Number 1222

K. LEIMER – A FIGURE OF LOSS (CD by Palace Of Lights) *
UDO MOLL – ENIAC GIRLS (2CD by World Edition) *
  Records) *
FCOC – FAST, CHEAP AND OUT OF CONTROL (LP by Firework Edition Records) *
NŸLAND – WRAKHOUT (cassette by Ultra Grotesque) *
GOLDBLUM (cassette by Het Generiek) *
TARAB – MATERIAL STUDIES #1 (cassette by Hemisphäreの空虚) *
JOÃO CASTRO PINTO – THE NO LAND SOUNDSCAPE (cassette by Hemisphäreの空虚) *

K. LEIMER – A FIGURE OF LOSS (CD by Palace Of Lights)

Whatever else arrived today, you can bet on the fact that I will be playing the K. Leimer disc first.
If you have followed what I wrote about the man over the years that should hardly be a surprise.
And long before there was a Vital Weekly, I played his music with a lot of enthusiasm, even when
new releases were a bit scarcer. According to the press text this album was written and recorded
“during two dark years’, and no doubt the word ‘loss’ in the title refers to the death of someone
near and dear. The piano plays a big role in these eight pieces, but there are lots and lots of room
for digital synthesis, as well as samples, Telecaster and field recordings. It is indeed a very moody
album, quiet and introspective. With the February rain gushing down on this Sunday afternoon, the
music sometimes seems to disappear in the real-time field recordings from outside. Each of these
pieces is sparsely orchestrated and quiet but hardly ever silent, if you get my drift. A few sounds
are used per piece, crackles, dusty electronics, lost of space, that sort of thing and then somewhere
there is a place for the piano. That is used to play some sparse notes, chords or single strikes and
it seems to me that these piano recordings are mildly treated within computer technology. Listen
closely and you will notice strange, other sounds in there, such as the far away bleeps in
‘Individuation’, but this sort of oddity is kept to a minimum, and usually, it blends in very well the
atmospherics of the music. These are eight particular sad pieces of music and all of them
wonderfully beautiful pieces of ambient music. K. Leimer proofs to be one of the best in this field.
––– Address:


Here we have two new releases on Mota’s Headlights label and both are duets for bass and
guitar. The difference is in the amplification. Takashi Masubuchi plays acoustic guitar and Shizuo
Uchida plays acoustic bass. Listening to the three lengthy compositions I found it hard to believe
that they were acoustic. Especially the slightly metallic sound of the guitar gave me the idea that
there was some kind of amplification. Maybe the guitar in question is a dobro? Two pieces were
recorded in March 2019 and one in February 2018; there are no titles. This is some demanding
music that requires one’s full attention, but if you do this is a most rewarding experience. In the
first (and longest) piece the music is at times chaotic as much as it is, at the other times, quiet and
introspective. The second piece (and the shortest, still fourteen minutes), it takes a while but it
coherently works towards the point in which it gets into a proper structure, with the bass repeating
notes and the guitar playing dissonant motifs. In the third piece, they return to their more
introspective side of things, but not as chaotic as in it the first piece; here there seems to be more
organisation, within the sparseness of the piece. These three pieces are quite different and there
is a fine interaction between both players here. The spaces in which these pieces were recorded
have undoubtedly added to the atmosphere of the music, and there are lots of atmospheres here.   
    Which one could also say of nine pieces by Margarida Garcia on bass and Manuel Mota on
guitar; not specified if they are acoustic or electric. The total length of these pieces is thirty-two
minutes so they are not very long, even when one is just over six minutes. Garcia and Mota
worked together before (see Vital Weekly 1003) and back then it was all quiet music, introspective
and highly atmospheric and it still is. This is what Mota is best known for. Playing sparsely
orchestrated notes. One here and one there, rather than playing chords or progressions and such
like. I am not sure if either player uses a lot of sound effects in combination with their instruments;
sometimes I think they do, such as in ‘Black Oars’, a particular dark rumble, but then sometimes
not at all. The mood they paint in all of these pieces is one of darkness. This is achieved by some
sort of method of recording that creates a distance between the players and the recording device,
like in a massive surrounding such as a church or cave. The dark rumble of especially the bass
guitar creates a feeling of desolation that runs through all these pieces. The whole release may
be short, but it is all a heavyweight upon the listener; I doubt if more of this would have been a
great idea, but so did the musicians, I guess. A wonderful release. (FdW)
––– Address:


Baroni is an Argentinian composer who lives and works in Amsterdam for a few decades. He
studied composition with Gilius van Bergeijk, Louis Andriessen, a.o. I have to admit that I never
came across his work. I know he has one more release out on Unsounds: ‘Motum’, released in
2018 with compositions performed by Ensemble Modelo 62. This new release documents his
latest work that was meant to accompany the interactive sound installation ‘The Body Imitates the
Landscape’ designed by Adi Hollander. It was performed live last year at the November Music
festival from which I take this quote: “The music on this album originates in the interactive sound
installation The Body Imitates the Landscape by artist Adi Hollander: she designed a collection
of ergonomic objects that are meant to transform music into vibrations felt through the entire body.
Hollander was inspired by the Japanese book Karada by Michitaro Tada about the ‘school of the
body’. Hollander and Claudio F. Baroni made a live version of the installation where Baroni’s
music, performed by Maze, was experienced live by the public. As it was channelled through the
objects, the public could at once hear the music in the space and feel it in their bodies”. This
makes clear that we miss the total experience, and only can listen to this registration sitting in our
chairs. The composition is performed by the Amsterdam-based Ensemble Maze: Anne La Berge
(flute, electronics), Dario Calderone (contrabass), Gareth Davis (bass clarinet), Reinier van Houdt
(piano, keyboards and electronics), Wiek Hijmans (electric guitar) and Yannis Kyriakides
(computer and electronics). The composition is divided into eleven parts, each one dedicated to
a part of the human body as in the book Karada. It is a very static work in a sense. It is more spatial
than a temporal experience. We hear a whispering voice speaking to us. The music is built from
very short statements and gestures. The music continues like drops falling seemingly randomly
with long echoes as if creating circles in the water. Each movement is giving time to fade away
almost into silence before a new drop is falling. A very stripped-down minimalistic composition
of slow music, inevitably evoking a meditative effect. (DM)
––– Address:


Kaučič born in Slovenia lived and worked in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Holland before returning
to Slovenia in 1992, enriched with performing experience with many different musicians. Grom is
an important exponent of the Slovenian scene. Not only as a musician but also as an organizer
of festivals and founder of Zavod Sploh, an organization for the production of music. Slovenia has
a lively scene of improvised music (Fresh Dust Trio, Kaja Draksler, Irena Tomazin, etc.), and also
this duo recording is a convincing example of this. Both played together first in 2010 on a festival.
They followed different paths afterwards, until last year when they did recordings during February –
March in the home-kitchen of  Zlatko. Here Grom (double bass, freeze, voice) and Kaučič
(percussion, objects, amplified zither), recorded 12 improvisations that illustrate they were more
than ready for a duo-statement. Kaučič uses many different objects, which should not be a problem
in a kitchen. Grom uses several extended techniques. This makes that their improvisations are
very colourful and diverse concerning timbre, volume, dynamics, patterns, etc. Their dialogues
are very physical and down to earth, which makes their music has a soul and each improvisation
has its taste. A very lively meeting of two experienced and inventive musicians. (DM)
––– Address:


Sometimes you read strange things on covers: “Anouck Genthon and Mathias Forge combine the
pleasure of horizon and relief. Notice is a piece of different walking experiences. It is permeable
and can be heard in more or less animated contexts”. I admit I am not sure what that means, but
Bandcamp offers more explanation; “Anouck Genthon and Mathias Forge are French musicians,
both engaged in improvisation, research and a conceptual approach. They play, they walk, they
combine both sometimes, and they compose as the landscape can be, with lines and accidents.
They carve their way into it; they let it become alive around them. Their instruments merge as one
single tone sliding down its path”. The cover says this work was recorded in 2018 at the Insub
Studio in Geneva, so no nature trail here. The instruments are Genthon on violin and Forge on
trombone and tape players. They play blocks of sustaining notes on their instruments, usually
followed by some brief silence. The variation is within the way they approach each block in a
slightly different way, shorter, longer, quieter. In the second half of the piece (which lasts in total
thirty-two minutes) that all changes into long-held tones that continue all the time, and the players
take various moments to take in new breath or place the bow upon the instrument, growing in
massive intensity. What the tape players do, I must admit, is a bit of a mystery here, and that is for
the entire piece. There are very occasionally strange acoustic sounds to be heard and in the
second part a sort of continuous bang, like a loop of clock-like sound, but it might also be the
bang on a trombone. It is all quite intense music but most enjoyable at that. Those nature walks
and playing music certainly paid off in terms of great, improvised action. (FdW)
––– Address:

UDO MOLL – ENIAC GIRLS (2CD by World Edition)

Under the motto “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a dog !” (Betty Snyder
Holberton, ENIAC programmer, 1945) we find this double-CD by Udo Moll (and others) to be a
tribute to the programmer girls who worked with the ENIAC, the first fully electronic universal
computer-based on tube technique, weighing in at a mind-boggling 27 metric tons. Mind-
boggling, as the power of our present day’s mobile devices, is exponentially greater, for only a
fraction of the size and weight.
    Upon the introduction of the computer six young women from the Midwest in the US had been
trained for three years to operate the machine. However historic the achievement of these
women, they remained out of the limelight and unrecognized for decades. However, composer
Udo Moll has been engaging with their history and stories since 2015, working on different
versions of solo- and ensemble pieces, and also a radio play version. This body of work(s) finds
its closing exclamation point in the present 2CD release – included are the ensemble version
(2017) and the radiophonic sound artwork from 2018.
    Moll combines oral-history interviews and field recordings of historic computers with slightly
experimental use of the human voice, minimal and somewhat aleatoric percussion, modular
synthesizer (especially in the more ambient-esque broadly painted sweeps) and Hammond-
organ into an electro-acoustic oratorio on the theme of the dawn of the sentient machine. What
is quite surprising however is Moll’s choice dumb down from there and to fill in all and every
room for poetic thought on behalf of the listener. Everything is illustrated, all elements are
clearer than clear. It’s all processed to death: the Kraftwerkian voice set in contrast to a man
speaking in rural Wisconsin-accent is jarring and of a simplicity which belies the infinite
possibilities this project – in theory – holds. As if we – the listeners – wouldn’t understand
anything otherwise.
    “ENIAC girls” not only explains way too much, it therewith smothers the music, the ensemble,
the soloists, the electronic music and the subject matter, plus ultimately the end-user/listener in a
wash, a flood of simply too much-fixed information, fixed matter, fixed content. There’s no room
to breathe for either one of the constituent parts. As a radio play (as a genre which is almost
unknown now outside of Europe, but which holds so many wonders!) this approach does kind
of work. Still, poetics and free-flowing musical energy are dearly missed, but in this narrative arc,
the illustrative music finds its most natural and logical fit, away from centre stage, somewhat
outside of the spotlight. Which, in a wholly unintended way I assume, is quite fitting given the
historic parallel to the ENIAC girls. (SSK)
––– Address:


This is his sixth album for Hubro, but only the fourth reviewed in these pages (see also Vital
Weekly 11031039935) and for me the first time I hear the music of Stein Urheim. The
honourable Dolf Mulder penned the other reviews and he seemed to enjoy the music. I could
forward this to him as well, but I decided to write this one myself. I was attracted to the tag that
showed up in iTunes, which is ‘new age’. That’s a massively popular genre these days, judging
by the labels doing this sort of thing (re-issues or otherwise), which information label do keep
sending my way. I am not sure if what Urheim does is new age music, per se. You could wonder,
despite Mulder’s previous praise, if this is the kind of music that should be in Vital Weekly. It’s
quite jazzy, world music like country-rock (especially when Urheim sings) and it reminded me
at times of Mike Oldfield (nothing wrong there, except there, is already a Mike Oldfield). Music
played by highly accomplished musicians, combining lots and lots of influences (which you can
regard as a show-off as well). I must say I enjoyed hearing this music, as much as I enjoy hearing
anything remotely interesting. That’s fine. Getting back to the question: does this belong in Vital
Weekly? I don’t think so. It has very little to do with what we like to devote our time to. (FdW)
––– Address:


So, I introduced this new section in Vital Weekly where we don’t review stuff that we also get,
but surely then these sort of oddities arrive, music played by Playground Theory. I could quote a
few lines from the press text to go along with the ‘non’ review, but then somehow there is also a
bit more to say about this Greek band. They have been called “dream pop, cinematic and
psychedelic”, with “Mediterranean elements and eastern modes” and “contemporary synth-pop
laced with ethereal vocals and dominant melody lines”. All of which I think are true, listening to the
twelve pieces on ‘Tears Go Upwards’. This is their third album. The female vocals of Marcia
Israilides play an all-important role here and the four other members play keyboards, bass, guitar
and drums and throughout this is quite good pop music for the more alternative variety. The vocals
reminded me of the dramatic end of trip-hop, while the music is dramatic, spacious, yet always has
a warm place for melody. I couldn’t say what these lyrics are about if anything at all of course, but
somehow, somewhere I am pretty sure it is about something. There is a melancholic mist over
these pieces, slightly doomy darkness that should make its way into the world of darkwave. I found
it all pretty entertaining, with those eastern modes, western pop and celestial singing. Having said
that, I doubt Vital Weekly is the best place to promote this sort of thing, even if one of the reviewers
liked it, while he was tied up into some silly computer work. (FdW)
––– Address:


Early 2016 I proposed Z’EV to write a book about life and work and he said that was fine,
providing he didn’t have to read it, just like he didn’t want to see the film that was just made about
his work. He was referring to the documentary ‘Heart Beat Ear Drum’ by Ellen Zweig. The book
will never happen since Z’EV died late 2017 and I planned for it various interview sessions with
him. When he died I found out that Zweig had ‘pre-release DVD-R’ for sale of her documentary
and I bought one. When it arrived I didn’t dare watch it, being afraid it would be a too emotional
experience. Now that Cold Spring Records did a proper release and I have to review it, it still took
some strength to for it. Having met Z’EV a couple of times, I know what kind of wonderful, enigmatic
talker he was; hence my idea for a book. In a conversation, it could easily go from say gabber
techno (he played with DJ Dano), to New York in the late ’70s, “that night with Clock DVA” in
London to the films by Coen Brothers. Some of that spark you can find in the interviews in this
documentary, in which Zweig followed Z’EV from 2007 to 2015, filming his concerts and meeting
people he worked with. There is Bow Gamelan Ensemble, live footage with HATI, Carl Stone,
interviews with Remko Scha (also no longer with us), Johanna Went and Bob Bellerue. Especially
in the first half, there is lots of archival footage to be seen of Z’EV performing in the late ’70s and
early ’80s, his wild period playing with large objects. His unique playing of metallic objects, before
Neubauten had the same idea, the industrial sound but then not amplified and the strong presence
as a stage performer is shown very clearly in all of the archival footage. Z’EV’s drumming was
hardly traditional but he leads you to various ways of perceiving drumming and what it can all be;
wild as in the old days, meditative and contemplative in the later concerts. He explains his love for
stainless steel objects, of going to junkyards to find his material (and how that is no longer possible
these days), but also about working with poetry, and some live footage of his UNS project (the
sound poetry project and the Kabbalistic process behind it), but also about some of the other
aspects of his work, the ritualistic aspect if you will, the shamanism. He also talks about how taking
care for his sick mother for ten years and not performing changed the work he did after that, gave it
more depth. It is a great documentary as it touches upon all the main aspects of his work, and with
all the live footage there is so much to hear. There is so much more to know about Z’EV and with
the death of the man, that story will never be properly told. It was great to see him, to hear him
speak and at the same time, it is sad to realize it will never be in person again. This I think is a
must-have for anyone with even the smallest interest in Z’EV and the work he did. (FdW)
––– Address:

FCOC – FAST, CHEAP AND OUT OF CONTROL (LP by Firework Edition Records)

Quite some time has passed since I first music by Marja-Leena Sillanpää (Vital Weekly 629),
which turned out also the last time. There is again a lengthy text on the cover here, of which I
only quote the beginning; “THEY KNOW WE ARE LISTENING (all the sounds in universe)
illuminates the past and a possible future in interaction with what is called now. This is mainly
something that we do not hear, which apparently has been lost, but which still subsist. It is
basically a presence of the absent where one sound seems to be running out into a new sound
and in the end all the sounds that existed will from this moment exist together.” Then follows a
thing about Sillanpää having “an unusual hearing sensitivity”, from which her surroundings
concluded she was hearing impaired. It has to do with being “predisposed for inner
communication”. I studied all the text but I am not entirely sure how she arrives at the music. One
side seems to be a live recording and the other side contains shorter sections of sound. They are
quite different. The first side, the live recording, is one steady, noise beast, perhaps like a massive
amplification of dust below a stylus. It doesn’t seem to be changing much and one could say this
is a harsh noise wall piece, but I would think this is much more interesting. I can believe that the
various bits and bobs on the other side are the various parts of the piece on the other side. They
have a varying degree of intensity; sometimes it is easy to spot an element used on the other side,
and sometimes not at all. Sillanpää uses the same minimal approach here but then shorter (pieces
are in varying lengths as well). Had this been two sides of similar noise slabs I would have had my
doubt, but with this approach, one side live and the other the separate elements, I found it all quite
interesting. It is something mysterious and not easy to approach; maybe I am not clever enough to
‘get’ it, but that besides I found it all fascinating material.
    Something completely different is the music from FCOC or Fast, Cheap And Out Of Control. This
is a trio of Anders Bryngelsson (drums), Gustav Nygren (electric guitar) and Leif Jordansson
(electric guitar). Their music is thus described: “Take two guitars. Detune them different and
randomly between each track. Let the ears and fingers do the job to find something interesting
then stick to that. Add a hard beating drummer and you’ll have the essence of rock’n’roll noise.”
Based on Bryngelsson ‘s work with Mattin in Regler I expected, perhaps, something a bit noisier
than what FCOC turns out to be. Now that Vital Weekly has a section that is called ”Less than
Vital – music [not] reviewed outside our box’, I could think this record is perhaps one for over
there. That has nothing to do with the quality of the music, far from it. It has to do with the fact that
the musical content is perhaps something we have no idea about. I mean, would you expect the
honourable reviewers of Vital Weekly to know about “the essence of rock’n’roll noise”? Exactly. I
even have no idea about tuning guitars. I am sure the music on this record is something that is
not rock ‘n roll to anyone who studies ancient rock ‘n rollers, or anything after that, which I would
think also includes punk rock. The music played by FCOC is far too alien and dissonant for that,
but still, to these untrained R’n’R ears sounds pretty… conventional? I hope that word isn’t an
insult for the players of this. If the work of Mattin in demented rock music is your cup, then try this
trio. (FdW)
––– Address:


Two times I wrote Emerald Suspension, quite some time apart, Vital Weekly 511 and 1085. So
now the gap wasn’t as long but then this is short release; six tracks in seventeen minutes. Still, I
have not much idea about the band, who what where and when. The Residents, Laurie Anderson,
Einstürzende Neubauten, Nurse With Wound, Sonic Youth and the music from Wax Trax Records
influence(d) them. Their new EP (packed in a very standard slimline jewel case in which you
normally find a blank CDR) is quite a mixed bag of music interests. ‘Mitten Fidget’ is a murky mass
of guitar noise, and so is ‘Eruption’ while ‘Level Ground’ contains a mickey mouse vocal and
‘Jaded’ is the by far the most radio-friendly tune. ‘General Random’ and ‘Your Eurorack’ are the
shortest pieces here and concerns of sample mania. The press text neatly lists suggested radio
play (1 and 3), drone, ambient, noise (2 and 5), while 4 is a sneaky ‘camouflaged punk rock song’
and “while it is a popular favourite, track 6, ‘Your Eurorack’ includes an explicit word”; also marked
‘explicit’ on the cover. Spoiler alert: the word is ‘fuck’. You would think this is music that would
hardly scratch the surface on commercialism, sad as it is, so why the fuck (explicit!) worry about
           Of more interest: the track ‘Eruption’ is inspired by Eddy van Halen’s guitar solo on the
same-titled song from their first album but I don’t see the resemblance. The Van Halen logo is
neatly hacked by the band (at one point way before Van Halen two brothers gave the name to the
band from the beautiful city of Nijmegen, HQ of VW; from the department of unimportant trivia),
which they print, quite rightfully full-size on a shirt and sadly not the release itself. Thanks for the
shirt guys! (FdW)
––– Address:


Earlier than expected, here’s a new E.M.I.R.S. release; so sayeth Quinten Dierick, the man behind
the music. I must admit I never expect anything really as it keeps the surprise factor big. A new
release by E.M.I.R.S. is certainly something that surprises me and I always am eager to hear it.
Over the years there have been some great releases and as always with E.M.I.R.S. it is never
easy to describe what he does in a few words. The voice of Dierick is certainly an important feature
in his music and essentially one could say he is a singer-songwriter, albeit not someone who does
anything traditionally. No acoustic guitar, no sad love songs. I am not sure here, but let’s say Nick
Drake isn’t an inspiration. Dierick is a man who loves ancient technology, reel-to-reel machines,
Dictaphones and Walkman machines, but also old synthesizers. He loves to experiment with
these, usually in combination with his voice. In ‘Habysasidikodes’, the opening song, these might
be nonsense words and the rattling we hear are the loops on the machines, which is picked by
the microphone as well. Technological perfection is not a priority for Dierick. The noise of the
olden days is gone and it is all much more personal now; introspective even at times, but playing
around with looped feedback can also happen. The texts/lyrics are poems, Japanese, from S.T.
Coleridge, non-sense and stuff recorded at the petting zoo. Sometimes he employs a kitschy
synth sound, such as in ‘Colossal Clay Figures That Never Dry’ or the medieval tune (apparently)
of the title piece on a bunch of midi keyboards; big synth wielding takes plays in ‘Stern Blencathra’.
When songs reach seven minutes I tend to think they are a bit long for my taste, just a tad and
some more rigorous editing would be in place here and there. The prize-winning track here, for
me that is, is ‘Quinten Dierick cuddling the Pigs/HWN’, in which you hear warn kids at the zoo, as
well as some wild drumming and chanting/speaking almost up to the point where it seems hip
hop. Hip hop? I have no idea, but I love it. (FdW)
––– Address:

NŸLAND – WRAKHOUT (cassette by Ultra Grotesque)

Peter Johan Nÿland is best known for his work with Distel or Hadewych, or recently with O Saala
Sakraal. He’s also the percussionist for Trepaneringsritualen. He is a man who likes his music to
be dark, mysterious and ritualistic. As far as I know him personally, he’s also jolly fun (or maybe I
should not say that?). He opened up a new label after years of vague plans in that direction,
called Ultra Grotesque. The idea is to release cassettes, USB, lathe cuts, CDs and so on, all in
an edition of 23 copies and all of that should be a response to the object it comes with it.
‘Wrakhout’ (driftwood) is “high-quality ice-white cassettes come attached to a companion object
made out of a driftwood plank, Canadian slate and twine. Object and cassette will be delivered in
a handmade sailcloth bag.” It looks great! It all deals with “the English exploratory endeavours in
search of the Northwest Passage. The cassette print contains a fragment of the Bonne map of
Canada from 1776 on which these efforts are mentioned” and there is one big point of criticism:
why is this so short? The whole release lasts only twelve minutes and by the time you are into this,
it is over. The music has all the signs of Nÿland music, or Æ d:Orsaigh nOh v°v, as he’s called on
the cover. Slow percussion being struck with a stick, sounding well until after the decay and along
that there are other sounds; field recordings maybe, or voices, a bass (in ‘Drie Trage Graven’) and
the music is filled with suspense. It drifts in slow massive waves but smaller percussion is on a
quicker drift, like driftwood along with a boat. You would expect this trip to be too dark, too ritual,
too gothic (cross out what you don’t like) for me, based on years of reviewing music such as this,
and yes, perhaps it is vague acquaintance I have with the musician that makes be biased, but I
enjoyed this a lot. Next time I see the man I will ask why this isn’t a full length! (FdW)
––– Address:

GOLDBLUM (cassette by Het Generiek)

There is a small yet interesting scene in Rotterdam dealing with new music. It concerns a bunch
of people working together and in ever-changing configurations. Sweat Tongue was one of those
bands and I saw them in concert a few years ago, thinking this was one of the truly interesting
post-punk/ultra/no New York bands that I saw in recent years. Michiel Klein on guitar and Marijn
Verbiesen on drums plus a singer. The two musicians have more projects up their sleeves, such
as Verbiesen Red Brut project, in which she uses a lot of cassettes (and getting quite some
publicity, like she’s doing something unheard off; I assume this is publicity from people who don’t
read Vital Weekly). Goldblum is the latest project by Verbiesen and Klein, and the first tape
released by the latter on a new label, Het Generiek (which he runs with Bert Scholten). They set
out to create collages with “flea market cassettes, tape-loops, cheap keyboards and vocals in both
English and Dutch”, and as such they have six pieces on what I think is their first tape. All of this
made through improvisation, which I think is something that can be heard in the music. There is
throughout these six pieces certain randomness to the material. Stick a tape in the player, loop a
random bit, add a bit of melody of said cheap keyboard and there are your ingredients for
Goldblum’s music. Vocals are a bit buried in songs, and can only occasionally heard (such as in
‘Houten Boot’). Of course, it is improvised and none of the ‘mistakes’ (should they see it like that) is
edited out, which is most enjoyable. The cassette as a playground for ideas and try-out is proven
here to work well. I find it hard to say how this will develop; for all I know they move towards
something else altogether and start something new. It might also be explored further and brings
some surprising results. This is already a promising start. (FdW)
––– Address:

TARAB – MATERIAL STUDIES #1 (cassette by Hemisphäreの空虚)
JOÃO CASTRO PINTO – THE NO LAND SOUNDSCAPE (cassette by Hemisphäreの空虚)

Our French man in Berlin (I believe) who calls his musical enterprise Chemiefaserwerk is more
active than what reaches these pages. I believe, but I might be wrong that this work is mainly
released on cassette as part of the current network of labels. Some of these labels make it to
these pages and Philip Sulidea’s label Hemisphäre Nokukyo is one of them. Releases by
Chemiefaserwerk are usually not long and I can only speculate why that is; maybe the constant
need to fill label requests leads to a shortage in recordings is one of the reasons. On the two
pieces here, both untitled, Chemiefaserwerk does what he does best and that is creating lo-fi
sound collages out of found sounds and or field recordings, random electronica bits, a bit of
synthesizer work and some instruments. Here the latter could be a combination of piano and
percussion, but they were taped with the use of some rusty magnetic tapes so their sound is all
crumbled together. I would like to believe Chemiefaserwerk sits down with all of these sound
sources and has them at a bunch of faders on his desk and then starts to mix them until
something emerges he is fully satisfied with. Atmosphere plays an important role in these pieces,
as it does in pretty much all of his work. This time around it is all-particular delicate, especially
on the first side. Surely this is another fine release, albeit another one too short.
    Eamon Sprod is the man who works as Tarab, since 2001 and who seems to be getting a bit
more active in recent years, mainly through the release of CDs. In much of his work field
recordings play an important role and so it does here as well. Yet, somehow I would also think
this is something a bit different from his usual routine. The sounds here are from “early TARAB
cassette materials from the late 1990’s”, which would seem to be his earliest experiences in
taping sounds. These materials include “re-manipulations”, so it might very well be very new
work. So, all in all, it’s a bit unclear to me what it is, and judging by the two pieces here, I would
think it is some sort of clean-up of shelves with bits and pieces not used before, cut together in a
collage form. Some they overlap each other, but also more than a few ends in abrupt cuts,
followed by a complete change of scenery. Lots of rain sounds upon various surfaces, but also
quite a bit of electrical humming of wires around the house as well as hand manipulation of
objects, just as stones, paper and plastic; changes in the equalization bringing out brittle tones.
At one point I thought Tarab was using a bunch of sounds from toys, dinkey toys upon amplified
surfaces. It is all in all quite an interesting ride; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but
more the first than the second.
    Music from João Castro Pinto has been reviewed before (Vital Weekly 837894 and 1086) and
in all those releases he uses field recordings and computer processing. In this new work he pointed
his microphones in various cities and places, Amarante, Budapest, Coimbra, Moscow, Saint-
Petersburg, Sesimbra, Travanca do Monte, Tallinn and Vienna and a variety of microphones
(“mono _ stereo _ binaural), contact mic, hydrophone”) to create the ‘no land soundscape’, in two
parts. In his usual linguistic approach this is “on the one hand, to question the perception of the
ambiences portrayed in terms of the objective provenance of the presented sounds and, on the
other, to draw attention to the richness of different sound scenarios: from rural to urban, from calm
to noisy”, which I would say, isn’t it always something along these lines? To construct sound
images from one or more places? The listener mostly has not been to this place/these places and
even when from such a place, one may not recognize it. Whatever is the case, Pinto knows how to
create interesting pieces of music with field recordings and most of the time it seems unclear what
kind of processing he applies, but it also occurred to me that he may keep these to a minimum.
Lots of the material he uses sound like something one could recognize. Whether or not this is
something of a storytelling proportion, or if one sees similarities of differences in sounds from
these places, I think is all not an interesting question. Well, for me that is; I simply can enjoy the
music as I am hearing this. (FdW)
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