Number 1349

COLIN FISHER & MIKE GENNARO – TACTILE STORIES (CD by Cacophonous Revival Recordings) *
COLOSSLOTH – PROMETHEAN MEAT (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
MASCHINENZIMMER 412 (MZ. 412) – MACHT DURCH STIMME (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
MATTER AFFECT (Multimedia box compilation set by esc.rec)
GREG DAVIS – NEW PRIMES (LP by Greyfade) *
MØMAZ – SKY ABOVE FOREST (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records) *
COAGULANT – ATLAS OBSCURA (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records) *
<MDTTDM> – RENEW (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records) *
ORDEOGRAPH – GARDEN (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records) *
BACFORA – UNDULATIONS (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records) *
BACFORA – THE PRESENCE AND THE TERROR (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records) *
BACFORA – ALLEVIATIONS (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records) *


Back in Vital Weekly 1102, I was already pleasantly surprised by the first volume of this overview of some of Iran’s darker edges of electronic music). While perhaps not the most apparent country for weird music, we encountered a few names over the years, but that particular double CD opened a whole new door, maybe two doors. Some names we welcome again on this new instalment, but there are new talents to explore. As I wrote before, I believe many of these people are ‘bedroom musicians’, working with laptop technology to create their music as part of their underground existence. I have no idea if this underground existence is something to do with the regime, as this seems pretty much in the open. Iran is, of course, a country with an ancient cultural tradition and new music, thanks to Xenakis, was not unknown. I believe to hear some Xenakis influences in some of this music here. The twenty groups/projects/persons cover a fascinating, vast musical territory. More than on the first one, there are more acoustic instruments, perhaps of Iranian nature, used in the music. It brings out a more electro-acoustic feeling in this new lot but is always on the slightly darker side. With the first volume came the notion that techno music is das verboten in Iran (clubs, dancing, genders mixing, stuff you don’t want). Still, in this new volume, there is a bit of rhythm to be noted (Babak Sepanta, S.S.M.P., Dariush Salehpour & Zhoobin Askarieh), even when not entirely made for the dance floor. Soheil Shirangi heard a bit of Pan Sonic and mixed that with accordion playing in a most curious piece of music. Throughout, however, the music leans towards (dark) ambient, musique concrète, laptop doodles and electro-acoustic, with some interesting releases; aspiring label owners should take note if they are into releasing something out of the ordinary.
Also including music from: Negari Shirely Pandi, Nyctalllz, IDFT, Reza Solatipour, Xerxes The Dark, , Alireza Amirhajebi, Shahin Souri, Dodenskald., Amin Shirazi, PooYar, Vesal Javaheri, Saturn Cube, Melkor, Sam Eyvaz, Farzan Salsabili, and Arshan Najafi. (FdW)
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Walking in Rotterdam! Maybe more and more Americans are doing that? Most still go to the capital Amsterdam, but that can change over time. Drummer and percussionist Jeff Arnal (1971) and synthesizer player Curt Cloninger have certainly done it; at least they have given one of their songs the title Walking In Rotterdam. Then, of course, the question is whether they really walked there or whether they would like to do something like that. Questions, questions… Anyway, the duo has an album out with only three tracks, one song lasts about eight minutes, and the other two have an average duration of twenty minutes. Jeff Arnal literally drums from one beat to the other, very graceful and voluptuous, and for free jazz, still fairly tight and swinging. At least he knows how to keep course. Curt Cloninger is a fellow resident of Asheville, where the two met when Jeff Arnal moved to that city. Cloninger may play synthesizers on this album, but he is more known as a multimedia artist in the fields of writing, video, installation and performance. His playing seems to follow powerful rhythms but is also very decisive for the overall sound. They go well with each other, although their free jazz noisy improvisations might not sink in nicely for everyone. (AvS)
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COLIN FISHER & MIKE GENNARO – TACTILE STORIES (CD by Cacophonous Revival Recordings)

Tactile stories – excellent to describe your free jazz like this. Stories you can feel. That’s the new album’s name by reed player and guitarist Colin Fisher and drummer Mike Gennaro, with four tracks of at or under fifteen minutes. The duo from Canada consists of two players who are very evenly matched, and one is not inferior to the other. They both like to be in the foreground. That gives a fierce battle, in which they also provide the other room to take a new path or to do a solo thing. In the end, it comes down to a constant battle for musical precedence but also the dizzying coherence of a second. Which direction are you taking? That’s what makes free jazz so exciting but also so nerve-wracking. It is up to the ear of the listener which side is chosen, always of course, but with this music, one factor more. And it is probably more intense to experience live than on a music carrier such as CD, LP, cassette or even digitally. Still, the fact that it is recorded for eternity also feels good. (AvS)
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In the same issue where we review a CD of underground music from Iran, there is also the presence of the setār, the Persian instrument. This was originally a three-stringed instrument, but in the 19th century, a fourth string was added. The instrument is used for performing so-called Radif music. On this CD, Ramin Roshandel plays the instrument, and Jean-Francois Charles handles the processing of the sound. He designed his own software, Spectral DJ, which runs on a DJ controller in live performance. Charles also creates Max for Live devices, which I am sure people know what this is about. ‘Jamshid’ was, according to Persian myth, the inventor of music. In their jam sessions, they couple ancient musical folklore with modern technology. The setār is played with some reverb, which I am not sure is Roshandel’s or Charles’ responsibility. It gives the music a slightly harsher sound, a metallic touch. I have little knowledge of Radif music or any musical tradition from that part of the world, so I can’t say anything sensible about Roshandel’s playing of the instrument or to what extent he diverts from folklore or not. Charles and his Spectral DJ are often close to the instrument. In the opening piece, ‘Bayāt-e Tork’, he chops up the playing of Roshandel and doesn’t add much else; there is just a lot more setār. In ‘Chahargah’, however, he granulates and transposes the instrument and Roshandel plays on top of that. It seems there is not always a connection between the two, and we have two separate entities playing, but not together. ‘Segah’ takes the setār into a more improvised area, but Charles (I think) adds more regular playing to the menu, making it a bit of a mess. Sadly, this is also the longest of the four pieces. For me, ‘Bayat-E Esfahan’ is the one piece in which everything worked best between the two. Charles lays down a delicate, mild drone, mid-way picks up the setār for a more direct approach to processing, and there is an excellent tension between both players. It is a bit of a hit-or-miss thing, this collaboration. Sometimes it works very well, but I was not so impressed in some instances. Maybe, so I thought, Charles could have gone more profound in the process, made it all more abstract, and been the opposite of Roshandel. (FdW)
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You will not be surprised, but on my bookshelf, you’ll find almost only books on music. Biographies mostly, but also theory and textbooks. You may find it surprising that I have several books by and about John Cage, yet I possess no CD or LP (or download) of his music. Over the years, I heard some of his music but never kept it and played again. Yet, I can easily plunge into ‘Silence’ and enjoy myself. For me, the influence of Cage is on another level than just music. I am sure that goes for more people. In various books, there is a picture of Cage playing chess with Marcel Duchamp, usually with the caption that it is during a concert with an amplified chessboard, triggering signals. I am not sure if I hear that recording, but I always found this a most intriguing idea. Opening Performance Orchestra, from the Czech Republic, inspired by Cage’s ‘Atlas Eclipticalis’, where the star map decided the score; OPO used a chess game to create the score. Since the mid-90s, they have performed this piece a couple of times, and in most recent one was with Reinhold Friedl (2017), who played from Cage’s ‘Song Books’, using piano, toy piano, and other devices. In 2021, OPO recorded a studio version with Miroslav Beinhauer on the piano (without a specific Cage piece). The music is divided into eight pieces of precisely eight minutes. If you saw a chess board, you know what this is about. Usually, OPO is more about noise, but here, it uses music from Cage, which they randomly cut up and re-arrange, all seven players with their laptops, and a few sine waves are thrown in. Both discs sound very much like Cage music, chaotic and strange. That is, of course, if you think of Cage and chaos and not the carefully styled, quiet music with a lot of silence. More akin to his music for happenings and actions in the 60s than some of his works for solo instruments. If you don’t know what I mean, come and borrow a book. At two hours of randomized short and long snippets of Cage music, this is perhaps all a bit long, but I found it most enjoyable while browsing Cage’s ‘Rolywholyover – A Circus’ release – that you can’t borrow from me. (FdW)
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Over the years, I heard several releases by Mooly Molaston’s musical project  Colossloth. His work, one can safely say, is firmly locked in the world of power electronics. Or, rather, ‘power electronics plus’. When I first discussed his work (Vital Weekly 1018), I was a bit confused about what Colossloth wanted with his music; perhaps a bit too varied? But by the time I heard ‘Heathen Needles’ (Vital Weekly 1109), I started to appreciate the variety. Noise = good, indeed, but just noise is not great, if you know what I mean. In recent times I seem to enjoy noise a bit more than in less recent times, and that’s after years and years of playing lots of noise music. Maybe it is the times we live that helped me to enjoy this more, with everything harsher and weirder in the world. Colossloth is one furious beast, and if anything, I believe, this new work is less varied, and the eleven blasts are short, concentrated onslaughts on the hearing system. I think Colossloth uses a microphone, some sound effect pedals, crudely cut loops of rhythms, voices, and more noise, to create a bleak sound world. Maybe, here too, it is the sorry state of the world that inspired him to stay on this noisier side of things? I had the idea with some of his furiousness that I thought of punk music. There is that same aggressive energy that is unleashed. Aggressive but negative? I am not so sure if that is the idea here. Maybe because I remain the optimist and negativity never created anything good. Perhaps I am wrong here, or in general, but so be it. I don’t mind being wrong. I liked the two previous releases by Colossloth, and this new one is even better. Set the world on fire and cleanse your ears. (FdW)
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Here we have a most curious and short CD. Eleven pieces in some twenty-seven minutes. The music uses the voice of Amelia Cuni, “sang through a bamboo pipe with a hole in 3 and through a mirliton in parts of 2, 3, 7”; I have no idea what that means. I think that refers to the tracks on the CD, which are not called parts; they have individual titles.  Cuni sings but the music is recorded and composed by Alex Mendizabal. I have not heard of either musicians. The titles translates as ‘voices from heaven and hell, and that is to understood literally: sometimes we hear heaven and hell through sounds. Cuni is a voice artist who works with “in/voluntary singing”, so it is somewhere in the realm of improvisation, sound poetry and therapy, I think. Mendizabal takes these recordings and works with them, but he does that in a very minimal way. Sometimes it just is a matter of a few layers of voice. It can be a bit time stretching or a very minimal delay. Or, simply, do a total stereo separation. It is never something that goes over the top in terms of processing; sometimes it never goes up the hill anyway. Maybe the label’s claim, “It is an inverse path that generates music, outside the box of any music, through an exchange that becomes help and support, as a new language that is “created” from nothing, but which lives on knowledge, interdependence and coexistence of art and everyday life in the worl’, is stretching things a bit too far for my taste. Why not enjoy this on a more basic level? Just say that this some wonderfull improvised music, using abstract voice sounds, and very basic proceedings to change the sound, which create the illusion of ‘voice only’ on the surface, but it is deceivingly not so. (FdW)
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We have reviewed several releases from this Finnish/Norwegian guitarist (Vital Weekly 1301 and 1177, for instance). He plays a prepared acoustic guitar and electronics. The previous release I heard from him (and the first I reviewed) contained electro-acoustic music. On this new CD, he ventures into the world of improvised music and comes up with something he calls ‘an Avant-folk aesthetic’, inspired by traditional music from Finland, Norway and Scotland. Whatever part the electronics play, the prepared acoustic guitar stays up front. Like John Cage’s prepared piano, the music has a percussive aspect. Perhaps, strumming is impossible with the preparations Silvola does with his instrument. Electronics might be a bit of delay, reverb, sound colouring and an occasional loop device. The results are fascinating. I wouldn’t mind seeing him do this in concert. Maybe the word improvisation doesn’t entirely cover it? I can imagine there is some planning, mapping out what to do and then recording the music. His nine pieces are controlled events in which he keeps the playing small and intimate. Silvola’s music never goes over the top, is hardly chaotic and mostly evolves around exploring minimalist themes. Each piece has a limited set of sounds, repeated repeatedly but changing through the brief time Silvola allows these pieces to be. Maybe there is a folk element in his music, but that is not something I heard; I may not know these things. I do know I enjoyed this CD quite a bit, without any particular standout pieces, but overall, this worked very well as an album. (FdW)
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MASCHINENZIMMER 412 (MZ. 412) – MACHT DURCH STIMME (CD by Cold Spring Records)

It is interesting to think that when Maschinenzimmer 412 released ‘Macht Durch Stimme’ in 1998, on cassette, in an edition of 50 copies, they never realised it would go into various re-issues. First different editions on Dark Vinyl Records and now Cold Spring Records. These days better known as MZ.412, the group started with Henrik Nordvargr Björkk, Jouni Ulvtharm Ollila, and Leif Holm, of which Holm was replaced by Jonas Drakhon Aneheim; which is also when they chose to shorten the name. 1988, or thereabouts, is when in Sweden, all sorts of industrial music started, and all of this was blacker than black. The name Machinenzimmer (= Machine Room) is more than aptly chosen by this trio, as their music is what it sounds like to be locked inside a room full of machines. There is a conveyer belt on your right side, and workers are welding big iron sheets on your left. There is some steam engine thing (sounds being processed by synthesisers, no doubt), and altogether there is a decent amount of swing to the music. Not ‘swing’ as in ‘Let’s Dance’, but a military, demanding rhythm, making this body (at least) rock along to the music. One could say that Machinezimmer 412 delivers a prototype of industrial music, still in its infancy and later to be fully explored and deepened. Hearing their debut again made me realise that there is an element of primitivism in this music – the naivety of youth, if you will – and I enjoyed that primitive side of the olden days a lot. Some of these Swedes turned serious in their senior days, and while in their earlier work they weren’t exactly jolly fun either, they still managed to poke fun at the conventions of industrial music. (LW)
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‘Determined Volumes’ is the first release by Alex Smith, a musician, scholar and technologist who works as an Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Central Missouri. He toured in the US, Japan and Taiwan with his classical percussion quartet Without Borders – formed in 2016. For this first release, Smith chose eight works composed between 2011 and 2020. All by his hand, except ‘Crossroads’, composed by Alexis Bacon and ‘Oscillation’, composed by Joe Basile. With Basile, Smith released an album of improvisations (‘TrnslcntTkn’) that was released this year by Mother Brain Records. The percussive works on ‘Determined Volumes’ reflect the very diverse musical traditions Smith is inspired by: Moravian music, jam band music, organ music, Ghanaian gyil music, 90’s alternative rock, rudimental drumming, Northeast Brazilian drumming, noise music, American Jazz and R&B, musical theatre, and Western classical piano and percussion music. Performers on this recording – in different lineups – are Andrew Zakerski (percussion, voice), Ari Teitel (electric guitar), Brendan Betyn (drumset), Brent Echols (drumset, field drum), Caleb Goncz (glass marimba), Cameron Halls (percussion, voice), Cody Edgerton (glass marimba), Colin McCornack (percussion, voice), Darrien Spicak (percussion, voice),  Joel Block (MalletKat, percussion), John Scharf (percussion, voice), Jon Wright (cajón),  Jon Weber (percussion), Kathryn Irwin (field drum), Kevin Keith (drumset), Louie Leager (bass guitar) and Alex Smith (various instruments and voice). The opening piece, ‘The Building of Asgard’, a reference to Norse mythology, opens with the performers speaking mixed. Gradually a rhythm sets in and takes over. Later again, the spoken word returns, performing parts of the Norse poem and texts from other sources. It is a bit far-fetched, but this work has a tribal ritual feel ending in a finale of spacey sounds. ‘Um Quarto é Mais’ is for percussion, with some samples of a train passing by. ‘Cotton Gindustrial’ is a work for solo percussion and samples of spoken word, songs and sounds. ‘Crossroads’ is a solo work for pandeiro – a Brazillian tambourine – and voice. ‘One-minute Speeches’ influences minimal music, rock music and spoken voice samples occur, taken from a political context. A multi-layered dynamic work. From this and other works on this album, it is clear Smith is a politically motivated artist and a strong supporter of individual rights and liberties. ‘Oscillation’ is a captivating work for vibes and electronics that, without pause, is followed by ‘Song for the Unmentioned; Devotion’, which starts with keyboard and very ethereal singing. Almost a prayer. ‘816’ is a duo work for drumset and vibes and voice. A very dynamic and powerful work. You can find the complete album performed live in a studio on YouTube, accompanied by visuals. An album of ingenious and original works grounded in diverse musical traditions in a joyous performance by Smith and his companions. (DM)
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Here we have a new trio from the scene of Lille: Ludovic Montet (vibraphone, percussions, voice), Stefan Orins (piano, voice) and Charles Duytschaever (drums, voice). All three are veterans from this local scene, and no doubt met before. Montet en Duytschaever worked earlier in a trio format with Pascal Lavergne (Trio Vert). However, as the trio Voyageur they are relatively new. As with Trio Vert, all titles on this recording are composed by Montet. It is a suite reflecting a journey through Japan. The Japanese title is ‘wind, forest, fire and mountain’. Although they absorb many influences, their music is most of all jazz-based. This especially counts for the piano of Orins, like in the opening track ‘Tokyo Respire’. The compositions are melodic and lyrical, making their music accessible. Vocals and percussion dominate in ‘Furinkazan’, a composition based on Japanese music. Also, ‘La Danse du Sabre’ is a strong rhythm-based composition with echoes of Stravinsky. ‘La Valse des Boudhas’ is a very intimate piece. The closing piece ‘Une Nuée Troiseaux Blancs’ has Montet in the main role with sensible playing in a composition that slowly disappears into silence. Fine and solid compositions, though not touching on new ground. These three musicians perform everything very well and make up a tight trio. (DM)
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The Hungry Brain is not only a well-known venue in Chicago but could also be a state of mind. And then that of the RedGreenBlue quartet from the same city, a foursome hungry for new challenges and unknown distances – but with the necessary knowledge. The quartet of Paul Giallorenzo (synthesizer, pump organ, electronics), Charlie Kirchen (bass), Ryan Packard (drums, electronics) and Ben LaMar Gay (cornet and electronics) already recorded this debut album in 2018 in this hall but has the album out just now. All members are very busy, and not everyone lives in Chicago anymore, making things a bit complicated. They just took their time for it, like the two tracks lasting over twenty minutes. The build-up of their, at times, ambient-sounding spiritual free jazz is slow. The music often circles around a calm note, which the others eagerly supplement and expand. ‘The End’ is more uptempo than ‘The Beginning’ but retains the same atmosphere well. A big difference is that ample use is made of the cornet in the second part, which gives a different timbre. All in all, it’s an exciting musical quest with musicians that know how to keep the spirit high. (AvS)
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MATTER AFFECT (Multimedia box compilation set by esc.rec)

The Deventer-based record label esc.rec has graced the pages of Vital Weekly quite often in earlier editions of our magazine. And with positive words of praise, much deserved too, for example for releases by the likes of Karen Willems, Francisco López, Gintas K, Plan Kruutntoone, Jeroen Diepenmaat, Machinefabriek or Jos Smolders. Yes, you read that right. The cream of the crop in improvised music, electronic experiments, electro-acoustic research and sound art finds a warm and welcome home on the esc.rec roster.
    The 100th release by esc.rec is a cause for celebration and is marked by the release of the multimedia compilation box Matter Affect. Esc.rec released CDs, LPs, cassettes, download cards, books with CDs… So it may not come as a surprise that all stops are pulled on the presentation of this set.
    The A4-sized cardboard box – in a hand-numbered limited edition of 250 copies – is host to four CDs, booklets, riso and offset prints, videos, cards, and a flexidisc. Because matter matters for this label. Yes, you can download the materials, and there are QR-coded links to online works too, but still: esc.rec produces artefacts, objects… To paraphrase UK indieband Dry Cleaning: materials for “emo dead stuff collectors”. Indeed, wíth the emotional attachment that a tangible product provides; holding a record in your hands and putting it on is a markedly different haptic and cultural phenomenon than loading a bunch of bites into a player, phone or whatever streaming tool. Where matters effect affect.
    Stuart A. Staples of Tindersticks once told me in an interview his band was “in the record-making business”. Not CDs; he meant records. Staples meant to say: the flow of songs, the fact of the matter you need to flip an LP, the question of one record or two when the collection of songs is larger… These things make a difference; they matter. Along those lines exactly esc.rec works with the artists to find the best placement, carrier, outlet, form(at) for their works. That may be a side of a flimsy 7″ record or the full digital glory of a CD. Or putting creative output centre stage in a non-auditory fashion.
    What do we get once we open this horn of plenty-meets-Pandora’s Box? A goodie bag to behold, that’s for sure, filled with previously unreleased and exclusive materials by all artists, performers and collaboration partners who have been confronted with COVID restrictions in the program of De Perifeer in recent years; shows that have been cancelled, moved (several times), took place in an adapted form or could not even be booked anymore. Because, apart from the record-making business, esc.rec also puts on shows, in De Perifeer in Deventer.
    For added context, a bit more background from the press release: “De Perifeer asked everyone involved to reflect on this strange time period in their own way. […] The list of participants is surprisingly long, especially for a small venue like De Perifeer. But at the same time, the relatively manageable scale of De Perifeer makes it possible to make an elaborate compilation like this, in which the personal impact of COVID is clearly felt, and there’s room to show what is hidden behind numbers and graphs.”
    Nobuka’s searching and drifting auditory quest seem to reflect unsteady, unsettled unease – like walls caving in, while at the same time running up against these walls to test the limits of space and time. FEAN finds peace in glacial Andreas Gursky-like horizontal plains, a truth-finding mission with the sparsest tools and whispered poetic words. Atoomclub projects long lines and intimate finger-picked guitar, and Dario Calderone, Roland Dahinden and Gareth Davis operate on the outer edges of electro-acoustic lightly felt wonder and doom-laded dread. Speed-core cut- and mashup freakiness come courtesy of ZALM. There is no end.
    Like many of the label releases that went before, Matter Affect is masterfully curated, lovingly presented and very well executed, basically, all one can wish for in a stellar record label. But with matter Affect, there’s more. There’s an added emotional layer, a common thread, binding producer and artist and listener. A lived experience we all shared in those strange times, affecting us then and since. Matter Affect delivers more intimacy, more depth, and more emotional heft with the dead stuff to collect. Matter Affect boldly underlines the fact that esc.rec is indeed in the record-making business and therewith in the business of factoring in so much more. This present to the listener is a powerful and deeply moving testament to the power of creativity, an unmissable elixer in the direst of times. From the fringes, straight to the heart. (SSK)
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Here’s a name that I hadn’t heard in a long time. Looking on Discogs, Isee a hiatus of nine years in releases, but also the ones before that, I had not heard. The last time (so it seems) his name appeared in these pages, it was in Vital weekly 654. ‘New Primes’ is no doubt the follow-up to his 2008 release, ‘Primes’. Davis uses custom-written software, using max/MSP to translate prime numbers into music. On the sound input side we find sinewaves. I have no idea how what I just wrote works. But it works, that much I am sure of. This record contains six pieces of drone music. Just that and it all sounds very easily made, but I am sure that is only on the surface. The music develops slowly and each of the six pieces sounds similar. Layers upon layers of drone sounds, moving into eachother, slowly morphing to become something else. Throughout the sounds are dark but the music is never moody. It all sounds like a Zen experience. I love it! I switched off the ventilator, sat still for a long time (also because of the heat), to play this record a few times over. Every time I heard it, I thought I heard the same thing, and every time I seemed to be discovering something new. Quite a deceiving record, maybe damn easy, but it is all very effective in triggering the right mood here.
    On the same label, there is the debut LP of Phillip Golub, born in 1993. He’s a pianist and composer. The four pieces on his record are loops, also the title of each piece. Don’t think of this too easily as a short phrase being repeated over and over. Not being a piano player at all, I had a problem to indetify the ‘loop’ in here, but maybe they aren’t as common as in electronic music. If you play these by hand, over and over again, there might be slight variations? Maybe that is the whole idea of the music, I wondered. Golub’s playing is very quiet, without much drama, but with lots of atmosphere. My knowledge of modern classical music is quite average, so, as always, I seem to draw comparison’s with Erik satie and Claude Debussy, both master’s of composing impressionistic piano music. Set the scene with a few notes and leave out some notes; that’s how I think of this kind of music. Golub is an excellent composer who works, again so I see this, in a similar tradition. Music that is not demanding, pushing, or such, but simply quiet and beautiful. Oh, and there is something about loops which I didn’t understand, but I didn’t care about when I got this point of enjoyment.(FdW)
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MØMAZ – SKY ABOVE FOREST (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records)
COAGULANT – ATLAS OBSCURA (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records)
<MDTTDM> – RENEW (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records)
ORDEOGRAPH – GARDEN (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records)
BACFORA – UNDULATIONS (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records)
BACFORA – THE PRESENCE AND THE TERROR (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records)
BACFORA – ALLEVIATIONS (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records)

I rarely receive many promos signalling a label’s end, but Anticipating Nowhere Records will stop producing cassettes. The ones I got weren’t necessarily for review but more a token of appreciation. A way of saying thanks for a review of Mømaz, or, as the spelling prefers, mØMaZ, the musical project of the label boss here (Vital Weekly 1341). It wasn’t easy to start somewhere, as some of these names were familiar and things I knew I would like to hear. So, my trip began with the boss, the second cassette I heard from mØMaZ. From his previous tape, I enjoyed the mixture of lo-fi drones, rhythms and even a trace of melody. That is what we get on ‘Sky Above Forest’ too. A sadly all too brief release, clocking in at twenty-two minutes, but mØMaZ gives another display of his musical interests. The music started with the distorted guitar wall of noise, going to a gentle bouncing synth soundscape with a nasty undercurrent in ‘Summer Lake Water Watch’. The shortest piece is ‘He Is Ironing Shadow’, some heavily processed field recording, leading to crazed rhythms of ‘Chain Soar’, and ‘How Am’ closes this tape. There is a sample in there that is very familiar, but I can’t place it. This piece is a rather moody one. All five sound quite different, which begs the thought that mØMaZ is all about being different.
    I reviewed several past works from Fabio Kubic’s Coagulant and enjoyed them. Here we deal with some hardcore drone music. Not as in ‘loud’, but transformations of field recordings, in which the original still has some presence, have also seen several changes. The sources are thus described: “binaural, ambisonic, and geophonic microphones, sonic soundscapes, cut-up and feedback”. The field recordings were taped in the places that also carry the name of tracks, Novaya Zemlya and Cape Ferval, in Russia and Greenland. Wide open recordings of which Coagulant picks a few frequencies and emphasis these. Maybe there is also playback of these recordings in an open space? I am not sure, but this could very well be the case. The music has a rather cold feeling indeed. It is almost as if the music here is a form of air conditioning, which, given the extreme summer (again!) is a most welcome thing. The hiss that is also made audible becomes an integral aspect of the music, as this is a thing that happens in this particular musical area. Is this lo-fi drone music? Maybe not, but this is another excellent work by Kubic.
    The other three musical projects were all new for me. The shortest tape is that of <mdttdm>, the music of Mike DiTullio. He’s a drummer and multi-instrumentalist. In his solo work, he works with synthesizers, field recordings, drones, sound collages, etc. His ‘Renew’ is precisely eighteen minutes, eighteen seconds, and one long track. Having not heard his other solo releases, I can imagine this work is a template of what he does. Everything the label describes is part here, as <mdttdm> moves within seconds from one loud section to a more reflective drone and slips in some highly obscured field recordings, which he filters through a rusty synthesizer. Throughout on the noisier side of the musical spectrum, but <mdttdm> keeps it all on a very modest level. Not too loud, not too gritty, just the right amount of lo-fi noise.
    We have to take the word ‘Garden’ quite literal here, as on one side we have ‘Sunday Garden’ and on the other side ‘Monday Garden’. Recordings from the backyard by &e (megaheadphoneboy); what’s in a name? The music is not strict documentation of what happens during thirty minutes in &e’s garden. I assume &e applied some editing and processing to the music, but whatever it is, it all is relatively minimal. The birds keep chirping throughout. In ‘Sunday Garden’, there is a slow, repeating thud to be heard (to avoid the word rhythm), which suggests there is some kind of activity today, which is also on ‘Monday Garden’, but then louder and more dominant (and at a faster speed?). That on both sides, this comes in halfway through the piece suggests some editing on the side of &e. On ‘Monday Garden’, the thud evolves into a rhythm of some kind, and this side has more variation than ‘Sunday Garden’. More happens on a working day! I found all of this quite fascinating. I enjoyed both sides but preferred the second side in which &e works with his sounds in a varied way. There is a nice conceptual touch to this release, which also works on a purely musical level.
    And finally, three tapes by Bacfora, the musical project of Andrew Burge. Apart from these three on this label, he also has a release on Sensory Leakage and Remote Viewing (there are more than these on his Bandcamp page). These three releases explore his interest in hypnagogic/hypnopompic experiences, as wiki explains: “The hypnopompic state (or hypnopompic) is the state of consciousness leading out of sleep, a term coined by the psychical researcher Frederic Myers. Its mirror is the hypnagogic state at sleep onset; though often conflated, the two states are not identical and have a different phenomenological character. Hypnopompic and hypnagogic hallucinations are frequently accompanied by sleep paralysis, a state wherein one is consciously aware of one’s surroundings but unable to move or speak.” It might not be surprising to learn that we are dealing with drone music here. Most of the variety we can call elegant and dark, atmospheric music, of synthesizers at work and processed field recordings. On ‘Allegations’, this is the music at its gentlest, while on ‘Undulations’, Bacfora works with a darker undercurrent in his music. On both of these tapes, this results in lengthy pieces of music, and I enjoyed both a lot. In ‘The Presence And The Terror’, we find shorter pieces of music, with on the first side more of what we already know, but three on the other side, Bacfora explores the world of noise music, but I must admit that he doesn’t all too well. All the clichés of power electronics and glitch noise are used here. Otherwise, all was fine for Bacfora. (FdW)

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