number 1119
week 7


Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
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help Vital Weekly to survive:

AJNA - AN ERA OF TORMENT (CD by Reverse Alignment) *
TAPHEPHOBIA - HOUSE OF MEMORIES (2CD by Reverse Alignment) *
ANTOINE BEUGER - TO THE MEMORY OF (CD by Inexhaustible Editions) *
  by Lenka Lente) *
FRANCK VIGROUX - BARRICADES (LP by Erototox Decodings)
AMALGAMATED - TO (CDR by Aubjets) *
SPELONK VS RVD (cassette by Faux Amis)
LÄRMSCHUTZ - 1’S AND 5'S (cassette by Faux Amis) *
LACE BOWS - EARTH TUNNELS (cassette by Ota) *
THE MOON RISES IN MAEVIS (cassette by Ota) *


Sometimes Facebook acts as a school playground for 50 year old music lovers; ‘I hate so and so pop
artist’, ‘this and this band wasn’t a real punk band’, ‘your selection of best records from 1967 sucks’
(all of these really occurred in the past two weeks, and I am sure I missed out a few other discussions)
and so someone tried to lure me into fit of anger by saying ‘no one really needs any Asmus Tietchens’,
to which I should have replied ‘no one needs any music; shelter, food and drink is enough to survive’,
but instead I replied with ‘the only one you need is yet to come, because I’m involved’. That also
effectively stopped this silly playground discussion. It is little secret that I have pretty much every
Asmus Tietchens record ever made and I play a variety of them repeatedly. Sheer coincidence that in
recent weeks I start every day playing one of his, save for the somewhat louder ones, such as ‘Grav’,
which he did with Merzbow and the various releases he did David Lee Myers, also known as Arcane
Device. As you may know Myers works with a bunch of mixers that are connected and which create
feedback, which is not always the right sort of thing to awake to and while I am sure they aren’t all
that loud, I would not easily know the difference (perhaps not being that big of a fan, then?). That
happens with such a vast catalogue of works. With Asmus Myers did four previous albums, since
1993, which I think makes him one of the most frequent collaborators. As always Myers delivers
pieces of his feedback improvisations and Asmus uses his studio trickery to manipulate that. Playing
this new work recorded in the past two or so years I realized that not always feedback equals loud
noise (and perhaps I also know that not all of the work Tietchens did with Myers wasn’t that loud)
as some of the music is actually quite low in volume. Of course Tietchens himself, who did the
processing, is someone who, since the turn of the century, uses quite a bit of a silent approach to his
composition. Some of the pieces on this new CD are very quiet but turning up the volume a bit
reveals quite a bit of detail and richness in the music. Thirteen pieces are presented here and kept
within an interesting shorter frame of time, somewhere between two and six minutes; unlike some
of Tietchens’ own music, which tends to take a longer time. I am not sure if the length here is dictated
by Myers source material (his solo pieces are usually also a bit shorter) but there is now an interesting
variety in these pieces; from drone like structures to modern electronics in ‘Arc 7’ and sometimes it
sounds like insects, hiding out in a basement (‘Arc 8’). In a piece like ‘Arc 12’ I believe to have heard
more of Myers’ source material than in some of the other pieces. Throughout, but rest assured: I’m a
highly biased reviewer who think this is a great release. (FdW)
––– Address:


Since about eight or nine years EE Tapes is very much the main home for music by Alain Neffe and his
various musical projects, from Pseudo Code to Human Flesh and Bene Gesserit. Neffe started already
in the 70s, with Kosmose (also recently released by EE Tapes, see Vital Weekly 1111), and in the 80s
he had his own label, Insane Music, then was off the map for some time, but since returning in 2009
there have been quite a bunch of releases; many of these are re-issues, but also new music. Or archival
releases, such in the case of ‘Tournai’, a live recording from 1991 by Bene Gesserit, in the same city as
the CD is now titled. Some months before Alain Neffe and Nadine Bal, played in the German city of
Aachen and that recording was part of the very first re-releases by EE Tapes (see Vital Weekly 751).
If we compare the eighteen pieces from Aachen on November 11, 1990 with the eighteen of February
22, 1991 you note they played almost the same set. I have no idea how often Bene Gesserit played
concerts in those days and how often the set list was changed. Apparently that ‘Aachen’ CD is sold out
now, and hence ‘Tournai’ is released, but even for a big fan that I am of the work of Alain Neffe and his
Insane world, this is a bit much. Also in Tournai that evening they were in pretty good form, and to
quote of my own text from before: “Surely, Bene Gesserit don't play jazz, but they play… well… pop
music? Maybe it is pop music, but with an odd twist, not the kind of stuff that will be big in the charts,
but nevertheless pop music that attracts the more serious lovers of minimal wave and new wave. At
times romantic, especially the saxophone playing, but at other times also wildly eccentric with vocal
improvisations and an over-use of echo effects. I must admit two things: it was great to hear Bene
Gesserit after all these years, but from the various bands of Insane Music not my favourite. That would
be Pseudo Code and then Human Flesh”. Bene Gesserit did a great release, ‘Eccentric’ not too long ago
(Vital Weekly 1029) and while I know Neffe and Bal aren’t youngsters anymore, I wouldn’t mind seeing
them doing some new music instead of releasing another, albeit, great concert from the past. (FdW)
––– Address:

AJNA - AN ERA OF TORMENT (CD by Reverse Alignment)

As far as I can see I missed out so far on the previous solo releases of one Chris F, also known as Ajna,
which were released by Petroglyph Music, Treetrunk Records and Reverse Alignment, but the latter
label did release his work with Dronny Darko (see Vital Weekly 1083). That was my first and only
encounter so far, but here the trip into drone land continues with a solo work with the grim (perhaps)
title ‘An Era Of Torment’. I am not sure if the music is supposed to be grim or perhaps something else,
but the music is indeed quite dark; to say the least. With music like, the ominous dark atmospheric
tunes it is very hard to say what the musician does, and as per usual, there is nothing mentioned on
the cover that could be any clue. My best guess is that Ajna uses a lot of field recordings, which are
heavily treated so we no longer recognize these and to that end he might be using sound processors in
the form of effects or computer technology. That’s not all, as upon and below the surface there are,
from time to time chord changes and little, yet very slow melodies to be heard and these no doubt are
derived from analogue or digital synthesizers. One thing that is very much present, and a lot of it, is
reverb. That perhaps is a pity, I would think, as it seems such an easy way to make virtually anything
sound ‘ambient, atmospheric and/or drone’ like. With the music of Ajna it adds also a certain roughness
to the music, a touch of distortion, just a little, which adds an element of lo-fi inspired technology to the
music. It is, so it could seem to me, something that could have been recorded on a bunch of cassettes
and then mixed together, and with the hiss as additional musical layer.
    Ketil Søraker is the man behind “guitar based drone project” Taphephobia (which is the fear of
being buried alive) and back in Vital Weekly 721 I reviewed a previous CDR by Reverse Alignment
from him, but didn’t hear any of his other albums on Greytone, Kalpamantra, NOTHingness Records
and Cyclic Law and the latter being more or less the label he is signed too. This double CD contains on
the first disc a re-issue of his debut from 2007 on NOTHingness Records, and on the second disc a
bunch of compilations tracks he released over the years. I must admit I forgot all about Taphephobia
following that one release, and seeing this release contains music that was recorded some 14 years
ago, it made me wonder how little things change. Had I not known this I could have as easily believed
this was recorded only recently or much longer ago. In other words it is music that perhaps does not
change a lot over the years; a point that is underwritten by the pieces from a later date. Music that is
both timeless as well not evolving very much into something new or different. The other thing I noted
down is that guitar wasn’t an instrument I was thinking of these past eighty minutes hearing this
music. Surely with the right amount of processors, effects or digital means one can surely make any
guitar sound like a piece of drone music, and in some pieces the sustaining of strings sounded aloud,
but in many other instances it is barely recognizable. Twenty or more years ago we’d call this
isolationist music and many of the pieces would not be out of place on that famous compilation on
Virgin Records. Taphephobia does a very fine job at playing some very moody music, and while perhaps
not the most original voice in that field, he does a very adequate job in playing such music. (FdW)
––– Address:


A  new project by Dutch composer, improvisor, pianist, artist Nico Huijbrechts with his One Room
Ensmble. Released on his own Vindu Music. The small catalogue of this label shows the many faces of
Huijbregts musical interest. Composed as well improvised music have his interest. This is also reflected
in this new release ‘Girovago’ by his One room Ensemble. This is a sextet of six musicians: Tui Clark
(clarinet), Kees Hilhorst (violin), Andries van Rossem (piano), Gerard van der Kamp (saxophones),
Harmjan Roeles (contrabas) en Nico Huijbregts (vocals). The music is inspired by the poems of
Eleonore Schönmaier (Canada), Giuseppe Ungaretti (Italy) and Gerrit Achterberg (Netherlands).
The poems are included on an insert. And,  more importantly, performed by Huijbregts He is not just
reading the poems. Far from that. He delivers them in an musical way, integrated very well in the
music (or the other way around). All 13 works are improvised, or ‘instantly composed’ as they choose
 to say. Whereas we know Huijbregts mainly as a pianist, here his contributions are limited to the
vocals. Instead classically trained Andries van Rossem plays the piano, in a very imaginative way.
Inspired is also the playing by van der Kamp. Together they create some to the point, very
concentrated and well-shaped patterns, with much variation in dynamics Improvised music of a
kind that is more close to modern composed music then it is to jazz. A lovely work, and a very s
uccessful meeting between poetry and improvisation. Recorded on june 12th 2016 in studio in Nijmegen.
Released by Vindu, Huijbregts own label. (DM)
––– Address:

Ballou is a trumpeter, improviser and composer who has about ten records out as a leader and co-
leader. Since 1987 he contributed on numerous releases by the Either/Orchestra, John Hollenbeck,
Nick Didkovsky, Andrea Centazzo, and Meridian Arts Ensemble. This new release by Pfmentum is the
follow up to ‘Solo Trumpet’ his first solo work, released in 2015 by Clean Feed. In that same year
Ballou recorded ‘Quadrants for Solo Trumpet’. For ‘Solo Trumpet’ Ballou concentrated on short
improvisations. With ‘Quadrants for Solo Trumpet’ he choose for lengthy, about 15-minute
improvisations, that have Ballou playing Bb trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet and mutes. Four
of them found their way to his release, titled ‘North’, ‘East’, ‘South’ and ‘West. What we hear is what
Ballou actually played. No overdubs or edits. Of course these recordings show the virtuosic techniques
Ballou is capable of. But that is not what this work is about. He has set himself the task to tell a musical
story that is worthwhile all along this lengthy time span. Which has consequences for how to built, to
improvise a dramatic tension span that is engaging and focused along the route. The cd opens with
‘North’ that starts with long extended notes that deformed. Gradually Ballou introduces more
complicated patterns and sequences. ‘East’ has baffling passages, where I would like to see what
Ballou is doing. And ends in a melodic finale. ‘South’ is the most melodic of the four, ‘West’ the most
exuberant improvisation. Ballou delivers a satisfying and relevant effort of solo improvisations for
trumpet, that are not often practised. (DM)
––– Address:

ANTOINE BEUGER - TO THE MEMORY OF (CD by Inexhaustible Editions)

As someone who listens to music pretty all day I am very happy to live in a generally quiet
neighbourhood. But sometimes even in a quiet neighbourhood it is not easy to play something as
Antoine Beuger and this piece commissioned by an organisation called Conceptual Soundproductions
Budapest. As the name says it “describes a form of sonic art in which conceptual elements dominate
professional considerations”. It is more about the process than the actual piece. In 2016 this
organisation asked Antoine Beuger to compose a piece, which consists of the words ‘silence’, ‘words’
and ‘silence’ and every one of the nine players makes his individual choices. Beuger of course being
one of the important composers to come from the Wandelweiser group, which he founded, where
silence plays an important role and scores can graphical or merely instructional. It seems to me that
‘sounds’ are in the first half of the pieces and the second half, or even a little bit more, consists of
words. Silence is something that is featured throughout this release, but more in the second half than
in the first half. The words spoken are very quiet and in between there is always a few seconds of
silence. It is so quiet that serious amplification must be sought. The music half, the first half is also
quiet but by comparison this is almost very loud. The instruments used include piano, objects, trumpet,
violin, guitar, feedback, electronics and percussion, next to voice of course. This is some very quiet
music, with lots of space between the sparse notes but not something one sticks on for relaxing.
Meditation is perhaps something I could see even when some of the tones may come across ‘harsh’,
especially the ones from objects. This is something that is best enjoyed when one keeps the full
attention going and listens to this in total silence and uninterrupted. Only then, I should think, the
beauty of this becomes clear. (FdW)
––– Address:


When I reviewed the inaugural release from Polish label Antenna Non Grata (Vital Weekly 1106) I
wrote “I love radio sounds; it’s the poor man’s instrument, I guess. Even when you have no instruments
you can buy a 1-dollar radio and work with that.” For the bands on the compilation the radio was the
start yet not the end, and Mothertape and Radio Noise Duo, both present back then, are now given the
opportunity to explore radio sounds in longer pieces, twenty-some for each, and radio sounds are
embedded in the music somehow, but not exclusively. From both of these ‘groups’ I also reviewed
earlier work. From the two Mothertape is perhaps more alike a group and here radio sounds play a
minor role in the piece (actually a live recording, just like the other one). Voices could originate in
transmissions of long or short waves, but to that the group adds quite a bit of electronics, sound effects
(delay mostly) and a lonesome sort of saxophone sound. Because of all the delay used this piece has a
mild dub-like feel, even when rhythm in itself plays not a role. It is at times also a bit of an uneven
piece, sometimes going off to the rails a bit too much for my taste. Off the rails, but then a bit differently
is the Radio Noise Duo, who use solely radio sounds (maybe a bit of effects for colouring) in quite a
psychedelic slab of noise music. They keep it all together in fairly great way, but perhaps it is with noise
that difficult. It kept my attention going for the duration of the piece, so that’s fine, I guess. It is a fine
follow-up to the compilation and I can see a potentially interesting label growing from all of this. (FdW)
––– Address:

  by Lenka Lente)

By now the publications by French publisher Lenka Lente make up an excellent library of small books,
all with the same format (10x 15,5 cm), with design that makes up an united effort and with a CDR.
The problem is that if you are interested in the written content you have to be able to read French, so I
can imagine that the appeal outside France is limited and restricted to whoever is responsible for the
music. Today we have Oskar Panizza, a writer best known for his “Das Liebeskonzil”, for which he got
no less than 93 charges of blasphemy and like many other books by Lenka Lente he’s a writer that
borders on the surreal, insanity and oustider and died in an asylum in 1921. I looked if there was an
online English or German translation of the garden of Vreneli, but couldn’t find one. Apparently it was
written like he was on drugs and it’s about a paradise, or a hallucination there of.
    The musical component is by the two brothers Opalio better known as My Cat Is An Alien. I know
their name, heard some of their music but to say that I am very familiar with their work: not really.
That is one ‘problem’, the other of course is that this story by Panizza remains closed for me, so all of
that makes listening and judging this not the easiest of tasks. My Cat Is Alien starts out with a drum
machine, of a simply brand (a Monotribe I think but don’t want to sound like a gear freak of course),
which I think sounds great and then over the course of twenty minutes this rhythm machine hammers
slowly for the entire time, and on top of that they lay down their electronics, the rattling of a percussion,
the bending of synth (perhaps a monotron or two) and a layered amount of them humming along. It fits
their raw psychedelic music with an off folk touch, and it all sounds very lo-fi; lo-fi but loud. Especially
when the guitars a dropped in half way through the piece, it sounds like they were recorded on the
worst cassette available and when transferring the recording all hiss was emphasized a bit more.
Quite a rough, yet very lovely piece of music. (FdW)
––– Address:

FRANCK VIGROUX - BARRICADES (LP by Erototox Decodings)

As I was playing this new record by Franck Vigroux I was thinking about his career so far. When I first
heard his music (Vital Weekly 842) it was all about improvising, turntables and guitars, and later on
that was changed in synthesizer and drum machines. Then he also did a guitar only record (Vital
Weekly 948) and a CD with Zeitkratzer’s Reinhold Friedl (Vital Weekly 918). A named that popped up
frequently in reviews was that of Pan Sonic. Not just because Vigroux worked with the late Mika Vainio,
but also because Vigroux adopted some the Finnish duo’s love for anything harsh and rhythmic. His
new LP is in that regard not exception. It is all about synthesizers and drum machines here, and none
of this is for the weak of heart. Vigroux loves his beats to be loud and forceful and not necessarily it is
aimed at the dance floor. It is sometimes odd movements, in ‘Steel’ for instance, is bass drum heavy
but shifts around like the percussion section of an orchestra. The synths, no doubt of the modular
variation, can be as dark as a bunch of cello’s, mean as a conveyer belt or crackling like computer; all
of that easily within the time frame of one piece, ‘Rosso’ for instance. Yet it is not all about heavy
machine rhythm; ‘H+’ for instance is a piece that dark, menacing but with the tension underneath the
surface. Reverb plays an important role throughout all eight pieces and the production is first rate,
with lots of depth and lots of detail. This might easily be his most complete record to date that says it
all about his work, so if you like some forceful beats and piercing synths, with a moment of rest, yet
not too dance oriented, this might be the complete package. (FdW)
––– Address:


Marcelle is a Dutch DJ who travels quite a bit of this world to spin records, which even brought her to a
festival in Uganda, and she has a love for palm trees, hot weather and reading books; I share one of
those hobbies. But you could see palm trees, hot weather and books leading to ‘Psalm Tree’? I could. I
am not sure to what extent a DJ plays stuff made by others, and what is made by the DJ. I couldn’t figure
this out on this record either. Maybe Marcelle lifts rhythms left and right, adds voice samples (Philip
Seymour Hoffman), or if there is a drum machine with a tapped out rhythm by herself? Hard to tell, but
then, the world of DJs is something that is very alien to me. I didn’t recognize any of these beats, but
that doesn’t mean anything. Marcelle apparently tested the music via dub plate on the dance floor and
‘it dropped’. Her beats are quite crude and rough which I liked and, again I have no idea how the dance
floor works, I found it hard to imagine this stuff spinning in order to make people dance, but I surely
can see a love of dub music here; very abstract dub that is, but that is something I enjoy very much. I
understand this is sort of thing people want on a piece of vinyl, but I would have preferred a CD with
some more music. You can’t win ‘m all, I guess. Like I said, this is from an alien world to me, but played
with pleasure. (FdW)
––– Address:


Recently I heard music by Felix Antoine Morin for the first time, as part of a duo called Political Ritual
(see Vital Weekly 1112), which I enjoyed quite bit for it’s radical sound treatments. As much as that
one was quite an extreme record, his solo record is very much something else. In 2013 Morin spent
three months in North India and recorded various soundscapes and field recordings, which he took
apart and re-assembled them over the period of four years. Two pieces (it reads like there is also a LP
version of it; its existence I am not sure of), lasting forty-two minutes in total and it is a stunningly good
record. It consists of three basic layers, organ chords, electroacoustic movements and field recordings in
India. It may sound like this is it, well, perhaps it is, but the way Morin created his composition (in two
parts) is something of a delight. There is a great flow between the three elements, slowly shifting back
and forth between one or the other, an effective use of volume control is in place and via quick editing
the sound can change radically in a split second, bringing out an excellent abstract narrative. The
conversations we don’t understand, the rattling of metal, or the slow seascape like movements of the
organ combined with loops of the sound of traffic. There is an excellent level of dynamics at play here,
going from relatively quiet to modestly loud. Its aim is not to shock (neither loud, nor quiet), but it is
all part of the narrative of the piece; like various chapters, dark, light, loud or quiet. Record of the week,
should we do that sort of thing. (FdW)
––– Address:


James S. Taylor, the man behind Lugano Fell, wrote all the information on the thirty-three copies of his
release himself, but that doesn’t amount to much. More information is to be found on the information
sheet and we know Taylor from before (Vital Weekly 737 and 622). In the late 90s he was half of
Swayzak, a deep minimal techno and house duo and since leaving the group in 2010 he works as
Lugano Fell. I quite enjoyed his CD for Baskaru (737) for its combination of shoegazing and glitch
music. For his new release he writes that the music “wrote itself” and it’s “random volume arpeggios
at 20 Bpm controlling a Roland D50 synth”, whilst being a sleep on the floor (I am not sure if that last
bit is information of great value). The original 2,5 hour was reduced to CDR length, seventy minutes,
as a sort of sleeping pill, but not one to swallow but to play softly. Taylor writes it is also good for
“meditation, massage, sex, work, food and cats”, some of which I never do or have. As much as I would
love, I can’t reviews when being asleep, so I sit through the whole piece while being fully awake (I
hope at least). While I like the starting point of the thing, music to fall asleep by, it is in the end indeed
something that once set in motion stays very much in similar motion, and it’s not easy to listen, all
concentrated, while not thinking at the same time ‘all right, so I get y’r drift, I wouldn’t mind a short
nap myself now’. I guess it is just very hard to remain objective, when the objective of the music aims
at something so radically different. (FdW)
––– Address:


Here are two new releases from the lovely home of Aubjects, one of the few labels I know who are
interested in giving their releases a personal touch, yet without it all looking like a smear of paint on
a photograph from 1910, calling it ‘handmade’. The Amalgamated release is a CDR is a video box, neon
green, translucent vellum inserts and a micro booklet. The cassette by Directives, an edition of twenty
copies, has painted sandpaper elements and a small bag of coloured stones, which in a way looks like a
game to play of a more primitive nature.
    Over the years I quite enjoyed the various releases that came my way by the quartet that is
Amalgamated; it is the combined efforts of M (Robert Newell), Gushing Cloud (Cory Bengtsen),
Directives (D. Petri), and Homogenized Terrestrials (Phillip Klampe), and oddly, perhaps, whatever
they release seems to have ben waiting a few years. Maybe like a good wine, it needs to ripe a few
years? Over the years that I have been playing their music it didn’t escape my attention that I have
not much clue as to what these men do; well, I have a notion, a vague idea or a hint, but not entirely
sure. As far as I know their various solo releases, I know they are all interested in electronic music,
played with a bunch of synthesizers (hardware, software) and many sound effects and the result is
best be called ‘ambient’. But not a very rigid, closed form of ambient. It’s not a stretched out pattern
of drone sounds and some field recordings, but there is a lot more. It has drones, sure, and field
recordings, such is the lengthy ending of ‘Stoichiometry’, but Amalgamated isn’t shy of playing with
some rhythm material, and leap into what we could define as ‘techno’ or ‘ambient house’, well, less
perhaps this isn’t as housy. In the past I compared their work with The Orb, and that I think still
stands. It is that shared passion that screams: ‘anything goes’. Let’s throw in some ambient sounds,
field recordings, heavy dub inspired rhythm (‘Euthedral’) and let’s keep fiddling with those effects,
the studio-as-instrument - and we have this highly spacious, krautrocking psychedelic form of ambient
music, in full form dance mood in the beginning of ‘Chronometeorite’, but ending on a long and spooky
note, in which all their love for musique concrete comes to the foreground. It makes these pieces at
times long and trippy, but I never had the idea it became stale or boring. This was another most lovely
release by this great band.
    D. Petri is, as said above, the man behind Directives and so far I only heard his piece on a previous
Aubjects cassette compilation, ‘Noosphertilizer IV’ (see Vital Weekly 1057), which might have been his
only release so far. Two side long pieces, thirty minutes each, are found here and Petri takes credit for
‘guitars, metals, piano, field recordings, reel-to-reel, drum kit, treatments, programming, mix, master,
paint, sand paper, ink stamps, pen & ink, glues, typeset, design, home dub, assembly, distribution’, and
also mentioned is the fact that there was help from Hillary Ulman (tympani, bowed cymbals, misc.
percussion) and Robert Newell (bass) plus that it was recorded “via 4-track cassette, iphone, tabletop
voice recorder, laptop 2015-2017”. It is an album of “varied experiments with guitar sounds and
amorphous textural composition”, and I am not sure why it isn’t cut down into smaller pieces, as the
way I hear this it could easily be looked at it that way. Not really oddly enough, I would say, the music
of Directives is along the ways of Amalgamated but perhaps a tad more primitive and less worked out.
The psychedelic element shines bright through both pieces, the abundant use of effects and studio
trickery, whereas the guitar plays an all-important role, obviously, throughout. At times noisy, and
the rhythm is kept to a minimum, and throughout it is quite ambient, even when not fully to lull the
listener into a deep sleep. I was reminded, at least on a few occasions, but maybe throughout the entire
release, of the music of Main, especially the earlier work, when the guitar sounded like a guitar, but
there was already quite a bit of studio technology in play, the early signs of an interest in musique
concrete, which is something that is also of interest to Directives so it seems. Yet he also has pretty
much his own voice (or perhaps there aren’t just many people who use the early Main sound as a
template) and this tape is quite a delicate yet varied beauty. (FdW)
––– Address:

SPELONK VS RVD (cassette by Faux Amis)
LÄRMSCHUTZ - 1’S AND 5'S (cassette by Faux Amis)

The RvD mentioned as artist here is Rutger van Driel, who we best know (I should think) as one half
of Lärmschutz, the Ducth anarcho-free-improv-punksters, who are very active when it comes to
releasing their work on cassette labels all over the world. Sometimes they play with others and that’s
where Spelonk comes in. She played violin and electronics before on Lärmsturz releases (Vital Weekly
1026 and 1048) and with others, including Van Driel, she was a member of Graeae (see Vital Weekly
1111). Van Driel here plays bass and electronics and together they sat down one evening at
“Serpentine’s lair” and recorded the two improvisations on this cassette. The anarcho-jazz-punk
elements may not seem as present here as on their other material together. Both instruments are
used to create loops, which become underneath the bottom end for more improvised doodling on top
of that. There is a vaguely reminiscent thing from the world of metal music in the first side, ‘Charybdis’,
I think, those slow bumps of loud sound, but then embedded in a freer interaction with whatever else
happens around here. Quite nice as well as quite furious. On the other side is ‘Scylla’, in which they play
a more sorrowful tone, almost like a slow majestic dead march on violin and along that there is a fine
mixture of acoustic sounds humming along. After a while the tune is changed a bit and it is perhaps all
a little less sorrowful, but it never gets uplifting. All in all I’d say both sides are great examples of what
free improvisation can bring, which might not be all chaos but it can as well be something a bit more
structured. These two pieces and people proof that.
    At the same time Rutger van Driel and his Lärmschutz buddies Stef Brans (guitar, violin) and
Thanos Fotiadis (drums) also release a new cassette, that all deals with the numbers 1 and 5, especially
when it comes to times. Pieces last one second, fifteen seconds, one minute fifty-one second, five
minutes or the entire B-side I assume, fifteen minutes and fifteen seconds. All three members work as
a teacher and they write that this music is a service to the stressful jobs because it supplies “the shock
effect to get things back in control. 15-second tracks allow you to save voice when the first doesn't
suffice. The longer takes can be a pleasant background when performing active classroom methods,
to keep things a bit lively. Classroom mosh pits are optional”, which I am sure we could all take with
a pinch of salt, but I am no teacher man. It’s a pity that a cassette can’t play on random shuffle repeat,
because that would have surely enhanced the further chaotic aspect of the music. Especially all those
short pieces on the first side make up a pretty chaotic dish of free noise improv music. It doesn’t sound
like they cut-up one session in a whole bunch of short bits but went through a number of them. The B-
side sounds more controlled, going all in one straight line and bass, drum and guitars can stay in one
place for a bit longer, we now learn (well we knew from previous releases of course), and it hammers
away nicely at times. The brutal energy of Lärmschutz is fierce as always. Only that one segment of
five minutes seemed to be a moment of well-deserved rest. Alarming thought: Vital Weekly is released
every Tuesday morning. Would one of these three teachers show his colleagues during coffee break a
new review of his music? Or worse: take it into English class and ask his pupils to point out the grammar
mistakes? (FdW)
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LACE BOWS - EARTH TUNNELS (cassette by Ota)
THE MOON RISES IN MAEVIS (cassette by Ota)

Ota is a label from Portugal; releasing music on cassettes and a quick glance at their Bandcamp taught
me that I only recognized the name of German Army. For none of these three releases there is any
information on Bandcamp. On Discogs I see various releases by Bumtapes, Wasser Bassin, Exo Tapes
and Hooker Vision. Nothing much to report, so let’s turn to the music. Judged by what I am hearing
here, I would think that Lace Bows is someone who loves the lower end of the technological spectrum
to tape field recordings and looped specific parts around as loops below them. It is hard to say wether
Lace Bows uses material he found on media channels, or if he was out there taping these things in
streets of more exotic places. Much of this could be taped in the Middle East I would think and
somewhere along the lines there is also a bit of electronics used I could think. Everything is recorded
with quite some force, read: mild distortion, which takes away some of the details of the music and
that I think is a pity. There is certainly something to be gained here when a more elegant course is
taken and space is given to the sounds to develop.
    Takahiro Mukai, so it says on Discogs, is a “Japanese composer, born in Osaka and also now based
in Osaka”, which I thought was pretty funny. He has a number of cassette releases, seemingly his
favourite medium, by labels as Phinery Taoes, Lal Lal Lal, Infinite Waves, Hylé Tapes, Alien Passengers,
Entertainment Systems, Masters Chemical Society and many others, but despite that plethora of
available music, I believe I have not heard of him before. Again no information towards instruments
used, but in this case I would assume the drum machine is stage central plus around a bit of electronic
devices to transform that sound, even when only to a minimal degree. Because minimalism is what
Mukai finds of interest. His rhythm machine hammers out one set of beats and the electronics become
ornaments around it. These beats are not the kind of techno beats, people sometimes dance too, but
more a 80s underground rhythm machine with pre-programmed rhythms. In the opening piece ‘#375’
and in #373’ I was reminded of Cabaret Voltaire and Eric Random, but he also has some extremer
variations such as ‘#377’ and ‘#376’, which was everything through a delay patch and the rhythm
disappears, but both pieces clocked in at nearly 8 minutes and a bit too long and I preferred the four
shorter pieces. Perhaps for their minimalist character that fitted within the time frame of a pop song,
and maybe it wanted to be as such, but also something else? Here I had a bit of mixed feelings but
surely a name to remember.
    The last one is by The Moon Rises In Maevis and according to the hand written cover it is Ali on saw
and a guy named Pedro, who plays, so I assume everything else, which might include organ, electronics
and voices. There is throughout here an atmosphere of lo-fi improvisations. Two guys in a room playing
a delicate tune or two, not hindered by technology or mistakes, but taking a rather poetic route through
the (limited) options they have. The music is spacious, due to the use of delay and reverb but also
primitive, like being recorded without too much care for good microphones or long stretches of
meticulous editing. The pieces are rather short, most of the time, between one and four minutes,
which adds to the poetic atmosphere some of these pieces have. The longer pieces, one even eight
minutes, didn’t do much for me. A few days ago I played some older, very experimental work by
Eyeless In Gaza (which had very little vocals) and this somehow reminded of that. You could do
worse, I guess. (FdW)
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