number 1109
week 49


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  Ear Records)
CATHY HEYDEN – BADLANDS (LP by 213/Universinternational)
DE FABRIEK — TERUGKEREN (LP by Tonefloat Records)
MATT KREFTING - MICROCHIPS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
TOM CREAN - 3 HEADS TAME (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
ROVAR17 - INRI (CDR by Unsigned) *
NEPTUNE IS A POWER STATION (CDR by After Music Recordings) *
AK UKI (CDR by Plaza Zachodnia) *
AK UKI - MANTEUFEL (cassette by Plaza Zachodnia) *
CHRYSTE PANIE (CD by Plaza Zachodnia) *
RADAR (CD by Plaza Zachodnia) *
PASSIVE STATUS - PAPIER (cassette by Plaza Zachodnia) *
STRETWA (cassette by Plaza Zachodnia)


Many, if not all, of the releases by Unfathomless follow along similar lines; it’s usually by one composer,
who records a bit of field recordings in a specific place, and then goes about to some extent transforming
this material. The cover tells little more than the location. This new one is quite different. First of all,
Haptic is a trio of players (Steven Hess, Joseph Clayton Mills and Adam Sonderberg) from Chicago using
percussion and strings, and for many of their concerts there is often a fourth player, which can include
anybody from Olivia Block to Mark Solotroff. Here the fourth player is Tim Barnes, who invited Haptic
for a concert in his place in Louisville and the morning after the concert they went out to a cave in the
nearby hills to do a recording. It was perhaps used to store barrels of beer and whiskey and maybe was
used as a prison but these days for the occasional concerts, hence the presence of lights (this is also the
first on Unfathomless with an extensive set of liner notes). The four them have a shortwave radio,
cymbals, a drum, a bell and a handful of other instruments, without specifying what these are. Of
course the main instrument is the cave itself, it’s massive space and its dripping water sounds.
Instruments are moved around to catch a drop of water here and there, microphones pick up sounds
from afar to catch reflections, and there is some mysterious dark rumble every now and then; I assume
this is some kind of playing of the drum in an odd way? This all makes that this is a very unusual album
for this label, having roots in improvisation and throughout relaying heavily on musical instruments
and human interaction, yet at the same time the whole cave thing is something that is very much
something that one would expect on this label. Culled from a few hours of recording, and maybe some
layering, this is quite a beautiful release. Also, I’d say, in terms of doing something unexpected,
perhaps still is something that the label might care to explore further in the future. (FdW)
––– Address:


Very hot on the heels on ‘Titan: A Crane Is A Bridge’ (see Vital Weekly 1104) there is already a new
album by Michael Begg, erstwhile known as Human Greed and as a member of Fovea Hex. here he
teams up with Mélenchon Brève, of whom I never heard. Discogs list just this release with this person
(gender unknown). I couldn’t find any information as the website from Begg just says this about the
album: “details will remain necessarily brief but it can be suggested that the work comprises 16th
century melancholy, 19th century romance and 21st century longing”, which is indeed as brief as
you can get. It also says this: “The songs were recorded in L’Eglise Ste. Kacey, Samöens, and assembled
and mixed at Captains Quarters, East Lothian”. And yet there are words, sentences or explanations
(perhaps) for each of the eleven pieces. That can be like this: “In the Old Style - refers back to the
broken analogue synths of early Human Greed records. This is surfing multiple channels of feedback
with grace and patience as the view of those winter mountains unfolds ahead of a clockwork train”,
which is clear enough I should think, to “”Light the Fires. We are auditioning for bell ringers. This
track, bogged in mediaeval romanticism is perhaps closer to Russian Sci-Fi than would make any of
us comfortable”. To which sounds a rather orchestral piece of music. It’s the eight piece on the release
and up to that point it was all rather subdued ambient music, formed by the long sustaining of
synthesized tones and an occasional piano, or so it seemed, from this point on it seems more like
processed orchestral samples, cello, violin, timpani and such like. Here I can see, perhaps, the 19th
century romantic music as referred to on the website. But then I went back to the beginning of the
CD, played it again and suddenly it all seemed to be about orchestral sounds and a lot less with
synthesizers. The voices of ‘Bury The Choir In Fifteen Feet Of Snow’ gave that 16th century melancholy
(of course: I think. I am not that old) and the whole thing sounded in the end like a very curious
mixture of modern classical music (think Arvo Pärt) and ambient music (think Eno, Begg himself or
perhaps any of your own favourites). The more I heard this, the more it grew on me. This is an
excellent release. (FdW)
––– Address:


Here is the follow-up to ‘Outstretch Your Hand For The Impress Of Truth’ (see Vital Weekly 1018) by
Mooly Molaston, also known as Colossloth, from the Midlands, Leicestershire. Colossloth continues to
confuse me, which I guess is always a good thing. Like I wrote before noise and power electronics are
two things that he is very much interested in but between the cracks we also hear the residue of
ambient, drones, a broken piano, tape manipulation, or even a bit melody, looped or otherwise. There
is quite a bit of variety, as before, and that results, rather surprisingly tracks are kept within the two
to three and some minute range, except for the last one, which lasts eleven minutes. That I found
particularly interesting as it adds the amount of variation found on this release, and thus it added
surely to me appreciating this music quite a bit. Yes, I agree it is occasionally very loud, but the very
fact that it is sporadic and not throughout is something that I like. Here we clearly have someone who
is interested in producing loud music, but who is also prepared to give it some thought and
consideration; someone who picks up a different sound source and start manipulating that through
the usual suspects of effect pedals. Someone who is not shy of adding a bass melody (in ‘Justify Your
Youth’), a broken but continuous rhythm or a guitar melody such as in the ending of ‘Comfort In
Defeat’, which starts out very heavy with distorted vocals. I am confused but pleasantly so. Noise for
the sake of noise is not my cup of tea; I don’t like to smash my head against a harsh noise wall. If
music is loud, but well thought out, I am all ears. I liked the debut of Colossloth, but this one I think
is even better. (FdW)
––– Address:


Kazuma Kubota is a harsh noise artist from Japan, Mei Zhiyong an "important" noise experimenter from
China. The title gives the background to this work. The sounds are harsh, for the opening suspended
above a background noise which gives way to much more fragmentary (out) bursts interspersed by
short silence, only to re congeal into more of a less fragmentary and more homogeneous sound textures.
The actual electronic noises are all in the main extremely high pitched, feedback squeals and high end
static bursts made from overdriving these feedback squeals and so becoming clipped. All the noises
burst suddenly into the mix and end at much the same volume. The use of short silent breaks in the mid
'section' gives at times a cut-up feel, but it could well have been executed as a real time improvisation.
Apart from the opening there is little progression or direction other than 'helicopter' pulses and
rumbles towards the finale.  The high frequency and cut up effect distinguishes it from more freeform
noise, and from the noise that is more of a wall of sound.  Some of the latter sounds are obviously
processed by a phaser, oscillators sweeps appear, as do filter sweeps at times self-oscillating. The
sounds in general as I say are from overdriving circuits, either analogue or digital. 'Interesting' is a
pejorative term, or has become one, like the all too familiar - "well it asks the question what is ......." in
praising contemporary art. Though I did actually find the piece interesting, the sounds I would have to
say common place in noise, and the cut up technique nothing 'new'. As a performance it would be worth
the experience. It is very competent, a bass drone ends the work, and unlike some noise this always
feels in 'safe hands' as if they will get to the end, and the equipment or recording will 'work', so lacks a
sense of danger in more 'incompetent' noise... which is noise's strange attractor.. IMO..So perhaps more
than interesting, but nothing out of the ordinary, if a fireworks display could be so considered. So an
aesthetic at work, which entertains, and I mean this in the most positive sense. (jliat)
––– Address:


Two duo recordings by Tim Perkis. One with Steve Adams, one with Scott Walton. And also Adams and
Walton made a duo recording. Tim Perkis is working with live electronics and computers for many
years now. Besides he works as an improviser on electronics instruments. Human-machine interaction
is his lifelong fascination. His collaborations are too many to mention (The Hub, etc.). Saxophonist Steve
Adams is best known as long time member of the Rova Saxophone Quartet. Scott Walton is a bassist
and a classically pianist, playing jazz and improvised music as well as composed avant-garde music. On
‘Applied Cryptography’ he plays piano, with Perkis on a self-made electronic instrument. Recordings
date from august 2014. In  tracks like ‘Naked Egg’ and  ‘Blind Signature’ I sense a strong  interplay and
communication. They worked out their ideas in 11 pointed improvisations. Most of the time Walton
plays not the inside of the piano, and do we hear the sound of the piano with a range electronically
generated sounds. Their improvisations focus not however on sound but on structure, creating
patterns, combinations of chords, sounds, dynamics, etc that tell a story. It all works very well in the
hands of these accomplished musicians. The music is organic and dialogical.
    On a day in September 2016 Perkis recorded another duo-session. This time with Steve Adams ( C
flute, bass flute, sopranino, alto and tenor sax). What electronic Perkis plays is not specified. Again self-
made instruments and tools I suppose. As in the case of ‘Applied Cryptography’ both players shape their
ideas in short concentrated improvisations. There is more colour to beenjoyed as Adams a variety of
instruments. They create very vivid and communicative improvisations. In several pieces the input by
Adams seems processed – instantly? – by Perkis. The spectrum of moods and tempers is broader than
on ‘Applied Cryptography’. Listen for instance to the poetic and subtle piece ‘Scratches, scrolls’. Both
records are excellent examples of improvisation combining electronics and acoustical sources.
    The circle is closed by the third duo recording by both companions of Perkis, that was recorded
somewhere between the sessions with Perkis. ‘Cookies for Cyrano’ was recorded in February 2015.
This time Walton plays acoustic bass. And Adams alto and baritone sax, bass flute and electronics.
Adams is listed as composer here. So improvisation plays a minor role in these works, seven in total.
The music often refers to jazz, but also to modern classical music. In the second work, titled ‘one of the
countless sporadic manifestations of the alternate universe in which Oliver Messiaen is a fervent
agnostic’, catholic composer Messiaen is a point of reference. Music in this piece slowly goes crescendo,
with a very spacy background provided by organ-like chords. A strange and intriguing piece. Compared
with the cds that have Perkis on board, the music is less provocative and throughout of a moody and
sometimes even lyrical nature. (DM)
––– Address: &

  Ear Records)

This release consists of four live recorded improvisations: ‘Mein’, ‘Freund’ and ’der’ were recorded in
april 2016 in Zürich. The closing piece ’Baum’ was recorded that same month in Lisbon. Paul Lovens is
a well-known drummer of the German and European improvised music scene, that he entered
somewhere in the 70s. For many years he also had his own beautiful Po Torch label, releasing
improvised music by diverse musicians. Rudi Mahall (bass clarinet) is of a younger generation, who
played with von Schlippenbach, Globe Unity Orchestra, etc. Just like Lovens by the way. So both are
probably old mates. Stoffner is a young guitarist from Switzerland, who plays in a style that is
reminiscent of Derek Bailey and Fred Frith, although he mentions Bill Frisell and John Scofield as his
influences. We spoke earlier of him in a Swiss trio with Alfred Zimmerlin (cello) and David Meier
(drums). Improvisations on ‘Mein Freund der Baum’ didn’t convince me from start to finish, but all of
them have really fantastic sections of concentrated interplay where everything fits. For example in
‘der’ they play little fragments, that add up to a puzzling whole. Fascinating. In other parts however
they search their way without really finding something. Most surprising may be the cover they choose
for their album. A horror picture of an aesthetic that is not often seen on releases of  improvised music,
and the more on releases of prog and metal. Strange choice. (DM)
––– Address:


Craig Pedersen is a trumpet player and composer from Montréal, specialized in improvised and
experimental music. He played of course a lot with musicians related to the local Ambiances
Magnetiques-scene, but he is not part of it. His quintet is his main activity. But besides he also has a
noise duo called Sound of the Mountain. Also he is the author of an method book exploring extended
techniques for trumpet. In 2017 he started together with Elizabeth Millar the Mystery and Wonder-
label, as a platform for their music, and responsible for this release of Pedersen’s quintet. It has
following members: Linsey Wellman (alto saxophone), Joel Kerr (double bass), Bennett Bedoukian
(drums), Eric Thibodeau (drums) and Pedersen himself – as said – trumpet. Originally a quartet they
started in 2011 and released the ep ‘Ghosts’in 2015. ‘Approaching the Absence of Doing’ is again a
short one. A suite of seven pieces that ask some 28 minutes of your time. It is worthwhile doing this.
As Pedersen and his mates offer some fine free jazz-inspired music. Free jazz however is never the
starting point. The opening and closing works on this cd for example start with long spacy intros. After
a while a motive is introduced often by Pedersen. Motives that are not very original to more ears. Most
convincing are the free jazz sections, like in ‘Blowing’ where Pedersen makes fine use of this extended
techniques. (DM)
––– Address:

CATHY HEYDEN – BADLANDS (LP by 213/Universinternational)

Cathy Heyden is a French, self-taught saxophonist and improviser based in Paris. Earlier she worked
professionally in theatrical and dance performances. In 1998, she joined Pagaille improvisation
orchestra in Nancy and moved more and more towards the European improv-scene. She played with
Maelström, Faust, Urban Sax, Jean-Marc Foussat, a.o. Of a more recent date is her collaboration with
Dutch drummer Rogier Smal. ‘Badlands’ is her first solo statement, released on lp-format. Both sides
contain one long extended track: ‘Coyotes’ on side 1 and ‘Soda Lake’ on side 2. An album of radical
music, taking inspiration from the great plains in the US. ‘Coyotes’ evocates the nightly desert, and is
an investigation in often high-pitched patterns. For ‘Soda lake’ Heyden uses another set of extended
techniques, resulting in totally different textures that are more into exploring aspects of sound. This
track did it for me. A very abstract sonic exploration offering however many details, what make it an
engaging listening experience. Extreme and radical is what can be said of both works. A daring
statement. The album is a co-release by two French labels Universinternational and 213 Records in
a limited edtion of 300 copies. (DM)
––– Address:

DE FABRIEK — TERUGKEREN (LP by Tonefloat Records)

If I tell you that ‘Terugkeren’ was already reviewed in Vital Weekly 1035, but was called ‘Remixes
Volume 5’ back then, you could wonder why I would write about it again. That is a valid question
indeed, and in fact I am not writing -again- about it. I just add a bit of ‘other’ information. There is
now a beautiful cover, designed by Universaalkunst, liner notes in Dutch, slightly different titles, a
totally different medium, but the whole exercise of adding these few lines to this old review (below),
is to make you go out and buy this LP, because, we happen to know you hate CDRs but love LPs. Right?
And now let’s return to Vital Weekly 1035:
    Two weeks ago I wrote about Sutcliffe Jugend that 'very rarely names get more legendary', today
I'd like to paraphrase myself by stating: very rarely named get more obscure than with De Fabriek.
They have been active since the late seventies, as a band and a label of the same name, and in the 80s
they were very active players in the world of cassettes and exchanging sounds through mail.
Membership was always fleeting, with Richard van Dellen always seemingly in control somewhere.
With the arrival of Internet the band went truly underground. Like in the old days you could only
reach them by physical mail, and not by phone, and to this very day there is no e-mail account, twitter,
facebook, bandcamp, and what have you, for De Fabriek. Van Dellen doesn't care, it seems if people
will find out about his work. I haven't heard anything from them in ages — I am not sure when was
the last time; maybe that co-release with Hitmachine, reviewed in Vital Weekly 603. This new release
sees some old players again, such as K. Mons (who was once responsible for the three concerts De
Fabriek ever did), N. Selen (from O.R.D.U.C. fame, himself quite activethroughout these years), A.
Nanuru (who contributed voice to 'Neveleiland', one De Fabriek's best LPs from the 80s) and Van
Dellen himself. Other members ('workers' is how De Fabriek,translated 'the factory', called them in
the past) here are S. Steiner and JP van Aalst, all of whom probably send in sounds to Van Dellen,
who uses all of the disparate elements to create his music, and with considerable ease.
    But, then you may ask, what is De Fabriek all about? That is not an easy thing to say, as there is
no defined De Fabriek sound. Over the years the group experimented with ambient music, with noise,
with rhythms, industrial music and perhaps even cosmic music. This release of 'Remixes' (of what
exactly I wondered) sees a bit of all of this and that makes this twelve track release a nicely varied
journey into the world of De Fabriek, and we find the gentle guitar strumming of 'Sorteer Machine'
next to a heavy guitar sound in 'Bedrijfsongeval', dark ambiences of 'De Heringetredenen' and 'Blank
Angels' or the radio play like 'Rustpuntrust', with A. Nanuru's voice reciting a story (this could have
easily been an outtake of 'Neveleiland'). In 'Omweg' there is a sampled rhythm from an exotic record,
kind of tabla like. Guitars play quite an extended role here, but are transformed by the use of sound
effects, without sounding too droney; De Fabriek keeps their pieces short and to the point. It is all in
all a wonderful collection of pieces and it's great to hear something new from De Fabriek. And if you
want a copy, just write a good ol' fashioned letter!
    Update; no need for a letter just visit the URL below. (FdW)
––– Address:


The way this is packed is a very low affair; just a slim line box with a small sticker on it, that has the
basic information, artist, title and track titles, no website; it has to do with the fact that no-one cares
about anymore about the CDR, so sayeth the label. Evvers is someone who is talked about as from the
past, these works being “from the archive of Lynette Sandholm Evvers, who produced a substantial
body of work over a 20 year period. A lifelong synesthete, she began working with electronically
generated sound in the late 1980s as a means of exploring her chromesthesia; a condition in which
certain tones and timbres induce particularly vivid colour hallucinations. Never intended for public
dissemination, OFoCL have managed to persuade the Evvers estate to release these recordings
because we believe they deserve to be heard by the widest possible audience“, so that implies that
Evvers is no longer with us. I couldn’t find much else about her, so for all I know this is another Doctor
Edward Moolenbeek. We have here two pieces, lasting exactly twenty minutes, and apparently she
experiments with FM synthesis, “involving the slow timbral modulation of simple harmonic structures
to produce a deeply hypnotic effect. The music presented here has been reproduced by carefully
migrating the midi data from her original compositions into a digital workspace, allowing for the best
possible fidelity and lowest signal-to-noise ratio” and the pieces are ‘Photism (2)’ and ‘Photism (6)’,
which word means ‘a hallucinatory sensation or vision of light’. The whole hallucinatory aspect of the
music is something I can easily see here. From a simple standing wave the music is shaped by bending
it forward and backward, upwards, downwards and sideways by adding sound effects, such as delay
or reverb, Evvers creates a fine space, which you can meditate or levitate, whatever you want and she
creates an absolute fine piece of drone music. It’s however not that careful or delicate but drone music
that makes you sit up and listen closely. I could easily imagine that with the right backup of marketing
forces (i.e. being on a label that everybody drools; you which I mean), this could catapult Evvers in one
of those long lost masters of the drone genre that we all forgot about. Providing of course this is a
genuine thing (‘legit’ as the Americans tend to call it), and seeing as I don’t find much about her
otherwise made me have my suspicions, but then I believed the existence Moolenbeek also for way
too long. Fake or otherwise, the two pieces are great and should as easily been released on a LP. (FdW)
––– Address:


Three tracks, 27:54.627, 22:54.480 & 15:06.147. Black and white photocopy sleeve, white CDr with felt
pen lettering. The opening track is typical Vomir, single static wall, in the second track texture appears
and in the final third track it has become chunks of static. Loading into Goldwave it's more than obvious
that the second two tracks are simply the first played at a lower sample rate. I say obvious but they
could have originated in other ways from other sources, but to my ear they sound the same as when
the playback rate is lowered. Time stretching using the time warp effect to stretch the sound artefacts
are introduced, typical with such a process. However further investigation analysing the numeric data
of the PCM files shows a difference. Track three, the more coarse, shows data around the extremes,
32767 and -37768, track #2 less so and #1 even less. If we sample a small chunk from the start of each
track and save in numeric format we can use a spreadsheet to analyse the sound data. Track 1 has an
average of 16.45 with a maximum value of 15189 and minimum of -14895, #2 gives an average of
38503, max 32767, min 32768, #3 avg of -382.115, max 32767, min 32768. My final analysis is that a
sample of #1 has a standard deviation of 6987.65, #2 9820.86, #3 5798.25.  Track #2 is arguably the
more harsh having a greater variation in samples, i.e. is less homogeneous. A reader by now might be
thinking, 'what is the point of this?' To which I'd reply ,firstly curiosity, and secondly what else is there
to say regarding this totally abstract HNW. Someone might say it expresses angst, but no more than
the sound of stream or a waterfall. In fact white noise has been used both as a torture and as an aid to
sleep. If one simply reduces the sample rate of white noise with a little tweaking you can produce
Vomirish sound walls. So my second point would further be it would be difficult to actually say much or
anything 'new' regarding a Vomir release, other than here that there are three distinct tracks, but that
there distinctiveness is merely a product of a sample rate. If any subjectivity is at play in assessment
then not only is this arbitrary, one person's noise torture is another's balm, and so is seemingly benign,
but the seeing of patterns where there are non can lead to all sorts of things, from reading tea leaves to
examination of entrails... The seeing of meaning in things is useful, the seeing of meaning in everything
leads to witchcraft, superstition and fideism. Perhaps Vomir tracks should in future carry such a
BE FATAL" (jliat)
––– Address:

MATT KREFTING - MICROCHIPS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
TOM CREAN - 3 HEADS TAME (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)

Over the past few years I became quite a fan of the work of Matt Krefting, once member of Son Of Earth
(maybe still is?) and Idea Fire Company, and whose ‘High Hopes’ LP (Vital Weekly 874) is an absolute
favourite of mine, but also his various previous releases by Kendra Steiner Editions (Vital Weekly 853
and 968). I sadly missed out on his solo concerts earlier this year in Belgium, but here’s another CDR
release of his shady, fuzzy, vaguely electronic music of which I absolutely have no idea how he creates
this. One way or another the music on ‘Microchips’ made me think this is partly or entirely recorded in
concert (maybe one of the European ones) and again there is a sense of layering, looping and slowing
down of music, but this time around there is also way more voices to be noted. It is as if Matt Krefting
creates a radio play here, as all of the words are about microchips and it’s many uses. Even when the
pieces have separate titles, I very much believe they all go together as one long piece, a total of twenty-
seven minutes (which is of course something that I think is quite short). It is altogether a bit of a
different work than what Krefting produced so far, and the longer form of moody, ambient slowed
down reel to reel tapes is something that is not here a lot, but it is replaced by a shorter time-frame,
radio talk and occasional music, into something that works very well on the level of a radioplay. It took
some adjusting from my side to see the beauty of all of this, but after a few plays it won me over.
Krefting did another great release.
    Tom Crean plays a ‘7 string guitar, classical guitar, classical banjo and bass’ as well as credit for
production and engineering. This is the second solo release of his that reaches these shores (see also
Vital Weekly 912), and follows two collaborative releases; one with Mike Barrett (Vital Weekly 1023)
and one with Matt Robidoux (see Vital Weekly 1060). I understand that’s all the albums there were
released with his music. Crean stands in a long tradition of players that goes back all the way to Derek
Bailey, Hans Reichel and such like, and Kendra Steiner Editions wants to be a place for the current
wave of experimental string slingers and also release works by Ernesto Diaz-Infante. Crean plays all
of his music live without overdubs (except for one piece) and there is quite some use of effects going
on here, although not in all of the twelve pieces. It is a strange album, I think, as it is not easily called
improvised music. Crean creates most of the time quite some sustain on his sound, and are not your
usual plink-plonk strings abuser. His reverb/delay/distortion approach can perhaps also be seen in
a more rock oriented context, especially the slightly brutal ’Suite Part 1: Youth’, which sounds almost
like a heavy metal intro going wrong. It is followed by a more introspective tune, ‘Clyfford’, which
sounds almost Eastern in approach. This is quite a diverse release, and that’s what I like about it.
    And lastly there is a recording from the city of Shanghai by a group who call themselves Shanghai
Quintet. This is Alfred 23 Harth (reeds, samples), Jun-Y Ciao (reeds) MaiMai (guitar), Xu Cheng
(electronics, metal percussion) and Tao Yi (drums). Together they recorded in October 2016 at the
Power Station Of Art. Here we enter the world of free jazz. There is some pretty wild exploring of the
various reed instruments and drums going on, taking their cues from the world of free jazz. Perhaps
this is not entirely my homeland but as I was engaging myself in some utter boring online work for a
while, I had this playing all along and noticed that I quite enjoyed this wild ride of sounds. Upon closer
inspection one hears the various weirder things that happen below the surface. The injection of
electronic sounds that sometimes sound like a weird organ being played by Sun Ra, but at other times
is very fragmented and surreal, like a bunch of insects desperately trying to eat all the instruments.
Of the two pieces I enjoyed the second, shorter and more introspective piece a lot better. Sounds
were spread a bit more and the wild ride was more a tumble down the rabbit hole. Altogether it
was some fine music. (FdW)
––– Address:

ROVAR17 - INRI (CDR by Unsigned)

In Latin, INRI stands for Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum, or Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews’, as
written on the sign on the cross of Jesus, on that rather sad day in his short life. It is also the name of
this release by Rovar17 that comes with a wooden cover, hand painted canvas around it and a booklet
with texts by Syporca Whandal. That includes texts and images that I suspect to be dealing with
something of a religious nature, or against it. I am not some one who can easily say what things are
about, based on some vague images and words. In the music of Rovar17 words are quite important,
at least on this release. On the previous one I heard, back in Vital Weekly 951, it seemed all a bit more
about harsh noise, but nevertheless quite well made. Here voice is important, maybe reciting from the
booklet I am also looking at, but treated with delay machines and in a language that I have not
mastered yet. The musical backdrop is made from having those delay patterns stir up other effects
or synthesizers, or even sometimes a bit of sound stretching, such as in ‘Rex’, which I thought was the
best piece. At times one is remembered of the very early Current 93, but Rovar17 seems to be more
interested in some long form sounds, and is less into using dynamic approaches to the music. It was all
less noise based as what I heard before, which I quite enjoyed, but on the other hand I must also admit
that the whole context is not something that interests me very much (pro or contra religion actually)
and that some of this took a bit too much time to develop in any way. Just not my sacramental wine this
mass. (FdW)
––– Address:

NEPTUNE IS A POWER STATION (CDR by After Music Recordings)

The press text says that this new project of Darren Brown is “from a tradition of Avant Garde
Electronics and experimentation dating back to early 80s”, which is also the period in which Brown
started to produce music with Boy Dirt Car and little later as Impact Test. This new enterprise
receives some cryptic words: “It is said that Neptune Is A Power Station was created in 2017. In
reaction to tension & pressures that have Bio Electronic origins: noises on an unsettled planet:
Neptune was associated with fresh water springs before the sea. [...] Neptune was worshipped as
a god of horses. Neptune is one of the only three Roman gods to whom it was appropriate to sacrifice
bulls”. Brown gets credit for playing the trumpet, recordest [sic?], assembler, manipulator along with
three players on bass, drums, metal, acoustic guitar, keyboards, voice, sitar and percussion. Also
mentioned are field recordings. The whole thing hears as one long piece, divided into seven pieces,
like a performance being cut down to individual sections. The music is something that one very much
would expect from Brown and friends. A rockist inspired set of improvisations, but this time around
the free form improvisation seems to prevail. Everybody plays his or her instrument(s) the way he or
she seems best to fit in the overall sound, but somehow I would think something is missing here and
there. It is not easy to say what that is, but somehow it all is a bit too freeform for me. One hears the
influences of Boy Dirt Car or Impact Test or Brown’s solo recordings (bass, metal percussion, snippets
of taped voices, quite a bit of effects), and all of it is a bit too much of a jam session. Careful, respectfully
everybody seems to be waiting for the ‘other’ to start up; one waits for a fine blast, a cleansing to
happen, but now everybody is civilized and it carries on a bit too much on the same dynamic level,
shifting back and forth between the instruments that are on offer here. Performances are planned
for 2018 and I wonder what those will be like. The press information seems to be hinting towards a
more performance like thing and it would interesting how this music will fit in. (FdW)
––– Address:

AK UKI (CDR by Plaza Zachodnia)
AK UKI - MANTEUFEL (cassette by Plaza Zachodnia)
CHRYSTE PANIE (CD by Plaza Zachodnia)
RADAR (CD by Plaza Zachodnia)
PASSIVE STATUS - PAPIER (cassette by Plaza Zachodnia)
STRETWA (cassette by Plaza Zachodnia)

When I open up an envelope and eight items roll about, I roll my eyes up to the sky and take a deep
sigh. What is it that people decide to put this is an envelop, without any information, lots of Polish
letters on the releases, and throughout difficult to see a point where to start. Maybe they don’t care
that much about it, as long as it is mentioned somewhere? Following some ‘detective’ work I figured
out the name of the label, which brought me to the Bandcamp page, where I see these releases listed.
I see also for Ak Uki, the release I started with, that it was released in October 2015. I know postage is a
bitch, almost anywhere in the world, but to save up releases for two years? “You know who reviews
your stuff? That Vital Weekly guy. Send him whatever you got”.
    So Ak Uki then. No information on the Bandcamp page for this group; the cover lists three members
but not the instruments they play. Well, okay. Let me take a guess but please don’t send me a correction
if I got it ‘all’ wrong ‘again’. I think this is a group with drums, guitar and a synthesizer; voices, in so far
they are used anyway, seem to me sampled and played back, rather than something they sing
themselves. There are seven songs on this CDR, all about five to seven minutes, give or take a few
seconds, and judging by what I hear I would think these songs find their roots in the world of
improvisation, but Ak Uki add a rocky/part funky edge to the music, so there is a half-half groove
occasionally to be noted in the music, such as in ‘Opowieść ze środka lasu’, with a vaguely jazzy
undercurrent with, once the delay is open, a dub like aspect. David Lynch would love such a thing I
guess. It is the rhythm that keeps this music together and estranged from the all too rigid forms of
improvisation, which is quite nice. I quite enjoyed this one. It was a bit weird, but not that alien and
by the end of the day a most welcome release for an experimental groove winding down.
    So it is probably a good occasion not to wind down completely but to check out Ak Uki’s tape,
which was released last month. What progress did they make from their groovy improvised jazz noir
in two years? No members are mentioned here, so we must assume it’s the same trio. This time we
have nine pieces, but also around forty-five or so minutes; just some pieces are bit shorter. Here the
music seems to somewhat more electronic in nature and a little less groovy/jazzy/noir. In two years
Ak Uki moved to something that is also moody and atmospheric, like before, but then without much
use of rhythm. This time around the sound is quite dense and layered, with various events happening
at the same time, all the time. I think I should have reversed the order of playing. As it is now I think
the cassette is not bad, but I suspect I would have enjoyed it more had I first heard this, and then the
CDR. Now I think the CDR is the better of the two. That’s what happens.
    As I press ‘translate this page’ it says that Chryste Panie means something like ‘The Name of Christ’,
which makes this the second one this week that forces me to think about religion. Must be the time of
the year. Chryste Panie is a quartet of Michael Malota (saxophone), Alexander Zurowski (synthesizer),
Michael Stawarz (baraban; which is a kind of drum) and Wojtek Kurek (drums). They recorded seven
fairly long pieces, two that last twelve minutes and the rest well over six minutes. The drum sound is
something that Chryste Panie seems to find of particular importance as there is a lot of it, but the
recording is something that happened within one space, so the technical side of the drum sound
could have some improvement. The saxophone and synthesizer move around that minimalist drum
sound and remind me of Dead Neanderthals, but not as powerful or as minimal; or as good. It is
perhaps the combination of the drum sound, which could have been better with the saxophone
sound that didn’t cut it for me. The saxophone was a bit too regular free form wailing and in the
various pieces in the end sounded very much the same.
    Radar is a duo of Krzysztof Topolski (also known as Arszyn) on drums and transducer and Robert
Skrzyński (also known as Micromelancolié) on electronics. I reviewed quite a bit from both (and more
to come as you will see) but it seems nothing from their work together, but perhaps that is because
this is their first album as Radar. According to the label they offer a mix of “electronics, electro-acoustics,
kraut-rock and improvised music”. The eight pieces on this CD, spanning forty-two minutes, seem to be
part of one piece or two pieces that are cut up in various smaller ones. Now here we have drums that
are much better recorded, no wailing saxophone and indeed a sound that combines the best of all that
is mentioned. Sometimes it hammers on like a fine motorik kraut beat, but it can also be broken up
with the drums being all over the place and electronics do something similar. Either pressed down to
form a drone-like organ sound, or bouncing around in all those fine oscillations. It has that groovy jazz
noir sound of the CDR of Ak Uki and throughout Radar has a diverse sound palette on offer. This I
thought was a very nice release.
    Which by then it is a wise move, perhaps, to check out Micromelancolié’s ‘No Respect For Grace
And Virtue’ cassette. Much of his work seems to be others (including Sindre Bjerga) but what I heard
from his solo work it seemed very much rooted in the world of drone music. On this new work he
seems to be on the move, going into something new. The music is all-electronic, but not always drone
based. It bubbles and bursts, these modular synthesizers, hums and sings, sometimes even literally
when there are voices used. These voices are fed through a vocoder, so it sounds a bit robot/alien like
and reminding me of local heroes Visitors, but Micromelancolié is not as poppy, as all things
atmospheric and moody plays a role here, even when it sometimes seems like the start of something
poppy. But of course it is no such thing and the album sounds more like a concept album with all
those similarly processed voices, singing from another universe or beyond a black hole; or maybe
something from central command trying to stop such an invasion. There is a fine radio play like
quality to the music and even if it was not intended like that, it worked as such for me pretty well.
This is an absolutely lovely tape by Micromelancolié and he makes an interesting progress with his
music; certainly a road to continue.
    And to stay in outer space we twist our heads and minds to ‘Problems With Talking To Aliens’.
Not that this title is mentioned on the cover anywhere, but me thinks I am listening to the one listed
as such on Bandcamp. Apparently it is all about parallel dimensions and alternative worlds, “emerging
from the human tradition of seeking contact with "other" and "other". There are no names, instruments
or such mundane mentioned on the cover, alas said the alien, and listened to the music. It is not easy to
figure what we are dealing with here. It surely might be something electronic in origin, but I believe I
also hear a saxophone in the distance, maybe a bass guitar and taped voices. There is some mood music
going on here, not as spacious or alien as with Micromelancolié, as Mothertape stays on the conventional
side of things. A bit of slow jazzy rhythms, as part of some longer drones and improvisation was used as
a tool to generate these nine pieces. Although this music was not entirely my cup of tea it was all most
enjoyable in a sort of spooky atmosphere. More film noir soundtracks on this one.
    So what didn’t we get so far on this Polish trip? Noise indeed and a project of no further information
called Passive Status fills that gap for us. It is not your usual all harsh noise distortion feedback orgy, as
in the nine pieces there is also room for quieter space, but it never washes upon the shores of ambient
land, as in something very quiet and subdued. That it doesn’t become. Whatever goes into the machine,
most likely field recordings I would think, gets a firm treatment of sound effects, like layering the cake
with lots of different variations of chocolate and glazing. The music is foremost nervous and hectic,
bouncing back and forth between the fast (and vast) selections of effects to torment these sounds with.
It’s not bad, it’s not great, I’d say; it’s the stuff that cassettes love to have on a release. A snapshot in
    And finally a trio that goes by the name Stretwa; Paweł Doskocz (Bachor, Sumpf) - electric guitar,
objects, Patryk Daszkiewicz (DMNSZ, Sumpf) - tapes, effects and Maciej Maciągowski (Maciej
Maciągowski, Bachor, Years) - synthesizer. I copied that bit, but you gathered that already, I guess.
Here we have four pieces here of pretty rough and noisy improvisations. Maybe it is because I feel
tired or I am really tired, but I am a bit lost with this one. It is a rather full on sound that is sure, but I
found it hard to find a point of entry here that made me like this a lot. It is one of those noisy
improvisation things that people do, yes I know, and no doubt there is quite some fun in the creation
of all of this, but for the objective listener on the outside perhaps a lot less to enjoy. (FdW)
––– Address:


It is a clever move of course to use the name Bandcamp in the title; you surely get noticed. This
particular Bandcamp was actually a one-day free festival, November 4, 2014, held in Eindhoven,
The Netherlands, under the banner of ‘The Homestead Principle V’. Various musicians we know from
their previous releases on Barreuh Records (from the same city), such as label founders Antoine
Panaché and A Million Squeaks Will Do You No Harm (no doubt label founder number three is also
present in one his many guises, but not one I recognized), but also Danielle Liebeskind, Staplerfahrer
and Visitors, and musicians and artists (it was an ‘art-music-performance’ event) as Blodfet & DJ
Lonely. Umgebung, Yasmijn Jarram, Selfindulgent Asshole, Jurgen Zweemer, Nancy Acid, DJ
Garillibiahanahasapufti and lastly Amerikan Teenager, who took all the recordings home and did
a ‘mix-edit-post production’. There is no tracklist here, and sometimes the visual element is also
sadly missed. If you want to hear what, for instance, Antoine Panaché or Visitors or Staplerfahrer
did (to mention three favourites of mine), then you have bad luck, as there is no way of telling. Add
to that the recording quality, taped right in the space, rather than from a mixing board, makes that all
of this sounds rather obscure. It is more a grainy documentary of events that happened that day than
a fully documented series of events, in which it is clear what are what, and most likely that is the
whole idea of this. It’s all about the energy that is released through the acts of creativity I guess and
we get documentation as seen through the eyes of one Amerikan Teenager. Odd but sweet. (FdW)
––– Address:


Saturday 9th December 2017

Hannu Karjalainen & Eric Carl LIVE

This December we are excited to present a stunning double bill of live ambient audio visual performances with Hannu Karjalainen celebrating the recent release of his album „A Handful of Dust Is A Desert“ on Karaoke Kalk and local support from lo-fi drone artist Eric Carl.

SPEKTRUMberlin | Bürknerstraße 12 | 12047 Berlin-Neukölln

Doors 19:30 Start 20:00 | 8-12€ Donation | |

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