Number 1417

DEAD VOICES ON AIR – DADU (CD by Ultra Mail Prod)
JAIMIE BRANCHFLY OR DIE FLY OR DIE FLY OR DIE (​(​WORLD WAR​)​) (CD by International Anthem Recording Company) *
TERESA COSS – KARNOFSKY’S SCORE (CD by Futura Resistenza) *
NADAGEN (LP by Futura Resistenza) *
BVDUB – ASLEEP IN ULTRAMARINE (CD by Dronarivm/Fonodroom) *
NORN – REGALIA (7″ lathe cut by Etch Wear) *
COIMS – HONK GONG (cassette by Longs Arm Artifacts) *


Sadly, new work by Mark Vernon arrives at significant intervals. Vernon is a long-time producer of radiophonic works, and various are site-specific. ‘Sheet Erosion’ is number three in a series of Audio Archaeology, and this time, he visited the French of Brest. “It comprises field recordings made in early 2020 during the storms Ciara and Desmond plus a batch of found open-reel tape recordings dating from the 70s and 80s.” These tapes are from someone named Michel and reflect his taste in music and radio programmes. Vernon didn’t use cables to capture what was on the recordings but used the speakers and recorded whatever else happened at the same time. There’s a telephone, conversations, the wind howling around the cabin (if indeed it is a cabin. I might be imagining things), people talking and ‘then’ meets ‘now’. The space in which he plays his sounds becomes an instrument of transformation, as do the objects he finds in the place. Sometimes, the speaker gets obscured and muffles the sound; sometimes, the music from the tapes is very recognizable (although, for the life of me, I can’t remember the tune’s name), and not at all. Does Vernon use some kind of processing? Digital or electronic? I thought about it every time I heard this CD, and in these somewhat quieter days before Christmas, there was indeed some more time to listen to it, and I’m unsure. There are bits in here that I think could very well contain some kind of electronic processing. Still, I also considered the possibility that everything he does comes down to unusual ways of capturing his sounds and maybe some filtering, removing specific low or high frequencies. Whatever it is that he does, it adds to the mysterious quality of the music. As always, it has a kind of radiophonic quality combined with the qualities of a great horror movie. Some of this material is very ghostly and obscure, but I appreciate it mainly because of that eerie atmosphere. It doesn’t scare the living daylights out of me, but it has a cosy, creepy sound; the sound of yesteryear, perhaps, a sense of longing for the past. Maybe it’s a conservative zeitgeist thing? Maybe it’s just old age! I love it.
The French Sonoris label recently re-issued the first two classic albums by P16.D4 on vinyl and CD (not reviewed in Vital Weekly this time). Perhaps that led to the release of a collaboration between Ralf Wehowsky, once the leading man (I am sure he won’t use that word) behind that legendary German group and Kohei Matsunaga. It’s been a while since I last heard his name; he appeared on the MV X compilation (Vital Weekly 952) and a few times before that. I have no idea how his career developed in the last 17+ years. The title translates as ‘Traces & Counterwords’, which I have no idea what that means and consists of four pieces, in a strictly linear fashion, starting with Ralf Wehowsky’s ‘contact recording’, then Matsunaga’s ‘contact recordings’, plus Ralf’s, mixed and remixed by him. In the third piece ‘further transformation by Ralf, remixed by Matsunaga and reremixed by Ralf, culminating in the last one (all Japanese titles) “even further transformations by Wehowsky, including rereremixes by Matsunaga”. That’s how we like to see Wehowsky best. Over and over again, transformation sounds have been his speciality ever since his P16.D4 days (one of the two classic albums being ‘Distruct’, in which they used raw recordings sent by allies from around the globe). The first recording was made on May 3, 2021, from 20:00 pm to 20:10, and between May and August 2021, they finished the disc. No sound sources are mentioned, and in the case of Wehowsky, I think he uses a combination of what sounds almost like Shepard tones and some kind of bowing of string instruments. In contrast, Matsunaga uses mainly laptop/software, glitching and cracking away. It’s interesting to hear this material shift from one thing to the next: the Shepard tones from the first piece, dissolving in the next, making way from cut-up beats and crackles (but also a bit chaotic at times), and in the final two pieces it goes all the way in terms of cut-up, collaging, re-arranging and without (as far as I know) adding new sound elements. Every next stage adds more sounds to be used as raw material, and rest assured that they do so in every step. Why stop at forty minutes? I don’t know the answer to that question I don’t know, but perhaps there are four pieces enough to take in, and an excellent demonstration of the endless possibilities, of which we don’t have to hear all, but a great selection. (FdW)
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There was dark ambient music in the mid-1990s (before that even), but it was decided to call it isolationism to push it into the more considerable audience range. I doubt that worked, but the Virgin Records double CD of the same name was widely around. One of the early key players in this field was Napalm Deah drummer Mick Harris, no longer playing the drums but fully committed to electronics, ” in an attempt to create music that would stretch, if not forsake entirely, the structures of conventional music by developing and exploring sound without beats.” That last bit is funny as the opening piece here uses some short sound, looping around in a closed system of delay pedals, and one could call it rhythm. ‘Journey Through Underworlds’ was initially released in 1993 by the Sentrax label and is now receiving a remastering and a reissue. If you think of dark ambient/isolationism as music that works with long spacious drifts, then that opening piece, ‘Downwards’, is certainly different, with the cascading waves of rhythmic sound. In the title piece, Harris works with sampled, stretched, and pitched sounds, not the slow drone of some of the works I remember best from him. As I noted before, with the reissue of ‘That Space Somewhere’ (see Vital Weekly 1365), there is an ‘early’ and ‘primitive’ sampling sound here, which was probably by the early 1990s not as primitive anymore. Also, in the most extended piece here, ‘In The Distance, ‘ Lull doesn’t go stretching and pitching down on us but delivers something constantly changing and drifting around. Oddly enough, here, too, there is something in the samples that a layman would describe as rhythm; I do. In many ways, this second album from Lull is a much more experimental album than much of his later work, and because of its noisier character, it is also less dark ambient. Now, isolationist music certainly is; it’s atmospheric, experimental and not a commercial proposition because of its musical nature. I missed out on this in the early 1990s, so it’s great to hear it, finally. (FdW)
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DEAD VOICES ON AIR – DADU (CD by Ultra Mail Prod)

U.M.P. continue to be something like the home publisher of the two ex-Zoviet France’rs. Yuen releases a continuous string of (mainly) CDs, even if not the sole outlet for their work. Editions of 100 – which make you wonder whether this can be a commercially viable venture at all – in often extravagant packaging. Things have slowed down a little post-Covid, it seems, but here we are again, with a release each of Robin Storey (aka Rapoon) and Mark Spybey (aka Dead Voices on Air), published in parallel in editions of 100 each. Times have taken their toll, and we find less sophisticated packaging. CDs in a cardboard slipcase with a small, unique item added for individuality. The DVoA CD comes with a set of cards – more on this later.
The Rapoon release is not much of a surprise. I cannot say that any Rapoon record bores me. They all have their individual character. What struck me was the use of voice on two of the tracks, which is not very common with Storey. The common element is the usual rhythmic nature of the tracks, using a loop or, more rarely, a percussion track to drive the music forward. Overall, the mood is gloomy – as with many Rapoon releases – the track titles speak their language: ‘And another day …’, ‘I am not a robot’, ‘No-one, just numbers’, ‘I’m waiting’.
‘And another day …’ kicks off the CD with a ‘typical’ Rapoon track, a drone of a distant jumble of sounds, then adding percussion, moving the track from dreaminess to a more immediate ‘hum’, supported by an ostinato organ note. ‘Deep friction’ lowers the key by an octave and offers a growling version of a drone – again with the ‘dreamy’ sound layers in the background, but now with a more threatening and industrial sound. Imagine some machinery heard through the fog from the other side of the harbour. As the piece progresses, sounds are added in the foreground, giving it a more immediate character. ‘Not that far ….’ totally changes the approach, only working with two organ chords. Then a stream-of-consciousness voice starts with, ‘I figure it’s not that far to the moon, I think they lie about it, it’s more like round the corner’, and some minimal keyboard lines add to the organ and bass growl. Maybe it’s not typical, but it’s very effective. The following tracks return to the more ‘conventional’ Rapoon sounds of more or less dissonant drones (which my cat did not appreciate) – with some very subdued vocals that create a menacing atmosphere: ‘they are watching me’, ‘I am waiting’ .. are some of them, if I got them right (earphones recommended). ‘Behind the scenes’ brings a sweeping sound with synths and a fuzzed guitar layered onto a driving percussion track. ‘I am not a robot’ has Storey singing over a Moog loop. It sounds a bit like a raga – and again, between the whisper ‘I am waiting’ … The CD ends with a track of cut-up electronics, one of synths, and a steady beat track that morphs into a distant raga-like hum and then into a synth-based loop with an overlaid voice, fittingly titled ‘The voice that saved’. From what? I do not know. I know that I liked this release, even though it was a little surprising, apart from the melodic elements. I would need to go back through the Rapoon catalogue to check where these elements started appearing and if there is a novelty here. Who cares? The initial despairing atmospheres are resolved into a more upbeat mood in the final track, lifting you from the depressive beginnings.
‘dadu’ by Dead Voices on Air is a very different story, ahem, story. Mark Spybey met up with two friends from 37 years ago (yes, we are now all that kind of age …), who he had played with in different bands in the mid-1980s. They started jamming and just recorded along, producing a very ANGRY record. How come? You might remember Zoviet France being from the North of England, Yorkshire and Teeside, if I remember correctly. Now, English politics are currently a mess. A sort of elected autocracy, a government selected by 45% of the votes and having an 80-seat majority in parliament. A corrupted party is hanging on to power with an endless string of scandals, failures, ineptnesses, and lies, spending £34bn on worthless contracts, with no one ever taking any responsibility for anything. You name it. One part of the politics is the ‘levelling up’, pouring money into the North so that they shut up and play along. Instead, they should be joining Scotland in a plea for independence.
DVoA has consequently turned this sentiment into music, with three long tracks on this disc. But not only that. Along with the CD come cards printed with background information. All of which target UK politics head-on. ‘Resist! Fight back. Quit quitting. Cynicism is the easy way out.’ I can only agree. As a working life comes to a close, you look back and ponder on how the anger of youth faded away, how the in-between-time achieved far too little, and how the anger needs to return. This is a ‘rock’ record. I do not fully agree with the story that this was a jam session where someone hit the ‘record’ button. A good measure of production has been spent here. Let’s say it all starts a bit like Alternative TV, with low-profile, simple music (surprisingly simplistic drumming by Spybey at times). But all kinds of overdubs, loops, and noise are layered over the essential recordings. The pieces move between something that could be a straightforward ‘punk’ piece – not in the sense of uptempo three-cord thrashing, but rather the attitude to playing away with no aspiration to musicianship (which, of course, is not true at all in this case)- to loop-based, slightly noised-up and reverbed more typical DVoA tracks. In many ways, it is post-punk, with elements of Kleistwahr, the French Bästard or Nox, Hint, or Justin Broadrick, but still remaining faithful to the slightly ‘dreamy’ and ‘noisy’ atmospheres of previous DVo releases. And then there is the anger – the anger about betrayal by the powers to be, the destruction of industrial heritage landmarks for profit. ‘Built by heroes, destroyed by clowns’ is about a specific building in Teesside, but it is just as well a statement about all English politics of current times. Listen to this, dig out the dusted and wilted direct action handbooks, and re-claim the initiative. The silence has lasted far too long. (RSW)
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JAIMIE BRANCHFLY OR DIE FLY OR DIE FLY OR DIE (​(​WORLD WAR​)​) (CD by International Anthem Recording Company)

The swan song of Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die. Branch died last year on August 22. She was putting the final finishing touches on this record, which was released a year and three days later. I kept putting off writing a review for it. It’s been on heavy rotation during working hours. For those who don’t know who Jaimie Branch is, she was a Brooklyn-based trumpeter with a conservatory degree in trumpet and two years of a master’s degree. She worked with Tim Daisy, Ken Vandermark, Frank Rosaly, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Mike Pride, Luke Stewart, Jason Nazary, Tcheser Holmes, and many more. You can read more about her here: 1352 ( Back to the music at hand. Beginning with a lush ouverture: aurora rising with a pedal note in keyboards with a church organ setting and a solo in the higher mixture organ stop. Timpani comes rolling in, and a bit later, an upper register trumpet note and the track segues into an infectious organ groove with Latin-infused percussion. Cello adds a counter melody to Jaimie’s tonal melody. Although it’s mostly in minor it’s absolutely not a sad affair. At the end, the chords of the starting track return with added electronic manipulation. The next one could well be a track concocted by The Ex. African rhythms with a political call to action (“Believe me, the future lives inside you. Don’t forget to fight, don’t forget to fight”). There’s a cover of the Meat Puppets’ Comin’ Down, called the mountain. This version is significantly slowed down and started with a beautiful multi-string harmonization by cellist Lester St. Louis. The song is about addiction, an affliction Jaimie was struggling with, leading to an accidental overdose. ‘Baba loui’ is a mood-changing monster of a piece that starts as upbeat party music and transforms into moody dub areas. I’ll leave it to the reader to discover the rest of the tracks. The music on this release is brimming with ideas and has a lush production without being ‘overproduced’. She will be sorely missed for her energy and her approach to music. (MDS)
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BVDUB – ASLEEP IN ULTRAMARINE (CD by Dronarivm/Fonodroom)

Not so long ago, I reviewed a new release by Brock van Wely, also known as Bvdub, mentioning that I had only heard very few of his releases. So, it’s a surprise that a new release on the Russian label is already readily available through a Dutch distributor. The previous release had four pieces; this new release has only one track, but one that lasts 79 minutes. That is not to say this is one long and the same piece, and at the same time, there are recurring elements used here that return pretty often. As with many of his works, reverb plays a significant role, if not an all-important one. Bvdub uses reverb to create massive atmospheric textures, and on the input side, there are a lot of textured synthesiser sounds, also known as pads. The third element is percussion, whatever loosely organised it is this time. Unlike his earliest work, in which Bvdub used a lot of a 4/4 rhythm time signature, now it’s a rattle of sounds that pops up and disappears again. A fourth element, also used sparsely, is the voice. Thanks to the use of reverb on all musical elements in this piece, words are rendered beyond meaning (or meaning I could comprehend). While the music is supposed to be ambient, it is also very rich in tone and, consequently, sonically very much present in one’s space. Combined with the length and sometimes the duration of a section, the music becomes too much, especially if one is playing this consciously, thinking about the music. Maybe I should don my reviewer’s cap, sit back and let it pass as in an immersive listening experience, perhaps as intended by the musician. Maybe, then, something to wait on for a few days and, following the yearly round of Christmas, have this splash around on Christmas day and do nothing; sit back, close your eyes and dream away. There is not much new under the sun, but, as always, very well executed! (FdW)
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NADAGEN (LP by Futura Resistenza)

The now Belgium-based Futura Resistenza label always surprises the listener with its mixture of new sound art and, most curious, re-issues. The first is by the unknown Teresa Coss, whose ‘Karnofsky’s Scores’ is part of “a body of work that includes visual scores and a forthcoming film sharing the album’s narration, ‘Karnofsky’s Score’ may indeed be guided by the ghost of David A. Karnofsky himself, the pioneer oncologist of the 1950s and 60s who had earlier conducted experiments with the US Army Chemical Warfare Service.” The film doesn’t exist yet, but its soundtrack is inspired by the “‘Karnofsky’s Score’ which is the imagined soundtrack of a film yet to exist and of lives dealing with existence itself. Inspired by the Karnofsky Performance Scale, a scoring system widely used in medical oncology where 100 equals ‘normal’ and 0 equals ‘dead’”. On the soundtrack, numbers are stretched, changing time. Coss uses guitar improvisations, “running through a four-track looping recorder, delay, and pitch-shifting pedals, with additional harmonica on the last twin tracks”, and while I may not understand the finer points of how this all ties in together, I immensely enjoyed this rather CD release. Somewhere on the scale of improvisation, composition and sound art, the music has a mildly dramatic tone at times but is also lighter, experimental, drone-like and rhythmic, primarily when Coss uses shortish loops. Each of the seven pieces is a world of its own, no matter how brief some of them are. It’s a bit of everything, and that variation is not in the way of the homogenous feel of the total. Maybe at twenty-eight minutes, a bit short, but very nice.
Also, new names are Katrina Niebergal & Bergur Anderson, whose cassette is about a field trip they made “to ancient European sacred places, with a particular focus on Neolithic sites”, which they found in Malta, Greece and the UK. They made 35mm photos, super 8mm film and audio recordings, and the whole thing was presented as an installation in Rotterdam. I haven’t seen the installation, so I am sure I missed something by playing only the cassette. I must say that, much like the Coss CD, I missed a few things here, and I mean the context of the total work. There are field recordings, which could have been made in many places. There is a bit of spoken word about the agricultural revolution, being “possibly preceded by a sexual revolution”, and about the importance of women in the times before the agricultural revolution, albeit with sometimes the word ‘perhaps’, which makes it not hard science. Also, I am not sure where the scared places part fits here or where to fit in that last piece, ‘CROWD* voices, the great mound / Juno’s groove’, which is a sort of pop song. I enjoyed the field recordings but have trouble with the other content here. As I said, maybe I missed out on something.
The re-issue this time is from a Dutch group, Nadagen. Not out of the blue, as the liner-notes author Niek Hilkman recently compiled a double LP, ‘De Toekomst Laat Me Koud (De Nieuwe Nederlandse Golf 1980-1985), compiled kind of sort new wave bands from The Netherlands, using Dutch lyrics, containing De Div, Sammie America’s MAM, Ton Lebbink and Dier, among others. I mention my favourites, some of which I first heard around 2008-2009 when blogs started to put a lot of this kind of music online. A fine double LP (not reviewed by me; Excelsior Records may not be aware of Vital Weekly, sadly) that also contained Nadagen. Their 7″s from the 1980s also popped in 2008-09, and it was another one of those surprises that I wasn’t aware of when they came out in 1983, but maybe I was already too much into the cassette network. Future Resistenza released an LP with the two 7″s and many demo recordings in 1982. Nadagen was an Amsterdam-based band inspired by Joy Division, Minny Pops, and De Div, but with Dutch lyrics, like De Div and Minny Pops, in the last days. First with a drum machine and later with a drummer. The bass plays a big role, along with the synthesiser, and if I were a 1980s reviewer/sceptic, I’d write ‘modern’ music with parenthesis, meaning I am not convinced it’s modern. Of course, this question of modernism is no longer important forty years later. Their sound was quite funky, almost dance-like, especially on the two 7″s (with drummer), whereas the earlier demo, with drum machine, is mechanical and grittier. The lyrics are about the sorry state of the world (maybe also a reason for a reissue), feminism (the only male-female ‘duet’ on the record), but also laughable, ‘I don’t dance with you, as I dance by myself’ (maybe a more poetic translation it would make it sound better). But that’s zeitgeist for you, and that’s why I like this record. Partly because I am ageing and I am a sentimental old fool; one could argue this is nothing for Vital Weekly or me; pop music, lyrics, vocals, but there is also that longing for better days (and yes, the 1980s where in that respect much better days; hard to believe, but I guess true for me). (FdW)
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I’m always happy to receive new releases by LEM; you gotta know that by now. Why? It’s a really active label, and even though we find quite a few recurrent names, they always sneak in new names and new artists. So, as a label, they (or he, being Steve Davis from +DOG+) keep surprising. So, a whole batch we got this time has a few titles sent to me; FdW does others.
So the first release is a 12″ vinyl (about 10 minutes per side) by Blue Collar Calling. According to Discogs – who are not like the definite guide, but it is a pretty good source to find things – they did a few sampler tracks, and that’s it. To my surprise, Google created an actual homepage, and the info there reveals who is behind this release. “Blue Collar Calling is a true noise collaboration from the minds of Steve Meketa (Aprtment 213, Lockweld ) and Jim Szudy (Nihil Omnia, Fellahean).” From Jim, I had never heard (sorry Jim), but Lockweld, hell yeah. Right away, everything gets connected from what I hear on “Anxiety Attack” and what I’ve listened to from Lockweld in the past. They’ve done things together for 15 years, and this seems to be their first proper release.
The two tracks are entirely different in style. Side A is best described as an experimental approach to the sounds of the factory. Tools are elevated into instruments, and movement into modulation. The only word that comes to mind is ‘relentless’, but wait, halfway through the track, it changes, and it’s like … Damn, how to describe this … It’s like the harsh metal work disappeared, and movements/modulation itself become a genuinely gorgeous work of harsh ambient. Forgive me for this choice of words, but I listened ten times and couldn’t find anything different. You have to hear it yourself!
Side B is built around metal rhythms and proper blue-collar activity. Slight movements of subtle noise coincide with the rhythm, resulting in a mesmerizing anthem for the workflow. Beautifully hypnotic. Please don’t let the follow-up release take another 15 years.
‘Broken And Dilapidated’ by Juice Machine is another new name on LEM, although … The name Juice Machine is new to me, but it is a project with many releases already; I just hadn’t heard of it! Behind Juice Machine are Roger H. Smith (a.k.a. Chefkirk) and Heather Chessman. They release a few titles yearly with mixed experiments of/with / combination / and musique concrete. It’s a difficult one for me, as it’s just outside my comfort zone, so I honestly can’t tell you if it’s good or bad; I can only tell you what the tracks did to me and a bit of an opinionated comment.
The album’s title might refer to the cut-up techniques (sampling analogue sources and field recordings), which would fit the outcome well. I’ll get back to that in a bit. Five tracks with a total playing time of 54 minutes. Composition-wise, it’s a kind of collage/cut-up technique with an intense layering. Though there aren’t a lot of sudden movements and breaks, it’s not the cut-ups like bang, boom, zzz, scream, drone, piano, toy box … It’s way more cut-ups on a micro level. Little sounds that – when looped – create layers or atmospheres that, in their turn, are combined into compositions. Even though each sound or layer is a composition of those sources itself.
At the same time, there is a feeling of deterioration because of how the sounds are processed Or what sounds are used. Use the sound of horses walking in the first track or the scarce use of human voices on tape at the end of “Passage of Time”, the opening of noise/rattle and voices on the closing “Nothing Surplus”. It’s all as if the stories being told are descriptions of the past, not something about the present or the future. And that is why I think the title “Broken And Dilapidated” is fitting. Don’t expect highly produced ultra-modern stuff, but expect a truthful story being told through available sounds. (BW)
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As much as I know (believe to know) and experienced music by Rudolf, I never heard much of Alice Kemp’s music. The last work
I heard (I think!) was her LP for Fragment Factory (Vital Weekly 1072) and, before that, a cassette on the same label (Vital Weekly 889). According to her website, “Alice Kemp (b.1972) explores an idiosyncratic praxis of experimental music, audio composition, public/private performance and nonperformance, drawing, writing, and doll-making. Her work is largely informed by states of dream, disturbance, and subtle trance. Kemp is a Schimpfluch affiliate, living and working in Devon, England.” The cover of the LP she made with is a beautiful fold-out sleeve depicting a performance they did in 2016, called ‘Psycho-energetic ritual’; paint, dirt and paint and part of a ritual that I may not understand. In that respect, is the work of (and, perhaps, also Kemp’s) a right-on mystery for me? But as always, the post-modern thinker you may believe I am, one can separate the ritual behind this from the music. Releasing the music on vinyl is effectively already a separation from the performance. I am unsure how this music was made; maybe the two worked together before performing, or maybe this is a long-distance collaboration. Either way, it is a great record and the right one to expect from Rudolf Sounds recorded up close, whispering voices, animal sounds, acoustic objects; sometimes cut short, sometimes looped around. Adding musical instruments, such as piano and trombone, seems to be a new element, and maybe this comes from Kemp; the organ-like sounds were always there in’s solo music. The music is very much in your face, yet it is not noise in the classic sense of the word. As always, I have the impression that this music is a documentation of a performance or that sounds generated during the performance serve as raw sound material to be used in the next work, another form of recycling, perhaps. I find this a great record, and I know I said this before about’s work, but this one I rank among his best works yet.
Whatever happened between Vital Weekly 564 when I reviewed Luca Sciaratta’s ‘Manuale Audiofonico Sull’assenza Di Senno’ and ‘De Sobnet Ach’, his latest release on Love Earth Music, I don’t know. He still plays guitar and uses tapes. He recorded the seven pieces between March and August 2022. Apart from guitar and tapes, I think he also uses a fair bit of sound effects to process his sounds. While Sciaratta’s music owes to the world of noise music and how loud it certainly gets on more than one occasion, I believe he also puts time and effort into thinking about noise and composing with various elements. Unlike many others, his music doesn’t seem to be a stream of consciousness (unconsciousness, more likely) noises wailing away. Sciaratta layers and balances his noises, even when they remain quite loud. As the disc progresses, the guitar becomes less processed and shines through the effects with a more improvised feeling. The music is rough but enjoyable, mainly because it doesn’t play the usual cards. Sciaratta seems to set on a course of being a bit different, adding something of his own to the mix and remaining to have something recognisable in the music. It’s not easy listening to music because of this being ‘different’ and not one thing or another, and while it’s not particularly long, at thirty-some minutes, it was enough.
Much longer lasts the release by DJ Sid James, whom I had not heard before. “Everything by Sid James except stolen things which have been fucked by DJ Sid James”. By now, we know that Love Earth Music likes to pull a leg and release something that doesn’t seem like their usual noise (80%), ambient/drone (19%) routine, and the remaining one per cent is stuff like this. DJ Sid James plunders sources from YouTube, hip-hop records, records and whatever media he has. Lots of spoken words were also lifted left and right, making this a work of plunderphonics, seventy-six minutes and nineteen tracks long. Pop music mangled is always a good thing, and while it’s unclear if there is a theme or thread among these pieces, it might be a comment on the USA and how news disseminates, always spectacular and weird. And sometimes, it’s not all about such things, and it’s more entertaining; at least, I think so. The music sometimes remains somewhat leisurely, with a simple (hip hop-) based rhythm below longer bits culled from documentaries. It was a bit too much on the talking side and not enough to enjoy musically. Some tracks, like ‘Interlude’, work very well, however. It’s all a bit too long for my taste, but overall, it’s a pleasant enough release. (FdW)
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NORN – REGALIA (7″ lathe cut by Etch Wear)

Yeah, I know, ‘lathe cut’ equals ‘limited edition’ equals ‘not-easy-to-find/buy ‘, but then why doesn’t this label have a Bandcamp page so at least we could purchase a digital version (luckily Norn has)? They certainly have a lot of cool stuff I’d love to hear. Norn is, of course, Peter Johan Nÿland – or just ‘Nÿland’ nowadays – whom you may know from Distel, O Saala Sakraal, Trepaneringsritualen and in that shadow-ridden world. Norn used to be a sort of abstract but ominous ambient thing; at least, that was my perception of such matters.
This new one-sided single is a bit different. Just like on the previous 7″s, the vocals are put centre stage, though perhaps now, for the first time, Norn comes close to actually making “a song” rather than their better-known style of a ‘guided spoken word tour through different weird, often abrupt atmosphere changes’. We hear grating granular synthesis, digital audio degradation, odd galloping voice-like rhythms and at the same time, a dreamlike, almost intimate atmosphere, akin to Coil, or maybe Current 93, the ‘Island’ era, but without that whiny Tibet voice (hence perhaps closer to a Coil track then). Halfway through, the piece stops (a drop!) and returns more forceful with processed percussion-like thumps – probably the most memorable bit. Towards the end, it becomes the sinister, creepy thing that is also at the beginning, the way it seems to sort of slowly come up from underneath the ocean surface.
A lovely, even catchy track. No B-side, merely this just-under-four-minute choon. The lack of more music is a pity; I wished there was more to see if this is an outlier or permanent change for Norn and whatever comes next. Do we really have to wait for the next lathe cut? Apparently, work on a whole new album is also finished, so I guess not. (LW)
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COIMS – HONK GONG (cassette by Longs Arm Artifacts)

Because there wasn’t a Bandcamp page mentioned on the cover, I googled band name + title, and Google spat back, ‘Did you mean Coins Hong Kong?’. No, I didn’t. When I found what I was looking for, the only exciting bit was also on the cover; “30 minutes of sonic exploration featuring taut membrane and resonate torment. Live elements recorded at Klang tone records, stroud”. I reviewed music by Coims before (Vital Weekly 1184, 1220, and 1408), and still, I don’t know anything about them, i.e. if this is a group and, if so, which instruments are used. I hear drums, guitar, bass, recordings and maybe voices. According to Aphelion Editions, who released an earlier work, they play dub jazz. I beg to differ, but I also find developing a different catch-all phrase problematic. The music has elements of improvisation, of rock music, there is a lo-fi (as in basement/garage) quality, and there is a sufficient amount of weirdness in the music. The live element is very much there in these recordings, as little is done to liven up the sound here via studio technology, which is perfectly fine. While not entirely the same thing, one name that sprung to mind is that it reminds me of Idea Fire Company. More in the direct approach to recording a band sound than the actual musical contents. Coims is, at times, much more rock-based (although I don’t think of this as standard rock music, far from it) and less synthesiser-based than the US group, but the lo-fi approach and the free play and interaction between the instruments certainly match. Slowly, the music from Coims grows on me; the more I hear, the more I see what they are driving at, and the more I like what I hear. Great stuff, keep ’em coming. (FdW)
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