Number 1396

LASZLO DUBROVAY – DUOS AND SOLOS FOR FOUR (CD by Inexhaustible Editions) *
MARINA DŽUKLJEV & NOID – CONTINENTS (CD by Inexhaustible Editions) *
PHILIPPE LAUZIER & CARLO COSTA – INTERSPACE (CD by Inexhaustible Editions/Tour de Bras) *
FRANZ HAUTZINGER & ÉRIC NORMAND – UNBELIEVABLY LATE (CD by Inexhaustible Editions/Tour de Bras) *
(CD by Tour de Bras) *
FLETINA – HERE #15: CASUAL (CDR by Here Free Press) *
THE SAND RAYS – (FOR JUNE 2023) (CDR by The Ceiling) *
BVDUB – FOUR FORGETTING (CDR by Sound In Silence) *
JARR – 42º  (CDR by Sound In Silence) *
JONATHAN DEASY – SKETCHES AND THEMES (cassette/mini disc by Quiet Clapping) *
MICROTONAL MUSIC (compilation cassette by Moonside Tapes)
MAW – LIVE RECORDINGS (cassette by Notice Recordings) *


Here’s a new name for me, Pascal Lovergne, a bass player from Lille, France. No further background information is available. He has a relatively short twenty-three-minute CD, spanning five pieces altogether. One man, one bass and one microphone. Lovergne calls these compositions and improvisations, but to my slightly untrained ear, it all sounds improvised. He writes that the music evokes “California and the ragas, the blues and India, Slonimsky and Ostend, the infinity of the sea, inner space and palaces”, which is not something I could all too easily distract from this. While not too much my kind of music, I found something in here fascinating enough to keep listening. Some kind of moody introspectiveness about the music made me enjoy this quite a bit. Not in a droning sense, as Lovergne plucks his bass rather than using the bow, but not in a nervous and hectic way, which is in free jazz/free improvisation, is something of a turn-off for me. The sound is intimate, displaying a bit of the space Lovergne uses to record the bass, adding a bit of ‘room’ to the music. Reflective music, but at the same time, I also realize that if this release had been longer, my attention span would have dropped quite a bit. Longer with the same approach to the instrument would have been too much. Short but for once the right amount.
    A bit longer, twenty-nine minutes, is the CD by Inger Hannisdal, also for a solo instrument, in her case, the violin. She is originally from Norway and now lives in France, which is about the only thing I know. Nordic folk songs inspire her music, and maybe these old songs are part of a new composition, or perhaps, it is only an inspiration level; I am unsure here. Following a recent surge of folk-based releases, it all died down, as, and I am stressing this again, folk music, or traditional folk music, is not where our expertise lies. With Hannisdal, I don’t know if there is a single instrument and one microphone; sometimes, it seems like she uses a looper to play against herself. However, I am not proficient in the violin, so maybe it is all in one take. There is a more metallic sound due to the instrument’s preparation with assorted clips, which makes it more like a fiddle. Topped with a bit of (natural?) reverb, the music has a lovely edge. Nothing so much as intimate, not like Lovergne at all, but with a foot in the world of avant-garde, and one in a very free approach to traditional folk music, and yet still sounding far off from, say, The No-Neck Blues Band. This is the kind of music usually brought to you by a label such as Hubro Music. Here too, I think there is quite the appropriate length, but maybe more so because it is a solo instrument, and within the eight pieces, Hannisdal shows what she does with great style and care. (FdW)
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From the days when I had insufficient money to buy every record I desired (and gave up shoplifting), I learned that not all was to be heard. When ‘The Inevitable Chrystal Belle Scrodd Record’ by Chrystal Belle Scrodd was released in 1985, I knew it was an interesting record; it was released on United Diaries, Steve Stapleton’s label, so involved from Nurse With Wound involved and always of interest, but I couldn’t afford it. I am sure I heard it later in my more blase listening periods working in a record store, where one pretends to know it all. Chrystal Belle Scrodd was Diana Rogerson, once the Stapleton’s spouse and she released two more records around 2007. I am surprised that it is a new one which sees involvement in Matt Waldron, also known as Irr. App (Ext) and member of Nurse With Wound, and somebody named Zimmerman, providing sounds on all tracks. The credits are unclear, so I’m unsure who did what. The music starts with a very NWW-ish piece of rhythm, guitar, and vocals and has that kraut feeling. I thought if this is the mood for the entire CD, this might not be Vital Weekly material. It is not the general tone, but elements return. Guitars play a big role, along with Rogerson’s vocals. She sings, howls, recites, and extracts sounds. The studio-as-instrument, the big canvas to paint with audio, something which many people do, and the music in which the Nurse With Wound influences is audible. Layering unrelated sound events and finding a balance to create a story. Diane Rogerson does a great job. Heavily obscured sounds, along with her voice, gives the music a rather radiophonic and sound poetry-like nature. Sometimes quiet and intimate, something loud and jubilant; in that sense, the album is another trip, a whole journey through various emotions and covers the entire human spirit. Great release! (FdW)
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MARINA DŽUKLJEV & NOID – CONTINENTS (CD by Inexhaustible Editions)
PHILIPPE LAUZIER & CARLO COSTA – INTERSPACE (CD by Inexhaustible Editions/Tour de Bras)
FRANZ HAUTZINGER & ÉRIC NORMAND – UNBELIEVABLY LATE (CD by Inexhaustible Editions/Tour de Bras))

The Hungarian Inexhaustible Editions label operates on the fringes of modern classical, improvisation, electro-acoustic improvisation, microtonal and free jazz. These five new ones will show music in and out of our field of expertise.
    I started with the release by Laszlo Duborvay. Not because I’m a fan, but because for a long time, I worked for Staalplaat, who released a CD of his work, which came with an expensive fold-out cover, and I was unsure why we released it. I don’t think we sold a lot of copies. It is a name I didn’t know about or have heard in a long time. The works here are for duos and solos and performed by the Samodai-Szives Duo (Bence János Samodai on trumpet and Márton Szives on percussion), György Klebniczki (piano) and  Dávid Pintér (violin). This is the world of modern music, with compositions and scores; it is a world I don’t know much about and, in general, not my kind of music. I lack the affinity and the knowledge which goes for almost all reviewers of Vital Weekly. The duo pieces that involve the trumpet are definitely not for me, which also goes for the three solo trumpet pieces. I enjoyed the solo marimba and vibraphone pieces because I liked the sound of those instruments. The six works for violin and percussion are pretty short, but they sound great. Sharpish and yet delicate. What can I say? A bit of a mixed bag, in and out of my interest.
    I don’t think I heard music by Gobi Drab (Paetzold recorder, voice) and Margarethe Maierhofer-Lischka (double bass, voice) before, not solo or together. They are from Austria, both active in the world of contemporary music and improvisation. I think the four pieces on ‘Zwei’ (meaning ‘two’, which I’d say is because they are a duo; well or two instruments per musician) qualify as improvised music. The pieces were recorded in a single day last year in Graz. The result is a shortish release of highly skilled improvisations. These are only in a few instances chaotic and hectic, but throughout these thirty-six minutes, the music is minimalist and slow in development. A bit drone-like, but that happens quickly when playing double bass. It gives the music considerable weight, and the Paetzold recorder provides space above it. This brings some exciting music. I am not blown away by the recitation in ‘Bright’, but ‘Gristle’ and ‘Muff’ are some very intense pieces, one a bit chaotic and the other very atmospheric. The two players use mostly more traditional-styled playing but with some surprising results.
    Also, Marina Džukljev (church organ) and Noid (cello) are new names for me. In July 2019, they spent two days at a protestant church in Nickelsdorf, Austria, to record four pieces of music. With the church organ, we are talking about one of my favourite instruments. A loud and complex beast, especially in situ, but also here, it is a massive presence. Džukljev plays sustaining tones and pulls up and closes registers firmly. Tones collide in space and meet up with Noid’s cello. He sometimes scratches and scrapes, essentially providing the variation in the first two pieces, ‘Onma’ and ‘Eilne’. In these pieces, there is a contrast between both instruments, resulting in a beautiful collision of sustaining and broken-up sounds, more in the long ‘Onma’ piece. In ‘Eilne, ‘ things work towards what we hear in the following piece: long-form drone music. This is relatively subdued in’ Eilne’, but in ‘Vomp’, it is noisy and overbearing. This is, for me, the highlight of the release. In ‘Umg’, the final piece and at almost eighteen minutes the second longest, the two return to a quieter approach, with the organ all subdued and the cello at times plucked, other times bowed and forming another intense piece, a different kind of intensity, but a great one as well. If we look at the total release, one can see it as a trip, going slowly uphill, reaching the peak and descending from there. Excellent stuff.
    The other two releases are co-productions with Canada’s Tour de Bras label, like Inexhaustible Editions, a hub for all musical styles mentioned above. It’s a bit unclear why they co-produced these, but maybe it’s because Lauzier and Eric Normand are from Canada. Lauzier plays bass clarinet, synthesizer, speaker, and Italian-born, US-based Carlo Costa plays percussion and objects. They played concerts together before the pandemic, but these five pieces resulted from exchanging sound files. There are four parts of ‘Sincronia Vaga’, composed by Costa and a one-part piece, ‘Soft Routine’, written by Lauzier. In both pieces, we find some elegantly played music. In the Costa pieces, each player plays several short motives, single notes and noise cells, and I assume, according to some score, the two are joined together in the mix, in which only a few edits took place. One might think this would result in some highly chaotic music, but that is not the case. The short attacks of the percussion mix nicely with the more extended tones of the clarinet and overtones from various percussive pieces ring sometime. At the same time, Lauzier adds shortish sounds on the clarinet. It all makes up some exciting interaction, not a typical call and response, which sometimes happens in improvised music. If you wouldn’t know, you could mistake ‘Soft Routine’ for another part of ‘Sincronia Vaga’, but, perhaps, a bit smoother in transitions and, yet again, beautiful spacious music. I believe this is the only piece where we hear more of Lauzier’s synthesizer and speaker, providing an exciting backdrop to the music. This, too, is a great release, pushing all the right buttons here; quiet, minimal and spacious.
    The final release is a bit older; Tour de Bras might not have seen what we have about older releases. Maybe they took the title into account? Franz Hautzinger plays the amplified trumpet and Eric Normand’s electric bass and motors. They met in 2016 for the first time when they toured Canada with a band called Torche!, which also included Michel F. Côté, Philippe Lauzier and Xavier Charles. Oddly, perhaps, this, too, is an album resulting from the exchange of sound files during the pandemic. The results are quite different than with Lauzier/Costa. The music here is more in improvised music land, but the result is also quieter and more spacious throughout. Maybe everybody is on their guard with these online meetings. I’m not complaining; I enjoy this more deliberate approach quite a bit. The amplification and the motorization add an exciting edge to the music; it never gets loud or extraordinary, but it sort of lingers below the surface, adding a fine presence. On top, the bass and trumpet do their thing, and this trumpet is much more appreciated than on Dubrovay disc. Hautzinger’s trumpet is an object that makes all sorts of sounds, some of which happen to sound like a trumpet. There is some significant interaction despite the distance, but maybe that should be because of the space. Either way, it works fine, and there is some solid music here. See in and out these releases by these labels. (FdW)
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The ‘JA’ mentioned in the title stands for Jefferson Airplane. As before, Ernesto Diaz-Infante’s apartment doubles as the ‘Next Door To Jefferson Airplane Studios’ studio. On June 7, 2019, he guested Lisa Cameron, the Texan percussion player who also uses electronics in her work as Venison Whirled. On this release, she also plays lap steel and electronics. Diaz-Infante plays a fretless electric guitar and what is called a Line 6 POD. I don’t know what that is. The information mentions a relation to the Airplane’s more “hallucinatory jams”, but I am that well-versed in that area. Six tracks spanning fifty-three minutes of improvised music; not much of this is traditional. Sure, the guitar sounds like a guitar but played through many effects, it all sounds slightly different. Flowing, glowing and indeed a bit hallucinating. Cameron’s percussion never sounds as such but creates backdrops of processed electronics that are haunting and spooky. Throughout, there is a straightforward feeling in this music. I can imagine these two musicians sitting in a room, with some amps, and their instruments, picking up the sound with a microphone; the environment becomes audible and sometimes is close to feedback, but the music never reaches that stage of noisiness. Sometimes chaotic, as I expect this to be from improvised music, but also organised and wandering off into more psychedelic areas. Strange and compelling music. (FdW)
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‘Even Anti-Art Is Art … That Is Why We Reject It!’ A slogan on the opening page of The New Blockaders, which is, of course, a collective that has been doing ‘things’ since the beginning of the 80s. Forty years of ‘things’ or ‘stuff’ or ‘noise’ or whatever you want to call it and still blooming and still getting the attention of new people who admire the institution, The New Blockaders.
    My experience with them is not that extensive, so it’s nice to finally get a chance to dive a bit deeper into it, and I’ll say it directly: I am not gonna write too much about the history, thoughts, concepts, background and all the knowledge that surrounds these people. For the simple reason that it is something that is in the eye of the beholder, everything you read, hear or see (or maybe even smell) is something that you as an individual have to place about what your approach to the subject of art or anti-art is. It is only fair to leave it to you to explore and give it the place or status that you think is honest or – may I say so – sensible.
    In my hand a beautifully designed CD on Nihilist Records from Chicago. It contains four long soundscapish minimal noise-ambient ‘constructions’ developed by The New Blockaders and Stephen Meixner (Contrastate, track 1), Ice Yacht (Philip Sanderson of Storm Bugs, track 2 & 3) and Das Syntetische Mischgewebe (track 4). All I had as mental luggage from The New Blockaders was a performance in London several years ago where metal objects were thrown around in the venue; A festival where other performances were from Giancarlo Toniutti, Ramleh, Skullflower, Grunt, Club Moral (!) and many others… But it might be clear that ‘throwing around metal objects’ didn’t result in an ambient set.
    So if I project my memories from that night back on this CD, I can only think that everything is art. It’s how you look at it, what makes sounds beautiful, what makes a noise loud or, in contradiction, soothing. This is an album that defines noise not being noise, art not being art and reviews not being reviews. Another one to end up high in the Best of 2023 list. (BW)
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Artyom Ostapchuk used to be from St. Petersburg, but as of last year, he lives in a beautiful country called the Netherlands. A big move, but if “To Dream is to Destroy” is created in the Netherlands, the move is doing Artyom good. First, Base Station is a label reserved for releases by Kryptogen Rundfunk, as it is the name of his recording studio. Why not on Zhelezobeton, which Artyom also runs? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find out shortly. But having said that, let’s focus on this album first. After all, we are reviewing stuff here at Vital.
    Six tracks with a total playing time of almost forty-five minutes on a CD will cost you twelve euro; That’s about a quarter per minute, and it’s all worth it! With deep ambient layers, drone pads, field recordings and found footage or maybe even manipulated radiowaves as sound sources directly, this album has it all. Cinematic isolationism in its textbook meaning. It’s not ambient; it’s too intrusive to the elements to be called ambient. It’s not drone either because way too much happens for that. It’s not noise either because everything done in the recordings has a meaning, a place, a cause and an effect. It reminds me of what someone said in 2001 when I played in the US: ‘Dude, you should label this power ambient. “To Dream is to Destroy” fits the label power ambient quite well, as the recordings are spacious. No, not the ‘overuse of reverb’ space, because I have no doubt Artyom knows precisely what he’s doing. There is an openness to the tracks; it’s subtle, it’s open, and in contradiction to Eno’s definition of ambient (as ignorable as it is interesting), this stuff is not ignorable at all.
    After several further listens, I still learn about new things when listening. New layers, new sounds. As said, 0,25€ per minute. What are you waiting for? And as for my favourite track: There are more, but because of its title, I’m giving the honours to ‘Hypnotoad on Air’ (BW)
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As noted elsewhere, Tour de Bras is a label that deals with various genres, modern classical, improvisation, electro-acoustic improvisation, microtonal and free jazz and, as these two releases show us, also improvisations and noise music. I already encountered works by erikM before that were quite heavy, even when pure noise is not his main thing. He gets credit for electronics on the album he shares with someone named Vrrrbitch, behind which we find Czech musician Petr Vrba. He plays electronics and trumpet. In October 2021, they met up in Rimouski, Canada and played two concerts in the Czech Republic in December 2021, also mentioned as the recording date for this release. Maybe some kind of tour souvenir? I don’t know if the seven pieces in twenty-six minutes are representative of the concert, content and length-wise, but I very much enjoy the brief brutality within these pieces. It’s not always brutally loud, such as in the opening sounds of ‘N’, a bit of drone and bird sounds. But these moments of quietness get quickly replaced by louder attacks. The trumpet occasionally shines through the electronics, briefly, like a flicker, but otherwise is covered by a dusty carpet of electronics. Noisy, rhythmic, direct, it’s all there, and this is also the correct length for such a blast, I think. Maybe in concert, it can be longer, but this chopped-up affair has the most suitable dose for home entertainment.
    The other release contains the turntables, vinyl, synthesizer and mix of Martin Tétreault in collaboration with Érick d’Orion (electronics, synthesizers, mix). They recorded two pieces in a residency on September 8 and 9, 2022, and the final (and longest) track, ‘Complies’, in concert on the 10th. All of this happened in the French city of  Beauce. The audience must have been in for quite a surprise. The two two studio pieces (If, in fact, they are) are brutal affairs of continuous noise. Tétreault’s turntable is not always recognized (at least, not by me), as there is a more psychedelic synth sound going here, a bit Astro-like, loud yet spacious. Unlike the other new release on Tour de Bras, the music on these pieces is less broken up; if it is a collage of sound, then it’s big pictures together, not small snippets. Something is also shown in the length of these pieces. The live piece has quite more turntable action, and snippets of vinyl abuse fly about, trapped in a device, on repeat. At one point, the sound decreases in volume, and we hear more vinyl action. Their live piece has more varied action than the studio pieces, and that creates a delicate balance in this release. At forty-three minutes, this, too is quite a blast; time for a walk outside. (FdW)
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FLETINA – HERE #15: CASUAL (CDR by Here Free Press)

Another relatively short introduction here (there are a few this week) is from a Scottish musician, of whom we learn that he/she/x “creates raw abstract audio collages using found objects, room sounds, environmental noises, household items, mechanical devices and various electronic manipulation techniques”. And it does what it says on the box here; in each of the three pieces, some kind of field recording and manipulation, and maybe some kind of electronic treatment is going on. This happens at a relatively low volume, which is a pity, as it is hard to figure out what the hell is going on. I couldn’t figure out if this were a deliberate choice of the artist, maybe in some kind of reference to lowercase music, or perhaps some inexperience regarding the benefits of getting your music mastered by someone. I thought that the quiet approach was a bit of a downer here, and, yes, I know, I can crank up the volume myself, but in the processing, maybe other sound events would have played a different role in the music. The other downer is the briefness of the release. At nineteen minutes, this is all relatively short and difficult to decide. I like what I hear; that much I know. Fletina works from the point of view of obscuring sound events, a blurry and hazy sound picture. I think I can see Fletina being part of the world of lo-fo drone musicians, with their obscured clouds of atmospheric sounds, but then rather soft (and, again, I am unsure if that is intentional), which might be Fletina’s trademark. Maybe there is a world to win, or maybe it’s a new voice with deliberate choices, but it is undoubtedly fascinating music. (FdW)
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THE SAND RAYS – (FOR JUNE 2023) (CDR by The Ceiling)

The ever-mysterious The Sand Rays return; that is one guise, but this Canadian project uses variations of this name a lot. Also, the composer uses variations of his name, but not this time. The text on the cover is cryptic; nothing unusual there; “the sole sound source is a short, accidental recording of a humidifier with a laptop’s microphone. This release is remixed works-in-progress from an upcoming eight-hour video made for overnight use”. I have no idea what a video for overnight use should look like or what purpose they serve, but it’s interesting to contemplate the idea. You can do this thinking when playing the thirty minutes of ‘Side Two’, next to the four-second long ‘Introduction’ (which has a one-second sound and three seconds of silence), the only track on this release. More vagueness, yes, indeed. The piece consists of twenty-nine minutes of low humming sounds, which might be a humidifier or ventilator. For me, the sound of an ordinary hot at the HQ when I have such a thing in play. There is prolonged development, mainly in the second half, by doubling or tripling the sounds, maybe playing around carefully, with sound effects, which at one point delivers a single sound that stands out, which is a very cool effect. The final minute sees everything brought to a crescendo, following which the CD ends. Throughout excellent work, a fine concept and an all too short of a release. There is not much more to tell about this, which is, perhaps, the downside of such releases. (FdW)
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JARR – 42º  (CDR by Sound In Silence)

Throughout the years, I heard some music by Brock van Wely, the man behind Bvdub, but I believe I only heard very few of his releases. He has ten albums as Bvdub, but he also works under his real name and monikers as  Earth House Hold and East Of Oceans. What I heard from Bvdub sounded very 4/4 dub techno-like. A heavy thumping 4/4/ bass sound and whatever else is happening on top of that synthesizer pads and field recordings hoovering in a massive amount of reverb. As I said, I only heard a part of his output, so I am unsure how his music developed recently. But there is development. The reverb is still massively present, but no longer the thumping bass sound. These four pieces are no longer aimed at the dance floor but aiming straight at the chill-out room. Lots of drones and orchestral instrumental sounds stretched and treated, along with some vocals wordlessly humming away. These vocals reminded me at times of shoegazing, and, honestly, it is sometimes a bit too much lifting to heavenly skies. The opener, ‘One More Morning,’ is the one that has the most beats here but is already firmly embedded in whatever else is happening in this piece. More ambient than techno or dub, this album is a break from what I remember. At the same time, it is not as ambient as it could have been, with some of these heavy treatments, slinging sound effects wide and far. Not every track is a winner but throughout a most enjoyable album.
    From JARR, we receive their third release, ’42º’, the second on Sound In Silence. I reviewed ‘Talking About X’ in Vital Weekly 1336. JARR is an acronym for Jon Attwood, also known as Yellow6 and Ray Robinson, who we could recognize as Wodwo. The first one is regularly part of Vital Weekly; the other one isn’t. Two guitarists, two sets of sound effects and the result is six pieces of atmospheric strumming, bending, looping and bowing of strings. Prepare for a sixty-six-minute trip of slow-moving guitar tones. Everything is in full slow force here; loops unfold in a highly minimal way, drones in the background, and some more upfront guitar playing. The latter gets a rusty treatment, which the label quite rightfully places next to the work of Labradford, which is clear from ‘Rainbow On The Curves Part 2’. All of this music is more ambient than on Bvdub release, and should you want to play both in a row, then JARR is best enjoyed second; the sun goes down, the days get shorter and somewhat colder (in The Netherlands, at least; I’m not complaining at all). Sometimes they up the ante a bit, the sound getting more body (as in mild distortion), but nothing much heavier or all too loud; ‘The Pavement Sparkles’ is the album’s most audible mark, but it is a single one, among vast plains of empty landscapes. Maybe it’s my mood of the day, but I enjoy this album a lot, and while I liked the previous one as well, this is quite a step forward in terms of powerful ambient music. (FdW)
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The latest offering on Vision Of Sound is a disc by the trio called Nadair, Chris Dowding on trumpets and electronics, Dave Pullin on acoustic double bass and label boss Simon-Mary Vincent on live electronics. The latter describes this electro-acoustic music, but with a collective background in acoustic and electronic improvisation; this is more akin to the world of improvised music. While electronics linger throughout the forty-six minutes, the trumpet and the bass play vital roles. Sometimes I find the bass to be a bit too jazz noir (the fifties smokey bar sound), which also goes for the trumpet, though not always at the same time. The overall atmosphere is reflective and has a springtime feeling; one envisages clouds passing, a bit of sunlight, and a dash of rain and the music veers between abstraction (which, I gather, one could label as electro-acoustic improvisation) and a more musical side of things. Like tides, there are changing movements, each section being a variation of another area, and they all have varying degrees of abstraction and musicality. I prefer the ambient, abstract side of the music that this trio produces, which sounded a bit Eno/Hassell-like, with the trumpet, whereas the more dark jazzy atmosphere is not my thing. The high level of atmospherics makes up for it; best enjoyed with a glass of red at night. (FdW)
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JONATHAN DEASY – SKETCHES AND THEMES (cassette/mini disc by Quiet Clapping)

Besides Gescom’s ‘MD’ (see Vital Weekly 133), I don’t think I ever reviewed a mini disc (of a total of two reviews of a mini disc, see also Vital Weekly 1323). There is now ‘Sketches & Themes’, available on mini disc and cassette, for those who want something more convenient. Jonathan Deasy’s music is not one thing or another. While I know him best for his more drone-like works, these eight pieces see him work in an entirely different field. Not my words, but Deasy references early Autechre, which is funny, given the notion that Gescom is Autechre in disguise and the mini disc thing. He also mentioned using Pure Data and Max/MSP in these pieces. The music has a slightly rhythmic aspect but not dance music. It’s more like cells bouncing around, synthetic drip and drop, plink and plonk. A bit of reverb here and a bit of delay there, and, effectively, these are eight variations of a theme. There is undoubtedly a chill-out aspect to the music, as the music is never all too bleepy or chaotic. In that sense, there is a connection to Deasy’s drone work; not too outspoken, a bit ambient, but this time with entirely different means. It’s great to see somebody taking risks!
    More Deasy on the collaborative cassette he did with Matt Atkins. There is no information otherwise, but I have heard quite a bit from these two musicians, and I think this collaboration blends the best of both. Loops are at the heart of the music, and these loops contain sounds from objects (Atkins) and electronics (Deasy). Also, and here’s me going wild on ideas, I think Atkins uses analogue loops and Deasy digital ones. There are two pieces here, each almost fifteen minutes (Falt loves their releases to be thirty minutes), and both are loopy affairs with sounds slowly mixed in and out; some linger on longer than others, some only for a short moment, while others pretty form the backbone of a piece. Spacious music in which not much is hurried, and everything gets the time it needs. Much of the music here is not too demanding, but at the same time, it is also too busy to be called ambient or drone-like. More Atkins than Deasy, I’d say, but then, as we have just learned, Deasy may not have one particular style anyway. While it is unclear who did what here, instruments, mixing, and editing, it is still very clear that each involved musician made his mark on this work. (FdW)
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MICROTONAL MUSIC (compilation cassette by Moonside Tapes)

As always, there is very little information on the cassette cover, so the only thing we get are the seven names of the musicians. Bandcamp provides more (besides links for all these musicians), and it says that “seven artists from the Moonside roster were asked to make a microtonal piece, the sole criterion being that the harmonic content not be confined to 12-tone equal temperament. How they approached this was up to them, whether free-form or adhering to a specific tuning system.” We get music from mvha, Matt Atkins, Jonathan Deasy, Strand Unit, Christopher Hill, Diurnal Burdens, and opt-out. Almost all of them are reviewed in these pages, some more than others. It does what it says on the box: this is microtonal music. And as such, each musician found a way to be different from the others. Deasy’s straightforward computer-based drone versus opt-out’s slowed down acoustic sounds. Diurnal Burdens carefully placed field recordings in the back garden recorded from inside the house and Matt Atkins loops of what could be Indian instruments. mhva louder attack on drones versus the quieter and loosely played notes and drones of Strand Unit. Christopher Hill holds a middle ground with a pure drone/tone piece, slowly shifting back and forth. Great compilation with some great variation of approaches – and with room for improvement on the presentation side. (FdW)
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MAW – LIVE RECORDINGS (cassette by Notice Recordings)

The acronym MAW stands for Frank Meadows (upright bass), Jessica Ackerley (electric guitar) and Eli Wallace (prepared piano, synth). Their cassette ‘Live Recordings’ contains on side A a recording from Brooklyn, 12 October 2021 and on the other side one from West Saugterties, 3 October 2021. That means they play a lot of concerts or, perhaps, not many and that documentation is needed. From the information I gathered, these are their first live appearances, following years of private sessions. I don’t think I heard of these musicians before, except Wallace, in a trio disc for Edgetone Records (Vital Weekly 1126) and his duo Dialectical Imagination (Vital Weekly 1118 and 1085). I didn’t review those releases with Wallace, but our esteemed reviewer of all things improvisation and these days absent with permission, which means that some of his duties are done by me, which doesn’t mean that I am either too big of a fan of the pure improvisation or knowledgeable about it. I do my share, just as I do my share of noise, although this week hasn’t been easy. Interestingly this particular work of improvisation could qualify as a work of improvisation but, at times, also a work of noise. MAW uses quite some amplification and distortion and sees them fully use it. The instruments are recognized as such, some of the material is a bit of free jazz, but they also play their music without much respect, so it seems, for their instruments. At times there is quite a storm going on. Coupled with everything being in your face, it is almost as if MAW is in your living room, sitting next to you, scratching, scraping and hitting on no end. The synthesizer takes the proceedings a bit further, throwing in additional weirdness. Just as well, this trio might leap into a noise rockist mode. Altogether it is forty-five minutes of pleasant unpleasantness if you get my drift. (FdW)
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