Number 1385

LOUD AS GIANTS – EMPTY HOMES (CD by Consouling Sounds) *
FRANCISCO LÓPEZ – DYNAMO (CD by Unexplained Sounds Group) *
BRIGAN – LIBURIA TRIP (CD by Liburia Records) *
MILLIONS OF DEAD TOURISTS – HEALTHY (CD by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings) *
HABEAM CORPUS (CD by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings) *
COLD STORAGE – SEPULCROS DE SAL (CD by Rural Isolation Project) *
JOHN DUNCAN & BLACK LEATHER JESUS – THE KISS (CD by Rural Isolation Project) *
HAARE – NUCLEUS (LP by Rural Isolation Project) *
DYING IN SPACE – 002 (CDR by Love Earth Music) *
+DOG+ – X9 (CDR by Love Earth Music) *
GIULIA RAE – NOCTURNAL DRIFT (cassette by Sovn Records) *
QNDFK – A Heavy Gloss. (cassette by Traced Objects) *


We rarely find a quote from Joseph Goebbels on a record cover, something about a repeated lie becoming a reality. I believe the quote here is not an excellent translation, but alas. It might also not be from Goebbels. So, there you go, with things being untrue. The title of Brume’s latest work translates as ‘The violence of the void’ if Google Translate works as it could be. Brume is the long-standing project of Christian Renou. His first cassette is from 1985, and he has been active ever since, but he has periods of fewer activities. The single piece was recorded from 2020 to 2022 using reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, field recording (bunker acoustic; maybe that means recording inside a bunker?), DIY wind instruments, percussion, metal percussion, electronic toys, voice, and a three-string guitar. Well, ‘etc.’ implies there is more. Even when the CD has a single, seventy-minute piece of music, the cover has twelve titles, and it’s hard to say where one begins and the other stops. I have no idea why that is, and there are clear points with very few sounds, which might indicate the start of the next. Why not separate tracks, I wonder? I always hear Brume as the music project with very little silence. Sure, there is some between the various segments, but once the music is there, something is always happening. One of the musical changes, so it seems, is that Brume plays somewhat less abstract music and works a bit more on melody and structure. It’s not that he now plays pop music, but at some point, Renou might be singing; if it is his voice, we hear. The pieces are pretty diverse, but it is a very coherent album. Deep bass sounds, neatly processed field recordings, carefully placed voices, bowed instruments, atmospheric soundscapes and looped percussion. At times, dramatic music shifts back and forth, but not humourless. High-quality music, lasting over an hour and never once leaping into boredom; I never expect Brume to do that. Another consistent landmark of quality. (FdW)
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LOUD AS GIANTS – EMPTY HOMES (CD by Consouling Sounds)

One of the things about Loud As Giants is, oddly perhaps, that it isn’t that loud, or, to be more precise, not that loud all the time. Behind this name is the duo of Dirk Serries and Justin K. Broadrick. They both have a long and richly varied musical history. They worked together before, thirteen years ago, to be precise, using their monikers, Final (Broadrick) and Fears Falls Burning (Serries’ guitar project from back then). I don’t think I heard that one. There wasn’t a follow-up because of the usual busyness on both sides. The pandemic made it possible to work again, and maybe we should think of the title as something related to that. Broadrick likes isolation, but only if he can choose to be isolated. Well, don’t we all? I assume through the exchange of sound files, these two men worked on an album that sounds very coherent. They could have been in one room and still sounded as coherent. The loudness is an option here, or at least, that’s how I like to see these things. Sure, you can turn up the volume and be all-immersed in the music, but that’s not my style. I like immersion as much as the next person but I like my ears to last. Plus, sometimes, I like to think that the devil is in the details. By not going all the volume-way, I think (!) I can detect a few more details. Broadrick and Serries play the electric guitar, and there are some electronic drums. The interest lies within the minimalist approach to guitar drones. A rockist sound such as it is, and that is mainly due to the hammering of the slightly distorted drum machines, I should think. The guitars get strummed, chords (I think, as I have never understood the mechanics of guitar playing), I reckon, and not (e-) bowed, even when in ‘Estranged’, there is a nagging organ-like sound too. There is some intense music to be enjoyed here, loud or less loud, but it is music rich in details and depth, hammering away but always shifting around, never too long in a stasis. Just the way we like them. Now the pandemic has moved away, it would be interesting to see these things on a big stage, as by the time the music was over, I was kinda curious to hear this live (I admit I turnd the volume up); or should that be: as intended? (FdW)
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Give us our weekly Bruno Duplant, I’d say. Well, almost weekly. In a sheer endless, minimalist way, Duplant presents new works, solo and with others, always connected and always a bit different. The new collaborative effort with David Vélez, for instance, is such a work. Vélez is the one who brings field recordings to the table, or, as said on the cover, “recordings, performances, and found sounds advanced in indoor and outdoor”. And, of course, you’d think that this being on Unfathomless, there is nothing strange there. This label deals with music made with field recordings. However, this new release is a bit different, as Duplant plays “sounds and instruments recorded in the North of France”. Instruments are not something we see a lot in this label’s catalogue. I don’t have an idea what these instruments might be; shimmering electronics, some kind of keyboard and windchimes would be my best guess. These instruments huddle together like a foggy mass of sound, exactly the kind of thing we’d expect (by now, after so much of his work) Duplant to do. Whatever else happens, and I would think this is the input of Vélez, is a random collection of crackles, static, rain and water recordings that is buried just below the surface of the music. It moves and keeps moving, much like the music; there is no goal, dramatic build-up, or fade-out, just these slow-changing masses of sound. Dark is the keyword here, but do I need to mention that? Everything in the musical world of Duplant seems to be dark and atmospheric. The music is all about illusions, just as the title suggests; you can read it as ‘of illusions’ or ‘desillusions’. The latter, of course, accounts for the fact that it is all dark and doomy. I thought this was an excellent release! No desillusion in sight. (FdW)
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FRANCISCO LÓPEZ – DYNAMO (CD by Unexplained Sounds Group)

It is not often that we see on the cover of a release all the accomplishments of the musician, but this one has all the facts about Francisco López. Much of which I gather regular readers of these pages already know. In the world of sound that is López, absolute sound plays an important role. Many of his releases are untitled so as not to direct the listener in any way. Sometimes there is a title, which means there is some direction. ‘Dynamo’ is such a work. López provided the musical side to an installation for the Spanish pavilion at the Expo Dubai 2020. The cover details lengthy what this installation is about, and it is too much to repeat, even in a few words… well, I try; there are three sculptural screens, loop-like with sixteen speakers, and the audience can react with the handrail. More people means more energy, hence the name dynamo of the piece. This fits exactly the world of sound that is López; very silent and very loud. Throughout the years, he shifted his methods towards more computer-based processing of field recordings instead of a more analogue treatment of sound. And as always, this might not be the case; I am, as always, merely assuming this kind of thing. It’s been a while since I had a conversation with mister López, even when he’s been residing in this beautiful country of mine. I hope López allows me to disconnect the audio from the visual here to look at the audio work as an independent work because, even with the description, we have no natural visual feeling here. Also, the music is disconnected from the work via the release of the CD. In the five pieces, each averaging fifteen minutes, López uses field recordings that are highly obscured from their original sources and, no doubt, from the extensive archive of López. There is a slightly industrial feeling here, like walking along a conveyer belt in a big industrial building. Machines buzz and hum, and there is a strong, energetic flow to the sounds here. Sometimes the sound of water sets events in motion, like a good old waterwheel but with a more electric feeling. Each piece ends abruptly, followed by some silence, again in true Lópezian style. There is some mighty intense music here, even without the tactile feeling of the installation. (FdW)
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BRIGAN – LIBURIA TRIP (CD by Liburia Records)

When I reviewed two LPs by the Greek label Same Difference Music in Vital Weekly 1383, I noted something about folk music, which in that particular weekly seemed recurring. Let’s hope this CD was already on its way, as I wrote back then that Vital Weekly is not a go-to place for folk music reviews. As much as I enjoy the music on ‘Folks Nowadays’, I have a minimal idea about this music. I had not heard of Jan Van (de Engel) Angelopoulos (an odd name suggesting that he’s from Belgium or Greece; I don’t know) on drums, Dreadbox synths & pedals and Fotis Siotas on violin & effects. As far as I can hear, their music is not of the more traditional variety but also comes from the improvised music world and post-rock. They created the music for Efi Theodorou’s theatre performance “Cotton Roots” at the Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2022, which sounds like another element of knowledge surely missed in appreciating the music. I read the music filters “rhythmic and melodic elements mainly found in traditional music from the wider Northern Greek region, transforming them into a personal experience that connects the past and present, the familiar and unexpected”. It sounds interesting, but that’s as far as I can go here. If the sort of stuff we write about sets you to explore genuinely new and strange music, some out-of-the-box listening experience, then this release is something to explore.
    And you know that I don’t like to lump things together, but I feel that Brigan’s ‘Liburia Trip’ falls in a similar folk territory. They are an Italian trio playing wind instruments, bagpipes, accordion, piano, percussion and electronic drums. I read about a combination of world music and electronics, ‘placing itself not as a simple re-proposition of the tradition of southern Caserta […] but as a creation in the present, of an imaginary world now lost”. Chanting, flutes, drums. I missed this year’s Fantasy Fair (true fact), where they have this kind of medieval music, which is also the kind Brigan plays. Well, or so I think. What do I know about any of this? Exactly nothing at all. Like the Greek release, I enjoyed playing, had no clue what to write and moving on.
    Oh, and Vital Weekly is not, I repeat and emphasize NOT, a publication about folk and traditional music. (FdW)
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This release captures a live performance in Italy by Politácito. The trio consists of Italian members, percussionist Stefano Giust and tenor saxophonist Paolo Pascolo, who also plays the flute and bass. Completing the trio is alto saxophonist María “Mange” Valencia from Colombia, who also plays the clarinet and the side whistle. Valencia has recorded two duo records with Violeta Garcia on cello. Pascolo and Giust form a duo called Haiku and are in Aghe Clope. The music on this release is sparse, spacious and intimate. That’s not to say there are no moments of fury or turmoil, but it’s all relatively quiet and meditative, which is not to say it’s boring, far from it. ‘Puntiagudos ocultos’ starts with long intertwining lines in alto sax and flute, accompanied by crazy rhythms and textures concocted by Giust. He has a beautiful solo spot in the same piece. The last part, ‘Il Ginocchio D’Anatra’ (Knee of a duck)- mixes bass flute in a twisted ostinato with the alto sax sounding like a duduk. Meanwhile, Giust gets some duck-like sounds out of the cymbals. Forty minutes long, this is an excellent release by musicians who listen intently to each other and get wonderful sounds, textures and sometimes melodies across. I especially like the sound of the bass flute; it adds a kind of mystery to the proceedings, not to mention the lower spectrum of sound since there is no bass instrument. The two woodwind players react to each other with agility and speed, creating a dialogue in which, sometimes, one ends a sentence, and the other one begins. I hope there will be a follow-up release in the future. (MDS)
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MILLIONS OF DEAD TOURISTS – HEALTHY (CD by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings)
HABEAM CORPUS (CD by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings)

I took the liberty of taking the online English title translation for the review, as it appears in Greek only on the cover. In fact, there is a lot of Greek on the cover, but we learn that Millions Of Dead Tourists on this CD is Yiannis (bass, effects), Iason (synths, samples, drum machine), Sotiris (bass, effects) and Nikolas (vocals, effects). They recorded the music from 2020 to 2022, and there is a strong political aspect to the music, stating that “the health coup of 2020” “inspired by dystopian science fiction scenarios was soon transformed into the horror of the realization that the actual instruction manual of our time is 1984”. That is one narrative that one doesn’t hear a lot or I don’t see a lot among musicians. As always, with overtly political stances and music, I fail to hear that within the music. The voice of Nikolas is hard to make out what he sings, and the lyrics are in Greek on the cover, some much for converting new believers. I am sure that, unlike López reviewed elsewhere, these musicians rather not see their music severed from the message, but I do it anyway, free world or otherwise. Much like Iason’s other musical project PS Stamps Back, the music here leans heavily on synthesizer and drum machines, but with the extra addition of two bass guitars and many sound effects. You might not be surprised to learn that this music is dark, despite the solid rhythmic feeling, from the world of dance music. Not exactly dance music, but, on the other hand, why not? I can imagine circumstances where people dance to the music. Despite the darkness and the heavy theme, I very much enjoyed this sombre dance, as much as I always enjoy PS Stamps Back. The bass guitar is both in a supporting role and a more free play, though it never gets freaky or chaotic. The third song is the most uncontrolled and the lightest of the four, but light is to be understood as a touch of greyness. Excellent production all around here, making it groove hard.
    [wiki] Habeas corpus from Medieval Latin, lit. ’that you have the body’, is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person, usually a prison official, to bring the prisoner to court, to determine whether the detention is lawful.” It is also the name of the duo in which we again meet Iason (synths, loops, effects), but now working with Yorgos on voice and flutes. He recites texts by Paul Virilio, Byung-Chul Han and Charles Baudelaire. However, he does that in Greek, and as such, the meaning is lost (again), especially as the five pieces do not share titles of the poem, as three of the parts are called ‘Habeam Corpus’, bookended by ‘Principum’ and ‘Exitus’. The bouncing rhythm is a presence again, but Iason works differently this time. There is continuous sequencer bounce, supported by a bass drum, but in total support of the texts. The flute, whatever it does, is lost in the music. Maybe it’s there, but I didn’t hear it. Yorgos has a somewhat dramatic delivery, which, I guess, is the nature of the various texts behind this. But, as said, when one doesn’t understand the language, it all becomes a bit more complicated, especially when the emphasis on the text is this strong. It all left me a bit lost, even when the music was something that I enjoyed. (FdW)
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No stranger to these pages, Norwegian percussion player Ingar Zach. He plays with ensembles such as Dans Les Arbres, Huntsville and O3, and composing works for Ensemble MusikFabrik, Quatuor Bozzini, Speak Percussion, playing and improvising with peers and recording solo works. ‘Strumento Di Etimo Incerto’ (meaning ‘instrument of uncertain etymology’) is his eighth solo album. Zach shows his love for the Gran Cassa, the big drum, sometimes called the concert bass or kick drum. Zach puts this drum on its side and plays it with instruments and vibrating speakers. This way, he extracts pretty different results from this instrument; percussive but different. There is one long piece, ‘Cicchitaredu’, six short parts of ‘Le Finestre’ and the ten minutes of ‘Davoli’. In the first one, his interests are combined; Zach plays the drum with sticks, balls and objects while speakers create resonant spaces. This piece has an excellent swing, especially halfway through when Zach is hitting the skin with a fine groove; objects shake around this, and it all ends with speakers upon the surface, adding an eerie texture towards the end of the piece. An excellent piece. I see the six parts of ‘Le Finestre’ as studies into the possibilities of vibrating skins and a collage-like approach, with short attacks and standing waves. The music has a rhythmic aspect, but perhaps not as obvious. The final piece is rather a study in silence, at least for two-thirds of it, before it slowly unfolds into a very subtle percussive rumble meets drone. It is quiet for quite some time, leading me to think that this is one of those long gaps of silence before the last piece, but upon closer inspection, this is not the case. This is a beautiful piece, just like the first one, and both work on entirely different levels. Subtleness versus something more outgoing. These pieces, located at the beginning and end of the disc, form a journey from a wild, flowery country into a desolate place with various shades of grey. In between are six short rocky roads. A trip that shows the mastery of percussion powerhouse Zach and nothing looks pretty conventional here. (FdW)
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I don’t think I heard of Alessandra Rombola before. I believe she is from Norway, even though most pieces were recorded in Italy. On this CD, we find five pieces composed for her and her instrument of choice, the flute. The composers are Daniele Terranova, Jan Martin Smørdal, Ingar Zach and Lasse Marhaug. Smørdal has two parts of ‘Répétition’, in which Rombola plays the flute and the add order, an audio device developed by the composer that can simultaneously record, amplify and playback. In these pieces, Rombola tries to replicate what she is playing in real-time, and she uses short sounds, almost like voices fed through a vocoder. These exciting pieces of nervousness and hecticness form a pleasing contrast with ‘The Ring’, which she co-composed with Ingar Zach. Bass flute, piccolo and pre-recorded flutes create an excellent minimalist piece of modern composing. The second part of ‘Répétition’ sounds like bird imitations. In ‘Breathing Rust And Clouds’ (by Terranova), there is some more minimalism, but now by flute only. No layering, no drones, just solo flute, some silence and various action. This piece has a somewhat improvised music feeling, just like the Marhaug piece, which is at twenty-six minutes by far the most extended piece. Here Rombola plays flute, piccolo, alto flute, bass flute and electronics. Marhaug created a piece of her playing these instruments and then gave it back as the basis for more recordings. The electronics are more dominating than the Zach piece. You could call this improvised or electro-acoustic. I enjoyed this piece, but I think it overstays its welcome. I would have enjoyed all the same or even more if it was half this length. Now there is a bit too much of the same thing going on. All in all a most enjoyable release, with one excellent piece of music, one that wasn’t for me, and three that were pretty good. (FdW)
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We learned by now that Love Earth Music releases mainly noise music, but not exclusively. But the music of Elka Bong takes it in an unexpected direction. Elka Bong consists of veteran Al Margolis (once known as If, Bwana, but since long working under his real name) and Walter Wright. He plays Board Weevil and acoustic drum kit on all four pieces, while Margolis plays electric guitar and objects on two pieces, a Roland MC 202 Microprocessor on one piece, and a Casio CZ 101. They have two guest players, each on two pieces. Side A has Andrea Pensado on voice and electronics and label boss Steve Davis on electronics on side B. All four pieces are about ten minutes, and they are from the corners of improvised music. In the two pieces with Davis, sustaining synthesizer sounds and electronics are next to Wright’s hectic drumming. Noise is here modest feature; more about chaos than harshness, I should think. Pensado’s use of voice concerns sound poetry, and ‘Improvisation’ reminded me of early Jaap Blonk, reciting the ‘Ursonate’. I preferred ‘Extended Technique’, in which she uses more electronics, so it all becomes obscure, along with Margolis suppressed noise guitar and Wright more on the Board Weevil and a lot less on the drums. Indeed, this record is quite an oddball in the label’s catalogue; it took me some time to get around this! (FdW)
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COLD STORAGE – SEPULCROS DE SAL (CD by Rural Isolation Project)
HAARE – NUCLEUS (LP by Rural Isolation Project)

Here we have a trio of releases in which the connection is noise music, but with considerable differences, as we shall see. I want to start with what turned out to be the least noisy of this bundle, Cold Storage. One MTurner is the mastermind behind this one-hour (almost on the dot) piece of music. I had not heard of him (?) before. The information is limited to ‘recorded winter 2022, Austin, Texas’, and the website mentions harmonium, field recording, bamboo flute, microphonic feedback, synth, cymbal, bowed everything and scrap metal. “Dedicated to all dead animals everywhere”. The title translates as ‘salt graves’. I especially like that ‘bowed everything’ as it seems to be something Cold Storage likes a lot; pulling bows over strings, cymbals, and objects and combined with sound effects, it has that dark and moody sound that reminds me of early Organum; perhaps, a less noisy, especially in the first half of the CD. Following a short blast of noise, there is a long section in which Cold Storage minimally bows strings and creates subtle movements in these waves. In the second half, the bowing continues with considerably more hectic and a further opening of effects. During the second, the drones from other sources slowly full up the piece; I recognized the bamboo flute in this second. Field recordings, on the other hand, I don’t think I heard anymore, but maybe these are heavily transformed. This is an excellent piece of dark ambient with a slightly noisy end, but don’t let the word scare you away when looking for exciting new drone music.
    On the other side of the noise coin, we find the harsh noises of Black Leather Jesus, the duo of Sean E. Matzus and Richard Ramirez; the latter is the founder, and since 1990 there has been a long stream of releases, but their music was never reviewed that much in Vital Weekly; I have no idea why that is. They team up, via file exchange (I assume, as there is no information to confirm this), with John Duncan, the grand ol’ man of noise music whose primary instrument is shortwave radio. That he also uses this collaboration with his American comrades, who simply take credit for ‘electronics’. Now, I mostly know Black Leather Jesus as a very harsh troupe, whereas Duncan plays with the dynamics of noise. There are three pieces on this disc, of which ‘Turbulent’ in the middle is their massive noise blast. The two pieces around are a bit more dynamic and balanced. Each piece is around thirteen minutes. Yet, I couldn’t say who did what here concerning the mix. It would be easy to think BLJ did ‘Turbulent’ and Duncan had a hand in the other two, but, all the same, it might be different. The harsh noise blast sounds decent, but it’s too loud and single-minded for me. The slow-building burners that makeup ‘Shivering’ and ‘Golden Honey’ have more sonic pleasure for me. Especially the first is a creepy crawler, going from inaudibility to a point when the laboratory is on fire, and ‘Golden Honey’ has a similar build-up, except that the factory explodes towards the end of the piece. My noise share of the week is fulfilled.
    The two previous reviews of Haare’s music were not from me (VItal Weekly 1268 and 1238), and I am not even sure I heard these back then. ‘Nucleus’ I consider my first encounter with Haare. Behind the project is Ilkka Vekka from Finland, who also uses that name for music. He also works as Kosmische Horror (great name if it does what I think it is), Morbid Organ, Schizo Trio and Sutra. I am never too versed in the world of ritual, magic, and what have you, being a more down-to-earth type of guy. Something is lost here, but I believe the music has a somewhat alchemical or ritualistic aspect, and there is distortion on the record, but it never gets brutally loud. Think of a more demented drone, created by rusty synthesizers, stomp boxes, and guitars but also flutes and percussion. Unquiet music for a pagan ritual, or, as it says on the inlay, ‘ritual music performed at the court of The Silver-skinned Emperor’s Coronation ceremony’, for the opening piece ‘The Coronation’. I believe you don’t have to buy into the whole ritualist aspect here; one can simply enjoy the music for what it is. That’s what I did. I like dark drones and like them to be a bit crude. Haare delivers exactly that. Returning to the inlay, the last piece is described as ‘a completely pointless ritual performed after the final end, when not a single God is listening’; that’s oke, humans are listening, and that’s better than God (plural or otherwise). Haare plays the kind of music that I associate with his home country; dark forests in which danger lurks and people banging on drums to keep the wolves away. A romantic notion, of course, but just like Haare, I have a weakness for familiar places. Delightful music. (FdW)
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Daniel Sine is someone that is mentioned more often in Vital Weekly. He now resides in the US with a musical life that started in Japan. And “Degradation Bliss” is his third release on Love Earth Music, though it’s his first vinyl. Concerning its production, the vinyl fits the optimal marks. Twenty minutes per side (a longer playing time will affect your sound), so 40 minutes total. The mastering is done very well by Grant Richardson, and the sound from beginning to end has the massiveness you’re looking for in noise, especially when it’s on vinyl.
    Side A counts 5 tracks, so they’re a bit shorter than the obvious longer ones on side B (only 3 tracks there). I must say it’s hard to describe the style of music. It’s harsh; it’s noisy as hell, and there are constant changes everywhere. But for example, the use of vocal /samples in “Temple of Deformed Deities” and the rhythmic inclination through the use of percussive sounds creates maybe a bit of a ritual atmosphere while not being tribal or ritual at all. And it’s a complete contrast to the 3m30 noise wall “Night Drive”, which is still on the same side.
    And the reverse side shows even more dynamics; “Exile in Ghetto Estatic” starts as an ultra-heavy noise drone and suddenly breaks down completely. The spaciousness that Daniel creates through this proves that extreme noise can be silence too. And to top it off, well, I won’t use the word ‘commercial’, but if ever a noise track deserved to become a hit single, “Sister Went Dancing” comes as close as it gets. No, you can’t dance to it, but we all know how the right track on the right volume triggers an inner rhythm that makes us move to things others can’t hear.
    In early June L’Eclipse Nue will perform at TORMENTUM FESTIVAL II in Linz. Maybe bring some extra cash, and I hope this album will be available there. (BW)
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DYING IN SPACE – 002 (CDR by Love Earth Music)

What can you do with one guitar and four guitar effect pedals? Well, you can make an album and release it. I think Dying in Space is Silas Price from Lowell, Massachusetts, but I’m not 100% sure. 002 is a session on a guitar where he recorded a soundscape/noise piece based on this simple setup. First, record a layer, then add another layer while improvising on what you hear from the first take. The result is one loud mother effin’ thing where so much happens that it is quite impossible to write a review. So yes, this will be the shortest review of all the Love Earth Music reviews this week.
The track has almost no ‘chord’ moments, and there is no ‘finger fast’ solo, but it generates many sounds which- combined with the effects – create a massive sound. At moments droney, at other moments erratic and sometimes completely un-guitaric (probably not a word, but I liked it too much to find a different term).
    So it’s not a bad release because a lot is happening, and there is much to explore. And after listening to the 36-minute track, you hear the same track again but then reversed. This is a joy in itself because it sounds completely different, and it’s fun to hear what happens if the sustain of a sound in the first version gets reversed or what effect it has to hear a delay come towards you instead of it fading out after you hear the origin.
So yes: this one is short but fun! (BW)
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Ah, here we have a double-treat of music by David Lee Myers. For a moment, I thought this would be some ‘guess the ten differences’ game; one of those questions was ‘, What’s the difference between David Lee Myers and Arcane Devices’. Maybe I am just a superficial listener and miss out on the finer nuances of both releases; maybe I am just a bit too goal-oriented in reviewing. Perhaps that made me less critical because I am playing these in one row after being away from my desk. All of these considerations aside, I love what I am hearing. But, and if this is a surprise, you haven’t been reading these pages for very long; I have been a big fan of Myers’ work for a long time, one could say from his debut LP (Arcane Device) onwards. For a long time harping on the idea of feedback machines, but over the years, the idea of feedback machines (sound out feeding into sound in, going through various sound effects) has morphed into modular synthesises. And quite rightly so. Whereas the idea of machines that created feedback could deliver, actual music was, with hindsight, perhaps a novelty idea, Myers’ current sound owes much more to the world of modular electronics, modern electronics or whatever term you feel connects best here. If differences are to be mentioned, then I’d say that ‘Gagaku’ has (obviously) shorter pieces, which have a slightly more fragmentary feel to them, while the pieces on ‘Matrix’ are densely layered and slightly more drone-like. I don’t have a preference, as I enjoy them either way. ‘Gagaku’ might feel ‘lighter’, with higher-pitched sounds, crawling around like busy insects, whereas ‘Matrix’ feels like a bunch of dark clouds slowly passing. But lines blur between both releases, as both interests appear on both discs; again, this may result from continuous going back and forth between both releases. Perhaps that’s my only criticism: it’s too much to digest. A consistent, high-quality avalanche. David Lee Myers hardly disappoints. (FdW)
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+DOG+ – X9 (CDR by Love Earth Music)

The ongoing series of “X#” by +DOG+ is fun. Yes, it truly is! I have no clue how many copies are being made, but each time we get these in, Frans knows how to reach me, and I’m always happy to review them. For several reasons. First, because of the sounds on there. It’s not super high-produced released; they always have a LoFi attitude. From what I understood of Mr +DOG+ himself, it’s primarily experiments of projects, live recordings, and outtakes, and they are put on a release because they somehow fit. And because there is no ‘overproduction’, the atmosphere is a bit ‘demo’-like. And for me, that is the same charm I found on overdubbed demos or live recordings back in the 80s when there was still an active tape scene.
    The second reason why I always like them is beCAUSE of that experimentation. Please don’t get me wrong, I like sounds, just sounds, and a proper CD with an ongoing theme and production, a solid choice of instrument, and a coherent sound is excellent: it can be like a hard-cover book from an authorized writer, looks and reads great, but it can still be a shitty story. However, the X-series are a collection of stories, forming a whole; A journey. You read the stories, and if there is a story you don’t like, it still has meaning in the book. Same here. I wouldn’t be surprised if these X-releases somehow form the basics for a new full-time +DOG+ release. Or at least the experiments.
The theme of “X9” is landscape or related terminology: “Fields”, “Mountains”, “Rivers”, “lakes”, “Ponds”, “Skies”, and “Glaciers”. +DOG+ always manages to have the titles somehow in sync with the sounds. “Fields”, for example, has an empty feeling where a pitched down vocal sample creates a somewhat ‘wobbly territory’ while “Mountains” seems based on a noise sound being faded in and out of volume depicting the peaks of a mountain view in the distance. “Rivers” has a constantly moving flow, and in its turn, “Skies” is super minimal and empty, while a raincloud passes through in the middle of the track. The crackling /distorted sounds in “Glaciers” seems fitting also … So, to make a long story short: +DOG+ did another “X”-release, and I liked the others; I liked it again. (BW)
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Here is a complex one. Why complex? Well … Lemme explains… Threes, and Will is a one-man psych-drone /noise-rock /noise /drone-rock band from Estonia. Even when the name might sound like there are at least ‘three’ people involved and even maybe a fourth (‘will’) but … None of such; it’s a one-man project. And Huerequeque is also a one-man project, also from Estonia. And I’ve been looking around a bit, and he’s doing way more noise-dub kinda sounds, so in these compositions, I hardly recognize his influence, if I’m honest. But having said that, I haven’t heard all of his material, so that I can be very wrong here too.
    Music-wise, this release is two heavy guitar-based compositions spanning 30 minutes, with lots of pulsation and a throbbing /threatening atmosphere. Maybe think the massiveness of Sunn O))) mainly on track two, but then without the chord changes or intense freakiness (jazz noise?!?) on the first track. This music is not for everybody, but if these heavy guitar noise explosions are your thing … I mean, there is literally no moment of rest or peace somewhere in this track.
    And the codeword in the last sentence is indeed ‘peace’ because the complexity comes to its climax. A quote from Wiki: “In the Battle of Blood River Poort on 17 September 1901, a Boer commando led by Louis Botha crushed a British force commanded by Major Hubert Gough during the Second Boer War.” Track 2 carries the title “Blood River Poort”, while track one is titled “Vryheidsoorlog”, another name for the mentioned South African Boer War. So how and where do two guys from Estonia creating guitar noise get the idea to do an album themed about a South African war between the Transvaal Colonists and the British Empire? And what is their message about the subject? But I started the review with the word complex, right? (BW)
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Straight from Worcester, Massachusetts is this Abdul H. Sherzai, who some of you might know from NxCx, a.k.a Nazi Coffins (cosmic sad jazz; anti-fascist noise duo). Let’s call it the New England Noise Scene is a really active scene from where I know quite a few names from the past playing the Rhode Island Noise Fest a few times at the beginning of this century. Many happy memories include weird combined barbeques and harsh noise performances in creepy cellars. I had never heard of Abdul’s solo material and was pleasantly surprised.
    “Idle Passage” is a concise release with 31:24 minutes on the counter, divided into six tracks. How he generates the sounds is unknown to me, though it sounds like a combination of pedals, loops and various other sound sources. It’s not a massive harsh noise wall, but the compositions have a lot of movement. Sounds range from distorted rhythmic sounds to clean oscillators – or so it seems – and everything in between. I bet this sounds intrusive when you hear it on a proper sound system. Maybe that’s why his name is often mentioned at noise shows in that area.
    Towards the album’s end, it all gets a bit louder, with “Staring Into Flashlights” and “Die In Obscurity” being the absolute top. Due to its drowsiness, the latter is my favourite, but the incredible feedback layer also hurt my ears. But his tagline warned me, so don’t feel sorry for me! (‘Not for the faint of heart, but for the hard of hearing’). Well-produced, well-composed, clear, sounding noise experiments from someone we probably will hear more of. (BW)
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Love Earth Music does not restrict itself to one style of noise, which is great for some and a nightmare for others. What people would consider a disadvantage is that buying everything blindly may lead to an occasional ‘why the f*** did I …” if something is out of your comfort zone. On the other hand, an advantage is that if you follow the label a bit – like we do at the office because of promotion and such – you get into contact with a lot of different music, old and new names and experiments which we otherwise probably never would have heard of. And sure, that new music can be hit or miss, but you will also know in the meantime that Love Earth Music generated a lot of ‘hits’ in my book.
    So, now you’re all expecting me to write down that Peace & Love, a noise improvisation band existing of Jay Jolly (drums) and Slater Clampitt (voice & electronics), is the first ‘miss’, but sadly, nope. I reserve the ‘nope’ for music that has no place in my collection, and “New American Nihilist” deserves a place. The project makes a kind of jazz-rock experimental music with a minimal approach to (for lack of better words) ‘songwriting’. It’s pure emotion being expressed here. Anger (just listen to the noise in “Freedom and Me”) or cries of despair reflecting unanswered love (“RSVP”) come to mind.
    This week I was at a noise event, and one of the bands playing had live drums, a guitarist and someone doing vocals/noise. During that performance, I thought it was an excellent addition to the otherwise maybe static evening of knob twiddlers, but I wouldn’t get an album to bring home. The final track of “New American Nihilist” emphasizes this because this live recording has everything that the first four tracks may lack (because it’s effing loud). Still, the live track lacks a bit of the depth of the electronic layers, for example, on “Freedom and Me”. Having said all, this is a noise style that wasn’t in my collection until now. And I’m thankful for the introduction. (BW)
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GIULIA RAE – NOCTURNAL DRIFT (cassette by Sovn Records)

Behind Giulia Rae, we find Giulia Francavilla, an Italian composer who studied Sonology in The Netherlands. She played in punk and noise bands and explored “new pathways cutting across algorithmic and club-oriented music”. This see did as Giulia Rae and had releases on Light Item, Ovaal, Intersezioni, Soilium Records and Guerilla Bizarre. None of this I heard of. I am curious what that intersection means and if her previous releases sound like the three pieces on her relatively short cassette (twenty-five minutes). There is not a lot of club music here, but all the more algorithmic stuff. I think she uses the digital domain to work with sound. Field recordings, crackles, static sound, drones and sine waves exist. Ingredients from the world of electro-acoustic music and the results are in that way. There are no beats, so perhaps more of a chill-out kind of thing? I very much like what I hear. Rae does a great job combining software synthesis, granular shifting and doing an exciting collage of ambient sounds and noise segments; the latter is only brief but very much a counterpoint in the music. At some point in the past, we would have called this clicks ‘n cuts, microsound, or laptop music. That is not to say that Rae does something old-fashioned, far from it. She is standing on the shoulder of giants, develops old interests, and creates something new, something of her own. The only downside of this release was its length. After twenty-five minutes, I wasn’t satisfied and could easily some more of this. (FdW)
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QNDFK – A Heavy Gloss. (cassette by Traced Objects)

“QNDFK is an artist & musician from Philadelphia who primarily works with samplers, drum machines & other electronic devices.” That isn’t a lot of information, but of the album, I am also told that QNDFK uses recordings made on the streets of Philadelphia, and we should take that literally. “A keyboard to play the sounds of what’s happening down the street. Tape loops of intersections. A sequencer filled with traffic spilling out melodies and self-checkout shuffle/scan-blip rhythms”. And along with that, a drum machine and a synth. I have to take QNDFK’s word that there are these recordings, as I don’t think I hear them that much or all the time. Undoubtedly, the field recordings I hear are from the urban environment, bleeping traffic lights, car passing and the electronics of a shopping mall. However, they are embedded within a drum machine and synthesizer, so everything moved elsewhere. These field recordings are merely ornamental in the music unless they are cleverly hidden, masquerading as synthesizer sounds. QNDFK plays relatively short pieces of music; most of the eight are around three minutes. That was once the perfect length for a pop song, but it’s not pop music that QNDFK does here. Within his framework of minimalist approaches, QNDFK has only a few sounds going, and within the brief timespan, that is long enough. More extended versions of these songs would not have worked as effectively. The music is sometimes a bit chaotic, going in all directions. Only when the beat is more of a strict 4/4 one is there some more organization. That happens in the closing title piece, where QNDFK takes a leaf out of the Pan Sonic meets Esplendor Geometrico book. Loud stuff throughout. (FdW)
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