Number 1438

Week 21

URS LEIMGRUBER & JACQUES DEMIERRE & THOMAS LEHN – IN THE ENDLESS WIND (CD by Wide Ear Records) *
JOHN LUTHER ADAMS – WAVES AND PARTICLES (CD by Cold Blue Music) *
CHRISTOPHER CERRONE – BEAUFORT SCALES (CD by Cold Blue Music) *
GABRIEL DHARMOO – VESTIGES D’UNE FABLE (CD by Canadian Music Centre) *
WOO – HO-HAA (CD by Circum Disc) *
TERNOY, CRUZ & PETER ORINS – THE THEORY OF CONSTRAINTS (CD by Circum Disc) *
SPLINTERED – BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS (CD by Fourth Dimension Records) *
SYMBOLIST – THE AGE OF BRONZE (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
GOLDEN DARK – SO DEFT IN GLORIOUS HEADLINES (LP, private)
ARCANE DEVICE – N28: ASTRAL MACHINES (CDR by Pulsewidth) *
+DOG+ – PEACE (CDR by Love Earth Music) *
DOC WÖR MIRRAN – SYMPHONY IN C (YOU LATER ALLIGATOR!) (CDR by Marginal Talent) *
EAMON THE DESTROYER – ALTERNATE PIRANHAS (CDR by Bearsuit Records) *
TILTH AND WIND TIDE – ANEMOIA (CDR by Editions Glomar) *
TAMARISK – HOUSE OF THE PEOPLE, PROPERTY IS THEFT (CDR by Editions Glomar) *
RAYN SEWARD & ANDREW WEATHERS – LAMINAR INTERIORS (CDR by Editions Glomar) *
REEDER & SEWARD & WEATHERS – TWO BALLADS FROM THE HIGH PLAINS (CDR by Editions Glomar) *
SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE – AUTO​[​2] (cassette by Mahorka) *
EVAPORI – DER VOGEL TURLIPAN (cassette by Fragment Factory) *
RAUS / NAHTONERFAHRUNG – AN UNS, DIE WIR HIER SIND (cassette by Zustandsaufnahmen) *

URS LEIMGRUBER & JACQUES DEMIERRE & THOMAS LEHN – IN THE ENDLESS WIND (CD by Wide Ear Records)

This trio might go under the names I listed above or as LDL; I am unsure. The fact it is on Wide Ear Records should tell you we’re dealing with improvised music and I am not the true expert and occasional lover. I reviewed two previous works by pianist Jacques Demierre. which I enjoyed a lot, and Thomas Lehn on the analogue synthesiser (which was a VCS, but I am no longer sure it is) is someone whose work I don’t hear a lot. Still, I like his approach to the instrument concerning improvised music. The last is Urs Leingruber, about whom I know least, and he plays soprano saxophone. They recorded the four pieces on this CD on 26 October 2023 at the Loft in Cologne, a well-known place for improvised music. And improvisation is what’s served on this disc. As I keep saying, a lot of improvisation is being delivered to us, a publication intended for something other than improvised music. But it slipped through the backdoor, and if you have one, you are bound to get more, which is not easy for us, being short on people who know this music.
The four pieces on this disc total 62 minutes, and that’s a lot of improvisation. After the 34 minutes of the opening track I was exhausted. The music leaps back and forth between chaos and minimalism, quietness and hectic. The piano and the saxophone are easy instruments to recognise, and the electronics are the oddball and sometimes a bit buried in the music, which is a pity. Maybe it’s not a fair game, two against one? That’s not the way to look at improvised music. There is some solid interaction here, of call and response and of playing independently with what the others are doing. Working up contrasts or going along with the others sums up the essence of improvised music. (FdW)
––– Address: https://wideearrecords.bandcamp.com/

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS – WAVES AND PARTICLES (CD by Cold Blue Music)
CHRISTOPHER CERRONE – BEAUFORT SCALES (CD by Cold Blue Music)
GABRIEL DHARMOO – VESTIGES D’UNE FABLE (CD by Canadian Music Centre)

One of those things I keep repeating is Vital Weekly is not the go-to place for modern classical music, yet quite a bit is still coming our way. Here are the three examples and two of these are from Cold Blue Music. They are a US-based label from which I reviewed many CDs. Many of these come with a disclaimer about me not knowing a lot about modern classical music and never discussing this sort of thing in terms of scales or traditions this could be part of. This surely applies to the two latest releases. I like Cold Blue Music and their approach to classical music, even when I only sometimes understand it. In that world, John Luther Adams is a well-known composer (though not to be confused with the composer John Adams!), and for ‘Waves And Particles’ he takes inspiration from quantum physics, fractal geometry and noise, “which function as elemental metaphors in my music”. The JACK Quartet performs the six parts of this piece. As much as I don’t know about modern classical music, I also have no idea about the world of quantum physics and fractal geometry, and I do know something about noise music. Adams works with many pitch changes, sliding up and down the strings, and this quartet does so with some great intensity. Of course, this is not noise as we know it, but some dissonance might be perceived as noise to the severe folks listening to modern classical music. Somehow, this music doesn’t have some of this label’s gentler touch, as the music is quite dark at times. The wave-like quality of the music works very well in all the pieces. My favourite is the fourth part, the darkest of the lot, and an exciting variation is happening.
I had not heard of Christopher Cerrone before; he works for voices and electronics. The latter is not to be understood as something with much live processing or sampling, as it stays very much in the background. The Beaufort scale mentioned in the title is “an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. Its full name is the Beaufort wind force scale”, and he has 13 steps, all with poetic descriptions, “Ripples with appearance of scales are formed, without foam crests” (number 1, there is also 0) to “The air is filled with foam and spray; sea is completely white with driving spray; visibility very seriously affected”, for the 13th. Cerrone has his cast of singers singing and reciting texts by Herman Melville, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anne Carson and the King James Bible. The singers are the Lorelei Ensemble, and the work is between the standard modern classical music, at least in my perception, but also with some interesting takes on minimalism; maybe in those places, live samples are used, and if so, it’s done very effectively. It’s different from the work when it’s conventionally singing and reciting. Yet, there are also exciting pieces of wordless singing with those minimalist tendencies that I enjoyed very much and throughout, it is a most enjoyable release.
A different league is Gabriel Dhrmoo’s work ‘Vestiges d’une Fable’. He composed this piece after musical research in india, exploring rhythms, melodies and ornamentations inspired by Carnatic music. And there we stumble upon something that I also have no idea about. His five pieces are performed by the musicians of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, which includes cello, percussion, double bass, trumpet, flute, oboe, bassoon, piano harp, clarinet and such; you get the drift. The inexperienced me hears no Indian music, but maybe I’m overthinking about Raga and George Harrison. This work sounds like fairly traditional modern classical music. Strange bending, staccato notes, voices speaking, mumbling, and some dissonant notes also sound very much like regular classical music. Again, untrained, inexperienced and all the usual restrictions I have. Do I like what I hear if any such notion is of interest being part of a review? I admit I don’t know. I played with interest, that much is sure, but then I play almost everything with interest. Is this something I will return to soon? I may return to this disc one day, but not more quickly. (FdW)
––– Address: https://coldbluemusic.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://cmccanada.org/

WOO – HO-HAA (CD by Circum Disc)

‘Ho-haa’ is a live recording of a concert, namely the first two pieces and a studio recording. Peter Orins (drums) has been playing in a duo with Paulina Owczarek (saxophone) for a few years. And Orins knows Christine Wodrascka from Sangliers, a French-American quintet with Dave Rempis, Keefe Jackson, and Didier Lasserre. And again the group name is a combination of the first letters of the members’ last name. First piece Why Not? lasts a whopping 35 minutes. And what a 35 minutes it is. Again depth in the bass drum, and the lower regions of the piano, since there’s no bass in this trio. It’s captivating music, minimal in another way than TOC, and yet again the same, sections with minimal melodic movement but with the same end result : intensely mesmerizing music without being boring to listen to. As a musician (or group) it might well be comfortable to hang on to a certain throughput that works, but then there’s the danger of not moving forward. Here that’s not the case. The piece floats by, shifts to other textures and gestures and time seemingly stands still. It’s almost a soundtrack to a (silent) movie. The other live track is minimalistic, or better yet pointillistic. Very soft noises on the sax, interspersed with piano intervals with a silent audience. Quite a feat ! It’s a walk in an English garden (Spacer W Angielskim Ogrodzie). Quite a few creatures can be heard in that garden. Hoo-ha is the title track and recorded in a studio. The sound is more direct and as a whole more dynamic than the live recordings. Still, a very nice closing track. The trio plays as a group with intent and attention. No pyrotechnics but constrained, and concentrated to make the whole better than the sum of its parts. And they did that very well. There’s wonderful stuff on this release. (MDS)
––– Address: https://circum-disc.bandcamp.com/

TERNOY, CRUZ & PETER ORINS – THE THEORY OF CONSTRAINTS (CD by Circum Disc)

Formed in 2008, the trio of Ternoy, Cruz & Orins (TOC) have released four records and a compilation of concerts including a reissue of their first recording. Other records found them playing with other people, with Dave Rempis on one and the other with The Compulsive Brass. Another acronym of TOC is the Theory Of Constraints. The titles are all related to that theory. It’s basically a theory to track down and possible eliminate the bottlenecks in a production process. From Wikipedia : “The underlying premise of the theory of constraints is that organizations can be measured and controlled by variations on three measures: throughput, operational expense, and inventory. Inventory is all the money that the system has invested in purchasing things which it intends to sell. Operational expense is all the money the system spends in order to turn inventory into throughput. Throughput is the rate at which the system generates money through sales.” Translated to the trio : Inventory is not money, but the instruments used, operational expense is the time used to record, mix and master the release and throughput is the musical content on the release. Plus maybe another use of the word constraint : namely the constraint of the musical material used. Without going into detail of each individual piece, there’s a time constraint on writing this review, I can say this : wow, these three guys whip up a mesmerizing sound world with minimal means. And the recording sounds gorgeous : the bass drum has infinite depth, the plucked strings of the semi-acoustic guitar shimmer and glitter like diamonds in the sun and the piano (that is likely prepared at some points in time, just as the guitar is in the Five Focusing Steps). It all makes for a highly enjoyable listening experience. It’s a bit like an acoustic version of a Swans concert without the vocals or a piece by Morton Feldman on speed. There’s also the spirit of Moondog lurking in the dark here. And the mastering has been done in such a way that you are in the centre of the trio and are surrounded by the sounds and repetitive patterns that get slightly changed over time. Play this one on volume 11! (MDS)
––– Address: https://circum-disc.bandcamp.com/

SPLINTERED – BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS (CD by Fourth Dimension Records)

Because we were going to see Splintered last week, somebody asked me ‘what are they like’, and had to dig deep and gave the wrong answer; “something with noisy guitars, voices and a rhythm machine”. During the sound check of this five-piece rock band, I knew I was wrong and real drums played a strong part in their music. The last time I heard their music was too much in the past, as these things happen. So, with a fairly traditional line-up of guitars, bass, drums and vocals, Splintered can be called a rock band. I admit I walked out. I haven’t seen a rock concert in ages and while I enjoy loud music, I also very much like to control the volume. An example is this new CD by them, which, on a home stereo, I find much more interesting. For one, the music has much more detail and subtleness, unlike what I heard live. Splintered’s music dips into the world of noise, industrial and minimalist rock drone of continuous repeating fragments. Most of the time, these are instrumental, but when Richard Johnson adds his vocals, these are howl, clouded by reverb, meaning rendered unknown. Before, I noted a resemblance with Ramleh, but music-wise, there is also a connection to Ramleh in their rock guise and Skullflower. Three of the six pieces are well over ten minutes, adding to the psychedelic vibe they play; hell, for all I know, there is even an improvisational aspect to the music. Sometimes, the drums take on a tribalistic piece, which I enjoyed, moving beyond the more standard rock beats. Unlike some of their much older work, there is very little of anything else, such as field recordings they used in the past or additional studio trickery to move the music beyond what I perceive ‘as intended’. On disc, they make a solid impression of a different kind; in concert, it’s about the heaviness, the in-your-face (and ears) volume, whereas the CD has subtle variations and a different kind of depth and aggression; plus, there is the listener to control the volume; in my case an important feature. (FdW)
––– Address: https://fourthdimensionrecords.bigcartel.com/

SYMBOLIST – THE AGE OF BRONZE (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)

There was a time when I received releases from this label in big bundles, and maybe it was our shortage of manpower to review all things improvised/free jazz/jazz and modern composition that we fell off the promo wagon. These days, new releases on this label come from artists directly, not the label. This one is the exception; maybe with the additional thinking, this is up our alley. Behind the trio Symbolist, we find Stephen Flinn (percussion), Roy Carroll (electroacoustic media) and Guilherme Rodrigues (cello and objects). I believe I only reviewed music from the latter. They recorded this relatively short piece (just under thirty minutes) on 30 October 2022 at PAs in Berlin, and I assume it’s a live recording. Even with the more unusual presence of something vaguely described as ‘electroacoustic media’, these 29 minutes are traditional improvised music. There is an emphasis on using dynamics, as some of this is quite forceful and loud (without becoming a noise thing) and very quiet and spacious (without becoming all too quiet). The cello and percussion sound most of the time as what one expects from these instruments, but there is enough room to play these instruments differently, with bows and create sustaining sounds. The trio gently moves through the material, with some interaction, rocking and back and forth on a slow river. There is nothing too hasty or rushed, and every player takes the room he needs whenever required to shine. Nothing you haven’t heard before (at least for me), but executed with great care and with this length also a most adequate one for some concentrated listening. (FdW)
––– Address: https://creativesources.bandcamp.com/

GOLDEN DARK – SO DEFT IN GLORIOUS HEADLINES (LP, private)

From Berlin hails Golden Dark and the members are David John Hull (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Elo Masing (piano, keyboard, violin, viola, backing vocals, percussion), who get help on this record by João Clemente (e-guitar, bass, drums, percussion), Ingólfur Vilhjálmsson (clarinet), Abigail Sanders (French horn), Gabriel Barbalho (trumpet). I didn’t recognise any of these names, but a quick search taught me that we reviewed Elo Masing’s music a few times before, all by the elusive and sadly missing-in-review action DM (I mention this elsewhere, too). He enjoyed Masing’s music. This is Golden Dark’s fourth album, which they call the most experimental to date; took three years to make and has influences from Robert Wyatt, Jandek, Harry Partch and Arnold Schönberg. I readily admit I am too unfamiliar with all four to say if that’s true. The music relies heavily on the voice of Hull, who is more reciting poetry than singing. The music is sometimes entirely improvised, without descending into much chaos and hectic, but rather forming a gentle backdrop for the poetry. But sometimes the music takes a more conventional turn, folk-like in ‘Never Find Those Words’, or using straightforward rhythms, such as in the title piece. You know me (well, you may know me) as someone who hardly ever listens to text; thus, I can’t say much about the nature of these songs. For someone such as myself, listening to noise, drones, modular electronics and ambient music, say the core business of Vital Weekly, this is hardly experimental. Still, in another universe, say the more traditional areas of music, this may be regarded as a work of the greatest experimentalism, and ‘my’ noise would indeed be noise, as in white noise. I wonder if Vital Weekly is the best place for this kind of, sorry to say, pop music of a weirder kind, but if you need a break from weird, noisy stuff, then this is recommended. (FdW)
––– Address: https://goldendark.bandcamp.com/

ARCANE DEVICE – N28: ASTRAL MACHINES (CDR by Pulsewidth)

‘N28: Astral Machines’ is the third time that N28 has popped up about Arcane Device, the music project of David Lee Myers. He uses his own name often, but occasionally also his old name, Arcane Device. ‘N28: Astral Machines’ is the final part of a trilogy (see also Vital Weekly 1368; I wonder if I reviewed the first one). As I wrote, I have no idea when he uses his name or the group moniker. There may be a rationale that Myers doesn’t share. There is something quite noisy about this particular work. Myers uses modular electronics, called feedback systems, connecting many modules and creating four dense compositions of brooding electronics. I could use the same ‘insect infestation on his machines’, crawling around, making impossible connections and bending his sounds back and forth. Noisy, but without sounding overtly distorted. With dense but mostly clean music, the listener can follow certain patterns in the music. A most curious piece is ‘Astral Machines Three’, in which there’s a continuous organ sound and some electronically generated tabla sound. For whatever reason I don’t know, these pieces happy a strange psychedelic hippie-feeling. It’s hard to explain why this is, but I loved it. The music is dark, as always, but not as dystopian as the previous instalment in this series, but then ‘Astral Machines Two’ has some machine-like sounds, so who knows? This could easily fit a soundtrack to life in Machine City or whatever Neo fights in ‘The Matrix’. Also, unlike the previous one, this one seemed entirely made with electronics and no field recordings were used. Four heavy-weight pieces of music pressing hard on your eardrums. I love it. (FdW)
––– Address: https://davidleemyers.bandcamp.com/

+DOG+ – PEACE (CDR by Love Earth Music)

Another release by Uncle Steve Davis from Love Earth Music and as with “To Share Forever With You” (reviewed in Vital Weekly 1404) the artwork used for the cover is by Cierra G Rowe. It’s like an interstellar being being crucified and maybe it’s given us peace. I’m still more into music than visual art, especially when it’s descriptive. Non-descriptive art, like noise or drones, opens things for personal interpretation. In the case of the artwork being partially descriptive (crucifix, heart, depiction of a human), a number of indications of where or how to think are given, but it’s not enough for me to see it. So, less descriptive would have added to my fantasy. But hey, who am I? I’m telling things so you can relate – or not – to the review.
I’ve been writing about +DOG+ stuff quite a bit. And this release is again different than what I’ve heard from him before. Even though this 16-track CDR (with two additional Bonus Tracks if you get it digitally) has many of the characteristics every +DOG+ release has, there is one thing I notice: a more pronounced place for synthesised sounds. For example, in “A Thousand Days”, it’s pronounced. I need to find out if it’s something new to his setup or if he’s chosen a different routing in sound manipulation. But that’s the fun part of non-descriptive art. ‘We’ve got fantasy, and we’re gonna use it!’
Another thing that I noticed is that this release is a bit more introverted than most of his other releases. There are more moments of minimalism and the purity of the atmosphere that Steve tries to capture. So even though there are moments of extreme noise, “The Glow From The City,” “Goodbye Fairbank School,” and that bonus track “Benefit” (o.m.g.), this album really breathes inner peace.
The final thing is that it’s fun to see Steve experiment more with different sounds and the same sounds. How a particular approach can be placed in different settings and create different additions or layers. At least, I think I can hear likenesses in “The Glow From The City” and “I Have To Be Strong & Brave Now”. Maybe that is what Steve meant by ‘being brave’ 😉 It’s a great release and one of my favourites so far. (BW)
––– Address: http://www.loveearthmusic.com/
––– Address: https://dognoise.bandcamp.com/

DOC WÖR MIRRAN – SYMPHONY IN C (YOU LATER ALLIGATOR!) (CDR by Marginal Talent)

Much like Instagon, reviewed, for instance, last week, and Richard Youngs, you never know what Doc Wör Mirran does next. But unlike those two, the Mirrans don’t go out to play a lot of concerts, and as far as I know, they may have released their entire gigography on CDR. You’d expect this group, who seemingly documents everything meticulously, to mention such things on the cover, but they don’t. On 2 March 2024, they were at the University Hospital in Leipzig, Germany, to open an exhibition of collaborative paintings by founding member Joseph B. Raimond and saxophone player Adrian Gormley. Along came Michael Wurzer and Sascha Stadlmeier, so with Raimond also on electronics, this turns out a rather electronic affair, with only Gormley on something different. Of course, humour is never far away, with their usual pun on a title from the canon of pop music, and of course, it has nothing to do with the rock ‘n roll classic. They made the recording with a pair of microphones, which creates a slightly muffled effect, blurring some of the elements. But maybe that would also happen with the sort of thing they play. The music is a dark soundtrack, somewhat out of balance at times, with Gormley’s saxophone occasionally piping up but not as jazzy/free as he does in much of their other work. He keeps within the slightly more distorted, industrialised atmospheres created by others. If Doc Wör Mirran is some psychedelic band, with elements of free jazz or ambient music thrown in, or at times a bit more industrial, this is their darker edge, thanks to how this was recorded. I admit I like things that are a bit clearer, with options to mix elements. Plus, there’s some fatigue on the listener’s side with this kind of full-on recording, sort of density without too many details, that makes listening not always the most accessible experience. I am sure Doc Wör Mirran don’t care about such things and thinks of this as another documentation in the band’s already rainbow-coloured history. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.dwmirran.de/

EAMON THE DESTROYER – ALTERNATE PIRANHAS (CDR by Bearsuit Records)

Right from the start of the first song on this CDR EP (24 minutes), when the vocals kick in, it reminded me of my last review of Eamon The Destroyer (Vital Weekly 1410) and how I think his voice sounds is similar to Edward Ka-spel. Another VW reviewer mentioned David Thomas of Pere Ubu. Other reviewers mention Stereolab, King Creosote with Swell Maps vibes, Flaming Lips in a burning tumble dryer, Momus sharing magic mushrooms with Cornelius and Ivor Cutler and Sweet lo-fi Sparklehorse. Lots of this means very little to me, as I am firmly outside the world of pop music of any kind (not because I want to, but simply because of have no time). Pop music is undoubtedly the definition of what Eamon The Destroyer does and the five tracks are alternative versions or takes of the album I reviewed before. I wrote about Ka-spel and “some of the music was also a bit like The Legendary Pink Dots. It is a bit stripped down, a bit more on the guitar and a bit less on the electronics, and overall, a bit more of the weird pop music variation. You can wonder if this fits Vital Weekly, but we do have space for the Dots, so why not? I realise there are various this kind of not fitting in whatever else we review, and I keep saying this. Still, as something to distract you from your regular digest of drones and noise, this is another one to try out.” I am told these five are ” a little noisier and a little more chaotic than the finished album versions”, but I readily admit I didn’t notice this. There is so much music going around that I didn’t recognise the pieces from before, even after repeated playing. It’s a pleasant diversification from whatever else I am reviewing all day, and that’s great; plus, it’s the kind of thing I like anyway (without the necessary points of reference). Excellent! (FdW)
––– Address: https://bearsuitrecords.bandcamp.com/

TILTH AND WIND TIDE – ANEMOIA (CDR by Editions Glomar)
TAMARISK – HOUSE OF THE PEOPLE, PROPERTY IS THEFT (CDR by Editions Glomar)
RAYN SEWARD & ANDREW WEATHERS – LAMINAR INTERIORS (CDR by Editions Glomar)
REEDER & SEWARD & WEATHERS – TWO BALLADS FROM THE HIGH PLAINS (CDR by Editions Glomar)

Over the years, I reviewed some releases by musician Andrew Weathers and his Full Spectrum label, but certainly not the entire catalogue. Now, he starts with Editions Glomar, and Weathers is present on all four of the first batch. This sub-division is a low-key label for his own work or the various groups he’s involved. Each release is an edition of 100 copies with a carton sleeve. I guess it’s a label for archival purposes.
Tilth And Wind Tide is his quartet with Gretchen Korsmo (electric piano, electronics), Nathan Mclaughlin (modular electronics), Cody Yantis (bass clarinet, piano and synthesiser) and Weathers on guitar, lap steel and electronics. They recorded the three pieces already in 2022. From what I remember of Weathers’ previous releases, his music has an improvised feel but is slower, spacier, experimental, and somewhat folky. In some ways, his music has that ‘cabin in the woods’ quality, that rural tranquillity. Tilth And Wind Tide is, in that respect, no different. The four players move around most delicately, as if not wanting to go all too loud, but that’s not to say this is a full, quiet release; actually, far from it. The music buzzes and breaks, squeaks and wails, but also has some fine buzzing drones and sustaining sounds, in which these more solitary sounds float around. There are three pieces, of which ‘Gather, Scatter’ is the more abstract, and ‘Doubleness’, with its more significant role for the piano, has a gentler, melodic touch.
The next one, and I am going through these in order of catalogue numbers, is by Tamarisk, a trio of Weathers with Christina Carter and David Menestres, and no instruments are mentioned on the cover, except that ‘Property Is Theft, the second piece here, has Laura Cocks on flute. They recorded the first piece at Casa del Popolo in Montreal, which explains the title, ‘House Of The People’. The second was recorded at the PIT, Brooklyn, so who knows? PIT stands for ‘property is theft’ (which comes from the 19th-century anarchist Proudhon if I remember from studying anarchism all those years ago). I believe Menestres plays bass, Carter sings/voices, and Weathers on saxophone (as we’ll see, he plays that too) or guitar. Tamarisk was on tour for two weeks; these two pieces were the highlights. Here, we are definitely in improvised music territory. Carter’s use of voice doesn’t blow me away, as this is the kind of free improvisation use of voice that I don’t like. She’s quite the dominant player here, with the other two freely bending strings in that hectic, nervous, free improvisation mode that one has to love. I hear some delicate interaction and prefer the quartet line-up over the trio one, with the flute adding lighter shades to the music, moving away from the lower end of the bass, bridging the higher voice range. Solid free improvisation!
Weathers plays tenor saxophone on ‘Laminar Interiors’ and Ryan Seward’s percussion. There are two pieces on this CDR, 30 minutes and 1 second, and “recorded in the Colorado Piedmont and High Plains on 9 September, 2023. With saxophone and improvised music not always something that belongs to my A-list of enjoyment, this could be where I don’t want to go, but this is an exciting release. First, both instruments are traditionally used sparingly; the saxophone plays long-form, sustaining notes, and the percussion is scarping objects over surfaces or an isolated bang somewhere. Topped with the quite cavernous recording, and it turns out these recordings were made in an abandoned agricultural silo. The music resonates gently in this space, and the musicians use this to significant effect. By not playing all the time, they use silence to considerable effect or near silence. A small bump echoes on, and this duo loves small sounds interacting with the big ones, filling up this space with a mass of them. Some of these near-silent sections go on for quite some time, allowing the listener to sit and wait for the next thing to happen or go on a total concentration effort, trying to hear everything. I prefer the more straightforward approach, not so much concentration but waiting for whatever comes next.
On Glom4, the trio disc of Weathers (this time lap steel and tenor saxophone) along with Kory Reeder (double bass, electronics, gongs) and Ryan Seward (psaltery and electronics), they return ‘home’ to Wind Tide, Littlefield, Texas and 11 November 2023 they recorded two pieces, also of almost similar length (27:21 and 27:39). Perhaps it’s the use of electronics by two of the three players, or perhaps it is because Seward and Weathers have this interest in sustaining sounds (to some extent, as just experienced), the two pieces are even more sustaining. There is a “microphone-in-room” approach to the recording here, and the sound almost becomes palpable, verging on the world of feedback. Scratching, scraping and bowing and everything being amplified makes the music very present, near explosive, yet that never happens. These two lengthy pieces are packed with intense sounds; there is no escape possible from this music, requiring (demanding, maybe) your attention without any room for anything else. The music is two massive blocks of sound rolled out like immersive waves. Buried in these waves are small particles, popping up, disappearing, morphing and colliding with the more giant waves. The Weathers/Seward duo is my favourite of this quartet of releases, and this trio comes second; perhaps they are so much in contrast with each other, and all four showcase Weathers’ many interests in music and what it could sound like. (FdW)
––– Address: https://andrewweathers.bandcamp.com/

SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE – AUTO​[​2] (cassette by Mahorka)

It may not have been quiet for Somnoroase Păsărele, but it’s been a while since something came my way. I never got to the bottom of how this duo, “Sound & illustration: Gili Mocanu / Assemblage: Miru Mercury”, works. Still, they somehow get their stuff done (I think I mention this in every review I wrote about their releases). There was a previous release called ‘Auto’, which I reviewed in Vital Weekly 1133, and they put away their longer pieces and showcased a pretty diverse sound. “It is a bit of everything; one can hear the influence of techno music, industrial music, minimalism, and cosmic synthesisers”. It is an approach they liked as they repeat it on the ten tracks of ‘Auto[2]’. The influence of Pan Sonic is present, even when not to similar harshness, and mixed with more ambient drones, but with more urgency and presence. The one thing not changing is the darkness of the music. While not as dark as some of their more spaced-out material, this is reasonably dark stuff, and as such, it’s not the commercial side of all things techno. While some of this sounds aimed at the dancefloor, I don’t see a situation in which people dance around. There isn’t enough emphasis on the bass drum to fulfil that side of the music. The cosmic element of the synths used adds to the more mellowed approach. However, the music never becomes anywhere near the ambient house.
Seeing the first ‘Auto’ received a remix treatment, also not necessarily leading to massive dance tunes, I wouldn’t be surprised if they repeat the experience for this release. I guess there are lots of interesting sounds in here to rework, fitting the nature of the music. (FdW)
––– Address: https://mahorka.bandcamp.com/

EVAPORI – DER VOGEL TURLIPAN (cassette by Fragment Factory)

The title is a poem by East German writer Peter Hack, which I couldn’t find online. There is an animated film from 1977 based on the movie; that’s all I could find. “It tells the story of the quest for a non-existent bird, which ultimately leads to different discoveries along the way”, so the label informs us, but “instead of just setting the poem itself to music, Peters creates an environment for the text – a sonic mould, or scenic imprint, created both for and by the poem”, which I think is the more exciting approach; making it more abstract and thus being able to enjoy also as a more abstract piece of music. Oliver Peters is the man behind Evapori, who works with lengthy intervals but has been around for more than 20 years. I only heard a few of his releases. Unlike his previous LP (also for Fragment Factory, see Vital Weekly 1238), this new, relatively short cassette (20 minutes) deals solely with field recordings and treatments. As far as I know there aren’t instruments used, unlike on the LP. Was the LP a mix of various styles and interests, this cassette is a musique concrète work, cutting and combining sounds, perhaps adding some electronic elements. Maybe he derives these elements from the field recordings; they are unique and modular systems. Whatever the case, it works very fine as a musique concrète work. If you need something to compare, think of Roel Meelkop or Marc Behrens, but stronger on using field recordings and, in various ways, untreated ones. A great work, but sadly way too short. (FdW)
––– Address: https://fragmentfactory.bandcamp.com/

RAUS / NAHTONERFAHRUNG – AN UNS, DIE WIR HIER SIND (cassette by Zustandsaufnahmen)

This was the first I had heard of anyone related to this release. But returning home from a week’s holiday (did you miss us last week?) I’m a bit like: Let’s listen and see what happens. And this Cologne-based label surprises directly.
It’s a split tape, 10 minutes per side, starting with Raus. Even with only 10 minutes, there are four tracks named ‘Illusion’, ‘Allegro’, ‘Adagio’, and ‘Scherzo’. Consider this a sort of electronic composition following the rules dictated by classical music. Or is there another link towards classical composition techniques? Musicwise, you hear a lot of cymbal-based sounds: Tapped, hit, and, I believe, bowed. And ‘Adagio’ even has some rhythmic structure and manipulated layers. The final track, ‘Scherzo’, is the noisiest and sounds like a classical interpretation of old-school Death Industrial.
Nahtonerfahrung, on the reverse side, does things entirely differently. Their /his / her 10 minutes are divided into no less than 7 tracks, of which the longest is over 2 minutes. The music is a harsh approach to sonic experiments with a Dadaist choice of titles. All of the tracks are short enough to create an atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy the modulations or sounds, and at the same time, they need to be longer to become irritating for non-noise lovers. I would see this as a sampler of Nahtonerfahrung’s sound design, which is promising. I’d like to hear an album of sorts where these sounds are transformed into compositions if that is possible within the conceptual approach of the project.
Final remark: a fine release which should have lasted a lot longer. (BW)
––– Address: https://zustandsaufnahmen.bandcamp.com/