number 1136
week 24


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help Vital Weekly to survive:

K. LEIMER - THRENODY (CD by Palace Of Lights) *
GREGORY TAYLOR - RANDSTAD (CD by Palace Of Lights) *
DONDER – SAME (CD, private)
APERUS - LIE SYMMETRY (CDR by Geophonic Records) *
MSSM - SHADOWBOXING (CDR by Second Language Records) *
ALBERTO NEMO – 6X0 (CDR by Dimora)
LIZ HELMAN - DAYLIGHT DREAMING (CDR by Kohlenstoff Records) *
CHELIDON FRAME - LEFT BLANK (cassette, private) *
THAVMATVRGIST - FLOPPY JAZZ II (cassette by Barreuh Records)


While I easily would say that I am a big fan of the Germanys Strafe F.R. (in which that F.R. stands for
'Fur Rebellion; punishment for rebellion) I must at the same time admit, I am not that big of a fan that
I heard of their return in 2014 when they released 'Sulphur Spring'. So when I got 'The Bird Was Stolen',
I thought that was the first sign of life since 'Pianoguitar', which was released in 1995. As said I always
enjoyed their music, even when these days it is not always found on my turntable. Strafe F.R. is a duo
from Düsseldorf, Germany, consisting of Bernd Kästner and S.M. Syniuga and already started out in
1979. From their early no wave post punk sound they quickly expanded into a group that was really
beyond any musical boundary, with the studio being their main instrument. Their music could have
the shape of a pop song, but then it is made with field recordings, tape-loops, object abuse, samples
and instruments. Over the years vocals have mostly disappeared from the mix and the studio was used
extensively to shape their musical phantasies. The music this results in is open, spacious, poppy and
above it always tells a story, however abstract it sometimes is. Every song is a like a small radioplay.
They have fourteen of those on 'The Bird Was Stolen' and it is not unlike a time machine. These pieces
remind me of the best Strafe F.R. works, 'Lufthunger' and 'Oschle', and perhaps that begs the question
that after twenty or so years there has been little musical development for them, but I'd like the
positive point: they were not yet done with their unique story telling and after a long hiatus they pick
the story they started and just continued where they left off. Their approach is as varied as before.
Sometimes a piece is like fully rounded pop song (even including a bit of female vocals here and there),
sometimes a bit more open and improvised in their execution, with sound effects tumbling and falling,
sometimes introspective and small, but in song like 'Dictator' it all bursts open and becomes a wild
massive piece. There are soundscapes, there more rhythmic approaches, and no instruments are
spared. Maybe they can't play them properly, but Strafe F.R. knows how to extract sounds of them
and how to use them in the bigger picture of the piece. This is all an excellent return to form.
    Also on Touch is the latest CD by former Seefeel member Mark van Hoen. As far as I know he's
been on Touch for some time now, including his Drøne duo with label boss Mike Harding (which is not
something I heard). Two years ago Van Hoen toured the west coast of America with a bunch of Touch
and related artists and along with influences of Claire M Singer, Jana Winderen and Chris Watson, Van
Hoen set himself to compose the pieces on 'Invisible Threads'. Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Conversation Of
Eiros And Charmion’ inspired the title of the pieces, and so he says "this record is a soundtrack to that".
Van Hoen uses a variety of tools, modular synthesizers, software, piano, guitar, organs and bit of field
recordings and some found sounds from Youtube and vinyl, and no analogue synthesizers. Unlike the
Strafe F.R. disc I have just been overwhelmed with, Van Hoen has not a lot of interest in playing out
many variations or approaches. In these seven pieces (in total forty-one minutes) they more is very
quiet, highly atmospheric and perhaps the perfect comedown record after the massive ear cleansing
of Strafe F.R. It is not to say that the music from Van Hoen is necessarily 'easy going'; his ambient
approach is that of uneasy unrest. There is always a rough edge to be spotted in these pieces, which is
something I like very much. It is perhaps something not entirely new but it works wonderfully. Van
Hoen is someone who knows what he's doing when it comes to ambient music. It is all-spacious, surely,
but there is some visible rust on this spaceship. Maybe the same kind of beautiful spookiness one finds
in the work of Poe, I was thinking. When playing Strafe F.R. I had the urge to play the entire output of
the group again, straight away, and with Van Hoen I wanted to stick it on repeat, find that Poe story
and read that again. And if the story were too short, I'd probably carry on with a few others of his.
Unfortunately there is only so much one can do in a single day. Sad but true, but surely one evening
soon I will find the time to just do that. (FdW)
––– Address:

K. LEIMER - THRENODY (CD by Palace Of Lights)

The completely returned K. Leimer is now releasing music without hardly any break. His previous
release was the re-issue/rework version of 'Imposed Order/Imposed Absence' (Vital Weekly 1115),
and with 'Threnody' he releases entirely new music. Since the late 70s Leimer has been producing
ambient music and much of that has been using synthesizers, electronics and in more recent years
computers and samplers. 'Threnody' is yet something different. 'Other' instruments play an important
role here, such as piano, strings, percussion and everything is quite loosely played; improvised rather
than composed. Just a few notes here, some bowed strings there and occasional colouring through the
use of effects (mainly reverb). As we're told that many of these sounds were recorded as afterthoughts
while working on other stuff, fragments here and there, which became the building blocks for the nine
pieces on this work. Among the influences, David Sylvian is mentioned and that is something I can
easily understand. It has that free improvised flavour when it comes to ambient music. Leimer cleverly
uses a bit of electronics to shape and bend tones, adding textures (sometimes hiss like, as if it was
recorded on a four track cassette machine) and mood to the subtle, sometimes jazzy undercurrent this
music has. It is smooth but Leimer stays firmly away from the world of new age; it is just not that kind
of smoothness. Leimer creates intense music, yet also pastoral and quiet, without loosing some spicy
feeling. It is that bit of hiss, the crackling (in 'An Incorrect Reading Of The Allegory Of The Flood') and
the overtones he creates that set this aside from the world of naff new age. This is something slightly
different for Leimer and it is something very beautiful. With this Leimer expands his ambient work
quite a bit and I'm curious to see what happens next.
    'Randstad' is not the soundtrack to a commercial for the temporary workforce company here in
The Netherlands, but named after the Dutch area that holds Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and
Utrecht; one big city in a small country and something that I am quite away from. It has been a while
since I last heard new music from Gregory Taylor, who is from the USA but residing in this beautiful
small country, somewhere in the 'Randstad'. He had a bunch of releases on Cycling 74 and this is now
his fourth CD on Palace Of Lights. With Cycling 74 one immediately thinks of Max/MSP, the digital tools
that reshape sounds quite easily, once you get beyond the learning curve (or you look for free patches
online). Taylor uses max/MSP, and a "modest" Eurorack and a handheld digital recorder, capturing
sounds from his new house, fireworks, birds on the terrace and these are "stretched/rotated/folded/
spindled/annealed" into the six pieces on this CD. Four of these pieces are quite long, twelve to
eighteen minutes and two are between five and eight minutes. Taylor is a man taking his time, but I
guess it fits the way he works and that is a slow development of music. He likes things to be spaced out
and minimal; ambient that is computer controlled as it were, which nevertheless has a human touch to
it. Taylor's music is not like the ambient music of Leimer; his music is something that expands easily
beyond the narrow path of ambient, by allowing loops of rhythmic sounds, reminding me of Taylor's
earlier with Gamelan sounds (as in 'Gebedsmolens'), fourth world percussion or techno music in
'Schouder Uitlijning', all supporting a slightly more massive approach to the world of drone, with
sound effects tumbling and falling, each trying to find a space of their own. This is not a very typical
Palace Of Lights release, being louder, massive, edgier than what they usually release and it is exactly
the kind of 'different' ambient music that I like. (FdW)
––– Address:

DONDER – SAME (CD, private)

Donder is a trio of young musicians from Belgium. They debuted in 2016 with their album ‘Still’ that
received good reviews. In 2017 Danish reed player Lars Greve joined them. With him they recorded
their second album in an acoustically very suited church in Copenhagen, all on one day! In 2017 they
won the Storm! Context- award giving a good push to this new jazz ensemble from Belgium. Yes, we
are dealing here with some promising talents: drummer Casper Van De Velde graduated at the Royal
Conservatory of Antwerp where he studied with Teun Verbruggen, a.o.  Also Harrison Steingueldoir is
a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp where he studied piano. Bassist Stan Callewaert
moved in 2016 to Copenhagen in order to continue his studies and started to play with local musicians.
This way they met Lars Greve with whom they produced this next step. The opening track ‘Lichaamloos’
is an open improvisation, and very different from what follows as most compositions are about melody
and harmony. The closing track ‘Nachtzwemmen’ however is again an exception to this. So that I
conclude that both these works are the ones that were based on graphic scores, they speak of. Both
are more abstract nature compared with the rest. In between we find six fine jazzy compositions, like
‘Oskar’, which is a very relaxed lay back jazzy tune, with soft brushes, open piano playing. Also jazzy
but far more dissonant and edgy is ‘Secrets’. The music is obviously rooted in jazz and moving towards
a kind of chamber music. They work with open and subtle constructions that are minimalistic but
effective. A strong concentrated work by a promising collective. (DM)
––– Address:


Splashgirl is a Norwegian trio of Andreas Stensland Løwe (piano, keyboards, electronics), Jo Berger
Myhre (double bass, electronics) and Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød (drums, electronics). Since their start
in 2007 they released five albums, collaborating with artists like Jan Bang, Eyvind Kang, Stian
Westerhus, a.o. Except for the first one, all released by Hubro Music. This also counts for their sixth
album ‘The sixth Sense’. The album is partly recorded in Iceland by Randall Dunn - known of Earth and
Sunn O))) - during the 2015 sessions that resulted in its processor ‘Hibernation’. Completing recordings
followed in March 2017 and took place in their own studio in Oslo. They continue on their route of post-
rock, post-jazz music. Compared to their earlier releases their music this time is of a more abstract
nature, moving between a wide range in dynamics and intensity. The compositions are very
impressionistic constellations, evoking a kaleidoscope of many moods and atmospheres. These are not
so much clear-defined compositions or completely free improvisations, and not meant that way. Instead
we are confronted with thoroughly built sound sculptures. Some of the tracks have a friendly and light
atmosphere, like the jazzy second track  In contrast ‘Monsoon’ leans on heavy progrock operations,
reminding also of Art Zoyd in a way. Parallel to this, they change acoustical setting of their music for
electronic-dominated textures. Each track has its own styling, going beyond the well-known formats
of jazz, rock, etc. As a whole the album offers a varied panorama of intriguing and often convincing
possibilities. (DM)
––– Address:


“Cheol-Kkot-Sae” is a live recording of music by omnivorous/omnipresent composer and cellist Okkyung
Lee, whose brain-breaking productivity reminds me of those overachievers C. Spencer Yeh and Lasse
Marhaug. I’m sure none of those folks sleep. They must wake up every day, create a bunch of music, go
on tour, and then eat lunch. As it turns out, Marhaug is part of the ensemble that performs Lee’s “Cheol-
Kkot-Sae” on this album, along with singer Song-Hee Kwon, percussionists Ches Smith and Jae-Hyo
Chang, free-improv sax player John Butcher and bassist John Edwards. In her liner notes, Lee explains
that this piece came about from reflecting on her training in European classical music and jazz in Korea
and then in Boston (my old hometown!) at Berklee and then New England Conservatory. If you’re
familiar with traditional Korean music, you may pick up on sonic/compositional references here that
passed me by, but I enjoyed the music without that contextual benefit.
    “Cheol-Kkot-Sae” consists of several small groupings and solos within the large ensemble, which all
come together and fall apart in distinct, yet overlapping, sections. Some of the sections are quite sparse;
a voice by itself, or a voice and cello duet, or spacious percussion letting beats hang in the air and
reverberate. When the sparser sections happen, the live aspect of the recording adds dramatic weight
of the room’s acoustics and a palpable audience presence… slight shifting in chairs, occasional cough
punctuating the silence, someone dropping something. That same quality which well-serves the
acoustic elements also removes some immediacy from the brief section in which Marhaug’s electro-
cough sputter takes centre stage. Other sections begin with instruments at first mimicking or blending
with the present sound, then branching off as something song-like becomes harsh electronic squall or
free-jazz-lineage improvisation. The transitions all feel unforced, with the unhurried pace established
in the opening section maintained for the duration of the piece. Even when all players are producing
sound, the music doesn’t sound overly busy or cluttered, nor does the presentation of disparate styles
ever become Naked-City-ish genre whiplash. The balancing of traditional-sounding melodies with
electronic noise and instrumental free improvisation seems perfectly natural and unforced. This is
patient music in which Lee lets each section breathe for just long enough to say what it needs to, before
shifting sideways. (HS)
––– Address:


The two members of Ozmotic seem to be making different records at the same time, and I don’t care for
either. One is a skittery laptop album of early 00’s “glitch” vintage, with MSP bleeps set to “random” yet
remaining stubbornly stationary. The other is a portentous album of effects-soaked post-New-Age
creep. As I listened to this collection of seven songs, I kept wondering whether the band thought they’d
found the elusive balance, or they were simply apologizing to listeners for the elusiveness of it all.
There’s a Windham Hill quality here that, depending on your tastes, might work for you, though the
“saxophone” keyboard sound making plaintive little cries on the third track, “Hum”, was only filigree
atop what sounded like a George Winston record played on 16rpm and run through some reverb. Or
perhaps it sounds like a few minutes of 1980s Tangerine Dream run through Paul Stretch, with a few
sprinkles of the same laptop-clicks-and-static-with-delay added for accent. By the time the 5th track,
“Being”, comes around, the syrupy tones are replaced by a fractured rhythm that might have been nice,
had it not been smothered with a dollop of Kenny G. It’s not until the final song, “Insecting”, that it all
comes together. Previous albums by Osmotic haven’t had this issue. I quite enjoyed 2016’s “Liquid
Times” (Vital Weekly 1029), which sounds more intentional, more committed, and certainly more varied. Even when the
woodwind appears, it’s well integrated into songs that have distinct and interesting qualities. The
sounds themselves are more assured. But “Elusive Balance” seems like a big step backwards, less
certain of what it wants to be than the albums that came before it. (HS)
––– Address:


On the Entr'acte website you can find some information about Tom Mudd and this CD. It is also possible
to go ahead and download the bit of software that Mudd used for these six pieces. He calls it Gutter
Synthesis and describes it like this: "Gutter synthesis is a purely digital synthesis process that creates
very physical, acoustic-like sounds using a network of resonant Duffing oscillators. The software was
created specifically for this project, and is included with the release as an equal part of the creative
output. The downloadable version uses an interrelated set of eight Duffing oscillators and associated
filter banks." I immediately downloaded this and sadly it needed an older version of Java, so I can't say
from a first hand experience what it does and how it works. Three pieces are called 'Gutter Synthesis'
and three are called 'Gutter Organ'. For some reason I thought Mudd used also guitar; it's that kind of
sound, I guess, in 'Gutter Synthesis 1', but upon further listening I realized that is not the case. This
music is not easy music, but probably that is something one can say from a lot of the releases in these
pages. I guess this is somewhere along the lines of modern composition, with what seems concrete
sound elements being tossed around and treated with this software. It peeps, clangs, cracks and
stretches out in 'Gutter Synthesis 2' and has stretched flute sounds in 'Gutter Organ 2'. Some of this
material is pretty radical in approach, at the very high end of the sound spectrum, or cutting up into
small bits and bobs in 'Gutter Organ 3'. The listener doesn't have an easy time with this, but it is
something that grows on you every time you hear this. (FdW)
––– Address:


This morning I woke up with the sound of rain, much rain for a long time. After days of quite warm
weather this was something different. I looked at my nearly empty desk and thought this would be the
perfect day to play the new release by dark music group Inade. I can't remember the last time I heard
new music (well, or old for that matter) by Inade, but I did remember this was on the dark side of the
musical spectrum. Perhaps I forgot it was actually this dark. There are many ominous drones, the
rattling of percussion and semi-Gregorian chanting that open 'Noumenon', the opening piece here and
that sets the gothic tone for what comes next on this release. It seems that Inade went along with new
technology, as there is some time stretching in 'Beyond All Thoughts And Entities', which made me
wonder if Inade went all digital or if there is a combination of analogue and digital gear. It is not easy to
say, and perhaps not really an important question. When rhythm kicks in, it's a slow bang on the
metallic dungeon door and the inspiration from Lustmord is never that far away in that respect. The
voices are mumbling, speaking slowly, like a priest or monk (mad monk perhaps) and you'll understand
that this is not really my cup of tea. I quite enjoyed the darkness of the music fitting the climatological
circumstances, all dark and misty, yet slightly warm as well. I don't believe in hell, but this is sort damp
weather and mad gothic music could be the perfect soundtrack for it. Inade performs them with great
care for sonic detail. (FdW)
––– Address:


Sofie Herner, one half of Neutral, returns as Leda with another 7" for Il Disci Del Barone, who are slowly
establishing themselves as the Drone Records for the years post 2010 and onwards. These are records
20 and 21. 'Fucked up' was something I said last time, and these are words that also apply here. There
is a tape looped rhythm as the backbone of 'Japanese Key', along with a synth and sound effects, all
taped without much studio trickery. On top there is a girl's voice, maybe Herner's, but it could be as
well from a younger girl. 'The Silent Contest' does something similar with loops, spun around in the
same basement and here surely it is a younger girl supplying the 'vocals', 'voices'. It has a strange
early 80s post-punk quality, say Dome or such like. Those lovely days when pop need not be commercial
or when it was more common to mess around with tapes, sounds and instruments, and still arrive at
something that had the notion of a song. Leda does just that and she does it very well. Not in a refined
sense of the word, but quite rough and yet very much like a song.
    Also The Dead C return, following a previous 7" for this label, reviewed in Vital Weekly 1002. I
wrote back then that "There was a time when I was very much into the whole lo-fi, noisy improvised
music from New Zealand, and actually I still might be, when time allows me to play some of the music I
have stored here. Corpus Hermeticum was an important label for me in that particular musical scene
and the main operator, Bruce Russell, an important person to follow". So that’s how I know The Dead C,
rather than through a more free rock connection. 'On The Outbreak Of Civil War' is a rather introspective
piece, with occasional bursts of noise guitars but otherwise is quite an obscure piece. 'Good Consul is
Punished' on the other side sounds like from the same session, but a bit further down the road when
things got a bit rough and loud. I said it before, and I will say it again; as much as I like 7" records, not
all music works on this format. Two excerpts from a longer session is one of those instances that don't
work for me. I'd rather have a CD with the whole thing, or something that is more head and tails,
composition wise that is a 'song' that fits on a 7". Great music by The Dead C, of course, as always and I
wish it was much longer. (FdW)
––– Address:

APERUS - LIE SYMMETRY (CDR by Geophonic Records)

While the name Aperus sounded very familiar it turned out that I reviewed two releases involving
Brian McWilliams, which is 'Tumbleweed Obfuscated By Camera Failure' (Vital Weekly 397) and
'Ecotone' (Vital Weekly 885), which he recorded with James Johnson. Not exactly the latest releases,
I'd say. I have no idea what happened in between, but looking at Discogs Aperus isn't the most active
musicians when it comes to releasing music. It is not easy to describe in a few words what the titles
means, but it has to do with transitions and I guess these transitions are within the music. The question
Aperus asked himself is "how do I make the music sound like the artwork and does the artwork look like
the music?" and see what the outcome can be. As before Aperus uses a variety of electronic devices, in
the form of synthesizers, but also guitar, shortwave radio, drum loops, and field recordings made in
various American states, Arizona, Michigan and New Mexico, and the cover explains what was taped
(bells, chimes, telescope, kiln, water, waves, insects, cranes, utility pipes and spring drum loop). The
field recordings have a mostly supportive role here, and the instruments dominate the pieces here.
Ambient is surely one of those words that one could tag to this music, and like before the influence of
Lustmord is quite apparent. That means a considerable amount of reverb is used in the music and slow
movements on the synthesizers the main progress. Sometimes it all comes to a bouncing rhythm, such
as in the opener 'VLA 1', but these pieces are in a minority here. It is all more about setting the mood to
'dark' and perhaps 'vague', in which you close your eyes and see some flickering of light, the shimmering
of sound and what could be, should you believe in that, some sort of haunting presence. The cover of this
package shows some fine feedback photographs that fit the music quite well. I couldn't say if this was a
'proper' translation of the music but it works together quite well. This is overall a great production; not
something you haven't heard before, but still a very fine work. (FdW)
––– Address:

MSSM - SHADOWBOXING (CDR by Second Language Records)

Here we have two artists, Milica Stefanovic and Sasha Margolis, hence MSSM. Margolis we know for his
work as Automating and here he gets credits for 'octatrack sampler'. Stefanovic, so I am told, "was a
long standing member of the Splinter Orchestra and touring bassist for numerous bands" and plays
here electric bass guitar. I would think that Margolis picks up some of the sounds produced by
Stefanovic and puts that back into the mix. Margolis recorded seven tracks, while the eighth track is a
twenty-five minute live recordings; the total length of the release is sixty-four minutes and that is,
given some of the more radical nature of these recordings, a bit long. It all bounces a bit back and forth
between sampled snippets of bass guitar and the actual bass guitar. The latter is most of the time quite
recognizable. Margolis applies pretty straightforward sample procedures to the mix, and doesn't do
much more than that, it seems. There isn't always a fine sense of interaction going on, which I think is a
pity. It says 'no backing tracks or overdubs' on the cover, and this is one of those instances I wish there
were. In 'Escape Route', the last studio piece before the live recording starts, there is all of sudden that
interaction, with repeating sounds, tension and interaction. It is also one of those pieces that is perhaps
'song like'. I think with some rigorous editing this could have been a much better release and somehow
I had the idea that there was a need to share all that was recorded, and that was a bit much. Maybe it's
just to hot right now to fully ‘get’ this kind of music. I should check back in six months I guess? (FdW)
––– Address:

ALBERTO NEMO – 6X0 (CDR by Dimora)

Every now and then a release lands on the doormat from a totally different musical universe, differing
from almost of the music that is send to us. This release by Italian artist Alberto Nemo is an evident
example of this. Clearly we are dealing here with music that is close to the gothic genre, related to
Dead can Dance, as far I judge about it. But there is more to say about this artist. He is a multi-
instrumentalist, composer, singer and producer. But not with much output so far, if I’m not mistaken.
Last year on Dimora Records appeared the album ‘6x0 (live)’, with Nemo doing electronics, lead vocals,
composing and producing. Assisted by Guido Frezzato on violin. This time with ‘6x0’ he is all doing
himself. The cd consists of six songs. Melodic songs that sound very baroque and bombastic, layered in
dark ambient textures, with Nemo singing like a lost soul in a opera style with much pathos. His voice
reminded me a bit of that other Italian singer Claudio Milano, who sings also in an opera-like style in
NichelOdeon, a more experimental outfit. “The 6 tracks of the album were thought and written to be
played backwards, in a palindrome way”, Nemo explains. A procedure I only knew from Jozef van
Wissem who once stated that the palindrome is his most important compositional device. Listening to
the compositions by Nemo that take in total 20 minutes, it is easy to identify the backward played
parts. But the way he plays with the palindrome paradigm in his compositions is not completely
transparent for me. Nor could I trace what is Nemo’s fascination with palindrome. The release shows
however that Nemo is a very capable singer, who worked out his ideas very consistent and well-played
and arranged. The cd comes in a limited edition of 50 copies, numbered and signed by Alberto Nemo,
packaged in a dvd box. (DM)
––– Address:


This is the second release by Liz Helman, and both are by Kohlenstoff Records, but I believe this the
first that is also available on CDR. So this is my first introduction with her music. Helman is working in
London and besides regularly playing concerts she also creates installation pieces. She writes that she
exclusively works with field recordings that she processes. She calls it 'ambient/minimal techno', and
maybe she uses beats on other work than this, as none of that is in these four pieces. The total playtime
is twenty-five minutes, which I think is a bit short. Whatever the field recordings consist of is no longer
possible following the processes she applies. I am not sure, as there is no indication, how Helman
creates her work, but I would think it is rather digital than analogue, but of course I could easily be
wrong. Everything is spun out into long and slow pieces of drifting drone material. Reverb surely is
applied to add a bit of additional atmosphere. This is all quite solid stuff. It is never easy or laidback,
but it oozes danger and excitement, like the traffic turned hiss in 'Somewhere Last Summer', the
ominous drones of 'Labyrinth' with its clock on lockdown or the toxic stream of the title piece. I was
reminded of the work of Robert Hampson, yet perhaps a little less collage like here. While I wouldn't
have minded this to last a bit longer I must also say that this isn't the most original of approaches. It
sounds great though, and Helman uses some fine material, so hopefully a full-length next time. (FdW)
––– Address:


From Ben Rath I reviewed two previous works, including 'Forgiveness', which was also released by
Sound In Silence. Both his previous releases that I heard (Vital Weekly 1033 and 1104) dealt with
ambient music and I am not entirely sure what kind of instruments are used by him, but more than
before this new album seems to be more about synthesizers and effects and a little less about guitars.
Unless of course he did a meltdown of guitar sounds via the use of loopers and devices to gather that
ringing endless sustain sound. Only in the closing piece 'Give Up Trying' I recognized the guitar, even
when it was heavily drenched in pedal work. You never know I guess these days. What I noted in the
two previous albums is something that I also feel about this new one; it's all well made, that much is
sure, but it is not very much original work. In the world of drone and ambient music there is a lot of
action going, with lots of people fiddling with synthesizers, drones, guitars, effects and everybody does
a great job with fine production qualities, but the synthesizers, effects and piano processes applied by
Rath aren't simply very original. Not for someone who hears a lot of that. Maybe somewhere I say
something about the hot weather outside and the fact that I don't like to move around a lot, so I had
Rath's release on for quite a while this afternoon, buried myself in a fine book and enjoyed the music
quite a bit. And as so often it goes: maybe that's all we want.
    My last review of a David Newlyn work started with "it's been a while since I last heard something
by David Newlyn", and that was in Vital Weekly 927. I am not sure how I should describe then the gap
now, but surely 'long' is a word that also applies now. I am not sure what Newlyn is up to or why his
album is quite short? Here we have eight pieces and it seems Newlyn's music, though time has erased
a bit of my memory of his older work, has progressed from 'pure' ambient (like we just seen with Rath
for instance) to something that also includes drum machines and sequences. They sit next to the
synthesizers and processed field recordings and a bit of guitar and piano here and there. A fair amount
of hiss tells us something about the lo-fi nature of the music and captured within these thirty-two
minutes there is quite some variation, which is a good thing. From the spacey (and hissy) piano piece
of 'Ashes' to the somewhat joyous pieces 'Ghost-Out' and 'Close Again' and guitar and drum machine
rumble of 'Travelling for A Living', reminding of The Durutti Column, there are also some pure
synthesizer pieces as 'Hymn To Bleachgreen' and 'Going Back'. All lined up in a diverse way, so there
is a feeling of a journey. Now this is what I would call 'his own style'! (FdW)
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CHELIDON FRAME - LEFT BLANK (cassette, private)

From Milano, Italy, hails Chelidon Frame, and pretty sure that is not his real name. He works since
2013 within 'electroacoustic/experimental' music and has so far released three studio albums and
one EP. For his music he uses 'found objects, field recordings, analogue and digital synths, acoustic,
prepared and electric guitars, quench flute, beer bottles, radio noises and drones". The music is hardly
'left blank' as the title suggests but quite filled with a varied bunch of drone based soundscapes, but
also a bit of drumming, ritualistic and dark, as in 'Hydra'. But that is an exception, really, as Chelidon
Frame is more about creating moods and textures with reverb on a bunch of stringed instruments. He
does whatever he does very carefully, and therein lays for me a bit of the problem. I played this tape a
few times in the past week, and it seems almost impossible to get my head around this. I hear it, and
occasionally think 'oh yeah, all right, not bad at all this mood music', but somehow it doesn't really
seem to stick with me. The reason might be that it is occasionally too careful in approach, even for
some fine set of atmospheric sounds. Some additional mastering would not have done any harm to
this. Maybe this is the kind of music that requires you to sit down and listen to at a somewhat louder
volumes, not interrupted by anything, which seems for me not really the idea of music that can be
pleasing and ignoring, to paraphrase Brian Eno on that subject. Don't get me wrong: this is all quite
pleasing stuff, which just needs a bit more spice in there. (FdW)
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THAVMATVRGIST - FLOPPY JAZZ II (cassette by Barreuh Records)

The former local (for me that is) musician Oscar Wyers has been active with a bunch of names and
releases, mainly on his own label, Oggy Records, but here sidesteps to Barreuh Records, from
Eindhoven, who operate in a likeminded lo-fi way, though their covers are neat silkscreened affairs.
The previous time Wyers used 'Floppy Jazz' in a title he worked as OGW, which perhaps sheds some
light on the slightly confusing output of this man. Rhythms, synthesizers and mechanical movements
are what his music is about, perhaps as the one consistent thing about it. I could never figure out to
what extent this is all composed using analogue gear (which I saw him use in concert) or through the
workings of Ableton Live (also witnessed by me in early stages of his career). I assume, judging by the
music on this new release, that it is all a bit more about using 'gear' and less 'software'. The music is
quite loosely played of sounds stuck together from rhythm machines, feeding off through a synth or
some sound effects, and is more or less improvised. There isn't much by way of organisation here and
also not really in the way of technology. Thavmatvgist is what some would call a 'freak', playing his
techno inspired lo-fi tunes as is, without much polishing and sometimes going on a bit too long.
Sometimes it is all pretty straightforward and sometimes all a bit more spacious and ambient, but
never losing that lo-fi edge, especially in the technical department that is. This is not dance music for
the masses, but for small audiences in basements or dancing (illegally) in forest parties, and
Thavmatvgist differs that his music doesn't exist only in the moment, like true techno freaks would
probably do but also by taping it and releasing it. The cassette is the perfect medium for this kind of
music and Barreuh a fine home for it. (FdW)
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This week's release by Dutch anarcho jazz punkers Lärmschutz comes in collaboration with poet Niels
Terhalle, of whom I never heard. Lärmschutz is this time around a duo, with Stef Brans on guitar and
objects and Rutger van Driel on trombone and electronics. Terhalle is responsible for the text and the
delivery thereof. His poetry is another form of noise, I guess, judging by the title but also listening to the
texts on this release. I don't think it is a few poems, or maybe it is, but there is no indication as such and
everything keeps on spinning. One doesn't understand the poetry of Terhalle, at least not all the time,
but I gather it is Dutch. Sometimes you recognize words ('Hoer' for instance), or names ('Andy Warhol')
and perhaps it's all a bit surreal. Lärmschutz and Terhalle work together quite well. There is some kind
of effect on the voice of Terhalle, changing every now and then, while Lärmschutz keep their music on a
rather modest level, I think. It's a free range of sounds and words, it seems. The guitar is being strum,
scraped and banged upon while the trombone is mostly heard through the use of effects, but they keep
things neatly under control. It is less noisy than some of their other work, yet still with enough force to
blow Terhalle away most of the time. I am sure Terhalle doesn't mind as he uses a similar energy in his
words that verge on the recognizable and abstract, screaming, talking, slow, fast, slow, whispering,
following the music or not and so for all I know (and hope) this is perfect match made in the noise
bunker. (FdW)
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While I'm not 100% certain that a review is requested by sending this to me, I will spend some words
on it. Why the hesitation you may ask. In October 2017 I was in BJ Nilsen's studio, along with Sigtryggur
Berg Sigmarrson and I showed both gentlemen some sound thing on my iPad and midi-controller and
added some sounds to the ones they were playing. I didn't know nor did I have influence on the
outcome, which is now part of this 90-minute tape release. I am guessing the same goes for Gert-Jan
Prins, whose sounds are also somewhere on the first side of this cassette. The music was already
recorded in the late 90s in Reykjavik and Stockholm and revisited October 2017, adding those
contributions, but who knows what else was added or changed. Nilsen and Sigmarrson have produced
a wonderful bunch of releases in the last fifteen or so years (sometimes as Nilsen and Stillupsteypa, of
which Sigmarrson is a member) and in much of that they show their love for field recordings of a rather
obscure nature, in combination with a likewise obscured drones that perhaps, one way or another are
derived processing those field recordings. Sometimes this results in a very stark synthetic drone but as
easily it can be almost inaudible after effects from plug-ins. Some of that seem to be coming with a fair
bit of hiss, and can take quite a bit of time. Recently I saw Nilsen play a six-hour solo concert in which
he also stretched out quiet parts for many minutes, creating some fine aural hallucinations, mixing
neatly with the thunder outside the venue. For me the interesting question is of course what happened
to the hazy sounds I put down that October afternoon (answer: I haven't got the foggiest), but I can
imagine not really a question for you. During the ninety minutes of this tape lasts, Nilsen and
Sigmarrson are in a constant state of transition, moving their sounds around and they created some
great drone and musique concrete like release, taking the best you can have from both ends in a great
long flow of sounds. Meanwhile you can browse the 112 pages of the book that comes along and be
quick: there are only seventy copies of this. (FdW)
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