number 1066
week 3


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DAVE PHILLIPS - RISE (LP by Ideal Recordings)
TECH RIDERS - IN THE SKY (CD by Gold Soundz / attenuation circuit / Korm Plastics) *
IM WALD – ORION (CD by Wide Ear Records)
IDEALISM VOLUME II (LP compilation by Ideal Recordings)
LASZLO KOVACKS/FREIBAND (cassette by Powdered Hearts) *

DAVE PHILLIPS - RISE (LP by Ideal Recordings)

On the cover of the first new release by Dave Phillips I find some text which has my complete
agreement: "selective perception is the tendency to not notice and more quickly forget stimuli
that cause emotional discomfort and contradict our prior beliefs. selective perception is the
process by which individuals perceive what they want to in media messages while ignoring
opposing viewpoints. it is a broad term to identify the behaviour all people exhibit to tend to
"see things" based on their particular frame of reference. it also describes how we categorise
and interpret sensory information in a way that favours one category or interpretation over
another. in other words selective perception is a form of bias because we interpret information
in a way that is congruent with our existing values and beliefs. human judgment and decision
making is distorted by an array of cognitive, perceptual and motivational biases, and people tend
not to recognise their own bias, though they tend to easily recognise (and overestimate) the
operation of bias in human judgment by others." There is more, but this is supposed to be a
review, not an endless quote. Phillips says what I have been seeing around me for a while now
and that is too many people looking for the confirmation of what they think, and not the opposite
of what they think. I am more of what Karl Popper calls falsification; 'is what I believe correct, or
can it be refuted', and one should look for what refutes what you believe and adjust accordingely.
These days many people believe to see much that is 'false', 'post-truth' or 'propaganda' (the latter
of course state controlled obviously, in connection with mainstream media, another conspirator in
that regard), but hardly try to find out if what they believe is actually verifiable. I am not sure how
Phillips sees all of this, but recently I was engaged in an e-mail discussion with him, because once
too often I called him a vegan, fighting blind for animal rights. I didn't investigate enough, I guess,
although as easily one could also say that in the world of art, interpretation of art with a political
view is not always easy.
    On this new release Phillips presents one long piece, almost an hour long, and it's not easy
to see a relation between his text on the cover and the actual music; maybe my perception gets
blurry from time to time? Or perhaps it is that I find it hard to see 'meaning' in music, other than
what comes next to the music, like cover texts. This is a piece of music that has all the trademarks
of Dave Phillips. Most of the time the music is very loud, but it's not really noisy per-se. Phillips like
his sounds to be loud. As for sound input he uses piano, drums, field recordings (frogs, for
instance, I believe to hear in the first half of the disc), as well as a bunch of very vibrant electronic
sounds, which crawl around the slow majestic and very sparse instrumentation. Sometimes the
whole construction breaks down and moves into an entirely different direction. This happens
around twenty-two minutes for instance, when the forceful dark mood is broken down and
instead it becomes softer yet also creepier. It builds up towards a crescendo, including a desolate
push on a drum until that that collapses as well. This sort of collage technique is nothing odd for
Phillips, and yet somehow he seems to do things even better than before. I am sure a word like
'refinement' may not mean much in the world of noise, but what Phillips does here is very refined.
    Then a day later another new Dave Phillips release arrives and it seems like he released this
privately himself. It's a double CD, spanning almost 160 minutes of music and a 16 page booklet
of sounds he recorded in South Africa; I assume on one of those organised field recording trips
that are a bit beyond my budget (seeing 'thanks to Pro Helvetia Johannesburg' perhaps also a bit
beyond Phillips' budget). You get what it says on the package, and that is 'raw field recordings'
made in the Mmabolela game reserve, Kgalagadi transfrontier national park, Marioth nature reserve,
Oribi Gorge nature reserve, Amatigulu nature reserve and Isimangaliso wetland park. There has been
some equalisation used on these recordings, as well as panning but otherwise no 'audio treatments,
effects or manipulations have been applied; many tracks are single recordings, some are layered'.
All of which has noted on the cover of the release. Now this being a selection of wildlife sounds by
Phillips, and if one knows his music, and I do, it is hardly a surprise that this is some very loud
music; Phillips likes extreme sounds and nature provides us with as such ('Nature Is Noise Enough'
was a piece from a long time ago. And it should therefor be no surprise that he recommends the
listener to play this loud. If one has ever been to a country with lots of nature and wildlife animals,
one can imagine that some of the frequencies from nature are quite ear piercing. I am not sure if
Phillips emphasises some of those through equalisation but most of this is truly extreme (and I
admit I played this a bit louder, as per the instruction). Lots of animal sounds, frogs, cicadas,
hyenas, fruit bats and many more, along with more general sounds from water, ponds and wind
sounds. It is all massive in approach and yet there is however also room for more gentle pieces,
such as the twenty-two minute at the end of the first, an 'after sunset soundscape and Harris
weir', with animals and water sounds. Hardly extreme and almost ambient music. Obviously, since
this is a release by Phillips there is (not on the package, but on the press release) how much
longer this will all exist, in times of global warming, pollution, erosion and whatever tricks mankind
is up to. It would be a bad thing if we said 'oh well, at least we have the recordings for future
generations'; let's hope the real thing will be there for others to hear; so that we are able to hear
the same thing as Phillips did; maybe to verify his claim that this is beautiful and that there have
been no touching up of sounds.
    And then, the next day, and another Dave Phillips release lands on my desk. This surely must
be coincidence, even for someone who produces a lot. The LP comes with the most text, a heartfelt
essay about the current state of our environment and men's continuous efforts to destroy that
as fast as possible; some our current leaders even stating that global warming is a hoax and fossil
resources are endless, so alternatives are not necessary. I do see however a bit of contradiction
here, and surely I am wrong, and that is that for the production of a LP also fossil resources are
needed, a paper is used to manufacture the cover and the two inserts. Wouldn't a download be a
better idea? Oh, perhaps, taking in account the cheap labour to produce computers and all the
electricity needed to keep the Internet going is another burden on the environment. That said
however I think Phillips message should be taken seriously and again this is not easily reflected in
the music. There are seven pieces on this record, even when it is not easy to see when one stops
and the other starts. That has to do with the start/stop editing that Phillips applies throughout
his music; of the three releases so far this is one that has the most musical pieces. There is
rhythm, through loops of noises, multi-layered voices, punches delivered by Rudolf (Phillips
is a member of Schimpfluchgruppe) and there is even hints at melodies, and I have no idea how
these were generated. It is heavy music, just like the first CD heard today/yesterday, but not as
heavy as that. There is surely a somewhat lighter atmosphere in these pieces; perhaps that is the
musical undercurrent of all of this? This too is a great record; a bit different than the other two,
which are also not very much like each other, and all three show that Phillips is a most remarkable
composer of noise music, and that it is very well possible to work this out into three quite different
directions, and yet each of these has a distinct Phillips signature; and that is not only because of
the political manifestoes that each of these is granted with. (FdW)
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With ‘Uninhabit’ this Vancouver-based unit of seven players release their fourth album. Participants
are: Stephen Lyons (guitar, voice, percussion, electronics), Morgan McDonald (keyboards), JP Carter
(trumpet, electronics), Dan Gaucher (drums), Skye Brooks (drums), Shanto Acharia (bass), Jesse
Zubot (violin, electronics, mixing). They deal in melody-oriented avant rock. Progrock references are
also traceable, for example in the title-track. The five tracks on this cd are all composed and
illustrate that structure is a theme for these guys. The music is instrumental with the exception of
‘Wonder what we’re whispering for’ that is sung by bandleader Lyons. ‘Cause B’ shows them from
their most aggressive and – therefore - most satisfying side. The closing track ‘Everything Moves’
ends in an exalting mood. Their music is solid and entertaining, and pleasantly out of tune with
what is going on in the world of rock music as far as I can perceive. A group that persistently
follows its own path. And that’s a quality. (DM)
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Some Some Unicorn is a project led by Shaun Blezard, an English composer and improviser with a
special interest for digital technology. Some Some Unicorn started as an online collective project
of improvisers and other artists. In 2014 they debuted with ‘Some Some Unicorn and The Golden
Periphery’ on Clutter Music, Blezard’s own label. This first release came into being by collaboration
via the Internet. After this first release the project became a live event of 8 up to 14 musicians,
focused on free improvisation and ambient drones. ‘Unicornucopia’, the second release, counts
ten improvisations played by over fifty musicians, recorded on four occasions in different line ups.
No wonder a wide variety of instruments is used here, making the music very colourful. Afterwards
Blezard mixed everything. No idea how intensive this mixing was, co-creating what we hear on the
cd. Yes, it is difficult to grasp what is happening. Sections of improvised music feel like slightly
moving entities, drifting in the air. Music that moves like a smell that fills the air. A kind of jazz
that evidently is influenced by ambient textures and drones. To use another metaphor, the music
is like a tapestry full of nuances and details, somehow making up a coherent whole. Fascinating
stuff! Music with a message too: “That’s how communities work best. Mutual respect and listening
to each other. Working together.” (DM)
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It was in 2010 that film director Peter Strickland invited Jean-Michel van Schouwburg and Adam
Bohrman to Budapest for work on his ‘Berberian Sound Studio’ movie. To make the trip more
worthwhile Strickland arranged a concert of both with Zsolt Sőrés and Budapest-based English
musician Oliver Mayne. This turned out to be a successful combination. So we have following line
up on this extensive release: Zsolt Sőrés (viola, toy synthesizers, circuit bent toys, dictaphone
tapes, lo-­fi sound sources, contact microphones, effects, objects), Oliver Mayne (vibraphone,
synthesizers, contact microphones, effects, objects), Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (voice) and
Adam Bohman (acoustic & amplified objects). With guest vocals by Hungarian poet and
performance actress Katalin Ladik on ‘Poets Of The Absurd On Chalk’. ‘Elephant Pastry Dream’
and ‘Gastric Samba Honkers’, both pieces lasting about 25 minutes, were recorded in 2010 on
their first meeting. ‘Poets Of The Absurd On Chalk’, lasting about 20 minutes and the one hour-
long ‘Intergalactic Gulash Vs Sneezawee Gaspacho’ were recorded in 2013. On ‘Intergalactic
Gulash...’, but the other tracks as well,  the abstract vocal work by van Schouwburg impressed
me. He is a bit of an obscure artist for me. He is from Brussels and worked for years as a member
of the Collectif Inaudible since about 1984. On ‘Poets of the Absurd on Chalk’ we witness an
intense duet between the vocals of van Schouwburg and Ladik. But there is more to enjoy in
these improvisations. These are very open and spatial sound- and noise oriented improvisations
for voice, viola and vibraphone accompanied by a whole battery of objects and effects. Fine
textures and not a dull moment if you take time to plunge into their sonic world. The recordings
differ in quality but are well balanced. A release by the London-based Inexhaustible Editions. (DM)
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TECH RIDERS - IN THE SKY (CD by Gold Soundz / attenuation circuit / Korm Plastics)

On a rainy and quite freezing evening in March 2016 Sindre Bjerga and Frans de Waard found
themselves in a garage like space in Amsterdam Noord. Artist's space De Ruimte was to be the
closing gig of a short European tour the pair had absolved in the past weeks. Which, by their own
admission was fuelled not only by willing warm crowds, but also by quite hefty doses of alcohol.
Neither cold nor booze prevented Bjerga nor De Waard to produce mesmerizing solo sets that
night. Bjerga worked his kitchen sink psychedelics verging on noise drones from home made
tinkering with springs and assorted goodies. De Waard played a Modelbau-show experimentally
probing the droning properties of pre-recorded found sounds through an assortment of portable
cassette players. Following these two sets, Bjerga & De Waard joined forces as Tech Riders. Seeming
on the fly, but surprisingly attuned to each other’s work and modus operandi, the signature sounds
of both acts merged into a rustling and bustling symphony of drones and noises – Luigi Russolo
would have been proud. "In the Sky" preserves this little tour with a selection of eight pieces,
recorded not only at De Ruimte, but also at Eindhoven's TAC, Atelierhaus23 in Hamburg and
Cologne's Baustelle Kalk.
    A jarring blast of white-hot rasping noise opens the proceedings, taken from the Amsterdam-
gig. Low waves of resonance drones helicopter below high pitched sweeps while agited percussion-
like plodding brings to mind the revolving blades of the aircraft. In the Sky indeed. Take off for what
flows into more mellow territories; spacy-age synth glimmer like chrome cast metal hulls in pale
moonlight. Meanwhile on planet earth, bagpipish sounds carry a tech-folk torch for the sullen,
wandering with eyes wide open, gazing at the stars above. Amazingly, this sounds huge;
technicolour large like the stretched void landscapes in Urs Amann's painting adorning the LP's
of Klaus Schulze. Mellow ambient featuring stretches of manipulated field recordings is juxtaposed
with a cute beat that makes the head nod, accompanied by a choir of bleeps, squeaks and jibberish
straight from Kubin.  Massive swells of Jarre going kraut collide with concrète cut-up improv
'poetry'; seemingly with the greatest of eases – just like that. Just before the bitstream runs out,
the Tech Riders, again, fill the torn space between stellar and earhtbound as the closing track slowly
builds to a fortissimo finale where layering is presented with the L writ large; Las Vegas style large in
bright neon lettering. When masters join forces like Tech Riders records like In the Sky are treasure
troves listening upon listening, with new discoveries of layers at your disposal, to peel slowly and
hear. (SSK)
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Lamour Records is based in Gävle, Sweden with a catalogue of experimental and electronic music.
This release however is neither electronic, nor experimental. It is an album of chamber music. ‘Ghost
Inside Ghost’ is also the name of  ensemble of composer Anna Erikson: My Hellgren (cello), Asa
Nordgren (soprano), Sara Sjödahl (prepared piano, accordion) and Anna Svensdotter (flute). Erikson
is a composer from Gothenburg and wrote for a variety of ensembles and soloists. She debuted on
cd in 2009 with ‘Moose Imitating Moose’ with works for cello and guitar. This new recording counts
ten short compositions of an accessible nature. Contemporary music but not avant-garde. The
composer works from a tonal vision. With music that is harmonic and melodious. The title track is
a composition in three parts inspired on a few bars of Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D major. It starts
with a fresh and up-tempo theme that is reworked and treated in the second and third part. ‘Ba’ is
a percussive piano piece, with a rhythm-driven pulse. This also counts for the minimalistic piece
‘Sutra (part 1)’, where a Buddhist sutra is recited. ‘Sutra (part II)’, in contrast, is a melodic song.
Other compositions breathe a romantic and lyrical atmosphere, like ‘Psalm’. So, a collection of
short compositions that is very different, showing that Eriksson is capable of composing in
different styles. However the works are interconnected as Erikson explains: “some bars or ideas
are often transported from one piece into another. Sometimes I compare my compositional
technique with my grandmother's cuisine: her dinners were made of yesterday's leftovers, which
 in turn were made on the leftovers from the day before. In a way, the same goes for my music”.
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IM WALD – ORION (CD by Wide Ear Records)
After the wonderful release ‘Ich Als Du’ by Dalia Donadio and Linda Vogel as Schwalbe & Elephant,
a new and rather short release by the Swiss Wide Ear Records. This time it concerns Im Wald, a
project led by Tobias Meier. A young musician from Zürich who started Im Wald as collaboration
between Swiss and French musicians: Matthias Spillmann (trumpet), Frantz Loriot (viola), Nicola
Romanò (cello), Raffaele Bossard (bass) and Tobias Meier (sax and composition). From what I
know Meier debuted with ‘Philippe & Paul’ in a duo with pianist Marc Méan also on Wide Ear Records.
On ‘Orion’ Meier profiles himself above all as a composer of chamber music with a minor role as a
player. The CD contains three works: The short piece ‘Flächen’, ‘Nebulae’ and ‘Orion’. Meier
composes music of a reflective nature’ leaving room for decisions by the interpreters. The music
moves slowly forward and is built from long-extended notes and patterns. Built from delicate and
poetic sound blocks of a static nature. It is more about space than it is about time. Music that is
atmospheric and quiet, but also demanding. (DM)
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Fifth album by this trio from Lille that is around since 2009, and exponent of the active and
innovative Circum-Disc scene. Jérémie Ternoy (Fender Rhodes), Ivann Cruz (guitar), Peter
Orins(drums) are assisted by following brass players: with Christian Pruvost (trumpet), Sakina
Abdou (sax), Jean-Baptiste Rubin (sax) and Maxime Morel (tuba, trombone). Each release
documents a certain project. This time New Orleans is the source of inspiration. At first glance
obvious references to ragtime, marching bands, professor Longhair, New Orleans funk are missing.
But the way the horn blowers choose their own directions, and coproduce a pleasant wilderness I
can relate to the behaviour of horn players in marching bands. Especially in the closing track ‘Kat
Kid’. But the blowers are embedded in strange, circular patterns by guitar and drums. The music is
like a constant stream of strongly interconnected playing by the trio, drone-based, with hypnotic
effects and sometimes leading up to an explosive climax. All four tracks are the result of collective
improvisation. Another fascinating and captivating album by this obstinate trio from Lille, in an
inspiring coproduction with Compulsive Brass. (DM)
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With the cover of Nazi imagery and Hitler speaking on the first track, this would have been entirely
out of date in the mid nineties when it was released on a cassette in an edition of thirty copies. All
of those things were then old hat, relics of the 80s, Whitehouse, Come Organisation, Iphar, Broken
Flag and more of these industrial/power electronics artists and labels. But maybe, with the change
of times, 2017 being as grim as 1980 at the height of cold war, deserves another wake-up call?
But is it a wake-up call to include some swastika's and Hitler speeches? Is it confrontation, shock
value, genuine dedication to the Reich? It is always hard to say, but since the alt.right choose
pathetic clichéd synth-wave music as their official music ('the whitest music') and not power
electronics (as opposed to what Come Org wrote in the first Force Mental), I'm sure even the
alt.right have no idea what to make of the true ideology behind bands as Murder Corporation. All
the other elements of power electronics are checked off; there is screaming, there is feedback,
there is distortion, and damaged records of more Nazi speeches and singing. Although there are
index points, this runs like fifty-six minutes of radio drama about life and death in the third Reich,
with sounds of destruction, as plain as it can be, through the damaged needles playing scratched
records and the horrific sound of distortion. Maybe it's an alternative soundtrack to 'Triumph Des
Willens'? It is either that or the pleasure through pain, which is also something that runs deep in
this neck of the wood. Not entirely my cup of tea; and there is always the neighbours to watch out
for; what they hell is that weird guy playing now? Hitler? WTF? (FdW)
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Guitarist Geir Sundstol has an impressive career as a session player and left his marks on more
than 260 recordings. In 2015 he debuted with the solo album ‘Furulund’. This one received a good
press, and probably motivated Sundstol for this next step. He wrote all the material that is on this
new release, except for the traditional folk tune ‘Gråtarslaget’, and ‘Tony’s Theme’ that was written
by Giorgo Moroder. As on ‘Furulund’, Sundstoll is assisted by David Wallumrod, who plays a variety
of keyboards and synthesizers, as well some other musicians. Sundstoll himself plays above all
diversity of  guitars, but above all pedal guitar. Recordings took place within a few days in St.James-
church in Oslo, known for its excellent acoustics. Of the eight tracks on this album two are
performed by Sundstoll solo. One of them, ‘Røk’, with Sundstol just on pedal guitar satisfied me
most of all the tracks. As a composer Sundstol takes inspiration from folk, jazz and traditions of
world music. They miss however on original touch, and don’t tell anything new. But it is fine vehicles
for Sundstol showing his mastership as a performer on pedal guitar. So let’s say, of interest for
everybody who is in search for something beyond Ry Cooder. This is accessible instrumental music,
but nothing earth shaking. Perfect for soundtrack-use I guess.
Wallumrod is an established composer from Norway. There are three earlier release of him available
on Hubro Music. A solo album, ‘Pianokammer’, a duo work Brutter and the collaboration with
Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, called ‘Untitled Arpeggios and Pulses’. But with his ensemble that is
present on his newest release he made already five albums for ECM between 2001 and 2012. We
hear Eivind Lønning (trumpet), Espen Reinertsen (saxophone), Tove Törngren (cello), Per Oddvar
Johansen (drums and vibraphone) and Christian Wallumrød himself on piano and harmonium. The
opening track ‘Haksong’ is the most conventional of the seven tracks on this album. It is an
innocent, catchy song. But then things change. No more songs, but unconventional, stripped
down often static structures. Minimalistic, using slightly dissonant clusters. Music that pleasantly
drips into your ears, like on ‘Arpsam. ‘Phoniks’ is an fascinating stream of intermingled sounds and
instruments. ’Klafferas’ is an intriguing sequence of unheard cascades. Funny too. Nice meeting
you, mister Wallumrod! (DM)
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Just like the 10" the miniCD is a format of doom. Not a lot of music to be a full length, too much
to be a single. But at least this miniCD looks like a full length CD, with the outer ring being all-
transparent, and only the twenty-two minutes of music with a silver layer; it's been a while since I
last saw one of these. They were more popular a decade ago, but somehow I doubt whether Asmus
Tietchens (or his label) cares much about popularity, and what to do or don't in that respect. He
does what he does, and it's a matter of take it or leave it. Over the years we have seen a seemingly
endless reduction in much of Tietchens music (although not exclusively), creating a very rich sound
with the most minimal sounds. Even when I know the music of Tietchens very well, and on a few
occasions engaged in a conversation with him, I have very little knowledge of how he works. I believe
to some extent he uses computer technology, and somehow I have this fantasy in which Asmus
creates a fully formed piece on his computer and then has some plug ins that effectively take out
certain frequency ranges and then takes what's left and feeds that into an entirely different plug
ins, reducing some more, or perhaps emphasizing a few other frequencies and he repeats that a
few times. Then he takes all the processed pieces, overlays them on each other, super-imposing
them, and then creates a gentle mix out of these residue sounds. It's a technique that works really
well, and can, in principle applied to all sorts of sounds, but also entire finished pieces, even by
others. Yet, I am not sure if this is what Tietchens does; somehow he seems not to be the
plunderphonics kind-a guy. The three pieces on this new release are all along these lines, and they
all sound wonderful; wonderful again, I should add. But then I am a big fan of the man's music and
there is very little that he does that I don't like. I could say he's perhaps exhausted the 'reduction'
by now, but secretly I hoped this would have contained two or three more pieces like this. To have
some change is fine but not always necessary; this is a fan boy speaking, so I am sure not everyone
agrees with me there. (FdW)
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Over the years I reviewed some of the work by Gilles Aubry, mainly in collaboration with others,
such as with Nicolas Field (in the duo The Same Girl), as a member of Monno, or in more ad hoc
groups of improvisation, very rarely, so it seems, a solo work by the man himself. He is from
Switzerland and lives in Berlin. Aubry calls himself a sound artist and researcher, using voices, field
recordings, music and sound archives. On this new album, (so, perhaps the first one I hear from
him that is solo) it is 'based on sound check situations recorded in Morocco between 2013 and
2014', and he explores Berber-Amazigh instruments and adding field recordings from the same
locations, in order to built two sides of sound collages. This is some fascinating stuff, I must say.
This is not your usual layering of some water/rain/sea/forest sounds, but a rather intense trip in
which Aubry manages to create a delicate balance between field recordings, which seems mostly
voices from local people (but also animal sounds), along with instruments, assumed to be play by
Aubry (wind and percussion mainly) along with some heavy electronic altering of all the sounds.
That adds a whole sort of 'electronic blanket' on top of whatever else is happening. It also makes
this perhaps a bit more alien than your usual field-recording album. At least that's what it did for
me. It makes up for some truly odd layers in this music; sometimes it seems as if the sounds don't
fit, with animal sounds, looped rattles and feedback/overtone textures, but at the same time it
works wonderfully well; while not moving at a fast speed, it is not easy to keep up thinking what
you hear, processing the experience. Rather than thinking about it, I would think that the best thing
is dive deep into this and simply enjoy the experience. This is headspace music and while it may
sometimes a randomly stapled collection of sounds, one will no doubt 'get' the music one way or
another, when played a couple of times. For me it certainly worked that way. (FdW)
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Patrick Tubin McGinley works, as Murmer, since many years is not someone who releases a lot of
music. In fifteen years, 'Songs For Forgetting' is his eleventh album and deals, as much of his other
work, with field recordings, but on this album McGinley explores also musical instruments. Zither like
such as in the title piece but he doesn't always conventional instruments, such as an old radio
antenna. The goal of each of the four pieces is to mix up field recordings (although these can also
be spaces in which the music is performed) and these instruments and come up with a more
musical context than what is usually the case with this kind of music. Four lengthy pieces, of which
the title piece is a fine string piece, mildly plucked and 'Another Song For Forgetting' works with
overtones and the rattling of objects; maybe the overtones are created with the use of feedback,
but it nicely wanders around. In 'The Third Song Of Forgetting' we hear, and perhaps for the first
time (and we are already on the second side), clearly the sound of sea waves, which seems to be a
first in the field recordings department. In the previous two pieces there might have been some
field recordings, but not a lot, or perhaps treated in some way that we no longer recognize them.
Once these waves have washed away, there is some beautiful overtone music left. I suspect these
to come from using a bow on a zither, maybe with a little bit of amplification. The fourth piece,
another variation on the title of the album, is the most chaotic piece. Here we have the sound of
fireworks, and a bunch of people (includes label boss Lasse-Marc Riek) plucking a bunch of stringed
instruments; I would think this recording is made outside, during those fireworks, and maybe the
playing reflects the chaos of fireworks, and perhaps such a piece makes sense after three rather
delicate pieces of careful bending sounds and colouring tones, to get something entirely different
but it also breaks down the carefully constructed mood and as such it didn't work out for me too
well. I rather would have another one of those more careful build sonic constructions, but with 3/4
of the record being absolutely great, who am I to complain? (FdW)
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IDEALISM VOLUME II (LP compilation by Ideal Recordings)

Label boss Joachim Nordwall is also a busy bee when it comes to playing music, solo but also with
The Skull Defekts and Saturn And The Sun, and with Ideal Recordings he produces quite a lot of
releases. I have no idea what his 'ideal black' is, but the cover of his LP is surely quite black and yet
there is a lot to see. The front cover shows the composer behind a table, which is covered with a
lot of instruments of an electronic origin. Nordwall is a man who loves drones played with
electronics, and the five pieces on this record show this very well. 'Black' is also the colour of the
music, should one think about such notions. This is music to be played very loud, to feel all
resonances bouncing around; anything softer will cut out the true power of the music. Nordwall
here doesn't play out the pure drone card, as in each of these pieces there is a sense of rhythm.
Slow rhythm, pounding like a sledgehammer. Around the rhythm there is a network of sounds,
crawling like maggots over the electrical connections made, interfering the buzz, or perhaps
changing the buzz. It works damn well, but as said, only when you play this very loud. Movements
within pieces are kept to a minimum, and throughout there is very light in the music. Everything is
pitched down, perhaps to what Nordwall sees as the ideal blackness in sound. It is quite depressing
music, but looking at the grim, cold January day, and/or the state of the world, this is perhaps the
perfect soundtrack to such times. Or maybe this is the uplifting soundtrack for times like this? I
prefer to think of that.
    I missed out on 'Idealism Volume 1', a four artists LP compilation by Ideal Recordings, but
here's volume two, with one piece each by Sewer Election, Copley Medal and Varg and two by
Alexandra Atnif. I assume a shared love for sonic extremes is what ties these four together. The
album opens up with Sewer Election, whom I heard before and whose noise I enjoyed very much
(Vital Weekly 819 and 655), just the sort of lo-fi approach I enjoy, with sounds captured on
cassettes and played back and recorded on similar old cassettes. That approach is also applied
here and Sewer Election delivers a highly obscure piece of… yeah, what exactly? Hard to tell, but
it could be some sort of instrumental jam captured from the next room on a Dictaphone. Alexandra
Atnif has two pieces, also continuing earlier work (see Vital Weekly 1010) and that is rooted in
overdrive mode of rhythm and noise. The rhythm is going to an array of modules and forms a
massive block of extreme industrial rhythm; the needles almost left the grooves here. Copley
Medal is the opener on the other side and like with Varg, I never heard of this project before.
There is quite some difference between both pieces. Varg is the noisy beast, starting out with
the sound of the monotrons but quickly expands to a wider field of noise. Copley Medal however
is someone who keeps things on a mellow side with mainly through the use of estranged percussive
sounds and moody synthesizer tones. The point of (un-?) rest is found in this piece, and after that
the storm of Varg arrives. Effectively four different approaches to 'noise' in its broadest terms and
it works all rather well. (FdW)
––– Address:


Last week tout underground of The Netherlands gathered in the famous venue Paradiso to
celebrate their status of being underground (or to fill a quiet night in a slow post New Year time?)
and if you weren't there, you weren't underground (enough or too much). With limited timeslots
everybody could play about twenty-five minutes and sometimes people teamed up to form new
alliances, and that of course is entirely underground. Sietse van Erve's Orphax teamed up with
Martijn Comes, who did not find himself a lot in these pages (just in Vital Weekly 928, written by
someone else), but who had also releases on Clinical Archives, Panospria, The Silent Howl and
Bastakiya Tapes. His work is inside the world of drones and ambient, whereas Orphax (of whom
perhaps everything that was released got a review in these pieces) is more from the world of drone
music. Very few of works by Orphax are recorded in collaboration with others, and in preparation for
their gig last Saturday, the two man sat together and a long session together, which was edited
and mixed by Orphax, right on time to have some merchandise. I am not sure how much of the
session ended upon the cutting room floor, as with seventy-three minutes this is quite a lengthy
release. It is great to hear Orphax doing something out of the ordinary, even when I am not
entirely sure who does what here. In the second half more than in the first half the almighty drone
of Orphax is played more, but even then it is all a bit more playful. It doesn't always work out too
well; especially in the first half it seems a bit chaotic, with sounds and atmospheres, which do not
match up, too well, I think. Sometimes it seems to me a bit too much of a search for the right spot,
and I would think this album could surely have benefitted from a bit more editing, perhaps even
when a reduction of fifty per cent. There is some fine potential in this music, but in these first
steps it is a bit buried among bits that are maybe haphazardly pulled together from drone sources,
rhythm patches of glitches and unnecessary doodling of sound effects, running freely over the
sounds. Keep it tight, make choices what the uniqueness of the collaboration should be and
explore that; that would my advise be and I think this collaboration could hit it off. (FdW)
––– Address:

LASZLO KOVACKS/FREIBAND (cassette by Powdered Hearts)

Freiband – the digital scratching project of Frans de Waard – presents a new rework on a cassette
single no less. Well, that short lived format didn't really carry any weight into this century, but
judging by these two tracks, it wouldn't be the worst of ideas to resurrect the good old 2 track
tape. Lazlo Kovacs delivers a bright and breeze beat driven quite summery synth pop ditty full of
melodic shine. Popomatic a go-go; cut short by the tape ending, but this could go on for ages –
times without a worry in the world; fit for festivals where you'd also find Palmbomen or Betonkust.
Clever that is, with a bit of tongue in cheek and a filled dance floor with no objective to catch any
sleep. If the a-side is smiles and rainbows and trim bodies with roaming hormones, then the flip
side features a surprising elementary dissemination thereof; limbs only, fragments of a melody,
even less of a beat. It's not really darkness descending, but more the sonic equivalent of exploded
cinema. As in: go beyond the screen or in this case: the speakers. Go further into the matter at
hand and work with the room, the acoustics, the vibe, the energy and start to twist and turn that.
Inside out and upside down might have been options, but De Waard explodes the view on the
original track totally. His side showcases a table of the elements and only by repeated listening one
gets some clues as to where a certain part (as tiny as it is) might fit into Kovacks' whole – like the
mother track hit the fan and was strewn across the dance floor, the venue, the ceiling and the
crowd still went nuts, so clammy, so cramped, so hot and sweaty. So: why make a cassette single,
a five-minute tape? Why not? Live life, listen and learn. Have some fun. Ok? Mental note: recharge
the batteries and first... find my Walkman! (SSK)
––– Address:

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All written by Frans de Waard (FdW), Dolf Mulder (DM) <>,
Niels Mark (NM), Jliat (Jliat), Freek Kinkelaar (FK), Jan-Kees Helms
(JKH), Michael Tau (MT), Peter Johan Nijland (PJN), Sven Schlijper-Karssenberg
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