Number 1405

ARE MUNDAL – COMPILATION VOL. 1 (2CD by Telesterion Records) *
GINTAS K – CATACOMBS & STACTITES (CD by Antenna Non Grata) *
COEN OSCAR POLACK – A CONCRETE PASTURE (LP by Moving Furniture Records) *
STRUPPIG MAHLEN! (CD compilation by Licht-ung/KulturStadtLev)
Z.B. AIDS – FOR FRANZ (LP by Eau Des Fleurs) *
HORDIJK VOL 2 (CD compilation by Flag Day Recordings)

THIERRY MONNIER & BRUCE RUSSELL – LES FRANCAIS SONT LES ENNEMIS DE PACIFIQUE (LP by Doubful Sounds, Dysmusie & Up Against The Wall Motherfuckers) *
SIMON WHETHAM – CHANNELLING (SECTIONS) (10″ lathe cut, private) *
YELLOW6 – CIVIL TWILIGHT (CDR by Sound in Silence) *
HESSIAN – THE ALCHEMIST (CDR by Sound in Silence) *
RAQQA – Flying Ginsu VII (Postcard with download by esc.rec) *

ARE MUNDAL – COMPILATION VOL. 1 (2CD by Telesterion Records)

I thought the name Are Mundal sounded familiar in my sometimes confused state of mind. It turns out I had him confused with somebody with an immensely different name. Maybe the name sounded too familiar with Gary Mundy of Ramleh. Never mind. Mundal released his first CD in 1996, his second as a CDR in 2007 and since 2020, two LPs and one 12″. On this CD, we find those vinyl releases collected plus one 7″, which isn’t listed on Discogs and a bonus track. As I said, I had never heard of the man before, and there is not a lot of information about him available, influences and instruments. I have to guess here, and I’d say this is a man armed with a sampler, electronics and a microphone, and the result is a dark soundtrack, the stuff of horror nightmares. Found voices in ‘Track 1’, which is the A-side of the ‘Interloper’ LP (the first track on the first CD), some looped, industrialized rhythm, and dark synthesizers. Gothic, perhaps, is a word that applies to this music, and usually, that’s not my thing, but the more I play this, the more I like it. As I was way deep into doing other stuff at the same, these two CDs were kept in rotation for quite some time, and with every new play, I heard something new. There are long pieces on these CDs, as each LP had one track per side, and within each track, Mundal moves from one section to the next. From dark ambience to orchestral to a bit of rhythm, all along keeping the end on the ball, and that is to keep everything dark and atmospheric. Maybe at times a bit too tacky (as in: too gothic) for my taste, but throughout this dark trip was an excellent listening experience. (FdW)
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In Vital Weekly 1366, I was mildly confused about the credits for a CD that had, among others, Jim Denley. This time it is easier, as there is only Denley’s name on the front, and “the eternally orchestrating sonoverse”. Gadigal Country of the Eora Nation is a place you can find around the harbour east of the city of Sydney. This country was never “ceded, and this music is a way of paying respects to the Eora Elders past, present and emerging, and this Country’s amazing soundscapes”. Denley brought “flute, voice and gum nut” and also heard on the recording as “avia, mammalian, arboreal, amphibian, industrial and elemental musicking”; meaning he set up his recorders in nature and plays along with animals and other sounds. Denley I primarily know as an improviser, and that’s what he does here, but now outside, and the nature he’s in, plays a significant role in his music. Maybe I am dreaming this, but I think that Denley also responds to the nature around him. Of course, sounds from nature are very random, especially if one is outside playing (as opposed to recording outdoor sounds and editing these at home, so the randomness is organised). As before, there is undoubtedly an aspect of electro-acoustic music to these recordings, even when it seems fewer than before, but especially when Denley does less, and there is more from the field, this is certainly something interesting. But as the interaction of a musician with his environment, and the latter becomes a live part of the music, this is indeed quite interesting. I found two CDs of identical material perhaps a bit of a stretch, certainly in one long session, but in smaller amounts very enjoyable. (FdW)
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The full name is Gintas Kraptavičius from Lithuania, and since 1994, he’s been active in experimental music. First in industrial music as Modus, and since the start of this century, mostly as a computer musician. One can say he holds the fort for laptop music. Strangely enough, one could also label his work as improvised music, as everything he does is recorded live, “using a computer, midi keyboards & controller”. Over the years, he played at many festivals, did various residences and has a lot of releases. ‘Catacombs& Stalactites’ is his latest collection of short works, as many of his releases are. I don’t know how Gintas works, if these works are culled from many hours of doodling, or if he sits down with a very defined plan of what to record, how to execute, etc. Listening to the music, I didn’t have a clearer idea. Certainly, Gintas K owes quite a bit to the world of musique concrète, but he is playful and open in his work, sometimes leaning towards actual noise. I didn’t notice that on his previous works, so maybe there is some kind of expansion here. He has thirteen pieces in forty-eight minutes, ranging from just over one minute to just over six minutes. In this music, he bends and shapes, pitches and granulates, and the result is, as before, quite some intense music. That makes this album quite a sonic tour de force, one that is quite a challenge to hear and something that only, after repeated playing, opens with layers beyond and below the surface. Uneasy listening music that requires your most total attention. (FdW)
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In 2020, Moving Furniture Records released the previous album by this Dutch sound artist who lives in the Netherlands. That previous one was titled ‘Haarlemmerhout’ after a park in Haarlem. Howard did the review back then (Vital Weekly 1235) and said the same I would say about this one. It’s a solid release from beginning to end. The big difference between the two is that ‘Haarlemmerhout’ is about one park, and the music was created completely with sounds recorded in or around the park. ‘A Concrete Pasture’, however, is built from sounds from all over the world, From the Dutch Wadden Island to a temple in Bangkok and traffic sounds out of Tokyo. It’s a bit like the Nits’ ‘In The Dutch Mountains’, which opens with ‘I was born in a valley of bricks’, which meant nothing more than a street with buildings on both sides. So, for me, the tension between the words ‘concrete’ and ‘pasture’ lies in that area.
    Both sides of the vinyl can be listened to as a whole, even though side A is snipped into three chapters. “Cuore Nero” has a classical/ambient approach, ‘Unseen Shores’ reminds me of a wind ornament on the deck of a house close to the sea. But it sounds a bit weird because there is hardly any reverb close to the sea, and this track is the opposite. Side a closes with ‘Phra Buddhasaiyas’ based on the previously mentioned field recordings in a temple in Bangkok with additional layers of guitar ambience. The B side only has one track, called ‘Kraaiennest” / Crow’s nest, the meaning of which is the same in Dutch and English: The lookout point at the top of a ship and the bird’s nest. The 20-minute track starts with the sound of traffic lights in Tokyo, and slowly, some classical instrument-sounding sounds are added to the composition with additional waves from the sea. A massive drone is the result, which leaves you with an uneasy feeling. Maybe that feeling is the same as that tension between ‘concrete’ and ‘pasture’. The saxophone of Coen Oscar closes the album, which sounds a bit ‘off’ in the composition. But it’s another one for the books from our favourite little label from Amsterdam! (BW)
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STRUPPIG MAHLEN! (CD compilation by Licht-ung/KulturStadtLev)

My oh my, time flies … The first activities I did for Vital Weekly were in February ’22 after meeting with Frans at a book presentation. And the first batch of CDs I reviewed included a sampler entitled “Struppig Droehnen!”. (Vital Weekly 1323) So it is a kind of mindf*ck to see and hear the next instalment of that CD, which bears the title “Struppig Mahlen!”.
    First things first: There is an annual event in Leverkusen called ‘Struppig Tanzen’, and the artists performing last year are featured on this CD. The event, as well as the CD, are guided into existence by Milan Sandbleistift a.k.a. ]licht-ung[. In 2022, the performers were Recorded Home, Modelbau, [BOLT], Orphax and Murmur. As with the previous episodes, I wonder why the f*** I didn’t attend the event. Who knows, maybe this year?
    Even if it is a sampler or registration, the CD has a bit of a dual approach. Of the five tracks, two are live recordings made at the event, and three artists chose to edit or rework the recordings into what is presented on the CD. Therefore, the ambience in the tracks is different, which is a bit strange. It’s like when you listen to a fantastic industrial noise drone album, and suddenly you hear one neo-folk track with militaristic drumming because there are people who like both styles. It may not break the atmosphere, but it influences it. But it’s a choice; in this case, the final mastering created uniformity.
    Recorded Home is recorded live (red: you knew that would be written) and is based on an arpeggiated kinda melody with spoken / sung words. Strings and pads and, in the end, even rhythms are added, and even though it’s not my thing, it is a welcome opener for this release. Modelbau is next with a 16-minute drone that he does. A delay / looped system is fed with sounds and noises, and this way, they keep developing themselves and the composition. The title “My Memory Of What Happened, Is Not What Happened” is a clue that this is one of those re-recorded tracks I wrote about earlier. The third track is [BOLT], with a 17-minute piece called [37]. [BOLT] is a trio with drums, basses and effects and on this CD, they present a proper piece of post-rock or maybe even drone-rock (if there is something like drone-metal, there should be drone-rock too, right?). It starts easy, with a nice minimal post-rock middle and a noisy ending. Yet, especially, this track would become stronger if it were a proper studio recording.
    The final two tracks are Orphax, which presents a short but powerful drone, and Patrick McGinley’s Murmur. Usually, when I get to review Orphax or listen to him in my spare time, I choose the long pieces because I love how he develops his compositions. The tension over a longer period is something Sietse controls very well, and even with this drone being well done, I can’t help thinking it seems a bit ‘rushed’. I know it’s not, but I suppose that’s the time/tension thing. “Music For Shaggy Dancing” by Murmur closes this document of the event and is, with its 30 minutes, the longest track. The booklet has extensive information on the used sounds and their sources, and this track was recreated entirely in the studio. It sounds pretty majestic with great dynamics and dedication towards the mix: A nice clear production, lots of attention to placement and a open ambience.
    A festival like this – and therefore this compilation – is great to get acquainted with new names. And next to enjoying the release, this particular sampler makes me want to buy more Murmur. (BW)
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Z.B. AIDS – FOR FRANZ (LP by Eau Des Fleurs)

Eau Des Fleurs is a new label from France, “dedicated to experimental music and devoted to sound art and international collaborations. The name of the label is a tribute to L’eau des fleurs, an experimental novel written by the French poet Jean-Marie Reynard (1950-2003) published in 2005”. For the first one, I checked the volume level before playing it. Vomit is one of the best-known examples of harsh noise wall music. I read the slightly confusing liner notes by Lasse Marhaug and was none the wiser; I have no comment, as the album title goes. Romain Perrot, the man behind Vomir, recorded “Acousquantics noise and concrete”, whatever the first might be, and Courtis offers “Electromagnetic sources, objects, tapes and wind field recordings from Argentine’s Puna and Nijmegen”;’ that last thing always lovely to see. Two side-long pieces are the result here, and in ‘Sin commentarios 1’, I believe to hear Vomir’s hand in the final mix, as this is a loud, monolithic beast. It is, however, not your usual harsh noise wall, which is (strictly personal) a good thing. There are changes here, be it prolonged and happening over the eighteen minutes. The frequency range is mid to high without much bottom end. It is noise, but one of the most pleasant kinds of noise. Maybe it’s because I just wrote “wind field recordings” that I hear these in ‘Sin commentarios 2’, but I think I would have said that anyway. This is a much more delicate piece than we have on the other side. For one, it isn’t the minimal, no change howl here, but a relatively balanced piece of heavily treated recordings, and recordings of wind play a significant role—a most enjoyable piece of industrial music, drones and musique concrète. If I find the first side most pleasant, it’s this side that wins me for this record, as I love it. This piece could have lasted twice the length, and I would have enjoyed it all the same.
    A collaboration is the second release from this label, with Michael Morley on electric guitar and Michel Henrizti on lap steel. Here, too, we are served with liner notes by one Philippe Robert, but as they are in French, I have no idea what they say. The two have a history in improvised music from a slightly more rock-oriented perspective. They don’t play solos, they don’t go all hectic and nervous about the strings, but they play some excellent dark drones. I imagine it was recorded in a room with some heavy amplification; it seems these amps are on fire or the brink of collapse. No doubt, there are quite a few pedals between the guitar and amp, and the result is best enjoyed with some considerable volume. In ‘Mirror 1’, the guitar is easier to recognize, even when no chords are played (well, so I believe I don’t know how to play the guitar), and in ‘Mirror 2’, it is all darker and drone-like. I couldn’t say if the approaches are the same for both sides. I see the howl on ‘Mirror 1’ as a form of blues music, and I doubt many blues fans would agree. It’s that sound of pain that cuts through the soul. The other side is more a surrender or contemplation of some kind. It is the most enjoyable sadness if that is possible.
    Hendrik Hegray is behind the name Z.B. Aids. He’s also behind such illustrious names as Helicoptere Sanglante, Hendrik Hegray, Popol Gluant, Valerie Smith and a member of Minitel. I had not heard of him before. Somehow, I doubt he named his record after this reviewer, but who this Franz is, I don’t know. There isn’t any information on the cover, liner notes, or Bandcamp. It’s not easy to say what Z.B. Aids does here. Even an indication as to what instruments he’s using is difficult. In the opening, ‘Alone At The Top’, I was thinking about a Korg MS20, but that’s not what he uses in all ten pieces; or, at least, I assume there is more than that. There might be guitars, effects, and some tape manipulations; the result is experimental music, for lack of a better term. It’s not collage-like per se, but in each track, there is something more coherent, working with a few sounds, mixing these, and that’s it. It’s not necessarily dark or atmospheric, and the music isn’t light listening either. ‘Abel Ferrara’s Handkerchief’ is one piece that uses a bit of rhythm and brings the music into a slightly more industrial surrounding. Although I find reviewing this record not an easy task, not exactly knowing what Hegray does or aims at, in which tradition he works (if any at all, of course), I think this is also a fascinating record with some intense moments, next to some that I think are a bit too easy or not yet worked out well. (FdW)
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HORDIJK VOL 2 (CD compikation by Flag Day Recordings)

Early last year, “Hordijk, Vol. 1” was officially released by Flag Day Recordings on February 11th. On September 6th 2022, Rob Hordijk sadly passed away. I think I’ve written about him in earlier related reviews, but I can say that Rob was not only one of the nicest people I knew but also a really inspiring and kindred spirit. He had so many ideas and an open mind … So everybody owning machines he developed or designed will at some point have met him and probably think the same. This CD proves this fact—thirteen tracks by artists working with different kinds of equipment. Of course, the Hordijk synthesizer is featured with its beautiful sound, the Blippoo with its freakiness, and the Benjolin with its almost uncontrollable behaviour. But most of all, thirteen artists that miss him and created a piece with him in mind, for him or even with him. And this love and respect is audible all through the CD.
    “Hordijk Vol. 2” is a must-have for everybody intrigued by sound synthesis. It’s fantastic to hear how one system can go this many ways. Experimental minimal drones and clicks by Robert Coburn are a huge contradiction compared to the ambience of Bruno Liberda who should be considered noise at moments. Richard Scott’s “Stardust For RH” with its beautiful basses or maybe “Probability No. 3” by Davor Gadze, where the aleatoric use of Hordijk machines is explored. The whole CD – as well as Vol. 1, might I say – is about the beauty of the purity of sounds. You will not hear a Hordijk synth over compressed, making bass lines in a techno track. One simply doesn’t do that. It’s about the love for sound.
    One track I would like to put in the spotlight before pressing play again is “Put The Red Plug” by Felix Kubin. If you bought a Hordijk Synth from Rob, you were invited for a weekend in his studio, and he would teach you about the machine. Because ‘if it takes 20 years to learn how to play the violin, why would it take less time to learn how to play a synth’. Felix recorded those sessions and used samples in his track. Hearing Rob’s voice again made me smile. Typical Rob. (BW)
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Sometimes, shorter releases are perfect. The band Moment from New England told me about their 2-minute performances: “Everything we want to say we will say with so much power and energy that it’s all done in 2 minutes.” Seems perfectly reasonable. With extreme music it’s sometimes all good to have a 10 or 20-minute tape, but with the cost of mailing things around the globe, it’s not always affordable. I had to stop proper collecting because of these postal prices. It’s okay to pay $5 or $7 for a tape, but $15 to get it to Europe sucks. Maybe it’s me, but I seem to see more 3 or 4 or 5-way split-releases in the world. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to send, or it’s a bit more ‘bang for the proverbial buck’, but I see these 4-way splits like a double C20 release.
    Love Earth Music released this 4-way split of some proper noise. Gnawing Teeth, Mallard Theory, Vasectomy Party and Takeshita share this shiny almost 70-minute disc. As with most of LEM’s releases, there is not an actual booklet added, so also no explanation of the conceptual approach of the four artists. Track titles on the back, that’s it. For the rest, it’s all noise that you get—four different types of noise, each with its signature.
    Gnawing Teeth makes a noise where it’s just as if all sounds are pressed through a small hole, like a meat grinder, resulting in a delicious sausage of ‘what the actual fuck’. Here and there, it’s the pain of feedback; in other moments (like on “Burning Hammer”), the result is a massive, repetitive drone-like structure. Mallard Theory uses synths, metal, 4-track and pedals and is more of a cut-up artist with a glitch or (modular?) synth layers—less distorted as with distortion pedals, so also a bit more controlled output. The moments where the bass layers are pushed into distortion are massive!
    There is no party like a Vasectomy party, so play those sounds and cut your balls! Hal Harmon’s project is in the same area as the previous Mallard Theory, but the layers in sound are less ‘modular’, resulting in a bit more aggressive feeling: Less cut-up, more harsh. The final act on this album is Tim Burkland from Seattle. His project and all related things are dedicated to Japanese wrestler Konosuke Takeshita, and his Bandcamp page nicely describes his sound as ‘Professional Noise Wrestling’. The choice of sounds has a bit less complexity than the earlier acts, but because of this, the outcome of the mix is a bit more direct. If you like it hard … (BW)
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In 2015, Tijs Ham (aka Tapage) and Roald van Dillewijn (aka Espoir, also known from Puin + Hoop), both also active in/as The Void* (aka The Void Pointers – stay with me, stay with me!) first joined forces on a physical release: the brilliantly titled Poetic Infomercial Experimentalism cassette on Moving Furniture Records, featuring four tracks of deep space(d) ambience, long line dream drones, feedback and experimental walls of compressed sound.
    This was followed by some digital releases and a sprawling triple cassette box on Crossfade Tapes, further honing the (long distance) musical or sonic conversation, dialogue, exchange and collaborative encounters or discourse (e) between these Dutch masterminds of intense sound somewhere between the division of labour (between mastering and mixing) and the quest for the sum possibly being more significant than the constituent parts.
    Ham’s experimental electronics can move deeply into Xabecian territories with hypnotic and glistening ambient works and touch upon abrasive industrial noises with ragged edges, chaotic spectral sound processes, and aural designs. He works from Bergen, Norway, where he was recently awarded his PhD in Artistic Research. This – his most recent musical work – might be an intricate and intimate reflection of or an intrinsic extension of his scientific research. Combined with Van Dillewijn’s fascination for extended use of electronics in hacked or otherwise new or reconfigured ways and designs for composition or live performance, Descended Hope, the duo’s first LP and first release on Ant-Zen, moves themselves, the works and the listener to the precipe, the limit (as in mathematics), the verge and edge of abstraction.
    That is to say, Ham & Van Dillewijn push through and beyond abstraction, for we are not in the realm between figuration and abstraction – the mid-career Mondrian position, we are way post-painterly abstract here and slowly moving into a time-stretched, deepened, hollowed out, post-neo-postmodern sonic maelstrom wherein identity is constantly mutilated, flipped upside down and inside out and ongoing transformation is the only point of reference, while the needle of the aural compass tosses and turns in seemingly drunken loss of signal.
    Tapage and Espoir here stumble upon – as the most fearless of scientific adventurers do – a ‘novel paradigm’: a state of degradation, ultimately assuming the characteristics of noise’. When transformation, novel transformation even, is this crux-like, fundamentally manifest, Descended Hope indeed confronts ‘profound transmutation of sensory perceptions’ and certainly these manifestations might seem strange, odd, striking, alien, otherworldly, but at the very same instance, in precisely that moment of intense shift and clarity, lies a shocking matter of factly ness – a freakshow noise brawl galore this ain’t, oscillating between what definitely is and what is possibly suggested, which also, basically, is.
    Quietly understated and dark-vanishingly Gregor Samsa-ish Descended Hope’s dramatic cinematic mix and powerful mastering (by Jos Smolders) push this aural netherworldly kaleidoscope of hues of greys, various blacks and pale blues into an amalgam that seems akin to a Jackson Pollock painting dissolving before your eyes into new granular synthesis of deconstruction and reconstitution, begging to be heard on the biggest canvas – like the massive PA’s Maschinenfest deployed. In the minutest of details, the sound design is staggeringly advanced and crisply tuned – in the broadest of strokes, atmospheres can touch on grandeur, but more than ever before, the duo manages to transcend the either/or dichotomy and conjure a massive wholeness, one-ness, as-is-ness.
    From figuration through abstraction with Descended Hope, we exit from the wormhole in a ‘new paradigm’ indeed, which, in true Kafka-style, is completely at odds with what we knew and think to know or expect and – within the same blink of an eye – proposes a deeply uncanny familiarity or familiar unsettled, unbalanced uncannyness: like a speculative deep dive into the blurred fuzzy edges of a Mark Rothko painting, guided by a babbling Philippe Parreno, minding your step while trying to read the latest work by Timothy Morton. (SSK)
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It is no doubt sheer coincidence that I discuss two releases in the same week that deal with Luigi Russolo’s ‘The Art of Noises’ manifest from 191; you know, that thing that says all noise is music, the city, the cars, the industry and the sounds of war. I am mildly surprised that this is still a starting point for some people, more in the case of David Lee Myers than of Entre Vifs. The latter, a French group that includes Zorïn, formerly of Le Syndicat, has been around since 1987 and built their own instruments, which they call bruisers, noise makers, such as Russolo, would have loved the sound of sirens, objects and so on. To celebrate the 110th year (which, honestly, sounds to me like a good reason to release another record, as 110 is not a special year, even when the group doesn’t have many releases), they released an LP with two parts from Session 57a, and as always they recorded this live in their Noisecraft Workshop in Maisons-Alfort, France, in November 2019. Entre Vifs plays the kind of music we, in 2023, think is great noise music; I would love to travel back in time, meet Russolo and play him this record (or any other from Entre Vifs; or Vivenza) and ask him what he thinks. I’d be surprised at any reaction, in agreement or not. I know this question I asked before and, no doubt, will ask again in the future. Entre Vifs’ noise music isn’t your typical harsh noise wall, but more an improvised session of crossing electricity wires, delay pedals, strings and tin cans being heavily amplified and dully transformed into the continuous swirl of noises that we come to enjoy over the years as trademark Entre Vifs. It’s chaotic, rhythmic, loud, uncontrolled and not your usual noise. Very industrial, with the sound of cogwheels crushing metal plates; this is indeed the true art of noise music.
    Now, if Entre Vifs are proud flag-bearers of the Futurist ideal, I think that David Lee Myers uses the quote from ‘The Art Of Noises’ in a more general sense to show that all noise can be music. His career, both as Arcane Device and under his own name, is all about various types of noise, loud, quiet, chaotic and sustaining, and in much of his recent work, seems to go back to what is called ‘early electronics’, music of the fifties and sixties, composed in radio stations, in Paris, Cologne, Tokyo and such. He calls the nineteen pieces on this CD ‘sonic vignettes’, and he uses “feedback matrices, modular electronics, Eventide H9 and IRCAM TS2”. They are all around three minutes, some seconds shorter or longer, and Myers emulates the ‘old style’ very well. Maybe the Russolo quote also serves that notion, going back to the past and marking the continuation of a tradition. I don’t think Myers sees himself as Avant-garde but as someone continuing the thread from Russolo and early electronic music pioneers to the current time. With his use of modular electronics, I think he’s a very early adapter of the current modular uses, but he’s ahead of the curve with his music. I don’t know to what extent these pieces result from ‘live-in-studio’ improvisation or editing small bits together into a very well-structured composition. With some of these, I can see the improvisational aspect of the music, while others have a more organisational aspect. With the briefness of these pieces, there is certainly speed and urgency to them; some are spot on, some I think would lend themselves for further exploration. This is a show that could be longer. None of the pieces seems to be hasty or superfluous; I don’t think I expected anything else—another fine addition to his already vast catalogue. (FdW)
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THIERRY MONNIER & BRUCE RUSSELL – LES FRANCAIS SONT LES ENNEMIS DE PACIFIQUE (LP by Doubful Sounds, Dysmusie & Up Against The Wall Motherfuckers)

Not long after my last review of work by Thierry Monnier, he passed away in 2022. From the liner notes, I learned that Monnier was also active when Metamkine was still a going concern, playing music on the radio, running Doubtful Sounds and with various musical projects, such as Sun Stabbed and La Morte Young. He loved music out of New Zealand; musicians such as Michael Morley (Gate, The Dead C), Stefan Neville (Pumice) and Bruce Russell (The Dead C) were his friends. With the latter, he recorded music just before the Pandemic started, and this was his last visit to the Pacific. There is a political edge to the title, the French being the enemies of the Pacific, but that’s more about all the small islands above, nuclear testing ground and such; well, as far as I know, that history. Back in the shack with Russell, the two set up their amplifiers, guitars and sound effects, and it took them an hour to record the four pieces on this album. Now, I always mention that improvised music doesn’t have my strong interest, but that’s when I forget that, much like Monnier, I, too, am a fan of the more noisy and uncontrolled blasts of improvised guitar soundscapes from that country. Maybe these days, not as much as I once was, when I couldn’t get enough of Russel’s Corpus Hermeticum label, of music by Omit, Sandoz Lab Technicians or Surface Of The Earth. In that respect, this LP, which very much fits the same musical strategy as those mentioned, is an excellent reminder to delve into that whole thing again – if time was a bit on my side, that is. The metallic ringing and sustaining of crudely constructed drones (and I have no idea how these are made), with the amplifier on the brink of feedback, all work as psychedelic music for me. Not in a hippy-dippy sense, but music shooting right through one’s brain, a drone that isn’t a drone, but also one can’t escape. It is as direct as rich, one long stretch of sonic bliss. Excellent stuff, and sadly, it’s the last we’ll hear of Monnier. (FdW)
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SIMON WHETHAM – CHANNELLING (SECTIONS) (10″ lathe cut, private)

Here are two recent releases by Simon Whetham, which were not released simultaneously; one took a long time to reach me. The first is a self-released lathe cut 10″ record by Simon Whetham in an edition of 20 copies. It is the result of various live performances he did over the years. Which started as a sculptural installation work. He uses “motors and mechanisms from discarded and obsolete consumer technology”. There is a lot there that one can imagine as such, and I’d say, as always, the music doesn’t provide many clues. There is a lot of rattling of objects, surface upon surface, which gives the music a rather interesting sense of motion. Still, these movements are constantly broken up, creating new space, a different angle, and other sounds, and yet it still makes sense if you get my drift. There is an excellent vibrancy to the music, bouncing and rotating, sometimes carefully small, and sometimes like a vast drone. It never stays in the same place for very long, which adds to the energy level of the music. Very electro-acoustic, very tangible and an excellent record that sadly will not reach too many people but is undoubtedly worth your attention.
    On cassette, Whetham has documentation of work carried out at the OVNI, a creative space in Fribourg, Switzerland. Together with Milena Farioli, he did a project that explored the “sounds of various fermentations including red and white cabbage, green beans, ginger, courgette (a huge one donated to the project by the neighbouring florist), (non-lactose) kefir and mead” and these fermentations he recorded. How is not mentioned, which is a pity. Also, fermenting vegetables isn’t easily found in my kitchen, but there is undoubtedly a fascinating element to giving this stuff and recording the sound – again, if only I knew how. The sounds were played back into the space, using speakers, but “also through the glass of the various jars used and also the plate glass window, as the project fermented inside the ‚jar‘ of OVNI, looked into by the passers-by each day”, which adds further to the fascination, at least on my side. Had I not known all of this, what would I have made of this cassette? It is tough to say, but a living organism (if that is what fermenting is; I am not a biologist) would not easily come to mind. Sound crackling is more like computer glitches, and there are some occasional drones; maybe, at best, I would have thought of field recordings of relatively small animals.This fifty-minute cassette is a fascinating release of what seems creepy-crawly sounds, which might give you an itchy feeling. I believe that Whetham doesn’t present this as a document, but there is actual composition to each of the six pieces, a collage of recordings he made in this period. The music is quite low in volume, and the cassette isn’t perhaps the best medium to release it, but there is also a download. (FdW)
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YELLOW6 – CIVIL TWILIGHT (CDR by Sound in Silence)
HESSIAN – THE ALCHEMIST (CDR by Sound in Silence)

If I’m not mistaken, ‘Civil Twilight’ is the sixth album by Jon Attwood’s musical project Yellow6 for Sound In Silence. As I noted with the previous (Vital Weekly 1357), his output is more significant, but I only hear his music when released by this Greek label. Hardly any rhythms (unlike the older Yellow6 work, but not wholly gone, popping up in ‘Washed Away Every Trace’, the seventh piece for the first time. There is also rhythm in the last track) and the music all about the guitar and sound effects. Yellow6 is one hell of a moody musician, always on the darker side but not entirely black. The albums are named after meteorological conditions and times of the day; words such as clouds and twilight direct the listener somehow. His guitar sounds like raindrops on a tin roof, a bit metallic, but there is that prolonged sound, the ringing and sustaining side of the music. As before, Yellow6 takes his time. The shortest piece here is six minutes, the longest over ten. He uses that time very well, exploring the boundaries of his music and carving out all the atmosphere he deems necessary in his music. His last one arrived in autumn time, and so does ‘Civil Twilight’, even when it looks more like late summer still, with the evenings being considerably shorter, there is more twilight, and there is more need for twilight music.
    For Hessien, it is the second release on Sound In Silence but the first I hear from this duo. Tim Martin (Maps and Diagrams, Atlantis, Karst, Bluhm, Black Elk, Ouvala) and Charles Sage (y0t0, The Rothko Chapel) are responsible for the music. The first is active for some twenty years and Sage for ten. As a duo, they were active in the second half of the previous decade with releases on Fluid Audio, Beko DSL, Long Story, Audio Gourmet and Sound In Silence. Now, they return after three years of silence. Here, too, we find a lot of guitar playing, along with drum samples, electronics, synthesizers, and perhaps some field recordings. Like Yellow6’s music, there is a tendency towards a more post-rock-like ambience. Guitars tinkle away, looped and changed with a lot of pedal work, but it seems that Hessien’s music touches upon something slightly lighter, or maybe the interaction between darker and lighter sound is more in balance here. Hessien’s music feels like a night and day trip through the crowded dark forests and broad open fields. I wouldn’t mind travelling with this kind of music on the stereo if I had a car. Window open, enjoying the scenery. Doing so on a bicycle is probably more environmentally friendly, but you get my drift. Sixty-two minutes of sonic bliss, just how I like them. (FdW)
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Another 48 minutes by Tribe Tapes that will ruin your childhood. And yes, that is meant most lovingly. A few months ago, I played at the Crude Transmissions festival in Leiden, NL, and there was Pain Appendix, who is Pete Jennings from somewhere in the US (I don’t know exactly). He is doing quite well if you look at his releases. A tape/CD on Satatuhatta, a split with Black Leather Jesus, Armenia and now Tribe Tapes. And his show in Leiden was terrific. He had a bit of a symbiosis between the harsh junk metal noise thing but with looped backgrounds in a power electronics kinda way. So there and then, he was my absolute favourite of the evening. His side of this tape focuses more on the junk metal noise with an added role for the looper on “Tumescence”. The final track, “Scream Of The Demon Whip,” finally catches a bit of those deep layers I heard on stage.
    The reverse side of “Whipped By Noise” is by Kortrijkian Vincent Dallas. He whose name cannot be found through intense googling. Vincent released some ten titles, of which 7 in 2022 alone. According to Discogs, at least. All titles are in Flemish / Dutch, and these are not different. “Chasing myself with whip and smile” and “Cat’O’Nine-Tails” but then in Dutch. Both tracks should be indexed under HNW, even though the ‘cat’-track has some nice variation in there. The sound is so incredibly heavy in his works, I’m kinda silent because of it. I feel small … Really, really small. If this is what Vincent does … HNW might have a new master. He already has the whip for it.(BW)
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RAQQA – Flying Ginsu VII (Postcard with download by esc.rec)

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the ‘band name’. Maybe just the overall tonality of the picture. But upon reception of Flying Ginsu VII, a postcard (sic!) with a download of the musical work, I immediately thought of the musical realms of Anemone Tube on the one hand and Pharaoh Chromium on the other. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing at all and a good reminder to look either act up in the collection and deep dive in again.
    And, hearing RAQQA’s work, both references aren’t that far off, to be honest. There’s a spectacular dramatic sonic density, poetic-philosophical maturity and maybe even political red thread throughout the instant composition that touches on heaviness (as described by JR Moores in his book Electric Wizards) and involves in-depth, open-ended dialogue between electronic and acoustic instrumentation.
    The release features a poemlike manifesto which is worth quoting in full…
    A low and insidious whisper sneaks into the damp ruin.
    Wet humanoids are dragged into dust that is scratched when it freezes in the hollow of the siphon.
    Reflection of fiction, the friction of the ear-drum, shaping of desire, rise of salvational ideas.
    Ideas that blunt into sensitive cylinders, slow showers under concrete ceilings.
    Walls made of air, infiltrated with water, swell and collapse supported by hope.
    Pearling trenches, streams of stones, the end rings in the dreamer’s ear.
    As RAQQA Nicolas Zentz and Nino Baleyto push their improvising nature across the varied landscapes of the acousmatic realm. They leave it open and let it happen. They confront and appease, smooth over and rupture. There are flourishes of GRM-like narration mixed with F Pierce Warnecke-style electronics or Claire rosary-ish moods. Above anything, though, apart from references, RAQQA is about fundamentals, base lines, and deep sound worlds. Nearing the border, across the demarcation line, into the following sector and letting go of boundaries of what came before and could present itself after. Indeed: a ‘reflet de la fiction, friction du canal auditif’. An aural picture to lose oneself in completely. Under those concrete ceilings of heaviness. (SSK)
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