Number 1390

FABIO ORSI & TEZ – TO/OT (CD by 13) *
BLAST OF SILENCE – BLAST 23 (CD by Fibrr Records) *
MUSICAL OFFERING (CD compilation by Cold Spring Records)
PSYCHIC TV – THOSE WHO DO NOT (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
LIVE AT PLUS-ETAGE VOLUME 1 (3CD compilation by A New Wave Of Jazz) *
R|E (2023_1) (CDR compilation by Attenuation Circuit)
FERGUS KELLY – SWARM LOGIC (CDR by Room Temperature) *
+DOG+ – LEGACY OF LOVE (CDR by Love Earth Music) *
VILIJI – I CAME FROM NOTHING (CDR by Love Earth Music) *


Rope Worm is a new label from Poland, and their inaugural release is one mighty pleasing surprise. Behind Niala Effen, we find Alain Neffe, not in a confused state so that he can’t write his name anymore, but, in fact, with music from a period that is a bit of a mystery for me. Let me explain. Before 1986, I was a dedicated follower of Neffe and his various musical projects. Most beloved was his group Pseudo Code, but I also ‘dug’ Subject, Human Flesh, I SCream, Cortex and Bene Gesserit (in no particular order). After 1986 (more or less, I am unsure of the date), I lost track; maybe Neffe’s groups released less music, maybe my musical interest shifted somewhere, or I ran out of money to buy them all. Much later, around 2009 or thereabouts, I came back in contact with him and heard recent work by Human Flesh and Bene Gesserit, the only surviving monikers (and I was also interested in his group before 1980, Kosmose, via some great releases). I missed out on his 1989/1990 release for the Polish Obuh label, a limited cassette he made for an exhibition of paintings by Nadine Bal, his partner in Bene Gesserit. Originally a private release in an edition of 28 copies, but a bit more when released in Poland. This release escaped my attention back then, but maybe Obuh Records didn’t appear on my radar. The music is undoubtedly a missing link in his work. Many of his releases are with other people, even when Neffe handles all music in Cortex, and women read poetry. Only I Scream is a solo project with music that was at least composed ten years before. On the twelve pieces on this release, Neffe seems to be working with a more ‘sophisticated’ keyboard than before. Maybe an early sampler that became affordable at the time? I don’t know any brand names. These pieces have a slightly orchestral feeling to it. Sampled strings are a recurring element, but also piano. Mostly shortish loops form the backbone of a piece, and on top, Effen throws in another aspect. Sometimes very much along the lines of traditional minimal music, such as in ‘Yvette’, but more often in a strange hybrid fashion of early sampling, modern classical music, minimalism, a touch of pop and all in a strict tempo. Not every track is a winner, sometimes staying a bit too much on the pure sampling side, such as in ‘Anne Marie’, or sounding like Conrad Schnitzler when he worked with similar sort of sounds and equipment, which wasn’t the strongest in his career; or Asmus Tietchens circa ‘Marches Funebres’, with considerable better results. But, throughout, there are some most enjoyable pieces on this CD and from a historical point of view, I thought this was a most curious release regarding a missing link, which is highly appreciated. (FdW)
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As always, when receiving a bundle of new releases by 13/Standa/Silentes, it’s a bit of a no-brainer to start with any new release by Fabio Orsi. Since making sequencer/synth-based music, which includes iPads a lot, I am quite a bit fan of his work (well, before that also). Here he works with TeZ, behind which we find Maurizio Martinucci. Since 2010 he’s been a member of Clock DVA. The cover doesn’t specify the recordings, i.e. where the two are in one studio, or is this another matter of sound file exchange via the Internet? Whichever way, the recorded eight pieces almost exactly fit the template sound of Orsi these days. The bouncing arpeggios meet dreamy synthesizers; again, this music has a spacious drift. The ‘almost’ refers to the more present bass drum thump in some of these pieces. I would think these are courtesy of TeZ, but I am not entirely sure about that. There are traces of techno music in here, but by and large, it’s not aimed at the dancefloor, or, at least, that’s what I believe. The music is spacious but also drifting. You wander around weightlessly through space, not semi-consciousness, but full-on, at the controls. The sequencers and rhythms keep you awake but in a delightful, almost trippy way. There is enough variation, and the two keep the pieces under control, so in that sense, there is also some speed in the music. What can I say? Nothing else, but I admit I am a fanboy here.
    ‘Voices’ is the third album by Richard B. Lewis that I hear (see also Vital Weekly 1333 and 1263). The guitar is his primary instrument, but he adds several other sounds to the equation. There are “occasional field recordings, distortions, hums, metallic sounds, gongs, Tibetan bowls with subliminal oriental suggestions”. In the four lengthy pieces, ranging from eight to eleven minutes, Lewis keeps exploring the darker edges of music. Mostly drone-like but from a heavier orientation. This is not some Zen-like, let-it-all-float kind of music, but rough, mildly distorted and the perfect soundtrack for a dystopian movie. Voices are part of the music but not very much upfront. Think of this as a ghost in the swamp, a zombie at night that you find haunting. But, then, all of a sudden, there might be something quieter; a piano rises out of the mist, playing a repeating phrase. The music isn’t all abstract here, as these kinds of melodic bits pop up their head sometimes. They add to the big drama of the music. There is a gothic element to the music, and I mean that positively for once. Gothic, not per se in a musical sense, but in the general sense of the word; art, literature and music. Oddly enough, that isn’t reflected in the cover of the CD, which is very bright, white and new age-like blueish. A sharp contrast with the music, but maybe there is meaning to that? I wasn’t too blown by his release, the second was much better, and this new one sees further maturing of his music. Upwards and onwards.
    A new name is Germinal, behind which we find Federico Franzin. I assume he’s from Italy. Another project of his is Androphilia, apparently a noisier side of his. In the week I’m writing this (and listening to this CD), temperatures outside are announced to be 30 degrees, so is it the right moment to listen to ‘Il Ritorno Degli Inverni Freddi, which means “The Return of Cold Winters”. Mediocre as I like to be, I prefer mild temperatures, somewhere between 15 and 22 degrees (Celsius; I have no idea how the other one works), a bit sunny, a bit cloudy; lovely stuff to get to work. I have no idea about the instruments Franzin uses in his music. My best guess is some delicate granular synthesis applied to sources unknown. I could guess guitars, field recordings, or (most likely) a combination of both, but it’s the best I can do. Seven pieces of music, from four to eight minutes, all of which sound very ambient. In his processing, Franzin keeps an eye on the melodic aspect, ensuring a bit of that is always present in the music. These melodies are amidst washes of drones and ornamented with ‘small’ sounds, such as the bells in ‘Prima Dell’alba Si Muove Il Vento’. Also, in each of these pieces, he strives for a rounded picture, meaning pieces have a head and a tail and not cutouts from bigger pieces, nor forming on one long piece. I think you don’t need a cold climate to enjoy this kind of ambient music. It’s as dark and relaxing as it could be. So sit back, listen and enjoy what the climatological situation is. Great stuff.
    We find a different kind of atmosphere on the disc by Like The Snow, the musical project of Luca Mazzariol. I previously reviewed his music (Vital Weekly 1333 and 1234). I wrote twice that this is, perhaps, not the kind of music for Vital Weekly. Like The Snow combines electronics with the orchestral sample pack, it’s all a bit gothic. Heavy on synthesizers, full of big drama and triumphant music, sitting next to introspective pieces. This time some pieces use voices, perhaps from the neighbour sample pack, ‘voices from the choir’. The overall production is outstanding. There is much detail and depth. Yet, I also feel (still! Read those previous reviews) that this is too far from what we write about. There is not much experiment, abstraction, or ‘otherness’. A glimmer of that is only in a few pieces, such as in ‘The Preacher’s Revelation’. As before, I can imagine this kind of music should reach a bigger audience (or even could reach) when targeted in the suitable media. Vital Weekly is not that kind of media. (FdW)
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BLAST OF SILENCE – BLAST 23 (CD by Fibrr Records)

Reviewers always try to start a review so that you – the readers – are eager enough to start reading. That is not always easy, definitely not when you try to be original. And with this release, I have decided not to try anything because everything I write will evaporate concerning the beauty and power of this release. Yes, when I heard this album, I considered it right away to become part of my ‘Best of 2023’ list because it is *that* good.
    Have you never heard of Blast of Silence? Very well possible, but how about it when I tell you it’s a collaboration between Julien Ottavi (APO33, boss of Fibrr Records) and Kasper T. Toeplitz. They have a little thing going on where they like to make noise together, and this is what they did on June 10 and 11, 2022, in Nantes, France. They recorded the practice set and the concert, and both recordings were mixed and mastered into what has become “Blast 23”. Two guys with laptops exploring the realm of digital noise in a whopping 70-minute blast of… Well, a blast of everything except silence. Kasper on MAX and Julien on probably Pure Data, and in the note, Kasper added to the promo. He mentions that he is uncertain who does what, where and how. Improvisation pur sang. Everybody in a collective setting knows those moments where it’s like, “Did you do that?” “No, it wasn’t me, I think” “Oh, Happy accident then”.
    Also, there are apologies from Kasper for the lack of composition in the track. As a reviewer and fellow artist, I disagree. This is one well-composed track with loads of dynamics, changes, perspective, sense and maybe even emotion. Non-Stop. So it should appeal to those who just like a solid noise serving. The album will also appeal to those interested in sound creation. Because (metaphysical approach) who does what end, how, and when. Are those voices around the 28-minute mark? Or is it a good place sample and hold over a formant filter, creating what sounds like voices? And this is just an example; all 70 minutes are like that. Not a minute of this thing does not intrigue me in some way. Especially when, after 30 minutes, the aggression gets more subdued, and it becomes almost an ambient drone of some kind … Movements are a bit slower, and sounds are placed more isolated within the mix. And within an hour, a composition that could break things changed into a thing so fragile that you want to keep it from breaking. ‘Chapeau!’ (BW)
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MUSICAL OFFERING (CD compilation by Cold Spring Records)

A new batch of Cold Spring CDs, and I must say… At least with one of them, they stole my mathematic sound nerdish heart. “Musical Offering” is a sampler with Russian composers using the ANS, probably entirely up to its limits. Two tracks by Eduard Artemiev and one track each by Oleg Buloshkin, Sofia Gubaidulina, Edison Denisov and Alfred Schnittke. I only knew about Artemiev on this list because of his movie soundtracks. So to hear his work without a movie and, of course, images of empty landscapes, a brutalist-themed forgotten society and demise and a void enter my head, but fair is fair: all images were in colour. Nothing bleak or grey but the richness of the ANS is all over the place.
    So for those who don’t know what an ANS is all about, it’s a Russian synthesizer designed over 20 years by Evgeny Murzin, and there is only one. It works with drawings on glass plates and devices that transform light into voltages, and those voltages create sounds. The glass discs spin, and well … Wiki / YouTube is your friend here. Many artists have worked with the ANS, including Coil, The Anti Group Communications. Yes, [law-rah] also used original sounds from the ANS on their split with Cisfinitum (released on Fario). Maybe working on that release is the reason why I have a personal weakness for this machine. I just couldn’t get over how rich the sounds were that we got to use. Sure: A completely different thing than Coil being in the museum and drawing on the discs and us ‘just’ working with some recordings one of the museum guys did for us. Yet still … I was impressed then, and I’m still impressed now.
    For this disc, I am keeping the review smallish. Why? Because you already know if you are a) interested in neo-classical compositions by Russian composers. If you are, you will get this release and not be disappointed. It’s as simple as that. If you are b) a nerd who loves different forms of synthesis like me, this album is one to consider. Because it’s very varied and shows a lot of the ANS in ‘its original environment’: Russian composers on a Russian synth, and if you are c) curious about composition techniques, this will break your mind. Because from the ritualistic rhythmic parts in “Sacrament” (by Buloshkin), the ‘voices’ in “Vivente-Non Vivente” (by Artemiev) and the birds and frogs in “Birds Singing” (by Denisov), can you tell what is the origin of the sound? Is it a bird? Is it a recording? Or is it super ANS?
    For me, it’s not one of those reasons to love this album, and it’s d) all of the above. (BW)
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Here we have the first double CD by Insub Records (correct me if I’m wrong), and we welcome Jacques Demierre, of whom I recently reviewed a solo CD (Vital Weekly 1387). Together with cello player Martina Brodbeck, he recorded two long pieces on December 21st, 2022, in Renens, Switzerland. “A recording of a piano tuning session was the starting point for a series of different pieces, all of which question the experience of measurement. These two pieces, «About a thousand years» and «a falling sound» for piano and cello, are a new stage in this process. If the music results from a work of measurement – that of the piano as a territory and of its different acoustic regions, both the voice of Pandit Prân Nath, which gave rise to the playing and scordatura of the cello and the bass of one of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli’s pianos, used for this recording, were other equally determining influences”, which is what Jacques Demierre tells us. I am sure some people know what this means, but I am not one of them. Also, when I had to look up one word, “Scordatura […] is a tuning of a string instrument that is different from the normal, standard tuning” [thanks Wiki]. My parents did have a piano, and a piano tuner came every few months (or so, I am unsure), which I secretly taped one day, always looking for new sounds. The way Demierre plays the piano here sounds at times like someone is tuning the piano, less the various bending of the strings. But the way he plays, the notes remind me of that. Brodbeck plays a long, perhaps also tuning; I am unfamiliar with how that works here. Of the two pieces, I prefer ‘A Falling Sound’, which seems condensed and, perhaps, more conventionally musical, which is something I like. ‘About A Thousand Years’ sounds a bit too much like tuning up and, as such, more like a conceptual idea, which is nice, but how often do you want to hear that? The slow and musical pace of the other one is something I enjoyed much. Perhaps too conventional and not too conceptual (as far as I hear), this one is one to merely enjoy and not think too heavily about; or, again, that’s how I experience this. (FdW)
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Aussaat could do with some training in writing press texts. I had never heard of Augmented Atrocity, so I like to learn something. Alright, so it is a project of “former Kovana member Janne. After privately releasing two tapes in small editions, he now presents his newest album, ‘Anomaly’ via Aussaat” Fine, even when I had not heard of Kovana (but I can look it up). The only other information is “Those familiar with the sound of Kovana might have a rough idea of the intense and disturbing material that awaits the listener”. Meaning that everybody else who isn’t familiar with the sound of Kovana just has to play the CD, but that’s something we do anyway since we review it. I’d love to read something about where Janne is from, what the instruments are, or, you know, inspirations. Based on what I hear, I’d say inspiration is the greater history of power electronics in the last forty years. Distorted electronics, screaming vocals, slow piercing synthesizers of which the block waves form a rhythm, you know the drill (and perhaps, the drill is a source, too?). Also, there is a loop or two from an obscure documentary (well, one I do not know about). Lovely stuff is perhaps not the sort of ter to use here, but that’s how I feel about it. I particularly enjoy the brief character of the pieces, somewhere between two and four minutes, with only the last one being almost eight. Within these ten pieces, Augmented Atrocity offers a lot of variation, holding my attention throughout. My only complaint is that it isn’t easy to tell the track titles in the cover design (next to the press text), but otherwise, I thought this was a great release. (FdW)
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PSYCHIC TV – THOSE WHO DO NOT (CD by Cold Spring Records)

After being released in 1984 on the Icelandic Gramm label, this Psychic TV album containing live session recordings was deemed to be re-released. That happened 15 years later by the then-still-unknown Cold Spring Records from the UK. And yes, that pressing also sold out, so for everybody who missed it two times already, there is now a new chance to get it on red or black double vinyl or simply on a CD which has maybe less of an old-school feel, but is just as flawless as a playback device. I haven’t heard any of the previous releases, so in what way they differ, I can not tell. I mention this specifically because mentions the mixing of additional audio between the tracks being ‘recordings of the Pagan marriage between Genesis and Paula P-Orridge’. The 1997 release also notes additional sounds, but it says recordings of the ‘Astru Naming Ritual for Caresse’. It’s a mystery, but as that goes with everything Psychic TV, it’s probably a mixup somewhere. Mystery unsolved.
    The whole collective performing the ritual is an impressive bunch, and I can sadly only copy-paste the list here: Genesis P-Orridge, Alex Fergusson, John Gosling, Godkrist, Grey Wolf, Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, Thee TOPI Method, Priestess and my heroes: Peter Christopherson and Geff Rushton. Musicwise, it is a proper ritual. What would happen if you put a bunch of people who know what they are doing on a stage or in a room with loads of equipment… Right, a noisy djembe circle of the highest order. So we get rhythms from a drum computer which leads everybody into a trance, and whatever one feels then gets added. And the better people know each other or the more they have mentally overlapping thoughts (with or without tools and/or psychotropics), the more coherent the outcome is. The Velvet Underground created music like that 20 years earlier (I must note that “Meanwhile” had that VU vibe, too), and GYBE still does it this way.
    As said, the original recordings are from November 1983 when Psychic TV did a disconcert (?) in Reykjavik, organised by HÖH and GRAMM Records. The difference with the previous Cold Spring release is that Martin Bowes of Attrition fame remastered it, and I must say, he did a pretty good job. All layers a properly audible, there are a lot of dynamics in the sound, and the whole release has a solid continuity.
    An important question remains, though. A third repress of an album, isn’t that overdoing it? Are those who do not remember the past condemned to repeat it? Is this repetition because people forgot? Or is it because people who weren’t alive then or not yet sentient beings need to know what happened in ’83? Or is the current state of the industry of ‘our music’ of quality so low that new music worth releasing isn’t there (by the way: 3 of the four new Cold Spring releases are reissues of some sort)? I wonder what a historian would say on the subject… But having said all of this: There is absolutely nothing wrong with this release. (BW)
    A little later than the live recordings on this CD from late 1983, I saw Psychic TV in concert. It was a big deal as I had enjoyed the first two albums, but the show was quite a disappointment; Psychic TV sounded like an ordinary rock band. It wasn’t until much later, when PTV entered their acid phase that I realized that the group was the brainchild of Genesis P-Orridge and whoever he worked with. That resulted in a massively musically varied catalogue. I am sure some people think it is all genius, but more likely that people like only a part. What makes this record interesting is the combination of live recordings and a tape of the “Pagan marriage between Genesis and Paula P-Orridge conducted by Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson Allsherjargodi”. This is the phase right after the classic first two LPs when the group went all more ritualistic, and P-Orridge, the uber shaman, invoked ghosts and cursed demons. Well, or notion of that ilk. This concert contains classic Psychic TV, such as ‘In The Nursery’, ‘Unclean’ and ‘Skinheads’. What I like about this record is the combination of rock-inspired, psychedelic music, with Genesis’ voice wailing about, mixed with all sorts of ‘other’ sounds, further enhancing the psychedelic feeling the music already has. Much like the first two albums were a collage of styles, songs and sounds, this is also the case here. It gives the whole rock music a different abstraction, which I greatly enjoy.
    More Genesis P-Orridge is to be found on a 2LP by The Hafler Trio, a rare treat, as there haven’t been many commercially available records by the trio in a long time. ‘Dreams Less Suite’ (do I have to explain the wordplay here?) rounds up various works Andrew M. McKenzie, also known as The Hafler Trio, did with GPO, partly as a member of Psychic TV, but also with other projects. Following GPO’s death, this can be seen as a complete round-up of bits and pieces. There is a text on the sleeve detailing everything about these pieces, which, to my delight, also contains a piece with Eric Random and Z’EV. They played one night with GPO and AMM, one of the two album’s live cuts and, at that, the better one, as the other one is a bit of a hit-and-miss. The majority of this double album is filled with studio pieces. Usually, McKenzie’s treatments to sound material are collected by him and GPO. For instance, in ‘The Bunker’, Burroughs’ place in New York, and a fine example of studio treatments of EVP sounds (a few acronyms in this section, I realize) for form one long droney mass of sound. Or, an entirely different piece, ‘E-am-E’, is (also) side-long and the soundtrack to an unrealized film. Very rhythmic, this is almost an Oval-like piece. ‘Alaura’ and ‘Slave Priest’ were previously released, but the wrong versions were used, and two other curious pieces of drones and electronics complete this fascinating journey. If GPO’s voice is too much for you, be surprised; there isn’t much of that on this one. And, of course, there is no download, going against the grain as always. (FdW)
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LIVE AT PLUS-ETAGE VOLUME 1 (3CD compilation by A New Wave Of Jazz)

Two duos and one trio took the stage at Plus Etage in Baarle-Nassau, The Netherlands; however, much to my surprise, on three different, non-consecutive nights. I had not heard of this stage, but I don’t move around in free improvisation circles; I know very little about free improvisation, so I am a mere amateur reviewer. This new triple CD package sees a change in cover design, and this time there are no liner notes by Guy Peters.
    On the first disc, we find a recording from April 29, 2022, by Charlotte Keeffe on trumpet and flugelhorn and Andrew Lisle on drums. The latter is no stranger to this label. Keeffe’s name also turned up a few times, playing with various musicians, such as Deludium Skies, Day Evans Dale Ensemble and Kodian Plus. There are two lengthy cuts on this disc, with a relatively traditional free improvisation, free jazz approach. The instruments are recognizable, and the two have a lively interaction. For most of the fifty minutes, the energy levels are pretty up, and there is great action and reaction between the two players. Only, occasionally they seem to ‘lose’ it, or, instead, they pull back and shift into a slower gear, finding a new place to start and get the ball rolling. I am sure it isn’t easy to keep a high energy level going for a long time. For all I know, this is part of the process—a refined work.
    The second is the trio recording from September 30, 2022. On stage label boss Dirk Serries (archtop guitar), Benedict Taylor (viola) and Stefan Keune (sopranino saxophone). Here too, Keune is, for me, a relatively new name. His name only came up once, albeit also on this label. Maybe it is the nature of the instruments, but the music sounds ‘smaller’, even when this trio displays great hecticness in playing the instruments. Not exclusively, but there is a lot of scratching and scraping of instruments, and lots of small notes fly around like shards, falling and tumbling around. Also, on this disc, there are two lengthy pieces of music (ten minutes more than on the first disc), which is quite an exhausting experience (and, mind you, I didn’t play this release in one go; I spread it over three days). More than on the first disc, the energy levels were way up, the sound even more fragmented, and I needed a short break when the music was over.
    The final disc was recorded two months after the second disc and had a duo of Martina Verhoeven and Goncalo Almeida. They both play the double bass, which, I believe, is a first for Verhoeven. She usually plays the piano, but this is not the first time this label sees musicians switching instruments – “I never played this instrument, so I think I can”. At forty-two minutes, this disc is the shortest in this package. While not free of some nervous and hectic, there isn’t the same level of energy, which (and I am thinking here of the listener who goes for the experience of playing all of these in a row) makes, perhaps, a good moment to relax, a bit, because it’s not always the most reflective music. It is, so I guess, within the nature of the instrument used. The low end of the bass plays a role here. Interestingly they also use small bells at one point, and I believe I also heard voices. I might be wrong. Quieter at times but still very much the work of free improvisation and another fine work with some significant interaction between these two players. (FdW)
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Four pieces in just under 45 minutes with a monumental novel -Jerusalem by Alan Moore- and lyrics from the book with permission by Mr. Moore. ‘Watchmen’, ‘V for Vendetta’, ‘Swamp Thing,’ and ‘From Hell’ are a few of his graphic novels. Jerusalem is his second novel. Monumental not only due to its length (over 1000 pages) but also in scope: several centuries. After listening to this release, I put this on my reading list. Peter Orins, a drummer based in Lille, has his label (Circum-Disc) and is an artistic board member of Muzzixx, a (jazz) musician’s collective based in Lille. He wanted to make music based on the book. The music on this release is performed and co-created by Peter Orins on drums, Maryline Pruvost (Indian harmonium and voice), Barbara Dang (piano) – all three participate in the Muzixx collective and Gordon Pym (pseudonym of Yanik Miossec). Since I haven’t read the book (yet), I can only say something about the music. It’s beautiful, weird in a vital weekly way and wrapped in the disguise of a radio play at some points. The sound design is spacious, brooding with meaning, with hints of melody in some parts. Pruvost has a charming (mezzo) soprano voice, with some extended techniques and no vibrato. And since she’s from France, she has a lovely French accent in the English lyrics. Prélude Infini is a minimalist, sparse piano piece with voice with added voice box elements by Gordon Pym that changes into a ritualistic piece; the thumping bass drum is quite scary and metallic percussion sounds. Dang plucks the lower piano strings as if it’s a double bass. These four musicians have made excellent music, and all elements are clearly heard in the mix. All in all a delightful 45 minutes to listen to. (MDS)
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The need for re-issues, I understand. If there is demand, why not make more? A little less understandable is the need for another format of the old release or, worse, coloured vinyl re-issues. I regard Record Store Day releases with nothing but contempt, and it should be called ‘Flogging A Dead Horse’ Day. I am aware that some people swear to vinyl over CDs, and everybody makes mistakes. Give me a CD anytime, so I was delighted with these two Kleistwahr releases when they came out on CD. I also understand why labels sent out promos like this, even when the originals aren’t that old. This becomes a new product, and a new product needs a new push. But as time waits for no one, and new releases drop every day, so why not a re-issue of the review? The first one is from Vital Weekly 1154;
    Ramleh’s first tapes were some of the most psychotically ugly artifacts of the early 1980s cassette scene. If main instigator Gary Mundy was lazy (which emphatically is not), he might easily have churned out oodles of similar crowd-pleasing mammoth fuh over and over again and coasted  along for decades. Instead, he led his band through fascinatingly disparate albums of cosmic psychedelia, rock sludge, intense electronic noise, and free-skree clatter. He also backed up new wave poet Anne Clark with the synth-pop duo A Cruel Memory, embraced ethereal indie-rock with  the group Breathless and gothic machine chug with Toll. And yet, even with so many outlets for all the myriad directions he’s felt compelled to explore, Mundy has had Kleistwahr in his back pocket to serve as a solo vehicle for whatever urge moves him at whatever moment. The latest Kleistwahr album, “Acceptance is Not Respect” (a provocative and ambiguous title, for sure), is a yet another confident leap sideways, a solo album of deep beauty that doesn’t let up from its core of languorous sadness even/especially during its most aggressive passages.
    “Acceptance…” starts with “The Revolution of Defiance”, a 23-minute pastoral wash of processed guitars, with sparse drums and faraway organ striking an Eastern tone with their passing resemblance to tablas and sitar. The piece drifts through lush devotional territory, sublime
and psychedelic bliss that reminds me of Stars of the Lid or Dead Texan, the hushed atmosphere disturbed only by Mundy’s mangled yelling-from-inside-a-hurricane voice buried way down in the mix. The emotion is legible, the words are not. It’s wonderful. This is followed by “Three Martyrs: Press, Stoning and Saltire”, a suite of three (duh) 7-minute pieces that continue where “Defiance” left off. The first section, dedicated to St. Stephen, has a stately cinematic tone, suggesting an orchestral string section recorded just after being thrown off the side of a deep-sea fishing vessel and drifting farther into icy darkness until they vanish beneath the waves. The second section, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a roar of guitar scorch with an organ solo clawing from within it’s white-hot core. The album comes to a sober end with the final section, dedicated to St. Margaret, again sonically (not only titularly) evoking prayer and inward reflection as Mundy’s guitar squall is subsumed by contemplative strings and organ set slightly off-balance by a ground-floor layer of busted-robot rubble. A fantastic album, one of the best so far in Mundy’s dependably
unpredictable canon. (HS)
    The second is from Vital Weekly 1112;
    Before pressing ‘start’ I checked if the volume was a notch of two down, as I expected some heavy duty noise from Gary Mundy, who is also part of Ramleh, one of my favourites when it comes to 80s power electronics. In recent years Fourth Dimension released some of Kleistwahr’s old and new music (using the Broken Flag Records aesthetic of Mundy’s old label), and now it’s time for a re-issue of very limited lathe cut record that came out earlier this year on Independent Woman, a label from New Zealand. That was 10”, some thirteen minutes of music, so two bonus pieces are included here, and now the total length is thirty-seven minutes (it would have made a lovely LP, but I guess evil market forces are against that). Right in the beginning I turned the volume back up again as this quickly turned out to be a different kind of Kleistwahr. The howl of the guitar soloing about in ‘Broken And Beaten in 5/8 Part 1. Beaten’ is not unlike that of seventies krauty jamming, along the hammering of a drum machine. In ‘Broken And Beaten in 5/8 Part 2. Broken’ the drum machine is switched off and the guitar isn’t in solo mode but operates like a vacuum cleaning noise machine, along with a voice howl and orchestral loop and reminded me of Ramleh. Another nod towards seventies kraut music is the swirl of guitar feedback of ‘What’s It All For?’, the first of the two bonus pieces. It’s spooky stuff, the stuff of nightmares I guess, or the soundtrack of a documentary of seventies tower blocks in decay, which is also the case for ‘Mass Exodus (A Hymn)’, with its crumbled organ sound and heavily processed choir sound. It is all quite psychedelic I guess and exactly the kind of thing I very much enjoy, just because it doesn’t seem to be about the wonderful, colourful psychedelic, but a rather more misanthropic version of it. The perfect soundtrack for these dark days. (FdW)
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R|E (2023_1) (CDR compilation by Attenuation Circuit)

In some ways work with similar ideas. Both are from France. The first works as Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites, the other as Klimperei. In these projects, they work with notions of modern classical music. Klimperei more piano-like, small music, while NLC is more sample-based and has a bigger sound. Here they work together, adding Francois Porte on the flute. He primarily plays small pieces in between the main pieces, using a flute. The label rather this as ‘neo impressionist’ than ‘neo classical’; I have no opinion on that, as I feel this can be both. I have an opinion that ‘it is more Satie than Debussy’, which I disagree with. I think it is neither. In their music, filled with piano, guitars, orchestral sounds and electronics, the music still owes quite a bit to the world of folk music, pop music and such like, mainly because of the melodies. Throughout, the music is quite reflective and atmospheric. I am unsure if the ‘in between’ pieces work well. The sound is the same, flute with a bit of piano and percussion, but simultaneously, it is also a distraction from the main program. I like it when Ash and Petchanatz go a bit more strange and abstract, such as in ‘Deux Hommes Chutent dun Balcon’ (yes, the titles are more Satie inspired than the music), where electronics have a slightly more domineering role or the digital manipulations of the title piece. But there are also instances where the music is a bit too slick and regular for my taste or doesn’t seem to morph into a composition (‘Trovants’). Throughout, however, a most pleasant release, the abstraction wins in the end.
    The next collaboration is between those powers that be Attenuation Circuit records. Is it a collaboration? Perhaps not. Gerald Fiebig handed in a collection of sounds (called ‘sonic objects’), be it field recordings, found sounds, instrumental parts, electronic sequences, “both archival and original” (which, I gather, means that the archived ones aren’t his making), and that many of these have a personal meaning to Fiebig, which he handed to EMERGE, the musical project of Sascha Stadlmeier. There is something about how he organises these sounds and samples, but I found that a bit too complicated to understand, and I didn’t see the relevance to the outcome (or maybe, I am lazy or suffering from heat). Emerge comes up with five pieces of music. In my opinion, the three pieces that are over ten minutes (one is over twenty) are the best ones. EMERGE builds these pieces slowly, adding minimal elements to the mix and slowly changing the action. Overall, the sound is quiet for reasons I am unsure about. Especially in the fifth passage, the music drops quite a bit in volume. I would think that things would sound different with a bit of mastering. The music is somewhere at the crossroad between musique concrète and industrial music, with the occasional sidedish of drone music. EMERGE applies a collage-like principle to the music in the two shorter pieces, but it does not always work here, staying too much in a mix of shortish sounds and loops. ‘Passage 3′ sounds very much like Asmus Tietchens’ recent music, but without the tension. I am happy with the three long pieces as they are.
    Attenuation Circuit organised a festival re:flexions for some years, and R|E was the logo. At this festival, they brought artists together to collaborate on stage. The festival no longer exists but lives on with this compilation, which is the first in a series. Four out of five pieces here contain a collaboration between three musicians. There are a few new names, such as Nimbostrata, half deep, John Brennan, SRVTR, Schulzki and some I heard only a few works from (Lefterna, prOphecy Sun, Circuitnoise). Stadlmeier is someone I heard a lot, such as Deison and Julien Ash. It is quite a mixed bag of music, but that is to be expected. Tracks are ten to thirteen minutes long. I am not blown away by Ash/prOphecy sun/LDX#40, who has a reflective piece revolving around a humming voice, which never gets going. That seems a recurring thing as with more pieces, I feel it’s all a bit controlled and held back with sounds being on a similar level and never going all the way as if all the sounds by all participants had to exist on the same level, and thus there isn’t always compositional development in these pieces. Deison & Dimitro (the only duo) have great drone music and some obscured field recordings. The piece by Brennan/CIrcuit Noise/SRVTR starts great but is ruined by some free improvisation drumming, descending into chaos. Schulzki & Fiebig & Stadlmeier have excellent acoustic sounds and lots of reverb, sometimes working the noise end. All in all, this compilation is a bit of a mixed bag. (FdW)
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FERGUS KELLY – SWARM LOGIC (CDR by Room Temperature)

Sometimes lands on my desk that is very hard to get my head around ‘Swarm Logic’ is such a release. I always enjoy the work of Fergus Kelly, so I assumed this would be ‘easy’. Maybe the opening piece’s brush and cymbal work reminded me of that worn-out cliche that is film noir jazz that, over the years, I came to detest. But once over that and reading the extended text, I know more and less about the music. Kelly plundered tons of records for this record, from 60s jazz, contemporary classical, soundtrack, dub reggae, 90s trip hop and electronica. He edited this into new pieces of music, adding bass and percussion. Kelly did an earlier work similar to ‘Dirt Behind The Daydream’, using only post-punk samples (not reviewed in Vital Weekly). The jazz element is recurring, but the album is (luckily) way more than that. For all I know, it is a mix of the music he uses. The dub element runs through many tracks, as it’s pretty easier to work with, dropping fragments in and out of the mix. Over the last few days, I heard this album a lot and enjoyed many of these songs, which are, sometimes, a bit too brief. Maybe that added to me not being able to deliver the words efficiently. Sometimes I was distracted by sampled spotting. I believe in having recognized Gang Of Four, Dome/Gilbert & Lewis, and The Beatles in some sampled form. Maybe it’s the concise character of these pieces, coupled with the variety of approaches, that made it not easy to get an easy handle on this, but my overall judgement is positive. (FdW)
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+DOG+ – LEGACY OF LOVE (CDR by Love Earth Music)

    Two releases from Love Earth Music this week, being +DOG+ and Viliji, and we’re starting with +DOG+’s “Legacy of Love”. Fourteen tracks, of which 13 are under 4 minutes long, and the last one, ‘The Rose Of Youth Shines Upon Us’, is almost 12. What is happening here? I’m not used to this kind of thing from +DOG+. First, if you didn’t know already, +DOG+ is the main project from Steve Davis, who is also the guy behind Love Earth Music. On most of his releases, there is always a line stating that the members of +DOG+ are Steve, Edward, Lob, Chuck, MacKenzie, Ron, Bobby and Jack. Sometimes other names too, but these are the ones mentioned here. I understood it is because the sounds Steve uses when recording is also created – or not – by these people. It is safe to say that +DOG+ is a weird collective where Steve is the leading member.
    “The Legacy Of Love” is filled with experiments varying from dronish layers to harder stuff. And it’s all short tracks, so Steve wanted to concentrate on things a bit more, which is also adequately audible because the sound overall is more stable than, for example, with his X-series. Some tracks seem straight from the mixer in a pedal/computer-based setup. Others seem to be recorded with mics and contain percussive patterns. No natural style guide is followed here other than a concentrated focus on exploring the depths of sound and noise as a form of expression. Except for 1 or 2 tracks falling a bit short of ‘drive’ or ‘power’ I have no complaints over all those short tracks.
But the CDr ends with a 12-minute epos entitled ‘The Rose Of Youth Shines Upon Us’. There were a few moments where it reminded me of the legendary ‘Das Schaben’ by Einstürzende Neubauten. The feedback layer in the back has the same shrieking, piercing, yet soothing, hypnotic atmosphere. Beautiful. The only tip for next time is to have the tracks just that tiny bit more levelled, as some ways that should be in-yer-face loud like the others are now a bit too muffled. As a whole: F*ck yeah. Luvvit!
    The second Love Earth release is a CDR by Viliji entitled ‘I Came From Nothing’. Viliji is MacKenzie Kourie from Providence, Rhode Island, and yes, he is very probably the same MacKenzie mentioned in the +DOG+ liner notes. Five untitled tracks with a total playing time of 40+ minutes are on this release, and I’ll start by being honest: I can’t make anything from it from the perspective of my mindset. In other words: How I listen to or create music limits me in giving this release a fair chance. The five tracks are made of what seems to be erratic manipulation of synths, recorded in one setting. Sound-wise, those synths are treated heavily (directly or afterwards, I can’t tell), resulting in what probably should or could be labelled improv noise.
    I do understand perfectly how this form of composition creates sounds that can be used and re-used in compositions. Simply because you are creating accidents, and the more accidents you create, the more happy accidents are amongst them. But to listen to complete sessions is very tiresome if you’re not used to it. There are some really happy accidents on here; Some of the tracks have their moments (my favourite track: “3”), but as a whole, this album could well be the output of a scientific experiment. In that case, it would not be entitled “I Came From Nothing” but something like ‘Proceedings on Borel’s Mécanique Statistique et Irréversibilité’, which was the first mention in contemporary science of the Infinite Monkey Theorem. Then it also would have touched the thin line between art and science. If it had been that, I probably could have handled the erratics better. (BW)
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Contrary to what I want, this release has been on my desk for too long now. The reason is not the music but the book that came along. I am not too much of a trained academic to value dissertation papers; I believe this is a first. I don’t think I have even read many dissertations, but I envisage them to be weighty tomes. In Felipe Vaz’s case, this is an A5 booklet, 52 pages. Maybe it is the subject of La Monte Young and his well-tuned piano that I don’t find too interesting, but also I fail to see a relevant research question. The text describes Young’s work, his permanent installation, about the music sounding forever, and in general about drone music, but yeah… erm… and then? The USB stick contains Vaz’s ‘The Well Frozen Piano’, which uses granular synthesis and stretches out piano sounds into exquisite drone music. It all sounds wonderfully subdued. There is also a somewhat livelier version by Asleepinggiant and a remix by Florian TM Zeisig, which is more of a ‘real’ piano piece. The USB also contains a remix by Martin Supper and a generative app. Everything was there when I got this USB some weeks ago, but it seems to have disappeared. I know that the generative app didn’t do anything, but maybe the vanishing of all of this might be due to my old computer. I like the music I heard, but I doubt the whole project. (FdW)
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