Number 1205

MAGINOT (CD by Decimation Sociale) *
SABOTEUR SABOTEUR (CD by Decimation Sociale) *
SUSANNE SKOG – SIBERIA/SIRENS (CD by Fylkingen Records) *
ELSA JUSTEL – YEGL (CD by Empreintes Digitales) *
GAËL SEGALEN – SOFIA SAYS (LP by Coherent States/Erratum Musical/Sofia) *
EDITH ALONSO – KHORA (CDR by Truthtable) *
TYRANNIC HORIZON – CHOICES (double CDR by Tyrannic Horizon) *
JASPER STADHOUDERS/LÄRMSCHUTZ (split cassette by Faux Amis Records)
MISE_EN_SCENE – -O-R-G-A-N- (cassette by Cronica Electronica)
AMBIENT V. 4.1 (software by Audiobulb)


It has been a long time since I first (and last) heard music by Mike Vernusky. It was his “Music For
Film And Electro-Theatre’, released on his Quiet Design label (see Vital Weekly 743). There have
not been other releases by him since then. ‘Motherspeak’ is what he calls a “time-compression of
the African bush-veld connecting South Africa and Botswana”, which I assume had something to do
with trips organised in those countries by Francisco Lopez. Seeing this is a release on Audiobulb, I
assume it may also include some of the technology they offer (see elsewhere), but based on what I
hear it might not include any of that. This is an album of field recordings and probably pure field
recordings at that. Time compressed, so I assume, means that each of the five pieces is a collage/
montage of specific field recordings from one place. The titles might include a clue as to those
locations; ‘Of Lead And Mud’, ‘Eyes Aquatic’, ‘Clipping The Wind Stave’ and so on. The problem
with releases like this is, that the deal with places that I haven’t visited. So I am not sure how to
approach such releases as this one. I enjoy what I hear, that much is sure, but I don’t seem to go
beyond that pure enjoyment of field recordings. There are lots of buzzing sounds, from insects I
assume, and there is some spoken word on ‘Unmistakable Plumage’ and on also a clarinet
(played by Vicki Hallet), which seems a bit out of place and overall there is quite a minimal
approach. I enjoy it. Is that enough? It must be. (FdW)
––– Address:

MAGINOT (CD by Decimation Sociale)
SABOTEUR SABOTEUR (CD by Decimation Sociale)

These are two projects that both involve the work of Romain Perrot. We know him best from his
harsh noise wall project Vomir, but unlike others in that field, he’s also active with a few other
musical projects. Noise is perhaps a thing that ties these projects together, but there is surely a
thing that goes for several of them. These two, for instance, contain ‘noise’ but on a different level.
First, there is Maginot (named after the French defence system? I don’t know), which is Perrot
teaming up with Paul Hegarty on voice, tapes and electronics. Hegarty is in a duo called Safe and
wrote a book on noise music (see Vital Weekly 597) and runs the dotdotdot label, releasing music
by Charles Hayward, KK Null, The New Blockaders, Merzbow, Nate Young and such luminaries.
The noise music they play under the banner of Maginot is best being called ‘old school industrial’
and ‘electro-acoustic noise improvisations’. What it doesn’t involve, is a lot of feedback and white
noise, but there is surely some level of distortion to be noted. There is, above all, quite some
details to be noted in this lot. There are some synth-like drones, there are some taped voices of
a car-insurance seller through effects (think some old Consumer Electronics records), stabs at
electronics and tape-manipulation; all of that is ‘Push’. The other long piece is ‘Drain’, which
involves the same elements, but there is no a scattering of metal objects on the table, which are
rambled about in a slightly random manner, and occasionally there is some additional layer of
noise. Whenever they use voices it is shouting-like and not very dominant, but it’s in the distant.
There is a sort-of live feeling to these recordings that worked quite well, in a raw way. Both long
pieces are bookend with two short pieces that worked well as an intro and outro, but not more
than that. It was all sturdy, fine experimental noise; one that didn’t offer any new insight, but was
quite fine, nonetheless.
           I am not sure if it’s Saboteur Saboteur, or if there is one Saboteur as a group name and one
as the title of the release. I think Saboteur Saboteur is the title of the project and we have here
Yves Botz of Dustbreeders fame and Perrot, both getting credit for ‘guitars & klaviers”, which I am
not sure are pianos or keyboards. Judging by the music, I’d say various keyboards. This is more
along the lines of improvised music, but then on ‘real’ instruments, none of which are played in
any traditional way. The recording is made in concert, I assume, as the cover says ‘recorded live
at Push, Paris’ (and yes, that may also be a studio, I know). There is one only piece here and within
the time frame, they shift between instruments and moods. The guitars sound somehow semi-
acoustic and the keyboards are picked up from space, rather than a line recording, but not
exclusively there. Maybe this is a combination of two varying mixes, ‘space’ and ‘line’. They also
add ‘singing’ to the music, and it’s almost (almost!) as if they work their way through ‘songs’ here.
While it is all chaotic and uncontrolled, the way they change tunes now and then may indicate
some form of planning here; I might be wrong. It is that planning that makes it that I wouldn’t call
this ‘outsider’ music, even when it has all the makings of it. The element of ‘noise’ is, again, not in
the use of feedback and distortion, even when not also not completely gone, but the in chaotic
approach and non-musical approach to traditional instruments. This is what punk should have
been all those years; learn no chords, pick up a guitar and express whatever you want to express
in whatever way you deem best and do that much as much aggression as possible. That sums up
this fine release for me. (FdW)
––– Address:


In 2016 Maviel debuted on Gold Bolus with ‘Houle’; an impressive work that was reviewed here
(Vital Weekly 1031). We are speaking of an artist of France-Haitian background based in New
York as a vocalist, percussionist and multi-instrumentalist. She works in many different settings:
interdisciplinary ones, solo and large ensemble, etc. In her activity, she tries to expand the power
of music as a healing and transformative act. Also, Maviel is inspired by Edouard Glissant’s
thoughts on the postcolonial condition, and from this “she has associated her practice with the
inextricable currents that move spaces and people between times and lands. The contemporary
context of re-formulation of self, reality and social structures led her to question the use of language,
and to explore its vibratory essence in music.” At the moment she is into further developing her
composition language for voice and mixed ensemble. This will result in new work to be premiered
later at the Roulette Intermedium in New York. Just as her first one this new album is a solo work.
It documents a live performance recorded at Obey Convention, Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2018. We
hear Maviel singing and scatting, guiding herself on string and percussive instruments: kamele
n’goni, Lyra, surdo, singing bowl, and also piano. There is some undefinable magic in her
performance. Her music has some archaic quality as if it is welling up from the deep subconscious.
She performs with an impressive voice that is very flexible and far-reaching. The opening track
‘Bells’ is just the sound of little bells. Coming from a distance it seems Maviel slowly enters the
stage while playing these bells. ‘I am you’ is a song that has Maviel guiding herself on some
string instrument. “Can I wear your face, I lost mine in a dream, Can I borrow your tongue, I forget
how to speak” she sings. Also in ‘In the Garden’ she sings verbally, a song that likewise has strong
melodic elements. Whereas in ‘Listening’ that is far more experimental, she sings in a non-verbal
way. It is incredible how she sings and plays at the same time. But it is above the unique and deep
human quality that impresses. (DM)
––– Address:


Past Present is Simen Kiil Halvorsen (trumpet) and Alexander Hoholm (upright bass). Behind
Tortusa hides John Derek Bishop (live sampling), a Norwegian-American electronic artist,
composer and photographer, based in Stavanger. As a musician, he worked earlier with Eivind
Aarset and Jan Bang. His first solo album was nominated for the Norwegian Grammy. Simen Kiil
Halvorsen and Alexander Hoholm recently released an album with saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo.
Simen Kiil Halvorsen from Stavanger debuted in 2016 with an album by his sextet Scripted
Conversation. Alexander Hoholm is also a member of an ensemble led by Trond Kallevåg Hansen,
who just has an album out on Hubro Music (‘Bedehus & Hawaii’). As a trio, they are into combining
acoustic instruments with live sampling. They condensed their ideas in three lengthy tracks:
‘Nowhere’, ‘Black Mist’ and ‘Dawn of Hope’. The opening track ‘Nowhere’ starts with long extended
foggy trumpet, pastoral and meditative. Creating atmospheres comparable by that of trumpet player
Arve Henriksen. However, they change course drastically for what seems a free improvised
intermezzo. Gradually a rhythm is introduced and the music ends in a spacey atmosphere of
echoing trumpet sounds produced by the live sampling by Tortusa. The latter also bases ‘Black
mist’ on cyclic ambient textures. ‘Dawn of Hope’ has sections that are dominated by the live
sampling, but also purely acoustical ones, like the beautiful solo part halfway by Hoholm. All these
elements are interwoven in a very organic way. The musicians deliver an interesting exercise in
combining electronics and acoustics in partly composed and partly improvised compositions.
Released on Bugge Wesseltoft’s Jazzland Recordings. (DM)
––– Address:


This is a joined release by Swiss composers Jannik Giger and Dieter Ammann. Giger is a
composer and video-artist from Basel. His compositions have been performed internationally in
diverse contexts. He works with ensembles like Mondrian Ensemble, Camerata Bern, Sinfonietta
Basel, Ensemble Fractales, Ensemble Mosaik Berlin, Ensemble Phoenix Basel. He did some of his
studies with Dieter Ammann, who is his partner on this release. Dieter Ammann studied in Lucerne
and Berne and turned later to jazz and improvisation. Subsequently, he studied theory and
composition and since the 90s composing in his main focus. The cd presents seven compositions,
four by Giger and three by Ammann. For Ammann, this is the first release of his chamber music.
Giger already has some releases realized at the A Tree in a Field Records. All works presented
here are composed between 1994 and 2017. Each composition has it is own instrumentation and
the compositions are performed by different ensembles and musicians. The CD opens with
‘Verstimmung’ a composition by Giger and performed by Ensemble Nuance. It is a lively and
expressive work. ‘Apres le silence’ is a very dynamic work with a strong inner drive propelling the
music forward. For shorter or longer moments the music disappears in silence, evoking a tense
atmosphere. Also Ammann’s ‘Piece for Cello’ is an outspoken, poignant work. The works by Giger
move more into diverse directions. He is more of a painter of many different scenes triggering many
different moods and emotions. Giger seems to be the most romantic of both, as becomes evident in
the closing work ‘Accelerated’. In all, it is an engaging collection of expressive and lively works of
chamber music from two Swiss composers. (DM)
––– Address:


Quite hot on the heels of the previous release, ‘A Long Time Coming’ (see Vital Weekly 1195), here
is the second release by UK’s Dan Armstrong. This Armstrong (for the last time: not to be confused
by Vacuum Boys’ member of the same name) works for UB40 among others and in private has a
strong love for all things ambient. This time he doesn’t mention any machines in use here, except
for some hardware and he has created six pieces of ambient music, ranging from nine to fourteen
minutes. As I wrote before, ambient music can come in many forms and Armstrong’s choice is that
he is inspired by the ambient ‘house’ of the mid-nineties; music as played by the late Pete Namlook
in those days, Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works Volume 2’ or releases by Silent Records.
There are more. It is a sound that I love very much, and it’s a sound that is perhaps not very
fashionable anymore. In Armstrong’s version, it is all about mood and textures and very little is
about rhythm. When the latter occurs it is usually via arpeggio chords on the keyboards, rather
than via a drum machine bouncing hard and heavy; sometimes it is bass sequencer notes ticking
time. But much is about lengthy, spacious synthesizers tone Armstrong uses in his work. It seems
as if this one is in an even spacier field (cosmos) than the previous release, but I might be mistaken.
It is very cosmic indeed and quiet music; lots of airy synthesizers and the influence of Namlook
seems to be something that can’t be underestimated. Reverb and delay suggest even more space
at times, and while perhaps all a bit of a cliché, I think it is damn great. I have no idea if Armstrong
is maintaining a similar release schedule as Namlook once did. I should hope he doesn’t, even
when I like it a lot. Just a few releases a year is better than once a week. Time will tell. For now, I
should think he delivered two great albums of retro ambient house music. It is about time for a
revival of that stuff anyway! (FdW)
––– Address:


From Italian based musician Anacleto Vitolo I reviewed various releases, but not his ‘beat oriented’
project K. Lust. There was a previous album, ‘Liven’, from 2016. The music is quite different from his
‘other’ music, and I am sure I only heard very little of that. “Slow Down focuses on the concept of
cyclicity in human civilization, referred to the modern world and the critical issues of today’s society.
Hypnotic rhythms as a metaphor for the alienation of nowadays and historical courses (and
recourses) in cyclical repetition” – as a historian I am not sure if history can repeat itself; it’s not a
laboratory project that can be proven by a re-run. Maybe Vitolo means something else? Not sure,
also, what the instrumental music has to do with it. There are titles as ‘Second Attempt’, ‘Ah Human’,
‘Trans-Verse’, ‘Hexagon’, but these are titles that may not have much relation to the music, other
than what Vitolo puts in it. He also speaks about this being a match “match between tribalism and
modernity”, which is something I can see within the eight pieces on this disc. For whatever modern
means Vitolo uses here, drum machines and drum samples no doubt, electronics surely, this
sounds like a tribal beat mixed with current electronics. Tribal is, perhaps, a word that we should no
longer use, as it begs the question; ‘what is tribal anyway’? Maybe, and that is one big ‘maybe’,
tribal is to be understood as something African? The percussion seems to be hinting in that
direction, while there are also more forceful beats giving a strict tempo in these songs. Only in
‘Hexale’, there is no percussion as such, or it is perhaps stretched out. Throughout these beats are
quite dark and haunting and in all, it’s rhythmical approach it is very atmospherically and minimal.
Minimal as in the way these songs develop, but maximal in the way the various parts of the
percussion is used. It has very little to do with something like Muslimgauze or the various projects
that sounded similar, as it is not very Middle Eastern, but rather unspecified tribalist, but I can
imagine that Muslimgauze fans or Pan Sonic who want something that is both minimal and a touch
more melodic. This is not exactly dancing floor material, but it surely makes you move around;
head-nod music as an old UK shop used to call this. This is some very fine music. (FdW)
––– Address:


Here we have a release with two conceptual pieces by Susanne Skog. She works with sound art
and composition, with narrative art forms, experimental radio, radio drama and documentaries.
She also writes about music and organises concerts at Fylkingen who released this CD. In the first
piece she uses recordings from a “205 hour/9288 kilometre trip by train from Moscow to Vladivostok’
and in the second piece, we find a “selection taken from many years recordings of sirens from
around the world. In this work: Tokyo, Naha/Okinawa, Hiroshima, New York, Athens and
Rotterdam”. Both of these pieces were edited at the Baltic Art Centre in Visby and EMS in
Stockholm (very close to Fylkingen). Both of these pieces are very minimal. In fact, should you not
know the two circumstances/backgrounds of these pieces, then you could as easily believe both
pieces are from similar sources and maybe versions. I have zero ideas as to what Skog does with
the recordings she made. Editing is one thing but it is also a broad concept, I would think. I am not
sure if we are listening to many (and I mean a lot) of recordings together, whether or not they are
processed, either in the digital domain or fed through a bunch of filters on a Buchla synth, of which
the EMS studio happens to have one. There is no clear sound of either train or siren to be spotted
and the music is a somewhat remote sound piece, both of them, like recorded from some distance.
It is not as narrative as I thought it would be, based on the description of her work, but both pieces
certainly have an element of drama in them, as they are minimal in development, but over the
course of each piece there is a dramatic shift, growing in intensity, without seemingly adding more
layers, different sounds or even volume. Just by colouring the material the changes become
apparent. Also, one to play loud! (FdW)
––– Address:

ELSA JUSTEL – YEGL (CD by Empreintes Digitales)

For every new release by Empreintes Digitales one can find biographical notes and information on
the pieces on the cover. They have been using the same carton sleeve for many years now. I
learned from the cover here that Justel is from Argentina and she lives in France, where she
teaches ‘new composition techniques’ and electro-acoustic music. Over the years several of her
pieces have won prestigious prizes. It seems, perhaps, the sort of career that many composers
featured on this label. There are seven pieces on this CD, the oldest from 2001 and the most recent
from 2017. These pieces are a fine showcase of her interests in working with electro-acoustic
sounds. In such a piece as ‘Marelle Ou Les Instants De La Vie’, these sounds a very much obscured
and unknown to the listener, whereas in ‘La Radio, Ca Detend’, there is short and vivid cut-up of
radio sounds. In “l” she uses quotes from Serres, Eco, Von Franz and in ‘Purzelbäume’, she works
with a tango rhythm and sound, which has a beautiful estranging effect. It is a brief piece, but it
works well for me. I didn’t understand why she used the computer warning sounds in two different
pieces, as the first time it is quite refreshing to hear it on such an otherwise serious release, but the
second time, you think, ‘oh, again?’ even when it is only once in a twelve-minute piece of music. I
really enjoyed a few pieces, such as the aforementioned ‘Purzelbäume’, the quiet intensity of of the
opening piece, ‘Cercles Et Surfaces’, the radio piece, the classic electro-acoustic approach of
‘Tapage Nocturne’, but was less fond of the title piece (the last one of this release, or ‘L’; perhaps
because of all the French in this piece, which didn’t made it very easy for me. As an introduction to
what Elsa Justel, this is certainly a great CD. (FdW)
––– Address:


The previous occasion we came across the name Gabrielle Mitelli was when he delivered voice
and trumpet to a release by Nicola di Croce (see Vital Weekly 1137). Now I am properly introduced
to his music via four pieces in ‘The World Behind The Skin’. Mitelli plays here cornet, soprano
saxophone, alto flugelhorn, electronics, object and voice. Nicola di Groce and Rob Mazurek
provide liner notes. Perhaps that is some indication where we find the music of Mitelli; in that not
so easy to define an area of improvised music, mainly in his use of the instruments, drone, ambient
and musique concrete; the latter mainly due to his use of the studio to edit the recordings. I
understand all of this was recorded in concert, but there also has been some mixing. Throughout
these four pieces in forty-five minutes there is a very intense sound. Be it the various wind
instruments, sometimes steady and sustaining, sometime sin a very free role, such as towards the
end of the ‘Trip To The Abysses’, but also his use of electronics, forming piercing, almost sine wave-
like drones, along with tossing objects in metal bowls, or the chanting loops in ‘Just Take
Another’ (sounding like plantation song, gradually growing into a piece of ritualistic dimensions.
Reverb from the performance space is added and brings additional sonic depth to the music,
which works very well. Mitelli keeps us on a rather filmic trip; when the wind instruments are used,
this trip sounds like a dark bar in a film noir, but outside this bar, there is surely some modern
civilization going, an alien world of cold communication. At least, that’s how I ‘read’ this music. I
can imagine someone else having an entirely different idea about it. (FdW)
––– Address:


Dolf Mulder reviewed the previous release by Dans Les Arbres and listening to this music I can
see why (Vital Weekly 1088). I could leave this new release also with him, but as I started to listen,
I kept on doing so and, while still firmly rooted improvisation, I enjoyed this a lot. Dans Les Arbres
(‘into the trees’) is a quartet of Xavier Charles (clarinet), Ivar Grydeland (electric guitar), Christian
Wallumrød (piano) and Ingar Zach (percussion), which seems a slight reduction in instruments this
time. They also had releases on ECM and one on Hubro and ‘Volatil’, their fourth album, was
recorded live in Bologna in 2018 and is a fifty-three-minute journey through some very delicate
passages. Most of the time the music seems to be meandering about, nothing especially going
anywhere or coming from a particular place, and it seems an exploration of atmosphere and mood.
Just occasionally they leap out of that concentrated focus and the group starts building up and it
will reach a climax. However, the word climax should not be understood as anything ‘loud’ or
‘noisy’, but it is the end of a logical building of sound, and one or two players take a lead, before
everyone realizes it was all about meandering moods, in which there is no specific lead to be
played. Only in the middle of the piece, there is a point in which all of them play together. They
play their instruments more often than not in a way as one should think they play, but everybody
sides steps that now and then, and reaches out for a more experimental touch of the instrument.
As mister Mulder, this music doesn’t seem to be about drama per se and that’s the feeling I have
here too. It is about creating settings in which each of the players can explore their instruments
without letting the group effort out of sight. This is quite a beautiful trip on a sunny autumns day.
––– Address:

GAËL SEGALEN – SOFIA SAYS (LP by Coherent States/Erratum Musical/Sofia)

If I am not mistaken I may have missed on her “danceable field recordings LP ‘L’Ange Le Sage'”
and the ‘Memoir Of My Manor’ cassette, so ‘Sofia Says’, her third release is my introduction to her
sound world. She studied at GRM and worked as a sound mixer for film, and worked as IHearU,
worked with Aki Onda, Brandon LaBelle, and other. She is also the “co-founder of Polyphones, a
Parisian network dedicated to women in musical experimentation, and OWO, the electronic Open
Women Orchestra. Perhaps as one would expect from someone who studied at GRM this album is
the work of someone working with electronic manipulations of field recordings, voices and perhaps
various acoustic sources, objects or instruments. That is not always clear, I would say, but perhaps
is also not important to know the exact details? The information says something that these are
made “augmented/edited improvisations”, which in some pieces, such as ‘Like Warehouse’ is
something we hear through a constant stream of sounds; perhaps not thoroughly composed but
with a fine flow. Other pieces seem to follow a slightly more rigid composing pattern, more
organized as it were, but in all of these pieces, I would think she likes to keep things at a minimal
level in terms of sounds. That said, it is not necessarily quiet music, as she uses quite a bit of loud
sound. Here I would think she uses many variations of sound, running at the same time, and rather
intuitively mixing these sources. As said, there is a fine, fat busy, even saturated approach in her
approach sound, which made this album lean towards a more noisy edge of musique concrete
and that is something I enjoyed very much. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:


Here is some more music from Peru’s Wil Volador, better known as Wilder Gonzales Agreda, a
self-declared space cadet. His albums so far (see Vital Weekly 1037951 and 1100) are usually a
fine mixture of rhythm machines, synthesizers, electronics and such like and it is worked differently.
Some of his previous releases were a bit more poppy and ambient, and some rather a bit more
abstract. This new release is sort of in-between both ends. His music is intended, at least that’s
what I think, not among for some jerky dance moves. It is too chaotic or complicated (or both!) for
that really, I would think. Agreda’s music is, as always so it seems, quite rough. Brushing up his
stuff is not something he is very much interested in. Is it pop this time? Not really. Not techno-like
either, but also not very academic. These seven pieces are also not very long, which then also
loses its more cosmic touch, even when I could think that would be an interest of his.
‘Kromosapiens’ is such a cosmic intended song, had it not be confined to two minutes and thirty-
three seconds. The whole album, at thirty-two minutes quite brief and I, sensed it could have been
bigger. As before I have not much idea what to make of it. I think it is all quite enjoyable, that much
is sure, yet also nothing special, strange, deviant or different. If only Agreda was a bit more
forthcoming at to his intentions, whatever they are, it would be a bit better to place somewhere
and give a more balanced judgment.
––– Address:

EDITH ALONSO – KHORA (CDR by Truthtable)

Work from this Spanish composer has been reviewed before, even when it was some time ago
(Vital Weekly 899 for a solo release, and in 922 for a work she did with Anthony Maubert as
Electric Landscapes Of Rebellion). Her new release is named after a Greek word with “a lot of
philosophical meanings” and one of that is “no man’s land”, “a journey into another world, far and
unknown, where we find a desolate land”. To make that journey she packs up a Korg MS20, Moog
minitaur, Elektron analogue keys and a Waldorf Blofeld. Oddly enough I had the impression at
times here, that she also used a guitar, but I guess I’m wrong there. It is that wavering, sustaining
sound that reminded me of Ashra Temple. On the whole, however, the music owes more to the
world of drone music, dark ambient, a bit of cosmic music (in ‘Nadie Te Espera’) and electro-
acoustic, even when the acoustic side of things plays no big role, I should think. Maybe a splash
of field recordings here and there, but that’s it. Three of the six pieces are live recordings, which is
something I would not have known if I had not looked on the cover. Usually, Alonso in her pieces
goes for a dramatic build-up, coming from something silent up until something very loud, to calm
down the proceedings towards the end. Each of these pieces is a small story, and while some of
the structures are the same, the story is not the same. These stories are not to be understood in a
literal way, but abstract. It is more like an abstract painting in sound; from a monochrome one to a
variety of colours and shapes. It is all quite solid music and at thirty-four minutes also a bit on the
short side for me. I would not have minded this to be a bit longer. (FdW)
––– Address:

TYRANNIC HORIZON – CHOICES (double CDR by Tyrannic Horizon)

The English word “experiment” is translated into French as expérience and is the word used in
French for both the English words ‘experiment’, and ‘experience’. Certain implications in this are
perhaps more surprising to Anglo-Saxon certitude in a certain and precise difference between
‘experience’ and ‘experiment’. One that if re-evaluated shifts the “concept” of “experimental music”
from something other than the scientific / pseudo-scientific, and into the world of lived experience.
Karl Popper’s preferred use of the purpose of an experiment in genuine science, as opposed to
pseudoscience, is not to supply additional information, more experiences that support a
hypothesis, or discover something new, the experiment should attempt to invalidate a hypothesis
by producing results counter to those which the hypothesis maintains should be the case. The
famous/infamous “experimental” work of John Cage’s 4’33” supposedly rejects the notion of
silence. As an experiment in any of the above definitions 4’33” is shaky, and maybe Cage was
aware of this, for coincidently? 4’33” is 273 seconds, and −273.15 is the temperature in Celsius of
Absolute Zero, at which “The fundamental particles of nature have minimum vibrational motion,
retaining only quantum mechanical, zero-point energy-induced particle motion” i.e. no vibration
so no sound is possible. What 4’33” does ‘prove’ is we cannot perceive silence, it cannot be
experienced. What might in English seem problematic disappears in the use of the French
homophone – expérience. This not only allows Cage off Kelvin’s hook but it’s OK in use for
certain contemporary music/sound work. So I’ve just taken 258 words to allow myself to use the
term “Experimental Music” to categorise the work of Darren Pacey, the person using the Tyrannic
Horizon moniker, and the author of “Choices”. My purpose is twofold, firstly I’ve wrongly criticised
others for use of the term, duly sorry, secondly I want to use it to differentiate Pacey’s work as being
not noise, though at times it is noisy, to be more than just noise. ‘Experimental’, now in the sense of
creating sonic experiences that are free from any Popperian, et. al. critique. There is, I think, no
hypothesises at work in “Choices”. What is at work is not the poor and incorrect mimicry of science
but the creation of sonic experiences by the use of novel means, in other words, Art. An art, which
is, thank God, not the kind whose credentials are the “this questions the nature of…” but an Art of
novel creation of sonic objects one can experience. It is Art because it neither imitates science as
an experiment, or philosophy as some ontological question. The works do neither. CD1 has 7
tracks, #2 has 10, all created using a single feedback loop, which contains various devices, which
is “extremely sensitive” and which Pacey manipulates, exploring “zones”, “The playing experience
at certain settings can be tense”. In effect then we have the deliberate creation of a novel ‘musical
instrument’ whose characteristics are then explored. This is a reversal of 4’33”, which uses a
conventional instrument not to explore its properties at all, Pacey being more in the tradition of
Harry Partch, creating novel systems for making sounds and novel systems for their exposition.
Here again, the experiential involvement of the Artist in making, rather than the conceptual
proposition is key. The binary limits of propositional logic, is it art? is it silence? are replaced by
the open-ended choices (sic) of instrumentation, interaction and listening. So what do we hear,
experience? Sounds curve and twist ‘organically’ with whirring statics and micro glitches, bubble
and squelch, R2D2 arpeggiations and stutters, processed speech? Drifting into short-wave like
effects. The variations of electronica are like an abstract menagerie difficult to describe. My visual
equivalent would those drawings and paintings of Klee, where representation and abstraction
together with a fascination of the materials used, pigment, papers, textures, mingle. ‘Texture’ would
be for me the proper adjective, as its essentially a touch, feely, experience. Though here it’s the
sonic equivalent. Well if my overlong introduction and poor attempts at description have or have
not put you off this work you can check this out, and others, for yourself, @
Not noise then. I must also add like all T.H. releases the
packaging, both in form and graphics is excellent. (jliat)
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JASPER STADHOUDERS/LÄRMSCHUTZ (split cassette by Faux Amis Records)

From Jaspers Stadhouders we reviewed some early work, with a group called Cactus Truck. In
more recent times I had the impression he moved on to more jazz music pastures, but perhaps this
2016 recording proofs me wrong. Here he plays acoustic guitar, objects, metal tubes and crowbar
and it is a most enjoyable half an hour of free improvised music. He plays the guitar first, in a raw
and minimal way, but without maltreating the instrument too much. There is a nice ringing melodic
touch to this part. A section that sees him working with the pipes and metal follows it and here he
becomes a sort of follower of Z’EV, even when with Stadhouders there seem to be fewer overtones.
The set (in front of public) ends with a short but furious piece on the guitar again and he receives a
well-deserved round of applause.
           On the other side, we find Lärmschutz, this time as a duo of Staf Brans (guitar) and Rutger
van Driel (bass & trombone) but with Spelonk on violin. This is not the first time they work with
Spelonk. Their half-hour together sees them also working acoustically. This is a live recording too
(I guess that accounts for most of their recordings) and they work through the material with great
care. It is great to see them explore the acoustic route here, as it makes for a difference. They retain
some of their punky aggression, but in a slightly adjusted form. It sounded all good, but also
something that was not for me. There are too many regular improvisations on this one for me. And
while I enjoyed the fact that they do something different, that was not enough to hold my attention
throughout all of this. (FdW)
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MISE_EN_SCENE – -O-R-G-A-N- (cassette by Cronica Electronica)

Behind Mise_en_Scene we find Tel Aviv based Shay Nassi, who studied engineering and then
went on to produce music. He was/is part of a duo called Ket3m (see Vital Weekly 904). Boltfish
released a very early release by Mise_en_Scene (Vital Weekly 574). I had not heard any other of
his releases, so I can’t say too much about the leap his work made from the stutter beats back then
to the four drone-based pieces on this release. The word ‘organ’ is traced here to ‘part of an
organism’, ‘body’ and ‘musical instrument’. The instrument in question is, if I understood the press
text all right, an air-powered one, and it works pretty well when it comes to pure drone music. I am
not sure to what extent there are any processing going on here if any at all, but does it matter to
know such things? I am, as you probably know, a sucker for many things drone-like, and easily
pleased with such things, even when, looking from a distance, perhaps a bit more objective,
thinking about such things as ‘in what way does this add something new to the world of drone
music?” and perhaps the honest answer is ‘well, not much’. In all of these four pieces, three
shorter ones on the first side and one long (18 minutes) on the other side, we hear something that
we heard a lot over the many years of writing about music. The slow, glacial-like movements of
tones, dark and ominous, start somewhere, stopping somewhere but without any contradiction or
counterpoint. It is like a rock in space in floats through dark space. That is what you think of when
you hear the word ‘drone music’; well, at least I do. Mise_en_Scene doesn’t surprise me but
delivers a fine delicate cassette. It should grow into something more of his own, and not a
carbon copy of some other things. (FdW)
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AMBIENT V. 4.1 (software by Audiobulb)

This is not the first time that I review software; it is the second time and it’s an updated version of the
one I wrote before, Ambient V.03 (Vital Weekly 845). I have very little knowledge about technology,
to be honest, and, as I pointed out before, I am quite lazy. I don’t mind if somebody else does the
legwork for me. That is one of the reasons why I like Ambient so much. I have used that first version
a lot since I got it.
Here’s how it works: you load any sound into it, be it very short or very long, and you can change all
sorts of parameters, Grain randomness, Granular randomness, pitch shift, delay, reverb, amplitude
envelope, filter and you can tweak it around until you find something you like. Then you hit record
and let it run by itself until you are done. The recordings can then be opened in any other program
you use for mixing and editing. You can feed the result back in Ambient and use it as source
material. You can save your favourite presets and you can connect via Midi learn a controller to it.
My most beloved feature is the ‘random’ button though. It takes your sound in the most unexpected
territories and I can hit it for as long as I think is necessary to find the right sound. Don’t let the
name ‘Ambient’ misguide you, as it is not necessarily an ambient outcome. I guess it depends on
your choice of input, but also some combinations rip speakers and headphones apart. So is this
something for lazy people (like me)? I don’t think it is, as it all very much has to do with what you
put into this, and what you do with the results.
    With technology, I always feel one should work with something one is comfortable with. Just last
week I discussed with someone why I was still using software A for multi-tracking and not ‘B’, which
was so much easier to use, time-saving etc. ‘You will regret not using this earlier’. I don’t subscribe
to the whole notion of regret, as it has to do with the choices one is making. I know ‘B’ is better,
faster, cheaper and yet I stick with ‘A’ because I am comfortable using it and not easily prepared to
go through another learning curve. If you want to release a cassette and use apps that play random
sounds (like those sleep sound generators), then you should that. If creating modular synthesizers
is your alley, then go ahead. It is never about what you use, it is how you want to it. Rather than
writing myself something in Max/MSP which is at the basis of ‘Ambient’, I’d rather take ‘Ambient’,
because it is so easy to use. The last time I wrote I had no idea if I would be using ‘Ambient’ a lot,
but in the years that followed I can safely say I used it a lot, in all sorts of combinations, as a live
instrument, as stand-alone software, feeding it to analogue machines and was at the source of
much music.
    In all honesty, I am not sure what this new version has changed, excerpt for the graphic interface
and that it is now updated for the latest Windows and Mac versions, but sadly no longer works on
my older system software on the dedicated music computer. It is still one of my favourite bits of
software and I expect this to be for some time to come! (FdW)
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