Number 1376

CELER – SELECTED SELF-RELEASES, 2006-2007 (14 CD by Two Acorns) *
KELSEY MINES – LOOK LIKE (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
PULVERIZE THE SOUND – BLACK (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
COPPICE – DRAW AGREEMENT (3CD by Ferns Recordings) *
CHRISTOPH HEEMANN – END OF AN ERA (LP by Ferns Recordings) *
SMALL CRUEL PARTY – Ἡ​σ​υ​χ​α​σ​μ​ό​ς (10″ by Ferns Recordings) *
ENNO VELTUYS – LANDSCAPES IN THIN AIR (LP & 7″ by Dead Mind Records) *
ENNO VELTHUYS – ONTMOETING (LP by Dead Mind Records) *
STRAFE F.R. – OCTAGON SPHERE (LP by Auf Abwegen) *
JOE COLLEY – ACTING AS IF (10″ by Substantia Innominata) *
WE BOUGHT A STAR (lathe cut by Static Caravan)
WILT – CRYPT GLOOM (CDR by No Part Of It) *


Halfway into this CD, I thought the music was beautiful, so I looked on Bandcamp for more information. There is a lengthy philosophical tract by Pereira, which I found inaccessible. I asked Radboud Mens about it, and he said one could ignore the words. Pereira is also a member of Haarvöl, the Portuguese audio and visual group. He takes credit for electronics (which I always find a difficult term, as many things could be electronics). At the same time, Radboud Mens plays something mysteriously called a guitartable, a drone machine, field recordings and electronics. Mens’ work has various sides. His recent albums, ‘Continuous’ and ‘Movement’ (see Vital Weekly 1351), were excellent excursions in ambient techno. His DAT-only ‘Sixty Oscillators’ were ambient music generated with long string installations, modular electronics, and grand piano. The work he recorded with Pereira is in a similar direction. All things drone, atmospheric and ambient are part and parcel in the work of Haarvöl. I am told this is a work of file exchange, but if I had been told that these men played the music together in one room, I would have also believed that. There is something very organic about the music here, perhaps a form of human interaction and something we don’t often hear from people exchanging sound files. The music is throughout these six pieces a slow burner. Development is minimal, but that gives the music an extra push towards atmospheric and darker things. As such, I could easily believe this is the next Haarvöl release had I not reviewed this only a few weeks ago. Heavy on the drones from all frequency ranges, from the very bottom to the highest top, and yet it never is loud or piercing (or whatever it is that low frequencies do). The guitartable kept me thinking, and the only piece with unmistakable guitar sounds in them was the title piece, which is, perhaps, also the album’s least atmospheric track, but one with a good moment of change. Altogether, this is one great album. (FdW)
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Vital Weekly never reviewed much work by Andrew Pekler, the sound artist from Berlin. Perhaps the labels releasing his music never catered for us much? Labels like ~scapee, Kranky, Dekorder, Senufo Edition and Faitiche (and others). I have no idea where to place this new work in his career. In 2016 Pekler travelled to Thailand and made audio and video recordings at the Khao Sok National Park. In 2016 he already used some of the material on an album called ‘Tristes Tropiques’, but in 2018 started to work on the material again. I am unsure to what extent there is any form of processing, but I understand there might be none and that the only thing we hear is field recordings of insects, birds, water and wind, but I think Pekler uses many layers and (perhaps) loops sections to creates this work. It all sounds very electronic, which you sometimes have with these field recordings. The other day, I played some of the ‘Frogs’ releases from Felix Hess and noted a similar thing. In this single, fifty-five-minute work, Pekler goes through various motions. In several places, the music is quite dark and ominous, very much like the inaccessible jungle I imagine this place to be. The video only vaguely gives a clue to that dense jungle thing, as here, too, Pekler layers various images and has a treatment going, making it black and white and some digital filter. Maybe doing this in black and white is a bit strange as I imagine this to be a colourful place, but I must say this video fits the music very well (or vice versa). Like the music is quite minimal and slow-moving, so are the images. They move all the time, but long shots of leaves, roots, branches and so on. It all makes up a delicate work of ambient music, and I found both audio and video excellent works, but it’s unclear to me if the video has the same soundtrack as what we have on the audio disc. I lost my way there. (FdW)
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It is my ‘theory’ that music needs to be heard in the right circumstances and that these circumstances might be different for everyone. The other day I had already listened to this split release but couldn’t get my head around it; I was too distracted by other things. Right now, I am in what I think is the right mood for it. I was outside for a while, cold drizzle weather, the typical new millennium Dutch winter, and I was happy to be inside the house again, where there is warmth, tea, music and something to read (not online, mind you). I read the information here to see if there was any particular reason to bring these two artists on a split release; maybe a recurring theme, close companies in another musical project or such like, but if anything, it is the naval inspiration; the ocean inspires both, and one even uses recordings from the place. The only connection here seems to be a musical one. Both Sleep Research Facility and Llyn Y Cwn operate in dark ambient music. I am unsure if I have heard of Sleep Research Facility before, but I indeed wrote about Llyn Y Cwn. The first musician is from Canada and has one track that spans twenty minutes. Whatever there is on the input side of things, and I suspect this to be field recordings, there is some deep processing going on, so none of the original sounds is to be recognized. There are slow ripples within this music, which I found, at times, sound like you hear stuff when your ears are below the water. Only vague traces of what the sound was. Deep space transmissions from below the surface. Ben Powell’s Llyn Y Cwn uses oceanic field recordings, and he uses a lot of processing but bends it into a slightly more musical way. There is a melodic rift in ‘Dale Dawn’, the shortest of the three pieces, but something similar is apparent in all three pieces. I didn’t do much while playing this music, I may have been asleep for a while (for all I know), but maybe that is part of the somewhat hallucinogenic state of the music. By now, it’s dark outside, so all the more reason to play it again. If you are looking for something new in the world of dark ambient, keep looking. This isn’t the place. You may have found it if you like to hear good-quality dark ambient. (FdW)
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CELER – SELECTED SELF-RELEASES, 2006-2007 (14 CD by Two Acorns)

These massive blocks of music have been waiting for review for some time, but I found it hard to get around to them. Travelling, a change of scenery seems an excellent time to work on them. Right now, I’m on a train and listening to the noise of the train moving. I’m thinking about Celer and thinking of a few questions I have. When was the first time I heard the music of Celer, back then a duo of Will Long & Danielle Baquet-Long, who sadly passed away in 2009, following which it became Will’s solo project (and, apparently, ended in 2022; for when was the last time I heard it, well, before this massive set, obviously. I’m not in a situation to find out quickly. I took all ten (or, rather, 14 CDs (some are double releases) with me, on my laptop, to listen to in all the relatively unquietness of train travel. Maybe it is entirely wrong to do this, as the music’s delicate nature requires good speakers and a music-friendly environment. In the past two weeks, I heard them as part of my early morning routine. I recounted this before; when I get up, I read the morning paper, drink a coffee and want to have some music unrelated to what I m doing, i.e. writing music reviews. To start the day without ‘work’. From the previous occasions that I heard Celer’s music, and I heard quite a lot, I know this music does this job very well. Provide a quiet backdrop, the perfect definition of listening and non-listening, ignoring and enjoying. That is not to say that the fourteen hours of this album are long and contain the same music. It is related, and yet, also a bit different. I played one CD daily, thinking I should make notes, which I didn’t do, and lost my way early on. What did I hear? There is definitely that classic Celer sound, the long-form, unchanging, minimalist sound work, sitting next to music that is deeply covered in reverb, maybe a bit too much, and some work that is not unlike a more ambient industrial approach. What, where and when? I lost my way, indeed. I hadn’t heard any of these discs before, as they were all ‘self-released’ in the duo’s earliest years, and none of these made it to Vital Weekly. As such, it is, for me, a further exploration of music I already know, I long cherish, and which, at least with my reviewer’s hat, I’d say there is already a lot of music by Celer available. I know that a re-issue like this may feel likea heavy burden for collectors, but I am sure none of these earliest releases are easily found these days. Plus, what I also find interesting is that these discs aren’t all about one long piece per disc. Some of these have shorter pieces in which Celer explores their themes in a similar yet concise form, and it’s great to see that it works very well in such a time frame. It is a massive release of spacious music.
    When BW mentioned these six records last week, he didn’t know I already planned to take the digital versions with me on my little travel. I didn’t investigate too much about the background behind these six highly limited LPs (but still available in the digital realm). I thought it would be interesting to hear these in a completely different setting than at home. Sitting in a Berlin apartment, I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the amplifier, so I hooked up a small speaker to my laptop and let the music play. Perhaps this is an entirely ‘wrong’ way of approaching this music (again!), but what is ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ anyway when it comes to playing music? Maybe this is only to be heard on a massive sound system and not a cheaper speaker? That said, there is something about this music that works very well, given the circumstances. Each record contains a twenty-minute drone piece; in the download version, some are way longer, and I am sure they don’t fit on the side of an LP. There are also three alternative versions of ‘Horror Pilation 6B’. Leslie Keffer and Arvo Zylo play very minimal drone, which, for all I know, is somewhere between the treatment of a single source and, most likely, this source is voice-related. Whatever the treatment is, it is stuck within what it is. There seems to be little movement, but a few layers play simultaneously. Within each of these pieces, there are only subtle differentiations, so superficially one could say it is the same thing that plays out to be six hours and twenty-six minutes long, moving around with different sound effects attached to it. Waiting for people, looking out over what in Germany is called a Hinterhof, with a greet and cold afternoon light over Berlin, there is something quite pleasing about the darkness of this music playing out on this not-so-great speaker. Maybe this speaker adds another layer of a drone to the music, is carefully placed on a table, and creates more subtle vibrations. This is not something that I would have approached similarly at home, or given the fact. Sometimes a change of place and mind is required, and while not always something that is easily found, this little trip provided the right occasion for it. (FdW)
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KELSEY MINES – LOOK LIKE (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

Kelsey Mines hails from Seattle, and this is her first solo release featuring double bass and voice. Classically trained, the sound world Mines creates a nicely tonal and gentle one with some extended techniques thrown in for good measure. In ‘Loyal’, a funky groove is being altered into a more abstract one, ending in knocking on the bass’s body. She uses her voice to vocalize over the tapping. Sometimes she sings in unison with the bass, which sounds like a cello because of the octaves used, and sometimes acts as a counter-melody to the bass. Look Like is, to me, a searching preamble to self-recognition. The last track, ‘Temple’, is, again to me, a musical and vocal impression of (religious) ecstasy and the winding down of the experience. Overall an excellent addition to the ever-expanding discography of the double bass and here expertly combined with vocals. All I can say is: give this one a spin! It’ll brighten your day (or night). (MDS)
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‘Soundbrdiges’ was instigated by German drummer Martin Blume. This quartet features Ken Vandermark on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Thomas Lehn on analogue synth and Mathias Blume on trombone. One could say a collection of heavyweights from the world of improvised music. There is no bass, and the low end of the audio spectrum is shared by trombone and analogue synth. Cinematographic terms inspire the group name and all titles. A sound bridge is a technique that uses sound to transition between scenes—the ‘Thirty-Nine Steps’, the famous 1935 thriller by Alfred Hitchcock. And the music is quite cinematic in scope and execution. Sometimes quite dense, sometimes very sparse, such as in the last part of ‘Aspect Ratio’, in which the clarinet is accompanied by the analogue synth that transforms and alters the sound of the clarinet into a bass clarinet. An excellent release by four veterans of the global improvised community. If you read these words while they are still hot, you can catch them this March as they tour Germany, Austria and Belgium! I, for one, am hoping that this tour will bring a sequel to this record. (MDS)
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PULVERIZE THE SOUND – BLACK (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

‘Black’ is the third release by New York City-based trio Pulverize The Sound. It’s their first entirely improvised release, and another change: with vocals on some tracks, courtesy of Tim Dahl. He is the electric bass player of the group. The other members are Peter Evans on trumpets (pocket and B flat, I think) and Mike Pride on drums and additional percussion. Important to mention in that respect is the glockenspiel. To my ears, the release sounds heavier overall than the previous two, and this is primarily because of the many effects Dahl uses. Nevertheless, it’s quite the experience listening to ‘Black’. The music covers a wide range, from full-fledged grindcore bass to spacious soundscape (the beginning of Ex-All) and everything in between, so it’s not a release that is easy to digest. This release begs many spins to comprehend what’s happening completely, at least in my experience in the past weeks since I was trying to figure out what to make of this. I guess the music needs to be heard when your surrounding is pitch black, which also didn’t make things easier for me. (MDS)
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COPPICE – DRAW AGREEMENT (3CD by Ferns Recordings)
SMALL CRUEL PARTY – Ἡ​σ​υ​χ​α​σ​μ​ό​ς (10″ by Ferns Recordings)

True story; last month, I came across the name Coppice again, the Noé Cuéllar & Joseph Kramer duo. I remembered that I enjoyed their music quite a bit, but I realized I hadn’t seen anything new from them in some time. That omission is now corrected with a three-CD set. The liner notes stretch across two panels of the digipack and isn’t an easy read; go to Bandcamp for more visibility. We learn that the works on this set are “Part of Coppice’s study in Phonography & Fiction (2018-2022). A nesting time capsule that cycles. Folded time and layered space. Sound, mechanical rooms, time travel. Refraction, Reflection, and Diffusion. Rotation, Turning, and Flux. A spatiotemporal synthesis of Coppice’s auditory and musical experiments (2009-2022) with custom, prepared, and modified musical instruments and devices”. I am unsure if I am allowed to call this ‘installation music’. There is a link on Bandcamp, which leads the reader to a lengthy piece and images about the development of the group and their music, with further links offering more text and pictures on the instruments they use. First was the work with “bellows and electronics” (think pump organs, shruti boxes and tapes). There was “Physical Modeling & Modular Syntheses”, and the combination of both led to “Phonography & Fiction (2018-2022)”, which involves architecture and time. As said, there is a lot of text to explore there and too much to summarize in the review space. These discs contain works from all three stages of their development. There is a lot of music to digest here, and not always the most accessible music here. Especially disc two and three contain what I believe to be installation pieces, which I think are fascinating works, but not easy to digest. There is a visual component that I am missing here. But I also realize I am more of a sound/music man, and perhaps, I can easily enjoy this music without it. It sounds fascinating, even when, most of the time, I have no idea what’s going on. There are field recordings, which are recorded in a room, various rooms; there are voices, counting, words, phrases, crackles, static, sine waves, and who knows what else. Sometimes this morphs slowly into drone music, strangely rhythmic clicks, cuts, etc. My favourites are discs one and three in that respect, with the second being a tad too alien for my taste. Along with everything you can read online, you are unlocking another dimension. A dictionary at hand does help.
    Heemann has quite a remarkable catalogue of works to his name. First as a member of HNAS, Germany’s answer to Nurse With Wound, then with a solo career, incorporating drones and field recordings, but also with his excellent duo with Andrew Chalk as Mirror, and Timo van Luijk, as In Camera. There are also collaborations with Charlemagne Palestine, Jim O”Rourke, and Brunhild Ferrari. Unfortunately, not all of these releases make it to these pages. I guess it’s down to the labels to send music our way. Ferns Recordings always do, so there is this quite remarkable ‘End Of An Era’. I have no idea if we should take the title literally and if Heemann does some kind of closure. The cover says he recorded the music from 1999 to 2021, so it may be time to end it and deliver the goods. Less dramatic, in a way. Yet, on the first side, we find a mild surprise. ‘Time and Again… and Again’ is not your typical Heemann piece. Or, that’s how I see it; maybe some scholars have a different opinion. In this piece, Heemann puts emphasis on the use of drums, a loop that goes on and on, in the first half of the piece, with sounds going in and out of the mix. Think a bit of krautrock mixed with a bit of dub, but then not sound like any. In the second half of the piece, it all leans on synthesizers, and the music is eerie and sparse but never becomes a traditional piece of mood music. That side of Heemann is reserved for the other side, ‘Time is the Simplest Thing’, in which field recordings are heavily obscured by sound effects so that none of the original sounds is easily recognized. In Heemann’s well-known style, the music goes through various moods and textures, never stays too long in the same place, yet still has that fine ambient industrial quality. On the cover, he mentions receiving raw sound material from Achim Wollscheid, Asmus Tietchens and Ralf Wehowsky, all peers of Heemann, with Tietchens being the eminence grise of the quartet, which is a fine group of gentlemen. It’s interesting to try and think who delivered what sounds here, but I gave up on that mission and decided to play the record again.
    Small Cruel Party’s rebirth is complete and has found a home with Ferns Recordings, who have already released a few of his works. Here’s a new one (actually a re-issue of a cassette from 2019 by Banned Productions), with a Greek title, ‘Ἡ​σ​υ​χ​α​σ​μ​ό​ς’, which means ‘thank you’ (according to Google translate). Each side contains one ten/eleven-minute piece of music. ‘Propagation d’un ph​é​nom​è​ne ondulatoir’ (meaning ‘Propagation of a wave phenomenon’) and ‘Quemadmodum cevi ad fortes aquarum’ (meaning ‘In the same way I came to the strong waters’). The thank you’s on the cover are also in Latin, and I think it also says that he recorded the music last year. As always, everything with Small Cruel Party things is very cryptic here. A nightmare for the reviewer but also a good part of the fun. Everything becomes a form of poetry within the whole body of work that Small Cruel Party presents. The first piece consists of rhythmic flickering that finds its way through various delay pedals, which, as these things go with delay pedals, go in overdrive. I assume many musicians would find this out as unwanted distortion, but William Ransome, mister Party, leaves such things in; all part of the minimal process of the music, I assume. The minimalism of the other side works differently. On the first side, these are waves followed by quieter parts, but on the second side, the minimalism is continuous, with a slow variation. The music does a very slow phase-shifting, and further on in the piece, there is also a loop of percussive sound (a metal cup being struck) and the delay pedals working their magic over time again. Music that is the result of direct action or, perhaps, part of a ritual that happens to also involve music? I don’t know, but as with so many works by Small Cruel Party, I found this fascinating music, and it could have easily had an LP-sized length. (FdW)
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The release of these two LPs completes the re-issue program of Enno Velthuys’ official releases (see also Vital Weekly 1283 and 1321). As I recounted before, ever since music from this man came to light via blogs some fifteen years ago, his work has been in much demand for a re-issue, but because Velthuys passed away in 2009, it was unclear who had the rights. Luckily with the help of Hessel Veldman and the recently deceased Willem de Ridder, things were sorted out, and thanks to the expert remastering work by Jos Smolders, this work shines better than before. I heard all of the old cassettes, and they were, soundwise, not great, which is a pity, as Velthuys’ music is very rich, very detailed and must be heard in good quality. These LPs are the real deal in that respect. The music is largely synthesizer based, with a bit of piano, some guitar, and occasionally a rhythm machine. The dreamy textures are very smooth; there are ambient pieces from a more traditional perspective, such as the lengthy ‘Morning Glory’ or a more introvert yet almost poppy ‘Just Like Lucky Luke’. Of the two records, ‘Ontmoeting’ is the oldest, Velthuys debut cassette from 1982, and ‘Landscapes In Thin Air’ his third, from 1985. Interestingly, both releases have a mixture of longer, sustaining ambient music and shorter, poppier ditties. And as I also thought of the previous records, some of this music comes close to the new age world, but Velthuys saves for me when he goes out in full ambient modus. You’d think that releasing the four main releases from Velthuys completes the picture, but there is more music from him. Some of this are from cassettes that he didn’t want officially released. I also understand that there is also music from him that moves away from the keyboard/synthesizer sound and has emphasis on guitar work. Some of this may be released on Dead Mind Records, and some on other labels. For me that’s also a bit of unknown side of Velthuys, so I am looking forward to any forthcoming releases. (FdW)
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There is little doubt that I said this before, but I think Strafe F.R. is one of the most underrated groups in music history. Siegfried Michael Syniuga and Bernd Kastner have been releasing music since 1979 under this name. After 44 years, they didn’t produce the biggest catalogue in the world, but a very consistent, high-quality one nonetheless. Strafe Für Rebellion is all over the place, both in a stricter musical sense and a broader sense, dealing with science, history, philosophy, mass media and art installations. Not that this is always very clear in the music or the cover. This L.P. is a mystery regarding the additional layers of interest. ‘Octagon Sphere’ is the sister album to ‘Soundless Sphere’, their album from last year (Vital Weekly 1322), as the pieces also deal with the female voice. They come to us singing, processed and speaking and untreated. Along with Strafe F.R.’s standard package of sampling instruments, this is a hot stew of sounds. Rhythm is, this time, essential for the music, and at times it sounds like dance music. Don’t expect their music to have a constant bump, a 4/4/ thing, as they break up pieces mid-way and then continue somewhere else while, for instance, having the vocal elements return. As with their last one, a common thread in much of their output, the music is full of hints towards pop music, yet it never becomes that. What would I call this? I have no idea. All sorts of popular music seem to be part of this, but just as easily thee are links to traditional, Non-Western music. Through all the montage techniques they apply, the mighty spirit of musique concrète is also woven into this story. There are two long pieces here, the constantly broken up ‘Tank 20’ and the more straightforward storytelling of ‘Humbleness Before The Sair Way’. The record opens and closes with a shorter piece, and these are shorter, abstracter stories, more straightforward, and more like the pieces on the previous CD. An excellent sister album, if ever there was one. (FdW)
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The 19th release by Iikki Books contains a choice of an LP or a CD with music by Observatories, the duo of Craig Tattersall and Ian Hagwood, and a photo book called ‘7 AM’ by Tereza Kozinc and Klavdij Sluban. As always, one can enjoy them separately or together. Kozinc is from Slovenia but lived in Greece, Paris and her home country, but she always seems to be moving around. That she reflects in her photography as well. She works a lot with Klavdij Sluban, also of Slovenian origin, living in Paris. The subject of this book is Martin, born at 07:07, on 17 July, infant ID bracelet 2777, hence the title. I assume Kozinc’s son. One may expect an album of family snapshots, but they are not. They show us the son, up to the age of maybe three, but also, there are pictures from nature and more abstract things, some of which suggest the human body. These pictures are quite beautiful, with a fine poetic quality to them; as such, the music is a perfectly fitting soundtrack. Observatories present their second release, following ‘Flowers Bloom, Butterflies Come’, also for Iikki books (see Vital Weekly 1279). Both musicians have a long-standing reputation when it comes to playing fragile music. In their sound world, everything seems to be on the verge of collapse. Old reel-to-reel machines, old cassettes and no doubt other ancient devices are used to capture field recordings, piano sounds, organ drones and a guitar; I wouldn’t be surprised if there is also some sort of computer processing used, captured on old Ferro cassettes. Quiet music is the result and, as such, something we have come to expect from these players. I wrote that this is the perfect soundtrack for a grey day, and luck has it that this is another one of those cold and grey winter days. These mild tones work wonders, be aware there is much depth in this music. In ‘Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself’, there is quite the bass rumble, so it is not too gentle. This isn’t some go-with-the-flow new-age music but is firmly rooted in the world of ambient music. Pure bliss. (FdW)
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JOE COLLEY – ACTING AS IF (10″ by Substantia Innominata)

I don’t keep up with Joe Colley’s recent releases for reasons I am unsure of myself. Not that there are many of them, but I only heard a few. Maybe his work is these days within installation work or performing? This new record shows Colley as I know him best. He is a man with an ear to the ground or wall; he hears stuff we don’t. I believe he uses very few ‘real’ instruments, and for convenience, I include all things synthesizer (modular, digital, analogue). With his equipment, he records the unwanted sounds from our world. Buzzing, whirring, near broken cables and other forms of electric debris. It’s never clear whether his recording devices are great or lo-fi. It could go either way, I think. Maybe you need great some great electro-magnetic devices to pick up these sounds, but at the same time, when they are relatively low-key, they might have another attractive quality. Get my drift here? We live in a world with many sounds, at least many of us. I like to think I live in a quiet street, but here too, there is a lot of noise pollution. This pollution, so I believe, is Colley’s playground. He collects and collates this material into pieces of dystopian nightmare. Coley’s music sounds like I imagine the sound of a leaking nuclear power plant, the last breath of a machine park, and the death rattle of our post-industrial society. Unlike some of the other work I heard from Colley, this new work is relatively ‘smooth’, I must say. There aren’t many hard cuts to indicate the final breath of a sound (but they are also not entirely absent), but Colley, this time, uses smoother transitions in the music. Many fragments are slowly cross-faded into the next section, revealing a less brutal element in his work. Or, perhaps, one could say, it makes his music all the more gentle? Or even more musical? Colley applies all the techniques from musique concrète here but keeps much of his source material in what seems to be a pretty rough state anyway. It’s dark; it’s real, scary, weird, haunting and haunted and, ultimately, beautiful music. (FdW)
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WE BOUGHT A STAR (lathe cut by Static Caravan)

This little record has been on my desk for some time, but maybe the size makes it almost impossible to focus attention to. A lathe cut record in the form of a star containing what Static Caravan describes as “one minute of radiated star noise”. There is no noise here but spoken words about stars, the sun and us. Cryptic? You bet. Will I explain it? You bet I don’t. The label information says, available upon request. Good or bad are irrelevant notions. A lovely object. (FdW)
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I have shared a stage with Wilt five times in my life. All events were on US soil, and I always get a big smile on my face when people talk about the event on February 23rd 2002, in Chicago. It was like the event ‘everybody attended’ who was in the vicinity of Chicago as well as people who happened to be visiting. Yes, Wilt and I go a bit back, and I think it’s the relationship where you perhaps don’t talk or interact a lot, but you have a lot of respect for each other. During the 2003 dates, James invited us, and we visited a sculpture garden together. Happy memories for two depressed noise heads doing what they do best: Thinking, talking, connecting and then just “being”.
    Wilt has been active since 1998 and has – since then – released around 100 titles. He is best known for his noisy approach to dark ambience. The noise can sometimes be quite in-yer-face – no wonder if you also collaborate with people like Cornucopia, Skin Crime, Gruntsplatter, The Rita and Prurient – and at moments, it’s super minimal. “Crypt Gloom” is, without a doubt, a release to be added to the second/minimal approach list. The sound here is dark, filled with reverb decay and tells a story: It films in a way we can again re-use the 00’s term Cinematic Isolationism and when mixed without the silences it could have been a horror movie by Cronenberg.
    The inspiration for this third part of a trilogy – parts one and two being released on Self Abuse “A Deep Reflecting Gloom” and “Crypt Hymns” – is the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley. He was an early 19th Century English poet who risked ‘political and religious libel’ for his atheist/materialist philosophical views in his time. Listening to this soundtrack for that era, those must have been some dark times… Really dark… (BW)
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This cassette has been on rotation a few times, and I find getting my head around it hard. I keep reading the information about Symbiotic Instruments, but what are these? “These instruments are both pitched-percussion and preparations in the piano and on the drums”; they might be the various ceramic objects, as depicted on the cover. I am not so sure about all of this. We have three performers here. Ben Bron (drums), Marielle Groven (violin, piano) and Roxanne Nesbitt (double bass, ceramics). There is talk of a hybrid sound, but other than Ben and Roxanne recording in Vancouver and Groven in Amsterdam, I don’t see this hybrid thing that is mentioned. The music is not bad, but very much in the domain of improvisation, jazzy, and modern classical music. They play their instruments in a rather conventional way, and whatever the ceramics are doing, again, I am not too sure of that. They are an additional percussive element in the music that much I know. I like it when the music drifts away from the more conventional playing of the aforementioned musical styles, covering something more acoustic, introspective and with an oddly ritual element. The downside of this being a cassette and no download code is that I can’t say where that happened. You’ll have to take my word for it. Not bad at all, but overall not my cup of tea (or, perhaps, this is another attempt at saying: we’re not the right place for all things improved, jazz and such like; we have only minimal space for it and not the right people, mostly). (FdW)
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