounds. The function generator is set to high piercing frequencies on the first side, once we
hear something, and it stays there throughout. The cassette, whatever it does, provides no hiss or
lo-fi degradation. It is not very easy music to hear. The second part of the piece, which we find on
the other side, is likewise extreme, but it is something that can also be enjoyed in terms of music.
The gentle drone-like approach, of mid to low range tones have some build-up and change for
these fifteen minutes and the piece works as a fine reminder of the work of Alvin Lucier; even when
Coniglo has more variety to offer in these fifteen minutes. The cassette is dedicated to Dmitry
Vasilyev, who ran the Monochrome Vision label and who died a year ago. At the end of the second
part, we hear some choir-like voices. Are they singing in his memory? A requiem of a more radical
variety, then it is. (FdW)
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XNMOZA (cassette by Tak.etomashina)

Behind Xnmoza we find Arkady Marto, of whom I had not heard before but who is called a pioneer
of electronic and dance music, “the founder and participant of one of the first Russian musical
electronic projects, Moscow Grooves Institute, a member of Alexei Aigui`s 4’33 Ensemble and
several other musical projects, each of which without hesitation can be called a cult.” He also
played with Eduard Artemyev and Dietmar Bonnen. As Xnmoza he experiments with “sounds of
analogue and digital synthesizers passed through a resonator and guitar filters”. The cover lists
‘Drift box, Bastl Instruments Kastle, JoMox t-Resonator 1, Waldorf 2Pole and Strymon Blue Sky”,
so I am sure those readers with Modular knowledge will have a clearer picture. The music played
by Xnmoza is rather raw and at times undirected. It tends towards the noisy end of modular
synthesizers, with, towards the end of the first side, quite early Esplendor Geometrico inspired
industrial rhythms, but it also breaks down in uncontrollable small sounds on the second side,
also quite noise-like. I would think this is another one of those ‘in the moment’ modular synthesizer
people, that play around with their apparatus, taping whatever ‘nice’ moments, but not always
working these ‘nice’ moments into more fully formed compositions. Surely all of those efforts have
their moments, but they also have the misses. Xnmoza is no exception here, as his tape has the
best and the worst of those moments. (FdW)
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EDWARD SOL & HOWARD STELZER – WARM BONES (cassette by Sentimental)

It was only a matter of time before these two men would meet up (in the digital world) and work
together as both are known for their unconditional love for cassettes. These days I see many
more people working with cassettes getting quite a bit of attention and the younger the hipper,
sad it as that seems, as it leaves out old pioneers such as Stelzer, who would deserve more
recognition in that field. This collaboration also shows how both are progressing in their solo
work. From Edward Sol we already know he loves a bit of pop music (he even has a label called
Quasipop) and from Howard Stelzer I heard an upcoming work that involves voices/vocals, so a
short punky guitar piece ‘Clerks Just Want To Have Fun’ may sound odd, but in all its cassette
degradation sounds great. There might be more references in these titles (‘How To Get To Mizner
Park’, ‘Hotel Rat’ or ‘Beach Monsters’), but then, they might also be pure imagination. In the seven
pieces on this cassette they cover a wide territory of musical interests; from the ambient leanings
of ‘Beach Monsters’ to the open-ended percussive bits of ‘Wake Up In Hallandale’ and the noise
territory of ‘Dirty Heads’. ‘Hotel Rat’ is the film noir soundtrack that was never used, unfortunately.
Captured on cassettes are field recordings, so I assume, but also bits of spoken word and
electronics; everything is then played live and fed through some simple devices, such a delay
pedals. The outcome? Imaginative, great music, moving from one fine section to one great s
ection and so on. Released in an edition of 30 copies. Yes, these boys will never play a hip
festival. Sorry, guys. (FdW)
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