Number 1217

ERB & LORIOT & MORISHIGE – DRY (CD by Veto/Exchange)
ROB CLUTTON & TONY MALABY – OFFERING (CD by Snailbongbong Records) *
 MAKES US LOSE (CD by Sofa Music) *
  Skivbolaget) *
JONAS OLESEN – CIRKELMUSIK (double 12″ by Bin)
CIRCLE BROS / KARINA ESP – FRAGMENT SERIES 2 (7″ lathe cut by Trome Records)
RICARDO D’ORLANDO – WARHEAD (CDR by Choloform Records) *
The compilation corner;
VANISHING STANDARDS (cassette compilation by Amek Tapes)
MOVING MUSIC – SOUNDS FROM THE ROCKING CHAIR (CD compilation by Moving Furniture


Here is a duo from Vienna. In recent times perhaps not as often found in Vital Weekly as they
perhaps once were. Both of them have been part of the Viennese scene of improvisers and
composers, working with people as Angélica Castelló, Christof Kurzmann, Christian Fennesz,
Billy Roisz, eRikm, Phil Minton, Hans Koch, Mats Gustafsson, Camille Emaille, Anna Högberg,
Susanna Gartmayer or in such bands as Efzeg, SSSD, Schnee and (Fake) The Facts. Already in
2002, the two them released an album, ‘eh’, which didn’t make it to these pages and now there is
a follow-up. The title is to be translated as ‘Garden Of Noises’ and was recorded in Paris and
Montreuil, containing recordings from inside as well as outside the house; the cover says “recorded
at Instants Chavires and the street and metro trains”, so there you go. Stangl plays guitar and
electronics and Dieb13 plays “acoustic and electronic gramophones and electronics”, so I am not
sure how that works out in the street and the metro. There are no less than twenty pieces on this
CD, spanning from a mere thirteen seconds to ten minutes. I think these short pieces are ‘field
recordings’ in some way, the noise produced outside, and the longer pieces are by the two of
them. As I may have written before I am not the world’s biggest lover of the turntable as a musical
instrument; there is only as much scratched vinyl/wood/paper/metal you can play with one or
more tonearms. Here, in duet, with the carefully placed guitar notes of Stangl, it all works well.
The six strings howl, burst in feedback or consist of some sparse notes being played. Meanwhile,
the turntable(s) are used in what we could probably say it is a similar fashion. It is used to create
wild scratchy sounds, electro-magnetic resonances or the sparse crackle underpinning or
contradicting the guitar sounds. I think sixty-nine-minutes is a bit long for an album of such
demanding music, even when spliced with some odd field recordings. Fifty minutes would have
maybe been as or more powerful. I like the way the music bounces from some sheer minimalism
to jubilant maximalism, providing some fine variation throughout (also needed with the length of
this, I would think). All together: very nice and hopefully it doesn’t take them another seventeen
years to come up with something new. (FdW)
––– Address:


Three names here, working together, and I must say I had not heard of either of them. Mulo Muto
is the duo of Attila Folkor (synths, breathing, feedback) and Joel Gilardini (baritone guitars,
synths, dronin); is Angelo Guido (electric guitar, keyboards, self-built synths
& FX pedals, programming field recordings) and Skag Arcade is Paolo Colavita on synths,
treated guitars, programming, field recordings, noises, digital treatment. The album is a sort of
concept thing based upon the Arctic and Antarctic expeditions of a century ago and in particular
Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917), the last of the expedition in such a
form. An expedition that ended well but was not without problems (let Wiki fill you in on the details;
a good read!). The music is an all-out heavy affair. I expected some glacial drones of an icy
nature, but instead we arrive in a full storm. Sure, there is some spacious intro but then on it’s all
heaviness. There are three tracks. The title track opens up here and it is a collaboration between
all three bands, going from pretty loud to very loud and back again. Mulo Muto then has a solo
piece that is for most of the nineteen minutes a full blast of distorted noise in which we could
discover a likewise distorted rhythmic pattern in the end. The third and final piece is a
collaboration between and Skag Arcade and this is the most tranquil piece
of the lot; it’s also the longest of the three. This is a fine piece of guitar-oriented drones that get
snowed in and became rougher and rougher towards the end, buried under the weight of ice
(bass). In all honesty, this was the piece I enjoyed best, even when it also sounded a bit like
nothing out of the ordinary guitar/loop/drone music that is around in quite an abundance. If the
heavy weather conditions needed an aural picture then these three pieces surely fit that. Not for
the weak. (FdW)
––– Address:


This is the second 10-album boxset I’ve reviewed for Vital Weekly in the past month. Please be
impressed. When a label publishes an album of this magnitude, it signals to listeners awash in
new music that their big album is particularly significant. A set of ten albums implies music worthy
of long-term consideration and reflection, not just one more slab of plastic in the unending
product stream. And so, you may rightly wonder, have I given all ten hours of the dauntingly-titled
“20 Years of Experimental Music” the attention it deserves? I’ve surely tried to. Please know that
my take is, by necessity, an abbreviated pass. I will return to this at my leisure to more deeply
reflect on it and understand it’s myriad parts, any one of which could require serious attention. A
Big Statement such as “20 Years…” should be reviewed soon after it comes to alert listeners to its
presence, but I expect to have more to say about it in a year or so, once I’ve had time to chew on
its various intellectually-demanding elements. This review should be read as an initial impression.
I expect to have more coherent and considered things to say about it once I revisit the music later,
one disc at a time, without the pressure of a Vital Weekly deadline hanging over my head. The
booklet includes a helpful history of the group by Julian Ottavi, a brief explanation by Keith Rowe
of one of the pieces he wrote for the group to play, and an informative reflection by Rowe’s
biographer Brian Olewnick.
    And so you might wonder: who the hell is Formanex, anyway? The group, based on the west
coast of France in a lovely city called Nantes, comes from a diverse background of rock, noise,
jazz, sound poetry etc. Clearly, though, the trio (sometimes quartet?) was heavily influenced by
their neighbour, Keith Rowe, who lives nearby. Formanex is comprised of Julien Ottavi (aka The
Noiser, which is a truly dire name for a noise project, but he’s a talented guy and so is grudgingly
forgiven), Christophe Havard (of °sone and PizMO), Anthony Taillard and Emmanuel Leduc. The
same crew minus Havard, plus Keith Rowe form a group called NG4 Quartet. Exchange Leduc for
Havard and you get [N:Q]. Clearly, these people have a deep history together in the local Nantes
fringe-music community and so a long-term collaboration was probably inevitable. The set’s
nominal focus, however, is just one unifying ingredient in this album’s large-scale survey of
contemporary composition and improvisation. The title makes it explicit. This isn’t only a
Formanex box set; it’s a set showcasing two decades of experimental music, with Formanex as
the through-line. Only on one disc (placed late into the set, the 8th disc) do we hear early
recordings of the group without outside collaborators. The other nine discs feature Formanex with
AMM, ONsemble (a larger group with rotating players, including the members of Formanex), Ralf
Wehowsky, Seth Cluett, Christian Wolff, Michael Pisaro, Phill Niblock, Radu Malfatti and Kasper
T. Toeplitz. Most of the pieces are performances of graphical scores, which seem to form the
backbone of Formanex and is the mode to which they return most frequently. On this set, we get
recordings of Christian Wolff’s “Edges” (featuring the composer himself on piano), two takes on
Cornelius Cardew’s classic “Treatise”, plus graphic pieces written for the group by Cluett, Pisaro,
Malfatti and Niblock. Two of the tracks are trios of AMM’s Keith Rowe and John Tilbury with
Christian Wolff and don’t include Formanex at all.
    The shadow of Keith Rowe’s work and Cardew’s “Treatise” looms over a lot of this music.
Indeed, several of Formanex’ previously-released albums consist of them playing “Treatise”,
which is unquestionably the best-known of all graphically-notated compositions. It’s kinda a rite-
of-passage mountain that anyone involved with “improvisation” or “contemporary classical” or
“experimental” music should try to climb at least once in their lives. There’s no correct way to play
it; you just look at the score and make the sounds you suppose approximate the lines and shapes
and numbers and symbols on the page. As you might expect from a group that’s been studying
and performing “Treatise” for two decades, Formanex’ takes (two of them on disc 1, in which they
are joined by AMM, Christian Wolff and a larger ONsemble) are masterfully assured and deeply
beautiful. The 2nd and 3rd disc feature Wolff’s graphically-scored composition “Edges”, plus some
other pieces that reside in a similar soundworld. The music is fragile, with unhurried breathing
silence surrounding each phrase, vertical slices that glide into one another and dissipate like
water vapour. The fourth disc, “Pieces for Orchestra and Double Orchestra”, pairs our heroes with
Phill Niblock, and here’s where the Formanex flavour becomes something quite different.
Niblock’s two pieces, “Disseminate” and “To Two Tea Roses”, find Formanex as a quartet joined
by a nine-member ONsemble. Both compositions are seemingly static drone blocks with very
long, slow-moving passages. Spiky, event-driven music is discarded as the big band coalesces
into a moist, dark fog. The fifth disc brings Keith Rowe back and with him some more recognizably
instrumental/improv moves. The structure of the nearly hour-long piece, “Hang Ups”, is hostile at
times, allowing held-breath emptiness to hover menacingly for long stretches, broken by sudden
clanks and slams. It’s intentionally disorienting and fractured.
    The 6th disc is the one I was most excited to hear and is the one that most radically explodes
the image of the group from the previous five discs. On this recording from 2005, it’s unclear
whether Formanex is playing a piece written by Ralf Wehowsky (a personal sonic hero of mine)
or if this is a studio creation of Wehowsky using Formanex as source sounds. The confusion is
fascinating… I love it that I have no idea what’s going on! The instrumental sounds of the core
group are rendered aggressively noisy, dense and filthy. A black exhalation of ugly smoke greets
listeners immediately from the opening moments, warning the listener to expect something much
different than the preceding five hours. It’s as if Wehowsky is atomizing the group’s sounds via
rude tape effects and drastic electro-acoustic transformations… though, again, maybe that’s not
what it is? After laying down the first 30-minute gauntlet, Formanex is recognizable again for the
short centre track. It’s a quick reprieve since they’re obliterated again into sheets of grey noise
for the nearly 20-minute closer. My favourite part is what must have at one point been a human
voice (singing?), pulverized into messy mush with the dust scattered alarmingly over bits of the
music in unexpected punctuations.
    The 7th disc is another collaboration with Keith Rowe for a single, 45-minute composition
called “Three Lines to Achieve Almost Nothing”. As the title implies, this is an extremely minimal
affair, with anaemic sounds barely rising over the bed of oppressive emptiness. You have to listen
closely to make out faint shadows of movement, soft rolling bass tones and barely-there nervous
shimmy. It’s a tense listen, stubbornly unsatisfying (that’s a compliment). Disc 8 is the only disc in
the set to show us Formanex on their own. No guests, no pieces written by other people. This is
where we get to hear what the group did before they became what they are today, with an audible
affinity for underground noise and aggressive almost-rock. I’m very happy that this is part of the
set, as it shows sides of them one might not hear in works like “Treatise”. After a short, introductory
muck of found (?) voices and no-fidelity tape trash called “S-T”, the three longest tracks on this
disc shows a formative Formanex kicking up in-the-red dust storms of noise with cascading,
propulsive percussion and psychedelic reverb-laden guitars. I can imagine them as 20-something
punks in the corner of a poorly lit bar, blasting this ugh for a small audience of friends.
    The penultimate disc is another electro-acoustic monster, with the main group collaborating
with Kasper T. Toeplitz. The two pieces, “Szkic” and “Demonology #2” (which, if I read correctly,
was the first piece written by an outside composer for Formanex, back in 2001), are harsh and
hostile. The shorter opening track hovers uneasily, vibrating strings meeting uncomfortable
piercing feedback and gut-churning bass tones. But that’s merely a prelude to the final disc, three
pieces written for the group (billed as Formanex and ONsemble) by Michael Pisaro, Seth Cluett
and Radu Malfatti. Again, these are quite different from what came before. The booklet doesn’t
provide much information about each of these pieces, unfortunately. I see something that looks
like a graphic score reprinted in the booklet but can’t tell to which piece it corresponds. Maybe it’s
one of these? Or not? I dunno! Pisaro’s piece, “Fragile Being, Hopeful Becoming” is performed by
a larger group consisting of Formanex, Pisaro himself on guitar and seven additional ONsemble
players on clarinets, guitars, basses, electronics and “objects”. The 11-strong group is admirably
restrained, moving as a single voice that belies the number of performers. “Fragile…” does what it
says on the tin; this is a spiky and hushed affair, with lonely tones and wet blips drifting toward
minimal percussive clatter that sounds like a closely-mic’d ferret playing in a utensil drawer.
Cluett’s piece, “For Formanex” (clever!) has a more abrasive electronic character. Elements
seem isolated and episodic; a prepared-guitar cluster followed by a feedback shard, followed
by chattering grumble, followed by insistent chirp. Neat! Malfatti’s piece again sees the line-up
swell to nine players (including the composer on bass harmonica, an instrument you probably
have never considered wanting to hear on purpose) as the overall volume goes way down. His
“Shoguu” closes the set with an even more restrained and elongated smear than Pisaro’s. Single,
simple events rise and fall along a linear path, some sections starting to swell like soap bubbles
but getting cut off before they float away. (HS)
––– Address:

ERB & LORIOT & MORISHIGE – DRY (CD by Veto/Exchange)f

Erb and Loriot work as a duo a since 2016. In 2017 they released their impressive debut album
‘Sceneries’ for Creative Sources Recordings. They toured in Spain, Portugal, South America
and Japan.  In South America, they played with local musicians Leandro Bonfiglio (electric
guitar) and Alexis Perepelycia (drums). For recordings of these meetings go to Bandcamp. In
Japan, they met Japanese cellist Yasumune Morishige who joined them for some concerts. This
worked out well and so a tour as a trio followed in Switzerland. Recordings for this record took
place during this tour at the KKLB Museum in Beromünster. Yasumune Morishige who works as
an improvising cellist and pianist may be best known outside of Japan for his works as a bassist
in Keiji Haino’s Fushitsusha. French-Japanese violinist Loriot is based in Zürich (Switzerland)
nowadays, after years of pending between New York and Europe. He worked recently with the
Musica Nova ensemble from Tel Aviv, to mention one of these many projects. Erb worked a lot
with Chicago-based improvisers, several of them he invited for his A Race in the Space festival
that will take place near the end of February in Luzern. Also, Loriot will play here by the way. Erb
also runs Veto Records that has many of his collaborations in the catalogue. On ‘Dry’ the three
create seven very abstract and intimate sound improvisations. Improvisations that are full of
subtle colours, gentle movements and explorations of timbre. They create rich and condensed
textures from a concentrated interplay. ‘Fields’ the opening track, turns halfway into a very
intense and dramatic exchange. Sometimes a melodic pattern surfaces for a moment. Erb
searches for accommodating sounds and patterns, by using his many extended techniques,
never producing the sound we generally hear from the saxophone. Loriot is a real magician and
plays fabulous sections in ‘Wood’ and other improvisations as well. (DM)
––– Address:

ROB CLUTTON & TONY MALABY – OFFERING (CD by Snailbongbong Records)

A very mature recording of two veterans. Rob Clutton  (double bass) is an exponent of the
Toronto-jazz scene, operating on the borders of improvisation and composition. He has his
ensemble The Cluttertones and a trio. Here we have him in a collaboration with New York-
saxophonist Tony Malaby, who is known for his work with Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Michael
Formanek, a.o.  Both are members of the quartet of drummer Nick Fraser, of whom they play one
composition (‘Sketch #11). Most of the other titles are composed by Clutton, and some by Clutton
and Malaby together. Together they lead us through eleven sensible and expressive duets, that I
enjoyed most for Malaby’s sound and phrasing.  Most of the duets evolve quietly and slowly.
Likewise, most compositions breathe a warm and lyrical atmosphere. In the improvisations, like
‘Swerve’, they permit themselves more dynamics and free playing. Throughout there is fine
interplay to be enjoyed here by the two who are equally involved in their dedicated musical
conversation. The album is released on Snailbongbong Records, a small label run by
Clutton (DM).
––– Address:

 MAKES US LOSE (CD by Sofa Music)

It was only a few weeks ago that I reviewed a CD recorded in concert between Joachim Nordwall
and Christine Abdelnour, now the latter teams up with Magda Mayas, the pianist from Berlin. This
is not their first work together. It follows ‘Teeming’ (Vital Weekly 739) and ‘Myriad’ (not reviewed).
This duet between alto saxophone and piano was recorded on September 15th, 2018 in Oslo,
during the Ultima Festival. Was the release with Nordwall a confrontation between electronic
and acoustic instruments, here it is all-acoustic. Both ladies are skilful masters of their
instruments, taking it far away from the way to play the way it was first thought. At least I assume
they learned to play these instruments traditionally and then, at one point started searching for
other means to play it. Extending their techniques and what that brings is shown in these thirty-
six minutes. Sure, the piano and the saxophone can be recognized, from time to time, but there
are instances in which this is not the case. Piano strings are plucked, played with a bow; come to
think of it, maybe the horn of the saxophone is also played with a box. It can sound like feedback,
shrill and frightening; it is percussive, with dampened strings, mysterious and abundant. It is, as
with the other release I heard from them, a very dynamic piece of music, going from very quiet
and introspective to loud (not as in noisy, loud). Throughout there is always a nervous and
hectic to be noticed, operating on microtonal levels, which, oddly enough, doesn’t work that
much for the introspection side of it all. It is demanding music but very rewarding. (FdW)
––– Address:


Germany’s Midira Records specializes in all things drones and guitars, in all the various guises it
may pop up. ‘Transtilla II’ is, obviously I’d say, the follow-up to ‘Transtilla I’ (see Vital Weekly 1178)
and it combines the talents of Romke Kleefstra and Anne-Chris Bakker. They have been working
together with poet Jan Kleefstra (brother of Romke) as Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra and in various
other, more ad hoc, projects. I may have understood the origins of Transtilla wrong before, as I
believed that they wanted to play more noise oriented drone music. That didn’t seem to be the
case with the first release and here they go the same ambient drone path as before. There is
nothing wrong with that. Likewise, you could raise the question of how many drone albums one
can release, and that too is hardly of importance. Drone music is a thing that sees very little new
developments and lots of sub-categories. The version on offer by Transtilla is that of slow-moving
guitar patterns, locked and looped inside a whole range of sound effects, creating this wall of
guitar sound that sounds however quite delicate. The opener ‘Achrome’ is good but nothing
special. ‘Askvoll’ takes us deeper into the undercurrent, but ‘Assemblage 2008’ is the highlight
here. It is mysterious, crackling and has wonderfully slow guitar pattern that is repeated over and
over, like a small melody over the lake on a misty morning. ‘Valavond Aan Concourslaan’ is the
fourth and final piece and is solid closing of forty-six minutes of a varied dish of heavily textured
music; all in various shades of grey.
           Also four pieces, but eight minutes shorter is the release ‘Uncoded Winds Below The
Waves’ by Francis Gri, David Gutman and Federico Mosconi; also known as an Italian/US
collaboration. I don’t think I heard of them before. Gri was a member of All My Faith Lost, who
released on Cold Meat Industry and who runs the KrysaliSound label; Gutman is the guitarist
of Drawing Virtual Gardens and Tropic Of Coldness and Mosconi is a guitarist with a background
in classical and contemporary music. The thematic connection between the pieces is the wind.
To that end, they use field recordings from a stormy night on Crete and they add a fine blend of
guitar sounds, effects and perhaps also synthesizers. At least I believe they add some sort of
synthesizer to the music, responsible for another set of sustaining sounds, but also for the
rhythmic bits in ‘Libeccio’ and at the end of ‘Grecale’. The wind howls through all these tracks
but the music remains fairly calm. The instruments are like steady ships on a sea of unrest.
Whereas Transtilla is perhaps one closely knitted mass of sound, with this trio there is more
distinction between the sounds. Perhaps, it is also a bit closer to the world of ambient music
and a bit less to the world of drone music. Here too I didn’t hear anything I haven’t heard before
and once again, I didn’t mind. There is some very fine solid dark ambient music on this disc and
it is played with great care for detail. If Transtilla didn’t offer enough variations in grey, then here
are some more. Play both discs and note the finer differences in the genre of ambient and
drones and you know what I mean. Both are lovely releases on a winter’s day. (FdW)
––– Address:


Terrie Ex is, common knowledge coming up, the sole member of the original 1979 line-up of The
Ex, and still using his punky stage name, even in his work outside the group. He plays the same
guitar for forty years and never tunes it, nor replaces the snares. Although I got struck off receiving
promos from The Ex (I think), I quite enjoy their work, still after 40 years, even when they are not
the demi-gods that some reviewers hold them for. They are a true punk band with no musical
rules. They are active outside the world of punk music with Terrie Ex being the most active
member and doing much work with improvisers round the world. Here he teams up with pianist
Kaja Draksler, of whom I never heard. She is a young piano player from Slovenia, living in The
Netherlands. The recording here was made in June 2018 at Cafe Oto and spans two pieces; a
long one (35:34) and a shorter one (7:20). I didn’t expect anything short of a great CD and I am
not disappointed; not at all. This is a great CD. There is a great level of control to be noted
between both players, with a strong emphasis on rhythm here, from both players. Extended
techniques see them playing their instruments with objects, with sticks, with bows and there is
a great balance between both players. Whereas Ex sometimes tends to do an all-freak out on
his guitar he is remarkable mellow here; he’s also playing his guitar in a rather untreated way (I
believe he never does that much), which sounds at times quite acoustic. Draksler’s is all over the
piano, playing some interesting ‘normal’ moves before leaping out and doing a similar acoustic,
rhythmic approach which Ex does, both in great interaction together. There are a great call and
responses here on all levels and one feels the same excitement as the players. They had fun
doing the music and we enjoy what we hear. (FdW)
––– Address:


The first CD by this trio was ‘Front & Above’, reviewed by Dolf Mulder in Vital Weekly 1113, was
recorded live at Cafe Oto. This new one is a studio recording made at Atlantis Grammofon AB in
Stockholm, where synthesizer player John Chantler is based. Steve Noble is on drums and
Seymour Wright plays the alto saxophone. I could forward this to Dolf Mulder, simply on the
ground that is a disc of improvised music, but something is holding me back. I have been
playing this a few times over the past couple of days, and I am quite intrigued by it. Previously
Dolf wrote that “sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the electronic sounds and the
percussive sounds”, and that’s the case here too, but sometimes they very much are
recognizable. There is a massive sound at times here, like it has been recorded in a big hall,
with lots of reverb. That works great in ‘Class III – Four Entrances, Facing Each Other In Pairs’,
the final track with the drums hammering away in a steady beat and which is more akin to a rock
piece than free improvisation. In ‘Class I – A Single Entrance Created From A Gap In The Bank’
the drums are all over the place and here the addition of reverb doesn’t work that well.
Chantler’s contribution is the hardest thing to figure in these three pieces as he manages to
make his synthesizer sounds like a saxophone, drums or just the additional layers of textures.
I enjoyed ‘Class II – Two Entrances, Diametrically Opposite Each Other’ and ‘Class III – Four
Entrances, Facing Each Other In Pairs’ best. The first is a carefully constructed piece of heavy-
weight minimalism, with Noble on the cymbals, Wright on lengthy saxophone tones and Chantler
in spacious, short bursts; the other being the aforementioned ‘rock’ drum piece and with a strong,
empty opening sound. The long opening piece being the most all improvised piece is for me
perhaps too regular; or too improvised, but here I enjoyed the fine contrast between massiveness
and emptiness. (FdW)
––– Address:

JONAS OLESEN – CIRKELMUSIK (double 12″ by Bin)

Bin is surely one of the stranger labels around, even when they call it a “record label for
peripheral audio, editions of historical and contemporary electronic and experimental music.”
Some of their releases are more like objects to be used in a musical context (or not) whereas
others contain music.
           Such is the case with Anders Monrad. There is a lengthy explanation on the cover about
this being “time-stretched sounds created using my first, early attempt at programming a granular
synthesizer in Pure Data” (plus lots more texts that is a bit beyond my comprehension, about
‘scroll functions’, ‘DSP object’ and so on), but I understand things worked out a bit differently, and
the six pieces on this LP are the result of this; they were also used in an exhibition. The tracks are
strict in their timing; exactly 3, 5, 7, 6, 5 and 4 minutes and offering some fine computer drone
music, with a bit of glitch. There is, oddly enough, some sort of rhythmical tendency in this
material, which, when it happens fast becomes a drone. There is a fine urgency in this material,
I think, as well as a delicate drone sound. I think it’s a great record. It is simple, effective and
nothing I haven’t heard before in the world of homemade computer music, and still, it sounds
great. I played this on a somewhat louder volume than I would normally do and it certainly brings
out some of the deep bass sounds and it has wonderfully clear-cut detailed sound. A return of
the laptop music; I said it before, will say it again; it will happen!
           An object for the more daring DJ is the double 12″ by Jonas Olesen (also the label boss
here). Both records are identical and have 10 locked grooves on one side and ’embossed’ dots
on the other. Each lock groove has no sound but the master has etching so it forms rhythmical
patterns. In case you want to use your precious stylus, a needle is provided. Needles (pun
intended) to say, this can be played at any speed (well, all records can be played at any speed)
and I tried a bit and it has that nice minimal techno sound that made Thomas Brinkman a well-
known musician. Good or bad is certainly not words that are needed here. I love this package
and I have no use for it; that’s a good thing about such things.
           Back to a musical release that is fewer hands-on. I don’t know who Maulex is; other than
that Discogs says its René Middelhede. There are a bunch of releases on Phloq, which seems to
be his label and ‘Circular Movements’ was released before, digital-only. I would think the circular
movements indicated by the title deal with the looped sounds we hear on this 10″ record. We have
here organ-like drones, acoustic rumble and a throughout lo-fi sound. There is a fine, repetitive
movement in these four pieces, and none of that stays within the same circle even when of
course when both sides end in a lock groove. I thought it all sound ‘all right’, but nothing that
stood out from any good cassette release these days.
           One Tonni Claire recorded five songs in 2015-2016, using a Yamaha Electone C-605,
Roland SH-2000 and Casio MT-400V and they can be found on this 10″ record, ‘Kosmiske
Ambitioner’, meaning ‘cosmic ambitions’; this is the debut for Tonni Claire. I had no idea what to
expect here; I thought it would be pop-like, but it’s not. It is very much on the synthesizer side of
things, but in a rather naive sort of way; it must the synthesizers he/she is using. Oddly enough I
couldn’t resist thinking about cassette releases, but this time it was a fine remembrance of the
80’s cassette movement when this sort of doodling was a commonplace. Don’t get wrong: I love it.
It is charming, it’s naive, it’s colourful and it’s without too much ambition (oops). What can I say?
Lovely stuff, but five songs in say 15 minutes is all a bit short for me. I wouldn’t have minded a bit
of this. Let there be an LP next time. (FdW)
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CIRCLE BROS / KARINA ESP – FRAGMENT SERIES 2 (7″ lathe cut by Trome Records)

Not so long ago I heard music by Circle Bros for the first time (Vital Weekly 1203). This is the
musical project of Wim Lecluyse, who also runs the Morc Records label. I very much enjoyed
that work and that pleasure continues here with two short pieces on this lathe cut record. The
first piece is ‘Frozen Lakes’ and it was already recorded in 2004 and is a typical ambient post-rock
guitar piece of that time; looped guitars spinning circles and some far-away voice at the end of it
all. The 2016 track ‘Peaks’ sounds like a pleasant accidental recording of objects falling and
looping in a whirlpool of delay pedals and last one minute and twenty-one seconds; then the spell
is broken, unfortunately.
    On the other side, we find Chris Gowers’ Karina ESP project. These days we know him from
his musical project Lowered (Vital Weekly 1027 and 1117) and the label that also releases this
lathe cut record. His work as Karina ESP I haven’t heard not in a long time, and I assumed he was
no longer active as such. ‘Time Is Suspended’, the piece in question here, was recorded in 2014,
so still active then. The last time I heard Karina ESP was ‘Detachment’ (Vital Weekly 832),
released by Morc Records (it’s a small world) and here Karina ESP sounds like before; moody
ambient music with the strong use of guitars, a bit of percussion (cymbals mostly), feedback/
singing bowl and a voice from the next room that sounds like an accidental field recording. It is
“about the terminal illness diagnosis of a loved one” and indeed it is a very sad tune. While it is a
mournful piece of music, it sounds great. You would wish that more than forty people would hear
this as that is the number of copies made of this record. It comes with a handmade cover. (FdW)
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RICARDO D’ORLANDO – WARHEAD (CDR by Choloform Records)

The only bit of information I found on mister D’Orlando was on the Electronic Cottage website,
which I never saw, but seems like a surprising follow-up to the magazine of the same name from
the late ’80s/early ’90s, which was all about the wonderful world of home taping. Listening to the
music by Ricardo D’Orlando, I can imagine it would have a world he would be at home at.
Discogs lists two releases for him, this one and one from 2015, but I understand from the little
biography he was already playing music since 1970. In 1993 he joined Alien Planetscapes, once
of those bands from the cassette scene that always escaped me back in those days. Nowadays
D’Orlando is retired and does visual collages and electronic music, using “MU format modular
Synthesizers”, guitar and shortwave radio. In one hour he has nine pieces on offer, ranging from
one minute to almost nineteen; that long one, ‘Silo’ is one of the best pieces on this release. It’s
mysterious, vague and highly atmospheric, drowning in a bath of hiss and tones of creepy
darkness. In other pieces, certainly at the start of the CDR, it sounds more like a traditionally
inspired modular music, of finding the right spot within a few parameters and work around with
that, such as in ‘Starburst’ and ‘Minot Blues’, both quite different pieces. I enjoyed this best when
D’Orlando picks up his guitar, flicks the dial of his shortwave and does that in combination with
the modular synthesizers, expanding on them with additional textures such as the aforementioned
‘Silo’, ‘Bode’ and ‘Eternal Sky’. The short opening and closing piece pay homage to the world of
cosmic music (certainly if you decided to call them ‘Klang-Klang’ and ‘Starlight’). All in all, I thought
this was a great release. (FdW)
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More and more we see Matt Atkins expanding his work to other labels, as well as working with
other people. Here he teams up with Danny Clay. From him, I heard two previous works, one
with Stijn Hüwels and one with Greg Gorlen. On this tape, he plays “metal bells, combs, paper,
broken light, piano, music box, marbles, cassette tapes, pebbles, plastic bells, small percussion,
transducers, wooden blocks”, while Atkins goes for “chopstick on drumhead, crowd murmur, drum
filled with seeds, dry plant leaves, homemade banjo strings, jingle bell stick, karma piano, large
bell, marbles in drum head, newspaper, piano notes on cassette tape, ping pong ball in drum and
saucepan lid, plastic packaging, push flute, sheet of paper, small and large bells, cymbals, wind-
up toy”. There are two places mentioned as recording locations, San Francisco and London, so I
have no idea if this is the result of playing together or sending sound files through the Internet.
One instrument sticks out here and that is the piano. Whereas all the rest is present somehow,
somewhere, sometime, the piano makes its appearance in most of these six tracks, striking a
chord, playing a careful melody. It sounds as recorded in the living room, with its spatial quality.
It is an instrument that is set quite differently from the rest of the sound material, but quite rightly
so I would think. It makes a fine change in the otherwise rumble tumble of the rest. There are lots
of small sounds to be here, objects being shaken around, stirred and going through effects, all-
making up a delicate web of sounds. It very much fits the sound world of Atkins, but that’s perhaps
because I know his work more than I know Clay’s. It is very much the result of improvising first and
editing later. One can’t say this is purely improvised music; it is also electro-acoustic, it is also
musique concrete, it is also field recordings and even ambient music. There is a fine tranquil a
spect to the music here, the piano perhaps; the electronics may be and there is a delicate
approach to hitting, striking, brushing and whatever of all the objects. At thirty-two minutes on
the short side sadly. (FdW)
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The compilation corner;

VANISHING STANDARDS (cassette compilation by Amek Tapes)
MOVING MUSIC – SOUNDS FROM THE ROCKING CHAIR (CD compilation by Moving Furniture

Ah, compilations. They still arrive here, no matter how often I say that I don’t like reviewing
compilations. I understand the need to release them, to promote your label for instance. Here
are two examples
           Amek from Bulgaria promotes the label here. Or to quote from their Bandcamp, “Vanishing
Standards’ is an effort to reach outside our creative circle and explore the music of fellow artists,
who share a similar vision for contemporary electronic music. We invited people who’ve never
before released for us but also asked our artists to leave their comfort zones and collaborate. The
result is a homogeneous mixture of genre-crossing music spanning over 15 tracks and 86
minutes of sound ranging from ambient dub to experimental, abrasive drone and decaying post-
club music”. So included are ate & Randomorb, Nocktern, Zhe Pechorin, Phlp., Maxim Anokhin &
Ivan Shopov, Valance Drakes & Mytrip, Environments, Ergomope, NIANDRAZ, Vague Voices,
Crosspolar & Mytrip, LATE, Yuzu, V-Stók & Nicola Serra and krāllār. That includes some people
we heard of before (Valance Drakes, Mytrip, Ergomope and such, plus a bunch of new names.
There is very little to add to all of this. Yes, that’s what it is, ambient, ambient dub, drones and post
(?) club music. It is all fine music loved playing this and doing some stupid computer work in the
meantime. Never I looked up what I was hearing, meaning (perhaps) none of these stuck out, but
also none of the songs was a major let down. It paints a fine picture of what this label is about.
           Which is something that can also be said of the compilation CD just released by Moving
Furniture Records. No doubt we have reviewed pretty much all of the releases from what I
consider the most important Dutch label for experimental music, so perhaps you’d expect this
compilation receiving a special place in Vital Weekly. No favouritism, please. This compilation is
part of a crowdfunding campaign that just ended and had lots of goodies, one of them is this
compilation. Luckily this is not your standard ‘here’s an artist and his song’, but in ten of the sixteen
pieces, artists from the label work together. Radboud Mens meets BJ Nilsen (via e-mail); Gareth
Davis & Machinefabriek live in concert in the sunny city of Nijmegen. That kind of thing. Unusual
combinations (Haarvöl & Jos Smolders; Martijn Comes & Rene Aquarius) and some as expected
(Orphax & Freiband, with a short remake of a CDR that was part of the crowdfunding in an edition
of 1 copy). Five musicians choose to do something solo (Bas van Huizen (two pieces by him; not
sure why), Fani Konstantinidou, D’Incise, Codespira1 and Distorted Nude). As someone who is
well versed in the releases of this label, I can vouch for the fact that this compilation is a very fine
example of what this label has to offer. Fine drones, ambient, modular synthesizers, acoustic
drones, modern classical and everything in between as a cross-over between that. Plus all of
these tracks you can’t find on a regular disc by the label. (FdW)
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