Number 1208

XQM/EMERGE/LDX#40 (CD by Attenuation Circuit) *
JOHAN ARRIAS – POUR ALTO SEUL (CD by Ausculto Phonogram)
GAUDENZ BADRUTT – GANGLIONS (LP by Aussenraum Records) *
NAVEL – AMBIENT 2, IN SPACE (LP by Cosmic Winnetou) *
GÜNTER SCHLIENZ – ISLAND (cassette by Feathered Coyote Records) *
GÜNTER SCHLIENZ – ICELANDIC TAPES (cassette by Hangover Central Station) *
NORN – MOBULA (7″ lathe cut by Etch Wear) *
ARVO ZYLO – CHILDREN OF THE STONES (double 3″CDR by Ballast) *
SUB LOAM – EXCAVATED RELICS (cassette, private) *
PHILIP SAMARTZIS & ERIC LA CASA – CAPTURED SPACE (cassette by Cronica Electronica)


Following the last release by drummer and percussion player Adam Golebiewski that was also a
duet, with Thurston Moore (see Vital Weekly 1127) and that is something he enjoys these days,
having also worked with Shariff Sehnaoui (see Vital Weekly 1093). Here he teams up with Kevin
Drumm on electronics that are not specified, so it could be modular synthesizers, laptop or any
such like. The recording was made in a club, without an audience is present and it proofs it is not
easy to record such a thing. The drums are recorded with a microphone and the electronics blast
from speakers around that, so at least I assume, and that is an uneven marriage. Sometimes we
don’t hear the electronics as well as we would love to hear them. It is four pieces, fifty minutes, con
furioso. Golebiewski scraps, hits, bows his kit to extreme measurements and all along Drumm has
his modular synths (so I assume) set to like-wise extreme variations of hiss, feedback and distortion.
This is a release of four times radical sonorities. In ‘Fenced Off From Larger Worries’, I would think
Drumm takes the lead and Golebiewski only comes at the end; that, or his bow on the cymbal
produces like-wise piercing tones as Drumm’s electronics. In other pieces we hear the drums
clearer but, as said, that sometimes goes in front of the electronics. The music on this disc is very
loud and best is to play with some considerable volume, as that made for me more sense. Get it
to the overwhelming level and don’t do anything else. (FdW)
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There are many forms of ambient music, from extreme drones to ambient house, from metal to new
age. Here at Vital Weekly, we write it all, and yet some variations are not present a lot. Such is the
case with variations as played by Michael Peters and Fabio Anile. I am not sure if I heard of either
of them before, and perhaps I am too lazy to found out. Peters is a guitarist from Germany who
played in punk bands, avant-garde jazz/rock band, “open improvisational groups” and ambient.
He uses electronics, software and live-looping techniques, which includes the classic Frippertronics
variation. Anile plays piano is classically trained and he uses electronics. They have been playing
for some time together as these recordings were made during “several recordings sessions in
Rome between 2010 and 2019″. All music was improvised, except for field recordings which have
been overdubbed. To start with that: I didn’t hear many of those, so I am guessing they are there
but they don’t take up much space (only in ‘Hovering’ there is some sound of water and doors). The
thirteen pieces on this CD are not very long, ranging from one minute to seven minutes. That makes
all of this perhaps a bit sketch-like in approach. When you think you are into something a piece, it is
also gone, such as ‘In The Distance’. That is a pity; it seems like they are an extract of a much longer
piece, which we are not allowed to hear. With music like this, I think it needs some space to explore
the sounds used; even if these sounds are only sparse, as in ‘Frozen’. Some glacial-like drones
swirling slowly in and out of the mix and with some time before a very sparse piano note drops in.
It is here where the music owes quite a bit to the work of a certain mister Brian Eno, who from time
to time also had albums with such shortish pieces and with the piano it is not difficult to think of his
work with Harold Budd. I have no idea what kind of software they use (perhaps the one that this
label also produces? I wrote about that before; see Vital Weekly 1205) and if this software is a live
treatment of the instruments they play. There is a pleasant variety in these pieces here, which
makes it all the most enjoyable. The music is never really dark, which is a rarity among ambient
music it seems, without being very new age; here, another Eno rule is observed; the music can be
both enjoyed as well as ignored like all good ambient music should be. I wouldn’t have minded if
some of the shorter pieces were a bit longer and then we have fewer pieces here, but it would not
make a difference for the variety of ambient interests on offer. Sometimes piano and guitar are
easily recognized, and sometimes not at all. It is the two parameters between which all of these
pieces seem to move. This is music for a lovely Sunday afternoon, at home with a book. (FdW)
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XQM/EMERGE/LDX#40 (CD by Attenuation Circuit)

There is a slightly confusing cover here, which tells us that the music recorded by xqm is the source
material for the other two, but the booklet may seem to indicate that the order of the CD is Emerge/
xqm/LDX#40, whereas it is xqm/Emerge/LDX#40. The previous time I heard music by xqm I found
it rather noisy and left it to Jliat to devote a review to (Vital Weekly 1187). For no reason I expected
this to be along similar lines, but here the duo went out with the sequencer, analogue synthesizer
and effects to produce a twenty-one minute piece of drone music, with a fine dark undercurrent and
some heavily produced white noise/hiss-like sound that over the course of the piece becomes a
very fine dark ambient beast. Emerge then applies his ‘usual’ cut-ups techniques to it, by alienating
the sound and using a collage-like approach. It means that there are all the colours of ambient
industrial sound pass by, and they either have a full stop or a gradual, chameleon changeover.
LDX#40, of whom I may not hear a lot before, prefer to stay in one dark ambient field with a slightly
more distorted drone, without it all turning to true noise fest. There is some excellent buried tension
in this piece that has some fine suspense; like a good horror movie. Even though the presentation
is a bit weird, this is a very fine three-way compilation. (FdW)
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Somewhere else in this issue I say something about travelling to gather field recordings and if in
this day and age of protecting the environment is still a thing we should do, and then there is Grisha
Shakhness from Israel who stayed at home to produce a work of field recordings. There he set up
a system with mixers, recording devices and microphones to capture the environment he lives in
and feed that to his Revox A-77 and let the sound envelop, decay or process while doing not much
other than sitting around the house, allowing for very minimal sounds to be captured on tape. There
are two pieces here. The first is sixteen minutes and is called ‘Occurrences At The End Of A Curve’
and the other is called ‘It’s A Good Day To Stay Outside’ and is forty-three minutes long. I very much
enjoyed the shimmering tones of the first piece, with its hidden tension and occasional electronic
sort of sound. It had some nice hiss in there and it was like the set-up of a recording to capture
ghosts around the house, or EVP’s even. The other piece doesn’t have any of that. This piece
seems to be a very long recording of an environment in which someone produces little sounds in
the adjacent room, while the microphone also captures some sounds leaping in from outside, like
cars passing. Here there is no tension, no ghosts, just some human activity going on, of objects
being sorted, rubbed quietly on the floor, making a charcoal drawing or whatever something like
that. Given the title and the ending of the piece, he might also be outside. It ends with what seems
a public address announcement in public transport, but with the recorder being firmly locked in a
bag, we can’t be too sure of that. I would not have minded the first piece to be twice as long and the
sole piece on this release; and if Shakhnes wanted the second one on there, then I wouldn’t have
minded if the lengths of the pieces were reversed. (FdW)
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Following Howard Stelzer’ review of Alternative TV/Good Missionaries ‘Scars On Sunday’ (Vital
Weekly 1190), he and I had a private discussion about the band and that lead me investigating the
old work by Alternative TV that I missed out in my formative years; I couldn’t afford every record that
sounded interesting when I read about it and downloading wasn’t a word that existed in my world.
So, years too late it was good to find out more about it, and enjoying the weirdness of ‘Vibing Up
Senile Man’, or as Stelzer said “more punk than punk”, mostly for me in the music, as I was never a
man of lyrics, which is important for Mark Perry, the man behind the band. As I was listening to the
old ATV music I wondered what I would have thought of the music had it I heard as a young man.
Knowing me, I would have probably hated it; too weird in a sort improvised jazz way, not enough
electronics; perhaps, I would have declared it as not very good post-punk; in my defence I’d say I
was 16, so what did I know? Oddly enough, now that I am playing ‘Primitive Emotions’, which is a
collection of “single, EP and compilation tracks, released between 2016 and 2019” I believe this
would have been the post-punk music that I would have liked back then, and hitherto is still music I
like quite a bit. Stelzer called Perry “a more conventional singer/songwriter” when he’d come back,
but this release does proof Stelzer wrong. Mark Perry is still a man with many faces, not easy to pin
down within a specific musical genre. A song as ‘Art School Project’, the second song here sounds
like Martin Hannett producing The Names; same intonation, same synth, same reverb. The
penultimate song on this album is ‘Hollow Stream’, a free form improvisation for synthesizers,
percussion and voice (plus lots of delay pedal work on all instruments), followed by ‘Chinese
Burn’, a straightforward, dark post-punk song with gothic undercurrents. In between, we went from
more punky songs to Throbbing Gristle inspired wailing in ‘Rebel Proof Glass’ and ‘Like A Tomb’,
in which the voice/poetry is set against a more or less random set of electronics. Some of these
pieces are indeed conventional, surely, but as whole this collection is far from conventional,
bouncing all over the alternative spectrum. Some of this is not all the Vital cup of tea, but then,
some of this is. Quite a lovely collection indeed. (FdW)
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JOHAN ARRIAS – POUR ALTO SEUL (CD by Ausculto Phonogram)

Arrias is a saxophone and clarinet player from Stockholm operating in the fields of improvised,
experimental and contemporary composed music. He is a member of Fylkingen, a non-profit
association for experimental art and music since 1933 (!). He organizes concerts at Kroch in
Stockholm and works now and then in circles of alternative pop. He worked with musicians like
Tetuzi Akiyama, Axel Dörner, Kai Fagaschinski, Audrey Chen and many more. In 2016 Arrias
started his Ausculto Fonogram-label, releasing albums the ensembles Jurmo, Jaaz and .Punkt,
that all had involvement by Johan Arrias. Now Arrias is ready for his first solo statement. A short
work (31 minutes) of catching and penetrating music. It is a solo investigation into sound
possibilities of the saxophone that also turned out as a very personal reflection on his history and
identity. Recordings took place at St.Jacobs Church and Fylkingen, both in Stockholm. Arrias did
the recording, editing and mixing all by himself. The opening track ‘Lament’ sounds as it is titled,
it is a moaning lamentation built from dissonant and scraping sounds. A very emotional opening
piece. In the following improvisations, the atmosphere remains the same and leads us into a
desolate world. His deep resonating sounds and nuanced textures could work out very depressing
on the listener. But as they are of great beauty at the same time, the music, on the contrary, is
uplifting and very human. One long and far cry by ‘un Homme Seul’. His investigations make clear
that improvisation reduced to sound aspects still can be very moving. (DM)
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Of course, there is at least one player on the mandolin here, albeit an electric custom made one.
The Farwest Mandolinistic Orchestra is a trio from Greece and the electric custom mandolin is
played by Sotiris Debonos, who also plays the guitar, live looping and live electronics, while
Stathis Ioannou plays electric guitar and live electronics and Kostas Tsiolis is at the Rhodes piano,
prepared piano and live electronics. This is their self-titled debut album, which, so I understand, is
recorded live in-studio surroundings. There are eight pieces here and to be honest I am not sure
what to make of this. There is something to be said for all the variation in approaches here, with
things being delicate and sparse, or rock-like (of course without any drums), or even a bit jazz-like,
such as in the opener ‘Diminuiti’ (even when it hardly qualifies as traditional jazz). With the addition
of the mandolin, there is also an element of folk music in here, cooking up a strange brew of sound.
At times pretty abstract and most enjoyable, but it also can veer towards something that sounded a
bit trivial and, perhaps, silly, like a not well-made attempt at improvised music, such as in ‘Tasti
Bianchi I’.  I found it enjoyable but at times also not much, however odd that may sound.  You can
surely say they have an original sound, defying easy descriptions. It all made me curious to hear
what they would sound like in concert; how does the diversity of these approaches work out then?
Now, it made me scratch my head and mostly enjoying what I heard. (FdW)
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Over the years I reviewed quite a bit of work by Petra Dubach and Mario van Horrik, from the Dutch
city of Eindhoven. Much of their work deals with sound installations, although not exclusively. I
reviewed a CDR release from them called ‘Waves’ (Vital Weekly 914), which was a document of
long strings suspended in space, with piezo elements and bass shakers and/or vibration plates.
There is sound fed into the shakers causing a string to vibrate. Something like that (the cover
explains it much better but I want to avoid lengthy quotes for once), and on this LP there are
various forms of this installation all built up in a church in Eindhoven where they were allowed to
work for seven weeks on pieces of music, experimenting with these long strings. This LP is a
documenting of those experiments and apparently, some ten hours worth of music was recorded.
The DVD shows the building of the installation as well as “the influence of Petra’s body and
movement on the process”. As a sucker for all things drone, and a sucker for things that I don’t
hear a lot, I thought this was all fascinating music. The long string instrument is something that
wasn’t invented by Dubach and Van Horrik; there have been works by Ellen Fullman, Paul
Panhuysen/Johan Goedhart and Alvin Lucier for instance in the past, but that’s a mere drop in the
ocean compared to all those people doing drones electronically. Plus, I think Dubach and Van
Horrik have quite an original take on the matter, and there are some interesting differences to be
noted in all the pieces presented in this LP and DVD. From what one perhaps expects, the slow-
developing drone sounds of rattling long strings, to shorter sounds of vibrating objects in a
somewhat nervous manner. There is some excellent control over the proceedings by the two
players, either by moving or not moving. The music is throughout calm and remote, never loud
and distorted, although it can be loud (er) as shown in one of the pieces with the interaction of
body and strings. The LP seems to have, in general, some of the more gentle pieces of music;
slow, minimal and intense. The DVD has some fine extra performances, including those with
Dubach’s movements, but also it shows the installation was made (as if the words on the cover
weren’t enough, but it’s great there is some visualization). This is both a great work of music, but
at the same time also an excellent informative document of what you are hearing. One of their
most refined works to date. (FdW)
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GAUDENZ BADRUTT – GANGLIONS (LP by Aussenraum Records)

Here’s some good news; well, at least I hope so. After some time in which we didn’t hear from the
Swiss label Aussenraum Records, they send me a new record. Checking their website it turns out
they were never away, but I missed out on a few over the recent years. I don’t why, but I would love
to have heard records by Jim Haynes, Diatribes or MP Hopkins. So, now it’s time for Gaudenz
Badrutt, whom we know from his work with Jonas Kocher, Hans Koch (see Vital Weekly 1002) and
the duo Strøm (Vital Weekly 836), with he has with Christian Müller. All of this work made me
believe he was in the field of improvised music, but on this first solo record, his music is more
along the lines of noise music. Badrutt is primarily an improviser with the computer, but here it
says “live sampling of internal and external feedback, analogue effects and acoustic sound
sources”. That may imply there is also use of other machines than a computer, and the press texts
mention “distortion devices, no-input-mixing or modular synthesizer”. The approach of Badrutt is
not exactly called ‘careful’, as straight away we learn we are in for a bumpy ride. Badrutt works with
a broad palette of shorter and longer sounds, of cracks and cuts, which are thrown around in a
really easy way. This is not something for the weak hearted I would think. In ‘Supraesophageal’,
the piece that takes up the first side of this record, this results in a mostly broken up sound; short
and shorter but with some feedback-like sounds lingering onwards and upwards. Towards the end,
it is all reversed and now we have mainly longer, softer (well), sustaining sound and the occasional
burst. The other side is filled with ‘Suboesophageal’, which up’s the ante with a more concentrated
noisy affair, in which I think the voice plays an important role, resulting in what one could also see
as an attempt at some good ol’ fashioned power electronics piece, on both the occasions it
happens on this side of the record. Certainly, this is music that one shouldn’t file under ‘easy
listening’, but maybe also not under noise. The content is improvised music taken to the extreme
level, and that is something, which is not unique, but always most welcome. This is a powerful
record, especially when played at full force (and recommended as such!). (FdW)
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NAVEL – AMBIENT 2, IN SPACE (LP by Cosmic Winnetou)
GÜNTER SCHLIENZ – ISLAND (cassette by Feathered Coyote Records)
GÜNTER SCHLIENZ – ICELANDIC TAPES (cassette by Hangover Central Station)

It seems that whenever I review something new by Günter Schlienz I never mention his involvement
with Navel, the old group he was in that played moody guitar drone music. In the early part of this
century, I quite liked that kind of music, and then it disappeared out of sight and mind. Until that is,
Cosmic Winnetou sent us new signs of life (Vital Weekly 1149), but perhaps now I am connecting
the dots. Maybe because I am looking at Discogs and see Navel is one person, Günter Schlienz,
also the man behind the Cosmic Winnetou label, who also mailed two of his recent releases, using
his Christian name and quite rightfully so, as his solo music is indeed something different. I am less
sure than before that Navel is a band, but the cover says that Navel is “Gage and Floyd. With
Masako and Thomas” and the music was recorded in a “hut by the forest”. Like I contemplated the
last time when Navel comeback was a surprise, I thought it was great to hear such ambient music
again; or perhaps, to go with Bandcamp tags, ‘kosmische Musik’ and krautrock’, even when rock
seems far away here. The guitars meander about, on a wide drift and whatever electronics are
used, they form one, massive spacious backdrop. And like before I noticed the psychedelic effect
this music has and maybe that’s something I didn’t notice before or perhaps not to that extent. The
element of strangeness is however not forgotten here; in ‘Beyond Ithaka’ there is a repeating
modular synthesizer like click bleeping away in a sort of random way, while the guitars gently
weep and space out; it also could include a harp. Gentle oddness? Now the days are getting
shorter and colder, this is the perfect mood music for such days, one to put on repeats for a while
(yeah, its a drag to get up and change the vinyl; life isn’t fair indeed). This is a truly beautiful record
that should appeal to all fans of mood music played on guitars and yes, with that I mean Stars Of
The Lid, among many others.
    Recently I reviewed a new release by Schlienz and once again I noted the careful drift of the
man towards the world of new age music, but playing ‘Moksha’ from his ‘Island’ cassette, I think it
will not be an easy transition from ambient music to new age, as this is a subtly distorted release
of repeating drone, radio waves and some orchestral strings plucked out of the ether. There is a
voice that whispers/murmurs about LSD and it could indeed be a tribute to Albert Hoffman’s
accidental invention of the stuff in 1938. The music is based on impressions on reading Aldous
Huxley (who drifted into death while on LSD). Schlienz’ music acts in a similar hallucinated way.
‘Here And Now’ on the other side is also not your usual new age cup of tea. The field recordings
he uses are quite shrill and are mainly there in the beginning. In the rest of the piece these field
recordings disappear, and the mild distortion stays but now with a slow and low melodic touch to
it. This is quite a lovely cassette; exactly the kind of ambient music I like. It is very atmospheric and
moody and has that wonderful rough edge that doesn’t make you fall asleep.
    Also on the other cassette, Schlienz’ mind isn’t clouded with incense. Here he presents a series
of pieces that he recorded on different locations in Iceland in August 2017. He was armed with a
small battery-operated synth and recorder and maybe a microphone to capture some of the cold
air (also August isn’t exactly tropical over there) or other surroundings and taking inspiration from
the rocky landscape. Maybe it is the limitation of the equipment or the Spartan recording
circumstances but this is Schlienz in his most rough modus. His synthesizers peep and crack or
are otherwise a bit distorted or just a bit meaner, even when things are quite soft, somewhere in
the middle of this tape. Field recordings don’t play a very big role here, except for an occasional
splash of water and somebody coughing there; except for that bit of church recording that takes
some more time. This is the kind of modular synthesizer music I like very much. Again it is moody
and atmospherically, but taking the experimental side up a bit more, making this great stuff. This
tape is packed in a neat black carton box and only reveals information when the tape is removed.
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NORN – MOBULA (7″ lathe cut by Etch Wear)

Peter Johan Nijland is a busy man, working under a plethora of disguises; Distel, Hadwijch, O
Saala Sakraal, half of Trepaneringsritualen, Skymme, Syntax Pony and Norn. Although I speak
Nijland in social surroundings occasionally, I honestly admit I am not sure what the precise
differences are within all these names. Darkness is something that surely connects all of them. I
believe Norn is just Nijland solo and in most of the other projects, there is a collaboration with
other people. As Norn, there was a previous release, ‘Usotsuki’ (see Vital Weekly 981), with a
great package (and on a great label, Moving Furniture Records. Check their current crowdfunding
campaign) and some moody tunes and atmospheric soundscapes. Sometimes surely has
changed for Norn in the time that passed between these two releases (the only two releases as
Norn), as this single-sided 7″ lathe cut record is more a dramatic pop song. It is melancholic,
dramatic, and with vocals, dark and haunting. There are some fine synthesizer patterns played,
crumbled up field recordings in granular synthesis and even a drum-like sound. This is closer to
Distel, but then Distel moved up the world of rave these days, so perhaps it is all a bit shifting.
Should one who reads this in time and be around, Norn plays in Extrapool (Nijmegen) tomorrow
and in Occi (Amsterdam) the day after, so you can find out all about it yourself. (FdW)
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It is safe to say for me that ever I first discovered Arcane Device, the musical project of David Lee
Myers, I was a big fan; although, in retrospect not so much of the first album. That was about thirty
years ago and while Myers may not surprise me that much these days, I keep on hearing
something new in his music. As Arcane Device and continuing under his name, Myers plays
‘Feedback Music’. Connect the output of your headphones to the input of your mixer and open up
the volume until it starts feedbacking. It is that simple and it is not. These days the common term is
‘no-input mixer’ and usually along the lines I described. Meyers, on the other hand, has crafted
complex systems over the years, using a variety of sound effects (delay, reverb) between output
and input, dividing the signal over several channels and as such he now has more control over
the result, and it is no longer just a load of noise; in all fairness, it never really was. Over the many
years that he is active Myers moved from quite a bit of loud music to a very ambient version of it
and even tried his hand at considerable shorter pieces (on ‘Diabolis Ex Machina’). On ‘Prototype
Of The Veil’, Myers has six pieces that drift in ambient music; well, a bit, but with a strong
melancholic edge also. I had the feeling, perhaps entirely wrong, that these could function as ‘love
songs’. There is a gentle, pleasant feel to these pieces, as they slowly envelop in the long title and
the like-wise long ‘The Ontological Degree’. There is an odd drift in all of these pieces, shorter as
well as longer ones, like a non-focus perhaps, an improvisation-like character maybe, but all in a
sort of gentle way. Unless of course, you turn up the volume quite a bit; then this can be
overwhelming. I am the sort of person to keep it a medium level, not too loud, not too quiet, but
with a pleasant presence around the house. This is quite a beast, gentle and crude, piercing and
quiet, melodic and abstract. In other words, it is a disc that fits the expanded catalogue of Arcane
Device/David Lee Myers as one of the many highlights in there. (FdW)
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The Greek label Sound In Silence is always good in drumming up artists I never heard of and here
we have one. First, there is Stéphane Recrosio from Paris, who goes by the name Astatine. He is
also a member of Acetate Zero, which is described as a “slowcore/postrock” band. Astatine has
been reviewed before (Vital Weekly 1023), which left me a bit confused as to the content and
intent. One of those releases sounded quite well, but the other one was the man in guitar and
loop mode. I would think this is where we find him with this new release as well. On ‘Global
Exposure’ he has twenty pieces, in forty-six minutes and it is like listening to an audio sketchbook.
Lots of ideas, some of them good, some of them very much subject to change, and some that I
would discard, but none of this good. It is at times pretty noisy, but in a sort of lo-fi approach so not
entirely the all-out (rock-) noise approach, but fuzzy, distorted, vague. Maybe some of it would go
down as shoegaze? Sometimes Astatine allows for some more ‘experimental’ sounds, treatments
of field recordings perhaps, but is that enough to be full-on interesting experimental music? I doubt
    Memory Drawings is a band lead by hammered dulcimer player Joel Hanson from Minneapolis,
along with guitarist Richard Adams (Hood), violinist Sarah Kemp (Lanterns On The Lake), pianist
Gareth Brown (Hood) and multi-instrumentalist Chris Cole (Movietone). I had not heard of this
group, who had released before on Second Language, Hibernate Recordings, Zozaya Records
and the band’s label, Signal Records. ‘Phantom Lights’ was previously only available as tour-only
CD and now given a wider push. At twenty-five minutes/six tracks it is not a very long album. With
a line-up like this, you can expect this to be in a more rock-like direction, or perhaps folk and that is
quite what it is. There is fine, the gentle tone in this mostly instrumental music of folk-like music with
some post-rock influences. The label refers to “pygmalion-era Slowdive, Hex-era Bark Psychosis,
Tortoise, Rachel’s and of course mid period Hood recordings, Brave Timbers and Manyfingers”,
which is a bit of gibberish for me, even when I recognize some of the names; not the music, but
surely there is an alt-rock head out there who does recognize any of this and would nod in
agreement. I found this most enjoyable, highly entertaining music, but at the same time I
wondered how far away this is from the noise, glitch, ambient, improv, microsound (or whatever
you call the music in these pages) and I’d say that Memory Drawing is indeed quite far away
from our daily digest; wonderful as I may think the music is. (FdW)
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It was only after I saw it mentioned on Bandcamp that I took out the cover from the DVD box this
comes it (and which, to my humble opinion, always looks cheap) that I see it is poster and the
lyrics are printed on the inside. There is not much other information on the creator, Rune Kjaer
Rasmussen. Judging purely the music on this release, I’d say he’s a voice artist, armed with a
handful of loop devices. He knows what he is doing and he does it pretty well. But I am not sure if
this is something for these pages. It is fairly musical, in a traditional way. Other than using his
voice, there is nothing else, which not necessarily means it is very experimental, and that’s how
we like things best. As you should have learned by now, I am not the sort of guy to pay much
attention to lyrics and have very little about what it means. Rasmussen does a pretty good job, I
can hear that, but I found it all a bit too much outside of something I can say about it. Perhaps it is
all too much poetry for my taste and I never know what to say about that. (FdW)
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All of the sound sources used on this release were sourced from a TV series from the UK from the
1970s, called ‘Children of The Stones’. You can find it on YouTube. It brings the dilemma here of
watching the two-and-a-half hours first and then review the music of Zylo, or just go for it? I went for
it, looking at a bag of free DVDs I picked up yesterday and whatever rest I listed for viewing on my
notepad and that could keep me busy for days on end. Zylo’s music can sometimes be very harsh
and obnoxious, and there is one such piece here, ‘Power’ (an appropriate title), which I skipped
straight away after two seconds. It is two minutes and twenty-nine minutes of noise I can do
without, but also the release could without, as otherwise this an excellent release of some great,
imaginative music. The opening piece is a dialogue; perhaps it is a cut-up (if only I had watched
the thing online!) and the rest sounds like a heavily treated film sound, in which Zylo uses many
layers of sound to create delicate yet intense pieces of music. It becomes eerie drone music in the
long piece ‘Full Circle’, which fills up the entire second disc; a choir of humming voices, in a circle
and closing in on the listener. In the much shorter ‘The Circle’, the voice hums far away and there
is a haunting atmosphere. Voices seem to be playing quite a big role anyway and I was reminded
of a very crude version of Nurse With Wound’s studio montage of voices; Zylo uses much more
loops and even more layers, which adds a slight distortion to the music. Throughout there is a fine
spooky, horror-like element in these pieces, well, except for the noise version. The presentation is,
as always with Ballast, great; a small cloth bound book with two folded pieces of full-colour images
and silver ink image on the front. This is a limited edition of 55 copies. (FdW)
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SUB LOAM – EXCAVATED RELICS (cassette, private)

Back in 2016, Thomas Shrubsole released ‘The Portable archive’ under his Sub Loam name (see
Vital Weekly 1051), which was culled from material he already recorded in 2009 and 2010. It is
something I enjoyed very much, as Sub Loam is something along the lines of lo-fi electronics,
drones, ambience, and field recordings. Now there is a tape with “two recently rediscovered
examples” from the same period, which Sub Loam feels they should be heard out there as well,
and, sure, why not? This is something that could have also been surely been on the original
release. On the first side, there is ‘Soil Surface’, a slow rhythm piece. Or perhaps something that
is on a loop device but slowed down quite a bit. In sync we have a mild synth sound burping away.
It is a very moody piece and almost a dub-like one at that; all bass but no dance riddim. This is a
particularly great piece by Sub Loam. The B-side contains ‘Stone Fragment’, in which the guitar
plays quite a big role, strummed in a really odd way, and set against a set of misty electronic
backing, with an odd flanging effect on the strings. It seems like he’s playing the guitar with a stick,
creating odd timbres. Buried in the background there is a bit of percussion. It is a totally different
kind of piece and a most enjoyable one at that as well. I sure can believe that if you found this
after ten years you would want to release it. (FdW)
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PHILIP SAMARTZIS & ERIC LA CASA – CAPTURED SPACE (cassette by Cronica Electronica)

Now, here’s a name that I haven’t heard in some time. Philip Samartzis was quite active some
fifteen to twenty years ago as what was then called a laptop artist. Funnily the last time his name
appeared in these pages, back in Vital Weekly 675, was with work also recorded with Eric La
Casa. That was a trio, also including Jean-Luc Guionnet, and I wasn’t blown away by that work.
Now the two of them return with a forty-seven-minute cassette of recordings made in South Africa.
That seems to be a popular location for field recordings (do any of these field-recording artists
worry about their carbon footprint? I once raised that question on social media, to which there
was one reaction, ‘everybody should worry about their footprint’. I am sure young miss Thunberg
would not agree). They recorded wildlife I’d say, but also rivers, trees and “bush camps and safari
lodges, gift shops and restaurants”. The audio was used in an installation of which this cassette
is a stereo version, which is all about the natural world (animals, rivers, trees) and the constructed
world (roads and restaurants). They were limited in moving around in the Kruger National Park,
everything was recorded inside a vehicle, another captured space, perhaps. yet there is nothing
muffled or distant in these recordings. Instead, it is all very vibrant, moving around with extended
choirs of cicadas singing, animals breathing, cars passing and people talking. Even if one was
never in this part of the world, you have a pretty good idea of life over there. It is a very fine, no
doubt, but like the previous, also not something you haven’t heard before. I was thinking that goes
for many things reviewed in these pages and it is perhaps not a great argument. It is lovely stuff.
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From this duo from Utrecht, I reviewed a cassette before, in Vital Weekly 1077 and I learned that
the tasks are thusly divided; Martijn Pieck (also known as Cinema Perdu) is on modular synthesizer
and Jon Unger is on guitar. Now and then they meet up and start improvising and that is followed
by an edit of the music. On this business card USB flash drive, you can find four pieces from the
last two years in which their focus shifted from composing to improvising. Each of the four pieces
is just over fifteen minutes and for me, it seems to continue where I left off the previous time, but
now a little more refined. The guitar doesn’t sound like a guitar, most of the time, but is in droney,
buzzing and phasing mood, which is something that Pieck suits very well, with his modular set-up
doing small curves, ringing drones and bending waves. In all four of these pieces, they play the
mood card to a bigger or smaller extent. Sometimes there is a bit of room for a bit louder, noisier
approach, but throughout that doesn’t happen a lot. The interaction between Unger and Pieck is
great, I think. Very easily I could think this either from one person, or that is meticulously arranged
and mixed, and not the result of two men in a basement. Seeing this is a business card of sorts,
one could think this is to either get some exposure or as an update of development in creative
terms. Either way: good call! (FdW)
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