Number 1355

MATHIAS DELPLANQUE – Ô SEUIL (CD by Ici D’Ailleurs/Minds Travel Series) *
STEVE BATES – ALL THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN (CD by Constellation Records) *
BORDA – ATRABILE (CD by Standa) *
RIPIT – A CHURCH OR A FACTORY (LP by Cheap Satanism)
MAX FRIMOUT – MAUVAIS PAQUET (cassette by Zesde Kolonne) *
MODELBAU – THE ENCOUNTER (cassette by Dark Passage)


I reviewed some works from Jean-Philippe Gross before. Some were collaborations with others, such as Stephane Garin (Vital Weekly 1218) and Jerome Noetinger (Vital Weekly 1285), and also two solo releases (Vital Weekly 1200). For the fifth release on his Eich Records imprint, he works with Marc Baron. A long time ago (Vital Weekly 692), I reviewed a CDR from him. That was a work of saxophone music, texts and field recordings. Later, he released records on Cathnor, Glistening Examples (a review of which can be found in Vital Weekly 1011), More Mars and Erstwhile. The second work I heard from him differed from the first; more like tape collages. On their duo CD, they offer no less than twenty pieces of music within thirty-seven minutes. We are left in the dark about instruments and technology, and we have to go by the sparse information. From the information, I gather that both gentlemen have a bunch of old ree-to-reel machines, an editing block, a demagnetized razor blade and sticky tape. They alter electronic sounds beyond recognition. The result is, at times, of the brutalist noise variety, loud and uncompromising. Crashing and crushing noise, sometimes cut very short. There might be loops; there might be field recordings on the input side, and there are a lot of obscured sounds. With the length of these pieces usually one to two minutes (a few are a bit longer), this is not your standard musique concrète record. They might share ideas and technology, but I would instead think of these men as punks in their execution. They give a minimal notion to the idea of composition, but rather that DIY attitude, now fully applied to the world of acoustic sounds and their analogue and electronic treatments. Concentrated bursts of noise sit next to a free-flow pink noise ambience, resulting in a short but very powerful release. (FdW)
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Here we have a name I didn’t recognise straight away, but yes, of course, he’s a member of The Sea And The Cake; not a group I am all too familiar with, but I remember. Prekop now has a first solo release on the label TAL27, run by Stefan Schneider of To Rococo Rot, among many other musical endeavours. I not no clue what to expect here. Prekop plays a modular synthesiser and a Prophet 5. With such a set-up, the music could go many ways, but one expects, perhaps, a more abstract way; bleeps and beeps. That is only a small portion of the music. There is a clear separation between the modular side of this and the Prophet side. At least, in my perception, that is the case. Prekop uses the Prophet to play melodic lines and melodic notes and sometimes only in a sketch-like manner. A light touch is perhaps what some would say about this music. The modular provides oscillations, bell-like sounds and even a bit of organised notes – to avoid the word sequencing. There is throughout these five pieces always an element of improvisation to be noted, but none too weird or nothing all too free. The longest track is the title track, which opens here (or is Side A of the vinyl version) and is a pleasant, cosmic ride on the synthesiser. Overall light-hearted, and that breezy air of freedom returns in the four pieces on the other side. Prekop stays closer to a few sounds in their shorter versions and lets these work together, almost within a song structure. A most pleasant album, jazzy meets cosmic, perhaps without many pretences. That makes that, however lovely the music may be, it is also a bit forgettable. (FdW)
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MATHIAS DELPLANQUE – Ô SEUIL (CD by Ici D’Ailleurs/Minds Travel Series)

Releases by Mathias Delplanque come and go in waves. Long waves, to be precise. Following some flurry years ago, it became quieter, and in recent times his name popped up again (maybe I just missed a few promotional releases?). Delplanque is a moody electronic music composer but infuses it with a healthy dose of rhythm. At least, that is one aspect of his music, especially on solo releases. ‘Ô Seuil’ is the follow-up album of ‘Drachen’ from 2015, which we didn’t review. Delplanque sees his music as ‘oceans of sound’, maybe inspired by David Toop’s book, but he expands it beyond the ambient and field recordings. His music sees a massive production quality. There is always something happening on all levels of each song. That means that the nine pieces on this album left me mildly exhausted and satisfied. Many percussive samples are used here; the whole kit n’ kanoodle. Gongs, drums, metal, small stuff and Delplanque also open up the whole arsenal of sound effects. Think Muslimgauze without the Middle eastern touch, but at times going in rock music mode. Some tribal approaches or ambient music follow this, rocking back and forth between styles and expertly executed ideas. Even in its quietest moments, Delplanque goes for the all-in option. In ‘Seuil 9’, the closing piece, it is all sorts relatively silent but slowly builds like a drone-rock anthem, with some rockist drumming. By then, fifty-five minutes had passed since this wild ride started, with Delplanque alternating between heavy rhythms and light patterns. As said, slightly exhausted, but I found this a great release. This album is this week’s antidote for all things quiet; a much-needed one at that! (FdW)
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The main project by Steve Bates is The Dim Coast, which he calls a “record label, publishing entity, curatorial and programming project”. He worked with Black Seas Ensemble and had duos with Timothy Herzog and Sophie Trudeau, the latter a member of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. He’s from Montreal, so it is perhaps no surprise that his album appears on Constellation Records. I am surprised that the album is mostly “made with a Casio SK-1, computer, electronics, effects”. Also mentioned are recordings of an organ and a Hammond Stage II Rhythm. Quite surprising all of this, as I believed that he uses quite a bit of guitar and a lot of sound effects in the form of stomp boxes. His background is in hardcore music, which is something I believe I can hear in his music. However, it works on an entirely different level. It’s not 1, 2, 3, 4 and go, but Bates works with sonic overload significantly. Not your usual noise bashing, but something that is both loud and, at times, surprisingly melodic. Maybe that is the Casio talking? Maybe, indeed, but I believe that the amount of effects and treatments piled up to the Casio (one of the early affordable machines) renders the original sounds beyond recognition. Only occasionally I thought I recognized it, such as ‘These Problems Are Multiplied By The Difficulty I Have In Front Of A Tape Recorder’. While sonic overload plays an important role here, it is not exclusively that, which is a great thing about this release. Going from noise and back to more modest sound tapestries, the listener is allowed to grasp their breath before diving back in. At times very noise-rock, with all those guitar pedals running amok, but I enjoyed that no guitar was harmed and the Casio took the lead here. Quite a surprising one, this album. (FdW)
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‘The Road Not Taken’ is the Tenth album by Emil Holmström and Peter Wikström. They are from the north of Sweden. I reviewed only two of these before (Vital Weekly 956 and 1192). One finds eight pieces of music on this new album, and there are guest players in each. Henrik Meierkord appears in four of these with his cello and viola. The others only once; they are Christian Fennesz (fender jazzmaster guitar, telecaster acoustic guitar and synth guitar), Masayoshi Fujita (vibraphone), Aaron Martin (cello) Ruven Nunez (ebow guitar), and Nailah Hunter (vocals and harp). You’re not wrong when you think these instruments must lead to atmospheric music.  I’m not sure, because it’s not mentioned, what kind of Holmström and Wikström handle. I am sure they are responsible for all the electronic settings here, but I also hear a flute and, perhaps, other wind instruments. Electronics only play a minor role. The duo uses reverb to suggest atmosphere or create a space where the instruments freely play around. Rural music, so I believe you can call this music—slow and pastoral music for a small chamber orchestra. Oddly along the lines of modern (classical) music, especially when Meierkord pops around with his strings, but also not really fitting the idea of modern (classical) music. This music slows me down, almost dictating my body to move away from the computer, sit in a comfy chair, and, perhaps, dose off, which happened when I played this the first time around. There is not much different from the two previous works I heard by them, but maybe radically changing their tunes isn’t what they want. And quite rightly so, of course. Do what you do best. (FdW)
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The amount of free improvisation, free jazz and modern music that lands on this desk increases by the week. It is a development I am not particularly fond of. When I had the oppurtunity to first check if the new CD by Hannes Lingens was something of interest, I did and I liked what I hear. I am not too sure what it is, as the information says, ‘LP with CD inside’ and CD with with bonus track inside’. All I have is a CD with three tracks. Lingens is a percussion player, and a member of Die Hochstapler and Musaeum Clausum. He also had previous solo releases (see Vital Weekly 1180). I would think that everything is recorded live, but only two of the three are. The longest piece, ‘Nacht’ is a what he calls a “montage of prerecorded layers of mostly rolls and brush sounds”. This has various segments, each one densely layered with sound. A shifting set sounds occur and almost none is really traceable as rhythms. Think of this as many rhythms sounding at the same time. Lingens goes from the high end of the sound spectrum to the low end. Each segment is long enough to be fascinating and Lingens ha some excellent variety here. The other two pieces are recorded in one track. Here he plays one cymbal with mallets and a bass bow and that results in minimalist music. One recognizes the cymbal but in his playing, Lingens aims at some mighty fine drone music. Where in ‘Hund’ we recognize the cymbals, none of that is the case In ‘Manatee’, it all is one deep drone sound. Would you not know this from a percussion player, you could easily believe this is from somebody playing a modular set-up, or a long string installation. For a drone head such as myself, this is easily the best piece of this release, but I like all ‘m all! (FdW)
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‘BRDLND’ is the first release by Hands Holding The Void, a new musical project by George Fero Jr. He started during the pandemic, locked up at home in his studio, armed with a lot of gear. Guitars play a significant role, along with sound effects and also computer technology. Ableton Live, for instance, with controlled live effects. The list is pretty long – I suggest gear freaks have a look on his Bandcamp. The overall theme for this album is birds and their migration, or as Fero writes about the pieces, “a score organized along the paths of migratory birds as they intersect with maps of the Earth’s magnetic fields.” Four pieces are called ‘Flight’, and four are ‘Bird Rhythm’, all connected into one long orchestral soundscape. There are some furious sounds to be detected on this release, of loud drones and reverb drenched sounds. A certain sonic overload is not avoided. They are welcomed, but that doesn’t result in some overlong, overloud noise. While there are some bird sounds, and the eight different migratory paths are the score of the music, I didn’t hear that much of that side of the story. A particular aspect of the music reminded me of being on the run/flight kind of scenario; sounds moving hastily forward, but maybe I overthought the concept when listening to the music. The recurring elements of the birds tie the album together. There is some excellent urgency and energy within the music. It is never all too ‘clean’ and ‘polished’. Hands Holding The Void left the rough edges in here. Bending strings, erecting walls of drones, desolate sparseness, and never a moment to rest (more like unrest all around). This is a sturdy release of experimental soundscapes on the fringe of noise and ambient; more noise than ambient, but it is the right kind of noise for me. (FdW)
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Duo improvisation for tenor sax and drums by two fine performers from the Manchester scene: Mark Hanslip and Andrew Cheetham. Hanslip started in the mid-2000s in London as a keyboard player and toured with several jazz outfits and pop bands. He worked with Steve Lacy and Kenny Wheeler. Currently, he is based in the north of the UK, playing regularly with HTrio, an improvising collaboration of Otto Willberg (bass) and Andrew Cheetham. In 2018 they worked with Nate Wooley in a quartet format. He also participates in several other projects like HRH, a trio with drummer Paul Hession and laptop player Federico Reuben. Cheetham is based in Manchester since 2004, working as a drummer and teacher, working with many musicians from the local scene, and guested in performances with Damo Suzuki, Eugene Chadbourne, Rhodri Davies, a.o. So ‘String and Grid’ documents a meeting of two experienced performers excelling in four elegant and playful improvisations. The opening one, ‘Recursive Nest’, has Cheetham in a very active role, playing constantly changing patterns at high speed. Hanslip responds with more sparse and jazzy motives. Throughout the improvisation at the same intense and highly dynamic level with Cheetham using diverse percussion and drums. ‘A little Pine’ is a short 5-minute airy sound exercise with Hanslip’s delicate sax playing dominating. ‘Cod Necessity’ has Cheetham again in an overdrive role, playing in an exuberant way. Hanslip contrasts with his sensitive movements. Closing improvisation ‘Voisines’ is the most impressive one, with very communicative and strong and balanced interplay. Great! (DM)
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From this quartet of releases, I started with Borda, which is the music project of Teo Ravelli. Earlier this year, he recorded the music in a place called Distant Zombie Warning Studio. There is a dedication on the cover, which ends with “be safe, have fun and buy records”, which is cute and dated. That ‘be safe’, that is. “Black bile, in ancient Greek medicine, is one of the four humours that make up the human body and affect its existence. Specifically, black bile is the mood responsible for melancholy, anxiety and depression. “Atrabile” is an album about depression in its different stages, from despair (“Koma”) to suffocation (“Atlas”), via total discouragement (“Achlýs”), anxiogenic obsession (“Knōsós”) and deviant perception of time (“Kairos”). The work is intended to be an aural representation of one of the greatest evils that has always plagued humanity”. This explains the release title and the pieces’ five titles. Not exactly fun music. The cover depicts misty landscapes and reflects, I assume, mist in the head. Just like Borda does with his music, also an assumption. No instruments are listed, so one can only think (again!), and I reckon guitars are used a lot, along with many sound effects. Maybe there is a lonely piano somewhere? Voices are also there, humming wordless, sometimes sounding like a cry for help. That is what I make of this. The result is some fine doomy music, which requires no special amount of depression on the listener’s side. At least, I felt fine hearing this. It’s dark and intense, it’s not something new or strange, but that is not always required, obviously. Music for the coming short and dark days.
    The next one caught my attention because of the somewhat unusual lineup for a Standa/13/Silentes release. Francesco Massaro plays the alto saxophone, baritone sax, Turkish clarinet, and bass clarinet. Lucio Miele on percussion and objects and Anacleto Vitolo on live electronics. It’s only the latter that I recognize. Improvisation music it is, and it is something of an oddball for this label. That is interesting, but I am not sure if it is a route this label should take. This trio does a rather conventional job; I think when it comes to live computer sound, improvising with real instruments. Lots of small sounds, granulating and oscillating, while the two other players improvise rather conventionally on their instruments. They do an alright job, but for me, it stays too close to the world of traditional improvised music. Of course, not really my field of expertise, so maybe I am missing the point here. Indeed, this is a bold move for the label and has oke music, but in the end not something I would likely return to.
    With Simon Balestrazzi, one can use the adjective veteran. He’s around for many years, with groups such as T.A.C. and various projects, such as Dream Weapon Ritual, DAIMON, A Sphere of Simple Green, Hidden Reverse, Candor Chasma, Kino Glaz, Sarang, Kirlian Camera, Deep Engine, and MOEX. Oddly enough, he seems to be taking a somewhat improvisational tour himself. For this CD, he uses “a battered Ukrainian tsymbaly (a percussion-stringed instrument similar to the hammered dulcimer) are excited with an eBow and only occasionally struck.” The signal goes into a ring modulator, a digital spectral delay and a looper, and there is also a VCS3 synthesizer used. “Finally the rare tolls of UFIP Ogororo plates offer a sombre punctuation”, it says some cryptically (it might have something to do with percussion). Balestrazzi has one long track of 17:19 and two 7:28 and 7:29; there might be a numeric significance I fail to see; I’m not too clever with numbers. There are similarities between this work and the previous CD I just heard from this label, but there is something less improvised about these pieces as it all sounds more coherent. Balestrazzi’s playing of the tsymbaly is quite energetic and vibrant, but so are the ways of the processing. It drones as much as it sparkles and does the job well. He doesn’t stick too much with small sounds and gestures but instead plays it a bit bigger. The metallic rattle versus the electronic rumble gives the music a rather percussive atmosphere. Delicate and dark at times, but also accessible and spontaneous. Excellent release.
    According to some religions, Axis Mundi is the bridge between earth, heaven and the abyss. That is explained on the cover of the double CD with that title, with more words about the subject, which I am not too clear what it means for Gianluca Becuzzi or me. I might not be an all too religious man. Maybe this new work by Becuzzi connects to the Borda CD that started this Standa journey. Not necessarily in a thematic way, although both seem personal projects, more in a musical way. Here too, guitars play a significant role, nay, a massive role. Becuzzi erects a wall of guitar sounds rather rock-like, strumming massively and going through all the necessary distortion pedals before reaching the amplifier. A bit of percussion also plays along in a similar slow-core drone mode. Sometimes the music cuts out, and a solitary percussive bell remains, the oncoming mark of more… what exactly? Despair? Turmoil? Introspection? That is the hardest thing about this music. There is the suggestion of meaning, depth of one kind, that I am not always grasping here. When in ‘Mistagogical Liturgy’, Becuzzi uses a monk-like choir, you know things are real. I tried discovering more about that liturgy, but not with many results. The mood is very heavy here; I can almost smell the incense of mass when I hear. Like the Borda release, this is not the most pleasant of releases. It is also a very long release at two hours, and, in the end, all a bit too much for me. It’s like going to a service in the church; it starts out very interesting (in that sense of ‘how often one goes to church, so it is all new again), but at one point, I am fed up and want to leave before the end. Luckily I didn’t have to kneel down for this music. (FdW)
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Unlike various of his other releases which were recorded at Next Door To The Jefferson Airplane Studios, this new double CD by guitarist Ernesto Diaz-Infante contains recorded from various US radio stations. And, indeed, from 2008. I don’t know why these have been lying around for so long to be released, but I’m glad they are available. Diaz-Infante plays on these four lengthy pieces various instruments, and I assume not all at once. These are a backpacker guitar, bajo sexto, steel-string acoustic guitar, electronic tanpura, and singing bowl. I don’t always know what these instruments are, I must admit. I assume a backpacker guitar is easy to carry while travelling? As said, four lengthy cuts here, of which three are around thirty minutes and one is thirteen. Diaz-Infante use the electronic tanpura to creat a drone background, which gives the music a somewhat exotic look, but that also comes from the minimalist playing of the guitar. Using short, repeating sounds, sometimes using an object on the strings, sometimes by repeating figures on the strings, there is a sort of raga feeling in this music. In the first two long pieces, this is at a moderate speed, allowing the strings to sing around if you will, reaching a bit of overtone quality. That adds nicely to the drone-like sounds of tanpura. Minimal for sure, but because Diaz-Infante plays it all live, it is the little irregularities that mark the changes. In ‘Incantation’ the speed goes up quite a bit and quick, repeating motives are played until the piece derails, following which Diaz-Infante changes his speed to again a more moderate level and uses the tanpura. In the shorter ‘Eyes of Horus’, there is the most rhythmic playing, and the acoustic guitar becomes almost a percussion instruments and again there are some overtones to be spotted. Throughout these one hour and forty-five minutes the playing is concentrated and gentle. It is easy to hear his background in improvised music, but it is not something that seems to play a role on these discs. I enjoyed the minimalism of the music, but I also enjoyed the little mistakes (and I am not sure if that is what Diaz-Infante calls them), allowing him to change his course in a slightly different direction, and explore that for a while. It adds a vibrant feel to the music. (FdW)
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Fred Moten, Brandon Lopez and Gerard Cleaver got together for a gig at the Vision Festival 2019. Fast forward to 2021. The trio got together to record a debut record. The world was dealing with COVID-19, and America was dealing with the murder of George Floyd. Lopez and Cleaver performed regularly before the festival, including the Brandon Lopez trio as a duo. Fred Moten is a scholar, poet and cultural theorist emphasising critical theory, black studies and performance studies. Drawing from previous work, Moten delivers powerful statements on the history of being black in America, quotes lyrics from jazz standards and incorporates the struggle of most black people into his performance. Being an almost middle-aged white man, I cannot fully grasp the reality of being black in America. But these words spoken by Fred Moten made me think about that. I usually don’t listen to lyrics; they are secondary to me. This record is full of words, the meaning of which I’m still processing. It would take me. The longest piece is just over 25 minutes long and only available on CD and digital. The vinyl version omits this track. There are two pieces named after his late mother. Another is named after his partner, Laura Harris: she is a professor of English and World Literature and Africana Studies. And another one is named after the writer James Baldwin. On to the music: sometimes subdued, creating space for Moten’s voice and creating tension that isn’t resolved in any way, sometimes grooving martially, almost as if to lead a protest march. There is so much meaning to hear here; no review can do it justice (for lack of a better word). This is a significant release, go listen for yourself and let the words and music sink in. (MDS)
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RIPIT – A CHURCH OR A FACTORY (LP by Cheap Satanism)

The only previous time the name Ripit popped in these pages was in a review (not by me) of a four-way split cassette (Vital Weekly 1101). For me, this LP is an introduction to the music of Nicolas Esterle. He was known for his “radical noisy breakbeat” in the past, but on this album, he leaps into the world of power electronics. The LP marks his return after three years of doing other work with The Angstromers (his duo with Frederic Alstadt) and the Haitian voodoo ensemble Chouk Bwa. There are guests on this album, such as Paul Tergeist, Andrea DV, Robert Imhuman, Divtech, Tzii and Andre Coelho. The music was already recorded from 2015-2019, and the album’s title refers to the Belgium countryside where a church or a factory always surrounds you. Ripit’s machines are Serge Modular, Knifonium and various Eurorack modules. The music is noisy and rhythmic, with Ripit also using vocals, and he does that in good old-fashioned power electronics fashion. Shouting and screaming, and God knows what it is about. ‘Behind The Glass, of ‘The Productivity Of Pain’, to use the titles. Life’s not easy. As said, rhythm plays a big role, and Ripit uses all sorts of these. It’s not just hammering away, but there are some nice variations here. That’s the first side of the record. Old-fashioned, conservative noise music; what’s not to like there? On the other side, there is ‘In Haus Of Angst’, which I am not sure is a correct use of the German language. In this side-long piece, Ripit takes us into the factory and shows us around sawing machines, buzzing and sawing away. With the sound close to feedback, this is not your typical noise; surprisingly, I’d say. It’s more drones meeting noise but toned in such a way that it is more an ambient piece of music. But of the more industrialized sort, this music can’t be ignored. You have to play it loud as if you were standing inside the factory and there’s no escape. It’s also a powerful piece, reminding me a bit of MB, but louder and intenser (and less leaning on the use of delay). Also, nothing one has not heard before, but again, who cares? An ear-cleansing exercise on a Sunday afternoon. Nothing lazy there. (FdW)
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Here I have my first encounter with the music of Italy’s Alessandro Barbanera. Besides the comprehensive information on the music pieces on ‘Oblio’, he doesn’t tell much about himself. The seven pieces on ‘Oblio’ are all based on classical piano music loops from composers such as Ravel, Debussy and Bartok) and these are “taken, internalized, reimagined and made “other”, in an attempt to forget them”. A glance at the information, listing all the originals, I don’t think U ever heard one of these before, in their more common fashion; having lived in the same house as the author of a book on Bela Bartok, I may have heard his ‘Concerto No. 3 for piano and orchestra’ at one point in my life. It is, so I believe, not the idea that we recognize the pieces. I see these original classical pieces as starting points to get the flow of music going. So, we arrive at the question of how Barbanera goes about his music creations. I am merely guessing here, but I think that Barbanera uses a laptop to rework the sounds beyond recognition. Some twenty years ago, we would have called this lowercase music. This is, of course, also something we can say at this point (risking not everybody knows the term). The piano’s gentle touch remains as a residue in these clouds of sounds—shimmering ghosts of what once was, slowly dissolving in time and space. In ‘Ricordi Quel Mattino, Quell’aria Di Vetro’, Barbanera also uses field recordings, birds and the cavernous space of an empty shopping mall. There is a reflective atmosphere in the music here. While Barbanera may not be the most original voice in this field, one could argue that modular geeks replace laptop musicians, so who is his contemporary anyway? The closest I could think of in reference is William Basinski. Barbara shares a similar taste in decaying sounds and deconstructing the sounds of the orchestra. Not the worst to be compared, and Barbanera does a great job. (FdW)
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MAX FRIMOUT – MAUVAIS PAQUET (cassette by Zesde Kolonne)

Although the label has been around for nearly forty years and covers pretty much the same musical ground as Vital Weekly, only very few releases were ever reviewed. In the 80s, Zesde Kolonne was the home base for Zombies Under Stress and MTVS, and operating out of the 2B space, the artist collective as was the word used back then. Their roots, perhaps more in art than in sound, and maybe with a focus on local artists, makes that their work doesn’t often reach me. I reviewed Lps by Duback & Van Horrik, Fable Dust and Smtvuz (VItal Weekly 855 and 962). I had not heard of Ad van Aart and Max Frimout ZK 108 before. Van Aart uses organ pipes and vacuum cleaners, as promised in the title. That is not the most innovative of things. I remember a concert for 48 vacuum cleaners in the 80s, but I don’t remember who the players were, and Staalplaat Sound System worked with exploding vacuum cleaners. Van Aart also uses xylophone, bells and tin plates. As always, I don’t think originality is the main issue, but an idea’s execution should count. You may think that the vacuum cleaners create one of a racket, but whatever or however this was recorded, this is not a noise release. Sure, switching machines on and off has that machine-like sound, but this is an exciting release with three lengthy pieces of drone-based music. It is something that holds very well on its own, which is not always a common thing with music that has a more sound art/installation approach. The additional instruments are mainly heard in the first piece, ‘Howling Pipes’, whereas in ‘Duck Alarm’, the intervals are relatively short and give us the idea of flutes and have a rather musical approach. ‘Give It To The Wind’ is a telling title for a piece that sounds like wind howling around, but this also is an excellent atmospheric music piece. The vacuum cleaners also sound like flutes, playing some desolate tunes—a most enjoyable release that deserves a bigger audience.
    I’m not sure if it’s Max Frimout or Max Frimout ZK108; the first is on the cassette, and the latter is on Bandcamp. Frimout creates networks of analogue electronic circuits connected to digital signal processors to compose generative music. On Bandcamp, you can read the complete description, which would be too much to quote in full. Essentially it is about creating systems that are semi-self composing, partly with and partly without control. Maybe that could lead to some chaotic results, but none such is the case in the seven pieces here. Fremont’s set-up allows him to create music (well, of self-create, of course) that is never repetitive but moves around within the parameters. In the opening piece, ‘Sans Savoir’, it is all a bit much on the side of resonators (it’s a sound you like or hate, I guess), but in the other parts, there is an exciting connection between low and high-end sound, creating quite dense blocks of sustaining sounds. Dark music most of the time. Maybe that’s the sound of systems controlling us? I don’t know if there is a political edge to all of this. There is both variation and homogeneity in the music, and it all sounds delicious. A fine new name to the world of modular electronics. (FdW)
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The previous instalment of this I reviewed in Vital Weekly 1300. This time, the podcast is mentioned as hosted by “Professor Phil Ford and writer/filmmaker J. F. Martel host a series of conversations on art, philosophy and the weird, dwelling on ideas that are hard to think and art that opens up rifts in what we are pleased to call “reality.” and you can find it here; I didn’t check, as my time is limited to delve into the world of podcasts. The music is by Pierre-Yves Martel (pedal steel, lap steel, bass, and synthesizer), with help from Oliver Fairfield (drums, percussion, synthesizer) and Philippe Lauzier (alto saxophone and bass clarinet). While I believe much of his work deals with improvisation, Martel has something else to offer here. The music is pleasant, ambient-like, and hints toward post-rock. The latter notion comes from the excessive use of the pedal and lap steel guitars. This reminds me of Pan American, even when there is more rhythm in the latter. Fairfield’s drums only appear in a few pieces. The sad thing is that these pieces are relatively short, and the whole tape lasts only thirty minutes. That is a pity, as I find this an excellent release. These ten pieces have a fine, spacious character, moving from introspective playing the strings towards something more improvised. That usually happens when the other players join Martel. The only oddball in this collection is the final piece, ‘It Gets Closer When You Close Your Eyes, which is a very concentrated drone affair on the clarinet and sine waves (I think). I think this is a fine piece of music, but it seems a bit out of place. The whole tape has a rather frivolous character, except for this last one, which sounds rather serious. An excellent cassette! (FdW)
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MODELBAU – THE ENCOUNTER (cassette by Dark Passage)

I’ll try to say something about this artist that hasn’t been said before because Modelbau is Frans de Waard, and all of you know that already. I don’t need to repeat everything every time. I mean, Vital Weekly is a weekly newsletter, and if some artist releases music on a regular base, me being a writer, sometimes get stuck in ‘WTF do I write this time? So, here it goes: Modelbau likes tapes. Long, short, looped, twisted, on spools, in shells … but: Modelbau likes tapes.
    This cassette is released on the UK-based (Gateshead) Dark Passage. A small label with not too many releases yet, but a roster including Culver (in a few disguises), Davide Tozzoli and now Modelbau. Nice start!
    The first track on “The Encounter” is a beautiful drone with a gorgeous crunchy layer hidden in there, which like the fins of a fish in water, slowly breaks the surface. The second track opens with heavily manipulated and, therefore, inaudible voices. They create an environment as if you’re in a room with people, and you become paranoid because you – as a listener – can’t handle the impulses any longer. So you start looking for the way out, which presents itself in ambient ‘swirls’ (sorry, I can’t find a better word now). The final track of the first side – the titles don’t have real names; the numbers refer to the dates they music is recorded – has a bit of the same setting as the second one. Only now you’re watching at the room from the outside, and you have a way more comfortable approach to the chatting people; It’s like watching a nest of ants, and you might feel a bit itchy, but… Who can look at an ants nest and NOT feel itchy?
    Side two opens with a lovely drone/noise based soundscape with abrupt transitions. And even though the almighty drone isn’t a musical style that sees a lot of abrupt transitions, this track definitely is an example that the tension will stay intact when it’s executed properly. The second track is an ambient / drone piece with a melodic theme. The choice of sounds is quite ‘harsh’; I suspect lots of triangular or squares. But that’s not a bad thing; please stay focussed here. In combination with subtle sines, almost absent yet still audible feedback and minimal noises, the harshness fully disappears in a sea of lushness. A bit like waking up after a night out with one glass of vodka too many. The final track of this release is the noisiest of them all. Not gonna say any more … What a beauty …
    Just hop to the Bandcamp page, listen, and click buy. And if you want the tape, be really fast; only 7 of the 30 are left. (BW)
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