Number 1422

Week 5

AL MARGOLIS – ORDET (CD by Artsy Records) *
FALLEN SUN – BEYOND THE FLAT EARTH (CD by Fourth Dimension Records) *
GABRIEL VICÉNS – MURAL (CD by Stradivarius) *
ERB & LORIOT – WABI SABI (LP by Veto Records)
+D-A+ – 2 (CDR by Love Earth Music) *
HARAE – KAGURA (3″ CDR by 999 Cuts) *
THE POLY-TONES – WINTER WHITE (cassette by No Type Records) *
JOSEPH B. RAIMOND – MASTODON (book by Mirran Thought)


In April last year, Johny Brown (singer of Band of Holy Joy and radio producer at Resonance Fm) curated a festival called ‘My Last Spring’ at Pikap Kato in Thessaloniki and on the last day, he performed with a small group of musicians; these were Lia Gyioka (piano), Haris Markoglou (keyboards, soundscapes) and Kyriakos Palasidis (guitar, soundscapes), while Brown does the narration and voice (isn’t that the same thing?). The recited texts are based on poems by William Butler Yeats, who, which may not surprise me, is one of those writers I have never read. Also, no surprise, as I recounted this numerous times, sometimes every week, I am not too fond of releases that have a strong emphasis on the voice, and this is undoubtedly one of those releases. Maybe I am too much of a pure music man, or poetry never ‘reaches’ me. I don’t know how this project was conceived, i.e. what kind of musical directions the musicians were given, but it seems to me that in these six pieces (total time: 27 minutes), they have quite some freedom to play something that seems fit to the poetry. I tried to find something on Wikipedia that could make me less ignorant, but I can’t. Yet I think the music fits the way Brown delivers his texts, and his voice reminds me of Richard Jobson, maybe less Scottish, but backed with this sort of more free-flowing, atmospheric music, none of which is very demanding, but something missing when it’s not there if you get my drift. Especially the piano makes it even more Jobson, something romantic (in the 19th-century sense, not some Hollywood way), and the whole thing looks pretty retro, very much a release by Les Disques Du Crepuscule in the mid-1980s. And that is something I like a lot! While some of this is most certainly lost on me, I found this quite an enjoyable release, perhaps mainly as a reminder of old times, for various reasons. (FdW)
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Both men have an extensive history of improvising (mostly) and composing music, but this might be their first time playing together. Three tracks were recorded on May 24, 2022, in Los Angeles; maybe the eternal city they refer to? This time around, Kahn only has electronics to his credit, and Krieger plays three instruments, the tenor saxophone, contrabass clarinet and the Krummhorn (” is a double reed instrument of the woodwind family, most commonly used during the Renaissance period”). Kahn, who released this CD, calls this “three pieces spanning free improvisation, noise and extended saxophone technique”. It shows a different side to Kahn than we are of him. In recent years, his instruments (he uses a variety) set him on delicacy and minimalism, with sound both on and off. That is not the case on this new CD. If you associate ‘free improvisation’ with ‘chaotic, hectic playing’, then you’re right concerning this release. With Kahn’s contribution being the one that warrants a noisy side of things, which scratch and burn approach I enjoy, I am not as enamoured with the wind instruments of Krieger. As I play this CD, I think about how much of this kind of music is at Vital Weekly, and more and more, I feel it’s too much. We don’t have enough people to write about it, even when some of the pure free improvisation/jazz thing is still something I enjoy (but don’t feel too competent to write about). At the same time, I also think that much of the improvised music is action music, and perhaps best (if not only) to be witnessed in the moment of creation. Moving away from the direct action, by releasing it on a sound carrier, one loses something of the intensity of the music. And if something, this music is undoubtedly all about intensity. Maybe sitting in while this music is played would have an entirely different impact on me, or even on me hearing this CD. Now, I hear the intensity and don’t feel it, if you understand. It’s not bad at all, but it’s not something I’d play very regularly. (FdW)
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When the promo text includes the words ‘Inspired By Bruce Gilbert, The Conet Project, Nurse With Wound, and Hafler Trio, ‘ our hearts at VW/HQ skip a little beat. There is a good chance that we will get some happy ears while reviewing. For the new album of Testing Vault, ‘I will Climb These Stairs and Set the Moon on Fire, ‘ the honour of listening went to my ears. And happy ears they were! Daniele Santagiuliana hails from Italy, and I had never heard of him or one of his projects before. Which I thought was weird because I followed a bit of the Italian masters over the years. But the artists I learned about were extremism fans, extreme frequencies, and subjects. Daniele experimented with collages, found footage, and the works. He is still painting with sounds – which he also does with normal paint – but the use of paint is completely different.
The six tracks on ‘I Will Climb These Stairs and Set the Moon on Fire’ have a playing time of only 38 minutes, and that is the only sad thing I will write about this release because I wouldn’t have minded if it was closer to an hour. It’s a pressed CD, and it can hold 80 minutes. But perhaps the original thought was that this would be a vinyl release. And in that case, it would have been a perfect fit. Having said what’s on my sleeve, let’s get into the sounds. First, with a little line from Daniele’s Bandcamp: ‘The sounds of entropy, broken instruments, defective radio signals, and a heartfelt invocation to light despite the murky waters you are swimming in’. This is pure poetry and fits the music live a proverbial glove.
‘Adjustments’ opens the CD with slight noise loops, evolving into an excellent drone. “Three Black Years” is the longest track on the album, with 13 minutes. An ambient sound field is created with minimal input and loads of reverb, resulting in a spacious feeling … Well … Maybe this is the ‘murky water’ from the description you read earlier. What’s the English word for ‘unheimlich’? It’s not the literal translation, but the gut feeling that comes with it. Very nice composition. The CD continues with “Perturbed”, which reminded me a lot of Coil (Astral Disaster era) meets The Caretaker (Ballroom era). And you can’t go wrong with me there.
‘I Hear The Sounds Of The Falling Comets’ is something you need to hear yourself, perhaps. ‘Broken instruments’ reflects the best on this track as it’s based around an actual melodic loop. Mesmerizing. The album continues with ‘Epiphany’, the track that puzzled me the most. It’s all over the place and has Krell moments and static noises … Though I simply LOVE it when those pulses are added. ‘Where I Grew Up’ is this beautiful release’s final and most minimal track. Static noise and ever so little movement create a whole different reality. And just when you’ve arrived in that reality, childhood memories and playing in the garden enter your brain. You have been sonically hypnotized.
This is the first review I write where one word will suffice to summarize it: ‘Wow’. (BW)
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AL MARGOLIS – ORDET (CD by Artsy Records)

As I play this new CD by Al Margolis, I am thinking about his musical project If, Bwana and how that differs from his work under his own name. Maybe I am ill-informed, but I do not know if If, Bwana still exists. I think the difference between both projects is that If, Bwana works with the complexity of many sounds, ordered and composed in some way, whereas under Al Margolis, it is all more improvised music. There is not one instrument Margolis plays, which makes his work less easy to define. He plays a series of instruments and objects on the five pieces; the cover details their use per track. There is a toy drum, trombone mouthpiece, metal, contact microphone, BBQ skewer, five Arp 2600s, acoustic guitar, viola, objects and a Korg Microprocessor. The two electronic instruments are used solo in a track for each of these; another track uses solely two toy drums. Margolis mentions that the album is “solo collaborations – or perhaps, collaborations with oneself. These assemblages/constructions are reworked/reimagined/revisited/recycled pieces – transformed into something new”. One exception is ‘Livermorium’, which is a process piece. This is the piece for five Arp 2600s and is quite different from the others in how it sounds. Bleeping sounds of five machines connected, chasing each other as it were, going round and round. It’s a strange kind of minimalism, but it works well. Minimalism is the keyword here, also in the other pieces (in fact, effectively also in the work Margolis as If, Bwana), all sounding much more improvised, even the one for the Korg. Here’s how I imagine how Margolis works (and a warning: I might be entirely off the mark): using a multi tracker (analogue or digital), Margolis recorded his improvisations without noticing too much of what is on the other tracks, and the mixing is where he puts order into the chaos (I don’t know if ‘Ordet’ means ‘order’ or some such), or as in ‘Copernicium’ and ‘Nihonium’ deliberately leaving the chaos in. The other tracks have more organisation, and the total is a highly varied release, a balancing act between chaos and order. I enjoyed all the pieces, but my favourite is ‘Oganesson’, the one for two toy drums. The sound is very much at the low end, using some contraption to scrape the skin of the toy drum, creating a beautiful low-end mysterious sound, and something sounding also improvised. This is the kind of improvisation I enjoy! (FdW)
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FALLEN SUN – BEYOND THE FLAT EARTH (CD by Fourth Dimension Records)

In Vital Weekly 1397, I reviewed a CD by Reverse Image from Malaysia, which is not your everyday country, for some serious experimental music and an enjoyable album. Siew Y’ng-Yin, who is behind Reverse Image, also works as Fallen Sun, which she calls her noise/industrial project. Listening to this and comparing it to the Reverse Image release, I think she rightly picked a new name, as the music is quite a different universe. Fallen Sun is indeed a noise project. She uses ‘modular synth and Ableton’ and has ten shortish pieces, each between three and four minutes, with one being about five. Each piece is called ‘Session’, followed by a number from 31 to 40. Maybe it is to indicate the abstract side of the music? Not play the perversion, sadistic or dystopian (visual) side of noise music? I don’t know, but I like this approach, leaving the listener free to create a picture of his own, should one be interested in doing these things. What I like about the music is that none of this takes very long, which made me think about the length of these sessions. Are these pieces the result of layering and mixing these sounds from one particular session, or is this at 3:28 for ‘Session 33’, the total of session 33? As I write elsewhere, I don’t often think of noise in terms of layering sounds, but just as well: why not? Fallen Sun has an interesting amount of approaches, resulting in various pieces. Some of this seems like old-school power electronics, but there’s room for a bit of rhythm here and there. Sometimes, the use of sound effects is a tad easy; too much reverb and delay are occasionally employed. That, too, may set the music apart from your usual noise music, but it doesn’t always add to the strength of the music. At just under thirty-four minutes, this album also feels like it has the correct duration for such a thing. Not bring overlong hauls of mindless noise, but short, to the point, and not enough, so you leave behind with that ‘great, can we get some more’ feeling. (FdW)
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As this is Swiss composer Francisco Meirino’s fourth album on Misanthropic Agenda, I am sure I missed one or two; I probably missed a few more overall, which is sad as I continue to like his work. He started as a laptop artist under the name of Phroq, but when he began using his own name, his music became more of a thing of his own. One essential new ingredient in his work is the use of what he calls ‘the end of life of electronic devices’, which indeed calls for exciting sounds, bursting and cracking, the last breath of a machine. You could also see that as a statement, about the state of our society, about ecological matters. I don’t know if these things matter to Meirino. He also uses ” electrostatic noise, magnetic fields and the unconventional use of music hardware and sound systems”, which translates as “the modular synthesizer (Eurorack-Serge), various microphones, the computer, the field recorder, tape recorders and tape echoes, EMF detectors and various home-made electro-acoustic devices”. In his work, Meirino uses the cut-up technique, brutal cuts, to make abrupt changes to the scenery. Also mentioned is “Meirino explores sonic tension and boredom, questioning the simplicity and complexity of the mundane with bursts of clarity that redefine existence itself”, which seems a bit much, redefining existence itself. Still, there is certainly some weight to his music. Meirino uses ‘heavy’ sounds. In the opening piece, ‘Something Always Remains’, some Zeitkratzer-like sounds of string instruments are plucked manually and mechanically but then slowly opened, and later, sounds become sparse. There is a more acoustic treatment of acoustic sounds (drum?). The computer plays the all-defining role here; minor details are amplified, cut away, and reversed, and open microphones pick up sounds from speakers, adding natural spatial quality to the music. Sometimes, it almost sounds like it is played in your living room. While some of this is quite loud and abrasive, I don’t think Meirino is interested in playing the noise card. His music often sinks to barely audible, but it picks up the volume again and can quickly grow into massive, intense work. Minimalism plays a primary role, but never too long. Sometimes, his work reminded me of Dave Philips and Rudolf, sharing a love for solid amplification of the slightest sounds but less feral and more from acoustic objects and electronic manipulations. These four pieces span nearly an hour’s worth of music, each about fifteen minutes long. It is long and heavy, yet there isn’t any moment of boredom in the music. It leaves you somewhat exhausted behind, but I found this ultimately rewarding experimental music. Exactly as I like them: complex, loud, engaging, quiet and created with great care and consideration. (FdW)
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GABRIEL VICÉNS – MURAL (CD by Stradivarius)

Sometimes, I have the impression that there are handy manuals out there with tips and tricks for aspiring label bosses: a directory of contacts for pressing plants, whether or not to hire a press agent, how to prepare your EPK (which stands for Electronic Press Kit) and addresses where to send your promo’s. I wonder (but doubt) if these lists of addresses mention the field of interest for each publication. Does it say, ‘Vital Weekly is a place to send your free jazz/modern composition/contemporary classic music’? Where can I ask to remove Vital Weekly from the list if it does?
Here’s another notion: I sometimes think that free jazz/modern composition/contemporary classic music are the last resorts where people release CDs and have a budget to send out a promo – I didn’t get a physical copy of this one, so all of these words on the release by Gabriel Vicéns, I use to explain that Vital Weekly is more and more not the place to send your free jazz/modern composition/contemporary classic music because I (in my self-proclaimed role as boss/chief editor) think we are not the place for this kind of music. We are amateurs and lack the expertise to write about music that “is highly influenced by modern and contemporary trends such as 12-tone serialism, experimentalism, and minimalism”. My sense of experiment and minimalism lie somewhere else. All of this is not to say that I don’t like this music.
A while ago, I was privately complaining about receiving music that I think I am not capable of writing about, and a friend said, “You have to keep an open mind”, which is easy to do as long as you don’t have to write about it in terms of a review. Playing the music by Gabriel Vicéns on a Sunday afternoon, thinking along the lines ‘this sounds oke, pleasant, at times dissonant, civilised, what normal people would consider ‘strange music’ (those who never heard a release by, let’s pick one, Love Earth Music; how would that rank in the strangeness department?). Ja, ja, most enjoyable, but then what? Where do I insert something about serialism and refer to which composer from the past? As always, you won’t be any wiser from a review like this, but at least you know where to look if you want to know more.
If someone wants to step in and take this side of music over from us and be serious about it (so in for the long haul), send your application today. (FdW)
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Some years ago, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson seemed very active with releases, but then, for reasons I don’t know nor speculate about, it all became a lot less. Many of his more recent works were collaborations with people such as BJ Nilsen (with whom he did a lot of work), Dennis Tyfus, Tom Smith, Anla Courtis and others. Besides a new solo LP, there is the digital-only ‘Beyond Happy’ on Superpang with Glupsk, a trio of young Icelandic musicians, ‘the next generation of laptop musicians’. In contrast, Sigmarsson could easily be called the previous generation, and given that laptops haven’t been around that long, maybe also the first generation. It’s interesting hearing this four-way split (Glupsk is, much like Stilluppsteypa, the group of which Sigmarsson was a member, also a trio), as it reminds me of Sigmarsson’s own younger and wilder days, working with glitchy laptop technology, resulting in wacky collages of heavily processed sound in which I had difficulty recognising Sigmarsson’s contributions. Maybe that’s what Sigmarsson still does: glitchy laptop technology, but the results are lightyears apart. Since he started to work with music again after some years of inactivity in 2013, his work these days deals with slowly enveloping drones, all in a highly minimalist vein. ‘Into The Second Half’ was previously released by Superpang digitally and as one long, almost forty-four-minute piece. Christoph Heemann liked the piece so much and released it on LP. The downside is that the piece is broken up and not at the most logical point, as that would have made the B-side too long for vinyl. If you know Heemann’s own music, it’s easy to see why he also likes this, as the massive drones, heavily processed field recordings, and minimalist ripples of barely noticeable changes are his trademarks. That’s not to say that the music is a copy; far from it, as Sigmarsson follows his trajectory, perhaps even more minimalist than Heemann’s. The B-side (‘Part 2’) is one effective long fade out, with the piece disappearing as slowly as a ship beyond the horizon. Even when there is no indication, I think there is a robust nautical theme here: slow rocking waves, massive oceanic tales and vast distances. Maybe the field recordings were captured from far away, locked in a submarine. I’m not sure if I like the break in the music or the very soft part delicately mingling with vinyl/surface noise (unless intended), but otherwise, it’s an excellent piece of music. (FdW)
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‘Moments’ by Michael Vincent Waller from 2019 didn’t make it to these pages for reasons I don’t know. I first played the original album because of the release of a double LP with remixes. Waller is a composer of piano music and also the vibraphone. On ‘Moments’, these were played by R. Andrew Lee (piano) and William Winant (vibraphone). On the Bandcamp page of this album, the name of Erik Satie is mentioned a couple of times, and the primary difference is Satie’s titles are surreal or absurd but with Waller have a concrete meaning; ‘Nocturnes’, ‘Return From LA.’, or ‘For Papa’, but music-wise he shares the same introspective approach. What can I say? It sounds pleasant enough, even when I am no longer sure what is genuinely good and what kitsch is in the world of piano music (thanks to Einaudi and his cohorts).
This brings us to the remixes, which started as a conversation with Jlin, and the idea of a collaboration/remixes was born in talking to her. There are eighteen in total, and there are names we recognise, such as the long-time/no hear Fennesz, Jefre-Cantu Ledesma, Xiu Xiu, DJ Marcelle, and Moor Mother, but also lots of names I don’t know, such as Ka Baird, Jlin, Tom VR, Lex Luger, Yu Su or Loraine James. I got myself into trouble in the past because I dared to discuss the whole notion of a remix, and it usually didn’t offer much news. In contrast, I think a remix should bring something that attracts new listeners (say, the fans of the remixers) to the original, and hopefully, they think, ‘Yes, Waller’s music is awesome too’. The music goes either way in new territory by using electronic musicians for mostly piano music and a bit of vibraphone. Some take a snippet of original music sti,ck that into a loop, and add many electronic sounds; these remixes are going places. You could, perhaps, cynically wonder if many of these remixers have a large crowd to win over for the music of Waller, but that’s looking at this from a more economical point of view, and one should look at this from a creative perspective. That means that we’re dealing with various approaches, and not all of these work very well, but that’s more down to my appreciation or dislike of certain dance music styles that I don’t (drums and bass, for instance). But when it’s more downtempo, moody, with a loop of piano music laid on top of sparse beats and some crackling synthesiser line and sequenced basses, and even better when these are all gone, and there are rusty loops such as in Cantu-Ledesma’s remix or the laptop treatment of Fennesz. Here’s where the music touches upon private interests. Throughout, there’s a lot of variation in these 18 pieces of music, rocking neatly back and forth in styles and interests, like listening to a high-quality alternative radio station with a penchant for dance-infused beats.(FdW)
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ERB & LORIOT – WABI SABI (LP by Veto Records)

Wabi Sabi is the second release of duo Christoph Erb and Frantz Loriot. Erb plays soprano saxophone and bass clarinet on this record; he’s also the founder of Veto-Records. A new name to me, as is Frantz Loriot who plays the viola. Both are apparently well-known in the improvised music scene. More info on Erb can be found here. If you want to read up on Frantz Loriot, you can do that here. The theme of the record is Wabi Sabi. My brother-in-law does a lot of homebuilding himself; he calls everything that is slightly not as it should be wabi sabi) and all titles are related to words used in Japanese aesthetics. In the words of Alan Watts (quoted in the liner notes): “Where the mood of the moment is solitary and quiet, it is called sabi. When the artist is feeling depressed or sad, and in this peculiar emptiness of feeling catches a glimpse of something rather ordinary and unpretentious in its incredible “suchness,” the mood is called wabi. When the moment evokes a more intense, nostalgic sadness, connected with autumn and the vanishing away of the world, it is called aware. And when the vision is the sudden perception of something mysterious and strange, hinting at an unknown never to be discovered, the mood is called yugen. These extremely untranslatable Japanese words denote the four basic moods of furyu, that is, of the general atmosphere of Zen “taste” in its perception of the aimless moments of life.” The music on here is much more delicate than their previous effort and the timbres made by the two border sometimes on the electronic because of the way it sounds. Let yourself not be deceived by the opening track with the piercing high notes and the slow moving pitch shifts. What follows is subtle, subdued and delicate music made by two skilled musicians, that keep the listener and themselves engaged. If you are looking for Japanese pentatonic melodies you are at the wrong address here. The pieces are relatively short and make for a wondrous listening experience and mixes modern creative classical music using multiphonics with free improvising techniques. (MDS)
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+D-A+ – 2 (CDR by Love Earth Music)

Reviewing music every week means writing about music daily. It also means that I listen to various musical styles, some of which I like and some don’t. Doing so for nearly thirty years means there is also some kind of preference shift. All those days ago, I was more into noise than I am today, but listening to the harsh noise on both these new discs by Love Earth Music also made me realise, not for the first time, that noise over the years has become so much noisier; I know this might sound strange, but the noise on a mid-1980s cassette was essentially quite different than what we find on these discs. No doubt this has to do with the music being more digital these days. Maybe not always when it’s played, but in later stages, when it’s on the computer, it is easy to max things out even more.
The first release is by +D:A+, a collaboration between Steve Davies +DOG+ and Diagram A, also known as Dan Greenwood. This is their second collaboration (see also Vital Weekly 1297), which they recorded last year during the summer. Because I am no longer concerned with putting the correct nomenclature to the right noise variation, I am unsure which division this belongs. It’s not a harsh noise wall – we get to that in a bit. The harsh noises produced by these two men are generated by various stomp boxes and the crashing of metal plates, resulting in a cascading ride of chaotic noise. Not the kind of noise in stasis, but moving and shaking all along. Here, we have noise made with work, sweat, and one with that direct, in-your-face approach. It also sounds very much like a live recording. Still, perhaps that is always the case with noise (oddly something I don’t think about too often when playing noise, but how much would be the result of endless layering?). At the start of each track, there is a rumbling in minor noise, slowly amplified and exploding as the pieces roll on—three tracks in total, spanning close to fifty minutes of pure noise joy.
It’s been a while since I last heard Macronympha; maybe not since the start of the century. That may indicate that Macronympha and I don’t move in the same circle, or perhaps the necessity to release music is not that high. Also, very likely, noise musicians aren’t interested in reviews. Either way, on this short split release, we first have a ten-minute noise festival by Macronympha, and he’s not holding back. The digital approach to louder-than-before noise is apparent here. Short loops are massively amplified and mixed with feedback, and there’s a delicate shift in the sound here. While not precisely the sort of harsh noise wall, i.e. with the usual static approach, the overall approach is one of ongoing noise.
New Grasping Machina, also known as Luk Henderiks, is of the younger generation but quite active in the world of releases, with many not reaching these shores. He starts with a skipping record to set the tone of it all coming, but like +D:A+ very soon explodes into the sort of endless noise stream that is more akin to Macronympha than +D:A+, but like +D:A+ also more of that live recording feeling, which I found less apparent in the music of Macronympha (and I fully realise none of this significant). BW described a previous release as honest noise, and I couldn’t agree more. (FdW)
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HARAE – KAGURA (3″ CDR by 999 Cuts)

Before us, two mini CDRs by our beloved 999 Cuts label from Israel. The label is run by Michael Zolotov, who is from Kadaver fame, and his wife Tamar Singer, who is active as Zeresh (and had a split out with Autumn Tears on Dark Symphonies in 2022). And yes, I’ll bluntly throw it out here, and I’ll never speak of it again: 999 Cuts is the very best thing coming out of Israel these days. There, I’ve said it. The latest batch of 999 Cuts contains three releases: one long-play CD, which you’ll find in another review and these two 3″ minis. Because these two are also in the same atmosphere, musically, we’ll combine the reviews of those.
First, we have the Prison of Ebisu with its ‘Hexadichordium’. Locked inside this prison are members of Botanist, Dawn of Ouroboros, Cailleach Calling and Tómarúm. These are all bands I had never heard of because my extreme metal knowledge is limited. So Discogs is your buddy: They’re all from the US of A, and their styles range from green metal to progressive blackened anguish. So, I still don’t know what that means. You know what? I’ll let the music do the work. It’s probably easier before trying to make a story of something out of my comfort zone.
So I’ve listened to ‘Hexadichordium’ a few times, and it’s consoling weirdly. The 20-minute track goes all over the place. It opens with fast-paced metal, but it’s so fast that it gets a noise/drone character. Don’t try to follow lyrics, don’t try to analyse rhythms, just be overpowered by the sheer aggression and despair that’s being ventilated there. Besides these extremes are other extremes, such as dark ambient piano parts with a female voice. And there are more metal-styled breaks leaning towards grindcore and several more experimental moments.
“Hexadichordium” is short but so powerful that it seems like a way longer track than it actually is. And having been a metalhead in my younger years, this is actually a style of music I could get used to. Not every day, and not the whole day, but I can see this beauty from a musician’s point of view. Very well done.
The second 3″ CDR is by Harae and is entitled ‘Kagura’. I’ll start by writing that I couldn’t find anything on Harae, who is behind it, who is the musician(s) other than they’re from the UK. On this release the 20 minutes of the 3″ format are divided into three tracks. The opening track is ‘Kagura’, a ritual Shinto dance. A heavy female voice with lots of false breathing generates a highly creepy atmosphere. Musically, it touches on the common grounds of ritual music, black metal and dark ambient. With the Kagura being a transcendental ritual, these aspects fit perfectly.
For tracks two and three, wiki helped me understand the concept. “There are two major types of kagura: mai and odori. Mai consists of slow circular movement, stressing quiet and elegance, while Odori consists of quick leaping and jumping, stressing activation and energy”. ‘Odori’ and ‘Mai’ are the titles of tracks two and three, respectively, so with this description, we understand why “Odori” is mind-shattering, aggressive and wild in its first half and noisy yet harmonic in the 2nd half. On the other hand, “Mai” is almost like a minimal noise, looped, atmospheric ambient track. In the spoken voice, I really love the creation of the creepiness in there, but this is beyond dark ambient here; This is black ambient. (BW)
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THE POLY-TONES – WINTER WHITE (cassette by No Type Records)

Because of a quieter week, mail-wise, I had this release on more rotation, but that wasn’t the only reason. There was a pleasantness in the music that kept me playing it while I was doing some tedious archive searching, going through endless boxes of old fanzines, cassette covers and such. A third reason was, ‘What the hell is this?’ after repeating it, I still don’t have an answer. First off, there isn’t much information about The Poly-Tones. The label calls them a group, and during the pandemic, they released ‘Introducing The Poly-Tones’, and now there’s ‘Winter White’. Luckily, the white winter is in The Netherlands a few days per year maximum, and maybe things are different where The Poly-Tones hail from. Oddly enough, the music doesn’t have that wintery feel. The instruments mentioned include “Rhodes piano, vibraphone, baritone guitar, hand percussion paired with pulsing synth bass.” That results in rather laidback music, certainly owing the world of post-rock (the other day, I discussed with someone that most of that post-rock hype is forgotten by now), meaning it’s laid-back, a bit jazzy, a bit improvised, but also has some structure and a nice breezy, spring feel. As today sees no winter and lots of sunshine (a rare thing this winter, with lots of rain), this music feels like spring, even when the outside temperature doesn’t shout ‘springtime’, but I like staying inside anyway. When the vibraphone plays a more prominent role, the music takes a slightly more exotic turn, but that feels right in the spirit of what the rest sounds like. All of this is quite gentle music, nothing offensive, nothing strange and excellent for hanging around, reading a book and sipping coffee. Laidback music for a laidback afternoon. Purpose served. Is it genuinely Vital Weekly music? That’s something I greatly doubt, but I was pleasantly surprised. (FdW)
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JOSEPH B. RAIMOND – MASTODON (book by Mirran Thought)

Receiving a parcel from Joseph B. Raimond is always a pleasure, as it contains the surprising music of Doc Wör Mirran. That is, until today, it only contained ‘Mastodon’, a book by the Mirran honcho. This is not the first time he has mailed me a book, but usually, they are poetry books. This one is a… novel? I didn’t plan to use the question mark early in the review, but I see it as expressing my ignorance. I love reading books. Books about music mostly, but as recounted last week, also about conspiracy theories, history in general, occult societies and sometimes, when in bed, some lighter fiction, detective stuff, Stephen King or whatever the exchange library in the supermarket offers. I hardly ever read something called ‘literature’, because during the day I like to read about my favourite subjects and in bed some lighter stuff, which doesn’t require much thinking. Come to think (pun intended) of it, the last time I read serious literature in bed was ‘Catcher In The Rye’, which I somehow missed in the previous sixty years (again, not being intelligent helps). All of this is to say in many words that reviewing literature is not my forty, expertise or anything else to review. If reviewing means, ‘tell the world there is a new book by me out there, and use whatever words to tell the world’, then these should be enough words, I hope. (FdW)
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