Number 1413

Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offer a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the releases reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here:

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DAISUKE SUZUKI – D.D.D. (CD by Siren Records) *
ELENA M. & DENIS V. – .23. (CD by Tib Prod) *
DEGOYA – RAYUELA (CD by Liburia Records) *
N & BU.D.D.A. (LP by Auf Abwegen)
HARDWORKING FAMILIES – BACK (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation) *
KLAUS JANEK & JEFF SURAK – DELPHI (CDR by Coherent States) *
JON WESSELTOFT & NIKLAS ADAM – SIGNS AND ACCURACY (two cassettes by Coherent States) *
DUE PROCESS – RRRADIO 1-5 (cassette by No Rent Records)
HOWARD STELZER – “OH CALM DOWN YOU’RE FINE” (cassette by No Rent Records) *
HOWARD STELZER & DANG. – A PEAL (download by Buried in slag and debris)
DAYIN – WARM LIKE CRYSTAL THROATS (cassette by Mahorka) *
V0LAND – INNENRAUM (cassette by Amek Collective) *
EVITCELES – BRUISED (cassette by Amek Collective) *

DAISUKE SUZUKI – D.D.D. (CD by Siren Records)

Siren Records is a small Japanese label run by Daisuke Suzuki and active since the late 1990s, with a limited roster of musicians: The New Blockaders, Andrew Chalk, Jonathan Coleclough, Robert Haigh and David Jackman. In 25 years, some 35 releases, with catalogue number 33, were allotted to the new David Jackman CD, ‘Sekihi Oidori’, of which we didn’t receive a promo. I am not as obsessed as I once was with catalogue numbers, but Daisuke Suzuki’s ‘D.D.D.’ is Siren 13, yet a release from this year. Maybe because it’s a re-issue from an LP released by IDEA in 2001? The record was mastered by Gary Todd, the erstwhile mastering engineer who ran the Cortical Foundation (instrumental in some excellent Tery Riley re-issues), who fell from his balcony in 2001 and was hospitalised until his death last year. This re-issue is dedicated to his memory. The triple D stands for ‘Duck! Duck! Duck!’, of which there are two parts on this CD, plus ‘Cricket Voice’. All three pieces use extensive field recordings. Or, maybe, even solely. I am unsure about that. It seems he didn’t do much else to these recordings, no processing or anything, but perhaps some of this stuff is looped. You can never be too sure about the nature of things, as there is a lot of repetition going on on a superficial level. Editing, however, seems very likely. The titles are giveaways for the sound sources, ducks and crickets, with the latter being exceptionally high frequencies. With almost forty minutes, this is twice as long as the original and something that I like to play at a somewhat low volume. The whole disc works best at a slightly diminished volume, keeping it ambient within the ambience of one’s home environment. It’s all very basic but charming music.
    In 1996, Suzuki worked with Andrew Chalk for the first time. He mailed him a DAT of “unedited pieces, recorded with found objects in his garden”, which inspired Chalk to make some spontaneous recordings and a live cassette mix: quite a Lofi recording but forecasting much of their later work. Denis Blackham recently remastered the work, and is now available. Exactly twenty-seven minutes long, this is a relatively loosely organised piece of music. The acoustic sounds are blissfully obscured; for all we know, Suzuki is shuffling through the garden with a rake. There are plants and pots, grass and dirt, and whatever Chalk does remains a mystery. Something electronic is very likely, but that’s about it. Maybe he, too, shuffled about and added to the music. I have no idea. The acoustic component is a firm fixture for this piece, and the electronics remain in the background. It’s as carefully played as it is mysterious. I think this is one hell of a piece of music. Short, maybe even too short, but I had it on repeat a few times, and every time I discovered something new. (FdW)
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ELENA M. & DENIS V. – .23. (CD by Tib Prod)

It’s been a while since I last heard a new release from this Norwegian label, and they now have a duo disc with Elena M. and Denis V. (which makes them sound like criminals). The first is Elena M. Rosa Lavita, who plays bass, and Dennis Vignoli, who plays EGC guitar and effects pedals. They also work solo, and I had not heard of either before, not solo (Vignoli sometimes works as The Grow), not together or work they did with others. Much like the releases reviewed elsewhere by the Coherent States label, this duo crosses the field of improvisation and noise but adds maybe a slightly more noise-rock element to their music. It’s not the sort of song-based rock, but slowed down, tormented and deconstructed, such as in the third untitled (they all are) piece here. It’s all dark and atmospheric, and the instruments fed through pedals and yet, they still sound like something resembling a bass guitar and an electric guitar. The press text refers to these as lullabies, which I can hear in this music. I am unsure if these are the sort of lullabies that will put it to sleep with cosy dreams; it all sounds like the stuff of nightmares, lullabies to be played on repeat by insomniacs – resulting in staying awake for more time. This album took some time to grow on me. Whenever I heard it, I heard something new, found different connections, and increased my appreciation. First dismissed as sort of noisy improvisation thing, but in the end, five very coherent pieces of music. Excellent stuff. (FdW)
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DEGOYA – RAYUELA (CD by Liburia Records)

Following ‘Fragmenta’, reviewed in Vital Weekly 1220, this is the second release I hear from Degoya, now reduced to a duo; Andrea Laudante (analog feedback, fm synthesis, live looping) and Francesco di Cristofaro (zuma, bansuri, dvoyanka, marranzano, shvi, whistle and kaval; I recognise one of these as an instrument). As before, they had various recording sessions between March and June 2023 in a completely improvised set-up, which is the basis of this CD. I assume there has been a heavy editing process, as the ten pieces no longer sound too improvised, but it’s also not completely gone. About the editing process, we learn this from Bandcamp: “The editing process of the amassed material and the artistic choices leading to the final arrangement of the album’s ten tracks were deeply influenced by “Rayuela,” a literary masterpiece published in 1963 by the renowned author Julio Cortázar. His work is known for offering three distinct modes of reading, and Degoya has mirrored this concept in the album’s listening order. This experience is enhanced with specific instructions provided to the audience within the physical copy of the record.” I have one of those physical copies here, but I admit these specific instructions elude me. The music is quite a mixed bag of weirdness. A bit of drones, a bit of glitch, moody textures and bleepy weirdness, but also some more folk music-like inspiration (thinking of Turkish and Balkan-oriented music here); this album skips back and forth between lots of moods and styles. Oddly enough, perhaps, this works quite well. Because none of the pieces is very long, and they never stay in the same place. This one was quite a bizarre trip, and at twenty-seven minutes, maybe a quick ride, but at the same time, it also felt as if everything had been said within that time frame. (FdW)
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This is the fourth release I encountered by the Danish composer Marc Kellaway (see also Vital Weekly 12231237 and 1323). he plays on his new album synthesisers, drum machines, samplers, electric organ, and field recordings, plus he has a couple of guests on saxophone, drone guitar, ghost guitar, noise guitar, organ treatments and flute. Suppose that sounds like a bunch of instruments to play some mighty ambient music, then you are right. The eight pieces are just that: ambient music, and for Kellaway, the theme here is all about blurring. Field recordings morph into rhythm, birds into synthesisers, that kind of thing, yet throughout this hour or so of music, the music is melodic. I am reminded of O Yuki Conjugate, Paul Schütze and early Biosphere, just as his previous albums also went back to the big ambient sounds of the chill-out rooms of the mid-1990s, and maybe as such, there is not really forward movement. All the same, one could argue that Kellaway deepens his sound, adds more craft to his music, and explores that further. The music is very gentle despite using machines; the music is not there to hurt people. At that, one could think of this music as perhaps too soft for these pages or too conventional in terms of atmospheric mood music. Don’t get me wrong, it is not bad at all, as it is somehow different from my usual digest of all things ambient. This music is not too dark or abstract, and it is a pleasant trip. (FdW)
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One strange label, Cold Spring Records, is a thought that I sometimes have. Maybe it’s a good thing that they don’t commit to one style, even a certain darkness run to almost all of their releases. I reviewed The Telescopes before, in Vital Weekly 1203, and I was relatively brief back then because I thought “wall-to-wall psychedelic drones, swaying chants, trance-inducing shoegaze” (words from the label) isn’t something too much for Vital Weekly, but I found their album most enjoyable. I can say the same about ‘Experimental Health’, now dubbed “Psych-Drone / Shoegaze / Noise / Experimental”. The Telescopes is a one-man operation of Stephen Lawrie, working in a remote cottage with ” broken toys and cheap synths – mostly Pocket Operators and miniature synths, with no guitars present”, and yet his music is still quite shoegaze, with neat drum machines, distorted stabs on the organ. There is that Velvet Underground minimalism, ditto darkness (not understanding a word of the lyrics, I might add) and also, from my distorted perspective, I’d say this is a form of demented pop music. As I said, I enjoyed playing this release, yet I feel I can’t do it much justice because of my lack of background knowledge. Let these few words then be out there so you know this is out there, and you should hear it if you are getting tired of tones and drones. (FdW)
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Madison Greenstone is an accomplished clarinet player working in modern classical music. They are the clarinet player in TAK ensemble, a quintet dedicated to experimental chamber music. Flute, percussion, violin and soprano voice complete the ensemble. Furthermore, they played as a guest in several ensembles and was the founding member of [Switch~ Ensemble] in 2012 while studying at the University of Buffalo. They are still a member.
    What happens if you use a woodwind instrument as a sound source, not to play melodies as such (a deliberate consecutive (or serial) set of frequencies) but use it as a sound generator, in which the reed is the principal sound generator and overblow (force a lot of air through the mouthpiece and along the reed) it in such an extent (and the experimentation lies in the different degrees of overblowing, coupled with the fingering of the clarinet)? The result is this solo release by Madison Greenstone on B flat clarinet, the most common clarinet, with a length of about 26 inches or 66 cm. She also plays the A clarinet (slightly longer), the bass clarinet (40 inches or 1 meter) and the paperclip contrabass clarinet, so called because it’s made of metal and resembles a paperclip. She uses the B flat clarinet. The resistance of the reed, coupled with the physical qualities of the mouthpiece, the embouchure and the airflow through the mouthpiece and thus the reed create an almost electronic quality to the multiphonics (several frequencies/pitches) at the same time). When there’s no breath, there’s no sound, so Greenstone uses a lot of circular breathing to get a continuous sound, with many variations because of her way of letting the resonance guide her improvisation. Because of the circular breathing involved, the pieces are relatively short.
    For the casual listener, it may all sound the same. There’s much to be enjoyed for the attentive listener, given you have open ears. This isn’t background music, although some people might put this in while doing tedious chores. This is an excellent example of an idea, explored, brilliantly executed, and recorded. (MDS)
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Here’s a collaboration between Cecilia Lopez on electronics and Ingrid Laubrock on soprano and tenor sax. Lopez comes from Argentina, Laubrock is from Germany, and both are active in the New York impro scene. Maromas means tightrope and what happens on this release is that the sound of Laubrock’s sax, be it soprano or tenor, is being processed by Lopez through various electronics. The result is a balancing act on a tightrope: in some tracks, the electronics have the upper hand, weaving intricate tapestries based on the sound of the sax or at other times, the sound of the sax is distinctly heard, and the electronics take a back seat. Not literally: they are always there. It’s relatively gentle music compared to Red, the solo release of Lopez, also released on Relative Pitch, blending the sax’s acoustic world and the electronics’s digital world. Laubrock has a duo with drummer Tom Rainey, and Relative Pitch Records have also released their work. An example of how the duo perform live on stage can be found here, the second half of a concert at Roulette, a renowned venue in Brooklyn, New York. This release is an outstanding example of how acoustics and electronics can be mixed excitingly and pleasingly. A lot happens in these pieces, with repeated listenings rewarding the attentive listener. (MDS)
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Atmospheric improvised music by four veterans of the Italian impro scene. Marco Colonna is on baritone sax and sopranino; baritone is the most prominent standard saxophone, and the sopranino is the smallest (less) common saxophone. Eduoardo Maraffa on tenor and alto sax. And two drummers/percussionists, Fabrizio Spera and Marco Zanotti. This was intended as a group to do a few ad hoc concerts after the first extended lockdown in Italy. Not being able to play with other people is killing for a musician, especially for an improvising artist. So this one got recorded, and gladly so. This is atmospheric impro music at a high level. The four of them create a sound world in four pieces that grab the listener’s attention. Sonic landscapes venture into groovy polyphonic sax lines underlined with wicked rhythms by the two drummers. It all is a tell-tale sign of intelligent collective playing. These musicians breathe and make music as one living organism. Plus, these guys sound like they’re having a blast on stage. The applause at the end of the last piece tells us that the audience also did. We will hear much more about this group in the future. I, for one, cannot wait.  (MDS)
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Out on Starkland on December 1 is the latest of composer and accordionist Guy Klucevsek. He retired from performing in 2018 after more than 40 years of performing with John Zorn, Tom Waits, Paulina Oliveiros, Anthony Braxton, the Kronos Quartet and Bill Frisell to name a few.
    These 19 whopping pieces are presented here for the first time, including a suite called Industrious Angels, composed for a multimedia piece by Laurie McCants, a sample of which can be found here. It’s wonderful music, not just the suite of six pieces. Some pieces have additional piano and violin, for example, the odd-metered tango Slango, which opens the record. Traditionally, most people think the accordion is a folksy instrument, and in a way, this is true; the tunes are based on East European examples. But for example, in ‘Prelude No. 2’, Guy makes the accordion sound like a house organ or harmonium. And make no mistake: the arrangements are intricate and delicately played in a virtuoso manner by the master himself and sometimes with the help of pianist Jenny Lin and violinist Todd Reynolds.
    These 51 minutes are brimming with life: melancholy, joy, sadness and even anger can be heard. But always with a shimmer of light since hope dies last. (MDS)
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N & BU.D.D.A. (LP by Auf Abwegen)

When Helmut Neidhardt (also known as N), Chris Sigdell and Sascha Stadlmeier (collectively known as Bu.d.d.a., meaning Bund des dritten Auges) met for the first time in 2020, they booked studio time to record music together. Still, as spontaneous as this meeting was, it was also chaotic. Salvaged from the recording was Helmut’s guitar, some of which served as a basis for Chris to re-record his guitar at home, adding some vocals, mailing it off to Sascha, and adding his violin and musique concrète. Back it went to Chris, who did the final mix. Since then, they have toured together and played three shows as a trio. Judging by the music, that is good because what they do here sounds natural, even with some distance between them. Both music projects labour with drones and do that slightly differently. The guitar and amplification are essential for N, sometimes with sharpish played notes, whereas Bu.d.d.a. has a denser approach, layering instruments and sound effects in one thick carpet. There is a point at which they both meet, and that’s precisely where x marks the spot. Two pieces (well, three, but the two on side B blend easily together as one) of vast drones, moving and shaking, going places instead of staying in one place too long. The voices are, perhaps, not something I am not all too happy about, but I can see why they do it, and it’s the music quite well. It adds further to the mysterious sound they play, and even with the addition of N’s guitar, sounding at times like a steel guitar, which I thought was very nice, I am still very much reminded of Troum (as noted before, in Vital Weekly 1347), but this trio has enough going for themselves. Ominous and dark, this is exactly the kind of all-immersive drone you’d expect these people to play. Maybe it’s a pity they didn’t choose a new band name and started fresh as a new group, but that’s none of my business. I can imagine there will be some exciting trio work for them in the future. One could say this is a promising start, but with their shared history, it doesn’t feel like a start. (FdW)
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Had I followed the career path I thought I had ahead of me, I would have ended up as a high school history teacher, and now, 40 years later, I am contemplating early retirement. Had I done so, I would probably not be on social media. Now, I have to; there is a product to promote or a place to reach many people to say how sorry I am for sending out last week’s issue 8 times, beyond my control. Basque artist Mattin has a new record about social media and a daft/utopian vision: a call for social media users of the world to unite so that access to the codes, technologies, models and complexities that shape our lives. Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. It is a great idea, but the money behind it is so vast that control is out of reach for the common man. On this record, Mattin uses recordings from social media sources, TikTok (which, I think, is a must avoid) and Instagram, or in the words of Mattin, “a chorus of fragments from the multitude addressing psychic destabilisation and the horizon of paranoia and alienation. This plunderphonic of sounds transmitted by the global media opens the possibility of addressing what it means to be human beyond the liberal individual”. My time on and for social media is limited, avoiding whatever discussion because before I know it, you’re stuck communicating with people I don’t know and who don’t know you, and to what end? Mattin’s music is partly plunderphonic, and there is something to recognise, although not for me, as this is modern pop music. It is mainly in some cut-up form, but side A has a lengthy segment of very abstract electronics. I have no idea what it is, but it sounds nice. Much of this side of the record contains bits of modern pop music, which don’t mean much. Apart from a short intro, the entire B-side repeats harsh rhythms and sounds, with a slightly faster-paced beat below. It’s hardly dance music, but it works pretty well. It’s an exciting record and concept, but does not always work for me musically.
    No mixed feelings about the record by Valerio Tricoli, the now Munich-based composer of electro-acoustic music. His primary instrument is the Revox B77 reel-to-reel recorder, which he uses to manipulate sounds in a real-time transformation of pre-recorded sound and those he does on the spot. As I heard this record, the careful constructions of quietness, I wondered if vinyl was the best medium to release his music. A few spics of dust alter the vinyl quickly. Maybe that is the idea? I doubt that, but one never knows. Tricoli plays shorter pieces, with bits of silence in between, reminding the listener of the early days of microsound. Construction is one word, collages is another. There is no bigger story here, no common narrative thread connecting these pieces; they seem to be events happening, developing, shaping, deconstructing and fading. It’s time for some silence, and Tricoli has another one. They are short but far from sketch-like. Each piece is thought out thoroughly, and there is no need for a change. Compositions rather than sketches, indeed. His sound sources remain a mystery, save for one bit that seemed to be using guitar sounds. I briefly watched some of Tricoli in action on YouTube, and it seems he uses a tape loop, too (like Jerome Noetinger), but that is not something one hears in the music. The loop effect is hidden somewhere, which is nice; it creates an even more mysterious set of compositions. It may be Microsound also has its roots firmly based in musique concrète, but without some of the brutality and endless granulating and pitching of frequencies, which is refreshing. (FdW)
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HARDWORKING FAMILIES – BACK (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulation)

The title here refers to being back on stage after you know what happened, slowing concerts down for a considerable time. Tom Bench is the man behind Hardworking Families, and I reviewed some of his previous work (Vital Weekly 1146 and 1274). Those two releases contained pieces he recorded at various concerts, explaining the hiatus between the last and now. One could argue that because these are musical pieces constructed from live recordings, he could have also returned to previous live recordings before the pandemic and used them. Maybe there are reasons for not doing so. Minimal Resource Recordings describes this as “a process of reducing, condensing and layering has resulted in the distilled pieces collected here”. Each of the four pieces is based on one concert, so there is no meta thing; long pieces are based on multiple shows. In his approach, in the studio, but I assume also on stage, Hardworking Families goes for the mighty noise aspect. Most of it is in a more improvised manner. I am thinking of contact microphone abuse, dictaphone, Walkman and a bunch of monotrons. Maybe some pedals, but I have no idea which ones. With the music being chopped up, it goes without saying that I have no idea how a typical concert sounds from him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s along the lines of the work here. I can hear various layers, but his cut-up isn’t that radically different or difficult to do live. There are no hard edits, just a combining of sounds, and throughout, there is a neat, squeaky atmosphere in the music. A brutalist attack on acoustic objects, in combination with cracked electronics. And, maybe because I am using the word ‘cracked’ just now, I am thinking of the old Möslang/Guhl duo or their group Voice Crack. Hardworking Families share a similar approach in working with acoustic sounds and electronic ones: the sound of cables on the verge of breaking, old dusty mixers and such lovely stuff. I like it! (FdW)
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JON WESSELTOFT & NIKLAS ADAM – SIGNS AND ACCURACY (two cassettes by Coherent States)

Here, we have two releases bordering on the crossroads of noise, improvised music and electro-acoustic music. Klaus Janek plays double bass and electronics, and Jeff Surak dictaphones and effects. From both players, I reviewed music before, not so much from Janek, but with Surak, I go back to the late 1980s, when he had the Watergate Tapes label and projects such as 1348 and New Carrollton. In recent years, he has travelled a bit more and one day, he was in Janek’s studio in Pankow, Berlin. Close by is the Delphi venue, constructed in the 1920s, showing black and white movies. Janek writes on the cover that the music material they recorded paired with the aesthetic approach of the area, which is not something I see. On Bandcamp, they formulate it like this, “their dialogue was strictly musical, but the imposing presence and the history of the building was a silent connecting factor regarding their interaction as an improvisational duo and how they would be influenced by the narrative of the Delphi’s aesthetic incorporation by today’s artistic necessities”. The listener, who may be unfamiliar with the place, or Pankow, or even Berlin, can take this or leave it. I see these eight pieces as the result of a fruitful couple of hours/days working together. As said, crossroads here, with the noise aspect not being the most important thing, but also not entirely lost. Janek’s bass we recognize, but also not the entire time. Janek’s approach to the bass is that of part instrument, part object, to hit scrubbed, scratched, beaten, bowed, plucked – as long as it extracts a bunch of sounds. I think Surak enters with some pre-recorded material, but he likely also picked up some of Janek’s playing along the way and feeds back into the music. I greatly enjoyed this approach, especially Surak’s dynamic interaction with Janke’s full bass sound. He provides the music’s bottom end, whereas Surak’s cuts his way with a diverse musical material. Speaking about things being musical, the last piece, ‘Sportforum, ‘ is an excellent drone piece with lots of reverb, piano sounds, and atmospheric texture, reminding me of A Tent. This old English group had one record on Cherry Red Records.
    The name of Jon Wesseltoft first popped up in Vital Weekly 684 in a review by Jliat. Still, I first heard his music properly when he did an LP with Balasz Pandi for Movomg Furniture Records (see Vital Weekly 1177), which was a remarkably more noisy record for that label. Later, I also reviewed his Tongues Of Mount Meru, a duo with Lasse Marhaug (for the same label, see Vital Weekly 1381). He’s from Oslo, whereas Niklas Adam is from Denmark. He is an “artist, composer, recordist, performer and computer programmer” and “has worked with stage art for a decade, where in addition to music the focus has been on developing choreography for robotic sculptures. Sound, movement, time and space are his main occupations”. Together, they use ‘electronics, computers and synths” and do so in a somewhat chaotic manner. Chaotic and, at times, also noisy. There is a stutter effect here, which, I would think, is brought forward by computer manipulation. I am reminded of Mark Fell (of SND fame) here, perhaps here not as radical, but nevertheless bouncing and leaping nicely. I have no idea what kind of sounds are used; for all I know, they might be purely electronic, feeding off a broken computer. I know, when it’s broken, it probably doesn’t do anything, but you get my drift. The listener gets very little time to relax and breathe. In ‘Overlap Transfer’, this duo takes it down a notch, but the actual moment of relaxing is in the title piece, which also reminded me of early computer music. Overall, I found this to be a most enjoyable release, saved by the variation it offers. Would it be just the chaos and the noise? It would not be strong. Now, it sounds like a well-balanced act of possibilities that these machines have to offer, which becomes a most enjoyable experience. I favour the quieter pieces, which seem to have more control; I might be wrong about the latter. (FdW)
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DUE PROCESS – RRRADIO 1-5 (cassette by No Rent Records)
HOWARD STELZER – “OH CALM DOWN YOU’RE FINE” (cassette by No Rent Records)
HOWARD STELZER & DANG. – A PEAL (download by Buried in slag and debris)

The story behind the re-issue of ‘RRRadio 1-5’, which was first released by RRRecords in 1987, is that No Rent asked Ron Lessard to do a three cassette retrospective of his group Due Process, and that Lessard worked his way through all of the RRRadio releases, not liking much beyond the first release. He dug out the original cassette and that was used as to copy these cassettes; there is no digital version and no Bandcamp codes. Due Process was Lessard and a rotating cast of members, over the years, but in that first phase it was him, David and Ed Vaillancourt, Michael Wayne and Dennis Reilly; the latter recited texts he wrote or from others, such as Charles Bukowksi. At one point Lessard was invited to play records at the local radio, and realised he could do this as a group effort, and so RRRadio was born. A group of musicians, tapes, records and Reilly talking. Because RRRecords was already part of the cassette network, tapes were sent from people like P16.D4 and The Haters. Think of it as an experimental music DJing. It isn’t easy to find a record in here that I recognised; I know there should be Stockhausen and Cage in here somewhere, but where I don’t know. In an endless stream we hear lots of sounds, obscured music, slowed down records, field recordings, bleepy electronics, and Reilly’s unqiue voice coming in and out whenever he wants to. Part musique concrète, part noise, part radio-play, part DJ mix. I admit I haven’t heard the other in this RRRadio series in a long time (there are various releases with excerpts from 55 shows), but hearing this again, after so many years, this is wonderful reminder of a very creative time, for those part of the big cassette network.
    Not part of that particular network, but active a little bit later, and still going strong to this very day is Howard Stelzer. In his work cassette recordings and Walkmans play an important role. I heard a lot of his releases, and I could (but don’t) consider myself to be an expert. If I say this is is something quite different, especially side A, ‘Everybody Thinks So’, then you have no other option than to believe me. The usual trademark drones are here, scratching and crackling away, but half way through this piece, bells rattle, and there are various layers of wind instruments, playing in an empty mall. There is a vaguely ritualistic atmosphere here, which surprises, amuses and enjoys me. A Stelzer sound I don’t think I encounterd before. The piece ends with a variation of the opening crackling sound. The first two pieces on the other side are more traditional Stelzer pieces, consisting of playing back sounds from Walkmans in unusual places and recording them on another Walkman (and maybe repeating that process a couple of times). Sound sources rendered beyond recognition, which makes it all mysterious. The last track, ‘Proportional’, has rain sounds that morph into drum sounds, again very much an odd ball, reminding me of Matt Weston, ending with laughter. You could wonder who’s being laughed at, but let’s not worry about that for now. While maybe dark and mysterious, the music is not without humour and that’s a good thing.
    And while at it, more bell sounds can be found on ‘A Peal’, a download only by Stelzer and somebody named dang., of which the period is part of the name. I have no idea who that is. The two recorded bells in their immediate surroundings, and I assume with cassette recorders, and along the way, they picked up more field recordings and compressed gas cylinders, resulting in a bit of a ritualistic approach. Bells call to order, to serve, to contemplate, and with it, there are some pretty dark drones, the mechanics of ventilations, shafts (or some such) and for Stelzer, this might be (again!) something that he does and something new. This is another surprise as an extension of the cassette on No Rent Records. (FdW)
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V0LAND – INNENRAUM (cassette by Amek Collective)
EVITCELES – BRUISED (cassette by Amek Collective)

Angel Simitchiev is a busy bee. He runs the Amek Collective label and plays music as Mytrip and Dayin. Both music projects are from the atmospheric department but with variations. Mytrip is more guitar-based, and Dayin perhaps also, but the guitar might be in disguise here. I had not heard Dayin’s music before. This cassette is a debut physical release, a collection of two digital-only EPs from his own Bandcamp page. Fourteen pieces, including two previously unreleased pieces and two versions of ‘Cloud Control’. This is some big-time ambient drone music obscured by effects; it’s no longer possible to recognise guitar, synthesiser, pad, or whatever; most likely, however, is that he uses a combination of both. Maybe Dayin also includes some field recordings, but if so, they are also heavily processed. Among the effects used, reverb plays an important role; it’s effectively (pun intended) the machine that creates the atmosphere, massively present in your living room. The combined guitar, bass, synthesiser and effects approach works well here. Moody and dark, you can consider this to be a soundtrack for the dark season we have now (well, in one hemisphere at least), for that time of the day when day turns into night. Dayin’s music is atmospheric but comes with considerable force; there’s no easy escaping here. Playing this at a lower volume doesn’t do the music much justice. Turn up the volume, immerse yourself in the music, and experience one excellent sonic bliss.
    On the Amek label, there are also two new releases, both by projects I had not heard of. Let’s start with V0land, the Bulgarian Symeon Yovev project, the preferred spelling of which is V0LAND. He uses “field recordings, modern-day experimental hardware instruments and obscure vintage sound machines, ” resulting in two parts of the title piece, each about eighteen minutes long. Both pieces were recorded live on May 27 of this year at Koncept Space, and for V0land, this was his debut concert (not for the first time that Amek released first shows from people). V0land also loves his reverb, as he’s playing it big time, erecting a wall of sharpish drone sounds. It has that crushing metal on metal, more so in the first than in the second part. A few isolated sounds begin each piece, then build brick upon brick until there is a wall. Whereas ‘Innenraum Part 1’ moves into one place and explores that, the second part goes through various sections, all within the same dark mood range, of course. As a first concert, this certainly worked very well, and I think it should be repeated. I also wonder what a studio recording would bring to the table, maybe resulting in a different sound or more variation; this would not be necessary but more as an idea of what other roads he could explore.
    Behind Evictless, we find Etien Slavchev, also from Bulgaria, and Bruised is his third album for Amek, but it is the first one I hear. This is also mood music but quite different from the other two. If the others play ‘pieces’, then Evictless plays songs. Armed with a guitar, bass, drum machines and a microphone, he plays dark, rhythmic songs, which the label describes as a “deranged post-punk flavour”. I have no idea about that, being a bit out of the loop with what people consider post-punk these days. Not being familiar with the language, I have no idea what these lyrics are about, but maybe the titles indicate all things not so pleasant; ‘Save Me Tonight’, ‘Drizzle’, ‘Can’t Escape’ and of course, the album’s title. It all sounds intense and borderline aggressive sometimes, with some strong beats. Guitars’ chorus and flange are about, and Slavchev’s voice is full of that spleen and ennui. It’s lovely stuff, for sure, but also something that is a bit lost on me. As I said, I feel I am not as connected to this particular brand of music anymore, so I find it hard to place it somewhere. From a historical perspective, I also think it might be a bit out of place in these pages. In that sense, it is perhaps leaning too much toward the world of popular music, even when it might not be too popular in the conventional sense. (FdW)   
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