number 1167
week 4


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!
complete tracklist here:

Listen to the podcast on Mixcloud!

before submitting material please read this carefully:

Submitting material means you read this and approve of this.

help Vital Weekly to survive:


I LOST THE FISH - T (CD by Merles) *
  by Split Rock Records)
MICHAEL JON FINK - CELESTA (CD by Cold Blue Music) *
ADAM MANKOWSKI - DZWIEKI Z OFFU (CD by Attenuation Circuit) *
EILEAN 92 (CDR compilation by Eilean Records)
  Amis Records)
GUIGUISUISUI/EMERGE - ENCHANTED GARDEN (cassette by Attenuation Effect)
DEAR CONCERNED EMPLOYEES (cassette compilation by Staaltape)

I LOST THE FISH - T (CD by Merles)

Now there is a most curious band name I thought and the information is quite cryptic; "we like to
think of ourselves more as a network than a band, more a community than a group, more as a
problem than a solution" etc. and "sounds go from one point...... to another, are slowly remixed,
redrawn, recooked, then sent to another kitchen and the process starts again, until the meal is
ready". There are no names mentioned, no instruments, locations or such like. The label comes
from Canada, and it says c with a circle, 2015-2016, so for all, I know this is a few years old? There
are four pieces here, all indicated by numbers, such as 'Eightfortyone' or 'Fifteenfortyone'. The
music is a curious mixture of guitar sounds, spacious post-rock like in 'Eightfortyone' to spacious
electronic, verging towards the world of cosmic music in 'Forteenseventeen' [sic], and throughout
there is something lingering on that says that this is more or less created in some sort of improvised
fashion. However, it doesn't sound like it is coming out of the improvised music scene, but more like
various psychedelic jams put together through the use of studio technology. In this process of
putting this together they didn't lose the perspective of the somewhat loosely jams that were at the
basis of this. It remains to have its free form character and in the post-production, I assume they
weeded out some of the 'mistakes', 'bum notes' or whatever occasional distortion or feedback was
picked up along the way. It is all quite obscure music, sometimes meandering a bit too far apart for
my taste, especially in the two pieces that last fifteen minutes (the other two are fifteen together),
but there is something quite fresh about this music as well, which I very much enjoyed. There is
certainly something done with great pleasure here. (FdW)
––– Address:


As I never heard of the label Folk Wisdom, I was probably distracted by the word 'folk' in there. And
of course, the name Bewider was new to me. This is the musical project of Piernicola di Muro, who
is said to be "a long time active music composer for film and television". Yet his first EP is from 2015,
another in 2016, so 'Full Panorama' might be his first full-length album, and it has very little to do
with folk music. Di Muro says this is his "most intimate, irrational and emotional work" so far, dealing
with "cinema and imagery" which are closest to his heart. He is a man who loves his synthesizers.
As always I would say I am not the sort of person to say if these analogue or digital, so we have to
go for his own admission that "each track was born almost exclusively from manipulations, and
then recordings on analogue modular synthesizers where the possibility of repeating is reduced to
almost zero". This modular synthesizer doodling reminds me of whatever YouTube I saw of Colin
Benders, something a lot of like; a spaceship-like control station with knobs, wires and flashing
lights yet if you close your eyes you could easily think this Tangerine Dream but with a stricter time
signature, the four to the floor beat. It's not that Bewider plays very cheesy techno music, far from it.
His music is part moody, part light, more spacious and occasionally supported by a beat here and
there. It is actually a very pleasant trip, this one. The album has quite a bit of variation, with a strong
cosmic music undercurrent and owes quite a bit to the (American) music Steve Moore. Maybe it's
music that is not really that much from the world of Vital Weekly but its absolutely fine, entertaining
music. Not being the most visual sort of man, I wouldn't know about the cinematic qualities, but I
can see it would quite well in such manners. (FdW)
––– Address:


A new release by the Gold Bolus label always makes me curious. Many of their releases show they
have a good sense for music that experiments with conventional ingredients. Music that often
shows an inventive play with accessible idioms. This surely counts for these two new recordings.
The Nouveau Classical Project is an all-women, New York-based contemporary classical music
ensemble, formed in 2008 and led by director and pianist Sugar Vendil. With Laura Cocks (flute),
Mara Mayer (clarinet), Maya Bennardo, (violin) and Thea Mesirow, (cello). They preferably perform
compositions by living composers to demonstrate that classical music is still living art form. The
ensemble likes to work in multidisciplinary contexts in order to reach new audiences. For this
reason, they worked for example with fashion designers. ‘Currents’ is their debut CD. The recording
consists of three compositions from three different composers. Written especially for this ensemble
on their request. First, there is ‘Cy’, composed by David Bird who is inspired by “the off-white
colours and scribbled, graphite-like lines in Cy Twombly’s paintings”. The work features clarinet
preparations as well as treated “samples of cassette tape tones and tape hiss”. A very sensitive
and organic feeling is imbued in this work. ‘Zero Initiative’, written by Olga Bell, starts from a tape
of spoken word. Bell transposed this unison to instruments. And built an engaging and dramatic
structure around this pre-recorded material. ‘Artifacts’ by Isaac Schankler is a meeting of electronic
music and acoustic music. Electronic dominated parts are interchanged and interwoven with
acoustical parts. The acoustical parts are colourful and melodic, whereas the electronic parts are
far more abstract. Autonomous musical parts are woven into another. All three compositions are
fascinating illustrations of the main interest of this ensemble: to combine contrasting elements:
electronic and acoustical instruments, conventional and experimental composing genres in a
way that makes you think and wonder.
    Andrew Livingston is a bassist, cellist, composer and sound artist in Brooklyn. Since many
years he is the touring cellist for singer-songwriter Mike Doughty. Under the moniker of Piad
Guyvessant he released two solo albums for Gold Bolus Records. ’News from the Oort Cloud’ is
his third solo album for this label and the first one using his real name. The Oort Cloud is a giant
shell of icy material that surrounds our solar system. A seemingly inspiring phenomenon for
Livingston who has an interest in astronomy is a science that inspires his art. The earth is a
minuscule dot in a universe that is inconceivable big and extended. Listening to a track like the ‘A
Moment’ one strongly feels Livingston tries to evoke the alienating feelings this knowledge can
lead to. This electronic track is in strong contrast with most of the other material that is acoustic of
origin and very intimate. For instance, in the opening track ‘Pilot Light’ it was as if I was listening to
an Arthur Russell record: deep melodic cello playing accompanied by an airy voice. This is music
from a contemplative and intuitive mind. Everything is produced, performed and written by
Livingston. “For me, these are songs about isolation, solitude, loss, impermanence, love and the
beauty in all of that. I guess I keep the metaphors a little vague and try not to over-explain what is
going on for me in each song. I try to use as few lyrics as possible to convey what I need to.”  For
his songs Livingston created well-chosen sound textures with original colouring, taking you into
melancholic atmospheres. He invites you into a very idiosyncratic universe. An original voice! (DM)
––– Address:


How have I not heard of Limbs Bin before?! I live in Massachusetts and have been pretty involved
in the noise/experimental/whatever “scene” since 1998… so I thought I was aware of the other
artists working around me. I suppose not! Thanks to this album, a big gap in my local noise
knowledge has been repaired. Josh Landes’ Limbs Bin hails from the city of Pittsfield in Western
MA and has been active and prolific for at least 8 years. In doing my research, I found something
that endeared Limbs Bin to me right away: dude has an album called “No Marigolds”, apparently
a reference to “King of the World”, one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands, Steely
Dan! Come on, that’s great! I started listening to “Compassion and Vision” ready to like it, and
whaddya know: I totally like it. Landes seems to have noisecore roots with hardcore-like
screaming vocal delivery… imagine Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck playing “Tokyo Anal Dynamite”
and you’re close. Though Limbs Bin is from New England, “Compassion and Vision” was recorded
in Cleveland with three North Coast collaborators. Wyatt Howland (aka Skin Graft) is credited with
playing electronics, plus two drummers (yeah, like “Hex Enduction Hour”): David Russell
(Collapsed Arc) and Erik Brown (Scald Hymn). The first of two long tracks, “Compassion (Splatter
Mix)” has all the raw fury of a screamo band with the energy of early 00’s Prurient or Noise
Nomads performances. Landes’ voice is a naked howl through sheets of feedback with ugly
electric crackle providing a bedrock of static yuck. The drums seem to start a punk/hardcore
rhythm but stop every 30 seconds or so to let the feedback ring out into the abyss. This could be
one long song or 20 short ones, it’s hard to tell. The track reminds me of all the basement noise
shows I went to in college, produced to preserve a live-in-one-take rough atmosphere. The second
track, “Vision (Blown to Bits Mix)” begins with some off-mic banter before diving back into the burst/
pause/burst mode. The seemingly live sound makes me wonder how both tracks are titled as
“mixes”… are they NOT live recordings? What could have been mixed? It doesn’t matter. This is a
fun album that has already inspired me to seek out more by the band. (HS)
––– Address:


A successful live recording is, in my opinion, one that makes a listener wish they were at the
concert as it happened. This meeting of Ellen Fullman and Okkyung Lee must have been a
massive sound in the room; the record is enjoyable, but boy do I wish I was in the audience when
they were playing. Ellen Fullman, of course, is an under-recorded American treasure known
primarily for her Long String Instrument, a combination of an instrument and a variable-size sound
installation. Okkyung Lee is a very prolific composer and cellist whose work encompasses a wide
range of styles both solo and with groups and diverse collaborators. That Fullman and Lee should
collaborate seems like such a natural idea, it’s no surprise it works as well as it does. “The Air
Around Her” is, essentially, a string duo which pairs Lee’s cello with Fullman’s instrument stretched
to 26 meters and tuned to the performance space in the 17th-century building (currently
Stockholm’s Performing Arts Museum) where this concert took place. They the acoustics of the
space to generate soporific waves of gently unfolding and interlocking overtones which sound as
if they must have been played at a high volume… and so that’s how I listened to it. Fullman
coaxes deeply oceanic waves out of her long strings, launching dense vibration-clusters out into
the space, letting each missive soar and gracefully dissipate. Lee navigates in and around this
hovering mass, her cello singing from the within the centre of a harmonic storm. There are some
lovely sections when Lee’s cello is distinct from Fullman’s, etching out a solo that accentuates the
Long String Instrument’s ghostly vibrations or anchoring it in a grounding melodic flourish. If you
don’t already know Ellen Fullman’s music, this is as good a place to begin as any. Those
enamoured with the blissful stasis of Chihei Hatakeyama, Robert Rutman, Harry Bertoia or Phill
Niblock will also want to check this out. (HS)
––– Address:

  by Split Rock Records)

Recently we spoke here of an exceptional recording by the London Experimental Ensemble,
performing ‘Treatise’ a composition by Cornelius Cardew. With their new release, recorded in
March 2018 in a London studio they decided for something completely different. This time they
take their turn to ancient folk songs of the Child Ballads, a collection of 305 songs from the British
Isles, as catalogued by Professor Francis James Child between 1882 and 1898. Six of these
songs are a point of departure for a free improvised session, where the improvisers leave the
melodic material far behind them. As on ‘Treatise’, they work here once again with American
singer-songwriter Ed Pettersen. Pettersen sings the original lyrics, staying close to the original
melodic structure. It is not unlikely that Pettersen came with the idea for using this old material,
as he recorded earlier old Scandinavian and American folk songs. The 11-piece ensemble c
reates condensed sound-oriented textures that don’t seem to interact very much with the
melodies Pettersen sings. They move on as drifting sound clouds, embedding the solo vocals
by Pettersen. Nonetheless, traditional ballads and improvisations make an interesting couple
here and deliver a fulfilling and enjoyable assemble. An interesting experiment that I hope will
be deepened in the future.
    Last year we also reviewed here the double bill ‘Instellar Transmissions’. Again a record of
Pettersen in the company with other improvisers (Henry Kaiser, among others), which was
released by his own Split Records. Disc 2 contained improvisations by Roger Turner, Michael
Kuchen and Ed Pettersen, recorded in London in 2017. During these sessions they decided to
record an extra set that is now being released as ’The End of the Universe’. In a very intense set,
they explore sounds and textures. Five of their concentrated improvisations made it to this cd. The
title of their explorations suggests again a giant scope, this time ‘The End of the Universe’.
Something that is beyond imagination. Kuchen plays most of the time short patterns and
movements, whereas Pettersen prefers long-sustained notes from his eight-string lap steel.
Turner creates tirelessly asymmetric patterns and many different sounds and timbres from his
set. As the universe is said to expand in all directions, so do these improvisations. What holds
the universe together is likewise a question for these improvisations. I found myself above all
listening to the individual performances by the players, more than to their interplay. The musicians
seem to play rather independently choosing their own direction, etc., with moments where the
energy is compressed into one flow. (DM)
––– Address:


The backside of the Salnikov Borisov Salnikov release contains the nine titles to the pieces, all-
readable, but what's written below is beyond me. I couldn't detect a label or website, but I found
the music (free download also) on Misha Mox Salnikov's Bandcamp page, just the 'Oxford News'
release. Bandcamp gives out this information about the first one. Alexei Borisov (a name you
could know from his many projects in the world of electronic and improvised music and one of
Russia's pioneers from the underground scene) visited his Sasha and Misha Mox Salnikov in
East Twickenham and as a trio they did five pieces, and three more by Sasha and Alexei and
one by him and Misha. No instruments are listed here, but I could easily imagine this to be
containing a whole bunch of 'small' electronics on which they freely improvise. These 'small'
electronics could be monotrons, small samplers, lots of Kaos pad and various models of each of
these. These are set up and fooled around within these nine pieces. Some of these pieces are
definitely on the long side when it comes to duration; there is just so much chaos on electronic
devices that you can produce and that remains interesting throughout. When there is a bit more
organisation, usually arriving in the form of a beat underneath the chaos it becomes more
interesting, especially if the length is four to five minutes, such as the fine 'Tribute To Marvin
Heemeyer', with a dubby rhythm and some piercing tones. It is a fine document of action being
recorded but not more than that, I'd say.
    The other release is a disc of improvised nature as well, but from a more traditional perspective,
even when much of instruments are electronics. The players here are Lydia Kavina (theremin,
electronics), Vladimir Kitliar (theremin, electronics), Sergey Letow (tenor saxophone, aerophone
Roland AE10), Misha Mox Salnikov (electronics) and Alexei Borisov (electronics, micro theremin).
The music was recorded in Moscow in 2018,  this quintet plays in various combinations, opening
with a duo, the three different trios, culminating in the fifth piece, in which they all play together,
and which at twenty-five minutes is also the longest piece. Despite the fact that there are more
players, it is less chaotic than the trio disc I just heard. Or should that be: because there are five
players? Maybe there is more control because everybody is listening closer, before adding their
own contribution to the total? Four out of five pieces have as many musicians (trios and a duo)
and here too there is quite some control going on. Maybe it also has to do with the fact there is
now the saxophone, which adds a different dynamic to the music? The opening piece, by Kavina
and Letov, is the most traditional piece when it comes to improvised music; in the other pieces the
characteristic sound of the theremin, that oddly singing ring it has to it, comes alive and in
combination with other electronics it becomes more introspective music, rather mellow, which
works quite well in these instances. This is a most enjoyable release of spacious electronics,
singing tones and where there is a great interaction between these players and they very much
enjoy themselves with their music. (FdW)
––– Address:


There is an interesting concept at work here: eight people got the same piece of music from Rutger
Zuydervelt, the man behind Machinefabriek and were asked to do a vocal response to this music. It
started life in Taipei where he worked with Wei-Yun Chen, a dancer but he heard her voice and one
thing led to another, with people responding to his music. The eight vocalists are Terence Hannum,
Chantal Acda, Peter Broderick, Marianne Oldenburg, Zero Years Kid, Richard Youngs, Marissa
Nadler and Chen. After they send in their vocals, Zuydervelt went for another round of treatments,
using his tone generators, radios, cassettes, synths and whatever else he has at his disposal. So
there is quite some extended working and re-working here and voices are not something that
Machinefabriek has used a lot in the past, but listening to you this, you can indeed wonder: why
not? There are quite some different approaches here, from the overtly singing voice of Marianne
Oldenburg, easily the most melodic piece, to cut-up methods applied by Zero Years Kid (also
known as Joachim Badenhorst from Belgium), captured on cassette or Dictaphone and becoming a
busy choir of assorted and apparently unrelated vocals. As said, there is quite some variation in
these pieces and it shows the development of Machinefabriek quite clearly. Surely his trademark
approach of carefully constructed drones, crackles and buzzes are all over this, such in the piece
with Terence Hannum (no titles, everything is 'I', 'II' etc. with between brackets the name of singer),
but also with a more musical, melodic approach, with rhythms (in 'II (With Chantal Acda') for
instance) and the singing voices, Oldenburg and Acda for instance. But also the more reciting
voice of Broderick making the piece he's in a more collage-like piece is a different approach. With
Richard Youngs, he reaches for the lowest note possible, singing and music-wise that is. It all ends
with 'VIII (With Marissa Nadler)' in an eleven-minute tour de force of tone generators and Nadler
being a one-woman choir of angelic proportions, but also mild cut-ups and drones. Like the perfect
blend of Machinefabriek's sound so far; quite the mature album and with a release on Western
Vinyl surely on his way to something bigger. (FdW)
––– Address:


Perhaps you know the celeste best from Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker'. Maybe you don't. "The
celesta or Celeste is a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. It looks similar to an upright
piano (four- or five-octave), albeit with smaller keys and a much smaller cabinet, or a large
wooden music box (three-octave). The keys connect to hammers that strike a graduated set of
metal (usually steel) plates or bars suspended over wooden resonators. Four- or five-octave
models usually have a damper pedal that sustains or damps the sound. The three-octave
instruments do not have a pedal because of their small "table-top" design" and the sound can be
compared to that of the glockenspiel. Why invent your words if you can steal them from Wikipedia.
Fink is a composer of quiet music and on a previous release, 'From A Folio' he has piano pieces
and one cello piece. The pieces here are mostly short, one to three minutes, although one is four
and one even six minutes. The metallic sound rings neatly, never very long or very quiet, nor are
there long gaps of silence to be noted here. All of these pieces have names, 'Ruins', 'Sunless',
'Triptych' or 'After The End', which may suggest these are all different, but if they would have been
called 'Part i" to 'Part XII', I would have easily bought that as well. It is small music, winter's music
(although being from L.A. Fink probably enjoys a different kind of winter), but perhaps I was
thinking of that because of the recent Christmas bells in the shopping mall. It might be small
music but it sounds absolutely great; a very strong release.
    A bit shorter, even, clocking in at thirty minutes is a CD by Micheal Byron. A review of his 'In The
Village Of Hope' was reviewed in Vital Weekly 994, which for harp. Here we have two pieces for
two violins and one for double bass. The two violins are played by a duo who call themselves
String Noise, Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim-Harris, who commissioned 'Fabric For String Noise',
and perhaps it is the word 'noise' used here that got me thinking differently about the music. Cold
Blue Music isn't known for their releases, which some people might call noise music. Actually far
from it. Their music deals with throughout quieter forms of music, just as we just encountered with
Micheal Jon Fink. The fierce act on the higher registers of the violin has a slightly unnerving
character. It plays around with another notion that Cold Blue Music is known for and that is
minimalism, even in this hectic and chaotic playing; phrases keep returning and popping up, with
slightly different changes. It is acoustic and yet it is also quite noisy, especially within the higher
frequency range. As a contrast, we get 'Dragon Rite' as the third piece, a slow and low double
bass piece, played by James Bergman, of ominous slow textured and atmospheric music. Not
that we really needed after twenty-one minute of heavy violin treatments, but just as a contrasting
piece of music it works very well. This is too is an excellent CD. (FdW)
––– Address:

ADAM MANKOWSKI - DZWIEKI Z OFFU (CD by Attenuation Circuit)

This name you may not recognize straight away, but before Adam Mankowski worked as Limited
Liability Sounds and as such reviews of his work appeared in Vital Weekly (Vital Weekly 1070 and
905). In the first, he played homage to Luciano Berio. This new work deals with the debut film of
Grzegorz Krolikiewicz, 'Na Wylot', which apparently wasn't too well received. This according to the
information I got along with this release, as I never heard of this, or seen the movie. Apparently,
there is a "new path of film acoustics", "which allowed to significant extent the psychological
portrait of the main characters of the drama". Alright, I'd be happy to take their word for it, even
when it makes considerations about the music not easy. I can only judge it on the basis of what I
hear. The nine pieces here present an interesting mixture of musique concrete manipulation of
acoustic sounds, sampled and resampled, along with the crackles of old vinyl and rhythms from
various machines. In the opening 'Bez Wyjscia' that results in a trip-hop approach, while 'Tam Byta
Milosc' has a very dub like character; the rhythms that are as he spins rather musique concrete like
sounds around it. That is a pattern for more pieces actually. There is a melodic touch to be noted in
these pieces, via rhythm, sampled piano sounds, church bells, synthesizers and woven into the
fabric of field recordings, acoustic objects being sampled and some highly processed computer
sounds. As I said, it is very hard for me to judge in relation to the filmmaker and his debut film,
but hearing the music independently, I'd say, it is all a most decent job, even when it's not the
most original things you can hear. Especially since trip hop's history already has a proven track
record of sampling acoustic sources, adding beats to it and generating a cinema for the ears
narrative music, then this is something that works well, for sure, as Mankowski does some great
music, but following the path already laid out, which of course is fine thing to do. (FdW)
––– Address:


With this release Split Records announces they will to a "series of releases from a new generation
of Sydney improvising experimenters", so I might be excused that the name Rhys Mottley is not
one I immediately recognized. He has involvement with the Splinter Orchestra and the Prophets
and here comes with his acoustic guitar of which the body is "riddled with parasitic attachments
such as street sweeper needles, bottle caps, blue tack, drill bits, chopsticks and brackets" and
there are no electrical devices, just objects and strings. By setting up microphones on either side
the sound is wonderfully captured and the three pieces on this disc are of some highly refined
nature. Playing these strings and objects with his hands but also with a bow (or maybe even two
bows) and in each piece Mottley works out things in a different way. In 'Ear Feeling' for instance,
he works a lot with the bow(s) and creates some rich tapestry of scraping sounds and some
beautiful overtones ringing, with a bit of loose end percussion at the beginning and the end. In
'Throat Feeling', the middle and shortest of the three, there is a fine percussive feel to it, which
reminded me of non-western music. Mottley approaches this carefully and in a very meditative
way. I wouldn't have minded if this would have been much longer than the seven minutes it is
now. 'Gut Feeling' is the thirty-minute opening piece and more like a display of what possibilities
there are on the guitar and objects, an index of moves and gestures. It is the most improvised
here with a large role for the bow, but also object on body interaction, plucking, striking,
sometimes all of this in combination with each other and a showcase for all the ways Mottley
approaches his instrument and that surely is quite a lot. There is some great music captured
on this release, all very refined. (FdW)
––– Address:

EILEAN 92 (CDR compilation by Eilean Records)

Michel Banabila and Rutger Zuydervelt, also known as Machinefabriek started to work together in
2012 and so far that effort brought us five albums, 'Macrocosmios' (Vital Weekly 1052), 'Error
Log' (Vital Weekly 984), 'Travelog (Vital Weekly 898) and the first untitled album (Vital Weekly
860). Every time they surprise me and every new release is great. 'Entropia' is not different. I know
both musicians to be wildly experimental as well as lovingly musical and they dare to go out on a
limb and do new stuff that you wouldn't expect. Their last one was quite melodic and ambient, what
some would call fourth world music; on 'Entropia' they take a new route in their music. Everything is
a bit louder, it seems, avoiding the obvious route of noise of course, but surely it is all a bit rough
around the edges. There are crackles in the fabric of music, strange transformations within a piece,
a burst of noise here and an occasional sweet loop there such as in 'Nostalgia'; see, this is not the
quick product of uninspired noise music, but some wild and exciting experimentation with both
sound and music (if one cares to make such distinctions) and this experimentation leads to great
pieces of music. This time around a bit wilder and perhaps even 'industrial' (or even improvised
such as in the title piece), but in each of these pieces one recognizes trademark Machinefabriek
and Banabila qualities; Zuydervelt's crackles, loops, sound generators and Banabila playful
keyboards, the odd rhythm here and there and a gentle melodic touch - I might be wrong of
course and it's what both of these gentlemen bring to the table. 'Entropia' is a highly varied dish,
a seven-course meal and each is a lovely treat. Onto the next one!
    Last year Eilean Records send me their 'Eilean 58' compilation CDR and I wrote this (now
slightly adjusted for 'Eilean 92') "So far the releases by Eilean had lovely handmade card stock
covers with stickers attached to them but this new one is a metal box case, which is something
that I am not particularly fond of. I thought this m6ight be the new line for 2018, but perhaps it is a
one-off, seeing it’s a compilation. While looking up what the exact title is of this on the label’s
website, I noticed that it’s ‘the final release of 2017’ with ‘all the music artists involved this year’,
so maybe the metal box is just a thing for this compilation. Of course, it is very well possible that
Eilean never read a review in Vital Weekly about how I feel about reviewing compilations (small
hint: not my favourite pastime) or perhaps they think theirs a stand out (quite rightly a label should
always think that way!) among label compilations. At least, packing it in a metal box means it’s not
a throwaway product for them; not your cheap carton sleeved label sampler. I am not sure, basically
too lazy to check this, if all of the sixteen artists have been reviewed in these pages last year, but a
quick glance along the tracklist (A Home For Ghosts (James Edward Armstrong + Neil Carter) /
Amuleto (Francesco Dillon + Riccardo Dillon Wanke) / Aries Mond / Benjamin Finger /Ben Mc
Elroy / Cyril Secq + Sylvain Chauveau / Dramavinile / Emmanuel Witzthum / Foresteppe / Hannah
Zhalih Mickunas / Ian Hawgood / Lake Mary / Leigh Toro / Ljerke (Kleefstra Brothers, Hilde Marie
Holsen, Sytze Pruiksma, Alexander Rishaug, Michael Francis Duch) / Srúti (Omrr + Pie Are
Squared) / The Prairie Lines Xu - yes, copied from the website) would indeed confirm that all of
these have had their released reviewed.
    Eilean Records is a label that deals mostly with atmospheric music, drones, ambient or whatever
is your current favourite phrase and their artists use acoustic instruments, synthesizers and field
recordings, all of which at one point or another gets a firm make-over which is called ‘processing’.
Sometimes it works out in a more abstract sense, the world of drones, but it can also be more
music like, a miniature sound composition with a mildly processed piano chord or two and some
sailboat rumbling field recording in the background. There is, perhaps sadly, not a great deal of
variation  among these seventeen pieces, and just as well could have been a long album by one
composer, but it is a fine showcase of all that Eilean does and should the more melodic ambient,
the chamber orchestra instrumentation and carefully styled field recordings tickle your fancy and
you want a new place to start, then this is your place. And yes, you may refer to me as a lazy
person; but perhaps I should have mentioned that reviewing compilations is not my strong
suit. (FdW)
––– Address: 

  Amis Records)

Ah, Lärmschutz! Sometimes they are in these pages every week and then sometimes not for some
weeks. They continue with the 'Tafelmusik', inspired by the Barok term for music played at feasts
and banquets, "often employing basso continuo'. The trio of Rutger van Driel (trombone, melodica,
electronics), Stef Brans (guitar) and Thanos Fotiadis (organ; no drums for him here) get help on
those bass lines from An Bol (bass) and Jan van Wessel on the Fender Rhodes. There are six
pieces here, all around ten to fourteen minutes and that's surely a long banquet, but it works very
well. Lärmschutz is a band that I labelled anarcho-free punk jazz in the past but I would think they
are something else by now. At the core of their music, there is improvisation, that is a fact.
Sometimes these improvisations are chaotic, but in the six pieces on this cassette, they are rather
structured and pleasant to hear. Not just a lot of chaos thrown together with random bouts of
distortion but with all the various keyboards a rather (or a rather relative) smooth set of pieces. The
chaos and disruption are not entirely gone, as 'Encore', the sixth piece shows us, but there is sure
quite some smoother areas being explored here. The trombone remains most acoustic and the
pedal work on the guitar is quite civilized. Perhaps not the sort of thing to play during dinner, but it
works quite well for me. I was alone and reading a book, flowing gently along with the mellow
improvised music including the oddball of confusion thrown in here and there. Lärmschutz
delivers another fine work and another surprise. (FdW)
––– Address:

GUIGUISUISUI/EMERGE - ENCHANTED GARDEN (cassette by Attenuation Effect)

Little over a year ago, Guiguisuisui and Emerge performed at the Ganze Bäckerei in Augsburg
and now the result has been released on cassette. Apparently, it was already available as a
download. This is my first encounter with the oddly named Guiguisuisui, a duo of " sound and
performance. Man and woman, East and West, past and future", combining some weird influences
together. There is 'Darker Shade Of Black', with a drum machine, guitar and a female voice; a
pretty neat rocking song, followed by 'Electric Ocean', a drone affair with humming voices. The
last track is a cover of Bob Dylan's 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue', which according to the cover
features Trevor Gaymer, who I think must be the vocalist here, and whose voice sounds very
much like Rod Stewart. Guided by a simple pulse and a distorted organ, this is certainly a very
nice song, the best and surprising song in this weekly.
    On the other side, we find Emerge, who is these days very active when it comes to playing live,
almost a constant touring machine and less interested in releasing stuff. Armed with his apparatus,
mostly sampling devices and electronics, Emerge samples whatever is available and creates
collages with these sounds. All of this in the best tradition of musique concrete, even when his
results are mostly different. There is a pretty straight forward sampling going on, looping his
sound material and slowly altering these sounds with the sound effects at his disposal, and along
adding maybe a few different ones. The material here could really be anything as it is no longer
clear what it was. I was thinking of breaking ice, but I might be wrong. There is a grande noise
finale, which was thing Emerge did in the past, but a gentle takedown of sounds, a thing of
growing mastering the technique to play with this material in an improvised setting. This I
thought was a great release, quite rightly available on cassette. (FdW)
––– Address:

DEAR CONCERNED EMPLOYEES (cassette compilation by Staaltape)

To be honest: I have a slightly odd relationship with Staalplaat from Berlin. Not just as a former
employee, in a different country and different place, after having committed some words on my
time spend there in book form, which didn't go down well (if read at all), but also with the people
running the current version of Staaltape, who wrote some story about Luigi Russolo on their
"staalzine" (not a zine but some text on a blog) in which they satirized my way of writing reviews,
which joke was somehow lost on me. I expressed my dislike and thought that would be the end of
getting any more cassettes from Staaltape. Until this one, which I am hesitant to review. Why on
earth would they want me to review something after writing this "Viva modern warfare. Or viva
Frans de Waard. I can imagine him very well, writing a review in his vital weekly, in which he
transcribes the information that came with the CD", followed by an imaginary review. Apparently,
I transcribe information and call that a review. I thought of doing that here. I didn't do that here.
The information wasn't that interesting.
    All right, so here's a tape with bits and bops by Taco Bong, Kylie Minogue, KK, St_St, Sean
Jason, Mrs Mangle, El Tonto Bing Bang, The New Plastic People, Kim Wild 93, all rather lo-fi
homebrew noise, taped on cassettes and shipped off to Staaltape. The original ideas were to
send it to employers of the Duke Energy Building, who made news headlines when they found a
strange package, which turned out to be a Journey cassette. The idea was to send them this as a
one-off cassette, something to relax them, which may account for some of the lo-fi bits and bops, a
sort of muzak I guess. But Staaltape did some more copies in a hand made package. It was
enjoyable most of the times, though not great or exciting. Not sure if I thought was enough. (FdW)
––– Address: