Number 1386

FORBIDEN COLOR – LINGUA DEL SI (CD by Antenna Non Grata) *
MAOROORO – EMPIRES (CD by Dissipatio) *
ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT – DARLING THE DAWN (CD by Constallation Records) *
NIKO SKORPIO – N’GAI + COTD TAPES 1993-1995 (CDR by Paraferal Sound) *
NOSTALGIE ÉTERNELLE – KRUMMH​Ö​RN (CDR by Industrial Complexx) *
SUSANA LÓPEZ AKA SUSAN DRONE – STUPOR MUNDI (CDR by Vestíbulo (Colectivo Néxodos) *
BRUTOU DOU – DEEP TUNNEL (cassette by Artsy Records) *
PERKINS & FEDERWISCH – …SOMETHING KNOWN AS MUSIC (cassette by Superpolar Taips) *
BALL GEOGRAPHIE – HOTLINE / WELTEMPFANGER (cassette by Superpolar Taips) *


Despite various releases on such labels as Metaphysical Circuits, Midnight Circles, Tandem Tapes, Muzan Editions, Falt, Modern Concern and Audio Visual Atmosphere, I had not yet encountered the music of Christopher Olson. For twelve years, he has lived in the Japanese town of Nara, the city that was the capital of Japan before Kyoto and Tokyo. A town with lots of temples, shrines, and rural roads, and  Olson goes around town with a recording device, a digital one, but also cheap cassette recorders, lo-fi microphones, contact micro, hydrophones and mallets. The city is an instrument. An instrument but not in a strictly musical sense, not like last week’s Duplant/Vélez release on the same label. Olson has a lengthy story about this release, recounting familiar places for him, which doesn’t mean much if Nara is not a usual place. It is an exciting text, certainly in combination with the music. Maybe it serves as an explanation, clarification or a poetic context. Move from there to just the music, spread across five pieces, and there is the hustle and bustle of a cityscape, with back alleys, creeks and animal sounds. The cover mentions the use of “assorted IOS granular synthesis apps, pedalboard, kalimba, DIY spring box”, which means, I think, that this is not a cityscape but expanded far beyond the registration/documentation of a city. Some of these granular syntheses are sometimes quite apparent, sometimes a bit more hidden inside pure field recordings. ‘Saille/The Monday Spot’ opens with the granulated kalimba, making a rare move into a more musical domain. What I found interesting is that, at times, Standard Grey isn’t about careful sound treatments but has a more brutalist approach that we don’t often see on this label (just as last week’s musical/instrument approach). Maybe this is all about the label moving in other directions? I don’t know, but it is tempting to think about a slow expansion, moving further afield from a more traditional approach towards field recordings. (FdW)
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You probably never heard of Eardrops before; I didn’t either. I do know the two musicians behind the name very well. From Denmark, we have Claus Poulsen, who I know from a string of collaborations and solo work. From Germany, we have Sascha Stadlmeier, best known as EMERGE, but also from his ongoing duo with Chris Sigdell as Bu.d.d.A and many other collaborations. I think they mean serious business by taking on a proper band name. One evening exactly to this day one year ago, they sat together. Poulsen with his zither, pedals, dictaphone, SK-1 (an ancient sampling device from Casio) and Stadlmeier with a violin, effects, field recordings, and manipulations. This disc, however, doesn’t contain the pure improvisations from that day, but in the following months, the music was expanded and edited. What struck me was the gentle tone of these five pieces. You could say this is ambient music, but it also contains enough elements to say this is improvisation and experimental music. Especially the two instruments here, the zither and violin, are plucked and bowed freely, with the sound drifting off through a line of delay pedals. But effects and field recordings brew more drifting sound textures with other electronics. I could almost believe there is a synthesizer or two at work here, but just as well, these might be circling loops from pedals, picking up sound, pumping them around. The music is slow and spacious but with a soft edge of noise never too far away, which prevents the listener from taking it all too easily. That is the kind of ambient I like, one that isn’t connected to the world of all things lo-fi but an exciting diversification of its own. (FdW)
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Paris-based Quentin Rollet has cofounded two labels (Bisou Records and Rectangle) and owns his label, Reqords. He released a duo recording of James Worse -Melbourne based- and himself on this label. Rollet has played with many musicians and can be heard on many records and has played with many musicians and groups, including the Red Krayola, the Legendary Pink Dots & Nurse With Wound. He plays the alto sax and the sopranino, the smallest saxophone in the original saxophone family. James Worse, on the other hand, has also worked with Nurse With Wound (Steve Stapleton). He plays percussion and does spoken word on some of the tracks. Both use electronics. Incidentally: the beautiful artwork is by Steve under the moniker Babs Santini. In 55 minutes, eight pieces form a unique sound world. Processed percussion, cut up and dosed in smaller pieces to the listener, sometimes creating a groove at some point and getting slightly distorted over time, as in A Toxic Whimsleybottom. Worse’s voice gets distorted (in parallel) as well, creating a sound world that is familiar and simultaneously very alien. Hints of melodies form, get repeated a few times and fade away to be followed by expertly controlled chaos. The words or lyrics James Worse has written are made-up stories with made-up words in the best Fluxus tradition. Non-sensical but loaded with meaning, which is a paradox, of course. The music ranges from atonal tone sequences to tonal melodies. ‘Smollows’, for example, is almost like a ballad. It’s a lovely experience residing in this sound world conjured up by these experienced musicians. Excellent release!
    Four seasoned musicians improvised for an hour-long in 4 long and longer pieces. The shortest is eight minutes, and the longest is twenty minutes. Accordion (Claude Parle), modular synth (Jean-Marc Foussat), percussion (Makoto Sato), saxophone (Quentin Rollet) and sometimes voice create a riveting sound world. The title translates as space in this case and is very apt. Makato Sato has played with Alan Silva, Linda Sharrock, and Joe McPhee. Claude Perle has played with Don Cherry, among many others. Quentin Rollet is mentioned elsewhere in this week’s Vital Weekly. And Jean-Marc Foussat has worked with Evan Parker. Listening to this release, I lost track of time. Even when things get a bit more dense and wild, there’s still a sense of space and openness. Halfway through the first track, there’s a meditative passage with a nice dronelike ostinato in the accordion with slow-changing chords. I can’t find the right words to describe this music. It’s eerie at times, slow, fast-moving with lightning-fast runs in accordion and sax, melodic at times, and extra-ordinary percussion work by Sato. If there’s one release you want to hear this week where impro meets modern classical music, this is it. (MDS)
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While I believe Vital Weekly is flooded with releases from the world of free jazz, jazz, modern classical and free improvisation, I also think a large grey area of music is connected to these genres. These might need to get their rightful place on the pages. Forbidden Color is such a group. A quartet of players, all new to me, I think; Sandra Weiss (bassoon), Rodolphe Loubatiere (snare drum), Anna-Kaisa Meklin (viola da gamba) and Violetta Motta (traverse and hybrid flutes). They played in Locarno in 2022 and “explore together the different possibilities of identifying phenomena related to Baroque performance, such as timbre, nuances, colours, etc., or any element that can make the transition between the usual and the imperceptible sensory. They underline and speak spaces that disturb us in the face of the idea of the familiar and deepen that unique area of conflict between the place of one music and another”. Their instruments are called historical. I don’t understand much of their intentions, but my lack of knowledge of all the baroque is part of that. Whatever I heard of Baroque music in my life didn’t sound like what I heard here. This quartet plays slow-moving music that may or may not stem from the world of improvisation or modern classical music. There is also a component of electro-acoustics here, objects or such upon the surface of the snare drum, maybe. The sustaining sounds of the bassoon, flutes and viola intertwine and play majestically. There is a rather solemn atmosphere in the music here but with an odd undercurrent of ‘other’ and ‘strange’ sounds. The music here is not one thing or another, which makes it not easy to classify (something reviewers always love to do; well, I do). Something is fascinating about this; I may miss out on something here. If only I knew what that is, but I don’t know. (FdW)
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The CD counter gives eleven tracks in 38 minutes, of which two tracks are over 5 minutes; the rest is below. Seeing this before listening to the music makes me wonder how it will build up. The opening “Mazaron” has vocals and implies a death / black metal kinda atmosphere, but luckily “, Raphalut” is soon entering the area of sounds we like. Noisy structures, throbbing layers, feedback where you want it – well positioned in the panorama – and massive effects but not to the point of the whole drone being an overworked reverb. All aggression and despair are adequately dosed and form a massive, well-produced album.
    There are some moments where that death / black atmosphere returns, like in “Piron” and “Margaleth”, but it’s more than okay at this time in the album. It somehow found its spot, and because we were introduced at an earlier stage, this layer of aggression fits the music very well. So relistening the whole album for a second, third, and fourth time made it more and more a very well thought of conceptual composition; as said, it was very well produced and an absolute joy to listen to.
    So, what is Lucaslavia all about? Let’s start reading the promo sheets. It is a project by Stefan Goldmann. Someone I had never heard of, but you can’t know everybody. He is very (VERY!) active in Berlin and Berghain, but that has never been part of my life or interest. Stefan’s activities, however, are on so many levels and in so many directions that I might take an afternoon off to scroll through his discography and see if – next to this first release of his Lucaslavia moniker – more interesting stuff because this guy knows what he’s doing. The backside confirms the earlier description I found for this album. It’s tagged Death Ambient and ‘operates on the outer rings of metal’. Yes, a welcome addition to anybody who likes the ‘creepy atmospheric parts’ on more extreme metal releases, as well as interesting to anybody who wants to touch the void between drones and death industrial. (BW)
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Music by Craig Tattersall was reviewed not too long ago; in Vital Weekly 1376, from his duo Observatories, with Ian Hagwood. That was from a release on Likki Books, also run by Mathias van Eecloo, who also runs Laaps; today, two releases from his little empire together. Tattersall teams up with Russel Burden, also known as Being. He too is from the UK, the south coast and “his practice develops work that explores qualities of ambient perception, most often through the lens of hydrological, geological or biological processes”. Tattersall has work reviewed these pages before and works with hissy and hazy textured music. Burden and Tattersall worked together before, and this new work “represents a change in their working process through which the materiality of field recordings is somewhat privileged over musicality”, and sound files were exchanged. I have no idea what the change entails here. Perhaps I also didn’t care much, as I was quickly immersed in the music. While I may not know Burden’s work as a musician, I do know Tattersall and what the two men deliver here is something right up my street. Drone-like, mysterious, strange field recordings, obscured sounds from objects (or maybe these too are field recordings?) and such make up the four pieces that all last precisely eleven minutes. Whereas some of the releases on Laaps have a half-hidden melodic component, none is the case here, where everything remains more abstract. Everything morphs, but it never becomes a single mass of sound; details are essential to both men. It is not easy to tell what these details are, other than in rather superficial terms (‘field recordings’, ‘objects’). The hissy and hazy textures from Tattersal’s older work are still strong in this music and fit my love for all things lo-fi and drones very well. Dark music for dark nights.
    I didn’t receive a book from Likki Books this time, so I go by the information on the website. The photo book contains material from French photographer David Nissen, who “enjoys being in a contemplative state; he says he enjoys walking, driving, and listening to music, which inspires him a lot. He is looking for a strong, powerful light, an atmosphere that can tell a story, which will be an invitation to travel through his images”. I had not heard of Akhira Sano, born in 1992 in Niigata, Japan. He had releases on Important Records, The Trilogy Tapes, Faith and TOH. The cover or website lists no instruments, but judging by what I hear, I’d say he’s one of those careful laptop guys who use minimalist sounds. Maybe there are wind chimes or percussion, which are treated with software, so it’s all crackly, hissy and sparse; it could also be an electric piano, a toy piano or a kalimba. Music that would also have found its way onto a label such as 12K. There are seven pieces on this disc, with, more or less, a similar sound treatment and similar input. That makes one very coherent album, which, at forty-four minutes, is not bad, but I could use a bit of variation here. As far as moody, textured laptop music goes, this is undoubtedly a great one, and seeing I don’t hear this kind of music not as much as I used to, most welcome. (FdW)
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MAOROORO – EMPIRES (CD by Dissipatio)

Sometimes I think another day, another new group, more new names. For instance, Maorooro, the duo of Francesco Cigana (drums, percussion and object) and Luca Perciballi (prepared electric guitar). With prepared guitar, I always think of ‘improvised music’, and seeing this was recorded over three days in April last year, it is improvised music. The music here is another grey area release (see also elsewhere). Whereas the more traditionally improvised music is less interesting for me, some releases are from that world and still sound enjoyable. I believe this is one of those. Indeed some pieces are regular improvisations, such as ‘WASP-76b Speculation’, but in most pieces, they try (their words) to work on “possible timbral encounters between percussion and electric guitar, aimed to make them indistinguishable”. They are perhaps saved by the guitar preparations, allowing for a distinctly different sound. At times powerful drone-like; in ‘Belet Memories’, for instance, guitar and drums play more drone-like sounds. Or in ‘Apapteko Larynx’, piercing and powerful. Their mission to make both instruments indistinguishable works quite well. They have a rather minimalist approach in their pieces, and they keep each of the ten pieces between two and four minutes; one is five but saved by its rhythmic intensity, and one is six, which is already too long. But, as said, not every track is a winner. When the routine becomes a routine improvisation, there is a little gap. Some of these are pretty brief, ‘Auld Apparatus’, for instance. Slightly mixed feelings about this album, but overall I’m optimistic. (FdW)
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These two arrived in the space of two days, and there are some connections. Jason Kahn appears on both discs; they are live recordings and contain free improvised music. A genre we receive a lot; maybe because there is a lot of improvisation, and easier to release? I am unsure, but perhaps it caters to an audience still willing to buy CDs. It’s also something that I feel we should write less about; now, we no longer have a complete team to write about this music. Much like noise music, I only have a certain amount to handle.
    In October 2022, Kahn played electronics with his trio, including Franzt Loriot (viola) and Christian Wolfarth on percussion. They stopped in Köln to play a concert on their first tour as a trio. Quite an interesting piece, in which the percussion and viola sound, most of the time, quite like one expects, but with Kahn’s electronics being the oddball here. His contribution provides a more abstract side to the music, and maybe he drags the other two into playing, at times, a more abstract approach. There is a fine balance between the acoustic and the electronic, with the drums playing sounds that are sometimes very electronic. Another balance well kept is the quiet-loud approach and the short versus long process. The music has a radicalism that we don’t hear much, not chaotic or nerve-wracking, but piercing frequencies and screeching tones. I can imagine that in concert this sounds great!
    About ten minutes shorter is a recording from October 2021 in Sussex with Kahn doing voice and teaming with Tim Hodgkinson (learnt, occasional voice, small percussion), Ken Hyder (voice, danger, shaman drum, tingsha small cymbals, role cymbals, small percussion) and label boss Paul Khimasia Morgan (feedback, transducers contact mics, stereo pre-amp and small objects)”. This performance took place a couple of months before a large swathe of ash trees in Butcher’s Wood was felled due to Ash Dieback”, which is some disease. The music here, too, is improvised, but it has a very different vibe. Maybe it is because I am thinking about that woodland, with those musicians outside, with a more percussive approach. There is the feeling of a more ceremonial gathering. Musicians were moving around, chanting, shouting, maybe keeping demons away. This is a different kind of improvisation, and then, perhaps, not at all. Of the two, I found this one to be more fascinating than the other one. The ‘Köln’ release is a documentation of a concert in a gallery space; ‘Butchers Wood’ is an outdoor gathering and a spectacle that I would have loved to have witnessed. (FdW)
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Let me start with a spoiler: I don’t know about this album. I don’t think it fits Vital Weekly. All Hands_Make Light (they prefer to spell it all in capital letters) is a duo of Ariel Engle (voice) and Efrim Manuel Menuck (noise). But that noise should be taken lightly. Menuck is one of the founding members of Godspeed You Black Emperor (I don’t know where to put the ‘!’ these days). The noise here is drones, always a good thing, and there are drums and violins, again, all fine. I think my hesitation is down to the use of the voice of Engle. She has a great voice, but vocal music is not where my interest lies, at least not with my reviewer’s hat on. I wrote before. I hardly ever listen to lyrics and never understand what they are about. And it’s precisely the voice that is of importance here. Engle has a dramatic delivery, which fits the dramatic music of Menuck quite well. As with many such things, I’d love to hear the music without the singing; that would make a different review. Itunes opens this CD up with the tag ‘indie rock’, and perhaps that’s it, indie-rock, an area of music I know hardly anything about and consider hardly any interest to Vital Weekly. Like the recent influx of ‘folk’ music here at Vital Weekly, I immensely enjoyed it, but I feel I am not qualified to write about it. (FdW)
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From the ever-prolific Mathias Delplanque comes another release, which is good news. Much of his work disappears because it is performed once or a few times as part of contemporary dance pieces. The original idea was to do a record with some of these pieces, but it was decided to do a more personal work based on material from his archives, personal sounds. It’s a pity that the inlay has information about the five compositions, but it’s all in French, so I only half understand what it is about. ‘Tu Viens’ may be a piece from a dance production. Captured voices are important in these pieces; they are captured outside on the streets, inside the house, or at a funeral ceremony. When rhythm plays a role in his music, as heard before, this is not the case here. Delplanque’s music uses many electronics but also layers of string instruments, violins, cellos and such. In combination with field recordings and voices, Delplanque creates a rich tapestry of sound. The result isn’t drone-based. Instead, Delplanque has an open sound, gently using strummed violins, sustaining synth notes and adding texture while the music remains melodic. In a sort of shadowy way, the music is never too abstract, not too melodic, but a damn clever combination of both. Certainly, there is a strong cinematic approach, as each of these five pieces tells a story. Think musique concrète meeting radio play, cinema for the ears. I have no favourites, but ‘Alain!’ is the strongest. Here he includes recordings from the funeral ceremony of Alain Delplanque (whom I assume is his father or brother), starting with a few loose stringed sounds but gradually building up with more strings, drones and a voice, which I assume is a priest or someone reading a eulogy. I don’t understand what is said, which adds to the mysterious character of the piece. An excellent piece on a great record. (FdW)
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NIKO SKORPIO – N’GAI + COTD TAPES 1993-1995 (CDR by Paraferal Sound)

It’s the reviewers’ fate, I guess, that makes returning to old music not always possible. In the past, I reviewed quite some music from Finnish musician Niko Skorpio, either under that name but also as Reeptiljian, Haeretici 7o74, Rajapinta, Clop Neplat and TH€€€F (pronounced as ‘thief’). Recently, he’s more concerned with installations and other art-related work and less with musical releases. Recently he discovered music from his earliest days as a musician, 1993-1995 when he used names such as Cold Once Turning Dust and Project Of Evil Minds N’Gai. These were to be released on various cassette labels, including a split with Herb Mullin, also known as Lasse Marhaug. The booklet (with images from those early days but re-designed) says that these old recordings were “transferred, processed, assembled’ by Niko Skorpio 2021-2022, which made me curious about what this processing is. How old is old, in this case? Because much of what I heard from Skorpio is also in the past, I only have hazy recollections of what it sounded like. The music here seems, however, something that is very much Skorpio-like. Opening up with a few blasts of good ol’ power electronics and industrial music, Skorpio keeps a well-balanced ship even in his earliest days. There are signs of low-resolution sampling, that residual aspect of erasing tapes, creating fuzzy ambient music. But these two kilo-byte sampling devices have that strangely looping quality, short fragments clicking away through layers of delay devices. As we see in some cassette releases, you can easily see a connection between that old lo-fi sound and the current lo-fi approach. But mixed with a fair amount of noise to go along with that, sometimes with a massive bleep and pop (in ‘First Outsider’, for instance). Cold and distant, at times, the soundtrack of a dystopia, but also, oddly perhaps, deep warmth of heavily pitched down drones and obscured field recordings. A great find, these recordings, and if Skorpio had passed them off as his most current work, I would have also believed it. (FdW)
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Several times I’ve written reviews where there is absolutely no extra info to use to write something, To tell a bit about the background, the origin of the compositions, little personal things about the artists, the label or whatever. In those situations, we – reviewers – do our research by Googling, a little journey of exploration. In other situations, we get a proper info sheet with the above-mentioned information, which in all honesty, takes the Googling away from the task list mostly and mainly guides us in the proper direction to write something nice and – most important – to the point. And then there are the info-sheets which I read and of which I think “WTF”. This album came with a proper info sheet, but it was so out of my comfort zone I just didn’t understand it. So I hope I’ve said the right things *insert angelic smiley*
    Escupemetralla is a two-man project from Barcelona, and this album is a homage to Pink Floyd, or, well, it’s inspired by Pink Floyd, or, well … It is influenced by Pink Floyd or .. something like that. As they did earlier with, for example, Deep Purple (“López on the water”), so … I have no clue. But, yes, there are moments when I hear some influences of Pink Floyd from the ‘Relics’ album (an album I appreciate quite a lot), albeit with a certain organ sound or a structure from the composition. Nothing too heavily influenced, more in the way of “They have definitely listened to Pink Floyd while doing ‘shrooms at some point, and they wanted to do something with the trip”.
    Music-wise, it’s a very okay album; it’s not too weird for normal people, yet weird enough for people like you and me. But the titles are on a whole different level. Dadaism and LSD, shake ’em up with a steady dose of absinth, pour it on ice, twist on top, salted rim. You’ll get the album title “Cold Grey Void Electrically Operated by Mantis-Eyed Humans” and tracks like “Ravens Are all Watching from a Painting by Dalí”, “Several Specimens of Ruminant Animals with Large Udders Chewing Grass in a Cambridge Meadow”, and “Careful with Eugenics, Axel”. What do we get in the end: Twelve tracks, 70 minutes total or good trippy industrial-influenced music with unpronounceable titles? You might want to try something if you also listen to ‘normal’ music or – in this case – Pink Floyd. My favourite track: is “The Splashing of the Kingfisher”. (BW)
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There are various versions of this album. I have the simplest version, just the CDR, but there are also versions with a 78-page book. The last I got it as a PDF took me longer to read than the album (thirty-nine minutes) lasted. The text is dry and factual (and with some mistakes, I think), detailing the history of this German duo. Dieter Mauson and Stefan Heinze started in 1986, and from 1992 to 2009, they were on a hiatus, but since then active again. There are also texts about the group from Drone Records boss Stefan Knappe and Lux Atenea writer Félix V. Diaz. While reading the text and hearing the music, I thought about Nostalgie Éternelle; when did I first listen to them, for instance? I could not answer that question, but indeed some kind of compilation cassette in the late 80s. Another question that came to mind, more of a consideration, is this kind of pop music, for I believe we could label their music as something we know about and can write about. The music, with rhythm machines, synthesizers, bass, and voices, has that characteristic Germanic mid-80s feeling. A bit of a weirdo version of the minimal wave. Music that is not strictly organized but also not too chaotic. Singing was never the group’s strong suit and still isn’t. A bit Parlando most of the time, and as always, I have no clue what these are about. It’s not because they are (partly) in German, but I never pay attention to them. Most enjoyable music that much is sure, but I also feel I am not the one to know about the finer point behind pop music, albeit quite alternative. If you are up for some wacky 80s-sounding weirdo alt-pop, try this! (FdW)
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SUSANA LÓPEZ AKA SUSAN DRONE – STUPOR MUNDI (CDR by Vestíbulo (colectivo Néxodos)

When I saw the title ‘Stupor Mundi’, I thought of the Asmus Tietchens record of the same name. And as such, Asmus’ foray into loud and rhythmic electronics. Spanish composer Susana López aka Susan Drone, writes in the information that Tietchens inspired her from her beginnings. I heard a few earlier works from her (VItal Weekly 13431250 and 1190, for instance), which were as Susana López rather than Susana López aka Susan Drone, and I don’t know what prompted her to do it like this. Why not stick to Susana López? In her music, she doesn’t take inspiration from Tietchens’ ‘Stupor Mundi’ but instead uses long-form drone forms, which doesn’t seem like something Tietchens would do. There are four pieces on this album, in order of duration; the shortest first, the longest last. In two pieces, she uses field recordings, and I believe in the title piece, these are recordings from the water/seaside. I have no idea what kind of field recordings there are in ‘Yokai’. The other two pieces are “composed of digital drones (created with SuperCollider and VCRack) juxtaposed with soundscapes”. I think the field recordings trigger modular electronics (digital or otherwise), resulting in long drone-like pieces, which are far from monotonous. Things move and change significantly, perhaps oddly, in the two shortest pieces. Here she has sounds moving in and out of the mix, whereas in the longest, ‘Drones To Zazeela’, there isn’t a lot of change, and it is, perhaps, a more traditional piece of drone music. All four pieces are atmospheric and darkish but not necessarily dark or obscure. There is a bit of heavy weight to all four pieces, which makes it all a bit noisier than what is common in drone music, giving López a voice of her own. Great stuff! (FdW)
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In 2022, Pierre Gerard brought his cello down to the basement of the Societe libre d’Emulation in Liege, Belgium and recorded ten pieces of improvised playing. He credits himself with cello and architecture, the latter explained as ‘the placement and positioning of the cello and recording system relating to the resonance and influence of the recording space”. We, however, are on the outside; we aren’t witness to the recording, not present in the basement. I am listening to a round disc and thinking about that architectural aspect here. Is it that special; or spatial? I honestly don’t hear an exceptional quality of this space—a basement with some additional, natural reverb. Pierre Geard plays the cello in such a way that we know it’s the cello. No additional techniques, no objects, no slapping of the body, just a bow across the strings. Sure, he does a fine job, but at fifty-five minutes, eleven pieces, ranging from one minute to ten minutes, without much difference between the pieces, made this a bit long for me. About halfway through, I was all interested but lost interest after a while. There was a feeling of repetition, essentially Gerard doing little variations on his playing. A bit faster, a bit slower, a bit with no silences, a bit with silences, and repeat. Maybe this kind of improvised music is best enjoyed in the moment and in the space in which it is performed. (FdW)
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BRUTOU DOU – DEEP TUNNEL (cassette by Artsy Records)

The duo of Sirpa Jokinen and Katja Lamberg are behind Brutou Dou. They met at a workshop for improvised music, but (?) felt liberated when working with synthesizers. They both get credit for that, and Lamberg also for something called EWI. Their background is different. Lamberg considers herself a more traditional musician, whereas Jokinen “approaches music from a spatial point of view”; however, that may work. ‘Deep Tunnel’ is their debut release. I must admit I am not blown away by it. The title piece spans the entire first side and is a cosmic trip but with a somewhat improvised feeling, so it floats around a bit aimlessly. Not bad, yet not great either. On the other side, the three pieces are shorter and more enjoyable. There is also an element of improvisation going on, but because things are condensed, Brutou Dou keeps a tighter ship. Maybe working with some prior agreements, they set out to play more cosmic ditties, with repeating sounds and textures, giving it all a more song-like structure. Again, not great but quite alright. Seeing this debut release, I’d say there is room for growth. (FdW)
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BALL GEOGRAPHIE – HOTLINE / WELTEMPFANGER (cassette by Superpolar Taips)

Releases by Germany’s Superpolar Taips are on the fringe of electronic music, meeting pop music with some experiment and dance. Their latest offering is something of a head-scratcher here at VWHQ. As always, I never know how serious the information is; take, for instance, the biographies. “Uli Federwisch is the CEO of a company that produces weight limit signs for elevators and bridges, an amateur television producer, a board member of a medium-sized nationally-recognized Nordic Walking club, a former swimming pool lifeguard, and, as evidenced on this tape, a musician. Chip Perkins is currently finishing up an unpaid remote internship doing IT troubleshooting for the cassette organization Strategic Tape Reserve after which he hopes to get a job working as a scientist who does experiments using snake venom.” The first is responsible for vocals, synthesizers, desktop computer and synth sax, and the latter is for vocals and electronic drums. Another one of those weird bits of information is “Home Sweat Home” originally appeared during the opening title sequence of the pilot for the family sauna sitcom “Home Sweat Home” produced by Federwisch Televisual Productions and is reproduced here with permission from most rights-holding bodies.” There are seven tracks on this thirty-minute cassette, all around three to four minutes, and vocals play important for this duo (inspired by “other electronic pop duos, such as Modern Talking and Captain & Tennille”. I admit these voices do not blow me away. Not singing, but rather a parlando, with a likewise staccato electronic treatment. It never gets the ball of a song rolling. This duo has a strong love for the cut-up, in music and words, but it remained hard for me to get into their sound world. Maybe some of that German humour (think Der Plan or Felix Kubin) is part of this that I fail to see. I don’t know.
    The 34th cassette single (series going to end soon, I understand), Superpolar Taips invited Ball Geographie, of which the label also released an album, ‘Live At Budokan’ (see Vital Weekly 1252). Ball Geographie reworked two musical pieces from an abandoned 90ies project for his cassette single. Both pieces have voices and vocals; sprechgesang in ‘Hotline’, and vocals in ‘Weltempfanger’. What fails for me on the Perkins & Federwisch release works quite well on this cassette. Radio voices, singing next to some rolling drum machine, some nice acoustic guitar (‘Hotline’) and prepared Mbira, glockenspiel and xylophone (‘Weltempfanger’) make up some excellent pieces of pop music. An ode to the telephone and one to the radio. The first is a bit of rockist guitar enterprise, but with some excellent sampled horns as well, while the other side could have been a lost track from C. Schulz’s first album, which I still have in high esteem, so great company. I enjoyed the mellowness of the B-side more than the rocky A-side. It’s a pity that when the series ends, only the a-sides will be re-issued, and the b-sides will be limited to the handful of these cassettes that are made. Maybe Superpolar Taips should consider a reverse here! (FdW)
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This release by composer Jean-Marc Hébert (guitar) and musicians Lex French (trumpet), Morgan Moore (contrabass) and Pierre Tanguay (drums) contains seven pieces of rather smooth jazz music. Probably all elegantly played, with that nice smoky nightclub trumpet, but nothing really for Vital Weekly. (FdW)
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