Number 1348

ANTHONY CHEUNG – ALL ROADS (CD by New Focus Recordings) *
PIETER KOCK – WHO TOLD YOU YOU WERE NAKED (cassette by Full Body Massage Records) *
SICKNESS – WAX CASTING (7″ lathe by Ballast)
LORE CITY – UNDER WAY (7″ by Lore City Music) *
SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE – 0RT0 (V​​-​​VI) (cassette by Beach Buddies Records) *
FOOD PEOPLE/HUMAN HEADS (split cassette by Cardboard Club) *
RSS – PRIME TIME (cassette by Cardboard Club) *


When I first saw laptops used in concerts, maybe around 1997 or 1998, I thought, ‘how can these poor musicians afford such expensive machines and aren’t they afraid it breaks, get stolen or crash? These days, the laptop seems to have disappeared from concerts or is less prominent at least, so imagine my surprise to see a release by something that is the Brasília Laptop Orchestra. At the end of the review, I will list the members. I am not sure, but I don’t think I have heard of any of these people before. The orchestra started in 2012, and “they have been committed to incorporating the human body and movement into their production of sounds and images. And to create ‘ecosophic’ works that emphasize respect for the environment, social inclusion and the promotion of conscious human development and liberty”. The orchestra is not fixed in membership, and amateurs and professionals are next to each other. Each player has their own speaker and their own source of sounds, sometimes encircling the audience. In that respect is, the stereo mix on a CD only half the fun. They use cameras to record their hand and body movements and translate that into music. Again, something is not present on the CD. As much as I like the music on this CD, I find it also hard not to think about the things we don’t see and hear. In that respect, the CD falls short of the true thing. And, certainly, with the use of laptops, this is important. One of the things that saw them disappear off stage is that audience had no idea what the laptop did: “is the musician checking his email?” was heard a lot in the first decade of this century. The music reminds me of early electronic music and musique concrète and not as much of the much-used glitches, crackles and sine waves that crowded stages in the previous decade. The music is sometimes spacious, but that is also because these are live recordings picked up with a microphone. Among the pieces, there is a fine amount of variation to be noted, and throughout these pieces are around five minutes, which keeps this in some fine speed in the music, urgency if you will. Next time a DVD, please!
    The Brasília Laptop Orchestra consists of Conrado Silva,Eduardo Kolody, Ramiro Galas, Victor Valentim, Kiko Barretto, Philip Jones, Elias Melo Filho, Ricardo Borgmann, Victor Hugo Araujo, Joenio Costa, Jackson Mainho, Anesio Azevedo, Biophillick, Bryan Day and Eufrasio Prates. (FdW)
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Forensic Trio is a unit of Martin Archer (electronics, alto, sopranino & baritone saxophones), Pat Thomas (piano) and Johnny Hunter (drums, percussion, glockenspiel) presenting their first statement. Thomas is a classically trained pianist from London and has been a significant force in the jazz and improv scene in the UK for many years. Johnny Hunter is a drummer and composer with a background in avant-garde music and mainstream jazz. Both experimented with electronics and electroacoustics, which also counts for Martin Archer. Surprisingly, this new project is about a meeting of electronics and acoustic instruments. The album opens with ‘Rotten Start’, a piece built from subdued but explorative improvisations. ‘Improvisation in a traditional style is a great dynamic improvisation, very playful with great piano playing by Thomas and indeed close to the jazz idiom. This is totally absent in the key improvisation of this album, the lengthy ‘Heartless, heartless/Rotten State’. This one leads into more abstract territories, with special spatial electronics in a main role in the opening phase. Thomas is playing the interior of his piano. In the middle section, the improvisation turns into a spirited and dynamic exchange between the three before focusing on creating an extended sound space. Everything is played as heard on this album, except for this improvisation, where parts of two different improvisations are edited into one whole. In all, I find this release an interesting exercise in combining dynamic outbursts of Archer and very involved interplay contrasted with abstract electronic soundscapes where the players seem to disappear as it were and play in a very serving manner in the function of the abstract sound improvisation. (DM)
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‘Run, the Darkness will come!’ is an ominous but appropriate title for an album to appear in these apocalyptic times where there is so much instability in many ways. Day &Taxi, on the other hand, is a beacon of stability. This trio, led by Swiss artist Christoph Gallio, has already been a vehicle for his compositions for several decades. For sure, this underlines that Gallio developed into a strong voice both as a player and as a composer. Gallio started playing soprano sax when he was 19 years old. Subsequently, he studied classical saxophone at the Conservatory of Basel. Near the end of the 80s, he studied one year with Steve Lacy, who became and stayed a major influence for Gallio. He started playing with Urs Voerkel, Irene Schweizer, Gunter Muller in Zürich, etc. Day & Taxi was started as a quartet of saxophones, drums and bass by Christoph Gallio and Urs Blöchlinger in 1988. In the beginning, they performed compositions by all members, but for many years only compositions by Gallio are in the repertoire, which also counts for their most recent effort. Since 1989 they have operated as a trio. Originally Lindsay L. Cooper played the bass, followed by Dominque Girod, Daniel Studer, and Christian Weber. Since around 2014, Sylvain Jeger has been the bass player. Dieter Ulrich was the first drummer, followed by Marco Kapelli and David Meier. American drummer Gerry Hemingway – who lives in Switzerland nowadays – was first present on the ‘Devotion’-album of 2019. With this new album, Gallio again presents a collection of short and transparent compositions to be located somewhere between jazz and modern music. Works that are melodic in general. The melodic material is simple and accessible, but their treatment of the material makes the music rich and adds depth to it. Like on ‘Devotion’ some compositions are short miniatures built around a poem, again spoken by Jeger in a Sprechgesang-manner. This time with poems by Thorsten Krämer, Steve Delachisnksy, a.o. are used. Many of the compositions are dedicated to Kip Hanrahan, Robert Filliou, Jack Bruce, Jean-Luc Godard, etc. Very unusual is ‘Too Much Nothing’ that has a drone in the background coming from the Shruti box played by Jeger. Lovely drumming in ‘Godard’s Memory’ and ‘Ein Ort und Alles’ is a sparkling work. All compositions are performed in a very to-the-point and disciplined manner. Very flexible and playful, also by three compassionate musicians who make a solid communicative unity. (DM)
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NAKEDEYE ENSEMBLE – A Series of Indecipherable Glyphs (CD by New Focus Recordings)

NakedEye Ensemble is an Octet founded by Korean-USAmercian Ju-Ping Song as a cross-over ensemble on the interface between classical, jazz-rock and art rock. We, therefore, find classical instruments such as cello and woodwinds, but also an electric guitar and bass. Not to say we do not see lots of cello and woodwinds (and violins) on rock music releases … but very rarely an electric guitar on a classical one… bar of Glenn Branca, of course. Where we find lots of guitars…
    Where was I?
    Ah. The most prominent composition on this release is that of Frank Zappa, ‘Sinister Footwear. This is track 2, and if you listened to it first, you would probably consult the cover to check whether Frankie boy was still alive. It’s close. If I remember correctly, Zappa would have sped up things a little, and the instrumentation would have included fewer strings. Still, apart from that, we find all the necessary ingredients: guitar solo, unison passages, different rhythms battling each other in the various instrumental lines… the whole shebang, expertly delivered. Just the instrumentation lets you suspect that this is NOT Zappa himself.
    The first piece on this release, or better said: a suite of ten short pieces, was ‘composed’ by Nick Didkovsky. Actually, it was not composed at all but generated by software Didkovsky designed. Parameters are set, and the programme outputs the different instrumental scores, independent of each other but still related. The effect is somewhat astonishing. If you had not read the liner notes (or the sales sheet, at that), you would assume this was just another of the free music pieces with the instruments playing alongside each other – but also note that there was a sense of ensemble playing going on that would characterise experienced and well-tuned group improvisers. As the pieces are limited to only a few instruments, we mostly find duos and trios going on. This reduced instrumental scope does the pieces definitely good, and their brevity does not stretch the ideas too thinly. It also says a lot about free improvisation groups.
    The release contains five other pieces written by a variety of American composers. ‘[These Hands] Hold Nothing’ by Whitney George does not use the full Zappa-esque bandwidth of instruments but limits itself to a few melodic lines and mostly builds on chimes and a percussive ‘tic-toc’ that mimics a clock (the hands, the hands …). The piece’s second half dissolves the underlying ‘tic’ with several other rhythms, creating a bit of a rhythmic disaster. The next two tracks by Rusty Banks and Molly Joyce pick up the approach of having a continuous basic rhythmic line, one of a variety of percussive instruments sharing the base track, the other using a piano ostinato. All three pieces retain a calm atmosphere until they later break out into a full ensemble orchestration.
    The last two tracks, written by Aaron May Myers and Richard Belcastro, clearly take us back to Zappa. The first, ‘Strabismus’, uses the style of ‘Zombie Woof’ Zappa to create a track that could well have suited the Mothers of Invention. Although the last track may be drawing some inspiration from Zappa, it is more of a straight rock-jazzy piece that uses ‘standard’ rock patterns with jazz instrumentation to round this impressive release with a near-danceable track. (RSW)
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ANTHONY CHEUNG – ALL ROADS (CD by New Focus Recordings)

Anthony Cheung is a young (b. 1982) USAmerican composer and pianist. So far, we find four releases under his name, but many more in which he has contributed the piano part. This is the second release on New Focus, following the 2018 Cycles and Arrows release.
    Cheung has a very conceptual approach. The dilemma is that this might not always be apparent from the musical result. So would I miss something if I did not read the booklet? In some sense, I would think that this aspect of the music and its creation might be a bit eclectic and over-intellectualised. Depending on which angle you take: (1) does the music reveal how it was created? (my answer: no), or (2) has the structural, compositional approach left an audible mark on the music? (my answer: no). So there. Just as an example, the first suite of 8 relatively short movements, divided into ‘interludes’ and ‘main sections’ (which actually flow into each other), takes inspiration from a song by Billy Strayhorn ‘Lotus Blossom’ – not knowing this tune, the piece evolves as an intriguing dialogue between a string quartet (Escher Ensemble) and the piano part. The music follows the different titles to a certain degree, summoning winding roads, road forks, and thoughtful ‘detours’.
    The next piece, ‘Elective Memory’ is built around Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 96 and the reported meetings he had with Goethe in the year 1821. Again, not fully recognising the inspirational material does not put you at odds. The dialogue between piano and violin meanders between slow and minimalistic passages and short outbreaks, mainly on the string side. The second part is a bit of a stop-and-go with a more elegy-feel (maybe more Beethoven?), mirroring the title of ‘tripping, falling. ‘Character Studies’ is a two-part violin solo (Miranda Cuckson) with a violin that speaks with itself, just like someone playing at echos or in different roles. No electronic processing here, so the violin lines actually follow each other. Expertly played, this is a colourful piece, albeit only played by a single instrument.
    The final piece has the interesting title ‘All thorn, but cousin to your rose’. Cheung had the idea to use Google translate to transfer Shakespear texts from English to other languages, then back again – a Chinese whisper process. He then came across a Nabokov text on translation and rather used this, nevertheless, also putting Google to use in some of the sub-tracks. Vocals are contributed by soprano Paulina Swierczek – moving between vocalising, singing, and declaiming. However, this one does not convince me. Can singing and declaiming texts, all mixed up, add anything to (a) understanding what the text is about (without reading the liner notes) and (b) present an aural pleasure? Not really. The accompanying piano would warrant a better reception. Still, the singing – all over reading text, singing it, and just vocalising in one go – is irritating and deflects from the musical and philosophical qualities of the piece.
    Cheung is definitely a musician to watch, but for me, this release would have been better off without the last piece. The point(s) he makes could have resulted in a theatre production or simply been presented as an essay. (RSW)
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Over the past few days, I played this CD several times. I fi d it hard to get my head around this one. That might be due to the use of the bassoon, an instrument I don’t often hear, but the real reason lies in the use of Sophie Bernado’s voice. Lila Bazooka is a duo of Bernardo (bassoon, voice, electronics) and Céline Grangey (sound design, electronics). In 2019, the two went to Japan and returned with field recordings, ideas and the love for the sho, the Japanese mouth organ. That instrument we hear in two pieces, played by Ko Ishikawa. The album seems to be a combination of various ideas. There is a more traditional, quiet approach from the world of modern classical music, such as the opener ‘Nouka’, which is almost like a solo for a bassoon. When the voice and electronics come in, I am a bit lost. There is reverb to the voice, giving it an angelic feeling, and when Bernado really sings, it all gets too sweet for me, such as in ‘Kome To Me’. This reminded me of Japanese whisper songs, which I am no fan of. Also, a more spoken word approach, such as ‘Perpetuum’, is not something I particularly enjoyed. But when the bassoon takes the lead, electronics gently processing along the way, I enjoyed this quite a bit. But overall, I don’t know what to make of this release. I thoroughly enjoy some of these pieces and some, well, not. I am a bit lost here. (FdW)
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From Kazachstan hails Angelina Yershova, of whom I reviewed three CDs before (Vital Weekly 10421068 and 1178). Here she teams up with Ynaktera, an electronic arts producer and performer from Rome. Again, the titles call out to think about climate change. None such we hear in the music. So far, I thought Yershova’s music was good ambient music, but also not something too outstanding. The piano is her primary instrument, but with the electronics of Yanketra, the music is brought to another level. His synthesizers, glitches and beats bring the music more into the dancefloor realm, although I can imagine people will have difficulty dancing to this. His music part reminded me at times of Alva Noto and Ryoji Ikeda, although I easily admit I haven’t kept up with both gentlemen’s output in recent years. Sometimes the piano disappears entirely in the electronic mainstream, but maybe Yershova adds electronics and voice material. In ‘Walking On Water’, the vocal part is certainly an element. The music moves away from the strict ambient pastures and has a surprising pop element at times. The aforementioned ‘Walking On Water’ is a clear example; it is listed as a solo Yershova song. Also Ynaktera has a solo piece, which didn’t stand out too much as a solo endeavour, I thought, compared to what the duo does. I can imagine that backed with the right visuals; this could be a duo that is welcome at festivals, playing the room between the chill-out lounge and the main dance area; the area of art meets music and with the political message of a greener earth, I’d say they have another sales point to get shows. (FdW)
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Over the years, I heard various releases by Kim Myhr, the guitar player and composer from Norway. The Oslo Jazz Festival commissioned this new work at a time of no concerts, and at the time, Myhr acquired a 70s Yamaha organ, which he uses along with a Roland Juno synthesizer and a new drum machine. He didn’t abandon the guitar or the bass, and even in isolation, he had some guest musicians for mainly drum sounds, bass and organ. The pieces are more songs than pieces if you get my drift. Not exactly pop music, but Myhr taps into the world of post-rock with some lengthy excursions. His music has, at times, quite a psychedelic feeling and, as with more things post-rock, an element of jazz is never far away. The music is quite entertaining, but I am not altogether sure what to make this. Sometimes too regular post-rock-like for my taste, too jazzy and too conventional, and it seems that for me at least, it lacks an edge of differentness, weirdness or abstraction. There is surely that massive sound that is part of this kind of music, and it is all very musical, but maybe it’s all too far away from the world of Vital Weekly, I thought. Maybe I am not the right person to weigh its merits. Having said that, I also thought this was an entertaining enough record that I heard with great interest. (FdW)
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While based in Cambridge, the title of his latest CD has a Dutch title. It translates to ‘fog shadows’. It also says that it is inspired by “exploration, in and around Den Haag, the Netherlands, 2000-2013′. Florianz wrote his note in Dutch and named all the tracks in the beautiful Dutch language, so he either was based here or lived here for some time. It’s been a long time since I reviewed his work (Vital Weekly 519), and I had forgotten about him. He has a bunch of works on his Bandcamp page. On this page, it says ‘ambient. environment. soundscapes.’, precisely what we find in the music on ‘Mist Schimmen’. There are many field recordings, which, I assume, are made in Den Haag, and Florianz uses these along with an array of synthesizers, piano and the occasional rhythm. For instance, in ‘Nieuw Stad’, he uses a bit and then music leans towards the ambient house, but do not overthink the word ‘house’ here. The use of reverb is a dominant feature here, and it all becomes very atmospheric and dark. Yet, Florianz stays on a more melodic side of ambient music, and some of this music I could easily see used to significant effect in a movie. Not the horror show, but a psychological drama of some kind. There is little by way of abstraction here, just melodic piano and string treatments, set against some field recordings of an undisclosed nature and some likewise gentle rhythms. He uses the right piano sounds for it and has, at times, a fine dramatic build-up quality. Sometimes a tad too smooth for my taste, and Florianz’s music becomes scaringly close to new age music. Again, that is also thanks to the soft piano playing. But those moments aren’t too much around here. All in all, it’s stylish and moody ambient music, in the best Brian Eno (and everybody that followed) tradition. (FdW)
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Rutger Zuydervelt, aka Machinefabriek (electronics) and Gareth Davis (clarinet, bass clarinet), had a long time ago a concise record in which they played two jazz standards, ‘My Funny Valentine’ and ‘Oh Doctor Jesus’ (see Vital Weekly 789). These were not easily recognized. For their latest work, they didn’t choose standards from the world of jazz but contemporary classical music. The five pieces, Self Same’, ‘Klangs That You Are’, ‘Funny V’, ‘Action Take’ and ‘Grounded’, did not indicate which pieces we are talking about here; but, hey, I am no expert. I reviewed various works from them as a duo, and it seems to me that Davis’s improviser is contagious for Machinefabriek. We don’t hear him often in a more improvised mood than here. There is quite a bit of electronics at work here, I believe, from both players, and with Machinefabriek doing the majority. I don’t know if that is the case, but I can imagine that he also does some real-time processing of Davis’ clarinet playing. I couldn’t recognize any familiarity with modern classical music. Still, the cover says ‘everything is remembered badly’, so the players here do not exactly remember how a particular piece should be played. I quite enjoyed the music here. There is a sort of electro-acoustic vibe within the music, of acoustic sounds, loops of saxophone playing, and obscured electronics. Only occasionally, it leans a bit too much towards the world of improvisation, and it seems to be less for me, but within the context that this music is made, I can understand their choices. The strangest piece is ‘Action Take’, which uses a simple, yet effective rhythm loop to accompany the music. Slow but steady, it ticks away time, and while odd, it is certainly not out of place. It surely makes up for a nicely varied disc of music. (FdW)
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PIETER KOCK – WHO TOLD YOU YOU WERE NAKED (cassette by Full Body Massage Records)

Last year I was pleasantly surprised by the first cassette from Pieter Kock (Vital Weekly 1296). Formerly the man behind The Hitmachine and Ole Records. These days the man behind the counter of his bar ad “micro stage” O Tannebaum in Berlin. These days working under his real name, he creates the sort of electronic music I immensely dig. Maybe it is the (very) hot summer days? At least I blamed the sun that my guard for all things experimental is lower than on a ‘normal’ day. Give me rhythm, a synthesizer melody and a cocktail, please. As I wrote, Kock created over 200 tracks in recent years, mainly by sourcing his sounds from the internet. On YouTube, there are countless videos in which synthesizers and rhythm machines are explained, and Kock takes these recordings, along with whatever sound is right to his ear. Inside Traktor (a program used for DJ-ing rather than composing, I guess), he treats these samples into music. This means that his music is heavy on loops, but it (almost) never becomes tedious repeating. I enjoyed his first cassette, and I’m happy to see there is something new around the corner. Two corners! An LP (or rather mini lp) and a cassette further explore the world of synthesizer music from the perspective of stolen sounds. Quirky rhythm machines with Latin rhythms, slightly more moody pieces, a bit of cosmic music, sunny pieces, cheesy music; there is a bit for every moment of the sunny day. Even when Kock goes a bit in a moody spirit, he still has that slow summer’s day vibe in his music. He sounds more aiming for the dance floor on vinyl, with spacious and dubby pieces, such as ‘Unchain Your Dub’ and ‘Savage’ (a minute too long for my taste). He dares a bit more on cassette, but the differences are minor. But that happened once. Comparing these two new releases with his previous ones, I note quite a leap forward. These new pieces are complex and less naive. The ‘stolen’ voice material is now on the back burner. There was a lot more on his first release, but looking back, I think Kock’s music works best without voices, concentrating on exploring the sounds and working with those. At times I am reminded of that one great LP by long-lost DJ-T-1-11, who also plundered around the media for sounds, but Kock’s music tries not to be as funny (or at least not intentionally). Great stuff for a hot August day. Time for another cocktail. (FdW)
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SICKNESS – WAX CASTING (7″ lathe by Ballast)

Holiday times at my house. It’s the first day of doing nothing and I’m getting a mail from Vital Main Office with “something short but nice you might like” … And it’s a effin lathe by Sickness !!! *insert little jumpy heart rhythm* If I would be able to write something about it if I would be interested …
    Well, I’ve heard there is no such thing as coincidence. This weekend I was going talking a walk on memory lane – my steps counter was activated because, well, holidays and I gotta make my daily goal – and I found myself back in 2009 at a festival in Birmingham. We celebrated 30 years of CON-DOM and there was a line-up featuring Slogun, Sickness, Sudden Infant, Grey Wolves, Brut and some others. So yeah, my wife and I went there of course! It was all a bit blurry to me, partially due to the fact that is was november and outside and cold. I remember cold. But I also remember the impact that Sickness had on me that evening. So much power, so chaotic and yet so much control in the consistency of his sounds. Chris Goudreau was a name I dove into after that weekend had the music of him I discovered since then hasn’t let me down so far. Not once.
    So to ask me if I would like to review something new: “Yes please”. Because his output has been kinda scarce these last couple of years. And seven minutes on this 7″ lathe, casted inside a wax shell, limited to 26 lettered copies, on Blake / Vertonen’s Ballast label … The two tracks, 4 and 3 minutes in length, are entitled “forerunner of possible losses” and “as though it has a plan for you”, which might indicate a heavy emotional layer; Maybe why it has been so quiet for a long time? Side A (the ‘forerunner’-track) is very dynamic, cut-up techniques like we know of Chris, but also moments of almost introvert silence, tension building up and going completely over all set boundaries. The ‘plan’-track on side B is a bit more continuous as a whole which is not a bad thing at all. But the feedback / delay parts should be mentioned especially: These are amazing!
    A very sincere and honest release by people who know what they’re doing (both Chris and Blake). Highly conceptual in nature and a true piece of art as a whole. I expect a mail from the label that this thing will be sold out within one week. It’s up to you to decide if you want one. It’s now or never. (BW)
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LORE CITY – UNDER WAY (7″ by Lore City Music)

From the duo of Laura Mariposa Williams and Eric Angelo Bessel, also known as Lore City, we reviewed two LPs before (Vital Weekly 1309 and 1256). Now there is a 7″. This duo started in 2011, and they are a married couple in real life. Williams plays keyboards, guitar, and vocals, and Bessel is responsible for guitar, keyboard and percussion. Their music is a fine post-modern mix in which anything goes, or, in this case, portions of drone, post-rock, shoegazing, folk music, post-punk and dream pop. Is that too much, well, no, it isn’t. Lore City has a personal approach to music, and I would not be surprised to learn it is the result of a long history of listening to what some people call ‘leftfield’ music. On the first side, we find ‘Animate’, a song dominant by the tribal pulse of percussive beats, guitar and piano with some reverb, and Williams’ haunting along delivering the lyrics. Great post-punk music in the best early 4AD tradition, and it could have been produced by Gilbert & Lewis. Perhaps a song of isolation reflects the times we live in? Quite the film scenery. ‘Very Body’, on the other side, is an instrumental song in which the guitar plays the most important role, layered and sustaining, like a post-rock drone dirge. On display here is the ‘other side’ of the group, and somehow an instrumental piece makes sense for a B-side. I often complain about 7″ and experimental music and that it’s not the best format, but when it comes to songs and 7″, Lore City do a great job. Is there still something as an ‘alternative top 10’ in the weeklies? This should chart high in such lists. (FdW)
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SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE – 0RT0 (V​​-​​VI) (cassette by Beach Buddies Records)

For this new release by Romania’s Somnoroase Păsărele, there is a most curious text on Bandcamp: “With this new instalment in the 0RT0 series, the list of things to be terrified of just got one bullet-point longer. You can take your ‘Sharknado’ and shove it. Step 1: picture a giant swarm of mosquitoes. Step 2: imagine all those mosquitoes are earthquakes. Step 3: get in contact with Somnoroase Păsărele, because your brain keeps breaking at step 2.” I have no idea what that means, but I certainly don’t qualify myself as a clever person. I rather doze off and listen to music. I think this is an odd package, in which the cassette has no information, and there is a separate piece of paper with the basics. “All sounds & artwork by Gili Mocanu and suites assembled by Miru Mercury”. That I almost understand! Somnoroase Păsărele is a band with a strong interest in synthesizers but without too much of a fixed plan or direction. On ‘0rto’, you’ll find two pieces, each about ten minutes and the terrifying theme is translated into music here. In ‘0rto V’, a vocal sound is sampled from a passing alien, along with S.ET.I.-like synthscapes captured in a cosmic storm. In ‘0rto VI’, there is a more a start-stop play with some darker undercurrent. A spaceship in distress, while the second half the echo dying out of its collapse on a faraway planet (Planet P probably; they ran out of names by the time we got there). Would you like to know more? Well, no, but I would not mind a bit more of this kind of Dystopian soundtrack. (FdW)
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In the past few weeks, I heard quite a bit of music by Dieter Mauson’s Occupied Head. In 2019, he toured Spain and crossed paths with Orchestraciones Dissonantes Internes (now there is a tongue twister; I will use O.D.I. here). That is a duo of Cesc Fortuny i Fabré (Karkassa) (Vocals, Tibetan bells, Tibetan singing bowls, didgeridoo, sulko, shakuhachi, recorder, quena, piano, violin, guitar, blues harp, sampler, synthesizer & programs) and Marian Raméntol (Vocals, Tibetan bells, Tibetan singing bowls, tingshas, bodhran, woodblock). I had not heard of them before. The three made a few recordings over two days, and this cassette sees the results of editing these recordings into tracks. On one side, we find mixes by Mauson and on the other by O.D.I. The instruments here contain guitar (Cesc), theremin (Mariam) and analogue synth (Mauson). Mauson added more synths, a drum machine, guitar and bass for the editing. I believe O.D.I. added some vocals/voices. The differences in mixing the jam sessions are not very big, as both music projects go out for a rather in-your-face approach to cosmic music. It never becomes slow and drifting, but there is an excellent urgency in the department of broken spaceship sounds—gritty, bumping electronics, sitting next to sustaining power chord and a low-flying monotron. At times very spacious and intimate, but the mood is dark throughout, and the results experimental. The main difference is the use of voice by O.D.I., which brings a more narrative aspect to the music. Overall a great release! (FdW)
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FOOD PEOPLE/HUMAN HEADS (split cassette by Cardboard Club)
RSS – PRIME TIME (cassette by Cardboard Club)

‘Keep It Card’ is the slogan of Cardboard Club, a cassette label from Bristol. They have over 100 releases, and all the covers are flimsy black and white, Xeroxed papers. You can hate it, but I like this sort of consistent approach. Very 1985, I guess. I don’t think I had heard of Human Heads before from the first release, but I reviewed Food People several times. They are a trio with a few instruments, such as guitar, flute, harmonium, and electronics. So far, I enjoyed their music and their side, although presented as one piece on Bandcamp, seems to me to consist of various parts. The music starts with a slowly distorted guitar phrase with a minimalist streak. That is also something that is the second bit on this release. Here, Food People sound very much Velvet Underground/Theatre Of Eternal Music-like, which is excellent. A repeating violin loop (played in real-time, no doubt) and guitars being strummed, with a minimal rhythm. The final part has a more moody piece of electronics and field recordings. Three excellent pieces.
    Human Heads is more on the electronic and experimental side. There is also more use of a voice, which sings through some electronic processors, but never forms into a good song. More akin to sound poetry, but hard to understand what the poetry is about. It is all quite experimental, with the voice feeding through some electronic processors, and it has a rather vague feeling. I wasn’t all too sure what to think of it.
    RRS is Robert Ridley-Shackleton, the man behind the label. You can find a most impressive list of releases on Discogs, but this is my first encounter with the man and his music. I have no idea if this release is a typical one for him. The six tracks here have the man singing and speaking, almost as if in a live recording, but there is no indication that this is, in fact, a concert recording. RSS introduces the song ‘the next one..’ and so. Besides, there is a drum machine and an organ. It sounds like a comedy act or, perhaps, an outsider act. I don’t know. Not being the sort of guy who listens to lyrics, this mostly eluded me. No doubt, this sort of thing works wonders in a small club, with RSS running around, but on cassette? I am not that convinced. This cassette is certainly musically the weirdest of this week, and probably I don’t do it justice. (FdW)
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Following many CDs, the Belgium imprint A New Wave Of Jazz released a few LPs, and now they are expanding to the world of cassettes. I am unsure if there is a particular reason to switch to cassettes, and I won’t speculate. The first cassette is a sort of split release. Dirk Serries, with his archtop guitar, appears on both sides. On side A, he duets with Anton Mobin and his well-known prepared chamber and on the other side with Quentin Stokart on guitar and amplifier. Nine pieces with Mobin and seven with Stokart. In case you wondered, Wiki can help you with the meaning of the word ‘Stochastic’: “Stochastic refers to the property of being well described by a random probability distribution. Although stochasticity and randomness are distinct in that the former refers to a modelling approach and the latter refers to phenomena themselves, these two terms are often used synonymously. Furthermore, in probability theory, the formal concept of a stochastic process is also referred to as a random process.” The prepared chamber is a box of amplified objects and, as such, something that works very well with Serries’ playing of the guitar; not too chaotic but very much improvised and there is lots of room for little accidents. Please sit down and play and record the proceedings. The outcome is not decided in advance, but let’s see what happens. That is the approach of Serries and Mobin in a fine duelling duet of acoustic sounds and a guitar. Most of the time, it sounds very much like electro-acoustic music, but then without the electrics. The amplifier used by Stokart indeed might play a role in his duet with Serries, but I fail to hear it. These seven pieces are obviously two guitars and are less electro-acoustic. Here too, there are certain chaotic elements to be noted, but it is also a bit more traditional improvised music, music of the variety that this label has a lot of. These seven pieces are short and to the point, leaping forward, restraint and joyous. A bundle of emotions, I’d say. Lovely stuff!
    The other cassette contains a duet between Colin Webster (alto saxophone), a New Wave Of Jazz regular, and Matthew Grigg (guitar, amplifier), whom we heard once before (Vital Weekly 1040). They recorded their music in a single day, following which Serries did the mixing and mastering. I am sure this mixing didn’t interfere with the order of the music; I believe it instead has to do with putting the right balance between these instruments. The eight pieces on this cassette offer some more radical free improvisation music. The alto saxophone is easily recognized, and Webster plays it most chaotic. The guitar is something else. I have no idea how Grigg plays his instrument, but it is barely recognizable as a guitar. I think he mutes his strings and creates mainly a scratching sound. This way of playing instruments results in quite a nerve-wracking spiel between the two players. This cassette lasts fifty minutes, and it is quite a ride; it is a wild but most exhausting one. Indeed, the music has the most overwhelming quality when played at a maximum volume. But I don’t see any other way to enjoy this music except at total volume. Perhaps, at times a bit too much free improvisation for me, but I enjoyed the sheer brutality here. (FdW)
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