number 1144
week 33


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help Vital Weekly to survive:

DREKKA - EXAMINATIONS: 2016-2018 (CD by Bluesanct) *
MACHINEFABRIEK - ENGEL (CD by Machinefabriek) *
H. TAKAHASHI - LOW POWER (CD by White Paddy Mountain) *
  Mountain) *
  (1997-2017) (2CD by Transgredient Records)
TONUS - TEXTURE POINT (CD by New Wave Of Jazz) *
WOZZECK – FACT I (LP by Intonema) *
BAS VAN HUIZEN - KULVERZUCHTER (CD by Moving Furniture Records) *
BJ NILSEN - FOCUS INTENSITY POWER (LP by Moving Furniture Records) *
  by Moving Furniture Records)
LAURIE SPIEGEL - DONNY & LAURIE (12” by Unseen Worlds) *
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - EDGES (CDR by Miss Management) *
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - ANCIENT FUTURE (7" by Marginal Talent)

DREKKA - EXAMINATIONS: 2016-2018 (CD by Bluesanct)

Over the years Michael Anderson's project Drekka has been a regular visitor to the headquarters of
your weekly and throughout I enjoy his work quite a bit. It seems to contain everything that I like in
music; it's a bit lo-fi, there are some scrambled field recordings, there is a drone approach, yet the
melodic aspect of the music is never forgotten. Over the years I heard quite a bit of music and I
must admit I have very little idea what it is that he does to do his music. It might involve a bit of
guitar, lots of effects, field recordings and maybe an organ or synth. On this new release there
are seven pieces from the years 2016 to 2018 and they are all recorded with other people. Mark
Trecka appears on three of them, while the other people only play on one. The only other name I
recognized was that of Max Kuiper, of Les Horribles Travailleurs. For none of these musicians
are any instruments specified either. You could perhaps expect that working with different people
equals different results, and surely there are a variety of approaches to be noted throughout these
pieces, but at the same time there is quite some coherency to be heard. The mood in these pieces
is dark, or perhaps sombre is a better word, but it is never pitch black or in full despair. Take for
instance the piano parts of the opening piece 'Spring Rain, Indian Summer': sparse in an almost
classic music setting, but slightly treated and some voice and rain from field recordings. The sort
of meditative aspect lingers on in other pieces as well, such as 'Sense Of Senses'. In some of the
older work of Drekka there was always some sort of uneasy, chaotic element of what could almost
seem like shoegazing but with that fair amount of ambient poured over it, these days Drekka
seems to be in favour of a fine ambient approach that avoids the more clichéd approaches of
long form sustaining sounds, with some weirdo elements leaking in from rusty cassettes and
worn out effects, and the results are great. This might possibly the best Drekka I heard so far. (FdW)
––– Address:

MACHINEFABRIEK - ENGEL (CD by Machinefabriek)

Just recently I looked up how many times Machinefabriek was played in the Vital Weekly podcast,
and it was 66 times; the oldest review appeared in Vital Weekly 446 when I wrote "I can and will
describe what Machinefabriek sound like, but other than that's one Rutger Zuydervelt I don't know
anything about Machinefabriek". Much has changed since then, and these days it seems his name
appears less and less in these pages, following a flood of releases since 'Voor De Prullenbak' and
'Xylophonique'. One of the reasons might be that more and more Rutger Zuydervelt is involved in
producing music for films, dance, and choreography and even, in the case of 'Engel', in music for
circus, by Marta Alstadsaeter and Kim-Jomi Fischer. Sometimes he heads to play his pieces live
(or perhaps always? I am not sure). The whole visual component lacks on the CD, but that is not
a problem, I would think, as I find the music by Machinefabriek to be standing strongly by itself and
the nine pieces on the CD shows a further maturing of Zuydervelt's music. It draws from sound
collage, found sound, which are delicately woven together with synthesizer bits, crackling of
contact microphones and samples of drums (courtesy of Paal Nilssen-Love), and even an
occasional leap into noise, in 'Kim's Fall', which seems an apt title. Some of this, so I thought, is
trademark Machinefabriek sound, being all delicate and spacious, but then, so I was also thinking,
is there such a thing as a Machinefabriek sound? I don't think there is anymore. Zuydervelt has
expanded beyond one specific sound and feels at ease to do what he wants, even includes that a
sequence of beats, which he does in 'Not Last' (which reminded of his 'Astroneer' soundtracks).
You may think it bounces over the place, and perhaps it does, but it makes all together a very
pleasant soundtrack for the head (lacking any visual component here), but I can imagine it also
works in a circus; why not? Throughout this is a most enjoyable work. (FdW)
––– Address:

H. TAKAHASHI - LOW POWER (CD by White Paddy Mountain)

Here we have two new releases by Hatakeyama's White Paddy Mountain and one is with music
by the label owner. I started however with the release by H. Takahashi. I don't think I heard of him
before. He’s a composer and architect based in Tokyo with previous releases on such labels as
Entertainment Systems, Where To Now?, Constellation Tatsu and Muzan Editions, all of which
escaped my attention. There is no mentioning of instruments on the cover and listening to this
rather pleasant, easy going music I have not much idea how this was made. It could be some
sort of keyboard-based instrument (or more of them), which are processed in some way or
another by computer treatments. Sweet and minimal seem to be the keywords for this, with
some of this music coming closely to the world of new age music. There are simple textures
spreading out here, very thinly (as opposed to big washes and many layers) and on top of that
there are bell like keyboard sounds tinkling away, like Zen wind chimes on a calm afternoon.
Me personally I am not the man to engage in Zen or meditation of any kind but on one of the first
days post-summer, with the heat finally away this is music that breathes also fresh air/new life
into me, even when the mood gets temporarily darker in 'Circulation', but that could be seen as a
passing cloud on an otherwise sunny day. There wasn't something new to be explored, music
wise on this release, but it all sounded very delightful and at thirty-seven minutes it also felt it
had the right length.
    Labelboss Chihei Hatakeyama is someone with a vast output, of which the recent ones take
a look into Japanese history. About this new one he writes: "In 608 AD, as a messenger of the
Chinese emperor "Hai Sei Sei" came to Japan. So what he saw was the Chinese colony "Shin
Kingdom" and the Japanese male king "Ametharashikiko". But according to the official Japanese
history book, that era is the age of Emperor Suiko, the king of a woman", which I admit is a bit
cryptic if one, like me, is not well versed in Japanese history. Hai Sei Sei's route is probably known
and this is what inspired Hatakeyama, drifting over land and sea. Here he plays the electric guitar,
as on so many of his works, and feeds it through a massive amount of sound effects to spread out
those guitar sounds like endless waves on an ocean, causing small ripples that keep expanding
and expanding. The other metaphor I could think off is also an obvious one, and that is that this
sounds like glacier on a very slow drift. But both of these metaphors to describe the music of
Hatakayama are as said fairly obvious ones. Music that could be used for meditation or relaxing,
breathing tranquillity all around, with perhaps the final piece, 'Vanished Kingdoms' being a
somewhat darker touch to the journey. Pieces nearly flow right into each other, and at seventy-
two minutes I would think that this is exactly the right length; here it doesn't mean much that it
stays along similar lines most of the time and the strength is not in the compositional structure,
but in the execution of a few relatively easy notes stretched out and expanding for a longer
amount of time. This is not Hatakayama's best album (though I couldn't say which one is), but
another expansion to his vast discography with more solid music long and quiet evenings. (FdW)
––– Address:

  (1997-2017) (2CD by Transgredient Records)

Bravo to Troum for being able to celebrate their 20th anniversary! Twenty years is a long time,
certainly a milestone worth marking with an album such as this. The German duo, which rose from
the ashes of Maeror Tri, marked two decades of work by inviting similar-minded artists, many of
whom have been collaborators at some point in the group’s life, to pay tribute in some way. The
contributors were encouraged to transform or collage Troum music or else create original music
in a Troum-like spirit. Though I’ve been listening to these guys since their early days, I must
confess that Troum’s minor-key ooze and lush melodrama has always reminded me of slowed-
down Dead Can Dance records smothered in reverb. Folks who don’t reflexively chuckle at the
ham-fisted gothic pomp of Cold Meat Industries’ flavour “industrial” “drone” will have an easier
time stomaching this stuff than I do. I understand that there are more of those people than there
are of me. Still, there's plenty to like here, and perhaps "Transformation Tapes" is a good entry
point for curious new listeners overwhelmed by the band's vast discography.
    Many of the contributors (namely Alseits, Contrastate, Inade, Tarkatak, Raison d’Etre, Markow
C, Cisfinitum, VOS, Moljebka Pulse and Nadja) turned in respectful iterations of the Troum idea:
slow-motion dramatic portent and synthesized-string-section melancholy. If you already like Troum,
you’ll enjoy these tracks equally as much. But several folks stepped out of the crypt and scrawled
their own signature on the mausoleum. For example, Bad Sector’s track remains recognizably
Troum-ish with disorienting/disembodied flourishes adding their personality to that of their host.
Vance Orchestra begins to pull back the Troum gloom with an empty-sounding whoosh that
becomes, via pleasingly awkward hard splice, a throbbing Wolfgang-Voigt-ish pop-ambient
rhythm. Taking that idea even further is Frans de Waard under his guise as QST, remixing
Troum’s remix of Frans’ band Kapotte Muziek (which was first released as a 7” on Frans’ “Kapotte
Muziek By…” series back in 2001) into a bright, ambient techno tune. Even further than that are
Russian artists 016 vs Myrrman and Reutoff, whose tracks recall early Autechre or Black Dog
Productions. Dual turns in a mid-tempo 90’s-IDM-style head-nod, with percolating beats
judiciously sprinkled with hints of Troum’s melody. “An Untitled Protest” is not a remix, but
Troum collaboration with Martyn Bates (of Eyeless in Gaza “fame”) singing and playing acoustic
guitar, which earns points for being so different from the other tracks on the album but immediately
loses those points by sounding like Sol Invictus. Multer’s track stands out for its intriguing low-
fidelity stasis, like a cloud of hiss above a subway station, which integrates Troum’s general
sound world but removes the emotional signifiers. Ure Thrall (a name I don’t think I’ve seen or
heard in ages, but was glad to see here) also takes things into a rare upbeat territory, going
easy on the creepy-church-organ ethereal fog.  (HS) 
––– Address:

TONUS - TEXTURE POINT (CD by New Wave Of Jazz)

Now that the hot days are finally (!) behind us, or so it seems, it is time to switch off that ventilator
and put on some quiet music that otherwise may have been lost and luckily there is a lot of quiet
music to be heard. Dirk Serries, whom you might know as Vidna Obmana, Fears Falls Burning
and Microphonics, has embraced improvisation music and with the same force he did his older
works he is now in full swing playing that. His new ensemble is called Tonus, and it is a rotating
group of people, including Serries on acoustic guitar, his wife Martine Verhoeven on piano and a
changing cast of other players. I started with the disc with them as a duo, 'Cagean Morphology',
recorded in March 2018 and it is a single, thirty-four minute semi-improvisation (which I assume
implies some level of planning), which I guess is inspired by John Cage and his notion 'silence is
music as well'; or 'silence doesn't exist'. Somewhere in time everybody seemed to believe that all
music by Cage should be silent, so also all that he inspired. I beg to differ, which is of course a
whole different discussion. Serries and Verhoeven play a very silent piece; a tone here, a strum
there, maybe even two notes, but it is always followed by a bit of silence. Rather than thinking of
Cage here, which, had it not been mentioned in the title, wouldn't have occurred to me, I was
thinking of Wandelweiser composers, without any one in particular, with the exception of Taku
Sugimoto. Serries delicate work on the guitar and the level of concentration reminded me of
Taku's work in that direction. The recording is beautiful; spacious and quite detailed and this is
an utterly refined work.
    Tonus as a trio consists of Serries and Verhoeven along with Benedict Taylor on viola and
they recorded four pieces last year. The minimalism continues here, but there seems to be more
notes than on the previous release. Especially Taylor uses his bow to play longer movements
here and there is, so it seems to me, less room for complete silence. The music is sparse without
being empty if you get my drift. I might be entirely wrong of course but it seems to me that Taylor
with his bow and longer notes engages Serries and Verhoeven to add more notes as well. I can
imagine that many people would hardly hear the difference between the two releases of the duo
and the trio, save of course for the addition of a third instrument, but I certainly think these are
world's apart. This is music that is as easily called modern classical, playing a more or less open
ended score, and it is something that requires one's full attention, before it unfolds some of it's
beauty. None of this is nervous or hectic playing some people associate improvised music (not
me), and this is another fine meditative work.
    The third release by Sonus is a double CD and sees them on both as a sextet, but with
different members. Both discs are live concerts, the first one recorded in Belgium, following a
three-day residency. Besides Serries and Verhoeven (who wrote the leitmotiv) there is Jan
Daelman (flute), George Hadow (drums), Nils Vermeulen (double bass) and Colin Webster (alto
saxophone). Despite the extended line-up and quite different instruments, 'Intermediate
Obscurities I' is another radical piece (I wrote these reviews one a day, I must add, not right
after each other; that would simply be too demanding), lasting close to an hour and contains
some music that is not unlike that of Morton Feldman; sometimes long sustaining sounds,
sometimes a succession of shorter sounds. They overlap each other at times, or stand entirely
by themselves, stretching it out, compressing them, but whatever configuration is chosen it is
always different. While it is demanding, I think there is also an aspect of easiness to this;
tranquillity if you will that is almost ambient like, albeit of course of an acoustic nature. The other
sextet was recorded some months later in London, and Verhoeven wasn't present, so we have
besides Serries, Benedict Taylor, Colin Webster, Cath Roberts (baritone sax), Tom Ward (bass
clarinet), and Otto Wilberg (double bass). That is three times stringed instruments versus three
wind instruments. The three wind instruments provide a more sustaining sound, so this becomes
quite a different Sonus; the one with the least amount of silences between the notes and there is
always something happening. Serries wrote the graphic score for this piece (would love to see
these sort of things printed on the cover) and no doubt the layering is shown there. The three
string instruments acts accordingly and also seem to be playing longer formed notes. After some
 three or more hours of Sonus music on a succession of days I believe this is an ensemble with
much potential. (FdW)
––– Address:

WOZZECK – FACT I (LP by Intonema)

Ilia Belorukov is from Saint-Petersburg, Russia and works in the fields of improvised, noise and
electro-acoustic music. In the summer of 2017 he came in contact with the Barcelona-based trio
Phicus: Ferran Fages (guitar), Alex Reviriego (bass) Vasco Trilla (drums). This meeting lead to a
collaboration that is now presented with the release of ‘K(n)ot’. With limited extended techniques
they explore the scope of possible sounds. This resulted in four soundscapes of a random
character. They don’t leave you with the feeling that they hád to sound this way, and make by
consequence an arbitrary impression. Nevertheless I have never a problem of being exposed
to this kind of loosely assembled improvisations, as they often are suited for triggering my mind
with thoughts and moods. Like n this case where the sound improvisations move on in a slow
and laid back manner. Also there are moments on this album that are an exception to this. Like
in the second part of ‘Gordian Knot’, where the improvisation really started to work.
    Wozzeck is another collaboration Belorokov is involved in and they are in a strong contrast
with his work with Phicus. Wozzeck exists already for a considerable time with following members:
Mikhail Ershov (bass guitar, effect pedals), Konstantin Samolovov(drums) and Belorukov
(composition, synthesizer, laptop, field recordings). To celebrate being working together for a
decade now, they composed a 37-minute work. It is constructed from divers material (math rock,
noise, musique concrete and field recordings) from the last few years. The work ‘Fact I’ opens
with noisy straightforward math rock, changes into an experimental section, before gliding into
a silent world of micro-sounds. A strange work of extreme contrasts. (DM)
––– Address:


Chesterfield is a duo of Burkhard Stangl (guitars, piano) and Angélico Castelló (recorders, self-
built Paetzolf-recorder, electronics, cello viola). Guitarist and composer Burkhard Stangl, needs
no introductions and is known for his collaborations in the fields of improvisation, electronica
and contemporary classical. Castelló is born in Mexico City where she studied at the
Conservatorio Nacional de México. Studies in Montréal, Amsterdam and Vienna followed. Since
1999 she lives in Vienna where she works as a teacher. Besides she participates in several
ensembles like Low Frequency Orchestra, frufru (with Maja Osojnik), cilantro (with Billy Roisz),
subshrubs (with Katharina Klement, Tamara Wilhelm and Maja Osojnik), a.o.  As a composer,
she writes for her own instruments, mainly the Paetzold sub great bass recorder. It this instrument
that she plays on her project with her partner Stangl. The idea for this cd started with a solo
concert by Stangl at the Reheat Festival at Kleylehof in 2014.  For this concert Stangl took
inspiration from the Mexican song ‘Besame Mucho’ by Mexican composer Consuelo Velázquez.’
This recording was point of departure for his collaboration with Castelló as Chesterfield. They
create music and atmospheres that made me think a bit of The Caretaker. Distanced and spatial
music with far echoes of a song, that comes to you mingled up with all kinds of noises and
sounds. Dreamy and evocative textures, that is sometimes a bit too open and unfocused for
 my tastes. Released by Mikroton, a label founded by Kurt Liedwart in 2008 focused on electro-
acoustic improvisation. (DM)
––– Address:


For ‘More Fun Please’, Nilssen’s Large Unit - Klaus Holm (alto sax, Bb clarinet), Mats Äleklint
(trombone), Per Ĺke Holmlander (tuba), Jon Rune Strřm (acoustic bass), Christian Meaas
Svendsen (acoustic bass), Tommi Keránen (electronics, conduction), Andreas Wildhagen (drums)
and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums, conduction) – is extended and more than doubled to an ensemble
of in total 27 musicians. The CD offers one, over 30-minutes work, composed by Nilssen-Love for
this huge ensemble. Recorded live in concert at The Only Connect Festival, Oslo, Norway on the
20th of May 2017.  Nothing can replace the live experience of a concert of improvised music, but
often I can really enjoy registrations of improvised music in small settings too. But in the case of
big ensembles as is the case here, I have difficulties to grasp what is happening in every corner, to
distinguish all the instruments and sounds, etc. Nilssen-Love composed this work using chance
elements. “I want to give the musicians trust and have them take initiative and to feel the
responsibility of what it is to be an individual player in the group context’. Strong social motives
inspired Nilssen-Love for the project with a very extended line-up. Nilssen-Love has his own way
of creating dynamics and tension. During the 33 minutes the composition goes through very different
phases. Silent and sparsely instrumented segments are followed by heavy interruptions by the
horns and/or percussion. The opening section has the violin playing folk-influenced motives
embedded in environment of short runs and gestures by the other participators. From there on, the
music develops towards an intensive and full-energy section with thundering drums by Paal
Nilssen. The chance elements play a role probably where the improvisation changes direction and
instrumentation along. And makes the impression sometimes that this happens along external criteria.
    Paal Nilssen-Love and Japanese guitarist and sound artist Otomo Yoshihide know one other
from The Thing, Peter Brötzmanns’ Chicago Octet and from a trio-project with Lasse Marhaug. Last
year they debuted on Jvtland with their first duo effort, a recording dating from 2013. For the follow
up we make a jump of three years and here we have a live recording from a cultural centre in
Moscow. The CD contains two extended improvisations, ‘Cat’ and ‘Dog’. Their noisy duo-
improvisations are really boiling and outspoken. Yoshihide is in great shape. In all its cacophony
and chaos, he plays very intense and to the point. Nilssen is a perfect partner. Together they
create very dynamic moments and powerful battles and outbursts. (DM)
––– Address:

BAS VAN HUIZEN - KULVERZUCHTER (CD by Moving Furniture Records)
BJ NILSEN - FOCUS INTENSITY POWER (LP by Moving Furniture Records)
  by Moving Furniture Records)

Following some self-released CDrs a very long time ago, it seems as if Bas van Huizen now finally
find a more or less permanent home for his music with the good people of Moving Furniture
Records. Originally hailing from the same city as your favourite source of music reviews, although
I don't think I ever met him, he is now based in Xi'an, China (or is he back home? I found the CD on
my doormat in an unstamped envelope). Sometimes he works as Basi Goreng and Shoganai, for
experimental noise (the latter) and beats (the first). Under his own flag he plays more abstract
music, and to that end he uses guitar, voice, found objects and computers. He continues to create
his own Dutch words, which don't mean anything to me (but perhaps it does to him?), such as
'Torrewolk', 'Verstijversei', 'Huichelfluit' or ''Geestontschmer'; somehow these sound like ancient
words, but there are not. The music here is a continuation of what Van Huizen was exploring
before but it seems that he toned down a bit; some of his more fuzzy and noisy pedal work seem
to have been gone, in favour of a more ambient approach. The guitar is still to be recognized as
such, but the snares sound from time to time like exotic percussion; a slowed down kalimba or
gamelan for instance. In the meantime the guitar is also used to bend down and drone away,
which Van Huizen uses as backbones to his seven pieces. Almost all of these pieces build up
in the same way, from quiet to loud and then, in a shorter time span it takes matters down in
volume again. I thought that it would be nice if Van Huizen would try a different model; stay quiet
all the time, changes within the dynamic that doesn't affect the overall volume, or some such thing.
As said some of Van Huizen's more hectic approaches, as he did on 'Waanzintraan' (Vital Weekly
1027) is now gone and his somewhat digital approach fits the lines of someone as Fennesz very
well. He now plays his music with a similar delicate approach, in which the guitar shines through
more so than with his Austrian counter. An excellent release I would say, another small step
    BJ Nilsen can be found these days in Amsterdam, just like the label that now releases a
new LP from his. The sound material on this new LP was taped by Nilsen in a new studio in the
city of 's-Hertogenbosch, which is a gathering of the old CEM studio (moving from Worm in
Rotterdam to here) and a private collection of vintage synthesizers of a more modular variety.
Nilsen uses mostly the modular synthesizers, tone generators, and test and measure instruments.
It is not clear to me if these five pieces are the result of composing in the studio or perhaps taping
all sorts of sounds down and mixing them at home; I can imagine that in the case of having only a
limited time at one's disposal the latter becomes the guiding principle. Modular synthesizers
simply offer tons of possibilities that do not lead easily to composing, as one can endlessly twist
knobs and dials. These five pieces are quite different, yet in all of them Nilsen's love for minimalism
shines through. In the opening piece 'Beam Finder' it seems as if everything is one setting, close
together, like an Eliane Radigue Zen inspired piece; there is minimal development until a crack or
two appears in the ice and quickly it takes a different yet minimal shape. In 'The Sound Of Two
Hands' there is a doubling sounds, adding melodic texture to the music, along with the ticking of
ancient clock. 'Flattened Space' sounds hardly flat, but more like massive cavernous, industrial
space, of which 'Table Of Hours' is like it's opposite; also industrial, but closed yet dark. 'The Limit
Of Function' starts out like 'Beam Finder' but quickly expands to a slightly massive concoction of
sounds. Hardly 'modern electronics', I would say; more 'drone' but then also not your standard
drone music. This is some particular strong music from one of the masters of sound manipulation.
Following a six-hour concert I recently saw him doing in Extrapool, this is the second surprise by
Nilsen of this year for me.
    And finally what seems to me (I could be wrong of course) the split release by Martijn Comes
and Guilio Aldinucci; both have been reviewed before and, generally speaking of course, belong
to the wide, wide world of ambient music. Not really the world of abstract drones, but more or less
ambient with a strong musical touch; processed guitars, synthesizers and such like. For this split
LP they took as a concept two observations by Friedrich Nietzsche; Comes says about this that "for
our album, we stripped them down to a simple pair of opposites: The moral codex of society, as
represented by the Christian church. And the realisation that only by surrendering completely to
emotion can we live life to the fullest." Each of them has a composition that fills the entire side of a
record. In 'Crystalline Tragedies', which is the title of the Martijn Comes' piece, there are two
distinct sections to be noted. In the first half there is guitar playing (courtesy of Constantine
Skourlis), set against a bed of layered drones, which could have been derived from the self-same
guitar playing and some less easy to define sounds, which could be humming. The other half of the
pieces is a synthesizer section of mid paced arpeggio tones with an almost bouncing rhythm; it
imitates a wind like sound and with a beat I would have said it is Porter Ricks like, but without the
beat, as it is now, it is nice tumble of barren land. Aldinucci's piece is called 'The Procession
(distant motionless shores)' starts out with field recordings in the leading role. It is the recording
of a procession in rural Tuscany, which he takes apart, folds together, unfolds and expands again,
but all along you will keep recognizing sounds from the procession; people humming, church
organ and church bells. It is not easy to say to what extent Aldinucci uses his computer
transformations here; the eighteen minute is a very fine collage of all of the field recordings
captured during this procession, even including what seems to be animal sounds, building and
growing but slowly taking matters to a quiet conclusion. Two quite different sides are here to this
record, perhaps a pair of opposites I should/could think, but it works very well, while the rest of
the Nietzsche may be a bit lost on me. (FdW)
––– Address:

LAURIE SPIEGEL - DONNY & LAURIE (12” by Unseen Worlds)

As is obvious from our perspective in 2018, New York City in the late 1970s/early 1980s was an
incredibly fertile time and place for music. Punk rock, hip-hop, avant-garde visual and performance
art, free jazz, cheap rent, affordable recording technology and independent distribution combined
with the overarching dread of geopolitical instability to create an explosive cultural/artistic
flashpoint that’s still being excavated decades later. In that milieu, it wasn’t uncommon for
academic composers and visual artists to form unlikely partnerships with underground punk, jazz,
and disco free-thinkers. Some of these collaborations blossomed into long-term projects, others
were swept up by the zeitgeist, existing fleetingly and then moving on.
    At the turn of the decade, Laurie Spiegel was at the forefront of academic synthesizer and
computer music, developing music technology at Bell Labs and founding the Computer Music
Studio at NYU. Her electronic innovations captured the attention of creative weirdos of the city’s
post-punk/no-wave scene, including Don Christensen, drummer of the Contortions, Raybeats
and 1/2 of dance-punk duo impLOG. As far as I can tell, the (apparently short-lived) Spiegel/
Christensen collaboration produced only one song, which is a damn shame because it seems
to hint at what more the two might have been capable of creating together. The A side of this 12”,
simply titled “Donnie and Laurie”, pits Spiegel’s analogue bloop with Christensen’s propulsive
upbeat acoustic drums, underscoring the song with a disco-informed dance beat typical of the
era/location. The fusion of driving rhythm with sideways-disconnected electronic wash pre-dates
the similar-sounding  “I Care Because You Do” by a good 15 years, just proving how ahead of
their time they were. While certainly enjoyable on its own, the song left me feeling disappointed
that this wasn’t a full-length album… or even that there wasn’t another duo song on the other side.
I wanted more! Could there be additional recordings in someone’s basement somewhere,
languishing in some library on reels yet-to-be-restored? Let’s hope so. The B side is a cyclic
minimalist-adjacent solo piece by Spiegel called “Patchwork” which fans will recognize from its
appearance on her 1980 album, “The Expanding Universe”. On this single, the piece appears in
a slightly different version, though I’ve played the two versions back to back and can’t tell much
what’s changed. In any case, it’s a sunny, chirping blast of glorious competing counter-melodies,
the 1980 conception of what the future might sound like. I still hope the future will sound like
this. (HS)
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DOC WÖR MIRRAN - EDGES (CDR by Miss Management)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - ANCIENT FUTURE (7" by Marginal Talent)

'Ancient Future' might be a very appropriate title for this pair of new/old releases. The 7" was
recorded in the summer of 2018, which, according to my diary happens to be 'now', while the
CDR was already recorded in 1996. That's where I started. 'Edges' is a series of paintings by
Doc's main man, Joseph B. Raimond from 1982 and 1983 and in in 1996 two synths were set
up to play the music. Raimond plays one synth and another by Peter Schuster, who in those days
was an active band member. As noted before, Doc Wör Mirran is a krautrock band and here in
the guise of a more cosmic approach. There are no motorik drums here, but the two take pages
from Schnitzler textbook on 'non keyboard electronics', let sounds bubble, oscillate, hammer,
saw and sine about for respectively twenty-six and twenty-one minutes. The longer one is
'Edges 8' and sees them exploring the synthesizers in all its varying aspects, with many varying
colours and shifts within the parameters they have set; mostly minimal and sometimes a bit
chaotic but it works quite well. 'Edges 9' is even more minimal with a bell-like sound ringing
through the entire piece, slowly changing while the other provides a likewise minimal crashing
sound in slow motion. Cold and clinical this one, but also this is my favourite piece of the two.
    And we fast forward to the hot summer (Europe at least) and the Docs are recording one
song. Now the line-up consists of Adrian Gormly, .rizla23, Joseph B. Raimond, Michael Wurzer,
Stefan Schweiger, Licht-ung and Ralf Lexis during what has been labelled as 'progressive punk'
sessions. I have no idea what that is, probably another invention by the Mirrans, of a slow moving
guitar pattern, rhythm machine, and vocals... slowed down? Hey, what's the rpm anyway? Try
again, but at 45 rpm, and I would that think that is the right speed, the song becomes more
together. A vocal track from the Wors is a rarity these days, I should think. The lyrics aren't that
clear, except that we hear 'ancient future and ancient past' a couple of times, with the guitar on
progressive rock solo and the others around it. A strange song, reflecting the strange times we
live in, I guess. This is a one-sided record, lathe cut, in an edition of 23 copies and on the reverse
the band will write your name. This fits nice along the recent car stereo release and other highly
limited delights from Doc Wör Mirran's vast discography. (FdW)
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