Number 1224

THIBAULT JEHANNE – FAROL (CD by Unfathomless) *
TARAB – APOPHENIA (CD by Sonic Rubbish) *
  Music) *
ION – NORTH WIND (LP by Same Difference Music) *
  Music) *
MAI 12 – VCZCVZX (LP by Mai 12) *
HAROLD NONO – WE’RE ALMOST HOME (CDR by Bearsuit Records) *
900 RPM – DER GOLEM (cassette by Sublime Retreat) *
JACKEN ELSWYTH/RYAN EYERS – BETWIXT & BETWEEN 6 (cassette by Betwixt & Between) *
SIRIA – BOA-LINGUA (cassette by Cronica Electronica) *


Still quite young, this French composer, of whom I reviewed a couple of works
before (see Vital Weekly 953 and 1001) and of whom I don’t know much else.
He creates music, installations, photography and film work; that’s what I learned
from his website. His previous releases were released by the French Kaon label,
but this one is on Unfathomless, known for their work with field recordings and in
this case, it is all about the 25th April Bridge in Lisbon. I am not sure how
Jehanne works, what kind of technology is at his disposal but my best guess
would be that following the recording ‘in the field’, there follows an extended
time on the computer for further transformation of the material. That is, of course,
if Jehanne is using the strangest angles and microphone technology to tape
his sounds and that all the transformation takes place in the actual process
of laying the sounds on the recorder. Still, there is a moment in which these
recordings are collaged together as that is something that I’m certain of that
happens. The level of processing isn’t that far off what could also be a natural
recording; keeping it close to the original but with a whim of strangeness
attached to it. In the forty-five minutes of this piece Jehanne shifts between
with great care between all the different approaches to the sounds. From relative
quietness to something that is sonically more charged, albeit it never becomes
too noisy. It is all done with some keen ear for pacing; a fine flow of sounds
happens and it tells a story, even when that is an abstract one. It is about men,
nature and architecture; about taping events from a place, empty surroundings
but also cars passing and a herd of football fans crossing the bridge and chanting.
At least that’s what I believe to hear. It is good, it’s solid and perhaps somewhat
unsurprising also; something radically new doesn’t happen. That may not always
be necessary of course. (FdW)
––– Address:


The cover of this release tells us first the story of Alberto Carozzi and a concert he did in which,
towards the end, he played as little as possible and when people liked that, he did something
similar at home; playing the guitar and not doing much. He then mailed those recordings to
Matteo Ugger, with whom he is in the experimental rock band Sparkle In Grey with the simple
notion to play it and “maybe liking it’. Uggeri started playing around with the material and added
samples and drums, including Tibetan bells and an Indian feet Ghungroo bell (played by Uggeri’s
daughters). That was edited and spliced into Carozzi’s material and the result can be found on
this release. There are five compositions in total, spanning forty-two minutes of music. Although
both players recorded their parts separately the whole album sounded very coherent. The music
has a fine tribal feeling, obviously with all the drum samples involved I’d say, but also with those
fine darker guitar drones. The aspect of ‘playing as little as possible’ is, I think, of very little
relevance to the music in the result. Had I not known this, it wouldn’t have occurred to me. In
each of the tracks, the development is slow and they both play for the sake of creating an
atmosphere; a dark one. Maybe a bit too dark and too ‘gothic’/’tribal’ for my taste, but I can easily
see that if one enjoys the music of Muslimgauze, Desaccord Majeur or Internal Fusion one could
also lend an ear to the music of The Last Five Minutes, expanding the tribal/rhythmic experience
of the ancestors a bit further. (FdW)
––– Address:


New releases from Oliver Schwerdt’s Euphorium-label tend not to come one by one. Often a few
interlinked  recordings are released. This time this counts for the Brötzmann-releases that were
preceded by a new solo statement  by Schwerdt.  Often musicians are also travelers. But not in
the case of Schwerdt who still resides in Leipzig where  he studied and started his activities as a
musicologist, performer and organizer.  In 1999 he started his Euphorium Freakastra, and in
2003 his Euphorium-label  as an outlet for his projects. One of this projects was his quintet with
veteran Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky from the East-German scene, with John Edwards and Robert
Landfermann on double bass and  Christian Lillingger on drums. With this line up he released
several memorable albums. His new quintet is again a very intergenerational affair. This time he
works with another German improviser from the first generation of free improvisers:  Peter
Brötzmann who is  performing since the 60s as an important force in the West-German scene. In
the early days he got infected by Ornette Coleman’s sense of freedom and never got cured
since. Up till the very present, as this recording illustrates, Brötzmann  is a powerful performer. 
Again the quintet has  Lillinger as the drummer.  Schwerdt works with him since around 2004
when Lillinger was part of the Euphorium Orchestra.  Also omnipresent John Edwards is on
board. Whereas Landfermann is replaced now by John Eckhardt,  a classical and jazz double
bass player from Hamburg  in a first  time collaboration here  for Schwerdt’s projects. Together
they join for a 51-minute improvisation, a very vibrant undertaking, with a wide range of dynamics,
from subtle searching interplay to very decided high-energy sections. From time to time during
this session the music develops into a swollen stream of sound. The most impressive and
intense of these waves ends around  minute 38.  The propulsive drumming by Lillinger lift them
up to a new plateau or level  opening a space of opportunities of more subtle explorations.
Virtuoso  improvisation with drive and eagerness. I know Brötzmann’s work only very partial. So
I’m not sure I should be surprised that there are glimpses of melodic and thematic  themes In his
playing. For instance on the beginning the Quintet improvisation, but also at the start of the trio
improvisation ‘Biturbo! Capt’n ’, recorded at the same occasion (October 7th  2017 at naTo in
Leipzig). In this 15-minute improvisation  we hear  Schwerdt (grand piano, percussion, little
instruments), Lillinger (drums, cymbals, percussion), and Brötzmann (tenor sax, clarinet). After
the first full-force part, a nice dialogue sets in between drummer and pianist, with Schwerdt using
other little instruments as well. A very  expressive and fresh trio effort. To conclude there is
Schwerdt’s new solo statement ‘Storming Bauhaus’. In 2017 he released  a solo record under
the moniker of Elan Pauer called ‘Yamaha/Speed’ for Creative Sources Recordings, and also
a double cd of solo improvisations for his own Euphorium label, called ‘Prestige/No Smoking’.
Both albums as well as this new one were recorded in June 2015. Again Schwerdt shows a
preference for long time spans. Subtitled ‘Four Sonic Studies for A Kinetic Sculpture Nowhere
else to perform’, he recorded four improvisations spread out on two cds s lasting 70 and 61
minutes. Recordings took place at the Bauhaus-location in Dessau. It was here that during the
mid-20s the influential Bauhaus-movement  was settled and spread out its ideas on architecture
and design.  Much later during the 70s and 80s it served as a place for concerts of improvised
music. I love listening to Schwerdt  in debate with others musicians, more than performing solo.
Nonetheless his new effort  is a very stunning one if only for continuous stream of energy he is
able to generate.  Without using extended techniques – playing the inside of piano, etc – he
weaves intense streams of sound that urge for a climax. His music continues in a dynamic and
restless way using big gestures alternated by more intimate sections. His improvisations seem to
be built in a way of a limited set of possibilities by gradually transposing repeated patterns and
motives,  combined with changes in speed and dynamic.  This approach didn’t  satisfy me
throughout, but Schwerdt proves himself to be a very virtuoso and engaged musicians of whom I
hope to hear a lot more. (DM)
––– Address:

TARAB – APOPHENIA (CD by Sonic Rubbish)

The title is so clever, it nearly derails the usefulness of a review. Apophenia, according to The
Skeptic’s Dictionary, is “the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between
unrelated things”. Such distance from authorial intent invites listeners to hear this as pure music
disconnected from the source that produced the sound. Eamon Sprod, the artist behind the
Tarab moniker, works predominantly (though not exclusively) with field recordings, as loaded a
sound material as any. The temptation for a listener is to match sounds to their source and
attempt to read meaning there. But Sprod makes it clear in the title that such an interpretation
would have as much validity as finding images in clouds or constellations. So never mind the
suggestive litany of source sounds provided by the artist: bicarb soda, air conditioning units,
escalators, floorboards and so on. Instead, let’s talk about the industrial immensity and finely
controlled drama of the piece. The music seems endlessly detailed, both legible and obscured
at the same time, with a stellar control of tension. Not a second seems to be on autopilot.
“Apophenia” begins with close crinkles, a swarm of small sounds that wrap themselves around
the stereo field like angry gnats. This pulls a listener in, but Tarab is not about to let anyone rest;
giant blasts hammer jarring juxtapositions between inhuman roar and reverberant emptiness.
Metal bashing becomes hyperventilating, events heard at a distance are suddenly jump-cut
screaming in your face and just as suddenly warped sideways into multi-layered acoustic
squeaks. Sections full of soft ambient howl are rudely interrupted by teeny sounds wrapped in
gaspingly intimate silence. Delicate sections are rapidly intercut with screaming peals of heavy
weather. There are sections of recognizable rain, vocalizations (but not words), and human
hands acting upon objects, but those do little to diminish the overall mystery and suspense.
“Apophenia” concludes on a surprising note, twelve minutes of low-frequency growl, the only
track that remains in roughly the same sonic area for its duration, granting listeners time to rest
and reflect after the death-defying bumper car ride that preceded it. (HS)
––– Address:


I set my intern to work coming up with a definition for this album’s title. He spent several hours
trying to figure out what the word Squenun means, visiting the public library and then cross-
checking online. He finally turned up: nada! Ditto the track titles, which seem to be mashed-up
vowels and consonants the resemble Spanish or… perhaps they don’t. I pay that kid too much
per hour for him to come back without usable information. But still: I do enjoy puzzling language
games. Now, as a long-time follower of the work of Guido Hübner/Das Synthetische Miscgewebe,
I can confidently state that having listened deeply to dozens of DSM albums across several
decades of his work, I still have zero ideas how he makes the sounds that he does. And I kinda
don’t want to know. The process is beside the point, and the point is (as I hear it) to get lost in a
crumpled mystery of fine electro-acoustic detail, the constant juggling of small sonic bits that
move so much that they can seem static. Alan/Anla Courtis, who will forever be known as one
of the guys from Reynols, is an ideal collaborator. His shapeshifting and openness to any mood/
style/instrument has led to an unpredictable “career”; his name on a record gives nothing away
as to what the record might sound like. And so here are two giants of electronic music, presenting
two roughly-20-minute slabs of grimy, squirming sound. That the album took three years to
complete is evident from the careful layering and counterintuitive rhythms of ceaselessly shifting
ground. The first track, “Nuqnues”, sounds like a famished pack of wild boars angrily demanding
to be fed, perhaps plotting a scheme amongst themselves to overthrow a nearby town and
consume every scrap of food their filthy hooves and drooling jowls can reach. An uncomfortable
animalistic quality reigns for the duration of the album, a whirlwind of organic crunch and anxious
shuffle on some dank forest floor below a cover of decomposing wet leaves. About 2/3 of the way
through “Nunqnues”, the pigs climb onto a helicopter and (because they don’t have opposable
thumbs) fly it haphazardly at full speed into the side of an office building. The coda involves
chunks of pork flesh and flaming/melting rotors and gears raining down onto an evacuated
pedestrian street for several minutes as horrified onlookers gawk. The second track, “Quusnen”,
begins with desolate rolling metal tubes from a factory on the far side of a busy highway. A curtain
of traffic colours the mechanical thud and grind that grows steadily more legible, perhaps as the
microphone’s vantage point shifts to get a better view of production. At the halfway point, the
listener is rapidly thrust into the heart of the industrial machine, surrounded by… oh no, it’s those
pigs again! They’re still here! What are they doing in a factory? What do those swine even want?!
By the track’s end, the humans have wrested control somewhat, agreed to a tentative and fragile
peace with their porcine neighbours. Everyone stands in small groups behind a machine and they
re-commence widget production, this time working in human/hog teams. Hot air howls in massive
gusts from rusty pipes, then someone chimes the lunch bell and everyone tries to pretend that
nothing happened. Speaking of the lunch bell, my intern seems to have wandered off again…
seriously, I dunno if his free labour is even worth however many college credits he’s supposed
to get at the end of this… (HS)
––– Address:

ION – NORTH WIND (LP by Same Difference Music)

There are times that I see this whole music reviewing shtick that I call Vital Weekly is like opening
doors, only to find more doors, with more new names on the front. Today is such a day when I am
inspecting the music on these three new releases by a label called Same Difference Music, which
“is a boutique music label located on earth exploring human music. Its handpicked releases come
out on different formats but always in strictly limited editions. There is no hope but at least we have
music.” I believe they are from Greece. I started with the CD in the parcel, by John Mourjopoulos,
who plays keyboards, sampling and processing and who is also responsible for the five
compositions. The cover lists his name ‘with Andreas Georgiou’, which I gather means he has an
important role on the “Electric guitar, AG electric fretless guitar, 12-string & 8-string acoustic
guitars”, but not the composer of the material; one track is mentioned to be an improvisation
between the two men. There are other guests on this CD, providing instruments such as bass,
snare drum, tuba, vocals, bagpipes and hand drum. The whole album took seven years to
complete but somehow I don’t think they worked on it all the time. The music is a strange mixture
of ambient electronics, but more melodic and less drone-like, with the guitar playing hazy, jazzy
tones, adding a part abstract, part melodic touches to the ambience. It is ambient music that
reminded me of Brian Eno when he’s working with other instrumentalists, his brother or Daniel
Lanois; ambient music that somehow connects to the world of cosmic rock with lengthy sustaining
howls on the guitar. Another name that sprung to mind is that of Joachim Roedelius. While not
entirely my cup of tea, and for reasons I am not sure of myself, I can certainly enjoy the level of
professionalism in the way this was all put together. Top production, fine craftsmanship and some
interesting, different take (at least in the world of Vital Weekly) on the notion of ambient music.
            Giannis Papaioannou is the man behind ION (as well as behind a group called
Mechanimal) and ‘North Wind’ is his seventh album. Just like the previous release by this label,
the guitar plays quite an important role, just as electronics, but in the way that it is executed there
are some differences. Whereas Mourjopoulos chooses an approach that is more rooted in the
world of improvised music coupled with a load of electronics, I would think that Papaioannou is
more a man that plans his stuff in advance and then sits down to record it. His music is more about
lengthy sustaining sound patterns in which the guitars ring on and the electronics are dialled to
similar infinite settings. Along with this, Papaioannou gets help from two cellists (of which one is
Nikos Veliotis, no stranger to these pages) and a guitarist on several tracks. Here too we may
occasionally recognize the psychedelic howl and grind of the guitar and the music holds between
the introspective ambience and the nightmare soundtrack. Sometimes chords are strummed and
that adds the melodic touch; sometimes there is even some room for percussion, full-on with
reverb, which not always works for me. I am informed that there are also field recordings here,
taped near Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, but I would think these are heavily transformed and appear
beyond recognition. I can see the idea of ‘north wind’ here, with some of the darker winds that
guise themselves as powerful drones. There is some very fine variation in approaches here,
which makes this a great record.
           Manolis Aggelakis is a new name for me and he is called a “Greek experimental
bluesman”; I have no idea what that is. I have no idea what he did before this; I do know that this
is his “first instrumental solo project”. Again the guitar is the main instrument, and so is a bunch
of effects, but the guitar remains recognizable as such. I would think this guitar is layered from
various recordings he did; mixed to find a dialogue. While this is perhaps the least ambient of
these three releases, the idea of a drone is never far away, but in Aggelakis’ approach, it is nastier
and maybe even a bit rockier. His strums are fierce, loud even at times, and as I was playing this, I
‘got’ the notion of what would make this ‘experimental blues’ music. It is that rocky undercurrent, the
desolate howl of the guitar and the distorted drone, best exemplified in ‘I Would Like Tp Take With
You, Tonight, Comrade’. It has that raw emotional power of blues music, even when I think it would
be too experimental for anyone who is into the classic blues music; well, or so I think. I am not the
person who is knowledgeable about the history of blues music. I do like Aggelakis’ take on blues
music; the dark, desolate howl and the introspective cry that it evokes but also the subtle
processing he is using from the world of laptop. At times, this music is quite a blast and something
it is all silence awaiting the storm. Nice one! (FdW)
––– Address:

MAI 12 – VCZCVZX (LP by Mai 12)

Originating in October 2017 Mai 12, a project of Karl Grümpe & Rene p.g., has released over 30
works in various formats, Digital on line, CD, Cassette, Lathe Cuts, Box sets as well as vinyl,
some of which in collaboration with others. They describe their work as Harsh Noise, and unlike
this release, which is their first real-time improvised piece, the others seem to use found sounds,
field recordings, as their source, which I assume are then processed. Do all gravitate around
whitish noise/static in shades originating from various ‘events’ a motorbike – ocean waves? Boat
trip… carpenter ants… acting as (unrecognisable) sources for sometimes ‘rhythmic’ processing, in
the ‘tradition’ / influence of The Rita’s source material, derivations, occasionally some harsher
artefacts yet far more gentle in the main. On the LP, ‘Vixmmxv’i, is a static rumble, consisting of
what I can detect as three elements, a bass rumble that has a kind of rhythm of a diesel engine,
pretty much in the centre of the stereo field, which falters occasionally, and two sources of static,
different across the stereo field, one which could be derived from the bass. The overall effect is
‘slow’ unlike the HNW of The Rita and unlike the consistent sound wall of Vomir. The static rumble
becomes rhythmic and inconsistent @ around 5 minutes, only to resume just before the end of the
track. ‘Vixmmxvii’ again begins with a similar rumble/static mix, again with a discernible beat/pulse.
Again this pulse is not uniform, and could derive from found sound sources? Yet again the sound
alters a few minutes before ending, briefly into a sine wave synth drone, before at the very end
becomes a mono signal? If sonically the piece might be considered as sitting in between The
 Rita’s works, with its definite context, Sharks, Skateboards, Ballet Dancers, and Vomir’s refusal
to acknowledge content, maybe this is also, in its content between the two, the context seems to
be there, but is not defined. Perhaps HN / HNW has evolved into a style /genre, which I’m not
drawing any similarity with but a ‘musical’ analogy to the Wandelweiser Group, who see their
origins in Cage’s minimalism. Here the origins being, for a group of HN / HNW practitioners, that
of Vomir, The Rita, LHD et al., of a more considered and refined ‘Maximalism’, by which they can
not so much explore the sonic landscapes of ‘being’ as re-present them. I notice in another review
the idea of binarism is presented, this is noise, if you like it, ‘ON’, if not ‘OFF’. I’m unsure of this
vocabulary, as I’m also of Wandelweiser’s. I’ll draw another analogy, in painting after the
minimalism of Reinhardt within the period of post-painting, apart from ignoring, or retreating, we
had the work of Robert Ryman, minimal and binary, which can be contrasted with that of Frank
Stella, whose later works are a riot of Abstract Baroque. If anyone has read this far, they might look
at these two painters to see what I mean, and listen to Mai 12 and Wandelweiser to hear what I
mean. However neither of the latter would I call ‘Baroque’, and if one has to go anywhere, that, it
would appear to be, is a necessary repetition. (jliat)
––– Address:


A friend of mine calls the 10″ the format of doom; it’s too short to be an LP, too expensive for the
time allowed and as difficult to post as an LP. But look at this fold-out sleeve, beautiful pictures,
you realize why musicians like this. Here we have music by BJ Nilsen, who, in 2018, surprised
me with a most intriguing concert that lasted six hours and was all about sounds he recorded in
an old mine. As I was listening to that concert I had a lot of time to think about a lot of things (sadly
without a notebook at hand) and one of the things I was thinking about is what kind of music BJ
Nilsen plays. If, of course, that is a question at all; for me it is. He’s a man who uses a laptop,
which is something I like in that going against the current trend of modular synthesizer, which he
uses to processes his sounds, mostly field recordings, (but not exclusively as we will see) and
the result is sometimes very drone-based, sometimes ambient and sometimes as easily (?) one
could call musique concrete.  This new record is called (curiously, perhaps), ‘Distant Brilliance’,
and has two ten-minute pieces of music, ‘The Question’ and ‘The Answer’; it could have been
called ‘The Conversation’. Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, who is somewhat of a long term
collaborator of Nilsen, either solo or with Stilluppsteypa, provides breathing sounds. In both
pieces the voice plays a central role; no words were harmed in this record. I think; I might be
wrong and very occasionally I may have recognized something. In ‘The Question’, I would think,
Nilsen also uses some field recordings, like a faraway building site acting as very slow
percussion. It all sounds quite mysterious, but the answer is not provided in the piece that has
that as a title on the other side. Here we do recognize the Spanish words for yes and no, ‘si’ and
‘no’, which come to us in random repeated action, along with some more field recordings, but this
time of an even harder to define nature. The electronic processing becomes towards the end
something of a rhythm in the best Pan Sonic tradition, without the thumping bass. What does that
make this music? Drone, ambient, musique concrete or head nod music (as the Pan Sonic style
was once described)? Yes, it could be all of that but wrapped in that special BJ Nilsen style. Great
but short, but I guess you already knew that when you saw it was a review of a 10” record. (FdW)
––– Address:


If I am not mistaken, behind Harold Nono we find one Dave, who is also the proprietor of Bearsuit
Records. I am not sure how many we reviewed, but certainly the previous one, ‘Ideeit’, popped up
in Vital Weekly 1034. He also has a bunch of other projects, with other people, such as with Eric
Cosentino as Jikan Ga Nai and with the Japanese duo N-qia as Haq (see Vital Weekly 1202 for
their latest release). One could say that as Harold Nono, Dave is into playing music that dwells
heavily on the use of sampling. And he samples a lot; from voices to orchestral sounds, from
soundtracks and electronic sounds created by himself, and most likely everything else in between
as well. That results in music of an equally wide variety. Nono likes to surprise and he likes to do
that thirteen times. His music can be introspective, full-on orchestral, silly, outrageous, quiet, and
cinematic; it’s poppy as well as abstract. I was playing some older Severed Heads records the
other day and some of this new music by Harold Nono reminded me of that; less the vocals, as
with Nono there are none. The variety within the music can be regarded as tiring, which I thought
it was at times, but more positively, it also works as radio, flipping from channel to channel,
experiencing something new. I had it on repeat for a while; simply because I enjoyed it as much
as I couldn’t make up my mind. (FdW)
––– Address:

900 RPM – DER GOLEM (cassette by Sublime Retreat)

These are the first two releases by a new label from Wroclaw, Poland and the first one is by
Alfredo Costa Monteiro, who is no stranger to these pages. The music here, two pieces of 19:49
and 19:43 minutes can be seen as a document to an eight-hour concert that Monteiro did in 2017
in the old cinema hall of Sokolowsko during the Sanatorium Dzwieko festival. The idea was to
see how such a duration would alter the sense and understanding of the listener. This record
takes it out of that context and I am not sure why that was done. I can easily imagine an SD card
release with eight hours of music (see last week’s release by Calineczka, for instance). But, all
right, it is what it is and the release is beautifully packed in a bigger envelope with pictures taken
in an abandoned house and printed as if they were X-rays; probably the connection tonight in the
old cinema. Monteiro lists no instruments for this release, other than ‘electro-acoustics’. These
might include light sensors, so I was thinking and by changing the amount of voltage the sound
input changes? I am not sure, but it could very well be such a thing. The music in both pieces is
on such a drift, moving elegantly back and forth between quiet and loud shifts of the material.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter if this is the short version of an eight-hour concert as the circumstances
aren’t the same either; at home, one can adjust listening positions and pause them, unlike in a
concert situation. Therefore this CD should be approached as a release for home entertainment
and it works very well. Monteiro’s power drones versus ambient silence work great in a collage
form here; there are some great abrupt changes in the music that interrupt the flow but which
makes the music for home entertainment much more interesting; an excellent release!
           For the next release you have to set-up some DIY cinema, but it will have some great result.
First go to, kill the sound that the movie has and start a
film and the soundtrack on cassette (but the download is better as it is uninterrupted) at the same
time and enjoy a new soundtrack to what is originally a silent movie from 1920. The music is
played by 900RPM, who is said to be “an experimental drone noise band from Berlin, active
since 2014′. They started by creating sounds with washing machines (hence the name) and
since then invested time in creating their instruments and do soundtracks to films. ‘The Golem:
How He Came into the World’ “is a 1920 silent horror film and a leading example of early German
Expressionism. Paul Wegener starred as the titular creature, as well as co-directing the film with
Carl Boese and co-writing the script with Henrik Galeen based on Gustav Meyrink’s 1915 novel”,
the well-known, perhaps, story of a Rabbi who made a clay figure to defend the ghetto, but runs
amok and it’s eventual demise. The movie was shot in Berlin, so there is another connection to
the band. The instruments used are called ‘ondulator, drone string, percussion, samples, vocals’
played by the three members of the group and it works great with the moving images. They keep it
loosely connected to the movie, keeping a firm, fixed blocks of sound for a while, which moves
fine with the slow-moving images of the story. This is a lengthy cassette, clocking in at over 100
minutes. The download, as said, allows you to see and hear it uninterrupted. The music has that
fine haunting quality that the images also have. By itself the impact of the music would not have
been as great I think. That is something to keep in mind! The link to the movie is mentioned on
the cover, so no one has to be without moving images here! Great release. (FdW)
––– Address:


As you perhaps know by now, at least I hope you do, the acronym MVK stands for Mathijs Vincent
Kouw, who is picking up speed when it comes to releasing music. He’s been at it for a long time,
but only in the last few years, he’s been doing cassettes and CDs; even collaborations with people
like Radboud Mens. In his work there is not anything that he always does, but rather he has
various approaches to sound. Modular synthesizers play a role, but also granular synthesizes,
feedback, laptop technology. There is on this new release nothing mentioned in that direction,
so we are a bit in the dark as to what he does this time. Both sides have one title but consist of
more than one part/section (or whatever you wish to call it); three for the first side and two for the
other. Kouw continues his excursions in the world of drone music and, as said, I have no idea
what he uses in terms of technology, but I could very well believe it is a combination of all at his
disposal. The music consists of slow shifting darkness, overlapping shades of grey and black
and the glacial comparison I made before is easily repeated here. The delicate thunder of a
quiet storm. The cover has a quote from J.G. Ballard, “Prosperous suburbia was one of the end-
states of history. Once achieved, only plague, flood, or nuclear war could threaten its grip”, which
says, perhaps, some of the dark nature of the music, reflecting the sorry state of the world we
live in? Maybe I am reading too much into this? Maybe there is also a shimmer of hope to be
noted, especially in the two pieces on the second side, which seem to open up a bit more; even
lighter, perhaps. Again, I might be wrong (or misjudging this), but on this dreary day, rainy and
cold in a world that wakes up in misery every day; I secretly enjoy the dystopian soundtrack MVK
gives us for such a state. (FdW)
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JACKEN ELSWYTH/RYAN EYERS – BETWIXT & BETWEEN 6 (cassette by Betwixt & Between)

This is the third cassette I receive with music by Jacken Elswyth on one side (she also runs the
label) and a guest on the other, in this case, Ryan Evers (see also Vital Weekly 1182 and 1195).
I’ll start with the latter, even when he’s on the second side of the tape. He’s a drummer of whom I
had not heard before and his approach is fairly conventional. The drum kit sounds like a drum kit;
Eyers likes the toms very much and sometimes brings in the cymbals. His patterns are minimal
but forceful, most of the time. ‘Sketch 4’ is his most introspective moment here, even when this is
also quite a minimalist affair. ‘Sketch 5’ is an almost tribal affair. To call these ‘sketches’ is a wise
decision I think. He shows what he can do and he does it well.
           Jacken Elswyth is a banjo player of a more experimental nature. In the first and longest
piece, ‘Lone Prairie’, she strums the banjo and adds a fine drone it; maybe the sampled banjo,
maybe something else, which I have no clue what it is. In ‘The Caravan’ she has more drones
and Mark Stevenson sings the song. He’s called a “Welsh borders singer and song carrier”,
whatever that means. The amplification goes up for ‘Improvisation For Amplified Banjo (29.3)’, up
the border of distortion but it is all kept well under control, just as her closing piece ‘Improvisation
For Banjo (30.1)’, which is the total opposite of the amplification piece. While not absent, the
amplification here seems just that, a bit of making it louder; if there has been some at all. Four
fine pieces are offered here with some fine variation. (FdW)
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SIRIA – BOA-LINGUA (cassette by Cronica Electronica)

‘Boa-Lingua’ is the follow-up to ‘Cuspo’ (see Vital Weekly 1151). Siria is the work of Diana
Combo and her main instrument is the voice, in combination with vinyl records, field recordings
“and other sound sources”. The press release also mentions “Boa-Língua was made from
recordings of practice sessions that were not originally intended to be used or worked as songs.
Boa-Língua means “good tongue”, used in opposition to “má-língua”, literally “bad tongue”, a
Portuguese expression for “tittle-tattle”. Siria doesn’t use words per se, but more vocal exercises,
which she then treats with studio technology, which I think in this case is to be understood as
whatever happens in the laptop. The songs are, however, in some form originals from
somewhere (“traditional songs and chants, a version of one Azerbaijani song, two originals
(one in Turkish, one in Portuguese) and two original songs in which the voice does not take the
form of words”), but whatever she does, it all became rather abstract and with some great result.
There is a fine interaction between her ‘natural’ voice, singing, humming, chanting and whatever
else she does with these recordings. Sometimes I had the idea this was a sort of on the spot
processing, but that might very well a wrong idea from me. There is very little conventional about
all of this and yet it also sounds strangely familiar. There is a ritualistic aspect in the way the
singing takes place but also in the addition of other sounds, such as the slow percussive thump in
‘For Ghédalia’. In the title piece, she sings and loops rather normally, stretching and sustaining via
loops and such. It is between these ends that we find all of these pieces, a meeting of something
traditional and something unconventional; something experimental and electronic if you will.
Despite all the newness of it all, this is also something ancient and mysterious, which is perhaps
the oddest thing about. A delicate release! (FdW)
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