Number 1365

RLW – SATANIC INVENTIONS (CD by Black Rose Recordings) *
LULL – THAT SPACE SOMEWHERE (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
MALI OBOMSAWIN – SWEET TOOTH (CD by Out Of Your Head Records)
MARLA HLADY & CHRISTOF MIGONE – SWAN SONG (2CD by Cronica Electronica) *
ELLENDE – HALLO KAPTEIN (3″ CDR by Smeerlappen) *
LEVENSLEED – DWEEMOED (3″ CDR by Smeerlappen) *
GUIDO MÖBIUS – A MILLION MAGNETS (AND MORE) (cassette by Superpolar Taips) *
MONTECLAVA – AL CANTO DEI PIDOCCHI (cassette by Musique A La Coque)
JULIEN DEMOULIN – INNER LIVES (cassette by Aural Canyon) *
ILIA BELORUKOV – SCATTERED UNDERFOOT (cassette by Cronica Electronica) *
AYAMI SUZUKI – VISTA (cassette by Cosima Pitz) *


“History does not only repeat itself”, Guy Peters’ opening line for the liner notes for the Hugo Costa and Philipp Ernsting CD. I have to correct him. History is not a scientific experiment that can be repeated to verify the results. Peters explains that the Dutch improvisation world was in the old days mainly in Amsterdam, and thus, other scenes were easily snowed under and that something similar is the case these days. But New Wave Of Jazz has released music from Rotterdam before, and these two musicians are from the same city. Drummer Philipp Ernsting is part of AIM, a collective of improvisers creating opportunities for experimentation. Hugo Costa, originally from Portugal but now in Rotterdam, plays the alto saxophone. Two years ago, they recorded the six pieces on ‘The Art Of Crashing’, one wild free jazz/improvisation. I know, I keep saying that Vital Weekly is buried with improvisation/free jazz/jazz music and that I don’t think we’re the right platform for this. But, when I was thinking about the noise the other day and said that a noise release a week is quite alright (or even two), I guess I could say the same about free jazz. Or, perhaps, about so much music; is there any music I could hear all day? Now there’s an interesting question. So, here I am, Saturday afternoon, still ‘at it’, the review business. In the meantime, I am sitting in my comfy chair, reading today’s paper and listening to the wild free jazz. of Costa and Ernsting. And, oddly enough, I dig it. I think ‘dig’ is a jazz word but is it? Whatever. Unlike Peters, I can’t put this into any historical context, so I have to take his word for it. John Coltrane, Ken Vandermark, Paal Nilssem-Love, Evan Parker, Colin Webster & Andrew Lisle are a few names I recognized, sometimes because I wrote about some of them. For me, it was mostly the high energy level that had, oddly enough, a soothing character on me.
    The other new release by New Wave Of Jazz is also wild but slightly different. With Costa and Ernsting the wildness reflects in the chaotic and speedy approach to the instruments. In the case of Dirk Serries (acoustic guitar), Kris Vanderstraeten (percussion, drums) and Tom Jackson (clarinet). Here, there is less chaos as such, but the three players use similar freedom to produce whatever music they find necessary. Maybe with a touch more control and with more listening and interaction together. Perhaps that aspect, the conversation, is not as in the other one, but it is certainly here. Maybe that’s the reason why the music is gentler. Maybe softer is a better word, or more minor, with both abstract and melodic sides. The latter is mostly from the clarinet, where Tom Jackson stays on the musical side. His instrument remains to sound like a clarinet. Serries, on the other hand, tortures his instrument no end. You can recognize this as a guitar, but that’s it. He plucks, hits, and twists the strings. Vanderstraeten operates on the middle ground. Sure, you recognize the drums and percussion pieces; he hits them but also plays them with other objects, and there is the occasional bow across the cymbals and toms. A mixture of convention and abstraction. Like the other, this is not easy music to access, certainly if one has little experience or, like me, is not too knowledgeable. It unfolds more when one takes more time. (FdW)
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RLW – SATANIC INVENTIONS (CD by Black Rose Recordings)

Seeing such a political statement on an RLW CD is something I don’t recall seeing before. It is about the pandemic and the conspiracy theories that spawned, which I (too) believe is the true disease of our times. “I can read”, usually means, “I like to cherry-pick popular notions”, and “science is an opinion” is usually said by someone who has no clue as to what science is. Or, as I challenged someone: “How do you prove that all swans are white” to which I got the answer “, by killing all black ones”, which seemed proof that not all swans are white. RLW says that all misery end one day, and something will grow. In the 14th century, Ars subtiloir (subtler art) became a musical style. It was rhythmic and notional, more complex. The end of the plague (well..) ended in something new. RLW uses music recordings from that time and short extracts from documentary recordings. Not that you easily recognize any of this in the fifteen pieces of music. Sure, some of this finds origins in voice material, and a word here or there is recognized, but who or what remains a mystery. The abstraction level is very high, as with much of RLW’s music. He applies a collage-like approach to his music. A surprising element is the use of turntable/vinyl, which I haven’t heard from him in some time. RLW’s music is of a different complexity than the original Ars subtiloir, so I assume (not being an expert here), that he applies his musique concrète techniques to the music. Editing, stretching, granular synthesis and whatever else there is are as strong as any other RLW record. One thought I had with hearing these voices bending and twisting; maybe they sound like shapeshifting alien reptiles? Having read most of David Icke’s books (to be found in a folder on my hard drive labelled ‘humour’), there must be a place here for the sounds of reptiles. Throughout, there is some excellent, imaginative music here. I would say that even without the backstory, this is still a great release; it can be enjoyed equally. (FdW)
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Last week I recounted that at one point I gave up collecting music by Merzbow. Something similar happened with Muslimgauze. There was a time that I was professionally engaged in releasing music from the late Bryn Jones, and I heard it a lot and collected as much as I could. But, as these things go, interests shift, and I sold a significant portion of the collection at one point. That doesn’t mean I have no interest in any new release; I happily hear everything that comes my way, yet I never actively seek out what is new. Staalplaat seemingly endless suitcase of unpublished recordings brings us ‘Turn On Arabic American Radio’. This release is number thirty-four in the Muslimgauze Archive Series and comes with a silkscreened cloth cover. When Jones was recording music, there was, so it seems, always a tape running along to capture all moments. You would think these were for his archive or playback to see what worked. In sending these to his record company, one concludes he was satisfied enough to have it released. These nine tracks are from two sources, one being ‘Turn On Arab American Radio’ and the other ‘Arab American Radio’. Sure, there are some radio signals and radiophonic voices, but they play a minor role. Through this release, the music stays on the minimal side, leaning heavily on using a drum machine and minimal Middle Eastern samples and instruments, but like the radio signals only. As I like minimalism and the occasional Muslimgauze release, I immensely enjoyed this. But there is also a sense of unfinished business here. I imagine using these pieces as building blocks for a new part of the music (or more than one). All the ingredients are there, and the music could take the next stage with some imaginative editing. Now, that would not be ethical; it would simply not be a Muslimgauze release. As a look in the workshop of Muslimgauze, this CD is wonderfully insightful. Bare and minimal, very Muslimgauze and the promise of beauty was cut short by his early demise. (FdW)
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LULL – THAT SPACE SOMEWHERE (CD by Cold Spring Records)

I didn’t realize that Mick Harris released only a few Lull albums. I assume there would have been more, and I missed a few. There are only nine, including this new album, since 1992. Here we have another one of those ‘there was a pandemic thing, so I found myself at home, and I decided to take up this project again’. Harris worked on a new album, ‘That Space Somewhere’, which contains four pieces. Three are fifteen or so minutes, and one is just under eleven. When Lull released the bulk of his work in the nineties, we’d use the term ‘isolationist’ music. The net for this genre was cast wide, but for me, Lull was one of the best examples of the genre. Now, close to thirty years later, nothing changed in that respect. Music by Lull still sounds the same. Let’s not go into whether change is good or not. Apparently, this is something Harris wants with this project. He sets particular notions about the music and acts accordingly. I have no idea how he creates this music. If I were a cynic, I’d say he tapes a few sustaining synthesizer sounds on a reel-to-reel tape at high speeds and does a playback at the slowest speed. The primitive form of stretching sound. In the process, he colours the sound a bit. I don’t think that’s how he works, though. I would guess he treats guitar sounds with many effects and arrives at this deep, dark rumble of music. If ever you were curious to know what ‘dark ambient’ is about, this (and any other record by) Lull is the most explicit definition you can get. Harris recounts he likes the sea a lot, and for one of these pieces, he created a video which shows the calm sea. That represents the music very well. This music has a slow cadence that is very much similar to a quiet sea. There is always motion, yet nothing moves if you get my drift (pun intended). The movements are many and none. Lull’s music is constantly changing, and unlike other drone music that is about a standstill, this is the opposite. And there is a relaxing aspect to the music. These waves roll into your living room with great ease and comfort. Sit back, close your eyes and listen. Nothing more is required, and beauty unfolds. Again, you could come up ‘change is necessary’ and that these four pieces are similar, but I circle back to ‘this is the idea’, and it’s carried out with great precision. (FdW)
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Romanian musician George Dumitriu (violin, viola, guitar) graduated from the Bucharest National University of Music. He continued his studies in Groningen, New York and Amsterdam, where he had been settled for several years. He played and recorded with several Amsterdam-based projects like Native Aliens Ensemble, Kaja Draksler Octet, Kaja Draksler Acropolis Quartet, etc. Last year Evil Rabbit released ‘Aforismen Aforisme Aforismes’, a quartet recording of Ab Baars, Ig Henneman, Pau Sola Masafrets and Dumitriu. With his trio Dumitrio (Mattia Magatelli, contrabass, electric bass; George Dumitriu, guitar, violin, viola; Kristijan Krajnčan, drums, cello), he released the albums Proverbe’(2017) and ‘Future Nostalgia’(2014). For his first solo album, he interprets nine compositions by one of his heroes: Thelonious Monk. We witness a passionate encounter and treatment by Dumitriu of the compositions from this jazz giant. He takes a free and adventurous route. Sometimes a theme is easily recognized, for example, on ‘Locomotive’, but at other moments he radically abstracts from the original. Just listen to his version of ‘Round midnight’. Nevertheless, aspects of the original compositions can always be identified in the spirited and adventurous performances by Dumitriu that are often edgy and sharp. Of course, the atmosphere is very different from how Monk played them with his quartet. But the way Dumitriu sheds new light on these compositions convinces and introduces you to a very engaged and capable performer and improviser. (DM)
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This is an exceptional release by Out Of Your Head Records, the small Richmond/Brooklyn-based label run by bassist Adam Hopkins, with a good taste for young new talents. This time presenting the first solo effort by Mali Obomsawin. No doubt, this is the first time we pay attention to her work in the columns of Vital Weekly, so we needed some background information first. She studied bass at Berklee College of Music and jazz and improvised music at Dartmouth College. During these years, she took the opportunity to work with original members of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Tomeka Reid, a.o. In 2014 she started the folk-rock trio Lula Wiles with Eleanor Buckland and Isa Burke. Too much dominated by a white folk aesthetic, she disbanded the trio and decided on a different course: developing music close to her Wabanaki roots. With ‘Sweet Tooth’ she presents the first promising results from this approach, combining Wabanaki songs and jazz arrangements. “Telling Indigenous stories through the language of jazz is not new,” Obomsawin explains. “My people have had to innovate endlessly to get our stories heard – learning to express ourselves in French, English, Abenaki… but sometimes words fail us, and we must use sound. Sweet Tooth is a testament to this.” The album contains six songs, making up a suite subdivided in three movements. Excellently performed by the following crew: Savannah Harris (drums, vocals), Miriam Elhajli (acoustic and electric guitars, lead vocals), Allison Burik (bass clarinet, alto saxophone, vocals), Noah Campbell (tenor, soprano, alto saxophones), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet, flugelhorn) and Mali Obomsawin (bass, lead vocals, hand drum). The album opens with ‘Odana’, an old indigenous ballad from the early 1700s in a beautiful arrangement of vocals, horns, strings and drums. It is followed by ‘Lineage’, a jazzy melodic composition by Obomsawin. Very dynamic work with fine non-verbal singing near the end. ‘Wawasint8da’ is again an old traditional song. More precisely, it is “a Catholic hymn translated from Latin into the Abenaki language by one of the early French Jesuit priests who lived among the Abenaki”. Again nicely arranged with surprising details. Gradually the melody dissolves into an intense cacophonic free section. Near the end, they return to the melody, with delicate vocals by both singers. ‘Pedegwajois’ starts from an archival recording that has Theophile Panadis telling an old indigenous story, accompanied naturally by bass. ‘Fraction’ is an instrumental ballad composed by Obomsawin. ‘Closing piece ‘Blood Quantum’ starts with an intriguing intro by drummer Harris introducing a grooving section before things become more free and complicated. The title refers to the Blood quantum laws by which the amount of ‘indigenous blood’ could be measured. So as you understand, this is a personal recording reflecting a complicated history and an impressive sign of its continuation. (DM)
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Right on time! The brothers Löwenbrück present their Christmas Oratio. The cover is a rip-off from a Deutsche Grammofon record, and for a second, I thought Krim Kram got crazy. The music is not at all like classical music. The information says nothing about Fabian Löwenbrück, but his brother Daniel you may know as a performance artist and composer is part of the Schimpfluch Gruppe. Or maybe from the works on his Tochnit Aleph label, from, among others, Wolf Vostell, Jean Dubuffet or Hermann Nitsch. With the latter, I circle back to the church organ, the instrument of choice here. On December 26th, 2006, the two brothers sat down as the Hugo Meyer organ of the Evangelische Kirche in Lebach, Germany and performed the seven pieces that make the ‘Weihnachtsoratorium’. The music should be heard in total volume; perhaps, the CD and home sound system is a poor substitute. Massive clusters of sound roll, droning into your living room like a vengeful god’s thunder. Of course, we are led to believe, through the title and the presentation, that we are dealing here with a thoroughly composed piece, but for all I know, everything is a playful parody of the whole notion of sacral music. It doesn’t matter to me. I am a drone head, and I love the church organ. Sometimes this duo plays massive clusters, sometimes individual tones, even making up a melodic touch at times, and throughout all of this is quite dark. If you want to eliminate unwanted Christmas visitors, play this CD, and call it ‘festive music’. That will get the mood going.
    The other two artists on Krim Kram, a young label from Ireland, are new to me. Firstly we have Andy Heck Boyd, born in 1981, living in New Hampshire for forty years and now in Kentucky. In 2002 he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, took up painting and drawing, and in 2017 he started to make cassette recordings. He writes that he goes out daily with a tape recorder and a new tape and records daily stuff, mostly spoken word stuff. Back home, he has an amp, an SK-1 keyboard and a microphone and works on his music, adding sounds from around the house, the street etc. There is much more text to be read on Bandcamp from Boyd, which I will not repeat here. It is safe to say that this is an exciting read, certainly in combination with what you hear. I sometimes have doubts concerning outsider music, but this, I think, is the real thing. It is all very personal music; someone with a microphone speaking personal stuff and adding music that is quite naive. I found this most enjoyable and exciting, but I will admit that it is not that much for me. Very much like Art Brut or Adolf Wölfli was not my ‘thing’ when it seemed to be a ‘thing’ for everybody else. Boyd includes the next two cover songs, next to ‘Happy Birthday’ (also a cover), Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’ and ‘Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’, with a solid personal twist, but that should be now no surprise. But surely, this release will scare away any unwanted visitors.
    On cassette, we find the Wexford-born, Cork-based musician Declan Synnott. Since the mid-2000s, he has worked with various musical projects, such as the “noise/dirge-rock Band of Synnott’s Síoraí Geimhreadh, hardcore arm wrestling champions Horse, synth noise project Mvestle, insurrectionary electronic duo Bodycam, and no-fi noise trio Power Acoustics”. Especially the arm wrestling sounds very interesting. When recording music solo, he works with analogue synthesizers and, judging by the sound, of the modular variety. Six lengthy pieces, some ninety minutes of music, were recorded in the past three years. He has a couple of solo recordings and what I heard on this cassette made me curious to listen to his other works. Lots of this music is synthesizer-based, but there seem to be also some field recordings and a piano. There is something oddly naive about the music, but I found it hard to put my finger on why I think this. I found the music to be great! It has a direct feeling. We are in Synnott’s living room, and he plays his piano while a synthesizer plays some slow configurations somewhere in the background. This happens on the two shortest pieces. His long, dominantly synthesizer-based pieces also seem to have this room-like quality. Hard to imagine recording your synthesizers with a microphone in front of the speakers, but why not? If, of course, that is the case here; I don’t know. What I like about this music is that it has an unpolished character. Synnott makes small mistakes, if they indeed are that, and doesn’t make it shinier or better (for lack of a better word). Sometimes he drops in a new, oddball sound, but it all works within his music. As said, I love this tape. (FdW)
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A swan song is a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort or performance given just before death or retirement (thanks, wiki). In this case, the swan song is for two stills from a whisky distillery in Scotland. From these stills, two swan necks were cut, used to play the recordings made by Hlady and Migone during their three months residency in 2019. The whisky, glad you asked, is Glenfiddich and Balvenie, if I got this correct. The sounds are from the distillery, but also its surroundings, as water is an essential source, of course. Also recorded was a choir of the staff, from the highest to the lowest pitch they could produce, for as long as possible. The first disc contains three versions of ‘Swan Song’, and the second has eight pieces, which I believe could be source material. There is another version of ‘Swan Song’ in the digital extras and more source pieces. That is a lot of music. As usual with Migone’s work (which I know better than that from Hlady, even when they have worked together since 2015), there is a solid conceptual side to the music. Still, as usual, I found the music equally intriguing without a lengthy explanation. The choir is used extensively in the three (four) parts of ‘Swan Song’. The first part was unprocessed, but in the other two, some processes took place. Knowing this duo a bit, no doubt the sound is fed through pipes at the distillery, altering the sound more acoustically. This all leads to fascinating results. First, maybe fairly traditional humming but in the subsequent versions, mysterious and spooky.
    In what I think is source material, there is also a strong emphasis on the minimal side of the proceedings. The microphone’s position is significant, adding another dimension to the sounds instead of applying digital processing. Maybe the titles give away something about the origins (‘Mash’, ‘Spirit’, ‘Beat’, ‘Pump’ etc.), but none seemed very recognizable. That makes this a fascinating listening. I don’t know what it is, and I continue to be intrigued by it. Maybe there has been an additional layer of transformations, but somehow I doubt that was the case. It is, at times, mysterious and drone-like, which should appeal to any fan of the genre. Great music all around. (FdW)
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This release captures two musicians proficiently on bass clarinet (among other woodwinds) at the Roze Tanker, a former gas station in Amsterdam, playing in front of an audience for the first time after the pandemic. It’s the entire performance, a bit more than half an hour. And my oh my, what a performance it is. Klein and Büyükberber have been playing as a duo for more than sixteen years, and it shows. Several extended techniques are thrown in casually (playing and speaking simultaneously, multiphonics, alternate fingerings for the same note & growling, for example), and not to forget an implied swinging beat, especially in the last track. Since both men are interested in Middle Eastern rhythms, scales and melodies, they create an atmosphere as if one is walking through a souk with all the different noises one can hear at such an Arabic marketplace. This is a pleasure to listen to, to listen to what comes next, as there’s no fixed progression or sheet music, and the dialogue they perform between two long-time friends, jabbing and jiving, having a good time, it all shows in their uplifting performance. Get this release if you want to hear what’s possible on a bass clarinet and even better on two at the same time. It mixes contemporary classical music, improvised music and world music.
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Along with this LP, there is an LP-sized booklet informing us of the various tools used by Modern Research In Sound And Vibration to create the music. This project is the brainchild of Ivan Papadopoulous. He visited flea markets and junkyards, sourced objects and machine parts, and crafted his electronic devices. These look like the early Pan Sonic synths, made with speakers, calculators and such, and, thanks to the beautiful photography, they look great. The music on this record is by Konstantinos Kitsios, who chose the story of the Greek tragedy of Elektra by Sophocles. He uses some lines from the play, but they remain in the background most of the time, if they appear at all. The music on these odd electronic devices sounds excellent. It has nothing to do with circuit bending, with his scratch-like sound approach. Instead, Kitsios’ music is in the best tradition of musique concrète, but then he comes from the world of industrial music. At least, that’s what I think. The music is sometimes based around the industrial klang-klang of metallic loops, rubber bands and scratching the surface. Yet, also he uses collage-like methods to create his composition. Or compositions? I guess there is just one spread over two sides of the vinyl. Sometimes Kitsios goes for a dramatic, dense world of drones, in which isolated rotates, orbiting a sun, and sometimes these sounds are isolated. With some of these vocals, whispering, shouting, the atmosphere becomes rather oppressive, but, I guess, in a beautiful way. The story of Electra (and I suggest that, at this point, you do your research on Wikipedia). Best heard without interruption, I think. I played the LP version and the download a couple of times and found myself not having to get up and switch the record over to the best version. With the overall lightning low, this is a most challenging record. Spooky and haunting, with the hammering on metal, the far-away vocals, at times drowned in reverb and these dark clouds of drones. Heavy-duty black cover tops this overall dark mood; dark but delightful. (FdW)
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From that strange label, Sham Repro, comes a new release. This time by Pete Cann, who works as Feghoots and Half An Abortion and is a member of Inverted Nepal and La Brea Pulpit. I had not heard of any of this. As Pete Cann, this is his first release. It says ‘directed by Pete Cann’, and that has to do with the musical contents. According to Seymour Glass’ liner notes, the music is created from so-called foley sounds from films. So strip all music and dialogue (which is sometimes quite hard, I think, seeing the amount of music some movies have these days), and then sounds remain. I believe that Cann uses the foley sounds, but maybe these are also real elevators and such? Glass says something about the difficulty of recognizing any of these sounds; I didn’t recognize any (perhaps, that says something about me, of course). In the style of musique concrète, he cuts and pastes this onto magnetic tape, but with some crudeness. Mentioned are Cage’s radio play ‘The City Wears A Slouch Hat’ and Schimpfluch artists; I’d like to add Mixed Band Philanthropist and their cut ‘n paste approach. Cann’s cutting may not be as radical and swift as MBP, but in crudeness, it certainly does. It is not on the same radiophonic level as Cage, as the narrative seems to be missing. But I like that level of abstraction. As we rumble through building sites, some space-age sound and the coffee cups being destroyed, one could think about the Haters without the loops. I like the direct, unprocessed sounds; they are often layered and rubbed together. It works very well as an odd-ball noise record without too many obvious noise references. Any movie, not even genre, is recognized by me. Like the label, a strange LP (also with fourteen minutes per side, not a very long record) is a mysterious thing. But it is a mystery well received! (FdW)
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ELLENDE – HALLO KAPTEIN (3″ CDR by Smeerlappen)
LEVENSLEED – DWEEMOED (3″ CDR by Smeerlappen)

Experimental music is not constrained to a specific part of the world. And experiments, in general, are everywhere: it’s a ‘human’ thing to think outside of the perspective we’re given in our upbringing, environment or culture. The only thing is that it is sometimes difficult to get informed about what is all happening outside our little bubble of western influences. But thankfully, sometimes, the sounds of these unknown territories reach our side. We get to hear so many beautiful things … One of the lesser-known continents where experimental music is made in Africa. Still, the best-known experimental group from this continent is South-African (and Tokyo) based Ellende (Dutch / Afrikaans for ‘misery’). They also have a label called Smeerlappen (tr: Scumbags), and in the player are two 3″ CDRs from that label.
    “Hallo Kaptein” by Ellende is the first, and it contains six tracks with a total playing time of just under 18 minutes. Way too short if you ask me because what I hear is serious of a higher level. The combination of field recordings, vocals and (mostly?) synthetic sounds are folded into hypnotizing sound collages, which I simply can’t get enough of. Especially the title track – with its almost 7 minutes also the longest track – is so subtly layered and has excellent sound perfectly aligned and mixed … A constant tension because of subtle changes in the attack of the recurrent sounds, layers in the background that after a bit of while shifted from the back to the front and then back again. And the use of vocals where I must say that being Dutch, the Afrikaans is in a way foreign to me, but with enough overlap to understand the basics. Damn, 18 minutes. Replay. I need a complete CD. And I believe I understand the “ETERNALLY ILLUSIVE DRONESOUP” words on their website.
    The second release is a new project with well-known names, the before-mentioned Ellende and Frans de Waard, a.k.a. Modelbau. From what you just read earlier, my opinion on Ellende – or what I’ve heard of him/them – is that it’s beautifully hypnotizing experimental structures, and I love it. And my opinion on Modelbau is no secret either; I love the building and tension in the mostly longer tracks: The combination or difference between ambient, drone, soundscape and experiments. One can hear the outcome, but the origin is quite often unknown. “Dweemoed” (I think it’s Afrikaans for melancholy) is a 17-minute four music pieces release that combines the best of both worlds. Literally. There is the massive soundscapish approach of Modelbau, and there is more than enough happening in the periphery of the type of sounds we’ve found in Ellende’s release. I am so happy I get to write reviews sometimes. And today is one of those happy days. What better sentence to conclude with than the words on the cover: “Het is laat en wordt alleen maar beter” (tr: ‘It is late and only gets better’). Damn, even better. (BW)
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GUIDO MÖBIUS – A MILLION MAGNETS (AND MORE) (cassette by Superpolar Taips)

There I thought, why on earth would Guido Möbius release a cassette? Then I saw this is also available on vinyl. That is twice a hip medium, I should think. I must admit I haven’t followed Möbius career over the years, so I don’t know much about his development. Nor do I know much about how he works. Undoubtedly, electronics play a significant role, along with percussion. Drums are played, and Möbius loves his cymbals. Various pieces are dominant by cymbal rides. These drums aren’t played by the man but by Andrea Belfi. I believe Möbius uses a lot of samples of instruments. Wind instruments, hand claps, strings, voices and, of course, Belfi’s drumming. There is an excellent drive in these pieces, which connects with krautrock. Everything rolls on, in strict tempo, but without all too straightforward 4/4 beats. There is something non-Western in this music, but I am not sure if a word like ‘world music’ or ‘fourth world’ can be used here. Every instrument moves and shakes here, such as ‘Feed Me Fog’, even when a piece is quieter and sparser orchestrated. Maybe it is safe to say this is ‘Möbius’ music? He takes time for his pieces; many clocks in over six minutes. Yet none of this is too long. Maybe that, too, is the krautrock aspect of his music? The motorik pulses of samples take their time, with minimalist developments that slowly penetrate your brain. It made me tap along with anything in reach. Well, mostly a pen, anyway. Great stuff. (FdW)
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MONTECLAVA – AL CANTO DEI PIDOCCHI (cassette by Musique A La Coque)

The shorter the release, the more difficult reviewing seems to be. Here we have a neat cassette in a soap box with a small comb. The total length of the tape is ten minutes, which is about the time I usually need to ‘get into’ a release. Or even type the first lines of a review. Let me quickly copy the basics from Bandcamp; “A short work direct recorded on tape with two old 60’s portable record players and a set of modified and broken records at variable speeds and forced interruptions. Enjoy the songs of your lice before removal treatment”. Yes, thanks for that. Who is/are Monteclava, I wonder. Discogs point me towards Pino Montecalvo, the label’s boss and a member of AVVITAGALLI, Bz Bz Ueu, and Lo Flopper. Maybe this release is a bit of a vanity project for him. There is absolutely something broken within the sounds of Montelava. In eleven short pieces, he pushes his sounds with some force around, and it works rather in all its brevity and chaos. Would you want more of this? Maybe not. Monteclava made his conceptual point (‘I can make music with portable record players’; perhaps a bit thin) and stuck that on a cassette. Twenty-two copies are available! (FdW)
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JULIEN DEMOULIN – INNER LIVES (cassette by Aural Canyon)

Over the years, I reviewed some of Julien Demoulin’s music, sometimes under that name but as Silencio, sometimes in collaboration with others. I admit that I have no idea what makes the difference. Still, re-reading my old reviews, I’d say that, as Silencio, the music roots within guitars and sound effects. Under his name, it’s all about electronics, synthesizers and sound effects. As I write these words, it is still supposed to be regular working hours for a music reviewer, and yet, the day is as dark as early evening. ‘Inner Loves’ has eight pieces of music, which seem like they were made to segue the already dark day into a darker evening. There is no need to be outside the house anymore, and while the music is almost an invitation to close the curtains and light some candles (or the dreaded incense), it is time to work, so that has to wait. In all his pieces, Demoulin chooses a similar approach. Long-sustaining sounds, a few each time tied together. They move majestically as a slow river does. Looking at the cover and the other releases from this label, there is quite a new age approach, some of which one can hear in Demoulin’s music. However, thankfully, his music is too dark to be labelled new age, which I think is a good thing. Dark and ominous ambient music, nothing new, nothing odd and also within the work of Demoulin, nothing new under the sun, but here I came back to the day it is; music like this doesn’t have to be all exciting new or strange. Just look outside and find the right soundtrack that fits the weather and, perhaps also, mood. Sometimes that brings excellent quality, and that’s what we (also?) need. (FdW)
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ILIA BELORUKOV – SCATTERED UNDERFOOT (cassette by Cronica Electronica)

The ‘strange’ time of the pandemic meant no live music, so Russia’s Ilia Belorukov found himself at home, working on music at his computer. His work is mainly improvised in concert, but at home, he carefully constructs music pieces on the computer. His studio has analogue and virtual modular synthesizers, snare drums, cymbals, objects, soprano venova, acoustic guitar, drum machine, and field recordings; all of this can be processed to find a place in the music. “This was an experimental process, exploring possibilities for the computer to add its inputs by developing chance processes”, which I may not understand how that works. Belorukov recorded various sessions with his instruments and then started to mix these into four coherent pieces of music. While part of this process sounds random, the editing is the composing. The four pieces are all around seven minutes; I am not sure if that is intentional. There are more similarities—one being that each piece is densely layered. A lot is happening all the time, even in what seems to be the quietest moments. In ‘The Night Whispered and Sang’, we hear drones, sounds from the shipyard, acoustic sounds and wind instruments; a lot but still relatively quiet. In all of these pieces, Belorukov makes a clear distinction in his sounds; we can decipher his music and follow an instrument within a track. You can play this tape a few times, focusing on a different instrument each time. While it all sounds planned and edited, Belorukov’s background is never far away, and he retains a freestyle in his playing. Excellent release! (FdW)
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AYAMI SUZUKI – VISTA (cassette by Cosima Pitz)

The previous occasion I heard of Ayami Suzuki was when she released a duo cassette with Leo Okawaga (see Vital Weekly 1280). Don’t let her biography mislead you. In 2016 she moved to Ireland to study Celtic music, and since her return, she has performed Celtic ballads in Tokyo. I assume we are talking about a whole different world here compared to the two long pieces on her Vista cassette. There is nothing Celtic about this music, and you don’t need to be an expert to know that. She writes that she uses vocal loops and guitar, creating “site-specific ambient soundscapes” in which she incorporates her folk influences. In both pieces, ‘Glade’ and ‘Shore’, there is a hint that it is recorded at the Beach, more in the second than the first, but I tried to find the locations mentioned but had no luck there. With my limited knowledge of folk music, I’d say the second is the more folky piece here. Words might be sung, but they are stretched out, embedded within the sea (literally!) of sounds, synthetic or real field recordings. ‘Glade’ is more abstract and more ambient also. The ocean sounds suspiciously like white noise, certainly towards the end, when everything has disappeared. In this piece, Suzuki uses her voice to chant more than sing; I would think without words. The music here is somewhere at a crossroads of ambient and improvisation, and we often hear her searching for the next bit. In ‘Shore’, it all stays together a bit more, going from the abstraction slowly towards a more song-oriented soundscape. All of this made up for a beautiful variation in ambient music. (FdW)
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From the ever-prolific Matt Atkins comes another short tape. In the earliest days, Atkins released music under Matthew Atkins and Platform. The latter was his rhythmic, technoid project, and under his name, the music was a bit more improvised, mostly object-based. In ‘Cracked Syntax Variants’, he combines both interests. I admit not knowing too much about his set-up, but I think he dug out an old drum machine or uses some rhythm patches from Platform, which he copies onto a reel-to-reel loop; a four-track reel-to-reel, so he plays around with the various sounds captured on tape, going to outside sound effects and the results is primarily rhythmic, but not for dancing. The rhythm patterns are slightly broken up and arrive with glitchy textures, small crackles and such. There is a warm atmosphere to the music. Vulnerable, as if the tape is about the burst, especially in the last piece, ‘CSV5’, where Atkins is most ambient. In the other four pieces, the rhythm machine plays a significant role. With the delay pedal, one could also see a relation with dub music, but Atkins gives it all a twist of his own. I found this a very enjoyable cassette, which, however, begs the question: why so short, why only five pieces? I can easily see more potential in the music here, more variants if you will. Or, perhaps, I’m not too fond of cassettes being too short. (FdW)
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