number 1096
week 36


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VACANT STATIONS - CLONES (CD by Winter-light) *
SAMUEL DUNSCOMBE & TIM OLIVE - ZANSHI (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
EMERGE - NARCOSES (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
KOMOREBI FEAT. EMERGE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
ORPHAX - DREAM SEQUENCE #4 (3”CDR, private) *
KINIT HER - THE BLOOMING WORLD (cassette by Brave Mysteries)
CHEAP IMITATION (cassette by Zeon Light)
VERNON & BURNS - FROM THE CABLE TO THE GRAVE (cassette by Akashic Records)


‘Clones’ is the debut album of London based Vacant Stations, who has a background in video and film
and is mostly concerns with the “theme of identity: A meditation on the conflict and pressures of
striving for individualism in an era of homogenisation, while considering implications about the future
of human identity as it inevitably merges with the technology it creates. A self-reflexive comment on
what have come to be regarded as dark ambient genre conventions”, which of course is right up my
alley as someone who happens to hear a lot of dark ambient. Yes, I agree there is a lot of dark ambient
out there and there seems to be quite some conventions. Maybe these conventions are necessary to
define something as dark ambient? Although one could argue if it is really necessary to use any
classifications at all, but for a reviewer it is sometimes useful to work with them; I guess for some
readers as well. Vacant Stations surely plays dark ambient music, let there be no doubt about that.
In the sixty-three minutes and thirteen pieces of music on ‘Clones’ this is very clear. Vacant Stations
however thought about doing a bit of variation in the pieces on offer. Some of this is the more usual
abstractions of heavily processed sounds, field recordings perhaps, synthesized and crafted into long
form drones, but sometimes, as in ‘Five’ (the only track that has a number, the others have titles)
there is a repeating sound in the form of a loop, of a single sound of an object falling on the floor,
whereas in ‘Load’ there is a melody shimmering through the forest of drones. Events like that make
up the variation in the music here, setting it aside from those albums with three of four long pieces of
similar interest that one perhaps find a more conventional album of drone music. It seems to me that
one convention is surely broken here and that is Vacant Stations wants to create a varied album, one
that is not strictly one thing or another and that is something I like very much. It is all very moody,
and all lovers of isolationist, dark ambient and drone music should surely hear this. It is enough
inside the conventions to be called just that and the album is a damn fine one. (FdW)
––– Address:


None of these names sound very Dutch but I believe they all live and work in The Hague, The
Netherlands, and of the three I recognized only Arvind Ganga, who plays electric guitar here and
of whom I reviewed music before. We find him in the right channel and playing the same instrument
on the left channel is Josue Amador, while Dirar Kalash plays in stereo his violin and electronics. The
five pieces on this CD were recorded in November of last year in their hometown. The music this trio
plays is from the world of improvised music, which is of course something I expected, knowing Ganga’s
own music but what I perhaps didn’t expect was that it sounded all a bit more noisy. The guitars are
at times somewhat distorted and raw, and the violin is scraped, bends and plucked with some furious
intent and all of this goes in quite some concentrated manner. There are five pieces on this album and
quietness is not something that allow a lot, but it is certainly also not entirely away. These pieces are
from the noisy of free improvisation, but a piece as ‘Dawn, Elevated’ has certainly also some kind of
rock inclination, within improvisation, within noise, but no doubt also free rocking, without any drums
of course. I very much enjoyed the groups interaction, the concentration on the repeating detail and
the power it unleashes. Fresh power trio! (FdW)
––– Address:


Back in Vital Weekly 936 I was first introduced to the music of cellist Lukas Lauermann, who had an
album with Pieter Gabriel on guitar. They are working as The Twentieth Century. Now Lauermann
comes with a solo album of himself, and it’s quite far away from that duo’s music, being Stars of The
Lid amplified by Sunn 0))). Lauermann is also working bands and projects like Donauwellenreiter,
Ritornell, Soap & Skin, Alasac, Mimu Merz and Der Nino Aus Wine. His solo music is much more about
modern classical music. Effectively there are a bunch of pieces performed here, which are connected,
like various parts of one composition. But for reasons I am not entirely sure of these pieces are not put
together as one group on the CD. There is ‘Words’, for samples of the cello, ‘Sterile Pressions’ for
improvised cello and ‘Augen Die Innen Aussere Dinge Denken’, for multitrack cello. All of the pieces
are quite sort and it almost runs flawlessly into each other. It is not easy to see this as various parts
of three pieces, which I believe is perhaps the downside of the album. It all sounds quite similar and
not as three longer pieces with smaller parts; solo cello music in a melancholic modern classical style.
Music that sits well along that string of modern composers, such as Nils Frahm or Max Richter,
regardless of the instrument that has been played. Only very few pieces here by Lauermann are
different, such as the very noisy ‘Sterile Pression 9’ or the slides played in ‘Sterile Pression 8’. Now I
must also admit I didn’t mind that it all sounded a bit similar. The album has a great flow, and
sounded beautiful, filmic, dramatic, sad, and occasionally plain strange. There are, within all that
may sound the same, a lot of microscopic variations to be enjoyed, which worked for me well on a
slow Sunday afternoon. (FdW)
––– Address:


Of the three players on this record I am most familiar with Michael Thieke on clarinet, through his
work with The International Nothing, The Magic I.D. and other works of improvisations and one of
that was with Biliana Voutchkova (violin/voice), see Vital Weekly 903. She also had a solo album
(Vital Weekly 1069) and plays with Splitter Orchestra, Zeitkratzer, Ensemble Modern and other
groups. Roy Carroll is the new guy, for me, here and he uses ‘electro-acoustic media’, which I am to
understand as “diverse objects and materials interacting through amplification and signal processing
to create multi-layered forms, orbiting around the kinetic nature of the transformation of electrical
audio signals into disturbed air”. Three of them worked together in three different duos so it’s perhaps
only logical to try and work as a trio. Early 2015 this recorded in Studio 8 in Berlin two pieces that
are now released. This is some very quiet music, one that makes every other activity impossible, or
otherwise you will surely miss out on some of the finer details of the music. You need to fully focus on
the music because only then you will fully realize whatever is going on here. It is not said it is quiet
throughout, although it never becomes noisy. Everything merges together in this music and sometimes
it’s hard to say what is what here; what is the clarinet, what is the violin, is there a voice and what are
the electro-acoustic media in all of this? You know, that sort of questions. This trio plays some long
form sounds, with odd interjections of sounds falling about; everything seems to be closely miked and
amplified and it delivers a fine detail of sound. This is music that go can get lost in, but which can be
perceived as very annoying, or so I can imagine, if you don’t listen closely enough or if you are not
willing to concentrate. I thought it was all wonderful stuff. (FdW)
––– Address:


On Moving Furniture’s Bandcamp page it says, “this is a very quiet release, tune the volume to your
own preferred volume”, which made me suspicious, thinking, “yeah, right, it’s going to be very loud”,
but much to my surprise it is true; this is a very quite release. Two pieces here, as recorded by Jean-
Luc Guionnet on church organ and Miguel a. García on electronics. For Guionnet working with other
people is about meeting; with another instrument, an idea or friends and maybe all of that is
happening here too. Miguel a. García is a very busy bee playing lots of people, on stage and on
recordings and I quite enjoy his collaborations; sometimes more than his solo work, but that too
already gave us some excellent work. I am not entirely sure how this particular meeting went. Is
there is some kind of processing going on, or not? I must admit I couldn’t tell. What it certainly isn’t,
and that’s actually great, is a drone record. Silence plays a very big role and the organ becomes much
more than machine that cranks out drone sounds. Sometimes every thing drops to the threshold of
hearing and there are just very few sounds. Maybe the rumble of some objects with a contact
microphone? By whom, I wondered? I guess both of them. Then there are also a varying degree of
blocks of sustaining sounds, with Guionnet doing stabs at the organ and García adding some nasty
sine wave sounds to it. Here too however there is that on going acoustic object thing that seems to
be part of the overall sound approach here. Hardly anywhere the church organ sounds like a ‘proper’
church organ. This is some very fascinating music. The low level of volume forces you to listen very
closely and because you do you pick up (at least I hope so) all the smaller, microscopic details of this.
How would you call this? I honestly don’t know. Surely one could say this is improvised music, but it
owes also a lot to the world of electro-acoustic music. This is, so I’m told, part one; part two will come
early 2018. Can’t wait! (FdW)
––– Address:


Austrian, composer and violinist Mia Zabelka is here collaborating with two artists from Spain, sound
manipulator Asférico and Elufo, who provided microbiologic visuals for this multi-media project.
Zabelka plays violin, vocals and electronic devices, and Asférico synthesizers, sound processors and
field recordings. Asférico is Alex Gamezwho works since 1995 as a DJ, sound artist, sound designer,
etc. So his work ranges from music for the dance floor, to experimental, abstract sound works. In 2006
he established Störung, a platform focused on combining electronic experimental music with visual
arts.  ‘The Broken Glass’ is the 11th item in the catalogue of Störung. The CD contains three tracks:
‘The Broken Glass V1’(9:24) and ‘The broken Glass V2’(12:20), both recorded at Klanghaus (Austria)
and Störung Studio Spain in 2015. Followed by the 40-minute work ‘Sonidos del Subconsciente II’
commissioned by Phonofemme Festival Vienna 2015 and presented at Wiener Konzerthaus also in
2015. Both ‘Broken Glass’ pieces are very different. The first one is the more experimental of the two,
and has a prominent role for Zabelka. We hear her electric violin amidst of a diversity of sounds, in a
very spatial and open structure, that has too little focus and structure for my taste.  The second one is
has rhythmical sequencers at work and synthesizers defining the sound. As if we are back in the 70s,
in the company of Tangerine Dream, Heldon and the likes. ‘Sonidos del Subconsciente II’ is a massive,
multi-layered sound work that triggers the imagination; again a very spatial experience, of looped and
stretched out sounds, with sparse movements by Zabelka. ‘Live in der Fabrik’n, to say it with a Cluster-
title. The most convincing of the three titles on this release. (DM)
––– Address:


Ghost In The House is Kyle Bruckmann (oboe, English horn), Tom Nunn (inventions), David Michalak
(lap steel) and Karen Stackpole (gongs). Helped out by John Ingle (alto sax), Dean Santomieri (voice),
Polly Moller (bass flute), Cindy Webster (saw) and Bart Hopkin (rumba box). David Michalak is the
initiator behind this project. He is a filmmaker and musician. Since the early 70s he realized many
films with original music. In the 90s he started a trio to play live scores to his films. In 2004 he started
a new group Ghost in the Machine, exploring “the ethereal and elemental soundscapes where music
suggests an image, a kind of picture music”. “I’ve always thought of music as kind of a second sight: a
unique way of perceiving the world around us’. Their first release appeared in 2007 for Edgetone.
Some ten years later we can welcome their second statement. I listened first to this CD on my way to
my first Harry Partch-concert ever performed by the Scordatura ensemble, and was struck by
similarities between the two. Like Partch, Ghost in the House uses micro tonality in some parts in
their dramatic music. All eight tracks on this album are based on a scenario written by Michalak that
is musically interpreted by the band. In most of the tracks this is done instrumentally. On two tracks
the story is narrated by the voice of Dean Santomieri. This results in a strange, intriguing
multidimensional work. The music is very evocative and narrative, full of spooky and sinister sounds.
The metallic sounds generated by Nunns inventions, the gongs and other percussive instruments and
objects by Stackpole, make it a very multi-coloured work. And make a nice contrast with the acoustical
instruments, especially the oboe played by Bruckmann. Inventive and very weird chamber music it is.
Totally convincing. Very original also, in the way Michalak successfully creates pictures - as it were -
through his music. (DM)
––– Address:


I remember having reviewed an excellent album of Trevor Watts with pianist Veryan Weston for the
Polish Fortune label. Of course an album of improvised music, but one where one is inclined to say it
could be composed as well because everything is so at its place. A similar experience I had with this
new recording of Trevor Watts with another pianist, named Stephen Grew. As a duo they released ‘Con
Fluent’ last year for FMR Records. ‘All there is’ is their second work released by Discus Music. Watts
needs no introduction, being one of the first generation of European improvisers that appeared on the
scene at the end of the 60s. But Grew maybe does, although he is already for some twenty-five years
in business as an improviser on piano. He played with Evan Parker, Keith Tippett and many others.
His own ensembles and projects include Grutronic, a four-piece electronic band, and Grew Trio, Grew
Quartet and Grew & Grew. Together Grew and Watts invite us for some lively and inspired
conversations. Recorded on two days at the beginning of this year at Lancaster Baptist Church. Watts
is still in great shape, and plays with verve. And Grew also. And albums of improvised music are in the
end only satisfying when there is an equal reciprocal understanding, musicality and communication.
And this is absolutely the case in their sometimes exuberant and intense interplay. A joy. (DM)
––– Address:


Sometimes people ask me why the Vital Weekly podcast has no spoken word introductions, you know,
like a real radio show; try saying the name Brekekekekexkoaxkoax and you see why I am somewhat
reluctant. Texan based (Chicago born) Josh Ronsen is the man behind this project since 1996. Like I
wrote in Vital Weekly 888, in a previous life I almost released something by this group of different
musicians (with Ronsen as the steady pulse), and surely there is still somewhere the master of that
lying around here, and like last time I am again thinking I should find that and see if it still plays.
Brekekekekexkoaxkoax is a very open projects playing improvised music, drone music but who are
also involved in more Fluxus like performances. As the title of this new release indicates this is all
about drone music, but in good Brekekekekexkoaxkoax tradition it is not fixed to one idea of drone
music. These drones can be of a more electro-acoustic nature, instrumental or field recordings piled
together. Each pieces are by themselves and of the seven pieces, five are by Ronsen, and two in
collaboration with Bill Thompson (computer) and Vanessa Arn (electronics). One piece is generated
from samples provided by James Eck Rippie. There is however no idication of what is what, so we
have to guess a bit. In the piece he did with Arn I would think both play synthesizers, maybe of the
modular variety, and is a lovely but perhaps unsurprising piece. Field recordings might be in order
on ‘Bad Schemas Are Ruining Our Proofs’ and ’The Shrewing Of The Tame’, and they become very
obscured. A short recording of a cymbal is at the basis of ‘For Michael Northam’ and it is a reworking
of an older piece, stretched and filtered. The cymbal is no longer recognizable as such but this is a
fine piece of computerized drones. I would anyway believe computer treatments play a big role in
this music, which is throughout quite dark and atmospheric (the latter perhaps no surprise, seeing
it’s all about drones). These are some fine pieces and perhaps it is all a bit less of a surprise, as
Brekekekekexkoaxkoax walk a drone path that is well walked before, the execution of these pieces is
very good. Ronsen is a solid sonic transformer, who consistently delivers an excellent job. (FdW)
––– Address:

SAMUEL DUNSCOMBE & TIM OLIVE - ZANSHI (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)

‘Zanshi: residue, vestigial traces, dregs. Zanshi is what is left after the core of an object, sound, image,
has been removed’, I read on the cover of the collaborative release of Tim Olive and Samuel Dunscombe.
I had never heard of the latter, but I believe he, just like Olive, lives in Japan and in 2015 they recorded
two pieces of music, spanning thirty-six minutes. Olive is a musician who is quite active (recently with
Jin Sangtae, see Vital Weekly 1093) using contact microphones and magnetic pickups to amplify objects,
whereas Dunscombe has an interest in ‘clarinets, computers and microphones’, playing improvised
music but also works by Luciano Berio, Alvin Lucier and Iancu Dumitrescu. Much of what is on ‘Zanshi’
is thanks to the two musicians a technique they call “the “de-cored… hollowed-out” technique of
the sound sculpture”, whatever that, technically, is of course. There is some sense of reduction in this
music, but given the nature of much music that is reviewed in these pages that is not really something
that is most odd. Many releases are quiet or in somehow reduced, microscopic or detailed, and perhaps
as such this is actually not really that ‘quiet’ or ‘reduced’, which is very likely. There is some fine interaction
going between the clarinet, the objects and maybe some kind of real time computer processing, resulting in
a not always very quiet music, but it has some interesting muffled sound, like there is indeed something
reduced in this music; maybe it is all to do with odd placing of a microphones or some kind of weird recording
technique but the result is quite fascinating, a sound world of its own.
    John Bell worked with Alfred Harth, another musician who releases his work on Kendra Steiner
Editions, and here has a solo release of thirteen pieces for percussion. Bell plays vibraharp, glockenspiel,
shell casings, gongs, scrap metal, bells, piano frame, khong vong and in one piece a sample. He recorded
these pieces all over the place, from New Zealand to South Korea and Laos.  It is perhaps this variety of
places and instruments that makes all of this quite a mix bag of music. Bell plays his percussive bits
and bobs in a gentle way, slow, rattling, emphasizing overtones; sometimes it is very sparse with a
few tones hanging around like wind chimes, as in ‘C.S.M. Variations’, or the shimmering tones of
‘Exoplanetray Tollway’ or clustered together in ‘Clappers In My Head’. Bell has a light touch in playing
his music and it seems it is not very much based on playing rhythms, but creating beautiful atmospheric
textures with percussion instruments. In all its minimalism this a great release. Stick it on repeat for a
whole afternoon of quiet listening, meditation or simply some gardening or cleaning and it will
revitalize you. Easygoing beauty, almost like being on holiday. (FdW)
––– Address:


Only very recently I reviewed a cassette by Monte Adkins (see Vital Weekly 1090) and now he follows
this up with an album of new music, and comparing these two is quite interesting. For one, ‘A Year At
Usher’s Hill’ has twelve pieces, somewhere between three and six minutes, whereas ‘Shadows And
Reflections’ just had two long pieces. That’s merely a statistical difference of course, but sound wise
the difference is that the previous had long, slightly amorphous pieces of ambient music, church organ
sounds heavily treated so that there is a mass of sound but on this new one, piano plays a big role and
it’s played by Jonathan Best, while Adkins is responsible for celesta, organ and electronics. Obviously
these pieces too are to be found in the world of ambient, and perhaps to the superficial listener there
is not much difference, but whereas on the previous the mood was dark stretched out, it’s very delicate
on this new one, most of the time. ‘Burnt Sun’ has that nice rough edge that I love so much when it
comes to delicate music. Delicate is great, but it should not become tacky or, worse, new agey. Some of
this comes close, but in the way Adkins works with sound processing, adding a fine dark layered texture
or two on top of the piano playing, or transforming that playing into a similar spacious beast (I am not
sure of that), and sometimes either piano solo or Adkins more solo, making this also quite a varied disc,
which is also a major difference with his previous release.
    From Francesco Giannico and Giulio Aldinucci I reviewed ‘Agoraphonia’ before (Vital Weekly 1043)
in which they used recordings of town squares as the source for their sound manipulations. Both have
a background in electroacoustic music and a strong interest in field recordings. Now, while almost all
of the releases on Eilean Records that I heard (and I suppose that is quite a bit) deal with ambient
music in all sorts of variations, but the grittier and somewhat noisier one doesn’t seem to be part of it,
or at least not a lot. Maybe Giannico and Aldinucci now represent that angle? Their six pieces show
some heavy transformations of field recordings, making those drones are bit heavier in weight, those
plug-ins going slightly more in the ‘red’ from time to time. Organ tones, bell sounds and bit of people
talking in the title piece, to an all out sonic overload of drones in ‘Retrieval’, which qualifies as easy as
‘noise’ I would say, even with the long fade out. This is the sort of intersection of ambient and
shoegazing, I think, which reminded me of W. Zararkas’ recent release on Glistening Examples. A
most enjoyable release of noise meets ambient, also because it is such a rare thing. (FdW)
––– Address:


When I saw this, for some reason, I was thinking I saw the name Constant Light only recently, but I
can’t find anything besides the review I did of their two previous CDR releases, which were reviewed
in Vital Weekly 784. Back then the music had a krautrock feeling, as well as a bit of cosmic music and
bit of electro-pop. Six years have passed of no activity and now the duo of Sasha Margolis and James
Dean return with what is a effectively a compilation of pieces recorded (and some released) between
2010 and2014, but all ‘slightly or entirely remixed’ this year. Right from the opening track, ‘Factory
Floor (The Return)’ all the way, some eighty minutes later ending with ‘Fred From Jupiter’ you realize
the music has changed. Singing is now added to palette and the music is firmly rooted in 80s synth
pop; obviously of course with a choice cover from Andreas Dorau, which is funny, if not hilarious
because of somewhat silly German accent these Aussies have. But that opening piece, ‘Factory Floor
(The Return)’, is, if a bit long, in a fine quite early Depeche Mode tradition, which is something that
also can be said of ‘Young Trucks’, short, poppy, melodic with a dark twist. Six out of these nine tracks
follow that route and that’s great. It would have made a great album, maybe even a commercial
proposition. There are also three long pieces, spanning over fifty minutes, which are less convincing.
‘Heartbeat’, at eleven minutes, is just a long song with a messy ending, ‘M/S’ starts out nicely but after
ten minutes drifts of in some vaguely atmospheric pop notion which doesn’t work very well, and ‘Club
Constant’, at 21:50 the long piece is just one long improvisation involving guitars, electronics, bass and
sounds but seems to me a bit out of place. It would have made a nice bonus on Bandcamp, I think, but
slap bang in the middle of an album takes away some the fresh energy which starts the album. Also the
cover of this has something to rethink. (FdW)
––– Address:

EMERGE - NARCOSES (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
KOMOREBI FEAT. EMERGE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)

Slowly, so I am told, Attenuation Circuit will concentrate on download only releases, which means I
will loose track of the output of Sascha Stadlmeier’s EMERGE (to give it’s proper typing) project, but
honestly I lost count already some time ago of his vast output. Many, if not all, of his releases are
recorded in concert and it shows the speediness of the CDR format to review on September 1st a
concert that was done on July 17th. Emerge is in a slightly more rhythmic mood than before. Armed
with his usual two samplers he builds from a few clicks and ticks an intricate web of sounds that never
becomes a rhythm as in a sequenced beat thing, but which, as many before, reminds the listener of
serious musique concrete played by someone who is self-thought. In the forty minutes of this concert
Emerge keeps fiddling about with filters, reverbs and delay’s (and who knows what else) and it all
sounds like a steady stream of water sounds. And those reminded me of the various ‘Hydrophonie’
works by Asmus Tietchens (see his ’Seuchengebiete’ releases) but in Emerge’s live treatment it is all a
bit a bit rough and less refined then with Tietchens, but at the same time Emerge reaches for some
interesting depths in his sound with some excellent deep bass treatment. I would rank this easily
among one of Emerge’s best releases.
    There is no recording date mentioned on the release Emerge (live processing) did with Shizuku
Aosaki (celtic harp, voice) and Morihide Sawada (snare drum), the latter calling themselves Komorebi.
This might very well some sort of studio recording. There are only four pieces on this release, spanning
twenty-five minutes. Emerge picks up the sounds produced by the other two and all of this merges
together in improvised music. I didn’t hear Komorebi before, so I have no idea what they normally
sound like, but as a trio it sounds very good; very controlled I must say. With some of the more
impromptu events on Attenuation Circuit things usually start out quiet and explode towards the
end and that’s not happening here. Aosaki and Sawada play their instruments with great care,
leaving lots of space in between the pieces and Emerge fills this in a likewise sparse manner this
time, with the occasional one-off time-stretch of a single sound. There is a vaguely Eastern atmosphere
with this music, but Aosaki’s voice is all a bit more about heavenly singing; think Celtic perhaps and it
gives the third (untitled) piece a strange atmosphere, a bit out of place with the other three pieces,
but overall I thought this was an excellent disc of carefully constructed silent improvisation.
    Also Siegfried Kärcher might be a new name for me. There is not yet information on the website
and there is none on the cover. There are seven tracks on this release, of which three are over ten
minutes. I have no idea what Kärcher uses, but judging by the music I would think his set-up is
electronic, including synthesizers, rhythm machines, samplers and sequencers. Having said you
probably think this is all about techno music and it’s not, not really. The rhythms are a bit too slow
for that and not always present, or even absent, such as in ‘Cem Church Cornwall’, which contains
recordings of birds, a church and a deep synth tone. In the opening ‘Mertes Acker’ there is slow
rhythm, much reverb and an interview with a football player, in German. Maybe that counts also as
field recordings? In ‘Kupfer Und Jade’ there is an arpeggio synth and Kärcher plays with a more or
less cosmic edge. It made me think that it seems that Kärcher doesn’t know what he should choose
to play; a bit of slow dark wave rhythm, drones or perhaps a bit gentler, on the cosmic side. You
could argue that there is quite a bit of variation on this disc and that’s true; it just didn’t convince
me always, plus I thought some of the longer pieces were also a bit too long. (FdW)
––– Address:


This is the fourth instalment of Orphax’ series ‘Dream Sequence’ (Vital Weekly 1072, 1015, 1001),
of which the first I really enjoyed and the other two I thought were good, but I realize that I think
much of what Sietse van Erve produces as Orphax is something I like; I doubt if I was ever very
negative about his work. This new work, recorded earlier this years contains “sounds generated,
reworked, processed and mixed with AudioMulch and Reaper”, which seems then to me there is this
time around no external input from small organs, cheap keyboards or such like. What I noticed when
I reviewed his ‘Warschauwer Strasse’ release is that there isn’t a lot of drone releases by Orphax that
are a bit louder, grittier, or even noisy and that it is a route well worth exploring I would think. ‘Dream
Sequence #4’ seems to be a work going to that edge of Orphax a bit more and perhaps is not necessarily
a piece of relaxing drone music that the title might imply. Maybe I was too lazy to turn down the volume
a bit after playing some of the more quieter releases this week, but I must admit it worked quite well,
this volume, for me and the pitches and modulated drones, using a ‘comb filter’ (perhaps) sounds gentle
yet forceful. Over the course of twenty minutes Orphax slowly builds his piece by opening up frequency
after frequency, even when it already starts in quite a present way altogether; it moves from a
somewhat lower range to a more middle range volume and it is a beautiful, powerful piece of music.
Not up there with ‘#1’, but certainly the second favourite of mine. This could have lasted longer is
what I thought. (FdW)
––– Address:

KINIT HER - THE BLOOMING WORLD (cassette by Brave Mysteries)

The music produced by Troy Schafer I heard so far was mostly partly obscured sound art/experimental
music, of which the meaning, to be honest, sometimes eluded me. In some of these reviews I mentioned
his membership of Kinit Her (among other projects) and now I get a chance to hear it. Much to my
pleasant surprise this is something entirely different. It is a duo with Nathaniel Ritter with the help of
a whole bunch of others on vocals, percussion, shofar, guitar and electronics. There have been a bunch
of cassette and LP releases since 2008 on labels I never heard of, such as Brave Mysteries, Pesanta,
Reue Um Reue, Small Doses, Paradigms Recordings and ‘The Blooming World’ is described on Discogs
as ‘experimental, neofolk, industrial’, and I wholeheartedly agree with ‘neofolk’. Now you know me,
and how much I don’t like boys dressed in black, with an acoustic guitar, deep voice, singing ancient
songs with rune text at the campfire, but I you I am half joking here of course; I like to over state things
from time to time. I actually thought these five songs by Kinit Her are most enjoyable, partly because
the charming naivety when it comes to recording and partly because of the serious (although you can
never really know of course) intonation of the singing; very Current 93, Death In June (I would think; I
might be entirely wrong and oh lords of noir music from the misty woods, please forgive me for my
sins) I thought, as far as I remember these sort of things from the sparse moments I heard these.
Obviously this is not the kind of music I hear a lot, but perhaps that’s exactly why I liked this particular
one quite a bit; it surely breaks up long nights of listening to serious drone music and likewise hefty
improvisation. Some fine dark strumming, duo singing and a neat touch of experimentalism to spice
things up a bit further. Winter is coming! (FdW)
––– Address:

CHEAP IMITATION (cassette by Zeon Light)

Here we have a duo of Ann-Charlotte Rugfelt and Anders Olofson, and I am not sure if their band
is named after the John Cage composition of the same name, but judging by the music that
seems unlikely. This is more ‘ambient beach folk’ as they tagged the album like that on Bandcamp
and to that end they use ‘synths, cello, drum machine, sampler, accordion & vocals’ and recorded
the music at home. The fourteen pieces are dream pop like, applying quite a bit of reverb and delay
on the vocals, and the drum machine quietly ticking away, with a melancholic touch of cello or
accordion here and there. I am not sure if the lyrics are something we should be able to understand,
but it doesn’t seem likely. Sometimes Cheap Imitation goes for a more ambient drone soundscape, as in
‘Feeling Good’ or a pop song in ‘Story Of Love’, or even a bit more grim in ’Suicide’. It bounces neatly
over the place, between sweet and introspective and grim and atmospheric.Cheap Imitation surely knows
how to add a bit of variation in their music, and add to that the charming lo-fi quality of the recording,
making this almost like a genuine 80s release, one could maybe even be fooled to think it is from those
days. Lovely breezy poppy and weird music. (FdW)
––– Address:


This is a split cassette with one side Lex Boogie From The Bronx, of whom I didn’t hear before and Senz
Beats on the other, of whom I reviewed ‘Ode To The Ghosted’ in Vital Weekly 1059. I understand this
new release has some kind of space theme related music, and to that end there has been a massive
plundering of voice material from films, as well as rhythmic, scratches, beats, sequences and bits of
synths. Two sides we have here, in total sixty minutes, of plunderphonic music. Everything is stolen
from other sources, and put together as two, thirty-minute pieces of music. On the Senz Beats side
there are some vocals from Lex Boogie, and Senz Beats delivers some scratches to the other side.
Some of the Senz Beats is a bit too rap for me, a musical genre that is really not my kind of thing
(unlike say folk noir – see elsewhere), but besides that I enjoyed this plunderphonic fest quite a bit.
It is quite funky; heavily on the beats and with much found voice material from TV series and movies.
I was thinking: just how much TV and films do these people watch to find all of this voice stuff and is
there much time left to do the music? Apparently there is enough time. Of the two sides I have a slight
preference for the Lex Boogie side, which was just a little bit less rap and hip hop rhythms and a bit
more funky and weird on the vocal TV/film samples. Lex Boogie’s side sounded more like a story of
radiophonic proportions and Senz Beats was more music, but not always of the kind I enjoyed, even
when it seemed to explore the space theme also. Great music for the final hot day of summer. (FdW)
––– Address:


Maybe you have been reading Vital Weekly for such a long time that when you read the name David
Lee Myers you will automatically think ‘Arcane Device’, which was his moniker from the late 80s to
the mid 90s, followed by a retirement. In recent years however he revived Arcane Device, as well as
releasing music under his own name, and all of that using the principles of feedback. Take the output
of the mixer, put it into the input and a high piercing sound will emerge; that’s feedback. That’s what
Myers does, but not just like that. He feeds his sound through ‘other processors, via a series of matrix
mixers’ and he plays around in real time with the results and you could think it results in a barrage of
noise, but it doesn’t. Obviously this is not the kind of music that is very ‘soft’ either, but in the eleven
pieces Myers recorded in the past two years he works with a fine sensibility for textures. It owes as
much to the world of serious electronic music from the sixties as it does to the world of short song
structures, to avoid the word ‘pop music’. Obviously it has nothing to do with pop music, but in keeping
his pieces within the four-five minutes he explores a few sounds and a movement or two, and plays
around with that, exploring the possibilities and changes before moving on to the next setting. It is at
times the subtle variation of ambient music (Eno would no doubt love those self-generating sounds),
with a fine rough edge and Myers doesn’t explore his materials ad infinitum, but he let’s go easily.
There is so much more to explore, I guess. I enjoyed his work back then, from the noise to the ambient
side of it, and this new work is just as good. Maybe these days with a somewhat melancholic touch to it,
but the gentler side, without leaping into endless variations, suits him very well. Excellent modern
compositions! (FdW)
––– Address:


So we have here a trio and it’s not easy to pick one to start with. I suspect Venta Protesix will be harsh
noise, and Sindre Bjerga is somebody whose music I know very well, so I decided with Expose Your
Eyes, which is name I recognize from the past, but I can’t recall hearing any of it in a long time. It is
the musical project of Paul Harrison from West Yorkshire, and since the 90s there have been lots of
releases, as well as many collaboration releases with K2, Government Alpha, Small & Quim, Kapotte
Muziek and many others. I have no idea why I never hear his recent music, but now I do again. To be
honest I also had very little memory of it, other than it was rather noisy but also atmospheric. Or
maybe I am confusing the history with the presence as this what I find here too, perhaps being a bit
more on the noise side this time. It is not strictly performed using a whole line of electronics, but there
is also percussion (even though it is hard to tell what kind of, as sounds pretty lo-fi), voice/microphone
abuse and cut-ups from pre-recorded sounds. The cover lists a whole bunch of tracks per side (fifteen
minutes on each side), but I rather see it as a collage of sound bits, sometimes blown up with distortion
and feedback. Quite forceful, but not exclusively, which is something I enjoy very much.
    Many of the cassette releases by Sindre Bjerga contain live recordings and this one is not different.
Here we have four concerts, from September 2014 to March 2016; the latter recorded in Eindhoven,
The Netherlands and as such witnessed by yours truly. Now it’s not really a big secret that I know
Bjerga pretty well, and that I saw at least twenty or so concerts by him. Throughout all these concerts
he is using the same set up of a microphone, small cymbals, metal spring object, Walkman and a
children’s toy. None of his concerts are the same and in a way they all are. It is perhaps like someone
with a guitar playing just guitar music; the same and yet different. The four concerts on this release
flow easily into each other and everything that he does drops by; the scraping of his spring, the collage
like voices of the battered walkman, a bit of noise from the children’s toy and other tricks he picked up
over the years to make his music sound exciting. I wrote before that I think much of what Bjerga does
is very personal poetry, and as such this is no different. Four fine recordings, taped in concert and it’s
the same difference as always, if you catch my drift.
    And finally there is ’the world’s most uncompromising and obsessive laptop-noise’ artist Venta
Protesix, who teams up with ‘Asia’s lushiest italogrome producer’ DJ Kimchi, of whom I never heard.
As source material they took solely samples from a 2001 Korean language course CD, and the music is
inspired by “Malayasian livestreaming idols, North Korean chemical weapons and mispelled AV titles”.
I expected thirty minutes (the standard length of all Dokuro releases) of harsh noise walls, but I am
surprised it isn’t. It is all to do with cut-up of sound, sample them, add plug-ins, lots of them mostly,
but it effectively changes the sound a lot. One hardly recognizes the language course in all of this, and
the most surprising thing is that it sometimes drops quite a bit in volume. It seems, but I might be
wrong that this is a split release but with remixes duties on both sides from both composers. The DJ
Mimchi side has a bit more ‘vocals’, even when I doubt someone would recognize any of this. Maybe I
found this all a bit long for my taste, but I was surprised (as well as pleased) by the absence of noise.
––– Address:

VERNON & BURNS - FROM THE CABLE TO THE GRAVE (cassette by Akashic Records)

For whatever reason I am no longer certain of I thought the duo of Vernon & Burns no longer existed.
The last thing I reviewed from was in Vital Weekly 725 (the first in 473), but I missed out on their
‘Vernon & Burns meet Lied Music’ LP in 2011. ‘From The Cable To The Grave’ is their sixth release
since 2005 and continues to explore their radiophonic work. We must understand the word
‘radiophonic’ not just a bit of sound and a lot of text, but they use sound to create stories with sounds
and a bit of voices, and ideally I like to believe they do this very much in the same way as they did in
the fifties. Set up a microphone and use tinfoil to create thunder sounds, splash a bit water to emulate
rain sounds or a box of gravel to let you know someone is walking. Not that Vernon & Burns do
anything like this, I think. Obviously these days they use more sophisticated means to tape real-life
sounds and incorporates that into a musical piece. There is this time around a lot less room for voices
and texts, so when they write that the 19 pieces contain “harmony bombs, erotic grotesque nonsense,
frolicsome demon beats, stimulators of vice, confusion ciphers, faster silences, declarations of
indulgence, necessary noise, abstract paradises, and excerpts from the minutes from the AGM of the
Dream Prognostication Circle & Astral Radiation Trance Club”, I assume we must add a pinch of salt to
the music. Having said that it looks like I am complaining about what is on offer, and that I am most
certainly not. Sometimes the story is in the title of the piece, such as ‘Waiting Faithfully At The Doorway
To The Sky’ or The Geometry Of Her Face, The Diagram Of Her Bones’. There is a fine Nurse with Wound-
like quality to the snippets of sounds and voices collaged together, with the studio as the main
instrument. I found that not thinking about this as nineteen separate pieces, but one overall long story
(sixty minutes in total), which worked for me in an absolutely great way. (FdW)
––– Address:


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