Number 1410

ANACLETO VITOLO – LATITE (CD by Aulius Classics) *
CONTROL – THIS DEATH (CD, private) *
MEZIRE – POST MORTEM (CD by L.White Records) *
EVAN PARKER – NYC 1978 (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
bBb – ANIMAL QUOTES (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
MICHAEL RIDGE – MISC LOOPS #1-#3 (CDR by Chocolate Monk) *
RELAY FOR DEATH – DELTA LOOP/DMZ (10″ lathe cut by Ballast)
EUS – SOL LEVIT (CD by Avalanche) *
NAVEL – IM NORDEN (cassette by Cosmic Winnetou) *
BUCK MOON – NOUS (cassette by Cosmic Winnetou) *
ZEBULARIN – NACHTARCHIV (cassette by Cosmic Winnetou) *


I don’t think it’s a surprise that here at VWHQ, there is a person that likes Dan Burke’s aka Illusion of Safety’s output. Earlier this year, Korm Plastics (who said they’d never release music again) broke the dry spell of releasing music by co-releasing the IoS/Z’ev collaboration on vinyl. Now they have a CD by Illusion of Safety. Combine that with a few other releases like Muziekkamer and the BOH Sampler, and those first words on the Korm website raise questions: ‘Korm Plastics was a record label. These days, we publish books. About music.’ Maybe Frans will explain it to me at some point.
    But, back to what it is all about. Illusion of Safety / Dan Burke. It’s a blind spot in my collection. I’ve seen him perform once in Aachen, but since that was something like 25 years ago, I really can’t remember the details. So, it’s Dan’s recent output that I started to know and respect. And with this new album, “Pastoral”, the concern is only getting stronger. Though I must say, it took me several listening sessions before it struck me at the right spots.
    The five tracks with a total playing time of 58 minutes are hidden in serene packaging. Pictures of a morning or evening stroll in the countryside and the first sounds of “Invulnerable” are concrete staccato sounds. There was something wrong with the combination of those in my head. Still, as the track continued, field recordings started building a backing drone, and additional sounds formed the actual composition with a massive piano/guitar intermezzo, which has to be mentioned. All kinds of manipulated musical instruments create a flawless transition towards the second track entitled “Neolithic”, and from here, it only gets better. Tracks 3 to 5 are droney soundscapes with a perfect balance between layers of minimal noise and drones and additional sounds projected on top of it. In total, 40 minutes of absolute poetic sounds. And there it struck me how I see Dan’s music, in this release at least. Looking at the picture on the cover, you get an emotion, but zooming in on the picture, you can extrude air, sun, grass, sand, and a little forest in the back. And zooming in on the woods, you can see trees and then branches… But zooming out, you get a ‘walk in nature’… But what if you zoom out from there… “Thermogenesis”, “Ground”, and “Compelling” all cover a particular aspect of switching perspectives like this. At least, that’s what I think.
    Pastoral (noun): a work of literature portraying an idealized version of country life. For me, the first tracks are about escaping what’s terrible, and the last three are about embracing what’s good. The illusion of Safety presents in one album that you can’t make just one of those choices (escape/embrace) and that the result is great if you follow your heart. (BW)
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ANACLETO VITOLO – LATITE (CD by Aulius Classics)

A release labelled ‘pop music’ and published by a label (I had not heard of), Aulius Classics; what’s that all about? That feeling lingers on once you hear the music. It’s not pop music, and it’s not classical music. But it is not something I expected anyway, as I know Vitolo to be a musician from the field of electronic and electro-acoustic music. He works with ‘real’ instruments, piano, strings, percussion and such, which are pushed within the zeroes and ones of the computer, granualting this up and down. What we hear is not the result of that granulation process, but he incorporates that processing within the collage of the ‘real’ instruments. At times, there is a hefty modern classical approach to this music, solemn and slowly moving around, reminding me of Iancu Dumetrescu. Still, there is also chaos, with lots of events happening, making it not easy for the listener to find an easy way in. Which, of course, is a good thing. Listeners shouldn’t always have an easy way into the music. Some of this also reminded me of improvised music, so the album is at a crossroads of various musical interests. This music indeed doesn’t classify as easy listening music, and modern it is, but not in the contemporary/classical sense of the word. Thunderous it is, many times over, but some introspection isn’t shunned either. Vitolo keeps his compositions relatively short – between two and eight minutes – and to the point. Each one is a stand-alone composition, but also, in the grander sense of the album, they all make sense. It’s one unified album that left me gasping for breath, but most enjoyable it is. Not spectacular, new, or innovative, yet solid as a rock. (FdW)
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The United States of America is a country of endless possibilities and the absolute worst healthcare system in the Western World. The ‘Sicko’ documentary by Michael Moore is 16 years old, but it’s still valid. I still get the creeps from it: Non-insured people who are denied care for not having paid for it and adequately insured people being denied care for whatever reason they can come up with. It’s hell. It was hell in 2007, and it is still hell, especially when you are ill.
    Thomas Garrison, who most of us know as CONTROL, is one of the many people who got severely ill with all the problems that come with it. He was getting treatment, which made him so sick that he couldn’t work properly. In the aftermath of a relationship, he got more problems than he asked for on top of it. And still, be too sick to create a solid income. To pay for his treatment and have a chance to stay alive and get better. To heal.
Thomas is a great guy, but when he’s on a stage or working on music, something snaps. His loud, modular-based power electronics are straight from the heart. Lyrics from the abyss of his feelings are screamed into the microphone while his setup is pushing out some of the most extreme frequencies. From a long talk, we once had either while he was visiting Europe or I was visiting Santa Cruz, he told me it was mostly one-takes because they provide the best and most honest recording of emotions surrounding the particular tracks. And let me tell you, this CD definitely shows it.
    The seven tracks on “This Death” have equally happy titles. “Suicide”, “This Death”, “Radiation”, “Revenge … Denied”, “Nothing But A Shell”, “Chemo”, and the closing “Cunt” describe the things Thomas had to endure or how he has felt since he was diagnosed two years ago with cancer. Which he is still fighting. Every single day. So when I tell you this album is unhappy and incredibly ‘in your face’, aggressive, loud, sincere, dark, brooding, intense … Believe me. I haven’t lied one word.
    Marcus and Nicole from Cloister Recordings are close friends of Thomas, and when the proverbial shit hit the fan set up a GoFundMe in support. Derek did a fundraiser on his Chthonic Streams with a genuinely excellent online sampler. But it’s two years later, and Thomas still has cancer and is still struggling. So, to create some extra income, he made this CD, and I’m doing what I can to write a few words on this one. It was released earlier this year and in hardcopy available through Thomas himself or Cloister Recordings, as well as digital through Bandcamp. Where other stuff is also available. So you get really fantastic music, and you get to help out someone who wants to make more music like this in the future. Make a bit happier next time, though. Maybe. (BW)


It’s been quite a while since I last heard music by Thomas Bey William Bailey, who also wrote some interesting books about music, such as ‘Micro-bionic’ and ‘Unofficial Release: Self-Released And Handmade Audio In Post-Industrial Society’. I don’t remember what the last musical work I heard of him, but if my archive is correct, it wasn’t that long ago, ‘La Production Interdite’, reviewed in Vital Weekly 1141, but a five-year gap is again quite a stretch. From what I remember from his previous releases, Bailey likes a rough approach to musique concrète, cutting his sounds abruptly, stripping to the essentials and has a more surrealistic approach. His music uses acoustic sounds, electronic treatments of these sounds and pure electronics. These are put together in a sort of dramatic narrative, even when the narrative is on the abstract side of things. Nurse With Wound gets mentioned in the press text, and it’s easy to spot that influence. The studio-as-instrument approach is a massively shared thing. Seemingly unrelated sounds are combined, and within the piece’s dynamics, the relation starts to form, building and building. Bailey loves his reversed sounds. Coil, Giacinto Scelsi and Robert Ashley are also mentioned, and while not always that obvious as a reference, I can see those as well. However, Bailey has enough going for himself, bending and blending sounds, building on the tradition and while not necessarily creating something that we have never heard before, the music is excellent as it is. Evocative, dark, atmospheric and unsettling, with the occasional brutal attack preventing the listener from dreaming away. That’s how I like them a lot. Hopefully, this album is a return, and we’ll hear more new music from him soon. (FdW)
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MEZIRE – POST MORTEM (CD by L.White Records)

Concerts are fun, and because of the many performances, festivals are more fun. One person I keep on meeting at festivals in the Eastern part of Germany is Frank Krause from Mezire. And at the recent Tower Transmissions in Dresden, yep, we met again. Of course. Lille Roger played, as well as Anenzephalia, Sutcliffe No More (yet still rocking everybody’s socks off), the amazing Human Larvae and many more. So Frank and I had a good talk and a few drinks, and he gave me Mezire’s latest output, which was recently rereleased on an official CD by L.White Records instead of the earlier self-released CDR. One of the things Frank told me was that the release was the first Mezire, with him being the only member. Dirk stopped with all of it, and the stuff that was lying around and prepared for upcoming albums was formed into what would become this album: “Post Mortem.”
    The CD opens with the orchestral “The Silence In Me”, and from that moment on, one thing is sure: This will not be a happy CD, probably the reason why Frank and I like each other. “Self Mutilation” is throbbing, and here, the vocals come through loudly. There is no doubt that this CD is filled with power electronics from European ground. It is less repetitive (loopy) or structure-based than the US strain – more noise-based with vocals. With a massive mastering (by Andreas from L.White) to let all those frequencies hurt like they should—proper solid power electronics.
    “Nuke it!” opens with a looped vocal sample and quickly turns into a chaotic scenery. It’s as if the bomb has been dropped, and everybody is going everywhere trying to survive. “Monotony” might be the most ‘open’ track of the album. Slowly building atmosphere on a repetitive slow beat built by a looped sample again. In 7 minutes (all tracks are approximately between 4 and 9), Mezire goes from an open structure into a mean and utterly brilliant example of the unwritten book ‘how to create tension in music where you wouldn’t expect it to hit that hard’. And slowly, the CD goes towards the end … With the title track as an absolute highlight where all aspects come together. The buildup, harsh vocals, noise, some orchestral influences … Mezire is dead; long live Mezire! (BW)
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EVAN PARKER – NYC 1978 (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

Get this asap. If you like modern creative music, minimal music, or you’re into postpunk. It is an awesome release on Relative Pitch Records: the first-ever solo concert of Evan Parker in New York City—seventy minutes of mind-blowing music. One could think I’m a fanboy, but I’m not. This is the first time I listened to a record by Evan Parker. True enough, now I’m a fan. Right after this, I heard Monoceros, recorded in April of the same year. But I like this one better, mainly because it’s more minimal than Monoceros. And by minimal, I don’t mean slowly changing long notes over time. No, minimal here is rapid-fire figures that are changed slowly over time, with circular breathing (no stops for getting air, but instead pushing air out and simultaneously breathing air into the nose, thus creating no gap of sound) and using multiphonics. Put this on, and you’re in for a ride. Incidentally, this began a North American tour, 29 dates in 31 days. The last one, at Western Front in Vancouver, was released ten years ago. I might have to track that one down. (MDS)
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bBb – ANIMAL QUOTES (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

bBb is the duo of Martin Küchen and Ola Rubin. It’s their first on Relative Pitch Records. Previously, they published six releases on scatterArchive. Five were recorded live on a reel-to-reel recorder with no editing afterwards, all performances lasting between 30 and 40 minutes. Küchen uses the sopranino as a sound source and plays percussion, while Rubin sticks to the trombone. But first, a bit more about these two fine musicians. Küchen is part of Angles 9, an aptly named nonet, sometimes with additional players (Angles 10) or one less (Angles 8) or even as a trio (Angles 3). I highly recommend the reader to look into their discography. It’s a real treat. Next year will see the release of his jazz opera Death of Kalypso, which premiered this year at the Summer Bummer Festival in Antwerp. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the festival. Ola Rubin is a member of the Swedish Fix, a trio with electric guitar and drums. Their ‘Live at Gurjy Garage’ is an excellent record. Anyway, back to Animal Quotes. Seven pieces on this release. Both players use extended techniques to whip up a sound world that’s animal in quality, hence, of course, the title Animal Quotes. Scattered around the tracks are melodies, growls, grunts, shrieks & shrills. But it is not for everyone. There’s much to be enjoyed here. There’s a sense of space and relaxation in the music created by these experienced musicians. (MDS)
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The title Antoine borrowed from a letter by painter Nicolas Poussin and seven paintings of his are at the core of this release. They depict the Seven Sacraments, and they are on display at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. He painted in Rome between 1644 and 1648. I reviewed one CD by Antoine before, a long time ago (Vital Weekly 789), and I have no recollection of this at all. I didn’t understand much about that one, which continues with this one. As with many releases by Firework Edition, there is a conceptual edge to the music. Antoine recorded the space in which these paintings hang, the sound of the metro station in the area, and the air conditioning and shuffling in this space. Did he do anything to these pieces, some kind of processing? That I am not sure of. Given some sonic content, I think he did, but who knows? Maybe I am wrong all along. The question is, obviously, can we hear the difference between these sacraments? Baptism, ordination, confirmation, penance, eucharist, marriage and extreme unction (I am copying this from Wikipedia; I am not that good of a catholic boy), but they sound much alike. Maybe there is a message in that realisation? As with many of the releases by this label, I don’t know what it is about, and I am not an art critic. The idea of recording empty spaces is not a new one; in fact, it is building on quite a tradition there, and Antoine does an excellent job in that direction. Maybe a bit more pure and staying closer to the original sound of the space; I don’t know. Intriguing is the word I’m probably looking for. (FdW)
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A duet between two heavy-weights on the crossroads of improvisation and composition, well, more improvisation modus here. Pianist Reinhold Friedl and electric bassist Kasper T. Toeplitz. They both appeared numerous times on these pages and should need no introduction. By invitation of the Art Zoyd studios, they worked together in October 2022, resulting in a studio disc and a live disc. It was not something I would have known if it had not been presented in the information. As said, both men are in improvisation mode here, and for Toeplitz, it is a moment (lasting two hours, the length of this release) to shine with a less noisy approach that we are used from him. I don’t think it’s gone, but most of the time, he keeps the volume well under control, and we hear Friedl’s piano. I have no idea; I may have expected a denser, drone-like approach, maybe with e-bows on piano snares and long-sustaining bass notes. I don’t know if I’m disappointed that this is not. The music isn’t drone-like, but also not all too chaotic. Dense it is, most of the time. I particularly enjoyed it when the music went all quiet in volume, and there was a more objective approach to the playing of both instruments. The denseness is also a feature in these soft parts, and throughout, there is a darkness in this music; maybe that’s the bass, but Friedl also hits the lower end of the keyboard. When playing the strings, it may be less dark, but then the music has a creepy crawling feeling. Apart from a few moments that I found too much in the realm of improvised music, I immensely enjoyed this release, precisely for that dense darkness it had most of the time. (FdW)
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The information doesn’t tell me who Stefan Goldmann is. His ‘Acustica’ is a DJ mix in which he uses his “vast library of recorded interpretations of 20th-century avant-garde compositions. Layered segments of individual instrumental and chamber performances form emergent orchestral opulence – just to spill over into actual orchestral segments”. The only piece mentioned was ‘Le Sacre Du Printemps’ by Stravinsky, and maybe I heard a bit of that in the sixty-two minutes, but it only made me want to hear the original again. The label calls this “a meta-level polystylistic work that explores vast potentials of integration, interaction and interference—an antidote to the prevailing practice of sounding compositions in scattered, sterile isolation. Here, opposing music concepts are channelled into one continuous flow, with a coherent DJ performance as the vehicle”. I must admit this concept does not blow me away and it’s execution. But in my defence, I am also not a particularly big enthusiast for the modern classical music thing, and perhaps this is the kind of concept some people like a lot and hail as the next brilliant idea; maybe its purpose is to bring classical music to young people. I found it all a bit dull and ordinary. (FdW)
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From the home of Jean-Jacques Birgé, best known for his long-running group Un Drame Musical Instantané, something else, and landed on the desk of dM, who wrote about Un Drame before. Now that DM is no longer reviewing music for us, he handed me this CD with the words, ‘I don’t think it’s improvised music’. Poudingue means pudding, and ‘La preuve’ is the proof, so there is no need to explain that further. This three-piece group consists of Birge on synthesiser, sampler, effects, field recording, erhu, inanga, shahi baaja, waldteufel, vocals, Nicolas Chedmail (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, trumpet, French horn, trombone, helicon, pipes, flutes, siren. alto sax, harmonica, melodica, violin, cello, shahi baaja, stanza) and Frederic Maincon on guitar and vocals. Benjamin Sanz is mentioned as the guest drummer. Alright, this is not improvised music; I’ll give DM that, but playing this release, it is also unclear what it is. From my minimal knowledge of 1970s progressive rock music, I’d said Poudingue fits in that tradition and combines it with some more speedy and aggressive (post) punk music. Lots of weirdness in the context of rock music. Strange rhythms, chaos, vocal bending (by more than one vocalist), a stab on the synth and some more reflective moments give the listener some time to breathe. All fine, of course, and maybe if I had this in my formative years, exploring new music, I could have taken this musical route and not noise/power electronics/dark ambient. Maybe I had a publication now that would review Poudingue and bands of that ilk and wondered why somebody would send me something like Vomir. But its roles are reversed, so I am in the dark here. (FdW)
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MICHAEL RIDGE – MISC LOOPS #1-#3 (CDR by Chocolate Monk)

My introduction to the music of Michael Rdige came with the ‘More Microcassette Sessions’, reviewed in Vital Weekly 1370. That was a relatively short release, but this one is longer. Ridge uses “homemade tape loops that blend lo-fi ambient, field recordings and background noise/hiss/distortion”. On the previous release, Ridge worked with microcassettes, but I am unsure if this is also the case; there is no mention. This CDR is a compilation of previously released works. The first two pieces came on a privately released C10 cassette, track three was a single-sided C31 cassette, and the fourth was a “recycled audiobook tape” by Quagga Curious Sounds, his label. All of this dates back to 2016 and 2018. Ridge has been around since 2013 doing this kind of lo-fi experimentation, but not always as loop-based as he does on this CDR. Whatever kind of looping device he uses, be it analogue or digital, and I suspect it might be a combination of both, the result is a very grainy and lo-fi sound, fitting the tradition of this kind of lo-fi ambient music. Obviously, the overall music is very minimal, within the two longer pieces, a slightly more industrial soundscaping in ‘Tranquil Spa Thunder (Misc Loops 2)’ and field recordings and drone exercise in ‘Uncomplicated Nature (Misc Loops 3)’. The latter one is the longest of the four and also the best one, maybe because I am a sucker for all things drone-like, spacious and lo-fi, as I also realise that this is something that covers tried and tested waters. Nevertheless, it is stuff I seem to like and which exists for me most of the time. (FdW)
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RELAY FOR DEATH – DELTA LOOP/DMZ (10″ lathe cut by Ballast)

It’s been a long time since I heard Relay For Death’s ‘Birth Of An Older, Much More Ugly Christ’ (Vital Weekly 743). They were part of the ‘On Corrosion’ box set that I didn’t review (Vital Weekly 1210). Now, the sisters Rachal and Roxann Spikula deliver a super limited 10″ lathe cut record for the Blake Edward Ballast label. I forgot what their first record sounded like, and I don’t think I heard anything else from them, so this might be a re-introduction of some kind. Each side contains one piece. ‘Delta Loop’ is on the first side and was created by using live sessions they did aboard a houseboat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, adding field recordings and radio static from the local stations. This is quite a synth-heavy piece, with a deep rumble and some playful processing of sounds. Maybe these sounds include some from the board itself? I wouldn’t be surprised if it were. This is quite a heavy piece of dark tones, industrial clatter and piercing statics, and I found this delightful – exactly the kind of noise I enjoy; not too loud but with enough force. The ‘DMZ’ on the other side stands for that demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, and here the two captured “radio signals (and radio jamming signals)”, which they collaged together. After the full blast of the first side, this one is a bit of a letdown, I admit. Anyone who has experimented with long-wave radio sounds and WebSDR (google that) knows what is possible with radio sounds. Somehow, this is a bit too common and could have been a lot… different… bigger… ? I am guessing here. However, this record made me curious to hear whatever else they released: time to hunt! (FdW)
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Here we have a duo from Texas, Bricoleurs, Josh Tonsen and Vanessa Gelvin. I knew the first from his various solo releases as Brekekekekexkoaxkoax and had not heard of the second. They see themselves as persons “who constructs bricolages; one who creates using whatever materials are available”. Materials here might be instruments, field recordings, or acoustic sounds. None are mentioned anywhere, and I have to make do with what I hear, and that’s various wind instruments, lots of highly obscure field recordings, ditto percussion, and voices, and still, there is a lot that I don’t recognize. What they do, and which I think is very clever, is mixing these elements in such a way that it all stays very close together. The instruments remain just below the radar, and the field recordings sound most of the time if they are picking up events from far away. They are mostly blurry and very complex. I couldn’t say where these recordings were made; a harbour at midnight? There is a drone-like aspect to the music, but dig deeper, and it seems there are just lots of small materials cobbled together. The five pieces are between five and twelve minutes long, and in general, the longer pieces work the best. Here, the music settles deep inside your mind, and you discover all the small roads and paths in these dense patterns, which made me return straight away for a new trip. It is topped with very poetic titles that may not be helpful (‘Now Trines, Sextiles, Then Quartiles And Oppositions’ or ‘It is all bittersweet, a mixed passion, and like a chequertable, black and white men;’). It’s highly curious stuff, of which I can’t think of something to say that it sounds alike; it’s a bit of a lot and somehow very original. Spacious music in a very different way. (FdW)
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EUS – SOL LEVIT (CD by Avalanche)

The recommendation to hear this with headphones is, as usual, something I skipped. I can’t wear them for long stretches of time. Behind EUS is Jose Acuña from Costa Rica, and I reviewed his ‘Vhinto No Dresce’ in Vital Weekly 1339. That was a re-issue from a CDR from 2011, and now I receive ‘Sol Levit’, a re-issue of a 2013 CDR release. But, so we are promised, the remastering made the music warmer. For the previous release, I thought EUS played guitars and effects, but I am less sure about the instruments he uses. Electronics are undoubtedly part of this, I am sure of that, but guitars, I am less confident of. Maybe it’s more synthesizers and processing of instruments. Mentioned are loops of orchestral music, which were made by Acuna’s great-grandfather, who was “an influential composer” in the 1920s, and Acuna’s grandmother was permitted to use these. Not in all pieces, but there indeed is an orchestral feeling in the music, combined with hiss and reverb, making it sound a bit like The Caretaker, certainly in ‘Emori II’. But, as said, not in all pieces, as some of these are more generic dark atmospheric pieces of music. Generic should not be understood as a negative qualification, as what EUS does may not be the most original (but, then, who is?) in what is already an overcrowded field of musicians playing the atmospheric card, but he does a very solid job here, delivering the goods as promised. The result is quite a varied album, as in each track he creates an atmosphere that is both the same and different from the other pieces. Nice one. (FdW)
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As with many of the releases by Edinbrugh-based labels, I believe some of their artists are ‘fake’ as much as they are dressed up with a history, fictitious bands they played in, or hailing from odd locations. All to the point, I am no longer checking these and take whatever I am told for granted. Eamon The Destroyer’s previous album, ‘A Small Blue Car’, was reviewed in Vital Weekly 1313 and not by me. No information was given back then, so I’ll do it here. Eamon The Destroyer played “in the Edinburgh bands, Idiot Half Brother and Ageing Children. He has also recorded as Bunny and the Invalid Singers and Jikan Ga Nai”. Under this particular moniker, he plays electronic music from a mildly alternative pop music perspective. The previous reviewer thought he sounded like David Thomas from Pere Ubu. I may disagree, but that might be me not being the biggest Thomas fan in the world. At times, the voice of Eamon The Destroyer sounded like Edward Ka-spel and some of the music was also a bit like The Legendary Pink Dots. Maybe a bit stripped down, a bit more on the guitar and a bit less on the electronics, and overall a bit more of the weird pop music variation. You can wonder if this is the kind of thing that fits Vital Weekly, but we do have space for the Dots, so why not? I realise there are various this kind of not fitting in whatever else we review, and I keep saying this, but as something to distract you from your regular digest of drones and noise, this is another one to try out. (FdW)
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An oddly named ensemble, I thought, but I believe Angles is the 12-person big ensemble, and they team up with Elle-Kari Sander, a vocalist. She was part of The Tiny and The Other Woman. In the ensemble, we find instruments such as saxophone, trumpet, trombone, double bass (by Johan Berthling, one of the few names I recognized), drums, vibraphone, piano, clarinet, octave violin and cello. They play a composition by Martin Küchen, arranged by Alex Zethson, who also plays the piano here. If I understand correctly, this CDR is in support of a double album they want to release next year. There is one long piece on this CDR, which is the title piece, and a short other part, which on Bandcamp is called, “plus perhaps something more”. The music has indeed a drone-like feeling, but acoustic, and it’s not entirely about long and sustaining tones. They are certainly there, but several instruments play shorter notes. Sander’s voice is humming for a long and is not always very audible, blending in nicely with the rest of the music. It is. It is a very tranquil piece of music, slowly moving, and not one that has a lot of dramatic climaxes; far from it, I’d say. That’s not the intention of the music here. There is a laidback atmosphere in the music here, with a darker undercurrent produced by some of those wind instruments. It is a slow and meditative work, which works very well. It’s something to put on repeat, on a low volume and let it run for a while (not that a reviewer has too much time for such a thing, but you get my drift). Not something for everyday consumption. That ‘plus perhaps something more” is a short piece that is alike, but just a brief piece of music and a bit out of place. (FdW)
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From Berlin hails Andrea Burelli, and her release is highly autobiographical. She has fifteen pieces of music, or maybe that should be fifteen poems set to music. A lot of the time, she uses polyphonic voices, and violinist Mari Sawada and cellist Sophie Notte provide some of the music, along with electronics played by Burelli herself. There is a mention of Turkish and Indian classical music, experimental electronics and Western classical music. The name that sprang to mind here was Dead Can Dance, but then in a very stripped-down version. There are no rhythms, all somewhat reflective songs, and with all the lyrics in Italian (I think), I have no idea what these are about. As nice as it all sounds, I think this is not really for Vital Weekly. Somehow, despite the ‘experimental electronics’, it all sounds pretty conventional, very melodic, a bit folky and something that I think could do really well, given to the right audience. And, of course, I know in the audience of Vital Weekly some people like this kind of thing, so do check this out if you are up for something other than the usual drone and noise music. I’m sure this doesn’t constitute a review. (FdW)
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From Occupied Head, I reviewed music before, but not from the Thessaloniki-based Melophobia. Together, they created a long cassette (ninety minutes), which they call two EPs, one per side. I think two LPs would cover this just as well. The first side is called ‘Wanderes in that happy valley’ and the second ‘Oceans in Obsidian’. Dimitris Tsironis and Dieter Mauson recorded this in spring 2021, and I assume with the help of the Internet and file exchange. Maybe it is the length of this release, as I found it hard to zoom in on particular songs here. The overall musical direction is that of ambient music, with not a lot of rhythm going on, even when it is also not absent. The ambient is of a slightly more experimental variation and works pretty well as background music. I admit that I was zoning in and out of the music here, not always very close attention, and perhaps only looking up when the two were diversifiying in approach (rhythm, something louder or more noisy). All of this seemed very synthesiser based to me, probably some old analogue beats (but maybe all digital? I admit I can’t hear the difference) and sound effects, but no other instruments or field recordings, as far as I know. The idea of the two EPs is a bit lost on me, but, again, this might be due to the length; I didn’t hear much difference between both sides of this cassette. I loved the darkness of much of this album and didn’t overthink this too much.
    Also on a recycled cassette (erasing Yes’ ‘Relayer’) comes a compilation, also ninety minutes, which I think is not a compilation showcasing musicians on the label, but a thematic one about “the footprint and paradoxical role we play as human beings in our natural environment”, under that fashionable term of ‘Anthroprocene’, which I believe should be spelt as ‘Anthropocene’. Some of these musicians I reviewed before, such as Chemiefaserwerk, Emerge, David Wallraf, Grodock, Philippe Petit and Mattin, but it also introduced Multipolar, Cashmere Radio, Zaun & monad node, Malfon & Glass, Polina Katshenka, Hostile Flora and Eyal Talmor. There are various approaches, but usually, they are based on the processing of field recordings, a bit synthesiser, radiowaves and such. Zaun & monad node also use drums over the mildly piercing drone music. Wallraf and Grodock are also a bit noisier than the rest, as the overall approach is more on the lo-fi side of things, with grainy soundscapes, radio transmissions, synthesisers, and Walkman capturing field recordings. A log ride but very worthwhile. (FdW)
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NAVEL – IM NORDEN (cassette by Cosmic Winnetou)
BUCK MOON – NOUS (cassette by Cosmic Winnetou)
ZEBULARIN – NACHTARCHIV (cassette by Cosmic Winnetou)

A little over twenty years ago, I was a massive fan of the ambient/drone side of post-rock, bands like Stars Of The Lid, Windy & Carl, and Ultrasound. Along came a German band, Navel, who had an LP and a bunch of CDRs available. I enjoyed them a lot and invited them for a release on a CDR label I had at that time. Somewhere along the lines, I must have lost interest in them and the genre, even when, to this very day, I sometimes return to some Stars Of The Lid or Ultrasound. Navel, I admit, not so much. It took some time before the penny dropped that Günter Schlienz, of whom I have reviewed quite a bit of solo releases by now, is one half of Navel; the other half is Floyd or Gage. I am unsure which is the name Schlinez uses. All these years, they have been releasing new music, and ‘Im Norden’ (in the north) contains music they recorded earlier this year. Not having heard their more recent releases, and also not their older ones, means I have a somewhat clouded idea of how they developed. In my mind, they were this spacious guitar/drone band with lengthy sustaining sounds; more guitars than synths, I’d say. This new release has quite some synthesiser sounds, but maybe that’s because Schlienz’s interest is in these machines. Another noteworthy aspect of the recent Navel music is it sounds more like improvised music than I remember. This is most obvious in ‘tanz der nordlichtgnome’, but in each piece, there are more or less these improvised music things. When they are embedded in a more spacious drone, with some gentle strumming on the acoustic guitar, such as ‘Point Sirius observatory in mornings’, I am all ears. Very hippy-like, surely, which goes for all six pieces here; I see them on a well-worn Persian rug, incense lighted, a beer and a smoke and the relaxed atmosphere bringing these peaceful sounds.
    The atmosphere continues on the second new Cosmic Winnetou release, ‘Nous’ by Buck Moon. Here we find the Econore label boss, J. Flemming, and Grisaille honcho, J. Ménard. I previously heard a split release they did with Liminal Haze, which I thought was similar to Stars Of The Lid and Labradford. Their new full-length cassette is along similar lines. The two men play guitars and effects, mucho reverb to suggest vast open space, and there is an excellent use of ‘small sounds’ and field recordings, part of the bigger strumming of strings. In ‘Emmuré’, they also use vocals, reduced and in the background, adding a more spacious element to the music. These vocals are, perhaps, an oddball for this kind of music, certainly in the world of Vital Weekly, but I enjoyed it a lot. I have no idea if these lyrics are about something or merely suggest more space and atmosphere. Buck Moon adds a slightly more experimental edge to their music, with some hand-cranked sounds using contact microphones. Apart from ‘Emmur´, which is under three minutes, the other pieces are lengthy, culminating in the longest piece, ‘l’âme vacante’, their most open-ended guitar/improvisation piece at the end of the cassette.
    I had heard once of the duo Zebularin, which is Daniel Kartmann (drum kit, percussion, vibraphone, hammered dulcimer, cornetto and piano) and Daniel Vujanic (electric guitar, synthesisers, live electronics, sound processing and piano). This is their tenth release; I didn’t review their previous release, ‘Strangled Curiosity’ (Vital Weekly 1242), which seems to mention the wrong people as band members. Here, too, we have atmospheric music, but from, again, a different perspective. If the Navel release felt a bit hippy-like, then this is the real deal. Two men locked up in a room with many instruments, incense, drink and smoke, jamming away but keeping it relaxed ma’n. There isn’t an extensive use of electronics here, but a modest dose of delay on an instrument here and there. Here, too, we find an improvisational aspect to the music, not resulting in chaos but a gentle, open interaction between two players, leaving space between the two and playing around with the idea of nothingness. Maybe this sounds very Zen-like? Perhaps that’s the idea of the music. Recreate a similar relaxing atmosphere at home and enjoy this lying down (wishful thinking for a reviewer, obviously, but you get my drift). (FdW)
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