Number 1421

SCANNER – ALCHEMEIA (CD by Alltagsmusik) *
LIMPE FUCHS – PIANOON (LP by Futura Resistenza) *
CHIRP.CRUSH – INDISCREET_DRAGONS (CD by Tonkunst Manufaktur) *
COAGULANT – SPATIAL EXTENSION TAPE ARCHIVE (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records) *
ABSTRACT POEM (2CDR/cassette by Heavy Cloud Sounds) *
SKINCHANGER (cassette by Music A La Coque) *

SCANNER – ALCHEMEIA (CD by Alltagsmusik)

I’m always happy when packages of Robin hit our doormat. Or that is HQ’s doormat, after which they’re sent to me. Robin and I share a love for modular synthesis, and over the last few years, we bumped into each other on many occasions; there is always time for a little chat, sometimes resulting in big chats, but that’s what you get when you put talkative people with a common interest in a small room. As some of you might know, Professor Scanner has a fan club. You can join and get access to a gazillion unreleased recordings of new albums, scores for contemporary dance performances, recorded Scanner performances and collaborations with other artists. The latter (with Michael Wells / Signs of Chaos) was the first time I heard his music.
From what I understood of the press release and his fan club leaflet Alltagsmusik – meaning music for every day – is a new label of Robin to give his enormous back catalogue a place. Describing the stuff still ‘on the shelves’ is the wisest decision he could have made. As mentioned before, there will be four categories on this label (releases, collaboration, dance and live), and “Alchemia” is the first of many more to come. Not all at once though. Please Robin, don’t.
The thought behind ‘Alchemia’ is to serve as a tribute to the sound of the 60s and 70s library music. Through use of hard- and software and the application of crude techniques of (electronic) composition. That’s more or less the words on the press release, enabling us to place what we hear better. Is it Scanner? Yep, it’s fully Scanner. From the few times I’ve seen him perform live, I somehow recognize his way of thinking in these tracks. But is it Scanner? No, the sounds you might expect from him in his latest works is immaculate and clear, and these recordings are really different. I look at that one word from the press release: Crude.
But ‘crude’ isn’t a bad thing! Hell no! Through limitations you have to focus on possibilities. And it’s exactly THAT which proves to me that Robin is a great artist. The conceptual thinking for this one restricted him from using his favourite GoTos or tools. It’s all about the exploration of sounds, the way Delia, Daphne, Louis and Bebe and all those other great minds of the past did. Sure, I doubt Robin soldered and designed his own electronic circuitry to record these sounds, but this CD is more of a composition than the loose sounds on the Forbidden Planet soundtrack.
The CD has 15 explorations, totalling 37 minutes. It’s a well-thought-out concept by an artist who knows exactly what he’s doing. No matter which gear or software he uses. My favourite tracks are “Ochrea” and “Perspektivea”, and for a visual treat, Go to YouTube and search for “Chimaera” and “Scanner”. (BW)
––– Address:
––– Address:


I’ve sent these words with the link to HQ and asked if it would be enough for a review. But I was requested to write a bit more. So here we are, more words on something that triggers every itch in my mind. First, it’s a CD released by Staalplaat in 100 copies. And I don’t think I need to say anything about Staalplaat other that I’m happy they’re still active after over 40 years. It’s an extended CD with ten tracks with a total playing time of 71 minutes, ranging from 4 to 15 minutes but also overlapping/flowing into each other.
So who is behind Their Divine Nerve? It’s a duo of Dmytro Fedorenko and Jeff Surak. Dmytro was mentioned last week because he is behind the label ‘I Shall Sing Until My Land Is Free’, which supports Ukrainian Humanitarian organizations. He is Variát, collaborating with Monolog, released on that label. And late last year, the amazing collaboration with Merzbow was reviewed, too. So I can safely say he is very active as a musician. Jeff Surak, I had to go back in my memory a bit where I had seen his name or heard his music. He’s the guy behind Zeromoon and did projects with many other people I’ve known for ages and ages like Jonas Lindgren, Andrey Kiritchenko, Jorge Castro and Thomas Ekelund; People I also worked with in the early 00s or even late 90’s but I only have a few sounds out of Jeff’s catalogue (like the Dead Violets cassette). But, enough. This is supposed to be a music review.
The notes we received mention ‘where ancient rituals and modern technology converge’ and – I read the notes for the first time after listening to the whole thing – it covers this release very well. The whole CD has an organic flow to it; it Sounds just like sounds and rhythms or ‘recurrences’ as layers in the composition. The dynamics of the tracks with a constant power; No rest for the wicked. Analogue – or digital with an analogue feel, it doesn’t matter at this moment – noises and noise are all turning into a hypnotic journey of over an hour. Not danceable, I think, but for example, that first track reminds me of pre-Hands Orphx or even some really early Vromb, when there were experiments with the organic flow and getting emotion in equipment.
This is a really, really, REALLY nice release and I’m happy I’ve got one of those 100. (BW)
––– Address:


I haven’t heard from Silken Tofu in a while, and that’s a shame. Not only are the hearts of everybody involved in the right place, but they release some really beautiful works. My collection count on Discogs states I have about a third of everything they ever did so I think I could be considered a ‘fan’ somehow. Definitely in the past. So how come there is this gap? I have no clue. Perhaps the less frequent visits to Belgium and not attending concerts where I always buy shitloads of stuff, perhaps the high cost of postage. And maybe it was just a temporary thing and I’ll dive into their back catalogue from this moment on again. Because: Wow …
Early December, their latest release saw the light of day: an album by Philippe Cavaleri entitled “Bardo”. For those not in touch with the Belgian noise and experimental audio and visual art, Philippe is also known as half of the duo Bruital Orgasme. I saw them frequently at shows in the north of Belgium and the south of the Netherlands a couple of years ago. And seeing them was always surprising, though they stole my heart with the spinning wheel performances. That was so intense on so many levels. I think it was in The Pit in Kortrijk. But it’s THAT Philippe who has written “Bardo” alone this time.
According to the liner notes, the album’s concept is “an aural exploration of what the process of dying might sound like”. Life and Death is always a welcome inspiration for the somewhat dark or at least confrontational art. Many artists have touched the subject because it’s a gorgeous subject with two absolutes. You’re alive, or you’re dead. But not many artists touch the subject of the process of dying. I could only come up with “Blue” by Derek Jarman where he tells about what it is to die, the whole process from illness to Death. “Bardo” is very different on many levels. The tracks – which are 17 and 18 minutes long, so there’s more than enough space for all frequencies on the vinyl – don’t have spoken words; they’re sounds only. The cover has a white circle which is probably related to the light at the end of the tunnel, a new beginning. But with the darkness and complexity of the music it could also refer to the light at the top of the well (as in The Ring) to describe a hopeless situation.
So, even with this review, I can describe multiple interpretations of what I’m hearing, and that’s the beauty of art. Here the liner notes reveal what triggered Philippe: “Death is less an extinction than an ultimate electrical conflagration inside the brain”. Listening to these works with that in mind the tracks actually make more sense. Sudden sounds and their placement; The things happening around you when you die. And as for the reverse side it could well be an interpretation of ‘listening to your own funeral’. Now isn’t that a thing we all thought of at some point?
It is an album that will make me check into some Silken Tofu releases I missed in the past and also push me to register for the Bruital Orgasme releases I collected over the years. (BW)
––– Address:

LIMPE FUCHS – PIANOON (LP by Futura Resistenza)

It’s been a long time since I saw Pierre Bastien in concert; I can’t remember when. I do recall the delicate and worthwhile music because Bastien used some kind of Mecano-like construction and played the trumpet (I think!). He has lived in Rotterdam for years, just as Gonçalo Almeida does. He plays the double bass, and I am unsure if I ever saw him in concert. On 25 February 2022, they played at the S/ash Gallery – WORM in Rotterdam, and the result on this record are two sides on vinyl or six separate pieces on the CD. They both get credit for sound objects and judging by the cover; these are similar constructions that Bastien used before. Delicacy is still the word that I connect to this music. Their constructions may have a slightly more mechanical effect on the music. Still, this music also has some instability, making it sound like it could collapse at any given point. The two musicians bring the mechanical element in their playing of the instruments. There is also a lot of repetition and a similar ‘is it going to break any time soon’ approach, which I guess is more accessible on instruments played by human hands. Maybe the machines are constructed in such ways that they can also ‘play’ the body of the instruments. I believe some kind of electronic effects are used, but they are kept to a minimum. In the second section (CD version), this works nicely and subdued, especially when latched on the trumpet playing (which, throughout, remains on the sparse side). The whole album has that improvised music feel, but at the same time, it is also a bit more than that. Its link to art installations, the repetition and delicacy of the music make up for some beautiful music. We can’t see what it looks like, which is perhaps a sad thing, but the music makes up for more than enough.
One never reviews a release by someone and then two releases within a short period. That happens with the music of Limpe Fuchs. In Vital Weekly 1408, I reviewed her cassette as part of an Extrapool residency where she plays the piano. I admit there’s a lot I don’t know about Limpe Fuchs; one of those things is that she had a formal academic education, with the piano being one of the instruments taught by Friedrich Gulda. While we know Fuchs from her work with percussion, she also made two piano records, in 1977 and 2006. ‘Pianoon’ is her third piano record; not exclusively as on both sides, she also uses her voice. In the information, a quote from someone not named says, “Don’t think about the history of the piano as such or Limpe’s musical history, stop listening for clues, there are no inside-jokes to find, no notes dropped tongue-in-cheek. It’s all about the instrument’s sound, Limpe’s fingers hitting the keys.” Oke, so we don’t think about history, which I can safely say has no room for often-used references to Erik Satie. Fuchs, in her piano playing, is improvising, very much alive, not much into reflective notes, but maybe owning up to her work with percussion. Melodic stuff for sure, when I (and, let me add the disclaimer here that I am not an expert) think it’s not always very traditional, with its broken up themes and approaches, bouncing in all sorts of directions. It is quite the modern classical record, but I found this most enjoyable for a change. Less charmed I was with the sparse moments of Fuchs adding her voice to the music. Just not my thing, and I thought it was too much of a hippy chant. Otherwise, it is a fine record! (FdW)
––– Address:


The combination of an instrument and electronic means is nothing new. In the old days, this was called a ‘piece for violin and tape’ because the electronics couldn’t easily be reproduced in a concert situation (I am speaking in general terms). With a laptop and the general availability of small electronic means, this is much easier to achieve. I don’t think I heard of the duo chirp.crush before, which is Verena Barié on Blockflöten, MaxMSP, Stimme (that is recorder, Max/MSP, voice) and Sjoerd Leijten on Supercollider PO-1, Minilogue Tenori-on, Psalterion, which I guess needs to no further explanation. Markus Hennes delivers words and voice on four of the six pieces. In the opening piece, ‘Aether’, this is spoken word, and I feared this might be the standard approach for the whole album, but as the piece progresses, this turns out not to be the case. Slowly, his voice breaks up into smaller sounds, fitting the carefully constructed interaction between silence and music quite well. Something similar happens in the final piece, simply called ‘dragons’, in which he repeats the album title and varies on that phrase in a surrealist way. Because there is a lot of electronics on this album, with Barié transforming her flute playing in real-time, the flute becomes a solitaire space, something that is sometimes there, and sometimes not at all; or, at least, not always in a way that we recognise as the flute. Their music is very delicate, with lots of space between the notes, even when (so it seems) not falling entirely silent – or not a lot, that is. Sometimes, it reminds me of improvised music, which it is, but there is also a modern contemporary edge to their music. It seems Quite a serious approach, but it is an album I found most enjoyable. When all too overtly improvised, perhaps not that much of interest, but I am all ears when electronics play the main lead. Then, it becomes intense and mysterious, even suspenseful. On the other hand, the voice is something I wouldn’t mind not being part of the music. (FdW)
––– Address:


The Italian trio Vuoto Bersagli (which means Empty Targets) recorded their music with the B.I.C. method, which stands for Blind Instant Composition. Me thinks, another word for free improvisation, but the difference is that they play together but can’t see the others, which is indeed a different approach. The trio consists of Carlo Mascolo (trombone, no-input trombone), Giacomo Mongelli (drums, objects) and Pino Montecalvo (trombone, toy junk). I don’t recognize the first two names, but I know Montalvo from his solo releases on his Music A La Coque label. They recorded a relatively short album, eight pieces spanning just under twenty-eight minutes. As expected, the free improvisation element runs deep in this album, sometimes rather conventional, such as in ‘Paracool’, which is nothing more than two trombones and drums free-wailing against each other. This is okay for someone who isn’t that much into the whole free stuff (and I am such a person), but it also seems a bit too much of a standard improvisation. This trio is more attractive once they overstep the routine and do something different. ‘Launimplicata’ is such a piece: thoughtful and intense, with what seems feedback, one trombone and tribal drums. ‘Tagliare’ is an exercise that uses sounds from objects and creates something very quiet. It’s almost electro-acoustic and something quite exciting. Luckily, these more interesting pieces form the majority here; some are mixed with more traditional elements if one player decides to go the conventional route. ‘Panasabia’ is a piece in which the trombones become voices (or vice versa), but Mongeli’s drums are more conventional. Throughout, I thought this was a most enjoyable release. (FdW)
––– Address:


The first and only time Camila Nebbia was mentioned in Vitalweekly was here: as a member of the Alonso Bergman Quartet. This one is her soloing on tenor sax. On one track, she adds her voice and electronics; on the other, she adds only electronics. Electronics, based on her playing, act as a high-pitched drone. Her tone and skills are excellent since she had classical training in saxophone. Although having graduated from a conservatory doesn’t always mean you have dexterity on an instrument. In 16 short and shorter vignettes -that sounds like they are just ideas, but that’s cutting it too short; the tracks are excellent and to the point. Her website says that “the multidisciplinary artist layers her practice through the creation and destruction of archival memory.” The opening statement is the most experimental, “Todo Se Borra,” and everything is erased (a Google translation). Multiphonics (several tones sounding simultaneously) and squealing sounds give the impression that traditional melody-making is forgotten, erased from memory, but not the muscle memory; the technique is not forgotten. In just over forty minutes, Nebbia makes her point: excellent musicianship, dexterity for the music’s sake, not for showing off, and several listening rounds reveal a sensitivity sometimes lacking in free impro music. And, of course, sometimes that’s the point, but a point (with lots of variations) that’s been made for over sixty years now. This is refreshingly fresh-sounding improvised music. (MDS)
––– Address:


Let me be short about this one: highly recommended music on this release by Fie Schouten (bass clarinet, clarinet in A, Bassett horn), Vincent Courtois (cello), Guus Janssen (piano, organ, harmonium, harpsichord) and in three tracks joined by Guiseppe Doronzo (baritone saxophone). All improvised music, but you couldn’t tell it if you didn’t know it. Modern classical music from the highest order. It’s like sound poems of remote islands (and one bird, the smallest non-flying bird). The inspiration is a book by Judith Schalansky, ‘Atlas of Remote Islands: 50 Islands I Never Set Foot in and Never Will’. All oceans are represented here. And I leave it to the listener/reader to make a picture in your mind of the scenery the music evokes. Fie Schouten has co-founded the Basklarinet Festijn, a yearly festival in the Netherlands focused on the bass clarinet, with Tobias Klein of Spinifex and Bugpowder fame (among other groups). Guus Janssen is a member of the Instant Composers Pool (he replaced Misha Mengelmerg when he couldn’t play anymore) and an established composer. Vincent Courtois is a new name for me, as is Guiseppe Doronzo. Courtois has recorded with Aki Takase, Louis Sclavis, Joëlle Léandre, Michel Petrucciani, Tony Williams, Dave Holland and many others. Doronzo is the youngest of the group. For the record, all musicians here are classically trained and excel at what they do. This is exquisite, gorgeous music, at times exciting (the latter half of ‘Raoul Island’) and at other times contemplative (Cocos Island). It was recorded at Orgelpark, a former church and now a centre for organ music. Recording in a church has a natural reverb and the recording benefits from that. The three and sometimes four conjure beautiful textures and melodies supported by short-lived grooves. Occasionally, a groove is sustained over a more extended period, bordering on minimal music of the better kind. This is music to my liking. Listen to this ASAP and let your mind wander to faraway islands. (MDS)
––– Address:


A name rarely seen in Vital Weekly is that of French composer Alain Basso. Although I am not entirely sure about this, I think much of his work isn’t intended for a CD release but rather for a stage to be performed. Quite early on, he was connected to the Collectif & Cie electro-acoustic composers group, but at the same time, he was also inside what I loosely call industrial music. After disbanding his group Denier Du Culte, he operated Phaeton Dernière Danse, releasing works on Broken Flag, ZNS Tapes, SPH, Pure and his own Dedali Opera, which is still a going concern. Phaeton Dernière Danse was a duo of himself on violin, guitar and bass, and Christophe Laurendeau on drums. Their music was inspired by Neubauten and SPK and heavy on the use of percussive sounds, but also by Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle. Honestly, I don’t remember much of their music these days.
This new CDR release contains works from that period, 1989-1990, from various cassette releases, none of which I heard before, but also includes a few compilations and all but one I heard before. What surprises me in this collection of fourteen tracks is that it seems inspired by the world of musique concrète and studio technology. If I think about the ‘old’ days of the cassette network, I remember a lot of hiss-covered sounds devoid of details, and that’s not the case here. Of course, the music may be polished in a remastering process, accounting for these details. Still, I think the details were always there, thanks to a background in working in proper studios dealing with technology out of reach of what was called in those ‘home tapers’. Phaeton Dernière Danse plays some richly varied industrial music, sometimes with the true spirit of punky free improvisation, but also playing more traditional percussive bits, all backed by piercing synthesiser sounds, delay machines and reverb plates, but also a primitive sampling of orchestral sounds, and also their own sounds, so I think. Their influences can easily be traced in their music, but there is enough in here that makes their music unique – something I ascribe to their music concrète background. I am amazed by how good this sounds, both from a more technical perspective and the quality of the music. Loud but never noisy, detailed and sharply edited, free but with a lot of control, and each track is about four to five, which is the correct length. It is a highly undervalued musical project; if you want to expand your knowledge on lesser-known industrial music projects, this is one to look for. (FdW)
––– Address:

COAGULANT – SPATIAL EXTENSION TAPE ARCHIVE (cassette by Anticipating Nowhere Records)

From the current flock of drone composers, especially from a more lo-fi variety, there are a few that I really like; Liminal Haze is one, Rovellesca another and Coagulant a third. Usually Coagulant, the musical project of London-based Fabio Kubic, has some cryptic text about architecture on the cover, some dedication, or “liner notes”, but none on this new release. Those cryptic notes gave me something to ponder over, some imanigation as to the how and why of the music, and here it’s the title to that trick. I imagine Kubic going out with small speakers and music from his archive and play these back in some quiet urban environment and record that on another machine, picking up natural reflections. Of course, I have no idea if that is the case; maybe Kubic has an entirely different set of techniques. Maybe it’s all heavily rooted in the world of software. The outcome is covered with quite an amount of hiss, which made me think that Coagulant is more in the world of lo-fi ambience. Kubic likes his musical pieces to be long and minimal. That is not to say that his music is without change, as that is a part of it, but on a much more subtle level. That is not to say that the music is always very subtle.The start of ‘Night Bayside Broadcast’ (the B-side of this cassette) feels like being locked inside machine hall with all the conveyer belts operating full force. After about ten minutes the music takes on a more subtle approach, one that we know best from Coagulant, of heavily processed sounds, rain drops, much reverb and suggesting a nocturnal, dystopian atmosphere. I’m guided by a title, obviously, ‘Homage To The Constellations’, which is the one piece on the other side, more about high end tape hiss and remote drones from traffic on the roundabout – twenty miles away. It’s still that dark period of the year, and the hermetically closed music of Coagulant is as such the perfect soundtrack for such short days, or better, long evenings. If it wasn’t as cold as it was, I’d go outside and find a space to use as sonic canvas and play this from my Walkman. (FdW)
––– Address:


More music from Diurnal Burdens, see also two weeks ago, the musical project of Ross Scott-Buccleuch. Not for the first time, he teams up with Brandstifter, which I believe is his actual name, firestarter; his first name is Stefan. He’s best known as a visual artist, his main interest being found in visuals from the street. Maybe that aspect of seeing things extends to his work with Diurnal Burdens, whose interest lies in the audio side of all things lost and found. Their main machine is the Dictaphone, and I am sure they have a few among them. This new cassette is already their 10th collaborative work, which begs the question: why not choose a moniker for their ongoing collaborative work (maybe it’s too late now)? I have no idea where they head out to find their sounds, going about with their usual day-to-day business, which in the case of Brandstifter is roaming the streets to find visual material, but why not conceal a recording device and record the environment? I don’t know what Scott-Buccleuch’s day-to-day work is, but here, too, I can easily imagine some kind of activities that can be taped; in fact, everything can be taped. Dictaphones and Walkmans have this beautiful crude quality of easily changed speeds, and the two make full use of those possibilities. They easily slip into something very noisy, yet I feel that playing pure noise is not. If anything, this is all about the collage of sounds to see if it sticks and fits. And it sure does. There is an apparent randomness in their approach, and maybe it doesn’t work for the full 100% of the forty-three minutes this album lasts, especially in the side-long ‘Mourning Tricycle’, which is a free fall of sounds. On the other side, we find three pieces: the noise blast of ‘A Pretty Trash’, the very much song-based title piece, in which they even use a voice calling for ‘mehr Abstand’, more distance please (maybe a delayed Covid-19 song?) and the long ambient swirl of lo-fi ambience in ‘A Smutterling Calls You Over’ (the word smutterling has a delicate pornographic ring to it), which reminds me, in some ways, of Scott Buccleuch’s other duo, Linimal Haze—minimal, drone-like, massive and lo-fi Dictaphones in an endless delay. The B-side is all good, and the A-side is good most of the time, but it could lose something rather than not be found. (FdW)
––– Address:


Close by the Vital Weekly headquarters is the flatland of the Ooijpolder, an agricultural area, with one side the river and the other the hilly part of the city of Nijmegen (well, yes, The Netherlands isn’t all flat). There is a monumental transformer house in this area, which is the subject of this new cassette by Roel Meelkop and Reinhold Bogaard. Armed with various microphones (including contact microphones), Bogaard scanned the building and forwarded these recordings to Roel Meelkop, who added some sounds, plus the usual tricks and techniques we know from his work. From these sounds, Meelkop chose some that sounded similar to the sources from his archive, and some of these come from his current modular setup. The transformer house is close to the road, so the sound of cars passing is a recurring element in the music here. How does a transformer house sound, I wonder? I passed this particular one on several times, and despite my interest in sound, I never asked myself this question, but if I had to guess, I’d surely think of all things buzzing and whirring with the hushed-up sounds of cars passing. In the hands of Meelkop, the simplest things are turned around, switched upside down and inside out, resulting in four sound collages. The first piece spans the entire first side, and the other three are on the second side; however, it also sounds like one long piece. Meelkop chops away frequencies, creates small looped sections, and combines the gentlest of drones with some piercing electronics. Nothing ever stays around for too long, as he knows how to hold the attention of the listener; what I have known for a long time is he’s a great editor of sound. His more silent approach of years ago may have disappeared, and the sound remains audible throughout, but it all happens with refined elegance. Excellent cassette, hand-copied on recycled cassettes, so very limited. The download is a name-your-price thing. (FdW)
––– Address: or

ABSTRACT POEM (2CDR/cassette by Heavy Cloud Sounds)

Releases by the UK label Heavy Cloud Sounds are almost always packages that contain music that is more than just a sound carrier. Their usual trick is booklets, print work and ‘stuff’ in an envelope. The poem here for Abstract Poem is in the booklet and not in any traditional sense of the word ‘poem’ on the sound carriers. It is a collage triptych, by which the label means there are two CDRs and one cassette in the package. These ” sound works which explore change of states and identity, processing and association, and fragmentation of the self”, and to that end, the ‘group’ (?) uses “collected noise and junk, field recordings, improvised performance and processing”, which the label describes as “noise, musique concrète and sound collage”. These words neatly cover all of this: the review writing itself. The two CDRs could almost have fitted on one disc, exceeding the 80-minute limit by four minutes, and the cassette is thirty minutes. Somewhere in the many words in this package, it also says, ‘digital collage works, ‘ I would think that whatever goes into the mix is re-assembled on the computer. These noisy drone scapes lack the grainy lo-fi of cassette treatments and are noisily present, even when the sound is more subdued. That said, this doesn’t mean we are dealing with some full-blown noise release here; actually, far from it. The collages of Abstract Poem aren’t made of many intricate cuts, going quickly from one thing to the next, but are blocks of sound, minimalist explorations of concrete sounds and computer-treated software. On the disc called ‘panel ii’, these sounds also seem to include voice material, certainly at the start of ‘In The Distance Where It Doesn’t Matter’. The complete triptych lasts over 100 minutes and offers a wealth of sounds and music. It remains abstract; there isn’t much narration in these pieces, which is fine. It’s more the overall abstractness that I enjoy here and the completeness of the packages. One downside is that booklets and CDRs stay separate from the cassette, so they likely won’t remain together in one’s collection. (FdW)
––– Address:

SKINCHANGER (cassette by Music A La Coque)

This cassette opens with an extended solo blast on the saxophone, which is not among my favourite wind instruments. I keep listening to check if this is indeed not my cupper, but then the band comes in and that changes things considerably. The label isn’t particularly forthcoming with information about this band. There is a saxophonist from Chicago, Labratio, and the rest of the band remains unnamed. I am not even sure if there is a band. Drummer, check, bass player, maybe, but other instruments? I don’t know; maybe a guitar in ‘Screen Sleeve’, but does it appear in other tracks? I don’t know. “The sound is a high-energy abrasive Sax-Forward mix of Punk, Zeuhl, and Free Jazz.” My bad, obviously, not knowing Zeuhl. But the elements of punk and free jazz, oh yes, I certainly recognise those in the seven pieces here. When I say that I don’t particularly enjoy the saxophone, I should add that there are exceptions. When I saw Borbetomagus in 1993, I was blown away. It’s a concert that I rank in my top 10 concerts, and that’s not because of the presence of a guitar. Lol Coxhill once did a split cassette with Eyeless In Gaza, totally different that Borbetomagus, which I later bought on CD. The recent Colin Webster LP is the last exception I mentioned. Well, maybe Skinchanger could be another. Immediately, I will add that the element of punk is something that shouldn’t be left out here. Why appreciate this? The music is throughout loud and booming. Heavy on the saxophone and heavy on the drums. It all is a massive, distorted, forward blast. The saxophone is partly on a free wail and partly doing that jazz thing of repeating the phrases (which is, and I have to be honest here, about the only thing I know about jazz music), which is actually what I think I liked. On one specific day of the week, I do my household chores, vacuum cleaning and ‘stuff’, and I usually use the dulcet tones of dance music (last week it was music by the Psychic Warriors Of Gaia, for instance). Still, it can also be household favourite John Trubee if I feel like singing along something, but this week I did that using the using Skinchanger cassette. There is something in this music that has a wild quality that made me unleash the inner beast and hoover like hell. (FdW)
––– Address:


Ever since I was a kid, I have been interested in books—history when I was young, all through university, and ever since having a working life in music, books about music. I am sure I have written words to this effect before. Among my recent reads was a book about AC/DC’s Agnus Young and the Bee Gees; the new one about the Quiet Beatle is on my (non-existent) bedside table. I don’t always fork out money to purchase these books, mainly because I read them maybe once. The books I buy are about musicians I like or about record labels. In recent years, the world of book publishing has also gained some attraction, making me look at books differently.
While I always refer to Vital Weekly’s hometown, Nijmegen, as a sunny city, which of present it also is, following this morning’s torrential rain, the people from this city are known to be a bit aggressive and discourteous, constantly nagging. I was born here, and let’s start this review with a similar complaint. I bought ‘Giftnalen’ at the total price and looked up what it would cost at a printer I worked with (hey, take a look at the advertisements below!), and, okay, that’s quite a margin, and for a book produced in Sweden but shipping from the USA means an additional massive amount of postage. This better be worth my dough. Kristian Olsson, the man behind this book, published fanzines before and the previous experience is brought to this book. I think I misplaced his fanzines, as I wanted to compare them with the content of this book.
If I stay on the complaining side of things, this book is a little bit bigger than A5 (15×21), and that’s way too small. Much of the content looks like it has been reduced from A4, so there is some effort required to read all of this, and that’s a pity, as there is so much to read. If I say I love books about music, then I am also lying. I enjoy more topics; conspiracy theories are one of them, history in general, occult societies and sects (recurring thought: why is there no Netflix (etc.) series about Jim Jones? I watch that and stop reading). In that respect, this book also offers a lot of that in ‘Giftnalen’. There are lots of satan, rituals, blood sacrifices and grave digging because it is so much of interest for the musicians they write about. Metgumnerbone, Allerseelen, and Angus MacLise, Japanese noise music or the most obscure Swedish doom music. So far, I have only been browsing its contents, so I can’t be fully certain. Still, it seems much of this comes without proper introduction, and it is more a surrealist stream of unconsciousness, a whole library of esoteric thinking and weird music after an earthquake. All books were scattered on the floor, and someone stapled a bit together. I like books such as ‘Giftnalen’ because you can pick them up and start reading anywhere, maybe until a mild headache kicks in, but then you go to the Internet because now you want to hear these obscurities. For me, that means the mission succeeded. (FdW)
––– Address:


Vital – The Complete Collection 1987-1995
Before Vital Weekly there was Vital, a Xeroxed fanzine covering experimental, electronic andelectro-acoustic music; interviews, reviews, in-depth discussion articles, background. All 44 issues in one hardcover book; 580 pages.
More information:

A Work By Leif Elggren A Day
With 300 entries, this catalog and almanac in four volumes presents an analysis and projection of possible ways of hearing, seeing, experiencing and living with Leif Elggren’s (sonic) art on the basis of a work a day, excluding Sundays and holidays, for a whole year. Written bij Vital Weekly contributor Sven Schlijper-Karssenberg.