Number 1427

Week 10

ELIF YALVAÇ – GREEN DRIFT (CD by Expert Sleepers) *
CONRAD SCHNITZLER – ACTIVIS (CD by Flip Flap/Fonodroom) *
CONRAD SCHNITZLER – AUFZUG (CD by Flip Flap/Fonodroom) *
FAKE CATS PROJECT – DUTZEND (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
THE SOUND OF COLOGNE 3 (CD compilation by Mark e.v.)
KYLE JESSEN – PRIMITIVE (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
KUNSTKOPF – 7 STÜCKE/1998 (LP by Edition Telemark)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN – IS POINTLESS (CDR by Marginal Talent) *
ODAL – SHIT (CDR by Kamelgallo) *
ODAL – ODE TO G.X. (3″CDR by Debila Records) *
ODAL & DMDN – BREINROT (cassette by Supreme Tool Supplies)
NEEM FF EEN SNIPPERDAG (cassette compilation by Stront)
MURKLA – LEVIATA (cassette by Terrorific Rekords) *

ELIF YALVAÇ – GREEN DRIFT (CD by Expert Sleepers)

Last week, I saw an exciting concert by Elif Yalvaç, whose work I didn’t know; I only heard a collaborative piece she did with Jos Smolders (see Vital Weekly 1281). In her concert, Yalvaç used a guitar, laptop and some other apparatus, and whenever she played the guitar, the music moved back to a more traditional post-rock ambient drone. At the same time, the digital side was a pleasant reminder of Fennesz (whose work I haven’t heard in a long time). After her concert, she gave me her CD, which I mistook for a solo release because it’s her name only on the front, but it’s a trio recording with Andrew Ostler (bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, synthesiser) and Michael Bearpark (Morleytron; I have no idea what is). From the information on Bandcamp, I understand that much was recorded by Yalvaç and Ostler in Edinburgh from improvised sessions, which they then edited and used as building blocks in the seven pieces on this CD. Much like Coleclough’s treatment of the flute sounds from Theo Travis last week, the clarinet sounds on this release are effectively changed in editing, processing, and mixing. Sometimes, you recognise the clarinets, but overall, the music is an excellent mixture of bleeping electronic sounds embedded within ambient structures. Music on a more reflective note, for instance in the opening (also title) piece here. Yet Yalvaç doesn’t play the ambient card all the way, as there are also abstracter pieces to be here, such as ‘Tumulus’ with short-looped synthesiser arpeggio, sounding as if it’s stuck in the kosmische machine. A third interest happens when the sound of the clarinet draws the material into a slightly more modern music area. These interests overlap and tie the pieces together instead of drifting far apart, making the album a mixed bag of interests. These pieces are around six to eight minutes, and that seems to be the proper length for this piece to explore. These aren’t overtly complex pieces, but nothing happening here takes too much time or outstays it’s welcome. All seven pieces have a slightly dark edge; each is a fine example of how atmospheric music should be made, avoiding traps and keeping things interesting. (FdW)
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Both gentlemen don’t need a complete introduction since they are featured frequently here at Vital Weekly. Both play in Hydra Ensemble (double bass, two celli and electronics). Zuydervelt was a guest with the Selva (double bass, cello, and drums). It’s not their first recording as a duo. In 2015, ‘Doze Ruínas’ was released on Cylinder Recordings. Twelve pieces lasting eighteen minutes in total. Short pieces with a clear distinction between the double bass and the electronics. Here, on ‘Eventual’, we have an exquisite blend of the two. Thirty-two minutes of blissful and suspenseful music in a few continuous sections with a small break around the 20-minute mark. The whole piece is a brilliant concoction of double bass and electronics with an orchestral feel. The suspense lies in the implied chord progression and interval changes within the slowly repeating and evolving sounds. It starts with Almeida saying: so I’ll do a little bit more of this.
What follows is 32 minutes of engaging music that’s not intrusive and, in some sections, impressive profound bass additions that come in quite naturally. Apart from the beginning, there’s another vocal bit hidden in the mix. The mastering is courtesy of Jos Smolders at EARlab. He did a marvellous job, creating a living entity that breathes and evolves for half an hour. ‘Eventual’ started as a score for Lex Reitsma’s documentary on photographer Koos Breukel. But as the liner notes state, not much of this material was used in the final film score. Not letting the material get to waste, Zuydervelt did some long and hard thinking and devised a suitable angle for the material: a long-form drone composition. And the rest is, as they say, history. It also explains the cinematic quality of the work. And as I see it, you can make your own movie in your mind listening to this beautiful piece of music. (MDS)
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CONRAD SCHNITZLER – AUFZUG (CD by Flip Flap/Fonodroom)

Conrad Schnitzler, one of the most productive musicians ever, left a massive catalogue. When he died in 2011, some of his older works were reissued, but the later works, the ones he self-released on CDR, slipped into obscurity. In 2008, a plan was to release a 100-CD set on Russia’s Waystyx label, which did some crazy releases when they existed. But that label is no more, and now there is Flip Flap, entirely devoted to putting out those works, and there have been several CDs and cassettes already. But Flip Flap is based in Russia, so just like the Dronarivm label, they are now helped by Fonodroom in the Netherlands, so purchasing the CDs is possible.
I heard quite a few of those recent works by Conad Schnitzler when they were shown on obscure blogs and the like, and they show us a man constantly searching for new sounds. The CD is one idea; despite the various tracks, it is very much one track. On ‘Activis 00/117’, there is some rhythmic structure going on, in a straightforward beat thing, but a slightly more complicated sequencer thing (and something which I suspect is more sampler based than an old analogue sequencer), and around that Schnitzler spins a wild ride of synthesiser sounds. The result is not something that sounds the Schnitzler in the seventies but has a somewhat more post-2000 sound; exact dates aren’t mentioned on the cover, but if you search, you’ll find this which dates this work to 4 September 1997 and calls this ‘IndusTechno’, which I think is quite an apt description. Like a train with considerable speed, this music is like riding at a constant speed, not too high but fast enough to shift the scenery constantly. Hence the different sounds that Schnitzler uses. A great one.
The same website mentions ‘Aufzug, 00/256’ 20 April 2004 as the date, and ‘4 Con-Cert Splits’, whatever that means. Sampling is also the primary instrument, but it works out differently. As with other works by Schnitzler in this field, he’s working with orchestral samples in combination with electronics, and the result is one of those cinematographic works he’s known for doing. It doesn’t have that rhythmic drive of ‘Activis’, making it more of an abstract work with a complicated approach. There is also more variation between the fourteen pieces here, as things don’t always run smoothly together like on ‘Activis’. As with many of these releases, which he apparently recorded in a single day, not every track is as strong as the other, but there is something to say for the sheer creativity behind such output and that within a single day, there are this many different ideas. This, too, was a lovely release. As I said, I heard quite a few of these discs, and not all were great, but these are. (FdW)
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Can you say hot on the heels when the previous release got a review in Vital Weekly 1403? As before, I admit the work of Jérôme Mauduit, the man behind Désaccord Majeur, remains a bit of a mystery. Perhaps one of those things that never change, I guess. I am not saying anything about the music here; I do not have a clear idea of what he does, his working methods, or his musical aims and interests. I should read more. The music on this double CD is a collection of older works. One of the things Taalem is known for is an endless amount of 3″CDR releases, and the other thing is a yearly free download-only compilation called ‘Homework’. This compilation collects Désaccord Majeur’s contributions to years 2 to 7, and some older compilation pieces from 1995 to 2005, with the oldest at the end of disc 2; we’re going back in time. It’s not something I noticed when I heard the music, as there seemed to be a continuing interest in playing atmospheric tunes, using similar elements of deep synthesiser washes, a mechanical rhythm with a slightly exotic taste, and occasionally voices. ‘Ex Folia’, at the start of the second disc, is different as it uses text recited in English and French, making it more like a radio play. That aspect is not only in this track but also in a piece like ‘Res Publica’. Désaccord Majeur keeps his tempo not too fast or too slow, a neat bouncing one, around which he ornaments his sounds. There is a vital element of sequencing, which sometimes gives the music a mechanical character, only broken by using voices (Désaccord Majeur, too, found his way to web SDR). The previously used references to Muslimgauze and Rapoon are still possible, even when Désaccord Majeur does not always use rhythm to the same extent; this is more something for his older pieces. His newer pieces sound at times more like a slowed-down, chill-out ambient house soundtrack, again, when the rhythm is used. It’s altogether a most pleasant musical journey. (FdW)
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When Phill Niblock passed away earlier this year, I was amazed by the amount of stories and photos of the man in my social media bubble. I couldn’t share, as I never met the man and seen a concert by him. And yet, he was early on in my life. On the compilation cassette, ‘From Brussels With Love’ (1981), there’s an interview with Brian Eno, and in the background, there’s a Niblock piece (‘A Third Trombone’). It took me more years to find out who Niblock was, but at the end of the 1980s, I owned his first CD releases on his Experimental Intermedia label, and I was a fan and much of his work as a big inspiration. Something I relayed back to him (in 2011 or thereabouts, he mailed me saying he would pass through Nijmegen on a Tuesday afternoon and wanted to meet up; sadly, that was a time that my only real working duties were on a Tuesday afternoon). I reviewed various of Niblock’s releases over the years, and probably not all of them; I am not the completist some people think I am.
On ‘Looking For Daniel’, we find two of his last pieces. The first is ‘Biliana’, performed by Biliana Votchkova on violin and voice, and the second is ‘Exploratory, Rhine Version, Looking For Daniel’, performed by Ensemble Modelo62 and Ensemble Scordatura. Orchestral pieces are something Niblock started relatively late, in 1998. Before that (and after), his pieces were constructed from a single player (flute, violin, guitar, etc), which he used to build a piece of music, cutting away the attacks and amassing many layers, easily up to 1000 layers, so it becomes a mass of uninterrupted sound. As I said, I never saw Niblock in concert, but I know it’s deafening, which is, and he would not have agreed, not something I do at home; neighbours in an old building are one thing, but maybe because I have no need for loud music in my house. I find Niblock’s music all the same very enjoyable.
In ‘Biliana’, there are two sources, violin and voice, of which the tone is close together yet quite distinct. As with many of Niblock’s pieces, the changes are subtle but unmistakable. The cover informs me of a minor and major third, or a D sharp, but I am one of those who write about music without the faintest idea what those are. I hear the music shifting, and that’s when the major turns minor or vice versa.
The Daniel mentioned in the other piece is Daniel Buess, leader of the Phoenix Ensemble in Basel, where he also played the percussion. He was found dead in the Rhine. I don’t know if I heard many of Niblock’s orchestral pieces, but this one sounds excellent. Very solemn, with lengthy sustaining sounds on the string instruments, but also the flute, trumpet, and double bass doing this, and there is a slow-moving texture in this piece, like fog horns. It is a very moving piece, very atmospheric and rich in tone, and if meant as a send-off, this works very well. For both Daniel and Niblock. (FdW)
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Somewhere on the fringes of contemporary composed music and sound art, we find Danish maverick Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard. He previously released a sprawling box set of 7″s featuring works for multiple instruments, for example, for 30 chromatic tuners – the material, not unlike Niblock’s layerings, finds sweet spots in micro-tonal beatings and melodic ripple effects that oscillate between addition and subtraction, i.e. somewhere between the musical and the conceptual, one finds the Løkkegaard’s natural habitat. No wonder he collaborated with fellow Dane Jacob Kirkegaard on the mesmerizing LP Descending. Conceptually, ‘Music for Krügerrand – Quartet for Gold Bullion Coins’ has to be up there as one of the most accomplished works, together with ‘Egis Ce Asc’, released across the 7″, 10″ and 12″ format and in a spectacular box.
With his new work, Løkkegaard, at first glance, seems to refer back to some nostalgic sentiments of blowing bubbles or playing in the bath with foam bubbles. And we’re not too far off thinking of the actual stuff of temporary wonderful nature. For this composition for string quartet (an absolutely staggering performance by the brilliant Quatuor Bozzini) and harmonic quartet is all about surface tension and release, about being here in the one moment and lost, broken, shattered the other. Oh, and the Bozzinis play their string instruments, while playing harmonicas.
Imagine the bubble bursting. Imagine a high-speed camera shot thereof, slowed down, down, down. And then the sonic equivalent thereof. The tension holding, longer than you might expect, ripples, ruptures, maybe collisions of forces fields. Fluctuations, folds unfolding, unfolds folding in on themselves. Interferences like a stone being thrown into a pond. A walk around an object of natural, physical awe and wonder – not un-Walden-like.
And still there’s this bubbly matter, this bubbly aspect. A somewhat playful, sweet release.
Or: bubbles heard as frequencies, groups of instruments, timbres or tones grouping together (like societal bubbles), colliding or expanding, clashing or moving away from each other, systems forming or crumbling down. With referral to Løkkegaard and Kirkegaard’s Descending here, we are presented with a constant push and pull, a long thin instrument line of eerie and slightly uncanny dis-balance in odd equilibrium prone to be disturbed (think: George Rickey’s needle sculptures, in constant movement) – a dronishness the never succumb to the drone, too. An ascent as much as a descent. A circle closed yet open, like Robert Mangold’s circle painting on shaped canvas: the graphite circle being all but firm, but – up close and personal – a hand-drawn line of permeable black – not a wall or closure, but a geometric delineation, at best.
Colliding Bubbles navigates shapes and forms. It circumnavigates a globular phenomenology of tension, hold and release. It reminds us of ephemerality in the most profound and deeply moving of ways. This is Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard’s most accomplished work to date – an absolute must-have for anyone sailing the waves of sound art, contemporary composition and the terra incognita beyond. (SSK)
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FAKE CATS PROJECT – DUTZEND (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)

From 2012 onwards, Al Margolis (also known as If, Bwana) worked with Gerald Fiebig and EMERGE, meeting and interacting at concerts. Much of what they improvise during concerts may end up in a collage on a release. The current one is “Tripolar Exercises’, which, for once, was recorded via the Internet. The first artist records one layer of sound, the second and third add another, and then the third mixes the piece. In between, there are also two ‘interludes’, and what, how, and why these came to need to be clarified. It’s tempting to look for clues; ‘oh, this sounds very much like something Al Margolis would have mixed’ or ‘EMERGE sampled everybody else before creating a mix’. That’s not my approach, even when I heard quite a bit of EMERGE’s and Margolis’ music. It’s better to listen to the music as the result of whatever creative process, the assembly of various interests and sound sources. The more acoustic ones are courtesy of Margolis, field recordings are by Fiebig, and EMERGE covers the electronic side. It’s about the result: did they manage to create a coherent, exciting album? I believe they did. The three primary pieces are excellent pieces of electro-acoustic music, where improvisation is re-modelled into composition, and in the three main compositions, this works out differently. The range is between very acoustic to much more inspired electronic sounds. Consequently, when they use more acoustic sound, the music takes a more improvised turn, and when it’s more electronic, it seems (!) more composed. Each piece doesn’t feel like a few layers of sound but rather a more complex affair. It results in a delicate release of some excellent music.
On CDR, we find a collaborative work between Julien Ash, who resurfaced after years of silence. Before he worked at Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites, I don’t know what made him decide between using his real name and the band name. He works here with Christophe Bailleau, better known as Glyth and La Chiesa, a long time ago and someone from whom I last heard music many years ago. There are various guest musicians on this album, but only one makes it to the front cover, ‘feat. Joradane Prestrot’, responsible for vocals. Probably not all of them, as there are male and female ones, in various languages, English, French, Japanese and even Dutch (no credit there). No instruments are listed on the cover, but it’s not rocket science to know we’re dealing here with synthesisers, samplers, drum machines, and sound effects. The music is very ambient but also very musically conventional at times. These two men play, at times, very melodic stuff; the way the saxophone is used in the opening track, ‘Ocean Of Sadness’, reminded me of the time when The Legendary Pink Dots had a saxophone player. Also, other pieces sound like a Pink Dots track, waiting for a vocalist (for instance, in ‘Reflux’). Rhythms are sometimes used, adding a bit of spice into the ambience matter here to prevent the listener from drifting away. The music is atmospheric but not necessarily dark, as atmospheric and dark don’t always go together. There is also lightness in this piece next to its moodier textures. The production is top-shelf, with lots of clarity, exciting changes, and a wonderful CD.
Something completely different is the Russian Fake Cats Project, the trio of Igor Levshin (voice, guitar, bass, keyboards, virtual ANS, metal rulers, razor blades, etc.), Kirill Makushin (voice, accordion, mouth organ) and Alexei Borisov (bass, guitar, drums, analogue synths, tape recorder) (see also Vital Weekly 1038 and 1188), plus a bunch of guests on voice, bass, drums, and piano; they also use street recordings. This is not really a new CD but rather a best-of compilation, in which they reuse old sounds and create new constructions. There is an influence from Russian folk and classical music, which I don’t hear. I did recognise Satie’s ‘Trois Gymondeis’ and what could have been ‘Smoke On The Water” in a free version. It’s strange music; at times, it’s a bit rock-like, then more improvisation, a bit pop-like, and, as with the previous CD, it’s not my cup of tea. I do enjoy it, as it is something different, but at the same time, it is also something I don’t know much about. It’s a bit of an oddball in the catalogue of this label. (FdW)
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THE SOUND OF COLOGNE 3 (CD compilation by Mark e.v.)

I remember the two previous ‘Noise Of Cologne’ compilations, albeit very vaguely. I tried looking in that shiny archive on the revamped website, but words like ‘noise’ and ‘Cologne’ often appear on these pages. The first two were from 2010 and 2013, and unlike the third one, it contained longer pieces by a lot fewer artists. In 70 minutes, we will now be served 73 pieces of music. I have been to Cologne on several occasions and easily rank it among the nicest German cities. Is it a city with a specific sound? I am not the guy who connects cities to specific sounds, but I may haven’t seen and heard a lot of the ‘world’. From a lof the musicians whose work I review, I have no idea from which cities they are, and from the 73 here, I recognised only a few as ‘previously reviewed’: bleed Air, Frank Dommert (indeed, not in this century), Kai Niggeman, Marcus Schmickler, Harald Sack Ziegler, Merzouga, Mik Quantius, Nils Quak, Schlammpeitziger and Therapeutische Hörgruppe. That’s not to say that these are the album’s best-known quantities, but it seems from my perspective. A one-minute track is too short to form an opinion; let’s see where I am at track 24, played by Elisa Metz, with a glass instrument and synthesiser. When I looked at this information, I was already at 30, the music of Funfon (synthesiser only). It’s noise at times, but civilised noise; improvised music a lot, synth doodles, and very few incorporate the city’s sound. Maybe I misread that as one of the starting points for these pieces. A one-minute compilation is always a tiring concept (and it would make an interesting article about the genesis of these things and why anyone ever thought that were a great thing), and this one is no different. (FdW)
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KYLE JESSEN – PRIMITIVE (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

Primitive is an aptly named release by Kyle Jessen in the ongoing series of solo records from across the world on Relative Records. This time from Omaha, Nebraska. Forty-three minutes of exhilarating blowing sax music. Death Trap features some lovely vocalizing while playing the saxophone. There’s one drawback: the variation of the sounds Kyle manages to get from his alto is a bit too low to be interesting for the casual listener. But that’s why the release is aptly named Primitive. It took me a while to appreciate what Kyle does here. But now I’m hooked. Check out his Bandcamp page; there are a bunch of self-released music collections.
Released in the same solo series on Relative Pitch Records, we’ve got Benjamin Vergara, hailing from the Republic of Chile, on trumpet. It’s not his first solo record: that would be ‘The Mole, ‘ which was released in 2019. That was recorded in an abandoned factory: that’s why there’s a big natural reverb on that release. Vergara has a few releases under his belt. Among others, there’s a duo with guitarist Fred Firth and a quartet recorded at Elastic Arts in Chicago with Jim Baker (piano), Kent Kessler (double bass) and Julian Kirshner (drums). At the same time, Vergara had a residency at that famous location in Chicago. Again, forty-three minutes of solo instrumental music. But an inherent different beast than the music made by Kyle Jessen. Here, there’s a more directly recognizable melodic content of the music, more Manonfriendly, I would say. Vergara takes a more traditional approach to sound production, although he uses extended breathing techniques in, for example, the first track or breathy multiphonics in Still Is. It’s a track that’s the longest one here, clocking in at seventeen minutes. Overall a very lovely release. (MDS)
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KUNSTKOPF – 7 STÜCKE/1998 (LP by Edition Telemark)

The cover contains a lengthy story about the group, but it remains to be seen if they still exist. The most recent thing mentioned is that Michael Sterk joined as a drummer from 2001-2003. Maybe it’s all in the past. By and large, Kunstkopf was a quartet of Dirk Specht, Manfred Machlitt, Patrick Laschet, and Taymur Streng; the latter passed away in 2022. All members have other musical enterprises, and they share a love for all things electro-acoustic and improvisation. The cover mentions various concerts (maybe all of them?), and they recorded two albums. The first was also called ‘7 Stücke’ but from ’95-’99 and partly recorded live and part studio; it was released in 2001. They never rehearsed and didn’t do many studio recordings. This LP contains six rare studio recordings from 1998 and is mentioned as piano, analogue synthesisers, metal objects, wooden materials, older drum machines, gongs and “a strongly fx-alternated violin”. One piece is a live recording. However, the seven pieces aren’t straightforward documents of in-studio performance, as they mention overdubbing, sequencing, software programming, and an extensive postproduction phase. Spoiler alert: this is an excellent album! The element of improvisation shines through all pieces, but because of the many electronic sources and probably because of the multi-tracking, there is quite some organisation; density is another important feature of this record. It’s easy to see this group being influenced by AMM, MEV, Morphogenesis, Noise Maker’s Fifes, Kontakta or Kapotte Muziek. Still, they certainly give their music a different twist, and, again, something I attribute to multi-tracking and overdubbing. The others more or less do/did straightforward recordings. I like the complexity of the pieces here, buzzing and whirring, with an occasional rhythmic touch (second piece on the second side), triggering synthesisers, and their extensive use of sound effects; all things you wouldn’t easily find on a record by a similar group. This begs a few questions: is there more from them that we can hear? Where can I hear that first album? And what happened with the group after 2003? (FdW)
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Following his solo release ‘Entropies and Mimetic Patterns’ (Vital Weekly 1306), there is now a collaborative work by Portuguese drummer and percussion player Gustavo Costa. On that solo release, he transcribed natural phenomena into music and does the same now, with the help of others: Clara Saleiro (flute, bass flute, and piccolo), Joao Dias (vibraphone and crotales) and Biliana Voutchkova (violin and voice). Judging by the music, you can easily believe this to be improvised music, but Costa takes credit for the composition. This isn’t a straightforward recording of a quartet of musicians playing together. Instead, Costa recorded sessions with these musicians, and afterwards, he constructed this piece in the studio, adding electronics. Honestly, I found it difficult to hear the natural phenomena, and I admit the titles didn’t give much away, ‘Displacement And Crawling Wounds’ and ‘Mechanics And Listening Architectures’. Or listening to the music with these titles in mind, resulting in a similar mystery for me. Despite all the composing, the music sounds very improvised at times, and only in his use of crossfades, one recognises the composing. There is, again, at times, the characteristic of nervous improvisation, but also the beautifully composed flute piece towards the end of ‘Mechanics And Listening Architectures’, slowly changing pitches, or the electronic beginning of the same piece. Also, in the first, this happens. This creates an interesting contrast in both pieces, which works very well. Like a pendulum swinging back and forth between chaos and organisation, this is a somewhat short LP (under thirty minutes), which is one for repeated listening to reveal its beauty. (FdW)
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One of my favourite chameleonic groups is the German Doc Wör Mirran combo. You never know in which musical corner they will be. Granted, in recent years, there have been several releases in which a more traditional rock sound prevails, along with a lot of saxophone tooting, but there is still room for something else, as they proved on ‘Is Pointless’ (maybe they are a fan of BBC game show of the same name?). Some of the more usual players call in for their duty, band boss Joseph B. Raimond, Michael Wurzer, Stefan Schweiger, Adrian Gormley and Ralf Lexis, but also new names such as Michael Asch, Joi and L’Angelo Mysterioisox3. As always, there’s no list of instruments, and it isn’t easy to recognise anything—guitars, electronics, percussion of a more obscured nature, and who knows what else. Also unusual (but not uncommon) is that there is one piece of music, stretching to fifty-two minutes. Sometimes, the music goes all the way down to a tranquil level, which I mistook at first for the start of a new track. It is an extraordinary music piece, defying easy description. Maybe something is best described by what it is and isn’t. It’s atmospheric but far from ambient; it’s improvised but with some sense of organisation (a common thing for Doc Wör Mirran). It sounds like a group of musicians playing guitars, percussive bits and electronics in a sort of ritualistic space jam, with sounds swelling and disappearing. While some dynamics are going on, the piece seems to evolve around similar elements throughout the entire length. Whatever it is, it sounds fascinating, showing a side of Doc Wör Mirran, which is new to me (and yes, I heard a lot of their music, but not all). Excellent release. (FdW)
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The labels’ name here is .x., which you read bit by bit. Behind Ibiza Shock Troops, we find Cark Kruger and Roger Smith, also known as Chefkirk. The latter is doing the noise here, and Kruger is responsible for the rhythm. As the label informs me, they have been working together for quite some time but ‘sometimes sporadic’. They recorded twelve pieces of music, in which they did exactly what the instruments said, playing music with rhythm and noise. The music borrows a few ideas from the world of dance music. Dancing is not what people do when they hear this. The beats are too abstract and sometimes lean heavily on that foor-filling 4/4 bass drum. It’s more the idea of dance beats than actual dance beats. Smith’s noise doesn’t add to the dance party vibe, being too loud and obnoxious. But this is different from the intention of this duo, to get a crowd dancing. Instead, I envisage more drugged, crazed, happy few going wild over this set of power electronics, feedback noise and weirdo rhythms, doing a ritualised dance of exorcism. The sort of drunk noise made sense for the drunken onlookers. It works at home, and it doesn’t. When I was walking around, moving stuff around, like I sometimes need to do, this worked quite well, allowing some extra energy, but upon sitting down and going for a more profound analysis of the music, that side didn’t run very deep. Still, there is the obvious question: does it have to? No, I am sure it doesn’t always have theoretical lengths and is more spontaneous; maybe I should avoid the word ‘drunken’ here. This is sometimes all it takes to get a party going. (FdW)
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The hymns label is a weird one, but you know I like it weird. I have reviewed a few of their releases in the past, like Landforms, Heirloom and Jesse Paul Miller (Editor’s note: We now have a great archive/search function at Vital Weekly. Have you tried it already?). But they only have a few releases. Last year, 2 CDRs from Ironing, and this year, one is a collaboration between Ironing and Juice Machine. A lot of Ironing… This is the project of Andrew Chadwick, of whom the previously mentioned Heirloom is in the archives (I think he’s the guy behind label two, but like with my guess of contact mic’s on the Heirloom CDr, I will be called ‘a good but wrong guesser’ on their Facebook page). We also reviewed Juice Machine recently, as well as Roger Chefkirk and Heather from Eugene, OR.
The opening track makes you feel like you’ve just put on some Jorge Reyes. However, A loopy atmosphere that brings you into a mediative state properly placed field recordings and manipulations will prove you wrong. The second track,, ‘Dosado ‘, is built around a melody line which is guitar. Later, it’s filled in with erratic sounds of wind instruments and, again, a few nicely placed noise artifacts. When I arrived at this point, I couldn’t think otherwise then. This album is about chaotic atmospheres. And behold, track three is less about the atmosphere, so yep, I was wrong(ish). When you think you got it, you’re wrong again, and that’s the fun of this release!
‘Everglades’ is almost danceable. Ok, granted, you have to be really, really drunk or high or stoned or unstable in any other form to do so, but … Hey … The atmosphere is there again, unlike the previous tracks; it’s more like a rhythmic structure pushing you into movement, while the constantly more substantial chaotic layers push you in another direction. It has a dub feel somewhere in the middle before turning into frequency mayhem. The whispering voice is a nice layer, and I only wish I would understand.
Carnival music and kitties. “Ben the Cat” is not for me. It reminded me of a very underground version of Negativland; they can be chaotic sometimes. But they have a more robust method of telling stories. Also, more text-based. The fifth track, ‘Mefon Dusku’, continues this style, though the composition tells a more robust story using particular sounds. The last track has that dub feel again. Excellent use of loops and delays. Additional micro and game/Nintendo-style sounds …
Yep, I can hear the joy in this release, The pleasure of making it and listening to it. (BW)
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ODAL – SHIT (CDR by Kamelgallo)
ODAL – ODE TO G.X. (3″CDR by Debila Records)
ODAL & DMDN – BREINROT (cassette by Supreme Tool Supplies)
NEEM FF EEN SNIPPERDAG (cassette compilation by Stront)

Because I am writing a longer piece on the early days of Peter Zincken’s music project Odal, I played a lot of his early cassette releases, which came out on an 18-cassette box in 2019 and last December also appeared in Bandcamp (link also below). Independently, Peter mailed me a few of his recent releases, the first of which is also a reissue, albeit of a more recent release, at least if we consider 22 years still ‘recent’. Odal is one of the longest-running noise projects that remained true to its origins. Zincken never expanded his studio, never upgraded to using laptops, iPads and such like, but still goes about the house (and this I mean literally), taping his sounds on a walkman and ‘processing’ these with some of the lowest forms of electronics, 2-bit samplers and such. The results are not always the same, far from it. ‘Shit’ reminded me very much of his earliest days (which recently recalled good memories, as I had almost all of these as original, much-played releases), of crude samples, lingering feedback and that unmistakenly Odal touch of mind-bending minimalism. It’s the kind of minimalism you get lost; does it ever change? Because of the multitude of sounds and Zincken’s slightly chaotic approach, this minimalism becomes captivating once you allow yourself to be in the zone. His sound sources sometimes need to be clarified, and a TV or radio in the background is never turned off, which is also part of the Odal aesthetic. Odal’s noise is only sometimes your over-the-top wall of noise, which is one of the things I like about it.
‘Ode To G.X.’ is, of course, G.X. Jupitter-Larsen, since 1979, best known as The Haters. He and Zincken’s relationship goes back to the mid-1980s, trading cassettes and meeting during one of G.X.’s stays in this beautiful country. There is no longer a signature Haters sound, unlike in the 1980s when the looped sounds of whipping and car crashes, so Odal does whatever he likes in his ode. This is a most curious piece of heavily processed voice material (so I assume), cut short in real-time, and there is very little use of loops, most surprisingly. None of this goes on and on, but there is a constant disruption of short, silent breaks. Zincken had access to different recording facilities, and he decided to take his extreme take on Henri Chopin’s sound poetry. An excellent work!
Collaborating is one of the things Odal has done a lot in the past forty years, and on ‘Breinrot’, he works with DMDN. Much like his relationship with G.X., these men go back about forty years. DMDN is Sjak van Bussel, best known as a member of THU20 and many more noise/rock-oriented bands, and DMDN is his solo noise project. As DMDN, his output is relatively small but firmly rooted in the world of power electronics, which is something shown on the four tracks on ‘Breinrot’, in which mixed media sources are fed to sound effects and through a Korg MS20, resulting in vast layers of hot boiling distortion. Very occasionally, the sources, from radio, TV or record, shine through, but most of the time, it’s not. The smouldering layers of noisy lava roll on and off in a steady stream, not halted by anything. Classic power electronics, over-the-top distortion, and jack-hammered loops. They might be older men now, but there’s no rust here.
And last but not least, also due to its length (ninety minutes), is a compilation of sorts called ‘Neem Ff Een Snipperdag’ (take a day off), with, if I am not mistaken, bands like Feest?, Odal, Flapdrolshow, Dr. Bibber (another Peter Zincken project), De Zwarte Markt and Pakistan Airlines. I quickly lost my way on this compilation and am still determining who did what here. It starts with a bunch of gabber-inspired beats, that side of noise music I rarely think about, but soon moves into classic power electronics, chaostronics and Dr. Bibber’s weird take on dance music. Everything is screaming overload and distortion and, oddly enough, straightforward underground party music at times. Is this a bunch of noise musicians taking a day off and getting a party started? There is no Bandcamp for any of these releases, so it firmly stays underground. (FdW)
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Three times before I reviewed music by this Canadian duo, Stefan Christoff (guitars, organ, and piano) and Joseph Sannicandro (field recordings made around the world, and contributes synthesizer and electronics) – see Vital Weekly 1171, 1274 and 1293. Much of their previous work deals with political issues, and on this new one, there are voices from a student strike in Québec, “Michel Chartrand speaking in the film 24 heures ou plus by Gilles Groulx”, and sources from “contemporary news reports and Pontecorvo’s 1969 film Quemada”. It fits the idea behind this cassette, a medley (their words) of “live and radiophonic works recorded between 2014 and 2018”. I believe these pieces may have been mixed so that there is overlap, and a new piece of music emerges. Even on Bandcamp, there are only two pieces and no individual ones; there is a list of various recording dates for the recordings used. Despite their political interests, the music is quite mellow, which, as before, I would call post-rock-like. However, there are fewer drums, fewer big washes of guitars, and more abstract, way more intimate and having that chamber music quality, so there is a contemplative sound. And yet, the music doesn’t set out to be quiet and reflective, thanks to these samples and weirder sounds that are sometimes part of the music. Before, I had this image of these two musicians in a cabin near the lake, playing their thoughtful tunes, but today I am thinking of them as street musicians. Still with some atmospheric, careful tunes on a guitar, drones of battery-operated synth, and field recordings of where they play their music. Of course I know this is not the case, and they work in studio surroundings, and the field recordings are on tape, mixed in with the music, but I like the romanticed idea of this being different. Despite its somewhat lo-fi presentation, it’s an excellent cassette and something that more people should hear. (FdW)
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MURKLA – LEVIATA (cassette by Terrorific Rekords)

Behind Murkla, we find Mattias Lagerkvist, whom I had not heard of before, despite his releases on Not Not Fun, BAKK, Patience and Constellation Tatsu. “‘Leviata’ sees his own 20-year-old label being brought back to life”, says the information, but a look on Discogs shows that ‘Leviata’ is the only release so far (which doesn’t mean there are no other releases, of course). Before Lagerkvist worked as Ekolali, apparently in the realm of “delay drenched guitar drone compositions”, which is undoubtedly something he also brings to the new name, but expanding on that sound with shoegazing effects, saturated noise, stabs at the synthesiser, much bass. It’s atmospheric music in some way, but also with much unrest. Murkla likes a wall of sound, and while that could be all immersive, this is not always the case here. I like that. I like it when musicians seemingly take a route, say atmospherical music, but then take a road somewhere else by adding a nervous bass, a collection of rambling percussion and a bit of melody, as that too is part of the music of Murkla – and I’m only talking about the first piece here. Still, it’s the template of his music. Everything is in sonic overload, and I can imagine that in concert (should he be doing concerts), this would be loud as hell and as such, I think one should play this cassette with whatever volume is possible at home. Don’t treat this as ‘another atmospheric release’, but as a noise release that isn’t noise, as the pitch black ambient backdrop to your worst nightmare… or whatever else; I leave that up to you. My favourite piece is ‘Green Godless’, starting as a Terry Riley tribute but evolving into a big minimalist Hammond smear. Lovely! (FdW)
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