Number 1276

_UNK – NOW (CD by Circum Disc)
K. LEIMER – FOUND OBJECTS (CD by Palace Of Lights) *
WIEZA CISIEN VII RST_ (2CD compilation by Requiem Records)
WIEŻA CIŚNIEŃ VI STRINGS-THEORY+TAO (CD compilation by Requiem Records)
WIEŻA CIŚNIEŃ V-OICES (CD compilation by Requiem Records)
N & DEEP – ABRAXAS (LP by Attenuation Circuit/Dhyana Records) *
PAUL KHIMASIA MORGAN – MAINTAINING (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation) *
DE PONTI & MORETTI – SINCLASI (cassette by Dinzu Artefacts) *
BRANDSTIFTER & DIURNAL BURDENS – manchmal auch nicht (cassette by More Mars) *
JIM STRONG – VOLUNTARY LETTERS (cassette by More Mars) *
E.M.I.R.S. – BEHEADINGS (double cassette, private) *
O.R.D.U.C. – URANIUM (cassette by Motok) *
AROS E-V – RIFT (cassette by Superpolar Taips) *
CRUEL DIAGONALS – CARAPACE (cassette by Superpolar Taips) *


Phil Blankenship – most will or should know – is the originator of the Troniks label, apart from releasing some definitive/seminal Harsh Noise works as The Cherry Point and in the duo LHD with John Wiese, the whole Harsh Noise genre wouldn’t have been what it was and still is with what is the Deutsche Grammophon of Noise. The sadly now defunct Troniks Board had an influence I suspect well beyond those responsible for it ever realized. I remember at a seminar and book launch at Huddersfield University, known for its significance in Avant-Garde Music, another guest from a French University sitting next to me during a presentation wrote ‘TRONIKS!!’… and smiled. I’m not apologizing for this apparent diversion from this review, I wanted to use this opportunity to express these thoughts however briefly. This though is actually pertinent to the actual review. To be released on this label is endorsement enough of the quality of the work, certainly in the first case. Enemy Of The Future is a compilation made from works released on cassette from  2004 – 2015 consisting of 24 tracks ranging from 13+ minutes to under 2 minutes. There is also a variety of sounds across the 24, mostly revolve around extreme harsh noise of crashing textures. Some deep bass noise heading towards a saturated HNW, others with the usual suspects of deep bass, harsh white noise and high-pitched feedback, and plenty of messing with the stereo field. Occasional snippets of speech? buried in mixes of distorted ‘field’ recordings through to ‘spacey’ organ sounds… The more open and varied textured pieces a joy to listen to (Enemy Of The Future I). Others stand out in the sheer confidence or nerve of pieces like ‘lived in’ & ‘Junk New York’ which begin by the sounds of devices being set up, mains hum and dropouts before in the former it gets going into a maelstrom of cut-up noise, in contrast to tracks like ‘Hard Time’, & ‘In Circles With Haze’ which ‘flirt’ with the abyss of HNW. All this and much more make EotF a kind of compendium of what HN is and was. And excellent remastering by Grant Richardson “for maximum power”. An instance of Home’s pieces consists of stuttered shards of explosive like static and what I take to be a cello playing fairly repetitive tonal melodies – with reverb. On ‘The Witch’s Laugh’ the opening cello lines are slowly covered over by this static noise reminiscent of Mezbow’s famous Silent Night, sans irony, and only for the cello to regain ascendency from the halfway point. ‘Dustpan lacks’ the cello, as does ‘Encased in Mould’ and ‘Blechertown Explorers Club’. Why two tracks have melodic cello and others did not I have no idea, my only thought that this is in response to the apparent need for innovation in Harsh Noise? So in the beginning, I mentioned ‘quality’ and the harsh noise is of a consistent quality, however, the addition of the cello is for me problematic. I’m aware of the ‘problems’ with any genre in its later developments, and also very aware of ‘post-modern’ tropes to deal with this, a good visual example being Rebecca Warren’s work, grotesque sculptures which occasionally sport small woollen pompoms. (jliat)
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Discus Music has the policy to search for relevant (live) recordings that remained on the shelf so far. This goes for releases they realized for recordings by Keith Tippett and Tony Oxley. This time they asked Pat Thomas to have a look in his archive and to propose a recording that would make a relevant release. And yes, he came up with a steaming live performance recorded at the Konfrontation Festival, Ulrichsberg in 2006. We hear Pat Thomas (piano, melodica) with his quintet The Locals (Alex Ward, clarinet; Evan Thomas, electric guitar; Dominic Lash, electric bass and Darren Hasson-Davis, drums), performing six early works by Anthony Braxton in arrangements by Thomas. To be precise they perform compositions ‘40b’, ‘6c’, ‘115’, ‘23b’, ‘6i’ and ‘23g’. Pat Thomas is a pianist from London who played with Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley, Lol Coxhill, a.o… In more recent times he did programs of music by Monk and Ellington. No idea how Thomas made his choice from the immense oeuvre of Braxton. And what is more surprising he decided to create funky renditions of the original. My knowledge of Braxton’s work is limited, but I’m pretty sure that funk never was his thing. To make a comparison I listened to some of the composition in a performance with Braxton himself. Like ‘Composition 40 B’ in a live performance from 1977 of George Lewis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Mark Helias, Charles ‘Bobo’ Shaw and Anthony Braxton. That makes clear how drastic Thomas’ rearrangements are and what a find it is to put some funk in these compositions. It really works for most of the tracks that have an inescapable groove. Also, the intros of ‘6c’and ‘115’ are great. On the other hand, while I got accustomed to this approach it became a bit one-sided for me. Happily ‘23b’ and ‘23g’ are an exception to this. Nevertheless, this is a very fresh and lively recording, offering an original and surprising perspective on the music of Braxton. And the first release by this enthusiastic unit. (DM)
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Treppenwitz is a trio of Matthew Aplin (piano), Tom Riviere (double bass) and Steve Hanley (drums). This trio from Leeds started in 2015 and is led by composer and pianist Aplin. They debuted on New Jazz Records with ‘Short + Long Ditties’ in 2016 and did intensive touring in the UK. With ‘Sister in Kith’ they present their new material for Discus Music. Five compositions by Aplin and three by Riviere, all developed in the years 2018-2019 and recorded on two days in 2020. To my ears, their music is first all jazz, with influences of other idioms. The opening track ‘Staircase Stomp’ is the most playful piece of the record. Accelerating at one moment, slowing down at another, with jumpy up-tempo movements. The following track ‘Sound Logic’ is built around a funny joyous melodic theme played by the pianist. Halfway it turns into a slower and more introspective part with double bass in a prominent role. This introduces also the atmosphere and mood of most of the remaining tracks. ‘Watching the Arc of Bats’ is a very peaceful and reflective work. ‘Brave to swim in this Weather’ is a likewise introverted piece, as is ‘Dream of a Common Language’. In contrast, ‘Brimful’ is an up-tempo swinging piece. Starting very innocent, it chooses halfway for more free and complex manoeuvres.‘Sockeyed/Loose Laces’ is a contrapuntal work. With their open-structured vehicles, they give way to an intimate and stylish performance. In the closing track ‘A Mackerie’s Tale’ there is a guest appearance by vocalist Nel Begley. (DM)
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_UNK – NOW (CD by Circum Disc)

Two new promising units from Lille debut on Circum Disc, a label based in that same city in the north of France. A trio and a quartet both with Mathieu Millet on double bass and Jean-Baptiste Rubin on alto and baritone saxes. Frédéric L’homme completes the trio More Soma on drums. Quartet _Unk has Christophe Maerten on guitar and Charles Duytschaever on drums. Both are experimental undertakings.  _Unk started in 2015 and present now their first recording of original compositions – all by Millet – except for a work by Olivier Messiaen (‘O Sacrum Convivium’). _Unk makes their blend of Avant rock and jazz. Complex rhythmic structures dominate in seven compositions that are constructed along different lines.  ‘Andrinpole’ is an example of how they gradually built up tension and drama. At moments where the rock-induced tension is resolved, they show their most jazzy face with subtle saxophone playing. The electric guitar by Maerten adds most of the rock flavours to the music. ‘Starkestre’ for example is a heavy rock-based treat opening with a howling saxophone and rock riffs by guitar. No idea how ‘O Sacrum Convivium’ sounds originally, but probably not in the jazzy vein it is presented here. ‘Patate douce’ opens from subtle acoustic bass followed by compelling unison played motives and growling solo saxophone. ‘Zur’ longest track on the album offers an opportunity to enjoy the guitar sound. This also goes for the closing track ‘Vicolo’ that starts from deep bass sounds, opening the door for excellent solo work by sax and guitar. In general, sometimes things unfold too much in the one way one expects them to do. But their energetic and tight performance helps and makes this a very worthwhile and absolute enjoyable debut. Where _Unk taps from rock and jazz influences and more, for More Soma jazz is the main ingredient. This band is of a younger date and soon decided for a first recording which took place in July 2019. Their improvisations develop jerky and bumpy. Constantly they interrupt as it were the flow they built up. Again and again in different ways in all four improvisations. This makes their interactions tense and captivating. Sometimes progressing in a hammering way like in ‘Dog B’ with a fine role for the double bass in the final section. Overall the drums by L’homme play a dominant role. Combined with the pointed playing by bass and short concentrated phrases by sax, they guarantee you some boiling moments. Great stuff! (DM)
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The first time these two composers worked together was for the Moving Furniture compilation ‘Moving Music: Sounds From The Rocking Chair’ (Vital Weekly 1217), and as they enjoyed the experience so much they decided to continue working on a shared set of source sounds. “The eight tracks on ‘Recalcitrance’ examine abstract topics that range from metaphysical speculation and psychological investigation to reflections on the process of creation itself.” I am not sure if I understand the title and how that works with the music, but, then, I am not much of a philosopher myself. From the two, I know the work of Matthijs Kouw best, his various solo works (as MvK) and collaborations with Radboud Mens and Modelbau. He works with modular synthesizers, field recordings, software and objects whereas Petrovic is someone of whom I heard one release (Vital Weekly 1111) and I believe much of his work is done in the digital domain of the laptop. It is not easy to spot the shared source material here, but maybe it is because of the extension of processed music. In Kouw’s three pieces, he does what he does best and that is creating long-form drone pieces, with a mass of sustaining dark sounds, slow development, and atmospheric intensity. In ‘Absorbance’, he adds some sort of acoustic rumble, or a voice perhaps, maybe pushing it a bit to the foreground, changing the menu minimally. For all I know I wouldn’t have minded all of this to be a bit longer than the thirty-three minutes it is now. Petrovic’s disc is thirty-five (so, technically all of this could have fitted on one CD) and in his five pieces, he is a bit more varied, combining drones and tones, clustered sounds and rhythms. Another difference is that Petrovic has a slightly more musical touch to his music, such as the melodic element of the very short piece ‘Remnants’ or the stuttering Ovalesque’s rhythm of ‘Depressant’. As I like the unified approach of Kouw, I also like the variety on display in the music of Petrovic. All together this collaboration worked quite well, offering some great results from both players. (FdW)
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The title of this new work is ‘mistaken or false hearing’, ‘hearing sounds that don’t exist’, which is, perhaps, in contradiction to what the music captured on this disc. We can hear this, I should think, but maybe it has to do with the fact that this work consisted of a lie ensemble playing the piece against a version, played by another ensemble of almost the same instruments, that is on tape. Almost the same instruments, as the composer, is present on tape with ‘electronics’, but behind the piano on the live version. It is an interesting concept, two ensembles playing at the same time, but I am sure it works better in a live concert situation than on CD; as an experience, that is. I can see an element of surprise in a concert situation where you see musicians not playing what you hear. On CD that element of surprise is no longer available. The music is one piece, yet divided into seven separate parts. This is the modern classical music of the variety that I like, without being very much able to express, via words, why that is. Maybe it has to do with the whole nature of this piece, the collision of strange sounds, lush, jazzy piano playing and dense sections of sustaining sounds from the entire ensemble, mixed with orchestral passages that seem to be, and I’d like to stress that I am not an expert on the notion of modern classical music, very much textbook modern classic music.  It moves somewhat majestically, sometimes abstract or even improvised (I was reminded of Zeitkratzer here, but again, no expert), mixed with elements of musique concrète and electro-acoustic music. The music covers a wild terrain of sounds and styles, is quite demanding but the way it all flows together makes this a great piece of music. (FdW)
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Usually, when an artist is around for some time, there are a few compilations with the ‘best-of’ of early material, but on ‘Wah-Wah Whispers’ by Michel Banabila this is not the case. This is a ‘best of’ recent work, as all pieces are from 2013 to 2020 with one from 2001. It is a selection made by Bureau B from Michel Banabila’s vast catalogue from his Tapu Records, found online. Stuff that so far reached a small audience, but which, so Bureau B thinks, should be heard by more people. Quite rightly so, of course. A bigger label equals a bigger budget for promotion and (hopefully, of course) a wider audience and with the kind of music Banabila creates, I can easily see a bigger audience available; if only they knew it was out there. In the past, I, all to easily/hastily, said something about fourth world music in connection with Banabila, but that is only a small portion of the man’s vast output. His electronic music covers much more than just sampled ethnic percussion and exotic mood scapes. You can them here as well, but there are minimalism and maximalism to be found here. Found voices, percussion, soundtrack-like soundscapes, dubby music (the 2001 track ‘Tic Tac’), filed recordings in ‘Out of sync’ and in ‘Hidden Story’ reminded me of Jorge Reyes and O Yuki Conjugate in quite the exotic piece of music, while ‘Secunde Reprise’ is almost a straight forward piece of ambient house with a strong motorik sequencer. A bit of noise (controlled as it is!) we find at the end in ‘Narita’, which is the only collaborative piece around here, with Machinefabriek, which is a descent and ascent in the world of drones with a civilized amount of distortion in the middle. It is, altogether, the perfect introduction to this fantastic composer’s recent output. If you are looking for something great and not all too strange to play when you have visitors who don’t like your outer limits music collection, you should not look further. (FdW)
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As I am writing these words, I am still not sure if this is the sort of music that I should write about. Not because I don’t like it, because I do, but because I don’t think I am the man ‘to know’. Kalle Moberg became the kapellmeister at the Royal Palance in Oslo when he was 19, left three years and also left the country and found himself in Tokyo, recording with Martu Houloubek on double bass, and one-piece with Tatsuhisa Yamamoto on drums and Joe Talia drumming on the other four. Jim O’Rourke is at the controls to record it. Moberg plays the accordion and, all of this is acoustic and no overdubs. He did the selection of the pieces. I have this album for two weeks now, and I played it a couple of times. Every time I am considering moving this one to our resident write for all things free jazz, but every time something is captivating about that makes me reconsider. Maybe it is that odd combination of instruments that I find attractive. Not, of course, the double bass and drums, as I would think these staple instruments in the world of free jazz but the accordion. That seems to be the odd-one-out in such a case. Moberg plays it with the same amount of controlled aggression as the others play their instruments, but it has, at times, this strangely atonal feeling that I seem to like quite a bit. The five pieces are nerve-wracking, tiring pieces of music; all of these give and take energy from the listener. It is noise and it is not. It left me exhausted, and I went out for a short walk to catch some fresh air. (FdW)
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K. LEIMER – FOUND OBJECTS (CD by Palace Of Lights)

In the last weeks, since the start of 2021 even, there has been one steady flow of new releases on my desk. Not a single day started with nothing on my desk, and you can see that growth if you compare it with older (recent) issues. Lots of music to be heard, which is a great thing, and I am not complaining, even when it is all a bit much. At times, I think I need a safe place, something soothing and comforting, something that I know I will like, something that is ‘easy’ to write about. Last week (was it?) it was O Yuki Conjugate, this week it is the Michel Banabila album (well, should I finish that in time; I have no idea) and this trio of releases By Kerry Leimer’s Place Of Light label. I started with his CD. Ever since discovering his music in the 80s (and I think through Dolf Mulder, our in-house free muso specialist) I enjoy his work a lot. Here it is about the ‘found object’, those things where a non-art object becomes art (Duchamp’s urinal for example). On this CD, Leimer offers, “an approximation of those techniques (he also mentions automatic writing and readymades – FdW) in sound by repurposing displaced phrases and timbres, pitches, restatements, and treatments as the root technique”, which for a simple soul such as I am is not easy to understand, but I gather that none of his sound treatments is very much ‘by the book’. Not that I have any idea what this book is, obviously, or what is in there. Is it something you can hear, you wonder? I don’t think so. Also, I don’t think you don’t need to know all of this; in my case at least, I was none the wiser. But reading press texts, information, books all day, fragments my mind a bit (too much?) and I rather sit back, close my eyes and do nothing, except listen to music like this. Leimer, for me, is one of the masters of ambient music, who can play something that extends the ordinary ambient music. This is music that is soothing and relaxing but is not afraid of something weird or throws in a strange element. Carefully constructed, intimate and yet not afraid of a crackle and a burst. At times, it is all a bit more orchestral, but various pieces, such as ‘Idleness’ also containing broken rhythms, which moves the music to different places. There is an excellent amount of variation in these fourteen pieces. Should my desk not be in overload, I would return to this quicker than is allowed now. Sadly!
    Marc Barreca is a long time label buddy of Leimer, around for pretty much the same amount of time and while not as active as Leimer, ‘The Empty Brudge’ is his 10th album for Palace Of Light. There are a few connections between both composers and some differences. Barreca keeps his pieces also on the brief length, relatively that is, of six to seven minutes and like Leimer, Barreca is not afraid of using strange elements in his music. The music was recorded in isolation, thanks to the pandemic but also being in a remote mountain cabin, and some of that desolate, remoteness are reflected in the moody music. Unlike Leimer, Barreca uses more ‘real’ instruments, although I should think mostly through sampled versions. Quite a bit of piano sounds, as well as strings (violin mostly, but also cello), but all of these are treated in such a way that you are not entirely sure if they are or not. Listen closely, I’d say, and you realize these sound different. In a typical Barreca piece there a few shifts; within the processed version of the instrument, going from ‘oh that’s a violin’ to ‘oh, is that a violin’, and through little variations of the material, reversing sounds and such and here too, there are shifts. Sound material that meets on one intersection, miss each other on the next, because one is a bit too short or too long. Also, electronic sounds and field recordings are added, and Barreca plays something that is no doubt ‘ambient’ music, but at the same time containing lots of estranged elements to defy any resemblance to all too smooth or new age-inspired music. Sometimes this leans towards something more orchestral and sometimes towards some abstract and electronics and it has a very fine balance between both ends.
    On the same label for some time now, but I think of a slightly younger generation is Gregory Taylor, who studied “central Javanese Gamelan and electro-acoustic music and currently works for Cycling ’74, the software company that brought you Max/MSP. His study into Gamelan is something that we hear in the four pieces here. Taylor has long pieces, fifteen to eighteen minutes and each of them explores the metallic sound of the gamelan. One time easier to recognize than the other time. In ‘The Old Summer Palace (Ingatan)’, the rhythm is very slow and more likely resembles the slowed-down sound of wind chimes with a beautiful hazy drone and something that reminded me of a Fender Rhodes piano, whereas in ‘A Narrow Trail Westering (Keberangkatan)’ and ‘The Path To The Shrine (Ziarah)’, it is all-recognizable. Taylor adds a blend of computer-processed sound, which sounds like a mass of reverb in ‘A Narrow Trail Westering (Keberangkatan)’ (and a bit too much I would think), but also very delicate and harder to define such as in the beautiful ‘The Path To The Shrine (Ziarah)’. Here it all shimmers in the background, with the metal and wood percussion spread out on top, again slowly and with minimal development. Music for sunrise or dawn (well, dawn is more likely; it is the final track on the CD). In the opening piece ‘Household Altars (Berterima Kasih)’ he weaves together a fine structure of sustaining tones, slowly opening up and percussion entering majestically to the foreground. It all sounds like the opening of doors (rusty!) and entering the music hall. This is another great musical journey! (FdW)
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There is a section near the end of ‘Parallel Clouds’, the opening track on Massimo Discepoli’s new album ‘Last Year, the Next Day’, that sounds amazing. After an intro to crashing cymbals, stuttering drums and delicate piano the song slows down a bit and this chinking melody kicks in. It sounds somewhere between someone playing cups and pint glasses with chopsticks. Then a psych motif starts to make itself known. Anyway, all this has happened. It’s created a laidback vibe. Part chillout. Part classical minimalism. Then everything starts to get a bit abstract, and this is when ‘Parallel Clouds’ really just goes to another level. The chinking melody has returned, but Discepoli is playing at least two different parts layered over each other. There is a beautiful off-kilter moment. It reminds me of when you go out with friends, drink a few drinks sitting down in a darkly lit pub then stand up. Your legs are a bit wobbly and it’s hard to make out the shapes in the gloom. You aren’t drunk, or falling all over the shop, but you aren’t sober. The room feels incredibly warm against your cheeks and there are shapes in the corners that have started to sway a bit. This is exactly the experience that Discepoli has created. You are taken out of yourself by discordant melodies.
    The rest of the album follows this pattern. Discepoli has changed his musical style from his early ambient roots. Here he has created something that sits in the middle of a Venn diagram featuring post-rock, drone, prog, film-scores, jazz, and the likes of Neil Cowley, Geninoh Yamashirogumi, Hidden Orchestra, Portico Quartet and Skalpel. The music is cinematic. There are bold sweeping movements of sound, as ‘Parallel Clouds’ established, but the music isn’t heavy. It’s light and breeze. While listening to it sitting on the wall outside my flat having a cup of tea, I thought a sudden gust of wind was going to buffet my laptop away as the music was incredibly ethereal at the time. Luckily, and obviously, it didn’t. But the thought did cross my mind thanks to the luminosity of the music. ‘Pattern of Change’ is probably the most playful track on the album. The main hook of the song feels like the opening of the ‘Akira’ score with its jegog drumming. That is replicated on ‘Pattern of Change’ through hanging drums. As it progresses you feel the tension build, but instead of a big explosion at the end, it elegantly comes to a head before starting a slow slide into the outro. ‘Cycle of Coincidences’ is the standout track on the album. Wonky keyboards kick the track off. Imagine a spaced-out Ray Charles banging away at his Rhodes piano. Not really playing anything, but at the same time making elongated patterns that swell with each repetition. Under this guitars and synths start to grow, creating one of the most monumental moments on the album. Before the wonky piano comes back to the fore. It shows that Discepoli has a sense for fun as well as a great ear for a melody.
    Overall ‘Last Year, the Next Day’ show a progression in Discepoli’s sound and vision. He isn’t satisfied in just creating ambient soundscapes. Oh no. He wants to create something that makes you move, and most importantly, smile. In a world where there is too much emphasis on being sombre Discepoli reminds us that music should be entertaining too. And this is exactly what ‘Last Year, the Next Day’ is. (NR)
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 Not being familiar with the US horror film industry, I had not heard of Toshiyuki Hiraoka before. He also worked with Dave-ID Busaras from Virgin Prunes before; I know that band, not that particular collaboration. He plays the Waterphone, which is described as an acoustic synthesizer, and it is often used to create sound effects in films. This is his second album with this instrument and I believe he adds electronics to the equation, even when that is not mentioned as such on the cover. The amount of reverb suggests however either electronics or a big space for recording. Hiraoka keeps his tracks short and to the point, and plays the instrument with his fingers, mallets and a bow, so I assume, and such he generates various effects with this instrument. Now that I know about the film soundtracks, I automatically think of rusty fences and a secret torture chamber in the basement, and the added electronics have that ‘howl around the house, is that the wind or a ghost’ vibe, but it is not necessarily all spooky. The Waterphone has that metallic ringing sound that gives the music a rather distant and cold feeling, but Hiaraoka knows how to add a human touch to the music, varying from a soft touch (or rub perhaps), to a more introspective and then a louder ringing/sustaining sound. I have no idea if this is ‘live’ or perhaps in some ways the result of layering and editing, but it doesn’t, the result is beautiful. At fifteen minutes, spanning forty-three minutes, I would say this is also the right length! (FdW)
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WIEZA CISIEN VII RST_ (2CD compilation by Requiem Records)
WIEŻA CIŚNIEŃ VI STRINGS-THEORY+TAO (CD compilation by Requiem Records)
WIEŻA CIŚNIEŃ V-OICES (CD compilation by Requiem Records)

As you may be aware when you have been reading these pages for some time, you can imagine that I am not jumping for you when it comes to reviewing compilations. Let alone three. The CKiS Gallery “Water Tower” in Konin organise concerts and festivals for exactly the kind of music we write about; so that is already a good thing. Primarily, the thing to focus on is the “double, WC RST_’, [that] is devoted to the artists presented at the Restytucje festival… The latest release refers to the WC II album released five years, which also includes recordings of people associated with the festival.” This time its people that have or will play, and they all gave an exclusive piece of music. Without too much research, I think I recognized only two names out of the 17 here, Gaap Kvlt and Adam Golebiewski. The organization here is by Robert Brzecki and Marcin Olejniczak, the latter operating the Antenna Non Grata label. No mixing of interests there, as I don’t see many of the artists from that label here, although one Kemot Kaisim works with radio sounds. That is also one of the more experimental pieces around here. A few of these, especially on the first disc is more on the safer side of electronics, using rhythms, samples, and quite a lot of synthesizers. As the CD continues, we get more and more different angles and edges of experimental music, such as the voice/cello improvisation by Gosia Zagajewski and Ksawery Wojcinski or the drum improvisation of Golebiewski. There is a bit of glitch noise by Lukasz Kacperczyk and the guitar noise variation of that with Pawel Doskocz. As with almost all compilations, it is a mixed bag and nothing stood out, nor I had the impression under-delivered.
    From the same organization, two more compilations, both a more musically thematic approach. One is about string instruments and one with voices. However, none of that is restricted to that, as there are also drums, wind instruments and saxophones to be heard here. Quite of more traditional jazz, folk music, orchestral bits, ambient, and less noise and experiment, make both of these discs an even bigger batch of varied music. It is also music that lies too far out of our domain, but we mentioned them, so feel free to investigate! (FdW)
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In 2001 Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson (Siggi for friends) released his first solo records, an LP for Amsterdam based ERS and a CD named ‘Ship’ for Bernard Gunther’s Trente Oiseaux label (currently residing in the ‘where are they now’ file) and to celebrate that release (which he considers his first solo release) Siggi released an LP with the title ‘Ship 2020’ but stresses the fact that this is not a re-issue, but a new work, also called ‘Ship’ and for which he used similar sound material as twenty years ago. He used a motor-operated plastic organ with a fan for it, which he gave to Leif Elggren, who returned it some time ago, so, naturally the obvious place to use that for a new version of ‘Ship’. Such is the life of the reviewer that I only have a vague notion of that one sounded, but I do recall that his early work dealt with similar drones, such as the ones he unleashes upon now. I am sure I mentioned this before, but I have very little idea of how Sigmarsson creates his sounds, but for this one I can very well imagine it is all within the computer, layering what could be sea waves or church organ drones upon church organ drones, adding a lot of white noise or, again, maybe, sea sounds along the way. The title is, no doubt, leading me here. Throughout both sides (the original was one, thirty-nine piece), there is constant filtering taking place, which keeps morphing these sounds into something else, and it seems that whatever started this boat trip, the ship sank beneath the sea waves. It has returned to where it started as in the beginning there is this far away drone/roar and that grows in intensity, and it reaches its peak in the middle and the gradual descent is kicking in on the next side. I was thinking I heard the sea waves disappear, and in the end, there is just one big void. The static crackle of my non-automated turntable forms a fine conclusion to all of this. I knew it wasn’t part of ‘Ship 2020’, but I used to catch some breath after this all-immersive sound at considerable volume. (FdW)
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N & DEEP – ABRAXAS (LP by Attenuation Circuit/Dhyana Records)

Perhaps the most surprising fact about this LP is that it is a live recording from last year and not from the first two months of the year when everything seemed normal. This was recorded on July 4th, 2020 at the Abraxas Arts centre in Augsburg. Hence, the title, of course, but guitarist N (Hellmut Neidhardt) probably also likes the fact that it is also a title of an album by Carlos Santana. N has a long career of deep ambient music, all played on his guitar, and usually, he numbers his works, so a work is N [1], or N [10] and sometimes confused as the band name. I love that sort of confusion. This is N[93]. Deep is a duo of Stefan Vetter and Bernd Spring and they both play the bass guitar. Spring is also the man behind Dhyana Records, co-releasing this record. They have quite a few releases, many of which I never heard of, but which I believe to be can be a mixed bag of styles. Here, they remain true to their name and maybe guided by N, this trio covers a deep ambient ground of low guitar sounds, bowing strings, opening reverb units and in general one bass for a more abstract, very slow rhythmic sound, and one for sustaining sounds, with the guitar doing both; shorter attacks, massive reverb and sustaining sound. It all starts with how these things start, moody, quiet and slow-building. The guitar adds loosely sounds, like a far percussion element but as the music grows and builds, it becomes darker and denser before reaching its zenith at the end. Now it is no longer that carefully builds ambient but slightly distorted guitar symphony against a black wall of sound. This is a different kind of meditation if you are open to that. It is one, fine mighty power drone that is very strong and is a trademark, I think, of what these musicians are capable of. This coloured vinyl is an edition of 100 copies, and it comes with a large fold-out poster in black, white and grey and looks as moody as the music sounds. (FdW)
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For me, this double LP is the introduction to two new musicians. First, there is Manongo Mujica, who is a percussionist, composer and artist from Peru, who is on a “constant search for sounds, from native to electronic, has even led him to compose music from silence” and from Norway there is Terje Evensen who “specializes in improvised modern jazz combined with electronic elements, creating spacious and dramatic soundscapes of profound intensity.” His instruments include “Electronics, drums, handpan”, while Mujica plays “Handpan, maraca shaker, Peruvian seeds rattle, udu, balafon, gong, cymbal, bell plates, tom, spiral trash”; the latter, of course, a fascinating thing. The music is inspired by the desert and bay of Paracas, south of Lima, along the coast and no doubt some field recordings of these vast empty spaces were made and incorporated into the music. Each side has a single piece of music and there are some distinct different approaches here. The first two pieces, ‘Origins’ and ‘Nightmare At The Desert’ are very spacious; it is like standing in the desert, wind all around you and solitary sounds come from afar. You travel along a trail and along the way you pick up music from what could be a tribe. In ‘Origins’ I am reminded of O Yuki Conjugate with Jorge Reyes as a guest player (that never happened, by the way), while in ‘Nightmare At The Desert’ is the darker, sparser sister of that piece; it is the desert at night. The next record has ‘Saga’ and ‘Drums Calling Winds’, both of which continue the same spacious music in a slow drift but as ‘Saga’ evolves it becomes a wilder improvisation of percussion, almost in a jazz-like spirit, while the electronics linger on in the background. Something similar happens with ‘Drums Calling Winds’ but I would think that both players are now on percussion duties and there are no spare hands to control the electronics, which are now absent unless it is that deep bass rumble we also hear. This is all a very tribal atmosphere with a beautiful dark undercurrent; which goes for all four of these pieces, to be honest. This is eighty minutes of sonic bliss. I have been through the desert with some great music. (FdW)
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Last year Marc Spruit released two compelling releases the ‘Collapse EP’ and ‘Open’. These were twitchy and paranoid but also openly tender. Now Spruit has returned with the ‘Repetitive Parts’ album. Here Spruit wanted to break the precision of contemporary dance music and create music that was based on the cycles of nature. He opted for more field recordings and layering than on previous releases. The results are enjoyable, but it isn’t as strong as his more recent releases.
    ‘Repetitive Parts’ lives up to its name and at the same time it doesn’t. The tracks are made up of repetitive loops, but the loops aren’t as repetitive as I initially thought. This is both a good and a bad thing. Deep down I was hoping for the same literal loop repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated, while Spruit layered it with effects, feedback, and audio detritus. This does kind of happen. On ‘Repetitive Parts V’ and ‘Repetitive Parts VI’ the tracks are layered and doused with an unsettling vibe. The songs are scratchy. They get in your head and you can’t clean the dirt from under your nails.
    Throughout the album, Spruit creates luminous squalls of sound. They are piercing and disjointed but whilst being noisy and continuously moving. On the opening track, ‘Repetitive Parts I’, their constant movement is almost distracting. At times there is almost too much going on that it takes you out of the listening experience. Of course, this is also part of the charm. The frenetic energy is a bit like a spinning top. You wind it up, then in a sudden violent action release it and set it spinning until it either loses momentum or crashes into something and stops. There is a pleasure from watching it go, but when it does stop its giddy motion you are slightly relieved. The same is true of ‘Repetitive Parts’. This is an album to enjoy in short sharp bursts, much like the tracks themselves, but after prolonged listening, it all gets a bit too much. (NR)
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In the early 2000s, I went to a house party. This in itself wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. There were a lot of house parties. They all ran the same course. Arrive with a bag full of beers, some CD-rs and money for a takeaway order. All the drinks got drunk sooner than I had planned, so a trip to the shop needed to be arranged. The CDs never got played, and ultimately lost, and the takeaway always took too long and was an anti-climax. This one was different. The main reason for this was that in the host’s bedroom I found an album that not only blew me away but dominated me for stereo months after. The album in question was ‘Closed on Account of Rabies: Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’. The album was a selection of Poe’s stories and poems read by Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithfull, Jeff Buckley, Diamanda Galas, Ken Nordine and Debby Harry, to name a few, Musically it was powerfully haunting. When I found it and started playing it, it stopped me in my tracks. Needless to say, a double album of Edgar Allan Poe interruptions does not go down well at a party and I spent the majority of the night listening to it with one of two other people, to use the room as a kind of chillout space when the party elsewhere got too much.
    When I listen to ‘Transatlantic P(h)O(n)EM Session’ by The Canal, Czech producer Petr Mareš, known as prof. Neutrino, and Panamanian vocalist Mila Lombardo, I’m reminded of ‘Closed on Account of Rabies’ as well as the Annabel (lee) album ‘By the Sea… and Other Solitary Places’ (despite that not being based on Poe’s work, more the feeling his work creates internally). ‘Transatlantic P(H)o(n)EM Session’ uses the work of John Keats, Aleister Crowley, Oscar Wilde Victor Jara, William Blake, Jorge L. Borges, and Poe as its foundations for slightly jazzy, beaty soundscapes. The album works best when the music and words work together. Either by Mareš creating something that evokes the text, thematically or he emotionally taps into what makes the text so powerful. The standout tracks are ‘Canto Libre (Victor Jara)’ and ‘Live at the Dead Academy’. These songs tower head and shoulders above the rest. Musically ‘Canto Libre (Victor Jara)’ mixes Jara’s guitar, wispy synths, and stark beats to create something that has one foot in the past and one in the present. Over this Lombardo recites Jara’s words in Spanish. ‘Live at the Dead Academy’ is effectively the melody from Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ with a cut up hip-hop backing track, Spanish vocal loop and layers of noise, feedback, reverb, scratching and anything else the pair decided to throw at the audience. What works really well here is that The Canal can translate their music live, and to make it incredibly engaging.
    Unfortunately, ‘Transatlantic P(H)o(n)EM Session’ doesn’t quite work as well as ‘Closed on Account of Rabies’ or ‘By the Sea… and Other Solitary Places’ for me. The music seems to evoke the essence of the author’s work far better. On ‘Transatlantic P(H)o(n)EM Session’ the music doesn’t seem to connect with the words as well. The productions are good, but there isn’t anything that makes me go “Yes! This makes me feel the exact same thing as the original story”. I’m not saying the music is wishy-washy, but it could have worked better. This feels likes harsh criticism given that it took Mareš and Lombardo over seven years to complete the album, but nothing jumps out at me or lingers after it’s finished. As soon as the music ends, I’m on the next song without really thinking about what I’ve just heard. I want to be gripped by the same mania I felt in a small bedroom in 2004 and anything less just feels like a missed trick. (NR)
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PAUL KHIMASIA MORGAN – MAINTAINING (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation)

Following Jonathan Deasy’s release for this label, a few weeks back, there is now a solo release by Paul Khimasia Morgan, and thus establishing Minimal Resource Manipulation as a label open for other musicians. A clever move, I should think. Morgan has his Aural Detritus imprint, also organizing concerts under that banner and as an improviser is an active force in that field. On ‘Maintaining’ he plays the acoustic guitar body of an electro-acoustic Eko Ranger XII, of which he removed the neck and strings and the body is now connected to electronics. It is something between a percussion instrument and something more electronic. It is not played in a percussive manner, which might be something you’d expect; it is rather something altogether more electro-acoustic that Morgan puts on here. Something that sounds very interesting. Whatever he does on that guitar body, perhaps percussive, tactile or otherwise, it is the electronic end that makes the music here. I assume that either this material is layered in some way, or that he uses multiple inputs on his mixer, to arrive at such a diverse sound. I’d like to think it is all played ‘live’, as ‘on the spot’, so with this rich variety of sounds and the collage-like approach to the result, this all works quite well. There are in total three pieces, some thirty-five minutes of music and, boo-hoo, I thought that wasn’t enough. Especially ‘Maintaining 0.2’ I thought to be an excellent piece of music. The others are great as well, with ‘Maintaining 0.3’, the one that saw the least variations, and it is more an exploration of minimalism, but also in that case Morgan does a great job! (FdW)
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DE PONTI & MORETTI – SINCLASI (cassette by Dinzu Artefacts)

Here we have two cassettes with the work of Stefano de Ponti that he recorded with other musicians. De Ponti plays “mixer, Moog MF-101, prepared speaker and zither, slide whistle and cheap DIY synth’. On ‘Sinclasi’ he plays with Elia Moretti, a percussionist using “bells, cymbals, drums, gong, polystyrene, slide whistle, stones and suspended wood”. Halfway through ‘Inclinazione’ one Vojtech Barta recites a poem by Dino Campana. The two pieces, each spanning one side of this cassette, is about sixteen minutes long and the first side, ‘Inclinazione’, starts out with the vibrant rattle of percussion and speaker abuse, vibrating objects and such and from there on this duo takes the listener on an interesting ride through the highs and lows (in volume and dynamics, that is) of their interactions. It is hard to say if the two pieces are the results of one action, the two of them together and playing this music for this amount of time, or, and I would think the more likely scenario, these are various bits, from various sessions cobbled together as one piece. The music moves from more traditional ‘hitting the skin’ to use a bow to generate sustaining sounds out of cymbals and polystyrene. It has that great feedback/overtone quality, and it goes well with the throughout more abstract electronics of De Ponti. These are quite subtle variations and approaches towards their respective instruments and the results work very well.
    The other cassette is a bit more puzzling. It might be more a sort of split cassette, but then not necessarily one artist per side, but in the three pieces on side A and the six on side B (total length is some forty minutes), each have solo tracks, according to the information. So, it starts with a solo cello piece by De Ponti, and then it is “tape loops and sampling” for Lorenzo Peluffo, of whom, so I believe, had not heard before, ending with a piece for trombone, double bass and percussion by three other players. On the second side, there are five pieces by Peluffo on guitar, tape loops and samples and a Farfisa and processing piece by De Ponti. Just like these credits, the music is a very mixed bag of sounds. In some ways, it continues the improvisational approach from the other cassette with De Ponti, especially in his long opening piece on the cello. The two other pieces on this side are more of a conceptual/improvisational thing with abrupt sounds of a disconnecting sound card, with very low volume sounds and the trio of instruments stands out like an oddball at the end here. Three very different pieces. In that respect, I thought there was more coherency on the other side, even when the cut in and out of the sound card was a feature. The pieces here are, more or less, variations of the notion of a drone. Be it through amplified white noise/static, more electronic in nature or the beautiful long Farfisa piece by De Ponti, ending with some loops of a vaguely distant chant. That piece alone is great and perhaps not representative of the whole disc unless the binding theme here is variety. In that respect this cassette is well-done. (FdW)
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BRANDSTIFTER & DIURNAL BURDENS – manchmal auch nicht (cassette by More Mars)
JIM STRONG – VOLUNTARY LETTERS (cassette by More Mars)

For a brief moment I thought ‘hang on, didn’t I review this last week?’, but then I saw the title and realized this is another one by Germany’s Brandstifter and UK’s Diurdnal Burdens. The title can be translated as ‘sometimes not’, of which I am not if it is a reference to something. With a bit of a spoiler alert, this tape and the next two from the same label, all deal with the use of voice. If the cassette from last week by this duo was a surrealist mix of found sound, from vinyl, TV and thrift stores finds, then this just uses the last ones, toys and objects being amplified in the craziest of circumstances, outside in the garden, forest, shed or whatever, looped around, and serving as the soundtrack for voice material. Here too, I would think they use found sound (TV, vinyl, old reels), but now they add their voices to the equation. I am not sure, but I think it is more Brandstifter responsible for that Diurnal Burdens (also known as Ross Scott-Buccleuch). In his visual work, Brandstifter also uses a lot of stuff he finds on the street, and this music is a logical extension of that and on ‘Manchmal Auch Nicht’, it all becomes poetry and just as there is visual poetry, there is oral poetry. Abstract poetry it is, these two side-long pieces that move from one place to the next and are at times surprisingly musical, especially when Bandstifter adds a child song to the mix. Nice one.
    So far, the name Ezio Piermattei popped up four times in Vital Weekly, once as Autopugno (Vital Weekly 906), Poisucevamachenille (Vital Weekly 820) and as Hum Of Gnats (Vital Weekly 812) and once under his given name in duet with Ben Presto; the latter not reviewed by me. Since 2014 he only uses his Christian name and I guess it is to tie in with the fact that he wants to push a coherent musical agenda. Here too we have some highly personal sound poetry but not in the form of musique concrète and electro-acoustic sound. Both sides contain one piece, just as with the one previous release I just reviewed, but it doesn’t have the same density as Brandstifter and Diurnal Burdens. Piermattei uses a lot of field recordings, wandering through natural surroundings, picking up a desolate trumpet rehearsal from a window, a restaurant, cowbells and so on, and then Piermattei uttering a few lines of words, or maybe some others, in a mixture of Italian and English, sometimes it is all about the difficulty of communication. The voice is not a dominant feature on this release, it is something that is occasionally ‘there’ and sometimes it isn’t. That is something that I enjoyed very much. It becomes a narrative of its own.
    I don’t think I know who Jim Strong is (a bit hard to search the archive for ‘Jim’ and ‘Strong’), so excuse me if I did write about his work before. His cassette has nine pieces and was recorded in the “Strong family home 2019-2020″. He recorded his voice through the doorbell, telephone ringer, siren, 9-volt motor, hard drive, paper, antique car horn” and a bunch more is listed on the cover. Here too we have an abstract form of sound poetry, in which elements of electronic music shines firmly through. It is a refreshing take on both sound poetry and noise, I should think. Not necessarily the sort of harsh noise that is a wall of sound, but still quite abrasive at times. It is the less delicate end of musique concrète that we are dealing with here. I visualized Jim Strong going with his recorder in search of household objects to amplify or capture his voice, creating new transformations, other than using the standard operations from stompboxes, modular synthesizers or computer technology. I very much enjoy his murmurings and ramblings with and without words that are fed through broken objects or technology normally not used for such things. His pieces are short and to the point, not longer than three minutes, with one exception, but that is three pieces together it seems. And sometimes there seems to be no voice at all, adding more variation to the total. Quite the surprise, this one! (FdW)
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E.M.I.R.S. – BEHEADINGS (double cassette, private)

Quinten Dierick, also known as E.M.I.R.S, just carries on, in isolation, pandemic or otherwise, thinking of the next thing to realize. This particular one is something he pondered over for some time, so do something quick and without too much ‘other’ work, mixing, editing, and mastering. It is the straight recording of a synthesizer to tape, something that he didn’t do before with E.M.I.R.S. Despite all these limitations, this is some fascinating stuff. This is a double cassette single (quite a few this week!), with four times five minutes of synthesizer improvisation. That could have easily resulted in some very dull synth wank or equally easy harsh noise, but it is not. The music played by E.M.I.R.S. here is moody and loud, not noise. It is the sonic overload, I guess that works differently each time. On the first side in a cut-up manner, short attack sounds, while on the flip there is a stark mood drone piece. On the third side both ends meet, starting with the short attack but also with some really deep drone end, almost impossible to capture on tape it seems and with a curious hint of ‘melody’ in there, and in the final piece a voice (I think), triggering the input in what seems to be the most ‘industrial’ of these four songs. Dierick says there might be more of this in the future, and not just because I am a fan, I’d say, ‘bring it on’. These tapes have a non-standard hand-printed cover of which the sum makes the total artwork; limited to thirty copies! (FdW)
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O.R.D.U.C. – URANIUM (cassette by Motok)

Going strong for more than forty years now, the One-O-Seventh Royal Dutch Underground Company, O.R.D.U.C., the music project of Nico Selen, from a small village in the east part of The Netherlands. That resulted in only a handful of releases, with sometimes a big hiatus between them. I was thinking that a few years the releases was steady, but it went quiet again until this new cassette EP arrived; twelve minutes and four tracks. All of these pieces appeared in different versions on the LP ‘107’ (see Vital Weekly 710) and it made me play that album again and also the first-ever O.R.D.U.C. cassette ever, from 1980, later also on LP, and I think that LP is still available. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon with this charming naive electronic music. Nico Selen’s voice is at times more spoken word, and the melodies are likewise child-like, but that is the power of O.R.D.U.C. When I returned to this cassette, I scratched my head and was reminded I set out to write a review of this four-track cassette. I loved it, especially because, old school, I was playing this on a walkman and headphones (just because I could) and of course I hadn’t paid enough attention when I was playing the two LPs, to note the minute differences between the originals on ‘107’ and the versions here. I’d say they are there, but they also stay rather close to the originals. None of these songs get the radical rework treatment, but rather expand on the themes we know and love from O.R.D.U.C. for many years. Another period of hibernation looming, or a restart? Time will tell. (FdW)
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AROS E-V – RIFT (cassette by Superpolar Taips)
CRUEL DIAGONALS – CARAPACE (cassette by Superpolar Taips)

Here we have three new cassette singles by Superpolar Taips, from a series of thirty. I don’t think I heard of any one of these musicians before. I listened to these in chronological order, kicking off with Aros E-V, also known as Ryan Evans. Superpolar Taips says that this is an ambient project, perhaps implying there are other projects. Armed with a guitar, tape loops, field recordings and digital processing he has two pieces here, ‘In Time’ and ‘In Space’ and it is difficult not to see both pieces as the extension of each other; like the Doctor in a relative time and space dimension thing. The guitar is looped and treated with some effects and has a fine ambient doodling character; think Manuel Göttsching but Aros E-V adds elements of (mild) distortion to both dishes. With a lot of the previous cassingles by Superpolar Taips I liked it that both sides were two different songs, so I am a bit disappointed with this one.
    Behind Adderall Canyonly is one Wayne Longer, who “loves half-broken gear and mostly-broken people, in equal numbers, and a good day involves an adequate portion of both”. His music, so mentions the cover, was recorded to a Tascam 338, a machine I never saw but looked fascinating on the YouTube videos. Adderall Canyonly is a synth man, and sounds like that little nasty brother of the cosmic big ones. ‘A Quick Race To The Super Nova’, in itself already a cosmic title, has that bouncing sequencer or arpeggio rhythm and on top that looped melodic touch that changes minimally. Here, two and a half minutes isn’t nearly enough. ‘Locked In, We Split Infinity, Forever’ is a rusty spaceship lost in time and space, slowly falling apart in many pieces, but a flicker of light at the end.
    Cruel Diagonals is Megan Mitchell, jazz and classically trained vocalist and under the banner of this name she uses only her voices and sampling, influenced by (rather surprisingly) filmmakers Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger, and that results in some very moody music. In ‘Carapace’ this results in a pretty straightforward drone piece, in which one recognizes the stretched voice and due to its length fails to impress; had it be longer, it could have grown in intensity and that would have worked much better. In that respect, I think the piece on the other side, ‘Oneiric Amplitude’ works much better in such a brief length. It opens with two isolated voice sounds and then becomes this slow meandering voice sequencer bounce that worked really. Had I been the label, I would have reversed sides; now this piece is lost beyond the edition of 10 copies made and that’s a pity. (FdW)
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