Number 845

TBC – THE BIRTH OF GODS: INSECTA (CD by Monochrome Vision)
AUTISTICI – BENEATH PEAKS (CD by Hibernate Recordings) *
PARANOIZ – 387 (CD by Vajda Lajos Studio)
BLIP – DEAD SPACE (CD by Bocian Records) *
PBK – DESCENT (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
AMBIENT V.03 (software by Audiobulb)

Back in Vital Weekly 744 I was first introduced to the music of one Mendel Kaelen, then a student of neuro sciences, and a composer of ambient music. Although trained as a player of the spanish guitar, his CD ‘Remembering What Was Forgotten’ was a work of ambience and electronics. On his new release Kaelen explores an old Indian harmonium which he found in some basement. He spend two days of recording the instrument and then about a year treating the material. However by recording the instrument its not just playing some keys, but also recording the instrument in a more physical way: the wood panels, the metal pins, airwaves from the bellows and such like. The outcome of the work is something that is less drone based than his two previous works, but works much more as an electro-acoustic work, one that is only partially rooted in the world of drone music. its of course not absent, but its in ‘The Horse’, the third piece, that we fully hear this drone music being present. ‘The Cloud’ and ‘The Stream’ are interesting explorations of electro-acoustic sound, like touching upon surfaces rather than say drumming the object, if you get my drift. But even once the drones set in, the electro-acoustic rumble has not yet disappeared, like the radio wave like opening of ‘The Heart’. It all makes rather mysterious ripples on the surface and some great music. Quite a bit away from the strict drone fields, but not too much different from what we already know. Maybe some of these pieces are a bit too long for my taste, and just a tad too minimal in development, but maybe this should be listened to in a state of semi-consciousness: half asleep, half awake. (FdW)

TBC – THE BIRTH OF GODS: INSECTA (CD by Monochrome Vision)
The Russian label Monochrome Vision brings since 2004 music from classics of experimental electronic music world, such as Le Syndicat, Francisco Lopez, Asmus Tit Chen, Freiband and Arcane Device. TBC and Coloured Water Well take care of the last two releases.
TBC is a project of the German Thomas Beck. Since the 80s he has been active and started in the tape and international mail art network. He made radio, runs a DIY label, created a meeting for musicians and mail-music projects with Brume, and Das Synthetic Mischgewebe. And for now he releases his first full-length solo album. In four songs he takes us in his electronic world where minimal noise slowly changed into a white noise. In that the sound does not change, but due to the slow development. By the subtlety of the noise, which originates by sounds of nature and by samplers and synthesizers, the noise is not overwhelming. The Birth of God: Insecta is a wonderful album and an ode to the noise that nature knows it. The album “Arsonists Rebirthday Audition” Water Coloured Well is of one different order. Originally from Germany, but with another musical intent. Seven musicians and a visual artist came together in the Walpodenakademie in Mainz and went together to work without rules and without purpose. The result are seven improvisations and some drawings.Also here the musicians do not play over the top and are inspired by the multitude of angles and sound capabilities and achieve a surreal atmosphere. The drawings of Barbara Rössler are dynamically and related to the underwater life and not earthly. The music has the same intension. Not of this earth, but somewhere far away, where people are free to make music as they want. Two beautiful releases, highly recommended. (JKH)

AUTISTICI – BENEATH PEAKS (CD by Hibernate Recordings)
From the house of Hibernate comes a new release by David Newman, also known as Autistici, and probably best known for releases on his own label Audiobulb, but also on Home Normal and 12K. In the older days Newman explored also electro-acoustic qualities of music, but now his work is more about captured field recordings and drone like sounds. He plays piano, guitar, synthesizers and electronics, and I think he processes his field recordings quite extensively; at least there is mentioning of software called Ambient (by one Christopher Hipgrave). All of the field recordings were made in the Peak District, an area which I haven’t visited, so I couldn’t tell wether Newman creates accurate audio pictures of the place. I am sure he does. England is quite empty with a few concentrations with lots people in it, so to have a bit of ’empty’ music is nothing strange. In fact, Newman’s music is not that empty at all, but one needs to turn up the volume a bit, and lots more unfold itself, which seems buried underneath. This is music that sees a fine combination of ambient patterns and glitchy movements and perhaps as such is not much new under the sun, but I guess that’s not saying something new. However, the addition of musical elements, the tinkling of a guitar for instance, the plink of a piano and such like add not only a bit musicality to the music, also a great deal of warmth is added. An excellent work no doubt. Only 250 copies were made of this one.
In an even smaller edition, 150 copies to be precise, we have a release by Will Bolton. A long time ago known as Cheju, but in more recent years working under his own name on such labels as Time Released Sound, Cathedral Transmissions, Distant Noise and Hibernate, home of Rural Colours. here Bolton has five tracks which use field recordings from Krakow, Poland. As far as I can judge these matters – and I am usually wrong – Bolton uses these field recordings to mix them along fine woven drone patterns, which he crafts from keyboards, guitars and effects pedals. Again I assume that he uses one of these per track, so ‘Plac Szczepanski’ is all about guitar, in a fine older Oren Ambarchi style while opener ‘Rynek Glowny’ is more about glacial keyboard lines, moving majestically along each other. Somewhere inside these drone patterns we find the field recordings, which is a horse and carriage in a small street, people talking and other, more obscure sounds captured in the city. Bolton differs from Autistici in that he seems to be using the field recordings more plain and straight forward, embedded in long form drone music. Perhaps a bit less on the musical side, but then a bit more on the atmospherics and making hardly remarkable music, but another fine disc altogether. (FdW)

Brombron is a project in which two musicians will cooperate together in the studio of Extrapool in Nijmegen, a town in the Netherlands and will work together for a couple of days and will record some improvisations. The project is started in 2000 as a co-production of Extrapool and Staalplaat and hosted by Frans de Waard, who these days releases the result on his own Korm Plastics label. The aim is that the musicians can work together for a certain time. Wouter Jaspers and Audrey Chen had done a couple of concerts in Europe and the USA and the duo wished to work together to record some improvisations. In January 2011 they recorded eight tracks and played two excellent concerts. Audrey Chen is Chinese-American cello player and musician who studied at the Conservatory for both instruments. In 2003 she changed radically to improvised music and added electronics to her natural sounds. She lives and works now in Berlin. Wouter Jaspers works and lives also in Berlin and is a Dutch sound artist and experimental composer. He creates his sounds with electro-magnetic waves, analog synthesizers and modified electric guitars. He is also known as Franz Fjödor. The result of five days in the well equipped studio of the Extrapool is successful. Electronics will melt together with the natural sounds of voices of cello. The warm voice of Audrey Chen and ongoing cello parts fits well with the electronic sounds of Jasper Wouters or will take care of a dissonant sound. The searching tones will flow together with the noisy elements and the improvisations will keep modest and both musicians do never improvise too much, so the works are interesting and fragile. Soft parts and minimal sounds created by voice and electronics will vary the almost melodic parts and sounds to almost classic improvisation on synths and cello. The album is an alternately quest to the synergy of sounds and the musicians know how to find each other. (JKH)

PARANOIZ – 387 (CD by Vajda Lajos Studio)
I know an interesting solowork by Kalman Pongracz under the name of Rovar17. His album ‘Anything else Madness’ was a fine collection of noisy soundscapes. As he is a member of Paranoiz, I was interested in their new  album ‘387’. This new album however failed to interest me. Main participants are Attila Dora on saxes, Gábor Tóth on drums and electronics, Benedek Kovács singing bowls, guitar and mastering, Tóni Deszo on saxes and zither, plus Kálmán Pongrácz  electronics and computer. Undifferentiated, unfocused buildings of multilayered noise is what they deliver.  Everything is recorded live in the studio. Track two (no titles) is an ambient piece of music with some distorted sounds added. Track three is a free rock piece  in Faust tradition. In the closing track improvisations on sax are dominant. So they depart from different angles in each piece, but never reach a satisfying result. (DM)

Grasse I know as a member of the remarkable Los Angeles-based impro-combo Surrealestate. Here is a chance to meet him personally. Eleven works by and played  by Gustavo Aguilar (drums, percussion), Cristian Amigo electric guitar), Emily Hay (flute, alto flute and voice), Tom Steck (drum kit percussion) and Jonathon Grasse himself on electric guitar and violao de sete cordas. Grasse works as a composer and ethnomusicologist at an university in the Los Angeles region. In november 2011 Centaur Records released his cd “Chamber Music”, a collection of composed works for small line ups. Acoustic Levitation gives air to a collection of collective improvisations initiated by Grasse. I find it hard to believe these pieces are totally improvised, but liner notes state that we are dealing here with spontaneous collective improvisations. In my ears these improvisations sound as a cross between improvisation and composed chamber music. Also allusions of rock and popular music appear eventually. Traces of jazz I could not identify. This makes these improvisations strangely enough closer to chamber music then to jazz. The high level of complexity make me lose contact sometimes, but overall these improvisations are intriguing and fascinating. (DM)

Very interesting stuff from an unknown combo from Lille, France!  They are named Toc, a combination of the first letters of the last names of the members: Jérémie Ternoy (fender Rhodes), Ivann Cruz (guitar) and Peter Orins (drums). An interesting  line up, delivering their second album. They operate on a high musical level with clear and outspoken musical ideas.  Circum-Disc was started in 2004 by Circum, a Lille based collective of jazz musicians (including Orins). Now  Circum-Disc is an outlet for local improvised and experimental music. Back to Toc.  In the opening  track ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’  they built  impressive structures through thick repetitive patterns. Where this first piece moves towards climaxes and outbursts of energy, the second piece ‘Downward Trend of Increase’ is an extended kind of stationary improvisation on fender Rhodes and guitar, and drums in the background. ‘Iron to the buzz top’ has the drummer in the forefront, improvising, with a lot of noise. In contrast  ’You had a nap’ is a very easy and quiet jazzy exercise. ‘The title track is a very heavy and lengthy power piece. In ‘French tough’ Toc is most close to ordinary rock, but far from the usual stuff. The closing piece is quiet and open improvisation – post rock kind of – with the drummer in the lead. So this trio moves easily from one genre to another: noise, improvisation, rock, postrock, hardcore, jazz, zeuhl. It is all there.  So a multisided trio, but on the other hand you feel everything comes from the same source. Whatever they do, there is some obsessiveness in their music that makes them a little bit related to Magma and other Zeuhl-like bands. I had some breathtaking moments during this trip and felt exhausted at the end, but also deeply satisfied. Chapeau! (DM)

If you call your CD ‘Songs About Nothing’ its perhaps logical that the cover has no further information and the website (perhaps not updated yet) also has no clue. The second disc has one piece that last forty-three some minutes, the first disc has thirteen tracks in just under thirty-four. I will not go into the whole ‘why is this not on one disc’ thing; it is, for whatever reason, on two discs. Jason Lescalleet is not someone of whom we haven’t heard before, but at least I didn’t hear all that he did. He’s a man of lo-fi equipment, like ancient tape machines, tape loops, cassette machines and the low bit rate samplers. His music is along the lines of being super loud and very quiet. The aspect of narration is not present here, unless of course we look into the titles of the pieces, such as ‘The Beauty Of Independent Music’, ‘The Power Of Pussy’, ‘Friday Night In A Catholic Home’ – and we must conclude these are all very private. Its hard to say wether these short pieces are really short pieces, as without looking at my CD player it all sounded like one piece, moving through recordings of the fields outside, low humming drones from cheap organs and loud piercing bits of feedback. If there is a narrative, one has to come up one himself. What also should be noted is that there is very occasional an instrument to be heard, a guitar. Maybe Lescalleet taped a band rehearsal, or perhaps its an attempt to play something himself? It adds a strange small layer of musical history to the electronic music. A residue perhaps of the old days. ‘The Future Belongs To No One’ is the title of the long piece, spanning disc two, but apart from this being one piece, its hardly distinctly ‘different’ from the other pieces on the first disc. That hardly makes an overkill, I’d say, as Lescalleet moves expertly through the world of loud drones and soft spoken field recordings. The ending of the long piece is perhaps the strangest I heard from Lescalleet in a long time. I won’t spoil the fun of that, but boy, what’s he doing there? If you never heard of Lescalleet before, then this might serve as a fine introduction and if it made you real curious: he’s on tour in Europe soon. What our announcement section I guess. (FdW)

This is surely one of the more stranger, more curious releases I heard in some time. I was aware of the work of Matteo Uggeri, who is a member of Hue, Sparkle In Grey and Der Einzige, but Bob Corn seems to me new, at least for me. The duties here are divided thus: Uggeri is responsible for ‘binaural field recordings and steps’, while Corn plays guitars, sings and also receives a credit for ‘steps’. The two of them met up in 2009 and 2011 and walked together a bit, with Uggeri wearing his binaural microphones and Corn his guitar. The whole thing has the idea of them playing on the spot in which ever field they happen to be in, but perhaps its also a question of cleverly mixing these sources together. It sounds like an intimate journey, in which we invade a dinner at a family’s house, steps outside, birds, insects and such like. Like an audio diary of a journey, or a souvenir from ancient times. Corn’s playing sound like a early thirties blues recording – I think, as these are matters I don’t too much about. The field recordings of hot corn fields sound like dust from 78 rpm records. Timeless music perhaps. This is probably the odd ball of this week. (FdW)

Jukka Vallisto is, besides a member of Boris Morgana, working as Lost Weight and has being doing so for many years, as this collection of pieces proofs. According to the cover these pieces were recorded between 1995 and 2011. I am not sure why there hasn’t been a release before, but surely there are reasons. Lost Weight is all about recycling existing music, plunderphonics is perhaps the proper term. Vallisto has used anything from the Stooges to Debussy, from Pauline Oliveros to Hot Chocolate, from Mike Patton to Throbbing Gristle. Sometimes heavily reworked, some not a lot, but having said that, I must admit I didn’t recognize much in this, but no doubt that says more about me, I guess. Unlike the plunderphonics that made the name for the genre, say Tape-beatles, this particular brand of plunderphonics come without much added vocals, so its not in the political or social commentary area, and here its music pour la music, I guess. How can I recombine sounds and musical bits from more than hundred years of recordings and make them into something new? And since I didn’t recognize any of the original sounds and music used, I can safely say that for all I know Vallisto succeeded well. An interesting bunch of pieces, sampled neatly together, with great care and variation, culminating in a rather bluesy piece, ‘The Trickle Up Theory’, which reminded me of Moby. The whole spectrum of music is covered, but if there is a word needed to tie of all this together I’d say its ‘cinematic’ music. With introspective moments, with spooky themes and jubilant movements. Hard to believe its all about plunderphonics, as it sounds pretty ‘original’ to these ears. A great release! (FdW)

‘The Slaughterhouse’ is not the name of gruesome venue for harsh noise festivals, but, in fact, a slaughterhouse, in rural Alabama, just outside of Birmingham. Its run by a man and his son, processing meat of one animal at a time. David Micheal went there one day to record the day’s proceedings, and this is what is documented on ‘The Slaughterhouse’. From the early morning outside waiting, the actual shot, skin separation, cutting off various body parts of the buffalo and all such like, until the next animal comes in and gets shot. As far as I can judge this is not the work of political activism, not trying to convince us of becoming vegetarians, but a mere, honest documentation of all the action that takes place. Sometimes we hear talking between the two butchers and David Micheal, which makes it all the more interesting. Not much screaming of animals and not a lot of mechanical sounds, so it all sounds rather pre-industrial. I am not sure if this is something you’d stick on easily as a piece of music, but I thought it sounded rather fascinating.
Now a CD by Slawek Kwi’s Artificial Memory Trace you can always stick on as a piece of music. Build from field recordings but always ‘treated’ in some way. If I understand correctly, this new CD’s main work are the five parts of the title piece, lasting forty-four minutes. Its bookended with two pieces before that and one after that, making a total of almost eighty minutes. The title piece was originally a four channel composition, mixed down to stereo. Lots of field recordings and as is usual with releases by Artificial Memory Trace, its all detailed on the cover. Kwi uses elements from the world of minimal music, with repetition on a lot of small sounds, with small variations leaping in every now and then. Its some excellent music, with a great sense of collage and fine timing, transporting the listener to different places – a holiday feeling almost. Yet there are also two odd balls in this collection, both of them called ‘Monochrome’. The first one is a short two minute with sixty-four tracks of Cage’s voice – very apt in time for his anniversary. The second one is a musical piece recorded in a psychiatric unit in Dublin of endless strumming and mumbling voices. Not exactly, I’d say, something we should expect from Slawek Kwi, and perhaps a bit of too much of an odd ball perhaps. Maybe Kwi should consider a CD of the real odd balls in his musical output, providing of course he has more of such works.
Although not yet mentioned in Vital Weekly, in about a week from now, its will be 100 years ago that John Cage was born, and no doubt the official overground world are already celebrating, and perhaps the underground too. Maybe we see some tributes popping up in the announcement section. ‘Sounds Like Silence’ is the first of these tributes and is dedicated to perhaps Cage’s most (in-)famous piece ‘4’33’. Do I need to explain what that is about? I should hope not, even when there are a couple of interesting points to be made about it. I’d like to refer to Kyle Gann’s excellent book on this piece ‘No Such Thing As Silence’. On this CD ‘Sounds Like Silence’ we have a whole bunch of pieces that deal with the notion of silence, and was broadcasted as a radio program. Its also an exhibition and a book (hopefully one to review!) and on the CD we find pieces that deal with silence, mainly from previous releases. Various recordings of Cage’s ‘4’33’, announcements thereof, but also Jonty Semper’s silence on Armistice Day, empty rooms, cover versions (although none of the ’45’18’ compilation CD, oddly enough but then according to Gann ‘unobtainable obscure’), and makes up a great radio broadcast. Some knowledge of the German language is welcome, but many parts are by Cage himself, and other English speakers, so a great introduction to this piece. The audio part of Gann’s book and no doubt the exhibition. So, perhaps, to be continued, I hope! (FdW)

BLIP – DEAD SPACE (CD by Bocian Records)
Following last week’s release by Mike Majkowski, here is another release featuring his double bass, but here he’s in duet with Jim Denley in their band Blip. Majkowski gets credit for double bass, pitch pipes and objects and Denley for alto saxophone, flutes and balloons. Recorded last year over a two day period in a studio, so I assume there was something to mix (by Denley) afterwards. That’s about the extend which we know about. A disc of, and here is no surprise, of improvised music. Over the years I have enjoyed the work of Denley very much as he seems to me one of those players that use his instrument is an intelligent way, as an instrument, but also as an object. Thus he manages to make the alto saxophone sound like anything like a saxophone. His music is always closer, it seems, to electro-acoustic music than to improvised music. This is here on ‘Dead Space’ no different. There is a lot of ‘rattling’ sounds, of objects against surfaces along with the deep bass sound of Majkowski, which acts as a nice contrast with the somewhat more high end sounds produced by Denley. Like almost always with work produced by Denley this is more of an electro-acoustic nature than of an improvised nature. Excellent as usual, too.
I am not sure if I heard of Tomasz Krakowiak before, but he is a drummer, and on his solo CD he explores, in nine relatively short pieces (the album is just under thirty-one minutes), the nature of the drum kit. Is that the same as ‘percussion’? Interesting point of course, but I’d say they are the same. Although its hard to recognize a drum kit in here, or in fact any percussion instrument. Take for instance ‘Approaching Miller’s Creek’, which sounds like a train on rusty tracks, approaching from some distance but right from the start its quite loud. When we recognize a drum kit, in ‘Monterry’ for instance, it sounds like its being played by something mechanical that is about to loose control: fast and controlled. Krakowiak’s work seems more about field recordings than about improvised percussion music, or more about drones that carefully placed hitting and beating surfaces. The music is loud, but never in a noisy sense, not as piercing electronics, but rather acoustic, closely amplified surfaces that are played back with an enormous power. If you turn up the music quite loud the menace becomes an audible feature in this music. I thought Blip was good, but perhaps because we expect so from Denley and whoever he works with, but the Krakowiak release is mind blowing. Nine short pieces, but highly varied in all their minimal exploration of a single idea. Excellent stuff. (FdW)

Born in 1975, Czech Michal Rataj is an assistant professor of electro-acoustic music in Prague and a radio producer for acoustic arts at the Czech radio. The pieces on this release are an anthology of works from the last ten years, recorded in a variety of studios (Berlin, Berkely, Prague and at home). As I was listening to this music I was thinking about last week’s DVD by Christian Bouchard, and how Rataj could have as easily fitted on Empreintes Digitales with his release. I was also thinking that this whole serious academic electronic music is something that I perhaps don’t know a lot about. The eight pieces here, totaling seventy-five minutes of serious electronic music are surely a pleasure to hear. Sometimes its pure electronic music, and sometimes its in combination with an instrument, such as flute, voice or guitar. Not always Rataj knows how to grab me as a listener and sometimes I think it all is a bit too remote for me. But the  a certain passage happens and I think, ‘wow, that’s nice’. Apart from placing him alongside the music I usually hear from Empreintes Digitales, I found it very hard to place him anywhere. Good music, though not the greatest I ever heard from this world. But its remote and somewhat cold character perhaps is what’s bothering me most: it never really grabbed me. (FdW)

Already inside music and art for many years now, I do happen to know Danielle Lemaire pretty well, so she tells me about a lot of her activities. From all the musicians reviewed in the weeklies, there are very few I see on a regular basis, but Miss Lemaire is one. I do know she is in part of Indonesian background and that music and drawing are her main activities. In music, since that is what we are dealing with in Vital Weekly, Lemaire uses voice, small keyboards, percussion and it all has a very personal character. The songs she sings are ‘small’ and intimate, not always being in tune. That gives her music a slightly outsider like character, but believe me: she is hardly an outsider, and someone who knows what she is doing. On this new release it seems that ‘world music’ (for the lack of a better word) seems to have an important place. Gamelan like percussive sounds, the Vietnamese music from a sampling project earlier this year and influences from Chinese opera. Although I quite enjoy this, I must be honest: I particularly like the instrumental pieces, such as the largely instrumental ‘Bricks From The Balcony’, or the wordless ‘Set Me Free’, the long ambient piece of ‘Licht!’, or the nasty harmonium of ‘Schaduwtrein’. When its all the more obvious singing and playing keyboards, its something I’m not that interested in. But as said, this is all highly subjective and highly personal. Not just this reviewer’s opinion, but also the way Lemaire approaches her music. That is something one either likes very much or not at all. I walk a thin line between that; difficult, but the more experimental pieces proof its possible. Great looking digipack actually, very professionally made! (FDW)

PBK – DESCENT (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
Phillip B Klingler: that’s what PBK stands for. No secret but just in case you didn’t know this and that might happen, since PBK might not be a household name these days. Unlike the late 80s when he rose to small fame in the underworld of home-brew cassette releases. He never went ‘away’ or in hibernation, but perhaps was not always as visible in this twenty-five year career. I am not sure if this re-issue of one of his earliest cassette releases is part of a longer campaign to re-issue earlier works, or perhaps part of an anniversary of some kind, but its great to hear it again after so many years. ‘Descent’ is perhaps his first true solo release, and sees him take inspiration from Minoy and David Prescott, rather than Stockhausen of Xenakis (I am using the press text, thank you). At David Prescott’s he taped a whole bunch of synth sounds and spread these out over the four tracks of his machine and then started to mix them, adding more synthesizer sounds, tape loops and such like, and the result is one of the earliest instances of ‘ambient’ meeting ‘industrial’. It has that spacious character of ambient music, like being in a stream of sounds (as in a stream of consciousness) but at the same time has an angular character, a certain aspect of being nasty, that remote, desolate, empty industrial waste land image that makes it ‘industrial’. Composing is perhaps not the sort of thing that applies here, but rather a surrealist take on mixing odd tracks of sounds together in two long form pieces of music. Intuitive playing and mixing, a surrealist approach to the art of composing, that is what PBK is best known for and here he does a great job at it. An early work, but what a fine piece. (FdW)

AMBIENT V.03 (software by Audiobulb)
So what the hell I am reviewing here? Software? Things should get weirder than this I think. In the past I wrote about say novels that people send here, thinking we really review it all, but of course we don’t have knowledge about all that is available. But software, yeah why not, come to think of it. If I reveal a big secret then let me know, but I have been known to dabble a bit in music, and on various occasions even spoke out loud about the nature of composing and musical production during lectures and workshops. One of the things I always like to state is the fact that I am lazy. I would not pick up a piece of wood, carve it and attach any number of strings to it, and (re-)invent the guitar. Likewise I hardly sit down with a computer and built my own max/msp patch. Both of these things have been made already and even when you know how to alter them you have more possibilities, but I rather sit down and create something. Means are never the main issue. If I want something with a hissy walkman I will use that, if I think I need a computer thing I will use that. There is never this or that. So I have been using the same four old synthesizers for years, just as I have been using the same max/msp patch I once on the internet. Now unlike those synthesizers, (of which I have no manuals, obviously) which possibilities never seem to bore me, that max/msp may have had its time, no matter on what ferro tape I copy the result on. So occasionally I look for other stuff, but perhaps only if they appear in my face, so when in this still slow holiday I reviewed CDs by Autistici and Will Bolton, I read about this software bundle called Ambient and was curious enough to spend a tenner on it and see what’s all about. Perhaps partly to see what possibilities it has to offer but maybe also to see if musical production is really that easy – double check the CDs I reviewed. You can rest assured: the musicians did a lot more than have a software patch running, but its a simple and effective to use piece of software. You load up a sound from your computer, and even if you have no idea what these knobs are for, press ‘random’ and it starts to work your sounds – press random again and it does something totally different. But of course we all know what this sort of thing is about, so a bit more in-depth than. There are lines of knobs which you switch when the sound is running, changing pitches and grain size of the sounds, add delay or reverb, change that all along while playing and carefully create your own bit of droney ambient music. You can easily record the proceedings and use them later on – something of course which I recommend: compose with the results, as the results themselves are not finished compositions. You can’t layer them straight away, but nor should you want to do that straight away. What I miss in this sort of thing – here too – is an extended (graphic) equalizer, so that you can have a static sound running for some time, but play around with the equalizer and make subtle changes. This thing works well with short pieces, but also with long pieces – I even added a seventy-five minute sound piece and played around for a while. Knowledge of how pitches and granular synthesis work is always nice, but not required. The easy interface allows anyone to play around quickly and record straight to your computer. I am not sure how often I’d be using this one, but its certainly a great addition to the bits of software I have been using so far. Expect at least one new work soon from me, exclusively using this Ambient software. (FdW)

1. Lasse-Marc Riek <>

Traces begins with Tom Lawrence’s fascinating and soon unsettling insights into Ireland’s largest wetland Pollardstown Fen and its ongoing destruction through men. Furthermore he describes his elaborate attempt to record the fen’s rich world of water beetles and talks about the startling discoveries he’s made. Regarding the question ‘Phonography: Art or Documentation?’ sculptor Scott Sherk examines the history of photography and its parallels to the developing world of phonography via selected historical imagery. From moments of excited listening in his childhood Jim Cummings carries us to the founding of his label EarthEar and his eventual step into scientific fields with the Acoustic Ecology Institute. ‘Something which lasts, passes by’ is Marcus Kürten’s diverse and diverting collection of (mostly) joyous hearing memories from 36 sound artists’ childhood days. Researcher Hein Schoer grants insight into his cultural soundscape project The Sounding Museum and the formation and reception of his soundscape composition Two Weeks in Alert Bay.  The magazine closes with Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s 3-monthlong hearing and recording journey through the sound-world of Bangalore — sharing his experiences, discoveries and thoughts.


1. Tom Lawrence:
The Waterbeetles of Pollardstown Fen

2. Scott Sherk:
Phonography: Art or Documentation?

3. Jim Cummings:
My Ears will Never be the Same

4. Marcus Kürten et al.:
‘Something Which Lasts Passes By’ — A Collection of Hearing Memories

5. Hein Schoer:
The Sounding Museum — Between Art and Science: Cultural Soundscapes in Museum Pedagogy

6. Budhaditya Chattopadhyay:
Soundhunting in a City — Chronicles of an Urban Field Recording Expedition

Download here:

2. z’ev <>

here is a link to the kickstarter project that i hope will provide the funding to get my cine-cussion on the road

heartfelt thanks for any contributions and/or forwarding this email

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Snail mail: Vital Weekly/Frans de Waard – Acaciastraat 11 – 6521 NE Nijmegen – The Netherlands
All written by Frans de Waard (FdW), Dolf Mulder (DM) <>, Niels Mark (NM), Jliat (Jliat), Freek Kinkelaar (FK), Jan-Kees Helms (JKH) and others on a less regular basis.
This is copyright free publication, except where indicated, in which case permission has to be obtained from the respective author before reprinting any, or all of the desired text. The author has to be credited, and Vital Weekly has to be acknowledged at all times if any texts are used from it.
Announcements can be shortened by the editor. Please do NOT send any attachments/jpeg’s, we will trash them without viewing.
There is no point in directing us to MP3 sites, as we will not go there. Any MP3  release to be reviewed should be burned as an audio CDR and send to the address above.
Some people think it’s perhaps ‘cool’, ‘fun’, ‘art’ or otherwise to send something to Vital Weekly that has no information. Don’t bother doing this: anything that is too hard to decipher will be thrown away. Also we have set this new policy: Vital Weekly only concerns itself with new releases. We usually act quick, so sending us something new means probably the first review you will see. If we start reviewing older material we will not be able to maintain this. Please do not send any thing that is older than six months. Anything older will not be reviewed. In both cases: you can save your money and spend it otherwise.
Lastly we have decided to remove the announcement section of Vital Weekly that is archived on our website that is older than five weeks. Since they 95% deal with concerts that have been, it’s gentle to remove the announcement and more important the e-mail addresses coming with that.

the complete archive of Vital Weekly including search possibilities: