Number 857

ZBEEN – STATIS (CD by entr’acte/Ripples Recordings) *
SILENCIO – GONE (CD by Three:four Records) *
THE HOGWEED AND THE ADERYN (CDR by Wounded Wolf Press) *
AMALGAMATED – SPARK II (3″CDR by Intangible Cat) *
I WANT TO KILL EVERY HUMAN – NEWFOUNDLAND (cassette by Bill Murray Tapes) *

ZBEEN – STATIS (CD by entr’acte/Ripples Recordings)
Releases on Entr’acte from the UK appear with great regularity, in small editions and perhaps because of that hardly land on this desk for review. Too bad I think. But sometimes they reach us because the artist mails it to us, like Ennio Mazzon here, in duo with Gianluca Favaron. They already had a release together as Zbeen, ‘K-Frame’ (reviewed in Vital Weekly 818), which I quite liked a lot. Among them they use programming, digital signal processing and field recordings. Here we have two quite long pieces, one of thirty-two minutes and one of sixteen minutes and it seems to me that these pieces are more or less improvised in the studio. It seems, this time around, a bit less dense than on ‘K-Frame’ and the website says “Stasis elaborates the mathematical metaphor but shifts the attention from the geo-metric theme of ‘the frame’ towards a more physical approach to structures such as vector fields and particularly examining the response of the particles placed within them. The basic premise is that the sonic behavior exhibited by the source particle will depend on the shape of the fields. Specifically, the scope of Stasis is essentially the definition of the potential field of a hypothetical acoustic behaviour.” Which is a bit too much mumbo jumbo for me, I think. I am not sure if I like this over ‘K-Frame’… something tells me I liked that one more. The whole music here is perhaps too fragmented, too chaotic, perhaps too much improvised and in need of some more editing. What I liked about ‘K-Frame’, the shorter, more uniform sense of a ‘piece’ (composition if you will) is something that I miss out here, certainly in ‘Sky Stillheten’, the longest of the two. The other one, ‘Flytende Stillheten’ is more alike it, but then perhaps a bit long in it single minded use of drones. While still a most enjoyable album, not as good as its predecessor. (FdW)

The fourth album by Sjaak Overgaauw, also know as Premonition Factory. He’s Dutch man living in Antwerpen, playing guitar and electronics. The CD cover has some pretentious wording, such as “nothing is the absence of something/sometimes a synonym for silence/the period before you start playing/after you played the last note. You start from nothing/less is more/the magic will come, eventually/record it, and release it/. Send your music into the world/the magic must be heard/otherwise it might end as nothing/in theory”. Now, I have no idea why he put that on the cover. Sorry. Maybe that explains why I have a problem with the title too. It’s all a bit too much. According to the press release however this new album is ‘both like the closing of a chapter and the beginning of something new’ and we are urged to play this loud. Which is not my idea of this kind of mood music, which I like to have on relatively soft – well, it’s hard to explain I guess. How soft or loud one plays music is very personal. I must admit I don’t hear a new direction in these six new pieces. Overgaauw uses the book of ambient like he’s always done, taking Vidna Obmana, Brian Eno and Robert Fripp as his prime sources. Long sustaining sounds, in which we no longer recognize the guitar or the bass, which he apparently uses (but we never see in the pictures), and once again Overgaauw delivers an excellent album of first class ambient music. There is nothing new under the sun here, but that’s alright. Ambient music is just a very well defined field, and as such nothing new should happen. Fans know what to look for and Premonition Factory deliver high quality music. (FdW)

SILENCIO – GONE (CD by Three:four Records)
Julien Demoulin is the man behind Silencio since the early 2000’s and has released as such various albums, including one for Three:four called ‘When I’m Gone’ (see Vital Weekly 821). Here we have three new songs, including ‘Gone’ which receives a remix from Bruno Fleutelot and Ken Camden. Silencio is not a solo project, but a project in which Demoulin receives help from Nicolas Lecocq (keyboards and synths) and Bernold Delgoda (bass, synth and electronics) and the man himself on guitar, field recordings, bass, synth and electronics. It all sounds both highly moody and atmospheric, sad even, but also (post-)rock like and ambient. Melodic music more than abstract. Slowly, majestically drifting music, which, not unlike the album, is something one may have heard well before. That’s hardly a problem, I should think. If you like music that is released from such fine houses as Kranky or Thrill Jockey, then this is surely something you would like too. An excellent production of some moody, grey textured autumn tunes. Nothing special, nothing new, nothing special, but I quite enjoyed it. (FdW)

Some time has passed between ‘Passagenweg’ (see Vital Weekly 662) and ‘Miniatures – Song Recycle’, Pierre-Yves Mace latest work for Brocoli. Before that he also had releases on Tzadik and Sub Rosa and Mace is a composer of electro-acoustic music, but also plays as a pianist in a pop band. On ‘Miniatures – Song Recycle’ the voice has an all important place. Mace took them from youtube, where people sing a cappella and added his own brand of electronic processing in some of these pieces, and in others just the piano. In those pieces he harks back to the tradition of ‘lieder’, say Schubert. These are miniatures indeed: twenty-seven pieces in just over forty minutes, ranging from twenty-some seconds to three-some minutes. It’s this short approach which makes this a great CD. Everything seems to last a few seconds/minutes and the next thing can be totally different, until you start recognizes a pattern, more or less. We have a musique concrete like piece, based on field recordings, followed by a piano/vocal piece, followed by a musique concrete piece, etc. Sometimes these might be short, so the whole work acts like a collage of sounds and ideas. It’s not easy to see a relation between the two different ends, but it makes a fascinating journey all along. Unlike ‘Passagenweg’ which I liked but thought was too long this new one is something that I like in its entire form. Strange and captivating music.
I know I reviewed Sebastien Roux’ CD ‘Songs’ on 12K, but couldn’t find which issue, but it’s on the 12K website. I didn’t think they were ‘songs’ as such but rather small collages of sound, derived from computer processed guitar sounds. ‘More Songs’, has thirteen pieces, but five pieces of ‘Obliques’, seven parts of the title piece and the CD opens with ‘Creancier De Secondes’. All three of these pieces deal with acoustic instruments, none of which are played by Roux, but by others. In the title piece he uses transcriptions of Beethoven’s 10th string quartet, and in ‘Obliques’ he uses the sounds of just a violoncello. That is, I guess, the statistics of this release, now onto the music. Before I thought Roux’ music was nice, but didn’t stand out from many of his peers working with laptops, electronics, digital processing, and this new CD doesn’t make me change my mind. I actually do like the music here, well, most of the times, as there are still some bits I thought were too haphazard put together. But as a whole it works fine. The sounds he processes are not always nice musical gestures, glissandi worked into finer drones, but also the more ‘extra’ sounds, the improvisational aspect of some of these are used by him which is nice. What I do miss however is something that I could his own, his own music, style, niche or whatever you need. Like before it sounds like so many others working with perhaps similar computer software and working out these sounds into nice miniatures (again!) of computer music. It sounds great, let there be no doubt about that, but that is sometimes not enough. (FdW)

People like Marc Behrens may seem to move out of our sight, but that’s because they are more and more active in the world of art, building installations all over the world. Like for instance in China, were Behrens created ‘Unit’ in 2008. ‘Five pairs of floor-mounted frame drums and hanging loudspeakers. The frame drum resonates, depending on the sound pressure level from the speaker, which hovers a few centimeters above it, suspending from the ceiling’. In the sound part of this installation, Behrens uses sounds from stones, crickets, cymbals and drums. It’s a five channel installation and the audio composition consists of ’57 figures of varying duration, which would be automatically selected by an aleatoric script on a multichannel DVD that feeds the audio into the installation. On this CD we hear a stereo mix which was recorded in 2009 in a silent warehouse, and edited to make this piece. This is indeed ‘installation music’ I was thinking. It works along a small number of sounds, mainly the frame drum I think. It’s an austere work of minimal sounds, but, mind you, it’s not quiet throughout. Only in the middle it is a bit more quiet than in the beginning and the end of the CD, but that last no more than a few minutes. This is music to be played at a low volume, I would think, and have it on repeat for a while (not that the latter is available for a reviewer!). All of these few sounds occur in various configurations and after a while it gets something that is perhaps even zen like. This is perhaps not the most thoroughly composed work by Behrens, but maybe more something of ‘free flow’, but it’s a very fine work indeed. Even cut loose from seeing the installation, and it works quite well as a piece of music. (FdW)

Perhaps as a point of reference I got along a copy of the new Bernardo Devlin CD ‘Sic Transit’, a copy of ‘Agio’, his 2008 release. At least that’s what I hope for, and not that someone out there seriously think I would review a CD from 2008. Devlin is a singer songwriter and perhaps his music is not something that we review a lot, or easily. Perhaps because it moves outside our boundaries, beyond our references. But Devlin was also a member of Osso Exotico, during their first two albums, so he earned, at least in my book, a big thumbs up. Recently I saw a concert by Dutch Polar Twins, a  group around singer Dirk Polak (erstwhile of 80s new wave band Mecano) and Mark Ritsema (of Spasmodique fame). I am reminded of their music here. First of all Devlin’s deep voice full of melancholy is very much alike that of Polak, but also the music is a like. Likewise melancholic, but also with a nightclub/atmosphere about it, and Devlin crooning away. Apparently it’s all sung in Portuguese, but it could be Russian at times, or Hebrew at other times, and that too ties him in with the likes of Polak. The instruments are that of a rock line up, drums, guitar, bass and piano. It’s pop music for sure, but then for adults. People who are tired of getting to a shady club watching kids invent rock for the 1000th time again, but who are also not ready to dedicate their live to seeing one concert a year and choose say Simply Red again, but who want some good, intelligent pop music, perhaps a bit melancholic, maybe theatrical, dramatic, but with honest, lived emotions (I assume!). Its indeed maybe not the kind of music that we review a lot, or that I would call myself an expert on, but this is surely something I quite like a lot. (FdW)

A new name for me, just across the river, in Nijmegen’s competing nearby town, Arnhem (and close by Veendendaal), a trio of Hans, Chris and Remco, called Vasten. They started out in the summer of 2011 and record every time they are together, messing around with feedback. If the recordings are good enough they are committed to a release on CDR. So far there have been two of them, ‘Hands On And Drunken Sleep’, with a session from 9 January 2012, and ‘Beyond Tapestry’ , recorded 9 April 2012, both at the Kolfkamer, I assume their living room/rehearsal space/studio. There is no indication of instruments here, but my best guess is they all play guitar and each has their amplifier to ten 10, and stomp boxes all open. ‘Beyond Tapestry’ sound a bit far away, as if the microphone was just outside an open door, which is a pity since their New Zealandish approach (think Sandoz Lab Technicians) work quite well on this one. lo-fi, crumbling, vague and disoriented/disorientating. The other one is much louder – closer by recording, normalized – which makes it more rock like, free, improvised but rock like. Here we can recognize the guitars of course even better, but also the bass. But it’s also the older of the two recordings, so I was thinking: what’s it gonna be for the next release? I’d surely hope more of the vagueness of ‘Beyond Tapestry’, but then perhaps recorded a bit better? And maybe they could consider a better presentation too, maybe a website? Just a thought to move on up in the ranks of drone rockers: they surely deserve it. (FdW)
Address: <>

Shame File Music’ honcho Clinton Green sometimes works as Undecisive God and sometimes under his own flag, like on this release. Here he set up an ‘acoustic turntable’ (which is what exactly? A turntable that uses electricity?), set outside in his backyard and where plays objects and percussive instruments. So we hear him putting on these objects, the occasional wind/bird/dog. I thought this was quite nice, but perhaps more from a conceptual edge than from a musical one. And that could have been differently, but the concept here is extended to four pieces (I guess to give it that full conceptual edge) which don’t seem to differ that much, but which seems way to much, especially since each lasts around thirteen or so minutes. Now here’s what I was thinking: since I love 3″ CDRs – perhaps the only one in the world who does – it would have been conceptually right, and musically good, to have a twenty minute piece of this and nothing else. Just the right amount one could use, to know what it is about and like it. I could always play one out of four I know, but its not the same thing I guess. (FdW)

Quite recently (Vital Weekly 854 to be precise) JKH reviewed a CDR release by The Hogweed And The Aderyn, a duo of Atay İlgün and Gözde Omay from Turkey. Now there is a new one, likewise without a title (I think, because looking at the pictures on their website and comparing it to what I got, it seems they send me some sort of promo copy, which, as we are never tired to outline in our review submission guidelines is not the way we do things, but it’s a quite day, so let’s pretend we didn’t see this, but next time we surely do), and a short note saying ‘Dear Frans, we would really appreciate if you could give it a listen to this promo copy and write a review’, which I took as a personal invitation to listen to the music, and thinking, perhaps, they didn’t like JKH’s review (or perhaps they thought it took him too much time, but then given the amount of donations received we better not give our day job stuffing boxes at the supermarket, so for some it remains a hobby). I heard a bit of that previous release and decided it was not very much my kind of music. A bit too dark and folky for me, I guess. This new release, six tracks in twenty-seven minutes, is announced as “rather more dark, sparse and maybe a bit more weird follow-up. Not leaving the eastern folk influences or the pastoral mood of English countryside , the sound is enchanted and enhanced with more eclectic wooden instruments and is yet more poetic and adventurous”. It starts out with an indeed mysterious, almost electronic piece, called ‘A Retreat’, but the four songs after that are indeed folk like with touch of middle eastern sensibility to them. I assume they use traditional instruments in creating this music? There are flutes, tabla like percussion and perhaps the Oud, but hey, I’m hardly an expert so maybe this is all sampled together for all we know. While this is not really the sort of music I particularly like, know a lot about and find myself in any way apt to say something about that makes sense, it also something that I enjoyed listening to. Unlike Devlin, reviewed elsewhere, which in some way I can refer to with things from the (new wave) past, this is something that is more difficult for me to relate to. It’s good, it’s fine and it’s perhaps not really part of the Weekly world I am. (FdW)

AMALGAMATED – SPARK II (3″CDR by Intangible Cat)
Following ‘Spark 1’ here is now ‘Spark II’ by Amalgamated (see also Vital Weekly 842), a group including Cory Bengtsen (Rebekah’s Tape on sampler, keyboards, saxophone, turntable), Bob Newell (of Headless Ballerinas Underwater on sampler, keyboards, percussion, drum machine), Mike Richards (also of Rebekah’s Tape, but also the man behind Makeshift Music and Intangible Cat on guitars, effects drums, percussion, keyboards and tapes), Phil Klampe (of Homogenized Terrestrials on keyboards and sampler) and D. Petri & Gus Kumo on editing and mixing – just like before (I copied that bit from the old review). They have been playing for about eight years now and at long last decided to release some of their music. Elsewhere I say I love 3″ CDRs, which is true, but I wouldn’t mind getting a full length of Amalgamated (especially since their first release had lots of copying errors on my copy). They play some intelligent music, of psychedelica, exotica, weirdness, musique concrete, dance beats and even in ‘Aura Siphon’, the longest cut here, a nice jazzy/trippy drum loop and spacious piano. All cleverly sampled together, perhaps from other sources, and maybe we should call this plunderphonics, but due to the absence of voices, and the krautrock exotica of ‘Musst’, its more Nurse With Wound than Negativland. Excellent music all around, and while this is on 3″CDR, I had it on repeat for quite some time this afternoon. (FdW)

I WANT TO KILL EVERY HUMAN – NEWFOUNDLAND (cassette by Bill Murray Tapes)
Brandon Feris is I Want To Kill Every Human. He’s been playing music since 2005 as such, did a bit of touring, released a cassette in 2007, a 7″ in 2008 and now another cassette, in an edition of 50 copies. It’s a ten minute work of very harsh noise, perhaps even from the type of walls, harsh, noise. I am not sure. I could ask Jliat to review this, but then maybe the artist is not happy with such an expose. But is he more happy now that I glanced over it, and thought: it’s about time I went back into noise again. I did this too when I was young and perhaps not as good (who knows), but maybe I improved over the years? I do remember making noise as having a good time. Easy to produce a lot of work without too much consideration. I can create a computer file with similar amount of distortion. You know what: I’ll start next week. (FdW)