Number 1408

HET ZWEET – 2XLIVE88 (CD by EE Tapes) *
MX-80 SOUND – BETTER THAN LIFE (CD by Klanggalerie) *
MERZBOW – CAFE OTO (2CD by Cold Spring Records) *
GLASS TRIANGLE – BLUE AND SUN-LIGHTS (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
ELOINE + YPSMAEL / COIMS (split cassette by Eh? Records) *
MATTHIAS KOOLE – OÊ [39​:​08] (LP by Oem) *
LIMPE FUCHS & ZORO BABEL – EXTRATOOL 7 (cassette by Extratool) *
JEDRZEJ SIWEK – REQUIEM (cassette by Out of Stock) *


In 2019, Francisco Meirino from Switzerland and Jerome Noetinger from France did a concert (I think) at the La Becque Residency Center in Switzerland, mixed in 2021 in Lausanne and Rives. I assume the cities where these musicians live. Armed that day for recording, Meirino brought in a modular synthesizer, field recorder and microphones and Noetinger his trusted Revox B77, electronics, radio, CD player and tapes. Maybe this wasn’t a concert but a residency for a few days, resulting from their collaboration. As I am playing this release several times, it dawned on me (I am known to be a slow thinker) that I grip a lot about improvised music, but, obviously, this is a work of improvised music. But then, as a sort of radical live-action musique concrète work that I enjoy very much, their approach is that ‘we take no hostages’; they go in at full force, with sounds bursting and cracking, explosions left and right. I don’t know if Noetinger, in his set-up of live loop montage, also adds sounds from Meirino to the melee. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. Sounds are cut short, vanish in a hole in the ground, or are shot up in the sky. Don’t think this is a noise release, far from it; these men also know to have moments of careful approach, in which they sparsely use sounds, but it all sits next to a more brutalist process, in which they go all the way. It is not a harsh noise per se but fiercely loud. And yes, all of this is very much improvised, but this is the kind of improvisation that I enjoy very much. It is on the same level as noise music when it’s done correctly; then I am all for it, and in that respect, this is not only improvised music but also noise music. Electro-acoustic music without the care and protection, but with some moments of reflective sparseness. This is forty-two minutes of sonic bliss. That’s how I liked them best. (FdW)
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HET ZWEET – 2XLIVE88 (CD by EE Tapes)

Strictly from a personal perspective, it is great to see renewed interest in Het Zweet. I think that interest started when Staalplaat released an expanded version of Het Zweet’s only LP (see Vital Weekly 1343), which Klanggalerie released on CD. A label from Greece, Modal Analysis, released a double LP with archival work, judging the content pieces from compilations and some previously unreleased work, plus a 1984 live recording. I haven’t heard this one, but today, there is a CD with two live recordings from 1988. That is interesting as this is also the year that Het Zweet started to wind down his activities because of shifting musical interests. In 1988, Het Zweet supported Bourbonese Qualk in The Netherlands, and I am sure I saw them on a different evening, but I have no recollection. Therefore, I also have no idea if Het Zweet was also opening up that night. I believe this CD has the complete concert of that April 1, 1988 show in Club Utopia in Elsloo (I had to look that up), and it offers an exciting variation of the music Het Zweet plays. Mostly known for his more rhythmic music, that side still plays a significant role in the music here, ominous industrial drumming, tribal-like metal percussion (Neubauten, Z’EV), but a song like ‘We Hear Your Soul’ is more… an actual song, with Van Oers, Het Zweet’s operator, singing, with a keyboard present, and some loops. Loops of instrumental bits return in other pieces, and by using delay, those also have a more tribal feeling. I was pretty surprised by this approach because I didn’t know much about Het Zweet in the later stages of his career. It’s an exciting variation here, with Van Oers going for what, I think, is a more song-based approach, next to the loops, tapes (slowed down voices; very 1980s) and metallic percussion. With some production value, this music could easily have found its way into the early catalogue of the Cold Meat Industry. The other concert on this CD was recorded five days later, at Radio Militia in Belgium, and is about half the length, approximately twenty minutes. This is along similar lines, but interestingly enough, not a repeat of the same material, and a song like ‘The Last Straw’ sounds completely different, and so does ‘Ein Kreuz Part 1’. In the surroundings of the radio station, it all sounds a bit more controlled than on stage. Both have their charm, and this latter-day Het Zweet opens for me a perspective I didn’t know. It’s a great historical document, prompting me to please once more for a Het Zweet box set with (almost all) his work. (FdW)
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The only time I heard of Gil Sansón before was his CD with Bruno Duplant (Vital Weekly 953) for the Mystery Sea label, which is, more or less, the precursor of Unfathomless. He has more releases on Rhizome.s, Full Spectrum Records, Confront, Very Quiet Records, and Contour Editions. Sansón (1970) is from Venezuela, where he works and lives in Caracas. In the short text that comes along with this CD, he writes about memories from the past, when he lived in New York City, thinking about the public transport system of that city. I believe he has some old recordings of that. He mixes these along with sound material from the current city, which he describes as “the grey sound of the city (Caracas) at its quietest.”; I have never visited Caracas, so I had no idea how grey the sound of the city is, but sure enough, there is a particular greyish atmosphere in the music here. Sometimes, it was clear that these were the sounds of the subway; there was that mechanized transportation sound and the claustrophobic tunnel. However, sometimes I believe I have heard animal sounds. Maybe, of course, I am mistaken. Perhaps these are the archival sounds used, which he also mentions. This forty-four-minute work is indeed one long composition, a trajectory, or a trip. And just like the transportation system, there are stations, here symbolized by short bits of silence. At first, I found these mildly annoying, but once I was used to them, they made sense. He slowly builds his piece from a small and carefully constructed sound, and at the end, there are small sounds again. You can also see the sound coming from afar, closing in and going away again. I have no idea if Sansón uses any kind of processing. Here, too, I have the idea that he sometimes does, and sometimes it is all pure and clean, only distorted by the distance of the sounds and the microphone. Overall, it’s a great CD! (FdW)
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MX-80 SOUND – BETTER THAN LIFE (CD by Klanggalerie)

Growing up in a small Dutch village, it was always hard to discover new music. Relying solely on one’s favourite music journalists, you had to trust their opinion and spend your hard-earned money on their recommendations. By sheer luck, our local library had a record department, and someone with excellent musical taste was responsible for selecting items from behind the screens. He or she seemed to like obscure stuff, and I felt I was the only one picking up on that. One of the best discoveries at the end of the 1970s was an album called ‘Hard Attack’ by a band called MX-80 Sound. I was struck by the peculiar cover and decided to take it home to find out it was unlike anything I had known up until that point. I was into punk and new wave, but the music I heard also appealed to friends with a taste for heavier music. Their lyrics were quite humorous and, in hindsight, a bit too intellectual, but I was 16 and found it very amusing.
    MX-80 Sound had a relatively minimal output. Their second and third albums were also excellent, but then they faded away. To my surprise, their newly released (by the Austrian label Klang Galerie) album ‘Better Than Life’ sounds as good as the stuff they made five decades ago. One of the founders, Bruce Anderson, passed away in 2022, and the liner notes reveal that Steve Albini was involved in mixing the tracks in 2020, so I’m guessing this has been shelved for a few years. If you enjoyed their old albums, you can trust me when I say you should buy this one. (AB)
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MERZBOW – CAFE OTO (2CD by Cold Spring Records)

The year is 2016. Masami Akita, who we all know as Merzbow, is visiting London. The Cafe OTO in London gives him a stage for a day. And a PA system. It’s Saturday, October 1st. The day the earth trembled a bit. Because he did not one, but two sets that day. And Shaun Crook was there to record both of them. And now, seven years and one month later, both sets – 50 and 55 minutes – are released as a double CD on Cold Spring. The 2CD is simply called “Cafe OTO”, and Merzbow named the recordings “Untitled Knife” I and II.
    So what can we say about it? The promo that was sent with the release speaks about ‘rhythm-driven’, and I still have to find those moments. I would have expected something more towards the 4×3″ ‘Timehunter’ when I read rhythm. This is a wall of sound with a pulsating drone in the lower regions of the frequency spectrum. In the first track, the pulse is like a randomized yet constant sort of arpeggiator layer (for freaks & nerds: it reminded me a bit of the structure coming from a MfOS WSG pitched down), while in the second track, that layer is a sine-wave LFO triggered sound. And yes, somewhere in the middle, the pulsating rises a bit from the lower regions towards a bit higher frequency where it kind of sounds like a rhythm, but don’t expect a drum loop or whatever. Over these dark layers is a constant harsh layer of sound that knows moments of stability but mostly moves all over the place. There is no rest for the wicked and definitely no rest for the audience.
    The promo sheet also mentions a little quote from around then referring to the concerts: “The concert was very much about the physical impact of the sound”. And that’s maybe all that should have been written. Because it’s Merzbow, can Masami still surprise you after 400+ releases? Would you expect something other than a relentless performance from him? You can write something about the music, the conceptual approach, or the performance details (as done in the first paragraphs). But it’s Merzbow. It’s all about the physical experience, and this is a nice document of what happened that Saturday in October seven years and one month ago. Spoiler alert: It was loud. (BW)
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If you are familiar with Dutch punk music, the name Zea is probably well-known. Not because Zea is a punk band, but because it’s the brainchild of Arnold de Boer, singer of The Ex (and yes, is that a punk band? he asked rhetorically). His work as Zea, which he did before joining The Ex, eluded me, to be honest. A friend of mine has his tinnitus from seeing Zea live in a small space. He recalled the story again when I mentioned I received a new Zea CD today. I reviewed De Boer’s solo CD ‘Minimal Guitar’ in Vital Weekly 1263, under his name. I have no point of reference; this is stunde null. A lengthy text accompanies this release, mentioning ‘great pop music often has a magpie quality’. I am unsure if Zea plays pop music, but some of these pieces qualify as pop songs, ‘Hauntology’ for instance, with drums, guitar, vocals and Xavier Charles on clarinet. Now, this is interesting, as Charles is someone we know from the world of improvised music. Being a member of The Ex means that De Boer knows a ton of musicians from many different musical areas, and improvised music is one of their primary interests. Some songs show that improvised edge, so this is definitely not your standard pop record. De Boer freely plunders styles, ideas, and sounds and has no limitation in the use of instruments. Do I need a drum machine? Yes, I do. Cowbell? More cowbell, please. The fact that most of these pieces are sung by him means that this music is also on the (very alternative) pop side. The oddball track is ‘What The World Needs Now Is Understanding’ (an accurate title, if you ask me), which takes up about 1/3 of the record and is a solo acoustic guitar piece, not unlike that previous album I heard. Much like the work of someone such as Lukas Simonis, this album swings in and out of the interest of Vital Weekly but is nevertheless heard with much excitement. (FdW)
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One of my favourite singles is ‘Hambu Hodo’ by Renaldo & The Loaf, a song that will always cheer me up. I investigated the band further, maybe already, before hearing that song (I no longer remember). I liked what I heard and perhaps even owned a few albums at some point; maybe not, but I don’t have them anymore. I didn’t keep up with their music beyond 1990 (or such). Renaldo & The Loaf was done by David Janssen, also known as Ted the Loaf, and Brian Poole or Renaldo Malpractice; the first by day a pathologist and the second by an architect. They caught the attention of The Residents, and the rest is history. In 2018, they played the first concert in Vienna by invitation of Klanggalerie, who now releases the first solo CD of Poole, who calls himself Renaldo M for this occasion. There are some guest musicians. Poole started to record solo stuff some thirty years ago when he built a computer-based studio and started to work with MIDI, but not all of the songs were finished and stayed in the archive. In 2006, Renaldo & The Loaf came back, so it took another 14 years to finish them. I am glad he did. I bet anyone who knows his work before the duo will be instantly recognised as music by either the duo or something solo. Much like the mothership, there are similarities in the use of vocals and voices, in the use of rhythms, the naivety of the music in general, and the weird changes within a song. It’s all present here; even the ‘Hambu Hodo’ like throat singing finds a small place here in ‘Blessing Chant 1’. Lovely stuff, even when much of this is some kind of pop music; weird pop music, but very accessible music also. Maybe as such, the music is quite the oddball in this issue (even when ZEA comes close to that, too; he too has releases on this label, incidentally), no matter how much I like it. Had I more time, I would revisit the back catalogue of Renaldo & The Loaf; if only I had more time. (FdW)
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Blue and Sunlights is the sophomore record of Mette Rasmussen, Zeena Parkins and Ryan Sawyer, who now go by the name of their first record: Glass Triangle. Dolf Mulder reviewed their previous effort, and I had the same criticism as he had: the music was too abstract to connect to. But after many listening rounds, it suddenly clicked. Sometimes effort has to be put in to “understand” music, well maybe not on a rational level but on a more visceral level. That’s why it took a really long time to write this review. The release date was on May 12.
    Saxophone player Mette Rasmussen, Danish but based in Norway’s Trondheim, has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival this year with Mette Rasmussen Trio North together with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (bass) and Olaf Olsen (drums). She plays in Mats Gustafsson’s Fire! Orchestra and has collaborated with numerous other free improvising musicians. Ryan Sawyer played drums on the debut record of At the Drive-In, a band which later evolved into the Mars Volta. Hailing from Texas, he now resides in New York. Last but not least, we have Zeena Parkins on a custom-made electric harp, active since the eighties (News of Babel with Chris Cutler, Lindsay Cooper, Zeena Parkins and Dagmar Krause, Skeleton Crew with Tom Cora, Fred Frith and Dave Newhouse). She can be heard on several records by Björk, notably on several tracks of Vespertine.
    Blue and Sunlights takes its name from a four-channel film made by Josiah McElheney and Jeff Preiss, the latter being the partner of Zeena Parkins and the former being an artist who mainly works with glass. Apparently, the film creates hallucinatory visions through light travelling through glass sculptures. I tried to find images of the film, but alas, to no avail. There is, however, another reference in the artwork of the release: a copy of General Pleasanton’s book ‘The Influence Of The Blue Eat Of The Sunlight And Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky, In Developing Animal And Vegetable Life; In Arresting Disease, And In Restoring Health In Acute And Chronic Disorders To Human And Domestic Animals’. A former Civil War general, Pleasonton discovered (falsely) the importance of using blue glass in growing plants. It started a blue-glass craze at the end of the nineteenth century. The book is available at the Internet Archive. Anyways. Back to the music. The three musicians whip up a storm during several tracks, setting a mood that changes not that much, especially in the shorter tracks. Or Mette goes into the altissimo register (as in the opener Earth OO), and Parkins adds sounds not associated with the harp. She modifies the sound of the harp with a nifty box and pedals, as seen on an Instagram picture of the recording proceedings. It’s stunning music, but there’s a but, it takes an effort to unlock its secrets. There’s a lot to be discovered here. As the music is sometimes quite dense and rich in a wide range of frequencies, it’s thanks to the recording engineer Vishal Nyak and mixer/mastering engineer Kato Hideki that the whole record sounds alive and crisp. (MDS)
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ELOINE + YPSMAEL / COIMS (split cassette by Eh? Records)

It’s been a long time since I reviewed ‘Babanco Total’ by Philip Gayle (Vital Weekly 815), and upon re-reading, I have no idea how it sounded, but it seemed to be using voice material. DM reviewed a CD in Vital Weekly 1154. Gayle has been active since the late 1990s and has several releases, mainly on Yabyum Productions and Family Vineyard. Gayle plays various instruments on this disc: banjo, bass, cello, door, guitars, mandolin, percussion, piano, toy piano, voice, ukulele and waterphone. There are also three guest players: Shogo Ohshima on alto saxophone, Shizka Ueda on voice, and Omusubisan Fuuchan on vocals. The latter on three pieces, the second on one and the first on two. They all appear on the long opening track, a whirlwind of sound. Everything is stuck inside a multitrack recorder and played simultaneously without a proper mix, so chaos prevails. It sounds very much like a free improvisation thing, and as such, maybe not my thing, but with the instruments as object approach, sitting next to chaotic excursions on the saxophone, this is something that extends beyond regular improvisation, I think; a bit more orchestral due to the number of sounds and instruments used. But then, I have to realise this piece contains four players, but the difference becomes apparent in the following pieces. There is no more extended density here, but the sounds open up, and there is a much sparser approach. Overtones ringing from objects played with a bow in both ‘Minus Inu’ and ‘Ceann Ruadh Tiresias’, a delicate moment of calm music after fifteen minutes of chaos.  This is followed by more chaos, again about fifteen minutes long, but solo by Gayle, who uses the stereo spectrum in full force; you can play this hearing only the left or only the right channel or in stereo; maybe that’s why it’s called ‘Zone (In Three Parts)’. ‘geketsutoketsu’ is the final sparse one, before two short bursts of collaborative explosions. I enjoyed the variety here, which made the more die-hard improvised bits easier to digest.
    Label boss Bryan Day works with Jay Kreimer as Seeded Plain. The day is foremost a sculpture of instruments, boxes, strings, springs and metal, and he improvises with them. A long time ago, I reviewed a solo release of Kreimer (Vital Weekly 782), and he’s more of a percussion player. Seeded Plain has existed for some fifteen years now, and I reviewed two of their releases before (Vital Weekly 662 and 763), also a long time ago, so I am a bit blank here. I don’t know if there was a long gap in these men playing again or if there was no release (that I received). One short and three long pieces might be too long, clocking in at close to an hour. Seeded Plain’s music isn’t easy to digest, being a very densely orchestrated mixture of metallic percussion, bowed strings and other electro-acoustic music. It is very collage-like, even when there isn’t much through lay and hard edits—more a continuous, subconscious stream of sounds. The music was recorded during Kreimer’s Fulbright fellowship in India, so the pieces are named after the location where they performed. I like all four pieces, but especially the last one, ‘Hyderabad Two’, which contains overtone/throat singing and some subdued electronics, creating quite a different atmosphere. The short opening reminded me of Dome. ‘Hyderabad One’ and ‘Bangalore’ are more conventional pieces of improvised electro-acoustic music and not too different, so if one went, the album would be stronger with three variations in approach—still a fine album, of course.
    The last new release is a cassette on the subdivision, Eh? Records and on the A-side, we find label boss Day disguised as Eloine, who recorded some work with Ypsmael, also known as Norm Mueller. I reviewed some of his releases before without having an all-too-clear picture of what he does. They worked together back (Vital Weekly 1342). I am unsure if the four pieces here are from the session or if they recorded more material later. Armed with their acoustic sound material, springs, coil, toys, and some electronics, they create four pieces (around fourteen minutes) of brutalist electro-acoustic music, veering towards the noise end of things while maintaining clarity in sounds, which is a rare thing. They hit, scratch and scrape but keep their music together all along, i.e. it sounds less improvised, which I enjoy very much. The music reminds me of AMM, Morphogenesis, Kapotte Muziek and Kontakta, and other contact microphone abusers, of course.
    On the other side, there is Coims. I heard music by Coims before (see Vital Weekly 1184). I have no idea who is behind this project. Still, I learned they are a duo, “using heavily processed/manipulated guitar, vocal and percussion”, but I believe I also heard a clarinet. Like much else on this label, this is improvised music, more so than the music on the other side of the cassette. They have five relatively short pieces of music, in which improvisations melt with lo-fi drones post-punky guitar treatments and without all too chaotic and nervous trashing around. Coims, in much the same way as Eloine and Ypsmael on the other side, yet also different, care about structuring their pieces and almost work as compositions. I like this new Coims better than their previous work. (FdW)
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MATTHIAS KOOLE – OÊ [39​:​08] (LP by Oem)

Four years ago, guitarist Matthias Koole released ‘[34:46]’, a solo record that looked back on his work with the electric guitar. His new album ‘Oê [39​:​08]’ (we’re not handing out prizes if you guess the length of this LP) is a new road, the acoustic guitar. I didn’t hear his previous record or any other, so this is my first encounter with his work. Koole uses a steel string guitar, an old one. There is no amplification or sound effects. However, he uses various objects, such as a tuning fork, a capo, a spider capo, a cello bow, a drumstick, and a balloon. He sees the recording of this album as part of getting to know the guitar, which is perhaps not the cheapest way to learn something. None of the objects are listed along the tracks; some are easy to spot, the drum stick in ‘eu-b’ for instance, but not the balloon in ‘bnj-b’ – the latter I know because it’s mentioned in the press text. The music is highly improvised, and Koole has a straightforward recording here, so we hear him breathe along with the music he produces. The guitar remains the guitar, but Koole takes a radical approach to his playing. No chords, no strumming, just hard plucking and rattling along the strings, with the occasional objects playing a role but never resulting in something that renders the guitar unrecognisable. Like the CD by Meirino/Noetinger, reviewed elsewhere, Koole has a somewhat brutalist method, without the electronics and hard cuts, but with the music being so loud/close to the microphone, it becomes alive and a monster it is. The second side contains some quieter moments, but it doesn’t put you to sleep, far from it. Quite a blast these nearly forty minutes of guitar trashing. (FdW)
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LIMPE FUCHS & ZORO BABEL – EXTRATOOL 7 (cassette by Extratool)

Extrapool from Nijmegen has been around for thirty years, and while these days there is less focus on live music, they still some residencies with sound. Extratool is such a project, of which they organised eight editions so far. While we wait for the release of number eight, they released the seventh (following four 7″s; the others are on cassette), a collaboration between Limpe Fuchs and her son, Zoro Babel. The central idea of these residencies is to work with instruments created by Yuri Landman. The first time I heard the name Limpe Fuchs was when I heard ‘An Afflicted Man’s Musica Box’, the 1980s compilation LP with a track by Anima, her duo with Paul Fuchs. Off and on after that, I heard her solo releases, but I am far from an expert. I know Landman’s instruments, curious constructions containing strings, micro tuning, and wonderful percussion objects. I missed Fuchs and Babel’s performance as part of this residency in a small chapel at the Valkhof Festival (a big local summer event). Fuchs brought some of her instruments, “woodblocks and stone slates, a selection of bronze drums and voice”, and I admit I don’t hear much of the Landman stuff. There is also the use of electronics, which I find particularly interesting as they contrast with the acoustic instruments. The cassette is twenty minutes long and has four pieces. ‘Tricky Bowing’ opens with a tribal drum pattern, slowly disintegrating, and there are voices, followed by more drumming. Since this is a cassette, it is hard to tell where ‘Bronze Guitar’ starts, but this side has an interesting electronic ending (last three or so minutes). The other side has ‘Visiting Frogs’ and ‘Electric Friends’, which seem more straightforward to interact between electronics and instruments. I hear a Landman instrument, one of the percussion ones (not sure about their names, if they have any; I believe this is one with small metal pipes) and the Kalimba. It is also hard to tell one track from the other here. The music on this side of the cassette is loosely played and less organised than on the other side. As I listen to this cassette, I feel sad not having seen this in concert, as this sounds very good. If you want a copy, you’ll have to hurry, only 25 copies were made. (FdW)
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Along the lines of the CD by ZEA, reviewed elsewhere, this cassette is also swinging in and out of the interest of Vital Weekly. Del Stephen’s music I reviewed quite extensively, some of David Parker (one as recent as in Vital Weekly 1400) and, I think, nothing from Liam Cole. He plays the drums here, Parker is on guitar, voice, and percussion, and Stephen on synthesisers, guitar and piano. Conventional instruments, perhaps, and in their approach, these remain recognisable, even when this trio has an improvisational approach. ‘Emotional Rescue’ is part of a 7-part series entitled “Music V Capitalism’, like the previous Parker release was also part of that, but this time isn’t that grim. It’s all quite pleasant to hear. There is some kind of folk-like approach, and there’s a very immediate effect in the way it is recorded. It is nothing fancy, with no sound effects, just three men playing together in a basement (unsure why I refer to basements in these cases; anywhere around the house is my best guess), and the music covers a range of emotions. Happy, sad, sunny, moody, you name it, and it’s there. Sometimes leaning a bit towards the postrock, then folk, or in a more free improv sense. It was lovely altogether, but maybe a bit out of my comfort zone too… pleasant? Musical? Where’s the darkness? Nevertheless, this is a most enjoyable release, a ray of sunshine in a dark world. (FdW)
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JEDRZEJ SIWEK – REQUIEM (cassette by Out of Stock)

The two previous releases by Jędrzej Siwek (Vital Weekly 1345 and 1361 were homages to Claude Debussy and Alvin Lucier, respectively. This time, there is no such obvious point of reference. Debussy’s work was slightly more electronic work, with field recordings, and for his Lucier work, he used several instruments (paper, pencil, looper, foghorn, morse code, for instance). No instruments are mentioned on this cassette, which has a more classical approach. On Bandcamp, he says Verdi’s ‘Requiem’ is conducted by Toscanini, and Siewek hears ‘the passage of time and physical degradation’. Sound sources might include samples from various Requiem masses, but not so much the vocals (a Requiem mass for the dead usually contains lyrics; check your final bit of ‘Amadeus’ please), a lot of strings, which he recorded from old vinyl sources upon cassettes and thus enhances the sense of degradation within the music. When voices pop up, in ‘I’, for instance, they are eerie ghostly-like hummings, with a lot of dirt and erosion, adding to a somewhat creepy atmosphere. The music is dark and atmosphere, with lengthy sustaining parts, reminding me of Henryk Gorecki’s ‘Third Symphony’, but without the dramatic build-up and climax. I have no idea if there is an emotional side to this music, i.e. if Siwek composed this for a lost loved one, or if it is an interest in decay in sound and about decay and death, in things having a course and then disappearing again. Only in the fifth piece was a shimmer of light via sparsely placed piano notes. It is quite a lovely dark release for the darker hours of the darker times of the year. (FdW)
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Did I write about James Worse before? I asked myself, but it’s a difficult name to run the folder containing 1406 previous weeklies. MDS did, in Vital Weekly 1386, when he reviewed the CD he did with Quentin Rollet. Worse uses voice, drums and electronics. Bivalve, a label from Finland, calls this “Worse’s characteristic style’, which means there is quite a bit of text reading, poetry, or whatever is the preferred term here. The voice is very much on top of the music, which I do not enjoy. As before, poetry is not my thing (in many cases, not even vocals, and I never pay too much attention to the lyrical content anyway). The drums are more improvised, and the electronic part of the music is quite lovely. Some features with hardly any voice are the winners here. I am sure most people would consider the opposite.
    I had not heard of Chester Winowiecki before, and of whom we are told that “his ‘Curved Space’, recorded under similar circumstances to his album Safety Precautions (2021), demonstrates just the same love and mastery of inducing a modified cat-Lombardi fourses and Dubernator. The piece demonstrates the same love and mastery of inducing C-L instruments, etc.”, which is a complete gobbledegook for me. I envisage some kind of sound installation here, with objects rattling about, and because there are a lot of them, there is quite some density in this piece. These recordings have a certain rawness, which I attribute to the recording in a gallery-type setting—the most enjoyable sound of malfunctioning machines and industry in decay.
    Also, a split cassette is released by Magic From Space and Moonlight Sword. The first is the musical project of Ohio-based musician Liam Cloyd, who returns on the other side with Bastian Void, aka Joseph Bastardo, the brain behind Moss Archive. Magic From Space has six pieces of music. Armed with a drum machine and a synthesiser (maybe more real ones, maybe digital), Cloyd plays quirky synth vocals that remind me of 8-bit and Gameboy music. Are people still active with that kind of thing? I have no idea. It is pretty pleasant music while you work, do the dishes, or simply want to relax. The beats aren’t all too demanding, as the sound is thin on the bass end. The music he does as Moonlight Sword is a bit noisier, and the bass is a bit more dominant, but at the same time, they also have a bit less to offer on the rhythm side. The music is overall less thin and has more production value. It is akin to glitchy beats and stuttering electronics and is dance music on the verge of falling apart. It doesn’t have that Oval-like quality of glitch, as this duo has more organisation going in there. The eight pieces are short and to the point, around two minutes in general. Another sign is not aimed at the dance floor but at home pleasure. It’s a very nice split release. (FdW)
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