Number 1244

MIA ZABELKA – MYASMO (CD by Setola Di Maiale) *
DE TIAN – TRANSCRIPTOME (CD by Discus Music) *
SALAD – AROUND THE PLYWOOD (CD by Immeasurable) *
YOUNGSO NO – TIME: 18​:​33_19​:​43 DATE: 06 AUG 2015 LATITUDE​/​LONGITUDE: 34°23’47​.​8″N 132°28’16​.​3″E (CD by Immeasurable) *
JOOST M. DE JONG JR. – STUDIES / STUDIEN / ÉTUDES (LP by Futura Resistenza) *
SHAUN ROBERT – ATAVIST/ENVELOP (7″ by Institute For Alien Research)
POOL PERVERTS – CLAMP (CDR by Non Interrupt) *
THEMATIK (CDR compilation by Dedali Opera)
TRIBU (CDR compilation by Dedali Opera)
JOY RIDER 2 VANISHING POINT (CDR by compilation by Rodeo)
.QUE] – AND INSIDE (CDR by Sound In Silence) *
AWK WAH – MOON WATER (CDR, private) *
LIGHT WA​/​ORSHIP – EQUINE (CDR by Noise Pelican Records) *
JEPH JERMAN – GREYWARE (cassette by More Mars) *
DANNY KAMINS – DANNY KAMINS BLOWOUT (cassette by Noise Pelican Records) *
TAKUJI NAKA/TIM OLIVE – MINOURAGATAKE (cassette by Notice Records) *
ILIA BELORUKOV/JASON KAHN – STUDIO ALBUM (cassette by Notice Records) *


It has been a while since I last heard music by Japanese musician Tomotsugu Nakamura; maybe in Vital Weekly 1053. It seems I missed out on an album by Audiobulb Records, but otherwise, this new album is the first sign of life in some time. Piano and guitar seem to be his main instruments, but there is also some sort of process applied that cuts up the sound and it makes small, odd compositions of these sounds. A merging of the acoustic and electronic in a very interesting way. Not, however, something that you haven’t heard before, as what Nakamura does fits very much the world of microsound, glitch, click ‘n cuts and that ilk from twenty years ago, when everybody started to cut-up digital files. That is not to say that Nakamura doesn’t have his own sound; he does! The acoustic side of things is a very prominent feature of his music and the piano and guitar make up from some very moody and melodic tunes. The electronics in the background create a warm bath in which these instruments linger on. The middle ground is held by acoustic sounds that have the full digital cut-up method, adding an abstract layer to the music. So we have the melodic, the warmth and the abstract level working together in each of the ten songs here. Mostly the melodic is upfront, but not necessarily. Sometimes the abstract part prevails or the warm hissing drones, and sometimes it seems that all of this melts together easily and it becomes a blurry mess; a blurry mess that resembles watercolours really, so it looks great. This is very laid-back music, pleasant and peaceful, even with the various abstractions going on. Perfect slow afternoon soundtrack. (FdW)
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Many of the releases by the Japanese Ftarri label are recorded at their space/shop in Tokyo, but there are some exceptions. The release by Magnus Granberg is such an exception. He works with various ensembles, such as Skogen, Ensemble Grizzana, Insub Meta Orchestra and here with Ordinary Affects, which is Morgan Evans-Weiler on violin, Laura Cetilia on cello, Luke Martin on electric guitar and J.P.A. Falzone on vibraphone. The composer can be found behind the prepared piano. The work they play was written for them and recorded on April 7, 2019, at the Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut and lasts seventy-five minutes. The music is not very dramatic, without any changes and on a slow drift. It is mostly solemn music, mainly because of the slow gestures played on the instruments. It is akin to the world of the Wandelweiser group, yet it never becomes very quiet or silent. Actually, some sounds get suspiciously close to the world feedback, but never oversteps that line. It remains quiet and slow. If you want to embrace this, you would need the right state of Zen-mind, which is perhaps something I don’t have. I kept drifting away after some time, but when I zoned back in I enjoyed what I heard.
    I heard Yui Nakamura’s work so far only as part of improvised work with others, but here she has new solo work. She gets credit for throat, mouth and microphone while on the first piece there is also Madoka Kouno (tape recorders, mixer, speakers), Yoko Ikeda (viola) and Wakana Ikeda (flute) and on the third piece the clarinet of Masahiko Okura. The three pieces were recorded in concert at Ftarri on January 21, 2018 (2, 3) and February 25, 2018 (1). This is some radical music; it is quiet at times, but in the way Nakamura uses her voice it also sounds quite menacing. She doesn’t produce any words or something that sounds like them but uses the breath to produce sighing, heavy breathing and it all has something spooky. I can imagine that if she would produce such a thing in the dark it would be scary. The way it sounds, I would think she is up close to the microphone, amplifying all that happens in that area of the mouth; all the details are heard. It is at its most intense in the second piece, the one that is fully solo. In combination with the instruments, it is up with the rest but it seems as if everyone is on cue playing their instruments in quite the similar way as Nakamura uses her voice; like gestures, touching upon the instruments, rather than a full-on playing. Altogether this is quite an extreme release, that is not easy to access, but upon concentrated listen reveal a lot of beauty.
    Of an entirely different nature is the release that sees four musicians improvising on ‘The Ftarri Night’, on August 12, 2019. Three of them on both pieces, and Yuma Takeshita (electro-bass) only on the second piece. The others are mizutama (snap circuits), Kayu Nakada (bug synthesizer) and Tadashi Yonago (flashlight, sprinkler); not instruments one sees very often in a review in Vital Weekly. This is the second time these people play together, following an earlier concert on December 30, 2018. This release is a companion release to ‘See You At Ftarri (see Vital Weekly 1218), but recorded a day later and with the three musicians from Osaka and Ftarri boss on one piece. Whereas I already established that Ftarri is not always about quiet music, this one is particularly noisy. The sprinkler sparkle, we could say. Especially in the first (trio) part, things shake up the place quite heavily. You could easily mistake this for any other Japnoise release, but livelier and messy. In the second part, it all stays under control. I am not sure if that is the influence of Takeshita, but somehow I don’t think so. Both piece work their way up and up, starting with nothing and then slowly ending on a noise note; more so in the first than in the second, which keeps things at a more atmospherical level. Great noisy beast, this one. (FdW)
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MIA ZABELKA – MYASMO (CD by Setola Di Maiale)

Austrian artist Mia Zabelka works as a violinist, improviser and composer. With a background in classical music from an early age, she developed interests in experimental and improvised music, leading up to very different musical practices. Overviewing her collaborations it is remarkable how diverse they are. She did duo work with Zahra Mani, Conny Zenk and Nicola L.Hein. In trio-format, she worked with Maggie Nicols and John Russell as Trio Blurb and very recent in a collaboration with James Plotkin and Benjamin Finger. Her collaborations don’t give the feeling she works within a limited and obvious circle of musicians. I suppose she is an artist who very much on her own decides what to do, with whom to work, etc. Offered here are four live improvisations, recorded during concerts in London, Le Havre, Vienna and Tønsberg in 2018-2019. Four solo live recordings (2018-2019) of concerts in London, Le Havre, Vienna and Tønsberg. The first improvisation starts very pronounced and develops narratively as if she is telling a story. This phase dissolves in a playful episode starts that has her playing and non-verbal singing simultaneously. Followed by a more reflective section that grows in power and dynamics. Also, the second improvisation starts with strong solo, before it is followed by a second phase supplemented again with vocals. During this section, she creates a fascinating slightly distorted sound ending up in a fantastic finale of noisy and aggressive playing. On the edge! All four improvisations suggest she loosely works from a certain framework. First two improvisations, for example, have very traceable influences of classical music in the opening sections. In all improvisations, the second part is the most dynamic and powerful one. Zabelka proves once more to be a very expressive and self-conscious performer. She likes to keep things a bit rough but is also technically very skilled. So her improvisations have much to offer, often reaching strongly vibrating and glowing moments. All her ideas and skills are in function of a strong focus and sense of direction. A very solid and convincing work! (DM)
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De Tian is Paul Shaft (guitar, bass, synths, ethnic percussion, voice), Paul Hague (percussion, electronics) and Martin Archer (saxophones, clarinets, melodica, recorders, wood flute, electronics). Already in 1980 Shaft released a single of post/punk music under this curious name. Subsequently, Shaft came in contact with Martin Archer and started jazz-punk combo Bass Tone Trap with several other musicians. They made one record released in 1984. ‘Transcriptome’ is their first recorded collaboration since those early days. They describe their music as “grooves out of industrial-style rhythms overlaid with Archer’s distinctive textural reeds and sax, with the addition of percussion from early De Tian member Paul Hague”. All tracks have a strong and simple beat in the centre, most of the time electronically generated, but sometimes by drums and percussion like in ´Transcriptome 7´. Added are sounds and noisy textures, resulting in a massive sound. On top Archer or Shaft play their solos. ´Transcriptome 2´ has a spooky atmosphere built from dark electronics, with melodica by Archer on the background. ´Transcriptome 4´ is an up-tempo piece based on an electronic beat, mixed with percussion and distorted sounds. In the background Shaft plays a lonesome electric guitar. All tracks are of an attractive ‘primitivism’, transmitting a driving and pulsating energy. Unpolished and often breathing a desolate atmosphere, this music still is in connection with the ghosts of the 80s. (DM)
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YOUNGSO NO – TIME: 18​:​33_19​:​43 DATE: 06 AUG 2015 LATITUDE​/​LONGITUDE: 34°23’47​.​8″N 132°28’16​.​3″E (CD by Immeasurable)

Immeasurable is a new Japanese label with a slightly confusing statement; “Music [or sound] does not lose mass, even with data. Whether it’s an mp3 file or a high-resolution WAV file, the date is not empty [=0], as is evident from the fact that the mass is expressed in file size. In other words… Music as an art form is like a ghost that can not be completely fixed in the medium”, It goes on with a bit about people using different interfaces to hear music and that the label wants to make “artists and listeners aware of the characteristics of recording media”, hoping “to verify the boundary between medium specificity and post-medium specificity”, whatever that means. The first three releases are on CD and all have (semi-) transparent packaging, like those first Raster Music releases, which later on everybody did. I go through them in chronological order.
    The first is by Eisuke Yanagisawa, who is no stranger to these pages. His work lies within the world of field recordings and ‘Wetland’ is not different. This particular wetland is found in the northern edge of the Kyoto Basin, where there are many aquatic plants, insects, fish, wild birds and mammals and obviously (?) one of those areas under treat by mankind. In the package, there are some leaves from the area. I would think that Yanagisawa recorded his material in situ and back home he applied some kind of transformation. I expect this transformation to be mainly in the selection of the bigger fragments and perhaps some kind of layering of various sound events together. Of course, I might be all wrong here, and there is nothing else here than three pieces (two times twelve minutes, one eleven minutes) of a straight forward wetland recording; the liner notes for each track seem to suggest that. We hear the rustling of leaves in the wind, insects, birds, sometimes singing such on the first piece but in ‘Midnight’ it is a choir of insects humming drone-like. In ‘Underwater’ we hear the heavily amplified below the surface of the water. Not a real surprise, this release, but very well executed.
    “Document of salad, who performed BMG and sound performance for the exhibition “new lagoon in Hokan-Cho, Okayama”, curated by Ayako Tsutsumi”. So it reads on the information. It took me some time to realize that BMG is the acronym for ‘background music’ (mainly remembered because there was an LP with that name by Vanity Records years ago). There are two long pieces here of what seems to be people talking at the opening of an art exhibition with some very vague music playing underneath/far away/next door. The info also says “played by salad, background music by Tsume, DIY instrument by Masami Baba”, but none of this is easily recognized in these two pieces. The whole meaning of this eludes me, to be honest. It could be the random taping of any art opening with some incidental music playing far away, and a contact microphone on the concrete floor with somebody tripping over that. This is more the stuff that could be on a limited cassette release, I would think. The whole concept eludes me.
    And finally, there is a release by one Youngso No, of whom I never heard. The coordinates mentioned in the title refer to Hiroshima where in 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped. On exactly that day, in 2015, in exactly that place, Youngso No recorded a seventy-minute field recording, also including VLF and ELF waves. This is about recording voices not present and perhaps voices no longer present. If you are familiar with long wave recordings (for instance through Stephen McGreevy’s work recording the Aurora Borealis) you know what you are in for; lots of static crackles, shifty and jumpy sounds, but now in combination with birds and far away from street sounds (if I am not mistaken). It is a fine release, and one can not separate the recording from the location (since it is so obvious), and it is not difficult to think of this a recording of nuclear fall-out. That makes this both a delicate and frightening work. Again, I am not sure if this had to be a CD; why not a CDR, cassette or download? It seemed to be a work that is very much in the moment and within the concept of what it is. (FdW)
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As with football, ‘Studies / Studien / Études’ is an album of two halves. The first half feels very safe and sadly samey. The melodies that Joost M. de Jong Jr. creates are very pretty, and dainty in places, but after a couple of songs, it all starts to merge into one. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the songs but at the same time after the initial excitement of ‘Schoenlappersdans / Weeklacht’. It all gets stuck into the same whimsical groove. However, this all changes when ‘Fuga in d Klein’ and ‘Arpeggio nr. 3’ kick in. ‘Fuga in d Klein’ is a playful number that brings to mind Wendy Carlos at her most frisky and jocular. Think ‘Clockwork Orange’ and you are on the right lines. But it is with ‘Arpeggio nr. 3’ that de Jong Jr. really comes into his own. This is a darker affair than anything else on the album. The melodies don’t explode from the speakers, but they ooze from them. Once out they start to envelop you in their brooding charm. ‘Studies / Studien / Études’ is an album full of exquisite melodies but not enough variation. 
    If ‘Studies / Studien / Études’ took its time to get going, ‘Operating Manual for Floating in Space’ by Mylan Hoezen doesn’t mess about and gets right to the chase. Originally recorded as a soundtrack for performance by Lili Ullrich, Bergur Thomas Anderson, Ratri Notosudirdjo, Noëlle Lakshmi and Alex Chater at Roodkapje in Rotterdam last year, the album is full of haunting drones and chilling vocals that really get under your skin. And that feels like the point. As this is a score to a performance the music is meant to move you akin to the performers. This isn’t an album you can listen to passively while chopping vegetables or commuting to and from work. This is an album that bores into you. Opening track ‘Announcer’ is proper chilling, but here lies its charm. As the vocals overlap each other you start to feel claustrophobic. The walls are getting closer. The light is getting darker and your chest is getting tighter. When it reaches it’s apex, around the halfway point, you are completely at its mercy. And this is just the start. There are another eight tracks to play! Throughout Hoezen really puts it all on the line. Standout track ‘Judoic’ opens with a fascinating synth drone that gently shifts up and down. Underneath is a repeating vocal sample. Throughout it creates a destabilising feeling of comfort from the organic sounds but also a starkness from the electronic elements. Sadly it is over too quickly. Another seven minutes of that would have been class.
Both of these releases were created without the other in mind, yet when they are played back-to-back there are parallels between those two. Both seem to be obsessed with space. ‘Studies / Studien / Études’ is so full of music that you can’t move for the stuff in places, whereas ‘Operating Manual for Floating in Space’ feels like there is enough room for a football match to take place in between the drones and gossamer vocal wails. (NR)
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SHAUN ROBERT – ATAVIST/ENVELOP (7″ by Institute For Alien Research)

To be honest, I lost track of Shaun Robert a long time ago. I knew his first musical project, Factor X, quite well from the cassette days. When those halcyon days were over for me, I got out of touch with a lot of those. Or maybe there was another reason, I am not sure. Later on, I heard some of his Mutant Beatniks material (Vital Weekly 724 and 747) of which I seemed to liked the last one best. After that things went quiet again and I know he has been active with tons of free Bandcamp stuff, trying to get the musique concrète sound into the song format, which I gather is something that he does with this 7″. Here too, Robert presents musique concrète in the format of the song. In ‘Atavistic’ the voice is an important feature, along with the reworked sound of the Casio rhythms and scratchy, hissy sounds. ‘Envelop’ treats various instruments, stretching and pitching along with bird calls and computer treatments thereof. Both pieces are heavily on the collage side and Robert does a great job at doing a pleasant piece of music; two of them. To create short pieces of musique concrète is not easy, but Robert has the skills to pull it off. Now, that made me curious to hear some other stuff from him. (FdW)
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As a young boy, I was interested in The Beatles and read up a lot about their records and solo records. I always wanted to see John & Yoko’s ‘Wedding Album’, a record in a box along with the wedding certificate, press booklet, poster of the wedding, poster of ”Bed Peace”, Bagism bag (white plastic), passport photographs, postcard, picture of wedding cake (I may have thought it included actual wedding cake!); it seemed like a box of full of goodies and by then I learned John & Yoko had done some weird, making it all the more interesting. In front of me is a similar box, documenting a rare Doc Wör Mirran concert in Poland at the XVII Wroclaw Industrial Festival. The box contains: a lathe cut LP (edition of 23 copies), a CD, a DVD-R, original festival program, setlist, itinerary, a dollar bill stamped ‘black lives matter’, a Wroclaw keychain and a Trump barf bag, all packed in a sturdy box and that goes into a silkscreened big bag (not your standard tote bag). And maybe I missed out on something! The music here is played by core members of Doc Wör Mirran Joseph B. Raimond (uber Mirran, founding father) on guitar and bass, Michael Wurzer (synthesizer, samples), Stefan Schweiger (teramine, drums, accordion) and Adrian Gormely (saxophone). From a distance also with .rizla23 (song titles), .m23 (box set concept & realization) and Tim Guthrie (barf bigs and $ bills). As said, Doc Wör Mirran is a group that rarely plays live and I am not sure why. When they get together in the Two Car Garage studios they improvise their music, so why not do it on stage, maybe with a couple of arrangements? That is what they seem to be doing here, so it can be done. Maybe the whole notion of travel is not their thing? There is an overlap with previous versions of some of these songs (‘Wish You Were Her’ and ‘Alternative Facts’ for instance), but that adds to my theory there is a structure in place to play more concerts. A strong feature in this particular incarnation of Doc Wör Mirran is, of course, the saxophone played Gormley, bringing the smokey jazzy element to the music, which otherwise has a strong electronic element to it. Guitars and drums not always play a big role or are kept to the background of the music. In ‘China’, Trump’s voice repeats the name of the country, and it becomes a hilarious demented vocal set against a funky bass and saxophone interplay. This release is dedicated to Terry Jones and Neil Innes so you know where the wacky sense of humour comes from. This is another strong musical and political statement from this prolific group and you ain’t seen nothing yet. (FdW)
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POOL PERVERTS – CLAMP (CDR by Non Interrupt)

There is nothing else other than what you read in the header of this review on the cover of this release, besides the year, 2020. Egbert van der Vliet, also known as Pool Perverts, keeps things minimal, as usual. ‘Clamp’ has three untitled pieces of which one can say that this is quite minimal too; the overall sound is kept low in volume. I am not sure why he did that for this release, as it is not a standard thing for his music. Once again he raids free sound archives and creates his fine ambient industrial collages with these sounds. Dark and obscure and closely connected to the world of all those working with field recordings and hissy cassettes, even when that is something Van der Vliet doesn’t do; his operating theatre is the computer and free audio editing software, which he has mastered quite well. As said, for whatever reasons, this release is considerably lower in volume than his previous releases, which is a pity. With the air-conditioning to keep it cool, some details within the music get a bit lost, even with the volume up quite a bit. That is a pity, I think because when checked the music with headphones (which is not something I do a lot when reviewing) those details are surely there. Apart from that, this is an excellent release; Pool Perverts grown from strength to strength. (FdW)
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This is close to home, this collaboration between musician Nobuka and singer/songwriter/poet Stefan Kollee. I had heard music by Michel van Collenburg, a.k.a. Nobuka; his ‘Dissolve EP’ was reviewed in Vital Weekly 1219. You can call his work ambient, but there is also an occasional beat, some distorted percussive sample or the rumbling of acoustic objects along with synthesizer pads and field recordings. I had not heard of Kollee before, nor his “psychedelic rock band The Naked Sweat Drips”; I guess I don’t go out much. For Nobuka this is the first time he worked with a vocalist and the words here were inspired by the work of heavy drinker Charles Bukowski, of which Nobuka and Kollee are fans of. I expected this to be, for no good reason, of course, to be voice heavy with the music pushed to the background. That doesn’t happen, luckily enough. Kollee speaks his texts/lyrics as part of the music, almost like a singer. Also, there are bits of electronics applied to the voice, a bit of delay, reverb, kaos pad and such like, which allows the listener to opt to listen to the voice as an instrument, an atmosphere, another noise. Nobuka’s soundtrack reflects the darkness of night, smoke-filled streets (not to be found in Nijmegen bytheway) and ditto bars; the streets may be quiet but inside there is still a lot going on. A jittery atmosphere as the music is buzzing, cracking at times and at other times spacing and flowing; too much alcohol numbs I guess as well as livens things up (not always in the positive sense). I must say these two musicians capture that feeling of late-night drinking madness, talking bullshit quite well, and this rather short (twenty-two minute) album has a very fine flow to it. I wish, much like the night itself, this would be longer. Now, it’s over before the third drink (coffee of course). Maybe something to consider next time. (FdW)
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Of both musicians, we reviewed work here in the past. I remember ‘Ciphony’ a duo-album by John King with Gesley Bell for Gold Bolus. And Sergio Sorrentino’s ambitious solo album ‘Dream – American Music for Electric Guitar’, performing works for electric guitar by John Cage, David Lang, Jack Vees, Elliott Sharp, Alvin Curran, Morton Feldman, a.o. ‘Black Lake Blues’Documents their first collaboration and has King and Sorrentino both playing electric guitar and electronics. Recorded during the XXXVI International Guitar Festival in august 2019 in Lagonegro, Italy. They performed written material, as well as free improvisation.
    Blues dwells around in most tracks, explicit or very implicit. Whatever happened to the blues, I asked myself. It is completely out of my sight if this musical form is still alive. But that’s another topic. I know King best as a guitarist, although he also is a composer and wrote several operas, works for string quartet, etc. He is a veteran from the downtown New York scene and played with too many too mention musicians. Most in avant-rock settings. Sorrentino plays more from an academic background. These differences make this an interesting meeting, although not everything worked for me. The cd counts 9 duets all moving between 3 and 8 minutes. ‘White Buffalo Calf Woman Blues’, the opening track, has them in a nice duet playing a slow blues. ‘Black Lake’ starts from oriental, middle-eastern phrases. Gradually this improvisation moves into more abstract territories, leaving these patterns – almost – behind. ‘Devils Wah Wah’ stays close to rock-idiom and is a play with wah wah-effects. Of each performer, a solo improvisation is included. ‘Overtones for the underdog’ is a great solo improvisation by King. Very aggressive, mean and bluesy in a way. In contrast, the solo piece by Sorrentino is a very ambient-like affair with an electronically altered sound from his guitar. The album is the first release by Suoni Possibili Records, an Italian label dedicated to contemporary experimental music. (DM)
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THEMATIK (CDR compilation by Dedali Opera)
TRIBU (CDR compilation by Dedali Opera)
JOY RIDER 2 VANISHING POINT (CDR by compilation by Rodeo)

Ah, a return to the glorious discussion of compilations. You probably haven’t forgotten that I am not someone who likes reviewing them, which is, I must stress that for the umpteenth time, is not saying I don’t like them. But I used to like them more ‘then’ than ‘now’. Let me explain. Years and years ago I was heavily into the world of cassette releases and getting a new compilation was receiving a portal to a new world. You would come across familiar names but there were always new ones. These days, with all the clouds producing mixes and sounds, you don’t need them in the same way; the Internet has it all. Back then compilations arrived in all shapes (sometimes literally; I still have the one that came inside a bathing sponge) and some had thematic approaches. Dedali Opera, a label operated by Alain Basso of the group Denier Du Culte, had a bunch of these thematic compilations and now he releases two ‘best-of’ compilations, which of course destroys the effect of all tracks being linked, but I am sure not all of the original pieces were that good. ‘Thematik’ compiles four different compilations, ‘Rap ‘n Crack’, ‘Un Chant D’Amour’, ‘Atomic Zen’ and ‘Sam Soufi’; only with the latter, I thought it was hard to figure what the actual theme was. On the inside we see the original covers and which bands there were, so you can piece it all together yourself.’Thematik’ is part a whose who of industrial music, with Arcane Device, Asmus Tietchens, Merzbow, Smell & quim, Pacific 231, Dessacord Majeur and Un Drame Musical Instantane, but also lesser-known (the portal opens) such as Nos Yeux Aveugles, Phaeton Derniere Danse, MGZ, Aehos, Chris de Chiara and Alain Basso. Whatever the theme was, the industrial carpet of loops, machine hum and mild distortion seemed to prevail, but it sounds most mellow these days.
    ‘Tri-bu’ was a series of four compilations with on one side two groups/projects from France, and on the other side another country, also with two projects each; Switzerland, UK, Germany and Italy. There are not all represented on this compilation, for reasons I don’t know. These compilations were made a bit later, which I think shows in the quality of the techniques used. Lots of (still) early sampling devices, but ornamented with fine use of electronics, sound effects and cut-up technology. Here too we have a mix of names you could know (some of these are still active, and some of these overstepping the world of cassettes and doing LPs and/or CDs), such as Contrastate, Cranioclast, T.A.C., and In Aeterban Vale, with S.Ink Patrick Rutge and Stefano Biasin perhaps lesser-known. Alain Basso is part of this too and the biggest surprise is the cut-up electro-acoustics of Adam Bohman, then mostly known as a member of Morphogenesis and these days one half of Bohman Brothers and Secluded Bronte. The portal opens to something entirely different, which is another great function of a compilation.
    So, how does this portal work then if you have something in front of you covered with names that means nothing? It may seem like a different universe, well label at least, design-wise it is very similar to the two Dedali Opera releases, so I suspect some sort of overlap in label owners and musicians, the latter being up to speed when it comes to using of synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines and vocal (samples). I understand Rodeo started in 1999 and s collection of musicians from the Savoy part of France, and they are all working in what I would call loosely ‘dance music’. The names of the projects are Electro Dan, Mook, Nora Kusma, 10 Cow, KinetoGrave, Sedwig, Cortexic Geiger, Nowak, Seetton, Sugarcraft, Busicol, John Deneuve, and Bain de Minuit. KinetoGrave was reviewed in Vital Weekly 1232. This dance music bounces all over the dance floor from hard-hitting rhythms, post punk-funk, dramatic samples, minimal synth and a bit of experiment, placed towards the end of the release, with Kinetograve and La 7eme Compafie des Orpheons Kamikazes. Some of this made me curious to hear more, such as Nora Kusma and Seetton, with their minimalism and love for some more experiment within the realm of dance music. The only question is: when does one find the time to do that? That is the main difference between 1985 and 2020., for me at least. (FdW)
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[.QUE] – AND INSIDE (CDR by Sound In Silence)

Here we have two more mood excursions courtesy of the supplier Sound In Silence. Two new names, it seems. First, there is Nao Kakimoto from Tokyo. Since 2010 he released ten albums on such imprints as Schole IntroDuCing! and Embrace, the latter a label he runs. The guitar seems to be his primary instrument, along with piano and electronics. When the guitar shines, I am reminded of The Durutti Column in their most sparkling moments, tinkling, shining and joyous. The electronics aren’t always that light, but throughout these ten tracks there is surely a fine breezy summer feel to be spotted. That is enhanced by the use of rhythm, of which [.que] uses quite a bit. At times, it adds a rock-like element to the music, which works quite well, adding a fine groove to the ambience. Sometimes the chords are in minor and [.que] is in a more melancholic state of mind, but even then I thought it all brightened up my day. Maybe my mood needs a reset? [.que] ‘s music is poppy, dreamy, (post-)rocky and moody; and yes, abundant joyous as well. Great stuff, very varied and yet also very close together.
    Behind Eternell is Ludvig Cimbrelius from Höör, Sweden, who releases music since 3014 on his Eternell label. As Purl he creates ambient/dub techno and a bunch of other releases under his Christian (although I would not be surprised to learn this is a pseudonym as well) on labels I never heard of (Alveol, Surr, Rust, Illuvia etc.). Here he has seventy-five minutes of ambient music, but I have to use that with some reservation. I wrote before about the thin line between ambient and new age music and that is not easy to give a very clear definition of either genre or where the fine line is. I would think it is somewhere to be found in which ambient has an edge, making it pleasurable to hear as well as ignorable and new age is mainly a cheap drug to create a pleasant environment in which you can easily ignore it; music, if you will, without a deeper layer, all sugar-coated surface. It is not rocket science to guess why I am writing all of this, as I think the music of Eternell is quite close to that world of new age. Long sustaining chords on ‘pads’ is the basic ingredient of the music, along with samples of a voice that hums long ‘a’ and ‘o’ sounds. The press text reads also about “drifting guitar melodies and subtle bass Rhodes”, which might very well be in here, but I didn’t hear them. I think it’s all too sweet for me; I didn’t detect that edge in the music that made it interesting for me. I am sure this is music a lot of people would like though. (FdW)
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On the cover there was a handwritten note; “thanks for the opportunity!” Plus an e-mail address and the title as performed and arranged by Awk Wah. I was slightly confused; which opportunity. I wrote to the address and learned that we previously reviewed his work. That was ‘Opera Box’, all the way back in Vital Weekly 769. I didn’t write that but I learned from the review that behind Awk Wah is Shark Fung, member of the Amino Acid Orchestra, I\D and Engineered Beautiful Blood. I understand there has been quite some progress from ‘Opera Box’ to ‘Moon Water’. No more drums are used in this piece, and maybe also there is no guitar; maybe it’s all about guitars? I don’t know. The music is drone-based, verging on the edge of distortion., mainly from the recording perspective and not so much within the actual. There is a continuous noisy loop that is altered in a very minimal way, but over the forty-two minutes it slowly grows in intensity, but, as said, all in a very minimal way and I found it not easy to keep attention to it. The slightly distorted edge, the really slow changes and the original (unknown) input; it all did very little to me. (FdW)
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LIGHT WA​/​ORSHIP – EQUINE (CDR by Noise Pelican Records)

This is how it’s listed on Bandcamp, Light Wa/orship being the artist name and ‘Equine’ the title of the release, but somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the other way round. The two pieces here were “recorded as a single continuous live take with no overdubs” and already this was released in January 2019, way before pandemic postal slowness. The music is played by Kevin Michael Richards, and he plays the guitar, feeding the signal into a bunch of sound effects, delay pedals mostly, but probably also a looper, maybe even two of them. He strums his notes and that goes on and on. Sometimes he diversifies from the notes and adds another blend to the mix, almost of a similar nature but also a bit different, so a somewhat cloudy bunch of patterns occur. Both pieces are around twenty minutes and that’s is just fine. Longer would have been too much, shorter, perhaps, better. The second is the noisy little brother of the more delicate, sounding first piece (no titles). It all very much sounds like someone strumming away at home, having fun in doing so. (FdW)
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JEPH JERMAN – GREYWARE (cassette by More Mars)

Depending on what you know about the work of Jeph Jerman, you might be in for a little surprise here. If Jerman is the man who plays rocks, stones, branches and leaves, then you might be surprised this is not that. If you remember him from the days he was working as hands To, and you read on the cover “old recordings distressed in various ways”, you might wonder why this isn’t released as by Hands To. It is a question to which I do not have the answer. Also, I have no idea how old these recordings are, but judging by the music, one piece per side, I can imagine they are from those olden days. That’s not to say that the music is in the exact same style as Hands To. The field recordings used (at least, that’s what I assume) are re-recorded from some distance and that adds a layer of distortion to the music. Maybe, this is even a process that is repeated a couple of times, and (again: maybe) Jerman roughly cut a bunch of tape-loops together, further transforming the original sounds beyond recognition. I would say that was the process-based methods of Hands To and that is what he does here too. On the second side, there is also room for a more percussive approach, which was another aspect of Jerman’s music. Not banging out rhythms, but playing all sorts of objects in a very vague rhythmical way, rolling them upon surfaces and such. Add to that the use of stompboxes and rather primitive electronics and the result is a very dense tapestry of closely connected sounds, conjuring up blurry pictures. It is the sort of stuff I remember from the tape trading days and I still enjoy that lo-fi ambient meets noise approach of Jerman; more, perhaps, than his careful playing of rock and dirt; maybe that is the sort of thing one has to see in concert? I am not sure what his reasons were for doing this cassette and the way it sounds, but I enjoy it quite a lot. (FdW)
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DANNY KAMINS – DANNY KAMINS BLOWOUT (cassette by Noise Pelican Records)

As the title suggest this album is ‘Danny Kamins Blowout’. Everything about this is overblown and, in the red., Kamins has brought some friends along too. Rick Eye, Matthew Frerck and Beth Dodds. Kamis is on alto and bari sax. Eye is on guitar, Frerck is on bass and Dodds is on drums. Together this devastating quartet created music that sits in the middle of a Venn Diagram consisting of free jazz, shronk, noise rock and experimental music. In short Kamins, Eye, Frerck and Dodds make what Sun Ra would have called a joyful noise.
    The standout moment on the album is ‘Broken Leg Marathon’. Opening with peels of guitar, squeaks of sax, bass set to deaf and disjointed drumming it follows on this ad-hoc vibe until the band find a groove, or what passes as a good in Kamins’ world and stay locked into it until the bitter end. ‘Broken Leg Marathon’ is the track that the album hangs on. If ‘Broken Leg Marathon’ didn’t work as well as it does the whole album would fall flat. But it doesn’t. It elegantly acts as a tent pole that the whole album hangs on. The way the albums builds up to it in ‘Grand Parkway Pileup’ and ‘Sovtek’ is gracefully obtuse and the way ‘Steel Wool Face Mask’ and ‘Oozin’ in’ descend into frenzied instability is a thing of beauty.
    ‘Danny Kamins Blowout’ is the kind of album that feels like an ungainly mess after a first listen. Not much about it makes sense. At times it appears that there is little, to no, structure. It’s just a glorious wall of cacophonous noise. But after a few listens you realise that everything is incredibly rigid, and little has been left to chance. Kamins is the musical equivalent of a drill sergeant. He lays down the law, and rules, for his recruits to follow. He makes them complete practice after practice until he has the texture he has heard in his head. Then they decamp to a studio and the big red button is pressed and what is recorded is what is recorded. Or this could all have been improvised on the spot. Either way ‘Danny Kamins- Rick Eye- Matthew Frerck- Beth Dodds’ is a fascinating album that can get under your skin, in your hair and down your top if you let it. At times it is deeply unsettling but never boring. Throughout you are unsure where the band will go next, but where to do go is exactly what you want. (NR)
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TAKUJI NAKA/TIM OLIVE – MINOURAGATAKE (cassette by Notice Records)

‘Minouragatake’ is the sound of two musicians who know each other incredibly well just going for it. Takuji Naka and Tim Olive have toured extensively honing their sound, and ability to know what the other will do next. This allows ‘Minouragatake’ to go off in directions that might not have been possible. ‘A3’ is one of the standout moments on the album. Not a great deal happens, but it doesn’t have to. This isn’t that kind of album. Throughout there is a swaying, disorienting, feeling of being on a ship that is grounded yet is rocking with the motion of the water. As you explore this submerged sanctum you can hear the clink and clatter of dislodged pieces of metal knocking about. It’s an absolute monster of haunting minimalism. The real joy of ‘Minouragatake’ comes from when Naka’s sagging tape loops start to wind in out time, giving the songs a lurid vibe, yet Olive’s electronics help keep the music grounded in reality, rather than the ether of dreams.
    At times ‘Studio Album’ is a real treat. Ilia Belorukov and Jason Kahn have released incredible music over the years but combined they have released something else. Both are known for their electronic releases but here Kahn is just contributing his vocals. The combination of Berlorukov’s caustic electronics and Kahn’s grunts and moans are memorable, to say the least. Kahn’s vocal style is somewhere between Yoko Ono’s shrill wails and David Thomas’ guttural bellows. Kahn sounds like a wounded beast trying to avoid its hunter one frenzied lunge at a time. As it crashes its way through its once peaceful home it is being stalked, mercilessly, at a distance by its predator. This is how ‘Studio Album’ feels. Berlorukov’s stark electronics give Kahn’s vocals enough room to breathe, but when they need to, BAM, they give him another swipe to know they still have the will to overpower him.
    When listening to the improvised pieces from ‘Grind Halts’ by Lisa Cay Miller, Vicky Mettler and Raphaël Foisy I like to try and imagine how it was recorded. In my head, all three musicians are in a room looking at each other. Around them are their weapons of choice. Miller a piano. Mettler a guitar and Foisy-Couture a bass. There is also a slew of found objects that they’ve brought in to play if the mood takes them. Sheets of metal, glass bottles and any number of things they can tinker on. Once they are assembled here is a nervous few moments in silence. Neither is sure who, nor how, to start. After a few tentative glances they reach for their instruments and they’re off. Though the pieces are playful and full of light and movement, at their heart is something slightly malevolent. ‘The Halting’ is filled with brooding melodies that only really unveil themselves near the end. The final third is a marvellous creaking and shuddering affair that seamlessly bleeds into ‘On a Grind’. ‘Grind Halts’ is an album that you can get lost in. It’s full of inventive motifs and killer melodies. When the trio allows themselves the pleasure to play them.
These are three releases that you really have to take notice of. Each is wonderfully singular, but each combines a ragged beauty that is hard to ignore.
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It has been a while since I first heard music by Tyson Swindell (Vital Weekly 1117); I thought it was a new name for me (apparently the first time I heard his music, I was under the impression I heard his music before; odd). Back then, I believed the piano was his main instrument, but on this new cassette it plays a smaller role and the lead goes out to synthesizers. I am not the sort of person to guess whether these synthesizers are analogue, modular or digital; I am the sort of person not to think or judge that really. Who cares? Does it sound great? That is the question here and I can answer that with a wholeheartedly meant ‘yes, it sounds awesome’. The two pieces, both clocking under sixteen minutes, are fine examples of dark ambient music, a trip into the big black unknown space, with some chilling, eerie synthesizer tones. Swindell plays long-form sustaining notes on the title piece (side A), slowly shifting in intensity and movement, grey becoming more grey but never pitch black; there is some hope left. The piano has its place on ‘I Will Wait For You In The Abyss”, playing a mournful melody set against louder shrill synthesizer tones, but descends into fragmentation for a while, the piano’s being processed, before the melody returns now with the synthesizers pitched below, on the lower end of the keyboard before it all dies out, peacefully. Great cassette indeed; only twenty-five were made, which is a pity. This should have been on a fine imprint such as Cosmic Winnetou and gain some wider exposure. (FdW)
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Vital – The Complete Collection 1987-1995
Before Vital Weekly there was Vital, a Xeroxed fanzine covering experimental, electronic andelectro-acoustic music; interviews, reviews, in-depth discussion articles, background. All 44 issues in one hardcover book; 580 pages. More information: